Monday, March 30, 2009

JUST ANOTHER SLOW MONDAY


Today was my day off and I could not get up before 12.30pm. I hate sleeping late, because it is such a waste of day. Especially now that spring is here and the sun is shining through our sheer master bedroom curtains giving me the sweet tender wake up call. But I had a bad night. First wake up came around 3am when I woke up with terrible headache and needed to go downstairs to get some water and medicine and wait for it to kick in. Second wake up came 8am when burning lower stomach pain woke me up. More medicine and back to sleep. I should try one of the natural remedies for this monthly pain they suggest like banana, pickle juice (yack!), two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar 3 times a day, rice or yogurt. Not sure. These don't sound like miracle makers to me.

After noon my youngest one Moses had enough with my sleeping and decided to jump on my chest purring and trying to give me love bites. That gets me up and fast. Love bites hurt.Our TV in the living room died on me which I wasn't mad about, because watching TV aimlessly is waste of time, just like sleeping all day is. "He" thought it was crisis of course, because TV and movies are so important to him. "That TV is part of the family", he said. Must be his side of the family, not mine, I replied. We have 4 other TVs in this house, pick one. They're slightly smaller, but do the job just as well.

Anyways, now i had more time to do my chores around the house. Do some laundry, dye all my faded black clothes back to black (how easy was that,never thought of it before), decorate the office (finally) and check work emails to see if there's anything urgent. There wasn't, but few fun promotional emails.

Amazing find of the day:
$1 cruelty free nail polish from e.l.f.
Here's why:
• Toluene-, formaldehyde- and DBP-free.
• Added vitamin E
• Chip-resistant formula
CHECK IT OUT HERE
Peace,

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

HONEST AS THE CAT WHEN THE MEAT'S OUT OF REACH



I'm a proud momma of two gorgeous babies; Miina and Moses. I know, we should've gotten cat from the shelter to save some poor thing's life and we did go to few of those. We almost adopted this little black kitty from the Liberty Humane Society in Jersey City called Piglatin. We filled out all the adoption papers, she was getting checked by the animal shelter vet and we were obtaining all the documents they asked from us, like permission from our apartment management company saying we were allowed to have animals in this community (we weren't, but my husband used to go to school with one of the girls that worked in the management office and she wrote us a letter).



Then few days before we were allowed to go and picked Piglatin up and take her home, the shelter called and said that Piglatin had some kind of incurable disease that required medication and daily care taking.

.We were heartbroken, but went back to the shelter after few weeks to see our other options. And there we saw her again, poor little Piglatin. She was just sitting there and her eyes were completely messed up and she looked like she was in very bad shape. I felt so bad for her and guilty so we left and stopped looking for our companion for quite a long time.

.Not until we ventured out to country side in Pennsylvania on one of our weekend road trips. My husband remembered that his sister had gotten her 2 cats from a lady who lived in this ranch with horses and bunch of other animals and we could go visit and see them. So we did.
And that’s where we saw our babies; we just knew that was it. We had to wait few weeks before they were old enough to be separated from their mom. That was one long wait.

As for the Siamese cat personality, the Siamese cat is one of the most extroverted and social cats in the world. They are a type of cat that is warm and affectionate and bonds with their human very closely which means that the Siamese is not quite as independent as other cats. Having this close relationship with their human, they prefer and enjoy the inside confines of home with their owners. They are a “people” cat like no other cat for they love to be on your lap, on your bed, at your table, and in your heart!

Since we brought the babies home life hasn’t been the same. It’s been so much better, happier, loving, snuggly. I got lot of attention to give to many directions and making sure one doesn’t get more than the other one, because otherwise I’m going to hear about it or get an attitude. Miina especially is very sensitive to this and I got to be very careful not to hurt her feelings or do her wrong in any way. Where ever I go in the house now I get no privacy and I have a fan club following me. I’m never alone which is really nice if you’re that type.

Besides its stunning, intelligent blue eyes and the gorgeous two-toned coat, a distinctive feature of this breed is that it has a very loud and distinctive low pitch to its voice. The Siamese meow has been compared to the cries of a human baby. The intensity of the vocalization should not be prolonged if you are smart enough to understand what they want. Most of the time the Siamese will talk at conversational levels, and they always have something very important to say. So the Siamese cat personality is very talkative.

