4/21/14

DIY: Sugar Scrub

Hey pretty ladies! Thank you for all your love on the DIY at home yoga retreat! It was a delicious day and honestly, I felt after everything that's been going on, I kind of deserved it.

The nicest part of the day (besides the yoga, duh) was the pampering! I wanted to share a few of the recipes that I used to make the different "spa" treatments I made for myself :) And even though I enjoyed using all of them, my favorite was hands down the sugar scrub!


Have you guys ever used a sugar scrub before? I have bought them and actually had someone else make them, but this was my first time making one on my own. And it was fun! And disgustingly easy, even for me. I would never say I'm much of a DIY-er but I'm trying. And let's be real, my dog could probably make this it's so easy.

If you look up different recipes on Pinterest, well, it's kind of overwhelming. I looked for a fairly simple one that I couldn't screw up. I found a lot of elements that were used in most recipes and dialed it down to the essentials.


Simple Brown Sugar Scrub

1 cup brown sugar (for exfoliation and a warm scent)
1/2 cup olive oil (for smooth and shiny skin)
and 2 tbsp honey (for baby-soft skin)

Combine ingredients and mix. Store in a room-temperature spot; no need for refrigeration. Oil will settle, so when it's time to use, perhaps mix it first, if you wish!






Depending on how coarse you like yours, you can vary the amount of olive oil. Personally I like when it's kind of "wet" and the oil settles. I love the feeling of rubbing it on my arms and legs!

Have you ever made a sugar scrub before? Would you try it, or would you rather buy it?

DIY At Home Yoga Retreat

Hi guys! First, thank you so much for your positive feedback on my post from Friday. There's just a lot going on in my life right now and knowing that I can get so much support here is very reassuring. 

So with my last few days of Spring Break, I decided to take one day to completely treat myself and just relax. I spent a couple of days planning something I've wanted to do for awhile, and so my SB just happened to be it! All of my posts this week are going to center around this:


A DIY yoga retreat at home!
 A friend sent me a link about something like this awhile ago and I really liked the whole concept, especially since I can't take a real retreat now, or anytime soon! I wanted to take a whole day to just give back to myself. To disconnected and enjoy just being here, in my house, alone, and loving myself. Losing myself in my practice and really finding some balance and peace through the chaos. Living in Tucson, and being lucky enough to have a house with a pool, I felt I had just the right setting. So I planned a DIY at home yoga retreat. And guess what? You can do one too!

Here are my top 3 tips to putting together an at-home retreat. Further down I'll share what my schedule looked like and some pictures of my day, and then throughout the week I'll be sharing separate posts about specific parts of the day :)
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1. Disconnect
Choose a day where you don't need to do any errands, and can disconnect from different types of technology, including TV and phones, if possible! The point of a retreat, for most, is do get away from the hectic-ness of daily life and things that cause stress. Breaking away from technology can be a huge stress reliever! Make sure ahead of time that you won't need to go grocery shopping, or running any errands, and have a day to yourself to relax.

2. Plan ahead
Again, the point here is that you don't have to do any "work". I prepped my meals the night before, and got all of the ingredients for the facial and hair mask that I made myself out the night before as well. The fruit and protein for my smoothie was made and put into tupperware ahead of time, and I had my Yogaglo classes already picked out so that I wouldn't be wasting time on anything that I didn't want to waste time on. Plan your meals around clean, healthy, whole foods- like you would get at a get-away retreat! Think juices, salads, smoothies; lots of fruit and veggies.

