Wednesday, September 26, 2018

10 Things I Learned from Doing a 60-Day Yoga Challenge

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At the end of June, my exercise routine was all of a sudden interrupted, and I decided to make the best of the unexpected situation by starting my own 60-day yoga challenge. I didn't have any complicated rules - the only rule was that I was going to practice yoga every day for the next 60 days. There was no time requirement, but in the end, I practiced for at least 30 minutes on most days, but there were maybe three or so days when I only practiced for about 10 minutes.

The reason I'm proud that I finished the yoga challenge is because I was very busy and also I traveled a lot during the 60 days. I truly made my daily yoga practice a priority and didn't give in to excuses. I also completed the entire yoga challenge outside of a studio with online classes that I bought for $15 (for a year), so money wasn't an excuse either.

Yoga Collective Online Classes via Groupon

I had bought a Groupon for Yoga Collective sometime last year and decided to finally use it. I can honestly say that that Groupon was the best $15 I've ever spent! There is a wide variety of classes on Yoga Collective, including several beginner yoga series. Andy hasn't taken as many yoga classes as I have, and he always felt a bit intimidated in a studio. After completing one of the beginner series, he now feels much more comfortable in a studio. He also finally upgraded to a Manduka yoga mat, and he says it has made a significant difference, especially for his knees.

One of the classes I love is an easy 30-minute morning flow. It's the perfect way to start your day, get centered and do just the right amount of movement. There are also more wonderful and challenging classes as well as relaxing evening flows. Many classes don't require any props (besides a yoga mat), but a few require a yoga block, a strap or a bolster (I usually use a thick pillow when a bolster is required). I accessed the classes at home, while traveling in the US as well as when I spent time with my parents in Germany.

Here is what I learned from doing the 60-day challenge.

  1. If you make it a priority, you will find time every day to practice yoga. 
  2. Oftentimes it's really all about getting started - many days I planned on only doing a short 10- or 15-minute yoga practice, but once I got going I practiced for 30 minutes to an hour. 
  3. Flexibility truly does increase if you work on it every day. 
  4. I completed this yoga challenge during a very challenging time, and starting every day on my mat truly helped me stay calm and centered (most of the time). 
  5. At first, I had to remind myself to practice, but very soon (after a week or so), something was missing if I didn't practice yoga first thing in the morning, and my body walked to my mat almost on autopilot. 
  6. I documented my daily practice via my IG stories, and that accountability really helped.
  7. I loved inspiring others to be more active in general and to practice yoga because of my daily yoga challenge posts. 
  8. Prior to the challenge, I had done almost daily barre classes at a studio, and I'm happy that because of the yoga challenge, I was able to maintain that level of fitness. 
  9. After the challenge ended, I mixed up my exercise routine a bit more by adding gym workouts and barre classes at a studio back into my routine. However, when life threw me a serious curve ball, I went right back to my mat, and it really helped. 
  10. Doing a yoga challenge is addicting. I'm already planning my next yoga challenge. Why don't you join me? 

Questions: Have you ever done an exercise challenge? If so, what was it? How did you like it? If you have done a yoga challenge before, what was your experience like? 

Be well,

Friday, September 21, 2018

Visiting Picchetti Winery in Cupertino

Our summer break came to an end on Wednesday, and Andy and I decided to visit Picchetti Winery in the Cupertino Hills. Picchetti Winery is actually located quite close to where we live, but we had never been. And that's a shame because it's a beautiful, historical winery with amazing grounds.

Even though it was still quite warm - especially in the middle of the day - I decided to give my outfit some more fall touches - leopard flats, a brown slouchy bag, and a bandana with my new striped shirt.

Picchetti is often the venue for weddings or corporate events, and I can see why it's the perfect space for a special occasion.

There is so much space that it would have been a great place to bring the kid when he was younger and let him run around as well as explore the old buildings a bit. But now we can take him to the hiking trails right outside the winery, which is located on the Picchetti Ranch Open Space Preserve. There are numerous signs that tell the history of the grounds and the winery.

The tasting room is spacious and inviting. Since we visited on a Wednesday in the early afternoon, we were the only guests besides a group from Google. We were helped by Cameron Pantling, winery director and son of founder Leslie Pantling. Cameron made our tasting experience extremely enjoyable by sharing interesting tidbits about the wines, how they are made as well as the history of the winery.

We enjoyed all the wines we tasted - you get to choose any five wines from the wine menu. 

One very cool feature of Picchetti wine bottles is the fact that they don't have traditional labels. Rather, Cameron's aunt scripts the labels and they are printed onto the bottles. 

We couldn't leave without our favorite bottles - the white Pavone and the Brut Zinfandel, a unique dry, red sparkling wine that will be perfect for Thanksgiving.

We'll be back soon!

Question: When was the last time you visited a winery?

Click here to check out the fabulous bloggers I’m linking up with.   

Be well,

Monday, September 17, 2018

Fall Stripes

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I love stripes year round. And I also wear white past Labor Day. Yesterday, we went to the Santa Clara Arts and Wine Festival, and I wore white jeans and a new long sleeve v-neck t-shirt. The shirt is between a t-shirt and a sweatshirt material in weight and is soft and slouchy and just a dream to wear. I bought a medium but could have probably sized down to a small as it's quite roomy. But I am also looking forward to wearing a blouse underneath for a layered look when it gets a bit cooler.

Outfit Details: V-Neck T-Shirt, White Jeans, Converse.

Questions: What fall outfits are you looking forward to wearing? 

Click here to check out the fabulous bloggers I’m linking up with.   

Be well,

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Fall Leggings

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I'm starting to plan my outfits for the first few weeks of the fall quarter. Since I know that it is likely going to be still quite warm, at least in the middle of the day, I plan to dress in layers.

