Workday Excursion Wednesday!

What do I do at work? Besides work – I think about my next vacation, short daytrips or even places to explore on my lunch break. I’m just one of those people who must get out of Dodge on a regular basis for my own sanity. This urge doesn’t stop once I am sitting behind a desk (I try not to sit behind a desk that often for work, but for now…).

So, I think of little things to do during my lunch hour. You will never catch me eating my lunch at my desk – mouse in one hand, fork in the other – NEVER! I value my “me time”! If I didn’t use this time to explore and wander, I would end up sad, bitter, angry, hating and resenting myself, everything and everybody. Dramatic? Yes. But, it’s true. It’s important to know yourself and what makes you happy. #SelfCare, HELLO!

It doesn’t have to be a lunch hour hike, where you get all sweaty and need a shower afterwards. It can be a short stroll in the park, visiting a local shop or even eating lunch at a new and different place. I have to do something.

I moved to Westchester County nearly a year ago. So, YAY! To me, this means “New places to explore every day!”. I just use my favorite apps – Yelp, TripAdvisor and Google Maps – to do some research, and then I’m off…

To use alongside the apps, I purchased an amazing book: Walkable Westchester

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Yellow tabs = Weekday Pink Tabs = Weekends

The book is broken down into sections from tiny walks and parks to long weekend hiking trips! It’s such a great resource. I have used it for a couple of adventures, and, as you can see by the tabs, more are coming soon!

I decided to turn this into a weekly bloggy thing. I will share what I have done during my lunch hours each Wednesday. I call it “Workday Excursion Wednesday”! Yay!

I have gone a few places so far, so I will share a few standouts to catch you guys up!

First up: Kensico Dam – Valhalla, NY

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The Dam in winter!

I actually went here on an unseasonably warm day in February, so I need an update with foliage (if it ever stops raining, I will!)…

Next: Carroll’s Park – Valhalla, NY

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I had lunch here on National Picnic Day! I just bought a salad from the salad bar at a nearby grocery store, sat at a table and enjoyed the duck pond…

Went shopping: The Twisted Branch – Valhalla, NY

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Little oil and vinegar kegs! For tasting!

This is my favorite small shop in Valhalla! The Twisted Branch! I had to go in because I saw on Yelp that they had an olive oil and vinegar tasting bar, and I’m all for a good tasting. I ended up trying pretty much everything, and bought a bunch of different flavors! I am such a fan, and so is my (former restaurant chef, current home chef) boyfriend! If you bring in your empty bottle, you can get a refill for 15% off!

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I teamed up with The Twisted Branch for a giveaway on the DaytoDayDweeb Insta account @DaytoDayDweeb ! It’s for these two delicious products! US Only. Contest ends 8/24/18 at 8am!

A little drive: Chappaqua Pocket Park – Chappaqua, NY

This lovely miniature park is a short drive away.  I love everything to do with flowers, so I like to visit every garden I possibly can, big or small.

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Easy stuff: Around my office building

Some days I can’t go that far :-(, but I still must go! When this happens (rarely), I just take a walk around the office building. There are several seating areas and fountains, which makes it a pleasant experience and can (briefly) take you away…

A few tips:

  • Time your trip – It’s important that you time these visits properly so that you’ll have time to enjoy your trip and time to get there and back within a lunch hour. Use the Google Maps app for current traffic info. Also, if you are actually planning a more active excursion, schedule some clean-up time before you hit the office!
  • Use your apps – Some good apps, as I’ve mentioned are Yelp and TripAdvisor. They will find the awesome things available in your area. Don’t forget Groupon for local lunch deals!
  • DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT! – I’d never been to an oil tasting shop until I found The Twisted Branch, and now I love it! Whatever odd or new thing is available, just give it a try. You might actually like it!

So, do a little research! Make the workweek fun!

Also, if you are also located in the Westchester, NY area, give me some ideas! Where do you guys go to get away?

Women’s Wellness Wednesday

Why tiptoe around it? This blog is about your period. Premenstrual syndrome, PMS, to be more specific. I put together a list of supplements you can take to help quell whatever symptoms you may have. I notice, now that I am closer to 40 than I am 30, I seem to get ALL OF THE SYMPTOMS. I never had bloating, now I’m a pufferfish. I never had mood swings, now I’m Sybil for a week. It’s pretty new and strange to me, but I am working on getting a handle on it. Some of the stuff I’ve found works great. Here are all the supplements, tools, tips and tricks I use for “That Time of the Month”. Hopefully, it’ll also help any struggling ladies out there!

