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!
I recently dropped one of my tried and true philosophies...and paid for it! Even when (especially when) you're overwhelmed and busy, self-care is imperative. These videos are slightly tricky to follow because they're from my Instagram stories and I usually lose my train of thought because the videos stop after 15 seconds SO, I will fill you in...
I have been desperately been trying to adopt a much more simplified lifestyle when it comes to STUFF. I can't even call it "minimalism" just yet because I attempted it before my move and I failed miserably. I ended up having two garage sales, sold stuff on Craigslist, and Facebook marketplace, gave things away, and donated two trucks full of decor and home goods! YET, somehow, that still didn't get me to the point of reaching "minimalist". Why? 1. Apparently, I'm not cool enough. (Totally kidding, but, really, I'm going to have to redefine the term and make it my own...I'm a stylist. I can't own three pairs of jeans and I'm not sorry.) 2. Because it took me three solid days of moving and three trips in a small U-haul van to clear out my house. This eventful topic will be a blog post on its own because I want to share my tips and lessons learned for those of you who are looking to shed some pounds...not on your body this time, but in you home and consciousness!
During those three days, plus the previous days I prepped for my move after working full days, I didn't really invest the necessary TLC in my honor...and I felt it. Without going into too much detail, it probably took me two full days before I came back into my body. No bueno.
Anyway, I frequently hear people plead their case as to why they haven't tried daily meditation, cleaner eating, or just fit in that warm and delightful "me" time-- and it's usually because work has been crazy, their kids have a lot of activities, they've been traveling, etc. The reality is, the more hectic your life is, the more imperative self-care is! Being mindful of balance and being mindful of just being mindful is HUGE when it comes to health, happiness, and genuine wealth.
Similar to why flight attendants instruct you to put on your oxygen mask BEFORE helping a loved one, you cannot give from an empty cup...or in the context of the airplane, you cannot save someone else's life if you yourself are incapacitated!
As always, I must close by saying that this is a constant evolution. Do I meditate, exercise, oil pull, call my family, spend time with friends, and cook 3 balanced meals each day? Nope. But opening up your consciousness to these truths each day is everything and will allow you to slowly reach a new spectrum of balance and ease!
Today holds a lot of significance for those participating in Ash Wednesday. If you don't practice Catholicism, you may be wondering "what is today?!" Well, click here for a great explanation.
While I'm not catholic, this year, I have decided to give something away for lent. Many of us self-soothe with a variety of vices. Anything that you regularly seek comfort from can sometimes be a slippery slope. Sometimes, seeking solace from people can create lofty/ false expectations that can easily lead to disappointment and/or co-dependency. Gravitating towards certain "comfort" foods can obviously equate to weight gain and/ or poor health. Running to substances like drugs and alcohol is never a great choice. If your vice of choice doesn't support optimum health-- you're only supporting a bad habit and an itch you can't really scratch. If your vice REALLY worked then you wouldn't continuously be reaching for it. (Writing this makes me flooded with tedious exceptions and clauses because it's a whole different thing when you replace nonsense with a happy alternative. Ex: I replaced wine after work with KeVita. People who smoke should consider "breathing breaks" instead of smoke breaks. These replacements are still technically a crutch-- so, simply consider being mindful of the fact that you're dependent on something to feel different...but, again, if it's healthy, that's okay.)
These vices not only allow us to feel a different way, but by doing that, you're also participating in escapism. This is where MY lent devotional comes into play. For weeks, I have been pretty overwhelmed and while I can handle stress much better than I used to, I noticed that I was watching a lot more TV in the recent month. I don't actually have cable, but I do purchase seasons of shows via Google Play and I stream Netflix. This is probably typical post-work behavior for most, but I have found myself really only wanting to watch reality TV. If you looked at the seasons of shows I've bought (that I spent actual MONEY on), I would probably be a little embarrassed because it's such trash! The image used for this post is an actual screenshot of some of the titles in my Google purchases. BUT, for me, reality TV is the most satisfying form of escapism because I am truly able to zone the eff out. Not only do most females over analyze, I am an introverted female, who is ALSO a highly sensitive person....whose profession partially requires analytical efforts. (sigh) So, for me, I own the fact that I watch garbage television because I get to quiet my conscious, finally. With that confession comes some more honesty-- I am realizing that I am trying to distract myself and avoid life a little via reality TV. I am about to experience a lot of change and some of this change requires loads of planning and a lot of it is utterly out of my control. Neither of these things are something I am totally comfortable with. I am using TV to escape and avoid some stuff that I really should sit with. Not because I should be all consumed, but because I shouldn't be all consumed. I need to feel it, look at ways to shift my perspective, control what I can, and give the rest to God.