3. Have a "schedule"
This kind of goes along with number two. If you know you aren't going to be using the TV, computer, phone, or running any errands, you kind of want to have other activities lined up and ready to go so that you don't finish your first yoga session and then just sit on the couch in confusion. What relaxing activities can you do instead of relying on business and technology? Do you like to read? Write? Listen to music? Nap? Lay out by the pool? Take a bubble bath? There are tons of things that we can do to unwind, but it might be a good idea to have those things in mind beforehand so that your day just sort of flows along calmly and you don't end up bored.
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Here was what I did with my day! The point of my retreat was to dedicate a whole day to myself. I wanted to pamper myself, focus on things that bring me joy, and really spend some time reflecting deep within through my yoga practice. This retreat was a refresher to get me through the next week :)

8:00 AM: Breakfast- Greek Yogurt with fruit and chia seeds; water with lemon/mint/blackberries

1 hr Yogaglo session in the living room. Windows open, doors open, and air conditioning off!

10:00 AM: Walk Rodney around the block. No music or headphones.

10:20 AM: Morning snack- egg whites and bell peppers with salsa on a whole wheat tortilla

10:30 AM: Nap on the couch :)

Noon: Lunch! Salad with grilled chicken, blueberries, and a honey mustard vinaigrette.

 12:30-2 ish: Laying out by the pool, reading, and stretching

2:30-4:30 ish: Spa time. Paint nails, use DIY facial mask, hair treatment, and sugar scrub. Bubble bath with LUSH bathbombs

4:30: Smoothie snack

4:45-6:00: More reading and lounging outside. Watered the plans. Skimmed the pool and dozed in a lounge chair. 

6:00 PM: Dinner- Quinoa, sweet potato, and kale superfood dish and grilled chicken

6:30-7:00 PM- Meditate/Restorative yoga

7:00- Second walk with Rodney

And that's where my day ended! I spent the end of the night watching Dexter on Netflix and looking over stuff for school (I go back today wahhh) so that I would be semi-prepared. My DIY yoga retreat was wooooonderful. Even though everything I did was in the comfort of my own home, it felt so nice to turn off the TV (for almost the whole day lol) and phone for awhile and just focus on relaxing and loving myself, especially with the bubble bath and facials etc. It was a wonderful day to pull away from everything else and concentrate on myself. I also loved being able to do yoga twice in one day! I had a hard morning session and then rounded everything out at night with restorative (read-strettttttching!) yoga and meditation, which was greatly needed. It recharged my batteries and I'm going into this new week refreshed and renewed, ready to finish out the school year strong and handle everything that is going on. 

I did have my phone by me to take some pictures throughout the day:











I really loved doing this at home. Even though it would be nice, obviously, to have a couple thousand dollars to drop on a high-class yoga retreat, setting aside me-time was special to me and much needed! If you have a little more money, maybe going to a studio class would be great for this! Also, getting a mani-pedi or massage would be perfect for this type of at-home retreat.

Would you consider doing a DIY yoga retreat at your house?

4/18/14

Need Vs. Want

Hey guys! I'm on Spring Break but yeeeah haven't been writing much. I haven't been writing much and POSTING, actually, because I have been prepping, writing, picturing, and getting about 8 posts ready for the next two weeks so it's going to be busy here pretty soon!

Anyway, Steven left on Wednesday which is why I've been kind of MIA. He moved to California and I'm excited for him but blahhhh obviously very upset because, well, five year relationship officially over and I'm having all the feels, if you know what I mean. Actually, to make myself feel better I have been responding to people who text me asking if I'm OK with this picture:


I seriously think I'm hilarious. No, really. If you text me asking if I'm OK or how I'm doing I will absolutely respond with this picture.

Anyway we spent a few days packing and RZR riding for the last time and just hanging out, and now I'm spending a few days figuring out my life and adjusting to life in this house by myself. FYI if you are going through a breakup with someone you live with, try to move out either before them or at the same time because honestly, I'm doing OK, but hoooooly hell this empty house is depressing. That's just truth.

So! I have a wordy post for today but it's fine! I actually wrote this and didn't plan on publishing it because I just wanted it for myself but publishing things on the blog holds me more accountable so I figured I would share. I came across a blog post a couple of weeks ago that literally made me think and think and think and evaluate my life, my habits, my problems, and made me come to a conclusion. 

I have problems with money.

