Thoughts Upon a Hot Yoga Session

Yesterday morning I woke up at 6:30 so I could go to 8:30 Fit hot yoga.  Here is a basic stream of consciousness from that class, for your Memorial Day viewing pleasure.

6:30 am: Wow. It’s really early.  I mean, I don’t have to go to yoga this morning. I’ve been so good this weekend! Back to sleep.

6:36 am: Nope. Gotta go.

6:40 am: mmm bed is so comfy.  I wish I could hire someone to bring me coffee.  Maybe The Boyfriend (aka Navy Boy) will bring me coffee every morning! Nah. He’s sleepier (read: lazier) than I am most of the time…

6:55 am: AH fell back asleep for a minute!! Okay, I’m up, officially up.

7:05 am: Mmmmmmm coffee with vanilla creamer. Ah, sweet mystery of life, at last I’ve found thee…wow, there is nothing on TV at seven on a Sunday morning.  Also, you know it’s early when no one else in the house is awake.

7:30 am: They tell you not to eat before yoga…but we just got oatmeal! Have to test and make sure it’s not poison.

7:40 am: It’s not poison.

7:50 am: Crap, I’m going to be late if I don’t leave right now AH!

8:00 am: Actually leave after ten minute conversation with mom about what we are doing for the rest of the day.  Needless to say, we do not end up doing any of the discussed things.

8:20 am: Begin to pull up to hot yoga building.  Maybe no one else will be here, maybe class was actually misscheduled so I can get some Starbucks and go home and go back to sl–nope, no, there are definitely cars and people here. Damn.

8:22 am: Find my spot on the floor of the classroom.  Class is rapidly filling up.  There is a nice mix; I always feel a little self conscious when class is full of the yogi-style girls, all fit and Pilates-trim in their Lulu Lemon outfits and high quality, bajillion dollar fancy no-slip yoga mats.  And I’m over here like, “Hey, I remembered my towel today! Score.” 

8:25 am: Debate what weights of weights (?) to use.  She suggests a light set and a heavy set, but really what does that mean?  What are we using them for? What’s the meaning of weights in yoga?  I stand there blocking the line for a few seconds  before randomly grabbing 1, 3, and 5 pound pairs.  You can never have too much variety, right?  I like my options.

8:30 am: Class begins.  The teacher, Tiffany, is really upbeat, and we are listening to music from the early 2000s–my era! It’s like an awkward middle school dance all over again.  We begin with some easy strengthening moves, and my thought: I got this.

8:40 am: I DON’T GOT THIS.  We are now moving into held yoga poses while using the weights, and I feel ungainly and lopsided.  How is that woman in front of me balancing? (There is this awkward phenomenon in yoga where you constantly remind yourself not to judge what you can do off of what the other students are doing–and yet, I want my downward dog to beat hers, damn it!)

8:50 am: Moving into the cardio portion.  I ran three miles yesterday, surely I can do a little yoga style cardio.

8:53 am: Don’t put me down for cardio.  Just when I think we’re about to move on and I’ve successfully lived through the energized moves, our teacher smiles and declares, “time for Mountain Climbers!”  I actually laugh.  So. Tired.

8:55 am: Ew, sweat.  I know it’s hot yoga, I should have expected this…but I don’t think you get how sweaty you can be until it happens.  Gross, I know, but if you ever decide to pursue hot yoga, know what you’re getting into.  I’m talking sweat running into your eyes and burning them kind of stuff.

8:56 am: Ouch, it burns! It burns us! (Lord of the Rings reference! Anyone? No one. Okay. Moving on.)

9:00 am: Moving in to ab work.  My stomach is screaming in pain.  I should have just stuck with my coffee.

9:10 am: Moving into the final, most difficult set.  I decide to stop worrying about doing it right and how much it hurts, and focus on the fact that I have almost completed and lived through this class. I squat and punch out with weights like I’m Muhammad Ali.  I runners lunge and balance like I’m a freaking flamingo.  I will do this class, and I will feel zen, damn it!

9:18 am: And now the yoga cool down.  I’m a little dubious when she states we’ll be cooling down in poses, because in my experience, there isn’t any other workout quite like holding poses for a few minutes. Thankfully, it is a cool down, and I hold the relaxing poses while my heart eventually returns to beat inside my chest and not hummingbird around the room.

