not all who wander are lost.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Home for Halloween.

Well, we got home just in time for Halloween...Marny's first ever!! Actually, we got home on Hallows Eve. Brad and Rochelle made an epic feast of salad, duck, pork loin, onion dip, homemade bread and a red wine coli. Bah. So amazing. Julie brought ginger cookies that were divine, and I made some soup and spiced cider. It was great to be back home and be with my Dad...being away from family when they're hurting is never easy. He didn't make it too long - but we drank and ate enough for a small army....


2 quarts apple cider
2 oranges, sliced
1 apple, cut in half
whole clove (4)

Pour cider into pot. Throw orange clives in. Stick the whole cloves into the apple. Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice in. Bring to a boil and then let simmer. To make this an alcoholic beverage...add DARK RUM and enjoy :)

DC and then Homeward Bound

After Nashville, we made our way towards Washington D.C. We stayed at my cousins house in Bowie, Maryland -- which is just a short metro ride into the capital. It was pouring rain, freezing cold, and later snowing on the day that we chose to explore DC -- but the company was fantastic and the museums were great (museum of air and space, as well as the Native American museum). Good times were had by all and then we headed to Jersey....

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Probably the most amazing museum that I've ever been too. Amazing.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Nothin' but Fun in Nashville.

I looooove Garden&Gun magazine. Deb Gibson drops it off at our house and I always enjoy reading this publication from cover to cover. Its a magazine about the South, but it covers all of my favorites: everything from books, movies and epic recipes, restaurant reviews and cocktail concoctions- along with heartwarming stories and hunting excursions. One of the issues had a review of a Nashville bar, NO.308. It's a bit off the beaten path, a locals hangout and where all of the "industry" (other bartenders, servers, foodies, etc) go to get their drink and grub on. It's owned by a young, sexy mixologist- and in the name of supporting young, ambitious, talented women- I decided that this was a MUST for when we passed through town. We were NOT let down. Their cocktail list was so exciting!!! Bah! I felt like a kid in a candy store. I opted for the caipriniha: a cocktail that I enjoyed all over southeast Asia this past winter but haven't seen on a menu anywhere in the states. It's cachca, lime and some sugar. So refreshing, and of course brought back great memories of good times in Asia! Their food menu was awesome, and when the food came out I was even more impressed. I LOVE me some bar food, but rarely does it take center stage. Well- the fish & chips served with a mustard sauce were finger-licking good. The cods batter was crispy, the homemade chips were just right and again- I cannot stress how delightful their mustard sauce was-- way better than the typical tartar sauce that most places give you. We shared some freshly cut and fried veggie chips, which I greedily dipped into the mustard sauce for the fish! And last but certainly not least is their CARNITAS. I have lived in Costa Rica for a fair bit of time, and traveled through south and central America- where tortillas and pig are king in the kitchen. These carnitas were freaking heaven on earth. Huge chunks of succulent, perfectly seasoned pork, topped with some simple tomatillo green salsa and cilantro...laid upon corn tortillas and served with a wedge of lime. THIS is what a true taco other bells and whistles- just tortilla, salsa and meat. It was brilliant. We had an extra order after the first plate was done. No. 308 is everything that a local watering hole should be: a cozy place with reasonably priced, hand crafted cocktails, good service and some damn fine food. Why cant we make this happen in New Jersey? Is it so much to ask? Really...if there was a 308 near my house I may never leave. And this place was reason enough for me to make a return trip to this southern town. Full, buzzed and happy on my discovery- we made our way downtown to Broadway...where all the honky tonks are. We strolled the tourist filled streets, chock full of musicians singing for a spare buck- but ultimately settled in at Roberts. Roberts is one of the most famous, but it also came recommended by Svens dad, Auggie-- who spends a ton of time in Nashville, and who knows good music. Well, he was right. Though the entertainment all along the street was good, the music in Roberts was GREAT. My taste in music is all across the board- and although I won't put a country album on most days, it is my favorite music to go see live (this includes bluegrass too). And I'm not talking "country" as in Carrie underwood and Taylor swift...I'm talking REAL country. Drank several beers, slapped my knee as I enjoyed the music and then headed home and slept like a rock.

