2014-09-09 11.51.06

Let Your Inner Light Shine

Yoga teacher training is an incredible experience! Yoga is so much more than the physical movement,¬†and it’s been exciting learning about the eightfold path of yoga and how to extend my¬†yoga practice off the mat.

I find the below definition of the eightfold path from Yoga Journal to be insightful:

“In Patanjali‚Äôs Yoga Sutra, the eightfold path is called ashtanga, which literally means ‚Äúeight limbs‚ÄĚ (ashta=eight, anga=limb). These eight steps basically act as guidelines on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life. They serve as a prescription for moral and ethical conduct and self-discipline; they direct attention toward one‚Äôs health; and they help us to acknowledge the spiritual aspects of our nature.”
- Yoga Journal

This week in teacher training we studied the yamas and niyamas, the¬†first and second limbs of yoga. Yamas are external and focus on how we conduct ourselves within the world. Niyamas focus on self-discipline and are inwardly focused. I feel the below quote really sums up this week’s lesson!

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The beautiful thing about teaching yoga is that it’s a lifelong learning experience, and I’m thrilled to be starting this journey!

Drink Your Veggies

I have a confession. I haven’t always been a vegetable lover. I still don’t like peas, and I’m not sure if that will ever change, but I’ve recently discovered a new way to eat veggies – and that’s to drink them!

Hubs and I invested in an Omega juicer this summer, and gosh do I love this machine. I make 4-5 different juices each week which we pair with breakfast or as a midday snack. I feel so refreshed after drinking juice!

We're juicing machines now!

We’re juicing machines now!

I have another confession. I’m a Netflix documentary junkie. Apparently it runs in our family, because my sister and I could talk about recent documentaries we’ve watched for hours on end. It’s not my fault, it’s genetic!

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Check out this documentary on Netflix. You won’t regret it!

I was first introduced to juicing when I watched¬†Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead¬†featuring Joe Cross. The documentary follows Joe¬†through a 60-day juice fast. Under the care of a physician he lost 100 pounds and was able to discontinue all of his medications which he needed to combat an autoimmune disorder. After the fast he no longer needed the medication because he was healthy for the first time in years, and he’s kept the weight off and has maintained a healthy lifestyle ever since. If you haven’t watched this documentary yet I’d highly recommend it. I find it really inspirational!

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While I don’t plan on executing a 60-day juice fast, I have really enjoyed adding a glass of juice to my daily routine. Two of my favorite recipes are Beets and Treats¬†and Green Aid.¬†¬†It’s funny, because I was never a fan of beets before juicing…but now I can’t get enough of them! You just want to make sure you wash your hands and the countertop immediately after chopping and juicing – otherwise your hands are pink and so is the cheap, beige¬†linoleum countertop in our apartment. Whoops!

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Millie also likes juicing. Or at the very least she likes to keep my company in the kitchen. She’s just too cute. She’ll lay down on the floor, and I know she’s behind me because from time to time she kisses my feet. I’m glad she does this so I don’t accidentally trip over her (although I have a feeling that day will come!).

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Have you tried juicing? If so, what do you think of it?

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Quote

Follow Your Heart

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

- Steve Jobs

2014-09-07 05.39.39

Chicago Half Marathon

This Sunday I completed my third Chicago Half Marathon! This race has a special place in my heart because it was my very first half marathon in 2011. Since then I’ve completed six¬†half-marathons, and I’m totally hooked.

After my first half marathon in 2011. It was a warm one! But I made a crucial mistake here, I sat down. Getting back up was tricky!

After my first half marathon in 2011. It was a warm one! But I made a crucial mistake here, I sat down. Getting back up was tricky!

I’ve learned that I prefer smaller races with fewer participants, but since this half is held on Chicago’s highways there’s space for runners¬†to spread out (within reason). The weather was beautiful and started off nice and cool. But around mile 8.5 the sun was out in full force and I started walking through water stations so I could drink one cup and pour the other on my head¬†(with plenty of care not to get my earbuds/ears wet – learned that one the hard way!). I was excited to see that they broke out the sprinklers near the end of the course too, ahhhh!

My goal for this race was just to complete it. I didn’t have¬†any time expectations¬†since I’ve been marathon training, which is slower than my half marathon training pace so I was pretty sure a PR was out of the question. I finished in 2:26:28 and was really happy with it :) Mostly I’m just glad I didn’t melt in those final miles!

