Corinne’s Visit

Hello lovely people,

I can’t even explain to you all how happy I was to see Corinne when she came to visit me (she went back home a week ago, today). Corinne and I met 3 years ago while I was studying abroad in Heidelberg, Germany. While we both come from fairly different backgrounds, we bonded over trying Indian food for the first time(s), drinking real German beer and visiting the Christmas market(s) an excessive number of times. I left Germany in January, and I missed many of the people I had met in my travels, but no more so than Corinne. Since then, we have hoped that we would see each other. AND WE FINALLY DID.

The entire week was a whirlwind of fun. Lots of laughs and jokes. Her presence brightened me up. It was so good to see her, and all I can do is look forward to when we see each other again. :]

I can’t possibly encapsulate all that we did during the week, so here’s some pictures marking our highlights. :]

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Our Wine and Cheese Party

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Hacking up a gigantic 5lb gummi bear soaked in vodka.

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I feel happy just looking at all of these again. :]

Love, love, love,

– K x

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Juice Cleanse

Hello lovely people,

I realize I have been inattentive to my blog again. I will try again to be more attentive.

I have decided recently to be on a juice cleanse. While my best friend was here last week visiting me from the UK (a topic I will cover in an entire post of its own), and I really let loose. We had a lot of fun together, and I was really sad when she left. While she was here though, I was a little reckless with my body; I ate whatever I wanted, smoked hookah and drank quite a bit. It wasn’t too overboard, but the culmination of all of those things is what concerned me after she left. I had thought about doing a juice cleanse to mark the beginning of the spring.

Coincidentally (or maybe not so?) an old friend of mine on Twitter stated that she was starting a 3 day juice cleanse herself.

Additionally, as if all things were pointing me helpfully in the way of a juice cleanse, I regularly follow the website MindBodyGreen (mindbodygreen.com). Recently, a lot of people have been posting information about juicing, juice cleanses and how to do them both effectively and safely. I thought all of this was enough reasoning for me to start. So over the weekend, I eased into the transition and began supplementing in juices and soups. Now, as of yesterday, I started the juice cleanse.

I had some very vivid dreams last night, and have small daydreams about random food, but other than that, my body doesn’t seem too uncomfortable with the transition yet. I am ending this cleanse on Saturday afternoon. So, wish me luck!

If you want more information about how to do a juice cleanse both effectively and safely, here are a few of the posts on MindBodyGreen that I found helpful:

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-2372/How-to-Juice-Fast-Safely.html

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-5780/How-to-Juice-on-a-Budget.html

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-8155/3-yummy-green-juice-recipes-to-convert-skeptics.html

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-5324/4-Secrets-to-Delicious-Juices-Smoothies.html

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Keep calm and juice on.

Love, love, love

– K x

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Breathing Issues

In late October/early November, I got a cold which progressed to the point that I had bronchial pneumonia. During that time, I had a lot of trouble breathing, both through my nose and my lungs were under stress. I took antibiotics and rested for a few weeks, and eventually “felt better”… better, but not great.

Since then, I have been on and off congested constantly. Some of the times it has been clear that I have gotten a cold here and there (this year has been horrific sickness-wise, especially because I babysit now and catch basically anything they have), but for the rest of the time, I have been wrestling with trying to figure out WHY am I so congested.

I thought it might be a combination of dander from the cats/rabbit/hamster, or mold from the walls(?), or even just regular dust. I ended up buying an air purifier, thinking it was one of these. It helped for a few weeks, but some of the congestion came back. So then my aunt gave me this ancient device:

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I only say ancient as this particular humidifier was in my aunt’s basement, and is probably older than she is. Again, it helped for a few weeks, but it also made my room very humid (obviously), and made me hot at night as a result.

I kept using the humidifier, and then bought this, to help with opening up my nasal passages:

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It didn’t really do a lot. Made my room smell nice though.

So then I got this:

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Tea is good, and natural, but again, no result.

That was about a week and half ago, and then I found this magical device:

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Honestly, I knew about Neti pots, and how they worked before. I hadn’t really thought of them until I saw an article by Lisa Mitchell who blogs on MindBodyGreen (mindbodygreen.com). The article was entitled “8 Natural Cleansing Practices”. Her advice? Use a Neti pot.

“The basic explanation of how the Neti pot works is that it thins mucus and helps flush it out of the nasal passages. If you’re one of the millions of Americans dealing with sinus problems, you know how uncomfortable clogged nasal passages can be. Many sinus sufferers have turned to nasal saline irrigation, a therapy that uses a salt and water solution to flush out the nasal passages with the use of a Neti pot. The Neti pot has been around for centuries, as it stems from Ayurveda and yogic practices.”

