For The Love of Yoga.

Yoga retreat 2016I just completed the last day of my yoga retreat in Ixtapa Mexico.  I am in transit – heading back home to Northern CA. I’m sad to be leaving….

First, Ixtapa Mexico is a wonderful place.  The people are great, the town is far less developed (touristy) than other cities in Mexico (Cabo, Cancun, etc).  I have always wanted to visit Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo and I’m glad I did – it is awesome.  I’ve always wanted to visit because it is where Andy Dufrane escapes to in the movie – Shawshank Redemption. And when his best friend Red gets out – he shows up too.  I think of Zihuatanejo as the Mecca to my favorite movie.  This place is great.

Second, one of my favorite people opened her world up to me.  I got to spend time with her and meet all her friends.  It’s a precious thing when the people you like want to share special people and moments.  When she told me about the retreat I was sold… I booked it right away – some 7 months ago – and now the trip is over….. 😦

I will do my best to summarize –

  • The instructor is simply amazing.  I LOVE Kundalini yoga.  I have not been able to find a yoga class or instructor that incorporates Kundalini, the breath, flow, and meditation in a class.  The yogi –  Jorge Luna – has me in love with yoga again.  His Yoga was a great combination of breath/connection (Kundalini) , stretch/movement/flow (Vinyassa), and fun!  Yes, remember when exercise was fun, not a task/to-do/chore?  Uh-hum mm, those days. I loved every day of class. And he has inspired me to re-launch my search for a yogi in my area that inspires me to get my ass out of bed on a weekend.
  • The people are just like me… But not.  Yep, all of these amazing people from all walks of life – different backgrounds, cultures, color, sex, gender preference.. You name it, it was in the mix.  No matter what was shared/observed, there was nothing but openness to learn, to understand, and to enjoy.  I realize this may sound “zen like”, but it’s true. Most of these people only see each other when on this trip – and they attend this retreat year over year to see their friends again.  It is a great group of amazing people from all walks of life.
  • The location – Las Brisas Resort– a beautiful natural preserve.  The hotel is a mere 15 minutes from the airport… It has a natural environment – it feels like you are in a rainforest, not in a Ritz Carlton.  It was very clean but not manicured. The pools were great and the beach was amazing.  The food was really good for an all-inclusive resort and they have some top notch restaurants available on premises.  The rooms were spacious and the resort was completely full two nights during my stay and it did not feel crowded at all.  My only complaint is that I wished they would turn off the pool fountains so we could hear the ocean from the pool…  I know right, first world problems.

Would I go again?  Absolutely.  I will definitely go on the next trip – if they will have me (Ask me about the “gummy experiment”).    I do hope I get an invite the next time around!!

 

 

 

Advertisements

Living In The Moment.

present momentI am having the best time right now.

The first few weeks of unemployment were very stressful.  After I was  unceremoniously fired from my job, I was super stressed about finances, finding a new job, and supporting my niece and her husband with their current situation.  Given these pressures, I couldn’t see how I was going to take the much-needed professional break that I needed.

After the shock wore off, the fog disappeared and I pulled myself together.  I am using this event as the catalyst to make major changes in my life.  I have yet to blog my 2016 New Years Resolutions, but let’s just say, it is going to be a great year!

  • I have put a 2016 plan together – and it’s all about me!
  • I put a budget together – I can take about 6 months off to reassess my next career move.
  • I have simplified my life – I put my Utah condo on the market – it will close in Feb..  I will be a one house woman.
  • I am open to a new relationship – yes, you read right, I am putting myself out there and start dating again

How about them apples?!?

Right now I’m in Utah helping my niece and her family.  She is going to give birth to twins any day now… I hope it is while I am here so I can meet the newest members sooner rather than later.

For the last 3 weeks I have been spending every moment in the moment, fully aware of myself, where I am, and who I am with.  I have started working out again, I am eating super healthy, I am reading more, and I am taking online courses on topics I care about.  I do not miss my “screens” at all.  I only check my phone or email 1-2 times a day, and my life is being managed by how I feel, not by my calendar.  I am fully aware that this is temporary, this is why I am enjoying my life to the fullest right now.   I am very grateful for this opportunity to unwind and enjoy life, enjoy my friends, enjoy solitude.  I am proud of myself for working so hard over the last 2 years to make this an option for me.  Yeah Me!!

2015 In Summary.

2015 was NOT a good year for me.  This only means that in 2016 there is no where to go but up. For a summary of my goals and results, take a look at 2015 Year In Review.

The two biggest downers –

1- I lost my job. I put all my energy into work and it resulted in absolutely nothing. Actually, it’s more than nothing – I gave up everything to make work work.  I had one date all year, on Dec. 28th no less.  I wanted more than anything to succeed professionally.  Not this year.

