February Link Love: Beauty, Bodies + Books

Introduction to the monthly Link Love column: One of my favorite blogs (and a total blogger role model of mine) is Gala Darling. Every month, Gala Darling publishes a link roundup in a narrative form of what she’s been reading. Lounging in bed on lazy Friday mornings (when I was in college) or Sunday mornings (now that I’m a working lady), I open up the links Gala posts like presents on Chanukah evenings. I want to create a similar experience for my readers…with the added bonus of documenting these reading gems so I no longer have 17 tabs open on Google Chrome. So, without further adieu, thank you Gala for the inspiration. Here is a delightful (Central Park) link carousel of my own.

taken at powell's books in sw portland

taken at powell’s books in sw portland

`This month has been busy – I didn’t do as much online reading as I did in December and January (I think that means I’m healing – whoot!), but I did read a novel (The Vacationers by Emma Straub). That said, what I did read was what online communities can be really good for in February: L-O-V-E spelled out in the alphabet of acceptance. It makes sense, then that February holds space for both Valentine’s Day and National Eating Disorders Awareness Month. And I chose the image above because both could use lots and lots of…#feminism.

* BUST tells us 10 things we might not know about orgasms.

* Here are the six best web series that we all apparently need to watch, according to BUST.

* This woman learned to find body acceptance through a relationship…but the finger always points back around to that being her responsibility.

I will work to earn love from me, who is the person who will always play the hardest to get. I will flirt as hard as I can, and I will win myself back.

* Watch the video for a brief history of young adult books – it’s like seeing my own reading history from one decade develop over many.

* NPR’s Krista Tippet nails it again with articulating the myth of multitasking (so for all my friends who call me a terribly multitasker…I WIN).

* Here’s Spry Living’s guide to the nation’s best yoga studios.

* Good PT + yoga = preventive asana therapy, via Yoga International.

* I am a routines junkie…though I should likely call it a rituals junkie. I love reading about how people spend their time and so appreciate how The Chalkboard  asks style icons, like this blogger at The Tig how they spend their days particularly in light of their health + wellness habits. The best restaurant tip I came across?

Take your time. Order your starters and have a glass of wine, and then see how hungry you are before you order your next course. It’s a great way to enjoy dining in general… pacing yourself and enjoying your food without rushing through it and you’ll inadvertently eat less. Alternatively, I would say one of the best tips would be to put your phone away. It’s healthy to be present. Everything can wait.

And a recipe I want to try?

Roasted cauliflower with chickpeas and hot curry powder – it finds its way into my salads, or as a side dish that I constantly nibble.

* And (drumroll!) The Chalkboard has an app…which means I really need to find my iPad charger!

* This is how two fashion bloggers go on a friend date.

* A very Portland(ia) list of protein bars.

Smart Girls at the Party said Happy Galentines Day!

Gala Darling is encouraging zine-making this project season and Rookie Mag shows us how.

* Speaking of Gala Darling, I’m pulling some articles from her February Carousel for my own:

* JK Rowling reveals 11 “facts” about the Harry Potter books after-the-fact.

Your body is not a problem to be solved!

* It’s NED month and Instagram is helping with eating disorder recovery.

* Here are 35 essential habits of incredibly happy people.

* Carmen Farina, my old elementary school principal who’s moved up in the world of education, is changing the course of NYC public schools.

* What happens when you’re insured, but not covered? The New York Times reveals.

* The HuffPo reveals the 4 things us 20-somethings should know about money.

* Anna Kendrick – who after last month’s NYT Styles article – has become my beauty/self-care icon, shares tips for making showers faster in Self Mag.

* Yoga instructor was rated by CNN as a career with some of the largest growth, via YogaDork. I could also not agree with YogaDork more about killing off the yoga studio paradigm.

* Now, I’ll end this link love on the most positive of notes…a yoga body is EVERYbody (34 photos to dispel the myth of the “yoga body”), via Sonima!

The Art of Doing Nothing

writing from venice, italy

Being a tourist in Italy feels a tad ironic sometimes. Here we are, running around cities like Rome, Florence and Venice, crossing monuments off a checklist and seeing it all. We wake up early and then are on the move, pausing for coffee, wine and yoga (I know, my kind of trip!). The irony lies in the fact that we’re in Italy, a place where local people sit in piazzas for hours, doing absolutely nothing.

The other day, we went on a Walkabout Florence tour of Siena, the Tuscan wine country and Pisa. At our four-course meal at an organic farm, we talked to a lovely woman who writes her own travel blog and was traveling here from Mumbai. As travelers meeting upon circumstance tend to do, we discussed what we loved about this culture we were exploring firsthand for the first time.

“The Italians have truly mastered the Art of Doing Nothing,” our friend from Mumbai said.

Through yoga, I have learned about the Art of Doing Nothing. Yoga, an artistic and creative practice in itself that focuses on the process rather than the end goal…the journey rather than the destination, is a form of this art. Yet I find myself, especially when I think of my life in New York and when I was at school, continuously asking myself How??? How can people just do nothing? How can we cultivate the beauty of not being busy like the awesome-looking enjoying-life people do?

During my time in Italy, I have observed some answers to that stressed-out question:

  1. Seek out and appreciate beauty. The world is a beautiful place and all of it can be hOMe. That said, it is easy to forget the beauty of our surroundings when also in the midst of chaos and the overshadowing ugliness of pollution and destruction. That is why beauty has to be sought and found, even if we find it by stumbling upon it. See a beautiful willow tree? Pause and look up. Spot a statue that seems otherworldly? Go up to it and look closer. Go to the Peggy Guggenheim museum and see a bunch of Italian five-year-olds on a field trip? Smile and say “Bonjourno!”
  2. Sit down and become an observer. There is a Sanskrit word called mauna, which means, essentially “vow of silence.” Being an observer requires a bit of a mauna practice. Sometimes we exhale so much we forget to breathe in. We find time and space to inhale by simply Being and watching the world take shape around us and it is in that practice that we can…
  3. See smallness in the midst of grandeur. The world is not only beautiful; it is huge. Yes, we all have a vital role to play in it, but when we think we are at its center, we get stressed out. Instead, practice being one of many. Go to a market (and not a crowded supermarket; a specialty market!) and lose yourself in the crowd only to find a more peaceful version of you later.
  4. Find a public space. This last step is vital to the facilitation of Doing Nothing. Public spaces allow us to simply Be without consuming. They are the vantage points from which we can be observers and see our smallness. From public spaces – such as community gardens and the piazzas and fountains that are in abundance here, beauty can be sought out and appreciated.

Now, tell me: How will you practice the Art of Doing Nothing today? Comment, please!