Sunday, December 22, 2013

Winter Break Begins with a GIVEAWAY!

My goal was to fill up every moment of my winter break with fun & friends & to blog every day of my adventures...until last night...when I felt that pain in the back of my throat signifying that I'm coming down with a cold. I was planning on going on a nature walk with my friends this afternoon, but I chose to nap instead after having lunch with my friend Kristin. Something about mud & drizzle just wasn't really working for me & I'm starting to feel kind of achey, so I didn't even really experience FOMO* (much).

Despite the beginning of a common cold, my winter break is off to an excellent start. Lots of Flywheel, acupuncture, & time with friends so far. Last night, Becca, Jess, & I headed to Angela & Brendan's to make ornaments for their tree. Becca & I, the token Jews, had WAY too much fun with this, & I surprised everyone with the fun nostalgia of SHRINKY DINKS! Imagine, if you will, 5 adults (& a black lab) staring intently into the oven, squeeeing with joy as the Shrinky Dinks shrank! SO much fun!

Shrinky Dinks fresh hot out of the oven.
Angela & Brendan's dog Hanes, the new love of my life.
Oh hey, enough about my weekend, I think I mentioned a WINTER BREAK GIVEAWAY! I happen to have acquired a coupon book from Tofurkey: a total of 6 coupons, each for a different item, worth a total of $5 off (or more if you consider double coupons!). Here's the deal: Share a favorite holiday memory in the comments for your chance to win. Winner will be chosen by random drawing on Friday, December 27th @ 11:59pm. Coupon Book will be sent to the lucky winner that weekend, so by the time I go back to work in January, you will have your coupons! Can't wait to hear your stories!

Happy Merry!

*Fear Of Missing Out

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

On My Favorite Vegan Lip Balm

I'm one of those people who actually uses up her lip balms before losing them (usually). I'm kind of proud of that fact...even if I am currently a little mad at myself that a relatively new tube of my favorite brand rolled out of my purse this past weekend.

I'm also one of those people who is addicted to lip balm. I always have one in my purse, in my upstairs bathroom, in my downstairs bathroom, & at my desk...with extras in a drawer so I always have them. Yes, I'm a lip balm hoarder

A few years ago, I won a few tubes of Crazy Rumors Vegan Lip Balm from a blog giveaway. That blog no longer exists, & truth be told, I wasn't that impressed with Crazy Rumors.

In addition, though I love the flavors (root beer, yes please!), I'm not that into Hurraw, either (unpopular opinion). Maybe their "moon balm" is thick & rich enough for me, but otherwise, I haven't gotten much benefit from their products.

Last winter, in Harrisburg, I ran out of lip balm. I'm an addict. Panic set in. Because there was no vegan lip balm in all of Harrisburg, the moment I got back to Philly, I headed over to Whole Foods, where I found Soothing Touch Lip Balm, with a happy little "I'm Vegan" right on the tube!
Best. Lip Balm. Ever.
Soothing Touch is not a totally vegan company, which may be why I never see it on any vegan blogs, but they do have a vegan line of products, which makes me happy. Their vegan lip balm is thick, long-lasting, & very healing. It comes in unscented, vanilla chai, & lemon cardamom. I highly recommend it, especially this time of year.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Best. Weekend. Ever.

This coming Saturday is my 1-year Philly-versary. I've been reflecting a lot on how my life has improved since leaving Miami: the friends I spent time with + all the cool stuff I did this weekend = perfect examples of why my life is awesome.

On Saturday morning, I hopped on the train & headed out to the Byrn Mawr Flywheel. I took Nicole's class (excellent as always), got coached by Emily on my form & technique (which helped me sustain about 10 RPMs more in both 2nd & 3rd positions today!), & went to lunch at Vge with Nicole, Emily, & Emma. Bryn Mawr is really cute, & it's always fun to hang with the FLY girls. It was a FLYtastic day!

