Friday, October 12, 2012

Michigan in Fall

My gosh, fall came hard and fast this year! We barely got any typical late summer days where it's warm and sunny and the nights are crisp and cool. Instead, it went straight to COLD, day and night. Meh.

Not being a fan of cold and snowy winters, fall makes me melancholic and anxious. This summer really passed in a flash and the weather has pretty much been messed up since last winter. The only cure to the "fall blues": walks in the sunshine and admiring the beautiful fall foliage.

I really love our neighborhood! It's so cozy, quiet, and homey :)

PS: Speaking of Michigan, the Michigan Singalong (which I wrote about here) can still be viewed here: Pure Michigan Singalong. Go check it out!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Travel mode *OFF*

We were lucky duckies this year. Between my boyfriend and I, we got to go on several golf trips (BF), to New York City (me), Germany (together), San Diego (together), and a few weekends back we started a new tradition in South Haven, MI. You might remember, I LOVE SOUTH HAVEN!

This is the second time we have traveled to South Haven on the weekend after Labor Day. It's an awesome time to go: it's not as stifling hot anymore, the kids are back in school, so there aren't that many tourists anymore, and of course: it's ALWAYS a great time to go to South Haven <3

While it was too cool and windy to swim this time, it was still great to take walks on the beach and downtown, and also see some neighboring towns.

Lookie, it was so windy, these guys were lifted into the sky for several seconds at a time!!! Looked so fun and a little bit scary!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Michigan pride!

I can't believe they took the video down. You'd think with a big production like this, they would have cleared copyright issues beforehand. Disappointed :(

EDIT: Here's a different source for the video. Hope it stays up :)

Check out this video!

It just looks like all the teams representing the different Michigan cities/location had SO MUCH FUN! I remember singing in choirs/choruses and it was always a blast and I miss it so much. Besides performing in musical groups, I've also participated in quite a few public events like demonstrations, flash mobs, raves (it was the 90s, OK?), yoga, and the energy participating in a large group event like that has always been fantastic and very moving to me. So yeah, I might have teared up a little when watching this video the first few times. I guess I'm a softie and/or I have developed a little bit of Michigan Pride :)

Back to the video, I think they did an amazing job with it and I'm sure it was a blast to film/produce/perform. IT'S ALWAYS A GOOD TIME!!

PS: Just one question, where is South Haven?!?!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Favorite winter pastime: Puzzles :)

The days are so short already and tonight we even had a slight frost! I guess that means that fall has truly begun, and winter is near. I'm not a big fan of winter, but I was excited to pull out a new puzzle! It has 1500 pieces and will be quite a challenge.

Starting this puzzle made me miss my mom though, because we usually did puzzles together around Christmas time. So much fun! :) Maybe I'll see her later this fall/winter though!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Bavarian Breakfast

With the Oktoberfest upon us we thought we'd celebrate with a Bavarian breakfast! We found Weisswurst locally (!), pretzels too, and after my last trip to Germany I smuggled in the world's best sweet mustard! What a way to start the weekend :)

Not the healthiest, but yummy and we did have a green smoothie before this extravaganza. Oh and we skipped the beer this time ;)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Outside Bikram class!

My studio had a 60 minute Bikram class outside at a local street/art/food fair today. There were about 100 of us set up on a closed off street between some downtown buildings. And IT WAS SO AMAZING!!!!

I hope I can post a picture soon. Since I was busy practicing and getting ooh and aaah-ed at by bystanders, I wasn't able to snap any myself :)

The most AMAZINGEST thing of all was doing the Half Moon back bend outside, going back, way back, all the way back... and seeing sky, sky, skyyyyy, and then people upside down! So cool :)))

I hope it inspired some watchers to come and try a class soon :)

EDIT: And here is a photo of us doing Balancing Stick  :)

And another one in Full Locust:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bikram Birthday!

I almost forgot my Bikram Birthday is coming up in a couple of days! Wheeeee!!

