December 31, 2014

2015 Year of Creative Expression

My intention for the coming year is creative expression. Today at the San Diego Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park I put together a wish bell with beads made by artist Beverly Hartgrave.

On the bottom is a bell, above that is a ceramic ball with seahorses, leading up to a multi-blue glass bead. Above this is a ceramic triangle with heart designs. This leads up to two more single color blue glass beads and above that is a bead with the letter A for Amy.

I will hang this visibly in my house and ring the bell throughout the year to remind of my creative expression intention.

December 29, 2014

Concluding The Year of Clarity, Calm and Confidence

Every year since 2009 I have created a "Year of..." theme that reflects my intention for the coming 12 months. I never expect that I will fully realize my intention - it is more of a direction of thought and action. Here are the Years of since 2009:

2009 The Year of Amy
2010 The Year of Living My Dreams
2011 The Year of Balance
2012 The Year of Being Present
2013 The Year of Connection
2014 The Year of Clarity, Calm and Confidence

Becoming a certified at 500-hours of training as a yoga teacher in 2014 was one of this year's highlights. I certainly practice the 3 C's in preparing and leading each week's Yoga Restoratives class.

This Clarity, Calm and Confidence also plays out in my Fashion Marketing & Management, Culinary Management and Advertising classes. This quarter, Fall 2014, I felt that I finally hit my stride as a full time classroom teacher. This was actually my 5th year anniversary being an instructor. As I've focused on the 3 C's I've become more comfortable in myself and I believe that the students can sense it. 

Probably turning 45 this year also helped with the 3 C's. There's something about 45 that allows you to stand tall, be centered and let the less important "stuff" just roll past you. At 45 I love myself ever more deeply each day.

Amy Being a Fish

Notice what is in the background at Ironside restaurant in San Diego.

Del Coronado Sand Castle

December 28, 2014

Point Lomas San Diego

Moments after making this video a huge wave come up over the rocks and splashed me, and then another one. It was like being kissed by the ocean. I laughed, enjoying the surprise.

December 20, 2014

Polkadot Party

Dhalia finds herself

Himalayan Salt Gifts

I bought a couple of dozen little tiny bottles with cork tops and a bag of charms - all on Amazon. To make these holiday table gifts I ground up Himalayan salt, placed it in the bottles, corked them and tied the charms to make each one unique.

December 17, 2014

My Students are #Shoelovers

So very proud of my Fashion Marketing & Management students who created a holiday window installation for DSW on San Francisco's Union Square. They are featured on the DSW blog

December 13, 2014

Oakland Protests: Helicopters and Search Lights

I live a few blocks from where the protests have been taking place in Oakland near Highway 580 and Lake Merritt. The helicopters overhead are so frequent that it has become a background noise over the past several weeks. But just now one of those helicopters shined its light into my house, through the kitchen window, landing on me at my computer. That gave me a very uneasy feeling. My uneasiness is not that there could be protesters nearby but rather that even in my home, I can be impacted by the tactics of the police. That really hit home.

October 28, 2014

Siri Uses Big Words for Giant's Loss

"Giants subjugated by the KC Royals" and earlier in the evening she said "crushed". Who writes her lines? Not a Giants' fan.

October 14, 2014

Getting to Know You

Usually I set personal development goals at the start of each year. For instance, this is the year of The three C's: Confidence, Calm and Clarity. Because my working life is broken into teaching quarters I have begun to set quarterly intentions as well.

This quarter I am spending more time with students individually during class. This evolved out of a course last quarter in which my students worked so quietly and independently that I actually felt that their focus resulted in less opportunity for me to help them evolve their projects.

We are now into week 2 of an 11 week teaching quarter and I am getting to know each student and their career intentions in two of my five classes. In these courses the students are working on their personal and professional goals. I feel inspired by their ideas, outlooks and aspirations. Several have mentioned that this one-to-one time when we chat is encouraging them to give direction to their dreams.

