Category Archives: tranquilista lifestyle

It’s Time For Tea


I don’t know if you know this about me, but I love tea.

I’ll take a good Irish Breakfast tea any day.  The sweeter, the blacker and the creamier it is, the more I like it. I think half the fun of my trip to Ireland was drinking entire pots of tea throughout the day.  Yes, I love it that much.

Unfortunately it’s really only something I drink at home (unless I’m going “to tea”) and usually only when the weather is cooler…which is any day now here in LA.

A few years ago, when I was involved with Constant Chatter (check out the new magazine that we’ve got going!) I participated in a couple of our tea swaps.  And I loved having the chance to try out some new teas.  Many of which were very new to me (really, I’m pretty traditional with my black or assam teas).

So when one of my online friends (and fellow Tranquilista classmate) Melita over at Gussying Up the Tuttle posted that she was organizing a tea swap, I had to sign up to participate.  And I’m so glad I did.

Not only did I get some fun new teas to try (like a super yummy citrus camomile – dealing with a cold, so I’m avoiding the milk and hence, the black teas), but thanks to Melita’s fun survey she sent each of us, I also got some fun gifties.  My new tea swap friend,  Julie from Savvy Eats sent along some freshly baked pumpkin scones (which the hubs proceeded to eat – these could be them) and some interesting season salts from Garlic Gold Nugget along with my teas (which I haven’t yet tried).

Out of all teas she sent, I think I’m most excited to try the Chocolate Orange Rooibos from and the Green Tea Chai, both from The Whistling Kettle (in NY).  She also included some other interesting greens to check out. While I enjoy green tea, it’s never something I really search out.  So I’m looking forward to trying something new.

Of course, I sent my own package out a little late (oopsie).  I sent along a fun (if not spiritual) read which I don’t recall the name of at this moment and bunches and bunches of tea.  No really…I mean bunches!

A friend ordered me a bag of assam tea from her co-op last year and I didn’t realize quite how LARGE a one pound bag would be.  So I shared the wealth and filled an entire zippied sandwich bag…along with a few other fun selections.  I hope she’ll be happy with what she gets.

And now, all this writing about tea has me craving a cuppa 😉

Feeling Kinda Zen and Groovy

Well, not exactly. Truth be told, I’m feeling a little pain for yesterday’s Zen yoga experience…but still good.

I’ve come to the realization that I’ve been so focused on work and reaching clients, that I’ve been spending far too much time slumped over my desk. Which means more and more creakiness when getting out of (and sadly, sometimes into) bed.

So I cashed in a Groupon-like coupon and headed to one of my local yoga joints.

This place touted itself as being a bit more “funky” than your traditional studio. Instead of the standard new agey blend of music and tones, they go for the straight out rock and pop mix. There was also a lot more cursing and loudly affirming just how “fucking beautiful” we all were than the soft, meditative, contemplative suggestions.

Overall though, I loved everything about the class. And I learned a bit about myself. Like…

  • don’t forget to breath – breathing in a pose helps you go deeper into the pose and holding your breath, well, that’s just no bueno (and sadly, a bit of a constricting habit of mine).
  • don’t be afraid to close your eyes – this is right up there with remembering to still the mind. Seems I had some challenges here. Don’t know if it was more mind-body related (as closing my eyes messed with my balance) or mental (as I found myself looking at the floor, the walls or the ceiling instead of closing my eyes).
  • don’t be afraid to stop thinking – I was able to leave my cares at the door (for the most part), but I did get busted for looking at my iPhone during class (just to check the time). In which case, I’m thinking if I’m wondering about the time, that I’m not quite stilling my mind.
  • know when it’s okay to adapt what you’re doing – sometimes you just can’t do 5 push-ups in a row (let alone three sets of them). And let’s be honest, the average yoga newbie is NOT going to be able to go from a plank to a table top…just not gonna happen! So just adapt…downward dog it is!

I will say though, when all was said and done, by the time I made the walk back to my car (and wiped off the dripping sweat – did I mention that they also like to keep the studio warmer than usual?) I was actually feel great.

I feel like I did finally reach that zen and calm moment.

And then the pain kicked in. Turns out all that downward dog and warrior posing means a LOT of stretching muscles that haven’t been stretched quite that much in a while.

I’m already looking forward to next Monday’s class. And I keep telling myself that the recovery from the pain shouldn’t last nearly as long each time I go back 😉  Please tell me I’m not making that up!!!

