Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

What Are You Waiting For?

March 23, 2020

That song by R.E.M. keeps playing in my head. You know the one that goes: ” It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine?” I mean, it’s (hopefully) not the end of the world, but it sure feels like it could be. Most of the planet’s population is on lockdown and those who aren’t should be. Everything that is non-essential is closed, and we are all being asked to stay at home to avoid the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Those who can are working from home. Those who can’t, are either on the front lines or have been laid off or forced into a holding pattern for an indefinite period of time. We’re isolated, frustrated, anxious and bored.

So, why not make the most of things? What are you waiting for?

Tonight, eat off of the good china and pour yourself a glass of whatever you’ve been saving for a special occasion. You can eat cereal, ice cream or some weird concoction that you’ve created out of the dusty recesses of your pantry using pasta, peanut butter, and anchovies if that is all you have left. You’re in isolation so nobody needs to know. Put on your best ball gown, and eat Cheetos in front of the T.V.  Drink your tea from a fancy cup. Spritz a little of that perfume that you’ve been hoarding or light a candle. If you’re out of toilet paper, use a lace hanky if you must. The point is, don’t wait for the perfect time to enjoy those special things. Live in the moment, and find joy any way you can.

How are you #livingthevidacorona?

Global Time Out

March 20, 2020

Someone once said, “Everything happens for a reason.” I’m not sure who it was, or what prompted them to say it, but I suppose on some level, it’s true. If that is the case, it begs the question: Why are we going through the global hell that is the Coronavirus outbreak?

For the last few years, we have been a country divided. Politics have taken over our lives, and that divisiveness and hatred have spread across the planet. Either we loathe and distrust the President, or we see him as the next Messiah. We either eschew science and facts or cling tightly to them, frustrated that nothing is being done to affect the change we deem necessary.

Privilege is often defined by race, wealth or gender. Discrimination can be blatant or more obtuse, but it has become a big part of our society. We live in a world where it is acceptable to exclude, belittle and disrespect those who are different from us, hidden under the guise of something else.

Then in walks Corona. Some refer to it as the China Virus, since that is the source of origin, yet it has spread the world like a wildfire, bringing with it sickness, economic decline, and terror. It doesn’t recognize borders, race, religion, or gender. It doesn’t care about wealth, poverty, good or bad, smart or challenged. It certainly doesn’t give a damn if you are a Republican or a Democrat, a Socialist, or a Communist. It is not China’s virus. It belongs to all of us, and it is deadly.

It’s forcing us to re-evaluate how we live, how we travel and how we treat one another. Soon, all the deniers who refuse to take it seriously will become believers, as it takes its toll on our communities and our loved ones. Soon, we will be so frightened, and so cooped up, that we are forced to look to our fellow humans for support. Soon we won’t care about where it came from, as we stay focused on where it is going. We won’t care about finger-pointing, or bad-mouthing others, as we struggle to stay healthy and financially solvent. It’s not a ripple or a wave, it is a tsunami, and is ripping through our lives, leaving devastation in its wake.

It could be the illness itself that causes you the most suffering, or it could be the loss of income that can never be recouped. If you are lucky, it could simply be the inconvenience it places on your charmed lives that hits you the hardest, as restrictions to keep us safe and homebound are inforced. But mark my words, in some way, shape or form, it will affect us all.

This nasty virus has put us all in a big global time out. Please use this time of isolation to look inward, and to search your soul for ways you can be a better person. Please use this time to shake off the hatred you may have for others, and the rage you feel about all the things gone wrong, and look for what you can do to make things right. Assess your health, and your relationships, and how you can make them better. If we can emerge from this pandemic stronger, healthier and more compassionate, perhaps we will be able to find reason in the unfathomable situation it is presenting us with.

photo: Glasshouse Images

 

The Best Laid (Quarentine) Plans

March 16, 2020

I have walked away from this space for a variety of reasons. I am not sure what the future will bring, but for today, it feels like the right medium for communication. If you stuck around and are actually reading this, thank you!