In the hierarchy of cat intelligence, the Siamese stands on top. It has been indicated that Siamese and other oriental shorthairs are the most intelligent of all domesticated cats. Anyone who has owned one will boast on tales and the amazing feats that these cats can accomplish. You may want to “cat-proof” your home for a Siamese can learn how to open doors, cabinets, and latches. Actually these cats love the challenge of these feats, and will not give up. They find creative and unusual ways to get into trouble.

Because of their intelligence, they are very lively and entertaining. The Siamese cat can be very demanding. These cats become totally involved in their owner’s life. The Siamese are typically active and playful, even as adults. Siamese do not like to be ignored and always want to be the center of attention. They regard themselves as people instead of cats. One thing for sure, you will never be bored if you own a Siamese cat.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

THE TIME WE BOUGHT A HOUSE IN THE SUBURBS...



So we moved to the suburbs about a year ago. Thought we were ready to settle down, bought a big house in a prestigious neighborhood right next to the train tracks, so that we would have easy commute to Manhattan where we both work, and moved in.


I guess I had read too many home design magazines and watched too many design shows at HGTV that I had this imaginary idea how life would be. It would be just as picture perfect. WRONG! It was not so romantic and wonderful as you see on House Hunters. Of course for a moment, after the closing was over and we were driving to pick up the keys from the realtors office, pulling to our own driveway and opening the door to the house, there was a moment when we looked at each other and gave each other a hug and said we can't believe it's ours. But walking around the house got us both think how much work we had ahead of us.


We moved in the middle of December and it all started so well. We hired moving company to help us out, got a contractor who owed us a favor to refinish our hardwood floors on all three floors for no charge (real price would have been $9000, so thank you connections!) and I took off a week from work in order to clean, unpack and furnish the house.

And of course I wanted time to get to know the neighborhood. All these beautiful historic victorian and colonial houses with huge lemonade porches and manicured lawns, tree lined streets and cute little stores and restaurants. Oh, and all that space you have! Not to forget your own private garden oasis to sunbath, grow your own cooking herbs, fresh flowers, have barbeques and so on. Doesn't that sound just lovely?

Well, the reality hit few weeks later. Our heat suddenly stopped working in the middle of January during the coldest time of the winter. We had no clue what to do. We almost blew up our entire house and ourselves by trying to light the gas boiler with matches. We were so desperate. Our house was freezing. I did not want to get out of the bed or go to shower. I took few days off from work again until we called someone to come and take a look at the boiler.

First dude spoke with Russian accent and told us the boiler was caput, they could not fix it. But they could get us a new one the next day and yes, we could get on a payment plan. I did not get a good vibe from him, so I said we would call him the next day. Didn't.

Next step was to blame it on our electricity and gas supplier and known for their prompt service, someone from them came over the very next day to look at our problem.


It was very simple solution. Some tiny wire had disconnected itself and once the dude reconnected it, the boiler fired up. And he didn't even charge us anything. Now we know. It took over 2 days for the whole house to heat up back to comfortable level. And we bought programmable thermostat to control the heating in order to conserve energy.



Second unpleasant thing to notice was how much time it took to clean the house. I spent weekends just cleaning and cleaning and cleaning some more. 4 levels, 4 bathrooms, tons of windows and windowsills, stairs, hardwood, carpeting, rugs... Way too much for one person (because my husband would not clean... He would only do laundry, cook and do the dishes. He wanted to hire someone to do the cleaning, but I wanted to save money and do it myself... So I did). So goodbye for weekends dedicated for relaxation.



Although I do enjoy the benefits of the house as well. Sometimes I just need to stop and look around and remember that this is all mine. And all the possibilities it offers.

.So far we've got the hardwood floors refinished and we re-did our first floor powder room. I took out the old wallpaper (what a pain), painted at least 3 coats of yellow, changed the toilet bowl, changed the sink, faucet and the cabinet, bought new medicine cabinet with mirror and all new hardware (towel holder, toilet paper holder, switch plates). Only art is missing. I already got 2 white frames, just need to put some art in it. But I'm working on it, taking some artistic photos around the house.
So we still got long list to go through, starting with these first: 1. Upgrading our electric panel and service 2. Installing central air conditioning 3. Renovating the master bath 4. Renovating the kitchen.



These photos were taken during an early spring jogging around the neighborhood. I love combining these two hobbies, jogging and photography.
Have a beautiful day!

