Waking up (the good kind of) sore has become a frequent occurrence since starting Barre last May. I’m not going to lie, the first class was VERY humbling. I usually gravitate towards physical activities that give me a little confidence boost and while I have improved quite a bit, I still have a LONG way to go before I can fully complete each exercise in a class with proper body positioning. (In high school, I worked out at gym associated with a nearby hospital. So, for a while, I was accustomed to feeling like a total champion, working out next to adorable elderly people.)
Growing up in a family of chiropractors, I’m always very conscious that when I’m pushing myself in a workout, I’m not doing anything that will compromise the alignment of my spine or has potential to put excess strain/stress on my body. In Barre, the movements are very small, but successfully able to fully activate specific muscle groups. I have never felt so much isolated burn in my entire life and I’ve tried it ALL. As challenging as it is, each movement is still harmonious with your bodies’ range of movement. So, even though I was extremely vulnerable during the first handful of classes, (I have always had very tight hamstrings and weaker upper body strength), I really loved that there was SO much opportunity for improvement. I was also really psyched that I was able to feel and SEE results so quickly after making a commitment to go consistently. I have real calves, guys. This isn't an easy feat.
The other bonus that comes with participating in a form of movement that is unfamiliar or feels foreign to you is that you're opening yourself up energetically and spiritually. It allows you to exercise not just your body, but the intention to grow.
So, I challenge YOU, if you have a Barre studio in your area, go give it a try! Most studios will have some sort of trial opportunity or introductory offer. If I am sampling a certain service or workout, I frequently utilize resources like Groupon or Living Social, to avoid too much of a financial investment.
Have you tried barre before? Comment in the section below...I'd love to hear about your experience!
Sure, coffee is the traditional get-up-and-go, it contains beneficial antioxidants, but, for some, it’s a cup of anxiety. Coffee doesn’t actually provide energy, the caffeine just stimulates your adrenals, causing that jolt everyone seems to crave. But when you get that jump, in conjunction with the potential morning stressors, it can sometimes make you boil over.
You’re reading your email and find that you shoulders are tightening, you’re taking audible breaths, maybe even feeling a tinge of anxiety...this all could be caused by fight-or-flight and/or too much adrenaline, which could eventually result in adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is a tricky one to come back from because it actually causes you to feel exhausted and lethargic and in order to reconcile your tired adrenals, you’re required to stop caffeine altogether! (Reaching this point usually means coffee/ caffeine doesn’t have its usual kick to get you out of your slump anyway.)
This topic is very familiar for me because, typically, I know that coffee is too much for my system. Depending on the day, it can even trigger an anxiety attack and the unfavorable shakes. I love the taste of coffee, particularly fair-trade organic options that are roasted evenly, so that they don’t harvest mold (a popular issue with coffee beans). I also try to find low-acid options, but even all of those upgrades still don’t change what coffee can do to your adrenals. For me, I start to see the effects of it on my face and, unfortunately, I’m the type of person who sometimes requires signs of visible distress in order to finally put a stop to unsupportive behaviors.
So, the alternatives! Weirdly enough, most people respond much differently to the caffeine found in tea. Some of this has to do with the fact that different types of tea contain different volumes of caffeine (some herbal is caffeine free, white tea usually contains the least, green tea lies in the middle, and black tea yields the highest amount of caffeine, along with green matcha). Also, caffeine has a variety of different strains so, some can be more steadily processed by the body. (Bulletproof coffee claims to have that as one of its perks...not causing you to peak and crash.)
Experimenting with different teas can have a variety of perks. Most boast loads of health benefits and you’re able to access your inner medicine woman, seeking certain types for your particular ailments. During my sister’s pregnancy, I found a way to amp her protein intake (my mom says it’s so important because you’re building a baby brain) by making her hemp mylk lattes with an assortment of different herbal teas. It’s super simple and so delicious. Hemp is an amazing source of protein, containing a whopping 10 grams per tablespoon! That’s about as much as a large hard boiled egg. Hemp also contains the oh-so-healing omega-3 fatty acids, along with fiber and other vitamins and minerals.
To make a hemp mylk latte, your first step is to brew a cup of tea...I like to steep mine a little longer since you’ll be dilluting it with the mylk. In a blender, add a tablespoon of hemp seeds to approximately 1/4 cup of hot water. I like to add pure stevia (like Sweet Leaf) or a little bit of raw, organic, local honey. If you have vanilla bean, cinnamon, collagen protein, or any other health boosters, those are great add-ons too! Last, BLEND. (It also works to pour your brewed tea with the desired ingredients and blend, but you just want to make sure all of the little hemp seeds are blended fully to reach the desired smooth/ creamy consistency.) Once it’s complete, this tea even has a nice froth to it so, you’re not missing a thing!
Another great option is a blended, chilled matcha latte shown below! Not only is matcha delicious, it also comes with a barrel of health benefits!
Note: I DO still drink coffee, but never more than 2 cups a day. I am also very careful to take an inventory of how I’m feeling and what I’m taking on that day. If it’s a particularly stressful time, I just avoid it. I also never drink coffee before a flight or speaking engagements because those already make me nervous so, pouring some adrenaline on that would not be supportive!
Living in LA and being pretty plugged in to all things "wellness", I have the fun opportunity come across some PRETTY unique health trends! (Food, drink, cleanses, shots, diets, detoxes...you name it.) Many of them are great in theory, BUT they can also be tedious and/or very pricey!
Recently, I noticed a special for a celery juice detox at Pressed Juicery. If you're unfamiliar with Pressed, it was definitely responsible for creating the re-emergence of the juice trend. In 2010, they created a very successful business offering a variety of body-boosting juices and shots, also offering a delivery subscription service to locals. While I love Pressed Juicery, I don't personally subscribe to their juice delivery/ pick-up. On one hand, I LOVE them because they are responsible for also creating my very favorite lifestyle website for the past 6 years, The Chalkboard Mag. This website sparked something inside of me and led me to where I am now. Another pro about the company is that one of the owners also graduated from my school, IIN! Why I don't personally buy their subscription service for juices is because it can be quite pricey and, unfortunately, the produce isn't organic. Now that the back story is out of the way...
Even though I am a huge fan of making celery-based soups, knowing their amazing detoxifying powers, I kind of thought the only reason for marketing JUST celery juice could really only be a smart business move/ margin builder because celery is SO inexpensive, EVEN organic. So, I decided to do a little more research and there is a reason why it's so effective...even just containing one super veggie! I've said it before, but since I don't think it's worth the time re-writing what's already been well written, HERE are the full list of benefits from one of my favorite health sources! Not only have I enjoyed this morning ritual and feel truly amazing by doing so (clearer skin, more energy, flat stomach), I have now gotten quite a few people on this bandwagon who have expressed experiencing benefits including: increased clarity, relief from achy joints, quickly reduced cold symptoms, more effective elimination, etc.
So, if you've been considering implementing a new form of self-care, consider giving this one a shot! They say try it for 5-7 days to really benefit, but many who start don't want to stop!
Really, the only rule is try drinking it in the morning, on an empty stomach, so that you can reap the full alkalizing benefits. If you don't have a juicer, you can also chop the celery and add to a blender and strain through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth (to reduce the fibrous pulp).
IF you do decide to give this a try, please share your questions and/or experience in the comments below!
Going through the notes on my phone, I recently realized how many "note to self" drafts I have...so, I figured I'd share one! This is from late 2016-- (I honestly don't remember writing half of them).
Most people subconsciously associate eating indulgent foods with moving away from pain.
(Or, in other words, a common solution to upset, discomfort, boredom, discontent, loneliness is eating...and, usually, not the healthiest food.)
BUT participating in this behavior can usually result in the very opposite outcome because most likely, you're choosing food that can cause inflammation, create imbalance, and dilute your ability to feel good— causing pain.
At the end of the day, what feels good to you? What leads you to make one positive decision after another? Once you've found your life's purpose, do what's required to reinforce what is needed to keep showing up each day at your very best caliber. Make sure you're on it! And doing what it takes!!!!
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Don't just go with the flow, go with YOUR flow! Gently enforce (or firmly command) change. By sitting back and letting other people lead, you are essentially giving the blind a steering wheel, leaving you haphazardly along for the ride.
"Maintaining an open mind is essential when exploring the unknown, but allowing one's brains to fall out in the process is inadvisable." - Dean Radin
It takes time and effort to take care of your body. No argument here! But it’s incredibly important to find time to exercise. The benefits of exercise are too important to ignore.
Yet most of us are too busy to even make time for what we WANT to do, let alone find time to create new, healthy habits. It’s not exactly relaxing to start a new exercise routine when you’re already exhausted from work.