2- On the personal side, AbFab’s husband lost his legs.

 

I am so done with 2015.  I am all about 2016 – and 2016 is all about me.  I will focus on doing what is absolutely best for me.  Outside of me, I will be spending time with AbFab and family…  I am on polishing up my 2016 New Years resolutions and will share them when they are complete. Some good stuff around exercise and stress management, but there will be a few surprises around real estate. I am excited about what I can do this year – I hope it is worth the wait for you.

 

Feeling Alive for the First Time in a Very Long Time.

a-woman-who-cuts-her-hair

I’m still crushing on Robert Taylor. He is gorgeous.  If you can believe it, I still have not heard from him.  My friend told me that he was married.  I said he didn’t look married (no ring on his interviews) or act married (all pictures show him with his colleagues, not a wife) so I just don’t believe it.  I think he just isn’t aware of my crush… I may have to start stalking him.. Like I did Seth Macfarlane back in 2009 (more on this if you ask).  All that effort resulted in zero results so I will have think 2x as hard into the level of energy I will put into this crush.

On a personal note, I’m on a new journey to recovery. 4 weeks ago I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Autoimmune disease.  I have started a treatment plan with a homeopathic doctor.  My treatment plan that includes acupuncture and supplements.  As I shared in previous posts, I’ve been desperate to find a solution to my stomach issues and low levels of energy.  I found someone who is helping me.  4 weeks into my treatment and I feel amazingly better.  My skin looks great, I have a lot more energy, and I am actually thinking of things I want to do (vs. can’t do because I’m too tired).   I’ve been so exhausted for so long… I don’t feel exhausted anymore.  Yes, I’m emotionally spent in the evenings, but I’m not thinking about nap time AND I’m getting shit done.  For example, I finally went through all my mail and am working on finishing up my taxes…  and for the last few weekends I’ve actually accomplished tasks vs. not…  I’m excited about the turn of events and the change – I’m turning back into my old self – the old me that I love. The old me that laughs, that has fun, that has energy, that gets shit done.

The best way I can explain what I’ve been going through is to share with you an article I read in the New York Times. I found this while doing my research on my condition and potential solutions.  The article is called  What Is Wrong With Me .  It is a long article but the writer describes what I’ve been going through so perfectly – feeling bad for so many years, being ignored by doctors, becoming obsessed with my condition and solutions, and finally feeling a light at the end of the tunnel once the situation improves.

I have a lot more to share with you – including:

  • I cut all my hair off.  I went to get my hair colored on Friday and on a whim I decided to chop it all off.  It’s gone – a good 10-12 inches.  I got myself a WOB – a wavy bob.  I had never heard of it before, but I decided I wanted a change and this was what I picked.  Not sure if I like it… but what does it matter?  At the end of the day it is just hair and it will grow back.
  • That I am learning how to grill – and my first attempt at grilling was this evening and it was a failure.  Not that hard to grill chicken, or so I’ve heard.  I need help/lessons.  I am in love with the grill that was generously donated to me when my besty C-Licious moved.. I had always considered grilling a “mans job”…  well, I have no man and I love grilled food.  So grilling food is now my job and I’m going to become a grill-meister (master of the grill).
  • the fact that Sophie’s new “thing” is to sleep on my neck and face.  Below is a picture of this – I can share because my face is covered WITH A CAT.

With that said, here is a picture of of Sophie sleeping on my head.  Please note,I used to sleep on my arm so Sophie so she could have the pillow.  I purchased 2 queen sized pillows so that we could sleep on a pillow together.  Is this her way of telling me that the queen sized pillows aren’t enough?  do I now need to upgrade to a king sized pillow? She is so bossy!  An adorable bossy feline that has me wrapped around her cute little paws.

2015-06-Sophie Sleeping on Carinas Face-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the end of the day, I have energy and am doing things to move forward with my life.  I feel like I’m thinking clearly for the first time in a long time. That is what this post is about – feeling better (on my way to feeling good again). Finally!

Body Confident – New Year Resolution Update.

healthy-body-mind-imageI’ve been thinking a lot lately, probably too much.  As hard as I tried, I just couldn’t turn off my thoughts.  It affected my work – I had so much work to do, but I could not focus. At All. My mind was so fuzzy, it took me forever to get simple things done. The worst part is that I knew it was happening – it was a super slow movie playing – you know the story, the outcome, and it takes soooo long to play out.

