Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hebrew school

Today is Rosh Hashanah, which means “head of the year” or “new year” in Judaism. It also means we Jews can leave work early and eat apples and honey. Here are some other awesome looking Rosh recipes: 


P.S. This Rosh Hashanah parody, performed by Aish (a bunch of Yeshiva students) is worth watching…

P.P.S. A funny Rosh Hashanah card 

(pics via Ken Hively/Los Angeles Times,,

(card via someecards)

MTK: the beginning

We went to Montauk a few weeks ago – my first time out to “the end.” It was lovely, and I highly recommend going in September, especially like now when it’s 75 degrees out.

Itinerary highlights:

Literally a backyard, but much cooler than your childhood stomping grounds… There are candles (in ball jars, nonetheless!) lighting the walkway to the bar/restaurant area from the hotel lobby, lights strewn among the low-hanging trees and a fire pit. The ambiance is all-around perfect.

Go for a spin
We rented bikes from the Montauk Bike Shop and first rode to Ditch Plains, legendary MTK surfer beach. It was a very laid-back and serene scene. Next we rode to the uber trendy Surf Lodge and had drinks overlooking a peaceful Fort Pond. Last we biked to Duryea’s for lobster rolls (and clam chowder and sweet corn). We sat outside on the “Lobster Deck.” It was awesome! 
*If you do go to Duryea’s, bring cash (they don’t accept credit cards) and time your visit so you can sit outside (there’s very little room inside the joint). 

Bonfire on the beach
We (i.e. my boyfriend and his brother) made a fire on the beach. (It’s actually legal!) We made smores, drank beer and listened to music. 
*TIP FOR PLAYING MUSIC ON YOUR PHONE: Put the phone in a cup, and the music gets louder…


(MTK pic via

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sex, religion & politics

(the 3 things you’re not supposed to talk about)

But I just read a book that blew my mind: Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian L. Weiss, M.D.

If you’re open to reincarnation (that’s right, I said it) or if you just like learning about lots of different ideals and ways of life and philosophies (like me!) you should read this book… What stood out are the messages coming from “the masters” of loving-kindness, balance and karma. (Call it what you’d like. The book calls it “paying debts.”)

Many Lives essentially told me to be compassionate and to meditate. (Which The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali also advises.) Hmmm. Something to think, and talk, about.


P.S. I’ve been asked to elaborate on the storyline of Many Lives, and I’d be happy to!

In a nutshell:
Dr. Brian Weiss was an established and prominent psychiatrist living and practicing in Miami, Florida after graduating from Columbia University and Yale Medical School (NBD). He had been using “traditional” techniques on his patients, such as psychotherapy and occasionally prescribing medicine. He considered himself a true scientist. Then Catherine came to see him. She was extremely anxious, had many phobias and was prone to panic attacks. After 18 months of using conventional means of therapy on Catherine, Weiss still couldn’t help her to overcome her symptoms. In a last-ditch effort to help Catherine, Weiss tried hypnosis. “Hypnosis is an excellent tool to help a patient remember long-forgotten incidents,” Weiss said. He expected Catherine to bring up memories from her childhood, which she did. She also relayed information from many other lifetimes and from “master spirits.” And she wasn’t lying. She was able to give Dr. Weiss information from his late father and deceased baby son, information she was not privy to outside of hypnosis. And throughout her hypnosis sessions, Catherine was healed of her own issues. It was really a win-win situation; it just required a change of approach and a revolutionized way of thinking… 

P.P.S This is me in a nutshell! 

Friday, September 23, 2011

First day of Fall

We welcomed the first signs of fall last weekend with a visit to a cornfield & pumpkin patch out on Long Island. Although it may feel muggy and warm here in NYC today, it is officially the first day of autumn.

Happy pumpkin picking!


