Sometimes You Just Have to Fall

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Soul Yoga Hour www.soulyogaokc.com

I love this photo taken by Desirae, one of my yoga instructors. Much to my delight, I’m in a near-perfect headstand. I’ve (sort of) patiently worked to master this & I’ve finally got it.

 

What the picture doesn’t show is the countless new bruises on my legs and feet from falling. From hitting the wall. Hard.

 

To truly master inversions or arm balances in yoga, you have to fall. Falling is how you learn. You learn where your hands and arms should (or shouldn’t) go, where your weight goes, how tight your core should be. Plus breathing. Lots to think about.

 

Until the past couple of weeks, I never let myself fall. Ever. Either I wouldn’t really try or I’d jump/roll/tip out of whatever I was attempting, usually before I really tried. I was scared. Then I’d be mad at myself. Which sort of goes against everything yoga is about. I wasn’t falling but I also wasn’t learning.

 

As I began to rationalize what it would take to get my legs above my head, it hit me: what’s the worst that can happen? I’ll fall. But I’ll get back up and I’ll try again. And again.

 

Lately, in other parts of my life, I’ve had to let myself fall. Fall and hit the ground. Fall and let someone catch me. Its reminded me that falling is never as bad as you think and getting back up can teach you something every time.

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Posterior Tilting, Perfection and Pilates

Most of my life was spent as a very part-time athlete. The occasional tennis game, aerobics, walking. I wasn’t dedicated to anything in particular until I became and runner four years ago. Then I discovered yoga. Both activities clear my head and calm my mind and make me much more tolerable to those who live with me.

Becoming more of an athlete has made me more open different workouts. So when the opportunity to try a new Pilates studio in Oklahoma City came my way, I thought why not? I also immediately thought of the covers of all the magazines that swear the abs, legs and backsides of all female celebrities are created by Pilates.

Sign me up.

Pilates works to build flexibility and long, lean muscles.  The movements and exercises emphasize spinal and pelvic alignment and develop a strong core. Pilates focuses on breath and a true mind-body connection. Exercises can be modified depending on the individual—meaning you don’t have to be in shape to start Pilates.

I’ve been intrigued by Pilates over the years, but frankly, the equipment intimidated me. Years of ballet did nothing for my grace so I could see myself getting stuck or falling. Or both.

My first two sessions at Urban Core Pilates Studio were private lessons with co-owner Tanna Fried. I immediately felt comfortable with Tanna and knew she would be a great instructor for me. Plus, who doesn’t feel happy being welcomed somewhere by chalk art? After a quick overview of my activity level and any problem areas/injuries, we got to work.

Tanna immediately clued in that I have issues with my hips—they are tight.  I mean, really tight. This is a common in runners, but mine were problematic long before I became a runner. She also noticed that I am a posterior tilter. Which means I tilt my pelvis back, causing my torso to lean back slightly, making it more challenging to keep my pelvis in a neutral position—key to many of the movements in Pilates.

After an overview of the studio, we started on the reformer—a piece of resistance exercise equipment designed by Joseph Pilates.  The reformer’s springs can be adjusted to various levels of strength for both leg and arm movements. I quickly learned that form is much more important than the movement itself. Doing the movements correctly and letting the machine offer the feedback is key. We worked on various movements and concentrated on several that stretched my hips. Challenging, but not painful, just true stretching and strengthening.

Reformers at Urban Core Pilates Studio

Tanna, who clued in to my tight hips also saw my perfectionist tendencies I was trying so hard to hide.  You know, doing something for the very first time and thinking you can do it as if you’ve been doing it forever? Um, yeah, that’s me.  She warned me that she’d tell me to stop it if she saw the perfectionist creeping in. Another reason I immediately liked her—she’ll call me out.

As with anything new, taking time to adapt is half the battle. So armed with my new mantra of “letting go” I’m looking forward to my next few weeks in Pilates. My last private session is next week and then I begin group classes. I’ll keep you posted on how my oh-so-tight hips respond as well as that pesky perfectionist thing I’ve got going on.

Interested in seeing Urban Core for yourself? Join Engage OKC for a night of wine, cheese and Pilates on August 9th at 6:00 pm. Catch up with friends, check out the art, and try out a few Pilates moves. Urban Core staff will be on hand to answer questions and demo simple Pilates moves. Whether you’re new to Pilates or are an experienced practitioner, come see what Urban Core has to offer. Space is limited and workout wear is welcomed. RSVP by August 1st.

This is a sponsored post; Urban Core provided Pilates classes to me as a member of Engage OKC, but all words and opinions are my own.

Friday Favorite: Our Boys in Blue

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This photo makes me teary. Teammates, friends, brothers–reflecting on something that almost was. Something that was THISCLOSE. Something they worked for. Played for.