Okay. Let’s start with the supplements…

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I got this at Vitacost!

MCT Oil – “Fuel Your Brain” – Am I the only one who gets a little “fuzzy” around this time? Do you guys also get clumsy with a major case of the dropsies? Well MCT oil may help with this! I add a little to my smoothies in the morning and it adds some nice richness to an otherwise watery smoothie.

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The jury is out on this one…

Evening Primrose Oil – “The Old Standby” – This has been touted as the PMS supplement for years. However, recently studies have shown that, well, they don’t do too much. But, why change what has helped so many for decades? Even if it’s a mind over matter thing, well, I believe in the power of positive thinking…

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Works! But use caution (please)…

Black Cohosh – “Hormone Control” – I know, I know. This supplement is usually recommended for women who are going through menopause. Well, guess what? The symptoms of menopause and PMS are very similar. Similar enough to use the same supplement that is known to: regulate mood, reduce inflammation (so you don’t have to pop the NSAIDs) and promotes healthy skin (this is important around that time)!

***Yes, there are side effects and warning about long term use of Black Cohosh. I make sure that I only take it the week before my period starts. Consult a doctor before taking this supplement.***

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So many ways to take magnesium! Good Day Chocolate is at Whole Foods!

Magnesium – “Keep Calm” – Magnesium is my FAVORITE supplement! I don’t know if it is another “mind over matter” supplement, but after I have a fizzy Natural Calm drink I feel so good! There are lots more benefits to magnesium, some are listed in another one of my blogs. The most important benefit when it comes to premenstrual health is the calming properties. Marketers and supplement makers are on to this and they are putting it in everything – from powders to candy! That makes it easier to find a magnesium supplement that you’ll like. Since it’s calming, sometimes it’s exactly what you need.

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Fish Oil has so many benefits!

Fish Oil – “Control the Swole” – Fish oil has lots of health benefits, and most are related to cardiovascular health (Omega-3 fatty acids, etc.). I’ve recently read where it’s effective in preventing bloating, so… Little tidbit: It’s important to use a good fish oil supplement. When I say good I mean one that does not cause “fish burps”. Yeah. That’s not pleasant. Usually the supplement will even say “Does not cause fish burps” because it’s that big of an issue. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

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I am new to this one. My boyfriend introduced me!

Ashwaganda – “Stabilize Your Mood” – I wish I could think of a better headline for this but, this is fine. This supplement is known for its calming effect, something that is necessary when you have period related mood swings.

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This brand has more than just melatonin…

Melatonin – “Get Some Sleep” – So, this is a problem for me around that time. Usually a week before my period starts, I sometimes I stay up until 2 or 3 in the morning. That’s even if I have work the next day. Melatonin really helps with that. I like to take two of these gummies – the full dosage – around that time.

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My bag is not in good shape!

Maca Powder – “The Wonder Supplement” – I call this a “wonder” because it’s helps with every women’s health issue you can think of! Got a hormone imbalance? Maca powder! Fertility issues? Maca powder! Seriously, this stuff is great. What’s not so great is the taste. The word “earthy” comes to mind. Earthy. As in eating dirt. Yeah, blend it with something with a strong taste to mask it. I add it to smoothies, but most recently I added some to my muffins. With the major flavors being cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, they taste great!

Here is a product that helps me make it through this time, especially at work:

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This is a lifesaver if you have bad cramps and have to go to work!

Thermacare Heatwraps – “Kill Those Cramps!” I remember using these years ago, but I had no idea they still made them! I was so happy when I found them at the FSA Store (side note: if you have an FSA, use those dollars! If you aren’t sure how to spend it, the FSA Store is incredible!)! These heatwraps have adhesive strips so they can be securely placed on the inside of your panties for a warm, pain killing effect on cramps. That’s what you need sometimes to help release the cramps, warmth. I recommend wearing larger panties with these, for effectiveness and for comfort’s sake. I didn’t think I would end this blog with a panty tip.

Doing what works best for you health-wise takes research and a little trial and error. To be better prepared for “that time” you can use some of my tips, do some of your own research and consult your physician if you have existing health issues. Stay healthy, ladies!

 

Happy #NationalRelaxationDay!

