Gift Guide: Ten Miraculous Gifts for Mind & Body...

The wellness-minded person on your list is striving for excellence and balance in all areas of life. Glowing skin, a healthy body, restful sleep and radiant energy are just a few of the hallmarks of harmony between the physical and the spiritual. These unique finds for mind & body will delight the senses & awaken your recipient to the boundless possibilities the present moment has to offer.

1. A scoop a day for glowing skin, sustained natural energy, mental fitness and overall wellness. Super Elixir powdered green superfood supplement makes living the alkaline life a breeze. // 2. Create a relaxing daily ritual with the gentle flavors of Teavana's Serenity Tea featuring calming chamomile, rose hips and orange blossom petals. // 3. This cult classic is legendary for good reason. Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish transforms your dull, dry body revealing glowing, silky skin (also here) // 4. REN Moroccan Rose Oil makes relieves stress & deeply hydrates skin // 5. Byredo Flowerbomb Rollerball: Revive energy anytime, anywhere with scent is inspired by the fragrant flower crowns adorned by the bride and groom at traditional Indian weddings // 6. Did someone say Gold Bodyism Yoga Mat? Yes they did. // 7. Enjoy that post-yoga glow without risking a breakout. CLEANSE wipes by Lauren Napier are infused with aloe & chamomile to hydrate & energize the skin effortlessly // 8. Like pilates for the face, NuSkin's microcurrent device is FDA-approved to tone & tighten facial muscles at home in just 5-minutes // 9. This $20 body brush is so good I've gifted it to friends time & time again. The Mio Skincare body brush is by far the best dry brush I've used // 10. Enhanced cognitive activity and reduced mental stress? Thank you, Moon Dust. I'll have some of that.


Mind & Body: Spring Forward With a Dietary Reboot...

{image credit  WelleCo Blog }

{image credit WelleCo Blog}

Health & wellness. Where to begin? It seems the cleaner and more purely I strive to live and eat, the further I realize I am from the goal.  Not from my own doing, but from the challenge of fully trusting where your food is coming from and what nasty substances are entering your body. From known chemicals in my sunblock to questions about pesticides, nutrients and GMOs, it feels like an uphill battle many days, doesn't it? 

As a fan of the Super Elixir (note: this is NOT sponsored, I order mine from Net-a-Porter & love the free shipping and pretty black box!), I receive their periodic emails. LOVED this simple four week body reboot to inch both mind & body closer to "clean" and summer-ready. Whether you're concerned about fitting into that bikini or simply want the sparkle back in your eyes and the spring in your step, this simple process will help you strip away the junk you've been consuming and move closer to radiant health. Always the goal, right? 

Here's the four week countdown to feeling (and as a lovely byproduct, looking) fabulous...

WEEK ONE

WEEK TWO

  • Build on the above tips

  • + replace one meal a day with THE SUPER ELIXIR Nourishing Protein, with 400ml of cold almond milk and 1-2 fruits as a super delicious smoothie. {Editor's note: I mix mine with SO Delicious Coconut milk and blend to a rich frothy chocolately drink!}

WEEK THREE

  • Build on the above

  • + add cayenne pepper to at least one meal a day. It will boost metabolism and create a thermogenic effect, which helps burn calories.

WEEK FOUR

  • Build on the above,

  • + for one week cut all sugar, dairy and starchy carbs (you can do it!)

  • + increase intake of green vegetables.

Fairly simple, right? Eat fresh, eat right. Nourish your way to clear skin, better sleep and a healthier body. I did want to share with you this list I discovered that reveals the fruits & veggies that contained the most pesticides of any on the market. Yet another reason to shop your local farmer's market or select produce that is organic & pesticide free. The "dirty dozen" below are foods that we eat with the skin on, thus increasing our ingestion of those icky substances. SO please, shop wisely from the start and clean that produce before consuming. 

THE DIRTY DOZEN

  • Apples

  • Strawberries

  • Grapes

  • Celery

  • Peaches

  • Spinach

  • Sweet bell Peppers

  • Nectarines

  • Cucumbers

  • Cherry tomatoes

  • Snap peas

  • Potatoes

SHOP MY ELIXIR  FAVORITES

SHOPPING (AND MONEY-SAVING) TIP

If it's your first time, invest in the refill pouch version of the greens (a less costly way to give it a go with heavy duty resealable top) and the travel packs of the protein. This is how I dipped my toes in the brand. I'm not a convert and would not want to go a day without my greens! Let's get healthier together! 

Also, Google for nearby farmer's markets happening. It's a great way to save on your weekly grocery trips and have a little fun in the process. Make it a part of your weekend ritual and don't be shy about trying out new foods. You just may discover a favorite! 

Mind & Body: Glowing From the Inside Out...

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Oh, that glow. The skin, our largest organ, is a visual display of our vitality, our health and our wellbeing. Not feeling all "glowy" lately? Don't feel discouraged. Water, proper nutrition and a bit of your favorite leisure pursuits can bring back your natural radiance. 