For celebration this year I have (unknowingly) made practicing a priority again. And I'm really enjoying myself in the hot room, yay!

I am sending big big THANK YOUs out to the Universe, to all Bikram teachers, my family and friends and my self, the Bikram community, and to Bikram (the man). I am so thankful for having all of you in my life.


And wouldn't you know it... Bikram Yoga Teacher Training (Fall 2012) is starting in a couple of weeks :-o
I'm rooting for all of you, trainees! Best of luck!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Grandma's cooking: Stuffed Green Pepper with Orzo Noodle Rice and Yogurt

We got tons and tons of green peppers in our CSA this month and really didn't know what to do with them. Then came the bestest idea: try to make stuffed green peppers, just like my grandma makes. My mom and grandma were so lovely, skyped with me for a couple of hours and shared a few of her signature recipes. On Sunday we gave it our best and tried it for the first time:

HOLY MOLY! It turned out soooo good! We all know that normally, even if we use our grandmas' recipes, they never turn out quite as good as grandma's. This one turned out really well though! We were quite proud of ourselves :)

Thank you grandma! <3

Monday, August 13, 2012

Puppy Update!!!!

YAY, I was so pumped to visit the puppies the other day! Are you as excited as I am?!?! Haha, probably not. Anyway, they are 10  months now and pretty big. They still behave like puppies though, so they stumble all over each other:

... and sit on your lap asking to be snuggled:

No problem there! I'll snuggle them all day long :)

They are pretty lively, so it was hard getting a good picture of them... They are still as adorable as they were as puppies though. The characters are still the same. Boy-puppy is clumsy and super-excited about us visiting and playing, and prefers my boyfriend. Girl-puppy (in my lap in the second pic) is super-snuggly and calm and prefers me.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Back on track

After a month of traveling and jet lag (6 hours plus, then 3 hours minus) I am working on getting back on track. My boyfriend and I have a few fun things planned, but none of them are multiple-days kind of plans. We're going to a Tigers game on Sunday, yay! We're hosting a Bavarian breakfast soon, (not healthy, but still) yay! We have a month-long CSA membership, so farm-fresh food to look forward to, yay!

Meanwhile, this is what is helping me feel good and healthy and not-jetlagged in my skin:
  • eating raw! I'm not at 100%, but I am getting so much closer by including more and more 100% raw meals (for example Green Smoothies). Blog post to follow...
  • getting back to yoga! The hot room is feeling goooood these days! It's challenging to get back to a regular practice in the humid summer months, but I am concentrating on breathing calmly and concentrating on my body only and it's working well :)
  • cleaning, unpacking, making our home even more comfy!
I have noticed so many benefits from eating mostly raw already, even after just a few raw days in a row! It really is amazing. Combined with my Bikram yoga practice, the possibilities are endless! I feel like it is the fast-track to great health.

Friday, August 3, 2012

CSA for August

Yesterday we picked up the first of our weekly shares from a local farm. We are so excited! We have planned meals around most of the fresh veggies already.

So CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and we are trying it for the first time this August. I'm already liking it! After getting back from the farm (yes, the same farm where this stuff was grown) we made a little impromptu stir fry.

All ingredients were from our share (except for spices and olive oil). It tasted SO PHENOMENAL! Fresh and fruity and flavorful... so THIS is what real food tastes like ;) Yumm yumm!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The ocean <3

When we were kids, we got to spend 6 weeks right by the ocean every summer. We would swim and play on the beach for hours, days, weeks on end. I'm so happy to be by the water again. It's been way too long.

It's so beautiful here!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Made it to San Diego

Yay palm trees! You have no idea how happy I am to be near the ocean <3 So pretty <3

Friday, July 13, 2012

Aaaah yes.

Yes, this will do. This will do very nicely.

(This is in Celsius, obviously.)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


So. I am still here, but don't feel like posting much.

Life is going well: BF and I have celebrated our one year anniversary, we have a couple of exciting trips planned (Germany, California), I'm still working diligently on regularly practicing Bikram yoga.

