Day 226: Pouring Water Up My Nose...On Purpose

If you become a better person by doing something that scares you every day (BLOG IDEA!) then today, I became a infinitely more awesome than I was yesterday.

Because I used a neti pot.

It was one of those things that I had planned out even in my "About this Project" section of the blog, and I finally fulfilled it.  I had been delaying this for most of allergy season though, because frankly, I was terrified...

Using a neti pot is a traditional Indian Ayurvedic health and wellness practice, and it also happens to be excellent at treating seasonal allergies, of which I have many. This tradition is a way of cleansing the sinuses and nasal passages with a warm saline solution...that you literally pour up your nose and let drain out the other side.

And finally, on Day 226, I pulled the trigger.

It was awesome. Like, my nose feels so clear and refreshed and cleansed and open and breathable. The pouring was surprisingly easy once you just go for it, and I swear I'm going to use it again and again, through seasonal allergies, colds and beyond. TRY IT. NOW. It's the best thing that's happened since Zyrtec.

Day 225: I just found out there's no such thing as the real world...

[DISCLAIMER: Yes, this is longer than my normal posts, and will require you to read.]

It's funny to me how song lyrics have one meaning and grow into another as I get older. If you don't know much about my musical tastes, I've been a longtime John Mayer fan, and his songs have been particularly influential on my high school and college years. I remember one of the last assemblies in high school, I believe it was a rehearsal for graduation, "No Such Thing" was playing on repeat as we walked into the gym. I can't put my finger on why that made an impression--only to say that I was hoping I'd look back with John Mayer's irreverent but knowing eyes one day and see how I had moved beyond the paradigms I had set for myself and the world.

Fast forward to this project. Earlier in the year, I had asked one of my high school friends, Bruce, to give me some New Thing ideas, one of which was to run through the halls of my high school. I was pretty sure there would be no reason for me to ever go back to my high school, but I wrote it down anyway.

I really had no interest in ever walking those halls again. I've got some sort of hang-up or resentment or towards high school, and I felt as though returning would classify me as "stuck in the past" or as someone who hasn't moved on with her life.

I spent most of my high school days slammed with schoolwork from being in the math, science and technology magnet program and strict ballet practice. That, and I never really found a way to fit in. Not that I was an outcast or anything, it's just that I didn't have very many friends, the friends I did have were equally as busy and stressed as I was. Needless to say I didn't have very much fun.

Come graduation, I remember having this really jaded, sinking, blah feeling about the whole thing...four years of hard work and no fun for what? A seal on my diploma? And it turned out that I went to UGA where I could have likely gotten in for half the work and stress?

All of these things came back to me when my dad suggested I come with him to help judge the Senior Project presentations at Wheeler. He'd asked me many times before to do this, but I finally obliged, in the spirit of doing New Things and crossing Bruce's suggestion off of my list.

Just before going though, I had to pop in John Mayer's "No Such Thing" to gather some inspiration. So much of my personality and outlook on life has changed since high school, and so much of it is epitomized in that song. There's no use in breaking it down line by line (I'm already writing a novel here, anyway) but with a little life experience under my belt, I know JUST what he's talking of, and it makes me smile.

I have been so happy since graduating, and I'm trying every day to "rise above the lie that there's a real world," I still think "the best of me is hiding up my sleeves," and I see that there's "something better living outside the lines..."

And running through the halls of my high school certainly isn't the most exciting New Thing I've ever done, but it's a lot of personal reckoning for my soul. I wouldn't have found out so much about myself had I not been through those four years, and I've certainly changed in ways that I'm very proud of.

I'll likely look back on these years in nostalgic reflection too, and what more will I have learned then?? Who knows, but I bet a John Mayer song will be one step ahead of me. :)

Day 224: My Apocalypse Survival Kit

Simply put, the National Weather Service had me convinced that a tornado was imminent on the night of Day 224, and in order to prepare, Mark and I created a survival kit.

  1. A knife, duh
  2. A candle, although we forgot the matches
  3. Mago's leash
  4. Blanton's bourbon
  5. Band aids
  6. Chocolate Easter bunnies (2)
  7. A half-loaf of bread
  8. Zyrtec (it's allergy season after all!)
  9. A bubba keg of water (that should keep us until we find another water source)
  10. Febreeze (you never know what will stink post-apocalypse)
  11. A trash bag
  12. My iPhone
 Oh...and the most important thing...The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy!

Wait no! This is the most important thing!! (Should I just re-name this blog "Pictures of my dog?")

Day 223: Naked

On Day 223, I was in business meetings all day and then flew back to Atlanta...and then drove in traffic home...and cooked dinner...and pretty much went to bed after that. It was a long day. The only real claim to New Thing fame that I have is that I read the book Naked by David Sedaris in the airport and on the plane.

I haven't finished it yet (only a couple hundred pages in), but it is SERIOUSLY laugh-out-loud, witty and funny. Like, AWESOME. It's just a collection of stories about his life only mixed with a little creative license and a whole lot of witty self-reflection.

Have you read it?? What was your favorite story from the book??

Day 222: Traveling back in Time...

Day 222 was a weird day because I had to travel for business. As in, get on a plane and travel for business. Do you remember the last time I traveled for business? I puked before boarding the plane. It was a completely awful morning.