Saturday night, I attended The Humane League's Holiday Party for the Animals with my friend & neighbor Leah. Prior to the main event, where I later met up with my friends Jess, Becca, Angela, & Brendan as well, Leah & I went to the VIP dinner where we sat with Isa Chandra Moskowitz. (This is the part where I get a little fangirlly.) Vegan with a Vengeance was the first vegan cookbook I owned & it was a life-changer. I remember reading it cover to cover & not only loving the recipes, but also finding Isa to be so cool & relatable. Of course, I totally wanted to be friends with her. Imagine my delight when upon finally meeting her in real life, she made me so immediately comfortable, that I didn't fangirl at all. She was cool to hang out with, her keynote was witty & heartfelt, & I got my copies of Vegan with a Vengeance & Isa Does It both signed.
Leah, Isa, & LJ: Three Awesome Jewish Vegan Women in Fabulous Glasses
On Sunday morning, I finished my Flywheel Ride Every Bike Challenge with bike #1! It was a great ride, & there's a blog post coming on my experience as a whole. It was a lot of fun & I'm really glad I did it.
Ride 49 (Bike 1) of LJ's Ride Every Bike Challenge (& my Bryn Mawr ride)
Around noon, I met up with Jess, who was so moved by my Thankful Thursday blog post, that she chose to gift me with a shopping trip to Lululemon--it's a really sweet program that Lululemon ambassadors (Jess is an ambassador) get to do for one student during the holiday season. I was so overwhelmed with gratitude that she chose me & so overwhelmed with the fabulousness of my new sports bra & tank, that I forgot to take a pic of us for the blog--Jess, I'm coming to your class on Friday morning & I'm wearing my new threads--be ready for a photo op!

I spent the rest of my Sunday baking cookies & watching quirky independent movies on Netflix. This was a really great weekend & it's really all about the people in my life. I've said it before & I'll say it again...moving to Philly from Miami Beach was the best decision I ever made.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Thoughts on Flywheel on a Thankful Thursday

Today in class, Jess said something about channeling our "inner endurance athlete." And my first thought was, "I don't have one of those, I'm not an athlete."

Wait, what?

In addition to having been a yoga practitioner & teacher for the past 15 years, I bike approximately 20 miles in 45 minutes almost every day. Sometimes, I take an hour class & I bike closer to 25 miles. Sometimes, I do a double (2 classes in a row) & I bike around 40 miles. I just might have an inner endurance athlete. Thank you, Jess, for helping me find her.

Sometimes, when the torq is high, I think to myself, "If I was on a real bike, I'd probably get off & walk my bike up this damned hill." But I'm not on a real bike & it's not a real hill, so I power through because I'm STRONG. Recently I dreamt that I was riding my bike up Smokehouse Lane (near the house where I grew up, a long, gradual hill that I may or may not have walked my bike up as a child), & in the dream, I told myself to push through because I would in the stadium. Thank youFlywheel, for showing me how strong I am, even in my subconscious!

I hit a new PB yesterday in Nicole's class. She later tweeted me that I'm "the definition of #nevercoast"--hell yes, I am! Thank you, Nicole, for noticing, & for genuinely caring about your students' progress. Trust me, it means a lot.
Rides 47 & 48 (Bikes 3 & 2) of LJ's Ride Every Bike Challenge
Seriously, thank you to the whole FLYfam. Knowing you has changed my life for the better & I appreciate each & every one of you even more than you know. Friendship & fitness...it's really a win win!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

On disobeying my acupuncturist & forcing myself to take rest days

I had a smoothie this morning for breakfast. My body is so out of whack right now (my last period was basically 3 weeks long, 'nuf said), & I'm pretty confident it has much to do with nutrition. My acupuncturist said absolutely no raw, especially no raw cruciferous veggies, but I don't get enough greens without the smoothies, so this morning I did exactly what she told me not to do. And starting my day with a healthy green smoothie seems to help me make healthier choices the rest of the day. I added ginger to it for heat & I had hot tea before & after with all of my herbs & supplements. Then I actually cooked something for lunch (I'm loving Isa Does It, by the way!) instead of having takeout or something frozen. I feel good about this decision. We'll see how I feel as time goes on, & we'll see what she says in 2 weeks.

