Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Another New Beginning

I suppose life is actually full of many new beginnings! Another one began for me today. Today was my first day as a full time Marketing Coordinator at a tech company in the auto industry.

It's been 2 years since we closed LM. Almost 10 years since I was last employed full time by someone else. I know that even in the past year I've written on this very blog that I didn't know I'd ever want to go back to full time work, that I didn't know how I felt about ever going back to the corporate world. Our perspectives change as life goes on, our experiences change us. What prompted this change for me now? Besides simply needing some time and distance from the stress that took over my life with my business, and being burnt out and depressed - at the root of it truly is my yoga practice.  I've talked about yoga being so much more than the physical practice, and this new step in my life is a great example of the personal transformations that can take place. I learn on my mat about staying present, about being open to possibilities, about pushing my edge, and being compassionate to myself, about celebrating accomplishments and not comparing myself to others, about finding joy! These things apply off my mat, in my life, and gave me the confidence to realize that I was ready to go back to a full time career-related position, and that it was okay to not push myself into needing a high level position, instead looking for balance in my life, yet still finding challenge and interest -- and that those decisions will make me an all around happier person.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Play Ball!

Last visit in December it was all about soccer. While Brandon is still busy with his travel soccer team and weekly golf lessons, both he and Avery are at the beginning of the softball/baseball season. So weird to think of these sports in the winter, but really it's far better weather for it now than in the heat of the summer there.

Avery is playing on a coach pitched softball team that is mostly 7 year olds. Sshhhh! She turns 6 in May but her Mom is one of the coaches. ;). (plus, she's so big, no one will question it anyway!). She's a determined player and her team is strong and a nice group of girls.

Brandon is in his 2nd year with this team and has amazing hand eye coordination. We watched him at practice and he hit every single ball pitched to him. He also did good in the field. I still think soccer will end up his favorite, though.
Brandon at Baseball Practice
Avery up to bat
Yogurtini after Avery's softball game
Coach Debbie
Avery, "softball ready"
Avery waiting her turn at bat

The beach in February

Like any other Michigander who visits Florida in February (which seems to include half our neighbors), the beach is a must do. It helps us get through the next few months before we can feel the heat of the sun again. Lucky for us the weather was in the 80s for most of our visit! Monday was President's Day so the kids were off school, so with the sun shining we headed to Deerfield Beach. Thad is the only adult with us that braved the cold water though! Debbie, Lisa and I chatted and people watched; Thad and Brian bikini watched; and the kids played in the sand. Everyone was happy! :)

Oh, How I miss the beach!!

Avery and Julia
Thad and Brandon

Friday, February 24, 2012


Thad and I enjoyed a perfect afternoon in Naples on Sunday. Neither of us had been before, and other than knowing hotels were expensive, I really didn't have any expectations.

Have I mentioned how much I love my iPhone? Ive used it all week to take photos, get directions, consult Yelp for recommendations, and even blog.

I found a recommendation for a great local fresh seafood restaurant in old town Naples, Citrus. We wandered the main street peeking in shops and enjoying the sunshine, and ended up eating out on the patio. Fantastic service and I loved my fresh caught grilled grouper tacos! Thad had some yummy sweet potato fries with a mango purée dip with cayenne that I need to remember to recreate!

The first of many gelato/frozen yogurt stops this week started in Naples at an all organic handmade gelato shop. Heaven!! Dulce de leche with sea salt was amazing.

We sat for awhile in a park listening to a free concert (an all senior band, it is Florida after all!), then headed over to walk the pier and get our feet in the sand. I tried to get photos of all the dolphins, but they were too fast! The beach was packed with vacationers. I would definitely like to come back to Naples another time!
Fancy dog bowls at this frou frou pet store
Puppies hanging out at lunch

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Bala vinyasa yoga Naples

Thad and I got to go to Bala Vinyasa in Naples this morning for a 90 minute class with Kiersten Mooney. We received a friendly warm welcome from everyone there and chatted with Kiersten and Debi (who Thad knew from his Level 1 bootcamp). One of the women at the desk told me she grew up in Farmington Hills and the woman on the mat next to me was originally from Rochester, MI!

