Adjust your attitude with gratitude.

That was today’s challenge in yoga.

And quite the challenge that is.

My teacher urged us to look at our lives and think about what we are thankful for. So often we look at our lives and see the flaws.

And why do we do that when there is so much good in life?

The Untied project is done — and despite the many headaches — it has been a gratifying experience.

This is my last blog post and I like to end by thanking you for reading.

I urge you to be thankful for the many good things in your life, to be positive in the midst of a negative society, and to practice yoga and clear your mind of needless thoughts.

Yoga high: 5.0

Some more fashion rules that should NEVER be broken:

Do NOT wear:

1. Clear bra straps

2. Shoes or sandals with velcro. Sick. (Unless you’re hiking through the Amazon jungle)

3. Platform flip flops or flip flops with heels.

4. Bad breath and chewing gum are not accessories, so down a few tic tacs and be done with it. Don’t chew gum on stage, the red carpet, T.V., at a professional meeting, etc.

5. Blue tooth accessories. I mean at least take it out if you’re not on it, there is no reason to keep it on all day when no one is calling you… you’re not that important.

6. Multiple visible tattoos. We know love your momma, but you don’t have to flaunt it.

7. Clip on sunglasses to your actual glasses. Please don’t, I don’t know who told you that was cool because it never was.

8. Visible panty lines. Ladies, let me introduce you a wonderful invention called the thong. Thong, meet the ladies.

9. Just be careful with undergarments in general. If you’re cups runneth small, get a new bra–double boobs are by no means attractive. If you can see the color of your undies or bras through your clothing, invest in nude colored garments.

10. Clothing that is too tight. When you look like you’re shopping at Baby Gap, it’s not OK.

11. Clothes for the wrong season, if it’s winter wear a coat. If it’s summer don’t.

12. Too many colors, fabrics, or patterns. No one wants to stare at a bad case of wardrobe vomit.

13. Mullets. Come on people it’s over, just get a new cut–you’ll feel much better when you step into this century, I promise.

14. Too much make up. And don’t be one of those ladies who has to run to the powder room every hour to re-apply.

15. Jelly sandals. Ew.

-ds

Yoga straps. Courtesy of Google images

Yoga straps. Courtesy of Google images

Summer has officially hit here in Central New York — the muggy, warm days are here to prove it.

Feeling groggy after a day at Untied, I debated if I wanted to go to yoga or go home drink a cool beverage, relax, and maybe get a little shut-eye.

The latter definitely sounded better, but I decided to stick to my quest for mental clarity and trudged to yoga. It was restorative, so I figured some light stretching and meditation would probably do me some good.

And it did.

I wasn’t the only one who wanted to skip out on yoga. There were only two other people in the class. My teacher commented that summer had begun because people were out enjoying the weather rather than coming to yoga.

I was instantly glad I came because classes with fewer people are always more relaxing.

Slowly turning inward and focusing on only my breath, I instantly cooled down.

Here’s a great heart opener and shoulder stretch that we did today:

1. Sit cross legged with your back straight.

2.Take a band, yoga strap, or some sort of material you can hold on both ends. Make it taut by pulling it with your arms, which should be separated a little wider than your shoulders.

An example of wide your arms should be. Courtesy of Google images

An example of wide your arms should be. Courtesy of Google images

3. Take a deep breath in, and on the exhale pull the arms (holding whatever strap you choose) behind your head and hold the stretch, as well as the breath.

4. On the inhale, pull your arms slowly back over the head.

5. Lean forward, placing your head on your arms, and breathe in supported child pose.

6. Sit slowly back up, repeat the shoulder stretch, and this time do one extra rep of pulling the arms back over the head.

7. Repeat as much you as like.

Yoga high: 4.0

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” -C.S. Lewis

I always find friends in the most unlikely places at the most unexpected times. I left a job in NYC to come back to school to get my master’s in Syracuse, but I didn’t really anticipate wanting to socialize or live it up like a student again. After all, I got through that in college and felt confident with the relationships I’d built over my lifetime. 

For some reason, I was so sure that I’d maxed out on friendship, that no one could possibly come into my life and offer a relationship worth the extra effort. 

