Tag Archives: yoga

The Power of 30

As I approached my 30th birthday this month, I started to think about how different it felt than I always assumed it would. Should I feel older? More mature? More motherly? Some schedule events or bucket list trips to celebrate the big milestone. Others brush it under the rug like it’s not happening at all, refusing to speak about it and the impending doom it seemingly will bring. I’ll be honest when I say I was surprised that I didn’t seem to fit in either of those groups.

But it’s a big event. I should do something to make it meaningful, I thought. 

Not that surprise parties and quality time spent with family and friends is not meaningful. I feel blessed to have celebrated for not one but two weekends around my birthday, but I was still left with this feeling of needing to do something more. A need to challenge myself in my thirtieth year. That or I just really need a new hobby. Who knows.

So I have decided to challenge myself in my year of thirty. Physically, mentally, spiritually and the like. I don’t know that I will devote posts to it entirely, but I’m sure it will come up as I expect to run across some successes, failures and probably a few funnies in the process. Like my current challenge that allowed me to experience what a wood burn feels like on the side of your face.

power of thirty challenge, turning 30, 30 challenges, yoga, crow pose,

And now I know.

Currently I’m working on one challenge per month. 30 days each. And since I like themes, I’ve been trying to relate each to the number 30 somehow. I even created a hashtag because, well, everything that’s cool today has a hashtag associated with it. #amIright?

I’ve been practicing yoga several times a week so this month I challenged myself to holding a crow pose for 30 seconds without tapping my feet, swaying back and forth or falling on my face. The key word is practice. I’ve found that like most things, the more you practice yoga, the easier the poses become. What started out as a 30 second crow pose has now transitioned into side crow, bird of paradise and other crazy poses I never even attempted before. I’ve also learned that mastering a pose one day does not mean you will get it the next. In fact, getting too confident or pushing yourself too much will lead to floor burn on your face.

I’d love for you to join me on the challenge even if you’re not thirty. Ideas welcome. Hashtag free for your use as well.

Have a great day!

 

Currently I’m…

In the middle of a full-on middle school crush with The Mindy Project. It’s been about 4 years since I had sophisticated TV equipment so I’m on technology overload as of late. How did I go so long without this show in my life and why can’t all OB/GYNs be that funny?

Finding it hard to concentrate on much else besides my trip to Chicago this weekend. Don’t get me wrong Florida is sunshine and blazing hot temps and all but I can’t wait to get back to the city and catch up with my friends and celebrate their offspring. After this past winter, I feel like I’m entitled to enjoying above freezing temps with the people I suffered alongside.

wind chill chicago, polar vortex, nbc chicago

 

Wondering how my dog is more proficient in yoga poses than I am. Here I am practicing three times a week in a studio and all I have to do is pull out the vacuum for him to do a perfect downward dog. I’m going to see if my teacher will let us try out the “twisted swissy” next class.

finn, yoga, dog, swiss mountain dog, puppy,

Really starting to feel my age. According to this Health survey, my true age is only 25.6, but if you ask my joints, I’m feeling a wee bit older than that. It seems fitting though, to start a glucosamine supplement just a week before your 30th birthday, doesn’t it?

glucosamine supplement, exercise, joints

Really wishing I wouldn’t have thrown away the rest of Matt’s birthday cake last week.

birthday layer cake, ombre layer cake, white birthday cake, buttercream icing, blue ombre layer cake, birthday, holiday, baking,

Willing to grill just about anything if it means avoiding using my stove these days. Last night we did an entire meal on the grill and I’m not upset about it. Not one bit. We even swapped out a salad for grilled romaine just to keep it simple. Just kidding, we did it because I was too lazy to chop up the other ingredients.

grilled shrimp with chimichurri, parsley, cilantro pesto, marinated shrimp recipe, herb pesto,

 

Grilled Shrimp with Chimichurri

  • 1 C parsley, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 C cilantro, rinsed and patted dry
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp ground red pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/4-1/2 C olive oil (I kept mine more acidic than oily)
  • 4 TBL fresh lemon juice
  • 2 TBL red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1-2 TBL water (if needed)

Place all ingredients except oil and water into a food processor. Add oil slowly until it reaches pesto consistency. Since we were originally planning on using this as a steak marinade, I made it lighter on the oil. Good news, it’s great on shrimp too.

