Yoga Pose May

Be here. Be NOW.

Take three deep conscious breaths. Feel your chest expand and shrink as you inhale and exhale. Close your eyes if you feel the need (I do), silence your mind, let it go…

Did you do it?

Inhaled twice? OK, that’s a start. Do you feel better?

Want to regain that sense of calm awareness again? Well you could take another three deep breaths or learn eagle pose.

In an effort to bring yoga back into my life and yours I signed up to participate in Yoga Pose May, a blog wide (122 bloggers!) yoga sensation hosted by Tina and Kate.

For eagle pose you need strength, flexibility, endurance and unwavering concentration. But do not fear, I promise to help. If you can successfully take three deep breaths and quiet your mind, you CAN accomplish eagle pose. Unless you have knee injuries because YogaJournal advises anyone with knee injuries to refrain from this pose.

*First stand in tadasana aka stand up straight. Bend your knees slightly. Lift your left foot up and balancing on your right foot cross your left thigh over the right. Point your toes toward the floor, press the foot back, and then hook the top of the foot behind the lower right calf. (Beginners tip: cross the legs but instead of hooking the raised foot and calf, press the big toe of the raised leg foot against the floor to help maintain balance!)

*Next stretch your arms straight forward, parallel to the floor. Cross the arms in front of your torso so that the right arm is above the left, then bend your elbows. Make sure the right elbow is snug in the crook of the left. Raise your forearms so they are perpendicular to the floor. The backs of your hands should be facing each other.

*Press the right hand to the right and the left hand to the left, so that the palms are now facing each other. Now press the palms together as much as possible. Lift your elbows up and stretch the fingers toward the ceiling!

*Breathe, focus, breath, focus, concentrate. Pick a spot ahead of you and stare. Remember to breathe like we did earlier. Try to stay in this position for 15-30 seconds, then unwind the legs and arms and stand up straight (in tadasana) again. If you are having trouble mastering the balance, you can use a wall or a tree to brace and support your back!

*Repeat for the same length of time with the opposite arm and leg.

I’m so proud, you did it! It’s hard huh? If you fell out of the pose, it’s cool I did too. Try it again, or try with the modifications. You’ll get there…just keep the focus on your breath and the stability and pure concentration will come.

The benefits of eagle pose are absolutely phenomenal. This pose alone will strengthen and stretch the ankles and calves, stretch the thighs, hips, shoulders and upper back, and improve concentration and sense of balance! Eagle pose will also improve asthma, low backaches and sciatica.

I love yoga for its ability to quiet and center the mind. One cannot hold a balance pose, like eagle, if the mind is not quiet. Concentrate on your breath, feel your body balancing, slow your racing thoughts, let it go…
Be sure to check out Beth, Morgan and Claire’s blogs as they too balanced in eagle pose for yoga pose May!


Summah summah summmah time

It's Memorial day weekend eve and I cannot stop thinking and dreaming of things I want to do and try this summer season. All of a sudden there is more time, sunlight and opportunity to do activities. Summer gives me wings (sans the red bull and sugar)!

So far my summer to do list includes but is not limited to:

-go kayaking (never been!)
-go on a Portsmouth Harbor cruise, mayyyybe even the Wine cruise :)
-teach myself (again) how to do a back dive
-take a Bikram yoga class
-visit Nashoba Valley winery
-picnic at Castle Island in Boston
-hike Mt. Monadnock
-surf lesson!
-play at Six Flags or some other theme park
-make homemade gnocchi
-visit the New England aquarium
-run a 5k, 10k (haven't run a race since my half marathon)
-run ON the beach

What is on your summer to do list?
Want to join me in any of these fun activities!?



Divine Caroline elicited quite the early morning giggle session! Enjoy

...Promise yourself a smile today...



Saturday and Sunday turned out to be quite a staycation. Exploring the farmers market, tastes of BNG, Flatbread, and Cava, perusing shops downtown, touring Strawberry Banke and Attrezzi wine tasting made this weekend the bees knees. The camera played main, supporting and non-existent roles.

After a heavy duty sleep in which I only have myself and the martini's consumed to thank, I wandered over to the Portsmouth Farmer's Market, late. So late, in fact that just about everything was gone. I did manage to sample some zesty salsa from Appledore Cove exclusively sold at and made for the Farmer's Market. A single waft of fresh peppers, tomatoes, onions, cilantro and lime juice and six dollars came out of my pocket faster than one can remember their own age. Also purchased, the last bag of spinach and arugula. Score. I do believe that this past weekend's market hosted the theme of "start your garden days." Organic seeds and compost was for sale and transplanting demos and "ask the farmer" booths were abundant! Next time I will make it there before the samples have vanished and the merchandise sold.

