YTT – Observations

To obtain our YTT 200 Hour certificates we have to practice teach for 10 hours, and we also have to observe other certified teachers for 10 hours.  I began my observation hours today by watching Shannon, one of the co-owners of Indigo, the studio at which I’m doing my YTT training.

I go to Shannon’s vinyasa class almost every Wednesday night and Saturday morning.  These classes are very energetic and challenging – exactly the kind of yoga on which I thrive.  However, during YTT Shannon talks often about his lunch-time class, and it sounded like a totally different ball game – a bit slower paced and not quite as intense. As a beginner teacher, I think I will feel most comfortable teaching a slower-paced, more beginners-type class, so I wanted to check this out.

I took today off since I had YTT this weekend – I needed a catch-up day.  So I went to the noon class at Indigo and watched Shannon. I learned so much!

1.  First of all, I was amazed by the capabilities of the crowd.  I would say that at least 50%-75% of the class was past 60 years-old, but Man!  They were a flexible, sociable, impressive bunch of yogis.  Several of them were way more bendy than me, and they had flawless form.

2.  The “feel yourself grown taller through the crown of the head” cue is amazing.  Whenever Shannon used it (in Mountain Pose or Vira I or II), I literally saw everyone grow an inch taller.  Take that, gravity!

3.  People are happy doing yoga.  Everyone seemed happy to be in that space, there with their friends, taking care of their bodies, doing something good for their flesh and spirit.

4.  It’s easier to see bad alignment when you are looking at a group of people versus just one person.  It provides comparison, which is very helpful.

5. I at least have *some* good instincts.  One woman looked as if her knee was bothering her. I wanted to give her a blanket for some extra padding, but I didn’t want to interfere with the class.  Eventually Shannon came over and gave her a blanket.  Validation!  I was right. :)

6. I wrote down all the asanas that Shannon used, and I’m going to borrow his sequence and use it as a template for some practice teaching.  The sequence I have been using is made up of poses I am very comfortable with – asanas that are pretty easy for me to explain. I’ve been shying away from using poses that are a bit more complicated. Borrowing Shannon’s sequence will help bust me out of that comfort zone.

So one hour down, 9 to go. I plan on observing at least 5 different teachers.  I think it will be really interesting to examine everyone’s styles.

Next Wednesday I start practice teaching a real class at Indigo – eeeeeeek!  Technically one of my co-YTTers will be the primary teacher, and I will be the assistant. It’s still nerve-wracking though!  I’m excited and super nervous.  I hope I don’t pass out. :)

Take care, have a most excellent evening. :)

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An experiment with Sprinting

Everywhere I turn, I see an article about the benefits of interval training.  Off and on I will do some sprint intervals, but I haven’t gotten very focused with it.  I’ll do maybe one interval session per month.  Well, my monthly interval session came due on Wednesday, so Tim and I and a friend headed out to the bike bath.

We walked about 10 minutes before our first sprint.  For the first sprint we ran all-out for 15 seconds.  We walked until we got our breath back and then repeated the 15 second sprints 5 more times.  I think we were back home within 30-40 minutes.

I did not warm up as I should, and with my first sprint, I felt a knot in the top of my quad.  But I powered through, which could have been really stupid. By the time I got home, it felt like a rock was lodged in my leg. I spent the rest of the evening rolling it out with the foam roller.

The next day I felt pretty good.  The day after that was PAINFUL.  My quads!  Oh my God, my quads!  So sore.  But day 3 hit, which was Saturday.  I was on fire!  Just look at all this stuff I did: 1 hr 15 minute vinyasa yoga class, made home-made beef bone broth, rendered 2 quarts of tallow, baked Chunky Monkey muffins, roasted root veggies, walked 3.5 miles while listening to the The One you Feed podcast, cleaned up all the leaves from the front yard, cut all the stalks from last year’s prairie grasses, cleaned out the herb bed, took a shower, tried to go shopping for clothes (the stores were annoyingly busy), stocked up on staples from Target, and then went out with Tim for supper at Brix (they have a pretty good gluten-free pizza crust).  Let me see….yep. I think that’s about everything.

