Sunday, December 22, 2013

holiday bootcamp breakdown

i briefly mentioned bootcamp in my last post but i wanted to dedicate one whole post to this challenging experience. i was probably in a bit of a rut a couple of months ago. nothing too serious but i was more settled into life here and working from home left me with a lot of time to myself and not a real "set" schedule. i was still working out pretty much daily including runs with Lila or a yoga class. by a lot of people's standards, i was still a crazy workout lady but i could tell i wasn't bringing my "A" game by my own standards.

as you know, i have practiced yoga at Corepower for a couple of years now and have been familiar with their bootcamp program especially when i took 6am classes, i would see the bootcampers in their sneakers and not the usual yoga attire sweating out during circuit training. i never really thought much about participating in the program until a couple of months ago when one of my favorite instructors mentioned it after a Yoga Scuplt class. there was a free class to give you an idea of the bootcamps so i joined and quickly signed up afterwards. i knew this is just what i needed to jumpstart my energy and get myself back into a better routine.

the camp started the Sunday after Tgiving. yes right after a weekend of stuffing myself full of food and drink. i mounted up and prepped myself to start the camp with plenty of good for you foods and the right mindset. camp officially start on monday and i set off on my three week journey. on monday, wednesday, friday, and saturday, we had scheduled workouts and then were supposed to do a second workout to keep ourselves moving and from getting sore. on tuesdays and thursdays we were supposed to also do a workout which for me was usually a strong powerful yoga class. my second workout of the day was typically a run/walk on the beach or sun salutations and meditation in the morning. we were also supposed to keep a food journal which i was good at in the beginning using my fitness pal but towards the end when work got busy, i wasn't as good at food journaling but i still watched what i ate. there were lots of green smoothies! sundays were a day of rest although that was somewhat thrown off with outdoor hikes but did include a therapeutic massage from a kundalini yoga instructor and foam rolling.

i stuck to the program although i could have probably pushed it a little harder on my some of my second workouts. work has been crazy busy and while i can't use this as an excuse, i should realize that despite work being insanely busy, i still found time to work out twice daily! i always feel a low after the end of a training and wonder where will i go from here? i know that this has truly jumpstarted me back on a healthier lifestyle. after a strict workout regimen, i realize that when i workout and eat right, i have much more energy and things start to flow. i was in tears the morning before my last workout since i had re-read my blogs from christmas last year. i am in such a better place. i am in such a healthier place. and while this holiday season has been stressful and sad at times, i committed to myself and found a the best way to deal.


feeling like wonderwoman on a friday superhero bootcamp party


merry christmas to me! foam roller from santa!

namaste

melissa

Friday, December 20, 2013

bah (half the bah humbug this year)

 i am about halfway through my second holiday season and well it's been rough but cheerful at the same time. it has been more of a sneaky rough. a i will get in the christmas spirit and decide to decorate only to cry in middle of the target aisle filled with cheap stockings and no tree stands. i will wake up the next day and hunt the greater san diego area for those box full of tangled ornament hooks only to get frustrated with a haggard christmas store worker to elation after speaking to real life elf telling me about his life partner. yep all in the day of the life of a 30 something widowed grinch.

no but really i have found some of my christmas spirit this year and it has been a blessing. life is so different out here that to even get in the christmas spirit you have to manufacture it. at least for a midwest girl, these 70 degree temps tell me i won't be waiting for a white christmas.

but i forged ahead and even put up my first real christmas tree this year! i had the room and pulling out the fake christmas tree that Matt and i put up for a few years just didn't seem enticing. i am finding new SoCal Xmas traditions including admiring christmas trees on piers above the pacific and driving to the mountains to see snow... how cute!

i also signed up for a bootcamp through Corepower. yep the same studio chain that i went to in chicago. bootcamp is a three week four day a week bootcamp training. it is circuit training with no yoga but the strength moves that target muscle groups you use in yoga. and while it's been a HUGE time commitment, i am so happy i made this commitment to myself and dealt with the the stress of the season a more healthy way. and while i have certainly been a basket case a time or two in the past couple of weeks, i am absolutely feelin in the flow.


my real live christmas tree basking in the san diego sun

namaste

Cindy Lou

Sunday, December 15, 2013

who knew it was freezing in the desert?

I signed myself up for another cali getaway this weekend and headed to the famous Joshua Tree National park. I had heard amazing things about the park and was excited when my hiking group planned a trip there. I invited a friend to come along as well. We chatted earlier in the week to discuss supplies and he tried to warn me that it would be really cold. I assured him I would be fine and that it would be chillier at night and then warmer during the day. Boy was  I wrong.

