As we move towards the 4.5 month mark, I've finally started working on the part of the wedding that I've been most excited about--figuring out the decor. Since I'm in love with the "DIY Wedding" look, we've decided to go this route for our big event (to give it a look and feel that is more us, and to save a little you-know-what), and although I am making a lot of our decor on my own or with the help of friends and family (thank goodness for them!), I am also planning to rely heavily on Etsy.
So today, I wanted to share some of the amazing Etsy wedding products that I've come across while perusing the site. I've already bought some items, and am still contemplating many others. So take a look below at some of the gorgeous
wedding supplies you can find in this amazing handmade world....
Seam Binding Ribbon
Gorgeous, isn't it? I love supporting individuals who make everything by hand, and the prices really are VERY reasonable. So yay for a handmade wedding!
This is one of the really fun parts :)
Image via thenestinginstinct.tumblr.com
After spending a bit of time placing holds in the eBook Library
online this morning (my new favorite thing!), I thought it might be about time to share my summer reading list with you. It seems that every year at this time I have an urge to put together a list of good reads for the summer
--perhaps because I start dreaming about all the reading I'll be doing on the beach, on planes, and while traveling to exotic locales over the summer. Although I'm not exactly planning on heading anywhere crazy over the next few months, I am
planning on getting lots of reading done, because in my mind, reading = relaxation. Wouldn't you agree?
So anywho, here are the books that I've recently placed on hold for my Kindle. Have you read any of them? Are they good? After reading this list and getting a feel for the types of books I like, do you have any suggestions? If so, please send them along!Summer Reading List:
1. Fifty Shades of Grey
by E.L. James: after hearing about this book from multiple people, I feel like I have to read it. It's like any other bestselling/highly-discussed trilogy--The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
, The Hunger Games
, even Twilight
(although I have to say that I only read the first one, just so I could "get" it)--I just want to be in the know and understand what people are talking about. Is that so bad? So yes, Fifty Shades of Grey
has been added to my list...and I'm preparing to be slightly freaked out by it.
Image via bookblob.wordpress.com
Image via goodreads.com
1. The Swan Theives: A Novel
by Elizabeth Kostova: I just finished this book, and absolutely LOVED it. It helps that it contained a lot of my favorite things to read about--art (paintings!), intrigue/mystery, romance, drama, multiple time periods and points of view, and mental issues/genius (sad, I know, but I do find this interesting...), but either way, I highly recommend it!2. The Sense of an Ending
by Julian Barnes: a very poignant and interesting novel. Not for a casual reader, but for someone wanting a bit of an unusual character-study-type read.
3. Last Night in Twisted River: A Novel
by John Irving: as you probably know by now, I'm a big John Irving fan. Therefore, I found this novel to be great, as his novels usually are. Really interesting story that follows a man through his somewhat rocky life from childhood to adulthood.
by Dave Eggers: after reading What is the What
, I'm a TOTAL Dave Eggers convert. This book is an amazing true story that captures just one tiny snapshot of life in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina. It's heartbreaking and really helped me to see the event and the aftershock of the event more clearly. A must-read for anyone who wants to learn more about this...
What are your most recent recommended reads? Please do share!
And with that, I'll leave you with a few fun summer reading images I found on Pinterest
This is where I want to be this summer...image via decorology.blogspot.com.
My dream getaway. Image via flickr.com.
Yes. Image via imgfave.com.
I heart hammocks! Image via vintagerosegarden.tumblr.com.
Ahhh....looking forward to it!
Image via circ.us
Last week, in preparation for our Manager's Retreat, the facilitator asked each of us to take The Energy Audit
from The Energy Project
. Having no clue what it was, I clicked on the link, and proceeded to take a short quiz. The first few questions were easy--do I regularly get 7-8 hours per week? Check. Do I frequently skip breakfast? Nope. Do I exercise multiple times per week? Check. But as I went along, I came across more and more questions that I couldn't answer so easily--do I regularly spend time with my loved ones, and when I'm with them, am I always really with them? Nope. Do I spend enough time doing the activities that I most deeply enjoy? Nope. Am I easily distracted during the day, especially by email? Yep. And they just got harder...
