Jul 15, 2016

What I learned at 31

I just re-read my last two years of posts and I had to laugh to myself…"the most tumultuous, fantastic, scary, amazing, liberating and emotional year” (What I learned at 29)…"I find myself in a new place that I could not have predicted even if I had tried” (What I learned at 30).

Par for the course 31. Stability has not been the name of the game for the past few years, although I am attempting to find it. Sometimes the universe has other plans.

Island in the Sky, Canyonlands Utah / Sept 2015

As a quick recap, in the last 12 months I:

  • Fell in love 
  • Completed a 150 hour dynamic anatomy certification in New York 
  • Got divorced 
  • Was diagnosed with depression 
  • Left my teaching jobs in Chicago to head west for a fresh start 
  • Got pregnant 
  • Moved to Breckenridge, Colorado to settle into a new community 
  • Led my first international yoga retreat in France at 7 months pregnant 
  • Made amazing new friends 
 …And learned an entirely new batch of lessons.

Joshua Tree, CA / December 2015

What I learned at 31: 

10. Reopening your heart is a complicated process. 
I am so lucky to have found such a supportive and patient partner in the last year. The wounds from my last relationship were deep, and I discovered many destructive old habits carrying over into my new relationship. There was a lot of undoing, a great deal of healing and a wonderful growth of love and trust in my heart this year.

9. Letting go is easier said than done. 
I lost my dog in my divorce. He was my best friend and I could NOT let it go. I never was given an opportunity to say goodbye, and every time I thought of his sweet face wondering where I was and why I had abandoned him, I would lose it. If I saw another golden doodle on the street, my day was over. A walk through the pet section at Trader Joe’s would force me into a 30 minute crying session in my car. I couldn’t function. I was stuck in the past. So I decided to pretend that he died. Knowing that he was only an hour an a half away was too opportunistic…death was at least closure.

8. Accept the help being offered to you. 
I tried to fight off my depression naturally for as long as I could. But at a certain point, the endless days of crying, sleeping, not eating and not even wanting to do yoga anymore - forced me into reality. My brain was chemically depressed and I needed to explore other options. After several months of resisting my doctor, I accepted medical intervention and the rainclouds lifted.

7. Know that you can always make a fresh start. 
Nick and I both decided we couldn’t stand another winter in Chicago and we needed a fresh start together - so we embarked on what was supposed to be a 4-month road trip out west. Fresh starts are ALWAYS available to you, but they do come with risk. You have to be willing to give up stability for the unknown, which can be awfully scary.

And then, the universe has its own plans.

New York / November 2015

6. Embrace the unexpected. 
Wouldn’t you know, a happier mind, full heart and some weight gain are a wonderful recipe for fertility? Nick and I found out I was pregnant at the end of our first stop on the #gowestadventure tour in San Diego. We looked at each other, cried some happy tears and said alright, let’s embrace this! It did change the rest of our wanderlust travel plans a bit and we decided to head to Colorado to see if we could make it work there.

San Diego, CA / December 2015
5. There are roadblocks for a reason. 
After spending almost a month in Denver with no leads on jobs or a place to live (the Denver housing market is UNREAL right now) I was ready to call it quits. Battling morning sickness while trying to get into the yoga scene at the same time was exhausting.

An annual ski trip to Keystone with my family changed everything. The mountains were cold, high and far, but the charm of the ski towns sparked something. After spending a lovely day by myself in Breckenridge, I was inspired. Inspired by young owners of juice bars and bike shops and coffee shops - our age! - who were running their own businesses, making it work and enjoying the perks of a mountain playground.
Steamboat Springs / March 2016
4. When all the doors open, take it as a sign. 
I brought Nick through Breckenridge on our way out of town, and he felt that same electric pull. 
What if we just moved up here instead? He had a job offer within 24 hours, I walked into a yoga studio and was hired on the spot, and some friends helped us with a place to stay. All signs pointed to yes! This is the place!

3. Mountain towns have their own rules. 
Shocker, I know. Making the transition from big city to resort town was a welcome change (no traffic! Everyone is smiling all the time! NO POLLUTION! Locals discounts!) but I am still navigating some of the nuances of small town life.

