Clearing Out >> Hello, Autumn

So, one of my goals for the Fall was to do a 7 day cleanse. This is something that I have wanted to do since the spring, but every time I would think seriously about it, I would decide it was not the right time. Well friends, no more.
When Laura Emily posted this the other day, I knew the stars had aligned and it was time. Here's how she describes the event:

Creating Sacred space cannot happen until we clear out the old! Will you join me on Oct 5th by honoring the holiness that Autumn weaves by clearing out what no longer serves? Pick one thing, make a plan, and clear it out! A closet? Materials that carry negative associations? Or perhaps you need to clear the air with a relationship, or finally get around to having that conversation you’ve been putting off? Rest within the Underworld that is surfacing by creating Sacred Space for the soul work to begin.

Check in on Oct 5th and let us know what you are clearing out so the Magic of Autumn can weave itself into your days. Celebrate your releasing. Declare it. Blog it. Take pictures. Share it. And be encouraged and supported as we declare our Autumn Intentions.

I know, isn't her writing beautiful? If there's something you've been meaning to clear out, link up on Oct. 5th or join the Facebook event. Get the extra support and motivation you might be needing to help make space for the new, as we turn inward this Fall.

I am going to use October 5th as a day to kick off my 7 day Ayurvedic-based cleanse (I'll post more on that when it gets closer). I am hoping to come out on the other side feeling fresh and ready to take on the Fall and Winter with renewed focus. I can't wait to get started!

shanti >> sondra



Forgive Us >> For Forgetting

Wow, guys. Today was a real fail-whale of a day for me. It started with not getting out of bed by 9 and getting a jump on the day (yes, that's a "jump on the day" for me...I have a real morning problem, as in, I could sleep until 11 every day if allowed), continued on to missing yoga, wrongly thinking I was supposed to be to work at 2 instead of noon like I was supposed to, not eating anything all day, taking a wrong turn on the drive in and getting lost, and then being insanely busy when I did manage to get myself in to work. Not my best effort. I took it all pretty in stride though, as best as I could at least, and tried not to fight it. Sometimes, whatreyagonna do. Everyday can't be your day, right? One of my favorite yoga/meditation lessons is that you can always take a breath, and begin again.

Tomorrow, I will begin again.

Until then, here are my favorite daily photos from the last four days.

Top to bottom, left to right>> Pretty mushroom while out on a walk by my house. Doesn't it look straight out of a Nintendo game? Totally a 1up. | Spiderweb by the lake. | My current view. The face on that mug sums up pretty much how I feel at the end of today. | A construction site in my neighborhood. Building things seems like the most complicated thing in the world. Blows my mind.

Here's to hoping that tomorrow gets off to a better start. How do you cope when you have a day where everything falls apart? Any tricks?

shanti >> sondra



On the Trail >> The Great Northern

On Saturday Andy and I took our first hike here in Washington. Well, our first hike together. He actually already spent a week out climbing and hiking Mt. Baker, but it was my first time to strap on the old hiking boots. When we woke up on Saturday morning, it was cool and cloudy, which made me very happy. I'm sure I will eat my words on this, but I cannot wait for it to be all cold and rainy out.

I grabbed a chai latte and we headed for Snow Lake, which is only about about an hour from Seattle and is one of the most popular trails around. Even on this cool, foggy day the trail was packed with hikers. I prefer empty trails, but we managed to keep our distance most of the time and it wasn't so bad. Even though we couldn't see the mountains or views from anywhere, the misty trees were so pretty, and everything had this ethereal, dreamy look to it.
We made it all the way to the lake, which you couldn't even see until you were practically on it; it blended right into the sky and mist. After a few minutes sitting by the shore and eating some dried fruit, we were cold already from not moving so we headed back.
Of course, by the time we got back to the car we were STARVING, so we stopped off in Snowqualmie for some fortification. You know what else is in Snowqualmie? The Great Northern Lodge. If there are any Twin Peaks fans out there (and if you've never watched it, GO right now to Netflix and stream it!), you'll recognize the lodge and the falls.