Thankfully, there are lots of ways to fit exercise in without having to go to the gym every single day. Doing the same thing day in and day out can get boring, and habits we find boring aren’t habits we’re likely to keep up forever.
Here are six great ways to sneak exercise into your daily routine. Each tip is tested for sustainability, and will make exercise a lot more fun than those one-size-fits-all routines you’ve probably tried in the past.
1. Rethink your seating. At your workplace, do you sit in a normal office chair? If so, consider shifting to a standing desk, which exercises your leg muscles much more actively than you would while sitting passively. Even sitting on an exercise ball forces your core muscles to activate, helping your body exercise to keep itself stable. It may not seem like much, but those efforts stack up to greater muscular strength over time.
2. Rethink your commute. If you’re in a position where you can walk or bike to work, that can be a start to your day that’s both active and relaxing. You’ll walk into the office centered from the movement and time spent listening to your own thoughts. Even doing exercises based around sitting can add up. Some shoulder flexion action during the morning traffic jam can go a long way toward preventing stiffness and tightness in the body.
3. Do what you’re a fan of. Love watching Dancing With The Stars? Take up ballroom dancing or even Zumba. Building your dream team during spring training? Try a few drills that the players are doing next time you’re at the field. By building upon what you already love, you’re setting the stage to have a lot more fun than doing exercise you “have” to do.
4. Recruit your friends. Ever hear the saying, “The more, the merrier?” It applies to fitness, too! Grab a friend or two for a hike, jog, bike ride, or leisurely stroll. You’ll find that the time flies – and you might even find yourself looking forward to your next excursion!
5. Don’t punish yourself for low activity. The body adapts to activity levels, but it also loves resting. Even if you just stretch your body during commercial breaks, keeping your body from growing sedentary is a very good thing. So keep it going to see benefits! You’ll never regret exercising, even if it feels like “not enough.”
6. Look for fitness classes close to work or home. Because my LA commute is so lengthy, finding time to get a solid workout in before or after work is very difficult. So, my current solution: find time in the middle of my workday! I took it upon myself to find something compatible with my time restraints and close to my office so that I can go during my lunch break. I have been taking Barre for a little over two weeks-- which is ABSOLUTELY out of my comfort zone, but I am able to get a full body midday boost. I have these great biodegradable cleansing wipes that allow me to freshen up quickly, change, get back to work, and eat a prepared lunch at my desk!
How do you make sure you get enough exercise? How do you make your exercise work in your routine? Share your experience in the comments!
The extended title of this post should really be "Sick and Tired of Resolutions? Here's How to Change the Game with a Clean Slate...and Quit Being Sick AND Tired, Literally!" But that's entirely too long...but too perfect not to share : )
So, it's slightly stereotypical for a lifestyle/ health coach to use this time of year to really hone in on the topic of self improvement, but because it's SUCH a buzz around the New Year, I can't help but chime in!
I have had family, friends, clients, and social media followers come to me saying they’re doing the ______ diet. They either share because they want to know my thoughts, want to "school" me, they're having success, OR (and this is the most common) they want to vent and are discouraged with it. And while I think these “diets” are a great way to weed out some of the common inflammatory foods-- diets like Keto, Atkins, the Zone, Paleo, Whole 30, Bulletproof, etc. I urge you to do your own research. No, I don't mean via Google because you'll quickly get overwhelmed and realize a lot of these popular dietary theories contradict one another. I mean, do your research via trying it and checking in with your body!
As a species, humans have unique bodies, lifestyles, genes—which makes individuals require different things! Some people might actually thrive on certain kinds of dairy, while others could experience a wide array of issues. The other important factor is to recognize your upbringing, the foods you were raised on, maybe the personal and emotional struggles you could be going through.
Frequently, people want to simplify healthy eating by counting CARBS, SUGAR, FAT, and even SODIUM… unfortunately, these aren’t as simple as people want to make them. Not all forms of carbs, sugars, fats, and sodium are created equal. Learning that your body processes these things differently is HUGE. A half of a bagel has approx 24 grams of carbohydrates and 3 grams of sugar. A cup of sweet potato has 27 grams of carbs and 6 grams of sugar... so, if we were to follow the silly standard of counting the grams, one would assume the baked good consisting of yeast and processed flour is a better option, right? False. You have to consider the type and quality of the food you eat. The quality of it makes all of the difference on how your body metabolizes it and the overall impact it has on your body.
I have no real issue with popular diets like Whole 30 because I think it has sparked something in some people which results in LONG TERM health…but that’s some people....like a rare unicorn minority. With those diets, you see results after the 30 days, but my question is what is going to insure you keep up with it if you haven’t processed why you were eating imbalanced in the first place? OR why have you maybe tried losing weight but still feel bloated after some meals? So, this is where my services come in. Many people can follow a base of dietary guidelines, improve their body, and never look back, BUT I'm talking to the majority out there. It's taken me years of trial and error to figure out what foods support me and which ones that don't (some of them are even healthy foods) AND, the whammy, why I was totally addicted to forms of sugar and where my dependency rooted from. I would never be able to continue feeding myself supportive foods and stay on the straight and narrow for the past 5 years now unless I truly knew why I was tempted to indulge and dabble in behaviors that aren't supportive of me thriving and how I could change. This isn't exclusive to food, but ALL of your habits.
This is why I came up with The Clean Slate Elimination Detox. It's a super simple, step-by-step guide to pinpointing potential food intolerances, allowing you to also learn about healthy foods you may have yet to explore, AND ways to practice self-care and other positive behaviors.
While it does require discipline-- you will be eliminating the top 9 foods that people are commonly sensitive, allergic, or are intolerant to-- you will have the opportunity to slowly add these foods back into your diet to just SEE how you feel, before and after. While slimming down isn't necessarily the goal, it's usually a happy side effect! So, not only will you reap the typical benefits to eating clean for 38 days (feel lighter, brighter, clearer) you will also be empowered to fully pinpoint and eliminate the foods that aren't supportive of your unique body and may make you feel pregnant, sleepy, achy, or swollen after a meal.
I do have to say, it IS possible to NEVER diet another day in your life! I never thought that would be possible in my world because I have always been a foodie. So, while this detox is a lovely time for self awareness, health, and insight, I am not saying you will be forever changed (just like the other diets I mentioned above) UNLESS you get to the bottom of it all. For more information on what I'm talking about click here to read a related post and here to watch a detailed video!
Okay, onto the exciting part...
Click here to find out what the Clean Slate Detox Program includes!
...or “unlucky” in love, money, LIFE. Also, sadly, sometimes people are taught that because God loves you so much, He puts you through situations where you suffer to learn life’s lessons. Don’t get me wrong— I am grateful that through my pain and unfavorable trials, I have been able to help people. It is so good to always look at the bright side of crap circumstances and piece together the positive from life lessons. With that said: no one is supposed to feel like their fate is to not be able to come up for air, be able to catch a break, never fall in love, or accumulate enough money to live without struggle.
How do you make the unconscious conscious? Meditation, visualization, and keeping it real by not playing the victim. Your subconscious holds most of your power (how you function, behavioral patterns, limiting beliefs) so, tap into your subconscious and snatch your power back! If this feels far from reach or is just plain confusing (easy to be unless you know a smidge about neuroscience), contact me for a complimentary 45-minute lifestye asssessment!
So, I have to go ahead out "out" myself. Particularly because of the last few blog posts. Not only were they posted in MAY, they were also on the topic of self-care. While that has continued to be a running theme in my life, I have to confess that I haven't earned many gold stars in this area as of late. I could definitely get gold stars for worrying about not getting enough self-care, but actual implementation: nope.
When I moved from Oklahoma to LA, I felt like I was in a storm/ time warp/ twilight zone/ hell. I was very consciousness that this time of my life would bring inevitable stress, but trying to alleviate it sort of felt like trying to meditate and get in enough exercise while there was literally and figuratively a flood happening. Everything that I knew well-- every routine, familiar face, my grocery store, squeezing my nieces (my self-regulation vices) all of it sort of got swept away. This is by no means me feeling sorry for myself because this was entirely voluntary/ self-inflicted because it was my choice to move, but the multitude of change that I had just brought on was (and still is) extremely uncomfortable.
Before I go into some of the things that have gotten me through this in one piece, I suppose I could give a little insight to the subtext as to why this was/is "uncomfortable". (Please note: I am speaking from my personal point of view and while I am absolutely sure non-HSPs probably feel a very similar way being put in these positions, I am just giving a little insight to my experience in my "special" body.) Being a highly sensitive person, my nervous system is extremely receptive to sensory/ nuance/ energy...meaning, my fight or flight mode/ sympathetic nervous system is a little trigger happy. Change in my environment means a lot of "potential danger". The more you become acclimated to a person, space, etc., you are able to process those "features", deem them safe (or not), and you are then able to come down a little and not feel so uptight and/ or irritable. Which, again, is how most humans function, but, for HSP’s, it’s all intensified.
