Awesome article alert: “Sisters of the ‘Yogic’ Yam: bell hooks and the Yoga in Self-Recovery” by Sariane Leigh

I didn’t see this article back when it came out about 2 years ago, but it is definitely still relevant. You all know I love yoga, self-care and self-recovery, and making those things accessible. Well, I am not the one to speak on some of these experiences, but Sariane Leigh, a.k.a. Anacostia Yogi, does so and does so beautifully. I found her article Sisters of the “Yogic” Yam: bell hooks and the Yoga in Self-Recovery (a guest post on The Feminist Wire) while searching for a different article regarding renowned feminist scholar bell hooks, and just had to share. Leigh embodies a fitness and wellness philosophy that I strive for every day – one that is not about punishment or strict competition, but one that is focused on healing, self-love, and nourishment (physical and emotional/spiritual).

As if her beautiful work and impressive bio aren’t enough, Ms. Leigh has also compiled a list of curvy yogis to follow on Instagram! It’s like she knew I needed more curvy fitness on my feed 🙂

Peace, sweat and love,

G

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Getting back in the proverbial saddle

Hi there!

Ooof. Almost the weekend! If you’ve been following my blog, you know that it has been a crazy couple of weeks for me. I spent all summer working to save up, and I am just now finishing up my fourth week of law school. Crazy. And it has been so fast!

I am getting into a rhythm, though. I created an obsessive Excel spreadsheet schedule dictating study times, workout times, etc. I also am still drafting (a bit late, but I feel like law school is a valid excuse!) a training schedule for my upcoming (drumroll please!) HALF MARATHON!

285Yep, I decided to take the plunge. This summer during my long runs for my Tough Mudder training, I thought: “Hey… I could add a few more miles!” I am excited but also very nervous. The race is mid-November, which does not leave me quite as much time as I would like, especially because I have had a bit of difficulty starting up. That said, I actually think that the goal of a half marathon will be very good for me in this crazy time – it is a tangible goal that engages a lot of the skills I will need for law school, too. It’s a cliché, but they all say law school is a marathon after all!

After my iPhone died on my last long run (the poor thing is too old and tired to track my long runs on a GPS-enabled app anymore), I knew it was time to update. So I went ahead and bit the bullet, and got the most budget-friendly (as well as most pink) GPS watch Garmin offers: The Forerunner 10. I saw a number of other running bloggers use it, so I figure it would be a good product to start up with… Especially because I can’t shell out $250 for a GPS watch right now.

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Hamming it up for a goofy selfie with my new Garmin and my beloved TM finisher tee.

My cute little watch (did I mention it’s pink!?!) accompanied me on my first run in a long time today. I forgot to set up the auto-stop feature, so my time was even slower than it would normally be, but either way it was definitely a challenge today. I only did about 3.5mi, but after weeks of stress and physical and mental readjustment with virtually no running (only occasional strength training and yoga), my body simply could not go fast. It could, however, as it always manages, endure just fine. I was slow slow slow, but I felt happy during my run and amazing afterwards.

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Brutal – but I’ve got to start up again from somewhere! And also figure out that auto-stop feature…

It was so lovely running through my new neighborhood – I love my new home! I live in a really diverse part of Boston, which I really love. As a first-generation American, I am always thrilled to share my space with other people from/with family from different countries, who speak different languages, and who practice different religions.  Just today, for example, I got to pass so many joyful Orthodox Jewish families heading out to celebrate Rosh Hashanah together! Happy New Year to all those observing, by the way 🙂

Where do you like to run?

What do you love about your community?

Peace, sweat and love,

G

“25 small things you can do to make the world a kinder place” 

“25 small things you can do to make the world a kinder place”

Totally need this list right now – “25 Small Things You Can Do To Make The World A Kinder Place” via Lorna Jane’s amazing Move Nourish Believe site. It has been a long day and I am exhausted emotionally and physically! I just found out that I am being further waitlisted at Cornell Law, which is really frustrating and puts me in a very uncomfortable predicament regarding potential housing. *Sigh*. Nothing I can do about it right now. I think I’m just going to turn in early and get in some good zzz’s while I can. Sleep heals all!

