Ozone Mama

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I’ve been really enamored by the sky lately. There have been so many interesting cloud formations and beautiful gradations of blue in the sky each day. I find myself  “oohing” and “ahing” every time I look up. I think I’ve been paying more attention to the air above me lately because I know I will be leaving this sky for a completely different sky in Portland. So I’m doing my best to soak in the mostly sunny, California days. And now that today is officially the beginning of summer, I will appreciate all that the sun has to offer–with sunscreen, of course.

Saturday, I will be making the drive, with Sam and his family, to Silver Lake–a gorgeous lake next to June Lake, in the Eastern Sierra. I didn’t realize that I would be going on vacation the day after Summer Solstice and I don’t think there is a better way to start off my summer! I’m really looking forward to unplugging for a week and allowing myself to relax in such a breathtaking environment.

I hope all of you celebrate the beginning of your summer in your own way!  And I will see you in a little over a week!

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Photos by me.

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Portland Bound

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So by the end of this summer, I will be calling Portland, Oregon home! Sam and I made the huge decision at the end of last year, but it hadn’t become a reality until this month. Just when it looked like our move wasn’t going to happen for awhile, everything started to come together for us. The universe was somehow letting us know that our idea was–and still is–a pretty great one, terrifying but great. It’s incredibly exhilarating to have a big idea like this become a reality!

I’m really proud of Sam and I. We are a kick-ass team and have been through a lot together. I’m really happy that I get to experience all of this with him. That’s what this move is all about for me–my love and I are starting our life together. We’re ready. But until the big move, I plan on soaking in my summer here in California with all of my family and friends. It’s going to be hard leaving everyone, but I can’t wait to start fresh in lovely Portland, the City of Roses.

Source: Fine Print NYC

Good Livin’

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I don’t have a place to call my own yet, but when I do I would really like to surround myself with lots of color, plants and natural light. This gorgeous house knows what I’m talking about. Oh and I would love stunning hardwood floors like these. I know, I have high expectations for when I move out. But it’s good to have lots of inspiration like this for when that day comes.

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Photos by Sean Fennessy, styling / production by Lucy Feagins of The Design Files

Original Post here.

In the Mudra

A-okI’m just now realizing how powerful mudras can be in my yoga practice and even in my everyday life. Mudras are hand postures that help direct prana, one’s life energy, throughout the body and evoke certain emotional and mental qualities. Particularly, I have been focusing on and experimenting with the Jnana Mudra, or the Knowledge Mudra, in which the tips of the thumb and index fingers come to touch, as the rest of the fingers gently extend outward. It is considered the mudra of concentration and mental peace, but I had never noticed any effects it had on me until I had a paper to write last month and decided to strike a mudra during my morning pranayama (breathing) practice, in hopes of sharpening my focus for my task ahead. So I softly concentrated on the way the energy flowed through my fingers and hands for about 5 minutes, all the while breathing. And honestly I’ve never experienced myself so focused, yet so calm during the day! It was shocking that I was capable of that. I usually have a subconscious fist-fight in my head, while trying to get things done and by the end of the day I feel exhausted, like I was literally fist-fighting somebody the whole day! So I want to choose a more sane way of going about my everyday life (no more metaphorical black eyes and bruised fists) and this mudra seems to be doing just that for me. I now sometimes strike this lovely hand pose while driving (with one hand, of course). That’s what I like about this mudra; it is accessible anywhere I go, when I’m in need of a bit more focused and calm energy. It’s all right there in my hands.

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Photos: by Sam

Mudra Sources: 2nd Star to the Right, Healing Mudras: Yoga for Your Hands by Sabrina Mesko.

The Before Movies

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I love finding a new movie that instantly becomes my new favorite! But last week I found two new favorites, possibly three, with the Before movies: Before Sunrise 1995, Before Sunset 2004 and the newest one, Before Midnight 2013, which I haven’t seen yet, but very antsy to. I’ve loved watching the beautifully complex relationship between Celine and Jesse (Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke) and how each of their wonderfully developed characters relate to one another.

This trilogy happened by accident, as the second and third films did not come out until 9 years after each previous film! If I had seen these movies when they originally came out, I don’t think I could have kept my cool. They leave you hanging at the end! But it’s beautiful that Richard Linklater, the director, made no plans for the first film to be a part of a series and the audience has had the pleasure to follow Celine and Jesse during the 18 years of knowing one another.

I can’t say enough about these characters, but I won’t say much here. I will tell you that the connection between these two characters is amazingly real. Delpy, a brilliant French actress, and Hawke made me forget that they were acting. I’m ecstatic to have discovered such great films. My heart flutters for these two.

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Photos: Google Images

A Day to Celebrate

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I’m officially a college graduate! Finally! It’s been a long road for me and academia, but it was worth it. And being able to walk across the stage, as my name was announced over the loud speaker, was a great way to conclude my journey as a college student. I prepared myself mentally for the big day with the intention to simply remember to breathe through the experience and to have fun. And unlike my usual self in easily getting overly stimulated by constant noise and crowds of people, I mostly remained calm all day (it was heart pumping to realize that I’m about to walk across a stage, in heels, in front of thousands of people with my family and friends intensely watching). But it felt like I had a thin bubble around me all day that sort of blocked out all of the chaos and allowed me to completely soak in my own experience. But the best part of the day was the fact that my family and friends came together to celebrate with me. They all have been such a huge part in getting me to this point, so it felt good that we all came together to eat, drink, laugh and celebrate. It was a fantastic day!

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Photos courtesy of my family and friends.

Mung Bean Soup

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I’ve developed quite a love affair with this dish, but it’s been a bumpy road for me and my hippie soup. After being told, by the Ayurveda specialist I was seeing, to strictly eat this soup for a month or so, as part of the cleansing process for me, I initially was not so keen with the flavors of the dish (realistically, I made this soup 2-3 times a week and supplemented it with cooked veggies and grains). But after making this recipe consistently for several months now and tailoring it to fit my preferences, I’m in love with this soup. It was a couple of weeks ago when I realized that I hadn’t made myself any mung bean soup in awhile and that, to my own surprise, my taste buds actually missed it! I crave the flavors now, especially the garlic, ginger root and lime. And it’s pretty great that everything in this dish keeps my body happy. I also have a lot of fun making this dish, so I always look forward to the nights I get to prepare a comforting bowl of this deliciousness for myself. Below is my recipe. Give it a shot! Hope you enjoy!

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Mung Bean Soup (Serves 1):

1/3 cup of green mung beans, soaked overnight in cold water.

2 cups of water

1.5 tbsp. of olive oil

1/4 tsp. of mustard seeds

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp. of cumin and coriander powder

1/4 tsp. of tumeric

1.5 tsp. chopped ginger root

1.5 tsp. chopped garlic

1.5 tsp. of lime juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Drain and rinse beans thoroughly. Bring the beans and 1.5 cups of water to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the beans open and up and get soft.

Once the beans are finished cooking, heat the oil in a pot and add mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds start to pop, add bay leaf, cumin, coriander, tumeric, ginger and garlic and stir. Add the cooked beans and another 1/2 cup of water, depending on how soupy you want it. Bring to a boil. Add the lime juice and simmer for 5 minutes or so. Add salt and pepper to your liking. Enjoy!