PRODUCT LOVE: GIVESCENT

It’s hump day and therefore a perfect day for a product review! I’m so excited to share GIVESCENT today! It’s no secret that I love essential oils and smelling pretty so I’ve been on a journey in the last few years to find a smell that a) lasts b) smells good c) isn’t full of nasty crap like every other perfume out there. I’ve mentioned a couple of my favorites in past posts, but today I’m talking about a new find from super woman duo, Elena B and  Alexandra L P in NYC. The scents were conceived during Brower’s time in Italy, and her desire to capture and recreate the experience, the pace, and especially the lovely smells. Through some tinkering in their kitchen GIVESCENT was born. As a travel lover, I think this product is genius because all of the places I’ve visited leave a strong scent memory with me and I would LOVE to recreate each one, especially my honeymoon in Bali, don’t get me started.

To add to the #fierce factor of these scents, each purchase supports women’s organizations like Every Mother Counts and Women for Women International.

Let’s talk first about how the order arrives in a super cute hand stamped little reusable bag (great for traveling with jewelry btw), and some info about the product. Very simple, but elegant, featuring Browers signature bright whites ( she’s the reason I own a pair of white yoga pants but I can’t wear them because of the 100% chance of spilling immediately).

The signature scent is described as “a captivating blend of sun-ripened citrus and spicy vanilla inspired by the first sultry summer days in Italy.” Ummm, yes please!

GIVESCENT is free of alcohol, formaldehyde, parabens, phthalates and sulfates and Cruelty free. Ah-mazing!

I’ve been wearing the scent for about a week straight and I can honestly say it’s magical. It wears much more like a perfume than the other oils I’ve tried, in fact, I’ve found less is more with this one which is nice because even the tester will last forever!

My only wish is that the next scent be Asia inspired. Ladies, I’d like to put in a request for that!

Look for other reviews coming soon including Nourish Snacks and Adina G’s new book: Skin Cleanse!

What are your favorite non-nasty perfumes? Let me know in the comments!

*disclaimer- GIVESCENT provided me with this product to sample and write about, but of course these opinions are my own.

CABO SAN LUCAS TRIP DETAILS AND LOTS OF PHOTOS

Now that we  live in California the need to escape to the beach in the winter is not nearly as emergency level, but it’s still so nice to get away and take a break together and just re-connect with yourself and your significant other.

This post has a lot of photos, which I don’t usually do, but to give a little background, I used to love photo shoots. When I was a dancer we took pictures all the time in tiny costumes, on top of buildings, pretending to be super models. Growing up as an actor I feel in my element in front of a camera and although I’m definitely not a top model, I just have a lot of freaking fun shooting pictures, it’s a creative outlet for me. However, in the last few years I’ve stopped taking pictures almost altogether. I’m still in my twenties (not much longer), but I feel like my body is a lot different than it was in my early twenties so like every woman everywhere I guess I’ve become a bit self conscious. However, now that I’ve started sharing more about my life here at Fresh and Fierce I’ve also started taking more photos of my day to day and while traveling, and totally love it again! Wyatt talked me in to shooting some pics in my new high waisted swim suit on our recent trip to Cabo San Lucas Mexico and we had so much fun! I was really happy to get some good shots of my Tattoo that I had done in Williamsburg over a year ago at Eight of Swords, the owner Dave is an amazing artist! More on that someday…but for now let’s talk about the beach…

Cabo recently experienced a really bad hurricane, but the area has rebounded surprisingly well. A lot of the resorts are still closed, but Cabo Surf, where we stayed, was back up and running with a whole new wing of rooms and a great beach! I loved the laid back vibe of Cabo Surf, there were only a few people on the beach each day and the resort was quiet and the staff very friendly and helpful. This hotel is not near the main tourist drag, so we were thankful the food was good and we didn’t really have much reason to leave. The rooms were very nice and we could hear the waves crashing every morning, so great!

Now that I’ve tried out a high waisted suit, I think everyone needs one! This one was around $20 on Amazon. I wasn’t sure if I’d like it so I didn’t want to spend a lot to try it out. Sun glasses are from Urban Outfitters and hat is from Amazon as well, and was great because it could be totally scrunched up in my bag. The earrings I got in Thailand at a market and unfortunately lost one on this trip, sad! The whole ensemble was very affordable.