So maybe it’s because it’s Spring, and it’s actually warm and sunny. Or maybe it’s because I was full of human growth hormone from the sprints on Wednesday! I need to monitor my energy levels on Day 3 next time we do sprints and see if the pattern repeats.

And there you have my sprint story. Riveting, eh??

Moving on to a little recipe review – I tried two new ones this week:

Gluten-Free Buffalo Chicken Meatballs –  These were pretty good, but we used Habanero Louisiana Hot Sauce.  As a result, they were literally insanely spicy.  They gave me a stomach ache the first night I ate them, and they gave Tim a stomach ache when he ate them for leftovers.  I want to try them again though, but use a much milder hot sauce.

Pork Chops with Apples – I have always loved pork chops and applesauce, so I had to try this recipe. I would say it turned out good, but it’s not as good as my favorite pork chop recipe.  Plus, this dish is just not that pretty!  It’s very beige. I won’t make this again.

The roasted root veggie recipe I linked to above is a definite keeper though. This makes a huge pan of roasted veggies which is great for easy leftovers. We sautéed some of the leftovers for breakfast yesterday and topped them with crispy over-easy eggs, then we had more leftovers for supper last night. I bloomed some spices (marjoram, coconut sugar, salt, sage, red pepper flakes, cloves) in olive oil and then added ground pork. Once the pork was browned, we mixed it with the leftovers. So tasty yet easy.  I’m going to have some of that for breakfast this morning. :)

Hope you had a good, healthy weekend and were able to get outside and enjoy the gorgeous weather. Tim and I made up for our insanely productive Saturday by having a very relaxing Sunday.  We did a little 12 mile bike ride, had a couple of drinks, and then sat outside by a fire for a few hours.  It was perfect.

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Breaking my teaching cherry

I did it. I finally kinda sorta taught someone yoga.  My friend Marta was gracious enough to let me come over this morning and “teach” her some yoga. I say “teach” in quotation marks, because it was more of a conversation than teaching, but I’m still counting it!

Since it was just the two of us, I was super informal. I started out by teaching her about ujjayi breathing, which is a fundamental part of vinyasa yoga. Despite it being an integral part of the practice, Marta had never learned it before in any of her yoga classes!  We then moved on to a very simple, basic practice – cat/cow tilts, sun salutations, vira I and vira II, lots of planks, chaturanga, spinxes, etc. We did some bridges, twists, inversions, and then corpse pose.  During savasana, I gave her a little neck and face massage, and then I did this relaxation technique that one of our YTT trainers taught us.  While the student is laying on the floor, you pick up their legs and slowly swing them side to side (in a figure 8) as you lower them back to the ground.  It feels amazing.

So, how did it go?  Here are my observations.

1.  It’s really hard to remember right and left!!  I don’t know if I will ever be able to mirror, meaning if I’m facing a class, I will be moving the right side of my body, but I’ll need to instruct the students to move the left side of their body. How can something so simple be so confusing??

2.  It’s much harder than I anticipated to demonstrate yoga whilst also explaining to the student what they should be doing. It was easy for me to get out of breath.

3.  It’s a good idea to initially practice with someone who is as patient and easy-going as Marta! I lost my place a few times and stopped and sat down to explain things, and she was totally fine with that.

4. Despite doing quite a bit of yoga and reading a TON about yoga, when you are trying to explain to someone else HOW to do it, a lot of the information flies right out of your head.  I think I’m going to update my class notes with a couple of key cues to use for each pose.

5. I thought the sequence that I wrote up would last about an hour, but boy was I wrong! It was about 1/2 that, and that was with us chatting a bit during the flow.  I need to think about how long to stay in each pose. I think I moved us through them too quickly. My struggle is, it’s hard to keep track of how many breaths we stay in a pose because I’m talking during them!

Overall, I really enjoyed sharing what I’ve learned with Marta.  She said she enjoyed it too because in all the classes she’s taken, no one has really shown her individually how to do the pose or explained to her the proper alignment.  I think that’s just a byproduct of going to classes with lots of other people. Even in classes labeled for beginners,  teachers don’t spend a lot of time explaining things.  It DOES disrupt the flow, but I think that for people just starting out with yoga, it would be really helpful to get the mechanics down before doing a truly flowing sequence.

