self reflection: boredom, balance, box + flow.

When I think of my attention span, I picture a baby chimp swinging thru rainforest trees, searching for bananas + mischief simultaneously.  I'm curious, full of energy and have a hard time slowing down. Needless to say, I get bored easily. Yet, I’m routine to a fault and obsessively focused…until I’m not. And when I get bored of said routine, I switch it up, often in simple ways like running up 7th avenue instead of over the Williamsburg Bridge.

This morning, I did just that. I forced myself on a new running route 3 miles to Fhitting Room + Lyons Den Power Yoga, instead of box + flow. I'm responsible for my boredom. When I'm bored, I make a change. A small hiatus in routine offers me a reset + prolongs my interest in my commitments.  This mornings workout was fulfilling, but also served as a reminder of my connection to box + flow: the workout + its impact on my body + mind. My fight. My flow.

sitting on the fhitting room floor before class, writing all my mid-running thoughts

sitting on the fhitting room floor before class, writing all my mid-running thoughts

Before I started box + flow, when I was stuck in complacent mud + fearful of a change into the unknowns of entrepreneurship, one of my biggest mentors said, “are you ready to be all in?, to focus on just one thing?” Nah, Ill never be ready for that. One focus is powerful, but to me, it seems limiting. I want to do everything I love...and I will, just maybe not at once. Comfort makes me uncomfortable. I may tip toe in it, but I typically don’t stay long. Complacency makes me anxious. It’s one of my biggest fears. So, can you imagine working with me? Let alone dating me? It takes real fighters to want to be on my team + by my side. And I am endlessly grateful for those who are willing + able to get messy with me daily: to find the grace + the grit, to dream BIG.

I’m always digging deeper, running faster, fighting harder, seeking for more meaning, connection + more life. I have to FORCE myself often to slow down + find my balance. So it makes sense that the structure of the box + flow class has to do with just this: attention span, commitment, personal best. When I stop moving, or just slow down, I am forced to feel. When you stop fighting, things typically start to flow. When you slow down, you create space for listening – to yourself, your intuition, your flow…what you want + don’t want. But you have to be willing to.

Box + flow challenges you to be present. To fight: nonstop movement to force presence and prohibit distraction --- just fight, move, sweat, breathe, dance + become completely undone. NO breaks: there are no breaks in life. No waiting to begin. No need for permission. Just a start + steady movement to follow. We play with speed + power to push ourselves harder + faster, to force us to be present throughout our fight to feel our fire. And then we let go. We breathe. We slow down + begin again, but this time thru water, thru flow. The flow is the sweetness after the struggle. The bottom of the glass of milk where all of the sunken cookie crumbles have gathered, Or as jay z says, “that gushy stuff.”

I don’t know about you, but me? I need to force myself to be present. To remind myself to stay HERE now. To feel my fight, my power, my strength, and then let it all flow, so I can listen to my intuition + what I need. And when I get bored, I switch it up. But I always end up coming back to what works for me, what just flows. THAT is the balance. #workhard #livyoung

 

 

box + flow

SO I fought the good fight against a dream + believe it or not, The dream won. 🎉🙈 So I gave up the fight and am letting it flow. We comin'. Fight + flow are opposites and together they create balance. Thru energy, breath, movement, and music, we will attempt to reach equilibrium in mind, body, soul. Get ready to #flowthruthefight. @boxandflow is officially opening. #comingsoon #october2016 #boxing #yoga #fight #flow For more info: sign up at http://boxandflow.com

Craving Connection

Suffice it to say I woke up yesterday morning determined to push myself. Harder.

I needed to feel alive after Saturday nights’ 6th avenue explosion. I needed connection. I got out of bed and didn’t think twice. Sneakers on. Smelly Adidas jacket zipped. I hit the ground running. I ran as fast as I could up the West Side Highway.

I craved to be around others and feed off their energy. So I ran. Fast. Among my peers. I felt the need to push myself. Harder. To prove to myself that I could. Faster. So I did. And in doing so, not only did I connect to others. But to myself. And proved that I could beat my goals.

I often say that New York City is the loneliest city in the world. Even though it is filled with people and forever stimulation, it is so easy to be among a sea of thousands and still feel totally alone.

So do something about it. Connect.

Go run the bridges. Ride the subway. Take a group class. Hell - walk thru the crowds at San Gennaro on Mulberry Street. Feel the energy around you.

But recognize that you can't connect to others unless you first connect to yourself. So pick a challenge. Push yourself harder. Prove to you, that you can - by doing. Be a part of something bigger. But first, be a part of yourself. By proving to yourself that you can, you are opening up to the possibility of so much more.

Run faster, risk bigger, love more.

Surprise yourself. 5:17 min/mile? I did.

an ode to roast chicken

Oh, taste memory. 