Ok , so moving on from my silly posing to the coolest thing we saw while on the trip, Whales!! I’ve seen a lot of sea life before, but this was a first and totally amazing experience, I can’t even describe it. We went on a super cheesy, but admittedly fun pirate boat and got great views of the whales. We (W) got these awesome shots. As soon as we left the dock a baby whale and his mama were playing in the bay, jumping and flipping their tales, so cool to watch! At one point the whale swam right under our boat!

Every year several whale species migrate from the chilly Arctic waters to the Baja Peninsula where the temps are just right to give birth and rear their babies. I totally get that, I’d rather have a baby in warm water than cold! I’d recommend going out on a small inflatable boat in you get the chance to get even closer to the action!

Food: For me, the most important part of visiting any place is experiencing their food, and finding a good salad if at all possible. We ate some amazing food in Cabo, which kind of surprised me since I haven’t had that experience in every part of Mexico. Our resort had great food and we went in to San Jose Del Cabo with friends to have a meal as well.

Flora Farms was my favorite. It’s a really popular farm to table spot where Adam Levine apparently got married. I see why he would pick the venue, it’s so gorgeous, and although we got there just as the sun was setting still got to see the beautiful gardens in their full kale-growing glory.  This restaurant was certainly a highlight of the trip. Such great food and ambiance, it’s like a trendy New York hotspot, but in the middle of nowhere. We had an amazing meal in the garden and I got some shots of the surroundings including this over the top palm tree, farm stand of veggies grown on-site, and my tasty carrot margarita.

We were so lucky to have some friends in Cabo as well to show us around. They took us to the beach one day where we lounged around and drank beer and ate guac. Ahhh, vacay, how I love you! If you find yourself getting married in Cabo and need amazing bridal hair and makeup you have to check out our friend Neysa, she is so talented and will definitely make you look fierce on your big day!

Hope you enjoyed this photo filled post, I certainly had fun writing it! Look for more travel posts on the blog soon!

Have you been to Cabo? What did you love? Let me know in the comments.

COCONUT BUTTER IS THE BOMB: 5 WAYS TO USE IT + RECIPES

I bought my first jar of coconut butter at the local farmers market over the weekend and I’m totally hooked! I’ve been obsessed with coconut oil for years now and have almost stopped using olive oil altogether for cooking as it actually goes rancid in high heat, yikes! The flavor of coconut butter is slightly sweeter than coconut oil and it has a really nice, buttery consistency. Another thing I didn’t realize is that that coconut is a nut a tree and a seed. Therefore, it could be considered a nut butter but people with nut allergies rarely react negatively as they would with peanut or almond butters.

So how is Coconut butter made? Basically, it’s pure coconut flesh placed into a really strong food processor or blender and pureed into a thick and creamy consistency. The benefits are pretty awesome too! Coconut butter is low on the glycemic index due to its high fiber content,  high in protein and a good healthy portion of fat. Coconut also contains lauric acid, which has antiviral, antibacterial and immune boosting properties. According to pediatricians, Lauric acid is one of the predominant fats in human breast milk and when fed to babies will help them build up natural immunities. So basically, it’s the bomb!

While I could eat this stuff right off of a spoon, I decided to check out some other alternative ways to nom it up. Here are five:

  1. Use in place of flour or butter for baking.
  2. Add to Oatmeal to up your filling fats and a touch of sweetness.
  3. Spread it! On a brown rice cake, sprouted bread or a tortilla.
  4. Use it in a curry.
  5. Add to a smoothie.

 Here are a few yummy recipes to try out from some healthy foodies:

Coconut Butter Pancakes by Holistically Engineered 

Paleo Coconut Butter Balls Dipped In Dark Chocolate by Paleo Living Magazine

Coconut Curry Sauce by GirlsGoneStrong

THE TREMENDOUS HEALTH BENEFITS OF TRAVEL

I’m addicted to travel. As soon as I return from a trip I’m brainstorming the next. I’ve been so fortunate to travel to some of the coolest places on Earth, including multiple trips to Asia and Europe. Fortunately, travel is one of the healthier addictions to have! I believe that globetrotting improves our lives in powerful ways, affecting us on emotional, psychological, and spiritual levels.

If you’ve had a restorative vacation or inspiring adventure abroad, you can relate to the sensation of total wellness that travel brings. And if you haven’t, that’s even more reason to pack your suitcase and buy a ticket!

