Do It For The Love #DIFTL

Do It For the Love is a amazing global, non-profit, wish-granting foundation I learned about last night at the Soulshine Tour in Boston, and thought you might want to know about it too! If you are a believer in music, yoga and/or happiness in general, this will speak to you.

It was founded by Michael Franti (of Michael Franti & Spearhead), and his partner. The goal is “to bring hope and joy, through the power of music, into the lives of people all over the world.” Below is the mission, as stated on the foundation’s website:

What We Do:

Do it for the Love is a global nonprofit wish granting foundation. We draw upon the power of music to provide empowering moments for people living with life-threatening illnesses, children surviving severe challenges, and wounded veterans. By bringing together a network of artists dedicated to using music as a transformative experience, we are committed to facilitating a range of personal encounters and live concert moments. Our goal is to offer lasting celebratory memories in the face of severe illness or trauma. We believe in the greater good and the importance of giving back! Approximately 5% of our funding goes towards projects we believe in: mainly grassroots programs that uplift communities facing poverty and natural disasters.

Music heals. Just listening to a song on the radio can brighten up a bad day, but seeing one of your favorite musicians live and in person? That is powerful stuff. Getting to do yoga with one of your favorite musicians playing live throughout the class and getting a hug from them? That is priceless.

Michael Franti is an amazing musician, philanthropist AND he gives great hugs.

Michael Franti is an amazing musician, philanthropist AND he gives great hugs.

I have no doubt of the positive impact an experience like this would be to someone going through a very difficult time in their life. My soul is certainly shining after such an incredible day, and I am so inspired by Michael, Trevor Hall and all the other talented musicians taking part in this amazing cause. I am planning to make a donation, and also hoping to put together a yoga class soon in the Boston area with all proceeds going directly to this cause. I hope you will be able to join!

If you're going to do it for anything, #DoItForTheLove

Do good, and #DoItForTheLove

 

“Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.”

Minor Myers

Moving In The Right Direction

I’ve heard it said that perfection is a direction, not a destination. All too often, I find myself getting caught in the perfectionist trap. Does this ever happen to you? Thinking or obsessing too much about a perfect outcome can stop you from getting a lot of ish done in the long run. Have you ever thought, “Oh gee, I was going to go to the gym for an hour, but I’m running late and will only have 30 minutes. Might as well just skip it”. No, no, no! Let’s do the math: A 30 minute workout might be 50% less than you were planning on, but it is still 100% better than no workout at all! Also, you can fit in a pretty killer workout in 30 minutes or less. If you don’t believe me, just check Pinterest.

The workout is just one example, but can be applied to almost every aspect of life, be it diet, work, relationships, etc. You can certainly practice and perfect some things, but no one is completely perfect. 

Speaking of practice, I’ve also had people tell me they won’t try practicing yoga because they are so inflexible and would never be able to touch their toes. The truth is, depending on their flexibility, they might not be able to touch their toes (at least not without a bend in the knee), but just the action of folding forward in Uttanasana (regardless of how far away the toes are) is moving in the right direction, and the benefits of this are HUGE, both physically AND mentally.

By all means strive for greatness (and toe-touching), but don’t let perfect get in the way. Let’s get moving!

Has the thought or fear of not being ‘perfect’ stopped you from doing or completing something you wanted to do?

Springing Ahead

I don’t know about you….but by January 2nd I was so ready for winter to end this year. I would consider myself a summer person, I guess growing up in a beach town that is TOTALLY dead between the months of November-May will do that to you. I try to make the best out of winter around here (or I move to Costa Rica…) but this winter was so long, so cold, and just so seemingly never ending.

 

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It’s finally mid-April and sunshine and warmish weather have made their way (slowly but surely) to Boston and the only Winter coming anytime soon is on Game of Thrones. Here’s whats going on now that I’m coming out of hibernation:

I have a yoga class! My first very own weekly class! I’ve been teaching for almost a year now, but on a very sporadic schedule. Now you can find me up ridiculously early Monday mornings to teach a 6am Rise & Shine Vinyasa class at Charlestown yoga. There is nothing I would rather do before dawn than share my practice with some amazing students! I’m looking forward to improving my teaching, and knowing I have a class to teach each week helps keep me on track with my own practice during the rest of the week (you’ve got to practice what you preach after all) and I’ve also been ramping up my own at-home practice (hello headstands!) and putting together some great playlists.