We arrived in Joshua Tree in the early evening but unfortunately at this time of year, that means it's already dark. We set up our tent in the dark and quickly huddled by the fire which the other campers had got going before our arrival. We also layered up since we had arrived in SD attire and weren't prepared for the brisk weather. We did the usual camping thing and drank some beers staring into the fire. I was bit toasty by the time I went to bed but was still scared out of my wits. The wind was brutal. You could hear it whipping around the tent and it also blew a good amount of sand in. I laid in fear hoping to fall asleep and just slumber through the terror. Luckily I finally drifted off before waking up to the light around 6am. I scurried to the bathrooms before jumping back into the tent for more rest. I woke again around 8am and stepped out before realizing it was much warmer in that sleeping bag. I slept for a couple more hours before we got up to venture off the grounds for a hike.

We did take a beautiful hike through the park. We saw lots of Joshua Trees, a little frozen creek, and lots of rock formations. Of course I inverted for the obligatory headstand picture. We did about six miles and as we headed back snow and wind met us in the wind tunnel. We made it to our cars and headed back to camp. We got back to a cold campsite and not a lot of motivation. My friend and I decided to head home before the rest of the group decided the same.

Sometimes, you have to know when to pack up the supplies and call it a day. We didn't have anything to prove, we could handle it but what's the point? Our homes were only a couple of hours away and really with so little free time in the week, why suffer? I am glad I went and it was an experience but I look forward to heading back in warmer weather to fully enjoy.

With all these expeditions and my extremely new adventurous spirit, I only wish that Matt could be around to see the woman I have become. He would be so proud of me. I wonder why his passing had to happen for me to become the person he probably always wanted me to be; a little less worried about the non-important stuff. I was happy that I could take his backpack with me and imagine this won't be it's first or last trip with me. I have to think that he's with me on all these trips in some capacity.

My fingers were frozen so I didn't take a lot of pics but here are a few...




namaste

Melissa 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

thankful this thanksgiving

The 2nd holiday season is upon me and being completely in love with warm weather I decided not to head back to the Midwest for either. Being away from my normal holiday traditions helps me get through it. While this may seem like I am avoiding thinking about it I really don't think I am. I think I am truly grateful for the new opportunities and experiences in my life such as this...

I am thankful that I am in a city that has a lot of transplants (people moving to SD) and not everyone goes home for the holidays so I received a few invitations for Thanksgiving feasts!

I am thankful for making a trip to Big Bear with new friends to enjoy a few days away from the normal hustle and bustle of life. I joined a hiking group about a month or so ago because I wanted to get out and explore and needed people to do this with! I had a great time on a couple of hikes with them before signing up for a trip to Big Bear for some winter time fun. About a week before I got a little nervous that I was spending a holiday with a new group of people so far from home. I also knew I didn't want to just sit around my apartment over the long holiday weekend. So I reminded myself that I have traveled the world by lonesome and trusted my instincts then packed up for an escape. Big Bear is a cozy mountain town with tons to do and plenty to see. We stayed in a cozy log cabin with a snuggly fire place. There wasn't much skiing since it was opening weekend but we were able to do a seven mile hike and there was lots of snow at the top. Living in San Diego, Lila has really grown to hate precipitation and was not pleased. Most of the time we spent chilling by the fire with glass of red wine. It was perfection. The group I went with were amazing and I am so glad to have found a new group of friends to adventure with!

As always, I am thankful to Matt for all the life experiences his passing has given me. I start each day with meditation and close with those things that I am thankful for and always always thank my love. It feels a little odd to type that I am thankful for his passing giving me something but it's true. And if you can't find the good in the bad, what's the point to all this.

I am so so thankful for this year of healing and learning. I am thankful for a new chapter and new friends. I am thankful for old friends and family that supported me. I am thankful for my dog that lets me drag her around everywhere and she is happy as can be. I am thankful for a healthy body that allows me to do all these things. I am thankful to myself for having the energy to try something new.

in gratitude,

Melissa


Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail... the Rim of the World 


My little Turkey... notice the Pack shirt!


Big Bear Lake for a morning walk before Tgiving feasting


Skiing and the desert... oh my! 


obligatory headstand in front of the desert!


what is this snow?

Friday, November 22, 2013

just breathe

i knew pearl jam was coming to San Diego and for awhile i debated whether i really wanted to go to the concert without matt. then i realized, he wanted me to go to the concert. and i should buy amazing tickets. this revelation came on matt's birthday when i once again remembered, that you need to take advantage of today and do what you love. so i went on the hunt for tickets.

eventually i found some with the help of a pearl jam junkie advising me where to sit and paying the markup for having to pay on stubhub. i bought the tix only about a week out so i began analyzing the music intensely. the songs matt had played me. the lyrics to the songs. what songs i wanted to be played. there were definitely some tears. the lyrics were speaking to me especially from their new album. 

i could write a very long blog post about all the songs that mean something to me instead i will only share one. my aunt put together a slide show of pics of matt after he passed. she loves putting together slide shows and even did one for our wedding. she remembered he loved pearl jam and searched her computer for one of their songs. she found "just breathe". later as she practiced yoga on matt's birthday, she heard this song. they played it last night. check it...


and here are the lyrics...

just breathe

Yes, I understand that every life must end, uh-huh
As we sit alone, I know someday we must go, uh-huh
Oh I'm a lucky man, to count on both hands the ones I love
Some folks just have one, yeah, others, they've got none

Stay with me...
Let's just breathe...

