Tag: yoga

18
Sep

Friday Favorites: The Life of a Librarian/Writer

As I write this, it’s still technically Friday! I intended to get up an hour early and have my blog post written and up for the world to see before work. Then, my alarm clock didn’t go off this morning. All was well, I still woke up in plenty of time for work but no time for a blog post. Now, as I sit on my couch with a lovely cup of tea in hand, I am ready to wrap up this week and enjoy the weekend!

What did this week bring? Well, a cold slap of reality for one. I had the loftiest, grandest ambitions for my writing and blogging this week. I thought I could get back into writing every day and blogging thrice a week. Alas. I forgot what a cruel mistress graduate school truly is. I am sad to say that, though I got an entire chapter written last week, I have written ZERO words this week. Oooo. It hurts to say that, but the truth is the truth. I am hoping for a late surge this weekend, so wish me luck. Things are really heating up in the sequel–I just need to find the time to put all the words in my head down onto paper.

In the meantime, I’ve been playing board games, doing yoga, rocking story times at my library, watching movies with Shane, and planning a whole marathon of autumn inspired baking!!! Here are some of this week’s highlights:

Curiosi-Tea House

Curiosi-Tea!

It’s official. I found my favorite spot in Mankato: The Curiosi-Tea House!!! I drove by this place one day and had to go back. It is HEAVEN in this little tea shop! They have the most adorable decorations, delicious tea, and scrumptious treats. The best part is that they SERVE tea, so you can enjoy afternoon tea with your friends! The owner is absolutely lovely and offers over 150 different kinds of tea in her shop. I literally could spend all day there, and I just might while I work on homework this weekend! Stop by for a cuppa if you want to say ‘ello! 🙂

Story Time!

Friendship Story Time

Friendship Story Time

My second week of doing story time was fantastic! Above is a picture of my preschool-aged story time setup. The theme was Friendship: we read You, A Visitor for Bear, and Two Bunny Buddies (I highly recommend all of these titles!). As usual, I had a bunch of songs, fingerplays, and dances for the kids (my favorite was the “Dancing Scarf Blues” where the kids all danced around with colorful scarves and instruments–led by yours truly). For the craft, we made pipe cleaner friendship bracelets. The kids had a fantastic time and so did I!

I get to go to two library conferences this next week, and I SUPER stoked but also sad because I’m going to miss story time! Instead, the Lead Librarian gets to lead a truly epic story time filled with BUBBLE MACHINES and a fun “sink or float?” activity. Needless to say, I am bummed to miss the debut of the bubble machine, but I know Matthew will have as much fun playing with the kids as I would. 🙂

Moonflow Yoga

This class has been my lifesaver this week. Moonflow yoga is intense, relaxing, and completely rejuvenating. I love it so much that I want to share it with you! Ali Kamenova is my favorite yoga teacher (with TONS of free classes on YouTube), and this is possibly one of my favorite classes of all time. If you’re feeling stressed or tired, click “play” and get your Zen on.

Book of the Week: Stella by Starlight

Fantastic read!

Stella lives in the segregated South—in Bumblebee, North Carolina, to be exact about it. Some stores she can go into. Some stores she can’t. Some folks are right pleasant. Others are a lot less so. To Stella, it sort of evens out, and heck, the Klan hasn’t bothered them for years. But one late night, later than she should ever be up, much less wandering around outside, Stella and her little brother see something they’re never supposed to see, something that is the first flicker of change to come, unwelcome change by any stretch of the imagination. As Stella’s community—her world—is upended, she decides to fight fire with fire. And she learns that ashes don’t necessarily signify an end.

I am LOVING this book. The author has this magical way of weaving words like poetry; the characters are lovable, real, and the story is gripping. It is an honest picture of the South during an ugly period of history, and Stella is a really cool heroine. I will be spending some happy hours on the couch with my faithful mug of tea and this book on Sunday. 🙂

That’s all for this week! Happy Friday!

10
Apr

Friday Favorites!

