Love in Motion Holiday Gift Guide

Last-minute shopping got you in a frenzy??  Never fear!!  The queens of procrastination ourselves, we’ve put together a gift guide that’s (mostly) local, super fabulous and ridiculously easy to put together.  So now everyone on your list can have a very Merry Christmas.

Kath’s Picks:

Lisa B. Socks:  I admit I have an obsession with cozy, chunky socks. Functionally, the keep my feet warm (duh).  But they also add some detail to my outfit.  Yoga pants, chunky socks, Frye boots create the perfect effortless and ridiculously comfort look.  Lisa B. socks, knit from a delicious blend of cashmere and wool, come in solids, prints, over the knee and mid-calf (trouser) heights.   If you live to layer like me, some of the socks are a tighter knit than others, so it’s easy to wear more than one pair for extra comfort.   I’ve stocked up on pairs for friends, family and of course for myself.  If you are local to Buffalo you can find Lisa B. cashmere  at Modern Nostalgia and Blue Collar on Hertel Avenue.  If you are from out of the area, check out Lisa B.’s website.

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Photo by Erin Habes for Modern Nostalgia

 

Sumbody Skincare Products:  My love affair with Sumbody began with their coconut oil-based, all natural, aromatherapeutic soaps.  My mom bought me a few bars while I was pregnant with Hannah and I fell in LOVE.   Once I began using all natural, chemical free soaps, I find the synthetic scents to be, well, very synthetic (redundant, I know).   Sumbody makes all kinds of skincare products that ranges from the more indulgant sugar and salt scrubs to all natural face cleansers and anti-aging product.  Today, I popped into a local bath and body shop on Elmwood Ave. called Renew to purchase Sumbody soaps and goodies for Christmas Presents.  I learned, via their sales associate, that Sumbody’s owner and creator, Deborah, formulates all of the product herself from scratch and she also speaks directly with stores and vendors selling her product.  Amazing soap, therepeautic scents and kick-ass female creator and owner… Sumbody has got it going on!

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Amika: Nourishing Mask:  One might assume that I shower regularly and often since almost all of my favorite things this holiday season are indeed used in the shower.  Assumptions, as we know, make an ass of you and me.   I try to shower as often as possible, and I relish in the idea of showers, but I usually skip a few days before even my top know looks disgusting and I’m left with but no other choice than to shower.   Eww, I know, TMI.  Back to this product…  My hair is thin and straight but it easily becomes wicked tangled.  It took two girls to brush my hair–after they shampooed and conditioned me– last time I got a trim.  This conditioning mask can be used as often as you like.    It leaves your hair so soft, less tangly and full of body.  Locally, the amazingly talented ladies at The Refinery Salon on Saranac and Hertel Avenues sell Amika products.

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Kate’s Picks:

Mahina Jewelry: Jocelyn, the creator of this gorgeous, island-inspired line, is quite possibly the most generous, lovely human I have ever met.  She designs her pieces with so much love and care, and if she doesn’t have quite what you’re looking for, don’t worry – she’ll make it for you on the spot if you are lucky enough to catch her at a trunk show.  She sells at several area boutiques, but I picked up my pieces at Modern Nostalgia on Hertel Avenue.  (Pssst…she just dropped a TON of new product there last night, so get in and get it while it’s hot!!)

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Photo by Erin Habes for Modern Nostalgia.

 

 

I.Love.Lettuce.: Anyone who knows Kath and I knows that we have a ridiculous obsession with the leafy green stuff.  We eat it with hot sauce, with peanut butter, practically straight out of the ground.  So when I found this fresh face mask with the moniker “Love Lettuce” at Lush Cosmetics, I knew I was about to enter a pretty fantastic love affair.  It’s got a cool, creamy texture and a deliciously light lavender smell that’s perfectly relaxing after a long crazy day.  It’s a great gift for someone who burns the candle at both ends, and it’s just the right amount of indulgence.  Find it in the fridge at our local Lush! (Yes, you have to go to the mall, but I PROMISE this super ethical, crazy cool company is worth the trip.)

