Tag: yoga

MOTIVATION + FITNESS + just LIVIN’ your BEST LIFE

MOTIVATION + FITNESS + just LIVIN’ your BEST LIFE

Staying Motivated. 

I get this question asked a lot…how on EARTH do I stay motivated while managing a busy schedule? Unfortunately, I probably don’t have the answer you want to hear…(no, there’s no magic potion or superfood out there…hehe…although I wish there was) but I do have tips that have helped me over the years! I’ll be honest; my commitment to fitness has basically been a way of life for me that was engraved into my younger self beginning in high school. Being part of the cross-country and track & field team throughout high-school was key to learning how to manage time, while also prioritizing my love for running and obligation to competing my best on the high school varsity team. Though it was in high school where I learned to manage time, clean eating didn’t come until much later in life (I’ll get to the in a bit). After high school, I went on to run competitively on my universities DI track & field and cross-country team. I couldn’t imagine my life without being part of a team (hence why I’ve continued to seek that same sense of community through other outlets like Corepower Yoga).  That leads me to my first TIP…

TEAM + COMMUNITY + FRIENDSHIP

Though it may sound cliché, having a support group has always been the most important and motivating factor in maintaining my dedication to fitness. I can especially attest to this during my college running career. I don’t know what I would have done without my best friends (all of whom I ran with from Day 1) by my side throughout those 4 years. From struggling to get to 6am weight lifting sessions, to VERY long 2-day track meets, to grueling intervals on the track, to HOT long run days early in the cross-country season…these girls helped me get through every second of those moments where I wanted to give up.  

My point here? Find a support group that will be there for you when times get tough. Find that community that keeps you motivated. Keep those friends around who are going to push you to be the BEST version of yourself, not those who try to knock you down. This is why going to group fitness classes can be a really great way to build that community and find the RIGHT one for you. Remember, you’re not necessarily going to “click” with every fitness class you try and that’s OK. For me, I found Corepower. For others, it may be Soul Cycle, Cross Fit, Barry’s Boot Camp, Barre3…the list goes on and on! Find your COMMUNITY, build on those friendships, and lastly find a class that you actually ENJOY. At the end of the day fitness should be fun….which…you guessed it…this leads to my next TIP…

MAKE FITNESS FUN AGAIN

I feel like we’ve slowly gone away from this idea that fitness should be fun. Fitness isn’t about killing yourself over 2-a-days and going HARD every single day without any rest day. Fitness doesn’t have to always involve cardio, weights, or even breaking a crazy sweat. Unfortunately, due to social media, there’s this false idea that you should be spending more than an hour a day breaking a killer sweat, burning crazy amount of calories, and essentially creating this picture that you should be miserable after every workout, otherwise, you’re not pushing hard enough. These are all LIEZZZZ!!! My idea of fun? LOUD MUSIC that gets my body moving. Any workout that can be done in under an hour. Workouts that are different and keep both my body AND mind guessing. Fitness classes that make you feel welcomed and not “left out” if you have no idea what the F you’re doing. Workouts that leaving you feeling (naturally) high on LIFE after (not dead lol)! And yes…somedays I truly ENJOY doing treadmill sprints for 45 minutes. BUT that doesn’t mean I do that every day…TRUST me. There’s definitely a crazy side of me that enjoys pushing past my limits…but I am now more aware that these kind of workouts are a 1x a week (if that) kind of thing and your body NEEDS to recover before and after.

KEEP YOUR BODY GUESSING

I touched on it briefly above, but switching up at least a few times a week is important for so many reasons! For one, let’s start with the obvious. Switching things up keeps you from getting bored with the workout you’re doing. Let’s do the math here…BOREDOM = NOT FUN. NEW and EXCITING = FUN! Sorry if that’s cheesy but it’s the fricken TRUTH. I used to run…every…single…day…for 8+ years straight. And you wonder why I’m so anti-running these days? Don’t get me wrong I love going for a run when the weather outside is RIGHT or I’m always down for some interval sprints on the treadmill. But, running every single day made me want to hate it…which is sad, because I actually do enjoy running, however, it got to the point of where I started to rebel against it. My “fitness routine” changes regularly since I love to always change things up!

Here’s what a typical week looks like for me RIGHT NOW:

  • Corepower Yoga Sculpt 1 or 2x
  • Yoga 2x
  • Soul Cycle or Treadmill Intervals or Stair Stepper 1 or 2x
  • Special Fitness Class: recently tried SLT pilates and LOVE it. Also a big fan of Barry’s Boot Camp,

At least ONE rest day a week! I like to walk on these days ☺

Not only is it important to switch up your workouts to avoid boredom but it also helps to develop different muscles that may not get any attention if you’re say, running every day. Additionally, your body learns to adapt (and improve) and therefor, you consume less energy, which is why you may not see the changes you’re hoping to see in your body.  

WORKING OUT MAKES ME A MORE PRODUCTIVE PERSON

Here’s another big thing that keeps me motivated is knowing that workouts lead to an overall more productive day for me. I’ve found that on days when I don’t get any movement in first thing in the AM, the whole day seems to drag on, I find that I have constant brain fog, I fall out of “good health” habits, and lastly, I just am not my “energized and outgoing” self.  I love the natural endorphins I get from working out…so yes, that gets me out of bed.

GET SLEEP!!

My last tip here is get an ample amount of sleep. More sleep = more energy to burn. On days I don’t get enough sleep, I use that time to take off from a workout and give my body time to recover. I know if I try to push myself on days when I’m feeling low in energy, my workouts too, reflect that same feeling. I do tend to wake up very early to squeeze my workouts in first thing in the AM (at least 3-4 days a week). How do I do this? It’s easy. I’m ALWAYS in bed by 9 or 9:30 latest. This is an absolute MUST. Now, my body is so used to that schedule, that waking up early has become so much easier for me and I now thrive in the mornings vs. at night.

At the end of the day…FITNESS is a part of my life. It’s what makes me the best version of myself and I purely love it for just that reason <3

How Teaching Helped me Regain my Confidence…

How Teaching Helped me Regain my Confidence…

Less than two weeks ago, I was coming off a high of teaching my VERY first Corepower class and found myself preaching to my mom about confidence. In that moment, I DID feel confident. The class was a rush of magical energy, nervousness, excitement, and pure adrenaline. I had just finished teaching my first class, without f***ing it up…which believe me, came as a surprise since leading up to that point, I was bottling up a lot of self-doubt. Anyway, back to this conversation with my mom. She’s beautiful, looks like she could be 30 years old, incredibly creative, and is an entrepreneur – yet she has little confidence in herself. Why is it that we women constantly feel like we’re not good enough? I hear it all of the time, “confidence is the best accessory”. Even though I know this and believe me, I try to fake it until I make it, but some days, I find myself hiding behind my hair or an oversized sweater. I find myself hunched over, rather than standing tall. I put earphones in and avoid eye contact. Why is it that I do these things? What is it in these moments that make me feel less confident in myself? Sometimes it’s the comparison trap, whether that be from social media, TV, magazines, etc. Sometimes it’s because I’m wearing sweats and no makeup. Sometimes it’s because I feel “soft and bloated” after a weekend of overindulging. All of these reasons come down to appearance.

How can we push past the idea that appearance = confidence? Well, this brings me back to that post-teaching high. I’m not saying everyone needs to go out and teach a class. But a BIG area of insecurity for me has always been public speaking and putting myself out there, because ultimately I felt insecure about myself. Does this come as a surprise to you? If so, I GET why. I’ve had a blog since college now where I post pictures of myself, my food, and my everyday life through Instagram story.  Though it may appear like I have my shit together….believe me when I say, that’s not always true. For example, I STRUGGLED big time when Instagram story started to become a thing. I was so used to hiding behind my food pictures that having to talk to a video and a large audience terrified me. What would people say about me? What if they don’t like what I’m posting? What if they don’t like my personality? What if I’m not looking my best? In a way, Instagram story helped to push me out of my comfort zone and get over caring what people would THINK of me.

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In December of 2016, I went off and did a 17 day intensive yoga teacher training. I hadn’t gone into it with the intention of teaching. Within the first day or so there, we had to get up in front of everyone and teach a small part. I didn’t know what I was doing. I felt awkward, uncomfortable, nervous, terrified…all of the above. You could tell I was not confident in my own body. Yet, no one judged me. Luckily, I was in a group of the MOST supportive people. It was never a competition. We were all here to improve and we all had a personal reason as to WHY we were here, in this space, pushing our limits, together. By the end of the 17-days I was a different person. I wasn’t perfect by any means, but I was WAY more confident leaving there than I had been when I arrived.

Beginning in October 2017, I had my very first Corepower yoga sculpt teaching training. For those of you who are not familiar with sculpt, it’s a heated, fast-paced, music centric, high-energy, yoga meets strength training class. It is VERY different than yoga, but has always been a practice that I’ve loved because it truly makes working out FUN. I’ll be honest, before signing up for this, I never thought I could get up there and teach a class like this. Just as teaching yoga finally became comfortable for me, sculpt brought on a new element. People come to this class to get a hard, FUN 60 minute workout in. But just as I threw myself into yoga training, I figured why not, let’s test my limits once again. Though I tend to sign up for these types of things with a lot of doubt, I do it because I KNOW this is the only way I’ll ever keep improving. I love challenging myself and getting out of my comfort zone. This drive is what helps to build my confidence. When I get into something that makes me uneasy, but come out on the other side successful, that is where I begin to see my confidence shine through. It has absolutely nothing to do with looks. It’s finding something that both excites you but scares you at the same time. It’s challenging yourself to be the best version of YOU.  That’s when and where I’m the MOST confident.

Finding CONFIDENCE can be different for everyone. What I’ve found in the past year or so, is when I put myself out there without truly giving a f*** what anyone thinks, that’s when my confidence reaches an all-time high. I’ve only taught just a few classes at this point, but already, the way I feel after a class is unlike anything I can explain. I love that I have the ability to motivate and empower this amazingly supportive community to get through 60 minutes of fricken HARD work. Had I continued doubting myself, I never would have had the opportunity to find so much joy through teaching. I can already tell that this was one of the best decisions I’ve made. I know that with each class I teach, the more confidence I’ll find. Teaching has given me the confidence to OWN who I am. My at home yoga practice has given me the confidence to feel beautiful in my own body and fight that negative talk. My blog has given me the confidence to let my creative side run wild and free. Living a healthy lifestyle has nourished my body and enables me to feel glowing in my own skin. These are just a few things I’ve learned along the way that have helped to build my confidence. I know there will still be days of doubt and insecurity, but already, those days seem few and far between compared to how I was feeling just a few years back.

My challenge to you? Go after something that you’ve always been drawn to, but at the same time, find terrifying. The accomplishment you feel at the end of whatever journey that may be is MAGICAL and so incredibly gratifying. That exact moment is where you’ll find the most confidence.  

Current January Obsessions

Current January Obsessions

Alright, alright so last month you saw my December obsessions, this month it’s all about what I’m digging in 2018. There are so many awesome products and trends to highlight, but I’ll hit ya with my top 8 for now – stay tuned for Feb’s addition next month!

