Sunday, December 29, 2013

My Least Favorite Part About the Holidays

I hope everyone had a great Christmas.  I, for one, had a great holiday.  We got to spend time with both families and had ample time for relaxation.  I love the Holiday season and look forward to it every year, but there is one teeny-tiny thing that just BUGS me every year.  

Talking about holiday weight gain.  Talking about ways to not indulge too much at parties.  Talking about all of the butter and sugar in our holiday food.  And setting weight loss resolutions.

People! Relax!  The holiday season is only one short part of an entire year.  You are supposed to indulge and enjoy it!  What is the point in talking about how terrible holiday food is for you?  You're still going to eat it right?  And then what?  Feel guilty?  Or worse, you're going to watch some asinine show like Dr. Oz who basically gives you tips on how to get away with an eating disorder.  I actually saw one news segment where some genius was actually encouraging people to LIE and tell other party guests that they already ate and aren't hungry or that they have a gluten allergy, so that they can get away with not eating!  For real…its a few holiday parties, the extra calories will not kill you.

Lets talk resolutions.  If you want to lose weight in the next year, and actually need to lose it, fine.  I support people trying to live healthier lives, of course.  But why not set a resolution that focuses on health rather than a number on a scale?  Maybe its setting a resolution to run a new distance race or to be dedicated to a new class at the gym.  A lot of gyms offer discounts through your insurance if you go X-times per month, and I think a great resolution is to get that discount every month.  Maybe you want to make a resolution to only drink alcohol on weekends (but what fun is that?)  Anyway, you get the point.  Just please, don't focus on the scale.  Please.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Gifts for a Yogi

I totally hate shopping…I know, I know.  Freak of nature.  However, yoga stuff is the one thing I could shop for all day.  Here is my ultimate Christmas list for a yoga lover!

I feel like people are always hesitant to use props in a class, but I swear to you, using a prop is an excellent way to practice a pose with proper alignment, which is the only way you will improve because you'll feel what the pose is actually supposed to feel like!  I use a block all the time and always encourage my students to do the same.  This is the block I have, I love that it feels really sturdy.

In addition to a block, I find a good quality bolster to be absolutely essential!  Again, this is the one I have and I use it all. the. time.  It is super helpful in poses done on the ground and I use it in almost every single one of my yin poses.  Btw, a good yoga studio should have all of these props available for your use during classes, I just like to have them at home also.

I prefer to carry my mat in a bag that can fit other stuff too.  I always have extra clothes, water, or yoga books in mine.

These are the most comfy & cozy blankets on the planet!  You will be in love!

Yoga Clothes

There can be a lot of controversy over this.  Some yogis love Lululemon everything and some hate the idea of wearing something so obscenely priced, some won't wear anything not made from organic/recycled/sustainable/local resources.  I'm somewhere in the middle. I think a lot of Lululemon stuff is cute, but I find that Athleta and Lucy brands fit me much better, plus they aren't quite as expensive.  I haven't had much success in the recycled/local…etc. department, probably because I don't care quite enough to go looking for stuff that is actually comfortable and flattering and fits all these requirements.  Here are some things that I do like:

I love These pants.   I live in mine.

All of Athleta's seamless tops are SUPER comfy.  I could wear them all day long…I have done that, now that I think of it. 

To-and-from studio clothes are a must.  I also live in this top.  You can wear it to lounge in, to your yoga class, out to dinner, and even to work.

A mala is sort of like a rosary for yogis.  It has 108 beads and one center piece.  They are used for a variety of things, such as for counting 108 sun salutations or 108 mantras.  

If you're looking for a book on yoga, look no further than Judith Lasater.  Any teacher will likely tell you that she is completely awesome, and we all have secret girl-crushes on her.  I really love this book- it gives you just one short snippet to read every day. She is able to put so much wisdom into so few words.  This purchase is totally worth it- as are any of her books.

And there you have it.  Happy shopping, you last minute shoppers!

Merry Christmas!

First things first,  you might be noticing that things look a little different (and WAY better) around here.   Jessa from Caked Vintage helped me out majorly with that.   Ugh, what a relief to not be in a constant battle with my blog design.

Today I want to share our Christmas card!  I love sending out Christmas cards, but my problem is that I want to send one to everyone!!  I also always fear that I've left someone out.  If I left you out, my sincere apologies.  Here's the card, just for you.

