Monday, June 29, 2009

home again

We have returned home from our weekend get-a-way. I think a good time was had by all!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

mini vacations

For a variety of reasons, we don't go on vacations very often. We married in Jamaica, and we took a trip to Mexica two summers ago to celebrate finishing my graduate degree. Those are really the only two big trips we have taken together (besides going to Colorado, but we drove and didn't fly, so I'm not counting it as a "big" trip). I would definitely like to travel more in the future. This summer we've decided to do a little in-state, budget friendly traveling.

This weekend we are off for a little retreat in the woods with my mom, step-dad, and one of our favorite couple friends. We will be staying in cabins that were specifically built in order to create jobs during the depression. Our cabin is a 3 bedroom, 2 bath cabin overlooking the river. It has a screened in porch and air-conditioning (thankgoodness!), but no computer access, so I will be taking a small blogging break. We will spend our time relaxing and floating down the river in rafts before heading back home. I always enjoy a short retreat into nature (especially when we stay in cabins rather than a tent!) to connect with the simple, yet grand, beauty of the earth.

Another mini vacation we have planned for the month of July is going to Kansas City. We will be hanging out all day at the Plaza, staying in The Q Hotel & Spa (it's a green hotel located on the Plaza, you can see it here: and then going to the Market the following day.

In Aug., we will be doing another mini-vacation to celebrate our 4 year anniversary. We haven't decided where we want to go or what we want to do just yet! Any suggestions? (Think mini-weekend getaway on a budget!)

Here is your yogathought for the day from one of my all time favorite transcendentalists, Henry David Thoreau:

"Let us first be as simple and well as Nature ourselves,dispel the clouds which hang over our brows,and take up a little life into our pores. Do not stay to be an overseer of the poor,but endeavor to become one of the worthies of the world."

"...let us first be as simple and well as Nature...take up a little life into our pores... and endeavor to become one of the worthies of the world" Love that!

Have a wonderful weekend.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Here is your yogathought for the day from the book Ladies Who Launch by Victoria Colligan and Beth Schoenfeldt:

"More choices mean more responsibility, but making a choice can happen when you're twenty-five, thirty-five, or sixty. Choosing one path over another is truly not a question of age but an answer to the question of how do you want your life to look, feel, taste, and be?"


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

gratitude list

Today I'm thankful for:

*doors opening
*my morning cup of decaf brew
*sugar and soy milk
*air conditioning
*my sweet husband and all his help
*my yoga studio opening next week
*an upcoming float trip with family and good friends

...did I mention air conditioning? It's supposed to be 96 degrees today with over 60% humidity. I almost feel like I'm back in Jamaica!

I can't believe our four year anniversary is in less than 2 short months!


Sunday, June 21, 2009

change of plans

We didn't end up going to my Uncle's today for Father's Day because my Aunt was sick, so our celebration has been postponed. We did end up going to do some more work at CREATIVE SPACE YOGA. Here are some photos:

The yoga room before...

The yoga room after...

It was a lot of hard work, but I definitely think it paid off! What do ya think? I cannot wait to teach my first class in the space!


Saturday, June 20, 2009

weekend of celebrating fathers

Today we are hosting a Father's Day BBQ for my Dad's side of the family and my husband's father. Tomorrow we will go to my Uncle's house to relax by their new pool and celebrate Father's Day with my Mom's side of the family. There will be a lot of fun, relaxation, and socializing this weekend.

This is definitely needed after the week of hard work we had. The floors at the new yoga studio are finished. Now, we just need to put up the baseboard, frame out a door, finish a little touch up paint jobs, and hang a screen wall. It's all gotta be ready to go by July 1! Last night I took my sweet husband out for sushi to try to thank him for all of his endless hard work!

On a different topic, the pups are getting groomed this morning, and my kitties are so excited to have the whole house to themselves. Here's a few photos of Zoey enjoying her dog-less morning.

Wishing you a fabulous father's day weekend!


Thursday, June 18, 2009

needing rest

Just a wee bit tired from working most of the day laying floors. It took us a little time to get started, but once we did, we were making progress fairly quickly. Here's a few photos of our work in progress:

I want to thank my sweet husband and my step-dad for all of their hard work and help. I definitely couldn't have done it without them!
Now, I need to rest a bit before bed-time. I have no doubt I'll have an extra good night's sleep tonight!
Sweet dreams.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

more painting, pictures, and a music recommendation

Today was our 3rd day painting my new little yoga studio space. We've now painted 2 rooms and all the trim, doors, and cabinets. I must say it looks so much better! Tomorrow we lay the floors. Here's a few photos of our work in progress:

Also, for all you yogis and yoginis out there in need of some good music, or those who like to listen to relaxing music...I picked up the Lifescapes "yoga: relaxation" cd at Target last night, and love it. I will definitely be using it tonight for the relaxation part of my power yoga class!
p.s. Hope the Summer Sun Salutation and Meditation Challenge is going well. It's definitely getting more challenging by the day, huh? Remember to relax and breathe!

