and a new week begins

First, some fabulous points:

  • I’m reading “The Girl Who Played with Fire,” the second in the series. Enjoyed the first book. Having something to read is the best.
  • I’m loving NYC right now. Mid-to-late summer temps, everybody’s happy and relaxed, it’s vacation month for most of the city.
  • I have a free gym membership for the month of August.
  • Harvard Sailing Team is making a movie in two weeks with the money we won for the Friar’s Club. Can’t wait.
  • Going to Vegas for my cousin’s wedding over Labor Day. Can’t wait.
  • Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat Tuscan Bread is my favorite bread. Related: I think the world needs some toast restaurants. Toastaraunts.
  • Summer rules.

Speaking of summer, I went to the beach this weekend for the first time this season. It was so nice. Kevin and I went to New Jersey to spend time with our friends and their adorable 5-month old baby. (Her name is Luna. Don’t you love that?! She’s a little angel.)

We had such a nice time eating homemade veggie pizza from the grill (yum), drinking wine and visiting a lovely place called Grounds for Sculpture.

This is Rat’s Restaurant, which is inside the sculpture park. The whole park is beautiful and fascinating as hell. And this restaurant is no exception – it’s a magical place that seems like it fell out of a fairy tale. We didn’t eat there, just got to tour through it, although I heard the food is really good.

Incidentally, the Executive Chef at Rat’s is on Top Chef Season 7 right now! He’s the guy named Kevin with the glasses. (I love Top Chef. Angelo’s gonna win, right?)

It was such a sweet little weekend trip. Our hosts, Scott and Mary Ellen, were so generous. And I’m plotting to eat their baby with whipped cream.

I’m excited for the new week to begin. Good things are happening in small bursts lately and I’m feeling energetic and eager to keep working. Hope you all have a good week too!

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spring in july

If you’ve yet to check out Spring, the site I’ve been contributing to lately, get on over there!

It’s a lovely corner of the web created by four successful, passionate women – entrepreneurs and bloggers in their own right – who’ve come together with a singular focus on mind: To inspire you to “design a life you love.”

Obviously, I like that.

Throughout the month of July (which is coming to such a swift and sudden close, I almost can’t believe it!), I wrote four pieces on the theme of Self Care:

Self-Love Advice from a Former Fat Girl

3 Reasons to Skip the Gym

A Lesser Person Couldn’t

Without Condition

I’ll be back contributing to Spring in August on the subject of, what else, inspiration! If there are any specific topics you’d like me to explore or any questions you’d like me to ponder in my August articles, shoot me an email: jenifercurran@gmail.com.

who stands like that?

(image via Jezebel.com)

I’m not crazy about magazines like this one, but I’m not gonna lie – I totally read them from time to time. Like at the dentist’s office or the airport. Or when one winds up in my purse because somebody took money out of my wallet and handed it to the guy. Sheesh.

They’re candy, for sure. But I tend to agree with Jezebel.com‘s assertion that these types of magazines claim to be about women’s health, but are more often about how to lose weight, get thin and be a super woman while you do it.

Still, I usually feel hopeful when I open one up. Something on the cover catches my eye (“Get fit for life in 4 minutes a day and never break a sweat? NO WAY!”), but by the time I flip to the article, I’ve already seen 12 pictures of perfect women in bikinis who couldn’t pick a stretch mark out of a line-up, and four different “Lose 12 pounds in 2 Weeks!” diet menus that are so unrealistic for my lifestyle I might as well be homeless.

My self-esteem tries to pretend it hasn’t noticed the hot bikini babes or how different my thighs are from theirs, while I curse my inability to enjoy salmon. Or cook almost anything.

But, blah blah blah who cares, right? We’re all “victims” of our “culture” and who needs another blog entry about women’s magazines and how they make us feel bad about ourselves. (This won’t be the last one…)

I’m only bringing it up today to mention the following: Do you realize how far to the right Kim Kardashian is actually crossing her leg to achieve that weird angle? I mean, she looks good. But I guarantee, if you could see both her legs, they’d  look bizarre as heck. Who stands like that?!