First, let's take a step back. Are you thirsty? Are you drinking enough filtered water? This single step is probably the most important, the easiest and the most often overlooked. I keep a bottle on hand at all times and STILL find myself forgetting to drink. It happens to the best of us. That said, the days I do faithfully consume 5+ liters of pure water I see a major difference. I'm more energetic, my facial contours are more beautiful and my complexion is clear. Don't believe me? Try it for yourself. Pace it out, but try to consume 3-5 liters of pure, filtered or spring water each day for a few days and prepare to be amazed at the ethereal glow that rewards your efforts. 

Next, let's talk nutrients. I made the shift this year to a more alkaline way of eating. Less coffee, more green drinks, more fresh vegetables, lots of lemon, raw sprouted nuts, seasonal fruits and my beloved Super Elixir supplement (powdered greens and a MAJORLY yummy chocolate protein powder). I've also added a high potency multivitamin to the mix, some minerals for thyroid support and Tumeric. The difference? Unbelievable. Skin that glows, eyes that sparkle and a brain and body that operate at a much higher level. Our food can either nourish us or slowly take a toll on our energy. And much like a car, if your engine isn't properly maintained, you'll see a big lag in your personal performance. 

GLOWING FROM THE INSIDE OUT


Now, you know what's coming next, right? Exercise. Sorry in advance to those of you who loathe it, but for me this is the best part of my day. I LOVE to move my body. Sure, some days I'm feeling busy or sluggish. The key? More water and a good alkaline drink (seriously, this stuff is a miracle) and BOOM... I'm ready for a body renewing physical activity.

The key? Find activities you enjoy. I don't like indoor classes for the most part, as I prefer the ability to workout exactly when I'm in the mood and I love getting fresh air. But yoga classes (the heated and intense variety) are an exception. Experiment to find not only physical pursuits you enjoy, but locations that inspire you and (if applicable) instructors who bring out the best in you. And perhaps the ideal fit is not jogging or lifting weights, but finding a leisure activity you genuinely look forward to doing. Golf, tennis, horseback riding are prime examples of sports you can enjoy for your entire life. Get hones about what you find life affirming and make room for it in your schedule. Make it happen. You don't need a gym to stay fit and healthy, you simply need to move your body regularly.

Free your inner ballerina, liberate yourself and go ice skating, reveal your inner rock climber, dive into that pool. Free yourself from the social boundaries of what you "should" be doing and get real about what you truly enjoy. This isn't a temporary hobby, after all. Your goal is to unlock the secret to a life of physical wellbeing, a lifetime of radiant health, decades of energy. In order to achieve that goal we must seek out what works for us and what invigorates both mind and body. 

Key tip: know thyself: if it's solo time you crave, find activities that give you the time alone you need. Social butterfly? Grab a friend or two and head to the courts, take a walk or hit a class. Need the structure of a group activity? Sign up for a group cardio boxing class or see what those HIIT workouts are all about at the club. 

The result of these new and improved habits? Glowing skin, an energized body and a radiant smile that does what no cosmetic procedure could ever do. You'll be more fit both inside and out, more happy and your body & mind will be energized. You will have energy and a renewed sense of purpose. 

Now... get drinking that water, add lemon to it and get moving! 

BE BALLET BEAUTIFUL


FREE YOUR INNER YOGI

BE THE QUEEN OF THE COURT

Mind & Body: Overcome Your Case of the Workout Blahs...

We won't kid ourselves and imply I ever gave up yoga, but leaving the studio to maintain my practice at home has had mixed results at best. In the beginning it was easy to challenge myself and keep up (most) of the intensity that I found in classes with my favorite instructors. And then it hit. The plateau. The complete lack of enthusiasm for hitting the mat. The craving for more variety, for a longer sessions, for HEAT. Well... I'm back at it. And I'm headed into a new studio that emphasizes the style of yoga I crave. Their class list reads like a wish list "sweaty vinyasa flow" classes mixed with more intense power ashtanga sessions. I can't wait to step my foot back on the hard wood floors and get my flow on for those hour long workouts. 

But first... my yogi apparel needs a little lift. Here's what I'm presently loving (spoiler: there's quite a bit of pink!):

SUMMER YOGA ESSENTIALS



Why the urge to add to my workout apparel & accessories? Because sometimes a few new threads will get you excited about rolling out your mat. On that note, a new mat can often be inspiring and be a shortcut to setting your mind free and getting into the zone. Workout stagnation can sometimes be kickstarted by a bright sports bra, a cool gym tote or a flashy new fitbit bracelet. Is it superficial? Not really. It's like a change of scenery. Working from the "outside in" is often a way to quickly add new energy (mental and physical) and appeal to your internal feelings about your fitness routine.