  1. Throwing a curve ball here by starting with a fashion trend I LOVE. I‘d personally like to thank the Kardashian clan for making leotards and high-waisted pants an acceptable look to wear for both a day-time and night-time look. I LOVE leotards…so long as they have the handy buttons at the crotch LOL – it makes peeing a million x’s easier! But in all seriousness, I love them for a few reasons. You don’t need to THINK about planning an outfit. It’s as easy as picking a cute nude color, pairing it with a light-wash high-waisted jean, sneakers, and a cute chunky belt. Add a comfy cardigan for a day-time look and then swap that out for a leather bomber coat & a choker necklace for a cool, night-time look. My fave places to purchase affordable leotards are Forever 21 (they have so many cute colors and styles for INSANELY cheap) and Urban Outfitters is always a go-to of mine. American Apparel carries some cute, classic ones as well!
  2. I mentioned Vital Proteins collagen on my last post…this month, it’s all about the Vital Proteins Coconut Collagen Creamer. I love this because it’s the perfect addition to your caffeine fueled espresso/latte or matcha latte. OR add it to a smoothie, golden milk, whatever it is that makes you HAPPY! I personally love the taste of coconut and this creamer takes your morning beverage from a 4 to a 12 easily. You can shop for it on Amazon or order right from the Vital Proteins site.
  3. A cool 2018 day…LIFE…EVERYTHING planner. I’m a visual person and therefor, writing things down makes my life so much easier. Not to mention, I’ve been keeping EVERY detail for wedding planning in here and it keeps me SANE. Find a cute planner that leaves you a lot of space to write to-do’s, goals, plans, etc. for each day. I love that my planner (got it from Target!) gives me a whole page for just one day and includes sections for:
    • Today’s Top Three
    • A cute little inspiring quote each day
    • Today’s Schedule (broken out by each hour of the day)
    • TonightTo-Do List (parallels my schedule) 
    • And lastly a section for Gratitude each day
  4. CBD oil. I can’t say enough great things about CBD oil and you’re probably sick of hearing me blab about it if you follow me on Instagram. But I swear it’s for GOOD reason. Biggest and most noticeable benefits I’ve seen so far? Better night’s sleep, less anxiety, less joint paint, and less inflammation. I personally love the oil from Cap Beauty since it has extra chic adaptogens in addition to the CBD oil. I will warn you that this brand is v pricey but it comes in a pretty large bottle and you only need ½ tsp a day to get the benefits! So it goes pretty far for how much you’re spending. Another brand I’ve heard good things about is: Lazarus Naturals
  5. Dr. Dennis Gross Products. After listening to the Skinny Confidential podcast last month where she interviewed the skin god himself, Dr. Dennis Gross…I was pretty much sold. I’ll be honest; I did not care about good skin care at all up until this point. Obviously I have a skin care routine than includes cleansing my face with clean products, using serums, face masks, etc. BUT I never really cared about the sun and the extent of it’s damage on my skin. Growing up it was all about who could be the tannest and you can bet I had my glow on almost all year round. Especially come the summer time, I grew up teaching sailing and was on the water/out in the sun all day. My TOP goal for this year is to really focus on good skin care and avoiding sun damage. This means A LOT of sunscreen all the time, staying out of the sun or wearing a hat as much as possible, and using products like the Alpha Beta Skin peel from his product line.
  6. Any tea that has TURMERIC and/or GINGER in it are my absolute faves. Trader Joe’s carries a delicious ginger, turmeric, herbal tea. I also recently fell in love with the Pukka Turmeric Glow tea. It’s a delicious blend of turmeric + green tea + lemon fruit. I add a splash of homemade cinnamon cashew milk and it is PURE JOY. The combo of ginger + turmeric should be your best friend. It is the king of all ANTI-INFLAMMATORY ingredients if you ask me! I love it in the morning or at night before bed.
  7. Barry’s BootCamp. Recently got hooked on this class and LOVE it. Having been a runner my whole life, this class definitely brings that competiveness back. I only go once a week (if that), but it’s a great, killer workout for when you need a little extra cardio/HIIT/strength training in your life! I find it’s a great balance with my CorePower Yoga Sculpt practice, my at-home yoga & pilates practice, and the strength training I do at the gym.
  8. My latest Alo Yoga pants obsession goes to these leggings: Ultimate High Waist Legging in the Rosewater color. I love that nudes are having a serious moment right now and I’m jumping right on that bandwagon! Plus these are SO comfy, love they have a good high-waist, and you can easily go from yoga to a coffee date and keep your outfit looking cool & trendy for the fitness gal on-the-go!

That’s all I have for you this month! Keep an eye out for Feb’s obsessions next 🙂

A look back at 2017 & What my #1 GOAL is for the New Year

A look back at 2017 & What my #1 GOAL is for the New Year

Hi guys! Apologies for the blog hiatus. Since the holidays, I’ve had trouble feeling a bit creative, which in turn means no exciting blog posts for ya! Though I consider myself to be a creative person, there are times when other things take priority and I just don’t feel inspired or motivated. Creativity is definitely an ebb and flow kind of thing for me. Some days I feel SO inspired, excited, and passionate and on other days, it’s just blah. But, hey, that’s life! Not every day is going to be perfect and that’s OK ☺

Anyway, I hope you all had a fabulous holiday break and had time to hang with friends and family. I know it was non-stop for me all break, so I definitely needed to hit the refresh button as soon as I got back into my daily routine. That being said…I am SO EXCITED for what 2018 has in store for me. For one, Justin and I are getting married (EEKK) on August 25th, 2018 – so I’d say that’s a pretty MAJOR thing to be amped about for 2018. But on top of that, I have so many exciting trips, friend reunions, and a CRAZY cool honeymoon that we’re in the middle of planning to Southeast Asia!

I have a gut feeling that 2018 is going to be a GREAT year. I’ll be honest, 2017 was an interesting year for me – a lot of change & was on a mission to find what excites me and “sets my soul on fire”. This certainly came with its challenges and I sure as hell hit a few low points. All that said, I’m so grateful for my experiences because I gained a wealth of new knowledge (and new friends)! Reflecting back on 2017, I think one big thing that was missing for me since graduating college nearly 5 years ago was continuing my path to grow, learn more, and fill a void. Granted I was learning new things at work…but they weren’t all in line with my passions. I have an itch to learn more and challenge myself, but in the world of health and wellness, because that has always been where my curiosity resigns.  So what’s my point in all of this? NEVER STOP LEARNING. I’m carrying this lust to learn over into 2018 and I challenge you to join me! Find something that excites you, maybe completely different than what your 8-5 looks like, and go after it.

It can be ANYTHING and it doesn’t always have to cost a lot of money or in some cases, it may be FREE. Here are some ideas on how I plan to either continue challenging myself or some things that are future goals (either for this year or 2019, 2020, and so on)…

  1. I would have to say that pursuing my 200HR yoga teacher training was one of my favorites. I had a fairly good, at-home practice going before I completed my intensive training, but it was more so for the physical benefits. At the time, I didn’t look at yoga as a spiritual or mental journey – it was purely a form of exercise, toning, and stretching for me. That being said, I was ready for a drastic change in my life and on the whim, applied to a 200HR intensive training in Mallorca, Spain. This was the BEST decision. I intuitively felt a want to get in touch with myself and a more spiritual practice…and this was the answer. Oh and PS you don’t need to be a yoga pro to complete your 200HR. Nor do you need to necessarily have the intention to go out and teach after your training. These are both common misconceptions about 200HR yoga teacher training. There is SO much more value that you get out of this magical journey. Learn more on my experience with my post from last year!
  2. Piggy backing off the above, I’m now in the middle (and nearing the end) of my training for CorePower Yoga Sculpt. I haven’t found a community I love as much as what I have at CPY. I also fell in love immediately with their sculpt class. I loved the high energy, the fun music, the strength training aspect, the heat, etc. I still have my at-home yoga practice, but I love switching it up with CPY sculpt classes. I also love that you can always pop into any class, whether it be sculpt or yoga, at any time of day and with so many options for locations in the city! Anyway, just like 200HR yoga training, ANYONE can sign up for the CPY sculpt training. And I’ll be honest; this style of teaching is way more challenging than what you may think from just attending a class. Don’t get me wrong, my 200HR yoga training was extremely challenging, but CPY sculpt training brings its new challenges – power of voice, music & beat matching to exercises, weight & strength training, having the whole class flow seamlessly, and of course making it both challenging and fun at the same time. Anyway, as you can tell, I have an appetite for fitness and sharing that with others in the community! This is my form of challenging myself and continuing my journey to learn more and get out of my comfort zone!
  3. Reading! Oh gosh there is so much I can say hear. In the past year, I’ve gotten WAY more into spirituality and self-care in so many forms. Learning more about yoga, meditation, forms of mindfulness, crystals, scents, oils, holistic self-care tricks, astrology, food freedom, manifestation, and oh the list could go on. There are SO MANY FREE resources online. Well & Good , Mind, Body, Green, and Chalkboard are always a few of my favorite go-to’s for catching up on the latest wellness trends. Then from there, I’ll usually go into a deeper dive on the topic elsewhere. I like that both sites “dumb” it down in a sense…aka making it relatable to a large audience. In addition to online resources, there are so many cool books out there, some of my faves being Gabby Bernstein and Kelly Leveque’s book.
  4. Listening! What do I mean by this? Podcasts. There is SO much to learn from a simple 1.5 hour episode…you just need to be listening to the right interview. I can’t even tell you how much knowledge I’ve gained from various podcasts I’ve listened to. I also have some of my fave podcast go-to’s and find it so exciting when I learn about a topic that I’ve never even heard about before, mostly because I trust the interviewer and their interviewee choices! The best part? There is literally a podcast out there for EVERYTHING and ANYTHING. Seriously!! Any topic you’re interested in learning more about…there’s likely a podcast for it.
  5. Watch! Justin and I are serial documentary viewers. I LOVE them. I’ll be honest, it’s really hard for me to get through movies (I swear my attention span lasts for all of 30 minutes during any movie). But for some reason, documentaries are the ONLY ones that can hold my attention from start to end. There are so many interesting docs on netflix that are health & wellness focused. Additionally, I’ve been really into more life sciences, UFO’s (haha don’t judge me), nature, the universe, etc.! Also, another great resource for health & wellness focused documentaries is FoodMatters TV. You can subscribe for an online subscription and get so many free resources including documentaries, meditations, yoga pratices, guided courses, recipes, interviews, and more!
  6. Attending a workshop and/or conference. Another great way to learn is putting yourself out there and attending a local workshop or even a larger-scale conference. There’s so much value in attending things in person and meeting/interacting with like-minded people. I’m always scrolling through Eventbrite.com in the Boston area to see what events are going on locally – it’s a great resource for any city!
  7. Take an online course! In the next year or two, I plan on signing up for the integrative nutrition course or another course that is primarily focused on functional and/or holistic nutrition. This has ALWAYS been something I’ve wanted to do, just need to carve out the time. Seeing as 2018 is a busy year for me, I’m thinking I’ll tackle this one in 2019! But I wanted to share and keep it on the radar. Other online resources that I love is from FoodMattersTV and Mind, Body, Green!

Those are some of my pro tips on how you can continue to keep challenging yourself in the new year and never stop learning! Would love to hear any of your suggestions in the comments!

Current December Obsessions

Current December Obsessions

A while back (more like 2015 lol – you’ll be able to tell based on the “fads”), I had a series of posts called “In With the New Obsessions, Out with the Old” …these “obsessions” ranged from health & fashion trends, to favorite products, wellness tips, travel destinations, etc. I decided to bring this series back because let’s be honest…my obsessions are constantly changing and with how quickly trends come and go, I like to share what I think is actually worth the hype and the investment. So, here’s what I have for you for December’s Obsessions! PS – none of the below is sponsored in any way. Any products mentioned are truly those I love and enjoy!

Book of choice: Body Love: Live in Balance, Weigh What you Want, and Free Yourself from Food Drama Forever by Kelly Leveque

  1. I’ve been following Kelly for quite some time now. From her Instagram, to podcast interviews, to MBG articles, and more! It wasn’t until my friend gifted me (thanks Jackie!!) her new book, that I REALLY started to get what all the hype was about Kelly. Her book essentially is the guide to FOOD FREEDOM and at the end of the day, isn’t that what we’re all seeking? Regardless of whether you’ve had a bad relationship with food or not, I think we all tend to at some point or another, get caught up in a food obsession. It’s unfortunately a result of a restrictive diet culture that we grew up with (especially those who were born in the 80’s and 90’s).
  2. Luckily, REAL health (aka not those “diet frozen dinners” or “meal shakes”) is becoming trendy. I think that Kelly plays a big role in this. Her book is so incredibly informative. She empowers you with REAL science to back up the facts. I find it so helpful when I can understand what is going on in my body, to help me make smarter and healthier decisions. She runs through living a positive, stress free lifestyle while making healthy choices. She offers healthy recipes, talks about her Fab4 Smoothies, fitness, and so on.