Within the first few months of being back in LA, I acquired a fast-paced job, moved into a new apartment...after three intense weeks of searching, had someone I've known for a long time show their true (murky) colors, and found myself in a very tight schedule with very little free time. All the while, I am trying to give myself grace as I try to process, self-regulate, and come back into my body more than not. (..And keep a social life, try to maybe date, and not starve my little elderly pup, Eloise, of deserving TLC.)
I felt led to accept an exciting job where I travel half of the month and while I am unclear if this is my premature death sentence or a potentially valuable challenge, it gave me the idea that I can share my journey to staying mentally sound, physically fit, and well-- all while traveling for work (and play)! I will go more into this exiting content later, but today I am going to chat about some of the things I have done that have been extremely instrumental to making a healthy/ stable transition. Yes, I do feel that if I didn't implement these steps, the stress would have been significantly more brutal.
First, some obvious “symptoms” and red flags to look out for that might indicate that you may be living at a pace/ mind space that could be detrimental your spiritual life, personal life, and literal lifespan: when you’re feeling a little out of body, unfulfilled, tense, you have a hard time connecting, OR you find yourself looking back on previous days and can't quite picture the details and the days seem vague. Any of these sound familiar? Here are some significantly useful habits you can implement to make you feel a little more sound, secure, and present.
1. Find Time to Breathe. Like, really breathe. Those great diaphragmatic breaths where you breathe in and your stomach expands and when you breathe out, it goes back down. (Reading this description could sound elementary and instinctual, but until I studied "basic breathing" in school, I didn't realize that my body didn't do those things until I started practicing. I would force my stomach to push out, even though, air wasn't actually filling my lungs and continue until I caught a full, natural breath. To this day, I still have to frequently check in with myself and make sure I'm doing that.) REAL breathing is a great way to signal to your body that you're not in danger. You could be safe on your couch watching Netflix, but if you're taking shallow breaths, chances are, your body is still in fight or flight mode. When you're functioning with your sympathetic nervous system, or "fight or flight", you're in survival mode. Your body doesn't care about secreting regulated hormones, repairing damaged cells, digesting, etc. It's purely functioning to survive, releasing cortisol. This is why when you’re stressed, you’re maybe a snacker or don’t have an appetite at all-- due to your bodies' inability to release the proper amounts of your "full" and "hungry" hormones, leptin and ghrelin. Another popular repercussion is having overly active bowels or your elimination is slowed down (or off altogether). One of my favorites is looking haggard— which is how your friends clairvoyantly ask you if everything is okay because they can see it on your face— your cell turnover rate has lulled. So, this cliche tip to breathe is actually THAT important because you want to trigger your parasympathetic nervous system, “rest and digest” mode, so your body functions like it's supposed to..
2. Find a Not-So-Guilty Pleasure...or two. One of my very favorite scenarios is to cook while listening to uplifting movies or music, accompanied by chilled wine glass of KeVita (fermented coconut water). This originally became a habit because I wanted to "come down" after work by drinking something without alcohol when I quit drinking for a year. I now prefer this ritual because it contributes to my health and is still an extremely effective way to relax. So, I'm not saying go grab yourself a KeVita, but take inventory of the things that really give back to your body and allow you to feel at ease. Whether that's evening strolls, drawing, crossword puzzles, ANYTHING--- so that if you find yourself out of your comfort zone, you're able to come down, without compromising your health.
3. Get Moving. I can't tell you how often I've blogged about or told clients this somewhat obvious, but under utilized little gem. You might hear it a lot because the stats are right-- working out is one of the most effective stress relievers, a great way to pump your endorphins, and press the reset button. When I travel or find myself in a state of stress, I run. I bring my running shoes because I know the consistency of working out is so healing for me. No matter where you're working out, if you're able to become centered, it will trigger that same state/ mindset, no matter where you are (literally and figuratively).
4. Implement Routine. To some, this could seem very boring. I'm not saying shut down your spontaneous side, but routine can be a great way to bring familiarity to an unfamiliar place or time in your life. While I love supporting local, independent shops, one of my best travel tips is: the second you touch down at the airport, map a Whole Foods. You can find one in most major cities, either near the airport or your hotel. Since most layouts are fairly similar, choosing a grocery like Whole Foods will actually end up saving you time— not to mention the obvious perks of having healthy snacks handy when you’re on the go. I know when most people think of Whole Foods, they don’t exactly think “budgeting”, but this little routine will also end up saving you money! Grabbing some quick $3 breakfasts (like superfood oatmeal cups by Vilgilant Eats and Purely Elizabeth), $1 bottles of spring water, transportable fruits like apples, pears, plums— not only allows you to stay on a healthy path, it also reduces the temptation of grabbing a $4 acidic SmartWater from your mini fridge or a processed snack from a vending machine or convenient store. I also highly suggest grabbing a green drink, low in sugar (4ish grams a serving), to alkalize your system and help combat travel stress.
During my move, I have loved discovering new places, but when I'm feeling a tad overwhelmed, you have no idea how comforting it is to walk into somewhere like a Sprouts-- anywhere I can go to avoid unnecessary stimuli.
In order to master these tips, you must first challenge yourself to devote time to be still. Time to check-in and pay attention to what does and doesn't work for you: activities, foods, etc. By doing this, I was able to find the very things that bring me to a state of homeostasis. (And, also, things that lead me to the brink of spiraling.) This custom “wellness formula” is invaluable when you're entering a time of stress, change, upheaval. Take inventory of the things that help you self-regulate and feel whole and authentic... and do what it takes to make sure that you’re living on that level. It’s the most self-honoring thing you can do!
Do you have any self-regulating routines?! Please share in the comments section below!
Not too long ago I created a blog post about my favorite things because I am frequently asked about products. In that post, I almost started to include my favorite beauty items, but realized it was such a loaded topic that I would have to devote an entire blog entry...so, here it is!
Since I was super young, I have been really interested in cosmetics and beauty products. I have honestly been a product junkie since middle school, BUT some major details have changed. One, I have minimized my consumption a TON and while my curiosity to learn about products hasn't wavered, I test with samples vs. buying full-size and I read reviews instead of insisting that I need to be the judge! Another whammy is the type/ quality of products I am in the market for.
Unfortunately, in the United States, we have very low standards for what is deemed "safe". This doesn't just pertain to body/ beauty products, but, also, our food! If you look at some worldwide distributors, you will find that the ingredients on the same items differ. Why? Because many countries outside of the U.S. have better regulations and purity standards. While colored dyes in cosmetics are outlawed in many places because of their impact on the body, ranging from behavioral, hormonal, and neurological, America keeps them--- not just in cosmetics, but also "food" "safe for consumption"! Ex: artificial red dye in food AND cosmetics has been removed from most places outside of the US. If you compare a Kraft Jell-o box from America and one in Europe, you will see that the ingredients aren't the same. (Although now they've been forced to put a disclaimer regarding the potential impact it will have on your child's behavior.)
Not only are topical toxins one of the main culprits to accelerated/ premature aging, toxic body products and household detergents are FULL of neurotoxins! You might be thinking, "well, what I put on my skin can't impact my health that much." Super valid thought, until you begin to realize just how effective nicotine patches are to reduce someone's addiction to cigarettes. Enough nicotine is absorbed through the skin from a TINY patch, that it is an efficient "fix" to someone's drug addiction.
In short, these ingredients can be found in: makeup, hair products, cleaners, skin care products, deodorant, toothpaste, mouthwash, candles and can cause: infertility, cancers, autoimmune disease, respiratory disease, irregular hormone secretion, etc. ALL contributing to your body’s ability to deal, repair, and create tissue and healthy cells.
This is why it is so important to me that I only expose my skin to clean products.
That is where my "favorites" list comes in.
I have to make note: while I am a rep for Beautycounter, this isn't why I'm partial to their line. If you read their website, you will find that because they have SUCH high purity standards, they're responsible for actually developing new ones. Beautycounter has really raised the bar in not only creating safe, healthy products-- they're also just really great!
Click on the items below to see and read the product's full description. You can either purchase these items online, but if you want to buy some locally, I will list those vendors below! For all Beautycounter purchases, please click here!
Lip Sheer by Beautycounter, "plum".
I love, love this product. The color is honestly perfect for me, but I am also really looking forward to trying more shades because it feels like a super moisturizing chapstick! They also fragrance it with essential oil so, it smells lovely too!
