Browsing articles in "Blog"

Another Afternoon of Art Journaling

Mar 15, 2012   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Art Journaling, Blog, creativity, self-care  //  No Comments

Before I have another afternoon of art Journaling with the girls this weekend, i thought it was time I caught up on my last afternoon from two weekends ago. Valerie and I got together again to chat and catch up over some tea and our art journals (plus some crispy kale that I brought to snack on). This time we met up close to my place at my favorite coffee shop, Buzz, where we agreed we seemed to have the most space we’ve ever had to journal. We started tearing, taping, gluing, and talking.

part of our spread, and we could really spread out

more of our spread, i was reveling in being able to spread out

Valerie and I are both in journeys in our careers and it’s been great to be able to get together and just relax and chat. I didn’t really have a theme for the pages I created and honestly, I didn’t “finish” any. This time I seemed to add bits and pieces, but nothing was a complete picture.

the start of my pages

playing with layering










i sandwiched the envelope underneath a magazine page

the pages i started, i feel like there's more to go before these will be finished

And I realized when I was packing up, that not finishing any pages was completely okay. I played with layering and decided that I would possibly revisit these pages on my next afternoon with the girls. I also realized that one of my favorite things about art journaling is how it has connected me with others who have similar interests. I’ve made friends through this activity and that has made art journaling that much more meaningful. For me, it’s not just about the images on the page, but about the social aspect. So when I’m not given permission to chatter, it’s almost like my creativity gets stunted and i don’t feel as connected to my journal.

I’m so looking forward to the next social afternoon, where I can catch up with the girls, see where everyone is in life, share magazines, and maybe finish those pages that I started. It’ll be another afternoon of creative playtime, after a morning of creative playtime (I have a knitting morning planned, too) and I can’t wait. And if all goes well, it might be part of a long weekend of creativity, the cherry blossoms are starting to bloom and I think it’s time to break out my camera and find inspiration in nature again.

Do you have creative playtime? Do you prefer being creative by yourself or when surrounded by others?

A Yogini’s Knitting Corner

Mar 9, 2012   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Blog, creativity, knitting, meditation  //  No Comments

It’s been a little while since my last knitting corner and that’s really been because I’ve been focusing my attention on three larger projects, so there wasn’t much to write about. I have finally finished one of those projects – my uncle’s 2011 Christmas presents.

Basketweave scarf - approximately 50 inches long - made with Berroco Remix yarn - pattern from Chicks with Sticks Guide to Knitting

Seed stitch hat - made with the same yarn - pattern #90446B from Lion Brand

I finished the scarf and with so much yarn leftover, I decided I would take a shot at making a hat, and I loved the fact that it only took about 7 hours. The Seed Stitch Hat was quick to make and I think worked really well in this yarn. I am not sure if it’s the right size, I may have made it too big, so as I mailed it to California, my note said, “I hope the hat fits and is your style. If not, please donate it to charity.”

I love knitting and I’m happy to be back on track with both fast and slower paced projects. My niece’s blanket is 64 rows away from completion, my leg warmers have another 9 to 10 inches to go, and now I’ve got another metro project, a really fun hat that I found a pattern for in Knitscene magazine. Progress pics of that one will be along next week, along with featuring some of my friends latest projects. It’s nice to be back on the creative track as we get ready to spring forward.

Are you working on any fun craft projects? Any pattern resources that you can recommend?

Evoking change… adopting a vegan diet

Mar 8, 2012   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Blog, food, self-care  //  3 Comments

In the last four to five months, I’ve been slowly implementing changes in my life. These changes include recommitting to and redefining a daily yoga and meditation practice and eating my veggies. My latest change was about making a sacrifice. I decided to try adopting a vegan diet.

I grew up Catholic and spent all of elementary and high school in parochial school. Although I am not actively practicing now, there are still elements of what I learned that have stuck with me. One of those was either making a sacrifice or doing some service for your community throughout the Lenten season. You may or may not know that Lent began on February 22 this year. And while I may not have gone to receive ashes, I did decide that I would make a sacrifice. I would give up all animal products. I’ve been eating mostly vegetarian for about the last two years now, but hadn’t committed to cutting fish or dairy out of my diet. I love sushi and really, what’s a homemade pizza without a blend of four cheeses. I decided that in 2012 I would cut out the fish, but wasn’t so sure about committing to cutting out the dairy.

In January, I actually signed up for the 28-Day Vegan Kickstart, however I wasn’t ready to commit. So I just kept eating vegetarian (no fish at all). When a friend asked what others were “doing for Lent”, I decided that this sacrifice would be worth it. I would try eating vegan through Easter and depending on how my body feels determine if I will keep it up or keep it up 95% of the time and allow for trace amounts of diary in some of my favorite holiday baked goods, breads, crackers, etc.