Practiced all my sins, never gonna let me win, uh-huh
Under everything, just another human being, uh-huh
I don't wanna hurt, there's so much in this world to make me bleed

Stay with me
You're all I see...

Did I say that I need you?
Did I say that I want you?
Oh, if I didn't I'm a fool you see
No one knows this more than me

As I come clean...
I wonder everyday, as I look upon your face, uh-huh
Everything you gave
And nothing you would save, oh no

Nothing you would take
Everything you gave...

Did I say that I need you?
Oh, did I say that I want you?
Oh, if I didn't I'm a fool you see
No one knows this more than me
And I come clean, ah...

Nothing you would take
Everything you gave
Hold me til I die
Meet you on the other side...

namaste

Melissa 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

just another day in paradise

again. again I haven't written in a long time. i wonder why? it seems that since i started work i haven't had the energy for it. or the energy to sit at the computer after i sit there for eight hours a day. to give you an idea of how things have been going here the past few weeks here's a little story that seems to sum it up...

matt's car that i inherited has been generally running well but there have been a few hiccups and as we know hiccups with cars typically means spending a lot of money for something we know nothing about. so when an indicator light came on about a month ago, i quivered. it took me about two weeks before i actually got out the book to determine what the issue was. i was overjoyed to know it was just a headlight out. and in the meantime, i could just turn on the fog lights and see just fine. in about another two weeks, i went to napa auto parts to pick up a light. it was a busy day at work but i was determined to pick this item up after two weeks of procrastination! typically i sweet talk auto parts store workers into assisting me with such repairs but this guy was not having any of my funny business. and i was exhausted so i gave up rather quickly and i am not so sure my sweet talk was very sweet. i asked a few male friends and no one knew how to help (again where is that hunky tool man looking to help a damsel in distress). finally when the sand and dust had accumulated to an embarrassing level in/on my car, i pulled into my local car wash. it was a slow day and i asked if the guys could change the light and they more than happy to oblige! finally! i drove off and that night enjoyed the extra glow of the headlight. about one week later, the same indicator light turned. what the hell? i thought those car wash guys knew what they were doing! turns out they did, the other headlight is now out.

so yeah, it feels a little like i can't get ahead these days. matt's b-day was about a week ago and that brought with it a lot of emotion. i spent the day relaxing, playing with lila, and going to a concert of some of my favorite chant music with a dear friend. matt would have thought it was ridiculous but so were most of my crazy hair brained ideas and he still loved me. still it was emotional. and i think being back to a routine and most importantly not doing whatever the heck i want for 24 hours a day has really brought up those oh too familiar widow thoughts. it has made me miss sharing the monotony of life with someone. no matter how stressful or demanding your day is, coming home to someone who loves you and finding some silly or goofy reason to laugh, makes it all better.

now positive polly has to let you know that it's certainly not all bad here in San Diego as I got sun burnt on the dog beach on sunday, found a new group to hike with, and went wine tasting an hour from my home but it's been a challenging month and a half. it's definitely time to take a step back and re-evaluate. i made it out to San Diego (which i need to impress myself is impressive enough) and am semi-getting started on building a life here but what do i really want that life to look like? and with the holidays almost upon us, it's certainly a good time to do conduct some svadhyaya (yogi word for self reflection.

namaste

melissa

Thursday, October 24, 2013

whacked out widow dreams

I could tell you about how getting back to a fulfilling full time job has taken some adjustment or that I have been too busy enjoying time with recent guests that i haven't had time write but I won't. I will tell you about whacked out widow dreams...

Often times I wake up especially lonely or sad after a shaken night's rest and I know that something probably happened in my dreams but I just don't remember what. Or sometimes I remember the dreams vividly and the emotions that went along with it like this morning...

I was seated at a long lunch table and there was a wide aisle between my table the boy's lunch table across the way not too unlike the high school cafeteria I once sat in. I was seated with girls who included Matt's sisters but not his real sisters. Sisters that I had never met or were just unfamiliar to me. Matt was across the aisle with a table full of blurred faces. He was looking especially handsome with some sort of sweater on within his uniform code. I remember talking with the girls as normal high school girls do at the lunch table about why Matt wasn't talking to me but don't recall the specifics only recalling the emotion of an adolescent girl dissecting boy problems. Finally he got up and walked out of the cafeteria directly past my lunch table without acknowledging my presence. I was devastated as only a high school cheerleader could be. And then someone reminded me that he couldn't answer me because he had died. I don't remember a direct person telling me this more like a voice from around the cafeteria but I was satisfied with the answer and realized that he truly couldn't talk to me... 