9:30 am: Class is over.  I’m never getting up from my mat.

9:31 am: I’m up from my mat.  I put all my weights away, blocking the pile yet again.  (For the record, I’ll be using the 3 and 5 pound varieties from now on).

9:35 am: After thanking the teacher, I’m in the car and on my way home, downing as much water as I can.  I decide against stopping at Starbucks–I don’t want to undo any of the hard work I just did with a fatty drink.  Three cheers for healthy post yoga decisions.

Fast forward to 8:00 am this morning…I move to get up out of bed. Every part of my body, from my neck  to the soles of my feet, cries out in alarmed protest.  This tells me two things: 1) class was successful! I feel like a lean, mean, yoga doing zen goddess. And 2) Probably shouldn’t do that class and a 2.5 mile run in one day.  I suppose it tells me one more: I will be taking a break today.

Have an amazing Memorial Day, friends!

Five Things: Memorial Day

It’s crazy how excited I was for the weekend after my first week of working full time.  It takes a lot out of you, especially when you throw on an hour of intense work out each day.  So needless to say, I was ready for a bit of time to relax and chill out.  Here’s what I’m excited about this weekend.

1) My three mile run.  This one is a bit of a cheat, because it already happened…but the run was awesome!  There is really nothing as inspiring as pushing your body to new limits and succeeding. I used to not be able to even walk three miles, and today I challenged myself to the longest run of my week.  I completed 3.2 miles in 33 minutes, and much of the trail was made up of pretty steep inclines.  I felt so empowered! And relaxed.  So much incentive to get out of the door.

2) Lemon Eton mess. 

I found this recipe in my mom’s Southern Living and have wanted to make it since last week! So I’ll be whipping up a batch for our Memorial Day dessert.  It’s light, refreshing, and (best part!) easy! Basically, you make lemon curd, and then make a parfait with the curd, crumbled lemon shortbread cookies (also on my baking list), homemade whipped cream, and fresh berries.  It’s going to be amazing.

3) The American Heiress

This. Book. I am obsessed.   I bought it at a friend’s recommendation, and it has been fulfilling my Great Gatsby/Downton Abbey obsession.  I would love to finish it this weekend! There’s nothing better than curling up with a good book and a cup of coffee for a few hours.  A pleasure I haven’t had in a long, long time.

4) Girl’s night with Katie.  This also already happened (so much cheating in this Five Things!), but I had been excited about it all week.  Sometimes it’s nice to relive those typical high school weekend sleepovers: frozen yogurt, Redvines, a good movie, and girl talk for hours.  Katie and I have been friends for 9 years, so we have a very precise formula.  It was so fun to catch up.

5) Three day weekend! I’m excited to relax, help out around the house, and have an extra day to relax.  Hopefully. The funny thing about being home is that chores seem to pop out of nowhere.  Memorial Day is a little bittersweet this year.  I’m excited for the day off, of course, but the true meaning of the day is really hitting home for the first time, with the two most important boys in my life serving in the military.  Please take a moment out of your day on Monday to remember the sacrifices that continue to keep our country safe, and pray for soldiers past and present, those lost and those still serving–and their families.

 

I hope you all have a beautiful start to the weekend!

 

 

Hot Yoga, Baby!

I took my first hot yoga class tonight.  I was a little bit nervous.  I haven’t done a real yoga class in a year and a half.  Though we work in a lot of yoga moves into my acting classes, I didn’t quite know how my strength would hold up in an hour long class.  Also, it’s HOT! And they mean hot.  I started with Yoga Flow, because I like the relaxing flow of the moves and the music.  I noticed before I started the room was heated to a balmy 95 degrees. Woah.

Let me just say, if you don’t like to sweat, then hot yoga is most definitely NOT for you.  This may seem obvious, but I work out a lot, and I don’t think I’ve ever sweated more.  A little gross, but it’s hard to focus on that when you’re trying to ground one foot in the floor and balance while your other leg and opposite arm are in the air. 