Health Benefits of Travel

The benefits of succumbing to wanderlust are countless and very personal to each traveller, but here are the top 5 reasons I recommend booking a trip for your health.

1.    Travel helps you recharge and de-stress.

The instant we step off the plane and into a new place, we feel lighter and our minds let go. This mental transition can have a positive impact on our performance at work as well, as studies have shown that employees who take more time off are far more productive and healthier than those who don’t use their vacation days (no more excuses!). Plus, according to Forbes, “not taking vacation has been linked to increased chance of heart disease for both men and women. The cost of stress-related health care is estimated at $344 billion a year.” Taking the time to get away helps us relax and frees us from the constant stream of thoughts and to-do lists we experience in our daily lives. While this clear-headed feeling may not last indefinitely after a trip, it does hit the reset button in your brain and serve as a potent reminder to live mindfully and in the present moment.

2.    Travel helps you reconnect with what matters.

In our modern, go-go-go lives, it’s very easy to disconnect from the things that matter most: our partners, nature, our creative passions, our families. When we travel, we re tap into these things. Activities like hiking through mountains, swimming in the ocean, and walking barefoot along a beach allows us to appreciate nature. Similarly, planning a getaway with someone we love helps us reconnect with that relationship while also strengthening it through new shared experiences.

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3.    Travel encourages spontaneity and self-discovery.

Chances are, you’re so caught up in your hectic schedule that you can’t remember the last time you tried something new. Travel can really help you get out of a rut and re-gain some of the spontaneity that gets lost in the daily grind of life. Being in a new place, and with more free time, gives us an opportunity to discover new things about the world and ourselves as we experience things for the first time. When I graduated from college, I visited Tokyo alone and learned so much about myself through exploring this very foreign, very beautiful city. I visited museums, temples, and shopping malls, learned to navigate a complex subway system and found out a lot about myself through those experiences. When we try new things our bodies are filled with adrenaline and energy and we get a confidence boost along with a sense of achievement that we did something new.

4.    Travel exposes you to new cultures and perspectives.

The first time I traveled out of the United States, I was amazed by how different lives in other parts of the World could be—and I was right next door in Mexico! I love seeing how different cultures live, what they eat, how they spend their free time and how they interact with one another. In Bali, my husband and I were invited to have coffee with a family who grew vanilla in their backyard,  saw some local theatre and went shopping for art. All of these experiences were amazing and taught us so much about the Balinese way of life. What’s really incredible is to discover that, despite these lifestyle differences, humans are all remarkably similar, and we all share the same basic needs for food, shelter, expression and love.

5.    Travel gives you a hands-on education.

Travel often brings you to parts of the world that have rich history and fascinating cultures. Although it’s impossible to remember everything you experience in one visit to ancient ruins or gothic cathedrals, the experience stays with you for a lifetime, and can help put historical events or current political situations in context. Travel also introduces us to new cooking techniques, exotic local produce, and dishes that we might otherwise never encounter! All of this information contributes to your overall knowledge as a global citizen of this Earth. I’d have to say that my greatest learning experiences have all come from traveling.

How has travel improved your health? I’d love to hear your globetrotting stories in the comments!

FRESH LIST: 5 SIMPLE & HEALTHY MEXICAN FOOD RECIPES TO TRY TODAY

This week has been crazy and awesome and all over the place! My husband and I just returned from a trip to Mexico, which inspired this post, and moved into our new house in the Oakland hills. Plus, I’ve been writing, writing, writing for multiple projects and time flies by! All is well here in sunny California.

Having just taken a trip to Cabo San Lucas last week I was inspired to create a post all about my favorite food group, Mexican food! Most of the people I know love it too, it’s like a prerequisite for being my friend, jk (sort of). Mexican food is comforting and reminds me of good times and warm weather. Growing up in Colorado, we mainly had the greasy, heavy, trans-fat laden variety and then in NYC most restaurants served more upscale versions featuring fancy fish tacos and guacamole made at your table. When I cook Mexican food, however, I like it fresh and clean, showing off the flavors by not hiding them in heavy sauces, cheese and creams. In honor of that style, here are a few links to some of my favorite Mexican-inspired recipes. Next week I’m really excited to share some details from our trip with fun beach pics, what we ate, and something awesome that we saw while we were in Cabo, stay tuned!

