Thursday, May 22, 2014

Thankful Thursday

Two big things I'm thankful for today:
  1. I'm getting my ass back in therapy. Had an appointment this morning with a new therapist who I really liked. Have another appointment this evening with another new therapist. Then I'll choose. But it felt really good & healing already.
  2. 10 day vacation starting tomorrow. I'll spend part of it w/ Kristi in Chambersburg for her parents' Memorial Day party, then some time in Harrisburg teaching my very pregnant step-sister prenatal yoga. Then I have some staycation time back in Philly for a few days. Then my friend Jenna is coming to Philly next weekend. So excited for ALL of this!
And that's all the time I have to blog because I have a shitload of work to do before this vacation time starts!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Inspiration Monday: Kristi

Kristi is my best friend, my bestie, my BFF. We've been friends for more than 20 years & she's basically the most awesome person I know. I can't believe I haven't written about her yet! But today, I'm so overwhelmed with gratitude. I get to see her this weekend (& 2 weekends from now!), & she's going above & beyond the call of best-friend-duty because she'll be driving a total of 4 hours this weekend because of my fear of driving. And she's not even making fun of me for it!

We were English majors together at Pitt, then we both became educators. Kristi is one of those saints who can work with elementary school kids, while I'm the crazy who chose to work with teenagers.
Kristi & LJ, April 1995, Graduation from Pitt
(we've been taking selfies since before they were called selfies)
And 18 years later at my 40th birthday
(vintage polaroid selfie)
Unlike yours truly, Kristi really wanted to be a mom. Because of reasons, she ended up following the path of adoption. Her oldest was adopted from Russia & her youngest from Florida, where they live. Through her own experiences with adoption, she then became an advocate, speaker, & adoption specialist doing home studies & the like. Her path to motherhood inspired her to help others toward that same goal.
Kristi's hilarious & awesome daughters. I LOVE them!
And speaking of adoption, Kristi is also an advocate for doggie adoption, as well. She volunteers tirelessly with Florida Little Dog Rescue & she keeps adopting more doggies! Squeee!
from front: Sunshine (failed foster), Gracie (my favorite), Dudley
(rest in peace), Chloe (always looks like she's smiling)
Millie, the latest failed foster <3
Obviously Kristi has boatloads of patience & an incredible sense of humor, what with motherhood (the oldest is a tween & the youngest is a diva), so many dogs (with special needs, she could be a vet tech at this point), & being married to the Answer Man (hahahaha, I had to, Matt!). And obviously, I'm totally inspired by her for all of these reasons.

And if she wasn't already awesome enough for all of the above reasons, Kristi is the person who knows me better than anyone, the first person I turn to for advice, venting, & my ridiculous stories. I'm pretty damn lucky to have such an awesome best friend & I am so freaking excited to see her this weekend!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Thankful Thursday

It's the little things, right? Today I discovered I'm good at puzzles. I used to do puzzles a lot when I was a kid, but I think the last time I did a puzzle was probably about 15 years ago. Today, I'm thankful for obsessive compulsive disorder, because I feel like I was meant for putting puzzles together! A little weird, but when am I not weird, right?
from start to finish in less than 8 hours
I'm also feeling thankful for my friends, as always, but surprisingly, for a Harrisburg friend right now. I have a connection here in Philly who has been incredibly helpful & I have a lot of gratitude. So especially big thank you to my dad's best friend's daughter, she helped me out a lot this week. I'm also especially thankful for my work friends. Things are really excellent right now. And all my other friends too. I have awesome friends.

What else? I'm getting a massage on Saturday. Yep, thankful for that. I sold some jewelry & made some cash, thankful for that too. OH! And I'm super thankful for the Day Zero Project. I've been working on a few things, & I've found that adding them to my Day Zero List really helps me be accountable. And I definitely need to be held accountable. I'm also thankful for Flywheel, as always. I'm going to a DISCO THEME RIDE tonight, so I'm totally stoked for that. Hmm. I need to see if I can put together a disco theme outfit....

