Lunch at VERTS Mediterranean Grill in Copley Square

Lunch to go from VERTS Mediterranean Grill.

This was my lunch today! I had a chicken quinoa bowl from VERTS Mediterranean Grill. It was quite good and I have some leftovers for lunch tomorrow too.

I took my food to go and brought it back to my office, but took the picture while I was still in the restaurant. While I didn’t eat inside, the space is open and airy, plus there is outdoor seating as well.

VERTS is similar to other places like b.good, where you get a bowl and decide what you want in it. They have a menu that you can choose from or you can build your own bowl.

I love this concept, because it’s a really healthy way to eat. You get a lot of vegetables, protein and a healthy carb.

The only off thing was the utensils. They only have forks — no knives or spoons. A bit odd, but maybe it’s an oversight that they’re working on correcting.

Outdoor seating for lunch outside at VERTS.

VERTS has greatly expanded in Boston over the past year and they now have three locations — this one on Boylston Street, one on Summer Street and one on Washington Street too. If there is one close to you, definitely check them out!

As I wrote about VERTS before, they are based out of Texas, with several locations in Austin, Dallas and a Houston location as well.

With all the devastating news we’re hearing about Hurricane Harvey, my heart goes out to everyone impacted. The stories are unimaginable. I hope that everyone in all their Texas locations are safe and weathering the storm.

*Updated 7/30/2020* It appears that VERTS may have closed and is possibly under new management.

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Disclosure: Food was compliments of VERTS. Thank you!

News Antidote ~ A Hike In The Woods

Antidote to the news, a hike in the woods.
Blue Hills Reservation in Milton, Massachusetts.

The news over the past few days has battered me. Heck. Who am I kidding? The news over the past few weeks and months. It just seems to get worse and worse. Compounding and expanding all previous worseness.

Between the hurricane in Texas and our ruthlessly cruel administration in Washington, it’s just too much.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve spent time with extended family and friends that has really lifted me up. But also I’m an introvert, so even though I love being with my family and friends, I need to retreat a bit after that, so I don’t get too overwhelmed.

There are some posts that I really wanted to write. But I just don’t have it in me to write them at this point. I don’t want to angry rant and I don’t want to write things that feel frivolous right now.

This post is middle ground, because I wanted to check in here for a bit. This blog acts a diary of sorts, so in the future I can look back and get and idea of what I was doing and how I was feeling about things. After eleven years of blogging, there are a lot of memories here.

Yesterday, I went for a hike in the woods. A friend and I usually do our annual hike in the fall, but last year, she wasn’t feeling well so we didn’t go.

My friend and I met and were deciding on our route, when someone called my name. It was a woman that I had met at a dinner party a year or so ago. She had planned to hike in the morning, but her friend wasn’t able to make it, so she decided to go later. I guess we were all meant to hike together, because the timing could not have been planned better. We had a wonderful time.

Instead of walking around the pond several times, we took a path was a bit more rocky, twisty, uphill and downhill, plus deeper in the woods. It was challenging, but we felt great after and appreciated the serendipity.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend and take some time to take care of yourself. Get away from the news and out into the beauty that still exists in the world.

Boston Total Solar Eclipse History From 1932

Total eclipse of the sun August, 31, 1932.

Are you excited about the total solar eclipse today? I am! Unfortunately I don’t have glasses, but I’m hoping to enjoy the event anyway.

Also, today I learned that my family has eclipse history. Who knew?

My aunt found a clipping from her aunt’s scrapbook with a portion of a poem called “The Total Eclipse Of The Sun Of Two Centuries Ago.”

I found the full poem online called, “On The Eclipse Of The Sun, April 1715.” It was written by Allan Ramsay, who was born in Scotland in 1686 and died in 1758. With a quick search, I found that the eclipse was on April 22, 1715.

However, with some further digging it seems that because of changes with the calendar that the date of this total solar eclipse, called Halley’s Eclipse, may have actually been on May 3, 1715. Below is portion of the article from The Guardian.