I am already feeling better. I slipped up and tried to enjoy my regular pizza lunch two tuesdays ago, I felt awful afterwards (and I mean my stomach, not guilt). I hadn’t realized until I was about 10 days into eating vegan (I started before Ash Wednesday) that my body really doesn’t like cheese as much as my tastebuds do. Completely eliminating it and then reintroducing it taught me this valuable lesson. And eating this way has been an encouragement for me to cook (check out my recent Adventures in Cooking). I’m living on lots of vegetables, quinoa, green smoothies, and other whole unprocessed foods. Although it is slightly processed, I do like to slip some vegan protein powder into my smoothies, just to ensure I’m getting enough.

I wasn’t sure how i would manage eating this way – being vegan – but I am managing quite well. I haven’t gone as far as to stop using leather goods, but I am trying to be mindful about what i buy. Oddly, I’ve been using vegan nail polish for the last four years. My favorite brands – Zoya and Spa Ritual – are vegan. They are made without formaldehyde, camphor, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate.

I feel I’m working to embody one of the yogic values – ahimsa – non violence or non harming behavior – through eating vegan. It’s actually the first of the yamas in the eight-limbed path. Making this sacrifice is helping me to embody this yama, as I stop harming myself by no longer eating the things that my body doesn’t react well to.

We’ll see how things progress over the next five weeks and I’ll make a decision as to how I want to go forward, so deciding if this will be a permanent change. If I continue feeling better and healthy, I think this is a change that I may want to stick with (or at least stick with 95% of the time).

Did you make any sacrifices or decide to give back to the community this Lenten season? Why did you decide what you did? How is it changing your life?

It’s tea time… again…

Mar 6, 2012   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Blog, tea  //  No Comments

I realized that I have been stuck in a rut with my tea choices lately. I have the same ones all the time and honestly that can only last for so long before I get bored. So a couple weekends ago, while I was in Whole Foods picking up a few things that I needed, I ventured into the tea aisle and picked up a few things the I didn’t exactly need. This tea time features some of those items… Tazo Honeybush, Numi Golden Chai, and Tazo Lotus.

Tazo Honeybush – a creamy brew of African Honeybush with subtle fruit and floral notes – Honeybush with natural flavours.

I bought this tea and wasn’t exactly sure what I was getting. The name sounded pretty, but I had never heard of Honeybush before. So while I was in the store, I looked up what Honeybush is and learned it is a cousin of rooibos with a sweeter flavor and blossoms that smell like honey. This herbal tisane was right up my alley. I enjoyed it at work in the midst of a rather busy day when I was looking for a dose of tranquility. It brought me into a different space and helped me to find that bit of relaxation I craved. As the box describes, there are fruity undertones. With a tiny bit of stevia in the raw (one packet got me through 3 cups), the tea felt perfectly balanced. I really enjoyed it. I’m happy I chose this tea, even if it was because the name sounded pretty. It added a nice bit of variety to what had become a routine dose of herbal tisanes.

Numi Golden Chai – fair trade certified organic Asam Black Tea, organic cinnamon, organic ginger, organic anise, and organic cardamom.

I bought this tea because it contains a lot of the flavors that I have come to love over the last couple years. And given my recent revelation that I do like chai, I couldn’t pass up a variety that I hadn’t tried by Numi. This tea was delicious. Unlike some chai teas that can have a very strong flavor, this one is nice and subtle. The spices are definitely present, but they don’t hit you over the head. And the Asam isn’t too strong. This tea was a nice change of pace from the stronger chais that I’ve been drinking lately. On a side note, the spices were so well-balanced, I didn’t feel like I needed to add a lot of sugar to it in order to enjoy it. A tiny bit of stevia for a hint of sweetness was all I needed. This tea was a nice complement to my breakfast smoothie and very likely a new staple in my tea cabinet.

Tazo Lotus – a decaffeinated tea with subtle essence of lotus blossoms – decaffeinated green tea, natural lotus flower flavour and other natural flavours.

I have to admit that I only bought this tea, since it came in a box of assorted Tazo teas. That being said I’m so happy that I discovered it. I poured the hot water over the tea bag and immediately was greeted with a wonderful floral aroma. It’s not surprising that I would be attracted to this, I love flowery teas. I’m not sure how they make it decaffeinated, but that is a nice benefit, since I try to keep my caffeine intake low during the day. It still drives up my anxiety and even a lot of deep breathing during the day, sometimes can’t create a good off-setting relaxation response. The green tea isn’t as dominant a flavor as it could be, it’s well-balanced with the lotus flower. I can definitely see myself acquiring a box of this for my tea cabinet. For now, I savored the cup that I drank today and will savor the cup that the second teabag will make.

