Chips & Yoga

Because I always need yoga...and I sometimes need chips.

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8/22/2018

Tales from the Couch, Part 1

Greetings from week five of modified bed rest on my couch!


I figured I would start this series as a means of sharing my tips on surviving (and kicking ass at) bed rest, and to also have some fun while we are at it (there's a little contest at the end of this post)!

First off, I had to take short-term disability from work for the time being, which I totally get, but was super bummed out about. I truly enjoy my job, and I was afraid I would completely lose my marbles with having that huge part of my life gone. So I've gotten very creative about how I've been spending my time with my feet up. And don't be misled - This hasn't been all kicking ass and taking names. I've had my lows, to be sure, and many tears have been shed along the way. But I have to keep telling myself that this is only temporary, and that this is all for the health and well-being of my little guy. I just have to keep him cooking for 11 more weeks! Anyhoo, here are some of the things I've been up to:

Reading, reading, reading. I just finished The Mayo Clinic Guide to Pregnancy, I sped through The Good Widow in one day (really recommend it), and I'm currently reading The Happiest Baby on the Block, the Hypnobabies birthing course, and a shit ton of magazines.

Knitting. I've known how to knit for many years, but at a very basic level. Thanks to YouTube, I learned how to knit with five double pointed needles and made a baby bear hat for my little guy! Next up is a matching bear hat for my husband - He requested it, scout's honor.


Learning Spanish. My mother-in-law is fluent, and I'm dying for her to teach our kiddo, so I figured I'd get in on the action! I'm using the Duolingo app, which is incredibly handy and fun.

Studying for the GRE. One of my life goals is to get my PhD. In what? I don't know. Where? I don't know. How? Online? Night classes? I don't know. I've really only begun to scratch the surface, but I figure I can study now and take the test after Baby arrives. The scores are good for five years, so I have some time to figure it out!

Taking advantage of getting out of the house for my weekly doctor's appointment, and sweet talking Jon into taking a 29-week bump pic.

Indulging in some television. I'm really actually not a big TV-watcher, nor do I want to spend a whole lot of my time doing that, so I'm not going crazy with the binge-watching. But I did finish Jane the Virgin (which I'd been watching the past few months), and I watched Queer Eye. Now I'm onto GLOW, which I'm really enjoying. Also - no judgments please - I'm watching Bachelor in Paradise (this is a safe space, y'all).

Hypnotizing myself. So one of the latest trends in natural births is called Hypnobabies. You basically listen to a bunch of tracks, learning to hypnotize yourself so you can create a super relaxing, fear-free environment for your birthing time. I'm pretty sure I'm not actually hypnotizing myself because basically I just fall asleep every time while doing it, but if it's relaxing me that much, I'd say it's a win! I like to view it as deep meditation, which I'm all about.

Going to weekly doctor's appointments. I'm not kidding when I say this is one of the highlights of my week! I get to GO OUTSIDE (in triple digit Houston weather, mind you), and I'll usually try to sweet talk Jon (my driver/husband) into picking up a library book for me on the way or buying me a green tea latte from the Starbucks drive-thru while we are out. Exciting times, y'all.


Ordering stuff on Amazon. Help.

Here are some highlights from the past few weeks:

Bed Rest Tip of the Week: Create a schedule for yourself. I know it seems a little nutty, but giving myself goals and to-dos that I can do in a horizontal position on a set schedule really helps me make good use of my time and not feel like a total waste of space!


Bed Rest Exercise of the Week: Rolling out my calves with a foam roller so I don't get blood clots. This doesn't always happen, as some days my contractions are a bit out of control and I really shouldn't be doing any kind of movement. But most days I find one or two times where I can safely do this!

Bed Rest Shout-Outs: While it's hard for me to go see everyone out in daily life like I used to, I've had so many loved ones come by, bearing food, gifts, and laughter to brighten up my days! Shout outs to these awesome folks who have visited over the past month: My sister Emily (who came down from Dallas to lay on the couch with me last week and help us out around the house), Mom and Dad, my in-laws Rudy and Rosemary, Lindsey, Drew, Mike, Shannon, Baby Anthony, Susan, Ian, Blake, Katie, and Baby Mary Kate! You all seriously have no idea how much you lifted my spirits. I also need to mention that unfortunately I'm not always up for visitors because things can go awry with my cranky uterus, so we have to turn friends away sometimes (Mere, Mark, and Kelly, I love and appreciate you!). I've also had countless friends and family ordering meals for us, which has been so incredibly helpful and appreciated! And many many phone calls from family and friends -- We really have such an amazing support system, and I am so deeply grateful for that!

