It’s no secret that we love a good cocktail around here just as much as we love self care. Most of the time those things seem mutually exclusive (although I am a firm believer in a glass of wine in the bathtub), but what would happen if you mixed the two? Maybe like adding turmeric to a cocktail – why not?!
Turmeric is absolutely, hands down one of my favorite go-to spices. It warms me up, helps fight off colds, packs an amazing flavor punch, and just about cures all ails – it is my personal magic bullet. So you can imagine my delight when I discovered Von Humboldt’s turmeric liqueur.
On its own, turmeric can have an intense, bitter flavor, but in this liqueur it’s been distilled down with coriander seed, rose petal, and lemon zest to sweeten things up a bit. It is a delicious earthy modifier that holds her own in a cocktail or enjoyed as a digestif after a meal.
If I am being honest – and we are all friends here, so of course I am being honest – this end of winter/beginning of spring in between season always kind of gets me down. Call it the wacky weather or maybe because the skies tend to be more gray than blue, either way, I get bummed out. So, in an effort to simplify things, I am trying to make some small changes with big results. So…for this weeks challenge….
Here are several ways I am trying to simplify my life this week. Some of these might be up your alley, some maybe not so much, but I would love to hear your thoughts!
1 – No more falling asleep with the TV on
I know, I know, it’s a bad habit, but some nights my mind is racing so much that the only thing that will help me go to sleep is watching mindless TV shows (Arrow, anyone?) But, as we all know, falling asleep to the TV doesn’t exactly provide the foundation for rest, now does it? This week, I am putting down the remote and picking up a good book.
2 – No more waking up & checking emails
Do you do this? It’s the first thing I do when I turn the alarm off at 5 a.m. It’s like clockwork. I turn off the alarm, refresh my email, check the news (depressing), and Instagram. Immediately I feel stressed and rushed and it’s no bueno. This week I am putting my phone on airplane mode and giving myself a little extra time in the morning to ease into things.
Airplane mode keeps all your notifications from coming through (i.e. no emails, calls, texts, Instagram notifications, and all the other nonsense you get notified about). Here is to hoping this small change makes a BIG difference.
3 – No more chips and salsa for dinner
Tell me I am not alone in the weeknight meal struggle. Sometimes it’s hard to whip up a meal after a long day, you know what I mean? And once the pizza guy knows your name, that relationship has to end ASAP.
For those of you who meal plan, I envy you. While it’s not hard, it is just a bit time-consuming which is always the hurdle. This week, my goal is to meal plan for three dinners, nothing crazy, just something basic and easy to work into being a fully functioning adult.
4 – No more double booking
Scheduling every moment of every day is exhausting and a fool-proof way to set your plans up for failure. Happy hours and catching up with friends are meant to be fun, not stressful. Try limiting your hangouts and catch-ups to two days or swapping the happy hour for a walk outside or spin class. This week I am opting for a fewer hangouts of higher quality – you in?
5 – No more stuffing & cramming
By no means am I a hoarder, but there are just certain things that I can’t seem to organize. Random match books, receipts, random screws, you know, normal things. And don’t even get me started about the chair. You know when clothes aren’t dirty enough for the hamper, but not clean enough for the hamper — it’s the chair. So between the chair, the random junk drawer, and the other corner piles, something has got to go. This week, it’s time to tackle the chair…
6 – No more elaborate morning routines
When I was in college I was all about the elaborate morning routine. I woke up, stretched, journaled, had some quiet time, made breakfast, showered AND blow dired my hair, plus probably singing to the plants and talking to the birds because that is how much freaking free time I had. Who the eff has that kind of time now? Not I, said the over scheduled fly, not I.
While I am still a huge proponent of a morning routine (we talked all about it here), mine looks way, way different. It is all about waking up 10 minutes early, leaving my phone on DND, meditating for a few minutes, and giving myself a little extra love – maybe some mornings that means actually make a breakfast, or taking time to do my hair, or hey, here’s a big one, trying to make that morning meeting on time.