 Healthified Avocado Fries– The panko in these lightens up the texture and they are quick and easy to whip up! I would personally skip the ranch dressing cause, what is it??!! But otherwise these are as fresh as can be!

Vegetable and Goat Cheese Quesadilla I can’t even handle how good these look. Goat cheese is one of my very favorite foods and for many it’s easier to digest than cows milk, less processed, and contains fewer scary ingredients.

 Baked Chicken and Black Bean Tacos This recipe is very similar to my own chicken or turkey tacos. Combine free-range meat, soaked black beans, guacamole, salsa, and jalapenos inside a brown rice tortilla, and you have very happy dinner guests!

Cauliflower Rice Fish Taco Bowls– This recipe is next level awesome. I normally use brown rice or quinoa in my bowls, but this recipe calls for ‘cauliflower rice,’ what?!  Yes, that is a real thing AND it’s easy to make. To top it all off, this mango salsa looks to die for! This is a strong contender for dinner next week.

Fresh and Easy Guacamole– What Mexican recipe roundup would be complete without Guacamole? News flash, the days of the seasoning packet are over fellow guac aficionados. Keep the flavors intact with very simple ingredients and ingredients like this recipe uses. Nothing fake, just straight up guac goodness.

Quinoa Enchilada Casserole– If I had to guess my husband’s favorite food on the planet (and he’s pretty predictable at this point) it would be enchiladas. Usually they’re too heavy and sauce-drenched for me, however, this quinoa casserole is the answer to my enchilada prayers. I’ve made this one before and can honestly say that it’s the bomb! You will not be disappointed or miss the pounds and pounds of tortillas used in traditional enchilada recipes.

Happy cooking and hope you have a great weekend!

FRIDAY FIERCE LIST: GIFTS FOR LOVERS

I’m all about celebrating love all year long, not just one day per year, but if you’re looking for a Valentine’s Day gift here are a few fun ideas:

1. Saint Clare Jewelry– I bought my first, and definitely not last, Saint Clare necklace at Wanderlust last year and absolutely fell in love with every single piece. Needless to say, it took me three days to decide which to buy, I wanted them all!

2. Gnosis Chocolate– Raw chocolate. No further explanation needed!

3. The Paris Wife– I just finished reading this book while on the beach and it’s a beautiful glimpse into the deep love of Ernest Hemingway and his first wife. Sad ending (spoiler, sorry) but a really, really, lovely story of Parisian glamour as well.

4. Gray Malin Art– I cannot get enough of Gray Malin’s work. I saw it on another blog and TOTALLY fell in love! I’ve been lucky to visit many of the places in his photos and each takes me back to the trip in such a unique way. Can’t wait to get my first piece (hint, hint, hubby) in our new house in Oakland!

5. Curandera Love Potions– I wear the white amber daily now and it’s divine, but I’d love to try out this self-love perfume as well!

6. Raw Coconut Oil Massage- When I was in Thailand the massage therapists used raw coconut oil for massage and it was heavenly! The great thing about coconut oil is it can do everything! I keep a gigantic tub of it around for sunburn, moisturizer, hair treatment, cooking, and everything in between. Trust me, this is really the swiss army knife of Vday gifts!

7. TUMI Luggage– My husband has been into TUMI since before I met him and I’ve seen how well it holds up. Totally worth the investment if you love to travel!

TALKING ABOUT MY NEW SITE NAME + INTRODUCING THE FIRST FIERCE LIST!

Close to 4 years ago I attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and my own life and health changed forever. Before finding this course I still smoked, usually daily, I had no idea how to eat in a way that would make me feel great, or how to take care of myself and find balance. About halfway through the year-long program I attended one of the live conferences in California with my sister C and we were both blown away by the people who spoke there and how huge an impact they were each making on the World through their work as healers, chefs, entrepreneurs, coaches, etc.

After the conference, on the drive to Santa Barbara, C and I talked about how we wanted to use this education. I was very excited to try corporate wellness and help companies keep their employees happy and healthy and also to do something that I had always loved, but didn’t previously feel very empowered to do, share information through my writing. C, on the other hand was interested in coaching one on one and working with women. So what does all of this have to do with changing the name of my site? Well, as C and I  talked about our vision for changing people’s lives we also brainstormed business names. The words fresh and fierce really stuck out to me and we wrote them down that day. I ended up choosing a more city-centric name since I was working in NYC, but I still called my blog ‘Fresh & Fierce’ because I loved the words so much. Finally, I’m in a new city and have become clear that writing is my passion and my calling and I need to write, maybe full time, maybe as a hobby, but this site will now be dedicated to that love and passion for sharing information.

