21 Day Yoga Girl Challenge Day 1: Yoga Every Damn Day #yogagirlchallenge

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Doing Yoga every day is the first challenge. I think I can do it! I’ve been doing a little bit of yoga every day for a while now. It doesn’t mean I make it to my mat or put on a dvd or attend class every day, but I do gentle stretches every day, and I think that counts!

I’ve been working on touching my toes to the back of my head in pidgeon pose. About a year ago, I was able to open to the side and grab my foot. Then I learned how to bind my hands putting my foot into my elbow. With the help of a strap, I’m arching my back and working toward bringing my toes to my head.

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A simple child’s pose and some gentle cat/cow stretches before bed help to calm the nervous system and to deepen the breath. Savasana, or corpse pose, even counts. Lying still and letting go of thoughts and bringing attention to the breath is doing yoga just as much as sweating it out in a hot vinyasa class is. They are just different. That’s one thing I love about yoga. I can modify and go as far as I want to with my practice on any given day. Some days, I feel like I want the 75 minute hot vinyasa class with sweat pouring out of my pores and every muscle exerted and challenged with the flows the teacher presents. Other days, I want the exact opposite: a slow, meditative, restorative yin yoga practice. Sometimes, I don’t make it to the yoga studio at my gym and I use DVDs at home to practice. Again, there is variety from back care yoga to core yoga, and ashtanga and vinyasa flows. In either case, there is stretching and strengthening in the body, a calm attention to the breath and connection to the universe in the mind and spirit. Sometimes I will stretch and do yoga poses in public. Whenever the mood hits me is a good time for yoga!

My Yin Yoga teacher taught the seven axioms of yoga in class:

1. You are exactly where you are supposed to be
2. Fear and pain are life’s greatest teachers
3. Laughter and play are the keys to the fountain of youth
4. Exercise and rest are the keys to vibrant health
5. Touch and intimacy are basic human needs
6. Everything is impermanent
7. Everything is connected

Read more: http://ohsheglows.com/2010/10/06/7-universal-truths/#ixzz3AgEu4hi3

There is a connection between mind, body, and spirit when we practice yoga. We learn to experience life to the fullest and let go of the past. We learn that we are all one and celebrate each day of life, to drop baggage and drama from our lives.

I took my first yoga class my freshman year of college in 1986. I’ve done it off and on over the years and plan to continue practicing for a long time.

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

Yoga Retreat in Aruba with Yoga Girl Rachel Brathen

Susanne’s World has been under construction for the past nine months or so. My life turned upside down within the past year as I’ve been turning upside down, literally, advancing my yoga practice by doing handstands. The more work I did on myself, the more I realized I wasn’t truly happy. Today I am grateful I had the courage and the strength to recognize that and make the changes that needed to be made. I got divorced, sold and moved out of my house, and started crossing things off my bucket list. I spent last week in Aruba doing a yoga retreat with Yoga Girl Rachel Brathen, connecting with a beautiful new place on the earth, deepening my yoga practice and truly spending every day exactly how I wanted to. I have a new love in my life (an old friend since seventh grade) and couldn’t be happier. He joined me on the yoga retreat, and we had an amazing time together!

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arrival day

I was starstruck when I first saw Rachel and Dennis. She is an internet celebrity, someone who inspires me daily with her pictures, videos, and words. Seeing her in person at the welcome dinner was amazing. I was giddy, hugging her saying, “I love you!” She was so cool and down to earth with a friendly smile. She shares highlights and lowlights from her life on social media, so it was like meeting someone I already knew a little about. We talked a little about her wedding and honeymoon as well as the recent passing of one of her dogs. Out on the beach, there were baby sea turtles in protected areas hatching and making their way to the sea. I wasn’t lucky enough to see one of them, but some other people in our group did and posted videos and pictures. We had a lovely dinner and met new friends, enjoyed the sunset and starry night sky.

