Month: February 2017

A Tribute to Tim

Tim - Horse

{Tim & Me — March 2009}

Over the summer, I posted about my friend Tim. But he isn’t like most friends. He’s non-verbal, more than 1500 pounds, and will love you to death if you bring treats. Yes, Tim is a horse, and it is with great sadness that I must tell you of his passing. To read the full post about our bond, click here.

I was just finishing up kickboxing class on Saturday when I received a text message from Tim’s owner. The text read, “Tim is down and it looks like today is the day.” Tim had a wonderful life with his long-time owner, Loraine. Seriously, if I come back in another life, I’d like to be one of her horses.

Loraine owned Tim for most of his life. She purchased him when he was a youngster, around 5 years old, and he was in his late thirties at the time of his passing. He was a loyal companion, barn favorite, and easily identifiable with his big brown spots.

Tim - Horse

As I sat at my computer desk last night contemplating a topic for today’s post, I knew I had to honor Tim. He was a huge part of my life growing up and his photos still reside on my nightstand—long after my years as an equestrian.

I am so grateful that I had the privilege of knowing Tim. From riding him bareback on a warm summer day, to taking him down to the field for some grass, life always seemed a little brighter when he was in your presence.

The Friday Countdown

Anyone else feel like this was the longest short week ever? I do! I swear, I thought it was Friday about three times mid-week. Well, today it actually is Friday…so I’m in luck. I spent most of this week feeling like I had an emotional hangover, which I am happy to say may be subsiding. From beginning the week with a slight misunderstanding with a good friend to finishing up the week by getting orders for further testing from my surgeon’s office, the weekend is looking up.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Central Park

{Signs of spring in Central Park}

Boxing Gloves

{Back to boxing}

Tesla

{At a local mall: I’ll take a Tesla with my Tourneau}

Yoga

{Yoga in my new Abercrombie sweater}

Shrimp Caesar Salad

{A healthy lunch—Caesar salad with grilled shrimp}

Blogger Problems…Take Two

Blocked

I’ve been blocked! Yup, you read that right. Did you miss my comments and likes on Instagram over the long weekend? If you did, please accept my apologies. I was temporarily blocked.

Apparently, Instagram took issue with how many photos I was liking within the span of an hour (or a day). But what are bloggers to do when they have a lot of content to peruse and only small blocks of time in their day?

Fear not. After reporting the issue numerous times and even sending Instagram a note explaining that I am a blogger and not a spammer, it seems like my account has been restored. Phew!

My question to all you bloggers out there: Has this happened to you? And how do I prevent it from happening again? After this ordeal, I’m a little trigger-shy and have only been liking a few photos here and there—for fear of being blocked again. With working a full-time job, sometimes I will have 11 hours of content to go through by the end of my work day—which takes me a while and seems to be a cause for concern on Instagram’s part.

I will admit, it was nice not to be a slave to social media over the long weekend, and perhaps this experience taught me to take a step back and do without scrolling so assiduously. But I am happy to be reunited with my Instagram family after my mandatory hiatus. So if you have any tips to share with me on this subject, I welcome them.

And, Instagram, I apologize for being too like-happy for your taste. In the future, I promise to slow it down!

V for Verismo

Verismo from Starbucks

What’s worse than running late in the morning? Running late and not being able to stop for coffee (that is the worst way to start a morning—especially on a Monday). As much as I love my morning pit stop at Starbucks before work, the long lines were a hassle—and would often make me late.

So, when the holidays rolled around and Starbucks debuted their new Verismo V home brewing system, I was tempted to buy it so I could make my favorite coffee at home—and save some time in the morning. As the lines got longer each day, I got more and more intrigued about buying my own home brewing machine.

Verismo 1

And then that day arrived. The Verismo was marked down after the holidays and came with two free boxes of pods. How fast can you say…sold?

It was the day before an impending snowstorm and I figured the timing was perfect. It was a win-win. Plus, I saved a lot of money by purchasing it after the holidays, when the price dropped (the original price was $149, and I paid $59—a savings of $90!).

