MIA & Honored Experience

I haven't been posting much lately.  This time of year is always kind of hectic for me.  The whole shenanigans of the holiday season is hard for me, due to the fact of my moving towards a less hectic, noncomsumerist life.  My beliefs usually do not coincide with what a lot of others believe, so I spend most of this season trying to be tolerant of everything that is going on.  I try to do a lot of yoga, journalling, and meditation, though, this year I have done a lot less.  I have really felt the urge to be somewhat removed and internalized this year.  I guess it may have been from having a lot on my mind and just really trying to find a connection of myself to the natural world. 

I went to see my family in Virginia the past week and spend some time with them.  I have to say I am awfully proud of them for not going overboard with the gift giving this year.  I have been trying to get them to adhere to my suggestion of keeping my gifts at a minimum for the past few years and it seemed to have finally worked.  I did get a few things I needed for our new place (which hasn't been mentioned yet- more on that in the coming days) and a few things on Etsy that I wanted.  I also received the funds to buy my LED hoop from Cosmic Hooper I have been eyeing:  Yay!!  I am ordering it within a few days.  Would LOVE to have it by my bday which may not happen. 

I love this pic!! From the Washington Post

The most unfortunate thing about when I went back to VA was that I travelled all day yesterday on the Solstice instead of having the time to experience and meditate on what this time of year means for me.  I did, however, get the utmost honor to be witness to the full lunar eclipse on the Solstice.  I have always been interested in astrology and the heavenly bodies, so having this chance to experience something that people haven't experience in almost 400 years was just so amazing to me.  I truly felt not only honored, but blessed.  I thanked the Divine for that chance a multitude of times while sitting there, watching this natural occurance happen before my eyes.  It was quite a beautifull thing.

I may not post very much again in the next few weeks; we are going on a little personal vacation and also will be moving into our new house the beginning of the year.  I am going to pick back up on the 30 Day Challenge after the new year and will also be posting more about hooping and spirituality.  I have quite a few exciting things to share in the coming weeks.

May you all have a blessed holiday season and safe travels to those who are in route.  Until next time, peace.


Life's lessons

It has been a while since I have posted, pretty much stringing my 30 Day Challenge along quite well.  I have been really busy, though and some unexpected events have had me lagging along.  My boyfriend is leaving for Virginia tonight until next week, while I am in the midst of getting ready to leave myself within the week.  It has been extremely cold outside (single digits) and I have not been able to hoop much.  I think this weekend I am going to come to my work to have a good long, indoor session.  I really need it.

I had been pretty down since Monday.  I saw a dog get hit by a car right in front of my eyes.  It was the first time I had ever witnessed anything like that.  I have seen dogs after they got hit by cars, but not the actual event.  I was on my way from work to the grocery store when I saw a dog weaving back and forth between the lanes of the main road I live off of.  I pulled over into a drive way in hopes that I could call him over to me to check to see if he had a collar with a information tag so I could get ahold of the owners.  All seemed well when I saw him cross over to my side of the road.  I thought I could grab him, but as soon as that thought crossed my mind he darted right across the road again getting hit by a truck.

The look of his helpless face in front of the truck caught in the headlights played over and over in my head.  I immediately started to pray for him and his family.  I then called 911 for them to call animal control in hopes of any chance he wasn't dead, they could save him.  I look back over to the dog andmy boyfriend is standing over him, moving his body out of the road.  It was my boyfriend's boss that hit the poor dog on their way home from work.  His boss was crushed, being a real dog lover.  It was super slick out and the dog literally ran out right in front of him.

The dog, of course, didn't make it.  They came and picked up his body, but the images we burned in my head.  On my way to the store, at the store, and that night I cried.  I cried a lot.  Almost to the point where you would have thought I hit him.  I just felt so bad that I couldn't keep that from happening.  I prayed that night before bed and asked god to tell that dog I did everything I could to help me. 

The next day I was still bummed about it.  I decided I was going to dedicate that day's yoga practice to him.  I found a heart opening sequence to do because I thought that was pretty appropriate.  I sat down and set my intention on that dog and the happiness and wellness of all the animals in the world.  I praticed harder and deeper than I ever have in my whole four year yoga practice.  It made me feel a lot better.  I visualized him playing with my dogs that have passed.  I saw him crossing happily over the rainbow bridge to a better place.

Thinking about that night I still get a little sad, but this whole situation helped show me that my yoga practice can help me make it through these hard situations; well, that and a hell of a lot of praying. 

This isn't extremely interesting, nor enjoyable to read, I'm sure.  But I will leave you with the poem of the Rainbow Bridge in hopes that you may find comfort in knowing that any of your animals that have passed, are now happy and joyful.


When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....
Author unknown...

