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Melting steel to make something beautiful

19 Jul

“In order to make anything beautiful out of steel, you have to melt it first.” Bikram Choudhury
The first Bikram Yoga studio was in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco. I knew there was a reason I was drawn to it. I love that neighborhood.

Today was my third class in as many days. I couldn’t even think about blogging yesterday so here we are today. Some classes will be easier than others, and yesterday’s class was a killer. It’s been about 95 and humid in New York, and the room was unforgiving. I think I was on my mat for most of the second half of class.

During class today I was brought back to the very first Bikram class I ever took. A friend of mine in Minnesota that I worked with was opening this yoga studio and she would always tell me how it is so different. I had taken yoga in the past at different gyms and yoga centers, but I wasn’t that thrilled about it. I didn’t want to hear the affirmations or hear soothing music while I bent around in uncomfortable poses. And-I didn’t feel all that different after. She opened in 2006, and after some coaxing, I went to class. She told me to come every day for 5 days and my life would be changed. I went for 5 days. She was right. If you’re in St. Paul, you should stop by her studio and say hello to Sarah.

Now my practice is about remembering why it changed my life in the first place. 2006 wasn’t that great of a year for me, if I recall. This year has had it’s ups and downs, but in a lot of ways, it’s similar. I have had some major life changes, like I did in 2006, and Bikram helped me sort it out then. Maybe someday I’ll get into all of that, but for now that’s all you get. I need to go drink some more water.

I took some measurements of myself on the first day-and from my calculations I have about 23 inches total around my body that I would like to shed. Don’t worry-I’m not trying to have a 13 inch waist, this is all around my body total. To spare myself the embarrassment of listing my measurements for the world-I’ll keep you posted in total inches. Maybe as this continues and I get braver, I’ll let you in on the good bits.

The Beginning of my #30daysofyoga challenge

17 Jul

Wow. I needed that.

Today was the first day of Bikram yoga for me in about a year. It’s also been almost a year since I moved to New York. I think I’ve been trying so hard to get a grip on life here that I’ve sort of lost my grip on myself and my body.

Don’t get me wrong; things on the outside are going relatively great. I have an apartment in a good neighborhood, I met a great guy here who supports me, and I am on the cusp of starting my career. (It will happen soon. I just know it.)

Even with all that good stuff happening, the strain of just figuring out how to do your laundry and find groceries has taken a toll on my body. It can be so stressful to live and function in New York that I’ve found myself withdrawing from the things that I used to like. I’m not big on going out these days and I haven’t met very many new people in New York. I find it really hard to make connections with people here. And, I rarely ride my bike-this is the one that really gets to me. Biking in Manhattan just seems like too big of a risk for me most days. Because of that, I’ve slowly let myself get out of shape, which is really bumming me out. Now is as good a time as any to change that.

As a challenge to myself I’m going to try to go every day for 30 days. Last year it was 30 Days of Biking that re-taught me how fun a bicycle could be and got me moving around again. I won’t say that I was in THAT great of shape last summer, but at least I was out and sweating a little. This summer it will be 30 Day of Yoga. I will be tweeting and posting to this blog as much as I can. I even found another person on Twitter, @shannondakin, who is starting #30daysofyoga in the UK tomorrow. Hooray!

So today was the first day. I went to the open house at the Bikram Yoga LES studio and was in a room with more people doing yoga than I ever have been. The energy of the studio was great, even though the noise of the cabs and bars outside were distracting during the first few minutes. Tomorrow I won’t sit by an open window. Towards the end of class I didn’t even feel like I was in New York still. My mind felt clear and I was happy. The studio was sunny and welcoming and my fellow classmates seemed excited to be there. I am looking forward to go back tomorrow. Hopefully my muscles will agree with me, but I have a feeling I’m going to be really sore tomorrow morning. I haven’t decided if I will post photos of my progress along the way, but anything can happen. Right now my goal is just to go back tomorrow.

Like they say at Bikram Yoga LES: It won’t be easy, but it is simple.

MOMA and Google’s Creative Sandbox

3 Nov

In a place like New York, there is never a shortage of events to go to. I may die from exhaustion, but damn it, I’m gonna see everything.

Last Wednesday Mesu and I went to MOMA to wander around. I totally liked how she displayed the photos-so thanks for letting me copy you, Mesu. Imitation is flattery right?