Monday, June 15, 2009

introduction, paint, and pets

When I began writing this blog, I had decided I wanted to stay semi-private for multiple reasons, so I didn't include my real name. However, I've recently decided to go ahead and put my real name out there. So, I wanted to introduce myself to you using my real name:

Hello, everyone. My name is Leslie.

I also want to thank all of you who take the time to read my blog and comment. It really means a lot to me. I truly value my friends and newly found cyber-friends. When I started blogging, I never really expected for it to be a way to connect with others, I mainly just wanted to write. Now, while I still enjoy writing, I enjoy even more hearing from you.

On another note, today we began painting my new small yoga studio space. The yoga room is a calming gray-based lavender (called Celestial Mauve--love that name). The entry room will be a calming green, and the bathroom is lenox tan. Today we were able to completely finish painting the yoga room. Tomorrow more painting of the entry room and bathroom, and later this week we will be laying a new floor in the yoga room. Here's a few photos showing the celestial mauve:

more photos to come...
Lastly, we spent the weekend at my fabulous mom's house, and here are a few pictures. You know how people say dogs start looking like their owners? What do you think?

Seriously, aren't they too cute!?!


Saturday, June 13, 2009

setting an intention

Just a little reminder about how important it is to set an intention before you begin your yoga practice. (For all of you along for the Sun Salutation and Meditation Challege, don't forget to set an intention.) Here is a yogathought for today about setting intentions:

"Setting an intention for each yoga session increases mental focus and creates a vibrant practice. Intentions can be general or specific, abstract or concrete. Some examples, 'My intention today is to make peace with myself (or a specific other) both in my pracctice and throughout this day,' or 'Let me complete one hour of yoga practice.' You might think of them as little prayers sprinked over your practice time." --Julie Rappaport


Thursday, June 11, 2009

day 11 and exciting news!!!

Welcome to Day 11 of the Summer Sun Salutation and Meditation Challenge. How's it going? As the number of sun salutations increase, know that you can rest when your body needs to rest.

Now, for my exciting news...I've mentioned in a few previous posts that I had some exciting news to share, and I decided today is the day to share it with you (drum roll, please, and no, I'm not pregnant, for family and friends who were probably thinking/hoping that was the case--but I am giving birth to a dream that I've had for almost 5 years now!):

Last month, I received notice that the studio where I teach yoga is closing. While I was saddened to find out this news, I made the decision in that moment that rather than return to teaching in a gym setting, I would take the plunge and find a space to rent and teach on my own! This has been a dream of mine for years now, and although I always knew it would happen, I wasn't always able to wrap my brain around when or how.

Since making up my mind that now is the time, it has been amazing to me how all the puzzle pieces of making this happen have so nicely come together. I already have a small space lined up and, with the help of my sweet husband, will begin painting and creating a welcoming, Zen atmosphere next week. Since I'm off work for the summer, the timing truly couldn't be better. I will begin teaching classes in my new space on July 1. I cannot wait! I feel completely and totally euphoric about the whole process. I know I will encounter challenges, but I know I am ready to handle them, and I definitely think there will be much more joy and rewards than challenges!

I'd like to share a little about my new business:

After much thinking, I've named it CREATIVE SPACE YOGA (I chose this name for 3 reasons: 1. My life motto (and the three main points of my graduate commencement speech) are: Create your life*Seek balance*Live with a spirit of gratitude--Creative Space Yoga will be a place where people can come to start consciously creating the life they want and dream about. 2. I had to be creative about finding a space for yoga...hence, Creative Space. 3. It's a place for all my fellow yogis and yoginis and me to express our creativity!