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This whole week has been spent in a blissful egg salad food coma, I’m happy to say. I made not one, but TWO gigantic batches and happily munched my avocado egg salad sandwiches every day. Seriously, if you haven’t tried to recipe yet, you need to! But after reading this post, of course, because it’s FRIDAY FAVORITES everybody! Woohoo! 🙂

I’m feeling pretty great about life these days. In the past five days, I’ve managed to check off quite a few things from my chore list, worked on promotional stuff for the book tour, did yoga every day, read for pleasure, and got my homework done/started (because in grad school when one project ends, another begins). Best of all: I got into a fantastic writing groove! The words have been pouring onto the page almost faster than I can keep up with my pen. For whatever reason, spring always  seems to be my most productive time of year. Maybe it’s the return of warm weather, the promise of gardening and playing outside, and the fact that the school semester will be wrapping up in just about a month. I finished both of my previous manuscripts in April or May; though I don’t think I’m writing quite that quickly, I hope to get the biggest parts written before my birthday on May 27th. Wish me luck!

Now, onto the Favorites! The things that inspired me, picked me up, and kept me going all week:

Matcha

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For the tea lovers of the world, there aren’t many treats that compare to Matcha. It has long been one of my favorite beverages, but I also love putting Matcha in cookies, ice cream, and smoothies. Matcha is a powder made of finely ground premium green tea leaves, and has been the focal point of the Japanese tea ceremony for centuries. It has a delicate, creamy, slightly sweet flavor and nutritional value that is off the charts!

I love sipping Matcha any time of day, though if you are sensitive to caffeine don’t drink right before bed (a cup of green tea has about 1/4 of the caffeine of a cup of coffee). For a morning treat, I’ve been mixing two teaspoons of Matcha powder and a dash of vanilla into 8 oz. of heated coconut milk. Trust me, Starbucks green tea lattes have nothing on the homemade version. 🙂

Scorpion

I did it!

I did it!

As I may have mentioned before, I am addicted to arm balances and twisty yoga poses. Since I started practicing yoga over three years ago, there has been one pose I’ve been trying to master: Scorpion Pose. It requires strength, balance, flexibility, and a fair amount of fearlessness. Why? Because you have to kick up into forearm stand and then curl your legs over and try to touch your head. It’s the kind of pose that made me want to start practicing yoga: because of the challenge. Wednesday night marked the very first time I was able to go into Scorpion without using the wall for support. It just happened. I thought, “I’m going to try this,” kicked up into forearm stand, didn’t fall on my head, and arched my back, still without falling on my head! Accomplishing poses like this one make me feel like I can rise to any challenge!

Book of the Week: First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

I’ve been waiting for this book to be released for MONTHS and it finally came to the library this week. Sarah Addison Allen is one of my all-time favorite authors. I’ve read every book she’s written, and am so excited to read her newest adventure. All of her novels are beautifully written, lyrical stories about identity with love and magic woven into each tale. First Frost returns to the world of her first novel, Garden Spells, and continues the story of the magical Waverly family in the small town of Bascom, North Carolina. Ten years later, the Waverly sisters’ world is rocked when faced with a secret that could change the meaning of their lives forever. I’m half-way through already, and here is my favorite quote so far:

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“It had taken her a long time to realize that a prison sometimes isn’t a prison at all. Sometimes, it’s simply a door you assume is locked because you’ve never tried to open it.”

Grab a green tea latte and enjoy! That’s my plan for the weekend. What are you reading?

Happy Friday!

13
Feb

Friday Favorites

I will eat an entire pint of these this weekend. Guaranteed.

I will eat an entire pint of these this weekend. Guaranteed.

Another week, another Friday Favorites post! Fortunately, this week was considerably calmer and I had more time to focus on writing and being human. Though it’s been insanely cold up here, we’ve managed to stay cozy and warm inside the hobbit hole. Here are some of my favorite things that keep me going and help me stay focused and motivated. I hope you enjoy, and maybe find something new to love!

