Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A weekend of Breathing

So I had a great weekend filled with new kinds of breathing.... my first encounter mainted quite a different definition from my second mind you. First, I had an introduction to Bikrim Yoga or "Hot Yoga" as it's affectionately called. I actually think they should call it "sweat yoga" or "sauna yoga," but that's just me. I mean the room that you do this yoga in isn't just "hot," it feels like a sweat shop! My roommate Kacie heard about this place called "Atlanta Hot Yoga," and she thought that with my small amount of experience in Pilates, I might want to join her. So with our combined determination, we shook ourselves out of bed bright and early (on a Saturday thank you very much!) and went to sweat it out. The room temperature is set to about 103 degrees! You begin and end the class the same way-- with some crazy deep and quick breathing exercises. During the other 85 mintues of the class, lots of  strengthening and stretching positions are performed and oh, did I mention, you are profusely sweating! Now I know that I am kind of a big sweater when I workout, but seriously you could just sit in this room and sweat without doing anything at all! (Don't bother with trying to look nice ladies, everyone looks like they just ran a marathon after this one.) There's no need to be concerned though.... You bring water with you and can stop and drink it as much as you like. Plus they give you like a beach-size towel for your first class--no explanation necessary. I also noticed the instructor cracking the door at times to fan in some cooler air.
All in all, I actually really enjoyed it! After your body temp adjusts to the room and you start sweating, its actually very cleansing. You feel relaxed, limber, and detoxed at the end. Not something I think I'll do every week, but definitely worth trying if you haven't.
My second "breathing" activity was a lot more mainstream and fun! I got to see NEED TO BREATHE in concert! (Ha ha.... you like how I used that word play?) They call themselves a "rock and roll band from South Carolina," but I think they deserve a little more accolade than that. They played a little venue called "Center Stage," and even though the concert was sold out, Matthew and I were able to scalp some tickets right at the door! If you've never listened to their music before, I certainly recommend it. The lead singer has a great soulful folksy kind of voice (yes those are both real words). Need To Breathe put on a great show too!

Pic from concert.... seriously download some of their music!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Happy News!

Since I am not much of a television watcher, I never got one of those coverters after the big cable switch from analog last year (my tv is rather old and small as you can imagine), so I only get channels 2-25 in the TV in my bedroom. Don't worry, our main living room TV is good to go! Now, this wouldn't pose as a problem for me except that I like to watch the news and see what the weather will be like as I get ready for work each morning (it helps finalize my outfit choice for the day). CNN, Fox and Friends, TWC, and any other high numbered channel is out which leaves me with good ole' local news at 6:30am and either Good Morning America or the Today Show at 7:00am. As you well know, local news isn't what I'd call Susie Sunshine. In fact, it's a rather depressing way to start your day. That is precisely why I'm dedicating this post to Happy News! I've seen too many murders, robberys, rapes, and other disturbing acts to leave me with a perpetual sour taste in my mouth. We all know that evil and sadness exist in this world, but there are a lot of amazing miracles and acts of kindness as well. Trust me, I'm blessed enough to see them throughout my workday. Here's a few that you can mull over with that nice cup of java joe this morning....

1. 98 Year Old Woman Earns HS Diploma: MARCH 23, 2010 Associated Press
Ida Ruth Hayes Greene finally has something she's always wanted -- her high school diploma. Ida will be 99 in April. Monday, she was presented with her diploma, earning it by fulfilling requirements related to her life experiences.

2.  Denver Couple Opens "Pay What You Can Cafe": MARCH 05, 2010 MSNBC
In Denver, a little kindness is being served at a cafe where no one - not even non-paying customers - gets turned away.

3. Cancer-Surviving Teen Inspires Classmates: MARCH 17, 2010 MSNBC
After fighting and beating cancer, a Texas high school senior is inspiring her classmates to give back.

4. Teen Catches Falling 2-Year Old: FEBRUARY 05, 2010 CNN
A 14-year old boy is being called a hero after catching a toddler who fell from a window.

*5. Coffee Good for Your Heart?: MARCH 08, 2010 MSNBC
A new study says coffee helps prevent irregular heartbeat. 