I am notorious for changing multiple times in a morning, are you that way? Even if I think I know what I want to wear, majority of the time I spend half the morning picking out shoes or switching a top – it’s a nightmare. Your decision making skills begin to decline once you’ve made a certain amount of decisions in a day (it takes a lot of energy to make decisions all day and your brain gets tired), so spending a lot of time and energy on choosing an outfit takes away strong decision-making skills from something else.
This week I am giving my brain a hand and selecting outfits ahead of time, that way I don’t have to worry about it!
What about you? What changes have you made in your life to feel less stressed?
I am a big believer in creating good energy in your home, because truthfully, it helps me stay balanced. My personality is a MASSIVE introverted extrovert, meaning, I love people, I love hanging out and doing things, but they don’t fill me up. I get filled up by being at home, reading books, gardening, or (no surprise here) taking a bath. So when my day is filled with extroverted activities, it is really important for me to come home to a space that is clean, quiet, and filled with good vibes.
Actively working to create a space with good vibes is something that is crucial to my mental health and a little habit that really helps my self care practice. For you, it might mean burning incense or using smudge sticks – both are awesome & if that works for you, don’t change – but for me, it is slightly more involved.
Doesn’t this sound like I am a cheesy mall photographer trying to upsell you on a package? I promise, it’s nothing as creepy as that…
For me, creating moments means having little spots around the house where I can instantly sit back and relax. Most of the time it involves trays. I don’t really know why, maybe it’s because my slightly type-A brain loves the organization and compartmentalizing aspect of trays…either way, trays are the trick to moments.
For example, I always have a tray sitting on my coffee table with a candle, matches, and some reading material. This allows me to sit down on the sofa, light the candle, grab a magazine, and relax without any prep work. My brain is tired from making decisions all day, so this is an easy, decision free way to just take a break from things for a bit.
Naturally, I get all the best trays in my house and candles in my house from Marshalls, because a) they are AMAZING and b) fantastically affordable. This little round guy is perfect for outdoor entertaining and the Peony Petal candle is my absolutle favorite. Every time I go to Marshalls I stock up on as many as they have. I have a whole shelf in my office dedicated to this candle…no joke. My husband thinks I am insane, but I like to think that our house smells like a magic English house in the country, so…worth it.
CREATE YOUR OWN MOMENT
This could also be called “Manage Clutter Well” but soothing visuals made this tip sound more zen and important some how, so let’s roll with it. Okay, so what the F does “soothing visuals” mean? Well, young padawan, let me explain…
Your brain processing a million pieces of information a day and there are about a katrillion things vying for your attention at any given moment, so part of my good vibe practice is to create a space that is soothing, relaxing, and doesn’t need anything from me.
Again, I like color and organization so organizing my bookshelf by color is weirdly cathartic for my mind. Every morning when I spread out the various piles, paperwork, and nonsense I have to get through in a day, it is nice to have this colorful wall to look up at and space out on.
For you, that might mean sparse bookshelves, a gallery wall, a cabinet full of plants, it could be any or all of those things, but try setting it up in a room you are frequently in.
I also love filling my bookshelves with little trinkets from trips, items that make me smile, and all of the plants. Honestly, if I could live in a greenhouse I would be thrilled. Elated actually, but that is besides the point.
On a recent trip to my favorite store (cough cough Marshalls) I found those three blue and white Chinoiserie vases – aren’t they cool? They add some height and drama to the shelves without being loud or trendy. Plus, I can move them to my dining room table to spruce things up, or in various other places in the house when I get the itch to rearrange (which is daily, mind you). That big guy on the right was under $50, can you believe? Run, go get them, right now, GO, we will wait…
Basically, I try to make my living room as comfortable as possible. We’ve got books stacked on almost every available surface (in a chic, no cluttered way of course), candles are always within an arms reach, and everything basically begs you to sit down, unplug, and recharge. Also, this is a phone free zone in our house. While our TV is hanging on the opposite wall, we try to leave our phones on the dining room table, so when we are in the living room, we spend time together. That could mean watching a movie, binge watching a show, or snuggling, reading, or just catching up on our days.