There was a really great exhibit of the modern kitchen, starting from about 1880 until 1980. Seeing as how I love to spend time in the kitchen and think that the design of everyday objects is beautiful, it goes unsaid that I will be visiting again. There’s something so comforting about seeing objects you love in a museum. Who knew a coffee mug could make a person so happy? (well, wait. I knew that already, on so many levels.)

On Thursday night I went to the Google Creative Sandbox. Basically, they invited creatives from all over the city to play with all the Google toys we could. Games like HTML5 vs. Flash, a Google photo booth and open bars with mini hot dogs-what creative wouldn’t be satisfied? That covers all of our basic needs right? Booze, junk food and nerdery? Check, check, and check.

Google wanted to get us excited about the new Google TV. I tried to watch the demo-but it was so loud it was hard to hear. And, honestly, the chances of me buying a TV in the near future are slim. The internet is my Google TV.

There was this cool site I didn’t know about-where you can make your own Google Search story. Have some fun and be sure to show me. I love a story.

Until we speak again…

Plastic and the City

28 Oct

Things are great here. Really really great. The city has the most amazing energy, people are alive (mostly) and I killed 3 mosquitos last night. This didn’t save me from waking up with a few new bites, but hey. It’s a step.

Sometimes I get so caught up in the greatness of my life right now that I feel like I can do anything. Like drink until 4 in the morning. Or start smoking again. Or eat out for lunch every single day and not think that it will eventually catch up with me. I can see how people get caught up in the craziness of things and stop remembering what is really important: Friends. And Family. And being good to each other and our space.

This brings me to my next point. The plastic bag situation here is crazy. OUT OF CONTROL crazy. Because of my current living situation, I am somewhat forced to eat out more than I would like to, so I notice the consumption that I and others around me participate in.

For example: Yesterday I went to get a salad at this place that makes them in front of you. You choose the greens, which you pick up out of a cooler, they are in a plastic tub, then you give them to the salad maker, and he mixes your lunch.  Bring it to the counter, they automatically put it in a plastic bag for you, and shove plastic forks, knives, napkins, and send you on your way. About half of the people just walk over to the seating area, unwrap the plastic bags and eat it FOUR FEET AWAY. This hardly constitutes the need for a bag. Yesterday I told the girl at the counter that I didn’t need the bag, so she looks at me-very confused-and takes my salad out of the bag. She then puts a NEW BAG inside what was going to be my bag-for the next person. I’m assuming this was because the plastic from my salad touched the inside of the first bag. Uh-oh. Don’t want any germs or anything.

I’m sorry. It’s not her fault. It’s not really the people who walk a few feet only to throw the just used plastic bag away, minutes after using it. It’s all of our faults for letting it get this bad.

I’ve got more. But for today, I don’t need a bag, thank you.

YouTube Play at the Guggenheim

27 Oct

On Friday night I went with my partner at the PR firm, Mesu, to YouTube Play at the Guggenheim. (She thought it was freezing. This amused me to no end. It was 65F.)

YouTube Play celebrated the nature of video production as an art form today. They took artistic video submissions from anyone, anywhere, and a panel of  judges decided on the top 25 artistic videos on YouTube. You can see the winners here. (I love that Die Antwoord is on the list. This song will forever remind me of Ad School in Minneapolis and one of my classmates, Thom. If you haven’t checked them out yet, in all their bizarre glory, you really should. I won’t fault you for not finishing this post. They are way more interesting than me.)

To celebrate the event, there was a projection on the outside of the Guggenheim-transforming it into its own piece of YouTube. That’s the reason why I wanted to go-I’m sort of obsessed with these projections. To get to see one live was really cool.

Here’s what I captured from my iPhone. Not too bad for a phone.

There was a beautiful full moon right above the museum. They must have planned it.

One of the things that Mesu remarked on was the lack of meaning in the projection. Granted, they could have done more with it than just have it be a flashy After Effects demonstration, but I still thought it was cool. I watched the people around me-and they all loved what was happening. People don’t get to see these sorts of things every day, and it was interesting to see the reaction of the crowd. Heads turned up, smiles on faces, children and dogs in the background.

That’s why we do what we do right? To elicit a reaction? I know that going into advertising, we are supposed to compel people to take action. This wasn’t advertising, but observing reaction and recreating the cause is part of what I want to get really good at. What makes people react? How do they look? How can I make them get that feeling? How can I elicit a response? It’s like I’m creating a little emotion toy box. Put all the little reactions and emotions in this toy box so you can take them out to play with later.

This is my favorite of the winners:

We’ll talk soon, I’m certain. (word of the day: elicit.)