In the past I have kept a distance from meeting individually with students in the classroom. I was still learning classroom management and distance felt safe and powerful. Now I realize that getting to know people as individuals, meeting them where they are and guiding them in moving forward, better fits my personal vision of helping people live their dreams.

As I continue into week 2 of classes I will be looking for opportunities for one-to-one conversations during lab time in my other three classes. The same is true for my yoga classes. This is becoming a heart-opening exercise and a practice in listening.

September 23, 2014

Human Litter box

PETCO has a giant cat litter refilling station and when I scoop I feel like a giant cat scratching at my litter.

September 19, 2014

Small and Smart

Sometimes I forget how small my car is until I get out and look.

September 12, 2014

Life in Chapters

Even though it has been eight years since I returned from living in London I often think of time as being before and after living in the UK. When I am traveling around San Francisco and the Bay Area and I see a familiar place I ask myself, "do I know this from before or after London?"

These two major sections of my life-novel are broken down into smaller chapters of where I lived, who I loved and what jobs I've had. Sometimes the lines become blurred and my linear story of chapters gets out of order. "Was this more than 8 years ago?"

Sometimes I become mad and realize that I am sad about having lived two different lives with friends dropped along the way. But then I think about how peaceful my life is now and realize I had to have all of those chapters to be the person I am today. Is there anything about my current life that I would change? Nothing. Would I have gotten here regardless of the path? Yes, I think I would have.

Ironically, today I received an email from a former London co-worker and that a special person is leaving the organization. I remember how kind these folks were to me when I left. One of my leaving gifts was a magnet that says, "live your dreams, except for the one about the spider." I have that over my desk at school to inspire and amuse me every day.

August 23, 2014

Flower Bouquet Salads

This video from Sunset Magazine shows how to make beautiful and edible arrangements. I thought it would be a fun for a tea party and perhaps for kids to be excited to eat their veggies.

Late Summer Night

Enjoying the framing of my livingroom window.

August 15, 2014

Yoga Restoratives

I've launched a new website and blog for my Yoga Restoratives classes I am teaching at Anasa Yoga in Oakland on Sunday nights and starting September 8 at The Yoga Room in Berkeley on Monday nights.

Also started a new twitter feed @YogaRestorativs.

Each week I will be posting my inspiration for the class theme and a mini-practice lesson.

August 5, 2014

Berkeley Marina Graffiti

Went on a photo safari with my friend Rachel today at the Berkeley Marina. My
intention was go shoot black and white - came up with this image.

July 29, 2014

Do Everything 10% Slower

That was our homework assignment in the Restorative Teacher Training with Vickie Russell Bell. You know what I noticed? That I was holding tension in anticipation of what might or might not happen throughout my day. Slowing down is a good practice for being present and breaking habits of stress.

July 25, 2014

Reflecting on Daily Inspirations

As a teacher I am continuously around people with inspiring ideas and outlooks. Creating a classroom environment in which ideas can flourish has taken me five years to develop. As the leader and facilitator I have to create space for fearless exploration and trust. I too have to be open to ideas - realizing that the space we create is to benefit students first and foremost. However, I too benefit. So, I am making a practice of recognizing moments in my day when I feel inspired. Yesterday had lots of them:

- Hearing my Business Ownership students' concepts and their hesitation turn to excitement as they shared their ideas with me. I told them that I will never say no to an idea - unless the business concept hurts someone. I love to riff with them and give them more ideas. However, I let them know that they do not have to pursue any of my suggestions because they are just that - suggestions. The business idea is the their's and they have to feel the fire in their belly and urgency to make it happen.

- Watching the film My Architect by Nathaniel Kahn through which he explores the life and love of his decreased father that he barely knew. The film has moments of painful honesty as people close to the architect learn that Nathaniel is an illegitimate son that they has never known about or were sworn to keep a secret. Nathaniel's brave exploration of his father's life and work made me realize that life is filled with choices - moments when a turn in the road can result in impacting so any lives.