It’s amazing and I totally suggest instituting a tech free zone of your house. Try it for a week and watch what happens. You’ll be amazed.
Part of making a room cozy is having places to rest your cup of tea, a book, or a candle and these stools (again from Marshalls, again in amazing blue and white) are beyond perfect. They are roughly 24″ tall, so the perfect height for a sofa or a chair, blend in nicely with almost any decorating style, and easily under $100. I loved them so much I bought two extra ones to use as our bedside tables – OBSESSED.
If I was a betting gal, it would be easy money to say that you and everyone you know is taking about collagen. It’s the latest super supplement and it’s popping up on every heathy list imaginable – but what is it all about?
I wanted to see what all the hype was about, so naturally I dove right in, headfirst, and went gangbusters for a week. I ate, drank, gargled (jk, I didn’t do that), and breathed collagen (by only by accident because I sneezed while scooping some out….oops) and there are legit some amazing benefits…
Here is why everyone is loving collagen:
Great for your bones, joints, and muscles
Helps with digestion & is great for anyone with acid reflux, IBS, or leaky gut
Does wonders for your skin (goodbye wrinkles), teeth, nails, and hair
And, rumor has it, it supports a healthy nights sleep
After doing some research, I ordered Dr. Axe’s Multi-Collagen Protein and started adding two scoops to my morning smoothies. This particular mix is a high-quality blend of bovine, chicken, fish, and egg collagens, providing collagen Types I, II, III, V and X (hence, “multi” collagen).Types I and III are amazing for your skin, hair, and nails while Type II collagen, which supports gut health, joint health and healthy immune system function.
This mix is great because it’s super high quality, easy to absorb, tasteless, and has absolutely no smell (which, to me, is a big win). Smoothies are a super easy way to work collagen in, but I have also mixed it in to my cup of tea in the evening, and lots of people use collagen in their recipes!
I’ve been drinking collagen for about two weeks now and I can tell that their is a difference in my skin, energy levels, and my hair feels more healthy. It’s so easy to work in to my morning routine and with noticeable results in such a short time, it’s definitely become a beloved part of my health regime.
What do you think? Would you try working collagen in to your routine?
Last week I met a girlfriend for lunch and as I sat there waiting for her, I couldn’t help but notice that someone at every table was on their phone. Everyone either had their phone face up on the table, in their lap, or they were endlessly scrolling away on it. Not just the majority of tables, but every single table had phones out, face up, ready to distract them from a fabulous lunch with someone they wanted to grab lunch with.
I watched as people felt the buzz of their phone, put down their silverware mid-conversation, and replied, scrolled, clicked, and ‘grammed. We are all guilty of this & I get it, it’s easy to multitask, but I had to wonder how, after being plugged in and available to everything/everyone all day, we are able to refill ourselves and…to a maybe larger question…how is it changing us? Is unplugging the new freedom?
You’ve read a million articles, heard a trillion podcasts, and I am sure have had several thousand conversations about digital detoxing, it’s benefits, it’s downfalls, and all the peaks and perils in between. And while I am a huge fan of putting boundaries on your tech use (no phones in the bedroom, shut your tv off by a certain time, etc.), I get that not everyone has that luxury, or that tech serves different uses for different people. But, here is what I want to challenge us to try this week…ignore your phone at meal time. That’s it.
Studies show that time away from technology
help improve posture and eye contact
improve short and long term memory
open up new perspectives
makes you seem more trustworthy
improves relationship quality and sense of closeness
makes people want to talk to you more
Don’t pull your phone out of your bag, or nestle it in your lap. Don’t allow yourself the temptation of looking at it every time you feel a buzz or a high pitched chime, turn it on silent. Hey, maybe go crazy and just leave it in another room while you eat at home. What could be the worst thing that happens?
This week, try thinking these three simple thoughts:
I put my phone on silent if I know I am going to be with other people in a social setting.
I leave my phone in my bag, rather than on the table, so it’s harder to access.
I look more open, trustworthy, and friendly without a phone in my hand.
