Monday, December 3, 2012

'Tis the Season for Beautiful Window Displays


Due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy, the gym I used to frequent at work got destroyed.

I used to be there every morning at 7:30 AM and then during lunch time. I have to admit, I feel a little lost without it as I try to maintain how far I’ve come and also continue to put a dent into where I currently am. I started back at Bally’s Fitness which is great but I find myself not in the mood to go, not wanting to get out of my comfort zone of afterwork laziness. And so, I have been trying to find ways to add more physical activities to my life for days that I know that I will not be making it to the gym.  One of those things I added is walking more.

I try to walk a little more each day. On some days, I try to walk to the second or third closest train station instead of the one that is right there. I try to use the steps instead of riding the elevator all the time. Little things like that, even though they are little, do add to the lot.

I got up this morning with a thought in my mind that instead of riding the train to the stop I usually get off, to instead get off at the first stop in the city and walk the mile and a half trek to my destination. After 30 minutes of walking, I felt inspired. So inspired that my heart would not allow me to go into the first train station I saw to return home like normal, but instead, to walk.  And what a great time to do it; the Christmas season.
 

Window shopping took on a new definition today. Especially with all the beautiful decorations that are around in celebration of Christmas that is ahead of us, you do more than just window shopping. You stop, gaze, smile and maybe snap a shot at the sights that practically make you shed a tear. 

I started at the window displays at Macy's Herald Square which was absolutely gorgeous. If you can't find any reasons to smile in your day, go to 34th Street and 6th Avenue and I think a smile might naturally appear without even trying.
 
Then I walked over to Lord & Taylor. I did not expect to see such color and lights. My eyes were bedazzled.
 
But then, I realized how close Rockafeller Center was from there and decided to go take a look at this year’s holiday tree. It is one thing to watch the lighting of the tree or to see the tree during news commercial breaks on television, but the vision of it live is just amazing.
 
From there, the glitz and glamour of the fireworks across the street, made me want to go and look at the display at Sax Fifth Avenue. I had never stopped to look at their holiday display before so it was definitely an experience. And a good one because like all the rest of the windows I had seen, this one was beautiful also.
 
Now, what is going to Rockafeller to see the tree without going to St. Patrick's Cathedral. Since I was so close, I decided to pay a visit to the church. As usual, the church was filled with people and the Crèche was as beautiful as ever. 
 
After seeing so many window displays, I realized one was missing. Which is what made me decided to keep walking from Fifth Avenue to make my way to see the window display at Bloomingdales on 59th and Lex.
 
On the way  to Bloomie's, I stopped at Black Rock off Park Avenue and 51st Street. I love the arrangement they have inside. This display alone could get both young and old, feeling the joys of the holiday.
 
The smiles that appeared on my face throughout this entire adventure could not be contained and lasted all the way home. The entire walk was a 2 1/2 mile walk. I'm tired but also my hips and waist feel great. Even better, I captured some great images which I used to create the collages that are seen throughout this blogpost. Hope you enjoyed the images and I wish to you and yours, a very merry Christmas. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Workout Gospel Music Playlist


So you want to workout and are looking for a good playlist to listen to while doing your exercises that will not only get you in the spirit to move but that will also give you that extra needed energy that you need to complete those workout tasks you have been inspired to do. 

Here is an idea.  Why not do your next workout routine to the sounds of a Gospel playlist?  Here is a playlist that might interest you that I use sometimes when I am trying to get those pushups, tricep dips, burpees, squats, jumping jacks, jump roping and pumping my iron or whatever else might work for that day.
 

Warm-up to "Upon this Rock" by Mattie Moss Clark

1.    View the City by Rizen
2.    Dancin’ In the Son by Tonex
3.    New Life by Evelyn Turrentine-Agee
4.    Faithful to Believe by Byron Cage
5.    Good to Me by Jai
6.    Victory by Kim Burrell
7.    If I Be Lifted Up by the Anointed Pace Sisters
8.    Bye and Bye by Georgia Mass Choir
9.    Now I Sing by Out of Eden
10. We’ve Come to Lift You Up by Chicago Mass Choir
11. Pressin’ On by James Hall and Worship & Praise
12. Done Did It by Kierra Sheard
13. It’s Possible by John P Kee
14. Expect Your Miracle by the Clark Sisters
15. It Just Get’s Sweeter by John P Kee
16. Jamming on the 100 Psalms by Lashun Pace
17. I’m Encouraged by Vanessa Bell Armstrong
18. My Soul Says Yes by Danny Eason
Cool-Down to “Blessings” by Karen Clark-Sheard
This list is quite a bit over an hour (maybe even two hours long), but perhaps you are doing a circuit and also some strength training and this song list might motivate you to keep on going until the music is over.  For me, it has motivated to do rope jumping through the entire full length of a song, jump on a trampoline for two or three songs straight, do an extra seven pushups or even another set of squats.  Sometimes, I even use this list to do some step aerobics and it works. Maybe this is a list that you might also enjoy.  

