Previewing Summer Reads on Spring Break

One month ago today, I was lying on a beach in Isla Mujeres, Mexico. I vacationed with my dear friend E and we had similar expectations regarding the trip (which is crucial for traveling with friends). Basically, all we intended to do every day was eat guacamole, go to the beach, read, and drink a marg or two. I made it a true spring break in which I left anything that was school- or work-related in NYC. What I necessarily did the most of that trip was read for pleasure. While I have a summer reading list that includes a lot of career-related literature (that I am electively choosing, though!), I am so excited to read for pleasure this summer and to massively tackle my Goodreads (love that app!) “Want to Read” list.

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During my Mexico trip, I read and recommend so, so, so highly:

Flaneuse: Women Who Walk the City by Lauren Elkin

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Read with caution: it will make you want to travel and leave the comfort zone of one’s natal city immediately. A snapshot from my journal from the day I picked up this book (in the figurative e-book sense, that is):

I am thinking of Ta-Nehisi Coates and how he wrote of his time at the Mecca (Howard University) and how, in Between the World and Me, he would hole himself up in the library he loved so much. He would sit there, with a book and a notebook, and riff — superimpose — his own thoughts onto what he read. And I am now at Hu Kitchen and I just luxuriated with a matcha cupcake and Earl Grey tea. My Kindle is out and I am reading a sample chapter of Flâneuse. I am enchanted by the idea of flânerie, just like I was in 2012 when I took Anthropology of Cities at Wesleyan and read Baudelaire for the first time.

milk and honey by Rupi Kaur

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The only way to write about this book is through responding with poetry.

and then sometimes.

i think poetry.

is the only way to make sense of a nonsense.

world.

— finishing milk and honey by rupi kaur

— emulation

— resonance

 

 

 

The Big Life by Ann Shoket

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It was like reading Seventeen Magazine all over again…but updated to fit my present circumstances. This book gave concrete, no BS career and career-life balance advice that I have already started to bring into my own career situations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BUST Magazine

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This is by far my favorite magazine. I feel like as a teenager, I spent a lot of time looking for magazines that represented my generation and what we believe in as much as BUST does. With DIY sections to the most amazing interview with the amazing Solange, this is the perfect beach read magazine!

How to Slay Finals Without Losing Your Zen

Disclaimer: I write this as someone who already lost my zen during this lovely finals season (can you smell the sarcasm?). As a result, I’ve had to consciously find ways to reclaim my calm during the chaos. This is very much so similar to how I came to yoga. I was stressed out and the kind of person that needed yoga, not the kind of person who would seem to just naturally drift on into an asana / meditation combo. I tend to find that those are the people who get the most out of the practices.

  • Find an accountability buddy and commit study time to them. Text them when you are going to start studying and when you are going to finish studying. Research shows that accountability increases productivity and the likelihood that sh*t will get done.
  • Keep your spaces clean and de-cluttered. My boss makes sure that her desk is gorgeously decluttered before she leaves work every day. I admire that so much…the ability to leave with clarity and begin again with clarity. When it comes to any space, that’s what high-quality work demands, and it makes it that much more pleasurable.
  • Have an exercise plan (a challenge, even!) that is a #treatyoself for this period of time. I started doing SoulCycle’s Turn It Up 10 challenge when finals first started to hit. The endorphins help with the focus, calm and levity. The 45-minute classes make the timing doable and the lack of a commute makes the exercise totally conducive to studying. It’s a great release for the stress and I’m making the exercise work for me during this time, not the other way around.
  • Practice studying in a hygge way. As you know from the blog, I’ve been a big fan of hygge this year (who hasn’t, really?). This is all to say…get COZY when you study. Drape a blanket over you. Grab a cup of tea. Wear your comfiest PJ’s or yoga clothes.
  • Bask in how fun using a planner can be. I absolutely adore my planner. Lately, I’ve started using bullet journaling techniques in it. This allows me to schedule in time to have fun and practice self-care. In my planner for this weekend, for example, are all of my assignments, and a manicure / pedicure appointment.
  • Do at least one de-stressing activity a week; #treatyoself. Maybe this is said mani / pedi. Maybe this is a special restorative yoga class. Maybe this is a massage or a walk through the park. Whatever it is, schedule it as a way of making time for it. That way, when you return to your work, you’ll do so with a fresh and refreshed perspective.
  • Create a mise-en-place every time you sit down to work. A mise-en-place is a culinary strategy: laying out all the ingredients and tools so that it’s all within reach. I first learned about using the mise-en-place as a strategy for doing work from Gretchen Rubin’s Happier podcast. It’s by far the best strategy I’ve gleaned from that show. Having everything in one spot makes doing the work so much easier and the distractions much fewer.