[A] total solar eclipse was visible across a broad band of England. It was the first to be predicted on the basis of the Newtonian theory of universal gravitation, its path mapped clearly and advertised widely in advance. Visible in locations such as London and Cambridge, both astronomical experts and the public were able to see the phenomena and be impressed by the predictive power of the new astronomy.

So this 1715 eclipse was special. It was predicted based on recent scientific developments and the public was ready and waiting to see the spectacular sight. Ramsay, who was about 29 years old at the time, must have been deeply moved by the eclipse, because his poem is quite epic.

Below is a portion, edited for length. See the full poem here.

Now do I press among the learned throng,
To tell a great eclipse in little song.
At me nor scheme nor demonstration ask,
That is our Gregory’s or fam’d Halley’s task;
‘Tis they who are conversant with each star,
We know how planets planets’ rays debar;

When night’s pale queen, in her oft changed way,
Will intercept in direct line his ray,
And make black night usurp the throne of day.
The curious will attend that hour with care,
And wish no clouds may hover in the air,
To dark the medium, and obstruct from sight
The gradual motion and decay of light;
Whilst thoughtless fools will view the water-pail,
To see which of the planets will prevail;
For then they think the sun and moon make war,
Thus nurses’ tales oft-times the judgment mar.
When this strange darkness overshades the plains …

What’s especially fascinating about the clipping of this poem, besides the coffee stains, is that my great aunt wrote on it. She wrote that on August 31,1932, she and two of her sisters stood together on Tremont Street in downtown Boston at St. Paul’s Cathedral across from the Park Street T station to view the eclipse.

I’m assuming that they had glasses, because none of them lost their vision from what I know. This story is new to me and gives me some insight into my great aunts’ lives that I didn’t have before. They were really into the eclipse!

Also, my mother pointed out that the names mentioned did not include my grandmother. So now I wonder. Where was my grandmother? And why wasn’t she with her sisters?

As someone who is very much into the idea of time travel, this also makes me think about how I have an approximate time, date and place to go back to to meet some family members!

An article from Science Magazine says that the 1932 total solar eclipse was a path about 100 miles wide that included New England, so they had the real deal, unlike what we will have here in New England later today.

The picture above is from a short video that I found showing the preparation for and actual video from the 1932 eclipse. Today will be full of wonder and no doubt will be history for those looking back at this someday.

Hope you have a wonderful day and Happy Solar Eclipse!

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Screenshot: YouTube

Gimme Lean Veggie Sausage vs MorningStar Farms Sausage Patties

Gimme Lean Veggie Sausage

My go to product for veggie sausage, veggie burgers and other veggie based foods is usually MorningStar Farms. I’ve tried so many different veggie products and always come back to them.

But I like mixing things up a bit sometimes and trying new products. I noticed Gimme Lean Veggie Sausage on sale this past week and decided to buy it. This morning I gave it a try and was pleasantly surprised.

It’s a teeny bit more work making Gimme Lean sausages than MorningStar. It comes in a package where you scoop out the mixture, form patties, then cook it on the top of the stove. The cooking time was pretty quick though – about five minutes. The flavor and texture are quite good.

I imagine that I could cook it up without forming patties and using the sausage in a stir fry, sauce, frittata, quiche and more.

During the week, it’s much easier and faster to use MorningStar Farms sausages, because I microwave them for a minute and they’re done. But for other times, I can see using Gimme Lean. The company that makes them is Lightlife Foods and they have a wide array of foods, from pasta, to bowls and other snacks.

Have you tried any of their foods?

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Photo Credit: Lightlife Foods

Summer 2017: Free Yoga Boston

A silhouette of a woman standing in a tree pose, outdoors on uneven ground, arms overhead, yoga classes Boston..

While the listing of free yoga classes is year-round now, updating for the seasons, this is the 5th Annual listing of free yoga classes for the summer. Thank you to those who have taken the Free Yoga Boston Survey!

INTRODUCTION

Remember there are Meetups in the area to try out. Hands To Heart Center Yoga – Yoga for the People provides free yoga classes for people living with poverty and trauma in Boston. Check out their website and Twitter for class schedules.