Peace, love, and happiness.



So, to re-establish my participation in the 30 Day Challenge, here is-

The Dukes:

My dad, me, and my momma

Here is a picture of me and my parents taken about two years ago.  I couldn't find one with all three of us in it so I thought I would use this one.  It is in front of a restaurant we use to frequent when I lived in Virginia.  I believe this was on my mom's birthday.  I started calling my parents The Dukes when I was in high school and, well, the name has stuck.  My dad's listed as Father Dukes in my phone and my mom as Ma Dukes.  My parents got quite the kick out of it and even they have each other in their phones as "The Dukes."  :)  My dad is an engineer and, along with his dad (my grandpa duh), built a lot of the interstates around where I used to live at.  My mom is a nurse and has been for over 25 years.  I had my first real job working with her as a receptionist at the doctor's office she works at.  I had such a great time working there.  It was nice because we got to go out to lunch everyday and have nice talks.  I love my parents and they have given me so many things in life; including the wonderlust that is instilled within me and for my love of animals.  Thank you both.

Now on to the recipe of the week.

Organic Peanut Butter Cups
Makes 12 cups:
1 cup creamy natural peanut butter
1/2 or less of organic powdered sugar
2 cups organic chocolate chip cookies (or carob chips for vegan)
1/4 tsp sea salt
12 paper muffin cups

Cut the tops off the muffin cups.  I folded them in half and then snipped across.  You could also probably use some paper cups if you would like and you have them on hand.  You are not baking these so they do not have to be oven safe.

Heat 1 1/2 cups of chips in a small sauce pan over low heat.  Make sure that you do not get distracted (that means no hoop citying while baking, Kelly!!) because you have to really watch and make sure you do not burn them.  Stir pretty continuously until all the chips are melted and you have a nice, creamy consistency.

Using a spoon, paint brush, or basting brush, spread the melted chocolate evenly into the muffin cups, being sure to fill all the cracks in the cups.  This is NOT as fun as it sounds; it is actually quite tedious and at time hard.  I placed then in muffin baking pans and it made it a ton easier.  In the end, it was kind of fun to paint the tins with chocolate; mainly because I kept dripping it on me and then licking it off :) shhh...  Place in freezer and let harden, about 10 minutes.

After the chocolate has almost hardened, combine the peanut butter, salt, and powdered sugar and either microwave or heat up in a sauce pan (I only had one small sauce pan so I had to, unfortunately, nuke the PB).  Stir until nice and creamy.  It is a little complicated to get the powdered sugar fully distributed.  I would maybe recommend adding a little sugar at a time.  After it has cooled slightly, start filling your lovely, hardened cups.  Do not overfill, you still have to put the rest of the chocolate on them.

After you have filled them with the peanut butter, rewarm your chocolate saucepan and top with the remaining chocolate.  I couldn't get them covered very nicely so I just swirled them.  I think it looks a lot cooler like that anyways :P.  Before you start digging in (and you will want to, trust me, after smelling all that yummy, cooking chocolate for the past few minutes), stick them in the freezer for about an hour.  If you can't wait, we will all understand.

After they have hardened, enjoy!!  Now, I know these are not healthy, but we are allowed to indulge every once in a while, right?  And if you are craving some Reese's (like my boyfriend was), at least you can make your own, controlling what you put in there.  You can always sub the powdered sugar for splenda, stevia, or xylitol.  I'm sure it would come out similar.  You may have to heat those up a little to prevent the cups from becoming grainy.  I leave you with a picture of my love enjoying his organic PB cup.  And a rare one at that with him actually smiling!!  He hates pictures.  :)

Peace, love, and hoops- SG*


Beginning of Time- Science and Religion

I've been super busy these past few days; new house shopping, my boyfriend was sick, and working a lot.  Therefore, I have been slacking on posts and on the 30 Day Challenge.  But, I wanted to post the pictures that I took at the Origins Museum that my boyfriend and I went to last weekend.  It was a very interesting exhibit, especially being that it came to Wasilla.  Supposedly, the guy who owns all of the materials actually is a proctologist in Wasilla, but the exhibit travels around the world. 


One of the very first Torahs


Leather Bounded English Bible

Illustrated English Bible

Full King James Version

Colored and Foiled Bible


Early Map of North and South America (No Alaska!!)

Map of Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia/New Zealand

For my friend Bhakti- Early Map of Finland!!

Zodiac Map of World

Zodiac Map

Capricorn on  the Zodiac Map

This is a super early map of the area in Virginia I grew up in (around Jamestown and Williamsburg)

Map of Virginia

Illustrated Ptolemaic Map of World

Map of Virginia (and East Coast)


Bird Illustartion in an early book of Species

Tomorrow I hope to get back to the 30 Day Challenge and I will also post the recipe of the week.  Have a great Saturday.  Peace.