15 Ways to Re-start the Day (after it has already begun)

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I don’t know about you, but there are days that just don’t go as planned…or that just don’t go well. I find it a lot harder to do a mental re-start at, say, 3pm, than at 7am, yet the need to re-start, rejuvenate, and recharge can be just as necessary when the day is halfway through.

Okay, I’ll get less abstract here. As you all know, I went to Indiana over my spring break to spend time with my guy. The morning we were going to do our day trip to Indianapolis to go to this fantastic brunch place, I overslept…by three hours. The people who know and love me best were so proud of me when I told them this; balancing work, graduate school, and a side hustle has left me with a fairly high strung and generally early schedule that makes sleeping in a challenge. However, I did not see my morning of necessary rest in this light (heck, I didn’t even see the rest as anything resembling a necessity). Instead, I woke up totally freaked out that I wouldn’t have time to do yoga before being in a car for an hour and a half. I had an icky feeling all day, was a tad reactive to certain situations, and deeply craved a more grounded and yogic perspective. It wasn’t long before I realized what I needed to do: start my day over! So, to spread the love of the starting the day over in the middle of the day practice, I am sharing this list of ways how here.

  1. SUN SALUTATIONS – While they are meant for the morning, doing them in the middle of the day is a phenomenal way to channel that morning fresh start energy. My yoga teacher suggestion is to do five rounds of Sun Salutation A. If you’re feeling ambitious, three rounds of Sun A and three rounds of Sun B work great as well!
  2. MAKE A CUPPA coffee or tea – Allow the ritual of the beverage to re-set your brain, heart, and mind. Make it a mindfulness practice as you sip the beverage peacefully and maybe catch up on blogs, the paper, or magazines as you do so.
  3. WASH YOUR FACE – Splash cold water over your face and apply face wash and moisturizer. Breathe deeply as you massage your cheeks. This is especially good if one of the reasons you need to restart your day is because you need a bit of a wake up!
  4. SET AN INTENTION – Write down an intention for the rest of the day. How do you want to act? How do you want to perceive yourself? How do you want others to perceive you?
  5. INVERT THE BODY – Go upside down! This can be a downward facing dog, shoulderstand, headstand, or handstand (it can even be legs up the wall!).
  6. MEDITATE – Set a timer for ten minutes. Put your hands on your lap. Press your feet into the floor beneath you. Close your eyes or focus on one point in front of you. Breathe deeply. Namaste.
  7. 10 DEEP BREATHS + PRATAYAHARA – Pratayahara is one of my favorite niyamas (abstentions) of the yoga practice. It means to shut out some / most of the senses as a way of drawing inward. It can be incredibly rejuvenating, especially after a long day with a lot of external stimulation.
  8. SEX – Speaking of stimulation…with yourself or someone else sometimes it provides just the reset.
  9. 1-MINUTE DANCE PARTY – Blast some Beyonce. Turn off the lights. Rock out.
  10. PHONE A FRIEND – This 75-year-long Harvard study says it all: connection is the most important contributor to happiness. Feeling connected can be as attainable as a call to a long distance bestie.
  11. JOURNAL – Write about why you need to re-start the day, and how you can go about doing it. You might be surprised by what comes up!
  12. TAKE A NAP – Literally go asleep and wake up anew. This is something that I tell my students when they emerge from savasana: to stretch out like they’re waking up first thing in the morning…even if it’s 7pm. Start fresh!
  13. TAKE A WALK IN NATURE – Go outside and breathe in some fresh air. Fresh air, plus the lateral motion required in walking can do wonderful things to simply re-set the brain.
  14. SING IN THE SHOWER – Just do it. You’ll thank me later.
  15. STRETCH – Forward fold. Roll up vertebrae by vertebrae. Lift your arms up in the air and flex the palms like you’re doing a handstand on the ceiling. Take a big breath in. Really, it can be that simple sometimes.