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Poem: A different Storyline


 
 
Almost felt like content overload

clamoring over the clouds and producing rain over my earth

wanting to ride a different storyline

conceive a brand new twist and labor it to birth

repairing the damage with my own strength desire energy and clarity

I thought I’d never learn to drive fearing the whole idea of it

but sometimes you just have to take your own fair shot at success

and as the dust settles in from the old idea but a new way of doing things

I turned my worst physical state into my own circle of influence

maybe these swirl of colors from the parting clouds and the rainbow

were meant to prance into my happily ever after that was meant

yet I can only be content for how far I’ve come thirty pounds later

because even though I’ve made a dent in my pathway I have not met my goal yet

but I will

and I’m determined

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Poem: If It Were Not For, Voting


 
If it weren’t for our ancestors who had the guts to speak up

The starlit sky would not be ours for the taking

If it were not for the voice that we have been privileged to have

Wherever we choose to go wouldn’t be our decision for the making

 

If it were not for the arm full of books that we could read

Our applause breaking out would be ours without reasoning

If it were not for the epic events that made us who we are

We would not dwell in the serene atmosphere created from mistakes of learning

 

If it were not for the days when the stars lose their glitter

We would not find a reason to find full enjoyment in the sun

If it were not for the stressful weeks we experience at work

Our weekends would be nothing to cherish or to love

 

If it were not for us finding peace within our own selves

We’d find reason to care when haters mock our failings

And if it were not for the rhythm that we carry in our hearts

The tracks on which we are stretching to the next level would instead be derailing

 

If it were not for the things we see within visible range

We would not need a voice to have an opinion

And if it were not for hope for prosperity for tomorrow

We would not ever find ourselves on a mission

 

And had it not been for that mission we’d have no need to take action

Our eager hope would never open doors shut firmly with iron power

And if it were not for our ancestors who had the guts to speak up

The true reasons we had to vote in our hearts would never tower

 

Even alone if we walk down the trail to polling sites

And we come running through the center to cast our voices

And it brings peace to our minds to see different types of people

All surveying the room trying to find the right place to make our choices

 

If it were not for the tallying and the awaiting of the numbers

We wouldn’t keep that hope until the end when the winner is set

But if you didn’t vote or add your voice or make the choice

Who are you to complain if the things we hoped for this world are not met?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Let Your Body Get Lost In The Music


I am used to going to the gym every morning at work but since Hurricane Sandy came and hit New York, Brooklynites did not really have easy access into Manhattan with the trains not running, unless they got on the free shuttle bus to Manhattan or drove with the HOV restriction; so I have been home trying different workouts and missing the equipment and the instructor led classes that I am used to incorporating into my life.

One of the classes I am used to taking is Zumba. I miss all the working out I was doing before the storm. I saw the line of cars waiting to get gas today from my local Hess station and it was approximately nine city blocks long.


I refuse to wait on that line or on the line with hundreds of people awaiting the free shuttle just to get into Manhattan, so I had to make use of what I have home. Yet still, I do not have the Zumba class there, though I do have Zumba for Nintendo Wii. Yet still, not the same.

Once a week, a group of motivated people gather in the group workout room to dance the hour away. After taking the class for a while, one gets used to both the dance routine and the music. I loved the songs from my instructor led Zumba class so much that I downloaded most of them on to my IPOD, added some more dance songs like the wobble and the electric slide and I had my own Zumba party at home. Felt great to shake my body and shake off some calories at the same time. Fun workout.

Here are a list of just a few songs that you might find interest in doing the fun workout of simply getting into the groove, moving your body to it and having a great time doing it.
 
 
1.    Without You – David Guetta and Usher
2.    Good Feeling – Flo Rida
3.    Pump Me Up – Russel Cadogan
4.    Turn up the Music – Chris Brown
5.    We Found Love (Featuring Calvin Harris) - Rihanna
6.    Rete – Kassav
7.    Caramelo a Kila – Carolina la O
8.    Zumba Te Suelta – Raggaeton Hip Hop
9.    I Feel Good – James Brown
10.  Abusadora – Oro Solido
11.  I Love Salsa – N’Klabe
12.  Never Stop – Brand New Heavies
13.  Zumba He Zumba Ha  -  (feat. Soldat Jahman & Luis Guisao) – DJ Mam
14.  Higher – Taio Cruz
15.  Wobble – V.I.C.
16.  Electric Slide – Marcia Griffiths
17.  Dollar Wine – Colin Lucas
18.  Moving to the Left – Paul and Peter Lewis
19.  Everybody – Hilton Jr Dalzell
20.  Buzz – Carimi
21.  Zouk La Sé Sél Médikaman Nou Ni – Kassav

This list is about an hour and twenty minutes of music.  In this time span of dancing, you burn about 500 calories. What a fun way to burn off that Margarita, the lunch you had this afternoon or the dinner portion of rice and beans you just had.  But regardless, dancing is fun and if you love dancing, by the time your hips start swinging to the good sounds, you will forget that it was even with the intention of using it as an exercise, because it is fun.