Moral of the story? I finished the audit, received my score via email, and was given the following results: physically and spiritually, I'm fully energized (yay!). But mentally, I have a "significant energy deficit," and emotionally? I'm in a "full out energy crisis." Um, what?
A "full out energy crisis?" How have I let this happen? I'm a yoga teacher
& studio director--I LOVE my job, am able to make my own schedule--and all day long I talk to people about taking care of themselves, emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally. So where have I gone wrong? How am I not practicing what I preach to my students?
Without going into a pour-my-heart-out therapy session with you here on my blog, I will say that I have a *few* ideas on why I'm in an "emotional energy crisis," and from what I learned at our manager's retreat, people often know why they're deficient in one category, as that's typically the area that they always neglect when they get busy. Or as one manager put it, "obviously you're in an emotional energy crisis, you're planning a wedding." So is that my excuse? Sadly, I don't think so.
And I think that this is definitely a bigger issue. If there's the need for a company called The Energy Project
that comes in and works with companies like Google, Coca Cola, and Target on how to manage so that their employees are "regularly renewed" in all 4 energy categories, then this is obviously a cultural issue for us.
So what do we do about it? Begin to make changes. Maybe small ones at first, but we have to make changes.
Thus, here's my challenge to you: take the energy audit
. It takes like 5 minutes. And then truly reflect on your results. Why are you deficient in certain areas? What can you do to make some small changes to your score, and therefore, some big changes to your overall energy levels?
In the meantime, I'll also be reflecting and trying to make changes, and hopefully, we can all take the audit again in a few months and see a drastic change in our scores.
Hope you have an energized Monday!
Before I get ready to jet off to a day-long TS
manager's retreat (starting off with a workshop at the "Do Good Summit
!"), I wanted to share my simple, sensory pleasures from the past week with you. Although this week has been a total blur, it's still easy to look back and pick out the many small pleasures that I've been lucky enough to enjoy :) What's made your past week extra wonderful? My simple joys are below...
Image via facebook.com
cast performance of Florence + the Machine's
"Shake it Out"
As you can tell, I'm pretty behind on my GLEE Episodes, but I just watched "Episode 18" last weekend and was floored by the GLEE rendition of one of my all-time favorite Florence songs (who you probably know by now--I'm OBSESSED with), "Shake It Out." Listen/watch below--I hope you agree with me that it's amazing!
--all of it!As I mentioned yesterday
, much of my life over the past week has been consumed by Artomatic
. I worked the first of my three, 5-hour volunteer shifts last weekend, then painted and prepped my wall, then ran lots of errands for it all week, prepared my work for hanging, and hung most of my wall yesterday
. The thing that makes Artomatic such a simple joy is that it is just a visual feast--an "art explosion," if you will. It's this HUGE building (11 floors!) just FILLED witha art of all kinds--truly, if you can imagine it, I'm sure it's there. And as they mentioned at orientation, you're the curator! You choose what you like, what you don't, and what you spend time looking at. It's very cool :)
Image via gimmesomeoven.com
Homemade "Granola Bites" (or, "No-Bake Energy Bites
My friend Sara brought me a few of these homemade granola bites this week, and after eating just a few, I'm hooked. They're pretty healthy (honey and dark chocolate chips are the only sugar!), and they taste AMAZING. She's just had a baby, so is trying to stay away from unhealthy foods, and said that they've become a staple in the house for her. I have a feeling that they're going to become the same for me! The recipe is here
Smell: Badger Sleep Balm
Although we've had this stuff forever, Ben and I hadn't really gotten in the habit of using it until now...and we really like it ;) I'm not sure if it truly works or not, but the scent is really calming and enjoyable, and I'm a big believer in doing the same rituals every night before bed in order to get the body in a routine (reading every night before bed, going to bed at the same time every night, etc.)--you know how important sleep is in this household!!!
So anyways, we really like it and definitely recommend giving it a try if you're in the market for a new bedtime ritual ;) We like to massage it into each other's temples, jaw, and brow line--a nice little massage before bed, too!
