Cooking/Recipes, Health & Fitness

YTT and Miscellaneous Update

I know it’s been ages since I’ve written anything.  This is a function of two things:

1. Yoga Teacher Training (YTT). I’ve been through two weekend sessions so far.  The class started in January and ends in June.  We meet Saturdays 12-6 and Sundays 9-3 once or twice per month.  The first class was seriously awesome, albeit seriously exhausting.  We learned A TON.  We learned about chanting, anatomy, pranayama (breathing exercises) yoga philosophy, yoga history, the 8 limbs of yoga (asanas are just one small part), etc.  We also spent lots of time practicing asanas and learning how to adjust our fellow students.

The second class (this weekend) covered a lot of the same general topics, but the specifics were different.  We spent time this weekend learning about the major joints in the body, and then we spent several hours learning more about specific postures and how to modify them and adjust them.  We did a lot of work with shoulder stand, double pigeon, side angle stretch, and several others that I can’t even remember.  Then we spent about 3 hours today covering yoga philosophy in more detail.

I’m a little freaked out by the fact that a lot of the reading and self-exploration I have been doing over the past 3 years is all tornadoing together and striking the same spot.  From varied bloggers I follow, I’ve been introduced to the philosophy of stoicism and Eckhart Tolle’s works.  The subjects/books really resonated with me, and now as I learn more about yoga philosophy (something I knew NOTHING  about when I signed up for YTT), I realize that stoicism and The Power of Now are both just reiterations of this yoga philosophy that is thousands of years old.  Not to get mystical, but it seems as if the various currents of my life are all drawing me down the same path.  It’s a comforting feeling – receiving confirmation that you are moving in the right direction.

Anyway, I could write reams and reams about what I’ve learned at YTT, but I don’t want to bore you to death, so I’ll move on to my second excuse for being vacant on hlodecello.

2.  I’ve been participating in a 21-Day Primal Challenge with several friends.  I set up a Facebook Group for us to all communicate. It’s been working really well, but it means that I share my recipes and meal ideas on there instead of here.

Oh, and a 3rd thing. I got a promotion at work, which means I’m managing our programmers.  They are all awesome people who I love to work with, but I’m still trying to wrap my head around managing people for the first time. I want to do a good job, even though from what I’ve read, that’s almost impossible when you first start out.  But I’ve been putting a lot of mental energy and time into figuring that whole situation out.

So that’s why I’ve been silent lately. Once the challenge is over, I will write more.

Take care, and have an excellent Sunday evening. 😉


Casserole to Warm the Heart

Yesterday was a rainy/snowy/blowy/inclement kind of day.  I had a burst of energy in the morning during which I wrote a blog post, and then I was pretty much done for the day. I believed I started watching Gilmore Girls and crocheting by noon or so.  My mood soon descended to match my low activity level, and I was glad to go to bed and hopefully wake up in a better place.

And I think I did!  I started this morning by making some updates on our Primal Challenge Facebook page, I did a 60 minute super tough Yogaglo video, made Paleo Banana Bowls for breakfast, and took a shower.  Oh, and I planned some tasty meals for the week.  This is my last week before the Challenge starts, but I’m trying not to totally go off the rails.  We are doing a Maintain Don’t Gain Challenge at work, where we try not to gain weight over the holidays.  The weigh-out is on Friday, and I need to lose about 2 lbs by then!  People who do not gain weight are eligible to win a massage or a $200 personal trainer package. I want to win both!! 🙂

Wow – I got sidetracked already.  What I meant to write about is that since yesterday was so grey, I decided to make a hearty casserole to comfort our souls.  I found this on’s 10 list of recipes:  Paleo Pumpkin Cream Chicken Casserole.  It was so good, and also very easy to make!  The only adjustment I would recommend is to cut the chicken breast into small pieces.  One-inch squares are too big to eat.  This was super tasty.

And that’s it for today!  We have some errands to do, and I’m hoping to get outside and take a walk in the snow before it gets dark.  Hope you have an excellent, fruitful Sunday.


An auspicious start to 2015.

Two very nice things happened to me yesterday that lead me to believe that 2015 is going to be a most excellent year.

1.  My hair has been annoying me lately.  As fellow curly girls know, it’s very difficult to find someone who understands the fickle temperaments of curly hair.  It has a mind of its own and is horribly inconsistent. Some sections can be quite curly while other sections on the very same head are only just a little wavy.  I went 1.5 years without a haircut – partially to let it grow out, and partially because I just couldn’t find anyone who really understood my hair.  Well, my ends were getting so nappy that I was cutting them off instead of trying to comb through them, so I went ahead and got it cut.  And…I lost all my length and was back to where I started 1.5 years ago.