Traveling: I have a busy month at work with marathon season in full spring! I’ll be working the Boston Marathon expo next weekend- stop by the Marathon Tours booth and say hello if you are running/going to be in Boston for the marathon weekend! It will no doubt be an amazing and emotional weekend in Boston after the events last year, and I am so excited to get to be part of it. I’m not running Boston this year, but I really want to do it again some day. Add it to the bucket list!  After Boston I’m headed out to Monterey, CA for the Big Sur International Marathon (again, not running, but working the expo) and the weekend after that going to be in Vancouver, Canada for the marathon expo there. Lots of flying (did I mention that I hate flying?) but also lots of fun cities and people to meet.

Between yoga and work and traveling for work, it will be a busy spring, but a fun one. Last night we went out to dinner at Papagayo- the fish tacos here are strongly recommended, at least 5 of us ordered them last night. We are nothing if not original.- and then we went out for drinks and dancing at Bell in Hand to celebrate a friend’s birthday (25th birthday, hence, Faneuil Hall). I’m impressed with myself for the fact that even though I’m 30 now, I somehow managed to stay out all most of the night (we may or may not have been one of the first to leave) and still make it to the gym for a killer workout this morning. Boom!

Tonight we are meeting friends to try a new restaurant Steel and Rye in Milton, MA. Ross & I tend to have our favorites and not always be the best about branching out to try new restaurants (we also just don’t go out to eat that much in general) so I’m really excited for this! I’ve also already extensively read the menu online. Fact: If I don’t do this, I’ll spend most of the night reading the menu and ignoring my friends who I’m there to see.

What are you up to this weekend? Are you as excited about spring as I am?! (Ignore this question if you live in the Southern Hemisphere. Or Winterfell).

Vision Boarding 101

It must have been something in the air this weekend, like the warmth and the sunshine and the fact that it was above freezing and not grey and dark for the first time in months (MONTHS!) but I had such a nice, relaxing, positive and productive weekend. It started off great on Friday night I taught a yoga class at YogaPower Studio. Firstly, I would love to thank all my friends and family that have been coming out of their way to come to my classes. I took a 200-hour training course all last winter, and “officially” graduated in September. I don’t quite have my master yoga plan set yet, but I absolutely love it and can’t wait to incorporate more and more yoga (teaching and my own practice) in my life (and on my blog too ;))

Speaking of a Master Plan… this weekend Ross and I made some vision boards. If you’re not familiar, vision boarding is basically an old-school Pinterest. We had a been saving a ton of magazines and brochures for this reason, and went through them all and clipped out anything and everything that peaked our interest, images, sentences, articles, recipes, etc. You don’t have to know WHY it speaks to you, just that it does. The why comes later.  Then you paste them all on a poster collage style (or any style you like) and then just keep it, look at it often, and see what happens. I happen to love Pinterest and probably couldn’t have planned my wedding without it, but it was really therapeutic to take on an arts & crafts project like this and it really helped me to just log-off an focus on the project at hand (and not who is re-pinning or liking my pin). So, my Master Plan is not est yet, BUT I took a step in the right direction this weekend and am feeling more inspired and motivated than I have for a long time.

Photo: Inspiration!

 

What’s on your vision board?!

*Disclaimer: While I own a kindle, I still prefer reading actual books. I also keep a journal in addition to writing on here. If you are too young to know what books or journals are, you probably won’t enjoy this blog*

Let’s Hear it for New York!

The NYC Marathon is amazing. If you ever get the chance to run it, do it, you will not be disappointed. For how insanely large the event is (over 50,000 people whaaaat??) it’s really well run. What really makes this race is the crowds though. Holy moly, they were amazing! I’ve only run 3 full marathons (Boston 2006, Berlin 2013 and NYC 2013) so I don’t have a whole lot to compare it to, but I don’t think it can get any better than the support you get on the streets of all 5 boroughs. It was Ross’s first marathon, and he did so good (better than me, which I’m trying to forgive him for).