July 23, 2014

Why Are You Here?

My yoga teacher Vickie Russell Bell has a practice if reading us a poem at the end of her classes. Yesterday's offering had a line that has been turning in my mind.

"When a friend asks you to get-together, ask why."

This made me think about being present, honest and defining your intentionality.

In my Monday Executive Leadership course I had my students share their 15-Year Leadership Vision, Values and Mission - an exercise in asking and answering "Why".

I woke up in the middle of the night asking myself, "why am I here?" It was an important question that I had never framed in that way for myself. I felt it was empowering to explore my answer and reasoning.

Today in my Culinary Management class my students will be sharing their teams' business concept Vision, Values and Mission. I realize that I also need to have them express their own as well.

July 19, 2014

Camping in Santa Cruz

Out in the backyard - awakened by sounds of farm animals. The neighbor's donkey and horse were having a chat with the chickens.

July 7, 2014

Misty Ship and Drawbridge

Drawbridge with cargo ship and tugboat at sunset with fog on the water in Portsmouth Harbour.

June 27, 2014

Hearst Castle Views

My fourth visit and now the Park Service allows you to wander the grounds on your own between tours. I certainly felt like a guest of Mr. Hearst.

June 24, 2014

Graduated from Yoga Room ASP

Five hundred hours of yoga study over three years and this past weekend I graduated from the Yoga Room, Berkeley's Advanced Studies Program for teacher training. Here I am receiving my certificate of completion from Nancy Leigh-Smith, my yoga mentor.

I've been teaching a Sunday night restorative yoga at Anasa Yoga Oakland since February. In September I begin teaching a Monday night restorative class at the Yoga Room. My practice is inspired by and dedicated to my grammie who was a yoga teacher with a focus on gentle and restorative until she passed at the age of 94.

June 14, 2014

StyleNOW Fashion Show

The producer's view - Mikel Rosen - #aicasf #stylenow #creativityforlife

June 11, 2014

Less is Less

I have been quiet lately because the past couple of weeks I have been making less rather than more work for myself. It is my habit to overload with too many commitments - often volunteering. Although giving of time and money is a value that I have practiced for most of my life, and more so now that I have a sustainable income, I find that it drains me from pursuing my own adventures.

There are less responsibilities on my plate these days, allowing me to focus on a few paths instead of scrambling to run down every road.

May 22, 2014

Martin is in the Water

On his way back to San Francisco from Alcatraz.

Early Morning Pier 39

Going out on a boat Leah to support Martin on a swim from Alcatraz back to the shore.

May 16, 2014

Mexico in West Portal at El Toreador

This is the most packed and seemingly least dusty, overloaded Mexican restaurant I have ever experienced.

Fancy Pedicure

At Aqua Nails on Geary my feet are soaking in a garden.

May 6, 2014

How Yoga Has Changed My Feet

When I first started yoga in 2001 my feet were painful, my toes twisted and they had little flexibility. I remember at the time meeting a man and admiring the straightness of his toes and the space between them in his flipflops. He told me, "it is from practicing yoga." I have an unusually long big toe on each foot and as a child I was ashamed of my feet and wished that I could get the big toes shortened. When barefoot at camp other kids would point and laugh at my feet.

Adding insult to injury, my feet always hurt and the toes overlapped each other so I had to use cotton balls and band-aids to straighten them. Even more frustrating was that I could not bend my toes. As I have practiced yoga the flexibility of my toes has increased and the pain subsided. This has been accomplished through standing on my toes, squatting, pointing and flexing them, and using my full foot and every toe in each asana. My balance has improved in standing poses and I bring this expansion of flexibility and movement to my full posture in yoga, when working and in my leisure activities.

May 2, 2014

Tax Return Shopping Spree

Tax time? I'm going back to wearing a watch instead of looking at my cell phone. A step in reclaiming my time and my attention. Red for passion and inspiration.