* So I like that last story for obvious reasons! :-)

You can watch the videos to see these full stories at the Happy News website. 
I hope you spread some joy today and recieve some happy news of your own.

"We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have."  ~Frederick Keonig

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Green Meets Coffee

If you have been to a coffee shop recently, you may have noticed that the baristas aren't automatically sliding a coffee sleeve on your to-go cup. They have taken the "optional" approach method in order to promote the newly popular "green" standards. Because those little cardboard sleeves aid in our ability to hold an extremely hot paper cup without burning our fingertips most people still grab one without thinking twice. Unless you have been a barista and burned your fingers so many times that they have developed an extra strength power against hot surfaces (speaking from experience), you will probably continue to opt for a sleeve no matter how many trees they may kill. Thus, in order to help preserve Ms. Mother Nature whom we have taken for granted in decades past, I introduce to you the new phenomenon--THE REUSABLE SLEEVE. These uniquely decorated cup-huggers come in a variety of materials including, cotton, knitted crochet, silicone, and other recycled materials fitting both paper and ceramic mugs. Although I have yet to see these ecofriendly gadgets take off in mainstream America, reusable sleeves are readily available for purchase in most local coffee shops today. I believe the obstacle holding back starbucks aficionados is the idea that you have to keep your reusable sleeve with you at all times. One never knows when a coffee craving will hit. Either that or the cute coffee sleeves are only fitting for the female coffee patron. Hopefully one way or another, our tree hugger friends will continue to promote "green living" as we seek to purify our world for future generations.
Challenge: Try to skip the cardboard sleeve today and see how long you can hold your to-go cup before you have to grab a sleeve. Sounds like a fun little game doesn't it! :)

Yours truly,
Coffee CubBuster

Friday, March 19, 2010

Feta Fan

I love me some cumbled feta cheese! In fact I love most cheese in general. Cheese just makes everything better! Have you ever noticed that? Seriously, eat it as a delicacy in the form of baked brie, or just grab a stick of good ole' string cheese--it's all great. With a few exceptions. I'm not that fond of blue cheese or swiss cheese. However, this post is highlighting the wonderful world of feta. Here are a few very EASY, very quick, and very healthy recipes of my own that co-star the white crumbling goodness. Btw... you can use the low-fat feta and it tastes just as good in these recipes! Also, note that I don't put a serving size because the recipes are so easy you can change the amount based on how many you are cooking for. It's not rocket science people!

Pear and Feta salad:

Red Leaf Lettuce
Container of Crumbled Feta cheese
One whole ripe Bosc Pear (skin on or off your choice)
Plump raisins (as many as you like)
Toasted Pine Nuts
Poppy Seed Dressing

1. Wash, dry, and tear the lettuce (salad spinner works best).
2. Place pine nuts (don't skimp on these it's your choice how many you want on your salad) in a small skillet (ungreased). Toast on stovetop, medium heat, for several minutes or until golden brown slightly stirring throughout. *Don't skip this step. Toasting the nuts brings out their natural oils and gives a great flavor to the salad. Just be sure you keep on eye on them because they will burn easily (yes this advice comes from personal experience).
3. Skin and core the pear (if you prefer no skin) and begin to slice off pieces of the pear atop your lettuce. Keep going until you have all the pear you could ever want in a salad! (If you can't find a ripe bosc pear at your grocery store, using canned pears actually tastes good too, although fresh is preferable. Just be sure to drain the juice well).
4. Sprinkle nuts, raisins, and tasty feta crumbles over your salad and toss in dressing. Enjoy a sweet spin on salad!

Salsa Scramble:

4 Egg Whites
Cumble Feta Cheese
Mango Salsa-  (I will have a full recipe for this one day, but for now I use the fresh mango salsa from Publix-it's next to the hummus section! This is semi-homemade folks.)

1. In a greased hot skillet, crack each egg and utilize egg whites only (or the whole egg if you're hungry!).
2. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Sprinkle crumbled feta cheese immediately.
4. Begin to scramble up the mixture as the cheese melts.
5. Add the mango salsa (you can substitute any salsa you like) so that it heats up at the end.
6. Enjoy a twist on the old plain scrambled eggs. This dish is great for dinner too!