Yep, as per usual, full of gratitude. What are YOU thankful for? Please share!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Inspiration Monday: Nicole

I actually started writing this post last night, because I had just gotten home from Nicole's class at Flywheel. I love Nicole's class SO much, so I make it a point to take as many of her classes as I can each week. I didn't get to see her last week until Sunday night so I was really looking forward to it.
Remember I posted this same photo when I wrote about Melissa &
told you to stay tuned for a Nicole post? That's her in the middle.
Nicole is always so positive & so encouraging: in her class, I feel like I can do anything. She says a lot of things in class that really just make me smile, like when she tells us to "get your head right, get your shit together," you best believe I get my head right & my shit together! When she reminds us to torq it up just a little bit higher because she KNOWS we can, I always do it...I seriously never ever ever coast in Nicole's class. Whether she's getting us us to high five in third position or she's made an incredible playlist (Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock last night!), I am always happy & always inspired & always working hard in Nicole's class.

Nicole genuinely cares about our success & about our wellness, & not just in the stadium. Outside of Flywheel, Nicole is just as awesome. We've hung out socially a few times, & I'm honored to call her my friend. I'm always so impressed with her. Smart, easy to talk to, so incredibly kind, & mature beyond her years, Nicole is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Physical Therapy, & though I hope I never need PT, I know exactly who I would go to if I did!

If you've never been to Nicole's class, I obviously highly recommend her. She's going to push you to do your best & you're going to have fun doing it. And when she encourages you to come up & say HI after class, do it. She's awesome, you'll love her!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Day Zero: Eat ALL the Vegan Cheesesteaks!

Remember when V for Veg sponsored that amazing Best Vegan Cheesesteak contest & ALL of Philly nominated their favorites? Well, I decided to make it my mission to eat ALL the [conveniently located] cheesesteaks! Like I'm not going to make a trip to far away burbs just for a vegan cheesesteak...I mean, unless you tell me it's really worth my while.

Here's the list of all the nominees:
  1. Blackbird Pizzeria
  2. Cantina Dos Segundos
  3. Hibiscus Juice Bar
  4. Carmen's Reading Terminal (edit: 9/26/14 they have no vegan cheese, bread may not be vegan, I left w/o a sandwich)
  5. HipCityVeg
  6. Govinda's Gourmet to Go
  7. The Abbaye
  8. Taproom on 19th (possible not on vegan bread)
  9. VGE Cafe
  10. Vegan Commissary
  11. Monk's
  12. Sabrina's
  13. Carmen's Pizza (Milmont)
  14. Fino's
  15. P.O.P.E.
  16. Bourbon & Branch
  17. Palm Tree Market
  18. Fergies
  19. Mi Lah
  20. Pizza Wings Steaks
  21. Tattooed Mom's
  22. Vegan Tree
The ones that I crossed out, I've already had. This is going to be a most delicious challenge!

(And if you missed it, here's the story about the top 3 & the winner!)

