Saturday, March 31, 2012

GUNAS: luxury vegan handbags

Since giving up on leather products I've tried numerous bags....everything from bags made from recycled bottles to cloth. Trying to save money I stayed within the less than $100 range. The bags looked good and served their purpose for about 9-12 months. Then something would break or get damaged. This time I decided to embrace my  appreciation for products that are high quality with a classy design and socially/environmentally friendly. I then discovered GUNAS (pronounced goo-nas).

Gunas bags use high-tech, lightweight fabrics that are built to last, as well as quality components (like Italian zippers) and custom hardware. No more than 250 pieces of each style are produced per collection in standard colors worldwide. Encouraging people to not buy by fads and instead focus on 1 quality item that will last for years. Inspired by its love for animals, the company also donates part of its proceeds to a host of charities, including Earth Matters Foundation's ongoing effort to revive the worldwide tiger population.

This review describes their bags perfectly:
Gunas' Chopper bag
"Gunas’ line of leather-free satchels and totes can go from boardroom to downtown without skipping a beat. These covetable carryalls keep it simple with clean modern lines and urbane color palettes. Plus, they’re made entirely from Greenguard/LEED-certified manmade fabrics that are as cruelty-free as
they are light on the earth."

So far I am loving my Gunas' Chopper laptop bag. It looks just as good if not better than leather. The design is super classy with beautiful details in the buckles, pockets and weaving. Plus they have the BEST customer service. The first bag I ordered wasn't what I wanted. One of their reps worked with me to help me find my ideal bag, receiving the return and shipping a new one within a week. Definitely worth the price tag :)

Monday, March 26, 2012

2012 Race Schedule

Running on Playa Rincon
Let the training begin!! Spring is here, I'm done fasting, time to up my weekly running mileage. Warmer weather means exploring Brooklyn-Manhattan bridges and the surrounding area in my quest to find longer (10-20 mile) running routes :) It also means the start of racing season.

My 2012 race schedule:
May 19: Brooklyn Half-Marathon
June 9: Women's New York Mini 10K
August 25: Color Run 5K

Still up in the air: looking for another July/August race and my NYC Marathon lottery entry....

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Happy Naw-Ruz

Yesterday, I celebrated Naw-Ruz, the Baha'i New Year and first day of spring, with lunch, prayers and reflection with my fellow Brooklyn Baha’is. Wore a hoodie to show my support for justice for Trayvon Martin. I also went for my first run in 19-days! (I decided to pause my running and yoga during the fast). This morning I had a sunrise yoga session in my apartment. So far spring is off to a great start.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

911 Tapes Released in Trayvon Martin Killing

"Justice is not limited, it is a universal quality. Its operation must be carried out in all classes, from the highest to the lowest. Justice must be sacred, and the rights of all the people must be considered. Desire for others only that which you desire for yourselves. Then shall we rejoice in the Sun of Justice, which shines from the Horizon of God." ~ 'Abdu'l-Baha (1911, Paris Talks)

I'm crying as I type this so I will keep it brief. You can go to the link below and listen to the 911 tapes where Trayvon screams for help and then is shot. Also included is the 911 call his killer made as the dispatcher tries to tell him to stop following Trayvon.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Prosecute the killer of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin

Another case of "walking while black". This time resulting in the death of a 17 year old boy. This madness has to stop!

"Trayvon Martin was only 17 years old when he was gunned down by the Neighborhood Watch captain George Zimmerman. All Trayvon did was go to the store to get his brother some Skittles. According to police, George Zimmerman admitted to the shooting and killing of Trayvon Martin. Trayvon Martin was unarmed when he was shot by Zimmerman. All he had in his hands was some candy when he was followed and approached by Zimmerman - who ignored instructions from police not to confront the young man.Why has he not been charged and his case been handed over to prosecutors?"

I first read out the story on Los Angelista's blog. Then I noticed there is a petition to prosecute Trayvon's killer. Sign the petition to prosecute the killer of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin:

Friday, March 9, 2012

Fasting refreshes the spiritual forces in ones soul

"(The 19-day Fast is) essentially a period of meditation and prayer, of spiritual recuperation, during which the believer must strive to make the necessary readjustments in his inner life, and to refresh and reinvigorate the spiritual forces latent in his soul. Its significance and purpose are, fundamentally spiritual in character. Fasting is symbolic, and a reminder of abstinence from selfish and carnal desired." (Shoghi Effendi, January 10, 1936 found in Lights of Guidance, p. 233)
There is something very extraordinary about fasting....almost magical. I don't think the power of the Fast lies in the absence of food, but more in how people react to the restraints this puts on you:
  • Encouraging more spiritual contemplation - I've noticed over the past years that it's easier to enjoy spiritual clarity around 6 am, before the cares and noises of the world take over.
  • Strengthening relationships - Food brings people together. However, our busy NYC lives make it harder for people to get on the same schedule etc. During the Fast all my Baha'i friends are on the same eating schedule: sunrise & sunset. This means more communal dinners. Also I've really enjoyed having breakfast with my husband every dawn.
  • Constant reminder of ones faith - Every time my body tries to tell me I'm hungry or thirsty I remind myself why I'm doing this. The reason I give my stomach/dry throat varies daily according to whatever quote/theme I am meditating on.
  • Nourishing self-reflections - At the start of each Fast I reflect on the past twelve months of my life. I note my accomplishments, setbacks and things I'd like to improve. I make goals for the next year.
  • Intense connection with the word of God - I don't know why but I've noticed I have a deeper connection to the words I read and say during my daily prayers/readings during the Fast than at other times.
I recommend that everyone try out fasting at some point in their lives. Regardless of your beliefs.... My mom, a Baptist, often fasts whenever she is facing a difficulty in her life and needs clarity or wants to spend a day in a deep connection with God. My husband, who doesn't prescribe to a particular religion, enjoys the mental and physical challenge of fasting.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Veggie Fish from May Wah!

Two food accomplishments last month - 1.) Finally made it to May Wah 2.)Tried and enjoyed veggie fish

May Wah is a vegetarian supermarket specializing in packaged/frozen veggie "seafood" and "chicken" etc. I first heard of them because of a NYC restaurant that uses their products. For awhile I have had May Wah on my list of places to try out and I finally made the trek last month. Their "Vegetarian Golden Fish Fillet" (which I'm pretty sure is vegan) tastes really good pan fried then served with sweet chili sauce for dripping.

They ship across the US so non-NYers can enjoy tasty veggie seafood as well

213 Hester Street
New York, NY 10013

Friday, March 2, 2012

Baha'i Fast 2012 - Day 1

Glory be to Thee, O Lord my God! These are the days whereon Thou hast bidden all men to observe the fast, that through it they may purify their souls and rid themselves of all attachment to anyone but Thee.
~ Bahá’u’lláh

Today is day 1 of the 19-day Baha'i fast. For the next few weeks no food/water when the sun is up. My husband and I had a lovely pre-sunrise breakfast, nourishing food and prayers

Breakfast Menu
  • Tofurky's vegan Kielbasa sausage (tastes good with mustard & ketchup)
  • Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Golden Flax Cereal (really love this cereal, especially the way it absorbs milk) 
  • Sunsational Sunflower Milk (I have been on a "try every nondairy milk"mission. Sunflower milk is alright, number #4 on my list. In order I prefer: Almond, Soy, Flax, Sunflower. Next shopping trip I plan to try Hazelnut.)
  • Licorice tea - Licorice helps the body retain water which can be good during the fast. However, it also can raise your blood pressure and cause hypertension so moderate your use.
  • Tangerine Juice
  • Water