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champagneinteacups

Just a city girl making the world her oyster…

That Time I Had To Get Back On Dating Apps – And It Killed My Soul

Single again.  Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.  So, rather than sit around and mope I decided to put the fate of my love in the hands of the Russians, or whoever is controlling the internet these days and put it out there on the apps Bumble and Hinge.

Bumble, for those of you in loving relationships, is a dating app which lets the ladies make the first move.  So I can swipe to my hearts content, but when it comes to first contact, I have to do it.  Totally out of my comfort zone, but like the man says, “do something that scares you every day”.  This scares me.  A lot.

My parameters are a man over the age of 40.  That’s it.  And the results are staggering.  Hinge has an interesting feature in that it asks fun questions and gives the opportunity to get a better idea of a potential dates personality.  Things like: “what’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?” or “what would be your last meal?”.  Here are some of the answers from the guys in my dating pool…

SERIOUSLY?
I can’t.
What is a complicated marriage? Does your wife know it’s complicated?
Well, at least he’s honest.
I have no words.

 

So, after all this I started a few conversations with a few different folks.  One of them went so far as to offer his phone number and plan for a date.  The date was supposed to happen today.  Haven’t heard from him since.  So, that went well.

Then I had this exchange.

So this went well.

The time between the “look forward to hearing from you” and my response was 24 hours.  I worked all day yesterday so I just wasn’t checking.  But, Jesus, that escalated quickly.  I mean, like that’s super aggressive.

I am trying to remain positive, but a big house in the country with 800 dogs is starting to look better and better every day.

That Time I Watched a RomCom and It Made Me Reevaluate My Whole Life…

I am not a girly girl.  I have never been a big fan of romantic movies with happy endings.  Couldn’t really tell you why, I suppose we could lay down on the couch and psychoanalyze the “why’s” but I’m pretty sure it’s because the happy endings never leave me happy.  I’m far too jaded.  Or so I thought.

Last week we were supposed to get our 845th Nor’easter of the season and I invited my coworker, Annie, to stay at my place so she wouldn’t have to drive from the south shore into work through blizzard conditions.  She got to my place and we got to talking and she wanted to watch “How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days” starring the obnoxiously perky Kate Hudson and Mr “Alright Alright Alright” himself,  Matthew McConaughey.  The premise is that they are both in a bet – he to make a girl fall in love with him, she to get dumped – in ten days.  It’s funny, it’s heartbreaking, but in the third act they realize they are in love and everyone lives happily ever after.  I wanted to hate it.  I think I do. But goddam it if I didn’t find myself smiling like an idiot while the credits rolled.  I wanted to punch myself in the face.  But it didn’t stop there.  Nope, she wanted to watch “He’s Just Not That Into You”.  This is where I got shook.

It’s a movie about a group of people who’s lives intersect and the goings on in their relationships.  The main girl is Gigi.  Gigi believes in love.  She believes every guy she meets is “the one”.  And, when faced with a guy who doesn’t call her back after a week, she STILL looks for signs that he is still interested.  She finds a way to believe that even if he’s giving her every sign he’s no longer interested, she can still make it work.  I.  AM.  GIGI.  And I hate myself.

I have been a serial monogamist my whole life.  And I have stayed in bad relationships because I believed I could make them work.  And I have stayed around after getting dumped one, two, three times by THE SAME PERSON because I believed we were “meant to be”.   I sent cleverly worded emails that I would agonize over for hours before hovering my finger over the “send” button and then closing my eyes and clicking.  I would mail cards, drop things off in the mailbox, anything to keep me top of mind in his mind to let him know that I’m still here and that the Universe wants us to be together.

I realized I’m a psychopath.

Gigi’s point is that every girl wants to be the exception.  You know, after a breakup you always hear the stories about “they broke up, but after a year he knew he couldn’t live without her and they are now married with 10 kids”.  And no matter what the depth of your black heart, we still want to believe.  We still want to be the exception.  I want to be the exception.  Is this wrong?  Am I too old to believe this?  I mean if Ben Affleck is gonna put the ring in those awful pants and marry Jennifer Aniston there is hope for us all, right?  Yeah, no.

So, what did I learn?  I’m rethinking the holding on to what has gone, but I’m not letting go of what could be.

Also, that Erin McCarley song.  Gets me every time.

