"Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the
drink, taste the fruit." - Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Bust out the hallween decor!!!

Halloween is a time to let your alter ego out of its closet and embrace it - the one night of the year when it is socially acceptable to march over to your flag post, take down your usual flag, replace it with your freak flag, and fly that sucker nice and high. It's a night for your outfit and actions to lack complete and total sense and sensibility. It is believed that many years ago on Hallow’s Evening, now known as Halloween, the dead would rise up and roam the earth and that the living, in an effort to protect themselves, would don masks to scare the spirits away. Alas, a clear and reasonable explanation as to how the slutty nurse was born. 

In celebration of fall today, I am busting out the halloween decor. Enjoy the pics below - some of them are in the daylight, some at night. For the indoor decor, you can steal some ideas on how to inexpensively change out some everyday items and give them a spooky touch. Also, check out the short clip of the creepy blinking eyes in the bushes ;) What does your place look like for Halloween? Share some of your creepy decoration ideas here!  

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fall Kickoff

Fall is by far my favorite season, so it's especially exciting when it arrives - the nights get just a little cooler, the crisp smell of leaves fill the air, and the farmers market is brimming with fresh fall produce to make delicious meals with. Being able to dig your favorite big sweatshirt out of the dresser and take a walk out night, totally comfortable, is one of the most cozy things you could do. I forced myself to wait to crack open anything fall-scented until the official kickoff, and this pumpkin diffuser is definitely one of my favorites for this year. Right now it is sitting on a shelf in my bathroom, and it's the first thing to wake me up in the morning when I wash my face. I was never one to enjoy floral scents in the bathroom, so this is perfect for me.The dried flowers and dark reed sticks make this diffuser particularly different, and much more decorative than the standard light wood boring diffuser. Pick one up for yourself!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

End of Summer Quick Din

The other night I had a million things going on and was in need of a quick dinner. I had no time to run out anywhere and I was starving. I spotted the fresh tomato that had come from my garden, fully ripe, sitting on my kitchen counter and it reminded me of a favorite quick meal that I had somehow forgotten about until now. 
Sometimes it's easy to overlook the little things, and how the most simple, minimal ingredient meals can be the most healthy and most satisfying. I sliced up my summer tomato and topped it with the fresh mozarella I had leftover in my fridge, and then topped it off with some s&p, dried oregano, and a drizzle of olive oil. I never even made it from the kitchen counter to the kitchen table - I devoured it before I could get there. (Although I did stop for a moment, for the sake of this blog, to snap a quick pic from my camera phone). A small slice of fresh bread and glass of wine later, my belly was full and I was ready to work. What's nice is that it's a meal you can enjoy all year round, yet the freshness of the summer tomato really makes you stop and savor just a bit more than normal. If you're having a party or just a few friends over, this is a quick and easy app to put out that also looks great on the table and is light and healthy.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hot Yoga

I decided to try hot yoga for the first time tonight. Being that it is still technically summer, and the purpose of this blog is to take a moment each day to really live in the season we are in (no matter how close to fall we are or how much I am looking forward to it), I figured that now was an appropriate time to keep the heat going and give it a shot. I'm athletic, right? This will be a cakewalk. Here in Charlotte the temps are still well into the 80's and 90's. I know it's 'hot yoga', and they jack up the temps to 90 plus degrees in the class, but seriously, how different could it be from driving home in my car with no AC and in work clothes?

Very different. In fact, when I opened the door to enter the room I thought I had walked into a wall of saran wrap - the heat literally slapped me in the face and wrapped itself around my whole body. I unintentionally gasped for air, which of course made me embarrassed, but not one person in the dead-silent room even looked up. These people were in the zone. The class was packed, so I had no choice but to unravel my mat right next to the door since I couldn't even get into the room. (This, later on, would prove to be accidental genius - every time that door would open I would get a nice rush of cold air).