P.S. We went here, which was lovely. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Word up Wednesday: Book Review

Book review: The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster 


If you read The Phantom Tollbooth as a kid, or if your mama read it to you when you were a mere babe, read it again. Protagonist Milo, along with Tock the dog and the ever-entertaining Humbug, make up the motley little crew trying to save – get this – Rhyme and Reason. The ‘good’ characters are lovable and the ‘bad’ quite comical. Author Norton Juster takes the reader from the Land of Expectations to the Word Market in Dictionopolis and beyond. Juster’s lessons are timeless and communicated through an incredibly creative and enjoyable storyline. In fact, I dog-eared many of The Phantom Tollbooth’s pages for easy access to awesome passages like the below:

“I think we’re lost,” panted the Humbug, collapsing into a large berrybush.
“Nonsense!” shouted Alec from the high branch on which he sat.
“Do you know where we are?” asked Milo.
“Certainly,” he replied, “we’re right here on this very spot. Besides, being lost is never a matter of not knowing where you are; it’s a matter of not knowing where you aren’t—and I don’t care at all about where I’m not.”
(Chapter 10: A Colorful Symphony)


P.S. If you too are a book nerd and have reading recommendations, please do comment and provide any/all suggestions.

P.P.S. Check out this awesome yoga dork site I found… 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fear factor

Fear was a big theme for me throughout my yoga teacher training program. Fear that I wasn’t “advanced” enough, fear that I’d never get up into a handstand. And quite frankly, this fear situation was holding me back… So I decided to leave fear behind upon graduating the course. Of course I still get scared, but now I use my freaky thoughts to my advantage. And quite coincidentally (God?) Martha Beck recently wrote an inspiring article on how to harness fear (and get what you want) in the October 2011 issue of O, the Oprah Magazine. Check it out. Can you relate?

My response to Beck’s instructions:
I want to write a book
but I’m afraid I won’t be "good enough" and/or I’ll embarrass myself & my family (sorry in advance guys!)

Then again, I was scared to start blogging. And how awesome is po(i)sed?!

Good luck steering through your fear.


P.S. More on fear… 
“Clinging to bodily life” (or fear of death) is the fifth of Patanjali’s kleshas, or obstacles. Deal with the kleshas, and you will be good-to-go! In his translation of the Yoga Sutras, Sri Swami Satchidananda provides an enjoyable commentary on fear of death and attachment to the body:

“Some people have old, old cars, say a ’43 Dodge. Even if you offer them the latest model Dodge they wouldn’t want it. You may even say, ‘Your car is no good anymore. You are blocking the road by driving it at ten miles an hour when everybody else is going fifty-five. You need to get a new one.’ The motor vehicles department may even take it away by force and throw it in a junkyard, but the owner will sit by it, crying and lamenting. Attachment to the body is like attachment to that car.” (Sutra 2:9)

Curious about the first four? They are:
(Sutra 2:3)

P.P.S. Just for fun: Nicole 4 Eva

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dress code

Hasn’t Facebook put a damper on rewearing outfits? 

Before Facebook, no one knew when I rewore the same top & bottom every single Saturday night… Now I have to be more creative with my mixing and matching. And special events? Forget about it. Wear the same dress to two weddings and that is clearly the only dress you own. Jennifer Aniston was recently quoted saying that she’ll wear her favorite bikini until it falls apart. People were actually giving her a hard time for being spotted in the same bathing suit over and over every summer! I still sport a suit from freshman year of college… But poor celebs… their outfits have been scrutinized since the invention of paparazzi in La Dolce Vita. At least stars get pampered with SWAG. For all of us mortals, here are a few tips for keepin’ it fresh despite Facebook photos surfacing…

Rent the runway
Rent a designer dress for 90% off retail prices.

Accent with different accessories
We’ve all seen the magazine feature with celebs rewearing one piece, but with different accessories. Bring a dress from day to night, or from weekend to weekend, just by tweaking your handbag, shoes, jewelry, hairdo, etc.
Curb Chain Bracelet Set, Forever 21, $3.80

Beg, borrow, (don't) steal
I recently lent a dress to a friend for a wedding. We roll in different circles, and I’m sure we look different in the sheath anyway. You don’t have to be roomies in college to share clothes. You just have to schlep across town. Totally worth it.

Shop at inexpensive stores
It may sound obvious, but many people – myself included – are intimidated by the mobs at Forever 21, H&M, and other low-priced retailers. Try to sneak out to these stores at lunchtime or during other off-times. When I've sucked it up and dealt with the crowds (and over-stimulation) at these places, I’ve found gems! And of course shopping online is always an option.