What about you? Are you feeling the fitness "blahs" this summer? What are you doing to combat it? I encourage you to try something new. A new routine. A new location. A fresh outfit. A new activity. How about new playlist? Add something to the mix that motivates and inspires to you to get up and get moving. It's so very worth it. YOU are worth it. 

Mind & Body: Amazing Natural Wonders for Beauty & Health...

Beneath all the seemingly superficial fashion & beauty posts, this blog is truly about living an optimized life. Peak performance living is the ultimate goal for me, and hopefully for you as well. Facing each day energized, revitalized and free from ailments and hindrances is the ideal existence. And yet, so many of us - self included - have introduced things into our lives that drag us down and make us feel (or perhaps look) less than our best. 

For me, I was noticing severe energy level issues and general feelings of lethargy. Unusual. The answer is usually whispering to you, telling you the cause. In my case I felt it was a mashup of a my food intake and an overall mismatch of nutrients. And let's not avoid the other elephant in the room: toxins entering our bodies through plastic water bottles and skin care products. 

While I have much to continue sharing on the topic. I will share that I've shifted to an alkaline approach to eating, glass water bottles filled with lemon-infused water and in many cases, skin care from innovative brands harnessing the power of nature. Another fun new addition? Tumeric. And lots of it. Apparently this vibrantly hued spice is loaded with disease fighting compounds and can even battle the bulge. Who knew? 

As I warm up to share much, much more with you, I wanted to introduce a few natural all-stars in my life. 

AMAZING NATURAL WONDERS FOR BEAUTY & HEALTH

Beauty is just as easily achieved with nature-derived solutions. Who knew? And because your body is your temple, below are a few of my nutrition-related obsessions...

I have SO much to share with you. From spices that can prevent (or even reverse) health issues to plant-derived skin case obsessions, I'm charting a personal new path that really energizes me. I hope you'll join me in on the journey! Much, much more to come in future posts.  

Mind & Body: The Quest for Authentic Matcha...

Lately whenever I drink my morning coffee I'm plagued by a nagging feeling that I'm in dire need of a health overhaul. I wish it weren't true, but I can't deny it to myself any longer. Shouldn't I start my day with a green tea or a superfood-packed wheat grass shot? I should, I know I should. Last year I gave up a host of bad dietary habits: gluten (which was an underlying cause of multiple issues), Splenda (horrible and very difficult to give up, but I did!) and protein bars. 

2014 was the year I committed myself to whole foods, less convenient meals (those aforementioned protein bars) and cleaning up my diet. Well... it's time to take it to the next level. Yes, I'm jumping on the goji berry, chia seed, matcha track much beloved by supermodels for good reason.

If 2014 was the year for eliminating the bad, I want this year to be the year I focus on adding in the good to my life and my nutritional routine. 

Why am I considering kicking my coffee habit? First: coffee is acidic. Green tea by contrast is rich in antioxidants and is alkaline in nature. It is hailed as a cancer fighter and a fat burner. All good things, but what I really want is a genuine health boost and an energy lift that doesn't affect my blood sugar levels. All of which lead me back to my coffee habits. 

That second reason? I don't drink my coffee black. I want to stop using stevia (my splenda stand-in in my daily java) and look for ways to radically transform my natural energy levels. In addition to stevia I also add either milk or creamer - neither of which seem easy to clean from my mugs, so I can only imagine what these film-inducing substances are doing to me internally. Ick. Ick. Double ick. 

And so...  it seems perhaps my rabid coffee-lust could perhaps, just perhaps, be replaced by something more positive and better for mind & body. 

Matcha is hailed as a miracle drink for all that ails us. And I'm ready to add this to my repertoire as well as add in a collection of those other yummy superfoods I mentioned. The berries & seeds are easy picks. These and a host of other popular miracle foods are readily available at Whole Foods and any organic market. Even Amazon can get them here in record time (hello, Prime!). 

But the matcha? It's a bit trickier. I'm not in search of the American version of this frothy whole-leaf tea concoction. I'd like to be a purist and enjoy a traditional bowl of the good stuff. After much research I determined that O-Cha has an amazing organic version. Prized for its smooth taste and rich verdant hue. But this award-winning Japanese tea requires special accessories to make properly, and it's no shock I don't have those specialized accoutrements on hand. 

Enter Panatea. I discovered them via a Bon Appetit article late last night. Panatea makes entering the world of matcha look easy and, dare I say it, desirable. Their videos and streamlined site make it seem simple to whip up a batch of this rich-in-antioxidants drink. Yes, they are Americanizing it for me (exactly what I swore I didn't want), but it makes the ceremonial drink a bit more approachable and attainable for the masses.

If you've been curious about matcha yourself, peep at their starter kit for a very reasonable $59. It comes with a traditional double-wall glass bowl, a measuring scoop and a traditional whisk (called a "chasen") to transform this coffee boss into a matcha guru in no time flat. Hopefully. 

