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Wildcard Wednesdays

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. If you are like me, you stuffed yourself, napped, and went back for more – all while counting your blessings of course. But did you really get in all your thank-you-very-much-es? Did you pause, smile, reflect, and then spread that joy around? Sometimes the holidays move so quickly that we do not really take in fully all that we are able.

Every year we are reminded to be grateful, to give thanks. But gratitude isn’t about a once or twice a year nod to the good things or people in our life. Gratitude is a practice. By incorporating being thankful, we allow ourselves to step back from our hectic lives and really appreciate where we are. That can be where we are on the path of life, in the big picture, or more appropriately, it is where we are in this moment right now.

Try this: pause, take a deep breath, and just notice. Take in your body, healthy or otherwise. Take in your state of mind, happy or otherwise. Just notice that where you are in the moment is pretty good – or maybe it is even pretty great. You are right where you are meant to be.  Notice any little things around you or in you that make you smile or that you are thankful for. It can be as tiny as a warm beverage on a chilly day or as large as being totally in love with your significant other. Gratitude helps us to be present and positive; and a positive outlook can help you take on the world.

So, how do we get grateful more than just once or twice a year? Get creative! There are so many ways to show gratitude. Smile more, say thank you more, and share your abundance to those who may need it more. Take a yoga class. Teachers can help you hit the mat with intention and encourage you to look inward and be grateful for YOU, just as you are. Try to also keep everything you are thankful for close even on those no-good-very-bad days.

Here is one more way. I am a list lover. Since you are reading this fabulous blog I will wager you are too. Lists help you to organize your thoughts and get that gratitude to a more detailed place. There are lots of ways to go about your lists and you do not have to do them all at once. Maybe add one new thing each day and then next year on Thanksgiving you will have a whole 365 days of detailed thoughts to reflect on.

Lots of ways to get inspiration…

  • List your little things. These are those tiny things that bring you joy. Get silly!   Get sentimental! Just put it on the page.
  • List your friends and family. Now put one thing you are grateful for about each  one next to their name. Try and be so specific you do not have any repeat reasons.
  • List challenges you have faced this year. Now list why you are grateful for the experience even if it was a difficult one. Where has it brought you? What did you learn?

When we are grateful we look at the world in a new way. Gratitude brings a little more peace and happiness to our day to day, and helps us to approach every struggle with a positive outlook. Positive people are bold people. Start practicing gratitude because you are ready to take on the world. Call BSLM if you need back up.

Post authored by Rebecca Merritt

Rebecca Merritt completed her 200 Hour RYT Certification at the lovely New York Yoga. After taking classes for many years, Rebecca became truly devoted to her practice after moving to NYC in 2007. Finding that while pursuing her MFA in Creative Nonfiction at the New School, and working three jobs at the time, yoga was a way to slow the city down and find balance.

Her vigorous Vinyasa flow classes build towards a peak pose, with options for all levels along the way. Classes are sequenced to focus on alignment and riding the wave of the breath. Rebecca will get you to breathe a little deeper, encourage you to laugh, and help you find space for play in your practice.

Rebecca believes in finding joy on your mat. She has seen yoga change lives.

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I have a confession to make: I have never seen The Godfather movies. This might not seem like much, but do you know how many cultural references involve knowing these movies? A ton! I have pretended to get these references for more years than I care to admit. Seems like an easy thing to fix, right? Just watch them. Well, easier said than done! They sit at the top of my Netflix list, but I just keep skipping over them. I’ve even tried planning a movie party to watch them with friends, but everyone else had already seen these films, so the group decided to watch something else (and I couldn’t actually admit that I hadn’t seen them – I’ve been chiming in on the references all along, what would people think?!?!) So there The Godfather sits – weighing down my To Do list – week after week, month after month, year after year. Is the world going to end if I never see these movies? No. Will my friends and family disown me if I admit that I’ve been lying? Of course not. But what does happen is that every time I look at my list, I feel a little bit like a failure. I may have checked ten items off that list in a day, but there’s that unwatched Godfather, taunting me with my inability to finish everything perfectly.