Honestly, I had no idea it was National Relaxation Day until I saw all the hashtags popping up on Instagram this morning. What a great day for it too…It’s raining where I live (Hudson Valley, NY)…I have to go into the office tomorrow…It’s Tuesday…

I don’t know! This holiday should be every single day. Or, every night at least.

Since I didn’t know about this, I was too late to make an appointment to get a massage (bwah haha!) so I’ll have to settle for the next best thing: A relaxing magnesium mocktail…

This is what you’ll need:

Ingredients

  • 1 packet of Natural Calm
  • 1 packet of stevia
  • 2 Limes
  • Your favorite unsweetened sparking water

Magnesium has so many benefits – and most of us are lacking in this particular mineral. It helps with…

  • Digestive motility (I told you I’d mention this a lot, it’s important)
  • Calming & Sleeping – a natural sleep aid
  • Beauty – helps maintain collagen
  • Heart health – it’s up there with potassium and sodium, assisting in heartbeat and blood pressure regulation
  • Muscle soreness relief 
  • Migraine prevention (I’ll have an entire blog about this, soon)

So, back to the drink…

Stirring
Action shot!

Juice those limes and add the stevia packet. Stir to combine…

Fizzy

Add about 3/4 of the can of sparkling water. It’ll bubble up a lot, and it’ll bubble up even more once…

Bubbles

…you add the packet of Natural Calm! Stir gently and then add the rest of the seltzer…

Finished Product

NOM! YUM! My choice of sparkling water (Simply Balanced Tropical Cherry from Target) made this taste like a Cherry Lime Rickey, or that cherry lime drink from Sonic…

Okay, so now that we’ve had a drink, we can look at some relaxing pictures. I just added some relaxing words to these pictures I took in various places. Enjoy!

Breathe 2

Relax

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Enjoy

These Moments...

Yay!

Saturday Morning ~ Zucchini Pancakes

As you might have guessed, I’m a big fan of the Food Network and the Cooking Channel. I haven’t watched it much recently, mainly because some of the personalities I enjoyed have either left, or are doing projects I’m not fond of now. WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH ZUCCHINI PANCAKES? Answer: Everything…

I happened to fall asleep with the tv on the Food Network (I am a HUGE Chopped fan, and I’ll watch that no matter what!) and when I turned it on in the morning “Brunch at Bobby’s” was on. Usually, I’ll turn the channel if Bobby Flay is on. Not because I don’t like him, I do, but because he’s usually grilling (I don’t do that) or on one of his competition shows (not a fan of those). This time though, I was intrigued. He was making something interesting, something with zucchini, uh, pancakes with zucchini? Now, I’ve seen and heard of zucchini pancakes before. But I had usually seen them done latke style, savory. But that morning, Bobby made them sweet and delicious looking. The way he described them too, “…they taste like banana bread, well zucchini bread”, that got me. I usually don’t bake (I hate being precise in the kitchen), but around the holidays I do bake bread from scratch and my two specialties are Date-No-Nut Bread and Zucchini Bread. So, duh, of course anything you can make into a bread you can make into a pancake! I had to try these pancakes out, especially if they taste like my bread (he-he)…

Since I’m not a chef and I am trying to keep this low(-ish) carb and high protein – I took many, many liberties with this and used many, many shortcuts. I didn’t even make the special syrup  he made his with (although I should have, but I just used my last apricot yesterday). Here’s what I used:

Whole Ingredients

That’s pretty much it. Here it is in the measuring bowl:

Dry Ingredients
1/3 Cup Kodiak Cakes Mix, 1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder, a few shakes of cinnamon and a 1/4 teaspoon of orange zest

I used the smallest zucchini I could find and I added a scoop of protein powder, a few shakes of cinnamon (the mix already had cinnamon and it smelled very cinnamony) and a little orange zest (the part I listened to Bobby Flay about). I added some yogurt for even more protein, and used almond milk as the mixing liquid:

Wet Ingredients
I used about a tablespoon of the yogurt and enough milk to make a batter. You’ll know that batter look when you see it!

And, that’s it! Mix, griddle and serve!

Zucchini Pancakes
Pretty plate…

Pretty easy! I served it with orange slices because “Waste Not, Want Not”. C’mon now, did you think I’d use an entire orange just for a 1/4 teaspoon of zest? Eat that thing up! And that, I did…

Almost Done
See the zucchini?

Yum! Tastes like Christmas…

Smoothie Supplements!