But this particular morning panned out okay after all, even though this sweet face didn't want me to leave:

Anyhoo, this day wasn't super special, but I did travel to Raleigh, North Carolina for business. Why is this significant? I was born in Raleigh!! And I haven't been back since I left at 4 years old!

I had this sort of "knowing nostalgia" about the whole thing. I've always had an affinity for North Carolina, having that sort of salmon-returning-to-the-birthplace kind of thing. I dunno. It's strange to talk about, but I really enjoy the idea of Raleigh, even though upon return, it just seems like a bunch of strip malls and office parks, much like any semi-suburban, somewhat-urban city is.

I even actually drove by my preschool--La Petite Academy! How do I know that was it? I just knew...and then asked my parents who confirmed my suspicion.

And then I actually ate cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory.

Not a bad business travel day after all!

Day 221: Coaching Clientele

I didn't look anything like this, really...
So I guess things have been ramping up around the ranch--my eagerness to find ways to make money without a 9-5 job is pretty ferocious these days. I'd also like to say that I've become accustomed to a certain way of living and that I'd also like to make as much as I'm making now (if not more) like, tomorrow.

Okay, so, on Day 219, I prepared for my first client meeting, where I have started just a teeny-tiny side project of teaching yoga teachers how to market their services to find private clients. I'd give you all the secret sauce, but who knows if you're going to steal my idea. I'd kill you. Yogically, but effectively.

And on Day 221, I finally met with my first client who I coached to help her market her yoga practice to families of kids with learning disabilities. She, in turn, is helping give me direction for a workshop I'm doing with a LOT of people, starting a couple of months from now.

It's really pretty cool, and may be a way to give me a little cushion to make Atlanta Yoga Scene into a national phenomenon. Not that it will ever make me rich, but it was a lot of fun, and a little thing I think could be really helpful to yoga teachers, who for the most part, bless their hearts, know everything there is to know about yoga and hardly anything about business.

Want my secret sauce for marketing your yoga teaching? Call me...then tell all of your friends...and your yoga teachers...and anyone who you ever come across who says the word 'yoga.'


Day 220: Eka Pada Sirsasana

On Day 220, I went to onlYoga to do a cr-cr-cr-crazy yoga class, in which I ended up doing this awesome pose, Eka Pada Sirsasana:

I would show you in my own picture, but I barfed this morning and therefore have no interest in photographing myself and I certainly don't want to use my abdominals in any conceivable fashion. Blog be damned.

Day 219: Sweet Preparation H!

On Day 219, I prepared for Day 221!

You'll see why this matters later :) Oh, and I COMPLETELY SUCKERED YOU IN WITH THE TITLE, RIGHT!??!?! Ratings, kids, ratings...

What I was going to write about doesn't much apply anymore (thank heavens I waited to write this one!) but this will do quite well.

Day 218: My Days are like Snowflakes...

For my highly-loyal blog followers (I LOVE YOU ALL DEARLY, YOU MAKE MY WORLD GO AROUND!!), you know that I'm viciously behind on blogging. I've been consumed in other things recently, some of which I will reveal at a later date, some of which are just life things and trying not to die of overwhelm.

All I want is your eyes to read this bull-honkey I write out, hoping that maybe I'm inspiring you to try some New Thing for yourself, or just to see the little things as a beautiful affirmation of the non-monotony of existing another day of your life.

But sometimes I'm not very good at documenting this. And Day 218 was one of those days.

I can remember the day rather vividly, I think. I went to work as normal. Afterward, I had planned on going to a yoga studio in midtown, but ended up going to the Open Mind Center in Roswell. There, I used my Passport to Prana to take class. Those were both new.

Then, I came home at about the same time that Mark was getting home from puppy training with Mago. At that point, I made Mark sweet potato pasta with a cream sauce, which was the first time I've ever cooked or eaten sweet potato pasta from the Farmers Market and the first cream sauce I've ever liked, which may be a notable first. I also took a picture of this, but am out of town and can't upload it.

Some time after that, I learned how to make a survey on Survey Monkey, preparing for a SUPER COOL blog post that I'm writing on the Atlanta Yoga Scene site called New School Yogis vs. Old School Yogis, Part I. Those are two firsts--using Survey Monkey and writing the preface to the most awesome blog post EVER.

But I don't think that's what I wanted to count.

I got new toothpaste and body wash, but that wasn't it either.

Confession: I don't know what my New Thing was.


You probably hate me and think I've done nothing but lower your expectations about me and my ability to do awesome New Things. I understand.

However, this is a pretty good representation of the fact that I, no matter how "mundane" the day may be, I really, truly, honestly, am always always always doing New Things. Even when they're not exciting. I'm learning something, trying something, and sharing some part of myself that I've never done.

Every day is like a snowflake for me--and that makes me infinitely happy! So what if it's not blog fodder :)


Kay, so the title was only supposed to lure you in. Suckas!!

Anyhoo, you should know that we're not quite out of the "Leah wants to be an entrepreneur"/"Yoga is my life"/"No, wait, my dog is my life" New Things yet, but on Day 217, I got my first advertiser!!!

(Someday, far far away when I charge way more that $25 for an ad and have little Atlanta Yoga Scenes all over the country) I AM GOING TO BE RICH!