CREATIVE SPACE YOGA's mission is to provide a safe and nurturing space for you to practice yoga and use it as a catalyst to consciously create your life, seek balance, and live with a spirit of gratitude. CREATIVE SPACE YOGA values include: life-long personal growth*creativity*community*service*gratitude

So, all you ladies (and gents) out there, please wish me luck and lots of good vibes! I've never been one who was very business-minded or oriented, but I am so very passionate about yoga and how it can change lives that I'm definitely ready to jump in and learn about business in order to share my passion with others! I even purchased my first business read this week. (One of my goals this year was to read a minimum of 3 books about business to learn more), so I bought Ladies Who Launch: entrepreneurship & creativity as a lifestyle by Victoria Colligan & Beth Schoenfeldt. So far, it is full of inspiration!

Here are a few yogathoughts from this fabulous book:

"Our culture tends to discourage women from reaching for the stars and embracing our creativity. The messages we are more likely to receive are: "Work hard," "Stay our of trouble," "Get good grades," "Play it safe," and "Be responsible." Because of these admonitions, it becomes easy to let years of precious life go by without writing that book, pitching that idea, creating that loving relationship, or simply decorating the house exactly the way you want it. Your "inner entrepreneur," the creative engine that can transform your dreams into reality, is kept in check."

"Rather than suppressing your desires because you don't want to be too bold, too proud, too much, too greedy, we say let them loose and allow them to grow!...First, you have to realize that you can have a say in your life; you can escape the expectations that you learned from your school, work, family, and friends. You have to appreciate that you can custom-design our unique path and that no matter what you were told, you are a brilliant, innovative being."

"When you're birthing something, from a new room in the house to a lemonade stand, your inner magic wand is in action. It's not about what, but more about doing. This means that going out in the world, making things happen, and stirring the pot is more than just fun and possibly lucrative; it could save you big bucks on therapy bills and also fill in a few of the holes that crop up and make you feel like something might be missing."

Never forget: When one door closes, another door always opens. Look for the opening door.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

present moment living

Here is a yogathought for the day:

If you ignore the present moment, you are missing out on most of the joy in life. You are also doomed to miss most of the hunches, or messages from life, the guidance that will show you what to do next, that will show you what to do to move to the next level.


Monday, June 8, 2009

yogathought for monday

"Yoga acts as a mirror. Each breath, each movement, reflects to us who we are and how we are moment to moment. We look into the mirror of yoga and see the places that need support and the places that need to open. The postures teach us about ourselves, markers on the map of the soul. They bless us with immediate feedback...we become intrepid explorers mining the terrain of the body, mind, and soul." --Julie Rappaport

I found this quote yesterday while looking through yoga books, and immediately had to write it down!

Today is day 8 of the Summer Sun Salutation & Meditation Challenge. Hopefully it is going well for all of you on the journey with me!


Sunday, June 7, 2009

new summer yoga read

I just started reading Kripalu Yoga: A Guide to Practice On and Off the Mat by Richard Faulds and Senior Teachers of Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. I am only through the first chapter, but I am already loving it! I definitely appreciate the focus on taking yoga off the mat and using it as a way to stay present and peaceful in the midst of daily life.

Here's a yogathought from the book:

"With your mind focused on what's happening here and now, you can respond to life directly, free of past baggage and worries about the future. Being present empowers you to make conscious choices about what you want--and don't want--to create in your life. When you are present in your body, you live with a natural ease and grace."


Sat. night mini-adventure

At the beginning of the Dynamic Hatha yoga class I attended on Thur., the instructor announced that a group of belly dancers would be at Cooper's Landing Saturday night. I immediately decided I would see if my sweet husband and some friends wanted to go.

Cooper's Landing is an interesting place, to say the least. It's about 20 minutes outside of town, by the river. People can camp at Cooper's Landing, although what I find most interesting is that many people go there for the great Thai Food. Yes, Thai food and camping by the river...interesting combination, huh? My husband and I decided to check out Cooper's Landing for the first time last year, but once we arrived, we were a bit disappointed to find out they only take check or cash, and all we had was our bank card. So, we headed back home. Last night was our first night to actually stay for dinner. We were there with two great friends, and we got a little Belly Dancer entertainment at that (although there were so many people there we were barely able to see the dancing.) Here are a few photos of our evening:

Quite a beautiful sunset by the river, huh? I think it's important to always find ways to take mini-adventures in life--try new restaurants, new foods, explore parks, go camping, have a picnic in you back yard, retreat into the woods, etc. Enjoy yourself, your company, and don't forget to breathe!