Merry Christmas!!

(Designed by TinyPrints)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Spicy Vegetarian Chili

Although I no longer consider myself vegan, I still do gravitate towards vegan or vegetarian dishes.  I love making soup and chili that is meat free, because its such an easy way to eat a vegetarian meal!  This is one of my favorite chili recipes, I always make it at least once a year.  This is the first year I made it in the crock pot though, and it turned out just as good!  Here's the rundown:

Chop 1 onion 2 carrots.  Place in crock pot.

Add 1 chopped green pepper and 1 chopped red pepper.

 a 28oz can of diced tomatoes with liquid
2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped
1 can black beans
2 cans kidney beans
3 cloves garlic
2-3 tsp cumin
1 tbsp chili powder

Stir.  (These are very complicated steps.)

I let this sit on low for about 6 hours. It makes a huge batch, we got 3 nights of dinners out of this! It is especially delicious topped with cheese and sour cream! 


Link up your recipe with these ladies and find lots of new ones!!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Decking the Halls!

I absolutely love decorating our house for Christmas!  Plus every year I joke about "decking the Halls" because our last name is Hall…get it?!  Christmas is my favorite holiday, but of course here in Minnesota, that means lots of snow and freeeeezing temperatures (yesterday it got all the way up to 3 degrees), so decorating the house and celebrating the season is the only way to get through! 
I apologize for the terrible quality of these pictures.  I actually do own a nice camera, but I can't get to it at the moments.  We are getting new carpet in 5 rooms this weekend, so our house is in shambles in every other place you don't see pictured.  

The Tree: No fake trees around here!  I just can't do it!

A few favorite ornaments.  We always buy Christmas ornaments when we go on vacation, even if we've been there before, so here are a few from our travels this year!

New this year:



The living room:

I always use this card holder, we only have 2 cards so far though!  Usually I have to stuff them in there by Christmas!

Dining room:  I have a thing for Scandinavian Christmas decor, so this garland always goes up!

Lets Get Bananas

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas Cookie Roundup

Every year, my girlfriends and I get together for a Christmas cookie exchange.  Its just a small group, usually about 6 of us are available, so we don't get completely overwhelmed with cookies (is there such a thing?), but we definitely leave with a satisfying cookie platter to share at home!

I usually make 2 different types, and believe me whenI say that I start searching for my cookie recipes weeks in advance! And I usually test them out beforehand too.  What can I say, I may have a bit of a perfectionist complex when it comes to my cookies.  The exchange is in exactly ONE week and I still haven't picked out my cookies this year!  I do have quite a list though that needs narrowing.  How will I ever pick just two of these?

Eggnog cookies from Dessert for Two.  I've been following this blog for a few years, and Christina is an absolute sweetheart and a genius in the kitchen!

Cherry Surprise Crinkles from Better Homes and Gardens.  These seem like the Cherry Garcia of cookies, yum.

Chocolate Chunk Gingersnaps from Real Simple.  I make gingersnaps almost every year, so why not add chocolate??

Peppermint Meltaway Cookies from Stephanie at Silver Boxes.  I've never made anything like these before, but they look awfully good.  These might be a real contender.

Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies from Jessica at The Novice Chef Blog.  Who doesn't love crinkle cookies, and red velvet…yes please!

Crunchy Frostbite Cookies from, the look a little bit sweet, a little bit salty, and a little bit minty.

Which of these sound best to you?? Do you have any cookies that you make every Christmas?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas Spectacular Weekend!

I know I'm a day late with the weekend update, but I had such a fun weekend that I need to write about it!

 As you know from my last post, we spent Friday night in Iowa at Christmas at Luther.  I have kind of a weird phobia of driving long distances at night, but the drive was SO pretty while the sun was setting.

We made it down to Decorah with plenty of time to spare before the 9:15 show, so we went out for dinner at my favorite pizza place.  It was delicious, but oh man did we eat a lot.  After dinner, we headed over to the college campus for the show.  It was so good!  I just love my alma mater so much and savor every chance I have to be back on campus!

Our noses look a little red here, it was SO cold!

We were able to spend some time shopping in town and having breakfast on Saturday before we had to head back to Minneapolis.