Its raining today in Nashville, but goddamnit I am doing my list of touristy things whether it's rain or shine. On the list is to see the Grand Ole Opry house as well as the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The plan is to leave around 5pm and make our way towards Maryland. Stop when we're tired, continue on the next day and ultimately arrive at my cousins house in Bowie around dinnertime. Saturday we will all head into Washington D.C for the day and then home to Jersey by Saturday night!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Final Days of Cross Country

Left Colorado yesterday, drove through all of Kansas (cornfields, cows, and Jesus billboards), and settled in for the night at Kansas City. Woke up super early and drove to Columbia, Missouri for coffee and breakfast with my darling Gina, who moved out there just a month ago. Drove through St.Louis and saw the Arch- then through southern Illinois and now to Tennessee. We arrive in Nashville around 6pm and will enjoy about 24 hours here before making our way northeast towards Washington DC.

Yoga of Heart.

I had a difficult time falling asleep last night, and have been awake since about 3am this morning. We are in Kansas City, a few miles from the Missouri border. Things with Marny aren't as I had thought they'd be, but I'd made the mistake of heading into something with expectations. Expectations to have a situation identical to what we had in Indonesia for those few magical weeks, over 5 months ago. But, I'm not the same person today as I was then. "Life" has happened over these past months, and inevitably I have grown and evolved throughout these experiences, as we tend to do (and should continue to do). I feel like I'm coming into the person that I should be. I feel stronger as an individual- more aware of what I want and don't want, who I am, and what's important. I feel more ready to accept the notion that some things are still a mystery, and to feel confident despite this lack of certainty about certain things.

Just as yoga found me when I was ready, so has Mark Whitwells book, "YOGA OF HEART". I ordered it a while back, and have tried to pick it up a few times but could never quite get into it. Well, apparently I just wasn't ready. Yesterday, I was ready. All of this time on the road, in the passenger seat, with no distractions has given me lots of time to thinks. Miles upon miles to ponder. And now this book-- I'm drinking it up like a tall glass of water on a hot day. I was first introduced to Mark Whitwell a few years back at a yoga conference in Delaware. Laura Warfs classes and workshops LITERALLY changed my life-- they are what inspired me to become devoted to my yoga practice, and to share this passion with others by becoming a teacher. Warf has studied extensively with New Zealand-born Whitwell, and it's under his influence that she's formed her practice. Whitwell is a student of TKV Desikachar, son of Krishnamacharya. I could ramble on and on about how this book has already had a deep impact on myself and my view of "yoga" - but I'll save those rambles for my upcoming yoga classes- and I encourage you, whether you are a yogi or not, to pick up and enjoy this magnificent, compassionate and easy to digest book about God, Truth, Self and...Yoga.

"yoga is the mere participation in the wonder of Life as it is already perfectly Given."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Foot of the Mountain

When most Best Westerns in the heart of town, on a busy street, run at about $150 a night- we got lucky with a recommendation from Emily to stay on Arapahoe Street. FOOT OF THE MOUNTAIN motel is $80/night, at the end of a quiet street, a stones throw from a beautiful park, and alongside a lively creek. This place fully embodies "BOULDER". To go for a hike, I'd simply walk out or front door and across the street onto a path. To get to town it'd take about 5minutes- and then I was seated at an amazing restaurant or hopping through cute shops. Also, I was only 2minutes from OM TIME yoga studio on broadway. All in all, an amazing place to stay and if anyone passes through this brilliant town, I highly recommend staying at these cute little cabins at the foot of the mountain...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Colorado is VERY Cool.