It has been a wonderful week of tea time and loving exploring these new tea varieties. When was the last time that you had tea time? Have you been stuck in a tea rut and picked up any new varieties that you would to break out of it?

Adventures in cooking… how I learned to love brussel sprouts

Mar 1, 2012   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Blog, food  //  No Comments

a trio of roasted veggies - crispy kale, butternut squash, and mixed veggies

If there was any food that I didn’t like to eat when I was growing up, it was brussel sprouts. Now that I’m an adult I decided it would be wise to give these mini-lettuce looking vegetables another try – they are good for me after all. So when I saw them in my local Trader Joe’s a few weeks ago, I decided, now was as good a time as any. I’m not a fan of wilted greens so finding the right cooking method would be key.

I took some inspiration from Chef Anne Burrell. I remembered watching one of the episodes of Secrets of a Restaurant Chef several months ago, how she made oven roasted brussel sprouts. Growing up, my father used to steam them, making the leaves all wilted and I have never been a fan of wilted greens, so oven roasting seemed like a good alternative. I decided I would give them a shot, mixed with oven roasted kale and butternut squash. I took the plunge by cutting off the bottoms, removing the bad leaves, and then quartering these little lettuce-like heads. Before I put them on my baking sheet, I separated all the leaves as best I could. I coated them (and all the other vegetables) with a bit of olive oil, some sea salt, and some Italian seasoning. Italian seasoning is my go to seasoning blend. I love the flavors and have found the it goes well in a large variety of dishes that I make.

roasted brussel sprouts, butternut squash, and green beans

my first batch of crispy kale

roasted butternut squash and brussel sprouts


I always roast my vegetables on a jelly roll pan lined with aluminum foil (for easy clean up). I spread them out in an even layer, so that they can cook evenly and always try to keep all pieces about the same size so that they cook evenly. I think you can vary the oven temp and cooking time, but what’s worked well for me is to set the oven to 300 degrees and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Generally I make these a day in advance, storing them in a glass container and then heating them up in the microwave at work for 3 minutes. I find that any al dente veggies do their final cooking when they are reheated.

butternut squash and brussel sprouts - before roasting

roasted carrots, broccoli, and brussel sprouts


roasted butternut squash, broccoli, mushrooms, and eggplant


Using this cooking method, I’ve also made crispy kale, which is prepared the exact same way and I find the cooking temp and time are comparable. When my oven is on, you will likely find all vegetables roasting together, so this fact about time and temperature are important. I don’t store the kale in the same container as my other vegetables though, because I found that the crispness tends to disappear overnight when I do that, but in its own container, it stays crispy for several days.

It’s odd how much I love brussel sprouts now, even though when I was a kid, I would do all that I could to get out of eating them. I even texted my dad a picture of them one night, because I thought he would be so surprised and proud that I cooked them (and actually, yes that I cooked in general). I have realized that the more veggies I eat, the fewer cravings I have for sweets, so that being said, I’m going to keep eating my veggies.

Are there any vegetables that you didn’t like as a child that you love as an adult? What changed about them that made you like them?

It’s tea time… again…

Feb 27, 2012   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Blog, tea  //  No Comments

I drink both loose-leaf tea and teas that come in tea bags. And those tea bags have a variety of different styles of tea tags. Some just include the name of the brand and maybe even the name of the tea. One brand, Yogi, actually includes inspirational phrases. Lately, I’ve been finding some great inspiration and I decided to save my tea tags. I created a fun card with some of them, that I have put up in my office, at the last art journaling workshop I attended. But before I did that, I had fun capturing them with Instagram and sharing them. Normally tea time features teas that I have recently experienced. This edition of tea time will feature my ever-growing collection of tea tags.




















this is how i've been displaying them at work (plus that one from a fortune cookie)

yes, these aren't exactly tea tags, they are candy wrappers from DOVE and also filled with inspiration.












I hope you found some inspiration or a gentle reminder in these the way I have.

Do you ever find inspiration in your tea tags? Any tea tags that you’d like to share?

Adventures in cooking… chia what?

