A Fall Road Trip

Fall is my favorite season. All my senses seam to go into sensory overload in a good way. The air smells different. The temperature is cooler.  Foods are suddenly heartier and flavored with pumpkin or apple and spice. And then there is the fall foliage hitting it’s peak in the mountains. When our daughter Allyson got accepted to Dartmouth, then decided to continue playing the sax in their scatter band, I envisioned my husband and I going up every fall for a football game and watching the band perform. As a band mom for four years of high school, I knew I would miss those days. Life always had other plans for us though. We always seemed to drive up too early in the season or the other seasons entirely. Fast forward to senior year we finally made plans to do it right this time.

We picked a date that worked for Al and our sister (who just happened to make the move from Boston to New Hampshire!) so she can meet up with us too. We patiently waited all summer for our little getaway. Finally the weekend came! With our mom in on the trip, the three of us hit the road on Friday morning.

The ride up was beautiful. Here in parts of PA, we still have a lot of green on our trees. NY and MA had the most vibrant red, yellow and orange leaves of the whole trip. 

VT and NH probably hit peak color last weekend but still didn’t disappoint. There is one area approx. thirty minutes south of White River Junction, VT heading north on I91. No matter what season it is, it always mesmerizes me. I posted it to my IG account. Go check it out when you are done reading!

It takes about six hours to arrive at our hotel in WRJ and we are minutes away from campus in Hanover, NH. We arrived just in time for an invite to meet up with Allyson at the football field to watch the band practice.

It was a full moon this weekend. The moon looked so big and beautiful! No matter how many times I tried to capture it, no picture did it justice. But I do like this one from Friday night a lot.

We stayed at the field for a little bit then decided to head to town where we met up with Al for a later dinner and drinks.

I call this picture Reflections. That’s our mom, my husband Dan and Al.

Saturday morning we got up early for breakfast then squeeze in a hike before the afternoon football game. Al wanted to take us to Gile Mountain to the fire tower to show us the spectacular views. 

The hike itself was about an hour. I wish we had more time to explore but we needed to get back so Al could meet up with the rest of the band.

That’s our sister in the gray jeans and unfortunately the only picture I have of her from the weekend ūüėĒ

I have video of the performances but they are long so I will spare you. But this screen shot of them marching off turned out ok.

The band has a tradition that if our team wins (and we did!), the band will parade through Hanover on then over to the campus library where they quietly march up to the Tower room, aka the quiet room, and play music while the quickly march through. Then they quietly exit the building. Being the stalkers that we are, we finally got to see that too… And of course I filmed it. 

After the game, we said our goodbyes as Al had a social engagement to attend and the rest of us were going back to our sister’s new place about an hour away, meet up with her boyfriend and get another late dinner. I hope to see the area in the daylight sometime. Unfortunately it was already dark when we arrived. Their house is cute and they have a great, private back yard with chance visits by bears and foxes. They are right on the edge of the White Mountains with prime hiking spots to visit sometime. Lucky for us, they are big hikers too.

One new place in Hanover that I have to mention since I fell in love with the vibe here was The Skinny Pancake. It’s a small food shed & crepery chain out of Vermont. All the food is local and they have a good craft beer selection as well. We stopped in for a drink on Friday night and we loved the place so much we went back for breakfast. The decore is (or looks like anyway because I am not sure) reclaimed barn wood with tin ceilings and simple light fixtures. And our bartender reminded me of a young Jennifer Tilly. When we went back for breakfast, I chose the Noah’s Ark which was 2 eggs, bacon and two crumpled sweet crepes. No stuffed crepes for this dairy challenged girl. But everyone else really enjoyed theirs! I had to top off my breakfast with a pumpkin spice latte with almond milk.

Delicious!! 

What a great way to start the day… A great breakfast and a hike. Or how about watching a football game with a colorful mountain view and ending with a family dinner? I have to say it was pretty perfect to me. It was very hard to leave this morning and come back to reality. My little corner of PA is picturesque too but nothing compares to that part of New England. It was time to make the six hour drive home, pick up the pups from the kennel and settle back in to our daily grind of life. The next time we go back up will most likely be in June for graduation. Where does the time go? I am happy that we took the time from work to make the trip happen. It’s one I will remember for a long time.

