Thursday, December 29, 2011

Yoga Ethics: Finding Safe Edges

I am an active student of life. I like to learn as much as I can. Sometimes I get lucky enough to teach what I learn. This is an opinion based on my own experience and study. I would love to hear yours.

I have been to different yoga studios. Every yoga teacher and studio does things differently. There are many beautiful styles of yoga and teaching. I would encourage most folks to try all styles and studios of yoga! Check out a slower moving Hatha class, a faster flowing Vinyasa class, a pose holding fast flowing Power class or a set series like Ashtanga or Bikram. I do believe there is one brief concept that every single yoga teacher and studio should follow.

Try to keep your students safe and teach to the least in the room.

Take this scenario. A teacher has a room where over half of the students are brand new to yoga. They want to please the teacher and try to get into the pose, or they are competing with a friend, a mat neighbor, or they simply want to see how far they can push their bodies. I know, I've been there. I have jacked up my right shoulder for a month because I wanted to do one more side plank and one more chaturanga to make my teacher happy that I was truly "reaching my edge". Part of a yoga guide's duties should be to teach modifications to the room to keep them safe. A brief mention of bringing a knee down would suffice. It is important to speak to the concept of not harming myself (ahimsa) while trying to give a posture my all. A teacher should be comfortable verbally or physically adjusting a student if they see something crazy out of whack that might hurt that student.

I am not saying yoga teachers should micro manage every posture their students are in. Not at all. What I am saying is that when a teacher has half the class dumping into their shoulders or low back while lowering through chaturanga, they should take a moment and explain the posture and explain modifications. I know great teachers that take the time to do this. It doesn't hurt the 10 year yogis to take a moment to listen to the explanation. It simply makes us all more aware of our breath, movements and intention...and isn't that the point anyhow?

When the class is in prasarita padottanasana (wide leg forward fold), and the teacher verbally suggest that folks can find their headstand if it is accessible, and a student falls out of headstand B variation of knees on triceps and knocks another student over...and then goes back into the posture with a humped back, elbows bent out to the sides, wrists twisted and dangerous head/neck placement...it is that teacher's duty to verbally or physically adjust to keep that person safe!

Likewise, students need to know that they have a right to refuse an adjustment. No, it is not okay for your teacher to physically pull you into a headstand or pincha mayurasana if you physically and mentally are not yet "there". This is especially dangerous if you have an injury they are not aware of.

Every student has a right to say no.

Some good teachers I know explain this every time they start a class. A simple "you may feel my hands on you and adjusting your postures to keep you safe or deepen you in, you can always tell me no or tell me that it is uncomfortable or painful and I will stop". While students have a responsibility to keep themselves safe, to stop when they feel pain and to not "cut themselves with a samurai sword," (as a great teacher always says)...teachers need to let students know that it is OK to say no! Teachers are in a position of power and authority and with that power and authority comes responsibility to keep students in a safe space.

It is the most ethically important thing to do...keep students as safe as possible. Teach to the least in the room to allow for modifications and adjustments. Have fun, learn, and experience but don't hack anyone apart and contribute to injury that could be prevented.

What do you think? Do yoga teachers have an ethical responsibility to keep their students safe, or, is it on the student? Are modifications and speaking to this point even necessary; can students simply "fake it 'till they make it"?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

DIY Christmas: Marvelous Mocha Sugar Scrub

I'm crazy. I got it into my head this year that I was going to get crafty and make some holiday gifts that were "out of the box" for me. I typically bake cookies, bake biscotti and make jam to give away to friends and family. This year I decided to make sugar scrubs and mod podge projects. In my free time. Yes, free time between work and yoga and house upkeep. Welp, I did it! After six horrific hours finishing my Christmas shopping, I made my own sugar scrub. Sweet.

I had found jars at Hobby Lobby in West Lansing earlier in the week, but I passed them up. Bad move. I ended up checking JoAnn's, Michael's, Home Goods, World Market and Kroger's before I found the Hobby Lobby in Okemos/East Lansing. Score. Decently sized jars to put a body scrub into. Most of them look like Yankee Candle jars. I bought a few smaller ones to give to folks who might not be able to use the scrub. You never know with people's allergies and particularities! 


I washed the jars carefully. They were all "food safe", but washing is important. 

A beauty product is only as good as the ingredients you put into it. The same is true with baking, cooking and well...all of life. Put quality in, get quality out. I got most of my ingredients from Foods for Living and Meijer's.

Florida Crystals sugar and brown sugar
New England Spice Company nutmeg and cloves
Frontier organic cinnamon
Cocoa powder (standard)
Paramount espresso, finely ground
Grapeseed oil
I based my recipe off of this Mocha Spice Sugar Scrub.

I multiplied that recipe by eight because I wanted a lot of scrub to give as gifts!

Ingredients
4 cups of sugar
4 cups of brown sugar
1/2 cup ground espresso
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 teaspoon cloves
4 cups grapeseed oil (plus more as needed)

I whisked together the dry ingredients and then stirred the oil in 1 cup at a time.


Then, take the dry jars and pack the scrub into them! Leave some head room in the jars.


Make the jars fancy with handmade recycled card tags (list the ingredients, for those who want to know and those with allergies!). Marvelous Mocha Scrub. Ta da. Your very own sugar scrub to give and to receive.



Thursday, December 8, 2011

December 8 of #Reverb11 - Dharma (The Path)

I'll grab these great topics when I can and write a blurb here and there. I may make more time for writing in the near future.

Wandering can be good for the over-focused creative. How did you wander well this year?

For physical wandering, I went to New Orleans on a great girlie trip with some solid friends. I experienced the wonders of BBQ shrimp and real red beans and rice (still wish I could make 'em half that good). Paul and I went on a trip to Washington D.C. - the first time I've ever been - and had a blast during the hurricane.

For spiritual wandering, I am learning to truly live my yoga on the mat and off of the mat. Be in the present moment. Breathe through it. Breathe in it. Worry less, do more. Less trying to be things and trying to do things and more active doing. As Yoda would say, "do or do not, there is no try." I have learned so much. I have so much left to learn. I hope that never stops.

Monday, December 5, 2011

#Reverb11 - Dream

Reverb 11 is 31 days of blog prompts. It provides a focus and an intention for a blog entry. "Reverb is a means of reflection on the year that has passed and looking forward to the coming year. It provides us with an opportunity to celebrate life and mourn losses together." via YogaFreedom2010

Cool concept. I'm late to the party.