Next up, Footnotes. My eyes, heart, mind and feet were all connected the minute I laid eyes on Mari's hot Frye sandals the night before. I had to check out the goods myself. The lady at Footnotes helped my sanity, bank account and feet as she located a pair of Frye sandals on clearance (blog appearance to come). Lucky day, lucky lucky day.

Like I said the camera wasn't always around. That is what a late night will do to a girl.

Later that afternoon Matt and I headed downtown for coffee. Coffee turned into a stroll to Prescott Park. Little did I know Matt was ready to channel his inner tour guide as he took me through the historical roads of Strawberry Banke. Don't quit your day job boy.

Flatbread, that brick oven dynasty of natural pizza, was in the cards for Mari's last dinner in Portsmouth, NH. I managed to snap dos photos before the camera died on me. I'm a rookie.

Sunday's trip to Cava for Kelly's birthday and Attrezzi wine tasting raised the roof. It was on fire.

I have heard mixed messages about Cava, small space and overpriced but delicious wine and tapas delivered with excellent service. To a T what we experienced. Since it was a beautiful day, we sat outside, embedded in Commercial Alley. Just gorg.

All in attendance ordered a version of Cava's Sangria. Red for me, please.

I refrained from ordering any tapas but did sample the chickpea "fries" which were served with a cucumber sauce, harissa and a mint garnish. The girls ordered the serrano ham, dijon, pear on a mini baguette. As served, one (aka Amanda) could think this was a single serving, but no, 1 portion per person. Good thing we figured that out prior to the mini baguette monster devouring the tastiest of tapas.

Overall I would recommend Cava, but with an asterisk. *Do not go hungry. *Do not go for dinner if your dining companion is a "more than an appetizer to satisfy" type individual.

Onward, Attrezzi wine tasting!

Every Friday evening and Saturday and Sunday afternoon, Attrezzi hosts informal but complementary wine tastings. We sampled three wines: a crisp white, a bold Syrah and a sparkling red. The last wine, Petali di rose was superb and purchased. The cold, light and fruity taste of Cava's sangria still hung on my lips and this Piemonte Brachetto from Italy was an afternoon delight. Slightly fizzy and reminiscent of fresh picked berries with just a hint of sweetness on the finish, this wine will pair well with dessert or a fresh light summer meal.

Saving you for a special occasion!


The Dolphin Striker

In a few days, my dear friend Mari Fisher will be returning to Canada. Her year long work visa is expiring and a proper farewell is mandatory. With a few nights left in the US Mari's requests were simple: yummy food, "favourite" friends and live music. Pff easy!

We headed downtown Friday evening without much hope or agenda of getting into a classy establishment, after all it is UNH graduation eve, but managed to score a fabulous window seat at The Dolphin Striker, located on 15 Bow Street adjacent to the Portsmouth harbor.

The ambiance is very quaint with a hint of understated elegance. A warm welcome greeted us and the attentive hospitality only continued throughout the evening. Local art and nautical antiques compose the decor and the wooden floors creek naturally reminding one of the history anchored in Portsmouth harbor and The Dolphin Striker.

While mulling over the menu, I sipped on the infused cocktail which was made fresh that day with rum soaked strawberries and blackberries.

Our meal started off with warm, doughy bread and balsamic dipping oil. You can tell a lot about a dining establishment from what they serve before the meal. The fresh rolls were very telling of what was to come:

Shrimp & Scallop Hot Pot
With shitake mushrooms, cucumbers, scallions, daikon, spinach, kimchi & soba noodles in sweet & sour aromatic broth

Steak & Cheese
A 12 oz. NY Strip grilled to your liking & topped with a smoked gouda bearnaise sauce, chive sour cream mashed potatoes & sauteed peppers, onions & mushrooms

Wild Mushroom Ravioli
Baked golden with a saute of porcini, cremini, shitake & morrel mushrooms in a white truffle cream sauce

All entrees were absolutely delicious. So delicious that parting with the last few bites of my Shrimp and Scallop Hot Pot was not an option. Despite the night of live music we had ahead of us, I attempted to doggy bag the leftovers. Scallops in a purse for 3 hours = epic fail.

Before heading downstairs to the Spring Hill Tavern (The Dolphin Striker's bar) a toast to friendship (running, bread and BNG coffee) was in order!

