April 25, 2012

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss

Bittersweet farewell! 
In my yoga classes this week I have been talking a lot about how it is that we create our own world and that's exactly what happen when I began this blog three years ago. I made amazing friends, had the opportunity to test out a lot of products and go on some incredible adventures.

At the time I began this blog my life was different. I was a girl with a day job and a passion for the outdoors, a passion to get people outdoors. I am still that girl. However, I am also now a girl who loves teaching yoga and a Velocity Vamp (aka freelance consultant). My life has shifted, my responsibilities have evolved. I have become so focused on helping other people make their dreams come true because I know it can happen, it happened for me when I began Cupcake Mafia.

Yet, lately, I have also been talking a lot about the obstacles we make for ourselves, the things that pull us back to where we were, rather than where we're going. The obstacles are often time an illusion, not really there, but we let them hold gravity for us.

For me, Cupcake Mafia has become a bit of an obstacle. It's something that I love and such a huge part of my character but lately I find the post ideas I have don't resonate with the container I've created around Cupcake Mafia. I find myself coming up with thoughts and experiences I want to share and they're "just not right for Cupcake Mafia".

I find myself teary-eyed as I write this post. It's hard to let go, it's hard to say goodbye. Yes, it's only a blog and it doesn't mean I won't be writing other places, but this blog came at the beginning of a time in my life where I found my own way, quit makes excuses, blaming others and took control of my own life and happiness.

So I thank you all for being here with me. Whether you've been here the whole time or just recently discovered this little corner of the internet you have been an important part of my life.

I will continue on Twitter as CupcakeMafia, after all, who else could fit that handle? I will also leave the blog up. I will not be posting further but the archives will be available and I may some tweet about them from time to time. If you want to stay up to-date on my doings, of course there is twitter. You can also visit my yoga site, Urban Asana and my consulting site, Momentum and Moxie.

Thank you so much! It's been so fun and I am honored to have been a part of your life.


April 20, 2012

Review: Mountain Mama's Tali Wrap

It's fun being a muse...yes, the name of this wrap is no coincidence, it's the Tali Wrap. While I am not expecting, or postpartum, and I probably won't have a baby any time soon, I love this piece! If you're not familiar with Mountain Mama you must check them out. They specialize in casual and active maternity clothing. One of the most amazing things about Mountain Mama is how there clothes work well whether you're pregnant or not. The quality of the fabric and their ability to retain shape, color, and their "new look" is great!

The Tali Wrap comes in two colors, classic black and cadette (a greyish blue). It is a wonderful length, covers the booty and lays quite nicely. The wrap closes easily, tying on the inside and one button on the outside, but it also feels very nice and comfy when wearing it open.

My two favorite features are the functional hood and thumb holes! So many times pieces that drape beautifully have hoods that are floppy or fall down, this hood is soft but structured. The sleeves are nice and long and the fabric is so soft and cozy. The thumb holes make the sleeves feel even more comfy.

As a non-pregnant woman this is one of my favorite pieces to wear for running errands, going to yoga, even hiking in mild weather. It had a bit of flair so you can wear it out and about but also maintains that snuggly element you want in a wrap. I can see how it would easily fit nicely with a growing baby belly and work very nicely for breastfeeding as well.

Check out the whole Mountain Mama line for products that grow with your pregnancy (or pre/post pregnancy) and are excellently crafted investments for your wardrobe.

March 28, 2012

Three Lies I Had To Quit Telling Myself

Photo Courtesy of Bad Girl Bloggers
A little over a year ago I wrote a post titled "The Fine Line Between Self-Care and Sloth". I noticed that bodies in motion stay in motion, bodies at rest will stay at rest without a good kick of motivation. It's not difficult for us to take the necessary rest and self-care time and let it unfold into habitual slack. I've been thinking about that fine line lately and realized there are a few lines that are easy to cross. They allow us to convince ourselves we're doing something smart but really...we could be hurting ourselves (and our reputations). 

"You know Sally better than I do, can you help me figure out how to approach her?" 
I bet you know this situation, it's the co-worker, boss, friend that you have tension with. She's really upset you somehow, you feel like no matter what you do she isn't going to like you. Maybe she has reason to dislike you, maybe not. You've tried to make the situation better and talk with her (or not) and the situation hasn't gotten better. So then you reach out...you seek out help from your friend Jane. 

