Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Vancouver - the real high

Last weekend was Canada's first Wanderlust festival in Whistler - a festival marrying yoga, music, smiles, fluorescent spandex, sunshine, sweat and the great outdoors. Real highs on steroids.

During a lecture at Wanderlust I was reminded of a sailboat I noticed in a marina called "The Real High". I thought it was a clever name for a boat. Not pretty, but clever.

At this lecture, Terry McBride, founder of both Network Records and Yyoga, made an apt connection between yoga and music. Dopamine is the key ingredient to their success. Dopamine is the high that makes us play that song over-and-over until you can't stand it. And it's also that magical high that yoga gives you - a real natural high.

Vancouver's mountains, ocean and fresh air is enough to give Vancouverites a little hit of it every day. Running the seawall in Vancouver you see these dopamine junkies sweating it out with their headphones blaring their favorite songs, pushing harder every day to touch that high...checking out the other sweaty junkies along the way...

I also see the dopamine high in the eyes of someone on the London tube station as they fly towards their big meeting, caffeinated, ready to knock-em dead in that meeting...followed by the high of friends with beer spilling out the pubs, and listening to the next big band at the local pub. Every city must have their own combination of highs that make the culture tick and buzz. But Vancouver is special in that we seem to be striving for real healthy highs. Being surrounded by nature is convincing enough that there must be real highs out there that aren't pure adrenaline and over-stimulation from fabricates sources. But maybe there are higher pure highs?

This bring me to another interesting point - the soundtrack in many yoga classes these days seems to be key to the success of a class. A teacher's class is as good as their soundtrack. Like the music at a bar while you dance. The lyrics and familiar songs arriving right in your moment of euphoria brings you just that much deeper into it...or further away, for that matter.

Is the yoga high moving towards over-stimulation into the realm of fabricated highs? Away from the  high from within? Or like listening to music as you jog or ride the tube...just an innocent enhancement to life. And yoga.

And once you experience the dopamine rushes brought on by running, or dancing or singing to music....is it harder to feel good without it? Is the intensity of a yoga high with music addictive like drugs, making it harder to enjoy that flat level of happy normalcy?

I think we can all agree the high of yoga and music is safer than most stimulants one associates with addiction. And for that reason I think Vancouverites are on the right track. But it doesn't hurt to check ourselves...where are we going with that?

photo via lululemon

Monday, July 9, 2012

a perfect poem by Prevert

An orange upon the table
Your dress on the rug
And you in my bed
Sweet present of the present
Freshness of the night
Warmth of my life

- Jacques Prevert

(The original is in French.... )

Une orange sur la table
Ta robe sur le tapis
Et toi dans mon lit
Doux présent du présent
Fraîcheur de la nuit
Chaleur de ma vie

- Jacques Prevert

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Jargogle, Bibesy & Freck. Portentous!

Reading "Crome Yellow" by Aldous Huxley  I am coming across some beautiful old words that I would like to add to my vocabulary. It's been fun looking them up and hoping I will remember to bring them into conversation.

My three favorites so far are:

Peripatetic - walking or traveling about; itinerant. 
I like this one because I really like the word 'nomadic'. 
'Peripatetic' doesn't roll off the tongue quite as easily, but, it still conjures up some interesting characters in my mind.

2  Prodigious - impressively great in size, force, or extent; enormous, extraordinary, marvelous.
His cousins are so over used. Prodigious. "What a prodigious idea!" I like it.
3  Portentous - marvelous; amazing; prodigious.  
How come I have never heard the word the prodigious?! 
Well now I have. Not pretentious...portentous.

I am going to sneak them in future blog posts. That's a promise. 

I found this great article about favorite old words that this Linguistic Major thinks should be brought back to life again. Here are a few exerts from the article with Erin McKean’s explanations (also quite amusing):

Noun – “A too earnest desire after drink.” – “Bibesy” may have been completely made up in the 18th century and it’s unclear whether it ever made it into common use, but it could easily be used today: “Wedding guests waited anxiously for the bar to open; bibesy should be expected after such a long, dull service.”

Verb intr. – “To move swiftly or nimbly” – I can think of a lot of ways to use this one, like “I hate it when I’m frecking through the airport and other people are going so slow.”

Verb trans. – “To confuse, jumble” – First of all this word is just fun to say in its various forms. John Locke used the word in a 1692 publication, writing “I fear, that the jumbling of those good and plausible Words in your Head..might a little jargogle your Thoughts…” I’m planning to use it next time my husband attempts to explain complicated Physics concepts to me for fun: “Seriously, I don’t need you to further jargogle my brain.”