December 5 – SueƱo (Dream) - What was your dream come true in 2011? What is your wildest dream for 2012?

To keep it short and sweet...my dream come true in 2011 was finding Just B Yoga, deepening into myself physically and mentally and exploring my yoga practice, and connecting with a wonderful company and HR career.

My wildest dream for 2012 is to complete my yoga teacher training, to go even further and climb personal and physical mountains, and to effectively teach in a compassionate, challenging and thoughtful way.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Polish Comfort - Pierogis

On Sunday morning, I mentioned to P that I would have extra time on Sunday evening. In his best little kid has been good all year and deserves XYZ toy from Santa voice, he said, "Oh? Then...would you please make pierogis like you used to in Massachusetts?" I couldn't say no. There are many reasons to say no. The carb load of pasta and potatoes and cheese. The time consuming process to create a filling, create a dough and put the two together. The fact that he'll likely consume 90% of them. And yet...I had time...and they are homemade, comforting and make fabulous pull it outta the freezer food.

My dad's side of the family is Polish and German. We grew up with a few Polish phrases and much of the food culture. We didn't do pierogis. At big family dinners, there were plenty of Polish delicacies like smoked Polish sausage and angel wings, but no pierogis. None that I recall. We first had pierogis from the deli section of a local apple market in Western Massachusetts. They were made by a Polish family in Chicopee. They were divine for dinner - open package, saute with butter, serve - ta da. I figured I could try making them.


WARNING: This is a trial and MUCH error kind of food. Expect filling to leak out, dough to not seal and generally plan to make a big mess of your kitchen. You have been warned.


Pierogi Filling
Peel chop and boil some potatoes. Maybe 5-7 red skin potatoes or 3-4 large brown potatoes. Boil until you can easily stick a fork through 'em, just like you would for mashed potatoes. Drain the water. Add a splash of milk or cream. Add chopped chives or other seasonings of your choice. Add some cheese (I had nice spreadable cheese from Hills' that I needed to use up, it worked perfectly). Add pepper (and salt if you must) to taste. Mash it up. Stir it up. Set aside to cool.

Set a big pot of water on the stove and put it on high to bring to a rolling boil by the time you need it.

Pierogi Dough
3 cups of all purpose flour (you can substitute some whole wheat)
1 Tablespoon sour cream
2 eggs
a pinch of salt
water as needed to form dough

Mix all ingredients together, adding water as needed to form a nice sticky dough. Knead for approximately 3 minutes. Set aside to let the gluten relax. Knead again and separate into 4 pieces.

Here comes the time consuming part.

Roll out one section of the dough to 1/8 of an inch. This is very thing. Very, very thin but not paper thin. This is hard to do with the pierogi dough. May the force be with you. To combat the gluten and the "spring back" effect I get when rolling out the dough, I beat it with a marble rolling pin. Then, when rolling it out, I roll from the center to the edges. I push the rolling pin with all my mighty shoulder strength into the dough to show it who's boss. When it starts to spring back too often, I stop and let it rest to relax the gluten.

Roll the damn thing out. Use the biggest circular cutter you have (~2 inches in diameter). This could be a biscuit cutter, a cookie cutter or a glass. I typically use a glass as I can't find my biscuit cutters. Seems I need to make biscuits more often.

Cut circles from the dough. Take the circles of dough and place a teaspoonful of the mashed potato mixture right in the center. Fold the circle in half, sealing in the mashed potato mixture. Seal the edges by pressing down with fork tines. Set aside. Remember that pot of boiling water? Once you have 10 pierogis ready, drop them into the boiling water. Stir once to reduce stickage. Once the pierogis float to the top, they are done (2-5 minutes). Set them aside on a cooking sheet to dry and cool. 

Repeat with remaining dough and filling. You'll likely have leftover filling...oh darn. Once the pierogis are dry you can put them into freezer bags and pop 'em in the freezer! If you want to consume them immediately, saute them in a bit of butter and sage if you have it. Enjoy.



Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Application Complete

I spent a good 20 minutes digging for an email I created that had "why I want to be a yoga teacher" all wrapped up in a shiny paragraph with a big bright electronic bow. I did not find it. I am certain that I do not need to find it. If I cannot articulate why I want to do teacher training...how can I possibly want to do teacher training?

Application complete. Essay written. Books in curriculum ordered. Books in other curriculum and suggested from teacher friends were also ordered.

With my new house came a new computer/yoga room. We have faux hardwood floors. I am giddy. I have practiced creating my own vinyasa before, but now I have space and the right flooring to try it on!

Last night I took my first stab at creating a playlist and running through my own sequence to said playlist in time allotted (1 hour). It is a rock your body sweat it out and leave it on the mat kind of playlist. It is pop and rap and dirty. I sweated it out. I made things up. I learned a lot. I have a ton of questions. I look forward to learning way, way more.



As I feel every day - so much to learn, so little time!

I am eternally busting-at-the-seams grateful for where I am at, who I am studying with, what I am studying and learning and what I am doing and how I am doing it. Passionately grateful.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Yoga Marathon Weekend

This weekend was Hilltop Yoga's annual open house. Three beautiful days of free yoga classes. I took full advantage of this time to deepen my practice. Knowledge. My only intention knowledge. I wanted to listen, breathe, accept and learn.

12 hours of yoga over 3 days. I know students who practiced for more hours. My intent wasn't just to crank it out. My intent was to focus and deepen into my practice. I feel recalibrated...calm, and super stretched out!

I took my first ever Advanced Yoga class where I tried nakrasana, svarga dvidasana and a whole bunch of arm balances I don't know the Sanskrit for because I have never attempted them before! It was a class full of laughter, joy and fun.

I took my first ever yoga and meditation class. Sitting still is hard. Slow stretchy flows and deepening into your muscles, joints and bones is not easy.

I took my first ever inversions class. Yep. Inversions. Upside down spaces. Adho mukha svanasana, downward facing dog, is an upside down space. So too are headstands and hand stands.

For me, yoga classes are similar to graduate coursework. I listen. I absorb. I learn. I put into practice. At least...that is the idea. My teachers are all true teachers who care about their students safety, well being and growth. Their words echo through my practice and through my day.

Breathe and be. Accept where you are. Practice compassion. Ahimsa. Sit in it. Deepen in. Nothing happens when you get there - where is there? No one cares if you can get your foot to your head. Don't tell yourself you're a "bad yogi" because you can't get into a posture! It is just a posture. Being, not doing. Let it go. It is about the journey, not the destination. Focus. Don't think too hard. Be where you are. Be present. You are stronger than you think you are.

