Sunday, March 31, 2013

Seven Days of Yoga; Week 13

You guys, I feel like I've been writing "you guys" a lot. When in reality, you guys could be one person clicking the link X amount of times to make me feel better. ;) I'm too nervous to ask you to reveal yourself/ves to find out.

What I was really going to lead into with the "you guys" was about boxing on Sunday, which was a thing that happened... again. In my post 10K exhaustion, he thought it would be swell to have us do extra leg work - you know, the complete opposite of what I wanted to do that day - step cardio, squats, and burpees on my poor tired legs. As always though, I did it and was glad.

Monday was back out to yogaworks for 2/3 vinyasa flow. I positioned myself in the back of class this time because I finally got there early enough to get a good spot! Class was good. I was focused and intent. I didn't let the two experienced yogis on either side of me distract me too much.

Tuesday was my mom's birthday. No time for gymming, but I thought maaaaybe I could squeeze something in at home after carbo-loading at dinner, but I didn't, and I didn't feel like I needed to since I managed to stay under my no-exercise calorie goal.

Wednesday, as I realized my month of discounted yoga was coming to a close, I decided to try a new class - level 2 vinyasa flow with a different instructor. It was mostly appealing because It started later and I wouldn't have to rush out of work at 5 on the dot in the middle of tax season. I also wanted to see what the difference was between level 2 and level 2/3. ;) It was SUCH  different class, like whoa, the whole vibe was different. I still had the opportunity to challenge myself, but I found there is a lot less ego in a level 2 class. Weird.

Thursday night I taught my class. :) I felt like I needed a little exercise afterward though, so I got out a medicine ball and did some balance pushups and followed it up with a set of abs. I've been thinking a lot about when I am going to start another round of P90X and X2, and I think I've decided to start sooner rather than later and get a good workout in the morning so I don't feel like I need to do anything in the evenings. I can workout if I want or lounge about and eat brownies if I want. ;)

Friday and Saturday I didn't really workout. :/ I guess this week had a lot of "rest" days. I thought I might get up early both days, but I just didn't. The Friday night we had a family dinner with some of extended family on my dad's side as part of a pre-easter party, and Saturday my mom and I were at a yoga workshop, but it wasn't exercise. We were book learning. ;)

How was your week?

Thursday, March 28, 2013


original source unknown
This week I am challenging myself, or rather, reminding myself to challenge myself. I have mentioned a few places to a few people that I am an introvert, but really, I think I take introvert to that whole other level. I am socially awkward to the point where people think I don't like them and then I think they don't like me, and the cycle continues...

But let me be clear...

I LOVE people. I love being around friends and family. I love making new friends. I love having people to share things with and get excited for... But, hooo dam, am I bad at making new friends. Since I graduated high school (almost 11 years ago) I have made only a handful of friends that I consider myself close enough with that I still call them to get coffee.

So, my challenge is this - not to make friends, necessarily - but to be friendlier.

To be the person that introduces herself first. To ask strangers questions. To go out of my way to say thank you.

and then see what happens.

Remember this is a linkup. Read about these amazing ladies' happiness projects by following the links...

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Fitness Things; I Ran a(nother) 10K

A few weeks ago I sent a text message to my friend asking if she wanted to run a 10K with me in April. I thought April was far enough away that I'd have some time to get back into running before I actually had to show up and run. She replied by telling me that she was already signed up for a 10K on March 23rd and I should go with.

After about 30 seconds thinking about it, I decided to go for it. It didn't leave me a lot of time for training, but I figured I would make it work. I'd run a 10K before, I could do it again.

A few days before the race I remembered I had a totally awesome faux camelback that I could wear while I ran and use it to carry my ipod, phone, keys, etc. I was so excited! I started looking for it as soon as I got home from work, but it was a no-go. After two days, the race was the next morning and I couldn't find it anywhere. I thought I would make due with the free pack the race gave us.