***Now for the contest.......***

The first person who answers all five questions below correctly (all are related to this blog) in the comments section below in this blog post, or in the comments section of this Instagram post will get a fun Amazon gift* from me! If no one gets them all correct, then the first person with the most correct answers wins. Away we go!

*Valid for U.S. residents 18 and over. Gift valued at $5 or less, gotta have some self control!

1. What is the medical term for why I'm on modified bed rest right now?

a) Hostile Uterus
b) Irritable Uterus
c) Angry Uterus
d) Apathetic Uterus


2. Translate this Spanish phrase to English: Tengo una pregunta.


3. GRE Question of the week:

2x² = 32

Quantity A = x     Quantity B = 4

Which statement is true?

a) Quantity A is bigger
b) Quantity B is bigger
c) They are equal
d) Not enough information is given to solve this problem


4. What has been my biggest craving this pregnancy?

a) salt and vinegar kettle chips
b) pickles and ice cream
c) Dairy Queen blizzards
d) chocolate chip cookies


5. List the five words you see in this word search (forwards, backwards, diagonal) - Here are some clues:

Word #1: A muscular organ involved with childbirth
Word #2: A snack food
Word #3: A super awesome city
Word #4: A way to pass the time
Word #5: Anahata is one of these


Thanks for reading and playing along - Good luck!



xo and namaste,

Kim
7/27/2018

My Irritable Uterus

^ Doesn't that title sound like something that came straight from The Vagina Monologues?

(Use the words "uterus" and "vagina" within the first 15 words of a blog post? Check and check!)

My doctor's office is all pink, and they play chick flicks in every room. "Titanic" Day was obviously a great day.

You know, this pregnancy was just rolling along smoothly, with some of the normal pregnancy "bumps," if you will. Some exhaustion here, a little (well, a lot of) rib pain there, *maybe* some gas every now and then, when...WHAM! That was all halted in it's path.

Before I go into the details, I'm fine, Baby is fine, we are FINE, thankfully! So here's the story:

I received a package in the mail a few weeks ago (I was 22 1/2 weeks pregnant at the time) that was quite heavy. I knew not to pick it up, but I thought if I was on the ground, and if  a friend was helping me, I could pull it out of the box. Then all of a sudden I started feeling some sharp pains in my lower abdomen, so I promptly stopped. The pains went away after a while, so I figured I had just pulled something.

A few hours later I was at the yoga studio, getting ready to teach my normal vinyasa class, followed by a restorative class I was subbing. I was running through the restorative poses (read: gentle, EASY poses), and those sharp pains started happening again. Let me clarify that these pains were different from the normal pregnancy round ligament pains I'd been feeling throughout my time being knocked up. They were definitely more severe. With 25 minutes until my yoga class, I started to panic. I texted my husband, who told me to call the on-call doctor (at this point, it was the weekend so my doctor's office was closed). The on-call doctor told me to go to the Emergency Room. Greeeaaat. Thankfully, my angel of a friend Sean swooped in with barely any notice and covered my two classes.

Jon and I went to a regular old ER, where they saw us, did a fetal doppler (heartbeat was phenomenal, not to brag on my kid or anything) and told us we needed to go to the hospital five minutes down the road because there wasn't an OB on staff, which I needed since I was past 20 weeks (but not before having to pay a $250 copay! Which it would have been nice if they'd told us there wasn't an OB when we walked in! So we didn't have to pay it, but that's a story for another day! Namaste! Deep breaths! Om shanti shanti!)

We get to the hospital ER, and a lady walks down with a wheelchair, which I adamantly refused to get in (clearly I was still delusional at this point). We get up to a super comfy hospital room. The nurses come in, and I'm like, "Listen, I was pulling on something heavy, which I know was dumb, and it really hurt my lower abs, but the pain went away, and then I was doing yoga a few hours later, and the pain came back, and I was told to come here. I'm pretty sure I just pulled a muscle, and you'll probably agree and tell me to go home, but I figured it's better to be safe than sorry!" The nurse asked me how much pain I was feeling on a scale of 1-10. "Right now? A one. Seriously, it's not even bothering me at the moment." They then hooked me up to a bunch of monitors, and were like, "...(silence) ...Did you know that you're having contractions?"

Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhh................

Then the nurses started conversing with one another, and I heard the phrase "pre-term labor," and I think that's about the time I started crying hysterically and having a panic attack. All I could think was, "If something happens to this baby, it's completely my fault."

I tell ya, in the Jeopardy category, "Worst Thoughts to Have Playing Over and Over in your Head," that might be number one.