So, my thoughts?  I am a little obsessed.  The class was a challenge, for sure.  I alternated between attentive focus in a relaxed state…and the typical Lauren state of, “How the hell is she wrapping her foot into her pelvis like that?? I want to do it!!” After I was done, my shoulders felt about three inches lower than they usually sit, and my lower back was loose after a day of sitting at the office.  I felt relaxed, anxiety free, and very much in control of my body.  That alone is enough to make me give the $40 unlimited month long membership ago! Look forward to more yoga updates as I try to calmly proceed without worrying about wrapping my foot behind my head.

Great Gatsby Style

Great Gatsby Style
For a little escape after a long work day and sad day of news, I decided to create a style board inspired by The Great Gatsby film.  I was in love with all of the sumptuous 1920’s fashion, and intrigued by how Catherine Martin, the film’s costume designer, created her designs and concept–especially with hundreds of extras filling the scenes!  These are some of my favorite random shoot to the moon pics; meaning they’re probably really expensive.  I’ll be excited when more affordable flapper fashion hits the racks! In the meantime, be sure to check out ASOS for cheaper flapper dresses and accessories.  Forever 21 also has some solid Art Deco jewelry selections.

Pray for Oklahoma

The massive tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma yesterday was about fifteen to twenty minutes from my school, and began only ten minutes away from my dad’s house.  Everyone I know and love is safe and accounted for, and my dad’s house sustained no damage, but the devastation so close to where my loved ones and I live is absolutely unimaginable.  Please take a moment to pray, send good vibes, whatever you need to do, to the people who have lost loved ones or all they own.  I cannot even begin to express how proud I am of the fortitude of the people in my adopted state.  One mother on the news summed it up for me: “Yes, I lost everything, but my kids are alright.  So we’re fine.”  I’m praying with all my heart for recovery and peace to the area.

Note: If you are in OKC, you can help by donating food, water, and other supplies to the local Red Cross, or by giving blood.

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes

ImageJust got back from the most amazing Disney weekend.  I can’t believe I’ve been at two Disney parks in the past three months, on opposite sides of the country! World traveler over here.  My stepdad, mom and I flew out on Wednesday, and met my twin brother, who attends a military academy, in Orlando.  My brother has an insane summer–he’s scheduled down to the last  minute.  These five days were golden to him, and I’m so happy we got to spend them in such an exciting way!

The trip was wonderful in all aspects.  We rode awesome rides, stayed in a gorgeous hotel (Wilderness Lodge.  If you are making the trip, I highly recommend it!).  We also relaxed a little more, and took life at a slower pace than we usually do at Disney.  Confession time: I’m a bit of a master planner/drill sergeant when it comes to Disney parks.  I make our traveling plans because I can usually figure out how to have the shortest wait times, do the most stuff, and eat at wonderful restaurants.  So at first I was a bit anxious when we deviated from the plan.  But it was actually really, really nice to wander about and take breaks and eat Dole whip.  Lesson learned.

 

 

ImageBrother and I playing the drums.  I think I stole all the musical abilities.

Hanging out with my brother is one of my favorite things in life (along with fro yo, long walks, amazing books, and coffee). He is the yin to my yang.  He is also the only person that I ever get incredibly frustrated with–which is kind of beautiful, when you think about it.  We are best friends, and it’s like we’ve never been apart every time we reunite.  Love it.

Being at Disney this trip really solidified a desire I’ve had since…well, since I first watched a Disney princess sing on screen (’90s kid problems).  I would LOVE to work at Disney as a performer, in almost any capacity!  They all show much warmth and compassion, especially those who work with kids, in a job that isn’t always gratifying–there are a lot of exhausted children and screaming parents (and vice versa) at those parks.  I have so much respect and admiration for them, whether they be character performers, parade dancers, or in a show.

And speaking of shows…

I need to play Nemo in Finding Nemo: The Musical.  Who would have thought an amusement park show would have contained some of the best performances I’ve seen on a musical stage?  And those performers have to do about six shows a day.  Absolute insanity.  But an insanity that I would love to take on.  Ah, the oddities of the BFA world.

