Posts Tagged ‘yoga’

Bhakti Immersion Retreat 2013

I have really been MIA lately. One reason: I was on a yoga retreat for 4 days the weekend before last. We did the same retreat last August and loved it so of course we signed up as soon as registration opened this year.

I took no pictures because we left our phones in our cabin the whole time – completely technology-free weekend. It was wonderful!

Here is one picture via Instagram (Bobby and I are in there, not sure if you can see…)



Bobby is in a black sweatshirt behind the girl with the yellow scarf. I’m to his right in a grey sweatshirt behind the girl with a red plaid scarf. We went with another couple who are into yoga just as much as we are – Bobby’s coworker and his girlfriend. We all loved it!

This was definitely not your typical yoga retreat – it could be very spiritual, but also very much “take what you want and leave the rest” at the same time. I would say about half the people there were there for the spiritual part and half for the yoga. It was a great mix of very kind and warm people.

Incredible teachers:

All 3 yoga teachers were amazing – each offering something different but valuable. I listened to a couple talks by the two swamis, who were both inspiring and wise. We learned to play the harmonium with Gaura Vani, who was so talented. Bobby and I took 2 workshops in “Marma Therapy” (ayurvedic massage) with the ayurvedic practitioners. Marma and yoga were definitely the highlights of the retreat for me.


Buffet line + salad bar! (Source)

At the retreat we were treated to 3 vegetarian buffet meals a day. Most of the food was grown on the grounds of the retreat center (Pumpkin Hollow Farm in Craryville, NY – about 2 hours north of the city). It was delicious and Bobby and I totally overate the entire time. But neither one of us came back even a pound heavier, so we must have been burning it off with the 2x a day yoga sessions.

Here is a video from last year’s retreat.

Another reason I have been MIA – I have been working on a new project! I’ll share soon.

What have you been up to lately? Have you ever done a yoga retreat?

Summer Solstice Surf & Turf

Last night Bobby and I celebrated the end of this week + the summer solstice with a delicious home-cooked surf & turf dinner. And I even made it to yoga beforehand (Friday Night Flow @ Pure Yoga).


I posted this on Instagram (@magpie707) last night. It’s a small piece of filet migon (right), scallops & shrimp, and a side of kale + shiitake mushrooms. The recipes were all super simple. They aren’t even recipes, really.

Filet Mignon:

  • olive oil
  • steak (this one was small – 3.5 ounces. it’s about 2cm thick.)
  • butter (optional)

Heat a nonstick pan until it’s screaming hot. Drizzle your steak with olive oil on both sides, and also put a little in the pan. Cook the steak ~3-4 minutes on each side (3 on each side is medium; 4 on each side is done – I did about 3.5 on each side). Done! Serve with a pat of butter on top (optional).

Shrimp & Scallops:

  • big scallops (I did 5)
  • big, cleaned shrimp (6)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Heat a nonstick pan until it’s screaming hot. Season the shrimp and scallops with salt and pepper and put some olive oil in the pan. Cook the shrimp & scallops about 2.5 minutes on each side. Done!

Kale & Shiitake Mushrooms Asian Style:

  • olive oil and a little bit of sesame oil
  • salt
  • garlic powder
  • sesame seeds
  • 1 head of red kale
  • 1 box of shiitake mushrooms
  • balsamic vinegar (I used a cherry infused one)

Wash and dry the kale. Chop the mushrooms and kale. Heat a wok to high heat and add the olive oil (1-2 tablespoons) and sesame oil (2-3 teaspoons). Add the mushrooms and kale. Add garlic powder, salt and sesame seeds. Cook on high heat for 3-4 minutes, then turn it to medium and cook for another 4-5 minutes, or until the kale is tender (stirring occasionally). Add a few splashes of balsamic vinegar. Stir it around and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add more salt, if it needs it.

All told, this meal cost about $31 from the grocery store. (Filet mignon = $7, scallops = $14, shrimp = $3.50, organic kale = $2.50, organic mushrooms = $4.) A little pricey for 2 people, but much cheaper than it would be at a restaurant! I’m not including the cost of the pantry items I already had (olive oil, salt, etc…).