Travelogue: Weekend in Chicago

Last weekend, I went to Chicago and had an unadulterated blast. We did so much in so little time and caught up on sleep. What I love so deeply about traveling is the way time seems to slow down and speed up and take on a life of its own all at once. That weird stretching and tightening of time was the making of a phenomenal mini-vacation. Here’s what we did:

Art Institute

I’ve been to Chicago before and knew that this time, I needed to go to the Art Institute. The spaciousness and quality of the museum represents what Chicago is all about: all the goodness cities have to offer without the cluttered feeling they often give off.

Bad Apple Brewery

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image via Pinterest

This place had an overall awesome vibe with an insanely lovely waitstaff. It made me really realize I wasn’t in New York anymore. The burger I had, too, was extremely satisfying (it was topped with fig puree and goat cheese!).

SoulCycle

The Hip Hop Saturday class we took at the Southport location (which is in such a cool part of town!) was absolutely phenomenal. Kirsten opened class with my fave track from the new Kendrick Lamar album, and it was at that moment that I knew I was in for a kickass ride.

Amazon Bookstore

I didn’t know that these existed before coming across this one! I love going to bookstores as a core way of exploring a new city, and this concept store (basically, it’s Amazon prime, but with physical books) was not a disappointment in the least! They also had a Stumptown Coffee Roasters inside (score!).

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Confession: I’m not a huge ice cream person, but the #basic in me is a major lover of frozen yogurt. Jeni’s, which is known to have the best ice cream in the midwest, has their own way of making froyo: with buttermilk! In case you can’t tell by the joy on my face, it was absolutely delish.

Violet Hour

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We went for before-dinner drinks at the chicest cocktail bar I have ever been to in my entire life: Violet Hour. I went there during my first trip to Chicago, and it was classy AF.

Big Star

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Image via Groupon

Right across the street from Violet Hour is Big Star, where we went for delicious tacos and an avocado-pumpkin seed salad that had me smacking my lips. It was an overall joy-filled time!

Intelligentsia

En route to the airport, we had to stop at Intelligentsia because a major way to know a city is through its coffee (in my humble opinion). When I walked in, I had a sudden desire to be a freelancer there.

Where’s your next weekend vacay? Care to share the fun places you go? 

What to Pack for a Weekend Getaway

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As I believe I’ve been making clear on the blog, 2017 is a year of major travel for me, for so many reasons. There’s something special that can happen in your mid-twenties, I’m learning. Me, and many of my friends, have this lingering feeling that we are untethered for what may be the last time for a long time. Untethered to other people, a specific geographic location, future plans, a long-term job, the list goes on. We have this burning desire to make the most of this time that we are not permanently accountable to others, and many of us are choosing to use that time to see the world.

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While I’m still at my day job, I am doing a lot of weekend trips. Recently, I’ve been to Pennsylvania, Mexico, and this weekend to Chicago. I usually leave from work and have to pack accordingly. I have a tendency to over-pack (whoops!), which creates a lot of unnecessary wardrobe confusion once I arrive. Hence this post where I hope to aggregate good packing list resources, as well as my own personal – but customizable – weekend getaway packing list.

  • SoulCycle Uniform or Yoga Outfit. I have one complete outfit made entirely of SoulCycle apparel. I call it my SoulCycle uniform (branded sports bra, tank top, leggings, socks, and headband) because I only wear it to SoulCycle and nowhere else. This saves a lot of time when I’m looking for exercise clothes. If you’re going the yoga route, I suggest that you bring one pair of leggings and one top with a built-in sports bra.
  • Going-Out Outfit. What is an outfit (only one!) that you can wear from dinner to drinks?
  • Flats. Make sure that they are easy to walk in!
  • Boots. Again, make sure that they are easy to walk in (and relatively waterproof in case it rains).
  • Daytime Outfit. Jeans, a shirt, and sweater are perfect for this (i.e. the layering effect).
  • Pajamas. I suggest light ones (a t-shirt and shorts).
  • 3 Underwear. The necessities.
  • 3 Pairs Socks. The necessities.
  • Bra(s). One white and one black is usually a good rule of thumb.
  • Packed Toiletry Case. I personally love this sprinkly Kate Spade one.
  • Jacket. Suggestion: Wear it on the plane!
  • Small Purse. Something that can hold a wallet, keys, and cell phone, but no more (oh, and don’t forget to pack those things either).
  • Kindle. Make sure it’s charged and connected to WiFi before you go so that all your reads can download properly!
  • One Pair of Earrings. Make the colors fairly neutral (I like hoops for this!) so that they can go with a variety of outfits.
  • Sunglasses. You never know and one of the worst feelings is being without sunglasses when everyone else is squint-free.
  • Headphones. Seriously, these are a travel game-changer…especially if they’re noise-canceling!
  • Backpack for Main Carry-On. I love this one from State Bags.
  • Journal. Documenting is so important when on the road!
  • Pens. Pack only two or three to be a minimalist.
  • Planner. love, love, love my Lily Pulitzer planner when it comes to traveling because it has an entire gorgeous section for “Escape Plans,” as they call them. These pages, as you can see above, have spots for packing lists, itineraries, and activities / excursions. Those pages are where this blog post idea originated!
  • Cell Phone. I’ve been using the Netflix Download feature a lot to pre-load my phone with some TV and movies pre-travel.
  • Chargers. I can use the same one for my Kindle and Beats headphones, and I pack a mini iPhone charger.
  • Deodorant. Shove it in there!
  • Small Fragrance. I got a pack of mini fragrances from Anthropologie a while ago and they’re a game changer; I can just grab one and go!
  • Tea or Beverage Mix. I love Bengal Spice Celestial Seasonings teas and Nibmor hot cocoa mixes.
  • Snacks. My go-to’s are Rx and Lara bars and pre-portioned bags of almonds.