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with Rachel and Dennis

This is a typical view from the beach chairs in front of Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa, where we stayed. We did our daily handstand in front of our spot that day.  Instead of beach umbrellas, there were beach tiki huts, and the kind staff at the resort set up the chairs and brought drinks.   Eagle Beach is the widest beach on the island of Aruba, and our resort didn’t have any kids activities, so it was peaceful and serene.   There was a relatively long walk on the white sands until you hit the turquoise waters due to the wideness of the beach.  The sand was white and didn’t get too hot.  The color of the water was something I’ve never seen before.  Bright turquoise is the best description I can muster.  There were gentle waves and plenty of room to swim and float around.  A line of buoys contained the swimming area.  I swam out there and back a few times. The water got too deep to stand right away so it was fun to take a little swim.

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handstands on the beach

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typical view from my beach chair

We had two Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) yoga lessons on Palm Beach near the high rise hotels. It was the more touristy and more crowded part of the island, but the water was still amazing! It was waist deep and calm. We used special boards made for doing yoga (Boga boards). They were wide and rounded on the ends and had a sticky yoga mat on the top. Doing yoga on the water is especially challenging because the stability of the floor is no longer there. You must release control to your surroundings and adjust accordingly. It works all the small muscles of your core and other places in your body in ways you normally don’t use them. The warrior series was the hardest of all the poses we did. Once one person fell, it was like a domino effect because the boards were so close together. Everybody fell in the water at some point or another, and I loved the metaphor with real life. When you have difficulty and fall down, laugh, smile, fall, and get back on the board.  The other life skill it helps develop is focusing on the moment.  If you let your mind wander and lose your focus, it’s pretty easy to fall off the board, so it really required being in the present moment.

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Rachel teaching SUP yoga class #1

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beautiful ocean

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excited to try SUP yoga for the first time

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SUP yoga class #1 in Palm Beach, Aruba

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headstands on the Boga boards

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Our group to an exciting hike on the north shore of Aruba to a natural pool.  It was located in the Arikok National Park, a large undeveloped area with a desert landscape, rocky trails to hike, bike, ride horses and four wheel drive vehicles.   There were beautiful ocotillo and other kinds of cactii, wild goats, and a varied terrain much different than the beachy areas.   Along the hike, we stopped to play at a beach where the waves are forced between rocky outcroppings.  Rachel said we had about ten minutes to play, so I jumped right in!   Unlike the waters in Eagle and Palm Beaches, these waters were rough. The waves were big, and I enjoyed body surfing in the crashing water.  The water took my hair tie and one of my earrings; I threw the other earring into the ocean as an offering.  I was exhilerated and felt that I could have stayed there longer to play!

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The natural pool had rocky outcroppings, and the water from the waves crashed over and formed the pool.  It was so cool.  There was another smaller pool up a little higher than this one. It felt like a hot tub.  Saw lots of little crabs camoflauged on some vegetation growing on the rocks.  I brought my goggles and dived under the water to see many tropical fish teeming in the waters. You can see a wind farm in the distance.    I climbed up and sat to watch the ocean for a bit, contemplating its vastness and its incredible power.  The sun was shining, and the wind was blowing.  What an amazing place and an amazing moment!

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My man taking it all in..

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sunset in Aruba

That night, we had a restorative yin yoga session.  This was the magical view as I walked into class.  Everybody was tired from an active day.  Yin yoga is calming and relaxing.  We hold poses for longer (up to five or six minutes) deepening the stretch to the connective tissues.  In contrast to vinyasa flow where movements are tied to each breath and we generate heat in the body, a yin practice is cooling and still.  The hardest pose we did (for me) was frog pose, and we held it for a while.  Rachel talked about how we hold of lot of tension in our hips and frog pose helps to release it.  We did heart openers after that to release whatever emotional tension arised.  It’s a soft practice that feels like a whole other place when it’s over.  Holding hands with my man during savasana made the experience even more magical.

