Happy New Year

Yes, Happy New Year!! Today (in Israel) is the first day of the new Jewish year. It is a time to reflect on the past year and prepare for the year ahead, contemplating actions, dreams and feelings. It’s amazing the amount of things that happen during a year and last year was a pretty full one for me. I persevered through rehabilitation, I mastered living alone, I saw friends and family who I had not seen in quite some time, I got engaged and I moved to another country!

Obviously those are just a few highlights, but it’s amazing to take a glance back at things that were accomplished and get excited about all of the things to come in the near future. Already in my new home I have tested the waters, literally in the swimming pool:

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I have eaten out at delicious restaurants:

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I have cooked and juiced to my heart’s content:

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And I have hosted my first Rosh Hashanah dinner:

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I know that there are hardships that come with every new year and while I am already experiencing some of those now, I know that that are more to come that I cannot anticipate. And so I wish for the new year that when those hard times arise I will stay strong and accept them each as a challenge. And that in moments of weakness I refrain from relying on cattiness, anger or jealousy to deal with the situation.

I also know that with any new year comes a chance for new adventures, fun and so much joy. And I wish for all of you (whether you are taking the time to celebrate the new year or not) a healthy, happy and exciting year of growth and learning.

Have a sweet new year!

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And congratulations on a chance to take a step in the direction of your choosing on the first day of this new year in your journey of life.

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A Typical Day

It has been almost two weeks since my relocation to Israel and no two days have been alike. From the moment we landed we have been on the go, finding a new place, moving and settling in, and only just now is some semblance of normal finding its way into the everyday.

I started the intensive hebrew studying today and after the Jewish New Year I will combine the start of my internship with these studies.

For now my day consists of some living room-style vinyasa flow:

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(My home studio has plenty of room for fellow yogis, so come on over!)

Once I am all stretched out and centered I take a long stroll around the neighborhood.

The gathering below of families happened on Saturday morning. The kids were cooling themselves off in the public fountain and were loving every minute of cold respite. They were ADORABLE!!

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And then it’s time to get down to business for 4 hours practicing Hebrew!

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Granted these days are fairly light with activity, and soon that will all change once I integrate my internship, commuting and more social activities into the day. But for now I am soaking up these atypical days.

That Time I Moved to Israel

Yes, it has been quite some time since my words have graced your screens, and yes you read correctly, I am now living in Israel. Well, truthfully I have only lived in Israel for a few hours so you are not missing any of my Middle Eastern adventures. However, a lot has happened since I last blogged:

- I amped up my running a bit and made it to 2.5 miles where it no longer felt like work but like the good old days before the accident

- Call me yogi Jordan because I am now obsessed with yoga!

- I quit my job at the board game company and spent the summer working for a PR firm representing tech companies in the Bay Area

- My boyfriend returned from medical school for the summer and turned me into a fiancée…

- So, I am now engaged!

And just today we both flew to Tel Aviv where Dave is studying medicine and I will be interning for a tech start-up.

There are plenty more adventures ahead of us that involve food, exercise, traveling, new friends and many ups and downs filling up the in betweens. Among all of this excitement is the hardship of leaving our friends and family, so I have decided to do my best to post once a day again so that I can stay more connected with my loved ones.

Nice and tired but super happy with a pile of veggies to munch on!

Nice and tired but super happy with a pile of veggies to munch on!

I can’t wait to tell you more, but after a very long 24 hours of travel it’s layla tov!

Little Obsessions

Most of my days are fairly routine in the sense that I go to work all day (normally with some sort of break in the middle, if I’m lucky), then I take myself over to the gym and either spin or do a body weight workout, and then come home and make dinner, followed by relaxing on the couch, before I wake up and do it all over again.

So it’s those little finds, a new workout obsession, an innovative recipe or a pair of new shoes that I can’t wait to wear, that pulls me through the week.

Lately I have been focusing on my new little obsessions and they have helped me get through some of those rougher stretches of days:

1. Banana ice cream:

It’s so easy to make (literally just freeze a banana and blend it up!) but it’s so creamy and refreshing AND guilt free!

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2. Pampering myself on Sunday evenings

Last Sunday I got a haircut around 4pm and it was the best thing ever! After a day of errands and cleaning the apartment for the week, sitting in a chair while someone else massaged my head and played with my hair felt heavenly.