Verismo 2

I have been using the Verismo every morning for the last two months and I can’t imagine how I lived so long without it. It makes brewing your favorite Starbucks drink at home a breeze and the machine is easy to set up and use. Once the machine is turned on and the lights stop flashing, you are ready to insert your pod and begin. There are buttons for a milk pod, rinse, hot water, espresso pod, and brewed pod. To begin brewing, you will need to remove the pressure tab from the bottom of the pod, then lift the handle and drop the pod into the chamber. All you have to do from there is select the button for brewed pod and let the machine do its magic. My favorite part is that it cleans itself when you select the rinse button…but I digress.

Verismo 3

I typically drink the Pike Place Roast from Starbucks every morning, but the Verismo comes with a set of instructions to make some of your favorite drinks—like an Affogato, Iced Caffè Americano, Café Au Lait, and many more. There is also a milk frother that is sold separately, if you want to get fancy with your home brewing. With the Verismo, you can be your own barista from the comfort of your home. I haven’t experimented much with the different coffees you can make, as I am usually running out the door as the machine is just finishing brewing my morning cup of Joe. But this baby can do everything with the touch of a button!

This machine was the answer to my prayers. It makes my morning a whole lot simpler, and I get to save time and money every day by skipping the stop at Starbucks. While I miss my favorite baristas, I can now brew my beloved coffee whenever I want.

Friday Feels

I have never been happier to see Friday in…my…life. Although this week had its high points (like enjoying almost spring-like weather some days and celebrating my three-year blogiversary), having to take a day off mid-week and spend its entirety at my surgeon’s office took a lot out of me. Oh, and did I mention that I walked to and from Penn Station to my Upper East Side appointment (that’s roughly 5 miles round-trip, thank you very much)? I saved myself $5.50 in subway fare (even more by not taking a cab), burned calories, and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the City. I also treated myself to coffee at Gregory’s, my favorite NYC coffee shop. Needless to say, I have earned my upcoming three-day weekend, for which I have no plans and am very happy to have time to rest (and so are my legs).

Here’s a little recap of life lately as seen through Instagram:

Target

{Target Finds}

Dessert

{Reasons why doing a sugar detox in February is a bad idea}

Weill Cornell

{How I spend a day on the Upper East Side}

Gregory's Coffee

{Had to stop in for a coffee at Gregory’s}

Sunset

{Ending the week with a beautiful sunset}

Living in Steil Turns Three

Thank You

I am moved beyond words to be celebrating this little space on the Internet turning three today. When I began this blog on Valentine’s Day three years ago, I had no clue what I was doing. I was looking for a creative outlet to break the routine of my hectic 9-to-5, and felt like Valentine’s Day was as good a day as any to begin my foray into blogging. I remember feverishly checking my stats once the post went live—hoping to just get one view that night.

In the weeks and months that followed, I started reading more and more blogs every morning. Before long, I received the first comment on my blog. I was so happy to know that somebody had read what I had to say.

It would be impossible to fathom when I started blogging how many interesting people I would meet and paths I would go down. From fashion and beauty bloggers who have shared their favorite beauty tricks and must-have wardrobe staples to fellow cancer survivors who have told me their stories, I am amazed by the varied talents and inspiring women I have encountered.

If you would have told me when I began that I would fall in love with creating social media content and connecting with relative strangers on the Internet, I would have thought you were nuts. As a person who values privacy, I shied away from all forms of social media for the longest time. But after my thyroid cancer diagnosis, I thought about how I could share my story and help others. It seemed like the right time to do something publicly that would help me find my voice as a survivor.

The last year has been one of infinite changes for me. From transitioning from working from home as a blogger and returning to a 9-to-5 in a new marketing role, and now suffering another health setback, it has been a year of personal and professional growth.

Some of the personal highlights for me in the last year have been accepting a job that allows me to utilize the skills I have acquired through blogging, reaching more than 3,000 followers on Instagram, receiving invitations for New York Fashion Week shows, and attending lots of wellness events hosted by amazing women—who have become mentors, friends, and inspirations.

Throughout this whole experience, I am always reminded that it would not be possible without all the people who stop at my site, read my posts, leave a comment, and follow me on social media. As always, I am immensely grateful for your continued support and heartfelt comments.

