A year ago today…

One year ago today I had a bit of a breakdown.

Then I drove to the place where my journey to wholeness would begin.  I didn’t know it at the time…all I knew is that I needed to be at the Kripalu Center this weekend because my life would change.

I didn’t know what the meant but I am so happy I listened to my heart and jumped into the unknown.

I had nothing short of a life changing weekend.  I grew in unimaginable ways and started a practice of mindfulness.  I began living my life differently…viewing my life differently.

In between then and now I went through some of the darkest times I ever experienced.  I felt the deepest sort of pain, the type that leaves you breathless and broken…the kind from which you only can arise as a better, stronger, clearer person.  I burned down and I rose again.

I found my path and discovered my calling.  I went deep and then deeper still.  I completed a 21 day cleanse.  I travelled.  I loved and I lived.

Then I began to see the light at the end of the closed dark space.  And slowly but surely I emerged, just in time for Hillary’s YSU program.  I was terrified…the commitment was large, the expense greater than I had imagined.  But Hillary’s question to me: “What are you losing by not enrolling?” stuck in my mind.  And I signed up, taking the next most important step I ever could have taken.

My Hopkins acceptance letter arrived shortly thereafter…at the same time Hillary decided to redesign the program in a way that happened to be perfect for my situation.  If “It was meant to be” describes any situation, its this one!

Last week I had my last session with Hillary.  It was super bittersweet and we ran almost an hour over but during that time we not only calmed my tightness over the move we also did a little reminiscing.  We gave thanks for how far I’ve come.  And honestly, until that moment I hadn’t looked back to truly see the change that had taken place in me + my life.  I had transformed, wholly and completely.  My thoughts, my actions, my patterns of behavior…all were new and different and more empowered.  I was a stronger, clearer person than 3 months prior.

And it all started because I took a chance.  I tossed aside the proverbial sails and I said YES to me…to self care…to my best life possible.  It was the best decision I ever could have made.

Yoga/beauty/chance,

Kait xo

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First Meals: Baltimore

Some of you may have seen my hastily posted Move Recap.  I actually wrote that as a final “assignment” for my coaching program.  It was the best possible outcome for the move and let me tell you: it basically worked!  Long story short: we hit practically no traffic, made it down here in 6.5 hours with at least 1 hour of that in stops (picking up my coffee table on the other side of CT, gas fill ups, food breaks, etc).  We had everything moved in in a couple hours and with the exception of Verizon screwing up (which actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise…more on that in a minute) my internet order, everything went ridiculously smoothly. 🙂  It basically rocked.

Four days later and I’m almost settled.  The past couple of days have been a flurry of errands…running around to return that, pick up that, replace that, etc.  I managed to get a couch + some chairs for the exact amount I wanted to pay for my couch (win!) and have basically furnished my entire apt for around $500.  Again, I can’t complain!  🙂

Of course we’ve had to check out the local cuisine as well and for the most part I’ve been impressed.  The first night mom, the beau and I grabbed a quick bite at Mimi’s, a local Mediterranean food place that does everything from burgers to pizza to falafel (yea…you know the type of place I’m talking about).  There were definitely some options on there I’ve never seen before (an Egyptian version of hummus that was outstanding) and though it wasn’t the most outstanding food, I’m glad there’s such a veg-friendly place within walking distance.

The next night we planned on going out to a nice dinner to celebrate.  We ended up at a new Mount Washington establishment called Blue Sage Cafe & Wine Bar.  They are a fairly new restaurant that opened in Mount Washington Village, the little downtown area in my neighborhood, that specializes in freshly-made foods + craft brews, high quality wines, and specialty cocktails.

First we got dressed up…

Next we decided what we wanted to eat…

Note the vegetarian section… 🙂

Then we toasted with our amazing cocktails…

Cucumber sangria…it tasted like a green smoothie with wine in it. #win

And finally we enjoyed our delicious meals!

Portobello fries…seriously they tasted like chicken wings.  SO good.

Gnocchi with asparagus and spinach in a white wine sauce.

Beau’s pizza with olives, tomatoes, spinach, and feta.

All in all our evening was wonderful.  The service was rather slow but the food was amazing.  For some reason the pictures on my iPhone came out no better than the ones on my old phone but oh well…I’m still learning how to use the darn thing!