These two words merge together two awesome ideas; living a healthy life and feeling awesome doing it, here’s what I mean:

Fresh- Food, ideas, destinations, and inspiration.

Fierce- There are a few definitions, but I like this one, ‘showing a heartfelt and powerful intensity.‘ Believing in who you are and sharing that with the World.

I will still be offering my coaching and yoga teaching services, but also want to make this a place for learning, conversation, and creation first and foremost. Hope you’ll join me here often!

In honor of my new name, I’d also like to start a new tradition with the first ‘Fierce list’. Today’s list is dedicated to Women in Wellness that I admire for their amazing work. These chicks are FRESH and FIERCE, and I feel so lucky that I’ve had the opportunity to work with them:

1) Sasha Yoga + Wellness– S is like my other twin sister. We have the same likes and dislikes, both do some serious asana and love sun and sand. S is also one of the most dedicated yogis I know, she loves to share her wisdom and run around NYC teaching a million classes a week. She’s a one of a kind unicorn.

2) BeWellWithArielle– My first day working at IIN I noticed two things 1) there were a ton of beautiful confident women there and 2) everyone was wearing really cool rings and necklaces with a silver heart and a pearl in the center. I tracked down the source and purchased myself an i love me ring from A’s collection, she let me walk around with it on and make sure it was the right fit, both spiritually and literally. A is one of the sweetest women I’ve ever met. She has a huge warm smile and takes her work very seriously. She is now a superstar, doing cooking shows on Glamour and helping the planet learn to cook easy and healthy food.

3) Bananas and Bellinis– My sweet friend K is one of those people that you can tell anything, is super warm, and friendly and will always make you smile. Her site is dedicated to those that want to be good but also a little bad. She’ll help you find the right balance of both and have a great time doing it.

4) Whole Foodie Booty S is amazing at so many things. She cooks, she coaches, she plans. If I had to plan another wedding (please no, never again), I’d ask S. She’s a serious do-er and a great friend.

5) 8020 Wellness– When I started my work in corporate wellness I literally googled coaches in NYC and L popped up. I called her and we’ve been friends ever since. She is a fitness and wellness rockstar, helping companies and individuals feel and look awesome. She is also an amazing friend and committed to bringing great women together.

6) Blair Badenhop  I’d describe B as a Jill of all trades. She was my boss for part of my time at IIN, running a large part of the company with ease and grace and I learned a ton from her! She’s now branched out on her own to write, coach, and inspire people to fall in love with their lives. Pretty freakin’ cool.

7) Lemon Stripes– The day I met Julia I thought, I want to grow up and be like this girl. J get’s shit done in a serious way and she is so transparent and straight forward that you trust her instantly. She’s also tremendously talented and runs one of the most popular fashion blogs out there. She’s always sure to throw in some wellness as well. I don’t know much about fashion, but I always trust J to tell me what is in and out.

8) Crop Tops and Kale– Created by three of the coolest chicks I know, Crop Tops and Kale gives a serious (but lighthearted) look at fitness, food, health, fashion, and feeling good. More ‘F’ words that I love!! D, L, and B are all super talented and I have a feeling this will be everyone’s go-to site for useful information in the very near future.

9) Stephanie Morish– S and I attended Yoga Teacher Training together last year in Thailand and became fast friends. She is one of those people that you just immediately get along with and will be your friend for life. S is passionate about Ayurveda and cooking to maximize health and has become seriously educated around both topics. I’ve learned a ton from her, including how to make some amazing Kitchari!

10) Goddess Glow Wellness– M is a sparkly little Grecian with a heart of gold. She offers great advice, health coaching and is a fellow adventurer. Check out her blog and enjoy a ton of fun and thoughtful advice weekly!

11) Living Body Wellness– D is super smart and creative, works full time, and has two kids; she knows a thing or two about creating balance.  She is an amazing writer and has been coaching women for a long time. Having worked with D I can say that she won’t quit until the job is done and always has a million ideas. Check out her pretty new site for tons of great articles focused on health, inspiration, and family.