Lipstick Butter by Mineral Fusion, "blackberry".
This was a really exciting find because I have been using Clinique's Almost Lipstick in "black honey" since high school and this is just like it! Unfortunately, Clinique seems like a line that would be clean, but it's not. This lipstick looks super dark, but it really just makes you look fresh-- giving you a nice vibrant, natural color for day or night. It's also really smooth and not sticky at all.
Lengthening Mascara by Beautycounter.
This product is an Allure Magazine "Best of Beauty 2016" award winner and after trying it, you'll know why!
Waterproof Mineral Mascara by Mineral Fusion, "raven".
This is a really great mascara that gives you plump, fuller lashes! Plus, it's waterproof-- which is tricky to find when it comes to pure cosmetic lines.
Organic Wear Mascara by Physicians Formula, "ultra black".
You can't really beat this item for the price! Although I have to say, it takes third place among these other top picks, but works really well for a day look.
Color Sweep Blush Duo by Beautycounter, tawny/whisper.
I love that this has two colors because you can do a little contouring, adding the brightest shade on the apples of your cheeks and the darker shade to enhance your cheek bones!
Liquid Foundation by Sappho Organic, "Kate".
This foundation is wonderful because it's really light, but it still gives you nice, smooth coverage and it smells really good (not a floral-- more essential oil-esque)! It comes in a very small pump, but it's well worth it! Funny story about the color though-- I purchased this after getting an organic spray tan and while the color looked very natural, it sort of masks your natural skin tone and now, this foundation is designated only when I have a spray tan!
Organic Wear Tinted Moisturizer by Physicians Formula, "light to natural".
While Physicians Formula isn't THE cleanest product line, it is very affordable, and some of their "Organic Wear" cosmetics are formulated with 80% certified organic ingredients and are cruelty-free, paraben-free, and free of harmful fragrance. (This item is great if you're looking for light coverage and maybe not the best option if you have problematic skin and are seeking something with full coverage.)
Tint Skin Foundation by Beautycounter, "porcelain" and "sand" mixed are actually my perfect color.
Because the color of my skin fluctuates so much, I prefer mixing these two shades together. I love this product because it is really lightweight, but offers full coverage! Which is SO rare! It also doesn't make you shiny after a few short hours and it stays put all day. (What I'm wearing in the video above!)
Color Contour Matte Bronzer by Beautycounter, No. 1.
I love this because it's MATTE! So hard to find. I personally don't want shimmer on my face, unless it's on my eyelids or the tops of my cheek bones so, this product is really perfect and natural looking!
Concealer Duo by Mineral Fusion, "warm".
One, it covers it all: dark circles, sun spots, and blemishes. Two, I think it's genius that there are two shades. I don't know anyone who stays the same color all year round. This option allows you to mix the two together to get the perfect shade, for all seasons.
Pressed Powder Foundation by Mineral Fusion, "neutral 2".
This stuff is honestly amazing. With most powders, you would want to use a translucent option to set your liquid foundation, to avoid looking cakey. With this powder, you can pick a shade that will give you even more bonus coverage AND you avoid looking too made-up.
Local spots to purchase-
Mineral Fusion: Natural Grocers and Whole Foods
Physicians Formula: Ulta and most drug and grocery stores
Stay-tuned for my favorite skin care products! Spoiler alert: there is A LOT of great stuff to share!
My love for fitness has not only been a gift to stay in shape but, more so my mental health! I can be feeling stressed, overwhelmed, heartbroken, angry, etc. and exercise has been my go-to to dissipate unwanted emotions. It's my reset.
When I get the opportunity to travel, I make it a point to bring my running shoes (or rollerblades). People usually think, "why would you exercise when you're on vacation?" and in my mind, I think, "why wouldn't you exercise on vacation?" It's the ultimate form of self-care and the perfect opportunity to site-see! When you run in a new/ different city, you get to see it in a different light. Some of my fondest vacation memories were spawned from me taking the time to workout. When I went on a cruise in high school, I ran on a treadmill in the gym that was at the very front tip of the boat. Just when I thought it might be a silly way to spend my time, I saw dozens of dolphins racing alongside the ship. It was beautiful. My mom and I recently decided to walk the river bridge and all of a sudden, a bald eagle swooped so low and flew right in front of us. When I lived in LA, I was close enough to run down Wilshire and Rodeo to regularly take-in the revolving window displays. None of which would have happened unless I was inspired to keep moving.
These photos were taken during my workouts just within the past few years. I prefer exercising outside because of all of the beauty that you can come across...THIS is what keeps me moving. Even when the weather isn't right for an outdoor run, some of my most exciting mental breakthroughs and visualizations come from exercising indoors. It's so much more than the sense of accomplishment, mental clarity, and physical benefits, but you get all of that in conjunction with ALL of the beauty you get to take in!
If this concept seems foreign to you or maybe even unrealistic, the new year is the perfect time to change your character for the better. Just decide that YOU are now opening yourself up to loving a good workout too! You can do it! The power IS within YOU! Want some motivation and accountability? Click here to set up a complimentary 45-minute phone/skype consultation!
*P.S. Real talk: I have to add something. I didn't always have this healthy mindset when it came to fitness. When I was younger, I used to workout because I had body image issues. I thought I needed to compensate for the indulgent foods I ate to stay trim. Even when I went to the lake for a few days with my friends in high school, I made sure I treaded water or ran. At the time, I probably didn't realize the other benefits because they weren't my focus and I was too busy trying to reach "perfection". Growing up, I would actually run on my parent's treadmill while watching the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue "Behind the Scenes" Special that I had tape recorded and played on repeat. Which is pretty funny to look back on, but, also, SO sad! I am hardly 5'2" and I could run for eternity and still never reach that place because it's not realistic! I'm not saying having inspirational images is bad, but I urge you to find someone with your body type to look up to! I actually find encouragement from looking at pictures of myself when I was at a really fit point or look to someone like Kourtney Kardashian because she and I have very similar body types and it's a healthy, realistic goal.
Moving forward, I want you to realize that finding a source of inspiration or motivation that goes beyond "image" is SO imperative. Doing this allows you the opportunity to avoid feeling discouraged since you're doing it purely because exercise makes you live longer, slows down the "deterioration process", gives you a sense of accomplishment, it increases endorphins that give you a state of well-being, and connects you to your body, mind, and soul. Weight loss and muscle tone just happen to be a bonus!
This Medicine Woman recipe is perfect for those of you who would like a holistic way out of a common cold, flu, minor aches, etc. This is MY flu shot. I can honestly say that I always experience major turnaround by drinking regular doses of this and my clients can verify it's magical powers.
Most people don't realize that antibiotics are for bacterial infections- not viral infections!
If you have a sick child and you know they won't drink this, use these seasonings (skip the cayenne for small children) and/or tea and mix it with a good quality broth (bone broth is best, but chicken or vegetable broth will do), veggies, and brown rice noodles!
Last note: I know it's so tempting to self-soothe with treats (sugar, refined carbs, dairy), but know that not only will it delay your recovery, but will also contribute to infection, mucus, and inflammation! Yay vegetables!
I was extremely excited when I was offered the opportunity to try this out and it didn't disappoint! This was an extremely cool experience. If you're prone to storing stress in your body (who doesn't), this therapy is a wonderful option to rejuvenate a tired bod AND an overworked mind! The room was nice and toasty and you really do float on the surface, with no effort.
The Wall Street Journal recently posted this exciting interview online Can A Health Coach Help You Achieve A Healthy Life Balance? with an IIN grad! "As health concerns mount along with the desire to achieve a better work-life balance, health coach Robyn Youkilis joins Lunch Break with Tanya Rivero and explains why hiring a health coach may help you achieve your goals."althy
There has been something weighing heavy on my heart the past few days so, I figured I should write it out. If you're like me, you regularly come across inspirational quotes and literature stating that happiness isn't something that can be acquired, but is simply a frame of mind or a decision. One of the more common quotes by Abe Lincoln states just that, "Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be". While I absolutely agree with this, I also feel a bit guilty for being one of those people who posts these things on social media, making it seem like being happy is so simplistic.
When I read these motivational quotes, depending on my mood, it can either help me immediately snap out of a rut or it just pisses me off. Some people require a little more than a change of tune or getting up on the "right" side of the bed. As a highly sensitive person, this is something I've dealt with my whole life. Since I was a small child, if I was experiencing internal hardship, which usually resulted in my acting out or falling into a slump, people would frequently tell me to essentially get over it or, my least favorite, "this too shall pass". This coffee cup advice seemed to work for so many people that I began to think that I was a defected human because I just couldn't shake it that easily.