We're huge Twin Peaks fans, so this was a very exciting stop for us! Then it was on to the Snowqualmie Falls Brewery for beers and snacks...because that's how all good hikes end. All in all, it was a great way to say hello to Autumn, and to get a little more acquainted with our new home. It's amazing how close the outdoors is to us here. It has me dreaming about little cabins tucked away in the mountains, with smoke puffing out of the chimney. Ahhhhhh...

shanti >> sondra



Moon Salutations >> on Moondaughter

Welcome to Monday, everyone! Today I am over at the Moondaughter blog talking about Moon Salutations for her Moon Days series. It's a really beautiful and soulful sequence that is definitely not incorporated enough in most yoga practices. Head on over to read more!

shanti >> sondra



Somewhere >> Not Here

I'm behind a couple of days for posting my daily photos, but have no fear, I've kept up and taken them each day. So far, this is one simple goal that I am loving to keep. Knowing that I said I would post them everyday is really getting me to remember to snap daily pics, even if they're "just" with my phone. 

Actually, I hate when people apologize for phone pictures. What's wrong with a phone picture? If you like looking at an image, it doesn't matter how you made it. I love things that are created simply. If you can take a great looking photo with your phone, that's awesome. You can take terrible pictures with a DSLR just as well as you can take an amazing picture with your phone. I love my DSLR, and yes, it takes lovely pictures, but it doesn't fit in my pocket and I generally do not have it with me for the everyday moments that I love to capture. It's just not practical to carry around, and that's where the phone shines; it's just a trade off. So, don't apologize, and use what you've got! :)  I'll get off my soapbox now.

 Yesterday, on a hike to usher in the Autumnal Equinox >
Left, from today, is Mitz in a basket. Awwww. Right, smoke from the BBQ heating up outside on my way in to work on Friday.
Oh, and if you follow me on Instagram (@instasondra if you don't but would like to), and feel like these posts overlap a lot with those...well, yeah. Ever since I realized that I can selectively post pics on Instagram, I've only been sharing my favorites from each day -- which of course are usually the same ones I post here. C'est la vie. :)

shanti >> sondra



contradictions >> potd four

I used to think that I was city girl. I grew up in the suburbs, and all I ever wanted to do growing up was to live in the actual city. So, as soon as I graduated from high school, that was exactly what I did. I lived in the city for many years, and I loved it. I was home.

When it came time to move to California, I said no way would I live in the college town where my husband had gotten a job. It would be too small, too limited. So we moved to the city, and he commuted. I got a job in San Francisco, and thought I was set.

Except...I hated it. I hated the crush of the people, the lines for everything, the grime and dinge. Slowly, my favorite times started to become the weekends that we escaped the city, when we went to the mountains to play in the snow or drive through the golden fields of the Central Valley. Eventually, we took an opportunity to move, and spent our last year in California back in that small college town that I thought I couldn't possibly lived in. And it was the happiest year I can remember.

And so here we are. In the city again. We are here because that was where the job was, so the decision was made for us. And I LOVE Seattle. I really do. It is not like living in the Bay at all. But the thoughts still remain about whether I am city mouse or a country mouse. I daydream about wide open places and cabins in the woods that I peruse on Pinterest. But I also love that I can work at an amazing theater and can walk around the corner to a fabulous cafe, where I can sit and read and look out the windows at the passersby.