Peace, sweat and love, 

G

Weekend recap + training

Hi friends!

Hope you all had a great weekend – I know I did! I’m so, so glad that the weather out here was so nice. Happy to be able to go outside and soak up some sun!

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Major New England love right now! 😀

Another great thing about this increase in me time is that now I have more time to prepare and pick out good food! On Saturday a friend and I went to the Providence farmer’s market and browsed through the delicious local goods there. I came home with local pickles (ate the entire jar already), assorted macarons, and some delicious ginger chèvre for my family. Definitely plan on going back next weekend! I love love LOVE picking up fresh food and cooking – having more time to breathe means rekindling my love for cooking/baking/food prep!

Kale chips! Will definitely be making (and rapidly eating) these all summer.

Kale chips! Will definitely be making (and rapidly eating) these all summer.

In addition to enjoying sunshine and fresh produce, I’ve continued with my training for the 5k Foam Fest and of course August’s Tough Mudder. A friend of mine wants to run a 5k together (we ran our first race together a year or so ago this summer!), so I might add in another event somewhere in there, too.

I’m also looking to run longer distances in my training for TM, so I was considering doing another longer race too. There is a 10 miler in Newport this summer, but right now I’m on the fence about signing up. We’ll see! If I can get someone to do it with me I’d be more eager to register. I think it might help break up my training, but don’t want it to be another source of anxiety.

In addition to my time at the gym and on the road running, I’m trying to make more yoga time. My new obsession is finding free or “community” yoga classes – ideal for someone on a student’s budget! And of course who couldn’t use more time on a yoga mat? This is a summer of prep and self-care, that is for sure.

I’ve drafted a TM training plan. Thus far, here’s what it looks like:

TM training plan

This is subject to change, of course. I’m excited but nervous – hope my DIY plan is up to par!

Any former Mudders have any other suggestions/tips for me? Or any other folks knowledgeable in this area?

Peace, sweat and love,

G

 

sorry i’ve been kind of absent lately…

… I’ve been busy GRADUATING FROM COLLEGE!!!

Gack! It has been such a crazy couple of days in every sense. I want to feel more than I can about graduation right now, but it’s still too early for me to hash out all my feelings. There’s just so much that I still don’t even know what or how to feel! All I know is that leaving Wellesley is bittersweet – perhaps even more bitter as it sinks in later on. For now, I admit that I am glad to go home and recuperate from a crazy couple of days (weeks, really, with finals and senior week and then graduation week). I’ve subsisted primarily off of champagne and cupcakes until now, so boring as it is I am thrilled to get back to real, home-cooked meals… Not to mention a regular exercise routine again! During really crazy times my body pulls through no problem, but once the insanity is over (finals, a major event I had to prepare for, etc.) I just crash. I’m definitely going to sleep 12 hours a couple nights this week just because I will naturally need that pseudo-hibernation to get me back into a normal routine. Will be sure to practice good self-care this week, even as I check things off my to-do list and unpack (ughhh).

But first, a visual recap of my graduation is in order. I am absolutely blessed to have an amazing, supportive family – so supportive that two of my relatives from Italy came to my graduation! That’s right – these family members flew overseas so they could see me walk across the stage and get my diploma! I am very close with my family in Italy, but unfortunately am physically far from them most of the time. It meant the world to me that they chose to be there for this moment in my life. That, and of course my nuclear family and relatives from closer by showed up wearing “Proud Wellesley Family/Parent/Sibling” pins! Though I can’t figure out my feelings on graduating, there were definitely tears to be had out of love and amazement at the dedication of my amazing family.

My little brother congratulates me.

My little brother congratulates me.

The family

The family

Some of the women of the family

Some of the women of the family

Friendship!

Friendship!

<3

No caption necessary.

The day after graduation, my family threw me a little graduation luncheon. Family and close friends (from home). Incredibly, my visiting relatives refused to let my mother order bagels and instead cooked everything themselves, minus the beautiful cake from a local bakery.

