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

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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!!

Weekend Update

Hey Sunday! You came fast. I hope everyone has been enjoying the weekend- it’s be sun filled and mild here in Boston. The boys and I spent another weekend at home, we are usually all over the place on weekends, but lately I’ve just been too tired by the end of the work week to get up and out. How bad is that? I blame the commute and the change of seasons. Mostly the commute. (the bad weather and daylight savings have not been helping my already long daily drive). Do you have a long commute?  This is how I’m dealing with it:

Yeah. So anyway…

Friday I got home around 7pm after sitting in traffic, nearly in tears and tried to convince Ross we should rush to catch the 8pm yoga class we had planned to attend. Ross, knowing me better than I know myself, realized that the best thing for me to do would be to immediately get into sweatpants, have a glass of white wine at watch 90s movies and pass out at 11pm.

Good call Ross! I woke up early Saturday morning feeling much better! We took Mango for a walk, went to a 9:30 am hot yoga class at Prana, stopped at Starbucks (I got a feta spinach wrap and grande coffee with 1 peppermint shot and skim milk. This drink is almost as good as the Peppermint Mocha latte, for less calories and $$$) then did some grocery shopping for the week at Trader Joes.

Saturday night we went to dinner and a movie. How original are we? Dinner was at Stoddards. I’ve been there for drinks before but never for food. I was surprised that almost all the dinner tables were taken at 5pm! Ross absolutely loved his burger and french fries, and I was pretty happy with my vegetarian pot pie with root vegetables (and half of Ross’ french fries). As I recall, the cocktails here are amazing, but since we had a movie to catch (and stay awake for) we both choose an IPA from their extensive beer list. After dinner, we saw Argo. Great movie! Not my favorite of all time, but very interesting and suspenseful. We spent the rest of the night discussing our conspiracy theories about the CIA, as well as conspiracy theories about the sodium content in movie theater popcorn  🙂 It’s been awhile since we had a date night, I think they are important  for our relationship and something that we should be better about doing weekly or at least bi-weekly.

This morning I made multi-grain pancakes with fruit for breakfast, and as a result have been super hungry all day. I love pancakes, and while the idea of a pancake breakfast makes me happy, it never fills me up for long. Perhaps it’s the lack of protein? Next time I’m going to try something like this this recipe from Men’s Health.

But for today, back to the carbs! I went for a post-pancake  2 mile run (I had scheduled a 6 mile run this weekend, but it just didn’t happen.)  A little later, our friend Scott came over for football, pizza and beer. I partook in the pizza and beer, but chose to do some blogging/ researching DIY Christmas gift ideas on Pinterest in lieu of actually paying attention to the game today. Priorities.

What are you up to for the remainder of your weekend!?

When Life Gives You Lemons…

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When life gives you lemons, you can try to make lemon bars from scratch. And fail miserably:Image

Then you can forget the lemons, and just enjoy a glass of vino instead:

 

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It happens.

 

The weekend was very productive,despite the failed baking fiasco- I will also note that despite looking disgusting, the lemon mush actually tastes delicious! Although my long, short week was followed by a short, short weekend, I am happy that the apartment is cleaned, the dog is groomed and I even fit in a fun 6 mile run with great friends today between rain showers!

 

I thought I might enjoy my wine while catching up on some TV shows via On Demand tonight, but Mango (ever the remote control hog) had already occupied the couch and insisted on watching the Celtics game.

 

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#1 Fan!

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So, while he watches the game I plan on writing out my workout and eating plan for the week. I’m seriously debating going to hot yoga at 6am tomorrow, I couldn’t think of a better way to start out a Monday. BUT I’m still seriously overtired, and I may or may not have fallen asleep in a Downward Dog pose in last Friday’s class ( this has happened to me before during shavasana,but never upside down balancing on my hands) . Maybe if I stop blogging now and get to bed the chances of me falling asleep and plunging face first into the hardwood floors in class tomorrow will be a little less likely…

 

On that note, good night… And go Celtics!!!