Learning to Retox my life

September is yoga month! If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I have become a total yoga junkie. ¬†It’s gone beyond just a daily practice. It’s a way of life. ¬†My yoga life as evolved from being able to land some really cool arm balance ( the reason I started ) to learning patience, self control, gratitude and charity. My confidence has soared. My self acceptance, including body image, has changed for the better as well. I could go on and on posting pictures from my journey so far and call it a day. I have shared that stuff in the past and I don’t want you to get bored one paragraph in.

What I do want to share with you is a book that recently picked up on a trip to Barnes & Noble. It is called Retox: Yoga * Food * Attitude РHealthy Solutions For Real Life by Lauren Imparato.  Lauren is the founder of I.Am.You studios in NYC.

(The following review is my own thoughts based on parts of the book. I was not contacted by anyone involved with Retox or I.Am.You. to write this nor am I being compensated in any way. I’m just a girl on this lifestyle journey sharing what I love.)¬†

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I was on the fence about buying this book at first. ¬†I was worried that it would be another diet book. Or worse, it would be 362 pages of sales pitches as to why you need to buy some on line course or product to see results. ¬†(Yes you can buy the videos for the yoga portion on line but it’s not necessary.)

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That shit really drives me crazy!  I know you feel me too.

After reading about Lauren’s switch from wall street trader to yogi with nutritional science training, I knew I had made the right decision. She really dived deep into training to understand the body. Smart chick.

This actually is NOT a diet book at all. Retox is the opposite of detox. There is no elimination of whole food groups or crazy workout schedules to follow. This book focuses on balance between yoga, food and mindset. This is a plan for general living and how to keep it together on very given day. Lauren calls it LSP, or Life Stability Plan.

As a yoga instructor, Lauren takes you through twenty-one daily life issues and breaks it down into the three LSP’s:

  • Yoga – flows and asanas geared specifically to heal your ailment
  • Nourishment – Think of this as the “eat this not that” section.
  • Mindset – explains the how and whys of what you are feeling and how to bring balance to that through meditation

There is something in here for everyone:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Bloating
  • Hangovers
  • Low energy
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Back pain

(Just to name a few)

You can run through the book section by section or skip around working on what your body needs most that day. For me, the first step was getting rid of the alien baby that is belly bloat.

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The yoga flow ( shown above ) is designed to focus on core movements and twists that activate your organs helping to release toxins. Each flow takes 20-30 minutes to complete.  There are also quick fixes and desk flows for when you are short on time. Perfect considering I always seem to be running late.

Nourishment tells me about foods that may be causing the bloating such as:

  • Soy (check!)
  • Eggplant / cucumber¬†(check!)
  • Chia / nuts ((check!)(check!)
  • Raw foods ¬†(mmmmm ¬†some )
  • Spicy foods¬†(check!)

You may have issues with all these foods or just a few. ¬†If you notice certain things you eat are making you bloated, avoid them. If you can tolerate them in moderation, go for it. Just don’t over do it.

The retox instant debloaters include:

  • Warm water
  • Rice
  • Cooked foods
  • Some herbal teas like mint or chamomile

The reasons why each of these foods hurt or heal you is explained in the book as well.

Mindset: Your gut is sometimes referred to as your second brain. When faced with uncertainty, your guy can get all funky. ¬†The stress can cause unbalance causing bloat. Sometimes you can’t just “let is go”. ¬†you literally need to learn to trust your gut. The retox goal here is to train your mind to process the events and emotions around you. Write down what is stressing you. How does it make you feel? What are ways you can improve your situation? Then, sit tall, clear your mind and focus on your breath. Follow Lauren’s guided meditation then move on with your day.

After reading through each section in Retox, I had a few ah-ha moments. ¬†Some things were obvious. ¬†But Lauren brings science into her explanations so that it makes more sense. Don’t recoil by that statement. ¬†She doesn’t get all nerdy on you. There is so much information packed into these pages that I find myself going back and reading sections again. I have learned so much about my diet alone that makes this book so worth the purchase. I catch myself asking, “Did I Retox today”?

If you are interested in Retox or I.Am.You studios, I interested links in the top of this post.

Have you read Reotx? If so, tell me your thoughts below. 

Do you have any of your own retox solutions that you incorporate into your day? 

 

 

Farewell August

August, you spoiled me with your warm hugs and brilliant sunlit smiles.