We are hunkered down here in NYC, with most places required to close for the next eight weeks or so. Gatherings with more than 50 people have been restricted, and although my gym remains open for now, I have frozen my membership to keep myself, my family and the amazing and dedicated staff there safe and healthy. All of my work commitments have been canceled and I don’t expect any new bookings until the summer if all goes well. That leaves me, as it leaves most of you: home, bored and anxious. I’m back on this platform, not for personal entertainment, but for a sense of community and accountability. How can I set some goals during this time, and help others do the same? Whether 14 of you see this, or 140,000, I am going to give myself some ground rules of quarantining, so that I emerge from this healthy, productive and sane. So let’s dust this old blog off and get going!

Indigo Jones Quarantine Plan:

Find a way to exercise without the gym or major equipment purchase

As the weather starts to get warmer, I hope to be able to run outside along the river, at a safe distance from others. Youtube has lots of exercise videos, as does many of the health and wellness sites. We own a few weights and some resistance bands, and there is no reason not to keep working on my fitness, other than complacency. I have been building back up my stamina and strength after a long period of injury and a busy work schedule, and have first-hand recent knowledge of how hard it is to get back on track. I have nothing standing in my way to prevent me from working out right now, and I am publicly committing to finding a way to do some form of exercise daily during the quarantine.

Eat healthfully and mindfully

I stocked the kitchen with healthy foods and avoided buying a bunch of junk foods to mindlessly eat out of boredom. Yes, there are snacks brought back from my daughter’s dorm room stash, and Halloween candy in the freezer. I am a baker with a fully-stocked larder filled with 50-pound bags of flour and sugar, and a deep freeze with balls of cookie dough at the ready. But that doesn’t mean that I need to spend my days baking and indulging for the sake of something to do. I also have a freezer stocked with chicken breasts, fish filets, shrimp and vegetables, as well as some soups and sauces made from an abundance of leftover vegetables from a previous job, and a few packages of tofu. I have the time to cook healthy meals with what we have, and plan to do so to keep us nourished and fulfilled.

Inbox Zero

Yesterday, I deleted thousands of unread emails in just one account and need to tackle the other one. Once they are clean, I am committing to deleting things every few hours to avoid the buildup. I hope this can become a habit, even during busy times.

Closet cleanse + Housekeeping

 

I despise cleaning out closets, and I seem to have trouble maintaining them for any period of time. If I can exit this period of isolation and lack of work with clean closets and organized storage areas, it will be a huge win.  Sidenote to the other inhabitants of this household: Please help me KEEP them clean by putting things back how you found them.

Practice kindness

Social media is filled with so much hate and animosity. I try not to get sucked in, but right now I feel like I am in the vortex of a tornado, pulling me into the fray. This is a terrible time for everyone worldwide. We don’t need to exacerbate things by treating each other disrespectfully. Can we come out of this crisis not as Democrats or Republicans, Socialists or Capitalists, but as Humanitarians?

Gear up!

No, I am not talking about buying a hazmat suit. I am looking for ways that I can utilize this time to propel my fledgling business along. Maybe it’s recipe testing, photographing things to update my website, and coming up with some marketing strategies to get back on track once this crisis passes. Marketing ideas and alternative pathway suggestions are welcomed!

What are your quarantine plans? Let’s share ideas and keep each other accountable, so we can emerge from this stronger, and healthier than ever before.

all photos: Glasshouse Images

Public Service Announcement

April 16, 2019

This is a public service announcement or at least a post that is designed to protect my mental health:

May I respectfully ask that before you post something derogatory about someone you have never met, just because it suits your political agenda, that you fact check it first?

Social media, ok Facebook, has become a hotbed of memes and reposts from people who identify with one political party or the other.  As I scan my feed, my heart rate increases faster than it does on a four-mile run. My blood starts to boil and a tightness forms in my chest. All because of posts that attack total strangers and defend the truly egregious behavior of others. I read them all with my mind as open as it can be, and then I fact check them. Guess what? Most of the truly troubling ones are incorrect. #fakenews

It is so easy to take things out of context or to hang on to falsehoods as the gospel truth if they reinforce your theories. So please, take a moment to check if they are real facts or “alternate facts” before you post them.