Here are some of my favorite blog posts on weekend packing lists:

My #the100dayproject

One of the first blogs that I read the entire archives of was Kimberly Wilson’s Tranquility Du Jour. This month on her blog, she is stressing the importance of a passion project through pursing a #the100dayproject challenge. The idea of the challenge is simple: for 100 days, you commit yourself to doing a little something of a creative act each day. Wilson writes,

Elle Luna, author of The Crossroads of Should and Must, hosts a 100-Day Project encouraging participants to commit to 100 days of doing a creative project for 5-10 minutes. No fancy tools or training needed. Just a desire to try  and commit to something for 100 days.

unnamed-2.jpgIMG_4323.JPGI have wanted to to take this blog more seriously (in a #livelightly way, of course) for quite some time now. This #the100dayproject feels like an ideal way to commit, in a manageable way, to honing my blogging skills through consistent practice. My goal is to, for the next 99 days (I started yesterday) work on my blog for ten minutes a day. As is my belief with my yoga practice, consistency matters so much more than quantity in the formation of meaningful habits. Because I started four days after the above start date, I will end four days after it as well and will track my progress through a chart I set up in my new bullet journal (post on that forthcoming!).

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Here is what I would like to accomplish through this project (because writing it down is the first step in making it happen in my book):

  • I want to develop my photography skills on social media and through incorporating original photographs into blog posts.
  • I want to curate content that inspires people to lead meaningful lives. I want to blend in all aspects of my own life into the posts.
  • I want to grow my readership…by a lot, if possible, and start to form virtual relationships with this blog’s audience.
  • I want to update the overall look, style, and layout of Growing Up On OM as a brand for 20-somethings who are trying to lead balanced, nourishing, holistic and sustainable lives with yoga in mind.

Do you have an idea for a passion project you can do consistently for one hundred days, for only 5-10 minutes each day? 

Travelogue: My Week in Indiana

2017 is and will continue to be a year of travel for me! You can expect plenty more posts like these, inspired by both domestic and international travel, and can see them all in sequence by using the hashtag #travelogue2017. While this blog began as a yoga blog and you can be sure – like any daily practice – I will feature a yoga studio or two per city, I am deeply grateful for a yoga practice that seems to fit into my life naturally without dominating all my travel. There are only a few cities in the world that boast yoga as a main attraction (i.e. Portland and San Francisco). So, sit back, relax, and get ready for some well-rounded travel writing!

Oh, Indiana! The hoosier state! On a long walk to Upland Brewery with my boyf who recently moved back to his hometown of Bloomington, we talked about the people we became friends with in college, and the geographic diversity that attending a small liberal arts school in the middle of Connecticut miraculously gave us. While I grew up in Manhattan, I can count on one hand the number of New Yorkers I befriended in college. Instead, I have friends all over the country (some all over the world!) and that has opened up a myriad of opportunities for travel. That, and being in a long-distance relashe, make getting on a plane a monthly occurrence!

Without further ado, here’s what we did, and what I recommend to do, in the hoosier state!

