Thursday, April 19, 2018

TBT--travel addition

I have been thinking about NOLA...mostly, due to the fact that three people in the last few weeks have been talking about trips there.  One girl had never been there and I immediately flooded her with places to go--eat, drink and explore.  I suppose I have been thinking about NOLA the entire month of April.
For me, exploring cities involves the food factor.  Here are some of the highlights--starting with oysters at Mariza. This place was highly recommended by a friend of a friend.  She insisted on checking out this spot in the Marigny.  I made reservations for our first night in the city.  The oysters were the highlight and the amaro flight for after dinner drinks.  Recently, I found a fondness for amaro and wanted to share my love of this Italian spirit with my friends.  They range in smoothness to bitter which I am not a huge fan of.  Regardless, Mariza had an industrial feel and was very welcoming.  And the best oysters we found while dining in NOLA.

Of course, no trip to New Orleans is complete without a coffee at CafĂ© Du Monde.  Iconic and always busy. We walked from our rental in the Bywater and arrived ready for some coffee and beignets.  We waited in line for 15 minutes and listened to the saxophone player that has been playing that spot for years.  He now offers cd's in addition to listening to the music.  Every trip to the city (five times for me) and I have purchased at least one beignet.  Since the Goddess had not yet arrived I knew that we would be venturing back to this must do so that she would also experience the beignets.

In an effort to be healthy, we rented bikes and rode through the central business district and Magazine St.  The place we selected was referred to us by local residents.  However, I think I would have put more thought into selecting a bike in the future.  We were greeted and paid and that was about it.  They didn't offer to help us select bikes, make sure there was air in the tires of give us any tools that would help us.  In their defense, there was a protest about to happen and people were on edge.  Regardless, we pumped up the tires and rode away.  It was a nice ride and I knew that eventually, I wanted to make a stop at the Bull Dog.  We parked the bikes and had a few beers before heading back to the Bywater.  Almost immediately one of the bikes lost brakes.  We would stop and Shari would be at risk of crashing.  She kept trying to fix the screw on the chain and finally we called the bike shop to have them come and get us since it was becoming more and more frequent and dangerous.  They refused to grab us due to the pending protest and possible riot.  They told us to get back on our own.  That was unimpressive!  We rode back to the shop and dropped off one of the bikes and explained why we were unhappy with them--no customer service, fitting of bikes, etc. and they told us they would handle it tomorrow.  I would still definitely recommend exploring the city on bike.  Just check out your options!

I watch Top Chef--always have.  I knew that one of the finalists had a restaurant in New Orleans and made reservations to dine there.  Compere Lapin did not disappoint.  Amazing!   I am very thankful to have found this spot and dined here.  Innovative drinks, wine list and incredible food.  And, we saw a wedding party arrive at the hotel where the restaurant is located and watched a Second Line descend.  It was awesome!  The Goddess chose to join the celebration by dancing on our table.  The owner came by and insisted on meeting our group since we were having fun and celebrating life.  I had a fantastic piece of carrot cake here, too.  My favorite dessert!

 We found this spot by perusing open table and looking for brunch spots.  I knew there would be five of us and so I made reservations instead of waiting in the humidity as we had the previous day.  I won't mention what spot that was.  It was forgettable.  Sylvain's was lovely.  We arrived right as they opened and insisted on a round of cocktails and bubbly.  Our server, although hungover, was knowledgeable and attentive.  I think he warmed up to us as we continued to drink bubbly.  We shared a few brunch items before heading back towards the Bywater to meet Tiffany.  She flew in to meet us for 36 hours.  Crazy lady and too much fun! I had made the main event (birthday dinner) reservations at Commander's Palace.  Festive with all of the pomp and circumstance.  I loved every minute of it!

