Tuesday, November 02, 2010

fort worth FTW

Last Thursday, after work and dinner, I jumped in car with Amy and Eralda, two of my best lady friends, and we drove west towards Fort Worth, Texas. Eralda was presenting a paper about an Albanian author at a conference on Saturday, and she invited Amy and I to come along for the ride. We stayed with Eralda's friend Jennifer and had a great time hanging out, drinking wine, and attending my very first Bikram Yoga class (clearly, not in that order!).

Instead of listing everything we did in minute detail (oh, how I love minute detail!) I'll just give you the highlights with the help of some photos.

From left to right: myself, Amy and Eralda. This was actually taken right after Bikram and showers, and we are all smiling directly into the sun. Thank goodness for giant shades! (I have a collection.)

So - Bikram. For the unaware, Bikram is a yoga practice that consist of a set series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises, which takes 90 minutes to complete. It is ideally practiced in a room heated to 105°F with a humidity of 40%. According to my good friend Wikipedia, "Bikram Yoga's goal is toward general wellness and Bikram Choudhury [the man who developed this system of yoga] claims the heated studio facilitates deeper stretching and injury prevention, while reducing stress and tension. Bikram claims that his system stimulates and restores health to every muscle, joint, and organ of the body."

I was nervous going in, as I had heard some pretty intimidating stories about throwing up in the middle of class and how the main objective was to simply stay on your mat. The first breathing exercise was intense and I wondered if I would make it, but as soon as we started moving through the poses, I fell into my groove and actually enjoyed the sweat dripping off my body. And when class ended, I felt amazing. Reborn. Like a new person. I could not only touch my toes, but I could put my fingers under my feet and stand on them with my legs straight! (I have really tight legs, so this was a first!) Unfortunately, the closest Bikram studio is in Houston, which is too far for a regular practice. Maybe one day. Until then, I'll have to put "visit cool yoga studios" on my list of things to do while traveling to other cities.

Bikram was at 9:30am and we were advised to skip breakfast, as yoga in a 105 degree room with a stomach full of anything is a bad idea. As I am a huge breakfast person, I was starving by the time we made it to a hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant for some much needed nourishment. I ordered a tofu lemongrass dish, and I wish I could tell you how delicious was, but I fear I ate it too quickly to actually appreciate it. Still, isn't it pretty?

After refueling, we grabbed coffees and then got pedicures. I had never had a pedicure or a manicure before, as I prefer to save $20 and paint my own nails. Also, I have a lot of toenail problems from running, especially during marathon training, and I didn't feel right inflicting that on anyone. That said, I'm glad I was convinced to give this a go, even if drinking a soy latte and checking my iPhone while a woman beautified my feet felt completely and totally bizarre.

The rest of Friday was spent wandering in and out of boutiques and a Big City Target, having a raspberry mojito in the middle of the day, spending way too much money on specialty spices (black truffle salt! oh my word!) and then heading back to Jennifers, where we made a feast of pasta and veggies and garlic and salt (of course) and drank two bottles of wine and then whatever other alcohol we could unearth from the cupboards. It was a great night filled with good friends and excellent conversation.

The next morning, we drove Eralda to her conference and then Amy and I wandered some more until she was through. Then it was one last spot at the all-vegan Spiral Diner and Bakery. I had the blue plate special - an eggplant parmigiana hero with a side of potato salad. Once our bellies were full, we piled back into the car and made the four hour drive back to East Texas, where Halloween celebrations awaited us!

All in all, it was the perfect little whirlwind of a trip, and I am lucky to have friends in high places (and in big cities!). While I often appreciate the slower pace of Nacogdoches, I definitely need a break every now and then and our Ladies Trip to Fort Worth did just the trick.

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