Morning Yoga: Greeting the Day

I’ll be honest. Thirties aren’t quite like twenties. I used to jump out of bed with “morning person” energy. Eat a banana with peanut butter. Run 3-4 miles. Eat a couple bowls of cereal or make a big breakfast. And smile all the while. At least that is how I remember the majority of mornings from the last decade.

Now? I am thirty. Only since August. But I wake with more freedom than ever. Good intentions to find relaxation, peace & gratitude as I greet the day by following my well-thought out morning routine: drink water with lemon oil, meditate twenty minutes, 20-60 minutes of yoga or other exercises to wake up the body, daily affirmations, and a light & protein dense breakfast. Ideally, followed up with 10-20 pages from my current self-development book (check it out, it’s a good one!).

This does happen sometimes. Even for a week or two at a time. But today? Like many days… I wake up feeling thirty. Anyone over forty just laughs in that “you have no idea” way when I say this. But thirty is more work than twenty. The body is stiffer. The urge to wrap in a warm blanket, make a cup of tea & scroll through social media posts is a very tempting morning routine. This is all fine & well until it rolls straight into work and forgetting about any sort of morning self-care.

So this is my current struggle. Making time to take care of the self: physically, emotionally & spiritually. Maybe you can relate. So often other people, priorities & demands pull us away from self-care. So today? I challenge you to spend 15 minutes doing something kind, pleasurable, & loving for yourself. I’m going to start today with yoga…

Yoga connects the mind, body & spirit. It allows us to awaken fully, feel alive & grateful for this day. Whether one pose, a couple minute home practice or 75 minutes at the studio, I have never regretted doing yoga. This gentle, challenging & holistic practice can benefit people of so many different lifestyles & health needs. I often turn to this “Good Morning Yoga Sequence” when I am struggling to get moving.

Oh, & be sure you love your mat, feel home there. This is how I keep mine happy, clean & smelling fresh…

Yoga Mat Spray Recipe

Yoga Mat Spray

Ingredients

Yoga Mat Spray Recipe

 

Directions

  1. Add 2.5 ounces water to glass jar (I eyeball about 1/3 of the jar full).
  2. Add 5 drops lavender & 3 drop melaleuca (to switch it up, try subbing other favorite essential oils with similar cleansing properties).
  3. Fill to top with distilled water. Add spray top.
  4. Shake. Spray. Wipe clean (test a small part of your mat first).

 

Peace with Yoga

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Smoothie Bowl: beautiful food

Anyone else following some of the raw foodies on Instagram? Seems like most of them are Australian. Every photo is a mouth-watering plate of tropical fruits or a perfectly layered parfait of various raw food delights! Where can I order one of these? If I had access to this every day healthy eating would be a breeze!

What about the recently exploded trend in California – the acai bowl? Tasty, but at $10 a pop & questionable amounts of added sugar it may not be a great daily habit.

So what to do? I decided to finally attempt a smoothie bowl at home. The secret? Choose your favorite smoothie recipe. Put everything in the blender until smooth. Pour in a beautiful bowl instead, tops with more fresh fruit or toppings of your choice. Eat with a spoon. Ta-da!

I like all three of the Dr. Oz detox smoothie recipes as a base. I alter them depending on my current mood & what is in the refrigerator. But if you are new to blending it is helpful to follow a recipe so you don’t end up with a glob of brown/green, funky-tasting slop! Check out his recipes here! Below is what I did.

Smoothie Bowl Recipe

Layered Smoothie Bowl Recipe

*two servings (share with a friend!)