Downsides: I don't see any reviews or details regarding the quality or source of their matcha powder. It's not organic and I see little info on the product itself. I'm not expecting the product itself to be on the level with O-Cha's premium powders. But... for my initial foray into the world of Japanese tea this starter kit might be a good first stop. The gateway product to set me on the path to my "zenlightenment" that surely must follow. Primarily, I see the acquisition of the tools themselves and the knowledge of how to use them as perhaps the real beauty of the Panatea offer. 

I haven't ordered it yet, but I've got a kit in my online cart. Pondering. Considering. Researching. (Note: I have no vested interest in the brand, but their sleek marketing and mention in Bon Appetit has me intrigued.) 

***update: I ended up going with quality over quantity. O-Cha makes a truly organic authentic premium grade matcha. It's on the way from Japan as I type this. From all online accounts this is a very good brand with high quality products. I decided to start with the very best and make my decisions from there!***

What about you? Have you matcha'd yet? Are you whisking up a frothy batch of the good stuff each morning in lieu of coffee or are you dabbling in it with matcha-infused baked goods or lattes? Do tell. Also.. Are you tossing back goji berries and chia seeds on the regular? I'd love to hear all about it. What nutritional changes are you making this year? 

YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY...

Mind & Body: My Fitness "Feel Good" Essentials...

The Super Elixir Powdered Superfood

My favorite forms of fitness activities don't require much - if any - equipment. A willing mind and a somewhat able body are often all that are required to get your body moving and your blood pumping. That said... fitness apparel and activity-specific accessories have evolved into chic accoutrements and desirable things of late. It's hard to resist those cute shirred leggings & cashmere-soft wrap tops on the scene. 

I'm a purist in the yoga studio: cropped leggings & a bra top or bra tank are all that are needed. Walking (another activity I adore) is another purist pursuit: great shoes being the only real required gear. But let's face it, fresh fitness outfits in our closets quickly put us in the mood to get our sweat on. They instantly get us in the mindset of a killer workout - whatever your activity of choice might be - and a new heart-pumping playlist. Below are a few of my favorite feel good essentials to get your read in gear this year...

MY FEEL GOOD FITNESS ESSENTIALS

 

The Super Elixir Powdered Superfood // Falke Ergonomic Bra Top // Lisa Marie Fernandez Wrap Top /Weargrace Leggings // Yoga Mat // NIke Printed Shoes // Nike Leggings 2.0 // Alexander Wang Stripe Bra Top // Spanx Racerback Tank // Falke Sport Top

Clearly I love me some black basics. But when it comes to shoes? I don't think twice about a bold shoe - especially if the rest of the look is pared down. Stick to classics and a solid foundation of great pieces, then mix in variety (and a little leopard action) on accessories. Besides, you'll be tossing those kicks to the curb soon with all that CrossFit you've committed to doing this year. Right?!? 

As for what excercizes to do... that's up to you. As you know I've found great joy and even better results from my vinyasa yoga practice. I love it. I absolutely love it. It's intense. It pushes me. It improves me.  It keeps me fit with minimal time. I also get my heart racing with long walks in super hilly areas (bonus: I get to enjoy great scenery & a killer workout at the same time). I'm no longer a slave to a trainer at the gym or even a specific location. My workout is wherever I am at the moment. This is super freeing to a workout lover like myself. 

The awesome Super Elixir above? I've been on to this supermodel beauty & wellness secret for a while.  imagine all of those super foods packed into an easily enjoyed little powder. Mmmm hmm. Drink it daily in juice, water or a smoothie & you're on your way to looking and feeling vibrant, alive and absolutely radiant. 

What do you do for fitness pleasure? Is it working for you? Are you committed to trying new things this year? Need some playlist recommendations? 

Mind & Body: My Daily "Feel Fabulous" Essentials...

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Life. It requires great health. For all my fashion longings and interior design needs, when it comes down to a life well lived it boils down to feeling vibrant in body, mind and spirit. Having the desire to move and the energy to propel you and the mindset of endless possibilities: this what living the good life is truly all about. 

I wanted to distill in a single post a few of my daily necessities that fuel me. 

NUTRITION
The goal here isn't perfection, but it is about eating "clean" and avoiding most if not all processed foods. I tend to favor fresh greens, organic meat & poultry and a smattering of berries and nuts throughout the day. I consume fruits in moderation, leaning towards the citrus variety. Sweets are not something I crave, but I do enjoy my coffee and tea with stevia. Giving up Splenda was a major 2014 accomplishment and I could not be more proud of that life-altering improvement. 

