Category Archives: Inside Your Lunch Pail

Help…I’m Eating Like I’ll Never Date Again!

So I have this friend, Jill.

Jill is lovely, and blessed with a naturally tall, thin frame. She doesn’t get fat, she just gets “soft.” But to me, Jill always looks long and lithe.

However, Jill, like many women (myself included, during my dating days) links eating and body image to self-worth and dating. Abridged Version: More food in; Less going out.

This is crazy.  With a heaping dose of self-love and self-confidence, Jill is ready and able to date. If she believes she’s a sexy catch in the body she’s in, her dance card will be filled with men who couldn’t agree more.

That guy across the room doesn’t know that she had extra humentashen last night (Happy Purim!) or that Jill’s extra skinny jeans are no longer buttonable without exactly three deep squats and a flop on to the bed. No, Mr. Man-Across-The-Room isn’t thinking about any of that. Instead, he sees Pretty Jill. She smiles, and he thinks she’s the most radiant being he’s ever seen.

I know what you’re thinking….Great for Jill. But what about me? I don’t feel so hot in this body o’ mine. How do I gain self-love and self-confidence in my body?

1. Feed it. Enjoy every morsel that you put into your mouth. Your body needs it, or loves it, or BOTH.

2. Move it. Yoga, running, walking, stair climbing, horseback riding, whatever. A moving body is a happy body.

3. Adore it. Treat yourself well. Pamper yourself with scented moisturizer, a new hair do, or a manicure. Delight in your soft skin, your curves, and your shiny hair. It’s all yours, and it’s fabulous.

Self confidence. Get it, and start going out!

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Filed under Inside the Yoga Studio, Inside Your Friendships, Inside Your Love Life, Inside Your Lunch Pail, Inside Your Make-up Bag

6 Ways to Describe Single Women

Single Women can be described in over 600 ways. Or Six.

I spend much of my time with Single Women. They inspire me, and they challenge me. Hell, some of my best friends are Single Women. And as you probably know, I used to be a Single Woman myself. Over the years, I’ve found that Single Women are…

1. Happy. Single women serve their own needs first. And a girl needs to be happy. If happiness lives in a box of Jacques Torres chocolate truffles and a restorative yoga class on Friday night, so be it. Who’s going to argue otherwise?

2. Connected. Single women have strong, solid relationships. They communicate clearly and often, with dear friends and chosen family. Single women have friendships that only deepen with time and trials and tribulations. Friendships can outlive boyfriend after boyfriend.

3. Feminine. Single Women tend to know other Single Women. And when you put a few Single Women in one space, you get a full-blown Goddess Gathering. That is, you get a group of women who are not afraid to be as “feminine” as they naturally are. Women communicate and share. Women tackle sticky topics like work, sex, babies, mothers, fathers, pain, fears, and true happiness. Women emote. Single Women emote a lot.

4. Hot. Single women are hot. Single Women are in your yoga class, rocking out in spinning class, and treating themselves to sushi dinners. Single women dine out on small plates and a glass (or 3) of wine. Most Single Women eat out a lot. And eating out, contrary to popular belief, is not fattening. However, it is expensive. Hence, the small plates, and the skinny jeans.

5. Stylish. Single Women have great wardrobes. They know where to shop, and how to shop. They know how to show off their best features. Single Women are peacocks, after all.

6. Rockstars. Single Women are Rockstars, at least according to Great Aunt Roz in Fort Lauderdale. If you’re a Single Woman, the relatives think you’re fabulous, or famous, or both. So what if they don’t quite understand what you do for a living, or how you spend your time and money? They can see that Single Women do things a little differently from most of the nice girls in your high school graduating class. Single Women have parties to attend, and people to see. Single Women are the family Rockstars!

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Filed under Inside the Yoga Studio, Inside Your Career, Inside Your Closet, Inside Your Family, Inside Your Friendships, Inside Your Love Life, Inside Your Lunch Pail

Thanksgiving Wrap-Up: The Same, but Different

Thanksgiving was delicious, joyful, and a beauty to behold. Just like last year. In fact, it was so familiar and unremarkable in its good cheer that I almost overlooked how this year’s Thanksgiving dinner was very different from last year.

Thanksgiving Bound!

This year I have a boyfriend.

Many of  you know this by now. You know that my boyfriend’s name is Alan and that he’s kind and charming and I think he’s pretty special. What you may not know is that Alan has an equally kind and charming, and super-adorable daughter named Sophie. She’s the spitting image of her dad. (I love that about her.) And this year, both Alan and Sophie joined us to give thanks.

I filled Sophie’s plate with cranberry sauce, and passed the butternut squash to Alan. My father talked, my mother cleaned, and I loosened my belt  as a precautionary measure. Everyone laughed and kvetched about something. It all felt comfortable and right.

But Thanksgiving was different this year, and I’m over-the-moon thankful for it.

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11 Reasons I Say THANK YOU.