So, tonight is the first night with no TV! I am allowing myself to watch lectures and the occasional classic movie because they light me up so much, but I am going to rely on God to get me through this time of transition-- not the dramatic lives of the elite. I will also have the opportunity to use my evenings writing more (ahem) and really sift through the rest of my stuff so that I can move with more ease and LESS....well. I was going to say less clutter, but I think just LESS sums it up.
Yay, God! I am replacing one empty thing and I will be replacing it with blessings...I can just feel it! STAY TUNED.
Giving something up too? Let me know in the comments below!
First of all, I laughed out loud when I wrote this title because even though it's extremely dramatic, it's not too far from the truth! In my quest to get my 30's off to a good start, I decided to go full tilt into my consulting business without much of a doubt. I had a strong strategy in line, I had a keen feeling LA was my future, and I pursued my dreams. Well, as most of us know, "we plan and God laughs". I will not go into a spiral story about how hard my life is because that's just ridiculous, but I also wouldn't say my life has been a bed of roses. For the sake of authenticity, I always speak my truth-- even when it puts me in a slightly vulnerable state...especially considering the social media world we live in where we show the public our "highlight reel" (most of which is staged). Well, that's just not my jam because I don't think that serves anyone. So, my personal preference is to keep it real and the wiser I get, the more I really want to air that all out. (Especially in my line of work-- I feel like our primary goal is to encourage others. SO, I don't think it's very productive to paint a perfect picture of yourself for people, simultaneously saying you're going to help them tap into their true, authentic self!)
So, on to my story, in the attempt to build a bit of a financial cushion, gain more exposure, and do something I love dearly (style), I recently got a job at Saks Fifth Avenue. I first have to say that the inner workings of this corporate company is quite impressive. Second, I have to say that by taking this position, I was able to learn A LOT about myself. Exposing myself to a once extremely familiar environment made me see just how much I've changed over the past few years. Actually, not only that I've changed, but that I've been able to really get to know myself, truly. Just being in that job role for a short period resulted in old anxieties coming up and with them a pile of food cravings (particularly my blast from the past, tried-and-true comfort food: Chinese take-out).
At first, this irrational behavior totally caught me off guard and I almost resented the feeling that I'd lost contact/control with my centered-self, but looking at it now makes me realize that by having this experience, I am able to relate to my clients that much more. There is value in remembering what it was like to feel like I sort of "needed" to eat/ drink __________. I was also watching myself opt out of daily forms of self-care! WTF was going on?!
One thing that didn't waiver was my ability to check-in. I felt off, fuzzy, disoriented, and far from myself so I was able to stop and ask myself what was going on. Apart from the obvious (working in retail and doing my consults meant I was working every single day), I realized that it was my intuition and basic human needs that were crying out. I had lost focus on what really matters and that is being a Lifestyle Consultant. I know that without a doubt helping people optimize their everyday by way of clean living is my calling.
I was so consumed with getting to point B that I had lost sight of the reason why I was wanting to have that cushion-- to be doing what I LOVE doing: helping people...and in order for me to do that, I have to be in my right mind/body/soul. I do still wholeheartedly believe that assisting people with their wardrobes does help them by making them feel a level of confidence, getting the most out of an evening or an event, being able to self-express, but there is a fine line. Absolutely! (Click here for a more in-depth entry on this topic.)
I also realized that to support my highly sensitive self, I really shouldn't overwork and in the process of overworking, I shouldn't decide to skip out on taking care of myself when it is the most opportune time to do so! Another whammy: I should honor my unique traits by opting for a more supportive work environment...one that is a little more controlled. P.S. If you're interested in more on the subject of Highly Sensitive People and finding the right workplace, this book is great!
Going into this situation, I could have told you what would happen, but I thought it could be an exception...maybe. Sort of like when you think drinking that third or fourth drink THIS TIME will be okay.... when is it ever okay?!
So, in conclusion, this experience was a wonderful opportunity to really FEEL these life truths:
1. It is never an okay idea to drop self-care. You need TLC in many forms: exercise, being in nature, good magazines, pampering, etc.
2. Cravings for foods that don't contribute to your health, also don't contribute to your goals or self-esteem. They are signs that you are out of balance and that you want a pacifier (a hug, a jog, a different job, a nap). The urges feel SO legitimate because they really, really are. Your serious life upsets that cause silly cravings are as legit as it gets. The key is to focus on the serious life upsets. Until you do this, your wires will get crossed and you'll think that they're "serious" cravings and your solution lies in indulging in that food when, really, it's never the answer.
3. HONOR YOURSELF. When you hear that sweet voice in your head and feel that pitter-patter in your heart, and the flutter in your gut-- that doesn't mean you are doomed! Get quiet, listen, validate, and make a change. (Or make steps towards making a change...do what you can, now.) You are more than worth it. If you feel as if you've lost yourself in the mix of life and stress, do whatever you can to evoke that real you. For me, it's classic cinema, words of inspiration (particularly lectures from IIN), listening to Elvis, meditation, reading about my Myers-Briggs personality traits...anything that you can immediately identify with, that will allow you to breathe, and make you feel validated.