Fab4 Lifestyle and FIBER

  1. Alright so if I’ve learned ANYTHING between Kelly Leveque’s “Fab4” lifestyle and Tanya’s F-Factor lifestyle…it’s basically the importance of incorporating FIBER into our diet at EVERY meal. Because FIBER is COOL and makes ya regular…ya feel me?!!??! (hahahaha) Unfortunately, because so much of our food has become processed, we’ve moved away from naturally fiber-rich foods. Fiber essentially helps things move through our body (aka bowel movements if I’m being FRANK lol), helps to detoxify toxins, helps to break down carbohydrates, and can even help prevent forms of cancer.
  2. The “Fab4” lifestyle is essentially eating the following at every meal: healthy FATS, FIBER rich foods, GREENS/VEGGIES, PROTEIN, plus any extra superfoods or adaptogens if you choose! If you have a little bit of both at every meal, you’ll naturally start to feel full & satiated longer, your hunger hormones will be turned off, you’ll keep your blood sugar levels low, and you’ll naturally find that you either maintain weight or shed those few extra pounds based on where you and your body feel best.
    1. Recommended sources of fiber:
    2. GG’s Scandanavian crackers – you’ve likely seen these posted on the Skinny Confidential or part of the F-Factor movement. They’re one of the HIGHEST forms of fiber rich grab-n-go snacks out there, that are super low in cals. Add them to lunch & breakfast to help fill you up!
    3. If you’re GF, Jillz Crackers and Mary’s Gone Crackers are also great options
    4. flax Seeds
    5. Chia Seeds
    6. Raspberries, Avocados, Brussel Sprouts, Legumes, Pomegranate, etc. are also high sources of fiber that are found in fruits and veggies.

Vital Proteins – i.e. Love their COLLAGEN products

  1. I know this isn’t exactly a “new” trend, but it’s a trend that has stuck and for good reason! There are so many amazing benefits to adding collagen into your diet:
    1. Muscle & joint recovery
    2. Stronger, more vibrant hair, skin, and nails
    3. Better nights sleep
    4. PLUS they now have a new matcha collagen!

Fawen Drinkable Soups

  1. So this is one product I’ve really been LOVING lately. Why? Well, I recently went to Whole Foods and was strolling through the pre-packaged soup section (because winter = endless nights of soup) and was honestly shocked to find that I could count on one hand the number of soups that were sugar free, preservative free, weird additive free, gum free, and so on. Even brands I thought to be “healthy” had added cane sugar or used vegetable oil in their soups.
  2. Fawen is honestly one of the only to-go soups I’ve found that use REAL ingredients like coconut oil, turmeric, apple cider vinegar, Himalayan salt, season veggies, etc. to help flavor their soups. NO weird added anything! Oh and ps they taste great and can be enjoyed right from the container (though I love heating it up over the stovetop anyway)!

Cacao & REFINED SUGAR-FREE Vegan/Paleo Chocolate

  1. I tend to have a major sweet tooth after dinner and also tend to crave chocolate. This doesn’t need to be a “cheat” if you find the RIGHT chocolate out there. Cacao is a SUPERFOOD for a reason and should be enjoyed (right)! What are my favorite Brands?
    1. Hu Chocolate – especially their “dark salted chocolate”   (with ingredients like cacao, coconut oil, Himalayan salt, and coconut sugar to flavor). No cane sugar, dairy products, etc.!
    2. Eating Evolved – similar to Hu chocolate, they use coconut oil, coconut butter, and coconut sugar to sweetend.
    3. Lastly, if those two products aren’t in budget, then no worries! Make your own chocolate bark easily using coconut oil, cacao, cinnamon, Himalayan salt, and coconut sugar/honey/or maple syrup following THIS recipe.

Spotify Playlists

  1. Music is and has always been one constant form of pure HAPPINESS in my life. Justin and I love going to shows, festivals, or even just hanging at home and listening to music. It just puts you in the right place
  2. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with making playlists on spotfiy that are 100% ME and vary based on my mood. I have a playlist for everything – mornings, yoga flows, Friday nights, summer day vibes, and so on.
  3. So if you’re not following me, get on it AND if you haven’t gone into your own Spotify hole…do it! But beware, you may get sucked in for hours creating playlists!

Friend, Fitness, and Foodie Dates

  1. One thing I love about this Instagram/blogging community is that it has connected me with so many new people! And what better way to connect than over a fitness class, followed by a healthy treat?! I’ve talked about this before, but face-to-face interaction is SO valuable and GOOD for the soul. It’s easy to be comfortable in your own apartment and routine (trust me, I’m the last person to want to make plans during the week) BUT when I finally get my butt out the door and DO it, it feels SO good. I always leave those conversations on a high. It’s nice connecting, sharing similar struggles (and successes), chatting about health, wellness, friends, boys, music, ALL OF IT.

A fashion trend I can’t get over? JUMP SUITS.

  1. I’m sure this is one trend you’ve seen a lot lately, but hey, I don’t see myself getting over it any time soon. Jumpsuits transform perfectly from day to evening, summer to winter. They work all year round. They can be dressed up or dressed down. They’re comfy AF. A nice fitted one makes your booty look GREAT. I mean what more can I say?? Go get yourself one or two jumpsuits that you love and that can be versatile. It’s my idea of the new “little black dress” that everyone needs to have as a staple in their closet! Here’s one from Forever21 that I recently bought and LOVE.

Favorite Bar? This one hasn’t really changed and for good reason – RX BARS

  1. These bars still have got to be my favorite out there. High in protein (egg whites), healthy fats (nuts), naturally sweetened with dates, no weird added things at all.
  2. Though I don’t recommend eating one every day, I do find these are GREAT to have on hand if you need a “bridge snack” between lunch and dinner, or while traveling, on-the-go, etc.!
  3. My favorite flavors right now? Their seasonal Gingerbread flavor, Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate Sea Salt, Maple Sea Salt, and Coconut Chocolate Chip!

Deepening your Yoga Practice

So I’m doing my BEST to MANIFEST a future yoga retreat because I see so much value in them. Though these can be costly, I think they’re 100% worth it! It’s the BEST kind of way to hit refresh, take a hot second from the craziness that is life, and connect with your mind, body, and SOUL. It doesn’t necessarily need to be some fancy retreat in Costa Rica. Even a one-day refresh can be just as valuable! Look around locally. I’m sure you can find at least one or two within driving distance!

This time last year, I also took the leap of faith and traveled to Mallorca for my 200hr yoga teacher training and FELL IN LOVE with everyone about it. So spirutually opening. Pushed me out of my comfort zone BIG TIME. Even if you have no intention on teaching, I recommend it to deepen your practice.

Lastly, I’m currently in my Corepower teacher sculpt training at this moment. I LOVE high-energy music and workouts, so this is the perfect way to blend my love for yoga with high-intensity fitness.

That’s all for now! Hope you enjoyed. Oh and by the way, NONE of this is sponsored. Any products mentioned are truly those I love and enjoy!

How to Get Out of that Winter FUNK

How to Get Out of that Winter FUNK

Those of you who follow me on my Instagram page have likely heard me talk about being in a funk right now as a result of the colder days and darker nights here in good, ole Boston! I wrote a similar post last winter and have decided to bulk that one up with additional tips & tricks to getting out of the winter funk! So here’s what I’ve found…sometimes all you need is one WHOLE day to REBOOT and it can do wonders!

Actually take a FULL self-care day!

Unfortunately our culture has created a fast-pace, high-stressed environment, especially on the east coast. Though this mindset is great and all in theory, “work hard, play harder”…but do we ACTUALLY play? Ever feel like it’s a competition to see who has a busier week or who was more stressed or who stayed later at work? Why should this be praised? It’s just a recipe to fully BURN out in the future. Self-care and taking time to yourself is NOT selfish, it’s quite frankly NECESSARY for good, long-term healthy & longevity. Ignore what your peers think at work and DO YOU. At the end of the day, if you’re more rejuvenated and refreshed, you WILL put out better quality work, more efficiently and effectively than the co-worker sitting next to you.

Alright, so that you see the importance of taking a self-care day…what does that look like? Well, it looks different for everyone! Here’s an inside peek into what my IDEAL self-care day may look like:

7AM – 12PM

  • Sleep in an extra hour.
  • Wake up and make a warm cup of ginger turmeric tea with lemon & fresh ginger. Helps for good digestion in the AM, balances acidity, anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Take my daily supplements (these tend to vary, but I ALWAYS have a probiotic pill, B12 (don’t eat meat & good source of energy), Vitamin D (especially needed in the winter), occasionally a digestive enzyme (if traveling)
  • Turn on my oil diffuser (currently using LAVENDAR oil) & salt lamp. Helps to calm the mood! Also, I wrote a post about tips for calming the mind here.
  • Put on a good, upbeat playlist. Especially into a few of my Spotify playlists right now:
  • Make either a MATCHA or Espresso-Based LATTE
    • Follow the above links for yummy matcha & latte recipes
  • Answer emails, Instagram Comments, DM’s, etc. (I find I’m the most productive in the morning, but since this is SELF-CARE day, limit use)
  • Do a quick 10 minute stretch/flow to wake up the body. Light incense or a sage stick to set the mood. Focus on spinal stretches like cat/cows and twists to loosen up the spine after lying in bed for 8 hours. Here’s a post I did a while back on simple yoga moves to help relieve stress and anxiety!
  • Meditate & write a few things down in your journal that you’re grateful for!
  • Make a healthy, FAB 4 style breakfast. Include fats, fiber, protein, veggies/green, and limit sugars (fruit) to ¼ cup!
  • Sometimes if I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll clean. I know this sounds like “work” BUT hear me out…if I’m in the mood (key word here), sometimes cleaning can be SO therapeutic AND can actually be a cause of feeling unmotivated and overwhelmed in your own place! Think about the saying… “a clear space is a clear mind”. PS – I find I’m especially motivated to clean right after coffee when I’m feeling fueled and energized.
  • In addition to cleaning…how about going through your closet (and anything else in your apt/house) and pulling out items that no longer have a purpose in your life? I always joke that I’m an aspiring minimalist. If you know me, you know I have a closet FULL of endless clothes & shoes. Yes, I admit I’m a bit obsessed with fashion, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get rid of old clothes (and items laying around that are just adding to a more cluttered space). Giving away clothes can be such a RELIEF sometimes and leave you feeling a bit lighter…almost like a weight was lifted off of you. So, though this doesn’t seem like the “cliché” self-care tip that one may hear…I promise you, it HELPED me and I’m almost certain it will help you!
  • Read a book, browse through one of my fave wellness-focused websites like Well & Good or Mind, Body, Green.
  • When fully digested, get a workout in that I LOVE. Don’t make this a punishment but rather make it something you look forward to and know that your body with thank you later! 
  • Start a bath and add Dr. Teals “recovery” bath salts (eucalyptus). While the bath is filling up, stretch & foam roll (so good for the muscles and cheaper option than going for a massage!) Before you hop into the bath, also option to Dry Brush (the skin is your BIGGEST organ and this helps to detoxify and remove dry skin, leaving you feeling more refreshed and energetic).
  • I’ll also put on a face mask of some sort, either a chlorophyll mask from CocoKind Skincare or a coffee exfoliating mask from Frank & Whit. Light a candle, grab a book, and relax for 15-20 minutes before showering off.