And that, my friends, is where our story begins...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Posing on Tuesday; Warrior III

This post is what happens when 10pm rolls around and I realize that I'm in my pajamas and haven't taken pictures in Tuesday's pose. Lucky for me, I had some folded laundry on the couch containing a few pairs of workout pants so I didn't have to run upstairs or do my pose in my awesome pj pants. There was also a hair tie on the coffee table so none of us had to be exposed to my half dry curly mess of post shower glory. For reals though, workout tops and sleeping tops are almost the same thing.

But the point of this is to talk about Warrior 3...

Warrior 3
(Virabhadrasana III)

Looking at the above picture, I am thinking "I need to work on straightening my arms" and "Why did I decide to post the sports bra clad picture?", but ,"Hey, my form is pretty good. Nice flexed foot, Alyssa" also "What is happening with the muscles in my shoulder?" and "I don't remember if the Warriors beat the Lakers last night."

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Seven Days of Yoga; Week 12

Sunday was boxing again. I am really starting to love it. It's majorly exhausting, but so much fun.

Monday there was a sub in 2/3 vinyasa flow. Class was nothing like the regular teacher's classes. You could tell the teacher wasn't as experienced teaching though. It was weird for me to be able to identify that about her. She did a good job. She just asked us for our feedback a lot, and it was a TOUGH CLASS - lots of arm balances, and repeated standing splits to jackknife squats, like, whoa.

Tuesday night we were back for "blow the doors off the gym Tuesday" - total fit body followed by yoga flow. I can't believe how quickly those two hours go by. It's like my whole evening is just POOF gone. I definitely felt like I got a good workout though.

Wednesday night I was back in 2/3 vinyasa flow. I was so happy because this weeks class, while similar, managed to be very different from the last 4 classes I took from this teacher.

Thursday night I taught my class, and then made a quick trip to the gym to see if I could jog for a little while on the treadmill. I was not really feeling it, but I did manage to go about a mile and a half before stepping off. I was a little disheartened because I was supposed to be training for my 10K on Saturday and I just couldn't get my motivation up.

Friday I thought I would give it another try. I told myself I had to run at least 5K to feel ready for the run the next morning. So, as much as I love combat cardio, I decided to skip it in favor of training... and searching for the camel pack we bought for our honeymoon. I managed to run a 5k on the treadmill and even made pretty good time. T wasn't ready to go by the time I was done, so I lifted weights for a little bit, but I wasn't really feeling it, so we went home.

Saturday morning I got up crazy early, drove to Agoura, and ran a 10k. I have enough to say about that that it deserves its own post. ;) More later, y'all.

How was your week?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Kitchen Adventures; Dark Chocolate Sweet Potato Bread Pudding

First of all, yum. Second of all, I wish I weren't so afraid of making custard, I would live and die eating bread pudding.

This week we had a reason to celebrate. I can't tell you all about it yet, but there are no babies in our immediate future. That's all you get.

I tweeted not so long ago that I was dying to make this sweet potato bread pudding for weeks! It kept almost happening too. I bought all the ingredients, picked the day, and then other stuff got in the way. Last weekend, I blocked out a little bit of time and finally made the bread.

Sweet potatoes were steamed and smashed while a whole mess of butter softened.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Happy Thoughts

The last two weeks have been kind of exceptional when it came to my be happy post. I actually planned them in advance. I knew exactly what I wanted to say, so when Thursday morning rolled around, all I had to do was hit publish.

Life has gotten away from me this week. Lots of talking and planning, but not a lot of change in the day-to-day activity. I've fallen pretty far behind on our meditation challenge, but I am still managing to work them into my evenings here and there.

So, this morning on my way to work I was thinking what could I write about that would help us all (I'm totally including myself in here) better understand where I am on my happiness journey and I had a little tiny epiphany.

One of the things I've been struggling to get started as part of my happy at home project is the one line a day journal. Weird, right? I've been writing on my blog at least 4 days a week, but I can't take 30 seconds to write one line in my journal?

I found my road block and then I - just as easily - crushed it.