Smoothie Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 1/8 cup coconut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 drop each ginger & lemon essential oils (be sure brand used is safe to ingest)
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1 Tablespoon ground flax

Chia Pudding Ingredients: (optional for layering)

  • 3 Tablespoons chia
  • 1 cup water or almond milk
  • pure vanilla extra
  • 1 drop orange essential oil (be sure brand used is safe to ingest)

optional toppings: cacao nibs, coconut flakes, nuts, seeds, sliced fresh fruit, granola

Directions:

  1. Whisk chia, 1 cup water, 1 drop orange essential oil & splash of vanilla in a glass bowl.
  2. Cover a place in refrigerator over night.
  3. Add all smoothie ingredients to a high-powered blender & process until smooth. *Essential oils should only be used in glass (no plastic) so mix in after removing from the blender if there are any plastic parts. These oils can break down the chemicals in plastic which you can then ingest & this can damage your blender.
  4. Prepare toppings & slice desired fresh fruit.
  5. Layer in a bowl or clear mason jar: granola, smoothie, chia, smoothie, granola & finish with any other desired toppings.
  6. Take a picture of your food art & enjoy!!

Coconut Orange Granola: from the oven not a box

Homemade granola is the best! For many reasons including how much better it tastes fresh from the oven instead of a box or bag. But the main reason is I get to control what goes inside. This recipe is gluten-free & has no processed sugars.

Coconut Orange Granola Recipe

To limit grain intake, I omit the oats or sub with another seed or nut. Most paleo grandola I have seen in stores is like $9 for a tiny bag! What, that is not supposed to be single serving? Well if you are like me it is easy to put away huge portions of granola… especially freshly made!! It is tasty on one-ingredient banana ice cream, yogurt, smoothie bowls, under almond milk & by the fistful!

And most importantly, I can control the sugar content. There are great recipes available with just dates for sweetener & no processed sugar added. Most store-bought granola have at least 10 grams of sugar per serving, and that is if you only eat one serving.

All that to say, there are a million ways to make granola. Here is one. I have never made it quite this way before, & doubt I ever will again. It was delicious, don’t get me wrong! I just can’t seem to stick to a recipe no matter how delicious it is!! But you probably have figured that out about me by now 🙂

Coconut Orange Granola Recipe

Disclaimer: I didn’t measure anything so these are guesstimates, be sure to adjust amounts of dry/liquid ingredients as necessary. Re-create at your own risk 🙂

Coconut Orange Granola Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup mixed nuts (I used half pecan & half cashew)
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 drops certified pure orange essential oil (be sure the brand you use is safe for consumption)
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup local honey

Directions:

  1. Process 1 cup of oats in the food processor until medium fine. Add 1 cup of almonds & roughly chop.
  2. Add oats, almonds, mixed nuts, coconut flakes, cinnamon, salt to a bowl & mix well.
  3. Blend raisins, water & vanilla in food processor or blender.
  4. Add remaining liquid ingredients & process until smooth (some chunks are okay!)
  5. Add liquid to the dry & mix well.
  6. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper & spread granola in a thin layer.
  7. Bake at 350 for about one hour stirring every 15-20 minutes. Rotate baking sheets from top & middle racks half way through. Baking time can very so keep a close eye on it & remove from oven when toasted a light golden brown.
  8. Allow to cool & store in airtight container.

Coconut Orange Granola Recipe

DIY: Sunscreen

The turn of the season is here & I can feel the shift in the air. It is getting dark earlier. And it is a time for harvest & gratitude (a little extra than normal!). While I am excited to embrace everything fall, the reality is still dry heat & drought in California. As far as the drought goes – being mindful & making little changes daily makes a big difference. Check out this informative & inspirational video a local couple made in response to the Ice Bucket Challenge & the serious water situation in California:

The Five Gallon Challenge

Be inspired. Contribute to a positive change. My household is making plans to complete this Five Gallon Challenge, so more on that to come 🙂

tree

The cool thing about being a Californian is all the natural beauty we get to explore year round because the weather encourages outdoor play! So although summer has come to a close, sunscreen is still a critical part of a successful adventure!