I’d heard that waiting to start in the morning could be tough, but we didn’t have an issue at all! We got on a 8:15 ferry to Staten Island (which really felt like 9:15 thanks to day light savings, score!) and had just enough time to check our bag, get some hot coffee and snacks, shed a layer of clothes, find a port-a-potty and make our way to our corral for the 10:45 start. It was so exciting to be standing on the edge of the Verrazano Bridge with all the other runners singing along to the Frank Sinatra’s version of New York, New York that was blasting on the loudspeakers and waiting for the start gun to go off. I still get chills thinking about it (and not just because it was kind of cold to be standing out there in shorts).

 

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On the ferry

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A not-so-great shot of the start

 

I wore a VERY special shirt for this event. The front had the Boston Red Sox on it. I wasn’t sure how New Yorkers would feel about me wearing my Sox shirt through Yankeeland, but people were actually pretty great. As I said, best crowd ever. Check out these signs for proof. I got a lot of ‘Boston Strong’ shouts, and bonded with anyone I saw in the crowd wearing a B hat. Hey, I couldn’t be home to watch them win the World Series or attend the parade, this least I could do was represent . And it’s not like I wrote out Yankees Suck or anything…I kept that in my head.

On the back of the shirt, I wrote that it was my birthday. I didn’t account for the fact that the only people really reading the back of my shirt would be passing me, but I got a lot of happy birthdays from people before eating their dust!

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In the midst of amazing supporters was my brother-in-law Will, his girlfriend Paola and Ross’s Aunt and Uncle who also live in Brooklyn. For some strange reason, their signs didn’t make the list above, but they were pretty stellar. The support we got from the crowds and family really helped push us through and we finished the marathon in 4:49, and spent the next 2 hours shivering our way out of Central Park (for as easy as we had it at the start, the end of this race is no joke.)

Speaking of awesome family members, I recently discovered the HILARIOUS speech Ross’s brothers (and best men) gave at our wedding on Youtube. It’s a long video, but definitely worth watching. Possibly best best man speech ever? http://youtu.be/rn1rOtq4mYQ

Staycation

After nearly a month of being gone every weekend (working, traveling, working & traveling, getting married, running races, etc) Ross and I had a much needed staycation  this weekend. We didn’t do much, and it.was.amazing. So amazing, I feel the need to re-cap this exciting nothingness here, just so when life gets crazy  ( I am leaving again for New York on Wednesday) I can remember and look forward to our next weekend at home.

Friday night: We had plans to go out to dinner, but Ross worked late and around 9pm we realized that it was cold and dark out (and we are really old) so we opted to stay in and watch t.v. and ordered a rustic pizza from good ol’ Papa Ginos. Apparently, one large rustic pizza is not enough for the two of us. We learned that the hard way. Luckily, there was also pumpkin beer and ice cream, so we somehow managed to survive. We started watching a new-to-us Showtime show called Masters of Sex. It was pretty good! We haven’t been especially thrilled with Homeland this season (so far), and it’s nice to have something new to look forward to Sunday nights (after the Red Sox win the World Series of course). My original plan was to watch a scary Halloween movie, but Comcast has decided to charge $3.99 for old scary movies that are usually on t.v. every other day anyway, so I refused to give in. We opted for some Halloween fun on Saturday instead.

Saturday: Easy 4 miles run to break in our new sneakers, we are both hoping to run in our new shoes next week during the NYC marathon. During the run, I made Ross stop by the Ghosts and Gravestones tour booth to ask about reservations. This is a Boston scary historical tour I have wanted to try out for a few years. It’s a little cheesy, but it was also informative and fun way to see your own city in a new way and to get in some Halloween fun without trekking to Salem (leaving town would have been against staycation rules). We got a drink at Granary Tavern ( fun spot, I definitely want to go back here for dinner!) and then did the tour. One fun fact: On a lot of old gravestones in the Boston cemeteries you will see an hourglass with wings (which replaced the popular skull with wings). The meaning of this? TIme flies. Weren’t those puritans creative?

