make your own #nohumbug challenge

Last week on the lululemon blog, they posted the #nohumbug challenge. I didn’t know about it until Friday.

I really liked the idea of the list, and I’ll likely do the list, but with my own twist. I’m not interested in all the challenges, and I’m not interested in doing them as they’ve prescribed. I’d rather do the ones I like, and change the ones that don’t suit me to something a bit more practical, like I probably won’t have an eggnog cocktail, but I’m likely to have a candy cane cocktail.

So far, I’ve spread the #nohumbug challenge, found a new way to get sweaty and secretly topped up someone’s parking.

Tomorrow I’ll give the list my own makeover, and maybe I’ll post it here.

The list is a great way to do activities with your kids or partner or friends.

Related articles

home

I haven’t been home to Canada since May 2011, however my parents, my sister, her husband and my nephew along with a number of my international friends all came to NZ in Feb 2012.  So it didn’t feel like a big deal at the time.

I had every intention of coming home again in August 2013, but life being what it is had other plans, and my husband’s brother got married in August, inevitably delaying my flight home (best reason ever though, both my brother-in-law and his wife are wonderful people and I’m so pleased to have shared their special day with them).

So it’s no surprise that since August, I’ve been itching to get home to Canada, but when? I could have booked flights for November, after my husband’s final university exams, but winter in Toronto is a little bit harsh, so that takes out all the winter months, and the earliest to go is March, which is pretty iffy in terms of weather. To add another element of life in the mix, my husband turns 30 at the end of March, and I’m pretty sure we discussed Las Vegas birthday plans at some point.

We recently booked our flights home, and I was so happy, excited, that I could’ve cried. I can’t wait, we leave just in time for the husband’s birthday, and we’ll celebrate in Las Vegas as planned, then we head to Vancouver for a few days, before we’re lucky enough to get to home, Toronto.

I miss my family so much and I do make the most of all the modern ways to stay in touch, but sometimes when my husband asks what I’d like to do this weekend, my answer is simple but impossible.  I want to hang out at my sister’s house on a Friday night having chats with her and her husband and playing with my niece (who I have yet to meet) and my nephew. On the Saturday I want to tag along with my parents and all the chores they’re doing and just help out and make them dinner.

Those are two things I’m looking forward to the most, when we visit home.

Surprise and Delight

I ran in late to my lunch time yoga class, in a bit of a tizzy, I set up my mat and ran to the change rooms, and whizzed back in and joined the class in downward dog.  

However, I was surprised and delighted when I received an unexpected gift from a fellow classmate, that I had never met, Andrea. She was kind enough to give me a new headband from Lululemon.  She works at the Lululemon Britomart store and when she saw me rushing around the yoga studio, she thought I could do with an unexpected delight in my hectic day.  Funniest part of the story, I thought someone had accidentally left the headband on my mat, so I handed in to the studio for lost property.   I was told after I returned from the change rooms what really happened. So I waited to say thank you and introduce myself to Andrea.

Fantastic brand initiative by Lululemon and their team and a nice small gesture, that I won’t soon forget either.

my new awesome headband. Thanks for the surpise and delight in the middle of my day!

my new awesome headband. Thanks for the surpise and delight in the middle of my day!

Yoga ruins your life. Oh yesss. It does.

Yoga ruins your life. Oh yesss. It does..

saw this fantastic post on http://andrealeber.com blog and thought that I absolutely must share.

This is my first time reading someone else’s blog and using the share button for WordPress. So if for some reason I’ve done something wrong, let me know, and I’ll correct my mistake.

SUP yoga summer goals

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I did yoga on a stand up paddle board and I loved it.  I went again this weekend and I’ve come up with two goals for the board.

By March 26 2014 I want to be able to successfully do a headstand and crane (or crow) pose whilst on the board.

Practicing headstand and crane on the beach, prepping to transfer to the board

Practicing headstand and crane on the beach, prepping to transfer to the board

I don’t have a paddle board and I’ve only done two yoga classes on a board, but I really want to get this sussed on the board. I hope I can crush this goal this summer.

If you don’t know anything about headstands or crane pose here is a quick heads up.

Headstands – also known as Shirshasana is considered a fountain of youth pose, along with all inversions. Your blood rushes to your head, your skin is hanging in the opposite direction, essentially you’re going against the flow of gravity.  The longer you hold a headstand, the stronger your core becomes.  I’m pretty new to headstand and can hold it 5-8 breaths. I’d like to get up to 10 breaths. Personally I also find doing a headstand helps if I feel a headache coming on, and usually if I’m feeling low on energy, headstands make me feel more energetic.