Thanks for all the amazing inspiration ladies, keep up the #fierceness!

HOW TO PACK FOR YOGA TEACHER TRAINING ABROAD-THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE

It’s been almost one year since I went abroad to do my life changing 200hr yoga teacher training in Koh Phangan Thailand with Drishti Yoga International. In honor of this anniversary I wanted to share some of the things that I appreciated having with me during my 28 day training. Some of these I carried with me (packing light? what’s that?) and some I acquired on my travels. Even if you don’t plan on going to Costa Rica for a training, or Bali for a retreat, a lot of my must haves are good for any trip and will come in handy when you find yourself wandering away from the comforts of home. During my training lots of things came up that I didn’t expect but fortunately I was well prepared, and now hopefully you will be too!

#1 HAPPY BODY

1) Doterra Essential Oils- These little bottles of love are like a new age pharmacy. I had peppermint and grapefruit on me, but I would’ve taken more if I had known just how necessary they’d be. Thankfully, one of the other trainees was an oil expert and had most of the product line with her so we were all set (Thanks J!) ! I also love the ‘On-Guard’ beadlets, they are great for staying healthy in-flight.

2) Roll-On Fragrance- I’ve talked about these fabulous scents from heaven before. The Goddess Line is my favorite scent line ever, they are small and portable so you can simply throw them in your bag and go. Also good for those sweaty, showerless days during a retreat or training!

3) Traumeel- This stuff comes in pill and cream form and works great for muscle soreness, bruises, sports injuries and inflammation. Another benefit is the lack of aroma of most muscle goops, it’s basically odorless.

4) After Bite- I have a serious aversion to mosquito bites that developed in my twenties and now appears to be a full blown allergy. I discovered this on my honeymoon, when I left a window open on the first night resulting in giant welts all over my body, super sexy. I found this anti-itch product in Thailand. It brings the swelling down and keeps the itch at bay. Benedryl tabs are a great option as well, but often when the itching gets really bad a topical treatment is preferred.

5) Organic Coconut Oil- We found some locals that make their own coconut oil so I went a little crazy and got a huge bottle which I actually used most of in a couple of weeks. I put it on my hair and body and didn’t need anything else all day. Did you know that coconut oil is a natural sun block as well? Best product ever! Just make sure to go for the good stuff, organic, unrefined, extra virgin is the way to go!

6) Mozzie repellent lotion- Mozzie aka mosquito (that’s the Aussie term) repellant is a must have. I like the lotions because you can be more precise in application. Avoid Deet whenever possible and admittedly this one pictured smelled kind of nasty and perfumey and probably was not a super healthy option, I’d recommend searching for a more skin friendly version.

7) Nail Polish- Our schedule was pretty crazy for 28 days so finding a salon on the island and sitting down for a pedi wasn’t really happening. Save some time and money and just bring your favorite polish for touch ups. My sister and I love this Essie polish in Watermelon. All Essie nail polishes are DBP, toluene, and formaldehyde free, Essie.com.

8) Fingernail clippers- You’ll want these for sure. The baby ones are nice and easy to carry so your toenails don’t get freaky and distract your fellow retreaters.

9) Body Lotion with Sunscreen- Before I obtained my giant bottle of coconut oil (or even realized its sun blocking abilities) I found this cream. It was nice to put it on in the am and be moisturized and good to go through the morning sweat sesh. Absolutely bring sunblock as well to add during the hottest part of the afternoon and don’t forget sun rays can getcha’ in the shade too!

10) BB Cream- Getting up with the sun means no time (and a who gives a crap when you’re there to get your asana on) attitude around makeup. I like having some sunscreen on my face at all times and love the consistency and coverage of Tarte’s product. Two second application and you’re on your way!

11) Not pictured: Imodium…I won’t go into the gory details, but let’s just say the whole group went down for a few days straight. Just bring it, you’ll thank me.

#2 ADORNMENT

1) Headbands- I’ve always loved a good headband. After all, there’s nothing worse than having a hair meltdown all over your face. Violet Love does a killer job with fun designs.

2) Earrings- Notice how location and theme appropriate these styles are. *winks*

3) Mala- Great for meditation and to just feel more yogic in general. I got mine from the lovely Silver and Sage collection.

