Happy Yoga

This past weekend, I finished reading Happy Yoga by Steve Ross.

was initially drawn to this book's colorful cover, but was happy to find true substance within the stylish packaging.  From the description of Happy Yoga on Amazon:

"After studying yoga in India and traveling all over the world with traditional Vedantic masters, Steve Ross returned to his hometown of Los Angeles with a broadened point of view of what yoga could be. He was surprised to find that yoga classes at home were missing the humor, joy, and celebration that fueled his Eastern studies. Instead of expanding and enhancing the joy of being, Western yoga classes focused obsessively on correcting body positions and developing a picture-perfect physique. Determined to keep his yoga practice true to cultivating bliss and inner radiance, Ross started his own yoga studio and has created a yoga movement in Los Angeles that is, to put it simply, revolutionary.
oss lives and teaches according to his belief that the secret to yoga is not obsessing over whether your feet are parallel or whether you can bend as far as the person on your left can, but about transcending the serious and allowing joy into your life, your body, your mind, and hopefully your yoga practice itself. It's about lightening up."

This was d
efinitely an inspiring read about in infusing your practice - and your life - with joy and levity.  I highly recommend it to all you yogis out there!

Image via Maha Yoga.


Healthy Living Blogs

Yesterday, I was happy to learn that Tulips & Tea has been accepted to the Healthy Living Blogs database!  Healthy Living Blogs is a new resource for the health blogging community. Created by Lindsey of Sound Eats, HLB is a site designed to enhance the positive community of the healthy living blog world. Bloggers and readers can explore the site and find more blogs to love, bloggers in their area, and forums to deepen healthy discussion and support.

s you know if you're a regular reader of Tulips & Tea, within the past year, I've made major
improvements to my health and well-being.  As a result, this blog has increasingly become a reflection of my path toward holistic wellness...which, to me, includes not only physical health, but emotional, spiritual, and creative balance.  Registering with Healthy Living Blogs was an expression of my commitment to continue on this healthy path.  I'm so grateful for all the support and encouragement you guys have shown me along the way!

f you're interested in having your site listed on HLB, you can find instructions

mage via
Healthy Living Blogs.


The road you're on

What keeps you going isn't some fine destination but just the road you're on, and the fact that you know how to drive. 
-Barbara Kingsolver

Whether your weekend plans include hitting the open road or sleeping till noon, I'm wishing you a lovely, rejuvenating couple of days.  Tomorrow, we're off on a kayaking adventure with dear friends, Dan and Steph, and Sunday we'll be tackling a long run (8 miles...maybe more?) and celebrating the birthdays of Jason's dad and sister at Level (yum!).

See you next week, mes amies! xoxo
Image via JustKelli.


If I just breathe...

Hello!  Wow - where did this week go?  I feel like I blinked and suddenly it was Thursday!

e had an amazing time on our whitewater rafting/camping trip in beautiful Oak Hill, West Virginia.  I didn't bring my camera because I was worried it would get lost, stolen, or drowned, so alas, I don't have photos to share.  Believe me when I say though, that rafting on Class IV and V rapids is a serious rush, and I highly recommend trying it at least once in your life.  Oh, and I got to meet up with a dear blog friend, Rachel, who happened to be rafting and camping the same weekend!  She was just as sweet as I'd expected, and we totally hit it off.  What a joy to spend some time with this kindred spirit!

ere's a little peek at what else I've been up to this week:

  • Savoring a deep tissue massage, the final of three that Jason gave me as a wedding gift
  • Working on a Wellness Manifesto (which I can't wait to share with you all)
  • Planning a kayaking excursion with our good friends, Dan and Steph, for this upcoming weekend
  • Reviewing and updating short and long-term goals
  • Devouring Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life (full of great info about the benefits of a plant-based diet, for athletes and the rest of us regular folks)
  • Dinner at Busboys & Poets with Jason, my sister, and Selena
  • Planning trips to Chicago (Sept. 2-6)and Boulder/Denver (Oct. 8-11) to spend time with family and friends
  • Crafting my next Foodie Friday post for Tranquility du Jour (to be published tomorrow)
  • Carving out time for running and yoga

It's definitely one of those weeks where my energy feels pulled in many different directions, and though much of it is fun stuff, I still find that it's important to stay centered.  Deep breaths, pockets of solitude, and plenty of self-care help me focus and keep the monkey mind at bay.

ow do you stay focused during a busy week?