With working so much and commuting it is still hard to maintain my practice. It takes sacrifice (getting up at 4:45 am, anyone?) and planning. Practicing at two different studios has been kind of sucky. I don't feel connected to the community at any of the two anymore. As if that wasn't sad enough, I recently got viciously verbally attacked by a "yogini" (using that term loosely here) in the changing room. She is a regular at the studio. Although the other yogis and yoginis who witnessed it were very very sweet and caring towards me, I am still left with a sad heart and not feeling like the yoga studio is a safe place anymore. I think I have let it go and I am not taking it personally (I know SHE was unloading HER issues on me with absolutely no reciprocation from my side), but the sadness remains. I have lost a safe haven. Disturbing and upsetting.

BUT it's all good in the hood. Seriously. Having a safe haven (especially outside your home) is a luxury, so it's all good. I am a lucky girl to have a wonderful home with my BF, full of sunshine, lots of laughter, and tons of love. Life is good!

Friday, April 20, 2012

I ♥ Pomegranate!

When I asked if the grocery store had any pomegranates in stock, I was told they are out of season. Sad face. I didn't know there was a specific season for pomegranates. I just figured that in the summer, they come from California/Florida/whatever, and in the winter they come from the southern hemisphere... wrong!

After the tree flowers in spring, it takes about 6 months for fruits to be ready for picking! Harvesting time for California pomegranates is October to January, so just a few short months per year. (The season in the southern hemisphere is March through May.) The good news: pomegranates don't ripen after picked, so they store well for months.

Pomegranates are soo good for you! They make me feel fresh and new when I feel low. I tend to crave them after yoga or after I am naughty and have pizza or something. They pick me right up and to me that is the best evidence that they are good for me :)

So long, my tangy, sparkly, shiny friends! Hope to see you again soon!

PS: Now of course I am daydreaming about having a pomegranate tree in my backyard. Sometime, in the future...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

TT just started -- oh-oh!

Alright folks... you may or may not know that Bikram Yoga Teacher Training (BYTT Spring 2012) has just started.

I just want to wish all the trainees ALL THE BEST for the journey! I am thinking of you and rooting for you. If you are writing a blog, I truly appreciate that. Thank you for sharing!

PS: How am I ever gonna get any work done with all those TT blogs to read?! *sigh*

PS: I'll leave you with a picture of Joseph Encinia... just because he is awesome! Turns out, Joseph Encinia does not like his pictures shared on the Internets without permission... That's OK. He is still awesome, so check out THIS SHOOT!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

May I introduce: Vitamix!

We have a new friend in the kitchen... the incredible Vitamix!

I have been making Green Smoothies for a while now with a regular blender and while it worked fine, it was a little too time consuming and brought the machine to its limits blending tough greens like kale (just didn't get smooth). After borrowing a Vitamix from a friend a few weeks ago, there was no going back, so when a small windfall came my way, you guessed what I went out to buy...

Now, I haven't tried yet, but I'm pretty sure the Vitamix can blend rocks to a smooth finish. You can make ice cream/sorbet with it. It is also so powerful that I can throw in all ingredients at the same time, blend for 30 secs and the smoothie is done, where with my old blender it was: add ingredients-blend-add ingredients-blend... and so on. Another plus: it holds twice as much (64 oz = 1.9 l) as my old blender. So all in all, it saves me a ton of time AND the smoothies come out much smoother.

I've already made soup and pasta sauce with the Vitamix and it's pretty awesome since it gets even raw carrots super smooth and you can run it for a few minutes and it will even heat up your soup! (Just from the friction of the blades, mind you!)

OK, I'm officially a fan-girl now haha!

PS: Yes, this really is the view from our kitchen window... So beautiful this time of the year!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy Opening Day!

Better late than never...