Tomato Feta salad:

Container of Grape Tomatoes
Crumble Feta Cheese
Fresh Flatleaf Parsley
Balsamic Vinaigrette

1. Wash and slice tomatoes in half. Then place in large serving bowl.
2. Add crumbled feta to the tomatoes.
3. Finely chop about a large handful of flatleaf parsley and add to bowl.
4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Toss in a small amount of dressing to coat the ingredients (I have made my own dressing for this before, but we'll save that for another day. We are keeping it simple today people!)
6. Enjoy this very fresh summer side dish--it's great alongside some salmon btw!

Hope these recipes hit the spot for you. I'll have to actually start keeping track of how I prepare stuff because so much of it is just tasting and adding. That's the fun of cooking. Up until now, I've never thought the need to write anything down!  Bon Appetite!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Klean Kanteen

 If you know me at all, you know that I have an addiction to Double-Hydrogen mixed with Oxygen. Yes, that's right, I admit it.... Hello, my name is Katie Blair, and I'm a Wateraholic. In fact, a great way to get classified information from me is simply to take away my water bottle. Maybe I should have named this blog Water CubBuster, but there's just not much to say about the clear, wet nutrient is there? Speaking of "my water bottle," I would like to take a minute and thank Matthew Smith for introducing me to the new love of my life--the Klean Kanteen. Before the Klean Kanteen, I had only used a large plastic Nalgene to transport my daily consumption of H2O which to my knowledge was not BPA-free. Now, it is my understanding that the Nalgene brand does in fact make BPA-free products, but I simply was not in possession of one. What's all this talk of BPA you ask. Well, "BPA (bisphenal A) is an industrial chemical that makes plastics hard and transparent. It is widely used in plastic drinking bottles, infant bottles and other consumer products, and also in resins that line cans of food and infant formula. The chemical has been shown to disrupt the hormonal system, potentially leading to reproductive defects as well as brain damage, cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes" (naturalnews.com). Researchers say that drinking from plastic raises BPA levels by 70 percent! Therefore, I am excited to now utilize my Stainless-Steel BPA-Free Loop Cap Klean Kanteen. No I am not selling these water bottles, nor am I gaining any sort of compensation for mentioning them in my blog. I simply love my new water bottle, and thought I'd share the love. :) If you drink water like I do (192-256 oz. per day) you'd go out of your way to talk about it too!
Man am I blessed to live in a place with an abundant supply of clean drinking water. Count your blessings today as you partake in that rare privilege.

See the Top 4 Benefits of drinking plenty of H2O.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Something for everyone!

WOW!  Really, if you ever get a chance to see "Lord of the Dance," I would certainly recommend it. It wasn't just a little kicking and jumping on a wooden dance floor. This show encompassed so many different Irish elements:

1. Dueling fiddles
2. An opera singer
3. A love story
4. A burlesque-ish moment
5. And down-right amazing Irish Riverdancing!

I came to learn that although the performance is still called "Michael Flately's Lord of the Dance," Mr. Flatey is no longer a key dancer. In fact he has been forced, due to the aging process, not be in the show at all. However, I can't imagine him being much better than the amazing dancers that have now taken over. The dance is a mix of ballet, tap, lyrcial, and folk movements. It takes pure talent to make that kind of music with your feet! The audience was even able to particpate in clapping along to the celtic beat. Sadly some people struggled to keep even a simple clap rhythm. Hey, we can't all be Flately right Mom!?!!
I really had a blast though!  Thanks again Momma! I'm pumped for our next date night together.... maybe we'll try out Ultimate Fighting or Pantomime! :o)

Monday, March 8, 2010

"His legs flail about as if independent from his body!"

If you are a "Friends" watcher as I have been known to be, you will appreciate that quote. I am getting to see the Chandler Bing's greatest fear--Michael Flatley and the "Lord of the Dance" performance. I am so excited! I've seen a lot of different types of performances in my lifetime (even the gravely strange or soberly artistic modern dance shows), but I've never seen an Irish Riverdance! My mom got tickets for us back in October for my birthday. She is so astute and thoughtful! In case you aren't familiar with "Lord of the Dance." Here is what Wikipedia has to say about Mr. Flately's Dance:

"Lord of the Dance is an Irish musical and dance production that was created, choreographed, and produced by Irish-American dancer Michael Flatley, who also took a starring role. Michael Flatley found his first fame starring in Riverdance, but he left the show in 1995 before its debut in London after a disagreement over creative control. Flatley dreamed of putting together a dance show capable of playing in arenas instead of traditional theatres. He soon began thinking of rhythm patterns and steps for an a cappella number."