I'm listening. I'm absorbing. I'm learning. I hope that will never change. Now, to go from the mat and into the world! True practice. I'm grateful for this indulgent weekend of true yoga. It also helped to further prepare me for a journey I'm embarking upon in January...yoga teacher training.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Welcome Fall: 5 Spice Pumpkin Muffins and Pumpkin Chai

I love Fall. I love the chill in the air, the beautiful deep red maple leaves and the variety of fruits, flowers and vegetables at the farmers' markets. My favorite part about fall is access to fresh pumpkin and squash. I use deep red squash (typically kabocha or red kuri) and sweet pumpkins interchangeably in recipes calling for "pumpkin puree". I find that squash is typically cheaper and I do not detect a difference in baking with squash vs. pumpkin. We have access to fresh pumpkin and squash...use it instead of grabbing that can of pumpkin puree!

To create the puree:
Cut the squash in half. Remove the seeds and the guts. If you feel extra ambitious, set the seeds aside to try and then roast them in the oven! Butter (or use oil to keep it vegan) a cookie sheet or a 9x13 pan...something with edges. Place the squash cut side down onto the pan. Roast in the oven at 350F until you can easily poke a fork into the top of the squash (usually 30 mins of roasting will achieve this consistency). Puree the squash in a blender - add water as necessary to get it moving and blended up well. Set aside.


Vegan Five Spice Squash Muffins
1 cup of whole wheat flour
3/4 cup of white flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 t Chinese 5 Spice powder
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
pinch of cloves
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup turbinado sugar or brown sugar
1 1/4 cup squash puree (see recipe above)
1/4 heaping cup of olive oil
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup chopped dates

Combine the sugars, squash puree and vegetable oils. Add the ground flaxseed and water (this is a 2 egg replacement). Stir well. Add in the flours, baking powder and baking soda, salt, and spices. Stir in chopped dates.

Oil 14-16 muffin wells. Drop tablespoonfuls of the batter into each muffin well. How many you create depends on how big you want them. Do not fill over the top of the muffin tin rim. Baking in a 350F oven for 30 minutes.

Now that you have so much pumpkin puree in the refrigerator...you need something else to do with it! Going off of a blogger's recipe for a Pumpkin Spiced Latte, I created a Pumpkin Chai.



Pumpkin Spiced Chai
1/4 cup of pumpkin puree
1 T honey, 1-2 T sugar to taste (or more honey, agave syrup, stevia, brown sugar, etc.)
1/2 t cinnamon, pinch of nutmeg, pinch of cloves
1 cup of almond milk
1 Decaf Black Tea Chai tea bag

Brew half a cup of tea. Let steep 3 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the almond milk, pumpkin puree, sugars and spices in a small pot on the stove. Whisk to combine. Heat to warm. When the tea is steeped, remove the bag and set aside. Fill the rest of the cup with the pumpkin milk mixture.You should have enough of the pumpkin mixture for another cup or two!

Welcome, Fall 2011!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Two Sided Coin of Acceptance

One of my frequent yoga intentions is the word and concept of acceptance

I use my focus on acceptance to be okay with not holding a posture as long as my yoga mat neighbors. I accept the fact that my body is different from their body. I accept that I should not be comparing our posture or bodies or movements at all. I accept that I have tight hip flexors that cannot fully get into padmasana (lotus). I accept that I have issues with virabhadrasana III (warrior 3). I try to use my focus on acceptance to be okay with where I'm at in each posture. I try to be compassionate towards myself and give my body a break. I have come a long way from where I was a year ago...and I've got a long way to go...and I don't have to get there by a certain date or time. Acceptance.

On Sunday, while holding utkatasana (chair pose), feeling the vibrations of an electric violin flow around the room and listening to the deep breath of the Hilltop Yoga community around me, I realized that acceptance is not one sided.

Acceptance is not just being okay with limitations and edges. Acceptance also means staying where you are when you know you can. It means sitting deeper in my chair, mentally and physically. Acceptance truly means accepting where you are. Limitations, edges and also my own ability to stick with it and to just be there. Being, not doing.

A good teacher told me "you can choose how you react to a posture, but you cannot choose the posture I put you in".

This concept is not unique to yoga asanas. We cannot always choose what happens to us. We can choose our reactions to the world. Acceptance is a two sided coin - honoring limitations and edges; sticking with it and going deeper. To paraphrase another great teacher, practice to your edge but don't slash at yourself with a samurai sword. Balance in being.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lessons from Foursquare: You're Checked in Here!

I use a popular social media application called Foursquare. It allows you to "check in" to physical locations. It works with Twitter and Facebook to show your friends where you're at and what businesses you support. I like using it to show support for local businesses and for "checking in" to new areas around the US. People can comment on your check in. You can also earn crazy cool weird nerdy badges.

When you check in to a location, Foursquare lets you Tweet, post a status update or take a picture. After you hit "check in here", your selected statuses update and you are officially "there". Foursquare then reminds you that you're checked in here! 

Checking in on my iPhone yesterday, I realized how much this little reminder could mean. You are here. Not in the past, not in the future...right...here. Be present. Be here. No where else, just here. You're checked in here.

Kitchy and dorky? Yep. Maybe. Still, thank you, Foursquare, for reminding me that I should be checked in here. Wherever and whenever that here is. #socialmediarocks


Friday, August 19, 2011

Push Paws

On my morning walk/run, I typically see one to three fluffy tailed bunnies. On my bike ride to work yesterday morning, I saw a doe and two fawns prance out of the mist. They're simply existing and are beautiful at it. Walking or biking in the early morning hours lets me get my cardio in and it gives me time to reflect and to breathe.

The Goo Goo Dolls - Black Balloon cycled through on my old MP3 player (I haven't changed the music in six years). A bunny paused to stand up on it's hind legs and look at me...before promptly running off. The sky was still dark, the stars and moon were shining, and it was quiet except for a few early rising birds.

A song that is floating around my mind lately is one on being where you are and excelling with what you're doing. It is from my Catholic grade school. My sister and I sang it often.

Bloom, bloom, bloom where you're planted - you will find your way. Bloom, bloom, bloom where you're planted - you will have your day. Look at the flowers, look at them growing, they never worry, they never work...yet look at the way our Father has clothed them. Each with a beauty all of its own.

