I said that. (An Ohio Blogging Association / ToldCLE Meetup)

“I said that.” It’s a phrase that we all say from time to time. As as Dave, the creator of ToldCLE, noted at the beginning of the Ohio Blogging Association / ToldCLE Meetup at Deagan’s Kitchen and Bar last Wednesday night, the emphasis can change… I said that. I said that. I said that.

toldOBA

The emphasis happens on the last word of that phrase for me more than I’d like to admit as I teach yoga. Attempts at being “inspirational” come out kinda clunky. I repeat myself — a lot. I even make up verbs based on pose names — dolphin-ing, down dog-ing (which I realized quickly upon first saying is probably highly inappropriate). So that evening — with the help of BuzzFeed’s 20 Ludicrous Things Said By Yoga Teachers – I had some enjoyment poking fun at myself that night, even admitting I’ve said at least one of those things. Since giving instruction verbally is such a large part of teaching, it was a fun way to tackle the theme of the evening.

However, I much more enjoyed hearing my fellow bloggers’ tales of what they said: Jen admitting to an accidental moment at a mom-and-baby function. Jill giving us the behind-the-scenes glimpse as life as a movie extra. Kristian sharing that words don’t always translate from English to Italian as you expect them too. Stuart & David telling their stories. Even my mom getting in on the fun and sharing the tale of what our family dog “said” after eating a whole nut roll. And all of us enjoying one another opening up even more than what we’ve read on each others blogs over the years.

This OBA meetup was one of my favorites. As bloggers, we tend to be oversharers, so it’s easy to feel you already know someone from their online persona. But that’s one of the reason why I started planning these meet ups back in 2011: I wanted to know more about all you lovely Northeastern Ohioans that wrote all those fantastic blogs. Even in the  many gatherings we’ve had over the years, I still heard stories and learned things last Wednesday I never knew. Better yet, hearing the inflection and  emotion verbally from the bloggers’ storytellings took the experience to a brand new level. Crazy idea of the day: Maybe we should start a OBA vlogging series next!

LONG STORY SHORT: Great company, stories and food combined to prove for another wonderful Ohio Blogging Association meetup. A special shout out goes out to Jen at WhyCLE for taking the lead on planning this gathering. I’m finally learning how to delegate as I grow older and somewhat wiser, ha!

On behalf of all the OBA members, many thanks again to Dave & ToldCLE. The next public Told event takes place on Thursday, June 18 at Market Garden Brewery. Keep up-to-date by following @toldCLE on Twitter and visiting toldstories.com.

Our next Ohio Blogging Association meetup will take place this Sunday, April 26 at XHIBITION. Come see this Ohio City establishment, see some fashions and enjoy a Jack Flaps brunch. Click here to RSVP, please.

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sights and sounds {new year’s edition}

I realized I forgot to share one last resolution on Thursday: I’d love to get in some regular “day in the life” blogging again. Little bit of structure, run-of-the-mill, top-of-my-head ramblings. Maybe even kick around a few vlogs from time to time — we’ll see where 2015 takes us…

Like 99% of us, the end of the holidays means the beginning of a return-to-normal dietary regimen, which I happily have already been embracing with green smoothies since Christmas. But knowing a dinner at one Cleveland’s most celebrated restaurants was on the calendar for the first weekend of the new year, I left room for one more splurge at Pier W this past Saturday night.

pier w full collage

A sampling of the food served ordered that night — I’m on a salmon kick at the moment, forgive me.

I do love dining with a group of close friends you know so well — the conversation is lively (℅ a few random Cards Against Humanity cards) and they are down for sharing the infamous Pier W seafood tower. Check one off the bucket list! Our server Erin was phenomenal, the food was spot-on across the board and the complimentary champagne (& flutes to take home) in celebration of the restaurant’s 50th anniversary was the perfect surprise! Now when can we go back for happy hour…

Speaking of those smoothies, an orange a day keeps the doctor away:

smoothie

I’ve been keeping my annual & dreaded beginning-of-the-year cold at bay with a combo of vanilla almond milk, protein powder, greens (either kale or spinach), frozen berries and one orange. The burst of vitamin C is working!

