MARA-Marvelous

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Friends Arlene and Monika hosted a lacy event for charity tonight in Hyde Park Square.

Their lovely lingerie designs front and center, the “MARA” line has been profitable since its inception! Female guests giggled in dressing rooms as they made their selections, and gentlemen chatted over MARA-tinis at the makeshift bar.

Today’s drawing is of MARA’s first, and still most popular, soft and stretchy bralette set.

Drawing #17 created with Eastern Drawing Free by JinHee Park

Sunday Support System

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Weekends wind down quickly, and the last hour of a sunny Sunday is especially precious.

A few special friends consistently choose to spend that hour in my yoga class. Their attendance allows me to develop my teaching skills. I cannot express my depth of gratitude for their support!

Drawing #15 created on Doodle Buddy for iPad by Pinger, Inc

Starry Night

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The sky is bright where I live. Illumination is essential for the functionality of a city, and can provide it with a kind of beauty.  But the stars are obscured from me.

On those treasured occasions when I find myself distanced from civilization, I look up toward the darkness and mysterious beauty which is always there, but not always visible to me.

Drawing #14 created with FingerPaint Glow Coloring and Doodle Drawing Free

Red River Gorge State Park

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Organized, focused, and skilled in rappelling, my friend Bob arranged a road trip to Red River Gorge in KY, where he carefully outlined all the steps to ensure our safety before we literally stepped off a cliff!  This beautiful day in the woods provides great subject matter for drawing #13 of my 31 day drawing challenge.

Created on Doodle Buddy for iPad by Pinger, Inc

UC DAAP RetroFittings fashion show

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Each year, the University of Cincinnati’s DAAP school of design presents RetroFittings, a fashion show benefitting St. Vincent de Paul. With a spending limit o $10, DAAP students purchase items at a St. Vincent de Paul thrift store to create an outfit.

Over the years as a model, I have worn everything from men’s suiting to a tennis Barbie costume. This year I wore two outfits and one of them is the subject of drawing #11. As you can see, DAAP has no limits on creativity – I was literally dressed as a shipwreck.

Created on Doodle Buddy for iPad by Pinger, Inc

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Washington Park Fountains

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I’m headed downtown to the official opening gala for The Classical Music Walk of Fame at Cincinnati’s Washington Park.

The beautiful fountains located in the center of the park are the subject of drawing #10. When in the park, visitors can make the fountains dance to music of their choosing at http://www.classicalwof.org

Created on Doodle Buddy for iPad by Pinger, Inc

Window Dressing

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Today’s drawing illustrates the new curtains my guest bedroom is now sporting.  Interior designers suggest making simple updates with the changing seasons to dress up a home.  As I enjoy this new burst of color, I can say the concept works!

Check out more home decorating tips at TheNester’s blog, where I got the inspiration to do my 31 day challenge.

Drawing #9 created with Doodle Buddy for iPad by Pinger, Inc

Serpentine Wall

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At breakfast with friends this weekend, the topic of steak restaurants came up; “What’s your favorite place?”

The listing led to El Coyote in Anderson, a favorite of our good friend David who left us in March for Heaven. I’ve been thinking about him ever since.

Today’s drawing is of Cincinnati’s Purple People Bridge and the Serpentine Wall, where a beautiful service was hosted by David’s family and friends, and where we said goodbye.

Drawing #8 created with MyPaint Free by MyMedia

First Fire of the Season

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I notice yoga is teaching me is to sit still.

Occasionally I wish I were sitting someplace else.

In my imagination, I see myself sitting by a fire, as it warms smiling faces and toasts marshmallows.  Today’s drawing shows I’m looking forward to enjoying the real thing soon.

Drawing #7 created with MyPaint Free by MyMedia

Butternut Squash Soup

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Fall is in the air!

The crisp cool wind, dark skies and dry leaves have me reaching for ingredients to make this chill-chasing and comforting soup:

Sauté 2 large yellow onions + 1 garlic clove + 2 pounds cubed butternut squash on low heat in 2 heaping Tablespoons of coconut oil until onions are caramelized. Deglaze with 4 cups chicken stock. Add 1/2 cup coarsely shredded potato + 2 cups shredded carrots + 2 cups yellow “cherry” tomatoes which have been halved. Bring to a boil, then turn down immediately to simmer for 30 minutes or until squash is cooked. Puree soup with an immersion blender.

Add 2 large zucchini, cubed + a small finger of fresh ginger root, grated + 3 T sweet Madras Curry Powder and continue to simmer until zucchini is cooked.  Stir in 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg.

While zucchini cooks, sauté 1/2 cup walnuts in 1 T butter + 1 T sugar until heated through.  Garnish with pesto, parmesan cheese, walnuts, and pomegranate seeds.  Serves 4. Freezes well.

Drawing #6 created with MyPaint Free by MyMedia

Adopt a cat

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Weeks ago a cat appeared at my home. Small, very sweet and well behaved, she continued to visit even though I was not feeding her. One morning, she arrived at my doorstep with a bleeding wound on her back leg.  I took her to the vet, nursed her back to health and fell in love.

