Have you ever noticed how extremely grateful dogs seem to be when you throw them a bone or dish up their chow?
Like they are eating for the very first time.
Taking a moment of gratitude before each meal is a mindful and thoughtful approach to eating and enjoying time together. I’ve noticed a few times that this can make guests at the table a little uncomfortable. Perhaps they don’t want to say grace to a God they don’t know. Or perhaps they don’t know what to say, or maybe how to lead the prayer.
Saying grace or taking a moment to pause before dining together, can be as simple as bowing heads or holding hands and saying thank you to each other and the host. Each culture has a unique way to pray. One of my favorite mealtime prayers. . .
Let us be together; let us eat together.
Let us be vital together, let us be radiating truth, radiating the light of life.
Never shall we denounce anyone, never entertain negativity. –The Upanishads
Okay, so here is my new If/Then algorithm for snacking. IfI want a bag of salty Kettle chips, then I snack on cucumber slices with sea salt. I don’t think I will ever give up my search for nutrient dense snacks pack as much gratification as a bag of potato chips. I found this Zero Calorie Food chart today on Rodale’s site, (publishers of Prevention Magazine). Click here for the full article. With the exception of the celery, these foods are lower in calories than most. For example, a cup of apricot is about 79 calories.
If you are visiting New York this upcoming holiday season and you are looking for unique gifts or something special for yourself, I have three timeless and classic Manhattan favorites that are all so very close to each other and located in the Flatiron district right below Madison Park, home of the original Shake Shack, which by the way is open until Christmas. I’m curious, what are some of your favorite places to shop in your town/city village for kitchen tools and table settings?
This post includes a few tips, tricks and trends to help you travel, wander and move about a bit easier and healthier.
Napcabs at the Airport – as long as they are maintained and sanitized, I am all in for a moment of quiet meditation at JFK.
Smartphone Hotel Keys – This can’t happen soon enough. How many times have you had to return to the front desk with a plastic card key that just didn’t turn that tiny light green?? Now available at select Hilton Hotels.
A few more travel tips . . .
1Above creates drinks that will help people avoid jet lag. The brand’s products are available in refillable bottles and concentrates, which help to feed the body with six electrolytes and six essential vitamins to help the body naturally release energy. Available on AmazonJetLag Drink
LinkNYC is the ambitious plan to replace all of New York’s obsolete phone booths with Wi-Fi-broadcasting towers.
and more travel hacks. . .
My favorite Umbrella ever – covers you and never blows out in gusty Manhattan storms.
And for sunnier days and warmer seasons – an awesome idea. Free public sunscreen. This summer the city of Boston installed sunscreen dispensaries at no cost to taxpayers, thanks to skin cancer organizations like the Melanoma Foundation of New England and Make Big Change.
Lunch yesterday near the office in Soho, NYC. I am obsessed with this spicy detox lemonade at Chop’t.
Going to try to whip this up over the weekend and found a few recipes on line. The ingredients seem simple enough – the juice from whole lemons, maple syrup and cayenne pepper. Some add sea salt to boost the “flush”. I know this master cleanse has been around for quite some time and Beyonce brought it back earlier this year, but I never tried it like this at home as an every day drink.
I found three sites that have different recipes, but they all look a little like this –
2 TBSP organic fresh squeezed lemon (do not use canned or frozen or bottled juice)
2 TBSP organic maple syrup
1/10 TSP organic cayenne pepper (I’d probably add more spice)
10 oz medium hot water (cold water may be used if preferred)
Although I am not a big follower of detox anything, this lemonade just tasted delicious.
Lemon juice and cayenne pepper both have anti-fungal, immune boosting, and detoxification properties. A great source of information on the benefits of drinking lemon water can be found here in this article.
Lemon juice is great for digestion, destroying bacteria and cleansing the system – it supports the liver and kidneys to get rid of toxins.
Cayenne pepper increases metabolism, stimulates the circulatory system, aids digestion, helps regulate blood sugar and more.