SPRING IS NATURE'S WAY OF SAYING, "Let's party!"



Spring is here! Although the first day of the spring was not what we expected. I must say I was pretty shocked when I saw the snowy ground after waking up and looking out to the yard. But luckily it didn't stick and by the time I got home from work it was gone. Phew, no need to pay $50 for the snow removal people (since we are too lazy to do it ourselves).



Spring for me is time to re-create mysef, time to better myself, time to discover and try new things. Few things that I have in mind for this spring are 1. Try Juice fast 2. Keep working out at my favourite fitness club Equinox 3. Start jogging Thursdays and Fridays after work at Central Park and the Hudson River waterfront 4. Switch more of my beauty products in to organic or natural 5. Network, socialize and attend events where I get to meet more inspirational, positive people
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1. My friend did the one week juice fast with a little help from Arise and Shine . She did it together with her boyfriend and they both noticed positive effects when cleanse was over, such as better skin, added energy level and change of eating habits to healthier. Their meals and snacks include much more fresh fruits and vegetables now and less sugar and meat. And since she is real person and not a spokes person for the company she has inspired me to try it. I think I will first do just the 4 day fast and then in the summer try to do it for 7 days.
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2. Oh Equinox, we had such great relationship these past four weeks and I don’t want to let it go. I also don’t want to pay $170 a month for your caring and services, but now that I have formed relationships with people on the inner circle, I’m quite sure I’ll be able to swing by 2-3 times a week and see you regularly again. You’re so sleek and stylish, just like me ;).



3. Yes, I know. We said we were going to do it since last spring and we didn’t, but this time we’re both much better off. She’s got a man and I’ve conquered my fear of cardio. So, yes we can! The plan here is to go jogging around the Central Park once or twice a week. But we got other route options too.
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The reclaiming of the Hudson River waterfront has provided a great alternative to Central Park for joggers like us. We can enter the Hudson River Park around 14th Street and go towards the prettier and roomier route to the south. It is worth a detour to run along the developed piers near Christopher Street, before following the Hudson River through Battery Park City, with a view of the Statue of Liberty on the right and one of the best urban park development efforts in years on the left, including Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park.



Great way to end this little tour is to take the free and scenic ride on the Staten Island Ferry, enjoy the evening sun go down while chatting girl stuff and drinking that bottled water. Oh, and not to forget picture taking. I must remember to bring my camera with me.



4. I have already changed my shampoo, shower gel, conditioner, face and body lotions, make up foundation, mascara, lip balm and all my cleaning products to natural and cruelty-free products. This means no harsh chemicals, environmental friendly production and packaging and no animal testing. Next I’m going to give boot to my old toothpaste and mouthwash and change it to Jason’s. I also need to start buying natural laundry detergent.
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Most of my make-up products I get from AVEDA and Body Shop as well as while grocery shopping at Whole Foods I tend to disappear to the beauty isle while my husband is ordering his stuff at the fish counter.
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House hold items such as dish soap, hand soaps and cleaning products (hardwood cleaner, stainless steel cleaner, multipurpose cleaner, kitchen cleaner etc.) I get from Duane Reade or order online at http://www.methodhome.com/. I was surprised to see Method products being sold at our “every NYC corner” Duane Reade Pharmacies for a good price, so nowadays that’s where I go to get my Method.


5. I have met few very inspirational young women in the past 6 months and I like to surround myself with a positive crowd like that. First I met motivational speaker Gabrielle Bernstein (you can read more about her on my first post).
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Then I attended free nutritional class and cooking demonstration promoted by Social Diva at Donna Sonkin’s Upper East Side apartment. Donna is a holistic health counselor and she teaches her clients how to cook and eat healthfully. She introduced me to few wonderful ingredients such as kale (absolutely love it!And it is so good for you), collards and toasted sesame oil (heavenly smell when used as a cooking oil). She also told me about this website where you can look up tons of nutritional information: World's Healthiest Foods
I should not forget to mention my fitness guru Patricia Moreno. She is amazing person just radiating positivity, good energy and wisdom (and she has an awesome body). Yesterday when my one month Intensati challenge ended I just felt so empty thinking that I would not be seeing her regularly anymore and be part of this wonderful movement she created. Her classes have such strong magical athmosphere; the lights are dimmed, music is loud, people are chanting the affirmations out loud, sometimes on top of their lungs (especially when she is asking "Are you a warrior?" and people shout out "YES! I'M A WARRIOR!"). I already miss all that. Which once again is pushing me to consider joining Equinox...