Thursday was Opening Day (of the baseball season, to all non-American readers) and that's kind of a holiday for me now :) I took the day off which meant I have a four day weekend. I'm using my time to dive into the yoga -- and watch baseball, of course. I've kinda missed it during the winter :)

I hope you are enjoying a long Easter weekend, too!

PS: Go Tigers!!!!!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Time for a Puppy Update :)

First off, the puppies are still the sweetest little things I can imagine. They like to snuggle and lovingly lick your hands, they want to sit with you and be cuddled constantly, they listen and sit or lay down when asked... I just love them to bits! Just one thing... they're MASSIVE!!! Should I really be calling them "puppies" still? They're more like "teenagers" :)

Sorry for the crappy picture, but just to see their size :)

"I'm concentrating on getting snuggled" face  :)

Awww... sharing a bone...

Can you see how massive they are? And they're only 5 months old. This was them at 5 weeks:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I thought this only happened in movies

This bouquet surprised me today at work! Upon questioning my boyfriend, he said the reason is "Just because" :)

Thank you so much, I feel so blessed

Monday, February 27, 2012

German Goodies

After seeing this picture, you will surely understand why my (previously half-empty) suitcases were packed full and over the weight limit on my way back to the US...


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Greetings from Lake Constance!

I'm visiting part of my family down in the south of Germany. Holy moly, I forgot how gorgeous it is down here!

This is lake Constance, on the other shore you can see the Austrian and Swiss Alps.... beautiful :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Story about Healing and Bikram Yoga

Healing from a severe back injury... after years of other training methods only brought partial relief... finally being completely free of pain, 20 years after the injury... Is this a miracle? A fairy tale?

I would say it's neither. It took and still takes a lot of work (90 minutes in the hot room, several times a day, is serious work!), but Lisa did it!

Thank you for sharing your wonderful story of Healing, Lisa! It's very aptly titled Why I will do Bikram yoga until the day I die.

Namaste :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Currywurst Pommes :)

A friend of mine finally took me to one of my favorite places to eat Currywurst. Thank you!

Yummm, Lil' Turtle is also enjoying this German delicacy :)

OK, OK, I admit it's not the most healthy dish, but it tastes awesome. I'm sure the Americans would appreciate it as well, if somebody brought it over the Atlantic for them to enjoy! Hmmm, maybe it's my destiny to open Detroit's first Currywurst place... ;)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Home Connection

It was hard to leave our new home for three weeks. Now that almost two weeks have passed, it's still hard... I'm ready to enjoy my last week in Germany a lot (no more work! lots of family time!) and get back home soon.

Meanwhile, I'll be snuggling with Lil' Turtle, while his momma Miss Turtle is hanging out at home with my boyfriend.


(Lil' Turtle is trying some good German food: Rahm-Schnitzel.)

You'll be united soon, my dear turtle friends! Promise!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hotel Room Yoga

Oh my gosh, after 10 days away from the hot room, I was going insane... back unhappy, skin unhappy, hair unhappy, tummy unhappy, mind unhappy. Paired with days packed full of trainings, project work, more work during "breaks", and business dinners, I felt like crap.

Time for Hotel Room Yoga. I set up some towels and tried to practice in front of the mirror which was not well positioned at all... and of course the heat was missing... oh well, I made it work.

After 90 minutes of Bikram's voice from my iPhone, I was feeling happy and healthy again. Yay!

(You can buy Vol1 Standing & Vol2 Floor Series here or on iTunes. You will get a complete 90 min class given by Bikram Choudhury himself!)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I'm in Germany.

I've made it safe and sound. I have eaten Currywurst Pommes twice so far (yay!). I'm living the business travel lifestyle (a lot of work, eating out every. single. meal) and it's kind of annoying. No yoga so far; I miss it.

More interesting posts to come (hopefully). I just didn't want my readers to think I've drowned in the Atlantic ;)


Thursday, February 2, 2012

First day of school

Today is an exciting day for our friends' puppies... first day of school! They're going to meet other puppies, and learn stuff, and play, and wrestle... Yay!

Here's a new pic of them... they have grown so much!