 

 

 

 

The Cookie Principle: Or, Why I Believe Diets Don’t Work

I’ve had ample time in the past few days to remember how warped of a world a performing arts school is, especially where diet and fitness are concerned.  Back here in the real world, I am extremely in shape when compared with most of my state school friends–no freshman fifteen for BFAs.  But at school, there seems to be a constant unannounced competition of who can be the healthiest, work out the most, and, obviously, look the best.  Through my fitness journey of the past four years, I’ve come to realize how toxic that attitude is, so it usually doesn’t get to me.  But while my mom and I were taking a walk last night and talking, I came up with my Core Value of healthy eating, which I am going to call the cookie principle.

An illustration of this principle, using Lauren and Collegiate Case A (another twenty something girl struggling to look good in this competitive theatre world).  We are at dinner in the caf.  I see that they have brought out a tray of freshly baked, deliciously aromatic chocolate chip cookies that I cannot resist. 

So I go and get one. 

CCA watches me eat the cookie over her salad and half a cumquat, and declares that no, she could never eat one, but it looks so darn good, and if she could only have a cookie she’d be eternally happy, it’s the secret of the universe and everything, etc…but she’s on a diet.  I enjoy my cookie and move on with my day (that cookie was my treat; I’m not going to indulge in anything else because it was delicious and enough).  Fast forward to a week later.  CCA is starving, crabby, and most of all, NEEDS A COOKIE.  So same place, same time in the caf, she cries out, “Screw the diet!!”, grabs five cookies and three scoops of ice cream and sprinkles and syrup, and downs it all. 

Later that night, she goes home and cries, feeling incredibly guilty about the whole thing, and vows to go back to the diet tomorrow.

And thus the vicious cycle continues.

The cookie principle, in short hand: eat the damn cookie.  And let that be enough.

I don’t think diets work.  Which is sad news to a lot of people.  There is this huge wish out there for a magic solution, a week-long fix.  And it seems to me that people are willing to suffer horribly in the search of this magic trick, both mentally and physically.  And a lot of the time, they end up in exactly the same place they started because they simply cannot take any more deprivation.  I know that this happened to me, before I realized dieting doesn’t work.  A complete lifestyle change is, at least for me, the only maintainable form of healthy weight and fitness levels.

This means that while I don’t always get to go for my impulse and eat a whole carton of Heath Bar ice cream every night, I also don’t go to bed feeling horrible guilt and disgust.  I eat my normal healthy meals each day, exercise for at least half an hour almost every day, and then feel fine about eating some dark chocolate or going to get fro yo with the girls.

I have found a huge amount of peace and contentment in moderation, true joy and stress relief in exercise, and pleasure from the food that I eat.  That, more than weight loss, is a truly worthy goal. 

Do you have a cookie principle? 

Sweets for the Sweet

My mom is so excited that I’m home for the summer…which makes me more excited being home.  I cleared my whole weekend so we could have some special mother daughter time that we’ve been missing, especially since she wasn’t able to come see any of my shows this year.

We spent Saturday and Sunday shopping for a new wardrobe for her, and went to see The Great Gatsby (which I’ll have to post about later…safe to say I was OBSESSED.  Mom was a little more controlled with her praise, but was such a good sport to see it with me.  Movie watching at Sundance Theatre has become a kind of tradition for us; I can’t wait to go see more!).

And then…dinner.  We had decided to make salmon, a Caesar salad, and Ree Drummond’s hot crashed potatoes.  And for dessert, I attempted Moelleux au Chocolat “Kitu”, or individual molten chocolate cakes, from Elizabeth Bard’s book Lunch in Paris.  I’ve been wanting to try the recipe for months, and since I finally had a kitchen and a special occasion, I decided to go for it!

It might have been a little ambitious for my first cooking gig in six months.  I kept having to run back to Mom an ask when, exactly, potatoes could be considered “fork tender,” and was the potato masher supposed to crumble them everywhere, and was it powdered or granulated sugar in whipped cream?  But it somehow all came together.

