The Benefits of Yoga

Yoga

As most of you know, I took quite the hiatus from yoga. Despite repeated efforts to get back into the practice regularly, my busy schedule and constant soreness after my weekly kickboxing class left me with little energy for an additional workout.

But over the last couple of weeks, I have pushed myself to give yoga another go. While I might step onto my mat reluctantly after a long day of work, I always feel much better by the time the class concludes.

Here are a few ways yoga has helped me:

It gives me something to look forward to
Let’s face it. Mondays can be hard. But knowing that I am starting the week with an evening yoga class makes getting out of bed when my alarm goes off a little easier. Add to that dinner with a good friend before the class and company during, and I’m not sure my Monday could get better than that.

My muscles thank me
I am always sore after kickboxing—for days. But since I started going to yoga, I’ve noticed that the soreness dissipates faster than it used to.

I’m more flexible
Each week I can do or hold a pose longer. Yoga is a nice complement to my kickboxing class, too. I’ve found that my roundhouse kicks have improved significantly as a result of my increased flexibility.

My mental clarity is sharper
I often say that I have thyroid brain fog…and I do. Since having thyroid cancer, my memory is not as good as it once was. The good thing is that I never have to worry about repeating something I shouldn’t because nine times out of ten, I won’t remember it anyway. But it can be frustrating when I really need to concentrate and am unable to do so. Yoga has given me the ability to clear my mind and focus on a task, which has improved my memory overall.

I feel calmer
The best part about yoga is that I feel a sense of calm long after the class has ended. I love that the class is on a Monday and that I can stretch that feeling well into mid-week.

Instagram Moments

My wait for the weekend is almost over. In just a few hours now, I will be catching up on sleep, reading the new book I checked out from the library, and enjoying two whole days of relaxation.

The last few weeks have been stressful, as I’ve waited for test results and answers. It may seem like I am always waiting for results. That’s because I am. In the upcoming weeks I will be going for a radioactive iodine uptake scan to see what might be causing my antithyroglobulin levels to rise. Should you hear the Imagine Dragons song, “Radioactive” playing on the radio, please think of me!

In the meantime, cheers to the (much needed) weekend!

Adulting

{Story of my life//Image via @sweatpantsandcoffee}

Starbucks

{Exhibit: A}

Spring

{First sign of spring on Long Island}

Weekend Workout

{Gearing up for another weekend workout}

Flowers

{Bold blooms to brighten the work week}

Nessie’s Picks for Spring

Nessie's Picks for Spring

At the first sign of spring, you can usually find me swapping out my heavy winter layers in favor of lighter looks. So when I saw a crocus pop up this week, I had to remind myself that we are just entering March (and that my transition would be premature).

In putting together a round-up of items for spring that I am currently coveting, I thought it would be fun to share some that I already own (and love), others that I have been dying to try, and ones that will be purchased (just as soon as payday rolls around).

So, let’s jump right in.

A must for spring: Few things get me as excited as a suede moto jacket. And this one from Banana Republic ticks all the boxes. It’s the perfect color and fabric for the upcoming season, so you won’t regret buying this fun transitional piece.

Will be buying ASAP: I have yet to find the perfect pair of lace-up flats. Despite numerous trips to DSW and Nordstrom Rack, I haven’t had much luck with this style. But that all changed when I spotted these Gap beauties. The blue jean color was just what I have been looking for—and obviously, I love that they come in suede. Let’s hope that they are as comfy as they are chic when I go to try them on.

Need to try: Now that I am making a hardcore effort to be healthy and eat better, using cleaner beauty products is a high priority. I have heard and read a lot of good reviews about the RMS products, and now that I am in the market for a new highlighter, it seems like the perfect time to give the brand a try.

Wish list: Fortunately, I don’t have to spend a hefty sum on this wish list item, thanks to Target. Mossimo has an almost identical version of these beauties for a fraction of the price.

Can’t resist: We all have items that we don’t need but would love to have, right? These tassel earrings from Baublebar is just that for me. How cute would they look with a nice sundress or chambray top?

Buy these: If this is the only piece of advice that you ever take from me, then buy these pants…now. The Sloan-fit pants from Banana Republic are a must-have for us petites. I have never found a pair of pants to be so comfortable and flattering that I go back and buy three more pairs…the same day. Oh, and did I mention that they don’t need to be hemmed? If you were to ask anyone in my office, they would probably describe these babies as my office uniform.

What are you swooning over for spring?

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