my guys

"i like men who have a future and women who have a past."
-oscar wilde

patrick and liam in the morning in the kitchen.  true love.

hehehe... so much alike.


women on the rise

"there came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." 
- anais nin

this weekend i read a really inspiring and thought provoking article in the new york times called 'rebel yoga'.  everyone in the little yoga world is talking about this article, about tara stiles and her interpretation of yoga.  (there's also an awesome photo of tara in the strala yoga t-shirts that i made!)

tara stile's videos were among the first yoga classes i ever tried online.  i was immediately drawn to her practical and moderate approach, as i tend to be turned off by mysticism, extremes, and anything remotely similar to religion.  i went to nyc about a month ago and visited tara's studio, strala yoga.  i was dropping off about 50 t-shirts i designed for her studio, and while there i took a brilliant and perfectly challenging class 'strong' taught by yulati in the simple and comfortable sunlit studio in noho. i met tara briefly and felt kindred with her, as well as everyone else hanging out at strala.  maybe it's our common love and appreciation for uncomplicated unpretentious yoga, but i couldn't help but relax and feel like i found a safe lil place with these people, stralans, in the crazy city.

the article about tara's "brand" of yoga, and many yogini women's response to it got me thinking a lot today about what sexiness is, how we judge and compete with other women, and what we can do to truly empower the female gender.

if you haven't already read the article, see it here: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/23/nyregion/23stretch.html

what i got out of the article is that tara is basically bringing to the forefront that yoga is about health and well being.  if you want your chanting and philosophy instruction, then by all means you can have it, but it won't be found at strala.  tara and strala yoga welcome everyone and don't want to intimidate or alienate anyone with some sort of strict yoga dogma.  yoga is simply healthy for the body and mind, not a self righteous entitlement practice, and anyone can do it.  it doesn't have to be serious and only for the very flexible.  all people can draw benefits from even the shortest and simplest daily practice.  nowhere in the article did i dwell on, or even really think about tara's sex appeal or her supposed "former model celebrity status".  

why then did so many yoga bloggers today have such negative things to say about the article?

i guess, they are some of the types of people mentioned in the article that accuse tara of "heresy" in light of the tradition of  yoga.  but, like tara says in the article, we each have our own path.  not everyone is going to approve of it, and that's ok.

the points that many of tara's critics make are: 1. she might not be able to teach yoga safely without the standard 200 hour yoga teacher training (i think the yoga alliance training is kinda a load of BS that needs renovating, and nothing to measure teaching standards by, but this is a whole other blog entry), and 2. she has too much sex appeal, flaunts her body, and makes others feel badly that they aren't as in shape as her.  the second point was much more focused on by many fellow women yoga practitioners.

why?  this got me thinking, when did sexuality become a negative judgmental thing?  why do women criticize other women for being fit, beautiful, and comfortable in their own bodies?

i like what tara says in the article, "we shouldn't hide behind our bodies, we should be empowered by them."

i do, however, understand when women get upset about the sexual objectification of women in the media.  my mom sent me a great link to an awesome looking movie called 'miss representaion', featured this spring at the sundance film festival. 

watch the trailer here: http://www.missrepresentation.org/welcome.html

 we as women, i think, need to recognize and support what is empowering.  this is a hard thing to do because we still live in a "men's world".  only 17% of congress is women, and it's obvious that men run advertising and commercials when we see women in typical roles- the child like sexual creature, or the stay at home mom.  we may live in a so called "post feminist" society, but i feel that today calls for feminism more than ever.

how does this relate to tara stiles and my response to other women's reaction of it?  well, i think first in order to make this more of a women's world, we need to stop tearing each other down.  tara is successful and beautiful, confident and intelligent.  in my understanding, it seems like people are judging her out of jealousy.  we need to get over this, it is a juvenile emotion.  i have never seen tara in an ad, a photograph, or in any kind of press appearing as a slutty bimbo.

so what if she is wearing a sports bra and little shorts on the cover of her book "slim calm sexy"?  why do we have to hide our bodies?  she looks like a confident fitness guru, not like a objectified sex kitten.  there is a huge difference, and in my opinion it is taking women steps backward in our progress to compete with each other in this way.  if we can't even unite and support one another, how will be find equality with men?  