Could you also please stop politicizing all the things that aren’t the least bit political?  The college bribery scandal? Not political. Plane crash? Tragic, but still not political. Bad things happen that have nothing to do with being a Democrat or a Republican and everything to do with being a bad person. Let’s address them as such.

If you choose to post malicious memes, true or false, please don’t intersperse your feed with religious prose and other tropes that paint you as a wonderful caring human being who loves all God’s children. It is inconsistent with the rest of your behavior and makes you look disingenuous. Pick a lane.

You may be asking yourself why I don’t simply un-follow the people that trigger me. The answer is that I believe it is important to know that these beliefs and attitudes exist. It is important to see both sides of the story and not just dismiss things that I don’t agree with. That is why I fact check anything that doesn’t sound quite right to me, regardless of who posted it and what it is about.

Social media has given us a forum to say whatever we want, whether it is true or false, naughty or nice.  It has allowed hate, bigotry, and vengeance to seep out of our pores and onto the page without a second thought. It’s allowed us to take as fact anything we see and agree with, without questioning its provenance. As a nation, we are more divided than ever and will continue to be so if something doesn’t change. We more easily accept bad behavior from friends, family, colleagues, and clients than ever before because we see our leaders behaving badly and getting by with it. As children, we were taught that two wrongs don’t make a right. As adults, we need to live that truth.  If we want our society to do better, it starts with us showing respect to one another, rather than showing disrespect to our political rivals.

So please, think twice before you fill your feed with malicious attacks against your political foes and ask yourself if this is representative of the person you want to be perceived as. If the answer is no, the delete button is at the top right-hand side of your computer.

Thank you. That is all.

Self Care | Self Aware

March 1, 2019

glasshouse images

Over the past year or so, there has been lots of buzz about self-care. It is portrayed on social media as a personal indulgence with photos of influencers laying in bubble baths, perfectly pedicured toes poking out of the foam, glass of rosé clasped in a perfectly manicured hand, and $100 sheet mask on their face. Later, we may glimpse the post-mask application of expensive serum, followed by a night cream made from the placenta of a rare goat, eye cream, and lash enhancer. #metime

Or maybe it’s the “much needed” girls weekend, always at a (comped) high-end hotel, fueled by fancy cocktails and #OMGsomuchfood. Or a low-key take of an expertly rumpled bedscape, with a requisite pile of fluffy pillows, an impeccable cheese plate, and more rosé. #netflixandchill

But for the rest of us mere mortals with real-life responsibilities, the concept of self-care looks a bit different.

Generations of pre-millennial women have been programmed to put family and career obligations at the top of their list, placing their own needs at the very bottom. Sometimes self-care takes on a more mundane persona, with attending to one’s basic needs being as good as it gets. This really hit home for me this week, when a work obligation had me at 18 hour days, scrambling to keep up with the requests of a very demanding group. At 4:30 one afternoon, when I hadn’t yet taken a sip of water, let alone eaten anything since my 6 a.m. start time, it occurred to me that sometimes self-care is simply making sure our basic biological requirements are met. There is a reason why the airlines request that in the event of an emergency, you put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. We aren’t any good to anyone else if we treat ourselves so poorly we can’t function properly. Healthy eating, exercise, and a good night’s sleep shouldn’t be seen as a luxury, it should be a necessity. Sure, sometimes we all have to do what we have to do. But on a regular basis, we shouldn’t have to be so run down that we make ourselves sick before we step back and take a break.

Although a #sponsored bubble bath at a chic spa sounds glamorous, and being waited on hand and immaculately pedicured foot would be even better, in my world, a 20-minute power nap and a cup of tea will have to suffice. #reality

Healthy Lifestyle Trends for 2019

January 30, 2019

We are just a few weeks into the year, and it’s not hard to spot some trends that will influence us in 2019. While most are not exactly brand-spanking new, the rate in which they are becoming mainstream demands our attention. Here are a few that we can’t ignore.

