Image via robot-heart.tumblr.com
So true, isn't it?
This passage is a perfect one for me this week, as I'm spending a bunch of time leading our Level 1 Teacher Training
at Tranquil Space
. Not only does this remind me of how much courage it takes to start teaching yoga--or to take the first step in that direction--but it also reminds me that we never stop growing in life, and that often, it can take a long journey in order to get in touch with our true selves.
I know that I'm still growing up and becoming who I really am, and when I really think about it, I hope that I never stop growing up, as I think that learning, changing, and exploring is one of the most amazing gifts in life.
But that doesn't mean that it isn't hard sometimes, does it? And it definitely takes some *serious* courage to connect with and then work to become
your true self.
Thank you to the fabulous e.e. cummings
(one of my favorite poets) for this quote and for many more amazing thoughts, insights, and inspirations
Wishing you have a courageous
Ladies and gentlemen, I'm happy to announce that I've finally gotten to the part of wedding planning that I really
love--the DIY crafting projects! As you know, I've already worked on some very small projects, such as putting together the centerpieces
, calligraphy-ing the invitations, prepping the escort cards
, and cutting out the burlap table squares
, but now I'm actually getting to the good stuff ;)
This past weekend, I was able to carve out some time to work on two projects that I've been dying to get my hands on--pie/cake stands made from thrift store finds, and a personalized mini-cake topper. Although we're doing a "pie table" at the wedding (thus, the need for a bunch of pie stands), we've decided to still have a small homemade pound cake (our favorite), so that we can enjoy a cake-cutting ceremony and partake in the cake-topper tradition (which I adore)...
So lets take a look at these two projects, shall we? DIY Thrift Store Pie Stands
I got this idea from an amazing entertaining and DIY blog, Design*Sponge
. Because Kate over at D*S
has already shared a supply list and some wonderful step-by-step instructions for making these, I'm not going to go into crazy detail here, but will include the basics below. 1.
I started out by heading to a couple of local thrift stores to pick up supplies. On the list? Cute plates, serving dishes, candle holders, vases, and/or wine glasses. I was lucky and found a bunch of supplies really quickly (I LOVE thrifting!). My loot is pictured below:
2. When I got home, I pulled everything out on the floor and surveyed the goods...
3. Then, I started matching up tops (plates) and bottoms (vases, candlesticks, and/or wine glasses). The hardest part was making sure that the colors, size, and/or heights worked together, as I wanted to be sure to have a bunch of different heights and a variety of looks. I switched things around a bit until I was satisfied, and then I began to put them together....
4. First, I measured the back of each plate and marked a small "x" in the center to note where the base should be placed. Then, I readied my epoxy (seriously strong adhesive that works on ceramic--it's amazing!)...
5. One by one, I then went through each set, attaching the base to it's corresponding plate using my handy dandy glue. I would press down for a minute or so, to help the glue take, and then move the set off to the side and start on the next one. After epoxy-ing all 12 sets, I was done! I simply left my creations on the floor for a couple of hours to allow them to dry completely (Ben loved this when he came home ;)
6. Once they were dry, I tested them out and they worked! Amazing! You can see two finished products below ;)
Overall, I'm really happy with these and can't believe how easy they were to make. Plus, now I have a funky, handmade way to display my pies on different levels, without spending a fortune. Before, I was looking at cakestands online that were anywhere from $15-$60 each. With these DIY versions, I was able to make 12 stands for around $65 and only a couple of hours of my time. Crazy, huh?
For more detailed instructions and a complete supply list, click here
. Thanks, D*S
!Handmade Meerkat Cake Topper
Okay, so get ready for this one, as it's kind of out there. Before I show you, let me give you the backstory--Ben and I love Meerkats. I have this tradition of giving him these weird animal cards for every holiday (examples here
), and a number of them have featured meerkats, so they have a special place in our hearts (plus, we think they're really cute). So, for the past few month I've been looking for a meerkat cake topper, without much luck. I found this "Weasel Cake Topper"
that I loved on Etsy, but just couldn't justify spending $80 on a cake topper (shocking, right?). So I decided to make my own. Which leads us here. Take a look at how I did it below...1.
First, I had to find a meerkat figurine online. Not as easy as I thought it would be?!?