As for the current yoga playlist selections to adore: I just stumbled upon James Vincent McMorrow and I must say I’m in love with the soul coming out from his music — or just the fact that there’s a flamingo on one of his album covers.

You also have got to check out his Higher Love cover. It’s my new favorite tune to start out class as we get grounded and moving.

As for something more lively, I’m still grooving to this mashup:

Two of my favorite songs from last year, all in one fab track. The Evolution Yoga yogis had a blast flowing to this during my Christmas morning Holiday Sweet Heat Flow. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost two weeks since then! Our Christmas tree came down town — I must admit I miss the twinkle lights in our family room.

But don’t get me wrong: I’m very content it’s January. Based on the conversations I’ve had with my yoga students, friends and family, it seems like most of us are ready for some routine and normalcy again — all while figuring out what changes await us in the new year. I’m processing the process myself, but I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of finding that sweet spot in a new situation. Here’s hoping the balance comes to us all sooner rather than later!

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2015 New Year’s Resolutions, Intentions and Ramblings

2014, I did not see you coming. I knew 2013 would be a doozy to top, but this past year took me to new places: in travel, in my career, in relationships.

2014

Some of my favorite moments from last year.

While the last twelve months meant serious commitment (read: a lot of hard work and hard decision making) to reaching goals, every ounce of energy used in 2014 was worth the expenditure to get me to where I am on January 1 of the next year.

So, what does 2015 have in store?

I’m not one against setting resolutions. Finding resolve to motivate you forward can be quite the empowering undertaking. I set these resolutions last year — I feel like I can still embrace them this year:

  • Meditate daily. (New practice journal already obtained. YogaGlo.com subscription on monthly renewal. Ready to buckle down, push how long I sit for, and find ease in the process.)
  • More strength training. (Considering my runner’s knee diagnosis in 2014, you’ll see more weights and Yoga Tune Up® in my feeds. Get excited, ’cause I am.)
  • Drink more water. (Waterlogged app reinstalled on my iPhone. Committing to continuing my 32 oz. a day to start — working towards at least doubling it by end of the month.)

And there was one last resolution from 2014 that stops me in my tracks: letting go of “perfect”. I knew it would be the most difficult for me, but I needed to release control of every.single.thing and let life come to me.

Since setting that resolution, there were moments of stubbornness, confusion and many tears in giving up as much of this tendency. While there was much joy in 2014, too much of the year was spent back in places of anxiety and old habits — usually with the question “what have I done?” (and in true Alicia form, said in an overdramatic fashion. #onceatheaterkidalwaysatheaterkid)

To be perfectly honest: it’s exhausting. And I’m exhausted of being exhausted from always giving the need of control that much energy. It’s time for a change — and what better day to kick it in to gear.

I’ve been spending the past few months picking up my teacher’s book, The Four Desires, flipping open to a random page and soaking in what teachings it contains. And in a frank conversation on New Year’s Eve, I found myself paraphrasing this quote of Rod Stryker’s from this exact book:

“Don’t postpone your happiness. The question to ask yourself is, how bad does it have to feel before you are motivated to act differently and effect real change in your life? You can decide today that the price of not changing is too high, and that you refuse to stay just as you are. It’s up to you.”

So what if 2015 was dedicated towards fully embracing change, and even being the one to suggest it? What if in letting go of the need of perfection, the BS and the distractions, I could tap into what my soul really wanted? And what if after all the calamity from it settled, I found what I was truly looking for  — in the stillness, in the calm, in the quiet moments of contentment that remained after?

It’s time to do more than just survive. It’s time to thrive — and to the fullest level. And 2015, you seem like the perfect year to do so.

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