Most of my roast chicken roads lead to an ex boyfriend. No one eats chicken like him. Or me for that matter.
Unlike most twosomes, our Friday nights were usually spent silently fighting over the neck and tail bone, after knowingly sizing each other up before taking the thigh or the wing.
This guy cleans breast bones with his teeth like nothing I've seen. Like a savage. Like i do.

I'd say our chicken eating capabilities contributed to keeping us together for some time.  It was a weekly ritual that was rarely interrupted. And when it finally was, I knew our love story was coming to an end.

My ex contributed to the weekly meal with a Challah of his choosing, wine, and candles. The first chicken I ever roasted for him was stuffed with black truffles, served with a shaved vegetable salad, sauteed brussels sprouts and hen of the woods mushrooms. 
We lit the candles, I chugged half a glass of red wine, and waited 3 bites and 7 minutes before asking him if I was his girlfriend. He nervously answered, "I guess so," and then went after the bird.

inaugural roast black truffle chicken

inaugural roast black truffle chicken

A roast chicken is intimate.
It's eat w your hands kind of aggressive, savagely sexual lick-your-fingers-clean kind of intense. It's carnal. And carnivorous. And simultaneously, it is communal. And familial. To me, it symbolizes a gathering.

If the involved eaters are concerned with their territory (like my savage brothers), chicken eating can also be competitive.

How you eat a chicken is telling. Dark meat or light? Roasted or fried? Wing or thigh? Breast man? Brined or natural? Organic? Air chilled?

My original roast chicken taste memory led to my mom. When I was growing up, she prepared chickens regularly; simply roasted, standing, so that the fat could drip to the base and the chicken would get extra crispy. Open Pit BBQ Sauce was her secret marinade. Try it. Trust me. The spice bakes out and the salt penetrates the meat just enough. Roast at 350 degrees. Rest and serve with baked potatoes, mixed green salad and sauteed broccoli. Dessert should follow.

These days, I like my roast chickens even simpler. Salt, pepper, stuffed cavity with herbs, lemon, an onion and maybe a few garlic cloves. Roast on super high heat for half time, lower to finish. Remove and rest. Inspired by Thomas Keller's famed recipe.

If you don't have time or interest in touching raw chicken, but still want to get carnal and messy with friends or loved ones, check out my recommendations for the best rotisserie chickens New York City has to offer below. Let it be fun.

Best Rotisserie Chickens TO GO

1.     Dean & Deluca – enough salt, enough crisp, and just enough golden brown skin. It is easy to hate on Dean & his buddy Deluca, but don’t. They do what they do well. And they charge a premium for it. But the chicken is different. And you can buy just a half if you wish, for like $7, and can feed 4. Just avoid their seafood + meat in their Soho location. Not enough turnover.

2.     Papa Poule – smothered in herbs de provence and cooked to perfection, these chickens are yummy and ready to eat. The meat is tender and not over salted and the taste is Provencal, rubbed with Herbs de Provence. It is fragrant. Take it to go with their kale salad and signature sauces specifically their house curry.

3. Gourmet Garage - there is something about GG that is just welcoming. Maybe it is their snack selection, happy staff or forever availability of fresh artichokes...Either way, I'm a fan. Their chicken is particularly good and reliable. But only if you get it fresh out of the roaster. Avoid the ones in the glass case that look like they have been tanning for too long.

4.     Ready to Eat – a really good West Village bird. Simple + cheap. Well roasted, well rested and yup, ready to eat.

5.     Citarella – I don’t like this chicken. And only included it to say so. Because everyone says it’s the best roast chicken and you know what? It’s the worst. Its small and dried out and sad. It is a sad Citarella chicken. Even if its just 8$...spend your 8$ on a happier chicken elsewhere.

let go. i dare you.

the freedom of choice is an incredible thing but quite often debilitating. i often write about the freedom to get up and run, to make my own decisions, to say how i feel, to control what i do and how i do it. the idea of choosing your own adventure is freedom at its finest. however, that control can often be crippling. consider allowing someone else to take the lead. its actually quite freeing. letting go of control. balancing the fight with the flow. because with too much control (fight) there is struggle. stagnance. a dictatorship. and too much flow is unrealistic. utopian. it is about striking a balance. #boxandflow

this week, i had the unexpected privilege to enjoy not one but two amazing omakase experiences. o·ma·ka·se, pronounced ōməˈkäsā,ōˈmäkəsā/is defined as a meal (in a Japanese style) consisting of dishes selected by the chef. now, i say privilege because a Japanese chefs sushi tasting is typically a pricey feat.  but lets flip that stigma and instead consider it an investment in your willingness to let go.

see, omakase to me is full of discovery...being open to having no idea what the chef will serve you, what it is you're actually consuming and maybe even really liking something you never thought you would.

There are quite a few omakase options in NYC. On Thursday I enjoyed Sushi Zo which opened earlier this year in Greenwich Village following their original flagship location in LA. Chef Masa runs the show and created a 15+ sushi tasting menu that is hard to describe in words. The atmosphere at Zo is stark (like most sushi restaurants) allowing the food to create the experience.

