Me and Reiki

Saturday night, dimmed lights, relaxing music and lit candles…..and me laying on a massage table in the middle of my friend Jenny’s living room.

Jenny recently completed her certification in Reiki and invited me over for a session. Typically, the two of us get in a room and its all puns and giggles but this time there was business to be done. I settled in to the bed and immediately relaxed, closing my eyes to let her do her magic. She started first by placing her hands on my stomach and ensuring me that she would not be touching me in any inappropriate places, phew, that was a concern!

I first encountered Reiki about six years ago and really enjoyed the experience but with a limited budget didn’t make it a part of my regular routine. I did take away the practice of “grounding” myself though and have used it countless times in the years since.  When I was in New York I met with a nutrition counselor and the subject of meditation and grounding came up and when I told her how I had learned to ground myself in a Reiki session years ago she told me that my whole demeanor changed, that my face lit up when describing the practice. It made me realize that I need to spend more energy on things that effect my energy.

Back to the scene, Jenny is moving through my chakras and asked if I wanted to hear what entered her mind while working on me. Penny for your thoughts…or in this case Jenny for your thoughts! She asked me if I had seen the movie or read the book “Wild“. I indicated I was in the middle of the book, she told me that while she was up at my throat chakra she couldn’t stop thinking about “Wild”, she tried to clear her mind and it kept creeping back into her thoughts. Throughout my journey I had several people tell me that my story reminds them a bit of the book and now the movie. I haven’t finished the book to know but I believe the similarities lie in having lost a mother and going on a journey to focus on one’s personal health and growth. I have thought throughout the past year about writing a book and it is still on my list of things to do (really though, don’t we all think we have a book in us?). When I shared this with Jenny she told me that the throat chakra (Vishuddha) represented my voice which immediately initiated chills and since our appointment I have heard from no less than three people that my story reminds them of “Wild”.

On my list of things to do, finish reading “Wild” and write a book. No problem!

Jenny is working towards opening her own practice, until then I hope to be on her table as often as she will have me. Once she is up and running I will let you all know where you can find her.Jenny O

JennyO

I love this lady!

 

chakra_poster

Image taken from yogaloftblog.wordpress.com

 

 

Know Your Body

Know Your Body…..I am almost forty years old and I am still trying to figure it out, you can imagine I was excited for the opportunity to meet and chat with Joanne DiMauro, Founding Director of Know Your Body, when I was recently in New York City. Joanne was introduced to me by one of my friends in Seattle who danced with her as a member of the Rockettes in NYC.

Prior to meeting Joanne I reviewed her website and immediately was intrigued when she spoke of intuitive eating. I have never been able to approach food in an intuitive manner, I find myself struggling to figure out satisfying meals staring blankly into the refrigerator or slowly walking grocery store aisles hoping that my cart magically fills itself. Learning how to be more intuitive in my eating is very….appetizing.

I met Joanne at her home office and quickly relaxed into conversation with her. We spoke of my personal journey, past, present and future and her history with health and nutrition. Joanne approaches a healthy lifestyle through a natural and holistic approach which is a path that I am trying to align myself more with since starting this journey. A common theme I have heard when researching and speaking with health and wellness professionals is “clean eating” which I know even by its name is the right way to eat, clean!

During our conversation we began speaking about meditation and I excitedly told her how I learned from a Reiki practitioner years ago how to “ground” myself, using it many times over the years to calm myself or to aide a sleepless night. When I spoke she smiled in response and told me that my entire face lit up and my eyes sparkled when I spoke about the practice.. It reminded me that I need to spend time healing not just physically but mentally and emotionally as well.

I continue to be blessed in meeting so many people along this journey!

Joanne D2

Facebook

From Stressed to Stretched

I took a deep breath before entering the building. I have said this before and nothing has changed I am always nervous to try a new workout. Classes in New York have an even greater level of intimidation to me, but there really is no reason, I have had only one uncomfortable experience when I was told by two incredibly skinny 6 foot model types that I was doing an exercise wrong and I have been scared ever since.

This day I was trying Lastics, a class designed by Donna Flagg, that consisted of various stretching techniques. I’ll be honest, I chose this workout because I thought I would breeze through with little sweat and exertion, I was wrong.

Within moments of the first stretch I was shaking, it was as if all of a sudden my legs were plugged in to an electrical outlet somewhere. We were seated on the floor, legs stretched out in front of us,  instructed to push our legs down until they were flush to the floor, no matter how hard I tried to push the back of my wobbly knees to the floor I couldn’t. Donna was very in tune to what everyone in the class was doing so I couldn’t hide. She came over and pushed gently on my knees helping them to finally touch the floor, she told me to keep them there and when she let go they popped back up, I had no control.

