Yin Yoga + Meditation

Motivation to get you through hump day!

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Recently I completed a multi-week yin yoga and meditation series at my yoga studio, which largely focuses on Bikram yoga.  Bikram is the type of yoga I practice regularly because, as challenging as it is, it is also beneficial and both my mind and my body feel great after practicing.  Sometimes completing a class gives me such a feeling of accomplishment while also helping me feel calm and centered.  But Bikram is an intense and rigorous practice and sometimes we all need a change of pace, without being sedentary.  

I’ve taken a few yin yoga classes, which my studio offers as a compliment to the yang practice of Bikram.  The classes I’ve taken have always been enjoyable, allowing me to stretch into the fascia, or deepest points of muscle, which feels great especially after a Bikram class.  But I’ve never taken yin consistently so when my studio offered a 6 week program of a yin and meditation combo class, I jumped at the chance to work both into my weekly schedule.  And I’m so grateful I did.  The act of practicing yin, which enabled me to slow down while still keep moving and learn to find stillness in discomfort, and meditation, which helped me learn to clear my mind while simultaneously staying present, both helped me tremendously.  

The last few weeks have been so hectic (in a good way) and I often found myself looking forward to Sunday afternoons to move my body and unwind my mind.  I highly recommend trying either yin or meditation or practicing them together if you have the opportunity.

Rose, white and blue

Inspiration for the new week!

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With the summer season upon us, there are multiple long weekends that call for patriotic attire.  I’ve never been a fan of donning anything obvious to celebrate the holidays and opt for something more subtle, yet still appropriate.  I bought this top months ago, when it was still a chilly spring, and have been waiting for the right weather and occasion to wear it.  It’s bold red color make it an unexpected but appropriate option for any summer weekend and it pairs just as well with dark jeans and flat sandals as it would with a pair of cut-offs and espadrilles.  It also pairs well with a glass of rose!

Could anything be more summer than that?

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Fashion note: I’m wearing a J.Crew top (similar here), Gap denim (similar here), and Nordstrom B.P. flat sandals (similar here).  

WEEKLY WRAP UP/WEEKEND COUNTDOWN

What got me through the week and what I’m looking forward to this weekend!

 

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Best PB cup ever- and it’s vegan!

After a lovely long weekend, I’m bracing myself for a very busy next few weeks, filled with concerts, birthdays and weddings.  While the days are sure to be a bit chaotic, I’m looking forward to doing my best to enjoy some of the special moments and also find ways to stay focused.  Summer is (un)officially underway and there’s so much to look forward to.  What are your weekend plans?

  1. The best rose for summer: Tis the season for being basic aka the endless rose all day hashtags on social media.  Truthfully, I’m guilty of doing this too but I honestly do love rose.  It is one of my favorite adult bevs of choice and I drink it almost exclusively in the summer.  This list serves as a go-to guide for the best rose to sip on all summer long.
  2. Jack Johnson 2017 tour: I’ve always loved Jack Johnson and this weekend I’m kicking off the summer concert season at one of his shows at the beach.  If you’ve never seen one of his shows, I highly recommend checking him out.  His shows are the essence of summer- fun, lively,with good crowds and all around happy people and the occasional very special guest musician.  In my opinion, he’s better live.
  3. Sweet potato muffins: Given the many events happening over the next few weeks, it’s inevitable I’ll be eating slightly more treats and indulging in slightly more glasses of wine than I normally would.  In an effort to not fall completely off track, I’m trying to make some healthier treats for myself to have on hand so I can reach for something less guilty when I need a snack.  These muffins are the perfect mix of sweet and spicy and offer plenty of vitamins thanks to the sweet potatoes and no sugar! They’re the perfect option for breakfast, lunch with a side salad or even for dessert with some yogurt on top.
  4. Wedding gift guide: Summer often means wedding season for many people.  My own wedding is a few months away and as it gets closer, we become more aware of the gifts to register for as well as what we should give our own friends. To help guide us through the endless options, Goop recently released its summer wedding gift guide, complete with ideas on what to give members of your own bridal party.  If you’re getting married or are attending a wedding, you should check it out for some ideas.

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The best veggie meatballs

Delicious recipes for the curious cook!

