lifestyle blog

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!

Saturday morning beach adventure

Nicole Voris

 

 

Early on a Saturday morning we headed out.  That early there was little traffic, an unusual occurrence in Los Angeles.  

After an hour of driving through the Calabasas hills we arrived at the "hidden" beach. Hello El Matador!   It was still super foggy when we arrived around 9 am.  Hiking down a mix of steep trails and staircases we begin to see the rocks and boulders reaching out from the sand.

 

It was both stunning and creepy at the same time.  I couldn’t decide if it reminded more of the opening scene of a horror film or a romantic comedy.

 

Walking down the beach we navigated around rocks, boulders, and caves to come to our morning spot. 

 

In the next fifteen minutes the June gloom began to burn off revealing a new gorgeous scene.  This beach was so different from the other Los Angeles beaches I have been to.  Despite being surrounded by luxury homes, the boulders and caves block the view.  It gives you the impression that you are hundreds of miles away from civilization and only you and your fellow beach goers exist.  (The lack of Internet access probably contributes to this feeling.)

I feel lucky that I got to experience this gorgeous morning and am anxious to go back.  The ocean is healing to the soul.   If you get a chance to experience this beach try not to pass it up!!  Be sure to check the tide though, don't get stuck when it's high!

My top 3 coffee spots in Arizona

Alanna Christina

If you follow my Instagram it’s pretty clear that I love a good cup of coffee, it’s something that to me is a simple pleasure in life. If you ask my friends they’d  probably say how I get “overly excited” about coffee. (pshhh! No such thing as overly excited about coffee.) I also look for unique atmospheres of different coffee shops, I love going to places that have a special vibe all their own. To me, coffee shops are the place you go to hangout, read, work or just take a break from life and people watch. I’ll be sharing my top three favorite coffee shops in Arizona and the reasons behind them being so spectacular, and in no particular order as you’ll soon find out. To me, each shop is a special and unique gem of it’s own kind.

Starting with Echo Coffee in Scottsdale, AZ.

What’s right away a cool thing about Echo is that they are an organic coffee shop, pretty sweet right? They give off a relaxed vibe, playing great music that isn’t overly loud, and have friendly barista’s. Mainly the shop is filled with young professionals either quietly chatting or working/studying with books and laptops astray.

I seriously suggest trying there Dirty Chai. It’s my personal favorite from them.

Next up is Gold Bar Espresso in Tempe, AZ.

Gold Bar is sorta a dreamy neighborhood hangout spot, it’s my typical to go coffee and gathering place. Right away when you walk in you get the feeling of a quaint coffee shop, the owners and baristas are super sweet and always down for a chat. 

Depending on the time of day you go, Gold Bar is either filled with groups of friends, students studying (it’s literally surrounding by Schools) or old and young people alike just enjoying a cup of coffee and reading. Something I seriously adore about them is that they have game nights and live jazz once a week. 

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Last up is Lux Central in Phoenix.

Lux has a magical-hiperstry-city-vibe to it, nothing beats the atmosphere they have going on. They have multiple rooms with tables and chairs to couches and arm chairs, filled with loads unique and awesome people.

Not only does Lux have amazing coffee and pastry’s, but they also serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, and have a bar. So basically they have something for everyone. 

My personal favorite thing about Lux, their hours are unbeatable. Sundays-Thursdays they’re open from 6am-12am, and Fridays-Saturdays, 6am-2am.

So if you live in PHX, or your stopping on through, check out these places and drink some coffee loves. Trust me, it’ll be worth it.

Splurging on Food

Morgan Quinn

 

 

How do you know when someone eats organic? Don’t worry they’ll tell you.

This topic is actually something I’m very passionate about. Although I don’t post about it regularly, I’m definitely a food snob. I believe if you’re going to be a snob about anything it shouldn’t be your fall designer boots or your emu coat, it should be the food going into your body. I know what you’re thinking… HOW WILL I GIVE UP MY CRUNCH WRAP SUPREME AND MY BIG-MAC. Coming from a childhood of living around the corner from a KFC, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, McDonalds, and a Carls Jr. (I’m not kidding) I know how hard it is to not give in. It’s fast and convenient. Anyway, fast food isn’t my point for I could go on forever.

Splurging on food is OK. Healthy, REAL foods make you feel your absolute best. Putting aside weight, and image, we all want to feel good. You can work out and feel amazing then eat a processed burger and your body will cry and update their Twitter on how sad they are. Human worked out but then gave me a burger. Help.

 

I’m going to tell you guys a few things I like to eat during the week and how I prep too!

My favorite places to shop in order are Erewhon, (only in CA) Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and Ralphs (great rewards program)! If you haven’t heard of Erewhon and can access one I highly recommend checking it out. Erewhon is basically an older sister to Whole Foods and Whole Foods is maybe a little jealous and tries to be like her older sister. I shop all organic and grass-fed with the exception of a few things. I’ll usually pick up a protein for Monday-Thursday because I tend to eat out on the weekends. I’m a big fan of salmon, NY steak, ground turkey or chicken and maybe a white fish. Then, I’ll buy asparagus because it’s my favorite accompanied by some bell peppers, mushrooms and other veggies to make a nice sautéed thing going. I use the batch of asparagus for all of the days. I’ll also get lemons, avocados and some snacks but these are the basics.

 

For dinner I make all of my proteins and veggies on the stove with olive oil, salt and pepper. I keep it simple because less is more YAY! 

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     Ground chicken, (not human brain) assorted veggies, and spinach.     

Ground chicken, (not human brain) assorted veggies, and spinach.

 

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        My completed ground chicken stir fry and a green juice.

My completed ground chicken stir fry and a green juice.

Bon Appetite

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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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