Day 216: FDR

A long time ago, when I was a bit more serious about doing New Things, thinking I'd find myself break dancing, jumping out of airplanes, generally embarassing myself and other more blog-worthy things, I bought a deck of cards from Whole Foods that was a "What do you know about FDR?" They're question cards, very much along the lines of the brain teasers you probably played in elementary school...only for adults.

So, I carried this little deck of cards around in my purse, thinking that on some day I didn't have any super exciting New Thing to do, I could learn about FDR.

I can't tell you how long they've been in my purse now. I know it's been many months. But I finally pulled them out on Day 216 and got the question:

In 1943, FDR promised the Chinese government that the United States would develop a large, long-range bomber to attack the Japanese mainland from China.
  1. What was the promised bomber, adamantly supported by FDR, the development of which generated the largest single US expenditure of the war?
  2. Who was the Chinese Leader?
  3. What was popular name of the air route between India and China by which the bombers arrived in 1944?
Anyone wanna take a stab??? ....chocolate is your prize for winnniiinng!!!

Day 215: Training Day/ Drop it Like it's Hot

Things you need to know about the puppy/family relationship:

1. Mark does everything.

What Mago would look like on a roller coaster
I would have never gotten a puppy myself because I just don't know all that much about dogs. I lived with them growing up, but even then I felt like the cool aunt who would come play but never have to do any of the care.

So far, if you couldn't tell from the video about me failing to go to puppy school, is that Mark taught Mago a huge repertoire of tricks such as sit, down, roll over (a perennial favorite, even when not prompted), touch (with his nose), paws (the precursor to high five), high five, stay, leave it, and probably a few others I'm forgetting.

My joke for a while was that I taught him one trick--be cute.

It's a win-win. He does it 100% of the time, and about 80 percent of the time, he'll look at me when I say it. It is love.

But let's be honest. It's no real trick.

Mago in his basket of toys, all of which he knows how to drop!
On Day 215, however, I finally taught Mago a real trick: drop it.

This means that whenever he brings me a toy, I'll tell him to drop it, fighting his typical response of viciously protecting it in his mouth and tugging/teething furiously at it until he gets bored. Now, with "drop it," the game can continue...and he gets a treat!

I'm sure you don't want to learn how I taught him to drop it, but that's okay. Just know, it makes me feel like a NINJA. I have mind control over my dog. Domestication at it's finest.

Day 214: Hiking with Nukes

After not being to hang out due to tornadoes, Paul, Rian and I finally met up to go hiking on Sunday. Paul is an avid hiker and had identified Brasstown Bald as the place to go--it's the highest peak in Georgia.

I should remind you that Paul and Rian are MIT and RPI Nuclear Engineering PhD's (respectively). They are in a league of their own when it comes to smarts (but very un-sterotypically social, lively and engaging individuals). Rian, if you do recall from a really long freaking time ago, was the young man whose wedding I attended in Ohio. Paul was the best man. But really I went to that wedding for Rian's wifey, Katie, who I knew when I was an intern at Brookhaven National Lab.

The ride up to the trail was about two hours of catching up with these guys, bouncing ideas around about Atlanta Yoga Scene, entrepreneurship in general, politics, religion, education know, all those kinds of deep and thought provoking things that I'm unabashedly fearless of bringing up in mixed company. For not knowing each other very long (or even very well), the conversation and company was nothing short of perfect, though. I also got lots of free food out of this trip (thanks RPI!!)

Now, I've been hiking plenty of times before, on our urban trails like Stone Mountain, Kennesaw Mountain (Georgia's most glorified speed bump), Red Top know, the easy paths around Georgia. I used to do these all the time. I've also done a lot of walking, which made me think that climbing this mountain would be easy. Like, what's there to be scared of?


Au contraire.

Literally from the first, tiny incline, I felt my heart rate increase and the sudden necessity to keep my mouth shut for fear of sounding like, "yeah *gasp* I totally agree with *gasp* quantum theory *gasp* of subliminal subconscious *gasp* submarines."

It was embarassing...not that I could possibly be embarassed because I was looking like a champ.

Paul and Rian kept on keeping on, walking onwards at a clip that was ever-so-slightly painful. I, however, wasn't going to be the sissy girl who slowed them down, so I pushed on like a machine. I was sweaty, panting, and reallly wanting to break for oreos, but my determination and pride kept me going like the rock star wannabe hiker that I am.

I've known a couple of people that have done some serious hiking (i.e. the Appalachain trail) and I determined, from this one event, that I will never be that person. I do not enjoy hiking that much. I also recognized that I'll never be the person who climbs K2.

Three hours and six miles of hiking? Awesome test of endurance. Anything more than a week? I'd give up at some point and find the road and hitch my way back home.

Anyhoo, it did feel really great to reach the top, walking up to a building that looked straight out of the seventh or so dream level of Inception. There, the guys and I enjoyed the feast we brought with us...beef jerky, cheese, dried fruit and oreos. That really made it worthwhile. Lure me up with food, I'm shameless.

I had asked Paul early in the journey what his *thing* was with hiking. Why climb mountains when there are roads that can get you to the top? Why do you even want to see the view from the top? He didn't have a super psychologically deep answer, but he did say that he feels like he earned the view if he hikes to it. I admid, I kind of get it now--this view was worth burning some calories.