The next morning we dropped mom off to catch her train home and headed into downtown Bmore to get some brunch.  We ended up at the City Cafe which was less of a hit with me.  The food was delicious but they were not good about substitutions or accommodating food needs.  I must say, it is a huge pet peeve when places want to charge me to substitute veggies for meat.  Bertucci’s does it all the time (and its part of the reason I don’t eat there as often) and City Cafe wanted to do it as well.  There is no way a veggie burger costs more than country ham.  And if I decide to not get the country ham then yes, I do deserve a discount because it is significantly more expensive than the other items in the order.  *rant over*  On to the oh-so-delicious food…

My potato pancakes with apple chutney and scrambled eggs.

The beau’s breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, green chili chickpeas, Monterrey jack cheese, guac + sour cream, and the most amazing potatoes ever.

For some reason, I was craving eggs that morning.  I can’t remember the last time that happened but I did indulge…and was absolutely positively stuffed to the point where I couldn’t finish my potato pancakes!  They were good but not delicious and I’m glad it was a small serving of them because in reality I did feel a bit weighted down (literally?  figuratively?  a little bit of both?).  I think my body was craving protein or some other nutrient in eggs because very rarely do I crave animal products (except cheese but as we all know, its meant to be addicting!) except when I’m craving something deeper.  Since their brunch menu wasn’t too veggie friendly (they had salads and a veggie burger on their lunch menu but I was still in bfast mode) I went with it.

All in all my first few dining experiences have been pretty wonderful.  The company also helps.  😉  I’m excited to continue exploring Bmore’s  food options and seeing where I can get good, fast, cheap vegan eats. All in good time my friends.  All in good time.

Apartment photos are forthcoming…there are still too many boxes around for that.  😉

Yoga/beauty/life,

Kait xo

Until Next Time

So the past few days have been insanely crazy.

My grandmother went back to the hospital.

I spent countless hours re-routing our trip to avoid parkways that prohibit trucks (like the UHaul we’re taking).

My stress is settling into my joints and I ache all over from sitting at the computer and working.

So I’m calling it quits…for a couple of days at least.  Anything that isn’t 100% necessary and non-negotiable just isn’t happening.

Calls are being rescheduled.  Plans are being changed. Blog posts aren’t being written.

This transition will be different than the last which means the challenges I’ve already faced in preparation for it and the ones I will be facing are also different.  They are all the same beast (chaos + fear) manifesting in different ways.

This time though, I know I can take them.

So bear with me folks…the next time I check in I’ll be settled in my gorgeous new place in the burbs of Baltimore, learning a new rhythm and stumbling as I go.

In the meantime, I’ll be packing + planning + saying a few final farewells.  There will be tears and laughter, anger and relief, sadness and hope.

Despite it all, I know this next step is the right one.  Just like I knew working with Hillary would be…and doing B School.  My gut tells me so and I’m learning to listen.

Right now, its telling me to stop writing.

So without further ado…I bid you farewell.  Just for a little bit.

Yoga/beauty/new beginnings

Kait xo

Surprises

I’ve found that people either love surprises or they hate them.

I tend to fall in the former category. I loved coming home yesterday to see that Mom has framed my Zumba certificate.  On Sunday I loved finding out that there was a Chipotle near my friend’s house…and that the beau had found my sleep mask which I had left at his parent’s house…and that my almost MIL had saved her coupon inserts for me.

But perhaps the best surprise of all was pulling into Whole Foods yesterday afternoon and seeing a Farmer’s Market set up in its parking lot!  I literally squealed with delight and started dancing (while still driving).  I went to snap photos…then remember my phone had died.

Since this is the big week, I didn’t have to pick much up…just some lettuce and beets and berries and hummus and crackers and milk.  And yes, I still had to go into WF to purchase some of those things.  But, you see, the food itself wasn’t what I was so excited about: it was the whole experience.

In my opinion, there is nothing better than  talking with other people who know and love food…who respect what they are selling and hope that you will enjoy and love it as much as they do.  I love being able to have an intelligent conversation about someone’s precise farming method to see if its just organic or also pesticide-free.  And I so appreciate that I can ask how to prepare something and receive a fiercely passionate answer about the best way to cook [insert veggie here].

Yesterday was sunny and 75 with barely a cloud in the sky.  It was, in short, simply the perfect day for the perfect foodie surprise.

Yoga/beauty/greens,

Kait xo

 

 

The Perfect Sunday, Take 2

Happy Monday loves.

I can’t believe it but this is THE big week: I move to Baltimore on Friday.  My to-do list is a bit crazy right now but I had such a perfect weekend that I wanted to pop in quickly and share.

After quite an emotional couple of days, this weekend was everything I needed and more.  The Universe truly does provide everythign we  need.

