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

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.

Decorators Envy.

mcmansionI’m in Utah.  I had a few customers to visit late this week, and decided to stay the weekend and stay with family.  I’m now staying with AbFab and her two awesome kids Mayonnaise and Shahnaynay.  4 and 6 now, 5 and 7 in very short order. My twin also came up for the evening, and she looks awesome.  I got a few pictures of us together, which is a rarity for us.

Since I’ve last talked about AbFab, she has gotten divorced from the kids’ father and has since remarried to a great guy. I’ll call him RoadRage for now… he is a very nice calm person, RoadRage is a great name for him as its opposite of the personality I’ve seen of him.

Anyway, they now live in a 5800 square foot home.  Its GORGEOUS. I love it.  It’s not the size that I love, it’s the dream of decorating and making a home.  It’s turning each room into a masterpiece, with color, with furniture, with flare. I can see why rich people keep buying new homes even though the ones they already have are Martha Stewart perfect.

On a personal front, I’ve been sick lately – a combo of allergies and a head cold.  I took a long nap today, it was good for me. I feel much better. Tomorrow, Sunday, I’m cooking dinner for the kids and my family…. Its going to be gluten-free (my new diet) but delicious.  I love to cook, it’s nice to cook for others.

O.k. so that’s it.  Not much tonight, but a little bit of something.  Which is what I’d love to see/read from Grey Goose…  hint hint GG, give me something!

Spending A Few Nights In.

2013_03_Sophie_and_ZoeyI FINALLY heard from FreeBird.  I sent her a few emails AND actually left a VM (I hate voicemail and recorded messages in general) for her to no avail.  I was so worried about her!  Now I know that she is not only O.K., but she is fabulous!  Life is changing for her, for the better, and she is going to be moving closer to me… since it’s all about me, how fabulous is this?!?  I will be seeing her soon, possibly next Friday.

I’ve also spent the last few nights in. With myself.  I should have worked both nights, or unpacked, done laundry, cleaned the house, etc., but instead I sautéed some veggies, made some cupcakes, drank a lot of wine, watched a season of Mad Men, and now finishing up a season of Parks And Recreation.  Tonight’s going to be a late night as I can’t procrastinate any longer – I have a lot of status reports due to my management by noon tomorrow.

A few thoughts that have run through my head:

  • I went to lunch today with my colleagues and asked the waitress about the treatment of the farm animals that are now meat on their menu. I asked in a nice way, but yes, I’m still on my non-violence to farm animals kick.  My stomach still turns thinking about what the chicks, pigs, and cows endure.
  • I think I’m over my jet lag.  Got up at 8am this morning and heading to bed soon.
  • Since my new diet (sans meat) and dairy (I hate milk but I love yogurt and cheese),  I’ve not had any stomach issues.

Another thought that is constantly on my mind –  Money and Relationships.  The furniture in my current cottage was purchased at yard sales or on Craigslist. The entire living room cost me $170. Why was I so frugal?  Because I was $3000 dollars away from being homeless.  If I had lost my job in Nov. ’13, I would have been living on C-Licious’ couch.  If I hadn’t rented out my house OR my condo in Utah, I’m sure one, or both of these places would be in foreclosure right now.   I feel super lucky to have survived.  Things have improved for me in the sense that I have more of a cash cushion now (not much, but more) but I still worry sick about it.  All the time. Every minute of every day.  I will be working and all of a sudden I will have a panic attack about it.  I’m done with this level of stress.  This is why my major NYR this year is to get as debt-free as possible.  I plan to pay off all my debt and sell all my non-CA properties so that all I have is my CA home mortgage.  That way if I ever get in a bad place again, I’ll be able to handle it on my current salary.  Once I get rid of the debt, I’m back to my saving ways.

For those of you who don’t know, I purchased and remodeled the house of my dreams. It’s on a big lot, or what is considered a big lot in Northern CA.  I have so many dreams, so many plans….. I  love this house.  BUT I don’t live there. I rent it out. I live in a tiny 1 bedroom cottage at the back of a small cottage.  It’s a converted garage.  Makes me want to convert my garage to a studio/1 bedroom… which I will do after I a) get debt free, and b) have a large cash cushion.