This morning I woke up oddly at peace after remembering the heavy emotions of the night's dreams...

namaste

melissa 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

How Did I Get Here?

In my humble opinion one of the best memories in life is remembering the first time you heard a song and where you were at that point in your life...

My uncle had one of the best CD collections ever. He had CD's and their cases stacked all over his house. As his niece, he let me borrow his CD's and I would copy them. Not to date myself but I think I jammed them and made a cassette tape to record them. Can't really remember how things worked back then... 

But I do remember that he let me borrow his Talking Head CD's. I have many good memories of listening to the Talking Heads afterwards at different stages in my life and I recently revived my love for their song, "As the Days Go By" and continue to ask myself... How did I get here?

And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful
wife
And you may ask yourself-Well...How did I get here?

Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/after the money's gone
Once in a lifetime/water flowing underground.

And you may ask yourself
How do I work this?
And you may ask yourself
Where is that large automobile?
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful house!
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful wife!

Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/after the money's gone
Once in a lifetime/water flowing underground.

Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...
Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...
Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...

Water dissolving...and water removing
There is water at the bottom of the ocean
Carry the water at the bottom of the ocean
Remove the water at the bottom of the ocean!

Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/in the silent water
Under the rocks and stones/there is water underground.

Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/after the money's gone
Once in a lifetime/water flowing underground.

And you may ask yourself
What is that beautiful house?
And you may ask yourself
Where does that highway go?
And you may ask yourself
Am I right?...Am I wrong?
And you may tell yourself
MY GOD!...WHAT HAVE I DONE?

Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/in the silent water
Under the rocks and stones/there is water underground.

Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/after the money's gone
Once in a lifetime/water flowing underground.

Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...
Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...
Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...


namaste

Melissa

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I'm a Survivor

So few people in our lives do we have that will just love us unconditionally. I have/had plenty in my life so I am not complaining here but it's just such a glorious feeling that we could all use more and more of those people in our lives. So, Pappy, James D. Wood, was one of those people in my life. Today marks the third anniversary of his death. I truly believe that to this day I, never had time to fully recover from his death as two months afterwards Matt's second brain tumor was found.

For some reason as I started anew out here, I couldn't help but wonder, what would Pappy say? Now, Pappy was a man that believed in hard work, getting up early, and never overpaying when there was a deal to be found. From an early age, he instilled a strong work ethic in me and I can still remember him driving me to my first job interview at his favorite pizza place. He was very proud when I got the job and also enjoyed the discount on pizza. He found the right combination of spoiling me rotten but pushing me because he knew I was capable. When I decided to move to Chicago he told me, "I am so happy for you but I wish it was here." He of course would have loved for me to be in town but knew that I needed something bigger. He even drove the Uhaul through the South Side of Chicago for me. He loved visiting me in the city, Pappy was a city guy growing up in Brooklyn. Nanny and Pappy made the trip to Chicago once after Matt and I were married and we enjoyed the architectural tour on Lake Michigan. I discussed with Nanny the other day what he would have thought. She said he would have been proud, he always was.

In Late Spring of 2010, we got the awful news that Pappy had cancer. He felt fine but cancer had essentially taken over his whole body with no signs until a scan revealed the truth. A mere three months later, my beloved grandfather was unrecognizable. After his diagnosis, I tried to make it home as much as possible given the five hour drive. Pappy, after learning his fate and knowing what would happen quickly, resolved to tell all his family members how much they meant to him. We were sitting in lawn chairs in the backyard the sun in our eyes when he said his peace to me. He gave me a Survivor bracelet he had made with the Cancer Support group at his hospital. He told me I was the Survivor, that Matt and him would live out their destiny and I would be the Survivor. I knew this to be true but simply couldn't face that fact at the time. Although those were words of terror at the time, his words soothe me to this day. I know him and Matt are with me watching over their Survivor.


Pappy and I in Put-In-Bay 2006 before things got rowdy!

namaste

Melissa 


Monday, September 30, 2013

the widowed chef's recipe box

I have been cooking up some mean dishes the past two nights... ones so delish that I didn't think it would be right to keep them from the world. So here goes...

So usually I have some recipe idea appear in my head. I have a couple of ingredients that I want to feature and I need to think up a way to highlight them without too much prep time. I love casseroles for two reasons... you mash up everything in one pan/pot and then there is only one pan/pot to clean. As a widow cooking for one now, I also have very special criteria that I keep in mind including; ability to reheat and be delicious, ability to not get sick of after multiple meals, and the ability to not make me think of the depressing though of cooking for one. I always google around for recipes once I have an idea in my head. Then I meld all of the recipes until I find something that doesn't require me to buy five new spices and doesn't require too much prep time. So here was my recipe from tonight... super yummy and I can't wait to eat it for the rest of the week!

