Friday, July 01, 2016

Four Things


Popping in with a few of the articles, podcasts, & recipes that have been on my mind lately.
  • Sometimes I can lose sight of the forest for the trees.  Lately, during my daily yoga practice, I have found myself focusing more on my challenge poses than on what my body truly needs that day.  It is silly, really, to insist on frustrating myself daily with sticking a handstand when the handstand itself has so little to do with the genuine practice of yoga.  As much as I love social media, and as much fun as I enjoy clicking 'like' on all the Instagram photos of beautiful girls doing complicated handstands on the beach, nailing that elusive handstand will mean little in the grand scheme of my yoga practice.  I show up on my mat every day for a lot of reasons, none of which have anything to do with acrobatics.  This thought really hit home this week when I was listening to this super-brief four-minute episode of the Yogaland podcast, in which Andrea references a stunning quote from Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa: "Yoga is not a practice of self-improvement at all; it's a practice of self-acceptance."  Ah.  Yes.  And that is precisely why I have not stuck the handstand yet.  I have been holding on too tightly to the idea that a perfect and beautiful handstand will somehow mean I have reached The Next Level of Improvement, when most likely the lesson I first need to learn is that I am already enough even without the handstand.
  • The Zen Habits blog has long been a favorite of mine, and this week, when too many thoughts were crowding my head, and when I faced the disappointment of not receiving something I had been hoping for,  I was reminded of one of his posts from a few years back titled 'The Zen of Doing.'  It is short, and it is pure and absolute genius.  Whether the word 'zen' makes your eyes roll into the back of your head, or whether you are a bonafide expert at mindfulness (in which case, please leave your contact information in the comments), the 30 seconds it takes to read that post can quite literally change everything about your mindset in a time of discontent.
  • Last week, I made this Marinated Kale & Whipped Ricotta Pizza, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.  It is the stuff dreams are made of: it is decadent, absolutely scrumptious (we fought over the last few pieces), and dead easy if you cheat and buy some pre-made pizza crusts at the supermarket.  Whole-wheat crusts are the healthiest option, of course, and ideally you will find the ones that do not include high-fructose corn syrup, but I'm finding lately that true happiness lies in not getting hung up on the details too much.  Regardless of whether you need to cheat or whether you like making your own crust, I recommend pre-baking the crust so that it gets a little crispy before you put the soggier ingredients on it.  
  • Capsule wardrobes and uniform dressing have long been a little bit of an obsession of mine, and over the past few years, I have winnowed my wardrobe down to a tightly-curated, well-fitting, easily-cared-for,  minimalist's dream.  As a general rule, you'll find me in skinny jeans, sandals, and a black v-neck t-shirt in spring and fall.  In the winter, I'll swap the sandals for motorcycle boots, and throw a cardigan over the v-neck (or swap out the shirt for a black pullover).  For summer, I lean pretty heavily on flowy tank tops with the skinnies, or a black t-shirt dress if it's too hot for pants.  I have one or two date night outfits, and a couple of dressier options that work just as well for church as they do for funerals or weddings.  [Of course, a couple of sillier, more single-use frocks have also remained in the closet, like that hand-tooled red leather vintage trench coat that is way too cool to discard, and the legendary Easter dress that I've worn every year since the mid-1990s, but I don't begrudge those gorgeous items their real estate now that the rest of the closet has been beaten into submission].  It's easy to dress like this,  it fits my needs and my style to a T, and it makes getting ready virtually idiot-proof.  Nobody likes wasting 15 minutes deciding what to wear each day, and if you get bored easy, then you can always go crazy with scarves and other accessories, although frankly, I'm satisfied with a very, very small collection of jewelry.  The hardest part of nailing the capsule wardrobe is in the beginning, when you might feel unsure of your style and your needs.  If you are looking to simplify your life (which I swear starts with your closet), the free Wardrobe Planner over at Unfancy might be just what you need to get you moving in the right direction.  
I hope you have a lovely holiday weekend.  We are planning to hit up all the local fireworks celebrations, and I'm going to squeeze in a Lady Date with my girlfriends as well, because THREE DAY WEEKEND FTW.

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