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Yin Yoga class

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handstand technique help from Rachel

Rachel taught us a lot about yoga including workshops on handstands, headstands, forearm stands, arm balances, and paid special attention to teaching us proper technique and alignment for chatarunga to upward facing dog to downward facing dog.  There were two yin yoga sessions, and the rest of them were intense and challenging. Dennis taught a class too, and it was the hardest class I’ve done in a long time!  We worked hard on our core strength as it’s a fundamental for many advanced skills.  I was thrilled to get some personal attention from her and am working on the pointers she gave me.  For example, when we have hands down on the ground they should be firmly planted with the most pressure on the thumb knuckle and first two finger knuckles.  When we get tired, we tend to shift weight to the outsides of our hands causing the thumbs to curl instead of remain intact on the mat.  I never  noticed I did that before. She said it’s a common mistake. It’s something I really pay attention to now.  I also learned alot about how to do chatarunga and upward facing dog properly.  I didn’t know to shift forwards a bit from plank so when you drop into chatarunga your elbows can stay above the wrists and make a ninety degree angle.  Then, shifting backwards before going into upward facing dog allows the shoulders to stay above the wrists.  I think I’ve been doing those two poses slightly wrong all along.   I tried a forearm stand for the first time ever.  It was not solid at all, so I think I will follow Rachel’s advice to continue strengthening and preparing for the pose by practicing dolphin (downward facing dog on the forearms)  more often.  The arm balance workshop was my favorite because I’ve been wondering how to get into those poses for a while now, and Rachel gave us clear instructions and demonstrations.  Now they make sense to me, and I can work them into my practice more often.  I got a footprint sized bruise on my upper arm from working so hard in class!  I was able to try all the arm balances she taught us but still have a lot of work to do.

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bruise from arm balance workshop

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handstand workshop with partner work

Below are three links to videos from the handstand workshop.



 

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Rachel and Ringo teaching class

 

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Rachel and Ringo

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handstands at the go kart track

We met a lovely couple from Norway and enjoyed many good times eating, drinking, and laughing during our retreat.  They had an awesome idea to go to the go kart track for racing.  It’s something I probably wouldn’t have thought of doing, but I am so glad we went!  My man won the race, lapping me three times, as he is a seasoned motorcycle racer.  I didn’t mind coming in last place as I know racing is not my forte, but it sure was fun to do.  Despite the hot sun and the sweaty helmet, I was smiling and laughing my way around the track.  After we were done we thought it was a good spot for a handstand picture.

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go karting with our new friends from Norway

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al fresco dining at Machebo Beach Resort & Spa, Aruba

We took advantage of the all-inclusive meal option at the resort and enjoyed al fresco dining every day. Breakfast and dinner were at this restaurant by the pool, and lunches were at the cafe in the forefront of the picture. The views and the service were outstanding. Birds and iguanas joined us for breakfast every day, and the moon and stars twinkled over head during poolside dinners at night. The staff at the resort were incredibly warm and friendly. It’s a smaller, two story, hotel and I really enjoyed the personal attention we got during our stay. I have lots of food allergies, and I was impressed by their ability to accomodate my needs. In addition there were healthy fruit and vegetable based smoothies available every morning. Yum! We went out to dinner with the group once, visiting Rachel and Dennis’s favorite restaurant in town called Yemanja. It was a wood fired grill featuring delicious seafood, steaks, and vegetarian/vegan food. I got a superfood salad packed with greens, veggies, berries, and seeds and a ribeye steak with scallops on top.

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iguanas by the pool

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Rachel and Dennis

Our group took a sailing and snorkeling trip on a party catamaran from Palm Beach. What a fun activity! I don’t drink liquor except for (good) tequila, so it wasn’t a drinking day for me but for everybody else it was. We sailed up the shore and then stopped to snorkle first at a place right off the beach, not too deep. I snorkeled to the thore then right then left and back to the boat. It was amazing! I think I saw a baraccuda. I swam back toward the shore and then noticed the boat was raising the ladder. I guess I didn’t hear them blow the horn, so I swam back to the boat knowing they wouldn’t leave without me and rejoined the group. Others stayed on the boat to play on the water slide and jump off the side.

