Christmas Gift Guide 2012

Here is your gift guide for that young urban professional-runner-yogi-healthy eating-dessert loving-blog reading special someone on your list.  In other words, here are a couple  cool things that I have and love, as well as a few things I would appreciate under the Christmas tree this year!

For the foodie on your list… The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook – OMG if you do not read this blog, you are crazy!  I saw her  cookbook at Angthropologie and I died.  It is so beautiful.  I have tried a good number of the recipes from the blog and they are just so wonderful, and the posts are so funny and well written.

the smitten kitchen cookbook

For the runner on your list… a Garmin!  This completely changes how you run and think about training.  Before recently, I would have said that it isn’t really worth the $300 investment for most runners, but now that the Garmin Forerunner 10 is out, I think it’s a super accessible running accessory that will have huge impact.  I even want one now because it’s so much smaller and cuter than the older versions.

For the snobby healthy eater on your list… a Soda Stream.  This is like one of those things I would love to have, but probably wouldn’t go out of my way to buy it for myself at this point.  I do think I would use it a lot.  I mean, what would you rather have, lemonade or sparkling lemonade??!! DUH!!

For the Yogi on your list… a Jade yoga mat.  I can not tell you enough what a difference a good yoga mat makes.  My Jade yoga mat was expensive, but SO WORTH IT.  I never ever slip on this mat, and I am a super slippery sweaty yogi.  I have the travel mat because it is cheaper, and it is still super thick.  I saw that they have an environmentally friendly one on Amazon now!

Jade Travel 68-by-1/8-inch Yoga Mat

For the yuppie on your list (or me)… I have been feeling especially needy this season, which is not something I am really proud of.  Last year, I said I don’t really want “stuff”.  This year, I was overwhelmed by how much “stuff” I found myself wanting.  I had to take a step back and realize that they are just a bunch of things I would enjoy having, but I don’t need anything new in my life right now.  That being said, I would really like new Citizens jeans, some light brown Aerosoles boots, everything at J.Crew (pink vest!), a nice wool coat, a tablet, and money to help me pay for a Crossfit membership this winter.  lol you know… nothing really…

However, I do hope that Santa (and everyone else) considers giving to people who actually do need things this season.   In fact, I would also really appreciate someone gifting me a donation to Girls on the Run.  I am especially passionate about the program in the SF Bay Area because I was involved with it, but all of the local chapters are doing a great thing!


“Adjusting to real life”

I emailed the manager on my upcoming client engagement this week to find out what I could do to get ready for my client work, which starts next week.  He answered my questions with brief responses, thanked me for reaching out to him, and ended by saying, “I hope the transition to real life has been going well.”  I laughed a little, but it was more of a courtesy laugh (Note to self: you don’t need to do that when you read emails), as I sat and wondered what he meant. 

Is this what the rest of my entire life is going to be like?  Probably not. 

Was my life real before now?  I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure.  

Does this suck?  I don’t think so.  Not yet. 

But my life has changed a lot A LOT in just the past few weeks, and I ‘m pretty sure it hasn’t stopped changing.  One really dramatic change for me is the way I approach exercise.  During the last six months, I often woke up to find that the only thing I had on my to-do list was a tentative workout… an if-you-want-to sort of run or yoga plan.  I almost always got around to it… lol. 

The biggest recent change has been the extraordinary pride I feel each time I lace up my running shoes.  It’s a really amazing feeling: “I did this for me.  I planned this.  I beat the odds.  I am capable of fitting this into my schedule.”  I know I’ve grown up watching my super busy mom fit her marathon training into her schedule, but it really is harder than it looks.  Well… it’s not harder… you just have to decide that it’s important to you.  Here are the things I’ve done so far to make healthy eating and exercise fit into my work schedule:

1. I cook a pot of 3 servings of oatmeal on Sunday night for the next three days.  While it’s cooking in the pot, I prepare three tupperware containers with brown sugar and PB.  I leave the oatmeal to cool on the stove and then seal up each serving with its toppings.  Ready for the next three days!  Repeat on Wednesday night for the next 2 days. 