Living theTranquilista Lifestyle: Entrepreneurial Musings

I’m not even exactly sure where to begin with this.  I’ve still been participating in the Tranquilista Lifestyle e-course and I’m still getting tons out of it.  I’m just not quite participating as fully as I’d hoped I would.  It seems that for me, it’s bringing up a lot of stuff that I need to deal with (which I asked for help with way back a couple months ago with one of my VPAs that I wrote).  So I’m not exactly being nearly as creative as I’d hoped.

I’ll be honest, I’m not doing daily journaling (written or artistic) and I haven’t yet gotten around to creating a daily ritual.  Though i will say that I can finally (after a thorough conversation with a good friend), see the benefits in having a ritual and the need to turn inward from time to time.  Like I said, I’m getting tons out of it, it just seems to be manifesting a little differently for me.

This week though, is all about entrepreneurialism (if you could only see my fingers trip over that one!).  Our main focus this week is on creating a brand, or well, I guess even some thoughts around the brand.  Basically, to play with your business a little.

So following some of Kimberly’s advice, I decided to look within and make a list of all the “jobs” I do from day to day.  In many cases, that means ALL the jobs – mother, wife, and business woman – and break them down into tasks.  Well, I haven’t gotten really specific yet, but all I can say is WOW!  I often wondered just where my day went and why I often felt like I didn’t get much done and now I know.

For starters…

HOME: wife, friend, cleaning lady, maintenance crew, cook, laundress, liaison, dishwasher, menu planner, dog walker, pet groomer, secretary, event planner, personal shopper, real estate agent and all around Girl Friday.

WORK: treasurer, book keeper, web administrator, graphic designer (man am I horrible at this job), writer, mail room gal, receptionist, marketing department, personal shopper/Girl Friday, inventory management, event planner, team trainer, cleaning staff, PR consultant and so much more that didn’t leap right out at me.

Which brings me back, full circle to the need for creating a schedule and insisting on a morning “me” ritual of sorts.  Times like this (and like so many others), I’m in awe of moms and how they’re able to balance so much of their life.

So yeah, I might not have necessarily embraced my inner artiste head on, I am so thrilled with all I’m learning with this course.  Can’t wait to see what’s in store for next week as we dig deeper into our entrepreneurial lives.

Photo credit: Terry Buchanan

Living the Tranquilista Lifestyle: The Artist Date

As part of the Tranquilista Lifestyle course I’m taking, we had the assignment to plan a solo artist date.  It could be anywhere (even your own home) that either inspires creativity or is just, well, artistic.  For some of the ladies in my group, that meant browsing in a bookstore, gathering new art supplies, taking time to actually be creative, going to a movie, writing in their journals or spending time outside in nature just soaking it all in.  So basically, anywhere where you can be inspired for about an hour or so.

I chose to visit a local museum.

I’ve lived in LA for nearly 8 years now.  Many of those years, I either drive by the Autry (or as I call it, “the cowboy museum” – which by the way, turns out isn’t a very accurate description at all), the Norton Simon, the Getty or LACMA.  I’ve been to both the Getty (the building itself is absolutely amazing!) and the Autry, so I decided to try something new.  I’ve always wondered about the Norton Simon, so that’s where I headed.

I knew nothing about the Norton except where it was located.  I headed out around noon figuring I’d get in an hour or so and maybe check out the visiting Divine Demons: Wrathful Deities of Buddhist Art exhibition.  Turns out, I never did get around to seeing that exhibit. Actually, I never made it to the other half of the museum (the American side…not really a fan of early American art).

The first thing I noticed when I walked up to the museum were the statues…Rodin statues at that.  Then inside, you see a Henry Moore.  When you start on the gallery to the left, you are overwhelmed by the Degas statues.  I mean TONS of Degas statues, resting throughout.  There were also a few Degas oil paintings, pastels, etc.; who knew he was such a dabbler.  I sure didn’t.  I’ve always loved his ballerina works so I was in heaven.

I should say here that I happen to love, love, love impressionism (and I’m also a fan of some cubism when you get down to it – not that I’d ever see myself owning anything that modern and funky, but I digress).  One of my fondest memories of art (in this case, Monet), was seeing one of his water lily paintings for the first time (I think I was at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, but I could be wrong).  Being able to see a Monet up close, and then step back to see the image is just amazing.

My mind doesn’t work that creatively, so I can’t even begin to imagine how someone can paint nothing but dots at close range that later turn into a larger image when you just step back a few steps.  Just wow.  So being in that front room surrounded by works by Degas, Renoir, van Gogh, Pissaro, Cezanne, and so much more.  I just loved it.

And I loved how at the Norton, all the paintings are covered by glass (a glass that you can barely see) and you can not only get right up close to it without setting off any sort of sensors (unlike other museums I’ve been to), but you can also take photos.  I can’t recommend this place enough.  Especially when you get outside and view the sculpture garden.  Again, just beautiful.