12PM – 4PM

  • Go for a walk & listen to an informative podcast before lunch. Some of my fave podcasts include:
    • The Skinny Confidential: Him & Her
    • The Balanced Blonde
    • That’s so Maven
    • Rich Roll Podcast
    • Raw Talk with Sheena
    • Bulletproof Radio
    • Let it Out with Katie Dalebout
    • The Lively Show
    • That so Retrograde  
  • Make a delicious & filling Buddha bowl with all the best roasted veggies OR meet a friend of lunch at a healthy joint! We take face-to-face interaction for granted. It can be so refreshing to catch up with a friend, especially if it’s someone who has similar interests to you and can geek out over health & wellness! Whenever I meet a friend for coffee, lunch, or a workout, I always feel so happy after! Way more beneficial than just jumping on the phone!
  • If you have the time (and money) here are some other great options to add into your schedule:
    • Go to a float-tank and CHILL for 60 minutes. Check out my blog post here from my first experience!
    • Cryotherapy: great for muscle & joint recovery, collagen regrowth, naturally energy boost, inflammation, and better sleep.
    • Acupuncture
    • Body Work, Massage, Aromatherapy
    • Reiki or Kundalini yoga
    • Facial
    • Mani and/or pedi

4PM – Bedtime

  • Relax and and watch your favorite show! It’s OK to watch TV guys
  • Start meal prepping your favorite dish & maybe even whip up a healthy vegan dessert to indulge in after if you have the time! TIP: CACAO is a natural mood booster so I highly recommend any dessert to include cacao!
  • Light candles & enjoy your dinner!
  • End the night with a meditation. Pick up a book. Watch a movie or put on your favorite Netflix show.
  • End with a soothing cup of tea, put your legs up the wall for 10 minutes before you go to bed (great simple inversion that feels so good & is great to do at the end of the day after working out/walking/running etc. // helps to drain the lactic acid)
  • Get in bed early (before 10pm if you can!)

As you can see, there’s nothing crazy here (and pretty much everything here is doable on a budget)! These are little things that make me happy and give me time to truly be present and appreciate these little self-care tips. Yours may look different than mine and that’s totally fine! At the end of the day…DO YOU. Like I said, sometimes all you need is just one day to get right back on track ☺ Hope this helps!

A Long-Winded Note on –  Ending Anxiety around the Holidays, My Relationship with Food & Fitness, and Finding Acceptance

A Long-Winded Note on – Ending Anxiety around the Holidays, My Relationship with Food & Fitness, and Finding Acceptance

I don’t know about you, but family holidays always seem to spark my anxiety around food, which if you think about it, this seems counterintuitive to the point of Thanksgiving in the first place.  I can’t pinpoint exactly when and where this anxiety around food during the holidays started, but if I had to guess, I’d say back in high school during my, where we were just beginning to be introduced to social media and the “diet culture”.  Leading up to and following the holidays, you’d see “shedding for the holidays”, or “stay skinny this thanksgiving”, or “how to shed 10 pounds before and after the holidays”. It’s everywhere and nearly impossible to avoid. It’s no wonder high-schoolers’ (and probably even middle schoolers’) get roped into this mindset so early. They’re still young, impressionable, and heavily influenced by social media. I’m sure I’m not alone here, regardless of whether you’ve had an on and off relationship with food. This frame of thinking is basically engraved into everyone at one point or another.

Each year, I make it an effort to enjoy the time with my family and be PRESENT rather than feeling overwhelmed by thoughts around food, working out, looking good in my holiday outfit, and so on. Some years are successful and some years I find myself still consumed by these thoughts. The difference between past years and now is that I’m in a much better place mentally. Being a food blogger, it’s easy to feel consumed by food all the time. Constantly thinking about your next meal whether it’s for lunch that day or what you’ll be eating for breakfast on the weekend. Finding that balance between feeling controlled by food vs. just cooking and photographing out of pure joy/passion can be difficult, but it IS possible. I think the biggest challenge for me was eating to feel satiated. As I’ve discussed in the past, I’ve tried so many different diet and health-food trends, hoping that one would be the right fit for me. Unfortunately, none of them left me feeling satisfied and only had me craving more since I wasn’t getting the RIGHT food and nourishment for what my body needed.

I’d try to mimic the pretty food I saw on Instagram, which sometimes meant giant smoothie bowls loaded with fruit, almond butter, and granola. Sure, this tasted REALLY good and it was super filling at the time (I still think it should be enjoyed every now and then, the difference being that I’m now AWARE of how these ingredients will affect my cravings. I can still make a smoothie bowl, but the ingredients I choose to use may be different than what I would throw in, in the past). But was it really giving me the proper nutrition that I needed? Even after starting my morning with giant smoothie bowls, I couldn’t stop eating at night. None of it made sense to me. It wasn’t until recently where I started to really think about each plate at every meal. Was I getting proper protein, healthy fats, veggies, superfoods, fiber, etc? How much FRUIT (and additional sugar) was I consuming throughout the day? Was I eating enough calories? Did I need to adjust based on my workouts?

What I found was that a) I was running A LOT. Being a runner my whole life, I was used to logging a lot of miles and I “used” to be able to eat a lot of food to replenish. However, just like anything else that you do day in and day out, it can get mundane and your body starts to adapt. And b) though I was running anywhere from 5-8 miles about 4-5 times a week, I wasn’t burning as many calories as I used to. Yet I came home STARVING all the time and would likely overeat because that’s what I thought my hunger signs were telling me.

Fast forward to January 2017, post 200hr yoga teacher training. After 17 intensive days of pure yoga and little to no running, my body changed, but in a good way. I hadn’t seen results like this in SO LONG. I LOVED yoga and sadly, running became something I started to resent because it usually meant me hammering miles (and breaking down my body) to make up for all of the food I would consume. It became a vicious cycle and this small realization opened up a new way of looking at fitness. At the end of the day, I think that running is still a great way of getting some cardio in, but I’m not as tied to it as I used to be. Honestly, I probably run 1x a week now, if that. I’ve finally found a workout routine that makes me feel amazing, challenges my body (and mind), and the best part, I actually LOOK FORWARD to it! I share this bit because I feel for me, my relationship to fitness and food go hand-in-hand. The second I started to embrace working out as something that made me feel good, instead of looking at it as a way to punish my body, more positive thoughts around food started to fall in place.

I started craving foods that would truly nourish my body. I started understanding the science behind food & fitness. I became interested in the research. I invested time into listening to podcasts and reading; anything from body positivity, to spirituality, to nutritionists that covered everything from paleo, to plant-based, to keto, to grain-free / gluten-free, and everything in between. I started looking at everything with an open mind, ditched the “food labels”, and began to understand how different lifestyles worked for different people. I found it significantly helpful to understand the science & research behind all of these “health trends” so that I could pull bits of each to find what works well for me. It’s funny too because I’ve always been into following different health trends out there, but what happened, was that I would get too consumed by that particular one and closed off to the idea that maybe that lifestyle wasn’t the best for ME, even though it appeared that so and so on Instagram seemed to be incredibly happy following that lifestyle. 

My point to all of this is that this whole “wellness” thing is a journey. It’s trial and error. It’s accepting that we’re ALL different and have different needs. It means being open minded and accepting that health trends come and go for a reason. At the end of the day, it always seems to come back to eating wholesome, unprocessed food and finding a healthy, balanced workout routine that makes you feel good from the inside, out. Though I’ve found a more “balanced” way of living, this doesn’t mean that I’m throwing all concepts of healthy eating out the door when it comes to the holidays. If I REALLY want that dessert full of butter, I’ll eat it. BUT, I know that after I go for that, my body feels like shit. And I truly hate feeling like SHIT. This is the same reason why I choose to rarely drink alcohol. It makes me feel awful and for me, it’s not worth getting drunk to feel like crap the entire next day. Personally, it comes down to this: do I REALLY want that dessert or is it knowing that I’m allowing myself the option to grab it, that makes me deny it all together?

Here’s the other thing. I feel JUST as satisfied making my own dessert that I know tastes just as good, if not better, and is full of real ingredients and no refined sugars. Sometimes I get asked the question, “do you REALLY think that healthy dessert of yours tastes just as good as this store-bought cheesecake?” and my answer is always yes. This type of question used to drive me crazy. Why can’t others just accept that I actually enjoy healthy food? At the end of the day, you’re not going to please everyone. You need to do what makes you feel good. I still have balance and a healthy relationship with food, even if I still choose to go for my healthier dessert option. The difference in all of this is where my head and mental state is at. I can honestly say I’m truly in a better place. Not every day is perfect, but it’s a hell of a lot better than where it used to be. It’s all about progress, not perfection!

I hope you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving!

I’m absolutely so grateful for all of you!

My Morning Routine + Why I Cherish it So Much

My Morning Routine + Why I Cherish it So Much

One topic I’ve been meaning to post about for a while has been my morning routine. I know this is something I’ve talked about it in the past, whether it be on the blog or on instagram, but I definitely want to reiterate WHY I cherish my morning routine as much as I do. Mornings for me are the most important part of my day. I find that starting my morning out on the most positive note possible truly sets the tone for how the rest of my day will look. My motivation, my productivity, my happiness, my dedication and so on, all depend on how the first hour or two of my day goes. This may not be true for everyone, but I’ve witnessed it first hand for myself.

 

A few things you want to AVOID in setting the tone for your perfect morning routine are…

 

1) Not getting enough sleep.

Sleep is SO important for me. I need at least 7 hours to be a functional human. I find that if I go one or two nights with a poor sleep, my lack of fitness motivation and self-control around food cravings are the first clear signs that I’ve been deprived of sleep. I instantly procrastinate my workout (which is clearly also a sign from my body telling me that sleep would be more beneficial than working out at the moment). I also find that I lose most of the self-control I have around shoving my face with highly sweet or salty foods. If that’s the case, I crave something sweet in the morning, which in turn spikes my blood sugar levels, which then leads me to crash before lunch-time, which then continues to put me in this spiral of craving sweet or super salty “junk” food for the rest of the day. THIS is why sleep is KEY. Sleep gives me you the energy to be the BEST version of yourself.

2) Starting the morning with negative thoughts.

I’ll be honest, waking up at 5:30am when it’s still pitch black out is not always fun, but waking up in the dark AND immediately having negative thoughts about the day is not going to make things any better. To be honest, what gets me out of bed in the morning is my delicious latte that I’ve been having on repeat. Especially on a chillier, fall or winter morning, waking up to warm, delicious (caffeinated) beverage can do just the trick! Give yourself something to be excited about when waking up! Shocker: for me it’s a yummy breakfast and morning beverage!

3) Rushing.

So long as you’re getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep (ps this may mean you need to get into bed earlier! I usually turn off the lights around 9/9:15!), I’d recommend waking up early enough to allow yourself time and enjoy the moment. Again, rushed mornings, mean stressful mornings. And starting your day out stressed is certainly not going to help you take on the day. Is that netflix episode REALLY worth an extra hour of sleep?? (ps I definitely need to take my own advice on this one. Even if I’m still going to bed early, I know that watching TV before bed is a BIG no). Also, have you ever heard of the Circadian Rhythm?? It’s the 24 hour cycle in the physiological processes of living beings (i.e. HUMANS) that are affected by things like temperature, sunrise/sunset, etc.

So now for things you CAN incorporate into your morning routine to make it that much better…

 

*Also as a disclaimer, I’m certainly not saying you NEED to incorporate all of the below in your morning routine. That’s just not always realistic, even for those who do have plenty of time in the AM! My suggestion is to just try out a few different ones every now and then and eventually you may find 1 or 2 that stick.

 

1) Oil Pulling – LOVE this ayurvedic practice.

Just started it earlier this month and truly feel and see noticeable results. You want to do this FIRST thing in the morning (before even drinking most fluids). It’s suggested coconut oil is the best for this. Use about 1 TBSP and swish around for about 5-10 minutes (or more if you can!) This is a great practice to incorporate since you can easily multi-task, such as prepping your coffee or breakfast for the day!

2) Get yourself a good skincare (and oral) routine!

