4 Wellness Rituals to Start Today

There’s been a lot of talk about self care recently. While it may sound super indulgent at first glance what with all the emphasis on ‘me time’, it is an essential part of physical and mental health. If you’ve ever felt like you have nothing left to give, like you’re emotionally and physically exhausted, or even like you just need a moment to get away, you already know how important self care is for you and everyone else around you. There is no shame in hitting the reset button. There’s no shame in trying to keep all the cogs and wheels in your mind and body running as smoothly as possible. That’s essentially what all this ‘me time’ talk is hinting at.

There’s no one-size-fits-all method for self care. Sometimes it’s as simple as lighting a candle and meditating. Sometimes it’s as painful as confronting the obstacles that we put in our own way. Whatever method of self care we choose, the fact of the matter is, we just need to find the rituals or habits that allow us to be our best selves. The mind and body are inextricably connected. We have to nurture both. Here are 3 suggestions for self care that you can incorporate today!

Drink warm lemon water every morning

As a coffee drinker, I completely understand if you hesitate on this one, but if I can do it you can too! Warm lemon water, detoxifies and hydrates the body, aids digestion, and gives you a nice kick of Vitamin C. Just squeeze the juice from a fresh lemon into a mug of warm water and enjoy.

Start a gratitude journal

I used to think journaling was something you did just to vent out deeply repressed frustration. Not so! There is so much to be thankful for and sometimes we lose sight of it. Each morning, take a few minutes to jot down a quick list of things you’re grateful for to kick the day off with a positive frame of mind. Seriously, a gratitude journal will remind you to be happy and keep you grounded.

Try Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic tradition that is primarily for oral health, but is also known to vastly improve overall health. Oil pulling is said to boost energy, clear up the skin, alleviate headaches, and much more. Swish a tablespoon of organic coconut oil in your mouth for 15-20 minutes first thing in the morning. Spit it out in the toilet or in the garbage to avoid clogging your drains. Rinse your mouth out and start your day!

Dry Brush Your Skin

This is another Ayurvedic tradition that has a ton of benefits. Not only does dry brushing stimulate the lymphatic system, it promotes detoxification, improves circulation, and you guessed it, it exfoliates your skin. Using a brush with natural bristles take an extra few minutes before your regular shower routine to dry brush. Beginning at your feet, gently brush in upward strokes working your way up toward your heart. Shower as usual. You’ll totally feel the difference.

Again, there is no right or wrong blueprint for self care. Don’t hate on yourself if you’d rather take a bubble bath than do any of the things on this list. Find what’s right for you and start today! Your future self will thank you.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

Try This—The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

I make it a point to eat yogurt everyday. Yogurt has so many health benefits! Everything from weight management, to digestive health, to healthy skin, nails, and hair, yogurt does it all. I’ve had my fair share of health concerns and yogurt has seriously regulated my system. I love yogurt, but in keeping with my quest to decrease the amount of sugar I consume, I’ve been paying special attention to the amount of added sugar in popular yogurt brands. Surprisingly enough, some yogurt brands have more added sugar than ice cream! Double U, Tee, Eff!

As for me, I’ve settled on Siggi’s yogurt which is totally amazing and has just 8 grams of added sugar as opposed to some of the brands that have over 30 grams per serving. Everytime I go to the store, I stock up on Siggi’s. In fact, if after reading this post, you go to the store and there’s no Siggi’s left on the shelf, I apologize in advance because it was probably me that bought them all… Also, If you happen to see Siggi vacationing on the French Riviera, or some beautiful tropical island, you can tell her that I said you’re welcome. I’m pretty sure I’m financing that trip.

As absolutely wonderful as yogurt is, I admit it can get a bit boring when you eat it Every. Single. Day. That is unless you have an arsenal of add-in ideas to take your yogurt from drab to fab! This is seriously the list to end all lists of yogurt toppings. I have tried every single one of these bad boys and let me tell you, these toppings take yogurt to a whole new level. Guilt-free, fine-yogurt-dining, y’all! You must try these!
Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

Toss together pitted and quartered peaches with a pinch of cardamom and drizzle of maple syrup. Roast in 350°F oven until tender. Eat warm or at room temperature over yogurt with chopped pecans.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

***Roast extra peaches and keep refrigerated in a sealed container so you can use them throughout the week.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

Coarsely grate carrots and toss with honey and cinnamon. Spoon over yogurt and sprinkle with chopped walnuts.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

Stir lemon juice and a dash of almond extract into yogurt. Sprinkle with poppy seeds.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

Pit and coarsely chop cherries. Add to a saucepan with a few tablespoons of full-bodied red wine and a pinch of sugar. Simmer until the liquid is thickened, then cool and serve over yogurt.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