Peel and devein uncooked shrimp and place on a metal skewer. Heat grill to medium. Baste chimichurri on shrimp towards the end of the cooking process.

grilled shrimp with chimichurri, parsley, cilantro pesto, marinated shrimp recipe, herb pesto, dinner, grilling, summer recipes, two ingredient margarita, shrimp tostadas

We got two uses out of this batch. The first night for shrimp and whitefish tostadas and the second for skirt steak and shrimp the next night.

grilled shrimp with chimichurri, parsley, cilantro pesto, marinated shrimp recipe, herb pesto, dinner, grilling, summer recipes, two ingredient margarita, shrimp tostadas

 

And in celebrating for Matt’s trip to Mexico we washed them down with a two-ingredient margarita I hacked up just before we sat down. Still on that lazy cooking kick if you can’t tell.

grilled shrimp with chimichurri, parsley, cilantro pesto, marinated shrimp recipe, herb pesto,

Two-ingredient Margarita

  • La Croix Lime
  • Tequila
  • Fresh Lime juice
  • Honey or agave
  • Salt

OK so I lied about the two ingredient part but in reality you can just make this with tequila and La Croix. The fresh lime juice and sweetener just helps it taste a little more traditional. The key here is using a good tequila. The stuff so good it doesn’t even taste like tequila, tequila.

I get bored talking to myself all the time. What are you currently into?

Have a great day!

It’s the best day of the year!

So what you’re telling me is you like big announcement posts? Judging by the explosion of hits my ‘we’re moving to Florida‘ announcement got yesterday I’d say you do. I don’t blame you. Announcements are exciting, dramatic and joyful.

How let down are you going to be then to be met with a plain old Tuesday blog post today?

April Fool’s?

Had I remembered that today was April Fool’s, oh let’s say yesterday, I may have postponed my announcement just to see how many of you believed me. Truth is we are moving and even a prank-loving girl like me knows misleading you that way is just…completely expected. Kind of like the rest of these overused Facebook jokes.

If I were going to do an April Fool’s joke related to our move, I would text Matt, who just landed in Bosnia on less than 3 hours of sleep, and tell him that I was reconsidering the house we are set to move into in Florida later this month. That I’d rather get a place on the water in Siesta Key and that I’m considering opening a yoga studio.

april fools joke, texts, iphone

#nailedit.

Well I would have nailed it if he hadn’t of gone all supportive on me and my fake attempt at a new life of zen.

An April Fool’s Tip: Know your target’s weaknesses. Trust is your weapon.

For more tips and to read more about my family’s history with this holiday, check out this post.

And while I do have one prank out of the way on this April Fool’s Day, I don’t feel like I’m at the top of my game. You see, I’m tired. I accompanied my cousins to the Bastille show last night at the Riviera and while they put on a great set, I was ever-so-cognizant of my increasing age throughout the night:

6:15 p.m.-This line is all kids. (you’re old)

Seriously though, everyone is either 17 or 50. (you’re old, they’re older)

6:30-I’ve never seen so many selfies in my whole life (you’re old)

6:45-Ok there’s a bar. That’s a good sign (I’m too tired to drink)

7:15-The opener hasn’t even come on and my feet hurt already (you’re old)

bastille, riviera theater, chicago

7:30- Everyone is snapchatting. Turns to cousins. Do you guys use SnapChat? They don’t. (whew, me neither)

8:30-OK that couple is totally in their late twenties. I’m good. (are you though?)

8:45- It’s official. I’m going to lose a little bit of hearing after this is over. Are those girls crying with joy right now? (they are)

9:30- They don’t seriously expect us to jump up and down do they? (they do)

9:50- These guys are good. I should add them to my Pandora. Do you guys use Pandora? (they don’t)

10:00- Great show. I can’t wait to get up for work tomorrow. (you’re old)

Have a good day. Stay alert my friends!