Friday, June 5, 2009

my first

Today, I received my first negative comment on my blog--I pretty much knew this was coming since it seems anytime there is someone who is focusing on the good and positive in life, there is always someone who comes along and tries to rain on the parade with negativity. The comment was of course from an anonymous reader, and I want to address a few of the points Mr. or Ms. Anonymous made:

First, I realize I am idealistic, and perhaps even, at times, naive--and while if you can believe it or not, in the past ten years, I would say that I have found myself becoming a bit more cynical, I make a conscious effort daily to focus on the ideal and see as much as I can from a positive light. I hope when I'm 50, 60, or 70 years old, I'm still referred to as idealistic.

Second, I fully and completely know how lucky and blessed I am in this life. I work on a daily basis with teenagers who live in complete and utter chaos and often times unsafe and quite horrible situations. I respectfully don't need anyone else to tell me how lucky I am. I know and am grateful every single day for how blessed my life is.

Third, I must admit the comment about how different my life would be if I had children was one that stung just a bit since I've been trying to have a baby for over a year now and am having major fertility issues. (I have chosen not to write about it here, up until now, because I want this blog to be a place where I focus on the good and positive aspects of life.) With that being said, probably coming from the idealistic part of me...I haven't given up hope on creating a sweet little child some day soon! And yes, I realize my world will be completely and totally rocked when that happens, but I have no doubt when the little gal or guy arrives, I'll be even more grateful than I already am!

Truly, I realize life is hard, (like I said, I see it on a daily basis with my students), and it's no accident that since I've had such a blessed life, I've chosen a career path in which I spend a great deal of my time trying to help others who are living with sometimes constant challenges...depression, drug abuse, abusive parents, poverty, me--that can be a downer. I know I am quite sensitive and often absorb much of the negative stuff my kids are dealing with, so when I am at home and write, I make a conscious effort to switch gears and focus on all the good in life--because I KNOW it's there even more so than the bad.

I've even had a few minor bumps to overcome myself. I am not perfect, and I don't have a perfect life. I am loving, open, growing, grateful, idealistic, and learning and that is what I focus on here. In fact, I'm feeling a bit proud of myself, because in the past, perhaps a negative comment like this one would have made me feel awful and even consider not blogging. But instead, I decided to respond in what I hope comes across as a respectful manner and keep on focusing on the good--and I do have a major exciting change happening in my life right now which I plan to share soon!

So, here's your yogathought for the day:

Listen to critisicm and learn what you can from it. Then, purge it from your mind and focus on your strengths. For only postive and good energy serve you.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

beautiful day

Today was my first summer day to get up and not have anything planned. After waking, I did my morning sun salutations and meditation practice, and then my sweet husband and I walked our pups to Starbucks. We sat outside and I drank a nonfat, decaf, vanilla latte while he had his usual black brew. After we got home, I spent a bit of time on the internet, drank a blueberry, banana, soy milk smoothie, and headed to a noon dynamic hatha yoga class. It was truly divine.

I ran by hobby lobby and browsed after yoga. Then, headed home and made a spicy chicken pasta dish for lunch. After my food had some time to digest, I took the pups on our two-mile walk route.

It truly has been the most beautiful day.

Wishing you a beautiful day, too.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

day 3 & a bit on meditation

Welcome to day 3 of the Summer Sun Salutation and Meditation Challenge. Yesterday was my last day of school for this school year, (yipee!) and we hosted a party for co-workers last night, so I must admit I was feeling a bit depleted of energy this morning. It felt wonderful not to have to set my alarm. Of course being the morning diva I am, I was up by 7:30 a.m. I did my 3 sun salutations, and then followed my body's wisdom and took my bum to the floor for some yummy stretching postures before moving into meditation.

I am by far no meditation expert, and although I only meditated for a few minutes this morning, I probably had 40 different thoughts in my head during that time--one leading to the next-to the next-to the next. I started the meditation focusing on the word "let" on the inhale and "go" on the exhale, and after only a few short seconds, my mind was off to the plans for the rest of my day. Rather than beat myself up about it, I just realized at least I was aware enough to notice my mind taking over and was consciously able to come back to my breath. Even in that short amount of time, for a few glorious seconds, I was able to really sit in the silence and feel completely still and full and well. I am definitely excited to continue this challenge and grow my meditation practice.

Here is your yoga thought for the day:

Be still & let go...


Monday, June 1, 2009

day 1

Today is Day 1 of the Summer Sunsalutation and Meditation Challenge. I got up early, did my yoga practice and meditation, and then took the pups on a walk. After that, I made a healthy breakfast (I always crave healthy foods after exercising--no sugary cereal for me this morning!)It feels so good to start the day this way.

I hope you have a fabulous Monday. Enjoy the summer sunshine!