Back in Business

5 Sep

Smile Out Loud is officially back in business πŸ˜€ While the bad news is that I took a ridiculously long time to get settled on campus and finish RA training, the good news is that I’m done with dining hall food and back to cooking for myself. All I can say about that is: THANK GOODNESS!

Naturally, I celebrated the end of dining hall boredom by bookin’ it to Whole Foods at Columbus Circle (59th street and Broadway) to buy real food πŸ˜€

Columbus Circle is actually kind of beautiful, even for a shopping center πŸ˜€ Whole Foods is in the middle of the building, right down the escalator…

Food shopping is a lot less stressful if you don’t go when the store is closing–who knew? I felt like I had all the time in the world, for the first time in a long time! I am so excited to tell you about my 3 steals of the day…

1. Hunza Mulberries: Awesome for snacking and for salad toppings, and of course, as a secret ingredient in vegan overnight oats (one of my all-time favorite breakfast options :D).

Have you a fan of mulberries? If not, you have got to try them! They have loads of antioxidants, 4 grams of protein per serving, and are on sale at Whole Foods in NYC right now πŸ˜€

2. Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Seeds by Kathie’s Kitchen: These guys are DELISH. You would never guess by their taste that 1/4 of a cup gives you the following minerals: 46.1% of the daily value for magnesium, 28.7% of the DV for iron, 52.0% of the DV for manganese, 24.0% of the DV for copper, 16.9% of the DV for protein, and 17.1% of the DV for zinc. Oh, did I mention they were half-price yesterday?! $2.99 for a 6 ounce package… SCORE πŸ˜€

3. Acorn Squash and Mango Soup: It’s no secret that I’m clinically obsessed with every Imagine soup I’ve ever tried, so this next sentence may be slightly biased, but there’s no stopping me… Acorn squash and mango is THE BEST SOUP ON THE SHELVES. Don’t believe me? You must not have tasted it yet πŸ˜€ Don’t worry, it’s really good for you, too!

So, now I’m a happy camper with fresh food and gorgeous weather outside. If only classes didn’t start in 2 days… I can’t believe that today is my last day of summer! Hope you’re enjoying the last bit of the long weekend πŸ˜€

Smile out loud,

Rachel

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Read, Baby, Read

31 Aug

1. First off,Β Marissa’s response to the question, “What does health mean to you?” for the healthy living blog community is fabulous.

2. My guesses for theΒ 29 healthiest foods on the planet were WRONG (not even bananas, blueberries, or acai berries?!). Here’s to shifting my perspective πŸ˜€

3. Leonardo Da Vinci’s tips are worth reading.Β If anyone is qualified to offer advice on how to get things done, Leo most certainly is πŸ˜€

4. Speaking of getting things done… read this manifesto and you will never procrastinate again!

5. 20 Ways to Detox Your Home is important! Let’s just say my apartment could use a few improvements in the detox arena… since when are wrinkle-free shirts toxic?!

And now, for the food…

Vegan Spinach Dip


Adapted fromΒ Vegan College Cookbook

5 oz. frozen chopped spinach
15 oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 cup vegan mayonnaise
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
Pepper, sea salt, cashews, or red pepper flakes (!) to taste

  • Blend all until smooth. Easy enough, right πŸ˜€

I loved this spread as a veggie dip. Hope you do, too!

Smile out loud,

Rachel

Catch-Up Day

26 Aug

Tonight I would like to share a few SOL updates with you πŸ˜€

1. Β I have made an executive decision: The last 7 days of 31 Days of Yoga are hereby postponed until next week, when I have more control over my time.Β I’m currently in RA (resident assistant) training for 12+ hours a day, everyday… let’s just say that even unpacking my moving boxes has been put on hold in honor of my love for sleep!

2. An SOL reader and friend, Pamela, recently took a hot yoga class (I’m jealous :D). Afterward, she was able to do Yoga Super Granny Pose:

Is she incredible or what?!

3. I decided today that I want to join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculure) this year. Luckily, a few CSA’s come to the university in the fall, but, unluckily, I didn’t realize that I needed to sign up a season in advance. I’m hoping that someone opted out over the summer and I can take their place… After all, how great would it be to have a bounty of fresh, local, organic vegetables every week? Amazing, if you ask me πŸ˜€

I hope you all are having a healthy and happy week so far! I can’t wait to catch up on your blogs and comments this weekend πŸ˜€

Smile out loud,

Rachel

Love Your Length

23 Aug

Yesterday, I did a wicked good (I’m in Massachusetts right now :D) power flow yoga class with my friend, Amanda. I always like to get out of my usual NYC yoga studio and stretch my horizons a little (or a lot, like in Anti-Gravity Yoga), so this class was a treat.

The yoga instructor, Annie, brought incredible energy to the class. I honestly felt challenged throughout the entire 75 minutes.

Annie also helped me make some really great adjustments. At one point, she (gently) pulled my neck out of my body, just like a turtle πŸ˜€

I want to share with you a few of Annie’s adjustments, because with any luck, they might make a difference in your next yoga class…

3 Tricks for Tricky Poses

1. Downward Facing Dog

Turns out, it’s not so much about down, as much as it’s about up. Annie pulled my hips up, into the air, and… WOW! This simple change displaced a great deal of weight from my arms to my legs. My arms were thrilled to have some relief, and the back of my legs got a deep stretch πŸ˜€

So, try to lift your hips straight into the air. If that doesn’t work, there’s always this option… πŸ˜€

2. Pigeon Pose

For pigeon pose, the trick is in the set-up: If you start in upper push-up plank and bend your leg just under your elbows (see below), you should do 3 push-ups there. Then, you simply lower your body from upper to lower push-up plank and BAM– you’re in your perfect pigeon pose! No twitching of the legs, no child birth pain in the hips, just a thorough stretch… for lack of a better word πŸ˜€

This guy has the right idea, but his legs are too high in the air. Of course, if you can do that, Β all the power to ya!