Then we proceeded to get our butts kicked in a really great and sweaty practice! The studio was a little warm but with about 50 people mat to mat, in no time at all my mat was slippery and sweat was pouring. Lesson to not walk in a studio again without my big yogitoes towel! I had a little one and a regular hand towel so did my best to make do, but still my feet slid out from under me in my first wheel :( I did end up getting a great assist from kiersten in my last wheel though - felt amazing since I was so warmed up. How I love backbends! I also got to see something new to try - camel to wheel. Going back with arms bent and shoulders back, up on the balls of your feet, then dropping back to wheel- so cool! If it weren't for my slippery mat I would have taken her up on the offer to try it with an assist.

Kiersten was an excellent teacher and many of the things she spoke to reinforced what I took away from Baron in Toronto -- closing shoulders in to then open up, reminders about feet being on, to name a couple. Her style is fun and with an athletic focus - lots of extra push ups and reverse chaturunga, low and high boat. We also had a 10 minute hold in frog that the room groaned about, but I loved! I was seriously only an inch or two away from the floor by the end of it. She also spoke to common Baptiste themes such as when your mind takes you out of a pose (during frog). Other than my distraction of worrying about slipping, it was a fantastic challenging class and friendly community - so glad we were able to go!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Visiting Friends

The last time we came through we only had a couple hours to spend with Jenn and her family, so it was great to have a nice morning and early afternoon with them.

We took Jenn to a yoga class this morning at Be Yoga on the square in Marietta. It was a "Be Hot Basics" class. I'd say the emphasis was more on hot than basic! 95 degrees (which I actually loved) meant a bit of slipping, a lot of sweat, and great stretching - just what we needed after all the hours in the car. The flow was a little different than what we were used to, a little slower paced and some more basic modifications, but the teacher, Reggie, was great. (In fact, I felt right at home when his music started with some familiar Krishna Das.) He did a fantastic job of detailed instructions, modifications, and encouragement, while also giving options to advance the poses. He certainly didn't back down from including a lot of chaturungas, one legged planks and forearm planks, and gave opportunities for crow and wheel. We really enjoyed it and felt great after! Class ended with a cold wet washcloth scented with lavender placed on our foreheads during savasana - perfect!

It was a small studio basically in a storefront space, but did have space for two small classes. I thought it was pretty cool that they had our favorite camelbak water bottles branded with their logo. Great idea!

After class we were greeted by 60 degree weather and sunshine! That's my idea of February! There was a nice little farmers market nearby that we wandered through. Picked up some local handmade organic energy bites we sampled - yum! A nice variety of vendors selling everything from local goat cheese to beets and collard greens. Really made me miss going to the farmers markets at home!

After quick showers we headed out for lunch with Jenn and her family at a local Mexican restaurant. I was all over the baja fish tacos. Jenn's kids are so polite and just all around great! Little Aidan just had his 2 yr birthday and is so so cute - red hair and talking up a storm after he got over some shyness with us. He is amazingly adept at using Jenn's iphone for his apps, i was impressed! Sarah is such a pretty young woman and already taller than Jenn Ben is so clever and a great big brother to aidan. John, jenn's husband, was even able to take a break from work and join us. We really enjoyed our time with them today!

Now we are on the road again, heading to Ft Myers tonight. ETA 11pm! Got delayed a little with Atlanta traffic (on a Saturday afternoon!?). Looking forward to even warmer weather!


Thad and I are on vacation! It has been a long time since we've gone away together. We are of course headed down to Florida for the week. Today is my nephew Brandon's 8th birthday. He is so grown up! He's at a Panthers hockey game tonight with 4 friends. So cliche to say, I know, but time goes by so quickly!

We left home after lunch today so Thad could get in his conference call (and I got in my last Friday morning yoga class with Cheryl - more on that next time!). 10 plus hours later, we are now finally getting off I75 for the night. Very excited to be stopping and visiting the Coopers outside Atlanta! I met Jenn through LM and we've both gone through a lot of changes in our lives. She lost a great amount of weight a year or so before me and fell in love with running. She has been an inspiration! Tomorrow morning Thad and I are taking her for her first yoga class! Maybe next time l visit I'll have trained more with running and can go out for a run with her!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Those last pounds

They seem to want to hang with me. Do you think they're being nostalgic? Remembering all the years we've shared together?