That Time I Had A Scalpel Pulled On Me…

No, I wasn’t robbed.  I was given the gift of beautiful skin, but as the name of the treatment suggests, the WRKOUT from Alexis Robertson of SKNGYM was anything but a relaxing facial.  It’s work.

However, I’m not getting any younger, and heaven knows not getting any MORE single… so I suppose I would like to put my best face forward.  I got to Vega Vitality, the bastion of wellness in Back Bay, not knowing what to expect.  I’ve had facials before, but this was different from the beginning.  Alexis comes to the table with a beautiful blend of science and spirituality.  She believes that beauty does come from within, and while she is fixing my outside, she believes you need to get your shit straight INSIDE as well.  And this girl glows, so I will follow.

I lay down and she started looking at and palpating my face.  After a moment of silence and study, she stated “We are gonna upgrade you”.  I knew I was in the right place.  Alexis’ signature move is where the scalpel comes in.  This process is called dermaplaning and before she began she said “I’m going to shave your face with a scalpel – so maybe not so many quick movements”.  I’m not gonna lie, it was weird.  It felt strange to have a woman I just met take a really sharp SURGICAL INSTRUMENT to my face, but hey, if it gets me a like on Hinge, I’m in.

When she completed the sweep of my face she showed me all the sad, old, nasty skin she had taken off.  It was so much more satisfying than any Biore strip.  She continued the WRKOUT with other tinctures and serums and face massaging.  When it was all said and done I said “my face feels so clean I could eat off of it”.

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It seems my skin is in dire need of hydration.  Like super thirsty.  Which led to a thread of jokes between the two of us that had me in tears.  Would you like to read them?  Of course you would.

“Sorry about the breakouts I had when I was thirsty”

“Sorry for all that redness I had when I was thirsty”

After the stand up session, we discussed the next steps in my treatment.  Skin is constantly changing and it’s important to keep up with the care.  PLUS, I want to continue looking 10 years younger than I am, so I’m going back – for the rest of my life.  Next up is the MCRONEEDLE procedure.  This time she’ll be coming at my face with a tattoo gun.  Or something like it.  Why are we doing this?  I have some skin damage and, according to Alexis, “we need to get that stuff of your face”

It was a wonderful couple of hours with a truly gifted soul who also made me laugh out loud and I can’t wait for my next treatment.  I might drink first, but I can’t wait.

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AFTER!!!

That Time I Realized I’m Not Cool…

Before I begin this post I want to state that I am in no way bashing bloggers – I mean you are reading my blog right now – However, I have learned how much I have to learn.

The immensely talented and genuine nice guy Chef Chris Coombs put together a lunch for some “social media influencers” and gifted us with an amazing spread.  Let me show you the delicious items he and his pastry chef, Shaun Velez put together for us.

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I am a sucker for crudo – and this striped bass was unreal.  Straight up fire.  And I’m pretty sure everyone should have lamb for lunch at least once a week.  Ok, maybe not, but I felt pretty darn fancy.

 

The best part was desert, Shaun brought out a snow cone maker, like you had when you were a kid, and created some snow to cover the colorful plate of fruit.  GENIUS.  Never lose that childhood wonder, I always say.

 

HOW COOL IS THAT?

Ok, let’s get on to why I walked in to lunch feeling like a hundred dollars and walked out feeling like two cents.

I was surrounded by a group of younger folks who hardly spoke.  They were all consumed with taking pictures of their meals.  I was more concerned with wondering how I could get another plate of crudo to shove in my facehole.  They were moving plates all over the restaurant to get better lighting, standing on chairs, creating lighting with other phones, I’ve never seen anything like it.  At one point I looked up from my lamb to see NOONE eating and EVERYONE shooting.  I clearly felt like I was doing something wrong.  I sat next to a delightful gal who runs a blog called Extra Petite.  For obvious reasons, I’ve never read it. She had another woman with her whose job it was to photograph her.  They must have taken 20 pics to get the one that will work (how do I get one of those? I’m lucky if my pictures are in focus, much less pretty)  She asked about my blog.  I told her I was in radio, not really a blogger, I was just friends with Nicole, the PR rep.  We exchanged Insta handles and it was at this point I realized how out-manned I was.  Not only does this woman have someone who takes her picture, she has A HALF A MILLION FOLLOWERS.  That’s not a typo.  I start to ask the other folks around the table what their handles are – and with every check of the Instagram I feel smaller and smaller.

