Wednesday, April 29, 2009

blog award 2

Today I received my second ever blog award from Mandy at Thanks, Mandy! Although I've always enjoyed writing, when I started this blog, I never really imagined I'd have many people who read it. It makes my heart do a little back flip knowing that there are people out there who enjoy my blog.

Now, here are 7 Lovely Blogs I would like to pass this award on to (I was actually supposed to pass it on to 15, but my husband and I are on our way out the door to meet my parents for dinner, so I'll have to choose another 8 some other time!):









Sunday, April 26, 2009

funfetti & faithful sunday

Today was a first: It was my first time ever to make cupcakes. I'm not a huge fan of baking, and I do my best to keep sugary foods out of my house, so the combination of the two means I've never before made cupcakes. So, what's the special occasion? Today is one of my co-worker's birthday, and we will be celebrating tomorrow with these funfetti cupcakes. (As a side note, I didn't even know what funfetti was...I had to google it.)

Along with baking cupcakes, and taking my pups for a walk, I spent some of my day at B & N Bookstore browsing through bathroom remodeling books. After our trip last week to Menards and finding the perfect and most beautiful aqua glass tile, we've decided to go ahead with a minor bathroom remodel this summer. Last summer I painted it an oceany aqua blue, and this summer we will be adding a new counter, sink, faucet, tile backspash and shower. I can't wait!

Here is your yogathought for the day from Marianne Williamson:

"To trust in the force that moves the universe is faith. Faith isn't blind, it's visionary. Faith is believing that the universe is on our side, and that the universe knows what it's doing. Faith is a psychological awareness of an unfolding force for good constantly at work in all dimensions. Our attempts to direct this force only interferes with it. Our willingness to relax into it allows it to work on our behalf."


Saturday, April 25, 2009

blossoming morning and afternoon

This morning after teaching yoga, I headed straight to a few different garden centers around town. I then spent the afternoon planting. It always feels so good to plant that first pot of flowers. It's like a symbol that winter really is over. I still have some more planting to do, however. We always plant zennias in our front bed, but the garden centers I went to didn't have a very good variety. I also have some more pots to fill. There is a huge garden center outside of town that I didn't make it to today, so I will head there next weekend. After I get everything planted and gowing, I plan to take some photos and share them. The back patio and front porch are two of our favorite places to be during the spring and summer!

Hope you've had a blossoming morning and afternoon, too.


Friday, April 24, 2009

keys to happiness

Show Up,
Pay Attention,
Tell Your Truth,
Be Open to the Outcome
-Angeles Arrien


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

heart and soul of yoga

This afternoon I subbed a yoga class and after class one of the participants came to talk with me. Essentially, she said she had been looking for a yoga class for a while that was athletically challenging but also had a soulful feel. She then said today's class had both. (At this point, my ego did a little cartwheel in excitement). You see, this is my intention for every class I instruct. I hope the participants feel challenged and like they are getting an athletic experience while at the same time they are also experiencing the heart and soul of yoga. My intention is that the physical aspect of yoga helps them off the mat in their daily life. Yoga postures really help with functional fitness. When I'm 90 years old, I hope to still be able to bend over and pick something up off the floor or tie my shoes. My intention is also that the soulful aspect of yoga helps people off the mat in their daily life. In my mind, without the soul aspects, it doesn't really matter how functionally fit we are.

I was thinking about this as I left the gym, and started wondering how I could go about teaching the soul aspects of yoga to other instructors. (Someday I intend to lead teacher trainings. The mid-west is definitely lacking them.) I do believe part of it comes from study of yoga philosophy, but I also think there is more to it than that. You cannot just study it, you have to internalize it, believe it, and do your best to live it. (And just as a side note, I do not consider yoga a religion. I believe whatever religious beliefs you have, yoga can be easily integrated into them and help you live a more loving life.)

Here are some of my yogathoughts & beliefs that express the heart and soul of yoga:

  • We are spiritual beings living a human life.