And on the way back down, I was the pace-setter...meaning those boys had to follow my pace. Huzzah!

Day 213: Heaven is a Farmer's Market

Sooo, I'm an old lady. On Day 213, I went to the Sandy Springs Farmer's Market. Now, I've been to quite a few farmer's markets before, here and abroad, but this one was unique because it was HEAVEN. You know how James Lipton on The Actor's Studio will say "If heaven exists, what do you want God to say to you at the pearly gates?" or something like that.


Things I love about the farmer's market:
  • Free food at every stand. 
  • Delicious food at every stand
  • The best freaking cheeses you've ever tasted
  • The most delicious home-baked goods ever produced
  • Customized orders (we're getting a custom herb garden!) 
  • REEALL local stuff
  • Every food taste that you normally love, only exponentially better
  • Talking to the people who made the food they sell
 No seriously. I could spend hours sampling goodies, talking to farmers and artisans, discussing the weather and the direction of the wind, smiling at every person you walk by, spending outrageous amounts of money on stuff you'd otherwise pass over as a "treat." I mean really. That place would be fun if you never laid a cent down.

It. Was. Perfect.

So what if I'm an old woman?! I'm an old woman who knows the finer things in life--like mexican chocolate greek yogurt, sweet potato pasta, free range eggs, a perfect crusty french baguette, fresh herbs, and sunshine.

Long live the Farmer's market.

Day 212: More On Buddhism...

Day 212 was supposed to be another automatic New Thing day as my friends Rian and Paul were in town for a nuclear engineering conference and down to hang out. Rian is a huge New Thing blog supporter, and full of awesome ideas, so I was planning on defaulting to whatever he suggested, and/or counting "went out in Atlanta with nuclear engineers" as my New Thing.

Sadly, tornadoes entered the picture. We had some crazy storms and winds, threats of tornadoes, lightning, hail, ya know...not real "going out" weather.

So, Mark and I ended up reading out on our patio. There, I dove into "Living Buddha, Living Christ" which is, quite astonishingly, hard on Christians and, um, SUPER DUPER liberal with the interpretation of the Bible. I'm not offended but I am surprised. I'm all about a little interpretation, but Thich Naht Hahn was drawing conclusion that were so out of left field, that I would even be weirded out if I hadn't been raised in a Christian home.

I'd really love to give you an example only I'm at work (oops) and don't have the book with me.

It's really favorable of Buddhism though, and I'm digging the philosphy. It's even like "Don't even count on the concept of Buddhism to draw you to Buddhism, just think of doing everything mindfully and with presence of mind...only don't be attached to that either."

It's so trippy. I love it.

But I'm curious how Jesus would react.

Day 211: Puppy Training (NOT!)

Some "New Thing" days, I predict in advance (e.g. my 2-year anniversary, and my CRR 10K). Day 211 was one of those--I was going to take a day off of yoga-ing and go do puppy training with Mago and Mark. Then, the day of, Mark checked the website only to find that the puppy school only allowed one handler per pup.

Instead, I decided I'd go to a yoga class, and then realized we were having guests this weekend and I needed to clean instead.

"Mama said there'd be days like this."

Anyhoo, these are the tricks that Mago already knows, so by my estimation, he doesn't need puppy school anyway. So I didn't miss out on anything...I hope.

Day 210: Proud to Be an American (Idol)

Day 210 led me to watch my first ever episode of American Idol.

I know, you think I'm a communist. How could I live in this country and not have seen American Idol?? I dunno. I keep my eyes glued to the computer screen, I guess ;)

Okay, well I came in at 9:00 PM EST, not 8:00 PM EST, meaning I missed an hour of it. So I didn't really watch a full episode. But the three contestants I saw were actually pretty good, I guess. Something about coming into the show in the middle probably wasn't the best idea. I haven't followed their "stories" and I don't have any history of their successes and failures, or if this was a "normal" week for them.

Truthfully, of the clips and songs I saw were pretty good, and the contestants were really talented, but none of those people struck me as having tremendous star power.

We'll see...

I did, however, really like Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson as judges. I think they represent all facets of the music industry and have a ton of experiential knowledge on what  although I miss all of Paula Abdul's horrendously funny "comments" that were replayed on radio stations and TV news networks.

Thoughts?? Are the contestants actually really good and I just don't know about it? Am I a communist?

Day 209: The James Bond Shower

Confession: I read a lot of blogs. Mostly, they fall into two categories: lifestyle design and travel. This likely makes me look like a hippie. So shoot me.

One of the blogs that I am OB-SESSED with is "In over your head," a blog by Julien Smith. It's the most well-written self-improvement (in an ass-kicking, and highly non-coddling way) blog ever. He's very much a "take calculated risks to live the life you want" (with posts like this one whose title I can't publish, and this one, whose title I shouldn't publish either), and challenging life assumptions like (with posts like "Why you should quit the internet" and "You cannot die"), among other topics.

One post I came across a while back had to do with cold showers (and for the life of me, I can't find it now...), saying that small, non-harmful stressors, like cold showers, can help adapt your body and mind to be more comfortable with, and more accepting of, bigger stressors. (And thus, for Julien's purposes, render you more likely to take the risks to challenge the status quo and to live the life you want to.)