Ricotta-stuffed phyllo shells with peppered veg topping

Ricotta-stuffed phyllo shells with peppered veg topping

Mozzarella, breadcrumb, and basil stuffed and baked tomatoes

Mozzarella, breadcrumb, and basil stuffed and baked tomatoes

Pesto farro with cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, and ricotta... The farro is actually from the region in Italy that we are from!

Pesto farro with cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, and ricotta… The farro is actually from the same region in Italy that we are from!

A fish made out of fish! An adorable concoction made of tuna, pureed potatoes, and capers.

A fish made out of fish! An adorable concoction made of tuna, pureed potatoes, and capers.

Herbed ricotta dip with pine nuts and pureed olives

Herbed ricotta dip with pine nuts and pureed olives

mozzarellini and pomodorini skewers

mozzarellini and pomodorini skewers

And of course, a tiramisu cake from a local bakery! Did you know "tiramisu" is Italian for "pick me up"?

And of course, a tiramisu cake from a local bakery! Did you know “tiramisu” is Italian for “pick me up”?

On few occasions have I been more proud of my heritage 😉

Well, with that quick recap of a whirlwind weekend, I’m off to bed. I need to start getting my energy back!

Peace, sweat and love,

G

“Here’s a Surprising Look at What Sleep Deprivation Does to your Body” 

“Here’s a Surprising Look at What Sleep Deprivation Does to your Body”

In case you need an explanation as to why I haven’t been posting recently (especially as I promised to post about BARCC walk…), here you go. I’m having an inexplicably busy and grueling week, and am just work work working and trying to spend any free time I have catching up on the sleep I’ve missed. So, here’s this article, just because I think everyone, though students especially, need a reminder about how vital sleep is to our overall well-being.

Peace, sweat and love,

G

(Trying to stay) Zen Friday

Hey sweets!

I am writing this totally excited and a little lottle bit nervous about the rapid succession events coming up in my life. My schedule right now is looking kind of crazy (remember how I hadn’t been posting regularly?) because it’s filled to the brim with exciting stuff. In addition to law school decisions scheduled to start trickling in (*shudder*), we are less than 2 weeks out from spring break! And a much needed spring break it shall be – there is still snow here on the ground in Boston and it makes me want to cry.

How I feel about this whole "14 degrees while I'm trying to ride at the barn" thing.

How I feel about this whole “14 degrees while I’m trying to ride at the barn” thing.

Regardless, I am suuuuuuper excited about tonight and tomorrow.

1. Tonight is the debut of a homegrown Vagina Monologues -spinoff! Myself and a group of other like-minded students wanted to distance ourselves from the original (tattered, tired, old, racist, obnoxious) Eve Ensler script, and instead let Wellesley peeps speak for themselves.  We have a small but mighty group of students performing their own monologues OR their friends’ monologues. A wide and incredible range of talent and insight. So, so proud of our entire cast! All proceeds go to the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, so this is a really really personally important event for me. 🙂

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2. I also have my first race of 2014 tomorrow!!! If you recall, I will be running the St. Pat’s 5k in my beloved downtown Providence. I believe the course starts at the State House, so it should be a total blast. There’s even a St. Patrick’s Day parade (a few days early, but hey! Rhode Island, no rules.) afterwards, so it should be really cute and fun. Hoping to beat my 5k PR and run faster than 9’48”. Ideally, I will run 9’40” or below, but I’m not sure how I’ll fare. I wanted to get more hill workouts in, but was really unable to do all the training I wanted to because of shin splints and also absurd amounts of snow and cold temps (I went running in 20 degree weather once and felt frozen and had a runny nose the rest of the day. Don’t care, treadmill it is until it is a minimum of 32 degrees outside. MINIMUM – I still resent it.

Speaking of which, temperatures for the race are actually looking pretty OK!

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46 degrees – basically tropical weather for New Englanders tired of winter. I think I won’t even have to wear a jacket! But I might wear gloves and an ear warmer. We’ll see!

So today I’ve just been relaxing and resting up for the race. I did this “yoga for runners” sequence I found on youtube, and spent some quality time with my cute little foam roller to ease my shin splints. I think that after this 5k I’m going to take at least a week-long break from running: I didn’t give myself proper time to heal.

In other news, my girlfriend just told me that she ran a 1 mile PR of 7’55”, and I responded, “Wow! You’re a real speedster!”

