SummerYogaPlaylist

Guys! Playlist 11 is 1 hour and 11 minutes long! (Queue eye roll.)

It’s that time of the year again! When summer (Read: Summer Tips For the Busy) is just around the corner and we are so excited for just about everything. It’s also the time where I have to cut Franks Red Hot out of my diet for a few months and I slip into a mild depression. It’s cool (pun intended).

Lets agree to make some time for yoga these next few months. I’ve created a playlist to help get you on your mat. You can play in order or on shuffle, as long as you promise to practice at a moderate pace and include a long savasana or legs up the wall. Before we get to flowing, here are a few more tips for your summer practice.

Focus on poses that separate the legs from the center of the body to help cool things off. Triangle, wide legged forward fold, bound angle, happy baby, supported bridge and supported camel. 

Spinal rotations and side twists help to free up space in the rib cage. Cat/cow, revolved chair, cobra, supine twist, and wide-angle seated forward bend to each side. 

Strong standing poses release the inner thighs and groins where we tend to store heat in the warm months. Tree, dancer, mountain, and five-pointed star. 

Do your best to keep things environmentally cool. Practicing in the early morning or early evening is best. Bonus points if you practice in a room with good airflow.

Surrender!! Relax and enjoy this, don’t make it a competition. Soak up the music (my yoga playlist only please), the day, your life, ya know the important things. Pause often to reflect and then go have the best summer!

IMG_3803

Peeps! It’s been a long time since we’ve talked about skin care and the internet has certainly been a  little lackluster on skin care routine updates, so I thought I would take one for the www team. Unfortunately I don’t use a clarisonic so I can’t take a blog photo whilst using that, but I can put up a photo of me sitting in a tree.

It was very urgent that I write this blog post because recently, I’ve found my skin care to include half Ayurveda/half organic products. What! Isn’t this an Ayurveda blog! If we are being honest (which we always are,) the big guy in this routine is the food I eat according to Ayurveda principles. It’s been a long haul to get my skin to where it is today and for now, this is what works so I’m running with it.

(Reminder all skin types are different.)

When I began practicing Ayurveda, my chin was constantly breaking out. Between trying to crack the code to rid of it and not wanting to leave my house because of it, my life seemed over consumed by dots. I had seen a dermatologist and purchased countless products but things didn’t budge.

Eventually when I switched my diet and began eating veggies for the first time at age 21, things very slowly started to shift. Shortly after, I began incorporating Ayurveda into my lifestyle and again I would see that my skin would clear up a few more days a month. Still nothing to blog about.

When I quit sugar, another big shift occurred. Currently, my diet seems to consist of having sugar 10% of the time and I’ve noticed the few times I’ve fallen off and binged, I’ve broken out immediately. Turns out chocolate chips straight out of the bag are not sugar-free. 

Overtime, the more I cured myself on the inside, the more clear skin I would see. Mind blown?

Here is my action plan for taking care of my skin on the outside.

Daily – Wake up and rinse my face with cold water. Heat accumulates to the head overnight so it’s great chance to cool off the body and wake you up. I’ve grown to love this moment. 

Post workout/and or starting my day – I’ll wash my face with Ava Anderson cleanser. About 2-3 times a week I use the exfoliator in lieu of the cleanser. (Side note: the exfoliator is under 3.5oz so when I travel this is what I bring with me.) After my shower, I apply Ava Anderson moisturizer. (I also travel with this.) 

During the Day – I use tarte tinted moisturizer (I’ve had mine for over a year, so worth the price), and for nights out/events I’ll use the clay full coverage foundation. I love their products and find they are the first ones to not make my face feel like it’s suffocating. (Not dramatic in the least bit.) I avoid wearing all makeup at least two days a week. This gives my skin a chance to breathe and soak up the natural elements, obv.

At night – All I do is rinse my face really well with water. I don’t use a cleanser and I don’t add moisturizer. Night time has included a lot of trial and error, but I find using just water works really great for me. It also gives my skin a chance to breathe at night.

Some days – If my skin is a bit more dehydrated, I’ll add whatever oil I’m using for my Abhyanga. Currently it’s Avocado oil, but I use coconut and sesame as well. I avoid my chin when I’m putting the oil on because it doesn’t always react well. But massaging it into my cheeks/forehead area allows it to re-hydrate. 

Once a week – I do a face mask. Recently I tried the Tata Harper one and thought it was decent but not sure I loved it. I’ve also tried the Ava Anderson one and I really liked that but it’s a bit messy. I’m currently making just a Sandalwood face mask (also messy) but my favorite. Plus, it helps remove heat from the face. Fyi – if you ever have hangover skin – make a sandalwood face mask. You’ll feel better and your skin will thank you the next day. 

Bonus – I keep a spray bottle of rose-water around and spray it on my face a few times a day. So simple, but effective. I also drink a ton of water. All the restroom trips are totally worth it.  

Reminder, it’s taken me a few years and a lot of trial and error. Don’t get discouraged, you get to learn about your body along the way. Again, every skin is different. Keep trying, you’ll know when it clicks.