Well now, how could I argue with that? I decided to try it out. And it works! It not only works, but it makes my breathing, my sinuses, and my head feel soso much better. I love it. The process is a little icky and it sort of feels like I’m drowning for a few minutes, but other than that, it works just wonderfully.

My boyfriend also made the analogy that my room has been like a “box”, and that to live in it, I had to “poke a few holes in it”, so he suggested that I keep the window cracked at least a teeny bit every day, and I must admit, he was right: it has made my room much less congested, along with my nose.

You can find Lisa’s full article here: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/1-7905-7/8-natural-cleansing-practices.html

I highly recommend perusing MindBodyGreen. I have found a lot of information on health, body and fitness!

Love, love, love,

– K x

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Updating Your Food Repertoire

Healthier lives – and their equally difficult counterparts, lifestyles – do not occur overnight. They must be aspired to, attained, and better yet, nurtured. Nurtured via food.

Food can make an absolute huge difference is how you feel from day-to-day and cause a giant impact on your life in general. I have made a few small change to my diet that have improved my diet, and upgraded my food repertoire… for the better.

Firstly, what to drink? Obviously, not soda. Juices these days are filled with sugars as are any sports drink. Water can get boring as times, so what else is there?

Infused water. I love infused water because not only does it give you the chance to be creative, but you can make it yourself easily. A few favorite mixes of mine are: lemon and cucumber, or strawberry and mint. There are tons of your own mixtures you can create, and the step-by-step process is, well, idiot-proof. :P

How To Make Infused (Flavored) Water

1. Place ingredients in a 1/2-gallon pitcher and fill with cold, pure water.

2. Allow the water to sit refrigerated overnight (or longer) to allow the flavors to infuse.

3. Strain the water and return it to the pitcher. Keep the pitcher in the fridge to keep it chilled. Drink within a few days.

You can also leave bits of the ingredients you used for decorative purposes!

You can adjust the amounts to add more or less of a certain flavor. Get creative with ingredients or use what you have on hand. I’d love to hear your creations!

Secondly, a common household ingredient: salt. I generally do not add salt to anything I consume; I buy spice mixes that come with no salt in them to further encourage me not to add it. Table salt is so ridiculously refined that there is little to no mineral content even left once it reaches you! If you do insist on salt, please try Himalayan Sea Salt. The salt should appear pink or gray (as it hasn’t been refined).

Lastly, milk. Putting aside terrible living conditions for livestock and all that, there’s the chemicals and hormones involved. I remember raising a shitstorm in high school when I learned that the milk we were getting with our breakfast and lunch had come from cows that had been pumped full of chemicals.

Milk has been linked to prostate, breast and ovarian cancer. Low/no-fat milk does absolutely nothing for bones as it needs the fat content in order for the calcium to bind to bones. There has been enough research out there to suggest that humans don’t need to consume milk past the first few early years of our lives.

If you want some kind of milk-product in your life, I would suggest trying an unsweetened rice, soy, coconut, hemp or almond milk. The taste might take some getting used to, but the sweetened versions of these are delicious even to someone like me, who had been raised on and drank nothing but whole milk for a solid 18 years.

Love, love, love,

– K x

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Meditation

It’s been brought to my attention just how beneficial meditation may be just not for me, but for most people. 

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Taken from Psychology Today, something I follow near religiously (as I study for my Master’s in Social Work).

I have also been busy reading this:

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Gabrielle Bernstein was brought to my attention by my fellow blogger Heather (@fortheloveofkale.com). Gabrielle is a life coach and a motivational speaker. Her teachings are from the text, A Course in Miracles and teaches a practical application of the Course’s principles emphasizing  and promoting self-love, forgiveness, and a holistic approach to spiritualitySpirit Junkie is her second book, which I have been busy reading. I am taking my time with the book, soaking up the words, so I do not have a review for the book at this time, but expect it in the future. In a few words, it is targeting my fears, ambitions and helping me understand how meditation can be useful for me. 

To assist with my meditation, I also bought this:

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A new yoga mat – with a relevant Buddha quote as well. 

Meditation makes me feel so good. I focus a lot on my breathing, just trying to slow it down. If any thoughts start to creep into my mind while meditation, I don’t stop them immediately, but rather, allow myself to grab a hold of them softly and quiet them, telling them that they can wait, and clear my mind again. As of right now, I am using 8 minutes of meditation music (other noises tend to distract me), and an app I downloaded called Headspace (http://www.getsomeheadspace.com/) with ten minute guided meditations. So far, both have been extremely helpful. I come out of the meditations feeling so refreshed and clear-headed. 

My new goal? Yoga. We’ll see how that goes!