Wedding photos: portraits and part 1 of the reception

I apologize for the delay in posting the rest of these pics.  With so many photos, it's taking me forever to go through and choose which ones to post.  But I'm having a blast reliving the wonderful memories.

(In case you missed the first couple of photo sets, you can find them here and here.)  

So, after the ceremony, we took some portrait shots.

With the Jason and the groomsmen, being goofy
The wedding party
With the lovely bridesmaids
With my parents
Both sets of parents, plus grandparents
With Jason's parents

The brick buildings of St. Johns' campus made for a beautiful setting

One of my favorite photos of the two of us from that day

I think the photographer told Jason to pretend he was whispering something in my ear

Whatever he said must've been quite charming...!

Soon it was time to make our entrance at the reception, so we made our way to the reception hall

Our wedding party decided to dance their way into the reception, as the DJ announced their names.  Ross and Nikki did The Robot.

Travis and Mira vogued it up.

While Adam and Ilse raised the roof!

Then it was our turn.  I don't really know what kind of dance we did.  I think I waved my bouquet around a lot.

We made our way to our seats at the front of the room.

It was so much fun to see all of the prep work come together.  I was awed by how beautiful the room looked.

My dad began the festivities by welcoming our guests and then making an extremely moving speech.  I don't think there was a dry eye in the place by the time he was done.

It's hard to tell in this photo, but I was definitely crying happy tears!

The first course was served.  A mixed wild seasonal field salad, with goat cheese medallions, edible flowers, and a lemon-Dijon viniagrette.

During the salad course, Jason thanked our guests and made a beautiful speech.

My mom gave him a double thumbs-up.

I was so proud of him for giving such a great speech!

Then it was my turn.  I wrote down my speech word for word because I was worried that, in the midst of the emotion and excitement, I would forget what I wanted to say.

Somewhere in here, the main course was served, but I guess it was devoured too quickly to be photographed!  Next, Jason's dad gave another very moving speech.

And then, it was the best man's turn.  He started his speech by making fun of the fact that he'd just spilled something on his tie.  

He had the crowd in stitches throughout his entire speech.

This time, I was crying from laughing so hard.

But Adam ended his speech on a serious note, by saying what a loyal and solid person Jason is, and that he knows those characteristics will make for a wonderful marriage.  So true!

Next, Jason's little brother Ross made a surprise speech.  In his speech, he said something I will never forget: "I never thought Jason would find someone who loves him and appreciates him as much as I do.  But then he met Analiese."  It was another tear-jerker, to say the least.

Then it was my sister's turn.  She told stories about some of the goofy things we used to do together as kids.  

I don't know whether I was laughing or crying anymore.  All the emotions were just running together at this point.

Up next: the reception, part 2

All photos courtesy of Roman Grinev Photography.


An outdoor adventure

Guys, I'm so excited!  This weekend, we're joining three other couples for a camping and whitewater rafting adventure in wild and wonderful West Virginia.   (You might remember that whitewater rafting is one of my Mondo Beyondo dreams!)

have not been camping in a loooong time, but I'm so excited to re-live some of my favorite childhood memories of relaxing around a campfire, toasting marshmallows for s'mores, and immersing myself in the peace and beauty of the natural world.  I've got a cooler filled with veggie burgers, copious amounts of bug spray, several rolls of toilet paper, and enough Larabars to feed a small army.

he river above, by the way, is the New River, where we'll be rafting.  Isn't it gorgeous?

ave any of you been whitewater rafting?  Got any stories or tips to share?

mage via wildwaterwv



I'm having a busy couple of days for various reasons and am taking a "timeout" from blogging.  I'll be back later this week with some fun posts (and the next set of wedding photos, as promised).
In the meantime, take a peek at the Please Be Still Etsy shop for cool stuff like the "Keep Calm and Ride On" print above.