I cannot put into words how great this month was! This month started with my birthday, day trips, family gatherings and Allyson currently visiting for two weeks between the end of her summer internship and the start of her senior year which starts in September.

We explored new towns and found new favorite spots to eat or shop locally as well. This month has been about having no itinerary and the wanderlust that took us on spontaneous adventures. It’s true what they say that if you live in the moment and don’t schedule every minute of your free time, that time will feel like it lasts much longer. I was off three days last week and it felt like a full week. Keep that tip in mind for your next long weekend or vacation and you will see what I mean!

I know this is bad for a blogger to admit but I didn’t take many pictures either. One day I even left my phone at home! Crazy, I know. It was a strange feeling at first but so freeing at the end of the day.

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My new grand niece was born 8/19! ¬† Eliana James – ¬†Eliana is in honor or her grandmom Ellie and great grandmom Anna. ¬† James is for her great grandfather who’s birthday she was born on. She is such a little peanut! We love her to pieces.

 

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With the new baby in the house, Allyson and I took her big sis and bro to the park for some auntie/cousin time. These two have big imaginations!

 

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My new book that I cannot put down.  Look for a review next month sometime!

 

20160828_190633 Summer is for relaxing with the pups on the deck, grilling food, listening to music and sharing cocktails with the family.

20160827_131547¬†And just one last reminder… Never miss a chance to sparkle!

 

I hope all my stateside readers  have a safe and happy Labor Day weekend!

I am not quite ready for summer to unofficially end. But I do long for those cool crisp fall days and everything smelling like pumpkin spice and the leaves begin to change.

Tell me…. What are you most looking forward too about fall? ¬†Or what will you miss most about summer?¬†

 

My Happiness Project – July edition

Well, here it is. My twelfth installment of #MyHappinessProject. I almost titled this “July- The final chapter”. But it just felt wrong. I have enjoyed these monthly roundups! I have enjoyed thinking back on the month reviewing the photos and reminiscing. So, I am going to keep it going.

July is always a weird month to me. On one hand it feels long. On the other, it’s like you blink and it’s been weeks since we celebrated our Independence Day. I feel like we did so much! Here is just a little highlight of the past few weeks…

On the 2nd we hosted our annual 4th of July picnic

My niece was newly engaged and asked Al to be her maid of honor

We celebrated my sister turning 50 (that’s her in the blk/wht)

The sunsets were spectacular

And yoga on the deck at sunrise was inspiring

Overall, I’d say July has been very good to me. When I started this little project last August, my goal was for it to help me focus on the little things in life. Live in the monent. It has done that and so much more!

I hope you are enjoying your summer! Stop in again soon!

My Happiness Project ~ June edition

How is it the end of June already? I am on vacation this week. It’s a staycation this time around. We have some things to do around the house before our big picnic on the 2nd. But it hasn’t been all work.

We started off with a drive to Central PA to find new towns to explore. Although we have been going out there togetherb for years hiking and Dan has been going there all his life with family, our original plan was less then inspiring. So, since we were near Knoebels Amusement Park, we decided to stop in and walk around. We weren’t there long. It was nice to walk around and reminence about taking Allyson there when she was little. I love the fact that it’s free to get in, pay as you ride, the tickets never expire and it is all surrounded by this:

A great view from above


Our TV died last night so we ran out this morning to get a new one. Although I loved our last one, the new LED TV is even better! Gotta love The Goldberg’s!

Yesterday was all about gardening and we got our wood delivery for the winter. While Dan is preping for the septic tank appointment tomorrow, I got to look back at a few other moments from June…

Sister’s weekend in OCNJ

My niece got engaged to her HS sweetheart

Yoga on the boardwalk

A blues festival with beer and BBQ

And an 80’s tribute band to flash back a few decades

Overall, June has been pretty fantastic. Some things were experiened just the two of us. Other moments were all about family. What more could I ask for?! July is shaping up to be eventful as well! 
Tell me about your month in the comments below. I would love to hear about your happy moments!

Where was I? My Happiness Project ~ May

So last time I was here, we were having coffee and discussing life. Several weeks have past and I have had a lot of time to reflect on things.

Grandma made it back safely to her home in Florida where her son and extended family are doing everything they can to make life easy for her.  The northern Long clan is happy that she has support down there.