How would I sum up my entire day in one sentence? Would it be sufficient to say "Today was good", "Today was bad", or "Today we went on a walk"?  And the conclusion I came to is that it doesn't really matter.

Here I am in this place when I am trying to see the best in everything. So when I finally sit down to write my one line a day, coming up with something I'm grateful for, or a line to summarize the day should be easy - especially since who the heck said I have to limit myself to one line? If I want to write two or three because I think it will be more fulfilling, no one is going to stop me.

I also realized that by trying to focus on the positive - "Today I made bread pudding to celebrate" - I can look back at my journal and see the happy, and I'll be more likely to err towards happy in my less than awesome moments.

Remember this is a linkup. Make sure to follow some of the links below to see how these amazing ladies are doing with their happiness projects.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Kitchen Adventures; "What Kinda Veggies You Got" Stirfry

My kitchen and I have had a slightly less than awesome relationship lately. I still LOVE my kitchen, but I haven't been inspired lately. I haven't walked in and wanted to bake something exciting and new. I've been sticking to my staples - sourdough bread, spaghetti squash, or veggie stir-fries - or I've just been cleaning so much that by the time I'm ready to make something, I'm super hungry and don't want to wait. This is usually when grilled cheese sandwiches happen.

So, I've decided to share some of my easy peasy no-hassle, no-thinking dinner standards with you - starting with my ultimate dinner go-to...

The "whatever veggies are in the house" stir-fry.

You love it.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Kitchen Adventures; Strawberry Mango Smoothie Magic

This is gonna sound silly - and really, it doesn't take much to explain this magic to you - but I made an epic smoothie this weekend.

If you like goat cheese or any goat dairy, then you will LOVE this smoothie - seriously. My husband, not a fan of the "goat" flavor. I, however, love the creaminess and the little bit of bite it has.

So, this weekend I paired it with strawberries and mangos and pretty much had my mind blown.

So easy. Don't ask questions, just put it in a blender.

Strawberry Mango Smoothie
1 cup of plain goats milk yogurt
1 cup of fresh or frozen strawberries
1 cup of fresh or frozen mango chunks

Put ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.


Seven Days of Yoga; Week 11

Sunday morning, hubs and I were back for week 2 of boxing. We did not mess around getting to class on time because we knew I needed my own bag. Can't share with someone twice your size. That sh*t just don't work. Luckily daylight savings seemed to have kept a handful of people in bed on Sunday morning, so we didn't have to worry. We'd also gone out on Saturday to get me my own pair of fancy new gloves and wraps, so I don't have to use the gym ones anyone. In the actually class, I'm having a hard time balancing hitting my hardest with keeping my feet moving. I try to do them both at the same time, but that gets exhausting SO quickly, like, whoa. I am loving it though. I'm so glad we started taking boxing.

Monday evening I drove back out to yogaworks for another round of 2/3 vinyasa flow. Same teacher as last week, so now I'm wondering if she just teaches the same class for about a week and then changes it. This class was different from the classes she taught last week.

Tuesday we were back for another go of "blow the doors off the gym Tuesday" - total fit body followed by yoga flow, and just like two weeks ago, I pretty much wanted to die the next day - my poor butt and thighs.

But the show must go on... or something like that... so Wednesday I was back in full force for 2/3 vinyasa flow. Kind of a bummer though since I had a gnarly headache. I'd hoped that getting my breathing and flow on would help mellow it out, but really, the only yoga thing that helped was getting my knee into my forehead in shoulder-stand with eagle legs.

Thursday I taught my class at IPY. I'm trying to do more marketing to get more people into class. Since the teacher trainees took it over a few months ago, it's been slow. We each only got one or two students per class. This week I had three. I'm trying to get the word out - that its a great place to start, but its also not just for beginners.
I also think I'm unofficially designating Thursday night as my "rest" night - unless I get a second wind for a  midnight solo flow.

