Lifestyle

Life Lately - A New Home and LOTS of Yoga!

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I'm back! Well, let me not get ahead of myself.  I'm back to writing my blog.....today. No promises of how regular this will be, but I have good intentions! 

So much has happened since my last post in July. For one, I bought a home! I moved into my new condo with Mike at the end of August. It's only a few minutes from where we previously lived and it's bigger.  The whole Summer was a big stress-ball and there were moments trying to get a closing date just made me want to give up and keep renting. In the end, everything worked out and we're settling in nicely. I can't wait until we are totally unpacked, shelves up, and more furniture is purchased but overall, I love my new home. 

Speaking of being home, I've been spending A LOT of time at Firefly Yoga practicing several times a week.  It helps that they're so close to home. I've completely fallen in love with the practice again.  I've dusted off some of my old books. I just finished The Living Gita: The Complete Bhagavad Gita - A Commentary for Modern Readers and I'm now reading Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life: A Guide for Everyday Practice.

I started posting videos on Instagram doing a couple of inversions.  I figured a couple of things: 

1) I see too many videos of people in the gym lifting weights. 

2) Not to sound egotistical, but I like to see myself.  I like to see if my alignment is right.  My lower back has been giving me problems for a long time and I don't want to make it worse. 

3) Being a bigger, stockier, bulkier, curvier girl - whatever you wanna call it, I hope someone who is curious about trying yoga but is afraid because they don't have that "yoga body" will see it and say "Wow! If she can do it, why not me?"  I got a yoga body too! It's just not what most people think of at first. 

I still have those insecurities.  Recently, I stayed in the city and reserved a spot for a class at Lyons Den Yoga in Chelsea. I've never been there before but I heard great things about it and they teach Baptiste Yoga which is the type of yoga I've been doing.   I could not sleep the night before because I had SO MUCH anxiety of walking into a yoga studio full of beautiful, tall, fit NYC people and then there's me.  I hate feeling that, I thought I was over it since I've developed a stronger practice but nope! Turns out I had nothing to be worried about and I felt like an ass afterward for losing a night sleep.   

No matter how much I practice asana, the biggest challenge is always getting out of my own head.  I learned from that day and hope to go back to Lyons Den when I stay in the city.  It would be a nice balance to all of the unhealthy eating I do when I'm there. =D

I hope to get back to blogging again on a regular basis, this Summer was just ridiculous with the move that I didn't get a chance to really enjoy the Summer.  Now that Fall is here and it's my favorite time of year, I hope to bring myself back to some kind of normalcy which includes writing more. 

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NYC Pride Parade 2017

Empire State Building - NYC Pride Celebration

Hey guys! Long time, no write - or read! I had such a fun weekend, I thought I'd write about some of it. For the first time in about 20 years I went to spectate the Pride Parade in New York this past weekend.  I especially wanted to go in light of the last year and all of the negativity floating about.  There is so much division, anger, frustration, and intolerance.  I wanted to get a shot in the arm of something positive, open, and welcoming.  It was such a fun day once I found a spot to stand.  This parade gets more and more popular every year.   

Progress has been made with LGBT rights but there is still a lot more work to be done.  Now that the Supreme Court has decided to look at the "Wedding Cake" case from Colorado, such objections make me shake my head just because of religious views. I just hope the SC will review this and realize that this is just another form of discrimination and should not be tolerated. Where do you draw the line? Can a doctor refuse to treat a trans person because they think they're a freak?

I digress, the parade is more as a celebration now but it started as a march that took place June 1970, one year after the Stonewall riots, as a form of protest.  Over the years the march has turned more celebratory but there is still a lot of politics and causes represented in the parade.  Check out my Instagram pics below (scroll right!)

Early in the parade you see the politicians shaking hands and waving flags, then you have civil rights and other protest groups making their statements.  Once all this passes, the corporate sponsor floats appear with the dance music thumping and everyone gets into party mode. The corporate sponsorship was a bit much but they do give away lot of freebies...

Maybe it's part of that bubble I feel like I live in and sometimes get defensive about, but I was really happy to see people come together and celebrate this way. I wish to see this more.  I love that I live in a state that supports the LGBT community and that I live in such close proximity to NYC.  Not all of New York state is like this which is frustrating, I don't get it.  I don't understand why there are still people who feel the need to preach hate against this group, or any group that's different from what they know. When your only reference to speak out against homosexuals is biblical, I'm sorry, that just doesn't sit well with me.  Unfortunately, I don't see that going away completely any time soon but I'll try to keep doing my part as an ally and speak out for equal and gender rights. 