The nurses assured me that everything would be okay, and that pre-term contractions were normal. But since I was still pretty early in my pregnancy, and the contractions were frequent and a bit longer than they'd like them to be, they needed me to chill the eff out, drink a shit ton of water (I literally drank like 4 pitchers and was subsequently up all night peeing), and get those suckers to stop. All in all, we were there for about four hours, then sent home with a prescription to take it really easy for a bit. Which meant me canceling my trip I was supposed to take a few days later to Florida for work/Disney for fun. :( :( :(

That is where I *thought* the drama ended, but au contraire!

Last Wednesday night I started feeling the contractions again (at this point I was 24 1/2 weeks along). I chilled out, drank a shit ton of water (you know how the rest of that story goes), and when I woke up they were gone. Great! Then later that day, I went out to run an errand, and as I was in the parking lot, I felt them creep up again. So I went home (never did get that pasta sauce and those heavy duty trash bags *sigh*). After a bit of time passed, and they were still happening, Jon told me to call the doctor's office, to which I was promptly told to go to the hospital immediately. UGH.

After lots of monitoring, and one really horrible fetal fibronectin test later (just do yourself a favor, and don't ever Google it), I was informed that everything was completely healthy, my likelihood of delivering within two weeks was 0, but oh since my contractions wouldn't stop and were 2-3 minutes apart, I had to stay overnight.

Y'all, I had literally never been hospitalized in my life, and now I found myself at 2 for 2 within 2 weeks.

My wonderful doctor who will be delivering the baby came by to check on me the next morning. He told me about my "Irritable Uterus" (different from Braxton-Hicks for those of you who even know what those are), and gave me a prescription of Ibprofen (which I've stopped taking, and they've now given me a calcium blocker that I can't pronounce, to take as needed), not driving, and refraining from various physical activities (exercise, cooking, cleaning, etc.),  for at least until Week 32, and then he would reassess.


Since then, I've been working from home, contracting regularly (but not alarmingly, and also they don't hurt at all), and trying not to lose my damn mind/feeling in my legs. I also had my 33rd birthday last weekend, which took the cake as Tamest Birthday Ever (but still great, because my parents and in-laws came over bearing Polish food!). This is turning into a huge exercise of letting go of my attachments - exercising, being independent (my husband, family, and friends have been incredible in their support and help), cooking, and yes, even practicing/teaching yoga. My goals this week have been to walk to the mailbox at some point and to go to church on Sunday, but seeing as how I can't even walk to the bathroom without my uterus getting cranky, I'm trying to be realistic. This experience has also been a huge exercise in not blaming myself. I asked Jon the other night if he thought I caused all of this because I tried to pull something out of a box. He told me no, my uterus was probably going to get surly at some point. That was just the event that got the ball rolling. My husband may not be a doctor, but he's smart, so I choose to believe him. And I have to keep telling myself that and offering myself grace. (Also I asked my doctor who is an actual doctor, and he said nope, I just have a "nervous uterus," and that's the way God made me, the end).

Phew! IN SUMMATION, life can really throw you for a loop sometimes. Thankfully, Baby and I are doing all right, we just have to take it really easy for a while. Fortunately an irritable uterus is not indicative of premature birth, so laying low will help Baby cook for a while, and hopefully to full term. We've still got a ways to go, but with my support team behind me, and with the yogi tools I have at my disposal, I feel confident I can muscle through this (even if my muscles are completely atrophied at the end, namaste). Thanks for reading along, and if you don't hear from me for a while, it's probably because nothing eventful has been happening here on my couch, which is a good thing! If you have any suggestions on TV shows to binge, good books to read, great board games for two to buy, or ways to touch up my roots naturally at home (the struggle is real right now), I'd love to hear them in the comments section!

xo and namaste,

Kim (and her Irritable Uterus)
6/28/2018

The Ten Surprising Things I've Learned about Pregnancy

I thought I had heard it all.

21 week bump!

Morning sickness sucks! Labor hurts! It's cool to feel the baby kick! But I wanted to share what I've learned - the good, bad, and the ugly (yes, yes, I know in yoga we shouldn't distinguish things as "good" or "bad," so I'll let you draw your own opinions) - about pregnancy that I never knew. And disclaimer - Everybody and every body is different, so take what I say with a grain of salt, and please consult a medical professional if something doesn't feel right. Consider this a brief preparation guide for what incubating your little spawn may feel like.

