Summer

So where have I been this last month!?!? Well this summer has just been absolutely incredible!

 

A few weeks ago I went to Boston for several reasons, 1- to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreaks (my 2nd fav band), 2- to see some friends I met along my yoga retreat in Italy, and 3- for some good ol’ quality time with the bf and relax!!!

Well let’s talk about that trip! The weather was so perfect!!! Friday night we arrived to our hotel, and sadly this was the only “bad” part of our trip. The company we used to book our hotel did not actually have the 1 we requested available and gave us a 2 star dirty hotel (that was going out of business this September) instead without even letting us know….. as much as this sucked…. we made the most of it b/c honestly all we did was spend the nights to sleep, we were too busy throughout the day to really let it drag us down……

That Friday was the Tom Petty show at the TD garden…. now I have been in love with Tom’s music since high-school, I always make all my friends watch his documentary (so if you haven’t you know what to do now), I’ve probably read over 6 books about him and the band…. I cannot get enough of these guys!!! (Pink Floyd will always be my number 1 but these guys are an extremely close 2nd)….. THE SHOW WAS INCREDIBLE!!! They were doing their 40th anniversary tour and you could just tell how much fun they were having. They started off with their very first song ever “Rocking Around (with you)”. A song that is quite cheesy and adorable and so typical Tom… it is not nearly their best…. but to see how much progress they’ve made with their writing is just mind blowing to me. I have seen these guys once before in college at MSG and although the show was fun… the energy was soo different this time…. not to mention he did my absolute FAVORITE SONG of theirs called “Crawling Back to You”….. this song has my favorite line of all his lyrics…. “most things I worry about never happen anyway” I often use this in my yoga classes as a reminder that we constantly fear what if what if what if…. or we go to the worst possible scenario no matter how unrealistic it actually is…. and let’s face it, these things don’t even come close to happening!

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I think the reason I absolutely love this band is b/c at every moment in my life, both good and bad… I can relate his lyrics to what I’m going through… from songs about heart break to the best love ever to war, fights, and just the journey of life their music has always reminded me of who I am and how far I’ve come. I can’t quite explain why this sorta thing happens with one musician vs. the next but it just does. It’s just a feeling you get when you hear a certain song or style of music that takes you to that moment in time where you felt that exact same emotion being portrayed and everything just makes sense again. They also did 2 other songs from the album Wildflowers… “It’s good to be king” and “wildflowers”…. It is probably my favorite tom petty album and it doesn’t get enough recognition, so if you don’t know it, go check it out! And I’m not entirely sure why b/c it came really unexpected but when they did “Learning to Fly” I cried happy tears…. something about the energy of being their that night just made me remember why I listen to music, play guitar, and just feed off of their lyrics to keep me going…..BEST/FUNNEST SHOW I’ve been to in quite some time!!!

So Saturday came and we got to meet up with the girls from our Italy retreat…. Meg and KB… KB introduced us to a studio called Xtendbarre and we took a TRX suspension class together…. now there were several options but I of course chose the hardest level (without knowing lol) and man let me tell you…. I got my butt kicked hard core! KB made it look so easy, she was an extreme bad-ass about it and looked like a pro! I give her so much credit. (Meg, Gary, and I still love you KB we just now can kick your butt harder with all those squats lol). All joking aside it was a great class and we loved it so much that we found a studio here in Montclair, NJ that teaches TRX suspension classes. We’ve already taken 2 and plan on getting monthly memberships come September wen we come back from all our next set of weekend get-a-ways! After this TRX class we went to a place called Mother Juice….. holy cow it was sooooooooooooooooo delicious! Everything of course super healthy, vegan and vegetarian options of all sorts. KB has been posting photos of this place since we met in April and I have been craving it since then… it did NOT disappoint by any means. If you’re in the Boston area check them out!

