Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Program Interrupted-Prodigal Blogger Part 2 Will Return In Next Post!

Yes my dear friends, if I posted more often, I would not be in the situation that I now find myself in...I must postpone my LA shoot stories til next post so that I am not behind to give you the update of last week in NYC...

First off, last week upon my return from the lovely west coast- I could do nothing but lay on the couch on Monday and Tuesday, I had to haul my tired self down to a shoot with my cousin. My friend, Carmindy- a fabulous makeup artist is coming out with her second beauty book and my cousin was booked as one of the "real" women alongside models. I was beyond exhausted, but my cousin was nervous and I wanted to be there for her. It went well and my cousin's such a natural in front of the camera, who knew? Her pictures were gorgeous and Carmindy had tons of great pics to choose from- can't wait to see when the book is out in October. I cast Carmindy's first beauty book which was beautiful, so I have no doubt that this next book will be even more amazing!
On Valentine's Day, Fcat had just come in on the red-eye from LA, so we just had an easy little dinner at our favorite Indian place, Agra. We also celebrated our 3rd anniversary which is the day before Valentine's Day. Easy dinner was about all we could handle, we were both beyond tired. Here's my yummy plate of Chana Masala (chickpea & potatoes) with all the necessary accoutrements like mango chutney and cilantro chutney...
My dear Fcat gave me the prettiest flowers and the best card- which I hearted a whole lot! My Fcat awoke the next day and asked for pancakes, lo and behold panckes with berries and chocolate chips appeared:
On Saturday, it was off to my BFF (hehehe, love that) JK's, apt in LIC. My new apt will be down the block from her if we ever get to close this year. We were in for a fun day of working on her wedding invitations. Thank goodness, I was able to talk my girl into simplifying her original plans or else we would have still been there now working on them. We were tying ribbons & hot-glue gunning like there was no tomorrow.

And JK had the right provisions at hand: fruit & yummy vegan cucumber sandwiches. She also made me a tasty Tofurky sausage & Veganrella cheese on toast earlier. Here's to JK and her vegan-friendly kitchen- yay!!

The nicest treat was sitting down and just chatting over the most delicious Green & Black's Maya Gold hot chocolate with soymilk. That hot cocoa was just exquisite- love that hint of orange, just like the Maya Gold bars, pure cocoa yum. I have not had hot cocoa in almost two years- I have a vegan anniversary coming up! And look at the cutest teacup & the gorgeous orange roses...Ah, JK was indeed the hostess with the most-est!

Speaking of anniversaries, I completely missed my one year Blog-versary which was end of January, I think. Hmm, will have to do a belated more meaningful post on that...I also missed Chinese New Year celebration at home- Happy Year of the Rat! I was born in a Rat Year. In Chinese astrology, rats are extremely social and quick-witted. The story goes that the way the little rat got to be the first animal sign of the zodiac was by climbing on top of the ox's head to get a ride across the river and getting to the finish line first in the race.

Even though I missed out on celebrating Chinese New Year at grandma's (which was fine for me because there is always a whole roast piglet, the size of a large baby and that always makes me sad- I always get really upset when people eat flesh, but especially pork because I love those sweet little pigs), I happened upon a celebration in Chinatown by chance on Sunday. One of my favorite vegan bloggers, Urban Vegan was in for the weekend and Fcat & I planned to have dim sum with her & her husband, Omniman at Vegetarian Dim Sum House on Pell Street. UV and I have decided that we have known each other in a past life because this is only our second meeting but I feel like I have known her forever. And our two Italian-American omni guys were in nonstop conversation where they even forgot to cross the street! Here are some of the "dim yum" as UV & Omniman have renamed it:

Our "happy family" picture:

And happy dragons dancing in the streets to chase away the bad demons of the past year to welcome in the shining new year!

Early this week, I went to check out a friend's fancy new restaurant in the trendy Meat-Packing District. The restaurant is called Bistro Bagatelle. The place is really done well- extremely elegant, but still a casual chic with a super-friendly host. The menu is French and is a bit expensive, but a really great setting if budgeting is not in your vocabulary.

We ordered a french fries and a basket of crudite that came with a trio of dips, the only one that was vegan was the tapenade, which suited me just fine. They served radishes in their crudite which I had just finished mentioning to my dinner companion that the only time I encountered raw radishes in a restaurant was in St. Tropez (yes, I was quite the jet-setter many moons ago) and I was just reiterating this to the owner and he said "St. Tropez" before I could finish my sentence. Guess it's a St. Tropez thing...
I also had the blood orange & asparagus salad and they also prepared a plate of more
asparagus, baby bok choy & string beans as my entree- perfectly cooked, but they left out the garlic, salt & pepper...I had so much asparagus that evening- why does asparagus affect the smell of urine so?

My absolute favorite, the sorbet. Hands down the best sorbet that I have ever tasted, it was simply divine. There was mandarin orange, blood orange and apple cranberry. We hearted it so much, see?
Next post for sure, I will resume my crazy LA shoot week...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Return of The Prodigal Blogger (Part 1-Reiki)

For shame, it has been weeks since I have posted and this prodigal blogger is finally rested & recovered enough to blog. Perhaps prodigal isn't quite correct, I have not been running around lavishly wasting my time not blogging, I've actually been busting my butt - working like a fiend all over NY, LA and Palm Springs. Well, I returned home early Monday at 12:30am and basically slept and decompressed for three days and finally feeling better. So here I am back to blogging and contrite for not even posting a peep during my trip, but believe me when I tell you it was pure insanity...