Stay-tuned for more brutal honesty about my exciting life adventure! The goal is to get to LA by spring and I'm not going to assume it's going to be easy or simple, but I know it will be eventful! And that's exactly the desire God has put in my heart! xo
.To support those of you who are gearing up for your spring body OR are wanting to take control of your health and energy, I am hosting a special for the month of February! (It's quite special...50% off my typical client rate to be exact.)
Clients who have experienced this tour have said this session removed a lot of guesswork they had typically experienced when trying to find the right foods for themselves and their family. One had stated she now has a new appreciation for eating healthy because she's been introduced to a new way of eating it!
If you or any of your family have dietary restrictions, I am happy to accommodate your needs.
I typically conduct these sessions in the evenings-- so, slots are limited! Also, if you want to bring a spouse or a friend, that's not only fine, but encouraged!
I also highly suggest that you take photos with your phone, take notes, AND plan on shopping as we go-- to make this session that much more productive.
*Please note: discounted roll over rates do apply for any session surpassing one hour.
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!
While living in LA, one of my very favorite grounding foods was the lasagna at restaurant called Maggiano's. Well, as I usually mention in these recipe posts, while I loved it, once I changed my eating habits, I knew I wouldn't be eating that lasagna again UNLESS I revamped the recipe in a pretty big way! Luckily, I found their recipe, cleaned up the ingredients, made it gluten-free, tweaked measurements (actually removing a lot of cheese), and decided to cook it three years ago for Christmas dinner. Since it was so well received, I've made it each year since, gradually refining bit by bit to create this crowd pleaser CLEAN lasagna.
In this ingredients list, I prefer to select all organic, non-GMO options! When it comes to dairy/ animal products, it's especially important to choose antibiotic-free, grass-fed, organic, and non-GMO...if and when possible! While this recipe isn't necessarily "healthy", by improving the quality of the ingredients, you are removing a lot of detrimental additives.
For the Filling:
- 4 whole eggs
- 1 cup parmesan cheese
- 32 oz. ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup brown rice flour
- 1-1/2 tsp pink salt or sea salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1-1/2 tsp finely minced garlic OR 1 tsp granulated garlic
1. In a large bowl, add the eggs, parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese, and garlic.
2. Mix well with a whisk. Add the flour, salt, and pepper. Mix until completely incorporated.
3. Scrape down the sides of bowl-- mix again.
4. Use immediately or refrigerate.
- One 9 oz. box of brown rice lasagna noodles, I prefer Jovial!
- Lasagna filling (above recipe)
- Two 25 oz. jars of marinara sauce, I prefer Mezetta's Roasted Garlic and Caramelized Onion, but Jovial's is good too.
- One 16 oz. bag of Italian Blend shredded cheese OR 1-1/2 cups of mozzarella, provolone, romano & parmesan cheese.
- 1 lb. of grass-fed ground beef, browned
1. Boil lasagna noodles for 4 minutes prior to assembly. (Don't cook any longer to avoid mush!)
2. Using a rubber spatula, spread 1/2 cup marinara sauce on bottom of baking dish. Lay a layer of lasagna pasta over sauce. (If using traditional lasagna dish or casserole dish, it ends up being approx. 4 lasagna sheets per layer. If needed, cut sheets to fit space) Approx dish sizes: 10" x 16" or 13" x 9".
3. Spread filling evenly over pasta with spatula. Then, evenly distribute the 1 lb. of browned (cooked) ground beef. Place another layer of pasta sheets on top, then spread 1/2 cup marinara.
4. Repeat this process until you reach 3 layers of noodles. Two layers of filling. The top of the lasagna should be a layer of noodles with another 1/2 cup of marinara on top.
5. Cover lasagna with a layer of plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil, if storing over night.
If cooking right away, cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake lasagna in preheated oven set to 350 degrees.
6. Cook lasagna for approx. 40-45 minutes. Then, spread 16 oz. of Italian Blend shredded cheese on top. Cook for additional 15 minutes, or until golden.
*Optional: add sliced zucchini to layers (shown below)
The mind/ body connection is so real. I witness it each day seeing stories from various coaches and practitioners and watching my clients' health improve just by focusing on what's going on in their world and how they process and cope. I have also personally experienced the power of shifting lifestyle factors and having symptoms alleviate! Even the type of people I invest my time with can sometimes have an immediate impact...for better or worse, depending on the person!
Read this article for more information on how/ why you can drastically impact your health by focusing on lifestyle factors such as relationships, career, creativity, spirituality, productivity, etc! (All of the areas we discuss during my sessions!)
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!