It was a good experience.  I need more practice though.  For our YTT program, we have to do 10 hours of community teaching. But I want to do more one-on-one teaching with my friends and family before I go out and teach strangers!  Also, teaching Marta helped me realize that I really need to study anatomy more. I know the basic muscle groups, but it would be nice to look at a person and understand what the muscles and bones are doing beneath the surface.  So much to learn!


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Final Chili of the Season

It’s March. It should be warmish and sunny. Instead it’s been cold and cloudy.  We actually had snow on Monday.  Ridiculous.  To counteract the dreariness of this month, I tried out a new recipe:  Paleo Crockpot Chili.  It’s AMAZING!!  I think this is one of my favorite crockpot recipes ever.  The chili is super thick and very spicy.  I didn’t have any tomato paste or stewed tomatoes, so I used 3 14 ounce cans of diced tomatoes.  Also instead of a fresh jalapeño, I used the jalapeño slices that Tim fermented last summer. Muy bueno. Make this chili post haste.

I also tried another new recipe this week:  Almost 5 Ingredient Pizza Spaghetti Pie.  This one was pretty tasty as well.  My only complaint with this recipe is that is takes a loooong time to make. You have to bake the spaghetti squash, and then you have to mix the spaghetti squash with the meat and veggies and bake it for another hour.  So next time I make this, I would cook the spaghetti squash the night before. I would also add more spices, as my version turned out a little bland.  Overall this recipe is a keeper though.

So why I am cooking so much, you ask?  Well, I will answer you.  Tim and I went to Denver and Boulder last week, so we ate out 3 meals a day for 6 days.  We ate a lot of super delicious food, but I was really looking forward to eating at home again – so much cheaper, and you actually know what you are eating.

So, Colorado. I love her.  I want to move there.  It was so beautiful.  Everywhere you turn there are nice people, gorgeous mountains, paleo restaurants, and excellent breweries.  Denver and Boulder are both super bike friendly too. It’s like Tim and Heather heaven.

So, what did we do?  We rode the Cog Railway to the (almost) top of Pikes Peak.  We couldn’t go all the way to the top because it was blocked by a 75 foot wall of ice.  The views at 12K feet were super beautiful though. We also met some really interesting guys who work for the US Wheelchair Basketball Team.  Let’s see.  We did 2 trail runs, hiked the Flat Irons, rode our bikes up a mountain 2,000 feet and froze our faces off on the coast down, hiked on Mt. Falcon and saw the ruins of an old mansion on the mountain top, took advantage of the local breweries (Oskar Blues, Left Hand, Avery), and got some amazing paleo food at Blooming Beets and Cuban food at Cuba Cuba.  And we watched cable in the hotel room.  We don’t have cable at home, so whenever we travel we take advantage – Jaws and Seinfeld re-runs filled our sleepy evenings.  Even when we are on vacation we tend to wake up insanely early, so we are pretty beat by 8PM.  We are some wild and crazy folk.

And that’s our trip in a paragraph. It was totally awesome.  We’ll definitely go back for another visit.

And that’s my update. I know it’s been a super long time since I’ve written, but my excuse is the same as always – busy busy busy. I had YTT again last weekend.  I absolutely love it.  I’m still not 100% sure I will ever teach, but the YTT program is totally worth the time and money investment.  I am learning so much. We learned about pre-natal yoga and yin yoga on Saturday.  Yin yoga, if you don’t know, is a form of yoga where you hold certain poses for 3-5 minutes each.  They get pretty intense in that time period. I was wicked sore on Sunday. I found it very calming though.  There is a yin class at Indigo on Sundays, and I think I’m going to go. It’s a great way to get your ligaments and tendons stretched out.

Sunday we did A LOT of yoga. I learned 2 new arm balances – firefly and side crow.  I really like arm balances although they scare me.  I’m afraid of landing on my face and knocking all my teeth out.  We also had some more beginners come to class on Sunday so we could teach them poses.  Timmy Tee came and did awesomely!!  I taught the class wide legged forward bend.  Tim said I did good. It was definitely less scary than the first time we taught a pose.  We don’t have class again for month, but I have a TON of practicing and reading and practice teaching to do!  If anyone wants some one-on-one lessons, let me know!!  And you have to give me constructive criticism back.