  • We are full and whole and well and nothing is lacking in us.

  • We are love.

  • We can be in the midst of challenge and still be relaxed, calm, and peaceful.

  • We are connected: What we take from others, we take from ourselves. What we give to others, we also receive.

  • We can and must shed our labels (wife, mother, sister, daughter, husband, father, son, student, teacher, lawyer, etc.) regularly and get in touch with our truest selves.

  • We can accept ourselves just as we are and trust life. And with this acceptance and trust, growth always follows.



(photo by another story on

Monday, April 20, 2009

thought for monday

Here is your yogathought and mantra for the day from Marianne Williamson:

"Again--nothing you do or think or wish or make is necessary to establish your worth."

"I accept the beauty within me as who I really am. I am not my weakness. I am not my anger. I am not my small-mindedness. I am much, much more. And I am willing to be reminded of who I really am."


Sunday, April 19, 2009

smelling Zen

Yes, I admit: I am a bit of a sucker for all things Zen. And, for all those who know me, or those who have been reading my blog for a bit, you know I am also a passionate about all things smelling yummy. So, Zen + a yummy springy/summery scent = bliss. Here's a bit about Zen from

"Shiseido Zen Version Summer arrives on the market in spring 2009. The new, third version of the modern Zen is a limited edition, ideal for summer period of this year and it introduces aromas such as lemon, cedrat, apple, grapefruit, peach and blackcurrant with a heart of freesia, gardenia, lily of the valley, blue rose and lotus, which have a calming effect, resting on a base of raspberry, cedarwood, amber and musk. Zen Summer arrives as 'fragrance of light' in a white flacon formed like a characteristic cube. "

It's so interesting to me how perfumes have different layers of scents, and how the same scent can smell very different on different people. One of my secret (no longer) dreams is to create my own scent. Perhaps someday...

Here is your Yogathought for the day:

Laugh out loud,
Hug someone you love,
Smell something yummy.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

surrender--for all you fabulous curly haired women out there

I have naturally curly hair. And, I've discovered over the years those that have it, don't want it, and those that don't, do. Living with curly hair has been a journey. I know this may sound silly, but I always feel an instant bond with other curly haired women. Only those with curly hair can understand. It--the curly hair--truly has a life and attitude of its own! I must confess I went through a period of time in my early twenties when I straightened my hair every single day. I would go through the tedious process of blowing it straight as I dried it. Then, straightening it more with a straightening iron. It was a long process and after it was over, I'd just keep my fingers crossed and pray it wouldn't rain.

Around my mid-20's, something changed. I surrendered to my curls. I stopped straightening them and embraced them. Truly, it was freeing. And, while now I love and appreciate all my natural waves and ringlets, I have also found that I have a passion (or maybe obsession) about trying out all types of products designed for curly hair. So for all you fabulous curly headed ladies out there, I thought I'd share a few of my favorites:

1. Sebastian Whipped Cream (I just discovered this one and love, love, love it. It comes in a bottle that looks like mousse--I'm not a big mousse fan as I find it leaves my hair too crunchy-- but this product is creamy and leaves my hair feeling incredibly soft. It's a bit pricey, but you only have to use a little, especially if you mix it with other products, which I do, and I think it's worth every penny.)

2. Beyond the Zone Noodle Head (This one is probably one of my favorites. It is a bargain at less than $7.00, and it's one I never go without!)

3. TRESemme' Flawless Curls Jelly. (I just found this one this week. It was on sale at the grocery store for $ most recent, exciting bargain find. I think normally it is less than $5.00.)

4. John Freda Frizz-Ease Hair Serum (I use just a tiny, little drop of this one to help keep the frizzies away.)

5. Pantene Texture Pomade (This one is good if I feel like after I've dried my hair, it still looks like a thick helmet. I can put on a little pomade after it's dry, and it helps create piecey texture and shine. Go easy with this one, though. It is a bit sticky.)