After doing a little more research on the 'cold shower,' I found that in addition to the improved stress-reaction function, cold showers improve circulation, improve your mood, improve your metabolism, improve immunity, and (more obviously) increase your energy level.

It's easy to see that if you want a quick wake-up, that you should jump in a cold shower. See, when you take a cold shower, all the blood that was at your skin moves to your internal organs, nourishing them with fresh blood and increasing the rate at which old blood moves out of them. This whole process moves blood through the digestive organs to get more nutrients to warm your body. Also, according to a 1993 study by the Thrombosis Research institute in England, people who take daily cold showers have more white blood cells than people who take warm showers.

So, after all that (and much more research), I decided I'd take a two-minute cold shower after I took my warm shower. This is a suggested way to start.

Bascially, it was awesome. Okay, fine, it was awful while I was IN the shower. I fought every carnal desire to jump out and/or increase the temperature, and pretty much hated life and living and might have squirted shampoo in anyone's eye who suggested I stay any longer than two minutes.

AFTER I got out of the shower, however, it was divine. My body was warm, my energy level was up and I just felt really great...happy...thrilled that I was alive.

Plus, in the book version of James Bond, he apparently took showers much the way I just did. And he's a badass. And now I am too.

Seriously. Just do it.

Day 208: Wanderlust!

You may have seen, if you're my Facebook friend (and I'm assuming that you are) that I wrote this cryptic status:

Now to explain! Oh, and just bear with me because it might take time.

Doo do doo...where to start. 

Umm...Atlanta Yoga Scene. Yes, so I started said website as Atlanta's first city-wide event calendar for yoga, with directory of studios and master schedule of classes too. It's pretty ballin'. People are excited about it and the community is growing pretty well.

Now, Wanderlust. Wanderlust is an annual nationwide 3-day yoga and music festival, held in California, Colorado and Vermont. It draws about 14,000 people per event, so it's no Woodstock, but it is one of the biggest events for yogis. This year, Wanderlust is hosting mini-Wanderlusts called Wanderlust: Yoga in the City, one of which will be in Atlanta.
For the exiciting part: the coordinator of this event, after seeing the Atlanta Yoga Scene website, and otherwise totally out of thin air CONTACTED ME to select teachers and top studios that could be leaders and studio partners (respectively) for the event. AND, to thank me for my help, he's MAKING ME A SPONSOR OF THE EVENT FOR FREE!!!


I guess, on Day 208, I became influential. Or something??

All I had to do was pick the headlining yogi (easy peasy), and get the coordinator in contact with the studio owners that I know (easy peasy). It was a little time-consuming, writing up all those emails, and doing it all in one day, but so totally amazing that I, me, lowly, nobody Leah, was able to influence decisions for a national event, based on the reputation I built from the fruits of my own ideas and my own hard work

It feels phenomenal.

I'm not making money on this, and I'm certainly putting in a lot of hard work, but I feel like only good things could happen as a result of it. Potential advertisers will trust my influence, studio owners and teachers will trust my influence, students will find AYS as a helpful resource for them, and I hope word of mouth spreads to the point where I could actually make a decent profit in doing something meaningful.

I totally understand if you don't "get it," but imagine...if you were really into music, and you wrote a blog about the national music scene, and the coordinators of South by Southwest contacted YOU to get the skinny on your opinions for who the leaders should be, and YOU got to HAND-PICK them, you'd be pretty stoked too. It's like that for my passion :) 

I'm just tickled pink.

Day 207: I Fizzle!

Fo shizzle, my nizzle, Mark did gone got me an i-Fizzle!!! Happy 2-year anniversary to ME!

The obsessive reliance on this thing has already begun!

Day 206: I Am Not a "Dog Person"

As I've said before, having a new puppy makes doing New Things really easy. If anything, Mago is GREAT for blogging. On Day 206, we took our first venture to the dog park! We had to wait until Mago had all of his shots before he was exposed to unknown puppies, so that was why we held out for as long as we did. 

Dog parks exist for the same reasons as playgrounds--let the little things run around for a couple of hours, and ensure a relaxed remainder of the day. Dog parks are great because they're fenced-in areas where you can let your dog off the leash, sit back, and allow him to have fun without the burden of throwing increasingly-slobbery toys around. And the dogs have a blast. I can't imagine what it would be like if dogs owned me and then allowed me to go run around with people. It would make me pretty excited, too.

In short, Mago was thrilled to get to know the other puppies, and even made a girlfriend, Kelly, a golden retriever mix puppy. Mago was initiated to the big dogs by being pestered a little, but when he met a puppy his own age and size, they chased each other, played, rolled around in dirt and just looked like they were having a blast. 

Like I said, it must be cool to meet someone your own species every now and then :)

I also realized here that I'm not a dog person's dog person. Like, some of the people here were like "my dog and I have worked on a more subtle temperament than other border collies, and he's really such a fan of Blue Buffalo food, the Purina was too abrasive on his digestive tract, you have to be careful about that ingredient normatryxiloxilide, I mean, dogs change if that's in their food. Oh, and we got him into the BEST puppy school early on, so that's why he is just better than the other dogs."