Push pause. I need to slow down and actually take time to revel in the small things instead of think about taking time with them. I need to sit and be here. Animals seems to do this so easily. A happy-go-lucky dog is where he is, with who he is with, with whatever he is about to eat or drool over. While I was stretching, my cat came up to me and nuzzled against my side, walking back and forth to get petted and purring the entire time. Small things. Lessons animals already seem to get. Push paws.

Somewhere along the way I become wrapped up in pushing forward, doing more and more and more. Although I appreciate time and being okay with less and appreciating how great small things are...I don't act on it. I haven't taken the time to sit in it all. When I finished my walk I took a moment to check out North Star, the moon and to breathe. Just breathe. Now to go on and just be.

Push paws. Let love in. Do.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

One Year of Yoga

Today marks an important anniversary. One year ago I stumbled into a free yoga class at Hilltop Yoga. I went to yoga to exercise, sweat, have something to do while being unemployed and to de-stress and calm my mind. 

I found all of that and so much more.

I am grateful for everything. I'm thankful for the kind and generous #LoveLansing yoga community. I appreciate the opportunities I have been given. I look forward to the future and to learning more each and every day.

The love and light in me recognizes and salutes the love and light in you.

Shanti, shanti, shanti.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A pinch of this and that: Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Anyone can make strawberry rhubarb crisp. Anyone.

I grew up with a huge rhubarb plant in my backyard. For a treat, my sister and I would take a rhubarb stalk and a tiny cup of granulated sugar...dip stalk in sugar, bite, dip stalk in sugar, bite. It sounds gross now but it was heaven then!

My dad has taken to growing a field of strawberries in the backyard. My mother has made strawberry rhubarb pie for many years. I'm not a fan of pie crust. I like my oatmeal crumble topping. I can make a strawberry rhubarb crisp with my eyes closed and I think you can too!

Grab a dish - preferably an 8x8 but any size close to this will do (a pie plate, a brownie pan, a 9x9 dish).

Chop rhubarb into small pieces until you have 2 cups. Set aside. Slice 1 cup of strawberries. Toss the rhubarb and the strawberries with 1/2 cup to 1 cup of sugar (depending on how sweet or sour you like your dessert!) and add 1-2 tablespoons of flour (add more flour if you like your crisp more thick...add less if you like it more runny).

Butter your dish and add the strawberry rhubarb mixture.

Place 1/2 cup of flour, 2 T to 1/4 cup sugar (brown sugar is great here!), a pinch of cinnamon, and 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of oatmeal in a bowl (rolled, not quick). Blend together and cut in 2-4 T of butter depending on how crumbly and buttery you want your topping. Sprinkle your streusel over the fruit.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 - 40 mins - just until the gooey goodness bubbles up around the edges and the top gets a tan. Remove from oven, let sit 15 mins or more, devour.

See? Told you it was easy. Go make one right now!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Feel Your Way: After 108

108 at Just B Yoga was a one-of-a-kind incredible experience. Mentally and physically it is one heck of a journey. We were lucky to have scored two incredible musicians. One to play crystal bowls for the first half and the other to play an African drum for the second half. Hitting the 28 mark was rough. Surya Namaskara A...over...and over. Full body prayer no matter how you spin it. Getting to the modified Surya Namaskara B was rough too...but when we hit the count of 70 I could feel an end in sight. Taking time to hold certain postures and deepen in really helped me get through it.

Did I do all 108 Sun Salutations? I doubt it. I don't care. I practiced something new and significant with a room FULL of amazing people.

The next day my body wasn't nearly as sore as I thought it would be. The repetition made me notice important pieces of my practice. I fall heavily onto my left heel when repeatedly standing...I dump into my right shoulder a bit going down through chatturanga. These things I may not have known without trying 108.

My practice has been altered by the 108 class. I feel myself "leading with my heart" more. I feel like I've solidified my space. It feels great. I feel good...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Solstice and Rosaries: Change, Connect, Practice

Today is the Summer Solstice and the day I check try 108 Sun Salutations at Just B Yoga. To prepare for this experience, I've been detoxifying my mind and body. I cut out processed foods (not that I was eating many in general), greatly reduced the amount of grains I'm eating, added more fruit and vegetables and protein, cut out all chocolate/candy/alcohol and took in a lot more H20.

I'm grateful for the amount of information on the web and for the blog posts Belinda has been putting out about how to prepare for 108. In preparation, I attended a yoga class.

On my way to class, I walked into a beautiful conversation with a wise friend about letting go of habits and hobbies that you just aren't that interested in to make room for other things. Beautiful. Then I went to Ashtanga class at Hilltop Yoga. I haven't been to Ashtanga in two to three months. As the foundation of vinyasa and power yoga, I feel like getting to know Ashtanga is important, even if I can't get into the second half of the postures. Last night's practice showed me how far I've come in 10 months of "doing yoga". Our sangha re-energized the space. Again, beautiful.

Reviewing B's blog entries, I started reading up on malas. Immediately I connected the concept to the Roman Catholic rosary I grew up with. Last night I dug around in my jewelry box to find my rosaries. I have one from my first communion, one that belonged to my Mom, and a small rosary that was also part of my Mom's family. The latter two have tarnished with age...there were old stories of praying on rosaries and having their metals transmute to gold. I no longer pray on rosaries, but I find their significance important. My love of lore and myth and the spiritual world began there.


I plan on bringing the small rosary with me to focus my thoughts and energy as I move through 108 Sun Salutations to the best of my ability. There is no time like the present to make positive change. Whether or not I get through all 108 isn't the point...it is a practice, not a perfect. Life is a continual practice...not a perfect. Happy Solstice.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

One Hundred and Eight Sun Salutations...Really?

As our yoga teachers are fond of reminding us in the middle of the sweaty dirty crud-melting part of surya namaskar A (Sun Salutations)..."some people wake up and do 108 of these!" Really? 108 Sun Salutations. That is one hundred and eight of stand up, fold down, half flat, float back, plank, chaturunga, upward dog or cobra, down dog, float up, half flat, fold down, all the way up. Yeah. And that's just "A". At first glance this seems like something that will require extreme physical fitness and endurance.

It looks something like this:

Yep, I'm sure doing 108 Sun Salutations is going to require physical fitness, a high energy level from a great night of sleep and eating really well and a lot of pure guts and uumph in the endurance category. But, I'm already thinking of the strength that is going to be required on another level. There is no way to make it through 108 repetitions of a sequence without a solid mind. I just don't see how this is possible without tapping into my spiritual well. Keep my mind free from the mind clutter - yogash chitta vritti narodha. Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind. My mind already intends to fluctuate.