So where is this story going?  ATrain offered to buy me a couch and I took him up on it.  Just as I’m trying to make a break, to get some space from him and our relationship, he offers to make my life a little bit easier, and I wasn’t able to say no.  My current couch needs to be re-upholstered – it needs new cushions and fabric. Its cheaper to re-upholster the current couch than a buy a new couch, but I can afford neither.  ATrain gave me money for a new couch (he doesn’t like the old couch).  I officially ordered the new couch yesterday. It will be here in 3 weeks. It’s exactly what I want –  a couch with chaise in the exact color I want.  I’ve never had exactly what I wanted before… I’m giddy with excitement, but at the same time I’m stressed and overwhelmed by the expectations that I think it will bring.  I do plan to resell all my living room furniture to help pay for the couch, but even if I break even, its pennies on the dollar compared to the cost of my new couch.

O.k. enough procrastination.  I’ve got to get my status reports done. I’ll get it done.  AND I do have a date tomorrow, with my girlfriend Hannah – we are going to a charity event, set up and paid for by ATrain, but still, it’s an opportunity to get dressed up and go out!  I’ll take pictures and share what I can…

Moral of the story – even while sitting at home I can find plenty to do that doesn’t include work or housecleaning. 😉

For the Love Of Animals.

FactoryFarmingPhaseOut

I’m back in the USA. Arrived home, safe and sound, on Thursday afternoon, but just now adjusting back into the US Pacific timezone.  I had a fantastic trip – successful from a work front, and extremely successful on a fun/friend front.

  • I reconnected with a bestie – I was able to hang out with Smiles, one of my best girlfriends ever.  She was my partner in crime may years ago.  She was the reason for one of my greatest trips of all time – my trip to Australia (and to Hamilton Island) in 1996.  I know, a lifetime ago, but at the same time, unforgettable.
  • I connected with a new bestie – Sporty Spice. I was able to get to know her before she started her world travels, but I was lucky enough spend more time with her down under.  I love me some Sporty Spice!  She is so funny, so insightful, creative, interesting.  I can’t wait for more time together!

I know, I know, I’ve already said all of this. But it was a great trip, it felt too short, I would have loved to stay longer, and I look forward to my return trip in April.

What I’ve not shared is my current obsession with health. I know I said in my Yacht Body post that I’m going to go the no-alcohol route, but that was before watching 3 movies on juicing and vegetarianism.

  • Vegucated – great documentary on 3 meat and cheese loving individuals take a 6 week vegan challenge.  Also showed some shocking videos of slaughterhouses and compelling facts about farm animal cruelty.
  • Fat Sick and Nearly Dead – amazing documentary (available on the website, Netfix, and Hulu) on the lifestyle and medical transformation attributed to juicing.
  • Food Matters – medical experts weigh in on the lack of nutrition and natural healing education and support in the medical community as well as the growing dependence on pharmaceutical drugs (which I personally love) and expensive medical treatments.  What I learned is that there are many alternative therapies available, the easiest of which is choosing healthier foods to put in your body – “You are what you eat”.

After watching these documentaries, I truly believe that alcohol is the least of my concerns.  I need to be focused on a plant-based diet… not only for my health but to also save animals from undue torture (be careful, I got about 30 seconds through the video and couldn’t go any further).  I do have an appointment with an allergist to figure out my stomach issues.  I’ve met with my doctor to review my medications (I take sleeping pills, constipation, and pills to help manage my recurring panic attacks).

I can say, that I’m honestly sick to my stomach about the farm animal cruelty right now.  I think that I can get my Yacht Body AND contribute to making a difference in an animal’s life (Alicia Silverstone is a spokes person for Farm Sanctuary in the US and even Aussies have their own sanctuary anyone want to do a volunteer stint with me?). If I could save all the animals I would – they deserve better than to be created solely for the purpose of consumption IMO.  Anyone who knows of a farm that saves animals, please post it to comments.  I’d love to see how many active sanctuaries we can provide links to on this blog.

With my new-found purpose, I am going to focus on living a healthier life and saving the animals, one diet (mine) at a time.  I will post my weight loss, blood pressure, and bad cholesterol test results when I get them.  If I don’t show significant progress by April 1st, then I have 1 more month to cut out alcohol and anything else necessary. I WILL HAVE my Yacht Body by early May…  Please provide any advice, links to education recourses, or vegetarian recipes… I’ll take it.

Yacht Body Here I Come.

Yacht-bodyMy goal is to have a “Yacht Body” by May.  Why May? Its my birthday month sillies!  And I want to go on vacation, on a yacht, somewhere warm.