Bloomington

Laughing Planet + Soma

Our first stop my first day in Bloomington was a familiar one. Laughing Planet is one of those quirky chains (two words that can tend to feel like oxymorons) that exist in both Bloomington, Indiana and Portland, Oregon. Their burrito bowls are innovative yet somehow simple and delish. They can also, if desired, provide a welcome break from all the (ethical and sustainable) meat eating that B-town has to offer. One of the great things about Laughing Planet is that it’s housed right above Soma – this lovely and adorable coffee shop that I so wish was in my college town.

Busman’s Holiday

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On Thursday, we went to see a local band perform. The band is composed of two brothers and some other musicians that chime in for various other songs. Both bros have great voices, though one is the lead vocalist and the other drums on a suitcase! It didn’t take long to realize that most people in the crowd knew them personally. I quickly downloaded their music on Spotify and couldn’t recommend it more!

Upland Brewery

Portland and Bloomington have more in common than Laughing Planet. Something I’ve missed from my time away from the East Coast is brew culture. Breweries have a whole ethos to them that is hard to replicate. They are relaxed, easygoing, and have prioritize quality with all that they serve. We went to Upland my second night there, and then I made us return three days later because I loved the vibe so much. The beer, too, is above par (oh, and all of their meat is locally and sustainably sourced – environment for the win!).

Know Yoga Know Peace

I went to a $5 class (those are offered once per day) at this studio tucked into a street in downtown Bloomington. I’m a sucker for the integration of yoga philosophy into the asana practice without being too over the top and I’d say that this beautiful dimly-lit studio accomplishes that. It was a welcOMe break from the more fast-paced vinyasa flow that my New Yorker self has become accustomed to, and left me feeling like I had breathed deeply which at the end of the day is the marker of a meaningful practice.

Hopscotch

The one coffee shop besides Soma that I passed through was Hopscotch (a walk away from Know Yoga Know Peace). This Café had a way more hipster-y vibe. I got a turmeric latte with espresso and was able to sit outside with a copy of the New York Times, which was lovely. Inside was a hub of laptops, working students and professionals.

Indianapolis

Milk Tooth

Usually, I tend to not feel like a foodie. Going to Milk Tooth, however, and the sheer enthusiasm I felt before, during, and after that meal, definitely made me cross over into foodie territory. We may or may not have planned this whole trip to Indianapolis to be able to go to this acclaimed restaurant on a weekday so that there wouldn’t be a weekend brunch rush. If we did…it was totally worth it. The layout of this restaurant was kind of tent-ish (there were no walls facing the outside seating area), allowing for tons of natural light to pour in on that sunny day. The silverware and napkins on each table was stored in Café Dumonde tins (way to my heart!).I ordered a blueberry buckwheat scone, chickpea frisée salad, and root vegetable latke. N ordered an escargot tartine and carrot cake waffle. We feasted!

Record Store

With full bellies and doggie bags, we walked along Mass Avenue to check out Indy. We came across a fantastic record store (that also had a cafe inside!). We perused and N even managed to find a few $3 ones to buy and play on his legit unreal custom-made speakers that we used for more than one dance party of two.

Columbus

Miller House Architectural Tour

We also took a day trip to Columbus, Indiana. Full disclosure of my New Yorker self here: I didn’t know Columbus, Indiana was a place. I am learning that the point of travel is to broaden horizons and to de-center the places we know to be home. This can only happen when bubbles get popped. It is a shame I didn’t know about Columbus, Indiana beforehand because dang, is it awesome! We went on an architectural tour of the Miller House, which is owned by the Indianapolis Museum of Art. From the website:

In 2000, the Miller House became the first National Historic Landmark to receive its designation while one of its designers, Dan Kiley, was still living and while still occupied by its original owners. The house showcases the work of leading 20th-century architects and designers: Eero Saarinen, Alexander Girard, and Dan Kiley.

What I particularly loved about the house was the conversation pit and Finnish suite-style minimalist bedroom – common area design. I was fascinated from start to finish and could not recommend this tour more as a way to gain context for so many architectural designs we take for granted today.

Anyways, that’s the story of this New Yorker’s time in the Midwest. So grateful for this trip, and all the discoveries along the way!