Enjoy and let your body get lost in the music.
 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Picpoetry: The Tree That Grew In Brooklyn


A tree grew in Brooklyn
with so much love all around to tickle the ivories
standing tall with all its strength and confidence
escalating to a higher level when the sun attention beamed.
 
In a flirtatious manner it would sway in the wind
and its unique beauty went echoing through the hills
gaining strength from surrender to the sparkles in the sky
and the ribbons of air that would scatter its leaves to fields.
 
Engaged in the moment when coming across its path
and burnished brown leaves from its arms fall short of your door
but when Sandy firmly squeezed it by its neck out of the ground
its breathless charm became no more.
 
With every ounce of strength, Sandy forced it to its defeat
the radiant tree that once grew in Brooklyn now journeying to heaven in the sky
and while falling claiming lives, breaking cars and trapping folks in homes
became the perfect time to hear Keely Smith singing her blues soliloquy.
 
For even though the storm is over and the rains and winds have passed away
up on the mound where the tree in Brooklyn grew is now just emptiness
and its sparkle loses glitter while the crowds draw near trying to own its history
for to walk away from Sandy's winds that made the tree fall, echoes miracles; blessed.
 
 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

PicPoetry: Putting Clouds to Music

Day three's photo challenge was to take a picture of clouds. I decided to attach a poem to it to define the image that I saw. And here it is, my picture and my poem entitled,
 
Putting Clouds to Music
 
 
 
Clouds were strewn across the sky
 
thicker than the stacked sounds
 
of an orchestra behind a blues singer,
 
whose voice pierces through
 
like windy rains of Battery Park,
 
to the ears of a lovely listener.
 
 
 
Even without the sun in the sky
 
the beauty of autumn's nature still appears
 
like the heart bursts of soulful pain
 
that the crooner marionettes
 
the rhythm of the falling leaves you can’t forget
 
that freshly starts when clouds bring rain to rainbows.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Day 2: A Different Song For A Different Caricature


Day two’s photo challenge focuses on what you wore today.

 
So sweet are the stanzas of the climactic poetry of the morning star that comes to brighten the moon tailored sky with its beautiful song of radiance and life. We often flourish under pressure when we realize, it’s Monday morning and time to get ourselves together for whatever it is we have to do.


The questions arise; what will I wear? Do I have everything I need? How much time do I have? Will he, she, or they be okay? What am I going to cook tonight? Where did I put my keys and my metrocard? Are all the burners on the stove off? Do I have any bills due today? Can I leave my car parked where it is right now?
 

How hard can it be to exist in the present moment of the first day of the week back to work or school when we are still in the quiet mood that lax zone allowed. That very star is what helps us to alter our moods, attitudes and styles to respond to the call of our duties.


When I was a kid, I used to be very impressed by labels. If the clothing on my back did not have a brand name signed across it, most likely, I would not want to wear it. I was also impressed seeing my beautiful mother walking with all her gracefulness and royal essence with her sharp suits and high heels. I always had it in my mind that I would one day run to catch a portion of her fever.


I have to admit, I am not an everyday suit person but I like them a lot and often find the desire to wear them for work. Dresses are nice also. I love shoes as well and you might catch me in a pair of beautiful heels every now and then, but not everday. My feet can't handle them all the time.

 
I have to say I reinvented myself a bit this year. I started 2012 with a bit of a challenge. All of a sudden, all the clothes that fit me in a span of a month were no longer my size. To stand on the field of remembrance and attach to it feelings is to feel a surge of disappointment at seeing yourself so gone from who you are and so much more of who you are not, that the green lawns of Prospect Park couldn’t even wrinkle a smile on your face. I was still an amazing woman, but not where I wanted to be in life.  

 
The adrenaline rush of change came bubbling over. Life became a different song for a different day. I started bending all my thoughts towards tailoring my life and the experience accommodated to my needs. And now the same things that no longer fit me are now a little big on me.  I have to say that I am appreciating the differences.


What did I wear today?  A suit jacket and a dress; and it felt good to see and feel that it is a little big on me now. 26 pounds later! Makes a difference I think. It made even more of a difference that I wore it with my Uggs.
 
 
 
Aah! Pure comfort. :)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Photography Challenge Day 1: Self-Portrait



I came across a photography challenge while browsing through Pinterest which I think is pretty cool because I love using the camera to capture different things and thought, that would be a different angle to writing from; and so, here is the first challenge: a self-portrait!