Hubs is the best support team at races, and he drove us into the city at 4 am so we could make our shuttle and get to the race with plenty of time to spare. He’s also a great photographer!

Packet Pick Up at Navy Pier - I love the expo! I bought a new visor and a shirt that says, "My Running Partner has Four Legs" - love it!

Packet Pick Up at Navy Pier – I love the expo! I bought a new running hat¬†and a shirt that says, “My Running Partner has Four Legs” – love it!

Carbo loading at Eataly - So delicious!

Carbo loading at Eataly – So delicious!

And of course while we were downtown I had to breakout my #balancebasics. This day's pose was chair pose.

And of course while we were downtown I had to breakout my #balancebasics. This day’s pose was chair pose.

And who doesn't love a good spot to burst out some #publicdisplayofasana?!

And who doesn’t love a good view¬†to burst out some #publicdisplayofasana?!

Pre-Race with the best Hubs around!

Pre-Race with the best Hubs around!

Here's a pic from later in the race. Boy was it warm, but I was trying to make the best of it and maintain good form - and smile of course!

Here’s a pic from later in the race. Boy was it warm, but I was trying to make the best of it and maintain good form – and smile of course!

Crossing the finish line felt so good. I like to throw my arms up in the air, but I always double check to make sure I don't accidentally elbow someone!

Crossing the finish line felt so good. I like to throw my arms up in the air, but I always double check to make sure I don’t accidentally elbow someone!

Celebrating at The Bean

Celebrating at The Bean

Hubs took photos and video at the finish line. Boy is he talented!

Ch-Ch-Changes

This summer has been a time of transition. With my amazing husband’s encouragement and support, I quit my established career to pursue my dreams. I like to call it my quarter-life-crisis…and it happened right on time, just months after my 25th birthday.

I had the most supportive and encouraging colleagues when I worked in international education, and leaving them is what made this move so bittersweet. I miss them dearly, but I knew in my heart that I needed to pursue this dream. If not now, then when?

So on August 22nd I handed in my office key, put my bamboo plant in my car’s cup holder and sat my cardboard box of personal items (I know…how clich√©!) on my backseat. It’s still so strange to not head to the office every morning. I have a feeling one sleepy morning I may accidentally get in my car just out of habit!

Au revoir!

Au revoir!

Now that I’ve wrapped up my previous career, I’m focusing all of my energy on becoming the best yoga instructor I can possibly be. That’s right – I’m in a 200 Hour Alliance Certified Training Program with Yoga By Degrees! In addition to following this dream, I also plan on opening an Etsy store to showcase my paintings and drawings.

With all of these changes I didn’t have much time to blog, but now that my plan is in motion blogging will be one of my priorities. I’ve really missed writing and reading everyone’s posts. The blogging community is so amazing, and I’ve missed you all!

In addition to studying yoga and creating art – here’s what I’m most looking forward to in the coming months (with posts to accompany of course!):

  • Having the time to focus on healthy cooking/eating with a focus¬†on¬†whole foods with very little meat (and without dairy…eventually). So far I’ve made Red Lentil Chili, which was a resounding success!
Red Lentil Chili - I used the Forks Over Knives recipe...yum!!

Red Lentil Chili – I used the Forks Over Knives recipe…yum!! And who doesn’t love a good Crock Pot recipe? Just set it and forget it!

  • Training Millie Pup. She’s growing like a weed! She’s 8 months old and couldn’t be any cuter. But we’ve definitely entered the “teenage” years (“What? You’re calling my name? I’ll just pretend I didn’t hear you and walk the other way“…oh joy!). One day I want her to be certified to visit schools and hospitals, so her training will definitely take a front seat in the coming months, which I’m really excited to experience with her!
Millie just graduated from her Manners class. They recommend repeating the class 2x or 3x before moving onto more advanced classes though. Poor Millie, already being held back in school!

Millie just graduated from her Manners and Self Control class. The group we train with recommends repeating the class 2x or 3x before moving to more advanced classes. Poor Millie, already being held back in school! Maybe after the next class she won’t try to eat her diploma in her “graduation” picture.

  • Marathon training! My full marathon is next month…it seems so surreal! I walk Millie multiple times per day, and sometimes she joins me on my training runs. I love running with my pup dog!
I saw this on my Facebook feed and immediately texted it to Hubs. I kind of want to get it for him for the marathon...

I saw this on my Facebook feed and immediately texted it to Hubs. I kind of want to get it for him for the marathon…it says “Your Wife” on the left and “My Wife” on the right. Classic!