1) You will be more exhausted than you've ever been in your entire life. Like, maybe I'd heard people say, "I was really tired during my first trimester," but to me that was like saying, "I don't enjoy going to work on Mondays," or "The Bachelor is totally fake" (jk I know it's real). It's a given, right? And in today's society, everyone's stasis is being tired! It's the norm! It's a rite of passage! You're doing it wrong if you're not tired! Well, I hate to break the news to you, but you weren't actually tired before. This newly defined exhaustion that engulfed me during the first 11 weeks of pregnancy was a bloody beat-down like I had never experienced. And it doesn't matter how much extra sleep you get - you STILL won't be able to lift your head off your keyboard! And even better? It might be too early for you to feel comfortable telling anyone you're pregnant, so all of your coworkers just think you're a big giant hungover <~~(if they only knew) slacker. Hooray! 

2) You think you've had Charley horses before? Think again. My second trimester is characterized by two things: debilitating leg cramps and intense back/rib pain. Oh, and feeling the baby move, I guess. But more on the latter two in a minute. Imagine jolting out of bed at night, not once, not twice, but three times due to lightning bolt pain in the same calf. Then you're doubled over your leg, gasping for air, flexing your foot (as the interwebs have instructed you to do so), which then causes the cramp to migrate to your shin, all while your saint of a husband wakes up bewildered at the beast that is thrashing around wildly in his bed. Then you're limping around for days after because the experience was so intense! But there actually is good news on this one - There's a little something called a magnesium supplement that will make this all go away. Just learn from my mistake of enduring a month of these cramps before doing anything about them, and (after consulting your doc or midwife) start taking the magnesium the second you get one of these Level 10 Leg Destroyers.

3) Your ribs will start to expand, or your baby will press up against them, or maybe it's just gas? which really really really does not feel great. In general, I have some low back issues. Nothing too major, but just some tweakiness that I have to be mindful of. So I figured if I were to have back issues during pregnancy, that's where they would take place. Au contraire! I've recently had quite a bit of pain in my mid back, which travels around to the front of my ribs. It's so uncomfortable that it has become the norm that I come home, walk in the door, bra in my hand, and my husband says, "Did you take your bra off while driving again?" Yes, because the wire is digging into my ribs, and even though they measured me and gave me a more fitting size now that I'm a milk factory, the pain is still there. RIB PAIN people, who knew?

4) Speaking of gas. That delicate, modest flower of a lady your partner once knew and loved? She is nowhere in sight for nine months. The flatulence is real, and horrifying, and inevitable. But if you're a class act like me, you'll ever-so-calmly scream, "YOU DID THIS TO ME!!!" every time an "incident" occurs and your significant other looks at you with horror in their eyes. 

5) You will run out of breath very quickly. Walking up the stairs? Need to catch a quick breath. Standing up from your chair? Whew, feeling a little winded. Lifting that chocolate chip cookie to your lips? GASPING FOR DEAR LIFE. That whole baby-crowding-your-lungs-and-ribs thing gets you every time.

6) People will not let you lift a finger when you're pregnant. This really bothers some people. Others love it. I'm like, you know what? I'm carrying a bowling ball around that is sucking all of the magnesium out of me and karate-chopping my ribs on the reg - If you want to carry that *slightly* heavy thing for me, I appreciate you, good madam or sir.

7) Giving up pants will save your life. My husband and I were leaving to go out of town a few weeks ago. He asked me if I was packing jeans, to which I said, "I don't know if you've noticed, but I've stopped wearing pants altogether." It's summertime in Houston, which means it's 178 degrees (give or take), and I need flowy clothes that allow me to feel the breeze between my ever-growing thighs. Going pants-less is my biggest piece of unsolicited advice, YOU'RE WELCOME.

8) Pregnancy glow? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. My skin hasn't looked like this since the seventh grade!!! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!

9) The emotional roller coasters are very very real. Have I mentioned my husband is a saint? 

10) Feeling the baby move is really freaking cool. Okay, I know this is one of those common things you do hear about, but I have to emphasize its coolness. As of right now, my little Chipotle burrito (that's how big he is this week, doesn't he sound delicious?) is not big enough to be giving me ferocious punches to my gut (though I know that's a joy yet to come!), but he moves around, and I can feel it! And my husband was actually able to feel him recently, which was also very cool. Apparently my baby is quite the wiggle worm, as the technicians at my doctor's office always have to chase him around my stomach with the doppler thing to find him, and I feel him totally spazzing out every night right as I lay down to go to sleep. Out of control AND a night owl?! Jon and I are totally prepared scared shitless.


All joking aside, we have been very fortunate to have a smooth and healthy pregnancy so far, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. If you've been through pregnancy before, I'd love to hear in the comments section below about the surprising things you discovered. I'm learning so much about this process, and I know there's so much more I'm going to learn. And word on the street is the end result makes all of the aches and pains totally worth it.