New return address stamp
I know this is like the dorkiest thing ever, but I've never had an address stamp before!?! We got one for all of our wedding invites, thank you's, and RSVP cards, and I love it--I've been using it on everything ;) And the best part is that it was only $10! Why haven't I had one of these my entire life? It's right up my alley...I think I'm going to start getting personalized stamps for everything. Why not? They're so fun! I got ours at StampXpress.com
(cheapest I found!), but they're everywhere online...
So that's my week!? Who knew that such small things could bring so much joy, huh?
Speaking of joy--if you're in the DC area and feel like joining me for a workshop this weekend, come see me on Saturday at TSA. I'll be teaching a Jump into Yoga 2 workshop from 5-7:30pm
--a great workshop for anyone who wants to take their practice up a notch and work specifically on jumping forward, jumping back to chaturanga, headstand, and crow. Lots of fun! Check out this link
to read more and sign up online.
I wish you a *wonderful* weekend full of simple joys...
Today I finally finished hanging my show (or should I say, my wall?) for DC's biggest creative event, Artomatic
. Instead of telling you all about the process, I thought I would just give you a sneak peek of all of the hard work via photos...BEFORE:
Gathering up my paintings and framing, labeling, etc.
Trip to Tarjay for all the show necessities--including a floppy summer hat for my beach trip in June... (whoops!)
Gathering up my postcards/take-ones, signs, tools, etc.
My blank wall--which I painted last week.
Directing people to my work...
Almost finished wall: angle 1.
Table with postcards, biz cards, and my guest book :)
Almost finished wall: angle 2.
Fun, huh? I still have a bit more work to do this weekend (lighting, leveling paintings, adding another sign, etc.), but I'm almost there! Not pictured here? Painting and edging the wall before putting up all of the work, making all of the labels and the inventory sheet, gathering & ordering tons of supplies, and framing.
Who knew it would be so much work, right?Artomatic
opens next Friday, May 18th, and is located at 1851 S. Bell Street in Arlington (right across the street from the Crystal City Metro station). If you're in the DC area you should definitely visit sometime in the next month or so, as it's going to be an amazing show--over 1000 artists are participating!!! My work is on the 2nd floor ;)
Every once in a while, I come across an artist who simply amazes me. I mean--amazes me.
And I'm left stunned.
Today's artist, Ali Cavanaugh
, has done just this--left me (almost) speechless.
First, she's obviously completely obsessed with her subject matter, which I love, because it shows true dedication to an artistic cause, or to depicting one thing from multiple viewpoints. And second, because her process is so amazing--she's coined the term "new fresco secco" to describe her method, which involves applying watercolor to plaster panels. So yeah, the paintings below are watercolor. Amazing, right??
Take a look at a few of her delicate, quiet, and yet captivating paintings below:
Pretty incredible, don't you think? I love the socks over the hands and the use of light (I especially
love her use of light). Doesn't this make you want you to just pull some argyle socks over your arms and head out for the day?
If only you could do yoga with tall socks on your arms...oh wait, that's what arm warmers are for ;)
You can view more of Cavanaugh's amazing work on her website/blog, here.
Image via media.photobucket.com
Two weeks ago, at the end of a luscious morning yoga class, the teacher shared this quote: I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.”
I think we should all start every day with a reading of this passage. Is there anything more true, more relevant, more important than remembering that we "possess the power to make life miserable or joyous"?
I am a big believer in the idea that everything happens for a reason, and feel that if we can find inspiration and opportunity in even the most negative of circumstances, our journey will change drastically.
So take a moment to reflect on this idea today, and allow your personal approach to create a sunny day--no matter what the weather, the climate, or the mood.
Image via irreleph-ant.tumblr.com
Every yogi knows that there is very little
in life that compares to the way that you feel after taking a yoga class. Personally, I think that the sense of connection, openness, awareness, and relaxation that I feel post-savasana just can't be beat. It's such a special feeling, and you know that only other yogis can relate to it...its kind of like our little secret ;)
So, last night, at our front desk team retreat at Tranquil Space
, we had everyone create or bring something that represented how they feel after taking a yoga class. It was really neat to see what people brought (a haiku, a collage, origami birds strung together, zen-like photographs, amazing baked good and dishes, a CD/playlist, etc.), but I was even more inspired by hearing the words everyone used to describe why they made what they made, or how they feel after a class. Words like, "on cloud nine," peace, relaxation, yummy, meditative, cleansed, beautiful, mushy, gooey and grounded. As I thought more about it, I realized that it's all about this moment--this feeling--and that this is what keeps us all coming back, what brings us all together, and builds a yoga community. Now don't get me wrong, the physical asana is amazing and very powerful, too, but it's this sense of letting go and openness that we all learn to crave. Or at least, that I crave.