3. “Love Your Length”

This is Annie’s mantra, and I used it the whole class! I am convinced it can be applied to every single yoga pose… unless you can prove me wrong πŸ˜€

When I took Annie’s advice and concentrated on lengthening my poses, I found that my practice became mentally easier and physically deeper. Love your length–this mantra is definitely a keeper πŸ˜€

Smile out loud,

Rachel

NYC Restaurant Edition

22 Aug

Thursday: Of all the pizza places in Manhattan, I have to say that POSTO (18th street & 2nd ave.) is the best, hands down. When you taste the spicy, garlic, veggie pizza, you will see what I mean πŸ˜€ Quite simply, the pizza is delivered straight from heaven!

Friday: Speaking of heaven… The eggplant parmesan at Angelo’s (53rd street & Broadway) is to die for. Β I didn’t take a photo of my plate this time, becauseΒ I was enjoying time with family from home. Don’t worry, though, you’re in luck–Madonna ate at Angelo’s recently, so there’s plenty of photos from her dinner! If it’s good enough for Madonna, it’s good enough for me πŸ˜€

Saturday: After filling the car with my life in boxes, my parents and I strapped furniture to the roof (quite the scene!) and drove uptown to my dorm apartment. By dinnertime, we were starving… moving is a lot of work!

Thank goodnessΒ Campo came to the rescue πŸ˜€ I ordered a thin crust pumpkin pizza. I’ve never thought of pumpkin as a pizza topping before, but I do now! SO DELISH.

Meanwhile, my mother ordered gazpacho with shrimp and raved about it, but I was too busy eating my pumpkin pizza to take a picture of it… πŸ˜€ Anyway, it looked something like this:

So, now you know how I’ve been spoiled rotten while eating over the last few days πŸ˜€ I hope you’ve had some awesome eats recently, too!

Smile out loud,

Rachel

Confessions of a 21-Day-Old Yogini

21 Aug
I’m on day 21 of 31 Days of Yoga, my project to practice yoga everyday for the month of August, and I have a few confessions to share:

Day 1: I realized it would have been smarter to do 31 days of yoga in a month that was not so humid– December or January would be perfect πŸ˜€
Day 3: My hips were so tight that pigeon pose made me want to scream like I was giving birth.
Day 5: A lovely purple towel by Yogitoes moved to the top of my wish list. On July 31st, I would have said there was no good reason whatsoever to spend money on a “yoga mat towel.”
Day 6: My thumbs, wrists, biceps, shoulders, hips, hamstrings, Achilles tendon, and toes agreed on the fact that downward facing dog will simply never be a natural position for me!

Day 7: I got so annoyed with slipping on my yoga mat that I sold it on craigslist that night. Β I’m much happier with an old yoga mat from my closet that says Jet Blue all over it. Not to mention that I’m $20 closer to being a billionaire (dream big) πŸ˜€
Day 10: Someone in yoga class complimented me on my Natarajasana, dancer’s pose, and it made me smile. However, the truth is, I’ve had a few years of ballet training…

Day 11: Jamie and her series on Confessions of a Yogini inspired me to write this post πŸ˜€ Thank you, Jamie!
Day 12: I learned I can look up and let my back fall right into camel pose. 5 hours later: My spine informs me that this was not a good idea.
Day 13: I felt like a force to be reckoned with in Warrior II πŸ˜€
Day 15: I skipped two days of yoga in a row due to traveling… poor life choice!
Day 17: After two double-headers in 2 days, I began to hear “Now, move through your flow sequence” in my sleep… I may be taking a break from vinyasa after these 31 days.
Day 21: Even though my arms are starting to look more muscle-man than yoga-goddess, I really love having a regular yoga practice πŸ˜€
Smile out loud,
Rachel

Smile In Your Liver

19 Aug

Tonight I gave my body a rest from 31 Days of Yoga. Too many hours spent yoga-ing and packing over the past couple of nights have made me exhausted! What better way to sit back and relax than to see Eat Pray Love πŸ˜€

I absolutely loved Elizabeth Gilbert’s novel, so it was a treat to see all the details fleshed out in film. Italy, India, and Bali (and don’t forget Manhattan :D) are such beautiful places. I felt like I was on vacation for two hours πŸ˜€


The above picture features Elizabeth Gilbert and Ketut, the medicine man in Bali. My favorite line, of course, was Ketut’s:

Why they always look so serious in yoga?Β You make serious face like this, you scare away good energy. To meditate, only you must smile. Smile with face, smile with mind, and good energy will come to you and clear away dirty energy. Even smile in your liver.

Ketut’s message is closely related to the reason I started this blog. Smiling not only proves that someone is happy, but it also creates happiness. That is a killer combination πŸ˜€

So, smile in your liver… hmm, new blog name? Maybe πŸ˜€

Smile out loud (in your liver),

Rachel