(Also, I plan to remind my son regularly about all of the sacrifices I made for him, and make him repay me through foot rubs, doing dishes, and remaking '90s musicals with me to perform for his dad. Namaste.)
6/21/2018

Eat the Damn Cookie(s).

I'm about to get real with y'all.


A couple of weeks ago, during the meditation portion of my Miracle Morning, I kept getting wildly distracted about the fact that I had gained 12 pounds since becoming pregnant. This was a whopping four pounds more than the recommended amount, based on my pre-pregnancy weight and height. And while I logically knew that being fixated on this was nothing less than completely dumb, and that, hello, I'm creating a whole human inside of me, and that I am such a proponent of NOT fixating on weight...here we were.

And then I felt my baby move for the first time.

And then I cried.

It was like he was saying, "Mom! You're creating me right now! Get over yourself!"

HE KNEW.

Babies, man.

Since becoming pregnant, I've heard the following statements from people on a loop:

You're so healthy and thin to begin with, you won't put on that much weight!

You're a yoga teacher, I bet you'll barely have a belly! (any yoga teachers feel me on this one?)

So-and-so didn't even show until her 8th month of pregnancy!

So-and-so only gained 10 pounds during her pregnancy!

So-and-so DIDN'T EVEN KNOW SHE WAS PREGNANT! (HOW. WHY. Give me your super powers.)

And while these are well-meaning statements that certainly come from a genuine place of love and comfort, I twisted them around in my head and used them to put lots of pressure on myself. And for what, exactly?

This is NOT a post on the societal pressures women feel to have a perfect body, EVEN while they are pregnant (a sad, but very real truth). Believe me, I could go on for days about this topic. This is a post about living your life, pregnant or not, and eating the damn cookie(s), if that's what you want.

Don't get me wrong, I am a huge proponent of healthy eating. But I am also a huge proponent of moderation and not denying yourself.

I had a second wake-up call a week later after seeing a picture someone posted of me on Facebook. I was out of town and frantically texting my husband. "Do I really look like this? Please say I don't! How did this happen?" To which he calmly put me in my place. "Who cares? You're pregnant! You're making a baby! GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD YOU FREAKING PSYCHO AND BRING MY WIFE BACK!!!!"

(AKA, Eat the damn cookie(s).)

(Also, he definitely did not call me a freaking psycho, I was paraphrasing for dramatic effect. My husband is an exceptionally nice human being and nothing short of a saint.)

That's when I decided I will no longer weigh myself, and if there seems to be anything alarming happening, my doctor will let me know.

So why, exactly, am I emphasizing to eat the damn cookie? In the previous post on my pregnancy, I mentioned my newfound craving for chocolate chip cookies. I've since discovered that I'm generally loving sweets, and that fruit tastes like pure candy to me right now. I'm definitely more of a vegetable person than a fruit person, but this pregnancy has flipped that on its head. So while I'm giving myself full permission to indulge in cookie(s), I'm doing so in moderation, supplementing my sweet tooth cravings for fruit in between indulgences. I mean, that whole creating a human thing does make me want to take in good nutrients as well.

My husband and I were out of town a couple of weeks ago and having dinner one night. I looked at the desserts and blurted out, "OH MY GOSH FRIED OREOS AGGGHHHH." He shrugged and said, "Get them."

(and I did.)

Eat the damn cookie(s).

So while, disclaimer, I am certainly not a nutritionist or a medical professional, pregnancy has given me more insight into my own personal health and having a healthy relationship with food/my body. So if "eat the damn cookie(s)" is in direct conflict with what you personally need, or what your doctor recommends, please disregard every word I've said! I believe that having a healthy relationship with food and your body requires a unique prescription for every person, as we are all so beautifully different. My personalized health plan is to continue eating healthy whole foods (making sure I get enough protein for baby), stop weighing myself, keep my regular low-impact exercise up (yoga, walking, spin class), and fully embrace that there is something way bigger than me going on inside of my body. And every now and then, if I feel like it...

I'll eat the damn cookie(s).
5/24/2018

Life Updates, AKA "Where the Hell Did Kim Go?" Part 2

Hello yogi friends! I didn't drop off the face of the earth, I've just been a *tad* preoccupied.


Yep, back in February a pregnancy test revealed to me that - no I wasn't going crazy, my body was feeling super weird for a pretty valid reason - my husband and I were going to have a baby! And we found out a few weeks ago that it's a boy!

(Having no brothers, and being a person who really identifies herself by the strong female relationships in her life, I literally have no idea what to do with a boy, except for dress him up like a little gentleman in bow ties and suspenders all the time. And that's literally my entire parenting plan.)