Striped ¾ Sleeve Dress, Forever 21, $11.50

Happy shopping! (Or renting or borrowing)


Friday, September 16, 2011

Hooray for the Hamptons

I’m headed to the Hamptons this weekend, so I’m inspired to share an article in Hamptons Magazine about a movie that takes place in the Hamptons... written by the lovely Julie Bensman

P.S. Check out this awesome photo from the feature's shoot, produced by Bensman as well. 

(Photo via by DAVE LIEBERMAN)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Yoga deal of the day & workshop roundup

$29 for a month of unlimited yoga at ISHTA in NYC… sounds too good to be true!
ISHTA has been recommended by my teachers Chrissy Carter and Anna Dioguardi (who currently teaches there). I’m looking forward to experiencing a new studio and learning from a whole new set of classes. See you on the mat.

Anatomy of Asana: Scapular Stability & Inversions, taught by Chrissy Carter
October 2nd, 1pm-6pm at YogaWorks (my alma mater)
I’m dying to go to this workshop. Chrissy is an amazing teacher and has really helped me to improve my own inversion practice. Although she won’t admit it, she’s an anatomy expert and always knows which specific alignment instructions each individual body needs.

Sunday Night Budh Circle at Om Factory in NYC
Looking for like-minded people to meet up with and share a lovely yogic experience? My friend, and experienced yoga practitioner and teacher, is hosting a Sunday night healing circle, which fuses the benefits of yoga with meditation & energy healing.



Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Word up Wednesday: Sutra

I’m currently procrastinating working on my yoga teacher training take-home test… Procrastinating, I just read in Psychology Today, qualifies as self-sabotage. Which is quite ironic, considering I’m in the middle of writing an exam answer about The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, about 200 aphorisms on how NOT to self-sabotage…

Sutra: Literally means “thread”

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are phrases once said by sage Patanjali Maharishi that explain how to do yoga, be mindful, find clarity, etc.

“Within the space of these 200 short Sutras, the entire science of Yoga is clearly delineated: its aim, the necessary practices, the obstacles you may meet along the path, their removal, and precise descriptions of the results that will be obtained from such practices.” - Sri Swami Satchidananda

In other words, Patanjali really lays it out for us, via a list of lessons no longer than 140 characters each... Like philosophical tweets.


Books we’re embarrassed to read

“We’re heading to the shore… we'll be the gays in the short shorts with the gigantic cooler, pretending to read The New Yorker while Us Weekly sits inside it...” – My friend Danny

Do you ever read particular magazines or books in secret? I’m a big fan of a few books that are considered “self-help.” They’re so inspiring! But I was definitely a little too embarrassed to pull out Steering by Starlight: The Science and Magic of Finding Your Destiny on the subway when I was reading it a couple of years ago… Now I’m more secure. Who gives a s#*t what I’m reading?! As a yogi I know better than to identify my self-worth with outside objects and opinions. And I feel perfectly O.K. sharing that I’m always working to improve myself, learn more, and feel happy. 

My “embarrassing” book recommendations:

Steering by Starlight: The Science and Magic of Finding Your Destiny by Martha Beck
Beck is wicked smart, super witty, and really knows how to relate to people (she is, after all, a life coach). Steering by Starlight is an enjoyable, helpful read if you’re looking for some direction (in any area of your life). *Of course, ultimately the direction comes from within… You’ll see. 

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey
This should be required reading of all American adults. Covey provides tools for improving oneself and for working well with others.

Happiness Is An Inside Job: Practicing for a Joyful Life by Sylvia Boorstein
This book is Buddhist-based but relatable no matter what your religious/philosophical beliefs are. Boorstein is clear, concise and straightforward. She explains how to deal with day-to-day grievances and larger-scale tragedies, all with wisdom and a sense of humor.

Happy reading!


P.S. Remember that episode of SATC when Charlotte peruses the self-help section of the bookstore? She picks up Starting Over, Yet Again, but is too embarrassed to buy it… In public at least. She scurries over to the travel section, and then later purchases Starting Over from

And a very special thanks to Jacki! My lovely, brilliant friend and source of all media info.

Thinking outside the box: ball jars

I’m all about nesting lately, and I’m trying to be creative about storing all the stuff that’s accumulated in our studio apartment. Check out my trick for making everything from collectables to kitchen utensils aesthetically pleasing: ball jars.