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Chances are if you like meatballs then you won’t be interested in an option that has no meat.  But I am here to tell you about a delicious vegetarian option that’s so tasty you won’t even notice the lack of meat.  Jessica Seinfeld’s new cookbook Food Swings appeals to me so deeply because it’s all about living a life of balance; finding meals that appeal to your virtuous side when you need healthy nourishment and dishes that indulge your cravings when you’re in the mood.  These veggie meatballs are a virtuous twist on something that would otherwise fall on the naughty side.  And they don’t disappoint.  The veggies packed a flavorful punch thanks to red pepper and stay hearty with a little bit of farro thrown in as well.  Pop them in the oven to get them slightly browned and crispy on the outside to emulate the feel of a true meatball.

For the first time I tried the dish, I continued the healthy spin on an indulgent classic and piled the veggie balls on top of some zoodles with diced tomato.  For a dinner made of leftovers a few days later, I whipped up this easy chickpea salad to accompany the rest of the veggie balls, which even my fiance gobbled up.  

Looking for a new dish? Why not try this tonight? And for more recipe ideas, check out Jessica Seinfeld’s latest cookbook.

Get outside!

Motivation to get you through hump day!

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As mentioned in my previous post, I spent some time in Charleston recently and was thrilled to get outside in the warm southern heat.  Charleston is beautiful and there’s no excuse not to get outside and explore when you’re in the city.  The gorgeous weather motivated my friends and I to wake up early on a Friday morning, head to a local park and do some yoga.  While I maintain a consistent yoga practice, it’s most exclusively practiced inside a yoga studio, sometimes even without any windows.  It had been so long since I last did any exercise outside and it felt so good to feel the sunshine, sweat out some toxins and all while dogs were playing nearby.  It was just what I needed to start an otherwise slightly un-healthy but fun weekend off on the right foot.

When’s the last time you exercised outside? Go ahead- do it!

Southern Charm

Inspiration for the new week!

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Last week I spent the weekend in Charleston and it was everything I imagined it to be.  The city is bustling, with endless bars and restaurants, historic and serves up all the old school charm you want from a colonial city.  The architecture and homes are beautiful, with quaint cobblestone streets and stunning beach views.  Not to mention there’s an endless list of hot spots to checkout, including the cutest dive bar with a backyard patio.

And it’s hot- as in heavy, humid hot.  After the cold spell Chicago had, the southern heat felt so good but you had to dress for it.  Luckily, I pulled out the summer classics from my closet, including a sailor tee with of-the-moment lace up details, denim boyfriend shorts, metallic slip-on slides and an easy cross body bag. Not picture here is the straw fedora, which is a must for looking the part of southern belle and keeping the hot Charleston sun out of your eyes!

 

Fashion note: I’m wearing a Madewell tee (similar here), Gap denim shorts (similar here), J.Crew purse (similar here) and slides (love these new slides from Everlane).

Grilled Halloumi Salad

Delicious recipes for the curious cook!

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As a true cheese lover, there are few varieties I haven’t tried and incorporated into many dishes.  But there was one cheese I’d seen pop up in numerous recipes and in many Instagram posts recently and one that I hadn’t tried- halloumi cheese.  This type of cheese is a semi-hard cheese that’s popular in Greece and Turkey and is used in many vegetarian dishes as a sort of “main” feature, since it’s a bit meatier and can be easily grilled because of its texture.  After seeing it incorporated into so many delish looking recipes online and in one of my favorite vegetarian cookbooks, Mary McCartney’s Food, I had my heart set on trying it.  Unfortunately, it’s a somewhat tricky cheese to find as many regular grocery stores don’t carry it, but I finally found it at Whole Foods (you can likely also find it at any specialty cheese store).  I was pleasantly surprised at just how easy it is to grill it, either in a skillet or on the grill or grill pan.  I used McCartney’s recipe for a fried halloumi salad with roasted red peppers and laid it on top of a bed of kale for the perfect satisfying yet light vegetarian meal.  Even my carnivore fiance, who was somewhat unsure of the unfamiliar cheese, loved it.  It’ll definitely be in our summer meal rotation!

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Feeling curious about halloumi? Give it a try this week!