I had felt that my doctors appointment on the 16th went very well. ¬†I was left with hope that I would get answers for the weight gain, tiredness and other issues that have left me less then myself. ¬†My new doctor took the time to listen to everything I said. “We will get to the bottom of it!” ¬†was her response. ¬†In reality, I was told everything looked good (thankfully) but to take B12 and call if things get worse. ¬†Otherwise, there is nothing to do at this time. Sigh….Honestly, I was going to just take it anyway before going for blood work but I caved to peer pressure. ¬†This is the exact reason why I don’t use doctors. I always feel like going is a big waste of time. Rant over. Thank God I have my yoga to keep me sane. Breathe in the good. Release the bad.

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The weather finally turned to summer! We totally skipped spring this year.  Having the sun up and 60* weather by 6:00AM is my silver lining. I freeze in my office every day so I am loving the act of throwing my hair up in a big bun, opening the sunroof/windows in my car, cranking the radio and singing loudly.

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This is the total mood changer for me. It is time to find myself again. I think I started to lose myself in the rain and aches and pain.  Maybe all I needed was the feel of warm sun on my face.

It’s Memorial Weekend. Time for outdoor BBQ’s with family. This is one of my favorite weekends of the year. My family means everything to me. Each year the dynamic changes. For some it’s a new divorce. For others it’s a new baby to celebrate. It is always nice to catch up with everyone even if it’s just for a few hours until the next time we see each other again. Sure, there is Facebook and other social media to stay in touch. But there is nothing better then sharing a meal and laughing together.

The weather it beautiful. The birds are singing. My lilac bush is sending it’s sweet scent in through my front door. As I sit here listening to the world around me, I give thanks for what I have. I remember those who came before me. I silently thank those who fought to secure my freedom and protection of this beautiful country that we live in. Even though I know I am hard on myself at times, I forgive myself and I am grateful for being surrounded by so much love and light of so many amazing people in my life.

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I wish you all a happy and safe Memorial weekend.
Namaste ūüíü

Ultimate Coffee Date – May

Hello beautifuls! I am teaming up for another coffee date with Deborah, Coco and Lynda.  Thank you for having coffee or tea with me while we chat and catch up.

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If we were having coffee…¬†I would tell you about our weekly visits with Dan’s grandma. ¬†She lives in FL most of time but has been in PA with her one son since late autumn¬†2015. ¬†Even though they are “close” is was not close enough to see her often. ¬†She is currently floating between¬†rehab facilities within an hour from our home healing from a broken shoulder she suffered in a fall. ¬†It’s unfortunate that this is how we get to see her. ¬†But we are making it a priority to visit 1-2 times a week. ¬†She just got the news that she is healed and can go home real soon. We would like her to stay in PA but she is home sick for FL. ¬† At her age, 96, we just want her to be happy living out the rest of her life where she will be comfortable. She still has a sharp mind and we will miss her stories when she does get to go home. We will just have to make a trip down to visit her someday.

If we were having coffee… I would tell you I am starting to have food issues ~ Again. I am not sure if it is sugars or gluten. I plan on doing a total detox next week including alcohol. I am hoping the detox will do a few things: Help me feel better, find the trigger foods that are causing the major bloating/stomach pain ¬†and jump start some weight loss.¬†I see my doctor in two weeks and so I hope we can figure this out.

If we were having coffee…¬†I would tell you that I am glad it is May but frustrated with all the rain and cold temps. ¬†Ok, the cold temps. ¬†The constant rain and lack of sun I can deal with. ¬†But come on mother nature! It’s May! ¬†Can we have some days that get above 65? ¬†My feet are rejecting my shoes and are begging to be barefoot…

If we were having coffee…¬†I would tell you that I am happy with my yoga practice right now. ¬†I am taking a step back and really focusing on my breath and movement. ¬†I am not worrying about progress. ¬†The past two weeks I have really taken things back to basics so to speak and have been loving every minute on my mat.

If we were having coffee…¬†I would wish you a very happy Mother’s Day. ¬†I will be having dinner but I am not sure of the plans yet. ¬†I am leaving it all up to my MIL and sister. Whatever they want is cool with me. ¬†Just tell me when and where!

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If we were having coffee…¬†I would tell you my job is heading into busy season. ¬†So, if I am suddenly silent, you know why. ¬†Life is good but this time of year does not leave much leisure time for posting, reading or commenting. ¬†You’ll see me around though. ¬†I can’t stay away too long!

If were were having coffee, what would you tell me?