I've been in classes where the instructor has led us through far too many (see, I already have an issue with too many!!) Sun Salutations for a typical Power Yoga class. I've done probably 30 - 45 mins of Sun Salutations. My mind is what catches me up every time. My mind is mostly silenced in a class with changing sequences and postures I can't yet get into. I have to focus on breathe and movement and let my mind still just to stay balanced in the posture.

It is the holding and repetitive asanas that make my mind wander further. Tadasana. Utkatasana. What am I going to make for dinner? Did I send that last document at work? I wonder what my husband is up to...did he clean the dishes like I asked? Then comes the deeper stuff. What am I DOING?! Why am I doing this? This is boring. This makes my joints sore. I keep getting sweat in my eyes. I'm slipping on my mat. I'm losing my breath. Why am I doing this? What am I achieving? And finally...what is my purpose?! What am I supposed to be doing with my life? How does this all fit in?

Oh yeah. Personally, I fully anticipate getting to that deep of questioning by the end of 2 hours of Sun Salutations. The dark nitty gritty mind wandering that happens with repetitive motion or stillness. I'm excited for the challenge. For the depth. For opening my practice to something new and intimidating for me. I am learning to silence my mind, I'm learning how to flow through gracefully and with peace and my muscles are learning to stay strong and yet take REST when needed.

I'm grateful to be surrounded by the beautiful community at Just B Yoga as we go on this 2 hour journey. Thank you to Belinda for putting on this great event! Tuesday, June 21 - 6-8pm. Bring it on. Try something new.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Grilled Spring Salad

I've been neglecting my writing. Ready - go.

We live in an apartment complex. They have a rule of "no grills". Living in Michigan...in the Spring/Summer...not using a grill is sacriledge. I'm trying to get by with my George Foreman but it is not the same. Not even close. I miss the smell of charcoal and trying to grill everything you possibly can before the coals fade (even pineapple!). Some nights after work and exercise, I just want a light dinner and relaxation. This is hard to obtain when you're the one responsible for dinner! Enter the modified dinner salad. Similar to chicken salad but grilled and sans major protein. Bonus points for being cheap! (PS - I added a hard boiled egg for lunch the next day).

Plug in the good ole George Foreman! While it is heating, chop up a head of romaine lettuce. Stick it in a big bowl. Cut some bell peppers into strips. Take a few whole portobella mushroom caps, wash, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Place protobellas and peppers onto grill and cook in batches. Chop up a few sundried tomatoes in olive oil and add to salad in bowl. Chop up the cooked portobella mushrooms and add to bowl. Add cooked pepper strips to bowl. Crumble a handful (generous handful...!!) of blue cheese or Gorgonzola cheese over the salad.

Toss to combine. Devour. Smile.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Yoga is Scary: Fear of the Studio

A yoga studio has a sole purpose: yoga classes. There is no browsing like in a coffee shop or a bookstore. I can't just go into a yoga studio and check out the class, look disinterested and then go home. Going to a yoga studio meant intention. Intent to take a yoga class. It took a huge leap of faith to get myself to my first yoga class in Lansing. I was scared. What if they were all really stretchy and flexible and buff and here's me...someone who has been going to the gym for 2 years but has never been athletic and never did a real sport in her life. Would I fit in? Could I really "do yoga"? 

I was unemployed. I had time to waste. There are only X number of job opportunities I could apply to in the area. I could only bake a loaf of bread, make dinner and clean the apartment so many times in one day. I hate sitting down on my couch and holding still (I need to work on that...). I had to find a way to get out. What pushed me was the fact that I knew it would help my hip problems and be a cheap way for me to get out of the apartment for a few hours.

What motivates someone to come check out this thing called yoga?

At Just B Yoga, I meet a lot of folks who are brand new to the idea of coming to a studio to take a class. A friend told them about the studio, they saw a class schedule in the newspaper, they Google'd for yoga in Lansing...however they found it, they jumped and took that leap of faith to come down to the studio or to a free community yoga class around town and check out this yoga thing. That takes bravery.

I tell them that I'm a newbie too. I am. I've only been "doing yoga" since August. I came to yoga through unemployment and boredom and for the health benefits and I am staying for the health benefits and for so much more. I found a pathway to exercise my body, mind and spirit and really knit them all together. I'm pretty sure I'll always be a newbie because there is always something to learn.

Yoga and yoga studios don't have to be scary. I adore the amount of information that is available on yoga studio websites. Some great local examples include Om on the Range and Great Lakes Yoga. Research made me feel more comfortable simply showing up to a yoga class that was directed towards everyone. Good yoga teachers play to their room. Research made yoga less scary for me.

What brings each of us to yoga is simple, complicated and personal. But I'm always curious as to how each person gets into yoga? What brought them to there, now?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

What is Yoga: From Mat to Intention to Action

What is yoga? Is it coming onto a plastic foam mat, moving for an hour and a half, creating a pool of sweat and then getting on with your life? Is it simply exercise meant to move your body into shape? Is it purely a mental practice meant to help silence your mind clutter and let you think meaningfully? Does it help iron out the kinks in your spiritual ideas about the world?

Yoga is what happens when you leave your mat and go out into the world.

I'm reminded of this time and time again by many yoga teachers and yet it still doesn't fully sink in. It is like being in class and the teacher tells all of the students that some of you may need to lower your knees. No one moves. Yet again she repeats, if you find your are dipping in the posture, come to your knees. Pause for impact. Nothing. If you think I may be talking to you - COME TO YOUR KNEES! All of a sudden it clicks and some folks come to their knees. 

When my teachers tell me over and over again that the true power of yoga is when you take it from your mat and out into the world, it is supposed to sink in. I kept thinking to myself, well I think I'm already doing that. No. Not true. If you think your teacher may be talking to you - she is! The fact that I need to work on listening to this particular concept didn't sink in until yesterday.

Yoga knits my body, mind and spirit together. It is also in my thoughts, actions and deeds. Yoga is a philosophy of being. I need to work on finding my yoga outside of being on my yoga mat.

I'm human. I'm sure that this is a life long process - like all of the other lessons we have to learn in this lifetime. I want to keep learning. I want to make an affirmation that I recognize I need to act with love and kindness continually, not just when it is convenient or easy. Love, compassion, kindness, forgiveness and empathy. What's the point in all I'm learning if I don't apply it? Practice compassion.