Well, I was in for a big surprise. A year after starting my program at SU, I find it so unbelievably hard to fathom that so many wonderful people have entered my life and made a lasting impact over such a short period of time. I can’t even count how many times I’ve said, “You too? I thought I was the only one.” 

Thanks, Syracuse friends. I thought I was the only one.

-SJ

Courtesy of Google images

Courtesy of Google images

I’m a religious person, thus I go to church every Sunday and belt it out with the choir.

Singing is sometimes the part of mass I enjoy the most. It’s therapeutic to sing as loud as you can and not care who hears.

I’m Catholic, but went to a soul church for a while because I enjoy singing that much. Their mass was three hours long, and they dedicated the first hour to solely singing with many chorus interludes thereafter. Women, men, and children got up sporadically and started dancing when they felt the music.

I loved it. I’m tone deaf and a horrible singer, but there’s no judgment in church. It’s the one place where I sing in public.

There’s something spiritual about singing and there’s something spiritual about yoga.

I feel a different kind of spirituality at yoga, than I do at church. I am most at peace when I practice faith and yoga routinely.

So, today at yoga we sang. It was blissful.

We sang a yoga psalm. I didn’t know the words and was out of sync with the group a lot,  but it was extremely peaceful.

Singing and yoga is a form of meditation, and actually strengthens your practice. Some studies show that singers and yoga actually require similar skill and focus.

I got my strongest yoga high of my practices thus far. I highly recommend going to a quite space, looking up some yoga psalms, and singing your heart out for 20 minutes or so — you’ll feel extremely refreshed after.

Yoga high: 4.0

mexican chocolate tofu pudding
Mexican Chocolate Tofu Pudding. Photo Credit: nytimes.com

I once fell asleep with chocolate in my mouth.

In my defense, chocolate relaxes me. It was right after dinner and I had just unwrapped a Lindt dark chocolate truffle (for the record, I love truffles. I think it’s a beautiful word that just rolls off your tongue). So I bit into the truffle feeling the silky chocolate center ooze out of the shell, while bits and pieces of chocolate lingered on my tongue. In my euphoric state I dozed off. The next thing I knew I woke up with this sour metallic taste in my mouth AND a sore throat.

Anyway.

I’m a fan of chocolate that goes down easy–like hot chocolate, chocolate soup, the inside of Molten Lava Chocolate Cake, or chocolate mousse.  Speaking of, ever since I saw Mark Bittman’s post on New York Times about Mexican Chocolate Tofu Pudding, I’ve been dying to try tofu with my chocolate. And apparently the dessert gods heard my prayer because yesterday, Untied’s Katie Holloway brought tofu chocolate mousse to the web room! No, it doesn’t taste like tofu, but it does lend an unbelievably silky feel to the mousse. It was like eating chocolate icing but not as dense, and not as sweet.

We ate it with strawberries, doughnuts, chips–you name it–it was a perfect match for everything. Katie’s cousin Sara was kind enough to share the recipe. Even awesomer news-it’s incredibly easy to make:

Ingredients

1 package silken tofu
10 oz dark chocolate
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 Kahlua (optional)

Procedure

1. In a double boiler (or microwave), melt the chocolate.

2. Combine tofu and chocolate in blender and blend until fully mixed. Add syrup and Kahlua.

3. Place in a separate container and cover. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

You know what else is good with tofu? Fruit smoothies! I swear it makes a difference. Go on a health trip and try this strawberry-banana smoothie with honey, orange juice, and tofu.

Enjoy!

- Kris Alcantara

Today’s Sugarhigh:  Too many to mention.

Score: A

“The man who can keep a secret may be wise, but he is not half as wise as the man with no secrets to keep.” -Edgar Watson Howe

Secrets can stir inside a person forever, and it’s not until that secret is released that you feel some sort of relief. Sometimes they’re our own secrets, or we may be keeping the secrets of others. Getting a secret off your chest feels great, but it ends up becoming someone else’s secret to keep.

Then there’s PostSecret, a site that started out as a social experiment by a guy named Frank. Strangers sent him their secrets on a postcard, and he published them anonymously on a blog. People around the globe began submitting secrets to Frank, allowing everyone the chance to air their dirty laundry without jeopardizing their identities. And best of all, we (the web-goers) can read those secrets and laugh/cry/sympathize with the creators of those mysterious cards.