So, there you have it. I know I've said it before, but getting excited about simple things makes life all that much more enjoyable! :) Feel free to share if you've found other products you love.
Here is your yogathought for the day:
Surrender to your curls (or straight hair, if you have it.) Embrace your beauty--inside and out!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

natural high

I am on a natural high: I just purchased my newest book, and although I've only read the forward, preface, and introduction so far, I am already feeling euphoric about all the wisdom, insight, and lessons I'm going to be receiving. This particular book has been on my "wanna read" list for years, and within the past month it has been brought to my attention multiple times in multiple ways, so I've decided these are signs, and now is the time. Ater work, I headed to Barnes and Noble and purchased A Return to Love: Reflections on the principles of a Course in Miracles by Marianne Williamson.

Here is my first nugget of wisdom from the book:

"The Course seemed to have a basic message: relax. I was confused to hear that because I had always associated relaxing with resigning. I had been waiting for someone to explain to me how to fight the fight, or to fight the fight for me, and now this book suggested that I surrender the fight completely. I was surprised but so relieved. I had long suspected I wasn't made for worldly combat."

relax and goodnight...


hello spring

Yesterday warmer and sunny spring weather finally arrived, and today I am excited to say I'm even wearing one of my favorite short-sleeved peace t-shirts. It's always such a good feeling to break out the short sleeved shirts and sandels after the long winter months! I like to wear fitted t-shirts to work and dress them up by putting a long lace-bottomed tank under them and wear them with slacks and heals. I purchased my t at the big T--Target. It was only $12.99...gotta love those Target bargains!

Here is your yogathought/questions from Life Coach, Jennifer Louden's, book, The Life Organizer:

"Your contentment and happiness are dependent not on the events of your life but rather on how you perceive those events and choose to respond to them."

1. What would truly nourish me today?

2. Are my beliefs and private thoughts supporting me?

3. What one thought could I change that would allow me to be more at peace today?"



Tuesday, April 14, 2009

really achieving your childhood dreams

You may or may not be familiar with the book The Last Lecture. I haven't yet read the book, although it's definitely on my "want to read" list. I did, however, see the author Dr. Randy Pausch on Oprah last year before he died from pancreatic cancer. Here's a little information from about Randy and the book:

"A lot of professors give talks titled 'The Last Lecture.' Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences can’t help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?

When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn’t have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave-“Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”-wasn’tabout dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because “time is all you have...and you may find one day that you have less than you think”). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living."

I've included a youtube video of the mini-version of the lecture Dr.Pausch gave on Oprah last year. The video is only about 10 minutes long, and in my opinion, worth watching...although you may want to have a box of kleenex nearby.


Monday, April 13, 2009

easter pics and thoughts

Here are a few photos from Easter 09. The first one is beautiful Easter tulips my sweet husband surprised me with. I love, love, love having fresh flowers in my home! The second is my handsome husband and me at my Aunt and Uncle's house for our family Easter celebration. I am lucky in that I always enjoy spending time with my family. They are a lively and fun bunch! Speaking of lively, I've also posted a picture of the sunglasses my Grandma Nana showed up in...rhinestone covered aviators...yes folks, I attribute some of my unique, fun and creative fashion sense to my Nana. :) I remember when I was in high school, I occasionally used to even borrow Nana's clothes...she was hip even then! As a side note, I hope to be wearing rhinestone aviators when I'm 80+ years old!

