Mindful Monday: Time to Wind Down

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This is one from the archives from the old site that I’ve updated with some more tips.

In the past meditation like yoga was something that I didn’t really get. I tried it multiple times and dismissed it as not being for me. My excuses were 1. I’m too type A for this, 2. This is too New Age for me, and 3. I don’t have time for this every day. Like yoga, though I found that practice and finding what works for you makes meditation easier.

I started by taking yoga classes that had a very brief meditation component. By brief, I mean 5 minutes or less. I figured I could handle five minutes. Five minutes turned into doing 9-12 minute guided meditations through apps at home. Eventually, I started doing as long as 30 minutes of meditating either at home or as part of a yoga class.

I try to start and end the day this way. Does it mean always sitting in a meditation pose and imagining I’m on a mountain or a lake no, although I do sometimes meditate that way. I tend to alternate between mantras set to music, guided meditation, and sometimes even just reading or listening to something worth reflecting on.  

Have I gained spiritual enlightenment? No, at least not yet. What I have gained is some peace of mind. I’ve noticed when I have this routine I’m more patient with people and have an easier time sleeping. My office has a meditation group that meets a few times a week. I don’t make it to every session, but if I’m really stressed or feel like I’m “too busy” to go that’s when I know I should. 

I recommend giving some form of meditation a try. If you don’t know where to start there are a number of great apps out there to get you started with guided meditations. My personal favorite is Insight Timer

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Couch 2 5K

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Running is my cardio of choice and aside from being a free workout, I find it great for clearing my head.  I used to have misconceptions that I wouldn’t ever be able to take up running because I have flat feet, I don’t have a lean figure, and I would never have the stamina for it.

In 2011 I discovered Couch to 5K (C25K) which is a free program that is designed to help someone who has never run be able to complete a 5K in 30 minutes after nine weeks. The way the program works is you do intervals of running and walking to help you build stamina. As you advance through the weeks you do more running and less walking during your workouts.  

There are a variety of apps you can download to help you with the program. Some of the apps are free, but most of the paid ones are under $4.99. I personally went with the NHS C25K podcast which is free to download. I liked the narrator’s voice and the music during the walk/run intervals. 

There were times when it was tough, but I stuck with it and now I love running. I even did the next level with is Bridge to 10K. There are additional programs for 10K to half marathon and half marathon to marathon if you have distance goals. I’d like to try the half marathon program at some point, but I don’t know if I want to go beyond that. When I feel off my routine which often happens in the winter if it gets icy or too cold. I’ll go back to the 5K or 10K programs to get back into a rhythm. 

If running is something you are thinking about trying then C25K is an accessible way to see if it’s the right sport for you.  

Throwback Thursday: Fun with Vintage Cookbooks

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I love vintage cookbooks and guides on party entertaining. I’ll admit part of my obsession stems from some of the expectations that were heaped on women as homemakers. Many cookbooks from the 1950s include additional tips like making sure you refresh your makeup before your husband walks in the door and don’t complain about your day because his was worse. I must say I’m grateful not to live with those types of daily expectations. Sexist social norms aside, I do enjoy revisiting some recipes that were once popular, but regarded as kitschy today.  

Last year on a trip to my hometown of Cleveland I spent some time going through my parents’ belongings with my sisters. Among the belongs I ended up taking back to New York were my grandma’s recipe cards. I also took back an assortment of cookbooks and it has been fun trying recipes and planning future dinner parties around them.

The cookbooks cover a wide range. I brought back a Hungarian recipe book and made a cream cheese pound cake that I haven’t had since childhood. I also brought back a cookbook for kids that I bought at a book fair in primary school and my mother’s go to Jello book. I found old cookbooks that were my grandma’s including one on Pennsylvania Dutch dishes and can’t wait to try my hands at shoo-fly pie.  

To add to the collection my sister Esther bought me a copy of the cookbook from a now defunct Cleveland restaurant,The Silver Grille.  It has been fun recreating dressings and dinners I haven’t had since I was a child.