And only because my hair did not need another trim after 7 days, did I decide to get my nails done this past Sunday. Indulging in the slightly less expensive mani pedi was another simple treat to myself and probably one of the best ways to end a weekend.

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3. New (cheap) workout clothes

Of course I have the staple expensive workout spandex and a handful of pricey tops, but this past weekend I found athletic apparel with a price tag I can smile about.

C9 by Champion for Target makes wonderfully soft and comfortable workout gear, but it won’t leave you feeling guilty at the checkout line. I went a little crazy this weekend and bought a bunch of tops, but at $12 a pop it was hard to hold back.

For all of you fiscally conscious gym rats enjoy shopping…

What are some of your little obsessions lately?

WIAW – taking something back

During my training for my half marathons I supplemented my days off between running with pilates classes. I was hesitant at first to enter the world of dance positions and flexibility, but after my initial classes I was hooked. However, once the accident happened pilates went out the window along with any heavy impact activities.

I have devoted this entire year to impact free exercises, but I was recently cleared to ease back into a few activities, including pilates. So Monday night I took back what was so abruptly and unpleasantly removed from my athletic repertoire and enjoyed an hour of pilates.

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(no I was not in a nightclub, my YMCA likes to set the mood with their lighting apparently)

While I am of course no where near as flexible as I was pre-broken hip, I still felt very strong and was able to perform almost all of the exercise without any fear of injuring myself. I hadn’t moved my body in this way in months and I felt my old pilates skills falling back into place like puzzle pieces clicking together as I transitioned from plank to downward dog and moved from two-leg to single leg bridges.

It was a freeing experience and I am excited to start incorporating elements of life before the accident back into my present. It will be a slow and timid journey at first, but before I know it I will be running again and this year will trail behind in my dust.

And now on to some eats that helped fuel me for this muscle building endeavor:

Earlier in the week I made my own tofu scramble, starting with cooking up some mushrooms and red pepper.

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Then I mixed in some firm tofu and added turmeric, garlic powder and basil.

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And then there was the time where I didn’t feel like cooking and made a plate of snacks: Smoked salmon, cucumbers and hummus fresh from the farmer’s market.

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And of course I have to have my sweets.

So I packed up a to-go bag of treats for work, including some trail mix and a homemade hamantaschen.

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Happy Hump Day Everyone!

Taking Advantage

Living in the Bay Area is something special. I have said it a lot: Here and Here and Here. But where can you enjoy the whirring liveliness of the city and then drive less than an hour and be surrounded by the serene beauty of nature.

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With some out-of-towners in toe, we spent the day in Napa Valley enjoying the view, the tastes of aged grape juice and some laughs.

Who wouldn’t want to end the day with some glasses of bubbly!?

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Another thing that I have learned to appreciate and take more advantage of are the exercise classes offered at my YMCA. I have been trying to do as many spin classes as I can get to during the week, and this weekend I went to a spin class on Saturday and Sunday. Without long runs in my mix of workouts I find that I need to really be guided to get a good workout in and what better way to build up that cardio then with shouting instructors and spinning pedals?

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After an hour in the saddle I leave knowing that I have worked hard, burned some calories and strengthened my muscles. It’s also a great way to practice my posture and use my core to control my body and leg movements.

Unfortunately I will be traveling for work soon and I will not have access to a spin bike, let alone a spin class, but to maintain my exercise routines I will be taking advantage of the wonders of the internet and printing out some at-home workouts.

It always pays off to take a moment and look around at the resources that you have right at your finger tips.

What will you take advantage of today?

Compliments can go a long way

When I used to run with the San Francisco Road Runners I was complimented by a fellow runner on my running form. Following his flattering observation I ran with more confidence and pride. I even ran a little faster with an extra hop in my step. It felt great to be recognized for something I was doing well, especially when it was something I had assumed no one else noticed.

The other day I was complimented on my posture in my spinning class by my instructor. She didn’t have to approach me before class and talk about how well I held myself, but she took a moment and gave me the compliment. And to be honest, it felt really good! Because I can’t run at the moment I am working hard to excel in the things that I can do, and knowing that I look like a biker affirms that I am reaching my fitness goals.