Speaking of being busy, I really need to take a sabbatical from watching TV!  I have too many books to read, walks to take, yoga to do. I don’t have TIME to watch TV, but when I get home from work in the evenings, it’s so much easier to sit down and watch a hilarious Archer than to pull out my mat and start practicing. I just need to form the new habit.

Ok. I’m done for real this time. Hope you are having a great evening and are being more productive than me tonight. :)

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The Awesomest Winter Boots Ever

Yes, yes, yes. I know it’s been forever since I’ve written here. Life has just been unusually busy lately, what with the new responsibilities at work, a visit from my little bro, and yoga teacher training.  Oh, and with catching up on Star Trek The Next Generation.

Speaking of “new responsibilities at work” – when I got my raise I tried to leash in my innate American need to spend all my extra money. I decided to buy just two things as a congratulatory gift to myself:

1.  I wanted a pair of winter boots that I could wear outside in the snow and wet.  I wanted them to have a flat sole (no heel), and I wanted the sole to have good traction. I also wanted the boots to be easy to get on and off.  My current boot selection was not conducive to exercising outside in the cold months.  My Frye Engineer soles were too firm, so I just slip and slide on ice.  My Born knee-high boots had a good sole, but they are dress boots – meant to be worn on the outside of tights/skinny jeans. They look pretty silly with running pants tucked into them, and since they are knee-high, they are pretty heavy for long walks.

After a lot of research I discovered the Merrell Haven Duo Waterproof boots.  They seemed like just the ticket. I put them on my Amazon Wish List, hoping the price would go down (a tactic that has worked for me in the past). Instead, they sold out!  And they kept selling out! When my size in Brown finally showed up again, I ordered them immediately.  They were about 1/2 a size smaller than I wanted, but I really liked how comfortable and pretty they were, so I ordered the next 1/2 size up.  They didn’t have brown anymore in that size (sold out EVERYWHERE!), so I ordered “Goose,” which is like a brownish grey.

I have to say, I LOVE these boots!!  They are super comfortable, especially with a thick pair of these socks.  My feet stay toasty warm, the soles grip the snow, the boots are very light, and they fit comfortably under my workout pants. The side zip makes them super easy to get off and on.  They are perfect for winter walks.  I wish I would have bought them at the beginning of the winter, so I would have gotten outside more.  If you are looking for great winter boots, check them out.  Maybe you can find them at an end-of-season sale; although, if you have to pay full price for them, they are totally worth it.  They are the winter equivalent of my Merrell Barefoot running shoes – perfect!


2.  My other gift to myself was the Field Canvas Tote Bag from L.L. Bean.  I needed a bag that would fit my huge stack of books that I need to bring to YTT.  It also needed to fit 2 bottles of water, snacks, pens & pencils, handkerchiefs, notebooks, and a binder.  I searched all over the internet, and even considered those expensive Filson-type bags for $300. Nothing met my needs. I wanted something with straps that fit over the shoulder, a cross-body strap, lots of pockets, and I wanted it to be attractive.  This bag fits all of those requirements.  The outside is beautiful dark-blue, rugged canvas, and the inside is soft flannel. It fits all of my YTT gear, but it also works great for a change-of-clothes bag. It scales up and down, is what I’m trying to say.

I know that yoga is all about teaching your mind to be happy with what it has (and relieving it from the constant stress of wanting, wanting, wanting), but these 2 purchases really made my life better!  I’m trying to do less mindless spending by picking out items that are made with great quality and that will serve me well for years.  That being said, I’m hoping that as I continue studying and practicing yoga, I can get my mind to the place where it doesn’t constantly crave that one “perfect” item for every problem.  Eventually I will learn to make do with what I have and to be happy that I have it.  I’m still learning though.  We watched Yoga Is in YTT yesterday, and one of the teachers interviewed in it said something that I found very encouraging. He said that humans are super malleable – you can change yourself at any time.  The really good can go really bad, but the really bad can go really good. I’m somewhere in the middle, so there is still hope for me to become really good!