We all have a “Godfather” – maybe it’s that book you’ve always wanted to write or the scarf you’ve wanted to knit or the perfectly roasted chicken you’ve wanted to perfect. These items scream louder than any of the positive cheers for what you’ve actually accomplished and fill you with concern that you are just not doing enough with your life. I’m starting to believe if I’ve procrastinated something on my list for too long, it’s probably because I don’t truly care if I do it, but I’ve convinced myself that I should or that I have to or that everybody else thinks it’s a good idea, so I will too. When the truth is, I don’t really care if I ever see The Godfather movies and maybe you don’t really want to write a book, but everyone has always told you that you should, so you put it on the list and tell yourself that it’s something you want too.

So, I have a challenge for us all. I challenge us to take that depressing and destructive little hitchhiker off of our To Do lists.  Just cross that puppy off and don’t look back. Then, and here’s the hard part, do not feel guilty about it. Choose instead to proudly say at a party, “You know, I’ve never seen that movie” or “I never make my bed in the morning and I feel fine about that!” We’re told to share our goals with someone else to help motivate ourselves to accomplish them, but I’d like to hear what you’re proud of NOT doing. I want to know what you’ve decided is not vital for your life, even though the rest of the world or advertising agencies or your mother may not agree. Without that Godfather guilt weighing me down, I have a feeling I’ll procrastinate looking at my list of things to do today a whole lot less. There won’t be anything I’m dreading to see on there and I can fill that available space with something I actually have the heart and desire to do.  And maybe, now that it’s not something I have told myself I have to do, maybe the next time I see The Godfather is on TV and I have a few hours to spare, maybe my heart will choose to watch it . . . maybe.

Post authored by Erin Jerozal

Sure, money is tight – but that never means that life should not be lived to its fullest.  Here at Praxis we are always out to maximize our fun despite a tighter budget – so we’re on the hunt for Recession Lessons, those great deals and New York City secrets that let you in on awesome stuff for awesomely inexpensive prices.

Brooke recently posted about the Recession Latte – but I was shocked to discover that the Recession Movie Date is alive and well amongst my friends and co-workers in New York City.  Did you know that at many of New York’s cinemas, the first showing is half price?  This weekend I scored the best $6 movie I had ever seen – at 11:50am on Sunday I arrived at the Lincoln Square AMC pumped for the GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, to find that the theater was barely half-full – and my prime real estate in the center section waiting for me and my roommates.  We had grabbed egg sandwiches, coffees and a carton of orange juice en route, stuffed them in our backpacks, and spent a delicious brunch and movie together for less than $8.50 each.  Seriously folks, amazing.   See Rooney Mara steal the show (and maybe this year’s Best Actress Oscar).  Eat your egg, spinach, and fontina sandwich – or your egg ham and cheese – or your sausage egg and pepper sammy with your besties.  And then sieze the afternoon because you’re out so early and you’ve already had a blast.

A great date for $8.50?  Perfection in my book.

What are your NYC steals?  Share ‘em, post ‘em, let us know.  We’re always looking for that weekend rendezvous, great lunch on the go, or incredible deal.  Comment, Post!  Rooney, if you’re reading, I’m single.

Post authored by Jacob Liberman 

There is something to be said for Apple and its products. It has created revolutionary technology and shortcuts for everyday life. The company has singlehandedly changed the way people use and view technology. The newest of these innovations keeping in trend with their tech savvy revolution – I am talking about Siri.

This new add-on to iPhones allows users to ask said technology to complete tasks and the interface will comply. Siri has been marketed even more recently as a personal assistant for the average person. So, Apple creates great technology and Apple has employed Siri and thus it must be equivalent in greatness, right? I wonder.

The real underlying question is as old as technology itself. Can machines replace humans?

This subject can become somewhat heady. PBS.com reported on the subject explaining that we are currently in the midst of a ‘Great Restructuring’ of job creation which redistributes jobs to machines. Slate.com also reported on the issue, delving into the same notion that all jobs are possibly replaceable with machines. They noted that we are in the midst of an artificial intelligence revolution, which simply means we have yet to see the end of what machines can accomplish. Forbes magazine even cited in a recent article that this has been happening since the inception of machinery. The article speaks specifically about the invention of mechanized looms and the pushback within the early 19th century to use such things in order to preserve human workers.

So it seems bleak, from multiple sources; however, that is only the beginning. PBS, Slate.com, and Forbes all go on to cite that researchers across the board have found that no machine is and could ever be than the human mind. Right! This means you and I have something no thing or invention could ever detract from. We are innately smarter than machines.