Crockpot Balsamic Vinegar Chicken

1. Coat crockpot with olive oil and put in some minced garlic.

2. Cut up chicken into manageable sized pieces

3. Season chicken with garlic powder, kosher salt, ground pepper, and Lipton onion soup mix

4. Place chicken in crockpot and drizzle 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar

5. About an hour later check on chicken to see cooking status (perhaps turn chicken bits over) then add artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, and basil/oregano from the garden

6. Let cook for about three hours but depends on the chicken chunk size and be sure to spoon the sauce mix around a few times

7. When ready boil whatever rice/noodle/quinoa that you prefer (wheat angel hair is my preferred choice at the moment) and open your fav bottle of wine

8. Smoother your fav carb/grain with the chicken deliciousness and top with your fav cheese

9. Enjoy

As I wrote this I realized how hard it is to write a recipe especially when you cook like me which includes a lot of eyeballin it! Just feel it out... thats how you get to be good both on and off your mat! But below are a few tips...

  • Although sometimes its nice to just leave the crock pot and go... it's best to watch chicken so it doesn't burn and get dried out!
  • I used Lipton onion soup mix because that's all I had... any sort of onion flavoring would do.
  • Invest in a gourmet olive oil and balsamic vinegar... it can change the dish! 
  • Anything from your own garden is a 100x better!
  • I used organic free ranged chicken.
  • Wash everything a million times after dealing with chicken chunks. 
  • I don't have a fancy crockpot... I registered for one but Matt made me return it after he reminded me I had a crockpot that his Dad bought us at a garage sale that I rarely used. Then the movers smooshed one side in. But it still works fine, I use it all the time now, and I love it! 
Hope this inspires you or provides you with a delightful meal one night!

Here were my inspirations for more exact measurements:

http://crockingirls.com/recipes/balsamic-chicken/

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/CROCK-POT-BALSAMIC-CHICKEN-52439591

namaste

the widowed chef


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Yoga in the Moutaintops

I closed out my final week of freedom (last week) with a full moon Yoga hike. It was the perfect end to the week given I started the final week of freedom with yoga on the water. From the sea to the mountaintops!

A friend and I headed up to Mt. Laguna, about 45 miles east of SD, in the late afternoon. We drove round and round thru the mountains before the land flattened out and we felt like we were driving through Ohio! We met the group from my yoga studio (Yoga Six) and hiked through a somewhat rugged trail before coming upon a giant meadow. The meadow even had cows way up there in the mountaintops! We unrolled our mats which was somewhat difficult with the meadow grass and uneven ground and started an even paced vinyasa flow. At one point a bug crawled onto my mat and I gave out a scream but other than that the class was serene. Afterwards one of the hikers brought some delish snacks and we chilled atop the mountain meadow before a short hike out of the woods. As we drove back through the moutains headed back to the city we were surrounded by the sunset.

Mount Laguna 

The meadow 

Doing a headstand in the meadow was harder than on the board! 

Dancers pose on a rock


namaste

Melissa 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wake Me Up

This song has been my cool down in Zumba for the past few weeks. I just love the lyrics and wanted to share... be sure to listen to it live... great message and a catchy tune! 

Wake Me Up by Avicii


Feeling my way through the darkness
Guided by a beating heart
I can't tell where the journey will end
But I know where to start

They tell me I'm too young to understand

They say I'm caught up in a dream
Well life will pass me by if I don't open up my eyes
Well that's fine by me

So wake me up when it's all over

When I'm wiser and I'm older
All this time I was finding myself
And I didn't know I was lost

I tried carrying the weight of the world

But I only have two hands
Hope I get the chance to travel the world
But I don't have any plans

Wish that I could stay forever this young

Not afraid to close my eyes
Life's a game made for everyone
And love is the prize

So wake me up when it's all over

When I'm wiser and I'm older
All this time I was finding myself
And I didn't know I was lost

Didn't know I was lost

I didn't know I was lost
I didn't know I was lost
I didn't know


namaste

Melissa


Friday, September 20, 2013

Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga!

In an effort to try all things San Diego before I get back to working full time, I suited up for a morning Stand Up Paddle-board class by Bliss Paddle Yoga. It was a real challenge and amazing to be out on the water like this! The class was started by paddling out through Mission Bay to find a good spot to anchor down for our morning asana. Once anchored down we started with meditation and kapalbhati breathing (alternate nostril breathing technique). I found myself easily drifting off into my meditative sweet spot. Then I would realize I was floating in the water and have a momentary freak out before realizing it was all good.

Then came movement on the board. We started with Tabletop position before moving into Downward Dog. Each move was taken cautiously as you need to figure out how to distribute your weight on the board. We moved through a few Sun Salutations with Crescent pose proving to be very challenging. I had to take it on my knees and fellow students event took a dip into the Bay with this move. We completed our salutes allowing for some time to try additional asanas such as Crow and Headstand. My headstand has come a long way this year and I am much more stable in the pose but I didn't quite nail it this time around. I got up for a second but as you can imagine, it's very hard to find your balance on the board! I fell a few times playing with the pose which is just fine with me, falling means taking a risk. The class was closed with an especially serene savasana.