Love, love, love,

– K x

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Busy Weekend.

Hello lovely people,

I’m irked that I have not posted in just over a week, but I have been quite busy. Between writing a paper for school and babysitting, my mind has been elsewhere. Once my paper was indeed finished, I had time to enjoy this past weekend, which was filled with lots of fun.

I am not one to be tricked very often. I’d like to think I am fairly cunning and can tell when people are making white lies. My boyfriend, however, did in fact trick me this past Thursday, Valentine’s Day. He assured me that I was to get a delivery of flowers; I expected from a delivery service. I had been taking a nap when my boyfriend called me and said hurriedly that the delivery was there, and that I should meet them to get my flowers.  I rushed to get to the door, which by this time, the delivery person was knocking. I opened and the door, and instead, there stood my boyfriend grinning. 

And in hand, he had these puppies:

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Needless to say, but I was very surprised, and very flattered. (I even felt myself blush…)

Friday night, AJ and I ventured over to Somerville to celebrate my friend Kelly’s birthday. We went to The Burren in Davis Square, and had an amazing time. 

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Saturday I slept in (and missed class, oops) due to a massive hangover. I definitely drank too much on Friday night, and I was a bit disappointed in myself for a) having drank so much to result in a hangover and b) to have missed class. The bright side? I am allowed one “freebie” absence from class and with no negative repercussions of missing said class.

Saturday night, we all went out and met up at Boston Beer Works at Fenway for my friend Melissa’s birthday dinner. After that, we barhopped and finally found Cask N’ Flagon which has a nightclub that opens up later up during the evening. We all had a really good time.

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That’s the birthday girl!

Sunday, me and AJ just stuck around my apartment, and built a fort and cuddled and watched a movie. Then it was time for our belated Valentine’s day dinner! I had been looking forward to going to this place for over a week! We went to Dali (http://www.dalirestaurant.com/home.html), a tapas restaurant and bar. The atmosphere was really interesting – beaded curtains, strange paintings, metallic bronze ceilings. The food though, as the reviews I read suggested, was amazing. We were brave and ordered squid in its own ink on rice, pheasant and rabbit dishes, among others. Overall, we quite enjoyed ourselves, this being our first Valentine’s day as a couple… though we don’t really need a man-made holiday to be adorable. :]

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(That was taken close to the beginning of our relationship.)

Have a lovely week everyone!

Love, love, love,

– K x

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Raven

It all started so casually.

I was on Facebook Thursday morning, just looking through posts. I follow Karma Yoga Studio (http://karmayogastudios.com/default.aspx), as I purchased a Groupon a few months ago to try out their yoga classes. One of Karma Yoga’s missions is animal rescue. They posted the following message on Thursday morning:

In case you do not know, Karma Yoga Studios does animal rescue as one of our missions, and we just received this message from one of the local veterinarians who work with us. 

“Hi folks at Karma, I have a woman here in my office today who wants to euthanize her 10 yr old cat because I
it’s diabetic and she doesn’t want to treat or pay for insulin anymore. It just needs treatment, easy. The cat has no other medical issues and is SO SO sweet … I can’t believe I have to put it down, this is awful. Pls let me know”.

If anyone is willing to help, please message us ASAP. We will pay for the insulin if need be.”

How awful, right? I was struck by this message for some reason I am just now starting to understand. They then posted a picture of this poor cat:

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I was struck even further.

10 years ago, my mother, brother and I had to move to a lower floor in our house as our upper floors were being renovated. Part of the deal of the movie, however, was no cats. I had a cat, named Salem, that I had had since I was about 3 years old, making her 10 at the time of being taken away from me. (I later found out that the shelter that had taken her away had euthanized her due to the fact that “she was too old to be adopted” – I was heartbroken.) Seeing this picture, I could only think of Salem. This cat looked just like she had, including the white patch on its chest. My cat had been 10 years old, and had been euthanized. I sent the studio my number, and within hours, I had this cat in my house thanks to the kind and quick reaction from the studio and a few of its members.

His name is Raven. He needs 2 shots of insulin a day, and he can be a bit of a grumpy old man cat, but now he’s my grumpy old man cat who didn’t deserve the mistreatment of being dumped off at a vet’s office and left to be euthanized by its owner just because she didn’t want to take care of it anymore. That is horrible, heartless and irresponsible (aside from many other more descriptive words I could use that involve swears). ;] 

Here’s Raven at home in my room:

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Raven is getting settled into living here with me after many years living elsewhere with a different owner. It must be stressful for him so I have been doing my best to just keep him comfortable and used to his new surroundings. It is nice to have him here.

Love, love, love,

– K x

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