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Three Places To Visit In Singapore

Jeanette Kakareka

When English National Ballet is on tour, I always make an effort to go out and experience things any time that I'm free--even when I'm tired. While that does mean that our month-long tour in Asia was exhausting, it was also one of my most memorable trips!

 

 

The first night in Singapore, we arrived at our hotel very late at night after a long, but particularly enjoyable, flight from Beijing. The next day was a day off so we made our way to Sentosa, a small island with an assortment of activities to keep you busy.

The small group of us headed straight for Universal Studios, which is one of the first attractions you find on the island. It's certainly manageable to fit everything in one day, including more than one go on your favourite rides. Our favourites were the Revenge of the Mummy and Transformers: The Ride.

Later that night, even though we were tired from walking in the heat all day long, we grabbed a taxi and drove to the Night Safari. It's the world's first safari park built for nocturnal animals, separate from their daytime park. This was probably my favourite outing the whole month! Not only can you get amazingly (sometimes uncomfortably,) close to the animals, but they are also passionate about education and conservation. 

Our last show in Singapore was a 3pm matinee of Le Corsaire, so afterwards, we had a filling dinner of Singapore chilli crab and lots more seafood! The next day we ignored the predictions of rain and headed towards Sentosa again--this time for the Zipline! Here is a photo of us right after we were unlatched from the top!

And we couldn't leave without a small dip.

TIP: We realised this a little too late, but there is actually a train that you can take from the VivoCity tube stop (Level 3, Lobby L) to different stops inside of Sentosa. This is much easier (and cooler) than trying to walk the whole way across the boardwalk.

I can only hope that there will be an excuse for me to go back to Singapore one day!

Intro to Mindfulness

Alanna Christina

Probably 95% of the time we hear the words Meditation or Mindful and start having these weird panicked thoughts like “my mind is supposed to be blank, I’m having visions of blue skies and ocean fronts, I am not thinking of anything….insert a million thoughts racing through your mind here” and then the classic frustration sets in. The frustration of not being able to still the mind be at that beach, staring at that sky, and we actually notice how the mind runs away on it’s own if left unsupervised.

What I hear a lot in all the Yoga Classes I teach is,

“I can’t Meditate”

“My mind just keeps going on filled with thoughts”

“I stopped trying because I became so frustrated”

So this one goes out to all you Yoga-Loving peeps looking to learn how to become a little more Mindful.

I often feel that many people are somewhat rushing into Spirituality or Mindfulness without fully knowing what it is exactly they are working towards, mixed with the fact our culture currently is very into the instantaneous reward process. If you’re coming into this practice with the mindset of “fast reward” you’re setting yourself up to become frustrated, and fast. We as a Society don’t like when we feel as though we are “going slow” and slow is pretty much the pace we start at when it comes to a more Mindful way of living. I’m not going to tell you to stop thinking of blue skies and ocean fronts, I’m not going to tell you to stop getting frustrated when the mind runs away filled with thoughts again, I am however going to ask you to try something new.

Rest your awareness on your breath.

That’s it.

That is all you need to start. Nothing else. Just your breath.

Set a small amount of time aside each day, maybe start with 5 - 15 Minutes, lay down, get comfortable, and take in a huge breath through your nose, and let it out through the mouth with a sigh. Then, not changing the way you naturally breathe, start to notice how* you’re breathing. Notice if you tend to mainly breath in your chest, taking in small sips of air. Notice if you take huge deep breaths. For a few minutes that’s all you’re going to do, notice how you* breath.

After a few minutes slowly start to shape your breath. Inhale and fill the low belly with air, then the ribs, up into the chest, and exhale slowly down from the chest, down through the ribs, and lastly hallowing out the low belly, really feeling the navel draw in towards the spine. If this starts to feel to difficult like you can’t expand all these different areas of your body, start to imagine it in your head, picture your whole body as balloon filling with air and deflating. Just by picturing this you can start to shape and change the way you breath.

Lastly, the mind will want to run away on you a million times, each time it runs off bring it back to the breath, repeat in your head as you inhale “Breathing in, I know that I am breathing in”, on your exhale “Breathing out, I know that I am breathing out.”  What this little bit does is it gives your mind something to “do” while still focus the attention on the breath.

At any point if you start to feel breath-starved or become slightly nauseous, release from the breath and return to your natural way of breathing. It’s fairly common to feel these ways when first starting a breath practice, so take it easy.

