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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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!

One little peace … piece of cake that is!

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving” – That Mr. Einstein sure was a wise man. I strive to stay positive about the constant balancing act between all aspects of life and wellness. To be at peace with where I am on my wellness journey in any particular moment, I cannot see “balance” as a final goal or destination. Instead I look to find peace & mindfulness by being present, acting from a place of love & putting energy into the many things I love and need. There is beauty, joy & excitement to be found in accepting that finding “balance” is an ongoing piece of our lives.

photo

Finding a moment of peace and beauty on our mid-week hike!

When it comes to a balanced diet, it is no secret that sugar is my vice. Sometimes I feel in control, balanced… and other times I am at the mercy of cravings. Hard cycle to beat. I strive to follow the 80/20 rule when it comes to eating healthy. I stay away from sugary drinks & processed foods so that I can indulge in chocolate & baked treats. But let’s save the balanced diet discussion & challenges for another day. Because today I want to send you into the weekend with a delightful gluten-free cupcake recipe to try! I adapted this from a recipe on Pinterest so check it out in all it’s tasty glory here! Below are the changes I made to the recipe to create a lemon cupcake with lavender frosting!


Lemon Cupcakes (Gluten-Free) with Simple Lavender Frosting      

Yields: approx. 12 cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free baking mix (flour) with xanthan gum
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup organic white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • OPTIONAL: 5 drops of certified therapeutic grade Lemon Essential Oil *always do your own research before consuming essential oils
  • Zest of 1 lemon

Cupcake Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees & line cupcake pan
  • Mix all wet ingredients (coconut oil, vanilla, milk, eggs) & sugar in a medium bowl
  • Add dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder) & mix well
  • Stir in lemon zest & essential oil (optional)
  • Bake on center oven rack for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean
  • Cool completely. Frost & Serve.

Frosting Ingredients

  • Powdered Sugar
  • Almond Milk
  • Coconut Oil
  • Certified therapeutic grade Lavender Essential Oil *see notes above on consuming essential oils

Frosting Directions

  • Start with 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon coconut oil & a splash of almond milk
  • Mix well & add more sugar or milk as needed to achieve desired consistency
  • add 1-2 drops essential oil, taste & increase to achieve desired flavor *note: essential oils are very potent & it is easy to overdo this!

That’s it! This is currently my go-to cupcake recipe as it is easily adapted to various flavors! For a more basic flavor try vanilla cakes (leave out lemon) & chocolate frosting (leave out lavender & add cocoa) … easy & delicious!

Did you know you can bake cupcakes in advance? If you refrigerate cupcakes they will dry out. But you can bake them, freeze them, defrost & frost when you are ready to serve. This means you can bake ahead of time & the day of your party impress your guests with fresh baked goodies! Or if you have more self-control then I do, you can bake cupcakes and keep them in the freezer for whenever you want a quick, homemade dessert!

ENJOY & have a great weekend (almost)!!!