There are so many restaurants, neighborhoods and music to check out while in N.O.L.A.  We did a little in the Quarter, Magazine St, Marigny and Bywater.  I would love to return to discover Vietnamese food in the city.  I have heard many amazing things about it.  Or more music and restaurant recon in the Bywater.  We found Bacchanal and Henry's.  There were others that I would have loved to explore.  Seriously, there are too many options and my liver hated me for about a week after my return.  Let's just say spending five days in New Orleans is similar to three nights in Vegas.  Both are geared to be unlimited hedonism and excessive.  I outperformed myself, lol.
Til next time, enjoy!  I do love revisiting beautiful cities that I have visited in the past.  Maybe next week it will be International.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

some plateaus and upside down

I went upside down.  A few times this morning.  I forced myself to go to a class that I frequent on a regular basis.  I adore John but find, sometimes, that I get bored.  I know his routine and my mind wanders if I attend his class a bunch.  He teaches on Mondays and Wednesdays and I have in the past attended both days.  Recently, though, I feel it is too comfortable and typical.  I have semi-broke up him, lol.  Today, started off with the typical sequence and I found myself losing interest.  Maybe he sensed it.  For whatever reason, suddenly he is teaching dolphin and instructs us to use the wall.  He gave us a few minutes to play and I loved it.  I did handstand, dolphin and multiple crows.  Loved it!
Yesterday, I went to another studio to check out one of their popular instructors.  I purchased a class package with twenty available classes with no expiration date.  There is one instructor that I enjoy and have been attending her class regularly.  Yet, I am finding that I am plateauing, a little, with her and so I wanted to expand my circle of classes that I can attend regularly.  I was familiar with the female instructor's class that I chose to check out.  I really wanted to see what was out there and what she was doing.  In the past, I went to one class and felt that she held some awkward postures too long and that she gave great hands on adjustments.  It had been a challenging vinyasa class with some inversions.
That was my expectation.  I thought it would be astanga based with inversions thrown in at the end.  Imagine my surprise when we meditate the first ten minutes of class.  Then, we hold poses that are typically designed to be performed towards the end of the class.  I almost always have tight hips and so forcing myself into a supine bound angle posture is not ideal to begin with.  Eventually, she got around to introducing a few sun A and sun B's.  I had my phone--I know, bad Harmony--but I was curious as to what point in the class she was introducing these with about 18 minutes left in the class.  I struggled to finish the class.  It just wasn't my jam.  I left feeling incomplete and knowing that I do not need to attend another one of her classes.  She isn't my style.  She thinks her class is challenging.  Ironically, there were people that were having difficulty breathing.  The woman next to me actually started eating a protein bar midway through the class.  I didn't really know what to think of that, haha.
I left and considered taking an evening class.  A studio near to me had a class at 5:30.  Again, with a renowned instructor that I have attended her class.  I thought about it and then reconsidered.  I re-read her profile which highlighted her breath work.  I knew that her class would be centered on breathing and it wasn't what I was looking for last night.  I stayed home and focused on eating clean.  Finally, I consumed a meal that was vegetable driven and healthy.
I am thankful for going upside down and it sort of reinvigorated me.  We did a bridge and wheel and I thought about the last time I have taken an astanga class or mysore. I would benefit, greatly, from incorporating that back into my personal practice.  I think of how I can inspire my students to try inversions, and believe, it all begins with foundations.  Building a strong core and having the faith to do more.
I am off to work and greet the day. The early morning class inspires me to be the best version of myself.  What are you inspired by today?