Sometimes, if we are experiencing an imbalance, it isn't so easy to just snap our fingers and get happy because there is a correction that needs to be made. While this imbalance can inconveniently get in the way, it is wise to shift your perspective and be so grateful for it because it's your body's way of saying, "there is an area of neglect"! If we avoid this area or dumb it with a vice, it can manifest into a lot of mental and physical burdens, ten times its multitude. While it isn't always easy to get to the land of happy, it is SO important to point out that it is possible to get there and rise above!
During my 6-month program, my clients and I focus on goals. One of the most common things discussed is their goal to achieve a state of well-being, peace, and happiness. It's always a difficult subject, only because there are so many components to this weighted issue. Happiness is a product that has to be broken down into the many actions that we identify this feeling/ emotion with. Perspective is absolutely everything because while newlyweds think financial freedom brings "happiness" and think they will acquire joy by way of money, the single entrepreneur who is sitting on a large sum of money and has a comfortable cash flow thinks they could achieve happiness, if only they could get married. The interesting part of all of this is that through many studies, one Deepak Chopra performed, it has been proven that the amount of money someone acquires does not improve long-term happiness. The only time money does affect long-term happiness is when you worry about not having enough of it, which then reduces your state of well-being.
Touching on this point a little deeper, while being goal-oriented is invaluable, there are some people who are constantly focusing on their horizon/ future. "When I reach this level of success, I'll be happy." I think big picture goals are great, but if you don't make note of daily and weekly accomplishments and celebrate the mile-markers, you are selling yourself short. By the time you get to your end goal, or "destination", you won't get to reap the oh-so-nourishing sense of achievement because being a "future seeker" means you will already have your sites set on that new horizon. Being in the present will allow you to see your success and enjoy it. Staring at the horizon means you will keep going and finally stop once you've "arrived"... when you're dead.
I recently listened to an amazing lecture Deepak Chopra gave about something called the Happiness Formula. I found this extremely interesting and probably the soundest self-help I've come across. This formula is: H = S + C + V.
"H"- happiness, "S"- set point in brain that depicts if you're happy or not, stemming from how you received loved and were cared for in the first three years of your life, which can be changed with some mindfulness (50%), "C"- economic conditions of living/ how often you think about money (12%), and "V"- voluntary choices you make every day to receive pleasure (38%). Not only does this formula go much deeper in detail, Mr. Chopra has also developed a "well-being test" that is said to be a very solid predictor of what's going to happen in your future. The results are based on the calculated scores in areas of well-being including: social, career, physical, financial, and community.
So, on to rounding about this jumbled mess I've created. For anyone experiencing days of sadness, depression, fear, or, "analysis paralysis", please know and consider that there are things that you can do to alleviate this pain that doesn't come in a prescription bottle. While I am not a doctor and don't aspire to be, I have seen countless founded studies and have personally experienced the outcome of the many actions humans can take to rise above a rut and diagnosed depression.
So, is achieving happiness as easy to receive as simply subscribing to it? Yes and no. I think making a decision to make the necessary steps to obtain happiness is the golden ticket. What steps am I talking about? The ones Deepak Chopra touched on, the "primary foods" that are emphasized throughout the teachings at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where I received my certification. Not only has exercise proven to be hugely effective in fighting depression, diet is the ultimate whammy in the world of rebounding from mental and physical ailments, along with meditation, proper sleep, and spirituality/ religion. Supplementation like omega-3's, L-5-MTHF, and SAMe are gaining a lot of popularity and acceptance, even in the medical field, in assisting to help alleviate depression. There are also a handful of amazing authors, specialists, and doctors who have created some lovely soul food in the form of books! Please know that you aren't defected because bumper sticker "words of wisdom" aren't enough for you.
Probably one of the largest factors that influenced my personal journey was learning about the importance of gut health and the major role it plays in your body's ability to cope and create your "happy" hormone, serotonin. "Gut bacteria creates 95% of the body's serotonin." To read more about gut health, Donna Gates is an amazing source of knowledge. Another enlightening condition that can affect your state of well-being full tilt is adrenal fatigue, which can be caused by something as ordinary as excess caffeine, but can result in depression and/or very similar symptoms to depression.
So, in conclusion, if you're trying to acquire happiness, I am a firm believer that you can achieve it because it is already within you. While state of mind IS everything, sometimes, it isn't as easy for everyone. We are all built differently, we all require different levels of self-care, and supplementation. Lifestyle plays a HUGE part and so does being mindful of the way we listen to and nourish our bodies. Please entertain the many holistic ways you can actively work towards tapping into your internal happy. Again, while it isn't always easy, it is within your power.
Many of us go through life feeling "good enough" or summarize our lack-of-bounce to the natural wearing down process. Not only is this a sad, but it's so inaccurate! You do have the potential to feel amazing as you age and the simple truth all boils down to nutrients!
Nourishing your body with supplements is sometimes required so that you’re getting sufficient amounts of vitamins and minerals in your system. Not only can deficiencies be caused by an imbalanced diet, they can also be the result of poor digestion and your body's inability to assimilate and absorb nutrients properly. Another culprit is that most produce is sourced from farms with soil that is depleted of minerals. With that said, many people are tempted to take a vitamin or green powder and think they’ve accomplished getting their daily dose and go on with their day, eating “food matter”, aka nonsense, aka faux food that contains more lab-made ingredients than actual life-supplying sustenance. This sustenance I speak of is what is responsible for building healthy cells, blood, organs, your body's natural ability to tackle potential illness and disease = HEALTH. This is where most people are missing the boat...and I can say, I was one of these people who assumed I could get my daily dosage of vitamins with a handful of supplements, eat what I wanted, and I was solid. Seems like instahealth, right? False.
Getting natural sources of these vitamins is imperative to your body’s repair system! What many people don’t realize is that most supplements aren’t worthy of even being called “vitamins” because of the particular company's quality standards. My dad, who is an extremely knowledgeable DC, explains it best. He says that with most supplements, the only thing you’re really doing is making expensive pee. Another thing to tack on is the way that you are taking your vitamins. It is believed by many specialists that if you’re taking a handful of supplements at one time (even if they’re high quality), there’s only so much that your body can absorb at once, resulting in, yet again, very expensive urine!
SO, let’s get to the exciting part! I never like to highlight the inconvenient truths without following up with the MORE important proactive truths! Here is a breakdown of some of the most abundant sources of some of the most important vitamins!
Magnesium regulates chemical reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation. It is required for energy production and deficiencies can result in muscle cramps, facial tics, lazy digestion, poor sleep, and chronic pain.
Natural sources: nuts, seeds, avocado, sea vegetables: seaweed, wakame, arame, kombu, coconut milk, dark leafy greens: raw spinach, kale, bok choy, chard. (It’s best to soak all nuts, seeds, and grains to remove phytic acid, which is a naturally occurring enzyme inhibitor that prohibits your body from absorbing the goodness.)
Omega 3’s are required to regulate cardiovascular, immune and inflammatory pathways. Signs of a deficiency include rough or dry/ bumpy skin, dull/ brittle hair and dandruff, soft/ brittle nails, excessive thirst, frequent urination, sleep problems (especially difficulties in settling at night and waking in the morning), attention problems (poor concentration and difficulties in memory), emotional sensitivity (such as depression, excessive mood swings or inexplainable anxiety), pain from inflammation.
Natural sources: fish, spinach, oregano, chia seeds, nuts, butternut squash
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium (one of bone's main building blocks) from food and supplements. People who get too little vitamin D may develop soft, thin, and brittle bones, a condition known as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Other outcomes from deficiency includes metabolic disorders, cancer, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, infections, cognitive disorders, and/or mortality.
Natural sources: fish, egg yolks, liver, and sun helps vitamin production- but be sure to let it soak into your skin before taking a shower! Your body actually needs hours to fully absorb the goodness, to be able to properly receive the benefits.
Vitamin C offers protection against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling. Some deficiencies include: easy bruising, swollen/ bleeding gums, slow wound healing, dry/ splitting hair, dry skin, nosebleeds, weakened immune system, leaky gut, autoimmune disease, slowed metabolism, swollen/ painful joints.
Natural sources: berries, leafy greens, bell peppers, all citrus, kiwi, broccoli, sea vegetables, coconut milk
Vitamin K plays a key role in normal blood clotting. This is important to prevent excess bleeding, which can lead to anemia, a condition that causes fatigue, weakness and dizziness. Iron-deficiency anemia is the type that is linked to vitamin K. In this common condition, your body does not have enough erythrocytes, red blood cells that contain hemoglobin, an iron-rich protein that carries oxygen. Meaning, if you are suffering from anemia, not only do you probably have an iron deficiency, it is also wise to make sure you're getting enough vitamin K!