4) Wrappy Bracelet- Thanks to my mom-in-law Pat for this lovely piece. Great for when you’ve worn the same yoga pants 5 days in a row and just want to mix it up.

5) Alex and Ani- The go to line for mindful jewelry, they’re also treated with some kind of energy healing (who knows) they’re cool and you can layer them up for a night out on the playa.

6) A Crystal Necklace- I freakin’ love a good crystal necklace, seriously more than anything, dress it up, dress it down, just rock it, period.

#3 PROVISIONS

1) Pretzel Sticks- These ones are so so, but a healthier version if you’re Gluten Free.

2) Chia- As much as you can carry and more if possible. Chia is great to add to almost anything, provides a ton of fiber, antioxidants, and protein so you can’t lose.

3) Purely Elizabeth Granola These little mini pouches rule, especially when you discover breakfast on day 1 is literally a plate of fruit you’ll be thanking your favorite deity that you packed this.

4) Dark Chocolate!– Most important thing on this list. Just do it, but eat it quickly and maybe share with your friends so the bugs don’t get it!

5) Nut butters- Seriously, what is a vegetarian life without nut butter, it’s nothing, that’s what. Now there are super small jars and even pouches that are easy to carry.

6) Granola Bars- Some afternoons the gap between lunch and dinner is just too much, be prepared with some bars. It’s hard to find a good one that is totally clean, so just do your best and let people judge you, oh well.

7) Organic Tea- Our retreat location was totally coffee free with the closest caffeine quite a hike away. Losing coffee for a month was great for me, but a couple of afternoons I just really wanted a boost. Enter green tea stash. My friend Leisha from Crop Tops And Kale also sent me with the Aveda tea that is simply to die for, that flavor always reminds me of my trip now.

#4 A FEW EXTRAS

1) Probiotics- One of the toughest parts of traveling is keeping your digestive system happy. Always pack a probiotic, and if you don’t have a fridge, be sure to get a shelf stable version and keep them in a cool dry place to maintain effectiveness.

2) Muscle roller- While packing up your trusty gym foam roller may not always be plausible, the good news is  there are some amazing portable options as well. I love Soma System products, they have are a variety of shapes and sizes so you can find the right one for your sore muscle needs. Fortunately, getting a massage Thailand was super easy as well, but sometimes it’s nice to have your own personal masseuse available on demand.

3) Re-usable tote bag- Always have a reusable tote bag, it doubles as a beach bag, grocery bag, carry-on separator for things that may spill, and a day bag for all of your yoga essentials. I love my trusty Integrative Nutrition bag that folds up super small when you’re not using it, which is never.

4) Water Bottle– If you were stranded on a dessert island you’d definitely want to have a good water bottle. I’ve talked about my love for bkr bottle, it comes in lots of cutesy colors and because it’s made of glass can add hot and cold water and won’t have to worry about drinking plastic toxins.

5) Bobby Pins– I learned the importance of bobby pins in my theatre/dance days, you can never have enough. Probably a no-brainer but these are easy to carry and your fellow yogis will thank you immensely for supplying extras.

6) Not Pictured- A nice journal to jot down all of your favorite experiences, lessons, and teachings. I filled mine up, so be sure to bring a big one!

I’ll get into my must have yoga clothes in another post…stay tuned for that!

Anything that you loved that I missed here? I’d love to hear. Please share in the comments!

Happy Travels yogis!

ZEN AND THE ART OF JOB HUNTING

Interviewing is not for the faint of heart. It’s easy to see why some people stay in jobs that they hate for so long. After all, the process of finding a new one, if you’re being strategic and mindful about it, is beyond challenging. I envy anyone with the sheer willpower to just let go and have no attachment around the outcome, but I haven’t met that person yet!

I’m in a strange new city, looking for a job in weird time of year. The good news, there is a ton of opportunity. The bad news, it can take awhile to unearth from the thousands of job boards and networking conversations; some companies move quickly, others do not. I’m past the point of taking any job offered simply because the economy sucks and I have no experience, and that is an awesome feeling! I have some amazing experience under my belt now thanks to the companies I worked with in NYC and I want to find the right fit, something that I can stick with for the long run, that helps me grow and that I can positively contribute to the growth of. Sounds like a cover letter, don’t get me started…

That being said, it’s still a rough process and I’ve done a ton of research and want to share a few recommendations to hopefully keep you from totally freaking out and losing your cool. Afterall, I know best of all that if you’re a person that attempts to stay balanced this can be a rough time.

