Out of the Notebook and into the blog

Monday, November 9, 2015

Aurorae Yoga Mat Review + Giveaway!!

Image source: Unknown

How do we get more Zen in our life?  Lately I've been overwhelmingly busy, which makes the little bit of "zen" I get in my day an absolutely amazing moment that feels better anything else!

The thing is, is that I don't want to live my life like everyone else.

I don't want to be worried about money all the time.  Where to be next.  What's for dinner.  What's am I missing on my planner.

Sometimes though, in the pursuit of making a difference in the world and becoming the best I can be, the worry seeps in and fills me up, as I'm sure you can relate to.  But then, i get home at the end of the night and i remember…I'm just a being in this world, the world will happen and revolve, I can relax.

At the end of my long day's, I'll light three candles, dim the lights, and just relax.  Aurorae's new Spa Candles are heaven.  After a few minutes of lighting the Eucalyptus candle I was feeling relaxed and in complete stress-fee zone.  This is rare…I wake up at 6 am and there isn't a pause in my day until I get home at 10pm.  This candle makes me say "goodbye" to Monday (oh wait everyday feels like monday!) stress and hello to "zen."

I also try hard to fit yoga into my weekly schedule.  I purchased a Core-power unlimited membership -  if you do this FORCE yourself to go!  Put it on the calendar - make it non-negotiable.  It's been amazing.  I've been using the Aurorae Impressions Yoga mat lately and have loved it. They come with a small chalk pack which is fabulous to put on your hands and feet and on your mat before a hot yoga or any CorePower class.  The grip is fantastic and even when I forget my chalk or towel, I somehow manage to be ok without slipping and sliding around.

I'd love for you to give the Aurorae Impressions Yoga Mat and Aurorae generously offered one for me to giveaway!

How to Enter:

Leave a comment telling me what you do to relax and feel more "zen?" Also make sure that you include your email address!

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*While Aurorae did sponsor this post and giveaway, I have been an avid user/fan/lover of Aurorae since my yoga practice began 4 years ago!  I have never used a different mat!  

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Should we Strive for Mastery?

Mandi Nelson Photography

They say that it takes 10,000 hours to master something.  I've always had a desire to master a lot of things - ballet, photography, blogging, yoga, hunter/jumping, archery, among the few.  Obviously it would be impossible to master all of those things.  What about you?  I can't imagine there has ever been a person that hasn't aspired to reach their full potential at the things that they love.

If it only takes 10,000 hours of practice to master something, we would need to spend 5 hours practicing daily for 5 years.  In the grand scheme of things that's not that much.  (On a positive note, we definitely are masters of sleep.  However, could that be the only thing?)

Why then, do we not follow through?  Why do only a few become masters at what they have fallen in love with?

Dan is a pretty normal guy like you and I, he lives in Portland Oregon.  He's decided to master the art of Golfing, and this is what he has to say about it:

"Anything you could do limits other things you could potentially do,” he says. “As long as you’re doing what you want and you’re happy and healthy, you’re on the right path.’"

But wait a second - are most of us living day to day happy and healthily?  When I look around at my peers and people walking on the streets, it's hard to believe that most of us are.  Maybe that's where the problem of most of us not mastering anything - we are focused too hard on the things that don't make us happy or healthy, rather than truly reaching for the things that really inspire us.

What are your thoughts? 

Read more about this on Chris Guillebeau's blog.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Forget Getting Sick - 4 ways to avoid it at all costs!

Forget waking up in the morning not being able to make talk because your voice is so raspy.  Nobody has time for trying to shove an entire box of kleenex's into their already over-packed backpack.  Bronchitis?  There's no way you'll be able to concentrate in class after walking 10 minutes in the cold/rain/snow weather only to be greeted by life threatening hacks that leave you wheezing like your dying - but hey, you really cant skip class because the Professor takes attendance so suck it up!

This was my first semester of college at the University of St. Thomas.  Every other week I was practically dyeing with some sort of illness - bronchitis, cold's galore, even the flu at one point.  I was blaming it on the world, as people tend to do - "Oh, it was the crazy girl sitting next to me in my psych 101 class, she's always sneezing."  or even just "children...so many children..."  Then however I became a little bit smarter, either college was doing what it was supposed to or I just became more insightful, because I realized it was my own fault that I was getting sick so much and it was on my to fix it.  And so I did just that.  I starting to eat-up any article/research/person with knowledge on health. This semester, literally all of my friends at St. Thomas have been stricken with boogery, disgusting, colds, and I have persevered, healthy and well, though not wealthy yet.

The more people that don't get sick - the less likely I am to ruin my track record of a sick free semester, so I would really appreciate it if you followed these tips that are practically sure fire way's to increase your immune system!

1)  Splurge on the Fresh Squeezed Oj.

Orange juice is actually an opportunity to provide some of the most fundamental ingredients to boost our immune system.  It's truly a powerhouse with over 200% of your daily Vitamin C - plus, Vitamin A and B!

2) Become a Whale/Dolphin/Sea Turtle/Sea animal of choice and drink water bottles upon water bottles of water.

We are told to do this so often, but we never do.  Why?  Are we lazy?  Obviously we are lazy.  Have self control, rise above the laziness - drink more water!

3) Sleep.

If I were to choose a single thing from this list to pick out as the #1 way to avoid sickness, sleep would be the one.  This is what I was lacking the most that first semester and is also the thing that I have increased the most since.  I use an amazing app called Sleep Cycle which tracks your sleeping patterns.  You can set the alarm so that it wakes you up gradually so your not being forced awake in the middle of REM sleep, which will throw off your entire morning.  Aim for 8 hours a night and the difference will be unbelievable.