The still-unnamed kitty is drawing #5 of the 31 day blog challenge.

Created with MyPaint Free by MyMedia

Tennis Anyone?

I was invited to play tennis today.

Then I wasn’t invited.  Then I was.

Then I wasn’t sure if I was or wasn’t!  At the last minute, tennis was confirmed and is the subject for drawing #3.

I enjoyed playing under a blue Fall sky surrounded by the bright colors of changing leaves.

But after all of the back and forth, I think I should have spared myself all the uncertain planning. When the process became stressful I could have said “Let’s play sometime next week” and gone for a walk in the park.  Lesson learned!

Created with MyPaint Free by MyMedia

Here Comes The Sun

The sun rises each morning and so do I, although the two don’t always coincide.

Today began with Sun Salutations, a series of yoga poses also called Surya Namaskara, meant to wake the body up with gentle movement.

Loosening the joints, moving the breath in and out, stretching and strengthening – this little morning dance is a wonderful wake up call.

And, keeping with my 31 drawings in 31 days challenge, it is also the topic of drawing #2.

Created with MyPaint Free by MyMedia

31 Drawings in 31 Days

I can’t draw.

But today I will start drawing, and plan to continue for the next 31 days.

My month of digital “artwork” is thanks to a challenge from The Nester, who has a popular blog, a beautiful home and who suggests her readers in the blog community do the impossible – create a post a day for the entire month of October.

My artwork this month may look a childish.  But I teach children and I’ve noticed they see the intention in art, not the flaws.  A child’s tree, my tree, and a Rembrandt tree are all simply a tree.   If only we adults could view the world so simply!  Within my drawings I seek only to capture the essence of what I view.  I hope you’ll come along on this challenge with me!

Created with FingerPaint Glow Coloring and Doodle Drawing Free, by Venturesoft LLC

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Sitting still with the children during our final class this Summer.

I was blessed this summer to teach children yoga within the Cincinnati Boys & Girls Club program, helping students K-12 have fun as they learned to stretch, sit still, and calm themselves by focusing on their breathing.

Only a few hands went up on Day 1 when asked if anyone had heard of yoga.  Early on, most kids wiggled around, paying little attention to direction.  But within weeks they became more coordinated and responsive, enjoying each class’s unique theme and fun yoga games.

Every week progressively filled me with more joy.  What a thrill it was to witness their little smiles!  Boys & Girls Club staff reported that some children were asking their parents to get them to school on Yoga Day!  And one little boy said to another, “I was going to hit my little brother last night but I took a deep yoga breath instead.”

By the end of summer, kids who found it impossible to sit still in the spring were now saying their favorite part of yoga was ending with quiet relaxing.  Read this YogaJournal article about the many benefits yoga provides children.

Independence Day

On July 4th we unite in celebrating our greatest gift, freedom.

I am free to cross thousands of miles without borders. Personal safety from an enemy is not a primary concern. But am I really free?

I don’t always say what I think. I edit my words. I skimp on my truth, in the process often guessing, “what do others around me need or value more?”  I’m not alone in this. By holding words in, we don’t reveal what means the most. We do not allow our true self to be free.

On Independence Day, I’m wondering how my life might better honor the full use of this gift of freedom that many men and women honored today have earned for me.

Tennis Yoga

I’m certain yoga has helped my tennis. After more than a year away from the game, I am playing better than when I practiced regularly!

During a difficult match, I noticed how often I stopped breathing. By focusing on a steady breath cycle, my muscles relaxed and I was able to play better.  As in yoga, tonight’s tennis became about observing my breath.  And about hitting an exceptionally high number of great shots!

I had recalled the words of my yoga teacher Lilias and aligned with my “witness self,” the part of us that observes with detachment and compassion.  Maybe I even stepped into that coveted place in sports called The Zone.  In that zone, a “bad” shot didn’t upset me; rather it was just a placement of my body which yielded a result.

However it happened, the results were marvelous.  We won 🙂

A New Twist

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I don’t sit still well, or for very long.  One year on April Fool’s day, a client actually built a speed bump in the hall outside my P&G office!  A clear communication I might consider slowing down.

For a decade, my life was constant movement between offices and countries, always onward to the next big deal. Work came first. Exercise consisted solely of running through airports. Seriously.

The day I realized I could cut through fellow travelers in the airport faster if I had a smile on my face, shoulders held back, and a calm certainty I would make the flight –  that was the day I did my first yoga pose. I just didn’t realize it yet. Unknowingly, I discovered a kind of transcendence and ability to achieve my desired outcome by simultaneously harnessing ease, joy and will. It was magic.

Many hundreds of thousands of air miles later, circumstances brought me to a yoga class… and I hated it. So slow, so focused. How could this stuff possibly transform life and limb?   I discovered my biggest challenge was to remember to breathe. I was constantly holding my breath!

Eventually yoga taught me to breathe on my mat. Slowly I’m learning to breathe in life. And after a particularly deep breath, I dove into yoga teacher training. Ready for a new twist.