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My Introduction to Hot Yoga

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It's been almost 3 months since I got back into yoga, hooray!  It's been great so far and I really wish I didn't wait so long to get started again.  Today I wanted to specifically talk about Hot Yoga which I started back on Friday, April 21st.  I mentioned in my previous post that the idea of "Hot Yoga" freaked me out.  I hate the heat! I don't like Summer! I'm clumsy, I'll probably slip on my own sweat and break my face. But Firefly Yoga in Fishkill is sooooo close to home.  I wanted to include more Vinyasa into my practice because I missed that flow movement and  it feels like a full body workout. 

I talked about signing up for a Power Vinyasa class, taking the class, and hating the class because I thought I was going to die from the heat, I was thinking negative thoughts about myself the whole time, but I couldn't stop thinking about the class afterward.  I've been back every Friday since - I went this morning!  It is just one hour but it is the most difficult hour I put my body through. 

I learned my lesson after the first class. I need to hydrate starting the day before, not just that morning.  Thursdays I am drinking water all day and peeing a lot.  When I went back the following week, I was better prepared for the heat and the mind games that may happen.  This time was better. I still took breaks when needed but I kept my mind on my breath and in each pose as I mentally cheered myself on instead of being self deprecating.  I was still super wiped out afterward but felt good.

In the weeks following, I can see a difference in my body.  Poses I struggled with the previous week were more solid the following week.  I know there will be weeks where my body will still struggle but these Hot Yoga classes have been more mentally challenging than physical - don't get me wrong, they are REALLY intense physically and sometimes my lower back just doesn't want to have it, but I see it as a real mind over matter practice. Plus my teacher, Noelle, is super sweet, it's hard to hate her lol!

Now I feel like I've turned into one of those Crossfit people who never shut up about doing Crossfit, except it's Hot Yoga.  I'm just so excited to have a regular practice and exercise routine again!

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Being A Yoga Beginner...Again

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Let's talk about really being into something and good at it, then stopping for many years, and then starting it again and discovering that you can't just pick up where you left off. 

Years ago, I was crazy about Yoga and practiced several times a week when I was still working in the city and living closer to NYC.  It was great, I was doing a bunch of crazy stuff and feeling confident in my practice.  Then I moved to Fishkill and my daily commute became a killer.  It sucked the life out of me and my yoga practice died off. I was always tired and just hating my situation.  

I neglected yoga for years! Even after I left my job, I didn't start up my practice. I had surgery, I got older, I gained weight, I tried jogging and other ways to get in shape, I wasn't driving yet so I couldn't get to a yoga studio even if I wanted to.  I've been driving for a little over a year and I'm feeling more comfortable behind the wheel.  I started thinking about yoga earlier this year but whenever I thought about going to a place, my insecurities would kick in - the same ol' nagging voice that's been sleeping for so many years: You're too fat for this, you're body is not the same anymore, you're gonna look stupid. Yes, I have gained weight and my body is definitely different than it was 8 years ago, more aches and pains, more cracks and pops but I don't want to accept this.

I learned about Two Trees Yoga in Beacon through A Little Beacon Blog and they have a lovely website.  I liked their brand of "simple, honest yoga" and being a place for "anyone who is living with movement limitations, body and joint stiffness, physical disabilities, chronic illness, pain and fatigue." I fit in there somewhere. I went to a morning Gentle Yoga class and felt right at home. I signed up for an Unlimited membership that same day.  I've been going to Gentle Yoga class twice a week and it has helped a great deal to get reacquainted with the mat and muscles that haven't been used in years. 

However, I wanted to push myself a little more. I missed that vinyasa flow of yoga, that good sweat where you feel like your'e cleaning the bad stuff out.  There is a studio very close to home, Firefly Yoga, but they do Baptiste Yoga which physically demanding and very hot, not "Bikram Yoga" hot, but still pretty damn hot.  

Hot Yoga always scared me. The last thing I want to do is pass out during a class, so I stayed away.  I've taken classes where I sweated my ass off but it's not the same. For weeks I kept looking at Firefly's website and their Facebook page and debating whether I should sign up for a class - a Friday morning to start off my weekend.

I was greeted by the instructor who was super sweet and welcoming. I stepped in the studio and it was already SO hot! I hope I was hydrated enough (I wasn't).  I was hating the class and thinking "This ain't for me. I'm not coming back. You tried and you suck." I took many breaks and internally kicked myself every time, I was disappointed that I couldn't hang like I used to, and was struggling to hold the most basic poses. I felt like my body gave up on me, defeated.  Finally came time for Savasana - it's over!! I laid there and thought "Yay! You did it!!"  I'm gonna write a separate post just on my introduction to Hot Yoga because it's pretty crazy.