Crane or Crow  – also known as Bakasana is another inversion as your head is dipped below your heart. This pose is amazing for your entire yoga practice. It’s a really good pose to become more mindful as I set my gaze, calm my mind and focus on my breathe. I also find that crane is a great pose that gets me to think more mindfully about the muscles I’m using. Crane can be considered a difficult pose and it’s the same pose that makes me smile every time I lift off.

Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga

Here we are in St. Mary's Bay, enjoying SUP yoga. The photo is from Flux Westhaven

Here we are in St. Mary’s Bay, enjoying SUP yoga. The photo is from Flux Westhaven

Last week I tried Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga for the first time and I loved it!

I wanted to try something new on my birthday, because I think its important to spend your birthday that way.

I woke up early on Saturday morning and drove across the Auckland Harbour bridge to get to the class and I was looking forward to it, and was apprehensive too.

I had been wanting to try SUP yoga for a little while and had not had the opportunity, but to be fair, I wouldn’t have taken the opportunity earlier.  I had it in my head that I wasn’t good enough to do it.

I’m not sure what gave me the impression. It wasn’t a sense of self worth that I was missing, but it was the actual physical strength that I thought I lacked.  I had put it into my head I had to be either good at yoga or at paddle boarding or both. I didn’t realize that had gotten in my own way, until I was presented with the opportunity to SUP yoga for my birthday.  I immediately said yes, and then all the excuses came bubbling up to the surface to make me doubt my decision. However, I had already made the decision to commit and I really wanted to do something new and challenging for my birthday.

So I went and I did it and if you forgot what I wrote above, I loved it.

Getting out the anchor point was a bit of a challenge, because I had only paddled boarded once, in March, and didn’t really remember any of the technique and tips. I had already made the decision that while I didn’t want to fall in, that I would be OK if I did and it would contribute to a memorable experience. Sidebar: I definitely prescribe to the idea that if you’re not falling you’re not having fun or pushing yourself; although sometimes I forget that when I take a particularly nasty fall.

Our instructor, Katrina,  had gotten a gauge of how comfortable on paddle boards we were, and also how comfortable we were doing yoga. She lead the session according to our abilities and offered modifications to poses to make them easier or harder, as suited for each individual.

It didn’t take long for me to realize the best way for me to enjoy myself on the board, stay with my breath, focus, listen to my body and find my stability, and stay with it.

The best part of doing it was the fact that I got out of my own way. If I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have realized just how much I enjoyed it.

If you are in Auckland, I would highly recommend coming out for a SUP yoga session. Katrina teaches every Wednesday at 6pm and every Saturday at 8am. Contact Flux to book your spot

Trying out gardening

So i wouldn’t ever claim to be a gardener.  I love seeing other people’s garden, and I love learning about what someone has planted in their garden.  I also love the idea of having a garden.  However, I move so much, about every six months, that is up until January.  This is the longest I think I’ve held an address in about 9 years. So, it’s only natural as the weather starts to turn to summer, that I want to try my hand at gardening, thankfully the husband, is also keen to have a go.

Here is a snapshot as to how our attempt is coming along. We’re not sure how much success we’ll have, but we’ve had a lot of fun so far, and some challenges, and also we’re learning a lot.

the wild of our gardens, complete with our cat that loves to stalk through it

the wild of our gardens, complete with our cat that loves to stalk through it

another thrilling look at a overgrown garden bed

another thrilling look at a overgrown garden bed

 

After all the hard work of weeding.

After all the hard work of weeding

After all the hard work of weeding the fun part began.  With a fresh canvas, we were able to start thinking about what it would look like.  We got some local sheep manure and mixed it with some soil from the garden centre and also started to do a weekly  watering with blood and bone.

I got ridiculously excited about all the different possibilities of what to plant, and thankfully, my husband was there to be a tether back to reality.

So we went with sweet 100’s tomatoes and basil as its companion plant. We also planted parsley, roly poly carrots, marigolds (or calendula), chillis for a bit of fun, capsicums (or bell peppers), cucumbers and coriander.

check out our burgeoning garden, once we decided what to plant.

check out our burgeoning garden, once we decided what to plant.

and directly across, the other garden bed.

and directly across, the other garden bed.

We also purchased a gorgeous bucket of lettuces, it already has four heads of lettuce planted in it, and you just pick it as needed. We went a bit crazy, so we left it alone for two weeks and its cranking again.

Still to plant, some catnip and sage.

I’ve loved the experience so far of gardening (with the exception of the slightly achey joints), its been amazing, how many lovely people have offered us sound advice and even gifted us with plants to start with. It’s so satisfying to see the unkempt garden made over and I’ve even enjoyed the investigative part of gardening, our basil was just being chomped through, and we finally figured out it was the hungry caterpillar.

However I think the best part has been trying out a new activity with my husband.  We both have a few activities that we do separately, and we have a few that we do together.