Remembering the Olden Days

So continuing with the 30 Day Blog Challenge:

Day 2- Meaning Behind Your Blog Name
When I first started to be involved in online communities, I was going by the name Ecoglowyogini.  This being a three word combo meaning environmentally friendly, raving, yogi.  I used this name on a lot of things, including my buyers etsy account.  Once I really started to get into hooping, I thought of nothing else.  Things, ideas, started to come to me about different things in my life; revelations if you will.  One was even my hooping name:  Spin Gypsy.  I don't know where exactly it came from, it just popped right into my head one day.  I liked the sound of it and thought it would be perfect.  I have some gypsy in my soul.  A few years ago, a lady told me that I was a gypsy fortune teller and possibly even Egyptian royalty in past lives.  So, maybe it's in my karma or recollection of past lives that I feel this inner connection to the gypsy, nomadic lifestyle.  I wish I could do a lot more travelling.  It's hard to travel everywhere when you don't have the money to.  Ah, things will come around soon enough;  I can feel it!!  So the blog name, Gypsy Apologue, is a sort of online journal of this travelling, hooping gypsy and all my interesting, or not so interesting, accounts. 

Day 3-  Your First Love
It is funny to reminisce about the times of this occasion.  Elementary school; Cornerstone Christian;  some of the best childhood years of my life.  You see, this was a very small school.  I had no more than 10 people in my class from kindergarten to the sixth grade.  The five or six of us that had been together through this elementary school process were very close.  In first grade, I had the biggest crush on this boy in my class:  Ritchie Mangus;  funny last name, cute boy.  We had a lot of things in common; we both liked rock music, wore Jncos, went to hockey games, and listened to Chumbawamba.  When you're in elementary school, you don't really "date" so to speak.  It's more like you hang out with the person more than other people and you call yourself "boyfriend and girlfriend."

Funny story looking back, there was another cute boy in our class.  His name was Michael Maloney.  (I know, what's up with these names haha?)  He was a little more shy, but cute as can be.  I remember in the third grade we had a new girl come into our grade.  Hmm... can remember her name;  I want to say her last name was Reardon or something.  Anyways... she liked Michael.  Well, we had been friends for four years and I didn't really like her.  So throughout the third grade, her and I fought over Michael and the poor boys were caught in the middle of this grade school girl fight.  I can picture us in the playground bickering back and forth.  Ha!!  What great memories!!  Eventually she left after, I think, that year of third grade.  Oh.. oh... Ashley Reardon;  that was her name!!  Wow, can't believe I remembered that.  So this epic struggle betwixt my love for my fellow male class mates was ongoing up until graduation from the sixth grade.  Ritchie and I were pretty much "going out" the whole time, but I always really liked Michael.

After we had all graduated from Cornerstone, we split up, all mostly going to separate schools.  Once in high school, I missed my classmates and tried to contact a few of them.  The first, was of course, Ritchie.  I actually had a working number and talked to him on the phone.  It made me a little upset because he acted like he wasn't really that excited about hearing from me after a few years and, worse yet, didn't sound the least bit interested in getting together.  So much for that.

Fast forward seven years since Cornerstone.  All of us that had been to school for seven years together had graduated from different schools.  I started going to a larger college near where I lived and began to look up some old school mates to see where they were going to college.  Yet again, Ritchie would be the first.  That was way back when I actually had a Facebook, when you HAD to be a college student to even have an account.  I found him and believe it or not, he was going to ODU, too.  As a matter of fact, a few days later I saw him in the food court and went up to him.  Not a good choice;  he completely ignored me and acted as if he didn't even know me.  It really, really hurt my feelings.  I had done nothing but be nice to him.  Shortly after that, his mom happened to come into the restaurant where I worked and we chatted for quite some time.  I didn't have the heart to tell her what had happened between Ritchie and I when she said, oh Ritchie goes to ODU, too.  Yeah, know that.

I actually ended up catching up with Michael, who also happened to be going to ODU.  We was way nice and seemed like he enjoyed catching up with me after all those years.  And must I add, TOTAL cutie!!  Hot, blonde, surfer type.  We never had any connection going on, so it didn't go any further than just talking and eating lunch together once in a while.  He did, however, make me feel a whole lot better by informing me of how much of an ass Ritchie had become to everyone that we went to school with.  Supposedly, quite a few of them had graduated from the same Christian school and he acted like a total snob to all of them.  Well, at least it wasn't just to me!!

So, even though he may seem like a total waste of space and breath, he was my first boyfriend and love.  I, to this day, have a picture of us together.  I can't remember where we were; a field trip, I do know that.