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

days off and planning

I must eat clean the next few days.  I fell off the clean living wagon and realize that unless I really make changes, my weigh in on Friday will be horrifying.  Courtney will not let me live it down!  I'll be swimming in planks and pushups til my arms fall off.  Lol...she did try to break me last Friday and almost succeeded.  I was sore for a few days afterwards.  In terms of dining, I tried to be good.  I worked Friday night and ate shrimp at 2 am.  Saturday, I managed to eat a little cleaner but joined my friends for a night cap.   I had posole with chips and salsa, Sunday followed by spaghetti for dinner that night.  Wine was involved on both occasions.  Let's just say, I took recess from my prescribed schooling and effort.
And, I know I will feel better if I take a day or three off from excessive dining and wine.  Last night, my intention was to eat clean.  Then, Jenn texted me that we should meet for sushi and I obliged.  I wanted to enjoy happy hour with her.  And, who doesn't like sushi?  We frequent this that is super close to where we live.  I enjoy the happy hour offerings--two for one wine, beer or sake.  Not to mention, they do have a nice array of sushi.  Last night, I would have preferred checking out another place that I found recently.  It is further away from my apartment and I don't think the wine list is as varied.  However, they do offer a bunch of sushi that I would like to check out.  Next time for sure.
I walked home and threw my clothes around my apartment. I should get better about tidying up.  I fell asleep and woke to an early morning text from my yoga client.  They were up working still at 2:00 am.  Kristina was giving me the heads up that they would be canceling our session since they were still working and would continue til they were done with their project.  It was kind of her to let me know and she offered to pay me for my time which I also appreciated immensely.  Granted this is the second time she has canceled at a late date.  I agreed that I should be compensated for my time.  I am making strides in establishing my yoga clientele. I want to continue that momentum and see where it leads.
I reached out to a friend in Santa Fe about meeting him next month for lunch.  He travels frequently and so I wanted to see if our schedules would sync up.  I am waiting to hear back from him before committing to a trip.  I also need to see what my work schedule looks like next month.  Of course, if I do manage a trip to New Mexico, I will be heading to Ojo Caliente with the beauty, Melody, and lunching at La Choza.  I have other friends who I would like to see and there is the farmer's market that continues to attract and beckon.  There is Lawrence, Libby, Teo and a handful of others that I always enjoy meeting up with.
I need to book my trip to D.C., too.  I have confirmed my dates with Megan and see a dinner or lunch in my future.  I will not be staying with them as their situation has changed since my last trip to D.C.  Two kids and I am a little uncertain as to where they physically live.  Just seems more convenient and conducive to arrange an airbnb or VRBO.  Moreover, Jennifer will be with me, I think.  I don't know exactly how long she intends to stay in the city.  I am sure that I can entertain myself by checking out bars, restaurants, neighborhoods.  It will be my third visit to this city and I know it will not disappoint.
Upcoming travel is always fun to arrange and look forward to.  Heading to a vinyasa class at noon and perhaps finishing up with a  walk around City Park.  It is time to enjoy the sunshine and thrive!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Goals and planning

I am still sore from the private training session Friday.  My arms are sore and my core is tight.  Yesterday, I was lazy and I am okay with it.  I think it is important to take days off and let your body rest.  Of course, it would have been more beneficial had I read a book or meditated as opposed to watching tv.  I recognize that I should be reading or being productive on rest days.  Watching t.v. can be super relaxing.  Ultimately, a waste of time though.  I think of how much time I spend being unproductive.  I believe, it is a way to distract myself from doing what I should be doing.  Creating, exploring, writing, traveling, teaching to name a few things that I am interested in.  It's easier to fail or not even try if that makes sense.  I can definitely distract myself with mind numbing tasks.
I am attracted to some goal setting.  I think it is realistic and I have always enjoyed to do lists.  I like the action of crossing things off my list and feel lost when I don't have something to look forward to.  Traveling, always, has a spot on my list.  I have an upcoming trip to Minneapolis that I am looking forward to and then there is D.C. in June.  I am meeting a friend from high school who is currently hiking the Appalachian Trail.  I have considered a trip to Greece at some point in 2018 and think I should buy the tickets.  Why not?  What is stopping me?  Seriously.  It is a place that I have always wanted to explore. I had tickets to Athens in 2001 and a dream of riding the train to explore other countries in Europe.  Italy was a definite as I would check out the Amalfi Coast before heading to France, Budapest and Spain.  I think of how my life would have been had I taken that trip.  I doubt that I would be in Denver.  Honestly, I have no idea where I would have ended up.  I might still be in Europe, haha.
I do love Denver and it is my chosen home.  I like to make lists of where I want to travel, each year, and that I have to throw in some adulating tasks.  I do not like these tasks.  Yet, they are necessary. The dentist.
The obgyn.
Taxes--the most recent cross off my list. Yuck.  And, a necessary adult task.  The dentist made a major dent in my travel budget since I had procrastinated for as long as I could.  When I finally made an appointment I received a laundry list of things I must do.  Scaling my teeth which was painful and I despised it.  A few cavities, here and there, and a crown.  The dentist felt that should be first plan of attack.  An upper crown which  I didn't enjoy at all.  Afterwards, I asked what should be a priority.  She noted that I should continue to follow the cleaning plan and mix in some cavity action, too.  I am putting that off later in the year.
I consider decreasing my personal training sessions to once a month.  It is spendy and some times I have guilt arriving after meeting friends for happy hour.  Courtney makes me accountable for my choices and some weeks are worse than others.  Stress can definitely do that to you.  I am incorporating more meditation to deal with that.  And saying no to meeting friends.  It is okay to say no sometimes.
I should compile a complete list of goals.  Health, abundance, fitness, travel, even wines I want to drink.  That would be excessive.  I would love to continue to learn about wine and regions, too.  In an effort to be productive today, I am heading to yoga.  Namaste!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Clean living

