29 January 2011

Bits & Bobs

Here are some bits & bobs for you to enjoy this weekend:

* How sweet is this ring?

* I'm purging my internet browser's many tabs by (a) writing this here post & (b) using Instapaper, which let's me place pages on a Read Later list. [via Apartment #34 - Thanks, Erin!]

* Last night, I found a mix CD that I used to play while I drove around in high school. I called it 'Rock On Man'. (Others were titled 'Gangster', 'G Style', & 'Cowgirl Up' - yes, I have quite an eclectic taste in music.) Anyway, 'Why Don't You and I' by Santana ft. Chad Kroeger is on said mix CD, & I've been listening to it over & over today:

* I really want to make some of these crocheted hearts, but what would I do with them? [via Miles of Style]

* I'm loving the sound & vibe in Francesqa's new video:

* I love some of the tips on Food Network's Healthy Helpings guide.

Ah, that's enough for now. I took a bubble bath tonight, during which I ate an ice cream sundae & watched the new episode of Skins. It was, as the Brits say, lush. Today is my Monday, so I'll be working hard all weekend (& enjoying it). Any more exciting plans out there? Have a lovely weekend!


25 January 2011

Yoga, Runs, & Other Fun

So, today is Day 15 in the Yoga Journal 21-day Challenge. I started two days late, so it's really only Day 13 for me. With the exception of a day or two, I've been pretty consistent since then. And, actually, starting late has the advantage of giving me choices of practices each day. Plus, the first day of the week is always the same 45-min Fun Flow, so missing one wasn't a huge deal. Same with the last day of the week (20-min Evening Sequence), but I've done both of those so far because Sundays are kind of my Fridays, so it feels good to do a relaxing asana at the end of the day.

I've mostly been feeling really good from it. I was complimented on my posture the other day, & I can feel myself slowly getting stronger. Some days I have trouble getting into it & getting through it, but I'm always glad I did it once it's over.

I also have ran a few times during the challenge, & yesterday I completed my first (official) 5k run! It was a Fun Run for Running School, Inc. (a charitable organization committed to promoting exercise for children's health), held at the Whole Foods Market where I work. The 5k was very enjoyable, & I felt so good afterward. My mom & her fiance even showed up to take photos (& to enjoy a cinnamon roll from the bakery while I ran).

Oh, & then I worked on my feet for eight hours. Yep, I'm hardcore. It was so exhilarating to run across that finish line. I totally want to try training for a 10k at some point in the future (maybe later this spring??).

I also have been eating deliciously (& healthy). I feel so much better when I'm eating fruit, vegetables, nuts, etc. (However, I must admit that nibbling on cheese at work is my weakness.) I did notice, though, that eating is such a pattern-based activity. When I'm eating produce-based meals, that's what I continue to want. But then if I have more than one meal with bread or pasta or fried food within a day or two, I start to crave those items. And then I have to break myself out of the habit. It's pretty crazy.

Also, I have a long list of yummy recipes to try soon!

Is anyone else doing the Challenge? How's it going? I'm super stoked to do the neck & shoulders postures tomorrow. Any tips on training for a 10k?


21 January 2011

Quite a Quote: Am I Dreaming?

It's crazy, I'm thinking, just knowing that the world is round.
And here I'm dancing on the ground.
Am I right side up or upside down?
And is this real, or am I dreaming?

-Dave Matthews Band, Crush

Can't get this out of my head or off of my mind today.


16 January 2011

Postal Delight: eReader Cover

From Monday until Thursday, my sister & I visited my dad & his wife in Montana. It was snowy & beautiful, but definitely quite cold! We had good food (Elk steak & a salad? Yes, please!), met some nice people, watched Dinner for Schmucks, did lots of reading, & went on a short cross-country skiing adventure (my first time - I'd do it again!).

When I got home on Thursday evening, I had a box waiting for me. I already knew what it was & couldn't wait to open it up!

It was the case for my eReader that I ordered on Etsy!

I'm so pleased with how it turned out. I ordered four of them (one for me, three for family members) from shellvollaro's shop, & she was amazing - so nice & speedy, & she even offered to embroider my name on the pocket for free. For only $30 + free shipping for two or more cases, it's a steal. The only other cases I found for my eReader (a Pandigital Novel) were either (a) the same price, without free shipping, & way less cute or (b) super expensive. I would absolutely recommend ordering one from her shop. She has other leathers as well as some lovely black & white printed fabric & has lots of custom options.

I can't wait to start reading & surfing the web on the move with the protection of my lovely new case!

On another note, I need to make a late New Years Resolution to start taking more attractive photos for my blog. I'm sorry you guys have to see these!


08 January 2011

Yoga 21-Day Challenge

My interest in yoga was sparked last summer, when my friend Nora, during her visit to Bristol, convinced me to give it one more shot. I had gone to a couple of classes at the gym before, & it never seemed relaxing or invigorating to me - just awkward & uncomfortable. But, for whatever reason, this time it clicked. Hard. I felt a craving for it all the time, & I tried to take every opportunity to go to class.