Homemade sunscreen is great for the skin & non-toxic. I love to DIY my beauty products to reduce the chemicals I expose myself (& our world) to!  The majority of the ingredients used in the Sunscreen Recipe below carry a natural SPF 2-6. The Zinc Oxide brings the recipe to approximately SPF 20.

Sunscreen Recipe

sunscreen1Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup almond oil
  • 1/4 cup organic extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup organic coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup beeswax
  • 2 Tablespoons Zinc Oxide
  • 1 teaspoon Vitamin E Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Unrefined Shea Butter
  • 12 drops certified therapeutic grade Helichrysum Essential Oil (Read more about essential oils)
  • double boiler (I use a quart sized mason jar in a pot with a couple inches boiling water in it)

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients except Zinc Oxide & Helichrysum to the double boiler (mason jar that is sitting in the pot of boiling water).
  2. Stir with a wooden stick (I use a chopstick!) until melted & thoroughly combined.
  3. Remove from heat & wait 3 minutes to cool slightly.
  4. Add Zinc Oxide & Helichrysum. Stir thoroughly.
  5. Allow to cool & apply as needed before sun exposure.

*Please remember this sunscreen needs to be reapplied regularly, especially after prolonged water activities.

DIY Days: Lavender Peppermint Lip Balm

 DIY Lip Balm

Know any self-diagnosed lip balm addicts? I know a few. I myself do like some good lip love! After years of trying different brands, I finally learned to make my own. I will never go back! I am excited to share this simple recipe with you…

DIY Lip Balm is easy! Even pouring the mixture into the tiny tubes without spilling gets easier with practice (I only coated the kitchen floor one time)! The perks of making your own include –

  1. WAY Cheaper – okay, I haven’t actually done the math on this one yet, but I’d guess I make around four tubes for the same cost as buying one from the store!
  2. All Natural – I choose the ingredients & there are no chemicals or additives!
  3. Flavors & Scents – Using certified therapeutic grade essential oils I can try a wide variety of combinations (ex: citrus/lime, peppermint/orange, lavender) & get the added therapeutic benefits of each of these oils!
  4. FUN – did I mention DIY beauty products is super fun? And easy?

DIY Lavender Peppermint Lip Balm

Lavender Peppermint Lip Balm Recipe – Makes 3-4 ounces

Ingredients:

  • 3 T Beeswax (the more you use the firmer the finished product)
  • 2 T Coconut Oil (Coconut Oil melts easily in heat so the more you use the softer the lip balm – at least in summertime!)
  • 1 T Shea Butter
  • 1 T Cocoa Butter
  • 20 drops certified therapeutic grade Peppermint essential oil
  • 10 drops certified therapeutic grade Lavender essential oil
  • 1-2 drops Vitamin E Oil (optional)
  • Quart size mason jar & pot with a couple inches water (this serves as double boiler)
  • Empty Lip Balm Containers – makes about 20 lip balm tubes
  • Colored Mineral Makeup (optional – if you want to add a tint)

Directions:

  1. Remove caps from lip balm containers & line up on the counter (double check each is twisted to the bottom of the tube to fit the maximum amount in).
  2. Measure Coconut Oil, Shea & Vitamin E into the mason jar.
  3. Boil a couple inches of water in pot on the stove & then set the mason jar in the water to melt the ingredients. (Be gentle as the glass is fragile as it heats up!)
  4. Stir occasionally until melted & combined (approx. 10 minutes).
  5. After mixture is completely melted, remove from the heat.
  6. Cool for three minutes before adding essential oils. Stir. Stir in tinted makeup now if desired.
  7. Pour into lip balm containers & allow to cool.

Tips:

  • Stir with a wooden chopstick to make cleanup easier.
  • Use the same mason jar for all your DIY & you can store as is without needing to wash!
  • Add cute, hand-written labels for a personal flare!
  • Check out my post on essential oils for more info on why I use this brand & how to order.
  • Replace half the Shea Butter with Cocoa Butter for a peppermint patty effect! Yum!
  • Make plenty of extra for friends – these make a great gift!