When it comes to maximizing my nutrition, I am endlessly grateful to the team at ALOHA for letting me do a 30 day trial in front of all of you. That month of nutrient-dense supplements and foods pushed me through a uniquely challenging month. As a result, I'm now a fan for life and a subscription customer of their Daily Good. What is it? A powdered green drink loaded with a remarkably diverse ingredient list (think: trumpet mushrooms, spirulina, red sea salt, wild blueberries, organic wheatgrass, Hawaiian ginger and Moringa) all in one portable little pouch. Add to water or mix it in with anything you wish. This wondrous little addition to my life an my diet is a small health miracle. My preferred blend is rich and yummy chocolate, but it comes in original and berry flavor as well. Enjoy a free trial & see if you don't fall in love as well. {Please note: although I was sent a sample box from ALOHA at no charge, all opinions are my own! This is one product I sought out on my own after doing research. I asked them to let me try it out and share my results. As it turns out, their quality is exceptional and I'm a huge fan!} 

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EXERCISE
I'll be perfectly frank here and tell you that I value physical fitness very highly. I don't see it as a luxury but a personal responsibility to achieve and maintain a high level of personal health and wellness. For me this used to mean cardio kickboxing and weight lifting. These days I revel in vinyasa flow yoga and long hilly walks outdoors. Yoga has helped me achieve the level of fitness I've always desired and somehow made it remarkably easy to stay trim and fit. But it's not about looks only: I can't tell you how much more energetic, confident and happy I am now that I've stopped the endless gym sessions, intense cardio workouts and early morning gym classes.

You've heard the phrase move it or lose it. It's true. It's critical to move that body of yours every day. You may not have heard this: you're only as young as your spine. Ask anyone hunched over due to age and inactivity. They will tell you that loss of spinal mobility is a cruel experience. Get moving. Find an activity you truly love and do it as much as you can. It's more about overall wellness, enjoyment and feeling really connected to my thoughts and my body. I don't ever want to be a slave to the gym again. Ever. My new method of staying fit is far more freeing, enjoyable and beneficial in ways I could never have imagined. Find your fitness passion and pursue it relentlessly. 

WATER
No getting around this one. If you're not drinking enough you simply won't look or feel as fabulous as you'd prefer. When I'm well hydrated my skin is more plump, more radiant and more amazing. My energy is also higher and my eyes are more bright. All thanks to simply drinking sufficient water. In my case, three liters a day seems to work. Many a supermodel has touted the virtues of consuming adequate water for keeping hair and skin supple and youthful. Who are we to argue with Victoria's Secret Angels? Drink up. 

SLEEP
Yes. Sleep. Adequate sleep, restful, peaceful sleep is key. All of the above factors play together to make a night of well-deserved sleep possible. Eat right, move your body and drink up that filtered water and you'll be prepped for a night of shut eye. Invest in the very best mattress and bedding you can afford and don't underestimate the value of a silk eye mask. (I can't sleep without these Cris Notti silk masks.

LAUGHTER & HUGGING
It might sound silly, but it's been proven again and again that a good laugh and a steady diet of hugs each in their own way work to heal the body. Take a few moments each day to get a good solid hugging session in with someone (or lots of someones) in your life. Squeeze your babies (even the fur variety) and show some love. The endorphin boost is good for you and alters your body chemistry.

In terms of humor, laughter really is the best medicine. Science reveals that a good guffaw can often cure what doctors cannot. In short, you can't afford NOT to find the funny in your daily life. Find what makes you laugh out loud (for reals) and guiltlessly enjoy it. 

THE BOTTOM LINE
Live well, sleep well, feel well. Here's to hoping 2015 is a banner year for all of us. I don't know about you, but I'm looking to make significant changes to my personal life to ensure that this next year doesn't fly by in a dull blur the way this one did. Don't get me wrong - it was great - but where on earth did my year go? 2015 is all about living to the max and living my truth. Living more fully. Loving more truly. Enjoying each day more authentically. I wish the same for you! 

Giveaway: Join Me on My ALOHA Journey...

As I shared a few days ago, I'm really trying to up my nutrition game with the addition of ALOHA products into my repertoire. Wow, friends. What a difference a few days can make! I can almost hear my body quietly saying "thank you" each time I drink my Daily Good. To say this has been a improvement in my health is to sell it short. It's clear to me now that my "well rounded" diet was far from complete. 

I'm loving it so much that I wanted the opportunity to share these incredible products with you. The friendly team at ALOHA has offered a custom giveaway for readers of this blog. All you need to do is drop a comment below. It can be anything. If you want to share about your journey to feeling great, I'd love to read it. If you want to share your struggle to squeeze in yoga or running or even finding a spare 10 minutes to breathe, please express yourself. 

Drop your comment below by Saturday, November 22 at midnight CST and you'll be entered to win two packets of each The Daily Good blend (two each of: original, berry and chocolate) and one packet of the each plant-based ALOHA protein flavor (one each of: vanilla & chocolate).

Made from thoughtfully sourced whole foods and protein from plant sources, our protein powder is delicious, nutritious, and grown purely from earth.
— PREMIUM PROTEIN
Moringa, spirulina, wild blueberries from Alaska? It can be exhausting, not to mention costly, trying to get high quality superfoods that your body needs daily. We make it easy and simple to get what you need (and more), all in one convenient pouch.
— DAILY GOOD GREENS

This beefed up trial is enough to get you kick started on a vibrant new health journey - and it's enough to launch you into the holidays on a healthier and more vibrant note. I can tell you with utmost confidence that you'll feel a significant difference in energy and mental clarity by day two of this routine. It has been eye opening for me to say the least. I can't wait to continue my ALOHA journey and I hope you'll join me. It's the start of something marvelous in my life.