I don't save well. I spend more than I should. And me moving and getting my own place for the first time is literally the first time I'm being forced to figure these issues out and change them. In this way, I'm scared. But in this way also, I'm excited. I'm ready to get my shit together, if you know what I mean. I've been really, really lucky that Steven invited me into his home and let me live here. I haven't been forced to pay for much, and therefore, I spend too much, because I took that for granted. Well, no longer. When I started looking at apartments in Chicago online I literally just sat and cried for awhile at first because, oh my God how am I going to pay that much for rent and groceries and gas and LIFE? But people do it, and I will too. But that means I really need to figure out what I need vs. what I want. So I did just that this week.

When I leave here, I have to make everything I own fit into my Nissan Rogue SUV. It's not that big. At all. That means I am literally going to have to purge my stuff and cut what I take back with me in half. Seriously. That's crazy for me to think about. But this is an opportunity for me to start over, and only with the things that I really NEED.

Here is the post: How To Live a Great Life Without Spending A Lot of Money + Saving Some Too. Seriously, this woman's life is adorable. Her family is adorable her house is beautiful she is beautiful it's all just lovely. And this post really spoke to me and forced me to sit down and write a list and figure out how I can save some money, but still be happy. Which is 100% doable, it just means I have to actually DO it, ya know?

NEED VS. WANT

So here are the things that I want, but need to cut out. Some are ideas from her post and some are my own. Without further ado, I show you my problems and things I waste money on. Please try not to judge...this post was really hard and raw for me to write, because like, who wants to tell the whole world (ok not the whole world but a large group of people who follow me) their issues?



Clothes. 

I have a lot of clothes. Like, it's gross. I spent a lot of money on clothes. Do I need to? Nope. Do I want to? Yep. I've actually been doing really well with this lately...I decided around Christmas time that I needed to stop buying so many clothes. So, I have been going through getting rid of stuff and even selling some of the nicer stuff on Ebay. I can only take about half of what I own with me and clothes are a HUGE portion of what I own, so it's time to get serious about cutting back.


Pre Workout Drinks

Steven and I are HUGE on pre-workouts. Why? Because they work. They energize you and my Green Apple Cellulor literally tastes like a jolly rancher and is so super delicious that I want to drink it about 6 times a day. However, that 30 scoop container costs $30. Do I need it? No. Do I want it? UH YEAH. But I don't need it. I used the last scoop of my container this morning and threw it out. I also deleted my Bodybuilding account because they have my debit card stored and it's tempting to just jump on the website and one-click buy my new order.


Protein bars 

I'm a HUGE bar fan. I seriously go crazy for any kind of healthy "bar". But reality? These cost $1 apiece, which doesn't sound like much, but it adds up, especially when there are a million homemade bar recipes online that would cost me about .10 cents per bar when it's all said and done. So I will be finishing my last two bars and then making my own. Which I used to do a lot before I got lazy about it, actually.


Drinking

I actually have a LOT to say about this, and I've been writing and re-writing and editing a nice, long, emotional post about why I gave up drinking last December. It should be done in the next week or so. But seriously, just looking at this money-wise, alcohol is such a huuuuuge waste of money. To quote Drea's blog, she says to ask yourself these questions about every purchase, 

"Do you need to go to a salon? Or do you want to? Do you need to go out to dinner instead of having a romantic night in? What else could you use that dinner money on? To save for a house? Pay off your bills? Save for a vacation? How happy will that new purchase make you feel now? In a month? In a year? Will this new product even be around in a year? Will you tire of it? Will it break? Will it benefit your life? Your health? Your family? Will it benefit and grow your business? Or will it just be another thing."


OK so pre-workout, clothes, and bars might make me happy and benefit me in a few different ways, but they're still things that I can give up. Alcohol? Alcohol does nothing for me in a healthy way, actually. 

(Just to be clear I'm not talking about having one cocktail for a special occasion, or one beer every now and then after dinner, etc...I'm thinking about going out constantly, every week, and spending a large amount of money on alcohol. I'm not talking about being 100% alcohol free and sober for every day of the rest of your life. Just want to clear that up!)