 

 

 

A Halloween Hangover

Happy day after Halloween to you all! If you have children, I hope you didn’t steal too much of their candy last night “for the sake of their health.” For those of you that did, I suggest a supervised withdrawal action plan that involves adding a Snickers bar to each meal to avoid crashes throughout the day. We’re in this together folks.

I realize November 1 often (OK, always) comes the day after Halloween but it’s especially jarring this year as I suddenly feel like I have to toss my candy corn (in more ways than one) and start thinking about turkeys already.

Halloween is becoming one of my favorite seasons of the year and I’m not ready for it to be over yet. I realize for some it’s just a day but if you don’t think it’s a season, just try to go into Target mid-August and NOT buy a bag of candy corn.  

Don’t get me wrong, I loved Halloween as a child, too. That probably has something to do with it. If you were scared by say a creepy BOZO wanna-be at a very young age you might have a different opinion. But for me Halloween was a day when my creepy, dark and damp childhood basement finally found use as a fun haunted house for our neighborhood friends. A day when I entered a costume contest as a bag of jelly beans only to realize I couldn’t use the bathroom or sit down until the voting closed that afternoon. And a day when my older sister actually agreed to share with me likely only because she hated my favorite kinds of candy.

OK fine. I‘ll trade you two Reeses for two, two-packs of Starbursts.

Deal! (opens Starburst packages and of course finds two yellows in each pack)

No fair! Do you take returns? 

There was a brief hiatus on Halloween in high school when sports took over most of our lives, but college brought it back with an onslaught of themed parties and exchanges. Golf pros. Tennis hoes. You get the idea. 

So that brings us to the present day and for the first time in a long time I’m going to credit Facebook for helping renew my love of something. Previously, on a post-Halloween morning, my newsfeed was filled with enough “sexy” versions of career paths to fill a job fair. I’m happy to report that over the last few years those photos are increasingly being replaced with cute babies and toddlers dressed as monkeys.

boy costume halloween simply social blog

I don’t think I’m alone in my love for Facebook’s costume extravaganza. After all, Halloween is a time where creativity is celebrated. Homemade costumes are awesome, nostalgic ones even better and you get a king size Butterfinger for those costumes that don’t make any sense until you really think about it. Like this one. or this one. Pop-culture references are fun but don’t seem to mean as much after the hype has gone away. And I’m not just saying that because my Supermarket Sweep couples costume lost out to a now-forgotten Eastbound and Down star at the 2nd Annual Bensko Halloween Bash.

halloween costume double dare supermarket sweep simply social blog

I don’t yet have a child to dress up as a monkey but this year I managed to go against everything I stand for in terms of dressing up your pet for a chance to catch Finn in the homemade moose antlers I made him. He was an elusive moose, that Finn.

greater swiss mountain dog moose antler costume

I thought it was fitting because he is awkwardly tall and clumsy. He chewed them off approximately 5 seconds after this photo was taken, but as of this morning, Finn the Moose has more likes on Facebook than a marathon finisher. And with a lot less effort!

It’s not just the costumes that make me love Halloween. It’s the chance to celebrate. The chance to build a sense of community through a shared interest. The chance to share food and treats with people you care about. The connection it brings to friends, family and complete strangers as people who may not otherwise interact share funny stories, compliments and lighthearted jokes.

It’s also an excuse for me to bake something. I ran out of time to do my traditional treat bags this year but I did manage to get a batch of thumbprint cookies out the door in time for work. So to wrap up the longest Halloween post ever, here’s a recipe for holiday thumbprint cookies adapted from this recipe.

orange and black halloween thumbprint cookies, simply social blog

Halloween Thumbprint Cookies

  • ½ C unsalted butter
  • ½ C sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 TBL pure vanilla extract
  • 2½ C all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Holiday colored sprinkles
  • Orange is the new black candy melts

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

In a stand mixer, mix butter and sugar until creamy. Add one egg at a time. Add vanilla.