 

Some Friday Favorites

Our Chinese New Year celebration was incredible last night! The family who throws it is a family I used to nanny for all through college. They have one daughter, who was always an amazing little kid and she is now growing up to be such an intelligent and sweet girl!

(Kata and me about 5 years ago on a beach in Sentosa Island, Singapore)

Us catching up last night at the Chinese New Year party last night

I woke up this morning feeling very excited for no reason in particular; just because it’s Friday, because I was going to yoga and looking forward to the weekend in general. That excited mood lasted until I stepped foot outside the door and was hit by cold rain and instantly wet Ugg boots (it’s what I deserve for still wearing Ugg boots I guess). My mood is definitely effected by the weather, and I’m glad I didn’t take the time to look out the window this morning or watch the news before yoga, otherwise I’m pretty sure I would have just stayed in bed all day.

I’m trying to overcome this in a way other than buying a one-way plane ticket back to Costa Rica. Yoga class with Sarah at the Beacon Hill Athletic Club was uplifting, and here are some other things I’m excited about today (other than snuggling on the couch with Mango):

-Turning my bathroom into a spa by using aromatherapy shower tablets I bought at Wholefoods yesterday

-Planning out a long run for tomorrow, I think my running weather will be back!

-Making a Quiche (anyone have a great recipe they want to share?!

-Going to CVS to print out some pictures and actually make use of all the beautiful picture frames Ross’s Mom got us for Christmas.

-Meeting up with some good friends downtown this evening.

If you need some rainy Friday cheering up, I recommend reading this hilarious, adult-only children’s book. I bought this for my sister (who is a new mom) but I think anyone who has ever had a child, who has taken care of children or even just heard other peoples stories will be able to appreciate this!

You can hear Samuel L.Jackson read it online <a href="<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CseO1XRYs9I“>”>here

Champagne Supernova

Now you’re never going to believe this one… I think I actually had better internet access in Costa Rica than I have the last few days back in Boston. Darn you Comcast for not being able to come set us up until Monday!

We have officially been in our new apartment 4 days, and it’s coming along pretty well (despite the whole no internet or TV thing). I was thinking of sharing photos, but I’m going to wait until you can at least see an inch of floor space. What are we going to do with all this STUFF in our tiny North End apartment? Is anyone really handy at installing shelving? I think if we have some put in from floor to ceiling in every room, we might be able to make this work.

Moving is always a bit stressful, but thank goodness I have some great friends to help alleviate that! Just yesterday a friend of mine who works at the new EXHALE spa on the waterfront invited me to come try a free class. Well, I can’t pass up a free anything, especially yoga and ESPECIALLY when the invitation is from Rachel aka THE Healthy Chick herself. I’ve written on here about my experience with EXHALE before (the one downtown) and this time around was just as delightful. It has an Amazing yoga studio, great classes (I did the yoga but I hear the core classes are killer workouts), saunas, bathrobes, fancy bathroom shampoos and lotions and a quiet tea room. If I had to sum it up with one word that would be: Zen.

After this, I had to bring my enlightened-self back down to Earth, which meant going to the least zen-ful place in Boston, The Tam. Two very good friends were visiting from Atlanta, and we were excited to be back in town to see them. When a group of us used to work Downtown on Tremont St. we would go to the Tam all the time, probably because we couldn’t afford anywhere else downtown on our entry level salaries? Anyway, it’s become sort of tradition now to go there when we get together and it’s always a good time.

Speaking of good times, do you have some planned for tomorrow night?? 2011 has been quite an interesting and eventful year, but I feel like I’m ready to move on with some new beginnings.

I decided for this year that instead of a New Year’s Resolution to stop doing something (ie eating chocolate) or lose something (ie weight) I’m going to choose a few positive things I want to start doing, or do more of. For me this will be spending more time on my yoga practice, enjoying good friends and even indulging in chocolate and not feeling bad about it (I’m drinking a Peppermint Mocha as I type this. No internet at home = lots of coffee shops).

Stay positive and remember not to put too much pressure on yourself; small consistent lifestyle changes are going to be a lot more enjoyable and make more of a positive impact than anything else.