I won't say that I've been diligent. Yoga classes can be pricey, especially since I'm also a member of a fitness gym. I now own a mat (two, in fact), & I've tried a few videos & podcasts on my own. But after reading (listening to, actually) Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert during the holidays, I have an even greater understanding & love for the teachings & practice of yoga.

Yoga makes me feel so good: I feel strong & powerful while also feeling relaxed & open. This sentence in the magazine also really gets to me: "Yoga teaches us that to cultivate a calm mind, we must find the balance between sthira (steadiness) and sukha (ease)." This is so true, in asana (poses) and also in daily life. Mindfulness of this fact, & of what's happening in my mind & in my body, has helped me to start on the long path to balance.

My New Year's Resolution for 2011, then, is to concentrate on my soul. And I think that cultivating my yoga practice is a great first step.

As I sit with my glass of Grand Cru Rodenbach Ale (a delicious recommendation by the wine/beer buyer at work) & the February 2011 issue of Yoga Journal, I look over a page of information about a free 21-day yoga challenge, with a website address. The website explains that those who register their e-mail address will receive a tip, meditation, or video each day for twenty-one days, along with the ability to write about their experiences in a forum. I thought, Why not?? So, I'm registered. I'm really excited about this, & I hope some of you will join me. I'll report back often, & I'd love to discuss it with anyone else participating.

Have a lovely weekend!


04 January 2011

Underground Stream Dress

How perfect is this dress on ModCloth, for every season & (almost) any occasion?? It's definitely on the top of my wish list!


Books of 2010

Happy New Year, my lovelies! I feel so good about 2011. I think it's going to bring such great things!

I've been thinking about books a lot lately, especially since I got a Pandigital Novel (similar to a Kindle) for Christmas. It's pretty exciting! I'm mostly stoked to have less in my suitcase on vacations & to carry it around instead of my laptop for internet use. However, I'm not going full-out to the digital, as there's something irreplaceable about the old-fashioned hardcover or paperback. Plus, I have lots of books on my shelf that I still haven't read! But my first purchases on my new eReader might be one of The Job Snob's top ten books of the year.

I wish I could say I read loads of books last year, but with grad school going on for eight & a half months of it, the list is relatively short (unless you count academic books). However, I've decided to write it out anyway, with some comments. I'm very happy to say that I finished my final book on December 30th, which was a great end to the year. Anywho, here it goes!

1. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

Breaking Dawn, the final book of the Twilight series, was a step beyond the first three of Stephenie Meyer's books - I still haven't decided which direction that step is in. It's strange, complicated, & a bit bizarre. It wasn't my favorite (Eclipse was!), I did enjoy it.

2. All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab

This book was written by a friend's sister. I think it's classed in the Young Adult section, but it was a great, simple read for when I was in the midst of academic work. The main character, Neily, feels alone in his school, ever since just before his best friend and ex-girlfriend, Carly, was killed. Neily looks for Carly's killer & for some peace. The characters were interesting & likable, there's a good twist, & while it wasn't incredibly intellectually satisfying, I would recommend it for anyone wanting a quick, easy read.

3. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

For some reason, I didn't expect Memoirs of a Geisha to be my favorite book. I suppose it's because, with the exception of The Samurai's Garden by Gail Tsukiyama, Asian cultures have not necessarily been an interest of mine. However, I couldn't have been more wrong. This was a beautifully written, intriguing book that everyone - at least every girl - should read. And the fact that a man wrote the life of this elegant woman is that much more impression.

4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

A page-turner with unique characters, it's no wonder that this book is so popular. I must advise, though, that there are some very graphic, difficult-to-handle sections in this book. I read one of them late at night & had trouble going to sleep. So if you have trouble with violence - especially against women - I suggest you read this in the daylight!

5. Chocolat by Joanne Harris

This book was another light one - great for reading at the gym. It was heartwarming, delightful, & delicious - & made me crave dark chocolate all the time!

6. Catch-22 by Joseph Harris

It took me absolutely forever to finish this book, & I dare say that I think it was too long. However, it was very ironic, which made it incredibly interesting to me. I wish I would have read it for a class or a book club so I could discuss the themes with someone. And I wish I had kept a notebook with me while reading it for all of the witty quotes!

I've also been dabbling in House and Philosophy, which has been interesting & fun.

I already have a reading list started for next year, too:

1. The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson
(Christmas present from Jonty. 100 pages in, & it's already better than the first in the series!)

2. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

3. The Hobbit & The Fellowship of the Rings trilogy

4. A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
(Christmas present last year, & I still need to get on it.)

5. The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers

What did you read in 2010? Any plans for 2011?

Update: I just realized that I didn't include the audiobooks I listened to last year-

* The Know-It-All by A. J. Jacobs
* Close to Shore by Michael Capuzzo
* Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
* A Defense of Food by Michael Pollan (in progress)

And planned for next year-

* The Element by Ken Robinson

Update No. 2: I also left out Julia & Julia and Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, which Jonty & I read aloud to each other in the fall.