My friend, Jenn, put together a meet up sort of group for April.  Mostly motivated by her upcoming milestone birthday, she arranged this effort to inspire others to be fit and fabulous in April.  Be it--cut back on alcohol, exercising more, trying new methods of exercise or modifying your food intake.  She has a large group of friends that are very active on social media.  The minute she created the group, people were contributing how they were personally hoping to participate.  She added me to the group and I am participating in my own way.  I will not post anything about my progress or lack of.  Instead, I sometimes, lurk on her site to see what others are doing. 
April is one third finished and I will be honest, I have not made much effort to improve my fabulous self.  I sort of stopped clean living.  You know....chips sound good.  And olive oil is great to cook with and I won't use as much.  Simple things like that that had enabled me to slim down quickly with simple alternates.  The last month, well, I got lazy.  I wanted to eat chips and salsa.  Oh, and I have discovered that I enjoy spaghetti and meat balls.  And, I have not fully engaged in the cut back on my wine intake.  I suppose that will never really happen.  Wine is a staple in my diet.  I enjoy meeting friends for a glass of wine and cooking with wine.
I continued to work our--multiple yoga classes mixed in with a few barre.  I walk to work and have been trying to support others desires to be healthy.  I walked around Wash Park with a co-worker yesterday.  It is not a complete loss.  I have been active, walking, and listening to a ton of music on Pandora.  I have been meditating a little and reading too.  My colleague gave me a stack of books that he no longer wants or needs.  Many of them are classics which I need to be in the mood for--Sophie's Choice, All the King's Men, some Virginia Wolfe...amongst others.  I think leading a clean, mindful life will unleash something in me that needs to happen.  I do not know what it entails, exactly, it just feels necessary.
I met with my trainer this morning and saw that I am in the beginning of a backslide.  I feel stronger and capable.  It's just the nutrition that is slowing me down.  And stress.  I have been meeting friends for happy hour today which I enjoy but sort of is counterproductive in living a clean lifestyle.  I considered canceling my session today.  Allergies and just not motivated.  I forced myself to go since I knew that I would benefit from the work out and bouncing ideas off of Courtney.  She is always up for good suggestions and thinking outside the box.  Today she did not disappoint.  My arms are mush and I know that I will feel the effects of the work out in my core tomorrow.  I did teach a few of my clients this week and I work out alongside them.  Lots of core work, planks and push-ups.  I only teach what I have always tried myself.  So, it wasn't a complete loss.  And, I cannot beat myself up over one week.  Or two.  I can only plan on doing better tomorrow. 
I want to continue to strengthen and develop my health regime.  I enjoy being exposed to many different mediums of getting fit.  This older gal approached me after her session and told me I was an inspiration to her and the other ladies she works out with.  I thought that was so kind and it sort of reinvigorated me.  It returned me to the badass mindset.  I think I needed to hear it and believe it.
I will continue to clean live this weekend.  I have a client on Sunday and next week will bring more opportunities to teach.  There might be an audition in my near future, too.
My friend will continue to host her meet up group.  I look forward to seeing some of the results and I should probably actually participate for one of the weeks.  Severely cutting back on drinking wine.  I can do it for one week.  At least....

