Friday, December 31, 2010

goodbye 2010

I'm finishing out the year feeling very under the weather. I have not been sick all fall & winter, but it seems despite my daily vitamin and Emergen-C, I officially have a miserable cold. Boo! Being sick definitely makes me appreciate my normal good health!

As I reflect on 2010, here are a few of my favorite memories & happenings:

*sold our 1st home
*bought a new one
*took a yoga teaching sabbatical
*hosted our first Thanksgiving dinner
*went to Hermann & slept in a converted wine cellar
*hosted a soup & wine tasting party
*1st pool party at my Mom's
*turned 34
*annual Girls' weekend

Overall, it's been a good year, although somewhat uneventful (besides the big move). I'm very much looking forward to 2011. I remember in 2005, I said Ifelt like it was going to be a big year, and well, I ened up getting engaged, married in Jamaica, getting a counseling position, and buying our first home all while attending graduate school. It was quite the year--to say the least. I have that same sort of feeling about 2011. I don't think these typse of huge life changes are going to occur, but I do feel like it's going to be a very good year with some exciting changes!

I hope you have a wonderful New Year!


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

holiday 2010 photos

Three holiday celebrations down, and only two more to go. Tonight we are going to an ugly Christmas Sweater party (first one I've ever been too--and it should be fun!) & Saturday night is our final Christmas celebration with my Mom's dad and his wife. Throughout the festivities, we took many photos with our Nikon D60. We bought this camera earlier in the year, but hadn't used it very much. After all the photos we've taken and printed lately, I am very, very pleased with it. (I don't know much about photography, and the photos this camera takes, makes me look like I do!)

Today I took down all our Christmas decorations. While I think having them up makes the house feel cozy & festive, after the holiday, I always look forward to taking them down. Partly, to have it checked off my list of things to do and partly because I appreciate the spaciousness that I feel after everything is down and put away. I've found this is the perfect time to clean up, organize and create space in my life for all the great things to come in the New Year!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

holiday goodies

As always, Santa & family & friends were very good to me this year. (I guess I must have been a good girl, huh?) Here are a few of my favorite holiday gifts:

I got this book in the mail a few weeks ago and it made. my. day! Besides the fact I love getting snail mail, (really, what can be better than a snail mail gift?), I've had this book on my list of books I wanted to read for a while now--ever since I heard a podcast interview with the author. Thanks so much to my sweet friend Dana. (She is tHe BEsT snail mail gift giver!). Truly, it is a perfect gift, and I am looking forward to reading it in the New Year!
Just watched this & I enjoyed it just as much, if not more, than the first time around in the theater. Just adore the clothes, beauty & all-things sparkly!
Speaking of sparkle, I am loving this perfume. One of it's top notes is raspberry, and while I used to not really like berry smells, lately I have found myself loving them. I plan on pairing this with Bath & Body Works Snow Kissed Berry lotion scent. Yummy!

And, yes, another one (as you already know, I love all things that smell yummy), and I do believe this may be my newest all-time favorite scent. It's very different than my other perfumes, but I love it. I'm not sure of all the notes, but I definitely smell a hint of orange blossom when I wear it. This one may just become my 2011 signature scent! Thanks to Jennifer at Sophora for recommending it.

And last, but not least, my lashstash kit. To me, putting on make-up is a creative expression. I enjoy doing it--choosing the colors, blending, contouring, highlighting. It's art I get to do every day, & I have always enjoyed it. I have also been on the hunt for my favorite mascara, so when I saw this at Sephora the other day for $38, I almost bought it; however, I talked myself out of it. So glad I did because when I went there today with my Christmas gift card, it was on sale for $24.00. Can't wait to try it out!

So, these were my favorite gifts. I do admit I enjoy all things style & beauty. Some critics out there might say it isn't very "yogic" of me, but I am a yogini who loves a good perfume & mascara...that's just me, no apologies...

I hope you had a wonderfully beautiful & sparkly holiday, too. Would love to hear what some of your favorite gifts were.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

holiday party 2010 photos

Last night was my mom & step-dad's annual holiday party. It was a good time! Here are some photos from the evening:
My sweet grandma Nana who turns 80 next month.

My handsome husband.

My BFF Hayley.
My aunt and her sweet hubby.
My mom, her two sisters & my sweet Grandma Nana.

Love my family & friends. I'm very blessed.



Saturday, December 18, 2010

creative christmas project & magic tree

I've spent my morning making home-made stamped gift cards and wrapping a few gifts. This is the first year I've made gift cards, and I'm very happy with how they turned out. I simply used fancy scissors to cut the silver paper I had. I used green, blue, and bronze ink for the stamps. I punched a single hole in the top, tied ribbon through it, and finished off by adding a sparkly sticker gem. Voila! Quick, easy, and personal. Last night my sweet husband and I and another friend couple went on a Starbuck's run and Christmas light gazing trip. I must admit, the lights around town were somewhat of a let-down (I swear the small town I grew up in--with population 2,000--has some of the best. lights. ever.), but the magic tree was truly magical!