Hopefully I'll be able to take some good pictures of their legs flailing about! Can't wait....Thanks Momma!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Hip hopper

I know many of you are shocked when you find out that I am a hip hop dance instructor. I guess that's because many of you don't really know the real Coffee CubBuster! :o) Seriously, I have spent much of my life dancing, but in the form of ballet, jazz, modern, and competition. Upon graduating from UGA, I began to sincerely miss dancing  so I looked into some adult classes. I found an Introduction to Hip Hop class that I thought would be fun. I'd taken a lot of different intro courses in the past including Folk dance, African stomp, Broadway dance, and Lyrical dance to name a few. So I was pumped to add this genre to my repertoire. I was in the process of looking for a new job at the time, and upon overhearing my discussion with a fellow dancer, my instructor suggested I teach dance! I couldn't believe it! Of course that would be an awesome job, but I wasn't good enough (or so I thought). After organizing a dance resume, getting references, and sweating profusely at the thought of having to choreograph anything, I finally started teaching my own Intro to Hip Hop class two years ago! I teach 8-12 year olds, and it's a blast! We even have a recital at the end of the year. I'll have to record my girls and post it later. Now, keep in mind I teach through a church gym, so it's more like jazz with a funk twist. The challenge comes in coming up with moves and songs that are appropriate for this age group and setting. I still take drop-in adult hip hop classes in order to stay inspired and come up with new steps. Truly this opportunity is one of many blessings in my life.

I found a creative piece of choreography to One Republic's "Apologize." Too bad I can't come up with stuff like this.... (yeah its a guy dancing btw).... If you're not into dance, you may just think it's weird, but that's okay. I think curling is weird! :o)    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUAXLlomC-Q

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A great coffee shop!

If you haven't done so already, you need to stop whatever you are doing, get up, and drive to Roswell square. Well, if you don't live in the metro-Atlanta area, this may be a little tricky, so how about we limit it to those of you who are able to get to Roswell, GA?
There is an awesome coffee house called "Land of a Thousand Hills," and it is just that.... a land far far away from anything seemingly big-city. There slogan is my favorite-- Drink Coffee. Do Good. Each cup of coffee they make is "french pressed" (lesson coming soon on coffee talk page), and every latte and cappuccino has that amazing latte art (a sign made only by the great ones). They also sell some great paraphernalia and have live music every Friday and Saturday night. Trust me, it's SO worth the trip! You'll end up on one of the sofas needing to switch to decaf because you just don't want to leave.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Love to write.... why not try to blog?

Welcome to the world of online communication. Since I am "one of those" who has resisted multiple forms of mass media communication (i.e. Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.) I've decided to let in the smallest amount of technological light in the form of a blog. Now, let me first clarify that I am not against technology all together. I don't sit in my cave keeping track of time with charcoal drawings or listening to my Juke Box waiting for my rabbit ears to adjust the static on my black and white boob tube. Listen, I love my Mac, my iTouch, and wifi on airplanes! I have just chosen to resist the need to connect with all of America by spending all my time in front of a screen. I would just rather read a book at my local coffee shop then become addicted to seeing how many new friends I have online..... I'm just trying to poke a little fun here (I do see the benefits of Facebook--sometimes). However, because my mid-twenties have proven to be a time of great change, and many of my friends/family and I have lost touch due to geography or the simple act of daily hustle and bustle, I figured I'd try my hand at internet updates. I love putting my pen to paper and journaling my thoughts, revelations, and creative inspirations so I'll just try translating that into the keyboard. This new venture was also prompted by an admiration for http://thepioneerwoman.com/ who knew nothing about blogging and has an amazing website filled with recipes, photography, and a classic life story.
Now.... whether or not I actually share this blog site with other human beings is still pending.

To be continued...