Thursday, April 12, 2018

TBT---travel addition

I love Santa Fe.  Always have.  My love affair with that city began when I was fourteen years old and I attended an annual school trip arranged by the history teacher.  He had us apply to be part of the program which included research, respect for the cultures and knowledge of the area.  I remember being so proud of my binder of New Mexico history.  We hiked at the sand dunes in Colorado, checked out Bandelier National Monument Park, Santa Fe and Taos.  I loved Santa Fe immediately.  The Plaza, the history, the culture.  I even interrupted a funeral in one of the churches downtown since I thought it was the Loretto Chapel.  At the time, I didn't know the name of the chapel and was turned around by directions.  I entered the church with a few other classmates and snapped a few photos before turning red faced at my embarrassment.  Eventually, I did find the Loretto Chapel.
A month after this school trip, I returned with my dad and sisters to basically do the exact same trip.  Bandelier, Santa Fe and Taos as a family trip.  We included rafting the Rio Grande on the family vacay and a departure to ABQ.  My dad insisted on checking out that city.  I was fine with the Capitol.  The history, food, hiking and silver jewelry.  I have always had respect for the artisanship found here.
As a young adult, I chose to move to Phoenix when I completed college.  I had the opportunity to drive through Santa Fe on my way down.  Again, I loved the city and dreamed of living there.  Fast forward and I am living in Denver (my true home) and I started making annual trips to the city different. I befriended a massage therapist in 2004 who is now one of my closest and dearest friends.  Ironically, her name is Melody.  I should pull up all of the photos I have amassed from trips and eventually of living there.  I absolutely adore visiting and have many friends that live there.  Every few months, I head south to get my Ojo fix and green chile.  Of course, multiple silver coins are involved in the trip.  Which reminds me, I am due for a trip south soon.  
The food factor is pretty insane.  From casual local driven spots to higher end, trendy gourmet, foodie driven experiences.  I had the opportunity to dine at a renowned spot one 4th of July with Melody.  We smuggled a bottle of Isosceles in from one of her clients.  Melody didn't know how much I love Isosceles until a dinner we had at Geronimo in 2006 with that particular bottle of wine.  What a treat to drink this bottle from 95.  It was perfection.  And the food was delicious, too.  We were able to enjoy the wine and food since I was working there at the time.  Gorgeous patio dining and the food is always decadent.

Next up the silver coin factor.  When I arrive in town the first thing I do is head to La Choza to eat chips and salsa and kick start my adventure with a silver coin or two.  I will dine solo at the bar or a friend will meet me.  I have also brought other friends from Denver to join me at this local spot.  Sara Jo, Maghan, Jan (from Phoenix) and hopefully the Goddess in the next year.  The food never disappoints and I feel very welcomed here.  And in the past year, if I visit for three days, I end up dining here twice.  It is consistently fantastic.  Doesn't this drink look amazing?  And inviting???

And then there is Ojo Caliente.  A rejuvenating, relaxing must do while visiting the city different.  It took me ten years to find it which is comical considering it is now an essential part of my Santa Fe trip.  I had an ex-boyfriend that initially brought it up.  He had a house in Taos and was shocked that I had never visited Ojo.  He understood that I had visited Ten Thousand Waves on a couple occasions.  Lovely massages and much closer to Santa Fe.  I suppose I never visited Ojo Caliente since it is about an hour from Santa Fe.  Finally, I asked Melody if she ever went there to soak and she said--yes!!!  I asked her if we could go on my next trip up.  I was living in Phoenix at the time and making frequent trips to Santa Fe.  In all honesty, I was looking for a way back to Denver but not yet ready to commit.  I believed I could live in Santa Fe and thrive.  In many respects, I did thrive and love it.  However, it is an oasis for me to visit and living there didn't quite live up to the dream for me.  I embrace the anonymity of living in a large city.  In Santa Fe, I found it to be too small.  At any rate, I still visit it often and love it.  I continue to look for new restaurants, breweries and things to do.  I love Ojo Caliente.  