Arrived in Boulder around 1pm yesterday. Marny was tired so he laid down for a nap, and just as I was tying up my sneakers for a walk, I got a call from my good friend Emily Bogy. She was done work and was headed over to meet me. We walked for several miles along the river, through the mountains- enjoying eachothers company, conversation and beautiful scenery. The air here is delicious, and so is the energy. Most people have a smile on their face, and everyone seems to be enjoying the abundant beauty that Colorado has to offer. People were biking, hiking, strolling, running, and even walking tight wires (see photo)! After our walk Em went home to take care of a few things, Marn and I grabbed a light bite to eat and then I swung by and scooped up Emily for a yoga flow at The Yoga Pod. Class was great, and as always- it's particularly special to practice alongside someone you love. We said our goodbyes and then Marny and I headed to Pearl Street for some dinner. We dined at SALT, a fabbbulous organic restaurant. I sipped on a local oatmeal stout by Breckinridge Brew and enjoyed fried Greek olives, steak tartar with pickles and capers, and a prosciutto salad with pickled red onions. Epic meal, awesome service. Early to bed because this morning I headed out to OM TIME on broadway for a 7:30am Align and Flow yoga class. My teacher Amanda was absolutely lovely. My knee was bothering me a bit, but her encouragement to honor our bodies was just the cue I needed. Visited Emily at work to solidify plans for later and now off for breakfast with Marn. Namaste everyone!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Dads been having a rough couple of days, so if you have a few spare minutes please say some extra prayers for him. Thanks everybody <3

Hanging Lake Trail Hike

We left Utah this morning around 7am. Unfortunately we only got to drive through, no adventure- but thats okay because we are more than making up for it now in Colorado. A little after 10am we arrived at Hanging Lake trail. When I looked it up it said that the level was "difficult". Everyone said that for the 1.1mile incline, it feels like you are marching up a stairmaster every bit of the way. Well, they weren't lying. I was huffing and puffing and swearing to myself that I'm going to add some cardio to my life once I get home. The reviews were also spot on in saying that the hard hike is well worth the beautiful reward at the top. The crystal clear bright blue lake, the waterfalls, the view out on the mountains-- absolutely breathtaking, and absolutely worth every single (difficult) step. It took a little over an hour to get to the top and equal amount of time getting back down. When we got back to the car I felt physically and spiritually reinvigorated. All this time spent in the car, and then striking out in Utah, had me a bit down. If anyone passes through Colorado on route 70, this hike is a MUST. Most things that are difficult in life offer up the best rewards. namaste <3

Reward for a Hard Hike...

Well, I ALWAYS reward myself after doing some major physical activity-- and that reward usually involves food and beer!!! Luckily, not only am I in an outdoor adventureland, but I'm also in a town that is chock full of amazing restaurants that use local ingredients, heaps of creativity, and lots of love in their dishes. Yep, they even make their own beer. After consulting my URBANSPOON app I decided on The Pullman. Holy Christ, when I gazed at the menu I could barely speak I was so excited!! I got a local lager and the mussels in a lager broth with chorizo, fries, aoli, and amazing (SALTED) bread! Ugh. Obsessed. I made us a dinner reservation before we were even half way through our lunch. I've already decided on my appetizer, dinner and dessert that I'll be enjoying later!! Marny had a grilled cheese with pulled pork, housemade chips, the most spectacular apple cider vinegar coleslaw, and of course a homemade pickle. Hooray for good food after a great hike! And so...the reward continues. We went to Yampah Spa where Marn enjoyed a massage, and I enjoyed 2 hours in their natural vapor caves (115-125degrees fahr), for only $12. I'd do about 20minutes in the hot, natural steam (coming from the natural hot springs) in the dark cave, and then I'd lay outside in the sun and crisp breeze for 5 minutes. Recharge with water, a cold plunge, and then back down into the cave. Colorado, I love you.

Friday, October 21, 2011



The famous historic Route 66 ain't got shit on 163 north. We picked up 163 just outside of the grand canyon while we were in Arizona, and we've taken that into scenic Utah. Each turn is more beautiful than the next. It's hard to capture it in a measly photo, but here a few...