Those people are exhausting. I just think Mago is the cutest puppy ever and I enjoy when he gets to interact with other puppies.

I had intended to take pictures of him at the dog park, but that didn't work out. But this is what he looks like now! Growing up so fast :)

Day 205: The Godfather

If I haven't already made it pretty explicitly clear, I've never seen any movie ever. It took this project to get me to see Top Gun. I mean, you should REALLY lower your expectations about what movies I have seen. This is partially due to the fact that watching a movie in the dark will make me fall asleep. Watching movies while laying down make me fall asleep. Watching anything but a current dramatic film will probably make me fall asleep.

It's ridiculous.


I had this really great idea that for my next year-long New Thing-type project, that I'd watch all of the movies on the AFI Top 100. I don't want to be that girl who hasn't seen any movie ever. I want to understand the references, quotes, actors, directors, the whole nine. To get me used to watching movies on this list, I thought it would be appropriate to watch The Godfather--a movie Mark already has, and the #2 on the AFI list.

So we did.

It was reallly hard for me, though. We started the movie at 8:30, and, seeing as how it's a 3-hour movie, that meant I was trying to watch a movie at 11:30 at night, which is just silly. Absurd, actually. I just can't do it.

I ended up pinching each one of my fingertips to try to stay awake (a habit to stay awake in college classes), I stood up just about as often was permissible for a person watching a movie ("uh, the dog needs to go out again!), I DID JUMPING JACKS, I sipped water, I nibbled popcorn, etc. etc. etc. It was ridiculous, but I made it! I stayed awake the whole time, even when my eyelids got heavy.

For the most part, I could talk to you about the story in decent detail (which you don't really need to hear because I'm sure YOU'VE already seen this hundreds of times), so I'll consider the movie-watching experience a success. I don't think, however, that the AFI movie project would be a good one for me.

Does anyone else have this problem? I can't be the only one!!

Day 204: Beer in the Shower

I feel very strange about posting this. I know I'm long past the age where I can drink beer freely, but something about posting about drinking beer, and about doing it in the shower, is a little odd to me. (Although I did blog under the influence once...) I can't put my finger on why. I guess it's because it reminds me of college...were the frat dog types would swear by drinking beer in the shower.

I always wondered whether it was a "I'm such an alkie that I need to drink in the morning" or "I can't wait to get out of the shower for a beer, so I'll just drink one in the shower" or if it was something legitimate like "beer tastes better when I drink it in the shower."

Anyone want to illuminate this for me?? It would be much appreciated.

Anyhoo, I got home from a particularly unpleasant yoga class, and I had spent the day in an existential kind of fog. When I finally got home, I just wanted a beer. However, I needed to take a shower because it was a particularly sweaty yoga class, so I ventured back into time and participated in the frat dog tradition of drinking beer in the shower.

It was delicious. Like...really good. Like...the beer actually did taste better in the shower than out of it. Poetically, I could say, the cool, sweet beer was an interesting contrast to the warm shower. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

But I still feel weird talking about it...

Day 203: Last Minute New Thing-ing

Day 203 wasn't all that crazy, I didn't do any new yoga classes or eat any new things (surprise!). Time kept ticking until it was almost time for bed, and I was like "I DIDN'T DO ANY NEW THINGS TODAY!!"


Then I looked at Mark and said, "Well, I've never brushed my teeth outside before!"

P.S. Check out Day 200! I was right after all :)

Day 202: TWO YEARS!!

This post is probably pretty funny to those who grew up with me in middle school, high school and early college. It also comes as surprise to me in many ways--that I, Leah Fulford, celebrated a two-year anniversary with a boyfriend.

Where to begin on this one? I guess I'll talk about me and not the relationship, since this is my blog and you get my side of every story, like it or not.

I'll start out in the early days. I always seemed to make close friends out of girls who were way prettier than me, and thus more attractive to the boys that we hung out with. They got all the boyfriends. I'm sure I had plenty of personality flaws that drove boys away from me, some that I can identify (extreme selfishness, smarter-than-you attitude, can't-hang-out-because-I-have-to-dance lifestyle etc. etc.) and some the I can't, but I just wasn't anyone's eye candy at the time.

During thost stages, it's not that I didn't WANT to have boyfriends, I just didn't have anyone interested in me and wasn't about to go chase boys down.

When some boys would become interested in me, I'd instantly think they were creepy.

It was a weird time. Cut me some slack.

Overall, I just ended up bitter about boys never liking me and thinking that love was some sort of thing that married people settled on for the sake of not being lonely forever and starting families. As an only child, I virtually never felt (and still don't really ever feel) "lonely" and never wanted to "settle."

Then, sometime in college, I randomly got "pretty" and suddently lots of boys wanted to take me out on dates. This was lots of fun. I enjoyed being in the company of nice men who wanted to give me things like chocolate, and who would tell me I was pretty. However, I didn't want to ever date anyone seriously because I wanted to have an international career and travel more in my twenties and move around to any city that felt right.

So imagine my surprise, when I meet Mr. Mark a month before my college graduation who completely swept me off my feet (ooohhh, the story on that, I'll never live down), made me want to change my life plan and, without even trying, convinced me that we would be in a relationship longer than one I'd ever been in before.