Matchbooks collected and kept on the bar (in a ball jar)

Corks stored in a large ball jar, sitting atop the wine fridge

Candle in a ball jar, set on the coffee table

Flowers in a ball jar, sitting on the windowsill

Cooking utensils live in a ball jar, on the kitchen counter 

You can buy ball jars at hardware stores like Basics Plus or online


Monday, September 12, 2011

Surf’s up

After visiting Ditch Plains beach yesterday in Montauk, I’m in a surfer state of mind. Check out this warm up for hitting the waves. (Even if you’re not into surfing or yoga, this video’s music is delightful and its model adorable…)

(Pic: Ditch Plains, MTK)


Back to school daze


(The New Yorker 9/5/2011)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fake it til you bake it

There’s no shame in baking from a box. In the “Philosophies of Practicing and Teaching” section of my yoga teacher training program, and in life, I’ve learned that one shouldn’t seek self-worth in baking abilities, handstand skills, etc.

In other words, don’t attach to baking from scratch. Don’t attach to any kind of baking or cooking. Just the act of preparing food, or even buying it, can be very thoughtful. Yesterday I made chocolate chip banana bread for my beloved. I highly recommend this recipe.

Trader Joe’s Banana Bread Mix
Trader Joe’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate chips (optional, can be substituted or combined with chopped walnuts, dried cherries… get wild)
2 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 325*
Place mix in a large bowl
Add eggs, oil and water
Stir mixture together until blended
Pour batter into a greased loaf pan
Bake until golden brown, approximately 45 to 55 mins

*I highly recommend investing (a few dollars) in an oven thermometer. In my last apartment, choosing a temp on the dial was like playing Russian roulette. 

Voila! Banana bread bliss, homemade by yours truly…


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Newport Report

My boyfriend and I went to Newport, RI this past weekend and stayed at a lovely B & B. We had our own private porch area, homemade chocolate chip cookies delivered to our room each evening, and breakfast feasts served family-style each AM. It was an allover yummy experience.

Itinerary highlights:

10-mile bike ride along Ocean Drive
Don’t be dissuaded by the “10 mile” detail. It’s totally doable, even for someone who RARELY exercises, i.e. my boyfriend.

(Side note: big ups to Justin, who was the perfect yoga student throughout my Teacher Training. He’s now saying things like “I think you could go into Handstand from Crow pose…)

Anyway, Ocean Drive is gorgeous and relatively quiet for a major road, even during a holiday weekend. Biking along the ocean: highly recommended. Rent bikes from Newport Bicycle.

Sailboat outing
Scary. But worth it. The waves were really rocky when we sailed out to sea, and it seemed as if we were going to capsize at any moment… At one point a crewmember asked us to leave our “seats” atop a life vest container, so naturally I assumed we were in a state of emergency (having to shift our weight and all). I shot up and crawled across some people lounging in the middle of the boat. It turned out another passenger had just requested a life jacket for his kid… Whoops! The rest of the ride was enjoyable and educational. We learned about the last working farm in Newport (where Jackie Lee Bouvier spent summers and rode horses), a house once erected (and still functioning) in the middle of Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay, and more… Overall, the Newport nautical experience was a worthwhile adventure.

Ocean Cliff wedding crashing
We spent an afternoon drinking fine wine and eating cheese in Adirondack chairs on the lawn of the Ocean Cliff hotel. Not too shabby. The staff was prepping for a wedding right by our setup, overlooking the Atlantic. We didn’t end up staying for the festivities, but the spot was definitely worth checking out (with or without an invitation).

Destination: Ocean House, Watch Hill, RI
On the recommendation of our B & B owner, we stopped in Watch Hill for lunch before returning to NYC on Monday. Rather than sit in traffic on 95, we sat on the verandah at the Ocean House.

We were told that the Watch Hill community, and the Ocean House in particular, would be very “Tony.” We had no idea what that meant, but we set forth anyway, and googled the term en route:

adjective, ton·i·er, ton·i·est. Informal .
high-toned; stylish: a tony nightclub.

Allow me to paint a “Tony” picture:

You’re sipping white wine at a table on a verandah, perched above a game of croquet and looking out onto the Atlantic. Everyone around you is dressed to the nines. The food (RI oysters and a warm lobster roll) is delectable. Inside the hotel the ladies room is larger and lovelier than your NYC apartment. So Tony.


P.S. Other Labor Day getaways from around the Web:
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