I'll leave you with this image.  The simplicity of this fantastic day spa and soak venture.  Clear blue inviting skies, serenity, tranquility, amazing.  I absolutely adore it.  This image inspires me to think about when I can visit again.  On a solo trip or with my girlfriends.  I love hosting people and showing them my idea of the perfect New Mexico getaway.  I could go on and on about the beauty of the city, yoga that is available, the farmer's market that is open year round and delicious.  Not to mention restaurants, local spots and green chile.  It really is remarkable how many things you can find to do if you are open to experiencing different parts of the city.  Did you notice that I didn't even mention the gallery factor?  They have those, too.  I met many, many artists while living there.  And you can venture south to Madrid to experience that artist driven mecca or check out Meow Wolf or the burgeoning Railyard District.  There is so many things that are evolving in Santa Fe. Do yourself a favor--go check it out!  I know that I will be visiting soon.  Cheers and salud~

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

more opportunites for yoga

More and more opportunities for yoga and I am extremely grateful to be expanding this part of my life.  I made the conscious decision to pursue this arena a few years ago while living in Santa Fe.  I had been frustrated with the quality of yoga that I was exposed to on a daily basis.  I felt it was time to see what I could do with direction.  How I could evolve my own practice and share it with others.  I reached out to a studio in Phoenix and arranged the certification training over the course of a year. It worked for me since I wanted to immerse with a school in a timely manner.  I knew that I would receive little benefit from doing it all in two weeks.  I would want time to retain some of the areas that I was not as interested in.
It's true.  Yoga is appealing to people for a variety of reasons.  Some prefer the breath work.  Or the mindfulness with some postures mixed in.  I prefer a challenging sequencing class.  That is how I shut my mind off.  I don't think when someone else takes over and guides me to the zen state with a physical emphasis.  I can see the benefit of breath work, chanting, and being in the present moment.  I just want more in my practice.
I concluded my training and have been continuing my yoga practice as a student.  About a year ago, I began teaching in my apartment to friends and co-workers.  I wanted to practice my language and cueing postures.  I have found that I enjoy customizing sessions to individuals and feel more confident teaching frequently and often. Today, I have a client and am looking forward to it.  I know that Roxanne prefers more core work and stability.  We are building up her practice from the ground up.  In the past, she scoffed at yoga since she was bored. I want to challenge her and inspire her to do group classes eventually.  I do understand being bored in classes.  This has happened to me a lot in the past.  One of my mentors in Denver says I should approach it from love.  I should love myself through it.  Or be kind in my thoughts through it.  What I would like to do is flee the class or put on head phones.  I don't think that would go over well.
I have been playing with the idea of teaching more and expanding my clientele.  I mentioned this to a customer at my full-time job and immediately, he suggested a studio that he attends.  He even said he would put in a word for me which I appreciated very much.  So there is an in there, potentially, and at the studio that I am a member at.  I attended a new instructor's class today and felt she had a decent foundation and gave great adjustments.  I felt I should share that information with her.  I approached her by asking how long she had been teaching and she responded a year.  I noted her good adjustments and she asked me if I teach.  I responded that I am certified and she said, I can tell.  You have a beautiful practice.
Another affirmation that I am on the right path.  I reached out to a few more people that are like-minded and have additional teachings scheduled for the next two weeks. I am very thankful for the time to be doing this.  I want to be focusing on my health and wellness.
I will continue to see what is out there in the yoga community in Denver.  And to create my niche here. I would like to return to Phoenix to see what they are doing there.  It is such a strong, fierce community.  I have always had a bunch of respect for the yoga community in Arizona.  I see a trip in my near future.
I managed to finally pay my state taxes.  I wasn't prepared to be responsible for that chunk of change this year.  Today is the day to be responsible.  And let go of some of the nonsense, lol.
Cheers to living, to enjoying, to tasting life~