The chocolate cakes are literally the easiest little soufflé you could ever make.  Dark chocolate, four eggs, some sugar, and a tablespoon of flour to make them rise, and you’re in business! A note: I used Reynolds wrap cupcake liners for the molds for the cakes.  I stacked about five of them, poured in the batter, and then set the little molds on a cookie sheet to bake.  It worked perfectly, and was super easy to unmold.  They came out beautifully! I added homemade whipped cream (simple pleasures) and some raspberries, which cut the richness of the cakes very nicely. I apologize that I don’t have any finished pictures of the cakes; we were too excited to eat them and I completely forgot! Mom was in heaven.  We topped off the night watching the season finale of Survivor–well, they watched it, and I read Sense and Sensibility.  Some things never change.

Hope you all had a lovely Mother’s Day!  I know that I am the luckiest daughter in the world.

MOELLEUX AU CHOCOLAT

  • 8 tbsps (1 stick) unsalted butter (I used salt, but eliminated the sea salt later.  Turned out great! Use whatever you have)
  • 5 oz dark chocolate (I used Lindt 70% and it was perfect)
  • A pinch of sea salt (I omitted the salt)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbs flour

Preheat oven to 450. Melt butter and chocolate together on stove, add sea salt.

Meanwhile, beat together eggs, egg yolks, and sugar w/ whisk or an electric beater until light and slightly foamy. Add egg mixture to the warm chocolate; whisk quickly to combine. Add flour and stir JUST TO COMBINE. The batter will be quite thick. 

Use Reynolds foil cupcake liners (5 or 6 stacked together to make a mold) and divide batter evenly amongst molds. Bake 7 minutes for thin outter shell, 8 minutes for thicker curst and gooey center. I baked them for 8 minutes and thought it was perfect–the molten chocolate oozes out beautifully when you crack open the top.

*Can freeze batter in molds and take out of freezer 10 minutes in advance. Bake at 410 F for aprox. 15 to 17 minutes.

15 Thoughts On Being Home

Today I spent my first full day back at home.  It was largely uneventful and relaxing, but I kept finding myself shaking my head and wondering at the novelty of being back in this house with my mom and stepdad.  Here are a few of my post-sophomore year thoughts.

1. I am currently lying in the bed I slept in basically every night from sixth grade to the day I left for college. Insane.

2. My room feels the same.  So easy to sink back into; like my favorite sweater.

3. I HAVE SO MANY BOOKS! I mean, I gave three boxes away last summer…and yet books are shoved into every cranny and crevice of my room.  And the basement.  And some of the living areas.  My parents probably could have invested in a yacht and sailed away to Cancun with all the money they spent on books for me.

4. My dogs (Kiwi, Mango, and Patterson) are so cute! Life is good when you have a terripoo, terrier mutt, and a miniature basset (meaning she weights fifty pounds instead of 80).

5. My dogs are loud.  Why are they barking at 8:00 am?

6. I can cook. My god.  It’s a miracle. I’m making scrambled eggs.

7. Eh, I’m too lazy for eggs.  Cereal it is.

8.  I can run errands without worrying about making it back in time for class.  I revel in the feeling of being in our usual grocery store, where I know where everything is and don’t have to spend the requisite fifteen minutes in line that my school’s neighborhood Walmart always seems to feature.

9. I forgot half the things I needed at the grocery because I was too busy reveling in driving around all of my old stomping grounds.

10. Man, I can’t wait to eat at Noodles/the diner/that new restaurant/my favorite burger place/the new fro yo joint.

11.  I gotta go for a run. I’m going to gain ten pounds in a week.

12. Getting new shoes at the mall? Awesome.  Getting new shoes at the mall that were paid for by your mom? Priceless.

13. There isn’t anything quite like curling up in the old comfy couch with a hot mug of coffee in your pajamas. 

14. Oh my god, I don’t have to do homework. Or a rehearsal. Or an audition. Or a lesson. Or a performance. Or go practice.

15.  How blessed I am to be able to end the day curled up on the couch with my mom and three dogs, having a couple of spoonfuls of Coffee Heath Bar Crunch ice cream and watching Downton Abbey.  Life is bliss.

 

Relaxing at Home

Relaxing at home
I am officially back at home up north!  I’ll admit, it’s a little bit strange to get back in the groove of being in my parent’s house after a year of college.  But the fact that I get to relax and not worry about school work for four days? Perfection.  Here’s what I’m dreaming of wearing this week.