The Thunder have changed our city. The excitement we’ve see on the court, the economic impact, the newfound respect we’ve gained from first-time visitors who perhaps were forced to come here but found a place like no other. They’ve taught us about camaraderie, perseverance, teamwork, dedication. And off the court, they’ve embraced our city, our people. They’ve given back, they’ve high-fived kids in the Sam’s parking lot, they’ve made a difference. And they haven’t been ashamed to admit that they love Oklahoma City and can’t imagine playing anywhere else.

So to our boys in blue, you make us proud. What an amazing season. What an amazing group of young men. Thanks for changing Oklahoma City for the better.

Father’s Day: Pancakes, Golf and Learning to Cook

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This picture was taken Father’s Day 2002. Max was 4 months old and with him is his Grandpa Doug.

Doug came into my life when I was 14. I was a typical teenager and all I really cared about was talking on the phone. And boys. And I was probably a little (a lot) obnoxious. Doug was dating my mom and she really liked him. Eventually, they decided to get married. I wanted my mom to be happy and he made her happy so I was as supportive as a 14 year old could be. The night they got married Doug told me something I’ll never forget: “I love your mother and I love you. I realize you have a father and I will not try to take his place. I will be your friend, earn your respect and support you in any way I can.”

Over the years, Doug did everything from help me buy my first car to teach me to drive a stick shift. He taught me to play golf and how to play Keno in Vegas. He made the best pancakes, didn’t yell when I brought home another stray animal and he helped load and unload the truck when I went to college. Doug applauded my achievements, worried I would never learn to cook and came to the rescue when a high school friend drove his car through a large plate glass window at our house. He saw me graduate from college, start my first job, inspected every car/apartment/condo and was there the night Max was born. But most of all, Doug kept his promise of supporting me. He absolutely earned my respect. And he loved me like his own.

Doug got sick in November 2002 and was given six months to live. I was crushed that Max would never know him. During that time, even when I wasn’t sure he could hear me, I told him all the things he had done to impact my life. I promised I would make sure Max knew all about him and he would certainly know where his first fishing pole and golf clubs came from.

I miss Doug every day and often find myself thinking of things I would tell him if he were here, like the fact that I did learn to cook but I still stink at golf. If you’re a step-dad or if you become one someday, never underestimate the impact you have.

Happy Father’s Day, Doug!

Happy Birchbox Day to Me!

What turns an average Thursday into an awesome Thursday? When my Birchbox arrives. YIPPEE!

Find out more at www.birchbox.com

I professed my love for this monthly product surprise pack a few weeks ago.When I saw this in my mailbox I knew my blah day was on the road to recovery.  On first glance it appears to include self-tanner towlettes, a leave in UV protectant for hair, oil-free face cleanser, Cynthia Rowley band-aids (because fancy band-aids are much better than Sponge-Bob band-aids) and Stainiac—a lip and cheek stain. Who couldn’t have fun with something called Stainiac?

So, I’m off to experiment. I figure I should have bright cheeks and a good tan for tonight’s Thunder game. I’ll report back soon with my thoughts on this month’s goodies.

 

Versatility

One of the things I’ve discovered about my wardrobe is that I like to wear things different ways. I might want to dress something up for an event or dress it down for running errands. With the exception of a few dressier outfits most of the things in my closet are versatile and can be worn lots of ways.

Case in point: the Big Shot Dot Circle Skirt from J.Crew.

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I love the whimsy of this skirt. When I first spotted it (no pun intended), I could easily see it with a t-shirt and flip flops, just like I could see it with a silk blouse or cardigan. 

Here are two outfits I put together around the skirt. First, my casual look:

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Jersey T-Shirt-J.Crew; Tory Burch Flip Flops;
J.Crew Belt; Stella & Dot jewelry

 

Next, a dressier option. Also with a little pattern mixing. I’m crazy like that. 

 

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J.Crew blouse & belt, Nine West wedges, Stella & Dot jewelry

 

So the next time you spot (I’m cracking myself up with this word…) something you love, think about the ways you can dress it up and down. It will make you feel like you have twice as many clothes. Pinky swear.

What are some of the ways you make your wardrobe more versatile? I’d love to know!

Getting Steamy

 

Retails for around $60

Today’s Friday Favorite has been a close, personal companion for months and particularly this week. My Eureka Enviro Steamer.

Since we’re preparing to move I have been a cleaning machine and my handy, dandy steamer has tackled my floors, tile and bathroom walls like a champ. It steams, cleans and sanitizes without harsh cleaners and even works on hard wood floors.

So if you need some steam, this little number may be just what you need.

Happy Friday, friends!

Moving On

 

At 3, this is what Max thought I did for a living.

 

Moving is overwhelming. Completely. Especially for someone like me who’s just not a mover. My mom still lives in the same house I grew up in. I can count on one hand and 2 fingers on the other the places I’ve lived since I left my mom’s house for college. I find where I like and I stay there.