Patricia Moreno always having the time of her life teaching a class and inspiring us all.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

2009 IS MY YEAR TO SHINE



So I met this girl at one of Gabrielle Bernstein's lectures. She was a group excercise instructor at the prestigious Equinox Fitness Club. She invited me and my friend Coda Ray to come and try her class, she would put our names on the guest list. 


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I had been interested joining Equinox already for some time, but the $170 monthly membership fee on top of the eight hundred and something initiation fee was bit too much for my budget at the time. So I had joined New York Health and Racquet Club one block from my job as part of my New Years Resolution; make excercise regular part of my life. But I hate the place. It's full of big ass bodybuilders, old ladies, the locker rooms are straight from the eighties and the group excercise teachers are freaking weird. I don't feel quite home in there.

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I'm so mad for joining NYHRC without doing the one week free trial first (they talked me into this awesome deal that was available only that one day...yeah right.). I did negotiate the price down pretty well, from $120 to $90/month. And I only agreed to 4 month trial membership.


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April 31st I'm done with the place and been already starting to look for other options such as the Gravity at the Parker Meridien Hotel. I had good experience with them, I went for the tour and they gave me 4 guest passes so I can come and try it. Plus they invited me to try one of their dance classes where we learned Beyonce's "Single Ladies". It was so much fun, I brought my homegirl Kelz with me.


Anyways, back to Equinox. So the class I went to was called Intensati. I had never heard of it other than at Gabrielle Bernstein's lectures, because she keeps saying how awesome it is and it goes right along side with her teachings to try to use all these tools to make your mind positive.
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"IntenSati is an exhilarating workout that builds physical, mental, and spiritual muscle. Courage, confidence, willpower, enthusiasm, self-respect, and a strong, healthy body are all results of this powerful practice."
"IntenSati combines high-energy, total-body training with powerful, positive statements that you either think or speak. The goal of this practice is to enable a seamless and total integration of body and mind, allowing you to be and experience all you deeply want. You will learn to tap into the power of the present moment in order to embody –rather than just think or talk about - your BOLDEST, MOST EMPOWERED, BEST SELF."
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The class started with some Indian-sounding music with great beat that really gets you in the mood for spirituality. And then instructor starts to say out loud statements that everyone in the class repeats after her, such as "Yes! I can do it! Yes! Watch out world! Here i come!".
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"I have the power to choose and I choose to accept it
I deserve the best, I am worthy of success
I am sure it is time, this year is mine
I am fired up
I am ready to go
I am playing full out
I will take control


I love myself enough to improve my mood and my attitude"




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Yes, it is hard cardio excercise. Lots of jumping jacks and such things, so that if working out hasn't been on your list of things to do for a while, you're sure to feel exhausted and unable to do it with full power. I wasn't. It's been over three years since I worked out regularly. I've been extremely lazy for these past few years, thinking I don't need to excercise because I'm skinny. But it isn't just about being skinny, it is upping your energy levels, feeling good and active, toning, being healthy, positive and all that.






So after my introduction to Intensati I went once a week to the classes (she was able to get me in for free every Wednesday only), but then after about 4 weeks the club manager at Equinox changed and my instructors unlimited guest list was limited to just one person per class. So I stopped doing it
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But I did join Intensati mailing list just to see if they had any interesting events going on in the city. And surely enough they did have more free classes and I was able to attend one taught by the founder of Intensati, Patricia Moreno. She is so very inspirational, very charismatic and sweet at the same time with an amazing body of course. And then we come to where I'm at now.


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Patricia Moreno launched an Intensati challenge together with Equinox Fitness Clubs. The challenge was to attend three classes a week for four weeks. They would give you an all access pass to use in any Equinox Club you wanted to go for one month and if you passed the challenge you would be given another pass to continue working out at Equinox, nutritional counseling with Patricia and Intensati products.


I had my doubts about it (no clue why), but I almost did not even submit my story. But I did last minute and was so happy when I got the email saying "Congratulations! You are part of the Intensati Team Shine!". Only 20 people got picked and I was one of them. We had to submit our stories on why 2009 is the year when I'm going to make it. Only thing in my mind was after I got the news was that during this challenge I need to make myself addicted to excercising. And I really hope that's what's going to happen. It's on.