Bobby had the steak (I had a bite) and we split the rest, but I got an extra scallop. He was a very happy husband :)

Do you like surf & turf? What’s the most expensive meal you cook at home?

Review: Manduka unBLOK

I have a juicy product review for you guys today. I tend to be choosy about which products I will accept for review on the blog, because I want to keep it honest. I do review most yoga products, so when Manduka contacted me about reviewing their new yoga block, I was psyched.

unBLOK_BreezeThunder_In Packaging_Angled (2pcs)

Here are the details about the unBLOK:

  • Made of over 50% recycled material (foam)
  • Rounded shape
  • Slip-resistant

I was skeptical about the shape when I first saw the unBLOK because I’m so used to the normal, rectangular block shape that most other yoga blocks have. But I actually think I preferred using the unBLOK. I tried some supported chest and shoulder openers (supported fish, supported bridge), and this block was great. It’s much nicer to have a slightly rounded curve supporting your back than a straight block.


Supported Fish Pose – put a block under your upper back and let your arms fall open. You can also put a rolled up blanket underneath your knees for extra low-back support. (Image source.)

I also tried out some standard poses that might require a block – Virasana (hero’s pose) and Artichandrasana (half moon pose) and the unBLOK worked very well. It really is slip resistant, and it’s sturdy like a cork block is, but still light, because it’s foam. It’s more grippy than most foam blocks I’ve used, which is good for poses like half moon.

The unBLOK Party:

You can nominate a local studio that helped you “unblock” your practice for a chance to win prizes. You can nominate your studio {HERE}. Be sure to do it today, if you want to enter, because the campaign ends today, May 28th.

I just nominated my studio, Pure. And I got a 15% off discount code at the end after I submitted.

Do you use a block for your yoga practice? What is your favorite local studio?

I don’t use a block that often, but I love using blocks for supported, restorative postures. I have a lot of favorite studios in NYC. The two that I have been to the most are Pure and Yoga Vida (where I did my training).

New Years Intentions 2013

2013 Goals and Intentions

1. Eat more cleanly. Fewer processed foods; more vegetables. Eat more intuitively. Eat less emotionally.

2. Go to sleep by 11pm more often. (2x a week to start)

3. Go to yoga 12x a month. Do Mysore regularly for 1 month. (Summer?)

4. Meditate 5 minutes per day (morning).

5. Get up earlier (this will come out of #2…).

6. Log my exercise (I used to do this). And use my Erin Condren planner.

7. Spend less money and save up to start my own business someday.

8. Find at least one other source of income aside from my day job.

9. Simplify. Minimize. Give away clothes and things that I don’t use. Buy less. Have less. Stress less.

What are your 2013 goals?

Happy New Year & 2012 Recap


Did you stay up? I actually fell asleep watching 30 Rock around 11:30 but luckily I have the best husband ever and he woke me up in time to share the strike of midnight and a new year’s kiss :) I’m trying to cut back on coffee thus I was very tired yesterday night.

2012 was a big year for our house – here’s a recap.

  1. taught my first (and probably last) yoga class at my old job – turns out I like taking yoga much more than teaching yoga, at least for now. People seemed to like my classes but teaching is just not for me! (January)
  2. I went back to my old job (I had left it for ~5 months, but missed it almost as soon as I’d gone). (March)
  3. My hubby and I bought an apartment in NYC. And then we renovated it (still renovating it…). (Closed in May; began renovations in November)
  4. I joined a CSA and discovered a farmers’ market on the corner of my street. (June)
  5. I joined Pure Yoga back at the end of June (and Bobby just joined in late November so now we can go to yoga together). (June)
  6. I fixed my PCOS. (Basically by eating more carbs, and more in general, more food more regularly.) I also ate a lot of PCOS bread. (July)
  7. Bobby and I went on a yoga retreat with Raghunath (August), and I tried Mysore Ashtanga yoga (July).
  8. Bobby and I went to Japan for 2 weeks for fun (and so I could finally – after 7 years of being together – meet his family!). (October)
  9. I went to India for 9 days for work. (December)
  10. NYC got hit by Hurricane Sandy – our home was unaffected, but my work lost power for a week and many of my friends and family members, including my parents, were also without power. Sandy Workout & Sandy Link Love.