But, I finally found and bought two of these little guys
from Schleich Toy Store online
Image via schleichtoystore.com
2. Once I received them in the mail, I took them on a trip to the the craft store with me and found the necessary supplies for dressing them up as a bride and groom. What did it take? Lace for her veil, black ribbon to make his bowtie, black and pearl dot "3-d stickers" for her pearl necklace and his buttons, and a small pack of decorative fake flowers for her bouquet. Decorating them took some serious fine motor skills...
3. But, once I was done dressing them I thought, they need more to make them stand out, don't they? So I set about making them an altar, complete with lace, mini-bunting, and flowers.
First, I made the bunting. I got some paper that matched my color scheme, folded it in half, and cut it into triangles along the fold. Then, I arranged them as I wanted them to hang on the string...
4. Next, I glued the squares to some string using my favorite Aleene's craft glue (it's amazing!).
5. Then I attached the ribbon to some wooden dowels that I had cut down to size (picked these up at the craft store, too). Not pictured here, but equally important, I then made a little mound of "land" out of modeling clay, for the meerkat couple to stand on. Once I'd formed it, I stuck the dowels and the meerkats into the clay...
6. Then I added a second dowel of baby bunting, some small flowers on the ground, and some vintage-inspired lace along the bottom. Voila! My creation is below (and yes, I know it's slightly bizarre, but it's *totally* me and Ben and I can't think of something more appropriate). I'm smitten!
I hope you were able to make a little time for creativity in your weekend, too!
And if you know anyone who is looking for a meerkat (or other random animal) cake topper, send them my way ;)
We're back! It's time for my favorite moment of the week...reflecting on my simple, sensory joys!
So, here's what brought me a bit of pleasure over the past 7 days. What made you smile, laugh, or sigh with happiness?
"Dogs" by Damien Rice
I have to admit, I had never heard this song until I heard it on Pandora
this week. BUT, one of the main refrains includes the words, "the girl who does yoga," so of course, it caught my ear, if you will. And now, I really like it. I've always thought that Damien Rice has a very beautiful, very calming voice, and this song is a perfect example of that. You can listen and get to know "the girl who does yoga" below...and please, give me a break, as I already know that I'm obsessed with anything and everything yoga ;)
Image via vanityfair.com
See: The Newsroom
At this point in my life, I've come to realize that basically, if HBO makes it/supports it, I love it. It's a very simple equation. I've loved almost all HBO original series that I've given a chance over the past couple of years (although there are still some that I've never given a chance, like True Blood
and Game of Thrones
), and The Newsroom
is no exception. Now don't get me wrong--it's no Girls
--but I think it's very, very good. We just started watching it so I've only seen the first two episodes thus far, but what I've seen, I've liked. I'm looking forward to watching another eppy or so this weekend! Isn't it *such* fun when you get into a new series and have some catching up to do? I simply adore it.
Taste: Chocolate Dipped Coconut Luna Bars
You know those people who buy granola and/or protein bars by the box, because buying them by the bar just doesn't make financil sense anymore? I've become one of those people :) My new favorite quick snack for in-between classes, before early morning workouts /yoga, or when running errands, is a Chocolate Dipped Coconut Luna Bar. It's sweet, but not too sweet, and it's got a lot of protein and vitamins for such a little bar. Also, Luna bars are made specifically for women, and although I may just be a total
sucker for advertising, I really like that. Obviously, you have to be a fan of coconut (which I definitely am!!!) to enjoy this particular flavor, but if you are, I think you'll love it! As a side note, though, I do have to mention that due to the crazy hot weather in DC lately, carrying any type of chocolatey bar around in your purse right now = a melted mess. I ate one while out yesterday and I'm sure I looked like a 5-year old when I was done... ;)
Image via crossfitforum.net
Rubber (tubber tires at CF, that is...)