It was pretty shocking to me too! And my friends! "Leah is in a relationship? Like, a real relationship? She's not going on dates with two different boys on back-to-back nights? Is this one of her "secret relationships"? How long do you think this one will last?" and my favorites, "She's such a hopeless romantic. She'd go out on a date with anyone!"

[Allow me to explain that last mom tried really hard to make me open my mind a little in high school to go on dates with those few boys (however creepy the were) and I never obliged. She'd say things to the effect of "just give them a chance," "a date is harmless" and other things like "don't be a complete bitch to every single man ever because I do want grandchildren someday." For these reasons, when boys asked me out, I went. Probably too often, yes, but I was just heeding her advice.]

For the past two years, however, this Mark character actually stuck around with me, and I him, much to the surprise of my friends and family. Things are still good too. I recognize love is something that happens when two people choose to be together every day and make the best of the one and only life they have. Love is about accepting the other person's flaws (and boy do I have a lot of them!) and moving through life as one unit, on the timetable that benefits both. It's about believing every day will be a little better than had that special someone not been in it--not about preventing "loneliness."

And two years has brought plenty of ups and downs, but what a tremendous joy (and learning experience!) to have shared my life with another through them!

Happy two year anniversary to the one who changed my mind about everything :)

Day 201: Making Up...

I've talked plenty before on this blog about how I'm not a very high-maintenance gal when it comes to outward appearances. I don't normally wear make up, I don't tan, and before this blog, I had never worn fake nails or colored my hair.

I guess I'm just pretty comfortable with my natural looks. I like my hair color a lot (the natural one), my skin is pretty clear and even, my eyelashes are naturally long, and I'm pretty freaking lazy in the morning.

Washing my face, toning, moisturizing, powdering, blushing, putting on eyeliner, mascara, yadda yadda yadda always seems like such a burden on my morning routine. And for that matter, my night-time routine, too! Taking all of that off, washing my face, moisturizing again, etc. etc. is just a hassle in my mind (although, flossing, brushing and rinsing are always in my nighttime routine and I make the time for that...).

But recently, I think it was when I went to Canoe with Mark, I put on make-up for the occasion and felt really good about myself.

This was a welcome change to my current state of mind. I've been struggling with feeling good about myself recently--hating all of my over-worn clothes, jewelery that's been put with every outfit, hair that's getting ratty at the ends, not loving my job or feeling successful in my other projects. It's all taken a toll on my self-confidence. It's not serving me approach my relationships or career with a sort of "blah" attitude about my own ability to make good things happen--as a result of not wanting people to look at me.

But even with an old dress, going out to dinner with make-up and high heels on made me feel pretty again. I glanced in the mirror at one point and thought "so THIS is how I can look!"

Thus, for Day 200, I resolved to wear make up on every week day for at least a month. It's part of a continual self-improvement stance on life. I should always be looking for ways to improve my health, happiness, career, family relationships, friendships, and so on. Without it, I'll be a 45 year-old with the same opinions on life that  I had at 20. This is one step in moving me forward a little. I think it's for the better--even if I do require a little more maintenance.

Day 199: I Thought This was Day 200! ***UPDATE***

[NOTE: This WAS Day 200!! I labeled two posts 196, and have since corrected the issue! Woohoo! I'm not crazy after all...]

As you can probably tell from the lack of posting, I'm a bit behind on blogging. I'm a little paranoid that I'm skipping days and will end up on Day 363 when all is said and done, unable to pinpoint where I went wrong. I'm also a little concerned because I really thought Day 199 was Day 200.

For "Day 200" I wanted to have ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, to celebrate my accomplishment for at least blogging for that many days, even if I didn't exactly "do" all New Things for each day (because, let's be honest, some things have just happened to me, or have been part of my life even if I didn't have the blog).

I had even looked at the blog and counted up and thought that Day 199 was Day 200 and I fulfilled my Day 200 dream--having ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The task was delicious, no less, with chocolate chip ice cream for breakfast, mango gelato for lunch and chocolate peanut butter cup ice cream for dinner. I didn't feel even the slightest bit sick either (surprise!) However, I'm feeling a little like a loser when I confess that I didn't even know the day I was on!

Okay, I do now.  And I'll never forget :D

And I feel the need to promise you that these posts will get more exciting and REALLY "New Thing"-y  soon, that do not involve food or yoga, but I've just got AYS projects ahead of me that are taking precedence. But fear not, we've still got 166 days to go!!

Day 199: Getting that Brazillian Booty!

Tim Ferriss, lifestyle designer extraordinaire, writer of the 4-Hour Workweek and the 4-Hour Body once said about Kettlebells were the secret to a Brazillain booty. Okay, so I may be paraphrasing.

Ferriss has a whole philosophy about doing things that return the biggest value in the shortest amount of time (indicated also in the titles of his books). Ferriss's body slimming, weight work-out of choice? Kettlebells. With only 25-30 minutes of properly executed swinging and moving (surprisingly technical exercises) you can tone and slim your arms, back, abs, legs, hips and, obviously, your booty.

It just so happened that one of the yoga studios I'm visiting on my jaunt invited me to come to their Kettlebells class, and I was happy to oblige.