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Sunday (today): I went to yoga, and then to Wholefoods, two of my most favorite things; I’m just a minivan (and a kid) away from being a soccer mom. At WF’s I decided to spend the rest of the day cooking. With traveling so much,and being so busy, I’m finding that despite my best efforts to continue to but healthy foods, I”m not finding time to cook, and therefore eat these foods. I promised myself the next weekend I had off I would do some food planning. And boy, did I do some planning/cooking today! I made football food for the husband (wings/nachos/pulled pork in the slow-cooker), Roasted Brussels Sprouts, concocted a homemade Chicken and rice soup, and now I’m on to pumpkin muffins. It’s almost out of control. It’s also amazing. I’m realizing that these foods aren’t the healthiest, but they are still much better and more nutritious than the fast-foods I’ve been surviving on otherwise.

Enjoy the rest of your own Sunday Funday. I’m going to keep cooking and enjoy every last second of this amazing staycation! Go Red Sox!!

Life is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

So, I’m turning 30 in just over a week. November 3rd is the big 3-0. I’m celebrating by running the New York City Marathon, and I couldn’t be happier! I ran my first full marathon, the Boston Marathon at age 22, back in 2006 ( I know, that’s a really long time ago. There were probably still dinosaurs roaming the earth. Get over it.) It was a life-changing experience for sure, and probably one of the best days of my life (up until that point). For some reason, lets call it life, I took a long hiatus from running marathons.

 

I didn’t stop running though, or racing. I did plenty of half-marathons, met some best friends running and even met my now husband at a 24 hour-relay race. Did I mention on here I got married? Ross and I tied the knot on October 4th at the Shalin Liu in Rockport, MA. It was seriously the best day of my life (the marathons come second, I promise). He will also be by my side at the NYC marathon #teamdonovan:

 

 

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(Photo Cred: Josh Collins: On the left is me and Ross in 2007 the night we met (along with running friends Josh and Jen). On the right is us and the same friends at our wedding in 2013. Like a fine wine, we get better with age. And showers. Awwwww.

 

So, my 20s have been full of good runs, races, and even better friends and loved ones. A few months ago I took a new job with Marathon Tours & Travel, and it took me to Berlin with a group for the marathon in September. I got to run the 2013 BMW Berlin Marathon less than a week before my wedding. Some might think this is crazy, but I thought it was very fitting. Sure, I may have broken down crying at mile 24, worried I was going to be in too much pain to dance at my wedding, but whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. After 26.2 miles and an international flight home, I still danced like crazy on my wedding day:

 

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Well, as I’m reflecting on the past decade, I realized another thing that was very important to me was this blog. I really enjoy sharing my life and experiences and reflecting on here. I’m looking forward to another decade of running, blogging, loving, living. 30 is the new 20 after-all. At least that’s what I’m telling myself!

Who Let the Dogs Out? We Did! At the Doggy 5k Fun Run

You know it’s been too long between blog posts when you can’t remember your password to log into your blog… and if you’re too lazy to even reset your password it doesn’t look good that you will be motivated enough to write an entire post. Yet here I am! If anything is motivating enough for me to hack into my own blog and write about, it’s running and dogs. Two of my favorite things, combined!

Today Ross, Mango and I and some friends participated in a Doggy 5k! The event raised money for some great causes, including the Animal Rescue League of Boston and a new dog park in Medford, MA. It was the first year this was put on, and the race definitely didn’t go off without a hitch, but I hope they continue and to improve it and hold it annually. It’s a great idea!

The Pros: As I mentioned, dogs and running are two of my favorite things. It may have been my personal worst 5k time-wise, but it was a personal best getting to run with my 4-legged best friend! I liked the course and the t-shirts and dog bandanas were pretty cool. There were some fun companies giving away treats like doggy massages, iced coffee (for the humans) and doggy ice cream. Ice cream flavors included: Beef, Chicken Soup, and Peanut Butter). Beef: It’s what for dinner dessert.

The Cons: Very disorganized registration and long lines. No bathrooms. Zero, zilch (maybe they expected us to just go outside like the dogs?). The biggest concern was that there didn’t seem to be enough medical staff/vets there, it was a hot, humid day and some dogs were really struggling along the course. We saw one older, larger dog who was down and couldn’t get up. They sent someone on a bicycle with a gallon of water which was nice, but the dog probably could have used an I.V. and a get-away vehicle with AC. I really hope that dog is okay!