Super simple, but ditching the chemical/toxic skincare products can truly leave a long-lasting impact. Why? Because we should care JUST as much about the products we put ON our skin, as the products that we consume daily. Our skin absorbs whatever you’re applying on it and can be just as unhealthy, if not more so than eating something comparably toxic. Think about it…our skin is the LARGEST organ on our body. Treat it well and you will feel so much better! A few non-toxic skincare lines I’ve been loving recently include Cocokind Skincare and Frank & Whit. PS this also includes toothpaste! I recommend Toms or Dr. Bronners!

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3) Make yourself a delicious, warm morning beverage.

I love having a warm drink in the morning (usually something slightly caffeinated) that makes getting out of bed easier and a little more exciting, especially during the colder months! I usually choose to go with a latte & 2 espresso shots, bulletproof coffee, or a bulletproof matcha latte. Matcha or other various teas are awesome as well and a great option for those who have ditched coffee! Or if you’ve quit all caffeine – turmeric or superfood lattes and elixirs make for a great, yummy, and nourishing treat!

4) Gratitude Journaling.

This takes all of 3 minutes – I promise you and makes such an impact. Simply journal a few things a day you’re grateful for. Can be ANYTHING. Grateful for good health, grateful for your yoga practice, or even your new job! Next, write a few goals. I like to include very attainable and then DREAM goals. This is all about MANIFESTING and believing you have all the power to write your own destiny.

5) Practice 10 minutes of light yoga.

This is such a great way to get the spinal fluid moving with some nice, easy back bends and twists. Twists are great for detoxifying the body and help to loosen up the spine after sleeping horizontally all night. I also find it’s a great way to kickstart the metabolism and gain a little energy for the day.

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6) Eat a nourishing breakfast full of healthy fats, protein, leafy greens (if possible), fiber, and some hearty carbs!

7) Put on music that’s light and upbeat! I LOVE doing this in the morning. It totally helps to wake me up and puts me in a great mood!

Hopefully this has given you some new ideas to help take your morning routine from a 5 to a 10! It doesn’t have to be everything, just take baby steps to find what works best for YOU! Comment below and share what your morning routine looks like! I’d love to hear!

 

Ballin’ on a Budget: Tips for the Staples (Food, Fitness, & Style)

Ballin’ on a Budget: Tips for the Staples (Food, Fitness, & Style)

Happy Hump Day!

As you know, I’ve been on a MAJOR budget lately but the last thing I want, is that to stop me from living my life and doing things (or buying things) that make me happy and healthy! Being a small business owner, while working multiple part-time jobs, leaves little to no “extra” spending money. When it comes to spending money, there are a few things I’ll invest in. Food is absolutely number one. Food is medicine to me. I honestly can’t remember the last time I’ve had to pay for a pharmaceutical. Wholesome, healthy food has been my save and grace and for that reason, I’m ALWAYS willing to spend an extra dollar or two. As for fitness, that’s probably tied with food. Again, I feel my BEST when I get a good sweat in, surround myself with a positive fitness community, and treat my body well! Lastly, I threw style in here because that’s always been a fun passion of mine. I feel the clothes I wear are a representation of who I am. I consider myself a pretty creative individual and my clothes allow me to express my inner fashionista (lol, too far?)

Let’s start with FOOD. How to eat healthy on a small budget.

I’ll be honest, I don’t always follow my own advice. The convenience of having a Whole Foods within walking distance can be far too tempting most times.

  • A lot of “chain” grocery stores now carry your everyday healthy products at a much cheaper price. I’m a huge fan of shopping at Wegmans. Their organic produce selection is top-notch. They have great bulk food options (and prices). Trader Joes is another one that has really low prices for their produce and other products.


Thrive Market. This one I accidentally bought the membership a year ago, BUT I will say, it HAS been worth it. When you stock up and spend more than $49 on groceries, you get free shipping. Not to mention, they always are doing free product giveaways with your order. See this picture on the left, that rosewater came free! Last time, I got two cartons of Califia Farms products. They offer these deals while supplies last. PLUS almost all of their products are discounted (trust me, I’ve checked and compared!) I love using Thrive when I’m running low on all of the expensive oils, dry goods, nuts, superfoods, etc.
– Buy from the BULK FOOD SECTION! A huge part of our diet is nuts, grains, dried fruits, almond butter, and so on. The bulk food section at any store tends to always be cheaper than if you were to buy it pre-packaged.
– Get yourself a WholeFoods Whole Body Benefits Card at customer service. Gets you 20% off supplements!
– Always keep an eye out for Whole Foods sales. Trust me, a lot of my fave products like Health-Ade Kombucha, Simple Mills, Purely Elizabeth, Hilary’s Eat Well, etc. goes on sale!
– Scroll through your fave instagramers and you can ALWAYS find a discount code for some of your favorite products! PS – I’ve added in some of my discount codes at the bottom of this post!
– Speaking of Kombucha, did you know that anytime you buy a case (of anything) at Whole Foods, you get 10% off! Sometimes the cashiers don’t even realize this, so make sure you ask.

Now moving on to fitness…

If you know me, I’ve joked that I’m a serial fitness dater (not sure if that even makes sense…) But what I’m trying to get at is that I…

1) LOVE switching up my workouts (which is actually really good for your body) and…
2) I’m always on the hunt for “free trials”, “membership deal sign-ups”, “student discounts” (sry I know this is bad but I still use my student ID everywhere…it doesn’t have an expiration date!), 30 days for $30 unlimited, and so on. The deals go on. ESPECIALLY if you’re living in a college city. SO keep an eye out for those.
* For example, did you know you get a 1-week free trial with CorePower Yoga?
– Create your own work-out space at home! I did this for almost a year after I quit my “luxury” gym (spending far too much money on a monthly basis). I had a yoga mat, simple weights, and did a lot of HIIT. Kayla Itsines (like every other girl haha) was one of the programs I followed. Youtube and even the fitness instagram world can both be great resources.
– I also switched up my workouts with runs and yoga. I will admit, I recently found an AWESOME gym deal ($25 a month) and I felt now was a good time to jump on that since we’re entering into the brutal seasons of Boston (i.e. the dreaded Winter months). The snow and cold makes running outside not fun and certainly doesn’t help with any of my fitness motivation.
– ALWAYS search groupon or gilt city before paying for any studio. Guarantee there will be some deal out there.
– You can also join ClassPass and pay a CRAZY cheap price ($19 if you’re a new member) for your first month. I’ll be honest, I cancelled after 🙂 Though I love the idea of it…I couldn’t get myself to pay the regular monthly price after your trial ends.
– Search on your cities event page for free fitness classes!
– Go to community/donation-based yoga classes.

And finally…STYLE!

I will admit, I was a HUGE spender when it came to clothes. Especially when I had a pretty nice income. I never dropped money on super pricey designers but I definitely regularly shopped at Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and Free People. Obviously times have changed and I can’t afford to do that anymore. LUCKILY, I have a lot of clothes in my closet that I no longer where and I’ve found a FAB way to cheat the system. Whenever I’m getting an itch to shop or update my fall wardrobe for example, I’ll search through my closet and drawers for pieces that are in season (this is key because most trendy thrift stores won’t accept out of season clothing). I’ll then search through any hats, shoes, jewelry, purses, jackets, etc. to see if there’s been anything I haven’t touched in the past year (or sometimes even 6 months if I’m feeling frisky).

Oversized jackets never go out of style in my book // found @ Buffalo Exchange
Loving these pieces from Buffalo Exchange. Pair a slingy dress w/ a sparkly see-through long sleeve (and pearls!) – Perfect for the Holidays!

I then march my giant bag of clothing to my FAVE thrift store, Buffalo Exchange , vintage and used clothing. (located in Allston on Harvard St. for my local friends). PS there are Buffulo Exchange stores all over the US. I found one in Queens, NY and spotted one while in Denver, CO. They are extremely picky with the clothes they accept, so make sure it’s in style, trendy, in pretty good condition, and hipster(y) is always a plus. Though it can be annoying as the seller when they send back nearly half of what you brought in, it’s also great because you know that you’re going to find the racks are all stocked with clothes, shoes, and accessories that are in style and SUPER cheap (I’m talking almost everything under $20)! They’ll offer you either a store credit or cash (though the cash ends up being like half of what you’d get with store credit), so I always keep the store credit! I then go shop, pick up a few staple fall items, and then end up having a $0 balance thanks to the clothes that I brought in and were accepted! Also, always check the quality of the clothing, if you find any small tears or stains, they’ll discount it even more, usually like 30-50% off.

Get yourself a pair of fun loafers for Fall // found brand new (Zara) @ Buffalo Exchange
…and a pair of funky wedges to go with pants & an oversized sweater // again found @ B.E.

This is my NUMBER 1 tip to always keeping fresh new items in your closet without spending a dime! Happy shopping ladies (and men)!!

So there ya have it friends, my personal tips to BALLLLLLIN’ on a budget 😉



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5 Essential Tips to a Calmer Mind

5 Essential Tips to a Calmer Mind

Happy HUMP day y’all!

For this weeks post I wanted to share with you tips I’ve been using to help calm my ever-so-racing mind! Being an adult is hard AF. The number one thing that’s been giving me a bit of anxiety lately has been around finances. Who else can relate? It’s unfortunate that money tends to be the number one culprit behind anxiety and stress for the average person. As you all know, I left my steady paycheck to pursue starting my own business. Luckily, I have no family, kids, college tuition, etc. to pay for…but that doesn’t mean I’m not covering rent, internet, gas/electric, car insurance, car payments, groceries, boston city parking tickets and tow fees (LOL) and oh just trying to have a social life as a 25-year old living in a thriving city. Yep, costs certainly add up and unfortunately, they’ve been leaving me with quite a bit of stress these days. I know I’m not alone and knew I had to share with you my personal tips that help me to calm my crazy mind. I wish I could say these would help to solve all financial issues (haha wishful thinking) BUT they certainly help to get into a right headspace, to then be able to better tackle solving those financial burdens.

1) Take a walk and listen to your favorite podcast.

I know this sounds obvious, but I promise you it’s an INSTANT mood-booster and gets your mind off of things. Find a podcast (or two) that you’re super into and commit to listening to them on walks. My podcast list is growing which leaves me with more motivation to get out the door and kill a podcast or two each day. Plus, the added vitamin D is SO crucial and hello, walking = happy endorphins!

PS – here’s a quick list of some of my fave podcasts at the moment. They’re all available on itunes and are FREE!

  • The Chasing Joy Podcast (positivity, wellness, self-love)
  • The Skinny Confidential: Him & Her Podcast (wellness, blogging/business tips, marketing your brand)
  • Actually Adultish (wellness, “adult” things for people in their 20’s and 30’s)
  • Rich Roll Podcast (wellness, entrepreneurship, spirituality, veganism, endurance training)
  • BulletProof Radio (wellness topics)
  • The Lively Show (high vibe living, law of attraction)
  • Let it Out with Katie Dalebout (wellness, positivity, self-love, entrepreneurship)
  • The Balanced Blonde: Soul on Fire (Spirituality, health & wellness)

2) Essential Oils, Diffusers, Candles, and Incense

This has been a big part of my practice lately, whether during yoga, meditation, or just hanging out at night before bed. Lavender oil can be rubbed on the back of your neck, your third eye, on the inside of your wrists, or pillow before going to sleep. The aroma of the “lavender helps to remove nervous exhaustion and restlessness, while increasing mental activity.” I love adding it to my diffuser before going to bed.

I’m also obsessed with lighting candles and incense. Incense are so cheap to purchase, you can buy various scents (including lavender if you wanted to keep up with that calming trend), they smell amazing, and instantly have a calming effect on me. I think personally, incense remind me of a yoga studio, which tends to be a calm, peaceful place that I can mindfully take myself to in the comfort of my own home.

3) Get upside down AND practice light, restorative yoga.

When in doubt, I always get upside down! Whether it’s headstand, forearmstand, handstand or just a simple, legs up the wall, inversions have been proven to have a calming effect on the mind and get the blood circulating which is KEY. If you can’t do a headstand, DON’T YOU WORRY! It’s just as effective to put your legs up the wall! Find any way to get your legs comfortably vertical. Also, peep my blog post on simple yoga moves to help relive stress and anxiety!