This is an admirable step but where you take the next step makes a huge difference. I am so guilty of this one I cringe just thinking about it...the "advice session" turns into a rant and maybe just maybe it turns into gossip. Then some how every time you see your dear friend Jane you both end up talking about Sally. It's a vicious cycle. I'm not proud that it's been a part of my character but I am over that lie. The "I'm just getting a little guidance" lie. I've made a pact with myself (and a few good friends)...no more of the gossip disguised as guidance. That is over my friends. 

"It's important for my boss to know..."
When I first began in the corporate world, I think I may have confused it with day care, I was a tattle tale, seriously. I thought it was important that my boss know who was coming and going when, who was on social calls all the time, who was doing their job right. How naive was I?

When it came to my performance reviews I found out quickly I was only being graded on one thing...how well I did my own job. In the yoga world it's easy to fall in those patterns of worrying when other teachers come and go, if they sign their classes in right, all the little details but you have to keep your head in your own game. If you live in a glass house, don't throw stones and that goes double when we don't bring our A game and criticize others. I let go of that "I'm helping things run better" lie. 

"It's more important for me to take care of myself right now."
Remember that self-care I mentioned earlier...I used to cancel plans and take mental health days under the guise of taking care of myself. All because of poor planning. I either stayed out too late the night before or put too much on my plate. I really believed the "I'm not hurting anyone" lie. 

I was hurting anyone who had to cover for me at work by adding stress to their day. I was hurting my friends by canceling on them and being unreliable. I was also hurting me. I was gaining a reputation as a flake and someone who can not be counted on. Some people are okay with that and in some industries flakes are the standard. When did we decide that was okay? I say no to flaky, no to irresponsible and yes to "Tali's a girl you can count on!" 

I can't say I always succeed at telling myself the truth. However, I am really trying to not let these three lies dictate my life, how I see my self, and how my relationships with others take place. Are you telling yourself lies? Have you made overcome any lies that were hurting you?

March 21, 2012

Review: Concious Box

It seems like there are hundreds of new organic products every month. Those of us who love new gear also flock to the newest sunscreen, snacks, and products for the mindful consumer who values health and the planet. However, it can be pricey to try out full-size items or to even locate them to try in local stores. Concious Box has you covered!

Now, one of the best parts about receiving your monthly Conscious Box is that feels like you're getting a little present, a present in 100% recycled cardboard box with recycled tissue paper and vegetable inks! Included in the box not only are the bounty of goodies and samples but note cards on how to re-purpose the box and details about the products. 

Now to the fun stuff! For $19 per month (including shipping) you get a box filled with a variety of samples, some trial size and some full.  I tested out the January Box and it included Energy Bites, tea, compostable cutlery, coconut oil, a hand/mat wipe, perfume, a few snacks, toothpaste, Yerba  Mate,  hand sanitizer and more. While I wouldn't use all of these items I will (or have) used most. The others I am keeping on hand for gift baskets or to share with friends.

The Concious Box is a great present for yourself or makes a great gift for a friend. You can order month by month or order a subscription for ease and a little cost savings. A great idea for upcoming Mother's Day and Graduations!

March 1, 2012

Review: prAna's Etta Top

It's no secret that I love prAna so it probably comes as no surprise that I have another prAna review. This time I had an opportunity to try a top that I would normally not buy for myself...I have a fear of wardrobe malfunctions and the Etta top with it's asymmetrical straps seemed ripe for a cupcake slip.

I am pleased to report, I was wrong. The way the Etta top is cut is flattering, and a little sassy while keeping the girls completely secure. The smaller strap and interior shelf bra gives an added bit of security. As a curvy girl  I really appreciate a design that performs while looking cute.      

One of appeals is the beautiful print and variegated color, it's very flattering for all body types. Another is the Veeda performance fabric, made of 45% recycled fibers.

I will definitely keep wearing this top for teaching and practicing yoga, and climbing. I would even consider wearing it out in the evening with the right skirt or pants. Available at prAna.com.        

February 10, 2012

Revisiting Gratitude and Grace

This morning I was reminded that it's almost time for my birthday and I feel like so much has changed in the last year. However, a lot has stayed the same, those things that which create my foundation and core being. I went back and read this post from last February, and it is still a regular part of my life. As my world has expanded I wanted to share this with those of you who may not have known me then. 

Thank you for being a reader and part of my world. 

Gratitude and Grace

At the beginning of yoga class, we're often asked to set an intention or to send our practice where it needs to go. This is a practice I have extended to other parts of my life like climbing, hikes, bike rides, the activities that help make that connection between the body and soul easy to see.