As I embark on another year of blogging, I am excited to branch out and cover more topics. I have always been interested in career development and the ways people choose their career paths, and I am looking forward to profiling successful women in a variety of fields on the blog. And since I am on a path towards eating better and cooking more, I will be sharing healthy recipes, exercise classes, and overall wellness tips.

Thank you for encouraging me on this journey. There have been plenty of times where I have questioned myself, second-guessed a post, or felt uninspired, but knowing I have such fabulous readers keeps me going strong.

I’d love to know if you have any topics that you would like me to cover. I am open to suggestions, and I want this to keep being a site that has engaging content that you look forward to reading!

XO,
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Monday Mantra: Enjoy the Quiet

Monday Mantra

I expected this weekend to be a busy one. On Saturday, I followed my usual morning workout routine and in the afternoon I scheduled some unexpected “me” time at Aveda in anticipation of seeing a couple of New York Fashion Week shows on Sunday. Weather reports were showing inclement weather for New York City, but I prepared myself for a fun day in the Big Apple regardless.

But when I awoke on Sunday morning and checked the weather, it was looking dismal. I could hear the freezing rain hitting the windows and the driveway looked like a sheet of ice. I waited it out for another hour and checked the trains for any delays—they were minimal.

I lay in bed for a few more minutes, debating between meeting a fellow blogger and friend for brunch in the City before we hit two fashion shows on the Lower West Side, or staying in bed and going back to sleep. I wondered if I didn’t go, would I regret the decision and have FOMO if the weather improved and I saw everyone having a great time at NYFW on Snapchat and Instagram? And then I thought of how tired and achy I would feel on Monday morning after a busy weekend and lots of walking in the City.

As I listened to the sound of the relentless rain—which was starting to change over from sleet—I decided that the only thing I should listen to is my body. It has been through a lot recently with the thyroid levels still being in limbo and adjusting to healthier eating habits.

Having made my decision not to make the almost two hour trek in to the City, I curled back under the covers and was lulled to sleep by the elements. When I awoke for the second time, it was after 11 am. The weather was the same (and remained so throughout the day) and I found myself feeling thankful to have just stayed put.

Usually, after a whole day in the house I am itching to get out. But on that dreary Sunday, it felt like the best place in the world to be. I tried to limit my time on social media, talking to friends on the phone, and watching television. It was the perfect day to give my body the rest it needed so that I can be fully recharged for the week ahead. Sometimes you need that respite.

Happy Monday!

How do you enjoy the quiet?

*Image via PicLab Studio

The February Agenda

Winter Storm Niko

As I write this post, I have been cooped up in the house for a full 24 hours. But I am not complaining. I enjoyed a lovely (and very productive) snow day yesterday—which was a much-needed respite from my usual weekly routine. So, now that Winter Storm Niko has headed up the coast and left Long Island with more than a foot of snow in some places, it’s time to get back to the agenda…while we dig ourselves out.

Here’s what’s happening this month:

Go: As every good fashionista knows, Winter Storm Niko wasn’t the only thing making a debut in New York this week. Thursday also marked the start of New York Fashion Week. While I give major props to those who braved yesterday’s weather to see their favorite designers, not even New York Fashion Week could get me out of my cozy couture. With that said, I will be heading in to the City over the weekend to see a couple of NYFW shows—weather permitting, of course.

Try: Ever since attending the event with Fern Olivia and Dr. Gabrielle Lyon at The Ash Center, I have been taking small strides towards eating better. I started by making sure to eat three meals per day, and I have been going grocery shopping more frequently so that there is always something healthy to snack on in the house. Last night, I made avocado Fettuccine Alfredo—which is a major accomplishment considering that I not only cooked dinner, but I also used an ingredient that I despise (that would be you, avocado!). FYI – avocado in an Alfredo cream sauce is relatively innocuous. I’ll share the recipe on the blog soon.

Do: Working out more than once a week is definitely on my agenda moving forward, but going to a strenuous kickboxing class after a long day of work is not my idea of fun. So, I’ve been looking for other ways to stay in shape—and supplement my cardio kickboxing. While scrolling through Instagram one day, I came across a pilates studio that offers classes in New York City and the Hamptons. I’ve wanted to try pilates for a while, and now seems like as good a time as any.