Oh, magazines. We will never quit you. And you will never be honest with us. It’s the perfect dysfunctional relationship.

Pass the cookies!

feed yourself – a word about diets and cleanses

I don’t believe in cleanses. I don’t think they’re necessary. There, I said it.

I believe that our bodies like to eat, want food, need fuel, crave calories. I don’t believe in not eating for periods of time.

Yes, I realize there are certain cleanses where you do eat. I’m not talking about those. I’m talking about the ones where you drink juice.

I don’t have any scientific evidence to support my disbelief in cleanses. Although the Mayo Clinic does say, “The digestive system and bowel naturally eliminate waste material and bacteria — your body doesn’t need enemas or special diets or pills to do this.”

That. I like that.

Just Mary’s Mary Rambin is on a cleanse right now. I know she’s done cleanses in the past and I’m sure she’ll do them again. I don’t know her personally, I only read her blog, but I remember her once explaining via her blog her reasons for doing a cleanse and they all seemed valid and justified.

To each her own and I know Mary knows what she’s doing when it comes to her body.

Me? I don’t believe in cleanses.

While we’re on the subject of dieting and restrictive eating, I read something very interesting this week on Happiness Awaits, my friend Fitzalan’s blog. (Fitzalan is a great name, right?) In her post entitled “Nourishment” she talks about getting her resting metabolic heart rate tested. Here’s what she learned:

“I actually need 2187 calories a day…my goal is to maintain my weight. I have been getting ~1400 calories a day. I have basically been starving my body and that is why I am always exhausted and want to go to bed at 8PM.”

My jaw hit the floor when I saw that. She has been inadvertently denying her body almost 800 calories a day! I’m so happy for her that she discovered this.

Naturally, now that she’s challenged with the goal of consuming MORE food, not less, she’s nervous, like many of us would be. She said, “Eating more in my head equals gaining weight, which is something I obviously do not want to do.” She’s consulting a nutritionist to find out the best way to go about it.

I don’t write about Fitzalan’s situation to wag a finger at her – she was doing what many of us do – striving to maintain her weight, to be able to have an indulgence every now and then and not have to pay for it later. She was doing what she thought was best for her body.

But she was unknowingly starving herself to avoid gaining weight. I think her story is important.

Ladies, let us not go crazy with the rules and restrictions and 2, 3, or 5 pounds. In fact, I’m going to lighten up on myself about by my own goal to lose 10 pounds.

UGH. WHO CARES!

(Let’s be honest, I’m still trying to lose 10 pounds.)

My point is, crash diets and cleanses and not eating and not eating enough and over-exercising and stressing the fuck (yeah, I said it!) out about it all has got to stop. It’s good to be mindful about your health and weight, but Love First.

yoga in your living room

Yoga Download is my favorite place to find good yoga classes on the web.

They just released a brand new class!! Gentle Hatha #3. Best of all, the 20-minute version is FREE to download. I can’t wait to try it.

I’ve tried a few other podcasts or live streaming classes on other sites over the years, but none of them compare, in my opinion, to Yoga Download. I haven’t been paid or compensated in any way to say this, I just really like their site.

I started practicing yoga a few years ago when I threw my back out (while lifting weights, no less) and found myself hobbling around like an old, grouchy police detective who carries a heavy gun holster. There was little else I could do in the form of exercise for quite some time, so yoga became a staple in my life. I think starting a yoga practice may have saved me from a lifetime of further pain and injury.

Sadly, I haven’t been doing any yoga for the last few weeks though, choosing to prioritize other things before my health, which is never a wise move. So when I turned on a 20-minute Gentle Hatha class from Yoga Download yesterday and laid down on my mat, I could almost feel my muscles and bones thanking me for the attention.

The 20-minute classes on YD are all FREE and they’re great. They’re simple to follow, come in all styles and levels and leave me feeling like I’ve done something good for myself, even if only for 20 minutes. Of course YD offers longer classes too, which are also very inexpensive. Oh and they have videos, if you’d rather watch than listen, and printable pose guides if you’re confused about what you’re doing! Fantastic for your living room practice.