Oatmeal Cookie
Butterscotch and cinnamon schnapps, mixed with Baileys and shaken

The Spring Hill Tavern provided live acoustic after dinner tunes. The band's name escapes me, but the trio wove an artistic tapestry of folk, blues, pop, bluegrass and alt-country as we sipped on Coors lights and Espresso martinis and waited for a few more friends to arrive.

Playtime continued at Ri-Ra's. I have mentioned this Irish Pub before, and to be blunt, the food at Ri-Ra's always leaves something to be desired. The drinks and live music, however, never fail.

I think Mari had a blast!


Click on the links

I have quite a few favorite blogs. I can’t help it, there are so many influentional people writing on the world wide web. Blogging is new (to me) and exciting. Carrots n’ Cake, Eat Live Run, Healthy Tipping Point, Operation Beautiful, Iowa Girl Eats, Beth’s Journey to Thin and The Process of Healing, your words are inspiring, motivating, humorous, personable, creative and entertaining. Before I know it substantial time has passed and I have to refill my water, use the bathroom, eat, sleep, ya know... get on with my day...*smiles*

This addiction is healthy though I promise. Don’t believe me? You will be the end of this post. It was through blogs I learned how to cut a mango, make homemade gnocchi and poach an egg. The existence and nutritional value of chia seeds, wheatgrass, flax seeds, and whey protein were foreign to me a year ago. I have been introduced to Green Monsters, overnight oats and through Yoga Pose May, the power of yoga has been restored.

My newest fascination and appreciation: Oh She Glows. I know, I know I am late to the party and no one approves of tardiness. I have been blending Angela’s lovely Green Monsters for a while now but did not know there was a girl behind the smoothie invasion. I read Caitlin’s Project Glow results and started to notice more and more Glo bars pop up here and there. I even recognized the name, Angela, but still, I didn't make the connection. I did start to wonder though...what is with all this glowing!? Finally, I clicked on a link.

Confession: I am easily excited and influenced. If you write about it, I will probably try it. Sort of silly, everyone has their own opinion and taste buds! Just because one person raves about the drink Synergy doesn't mean I can stomach raw kombucha, but I'll try anything once. Words are so powerful, no? Seeing captions like “flavor” and “health” attached to a photo get me every time: marketing at its finest. Fortunately, I have had luck with many blogger reviews and recommendations: Chia seeds? EPIC win. The tiny seeds are full of anti-oxidants and packed with hunger fighting bullies. However, fennel failed, tastes like licorice.

I digress. Back to glowing.

I am on day three of Project Glow and it is working. I have never had overly oily, dry or blotchy skin, but I do get dry patches and so my interest in quality skin care products has been on the rise. Sorry CVS brand foam cleanser you are outta here, St. Ives Apricot scrub, in!

The Green Monster, nothing to do with the Sox here folks, is an invigorating blend of spinach, protein powder, milk (cows, almond or soy), ice, frozen fruit, peanut butter, chia seeds, oatmeal…. the ingredients are up to you as long as spinach is present. Never thought in a million years a drink like this would enter my system, but as previously mentioned, easily influenced. One sip and I'm hooked on the green stuff.

Beyond the skin care and smoothies lies an astonishingly open and encouraging blog. In many posts, Angela’s words reign similar to the Operation Beautiful theme of learning to love yourself, your body. Girls helping girls, its very refreshing.

The blogging community is a great support system. Not only are these gals entertaining, taking pictures of food is art, they are inspirational. So many women have broadcast their stories on the web. These journals of weight loss, marathon training, moves, break ups, deaths and marriages act as a creative outlet for one and a stimulus for another. Girls can be malicious, jealous, conniving little things. We have all hurt or been hurt by another girl. The blogging community appears to be a healthy venue where women of all ages, shapes, sizes and backgrounds can openly express themselves without fear of ridicule or judgment; a place for growth and respect. I do not know of another community that exists quite like this one. Not in New Hampshire, not in Mass., or NJ; not High School nor college. Not even in the workplace.

I am not saying blogs will begin the women’s world peace tour because I know for a fact that there are readers who leave mean spirited comments. Girls will be girls I guess. However, I do smell the savory sweet aroma of acceptance brewing….or is that encouragement? I don’t know I always get those two smells confused.

Overall, the female blogging world is powerful, uplifting and worthy of respect. It might lead to some serious procrastination, but so does everything Internet based. Looking for inspiration to run a 5k, support to change careers, strength to face another day? Click on the links provided above, poke around, take off your shoes and stay a while. By the time your Internet session has expired, I bet you will find someone/something that speaks to you, or at least a recipe to make this weekend.