Later that evening we went to the farmers market and this little arts and crafts festival where I found a yoga shirt that combines my chemistry degree with yoga (see photo on the slideshow). We had dinner at Post 395 a farm to table restaurant that was incredible! The vegetable pin-wheel I had was sooooo good and Gary was finally able to get his seafood platter! The following morning I treated us to Stephanie’s on Newbury (not just b/c it has my name, but b/c it’s rated one of the number 1 brunch spots in all of Massachusetts). The coolest thing about them, was you got to build your own bloody Mary’s… now I do not drink them, but they are his absolute favorite things about brunch…. this drink was bigger than his head, he got bacon, hot peppers, celery, olives stuffed with blue cheese, celery and I don’t even know what else (see that photo in the slideshow). HANDS DOWN ONE OF THE BEST BRUNCHES WE’VE EVER HAD! I got the blueberry pancakes with cinnamon butter, and he had some sort of skillet with everything you could possibly need for a vacation brunch. The white sangria was amazing as well! Was such a great weekend, and I’m so thankful for KB’s and Meg’s brunch date with a workout included. (as you can tell even when I travel I try to get some fitness classes in and experiment)

I also dragged Gary to goat yoga this weekend and he fell in love with it…. I went without him in June, and I don’t think he understood the hype when I told him about it, but now he knows and he really had a great time. They are amazing creatures and to be able to practice in THEIR space is just a really humbling and playful experience. Check out http://www.madlavenderfarm.com for more info on goat yoga!

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Aside from all that everything else is going great, my health coaching flier will be launched very soon and in another 2 weeks I will begin to see clients! (feel free to message me if you are interested in my program offers, there’s rates for all different needs and they can be done via skype, phone call, or in person)

I am getting my Barre  Teaching certification in September!! (and I get to stay down the shore that weekend for a mini-vacay)

And I will be away in Cape May for labor day weekend enjoying a well deserved relaxation on the beach weekend.

ANDDDDDDDDDDDDD in October I will be teaching yoga in Costa Rica….. dreams are starting to come together and I am so happy to be sharing it all with you. Keep your dreams alive no matter how big or small!!!

Happy 4th!

Happy 4th of July everyone! I hope wherever you are you are having a great day. I have had the luxury of having a 4 day weekend and it’s been well needed! As most of you know I work a good 65+ hours a week doing all of the things I love but sometimes we need that extra relaxation time. So what have I done all weekend!?!?

On Friday I had the amazing opportunity to teach glow in the dark yoga for a fun 2 hour workshop. We did some basic flow on our mats, got off the mats and worked with a partner and even did some strength building exercises to get us into some inversions!

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Saturday and Sunday I taught regular vinyasa flow classes (as I do every weekend) in the mornings and then spent the day relaxing. On Sunday we went up to bear mountain for a hike (was a little too hot for this so we did not get very far) and we saw Despicable Me 3…. was realllllllllllllllly cute! and we went to one of our favorite little spots to eat a meal out side called Catch on the Hudson in Haverstraw, NY (check it out, it’s well worth it!). For the 4th they do fireworks as well so it was a nice extra bonus, but the food is amazing and speaks for itself. See some photos below!

Yesterday and today have been more relaxing and cleaning up around the house while getting some good BBQ foods in. Today I made  the absolute greatest breakfast ever!!! I have already posted on Instagram some amazing photos and now I’m going to post the recipe as promised!

Matcha Waffles!!!! Not only are they so easy to make they were even more delicious than I expected. As someone who loves to bake and cook, the texture and consistency of a waffle is really everything… too thick and it’s gross, too thin and they burn… we’ve all had those mess ups! These however were perfect! And to be honest, when I searched for recipes it took a while to find one that didn’t have all these strange ingredients or extra steps or tons of sugar… but once I found it… I thought, I have to give this a try I love matcha iced lattes and ice cream… how can this be bad? I feared that the flour, milk, and eggs might over-power the matcha and not be enough but I was so wrong, the taste was really there and nothing over-powered the other flavors. They were fluffy and delicious.

So let’s get to the recipe:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour (I used regular, but I’m sure you can use whole wheat)
  • 1 tbsp. matcha powder (make sure it is culinary grade, will say on the package)
  • 1 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp. vanilla extra (I used a whole teaspoon)

Turn on the waffle iron and use butter or oil to grease the pan. In the meantime add the flour and matcha to a bowl, mix thoroughly, allow the flour to take on a green color. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Pour into waffle maker and then enjoy! Super easy and delicious! I topped mine with some mangoes, kiwis, and white nectarines, and maple syrup… you can use any fruits you’d like or none at all… I contemplated adding my dark chocolate peanut butter to them, but this time I just wanted to see how they tasted on their own (I shall try that tomorrow). Freeze or refrigerate the left over waffles and enjoy them again tomorrow… if you don’t eat them all right away. This batter makes about 10-12 waffles depending on the size of your waffle maker.

I hope everyone else is enjoying their day and weekend and if you make these waffles be sure to mention me on Instagram #namastedoingyoga or @namastedoingyoga can’t wait to see what you do with them!