Now, do I think Instagram followers should affect my self-esteem.  No, I don’t.  I have enough hours in therapy logged in to realize what is truly important.  However, it showed me what the future looks like.  And I’m hoping I can still stay in the picture.

Shout out to MustEatBoston and I’m Dating Food for showing me some new tricks. 🙂

That Time A Spray Tan Made Me Live My Best Life…

I am a pale girl.  I am one of those people who never tan.  I burn.  No burn then tan… nope – full on burn and maybe a freckle or two.  I did my time in tanning beds back in the day, but I in no way wanted to go back.  So I thought, why not a spray tan?

I had always thought spray tans were for body builders and pageant girls.  I didn’t know how natural it would look on my almost purple looking skin.  But I thought I would give it a shot.  So I went to Twitter to ask for suggestions.  My friend Sean William (aka @BostonMo) suggested Femme Fatale Airbrush Tan.  I Tweeted and heard back from the owner, Amy, who told me to come on in and I had nothing to worry about.  Her words were “I am super pale and only burn in the sun so this is my only option to not look the a snow globe.”  I knew she was my girl.

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I arrived for my appointment not knowing fully what to expect.  They send a very detailed email to you so you know how to prepare, but what happens when the door closes was a mystery.  Dylan met me and brought me into the spray tan room.

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She gave me a hair net, some stickers for my feet so the bottoms didn’t get tan, and the smallest paper thong I had ever seen in my life.

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That little black thing is the thong.

I was about to get really naked in front of a stranger.  And I was about to be asked to bend in positions I have only been in when I was in a completely different situation if you know what I mean.  She left the room and I put on the two inches of paper clothing and told her I was ready.

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It is at this point she says “turn around and bend over”.  I was feeling so self-conscious.  However, we started talking and by the time we were done I didn’t even realize I was naked.  In fact, because we started talking about radio, she told me the funniest Ryan Seacrest story.  Her mom worked on Amerian Idol so he was a friend.  If you ever get Dylan, have her tell you the story.  It’s hilarious.  Before I knew it she had sprayed every nook and cranny with tanner and I took a look in the mirror.  I was freaking glowing.  It’s at this point she set a timer, turned on a fan, and said “dry off, turn around, get every part”.

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Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m not much of a naked person.  I don’t walk around the house that way, just don’t feel that comfortable.  But, for ten minutes it is you, a fan, and a full length mirror.  Quite a bit to take in.  But the more I dried, the more comfortable I got with myself.  I was not expecting this feeling of confidence – a very wonderful side effect.  Once the kitty kat timer went “ding” she came back in and covered me in a coating of powder.  She used what looked to be a big blush brush and dusted every part of me.  It was lovely.  I put on my clothes and went out into the world.  She suggested returning every week and a half or so.  I was also sent home with post-care instructions that included not showering for 8 hours so the tan had time to get into the pores .

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Glowing!

One of the things that happens during that 8 hours is that the color deepens. A lot.  They tell you about this, but you really aren’t expecting how dark it gets.  However, I really started to like it and was a little concerned that I wouldn’t see tan after my shower.  WRONG.  I was a beautiful nutty-tinted goddess.  I have never liked to wear dresses that show off my legs because they are remakably pale.  I always felt like you could see every imperfection.  But now all I saw was golden deliciousness.  I wore a dress the next day that I normally wear leggings under – I left those bitches at home.  Guys, I seriously felt a level of confidence I haven’t felt in a long time.

You might say – really – a tan did all that.  YES.  All day long yes.  I just felt a little more comfortable in my skin.  I got compliments the next day.  And it wasn’t “did you get sun?” it was “you look great today!” or “you look happy today”.  It’s a little thing, but it was huge in my spirit.

So, if you are looking for a little boost, go get naked in front of a stranger.  Tell em Kennedy sent you!

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This is the best sign I’ve ever seen.

 

That Time I Decided to be a Hiker…

Once every couple of years I do a solo vacation.  One that pushes my boundaries, scares me a little and gives me a new view on my life.  This year I’m climbing Mount Kilimanjaro!  Yes, Kennedy is coming for “everyman Everest”.

I participated in the Charity Warriors Challenge this year – which is sort of like the Apprentice for fundraising with some amazing women.  It was ten weeks of challenges leading up to a finale of five warriors who arrived at a gala and whoever raised the most money won ten grand for their charity.  I was there supporting South Shore Mental Heath and I was one of the finalists.

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We are some badass warriors aren’t we?