All in all, we had a great time.

The crowd waiting for the starting gun to go off!

The crowd waiting for the starting gun to go off!

Water stop at the half-way point

Water stop at the half-way point

Running Family photo op

Running Family photo op

I ran ahead to get a photo of the finish line (it is the finish line, even though it says "Start")

I ran ahead to get a photo of the finish line (it is the finish line, even though it says “Start”)

The whole (tired) group post-race

The whole (tired) group post-race

 

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Mango’s friend Brooklyn enjoying a well deserved ice cream after her finish

Now it appears Mango is going to sleep all day which never happens, so I’ll have to find something to do with all this free time today! Maybe some wedding planning….but more on that in another post :)

Lemon Ginger Echinaca Juice = Comfort in a Cup

erWhenever I’m in Trader Joe’s, I pretty much end up buying anything they give out as a free sample. Genius marketing really, giving out samples of delicious, healthy foods and beverages that sell at affordable prices. Why didn’t I think of this?!

Normally when food shopping, I try to be good and stick to “the list” (at least when I remember to make “the list”. Or when I actually remember to bring the dang list to the store with me). This list rule works just fine at most places. It’s not very often I walk into one of the large local grocery stores around here and get blown away by some amazing products they are offering. I’m usually blown away if the meat doesn’t expire well before the sell by date….

Trader Joe’s is a different story. I go in each time excited about what new experience I will have and what new discoveries I will make. Today, Ross and I discovered Trader Joe’s Lemon Ginger Echinacea juice. I’m not even a juice person (I’d rather eat a piece of fruit, feel fuller and consume less sugar and artificial flavoring), but there is something special about this beverage! Similar to apple cider, I’m told it’s good hot or cold (I’ve only had it hot, and probably only will!) It tastes more like a tea than a juice (and since ginger tea is a main ingredient, this makes sense). The spicy ginger, zesty lemon and soothing honey are the perfect winter warming combo. Since apparently everyone and their mother currently has the flu right now, I think we can appreciate the health benefits of echinacea.

Echinacea aside, if you’re looking for a fitness drink, this isn’t it. It’s more of a cozy treat to help get you through the long winter months and the even longer colds that we often suffer during these months. If you’re already getting a little tired of the hot cocoa and herbal teas you’ve been drinking all season, I definitely recommend giving this a try! If you’re feeling extra ambitious you could even add whiskey and concoct your own Hot Toddy recipe using this.

LGE Juice

He put a ring on it, now what? Thoughts on working out with your engagment ring on

Fact: I didn’t go to the gym for a whole 2 weeks after Ross and I got engaged. Some of that was due to the champagne consumption and celebrations that ensued post-engagment, but some of it was just dealing with the logistics of what I would do with my engagement ring while I worked out.

I have no problem running with my ring on, but I really don’t like the idea of it getting scraped up or damaged on dirty barbells. I also really don’t like to take it off. I don’t wear a lot of jewelry, and when I do I’ve been known to lose plenty of it by taking it off in bathrooms/locker rooms. Luckily everything I’ve lost was either cheap or given to me by ex-boyfriends (or most likely, all of the above ;)), so it was never completely devastating.

Losing this ring or having it stolen would be devastating- and the idea of leaving it in a bag or locker somewhere just doesn’t sit well with me. So, I’ve been wearing my engagement ring during my workouts, but not on my hand. I’ve been wearing it as a necklace. This allows me to still have the ring in my possession during workouts, and let’s face it, since I’m pretty vain constantly watching my form in the mirror to make sure it’s correct, I can even see the ring the whole time. This has been working pretty well for me so I thought I would share, just in case anyone else newly engaged is having similar issues and avoiding the gym like I did at first! This is assuming you actually want to work out of course, if you don’t, not wanting to work out with your ring on is a great excuse, FYI!

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Bicep

Do you wear your rings during workouts? Do you have any other tips or tricks to share about working out with your engagement ring/wedding band on?