Natural sources: leafy greens: spinach, kale, bok choy, chard, romaine, arugula
Vitamin B is a unique case because not all types of vitamin B do the same thing. Additionally, the different types of vitamin B all come from different types of foods. Vitamin B-12, for example, is found primarily in meat and dairy products. B-7 and B-9 (and, to some degree, B-1 and B-2) are found in fruits and vegetables. Click here for a full rundown.
Natural sources: lentils, whole grains, almonds, leafy greens, seafood, coconut milk
Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the United States. Iron is imperative for producing hemoglobin, a protein that assists red blood cells to deliver oxygen throughout your body. So without it, everything suffers—and can lead to anemia. Some symptoms include low energy, difficulty maintaining body temperature, and decreased immune function.
Natural sources: sea vegetables, coconut milk, clams, liver, beef, lamb, sunflower seeds, nuts, whole grains, dark leafy greens, cacao.
Iodine is required for your thyroid gland to make hormones. If the thyroid doesn't have enough iodine to do its job, feedback systems in the body cause the thyroid to work harder. This can cause an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), which becomes evident as a swollen neck.
Natural sources: sea vegetables, cranberries, organic/ raw yogurt and cheese, potatoes, navy beans, strawberries
Potassium is important for a person's muscles to work effectively, including the heart. Potassium also has a role in regulating blood pressure. Low potassium is associated with a risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, weakness, stroke, arthritis, cancer, digestive disorders, and infertility....and on a lighter note, potassium can help combat a pesky hangover!
Natural sources: beans, dark leafy greens, potatoes, squash, fish, avocados, bananas, coconuts
What's even more exciting about this list is that many of these essential nutrients can be found in the same foods. So, if you're looking for a simple (LEGIT) fix, put more emphasis on the food that you eat and take advantage of nature's medicine! Something I challenge my clients to do before they sit down for a meal is ask, "how much of this plate is going to contribute to the nourishment and healing of my body?" If even half of it is purely for entertainment value, it's time to start reconsidering your food and lifestyle habits. Need a little assistance? Message me today for a complimentary 45 minute Lifestyle Assessment!
Note: For those of you who express symptoms of anemia, it’s important to remember that low iron isn’t the only potential culprit. Vitamin B12 and Magnesium deficiencies can also express similar symptoms and can cause anemia.
If you are a client, you have access to a very handy app with a list of my favorite grocery items, BUT I have yet to share some of my tried-and-true miscellaneous loves. Whether I'm working out, getting ready for a night out, or getting some work done, I have grown to rely daily on a few of my favorites...and here they are!
I have purchased a handful of different styles and brands of headphones and never found a good fit that would sustain a turbulent run...until I found these gems! Designed specifically to fit smaller ears, the "FlexSoft and TwistLock technologies guarantee they will never hurt or fall out". I can honestly say they don't come out of your ears, even during a rigorous workout! Yurbuds also make a variety of different styles for men and women, even wireless, but I have the basic Inspire 100 style and they're perfect. The one thing I will say is that the FlexSoft bud attachments do come off kind of easily after a while and if you have an adorable niece who likes to take them off, you might have to be careful you don't lose one!
Not only are these toothbrushes good for the environment, they come in gorgeous recycled (and biodegradable) packaging, AND the charcoal bristles feel great and leave your mouth feeling super clean! Not too soft, not too abrasive.
This face mask is truly amazing-- especially for the price! It contains two magical anti-inflammatory ingredients: turmeric and neem, making any flair ups minimized within just one use. I love this product because it also doubles as a face scrub. Once dried, you simply remove it with a warm moist washcloth and the granules in the mask remove dead skin, clean out your pores, and polish your complexion to perfection, without over-drying or irritating even sensitive skin!
Not only does this product smell AMAZING (gender neutral goodness), it contains skin loving vitamins E and B5. I make sure that any product I use does not contain harmful additives, SO a definite selling point is that it doesn't contain parabens, sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates or phthalates, (known to increase your risk of cancer). Sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates are used as a lathering agent in many products so, sometimes, products that don't contain this toxic ingredient fall flat (literally), but this product creates enough suds to double as an effective shaving cream!
I have been known to experience just a few cases of overwhelm (haha) and phenomenal Kava has come to the rescue a handful of times! Kava has been used medicinally and during tribal ceremonies for centuries... and once you try it, you'll know why. It does a wonderful job taking the edge off, without impairing your judgement, leaving you feeling very calm and at peace. While I don't drink this every day, because regular use can reduce the effectiveness over time, I have found it very beneficial when I am in social situations when I don't want to partake in drinking alcohol (to avoid the wrath of a few drinks). Most recently, I enjoyed relying on this tea to zen out before speaking engagements.
When I first tried Kava, it was a very expensive paste that you put a pea-sized amount under your tongue. Although horribly disgusting, it was extremely effective. Later, a very sweet friend brought me a brewed version and an instant powder from a kava shop in Austin. These versions were also pretty gross and since it's a diluted version of the paste, you have to drink approx. 8 oz., (which is a lot when it tastes like it does). I have read various instructions to flavor it with sweeteners or add milk and I can't imagine this doing much help. Again, while these pricey versions don't taste good at all, they do a superb job reducing anxiety because they are pure kava!
I was extremely excited to see that Yogi came out with a tea! Since it's blended with other herbs and flavors, it's not as potent so, I just use two bags. Even though I am most definitely not a fan of licorice, this blend tastes MUCH better than the other versions I have tried-- not to mention, it is much more affordable AND you can find it at Natural Grocers! For more information on the awesome benefits (and potential risks), click here.
More to come!....
I almost started to add my favorite CLEAN cosmetics and because it has been QUITE the journey finding good ones, I will be devoting an entire blog post to this very important/ conclusive research! So, stay tuned!
Do you have any healthy favorites?! Share below!
First of all, I am proud to say that I am now done with school at IIN! So, I will be able to fully devote myself to making these blog posts a little bit more consistent. (Yay, God!)
With the spring weather as amazing as it has been, I have done everything in my power to spend as much time outside as I can! I can honestly say one of my favorite times of the day is when I go on my outdoor run. There is little to no persuasion needed to get out and go-- because on top of the sunshine, nature, and endorphins, I am really loving my current playlist!
I think it is so important to be mindful of your thoughts during exercise. You generate so much energy when you're creating movement, so why not channel thought into that energy and put out something wonderful? Adding a little musical assistance to your workout is sort of like adding a soundtrack to the (hopefully empowering) movie you're playing in your head! Here are some of my current (and past) loves. I know, it is a little all over the place-- but there is consistency in the fact that they're all upbeat!
Now, get moving!
Warm up/ Cool down/ Reps:
It's Tricky - Run DMC
Bullet - Chelsea Lankes
Love Train - The O'Jays
Hold On - Wilson Phillips
Wannabe (Radio Edit) - Spice Girls
Tell Me If You Wanna Go Home - Keira Knightly
Breathless - The Corrs
Fight Song - Rachel Platten
Backbeat - Dagny
Hide Away - Daya
Sweet Disposition - The Temper Trap
Young Folks - Peter Bjorn and John
Uma - Panama Wedding
What's My Name - Rihanna
Bang My Head (feat. Sia & Fetty Wap) - David Guetta
Burning Love - Elvis Presley
Heroes (we could be) - Alesso
Run/ Fast-paced Exercise
Kiss the Sky (feat. Wyclef Jean) - The Knocks
Celeste - Ezra Vine
Wild Ones (feat. Sia) - Flo Rida
Live Young Die Free - Fletcher
The Show Goes On - Lupe Fiasco
Spotlight (feat. Usher) - Gucci Mane
Philosophize In It! Chemicalize With It! - Kishi Bashi
Can't Stop the Feeling - Justin Timberlake
War Paint - Fletcher
Say Geronimo - Sheppard
Dude (Looks Like A Lady) - Aerosmith
Just Dance - Lady Gaga
Pretty Girl Rock - Keri Hilson
Push It - Salt-N-Pepa
Tambourine - Eve
Somebody Loves You - Betty Who
The First Single (You Know Me) - The Format
Turn Me On (feat. Nicki Minaj) - David Guetta
Forever - Chris Brown
Try Me (feat. Jennifer Lopez & Matoma) - Jason Derulo
2 Heads - Coleman Hell
Love Myself - Hailee Steinfeld
I currently subscribe to Spotify and it really is worth every cent because you're able to create your own playlists with their endless library of song selections, listen to their pre-made Workout playlists like "Cardio", "HIIT Hop", and "Fun Workout", AND one really cool feature is their group of Running playlists because you start running and the music matches your tempo. So, as you slow down or accelerate, the song transitions to something that has a beat that matches your stride.