4) Whip up a calming beverage before bed or in the morning. It also never hurts to have a side of Cacao Vegan Chocolate 😉

There are a number of go-to concoctions I’ll whip up if I’m feeling super stressed or anxious. Most importantly, you certainly want to AVOID caffeine if you’re already feeling very uneasy. My go-to beverages include:

  • a calming tea: chamomile tea, peppermint tea, lemon balm tea, passion flower tea, rose tea
  • OR you can boil warm water, add fresh squeezed lemon, fresh ginger, and a drizzle of honey
  • CALM VITALITY – all natural anxiety relief powder that you add to warm water. Promotes healthy magnesium levels and calcium intake. You can learn more about the product here.
  • Make a healing “golden milk”. Golden milk is a medicinal drink that has been used for years in eastern medicine. Simply add 1 tsp of turmeric, a splash of cinnamon, ginger (optional), cardamon (optional), a pinch of black pepper, 1 tsp coconut butter (optional) a sweetener of your choice (maple syrup, honey, or organic vanilla extract) with 1 cup of warm coconut milk and mix well. Occasionally I’ll throw it in my nutribullet, but if I’m lazy, I just use a mini whisk! I love having this before bed. It makes me feel SO good and you get so many anti-inflammatory benefits!

And for my favorite go-to vegan chocolates?

5) MEDITATE.

I know, I know you probably hear this ALL the TIME. But, I promise you, it does help and can instantly put you in euphoria. I had been playing around with different methods of meditation, which I’ve shared below.

  • Guided meditation. There are SO many free ones on youtube. Just search “5 or 10 minute guided meditation” and find one you like.
  • Candle light mediation. Best done in the dark (Either early morning or at night). Sit upright on the floor. Stair into the candle without trying to blink as much as possible. After 5 minutes or so, close your eyes and focus internally on your third eye. You should see a colorful image of the flame still burning. Use that as your focus point. If you lose it, you can open your eyes again and refocus on the flame for another minute or so before shutting the eyes again.
  • Silent, seated meditation. This has been working the best for me lately, however, I advise you play around with timing of the day. I used to try and practice in the morning but found this just did not suit me well. I started mediating between the hours of 4-6pm which seem to work MUCH better for me. Usually at this time of day, my to-do list is out of my head and I’m actually read to just sit and be mindful. I’ll usually set my timer for 10 minutes, while sitting up right on the floor with a block under my butt (helps with comfort).

Though these work well for me, everyone is different! Play around and see what works for you. Also, if you have any ideas/or tips that aren’t posted about, please comment and share below! I love hearing what everyone else does to relieve stress and anxiety.

Creating your Own Positive Storyline

Creating your Own Positive Storyline

Happy Friday Friends!

For this weeks blog post, I wanted to talk about positivity and manifesting your own storyline. I’ll be completely straightforward with you – I’m not always the most happy, positive person, though I tend to put on a facade. And sometimes, especially over these past 2 weeks, I have a tendency to drive myself into a damaging FUNK. If you follow along with me on my instagram, you may have noticed me talk about this series of bad luck that seemed to have just hit me one after another. I cried, a lot. I felt sorry for myself. I became a victim of my own sorrows. I vented to my fiance, my friends, and my family. What did I do to deserve this? Though I was given advice and comfort from those who I emptied my feelings on, none of that seemed to make a difference for me. I had made the internal decision and suddenly believed that I was doomed for bad luck. I was the one who started reading into things and created this ridiculous connection between a series of events that honestly, were my own wrongdoing. At the end of the day, the series of bad luck that came storming at me over the past 2 weeks, could have happened to anyone. I chose to believe that it was ME and that the universe was against me. But in reality, it almost seemed easier to play the victim card and accept things as they were. I personally think I used these “events” to cover up the fact that sometimes life isn’t always easy and you have to make hard decisions that may affect your career, your routine, your habits, your personal life and so on.

So why am I bringing all of this up now? Well, I conveniently started Gabby Bernstein’s book, “The Universe has Your Back” in the midst of all of this “chaos” I was facing. How cliche am I grabbing a self-help book at a time in need? I completely understand now how SILLY my “troubles” are in comparison to the REAL struggles that most of the world is facing. I’m very well aware that I fall into the 1% of the world and I’m oh so grateful for what I have every second of the day. It’s okay to have bad days and feel sorry for yourself, but getting out of that is key. Being able to clear your head, take a step back, BREATHE, and just remember how much you have to be grateful for can go a long way. That was the first step I needed to take to pull me out of this funk. Not going to lie, I’m really bad at finishing books. I’m easily distracted by instagram and ridiculous reality tv shows like real housewives. It’s crazy to me that those take priority over a book that can become an extremely powerful tool in changing your life for the better. So, here I am, making a commitment to all of you, that I will read at least chapter a night. Luckily for me, Gabby caught my attention instantly by sharing a glimpse of her own spiritual journey right off the bat.

The first chapter resonated with me BIG time and was exactly what I needed to hear.

“Joy is our birthright. What blocks our joy is our separation from love. The way back to love begins with understanding how we disconnected in the first place…we separate from the love of the Universe by giving purpose to pain and thinking power comes from outside sources. We deny the power of love, and we save our faith for fear. We forget love altogether.”

“Our projection is our perception. You see the world that you have made, but you do not see yourself as the image-maker.”

– Gabby Bernstein, The Universe Has Your Back

Ah-ha. This all made sense. The second you start connecting a negative connotation with yourself or something in your life, the second that becomes your reality. If you truly believe you’re destined for sadness, there’s a really good chance you’ll likely find more reasons to be sad in your life. You’ll unknowingly put yourself in negative situations. However, YOU and only you, have the ability to shift this perception. You can’t just say you’re going to be happy or that you’ll become successful, you have to truly believe it. And sometimes, that can take time. The second you’re able to get a taste of what it feels like to truly believe, is the important shift that you’ve been waiting for. It comes back to the classic law of attraction. Positive people will attract positive things and vice versa. I’ve experienced this feeling on and off. I’m the type of person that has really HIGH highs and sometimes, LOW lows. I can see it first hand when I’m ultra positive and optimistic. It’s like everything seems to work in my favor. BUT the second I face one speed bump, it’s like a downward spiral. So, my focus now is trying to take EVERY negative situation and find a positive in it. I’m going to accept that I’M the only who has control over a negative situation and at the end of the day, I’M the only one who change that perception.

My Journey from Corporate to Starting my Own Business…

My Journey from Corporate to Starting my Own Business…

Hi there!

First off, I want to apologize for my summer hiatus from writing. Though I have not been active on the blog, I’ve been keeping up with my instagram daily as it’s all I’ve had the capacity for! To be honest, my creative juices have been exhausted through instagram posts and cooking, yoga, and…well, my new business I started back in May. Yep, you heard it here first! I’m finally ready to share my latest endeavors, from leaving my job back in November, to starting my own food business. It’s been quite an interesting journey and until now, I haven’t felt ready to share it with you all. If I’m being completely honest, I kept a lot of what I was doing on the down-low, even to close friends and family. Why? Mostly out of the fear of failure.

Failure is a scary thing. Especially when you spontaneously take the leap of faith and leave your stable income and structured 8-5 desk job. It’s one thing to say you’re going to do something. But it’s even scarier to actually take action on that and make an idea come to life. Myself and those close to me had doubts, and for good reason! I was about to enter into a world of the unknown. Who am I to declare myself an entrepreneur in the food business? I’ve had 0 experience with any of the above. So, what was the biggest motivating factor knowing that so much could go wrong with this dream? Living with Regret. The fear of living my entire life in regret vs. the fear of losing 1-2 years of my young 20’s as a Sr. HR Generalist greatly outweighed the latter. So here’s my story on the WHY, the HOW, and WHERE I am now in the midst of this crazy new chapter of my life…

The WHY.

To keep this story from becoming a short novel, I’ll try and break things down as easily as possible. I was working as an Human Resources Business Partner at one of the largest information technology companies. I started as an intern there, quickly fell in love with the company, the people, and my opportunity to grow and progress as an individual. My transformation from an intern to where I was just just 10 months ago never seizes to surprise me. I worked with fearless and empowering females, who quickly became role models and mentors in my life. This company shaped me and equipped me with the interpersonal tools, business mindset, and confidence I now have today. Like most companies in the technology industry these days, we were bought out by yet another large tech company. It was at this point when my role changed and I had to take a step back to assess my future with this company. The same excitement I used to have waking up in the morning and coming into work was lost. I began to evaluate my current situation. Was having a stable desk job and salary worth my happiness? It sounds like an easy answer, but there’s more to it. There’s risk. There’s doubt. There’s fear of walking away from something that became “comfortable” to me. Where was I going to go next? What would I do? Will I be happy in yet another desk job?

It seemed as though all of this came at a right time in my life. I like to look at situations like this as a sign from the universe (as hippy-dippy as this may sound, I firmly believe it). Our company being bought out was truly the extra push I needed as part of this self-realization I was experiencing. It all seemed to come at the right time. I began to turn what was initially an extremely negative situation into something that could open up so many new possibilities for me. I thought to myself, this is the perfect time in my life to truly follow my passions, which have always been in the health and wellness world. At the time, I didn’t exactly know what I would do next. Obviously there were some important questions I had to address, the biggest being can I financially support going off and starting my own business? After some serious conversations, a lot of break-downs and crying on the phone to my mom, dad, and fiancé about how un-happy I was, and a little bit of soul searching, I had a plan (well, to some my plan was just a vision, but to me, it made sense, in it’s weird, fractured way).

The HOW.

My “plan” certainly didn’t make sense to some, but to me, it all seemed to fit together like a puzzle. My last day at my company was on November 30th, 2016. On that same day, I took off on my travels to Mallorca, Spain for my 17-day intensive 200HR yoga teacher training. Before you ask, yes, this was ALL part of the plan. Yoga teacher training somehow all aligned with where I wanted to go next. I knew I wanted to do something for MYSELF, mostly to clear my head, detach from reality for a bit, and like most who set off on this journey, I had hopes that in the midst of this training, I would realize what I was meant to do. Though I didn’t come out of the training with a clear vision on where the next 10 years would bring me (wishful thinking LOL), I did come out of this with a greater sense of self-realization, which ultimately, is what yoga is about. Union, bliss, oneness. You can read more about my yoga teacher training journey on my post, here. Before I move on, one thing that surprised me most was that on the first day of our arrival, as we went around a circle and introduced ourselves, I was extremely relieved (and pleasantly surprised) to hear that a number of us had literally just left our jobs. I thought to myself, GREAT! I’m not the only crazy one here! Not that I needed any kind of confirmation…but this certainly helped to ease my mind. We were all here for a purpose.

Okay so here’s the quick & dirty on how a few emotional phone calls with friends and family turned from an idea to a reality. You may remember a few years ago, I was temporarily living in California for work. It was there where I fell in LOVE with acai bowls. Now keep in mind, a few years ago, acai bowls were not a “thing” here in Boston. The only time prior to my experience there of indulging in an acai bowl was on a family vaca in Hawaii (go figure)! I was even more surprised by how popular acai bowls were, when I eventually made my way to San Diego. You’d get lucky finding a cafe on every corner! It was HEAVEN there. Why did I fall in love with these deliciously hearty bowls? They brought me BLISS.

I finished feeling so happy, energetic, satisfied, and full of life. You can bet I had acai bowls up until my last few days in CA. It was a sad day when I moved back to the outskirts of Boston and the only “smoothie” options were Smoothie King or Jamba Juice (no offense to either, but not exactly my idea of a nutritious smoothie). So, from that point, I started making my own acai bowls. I got my fiancé, Justin hooked. I got friends and family members hooked. Slowly but surely, I noticed health food cafes in Boston pop up and begin to serve acai bowls. However, the one thing I struggled most with at these places, was that they were loading them with unneccesary sugars. From the generic sugary granola, to already sweetened acai, to heaping spoonfuls of skippys peanut butter. This wasn’t what acai bowls were, nor were these the bowls that gave me oh so much life back in California.