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Red Food, Magic Tea, and Rendering

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, which is why I again have been so lax in posting!  It’s ridiculous, I know.  And I apologize.  Now that that is out of the way, let’s get started.

1. I made a super tasty recipe yesterday:  Roasted Root Vegetable with Sausage.  This turned out amazingly tasty!  I used the tallow that I rendered (more to come on that later) to roast the veggies.  We ate it for supper yesterday, breakfast/lunch today, and for supper tonight. For tonight I cooked two over-easy eggs and put that on top.  Awesome.  This recipe is super easy, makes a ton, and has loads of stuff that is good for you in it.  And it’s red.  The beets make everything red.  Including your poop.

2.  One of the girls in my YTT program gave me a Jun scoby.  Jun is a fermented beverage, made with green tea and honey.  It’s called the “champagne” of kombuchas. It’s very easy to make, as long as you have the scoby.  You bring water to 165 degrees, brew 2 teaspoons of green tea in it for 2 minutes, add 1/4 cup of honey, and let the mixture come to room temp.  Then you add the scoby (which looks like an alien life form).  Three days later, you have Jun!  You can also do a second ferment, which makes the Jun less sweet and more fizzy. It’s a very delicate flavor.  From what I’ve read, Jun is very mystical/magical.  Some people who brew it meditate with their Jun and also play music for it.  I don’t go that far, but I do tell people not to say anything bad about the Jun within the Jun’s hearing.

3. Tallow!  We received several pounds of beef fat from the 1/8 of a cow we bought, so I tried my hand at rendering it, using this recipe.  It turned out fantastic!  It smells slightly beefy, but not overpowering at all.  When in liquid form, it’s a very bright yellow color, but it cools to a milky cream color.  I’ve given 2 jars of it away already and am already 1/2 way through my remaining 3rd jar, so I’m going to have to go on a rendering spree this weekend.

4.  Porridge!  Sometimes a hot, oatmeally type breakfast just sounds super tasty. So I decided to try this recipe.  It turned out very delicious, but I’m not planning on making it again.  It’s pretty carb heavy, for one thing (it has a banana, apple, and raisins in it). Also, with all the nuts, it’s a pretty expensive breakfast.  It made a ton, but due to how carb-heavy it is, it’s not something I would want to eat for breakfast several days in a row.  I keep reading articles that emphasize that you should eat carbs at night for better hormone balance, better sleep, and better body comp.  If I did make this again, I would make it for supper, not breakfast.

5.  And lastly, a quick update on my yoga-ing.  I’ve been going to a hot yoga class at 5:30 AM, and much to my surprise, I LOVE it!  It gives me a ton of energy for the day, and it’s so nice to know that I don’t have to worry about working out when I get off work. My hard work is already done for the day!  It’s also much easier for me to control my schedule at 5:30 AM than it is later in the day, so I’ve actually been able to make it to a yoga class 3 times a week!  I can’t believe what a big difference that makes in my abilities.  I felt so much stronger and more focused in my class on Saturday, after going to class Wednesday and Friday.  The only down side is, once my free classes run out (we get a year’s worth of free classes as part of the YTT program), I’m going to have to sign up for the $100 monthly plan at my studio, so I can keep up with practicing!!

And that’s my update!  That’s a lot to throw out there, but I’m behind on writing for 2015.  I gotta catch up!

Hope you are having a fabulous February so far. :)


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YTT and Miscellaneous Update

I know it’s been ages since I’ve written anything.  This is a function of two things:

1. Yoga Teacher Training (YTT). I’ve been through two weekend sessions so far.  The class started in January and ends in June.  We meet Saturdays 12-6 and Sundays 9-3 once or twice per month.  The first class was seriously awesome, albeit seriously exhausting.  We learned A TON.  We learned about chanting, anatomy, pranayama (breathing exercises) yoga philosophy, yoga history, the 8 limbs of yoga (asanas are just one small part), etc.  We also spent lots of time practicing asanas and learning how to adjust our fellow students.

The second class (this weekend) covered a lot of the same general topics, but the specifics were different.  We spent time this weekend learning about the major joints in the body, and then we spent several hours learning more about specific postures and how to modify them and adjust them.  We did a lot of work with shoulder stand, double pigeon, side angle stretch, and several others that I can’t even remember.  Then we spent about 3 hours today covering yoga philosophy in more detail.