Well, several years ago when Tim and I went to Minneapolis, I got my hair cut by a Deva-trained stylist.  It was the best haircut I ever had, and it looked great for at least a year.  But, I couldn’t drive 5 hours every time I needed a hair cut, so I eventually went back to a local person and ended up making do.  However, I started researching Deva stylists again and found one in Mount Pleasant, IA, of all places!  Since I took Friday off work, I figured it was a good day to try her out.  Her name is Martha, and she owns Aurora Salon.

I loved her!  She is a fellow curly girl (beautiful Bottecelli curls!), so on top of all the Deva Curl and Curl Artistry training she has been to, she personally knows the issues we have.  She cut my hair dry, curl-by-curl.  Before washing my hair, she asked me what I thought. I wanted a little bit more of an angle, which she happily put in for me.  Then she washed and conditioned my hair, giving me helpful tips the whole time.  Then she put in leave-in conditioner, gel, and used clips to give me some lift at the crown, and put me under a dryer for a few minutes.  She finished off the style with the Deva blowdryer, and I ended up with perfectly curly (non-frizzy) hair.  I was actually happy enough with how my hair looked to not have to go home and re-style it immediately.  Here is a bathroom selfie after I styled it this morning to give you a general idea of the cut:


Martha charges only $45 for her curly cuts, which is literally 1/2 of what most Deva stylists charge.  She also gave me a few small clips to use in my hair.  Super sweet!  I’m hoping this cut will grow out well (I would really love to get my bangs as long as the rest of my hair), but when this cut grows out, I’ll definitely be trekking to Mt. P again.

And on to the second thing that gives me hope for 2015:

2.  I ordered this bracelet from HollaForMyMala on Etsy.  The description said it’s supposed to help calm the Monkey Mind, which I have in spades lately, and it’s also supposed to increase confidence.  The shop owner was unbelievably nice!  She sent me an email and asked for some background on why I wanted the bracelet.  I told her I’m starting Yoga Teacher Training soon and am really insecure about it (since I haven’t been practicing yoga for long).  When I got the bracelet yesterday, she included a handwritten 2-page note with encouragement (she is also a yoga teacher).  She gave me some great advice and comfort. She also gave me an extra gift – a beautiful solar quartz stone.  The bracelet and the stone come with little sheets that tell you the powers/benefits of the stone.  The bracelet is super beautiful, but unfortunately it’s  really snug.  I emailed her this morning to see if I can get it made bigger.  Here’s a pic of the mala and the stone:


As I said, 2015 is off to a good start.  Hopefully these ladies like to drink cold beverages with warm hands because I’m sending them both a coozie as a thank you gift. 🙂

Hope your 2015 is off to a great start as well!


Cooking/Recipes, Health & Fitness, Paleo

A Moroccan New Year’s Eve – Get it???

Did you get my joke there?  Instead of a “Rockin'” NYE, I said a “Moroccan” NYE!  Tim has already declared 2015 the year of the bad joke after I made some comment this morning about, “If this kitchen’s Moroccan, don’t come a knockin.”

So, yes, I made a Moroccan dish last night – Moroccan-Style Lamb Meatballs, to be precise.  They turned out pretty tasty (the sauce especially) but my favorite lamb meatball recipe is still this one.  These meatballs weren’t a lot of work, per say, but they did take a sh!tload of spices – thirteen to be exact.  And when it was all said and done, you couldn’t really taste them in the end product.  The meatballs might be more flavorful today though.

That’s how we celebrated our New Year’s Eve. I found a NYE Dance Party mix on iTunes radio, and Tim and I cleaned the kitchen, cooked, cleaned the kitchen again, made a drink, watched Gilmore Girls while crocheting a scarf, made another drink, watched The Labyrinth, and then went to bed at like 11PM.  It was actually a really enjoyable night (from the perspective of two complete homebodies).  And as a bonus, I feel great today!

I tried another new recipe this week:  Oven Baked Chowder.  Although this recipe is expensive (1.5 lbs of tilapia was about $15), this one is a definite keeper.  The chowder turned out super flavorful and delicious.  Next time I make it, however, I will cook it in our dutch oven.  We ran out of room in the 8 X 11 pan.  Also, I would add a whole cup of coconut milk to make the sauce even more creamy.

How was your New Year’s Eve?  Any big plans or goals for 2015?  Tim and I discussed last night that we are going to try to reign in our eating out to only 2 times per week. It will help us save money and calories.  That’s about it for us!

Hope you are having a great January 1, 2015.  The future is now, Man!!