Drop your comment below to be entered! 

Mind & Body: Say Aloha to Vibrant Health...

As you know, I'm all about optimal living and the art & science of personal achievement. Most of what I discuss here are matters of the heart and mind. But let's chat about the body, shall we? 

You'll never go terribly far in life if you're feeling sluggish and weighed down by poor health. Exceptions may exist, but most of us experience life through the lens of our body's health - whether we realize it or not. Just look at our addiction to Starbucks coffee and (if pinterest is to be believed) Rosé. As a culture we seek external ways to shift our bodies into different physical states through our intake of food and beverages. 

Let me tell you my personal journey: I've been an avid fitness buff for years. I've taught spinning, I've taught cardio kickboxing, I've done fitness training with weights, I've been a pilates reformer devotee at chic little pricey studios, I've done yoga. There's not much in the world of physical fitness I've not attempted in some way shape or form. Daily exercise is one of my greatest pleasures in life. 

I've eaten clean for as long as I can remember. I don't drink alcohol, I eat lean meats, veggies, some fruits and avoid processed foods and most grains. Yet the phrase in every bodybuilder gym is akin to this: great abs are built in the kitchen. Meaning diet truly is the foundation to fitness & health. Knowing this, I spent this year cleaning up my diet even more. I ended my long-time addiction to Splenda, removed gluten from my diet (wow! life changing difference), gone to exclusively grass-fed beef and organic meats and produce (yes, it is more costly, but you actually eat less when eating "whole" foods) and made a few other tweaks. I've also decided that vinyasa flow yoga and intense hilly walks in scenic areas is my ideal fitness mix. 

But... something has still been missing. I introduced juicing into the mix to further my intake of antioxidants and plant-based nutrients. While I've been good about it, there are some days I just don't feel like drinking a salad. Know what I mean? And with the weather turning cold I have even less of a desire to drink a cold glass of kale, spinach and lemon juice. What to do, what to do?

A late night google search introduced me to the colorful world of Aloha. They make what they call the world's finest powdered green drink called The Daily Good. They also have The Foundation, which is a full complement of nutrients and minerals in a convenient little pack. No fuss, no muss - everything I could possibly need in pretty little packets. 

So what does a good luxury lifestyle blogger do in such a situation? Beg. Thats right. I literally pleaded with them to let me try the system for 30 days. Generously they said yes to my earnest plea for nutritional assistance. My chic little box of goods arrived yesterday. Today marks day one of my Aloha experience. This morning I mixed The Daily Good (in chocolate, yum!) with water for a morning wakeup drink. After yoga I took my first Foundation pack with breakfast. I'm going to share my journey with you and let you know how the month progresses. 

I've read so many wonderful things about the products that I'm positive I'll end up being a subscriber. Being perfectly honest, my expectations are set pretty high. This has been an unusually stressful month and I am praying (quite literally) that these lovely supplements and food products are the plug to fill my nutritional gaps. With Thanksgiving coming up and a gauntlet of a schedule ahead of me, I need all the physical bolstering I can get to keep my mind sound and my health vibrant. Achievement externally really does hinge upon feeling fabulous inside. I am a big proponent of this - and you should be too. You are only given ONE body, people! 

So...here's what I'm trying: 

     The Daily Good in Chocolate (free trial here
     The Foundation (free trial here)

They've just come out with (but I am not sampling yet) plant-based proteins. I can't wait t give these a go. If you're so inclined, here's where to buy and where to grab yourself a free trial

Thank you for letting me share my story with you. It will be great to see how much this lovely brand enhances my well-being - especially with the rush and stress of the holidays arriving on our doorstep. Follow me on Instagram & twitter to see how it's going. And if you're feeling "blah" too, don't hesitate to check out those free samples. No time like the present to feel fabulous!

{Note: I've been given a 30 day trial of the two products mentioned above. All opinions are my own. I have not nor will receive financial compensation for this or any other Aloha post, nor do I have any financial interest in your pursuit of these products. I'm giving them a try because I honestly believe I'll become a regular monthly user of these nutrition products. There's also an ad on the right, but again, I receive no compensation whatsoever from you clicking on any of these images or links. Get on with your trial & get healthy! xoxo}

Mind & Body: Center Yourself...

How do you stay chill when it seems the earth is spinning so fast you might just fly off? I have my methods for staying centered. Do you? I'm not always successful at maintaining my cool, but with consistent practice you can channel a keen sense of zen even when the world seems to have gone mad all around you. 