In my other life, I might have been a great New York private tour operator. If you are visiting Manhattan, had enough shopping and eating and you’d like to explore by foot or bike, don’t you dare miss –
Walking the Brooklyn Bridge
Finding the bridge, the entrance on both sides of Manhattan and Brooklyn and even the best locations for photos can be found in this amazingly detailed article from Explore Brooklyn Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge.
Strolling the High line
While the caretakers of everything at this incredible elevated park that sweeps Manhattan’s west side do a pretty good job of keeping New Yorker’s and visitors updated about closings and new entrances and activities on their website: The Highline finding an entrance can be challenging.
Check their calendar before you visit – so many fun things to do by season -from Tai Chi to Velvet Gloves Gentleman’s Boxing to Stargazing. Pick up a salad at Sweet Greenin NoMad at 1164 Broadway (near 28th Street) and walk west to 28th and 10th Avenue.
Biking Central Park
Warning, I was one of the first to sign up for New York’s Citi Bike Program, I don’t care if you are from Amsterdam, Paris or Copenhagen, do not ride the Citi Bike system outside of Central Park. You will be risking your life. In the park fine, out of the park, no. Got it?
With that said, short term Citi Bike memberships can be purchased by the day or the week here Citi Bike.
There is a bike station at Central Park South and Grand Army Plaza. For Central Park Maps visit the Conservancy’s website Central Park Conservancy
I travel to Manhattan for work each day (some people call it commuting). I intentionally take my travel to New York City each day and I view it as a big adventure. The big apple, right here in my own back yard, a playground that I get to rediscover over and over again. The dreaded 90-minute “commute” has become a part of a mindful and magical journey. Well, sometimes not that “magical”, but you get what you put into it, okay?
Lately I’m very sad about the growing number of homeless men and women I see while I am walking downtown to my office from midtown to Soho. Counting 5, 6, 7 people per block, I thank God I haven’t become numb to this sorrowful situation.
I became angrier and angrier at DiBlasio, at the system, at the crumbling world economy. I thought about creating a video and filming what others may not see. Heroin addicts, veterans, the mentally disabled lying down on the sidewalk with cardboard as their mattress and torn blankets as their cover. But other than devoting time to volunteering at a homeless shelter, what can I do?
Well a dear friend had a wonderful idea that helped me the other day. Bring them lunch. Pack extra lunches to hand out to those who are hungry as I walk to work.
And so I did. I started with one sandwich yesterday. I am thankful to say that it was well received and I made a real connection with someone. A older woman who thanked me. A soulful moment of compassion in a very crazy city.
This act of giving is not a new idea, but for months I was so concerned about the huge homeless problem I didn’t know where to begin. I got caught up in the amount of time, effort and energy it would take to do something, anything. Whenever we are trying to solve a problem that is bothering us this greatly we sometimes tend to get caught up in the enormity of it.
Perhaps you want to lose weight, hit the gym, save money, develop a new skill, invest in the market. My recommendation to you, is to start small, with mini-habits, that when practiced daily and consistently really do work.
Think about it, your goals may be too lofty and setting you up for failure. Yes it’s okay to dream big, but if you are having trouble failing, take this tip and advice from the author of Mini-Habits.
“Vagabonding is an attitude—a friendly interest in people, places, and things that makes a person an explorer in the truest, most vivid sense of the word. Vagabonding is not a lifestyle, nor is it a trend. It’s just an uncommon way of looking at life—a value adjustment from which action naturally follows. And, as much as anything, vagabonding is about time—our only real commodity—and how we choose to use it.” Quote from Vagabonding.
Big Goal: Lose 25 lbs by your 25th birthday.
Small Habit: Start with 1 less teaspoon of sugar in your coffee each day. Start with a 10 minute walk around the block.
Big Goal: Learn how to code your own website.
Small Habit: Start with a 5 minute session of a class each day on Lynda.com, or Udemy.com
Big Goal: 100 pushups a day by halloween.
Small Habit: Do one push up right now. Maybe two tomorrow. Grow slow. Grow slow and steady.
Big Goal: Write the book.
Small Habit: Write one true sentence a day. (a wonderful piece of advice from Ernest Hemingway.)
Break it down. Do it daily. Be consistent.
Looking for inspiration? Check out the author’s Mini-Habit Ideas Mini Habits