My Eat, Pray, Love Weekend…

It all started last weekend…I was relaxing at home with my parents after a fabulous Thanksgiving…

Still full from a deliciously scrumptious Thanksgiving meal, we set up shop in our cozy back room and lit up the television with Julia Roberts…and Eat, Pray, Love

I love Julia Roberts…gotta love that laugh even from the days of Pretty Woman…one of my all-time favorite movies…

The story behind Eat, Pray, Love was incredible…quite inspirational, in fact…

I thought the movie could have been done a bit better, but that’s ‘ta chat about at another time.

Right now, I’m all about the EAT … the PRAY … the LOVE.

And, that’s just what I did this weekend.

Except, one lil’ minor change.

No Bali, No Italy, No India…

Just my good ol’ Manhattan.

And I’m still all smiles.

Friday was EAT. And boy o’ boy did I EAT. Yes.  A lot.  Hehehe. But, hey it felt good and tasted incredible and I enjoyed n’ savored each and every bite.  I even caught myself gigglin’ and smilin’ in between bites….dancin’ around my apartment to Christmas Carols by Frank Sinatra..

Food in hand…then mouth…then belly…

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm….

What did I create…

Well, let’s just say it was everything indulgent that I could imagine…

I started with a pasta dish…added lots of flavor using my special cheeses and toppings…There’s nothin’ like a big bowl of my favorite gluten-free pasta a sprinkle of Garlic Gold Nuggets and Galaxy Parmesan Cheese on top…swimming in a pool of homemade tomato sauce…exceptional. Done and done.  Then, unwashed dishes in my sink. I grinned ear to ear. And what did I do next?

I baked. Delicious Double Raw Cacao Cookies…

Recipe soon to come…

And I clearly polished off half the batch by the end of the night…

And went to bed. Hehe…A Perfect Friday night.  Then, I dreamt about my next two days: Pray… and Love.

Saturday….PRAY….Well, sorry Mom I didn’t attend church or light a candle, as I know you were hoping I was going to say…But I had my own lil PRAY sesh…

YOGA….and lots of it….YOGA YOGA YOGA… just me and my yoga mat… time to clear my mind… think about life, my family, my friends…changes, good and bad and the beauty in life…which will bring me to another post at another time, yet I’ve been really thinking a lot about life lately…perhaps it’s because I miss my lil’ baby sister more than anything in the whole world…she’s half way across the world and I just wish I could hug her and hold her…her distance is so far but we’ve become even closer (somehow) because we’re best friends to begin with so I’m not sure how much closer we could get…but we have and we did…and we’ve talked about life, past-present-future….it’s funny, although she’s younger than me…we’re on the same page..the same wavelength..the same mentality in life…

We want the same things out of our lives….we’re young, we’re single…we’re happy. We love our lives…We’re traveling, exploring, asking questions, learning and teaching others.  We’re quite different from our groups of friends who are in a different spot in their lives and that’s okay. And we’re okay with that. Actually, we’re happy.  Very Happy… And smiling. And taking it all in.  One Day At A Time… And learning.

Learning about life.

About people.

About work.

About our bodies.

About relationships.

About… Life is too short… Take risks…

Open your eyes, your heart…our LIFE…Whether it’s adapting a ‘Clean Eating’ regiment, or picking up n’ movin out to Boulder Colorado…or Paris…or Bali…Why Not, right?

Well, that’s just what Saturday was about…..a lot of thinking…a lot of helping people…working with my clients and taking it all in. Absorbing it all.

And remembering that no matter what happens, I love my life…my food…my family…my close friends and simply, I love the fact that I love all these things…that’s pretty great, huh?   As for my lil’ sis, well she’s still half way over the waters far, far away…but she’ll be home soon for Christmas and I truly am going to run her down when I see her on the runway of JFK Airport here in Manhattan…her Ugg’s in my hands…her favorite Jelly Belly candies…and a huge hug … Get ready, Aly… Only a few more days… and we’ll be together…bakin’ cookies for Santa with mom n’ dad and the whole Valpone family…  I hope you’re ready… You betta rest up on that long, long flight… I’m gunna cook n’ bake with you until we’re all outa gluten-free flour, hehe….xo

Sunday- LOVE. I had a fabulous afternoon with my gal pal, Kerri who is an amazing buddy… Such a fabulous day… again, a lil’ bit of yoga to Love myself in the morning, then an afternoon with my dear friend, a lil’ hot tea, cookies n’ chit chat… Perfect.

To top off the day, I attended the Park Avenue Christmas Tree Lighting and sang Christmas carols with Manhattans Upper East Side…it was such a beautiful night and a fabulous event, where every tree was lit one after the other…from 90th street all the way down to Grand Central Station…

Yes, I still haven’t found my true LOVE yet. But, hey… no one’s givin’ up here … Keep on truckin’ and he’ll appear on that white horse, right mom? Hehee….