P.S. Jason says thanks for the
birthday wishes!


Happy birthday Jason!

A very happy 25th birthday to my wonderful husband and best friend!  I love you and am so happy to be your wife.  I look forward to a lifetime of happiness, laughter, and adventure with you.

No pressure guys, but I know Jason would be tickled pink if I could tell him that "gorgeous women across the country and around the world are wishing you a happy birthday today."  So...feel free to join in. ;-)

We celebrated with an incredible meal at Central last night (mixed seafood "tower" + lobster burger with roasted rosemary tomatoes + decadent mac n' cheese + de-constructed Kit Kat bar) which we atoned for this morning with a 6-mile run.  Today's plans include a special birthday shopping excursion (the details of which I can't reveal yet), and an Eat Pray Love/Scott Pilgrim vs. the World movie marathon.  (We agreed that I would see the latter with him if he saw the former with me.  I love me some Michael Cera, so admittedly this wasn't a major sacrifice.) 

Now, I'm off to bake Ina's sour cream coffee cake for the birthday boy.  I offered to make a baked good of his choice, and he didn't miss a beat before requesting this.  It's that good.  Beware though, it's not exactly a health-conscious recipe.  But hey, what are birthdays for?


A milestone reached and rewarded

Last Sunday, I reached a personal fitness milestone.  I ran 8+ miles without stopping.  As you may remember, one of the items on my Mondo Beyondo list was to train for, and run, a half-marathon.  A year ago, I was more out-of-shape than I'd like to admit, struggling to run even 2 miles at a time. Since setting my half-marathon goal, I've been slowly but surely building my weekly mileage.  I'm now running between 5 and 6 miles, 3-4 times each week, plus yoga, swimming, and/or weight training on days that I don't run.  My primary goal in improving my fitness level and changing my diet was to become my strongest, healthiest self, but one welcome side effect was saying goodbye to over 30 (and counting) pounds within the past year.  I have so much energy.  I'm sleeping better than ever.  I feel lighter on my feet, literally and figuratively speaking.  All of which just makes me even more motivated to continue on this healthy path.  

But for whatever reason, 8 miles has been this mental hurdle.  I'll hit 6 miles, and suddenly my brain wants to intervene.  What makes you think you can run 8 miles?  You're hardly built for distance running.  You should leave that sort of thing to the "real" athletes.   While I'm grateful for my strong yet curvy build, I'm 5'3'' and not exactly leggy.  I know it's ridiculous, but at times (and most often, while I'm running), I struggle with this notion that I'm somehow less "legitimate" than the other runners on the trail.  When this negative voice pipes up, it can feel nearly impossible to push through, especially when my legs are aching, my lungs are begging for rest, and it would be so easy to just call it a day.

So, running 8 miles non-stop was a big deal.  (And in fact, we ended up doing a little more than 8.)  I feel like I've broken through a mental plateau, and I'm now getting psyched for the next milestone, a 10-miler!

While I've been trying to practice mindful consumerism, I felt that a modest reward was in order, so I splurged a teeny bit at Whole Foods.  Here's what I picked up:          

1. Aura Cacia lavender aromatherapy mist
2. The latest issue of Yoga Journal (which actually features Sarah McLachlan, but I couldn't find an image)
3. Locally made bath salts by the Baltimore-based Biggs & Featherbelle (a neat company, by the way...all of their products are free of synthetic fragrances, dyes, and additives)

I'm a firm believer that a reward system can be a fabulous motivational tool when working toward a big goal, health-related or otherwise.  Here are some more ideas:

Treat yourself to a bouquet of fresh sunflowers
Score an eco-friendly Klean Kanteen and sip H20 throughout the day
Spring for a deep tissue massage
Try a new shade of Burt's Bees lip gloss
Assemble a huge salad of organic greens, cherry tomatoes, avocado, cucumber...whatever tickles your fancy and savor every bite, preferably somewhere outdoors
Take yourself on a solo date to see Eat, Pray, Love - and begin planning your next travel adventure
Indulge in a pedicure
Call your mom, sister, or BFF for a marathon phone chat
Curl up with a new book, especially one that speaks to motivation and goal-setting 
(Check out Tranquilista if you haven't yet!)
Pick up a fancy variety of tea...the kind that comes in a tin beautiful enough to re-purpose as a vase

What would you add to this list?  How do you motivate yourself to reach tough goals? 


Wedding photos: the ceremony

Time for some more wedding photos!  Today's photos are of the ceremony.  

By the way...
If at any point, you start to feel symptoms of WO Syndrome (Wedding Overload Syndrome), feel free to skip right on by.  I will understand. :-)  Otherwise, thanks for indulging me!

Jason's mom was escorted down the aisle by our usher, Alex.  Alex is my cousin, and I have so many great memories of playing together as children.  We don't get to see each other as often anymore, so it was truly special that he could be a part of the wedding.

Next down the aisle was my mom, escorted by Marcus (another cousin and younger brother of Alex).  Doesn't my mom look beautiful? 

Then it was time for Jason and his groomsmen to make their grand entrance.

Best man Adam.  

Groomsman Travis.

Groomsman (and Jason's younger brother) Ross.

My dad kept watch from the doorway of the room where I was waiting.  

Next up, the bridesmaids.  Here's Nikki, Jason's younger sister.  Throughout the time Jason and I have been together, Nikki and I have become close and I am so excited to have her as my new sister!

My best friend, Mira.  Stunning, isn't she?  We've known each other since freshman year of high school, and have been best friends since, despite the physical distance.  (She lives in Denver).

My little sister, Ilse.  There was never any question that Ilse would be my maid of honor.  (We're so close that we can have entire conversations with just our facial expressions, and still understand what the other is saying perfectly.)  

And finally...here I am.  I was so excited to see Jason that I sort of forgot about everyone else in the room and just focused on his face as I walked down the aisle.

Here's Jason watching me walk down the aisle.  I couldn't wait to get down that aisle to marry this man.

But I tried to walk slooooowly, just like we'd practiced.

Finally there.  I hugged my dad (and I'm pretty sure I teared up at this point).

As the ceremony began, I tried to listen to what our officiant, Robin, was saying, but my heart was pounding pretty hard!

The view from the back of the ceremony hall.

We had two readings.  The first was this poem by e.e. cummings, read by my mom's cousin (and my godmother), Laura.

The second was this excerpt from Union by Robert Fulghum, read by Jason's good family friend, Anne.

We decided to write our own vows and keep them secret from each other, so that we would hear them for the first time during the ceremony.

If I wasn't crying before, I definitely was now.

Before I knew it, it was time to exchange rings.  Here's Adam handing the rings to the officiant.

It wasn't until we exchanged rings that it really hit me.  We're getting married right now.  It's actually happening.

And then, just as soon as it had begun, it was over.  I remember hearing the officiant say, "You may now kiss," and then suddenly realizing: we're married.


This is one of my favorite photos of the day.  We'd just left the hall and we were all alone for a few seconds as we waited for our wedding party to exit the hall behind us.  

And then, there they were!  Everyone was smiling and laughing.  It was the most joyful feeling.

More smiles.

With our officiant.

All our guests gathered just outside the hall to applaud and wave handmade streamers.  

The streamers were one of my mom's several DIY wedding projects!

Jason held my bouquet while the photographer snapped some portrait-style shots.

I told him it was one of his husbandly duties, now that we were officially married!

Up next: some portraits and the reception, part I.

All photos courtesy of Roman Grinev Photography.


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