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Linwood Candle Co.: A recent new discovery of mine, I am already obsessed with the delicious smells this place has concocted.  Fresh Grapefruit, Mission Fig and Pumpkin Pie are just a few, and they are all hand-poured right here in the Queen City.  Small-batch, soy-based means that they burn clean and don’t have any of the extra gross stuff you find in mass produced candles.  They make great stocking stuffers or work-buddy gifts.  Who doesn’t like a yummy smelling house around the holidays?  Grab a bunch at Anna Grace on Elmwood Avenue.  They have extended hours, right up until Christmas Eve for all you procrastinators out there :)

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Happy shopping, y’all!  And if anyone has any gorgeous, inspirational gifts of their own, let us know!!  We’re always looking for great new finds you can’t live without. ( Also, Kate is pretty stumped this year and could use a little help in her procrastinating gift shopping :))

De-Stressing During the Holidays

Holiday stress, for a lot of us, begins around Thanksgiving and lingers into the new year.  It can cloud our judgement causing us to feel embittered and frustrated instead of enjoying the days off from work, extra time with family and all the other goodness that surrounds this season.

For me, the extra excitment surrounding the holidays impacts me in either one of two ways:

1)  Overreactive:  I’m an extremely extroverted introvert.   I LOVE people; I especially love my people.  However, I require alone time to recharge my social batteries.  When I don’t get my required time in solitude, I feel spread quite thin and I become pretty agitated and irritable.  I am reactive and snippy; mess with me even a little bit and I might snap.   I use my alone time to practice yoga, meditate, read, clean or just lay around.  I find it helps me center myself and gain some much needed perspective.

2) Grateful and Loved:  When I compromise my me-time, I’m pretty much a total bitch (why sugarcoat it?).   However, if I meet my Kathleen-time quota, I love the holidays and the enormous sense of gratitude, love and appreciation I can share with my community.  I love to throw parties and organize get-togethers  as long as I take care of myself as well. Continue reading

On Family

Sparing the nitty-gritty details, I will just say that there was some seriously unpleasant animosity during my family dinner last night.  Every Sunday, the local and available members of my large family meet for dinner.  Sometime, we are on; we nail the whole loving-family-quality-conversation bit.  Other nights, e.g. last night, all of our repressed dirt seems to spread all over the table.  We–those of us engaged in the altercation– become reactive, defensive and judgemental.  The innocent bystanders begging for peace unwillingly fall victim to the plague-like contention.

Last night, we were able to cajole the parties most upset by the situtation.  We ate dinner in peace, packed the kids and headed home to our quiet and safe haven.  And although the drama was mollified, I still left thinking about stress.  Namely, the stress that is so obviousley caused by our families.   Continue reading

Better Out Than In: Some tips for detoxing

Holiday season is upon us and our routines—especially the healthier ones—are interrupted.  Amid all the festivities and preparation, time for healthy decisions and exercises is scarce.  Contrarily, Cookies, chocolate, champagne and other indulgences are in abundance.  We want to be able to enjoy the goodies without feeling a ton of guilt, Right?  Even if you don’t have time for a full 90 minute practice everyday, yoga can still help to detox before and after you retox!

These are my a few of my favorite yoga detox tricks that I weave into my practice whenever I need to jump start my metabolism.  These can be added into any longer practice, performed before or after any class or just practiced on their own when you have a couple of minutes!

I find that these exercises at once release the physical junk that weighs me down and clear a mental and emotional space.   Feeling less bogged down physically and mentally can allow us to see the big picture (eg. the good stuff) more clearly and enjoy the season with less regret and guilt.

  • Kapalabhati Breath (=breath of fire or skull shining breath) is hands down my favorite breathing exercise. I use kapalabhati to help me stoke the fire in practice to build heat, cleanse and tone my belly.  If you have never done this before, start slowly to improve your technique and strengthen the exhale.  Gradually, increase your cadence and add more rounds.  Basically, you are pumping the diaphragm to produce sharp, short exhales through the noses.  The inhale will happen naturally and passively.  While you do this, think of pumping the belly back with each exhalation.    You can practice kapalabhati in any position, my favorite way asana for this breathing technique is a wide-legged yogic squat and the hands positioned in anjali mudra (=prayer).    Instead of counting, I use a timer.  Start with 30 seconds and each day you practice, add more time.  I usually do a 2-minute round per practice.  Avoid this exercise if you are pregnant and limit your duration or skip on days where you are menstruating.kabala
  • Swivel Chair: In general, twists are the one of the best ways to ring toxins out of your body.  One of the perks to rotation in asana practice is that you can strengthen your core, namely the obliques.   This twist is a hybrid of utkatasana (=chair pose) and a kundalini yoga breathing exercise.  Start in chair pose and bring the arms into goal-post arms.  Steady the lower body—hips remain as static as possible—and begin to rotate the waste from side to side.  Breathing ujayii breath at a normal pace.  If it feels alright you can move at a quicker pace than the breath.  The arms and shoulder remain stationary in relationship to the spine; the rotation comes exclusively from the waste.  Stay here for 10-12 breaths.  Optional:  thread this into a single practice a few times.swivel chair
  • Cat Tail Pose: So, you are feeling lethargic and maybe nursing a little champagne or chocolate hangover but you need something to get stuff moving? Cat Tail is a yin pose that includes a deep, yet static, twist.   Fortunately, ALL twists have the power to detox; even the static postures.  Cat Tail requires a bolster (or a pillow or rolled up blankets) and maybe a strap.  You start on your back with the bolster aligned perpendicular to your body at the line of the hip.  Hug your left knee into your chest and cross the thigh bone over towards your right.  Align your inner-leg on the bolster.  You want the bolster to support your leg, so you might have to rearrange the angle a bit.  The knee may or may not straighten depending on hamstring length.  Optional, and not pictured below:  bend your bottom leg (right leg when twisting to the right) and take hold of your foot with your left hand.  If you can’t reach, wrap a strap around your foot and hold the strap instead.  This pose gives you an amazing lateral-thigh stretch on the twisted leg and anterior-pelvis stretch on the bottom leg.  Stay here on each side for 3-5 minutes to allow your body to settle into this passive twist.   I’m not an expert in Yin Yoga; to read more about this pose click here.cat tail