Friday I went to combat cardio and then consumed my weight in bread, cheese, and wine - all three of which T and I are giving up for a month starting next week, but I'll tell you more about that later. ;)

Saturday we had a relaxing morning before I headed off to Power Yoga. Now that I have to pay for classes again, I am spending less time at the studio, but at least I'm able to go about once a week. Saturday's class was pretty intense. I was glad I remembered to bring a towel this week. Sheesh.

You guys, these weeks are getting majorly repetitive. I've got two more weeks at yogaworks and then I promise to spice up my Mondays and Wednesdays a little bit more. ;)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Balance is My True Nature

Some of you may already know that since Monday, I've been meditating in the evenings with the Oprah & Deepak Chopra 21-day Meditation Challenge. Meditation is also item #5 on my 30 by 30 list.

Tuesday night's meditation had particular meaning for me on my happiness journey for a couple of reasons.

A little background:
Sanskrit is one of two energetic languages that exist in the world. Meaning that its significance is derived from the energy created by the sounds the syllables make. That's why when we repeat mantras to ourselves, we say them in Sanskrit - so we're sending that energy out into the universe.
Tuesday night's mantra was "Yum, yum, yum", which is pretty epic in its silliness, BUUUUUT, we learned that the syllabic energies coming from the repetition of "yum" enliven the heart chakra, allowing us to follow our hearts and be compassionate.

Why this meditation resonated with me...

Reason #1
Ayurveda says that we can avoid illness as long as balance of mind, body, & spirit are maintained. It occurred to me that lately I have been dedicating so much of myself to my body and spirit that I have somehow managed to neglect my mind. I haven't been intellectually challenging myself. I haven't been reading. I haven't been getting my book-smarts on. So, this is my mini resolution to myself to challenge my brain. To try to learn and retain something interesting and important (to me) every day, so I stay sharp... and therein, balanced.

Reason #2
One of my teachers is regularly encouraging us to "find the yum" in our postures - to find the place where we have taken the pose to our personal edge and it feels marvelous.
Pair this with the belief that the mantra of "yum" activates and opens up the heart chakra, Anahata, we can be simultaneously spiritually and physically opening ourselves to love and compassion each time we find the place of "yum" and acknowledge it as such.
Find the yum, acknowledge it, and open your heart. 

My husband thinks this is all new agey mumbo jumbo, but I buy it and he has no problem with that, so that's all that matters.

Happy Thursday, my friends. Remember this is a linkup! Follow some other wonderful ladies as they explore their happiness projects.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Recap Winter 2012/13

You guys, this is weird. In a lot of places, it's snowing outside, but here...well, it's Southern California, so I've decided that Winter is over and I can do a recap now. Daylight savings happened. That's got to mean something.

One of the first things I did in December was hang Christmas lights.

And then there was this fiasco... I'm not Linda.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Posing on Tuesday; Extended Right Angle

Here we are: the final pose in the dancing warrior series (besides the vinyasa, but that's a whole other animal). Today we are looking at a pose with - what feels like - about a thousand variations. There is always a way to take this pose deeper... like, whoa. It gets a little crazy, so, without further ado...


After reverse warrior, we come back to warrior 2, take a breath and - keeping the chest facing the side wall - reach the front arm forward until your torso is in a straight line with your back leg. Then rest your front elbow on your knee.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Seven Days of Yoga; Week 10

Holy smokes, I did not realize we are already 10 weeks into 2012. The year is 1/5th of the way over and I feel like it just started.

Sunday T and I went to a boxing class together. It was tough! There was a guy who picked people out at random and we got to hit his mitts while he pushed us really hard. It was intense. One thing I learned though, is that I cannot share a heavy bag with my husband. He is so strong, he moves the whole bag when he hits, so I spent a lot of time trying to avoid getting hit by the bag. I couldn't ask him to hit softer because then what kind of workout would he get? It was almost a ruiner, but overall the class was good and a definite learning experience.