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sailing and snorkeling trip

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loving the view

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loving the view

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all smiles swith Dennis on the catamaran

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happy people

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the view off the back of the boat

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Rachel and some of the ladies in our group

We sailed some more and then stopped to snorkle in sixty foot deep waters. There were different kinds of fish in that deeper water, and I thought it was interesting there were layers of different schools of fish in the waters. Some of them stayed low while others were higher up. I dived down a few times as far as I could (holding my ears so the pressure didn’t hurt) and then floated for a few seconds in awe as I was surrounded by schools of bright and beautiful fish. How cool to be in their world just for a few seconds. I ventured out a litte farther and then lost sight of any fish, so I came back toward the boat more this time.

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our group after sailing/snorkeling trip

Here we all are, happy and high on life after the fun outing.

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our group after the sail/snorkel trip

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On the second day of SUP yoga, I wasn’t feeling too well. I was a little seasick after not having enough sleep and having a little too much fun the night before. To make things more challenging, I also got the orange board…the board that whoever is last and needs a board uses. The orange board is narrower and pointier than the other blue Boga boards. I took a “I’m a rock star. I can do this.” attitude and did my best. It sure was harder than the blue board I used during the first class!

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planking on the Boga board

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downward facing dog with hip opener

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IMG_4499.JPGSUP yoga class #2 in Palm Beach, Aruba

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heart/chest opener

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side plank

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finding balance

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chair pose

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had so many laughs with our Norweigan friends

We made new friends with people from all over the world. In addition to meeting other americans (Texas, Virginia, California, Washington, Arkansas, North Carolina, Colorado, New Jersey), we met people from Norway, Sweden, Canada, Brazil,and Aruba. Our new friends from Sweden even brought their teenage daughter along.

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new friend from Sweden

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until next time

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thank you Rachel!

Since I wasn’t feeling well after SUP yoga class #2, I had to say goodbye to Rachel there on the beach. The whole group was walking down to a beach bar to continue the fun, and my flight was early the next morning. I thanked her for everything she taught me that week and for inspiring me. I couldn’t stop hugging her, just one more! My heart was full of love and gratitude. Just for fun, I asked if we could take the moment to get a handstand picture together. It was my last chance until who knows when. She happily obliged and went upside down waiting patiently for me to try and try again to join her long enough for a picture. She was so patient, hanging out in a beautiful handstand encouraging me saying, “you got it Susanne.” She right, I got it. Thank you Rachel!

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in the presence of greatness

 

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sunrise at the airport – departure day

This is a pictue of the sunrise at the airport when I was leaving. No filter, no hi definition enhancement. Just pure Aruba bliss. I am so grateful for my time there and can’t wait until the next time I can visit. Will have to stay for two weeks next time!

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

 

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Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam played in Dallas November 15, 2013 on their Lightning Bolt tour. Although I’ve been a fan since the beginning, it was my first time seeing them live. I got to see Eddie Vedder last year on his solo Ukelele Songs tour but hadn’t seen the entire band ever before.  Not only do I love Eddie Vedder, I love the guitarists from Pearl Jam (Mike McCready and Stone Gossard) too.  They are like guitar gods to me, so I really enjoyed the show watching them perform what I’ve only seen on MTV before.

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I remember their breakthrough hit, Even Flow, back when Eddie was young, shirtless, with long messy hair and often hung off the rafters while performing it. I’ve had a crush on him ever since. Over the years he’s ventured out on his own and continued to write new music with the band too. Some of their new music still has some of that punk edge (Mind Your Manners) while some of it is mellow and introspective (Sirens). I like every song on the new album.  One thing is for sure, he writes what’s in his heart and the music makes me feel a wide spectrum of emotions.