At one point we were instructed to pull our leg up behind us with our heel touching our butt, I struggled, leaning against a wall trying to grab at my ankle. I know from plenty of workout classes that I am one of a few who can’t successfully do this without holding on to a wall or kicking my leg up behind me and praying that my hand connects with my shoe laces so I can hold on to something other than my actual foot to do this stretch. What makes this move so difficult for me? I have no clue, could be extra padding, could be lack of flexibility, it’s definitely a lack of coordination.

There were plenty of other moves that were equally as challenging for me but in the end I left feeling good, my muscles were awake, I had exerted plenty of energy and had learned a new form of exercise.

Donna is a no nonsense instructor who calls you out when you aren’t hitting the perfect form, needless to say I got a lot of attention. I normally would have been embarrassed by so much attention but I was not alone and while direct, Donna is very friendly.

The workout is meant to aide your body in creating lean, limber and elongated muscles. I knew that taking one class wouldn’t get me to a dancer’s body but I am definitely intrigued. If you have interest in learning more about Lastics you should check out Donna’s collection of books and dvds for home practice.

The images below were taken from Lastics.com

lastics-class_3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aqua Cycle NYC

Taken from Aqua Cycle on Facebook

Taken from Aqua Cycle on Facebook

I had my eye on Aqua Cycle in New York for over a year. A spinning class done in the water on submerged bikes seemed pretty spectacular, couple that with an ambiance of classical music and candles and I was sold.

I had several awkward moments, the first happened before I even got to the pool. I was trying to sneak by a naked woman in the locker room without rubbing up against her and I fell against the wall hitting the light switch which in turn cast part of the locker room into darkness. Thankfully my friend Emily was with me and I got to share a laugh with her, one of many to occur in the hour long class.

It’s rare for me to purposefully put myself in a situation where I am in a swimsuit in a pool with strangers. I remedied this by wearing a tank top and workout pants, which worked fairly well until the crotch of my pants snagged on the seat during a move that had us placing our hands on the bike seat and and lifting ourselves on to the bike from behind.

The class instructor Emma Galland, is a certified holistic health coach and nutritionist as well as the author of “Feeding Success” and the owner of Goji Fitness, and if that wasn’t enough she has also co-created a vegan, organic superfood protein powder called Zenberry. I was very impressed with Emma, her entrepreneurial endeavors as well as the way she effortlessly led our class with a cast on her arm.

She adjusted my bike for me, and due to my height I stuck out of the water far past my neighbors, it felt a bit like I was back in elementary school towering over my classmates in our school picture.

The bike has no resistance dial like in an above water spinning class, the resistance is solely up to the rider, at first it felt like riding a bike with a broken chain with my pedals spinning fast and in an uneven jerky sort of pattern but soon enough I got into a rhythm and must have been doing something right because my leg muscles were on fire! We moved our way through three positions, sitting, standing and finally pedaling while floating behind the bike.

Aqua Cycling is popular in Europe but currently the only place to spin in a salt water pool is in TriBeCa. The classes are a bit pricey but if I lived locally I would try to find a way to support the habit.

Follow them on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

Welcome to Bollywood!

In my quest to continue my journey of “Losing Weight Off the Interstate” I scoured the internet for more unique classes in Manhattan. I came across Bollywood Cardio Dance classes at Beauty and the Beat Dance Company. I couldn’t sign up fast enough, I love the bright colors and the music I associate with Bollywood and wanted to experience a piece of it firsthand.

In all reality my experience with the Indian culture is limited to cuisine and an incredible weekend at a friend’s Sikh wedding. That event was filled with music and dancing but the little dancing I did with my friend’s uncle’s who dominated the room didn’t really prepare me for this class.

I had fallen off the exercise bandwagon a bit and was both excited and nervous. To no surprise my coordination hadn’t improved from the last dance class I took, when the group was going left, I was typically going right, as they moved forward I was at least one step behind. Even with the potential embarrassment of my two left feet I had a blast, I caught my reflection a handful of times and I was smiling my way through the entire class.

The Creative Director, Namrata Bajaj led an entertaining and tough workout class, if you don’t believe me just check out how pink my face is in our picture below. Namrata was originally trained in Africa and then in Indian Classical Dance in Las Vegas, which is where she came up with Cardio Bollywood. In addition to the various classes she teaches she also leads a dance troupe in various event performances across the city.