In My Bag

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Earlier this year, I took advantage of a Kate Spade Surprise Sale and bought this tote for 75 percent off. I am deeply obsessed with it, and feel instantly more put-together throwing it over my shoulder. I love that it zips up (though it takes an effort to pare down what I carry enough to allow it to zip). I love that it has a hook for my carabiner clip to strap my (also Kate Spade – what have I become?!) water bottle onto. What I love about it is that, unlike my backpack or my former lower-quality totes that opened in every direction, it forces me to be intentional about what I carry. While I am writing my first “in my bag” post – I love reading these on other blogs! – I know that all these things are purely symbolic. I believe in Tim O’Brien’s words and the idea that we carry so much baggage with us every day. More than that, everything we hold – including the good – is symbolic of aspects of ourself. So, here’s what’s in my bag on a typical day:

MqGZWCWTTRYMR5a5.jpgiPhone: I spend a lot of time on my iPhone. From the WordPress app to Snapchat to Pinterest, so much of my social and work lives intersect on this device.

imgres.jpgRXBAR + Gum + Tea: I am super prone to being hangry. Carrying a snack on me at all times is so, so necessary for my personal well-being. Gum also wakes me up in the afternoon when I’m a bit sleepy. As does Fortnum + Mason’s Smoky Earl Grey Tea.

sweaty betty 240.jpgYoga Clothes: I usually go from work to yoga so my yoga clothes typically include Sweaty Betty pants, a sports bra, and a Laughing Lotus tank.

lilly-pulitzer-agenda-stickers-2.jpgLily Pulitzer Planner + Planner Stickers: I am obsessed with my Lily Pulitzer planner that I bought at the beginning of this school year. It has a spot for planning my vacations, taking notes, monthly calendars, and the day-to-day. I also bought a pack of cute planner stickers from Paper Source that I love to decorate the interior of this beautiful planner with. When super busy, documenting the cluttered days in a stylish way helps.

UV.pngBeats by Dre Headphones: I bought these with my holiday bonus from work after really feeling ambivalent about spending so much money on headphones, but my purple beats make my day every day, and I get so much use out of their wireless capabilities when I’m cleaning my apartment or stowing my phone away at work.

imgres.pngKate Spade Wallet: I got this at Second Time Around and was thrilled to finally find a wallet that carries all my cards!

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 9.44.37 PM.pngKindle Paperwhite: I used to have a Kindle Fire, but I switched to a Paperwhite because I wanted to feel like a reader of books more than a user of a tablet. I love how user-friendly and designed-with-readers-in-mind it is!

Sparkly Water Bottle: Enough said.

Tinted Lip Balm: I use Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm and Burt’s Bee’s Lip Shimmer to both rejuvenate and color throughout the day.

Grad School Folder: I carry around a Poppin folder with just the readings I want to get done in a day. In an effort to not overwhelm myself, I put them in here and then transfer them to a binder after the class in which we discuss them.

image.jpgMoleskine Notebook: I have a large squared Moleskine notebook to record my thoughts, journal, and sketch out ideas.

What do you carry in your bag?

 

 

4-Day Weekend: Livin’ it Up in this City

Last weekend was one of the most fabulous extended weekend stay-cations I’ve ever experienced. New York has so much to offer that it’s rare to feel as if one is fully taking advantage, but this weekend with a combination of friends coming into town, getting some movie-watching in before Oscars weekend, and the kickoff of Harlem Restaurant Week, it felt incredible to be one of many that chose to stay in NYC during a long weekend and do things to actively appreciate this unbelievably incredible city that has a multiplicity of greatness to it that I am humbled by.

Friday

Riverbank Run

Eager to see my guy who was in town for the weekend, I rushed home after work to join him for a run around the track at Riverbank State Park. The cold literally made my phone stop working and while I was at first severely disappointed to go on a music-free run, I eventually began to enjoy the meditative experience of running (jogging, really) in silence.

ROKC Ramen + Double Date

Screen Shot 2017-02-26 at 9.32.44 AM.pngI live in upper West Harlem, which is apparently the land of hidden gems. At the suggestion of my roommate, we went on a double date to ROKC, which has fabulous ramen, cocktails, and wait staff. I couldn’t recommend it more.

Saturday

Soulmates SoulCycle

This was unlike any other Soul Cycle class I’d ever experienced. It was led by Sue and Sean, a couple that met at SoulCycle, and are now both instructors. Between sharing their love story and playing cute 80s love songs, they led a sold-out class at W77.