Expectations and Excuses

I vividly recall a moment during my teacher training, while breaking down paschimottanasana (seated forward fold), I asked my teacher, “what next?” Appearing confused at my inquiry, he assisted me into a deep but delicious variation of the pose. Kindly, and in all of his wisdom, he asked, “So what else do you expect?”

“Nothing,” I responded.   Continue reading

Wherever you go, there you are.

These wise words of Jon Kabat-Zinn closed out our Moving Mantras retreat yesterday.  They’re such a powerful reminder that no matter how much we try to escape ourselves, there we are waiting at the end of the day.  It’s better to learn to sit with all of our imperfect perfectness and embrace it than to run away from it.  Yesterday was a powerful reminder in itself that we have such a strong community right here in our own backyards, and how filled with gratitude we are to be a part of it. Continue reading

Your New Favorite Yoga Playlist

The discovery of new tunes, new bands and then organizing the playlist takes time and patience.  I usually rely on my husband to make discover music for me; sporadically, if not rarely, I find the time to delve into the realm of music on my own.

This playlist came to fruition after I stumbled into a Spotify rabbit hole last Friday.  I watched Fault in Our Stars and I was so moved by the music (never mind the tear-jerking story I was revisiting having read the book), that I had to continue listening to the songs.   The soundtrack directed me to some new bands, artists and tracks that piqued my interest and I felt compelled to create.  Et voila!

I’m pretty proud of this baby and I had to share it.  It’s  well-rounded and just eclectic enough to keep you moving and inspired!   Continue reading

Learn About the World, Then Learn About Yourself: Guest post from Pamela Palmieri

Our friend, self-proclaimed expert in learning and imperfection, Pam had an itch to write her personal manifesto one late night (or early morning if you are indeed a morning person like me).   These beautiful and inspiring words poured out of her effortlessly.  It’s with much love, admiration and deep honor that we share this fabulous piece written by an amazing boss-lady, mama, friend and bad-ass-bitch-you-want-in-your-corner!  Enjoy!  

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Pam and her amazing son Carter.

Hi, my name is Pam; and I freaking. love. learning.

My addiction to learning about people, places, things and ideas shockingly outweighs the daily guilty pleasure I take in chocolate, white cheddar popcorn and a glass of Prosecco. I can say with confidence thatdespite my rocky relationship with my alarm clockI absolutely and positively loved school and soaking up every bit of information be it the content of the class or the behaviors of my classmates. Continue reading

The Most Underrated, Amazing-Feeling Yoga Pose I Know

This is a bold claim, I know, but I’m making it: Upward Facing Dog, or urdhva mukha svanasana, is one of the most underrated poses in all of yoga. Okay, in my humble opinion, anyway :)  It’s the pose that feels the most amazing after sitting or standing for a long time, it gives a huge, full-front-body stretch and it allows for some serious heart opening when done the right way. So, seeing as (baby) belly backbends are essentially the only yoga I am cleared to do right now, I thought it might be fun to write a post paying homage to one of the most feel-good, full-body poses in all of yoga.

Urdhva mukha svanasana…there’s nothin’ else like it.

Here we go; a series of poses to get you prepped for the baddest dog I know. (We actually took these pictures over the summer, when both of my hips still kind of worked.  Photo credit: Kelsie Hunter.)

Continue reading