I know that we will not live here forever. That much is certain and already determined by the finite nature of my husband's job. But again, circumstances that are mostly not in my control will dictate where the wind blows us next. I just hope the wind knows what it is doing.

 images via here and here

Yesterday was a good day for pictures. Mostly because we had houseguests, which meant we got to play tourist. We walked from my work down to Pike Place and back, and these were some of my favorite things that I saw.
foggy morning | fish at the market | chihuly glass | construction site bunting

shanti >> sondra



What to Wear >> Bike Edition

It's been a whole month since my last outfit post! Whew. Way back when, I originally thought that I would start a style blog, as I've been reading style blogs for the last 3 or 4 years and I LOVE clothes and dressing creatively. But man, am I glad I didn't go down that road! Taking and editing pictures is so much harder for these than other posts. I think that's because 1) you have to recruit another person to take your photos (well, you don't have to but it makes it a whole lot easier) and, 2) you're so much harder on pictures of yourself than of...well, not of yourself. Also, as much as I love clothes and all, I wouldn't exactly call it something I'm passionate about, like I am about yoga and living my best life. It's a lot easier to write about things you're really excited about. So there's that, too. It IS fun to do these outfit posts, because like I said, I am a lover of clothing myself; I'm just glad they don't happen more often!

Anyway. I digress(ed). Here is my offering for this week's prompt, what to wear to ride your bike. When I lived in Minneapolis, I rode my bike to work every day when it was warm enough, and I can tell you first hand that you can ride your bike in ANYTHING. It might not be elegant, but you can do it. So don't let that stop you from riding. I rarely wear pants (although I think every one of my outfit posts for this series I have worn pants...hmmm, weird), and have ridden in everything from a mini to a maxi skirt and everything in between. I will say that pencil skirts are a little tough, and if you go the mini route, throw on a pair of shorts unless you like getting cat-called. (Excuse me for another aside. WTF is with getting cat called in this day and age? I cannot believe that women are still treated like walking breasts and legs by strange men on the street. Does this happen where you live? It didn'happen too often in Minnesota, but I found that it was SUPER common in California...disgusting.) I went the pants-route here mostly because it was cool out, and I was so excited to finally put on a sweater and scarf. However, by the time I finished taking these pics, the sun had come out and I was too hot.
The other tip I would give would be to make sure there is a little tread on your shoes. It doesn't have to be much, but if they are completely smooth on the bottom your heels have a tendency to slide off and your pedal will hit your heel. Ouch. These moccasins are perfect, because they have rubber soles and are super comfy (oh, and the grass was wet, thus the dark toes). Now, clearly I am not a serious rider of bikes. I ride mostly to get from point A to point B, and so most of my riding experience involves me doing that and looking halfway decent when I arrive. If I were actually into riding, some wool base layers would be great for keeping you warm/cool and dry (think Icebreaker or Smartwool).

Re: the bike. She just got a new brake job, and she's riding like a dream. I LOVE the milk crate on the back of my bike; so handy for hauling groceries or my purse. I also have bike lights for night riding. What I do not have and I need, is a bike helmet. Not only is it just a smart idea, but it's the law here in Washington. I just rode around the park here for a minute, but when I get a helmet I'm excited to take my bike for a ride around the lake by my house.

We have even MORE new members joining us this round! Exciting! Be sure to check out the other What to Wear lady-gang members:

Nicole: Gypsy in Jasper | Adriana: Horses of Ares | 
Marcia: Moose in Chartreuse | 
Dorien: Bodacious Thought | 
Lisa: notladylike | 
Sarah: Exploring Woods | 
Katherine: thinkin' outloud | 
Amanda: Salvaged Strawberry | 

What do you like to ride in?

shanti >> sondra
<< outfit details
sweater > men's vintage, thrifted
pants > f21
mocs, scarf > target



potd >> Three

I might be a little biased, but these are a few of the greatest toes the world has ever known. I'll have to do a post on my furry pals sometime. Yes, I am squarely in the crazy cat-lady camp.

shanti >> sondra



Summer's End >> I'll Bring the Binoculars

First daily photo post. Well, second if you count this morning's catch-up post. These were some leaves as I was waiting for my handsome chauffeur to pick me up at the end of the day. Everybody has their "things" that they are drawn to aethetically, and one of those things for me is the sun. I thought it was beautiful the way it made this ordinary sidewalk light up. Even though I am more than ready for the cold and rain, and for burrowing in scarves and afghans, it is hard to be mad at the sun when it does things like this.