Literally, instantly, I was dripping with sweat. I've taken yoga before, but the temperature must have done something to my brain because I couldn't focus on what the instructor was really asking me to do. It didn't help that she spoke throughout, offering encouragements. "Let go of any anger, breathe into the stretch." Breathe? The woman in front of me just let out a hot yoga fart, and you want me to breathe deeply? I can't breathe, and I am very angry. Moving on. "I can see that some of you are stuck inside your heads. Quiet your thoughts, and listen to your body. What's your body telling you?" Well, right now my body is telling me that it wants to beat the shit out of me with a bag of trail mix. Oh yes, and that it's afraid my sorry tree-hugging ass is going to give it a heart attack, or worse, an infection from this sweaty, nasty room. But I'm supposed to be breeeeathing into the stretch, in "downward dog", watching my anxieties float away. "Don't worry about what your neighbor is doing, just focus on your own personal journey." I watch the woman next to me, her eyes closed, body contorted in a perfect posture of zen. Is it wrong that I want to push her over onto the woman next to her and watch a domino effect of wannabe yogis, disturbing all of their inner "Chi"s? Especially shirtless, long sweaty hair man in the front row with tight boxer briefs? Maybe I need yoga more than I thought? "Now sit down and outstretch your legs, reach for those toes, and remain here for a moment, your mind silent, in your stretch." Crap, is this class for an hour, or hour and a half? Why is this guy breathing so loud? A glass of wine would be great right now. Why do I have such ugly feet? Thanks, mom, for passing along that wonderful trait. You are so kind.

I exit the room for a moment to get a glass of water, and out pops my good friend Jacque, the reason why I am here. "Holy crap! I can't do this!" Me neither. After we mentally WebMD every possible disease we could contract from the sweaty room and hardwood floors, we decide we are going to march back in there, get our mats and get the hell outta there. But right before we re-enter, we have second thoughts. I say to Jacque, "Maybe we should just finish up? Only twenty minutes left." She reluctantly agrees. We open the door and realize that the lights are off, and everyone is face down on their mats, legs out. They all look like flattened, squished frogs. No one is moving. Oh, dear. Did we leave at the right time? Did the heat do them all in? There is another woman who is spread eagle up against a wall. Jacque and I look at each other and both agree that we are through.

On our way out, the girl at the front desk tells us she knows why we are leaving. It's the same reason she left once too, before she came back because of her simply not wanting to quit. She tells us how hot yoga builds your strength and immune systems, makes you feel great, and how she hasn't gotten sick in the whole two years since she's been practicing. She hopes to see us again. But will she? I dunno. As I drive home to my shower at 90 mph, I can't help but acknowledge the part of me that is curious. Maybe those people are all crazy. But then there is that nagging thought that maybe, just maybe, they are all onto something, or somethings, that I am striving for. Could it be inner peace? Becoming fully aware and in the moment, rather than always darting to the next appointment? A state of Zen that doesn't involve deadlines or caring what others think of me? Maybe. But one thing I know for sure: if I do go back, I'm grabbing the spot by the door.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Refreshing Summer Drink

It's September 10, but summer is still in full swing here in Charlotte (even though the chill creeping through my window in the morning is trying to convince me otherwise). For those days the the temps reach up into the 80's and 90's, cool yourself down with some simple and satisfying cucumber water. It's a nice alternative to the usual lemon water, but the bitterness is replaced by the cool and light flavor of the cuke. Make a whole pitcher of it and keep it in your fridge to savor for the next few days. Simply fill a pitcher with filtered water, slice a half of a cucumber into 3/4 inch rounds, and drop them in. Voila!