What were the important things in your life for 2012?

Random December List.

Random thoughts and things.

1) I got back from my trip to India on Sunday morning. Amazing trip. I was in Hyderabad for work for ~8 days (it’s a city in the south of India – in the state of Andhra Pradesh). JFK–>DEL the previous Saturday (after a 5 hour delay at JFK due to plane malfunctions – thanks Air India – a 14 hour flight total), did sightseeing on Sunday in Delhi, and then took a short 2 hour flight DEL–>HYD. Worked with an incredible team all week long, and then began the journey back to JFK this past Saturday. Two unexpected things about this trip to India: 1) I didn’t get to do any yoga aside from sun salutations in my hotel room and 2) there are way fewer vegetarians than I expected. I was just about full VEG for the whole trip. (I think I had a chicken sandwich in the airport on the first day.)


(A sign at Golconda Fort, in Hyderabad – ha! I thought it was funny.)

2) Home renovations are still in progress. I am still very excited about them, but at this point I am getting very anxious to get my kitchen and bathroom back. Showering at the gym is getting old, fast. It’s been over a month now! I think we started on 11/14.

3) More travel plans this week. Bobby and I are going to visit his family in Miami and we leave on Thursday. Construction will continue while we are gone – and hopefully be nearing completion by the time we return. ::Fingers crossed:: Cats are headed to New Jersey.

4) I have only gotten to 4 yoga classes this month so far. But then again, I have only been home for ~8 days of the month so far, so this is actually a good record: one class every other day. Hoping to get to one more before we go to Miami (Wednesday morning?), and 2 more after we return. Bobby has been going with me because he joined my same yoga studio. ::Happy dance::

5) After Miami, we are going to NJ the following weekend to visit my family. Hectic hectic month!

6) I am obsessed with candles. I recently bought this avocado mint candle and this frosted maple candle from Anthropologie (not only do they have beautiful clothes, but they have wonderfully aromatic candles). I also have 3 from this line (also at Anthro).


(^^frosted maple^^)


(^^avocado & mint^^)


(^^whipped cream & pear^^)

7) My favorite breakfast as of late has been a sugarless berry scone from Butterfield Bakery (unsweetened – not with fake sugar). These things are gigantic but somehow I manage to finish them. On the days I don’t get a scone I get either a fresh croissant (also from Butterfield) or a whole wheat bagel with butter from the deli around the corner.


8) My heart goes out to the families affected by the terrible school shooting in Connecticut.

I think that is all I have for now. I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season so far. Wish I could spend more of it in New York – NYC at Christmastime is one of my favorite things.

November Goals; Pure Yoga Review

Back at the end of June, I joined a yoga studio in my neighborhood. It’s a beautiful studio – Pure Yoga, owned and operated by Equinox – and I go fairly regularly. The studio is in the basement levels of a building on 86th street, but the lack of natural light is not even noticeable. The facilities are absolutely beautiful and the showers…


…Are to die for. This photo doesn’t do them justice.

Anyway, I wanted to highlight the studio because it’s included in some of my November goals. Here we go:

  1. Go to 15 yoga classes this month. (I wanted to make it 20, but I am going to be traveling for 1 week and I don’t think 20 is doable.)
  2. Floss once a day (night). I floss but sometimes I miss a day.
  3. Try 3 new restaurants. Bobby and I eat out a lot – but we tend to go to the same places over and over again.
  4. Try 3 new dishes at restaurants I already go to.
  5. Go to a yoga class on my business trip (to… India! More later.).
  6. Stay healthy during holiday/family gatherings. For me this means making the difficult decision – bread, wine, or dessert?
  7. Test and then make a new recipe for Thanksgiving dinner (this year it’s sort of potluck-style).
  8. Read 2 books.

What are your November goals?

{Fun} Birthday Quiz & Perfect Weekend

I saw this survey on debbie’s blog a few days ago and I couldn’t resist.