I totally feel like I'm starting over again. I get frustrated when I am unable to do a pose I used to be able to.  While I "know" yoga in my head, my body doesn't anymore and I need to respect that. Some people say it will come back sooner than I think. I need to be patient with my practice.  This Hot Yoga class was a reminder that yoga is not just the poses (asanas) but also a mental practice which can be harder than the poses.

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Be Gentle With Yourself

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It took a few months but I dropped my 2-post per week goal for the year ha ha! It's okay, I won't beat myself up over it.  How have you been?

Now that I'm practicing yoga again, I've been going back and looking through my old issues of Yoga Journal. They're from several years ago but it's all still relevant today. I was reading an article that quoted Indra Devi which I titled this blog post after. The article was about trying to do TOO much all the time. The author, who had a super busy career, was going on a retreat only to find they were trying to do ALL THE THINGS instead of just relaxing. That's always been my problem.

I recently had to step down from an activist group I had just joined.  It was just way more involved than I thought it was going to be and I just couldn't bring myself to give them the type of commitment required. A Little Beacon Blog is getting busier and busier and I really need time for yoga and a day off every week, that's all I ask. I really burnt myself out following all the politics and craziness going on. I was hesitant to step down, I am super organized, why can't I handle this??? I hate saying I'll do something and then go back and flake out, because it makes me feel like a flake. But it was just too much. Once again, I had to say "no" to additional work

I like to help! I want to do my part! I want to be involved with things - this is especially important when you work from home, you start to feel disconnected from the world and the internet can only give you so much.  I think that's one of the reasons I've dove back into yoga as much as I have with possibly taking three classes a week.  While these classes aren't exactly a social call, it's a chance for me to say "Yes" to myself and allow myself to be out and just experience life outside of my four walls.

Do you overcommit? How do you keep yourself in check?

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Tattoos, Tax March, and Easter Outfits - PICTURES!

I wanted to share some pics I took from my recent visit to the city. I spent Easter weekend down in NYC and it was busy, busy busy!

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Friday I went to the New York Historical Society to check out the Tattooed New York exhibit.  It was very well done. They had a lot of ground to cover.  Tattooing as we know it has been around for over 300 years and it pretty much started in New York down in the Bowery.  There was even a live tattooing demonstration, it was kind of weird to watch - like I was invading on the person's privacy or something.

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Saturday was the Tax March in protest of Trump not releasing his tax returns after he said he would before he was elected.  One of the many promises he has yet to keep or flip-flop on.  The Trump Chicken was there too! It was a very big turnout, probably the biggest turnout of all the Tax Marches that took place that day. 

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If people don't understand what the big deal is, it is a VERY big deal. It is about transparency, and not doing what you said you were going to do.  The President is clearly hiding something and is doing a very bad job convincing us otherwise.  He owes it to all Americans to disclose this information and prove once and for all that he is not in Russia's pocket (or vice versa).  His hands are in way too many cookie jars and he needs to come clean. 

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Sunday was Easter and one of the most fun things to do in New York is to check out the Easter Parade on 5th Avenue.  It's not exactly a parade, it just people hanging out on a closed off street showing off their crazy outfits and having their picture taken.  It's not just the hats anymore, it's the whole outfit! People get more and more creative every year and will also use this opportunity to make a political statement.

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Always a good time!  It was over 80 degrees that day and Central Park was PACKED!  It was probably the most packed I've ever seen it.  

And what's a weekend trip without FOOD!  Shout out to Hold My Knots at the Gansevoort Market on 14th Street and The Meatball Shop which opened a location in Hell's Kitchen.  I had carb-overload!  I was not expecting to get this much food but it was so delicious. Next time I'll skip the pasta side and choose a veggie instead. Mike had the chicken meatballs with spicy meat sauce and it was really good, I'm getting that next time! 

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Maybe Ignorance Is Bliss Sometimes

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I remember South Park once parodied one of the kid's mom being glued to the television for days after September 11th. She was laying on the couch watching 24 hour news for days - you just couldn't stop watching the coverage.  Hurricane Katrina had a similar impact, I know I watched A LOT of cable news. I didn't want to miss any updates of what was turning into Mad Max coming to life in Louisiana.  For the last few months, I found myself, once again, glued to current events but this time it was mostly on the internet.

As I have gotten more involved in politics and activism, the amount of information out there can be so overwhelming.  The number of local Facebook groups that I have joined is ridiculous.  But like all things, too much of something can wear you down. Keeping up with politics is no different, especially if so much of it is upsetting.  45 is signing Executive Orders faster than I can find out what they actually are about.  There was one day where my crazy busy brain just messed me up and I became really upset.  "Defeated" is a better word, my stomach remained in knots. It sucked. I can't keep feeling this way, do I throw in the towel? As luck would have it, I read Depressed by Politics? Just let it go, it was perfect timing. Yes, it was starting to depress me and I don't need that in my life.  