I Am Not Your Negro Documentary

maxresdefault.jpgThis was by far the highlight of the entire weekend. I Am Not Your Negro should be required viewing for every American. I remember sitting in my high school English class, desks re-arranged in a circle, for the purpose of discussing Baldwin’s essay “If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me What Is.” It is so rare that we get to contextualize change-makers on their own terms. At the end of the documentary, the credits Written by James Baldwin appeared on the screen and they seemed so appropriate; even though the documentary was made after his death, his words leave a legacy that this world – this country in particular – need so desperately right now. I am planning on doing a Baldwin author study group this summer – let me know if you want in!

Harlem Shake

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After we left the Magic Johnson Movie Theater, we walked the few blocks to Malcolm X, trying to process the film and yet unable to process it all at once. We arrived at Harlem Shake, got burgers and beers, and talked about the place of all of this in our world today.

Red Rooster

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We did not want to leave Malcolm X that night. It was bumpin. So, we walked into a totally crowded Red Rooster, ordered some drinks, and danced and talked some more. It was the perfect Harlem evening.

Sunday

Yoga at Laughing Lotus

Image result for laughing lotus nycWe woke up on Sunday because the boyf had a soccer game to go watch and I had some yoga to do. This Soul Sweat class was true to its name and by the time we reunited on 14th St, I needed some food.

Taim

Screen Shot 2017-02-26 at 9.38.09 AM.pngThe fact that Taim isn’t packed for how incredibly delicious it is baffles me. To me, my family, and everyone else I know that’s gone there, it is the best Israeli food in the city (I highly recommend the sabich – eggplant and egg – sandwich)!

Toilet Paper Exhibit at the Cadillac Showroom

We then took a walk to the Cadillac Showroom, a totally weird place with a fantastic Joe the Art of Coffee inside. I don’t completely understand what the exhibit was about, but it was definitely fun to walk through. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Monday

Call Congress

I woke up on Not My President’s Day, put on my Nasty Woman t-shirt and started calling congress using 5calls.org, which now has an app that I highly recommend downloading.

Chelsea Market

We then went down to Chelsea Market, followed by Milk Bar, for some lunch and good company.

The Bachelor

In the evening, my roommates and I opened a bottle of wine and settled in to watch The Bachelor. These cozy moments of connection aren’t anything short of critical of our popular culture today, and I mean that in the most fun way.

Tuesday

Arts ‘n Crafts

IMG_4086.JPGMy stepmother dropped off my 9-year-old sister at 8:45am Tuesday morning. The first stop on our day together was to a pottery studio on the Upper West Side, Little Shop of Crafts.

Books of Wonder

I have found it tremendously comforting to spend time in bookstores lately. Being surrounded by literature that opens up new worlds and possibilities is deeply healing and inspiring. The sis and I each chose three books, found a bench, and began to sample them all by reading the first chapter of each, before choosing one to continue with.

Yoga at Laughing Lotus

I ended the day in one of my favorite ways – with a wonderful heart-opening Lotus Hour.

10 Ways to Practice Self-Love for Under $10

Happy Valentine’s Day! Happy belated Galentine’s Day! Happy Day of Revolutionary Love! With so much to celebrate involving one of my absolute favorite words – love – I started thinking about one of the goals of this blog: assisting millennials in practicing self-love in small, manageable and consistent ways so that they – we – can better serve the world we live in. This February 14th, I want to share 10 ways to practice self-love for under $10. Too often, the rhetoric of self-love overlaps with the rhetoric of advertising – getting us to be part of a “self-love” consumer base that makes us forget that self-love is something that is a right, not a privilege that should cause us to break the bank. Here are some inexpensive strategies for practicing self-love…

  1. Do a themed home yoga practice. This morning, I re-discovered a playlist I made for Valentine’s Day from back when I taught yoga consistently (you can find it here). At 5:40am, I lit three candles in my yoga room, turned the music on, and folded myself into a child’s pose. Starting my day off with yoga was definitely a lovely way to start the day off with self-love. To find out how to do a home practice of your own that is both safe and sustainable, check out my e-course here.
  2. Treat yourself to a fun coffee beverageMake it something you don’t get everyday. Make it a treat and allow it to infuse your morning with the feeling of specialness.
  3. Meditate. 
  4. Write a gratitude list.
  5. Get a change of polishThese often cost less than $10 (way less than a manicure, but for a similar effect).
  6.  Buy a new book for pleasure.
  7. Purchase a magazine and read it in bed!
  8. Get a mindful coloring book (or download mindful coloring pages off the interwebs) and get to it!
  9. Put on a face mask!
  10. Catch up on blogs.

Enjoy the day! And comment: how are you practicing self-love this February 14th?