I loved this class and it was a welcome addition to my practice. I found myself wanting to take the poses like I normally do in class but with balance being so important, this just wasn't possible. Just like life, it was all about finding the balance where you are at. Staying so focused on where I was at allowed this to become a powerful moving meditation and my mind didn't even have time to wander!Overall this was an extremely tough class but I would recommend it to everyone at every level! Bliss was a great company to SUP-Yo with and they have locations around the country and even do retreats internationally including Bali! The Teacher was amazing and made me feel comfortable on the water. Below is a pic of me in Downward Dog about to go into Crescent.


namaste

Melissa 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

We Remember

As I sit here trying to generate a post I really don't know where to begin. As the country remembers the 11th of September, I remember the day as well as the 9th of September. The 9th was a year and a half since Matt passed away. It seems unreal that it was that long ago and that so much has happened since then. As I gazed from the patio of my new home at the flags flying in the wind across the hills, I couldn't help but be grateful. Grateful for a country that allows me to make so many choices after my world was turned upside down. Grateful for those that fight for those choices to be available to me (especially my cuz about to deploy).  Grateful for a wonderful husband that continues to guide me in those choices. We remember.


namste,

Melissa 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Bob Marley, Cooking, and Wine...

... Make the perfect evening. Well, I should clarify that it is actually the Pandora Bob Marley station which still cranks out awesomely chill tunes but switches it up. As I alway say, I gave up cooking for awhile but once I get back into the groove, I realize how much I missed it. One of the things I looked forward to most moving out here was year round farmer's markets. My marketing was non-existent the past month and I made a commitment to get back into the fresh produce game this week. I went to two markets including the famous Little Italy mercato which led to plenty of Cali grown organic concoctions. Tonight my new favorite recipe, Zucchini Lasagna, is in the oven. Check out the recipe here from Skinny Taste. Another culinary delight that Matt would have never tried, go figure. And as I was cooking, "Don't Worry be Happy" by Bob came on. Always an appreciated tune that no matter at what point I am in my life, teaches me something new.


namaste

Melissa 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Yogi Problems

Not surprisingly another hilarious yogi event has occurred. I slept in this morn as I was tired out from all of my rigorous outdoor activities this holiday weekend but was still able to catch a late morn yoga class. As usual the schedule was abbreviated and I everyone else at my studio decided to take a longer snooze and attend this slower paced class. I noticed that the class was packed and quickly threw my mat down to secure my usual front row diva locale. Then they started pouring in and everyone looked very confused. We all slightly moved our mats in hopes of avoiding touching anyone to make room the best we could. Of course there was still a spot up front and the teacher encouraged a stranded yogi to come on down. The woman obviously a back row lurker, was not pleased and stomped up front with all of her belongings including a dinging cell phone. I felt the stink eye exchanged between the couple in prayer position next to me. There were a few more minutes of awkward shuffling before class began. My spot wasn't too bad and I was comfortable although I typically avoid practicing next to men  because they sweat like crazy and stink but sandwiched between two attractive older men, I was fine. The back row lurker converted front row dive loudly asked how to get into child's pose as the teacher pursed her lips and gave her the silence gesture like a kindergarten teacher during nap time. After about five minutes, the couple next to me shot up and announced they were leaving because they are six feet tall and it was cramped. I smirked and scooted my mat over to get away from the hot sweaty forty something. Finally, the yogis settled into the practice and an enjoyable slow flow kept on. As class ended and I lay in sivasana listening to someone's cell phone go off, I pondered doesn't this class describe life perfectly?  Half the journey is getting to your half the mat and about forty five percent is off the mat the rest is the just the postures. 



namaste

Melissa 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Yogi Problems


I thought it would be fun to start a regular post called Yogi Problems. Kind of like first world problems but of course pertaining to the yoga world. Sometimes people get so serious in their practice and the light heartedness of it all is lost. Yoga isn't that serious people! It can be fun! You have got to smile about it all sometimes and laughing at yourself is a necessary skill.

This afternoon I headed to my normal hot yoga class to enjoy a sweaty session. In my quest to become a complete California sun goddess, I frequently use self tanner. Yes it's faking it but it's saving my skin from cancer and that is no faux paus. So as I was sweating it out, I noticed that my sweat was also bronzed! Pools of sweat is hardly ever pretty but with a golden hue it's even more disguisting. I had to laugh at the whole predicament and of course try not to let my fellow yogis see the tan melt off my body. Below are the products I use to achieve this sun kissed yogi glow.