Did you know that your skin is your biggest organ? Now think about all the junk you put on your skin – soap, shampoo, conditioner, scrubs, lotions, deodorant – it’s a lot! Now think about how much you know about all those products? Are they organic? Paraben free? What even is a paraben?
I have had terrible skin since I can remember. Terrible spots, flakes, the works. From 13 to almost 30, it doesn’t get easier to deal with. BUT, a few great things have come out of having shit skin, I have tested almost every product on the market and have become a total nutter about researching the isht out of what I am putting on my body. That nuttiness has migrated from purely facial products to just about everything that falls under ‘bath and beauty.’
There is a crap load of funky stuff floating around in your products that you probably don’t even think about because it’s in a pretty package (I am so, so guilty of this) or because it’s sold at a certain store, and it could be affecting your whole body, not just your skin.
Now I know re-stocking isn’t cheap, but I am taking on one room a month and figuring out what stays and what goes. Join me and take an hour out of your night and go through your bathroom cabinets. Pull out all the product from your shower, under the cabinets, all those samples, and even those bins you keep in the back full of half used bottles and tubes. Grab a trash bin and toss out anything that has the following:
BHA and BHT (commonly found in moisturizers)
MEA, DEA, & TEA (or monoethanolamine, diethanolamine, and triethanolamine)
P-phenylenediamine (coal tar dye) and anything with CI, FD&C, or D&C followed by a five-digit number (found in hair dye or colored products)
Parabens (found in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products)
Dibutyl phthalate (found in nail polish)
Methenamine or Hexamethylenetetramine (found in eye makeup, as well as shampoo and hair conditioners)
If you want help or more guidelines, try downloading Think Dirty or EWG’s Healthy Living. Both apps allow you to scan your products to see where your products rates on the dirty/clean scale.
This week I am taking on my bathroom products. I’ve thrown out a ton of lotions, funky soaps, and countless samples. Here is a list of clean (or more clean) products that I’ve swapped out. Okay, from left to right…
I was at a swank little coffee shop in the West Loop the other day and saw “Golden Latte” on the menu, so naturally, I ordered it because it sounded weird and maybe magical and I have to say…I was very pleasantly surprised!
Little did I know that this fancy latte has a cult following. You’ve heard of matcha lattes, but have you heard of the latest wonder drink – turmeric lattes? From Sydney to San Fran, people are ditching their morning cups of joe for this healthy alternative and swearing by it’s many magical benefits.
What are the benefits you ask?
boosts immunity and brain power
aids in muscle pain relief
helps with digestion
lowers risk of diabetes
helps fight infection, depression, anxiety, and I am sure a bunch of other annoying ailments
PLUS it’s amazing for your skin and a great source of natural caffeine
Okay, so here is my health challenge for the week — I am going to swap out two of my weekly morning cups of coffee for turmeric lattes and see how it goes. Join me?
Maybe it is the season or the current state of affairs (can we just get one day without a CNN alert, puhhlease), but I have become increasingly more and more anxious. I have never considered myself someone who has anxiety but recently I find myself becoming stressed more easily and overwhelmed more quickly – which is gross and super not fun. So, this week I am trying to give myself a minute to take some deep breaths whenever I am feeling anxious and overwhelmed. Join me?
DEEP BREATHING FOR WHEN YOU ARE FEELING ANXIOUS
1. Close your eyes and take a deep inhale through your nose for five seconds
2. Exhale through your mouth for good five seconds
3. Now repeat and count to 10 (an inhale is “1” and exhale is “2” and so on)
4. If you need another go, count to 20 or until you feel more zen
I have started doing this when I get overwhelmed with work or in rush hour traffic (sans the closing eyes bit) and it has really helped take the edge of the situation. Do you find deep breathing to be helpful? Excited to be working towards a less anxious week with you!
Friends! Courtney here. Have y’all heard of Reiki? It’s basically a modality that is used to find inner peace, restore balance, and create comfort – something many of us strive for – am I right? We’ve tapped into it here in the studio and got a chance to interview the wonderful and inspirational Tori Washington, a local yoga master and Reiki guru. Since we’re all about exploring new art forms and methods for taking the pressure off, we’re excited to be able to share Tori’s thoughts, feelings, and intimate insight into this organic approach to health and wellness!