I ordered some new leggings when they were on sale and plan on wearing them with long cardigans, tunics, and a blouse and blazer. Yesterday, I wore them with a black top for a more casual look. I really like the side stripe.

Outfit Details: Leggings, tote (this tote is on my wish list), necklace (I like this one), top (I bought the top over three years ago, and it's one of my favorites - very well made, comfortable and versatile).

Questions: What fall outfits are you looking forward to wearing? 

Click here to check out the fabulous bloggers I’m linking up with.   

Be well,

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Sentence A Day: August 2018

Here are my sentences for August 2018. There are again more photos than usual this month as I wanted to document a bit more of the pleasant highlights from our Germany trip. You can read my past sentences on my Sentence a Day Page.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018
We got up and walked to the bakery; the rest of the day we spent in my aunt's garden, where the kid continued the annual tradition of harvesting potatoes; we also harvested most of the rest of our dinner that day.

Thursday, August 2, 2018
We took the train to Wolfsburg and visited the Phaeno - an interactive science center.

Friday, August 3, 2018
It was time to say goodbye to my aunt, and we took to train back to my parents' place. 

Saturday, August 4, 2018
We belatedly celebrated my dad's 80th birthday at an Italian restaurant. 

Sunday, August 5, 2018
The kid and I walked 2 miles to a beer garden (and back home), and my parents met us there.

Monday, August 6, 2018
We went downtown with my parents, and then visited my sister in the afternoon and had dinner with her, her husband, my nephew and his girlfriend. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2018
The kid and I walked 2 miles to a beer garden up in the hills, overlooking the city.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018
I got up early and walked to the bakery to get fresh rolls for everyone; sadly, I then was down for the rest of the day with a bad stomach bug. 

Thursday, August 9, 2018
Luckily, I felt a bit better, and we went downtown for one last meal. 

Friday, August 10, 2018
We got up bright and early at 4 a.m. and took the train to the airport in Frankfurt; then we flew to Vancouver, where our flight was delayed, which meant we spent 6+ hours at the airport (luckily there was good wine!); we were beyond tired when we finally got home. 

Saturday, August 11, 2018
We went out for Korean food, which is our tradition after a Germany trip. 

Sunday, August 12, 2018
I've been doing my own personal yoga challenge and have been practicing yoga every day for 46 days, but I hadn't been to a yoga or barre studio in almost a month, and it felt good to start the day with a barre class in a studio (which also included many yoga elements). 

Monday, August 13, 2018
The kid and I are still really jet lagged, and we tried to be as active as possible by going on a long walk and doing the 7-minute workout twice. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018
I still got very little sleep; the kid and I went on a 3-mile walk at 7 a.m., went to Costco, did laundry, and I got a couple hours of work done.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018
I can't believe the kid's summer break is coming to an end tomorrow; we went on one last summer break hike.

Thursday, August 16, 2018
The kid's first day of 5th Grade went really well.

Friday, August 17, 2018
We are back to our routine: I get up early and do an online barre or yoga class, make breakfast for everyone, walk to school with the kid, go for a long walk and come home and do work, and then pick up the kid; today we also had an afternoon piano lesson.

Saturday, August 18, 2018
We saw Crazy Rich Asians (highly recommended) and then went out to Veggie Grill for lunch, where I got an All Hail Kale salad, which I love.

Sunday, August 19, 2018
We made it to the farmers' market after months, I precooked several meals, Andy and I did a yoga workout together, we went for a walk, we went to Costco and the kid went to a birthday party - a full but good day.

Monday, August 20, 2018
I went on a hike with a good friend I hadn't seen in way too long - always good to get some exercise while catching up with someone who truly understands you.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Andy and I were invited to a fabulous media event at The Fairmont in San Francisco.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018
It was a typical day filled with yoga, work, writing a blog post about the fabulous Fairmont San Francisco Penthouse, and several walks, including a beautiful walk in the evening.

Thursday, August 23, 2018
We celebrated life with some pretty drinks and food at Gentry Bar in Main Street Cupertino.

Friday, August 24, 2018
Like every day, I started the day with a yoga practice, went for a couple walks, got work done for my fall classes, and got ready for our trip to the Central Coast tomorrow.

Saturday, August 25, 2018
We left early to drive to the Central Coast and had a great time, including a picnic at Wolff Vineyards and a long walk on the beach.

Sunday, August 26, 2018
I started the day by completing my 60 Day Yoga Challenge by doing a short practice in our hotel room, and then we enjoyed a leisurely morning and early afternoon in Avila Beach before driving back home.

Monday, August 27, 2018
Andy and I started our free introductory week at labarre studios; while I have taken barre classes since 2010, it was his first class, and he liked it (everyone was super friendly and welcoming); we also started a cleanse today, which means we'll forgo eggs, dairy, sugar, alcohol, coffee, red meat, nightshades, etc. for the next two weeks (Andy reserves the right to modify at any time...).

Tuesday, August 28, 2018
Andy and I took another barre class (and loved it); in the afternoon we saw Ant-Man and the Wasp on $5 Tuesdays - it was enjoyable, but I think my expectations were too high...

Wednesday, August 29, 2018
I woke up at 3:30 a.m. with a terrible caffeine withdrawal headache (why do I do this to myself over and over again???), but we still made it to a barre class, and I think all the sweating helped a bit! 

Thursday, August 30, 2018
Still dealing with caffeine withdrawal headaches; today we took a drumming class with barre elements at labarre - such a fun, challenging & unique workout. 

Friday,  August 31, 2018
We took a break from barre classes today, but I went on several walks and got over 20,000 steps. 

Be well,