After the family celebration, my sweety and I came home and snuggled in bed the rest of the night with the pups. It was a really rainy and cold day, so we decided to spend some down time vegging in our bed. It made for an end to a great day, and boy, do I feel rested today!
The yogathought today is paraphrased from the minister Kristin Powell's Easter service yesterday:

We have thoughts that crucify and thoughts that save--and we can choose to crucify or redeem ourselves. We can choose to cross out thoughts that aren't serving us anymore and clear the way for good.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

the doorway to insight

Here is a yogathought for your day:

"Most of the time I'm looking outside of myself to have my world view corroborated. The beauty of yoga is that when we become energetically alive, and our mind becomes drawn into direct experience of the moment, we turn inside; it's a new doorway, a new infinite world of possibilities...the doorway to insight is the present moment. So the question is, how do I enter the present moment? For that, the body is an incredible tool." --Sudhir Jonathan Foust


Saturday, April 11, 2009

surprise visit

This week we had a little surprise visit in our office from the Easter bunny! Sometimes it feels so good to be reminded of the childhood excitement that surrounds certain holidays. Easter has always been one of my favorites. Spring is in the air, and it's a time to be reminded we all have the ability to come alive in our bloom, to open, to grow and to share our light with others.

The possibilities are endless...


Friday, April 10, 2009

standing firmly in the postures of our lives

Here is your yogathought for Friday:

"Mindfulness is the art of paying attention. But there is more to it than that. It is paying attention with an abiding faith in a loving universe. We are not meant to be on the edge of our seats, anxiously paying attention so that we can control outcomes and events. We are meant to stand firmly in the postures of our lives, bearing witness to the moment, to our experience of the moment, aware as we do so that in the words of Charles Johnston, 'we are encompassed and supported by spiritual power.' When we pay attention with faith that we will be supported, then growth really is possible, our vision becomes clear, our path becomes unobstructed, and we are able to see the 'Good in every person and situation." --Rolf Gates and Katrina Kenison


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

too much and not enough

You know you've watched too much Sex and the City when you can hear Carrie Bradshaw's voice in your head making commentary about your life and experiences. :) Seriously, in the last few weeks I've had quite a few Sex and the City moments, and Carrie was right there in my head to comment. One of these moments was today when I received a prank call at work...very, very odd.

On a more serious note, the weather is beautiful and my sweet husband and I are about ready to go out on a date. We will be going out for sushi and then to the theatre to see David Sedaris, author of Me Talk Pretty One Day. The tickets to the show were actually given to us by some friends, and we really appreciate that they thought of us to give them to. Interestingly enough, a few weeks ago I was actually on the theatre's website thinking about how I'd like to go to more shows...and now I'm going to one! Coincidence?!? I think not.

In my mind, you can't ever go on enough dates with your spouse. It can be so easy to get sucked in to the routine and responsibilities of life and forget to take time to connect and have fun with the love of your life. Really, when it comes right down to it, what truly matters in life? To me, nothing matters more than my relationships with the people I love.

Wishing you loads of love, laughter, and dates!


Monday, April 6, 2009

left or right brained?

I find information on the functions of the right brain verses the left brain fascinating. Your left brain is logical and linear while the right side is creative and empathic. I just took a 10 question right brain verses left brain quiz on and here's what my results said: "It's a tie. You are right down the middle. Talk about having the best of both worlds." In general, I would agree with these results, although I would say in most cases, I tend to be more right brained than left. When I looked at the picture test found at , this verifed my thinking. I could only see the lady moving clockwise, which according to this site means I am more right brained. I have tried and tried to see her move the other direction with no success. Anyone out there able to see her move both directions or stop? I've looked at her for a while now, and I'm not sure I believe she moves another direction.

A few months ago, I listened to an Oprah Soul Series podcast in which she interviewed Daniel Pink, author of the ground breaking book, A Whole New Mind. I haven't yet read the book, but found the conversation Oprah and Pink had very interesting. Here is an introduction by Oprah about Pink's book:

"A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, by business and technology writer Daniel Pink. Daniel, a former chief speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore, presents a convincing argument that our country is entering a new era—the so-called conceptual age—during which right-brained skills such as design and storytelling will become far more crucial than traditionally left-brained skills such as accounting and computer programming. While the latter skills are readily outsourced, transformative abilities such as empathy and creativity are crucial in a new age 'animated by a different form of thinking and a new approach to life,' he writes. Because I've always been a right-brain kind of person—more of an inventive and empathetic storyteller than a linear, logical number cruncher—this book really spoke to me. Now, you know what happens when something new excites me: I want to share it with as many people as I can.