 

 

 

Why else I do yoga….

Ok everyone, months ago I promised to give you a little bit more of my history about why I do yoga. I revealed plenty of information about my health history and stomach issues, etc. but I also mentioned there was something else…. well here goes…

I am writing this today because it is father’s day and this path has everything to do with my dad. Let’s start out by saying I am deff. a daddy’s girl. I was born on his birthday and I look just like him too. My father was originally a hair dresser who owned his own salon for many years in Marine Park, Brooklyn. My sister is 10 years older than me and after I was born the shop itself was just not enough financially to make things work with 2 kids so he became a school bus driver for handicap children while continuing to own his salon for another 10 years. Since I was a little girl he had always worked 2 jobs but always made sure to have dinner with us as much as he could…. even when we was late it was just by an hour and I’d still sit at the table with him telling him all about my days at school. My father has the patience of a saint, he rarely gets mad (but if he does, you’d better run), and never was one to scream or lose his cool. He loved what he did and he loved being a dad to 2 girls. While he is not ever one to get all mushy/gushy you know that he cares about his family and is a very loyal humble man. He taught me to play guitar and about all the best classic rock music out there. He taught me how to draw and take beautiful photographs and how to ride horses (he used to raise horses during his younger farm days and can draw them incredibly!) and do cartwheels and pull ups and anything artistic. He never went to college but something inside him always loved science, he would always watch all these weird shows that mom never enjoyed, even I sometimes thought ughh not again but my love for science is from him and all these moments of us doing different science projects together. (don’t get me wrong mom taught me a lot too.. but different stuff). So now that you have an idea about who this man is let’s get down to the real serious stuff that happened just about 2 years ago…

While this is very difficult for me to talk about it is just as hard to write. My father has a hereditary disease known as Huntington’s. Now most people have no idea what that even is…. it is something that is rarely diagnosed because people don’t always realize they have it or what to do with it. It can be mistaken for a lot of other things like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s , and even maybe Tourette’s. The disease is neurological and has a lot to do with being able to control your physical movements. It can cause server depression, anxiety, suicidal tendencies, lack of balance and ability to walk, uncontrollable motions, anger, rapid weight loss, memory loss, and complete apathy. There currently is absolutely no cure. It is detected based on a DNA test (without getting too scientific) there are certain strands of our DNA that are meant to repeat several times…. when Huntington’s is present this particular DNA strand repeats over 40 times… the higher the repetition the worse the condition of the person diagnosed. While my father’s number is not very high it just means that the disease’s symptoms will not occur as rapidly… however my father is almost 70 now and for years he would not get tested. Like his mother, who also tested positive for this disease, he refused to believe anything was wrong with him. Part of that is just the Italian stubbornness in him, but the other part of the disease is denial…. most people who have this don’t realize they are twitching constantly or acting different…. emotionally they don’t notice. After being diagnosed the drs told us about the studies that have been done to help the disease…. we all constantly hear about a body in motion stays in motion…. specifically for this disease it is so important to try and keep to a calendar, a very strict schedule for yourself even if the tasks are very small ones like mop the floors every Tuesday at 11am…. it is also soooo important to keep moving…. what a lot of studies show that if the brain was focused on doing a specific motion or task or something else that required physical movement the brain and nerves had less time to twitch and have these ticks of the arms flailing or legs shaking. Some studies have also showed that doing yoga, even if it were just yin yoga…. balance was better in patients and the mind was more focused on the stretching or the pose and again less time was being put into twitching or even anxiety, etc.