Why a Yacht Body? Somebody has to make the yacht look good! That somebody is going to be me.  This is one of my 2014 New Years Resolutions  (which I have yet to post) – to get fit, lose weight, and rid myself forever of my barrel body.  My goal is to get healthy, get active, and get yachting!   My unrealistic goal is to lose 20 pounds by my birthday.

I’m in Australia right now, my last night in this fabulous country.  I fly home tomorrow.  And on Saturday, March 1st, my Yacht Body regimen begins. So far I’ve got the following set up:

  • an appointment with an allergist to figure out what causes my stomach inflammations
  • a weekly Yoga class on Tuesday Nights
  • a full month of Fat Blast classes 2-3x a week – times TBD (I want evening to keep me from drinking, morning classes may be my only option)
  • Zero alcohol

I do plan on staying home most of the month as I get grumpy without my vodka or wine.  But this is really important to me. I feel like the source of my confidence issues from my short and round stature, my barrel body…  its stops me from going all out, it holds me back.  I don’t want to feel bad about myself anymore, so I’m going to do something about it.  Just like I did with my GM Diet, I will blog about my progress.  I’m expecting significant results, largely because of the zero alcohol and the changes I make based on the results of my allergy tests.   This has been a long time coming, I’m glad I’m doing something.

So now I’ve put it out there – so I have to do it right?  You will all keep me honest, right?

And if you have ideas or suggestions on how to stay motivated or want to share how you lost weight, please do so. I’m looking for your help!

GM Diet Day 7 – Fruit, Veggies, and Rice.

Day 7 has come and gone.. I’m SO GLAD that this diet is over with!  Again, not because the diet is a challenge food wise, but because the no drinking really hinders my social life.

The results of day 7… drum roll please…  4 ounces down.. for a 7 Day total weight loss of 3.5 pounds for the week.  Not great given that some have experienced 10-17 pounds of lost weight…  but I have officially lost all the weight I gained while working in Atlanta.

Day Date Day Morn Weight (lbs) Daily Loss/ Gain Total Loss # glasses of Water Daily Activity
1 29-Aug Mon. 126.1     8 10 min walk
10 min abs
2 30-Aug Tues. 124.1 (2.0) (2.0) 8 40 min run
10 min abs
3 31-Aug Wed. 123.6 (0.5) (2.5) 7 60 min golf
4 1-Sep Thurs. 123.6 0.0 (2.5) 9 30 min low impact work
5 2-Sep Fri. 123.7 0.1 (2.4) 10 60 min bar burn class
6 3-Sep Sat. 123.0 (0.7) (3.1) 6 lazy day
7 4-Sep Sun. 123.0 0.0 (3.1) 7 40 min run
10 min abs
FINAL 5-Sep Mon. 122.6 (0.4) (3.5)    

My thoughts on this diet:

  • It’s not really a diet but a cleanse.  I wouldn’t put much stock in losing weight on this plan UNLESS you plan to work out every day.  The days that I worked out are the days that I actually lost weight.
  • Eating Healthy is a lifestyle, not a diet.  I love fruits and veggies, so this diet was pretty close to my lifestyle, and if you too eat mostly fresh fruits and veggies, you are more than halfway there. 
  •  Carbs aren’t that hard to avoid.  I love only a few carbs – tortilla chips is about the only thing I really missed.  
  • You have to exercise.  As I mentioned a few times, the days I lost weight were the days I physically exerted myself….  to lose weight you have to exercise, period.  I love to workout, but it became clear to me during the week that I’m not exercising enough IF I want to lose weight. I exercise enough if I want to maintain.
  • Where does dairy fit into this plan?  I don’t like milk so I drink soy milk, but I’d love to know where cheese, cottage cheese, and yogurt fit in?  Are these things considered “bad” for you? Why are they not mentioned at all? 

A friend of mine mentioned that he lost 30 pounds on the 17 day diet… I think that will be my next diet attempt.  Like I stated before, I’d love to get down to 110… its my ideal weight – keeps enough meat on the bones but reduces the layer of fat that currently covers my muscles…..  🙂 .  So I would need to lose 13 pounds (I’m now at 123, I was 120 at the first of the year)…

So today is Monday, Labor Day, and I’m going out with friends to enjoy the sunshine and have a few afternoon cocktails.  I’m deliriously happy about it…