Mix dry ingredients into wet until combined. Refrigerate dough for an hour.

Fill a small glass bowl with sprinkles. Line jelly roll pan with silpat.

Using a cookie scoop, scoop a teaspoon-sized piece of dough and roll it into a ball. Roll dough in sprinkles. Place dough onto baking mat and press center down with the back of a 1/4 teaspoon measuring spoon. (tip: use non-stick spray on spoon if it gets sticky)

Place cookies in oven for 10 minutes. Remove just before they are done and place candy melt in center. Let cook for 1-2 more minutes until candy melts start to glisten.

Let cool on pan and then wire rack. Take a photo while it’s pouring outside and there’s no natural light to add a spooky orange Halloween vibe to your cookies.

halloween thumbprint cookies, simply social blog

If you’re wondering what I wore this year, we didn’t have any parties but my Yoga studio was encouraging costumes and I am not one to show up unprepared so I wore bears (bear ears) to my yoga class. If you don’t get it with that clue, see below.

Yogi Bear halloween costume

Part Yogi part Bear. Just missing the pic-a-nic basket!

I hope you had a fun-filled holiday. Here’s to the next one, which is right around the corner!

Adventures in juicing

I am competitive. I want more energy. I like a challenge. That cake could be pureed, right? These are the phrases I keep repeating to myself as I hit the halfway point of my week-long juice cleanse. Yes I signed up for a juice cleanse. I know I’m sooo trendy.

In reality, my yoga studio was offering a 7-day cleanse this week and I signed up a while back thinking it would be a good way to reset my body after a brief vacation and before the summer got into full swing. What can I say I’m a sucker for a good sales pitch. Plus, if all goes as planned I’d have more energy, sleep better and have shinier hair and nails than all of you within a week. I said I was competitive, remember?

Only problem was I flew in late Sunday evening and wasn’t exactly prepared to start juicing that next morning. And like Jose Conseco claimed, I didn’t really know what this juice plan involved.

I soon learned there were two options: juice or trio. I opted for the trio plan because 1) I am training for a half marathon (timing has never been my thing) 2) It offered a little more variety with a juice, soup and salad option 3) I like to chew things.

What I didn’t realize was that I was missing a few nearly all of the ingredients that said juice cleanse called for. Off to a great start, Sarah.

I don’t have a juicer. And I refuse to buy one seeing as how I hardly have enough room in my kitchen for my kitchenaid, blender, food processor and immersion blender as it is. The cleanse is only 7 days so surely I could experiment with each of these appliances and make it work. Surely.

ok so I didn’t use the crock pot. Not yet anyway

Day 1-7 a.m.–I suck at juicing. Not only do I not have the key ingredient for my morning juice (oranges-derr) but I tried to substitute any other fruit I had on hand in the hopes that it would taste similar. It didn’t. I drank it anyway.

Day 1-noon–At least I’ve got my salad that I carefully prepared this morning. I love salads so this round should be easy. Raw stir fry chopped salad with basil, tons of veggies and a soy sauce dressing. Easy. If I hadn’t have left it sitting in the fridge at home. This cleanse is supposed to help me think more clearly, right? Lord knows I need it.

Day 1-workout–I went to my hot power yoga class and tried to catch up on the things I missed in the pre-cleanse meeting this weekend while I was fighting 6 year-olds for pizza in Minnesota. I found out several people were going juice-only all week long. I suddenly felt better about my choice and was pleasantly surprised at how much energy I had throughout the class, despite dripping enough sweat to fill a PolarPop onto my mat. You can thank me for that mental picture later.

Day 1-8 p.m.–My puppy is sick. Shocker, I know. I feed him some pumpkin. Then I decide to feed myself some too, adding a little cider vinegar, garlic, ginger, honey and cinnamon. It’s not the same as the hot version, but with a broken AC I just pretend I’m dining al fresco and it’s a lovely gazpacho. Despite the fails, I’m only one day in and I already notice a change in my taste buds.