There's so much to catch up on that I barely know where to begin- I guess right where I left off, so the weekend before I leave for the Vampire Photo Shoot Job (thusly termed because it literally sucked the life out of me) was my 2 day-Reiki Workshop through www.reikiartscontinuum.com. That Friday there had been a stressful casting callback session with a mini casting going on in another studio- was just running back & forth between studios and being fully-on personality-wise (you know- super upbeat to make sure the models are relaxed and to keep the clients energy up...). By end of day Friday when it was all over, my whole body just shut down and the tears came out of nowhere. I couldn't stop- I was just over tired & over stressed. I was full-on crybaby at the studio and I didn't care (the clients were gone by then of course). Sometime, you just have to let it all out.

Before the tears, I cast one of my favorite models with her sweet pup- I heart him, I make sure he comes to every shoot she does.
My dear Fcat took me to Patsy's for some yummy pizza/no cheese on my half & a much needed glass of wine. By early Saturday morning, I was bemoaning the fact that I had committed my two days of much-needed rest to a 9-6pm workshop. I was filled with anxiety from the many jobs that I was juggling, so was doubly anxious that I was going to be late for class. I made it just in time to The New York Open Center in Soho and rushed in. There were about twenty people seated in chairs forming a circle and we were around the room introducing ourselves and explaining why we were here to learn reiki. It was an eclectic group ranging from nurses & bodywork practitioners to people like me who were inexplicably drawn to it and just wanted to check it out. We were all here to learn how to channel this universal healing energy for ourselves and to share with others.

I won't bore you with the minute details of everything, but reiki has changed my life. I am about to sound like a born-again ready to testify, but reiki is the most amazing gift that I have given to myself. During Reiki I, we were given two attunements which is what the Reiki teachers transfer to you so that all your chakras/meridian points are more open to better receive the healing energy and to better feel the vibrations that all living things emit. Everyone has a different experience, mine was filled with waves of color & intense heat. Upon being given my first attunment, my palms in prayer position, I felt such intense heat that I was scared and wanted to pull my hands away- it was that hot. For me, the Reiki I workshop was a multi-sensory experience. I have only had reiki done to me once and it was interesting, but not mind-blowing, learning reiki & receiving the attunement on the other hand has touched my life so deeply that I can only say that it is the most amazing gift I have ever received.

The NY Open Center welcomed us with balloons:

Quick lunch at Hampton Chutney Company in Soho- yummy yummy dosas!

Sunday's lunch break at a darling little Australian place in Nolita, but can't remember the name- I had a spinach salad with pumpkin & pine nuts:

That evening a simple & yum meal by Fcay- pasta & side of spinach:


The universe and the good energy that can be imparted is fascinating. Later that evening as Fcat and I discussed my class, he told me that in the morning about 10-15minutes after his boxing class began, he was hit by a sudden overwhelming sense of clarity & focus. I was shocked because that is about the same time that the class sat in a meditational healing circle and I had imagined him in healing golden light, had he not mentioned his experience, I would not have even thought to tell him about it. Days later, I mentioned my reiki workshop to my grandmother being careful not to freak out her Catholic sensibilities with this practice developed by a Buddhist monk. I just explained to her that reiki is like energy work- like an energy massage to unblock stale, tense energy. That was not unfamiliar to her because the Chinese practice energy work. So I asked her if she felt any differently on Saturday and she told me that she was on the phone at 10am and felt extremely talkative and then she told that she was really happy for the whole entire day (that for my grandmother is a very big thing!) and then I told her that I had put her in my healing circle and she was quite pleased to have been imparted such good energy. Lastly, I asked my sister if she felt anything extraordinary and she said no, but then she recalled that she had stomachaches & pains the entire week and it happened to have stop on Saturday- coincidence? maybe, but maybe not...

One last interesting story involves Booboo. Animals are extremely sensitive, so the first time I performed reiki on myself, Booboo was laying on the bed and her tail was swishing so furiously that I couldn't figure out why she was so damned annoyed. The teacher told me the next day that it was because I was casting off my old energy and I was changing and she wasn't quite recognizing my new energy. That made sense because as I have been reiki-ing more, she is no longer annoyed and at one point she put her paws on me (which she hardly ever does) and I began to see waves of blue flow towards her. Simply amazing. Apparently when cats want reiki, they come to you as opposed to dogs who you can't keep off you when you are performing reiki because they want all that good energy- or so the teacher told us.

Anyway, the point is that I reiki myself every evening & every morning and I so much happier than I have ever been. And all those around me, reap the benefits of a happier, kindler & much gentler me. Thank god for reiki to help me through the LA/Palm Springs shoot. I have already signed up for the Reiki II workshop and looking forward to learning how to give a full reiki session to another versus the mini-session that we learned.

That weekend at the workshop, I couldn't stop smiling. I left Sunday evening feeling more grounded and settled than I have ever have in my whole entire life. I had a stressful shoot ahead and was not in the least bit fazed. I have become a whole new me.

Next stop, putting reiki to the test with the most challenging shoot week ever...

Booboo wishes everyone a Happy Valentine's Day!
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