It was time to change things up a bit folks. I’ve mentioned our recent move subtly in a post or two and I’ve been shouting it from the rooftops on my Facebook page, but it’s now time to make it Find The Pretty official. The hubby and I took a huge leap from our status quo in Boston and moved to Portland Maine a few weeks ago. It has been a wonderful change, especially the past few days with the temperatures in the low 80s and abundant sunshine. Maine has definitely opened it’s arms up wide and welcomed us.
The question that I find myself being asked over and over since our move is “What brought you up to Portland?” or another variation has been “What inspired you to move from Boston?”. At first glance it seems like a simple question to answer, but once I start giving the simple answer of “We’ve just always loved it up here, or it was time for change” I realize that there is so much more behind the move. Yes, we have been slowly falling in love with Portland over the years and we were both ready for a change of pace, but on a deeper level we were craving a complete lifestyle change.
Boston is a great city. It is the city where my husband and I met, fell in love and got married. It was the city that I started off my professional career and grew into a more mature designer. It was also the city that introduced me to two of my great loves yoga and running and most importantly it was the city where we adopted Charlie our cat. Starting about a year ago we found ourselves longing for more space, to be in a home where we weren’t sharing walls with anyone else, where there were more readily available options for outdoor activities and life ran at a bit of a slower pace. I’m going to likely sound like a huge dork but I started longing for a bit more of the charm of a smaller town not unlike the fictional town of Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls (yes, at times I watch cheesy TV). While my husband didn’t share my desire to live in a fictional TV town he was longing for easier access to golf courses and a space in our home for a workshop. Although we’ve only been up here a few weeks I know that we’ve both already started to find those places that can offer us what we’ve been craving.
The other big step that I have personally taken is leaving my job. I am officially a lady of leisure. For those of you that know me you won’t be surprised when I announce that I am a highly motivated Type A personality that is typically working on at least twenty different projects at home on top of a very full work load. It hasn’t been easy to slow myself down, but I feel that it is an important time in my life to give myself some room to breath and ask myself what the next step will be. In my previous life I would have aggressively started sending my resume out to every local design firm, furniture showroom or Manufactures Rep Group. Not this time. Part of moving was about turning over a new leaf to embrace a more thoughtful approach to life. Part of this approach is allowing myself to get to know my new town and listen to what my heart wants next, not just my that mind. On a highly positive note I have already been to one great design event in Portland. The week I moved up here Creative Office Pavilion hosted an open house for their new showroom space. I was amazed and excited by the large size of the design community. I know that when I’m ready to make my way back into the industry I will have an exciting time getting to know the ins and outs of this community.
One of my goals in my new life is to spend more time writing, specifically writing about what I love. You may notice more variation in my posts. I have expanded my categories to include Fashion, Food, Recipes and Lifestyle. Hopefully you will enjoy reading along as I explore a new town and take my next step in life.
I couldn’t have a post without a picture so I thought I would share my current favorite picture of Charlie.
Charlie The Cat
I have had an interesting relationship with yoga over the years. I grew up dancing ballet six days a week up through high school and when I went off to college the dance studios were scare and my time was spent studying and let’s face it, partying. After I graduated college I would periodically be enticed into joining a ballet class for adults and would later stumble out of class in a massive amount of physical pain and very humbled. Ballet is an unforgiving art form and it demands the time to dedicate to regular long hours of practice and a youthful body, two things I no longer possessed.
In my mid-twenties I joined a new gym in Boston that had a wonderful schedule of yoga classes. I had been hearing great things about yoga from many of my fellow former dancers. I decided to give it a try. I instantly fell in love. I very quickly came across a phenomenal teacher that had just the right amount of wit tossed in with her deep knowledge of yoga and I was hooked. (Thank you Emily for inspiring me to keep coming back to my mat! click here to find a bio of Emily and her schedule of where she teaches). After about three years of practicing I started to fall out of my routine. I joined a new gym, work got crazy, and I started to fall in love with running… excuses, excuses, excuses. Bottom line I turned my back on yoga. Every now and then I would go back to a class and within a few moments my mind would be racing. No matter what I tried I couldn’t quiet my mind to the point that I was uncomfortable and had to leave class. I wasn’t sure what was going on and I was too busy to dedicate the time to figuring it out so I gave up and stopped attending classes. Instead I tried “working out” for a while and then eventually fell in love with running. Although I regret not being strong enough at the time to work through my issues with my ever racing mind I will never regret that this time pushed me to find my love of running.