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Compliments can come in many forms: A stranger stopping you on the street to tell you they like your shoes, a friend telling you they really enjoyed the cookies you baked or a coworker acknowledging that you did a great job on that presentation. In whatever form they take, compliments feel good. So my challenge to you today is to go out there and give two people compliments. It’s Friday and everyone deserves to end their week on a good note.

Happy Friday and Happy Complimenting!

WIAW – Quick and Easy

I like to cook. I really do. But that doesn’t mean that I slave over a hot stove for hours with countertops of ingredients. I like to use as few ingredients as possible because the shorter the list the faster I get to eat. The simpler recipes also give me less of a chance to make a major gourmet faux pas!

For instance, I baked some simple chicken in the oven with some spices and then cooked up some bokchoy with lemon, green onions and garlic. I added some brown rice to balance out the meal and topped it with some balsamic vinegar and I was all set to eat in about half an hour. IMG_1305For dinner I was really hungry and had no intention of getting creative in the kitchen or trying to heat up something fabulous, so instead I made sure I got some protein. I cooked up some egg whites and ate them with peanut butter on rice cakes and it was delicious and satisfying! A bit odd for dinner, but I am all for eggs at any time of day and I have a long loving relationship with peanut butter, so I’m happy whenever I can work it into a meal :)IMG_1306What are some of your go to easy-peasy meals?

Some Feedback

Because running is off of the table until late Summer at the earliest I have turned to swimming and spinning. I really enjoy my time in the pool, but swimming wall to wall can get a bit old day after day, so I have turned to gym classes to get in a good workout. My spinning classes are at the YMCA and I have experienced two instructors so far, each on very different ends of the instructing spectrum. One is not super exciting and the class itself is boring and repetitive and the other instructor becomes your best friend right away and puts on smile on your face even though you are working at 90 RPMs.

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For those of you out there who don’t mind me venting and for those athletic instructors who might want to hear what their clients think, please read on…

1. As an instructor we, your spinning students, really enjoy when you are doing the workout with us, NOT hopping on and off your bike to adjust fan speed or direction, or randomly walking outside of the room to “talk to someone”, or even just standing in the middle of the room for a change of scenery.

2. Mix it up. Climbing hills over and over can get very boring, especially if you use the same routine every class. My spinning instructor last night was GREAT! She took us on a journey over the Golden Gate Bridge and tried to stay true to where the hills would be and where the straights occurred. She even had us partnered up doing some intervals by pretending we were doing time trials! BE CREATIVE!

3. Make sure you are engaging and talking to us. Silence is the worst! We don’t know how hard to push it, what we should be focusing on or when we can take a break. We also enjoy when you are friendly and work in funny stories or anecdotes to distract us from our task at hand.

4. Be friendly. Make sure you are smiling and having fun. We are not always giddy about spending and hour pedaling our buns off to end up in the same place we started, so if you act like spin class is the best thing ever we will stop watching the clock. Plus if you act like our friend then we wont be gritting our teeth as much when you tell us we have 3 more climbs ahead of us with some isolation.

Lastly, I do just want to say thank you to all spin teachers and class instructors for sharing your knowledge so that we can all be healthier :) Without you I would not be able to sit on a bike for an hour and sweat like I should!

The Grass is Always Greener…well maybe not, but it sure looks like it

It’s hard not to walk down the street and look at a person running by and think, gee, they are so lucky they can run, and compete in races and jog with friends.

Or see someone with a flat stomach and assume that they get to eat whatever they want and still look good in an ab hugging shirt.

Even looking at a couple on the street it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that they are happy and in love and everything in their lives must be hunky dory.

Of course life does not work like this. The person running might have just come off of an injury and is easing back into running by only going as far as down the street before he or she has to turn around. And the person with the tight tummy might have to wake up early every day and workout for an hour in order to keep in shape. And the happy couple may fight 99% of the time and only smile when they are walking down the street in public.

Sometimes when you’re life doesn’t feel all put together you assume that everyone else has everything you don’t. The reality is that no one has everything and you probably have a lot more than most.

At the start of this New Year there are many things in my life that I am still lining up to fall into place and I am trying my hardest to appreciate what I do have until then.

So far in 2013 I have spent time with loved ones, taken a step (or spin class) in the right direction of recovery, and I am starting to make better eating habits part of my routine.

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What have you accomplished so far this year?

Do you sometimes think about “greener pastures” and then appreciate your own?