The Birthday Quiz

A. Age: 26 as of yesterday.
B. Bed size: Queen.
C. Chore that you hate: Cleaning the litter box. (Thanks hon, for relieving me of this duty 9 times out of 10! Love you much.)
D. Dogs: None. (2 cats!)
E. Essential start to your day: Stumptown coffee with milk and stevia; toast with butter; alone time.
F. Favorite color: Purple.
G. Gold or Silver: Platinum.
H. Height: 5’10”
I. Instruments you play: Piano (but not lately) and I sing soprano in 2 choirs (sop 1 in one choir, sop 2 in the other).
J. Job title: Software engineer. (I’m a web developer at a marketing company.)
K. Kids: Someday… soon?
L. Live: NYC – UES.
M. Mother’s name: Same as mine! Different nickname though.
N. Nicknames: Maggie, Meg, Magpie, Mags.
O. Overnight hospital stays: None that I know of. When I was born I guess.
P. Pet peeves: chewing with your mouth open. Having to repeat myself because you weren’t listening. These are the general yous, not you the reader specifically 😉
Q. Quote from a movie: “It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends.” — Dumbledore (in the HP movie)
R. Right or left handed: Right.
S. Siblings: 2 – a younger brother (3 years younger) and a younger sister (6.5 years younger).
T. Time you wake up: Generally sometime between 7:30 and 8:30 am. Later if I had a late night.
U. Underwear: Uniqlo.
V. Vegetable you hate: Hrm… none? I used to hate baby corn but I love it now. I don’t really like mushy peas, does that count?
W. What makes you run late: Sometimes I start cleaning and I get distracted and I end up looking at the time and I should have left for work 30 minutes ago. Or getting back in bed in the morning to snuggle with Bobby before I go.
X. X-Rays you’ve had: At the dentist (many times – a little less than yearly I think) and at the chiropractor once.
Y. Yummy food that you make: Everything? Hehe – I kid, I kid. I made a pretty good broccoli soup last week, and I have been making some yummy gazpacho this summer. I make good eggs with goat cheese and I also make killer roasted veggies.
Z. Zoo animal: I don’t believe in zoos.

I had a great birthday weekend. Friday night I took Friday Night Flow at Pure with my Ashtanga teacher (I haven’t been to ashtanga in a while). Then I met up with Bobby and we grabbed a quick dinner at Kobeyaki – think Chipotle but for Japanese food. I got the shrimp teriyaki on brown rice and a seaweed salad on the side. (B got the chicken teriyaki and a beer.)

We later hit up Rockwood (a live music place with a bar) and saw the Delta Saints – I’d never heard of them but they were awesome. They are from Nashville, TN. I listened to their stuff online when we got back but they were much better live, so if you ever have a chance to see them definitely go. They are incredibly talented. The singer’s voice is great, the guitarist is great, the bassist too, the drummer, and there is another guy who plays a bunch of random instruments including harmonica – he was awesome too.

Saturday I went to hot yoga in the morning, sat at a bank doing stuff for my co-op (I’m on the board), and my mom came into town for the day. We got a delicious lunch at Pret a Manger – love this place. My mom told them it was my birthday (embarrassing! kind of) and they gave me a cookie. I got the turkey-basil-hummus wrap and a decaf.

We went out to Brooklyn where we met up with Bobby’s cousins (from Japan). Walked around a bit, then came back to the city. That evening was pretty chill.

Then this morning we went to Le Pain Quotidien with my mom (I got a soft-boiled egg and bread) before she headed back to NJ. B and I went to central park and tossed a frisbee around and I did some yoga in the park. We walked around before coming home. It’s a gorgeous day in NYC today. Crisp and cool (not too cool), not humid, sunny – the perfect weather. We stopped at Williams Sonoma and got a few kitchen items, and grabbed dogs at Grey’s Papaya before heading back to our apartment.

Now that I’m home, honestly I want to take a nap! But I think I will do some food prep for the week and maybe do some reading.

All in all a lovely weekend. It is SO nice to have almost nothing planned for once. I have got to stop booking up my free time. I am very content to meander with my husband and just enjoy not having anything specific to do.

What did you do this weekend? Do you overbook yourself? What are your answers to the quiz?

{WIAW, food} What I Ate Wednesday, CSA Chat

I belong to a CSA – the 92nd Street Y CSA – and each week we get a shipment of fresh, organic, local vegetables from a farm just an hour or two north of the city.