If given the chance I would definitely go back to this class, though when she offered for me to stay for the class right after mine I quickly declined, I mean, everything in moderation right?

www.bnbdance.com
E-mail  Facebook  Twitter

Bollywood

And she’s back!

I know, I know you haven’t heard from me in quite awhile, for that I apologize. My trip officially ended when I drove into Seattle at the end of June. I was a mix of emotions; nervous, anxious, ecstatic, scared, happy, sad, excited…the list could go on.

The drive across the pass into Seattle highlighted the end of an amazing year, the completion of a huge goal.  I had found success in so many ways; navigated my way across the US, stretched my trip from the original six month plan to a full year, lost weight, met new and old friends, saw parts of the country I had never seen and yet there was still a small cloud of disappointment that it was all over.

When I left for this trip I had very distinct dreams of what this trip was going to mean to me and how it was going to end. I was going to come back refreshed, with a clear idea of who I was and what it was I wanted in life, oh and I was also going to be 80 pounds skinner and tan.

The reality was that my year on the road allowed me to step out of my daily routine, give some time and attention to the emotions I had surrounding the loss of my Mom and the resulting changes to my family. It allowed me to connect with amazing people, revisiting important relationships, moving them beyond the superficial occasional text and Facebook updates to a deeper connection.

I didn’t come back to town knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up but I did come back with the knowledge that what I do for work is just a small part of who I am, it is a tool which provides me a means to the end goal…living.

And since this blog is called “Losing Weight Off the Interstate” I should report that I lost 45 pounds, not the 80 I had dreamed of but 45 stubborn, difficult to lose pounds.  I am maintaining this loss and working towards losing more but for now I am going to stop apologizing that I only lost “45 pounds” and be proud for the huge accomplishment of this past year. Oh and if you were wondering, no, I am not tan either. I guess the next round of “Losing Weight off the Interstate” will be in warmer climates.

Until then, I will update my blog with more frequent posts about life and loss and most importantly…Living.

Up next: A trip back to NYC! (I type this as I am sitting in “my” apartment in Chelsea)

XOXO

 

Home!

I can’t believe it has been over a year since I set out on my journey. I packed up my home, said my goodbyes, shed a few tears and hit the pavement, scared about the unknown roads (literally) ahead of me. My return home was filled with many of the same emotions, I shed a few tears as Seattle started getting closer on the map, scared to have this trip end, nervous about reconnecting with friends and falling back into a routine. My good friend Alissa was the one who reminded me that I was scared to leave and it made sense for me to be scared to come home, but I had to do that before I could ever be scared to leave again. Wise woman.

My final weekend on the road was spent with a group of good friends wine tasting in Walla Walla, not a bad finale at all! I stopped and saw some friends and family on the way home and then my car was headed West on I-90, this was it!

I am not going to lie, the first two weeks were the least favorite of my entire year but I persevered and I am now excited to be back in the city I love to call home! I am working on a summary blog post with fun stats and I hope to maintain this blog as I continue my journey, finding health, fitness and of course loads of fun.

I hope my blog continues to be an entertaining read even if it is no longer living the Trucker life, a different town every night. Thank you for all of the love and support this past year!

Warning, the following images are Selfie Central, upon my return home.

2014-06-29 11.38.26

2014-06-29 13.10.19

2014-06-29 13.14.11

2014-06-29 14.43.48

2014-07-03 21.20.28 2014-07-04 19.21.35 2014-07-04 19.22.06

2014-07-04 20.10.20

2014-07-04 18.42.36-1

2014-07-04 20.30.36

Hotel Lautner, Desert Hot Springs

One of the biggest draws to the Palm Springs area was to see my friend and designer Tracy Beckmann who along with her business partner Ryan Trowbridge created a Mid-Century Modern masterpiece, Hotel Lautner.

Tracy and I met about six years ago and became fast friends, and while we don’t get to see each other often I continue to be inspired by her and her creations. We met for a drink to reconnect and the night ended with me running to my hotel throwing all of my things in my car and racing to Hotel Lautner to stay the night.

Hotel Lautner came to life when Tracy and Ryan found the old Desert Hot Springs Hotel, designed by the famous modernist architect John Lautner. You can see before and after pictures of the amazing transformation here.

I have watched from afar (aka Facebook) while the Hotel Lautner has been recognized for its design by magazines such as Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Architectural Digest, Dwell and so many more.

I was ecstatic to spend the night in The Redwood Lounge, sleeping on the luxurious Frette linens, listening to Frank Sinatra records and soaking up the ambiance which in my opinion has been done perfectly. Tracy thought of everything when creating her luxurious suites, from flattering shower lighting to dark washcloths for makeup removal to eye masks to keep out the light shining through the wall of windows. There was only one bad part of my experience and that was when I had to lock the door behind me and say goodbye.