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Recently I learned they don’t play the same set list on tour (similar to the Grateful Dead). It’s a bit self indulgent not to play the hits the crowd wants to hear, but in a way it makes it more special to hear the hits. Eddie Vedder is a quirky guy and has never been known to follow the mainstream’s expectations. This spirit was evident in his soundtrack to “Into the Wild” and I also noticed at his solo show he was very strict about not taking pictures or videos. I almost got my phone taken away for taking pictures, and when I posted video on YouTube, it got taken down and I got a copyright warning. Oops! Going into the show, I reviewed all my favorite songs and made a wish list of the ones I hoped to see: Jeremy, Better Man, Yellow Ledbetter, Black, Elderly Lady Behind the Counter in a Small Town, Just Breathe, and Even Flow topped my list. Out of those, I got to see and hear Jeremy, Small Town, and Better Man, three classics. But I left the concert wishing they had also played Even Flow. How could they not play that one? Keeps fans like me wanting more and ready to buy that next concert ticket.  That’s the trick I guess.

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Setlist Dallas, TX 11/15/13

 

Here are some video highlights from the show:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wqraA3Y79E  (Small Town)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arM-qMvOTQU (Better Man)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ad_3WFFENvc (Jeremy)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJXsUfuVGHs (end of Jeremy)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ESD7hcDmos (Daughter)

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Eddie’s grown up over the years and kept his shirt on for the entire concert.  However, he did swing around on the stage on one of the lights at the end of the show!  It was an awesome night that I won’t forget. Can’t wait to see them again.

 

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Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

 

#Handstand365 Challenge

day1

Day 1

This picture (above) was taken a few days before mother’s day in May 2013.  I was messing around in the front yard and decided to do a handstand for no reason. I also did a cartwheel on the sidewalk.  Seven years ago when we first moved to Texas, I could still do an aerial in our front yard. Not any more.

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day 2

Then I saw that my friend on Facebook started doing a challenge called #handstand365.  Lauren Rudick started it. She’s a yoga instructor who is popular on social media sites like Instagram and Facebook.  Here is her website and a link to the #handstand365 challenge:

http://www.avignayoga.com/

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-8936/the-365-day-handstand-challenge.html

 

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Day 3

I started doing a handstand every day, knowing I probably wouldn’t do one every single day for a year, but I wanted to try to do 365 of them nonetheless.  I started handstanding in the different places I went like the Dallas World Aquarium.  Yes, people looked at me, but I didn’t care!

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Day 5

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Day 6

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Day 7

Day 8

Day 8

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Day 9

I practiced at home a lot, including putting my feet up against the wall for support.  I usually do yoga daily at home, so I incorporated handstands into my practice just for fun and balance and practice being in the moment.

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Day 10

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Day 11

I went out with friends and did handstands in the hallway of the hotel we stayed at for July 4th.  I had a few drinks before this picture.  I fell down and crashed my leg pretty hard.

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Day 12-at the pool

Yes, I asked a lifeguard to take my picture doing a handstand at the pool.  Looking back, I can tell I was still suffering from bloating from gluten allergy.  I got off gluten in May 2012.

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Day 13

This is my spot where I exercise in front of the television at our house. I keep a yoga mat, physio ball, foam roller, strap, and weights in our living room so I can stretch and strengthen while we watch tv at night.

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Day 14

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Day 15

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Day 16

This picture was taken at Texas Rangers’ Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.  My husband coaches my son’s baseball team, and we had the end of the year party at a Rangers’ game.  Fun times!

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Day 17

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Day 18

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Day 19-at the baseball ballpark

Took this picture after one of my son’s baseball games.

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Day 20 at the gym

I love doing handstands in the pool!

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Day 21 – at Texas Tech Rec. Center

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Day 22 – Texas Tech University

I went to see my daughter at Texas Tech this summer and got in a few handstands while I was there.

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day 23

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Day 24 – at the Omni Las Colinas

Another hotel hallway handstand. Yes, my friends did them too, but we didn’t get pictures!