Taking an interest in the garden has been fun to do together.  As mentioned early, he’s been really great at grounding me with what we can achieve, considering our garden space isn’t the largest, however he’s also been awesome in having fun with what we plant. We aren’t big chilli eaters, but we both thought it would be fun to try out something a bit different, and agreed that they’d look fantastic too.  We’re sure we can find plenty of people to share our chilli’s with. It’s proved to be an activity that we both can get outside and enjoy together and it’s been fun planning and discussing the garden too. I’ve been able to be creative with what we’re planting and how to plant.  The husband didn’t know anything about companion planting, but it was something I was interested in trying out.

While the motivation to start gardening has been different for both us, it’s given us something new to do together, and that has made the process really worth it. Now let’s hope we get a few little something somethings from the garden.

Wanderlust Auckland

Recently added to the Wanderlust Auckland experience is the one day Yoga in the City event next year in March, held at Western Springs Park. 

My understanding is that there is going to be a big four day Wanderlust in NZ for 2015, and may be in the Taupo region, who knows.

I really enjoy yoga, but attending something like this is a bit out of my comfort zone; so of course, I’m trying to lean into the idea of attending.

At the very least, it couldn’t be a bad experience and at the very best it could be a very fascinating one.

Check out this video from the creators of Wanderlust as they talk about their NYC in the city event.

Keep perspective, do a stocktake

Last year in December, my husband and I moved up to Auckland, this was a big deal for a number of different reasons. We moved to the North Island, after living in the South Island for six years. We left our family, friends, our jobs, and everything that was familiar to us, but we needed the change.

We were both positive about the move, because we were ready for it and being positive about change makes change feel better. I believe that once you make a decision that you know to be good for you, embrace it.  Sometimes change can feel difficult or scary, or make you feel out of your depth. When I feel like that, I do my best to remember that it was our choice to move, so we should have fun and try to enjoy.

Having the right perspective helped us with our move, because we did feel some of those things, and at times, when things were difficult, as we were trying to establish our routines, flat hunting, navigating our way to the grocery store, dealing with drunk drivers who hit our car (ya that actually happened the first night were in the big city), it was our perspective that kept us from thinking it was a bad decision.

However, it’s been 11 months since we arrived, and last month I was feeling a bit bummed about city living.  I started focusing on the crowds, the traffic, the commute, blah, blah, blah, and I then one day, I heard myself being such a downer and it made me stop and roll my eyes, because I thought it was so lame that I was complaining

So I decided to do a quick stock take of all the awesome since arriving in Auckland, and when I did, I realised that I was even more lame than I thought initially, because I really did have a lot to be grateful for.  I had opportunities to enjoy things living in Auckland, and I was allowing the little things get in the way.

Here’s my stocktake:

  • We live right on the water
  • The summer we had was exceptional
  • I got to go swimming after work at the beach all summer
  • I am lucky enough to take the ferry to work everyday, and it’s so reliable. And once I’m in the city, all I have to do is take a 15 minute walk up the street to get to work
  • I am able to visit any number of cafes across the city and try out any number of awesome dishes
  • We have re-connected with old friends that have moved to Auckland and we have made new friends to share experiences with
  • I have seen so many awesome shows: Circolombia, Group F, Beyonce, Cirque du Soleil, Wicked, Wayne Brady, Russell Peters and we’ve already got tickets to see Jack Johnson and Eminem this summer
  • I’ve attended the Auckland Arts Festival, the Fringe Festival, the Readers & Writers Festival, New Zealand Film Festival, the Lantern Festival
  • My husband met one of his favourite authors, Raymond E. Fiest, and I got to see one of my favourite authors speak, Dr. Libby Weaver
  • Even in the city I have the opportunity to go stand up paddle boarding
  • My yoga studio is only five minutes away from my work
  • My rheumatology specialist is only 15 minutes away from home (previously I had to drive 3 hours to see my specialist)
  • Just an hour drive away from the city and I tried surfing for the first time in seven years
  • We were lucky enough to go on holiday to Queenstown and the Waiarapa
Shredder in Backyard

This picture always cracks me up. It’s our cat, Shredder, in our backyard. Totally looks like he posed for a picture while on holiday. Yet another thing that’s awesome about our move, we live in a nice neighbourhood that is safe for our cat too.

So there you have it, off the top of my head, I could do a stock take and it was better than complaining about the four or five really lame things that were getting me down.

Doing the stock take was a real eye opener for me. I realised that I was letting myself get bummed about something that wasn’t worth feeling bummed about.  It gave me an opportunity to reflect on all that was awesome and it helped reset my frame of mind, so I could appreciate what I had around me.

I do miss the South Island and all the wonderful things to do, the people, our friends and family, but the North Island has been good to both of us too and it’s nice to miss the South Island and look back at our time there with fondness.