Yesterday I was able to FINALLY clean and organize our house, and it is starting to feel more like home, and less like a place where all of our stuff just ended up. Having a clean house helps to feel like my mind is a little less cluttered, too. I've had all sorts of ideas and half ideas for posts I'd like to write, but right now everything is all rattled up together in my brain. Hopefully now I can start to sort through some of the mind clutter, as well.

G'night, m'dears.

shanti >> sondra


A Photo a Day >> Keeps the...

I have to make this quick because I have to run off to work, but I have decided that in keeping with my 4 simple goals, I have decided to post my photo of the day here everyday, to help me keep up with this goal and to help me focus on the beautiful in the everyday. To get started, here are a few from the last week, and I'll be posting a photo everyday, whether I like it or not. :)
Here we have >>

stopped on the bridge for boat traffic | grasses at my bus stop | vines with just a hint of red on them | architectural interest on my way into work

Gotta fly off to work, have a lovely Tuesday.

shanti >> sondra



I Miss You Most of All >> When Autumn Leaves Start to Fall

I'm currently listening to Amanda from Making Nice in the Midwest's Fall Flavors playlist, and it's making me wish for cozy sweaters, chunky scarves, and hot mugs of apple cider. Also, it's making me feel all nostalgic on the inside. For what, I'm not sure, but dangit, music, you got me again! 

In yoga related news, my newest article for DoYouYoga.com was posted today, and it is also all about FALL! Check it out for some tips on good poses for this season, a few seasonal Ayurveda tips, as well as encouragement for setting a Fall intention: "How to Use Yoga to Transition Into Fall"

Here's hoping that you all have a lovely weekend of crunchy leaves, a chill in the air, and lots of sweet moments to hang on to.

shanti >> sondra

{source of image on left}



4 Simple Goals >> Before 2013

Like most other red blooded blogger-crafty-thrifty-vintage'y-domestic'y-type-ladies (yeah, I made [some of] those words up. Benefit of having your own blog!), I am a dutiful reader of Elsie and Emma's A Beautiful Mess. They did a post recently about having 4 simple goals for the remainder of the year, to help stay motivated in your own personal goals while things get busy with the holidays and whatnot. I loved this!

I've recently been feeling a little need for some motivation lately, so I loved this and thought I'd give it a shot. The best part about blogging about it, is that hopefully it will help keep me accountable!

 Here are my goals:

1>  Do at least 7 days of a Fall cleanse. I still haven't determined how exactly I want to go about this, but I am determined to try it and see what kind of difference(s) I notice in myself, mentally and physically. 

2>  Take at least one picture everyday. I love Instagram. Duh, pretty much everyone does, right? But I have been having the best time just documenting the little everyday moments of my life. It is SO much fun to look back on later - all those moments that might not seem "picture worthy," but are actually the stuff of everyday life. My problem is, I'll remember to take pictures one day, and then totally forget for a week, and then go picture crazy another day. I like the challenge of looking at my everyday routine in a new way, and capturing the minutiae. 

3>  Get a separate website for yoga teaching/business up and running. My goal is to work on attracting a clientele to teach to privately. The first step of this is to develop a website to direct clients to with info, rates, and all that jazz. My BIG goal is to someday be my own boss, and be able to support myself with teaching gigs and other odd jobs. The reasons and ideas for this are many, and perhaps I will detail them more in another post. 

4>  Go on one multi-day adventure to the mountains. Since I am not yet my own boss, I am subject to the demands of an actual boss, which makes it a bit harder to take off for big trips like I've been able to do in the past. I am hoping to be able to work at least one trip into the calendar before the end of the year (I'm thinking Veteran's Day might be a prime time!)

So those are my goals! If you participate in this, let me know in the comments and I'd love to see what your four goals are. Ooh, and if you link up with the original post on A Beautiful Mess, you could possibly be featured over in their neck of the woods. They also suggest rewarding yourself for crossing a goal off of your list...but honestly, I'd just be so excited to complete any and all of these things that that seems like reward enough. Awwwww....okay, you twisted my arm, pedicures all around. :)

See you later, peeps.