After taking over a week off from CrossFit to let my back heal up
, I finally got back to class last night. Um, wow, was this ever the night to come back!? We did this amazing station-based workout that included tire flips (one of my favorites!), slamming a sledgehammer into a tire repeatedly, a rope pull where you had to pull a rope with a sandbag attached to it across the gym, dip walks and L-holds, and a sandbag lifting/moving thing (sorry, I obviously don't know the official names of all of these movements!). Anyways, the gym was about 95 degrees, the stations were intense, and it was all SUPER fun. It felt so good to be back, to get out a little aggression with that sledgehammer, and to sweat my face off. So yeah, yay CrossFit
Image vie teuxdeux.com
You all know that I'm slightly psycho when it comes to to-do lists, right
? Well then you'll understand my latest obsession, TeuxDeux.com
. It's a site and an iPhone app (they sync--which is great!) that allows you to create a to-do list. Simple enough, right? But then anything that you don't check off get's moved to the next day's list. It's magical.
I decided to give it a try last week and have become totally addicted. So simple, yet SO useful! And now I don't have to re-do my to-do list every couple of days as it gets too crazy looking! Now don't get me wrong, I'm still using about 3-4 of my other hand-written lists (I haven't forsaken them yet!), I've just been implementing this for my daily/weekly, non-work, non-wedding to-dos. I'm sure this sounds confusing to you, but makes total sense to me. Try it out! I think you'll really like it :)
So, that was my week and my simple pleasures in a nutshell! On the schedule for this weekend? Swimming with Ben, attending my first ATT Thesis Presentation, working on some fun new wedding projects (pie stands and my cake topper--woohoo! I'll post pics when I'm done...), and preparing for teaching the upcoming Level 1 Teacher Training at TSA
What do you have planned? No matter what, take some time to relax and reflect on the past 7 days--life moves quickly!
Oh, and to close, I had to share this little cartoon, which gave me a big laugh this week:
So true, isn't it? We're all guilty of it, but this REALLY cracks me up :)
Michael Joel Hall and Michael Roike. Image via myfoxdc.com
Although a terrible event has recently taken place in DC
, as I've watched the DC yoga community take action this past week, I couldn't be more proud to be a part of this amazingly loving, caring, active, and powerful group of people.
For those who don't live in DC or don't know what has recently happened here, the gay couple in the image above, both named Michael, were attacked by a gang of young people last weekend in what police are investigating as a hate crime (you can watch the news coverage and learn more here
). The man on the left in the picture above, Michael Joel Hall, is a beloved DC-area yoga teacher, who is still in the hospital after having to get a metal plate put into the side of his face due to the injuries he sustained from the beating. Sadly, Michael does not have health insurance AND to make matters worse, the couple's apartment recently burned down in an accidental fire, leaving them with very little. It's an absolutely heartbreaking story, but there is
something wonderful that has come out of it...
The DC yoga community has come together to offer a number of amazing benefit classes for Michael. It seems that almost every studio has stepped in to help, as has Lululemon Logan Circle (where Michael is an ambassador) and a bunch of Michael's close friends and colleagues. Many teachers are volunteering their time and energy to spread the word, teach classes in Michael's name, and stand up against what may have been a hate crime. It has been extremely powerful to be in on all the emails, facebook groups/events, and news that has been coming out of this tragedy, as people have swiftly come together to support this one cause--and I can see that as a group, we'll be able to raise a lot of money and support for the Michael Joel Hall Fund
I feel unbelievably lucky to be a part of the DC yoga community, and to be a part of the yoga world in general; a world where you help those in need and where giving is much more important than taking or earning.
If you want to donate to the Michael Joel Hall fund, you can click here
You can learn more about a bunch of the benefit classes in the area here
, and can check out the Facebook Group for the Michaels here.
For my fellow Tranquil Space yogis, we'll be hosting classes for Michael at both studios this weekend, and you can view all of the information here
I've always been really interested in typography, handwritten fonts, and artfully created words. I've spent hours of my life doodling, creating hand-written signs, chalkboards, and posters for clubs, events, and work, and I truly appreciate the skill that it takes to write something beautifully.
Thus, it's no surprise that I love the work of Dominique Falla
, an Australian Artist and Designer who "works in a variety of tactile mediums and combines digital creation with craft techniques, to produce tactile typography works for exhibition and publication." This lady is creative! Most of the work that you see below was done as a commission for a company or event, and you can learn more about each individual piece on her website, here. Take a look below and prepare to be wowed by words (had to say it, hehe!)!
