Where did 2011 begin?

I can’t believe it’s already December! Where did 2011 go? Well let’s start at the beginning….

2011 began by bringing in the new year with friends in the Raleigh area,  and it started at a restful pace. Not for long though! The year was filled with jetsetting, roadtrips, and quality time with a variety of friends. My adventures were filled with travel for most of the year including:

  • a spontaneous trip to historic Charleston in February with an old high school friend. celebrating a childhood friend’s “last days of freedom” at a Florida getaway weekend in March
  • rejoicing with the same friend about her new stage of life in April at her destination wedding in Boston.
  • the annual June whitewater rafting trip with a group of friends in the mountains of NC
  • a long weekend getaway with my family in July
  • time to be thankful at home with family and friends in November

This year has been a whirlwind of fun, family, friends, growth and joy and I’m looking forward to see how it will end and what the new one will bring.

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It’s that time of year again!

It’s already December, folks, and that means it’s time again to join the reverb11 crowd. This year is a little different, since Gwen Bell won’t be able to run the show. The community and post ideas have been left open to the writers’ imaginations. I’ll be reverbing the post ideas of one of the three main reverb10 starters, Kaileen Elise. You can get started on my 2011 reverb posts , check out last year’s posts and feel free to join in with Kaileen’s post ideas as well.

Fifty, Nifty, United States….

Fifty Nifty United States from thirteen original colonies;
Fifty Nifty stars in the flag that billows so beautifully in the breeze.
Each individual state contributes a quality that is great.
Each individual state deserves a bow, We salute them now.
Fifty Nifty United States from thirteen original colonies,
Shout ’em, scout ’em, Tell all about ’em,
One by one,til we’ve given a day to every state in the USA

( Ray Charles)

Here’s what your state is famous for:

Apples, oranges, and the only thing that matters.

Family.GradSchool.Passions.College.Dreams.Children. Happiness.Careers.Fitness.Friends.Rejections. Commitment. Finances. Responsibilities.Acceptances. Love.Hopes.Fears.Mortgages.Loans.Salaries..and much, much more.

We all have some, if not all of the following as a part of our lives. But there’s something missing. Something that helps us with all of the above.

Health.

The most important piece off the life puzzle that we often forget about or push aside for the sake of feeling that everything else is more important. It’s not. Without good health, everything else seems small and insignificant. Personal health may not be 100 percent in our control, but what we have control of is taking care of ourselves as best we can. With that said, I’ll leave you with this piece courtesy of ted.com

Steve Jobs Stanford University commencement speech

Rest In Peace Steve Jobs. What a brilliant man who, despite his health condition, left remarkable footprints and changed the way the world works.

For the girl (or guy) on the move

In a previous entry, I mentioned that I’m making a few changes in my life. One of them involves a change of scenery. In other words, I”ve recently moved to a new home.  I want to stay close to the places and people that I enjoy the most so I won’t be moving too far. Still yet, I enjoy putting myself in different situations, exploring new areas and learning along the way. Throughout this process I’ve learned a few things that can help anyone on the move.

Donate, dispose, and de-clutter: The first thing I did before going on a packing frenzy is reorganize the possessions I already had. I followed what I like to call, the three D’s: de-clutter, donate, and dispose. It’s so easy to accumulate things without knowing how much we actually have, so it helps to have a “spring cleaning” no matter what season it is. If you haven’t actively used something, let’s say a piece of clothing or furniture, in the past 6 months or so, it might be time to let someone else use it. Donating items to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army can give others the benefit of using your gently used items. Not to mention, you can also get a tax deduction if you do itemized deductions when filing. If the item has completely lost quality or usage, it might just be time to say goodbye and dispose it. It will reduce the amount of time and things you will need to move from one place to another.

Coordinate:  Coordinating logistics of the move was by far the topic that needed the most patience and planning. Moving will give you a chance to “start over” and make changes to the lifestyle you have.

Here are just a few things to consider once you know where you are going to live:

    • When will I be moving?
    • What is the notice period for the place I’m moving from and for the place I’m moving to?
    • Do I need to change my budget for the move?
    • What will my finances look like after the move?
    • How much advance notice will you need to give a moving company or to my friends who help me move? (I would recommend planning this a month in advance, especially in the summertime.)
    • How early can I move into the new place?
    • Are there any pre-move-in procedures I need to go through at the new place?
    • Have I informed all the necessary people about my move? (This can include your personal contacts, the utilities and amenities companies, the post office, etc.)

Something that helps me stay organized during this time is making lists – “to-do” lists for the current and future home and a “to buy” list for the next home. Luckily I have mostly everything needed to furnish a home, so the “to buy” list is short.

Take care: When you become so involved in taking care of everything for the move, it’s easy to forget about taking care of yourself. Don’t let the moving process be an excuse for you not to. Make small adjustments if you need to but don’t deviate too much from how you regularly take care of you. Also give yourself time away from the move. It can be a stressful process so make sure you share your time with your friends and continue to do the activities you enjoy. The moving process will eventually all come together.

Enjoy – You’ve reorganized your belongings, planned for your move and remembered to take care of yourself along the way. You’re settled in the new home now and the only thing left to do is: Enjoy your new home!  It’s your place for new beginnings, new friendships and new memories.