This means that I tend to eat similar foods week to week, because the CSA sends me foods that are in season. It’s great when we get my favorites, like squash – but it can sometimes be overwhelming in the summer when I’m getting pounds and pounds of greens.

This CSA is organized by volunteers, so each member has to volunteer to man the pick-up table at least one. Last week was my week (Thursday). I got sent home with about 4 full bags of veggies and I could barely carry it the 2 long blocks to my apartment. In the bags I got:

  • many pounds of beets (and then more again this week!)
  • broccoli and cabbage (and more again this week)
  • butternut squash (the allotment was 1, but since I was volunteering I was able to take home many of the extras at the end)
  • tomatoes, eggplant, & shallots
  • basil & hot peppers
  • 3 dozen eggs (I gifted 1 dozen to a friend; I will probably gift another dozen because I get 1 dozen each week and I can barely finish them)
  • peaches, plums, and nectarines
  • 2 loaves of raisin bread (brought 1 to work and it was demolished), 1/2 loaf of whole wheat bread, 1 piece of focaccia

I have been trying to use all of that up this week. Here are some of the beautiful squash:

I think I could eat squash until I turn orange.

What I Ate Wednesday

  • breakfast was coffee and a medium-sized chunk of raisin nut bread toast with butter
  • lunch was 2 scrambled eggs and roasted veggies (beets, broccoli) for lunch
  • a large-ish nutty biscotti (grabbing coffee with a friend)
  • went to a yoga class at 6pm (had to sneak out of work early! I made up for it later in the evening)
  • dinner was a tuna salad sandwich on focaccia from a nearby restaurant (Cavatappo Grill) that came with a side salad
  • dessert was a cup of greek yogurt (0%) with cinnamon, stevia, and PB2
  • and I ate a few roasted veggie pieces as I was putting them in tupperwares (I tend to make roasted veggies at night, before I go to bed – then I eat them the next few days for lunch)

I don’t actually have any pictures, but I do have a picture of my coffee.

How To Make Coffee with a French Press

  • boil water
  • 2 heaping spoons of freshly ground coffee goes into the press (the spoon is a coffee spoon – I want to say it’s 2 tablespoons – so 4 heaping T’s in total)
  • pour the hot water over the grounds, let sit
  • after one minute, give it a stir and put the top on (don’t press down yet)
  • wait 4-5 minutes, then press down
  • put your milk and sugar in your cup first, then pour the coffee over
  • amazing!

That’s all I have. What did you eat Wednesday?

Link Love

Health & Nutrition Links

  • The Hidden Truths About Calories – This article delves into the complicated science of calorie calculation. Though many of us were already suspicious of calorie counts on labels, this article proves that those counts can be wildly inaccurate. The way you prepare a food, the way the food was grown, how processed the food is, AND your various aspects about your body composition – these are four factors that contribute to how many calories your body will actually take away from a food. For example, the more processed a food is, the less “work” (energy) your body expends while digesting it, and thus the more calories your body gets to keep. If you have longer intestines than your spouse, you will get more calories from a food (or vice versa). It’s a really good read, and not that long either.
  • 5 Ways to Make Going Vegan Easy – I am not a vegan, but I like these ideas. The ideas include drinking green juice,  eating quinoa, using almond milk, eating more greens and fruits, and giving up one animal a month. Click through to read more.
  • Chocolate Buckwheat Cake. Need I say more! I haven’t made it yet but it looks awesome.

Yoga, Fitness & Happiness Links

  • 6 Things I Do to Be Consistently Happy – written by a person who does startups. The ideas include 1) waking up early, 2) exercising, 3) disengaging, 4) helping others, and 5) learning new things regularly. Click through to read the last one, and to hear his thoughts on the ones I just listed.
  • Track Your Happiness – a cool app idea for the iPhone (I don’t think it’s for Android yet).
  • Patanjali’s 8 Limbs of Yoga – this is a great illustration of them.

NYC Links

  • Broadway Week – 2 for 1 tickets coming up (Sept 4 – 16).
  • All You Need to Know to Compost in Your Apartment – to be honest, I have not started composting yet. There is a compost station at the farmers’ market Sundays (it’s less than half a block from my apartment) so I can drop it off there if/when I do start.

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