Siri is a brilliant invention and a useful tool for many things, but there are things it cannot do. Siri cannot calm you when you are having a meltdown about a multitude of things. Siri cannot type, or dictate, or do extraneous errands around town for you. Siri cannot talk to a principle, relative, business colleague, or community member for you. Siri, in all of its glory, cannot be human.

I think what is truly remarkable from all of the reporting, researching, and relaying of facts is that humans are kind of awesome. Sure we need help to accomplish things, we can overwhelm ourselves, and we can even run ourselves into the ground. But, there is something beautiful and simplistic in knowing that the best solution to our problems is to simply ask for help. We are best at helping each other. Despite our seemingly omniscient counterparts, helping is not an add-on, its innate. So, as great as Siri is, there is something to be said for humanity and the ability of oneself.

Post authored by Trevor Worden 

Have you ever looked into your closet and made the realization that yours is a black hole simply by definition? Items go in, but never come out. Don’t worry you’re not alone. Here are some ideas to help de-clutter and make sense of the abyss that has become your closet.

Good Lighting

If you are blessed with a light bulb in your closet, try adding an adapter that can create up to 2 more light fixtures for you. These can be found at your local hardware store. If a light fixture is not in the cards, get one that is battery operated. They are easily installed with either adhesive or by screw and come in all shapes in sizes.

Label, Label, Label

Instead of just piling items on top of one another, try bagging or boxing like items together. Label them for quick access and watch your closet transform. For example, pair cardigans with cardigans and V-Necks with V-Necks… you get the gist.

Jewelry & Accessories

Looking for a necklace in a rat’s nest of tangled baubles and beads? A clear hanging accessory sorter is the solution you’re looking for. It’ll allow you to separate and see all of your pieces and your bling should be shown off!

Belts

A 6-prong belt hanger will stop the madness and is a quick fix for this storage issue. If you have the drawer space you might try a sock organizer as a new way to bring order to your belt collection, simply roll and sort.

Scarves, Gloves and Hats

Why not use an over the door shoe organizer to store these small, but very important items.

And let’s not forget the finishing touch, a dryer sheet. It’ll leave your closet smelling fresh and clean every time!

Post authored by Maria Skopas

SHOES & PURSES! Need I say more? However, we all may be a bit guilty of not taking care of our prized possessions. Shoes and handbags can last a lifetime if cared for properly (seriously, my mother is still stylishly rocking her Frye boots from Woodstock and LV from her 5th wedding anniversary) so here are some  winter maintenance reminders. You will thank me in 20 years.

Take the time to bring any summer shoes that need re-soling, buckle replacing and strap reinforcing to a good cobbler while you are not wearing them. Any handbags that have fraying fabrics, worn bottom corners or stretched to snapping straps can be tended to by a cobbler as well. For fabric bags, clean with a solution of mild baby shampoo and hot water. Brush the solution onto your bag and use a nail brush to scrub any stubborn spots. This way everything will be fresh when the sun comes out. Our favorite cobbler in the city is Andrade General Shoe Repair at 2750 Broadway, between 104th  and 105th streets.

Hopefully you will have done this for your winter shoes and bags last April, but if not show yourself immediately to the cobbler with your bag of boots and hobos. Ask for rubber soles on all of your winter shoes, and a thinner rubber for soles and heels of all heeled shoes. This will prevent slipping and sliding (and falling) all over the wet floor as you clack into your favorite winter restaurant.

At home make sure your purses and upper shoes are ready for the weather. For leather, a coat of Lexol Leather protector will shoes and handbags look like new!  For suede, brush against the grain with a stiff brush and apply Melotonian “Suede Renew” (available at most shoe repair stores) for a quick pick me up! This will restore the color and gloss to sometimes dull/worn suede.  Don’t forget to follow up with weatherproofing as salt can permanently stain leather and suede.

As the season gets ugly, take a minute when you come in from the cold, snow, mud, sleet… to wipe the muck off of your shoes and bag (we have all been sprayed by a rogue taxi) with a damp paper towel. Allowing the much to dry on your shoes and bags will dry out the leather and suede and eventually lead to cracking.

And if you are reading this and you live in Florida… how DO you wear sandals all year and not get tired of them?!

Post authored by Maria Skopas.

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