Super salad

The title to this post is actually a silly family joke. A few years back my parents and younger sister, Lindsay, (I was away at college) were out to eat and Lindsay was asked if she would like a soup or a salad with her entrĂ©e. She heard the waiter incorrectly and thought he asked: “super salad?” Lindsay answered politely, "Yes." “No, miss would you like a super salad/soup or salad?” “Yes!” I think my mom finally set it straight…oh giggles.

So you can only imagine my surprise when I noticed an establishment called Souper Salad in Boston! Has anyone been? I must go!

In honor of National Salad Month (May) I thought I would dedicate a post to my favorite compilation of greens, the classiest of classic appetizers, the bell of the ball, the salad!

A salad can be quite boring but only if you allow it to be. My daily pre-dinner salad includes spinach, tomatoes, carrots, and cucumbers and is almost always dressed with Hidden Valley Light Ranch. To jazz this up I love to add: cheeses, nuts, roasted veggies, avocado, fruits and my new favorite, beets. The possibilities are really endless. If protein is present, a salad can be the main star of the meal. Think taco salad with creamy avocado, fresh salsa, seasoned ground turkey, black beans and roasted corn. Or grilled chicken, perched atop a bed of spinach surrounded by red onion, goat cheese, pine nuts, beets and roasted red peppers. Heavenly.

My mom made this tasty and eye catching salad for Easter. Oh my, the colors! Notice, the bacon, honeydew melon, cucumber, parsley, watermelon. This was very refreshing.

The other night I enjoyed Trader Joe's beets for the first time. They come ready to serve, no messy business. I chose cold, on my salad, with an Amy’s California veggie burner, roasted asparagus and broccoli and goat cheese. Dinner done.

The taco salad is a common dinner delight in my apartment, thanks to my old roomie, miss Laura Marandola, the introducer!

Discovering great dressings is another passion of mine. Check out this Parmesan Ranch from Trader Joe's. The “KEEP REFRIGERATED AT ALL TIMES” sticker frightens, but the taste fulfills!

If you like salad you will like the giveaway being hosted on Meghan’s blog, Travel, Eat, Love.

For the record, salad is always selected when posed with the question, “Soup or salad?” What do you choose?


Chili 101

Post body pump I always have one thing on my mind! FOOD. I went to HannaF’s (aka Hannafords) last night and stocked my cabinets and fridge with all the necessary ingredients to make Real Simple’s Turkey and Bean Chili tonight.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 pound ground turkey (preferably dark meat)
2 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chili pepper or 2 teaspoons chili powder (I used the chili powder)
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 15-ounce cans kidney beans, rinsed
kosher salt and black pepper
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
cilantro sprigs, for serving

I made a few changes, added a ½ tsp of red pepper flakes, ½ cup corn, 1 red bell pepper and a can of black beans (instead of using two cans kidney). Black beans deserve a spot in all chili recipes.

Instead of my usual vino, I sipped on a protein drink. This is new to me: I’m not this hard core. Strawberry whey protein powder mixed with water, while delicious and a great way to refuel after body pump, is not wine. However, it will hold me over while my chili cooks!

After a solid minute of wretched eye burning and tearing the goods were diced, opened and ready to hit the sauce pan. Why don’t I use my food processor!?


Did you know: (Yes, I googled chili. Or as my Mutti would say, "put a google on" chili)

-Chili is not from Mexico?

-That at the Terlingua Cook-Off in Terlingua Texas, no chili with beans recipes are allows to compete?

-Last spring Matt's dad competed in a chili cook off at the Great Scott in Allston, MA and won the grand prize?

Now that's a man's chili! No worries this chili will make its way to the blog in the fall. It is reserved for special occasions, aka Patriots season.

Want to know my favorite part about chili? No not the smell, not the spice, not the texture, nor the taste: CHILI BREEDS LEFTOVERS. Lots and lots of leftovers
I added some cheddar cheese to mine and a dollop of daisy. Don't usually get down with sour cream but I wanted to see what it was all about (and we had some). Verdict: eh, chili doesn't need sour cream. Do you use it on your chili?

"The aroma of good chili should generate rapture akin to a lover's kiss."
Motto of the Chili Appreciation Society International

I didn't even know there was a Chili Appreciation Society. How do you join?

Time to watch LOST!

OH, I regret to inform you all that Flash Forward and Heroes have been cancelled. This news combined with the series finales of Lost and 24 just have my inner TV junkie sad! Good thing I had the savory smells of turkey, cumin, peppers, onions and garlic wafting in my direction all evening.