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Day 25 – at the Hickey’s house

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Day 26 – Destin, FL

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Day 27 – at Pelagic Surf Shop in Destin, FL

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Day 28 – Destin, FL

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Day 29-Destin, FL

The pictures from Destin were the last ones from the summer. My back pain flared up really badly, and I realized I wasn’t doing the hanstands yoga style. So I took a little break to learn to do them right. I wrote about it here.

Day30-at the gym

Day 30-at the gym

The other day, I decided to start again. Now I do them correctly (yoga style). I start in downward-facing dog, kick up with one leg and then bring up the other leg until I balance.  I’m going to keep trying until I get to 365.

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Day 31

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Day 32-at the gym

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

My Life According to Lil Wayne

Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions. Pass it on to 15 people you like and include me. You can’t use the band I used. Try not to repeat a song title. It’s a lot harder than you think! Repost as “my life according to (band name)”

Pick Your Artist: Lil Wayne
Are you a male or female: Mrs. Officer
Describe yourself: I’m Me
How do you feel: Down
Describe where you currently live: Got Money
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Cali Dro
Your favorite form of transportation: Fly Out
Your best friend is: Sweetest Girl
You and your best friends are: Unstoppable
What’s the weather like? The Heat
What’s your favorite time? Let it Rock
If your life was a TV show, what would it be called? My Life
What is life to you?  Can’t Believe It
Your last relationship: On My Own
Your fear: Fireman
What is the best advice you have to give: Love Me or Hate Me
If you could change your name it would be: Weezy Baby
Thought for the Day: Go DJ
How I would like to die: Last of a Dying Breed
Biggest secret: Inside
My soul’s present condition: Comfortable
My motto: I Run This

Fireman (song)

Fireman (song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Inspired by These Female Celebrities

rachel pinterest

http://rachelbrathen.com/

Rachel Brathen is a yogi living in Aruba, spreading her love of yoga each day over her social media accounts.  She travels the world to teach yoga and inspires me every day to look up to the sky, be humble and grateful.

laurenrudick

http://blog.backtoeden.ca/2013/09/11/the-365-day-handstand-challenge/

Lauren Rudick is the yogi who inspired me to start the #handstand365 challenge.  I only did 29, but I tried. And I felt inspired. I am still inspired daily by her pictures, her messages, and I also love her yoga jewelry that she hands makes with care.

Jennifer-Aniston-Sedu-Hair-Styles-Icon

http://www.jenaniston.net/

Jennifer Aniston. Where do I start? I love her. She is probably my favorite actress. And she does yoga too.  I think I’ve seen every movie she is in.  I think my favorite role was when she starred in the Good Girl.  She is regular and ordinary, yet cool.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZXynl7z4hU

gwyneth-paltrow-435

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gwyneth_Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow became my idol when Brad Pitt asked her to marry her.   I also love how classy she is and how she can adapt to various accents in her acting roles.  My favorite movie she was in was Shakespeare In Lovehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3Zi2N1Q8-Y

Leelee-Sobieski-016-1280x800

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leelee_Sobieski

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wknrgJlv_Y

Jewel-Closeup-In-T-Shirt

www.jeweljk.com

avril

http://www.avrillavigne.com/us/home

Summer 2013 In Review

It’s been quite a summer. So much going on that I took a bit of a break from blogging for the past couple of weeks. Haven’t had as much time or energy to commit to it lately. But now that it’s the last day of summer, I’d like to take a few minutes to wrap everything up. Tomorrow, another school year starts, and there will be another major shift in our daily routines as a family.

One of the joys of being a stay home mom is having ‘time off’ to take care of the kids during the summers. Early mornings rushing to get to school on time turn into lazy mornings, sleeping late, and mostly unstructured days. The kids have activities, but it’s hardly stressful because there is nowhere else they have to be. I also structure learning into their days, but all in all we have a laid-back, relaxing time during the summers. Staying home with them and being with them all day in the summers also means I’m busy with them all day and taking care of all of their needs. So, it means a busier mommy with more to worry about.