Obviously I'm a huge proponent of exercise. All that oxygen to the cells and the brain? No doubt, your stress will be replaced with a feeling of euphoria soon enough. But that's a temporary fix, right? Or is it? I can tell you first hand that when I'm fit and healthy I am better able to handle the surprises life tosses my way. A healthy body lends itself to a healthy mind. There's no doubt about that. 

But let's talk quiet time. No... I don't mean you in a rocker humming to yourself. Think yoga, long walks or even a hefty dose of deep cleaning your house on a cold afternoon. I often find that my mind does the best "decluttering" when I'm fully engaged in a physical activity. Suddenly my thoughts are free to present themselves to me and I'm finally able to edit those random ideas as they come to the surface. My yoga teacher calls it moving meditation and it's such an apt name for it. It frees you to examine your worries or concerns one by one and address them logically - all while your body is completely engaged in a blood pumping workout. It's something I relish and do as often as possible.  

The key here is simple: you need time to filter your thoughts. For you it might be knitting or raking leaves or walking your dog. For me it's a vigorous walk on a hilly trail, deep cleaning something in my house or an intense yoga session.  The body becomes so deeply engaged in the activity that the mind suddenly needs something different to do. As an efficiency enthusiast, this is a special state of bliss: beautiful body & calm mind simultaneously being achieved. 

How does this help in the goal of being centered? A fit body absolutely gives you confidence. A clear mind gives you the freedom to truly relate to those around you and engage more fully in your relationships. Trust me, this is a pillar of being a fully activated human being. 

How do you begin? Grab a sweater, a dog leash and head out for a sweat-inducing walk. Or clean out your freezer. Or roll out your mat and do some asanas. Just do something today that is so physically intense that it sets your mind free to do a close examination of all the loose ends it needs to tie up. Trust me, your busy brain needs some time to do this. Otherwise those tiny tidbits and bigger concerns take over and result in a stressed state of being. 

Healthy body + clear mind = centered life. Believe me. 

{Editor tip: try this great yoga workout. It's my favorite.} 

Mind & Body: Safe Sipping Made Stylish...

One of my weaknesses is bottled water. Hop in my car and you're bound to see one, two, perhaps three liters of water on any given day. A girl needs her hydration to look her best and feel dynamic. After much prodding from my uber-savvy aunt (our family's de facto expert on all things health related) I switched to glass and metal bottles.

Honestly, I still can't resist a good Evian bottle - plastic or not - but by and large I opt for safe sipping at every opportunity. And for my girls? It's all about their health. My stylish solution to for our water toting needs? SIGG. Yes, those cool Swiss-engineered bottles you see used by athletes & celebs. Turns out, they are pretty fabulous and totally worth the hype.

I snapped up a mermaid bottle and a unicorn version for my daughters from their kids collection and honest to God I've never seen them consume so much water. It fascinates me and makes me realize how truly dehydrated they must have been prior to the arrival of these colorful little bottles. And knowing I'm not deteriorating their precious bodies with toxins leaching out into the water makes me feel doubly happy. 

Lucky me, they do offer a few plastic options (which I prefer for gripping and for safety in case of a drop) that are completely toxin-free as well as fully eco-fabulous. Hot pink, anyone? Check! The difference these chic little vessels have made in our lives is small but powerful - and they are great for those of us always on the move. 

Wait... what's up with BPA and why am I afraid of it? How much time do you have? I'm no medical expert, so I'll just share a few tidbits collection from online resources. First, BPA (bisphenol A) is a known endocrine disruptor. This means it threatens health by "altering normal hormone levels, halting or stimulating the production of hormones in the body." Yuck. If you're ready to really be scared out of your wits, peek at this list of awful side effects and growing links to breast cancer. So stop tempting fate and grab yourself a safer way to sip, sister! 

Why SIGG? We love that this 100+ year old Swiss company is all about design, safety and a commitment to excellence. I feel great introducing my girls to these hip bottles that also happen to be totally fun for them. And for me, just citing these sources was a solid reminder to me to back off the risky plastic bottles and grab my tried & true body-friendly bottle next time I'm headed out the door. It's the little things, you know, that add up to be the habits that make you healthy & whole. 

Safe sipping, everyone! 

(Side note for my Texas girls & guys: SIGG is now available at Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage. They have locations in Texas include Abilene, Amarillo, Austin, Cedar Park, Dallas, Denton, Lubbock, Midland, Temple, Tyler and Wichita Falls.)

Mind & Body: Surefire Morning Mood Boosters...

Looking for a better way to start your days? I am always refining my morning rituals & routines. Since I was little I've always woken up well before the sun rises... a trait I share with my grandfather.

Fast forward to today with two little girls in my life and my awesome silent bubble of morning bliss has surely been popped. Those cuties who were sound asleep wake up the moment you do and are eager to see what fun things mommy has in store for them. In short, I need as much go-go juice in the morning as I can get.