The moral of this weekend was to show that although I may not have a million dollars, or even a half or quarter of that … or anything at all… I’m happy. Because I love my life, I love working with people…helping people, learning about life in every stage… understanding that Money does NOT buy you happiness and wishing others could see and understand that. But, hey… To each his own and you’ve just gotta live your life the way you want and remember to do what makes you happy…whether you’re married with 6 kids in Oklahoma or single and struggling in Portland… or simply not sure where the road is going to take you … sit back, relax. Deep breath.  Life will go on…You will find you’re true calling…

But just remember, don’t rush…Life isn’t about the big this, the big that, the fancy car, the glamorous house…the fast car…it’s about YOU and your happiness..and believe me, back from my days when I worked at VOGUE Magazine and Polo Ralph Lauren … I love my nice things, who doesn’t, right? But… there’s a time n’ place for all of this…

Simply put…make sure you are happy with you.

Please.

xo.

Have you Eat, Prayed, Loved?

Aurorae Yoga Mat Giveaway

I’m excited to announce a fabulous Aurorae Yoga Mat Giveaway!  The kind folks over at Aurorae have offered to send one lucky reader a yoga mat of their choice.

To enter, simply:

1). View the Aurorae Mat colors in my Open Sky Shop and pick the color mat you’d like. If you win, you get the mat.  The Aurorae mats are different colors that reflect different personality traits.
2). Post this contest on your blog. Leave a comment telling me you did.
3). Tweet this post! Leave me a third comment telling me you did.

BONUS: (4) Go to Aurorae’s Facebook page and participate in the Discussion about slipping suggestions. Aurorae is about community and helping each other enjoy their yoga.

Each comment counts as an entry.


Aurorae Yoga Mats:

  • Ultra thick 1/4″ mat for impact absorption
  • Durable and long lasting material
  • Focal point icon to help concentration
  • Colors that define your inner self
  • Extra long 72″ comfort for all size users

The Aurorae yoga mat’s unique focal point icon helps you focus on your poses as well as maximize the calming and stress relief Yoga encourages.

The Aurorae yoga mat is available in great illuminating colors that define your inner self, bringing out the natural aura within you. Their yoga mats can be your island of peace and tranquility as you take time out of your busy day enjoying your yoga practice.

The 1/4″ thickness provides enough cushion and comfort to protect your knees and joints. This newly designed eco-friendly material molds your hands and feet to the mat with immediate recovery giving you the foundation needed for your practice. Their yoga mats have been SGS Approved – the world’s largest testing, inspection and verification company for certification.

Aside from their amazing yoga mats, Aurorae also sells slip-free rosin bags and yoga sport sweat towels.  Be sure to take a look at the Aurorae website for these fabulous products.

I will be picking a random winner on Wednesday morning, May the 5th.

Good Luck!

Relax, Enjoy and Namaste.

Stress Relief on a Bed of Nails…The Yantra Mat

I recently had the opportunity to interview  Kristina Fine, a yoga and alternative health enthusiast from Sweden and founder of the Yantra Mat, which she so kindly sent me to test…’Wow’ is all I have to say…what a fabulous product!  This mat was recently named “Best in Test” by Body & Soul magazine (Sweden) and let me tell you, I am hooked on this gentler version of the ancient Indian nail bed…the Yantra Mat is studded with 8,800 non-toxic ABC plastic spikes, which feel sharp but with your body’s weight distributed evenly over the mat, an intense sensation quickly gives way to a comforting rush of heat.  This natural response to acupressure comes from increased circulation…and within minutes, it triggers a deep sense of relaxation.

The Yantra Mat comes in green and purple and three fabulous sizes to help you spice up your yoga routine, ease back pain or feel more centered and stress-free…let me tell you…after a full day of work here in Manhattan, I plop myself onto this ‘studded’ mat for a rejuvenating and calming experience that eases stress and muscle tension….not bad for a mat, huh?


Here are a few questions answered by the Yantra Mat founder, Kristina Fine:

How did you come up with the idea for Yantra Mats?

The Yantra Mat already existed in Sweden and it was sent to me by a Swedish friend who thought it would help with my back pain. Needless to say, I loved the mat so much that I became the exclusive U.S. distributor of the Yantra Mat and created YantraWay.com.

What is your favorite acupressure mat position?

On my back!

What do you see in the future for Yantra Mats?

I hope to educate people about it so they can understand all the wonderful benefits the Yantra Mat has to offer. I see the Yantra Mat as an alternative self-healing product. The more people we can encourage to use the mat, the better they will feel!

What is your best meditating advice?

It is quite easy to fall into a meditative state while on the Yantra Mat. You automatically feel clarity and focus. You should try it!