My youngest is a joy. He is eight years old, starting third grade tomorrow. He is so easy-going. From the minute he wakes up, he usually has a great attitude and does whatever he is told or asked. He is still at that innocent age and has such a nice life with both parents who live with him and love him without measure. He has been taking swimming lessons and doing Taekwondo lessons over the summer as well as having private baseball lessons. My husband coaches his baseball team, so he also has lots of daddy time playing sports.

My middle daughter is thirteen years old and is starting eighth grade this year. While parenting a teenager is certainly a tough job, luckily I’ve done it once before. She spent the summer mostly dancing, attending intensive day camps as well as evening classes. After eight years of gymnastics, age 3-11, she switched to dance but was behind the other girls her age. After two years of training and practice, she officially made the Elite competition company at her dance studio this summer. We are super proud of her and recognize all the hard work she’s put into reaching her goal of becoming a competitive dancer.

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Oh yea, and she also dyed the ends of her hair hot pink again this summer (with my help).
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My oldest daughter is twenty and is starting fifteenth grade this year as a junior in college. She recently changed her major to business accounting, and this was her first summer staying at school during the summer, living, working, and taking classes. I took two trips to visit her there this summer, and she also came home for a week. How nice! When I was her age, I also lived and worked away from home, but I didn’t also stay and take classes, so it really was a new experience. Both weekends I was there, I had a blast, but I also had my first introduction to parenting an adult child. We moved her into her new apartment, and I helped her out with several other logistical aspects of her young adult life. It really made me realize how much time and energy I spend running other peoples’ lives. Just being away from the two little kids for the weekend left me with a feeling I wasn’t used to, and then of course, all the different ways of mothering an adult child were new experiences to me. I’ve never helped one of my kids move and decorate apartments, made a resume, or helped with the logistics involved with finding a job and living independently as an adult. She and her fellow classmates are living a lifestyle where they have almost everything provided for them, and all they have to worry about is themselves and their classes. It’s an amazing window of time on the verge of adulthood.

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My visits both made me reflect on my experiences as a twenty year old and on the kind of mother I am trying to be. I aim to be a different kind of mom than I had. I want my kids to be able to talk to me about anything going on in their lives. Kids are going to do what they want to anyway, so I would rather accept that and guide them than to hide my head in the sand and be an unapproachable parent. I would rather have open communication with my kids so I can try to help them navigate the waters of life. However, knowing what the kids are doing can also be quite stressful for moms. We worry about safety and well-being. We want our kids making safe, smart decisions that usually come from a lifetime of experience and a brain that is fully developed; two things that twenty year olds don’t possess. So we worry. Then we communicate and brainstorm solutions, so I think we are on the right track. I loved having the chances to get to know her friends and be part of her life for a few days!

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I’ve had a really rough summer with my food allergies. I got diagnosed with gluten sensitivity in May and have been off gluten three months now. But, I keep accidentally getting corn in my diet, ‘corn poisoning’ as I call it. I haven’t been diagnosed with a corn allergy, but I react and get sick every single time I have it, so I think allergy or not, I really need to completely eliminate it from my diet. This summer, it was a margarita (corn in the lemon/lime mixer), a gluten free pizza (corn in the dough) and a protein smoothie powder (xanthan gum – which is corn – used as an ingredient). Each time, I get sick for a couple of weeks, so put those three together and you can see that I’ve been feeling pretty sick all summer unfortunately. I’ve had such bad swelling and eczema that I finally saw my allergist the other day and got a steroid shot to make it all subside. When I have reactions to foods, my stomach hurts, I get joint and muscle pain, and I have a bad rash of eczema. So, it makes me really grumpy. Unfortunately, I’ve felt grumpy for a long time recently.

We did do some fun things too: we took our annual beach vacation in Destin, Florida. I’ve written about this place and the beach in general before. I love what the beach does to my soul. I wish we could live at the beach, but I’m thankful we get to take a yearly trip.