***Cook extra cherry-wine sauce and keep refrigerated in an airtight container so you can use it throughout the week.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

Whisk together honey, orange juice, and orange zest. Drizzle over yogurt, and sprinkle with chopped crystallized ginger and chopped pistachios.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

***Make extra honey-orange sauce and keep in the fridge in an airtight container so you can use over the next few days.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

Swirl honey into yogurt. Top with coarsely chopped almonds and apricots. Drizzle with additional honey.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

Wrap whole sweet potatoes in aluminum foil and roast in a 375°F oven until tender. Peel and mash with a drizzle of maple syrup. Dollop on top of yogurt and sprinkle with hazelnuts.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

***Roast extra sweet potatoes to make extra potato-maple mash and then keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container to use throughout the week.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

Whisk together lime juice, zest, and agave. Slice fresh sweet corn kernels off the cob. Toss with lime mixture and sprinkle over yogurt.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

***Make extra topping and keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container to use throughout the week.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

Toast large flaked coconut in a 350°F oven until lightly browned and fragrant. Cool slightly. Stir cocoa powder into yogurt and top with the toasted coconut and chocolate shavings.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

In a bowl smash together half of the blueberries with fresh lemon juice and a sprinkle of granulated sugar. Swirl gently into yogurt. Top with whole blueberries and lemon zest.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

***Make extra blueberry sauce and store in the fridge in an airtight container so you can use throughout the week.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

Stir vanilla extract into yogurt. Top with diced fresh strawberries. Sprinkle brown sugar and coarsely chopped pecans over top and serve.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

Mash banana and cinnamon together with a fork until smooth. Swirl gently into yogurt and top with finely chopped peanuts (or pecans).

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

***Make extra banana-cinnamon mash and store in the fridge in an airtight container so you can use for the next few days.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

Stir lime zest and lime juice into cajeta. Swirl the lime-cajeta into yogurt and top with diced kiwi and sliced fresh mint. [Cajeta is a goat milk caramel sauce, but if you can’t find it, feel free to use regular caramel sauce]

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

Whisk together balsamic vinegar and maple syrup in a bowl. Add the berries and set aside to macerate for 30 minutes. Spoon over yogurt.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

Halve fresh or dried figs. Drizzle the cut sides with honey and place, cut sides down, in a hot skillet. Caramelize for 2 minutes. Top yogurt with figs, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

Swirl pumpkin butter into yogurt and top with shards of graham crackers and pumpkin seeds.

There’s something on this list for everyone for sure. These combos aren’t just for yogurt either! Get creative and amp up your oatmeal, waffles, or toast!

If you’re more of an ice cream lover and you’re trying to stay away from all of that sugar, you absolutely must check out this 30 Days of Nice Cream series for a totally healthy and satisfying alternative to traditional ice cream!

Source: buzzfeed

Homemade Eucalyptus Oatmeal Bath Salts---Spa Days at Home

Homemade Eucalyptus Oatmeal Bath Salts—Spa Days at Home

I’ve been super stressed lately. I can’t really put my finger on it, but I’ve had this general sense of anxiety and malaise for weeks now. This weekend was a particularly rough one, and I couldn’t really calm down long enough to get any rest. Sigh. So Sunday night, after all my efforts to chill had been exhausted, I decided to soak in a bath. I don’t know guys, lately I just really feel like I need a 24-hour hug. A warm bath is always the next best thing, so I whipped up this quick bath salts recipe and melted away in the tub. It was a total pick-me-up and my skin felt amazing. This is my new favorite and I’m pretty sure you’re gonna love it too!

Homemade Eucalyptus Oatmeal Bath Salts

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked oatmeal, blended
  • 1 cup unscented Epsom salt
  • 1 tbsp unrefined sea salt
  • 10-15 drops eucalyptus essential oil

Homemade Eucalyptus Oatmeal Bath Salts

Directions

  • In blender, add uncooked oatmeal and lightly blend it until it’s almost flour
  • in a glass container, mix together your blended oatmeal, epsom salt, and sea salt
  • slowly add in the drops of eucalyptus
  • store in a sealed glass container in a cool dry place for up to two months
  • to use, just add 1-2 tablespoons to your bath water and relax

***If eucalyptus isn’t your thing, you can replace that essential oil with another soothing essential oil of your choice (lavender, chamomile, or peppermint all work well)

***You can also add fresh herbs like rosemary or lavender to this mixture, but be warned that the overall mixture won’t stay fresh for as long.