I know. I am a little behind in this challenge because I’ve seen many people participating in it months ago, but never too late to try something different. Pinterest actually has loads of things on their site that have caught my interest and put me into a place where I have been trying lots of different things from exercises, food choices, beauty tips and more.

The saying goes that if you are not willing to change, nothing will ever change.

I have been having a hard time keeping my hair together ever since I began working out on a regular basis. I am usually the one at the salon every weekend getting my hair done up for the week ahead, but then once I set foot into the gym on Monday morning, the beauty of the hair I just got done starts to change. The once pretty silkiness becomes dry and then I wonder why I even got my hair done.
Lately it has been unmanageable and in not so good condition, even after putting good treatments in it that I used to apply to my hair before.

This week was no different. I was set to get my hair done and it was a draw between getting my usual wash and set style or to get my hair braided.  I was so tempted to keep it the same but considering that nothing ever changes unless I change it, I decided to change it.

Not so bad I have to say.  My hair won’t sweat out after my first workout of the work week.  And I have a different look which is a good thing. A little change goes a long way.  Here is the picture!
 
 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Story Mile To Climb Scrapers

Events often influence our lives, like mine was when I needed a new dress for an upcoming show and I saw the dress size that actually fit me was larger than I ever thought I could ever expand to.  If size was like money in the wallet, I would have been a rich woman with how big I had let myself go without even realizing it. 
 


Should I have allowed it to be an accepted way? I guess on the lighter side of the situation, I was never ashamed of the person I was. I learned how to find some sort of comfort in myself whether I had the world on my shoulders or a not so heavy load. Life is life and we ought to roll with the punches if we are meant to see the rainbows that stand before us with our own eyes.


We plant seeds that will flower as results in our lives, so best to remove the weeds of anger, avarice, envy and doubt, that peace and abundance may manifest for all.
– Dorothy Day


In life, we have a plethora of options. There is no one-sized fits all solution. Everybody is different and what is for one person may not be for the other. I decided to turn my focus to what matters most which was my own welfare. In order for a person to stand as tall as a tree with all their individuality growing out of the uniqueness of their branches, they must use true common sense which in fact is not always common.



“The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself” - Mark Caine



It was a good time for me to embrace change and give my health the proper weight it deserved. I had already decided to change my lifestyle for one that exemplifies more of God and then I heard news of a fitness challenge that had commenced. That is the day I decided to join the gym and to also participate in the challenge with a few friends that had the common interest of doing something beneficial for themselves. Together we formed a team.


We were challenged to complete many different tasks individually and also in a group setting. One of the challenges was to walk up 13 flights of steps to the top of the building. They say the sky is the limit but I was not looking forward to climbing the heights of it because I thought it would be hard. But whenever we put ourselves to the test, it is a new height that we’ve gained. So I left it up to chance and in a short while, my team did it and we added climbing flights to the accomplished tasks list.
 

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman



Maybe the challenge has left me with some kind of newness, always feeling like it is a good time for me to workout. It could have actually been walking 10.5 miles from lower Manhattan to Kensington, Brooklyn or quite possibly, it could have truly been climbing the steps that made the difference.

Now that was just 13 flights of stairs, I can‘t imagine how those challenged today in the story by story climb must have felt after climbing the 42 flights of 1411 Broadway located in Midtown, NY on the corner of W. 39th Street and Broadway.

 
My challenge was for a good cause because it was to help me to achieve balance in my own life, but the climbers challenge was for a great cause which was to raise money to stop domestic violence. Hundreds were gathered ready to climb from one cliff edge to another and make it all the way to the roof on Thursday evening, October 12th, 2012.

The website indicates that each participant was to raise $100 in order to be a part of the fundraising event.  I also heard announced that One Equity Partners Challenge which included Ernst & Young and KBMG, offered to donate $5000 towards domestic violence for anyone who beat their team in the race.

The climb was from 7 PM and all runners and walkers were to be done by 9 PM. It was like any of the other fundraising walks but only this one was a walk or run up steps; climbing to end domestic violence.
 
 
 
 
 

I have to say that I am left very inspired about taking the stairs as opposed to getting on to the elevator to get to where I have to be after finding out that the climbers would be making their way up 42 stories. Though I am an elevator person and may or may not ever walk up 42 flights of stairs, cheers to them for being part of such a worthy charity event. They truly will make me consider using the steps instead of the elevator every now and then. Getting me out of my lazy and stubborn ways is truly a challenge in its own self. 23 pounds lighter than I was 2 1/2 months ago,  I can honestly say that I am learning to overcome it more and more now though which is a wonderful thing. Find out more about this charity event and the organization that puts it all together at http://storybystory.inmotiononline.org/about-story-by-story