women share so much more in common than in differences.  most of us want the same things- a career we are passionate about, a happy family life, a comfortable home, and a loving partner.  and yes, most of us also want to feel good about our bodies (and our minds as well, they are of the same material), therefore feeling sexy.

let's take back the s-word- sexy.  let's allow it to strengthen the female race, rather than focus on it's negative connotations.  it doesn't have to be just our appeal to men- it is what makes us feel proud to be women.  sexiness is so much more than our outward appearance- it is our intelligence, our happiness and satisfaction in the life we choose, how we treat others, and how we impact and influence the planet.  

we should build our fellow women up, rather than pull each other down.  women have so much more work to do to rise up and find that equal ground with men that is our integral right as human beings.  i vow to support my sister fellow women, and see the difference between objectification and empowerment!  i truly hope other women will do the same- we need each other.


me and my past life body

"each individual woman's body demands to be accepted on it's own terms." -gloria steinem

the other day patrick and i were talking about when we were young, and i thought it might be a fun/funny idea to look at my first diary.

i noticed it sitting on our bookcase recently, and i'm always flooded with memories when i look at it.  it's a totally early 90's look- with a plastic squishy cover, ballet slippers on the front, and a little lock and key on the side to keep snoopy siblings out!  i thought it was the coolest!  the pink, yellow, and blue lined pages broke from the binding, so now i can just slide the writings on out and read some of my early life observations...

i was expecting pretty innocent stuff, this diary is from 1992-1994 ish.  i was only 9, 10, and 11... i haven't revisited this diary in years and years, so i kinda forgot what was in it.  i've been keeping a diary- a journal i began to call it as i got older- most of my life, from age 9 up until now.  i have loads of pretty journals, their various styles marking what i was into at the time, at my parents house in my old bedroom closet.  i don't look at them that often because their honesty and immaturity sometimes are just too much for me!  i feel embarrassed for myself- a strange concept.  

so the journal started out typical enough, me talking about what i do every day, playing with dolls and swimming in brooks, very nondescript and unrevealing.  then i don't write in my journal for about a year, while i'm 10 years old.  i pick up where i left off at age 11, but abruptly my writing topics are changed completely.  now, at only age 11, i am writing about all the boys i have crushes on and how i need to go on a diet.

i had no idea i began young adult life at age 11.  i was saddened and bummed to picture me, a little girl- not even a teenager yet- thinking i'm fat and i need to look a certain way so that the boys i like will notice me.  i felt my heart ache and swell when i read the words 'summer is coming, but i don't want it to because i don't look good in a bathing suit'.  ugh, at 11 years old i began to hate my changing body.

and this is nothing unique.  so many young girls today grow up with such fucked up ideals of what think they need to live up to.  how could i have been helped?? 

so much of my precious youthful energy was wasted on worrying about my appearance.  i'd say from age 11-23 i did not like or feel comfortable in my own body.  i began my first "diet" at age 11, yo yoing all over the place for 12 years with eating super healthy and with stuffing myself with junk.  i'd try juice fasts and only eating raw, in hopes of having this ideal body as quickly as possible.  after a few days of barely eating i'd binge on cake and pizza, etc.  i'd always try to lose weight fast, so that i could have a day of eating anything i wanted a few days/weeks later.  i began obsessing about eating- what i would eat next, and if it would be a little or a whole lot.  i lived in an extremes only world when it came to nutrition and health.  all or nothing, black or white, fat or thin.

i was never 'fat', but i'm pretty short, so putting on 15-20 lbs makes a huge different on a 5' tall body.  i also felt like my thighs were always too big and muscular, and that my body was disproportional.  i wanted to be long and lean, like the girls i admired in magazines.  

as i mentioned above, this is the tale of many many girls.  and it doesn't have to be!  we can raise our girls to love, honor, and respect their bodies!  

so how did i come to love my body?