So what words or images represent how you feel after taking a class? Think about it--if you had to sum it up, or create something that symbolizes your post-yoga glow, what would it be? Why?
Image via sentimentai.wordpress.com
Recently, my Dad
(who is a very talented poet, if I do say so myself!), has been writing a series of poems about savasana. It's turned into what we like to call his "Savasana Collection," and I think it's incredible. Each poem is different, and thus shows the many types of experiences we can have in savasana at the end of a yoga class. So, because I'm such a big fan, I wanted to share three today:
Savasana 6, January 31, 2012
Having come from spending the night
in the hospital in the fold out chair,
and after first being asked to set my concerns
aside to make way for the breath,
for the life force that keeps me going,
and after the lunges, planks, cobras, forward
folds, warriors one, two, three, and peaceful,
and the chair with its twist
and the side angle pose,
and after attempting to keep
my shins hugging the midline
while my femurs spread wider,
and trying to plug my arms deep
into their shoulder sockets,
when I lie down and let go
and find the stillness of savasana,
the first words that rise up
are praise for my body:
“O, you good horse--thanks for all you have done.”
Savasana 11, March 22, 2012
Something about money--
something about Bruce Springsteen--
something about the engine of my cells in the spiraling of the galaxy--
All lost, unfinished, let go of, into savasana
Savasana 1: Stretching Fence
Lying flat on my back
after yoga’s hour, the overhead fan
touches me with moving air
and I remember:
my son and I were putting up fence--
now before you go and get the wrong idea,
don’t fill in some western or rural scene
of rugged men working hard out of necessity,
with him and me in dusty boots and jeans--
I’m a psychologist and he’s a college student
and we were in Atlanta, in our smallish backyard, stretching hogwire
across pounded-in metal fence posts
to hem in our dog,
but wait, wait, don’t get the other wrong idea either--
we were working hard and since it was July
we were soaked through--
the sweat was real, the mosquitoes too--
and I’m remembering the way
a touch of wind started up and,
ushered in by the light applause
of oak leaves above, brushed by
Patrick and me, cooled us off
as we stopped and leaned on
the sledgehammer and shovel, and paused
for the little blessing
of a breeze. Just that.
I hope you think they're as beautiful as I do. There are 13 total now, and I think that they show the many places our mind can be in savasana--in total stillness, wandering through a memory brought on by a sensory detail, making a list, feeling gratitude for our bodies or for our breath, or nothingness.
My challenge to you today? Try to live with a sense of savasana--with a sense of being able to let go, with a sense of connectedness, with a sense of awareness. Just that.
I'll be doing the same :)
Happy Friday, SJOTW-ers! First Friday in May...yep, crazy. I don't mean to sound like the psycho bride-to-be, but because I just got back from dropping Ben off at the airport for his bachelor party/trip (he's headed to Vegas for the weekend--yes, Vegas!), I realized today that our wedding is about 5 months away. 5 months!?!?! That's insane to me, since we planned a longer engagement on purpose (to have more time to plan, ha!), and really makes me realize how quickly the last year or so has gone by. So, in order to slow things down a bit, lets take a look back at the past week and reflect on our simple, sensory joys.
What brought you happiness over the past 7 days? My simple joys are below...