I enrolled in Marie Forleo’s B School which is “online business school for women who want to make money and change the world.” <–aka me.

I watched all of the pre-enrollment vids from both a student and business perspective.  Then I took the lessons and worked them into my demo.  In fact, I reworked my demo….inserted even more me into it.   I clearly stated what I needed in a gentle+loving way.Sales and my energy soared.  I set a goal.  And I reached it.

In between being a business women extraordinaire I took the time to say goodbye.  I gained closure I didn’t even know I was looking for.  I shared my fears and opened myself up…to possibility and to their love. And though I cried, I laughed more.

Saturday night a couple of people threw me a farewell party.  I arrived high on the energy of my party and the combination of too little sleep and too much caffeine.  <–if you’re me, that’s one grande soy latte thank you much!  I drank too much, stayed up too late, partied too hard, and spent most of Sunday cuddled up next to one or more people, reminiscing about past great adventures and planning future ones.

Truth be told though, nothing really “went right” this weekend.  I left too late, I missed volunteer hours at the farm, I never made it that yoga class.  Some would qualify that as a failure.  But I never stopped smiling.

All in all, it was the perfect last weekend.  I don’t have a single picture…in fact I forgot to take any because I was so caught up in truly living + experiencing every second.   I don’t regret it…or really anything.  Instead, my heart is full of love as I replay the best moments over in my head, smiling at the memories that I will undoubtedly turn to when life throws its next direction change in my path.

To everyone who’s hosted me, made time for me, driven out of their way to see me, and otherwise opened up their soul to me during these past six weeks: thank you.  I have no clue if or when I’ll be returning to New England but my fear of being forgotten, of being lonely, of abandoning and being abandoned is gone.  You will always be in my heart and I in yours.

Here’s to loving life and my next great adventure.

Yoga/beauty/friendships,

Kait xo

 

 

Project: Food Budget, Week 36

Tip of the Week

Over the weekend the beau and I went grocery shopping together.  Now he and I grew up in very different financial environments.  Mine lead to couponing; his led to a typical guy nonchalant attitude towards spending a little extra on food.  Now we all know that I am all for buying quality products from outstanding companies.  But I’m also all for saving a buck when I can. The difference between he and I, however, and I suspect this is the same difference between couponers and those who don’t use them, is that I value the savings.  A lot.

Now don’t get me wrong: the beau loves using coupons when they are available.  He just doesn’t see the big deal in only saving a buck here and fifty cents there.  Whereas I figure, if I want to buy x anyway, I might as well take the free money I’m given.  Because after all, coupons are just that: free money.  Even if you don’t do match-ups and just use your coupons to buy what you’d already be buying, you are still saving money!  So use your coupons ladies and gentleman.  Take some time to go through your paper or check out some online resources.  They are there: free money just for the taking.  Put it to work for you.

Oh and don’t forget to tell me how good it feels when you have your first (big or not-so-big) haul.  😉

Weekly Menu

Its the weak of peas and salad…more specifically, Mama Pea’s recipes and trying to keep up with Ang’s Salad Challenge.  I have had a mini stock of tempeh that I had gotten super cheap at the end of May ($0.99 each!) and wanted to use before the move to Baltimore (so as to not have to take one more thing with us!). Now I don’t love tempeh but I do love the things Mama Pea does with it.

Tempeh Spaghetti

Pasta Primavera – the beau threw this together with kale, summer squash, red pepper, and a tempeh/shallot/tomato mix that just worked beautifully with the olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice sauce

Curried Sweet Tater Tot Casserole

The best “I drank too much wine and ate too much casserole last night” breakfast ever.

Magic Kale Salad with Roasted Beets and Almonds(?)  <–I’m seriously obsessed with this dressing + lacinto kale.

Spending Savings

Whole Foods: $38.46 😀

Savings: $8.25

Alright.

I bought almost all produce this week so the sales have changed already.  I will point you to a couple of my fave coupons though:

Don’t forget to check out the other Project:Food Budget bloggers!  We’ve all got different size families, budgets, and food values.

Yoga/beauty/savings,

Kait xo

Wednesday Revelations: Losing Focus

During one of our sessions Hillary passed along some advice she had gotten from a teacher of hers:

A bad day for your ego is a good day for your soul.

Let me tell you something.  The past couple of days have been pretty good days for my soul.

I’ve cried sobbed.  Yelled.  Blamed (myself + others).I’ve been upset in every meaning of the word.  I’ve had my joy but all-in-all, during the past couple of days its felt kind of like there’s a black cloud following me around.