Not only is Tracy a wonderful friend and great designer, she also keeps great company. I had the opportunity to meet her talented artist boyfriend Danny Heller whose photorealism paintings capture Mid-Century Modern architecture, he has captured many LA and Palm Springs scenes and has recently been asked to show in and about New York. If you find yourself in New York you should stop by the George Billis Gallery for his opening reception on September 4th, 2014.

I can’t wait for the opportunity to experience Hotel Lautner again and I highly recommend taking the road less traveled out of Palm Springs and heading to Desert Hot Springs for a weekend retreat in this desert oasis.

All images below were taken from www.hotellautner.com.

Hotel Lautner 1

Hotel Lautner 2

Hotel Lautner 5

 

Hotel Lautner Courtyard

Hotel Lautner Pool

 

 

Hotel Lautner Patio

Hotel Lautner Redwood

Art by Danny Heller

Art by Danny Heller

 

 

 

 

Hedge, Palm Springs

Having an interest in design, particularly mid-century modern design had me excited to visit Palm Springs. It has long been on my list of places to visit and this trip gave me the opportunity to fulfill this wish.

I spent the day driving around hopping from one boutique to another but it wasn’t until I entered Hedge that I fell in love with the town. I came upon the store on accident having followed my gps directions to a thrift store that refused to be found. Upon entering the store I was quickly greeted by the owners, Charles Pearson and Thomas Sharkey and offered an espresso. I knew I wasn’t able to actually purchase anything in the store due to budget and cargo space so I declined, it seemed rude to accept such a treat when only window shopping. I began chatting with Thomas as he was making his own coffee and I quickly knew I was in this store for a reason. We began talking about my journey, his upcoming birthday travel plans and both of our pasts working in private family services. We chatted for a bit before he invited me to sit with him where he shared their path to owning their store and where I found great inspiration. Both Charles and Thomas encouraged me to search for my passion, to create my own future.

I walked out of that store a few inches taller, happy to have met some new friends and in love with a town that supports such amazing independent businesses.

Thomas later wrote to me  in an e-mail “You are making known the unknown and …… you are doing what most people are afraid to do and never will do.” Regardless of where my upcoming path takes me I am thankful for moments like this where I meet truly amazing people who make me a more confident person, inspire me to live an authentic life and who take the time to chat with a wind blown stranger on what has proven to be an epic journey.

I highly encourage you to add Hedge to your “must visit” list when you next find yourselves in Palm Springs, and don’t make the same mistake I made, accept when they offer to make you an espresso.

Hedge: info@hedgepalmsprings.com

Hedge

My trip to the Barre

In my last post I told you about all the fun I have been having and how I haven’t been my best when it comes to exercise, so I wouldn’t blame you if you assumed this post was about me actually drinking in a bar. It turns out fun can be had with multiple bars/barres, enter Barre3 in Seattle.

I was home for a quick visit and my good friend Sara asked me to join her at her fitness class, Barre3, a combination of ballet barre, yoga and Pilates. I knew when I accepted the invitation that it was going to be fun, working out with friends typically is, but I didn’t fully know what to expect of the class.

The instructor, Amy Masterson, was very friendly and attentive, aware that it was my first class. We started by doing some warm up stretches which gave me some confidence, I can stretch almost as well as the next person.

The tough part began right after the stretching, let’s say four minutes in to an hour long class. I made the mistake of looking at the clock after what seemed like twenty minutes of calf burning to see that really only a few minutes had passed. In the past I believed that calf strengthening exercises were a piece of cake, this class proved me wrong. I had always had a lot of respect for the pose and strength of ballerinas but this reminded me of their true athleticism.

We moved from standing to the floor to do the pilates and yoga. I have come to realize that I don’t like the “downward dog” pose in yoga. I feel intense pressure in my wrists, the blood rushes to my face threatening to make me pass out and my palms become so sweaty I slide all over my mat. What I do love about yoga is when instructors allow for adaptations to poses for those who struggle like myself. I held the position as long as I could before coming down to my knees with the support and approval of Amy.

The class was great, the company was amazing and I had fun at the barre, though I would be lying if I said it was more fun than the bar. This barre however, worked out my body and soul while the other bar just works out my tolerance and wallet. I think I made the correct choice in bars/barres, plus it was only 10:00 in the morning.

2014-04-30 10.59.16

My instructor: Amy Masterson