I recently had this in my fridge when my sister and brother-in-law were in town, and they were OBSESSED. This is also a great drink to serve at a brunch, or a spa party. You could also use mint and seltzer for another alternative. It's great because it's so simple and uncomplicated. Sometimes, just a little something unexpected goes a long way!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Poolside in the Summer

Ahhhh, summer. To be sitting at the pool, soaking up the sun, having a mimosa – this is the life. Days become longer and clothes become shorter, even on men lately. I don’t know whether it’s a European trend or what, but I am seeing more and more speedos these days, and “boy shorts” are actually being worn by boys. I scan the pool at my complex, taking in the scene, when suddenly – is that – cellulite? On a man? It can’t be. I look down at my drink. How strong is this stuff? I re-adjust my sight and look again to confirm what I had seen – OMG, men actually get cellulite? My first instinct is to rejoice, to stand up and do a victory dance, to point and scream and poke at it (sorry guys). I almost can’t help myself. I feel like I’ve just spotted Bigfoot, right here at our pool. We women have been battling cellulite every way we can, some of us ever-so-conscious of it that we drown ourselves in coco butter and try to sit in our office chairs for as little amounts of time as possible, to avoid “cottage cheese” butt. So yes, for a moment, I was actually happy to find that men are not immune to this lovely trait. But, (sigh), after careful thought and consideration, and much sympathy, I am here to help. 

Let’s face it boys, you care what you look like; some of you more than us ladies these days. “Metrosexual” is no longer a term reserved for that lone boy with spikey hair you see flexing in the mirror at the gym. Spa books are spilling with appointments from men, retail is pumping products and ads at you, and nail salons are enjoying a whole new clientele. It started out slow: men would get their hair highlighted, then their brows waxed; then there was the slow introduction and acceptance of “guyliner”, “mandals” and the “murse”. But, as with most things in life, with the good must come the bad. I introduce to you, “Male-ullite”.

According to Sharon Bell, health and fitness enthusiast and published author: “For many years, men have not really been very concerned about how they look physically because they really do not wear very short shorts and expose their thighs and buttocks…Although women are more likely to have cellulite than men, the male gender is not spared from this annoying aesthetic problem.” Still don’t believe me? Anyone remember the infamous moment when Howard Stern flew over the crowd at the ’92 VMA’s in ass-less chaps as “Fartman”? Google that, barf, then come talk to me. Now that you’ve got your head in the game, here are some things you could do to keep your Male-ullite in check: 1) Take a walk. The more you sit in your office chair, the better your chances are of having your rear look like an orange peel. Get up and walk around, even if it’s only for a half an hour a day. 2) Drink more water. Water is the best way to help keep your skin smooth. Period. And 3) Invest in a moisturizing body scrub. While this will not eliminate cellulite, it will help smooth your skin and make it much less noticeable. My favorite is St. Ives Smoothing In-Shower Exfoliating Body Polish in Mineral Therapy ($7, drugstores).
Good luck with the battle, boys, and remember: we women love men with dimples. On their face, that is.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Summer Movies: Eat Pray Love?

I recently saw the movie Eat Pray Love. I have to admit that I was really excited about the film because I had read the book and really enjoyed it. I tend to like books that are true stories, and I think that Elizabeth Gilbert did such a great job telling hers.

I was at work when the links to the trailers popped up on my computer. It was 8:15 am and I was still half asleep at my desk when I clicked on the "watch now" button on my screen. My tiny cubicle was instantly filled with lush scenery, the beautiful faces of Julia Roberts, Javier Bardem and James Franco, and incredible music. In just under three minutes I had seen close ups of authentic Italian food, the inside of an Indian ashram, and the beautiful beaches of Bali. Absolutely gorgeous, and so inspiring. What a great way to start the day! And then, the preview was over.

I became very aware of where I was when all of the beautiful sights and sounds came to a halt and I was left with nothing but the drone of the copier machine. I became even more aware when my co-worker shuffled by in her clogs with three leftover Krispy Kreme donuts - one in each hand, and one hanging out of her mouth. Yes, now I remember. I am sitting at a shitty desk in corporate America, wanting to pluck my stache hairs out one by one because maybe it would take my mind off the fact that I am not in Bali with Javier Bardem. Thanks for the reminder, Julia!

Beautiful scenery aside, I was overall not a fan of the movie. I felt that it dragged on a bit and that if I hadn't read the book, I would probably be very disappointed. I am adding this to the list of times that the box office has stolen my money *sigh*. What did you think?