Sometimes setting that intention is really easy. There may be an area of your life where you're struggling or a loved one in need so your intention is very clear. Other times it's not that easy. Maybe all is going well or it's just too messy to bring it to the mat. At those times I have always had a staple intention, simply to practice for those who can't. Move for those who can't. Be present for that period when others can't. This intention has served me well.

Recently, I began to think about that a bit more. Sending your practice out to an anonymous stranger who can't practice is a lot like praying for someone you've never met. I think that's something we've all done. Whether we've been sending good vibes out to our co-worker's sick daughter or keeping good thoughts for someone we heard about on the news, we all do this to some extent.

Chances are if most of us pray for a stranger in some way, well then a stranger has sent good energy our way. Have you felt that before? I have and it's pretty awesome. So now when I am not sure where to send my practice I still send it to those who can not practice but I also send it to every person who has ever prayed for me, those I know and those I will never meet.

So I invite you,  the next time you're on your mat or about to begin a hike, walk or ride to send it out to all those who have ever given you energy when you needed that extra bit of love, even if you've never met them. Be mindful, be thankful and be present for them.

February 1, 2012

Loving Leap Year - the Playlist

I haven't been able to put a finger on what I have been feeling lately. Other than a little head cold I have felt amazing. I am energized, giggly, giddy, and ridiculously optimistic. Then I realized I am in love...I am in love with the potential that my life holds right now. I look at how much things have changed in just one year, with just a little work. The idea of what will happen as I focus more, put my energy in the right places and be open to growth...well it's dizzying. So I made a playlist...what else can you do when you feel so good?

January 12, 2012

Whispers of Success

I used to think in really crisp black and white views. I think we all do at times. I would look at what "success" meant and it often had an all or nothing view or at the very least numerical quantifiers. Whether it was the grade of a climbing route, how fast I biked, or how many miles I hiked there was always something related to a number.

When I began teaching yoga I am sure there were a few of those success parameters floating around in my head. How often I taught and how many students showed up were indicators of success. Yet, in the past few months a lot of that has faded away. I have found that success as a teacher comes more from how teaching makes me feel and how I interact with people. I have experienced milestones I had never even dreamed of.

  • I have students bring me gifts. I would NEVER expect this and it's not about the material items. However, when I have brought gifts to my teachers they've been the ones who touched my life. It feels awesome to have that connection. 
  • Along a similar vein I have students who have sent me emails, posted on my Facebook, and stayed after to talk to me. Whether or not they're sending compliments, sharing ideas, or inspiration that connection is, again, amazing. 
  • I've been asked to collaborate with other teachers on workshops and projects. When you have exceptional peers and are asked to join them, wow, just wow. 
  • I am still pumped up for my personal practice every day (okay ALMOST everyday). 

These emotional quantifiers have bee such a better way to measure my success. Tying into that which fuels my passion and makes my heart smile has pushed me further than any number on a scale. 

I am thinking about how I will plan my adventures for 2012. How these emotional indicators will play out in success as far as hiking, camping, climbing, cycling and racing goes in 2012. It's different, but it's the same. Maybe numbers do come into play throughout these activities...but that number will be the percentage of time I feel energized and how many times I smile throughout the day rather than what rating a climbing route is or how fast I can hike. 

Do you have emotional quantifiers for your life? If you don't, can you try? Where are you currently experience emotional indicators and how can that expand?

January 9, 2012

Leaping Cupcake!

They say time flies when you're having fun...which maybe why I haven't posted in a few weeks. I have been teaching so much, getting outdoors more and really contemplating how I will take everything to the next level in 2012.

I've been having a lot of dreams where I find myself in Hanumanasana, more commonly known as splits. This is not a pose that I am able to get into the full expression of during my waking life. Yet each time I have this dream I am showing someone that I can only go so far and then bam, I am there. So why is this significant?

Hanumanasana is named for a great leap taken by the Hindu deity Hanuman. This deity took the form of a monkey and was unaware of the great power he possessed. When called to remember his great power and strength he transformed, and grew and was able to leap from India to an Island in one move in order to save the kidnapped Sita. 

I have been hoping this will be the year that I go part-time at my day job and enable myself to teach more yoga and do more freelance work. I have a feeling my dreams might be trying to tell me it's going to be time to make the leap sooner than I think. 

Have you ever made a big leap? How did you know when you were ready?