Smoothies are one of my favorite things. Seriously, I have been drinking them fairly regularly for years. I have gone though several blenders (blown out motors) and shaker cups (mold – from leaving them out in my car) over the years. I have tried several “diets” in my life, but the one thing that has remained constant is The Smoothie.

My smoothie taste has evolved over the years too. I went from just your basic fruit, ice and yogurt (delicious, but not that healthy) to pure fiber shakes (icky, but effective) to what I do now, which is a little bit of a blend of the two styles (accidental pun in there!).

Today, I’m not really going to show how I make my smoothies, talk about the protein powder I use (that deserves its own post) or give recipes. I’m just going to show some of the supplements I use to make my blends even more healthy.

Starting with my favorite, Hemp Seeds

SS - Hemp Hearts

I really like hemp seeds in my smoothies, for the health reasons I’ve listed above, but especially because of the last little thing I added there: they add such a nice, thick texture to smoothies. Use hemp hearts and cashew milk and you’ll feel like you are drinking a milkshake, seriously.

Another favorite – Chia Seeds

SS - Chia Seeds

I like chia seed for everything! I make chia eggs, chia pudding and even chia cheesecake pots. They gel up so nicely and add bulk and help bind food (all of which are reasons why they are great for digestive health).

While I rotate the use of all of the others, MSM is in every smoothie I make…

SS - MSM

MSM has no flavor. In fact, I used to just put a half-teaspoon in some juice in the morning and go. Now, it is in every smoothie. So many beauty related benefits, especially for hair, as it is supposed to help strengthen cells during the growth phase.

Here is a new favorite, Maca Powder

SS - Maca

I first found out about it when I was researching foods that would help in treating Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), something I am managing with weight regulation. Maca is great for helping regulate the hormones (if you know about PCOS you know how important that is) so, I ordered it immediately. And I love it! It tastes great – I am a fan of earthy tastes though, think about my beet post. It mixes so well with cocoa powder too. One of my favorite things to have mid-morning is a Hot Maca-Cocoa!

Here is an old favorite, something I’ve been using for a while: Flax Seed

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Flax seeds were one of the first things I heard about when I got into the “healthy food, health living” lifestyle, about 13 years ago. OMEGA-3s! That was all the rage back then. Heart health is still supremely important, but I don’t see too much out there about flax seeds anymore. Actually, no, I see them used a lot as an egg substitute in plant based diets. I am determined to bring them to the forefront again!

Now, something good AND tasty: Matcha Powder

SS - Matcha

I must admit, I originally bought this with lattes in mind. I knew about the benefits, but I really just wanted it hot and milky. However, a couple of weeks ago, I added it to a basic vanilla smoothie and WOW! It’s so good! Plus, a metabolism booster…and a mood booster…and an energy boost. So many benefits!

Last, but certainly not least, Spirulina!

SS - Spirulina

Yay! My new favorite thing! Not only does it have the benefits I’ve listed above, it’s great to use topically. The morning after I used it in a mask I looked in the mirror and thought “Either I got a good night’s sleep last night, or that mask helped my dark circles…” I didn’t get a good night’s sleep. I like to use spirulina in a fruity-slushy type of smoothie, goes better with the flavor.

These are the supplements I’m using right now, and I rotate some of them out and put others in. There will be updates when I do!

 

Taco Tomato Tuesday (I Won!)

I think I might have won Taco Tuesday. I know, it’s not a contest. But, if it was, I’d be taking home a blue ribbon right now!

So, I was inspired to make this from one of those videos on Facebook. I wish I could remember which site, because I’d totally shout them out (ETA: I remember! It from Delish!). In the video, they used regular sized tomatoes. I took one look and thought “One GIANT tomato!!!” So, I went to the farmers market and set out to find the biggest most beautiful tomato I could find…And I found a one pounder…

Big Tomato
This pic doesn’t do it justice!

Hey – It is huge, yes. However, it’s a tomato. It’s not a deep fried taco shell or a (not carb friendly) flour tortilla. It’s a tomato. A big , beautiful, locally grown tomato. I feel very good about eating the entire thing in one sitting. So, anywho…

I start by slicing this huge tomato. I don’t want to slice all the way down and I kind want to fan it out, like this:

Slices
That slice on the end missed the memo…

Then, I season that bad boy! Yes. The tomato itself must be well seasoned. I learned that from Rachael Ray – you have to season every part of the dish to get maximum flavor. I used Trader Joe’s Chile Lime seasoning, Trader Joe’s Pink Himalayan Salt, garlic powder and fresh cracked black pepper.