We couldn't be older than fourth grade, maybe (**edit note:  I just noticed the "'97" on the liscense plate, which I assumed would mean this was in 97 so I was in the fourth grade.).  Looking at this picture reminds me of all the great times we had together:  Ritchie having the hiccups on a field trip and the tour guide scaring the crap out of him; Gabriel and Ritchie racing to see who was faster; me squirting ketchup on the back of some lady with a white shirt on at a hockey game we were at together; our sixth grade big trip to Washington DC where we spent the weekend and we all were at the age where we thought about sneaking into each other's rooms (which of course was not even possible due to all the adult/parent chaperons).  Good times.

So here's to a little reminiscing, of the good, of the bad.  The past is what makes us who were are.  And even though he ended up being such a drag, I still thank him for all the great times and memories he made with me.

Today is a beautiful day, but too cold for hooping (-5!!).  I am going to go do some yoga instead.  Look tomorrow for my post about the most awesome museum we went to over the weekend!!  After that, the continuation of the thirty day blog challenge.  Peace.


Let's Make This Interesting...

Right now, my life is somewhat boring (very busy for me, but as a reader I'm sure it's lacking much excitement).  So I thought I would do the 30 Day Blog Challenge that Bhakti is doing on her blog.  I figured it would jump start some interesting posts and you all would learn a little about me.

Day 1- Introduction, 15 interesting facts, and a recent picture

Hello!!  I'm Kelly.  I go mostly by Spin Gypy in online communities.  I live in Wasilla, Alaska- no I don't know Sarah Palin, nor did I get invited to Bristol's wedding (yes, people ask us that).  I work at The Better Companion as a Certified Pet Care Technician, which is a pretty awesome sounding term for doggie daycare sitter.  I am house sitting with my boyfriend for a wonderful couple who winters down in the lower forty eight in their beautiful house with a huge backyard.  I'm an avid hooper, yogini, environmentalist, painter, crafter, reader, and writer.

15 Interesting Facts About Me:

  1. I went to school to be a Biology major and ended up graduating with an Interior Design degree with a focus on LEED and green design.
  2. I  moved almost 5000 miles to Alaska after visiting on vacation for nine days.
  3. Baking is my catch 22- I used to not like sweets very much, until I met an oven :).  I do try to make all the recipes either healthier, organic, or vegan most of the time.
  4. My all-time yogi idol is KK Ledford.  I love her energy so much.  Her style, charisma, and quirkiness is amazing.  She is, in a way, an inner part of me that I have not released.  The blending of yoga, herbalism, and astrology is almost dejavu like to me.  My goal of combining yoga, green design, and herbalism hits really close to that.  I now want to add hoopdance to that line-up!!
  5. I am a huge recycler.  When I go places or do catering jobs, I always save everything that can be recycled and take home with me.  Sometimes I feel like people think it's a bit extreme, but, oh well.  I also have started a recycling program at my last three jobs (mostly this entailed making a designated recycling spot and then me taking it home to recycle haha).
  6. Electronic dance music is my life.  When I was 9 I started listening to The Prodigy and at 14 I heard my first "real" techno song which was Sandstorm by Darude.  Thus began the days of raving.  Ever since that time I have fallen madly in love with all genres of edm including, but not limited to:  psytrance, drum n bass, liquid, trance, breaks, and dubstep.  I have seen The Prodigy, The Crystal Method, Infected Mushroom, Dieselboy, DJ Icey, Jon B, Tiesto, DJ Rap, Baby Anne, AK1200, Dara, Rabbit In The Moon, MIA, Subfocus, Evol Intent, Bassnectar, Jen Lasher, and Paul Oakenfold live, just to name a few.  I also had the privledge to attend the last six closing parties of the Uber-warehouse club Nation in DC, largest night club on the East Coast.  RIP Nation- we all miss you!!
  7. I have been to all 50 states except Hawaii.  I hope to change that this spring when we go there on vacation.  I want to see the volcanoes and waterfalls so bad.  Screw the beach; I want to go hiking!!
  8. I went to Christian school for eight years of my life.
  9. Everyone usually has a big extended family.  It's pretty much my parents, grandparents, and myself.  Other people such as my dad's brother and my grand mothers' siblings live around VA where I grew up, but they did some awful things and therefore I don't consider them family.  (Like, how can you steal an 11 year olds dog?  I mean, come on.  Can you say scarred for life?)
  10. One of my biggest dreams is to backpack across Europe and Asia, hitting all of the ancient holy places such as Stonehenge, Mt Olympus, Easter Island, Bodh Gaya (aka where the Buddha became enlightened) and Sarnath, numerous Buddhist temples in Thailand, and Elephanta Caves and Vrindavan along with numerous others.  I want to hit some fun places like Amsterdam and real tea houses, too.
  11. I used to be deathly afraid of spiders.  Eventually, to get over this fear, I started befriending the "corner spiders," talking to them and allowing them to stay.  Then, I started to save them instead of kill the bigger ones when they were inside my house, picking them up with whatever happened to be available at the moment and putting them outside.
  12. I am one of those people that read multiple books at one time.  The going record for multi-books at one time:  four.
  13. I used to read the Twilight books when they first came out.  I totally boycotted them and the movies once all the teeny boppers got into them.  No, really, I was mad that Edward wasn't up to my standard and that's the real reason I refuse to have any part of it.  That and I think things like "Team Edward" are a bit much.
  14. I got my eyebrow pierced as a rebellion against an ex-boyfriend when I was out of town visiting my friend's sister in Nags Head at 18.  I came home and my parents were livid, commanding me to take it out.  I faked that I couldn't and had it up until April of last year.  I took it out for a front desk job at the resort I worked at even though you weren't "allowed" to have facial piercings but everyone did.  There isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss it.
  15. I am secretly, desperately in love with Johnny Depp.  I am totally not an "into celebrity everything" type person.  I don't watch E!, read People or US Weekly, and for damn sure don't go on all those celebrity dish websites (I don't even know the name of one, but I do know they're out there).  But I LOVE me some Johnny Depp.  He is so mysterious and awesome.  **Melt**  Favorite movies (in order of likeness):  Cry Baby, Edward Scissorhands, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (I strongly recommend the book!!), Blow, Chocolat, and the Corpse Bride.  I of course love every movie he's been in (with the exception of the Astronaut's Wife- he is hott, but not that hott), but these are my favorites.  