St. Tropez



St Tropez sun care
nordstrom.com



namaste 

melissa 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Rejection

In my younger days, I used to have a faux phone number that was intended to be given to creeps that were hitting on me. In my phone it was listed under Rejection. In fact, I just checked my phone and it's still there. Good to know that's in my back pocket.

Last week, I got handed that number a few times. Not literally from guys I was hitting on (I am a lady after all) but various sources that I have come in contact with trying to start anew here. I won't divulge my sources to protect the innocent (or to save my ego just a little bit). It was a week of rejection it sucked. It's easy to be at peace with your journey until you are served a giant helping of things aren't going your way.


As I was wallowing in my mellow drama of whoa is me, an article from MindBodyGreen entitled, "25 Habits of People Who are Happy, Healthy, and Successful" showed up in my feed. I love a good list and this website serves them up yogi style so I am frequently checking out their posts. This particular article came at the exact right moment. All of the bullet points are good but check out this one...


8. They consider handling rejection a skill and are resilient.


Really? You don't say? I am trying. This Monday I scrubbed the hell out of my apartment to start fresh and told myself I rocked, let's do this again! But as a widow there is an additional pain in all this rejection. I don't have that person who would never reject me by my side. I remember telling Matt various work, friend, etc. stories and he would get downright mad if someone was upsetting me. You know that look guys get when they want to beat someone up because they made their woman cry. It's so stone age but it's hot and I miss it. He had such a unique confidence that never seemed to people please yet was so pleasing. He would have gotten agitated at me being upset but would have reminded me what an idiot they were and if they didn't see how wonderful I am, well then f*#k them! I miss his confidence in me. I think I even mentioned this in a post a few days back when I started my new position (that may or may not have something to do with this rejection). 


Although I miss him so much especially in a time like this, I am picking myself back up and staying positive. I mean really, if you don't know how awesome I am, then I have no time for you. I am not perfect but I do kind of rock. Behold the power of positive thinking. 


namaste


melissa 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Widow Pad

You have certainly heard me moaning and groaning about getting settled in my place the past couple of months. The whole moving out of my condo and creating a new home for myself was kind of a big deal. Being true to my Cancer sign, I am very into my shell. Some people might call it anal retentive but I call it very susceptible to the energies of my home.

I loved our condo in Chicago. It was nice and pleasantly decorated although there were certainly some manlier decorations but that's what marriage is about, compromise. I took my time in getting rid of things before moving although doing it before the one year mark. Every widow has to find the right time to do this horrific chore. It was hard to decide what to bring and what to get rid of. I wanted to keep a lot but when thinking about moving across the country, it became a whole other question. I did the best that I could and in the end brought way more memorabilia then I would ever need. But that's a task for another day at this point and thankfully I have a storage closets. Things don't make the memories.

Moving on to travel the world, I realized just how much stuff I really needed to survive, not much. Still, I a nice place to call home. I had sold most of our furniture which was a good plan for me. I think if all of our stuff would have been in my new place, I might have felt a little stuck between my old and new life. I am the creative genius behind this decor and it feels like this crab's home for now! I have had lots of requests to see pics of my place (and by lots I mean one) so I thought I would dedicate some posts to showing you what I have done. I kept waiting till everything was completely put together but then I realized that could take awhile! Just like life it's a work in progress!


come on in! lila is loving her new pad too! this has always been one of her favorite places to lay. i have had this shagtastic rug since college and i still love it!


my newly built bed (yep finally roped a man into helping me!) from overstock and a new nightstand from pier1 duvet cover from west elm


one of the hippie neighborhoods around here has a great street of antiques found this shabby chic piece there! i used a french memo board (another gem from the college days) to hang my cosmetic jewels, still want a mirror to hang on the other side of the wall but haven't found the right one yet...


still undecided with what to hang on this wall at the foot of my bed. check out lila's dog bed... i got this from Molly Mutt... you pick the cover and then buy stuff sacks to recycle old clothes and make a doggie bed. i was able to use some of Matt's old clothes to make a bed for her!


walk in closets are life changing. think this is my first one ever and its so much easier to dress yourself and keep the closet clean when everything is right in front of you!

namaste

Melissa

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Back to the Mat

The past few weeks, I have been busy teaching Zumba classes and training to teach a Sculpt class at a local yoga studio. Between all this action, there hasn't been a ton of time to just take a regular old yoga class. Last night, all though it was still part of my training for this local studio, I got back to my favorite type of yoga class, an Advanced Vinyasa Flow class. The teacher was one of the studio's Lead Trainers and she gave a fierce class. This style of class allows for a good workout as there are lots of chatarungas (yogi push-ups) and all of the poses prepare the class for a peak posture. This is basically an advanced pose that all the prior classwork opens your muscles and works towards. Last night's peak posture was Bird of Paradise. Balance is a challenge for me in bird of paradise but it's not about the destination, it's about the journey. I am easily able to get out of my mind in this type of class and stay present in the moment. After class I felt renewed and remembered what inspired me to get to this place and how important it is to continue my practice even though I am staying active in other ways.


bird of paradise

back to the mat tomorrow! 

melissa

Monday, August 12, 2013

Yogi Luv


feeling in the flow today!