When we learned about this disease not only did the drs at Columbia do basic explaining of what to expect they did about 4 or 5 sessions of family therapy and tried to help us better understand what to look for. Now luckily, my father has not become depressed or suicidal, his spirits are always pretty high… but his motions are very uncontrollable, he is terribly skinny b/c of all the movements and it is harder for him to process information. Simple tasks like doing the laundry and mopping the floors are becoming more difficult by the day. While he is not in any pain what-so-ever it is painful for us as a family to watch him go through. What used to be this strong independent man, working constantly, and raising a family is now someone who is weak and can’t always tell any sense of time or even walk without losing his balance often. Everyone who sees him in public doesn’t understand, maybe even thinks he’s mentally handicapped or just that crazy old guy… it’s most deff. rough. When you watch someone you love and admire fall apart you want to do anything you can to help them. The worst part is that my father feels guilty and has apologized to my mom, sister, and I that he has a hereditary disease that there is no cure for… I however, believe that even if he knew this 37 years ago he would have still had my sister and I maybe he just would have done a little more physically, but I can’t imagine the pain of having to tell your own family that this is how life is going to be when you reach my age… upon seeing all this and going through these many emotions of anger, sadness, and fear I knew that now was the time to become a yoga teacher….. my father is very proud that I have accomplished this, and he makes sure to tell me every time he sees me and ask about my crazy yoga poses…. he won’t ever do the yoga with me or my mom, we try to get him to… but he won’t have it…. sometimes we can get him to do a few poses, but it’s very seldom… it’s hard to help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves… but I do know that for me and my future this will help. In our family it seems that the disease doesn’t truly start until the late 50s early 60s…. and from what I hear my great grandmother who also had this disease (of course they didn’t know what it was back then) had a lot milder a case because until she was 90 she was staying active, using her brain, working in drs offices, and playing bingo with the ladies at night….. I know that I am always such a go-go-go person… and yes that is just a little bit of who I am but I have most deff. become a lot more schedule based and stricter on myself to keep going so that I am not as affected as greatly. It is scary to know that there is a history of disease running in your family that barely any studies are done on, or that people don’t know about…. it’s a scary thought to think about your own future, having children, and trying to almost force yourself to live at a faster pace now because you know one day you might not be able to…. it’s not to say any of us are guaranteed anything in this world, but it puts a different feeling inside you when you know what the odds are and you see it first hand….

With all of that being said, I know that if I stay on this path, I am going in the right direction…. it may be hard to explain but internally I can feel it…. and the look in my dad’s eyes knowing that I have started now to better my future has been more than enough to keep me motivated to do any yoga pose ever…. no matter how many times I have to fall or practice… I will get there.

This is not easy to talk about and I hope some of you will do some of your own research about this disease; information is key! I hope you all had a great father’s day as I have had fun going to dad’s favorite roast beef place in Brooklyn called Brennan & Karr…. been there since 1932…. one of the best places ever! Check them out if you haven’t already and enjoy! Namaste. Xo.

 

Core Strength!!!

Hey everybody, happy memorial day! Hope you had a wonderful long weekend. I have been studying and catching up on my nutrition classes, seeing as my test is next Monday! Also I have made some truly delicious meals/desserts this past weekend. I especially love to cook extra on the long weekends, meal prepping and getting even my morning smoothies ready so that all I have to do is take my bullet cup out of the fridge, attach for 1 minute blend and bam I’m good to go to work! It’s the simplest thing, but it really helps when you wake up at 5:30 every morning to catch a 6:30am bus to NYC for work. Trust me, every extra minute you can sleep is precious! 😉

On that note there are3 new videos up on my youtube channel. OF COURSE MY FAVORITE is the core one! It is not an actual work-out full on yoga video. It is simply meant to show you about 4-5 diff. forms of strengthening your yoga practice and your core. It is up to you to do them as your own pace and levels…. maybe 3 rounds of 8… maybe just one round, or maybe each for 1 minute…. if you take 2 minutes a day to do each of these exercises you will gain so much core strength to help you get ready for inversions or even just to simply help with low back issues…. strong core=strong back!!

As far as my dinner and dessert tonight here ya go:

20170529_193952So there is nothing difficult here some broccoli and cauliflower steamed…. and I made an avocado dill dip to give these veggies just a little bit more flavor. The dip is soooo simple!

  • 2 avocados
  • 1 squeeze of lemon
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 bunch of dill chopped
  • salt to taste

Of course if you like spice you could always add some red chili flakes, peppers and onions or even tomatoes, if that’s up your alley! Once you have all the ingredients your choice to blend them or just mash them up and mix really well.

And for dessert I’ve made banana oat muffins… for a little extra flavor and fun, I’ve added some toppings, to almost be cupcakes, this is a great way o get kids eating healthy without even knowing it! They are delicious!20170529_200055

1 cup of greek yogurt

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups of oats
  • dash of vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 ripe bananas mashed
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cacao
  • fresh apples or pears chopped up (this helps get them a little sweeter)
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts if you’d like

 

And for toppings: on 1 I’ve added dark chocolate peanut butter, and the other has raw honey with bee pollen on top instead of sprinkles! Wo said baking healthy couldn’t be fun?!?!?! Feel free to even use some left over fruit as a topping.

 

Namaste..Doing Yoga… xoxo