WHAT IS REIKI?
Traditionally, Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction, relaxation, and healing. This life energy is administered by light touch of the hands and promotes healing for the whole body so that includes our mind, our emotions, our physical body and our spirit.
ARE YOGA & REIKI SIMILAR?
We are physical bodies, but more than anything, we are energy. Reiki is translated to mean “universal life force energy.” There are many translations for yoga – one being “yoke, join, or concentrate” – so yes, Reiki and yoga can work together. Blended they are powerful. We often start with the physical (a yoga practice) and from there, for many, the journey begins.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON HOLISTIC HEALTH?
I saw a Holistic Therapist when I was younger and she changedmy life. In many ways, she saved my life. I battled with anxiety and eating disorders as a teenager into my early 20’s. My relationship with food was really distorted and the way I treated my body stemmed from a lot of deep-rooted pain. She was the one person who didn’t try to prescribe me any medication. She was the only person who reminded me that I have the ability to tap inside and heal myself. I had to connect with the pain in order to transform it and it’s hard work. Instead of running from it, I had to get to know it. I quickly realized that this is a never-ending journey and it’s an honor that I get to show up every day and do the best that I can. It’s part of our life’s work. So holistic health to me, shifts the conversation from “how do I fix this?” to “how can I heal?” It’s accepting that the answer will change many times throughout your life.
WHAT ARE SOME MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT REIKI?
So many! I’ve heard people chalk it up to magic, some people think it’s dangerous. That is from a lack of knowledge and understanding. Reiki has electrical and magnetic qualities that can be measured. There are now logical tests that can account for this type of energetic healing or therapy.
IS REIKI BECOMING MORE POPULAR?
One thing I know for sure is that people are looking for more. There’s a level of dissatisfaction with our current system of medicine. On an instinctive level, people know that there is something more to draw from. At the root of every physical pain is an energetic blockage, a story, something that they are holding onto and need to let go of or transform. It starts deep within. So as a whole, I feel a tremendous shift occurring. People are looking in the mirror and realizing that they are not just a physical body. They can feel it. When you notice that, you’re much more open to different forms of healing because now it’s not just about healing the physical. We are much more complex than that. We are much more powerful than that. I see the future of Reiki enhancing the way we approach medicine. It will give birth to a new way of healing – one that is more effective, less expensive, and draws on our own personal power.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY SO FAR?
I will say that right now in my life, for the first time, I feel that I’m on the right path with this. It hasn’t been something that I have always had a handle on. My fiancé always makes fun of me because if ANYTHING comes up on my skin or I have a weird feeling in my stomach, I immediately jump on WebMD and look up all the various ways I could be potentially dying. It’s ridiculous! And ultimately, it’s a crutch. So I have made a HUGE commitment to myself to come back to that place of remembrance – I am on a healing journey and it’s going to look different every day. So I’m simplifying everything. I’m healing my relationship with food which I now view as medicine. I’m trusting the intelligence of my own body and I’m learning so much. Stay tuned, I’m definitely along for the ride on this one!
WHY IS REIKI SUCH AN IMPORTANT PART OF YOUR LIFE?
Sitting down and closing my eyes for the sole purpose of healing by tuning into someone’s energy is the most infinitely loving thing I can do as a human on this earth. It is the link between my heart and someone else’s – it’s love and recognizing we are all made up of it. It’s acknowledging that we are all connected and in this together. It’s rebuilding your personal power to heal not only yourself, but the relationships in your life because of it. Practicing energy healing… I don’t really know how else to describe it… there are no words for how important it is to me. But it’s the link. It’s the link to everything that I am.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE HOW OTHERS FEEL AFTER EXPERIENCING REIKI AFTER ONE SESSION?
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST TAKEAWAY FROM PRACTICING?