While I love my list now, I'm always wanting suggestions-- so, please tell me what your favorites are in the comments below!
As the temperature has started rise, so has my excitement for spending some much-needed quality time with good ol' Mother Nature. I really think most people underestimate the power of the great outdoors...I say that because even though I continuously experience the amazing impact it has on me (mood, clarity, sense of peace, energy), it's strangely sometimes a little difficult to come around and commit to an afternoon outside. This is why the second it's warm enough, I take the initiative to exercise in the open air.
I could go on and on about the science behind the Earth emitting certain ions & positive vibrations, the sun serving us nice hot, heaping servings of vitamin D, and the multitude of studies that show how healing nature is (anxiety, depression, etc.), but I don't need to because a majority of the population has experienced the "feel good" for themselves!
All of the Blue Zones (where people live the longest, have less illness and health disorders, and have a much shorter period of compromised quality of life, due to deterioration) have quite a few common threads. One of the consistencies is that these people spend a lot of their everyday outdoors! The only Blue Zone in America actually devotes part of their week to spending time with nature, as part of their religious practice.
So, this isn't an informative blog entry as much as it is a persuasive one. GO OUTSIDE AND BREATHE. Stroll, run, play a sport, take your dog, take your kids, have a picnic, paint, or just sit outside and think of all of the things you have to be grateful for! All of these things: togetherness, exercise, conscious breathing, creativity, giving gratitude- are all activities that have been proven to promote health and well-being. For those of you who have periods when your head is a little grey (or closer to doom and gloom) and this suggestion sounds kind of awful...YOU are the perfect candidate for this little excursion! It's the perfect remedy. Drag yourself outside.
So, this week, schedule a date with Mother Nature- she's generous, vibrant, nurturing, and best of all, she's cheap! ; )
What ways do you enjoy being outdoors? Share below!
Valentine's Day is around the corner so, I thought this form of self-care would be appropriate. Although, we should be doing this on the regular! Getting and giving hugs and affection.
Did you know that lack of physical affection can actually kill babies? If babies aren't touched, rocked, and loved on enough, they don't grow or develop at a natural, healthy rate-- increasing their chances of illness, disabilities, and mortality. So, why this grim information? Development doesn't end at infancy or, even, the age that we reach our max height. We continuously keep developing, therefore, this touchy-feely business pertains to ALL stages of life.
As humans living in this kind of society, most of us are touch-deprived. This particular article is specific to caring for elderly, but I think the information and techniques are actually very useful to apply to your everyday interactions with anyone. Whether we live in a household full of people, a dorm room of one, or a condo of two, it really makes no difference...you might be one of the majority who is lacking touch. The good news: giving affection is just as useful to you as getting it. It's definitely one of those two-way streets where whoever is on the receiving end makes no difference-- you're still getting affection...and what's even better, potentially supplying someone's life-altering deficiency.
What do you do if you're a single person living in a city of strangers? Various spa treatments like massages, facials, scalp treatments, and delux mani/ pedis are great options. On a tight budget? Giving yourself regular hot towel scrubs is an awesome way to reap the benefits of touch. Intimacy comes in all shapes and forms. Getting a little lovin' from a spouse, partner, grandparent, masseuse, or yourself is all good!
Lastly, sorry, but I HAVE to add this-- There are some (mostly in my generation) who assume that sex is the primary solution for alleviating the urge for affection. Sadly, this could very well be someone with their wires crossed. Sometimes, those people seeking/ craving "passion" from randoms only continue this unhealthy cycle because they can't seem to feel fulfilled; when, really, you might just need a prescription of giving/getting 3 hugs a day! Poof, the craving dissipates! The same goes for foods. Most of the time, when we think we need sugar, we really need to unwind or indulge in a life activity. When you crave intimacy (or chocolate excessively), try having a deep conversation or get a massage (preferably from someone you care about)-- get creative!
So, TRY IT! This week, try hugging your loved ones. Spend time with a friend frequently and you don't greet with a hug?...boost the quality of your relationship and HUG them! xOxO!
I recently watched a lecture/ yoga class and it really inspired me. A. The instructor, Melissa Bourgeois, is adorable. B. She had the entire class reinforcing and practicing positions of power! Most people don't realize having forward head posture, causing your body to slump forward, can be very detrimental to your entire spine and health. (Think of the position you're usually in when you're looking down at your phone, sitting in front of the computer, or standing over a sink or stove.) While poor body positioning can turn into a potentially serious health risk, it also strongly impacts how other people perceive you. What's even more alarming and real is that it influences how you feel about yourself.
Melissa had us get in a Peter Pan-like stance, standing as tall as we could, with elbows out, fists on hips, and legs spread, taking up as much space as we could. Standing tall is obviously great for your posture and spine, but it also makes a HUGE impact on making you feel more powerful! (This is how the fashion statement "power heels" came about.) So, today's form of self-care is STAND TALL. Take up space and let the world know you have arrived! It will make you feel more powerful, embracing your inner badass, AND it will make you look like an alluring, tall glass of water.
Practice this at home in front of the mirror! Since you're in the privacy of your own home, really stretch it out and accentuate this stance: stand tall, reach your hands up to the sky, and feel limitless. When you're sitting in traffic, lift your body up like you have a string coming out of the top of your head and you're slowly being lifted up. When you're at your computer or looking at your phone, pretend like you have a back brace on and avoid rounding your shoulders. Again, this really is so important because when we reinforce bad posture, we cause a misalignment in our spines, which effect all vital organs and muscle function. (This is why I think Chiropractors should be a part of everyone's primary healthcare...and I used the term "healthcare", not "sickcare". Don't wait until you experience symptoms to be "forced" improve your lifestyle-- it's all about prevention, friends!)
So, stand like a model, a soldier, made-over Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, a superhero, or just the super-powerful version of amazing YOU!
*p.s. I want to remind you- these are guidelines and suggestions offered so that you become more mindful and rehearsed at taking out the time EACH DAY to take care of yourself! So, while it is my intention to post frequently, I feel confident that you can successfully fill in the blanks without my help! And, if you have trouble, here is an adorable illustration with a VARIETY of suggestions!
So, just because I have taken a nice blog break, I hope that doesn't mean you've omitted taking daily bits of "you" time! (My absence was because I needed a little "me" time...aka catching up on school work!)
Today's form of self-care is something that most of us love doing-- if not in public then at least in the car or the privacy of our own home. It's DANCING! This might sound slightly ridiculous to some, but you should never underestimate the power of dancing and its mood-altering potency.
Dancing has a wide range of physical and mental benefits including:
What I love most about dancing is that it allows you to be connected and present in your body, BUT you are also able to vacate. It's an usual combo-- usually, in order to be present you must sit with your thoughts, which is extremely healthy, but some people avoid it if they have unresolved internal "junk" they're either subconsciously or consciously trying to dodge. Vacating is great because it does allow you to get away from reality for a bit. With everything, there's always a necessary balance. If you find yourself going from activity to activity, leaving yourself with little to no time for reflection, or being "in your body/ present", maybe consider asking yourself why. But, this is why dancing is so wonderful because you stay in your body and are able to set aside what's bothering you and simply feel the music and the steps.
There are many ways that you can fit a little dancing in your life. Some great examples are Zumba, local or online dance classes, various PlayStation and Xbox video games, and the easiest: play your radio, stereo, iPod and just dance! I have had the urge to take tap for probably 10 years and this blog has pushed me to ask around and find a tap teacher. I've had the shoes for maybe four years and now is the time! So, stay tuned for horrifying/ hysterical clips of my progress! My hope is to get my adorable niece to take classes with me (she is the adorable babe in the video above). Another way I implement this in my world is occasionally going to a local dance hall, Legends, and attempt to learn the new "trendy" line dances...it isn't pretty, but it's really fun!
Do you enjoy dancing!? In the comments below, let me know what form of dance you prefer and where you like to bust it out!
When I decided to start eating clean, I never realized the domino effect that would take place. Once you being eliminating nonsense from your diet, your body begins slowly cleansing itself from built up toxins. The first time I really noticed a difference, other than the immediate gift of amplified energy and not having to diet anymore, I kid you not, was when I went for a run along the river. I was honestly amazed. The colors where SO much brighter than normal...it was a mind-blowing distraction during my entire run because I kept wondering, "what in the world is going on?"! Then, I finally traced it to my lifestyle change. I think it had to do with multiple factors. One, it was a little bit of a meta-physical outcome-- a change of perspective and a brighter outlook. Two, by eliminating chemicals and faux food from my diet, my senses were amplified and I sort of became superhuman and capable of seeing in technicolor! Some of the other things I experienced: balanced mood, reduced stress and anxiety, clearer skin, no more brain fog, memories, ideas, and words were much more accessible, and no more 4:00 slump!