I’m a little freaked out by the fact that a lot of the reading and self-exploration I have been doing over the past 3 years is all tornadoing together and striking the same spot.  From varied bloggers I follow, I’ve been introduced to the philosophy of stoicism and Eckhart Tolle’s works.  The subjects/books really resonated with me, and now as I learn more about yoga philosophy (something I knew NOTHING  about when I signed up for YTT), I realize that stoicism and The Power of Now are both just reiterations of this yoga philosophy that is thousands of years old.  Not to get mystical, but it seems as if the various currents of my life are all drawing me down the same path.  It’s a comforting feeling – receiving confirmation that you are moving in the right direction.

Anyway, I could write reams and reams about what I’ve learned at YTT, but I don’t want to bore you to death, so I’ll move on to my second excuse for being vacant on hlodecello.

2.  I’ve been participating in a 21-Day Primal Challenge with several friends.  I set up a Facebook Group for us to all communicate. It’s been working really well, but it means that I share my recipes and meal ideas on there instead of here.

Oh, and a 3rd thing. I got a promotion at work, which means I’m managing our programmers.  They are all awesome people who I love to work with, but I’m still trying to wrap my head around managing people for the first time. I want to do a good job, even though from what I’ve read, that’s almost impossible when you first start out.  But I’ve been putting a lot of mental energy and time into figuring that whole situation out.

So that’s why I’ve been silent lately. Once the challenge is over, I will write more.

Take care, and have an excellent Sunday evening. ;)

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Casserole to Warm the Heart

Yesterday was a rainy/snowy/blowy/inclement kind of day.  I had a burst of energy in the morning during which I wrote a blog post, and then I was pretty much done for the day. I believed I started watching Gilmore Girls and crocheting by noon or so.  My mood soon descended to match my low activity level, and I was glad to go to bed and hopefully wake up in a better place.

And I think I did!  I started this morning by making some updates on our Primal Challenge Facebook page, I did a 60 minute super tough Yogaglo video, made Paleo Banana Bowls for breakfast, and took a shower.  Oh, and I planned some tasty meals for the week.  This is my last week before the Challenge starts, but I’m trying not to totally go off the rails.  We are doing a Maintain Don’t Gain Challenge at work, where we try not to gain weight over the holidays.  The weigh-out is on Friday, and I need to lose about 2 lbs by then!  People who do not gain weight are eligible to win a massage or a $200 personal trainer package. I want to win both!! :)

Wow – I got sidetracked already.  What I meant to write about is that since yesterday was so grey, I decided to make a hearty casserole to comfort our souls.  I found this on’s 10 list of recipes:  Paleo Pumpkin Cream Chicken Casserole.  It was so good, and also very easy to make!  The only adjustment I would recommend is to cut the chicken breast into small pieces.  One-inch squares are too big to eat.  This was super tasty.

And that’s it for today!  We have some errands to do, and I’m hoping to get outside and take a walk in the snow before it gets dark.  Hope you have an excellent, fruitful Sunday.

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An auspicious start to 2015.

Two very nice things happened to me yesterday that lead me to believe that 2015 is going to be a most excellent year.

1.  My hair has been annoying me lately.  As fellow curly girls know, it’s very difficult to find someone who understands the fickle temperaments of curly hair.  It has a mind of its own and is horribly inconsistent. Some sections can be quite curly while other sections on the very same head are only just a little wavy.  I went 1.5 years without a haircut – partially to let it grow out, and partially because I just couldn’t find anyone who really understood my hair.  Well, my ends were getting so nappy that I was cutting them off instead of trying to comb through them, so I went ahead and got it cut.  And…I lost all my length and was back to where I started 1.5 years ago.

Well, several years ago when Tim and I went to Minneapolis, I got my hair cut by a Deva-trained stylist.  It was the best haircut I ever had, and it looked great for at least a year.  But, I couldn’t drive 5 hours every time I needed a hair cut, so I eventually went back to a local person and ended up making do.  However, I started researching Deva stylists again and found one in Mount Pleasant, IA, of all places!  Since I took Friday off work, I figured it was a good day to try her out.  Her name is Martha, and she owns Aurora Salon.