Ah, so many takeaways – my heart bursts just thinking about it. I almost never refer to it as Reiki and always use the words ‘energy healing’ because as my practice has evolved, I definitely incorporate some of the traditional practices, but I’ve also blended in my own unique rituals. So energy healing is how I describe it.
Tori will be hosting several “Yoga Outdoors” events through her studio Yoga Six – Lincoln Park this summer. (She always offers energy healing in her classes!) She’s also co-hosting a yoga retreat with Angie Starz right outside Cuba’s colorful capital, Havana, in April 2017!
*Disclaimer: Neither Tori nor Laurenkelp.com is discrediting western medicine and the amazing work that doctors do. Tori is speaking strictly from personal experiences and we are happy to share them with y’all!
New Year’s is always the time to make resolutions, set goals, and re-commit to life changing habits, but I always feel that way about Spring. The snow has melted, the birds are started to chirp, warm weather is slowing sneaking in, and I always feel re-energized to set goals and make things happen.
This season, we are all about wellness. Not wellness in terms of the latest fitness trend, but wellness in terms of mind, body, and spirit. We are trying to take time for ourselves, put healthy boundaries around commitments, and do things away from our computers that inspire us. So, naturally, I wanted to share five ways we are focusing on our wellness!
ONE: Schedule some “you time”
Personally, I love baths. I love alone time & I love taking 20 minutes to slip into a bath, away from screens, and unwind (a glass of wine doesn’t hurt the process). But, much like you, “me time” is the first to go when things get busy & life gets hectic.
I encourage you to make “me time” as important as those happy hours with friends. Without dedicated time carved out in your schedule to be alone, pamper yourself, or indulge in something (a good book, a dance class, lunch at the museum, etc.) there is a tendency to burn out, get stressed out, or exhaust oneself. Cut that terrible cycle off by making time for yourself. It doesn’t have to be a ton of time, maybe just 15 minutes a day just doing something that you love. Try it out & see how it changes things.
A lot of times we are so busy thinking about other things that we don’t realize how we feel after we eat. If you take a moment after a meal to notice how you feel it can be extremely informative. This will allow you to make choices in the future based on feeling rather than guidelines that you follow. You will know that after you three slices of pizza you feel bloated and tired and after you eat a salad with salmon and avocado you feel satiated and energized. Therefore the next time you are presented with the opportunity to choose what you want to eat you can remember how you felt after you ate that specific thing. Making a decision is a lot easier when it comes from a place of feeling as opposed to from remembering what’s on your list of “yes” foods and “no” foods.
THREE: Simplify your beauty routine
Rethinking your beauty routine might seem like an easy one to skip, but hear us out! Replacing those products on your counter with clean, non-toxic options will help your skin in the long run & ensure a healthy body inside & out. Ditch your trendy face wash full of ingredients you can’t pronounce with clean products like JĀSÖN Gentle Basics.
If there is one thing I want to improve in my wellness routine, it’s becoming more intentional about my time & less anxious about my to-do list. Okay, well technically that’s two, but, to me, they go hand in hand.
We are pulling a page out of Yoga’s book and trying to set intentions for our day. Meditating on these intentions throughout the day help with emotional stability (meaning, they calm our anxious minds) and stress reduction. It is important to set an intention rather than a goal, because intentions happen from the inside where goals are more external. Intentions can be anything from, “I intend to make someone smile today” to “I intend to let myself be happy.” Coming back to those intentions when things get out of hand, hard to handle, or so messy you just want to give up, will help center you, re-focus your mind, and give you the calming kick in the butt to keep going that you needed.
FIVE: Fill your mind with good things
It’s tempting to come home after a long day & turn on the TV and zone out a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good Netflix binge-watch session, but sometimes it’s better to turn the TV off and fill your mind with things other than the latest House of Cards season.
Pour a glass of wine, slip into something more comfortable, and spent the night reading something good. Whether it’s the latest New Yorker or something random off your bookshelf, it’s important to expose yourself to new things. Boost your imagination and creativity, get inspired to do something new, or indulge in a little self improvement, no matter the reason, reading allows you to unplug & unwind while stimulating your brain in a new way!
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