Glasshouse Images

Celery Juice:

Celebs and fitness influencers have taken to Instagram to tout the benefits of celery juice. Advocates claim that drinking 16 oz. of pure celery juice on an empty stomach, (made from one whole bunch of celery stalks) will miraculously aid digestion, help you lose weight, lower blood pressure, reduce cancer risk and fight inflammation. While the jury is still out as to whether or not these claims are true, celery is low in calories and high in vitamins and nutrients, so it certainly isn’t harmful if you want to give it a try.

glasshouse images

JOMO:

We all know the acronym FOMO, which stands for the “fear of missing out.” This year, it’s all about JOMO; the JOY of missing out. Where in the past we vowed to “lean in”, this year we are opting to “lean out”. Expanding on the concept of self-care, which is highly focused on self-indulgent “me time” activities, such as massages, facials, candlelit baths and meditation apps, this trend allows us to feel good about not doing anything at all. Think pajamas and fuzzy slippers, vs. luxury spa-wear, and popcorn vs. champagne and caviar.

Glasshouse Images

The Return of the Treadmill:

Don’t call it the “Dreadmill” anymore! High-intensity intervals are a challenging and effective way to log miles. We’ve been addicted to Spin class for years, and now it’s time to take that concept to the treadmill. Coached group runs are growing in popularity, and are a great way to build speed and endurance, interspersed with periods of active recovery. Peloton, who live streams cycling classes on their state of the art bike has just added a treadmill to their arsenal of exercise equipment, accompanied by a library of content for coached runs. I personally have a love|hate relationship with Equinox’s Precision Run class, where an instructor takes you through a series of intervals and elevations, based on your own personal record speed. (Spoiler alert: It’s HARD!!)

 

Fast | Casual | Healthy:

These are the buzzwords that define a growing trend in the restaurant business. Fast food giants are being challenged by casual spots that specialize in healthy fare. Look for organic grab and go, free of gluten, preservatives and added sugars, with a focus on sustainability. The price tag is commensurate with the higher quality so don’t expect to find dollar meals at these places. It is certainly an idea that has been around for a couple of years, but the sudden growth of this concept makes it notable.

 

Streaming:

We have been streaming things for years, but our appetite for watching what we want, when we want it, is only getting bigger. We all subscribe to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, like it is a basic human need. The fitness world is following suit in a big way. In addition to the above mentioned Peleton, others have entered the home workout market, with companies like Mirror getting into the act with individualized, interactive workouts streamed live into your living room. Think virtual, rather than digital. Many others offer digital on-demand subscription services for just a fraction of the cost of a gym membership. Need to check out for a bit? There’s an app for that! Guided meditation apps, such as Headspace, are available to help you shut down and recharge, right on your phone. Counterintuitive, or genius?

Glasshouse Images

CBD Oil:

Many states are legalizing marijuana, but in the meantime, a derivative, CBD oil is turning up virtually EVERYWHERE! Look for this THC-free extract to help promote relaxation in your cosmetics, foods, drinks, and candles.

Eva’s Play Pups

Immersive Experiences:

We are seeing a surge in popup, immersive experiences. From the Museum of Icecream, which premiered a couple of years ago, to today, a new crop of one of a kind experiences has emerged to delight us. Amex launched its “Live Life Experience” in Toronto which includes hidden rooms, an adult foam pit, mythical creatures, and a giant ramen bowl. “The Color Factory” currently features 20,000 square feet of interactive and colorful installations in collaboration with top artists providing the ultimate Instagramable experience. Last fall, New York’s Greenwich Village was home to “A Human’s Best Friend,” which boasted 8 rooms of dog-centric adventures for you and your pup, including a group of real live dogs available for adoption. Living for the ‘gram doesn’t come cheap though. The Color Factory costs $38 per person, and the price of admission for a Human’s Best Friend was $39 for a person and a pup and $29 for each additional human.

