Sunday, November 20, 2011

Orange Spice Aromatherapy

It's getting chilly outside and my apartment windows are sadly more closed than open these days. Trading a fresh breeze for some warmth, my home starts to smell stale, what with the remnants of last night's dinner or the perfume of my beloved dog lingering in the air.

My remedy? A pot of boiling water simmering on the stove, filled with the peel of one orange, 1 t cinnamon, and a small handful of cloves. Your house will smell like a magical holiday wonderland. Staying toasty indoors has never smelled so good.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Tittibhasana is a challenging asana, requiring an ability to simultaneously expand and contract. The inner thighs and hamstrings need to be open and supple, while the abdominals, hip flexors, and serratus anterior (responsible for spreading the shoulder blades apart) all need to be on call and ready to act. This pose gives us an opportunity to practice the balance between two opposing forces, teaching us that when we connect to our center, we gain the stability to fly off into boundless space.

Component Parts:
inner thighs

protraction of scapulae
flexion of spine/hips
adduction of thighs (squeezing thighs into shoulders)
extension of leg at knee

Prep Poses:
Supine Knee Extensions - hold block behind thigh, press thigh forward into block and extend heel to ceiling to straighten knee
Supta Padangusthasana 1 + 2
Urdhva Prasarita Padasana
Cat pose into Chaturangasana
Garudasana arms
Downdog into Updog 3x - block between ankles, roll over toes
Downdog knee-to-nose, Downdog knee-to-outer arm
Parsvakonasana variation - hand on block inside foot, press knee/shoulder together
Standing vinyasa - Prasarita Padottanasana (concave spine) into Parsvottanasana into Lunge variation - both hands inside foot, press knee/shoulder together, lower back knee, option to lower forearms to blocks/floor. Repeat other side.
Rolling Vinyasa (cover mat with blanket) - Tadasana, Urdhva Hastasana, Utkatasana, Malasana (arms reaching forward/inside thighs), roll on spine into Halasana (arms above head), roll up into Navasana, roll back into Halasana (arms above head), roll up into Utkatasana, Urdhva Hastasana, Tadasana
Marichyasana A
Baddha Konasana
Upavistha Konasana
Happy Baby + Half Happy Baby

Wrist, shoulder, hamstring, or groin injuries. Sciatica or spinal herniations.

Blocks under hands for tight groins/upper back.

Stand in Tadasana with feet slightly wider than outer hip-width apart. Hinge at the hips, coming into Uttanasana. Weave the right hand through both legs and place it on the back of the right calf. It's helpful to create the shape of a "V" with your hand by separating the thumb and index finger. Use this hand position to press forward into the calf, leveraging the right shoulder behind the right thigh. Repeat with the left hand. Breathe well, using your exhales to continue shimmying your shoulders more and more behind your knees.

Strongly hug your shoulders with your thighs, allowing you to release your hands from your calves. Place your hands on the floor (or blocks) behind your feet. Slowly begin to shift the weight into your hands and "sit" on your arms. Push your hands into the floor and draw your abdomen in and up. Walk the feet towards one another and cross one ankle over the other. Continue to broaden your upper back as you simultaneously spread your collar bones. Pull the feet against each other and continue squeezing your thighs strongly into your arms. This is Bhujapidasana.

Concentrate on the feeling you had in the preparatory pose where you held the block behind your thigh, resisting yourself as you extended your heel up towards the ceiling. From Bhujapidasana, press your thighs down into your arms, as if they were the blocks, and extend your heels forward, straightening your knees. Hold for a few breaths and observe the play between drawing in towards yourself while expanding your chest and legs.

To release the body after the pose, try these counter postures:
Restorative Bridge
Supta Baddha Konasana

Sunday, November 13, 2011

California Style

I just got back from an amazing vacation in California, where my beloved and I spent a leisurely week driving down the coast (from San Fran to San Diego)! Highlights of the trip included a motorcycle ride through Sonoma, breathtaking views on Highway 1, and an amazing birthday dinner at Chez Panisse. The change of scenery and the laid-back, sunny vibe did my soul a world of good.

What I didn't expect was to be so totally smitten with California's effortless style. Relaxed, bright, and full of texture, everything felt fresh and of-the-moment. I came back East craving a complete overhaul of my home. Thankfully, small details can create major change and so I've pinpointed some of the style elements I fell in love with on my trip.

Black and Gold

This is a picture of the lobby at the Sheraton in Santa Monica. I loved everything about the decor.

Back in NYC, I found these black and gold lamps at ABC Carpet & Home. They're also hanging at J.Crew on 5th Avenue.

The base of this lamp from Restoration Hardware is made of mercury glass, but the lampshade's gold inlay casts a warm glow and creates the illusion of antique brass.


There were succulent gardens everywhere, both wild and tame. They would look beautiful inside an apartment.

Natural Wood

The boardwalk at Pebble Beach.

I saw tons of wine barrel chandeliers on my trip. I love the modern feel of the one below from ABC Carpet & Home. You can find more traditional versions at Restoration Hardware. John Derian sells antique ones that will make you weak in the knees.

A stack of wooden cutting boards at ABC.


Artwork looks striking against the dark linen wallpaper. The textured fabric adds warmth and dimension to a room.


I saw tons of art displayed in white mat/white frame. This giant collection of black and white prints looks great against the seagrass wallpaper. You can find white-on-white framing at Pottery Barn, West Elm, etc. This is definitely the easiest and cheapest way to update the look of your decor.


Lacquer is probably one of my favorite design elements because it instantly updates a more traditional home. The glossy texture covered everything, from furniture to accessories. I bought the white tray from West Elm to store my jewelry. The ceramic bowls with gold inlay are from one of my favorite NYC stores, Ochre.