Questions I've been frequently asked since getting knocked up:

Are you still mostly vegan?
No. But I am still vegetarian. Multiple medical professionals advised me to start eating eggs again, so I have. I've incorporated some dairy as well. I've done my research, and everything I've seen demonstrates that vegetarians can definitely still have healthy babies, BUT they have to make sure they are getting enough protein. Noted.

Did you have morning sickness?
Once, during the last week of the first trimester, while I was doing one of my Miracle Mornings (I hesitate to even call it that, given the circumstances). I was like, "Really, Baby? You played it cool for 13 1/2 weeks, and NOW you decide put my head in the toilet?" (Too much information?) The biggest symptom I had during the first trimester was that I was unbelievably exhausted. That's part of what tipped me off to being pregnant. I mean, I could barely lift my head most days, it was so severe and truly awful. There's a whole science experiment going on in my body, so it makes sense. I finally got my energy back around Week 11, which was WONDERFUL. And let me tell you, the second trimester is pure MAGIC!

Are you still practicing/teaching yoga?
Yep! I've scaled back a bit though and stopped practicing hot yoga, at the advisement of my doctor, nurse, and doula. Like being in a sauna, they worry about cooking the baby while it's in utero, I GET IT. Though many other people attest that if you've been practicing hot yoga pre-pregnancy you're totally fine. I am most certainly not a medical professional, so I am not giving an opinion either way - I'm just personally erring on the side of caution! As long as I still get to practice, I don't mind a milder temperature! And speaking of my doctor, nurse, and doula, they are all thrilled that I'm a yogi. I don't do back bends, deep twists, or intense core work anymore. And I stopped working on headstands and handstands (I tend to fall over a lot, which *apparently* is also not good). I also stopped working on my splits because when you're preggers your body releases a hormone called relaxin that literally - you guessed it - relaxes your body, uh, down there. Meaning, things are loosened up, and you are susceptible to tearing, as well as other fun things like slipping a disc. I pulled a muscle in my low back a few weeks ago during spin class and have been taking it easy since. PREGNANCY IS JUST SO LOVELY.

Any food cravings?
SWEETS. I'm so not a sweet-toothed person, but I've wanted chocolate chip cookies like they're going out of style. I also bought a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch because cereal is so good to me right now. This is weird because I think it had been at least 10 years since I'd last had cereal. Pregnancy, man.

Any food aversions?
COFFEE, WAHHHHHHH. It tastes SO awful to me, like pure metal! So to recap, I was completely exhausted during the first trimester, and I couldn't even have my one measly cup of coffee to help me out a bit, because the thought of taking a sip made me want to punch a wall (namaste). On the plus side, I knocked out my biggest New Year's Resolution of weaning myself off coffee, and it was done by the third month of the year. On the downside, in addition to my beloved wine, I can no longer have my other beloved, coffee (fun fact: getting knocked up also tackled my 30 day No-Alcohol resolution...plus like 736 days, give or take a few). *sigh* I know when I have a smooshy, cute, bow tie-wearing little baby in front of me (maybe give him a monocle, too?), this will all seem like a distant nightmare.

And yes, while I joke about a bunch of not fun things that happen during pregnancy, and while I'm learning a lot of really gross things about the human body (like, really gross), and while said gross things happen and my husband gives me a grossed out look I always yell "YOU DID THIS TO ME!", and while Coco left me a complete wreck for at least an hour (that movie really needs to come with a warning label for emotional pregnant women), I cannot tell you how excited I am! I don't have a noticeable bump yet (more than anything, it just looks like I ate a crap ton of French fries and chocolate chip cookies...a not *entirely* untrue statement), but I catch myself staring in awe of my growing belly every day. I'm so grateful that everything has gone smoothly so far, and that I have such a supportive husband and network of friends and family. So thank you for letting me share my pregnancy story with you! As always, if you have any questions, I'd love to hear them in the comments section!

xo and namaste! - Kim
3/22/2018

My 2017 Book Reviews, Part 2

Better late then never, I guess.




Picking up right where we left off!

Here are my (completely biased) book reviews from what I read in 2017!

1) A Storm of Swords: A Song of Ice and Fire, aka Game of Thrones 3 - It takes me on average 18 months to read one of these. Because I'll read half the book, and become so OVERWHELMED that I have to set it down for a while. Then of course when I pick it up again a year later I'll have no idea what's going on since there are 4,000 characters with really long names and 7,000,000 plot lines (the reason I put the thing down in the first place), but I always end up very glad I committed to it. The writing is so juicy and SO GOOD, and yes the books are insanely better than the TV show, which is also insanely good. Book 3 features THE RED WEDDING, and it's so so riveting! My goal is to read the fourth book this year. As in, pick it up in 2018 and finish it in 2018. I will of course report back on this. I realize I just gave you zero synopsis, but I wouldn't even know where to begin? Arya is awesome, Tyrion remains my fav, Jon Snow broods a lot (but is a total babe, duh.), the red lady is evil, and Joffrey is the worst. Cool?