I'm not perfect and although I try to do good deeds I sometimes fail at awareness and compassion in my personal life. Intention. I intend to act and speak with love and kindness - what is the point in doing anything else?

I grew up listening to my mom's John Denver tapes. We would all sing along. I'm not a huge fan of country music, but I love story songs. This is one of my favorites. Poems, Prayers and Promises.











Sunday, March 27, 2011

Stinky Sweaty Strong Yogis in Ann Arbor

Bikram Yoga. What is that? It sounds intimidating. Bikram. Yoga. Hrm. A quick Google search takes you to www.bikramyoga.com, a fire colored website with a beautifully muscular man at the top of the page. That man is Bikram Choudhury, founder and teacher. He developed a series of 26 postures that "...work every part of the body, to give all the internal organs, all the veins, all the ligaments, and all the muscles everything they need to maintain optimum health and maximum function.  Each component takes care of something different in the body, and yet they all work together synergistically, contributing to the success of every other one, and extending its benefits." (from Bikram Yoga) The studio pamphlet from Bikram Yoga in Ann Arbor tells me that "Bikram Yoga uses heat to heal & strengthen". Bikram Yoga is done in front of mirrors in 105 degrees of steamy, sweaty, stinky heat. You have to look at yourself throughout the entire 90 minutes - really look - and go through the postures. For first timers, the goal is to just stay in the room.



When I lived in Massachusetts, we had a Bikram Yoga studio right in front of my apartment, Bikram Yoga Amherst. I'm so disappointed I never went. I was scared to do something new by myself. Yoga studios intimidated me and a studio full of people (the parking lot was ALWAYS full) in a practice I had never seen was even more terrifying.

I was lucky to have the opportunity to check out Bikram in Ann Arbor about a week ago. I've been practicing Vinyasa/Power Yoga since August and I felt like I could handle the adventure. Plus, I was encouraged to try new things! That made a world of difference. I was intimidated, but I asked around prior to going, and was mostly prepared. Mostly. Wear very light clothing, bring a towel, bring a water bottle...maybe another towel. 

I walked into the room with my bath towel, hand towel, mat, and water bottle. Immediately I felt like I had entered a sauna. My brain said uhoh but my body said LETS DO THIS - BRING IT ON! Setting up in the front row, directly facing the mirrors, I took some time to adjust to the temperature and breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Looking around me at the jacked up beautiful muscles around bikini tops and bottoms, I felt a bit worried, but tried to shrug it off. The teacher walked in and introduced herself and we began.

You think focus on breathe in Power Yoga is necessary? It becomes an even more immediate concern when you're staring at your body in front of a mirror, sweating like a friggin horse after a race, drenching your towel and mat, and attempting to go as far into the postures as you can, with a drop-kick version of vinyasa and then savasana between postures. 

The 26 postures are mostly detoxifying postures. Serious detox. Whenever I go into a detoxifying posture, I always think of the old candy commercial from when I was a kid - "just squeeze the candy out of it!" I definitely squeezed all the candy out in that 90 minute class! There were a few times when I felt like I may throw up...so I laid down...only to feel like maybe I should sit up...so I focused my mind and tried to make it stop screaming at me. 

It was intense. It was detoxifying. It was a work out. It was beautiful. Folks with S and M tendencies in their yoga will fall in love with Bikram. Bikram Yoga is an incredible practice. If you're looking for an intense practice to mix up your yoga, check it out. Don't let fear of a new practice, edge or experience keep you away. And afterward, drink a whole lot of water and grab some incredible food in town knowing that you can afford the calories. 

 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Faux Fettucini: Asparagus, Shrimp and Tomatoes

I've spent the weekend in Chicago to help my friend Kate with the last bit of recovery for an extensive eye surgery. We've had a good time hanging out! I've had a weekend filled with yoga and cooking. We wanted to make her about a week's worth of food to have in the freezer. This would enable Kate to simply open the freezer, pick something, and heat it up. Enter Friday night's dinner.

Faux Fettucini with Asparagus, Shrimp and Tomatoes

This creation almost isn't a recipe. It is like writing a recipe for spaghetti - cook noodles, add sauce and eat. First, I cut up the asparagus into one inch pieces and set it aside. Then I gutted and diced two roma tomatoes. I ran the frozen shrimp under cool water to defrost and set them aside as well. I boiled a pot of water and added the 100% durum wheat pasta.

Pasta.

Whole wheat pasta can be very off putting for many people because of the ridiculously chewy texture. I'm not a big fan of whole wheat pasta unless it is cooked very thoroughly. I'm also not a fan of enriched pasta. I don't need white flour enriched with B vitamins and folic acid and whatever else the food companies think I may need in my body. No. I'm a fan of what is typically considered to be Italian pasta - 100% durum wheat pasta. It looks yellow so it more closely resembles the enriched pasta most Americans are used to. The texture had great bite and it isn't too chewy. Read the boxes of pasta at the store! I suggest selecting one that has the fewest ingredients possible (this is my general rule on ALL processed foods). I'm a big proponent of making your own pasta because it is cheap, easy, and you know what went into it. However, this is not always practical, therefore you should take time to find a pasta you enjoy.

Moving on to the juicy part! While the pasta is cooking, saute one minced garlic clove in about a tablespoon of olive oil. Add your asparagus and cook for 2 minutes. Cook the asparagus longer if you must. I like to maintain it's snappy integrity. Add the tomatoes and cook 3-5 minutes. Reduce the pan to a low simmer and add about a cup of half and half and a handful (half a cup or a bit more) of parmasean and/or asiago cheese (use the real stuff! Dust inside of green shelf stable containers doesn't count. A little real cheese goes a long way towards making your dish pop with flavor). Simmer and reduce.

When the pasta is almost finished, add your shrimp (as many as you want! We used about 15) into the asparagus/tomato/cheese/half and half mixture. Add a bit of freshly ground black pepper. I omit any salt here because of the natural saltiness of the cheese, but, add a pinch if you must. Cook the shrimp until they just turn pink - they'll finish cooking in the heat of the dish and you don't want to overcook them and end up with chewy shrimp.

Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Using tongs, gently mix the pasta in with the sauce. Turn off the stove. Let sit 5 minutes to absorb sauce and finish cooking. Serve. Devour and enjoy.