Boston Medical Center has a list of affordable yoga classes around Boston. Make sure to look for community classes offered by yoga studios in your area. Many are offered at discounted rates. A growing trend is libraries offering free yoga classes. Just one more reason to frequent your local library!

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Here are some general suggestions for those of you who may be new to taking free yoga classes that are outdoors. Classes listed here are free or donation based.

Sometimes mats and props might be available to you, but don’t count on it. If they are available, there may not be enough for everyone. So bringing your own mat, water, towel, etc., is the general rule.

Double check if the weather is bad. Usually the organization’s Twitter, Facebook page and/or website will give an update if the class will be cancelled. Sometimes classes are brought indoors instead.

Most outdoor summer classes are over by the end of September or sooner. Based on my sources, most classes take place on the days listed, but there can be gaps in the schedule for certain weeks, so you may want to double check first before you go. Also, most classes last for an hour, but when I am not sure, I do not put an end time.

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The Free Yoga Boston Community on Facebook is updated most everyday and 1,400+ have “Liked” the page. Check each day for all sorts of yoga news in addition to free yoga classes in Boston and beyond.

Sign up for the Free Yoga Boston email list! When you are on the email list, you’ll be one of the first to know about changes and updates to this schedule. More than 350 have signed up so far!

Every once in a while, when I learn about one-off special yoga classes and/or related events that might interest you, I will send an email to keep you in the know!

If you know of other free or donation based classes in the Boston area that are missing from this list or are on the list, but need correction, please let me know.

This “Big List” is always a work in progress and will be updating for the fall. There will be updates, so if you have not signed up for the email list, keep checking back. Namaste!

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MONDAY

P.O. Fitness Classes ~ Yoga with Christine
Norman B. Leventhal Park (Financial District, Boston)
5:30pm – 6:30pm

This all levels class will strengthen the body, unwind the mind and uplift the spirit. Join us to breathe, move, stretch and relax in the sunshine. Start your week off with self-care to feel balanced and refreshed. Check the Facebook page for updates and cancellations.

Yoga
McGann Playground (Hyde Park)
6:30pm

Free yoga classes are offered all over Boston as part of the Boston Public Health Commission’s Summer Fitness Series. Classes end August 31st.

TUESDAY

Yoga
Medal of Honor Park (M Street, South Boston)
6:30am

Free yoga classes are offered all over Boston as part of the Boston Public Health Commission’s Summer Fitness Series. Classes end August 31st.

Sunrise Yoga on the Dock
Community Boating Docks (21 David G. Mugar Way, Boston)
6:30am – 7:30am

Anne Marie Costantino will help you begin your day with a supportive, gentle vinyasa flow that focuses on building postures from the ground up and exploring modifications. Anne Marie teaches an alignment-focused, slow flow style of yoga. With a focus on the breath, she guides students step-by-step into a pose and offers many modifications, making it a safe environment for practitioners of every level. These free yoga classes in Boston are offered in partnership with Athleta on Newbury Street through August. Class location is between MGH T stop and the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade and no parking is available. Please bring your own mat. For cancellations and updates, check their Twitter.

Yoga in the Park
Fitness in Cushman Park (Cushman Park, Green Street, Fairhaven)
8:30am – 9:30am

The South Coast community is keeping fit and staying healthy with free yoga classes through August 24th. Bring a mat and classes are weather permitting. See the Facebook page for updates.

Chair Yoga
Symphony Park (The Fenway)
10am

Free yoga classes are offered all over Boston as part of the Boston Public Health Commission’s Summer Fitness Series. Classes end August 31st.

Yoga
Franklin Square (South End)
6pm

Free yoga classes are offered all over Boston as part of the Boston Public Health Commission’s Summer Fitness Series. Classes end August 31st.

Yoga Classes at Boston Medical Center
Moakley Building (830 Harrison Avenue, Boston)
6pm – 7:15pm

These yoga classes are not just during the summer and are held indoors as part of the Program for Integrative Medicine & Health Care Disparities. Take the elevator or stairs down to the basement. The listing for this class has changed since I last updated this list. Before community members were welcome in addition to BMC patients and staff. Will try and confirm if still open to the community.