Friday, May 9, 2014

Day Zero: 101 Happiest Moments in My Life

saw this on a friend's facebook wall...
That being said, here are the 101 happiest moments in my life (so far):
  1. Moving to Philly
  2. The moment I decided I was moving to Philly
  3. When Adam was born
  4. Holding Adam for the 1st time
  5. The 1st time Adam held my hand 
  6. The first time Adam said LJ (eh zhay)
  7. Really connecting w/ Jeffrey as a grownup
  8. Jeffrey's graduation from med school
  9. When Jeffrey & Nikki got married
  10. When Nikki & I went to Vedge
  11. When I babysat Adam AND Benny
  12. When I babysit & Jeffrey & Nikki get home & we hang out & talk & laugh
  13. Graduation from high school
  14. Getting out of Harrisburg
  15. Graduation from Pitt
  16. Graduation from Duquesne
  17. Getting hired at all 3 of my awesome teaching jobs over the past 16 years
  18. Having my first classroom 
  19. My second year of teaching
  20. Getting to know so many amazing students through the years
  21. Staying in touch w/ so many amazing students through the years
  22. When my students at HP all signed that copy of The Tartan (literary magazine) to me a year after I'd left
  23. Becoming a Supervising Teacher
  24. Presenting webinars w/ Jeannine & Michelle
  25. Presenting at Staff Conference 
  26. Becoming a Lead Teacher
  27. Colton becoming my intern
  28. Colton getting hired
  29. Colton becoming a Lead Teacher
  30. Going to Hawaii w/ Kristi
  31. Every visit I've ever had w/ Kristi ever
  32. When Kristi told me they were adopting Sasha
  33. When Kristi told me they were adopting Eliana
  34. Every live show I ever went to w/ Kristi, especially The Dirges & Rusted Root
  35. Lunch: a very specific inside joke w/ Kristi for almost 20 years now
  36. Kristi & Matt's wedding
  37. Seeing Live in concert
  38. Seeing The Cure in concert
  39. Seeing Michael Franti in concert
  40. Seeing Tori Amos in concert
  41. Seeing Simon & Garfunkel in concert
  42. Seeing Pink Floyd in concert
  43. Seeing Madonna in concert
  44. Seeing REM in concert
  45. Getting my first tattoo
  46. Pretty much every single tattoo I've ever gotten
  47. Reading every Tom Robbins book I've ever read
  48. The 1st time I broke 300 at Flywheel
  49. Connecting w/ all of my FLYfriends
  50. Almost every vegan cheesesteak I've ever eaten
  51. Every time I've eaten at Vedge
  52. Finally learning how to make a good salad
  53. The first time I had amazing vegan baked goods
  54. Upgrading my vegan dining out life by moving from Miami to Philly
  55. And a ton of other great things about moving from Miami to Philly
  56. Finally getting the condo out of my life
  57. Meeting Kenda
  58. Realizing Gina lived on my block in Sobe
  59. The goddess circles in Miami
  60. When Suzette & I realized how badly both of us wanted to be friends w/ each other
  61. Graduation from Yoga Teacher Training
  62. Teaching my first yoga class
  63. Teaching my first prenatal yoga class
  64. Teaching Nikki prenatal yoga
  65. Spontaneously teaching yoga at Yoga Garden
  66. Teaching Funky Friday Flow for Brittany
  67. Becoming vegan
  68. Visiting Kindred Spirits Sanctuary
  69. My epic 40th birthday party
  70. Meeting all of my amazing Philly friends, Jess, Ed, Takia, Kiera, Kristin, Betty, & a whole lot more. I love my friends!
  71. Sean & Joe's wedding w/ Jeff & Nikki & Nate
  72. Rocky Horror w/ Ed & Dan & George & Elton
  73. New Years Day vision boarding w/ my lady friends
  74. China w/ Jill & Katelyn
  75. The first night w/ Chef
  76. Epic goodbye to Chef (even though it was sad at the time)
  77. Road trips from Dallas to Austin
  78. Every high school graduation I've been to for my students
  79. Getting divorced
  80. First time at Haulover Beach
  81. Early morning frolics on 9th St beach in Sobe
  82. Buying my pink scooter
  83. Buying my pink bicycle
  84. Buying my Miata
  85. Getting out of debt
  86. A certain "I am woman, hear me roar" moment in May 2013
  87. Quitting smoking. The most recent time because that's the real time
  88. When I first started journaling
  89. How cathartic it was to destroy all my old journals to purge the past (even though I regret it now)
  90. Visiting Graceland & Elvis's Birth Place 
  91. Visiting the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame
  92. Visiting the Grand Canyon
  93. Moments spent mostly in Adirondack chairs at Camp Louise
  94. USY on Wheels
  95. Finishing my first Day Zero List
  96. Beating Grandmom Texas at Scrabble for the first (only) time
  97. Any time spent in Grandmom Texas' house
  98. Weekends in Philly w/ Grandmom Rosie & Pop
  99. Touring Central High with Dad for his 50th reunion
  100. Writing this list b/c it forced me to think about a lot of happy memories
  101. Winning tickets to Michael Franti!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Thankful Thursday

Is it a copout that I'm always thankful for my friends? No? Great! Because I'm really thankful for them. My friends are awesome!

  • For being an ear when I need to cry or rage
  • For impromptu dinners out
  • For weekend visits (a couple of those coming up soon!)
  • For random adventures in Philly (also known as long walks)
  • For being someone I can confide in
  • For spending the whole work day in IM with me
  • For a whole lot of laughter
  • For incredible movie recommendations
  • For just being awesome
  • For believing in me
  • For just being there
Feels good to know I have people to count on. SO many people. I think this just became a Philly post also. Because as I think of the life I've created for myself in the past year & a half here in Philly, & how amazing it is, it's because of the people here, the friends I've made, & for that, I am incredibly thankful.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Surya Brasil: Amazonia Preciosa

I'm excited today for my second Surya Brasil Product Review post. (Here's the first post if you missed it.)