Tonight we're off to my Sweet Momma's holiday party. Looking forward to the festivities! Hope you have a bright & sparkly weekend, too.

Friday, December 10, 2010

eastern body western mind & seane corn

Seane Corn is one of my all time favorite women and role-models. I adore her authenticity & inner and outer beauty. She radiates light and love--truly. One of my goals is to attend a yoga workshop with her some day--hopefully soon! I would love to have the opportunity to be in the same space with her and learn from her. I recently listened to a podcast of her being interviewed which I found fascinating. It was a part of the Sounds True podcast that I downloaded from itunes. I highly recommend it, if you get the chance. In this interview Seane mentioned a book called Eastern Body, Western Mind. I immediately looked it up on Amazon, and I knew this was going to be my next read. It's a book after my own heart combining yogic philosophy, spirituality, and psychology. I got the book in the mail today and immediately started reading it. For those of you interested, here's the description of the book from the back cover:

"In this groundbreaking book, Anodea Judith brings a fresh approach to the yoga-based Eastern chakra system, placing it within the framework of Western thought. Exploring the chakras through Jungian psychology, somatic therapy, childhood developmental theory, and metaphysics, she creates an elegant and practical system for healing energy imablances and taking control of your mental and physical health.

Each chapter focuses on a single chakra, starting with a description of its characteristics and identity issues. Judith then examine that chakra's particular developmental patterns, its traumas and abuses, and how to keep it in balance. The unique combination of Eastern and Western theories elucidates the spiritual nature of personality development and how it fits within the structural logic of the body.

Seamlessly blending psychology and spirituality, Eastern Body, Western Mind creates a compelling interpretation of the chakra system and its relevance for Westerners today."

Love this! I look forward to sharing many insights from this book with you!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend. I'm off to a night of knitting with the girls.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

peter pan & december intentions

Today I took my nephew to see the children's theater production of Peter Pan. I love the reminder of reconnecting with our child-like spirit this holiday & throughout the New Year.

Here are my December intentions:

*practice yoga at least 2X per week
*go to gym 2X per week
*take nephew to see Peter Pan
*go to Momma's holiday party
*finish reading Wired for Joy
*go to dinner at Glen's Cafe w/ Sweet Husband's parents
*start reading A Course in Miracles & Eastern Body Western Mind
*go to knitting night with lady friends
*make Christmas gift tags
*be fully present at all holiday festivities
*finish knitting scarves
*get together with friend Hayley
*organize jewelry armoire
*type up revised 35 by 35 list
*go Christmas light gazing
*LOVE fully, spread joy, & connect w/ my child-like spirit

What are your intentions this holiday?


Friday, December 3, 2010

holiday photos

I just began reading the book The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women by Gail McMeekin. I have had this book on my reading list for a while, and when I saw it as a bargain priced book at Barnes & Noble, I couldn't resist buying it. As I read, I am once again reminded that we are born creative. It doesn't matter if you don't paint or draw, you are still an artist with a creative spirit! Sometimes we can become very disconnected to our creative side by the busy-ness and noise of every day life. This is why it is so important to take opportunities to get still (yay yoga!) and plan inspiration dates. Find the time to reconnect with your creative side! What inspires you? What gets you excited? What are you drawn to do? What would you do, if you had all the time in the world?

One of my favorite ways to be creative is through decorating. Since we are in a new house this Christmas, I've added a few new color schemes and decorations, but I was able to use most of our older decs in bedrooms and the study. Christmas decorations just make the house cozy and warm...

This is a little vintage looking tree in our study. I love it. The photo doesn't do it justice at all. Raspberry is one of my favorite colors!
I'm loving using the center of our square table as a display for decorations. I bought a bunch of small silver and gold candle holders from Michael's for $2.00 each, put out some ball ornaments randomly, filled two vases I had with ornaments, and put 4 snowflakes (I got at Hobby Lobby a few years ago)in the center on a round mirror I had.
This is a little raspberry tree I've had for a few years.

This is a candle stick I bought at Marshall's this year. I actually got two of them, and I am absolutely in love. I will be leaving these out all year round!

Thought these initial ornaments were fun. Found them at Kohl's last year.

The tree...I've always loved white trees. I orginally started with a gold, silver, and bronze color theme, but decided I needed more color, so I added in a silvery blue and green apple. I'm pleased with the final result.