Outrageous Workboots

For some reason these are addictive to wear.

April 25, 2014

Practiced Partnership

Partnership is something that is practiced. Does it come naturally? Maybe more easily for some people. Watching Olympian Meryl Davis and Professional Dancer Maksim Chmerkovsky practicing and performing their Tango on this week's Dancing with the Stars is a lesson in partnership. Yes, there is chemistry between these two athlete artists. But it is more than a romantic sensual chemistry - it is the language of partnership that is ignited.

Watching them I realized that pairs skaters/dancers are intelligent in partnership. They learn to read each other's bodies, minds and emotions. They know how to initiate, receive and respond to an action or movement. They also are experts at being equal.

When watching Meryl's skate with her Olympic partner Charlie White that same chemistry exists.

US Figure Skating Championships

April 8, 2014

Dhalia and The End of Fashion

While I am grading Fashion Marketing & Management papers my cat sits in The End of Fashion book by Teri Agins. Does my car know something?

April 3, 2014

12 Years Old Again

Finally made it back to Connecticut after two years away. Connected tonight with Lori, my best friend from childhood. We visited our alma mater and I was so inspired by the positive environment. Frankly, Lori and I still look 12!

As I walked through the halls I kept saying, "this place is so happy" and all I could think was - "I wish I could go back and be a student now." We were a group of 12 or so close friends who had been together for 9 years when graduated in 1983. I loved them all like brothers and sisters but the school didn't seemed like the loving environment it is now.

March 28, 2014

March 17, 2014

Green St. Patrick's Day

I had an idea this evening that the holiday could be an opportunity to promote green living - even if for just a day. Note to self for next year.

March 16, 2014

Moon Salutation Chandra Namaskar

Each week I am becoming aware of yoga sequence inspirations for my Intro to Yoga class at The Yoga Room and Restorative class at Anasa Yoga. Driving down to see my friend Julie in San Jose last night I found the moon mesmerizing, especially when it was first rising. The full moon is a time when I feel the pull of powerful emotions. In my classes we will explore the calming and centering power of saluting the moon. I think this will be an appropriate honoring of the moon in both of these evening classes. Now my challenge is to create a fully restorative and gentle sequence.

March 10, 2014

Asian Art Museum Yoga Exhibition

On my 45th birthday this weekend I visited the Yoga exhibition and attended a lecture in Yoga as Science I was inspired to create both a restorative and an intro to yoga sequence focusing on the midline. This sequencing focus was from my learning at the lecture that yoga is about yoking - bringing opposites together into a whole. The midline is the vertical centerline of the body and we explored in the classes how to bring our left and right sides of our body parallel to, towards, away-from, across and on the midline. This balancing of the body allows for balancing of the breath and the focusing of the mind: Asana, Pranayama and Meditation.

Yoga Sequence Inspiration: Ada Lusardi Walking Workshop

Last week I created my intro to yoga and restorative sequences around deepening of the hip crease inspired by Ada's workshop. Plus, I purchased some pink bouncy rubber balls for working on fascia in the feet. Students loved the self-foot massage.

March 4, 2014

Back in the Darkroom

After 24 years! Helping my friend Carrie print her family's negatives. It all came back in 2 minutes.

February 25, 2014

Once an Intern Always an Intern?

Had the pleasure to enjoy breakfast and tour my school with my former London intern David. I love that we can catch up on life and our various adventures. He's inspired me to keep on blogging.

Poor David - I introduced him as my former intern - even though that was at least six years ago and he is quite established in his career. But I mean it in the kindest sense - we shared an international experience together - two Americans making our way in a UK workforce. It was truely an adventure and we schooled-it together.

Homemade Spanakopita

The joys of living with a chef - my favorite foods are lovingly prepared.

February 14, 2014

Locksmith Love Song

When I asked Siri to find a locksmith, here is what she heard and responded.

Seems like she's not tuned into Valentine's Day.