I've given a lot of thought as to why I have had such a difficult time losing the last pounds. Many people might say, 'oh, it's because that's where your body wants to be'. And that thought has crossed my mind. And then I recognize it for the comforting thought that it is, but it's not mine. That doesn't mean I have an obsession, I think I've taken a very healthy approach to weight loss. It just means I know my body is destined for greater (smaller) things, in better shape than I am now. I know what it can be, I just have to figure out what is limiting me from getting there. Others might tell me, 'oh, it's just extra skin and fat attached to it from the huge weight loss.' So I start to think, perhaps they are right. Then I read a couple blogs from other women who have lost 100+ pounds and had skin removal surgery/tummy tucks - nope, only a few pounds actually came off in that skin/fat that was removed. So, what is it?

I was reading the Prior Fat Girl blog this morning and Elle, who is struggling with what seems to be a similar issue, really struck a chord with me. She said, "I guess you get to where you're happy enough that you just lose the sense of urgency." It's true, I am happy, I am thinner and in better shape than I've been in my entire adult life. The fact is, I still have a bit more to lose, but I definitely don't see the urgency that I had before - and probably haven't in at least 6 months. So, I'm not going to obsess about it, but I'm going to be very mindful that I am still on this journey and a little greater 'sense of urgency' on a daily basis.

On the very positive side of this is that I know I do not have a problem maintaining my current weight, and that is something that really gives me some confidence. I think that most people who have lost a lot of weight must worry that it will be short lived or start to creep back on. I've done it myself. I lost those 75lbs before my wedding and then in a few years it all crept back on. I know that that is not going to happen this time. I made a life change, and I'm really a different person today.

Another thought I had while I was in Toronto a couple weeks ago at Foundations in Action (my yoga immersion weekend), was that perhaps a part of me subconsciously doesn't want this journey to end.  Have I identified myself with my weight loss journey to the point that I am clinging to not being 'done'? Something else to contemplate.

So, here I am still, but with a renewed sense of awareness of being mindful of my daily choices and my goal a higher priority in my mind than they've really been in quite awhile!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Good on Ya!

I really like to share when I've had a great customer service experience, especially when it's a small growing business! A few weeks ago I read about these GoodOnYa bars bars in the Whole Foods newsletter - but of course they were only distributed locally in the Southern California region. After checking their site I found they ship their products and offered a sampler package to try them. I ordered right away hoping to have in time for my weekend yoga immersion.
The next day I received an email from the owner, Kristen (a former Olympic athlete), telling me there was a delay because they were transitioning to a new facility (all solar powered!) that would enable them to do entirely raw bars instead of dehydrating them and that they would be even better. She promised to throw in an extra bar of their new flavor too. I wrote her back and told her I looked forward to trying them, that I could just make my own energy bites for my upcoming yoga immersion weekend, and thanked her for letting me know. She then wrote back and told me she was going to send me what bars she had right away (so I could have them for my weekend!), and then send me the sampler set of the new ones in a couple weeks when they were ready! I totally didn't expect that, but was certainly thrilled.

The ones she sent were great! But wow, the new ones I received this week are AMAZING, being all raw means they tasted like they were just made in my kitchen! Peanut Butter Chocolate and Peanut Butter Honey were my favorites. They are not inexpensive, but quality non-GMO healthy organic ingredients aren't either. And I love that it's a company I can feel good about supporting -- it was certainly aptly named!

p.s. (I wasn't paid to write this or receive any free product to do so!)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Ready for yoga!

Laura and I are here in the lobby of the Westin waiting for our weekend with Baron Baptiste to start. We arrived last night and rushed right over to Power Yoga Canada for an amazing class with Brooke who owns a Baptiste studio in ft worth. The room was 100 degrees! I was slipping on my mat wishing I'd brought my yogi toes towel to class. She was a fantastic teacher and we were thoroughly soaked with sweat at the end of the hour. I felt amazing! Then we stayed and helped them clean the studio--but first after a shower! Wonderful friendly people at PYC!

This morning we slept in a little and stayed in our pjs talking with Heather. Amazing how you can feel like you've known someone for a long time when you have just met! We decided to forego taking a noon class so we wouldn't be worn out for the weekend. Turns out Baron showed up and took that class! Oh well! We had a great afternoon anyway, including amazing sandwiches and salads at a local restaurant.

Now onto our weekend! So excited!!