Image via 1.kplu.org
Hear: NPR iPhone App
I know I'm probably totally slow on this one, but I just realized that I can listen to the radio on my phone (there's an app for that!?!?), and more specifically, to NPR! Prompted by the fun CrossFit DC story on NPR last week
(another audible SJOTW), I've been a bit obsessed with NPR for the past week or so. I guess I had just forgotten how much fun it can be to listen to "talk radio," but am so glad that my love for NPR has been ignited, and I feel like I'm getting smarter and more well-rounded by the minute (am listening right now!). Anyways, I'm somewhat app-illiterate (just don't think much about them, about getting/researching them, and/or using them), so every time I get one that I really use, I'm excited. So try it! It's free and wonderful :)
New Oliva + Joy Allusion Tote
I've been looking for a big, black, vegan purse for a while now, so was very excited when I got a Groupon-esque deal for Olivia + Joy purses
through DailyCandy Deals
last week. I got this new purse/tote on sale, since it was from their winter collection, and when it arrived yesterday, I was super excited because it's EXACTLY what I've been looking for! I know it's not exactly the most summery bag, but I believe that black never goes out of style ;) Check out Olivia + Joy's affordable bags here
(I can vouch for their quality!), and grab the DailyCandy Deal here
. Happy shopping!
Image via traderjoesblog.blogspot.com
Taste: Trader Joe's
Soft and Juicy Dried Mango
Have you ever tried dried mango? If not, you should, because it's amazing.
Seriously, it tastes like candy! Granted, the "Soft and Juicy Mango" version from Trader Joe's does have some added sugar, but it's still much healthier than, say, Sour Patch Kids (one of my favorites from childhood!), and I think it's just as tasty--if not better. I've been munching on this fruit as a dessert-like treat all week, and I'm definitely a convert, although I do think that it should be treated as a dessert, not a snack, because of the added sugar. I've also had their "Just Mango Slices" version (unsulfured and unsweetened), and I have to say, not quite so good...
Smell: These flats from Loft
First off, yes, I'm doing it again--categorizing shoes under "smell" because of that "new shoes" scent (as opposed to the scent of old shoes, which isn't always as pleasant...). Second off, as you can tell, I went on a bit of an online shopping bender late last week. But, when I saw these flats, I thought they were just perfect for our wedding festivities. I'm not sure when I'll wear them yet, but am thinking I may wear them with my wedding dress on our wedding day (!!). I've been looking for a pair of colored flats that match our wedding color scheme for a while, and I think that these *may* be a great choice. I'll try them on with my dress (already received it and it's hanging in a bag in my closet...eek!) sometime soon and keep you posted. Exciting stuff!
My latest tools for a pain-free back :)
Tennis ball rolling of muscles in the back...
I've been getting it from all angles--my Chiropractor
, Ben, my CrossFit coaches
, and then, last weekend at Advanced Teacher Training
--so now, I'm a convert. I've started carrying a tennis ball in my purse, and I'm not afraid to use it (have already been mixing it into my sessions with private clients this week, and have definitely been making it a part of my own mobility routine!). What am I talking about? Using a tennis ball, or golf, lacross, or softball (depending on the size you need) to roll out sore muscles and to increase blood flow and healing in the body. It really works, and as I'm learning, all of the experts swear by it. So, grab a tennis ball and get going! Not sure how to use it? There are tons of videos online about how to do it--just google "using tennis ball to roll out muscles." Enjoy!
So there you have it! Now I'm off to get going for the busy day and (fiance-less) weekend ahead, as I've got lots on the agenda: yoga (of course!), working a 5-hour shift at Artomatic
, prepping my "gallery space" for Artomatic, a trip to the Chiro, leading the Tranquil Space
SA/TC retreat, CrossFit, and visiting with friends...
What's on your agenda for the weekend? No matter what it is, be sure to take a moment to pause and reflect on the simple things in life...
Last Thursday, I finished my sketchbook for The Sketchbook Project
--just in the nick of time (it was due Monday!). As promised last week, today I want to share a few images of my sketchbook pages. I had a blast working on this project, because it gave me a chance to be completely whimsical; to just have fun painting and drawing whatever came to mind, without questioning it or judging it. Each sketchbook artist was to pick a theme out of a list provided, and the theme I chose was "The secret and how to tell it."
Enjoy this sneak peek into my visual journal!!!
All packed up and ready to ship off!
Later on this year, The Sketchbook Project
will publish The Limited Edition Book Series
, in which at least one page/spread from my sketchbook will be included. Similarly, they'll scan and post my entire sketchbook on their site, so I'll be sure to share that with you once it's done!
Lots of fun :)
Now off to enjoy a painting day, where I'll be spending a lot of time getting my paintings ready for exhibition at Artomatic