What focusing the minds attention on the breath does, is that it allows you to become in the present moment, it allows space to be created and allows the mind to become clear and peaceful. It’s a slow process, but stick with it. That doesn’t mean there won’t be times filled with frustration over the process, but be gentle with yourself. Take a few minutes each day to just breath.

 

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Hawaii

Morgan Quinn

This year I was lucky enough to FINALLY (I say finally because everyone I know has been there) visit Hawaii! All my friends would tell me it's life changing and I thought to myself "yeah, so is a bag of Hot Cheetos" but MAN they weren't lying. As soon as I stepped foot on the tiny, green saturated island of Kauai I knew it was going to be tough to get on my returning flight home. Now, the morning at LAX airport wasn't as glamorous as Hawaii. It started with me leaving my purse in a stall in the bathroom and running through the airport like a maniac trying to find it. The airport gods were on my side, I found it, and off we went!  

| Kalalu Trail |

It was only me and my boyfriend Sam on the trip so deciding on activities and places to eat was pretty easy. We booked a lot of the activities in advance since Hawaii is popular for vacationing. We made the bold decision to knock out all of our activities in the first 3 of 6 days of our stay. I say bold because it was exhausting. Fun but EXHAUSTING. We hiked, zip-lined, snorkeled, kayaked and more in the first three days. So by day four we had sunburns and blisters and cuts galore. All we wanted to do was soak in the jacuzzi like an 80 year old couple. 

My favorite thing we did on our trip was zip-line. I didn't know what to expect and that feeling of just jumping off and flying above the most gorgeous green trees was incredible and I recommend it to anyone and everyone. Other than zip-lining, the food in Hawaii is super healthy and simple.They have foods that aren't so common in LA like a lot of different types of fish, papaya, lychee, coconut and more. My LEAST favorite was losing my luggage back in LA. Not to worry! It was found 24 hours later after some tears and fear of losing my favorite yoga pants.

Here are some photos of my time in Hawaii and I hope you ALL make it there once or again and again.

Wedding style

Nicole Voris

Oliver and I recently attended the wedding of two of our friends from our San Francisco Ballet School Days.  We have known them both apart and together.  It has been great to see their relationship grow and to be present at their special day!!  Congratulations Jordan Hammond and Ray Tilton!!

Because I love getting dressed up, one of my favorite parts of preparing for a wedding is deciding what to wear.   I of course try to fit into the couple's requested dress code as well as what I perceive their theme/venue to be.

I knew that Jordan and Ray's ceremony and reception would be all indoors.  I gathered from their invitations and the venues that they had chosen very classic and elegant style for their big day.  I ended up being spot on.  Here's a picture of the reception when we walked in.  The bar to the left is all white marble!  A shared love of both Jordan and I!


Because I always feel the need to be a little bit different, I decided that I would do my own take on the little black dress by wearing my little black jumpsuit.  In the excitement of the day I forgot to take full length photo of myself, but here is a picture of me in the jumpsuit. 

 

I wore plain diamond stud earring and black pumps.  I also had a black blazer because even in the summer San Francisco can be cold!! 

Oliver and I had such a great time catching up with old friends from our school days and seeing our dear friends get married.  Here we are proving that our wedding selfie game is strong.

Congratulations Ray and Jordan! We wish you a wonderful marriage!

Photo by Josh Gruetzmacher

Photo by Josh Gruetzmacher

Why we all need a furry friend

Morgan Quinn

 

 

So people can be great, but pets are BETTER. I cannot truly say I’m a cat or dog person specifically, but I do know life is better with a creature to come home to. No I’m not talking about your uncle Larry who lives in your basement type of creature. I’m talking three pound, white, furry kitten with the perfect amount of lazy eye.

I recently moved into my first apartment this past year and it has never really felt complete. That is until about one month ago when I grasped in my hands the new love of my life. Her name is Penelope (Penny if you prefer) and she is the creature I was referring to. My life has changed immensely for the better, and here is why.

-  I’m home a lot more. Who knew being a homebody could be so much fun! Kittens and Netflix are all you need.

-  Turns out all your friends visit more.. for your kitten of course.. not you..

-  Mornings are brighter! Who doesn’t love waking up to an animal perched on your skull at 6am!

-  Need to turn the page to your book? Don’t worry your kitten will do it with their head. They will expect a good scratch in return.

-  Your Instagram posts start to get really adorable. Sometimes too adorable.

-  THE HAPPINESS NEVER ENDS.

 

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  Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's

Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's

I can’t wait to experience my life with my little Penelope by my side.