Saturday, March 31, 2012

Miniature Adventures

On my 25th birthday last fall, I decided that this was my year for adventure. I didn't know exactly what that meant, but I thought I needed more adventure in my life, no matter how big or small. I've never been a daredevil, nor do I hold out hopes for becoming one, but when I think of adventure, traveling is a subject that comes to mind. My first traveling adventure of my 25th year (other than a few weekend trips home and up to D.C.) was down to Naples, Florida with a friend of mine. I'd call it semi-spontaneous, since we bought our plane tickets on a Wednesday and flew down the following Sunday. For St. Patrick's Day weekend, I rode my first Greyhound bus up to D.C. (because I was too late in purchasing a reasonable ticket on the northbound train), and I'd definitely call it an adventure. It wasn't bad, but it was just something new for me. I have an upcoming traveling adventure to share, but I will tell at a later date once everything is ironed out.

Other "adventures" have been general garment-sewing, eating kale for the first time, diving back into almond-consumption (Don't judge me because I've had a lingering fear of food allergies for the past three years. I'm hoping to add cashews and pecans back into the mix because I have missed them.), learning some conversational French, and on Thursday night (aka, why I'm writing this post), trying out Bikram Yoga.

A few weeks ago, my friend K. and I decided that the next time we got a good Groupon-esque deal for a cool yoga class, we were going to do it. Not long thereafter, Living Social sent us a deal for Bikram Yoga, and we bought it. Here are the facts: "Bikram Yoga is a twenty-six asana series designed to warm, stretch and strengthen muscles, ligaments and tendons" (Source). The class lasts for 90 minutes, and the room is heated to 105 degrees before you even walk in there to park your yoga mat.

Initial Thoughts:
I was apprehensive about the class for a few reasons. The only yoga class I had taken prior to Thursday was in college. During said class, I burst into laugher when the instructor said to "focus on the sun" because we were in a windowless room lit by fluorescents. My accompanying friends vowed to never take a yoga class with me again because they couldn't concentrate. Needless to say, I was nervous about sitting on a yoga mat beside of K. and not being able to take the class seriously. Also, the 105 degree aspect freaked me out a little bit, as did the precautions from all friends who have tried Bikram, such as, but not limited to: The day of the class, drink more water than you have ever drank in your entire life. Oh, and maybe add some gatorade in with that...Don't eat three hours prior to classtime...Don't close your eyes unless they say it's okay to close your eyes because closing your eyes makes you super dizzy and nauseous. I was scared, y'all.

The Actual Experience:
We signed in about twenty minutes before class and decided to go get a good parking space. In the fifteen minutes in the 105 degree room prior to class commencement, I thought I was going to die. Since you're not allowed to talk once you enter the room, K. and I looked at each other with terror in our eyes, mildly shook our heads at one another and followed the look of terror with a big grin and chuckle because seriously, what on earth possessed us to take this class? When the instructor came into the room, I was already sweating. Today I'm wondering why on earth K. and I went into the sauna so early.

Class started and then it hit me, Wouldn't all the yoga experts in the room laugh at me when I fell over or couldn't do a pose? The answer was no. The instructor was great; she told us the goal of the first class for newcomers was to be able to stay in the room for the full 90 minutes. Small goals, I like it. Then we started doing poses. A scary part of the class for me was when the instructor said, "Okay, now we're entering the cardiovascular segment of the class." Uhm, I'm already cardiovascular over here in the back, lady. I got a little anxious and had to give myself a pep talk because my heart was already racing, but in the end, I got through the entire class. I had no concept of time during the class, with the exception of wondering when it was going to end, and just when I thought I couldn't do anymore yoga, the instructor said, "I'd like to congratulate our newcomers in here this evening, you've made it halfway through the class..." Whhhhhatttt! Are you kidding me? But she continued, "...just kidding! We're almost finished!" That was music to my ears.

Post-First Bikram Class Thoughts
I learned that the body can do some really cool stuff when the muscles are scalding hot. I remember having thoughts like, Whoa, I can't believe I can do this! I also laugh at my worries about people laughing at me in the class because I couldn't concentrate on anything other than my breathing and the instructions. 

When K. and I walked into the 105 degree room for the first time, my initial thought was that I would be super excited to leave the super hot room when the class was over. Upon completion of the class, however; I didn't want to leave my spot on the floor. My body hadn't felt that great in a long time; the work paid off, and I felt wonderful. I went back to my second class yesterday evening, and it was even better than the first day because I wasn't so blown away by the heat. My bod is still sore, but it's a good sore. I'm excited to go back to my next class!

Well, Bikram Yoga is just another mini-adventure on the books for R. Recently I wondered, Why shouldn't every year be my year of adventure, heck, why shouldn't every day be a new adventure? I'm relearning how to enjoy every single day instead of focusing on the future so much, and I'm liking the results of that line or thinking.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Can we talk about my new favorite meal?

On Saturday I bought a rotisserie chicken. You can catch me buying them quite frequently in the spring and summer months because the last thing I want to do is turn on the oven in my cottage, which lacks central air. 

The whole reason I bought the rotisserie chicken was because I had a hankering for some chicken salad. When the warm weather arrives, I crave the stuff; therefore, I considered my refrigerator to be in a state of emergency on Monday when the temperature hit 70 degrees and there was no chicken salad to be found. In an effort to properly welcome the 80 degree days we've been having, I made chicken salad, which consisted of chicken, green grapes, halved, celery and my mom's secret recipe for chicken salad dressing.

To supplement my chicken salad, I threw the following into a skillet with some olive oil, and seasoned it with minced garlic, pink sea salt, black pepper, and a teensy bit of butter (because butter makes everything taste better):

Yellow onion slices
Orange bell pepper, sliced
Handful of fresh spinach
Feta cheese
This vegetable stir fry (Is it a "stir fry" if there's no soy sauce involved? Maybe that's a stupid question.) is going on the regular rotation for me this spring. I've not been feeling very inspired in the culinary department lately, so I got really excited about my new, simple meal. I love finding joy in the small things.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sometimes I get homesick for food...

I got super jealous when my parents told me that Gran had fixed her fried chicken for Sunday dinner, where everyone in my family gathered to celebrate Papaw's birthday. So as an ode to Gran's famous fried chicken, last night I decided to soak some chicken strips in buttermilk, dredge them through a flour concoction with pink sea salt and black pepper and fry them up. They weren't as good as hers, but they made me think of home.