Sunday, March 13, 2011

Inspecting Yoga in Lansing: Plan B

  

After settling into our apartment in Lansing and getting the internet connected, I immediately began doing research on yoga facilities in the area. There are a lot of great options to choose from. Based on website class descriptions, cost and yoga teacher biographies, I chose Hilltop Yoga. My first class was a Yoga Basics class in Haslett. I don't remember who taught it but I remember my hips feeling better and my soul feeling more connected to my body. I immediately signed up for the $30 for 30 days of yoga beginner deal.

I went to a class every other day in Haslett, not realizing that the studio in Old Town was actually closer to my apartment. It took me a long time to muster up the courage to try a class in Old Town! The space is welcoming but it also felt intimidating because Haslett had become familiar. Class every other day really whipped my muscles into shape -  I was sore on the days between and felt my muscles and tendons stretching. It was wonderful.

Luckily, I got a job as a recruiter within these 30 days...but I was also sad because the deal had ended and money was (and still is) tight. I joined Fitness USA because the gym fee is only $20/month and they have a pool, hot tub, dry heat room and steam room. I started a small home practice every few days. I went without yoga classes for a few weeks. My hips went back to hurting from sitting on my butt in a computer chair 6+ hours a day. I gained 5 lbs within the first two months of the new job. In addition to cardio at the gym, I needed my yoga.
 
I went back and started attending the free and $5 classes at Hilltop Yoga whenever I could. I took advantage of the incredible open house weekend (free yoga for 3 days straight!). My hips didn't hurt and I felt so much better. Through Hilltop Yoga I met incredible teachers, including Belinda. I started networking in Lansing and adding local folks to Facebook. That is how I found out about Just B Yoga, Belinda's brain and soul child. Just B Yoga is a donation-based, community-driven studio in REO Town. Working up the courage to try something new in a new space and in an area of town I had never been to before...I came to her free community class one Wednesday night.

Loved it. Loved the people, the joy, the carefree and easy going attitudes, the music and vibe of the room. Because Just B Yoga is donation based, it was affordable for me to go to classes at both that studio and at Hilltop Yoga. The entire group was welcoming and had all different levels of yoga students. There were people who had never touched a yoga mat before and those that looked like they had been practicing for a decade or more. Belinda was able to teach the class to all levels without making anyone feel uncomfortable or nervous about not being able to do a tough pose. It was wonderful.

Being friends with Belinda on Facebook led me to notice that she is a very busy woman! One night after class I asked if I could help her with anything. I was volunteering with Habitat Lansing and the Grand River Connection, but I still had spare time to donate. I have yet to ask what she thought about that offer, but, she took me up on it within the week! Weeks of brainstorming, marketing, writing, and oh yeah...more brainstorming, led to me needing a title. People would question my affiliation with Just B Yoga in the Twitterverse and in email communications. I asked Belinda for some kind of a title...and she came up with Promotions Manager. 

So, there you have it, from zero to Just B Yoga Promotions Manager. Ta da. Now to see where this winding path is taking me. I don't know where I'm going but I do know I'm going down this road with eyes and heart wide open, and my cup empty.

my new business cards!




Thursday, March 10, 2011

No Stress in Yoga - MA, MI, Home

Working at the Dow Chemical Company had some perks. One of those perks was a gym right in the corporate center with FREE classes. A free lunch hour class included yoga. Looking back on the type of yoga I threw myself into, it was Vinyasa, with a strict strict strict emphasis on posture and bandas. I was squeezed and forced into postures/asanas. I developed buns of steel. I sweated a bit during my lunch break. I got into graduate school at the University of Chicago and moved...

That was the end of my yoga for 4 years.

I don't know why I didn't pursue it in Chicago. I don't know why I didn't exercise in Chitown at all, besides my daily walks to and from campus, and some Yoga Booty Ballet DVD. When we moved to Amherst, Massachusetts, there was a Bikram Yoga Studio in front of our apartment for all three years we lived there. I was intimidated by the crowds of people that parked there on Saturday mornings. I wasn't sure where to go, how to start, what to do. I started going to the gym every day instead. I threw myself into cardio and screwed up my hip with what was likely a ligament tear or a stress fracture. I aggravated my old Chicago knee injury from tripping over a huge chunk of sidewalk. I needed a time out.

After the time away from cardio, I knew I could no longer force myself onto the elliptical machine for 40 mins a day. I needed something else. I needed to treat myself better. This, of course, coincided with our upcoming move home to Michigan. We were moving to Lansing so that my husband could attend law school at Michigan State University. I was stressed out beyond belief between moving, quitting my job, and trying to find a new one (with benefits) in the state with the highest unemployment rate in the country. 

I needed my yoga.

Coworkers went to a yoga studio about 20 minutes away from me - Florence Yoga. I went there for a 10:00 a.m. class with Michelle. I fell in love. Her adjustments were wonderful and well placed, there was not a heavy emphasis on form but more so on flow, and the class was jam packed. It helped clear my mind, maintain my focus, and reduce my stress. I talked with Michelle after class about how I was moving to Michigan and how sad I was to have only now discovered yoga in Massachusetts - just as I was leaving. She encouraged me to find a studio in Michigan.

Off we went on a 16 hour trip across the country - me and the cats in my car - my husband taking the semi-truck full of stuff. Home to Michigan. Home to find yoga.




Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Packzi Day

Today is Fat Tuesday. Today is a big deal in the Polish world I grew up in. Today, we get to eat PACKZI. No, not pack-zee, poonch-key! They look like jelly filled doughnuts. Real packzi are light, fluffy, airy, and have a not-too-sweet filling that melds perfectly into the airy dough. Real packzi make you happy to be alive and biting into them. Real packzi = love.

A look at REAL Packzi!
When I was in elementary school I made packzi with my Grandpa Dryzga for a school project. We made easy traditional packzi with a buttery dough and raisins. We ripped off chunks of dough, rolled them into golf ball sized pieces, and dropped them into hot oil. Heaven. Fresh deep fried deliciousness.

Traditionally, packzi are made with lard and were filled with prune jelly or rosehip jelly. It was a way to use up all of the tempting things Polish Catholics are not supposed to eat during Lent. Now, it's a day of indulgence and spreading a bit of the culture around the U.S.

When I lived in Chicago, there were packzi to be found. In Massachusetts, the only thing I could find was a sad excuse of a jelly doughnut impersonating a packzi. This year, I had a packzi from Roma Bakery. I had my doubts about buying a Polish pastry from an Italian bakery...I bought one apricot and one prune, both lightly coated in powdered sugar. My husband indulged in the apricot packzi and I devoured the prune packzi. Prune is deceptive...it was more of a plum jam filling.