What inspires your work with Yantra Mats?

To be able to show people an alternative way of healing the body. I would like for us all to understand that there are so many opportunities for us to help heal our own body pains and stress.

Did you always have a passion for acupressure?

Actually, no. I did not understand or know much about acupressure until I discovered the Yantra Mat.

Thank you, Kristina for a Yantra Mat interview and for sending me a stress-relieving Yantra Mat…I’m hooked!

YogaForce Yoga Mat Review and Interview with Founder, Anne Appleby

I was recently sent a beautiful YogaForce Mat from Yoga Force LLC to review and I must say it is the most beautiful yoga mat I have ever seen and the most amazing mat I have ever used.

The Yoga Force is unbelievable; I love the soft cushioning feel of the mat as well as the convenient and easy-to-carry hands free adjustable shoulder strap.  At only 4 pounds, the mat is easy to carry and transport for urban dwellers on the run.  This ergonomic mat also comes with a removable wallet to hold personal items such as keys, credit cards, a cell phone, iPod, chapstick or sunblock.  And what’s not to love about a mat that is eco-friendly; made from long lasting, recyclable, non-latex material?

The YogaForce Mat’s simple alignment guides are essential to get the most benefit out of your yoga practice, while the patented shape allows you more room to maneuver in class.

From the beginning, YogaForce has been a labor of love. when Anne Appleby first became addicted to yoga back in the 80’s, she was frustrated by the lack of fun, comfy, hip clothing in which to practice.  But, only a short while later, Anne created her very own clothing line and a revolutionary Patented YogaForce A-Line Mat.  The patented alignment system on the YogaForce Mat aides in physical therapy, pilates, floor exercises and yoga as it helps guide your body in proper positioning to maximize performance.

Dr. Andrew Weil and The College of Sports Medicine both recently endorsed the Mat, which can be purchased online, as well as at The Sports Club LA, The InterContinental Hotels and The Cooper Clinic.

After facing a severe accident, Anne was told by her surgeons that she would never run again, yet with the help of the A-Line Mat, Anne has run marathons and has no signs of injury after aligning her body with the mat.

I love Anne’s philosophy on life and her healthy lifestyle.  She truly is a successful entrepreneur, who has created an incredible following including celebrities such as: Courtney Cox, Madonna, Lance Armstrong, Julia Stiles and Minnie Driver.

Anne quotes, “The Mat has put me in the best shape of my life.  I stay in condition the easy way; I am mindful about eating and keeping my body in alignment. It is so simple.”

And it is that simple, take a look at the YogaForce for yourself and see how incredible this Mat really is.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Anne Appleby, founder of YogaForce Mats.

  • How did you come up with the idea for YogaForce Mats?

I was in a car accident, actually a few, in LA while working as an executive at Paramount Pictures.  Needed a Mat to get me back in shape.  The ergonomic form works to give one a bit more room in class.  The simple stripes really worked to guide my body back into alignment and heal my injuries.  I love it.  Even though I teach, I still use the lines, one less thing to have to think about.  The Mat is now patented.

  • Tell me about your typical day.

I am the Founder & Chief Creative for Yoga Force LLC; I run around maybe teach a class if I am lucky to keep me sane, and work some more.  I also have speaking engagements about bone health and how to start a business. I am currently working on going International.

  • What is your favorite yoga pose?

Down Dog, I think it is the most relaxing pose ever.  I also love Plow Pose.  I just got a puppy for Christmas and now we do a bit of yoga together.

  • What is your favorite meal to cook?

Shrimp with garden fresh veggies sautéed in chardonnay, olive oil and garlic.  And fresh artisan bread.  I am a bread lover!

  • What is your favorite LA restaurant?

I live in San Francisco now.  A-16 is a fun place.  In LA, I still enjoy going up the coast to Geoffrey’s in Malibu.

  • What is one item that you couldn’t live without?

Paper towels.

  • How would you describe your cooking technique?

Fast and furious.

  • What do you see in the future for YogaForce Mats?

It is a lifestyle brand.  We are starting to get investors.  It will be big. I was just doing it all by myself for so long, keeping the authenticity is of primary importance to me.  I now have a great team.

  • Describe your kitchen at home. Clean.

To be honest, my best dish is called RESERVATIONS!

  • Do you consider yourself to be more of a cook or a baker at home?

I like to eat out.  I am a foodie.

  • What is your best advice?

Make it easy and do what feels right.

  • What inspires your work with YogaForce Mats?

Lining it up!  Life is too short to do a practice out of alignment. Doing it right in the fist place saves energy and helps you to focus.

Thank you, Anne for a fabulous interview and an amazing yoga mat…I’ve been using the mat everyday and I love it…incredibly unique, comfy and easy to transport…I’m hooked!