i slowed down, found passions in life, and started to work with what i had rather than against it.  at age 23 i'd screwed with my body so much, overfeeding it and underfeeding it constantly.  my metabolism was stuck in starvation mode so i had trouble staying at a normal healthy weight.  i pinballed from 96 lbs- 120 lbs.  i knew i had to make slow gradual lifestyle changes after so many "quick fixes".  i began practicing more and more yoga- but just a little at a time so i didn't burn myself out.  i started a daily running regime- i run everyday or every other day as far and as long as i feel like it.  no pressure, no extremes.  i also began eating normal meals again, and not putting any foods off limits.  i began cooking for my boyfriend patrick more often, so i learned what ingredients are healthy, nutritious, and tasty.  i finally figured out that oils and fats and red wine in moderation are good for you, and that anything i put restrictions on i usually will want more of.  and dessert after dinner is a good thing!!, something i can indulge in with awareness and joy.  no limits, no rigid rules.

most importantly, i learned with practice to love and accept my body AS IS.  i'm short, but petite; my legs are muscular, but strong; and my butt is round and plump, but pleasingly so.  i will never be long and lean, i will never have a six pack.  but i love my ever-developing muscles in my shoulders and in my calves, i'm proud of my running stamina and my enthusiasm for yoga.  i've worked hard to finally and deservedly love what i've got.

moderation has set me free.  it took a few years of this healthy non-extremist lifestyle to settle in, but now i feel like i truly live free and with a harmony in body and mind.  i love and cherish my body more than i ever have, and no longer have the desire to hurt or disrespect it.  i've found so much comfort and stability in my health, i only wish i had found this peace sooner.  it's sort of like i have a second chance at youth now, my body feels like when i last knew it and loved it at age 8.  i finally feel happy in my own skin.  what a blessing!

i would never want my daughter, or anyone else's daughter to start "dieting" at age 11.  young girls today need, in addition to sex ed, some sort of yoga/meditation/body love class.  too many young girls will suffer for nothing, for an empty hopeless ideal.  i would never wish what i struggled with on anyone else.  it's a waste of life and time.  

let's all support and encourage any young girls we know to love and accept themselves, while forming a sustainable lifestyle of good health and moderate exercise.  



i love siggi's!

"the belly rules the mind."

i am in love with this yogurt, and with the story behind the brand siggi's.

it's sooo tasty, creamy, and loaded with protein too!  plus, it's only made from grass fed cows and sweetened with agave nectar.

iceland native, siggi hilmarsson, is an entrepreneur after my own heart!  he started making yogurt in his nyc kitchen in 2004, began producing more on a small farm in upstate ny a year later, and then started selling his delicious yogurt at farmer's markets. from there he sold at local grocery stores in nyc and brooklyn, got some samples sent to whole foods... and the rest is history!  now i can buy siggi's at stop and shop on sale right now, 2 for $4.  what an inspiring man and an amazing grassroots story!

siggi with his yogurt

aw the creamy goodness!

check out siggi's here --> SIGGI'S YOGURT!


inspirational art
by michael green

"inside you there's an artist you don't know about..."

i love the art of michael green.  it's gorgeous and thoughtful, motivational and peaceful.  looking at his work, i feel harmony with nature and illumination within my mind.  

he illustrates rumi poetry books:

and even has his own band- the illumination band!

some samples of michael green's work:

check out more on his website.

namaste my friends!


revisiting memories
while laying in bed late at night

"every woman's memory is her private literature."
-aldous huxley

last night i felt this intense craving for the samoan dish taro with palusami.  i haven't had it since i studied abroad in the south pacific in 2003- getting close now to 10 years ago!  something though in my mind conjured up the smell of taro baking- and of course you can't have taro without palusami!  haha- what the hell am i talking about right?!  what are these foods?!

taro and palusami

late night in bed are some of my favorite moments in my life.  my mind travels to thoughts and memories i haven't visited in ages, places in my mind i forgot even existed.  and, i get to share these nooks in my brain with my partner patrick; revealing to one another ideas and remembrances, always inspiring the other and learning about our own minds.  

beach fales in savaii, samoa

last night my mind was drifting to the other side of the world, and as it often does- to my desire to travel again.  i thought about my adventures in samoa, hawaii, fiji, and western samoa.  i told patrick about living in a village for a few weeks with a sundown curfew, showering under an outdoor faucet with only cold water in a lavalava (a sarong type thing), staying in fales (little beach huts) on the beach and having the tide come in right under your floor for only $10 a night, and of course the delicious food!!  it was a bit of bad timing that i was trying out this whole raw vegan lifestyle while there, but still i got to sample some incredible dishes.  the papaya was out of this world, the bananas were tiny and so sweet, coconuts were phenomenal, and the breadfruit- don't even get me started! 