Glasshouse Images

The Next Big Vegetable of Note:

Cauliflower has taken over for the last couple of years, popping up in everything from pizza crusts, and Buffalo-style bites, to its appearance on fine dining tables across the country. Finally unseating its predecessor kale, cauliflower’s versatility gave it real staying power. It’s too early to be sure, but it might just be rainbow carrots that emerge as the big winner this year. The carrots, in their gorgeous range of colors, are popping up in every new cookbook that I touch. West African flavors, such as rose harissa and dukkah, elevate them to cult status. Others are talking about mushrooms, both for their umami flavor and meaty texture, as a stand-in for animal products, as well as for their adaptogen properties. Kelp is another sea vegetable that is getting a lot of hype. Let’s see where the greenmarket takes us on this one.

Glasshouse Images

Paring Down |Tidying Up:

Organizational guru Marie Kondo is famous for her books on the art of tidying. Her new show, “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo” premiered on Netflix a couple of weeks ago, and set off a new fury of purging and organizing among viewers. Ridding oneself of things that don’t “spark joy” is a concept taking the Netflix-viewing nation by a storm this month. Since we are now content to stay inside and lounge around streaming content, we might as well do it in a clutter-free and serene environment. So light up that CBD candle, put on your sweats, stream the new show to inspire you, sip some celery juice, and get organized!

 

Composting 101

March 7, 2018

New York City is taking a stance on food waste and has begun to roll out what will eventually be a mandatory composting program.  For those of us new to the composting world, here are a few do’s and don’ts to help make the transition smoother.

Why compost?

When food waste is mixed into our regular garbage, it sits in the landfills and gives off greenhouse gasses. When composted, our organic waste can be used to add nutrients and improve soil quality for our street trees, parks, and urban farms.

 

What do I compost vs. recycle vs. toss in the garbage?

Compostable items are food scraps, such as vegetable and fruit peels, tea bags, coffee grounds and egg shells. Dry food items including bread, cereal, and pasta, are also compostable. Animal products, including meat, bones, and feces, as well as other greasy products are not. It is still important to separate glass, plastic and the like for recycling, and non- compostable food waste as true garbage.

How do I avoid getting fruit flies or vermin from my kitchen compost, and prevent my kitchen from smelling bad?

While there are plenty of compost bucket options at all price ranges out there, it’s not really necessary to purchase something. A large yogurt container with a tight-fitting lid, a big mason jar, or even a zip-lock bag works fine. If you don’t have easy access to a drop off point or your building is not providing a communal compost bin for its tenants, you can put the food waste in the freezer to eliminate odors as the waste starts to break down until you can get it to the compost site.

Doing the right thing for our planet is not always the easiest choice, but it certainly is the best choice. If your building is not yet part of the compost program, here is a list of drop off points around the city so that you can participate in the meantime.

https://www.grownyc.org/compost/locations

photos: Glasshouse Images

 

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The War on Common Decency

December 28, 2017

The “War on Christmas” was a newsworthy subject this year, with our President and many others striving to bring back the term “Merry Christmas”, instead of the more general “Happy Holidays.” In my opinion, if someone wants to wish me well, I don’t really care how they state it, as long as the sentiment is genuine. Merry Christmas, Eid Mubarak…it’s all good. Furthermore, there are many holidays during this time period; Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza and New Year’s Eve, to name a few and saying “Happy Holidays” is an easy way to wish someone good tidings for all of them.  Last time I looked, Christmas was considered a holiday, just as mustard and ketchup are considered condiments. But I digress.

 

I spent the last days leading up to Christmas frantically shopping. This was because I spent the last months leading up to Christmas frantically working, seven days a week, often until 1:00 am or later.

