Life. Yoga. Joy.
Inspiring a life with smiles...™
Since returning to my yoga practice, I have been fortunate to find teachers trained in a variety of styles. Experiencing such abundance of teachings has truly helped improve the quality of my practice.
A few nights ago, I took a class with a teacher in the Yin Yang yoga tradition. According to my teacher, this Yin Yang is a practice designed to work with your connective tissue and increase flexibility and overall health. It is a reflective practice as you hold the poses for several minutes at a time. My teacher read passages from a book which she felt were appropriate for our practice. And although I appreciated her readings, I found that my mind wandered a bit as I held each pose. Halfway through the practice, I realized that part of me was very present with our class - breathing, moving, listening - and part of me had calmly crept away to a place of rest. it was peaceful...but how did that happen?
Now that I have made the decision to return to sunny California, it seems my entire life is revolving around the big move. The best part about this fact is that the SigO and I have been hitting some bucket list items as we enjoy my final days in New England. (Note: I am sure I will be back to visit, but not planning on living here again. Sorry my New England friends but snow and this little beach girl are like fire and ice!)
Recently we realized that I had NEVER been to Fenway Park! After living in Red Sox Nation, this was definitely something we needed to correct before I moved on. So one Friday evening, we joined some friends for a night of fun with a great view of the game!
I bring my lunch to work. It's cost-effective, allows me to make nutritious decisions about my meals, and (being vegan) prevents me from having to do the "menu challenge" (i.e. wondering if I can have a restaurant eliminate a cheese or meat from a dish to "veganize" it for me).
Until I became vegan, I was never that interested in cooking. My standard line when asked was "the only thing I knew how to make was reservations!" Now that I am vegan, I find that I truly enjoy cooking - perhaps because I am eating foods that I love!
However, even though I have fun preparing meals, I just don't have the time to make a different meal every day. So I am always searching for food inspiration - something that I can stretch into fabulous leftovers. Recently the SigO and I have become a bit obsessed with the ultra-cool Jamie Oliver. We've rented a bunch of his videos and cookbooks from the library, and followed his Instagram posts as the pictures just look so delicious! (Note: He has a few accounts, my link only takes you to one, but definitely search for his others!)
I noticed that many meals he cooked use fresh simple ingredients like lemons, olive oil, salt, pepper, and a few wonderful vegetables or fruits for color and flavor. Plus, on one of his video series, he never seems to have any fancy kitchenware with him in his travels - just a knife, cutting board, and a pot!
So I was inspired to create my "1-pot pasta" recipe following the same principles... Jamie, this one's for you!
Spent the past week enjoying a fabulous staycation, hence the blog silence. It was an incredibly productive time:
Despite all the productive hustle and bustle, the most important part of this staycation wasn't all the things I accomplished, it was getting a little REST and REFLECTION time in.
The SigO and I have a week off so we thought we would start the staycation with a little bit of beach cruisin' for the perfect spot to enjoy fun in the sun!
Now while the tourists were heading towards the always popular Craigville Beach in Centerville (not far from where we live), we decided to hit a spot popular with the locals - Dowses Beach in Osterville, MA.
After living on the Cape for the past eight years, I find that I am a little partial to Osterville. (One day, over a bottle of wine, ask me to tell you an amusing story regarding kamikaze cicadas and Osterville...) With an upscale Main Street, gorgeous library, lovely wide streets suitable for walking, and a beautiful beachfront, Osterville is the quintessential picturesque Cape Cod town.
However when we got to the beach, we "surprisingly" saw a line of cars waiting their turn to get in. (Duh, hello July 4th long weekend and perfect vacation day...) Not ones to be deterred, we headed up the road to Main Street, found parking, and then walked the mile or so back to the beach. (Tip from a local: the walk from Main Street to the beach is great for gazing at elegant homes and pretty landscaping to envy good-naturedly. Totally worth it.)
We finally made our way in to the beach area, chose our perfect spot of heaven and camped out for a few hours of blissful chilin' like a villain (OMG am I dating myself here?) under a dazzling blue sky.
So aside from the lovely sand, and clean water, another reason I love Osterville is the local hot spot - Amie Bakery. Opened in December of 2014, and owned by the mega-talented baker Amie Smith, this French bakery is worth a stop (or two or three) for a sweet treat. (Note: They also have a specials chalkboard with daily changing lunch options if you are in the mood for for a bite before dessert. As good as everything sounds on the board though, my visits are my decadent indulgence for the week, so I skip straight to the delectable delicacies prepared fresh daily.)
A cool marble counter, sea green and white decor, and a drool-worthy display case makes you feel a bit like you stepped back in time to when real foods were prepared with care, love, and ingredients you can pronounce and recognize. Although you can always get something to go, the SigO and I love to stake out a spot at the counter and offer suggestions to the tourists that wander on on what they should get. "E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G" (Special note to my purist vegan buds, be sure to check with the staff on the dessert ingredients before ordering. Being a practical vegan myself, I tend to go with the don't ask, don't tell policy as I love this place and discovered it before I went vegan.)
Update October 2016: I was re-reading this post and noticed my use of the term practical vegan meaning I didn't always check about eggs or dairy. Since then, I discovered it was more in line with my health and values to no longer eat any animal products. Therefore, although I do highly recommend Amie Bakery as it is a wonderful local business, and delicious foods, I currently only eat options that are confirmed as vegan friendly. (Which means more delectables for the SigO to not have to share.)
My final favorite spot in Osterville is the Osterville Library. Renovated in 2012, and being the only one on Cape to have year long Sunday hours, this quiet oasis is a great place to camp out with a good book or magazine, or write up a post to share with all of my #WithSmiles peeps.
If you happen to be in Osterville before the middle of August 2015, keep a look out for this little blogger enjoying a fine Cape day in a beautiful Cape town. I promise to greet you....with smiles...
Samantha Eve, a