DIY: Body Butter Recipe

The day has finally come – I made body butter! After months of using coconut oil, olive oil & even raw shea (warmed between the palms) to moisturize, I just cannot go back to store bought lotion or creams. The purity, hydration & richness my skin absorbs from pure ingredients cannot be matched. Here is the recipe…

Soothing Lavender Body Butter (Makes 8-10 ounces)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Shea Butter 
  • 1/2 cup Cocoa Butter
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 cup fractionated coconut oil (FCO) – I used half FCO & half EVOO
  • certified therapeutic grade essential oils – I used 5 drops Sandlewood, 5 drops Frankincense, 10 drops Orange & 10 drops Lavender 
  • double boiler – I use a quart size mason jar in a pot of hot water & have only broken one glass jar so far!
  • electric hand mixer
  • two 4 ounce containers (glass or highest quality plastics)

Directions:

  1. Boil a couple of inches water in a pot on the stove.
  2. Add all ingredients except essential oils to mason jar & place in the hot water.
  3. Stir with a wooden skewer (or Popsicle stick) until melted – takes about 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat for 5 minutes before adding essential oils of your choice.
  5. Cool in the refrigerator overnight (or until it sets).
  6. Beat on increasing speeds for about 5 minutes (until whipped light & fluffy).
  7. Transfer to containers *note you can chill & re-whip the body butter if it ever loses the desired consistency due to hot weather

1-3: Add butters/oils & melt together

5-6: Whip until light & fluffy

Reminder: Citrus oils can cause photosensitivity & it is recommended you only apply to the skin 12 hours before sun exposure (ie: before bed).

Lemon: Nature’s Cleanser

Lemons. Just the name can get the mouth watering! I’m lucky to live in a place where lemon trees brighten every neighborhood. A fresh slice squeezed in a glass of ice water or over a filet of barbecued salmon. Yum! Or lemonade on a hot summer’s day. As children we passed the summertime selling lemonade to the golfers that passed by our house. I usually got bored & left to play while my brother raked in all the quarters! Picking fresh fruit continues to bring joy to the children (& adults) in our family.

Lemon Essential Oil is also easy to use & reasonably priced. Benefits of using lemon include clearing toxins from the air, uplifting mood, energizing, cleansing & aiding digestion (ever heard the recommendation to drink lemon water every morning?).

Lemon is the perfect tool to have on hand when that deep cleaning mood strikes because it cleanses stubborn grime while energizing & uplifting the cleaner in the process! Here are a few favorite tricks for cleaning with lemon essential oil:

  1. Clothing Stains: Dab directly on stain & wash as recommended. *Easily removed stains that were probably a couple years old on a white dress I hadn’t worn in years! 
  2. Bathtub: Apply a few drops and sprinkle with baking soda. Scrub with a brush or cloth to easily remove soap, dirt & hard water build-up from tub and faucet. *also like to use lemongrass essential oil for my tub – both work wonders & smell amazing! 
  3. Freshen Towels: Add a drop or two to the washing machine to brighten whites & rid towels of mildew smell (when left wet in the washing machine too long!).
  4. Easy Counter Spray: Add 10 drops to spray bottle & fill water. Spray & wipe. *Please note that essential oils should be kept in glass. Some recipes are diluted  enough to recommend an alternative container – but glass is the preferred choice.
  5. Removing sticky substances: Apply directly to sticker residue, gum or tar to remove the gunk! *Remember citrus oils can melt plastics so be careful what surfaces you choose to clean!!
  6. Purify the Air: Put a few drops in a diffuser or make a simple room freshening spray by adding to water in a glass spray bottle. A good friend just made me this one that I love using in the kitchen & bathroom!
What are your favorite cleaning tips or uses for lemons or lemon essential oil?

Homemade Hand Cleanser: a Summertime essential!