2) All There Is - This is a cute, heart-warming, easy read. StoryCorps’ mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world. They interview people from all over to hear their stories, and this book is a collection of stories about love, divided into three sections: Love Found, Love Lost, and Love Found at Last. It's a very short compilation, filled with wonderful stories.

3) The Four Agreements - I've had this book for a while, and it ended up being on our required readings list for Yoga Teacher Training. I started it a while ago, and it seemed a little hippy dippy for me (says the woman who eats tofu and lights incense), so I never finished it. Boy, am I glad we read this for YTT, because it's so great. The book outlines four basic agreements, or basic rules to live by, and I find myself referring back to them every day. It's a quick read, and a very powerful book!

4) The Handmaid's Tale - People were going crazy over the TV series, so I had to read the book! This novel falls into the dystopian genre, a genre that I absolutely love. Published in 1985, this classic book by Margaret Atwood takes place in the [very messed up] future. The main character Offred is a Handmaid, whose main function is to produce a child for men who are high up in rank. Touching on classist and feminist themes, the book is disturbing, powerful, and an excellent read.

5) The Reminders - What a quirky, delightful, and heartwarming book! I hadn't heard much about this novel, so I didn't know what to expect, and I was pleasantly surprised. Joan is 10 years old and has a condition where she can remember every detail of her life very clearly. Her parents' friend Gavin recently lost a loved one, and he makes a deal with Joan - If she will clearly tell him every memory she has of his loved one, he will help her write a song to enter into a songwriting contest. If you are looking for an easy read that will make you smile, this novel is it!

6) Into the Water - I absolutely loved The Girl on the Train, so I had high expectations for this one. The novel is a mystery surrounding the death of a woman in a small town. I was completely hooked for the first 80% of the book, and then I found the rest to be predictable (and I'm someone who can never predict endings of books or movies). Even though I was a little disappointed by the ending, I would still recommend the book because I was so enthralled by most of it. I also am a big fan of books with feminist themes. Paula Hawkins knows how to engage the reader.

7) How to Win Friends and Influence People - Originally published in 1936, this self-improvement book on how best to interact with people has stood the test of time. While some of the language is a bit dated, the principles are still very relevant. I find myself using many of these techniques, specifically at my job. Definitely a worthwhile read.

8) The Nightingale - Awesome awesome AWESOME book! This World War II novel was definitely one of my top 5 favorite reads in 2018. The story centers around two very different sisters in German-occupied France. One sister joins the resistance, while the other stays home with her family and fights the war in other ways. It's a beautifully told story and an excellent read. If you liked All the Light We Cannot See, you'll definitely be a fan of this one! (Also the picture above reminds me that I need to return this book to my friend Lindsey, who I borrowed it from!)

9) Damage Done - Whew, this book gave me the heeby jeebies! This young adult novel centers around the life of a teenage girl who experienced a tragic event, and is now living a new life with a new identity. The book has a lot of twists and turns, though I did end up figuring out the ending. If you like to be disturbed, this book is for you. If you don't (I don't), then feel free to pass!

10) Eat Right 4 Your Type - I had mentioned this book before when discussing my New Year's Resolutions. Eat Right 4 Your Type was all the rage during my Yoga Teacher Training, so I wanted to check it out to see what it was all about. The idea behind this book is that every blood type is different (duh), so different foods react differently towards each blood type. The diet recommended for my blood type is essentially vegetarian, which makes sense to me since I felt so amazing when I stopped eating meat. There have been many doctors and scientists who have come out and debunked this logic, but I do find it interesting. And like I said, based on my own personal experiences, going veg made me feel like the Hulk (even if I still can't open a jar of pickles to save my life). Regardless, I totally geek out on food and health stuff, so I thought it was a good read.

11) The Gifts of Imperfection - This was my second Brené Brown book to read, and I absolutely LOVED it. Brown leads readers through 10 guideposts to achieve acceptance of who we are. They are all based on letting go of the many expectations we are faced with as a society. It's a very approachable, delightful, and thought-provoking read!