Here’s to new beginnings and following your dreams. My new mantra is “Live by Design, Not Default” – which coincidentally was the title of my very first RWP blog post. I think all of this was in the back of my mind even back then!

I'm ready to take on the world with my new hairdo!

I’m ready to take on the world with my new hairdo!

Busy, Busy!

The last few weeks have been busy ones in our household! Here’s what we’ve been up to:

  • LASIK Surgery
  • First Wedding Anniversary
  • Hubs’ 25th Birthday
  • 40 Day Yoga Challenge
  • Marathon Training Commences!
  • Registered for the Disney Princess Half Marathon!

In the beginning of July I went under the knife (or laser as the case may be) to correct my vision with LASIK. The surgery itself took less than 10 minutes, and the recovery was quick. I spent two days laying low, and after that I was ready to take on the world!¬†My vision used to be 20/400 and the day after my surgery I tested at 20/20. Four days later I had my second follow-up appointment, and I tested at 20/15. I’ve never in my life been able to see everything around me so clearly. After wearing glasses/contacts since first grade, I still wake up in the morning and look for my glasses and panic a little when I think I’m stranded without them. Then I realize I can actually see, and it’s such an incredible feeling!

This was me before LASIK:

And this is me after:

July 3rd - One day after my LASIK surgery and I tested 20/20. After that result I donated my glasses - I'm free!

And this is me, one day post surgery…donating my glasses because I don’t need them anymore!

On July 6th Hubs and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. We had an incredible weekend celebrating together. The first anniversary is traditionally the “paper” anniversary, so we used that to theme our gifts. Hubs gave me a beautiful necklace that’s made of paper, and I gave him a “Year in Review” which was Up themed (which included tix to the U.S.¬†soccer match this weekend – tickets count as paper, right?!). It was so much fun finding gifts for each other and celebrating this milestone!

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Toasting to our anniversary! Do you see my necklace? It’s made of paper – how cool is that?!

Have you seen Disney's Up? It was my inspiration for this gift. Every balloon had a photo attached which highlighted our first year of marriage.

Have you seen Disney’s Up? It was my inspiration for this gift. Every balloon had a photo attached which highlighted our first year of marriage. I even found an anniversary card with the Up characters…yes!

July 10th was Hubs’ 25th birthday, and we decided to celebrate by buying a 6 lb. lobster. We ate lobster rolls and homemade lobster raviolis for days!

Now that's a lobster claw!

Now that’s a lobster claw!

The 40 Day Yoga Challenge continues, and I’m absolutely loving it. I’m in the studio almost every day, and I couldn’t be happier. Last night I had a “double date” at Yoga by Degrees – aka back-to-back classes. The classes were held by one of my favorite teachers, and I always leave feeling refreshed!

Last weekend I participated in the Rock your Asana Workshop, and I finally feel comfortable trying inverted poses. I still have a long way to go (don’t we all?!), but I’m excited by my new-found confidence. Our teacher brought energy and fun into the studio, and I just loved the “vibe!” You can check her out on instagram at Rock Star Yoga!

Hubs joined me for the second of last night's classes. I love doing yoga together!

Hubs joined me for the second of last night’s classes. I love doing yoga together. And what a view after class last night. Beautiful!

Marathon training is officially underway, and it’s so liberating to run without my glasses! Last weekend’s long run was a 10-miler in the rain (it felt so good though!). It went surprisingly well (hooray!), but I was a little intimidated by this distance at first. My very first half-marathon training plan worked¬†up to 10 miles max. So, beginning my marathon training with 10 miles gave me¬†a little bit of sticker shock, but the run went smoothly. The weather turned for the worse in the second half of my run, but there was only way back to my car so I kept on trucking. In the end, it was a great day!

I was a little damp by the end of my run. At least I didn't get too hot from the sun!

I was a little damp by the end of my run. At least I didn’t get too hot from the sun!

And finally, I’m thrilled to report that I’ll be running the Disney Princess Half Marathon this February with one of my very best friends. It’s her first half, and I’m so excited to share the running love with her! And you better believe we’re going to rock some sweet costumes during the run.

I couldn't have survived college without her! <3

I couldn’t have survived college without her! <3

And now, a Run With Pup post wouldn’t be complete with a quick shot of Millie Pup :)

Millie's new favorite place to sleep is on the arm of the couch, next to the window. Too cute!

Millie’s new favorite place to sleep is on the arm of the couch, next to the window. Too cute!