Monday I activated my month of classes at Yogaworks, beginning with a level 2/3 Vinyasa Flow class. We did handstands, which I'm working on, but aren't really a priority for me right now. Plus by the time we got to them, my arms were soooooo tired.

It was "blow the doors off the gym" Tuesday again this week - total fit body followed by yoga flow. I love it so much. Such a wonderful combination.

Wednesday was my big sister's birthday. :) I got up early and made her a cake and a bag full of frozen burritos so that I wouldn't have to worry about those things later and I could get to the 2/3 vinyasa flow class that night. I was a little disappointed only because it was almost exactly the same class she taught on Monday. It made me appreciate some of my other teachers and the variety with which they teach.

Thursday I planned to get up early for a 7am yoga class, but when 6am rolled around I realized I didn't have my stuff together, I decided to go back to sleep since rushing around to get out of the house by 615 sounded pretty awful. That night I was supposed to teach Intro to Yoga, but that class needs some major marketing. My only student was my mom. We just hung out for an hour. I managed to get about 40 minutes of yoga practice in there, and she helped me take the pictures for my next pose breakdown post.

Friday we went out to celebrate my big sister's and T's little brother's birthday in Santa Monica. So, there was no gymming, but the food was delicious.

and Saturday I got back to IPY for Linda's Power Yoga class. It was tough. I forgot my towel, and actually ended up stepping out of the room for a minute just to dry off. I picked a good moment though. She was letting everyone take a little breather. I just needed to get the sweat out of my eyes. Sheesh.

How was your week? Did you get some good workouts in? I'm pretty excited for tomorrow, but you'll have to wait until next week to hear about it. ;)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Better Doesn't Have a Finish Line

Apparently, this is written on a billboard somewhere. My first thought was immediately positive. Life is a journey. No matter what, I can always be better.

I have the opportunity to continue to improve. I am not stuck or stagnant. I can get better. 

I heard this phrase come out of one of my teacher's mouths this week and I was immediately put at ease.

What a warm, hopeful sentiment, I thought.

And then - completely unknowingly - she took my perception and turned it on its head. To her, this meant that no matter how much she practiced, she would never achieve perfection.

I think there is some part in all of us that is striving for perfection, so, my next question is; if you could achieve it, what would you do once you got there? Wouldn't you still want to be better? If you didn't, isn't that similar to accepting defeat in some ways? Similar to giving up?

To keep from falling down the rabbit hole in a perpetual need for perfection, the key for me is accepting and loving where I am now and knowing that each day I will continue to work towards better - and that makes me happy.

This is a linkup! Follow the links to see how these amazing ladies are doing with their happiness projects!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Posing on Tuesday; Reverse Warrior

Aaaaaaand we're back! Apologies to my dedicated pose breakdown readers. Last week I wasn't feeling reverse warrior, so I asked T to take some shots of me in a different - more exciting - pose.  They didn't turn out and I had positioned myself poorly.
It was a reminder to me that I am still growing as a yoga practitioner and that just because I did something correctly once doesn't mean I won't mess it up every now and then in the future.

So, today, we are back to the poses in the dancing warrior sequence with

(Viparita Virabhadrasana)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Some Links & Some Stuff; 1

I've been coming across some really amazing stuff on the web lately, so I thought I would do my part and pass it along...

1. For anyone who ever thought yoga would be better with some Metallica. I might be one of those people.

2. This space blew my mind. I want.

3. Mae Whitman is in every movie - this list does not include Independence Day or Scott Pilgrim vs the World

4. There is a chart for everything. Something helpful for everyone.

5. Were you a teenage girl in the late 90's? I was, and my answer is Backstreet Boys.

6. This week, I FINALLY made this salad. It was just as glorious as I hoped it would be.

7. Dark chocolate sweet potato bread pudding will be happening in my house. Mark my words.

8. Behind the scenes making of a cookbook. Not to mention, one that I need to own.

9. Wino? This place is legit. One type of wine at a time until it's gone. It's a struggle not to buy all the wine.

10. I may have a panic attack if asked to walk down these stairs.

Happy Monday, y'all!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Seven Days of Yoga; Week 9

Sunday I went to a self defense workshop at the studio. It was intense. There were eight of us in the class and we took turns having him attack us so that we could basically stab him with a kubotan, and run away.