…What’s wrong with me.

Stay tuned for updates!

Peace, sweat and love,

G

 

 

Sunday Runday

In light of the difficulty I had putting up new posts last month, I have decided to do better in March and blog, blog, blog! Also, I need to remind myself that I (being a classic perfectionist and mildly OCD) do not need to write a giant, life-changing, soul-touching post every single time I blog. This is surprisingly not apparent to me. Any other perfectionists out there, just getting in your own way?

Well, I was lucky enough to get a nice long run in. I did an easy 5 miler (didn’t have time for 6), and am super happy to report that when I was finished, my Nike+ app home screen looked like this:

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I have officially run over 200 miles (using my Nike+ account)!!! That, and I have finally broken a 10’00 average. When I started running more seriously using this app last summer (around June/July) I was averaging 12’30” on my runs, and felt totally exhausted, if proud, after those grueling runs. Now I am able to run so, so much faster. Even if it’s not fast in comparison with really “serious” runners, I’ll take it! I ran my fastest mile the other day at 8’31”, and that is really big for me. I’m not a super fast runner – honestly I don’t think I’m built for speed, but rather endurance and strength – but this marks a major accomplishment for me. This makes me feel appreciative and even proud of my body, a body that I haven’t always had a great relationship with.

This weekend I have my St. Pat’s 5k – so I’m really excited for that! I’m hoping to beat my PR and come in at 9’40” or under. I’m at least feeling quite confident that I can come in under 10′, and probably  9’50”. We shall see!

In the meantime, I am going to take care of myself this week, get plenty of sleep (totally caught up on sleep this weekend after my horrendously busy and stressful week), and stay healthy. The gf is feeling sick, and I am nervous that she has something and that I’ll catch it, too! In light of this, I have summoned the wellness trifecta of chia seeds, organic yogurt, and Airborne to try to stay healthy despite the fact that I am a college student and am therefore basically unable to escape hordes of potentially sick people. *sigh*

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Stay healthy everyone! I’m just waiting out this particularly brutal New England winter *shivering emoji*

Peace, sweat and love,

G

 

A very reluctant post about the now infamous “naked man” statue at Wellesley College

*TRIGGER WARNING*

Before I add to the insanity of the Wellesley-Naked-Man-Statue controversy, let me first assure everyone that I am doing so with extreme reluctance and displeasure.

Wellesley, my dear alma mater, is renowned for being an elite, historically women’s college that has produced and continues to produces bright, inquisitive students coming from a variety of backgrounds and experiences… At least in some circles. The students of Wellesley are known for being passionate, fearless, and extremely active in their political and social critiques.

The infamous statue in question, "The Sleepwalker", by Tony Matelli.

The infamous statue in question, “The Sleepwalker”, by Tony Matelli.

It is of course no surprise that the above statue, installed suddenly by the on-campus Davis museum, caused a stir at dear old Wellesley. Driving home from work I, like many others, thought it was a real man and nearly crashed my car.

At best, the statue is an aesthetically unpleasing traffic block. At worst, critics say, it is a lethal trigger for painful memories/threats of sexual assault.

Those students who have taken a decidedly anti-statue stance have asked that the work be removed from its very public position on a campus where the vast majority of students, most of them women, live and eat and study. A petition was started, in true revolutionary Wellesley spirit, and as of now I believe that it boasts upwards of 500 signatures.

Naturally, fierce debates have ensued. Art, its definition, sexual assault, and our duties to survivors have been the topics of these highly charged discussions.

My heart goes out to the Wellesley sibling(s) who do not feel comfortable with this statue around. To those of you who are survivors of sexual assault and/or violence, I am also so sorry that you have been made to feel unsafe or even betrayed by this sudden installation.

Things have been tense. Sometimes passion can become harsh, even alienating, regardless of intentionality. But recent media attention have made debates even more polarizing.

That is why I feel compelled to write. I first saw the statue and was startled. I thought it was a real man. I thought perhaps it was a performance, or a bizarre photo op. I thought of my grandfather, who towards the end of his life was at risk of escaping the house and wandering the streets in his pajamas, in a state of utter confusion brought on by the Alzheimer’s that had begun to eat at his mind. I found, and still find, the statue to be creepy and, frankly, bizarre. But that is unimportant.