I was up against some pretty heavy hitters to include Flying Kites – they provide a school in Kenya for young people who wouldn’t ever have that opportunity.  I came in fifth.  Flying Kites raised so much money it was stupid. In a good way.  I met Virginia during this process.  She is the director of programs and a force to be reckoned with.  I think she’s like 12 – well, not really, but she is young and has the heart of a lion.  As I learned more about their mission I found out they do a few incredible adventures, one being a climb of Kilimanjaro.  It’s a fundraising effort (so I will be asking for your money soon) that brings you to the school for a few days and then takes you up the mountain . I was sold.

So, as I wait to get all signed up and such, I decided to get started on the hiking part.   Today I took my haven’t-had-cardio-in-months-or-maybe-years ass to Middlesex Fells and took a hike . I was planning on doing the Skyline Trail.  It’s a 6.9 mile trail that has a tower on the trail that gives a beautiful view.  The Instagram pics were forming in my mind.  So, I woke up at 6, grabbed my brand new CamelBak backpack and drove on up.  The website says they are open at dawn, what I didn’t realize is that that doesn’t mean the gates are open that early.  So I had to drive and drive to find a parking lot that was open.  I found one at the ice rink.  I had a map, but I seriously had no idea how to read it.  I am geographically challenged in life.  Pre-GPS I was helpless.  Seriously, if you are ever with me and I say “go right’ you should most assuredly turn left. So I got parked, I got my backpack and my earphones and got to the business of hiking.  I got on a trail that was marked by blue flashes and started going in a direction I figured would be about 4 miles all told.  But instead I turned left and only did maybe a mile or two.  Hard to tell.  I lost my Fitbit a month ago. I woke up one morning and it wasn’t on my wrist.  But that’s a story for another day.

I started to hike!  And it up and down really fast.

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Oh… there are stairs.  What I didn’t take a picture of was the stream I had to jump over as soon as I walked into the woods.  It was a big jump.  Like hope for the best jump.  At the end I realized I had bypassed the trail and was in no mans land, but still, I felt like a warrior!  Within 5 minutes I was wondering what the hell I’d done.  I found a big stick to use as a walking stick, it was old and falling apart and ripped my hand up, but necessary. I wore running shoes instead of the hiking shoes I’d purchased for my safari trip two years ago.  Shoes I wore but never really walked in because there were no “walking safaris” as promised, we were always in the vehicle . I’d read some blogs that said “sneakers are fine for day hikes” so that’s what I did.  MISTAKE.  I’m one clumsy girl and I realized fast that every time I tripped over a root or a rock it hurt.  As I said earlier, I had brought earphones to listen to a book.  I used to do this when I was training for half marathons.  I thought that it would pass the time.  After I walked off the trail twice and had to backtrack I realized I needed a little more focus, so I put on The Marriage of Figaro (which I’m super familiar with thanks to the BLO) and kept walking.  Up. Up.

Then I got lost again. I kept my eyes on the ground so I wouldn’t trip, but by keeping my eyes down, I didn’t see the markers on the trees and got lost again.

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Blue marks the spot

So, now I have to watch my feet and the trees, and the rocks and all the blue.  Jesus, who knew.  I continued along the path and at one point saw something hop in front of me. HOP.  Scared the shit out of me until I realized it was a cute frog. By the time I got my phone out to take a picture he was running for the hills, but he was cute.

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He’s in there somewhere…

On and on I go.  It was really early so I was all alone.  Or so I thought.  At one point I was looking at the beauty of a tree that had lost it’s bark and was also scared by a runner who came out of nowhere. Seriously, this was getting more nerve-wracking than anything.

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But I continued on.  Up up down down over rocks down some serious inclines (which I’m sure I’ll look back on and go “really? THAT’S and incline) but it was my first day…so…

Pretty flowers were all around, everything was so green.  It really was so beautiful and I made a point to stop and enjoy it all.

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When you are sweating and your phone is sweating too… zero focus

Long story short I took the trail until I hit a main road and decided I was not interested in walking my sweaty, stick holding ass down, and I turned around and headed back.