Seasoning
“Flavor every layer…” – Rachael Ray

Then, I fry my ground turkey (sorry no pics). I use the same seasonings I use for the tomato.

I top the tomato with the fried ground turkey and top that with a few slices of pepperjack cheese.

Cheese
I LOVE cheese!

I place the loaded tomato in my toaster oven, set on broil. Really just to melt the cheese and in the meantime, I get my guacamole ready…

Guac
These are the small avocados. One was perfect for this recipe…

I make the easiest guac in the world. I just use an avocado (duh), lime juice and Trader Joe’s Chile Lime seasoning (can you guess what my favorite store is?). That’s it.

So, I didn’t take a picture of my tomato just out of the toaster oven. I was so excited to get all of my taco topping on it. Take a look…

The Taco Tomato
WOW! Delish!

This is easily THE MOST DELICIOUS THING I’VE EVER MADE!

Wow! I think I owe it all to the hearty, delicious, juicy, incredible tomato I got at the farmers market on Saturday. That made all the difference!

MAKE THIS! It’s so easy (it’s a taco, in a tomato) and so delicious. YUM!!!

 

What I Ate…(Meat Free Monday)

…today. Okay, so today was an unintentional “Meat Free Monday”. I saw what I had planned to eat and noticed that it was all vegetarian food. Even the smoothie shop I went to for dinner caters to the vegan/vegetarian population. Cool. I was actually a vegetarian from the age of six, up until the age of 25. I didn’t eat any red meat, and I rarely ate chicken. I was more of a pescatarian now that I think about it. Something changed when I hit 25 though. I don’t know what it was, but I suddenly wanted to eat burgers. I can’t really explain how it happened and I don’t remember the exact meal that broke my 19 year  long stretch. When people ask I usually say, “I just wanted a Big Mac. I had one, and I fell in love!” I don’t know what they want to hear, but it wasn’t some big to-do. It happened over the course of time.

Anyway…What did I eat today?

Breakfast: Raspberry Cocoa Latte and a string cheese…

Latte Ingredients
Latte Ingredients

I use the same formula for my lattes:

  • Almond milk, heated
  • Packet of stevia – one in the cup, one in the pan with the milk
  • A small swig of vanilla in the almond milk, while it’s heating
  • Powdered flavoring – usually 1 to 2 teaspoons
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil

So, that’s how I made today’s latte. Powdered flavoring=Cocoa Powder and I substituted the pack of stevia in the almond milk pan for one raspberry honey stick that I got from the farmers market. That’s it! It was good. The raspberry flavor was slight, that’s probably because it was natural and not filled with sugar.

Breakfast
Big breakfast (heh heh). Honestly though, the lattes are really filling!

Lunch: Feta Dip, Veggies and Olives

Feta Dip

Okay, this was awesome!!! The dip was so easy too…

Feta Dip Recipe
Easy peasy…

Only four ingredients: Feta (half of a small container – I’m really precise – Ha!), cream cheese (about 1/3 of a softened brick), olive oil (about a teaspoon) and garlic powder (depends on your taste, I use a lot)…Simple. One of those back pocket recipes.

Beverages: Seltzer with lime or apple cider vinegar

Drink
…lime-ish squeezy!

I LOVE seltzer! Seriously, I stock up on whatever brand is on sale so I am never without it. Polar is amazing. LaCroix is great, but sometimes I’m not willing to spend that much. Vintage and store brand will do just fine, thanks! I used to have a SodaStream, but it broke a couple of years ago and I’ve yet to get a new one. I should (re-)invest. It would be worth it!

Dinner: Italian Kale…

***Warning: I turn into a bit of a smartass here, I was highly annoyed. Feel free to read this section in Sarcasm…***

Okay. So I had planned to go to a new restaurant in town to get a salad for dinner. And I went, with my cousin…

Blend
“Buddha Bowl” – (unmassaged) Kale, spinach, tomato, sweet potatoes, avocado and a lemon vinaigrette. Intentionally Missing: Corn. Just Plain Missing: black beans

I ordered what was called a “Buddha Bowl” salad. And I got what is seen above. It had everything it said it would, but it was not really a “bowl”, it was more like a plastic carton of produce. I paid $8.00 for a plastic carton of kale that is on sale for .99 a pound at Shop-Rite this week! The kale wasn’t even massaged! I know that sounds like something a snob would say, but massaging kale is a real thing. A real and VERY IMPORTANT thing. It helps break it down so one can chew and digest it easier. Seriously, I took one bite and I nearly choked. I actually need to warn this restaurant – this is a potential hazard. I just was not in the mood to argue tonight, so I just left…

…And, I did what any person who spends $8.00 on a carton of produce does: I took it home to cook it myself!