In no particular order, I say THANK YOU because…

1. My rent hasn’t gone up this year. Thank you, rent stabilization.

2. I have health insurance. Dental and vision included.

3. I have a boyfriend. And he’s dreamy.

4. I have a MacBook Pro. It scares me but I’m grateful for it.

5. I have a hairdresser that I trust. The “natural look” takes a lot of care and consideration.

6. My students are incredible and supportive.

7. My bosses are incredible and supportive.

8. Loehmann’s offers special birthday sales to insider card members.

9. I am healthy.

10. The Louie G’s Italian Ices stand is open through November. To go, obviously.

11. I am loved. My life is perfect.

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A Thank You Note

I spent the past weekend on a yoga retreat in the Catskills. It was an all-women affair, aptly named the Goddess Retreat. I’ve been attending these retreats since they began over ten years ago. And each and every time, I’m joined by my mom.

As proper etiquette dictates, a Thank You Note is appropriate.

Dear Goddess Retreat,

Thank you for the pear cobbler with homemade whipped cream. I had four big dollops.

Thank you for the extra down blanket. It was warm and fluffy.

Thank you for the stories. A woman acknowledged her passions. Another woman discovered love, almost lost it, and found it again.  Many women prayed for children, prayed for their ability to care for them, and prayed for their ability to let them go. 

Thank you for dance class.  These days, dancing  is a rare treat. I long to dance without self-consciousness, or fear of sending the wrong message. I want to dance in a safe space, whether it’s my living room or a line dancing club in New Jersey. Because dancing is feel-good medicine. 

Thank you for the hours upon hours of hang-out time.  You reminded me what it’s like to hold a conversation long enough to get to the meaty part.

Thank you for the laughs and tears and wet snorts in between.

Thank you Goddess Retreat. I’m so glad we’re friends.

Very Best, Daniella

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I am not a superfood.

I’ve been on an experimental health kick for the last two weeks. Nudged along by the good intentions of my friends, I’ve entered the world of juices, smoothies, and superfoods.

Don’t get me wrong, I am generally a healthy person. I order grilled chicken salads and sashimi bento boxes for lunch. I snack on whole fruits. I eat food that resembles actual food (with the gaping exception of my Italian Ice obsession.)  Therefore, I was surprised to find that my new nutrient-packed lifestyle made me feel like crap. And not in a good way.

It all started with a smoothy. In it, was a mash-up of spinach and other greens. After a little finagling with the recipe, adding extra salt and ice cubes, it was perfectly delicious. Because it was a smoothy and not a juice, all the fiber and chunky bits were included with the liquid. I thought this would be an advantage–less ingredients to produce more of the thick green stuff.  But after a little while, my body felt water-logged, bloated and spherical.

A few days later, I decided to give smoothies another try. This time, I wanted something sweet. I opted for blueberry, the antioxidant-rich ingredient of the moment. I also added raspberries, soy milk, whey protein and flaxseed oil. What a healthy way to start the day–pure protein, good omegas, and antioxidants! I sipped that baby right up! 

Thankfully I was only a short walk from home. After I couple blocks my belly rumbled. By block three I was running home as fast as my little legs could carry me. I got home just in time for the inevitable. Surely, this was not the intended response. Right?

Third try, dinner of sautéed kale with quinoa and pomegranate seeds. The meal was generously prepared by my dear friend Danielle. [Danielle, you know I love you. There’s no one else who’d understand this blog better.] After a full helping of greens, I felt woozy. I was a little nauseous, and uninterested in food. Not surprisingly, I was bloated.

What do I do now? Is my body rebelling against the sheer amount of nutrients in one sitting? Is my reaction normal? I guess I’m not ready to commit to a diet made up of superfoods, antioxidants and natural enimas.

I’m heading to Louie G’s.

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What’s Dripping Down My Arm?

ICES, that’s what!

If you know me at all, you know I like ices. A lot. In the summertime, ices are practically a food group. And until now, I have never outed myself and my ices obsession to you. But like all information of value, this too must be shared.

I’m big fan of uncle Louie G’s, a Staten Island based franchise that expanded into numerous locations throughout Brooklyn this summer. My favorite locations are Smith Street between Butler and Douglas Street (2 doors down from the American Apparel) in Carroll Gardens, and Union Street (at 5th ave) in the Park Slopes. They have all the normal fruit flavors, like mango, blackberry, cherry and lemon. You could spend the summer tasting every fruit flavor in the world.

OR you could take the plunge into the ridiculous and delicious. Uncle Louie G’s has a signature Rainbow Cookie flavor with real cookie bits. Also, Canoli flavor, which could only be found in an authentic Italian Staten Island business. Real canoli chunks!  The Pistachio variety has tons of pistachios to crunch on, and the Mint Chocolate Chip is chocolate-chunky.