I’m going to stop here for fear of this getting to be far too long of a post (especially with all my photos).  But let’s just say that my artist date didn’t stop at the Norton Simon on Friday…it continued through the entire weekend (but that’s a future post).

To see more photos from the museum, feel free to check out my Flickr set.


One of my favorite pieces - a Degas pastel. It's actually made up of six pieces of paper to give more space and allow for "movement".


Some of the many Degas bronzes. But see that Monet right there in the middle? That's my favorite!


I wish I'd paid closer attention to the artist here - I just loved the couple.


And who does love lotus blossoms


This little girl was sure enamored of them


This Henry Moore reminded me of what I must've looked like when I fell the the other day - though I wasn't naked!


Finished my official artist date with lunch at the local Le Cordon Bleu student-run cafe

Here’s a teaser from my Sunday night.


Herbie having a casual conversation alongside his many awards.

I took this photo towards the end of the night when a few folks were still hanging about.  I loved this shot because he was just casually leaning against his collection of awards having a totally casual conversation with his piano guy, Pierre (he’s French…and single…and funny as hell!)

Living the Tranquilista Lifestyle: Week 1 C’est Finé!

WORK: For the first week this has been an odd one for me.  As I mentioned previously, my husband was home sick all of last week.  So I got a slow start.  Also, I didn’t do as much work as I might otherwise do on a regular week.  Then the latter half of our first week, I was spent prepping for my first week back on campus – tweaking the syllabus, coordinating the emails for the class (they’re an intellectually & developmentally disabled bunch of young adults), figuring out how to work around the class with my errands, etc.  So I didn’t have all too much time to get anything firm going.  I like the idea of limiting my email access, so I think next week I’m going to focus on culling that down to only a couple times a day – not easy when you live online.

Which of course means, there wasn’t so much mindfulness going on while I was working.  As I mentioned in a blog post, what I have been totally aware of are the many sights and sounds that have been going on.  While I wouldn’t want them to come much closer, I love hearing the coyotes howling while I’m drifting off to sleep during the full moons.  And nothing beats the scent of orange blossoms on the air every time I step outside.  Amazing.  I did remember to take time and practice my breath work.  In fact, I’ve come to realize that it’s a lovely way to fall asleep.

Time to Get Creative!

PLAY: I did manage to meditate a couple times during the week.  I also journaled once I got around to picking up the book.  Funny enough, in four days, I think I’ve been to Michael’s three times and the stationary store once!  Who knew you could spend $20 on a rainbow of Le Pens (my fave colored pens since my teenage years).  Today I picked up some stamps and had a little fun with that after my post-teaching nap (hope to have photos on my blog shortly).

journal page_stamp

The journaling process is a little tougher than I thought it would be.  Even though I’ve been blogging now for more than five years, I’m kinda used to writing for someone to read.  Not writing for my own sake.  So this is the first time in a long time (probably middle school) that I’m writing for me.  Writing to process what’s in my head and to get it out and acknowledge it.  So I think it might take a bit longer for me to get going with that.

I’d have to say, my biggest challenge thus far has been the yoga aspect.  I took a yoga course at the community center about 10 years ago, but I never really got into it.  I’ve also taken the occasional class to try to get back into it – you know everyone says it’s supposed to be SO good for you.  But I couldn’t seem to get into my own practice (even though I have my own mat, my own CDs and quite a few audios).  I have found two gentle classes that  I’m going to try out later in the week.  Maybe if I can just learn some of the basic moves (again), I can start a late afternoon practice.

Something I did get out of this whole first week is a kind of self-awareness.  I’ve noticed this past week that I easily recognize when I’m frustrated or angry (LA traffic can do that to the sanest of gals) as well as when I’m tired.  But the other thing I noticed after rereading the Tranquilista chapter, is that I seem to have the tendencies to get caught up in the *why* of not being able to do something.  Like the morning ritual. I was really fighting myself thinking I had to do EVERYTHING – meditate, drink my tea, journal, affirmations, breathe work, yoga, you name it.  What I realized, is that I just need to find the time and the space to sit with myself for a moment or two and set some intentions. And well, that I can do.

Can’t wait to see what’s in store for next week.

Living the Tranquilista Lifestyle: Week One

Okay, we’re trying this writing thing full on.  I’m using the OmmWriter (for Mac only, I believe) so it will provide the background noise and block out all my other applications.  This way I can just write and not get pulled away by other things.  I might need to change up the background soundtrack though – not sure all these church bells are working for me.  Okay, I switched it to just birds – much better.