They have really stolen our hearts... I'm more of a cat person, but they are just so sweet and snuggly and playful

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What do you tell prospective (Bikram) yogis?

A few colleagues have recently asked me about Yoga. They are interested in improving their health problems and have heard that yoga might just be the thing to try. They have heard that I'm "into yoga"
and want to get a feel for it.

AWESOME!!! Come with me, we can go today! It'll be awesome, we can go every day! ... Hmmm, maybe that's not the right approach. I'm not going to lie, in the first few months I might have said that to a few people and scared them off. I was super excited about Bikram Yoga (still am!) and I wanted to share it with everybody! NOW!!

Thing is... not everybody is ready and pushing them in this stage is counterproductive. I have learned that quite a while ago. Today another colleague asked me about Yoga and said "But you do Bikram Yoga, right? That will be too much for me with the heat and all." What would you have said to the person?

I didn't want to overwhelm him with information, but I wanted to make sure he feels welcome to try. He will NOT be the only one who is new to this/feels too hot/cannot touch their forehead to their knees. I calmly told him why the heat specifically helps us (stretch and heal our bodies & deal with circumstances beyond our control). I also informed him about the beginners special (two weeks unlimited for 25$). If he is interested and ready for it, he will research himself or ask me again. I do not want to push it on anybody :)

So what do you tell people who are interested in (Bikram) Yoga? Do you try to "sell" it?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Those *bad* classes.

All of us Bikram yogis seem to have them once in a while: class is hotter than noon in the desert, the drama among the fellow yogis (people talking, groaning, smelling, walking around during balancing postures), the body does not want to cooperate, the mind cannot rise above... and it all adds up to the worst class you've had in a while :(

This was pretty much my class last Thursday. I tried and tried to not let the disturbances phase me during class, but wasn't very successful. I felt like the class smacked me in the face. (Now this sounds overly dramatic to me, but it is how I felt.) I can actually physically explain what led to this crappy class, but I won't bore you with the details. Anyway, I've had some awesome classes in 2012 so far, so it was kind of a surprise.

My advice for other in this situation is usually: "Go right back the next day. Usually the next class after a *disastrous* one is a great one!" --- but I don't think I've ever taken my own advice (unless it was during a challenge).

No, I didn't go back on Friday. Or Saturday. Or Sunday. I just didn't feel ready, so healed while snuggled up on the couch, had some quality time with my boyfriend & his family, and did some packing for my upcoming trip. I will go back to the hot room today. I know I will desperately miss it during the three weeks in Germany, so I will take advantage of my last week here. Bikram's CD (on my iPhone) will be coming with me on my trip and I see some hotel room yoga in my near future :)


Monday, January 23, 2012

What I miss: Currywurst Pommes Mayo

Hands down, my favorite German fast food item is Currywurst, a sliced up bratwurst (sometimes they use a different sausage) slathered in curried ketchup... LOVE! A side of french fries (Pommes), of course with lots of mayo... oh man... it's been tough to make do without this in the past year.

Currywurst with Pommes Mayo, also lovingly called Mantaplatte
(picture somewhere on flickr, couldn't find exact source)

BUT!!! Not for much longer will I have to long for it desperately. My flight to Germany is booked, and in less than two weeks I expect to indulge in this delicacy again :)

I will be in Germany for three weeks, two of which will be work-related travel and one will be vacation! I can't wait to see my family and friends! It also feels really funny that I will be away from home for three weeks... or will I? Where is home, anyway?

I'm just happy and excited and anxious and everything at once! Yay!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Regional Yoga Asana Championship

On Sunday I got to watch the Regional Yoga Asana Championship. The winners get to compete in the National Yoga Asana Championships in March. It was amazing to see a variety of yogis and yoginis perform their routine on stage. Young, old, big, small, long-time and short-time practitioners, they were all inspiring and amazing and left the audience feeling positive. We couldn't help but smile and root for all of them while they demonstrated their strength, concentration, hard work and determination.