What’s your skin care routine these days? Are you all Ayurveda oils based or do you share with other products? Any tips you want to share?

IMG_3613

Last weekend I called time-out on myself and had a serious restorative party (fun)! Between big deadlines and trips I felt like it had been months since I’d done my favorite things. Suddenly I wondered if I even liked to read, or nerd out on podcasts or splash watercolor on paper. Turns out I do. All that was required was space and patience. (Attention spans can dwindle when not tended to.)

This weekend party, brought me back to when I lived in San Francisco and was feeling overwhelmed about it all and decided to create a  DIY retreat. I know what you’re thinking – this girl is cool as shit.

What’s interesting, is that this past weekend was way less of a make sure to block a chunk out of your life and really don’t get tempted with drinks ordeal and more of a this is exactly what I want to do. That’s the wonderful thing about balance – the more you find yours, the easier it is to come back to it when you wander off.

My days were spent reading, writing, and internetting. I attended Wanderlust 108 one morning and did yoga in an old music hall another. I overdosed on Florence and the Machine’s new album and got too excited about the farmers market.   

I also went crazy on some podcasts, articles, you tube videos etc. Since the internet it such a big wide space where everyone knows everything these days – you’ve most likely already seen or read 2/3 of the list. Take some time off now to explore, or bookmark for when you need to dose up on the good vibes! Remember self-care is not just about abhyanga and dry brushing but tending to that creative mind of yours.

Lazy: A Manifesto – I apologize in advance if you decide you want to quit your job and run into the forest. I’ll come with you though.

I’m A Real Women & So Is Every Other Women – Kathryn Budig crushed it this past weekend at the Revitalize 2015 conference. She’s no bullshit about this topic and we should all be too.

How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful – I consider Florence a guru of sorts. She has the power to pull up emotions deep down and name them. She also has the chords to do it.

The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered – Human connection guys! Get out there, socialize, party, meditate, love, banter etc.

What To Do After You Have A Breakthrough – D Laporte is the Florence of essays. Here she strikes a chord that’s real important to listen to.

The Universe Uncensored – Because if we don’t make fun of ourselves, life will be real long.

Cooking Made Us Human – Knock ’em dead in the kitchen guys!

This Show – After so much self-help you need to stop for a bit and straight chill. Also the episodes are only 5-15 mins long, perfect if you are trying to re-connect to your attention span.

Okay I’m done! I’m off to Seattle to soak up big trees and hikes! Have a good weekend!

SummerGroceryList

Lets be honest – I’m jumping the gun here. But, my farmers market tucked in the eccentric neighborhood of Pilsen, Chicago opens today and its got me feeling all sorts of summer. We can all agree that, that sentence definitely does not make me a nerd, right?

Here is your summer shopping list (if you aren’t quite ready – this is the spring one). Remember to shop smart at the farmers market. Getting carried away with all the fresh veggies is a real thing, but wasting food is never a good idea.

If you haven’t already fired up the grill, get to it. Soak up a new style of cooking and relish in the perfect seasoning the medium can bring to your plate.

Happy summer eating!

P.S. Here are some past farmers market finds and a sweet summer cocktail to accompany your grill endeavors (maybe skip the ginger if you are pitta).

Dolessbetter
A ticking energy wakes me these days. Excited to throw open my windows, allow my pen to flow across the pages of my blue journal, and sip my half decaf cup of coffee out of a tall floral mug.

Everyday lately seems to hold this sacred energy. Where you don’t know what’s going to happen, but you’re excited for it all. 

That’s the beauty of being a beginner. An unknown force comes in to shake up the scene, add some excitement and take you for a ride. Some days, the beauty can be too much to handle. Others days, you can tense up at the newness of it all and so easily sway to the dark side.

Perhaps, it’s an underlying lack of confidence or simply fear of the unknown, but in an instant, you question the path you are on. The saying, the more you learn, the less you know, shines in clarity.

As the mind expands, the newfound space becomes a playing field for love and fear. You are either on your game or it’s a wash.

As I enter into this beginner territory in a few areas of my life, I’m suddenly reminded, how important it is to slow down and find stillness. Be it laying slowly in the park or taking more walks. Maybe it’s chewing my food more, and cooking meals with ample time. Some days it’s shutting the computer an hour early.

Being a beginner is a vata party. All the facets of the new trade need to find their ground. And I’ve found doing less, better, is the key to averting vata’s easily anxious energy into a full-blown fear storm.

In times such as this, I also reflect on one of the biggest beginner journeys I’ve taken – my Ayurveda life. I’m still a beginner, but those first couple of years, it was a constant game of catch. It wasn’t until I slowed down and allowed the trust in myself and body to make the calls, that I finally found my stride. 

I know things will pick back up soon. Once the beginner finds their rhythm, it always does. But for now I’m reminded of allowing space to ground this Vata. A chance to see where things fit, what works, what doesn’t and the hardest of all, being open to not knowing. 

P.S. Looking for more Ayurveda? My article, Dressing for your Dosha was published last month on The Numinous. Check it out here