The class ended up with just me and one other woman, who had clearly done this Kettlebell thing before. I learned the "Get Up" which is pretty much a full-body dance with the Kettlebell, from lying down in the fetal position to standing up. It sounds pretty easy and looks pretty easy, but remembering exactly where your knee goes in line with your wrist and what angles to hold the bell at while you're doing it is pretty challenging. Apparently I caught on pretty well (according to my jacked Fabio-esque teacher), but I was moving pretty slow and not feeling very much.

Then we went on to do the traditional kettlebell swings. Basically you just stand with your feet wide, squat down, pick up the bell, swing it about the height of your neck and swing it back between your legs. And you keep swinging. I wasn't feeling very much...until I stood up from this squat. There I realized that this thing wasn't all about the arms or shoulders, but that I had just gotten a tremendous workout in my inner thighs that I have never ever gotten before.

I can definitely say that I looooved the kettlebell workouts, and if they work as effectively as people say the do, and if I could learn how to actually do a whole workout in 20 minutes, I'd surely get a set myself and start swinging!

Has anyone else here ever tried kettlebell exercises?

Day 198: A Monster as Big as My Head!!

A while back, my boss went to Cosco and picked up everything drink-able that was under 50 cents. We had a lot of clients coming in and he wanted to be prepared. This batch of goodies included everything from Frappuccino knock-offs, to juice boxes, to energy drinks, to water and anything in between. 

One such purchase was this gem---a Monster energy drink that was quite literally, the size of my head

It's contents were about two pounds of kryptonite-colored, fizzy, appl-y concoction that, frankly, sucked. Upon first sip, I felt my teeth screaming in mortal pain as if they knew they would be soon rotting out of my head. I also felt the familiar surge of fear wash over me, knowing that if I consumed even half of this that I'd be up all night, jittering like a crack addict going through withdrawal, either working on various websites or Facebooking all 762 of my "friends" in alphabetical order.

If I were to have consumed all of it, I would have felt the debilitating "caffeine cold." I don't know if you have this, but if I drink too much caffeine, I get really cold but also sweaty. It makes my muscles feel loose while simultaneously making my brain cataclysmically active. I am very annoying in this state.

But I only took a few sips and, unable to fit the container in my car's cup-holder, I threw it out.

And I still felt the rush...

Day 197: Haters and "Canoe"ing

Day 196 brought with it TWO New Things!

The first New Thing to happen was that I got my very first hater for Atlanta Yoga Scene! See, I'm not all-too bummed about this, because I think if you're ever going to make a splash, there should be people who love you and hate you. I did write a slightly controversial blog post on the AYS website (7 Predictions for Yoga's Future in Atlanta). I got a little thrown under the bus for saying that something was coming, not very well acknowledging that it was already here. And said hater went off on other tirades about me being partial and un-knowledgeable and other below-the-belt insults.

For that, I got called out, but I'm not too fazed. As I said, I think I need haters. They're good for checks and balances. 

Okay, okay, so it bothered me for a little bit, until I realized that I didn't owe that person anything, and that this little post is a very minor thing for me to be upset about.

THEEENNNN...Mark and I went to Canoe. Canoe is an Atlanta food tradition--a long-standing restaurant that consistently serves great new American cuisine. It was probably the best restaurant I've ever been to, although I'm hesitant to say that, seeing as how I've dined at some preeetty awesome places. 

I can't tell you exactly why we went to Canoe yet, but I will say that there's a good reason, and that Mark and I are really excited about it. I love a good teaser :) Maybe towards the end of this project I can tell you what it is.

Day 196: I Should Have Been Born Greek

My company just recently hired a guy to manage our strategy practice, and, among other things, he's Greek. Now, I don't want to ever call someone out for their nationality, or want to make blanket generalizations about a nationality, but I LOVE the Greeks.

Give me feta or give me death.

Fill me up on moussaka, baklava, lemon potatoes, oily olives, lamb in every form, dolmathes, and spanikopita.

I feel like my life would be most ideal cruising around the Greek isles on a tiny little boat, soaking up sun, eating to my heart's content and starting a huge family in which I would eventually become an opinionated and sage ya-ya who could do or say anything without repercussions.

So, when the new principal strategist came to work on his first day with the biggest container of homemade Greek yogurt with honey and walnuts, I nearly smiled for the rest of the day.

I've had Greek yogurt before, but I had certainly never had homemade Greek yogurt from the hands of a Greek man, whose family had been making this yogurt the same way for generations. And, although I've had yogurt with honey, I had certainly never had it with walnuts, which, by the way, are such a stupendous addition I don't know why we ever bother putting fruit in it.

This stuff was made with whole milk, boiled like crazy until he added a dollop of yogurt from the last batch to provide the right cultures, and cooled "until the temperature you can put your pinkie in it comfortably" No sugar, just tradition.

And BOY was it good.

One big happy "Opa!" to you!!

Day 195: Taxes are Sexy

I hope the title brought you in because otherwise I don't know how I would get you to read about taxes.

Keeping it short--on Day 195 of my New Things project, I did my taxes. Now that I'm a grown up, I have to do these all by myself. Only, I actually recruited my accountant friend Tasha to help me do them on Turbo Tax...and even then she had to actually take them back to her office to finish them. So I didn't realllly do my taxes, if you want to be literal. I did, however, attempt to do most of them, and that's pretty grown up in and of itself.