Facing Fears in the Grand Canyon

I'm deathly afraid of heights. To conquer this fear I learned to fly a piper cub plane in San Diego, and then to rock climb in the limestone cliffs of Loas in southeast Asia. Unfortunately this fear is not as easy to remedy as I'd assumed. Well, here I am at the Grand of the 7 natural wonders of the World. A place that makes you feel so small in the grand scheme of things. A place that evokes a surge of emotions. No matter how many hours I'd spent looking out over this vast abyss, it amazed me each time. No matter where I was along the rim, no matter the view- it was just as magical with each stop, and I'd say to myself, "Fuck- that's beautiful." Anyways- keeping with my 'yoga poses around the world' photo portfolio, I made Marny take photos of me around the Grand Canyon in various asanas. Not to brag or anything, but I have great balance. Doing dancing warrior on a slab of rock that was 10' x 10' should have been no big 'thang. Unfortunately, my intense fear of heights (and sympathize a bit-- we were VERY far away from the inner canyon!) paralyzed me. In the shot where I'm doing a variation of pigeon, I literally crawled out onto the ledge and took about 10minutes preparing myself for a pose that I could do in my sleep. My heart was racing, my hands were clammy and I stumbled finding my way into the pose. Then I became frustrated that I was struggling with a pose that I come into on a daily basis! Well, I closed my eyes. Relaxed with my breath. And I focused on a mantra of releasing fear. As soon as I stopped focusing on how scared I was, I was able to shake the tension I was holding onto, and with that fear gone I made my way effortlessly into the pose. What I'm trying to share with you is that we are capable of so much, and it's only our fears that hold us back. I'm not just referring to yoga (i.e Inversions, arm balances, etc), but also in everyday life.

Fear Releasing Meditation:
Come to a comfortable seated position. Soften your abdomen and focus on deepening your breath. Close your eyes, bring your hands to prayer in front of the heart or let your palms rest on your knees.

On your inhalation, imagine bringing strength and confidence into your system.

On your exhalation, imagine letting go of what no longer supports you (fear).

Repeat this process for as long as you'd like (perhaps around a dozen rounds of breath). After this return your focus to your breath, without the visualization. Eventually expand your attention to your body, your surroundings, and your inner sense of Self.

Namaste my fearless friends!!

Grand Canyon Guide

The Grand Canyon is a once in a lifetime experience for most people. That's why having an insiders insight is essential in helping you to have the best experience possible. Whenever I leave a place I always think, "Well, if I did this again I would do it THIS way instead...". So, here's some tips and tidbits for anyone who plans to go to the very Grandest of Canyons in the future...

Tusayan is the town JUST outside of the GC (literally a 5minute drive from the canyon). Stay HERE. People say that you stay in Flagstaff or Williams, but both of these towns are over an hour away, so if you plan on spending more than one afternoon at the GC then I would recommend just staying in tusayan.

Tusayan, Where to SLEEP: if you're on a budget, you can get a great room for a reasonable price at the RED FEATHER motel. Across the street is THE GRAND. If you're not on a budget id recommend the Grand. It's a beautiful lodge, with a wood burning fire place and a cozy feel. No matter where you stay- MAKE A RESERVATION. They fill up fast. If you're cruising and can't plan anything too far ahead, make sure that you make a reservation the morning you arrive.

Tusayan, Where to EAT: the Grand. And only the Grand. Breakfast, lunch or dinner- all at the Grand. The food was spectacular, their beer menu was amazing, the atmosphere was totally on point and the live entertainment was perfection. Order their Chicken Tortilla is OUT of this World, and hands down the best that I have EVER had. Seriously, I'll be dreaming about this soup for the next few years. Marn and I both had steaks for dinner, because afterall we are in steak and potato country!! Deeeelicious. The guy playing banjo on stage was simply the icing on the (already delicious) cake.

The Canyon:
1. Go to the National Geographics IMAX theatre and see the movie. It's awesome, and a great introduction and history to the beauty you're about to encounter.