Let’s talk for a minute about energy.  Energy is the output of your efforts, and while you job hunt there is a lot of energy expended, both mentally and physically. I remember when I used to be an actor and right before the curtain rose, no matter how tired I was, suddenly I had the energy of a 3-year old and I could do anything. After the show I was still buzzing and then eventually crashed. Interviewing is much like this. It takes a ton of focus and endurance to research, then go to an interview and convince strangers that you are a good fit. When you’re done the high kind of wears off and it’s back to the drawing board.  My advice? Attempt to keep energy from flying out of control, avoiding huge swings when possible. When the body senses this stress and anticipation it can be very draining to the central nervous and endocrine system. Check out this graphic from Healthline for full scope of stress on the body.

Try: Meditate and or exercise daily. Make the time for breathe and movement for at least 15 minutes, starting your body in neutral, rather than immediately jumping in, answering emails and scheduling the day will give you a jump on the stress.

Don’t take it personally– It can be so hard to disconnect the opportunity from yourself. My husband  gave me this advice, he’s the king of not taking it personally. He can brush stuff off like no one I’ve ever met, and as a result, he creates great opportunities and moves on from those that don’t happen, even if he’s put a lot of energy in.

Try: We often have no control of what’s happening on the other end with potential employers, things can change in a second, resources are cut, roles shift, etc. While you can’t control everything that happens in the process, J of JobJenny.com, recommends writing down what you can control. Maybe you can reach out to someone at your dream company through another friend or contact, learn more ways to use Linkedin to help in the job search or take a Udemy course to gain a skill that you may not currently have.

Continue to live– Don’t drive yourself crazy with 24 hour stress around the job hunt. I have days that are amazing and I’m inspired and days that I concede that I will never find the perfect job (lol, really??). Sending 30 resumes a day is not conducive to good work or sanity. Keep it in perspective, enjoy weekends and take breaks. Just think, this may be the only time off you get for awhile, might as well enjoy it!

Try: I read somewhere (sorry person who said this) that it’s best to take 3 days off for every 30 days of job hunting it’s best to take time off to reset and allow the body, mind and job boards to reset so you’ll be ready to get back to work when you return.

Learn something– Take this time to dive in deeper to something that you are passionate about or feel would aid you in getting your dream role.

Try: Check out Udemy for a ton of awesome online courses. I’ve been working on an awesome Copywriting course and a yoga course with Sadie Nardini, so much fun!

Be clear on what you want– This may be the hardest one, especially for the mindful among us. We want to help the World, we want to make an impact, but we’d also like to make enough money to eat organic food. Be clear on what your minimum is and let it go if that isn’t met. Ladies, I’m talking to you especially, I’m not a feminist, but my work experience thus far makes me think that the income disparity between sexes is a real thing and it’s important that we ask for what we want. Don’t know what you want yet? That’s ok, no one fully does, but don’t get to far afield from the skills and passion that you possess.

Try: Research and ask others in the same field what there experiences have been, what their salary range is and what skills you may need to add.

Don’t be afraid to reach out- Ok, I’ll admit I’m pretty ballsy when it comes to communicating. I’m not afraid to ask for favors and even cold call on Linkedin, and it’s proving to work in my favor. Think of it this way, what is the worse thing that can happen? Someone may say no, or not reply? Oh well, move on! No one will find you if they don’t know you’re out there!

Try: This tip also relates to reaching out to people you know and trust to give advice and possible talk you off the ledge. I’ve worked with amazing career and life coaches who can really be an excellent support system and are totally worth the investment! I highly recommend my coach Jeanne, check her out!

Don’t compare! Oh the dreaded comparison game. Just don’t do it! You are you and they are not you, so why bother comparing. Take your path and stick with it, don’t look side to side.

One final note, The Muse has been an amazing resource for me! They provide a ton of content for job seekers and beyond in a really well curated format. Seriously so good, check it out!

That’s all for now. Hang in there job hunting friends and try to stay sane, stay positive, drink water, and get outside! Find the job of your dreams and never settle!

P.S. Can I please share how excited I am that its January and I’m in a sleeveless top hiking through amazing forests (see photo above for proof)??!!