I will update you on all my thoughts later.  Right now this is just a quick update on the body confident part of my 2015 New Years Resolution

  • Lose Weight – I went to the doctor last week and I am officially down 4 pounds.  It makes me feel really good that both the doctor and my scale register the same weight loss.  Also, I went to the doctors at the end of the day and it still showed 4 pounds down (I usually weigh myself first thing in the morning).  This means its not just about the scale, but is now officially part of my medical record.  For FYI – I lost 3 pounds in January, and one whole whopping pound in the months of February and March.
  • Exercise More – I also did take a Belly Dancing class. That was super fun!  These next few months I’ll be playing softball with my company softball team.  I just found my roller blades –  I’m now on the hunt for my knee and elbow pads. 🙂  I know I’m going to need them.
  • Stomach Issues – I also have an appointment with Dr. Feldman – a holistic doctor who is going to help me get back on track stomach wise. She helped one of my best friends through her stomach issues. My girlfriend swears by this woman.  I’m looking forward to working with her – and getting healthy again.

That’s it for me for now.  Looking forward to updating you on the fun things soon.

Paleo Lifestyle Upate – 1 Month.

Paleo-diet-menu-composition-pieMy 2015 New Years Resolution is to lose 20 pounds in 3 months (stretch goal was to lose 30 pounds!).  Good news.  I’m officially down 3 pounds.  I now weigh 129 vs. the 132 that I started at.  This is consistent on the scale so I feel o.k. posting it.  So for the full month of January 2015, I lost about 12 ounces a week (or so).

I expected to lose 10 pounds in January.  So I’m disappointed the fat is not melting off me like I’ve heard it has for others.  A friend of mine was able to lose 9 pounds in her first month.  And she still drank wine! She also doesn’t have a job and was able to do several hours of low-impact exercise a day.  She is also a fabulous cook with lots of time to cook tasty and delicious meals. That’s how she did it – she had the time and budget to go balls-out on the diet and exercise.

A couple of things that effected my lack of weight loss –

  • I wasn’t able to go completely grain free. I was very serious and did not eat any breads of any kind and any product I purchased did not include wheat products. However, I wasn’t able to make my own mayonnaise, ketchup, etc.. and we all know these things contain sugar, wheat, etc…
  • I wasn’t able to exercise as much as I wanted.  I am currently taking a belly dancing course – it is so much fun and it is a great workout!  But its only once a week.

So, given my friends success and my lack of weight loss, I need to get more active. So I will commit to signing up for one more class – hot bikram yoga– that I purchased on Amazon Local.  It’s great for the cold, wet, winter months.  I will start taking the class on Tuesday nights starting mid-February.  When weather permits I will get back into my 30 minute walks.

Back to the Paleo diet – I love it.  Here is what its done for me in one month:

  • It has resolved almost all of the stomach issues that I’ve had for the last 5 years.  Yes, every now and again I get painful flare-ups, but it is not everyday, its maybe once a week. And because of this, I can tell what food upsets my stomach and stop eating it
  • I’m regular again!  Yes, that’s right, I am now able to go to the bathroom every day. Before I was so constipated I was taking 2 Dulcalax a night AND was still irregular.  I had the 200 tabs pack on Amazon Subscription service. I no longer take any Dulcalax.

Losing this weight is super important to me.  What I’ve realized is that i’ve tied my confidence to what I look like, and I don’t like the way I look.  The weight is holding me back from asking for what is rightfully mine at work and in my personal life.  So, for February, I will continue with the Paleo lifestyle and will make a concerted effort to exercise more. If you have any other advice and/or words of wisdoms from you would be GREAT.

Paleo Week 4 – Thoughts and Best Recipes.

Fat-Loss-Diet-and-Exercise-Plan

A not so quick update.

First, I love the Paleo diet – it has changed my life wrt my stomach issues.  I’ve had maybe 3 flare-ups – and they are identifiable, meaning I know what caused them.  My stomach can handle meats, fruits and veggies, and non-dairy dairy (nut dairy, NOT cow dairy). I also seem to be able to handle cheeses (so dairy in moderation) and wine without a problem.

I LOVE the fact that I can eat healthy, have a flat stomach, not have bloating or constipation issues, AND drink wine.  Yes, Paleo, you have me at Hello.

A couple of notes:

  • You can be successful IF you prepare yourself for success.
    • Remove shit from your refrigerator and cabinets and start over with the right ingredients. This was quite expensive for me – but well worth it.
    • Plan your shopping list and be prepared at all times with foods you can eat. This can take time… and its a conscious effort, one well worth it IMO. I prep and shop and cook on Sundays. It’s a half day at least… wish it was less but so far it hasn’t been.
  • You must live near a  Whole Foods or be able to order goods via Amazon.. otherwise, this diet won’t work. I know from experience that you cannot find much of anything that is Paleo friendly in small towns across the US.
  • You do need to like (more on the love side) to cook, experiment with recipes, be ok with failure, and most of all, love leftovers. If you have and love a slow cooker all the better.  If you don’t love to cook or bake, this is not a diet for you.
  • You will spend a shit ton of time prepping your food. Key staples in the kitchen are:
    • Cutco Knives. Best damn knives on the planet – they will help you chop, cut, etc. If you want to know which ones I use let me know. I’ll supply the list of must-haves.
    • Mandolin. Just got myself one – the OXO Mandolin – because it had storage.  It’s missing a chopper.  Other than this, its excellent. Reviews say watch your fingers – and its true. Almost sliced off the tips of my fingers a couple of times.  Because of my close calls with losing my digit fingers I ordered myself the NoCry gloves. I LOVE THEM so much I ordered a pair for my Paleo diet cooking friend (she also has Cutco and has cut fingertips, nails,and such).