Feb 21, 2012   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Blog, creativity, food  //  2 Comments

chocolate chia seed pudding

I have to say, I have been spending a little bit more time in the kitchen lately. During my Saturday afternoon of art journaling, I asked my friend Valerie about the chia seed puddings that I keep seeing her post about on her blog. I have often wondered about it and so I decided to give it a try. I bought the chia seeds a while ago, as I learned that they are a good source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and calcium, and decided I’d like to give them a try. Up until this point, I only put them in my smoothies. Knowing there were more uses, I decided to try out a chia seed pudding. After getting some tips from Valerie and re-reading her blog, I came up with the following recipe (to make 2 servings):

  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk (drinkable kind, rather than canned)
  • 6 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sweetened cocoa powder

Whisk the ingredients together and put in a sealed container overnight to chill and thicken. Next day, take out of the fridge and enjoy. You can add frozen fruit or other things if you so desire.

Chia seeds can absorb up to 9 times their weight in water. Since I’d never made this before, I was curious to see what was happening, and I checked on my pudding a couple times in the first two hours it was chilling and watched the chia seeds expanding as they were absorbing the liquid. I finally let it be and when I pulled it out the next morning, I had the above. It was a thick, tapioca-like pudding, which had the perfect amount of chocolatey-ness. I didn’t know what to expect when I tasted, but was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It was fast, easy, and tasted good. I don’t think you can get a better combination in a recipe. I have learned that I need to adjust the quantities sometimes of the liquid to chia seeds, because it can be too thin, but overall, it’s been easy to make and quite enjoyable.

I’m excited to try different variations of this and to use different milks. Although I believe, I’ll likely make all of them some variety of chocolate. I’m always looking for healthier ways to enjoy my favorite sweet treat. With the right blends, this could make a great breakfast or lunch meal or made in a basic way, a really great dessert. Looking forward to making my next batch.

It’s tea time… again…

Feb 20, 2012   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Blog, tea  //  No Comments

My last tea time post featured 3 (Shooting Star, Sunset Oolong, & Golden Jasmine) of the 6 flowering teas that I received as part of a lovely flowering tea set for Christmas. I definitely enjoyed drinking and looking at those teas. This is the second flowering tea edition featuring Numi’s… Dragon Lily, Jasmine Lovers, and Lavender Dream.

Dragon Lily

Dragon Lily – white tea with orange lily petals has a velvety, apricot flavor.

When this tea “bloomed”, I was in awe. It was so pretty – a gorgeous orange flower, and a really full bloom. I was more than a little surprised. I actually resisted drinking the first pot for a little while because I wanted to stare at it and admire it. This is another tea that feels indulgent. It’s rich and silky. I’m definitely enjoying it and finding that I can get at least two pots of tea out of each bloom.

Jasmine Lovers

Jasmine Lovers – white tea leaves and string of Jasmine flower releases a honey nectar taste.

I probably let this tea steep a little too long, but it was definitely okay. This tea was beautiful to look at. The flowers bloomed big and fast. This tea has a smooth flavor and I could taste hints of the honey and nectar. It was very enjoyable to look at and to drink. I can say with certainty that I’ll be investing in more of this kind. It’s the type of tea that would definitely give me a pick me up during the day in more ways than just the caffeine boost.

Lavender Dream

Lavender Dream – white tea with crisp, aromatic Lavender flowers compliments a tangy Hibiscus flower.

I drink fruity, flowery teas a lot, as they are by far my favorites and this one does not disappoint. Short of it being one of the prettiest of the flowering teas I’ve enjoyed, it is flowery and tangy as the description promises. The afternoon I enjoyed it, it was right after lunch and it was definitely a great one to have after my meal. And it was really pretty to look at (took about an hour for it to fully bloom). It’s pretty to look at, has a nice tang to it, and doesn’t require any sugar to make it enjoyable, plus without over steeping, it has a light flavor. (When you over steep it, it gets a bit bitter, but most teas do.) I almost definitely want to invest in a bit of this. It was a very nice treat on a cool afternoon.

After enjoying all this flowering tea, I am definitely going to need to invest in some more to have when I would like more than just a pick-me-up from my afternoon tea time.

When was the last time you had tea time? Any recommendations for other flowering or blooming tea varieties and brands?