I'm almost finished with my Flywheel Ride Every Bike Challenge. I'm down to my last 3 bikes this week. My reflections on the front row...I don't like it. I'm often alone, I can't really see the Torq Board, & I just feel awkward. Just 3 more bikes & I can enjoy the middle of the room again. Just 3 more bikes & I can enjoy the "glory" of having ridden all the bikes. It was fun to challenge myself. I'm glad I did it. I'm also glad it's almost over.
Rides 43-46 (Bikes 5, 7, 6, & 4) of LJ's Ride Every Bike Challenge
I was forced to take 3 rest days last week due to tattoo healing. It reminded me of the importance of taking rest days. I don't want to overdo it, I need to be conscious of my bad knees, & I don't want to get burned out. To that end, I'll be doing 3 days in a row of Flywheel followed by 1 day off. On the off day, I might do yoga, but I might do nothing. Doing nothing sometimes is kind of nice. I worry that I could slip into my old lazy ways, but I'm reminding myself that it's just. one. day. I think that's going to be really good for me.

OK, I took time to blog right now because one of the programs I use at work was down, but it's back up, so back to work! Have a great day!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

On Celebrity Worship

I tweeted about this earlier, but 140 characters was just not enough for me to express my disgust with what I saw last night & this morning.

The first article I read about the latest vegan celebrity heros (barf), JayZ & Beyonce, included this direct quote: "On December 3rd, one day before my 44th birthday, I will embark on a 22 Days challenge to go completely vegan, or as I prefer to call it, plant-based!!" Honestly, I'm amazed I was able to find the quote again in the sea of posts worshipping them for going vegan, in which this quote is very noticeably missing.

I just don't understand celebrity worship. At all. They're people whose jobs are acting & music & sports & etc. And yeah, they're good at their jobs. And yeah, their skills do indeed make the world a more beautiful & fun place. But they're people, just like you & me. There's absolutely no reason to put them up on a pedestal. AND, they're grossly overpaid when a teacher (ahem, like ME), who makes, I dare say, a more important difference in making the world a better place, is struggling to get by. The values in our society are just so skewed.

Good on JayZ & Beyonce for trying a plant based diet for 22 days. They'll be healthier for it (briefly) & YAY for bringing attention to the vegan movement. But I think JayZ was very clear in that quote above--they're not about to give up their fur or leather or snakeskin. And you know what I think they're going to do come Christmas day when their experiment ends? I think they're going to sit down to their Christmas ham & turkey & they won't look back.

So. Maybe someone will educate them that vegan means so much more than a plant-based diet. Maybe I'll be proven wrong. That would be nice, but I'm not holding my breath. But maybe we could all just take a step back & stop idolizing them for doing less than every vegan does every day. They're just people, after all.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Flywheel Philly Bikes 10 & 9, Thanksgiving Leftovers Party

I have 7 bikes left until I finish my personal Flywheel Ride Every Bike Challenge. I'm looking forward to being done & riding the bikes I want to ride in the middle of the stadium, but this was definitely a fun experiment.

Bike 10 was a tough bike for me, so bike 9 became an amazing reward. As much as I know that the numbers aren't as important as I make them out to be, it's still a little discouraging to work so hard & come away with a low score. I mean, not so discouraging as to make me throw a tantrum or anything, but still, over 100 points higher the next day on another bike felt REALLY good!
Rides 41 & 42 (Bikes 10 & 9) of LJ's Ride Every Bike Challenge
My Vegan Thanksgiving Leftovers Party was a SUCCESS! I had a great time with my friends, & my fridge is empty of leftovers now, so I'm no longer in leftovers binge danger. (Just check out my google calendar for the past few days...you'll see how much bread pudding I ate!)

I forgot to take pictures once everyone was here, but I realized something I love about this apartment that I loved about my South Beach apartment, as well. It's an easy space to reconfigure any way I want for any event I want. Sit down dinner with my family? Easy with borrowed chairs & tables. Buffet style casual gathering with my friends? Easy with the same borrowed chairs & tables. (Massage room Sunday night? Easy when my massage therapist comes over & sets up her table!)
only half the room, but you can appreciate the setup
In other news, my Handmaid's Tale tattoo is halfway done. We both got tired last night, so we're finishing it in 2 weeks. I can't wait. My literary legs look SO COOL! And with that, I need to get back to work...3 weeks left until winter break, I can do this!