Last June I was invited to Stanford University to give the commencement address (my goddaughter Kirby was among the graduates). After finishing Daniel's book, I ordered 4,500 copies, one for each student in Stanford's class of 2008. I wanted to present them (along with another of my favorites, Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth) as graduation presents. For four days straight, a team of people tied ribbons around the books, which were waiting on their chairs. I recently interviewed Daniel for my Soul Series show on Sirius XM Radio. When we sat down in the studio in Chicago, I told him the story of my ribbon assembly line. "That's the kind of work we typically try to outsource!" Daniel joked.

In A Whole New Mind, he explains that one of the trademarks of the Conceptual Age is the outsourcing of traditional white-collar jobs such as law, accounting, and engineering to less-expensive overseas workers, particularly in Asia. But as he points out, you can't outsource creativity. Feel left out? Fear not, Daniel says: He has identified six right-brain-associated aptitudes that he believes anyone can develop, and tells us how we can use these skills not only to stay competitive in the workplace but to improve our lives and our world. "

If you have a little bit of time, I definitely recommend you listen to the podcast, and if you can see the lady moving counter-clockwise, let me know!

Wishing you lots of right-brained activities this week!


Friday, April 3, 2009

lotus flowers

I love lotus flowers. I think they are beautiful and really appreciate what they sybolically represent! This is a photo of my most recent purchase from seller jeweledblossoms. She has a wide variety of very fun jewelry and to add to that, she writes little vignettes to go along with each piece. How sweet! Here's what she wrote about this unique lotus flower necklace:

"From time to time, I've seen the soul bloom in my closest of friends. It's when I've seen them at their most radiant - when they've opened themselves up wholeheartedly, no hint of cautious hesitancy or safety nets to catch them if they fall. It's when they've really found what they've been looking for... the very thing that awakens a passion within them.The Soul in Bloom necklace is composed of a beautiful sterling silver lotus blossom and a ultra shiny sterling silver leaf which dangles from either end of a sterling silver chain measuring 18" (45 cm). The lotus blossom measures just under 3/4" in width. It's for those moments in life when you really see the Soul Bloom."

Spring is the perfect time to let your Soul bloom!


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

new month, new yama

The yama of the month is asteya (nonstealing). On the surface, it might seem that we don't need to do much work with asteya, but asteya goes much deeper than just taking material objects that aren't ours. You can read more about it on the right side of this blog during the month of April, as well as some additional thoughts on asteya right here from Rolf Gate' and Katrina Kenison's book Meditations from the Mat:

"Asteya serves as a wake-up call, prompting us to remember all the ways, big and small, that we steal--the borrowed books still on our shelves, the corners we cut on our taxes, the hours we spend at work not being productive. As we begin to consciously practice asteya, we also see just where and how we need to change. Suddenly we are no longer comfortable with the rationalizations and compromises we have been making."

"...the surest way to get what you want is to let go of wanting. What is required, then, is a radical absolute, living trust in the workings of the universe. This trust is the spiritual opposite of the act of stealing, and accompanied by right action, it removes blocks to our natural abundance."

"Asteya serves as a mirror, revealing ourselves to ourselves. As we shine the spotlight of our awareness on nonstealing, we begin to see the manifold ways in which we act out faithlessness instead of faith."


thought for wednesday

"We have begun to realize that what we do, what we say, and what we think are energy investments and determine our personal reality. So we are watching a little more closely now. We realize that when we fume for days over something someone said or did that upset us, that it is we ourselves who are being drained of prana and we have the capacity to choose to redirect that current of thought, or energy."--Beryl Bender Birch