If you are off the wagon this year, make sure to stay hydrated and take some Ibuprofen before bed, because a champagne hangover is no way to start a New Year. Cheers!

Right Here, Right Now.

This past weekend was a good reminder to me that yoga is more than just an exercise and a physical practice, but also a state of mind. You can touch your toes, stand on your head and become a pretzel on the mat, but none of that matters if your not in tune with what’s going on INSIDE that pretzel.

I’ve been really upset that there isn’t yoga available in La Fortuna, and that I’ve only had the chance to take classes a handful of times since coming to Costa Rica. Before Ross and I left last January, we were doing Yoga almost every day and I’d found some places I really loved in Boston:

Cambridge Athletic Club : Yoga was INCLUDED with a membership here, one of the only full gyms I know of that actually has a yoga studio and not just yoga mats in a group exercise room.
Exhale: Expensive, but worth it. The place is pure luxury and there is a tea relaxation room for before and after class, locker rooms with steam rooms and bathrobes.
North End Yoga: I lived in the North End and loved that I could walk here in minutes. I loved the early morning classes.
Prana Power Yoga: Hot Yoga, but much more relaxed than Bikram. You sweat like crazy and get a great workout, and feel complete zen after.

Since coming here, I’ve been trying to keep up the practice on my own like on the front porch:

And on the beach:

Lately it’s been more difficult for me to get in a good practice without an instructor to guide me. I thought this was because I was out of practice physically, but this weekend I found that it’s more mentally that I’ve lost it.

I haven’t been great at focusing on my breathing and just living in the present moment. Instead I’ve been worrying about the things I haven’t done perfectly here and anxiously planning ahead for what is going to happen when we get back to the USA.

Worrying about the past or the present doesn’t make anything better, but being focused and enjoying the present moment makes everything better. My goal for the rest of this time here is to do more yoga, not just on the mat but to try to keep that yoga state of mind and bring that with me in everything else I do. Blogging included.

So forget the fancy yoga studios for now and in this moment, literally as you read this, lower your shoulders away from your ears (I know you’re probably hunched over your computer/laptop/iPad) and feel your shoulder blades run down your back. Stick out your chest out slightly and take a long, deep breath in. Then exhale slowly through your nose, listening to your breath the whole way through. Repeat the breathe 3 times.

The present moment feels pretty good, right? That’s why we should live HERE and not in that conference call from yesterday or that dentist appointment we have tomorrow.

Namaste!

Child’s Pose Anyone?

I just got back from my soccer game tonight, and I’m proud to say my team won, despite of me 🙂 I’m actually not terrible per se, but I’m no Tica! People here grow up playing futbol, watching futbol, talking futbol, breathing futbol, etc.

While I’m not obsessed the biggest of soccer fans, I am a fan of playing on a team in general. It reminds me of being little and playing team sports on the weekend. I think my favorite part was the hot dogs and ice cream we got to eat after the games, but whatever works right?

Remember how incredible it was to be young, and just play for the fun of it? There wasn’t any huge competition, strenuous gym workouts, body image worries or set goals. We ran and cartwheeled, stood on our heads and climbed things all because it was FUN and made us feel good.

Ahhh.. adulthood. Maybe it’s because we finally gave in and started eating our vegetables and less sugar, or quit taking daily naps (did anyone actually do this???) but that once endless energy seems to be completely zapped most of the time. Now we drive around to find the closest parking spot so we don’t have to walk 30 seconds to the entrance, we take the elevator instead of the stairs and we pay other people to walk our dogs.

I think this is a bad case of “if you don’t use it, you lose it”. It’s so easy to become sedentary with the current lifestyle trends and technology. We have desk jobs and sit on computers all day. After sitting and staring at the computer screen, we come home and stare at the TV screen for the rest of the evening.

I personally, am trying to avoid this whole adulthood/sedentary thing all together. Yoga is well known for helping this, but I think it really comes down to those childhood basics, doing something, anything, fun and active that makes you feel good.

Don’t get me wrong, being an adult can be even better than being a kid if you do it right. I mean, you can even have a beer with that hot dog after the soccer game 🙂

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” ~Jim Rohn