2. We arrived at the canyon around lunch time-- which gave us about 6 hours to explore and enjoy the sunset. If you're not doing a full day trek or adventure tour, this is a perfect amount of time to sight-see your way around the Rim. You park your car at the visitor center, so you might as well check out Mather point. From there take the blue shuttle bus to the RED route connection. The Red route runs along Hermits Rest, which in my opinion offers up the best views. The Abyss, Mohave Point, Hopi Point and Maricopa point. The walk from Hopi point to Powell point, then on to Mohave was beautiful. I think that the trails actually offer up better views than the points themselves- which are crowded and tainted by guard rails and such.

GC SUNSET: the sunset, the beautiful sunset. There really isn't a bad place to view this, from anywhere in the park, but there are "better" spots to view it from. We watched the sun go down at Mohave point. In retrospect, this is what I would have done: hopped a shuttle back to our car in the parking lot an hour before sunset. With cold champagne in my backpack, I would drive on 64east, exiting the main part of the canyon. For the next 20minutes along 64east are a bunch of stop offs. I would recommend pulling into the Lipan Point turnoff. The view is spectacular and there is literally NO ONE else there-- they are all crowded into a point somewhere IN the park. After seeing the view at Lipan Point as we left today, I almost stayed an extra day JUST to see the sun set at this beautiful place. Also-- the crowds head for the shuttle as soon as the sunsets. Do NOT leave until 45min after the sun sets. The best pictures we got were 20minutes after the sun had disappeared behind the horizon.

When to Go: Mid-October was beautiful. It was 85 degrees in the afternoon-- the sun was hot on your face, but there was a chilly crisp fall breeze that kept you cool. If youre planning on a day hike, fall is the time to go. It's 105degrees in the summer, and I wouldn't wanna be hiking in that extreme heat given the high altitude. If you DO go in the fall, dress in LAYERS. Though it was 85 in the daytime, the temperature dove as soon as the sun had set, and it dropped to 22 degrees that night. For this reason, if you want to spend a few days hiking an camping in the canyon, I'd recommend the summer. Otherwise, you'd freeze!!

Enjoy. And though taking pictures are great, they do the canyon NO justice- so be sure to spend some time away from the camera too- just taking in the beauty in front of you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Marny the Map Master

Aside from his screwup of leaving San Fran headed west instead of east (a mistake that only set us back about an hour and a half), Marny has proven to be EPIC with maps. I, on the otherhand, get lost in a circle and have zero sense of direction. Today we took 580 to 5 to 46 to 99, from 99 to 58 and we are currently heading towards 40, which will take us to our next destination: the Grand Canyon. We've been in the car for 6 hours now- stopping once for gasoline and once for a coffee and a pee. I've been mongin' on last nights leftovers...refrigeration is over-rated!! Emmy's Spaghetti House leftover spag tastes just as good the second day. We've driven through miles and miles of flat planes, then the Tehachapi Mountains and the Mojave desert. We plan to keep on pushing through, stopping later tonite for some sleep- then driving the final few hours to Arizona.

Falling Down.

It's occasions like this that are the reason I want to stay close to home this winter. Yesterday, my second day of a two week trip, I got a call from my mom saying that they were on their way to the hospital. But not for Dads scheduled Avastin infusion- but for the emergency room. Jesus-fucking-Christ. My mom hadn't had time to grab dads newspaper in the morning, and he'd woken up early- so he decided that he would go outside and grab the paper himself. Well, he fell. So yesterday was spent in HUP, consulting doctors about surgery, the dangers they may encounter and the problems that we will be faced with. LP to the rescue, of course!! Him and Kylee went up to bring overnight stuff for my parents, along with some dinner. God bless them. Today dad is getting surgery on the tendons in his hand, so everybody say a little prayer.

On a more positive note- we packed up this morning, said our farewells to our AMAZING hosts, Shannon and Andrew, and now we're on our way southeast towards the Grand Canyon!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Day 2 Cross Country : San Fran

Breakfast and Sandbox Bakery. Lunch at La Santaneca (el salvadorian pupusas, and fried plantains). Dinner at Emmy's spaghetti house. Cruising the latino Mission district, mural art on 24th street, art galleries, and then bopping along Haight street. Good day. Tomorrow, we set sail...