PostSecret is now a traveling roadshow of sorts, with museums and cultural centers hosting exhibits worldwide. This weekend, I attended the PostSecret exhibit at Syracuse’s Everson Museum of Art with a fellow Untied journalist. As we walked among the walls of postcards, we took note of the many themes repeating throughout. We couldn’t help but notice the universal nature of heartbreak. Divorce came up quite a few times, specifically. I thought you’d appreciate some of the “secrets” we read about love lost:

“You broke up with me. I pissed in your sauces.”

“I think I would feel better if I shoved his clubs up his ASS.” [Photo of golf clubs in the background.]

“I don’t love you anymore. I’m sorry.”

“You promised never to do what my ex did… he would go online and cyber with women… you’ve never done that, you go online and cyber with men.”

“I knew it was a mistake on our honeymoon. I don’t think I’ll ever have the courage to leave. 9 yrs later (+2 kids) we’re still together.”

“Johnny Depp is the name of my vibrator!”

“I feel trapped in my perfect relationship.”

Have a secret you’d like to share? Tell Frank–quite possibly the world, too–by mailing your postcard to:

PostSecret
13345 Copper Ridge Road
Germantown, Maryland 20874

-SJ

Fake movie trailers are some of the most creative, entertaining videos you’ll find on the Interwebs. (See Requiem for a Day Off for proof.) The latest, posted by Bestweekever.tv via Buzzfeed, takes one of my favorite childhood movies (which, coincidentally, also features divorce), Mrs. Doubtfire, and re-imagines it as a psychological thriller.

I almost didn’t buy it, until they revealed Robin Williams, sans makeup, chirping on the phone in his faux-female Scottish brogue. Creeeeepy. The quick cuts at the end are pretty inspired, too. Who thought a light-hearted drag comedy could be so chill-inducing?

Yet another cautionary tale for divorcées everywhere: don’t accidentally hire your transvestite ex as your housekeeper, or he’ll become obsessed with your children. Completely plausible.

–Katie Nowak

Today, we learn that a “bad start is half of the failure” from Usher’s divorce case.

“In my mind, Usher and I are still married.”

photo courtesy of egyptsaidso.com

photo courtesy of egyptsaidso.com

Although Tameka Foster, Usher’s estranged wife, talked about her marriage with hope to the media, it seemed the marriage between the stylist and the R&B singer is getting closer and closer to an end.

The couple’s marriage was a mess from the very beginning. In 2007, they cancelled the more luxurious wedding ceremony at first, and got married secretly and quietly. At that time, rumors spread, including the most important one – Usher’s mother disagreed with the marriage.

The bad start was definitely a bad sign. Now, Usher has filed for divorce, and the news report showed the couple has been separated for a year. And don’t forget, they’ve only been married about two years. What made Usher give up in this marriage so quickly? He hasn’t spoken. But to his friends and fans, it seems they don’t feel surprised at all.

In the news report, a friend of theirs said, “No one I’ve spoken to is surprised.” Another friend said the couple had “a troubled marriage that started unraveling even before their wedding.” She said Usher wasn’t ready to settle down, at least not with Foster.

Foster’s newly hired attorney Randy Kessler said Foster has been a loyal wife, but apparently loyalty isn’t enough for a successful marriage. Now, the war is just in the beginning. Let it burn…let it burn…

-Amy Su

OK, I’m not saying to go caffeine crazy and drink a bunch of coffee, tea, or soft drinks. I’m also not saying down a bunch of caffeine pills, but a little bit of caffeine every now and then is actually quite useful, especially if you are going for a workout.

The only problem is that if you are a big caffeine person, then the response will be less effective versus someone who just drinks it once in a while. Once the caffeine is in the body, it’s absorbed by the GI tract and rises in the blood at 15 minutes and then peaks at 60 minutes.

This can be very helpful for creating tension during the workout and also stimulating the central nervous system by increasing alertness and decreasing drowsiness. Who knew caffeine could do all of this inside of the body?

(courtesy of google images)

An example of caffeine at it’s best would be taking it before a prolonged exercise like running because it can raise glucose levels and use fatty acid as the fuel for getting the exercise completed.


- Skylaur Morris

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