Oh, and pics above are by me, in case you were wondering.

shanti >> sondra



He's Not Dead >> He's Pining for the Fjords

One of the last things we did before we left California was take one final visit to Lake Tahoe. Being California and all, it was of course an amazingly beautiful day for a trip to the mountains. Except on this trip, we went to THE COOLEST PLACE EVER. And yes, it is that cool that it needs all caps.

Ladies and gentleman (just in case there is one out there), I present to you


Get ready for lots of pics, because it was hard to restrain myself. So, here I should say that I have things for 1) cabins 2) mountains 3) lakes 4) Scandinavian folk design and 5) historic houses. Basically, I just about imploded with excitement when we went on this tour.

The house was built in 1929 as a summer home on the shore of Emerald Bay on Lake Tahoe for a wealthy woman after her husband died. She had been to Norway and the bay that this house is situated on reminded her of a fjord, so she decided to build her home using traditional Norwegian architecture. She mashed a lot of traditional styles and time periods together, but it all looks lovely together. Nay, it all looks AMAZING together.
This is the dining room. All of the furnishings are original to the house. You can't see it, but even the beams on the ceiling have stained and carved details on them. I LOVE that painted sideboard on the left there.

There were several (I think 7?) bedrooms in the house, but this here is my bedroom, er, I mean my favorite bedroom. Sigh. I love all the wood here - the floors, ceilings, and walls. So cozy! The nook in the back with the windows was a little writing nook, you know, for keeping up with your corresponding, and it overlooks the lake. There was also a fireplace in here, which was to the left of this picture.
And did you see this kitchen?! It took all my willpower to stay behind the rope and not go in there and start baking cakes like a 1930/40s lady of the day.
If I could have gotten away with, I would have stuffed this whole mixer up my shirt and made a run for it. Except it was a mile back to the road, and uphill at that. I'll have to start training.
This is where your chambermaids and chauffeurs and whatnot stay. What, you don't have a chambermaid? And just a few dragons to keep you safe.
This is me and my new lady friend, and another amazing door. There were so many details and handmade elements everywhere you looked. I bet you could spend hours in each room, just admiring all the intricacies.

Besides being a lady of Scandinavian heritage myself, part of why I love this kind of design is that I love pattern, texture, and color, and as you can see, they're all about that. The more the merrier! That's what I say, too. Skol!

And if one of you buy me this house, I'll be your best friend forever and ever. And ever. :)

shanti >> sondra
 p.s. we can also be best friends if you picked up on the post title's reference. Much cheaper. ;)



Let Her Sleep >>

source >> isn't this print awesome?!

Today was a day for resting. For eating comfort food, wearing yoga pants for 24 hours straight, and for not showering. For crossing things off of my Netflix queue instead of off my "to-do."

It felt good.

Sometimes days like this just need to happen. And judging by the fact that I slept for 12 hours last night AND took a nap today, I needed this day to happen. I am very fortunate that I was able to honor that need.

But tomorrow it is back to the grind; back to living my life in a new apartment, in a new city, going to a new job. And that's good, too.

I have been thinking for awhile about doing a Fall cleanse or detox of some sort. My main reason for wanting to do this is less about feeling a need to rid my body of something (I think our bodies do a fine job of that most of the time on their own), but more to bring a simplicity and awareness to my daily life.  A mental cleanse, if you will. One less thing to think about in a sea of new daily experiences in my world. One more thing I can concentrate on in my day, and really feel a connection to what I put in my body. I like the idea of doing something that focuses on a handful of seasonal ingredients that are simply prepared. If you know of any good plans out there, please share with me!