Monday I got a pedicure, which had the opposite of the desired effect and put me in a bad mood. I got home and cleaned for a little while before going a little nutso on the bedroom floor and claiming it as my at-home yoga space. Then I did a solo practice for about 50 minutes. I did headstand last before calling it a night, which I knew was a bad call as soon as I got into bed and was the opposite of sleepy. FYI, headstand will wake your sh*t up if you do not take the time to do some twists or a bridge or something before ending your practice.

Tuesday night I went a little crazy. There was a 630 total fit body class I wanted to try, so I took that. It was a lot of everything. Seriously, I don't think there was a muscle I didn't work - lunging, pushups, planks, curls, press, squats, everything. But then afterward I thought, "Oh, I'm only a little sweaty and tired, I should be able to do an hour of yoga". It was a struggle, but it felt so good. The next morning, my legs were communicating that I should not do anything like that ever again.

Wednesday I managed to make it to Power Yoga. It was bittersweet for a couple of reasons. Yoga is always awesome, but 1) It was my last free class at the studio. Now that the training is over, I'll have to start paying for my classes again. And, 2) My legs were still angry at my from the day before.

Thursday night was Yoga at my mom's. It was pretty mellow, but nice since I had worked the heck out of my legs the two previous nights.

Friday night was back at Combat Cardio. I don't know if it was just me being majorly out of practice, but man, she worked us hard.

It was late in the day before we finally got out of the house on Saturday. I taught my class from 4 to 5 and then met T at the gym. The main studio was empty so we, along with a handful of other folks took it over for around an hour of "freestyle". I stuck to yoga, but I managed to really challenge myself, which was pretty dang cool.

How was your week? :)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Get Your Kubotan On

Last weekend I was lucky enough to participate in a self defense workshop at the studio. We were eight women led by a former fire captain and anti-terrorism expert. He lectured for a while. We learned where we should and should not park, that it is not okay to let your guard down once you're in your car, and a little bit about the mentality of a rapist - which apparently is more about utter hatred than it is about control.

Here are some things you should know about rape and sexual assault:

  • Three out of four women attacked, knew their attacker. Please don't misinterpret this to think that you will not be attacked by a stranger.
  • Attackers look for women who are distracted. Get out your keys before you go outside and walk directly to your car. No playing on your phone.
  • Parking structures are actually safer than outdoor parking. Parking structures typically have cameras everywhere. You may think outdoors, it's easier for you to get away, but it's also easier for your attacker to flee, or worse, grab you and flee
  • You are not safe until you drive away. Ok, you've gotten into your car. The doors are locked. The windows are up and you pull out your phone to text some friends. Attackers carry ceramic tools that, when slammed into a car window, cause the glass to break and fall away - leaving you vulnerable.
  • If you are home alone and someone knocks on the door. Don't open it - unless you are expecting that person. 
  • The first choice should always be to run

Then he passed out these 6" plastic rods to keep on our key chains for self defense called kubotans. In case you're not familiar, even if you're not trained how to use these things, if you get out your keys and you've got a kubotan on there, they're a huge deterrent to any potential attacker.

We lined up and took turns practicing how to use it, how hard to strike and in what way, and  - at the end of three and a half hours - he attacked each of us.

One at a time, we stood up in the middle of room, eyes closed, armed with a kubotan - and we had from the moment he touched us to open are eyes, and try and get away using any means necessary until we got the heck out of the room. We actually used our kubotans to injure him so that we could escape. This guy was bruised and bleeding by the time we were done. 

I highly suggest that all women get themselves a kubotan. Despite having learned some majorly scary stuff, I left with a rush of adrenalin and feeling of empowerment. In the event that I am ever attacked, I feel that I will be prepared.