If you don’t have relatives who have saved old cookbooks I recommend hitting up used bookstores and checking out their cooking and entertaining section. You can find some wonderful hidden gems from yesteryear.

Pinspiration: My Love of Pinterest

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Here is another post from the archives.

There are so many social media outlets today that it can be challenging to keep them all straight. While I do use most mainstream platforms I’m grateful that social media wasn’t a part of my life till after college. Although I have to admit there are some perks to being this connected. Facebook allows me to have a relationship with cousins and distant relatives I’ve yet to meet in person, Twitter keeps me up to date on great events and contests I wouldn’t have known about otherwise, and I do enjoy seeing photos others capture on Instagram.  I downloaded Snapchat when it first came out but quickly gave up on that. It was one platform too many for me. 

My favorite platform by far is Pinterest.  It has become as much a part of my weekend routine as coffee and the Sunday New York Times.  Pinterest is where I find inspiration for ensembles I want to add to my wardrobe, recipes I’m dying to try, and DIY projects for a rainy Saturday.

One of the fun things about this blog has been connecting with subscribers via Pinterest. I love seeing what gems others find and it’s interesting to see what pins of mine others are drawn to.  I mentioned that Pinterest is part of my weekend routine.  Throughout the week I “like” pins that seem interesting to me and on the weekend I organize those pins onto my different boards. I create boards for inspiration when I’m planning out parties. 

Are you an avid pinner? Please share the link to your Pinterest profile in the comments so we can all follow.

 

Throwback Thursday: The Updated 90’s Denim Jacket

 

Okay if you’re part of the MTV generation (term for those of us on the cusp between Gen X and Millennial) you had the obligatory stonewashed jacket in the 90’s. It was probably from The Gap or Old Navy. Since fashion has a way of recycling itself every 20 years those mid 90’s looks are back in. I decided to use this moment in trendiness to display some neglected accessories that have been collecting dust in my drawers.


I mentioned earlier this week that slowly I’m going through categories of things in my home using the Konmari Method of tidying.  If something makes me joyful I keep it. If it doesn’t I thank it and donate it to my local thrift store. I had a stash of buttons and broaches that I don’t often wear anymore. I got rid of many of them, but there were some I just couldn’t part with. Since part of this system of organizing is displaying what you love I invested $25 in a new light blue denim jacked (I love my indigo jacket, but it felt like it wanted to be free of embellishments) and decked it out with all kinds of pins.


I have everything from college pins and buttons from travels, my moms and my girl scout medals, the Monkees buttons I found at a thrift store (I’m still looking for a Mike and Peter to complete the set), and my newly acquired Hillary button…because I’m with her! To top it all off I ironed on a Reptar patch to the back. I just need my Doc Martin’s from high school and I’m all set for a retro look that is very in.

Finding Your Shade of Green

Here is one from the archives of the old blog.

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Skin tone and coloring play an important part in finding the right shade of lipstick or the right eye shadow. The same is true for finding the right hues to fill your wardrobe with. Today we’ll look at finding your best shade of green.  

Dark Skin:  If you have dark skin you can pull off bright green shades that weigh more towards yellow undertones than blue. The colors would wash out many other skin tones, but if you have a rich complexion you can use lime, avocado, neon, and yellow-green to make a statement. I recommend pairing a top in one of these shades with white pants or capris for a crisp look during the summer.  

Medium Skin: It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but if you have olive skin then you can pull off olive green. Earthier tone greens tend to make people with pinkish undertones look yellow, but if you have medium skin these colors will complement you. Aside from olive look for army and moss shades of green.

Fair Skin with Light Hair: If you really want to make a statement kelly green is the perfect pop for blondes or red heads with fair skin. If you want a more subtle look try jade, shamrock, or mint.  

Fair Skin with Dark Hair:  Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t pull off green. Having this coloring myself (when my hair is natural), green was a shade I avoided till I discovered emerald green a few years ago. It is now a color I seek out. Another great shade for fair skinned brunettes is hunter.