About a month ago I took a huge leap of faith and left my job, moved to Portland, ME with my hubby and made the conscious decision to take some time to relax, rejuvenate and figure out what makes me happy. Not even a week into my journey my body and mind starting craving yoga. Is it possible that my mind was finally quiet enough to concentrate on my practice? Doubtful, but I decided to listen to what my body was craving and try out a local yoga class. I did a bit of research and found a great little studio in the East End of Portland, Lila East End Yoga. The studio is charming, the fellow students friendly (likely a result of being Mainers) and the teachers have been lovey and inspiring… a great combination. I signed up for a two week unlimited pass and I’ve been to two classes and I can’t wait to go to my next class tomorrow. On my mat my mind has been quiet, my focus strong and my head completely clear when I leave. I feel happy. For those of you close to me you’ll know that this is not a proclamation I make lightly.
As I sit and write this post I am realizing that it really wouldn’t be a Find the Pretty post without a couple of links to a few pretty items. Plus I did entitle the post “Yoga Gear”. During this time of re-immersion into yoga I have been exploring some new attire and I can’t say enough good things about Old Navy’s Women’s Active Compression Pants and C9 by Champion active tops that I found at Target. The pants have a wide waistband that helps you pull in your core along with some very attractive darts that helps lift in all the right places;) The C9 tops come in a variety of styles. I am partial to the racer back with built-in bra in the a-line version. I will tell you why I like this top, I am vehemently opposed to muffin tops. I can not stress enough how unattractive a muffin top is on a lady, especially when it is so easily fixed. All you have to do ladies is buy the right fit and size!!! The combination of these a-line tops and the wide waistband on the pants are a dream combination for eliminating the muffin top. No matter how thin or in shape you are if you buy ill-fitting clothes you will suffer from the muffin. So please shop wisely.
(try as I might I couldn’t find an image of the a-line version, this may be an in-store only option)
Have you ever found yourself looking around at about 10:00am with a rumbling tummy thinking what happened to the morning and why am I so hungry? This used to happen to me regularly. I would get so wrapped up in getting ready for work, fighting the commute and then immediately jumping into my duties for the day that I would completely forget to eat breakfast. Not good!
I made a commitment to myself about a year ago to start treating my body well. I promised that I would feed it regularly with healthy food. I am not going to lie, I have slipped up from time to time and I can not seem to give up my love of dark chocolate M&Ms and I definitely can’t seem to go to the movie theater without getting at least a small tub of popcorn. But I am committed to eating a healthy breakfast every morning so I can start the day off right and kick up my metabolism so it will work with me to help burn off those late afternoon M&Ms.
When I’m at home I seem to rotate through a few breakfast staples: cinnamon and raison english muffin with nut butter, Kashi Go Lean Crunch with yogurt or skim milk and a small apple or blueberries, a fruit smoothie (usually banana, protein powder, and Nutella), egg white omelet with low-fat cheese and a piece of whole wheat toast… and lots and lots of water.
There are definitely times when breakfast at home just isn’t in the cards and that’s when you have to be creative and rely on a few staples from the ever present coffee shops to feed you. I have done a fair amount of research and found a few items at Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks that won’t kill your waistline and will give you the energy you need to get you through your morning. As long as you don’t add a high sugar and fat coffee drink to any of these orders you should be all set (click the breakfast items names for the nutritional information).
Dunkin Donuts Winners:
Oatmeal (make sure not to load up on the toppings… pick just one)