Kale - Fried
DIY Restaurant – I believe it’s called grocery shopping! 

Yup. I massaged EACH piece of kale (you could HEAR it breaking down as I kneaded), added the contents to a pan with olive oil and garlic powder and…

Kale - Fried - Yum
Repurposed food…

…Yum! Success! I turned this meal around! I sprinkled some parmesan on top, as you can see.

So, there you have it, a full day of vegetarian eats. Pretty clean eats too…Yay!

Self-Care Sunday…

After my (tiny bit of a) Freak Out Friday, I decided I was in need of a Self-Care Sunday. Not that I’m super stressed today. I mean, after the gym and grocery shopping, I just flopped down and started watching a “That 70’s Show” marathon. BUT STILL, I feel like I need to do something beauty-wise to make me feel refreshed and ready for the work week. Kind of like a “reset” because it’s Sunday.

So, I decided to do a facial mask! Not one of the many sheet masks that I already have, I’m going to make one, fresh, from scratch. How about a…

…Spirulina-Cucumber Mask – I happen to have a sack of spirulina that I got from Nuts.com. Spirulina is an antioxidant and it’s great for the skin. It is brightening and has antibacterial properties (great for eczema). I could use some brightening. I feel as gray as my gym tee, and it’s still summer.

Spirulina Mask
I froze my cucumber slices for extra cooling…

It’s pretty obvious what’s in it and how it’s made, but…

I blend the water and cucumber and strain the mixture into about a teaspoon of spirulina powder…

Cucumber Blend

Stir it up into a mask-y paste…

Mixing Mask
I just used my brush handle to mix it…A couple of cucumber slices for my eyes there…

Apply mask to your face and neck with an clean ELF stipping brush (type of brush, optional)…

Face Paint 2
I put it in the fridge – it feels so nice and cooling…

Let it sit for 15 minutes and rinse off!

I feel brightened and refreshed already! I liked the way it felt on my skin. I might use it on my neck more often than on my face actually – I have melasma on my neck and I am constantly looking for products to make it more smooth and even looking. But, I’m not quite done for this Sunday…

A little aromatherapy would be nice…

I have a crazy collection of Yankee Candle tarts that I need to use up before I buy anymore (I put myself on a Yankee Candle “No-Buy”), so I’ll dip into it today.

Tart Collection
I am determined to use this all!!!

I’m feeling like a fresh scent…

Tart Choices
These are the types of decisions I enjoy making…

Meadow Showers it is…

Tart Burner
I guess I’m attracted to green today…

Lovely…I could use something else though…

Time for a healthy snack. I’m going to have two of my (recent) favorite things:

Fruits and Booch!

Self-Care Snack
Great sale on Kombucha at my local supermarket!

Not eating it right now, saving it for Twin Peaks tonight!

Ready for the week! Oh, and I have to leave on this note (since I was feeling Elphaba a little while ago)…

 

 

Happy (early) Farmers Market Week!

So, National Farmers Market Week is August 6-13. I went today…

I love the farmers market! I’m not going to say too much today. I’ll just share a few pictures from the market today. The one in my town is set up every Saturday from 8am to 1pm. Even though it was quite overcast this morning, it was still a nice day to go! Yippie!

Roots and Peppers
Roots & Peppers!
Veggie Basket
I am looking for giant tomatoes, thank you…
Perfect Tomato
Found them!
Eggplant
Eggplant & Zucchini – My dietary staples…
Honey Soap
I like the local non-food items as well…
Honey Sticks Sale
…and I love honey sticks! These are some yum flavors too!
Haul
My haul…Radishes, plums, giant tomato, purple basil and donut peaches…
Honey Sticks
I got a few of the honey sticks too…I don’t remember the flavors. I just know that one is root beer and one is pina colada!

I’m going to post the recipes I come up with, using today’s finds. I have one planned for tonight! Stay tuned…

 

Wellness Wednesday!