Peacock blue is also beautiful, in my opinion!
This is the entry way to our home. Thanks to my momma for helping me with this arrangement!
I got this wreath years ago at Macy's, and I love it. Fun green feathers? What's not to love? It used to have a raspberry ball in it, but I wanted it in the living room, so I switched out the ball for a blue one.
Another shot of the table and tree in the evening.
"We need to remember we are all created creative and can invent new scenarios as frequently as they are needed." --May Angelou
Get your creative juices flowing this holiday season!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

yoga by the fire and growing as an instructor

Last night I did yoga by the fire (I highly recommend this--if you have a fireplace!). I had my Christmas lights on, the fireplace going, and the rest of the lights low. It was a very cozy practice! I actually used a recording of a class I taught January 2010. It's interesting doing yoga to your own voice. For beginner instructors as well as those who are more seasoned, I highly recommend recording yourself occasionally. It can be a good opportunity to learn and grow. Throughout my years instructing, I also found it helpful to give surveys to my clients every year or so. It was always a quick, easy, and anonymous survey, but the feedback was really valuable. Use the more critical feedback in constructive ways (as hard as it can be, try not to let ego get involved), and then throw them away. I think saving really positive surveys is a good idea, though. If you are having a down day, or questioning yourself, pull out those positive surveys to give yourself a shot of confidence! You can also include them in your yoga instructor portfolio to show future employers. Just a few tips I have found helpful!

Happy beginning of December!


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

34th birthday month & gratitude

It's hard to believe my 34th birthday month is already coming to a close and Thanksgiving is TOMORROW! I am filled with gratitude that my sweet husband & I now have the space that will allow us to host my family (around 17 people) for our Thanksgiving celebration. I've made "gratitude" bookmarks for everyone attending, and we will be reflecting on the past year and writing at least 3 things we are thankful for. Then, we will share them before we eat. Here are a few photos of my many birthday celebrations & some shots of getting ready for tomorrow's festivities:

We had a yummy free (well mine was free) dinner at the restaurant Blue.Sweet husband actually found out he had walking pneumonia that day, but he still looks as good as ever!

2nd Birthday dinner celebration with my Sweet Mama

Gratitude bookmarks for the familyHope you have a wonderful holiday filled with gratitude, laughter & love!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

yoga cues to take off the mat

These are some cues I use throughout my yoga classes. They very difinitely have just as much use off the mat as on...

*When feeling most challenged, use your breath to help you remain calm

*Inhale-let, Exhale-go, Inhaling-let, Exhaling-go

*Equally balance your effort with your surrender

*Notice places that do not need to be working, and allow those places to relax and soften

*Breathe deeply

*Check in with your body

*Look at the space between your thumbs and visualize the direction you want to go in life, now take two steps in that direction

*Tune in to your body's wisdom

*Allow yourself to let go of doing, and just be

*Your stronger than you know

*Be compassionate with yourself

*As you breathe in, invite in anything you may need more of in your life right now (compassion, strength, health, wellness, etc.), just breathe it in, then exhale and trust

*Listen to your body

*Tune in to your strength and feel it fully

*Allow yourself to be grounded, rooted, and centered

*Open to stillness

May we know truth.
May we speak in truth.
May we live our truth.


Friday, November 19, 2010

choosing joy

To tell the truth, being a postive & joyful person is a lot of hard work. I completely and whole-heartedly believe it takes a lot less courage and a lot less work to be a Negative Nelly, so to speak. Don't get me wrong, I have days when I feel down, and there are many times when I slip into negativity--Lord knows, I am no where close to perfect (and thankfully I'm so over trying to be) but overall, I would consider myself a very positive person whose intention is to always see the positve in myself, my life, and others. This is because I do the hard work and I make the choice. I consciously choose to contradict every negative thought about myself or others with a positive one. I consciously choose to celebrate the little things in life as well as the big ones. I consciously choose to see the opportunities in the challenges. I consciously choose to trust life. I consciously choose to give thanks every chance I get. I consciously choose to practice yoga and take care of myself. I choose my attitude, outlook, and approach to life on a daily basis. It is very hard work. But, it's oh-so-very worth it.

Do the work. Be courageous. Choose joy.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

loving kindness

May you be free from danger
May you be happy
May you be healthy
May you live with ease

Sunday, November 14, 2010

love 3 day weekends

This weekend was a 3 day weekend, and it is always amazing to me how much difference that extra day makes! Love it! And, I get another one next weekend because I'm taking Friday off for a personal day--I always try to take a day off around my birthday to spend some extra time reflecting on the year and thinking about the direction I want to go in the upcoming year. Not getting older, only getting better. :) Here are a few photos from this weekend.

This is a shot of my new black bow ring. Couldn't resist... This is my cute new hat (Charlotte Russe) and matching scarf (Marshalls). Love me some pink!

Went to the King's Daughters Festival. Didn't buy a thing, but did get a cute bag.
Sipped some Adam Puchta wine.
Got cozy by the fire.
Did some knitting with a loom.