Here is a picture of me that was taken today during my Etsy photoshoot for new, cooler pics:

So I am going to try to post these challenges everyday, but, knowing me, I will miss some.  So I will just post when I get a chance and post two in one if I miss.  I'm excited about this because not only will you learn something about me, I will learn somethings about myself, too!!  Happy weekend.  Peace.


A Day of Thanks

I am in the middle of cooking a delicious, healthy Thanksgiving meal, but I wanted to make a quick post since I hadn't made one in a while.  Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving, whether you're eating turkey, or spending some quiet time alone to reflect, today is the day to be thankful for all you have.  I thought it would be nice to make a little list of ten things I'm thankful for:

1) Living in a beautiful, natured filled place like Alaska.
2) Having the opportunity to enjoy great food.
3) Spending time with my boyfriend.
4) No more freezing rain!  It's pretty difficult to do ANYTHING when there is a thick layer of ice everywhere.
5) A chance to spend some time in the hoop the next few days with a four day weekend.
6) Fun-filled day with good food and a bonfire with friends on Saturday.
7) My family is well and everyone gets to enjoy their Thanksgiving.
8) Bill's stepfather is doing ok with his cancer.  We found out that the combo of radiation and chemo has shrunk some of the tumors in his lungs.
9) With the above, I am lucky to be in good health myself, having the knowledge and action of trying to take care of myself to be healthy.
10) All of the wonderful, positive energy from out there in the hoop community.  My hoop journey has been fascinating in these quick passing nine months.  I cannot wait to continue and hopefully help make a difference through the hoop.

You can take this time today to reflect not only on what you are thankful for, but also for all that you have in abundance.  The cornucopia is a familiar symbol around the time of fall and harvest season.  It represents the abundance in harvest, but also symbolizes what we have in abundance within our lives.  No matter what we want, the universe and the Divine always provide us with what we need.  THAT is something that we all can be appreciative of.

So, may you share with yourself or your family what you are grateful for.   Have a blessed Thanksgiving.  Peace.


Yummy Treats

So with the cold weather here to stay, I've done less hooping (can you say freezing temps and high power winds!!) and have been working on some indoor projects. I felt crafty and made some T-shirt yarn that I am now turning into some warm, fingerless gloves for myself. I also made some delicious cookies and toasted pumpkins seeds!! Both turned out super good so I thought I would share the recipes.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip & Cranberry Cookies
Guided with love from this recipe.

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp butter, room temperature (use earth balance or olive oil to veganize)
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg (use egg replacer for vegans)
1/4 cup organic apple sauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups quick cooking oats (I used regular steel cut oats)
3/4 cup organic chocolate chips (or carob chips)
1/2 cup craisins

Preheat your oven to 350 and prepare a baking sheet with wax paper. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together. Remember, if you get messy, then you're really baking!! In another bowl, cream your fat and sugars, then add egg, apple sauce, and vanilla. By hand, lovingly mix the ingredients of the two bowls plus your oats together, just combining until no flour is visible. Gently add your chips and craisins with their new friends. Scoop tablespoons onto the baking sheet, flattening slightly as you go. Bake for 10-13 minutes until brown on the outsides. Let cool on the pan for a few minutes (have one!! They are delicious warm) and then move to a rack to cool completely. Smile!! You just made yourself some yummy, healthy cookies.