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I also went to some fun concerts. My husband and I saw Kid Rock, and my daughter (13) and I saw One Direction. Great times.

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Last week, we went to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science as a family. We bought a membership, so we can go back anytime we want to for the next year. There are also special events and other perks for members. I was fascinated by the architecture and impressed by all the interactive activities. I especially loved seeing the dinosaur bones, gems/minerals, and the human body exhibits. There were even slices of real people, one man and one woman, who had donated their bodies to science. They were embalmed, frozen, sliced and displayed in plastic with a light behind them. It was FASCINATING to say the least. We could see all the anatomical parts and compare the younger, healthier female to the older, less healthy male.

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I continued guitar lessons over the summer, and my son also started taking weekly lessons. We are learning “Carol of the Bells” to play together at Christmas. He loves the lessons and can’t wait to start rocking out! I am still working on improvising and have been working on a couple hard songs this summer: “Uncle John’s Band” by the Grateful Dead and “Over the Hills and Far Away” by Led Zeppelin.

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Watching the MTV VMAs on the last night of summer. Mine was Miley Cyrus “Can’t Stop.” “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke was my second favorite.

What was your favorite song this summer? How was your summer?

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 23 Music

This is a picture of me with my favorite musical artist, Jewel! I’ve seen her perform multiple times, but I had never met her or bought a VIP ticket until her most recent performance in May in Texas. I wrote about how I excited I was to meet her here.It was a weird experience. We went to this room with other VIP ticket holders, and the room was entirely silent. I could barely contain my excitement and didn’t understand why everybody was being so sullen and quiet. Maybe they were nervous? It was very casual. We waited there until she was ready, and then she just came in the room and we lined up to meet her. I expected a table where she would be sitting and some kind of fancy backdrop and lighting or something, but no, it was just a regular room, and she just stood there awkwardly ready to meet us. It must get so old for her. But, I knew I would only have a few moments with her, so I got in the back of the line and tried to figure out what the heck I was going to say to her. What do you say to your idol?

My husband met her right before me and told her I was her biggest fan and then gave me the rest of his time with her. I’m not sure exactly what I said, but I know I had a huge smile on my face and rambled on about how much I love her and her music, that I also play guitar and enjoy playing and singing her songs, and that I had seen her perform many times and was super excited to meet her. I laughed and said, “this MIT get so old for you.” She was very sweet and said it doesn’t get old. We posed for a couple pictures then it was someone else’s turn. That was it! Then we found our seats and enjoyed the concert. It was amazing also because we got to go up on stage and see all her guitars. What a fun experience.

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

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31 Day Music Challenge: Day 31 Your Favorite Song on the Top 40 Right Now

Timberlake performing at St. Paul, Minnesota, ...

Timberlake performing at St. Paul, Minnesota, one of the venues of his first worldwide tour, FutureSex/LoveShow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuZE_IRwLNI

“Mirrors” by Justin Timberlake is my favorite song on the Top 40 currently. He is amazing. I love him and have been a fan since day one of N ‘Sync. He’s all grown up, he’s brought sexy back, and now’s he’s all suit and tied and ready to wine, dine, and dance. Oh to be Jessica Biel. His voice is incredibly smooth. The song is long, but it’s interesting. He plays with the melody and rhythms. Plus, I’m a sucker for romance.

See the whole music challenge list at DeBie Hive.

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

31 Day Music Challenge: Day 30 Your Favorite Song This Time Last Year

Katy Perry

Katy Perry (Photo credit: José Goulão)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0BWlvnBmIE

Wide Awake” by Katy Perry was my favorite song this time last year. I looked up what songs were popular in June 2012 and it jumped off the list.  Definitely loved this song and singing along with the lyrics.  It’s about being a self-sufficient woman facing reality instead of living in dream realms.  Letting go and waking up, being yourself no matter what people think or who is with you or not.

See the whole music challenge list at DeBie Hive.

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!