the amazing and tasty breadfruit

the best bananas ever!

i also remember all the people i met there- my host families and my "team" from america- and i often wonder what they're doing, wishing i was better at keeping in touch.  

the gorgeous beaches

i want my memories to remain vivid, but i know that's impossible with the collection of time.  i already struggle remembering the samoan language, what the streets looked like, and how the island "felt" and smelled .  but talking about my memories helps, and remembering the samoan flavors brings me back...     

so i got to thinking, i should prepare a samoan style dinner sometime soon.  smells and tastes are such powerful memory inducers, and i haven't thought about samoa in a LONG time.

so this week i'm going to make taro and palusami, and breadfruit, maybe a side of pork of some sort.  i actually can't believe it's taken me this long to think of cooking a samoan meal!

trust me when i tell you, taro and palusami are some of the best foods in the world!  

here's a recipe i found:

1 lb. young taro leaves
2 c. coconut milk
1 c. water
1/2 tbsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 sm. onion, finely chopped

Wash taro leaves and remove outer part of spine. Alternate four leaves and place on a sheet of foil 12 x 12 inches and form into a cup. Pour mixture of remaining ingredients into taro leaves. Place bundles in a pan. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 1 hour.

pretty simple.. i just gotta hunt down some taro and breadfruit.  asian grocery store maybe?

i'm thinking i'll just bake the breadfruit and the taro... go from there!  if anyone has any suggestions for samoan cooking please let me know!  

enjoy your memories and share them with people you love often.  this will help them stay fresh and alive!  and, if you can't afford to travel like me, let the scents and flavors of other cultures transport your mind to new ways of thinking!  

paradise can be found within your mind

alofa (love in samoan!) to you!     


happy 2011!

"the beginning is the most important part of the work."- plato

me on new year's eve

the first days of the year; fresh and blank, like a new canvas, pregnant with limitless possibilities and visions.  another year is laid out before us, and the only thing really holding us back is ourselves.  our artwork can become whatever we wish, and many of us are SO incredibly lucky to have the opportunities to design whatever we desire.

patrick and i spent much of new year's day discussing and planning our dreams for this year. one topic we kept returning to was that a person really must be the strongest and the most determined at the very beginning of a goal.  once a habit is formed and one breaks free from the struggle of being new to something, the effort becomes loads easier.  so are beginners tougher than intermediates or experts?  perhaps..  we must develop a thick skin and a rugged determinedness in the preliminary stages.  however this can be quite hard to do without any background yet of experience or expertise.

in this respect beginnings are very exciting, yet entirely challenging.  we must charge forward, working harder than we think we can; while keeping an eye out for the more advanced future you somewhere in the scenery.  and we can't forget that with time, confidence and patience will reveal themselves to us with ease and grace.  just stick to the plan and don't give up!!  press on, never stop moving, enjoy the journey, and keep your eye on the prize. 

last year i made no new year's resolutions, the year before that i made too many.  so this year i'm going to make just a few.  i've found it's much better to set realistic goals in an attainable time frame, so as not to let yourself down.  

my 2011 road map:

1.  stop biting my nails.  i don't bite them all the time, just when i'm nervous.  while i bite, pat says, "ew, what are you chewing on?  is that a nut?"  i don't want him to say this in 2011.

2.  another hand/finger goal haha- to use my left hand more.  i do a lot of work for purusha with my hands, and sometimes i'm like, "left hand, you are useless.  right hand, you're exhausted.  let's make a compromise."

3.  to find a schedule that works for me.  it's beginning to come together, but i still sometimes feel like my day is all over the place.  i'd like to figure out a routine that feels right- with just enough work- not too much, not too little.

4.  to laugh at myself more.  sometimes i'm so god damned serious about myself, stressing out and getting all worked up!  i almost always look at that part of myself later on and laugh.  i want that later on self to laugh now!

5.  to get purusha on the cover of yoga journal.  ha- this one's a bit of a stretch, but whatever.  i'm asking the universe for it.  see what happens...

6.  last one.  to keep doing what scares me and never stop facing my fears.

cheers to new beginnings!  happy new year my friends, my loves!  


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