Day 1-sleep–Like a baby. Probably a combo of exhaustion from the weekend, the yoga and the clean eating. Chatted with Ben Affleck in my dream. He was scouting for a movie nearby. I suggested a few restaurants to try, naturally.

Day 2-6:30 a.m.–I really suck at juicing. I just attempted a cucumber ginger juice and proceeded to spray it over my entire kitchen. I had been to the store twice since Sunday (it’s Tuesday) but forgot to buy fresh mint. I stare at the peppermint extract in my cabinet for a good 3 minutes before I place 2 single drops into the juice. Don’t try this at home folks. It’s nothing like fresh mint. Nothing. So long cucumber ginger. Round two was a repeat of the orange julius from the day prior only this time, with oranges.

Day 2-noonish–Oh look, there’s actually a raw stir fry chopped salad in my lunch bag today. Lovely. I can’t get too comfortable though because I’m about to face an afternoon baby shower where there’s an abundance of cake, cake pops, macaroons and chocolate chip cookies. All of which I  visualize being juiced so I can justify eating them. Dear diary: Don’t attend baby showers while on a cleanse.

Day 2-workout-4 mile run. Not too shabby. Any further and I might have run out of gas, but pleasantly surprised at energy level and muscle strength. Digging my new heart rate monitor. I’m looking at you Polar.

polar-H7

Day 2-8 p.m.– I went to the store again. Surely I should have everything I need by now. Made a blackberry and walnut salad with lime zest, honey and ginger. Took a stab at a raw borscht soup. Kitchen actually looked like I stabbed someone once complete. I love beets but the texture was just off. Salad was delicious.

Day 2-sleep–Out like a light until my sick puppy woke me up around 2 a.m. to go outside. Normally I’d feel lethargic and groggy but instead I felt ready for another run. I went back to sleep instead and had a dream that Ray Allen was in my kitchen. Are crazy dreams a side effect?

So here we are at Day 3 and I’m proud to say I don’t suck at juicing. At least not today. I sliced up a fridge full of watermelon, made my juice ahead of time and strained out some of the solids. I’m sure I lost significant nutritional value doing so but my Day 3 morning juice of watermelon, honey, lime and arugula was very light and refreshing.

I repeated the blackberry walnut salad today for lunch and am hoping not to completely ruin my streak with a successful soup for dinner.

I know it seems completely out of line for me to take you through this entire saga without at least offering you a recipe. Bottom line is If I can’t have scones, neither can you. Kidding. Sort of. And while I don’t have any sugary, buttery, carb-centric baked goods to share with you this week (although that sounds just delicious right about now), I do have my only successful juice of the cleanse thus far to offer you. Why not give it a try the next time you are looking to mix things up. Just make sure your nails aren’t shinier than mine or we might have a problem.

just like Jose Conseco

Watermelon (wish it was Jungle) Juice 

  • 4-6 C chopped seedless watermelon (I used less, feel free to use more)
  • 1 C arugula
  • 1/2 lime (peeled)
  • 1 TBL raw honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Peel the lime. I know it’s weird. I did a double take too. Who peels a lime? It’s always sliced lime or juiced lime or zest? Don’t try and juice that peel. Not that I originally though that was a possibility or anything.

Put all ingredients into a juicer. It’s probably much easier. Otherwise use your food processor and try to learn from the splash marks of yesterday.

If consistency isn’t to your liking, use a sieve to strain off some of the solids. Refrigerate and add vodka enjoy!

Hopefully I’ll have more observations to share for days 4-7. Until then, eat some cake for me.