Yoga

Side Crow

Side Crow

Crow

Crow

Headstand

Headstand

Dragonfly Pose

Dragonfly Pose

Yoga is one of my favorite activities. No matter how stressed out or uninspired I am, being on my mat always helps me feel calm and centered. Spending time on something that is just for me is essential during the craziness of these days. Doing something that is healthy is even better! I feel like us writers/readers who are most content in an armchair with a cup of tea need to incorporate some sort of activity into our daily routine, and yoga is a wonderful way to do it.

My favorite part of yoga: arm balances. I’m addicted to them. I love the challenge that each one presents. Working on a new arm balance, figuring out the right position and strengthening my muscles until I get it just right is rewarding and fun. The physical nature of a yoga workout helps my brain relax, and I often find that I can work/write much better afterward.

My favorite yoga teacher is Ali Kamenova. She posts free yoga videos on Youtube at all levels and for all types of flexibility. Her classes are a mix of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and Vinyasa yoga. Here’s my favorite class. It will definitely make you sweat!

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

strawberries

Phew! Now that you are done working out, why not treat yourself? And what better treat is there than chocolate and strawberries??? Shane and I have a tradition of making chocolate covered strawberries for Valentine’s Day every year. Usually, I make them with melted chocolate chips. This year, I’m going to try to make them from scratch. This recipe I found on Oh She Glows (my favorite cookbook, as it just so happens), has a decadent whole foods recipe for chocolate covered romance! Whether you have a special someone or you just want to show yourself a little care, these chocolate covered strawberries are sure to spread the love.

Valentine’s Day!2858595-cap_vdaycard_clr_final

I know. A lot of people hate on Valentine’s Day, and I respect that. I, however, have always loved it. It’s a nice break in the monotony of winter, and helps bridge the holiday desert between Christmas and Easter. Ever since I was a little kid, I just adored a holiday that was all about showing love and eating chocolate. I would make valentines for my family and friends, and eat way too many chocolate Dove hearts. It was glorious.

Since Shane and my first Valentine’s Day back in 2007, we’ve had a tradition that has me looking forward to the day even more.

Warning: if you have a strong gag reflex to overexposure to cuteness, avert your eyes now. It’s cute. You have been warned.

We don’t go out for Valentine’s or make any grand gestures with jewelry or expensive gifts. Instead, we make handmade valentines and get small presents for each other (which usually includes flowers, but the subzero temperature killed the bouquet I bought for Shane. No lie, it’s that cold here). That night, we make spaghetti and watch Lady and the Tramp. The first year we were dating, I had never seen it. Shane spent most of the time in the kitchen of my dorm while I watched the movie. I wasn’t sure what was going on until, right as the dogs were being served their spaghetti, Shane walked in with plates for us. Yup. He’s adorable. After dinner, we make chocolate covered strawberries and toast the night with sparkling grape juice. It is the perfect evening at home.

I hope whatever you have planned for this weekend is just as perfect. Sending ALL of you love! I wouldn’t be where I am today without each and every one of you.

Happy Friday!

21
Jan

My First Post!

On the scene with Catherine Silver!

On the scene with Catherine Silver!

This is my first blog post EVER. Can you feel the excitement? Well, then, get ready for some more: it is officially two months until the release of my debut novel, Seven Stones!!!! If you are reading this, thank you so much for checking out my website. Though you cannot purchase the book quite yet, I will announce as soon as we begin taking preorders! Feel free to look about and contact me–I’d love to hear from you.

This blog will be a place where I post updates about the book, upcoming events, book giveaways, and daily tidbits into my writing life. I’ll also be sharing the occasional recipe and yoga poses. I absolutely LOVE food, and try to find healthy, tasty recipes to make for my husband and I. Yoga is another big passion of mine. It helps center and calm me when I feel like I can’t focus. I find that getting creative in the kitchen and on the mat helps foster creativity in writing. Plus, then I have a tasty snack to eat while writing, so it is a win-win situation.

Other exciting news: I was featured in the news! Lakeland News did an In Focus story about me and my upcoming novel. For those of you living outside northern Minnesota, In Focus is a weekly news segment that features local artists. It was such a thrill and honor to be interviewed by the great Catherine Silver. Here is the link, if you’d like to view the story! Two months and counting!