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yes, I love walking over rocks, because I’m so graceful.. NOT

I got back to my car feeling pretty fucking good about myself.  It was the finale of the first act of Figaro – I knew this was about an hour and a half – so I thought I had done some work.  I came out of the woods (across a bridge which spanned the creek – the one I had jumped over earlier) and headed back to the parking lot.  I had to pass one of those outside gym things that was a kind of circuit training that looked like it could be in a prison because everything was metal, and the guy doing incline pushups – and got back to my car.  I was dripping with sweat, pretty sure I had been bitten by every mosquito there because it was nothing but stagnant water everywhere and I didn’t even think about bug spray, but felt triumphant.  When I got in the car I checked the map and realized I’d turned the wrong way and did the shorter route.  I was a bit disappointed, but still proud that I’d done anything at all.  I mean OITNB was on Netflix and I was right in the middle and chose to hike instead of sit in bed – so it was still a win.

After my hike I showered and got on with the business of my day.  I decided to head to REI – which I love more than some shoe stores but JESUS the prices.  Anyway, I wanted to get some legit walking sticks.  There were two men standing in front of the display, so I did a lap.  Came back and they were still there .  Did another lap, they are still deciding . I was losing my fucking mind.  Patience, not one of my virtues.  So I encroached on their space and was about to pick the cheapest (which is almost an oxymoron) and was about to leave when the nice REI man came up and asked if I needed help.  I said no.  He said “well you are looking at the wrong one….” so I said  “show me what I need”.   He pulled up a pair of sticks, fit them to me without asking my height, put them in my hands and they were perfect.  He explained how to use them on an ascent and the descent and I said SOLD.  Then realized all my coupons were at home, because of course they were.  The only thing that took the shock off the price was as I walked away, he told the men they were holding women’s sticks.  Dicks.

So almost 200 bucks later I have sticks, socks, bug repellant and a thing that will hold a whole bottle of wine.  Winning.

Tomorrow, I’m going back.  And I’m turning right.

I’ve Meditated for Three Days and People, I AM CHANGED.

So you know when you try something new and within one day you have decided to become the master?  Like you run a mile and then say “I’m running the Boston Marathon this year” or you eat one salad and you are all “I’m going totally vegan?”.   Asking for a friend.

Well, last weekend I went to a “Spirit Day” held by my friend and spiritual gangster, Katie Boyd, owner of Katie Boyd’s Miss Fit Club.   It was yoga, meditation and just overall self development delivered with a side of sass that I totally respect.  I really didn’t know what to expect.  I have done yoga maybe three times in my life (and it was at a winery with copious glasses given as reward for a job averagely done) and meditation is like a really hard foreign language to me, so I didn’t put too high a bar on the day.

Boy was I wrong.

The yoga part was freaking hard.  I don’t know what I’m doing so it makes it hard to get the positions right, but I powered through.  An interesting thing happened during one of the positions, I got a shot to my solar plexus like I had gotten punched.  Katie saw me wince and said “girl, that’s your ego.”  MY EGO PUNCHED ME.  So, in an uneducated nutshell, the place I felt punched is my third chakra where ego lives.  When I did the position it triggered something I was holding down/repressing/whatever and it let me know it.  With some nasty pain.  I work in radio.  You can’t get around ego when you do what I do.  It’s  a problem, and apparently a bigger problem than I thought it was.  Something to chew on.

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Meditation was next.  I was already itching to leave.  I have a hard time sitting still at all and the thought of a ninety minute death meditation ranked right up there with a dental visit.  But I did it.  And it was fantastic. You are encouraged to journal during this meditation so it was a little more active than I had anticipated.  You basically live the last day of your life and reflect on things you’d say to loved ones, things you would have done differently, things you wish people would have known.

I walked out of her studio with a renewed feeling of purpose – or as Katie puts it – “Woke AF”.

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I just made this hat – what do you think?

Since that Saturday, I have gotten to work a bit early and done ten minutes of meditation before I start my day.  Guys, it’s a game changer.  Maybe it’s one of those things that you have to be ready for – like quitting smoking or something – but now that I’m doing it,  I can see a change in me.  Will I continue for the 21 days it takes to make this a habit?  I hope so.

What alternative modalities are you doing that you love?  Share with me in the comments – I want to try everything!

I use the Insight Timer app on my iPhone.  It has every kind of guided meditation you could every want.