Move Over, Ikea: Hygge Style is What We’ve Really Been Missing—Fixer Upper Friday

Over the past several years, Scandinavian style has dominated interior design trends. In may ways, it’s been our answer to our overly cluttered, chaotic lifestyles and we’ve embraced it’s simplicity and function. Every home seems to have some space-saving, Ikea solution in one room or another, and we’ve totally fallen in love with the idea of paring down and organizing the things we have.

The Best, Eclectic Scandinavian Interior You've Seen---Fixer Upper Friday

Move Over, Ikea: Hygge Style is What We've Really Been Missing---Fixer Upper Friday

The root of this ‘less is more’ design motif is that we all just want a serene space that allows us to truly relax when we get home at the end of a long day. We want a space that is perfect for entertaining family and friends. We want a space that functions to make our daily routines easier and joyous. We want a space that’s cozy and inviting… and in the back of our minds we know that no piece of furniture on its own can create that kind of space. That space we all desire requires action. This, in a nutshell, is the Danish concept of Hygge (hoo-ga).

Move Over, Ikea: Hygge Style is What We've Really Been Missing---Fixer Upper Friday

Move Over, Ikea: Hygge Style is What We've Really Been Missing---Fixer Upper Friday

Hygge encapsulates the idea of mindfulness, kinship, familiarity, comfort, charm, and simplicity. It’s about creating an atmosphere of intimacy in our daily lives and in our homes. More than just a design trend, Hygge goes a step further by celebrating life’s mundane moments and fostering a general sense of mental wellness. Whether it’s lighting a candle with every meal, or taking the time to brew a cup of loose tea, Hygge describes the feeling of genuinely taking pleasure in all of life’s simple moments. Isn’t that what we all need a little more of?

Move Over, Ikea: Hygge Style is What We've Really Been Missing---Fixer Upper Friday

Here are some simple ways to make Hygge a part of your life:

For more information on Hygge, Check out this amazing book available through Amazon. It’s a total game changer!

Yoga Essentials for Beginners and How to Use Them

Yoga Essentials for Beginners: Where to Find Them and How to Use Them

I started out doing yoga because I knew I needed to exercise. My energy levels were super low, no matter how much coffee I drank and by midday I was ready to crawl back into bed. The last straw was that my lower back and legs started to hurt more and more each time I leaned down to tie my shoes. Despite the fact that my body was functioning like I was 176 years old, I still wanted to find the lowest impact exercise I could, because lazy. That’s how I settled on yoga. I figured, I stretch and breathe every day already so yoga is totally in my wheelhouse. I was too embarrassed to actually go to a yoga class though. I chose an at-home yoga app, and in the privacy of my own living room, I began my yoga practice.

My very first full yoga routine was on New Year’s Day of last year and I’ve done a yoga routine every single day since then. I can’t begin to describe to you the difference it has made in my life. I have more energy than I’ve had in years and yoga is totally bringing my sexy back. Anyway, this last year has taught me some of the finer details of yoga—the things I wish I had known when I started that could’ve saved me from some aches and pains and other minor inconveniences. If you are just toying with the idea of starting on a healthier path, and you think yoga might be for you, here are some beginner essentials that you should totally invest in. Where applicable, I’ve also posted a link to a short video to show you how to use the particular item.

Yoga Mat

It pays off to invest in a good yoga mat. What makes a good yoga mat, you ask. One that doesn’t roll up or slip around when you’re moving from one pose into another. One that doesn’t get noticeably sticky when you start to sweat. Most of all, one that doesn’t wear out quickly and start to shed little pieces of mat all over the place. I really love Gaiam yoga mats (currently discounted here) and Manduka Prolite Mats (find them here).

Yoga Mat Towel

If you naturally run a little bit hot when you exercise,or if you plan on doing hot yoga, yoga mat towels are a must. These towels are specifically designed to wick up sweat. You can use them in place of a yoga mat or lay them right on top of your yoga mat (especially useful if you’re using the ‘bowling shoe’ yoga mats that the gym lends you).

Yoga Bolster

Yoga bolsters make it easier to get into and maintain poses that are a difficult for you. These are key when you’re trying to relax in a pose that you find a little bit strenuous. Here are some yoga poses that really benefit from the use of bolsters.

Yoga Strap

I didn’t know how great yoga straps were when I first started doing yoga, but these things are amazing. Yoga straps are so helpful when it comes to improving flexibility. Even if you’re not new to yoga, yoga straps can really help you sink deeper into a pose. Here’s how to use them.

Yoga Block

Yoga blocks are also useful for improving flexibility, but they also assist in maintaining the proper alignment in a pose. Check out this intro to yoga blocks.

***Even if you don’t pick up all of these items, you can still get moving and start your daily yoga practice. Remember: this time next year, you’ll wish you’d started today. You can do this!!!