Sadly, this is how all humans should function, but most of America is cheating itself because we've slowly began feeding our bodies "matter" that contains more engineered ingredients than real food. (This is actually what has gotten many companies to legally not be able to call their chicken "chicken", beef "beef", and cheese "cheese"...I'm talking to you KFC, Taco Bell, and Kraft!) Eating is a means to nourish and replenish your body with supplementation. Pure and simple. I used to think that by eating "healthy", I would have to eat lettuce and string beans...void of any lovely flavor or enjoyment. Or, if I wanted to lose weight, I would be "healthy" by eating 100 Calorie Packs, Lean Cuisines, and Subway. Now, I just call that eating "skinny". There is nothing really healthy about it. I learned that the hard way.
I began deteriorating a little over three years ago. From the outside, I'm sure I seemed fine. I worked really hard to keep a trim figure and stayed VERY active at the gym. But, I started feeling all sorts of unfavorable symptoms across the board. These symptoms became so debilitating that I no longer felt like myself and I was so desperate that I gave up all of the foods I cherished...so I thought. After an interesting and eye-opening few years, I learned A LOT. I learned that these "frankenfoods", sugar, and processed carbs had caused my body to have system-wide inflammation, which caused me to accumulate an auto-immune disorder. That's why my body started to malfunction. My life was forever changed. The most exciting thing of all is that I realized, in order to get and stay slim, you can eat PILES of delicious and flavorful food! You don't even have to stray far from what you're used to. Eat steak, butter, muffins, pasta, cookies, casseroles, and, even, gummy bears! BUT and this is a HUGE but, you have to pay attention to the quality and the ingredients. Where food is sourced, what it was raised on, what it is treated with, etc. ALL plays a massive role in either contributing to your health in a positive or negative way! Your body metabolizes one hamburger completely different from another. One could actually contribute to your health and one could contribute to your early demise.
So, what exactly is "eating clean"? Eating clean, to me, is eating food in its purest form, free from anything man made in a lab. Some of the words not associated with clean eating are GMOs, heavy pesticides, processed, refined, hydrogenated, high fructose...I could go on and on. Also, keeping in mind, if you can't understand what's on the label, your body isn't going to understand it either. If someone had to create a name you can't pronounce for it, it's probably not real food. Another tip: if the item you're buying is something as pure as coconut milk and there are four ingredients on the label, that's unnecessary. Just keep it simple.
Please note: I am not suggesting you throw out your pantry or never eat fast-food again, but I am going to challenge you to start reading food labels. NOT the calories or fat, but the actual ingredients! The only thing I do suggest gazing at is the sugar content, which will eventually be in a blog post of its own.
I realize, this may be a heavy post because it is challenging you to consider switching things up a bit so, I'm offering Tulsans a little loving treat! Sign up below to take a complimentary grocery store tour. January 16th at 9 AM. (I will email you with more details.) If you don't live in the Tulsa area but would like some pointers, contact me for some free resources!
So, I have been on the very common roller-coaster ride when it comes to fitness. I have been in life stages when I was working out all of the time, working out some, or not at all. Many of us come up with excuses and experience this never ending battle of internal dialog about "should I go?", "I'm really tired", "I'm too hungry right now." A long while back, I was watching the Ellen Show and she said something that hasn't left me, (paraphrasing of course), "there is never a time when you make yourself go work out and regret doing so afterward". I tested this theory and it is 100% true. Once you get over the mental hurdle, you're always satisfied that you pushed yourself...leaving you with an improved body and a bonus sense of accomplishment, mostly thanks to the endorphins pumping through your veins! Another great quote, "Food is the most overused anxiety drug. Exercise is the most underutilized anti-depressant." Part of this theory has been tested by many reputable scholars, including Harvard Medical School, and it has proven to be very useful for people suffering from depression and anxiety. Click here for the article. So, if getting slim and toned wasn't enough of an incentive, it definitely does wonders to improve your overall sense of well being.,,among a host of other benefits.
This particular entry is in response to one of the top excuses or reservations I hear from clients, "I hate the gym" and/ or "I can't afford a gym membership". A solution: explore the opportunities of working out at home! What I love about this task is that it alleviates many of the concerns about working out: child care, shortage of time, finances, physical insecurities, and creeps who lurk and loiter. There are SO many affordable and free options these days-- you can't avoid getting at least 15 minutes in a day. Your heart and body will thank you for it.
Some of my favorite options are Daily Burn, Body Building, and many YouTube personalities geared towards women and men. What's great about Daily Burn and Body Building is that they both offer customized training programs for your personal fitness goals and track you along the way. I am currently a Daily Burn subscriber and really enjoy it so far! (Love pilates with Andrea Speir.) You even get to decide on your workout, based on if you just have time for 15 minutes, 30, or more. When you sign up, you get a 30 day trial and it costs $12.99 a month after. (This is the only option that costs anything but you don't have to pay an initial membership fee and can cancel at any time, without penalties.)
Some of these options do require access to more equipment than others-- so, depending on what you choose, you could be looking at an affordable, one-time investment for basics like a yoga mat, dumbbells, and a medicine ball. All of these class videos are accessible on a computer, apps for most smartphones, and/or TV, if it's connected to your internet.
Lastly, another option: you can kick it old school with some classic workout videos! I love Mari Winsor pilates DVDs and you can't go wrong with Billy Blanks Tae Bo...actually, I guess you can go wrong if you have certain mobility problems. Which reminds me, I should probably put this out there just in case: if you are considering a new exercise routine and have health concerns, I suggest that you ask your doctor before pursuing. There, I am legally off the hook now : )
I have personally tested all of these forms of at-home fitness entertainment (with the exception of all of the YouTube channels) and have had a lot of fun with them and think you will too! Getting into a routine is your best bet-- so, if you can, I would suggest deciding on weekly standing dates with yourself. Pick designated days and a specific time slot to just decide you WILL be showing up. Also a fun option: grab a friend, or a handful of friends, and rotate hosting a fitness date! This is an especially awesome option for moms who could take advantage of the double opportunity to fit in a fun workout together, while letting their kids enjoy a play date.
A mind hack I love to use when I'm really tired is that I tell myself I'll just work out for 15 minutes. 100% of the time, I'll exceed that time limit. BUT, even just 15 minutes a day will impact your fabulous physique.
Do you have a home routine that you love? Please share below!
Update: While I do love some of these virtual trainers, I am not always totally in love with most of their diet recommendations. Daily Burn is okay, but I am a firm believer that vegetables should really be emphasized during each meal. If you would like specific personal recommendations, I would be happy to help!
Today, I woke up with that not-so-fabulous congested, lump in my throat feeling. (I'll spare going into any more detail.) On a normal day, I would consider staying home and resting up, but since it has been a long holiday weekend, I decided to get with it and play medicine woman. (Something I enjoy on the regular.) I grabbed my tried and true coconut oil, scooped a heaping spoonful, and let it dissolve in my mouth. After swooshing the oil in my mouth for about 15 minutes (like mouthwash), while doing my usual morning routine, I spit it out in the toilet, used my alcohol-free mouth wash, copper tongue scraper, and brushed my teeth...I promise it isn't as tedious as it seems. Low and behold, I went from feeling like a 3 to a 7! This Ayurvedic practice and very useful form of self-care is called Oil Pulling. How did it help? Not only does oil pulling help detoxify your mouth, which is what its most known for, it also reduces inflammation in your oral cavities and sinuses.
This isn't the first time this ancient remedy has come through. I've been doing it for three years to whiten my teeth, promote clear skin, and insure oral health...and it made me remember why I used to do it daily! Instead of re-writing what's been written by many, here is a wonderful article by Dr. Axe explaining in detail how it works, the benefits, and thorough instructions!
Some clients have shared that the process of the coconut oil going from solid to liquid grosses them out-- in that case, I suggest melting it in a pan first, or just opting for another oil such as sesame oil or olive oil. Just like most things I talk about, quality is everything! I suggest using organic (pesticide free), extra-virgin (extracted with a machine and not chemicals), and cold-pressed (it hasn't been treated with high temperatures, compromising its quality). Getting the cleanest oil available is especially important when it comes to oil pulling because one of the main purposes is to eliminate toxins...the same toxins that come from foods that are laced with pesticides and chemicals.
So, give it a shot, see what you think, and check back to let me know how it goes in the comments below! (I usually see teeth whitening results after just a few uses!)