2.  I knew I was going to be working out of the office for the next 2 weeks, so I bought a 2 week membership at the yoga studio right by my work.  They had a new student special for 2 weeks for $25!  On the days I plan to go to yoga, I simply pack a bag with some gym clothes the night before, and tote it to work with me on the subway.

3.  I’ve tried to mix up my workouts, so that the idea of it doesn’t sound like a total drag.  Having the yoga studio membership has been good because I look forward to the new kind of class each time, and I can alternate running days with yoga days. 

4.  Set a bed time.  I’m still working on this one.  It is Thursday, and I have red lines in my eyes that I only get when I’m really tired.  They appeared this morning.  I almost made it to the weekend, but not quite. 

5.  I know you’ve heard this one before, but tell people about your plans to work out each evening.  After my first yoga class I had three people ask me about it the next day, which also made me excited to go back. Plus, verbalizing your commitment is even better than writing it in your personal calendar.

What are your tips for saving time and making healthy decisions during the hectic work week? 

I have a quick awesome EASY healthy dinner to post soon!  

The many sides of yoga

Several years ago, one of my yoga teachers announced to the class, “keep your eyes on your own mat.  Their practice has nothing to do with what happens on your mat.”  The idea changed the way I thought about yoga… and school… and life… and then I wrote my college application essay about the quote, and then I tried to live by the quote.  Because whatever makes them happy is just that… what makes them happy.  And whatever makes me happy…

I just figure… and this might be a little too atheist for you… that my life is really just my life, and it isn’t worth much else.  I’m going to live it, happily or not, and then it will be over.  It’s super morbid and depressing, or it is super relieving and enlightening.  Because when I die having not been the president or a millionaire or an amazing author, maybe I will still have lived a happy life.  Success! 

This is my blog… and those are unedited thoughts coming out of my head.  Read it or leave it. 

This brings me to tonight’s yoga class.  I decided to try a new studio that is near work because they have a $25 for 2 weeks new student special, and because my firm will pay for half of my “wellness” expenses, so it just got even cheaper!  So I went today after work and tried one of their classes. 

Dear yoga,

Why are you so pretentious?  Why do we need to chant, put our hands into a prayer position, and sit in a heated room for more than an hour?  Does that really make me a better person?  make me more fit?  release energy out into the world from my heart? 

I just wasn’t buying it tonight.  This was the perfect contrast to the humble and simple yoga to the people that I came to know and love in Berkeley.  Does it make yoga more meaningful or effective when the teacher counts off the poses rather than explaining each posture, or does it just make the new students feel like idiots?  I wasn’t sure. 

Anyway, thanks, yoga.  Thanks for reminding me that yoga isn’t yoga isn’t yoga.  People make yoga what it is.  There are so many kinds of yoga for so many different kinds of moods and people.  Tonight I realized that my eyes were almost NEVER on my own mat, but on the people around me doing fabulous handstands.  I can’t even get my injured hamstring straight!!  The class was a reminder that perhaps I have let my eyes wander off of my own mat in my daily life as well. 

Yes, I will play the corporate game.  I will align my behavior with the expectations that come with my role, but I will not be disappointed in myself merely because I am witnessing the success of others. 



I still have two weeks to go at this studio, and I assure you I will not be going to that class again, so I’ll be sure to update you as my search for a down to Earth practice continues. 

About that running thing…

Aren’t you glad you read my running blog, so I can tell you all about my cross country move, my CPA study habits and my favorite foods!?  hmmm… something is missing.

Yes, friends, I have been running… a little.  My hamstring/sciatica/IT band/thing on my left leg under my butt that hurts like a bbbbeeeeepppp… yeah, that injury I have hurts super bad lately.  Today I worked at a catering event, and it was SCREAMING at me.  It hurts super bad when I walk, run, yoga (that’s a verb) and sit or sleep.  Hmmmm… MAKE IT GO AWAY!!!