I don't have any pictures from the rest of the weekend, because honestly it was too cold to take my mittens off, but Saturday night was so fun!  I went out for dinner at Union Rooftop and then to see The Nutcracker Ballet with a couple of my girlfriends.  I really hope we make this a tradition, because there was something so charming about getting all dressed up for the ballet!  The show was great, it was performed by the Moscow Ballet and the dancers were SO spectacular!  Union Rooftop was kind of…meh.  It was freezing in there, but I suppose when its nearly -25 out and most of the restaurant is made of glass, that's to be expected. It wasn't very pleasant though, and the food was not hot at all by the time it reached us.  It also took forever and we didn't have time for dessert despite allowing almost 2 hours for dinner! Oh well, the ballet made up for it!

I taught yoga on Sunday morning and felt like the students really liked it.  My Sunday morning class is donation based with a 5$ suggested donation, but lately people have been giving twice as much or more, so I take that as a good sign!

I had coffee with Madison in the afternoon and spent the rest of the day being lazy around the house!  It was such a nice way to finish the weekend, I get very crabby if I don't get any time to relax on Sunday!   

I can't believe Christmas is just around the corner!  I still have a few more Christmasy events to go to, but I was so glad that I had the chance to do all this fun stuff this weekend!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Christmas At Luther

This afternoon around 3, Mark and I are hitting the road for Iowa.  I've made it pretty clear that I am kiiiind of obsessed with my alma mater, Luther College in Decorah, IA.  Luther has a really great music program, and really the majority of students are involved in it somehow.  They have lots of great artists visit the college (Hello, Dave Matthews Live at Luther) and a ton of great student concerts as well.

Every year they put on a huge Christmas program and its a really big deal for everyone connected to Luther.  Tickets usually sell out really fast, and in the 6 years since I graduated, I've never been able to get tickets to go back.  This year I was able to get a chance for tickets through their lottery system and somehow ended up with 2 tickets to the Friday evening show!  What was even a bigger surprise was that a hotel room was actually available, which is amazing considering that its a small town with a HUGE influx of people for the concert.

I seriously cannot wait! The show starts at 9, so we'll have time to get dinner somewhere beforehand.  I love this town so much, sometimes I try to convince Mark to move there :)

Here is a video from last year so you can enjoy some of the magic!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Katie Hall Yoga

Well, after putting this off for way too long, I finally made a Facebook page for my yoga business.  So without further ado...

It would be awesome if I could get my readers to "like" my Facebook page so you can stay in the loop about when I'm teaching!

I plan to post class schedules, any updates about my classes, and inspiration throughout the week.

PS..I originally planned to call my page "One Light Yoga" but it was already taken on Facebook.  Plus, I figured my friends might be more likely to hit the like button if they recognized the name!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Wishbones and Beer

Going back to work after a holiday is tough, isn't it? I'd rather just extend the weekend a few more days.  But since that won't work, I'll just recap my whole weekend for your reading pleasure.

Strangely enough, both my sister and I were in town for Thanksgiving this year with our husbands.  Usually one of us is with the in-laws, but we were all working on Friday so stayed in town.  We had a good dinner with all the traditional stuff, which includes breaking the wishbone.  She won this year, but immediately after this picture, she grabbed her side with both hands.  I'm pretty sure that's cheating, and I'm pretty sure cheating on the Thanksgiving wishbone battle doesn't give you good karma.   Just saying.

Like I said, I had to work on Friday and I taught my yoga class after work.  We left right after my class to head down to Mark's parents house, which is in rural Southern MN.  We got in pretty late, so basically went to bed.  On Saturday morning, we made lefse for a couple of hours.  It turned out delicious, btw.  The whole crew (including Mark's 95 year old grandma) headed to New Ulm in the afternoon to tour the Schell's brewery.  Our friend Anna was able to join us too, which was a great treat because she lives in San Francisco and we only see her every couple of years.


 I love being out in the country, it's so pretty and simple.  I loved living in a small town when I was in college and truthfully, Mark and I would move to a small town in a heartbeat if our jobs allowed.  

We picked up our Christmas tree on Sunday afternoon, but I was too tired to decorate it.  I'll try to get to that sometime this week!  I hope everyone had a lovely holiday weekend and that you're all getting into the Christmas spirit!
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