 

Singing In The Kitchen and Other Forms of Therapy…

This is a post that might be an ongoing series called Singing for My Supper where I tell you what I made and what I sang while I was doing it.  Because if you don’t sing in the kitchen, I don’t know what you are doing there…

Sometimes you have one of those days where everything is going great, and then the universe comes and kicks you in the junk.  It’s on days like this I head to my kitchen.  I used to head to the bar.  Now I’m old and that just seems like a lot of work.  When I’m alone in the kitchen I can be anyone I want.  I’m usually the host of my own show on Food Network called “Watch Me Make Other People’s Recipes and Pawn Them Off As My Own”.  Lemme tell ya, it’s a pretty good show.  However, there are days when I don’t want to be the host.  I just want to stop my brain from spinning.  So I tell Alexa to pump up the jams and I get to cooking.

I got my box of goodness from Boston Organics today and I wanted to make something right away so those pretty veggies didn’t sit in the crisper for two weeks and then end up in the compost bin because they have to make room for new veggies… it’s a vicious cycle.  In the box today, among other things (like a variety of squash I’ve never heard of), I had a head of green cabbage and some beets.  So, I called my mom.

How is that for a segue?  Anyway, my mom made a cole slaw unlike any I’ve ever had since.  It was simple.  It was made with cabbage cut into big slices.  And like, two other things.  And that’s it.  No carrots, no curry, no artisanal anything.  So, like I said, I called my mom to ask her what she put in her brand of slaw.  I knew it was mayo, white vinegar, and salt and pepper.  She reminded me of the secret ingredient… sugar!  Yes.  Plain, white, refined, terrible for you sugar.  So here’s the recipe as best I can explain…

MB’s OLD SCHOOL COLE SLAW

  • 1/2 head of green cabbage
  • mayo
  • white vinegar
  • sugar
  • salt and pepper

Slice the cabbage in big slices.  No shredding here babe.  Set aside.  Then mix together the mayo, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  I have no measurements to give you.  You have to feel it. I has to come from inside.. maybe from the spleen… mix it together and enjoy.

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While I made the slaw I turned up an artist I hadn’t heard in a long time – Don Henley.

Why Don Henley?  I have no earthly idea.  But, as he started to sing “Boys of Summer” I found myself using wooden spoons as drums and thinking back to summers in Virginia when life wasn’t so busy, the sun was warm on my face and every summer was filled with possibilities.  I always wanted to be that girl with a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac.  Funny story, when that song came out I didn’t know what a Deadhead was.

I also dug some beets out of the box and decided to roast those bad boys.  Beets are so yummy.  I usually just throw them in some foil with oil, salt and pepper and peel them after they cool, but I decided to peel them beforehand, leaving my hands looking like I had just hurt someone real bad, but so worth it.

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I love beets.  As I peeled “Sunset Grill” came on.  That song just takes you somewhere else.  And I sang it out really loud.  The dog stared.  I didn’t care.

It’s at this point, dear readers, that I’m getting really introspective ( I also feel like I’m starting to sound like Patrick Bateman from American Psycho). It’s just me, my kitchen, the dog and a glass (or two) of cab.  Then “New York Minute” comes on.  It is also at this point I wish my recipe needed onions as it was getting dusty in the kitchen.  I sang.  I cried a little.  I felt better.  I listened to it three more times while I prepared the main course – salmon.

SALMON AND GREEN BEAN STIR FRY

  • 1.5 lbs salmon fillet, cut into cubes
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 11 oz green beans, trimmed & cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 tbsp garlic, crushed & divided
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced & divided
  • 2 tsp sesame oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup green onion, chopped

Put salmon in a bowl with 2 Tbs soy sauce and let sit while you are getting everything else together.  Cook the salmon over med heat in the sesame oil and add half of the garlic and ginger.  Remove the salmon, add more oil, throw in the green beans and the rest of the garlic and ginger.  Cook until the veggies are done, put the salmon back in to heat up.  Serve immediately over rice topped with green onion.

Wrap it all up by dancing along to “All She Want’s To Do Is Dance” and your night is complete.

 

 

 

 

 

That Time I Tried Mindfulness and Called the Elevator a Mother######.

I want to be very clear about something.  I love mindfulness.  I love finding out about my inner stuff.  I’m open to everything.  However, I have also found, turning my city girl off and my spiritual girl on takes a great deal more work than I had anticipated.

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I was invited to spend a weekend at Kripalu, an amazing health and yoga retreat in Stockbridge.  The facility is a former Jesuit seminary and it bills itself as North American’s largest residential facility for holistic health and education.  It’s a place you can go to further your studies, become a yoga practitioner, delve into self discovery, take a class with one of your favorite author, or just chill.   I did the last two.  And it was magical.  Seriously, there aren’t enough words to say how wonderful this spiritual oasis is.