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Lessons from the mat

photo courtesy of Lululemon

When I introduce the idea of attending yoga sessions to many, some are open to the idea of practice and attend with me. Others who are not frequent attendees of the practice often show a reaction of hesitation or reluctance.   I’ve attended yoga sessions for several years now, and within this past year have attended one local studio on a consistent basis. It’s become one of my favorite “rituals”.  At this studio we gather every Saturday morning for a free one hour practice, to take time away from our week and our upcoming weekend. Aside from the practice, there are always a few great lessons to be learned straight from the mat.

Arrive on time

Times for yoga sessions can vary depending on the studio and type of yoga taught there. Typically, yoga classes are one hour sessions, and the instructor usually has a set routine.  I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to arrive on time at the session. It gives you time as the student to set up your area for a successful and great session. It shows that you respect your time, as well as the instructors’ and classmates’ time. Yoga studios often lock the doors once the session begins, so being on time means you won’t miss out on attending, and you can get the most out of the session!

Maintain your space

Depending on the studio size and how many people attend, the class I attend gets crowded (with twenty five
or more yogis attending almost every session!). In those times it’s easy to be packed tightly into the room, and it is helpful adjust to the space so there’s less chance of bumping into your neighbor during the different yoga poses.

Dress appropriately

Yoga is a practice that is popular for men and women both.  The classes I’ve attended have a good mix of both, and with that said, it’s important to dress appropriately to these sessions.  Affordable yoga clothing is available at most stores, and it’s important to wear clothing you can be flexible in, that fits and covers you comfortably.

Keep the noise down

Students attend yoga for different reasons. Some do it to gain physical flexibility, others do it to gain a sense of peace and serenity, and others do it to stay in shape. No matter what your reason is, remember that everyone is there for a reason.  Now that doesn’t mean you have to practice in absolute silence. Some studios play peaceful music during the session which helps with movement through the yoga poses.  As for personal noise, it’s important to keep the noise level to a minimum to respect the space you share with your fellow yogis. Turn off your pagers and cell phones for the session. Take a moment to remember you can take an hour away from those things.

 Respect the teachers’ lesson.

At this particular studio, there’s a different teacher every week. Sometimes that means they offer a different style of teaching.  Some teach flow yoga, others teach a fun mix of yoga and aerobics. Some are experienced instructors while others are still in yoga teacher training and are leading their first class ever! Sometimes these teachers are providing their skills for low to no cost.  Remember to respect the teachers’ lesson. Their styles may be different and not one that you enjoy the most. Regardless, take as much as you can out of the lesson. Thank the teacher at the end for their time and efforts spent with the class.

photo courtesy of Lululemon

 Be comfortable with your own ability.

One of the most emphasized aspects in yoga classes is to listen to your own body.  If you can’t complete a pose in the same way someone else can, it’s okay. Every student has a different level of skill and ability depending on their years of practice. In order to complete a successful session, don’t compare yourself to others. One side of your body might be more flexible than the other side. You may or may not be able to do all the poses. Do what you can, and listen to your body.

 Bring some water with you

Yoga movements are often quick and repetitive and it’s easy to work up a good sweat. Remember to stay hydrated during your session, especially if it involves hot yoga, where the normal room temperature is raised.

 Remember to breathe

Throughout the session and with each pose, make sure you aren’t holding your breath. Many sessions start with breathing exercises. Take full advantage of these because your body and muscle will need those fresh breathes of air throughout the session. Many teachers lead the session with each pause in movement being an inhale or an exhale. Follow through on this pattern so you can maintain your energy level during practice.

Have Fun

Yoga sessions don’t need to be serious all the time.  Yoga is a great stress reliever and allows the body to release endorphins that lead to a better mood.  One yoga instructor reminded us that it takes more muscles and energy to keep a serious face than it does to smile during the session. Remember your own intention of being there and allow yourself to smile during the practice.  After all you are spending the time to do something beneficial for yourself!

P.S. Yoga lovers everywhere– Join in on a national salute to yoga  at a location near you—Salutation Nation — on September 10, 2011 ( Yes,  that’s 9/10/11)  from 9 am to 10 am your local timing!!

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Guest Post: summer, summer, summer time!

Hi LimitFreeLifestyle readers! My name is Ruthie Hart and I blog over here. I have the pleasure of swapping blogs with Sneha for the day and I can’t wait to get to know some of you! This post is meant to give you a little insight on me, my blog and my adorable French Bulldog!

So this is me…

I am a 20 something newlywed living and loving life in Austin, TX with these two cuties…

That would be my husband, Jon, and our Frenchie pup Ernie.

I wanted to share some of my favorite posts from this summer with you!

Check em out!

Merry August-mas: the hubby and I decorated for Christmas last weekend, exchanged gifts and watched Christmas movies to escape from the Texas heat! Call us crazy but we have a Christmas countdown!

Gettin’ Crafty:  I have a new found love for Pinterest (who doesn’t) and have been dying to try out some new crafts. I made these silhouettes of Mr. Ernie and a simple tutorial can be found on this post!

4th of July: my parents have an awesome lakehouse about an hour from Austin and it is by far my favorite place on earth. It is the only place I can actually unplug from the real world and relax. We’ve spent many weekends there this summer and 4th of July was one of my favorites!

I’d love for you to come check out my blog and say hello! I’ve blogged about all the fun details of our wedding and post some delicious recipes so stop by!

Xoxo,

Ruthie

Did you enjoy what you read? Have any comments or suggestions? I’d like to hear from you!!