I'm learning how to manage the amount of time I spend keeping up-to-date with the news. My Pro-Wrestling podcast listening has been neglected because of this stupid President lol!  It's okay to check in on Facebook and other groups once a day.  I don't have to read the NY Times and Politico every single day (sometimes checking more than once). I spend time on Netflix and Amazon looking for something new to watch, it usually involves Bigfoot. I think this is another reason I started up yoga again - besides the physical benefits, it's an hour and 15 minutes twice a week where I am not thinking about any of those things and it's just me treating myself to something awesome. 

Have you been feeling overwhelmed with politics?  How do you shift your gears mentally?

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Things To Do On A Snow Day

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I am in the middle of a blizzard, I think it's called "Stella" (??), which is impacting most of the entire North East. Where I live is looking to get AT LEAST a foot of snow!!! This is how my bench looked this morning.

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I still love the start of a snowfall.  I don't get to enjoy "Snow Day" since I work from home but it's nice to not have that pressure of wondering how I would get to work or if I should even bother.

Last year I talked about my love of breakfast, reading ebooks, and binge watching my Roku.  Not much has changed but I'll add a few more things to the list of things I enjoy doing on a snow day: 

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I'm still going through my subscription of New Yorker Magazine.  I'm currently 2 weeks behind with their issues.  Once this subscription runs out I'm looking to start another, I'm thinking National Geographic.  Any suggestions?

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Preparing my coffee in the morning has become a different kind of ritual.  It takes longer now, but I can afford the extra time to make my coffee.  I've gotten into grinding my beans which I purchased from Irving Farms Coffee Roasters in Millerton, NY.  It is the only coffee I drink black because it's that good.

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Listen to more records!!  Last Friday there was a Vinyl Record Pop-Up in Beacon, NY so I had to check it out. I found some good stuff.  This is my half of the loot, Mike brought home some good stuff too.  This is a good day to spin some records all day, as long as the power doesn't go out.

My latest vinyl record scores

Are you snowed in today? What are you favorite things to do on a snow day?

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Isn't Everyday International Women's Day?

IWD

Yesterday was International Women's Day, did you do anything?  I must admit I didn't do much, except work - yes I worked.  Honestly, it was not a date I had engraved in my mind as a plan of action, it never was.  I shared some tweets, that's about it.  It's not that I don't care, of course I do!  There are just SO many calls to action now, my head is spinning.  It's kind of like "Earth Day", I don't need a day to remind me that the planet is changing and we all need to do our part to take care of it, it's a part of who I am.  

I do want to acknowledge those of you who did take a stand, marched, wore red, and made a statement. It's great to see the momentum of the Women's March still going strong.  It's important to keep pushing for equality for women and non-binary people in the workforce, education, and right to life.   I guess my problem is wishing we didn't need annual dates as a reminder to be better people, you know?   But I get it, some people are hard to educate or they'll say something stupid like "When is International Men's Day?"  Ignorant people can try to blow it off as fluff, but they can't ignore the issue forever.

So the answer to my question in this blog post is - no, not every day is International Women's Day. We need dates like International Women's Day as a reminder, a history lesson in progress and a measuring stick of how far we still need to go.

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My Vinyl Record Soundtrack Collection

It took me a while to jump aboard the vinyl record collecting train.  I honestly didn't think I would be into buying records again. When would I listen to them? I can't burn them to a CD (although there is equipment that can do that) and I can't upload them into an MP3 player (is there something for that?).  But it happened and it started with movie soundtracks, strange.  We have one of those stereos that look like an old radio but it plays records, tapes, and CDs.  It is being put to use!

My Vinyl Record Soundtrack Collection

When I was little, my earliest vinyl record was the Grease soundtrack.  I need to track that down again *mental note*.  My brother also had soundtracks for a lot of movies - Star Wars, Halloween 1, 2, 3, Escape From New York, Jaws.  Fast forward to last year and I've been paying more attention to scores and soundtracks to movies, especially older movies - 80s being my favorite.   Now you have companies like Waxwork Records, Mondo, One Way Static - just to name a few, and they are going ALL OUT on the soundtracks!  Not just the music/score quality, but the whole presentation!  

Here are some of my favorites: 

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It doesn't hurt when the vinyl is nice is pretty too. I'm a sucker for design.  I still have a long wishlist of soundtracks I'd like to own. Some I already have on CD but would like to have on vinyl (ie: Purple Rain) so the collector bug has definitely bit me.

Do you listen to vinyl records? 

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