Visit: I am happy to report that I am in receipt of my recent thyroid blood work (after more than a few days of waiting for results), and as I suspected, my antithyroglobulin levels are still trending upwards. After speaking with my surgeon’s office, I will go to New York City next week for a second neck ultrasound and a follow-up consultation with my surgeon to discuss a potential treatment plan. I appreciate all of the prayers and well wishes that you’ve offered me and I will certainly keep you apprised of any new developments.

What’s on your agenda this month?

Valentine’s Day Treats and Trinkets

Valentine’s Day Treats and Trinkets

I gave myself permission to take a long weekend…at least around here. So, apologies for my absence on Monday. I promise not to make it a regular occurrence.

What’s the best part about February…aside from New York Fashion Week, of course? Valentine’s Day, duh! Although I will be curbing my sweet tooth and trying not to indulge too much this year (oh, those Entenmann’s Valentine’s Day cupcakes are calling my name, though), I thought I would round up some cute gift ideas for yourself, a BFF, or significant other.

Lately, I am all about cozy sweatshirts that look just as good worn while laying on the couch and binge-watching your favorite show as they do paired with skinny jeans and a tailored coat. So how could I resist that XOXO number above in a super festive color? That’s right, I couldn’t. And in keeping with the XO trend, let’s give those red flats a moment. I could see rocking those babies well after Valentine’s Day.

Heading to a Valentine’s Day party? How about bringing decadent festive cupcakes, an appropriately themed heart plate from Williams-Sonoma for the hostess, or fun cocktail napkins for guests?

So, even if you are on a sugar detox like me, there are still plenty of ways to show your love and get into the Valentine’s Day spirit.

What are your favorite Valentine’s Day gifts?

Thyroid Yoga Functional Nutrition Intensive: A Recap

The Ash Center View

This is turning into quite the Wellness Week here on Living in Steil, with the introduction of the Thyroid Yoga Functional Nutrition Intensive earlier and then Heather’s incredible story of surviving mesothelioma. I am excited to give you all a recap of the amazing seminar with Fern Olivia and Dr. Gabrielle Lyon that I went to last Saturday at The Ash Center.

The Ash Center is a tranquil space with breathtaking views, in Midtown Manhattan; although located in a bustling metropolis, it has an oasis-like atmosphere that is conducive to healing. When I first walked through the door I immediately began to feel my energy shift. The stress from the nearly two-hour commute from Long Island dissipated as I made my way to a cozy recliner by the window and began filling out a health questionnaire.

Upon arriving and seeing Fern’s warm smile and meeting Dr. Lyon and the other women who were about to embark on this wellness journey, I knew it was exactly where I should be—where I needed to be.

When I think back to this seminar, words like much-needed, life-changing and game-changer come to mind. I was excited to meet Dr. Lyon and I realized how much I needed to hear her words once I was there. One of the first things that Dr. Lyon said to our group of “wellness warriors” was that secrets keep you sick.

Want to know my secret? I am terrible when it comes to taking care of myself. Eating and proper nutrition have always been a struggle for me, and one which I preferred to avoid for longer than I should have. There, I said it.

Despite knowing better and being a cancer survivor, I buried my head in the sand when it came to food. Why? Because it seemed easier to just laugh it off and continue on my Starbucks diet; I didn’t want to be bothered learning how to eat right; picking up whatever was around on my way home from work was easier; and cooking seemed like a huge chore. Those were all of the lies I told myself to justify my actions. But who was I spiting? No one but myself, as I suffered and my body failed.

But I could no longer ignore how I was feeling—tired, sluggish, irritable—all the time. Of course, I immediately blamed my Synthroid and lack of a thyroid for these symptoms. However, the truth was that it was time to face the music that I was so desperate to tune out. My body was screaming—yelling at the top of its lungs—trying to tell me that despite its best efforts, it could no longer function on the lack of sleep and infrequent eating schedule that I had imposed on it.

When I went to The Ash Center last weekend, I walked in knowing that I had to change my ways—before it was too late. I was aware that I needed to be open, honest, and willing to accept that I would have to learn about nutrition and implement new eating habits.