I hope all you cats and kittens out there have a chance to take a second and listen to what YOUR body is telling you right now, and to honor it in whatever way feels right.

shanti >> sondra



Looking at Stars >> Will Give You Vertigo

I found this quote today, and it pretty much sums up the last two weeks of my life. I know I've been saying it on here everytime I've blogged recently, but life has been crazy! I think it's finally settling down into "good crazy" now, though. Our stuff is mostly unpacked and our house is starting to feel more like a home, we've explored our neighborhood some, and our refrigerator now has food in it.
Here are a few phone pics from moving day (I'm @instasondra if you'd like to follow daily!). As you can see, Mitz was not a happy camper. Car trips are DEFINITELY not his thing. He was better than he's been on other trips though. I wish we did have a cat who liked the car. I'd love to drive around with my cat on the dashboard, wandering around the country, and camping here and there. Ahhhhhh...the life. Anyways, back in the real world, we moved on the day of the blue moon, so here is my shot of the moon watching over us from the Oregon sky as we made our way north.

Here are a few post-move pics from the last week. Seattle is an amazingly beautiful place. Lakes, mountains, pine trees...I love it! The space needle shot is my view from bus stop when I go to/from work, and the last shot is an outfit I wore to work this week.

I suppose if my life was to change drastically, this was the week to do it. From ages 5-22, this would be the first day of school this week. And since I'm married to someone in academia, our schedules still very much revolve around the school year. I think no matter how old you get, there's something about this time of year that makes people feel that strange mix of excitement and anxiety that is ushered in with the Fall. We all long to put on sweaters, curl up with hot beverages, and otherwise retreat inwards.   It just feels like change in the air; even the leaves can't help themselves and change! I never realized what a powerful effect the change in seasons had on me until we moved to California and didn't have them anymore. Our connection to nature is so profoundly deep...I love it.

I should be back to posting full force this next week. Tomorrow we're taking our first Washington adventure and heading up to Bellingham. Yay! I hope all you souls out there are enjoying a lovely weekend...

shanti >> sondra  



What to Wear >> Major Fail

Guys, major fail. I totally forgot to take pictures for this week's edition of What to Wear. Will this picture of kittens in a cup make up for it?
I hope so. In the meantime, please visit the other ladies (including a couple of new additions!) taking part in this week's What to Wear series, featuring what to wear to the farmer's market. Hopefully they had their shiz together better than I did this week:

"Sequins": Moose in Chartreuse | Nicole: Gypsy in Jasper  |Adriana: Horses of Ares | Dorien: Bodacious Thought | Lisa: notladylike | Sarah: Exploring Woods

Dang it, I was really excited for this one, too! I didn't imagine this moving-unpacking-buying furniture-starting a new job-business to be quite so time consuming this last week (hindsight: 20/20).

See ya soon, loves.

shanti >> sondra



Move It >> Or Lose It

Hi everyone. I know it's been quiet here the last week or so, but our move is COMPLETE. Well, except for some Ikea furniture building that is currently taking place (with the help of a glass of wine for me, and a bottle of beer for the guy) and some stray unpacking and picture hanging. This last week has been STRESSFUL - eek! - but I'm glad that it's all over. So far Seattle seems awesome...and it doesn't hurt that the weather has been beautiful since we got here. I was told twice today to not get used to it though. ;)

I start my new job tomorrow already, so it'll probably be a few more days until I get back into the swing of things blogging-wise and find the new balance of my time with going back to work and continuing to post regularly. I was finally able to take a yoga class today (my first in almost two weeks, the longest I've gone in over a year without practicing!), and it felt so good to be back on the mat. My mind and body both feel creaky and overwhelmed right now, so it was good to have a bit of centering, if only for 75 minutes. I have lots more I'd like to say and update with, but there is a floor full of screws and weird plastic pieces that need to be put together.

In the meantime, enjoy one of the new pictures from my Holga film that I picked up right before we moved. This here is a picture from the Brooklyn Bridge that I took as we walked across, over two years ago now. Yeah, I'm slow at getting film developed.

Be back in a few days...!

shanti >> sondra