For me, I love baked goods – there is NOT a donut I don’t love (except those covered in maple icing). Baked goods are brought into the office every day, which sucks for me.  So I’m experimenting with baking and I’m having a ball.  BUT, this was the hardest for me to cut out – I LOVED my Fiber One bars, Cinnamon, Gingerbread, Lemon Bars oh My!!   Below is what I’ve done, baking wise.  I’d open a bakery if I could – because this is where it’s at. Experimenting has been so much fun.  Why are bakeries NOT incorporating coconut or almond flours in their treats?

After a month, here are my favorite recipes, notes of changes included.

NOTE – you must use Google Chrome to search for these recipes. If you use Bing you will NOT get good results.

  • Making Sweet Potato and Beet Chips isn’t as easy as all the recipes I’ve found online have said.  NOT A ONE.  I’ve made a good 10 lbs of chips, none of which have turned out perfectly. I’m still experimenting with temperature and the right mixture of oil, baking time, and spices.  I thought the price of Terra Chips was ridiculous.  Given the time and effort I’ve put in to make the perfect chip, I think the price is well worth it. I’ve got 20+ hours into it by now and I still don’t have a recipe I’m happy with. Terra Chips – thank you for making a quality chip that I can eat my guacamole with!
  • Paleo Curry Chicken 
    • I first tried Danielle Walkers Against All Grain Cookbook slow cooker Chicken Curry. It’s ridiculously GOOD. However, I don’t always have slow-cooker time on my hands.  so I found this Paleo Friendly Quick Curry Chicken recipe – and I made the following edits – remember, I love leftovers
      • I used Thai Kitchen green curry paste – an entire bottle
      • I used a small rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods. I didn’t salt or pepper it, I just deboned all the chicken
      • I used 1/2 yellow onion, 2 heads of broccoli, 1 red pepper, one carrot julliened w/ my new mandolin, and a 1 inch piece of ginger – sliced
      • I sautéed the onions, added the curry paste, let it saute a bit, then added the veggies – mixed it up, then added the cooked chicken
      • Then added 2 cans of coconut milk – one full fat, one light
      • Let it cook for 10 minutes, serve.
      • This served 2 – then I had 3 leftover servings (enough for lunch all week).
  • Paleo Banana Pancakes – I needed something to fill the pastry desires I had.  I need carbs, or something that resembles carbs.  So after a few experiments, I found this recipe on CaveManCooking and modified it a bit –
    • one for one on banana and eggs. You use too many eggs it tastes like a bad omelet and the texture is too spongy.
    • I used frozen bananas – you know, the ones that are over ripe that you put in the freezer to “do something” with..  once you thaw them, be sure to rid yourself of as much liquid as you can. The riper the banana, the sweeter the pancake.  No matter what the other recipes call for, do not add honey or sweeteners – the ripe banana makes it sweet enough
    • Add a TBS of coconut flour and a pinch of cinnamon.
    • 3 eggs, 3 bananas and a TBS of coconut flour make about 7 pancakes that are about 6″ round. two for you to eat right away, and one for each day of the week.  It was perfect for me. If you have the chance, add a bit of maple syrup or strawberry rhubarb jam… you will love it.
  • Paleo Slow Cooker Pork – Danielle Walkers recipe is the best, and this recipe walks you through how to make this deliciousness happen.  It’s so simple – and you should make lots of it because you can create other meals with the leftovers.  Yum!

Next up is Chicken Tikka Masala, more time perfecting my own chips, Thai Chicken sauce for lunch wraps (not Pizza), anything with Pumpkin puree, and seal the deal on my own Paleo “bacon burger” recipe (yes, my first experiment that friends and family love).

I think that is it – other than working, I’ve been cooking and enjoying it.  So far I’ve lost 3 pounds (4 weeks, 3 pounds).  Not bad given that I’m still drinking wine, eating cheese (in moderation), and working more than full-time in an office filled with wheat filled treats.

I’ll post another entry about work…  as you may remember, I started a new job 3 months ago.  Got the title and responsibility I wanted… All I can say is be careful what you ask for.. 🙂