I made pumpkin brownies last weekend and saved the seeds for roasting to add to salads, pasta, or just as a snack!!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Adapted from this recipe

Raw pumpkin seeds
Olive Oil
Garlic Powder

Preheat oven to 300.  In a small bowl mix pumpkin seeds and just enough olive oil to cover.  Shower yummies with cayenne and garlic powder to taste (I like LOTS of garlic!!).  Spread evenly on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes until brown.  Make sure to stir the little guys occasionally to get nice and brown all over.  Let cool on baking sheet and store.  These are SO good!!

Things around here have been a little difficult.  It's just one of those times when life just hits you with all kinds of things.  It's all good because I have my hoop, my man, yoga, and my crafts to uplift me.  Hopefully it will all turn around soon; we may have found a new place to move in and I have a potential hoop making birthday party to do in the next few months.  More on both of these things later.  Got to run; time to hoop.  I will just have to get myself warm in this 20 degree weather if I want to practice. 

I leave you with the sunrise this morning; the picture doesn't even begin to show the beautiful golds, pinks, purples, and blues that were present.  Have a wonderful, blessed day.  Peace.


Guided Hoop Meditation Series

So over the weekend I played with an idea that I had been wanting to experiment with lately.  I have been studying and practicing yoga for over four years.  During this time, I have tried to pick up meditiation, mainly without success.  I am what you would call, a busy-body type person and it can be very hard to turn off my mind.  I knew that meditation could potentially help this, which is the reason why I started to meditate in the first place.  Sometimes I would get rather flustered and annoyed with myself for not being able to quiet my mind and eventually stopped trying. 

Then, one day I found a wonderful podcast full of guided meditations.  This helped me extremely.  I felt like it compared very closely to what the setting was like during savasana at a formal yoga class; the sound of the voice, the gentle music, and the imagery that usually accompanied it.  I was hooked.  Now, I can usually sit down for 5-10 minutes and do a regular medition that focuses on the breath- though I do prefer to still do guided meditations and especially mantra meditations.

I began to think how amazing it would be to connect this practice with my hoop practice.  Since I came from a yoga background before I hooped, I always tend to try to meld the two.  I started to incorporate meditation into my hoop practice, especially after joining the Holistic Hooping newsletter in which they send you a hoop meditation to help jumpstart your holistic hoop healing journey.

Well, this weekend I actually had the time to sit down and come up with my first guided hoop meditation.  I focused on Metta meditation only because I love how joyous and energizing that Metta can be.  It is ultimately one of my favorite types of guided meditations.

My goal of starting this series is to prepare myself for potentially teaching hoop-yoga fusion in the future.  I have all these really great ideas for a practice that joins the two.  Also, I am trying to get a few really great videos together for the website that I am putting together for my hoop business Centric Hoops.  I hope to have the website up and available for viewing by the end of the month.  I will be sure to make an announcement here and on my Hoop City page.

Though it is suggested to do light yoga before meditating, as yoga was orginally practiced to help condition the body and mind for meditation, it is not required to do so. I do plan on doing a hoop-yoga sequence very soon which could be practiced prior to doing this, or any other, meditation.

Guided Hoop Meditation #1- Metta

I want to apologize for the extended beginning and end.  My movie maker was being a pain and YouTube is having technical difficulties with their editor.  I hope to fix it once it is back up, but for now, please excuse me getting comfortable at the beginning and such.

Like I said, this is the first guided meditation I have ever done for someone other than myself so it isn't perfect and I am still trying to work on my vocabulary and tone/softness of my voice.

If you have any questions about meditation, guided meditation, or hoop yoga, please don't hesitate to ask and I will do my best to answer or find someone who can.



My Newest Obsession

So for the past few months I've been really trying to change some things in my diet that I could find some healthier alternatives for.  As an example, I've been experimenting with different kinds of dairy-free milks.  Soy milk has been a staple for me in my coffee for a few years now, but recently new "milks" have been hitting the shelves.  First, I had tried hemp milk.  It wasn't bad, but it didn't have that creaminess about it.  A lady at my work was going to a holistic doctor down in Anchorage and he was weaning her off dairy.  She, like most Alaskans, drinks lots of coffee.  She told me she had been using vanilla almond milk as a replacement for creamer and that I should try it because it was really good; so I did.  It was good!!  Then, I saw an ad in my yoga magazine for a new line of coconut milk products.  I found them in my grocery and had to try- I LOVE coconut!!  Let me tell you, Mmmmm.  It  is totally delicious- no wonder the line is called So Delicious.  The main reason why I like coconut milk is because I can actually drink it straight, like with some cookies, and even in my cereal.  I, of course, like the vanilla for my coffee.  It definitely has that creamy flavor and it's not such a harsh, nutty flavor like most of the other milks I had tried, which mostly prevented me from ever drinking it straight.  I know that the store has the So Delicious ice cream- and I sooo want to try it.  Too bad the yogurt hasn't come in yet.  Hopefully they will get that, too, so that I can try some coconut yogurt- yummm...