I am taking a deep breath, because I am about to come out in a very public way, despite the fact that maybe 3 people read this blog: I am a survivor of sexual assault.

The statue never triggered me personally. I never found it to be menacing. I am of course able to speak only for myself, however.

What has driven me to the point that I write out this absurd, long, post is a lot of the discussion surrounding sexual assault and survivors. This damn statue has become something of a litmus test – “You aren’t anti-statue? So you don’t care at all about your siblings who are survivors?!” I’m paraphrasing here, but those are the kind of comments I’ve been hearing/seeing all over social media.

You know what triggered me? People constantly telling me that the statue was triggering. I can’t escape this horrible statue – people are writing about, talking about sexual assault, triggers, violence, male privilege… It makes my head spin, to the point that I think I really need to wait things out and not access any social media for a couple of days. And this is coming from someone whose job is focused on researching sexual assault and violence.

The fact that I didn’t feel triggered bothered me, gnawed at me. I haven’t been able to put my finger on it, and still am only able to vaguely begin to hash out my feelings about this.

I was never triggered, and became so upset about the discourse around this statue because nothing that was being said was true to my experience as a survivor.

Like many other survivors, my assailant made me feel weak, powerless, inhuman, and dirty. As is the the case with many other survivors, my assailant was someone I knew. My assailant was not a balding, middle-aged man, taking young students by surprise (although Wellesley has dealt with flashers/fondlers in the past, this is important to note). My assailant worked his way into my life when I was vulnerable, and then he took my humanity.

What has disturbed me so much in this is the vague “stranger in the bushes” assumption that has been resurrected in a lot of the discussion about the statue with regards to sexual assault and survivors. The outdated idea that a rapist is someone in a dark alley, a stranger with a knife. Most of the time, that isn’t the case. It’s the reason why Take Back the Night is simultaneously so powerful, and so fundamentally flawed: because we need to take back more than just the night.

This is not a means of dismissing the hard work that a lot of my siblings on campus have been doing. People are working very hard to support one another in a time when Wellesley has, to my great displeasure, become a seat of uncontrolled international (but actually) media frenzy. This is simply one survivor’s story, and her relationship to this godforsaken statue. This is a gentle, tear-stained request that you be careful, no matter what position you do or do not take on the statue, not to lump survivors’ experiences together.

Please do not claim to speak for survivors. Instead, amplify the voices of those who wish to be heard, and support those who wish to be fought for. Please do not co-opt my experience, no matter how good your intentions. Please do not claim to save me from the naked man statue, because I do not wish to be saved. Survivors are just that – survivors. We are strong.

We are strong, but we are all different. What I want and need is not what every survivor wants and needs… And that extends to their wants and needs vis à vis the statue. I ask only that you remember to keep your activism and your feminism nuanced, and that you respect the diversity of experiences of survivors on and off of Wellesley’s campus.

One last thing: don’t read the patronizing comments under news stories. You know they are inevitably going to be some dude saying some variation of “they need the D” and so forth. In my opinion, this is not even worth our time and mental health.

Love,

G

New year, new gear

Hello!

Sorry I’ve taken a while to post again, I’ve been pretty busy with the commencement of my last first week of classes (ack!) and health educator training. It’s nice to be back at school, but it’s also absurdly terrifying.

I have both good and bad news, so I’ll end with the good news to get the bad news out of the way.

BAD NEWS: I have my first-ever injury! I know, I know. I’ve never even broken anything. I’m just not used to things going “wrong” with my body, something for which I realized I am extremely blessed. So I was totally dumbfounded when I asked my former-athletic-trainer-GF about the slight pain I had been experiencing in my left lower leg and she replied that it sounded like I had shin splints. I kid you not, I’d never actually heard of shin splints. It’s not exactly something that affects horseback riders and kids whose high school careers were spent in libraries and theaters as opposed to tennis games and track meets. But I guess with my running I am only just running into a (slight) problem – huh!  A good warning to stretch properly (something I always skimp on – I KNOW IT’S TERRIBLE I KNOW) and possibly replace my sneakers soon. I have been eyeing those leopard print Nikes after all…

My friend teased me about being shocked that I got a minor injury and laughed that I was like Rob Lowe's character on Parks and Rec, Chris Traeger. Can't say I mind the comparison!