I’ve told the boys (the hubs and the furry ones) that “mama needs some quite for a few, so I’m shutting the door.”  And as one would expect, they don’t care.  But I shut the door none the less.  I’ve also got my cup of tea by my side.  I even dug out my super pretty mug.  I love the mug (I’ll include a photo when I repost this in the blog – see below), but since it’s more about pretty than practical, it’s not thick enough and my tea typically cools way down before I finish.  But I figured I needed to work on being present so I went for the pretty.

So I’m mid way through the first week of the Tranquilista e-course.  And while there’s no right and wrong here, I feel a bit like I haven’t been pulling my weight.   We’re supposed to (yes, I actually said that), first and foremost, create a morning routine.  (Funny aside here, as I was typing this, I called it a “weekly” routine, bet there’s some meaning in that little slip up).  This morning routine is to include all if not most of the following: meditation, yoga, journaling and well, something to set up the ritual.  I’m thinking it’s all about centering and focusing on the self.

Thing is, I haven’t really done anything yet.  I did write (and doodle) in my journal for a bit yesterday (and I’ll work on decorating the cover today). Oh and I’ve downloaded the Tranquility to Go exercises (yoga, I think) on my iPhone.  But that’s it. Nothing special first thing in the morning.

Then again, this has been an oddly different week for me.  The hubs was home sick all week (seems he caught what I had the previous week when he was in Austin).  So basically, I never really felt like I had any alone time.  Granted, that was all just a matter of perception.  I mean, at any given time I can/could do whatever I wanted.  I spent quite a bit of my time away from him either working, reading, running errands (many for him) or spending time with friends.  But the thought of going into another room to meditate or do some yoga while he’s around kind of weirds me out for some odd reason.

I know he doesn’t care.  Hell, I’m sure he’d support it.  Anything to make me happy or help me succeed and he’s all for it.  But I just feel like he’s right there.  So I do nothing.  Or more to the point, I do something else.  Something other than I should or could be doing.

I’ve considered sitting in the park and maybe meditating there.  But then it’s kinda the same thing…other people will be there.  They’ll know what I’m doing and think I’m weird or something.  Funny, the more I sit here and write about this, the more I’m reminded of an intuitive session I did a couple weeks ago where we realized that I often seem to let the image or thoughts of  “they” and “them” kinda rule what I do.  I guess this is all a perfect example.

Which of course, means, in my own non-yoga-y way, I am in the moment and being more aware of what’s going on around me.  Right up there with noticing more smells and scents in the air when I go outside (which is super funny to me considering I seem to still be dealing with a sinus infection, but yet I can still notice the orange blossoms – which are so amazing smelling!).  I also noticed the bread company baking their wheat bread last night.  We were all snuggled up on the couch watching a little TV and all of a sudden I got the slightest whiff of the bread.  If there wasn’t a bread making factory (think Wonderbread type of thing) a couple miles away, you’d swear it was the mind playing tricks on you.

And total aside here: I get such a kick out of being able to tell when they’re making white and wheat bread.  You can totally smell the difference.  Funnier still, you can totally tell that it’s not rustic or authentic bread baking, it obviously smells like something you’d buy in a plastic bag at the grocery store.  It doesn’t smell nearly as good as, say, real bread baking.

So let’s see…to summarize, at this mid-point of the first week, I think I’ve learned or have become aware of a couple of things:

1) I do have a bit of a morning ritual already going – get up, use the bathroom, let the dog out, feed both the cat & the dog, take my homeopathic meds (need to be water & food  free for 30 mins before and after) and then either sit down at the computer or hop back into bed with all the boys.  Granted, it’s not very ME focused, sassy or spiritual, but it is a morning routine.  To make it a bit more about me, I’ve been going above and beyond making sure I have a cup of tea each morning.

2) I have become more mindful of what’s going on around me.  I’ve noticed when I was frustrated while driving – actually said something like this to myself, “wow, look at that, I’m totally noticing that I’m frustrated here.”   I’ve noticed more scents going on around me.  I’ve also noticed that I feel a tad overwhelmed about the *need* to write daily and meditate and do all the things I’m not yet doing.  I’m telling myself that it doesn’t matter and baby steps are just fine.  But there’s a part of me that also wonders if it’s more of myself standing in my own way.

So for a mid-point here, I’m kinda impressed.  Not so bad.  Change is good, right?  Even if we’re talking itty bitty, babysteps of change.

Do you have a morning ritual routine?  If so, care to share?  And if you’re a fellow Tranquilista Lifestyler, how are things going for you as we reach this mid-point of week one?