I’m a big believer that it’s not the journey, it’s the destination, so, as I was making my way up to the Berkshires I found the most amazing place.  It’s called Retro Pop Shop and it’s pretty much the coolest place I’ve ever seen.  It’s jammed top to bottom with old signs, lunchboxes, vintage Pyrex (just like mom used to use), strange dolls, street lights, and soda machines.  It’s run by a wonderful gentleman who will show you anything you wish to see and will barter til you’re happy.  I left with a black velvet Elvis print.  I couldn’t have been happier.

 

 

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Next stop… serenity.  Kripalu is nestled in the Berkshire mountains just past Tanglewood.  As soon as you make the turn into the property, you are already at ease.

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It’s a big place, but seems very intimate if that makes any sense.  I believe over 600 people  can be there at any given time, but you never would have known that.  I stayed in the Annex, which is new to Kripalu and opened in 2009.  It is a totally green building, designed by local Cambridge architect Peter Rose, which incorporated wood salvaged from the Hurricane Katrina tidal surge.  It’s magnificent.  I walked into my room and was at the same time pleased and horrified.  It is a beautifully sparse room, all the more to keep you focused on your studies/relaxing/yoga, but it has… no TV.  Yes, I know a TV really doesn’t play into “things to look for in your weekend of relaxation” but the fact that it WASN’T there just messed with my head.  I didn’t shake that for at least 12 hours.

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While you are at Kripalu, you are given your itinerary upon check in.  You can get as busy or as quiet as you like.  My days were pretty packed.  Along with a yoga class (I am so bad at yoga) and a meditation class (I really tried), I took a class given by Martha Beck which focused on her book Tracking Your One Magical Life.  I’ll not go into all the detail as I am still processing everything I learned, but I would HIGHLY recommend reading it.  Using her words you will learn to “drop the ‘tameness’ of socialization that holds you back from living freely and authentically”.   I get daily quotes from her in my email, and this one came up today, and it could not be more perfect…

What anxiety teaches us: Useless things cause suffering. There’s nothing you do in anxiety that you could not do better in calm. Anxiety itself, not the world, is your enemy. This is why God made horse tranquilizers.

~ Martha Beck

I took advantage of my open time by exploring the grounds.  I just had so much of my “real” world buzzing about my head and lots of new things to noodle on from the seminar, and just needed to stop spinning.  So I headed down the hill to the Labyrinth.  The Labyrinth is just what it sounds like..squirrelly little paths that circle between trees. In the middle of the Labyrinth is an altar where people have left notes about themselves, about the Earth around them, and how we are all very beautiful people. I don’t know if I’m supposed to leave something or not, so I keep moving. As I go through the Labyrinth I find my attention remains with the people in The Labyrinth with me, how much I wish they weren’t there and I could be alone. However, they are there, so I must navigate around them. I find myself thinking as though I’m a car on the highway, planning three moves ahead so I can scoot around this one and avoid this couple taking too long. It is at this point that I realized -I’m doing the Labyrinth wrong. So, I take a moment to breathe and to focus not on the people, but on the trees, and how on each tree has spider has made a web on it and it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. That one is more different than the next and THIS is when I realized THIS is why you come here. I can feel my heart beat, my breathing slows, and I realize that I can shake off this world if only for a moment…

Next I headed to the Kripalu beach.  I was virtually alone and I was able to just sit.  My mind finally cleared and I just listened to nature around me, the water slowly lapping, the squirrels searching for nuts, and felt the sun on my face.  It was EVERYTHING.  And I finally felt like I understood why I was here.

More people were coming in groups. So I took this is my cue to leave.  And here is where the wheels fell off.  I took the walk back to the Annex slowly, enjoying the scenery and saying hello’s to my fellow Kripaluers.  I was very proud of what I’ve done –  I felt mindful! I felt at one with myself. I felt present. And then as soon as I started to walk away my mind went to wandering back to an argument I had with my boyfriend 2 weeks ago, so I tried to shake that off and move forward. To look at the trees. To hear the birds sing. I made it to the lobby and hit the button for the elevator.  It’s a slow one.  And just like that, all my stupid city behaviors came back and I called the elevator a Mother F*****.  Much to the dismay of the older woman in Birkenstocks who walked up behind me.

I think next time I go I need a full week.  And I need to offer an apology to that nice lady.  And the elevator.  Namaste.

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