WEDNESDAY

P.O. Fitness Classes ~ Yoga Bootcamp with Emily
Norman B. Leventhal Park (Financial District, Boston)
7:15am – 8:15am

Kick off your mornings by burning a ton of calories, getting stronger, and having fun! The class includes a variety of exercises including body-weight strength training, bursts of cardio and endurance, and HIIT to really boost your workout. Come to break a sweat, but leave feeling relaxed and centered. Check the Facebook page for updates and cancellations.

Summer Yoga
Slocum’s River Reserve (Horseneck Rd., Dartmouth)
8:30am – 9:30am

Jeff Costa teaches yoga for the 5th consecutive Summer of healthy lifestyle programming in nature ~ thanks to Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust – DNRT and Hawthorn Medical Associates. There is a $5.00 donation and classes take place through August 16th.

Prenatal Yoga
Whittier Wellness & Fitness Club (1290 Tremont Street, Roxbury)
9:30am – 10:30am

Connect with your unborn baby at these prenatal classes, which are open to the public. You don’t have to be a club member to attend. From what I can tell, classes are held indoors and will be year-round.

Sunset Yoga
The Esplanade (Fiedler Field – Arthur Fiedler Memorial Head, Boston)
6pm

Challenge your mind and body while enjoying beautiful river views with class instructor Sara Divello. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged and please bring your own mat. Classes go through early September.

Seaport Sweat
Yoga with Jenna Hill (85 Northern Avenue, Boston)
6pm – 7pm

The Seaport District offers classes on Seaport Green through October. Sweat and flow with beautiful views of the city and ocean along to music provided by DJ Sprino. Bring your own mat and water and register for classes before attending.

THURSDAY

P.O. Fitness Classes ~ Yoga with Emily
Norman B. Leventhal Park (Financial District, Boston)
7:15am – 8:15am

Come flow into your weekend. This class will get your body moving and heart rate up first thing in the morning. Then enjoy a deep stretch and period of relaxation before starting your day. Check the Facebook page for updates and cancellations.

Yoga
Almont Park(Mattapan)
10am

Free yoga classes are offered all over Boston as part of the Boston Public Health Commission’s Summer Fitness Series. Classes end August 31st.

Yoga Classes at Boston Medical Center
Moakley Building (830 Harrison Avenue, Boston)
4:30pm – 6pm

These yoga classes are not just during the summer and are held indoors as part of the Program for Integrative Medicine & Health Care Disparities. Take the elevator or stairs down to the basement. The listing for this class has changed since I last updated this list. Before community members were welcome in addition to BMC patients and staff. Will try and confirm if still open to the community.

FREE Summer Yoga
Boston Common Frog Pond (Downtown Boston)
6pm – 7:15pm

Power vinyasa flow classes will take place through August 31st and is for students of all levels. Challenge yourself. Release stress. Expand energy and tap into the beauty of trees, grass, and water  at Boston’s most historic park. Sessions are held on the lawn adjacent to the Frog Pond Carousel.  Weather related cancellations will be posted on the Frog Pond Facebook page.

FRIDAY

Lunchtime Yoga
Boston Harbor Islands Welcome Center (Rose F. Kennedy Greenway, Boston)
12pm – 1pm

Now through September 2nd, enjoy all-levels free yoga class in Boston with South Boston Yoga. Change up your lunch hour with a 45-minute yoga class. Bring your own mat and practice right on the grassy lawn. Space is limited, so get there early!

Seaport Sweat
Yoga with Jenna Hill (85 Northern Avenue, Boston)
12pm – 1pm

The Seaport District offers classes on Seaport Green through October. Sweat and flow with beautiful views of the city and ocean along to music provided by DJ Sprino. Bring your own mat and water and register for classes before attending.

SATURDAY

Sunrise Yoga
Anthem Entertainment (Charles River Bistro, Boston)
8am – 9am

Master your downward facing dog this summer with Smooth Vinyasa instructor, Mike Massey! The group will meet at the Charles River Bistro, located directly across from the DCR Hatch Shell at 8am and walk to Fiedler Field as a group. Please bring your  own yoga mat. Participants will receive 50% off of Jazz Brunch at The Charles River Bistro following class. Classes go through August.