Fern Olivia and Dr. Gabrielle Lyon

{Fern & Dr. Gabrielle Lyon}

Together, Fern and Dr. Lyon created an inviting atmosphere for each of us to tell our individual stories. I was struck by how in the span of minutes strangers could become survival sisters, as one person’s story was followed by another. At times, I felt my emotions getting the best of me, especially when it seemed like another woman had walked a mile in my shoes.

Ajai by Fern Olivia

{Fern’s incredible Ajai Alchemy line}

Once we shared our stories, Fern guided us on a Thyroid Yoga meditation aimed at recharging our endocrine system. We did breath-work and together chanted “Wahe Guru” before finishing our session. It was the perfect restorative practice to conclude the morning’s activities.

After a brief break for lunch, in which I found my way to BRGR and then a Juice Press (because the healthy smoothie compensates for having a burger for lunch, right?), Dr. Lyon began the next session where she discussed macronutrient recommendations for thyroid and hormonal health.

Dr. Lyon gave an overview of nutrition along with helpful handouts about the Elimination Diet and a food plan. Since my knowledge on nutrition is limited, I took copious notes—and have a lot of reading to do! One of her recommendations was that we eat 30 grams of protein at each meal—or 90 grams a day. My first reaction was, “How on earth am I going to eat 30 grams of protein at each meal?” That seemed like a lot for a girl who typically has coffee and a muffin on the run each morning. And having lunch and dinner in the same day? I tend to eat a late lunch and skip dinner, or skip lunch and have a big dinner—neither of which are healthy ways to eat.

Overall, I was impressed by Dr. Lyon’s entire approach to health and medicine. Over the last few years, I have spent considerable time seeing doctors in the medical community. And while I have found some are worth their weight in gold (like the one who found my thyroid nodule), most times I have walked away from my appointment with more questions than answers. The idea of curing the underlying ailment instead of merely treating the symptoms is a premise I whole heartedly support.

The Ash Center

I certainly found my tribe at The Ash Center and look forward to seeing Dr. Lyon after all of my thyroid testing is complete. I left that day ready to tackle the hard work that was in front of me, but motivated knowing that I had the power to change how I am feeling. With the tools that Fern and Dr. Lyon shared with me, I have already effected some changes. For starters, I make sure to eat three meals a day and I have incorporated both fruits and vegetable into my daily routine. Although I haven’t made it to the magical 30 grams of protein at any meal yet, I have curbed my sweet tooth and cut back on carbohydrates. In addition, I started practicing yoga again and made daily meditation a ritual before bed.

While I may not be able to reverse the damage already done to my body, I can pave the way to a healthier future one meal at a time—and offer myself some self-love by repeating this affirmation: I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.

Fern Olivia at The Ash Center

A big thank you to Fern Olivia and Dr. Gabrielle Lyon for this transformative day!

Interested in working with Fern? She will be hosting a Pure Yoga – Thyroid Yoga™ Training Immersion on Friday, April 28th, Saturday, April 29th, and Sunday, April 30th.

Here’s some information about the training immersion:

Thyroid Yoga™ artfully infuses wisdom from western and eastern medical perspectives to create a total healing approach, founded by thyroid expert and master teacher, Fern Olivia Langham.

Trained in Biomedical Engineering, now a renowned teacher and speaker on the power of integrative medicine and intuitive self-healing, Fern Olivia has guided retreats, experiences and classes worldwide.

Thyroid Yoga™ has been endorsed by leading medical doctors as a proven way to help restore and realign the energetic and biochemical mechanisms that influence thyroid functioning.

Become a Thyroid Yoga™ certified practitioner today to deepen your own knowledge and gain the confidence to create your own ripple effect of health and healing in our global community.
The benefits of this unique immersion go far beyond “another certification.”

After completion of this training, participants come away equipped with the tools and resources to confidently provide value-added offerings and resources for their clients and students, and have a deep and broad understanding of how the thyroid is supporting using integrative and holistic therapies.

If you want to expand your work in the world and learn from renowned healers at a one-of-a-kind teacher training with a world-class yoga institution, sign up for the Thyroid Yoga™ Training Immersion and Workshop today!

Please contact Fern Olivia at love@thyroid.yoga if you have any questions.