My friend teased me about being shocked that I got a minor injury and laughed that I was like Rob Lowe’s character on Parks and Rec, Chris Traeger. Can’t say I mind the comparison!

So I’ve spent this past week taking a break from running and instead cross-training on things like the bike, elliptical, and *bleh* stairmaster. I add in that sound effect not because I hate the stairmaster exactly, but because it is so freaking hard. I’ve also been kicking my own butt doing some of the workouts from the Nike Training Club app – they are shockingly incredible and also killer! Especially upper-body focused workouts… Totally not a strong point of mine. In fact it’s my weakest point physically. But I’ll need to work on it if I want to compete in Tough Mudder!

GOOD NEWS: I ordered myself an après-Xmas present (you know, the whole “get what you really wanted” thing?) once all the holiday deals started rolling in. I managed to snag some pretty great deals from the notoriously overpriced Lululemon. One thing you must know about me is that I love nice, fancy things but I hate (and, also, can’t afford) to pay full price. Even Lululemon on sale is a biiiiiig stretch for most of the world – I recognize that! I just couldn’t resist buying myself a little belated Xmas present.

Forgive the crappy iPhone pictures- but I wanted to model the 4 new tops I got on “We Made Too Much” (Lululemon apparently refuses to let things go on “sale” or whatever, because it’s too plebeian I suppose). You can eyeroll, but this is my own blog and I will take bad selfies if I want to!

 

I'd been wistfully eyeing this color combo in the "Power Y tank" - and to my delight it went on sale! It's a really pretty purple stripe with a different deep purple "Baroque" pattern on the straps. It comes with built-in cups which is something I love!

I’d been wistfully eyeing this color combo in the “Power Y tank” – and to my delight it went on sale! It’s a really pretty purple stripe with a different deep purple “Baroque” pattern on the straps. It comes with built-in cups which is something I love!

This multicolored scoop neck top is extremely flattering, and the black panels down the sides make it highly slimming as well. The back is also really gorgeous - almost too pretty to wear to the gym! My only complaint is that it didn't come with removable cups. At least I had my own to throw in - no headlights for this gal!

This multicolored scoop neck top is extremely flattering, and the black panels down the sides make it highly slimming as well. The back is also really gorgeous – almost too pretty to wear to the gym! My only complaint is that it didn’t come with removable cups. At least I had my own to throw in – no headlights for this gal!

 

I was least sure about this particular top, and I think I'm going to end up loving it the most. It is SO. PRETTY. The black fabric is flattering and moisture-wicking - perfect for yoga - and the pattern is delicate and totally gorgeous. It's also got a beautiful crossback and flattering ruching at the bust, as well as a rounded hem to cover your bum.

I was least sure about this particular top, and I think I’m going to end up loving it the most. It is SO. PRETTY. The black fabric is flattering and moisture-wicking – perfect for yoga – and the pattern is delicate and totally gorgeous. It’s also got a beautiful crossback and flattering ruching at the bust, as well as a rounded hem to cover your bum.

The least "cutesy" top I got will likely end up being a total workhorse. It's a bright, cheery yellow fashioned into a super lightweight singlet with an open back. Perfect for summer runs/just me being the sweatiest girl alive. Modeled with my beloved Hard Tail yoga pants (which I also never pay full price for, duh).

The least “cutesy” top I got will likely end up being a total workhorse. It’s a bright, cheery yellow fashioned into a super lightweight singlet with an open back. Perfect for summer runs/just me being the sweatiest girl alive. Modeled with my beloved Hard Tail yoga pants (which I also never pay full price for, duh).

That’s all for now! In the meantime, wish me luck in my running recommencement next week! I hope that my annoying little shin splints will be gone by then so I can start working on beating my PR in my upcoming 5k. We’re 5 weeks out next week – so I hope so!

xoxo,

G