Adventures in Cooking… kale, peaches, and a blender

Feb 15, 2012   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Blog, food  //  No Comments

My last adventure in cooking found me experimenting with quinoa. A few weeks after that I decided it was time to resurrect my passion for the green smoothie (and it was more than a little bit important for me not to let the great kale I had bought go to waste). When I bought the kale, I had these hopes of making kale chips, which may be possible at some point, but smoothies were where it was at. I defrosted some of my summer peaches. (My money saving tip, when peaches are in season at $1/pound, buy lots of them, clean them, and cut them into bite size pieces. Freeze in freezer safe bags for use throughout the winter. I’m sad to say that I’m almost done with all of my summer peaches.) And the next morning, I decided i could not be lazy anymore and whipped up the following:

1 – 2 peaches
2 – 3 cups of kale
2 tbls chia seeds
1 – 2 tbls pure maple syrup to sweeten
1 – 2 cups water to adjust thickness

I placed it in my blender and that was it. 10 minutes later, I had a delicious and nutritious breakfast smoothie and I wasn’t wasting that beautiful kale I bought. The next time I made this smoothie, I followed some simple advice from my friend Valerie (she read the user manual, I did not). During our last afternoon of art journaling, we discussed how to load our high-power blenders. And I had apparently been doing it wrong. In the high-power blender, the fill order should be: liquid, powder, greens, fresh fruit, frozen fruit. I applied this principle the next time I made my “super” green smoothie (substituted wheat grass powder for the chia seeds) and it was finished in 2 minutes.

This is a modification of a staple smoothie that I wrote about a few months ago. I have found I really enjoy using the maple syrup for a sweetener. I like the taste and sweetness level more than any other sweetener. I still have some kale left, so maybe chips will be in my future later in the week or next weekend or maybe just a few more smoothies.

Do you have any favorite smoothie recipes with kale? What is your favorite sweetener? How often do you find your way into the kitchen?

Another Afternoon of Art Journaling

Feb 13, 2012   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Art Journaling, Blog, creativity, self-care  //  No Comments

the contents of my ephemora packet... a fun take-away from the workshop

I actually started writing this post as I sat in Philadelphia’s 30th Street train station waiting for my 8:35 train back to DC, yesterday. I arrived in Philadelphia Saturday for a day of fraternity brotherhood and yogic tranquility. Yesterday, I headed home early in the morning so I could add an afternoon of art journaling creative play led by Kimberly Wilson to my weekend activities.

Sunrise in Philly - Sunday, February 12

I’ve been excited about this weekend for weeks. I got to do lots of the things that I love in two days. And after last Saturday’s art journaling afternoon, I’m completely ready for this one. My bag of supplies was packed before I left for Philly. And I was ready to make a quick transition of bags at my apartment after arriving to head straight out to the workshop.

my spread - images, magazines, ephemora, and supplies



As always, Kimberly started the workshop with a brief explanation and background on art journaling and our first prompt was creating a background, since a blank page can often by a bit daunting to start with.

creating backgrounds - the first prompt



Like the last workshop,  I followed some of the prompts, but not all of the prompts. I created a few backgrounds, which I did work with.

more backgrounds - i was drawn to the lines and the colors in this one








After a while, I ended up in my own world piecing together inspiration. While I had sought out to only find inspiration about personal style, I also found inspiration in words about finding a healthy life and personal transformation. Some images I was just drawn to and so, I used them where they seemed to fit.

inspiration for finding my personal style

color and shape inspirations, plus some 2012 bucket list items, that seemed to fit in









Kimberly also prompted us to work with layering. There are various layering techniques. Some are as simple as adding the tags and writing on them or the card stock. Others are creating foldouts or inserting envelopes to create more private pages.  I was having fun playing with foldouts today.

inspiration for my personal style, using a layering technique

images and words that i was just drawn to, relating to transitions and a healthy life (the page on the left is the foldout page, folded in half)










I also followed prompts on creating a self-care and gratitude list (not pictured) and my top ten (really 12, maybe even more takeaways). I used one of the backgrounds that I put in a few months ago for this top ten list.

Today’s workshop was a lot of fun as always. Some of my friends (Valerie and Christine) and fellow yoga teachers attended, which just made it that much more fun. And afterwards, Valerie and I went over to Cafe Green for a nice vegan/vegetarian late lunch.

It was a great afternoon of creative play and the perfect complement to Saturday’s exploration of tranquility. And it ended with an exchange of e-mail addresses, so that new friends could join in on our monthly scheduled afternoons of art journaling.

When was your last afternoon of creative play? When’s your next one? Mine will come in about 4 weeks and I’m pretty excited about it.


About Lisa

Auntie to two adorable little boys and a beautiful little girl. Sister. Friend. Yogini. Yoga teacher. Accountant. Knitter. Amateur photographer. Very amateur golfer.

Where to Find Lisa

Wednesdays, 8:30 p.m.
Yoga 1 (1 hour)*
Tranquil Space Arlington

Thursdays, 5:30 p.m. Yoga On-the-Go*
Thursdays, 7:00 p.m. Yoga 1*
Tranquil Space Arlington

Substitute Teach, As Needed*
Tranquil Space Arlington and Dupont

*Click here to make a reservation for any of these classes!

Blog Archive