Sushi is all about the rice...the texture, temperature + ratio to fish. At Zo, it is as close to perfect as it gets. The rice is warm and minimal, allowing the fish to really shine. The accoutrements on certain pieces like yuzu salt on scallops or pickled shishito peppers on goldeneye snapper really bring out the flavor and freshness of the accompanying fish. The seared chu-toro and seared waguy beef nigiri are packed with umami and richness, melting in your mouth almost too fast to savor the delight of the protein. The service is as authentically Japanese as the food. I would go back in a heart beat.

who knew that 48 hours later I would be invited to Shuko for omakase with three friends in their private downstairs room? yes please! the sushi at shuko is different...in a good way. my favorite actually was the tempura maitake mushroom sushi and the spicy trout. They were quite accommodating in my request for half sashimi as well. because balance, right?

Shuko is less traditional with great cocktails, even better music (jay-z et al) and a fantastic wagyu beef supplement. bottom line, Shuko is fun. The owners Jimmy + Nick previously opened Neta on 9th near 6th avenue. if you have an occasion and need a room for eight and a really magical experience, their private room is ideal.

If you are looking for a less buttoned up, more celebratory experience, book Shuko. If you want the best omakase I've had to date in NYC, go to Sushi ZO.

my point?  try something new and let someone else take the lead. maybe you'll learn you love uni. Or learn, like me, that it not only looks, but also tastes like wet play doh. let go of the control.  be open to new experiences, new possibilities, new discovery. be open to the unexpected, while letting someone else do the work, if only for just once.

and with that said...im going for a really long run. because, balance.

for more omakase suggestions:

  • traditional omakase in a very quiet environment, try Ichimura.
  • BYOB low key UES 75$+, try Tanoshi
  • creative, rich, over the top omakase, try O Ya
  • others include: Azabu, 4-star Nakazawa, the OG Masa, Yasuda, Sushi Gari and others...

 

 

Past Lives

I, Liv Young, have an old soul, something I've realized for quite some time and was recently confirmed by a random psychic on 7th avenue who also told me I've lived many lives. Makes sense. I can fall asleep anytime after 7pm. i have the alcohol tolerance of a 14 year old. i adore the smell of pipe smoke, the sounds of soulful jazz, engaging in super intense conversation, and watching movies that make me cry. old soul or young soul, i like soul. i look for it everywhere i go; in the interactions I have, connections i make and conversations i share. So, in terms of past lives, I have lived many and often experience deja vu or the feeling of a repeated experience. Blessed with the memory of an elephant, I tend to forgive but never forget.

There is no doubt that I previously lived as a caveman or part of a native tribe. This notion is not only due to my tendency to sit Indian style always (even on bar stools) but more so connected to my eating habits in particular. i believe eating should be sensory and sensual as a matter of fact. i first eat with my eyes, smell before i taste and then allow all my senses to be engaged while i consume slowly and most often with my hands (when appropriate).

Dungeness Crab at R&G Lounge, San Franciscohttp://rnglounge.com/

Dungeness Crab at R&G Lounge, San Franciscohttp://rnglounge.com/

i am a bottom feeder. i enjoy the weirder things and i am sure to leave nothing spared, in dining of course. like shrimp, for instance: Id rather give you the shrimp and eat the crispy fried tail and suck the brains out of the head, sans eyeballs.  I like the drippings at the bottom of the pan and the chicken wing tips. I like the chocolate chips that cooked out of the cookies. And the grease and crumbs left at the bottom of the baking sheet once the hot cookies have been peeled off of the wax paper. best though is when one or two of those cookies didn’t bake thru and got caught mid wax paper peel off, leaving a gooey half cookie center behind. I will eat that instead of the actual crisp cookie, and ill eat it with my hands.

Aged bone-in Ribeye at American Cut          http://www.americancutsteakhouse.com/

Aged bone-in Ribeye at American Cut          http://www.americancutsteakhouse.com/

I eat salad like a savage and gnaw on the aged rib eye bone after you've finished your steak. I eat cans of oil soaked sardines, and save the oil for tomorrow's vinaigrette (mixed with Maille country dijon + fresh lemon juice + cracked pepper) served over velvety Boston lettuce or as a dip for GG’s crackers.

Beyond food, my tribal tendencies extend to my warrior type go get ‘em attitude. I believe in pushing myself to the edge and challenging mind, body, spirit daily. I don’t believe in the word no, I am hella competitive, and 100% believe that possibility, perseverance and a little bit of magic propels life - at least mine. And if I can run there, I will.  Even if it is a 3 miler pre warrior fitness bootcamp or tonehouse, like this morning. All in all, this is how I #livyoung...even as an old soul.

So, how many lives have you lived? And if you could come back anywhere or as anything, what or where would it be? Food for thought...