On another note, my totally awesome hunny bought me a new sewing machine so that I can finish all my projects for my store.  I was totally behind on the original date I wanted to post my new merchandise, but it's
all good.  I have the next few weeks to post a few things before the holidays sneak up on everyone.  I have two weeks off of work around Christmas, so when I get back from my few days in Virginia, I will have a while to relax and catch up on some much needed "me" time- which will include more, new projects!!  I'm really excited because it came with a guide that actually matched the model of the machine (the other sewing machine I was using had a different model in the guide which meant NOTHING matched) and even a DVD explaining everything on how to use all the features (self-threading needle and button sewer anyone?).  I said I had wanted one for Christmas and he so lovingly got it for me early.  Now I don't have to hand sew everything... yay!!  I just have sooo many ideas for upcoming products that it was somewhat depressing knowing that I would have to take extra time by attempting to hand sew everything.  Now I don't :).

Tomorrow, as long as it's not a blizzard out, I'm hoping to get out a to a photo shoot for my old and new items for the shoppe.  I have some really neat ideas of where to take them and what to wear to showcase the products better.  And plus, have fun while doing so.  I have been going through a spell of not being able to sleep this week, so I've been laying in bed at night daydreaming of all this luscious stuff for my store.  Ah... so many ideas and so little time to do them.  Can't wait for my two week holiday break.  To top off that two weeks of no work, my 24th (?!?!) birthday is wrapping up the end of it.  I can't believe I will almost be a quarter century old... haha.

I thought I would leave you with the cutest picture ever today;  a pic I took when I was back in Virginia visiting family.  This is Chi chi and Bubbles, the hooping Poms.  Peace out, lovelies.


Halloween and Other Updates

So I said that I would post some pictures from Halloween.  I have two of my costume and a pic of my Kitty Litter Cake.  It was soooo delicious, but very few were dare devil enough to try it; too bad they didn't!!  The mesh of German Chocolate cake, vanilla cake, and crushed organic vanilla sandwich cookies was awesome.

So like I was stating in my previous post, last weekend snuck up on me so I didn't have adequate time to prepare.  Next year I already have my costume in mind and I will be steadily working on it until then.  This year I hurriedly put together a Wood Sprite costume; who doesn't love faeries?  I pretty much just took a skirt and top that I had and pinned some Ivy leaves to it.  I also stuck some all in my hair and in my boots.  I didn't think it was too bad considering I had one day to plan.  Luckily, I was calling myself a Wood Sprite instead of Mother Earth because there happened to be another chick dressed as Mother Earth.  It was a fun party.  My neighbor is a super good cook, homemaker, and caterer, so all of her ghoulish treats were delicious- think bleached bones (almond biscottis); ogre fingers (cookies with almond "nails"); wizard wands (pretzel sticks with chocolate and sprinkles); and mummy mash (spinach and artichoke dip) with crusty heels (sliced French bread). Yumm!!  It was also fun to see all the kids dressed up.  We played some Halloween themed games (mostly for the kids), but I participated in the mummy wrapping contest by wrapping this little boy.  I think he had fun, which was the point of me doing it.  He was all giggly turning and turning around in circles.

In other news we got some fresh snow fall in the past few days.  Right after my last post, it got light outside and *taadaa* there was snow on the ground.  We got a few more inches last night, but it's too foggy to take a picture this morning.  It is barely daylight right now at 9:00 am so the sun should clear out most of the fog.  My boyfriend was so happy because now we can take our snow machine out again.  During the summer, our neighbor, who is also his boss, sold us his '92 snow machine so that we could have something fun to do this winter: for $300!!  What a steal.  And it only cost us $200 to fix (the pull start was broken), so we got a super decent snow machine for $500.  I really want to go out machining in front of Denali and take a bunch of cool hoop pictures.  I need to make another collapsible to take with me to VA for the holidays anyway. 

Yesterday I was playing with my hoop out in the snow and it was so fun.  I actually really like hooping in the winter here; its cold, but I don't tend to get all sweaty like in the summer.  Plus, it's more beautiful and your hoop makes awesome pictures when ever you drop it.