Verb intr. – “To take one’s pleasure, enjoy oneself, revel, luxuriate” – Often I feel the word “enjoy” just isn’t enough to describe an experience, and “revel” tends to conjure up images of people dancing and spinning around in circles – at least in my head. “Deliciate” would be a welcome addition to the modern English vocabulary, as in “After dinner, we deliciated in chocolate cream pie.” 

Verb – “To quarrel about trifles; esp. to quarrel noisily, brawl, squabble” – Brabble basically means to argue loudly about something that doesn’t really matter, as in “Why are we still brabbling about who left the dirty spoon on the kitchen table?” You can also use it as a noun: “Stop that ridiculous brabble and do something useful!”

Full Article here:

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Monday ballet

"Absolute Adult Beginner Ballet". What a great name for a class. I wasn't a ballerina when I was little, nor was I a good dancer. I find it really hard to follow steps, and my rhythm isn't consistent whenever I try to concentrate on it…this is exactly why beginner ballet is so much fun. I started last year in a class with women ranging in age from early 20's to late 60's in a studio overlooking the city. My friends were a little surprised about my hobby of choice, but it turns out it was a grand idea. I like the rigid structure, the connection with intricate parts of the body, the discipline, the intensity, the tradition, the classical music, the costumes, the french language and the overall "je ne sais quoi" of the practice. Did I mention the costumes? leg warmers…après-ballet layers… lovely…

The practice is undeniably an aesthetically pleasing art form. The ballet shoes, the rows of mirrors…that pale pink colour is the epitome of "pretty". Even the stretching along the bar at the beginning and end of practice is beautifully ceremonial. It's intentional, slow and gracious. You have to concentrate on the tiniest of movements and poise at the same time attempting to be graceful, light, and strong. It reminds me a bit of yoga. The body awareness, breath, muscle control, flexibility and balance practiced in yoga certainly help.

Oh and the music. Classical music brings me to another era. I think practicing ballet is offering me structure and grounding - classical rules and inflexibility in what is right. I guess it's a contrast to the rest of my flowey, random week.

I'm now dropping-in to a Monday nights at GOH Ballet (a classical studio on 8th and Main in a beautiful old building) to an adult beginner class. I'm looking forward to my Mondays at 7 to hop into my classic ballet outfit, my warm-up layers, and then working really hard in a delicate and silly manner (only silly because I am such a novice. The teacher was offering me a lot of "good trys" with a smile last week).  My arms are all over the place, my steps are completely wrong most of the time and my jumps look ridiculous. But that's okay. It's a contrast within a contrast - working on something so rigid and classic that it makes me feel free because I know exactly what I'm supposed to be doing. Even if it is just for an hour and a half, once a week.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

wake up to yoga

 Image: Lyn Marshall - "Wake Up to Yoga" 

bright sunny morning 
mustard, orange and gold
spine soft
breathe breathe



Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Birth of Dalia

 Elena and I just finished bottling our first batch of shea butter and essential oil creams. I'm so lucky to be working with Elena on this line of simple beauty products. She has so much knowledge in herbs, oils, tinctures and the apothecary world. She was in the industry for years and still loves playing with oils and discovering new combinations to swoon over. We are creating a group of shea butter creams by adding oils like Neroli (orange flower essential oil) chamomile, vetiver, myrrh & frankincense (if only we had gold we would be very wise women). 

Yesterday I discovered the underrated but beautiful scent of laurel essential oil. As Elena described, it has a very high note but it's not too sweet or floral. And black pepper essential oil is surprisingly a very sexy smell. We added black pepper with a bit of patchouli into a masculine blend that I must say has a very seductive scent. Below are some beautiful old apothecary bottles and labels. And below that is the draft version of our "Dalia" label. We both love the Art Nouveau era. I never thought I would actually get to draw from it in a design project because it is such a specific look  - but I think it is perfect for what we are doing here with Dalia. Dalia is so sensual with all the natural scents and smooth creams. And it is more than just inspired from nature - everything we are working with comes from mother earth herself. We are two Pisces playing with the senses - of course it needs to be Art Nouveau! I can only dream to one day build a shelf like the bottom image filled with oils and creams and magical blends. But it all starts with dreaming, right?

Friday, January 20, 2012

minds are not just props at the house

This morning I had a delightful social experience before 9 am - likemind Vancouver is an event that started in New York in 2007 by some like-minded folks who missed the ritual of real-face meeting over coffee. Now it takes place all over the world in different cities in a different coffee shop every month. This snowy morning at 8 am it was at east side Prophouse Cafe on Venables at Commercial Drive.  I have found my new favorite coffee/hang-out spot. Eclectic, friendly, full of beautiful vintage artifacts, and...wait for it.... there's a 70's basement-like living room with velvet paintings, an orange sofa and a retro vibe I would kill to have in my home.

Here are some pics - I will defintely be going to the next LikeMind meet up next month to meet more cool people and I'll be found glued to that orange couch in the very near future.