How do I fuel up body and mind sans coffee? Here are a few of my secrets for getting glammed, gorgeous and and feeling truly alive and ready to conquer the day... (Surprise: the words coffee and laptop are not part of the formula.)

You've heard me wax on and on about yoga. It truly works for me. While I believe practicing at a studio will develop you as a yogi, all you really need is a mat and a willingness to explore this different style of working out. It is truly the best thinking I do all day and the most efficient workout I've ever done. Toned glutes and clear thinking? Zen bliss indeed! 

In terms of green drinks:  I'm a fan of green lemonade but I'm always looking for more efficient ways to optimize my energy and really revitalize my body. After all, a glow from within cannot be faked even with the best of blushes! I'm eager to try Aloha's line of products. Until I do, I'm using this stuff and I love it. Tip: ease into it. try half a scoop to start and work up to a full scoop. Powerful!

Breakfast: my ALL time favorite meal. I'm presently obsessed with these pans for my veggie omlettes. They are the best pans I've found and are completely non-toxic, non-stick and just AMAZING. Super happy with this purchase and I feel better knowing my cookware isn't slowly poisoning me.  Also, I've gone gluten free and an wowed by the difference in my health. Supercharged indeed. 

Beauty: hello! You deserve to maximize that healthy post-workout/post-juice glow with a good glamming session. Read about my beauty routine here, but meet my new lipstick obsession in Blush Nude courtesy of one Mr. Tom Ford. It's that amazing shade of nude that has just a hint of pink to make you look pout perfect. 

About that music: My Pandora (or Spotify) + Sonos combo is heaven for me. Wireless speakers bumping the best sound I've ever heard, plus a never-ending source of music is heaven. I have created 100 stations using Pandora and wouldn't dream of living a day without Salsa, Bollywood or Cafe Ibiza tunes streaming throughout the house. Music can alter your emotions so quickly that it's a wonderful tool for energizing a household or creating a chill atmosphere. Try it, commit to it and you'll never live without this mood booster in your life again. 

These might seem like small adjustments to your life or perhaps this would be an entire habit overhaul. All I can attest to is that these behavior patterns launch me into a more dynamic day and set me up for success. Isn't that a great way to start a day? Now... go kick some morning booty! 

Mind & Body: Balancing Act...

At some point you simply begin to take your health more seriously. Perhaps it's a health scare, but more likely you decide that feeling sluggish isn't aiding you in your quest for greatness. Periodically I realize my body isn't keeping up with my blonde ambitions. It is this awareness of self that makes me snap to it and clean up my eating habits (less coffee) and add more body movement (power yoga is my weapon of choice).

Through research and experimentation I've come to realize that it goes beyond a little kale and a lot of vinyasas. The body's pH balance is often the culprit. Or, more accurately, your constant attack on that balance. Acidic foods and stress are often to blame.

If feeling great isn't a motivator for you, perhaps vanity will convince you. An out of whack pH can lead to signs of early aging (wrinkles, anyone?) and weight gain. That's right. Dry skin isn't sexy, and either is a grumpy disposition.

Fortunately, getting your body in balance isn't actually that difficult. Here's what I recommend... a simple glass of green juice every day (I promise, it actually tastes GREAT and your body will beg you for the second glass.). This alkalizes your body and floods your system with nutrients your body has been craving. Drink plenty of clean, filtered water. Move your body daily: walking is great, yoga is exceptional, but any and all methods of raising your body temperature are good for you.

The new thing I'll be trying? Super Elixir from Elle Macpherson and Doctor Simone. It is a powdered supplement loaded with greens, antioxidants, digestive enzymes and Chinese herbs. It is going to raise your energy level and introduce key missing minerals and vitamins to your body. I read about this early today and my singular goal is to order it later this morning (no, I've not been contacted by the company or any PR firm to promote it... I simply believe this might be the missing link in my healthy living plan). It very well will be the boost I've been looking for to revitalize my energy stores and invigorate my life. You can get yours here.

So... it's not easy, but it really is simple. Move, drink, eat greens and find balance. Here are some of my tools of the trade that I use (or will be using) daily to keep this body of mine feeling great:

balancing-act

1. Breville Juice Plus Fountain Elite // 2. Green "Lemonade"  (see recipe below) // 3. Super Elixir // 4. Yoga // Clean water

Venti Green Lemonade Recipe
2 Large Handfuls of organic green kale (freshly washed)
1 small "lunchbox size" Granny Smith apple
1 whole lemon (rind and all)
2 handfuls of organic baby spinach
shaved ginger to taste (go easy!)

All simply tossed into your Juice Plus Elite (my juicer of choice for its powerful motor, all-stainless construction and shockingly fast speed). Drink immediately upon making for best results. This is certainly a more tart version of the popularized green smoothie, but I'm making this as a low-glycemic way to add a hefty dose of nutrients to my diet. One glass of this a day is perfect. This recipe will make one tall drinking glass. Do not store or save, as those enzymes and nutrients are all maximally available when freshly blended.