Breakfast at Panera
with my Sweet Husband.
Shallac-ed my nails. (Love this beautiful, rich color: Fedora w/ Hot Chilis over the top).
Now I'm at home listening to George Winston's Autumn cd, blogging, smelling a yummy chicken in the oven, and loving life.
Hope you had a great weekend, too!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

yummy hot chocolate recipe

So, it really hasn't been all that chilly around here this week, but after our trip to Hy-Vee tonight (why are grocery stores always so darn cold?), I was craving some hot chocolate. My mom has a wonderful hot chocolate mix recipe, so I whipped some up tonight. Just fyi...this recipe makes a huge amount, so beware and use a gigantic bowl to mix it in. It's great to give away for little holiday gifts.

Holiday Hot Chocolate Mix
*1 box dry milk that makes 8-10 quarts
*1 lb powdered sugar
*1 box of chocolate milk mix
*8 oz. low-fat nondairy creamer
*marshmallows or whip cream to top

Add hot water to a 3-4 heeping spoonfuls of mix. Stir. Marshmallows or whip cream to top.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

leslie time

I'm sitting at Panera Bread enjoying a bagel, cup of coffee & some Leslie-time. I've been at a counseling conference since Sunday (counselors have such good energy!), and this morning I woke up and knew a little alone time was in order. The conference has been great. I've gone to sessions covering overindulgent children, using love and logic, suicide prevention and assessment, and personality theory. The final keynote speaker is this morning at 9:45 a.m., then I'll be heading back home. When I was teaching, I never felt like I could take the time to get away and go to professional development opportunities. Although it is hard to get away, I now understand the importance of going to these types of events. It's so good to be around other professionals and learn from them. I've also enjoyed connecting with some of my girl co-worker friends. Girl-time is another necessity for the soul!

This week at work is also only a four day week, so I will only be working two days (although I know they will be two days with four days of work crammed in!) I scheduled a massage Thursday night to kick off my 3-day weekend. I'm feeling just a wee bit spoiled...but it is my birthday month!

How can you grow, learn, & take care of yourself this month? Don't just think about it! Do it.


Friday, November 5, 2010

prana flow

Tonight I attended an incredibly yummy 90 minute prana flow yoga class with Gina Caputo from Kansas Siddhi Yoga. If you ever get a chance to take a class with Gina, I highly recommend it. Seriously, I left the yoga studio feeling completely fluid--like the muscles and bones had left my body and I was all water and skin. It was an incredible feeling--like I was floating on earth. It was also so nice to really let go and have permission to let my body move as it wanted. Our bodies absolutely talk to us....if only we would always listen.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

my newest love

Hot baths--I must admit, I have never considered myself a bath lover. In the past I've enjoyed them occasionally throughout the colder months, but they have always been something I could live without. In our last house, we didn't have a bathtub in the master bathroom (the one I used) so I rarely took them. Now we have a nice, big jetted tub, and I have fallen completely head over heels for hot baths. I have even started getting creative and making my own yummy scented bath fizzies (more on this in a future post) to make my bath time even more luxurious. There is nothing to melt the stress away like a hot bath, the smell of lavender, and candles lit. Truly divine.

Take a little time and pamper yourself, too. You deserve it!


Sunday, October 31, 2010

nov. intentions

(I am almost embarrassed to admit that I go to Starbucks so much the baristas there now start making my drink (grande', decaf, nonfat, no-whip mocha in a for-here mug) as soon as they see me walk in. And, a few weeks ago, one very talented barista even made me a heart!)

I love the month of November just as much, if not more than, October! Between my Birthday on the 17th (yes, I am a total Scorpio) and one of my favorite holidays, Thanksgiving--which we are able to host this year because with our new home, we now have enough room--it is a month I always look forward to!

Here are my intentions for my birthday month:

*fully enjoy my birthday month--celebrate my life daily
*host Thanksgiving dinner for the first time ever
*continue planning time with girlfriends
*go to a Yoga workshop
*go to Missouri School Counselors Association Conference
*finish knitting hot pink slippers
*get creative--make stamped cards to put on the table for Thanksgiving, start another hat, finish knitting J's scarf
*revise and update my 35 by 35 list
*get a massage
*take a personal day from work to reflect, create, and savor life
*listen more, try to fix less
*keep a daily gratitude journal (always oh so much to be thankful for!)
*practice really paying attention and being mindful as much as possible

What are your intentions for November? I'd encourage you to write them down. I truly believe that the act of writing down goals, dreams, and intentions really does help you make them come true!


Sunday, October 24, 2010

weekend in photos

Love the pocketbooth iphone app!
This is Sweet Husband's fake photo smile.
GameDay was in town.

Must admit, I didn't even know what GameDay was until last Wednesday...

Fun fall shots at one of my favorite parks.

Hope you had a good one, too!