I've really been delving deeper into my hoopdancing recently.  I kind of had this "aha" moment and have begun experimenting with different styles and types of music.  Most of this idea stemmed from the hoop competition on Hoop City- which, btw, if you're a hoopdancer and you haven't joined, what are you waiting for?  I have really been into hooping to some Indian bollywood and kirtan type music.  It's like Zen, meditative, and exhilerating all at the same time.  I'm going to be doing a series of videos where I hoop to music that may be consider "unhoopable."  Some ideas I have are:  kirtan, classical, country, jazz, chill-out, and oldies.  I'm not exactly sure how it's going to turn out, but I can't wait to see the outcome.  I think it will really help me grow in my hoopdance and open my mind to the possibilities, realizing there are NO boundaries to creativity.

Also, on the topic of hoopdance, in the next few days I am going to record a Metta Hoop Meditation to post.  I have been contemplating on this idea for a while and I was inspired to actually go for it the other day while meditating before a hoop practice.  So check back for that.


Mason Jar and Two Cups of Tea

My boss emailed me this story and I really liked the analogy within it.  I wanted to share here because I really think our lives are an important thing to not only think about, to reevaluate it constantly to fit our needs, but also to always be present in whatever we do and whatever situation we are in, positive or negative.  So here is my take on the story of A Mayonnaise Jar and Two Beers: enjoy :).

A Mason Jar and Two Cups of Tea

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mason jar and two cups of tea.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.

When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mason jar and proceeded to fill it with votive candles.  He then asked the students if the jar was full.  They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly.
The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the candles.  He then asked the students again, if the jar was full.  They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.  Of course, the sand filled up everything else.  He asked once more if the jar was full.  The students responded with a unanimous 'yes.'

The professor then produced two cups of tea from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand.  The students laughed..

'Now,' said the professor as the laughter subsided, 'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.
The votive candles are the important things---your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions, the things that "light up your life"---and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car.

The sand is everything else---the small stuff.

'If you put the sand into the jar first,' he continued, 'there is no room for the pebbles or the candles.

The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.  Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with family.

Shower your lover with special treatments.

Visit faraway places.

Take care of yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually.

Take time for svadhyaya- self study.

Hoop for just another five minutes.

There will always be time to do chores and watch tv.

Take care of the votive candles first---the things that really matter.

Set your priorities.

Be true to yourself.

The rest is just sand.'

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the tea represented.

The professor smiled and said, 'I'm glad you asked.
The tea just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a cup of tea with a friend.'

I hope that you take this story to heart.  So many of us go through life everyday in this drone state of go to work, drive home, have dinner, go to sleep, repeat.  We need to get out there and enjoy life, fully taking advantage of all the wonderful things that have been presented to us. 

After I found out that my boyfriend's 47 year old step dad has stage IV lung cancer, it scared me- a lot.  That is only twenty more years for my boyfriend.  I couldn't even imagine just having twenty years.  There is so much we want to do; so many places we want to go; it would seem crushing to find out that you waited too long to do the things you always wanted to do. 

I take a second and just ask if you could give his step father some good thoughts, prayers, or send him some good energy, anything will help.  He's a very sick man.

Pic of cake from recipe
On a lighter note, All Hallow's Eve is this weekend.  Going to our neighbor's party tonight and I'm making kitty litter cake :).  I have, of course, made the ingredients a tiny bit better.  Unfortunately, there's no substitute I could find for tootsie rolls.  But I did find organic or all natural items for the rest of the ingredients.  I will post recipe and pictures later.  If you wish to join the spooky, cooking fun, here is two delish recipes from Chef Chloe.  As usual, I've waited until the last minute to figure out a costume; it seems like that every year.  I think I will just throw something together and either be a Wood Sprite or Gaia (Mother Earth).  I'll post pics of my outfit, too, along with the cake.  It should be fun.  Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays, but it seems to have snuck up on me every time for the past few years; guess it because I've been so super busy.  Next year I would like to have my own Halloween party.
So I hope everyone has a fun and safe weekend.  Go out and play some tricks and eat some treats; embrace the chance to have a good time with friends or family.  Meditate on what the true meaning of Samhain is:  remembering those that have passed before us and giving thanks for those that are still with us. Until next time.  Peace


Perfect Day

Do you ever wake up and just feel like it will be a perfect day?  Aroused from sleep this morning to the wonderful sound of harp, I snuggled under the warm covers briefly while hitting the snooze and I found a smile upon my face.  Now, I'm not a morning person, so this smile was highly unusual.  Something in me just felt totally blessed.  Where this is coming from, I'm not exactly sure, but it feels like a good day.  So may you, too, have a blessed day today.  I leave you witha beautiful picture taken outside of my dining room window, looking out over the hayflats towards the mountains with freshly fallen snow.