In May I was lost focus.  Now I’m back on track and feeling antsy.  I went straight from enjoying the work-and-worry-free life to busting at the seams to get to Baltimore.  I’m ready to settle back into a schedule…to have a kitchen space that is all my own…that isn’t shared.  And though I’m technically back on track, my focus is turned elsewhere.  In the quiet moments my mind wanders to the future…to the great unknown that comprises my next big adventure.  So I go through the motions and I put my time and work in and I’m redeveloping my sense of time management and discipline (tangent: I feel so blessed that I can make that skill wax and wane as necessary 🙂 ) but my focus still isn’t on the target.

In other words, my focus isn’t my filter even though it should be.

Let me talk in concrete terms for a second.  In April, I had my highest month ever with Passion Parties.  I grossed over $5000.00 in sales in four little parties.  I was on top of the world.  I quit the job the I checked out of months ago and was no longer living in a space with someone whose habits and mine didn’t always sync.  Life was good.  May was set to be even better with five parties, a week in Newport, and time devoted solely to working out, watching TV, and reading whatever I felt like.

What wasn’t good, however, were my May parties.  I shook off the first.  It happens I told myself every party can’t be $1000+ even though I know my products and I are 100% worth it.  I did the same with the second.  And the third and the fourth.  Then came the fifth and sixth.  My last hopes.  I clocked over 8 hours of driving in two days…for around minimum wage.  I barely made my quota for May…the amount I need to earn each month in grad school to cover expenses.

I cried and I raged and I held a full blown pity party in my honor.  Slowly but surely other little things started to occur.  It seemed that everything I touched was turning to shit.  I felt like Icarus when he got too close to the sun.  I pouted and cursed people and was wholly not my regular self in any way/shape/form.

I reached out to my team…to my angel of fire.  I worked on my newsletter.  Then I went deeper.  I quieted my mind and I looked inside.  And I realized that though being lazy has its benefits, the loss of focus that accompanied my laziness had done nothing to serve me.  My business wasn’t thriving and neither was I.

And I realized that not only had I lost focus, I had also taken my business for granted.  I allowed myself to be pushed around.  I didn’t stand up for us. I didn’t set the standard.  And it showed…in cold hard numbers and lack of income.  All of the amazing things I’ve learned over the past few months–how I can and should ask directly for what I need, how I need to respect my biz first and foremost before I can expect anyone else to–had slipped from my mind.  I didn’t run the show and therefore the show simply didn’t run.

It was a rude awakening.  But it was a lesson my soul needed to learn.  Do I wish I could have avoided the pain?  The worry and concern that is keeping me up at night making me wonder if it will all work out next year?  Hell. yes.  But did I also need to learn the lesson?  YES.

And at the end of the day, all the crying felt pretty damn good.

When was the last time you had a good soul day?

Yoga/beauty/life,

Kait xo

The Perfect Sunday + Happy 100 Posts to Me!

Hiya loves!

I hope you had beautiful weekends full of fun, laughter, and love.  Its late Sunday as I write this and despite some low moments this weekend, I’m perfectly contented and joyous. What caused the turn around you might ask?  The most perfect day I’ve had in a while.

Now it wasn’t perfect because it was all good and happy.  The beau and I bickered.  He made fun of me.  I responded immaturely.  We disagreed over which path to take.  I yelled.  He huffed and puffed.  And then we laughed it off and went to Whole Foods.  So goes the best relationships, right?  So my Sunday might not have been perfect in the sense that most people think of…but I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

11 am wake up.
2 hours of productivity.
Bfast/contacts/hiking clothes.
UConn Forest.

Less awkward of the two pictures…

Cairns in the river…I admire the skill of whoever built them!

Old ski lift.

Moo cows!

Loving their sugar bucket.

One more because they’re so damn cute!

Beasting up Horsebarn Hill (the one in the background of the first cow photo)
Whole Foods!
First web order.
Hostess calls.
Delish dinner courtesy of the beau.

Pasta Primavera

This post also is my 100th here on y/b/l and I am so excited that you all have been along for the ride!   I hope your weeks started off just as wonderfully and continue to be productive and full of wonderful, if imperfect, moments.  Today I have a long list of to-do’s to complete.  After May’s wandering and general laziness, June is all about getting back in and on-focus and kicking my biz and life into gear.  I’ll keep you in the loop as I go!

Yoga/beauty/life,

Kait xo