Finding Balance

Do you ever feel like you are juggling things just fine until all of a sudden someone throws a bonus ball in your court causing you to lose focus and have them all crash down on your head? Me too. Except the bonus thrower is usually myself. Bet you wondered how someone already juggling could throw in a bonus ball? I surprise myself too sometimes.

loved me some Harlem Globetrotters growing up

Sometimes I overcommit myself. I am a self-admitted over-doer. And I don’t necessarily mean that I go above and beyond (although sometimes I try) I simply mean that some(often)times I try to do too many things at once, try to shove too many things into too short a time slot, try to add just one more dish to the menu. I notice that it’s affecting my sentence structure lately as well. But I digress.

Fortunately or not, once I do put my mind to something, I usually end up finishing it regardless of energy level or clock time. What does this mean in real life? Frantic last-minute errands the morning of a party, loss of sleep and physical flexibility due to excessive hours spent hunched over icing cookies while standing on my concrete floor and messes; Big messes everywhere as I attempt to organize the bathroom, the closet and the baking cabinet all simultaneously on a Saturday afternoon. Not that I’m speaking from recent experience or anything. Sometimes things have to get messy before they get organized, right?

I must also admit that I enjoy the stress of a looming deadline. If I’ve got something coming up, I tend to implement self-imposed deadlines to light that fire that allows me to get things done in record time. Like deciding to brush my teeth while drying my hair. Because that’s not efficient.

My name is Sarah and I’m a multi-tasking procrastinator.

Hi Sarah.

But I’m trying to get better. I write this post on my phone as I wait for 40 soon-to-be conversation heart sugar cookies to cool enough to ice, while attempting two new salad recipes and stopping briefly for a pre-grammy workout.

I’m trying.

In addition to several other resolutions that I made last month, I’m really attempting to find balance this year. And since things like un-iced cookies and salad-making weigh heavily on me, you may be wondering what I am doing to counteract this craziness and reach my goal?

Yoga.

I’ve tried yoga in the past and it just hasn’t worked for me. After years of sweat-filled high-intensity workouts, stretching and slow movements with a side of zen just never felt like a ‘real’ workout to me. But because I’ve always struggled with a very tight back, I knew I needed something like yoga to ‘balance’ the running and lifting. Unfortunately after giving it a few college tries, my interest always seemed to fizzle.

My friend and I were recently discussing the requirements for a successful fitness session and I was reminded how I approach my workouts the same way as I do my hobbies. I’m picky but once I find something I like, I’m very loyal to it. To stick to a workout, I have to find it engaging, challenging and see it as a means toward and end goal. Oh, and it would be nice if it fit into my schedule as well.

For years I only really had to worry about adjusting exercise around work, friends and family. When my furry little friend came into my life, my focus shifted a bit. I felt incredibly guilty working all day and then leaving him again so I could go workout in the evening. Running was acceptable but only because warm up and cool downs could be spent walking my pup around the neighborhood rather than spending the better part of an evening fighting loop traffic to get to the gym. But then winter hit. And then winter really hit and my above 30 degrees and dry conditions rule forced my workouts inside.

Fortunately, walks though the neighborhood included a stroll past Barefeet Power Yoga, a new studio nearby. And by nearby I mean practically outside my garage door.

So when the weather turned and Finn gave me puppy eyes, I gave it another college try. After all, this place has the convenience factor and according to the name ‘power’ yoga has to be better than regular yoga right?

finn_yoga

After about a month or so I am happy to say I’m a believer. Not only does the class hit on all requirements on my workout list, but the instructors are really cool. Did I mention it’s around the corner!?!

And while I’m finding the workout itself enjoyable, it’s the things I thought I disliked most about yoga previously that I’m getting the most out of now. I’m learning to focus more. To accept the fact that some days you’re strong and balanced and some days you just aren’t. And that’s ok. To breathe deeply. To push myself. And to realize that sometimes things are beyond your control.

Life is about finding balance and each day is a new attempt at doing just that.

Note: If you don’t have a studio close by or simply want something to try at home, I like the Body by Bethenny instant video from Amazon. It’s a good, quick workout, you can play it on your iPad and Bethenny says all the things you think but never say out loud in yoga. An inexpensive way to get started or keep up on the road. I may or may not have squeezed it in before finishing this post.

cookies

Now back to those cookies.