I seem like a very calm, serene person. Someone I once worked with called me “the definition of laidback”. That’s fine. That’s awesome. But, while it looks that way, that’s not the way it is. Think about ducks. They look so smooth and graceful gliding across a pond, but under the water they are paddling for their lives. That’s how it really is with me. I am quiet and cool, but inside my mind is racing, going a mile a minute. I am think about the past (“I wonder what would’ve happened if I…”), present (“It’s too warm in here, I might get a headache”) and future (“I think I’ll have pancakes for breakfast tomorrow. Probably not tomorrow, maybe next Monday”) – all at once. This is all happening while I’m listening to music, checking an app notification, working on my laptop and watching tv on closed captioning at the same time. It never stops – and that’s good! I do enjoy living this way, the Multi-Tasking Life, but I do need a break from it every once in a while.

About 12 years ago, to cope with the stress brought on by over-stimulation and overthinking, I began meditating. It was something I had heard and read about for years, and one day I decided “…that sounds like something I need in my life…” I picked up the book “The Complete Idiots Guide to Zen Living” and I was on my way.

Since then I have taken a couple of classes here and there – on the Alexander Technique and even aromatherapy – to add to my Zen/meditation repertoire. In 2008, I was lucky enough to take daily meditation classes at the Omega Institute during the Women and Power Workshop. There, we did seated and walking meditations at least twice a day on the gorgeous grounds. I don’t practice every day, I wish I did. In fact, and this is bad, I usually only practice when I am at the stress breaking point.

Omega Sanctuary
Steps leading to the Sanctuary at Omega Institute

When I do meditate, I really love the focus I give to my breathing. I have the tendency to, like most people, hold my breath when I am stressed out or in pain. It’s amazing how a deep breath, in and out, can help to relax you so much.

It sounds really simple, right? Just clear your mind of all thoughts, focus on your breath and chill out. Well, it’s not always easy for me to “clear my mind”. In fact, I don’t think I have ever completely “wiped the slate clean” while meditating. And that’s, okay. I can still feel blissful while a little something goes on in my mind. It usually ends up being something happy and hopeful instead of worries. There is something that helps though…

Guided Meditation and Imagery!

These styles of meditation can really help anyone who has a problem with focus. The guide talks you through your meditation, by telling you what types of breaths or movements to make (guided meditation) or by talking you through different imaginary scenarios that will help you get through whatever problems you’re having (guided imagery). I find it easier to concentrate on the music and/or the guide’s voice than to just sit in a quiet room and try to “clear my mind”.

It helps put me in a positive mindset. I like to listen to guided imagery before I do something important – before taking a test, giving a presentation, etc. it can really make you feel more powerful and confident.

It can also help you sleep. There are some great Youtube videos and podcasts out there with meditations specifically for helping you sleep. You have to find the ones that will work for you. Some make me fall asleep while I’m listening and some just make me feel relaxed but not sleepy.

As with anything – do what works for you!

The Tea Garden

Today I visited The Tea Garden, a new teahouse in my hometown of Middletown, New York, where they held a free morning guided meditation and breakfast bar.

Meditation Area
In front of the meditation area. I didn’t want to close my eyes!

It was great! Jillian, the owner and meditation guide was so knowledgeable and had so many tips and tricks.

I told her about how thoughts will sometimes intrude my meditation and she advised “…step outside of them and don’t get involved. Treat them as if you are a third party observer.” I actually found that really helpful during today’s meditation.

Oh – and there was also food! There are nothing but clean eats on the menu and they are all small, palate cleansing dishes. Nothing heavy, nothing to feel guilty about.

Today there were tea eggs, kidney beans, a variety of pickled and spiced veggies and, my favorite, steamed buns…

Steamed Buns
Steamed Chinese bread, steamed custard bun (nai wong bao) and spicy cucumber. To drink: “Double Beauty” – a mixture of tea and coffee and lemon ginger water…

So, I have to say, it was a pretty good “Wellness Wednesday”…

  • For more on guided imagery and meditation, visit Health Journeys.com
    • From that site, I enjoy guided imagery from Belleruth Naperseck and Lynne Newman. Lynne is a New Age practitioner who is local to me, and leads amazing guided meditations in person as well.
  • Some great podcasts:
    • Meditation Minis with Chel Hamilton
    • Sleep With Me: The Podcast That Puts You To Sleep (hilarious, actually)
    • Guided Meditations: The Yoga Bunny