I went back and forth with wanting to open my own cafe, but was then lured back into the idea of beginning with a food product first. Through a lot of brainstorming with friends and family, the acai pop came to life! This popsicle had the potential to solve a few of the problems I noticed with the food industry. For one, I wanted to created a pop that wasn’t loaded with sugar. A lot of the frozen treats you see at the stores, even Whole Foods for example, are packed with refined sugars and other unknown ingredients. I also struggle with pops that read “90 calories” on the front, yet there’s nothing nutritiously satisfying in the ingredients. In addition to the nutrition factor, I also wanted to put an alternative breakfast, snack, or dessert option out there for those who are on-the-go. These days, we are all moving so quickly, with little to no time to sit and eat proper meals. Now, I don’t think this is IDEAL, but it is reality. My goal was to put something out there that could be eaten conveniently and also satisfy your hunger through hearty, REAL, CLEAN, ingredients.

WHERE I AM NOW

Fast forward to January, 2017, BerryGood Bliss LLC became official. I had taken the first step needed to creating my own company. I wish I could say starting your own company is as easy as that first step, but I’d be lying! There is so much more to it than I even realized. Of course, I reached out to a ton of different friends, family members, and mentors to get advice from those who had maybe done something similar or who had knowledge in this area. This was absolutely a critical step for me. For anyone considering starting their own business, it’s so important to leverage your connections and reach out. Putting yourself out there can be scary, but it’s so worth it, and for the most part, the people you contact, usually really want to help you and see you succeed. During those winter months, I gathered research, recipe tested, got my logo, found a commercial kitchen, applied for food permits from the city, applied to farmers markets, got my servsafe certificate, designed my tent layout and purchased necessary equipment, built out my website and other social media sources, and I’m sure I’m forgetting a bunch of things! At the end of the day, I had to accept that things weren’t going to be perfect right off the bat and I really just had to jump into things and improve as I go.

I will say none of the above came easy. I faced a lot of obstacles, the biggest being finding a commercial kitchen in Boston and then acquiring the necessary permits. This process at times drove me absolutely crazy, heightened my anxiety and certainly led me to have a number of breakdowns. But, through some miracle, it all worked out. Through all of these challenges, I did my best to continue manifesting my own outcome through positive thinking, determination, and trying to balance out the high’s and low’s as the came. I had my very first farmers market in June and have been selling my goods locally throughout the summer at various farmers markets.

Since this has turned out to be quite lengthy (I had a feeling this would happen), I will end here and then pick up where I left off sometime in the next week or two to share how things have been going this summer, challenges faced, successes, and next steps/my plan for the fall when things come to an end with the summer markets.

I’m so excited to have finally shared this with all of you! My true hope is that you read this and leave inspired. Perhaps there’s a passion of yours that you’ve always wanted to pursue but have been afraid to take that next step. I can ABSOLUTELY relate to that and would love to be able to connect and chat further if that’s something you’re interested in. It’s so important to support and help one another out. Feel free to email me at calli@berrygoodbliss.com or send me a DM on instagram!

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Simple Self-Care Routines to Incorporate into your Day

Simple Self-Care Routines to Incorporate into your Day

Hi there friends!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately on what it means to focus on “self-care”. Self-care seems to be the hot topic of 2017, but what exactly does self-care look like? Personally, self-care to me, is doing things that make ME smile. What sets your soul on fire? What gives you LIFE? What gets you out of bed in the morning? It can be as simple as finding bliss in just a few short minutes or it can be a more drastic, long-term change. At the end of the day, there’s a REASON why self-care has been a trending topic lately. We’ve realized that for too long, we’ve been putting ourselves (mind, body, and soul) last and sadly, it’s had repercussions. Though we may in theory be eating “well” and working out “regularly”. Those two make up just a portion of our overall well-being. If you’re constantly stressed out at work or your stuck in a downward-spiraling relationship or if you haven’t forgiven something from the past – these things have a tendency to weigh you down and unfortunately, all of the healthy food & workouts in the world won’t be able to mask these obstacles.

This is where self-care comes in. This is one of those occurrences in life where you CAN be selfish (although I hate using that word in this context). The point is, you’re allowed to do things for yourself and you absolutely should not be judged for it. Honestly, at the end of the day, you’re probably the one being the harshest critic on yourself. Unfortunately our society has created an extremely judgmental environment.

To go slightly off topic, in yoga, we learn about the 8 Limbs – 2 of which include yama (the restraints or ethical practices) and niyama (the observances or daily practices). Svadhyaya (self-study or non-judgement) falls under the niyama’s or becomes part of our “daily practice”. “The first tenant of yoga is to do no harm. Passing judgment is harmful because that energy of criticism lives in you. It affects you. When you judge someone it defines you not the other person” – Healthy Yoga Life. It’s human nature to judge when we don’t feel comfortable in our own skin. So at the end of the day, you need to ignore what society is telling you to do and rather listen to your OWN body. Do what makes you the HAPPIEST and LIVELIEST individual you can be!

Here are some of the simple self-care tips I do incorporate as much as possible:

My Morning Routine: Wake up no later than 7am. *Attempt to meditate for at least 5 minutes (I’m not going to sit here & tell you I do this everyday, but I really am trying to make an effort too). Write three things I’m grateful for every morning in my journal. Start with 2 mason jar size cups of warm water w/ lemon in the morning to help alkalize the body, stimulate the digestive system, and HYDRATE. Then turn on some morning music (whatever I’m in the mood for). Sometimes I’m feeling light jazz, sometimes I’m feeling indie coffee shop music, and sometimes I’m feeling those upbeat summer vibes. Light a candle or incense. Do some very quick and light stretching for 5 minutes (a few downward dogs, forward folds, and shoulder openers). Throw together my favorite matcha latte recipe! — I totally notice a difference on days when I start with this routine vs. those where I skip over it.

Going to a yoga class. This is a treat for me since most times, I practice yoga at home (mostly out of convenience, but also because I’ve grown to really enjoy free-flowing, playing my own music, practicing inversions, and wearing whatever the heck I want!) However, it’s really nice to go to a class every now & then to let go and for once, not be in control. Going to a yoga class is nice because you’re there to be guided on a journey. There’s no over-thinking involved. You just flow & go inside your own body.

Vacations. These are SO important to me. THIS is what gives me life. Makes me smile. Traveling. Seeing the world. Learning about other cultures. Stepping outside of my little bubble. When I think about my most vivid or memorable moments, they’re most often, 8/10 remembered on vacations or trips. I met my boyfriend abroad in Spain. I’ve witnessed the most amazing sunrises and sunsets over the water. I grew up traveling with my family & exploring places that were so exotic to me at the time. These are all of the memories I look back on my life. I always say that if I’m going to spend my money on anything it’s food and traveling. I could care less about buying a huge house or a nice car. As long as I can continue traveling for the rest of my life, I will be the happiest!

Skin Care Routine. For a while now, I’ve preached consuming real, wholesome foods that are good for your body. At the end of the day, your body runs off of energy. Like a car, you can choose to feed it with the highest quality or the lower alternative. If you had the choice, wouldn’t you want the premium energy for your body?? However, lately I’ve realized it’s not only important to watch what goes in your body, but also what goes ON your body. Up until recently, I was using lotions & face washes full of toxins. I’ve now noticed such a difference in my skin using all natural skin care options. It’s glowing, it’s fuller, it’s no longer acne-prone, and so forth. I consider my skin care routine SELF-CARE as well, so see below for a few things that keep my skin HAPPY and glowing!

Honoring my body. I know this is a very vague tip, but at the end of the day, listening to your body is the biggest form of self-care. This is something I’m still working on everyday. For years, I pushed my body through so much – working out for hours, running two-a-days all summer long, not properly fueling it with enough nutrient-filled food, or doing the opposite and over-indulging on fatty, sugary food all day to subside the negative emotions I may have been feeling. At the end of the day, what I realized was that none of the above was helping in any way. My body is a temple. I need to honor it and nourish it, not beat it up and destroy it. If that means taking days off to let it heal, than I NEED to do that. If it means practicing more yoga than running, that I NEED to listen to my body.

Music. I slightly touched on this above under my morning routine, but I never realized how important music was to me until recently. Going to festivals & shows, dancing with no care or judgment in the world. Flowing on my yoga mat to my own playlists that help to create an experience. Blasting classic rock as I’m driving down the highway with my windows down on a warm summer day. Playing upbeat music by the beach as I soak up the sun. Running to music that gives me drive and determination. So much of my day revolves around music. I recently read a quote relating music to yoga, which I feel is fitting…

“Yoga is like music. The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind and the harmony of the soul creates the symphony of life.” – BKS Iyengar

Anyway, as I mentioned above, self-care comes down to doing things that make you happy. So what makes me happy, might not necessarily do the same for you. The above is just to give you an idea on what my self-care routine looks like as of lately! If anything, I hope that it’s inspired you to go off and find things that make you smile. Remember, it’s MORE than OK to put yourself first.

Spring Cleaning 101: Detoxifying the Mind, Body, and Soul

Spring Cleaning 101: Detoxifying the Mind, Body, and Soul

We all feel it. Spring is finally here. You can smell it in the air. You can see it in the small tulips beginning to bloom. You can hear it as the birds chirp away in the early morning. Lastly, your mind, body, and soul can sense it more than anything. Our bodies are incredibly smart and they can sense when there is a change in season. This is why it’s so important to align with mother nature and not resist it. Ever wonder why you’re craving warm soups or hearty desserts in the winter? Or why you may crave juicy, citrus fruits like oranges in the spring and summer? Though it may seem too obvious, this has to do with how our bodies adapt to the changes in temperature and seasons. In order to successfully keep our bodies running at 100%, they need the proper fuel. Our digestive system is especially impacted by these changes. If we feed our bodies the wrong type of fuel when it needs soup, not ice cream for example, it initiates a more challenging process in breaking down and digesting the food. I’ll share with you throughout the blog post how you can successfully detox your way into Spring through all aspects – fuel for the body, exercise, self-care, mental stability, etc.

Before I go into detail on tips to help detox your way into Spring, I want to briefly introduce a quick background on Ayurveda and what it is/how it works. At a high level, the “traditional science of Ayurvedic medicine is designed to bring the body back into balance so it can heal itself” naturally. Like Chinese medicine, this holistic approach has been practiced for at least 5,000 years. A “holistic” approach means discovering the root cause of what may be causing stomach or digestive issues for you as an example & looking at the whole person, not just a specific organ or system involved. This essentially ties back with why our mind, bodies, and souls are SO connected.

One more interesting thing to note is that if you understand your own body type (or “dosha” as it’s used in the traditional form) you can better adjust appropriately. This is important because as you know, everyone’s body is different. What my body may need, could very well be completely opposite from what your body needs. This Ayurvedic Spring approach is a general guidance, however, if you’d like to learn more about your own body type, take this quiz and then feel free to read more on that specific body type via this link. There are complete lists of foods and drinks to eat, as well as appropriate exercise, etc. to help balance out your specific dosha (i.e. body type). If you’re interested in learning more on Ayurveda and how you can implement parts of it to help bring your body back into balance, I’ve added a few source links at the bottom of the blog.

Alright, now back to spring cleaning! In Ayurveda, Spring is a crucial part of the season routine since in the winter, our digestive system is high and people tend to eat more sweet & heavy food. Interestingly enough, our digestive systems are quite adept at adapting to these hard-to-digest foods, so “ama (the sticky, toxic product of incomplete digestion) starts accumulating.” As Spring rolls in, “the ama melts and the volume of ama becomes so great that the shrotas, the microcirculatory channels of the body, become clogged.”