A friend making her way out of town cautioned me…"It can be challenging to make friendships here because people are transient. There is no consistency. And…people don’t always follow through on what they promise you.”

I will admit I have already experienced this, but the true friendships I have made have outweighed any of the small town bullshit so far.

Breckenridge, CO / July 2016
2. Hormones are real and scary and I hate them. 
I am due in four weeks and if one more elderly man asks if I am having twins, I will punch him.

1. I don’t care how strong you are, you need people to lean on. 
Divorce is horrible, depression is a mindfuck, pregnancy is incredible and terrifying at the same time…and I could not have gotten through this last year with out some pretty phenomenal people in my life. You know who you are - I’ve either called you crying or ecstatic in the last 12 months and we’ve worked through some of this craziness together because you are AWESOME and supportive and never judge. It takes a village - life is too complicated to live it alone.

Yoga in France Retreat / May 2016
And to my partner Nick - thank you for being with me, next to me and in 100% support of me for the last year of our lives. I have never experienced a relationship like this before and it is truly wonderful.

32 has already been wild, and is going to be even more of a roller coaster with our little girl arriving in just a few weeks.

Intentions for 32: write write write, teach teach teach and STABILITY. Dear Universe: I need stability.

Don't we all. 

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May 2, 2016

Chipotle Roasted Cod with Coconut Rice and Mango Salsa

I had no intention of blogging this recipe, it was just made up on a whim with what was in my fridge (MANGO time!) but I enjoyed it so much I had to share.

This is the perfect spring-is-here-summer-is-coming dish that you can whip up in 30 minutes – and I bet it would taste FANTASTIC on the grill.

Chipotle Roasted Cod with Coconut Rice and Mango Salsa
(Pardon the iphone pictures/terrible lighting on this one. I didn't want to have to wait to remake it and share!)

There are two secrets: coconut rice + chipotle infused olive oil. The olive oil may not be something you have on hand (most specialty olive oil stores will carry it, you can find it on amazon or make it yourself here) – I would recommend getting a bottle for summertime. The uses are endless, and the subtle sweet heat is perfect for any fish.

Coconut rice is also surprisingly easy to make - keep a few cans of coconut milk in your pantry and you can make it anytime.

Tip: Start the rice first, then prep the fish + finish the salsa while the fish bakes. It will all be done in 30 minutes.

Recipe: Chipotle Roasted Cod with Coconut Rice and Mango Salsa

Coconut Rice

1 1/2 cups uncooked rice
1 can coconut milk (stock up at trader joe's $)
1 can water

  1. Rinse the rice and add to a non-stick pot. 
  2. Empty the can of coconut milk + refill can with water and add to the pot.
  3. Stir, making sure to scrape the bottom and break up any rice clumps.
  4. Bring the pot to a boil, cover + reduce to a simmer for 20-30 minutes until liquid is absorbed.
  5. Fluff with a fork. Season with salt to taste.

Chipotle Roasted Cod

2 wild caught cod filets
4 lemon slices
1 slice roma tomato (will use the rest in the salsa)
Chipotle olive oil
Salt + pepper
  1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Thaw or unpack fish. Place on parchment paper.
  3. Season filets with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Top with 2 slices of lemon, 1 slice tomato and drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Mango Salsa

2 roma tomatoes
1 mango
Chipotle olive oil
Fresh lime juice
Salt + pepper
Chopped cilantro (optional)
  1. While the fish bakes, dice the tomatoes and peel and dice the mango. (I only ended up using half of my mango for two people)
  2. In a small dish, fold in olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lime.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  4. Top the fish and rice with the salsa.

Chipotle Roasted Cod with Coconut Rice and Mango Salsa

Chipotle Roasted Cod with Coconut Rice and Mango Salsa

I didn't have any cilantro on hand, but that would have made the dish even better. I also ended up adding some fresh arugula on the side for texture and greens.

So fresh. So healthy. So good.

Bon appetit!

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