Participants get judged by experienced teachers on physical strength, stamina, balance, flexibility, breath, concentration, and grace. You see, it is not about being able to perform picture-perfect postures, but about diligently working with your body and mind. The focus for the participants is not to compete against each other, but rather to show what they can achieve with yoga. It was very apparent that the participants and the audience were rooting for everybody to show off their personal best!

BTW, these events are organized by USA Yoga (a non-profit organization) and are meant to raise awareness about Yoga Asanas (the physical part of yoga: practicing postures). USA Yoga is working to get Yoga Asanas qualified as an Olympic sport! Now THAT would be the greatest way to increase awareness throughout the world! *crossing fingers*

Congratulations to all participants and 
Thank You for sharing your practice with the world!
Winners, good luck in the Nationals!

Now let's get to the eye-candy... check out the winners, male and female :)

 Allan Santos
Jennifer Cohen (?)


PS: This is the 2011 International Yoga Asana Champion, Joseph Encinia. Watch til the end... it's worth it!

For more information about the championship, check out USA Yoga.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

(The Magic of) Practicing on Consecutive Days

In the first half year of my Bikram Yoga practice, I tried to keep an "every-other-day" schedule, for example taking a class on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. I figured, since I cannot come every day, this would be the next best thing.

Along came my first 30 Day Challenge, and after that a few months during which I struggled to keep a regular schedule. Somewhere during those months, I came to a conclusion: practicing every other day is not a great plan and certainly not "the next best thing" to practicing every day.

For some reason (or probably multiple reasons), practicing on consecutive days is so much more worthwhile. The classes seem easier (by no means easy though), the postures get prettier, and most importantly, the health benefits are greater.

-- Awesome! Now how do I do it? Ideally, I want to take class three days in a row, then take a 1-2 day break. Yeah, that is still a huge time commitment, but as everything in life, fitting class into my schedule has gotten easier with practice. It's still never easy (just like class), and so December & January so far have not looked too good.

I love looking at November for inspiration though (in my favorite App "Calendar Tracker Lite"):

Awww, I want to practice like this every month ♥

Here's to hoping I'll have a few months like this in 2012!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


When everybody around me seemed to be talking about New Year's Resolutions, I've started thinking back and I can honestly say that I've never made any before. When I though about it some more, I've come to realize that I probably never will make any, either. Not because I'm so perfect already (ha!), but because I'm a very self-reflective person. I think about and re-think my life/relationships/goals/yoga/nutrition/everything all. the. time. If a change is needed, it is implemented as soon as possible. I don't see a reason to wait for a new month/moon/year.

Recent plans/changes/resolutions or whatever-you-wanna-call-its:

  • Green smoothies: drink as often as possible, at least one per day. (The challenge: having fresh ingredients at home, preparation time.)
  • "3 days on, 1 day off" Bikram yoga schedule (The challenge: lack of time/funky work schedule, balancing quality time with myself and/or my partner.)
  • read more (The challenge: same as with Bikram class.)
  • cook more (The challenge: same as with green smoothies.)

Sooo, the common challenge seems to be time-related. All of these things are quite time consuming (what isn't, right?) and I have recently added 1.5 hrs driving time to my work days, sooo... Yes, I often have to prioritize and no, I have not been able to achieve all of those goals satisfactorily in the same week. But that's life or at least: that's my life. I'm not going to beat myself up about it, because ultimately, all those goals are supposed to make my life better and not more stressful than it already tends to be.

Maybe I should have added another major goal: balance.

Namaste :)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Happy New Year!

I hope you had a wonderful and positive start into the new year! (Better late than never, right? :) )

My break was much needed and very much enjoyed. Having the puppies around was a great experience and brought us much joy and snuggle time. (It was also much more work and worry than I had anticipated, since they are still very young. We will not be getting our own puppies anytime soon! At least not in this top floor apartment without a fenced in yard.)

The cutie pies :)

Snuggle time :)