12) Maybe in Another Life - I tend to shy away from chick-lit, and if I had known this novel fell into that category, I probably would not have read it. But despite myself, I actually enjoyed it. The story centers around a woman who runs into an ex-boyfriend while out one night. He asks her to stay out a while longer, and then the story splits off into a version of her life where she stayed, and another version where she didn't. You follow the stories and see how drastically different (yet similar) both lives are. If you are a fan of the idea of multiple universes (me!), or loved the 90s movie Sliding Doors (me also!), this quick, light book might be worth the read.

13) 11/22/63 - Not a fan of the scary or disturbing (see above, re: Damage Done), this was my first Stephen King novel. My dad had given it to me several years ago, and it had been collecting dust on my bookshelf. I had heard great things about this one, but the book is massive and incredibly daunting to look at. But for some reason, in 2017, I figured what the hell, and gave it a whirl. And I'm so glad I did! Because this also ended up on my Top 5 list (how many are on my Top 5 list now? 18?). A man is presented with a portal that takes him back in time to 1958, and he is tasked with stopping the Kennedy assassination. This riveting, fascinating story kept me on the edge of my seat. I loved every page of it!

14) The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up - I also mentioned this book in my New Year's Resolutions. Marie Kondo lays out an approach to decluttering your home, all based on the simple question, "Does this spark joy?" Instead of using a room-by-room approach (as most of us do), she uses a category approach. First clothes, then books, and so on. It's all about truly appreciating what you have and not cluttering your life with things that don't really bring you joy. I cut my wardrobe down by at least a third - if not half - which was totally liberating (although I do find myself stealing t-shirts from my husband nowadays, as my dirty laundry starts to pile up). I got rid of maybe only 10 books, but then again, books generally bring me joy (hence this blog post). I've not really delved any further, and I certainly would like to. This book is a super easy read, and totally inspirational! I definitely recommend it.

And there you have it for the books I read in 2017! I would love to hear what your recent (or all-time) favs are, as I'm always on the prowl for the next good read. 2018 is off to a bit of a slow start for me in the book department, so I'd love recommendations on a phenomenal novel to dive into!

xo and namaste! - Kim

3/15/2018

My Social Media Detox, AKA "Where the Hell did Kim Go?"

Yo, I did it.


(Also, trying a balancing pose in full on snow gear? Level 10 Difficulty.)

(Also, here's a video of me "snowboarding" because I know you need a good laugh):


If you've been reading along (thank you!!), you know that I went on a social media detox as one of my New Year's Resolutions during the month of February (plus 2 days to make it 30 days). I thought it was going to be incredibly difficult and awful, and...it was exactly the opposite!

The first two days were tough. I found myself reaching for my phone often, to do what exactly, I'm not sure. It was an impulse - Reach for phone, check social media, check email, repeat. But after those first two days, everything was smooth sailing, and I quickly found that I didn't miss it at all!

There were a few times I had to "break" my detox, which I'll lay out here:

1) When my husband Jon and I got to Colorado for vacation, I realized I hadn't printed out the instructions to get to (and in) our condo we rented. I had to open the email from my phone (which I'd sworn off as part of the detox) to access the information. There were a few other times things like this happened, but it wasn't a lot, and I did not feel dominated by my phone in any way.

2) I needed to get two yoga classes covered because I was going out of town, and the way to do that is through our teacher Facebook groups. That happened once, and I quickly got off as soon as that was taken care of.

My biggest takeaway from my month of no social media (besides those few times I mentioned, plus my work obligations, which you can read about in my previous post) is that I felt so much more present to everyone around me and my surroundings. I also noticed how much other people check their phones in social situations, as I know I certainly had as well. It really was freeing, and I don't really have any desire to be on social media like I used to. As of this writing (not counting today where I will be posting this blog post on social), I only went back on my social media accounts twice since the end of my detox, two weeks ago. And I really didn't like it. My first time back, I was on for about five minutes, and thought, "This kind of sucks." People have these exciting life changes they post about online, and how much nicer is it to find out from them personally (if you are close) than opposed to via the internet? Yes, there are benefits to social media, don't get me wrong. This process taught me, however, that I feel so much better, more present, and happier when I am limiting my access to it. I have been checking emails from my phone, but not compulsively like I used to. I put the email app in an inconspicuous spot on my phone, so I have to make the effort to get to it. I also tried playing Candy Crush a few times since, and I was way less enthralled/addicted than I used to be. Successes all around, I'd say!

Moving forward, I'd like to limit my social media use to once a week. If it happens more than that every now and then, so be it, but I have no reservations about doing another social media detox should the need arise. If you have any questions about this, or if you've done a social media detox yourself, I would love to hear about it in the comments! I cannot recommend it enough. I personally loved it, and, no, I didn't die.


Promise.

xo and namaste! - Kim