Riverfront Yoga
Baxter Riverfront Park Amphitheater (100 Great River Road, Somerville)
9am – 10am

Relax and restore along the Mystic River with free yoga classes offered to you by Assembly Row. Advance registration is required. Day of registration will be available only if space permits. If it rains, the class is moved to 521 Assembly Row, next to DAVID’s Tea. Also check the Facebook page for updates.

Yoga in Franklin Park
Schoolmaster Hill (Roxbury/Dorchester, Boston)
9:15am – 10:15am

Breathe, enjoy, activate your body and mind with an all levels yoga. Classes organized by Linda the Wellness Warrior, who will teach with guest yoga instructors throughout September 17th.  Look for signs directing you from the main park road. Parking in the small gravel lot across from the Schoolmaster Hill path and the golf course. If it rains, class will be cancelled, so check her Facebook page for updates. Classes are free, but $5 is a suggested donation to support Yoga For The People. The class location will change to the Valley Gates Parking Lot for September classes.

Family Yoga
Almont Park(Mattapan)
10am

Free yoga classes are offered all over Boston as part of the Boston Public Health Commission’s Summer Fitness Series. Classes end August 31st.

Saturday Seasonal Yoga
The Liberty Hotel (Charles Street, Beacon Hill, Boston)
10am

Back in 2009, The Liberty was one of the first hotels in Boston, or anyplace in the area for that matter, to start offering free yoga classes in the summer. They set the trend and still offer free classes in collaboration with Equinox. Guests of the hotel and members of the community are welcome to take the class for free. Classes are year round. In the summer, classes are outside in the courtyard. In the cooler months, they are indoors. Check with the concierge to find the exact class location, since it appears to change.

Island Yoga
Boston Harbor Islands (Spectacle Island, Boston)
10:15am – 11:45am

Now through September 3rd, enjoy all-levels free yoga class with South Boston Yoga on Spectacle Island. Unless you have your own boat, you will be taking a ferry. The 9:30 ferry is recommended, then meet at the Spectacle Island Visitor Center. You might want to make a day of it and go swimming or have a picnic. Just 15 minutes from downtown Boston, Spectacle Island is the highest point in the harbor, with spectacular views of the city and other islands. While the classes are free, you will have to pay to take the ferry.

SUNDAY

Vinyasa Yoga
Winthrop Square/Minot Rose Garden (St. Paul St. and Freeman St., Brookline)
8am – 9am

Classes take place through August 27th. Coolidge Corner Yoga and The Brookline Departments of Health and Parks and Open Space will be co-hosting a free all-levels Vinyasa flow in front of the rose garden. Sign up for classes on the yoga studio website and get updates on their Facebook page.

Donation Hatha Yoga
Arnold Arboretum near Dawson Pond (Jamaica Plain, Boston)
9am – 10am

Classes are provided by Branching Out Yoga, which is the brainchild of Jennifer Maniates.  She offers these free yoga classes in Boston on the first and third Sundays of the month. Check the Facebook page for updates.

Free Yoga Medford
Medford Condon Shell Park (Medford)
10am – 11am

Lauren Farenga firmly believes yoga should be for All People and All bodies! That’s why she is offering free yoga every week to her community!

Island Yoga
Boston Harbor Islands (Grape Island, Boston)
11:30am – 12:30pm

Now through August 16th, enjoy all-levels free yoga class with Open Doors Yoga Studios on Grape Island. This style of yoga provides a space for all to challenge themselves, release stress, expand energy, and tap into the beauty of the Boston Harbor.

Yoga
Pinebank Promontory (Jamaica Pond, Jamaica Plain)
2pm

Free yoga classes are offered all over Boston as part of the Boston Public Health Commission’s Summer Fitness Series. Classes end August 31st.

Yoga For Runners
Boston Marathon adidas Runbase (855 Boylston Street, Boston)
6:30pm

These free yoga classes in Boston are vinyasa flow, and are on select Sundays are customized to bring balance to overworked muscles used when running. All levels of yoga experience are welcome, but you may need to register each week.