I decided not to train for and run the SF full marathon a few weeks ago because I was in a lot of pain, but I don’t think lowering my mileage has really helped at all.  The answer, I’m assuming, will be to take some real time off to recover from this injury.  I will probably need to get some PT eventually since this is a recurring problem that pops up when my mileage increases. 

So what does a girl do with a mega pain in the butt when she is all set and ready to run a half marathon in a few weeks and an AMAZINGLY fun relay in a little over a month (Hood to Coast)?  Here is what I think… I am going to keep running low mileage: think 3-6 mile runs 4 times a week-ish.  I am NOT going to go to yoga for a while because I think it was really aggravating the injury.  Crazy how something that works so well for me at preventing pain can be so awful once I am already hurting!  I am going to spend more time weight training and elliptical-ing and spinning when I am able to get into a gym. 

Whadaya think?  I know it isn’t the BEST plan because it would be better if I stopped running and healed now.  Well… SORRY!  If you are really mad that I’m not doing it, don’t read anymore.  If you kind of understand where I’m coming from, we can be bffs!   

Loving life… in Berkeley!

Today when I was driving home from the airport (dropped Brendan off), I just was suddenly overwhelmed with a happy feeling.  You know… the “life is good” feeling.  I was cruising down the freeway, turning toward Berkeley and the gorgeous evening sky was glowing over the Berkeley hills.  I thought, “ I love this.  I love Berkeley.  I am so glad I went to college here.”  !!!!!! Finally!!!!!!

Finally, I have made peace with my decision to come to Berkeley.  aahhhh…

Besides Berkeley, here are the top 5 reasons why I love life tonight. 

1. I am not a morning person.  I am not a night person.  But I am an evening person.  I wish the late afternoon/after dinner time would go on forever without the sun going down all the way, and without my eyes drooping.  That is why I LOVE summer.  The sky carries the dusk-like glow for hours!  Gives me the happy feeling.


2. Today marks two days in a row not running, but it also marks two days in a row going to yoga!  I feel great.  I’m so excited that I can do all of the vinyasa flows on my toes now, rather than my knees! 

3. I went to Yogurtland tonight and they had ANOTHER new flavor!! woohooo!! That seriously just makes me giddy every time, even if I hate the flavor.  The new flavor tonight was chocolate milkshake.  Good thing because Janae blogged about the new flavors yesterday in SoCal, which included PB cookie and chocolate milkshake, and I was feeling a little cheated by my local franchise. 

4. Brendan is gone tonight, and he is gone everyday for 11 hours, and even though I miss him because I love his cute face, I LOVE my alone time.  (THAT, my friends, is a run-on sentence)  I used to die when I was alone, crawl in a hole in misery, not to mention binge on every food in the house.  It is so liberating to feel so comfortable in my skin and with myself, rather than by myself. 

5. I am headed to Portland tomorrow afternoon for a long 4th of July 10-day trip!  (that is where Brendan is tonight because we got different flights)  I love the summer in Portland, I LOVE the 4th of July more than any other holiday and I am so excited to go hang out at home with my mom!  I’m also getting pretty pumped for the half marathon on Monday! 

Some inspiration

At my favorite yoga studio Yoga to the People (YTTP) the teacher reads a quote at the end of every class while we are all getting settled into Savasana.  There is one quote that is always my favorite and I always try to remember it, but of course I fail to remember it once my body relaxes into meditative bliss… lol. 

Well… I must have had some seriously lame corpse pose going on yesterday because I remembered enough to google it!   

Our Greatest Fear —Marianne Williamson
it is our light not our darkness that most frightens us

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other

people won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
—Marianne Williamson

[Often said to have been quoted in a speech by Nelson Mandela. The source is Return to Love by Marianne Williamson, Harper Collins, 1992. —Peter McLaughlin]