After 15 years in one house, we’re packing up to move. When Mark and I got married  year and a half ago, I had a house and he had a house. We put his on the market first because we were certain it would sell. One year later it is still on the market. Yikes. So now mine is going on the market because houses in my historic, centrally-located neighborhood are selling fast. So it means I have to pack.

Today I tackled our extra bedroom which contains 400 containers (OK, 6) of drawings, cut-outs, scribbles, photos, “what we did today” notes and more from Max’s life since his daycare/preschool. I told myself I WOULD NOT open boxes, just stack them to make it easy to move.

Um, that lasted about 2.5 seconds.

It started innocently enough. Looking some artwork of trees and leaves, a Thanksgiving cutout and a Christmas calendar with photos from Max’s daily life at preschool. That brought smiles and great memories and a tear or two brimming on my eye. As I looked and sorted, the magnitude of moving and packing and the change coming my way hit me hard and the tears began to flow. Lots of them.

I’m an admittedly proud sap. I cry easily–over both happy and sad things. I wear my emotions all over my face. So as I sorted and cried, I heard Max coming down the hall.

“Whatcha doing, Mom?”

“Oh, just going through a few things,”  I said.

“This is a lot of stuff. It looks like stuff from when I was little. Mom, are you crying?”

So as I sat in the floor trying to hide my tears, I looked up at my sweet boy and said, “Yes, honey, I am.”

I explained that all of the things I was looking at brought back such wonderful memories and made me feel sad about leaving our house…the one where he came home from the hospital, took his first steps, played in the sprinkler and read under the big tree in the yard.

Max put his hands on my face and kissed my forehead. “Mom, I know it is sad but just think, we have memories to make in the new house and it will be fun.”

If I didn’t feel like the child in this exchange before, I certainly did now. As I was looking through his toddler things, Max showed me what an amazing young man he’s become. I realized that regardless what I saved or discarded, the knowledge that Max is growing into such an insightful person will stay with me long after the drawings have faded.

And that’s not something you can pack in a box.

Friday Favorite: Clarisonic Mia

Clarisonic Mia, $119 + free shipping at http://www.clarisonic.com

I love a good gadget and if it the gadget happens to make my skin look and feel better, I love it even more.

Meet Mia. The Clarisonic Mia.

This handy little device uses the same technology as the Sonicare (another favorite) to cleanse skin 6x better in just 60 seconds. It’s very gentle, i.e. you don’t feel like you’ve rubbed your skin with sandpaper. If your skin is extra sensitive like mine, you’re in luck because it comes with a brush specifically for sensitive skin. It also comes with a sample of Clarisonic’s skin cleanser, but I use Cetaphil–which I’ve used since high school–and it works just fine. The Mia comes in 17 different colors (mine is turquoise) and it is the perfect size for travel.

It didn’t take long for me to see the difference in my skin, particularly that my make-up looked better and smoother. After several months of use I continue to see that my skin is brighter and absorbs moisturizer better. And while $119 isn’t cheap, I used my creative math skills and divide it over  a year, it’s only 33¢ per day. What a deal!

Clean skin is happy skin.

 

Okie Blog Love

In my spare time, I like to peruse other blogs. It makes me feel like there are other people just like me who come up with ideas for their next blog while showering, in the middle of the night or on a run–which is usual when I write my blogs. In my head of course because running with a pen would be dangerous.

I have several blogs I read on a regular basis and they just all happen to be Oklahoma girls–either born or transplanted, but Okies none the less.

Let me introduce you:

The Working Closet – I’ve shared my adoration for Susan and her blog more than once so in case you missed it, hop on over and follow her. She’s funny and has a great sense of style.

Pencil Shavings – I met Rachel through Susan. Rachel is a designer, hip, fun, creative and her post for May 31 is wonderful. Go read it. Now.

The Hollywood Housewife – She may live in LA now, but she’s a proud Oklahoma girl. I actually don’t even remember how I stumbled across her blog but I am so glad I did. And when I learned that, like me, she is obsessed with Duck Dynasty on A&E, I wished she lived here so we could have a glass of wine and discuss the craziness. And I do mean crazy.

Gorilla Buns – I met Shana at a local blogger event and quickly realized she was one of the funniest people I’d met in a long time. We talked Catholic schools, mascara and got our eyebrows waxed. Good times.

Two + Two = Home – Karlee chronicles life with her twin boys. I’ve known Karlee for several years and she has always amazed me with her maturity and strong spirit. I have never sent that more than recently, when one of her boys was diagnosed with a genetic illness. We could all learn something about strength and faith from this young mother.

So show some love to these Oklahoma girls and check out their blogs. You’re welcome.

Do you have a favorite local blog? Share!

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