Obviously, made of pasta! Images of the piece in progress are below...
Smooth cardboard overlaid on rippled cardboard--details below.
Map pins on black foam core. Detail below...
Pin and string. Details are below:
Chalkboard. Beautiful, isn't it?
Made of personal trash from her trashcan in her studio. Detail below.
Really interesting work, isn't it?
I love seeing the details and getting a better idea of how she made each of these pieces--and I love seeing the world through her eyes, where no object is off limits for creating (not even trash!). It definitely makes me want to branch out a bit the next time that I make a chalkboard sign or poster ;)
How can you see the world a little differently today?
Image via yoga-mala.com
This past weekend, I was supposed to teach an Advanced Practice/Yoga 3 workshop at the studio, but we had to cancel it because we didn't have enough pre-registrants. Sad, yes, as it's always a little disheartening for a teacher when one of your workshops get canceled--but even more than the disappointment that I felt at "throwing a party that no one came to" (the way that we talk about workshops that we have to cancel!)--was the disappointment that I felt when I got a few emails from the students who had wanted to attend and were sad that it was no longer happening. Why did we have to cancel? There may be a number of reasons that I won't go into here, but I do think that partially, it has to do with the fact that no matter how many people request advanced classes, when it gets down to actually signing up, people are intimidated by them--and especially, by the word "advanced."
Even as a teacher, I have a fear of going to classes labeled in this way; am I going to feel stupid? Am I going to be the only one falling on my face? Am I going to come up against some major fears and freeze like a deer in headlights? Is it going to take me out of my routine, out of my comfort zone, out of the classes that I always attend and where I know what to expect? Yes, yes, and probably, yes. But isn't that what our practice should do? Shouldn't it teach us how to work through challenge? This is the inner conflict that I believe many students go through when it comes to challenging classes, not just "advanced" practices. This happens to many Yoga 1 students who are nervous about moving up to an Open Flow or a Yoga 2 class, and it happens to many Yoga 2 students who are scared to try new poses or new transitions in class. But I still think that taking it to that next level--to the "advanced" level or to a Yoga 3 class--intimidates people out the most.
Image via fitsugar.com
So what makes a yogi "advanced," anyways?? Does it mean that you can "air surf" and go from one arm balance to the next without ever touching your feet to the ground? Does it mean that you never come into child's pose? Does it mean you can literally "float" through the air as you transition from one pose to the next? Does it mean that you can meditate for 2 hours without your mind wandering at all? In my mind, no. I believe that an "advanced" yogi is someone who isn't afraid to try new things, to challenge themselves both on and off of the mat; someone who is trying to truly live their yoga and make positive changes on a daily basis. When it comes to the physical asana practice, I think that advanced yogis know their bodies and know how to take care of them (work with injuries, props, etc.) while still
challenging themselves by pushing towards their edge, experimenting with their body and their abilities, and working to enjoy each pose as they take things deeper--in a kind, non-harming, non-competitive type of way.
One of my favorite quotes about advanced yogis comes from one of my teaching mentors (and a fellow TS teacher
), who always says, "Yoga 1 students come into class and go get two blocks, a strap, and a blanket. Yoga 2 students come into class and don't get any props--often, even if you tell them to--as they see props as being for beginners. Yoga 3 students come into class and go get two blocks, a strap, and a blanket--without being asked."
So what do you think makes a yogi "advanced"? Do you think this word can even be used in describing students of yoga? Obviously yoga is a completely personal journey, but when offering group classes in the West we do have to find some way to designate levels so that people don't hurt themselves or get too intimidated...right?
Definitely something to mull over...
Everyone has their list of non-negotiables in life--meaning, those things that you just need
in order to make it through the week without feeling completely frazzled (or in my case, without having a mini-breakdown that ends in tears). Sure, we could survive without these things, and they're not mandatory for survival, but in order to be our happiest, most energized selves, we need these things in order to function optimally. They aren't guilty pleasures
(which are definitely fun and can make us very happy!), but they aren't absolute necessities, either (like food and shelter, for instance).
So what am I talking about? Lets take a look... Here are my Top 10 Non-Negotiables:1. 8 hours of sleep per night.