The stores in New York were surprisingly quiet. In only one store, out of at least 8, some of which I visited twice, did anyone ask to help me. In every store, when I left or checked out, I wished the sales associate a happy holiday. Not one initiated the greeting.  Were they so confused as to what was politically acceptable that they chose to skip the gesture completely? Or is it more? I left a comment on a Facebook thread about this, and initially received an outpouring of validation, shown by strangers hitting the “LIKE” button. Then, the inevitable Debbie Downers popped out, deriding me for shopping late when the poor, tired sales associates wanted to be home with their families. ( If I wasn’t shopping, would the store have closed?) One asked me if I had the compassion to tell them that I was thankful for their service when I know they must be tired and missing their families. Remember, this is a person folding sweaters in Zara, not a soldier fighting a war overseas, or a nurse ministering to my every need. But, if you must know, I thanked the few that interacted with me profusely, smiling all the while. Call me old-fashioned, but getting paid to work in a retail store means that while you are there, it is your job to help customers and represent the store at it’s best. (You can read my thoughts on that here.) And yes, I have done it, thank you very much, and while exhausting, I found it much easier than the work I currently do. But I digress yet again.

Here is my point: There was no war on Christmas. The constant clashing of ideals and what it means to be a decent human have given us all battle fatigue this year. Common decency seems to have often gone by the wayside.  If someone wishes you well, smile and return the sentiment. If you aren’t sure what to say, use an over-arching greeting. If you are offended by the term Happy Holidays, instead of Merry Christmas, I would take a moment to examine your priorities. In a year that divided us as Americans so severely, we all need a smile and a pleasant greeting. Is that too much to expect?

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Thanksgiving Countdown: Tip #8

November 19, 2017

Is your home ready for the holiday?

I am sure there are little chores that you’ve been neglecting that you will appreciate having done before your guests arrive. For example, we have extremely high ceilings in our dining room and kitchen. Twenty-three feet to be exact, making lightbulb changing a really big deal. My husband refuses to climb up there for one little dim bulb. By November, it’s starting to get dark in here. Enter, the annual pre-Thanksgiving lightbulb change. In preparation for the holiday, he drags out the super long ladder, climbs up there, and does the deed. If I’m lucky, he dusts the tops of the cabinets while he is up there. Likewise for organizing the cabinets, tightening the latches and dealing with other little projects that get ignored for the rest of the year. Before the weekend is over, deal with them. You will be so happy that you did.

FYI, that ladder is sitting on a pile of wooden crates. But it’s much brighter in here now!

 

photo: Glasshouse Images

 

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Verbal Venom

October 27, 2017

A few mornings ago, I scrolled through Facebook, glancing at articles, posts, and short videos. In a time of extreme political discourse, it is interesting to see what people have to say. It’s no secret which side of the table I sit at, but I read articles written from many points of view, whether I agree with them or not. I haven’t unfollowed people whose views are extremely different from mine, as I think it is important to burst the bubbles we often place ourselves in and understand what we’re up against with the rest of the world. And with clenched teeth, I explore the comments section on many of them.

While I fully expect to see some friction on political posts, it has become more than that. Somehow, it escalates quickly from a disagreement of views to an all-out assault on humanity. Name calling and the use of grammar and spelling more commensurate with a third-grade education is peppered with vulgarity. The threads stretch into the hundreds, if not thousands of comments, most being unworthy of notice. This morning, I happened to watch a short video about making Halloween treats from store-bought cookies and candies. I was absolutely gobsmacked to see the nastiness that such a whimsical and benign post brought about. Women attacking other women for having too much time on their hands and assuming that their homes were unkempt or their children uncared for because they took the time to cut an Oreo in half and attach it to a peanut butter cup to make a bat. Or someone stating that pretzel monsters and spider cupcakes are “un-Christian.” Don’t even get me started about the remarks related to the purchasing of “googly eyes.” Have we really reached such a low point that there isn’t a subject in existence that doesn’t set off a chain of verbal venom?

What has happened to us since the call to become a “kinder, gentler nation” so many years ago? I am truly scared to live in a world where our views on big issues are so disparate that we violently clash both in word and deed on a regular basis. There are times that it is unfathomable to me that people actually think the way that they do. I am even more afraid to live in a world where an Oreo cookie and a chocolate dipped pretzel stick can inspire this level of rage and rhetoric at 7:30 a.m. on Monday morning. Sheesh!

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