Before I start gushing about the Amazonia Preciosa Leg & Foot Lotion, I want reiterate that though Surya Brasil did send me lots of freebies (giveaway coming soon, I promise), my opinions are genuinely my own. Their products are totally in line with my values: vegan, natural, & eco-friendly (no animal testing, free from parabens, sulfates, phthalates, GMOs, & synthetic fragrance, but full of exotic organic Amazonian awesomeness), so what's not to love?!

Today's post involves before & after pics. The before pic is kind of offensive, even to me.
I thought a cute font might take away from my gross rough winter feet. Nope.
After that delightful photo was taken, I gave my feet a nice soak & then went to town on them with a pumice stone. After the pumice, I slathered on the Amazonia Preciosa Leg & Foot Lotion (which smells amazing--very fresh & invigorating--it has eucalyptus in it!), put on some super soft microfiber socks, then went to sleep.

When I woke up this morning, I had somehow lost a sock, but my feet looked amazing!
Look how smooth the balls of my feet & my heels are! Amazing!
So now I'm ready for spring. Thanks to Amazonia Preciosa Leg & Foot Lotion, I need to go buy a new pair of sandals! In the meantime, dear readers, you can shop Surya Brasil right now. It's spring time! Treat your feet!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Inspiration Monday: Kristin

I love the interwebs. Let me tell you how I met Kristin. We were Yelp friends but we had never met in real life, or even really communicated. I thought she seemed cool because I liked her website (she's an artist & a graphic designer). Almost a year ago, I was in a class at Yoga Garden & the teacher had us go around the room at the beginning of class & say our name & what we wanted to work on. Kristin recognized my name & my tattoos from Yelp (there aren't a lot of LJs with fruit & veggie dance party tattoos), so she said hi after class. We ended up going out to dinner, discovering our central PA connection, & making plans to attend the next Yelp Elite event together.
Kristin & LJ in a Storefront.
Kristin inspires me, first of all, because she is so freaking talented. She can make ceramics & she can blow glass & she's learning to run a clay studio & she's so good at DIY everything & I have 2 pieces by her, so I'm pretty lucky. She can also cook. And can things (I'm eating blackberry sage jam on toast right now; Kristin made it). And sew. And decorate. And do legit graphic design. Seriously. Her knowledge & talent blow my mind.

Secondly, & perhaps more importantly, Kristin inspires me with her self care. She's really working on her shit. She's following her own path & finding what works for her & I admire her for that so much. She inspires me to do the same. (And if you saw my Thankful Thursday post last week, you know I need it.) Kristin is definitely one who inspired me to get back in therapy, & I have so much gratitude. She is working on being the best Kristin she can be, which makes me want to be the best LJ I can be.

Kristin & I can talk about pretty much anything. We have a really strong friendship. And that's inspiring.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Thankful Thursday

I've been overthinking since last night. And then this morning, in my insomnia triggered haze, I decided to act on everything I was overthinking last night.

Two things:
  1. I told a lie a couple days ago out of embarrassment & social awkwardness. Because I'm a weirdo. I felt so shitty about it. It seemed like something Laura would do, but not LJ. And I'm not that girl anymore, dammit. And the person I was a passive aggressive lying ass with is someone I respect & would kind of like to be friends with. So I apologized this morning. And I think I was even weirder. So here I am blogging about it because I'm the weirdest.
  2. Certain people are blocked from seeing certain things on my facebook wall. I was worried some one of these people was going to hear something about me second hand & I felt like they should hear it directly from me. There was lots of guilt & nonsense in my head & the BFF got a really late night text & then I had a weird FB status which I deleted probably within an hour based on a comment from a cool new friend.
So. Why am I sharing all my crazy overthinking weirdo nonsense on Thankful Thursday? I'll tell you why:
  1. Because (I'm thankful that) my blog is a judgment free zone. I can say whatever the hell I want, put it out there, & be done with it. I'm already relieved about the above behaviors & I haven't even hit publish yet. (Well, people might be judging me, but I can't hear or see it, nobody really comments on the blog anyway, so I'm just going to pretend it's not happening.)
  2. Because (I'm thankful that) I'm self aware enough to realize that both of the above anecdotes, & other recent triggers, are clear signs that I need to get my ass back into therapy a bit more consistently.
  3. Because (I'm thankful that) I have friends who are awesome at slapping me back to reality & telling me when to just shut the fuck up.
  4. Because (I'm thankful that) you're still here listening to me & reading my blog & watching my videos & responding to my tweets & simply encouraging me to be myself. Thanks for putting up with a crazy such as myself.