I loved her!  She is a fellow curly girl (beautiful Bottecelli curls!), so on top of all the Deva Curl and Curl Artistry training she has been to, she personally knows the issues we have.  She cut my hair dry, curl-by-curl.  Before washing my hair, she asked me what I thought. I wanted a little bit more of an angle, which she happily put in for me.  Then she washed and conditioned my hair, giving me helpful tips the whole time.  Then she put in leave-in conditioner, gel, and used clips to give me some lift at the crown, and put me under a dryer for a few minutes.  She finished off the style with the Deva blowdryer, and I ended up with perfectly curly (non-frizzy) hair.  I was actually happy enough with how my hair looked to not have to go home and re-style it immediately.  Here is a bathroom selfie after I styled it this morning to give you a general idea of the cut:


Martha charges only $45 for her curly cuts, which is literally 1/2 of what most Deva stylists charge.  She also gave me a few small clips to use in my hair.  Super sweet!  I’m hoping this cut will grow out well (I would really love to get my bangs as long as the rest of my hair), but when this cut grows out, I’ll definitely be trekking to Mt. P again.

And on to the second thing that gives me hope for 2015:

2.  I ordered this bracelet from HollaForMyMala on Etsy.  The description said it’s supposed to help calm the Monkey Mind, which I have in spades lately, and it’s also supposed to increase confidence.  The shop owner was unbelievably nice!  She sent me an email and asked for some background on why I wanted the bracelet.  I told her I’m starting Yoga Teacher Training soon and am really insecure about it (since I haven’t been practicing yoga for long).  When I got the bracelet yesterday, she included a handwritten 2-page note with encouragement (she is also a yoga teacher).  She gave me some great advice and comfort. She also gave me an extra gift – a beautiful solar quartz stone.  The bracelet and the stone come with little sheets that tell you the powers/benefits of the stone.  The bracelet is super beautiful, but unfortunately it’s  really snug.  I emailed her this morning to see if I can get it made bigger.  Here’s a pic of the mala and the stone:


As I said, 2015 is off to a good start.  Hopefully these ladies like to drink cold beverages with warm hands because I’m sending them both a coozie as a thank you gift. :)

Hope your 2015 is off to a great start as well!


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A Moroccan New Year’s Eve – Get it???

Did you get my joke there?  Instead of a “Rockin'” NYE, I said a “Moroccan” NYE!  Tim has already declared 2015 the year of the bad joke after I made some comment this morning about, “If this kitchen’s Moroccan, don’t come a knockin.”

So, yes, I made a Moroccan dish last night – Moroccan-Style Lamb Meatballs, to be precise.  They turned out pretty tasty (the sauce especially) but my favorite lamb meatball recipe is still this one.  These meatballs weren’t a lot of work, per say, but they did take a sh!tload of spices – thirteen to be exact.  And when it was all said and done, you couldn’t really taste them in the end product.  The meatballs might be more flavorful today though.

That’s how we celebrated our New Year’s Eve. I found a NYE Dance Party mix on iTunes radio, and Tim and I cleaned the kitchen, cooked, cleaned the kitchen again, made a drink, watched Gilmore Girls while crocheting a scarf, made another drink, watched The Labyrinth, and then went to bed at like 11PM.  It was actually a really enjoyable night (from the perspective of two complete homebodies).  And as a bonus, I feel great today!

I tried another new recipe this week:  Oven Baked Chowder.  Although this recipe is expensive (1.5 lbs of tilapia was about $15), this one is a definite keeper.  The chowder turned out super flavorful and delicious.  Next time I make it, however, I will cook it in our dutch oven.  We ran out of room in the 8 X 11 pan.  Also, I would add a whole cup of coconut milk to make the sauce even more creamy.

How was your New Year’s Eve?  Any big plans or goals for 2015?  Tim and I discussed last night that we are going to try to reign in our eating out to only 2 times per week. It will help us save money and calories.  That’s about it for us!

Hope you are having a great January 1, 2015.  The future is now, Man!!

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