Nothing says summer like a day spent playing at the State Fair! Growing up with the Fair coming to town every summer, fond memories include eating giant slices of overpriced pizza, begging carnies to let us stay on again for a free ride, spinning round & upside down until our tummies hurt, splashing in the demo pools for relief from the triple digit heat, & screaming with joy when the concert performers walked to the side of the stage that faced our nose-bleed, bleacher seats.

Going back to the Fair of my childhood yesterday brought back the freedom only felt by a new teen – out of school for summer & only one mission: fun! We adults could benefit from recreating these simpler & more playful times! While the hypnotist show, I once loved, no longer comes to our fair, the new favorite is Mutton Busting. Has anyone seen this? Brave little people (under age 6) ride sheep, rodeo-style, with the goal of holding on for six seconds. It is a little shocking to see them fall, faces in the dirt, for the first time – but it sure does draw a crowd. I’m not here to discuss ethics of rodeo or other Fair activities – but it all makes for great people-watching!

Being at the fair also reminds me how much I dislike public bathrooms & port-a-potties! Summer activities like camping, fairs & festivals bring the inevitable long lines & shared germs. To combat environmental threats & keep hands soft, I carry homemade hand cleanser. Here is the recipe…

Hand Cleanser Recipe 

Ingredients:

  • 5 T aloe vera gel
  • 4 T water
  • 1/4 t vitamin E oil
  • 8 drops certified therapeutic grade essential oils (protective blend)
  • 5 oz squeeze container

Directions:

1. Mix 5 tablespoons aloe vera gel & 1/4 teaspoon vitamin E oil.

2. Add 8-10 drops essential oil.

3. Stir in about 4 tablespoons water to achieve desired consistency.

4. Pour mixture into squeeze container using measuring cup or funnel. I chose five 1 oz containers to share with friends.

5. Squeeze small amount on hands & rub until dry.

That’s it – easy! This recipe cleanses without chemicals or drying the skin. Enjoy!

DIY DAY Part III: Body Wash

Finally got over the obstacle of DIY body wash!! I kept putting it off because it seemed hard. I was wrong – it is easy! So grateful to be lathering up in healthy oils instead of chemicals now – yahoo!! Body wash is a personal thing. Try it, tweak it, let me know what you think…

Foaming Body Wash Recipe

Invigorating Eucalyptus Lime Body Wash

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz glass jar with pump (I reused an empty 32oz vinegar jar & a lotion pump)
  • 1 c unscented castile soap
  • 6-7 T aloe vera
  • 1 t vitamin E oil
  • 6 T fractionated coconut oil (olive oil would probably work okay too)
  • 20 drops certified therapeutic grade essential oils – Peppermint, Lime & Eucalyptus

Directions:

  • Add all ingredients in bottle & shake.
  • In shower: shake to combine ingredients & use of 1-2 pumps

Benefits:

  • I chose these three oils to jump start the morning. The combination is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, stimulating, revitalizing & opens the airways to take in a new day!

Swapping (even just one!) store bought product for a DIY alternative can save money, reduce toxins in the home & help preserve our planet! Enjoy!

Check out Part I: All-Purpose Cleaner & Part II: foaming hand wash for more DIY recipes!

Contact me for info on the ingredients & essential oils I recommend 🙂

DIY Day Part II: Foaming Hand Wash

Foaming Hand Wash Recipe

Foaming Handwash Recipe

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • Mix castile soap & oils in bottle
  • add water to fill (leaving room for pump) & shake
  • 1-2 pumps per hand wash

Benefits:

  • I like to use 5 drops of a protective blend of essential oils that includes Orange, Cinnamon, Rosemary, Eucalyptus & Clove. Benefits includes cleansing properties, purifies, oxygenates, stimulates nerves & promotes circulation.

Check out Part I: All-Purpose Cleaner & Part III: Body Wash for more DIY recipes!

Contact me for more information purchasing certified therapeutic grade essential oils.