It was wonderful. For those 5 minutes of packzi munching heaven, I recalled my Polish upbringing, my Grandpa and Grandma's 1950's kitchen in Bay City, Michigan, and my love of culture and food. Packzi. Try a real one!

Another wonderful story on Packzi can be found at Detroit Moxie!



Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Un-Dinner

I'm sure you've felt it before. The deep seated nausea at the thought of cooking one more meal one more time this week. The idea of coming up with something based on what you have in your refrigerator makes you quake with mental anguish. Can't someone else cook? Can't we just order out again?

You are on a tight budget, went out to eat once or twice already this past week, and your family is depending on you to make something. Sigh. So now it's time to go into the kitchen and do you duty because hell, someone has to, and that someone is going to be you.

After a week of flu and lung illnesses, I've definitely been lax on the cardio and shirked some of my regular yoga routine (oh Saturday Power Yoga - I missed you!). I know that I should rest but I really, really hate inactivity! I was able to make it through Wednesday's Community Yoga, Friday's Hip Hop Power Hour, and Sunday's Power Hour with Hilaire (just barely...). My husband has also been sick all week. 

I decided I was going to grill chicken. I'm grilling chicken and YOU can figure out what to have from there! Neither one of us has been burning many calories and I was sick of making dinners...thus...the Un-Dinner was born in the form of a gigantic grilled chicken salad! Behold.


I plugged in the "George Foreman" and promptly grilled 2 chicken breasts and 2 chicken thighs, enough for chicken salads for lunch later in the week. I chopped up a carrot, 3 stalks of celery, a red bell pepper, and a half a head of green leaf lettuce. I added a handful of snow peas and sunflower seeds. Once the chicken was done, all I had to do was chop it up, add it to the salad, and drizzle some balsamic vinaigrette on top. And here we have it - the "I don't freaking feel like making dinner" dinner.



Thursday, February 24, 2011

Love and Cinnamon and HR Wildwood

My world exists in a combination of all of these great realms: HR, Social Media, Yoga, Family and Friends, Cooking, and Volunteering. I'm blessed with an overabundance of time and energy. Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., you can find me at HRU, Technical Resources in Lansing, MI. I'm a technical recruiter working to find my clients the best talent I can for their job orders whether they be contract or direct hire opportunities. Between the hours and after I do much more.

I grew up in Sanford, Michigan (with one champion of a sister and great parents) in an imagination filled 50 acres of woodlands, streams, swamps, bogs, wild blackberries, squirrels and deer. I attended Saginaw Valley State University for my undergraduate degree in Psychology. I wanted to get a PhD in Social Psychology and do something incredible in the world. I was rejected from every PhD program I applied to - I lacked focus. Thankfully, the University of Chicago offered me a consolation prize; a Master's degree.
I spent one blissful year in the great city of Chicago attending the University of Chicago for my Master's in Social Science (focusing on non-profit management). I was on my own in a one bedroom apartment in Hyde Park with my trusty companion - my blue point Siamese cat, Loki. I started experimenting with cooking and healthy baking. My first attempts at healthy blueberry muffins and health crazy oatmeal cranberry cookies were admittedly not too tasty. I kept up the experimenting when my husband and I moved to Massachusetts so that he could attend the University of Massachusetts for graduate school. I love cooking. I love baking. I love sharing my creations. Food is love.

In August 2010 I moved from Massachusetts to Lansing, Michigan. I started a Twitter account: @emilywhitemi My name is Emily White and MI stands for Michigan, the strong willed and friendly state I call home. I started getting involved in my community and came back to yoga as a time buster while seeking employment.

I was lucky and strategic in my job search. My resume was fine tuned and out there on CareerBuilder and Monster. I sought jobs on company websites, newspapers, LinkedIn, Idealist, and Craigslist. I'm a recruiter...jobs are what I do! I landed this position at the end of August.

I started networking and attending local events. If you can't find something to do in Lansing, Michigan you're just not trying! I found out about a wonderful young professionals networking group. I sent an email to the team and was invited to became part of the communications team for the Grand River Connection.
Throughout my life I have always been involved in Habitat for Humanity. It started with the Tri-cities Habitat team when I was in 7th grade, moved to the Saginaw Habitat team through my job at the Dow Chemical Company, and I decided to pick up the figurative hammer again in Lansing. I'm part of the community relations committee at Habitat Lansing. I manage their twitter account @habitatlansing.

Through classes at Hilltop Yoga, I connected with an outstanding yogi and incredible soul. I started going to yoga at both Hilltop and Just B Yoga. I became the volunteer promotions manager for Just B Yoga in January 2011.

I met wonderful people at both yoga studios and became further entrenched in Lansing by joining the Lansing Jaycees this month! I'm fairly certain I can consider my plate full...but I'm always available and willing to help when I can. I review resumes and cover letters and offer job search advice on a regular basis. You can connect with me on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/emilywhitemi.

This blog will morph into a personal journey blog.

HR Wildwood will be dedicated to HR, Social Media, and career oriented topics.

Welcome!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Broken Oven and Paths

Tonight, I attempted to make a simple dinner of roasted chicken, red skin potatoes, onion, and carrots in my lovely cast iron skillet. I was thwarted by the oven deciding it was not willing to go above 200 degrees. Slow roasting a chicken isn't really what I had in mind. 

We ended up going out for sushi. It was lovely to sit down with my husband and enjoy dinner and just talk. The chicken can go in a crock pot tomorrow, with the vegetables, and cook down into a gorgeous stew. Sushi and meaningful conversation trump roast chicken any day.

I'm having a difficult time deciding on the direction for this blog. I want to write about food. I enjoy cooking. I also want to write about social media, Lansing, and yoga. It's my blog, I'll do what I want!

I'm having a blast going to the various networking events and social meetings around town. I'm loving my new side gig as the "Promotions Manager" of Just B Yoga. Trying to figure out where these paths are leading me...but I'm beginning to realize that I need to roll with everything that is going on and just see where I end up.

Loving it.

Mom's Venison Chili Recipe


"Take about 1 lb. ground venison, brown it, add 4 cans del monte tomatoes with peppers and onions; add as many kidney beans as you like (I use 2 small cans or half a large), 2 T. sugar, 2 T. chili powder and 1-2 t. salt, simmer and it's done . (you can add more chili powder if you like spicier)"
 ~ brought to you by my Mom ~