Where have all the real men gone?

Furnishing my new place has been a chore for many reasons. One of those being that most furniture these days requires assembly (even from the expensive stores not just Ikea!). Most men that I have asked quickly change the subject after noting their inability to operate a power drill. What happened to all the manly men coming to the rescue of a damsel in distress! 


where is this guy when you need him?

namaste

Melissa 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

WeekEND Slump

I had what I don't think could be described in any other way besides a perfect San Diego weekend. I went lots of places, hung with a bunch of new friends, and drank a few drinks. Coming home I was feeling satisfied with it all but then in crept that familiar feeling, loneliness. I remembered having a perfect Chicago weekend with Matt and just snuggling on the couch being grateful for it all. The feeling of summer as a kid, being so exhausted but perfectly content. I am really trying to get back into the swing of things and have been dedicating my weeks to grown up tasks so perhaps it's just the Sunday slump. Perhaps its just the feeling of happiness and loneliness all at once. 

goodnight moon

Melissa 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Winning!


I woke up this morning to an email that I had won a blogger's (Walking in Memphis) giveaway that I had entered a couple of weeks ago. To be honest, I forgot about it! And it's just a pair of socks by KushyFoot but they look like cool socks and will be great to try out for Zumba! Who knows, these socks could change my life! It always amazes me how winning something small like socks or having a free meal (this one always gets my spirits soaring) can really change the course of your day! It truly is the small things in life! The socks still need to be shipped, once I receive them and do a couple of salsas in them, I will let you know how they fare! 

namaste

Melissa 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Yogi Luv

I am going to repeat the sentiments of many and say, "I can't believe it's August!" Time never ceases to amaze me and how it continues to pass us by. Robert Frost says it best, "In three words I can sum up up everything I have learned about life; it goes on."


namaste

Melissa 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Shark Bait Hoo Ha Ha

I had my first dream about sharks since moving to the Ocean. Which I guess could typically be interpreted as a nightmare. Not sure if this is a rite of passage but makes me feel like a real beach bum. Luckily the shark in my dream looked like Bruce from Finding Nemo. 


According to The Dreamer's Dictionary by Lady Stearn Robinson and Tom Corbett this is an omen of danger from dishonest friends or associates. I should also be cautious in all financial matters fro the time being. 

I like thinking that it means I am an official Californian more! 

namaste

Shark Bait Hoo Ha Ha

Yogi Luv


I love hiking and was lucky enough to get to hike to the top of Cowles Mountain with my Mom today. It is the highest point in San Diego and offers a beautiful view of the city although the marine layer never burned off today so we didn't see the ocean from the top. It was a good workout too! There were even some yoga poses on the top of the mountain! The morning started off a little shaky. I wanted to try a certain studio to hopefully teach there someday soon. Unfortunately, I had the wrong address and missed the class. I threw a few angry punches at my steering wheel but then looked around, I was by the ocean! I decided to leave my anger and went for a walk on the beach. If you end up getting lost, might as well enjoy the scenery! 




namaste

Melissa 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Recap

It was an extremely busy but fun wedding back in C-bus. I flew out insanely early and arrived in the OH to help run around with some last minute wedding tasks. The jet lag was bad. How did I travel around the world and not feel this bad yet I fly to the other side of the country and I am beat? It was an early night Thursday before getting up to do some yoga to try to make myself right. I found a great little studio, GoYoga, in Upper Arlington. I love checking out new studios! That day was followed with nails and of course the rehearsal dinner. Saturday I was up early to get the hair did before all the normal wedding festivities including lots of drinking and dancing! My bro and his wife looked so happy and I am so happy for them! There were difficult times but I think overall I am better at just not thinking about it all. Not sure if that's a good thing or bad thing so we will just go with it is what it is. Sunday I spent a couple of hours with the fam before the long journey home. I had hangovers and delays to contend with so it was a long one. The ignoring probably added some emotional exhaustion as well. So happy to be back to my happy place in SoCal. Plus my mom came home with me so this week will be filled with many touristy SD activities. Pretty sure I will be an expert at this city by Sunday! Check out the pics from the wedding below. Can't wait to see the photographer's pics! 


The Happy Couple dropping off gift bags 



Gorg!


Kind of my favorite part of being in a wedding... false eyelashes! 


Embarking on the next chapter of their life!


the new Ralston family!  


Me and the other bro celebrating!


Matthew and my Nanny


My little family 


She goes by no other name... Nanny


Rehearsing!



Me and my Mama!


Me and the Bride's sister


So jealous of their cupcake cake!

I am not doing a very good job of only writing about yoga... life is to exciting to limit one's self! 

namaste

Melissa