4) De-Stress.

This is also super important.  When you are stressed out, it is literally 10000000% easier to forget all of the things that I've already listed, and it lowers your immune system by a ton.  It is horrible for you mentally and physically to be stressed out.  Make a list of five things you can do when you start to feel stressed out - mine include taking a bath, reading a book, breathing, and yoga.  Always come back to these things the second you start feeling yourself inch into the depths of stress.

And if you do find yourself sick (probably because you forgot one of these 4 tips), here's a great article by one of my favorite blogs, The Chalkboard Mag on some natural remedies to try before you go to the doc - which always seems to be much easier in college!

What are your tips on not getting sick? Leave a comment, I'd love to know!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Lake Calhoun Minnesota Ballerina Shoot Preview

Ellington is 15 and is among some of the most talented people I know.  She is an accomplished ballerina working vigorously to make a career out of her passion.  I was lucky to shoot her last Tuesday and can't wait to share the rest of her photos over on my Reyna Meinhardt Photography website!

Dance video of the Day: A-Z's of Dance

Watch It.  Love it.  Fall in love all over again with dance.

Which A-Z is your favorite? Mine will always be the ballet ones - A for Arabesque anyone?! 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Yoga or Ballet? Which is better for your Body?

Photo Sources: Unknown 

One of the key's that I have found in avoiding sickness and being an all around happy individual, is to stay active.

Creating the habit of being active is one of the most important things you can do for yourself.  How do you did this?  Intense repetition.  Research proves that you must create a reminder for yourself daily to follow through with the habit you want to create (I leave my leotard on my bed, or yoga mat by my door) and then afterwards reward yourself with something small, such as a warm bath or lighting a candle, to create the habit.  Pro tip: make sure you always reward yourself with the same thing - don't switch it up!  Your trying to create a habit!   However, before you create the habit, you must determine what habit is the best choice for you.  I am active in both yoga and ballet, and wanted to share my insights on which might be better for you.

My experience with BALLET:

I joined Metropolitan Ballet Academy two years ago, a competitive academy that expects excellence.  If you truly want to experience the benefits of ballet, you must join a competitive academy.  After I had danced at Metro for a few months, I moved to Arizona for the winter and joined a small ballet studio there taking adult classes.  I was not pushed to the level that I needed to be and my skills did not develop and my body didn't show results.  Trying different academies is key to your success, avoid adult only classes if you want to really push yourself.  If you are just starting ballet at a competitive studio, expect your confidence to diminish.  Expect to be pushed to a level that you never thought you'd experience.  Expect to feel physical and even mental pain and a passion that could move you to tears.

If you put a lot of effort into ballet, and you find a competitive studio that will push you - you will see a physical different quickly and your body will become flexible and strong to a level that you wouldn't have expected.  Your calves will be shaped, your thighs will get smaller, your abs will be harder, your arms will be more toned.  Ballet works every part of your body, and to be honest, it will never ever compliment you but rather continue pushing you, you will never feel "comfortable" with ballet.  Ballet can be extreme as you want it to be.

You will see results with ballet - but in the long run you have to be careful.  Extreme knee pain will happen, your feet will never be the same, and your mental state will definitely grow harder and more passionate.  If you are prepared for this, by all means go for it!  I will never say it wasn't worth it.

My experience with YOGA: 

I have been a Yogi for three years, I began with taking two light Vinyasa classes twice a week for 4 months.  After a hiatus due to Ballet, I have now begun taking level 2 Hot Power Yoga classes at Corepower.  Let me tell you, that class will make me soaking wet with sweat.  I leave feeling revived, renewed, and energized.  Mentally, I feel more grounded and true to myself.  I feel empowered to be no one but myself.  One of the best physical benefits that I feel I get from these classes are the de-toxifying benefits.

My biggest disappointment in these classes? Despite them being high level classes,  I don't feel sore the next morning.

Final Thoughts

For me, personally I find a better workout in Ballet and better mental benefits from Yoga.  If I were to choose one of the two to keep in my life short term I would choose Ballet.  Why do I say short term?  Because of the natural wear and tear that Ballet has on ones body, moving away from it long term and something that is kinder such as yoga would be beneficial.  Combining both Yoga and Ballet into my lifestyle right now is my goal as they both benefit each other immensely.  For you, definitely look at your own personal needs and go from there!

What are your thoughts on Ballet Vs. Yoga? Which do you prefer? 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

6 of the BEST Thigh High Socks In Stores right now!

Source: Abercrombie and Fitch

After my thigh high Pull Up stockings post yesterday I felt I should share my second love - thigh high knit socks.  Too die for.  I'm in ballet and they are vital for long days at the studio.  In between class and rehearsals sometimes your sitting for a long time, and having thigh high socks keeps my muscles warm and makes it harder to suffer from injuries.  I also have achilles tendon issues and wearing them for warm ups and again, in between classes, helps keep the soreness away!

More than just helping out with ballet, they are SO cute!  I wear them over tights to prevent runs when I'm walking around my condo without shoes on.  They are also adorable to wear with skirts and dresses, and of course, with boots.

1) Urban Outfitters $14  2)Urban Outfitters $14 3) Free People $18 4) Free People $24 5)Anthropologie $34  6) ModCloth $14.99

How do you wear thigh high socks? Where do you buy yours? Leave a comment, I'd love to know so I can stock up on some more!