I used to go with a lot less, and still do if I absolutely
have to, but getting 8 hours every night has become really important to me. I'm a much better person when I get good sleep--and these days, that's most nights because I've made it a huge priority (plus, sleeping in total darkness
has been a GREAT help). 2. Comfortable shoes.
Years ago, after I hurt my back & hip the first time, my Doctor in NYC told me that I should only wear "rubber-soled shoes." I balked at him (and freaked out a little), but now, I see a lot of truth in this. Don't worry, I still wear cute shoes, too, but I do try to wear my Tom's
s as much as possible. It's made a big difference. 3. An apple and a protein bar available at all times.
When I'm hungry, it's miserable for everyone involved. I try to avoid it at all costs by always stowing an apple and/or a protein bar in my bag ... 4. Alone time
(preferably with a book). If I get my 30-minutes of reading before bed each night--or just a quick break in the middle of the day--I'm a better person. Although I love being around people, I have to recharge by being alone, and think that this is super important for anyone who works in very social environment. 5. A comfortable bra.
I know, but I just had to say it because it's true! For me, this means wearing a sports bras every day ;) Another reason I love my job!
As a side note, I just have to share this amazing story: I was out to dinner with a good friend recently, and she said that her bra was bothering her. She paused for a moment, and then reached under her shirt, unhooked it, took it off, and slid it into her purse. Can you say badass?
I just don't think discomfort is worth it, either.6. Fresh breath.
I brush my teeth about 4-6 times per day--definitely before every time that I teach, before and after breakfast, and at night. If my mouth doesn't feel fresh, I'm not at my best. 7. Ice water.
Not warm, not room temperature, not cooled--with ice in it. I feel a lot more energized when I'm drinking this. There's just nothing more refreshing!8. Being active at least once per day.
Getting outside. Moving around. Read: not sitting at a desk all day.9. Hummus.
If I have it at least a couple of times per week, I'm a happy camper. It's been a staple in my diet for years now, and I just can't imagine life without it. 10. Yoga.
Come on, you know that I had to include it here, right?
What makes you function optimally? What are your non-negotiables? Make a list, look at it, and see where you're skimping. You might be able to spot some simple ways to add a little energy, happiness, and/or rejuvenation to your life.
Welcome to this week's edition of SJOTW! So glad you're here :) I have to say that I had a hard time picking what I wanted to highlight this week, as it was just so full of new things, but I *think* I've narrowed it down...
So lets just jump right into it, shall we? What brought you joy over the past 7 days? My favorite simple pleasures are below...
"Such Great Heights" by The Section Quartet
You know how sometimes an instrumental version of a song can be even better than the real thing? That's almost how I feel about The Section Quartet's version of "Such Great Heights" (I'm still trying to decide which one I like more). It's a beautiful song and I just LOVE the way that they've interpreted it. If you've never heard it, listen below! I've added this song to my July Class Playlist (coming to my playlist page
soon, I promise!) and have been loving listening to it while I teach. Then, it came on while I was setting up for my watercolor workshop yesterday
, so I knew it was meant to be my auditory SJOTW! Such a pretty song...
A rainbow (!!!)
Last weekend, as Ben and I were driving home from the massage that put my back out
(fun, fun!), we saw this rainbow in the sky. It was so special and we could see both ends--it was really big and it felt like it stretched right across Arlington! Although I couldn't get a very good picture since I was lying flat on my back (and was in total pain), I think you can still get the picture here. It was really beautiful and I couldn't remember the last time that I saw a rainbow. They are so magical, aren't they? Also, just wanted to let you know that I'm almost healed from my back issue, and am looking forward to taking my first yoga class of the week this morning. Woohoo! Wish me luck :) Nothing makes you appreciate yoga like a week without it....
Taste: Two super sweet gifts from friends--Rose Sugar from Paris and "Wedding: A Tea for Marriage" (so beautiful!)