Below are some tips on how to detox & cleanse your way into Spring:

1) Avoid eating heavy, cold, hard-to-digest foods. A general tip is to just eat WHAT IS IN SEASON! As long as you’re shopping at your local farmer’s market, you should avoid any “hard-to-digest” foods. Ex. Root vegetables (potatoes, squash, taro root, zucchini) as these are no longer in season. It also helps to steam any vegetables prior to digesting. Carrots, broccoli, and kale are all great options.

2) Eat bitter foods such as, endives, radicchio, bitter melon, daikon radish, and dandelion greens.

3) Avoid or reduce the sweet, sour, and salty tastes — your digestive system will be more efficient in burning away the accumulated ama. Use pink salt to season your food for it’s high mineral content.

4) Sweet, juicy fruits can help detox your body (ex. Papaya, pineapple, watermelon) – just try to eat these earlier in the day or before sunset.

5) Adding high anti-inflammatory spices & other beneficial herbs to your food or tea such as – coriander, cumin, turmeric, ginger, mint and fennel — to help stimulate the digestion and detoxify the skin.

6) Begin your morning with a glass of warm water and the juice of half a lemon or lime. This will cleanse your digestive tract and initiate your metabolism first thing in the morning. You can also add fresh ginger juice as well (this is a great anti-inflammatory). Honey is another option to add in if you’d like. Also, drinking a few sips of Kombucha (fermented tea) first thing in the morning, can also help to balance out your PH. *Lastly, drinking room-temperature water throughout the day is much easier on your digestive system than ice cold water!

7) Dry brushing your skin. This should be done close to first thing in the morning, right before you shower. You should brush in an upwards motion. “Dry skin brushing helps keep the pores clear and the skin active to assist the body in this cleansing process. It also helps to increase blood circulation. Dry brushing exfoliates the skin’s outer layer and stimulates the sweat and oil glands, providing more moisture for the skin.” You can find dry brushes in the health section of Whole Foods.

8) Keep to a consistent routine – simply try to wake up with the sun and go to sleep with the moon. Also try and keep a regular routine with when you eat your meals.

9) Spring cleaning is also a great time to start fresh & give things like meditation a try. Meditation can be so valuable, even if you can only find 5 minutes in your day. A great guided meditation app to help people that are new to meditating is called: Headspace.

10) If you’re a seasoned yogi or completely new to yoga, it’s beneficial to incorporate plenty of twisting poses throughout your practice or to kick-start your morning. Twists are really great for detoxing the body & creating space in the abdominal region. Here are a few simple poses to follow.

11) Get outside and walk throughout the day as much as possible. The endorphins from walking outside & exercising will be at an all-time high.

12) Try incorporating mood-enhancing and stress & anxiety reducing superfoods like Maca Powder, Cacao Powder, and Ashwagandha powder to your coffee, lattes, or smoothies.

13) Literally spring clean – a clean, organized home creates a clear mine. Get rid of and donate the winter clothes you didn’t touch all year. Clear out your pantry. If you work at home or in an office, try and keep that space clear but also add a few personal touches that will help keep you creative and inspired.

14) Amplify your space with fresh plants and flowers. I tend to be drawn towards plenty of succulents since they need little attention, but they look pretty! 🙂

15) Lastly, don’t forget how important SELF-CARE is. Everyone needs to look out for themselves. So among trying to incorporate some things from above, go get a massage or a facial, take a bath, read a book, take a “day-cation”, DIY your own face mask, etc.

I hope you found this information useful! Please note, the purpose of this is to simply share what I’ve learned about the tradition of Ayurveda. I’m no expert or professional in this field, I’m simply just interested in learning and expanding my knowledge. Take it or leave it! These are some things I’ve found useful in the past and am exploring with this season. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively.

Happy spring cleaning!

Sources:

http://lifespa.com/about-lifespa/ayurveda/what-is-ayurveda/#
http://www.ayurveda-holistic-medicine.com/
http://www.ayurveda-holistic-medicine.com/ayurveda-body-types.html
http://www.fusionaryformulas.com/learn-live-according-dosha/
http://www.joyfulbelly.com/Ayurveda/assessment/Dosha?gclid=CI7am4OvnNMCFdWIswodK_UN4A
http://www.chopra.com/articles/garshana-detoxify-at-home-with-ayurvedic-skin-brushing#sm.0000m771scytberbu271tfp7oa8gf
http://www.yogajournal.com/category/poses/types/twists/

The Evolution of Eat, Run, and Everything in Between: Where it all began & how I’VE evolved

The Evolution of Eat, Run, and Everything in Between: Where it all began & how I’VE evolved

The Evolution of Eat, Run, and Everything in Between: Where it all began and how I’VE evolved.

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while. It’s definitely long overdue. However, I also knew that writing this post would be a big undertaking. Why? Because I started this blog almost 5 years ago, at the beginning of my senior year in college. To those who have been following my journey from the start (primarily college besties & fam) THANK YOU for continuously supporting me through all my crazy foodie ups & downs. To those who are newer to the community, thanks for joining along! This post is to highlight the ups, the downs, and of course, everything in between of my health journey. This is certainly a more personal post of mine & is something I really don’t talk about often, even though my whole journey has truly shaped me to become the person I am proud of today! One last thing – I know this is long, but just stick through it, I promise there’s a purpose for sharing ALL of my past.

Though I began my blog nearing the end of my college career, my journey with food & health truly began around my sophomore year of high school. I had just completed my sophomore field hockey season and was starting up indoor track & field. I originally signed up for track as a means to stay in shape for field hockey and improve my speed. However, little did I know, this would turn into more than just that, running became a HUGE part of my life, very quickly. By the end of my spring track season, my coach and I began to realize that I had some talent here. I wouldn’t compare myself to the crazy fast girls on my team that went on to run at various Ivy leagues and such, but there was definitely something there worth exploring through A LOT of hard work, grueling track workouts, and serious dedication. At the end of my sophomore year, I decided I was going to pursue running all three seasons and drop field hockey. This was an extremely hard decision for me because I REALLY loved field hockey & it brought me so much joy. However, I knew that if I didn’t commit to training all year round, I wouldn’t make any of the championship meets I had longed to race at and would not be training with the fastest runners on the team.

That summer I trained my ass off, past the point of being “healthy/okay”. I look back at it now and it’s crazy to think I put my body through all of that! I would wake up early in the morning and go for a 5-miler. I’d come home, change, bike a few miles to the yacht club and then teach sailing all morning, have about a 1-hour break for lunch, then I had sailing lessons for another few hours out in the hot sun. I’d bike home and top off my mileage for the day anywhere from 3-5 more miles. I’d repeat this everyday that entire summer. On top of the increased running & additional exercise, I definitely was not feeding my body adequately. The added pressure I put on myself led to this idea that I had to have minimal fat on my body. The smaller I was, the faster a runner I would be. Of course now I know this is not true, but at the time, I really believed it. Also, I meant to mention that while all of this was going on, my parents were also in the process of getting a divorce. I think that is why I used running & food as an outlet. It was really the only thing at that time I could control and excel at. I also didn’t process it at the time, but running was 100% a form of meditation for me whether I realized it or not. PS – that fall, I ended up getting injured (stress fracture in my shin) early on in the XC season that put me out of commission for the rest of XC and into my winter track season. This was living proof that I put my body through too much and it had enough. It literally broke down.

That summer going into my junior year of high-school and prepping myself for cross-country was also the point in my life where my relationship with food changed. Before that point, I never thought to much on what I was putting into my body. There was no stress or anxiety that used to come around eating. Since then, I’ve had so many up’s and down’s with food – what’s healthy and what’s not? What’s the right diet and what’s not? The list goes on. Anyway, fast forward to the summer before entering my freshman year of college. I came into college pretty fit after following the XC training guide all summer. However, within just a few months, the “freshman 15” caught on for sure. I think I had this idea that because I ran everyday, I could also eat whatever I wanted to. I wasn’t used to this much freedom around food (and booze). On top of the weight gain, I also was not running fast. My body was changing, (as most most women do when hitting puberty – I was just a late bloomer!)and I wasn’t fueling myself with proper food to adapt to those changes.

Shifting to the summer going into my sophomore year of college, I decided running was the problem and quit XC. At the time, I do think this was the right decision for me. I joined the club field hockey team and still ran everyday. As a matter of fact, my running was improving and I was beginning to eat the RIGHT foods and not 3 servings of cheese pizza every night. Taking the pressure of competing on a college DI team out of the picture had a really positive affect on me. The only thing that I struggled with was that all of my best friends were still on the team. I missed them. Just as they were closing out their XC season, I reached out to the new track coach & before I knew it, I had rejoined the team and was prepared to compete that indoor track season. I’m so glad I took the time I needed to myself to realize that I really did miss my friends, the team atmosphere, and of course, competing. This had become a HUGE part of my life and would shape my college career.

That sophomore year, going into junior year I began to focus on my weight again and watch what food I was putting into my body. As you can probably tell, I become extremely passionate and determined when I put my mind to something. This tends to be why I hit a lot of extreme “highs” and “lows”. This type of mentality continued throughout the rest of my college years. I went abroad to Spain my junior year and definitely over-indulged. I would run long, grueling miles throughout my time there to try my best to keep some of the weight off. I came back that summer and once again, whipped myself into shape and watched what I was eating. This brings me to the beginning of my senior year of college where I wrote my first blog post.

This in itself was scary and definitely out of my comfort zone. I still remember the day I shared my first blog post on facebook. I was scared to see what people would think or say about me. At that time, blogging (especially on food, health, and wellness) was still fairly new. I wish I could have told the old me WHO CARES WHAT PEOPLE THINK??? But, hey, you live and ya learn! It literally makes me cringe looking at the photography of my food pictures now haha! I also remember when I received my first free product from a well-known brand. I had written an article about chobani and they sent me a huge box of free yogurts. I was seriously HEAD OVER HEELS excited about this. I think I was only at 400 followers at the time, but I didn’t care. I finally felt like I had a purpose. Food blogging was unique to me and it was something I became extremely passionate about.

Unfortunately, as I’ve mentioned a few times here, this passion can turn into an obsession for me, which it did. Looking back at some of the food I made in college now, I can’t even imagine how those portion sizes filled me?! Blogging in college had its benefits, don’t get me wrong. I don’t think many college kids can say they got creative in the kitchen. I never realized how much I enjoyed cooking in the kitchen until I started experimenting with my meals out of my college dorm room. Somehow, it’s been 4+ years since I started this blog and here I am, still going strong. I may not have a lot of followers, but it really never was about growing quickly for me. This was and has always been a passion of mine. Sometimes blogging had its negative impacts on me. There was always (and still is) the comparison trap. “So and so is eating that and running those times, so I should do the same” or “that girl is super small so I should copy her meals”, etc. etc. However, there’s also the positive side that came out of blogging. This movement is certainly more recent, but I’m so glad that people are being more vulnerable and putting emphasis on doing what’s RIGHT and HEALTHY for your body. Realizing that I can eat REAL food and fuel my body, while eating a higher caloric intake. Realizing that healthy FATS are good. Realizing that I didn’t need to eat a 100% vegan diet to be “healthy”. Realizing that EVERYONE’S body is different and what one person needs to feel healthy, isn’t necessarily what I need to eat and do to feel healthy. And lastly, being HEALTHY doesn’t mean I need to strive for a certain weight or “look” a certain way.

So with that, this blog post has now gotten to be a short novel and therefore, I’m thinking I’ll need to write a part II very soon. I hope this helps give you an idea about the person behind EATRUNANDALLINBETWEEN. I’m human too. I’ve had my struggles and have learned my lessons. We all have and it’s OK. All of this has shaped me to be the person I am today. I’m really happy with where I am and my relationship with food and fitness. I don’t run crazy miles everyday anymore. I’ve found happiness and simplicity in yoga and wholesome foods. I try my best to indulge every now and then, while maintaining a balanced diet and not letting it get the best of me. Everyday is still a work in progress, but I truly believe I’m in a better place now, more than ever.


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