But my personal favorite, the flavor the kindly scooper hands me without even asking: Vanilla Peanut Butter Chocolate Covered Pretzel. It’s like a naughty candy bar smushed into pure and simple vanilla ices. And it’s divine. There are whole mini chocolate-covered pretzels in every scoop, and real peanut butter globs to surprise your palate. It’s sweet and salty and refreshing.

So if you catch me roaming the streets licking a squeezy cup piled high with ices, please say hello. I’d be happy to join you for a second helping!

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Your Hot Bod

It’s the first day of August, it’s scorching outside, and the perfect time to discuss your Hot Bod. No really, let’s be honest about this.

What was your original motivation for going to a yoga class?  If you’re like me, it was weight loss. At the time, in my early 20’s, anything active was associated with losing weight and looking better. All exercise and movement was understood as first and foremost, a weight loss tool. Any other positive or pleasurable results (better mood, more energy, deeper sleep, to name a few) were just incidental bonuses.

It worked simply–when I felt good about how I looked, I was calm, even, and normal. When I felt overweight, fat or bloated, I’d overly obsess about my body, the way clothing fit, and the way I looked in pictures. Dissatisfaction with my body overpowered almost every other rational concern.

And then I found yoga, the best “weight loss” tool of my life. How? Yoga allows me to relax and trust that my weight won’t yo-yo. I no longer obsess about gaining weight after a long weekend of eating. I trust that I will stay at equilibrium, and I trust my body to find it quickly and efficiently. The desire to stay thin has far less of a hold on me. I’ve been more or less the same size for the past 5 or 6 years.

Don’t get me wrong, vanity is still present in my practice (please note the weekly nail polish updates on facebook and twitter!) But it’s not the only reason I practice. When vanity stops being a part of my practice altogether, I’ll let you know. Until then, I will enjoy all of the benefits of the yoga practice. Including my Hot Bod.

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Got Energy?

Last week was an energetic doozy. It was filled with long days out of sync with my regular routine.

On the normally designated “greasy hair and pajama days” sitting in front of the computer, I was instead out and about, in the flow of activities. I enjoyed the sweet nostalgia of  stepping into a couple of my old-time teaching slots from last fall and winter. I posed for the lululemon ambassadorship photo shoot, and took part in meetings for the super duper exciting upcoming Practice Camp at Mala Yoga.

But when I woke up last Monday morning, I had a sweeping feeling of panic. I couldn’t imagine what was to come. I wasn’t able to visualize myself in each activity to create a calm and prepared presence. My trusty written calendar was sloppy and illegible. And most importantly, when would I get a nap?!  The newness and one-offness of the week threw me. Big time.

And when I get thrown, I get tired. I get low-energy, sleepy, pooped.  Just the thought of the week to come made me ready to curl up and rock myself into a dream state. Oy vey, NOT a good look for an active yoga teacher–a physical example of health and peppiness!

Miraculously, the week happened and I lived to blog about it.

My energy started to shift after my first appointment. One thing down, check. It wasn’t immediate, but as I sloped toward the midpoint of my weekly activities each step fell naturally from the next. And by Friday afternoon, I forgot to worry for a moment. I wasn’t dragging all of the past and future activities with me in my brain. Instead, I placed my full attention on the apricot iced tea I was drinking.

Having stuff to DO refocused my energy into action, instead of anxiety. In the end, I felt even fuller with energy.  And yes, the caffeinated iced tea helped.

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The Path is Paved with Good Habits

Ever feel like all of your hard work and focus on the mat can waver from one day to the next? Like you can be blown off the path in just one weekend of eating and drinking? Imagine this: you’ve had a week of consistent yoga practice, you’re feeling great in your body and mind, and proud of yourself for being noble, wise, and good. And then one day pops up where you have a social engagement, a potluck, an extra glass of wine and dessert, or a temporary hiatus from portion control.

Do you feel motivated to work harder? Or are you less motivated, succumbing to the slippery slope of inactivity, the feeling of “blah” in the body, and the cut-off sensation from the neck down?

This might sound extreme, but it’s only a slightly extreme version of what I used to do, and how I used to feel. Now, even in my lower moments I can trust my body to re-calibrate to normal.

How? I’ve created easy habits to fall back into. I have yoga classes that I normally attend. It’s actually more of an effort to NOT go. How would I occupy that time? What would I tell my friends and teachers about why I couldn’t be there? I’ve created a positive arrangement so that I can’t slip so far off the path that it’s more effort than it needs to be to get back.

At some point, you’ll have to create some discipline for yourself. Do not give in to the insecurity and bloating. Please do not beat yourself up emotionally. Forget it, those emotions don’t get a say! Instead, place yourself in the position of continually arriving on the path. Create a habit so that you land on your mat on a regular basis. And when your mind is telling you self-defeating or unkind thoughts, you can rely on the simple act of habit to get back to the practice.

Try it: Put your body on the mat. Allow your heart and mind to come along on the path to feeling great.

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