How sweet are both of these items? They were both gifted to me this week by different thoughtful ladies, and I think that they'll go together perfectly. I mean, how sweet (literally)? The rose sugar has real rose petals in it and the tea tin is the cutest. thing. ever. I have to admit, I'm a sucker for anything that says "wedding" on it these days, as it feels like it's quickly approaching, but seriously, how adorable!? I look forward to enjoying both as I work on wedding projects this weekend! *And I know, I'm kind of cheating here since I haven't tried either yet, but I know I'm going to love them. Sometimes you just know... ;)
Smell: Surya Incense
As a part of the forever exciting Yogi Appreciation Week
at Tranquil Space
, I decided to treat myself to a bunch of new incense. Among the selections? Some new Surya incense scents, which I really enjoy. The rose is amazing, and I'm having fun trying out the sampler, as well. I love me some good incense--especially when the apartment smells totally funky from Ben's nightly broccoli cooking. I mean I love broccoli, but could it make the space any smellier? I used to make it in my dorm room in college, so I can't really talk, but STILL! So yes, incense is critical :)And Surya is divine. Ahhhh....
Teaching yesterday's watercolor workshop
I cannot say how much fun I had yesterday! I taught 8 lovely ladies some of the basics of watercolor painting (with a break for yoga and some amazing, homemade vegetarian meals!) and it was extremely enjoyable. It was so interesting to watch the retreaters slowly unwind as they settled into life away from the city and began to create. At first everyone was a little nervous, but as they began to play and to open up, it seemed like a lot of those normal inhibitions and self-judgments disappeared. I also got a chance to connect with how much I love teaching art to others, and definitely want to continue to do so through workshops and events in the future. Oh, and the touch part? Working with watercolors, of course. They have such a wonderful flow to them--just like yoga :)
And by the way, you know what's wonderful about reflecting on your simple joys of the week? It helps you get over all of those not-so-simple-or-joyous moments of the week, because as we all know, there are always plenty of those, too. This week I was stung by a bee, had to drive 2 hours in a VERY scary lightening storm (feel so lucky to have made it home safe!), and put out my back, but after looking at all of the wonderful things that happened, I feel insanely grateful
for the past 7 days.
Life is so full of treasures--take some time to look back or you might forget about them!
For a few more fun shots from the watercolor workshop yesterday, see below! You can click on an image to enlarge, scroll through the gallery, and view the captions. Thanks to the wonderful women who joined me and to Kimberly Wilson
for inviting me to come be a part of her retreat!
I hope you have a wonderful weekend! Try and make some time to reflect on the past week...it's good for the body + soul :)
Today, I'm heading to West Virginia to teach a watercolor workshop for the lovely ladies attending Kimberly Wilson's "Tranquility Summer Camp"
retreat. In preparation for this creativity "module," I had a lot of fun creating sample materials--a "playing with techniques" reference sheet (above), some watercolor pattern-making samples (below), and a bunch of other fun samples of how to layer the paints and play with techniques (also below). One of my favorite activities is teaching people how to do something new--especially something that helps them get in touch with their creative side--so I couldn't be more excited for today!
On a separate but related note, while sipping on my cup of tea this morning, I noticed that my tea tag said the following, " Work, but don't forget to live."
tea! What a beautiful reminder.
So here's to hoping that I don't get lost driving out to W.V. and miss the entire workshop today (my sense of direction is *slightly* lacking...)!
I hope you have a colorful and inspiring day.
Have you ever seen anything as crazy cool as embroidering flowers onto metal objects? I hadn't. Until I stumbled across the art of Lithuanian artist, Severija Inčirauskaitė-Kriaunevičienėuch
, who is doing something so totally unique and hippie (even if she doesn't mean it in a hippie way), that I was blown away. She cross-stitches onto cars, shovels, frying pans, old buckets, and much, much more, but my favorite part of her work is what she says about it
--which I can definitely relate to on both an artistic and personal level:
My work is inspired by everyday surroundings, everyday life. Objects from everyday life in my installations become extraordinary. Utilitarian objects lose their function and become art objects, which tell us different stories about our lives. Personally, I don’t like extraordinary situations - I like everyday life. People often think that a situation like a wedding or exotic travels, etc. are the most important in their lives. I think the opposite, I think that everyday life is more important because it unites all our lives.
Beautifully said, isn't it? So lets look at her art:
I love it. So creative. And now I want my car embroidered! Maybe with an OM symbol?
I'm sure Ben would love that ;)
You can view more work by Inčirauskaitė-Kriaunevičienė's on her website, here