Alcohol is a depressant. It is added sugar and calories that your body doesn't need. It makes me bloated and feel unhealthy. Does that mean I'm never ever going to touch alcohol again? No. But last year I was drinking a lot. Way too much. I haven't been drunk since last December, and that last time was a huge wake up call for me. No, I'm not an alcoholic. Yes, it's important to me that I'm giving this up. Yes, I spent way too much money on drinking. Yes, this portion is getting way too long and I can save the rest for that post I'm still working on :)


Disposable Products

We have a ton of rags here at the house. We have towels. We have dishtowels. Why are we/am I wasting money on paper towels and napkins? No more. Also, I am not going to buy Ziploc baggies anymore. We have SO MUCH Tupperware here because, well, I have this thing for Tupperware. I love it. Seriously. I don't need to buy Ziploc bags for anything, really. It can all go in Tupperware. I will still buy toilet paper. Just want to be clear about that :)


Cleaning Products

So for just two people (and now one), I wouldn't say that our house spends a toooon of money on cleaning supplies, but did you know that almost everything you use to clean (laundry detergent, soap, cleaning spray, dishwasher detergent, toilet cleaner, glass cleaner, furniture polish, etc) can be made organically/green with no chemicals? I didn't. But good lord Pinterest is a godsend! Here are some great links for going green with your cleaning products, and every single one of them is a HUGE money saver as well!


**These are my favorite ones that I'm excited to try out, but if you check out my Pinterest board here you can see about a million more that I have clogged up my followers' feeds with! 


Satellite Radio

This one's easy. I don't need it. I have Pandora on my phone. I can plug my phone into my car. Problem solved, and for free. I canceled SiriusXM about a week ago and feel very free and light after doing so. It's saving me about $275-300 a year. I don't want to talk about it. It's done, it's over, they won't take my money anymore.
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So these are the things that I am purging, cutting back on, giving up, saying good-bye to, and doing away with, in the interest of saving money, my dignity, and my sanity. However, there are obviously some things that I am OK with spending money on, because they are a necessity. 


Good Food

I love Trader Joe's :) Healthy food for a reasonable price. Food is our sustenance and we are what we eat, right? I don't mind investing just a little bit more money on good food. Let me be clear though: Whole Foods will never take my money again, unless it's a super rare item I can't get anywhere else. I think what they're doing with organic and healthy food is kind of just ridiculous, and honestly, there's no way I could ever shop there regularly. And I don't. So when I say invest money in good food, it doesn't mean I have to spend a whole paycheck at Whole Foods for the super unprocessed organic gluten-free hand-picked and trimmed veggies. It just means that if it's not too much more expensive and is good for my health, I want that choice over the chemically ridden and processed choice. And honestly, most of the time buying whole, good foods is way cheaper than the processed foods anyway. But the organic banana bunches at TJ's that are 75 cents more than the regular ones at Fry's? I'll pick those up. The Ezekiel bread that's $1 more than the gross white Wonderbread? Well I don't eat bread that much anyway, so if I can get a loaf every 2.5 weeks that is grain free, well, I'll do that. Also, since I'm going to be making my own bars I'm saving a little money that maybe can be put toward the cage-free eggs instead of the eggs that make me feel morally wrong to buy because I know what was done to the chickens that made them. And that's all I have to say about that.


Piggy-backing off of that, good food for Rodney

Rodney is what he eats, too. Rodney is my best friend. I don't care that he's a dog!! He loves me unconditionally and never judges me. I want him around for as long as he absolutely can be. So, I buy him the nicer dog food. I'm not going to lie, dog food can be expensive. But seriously he's 7 lbs he barely eats anything, so that $40 bag up there will last about 2.5 ish months (give or take a little), so to me that's 100% worth it. Same thing goes for his treats, but I actually try to make his treats a lot of the time. That way I know exactly what is going into them! That saves a lot of money too. So, only the best for my little man.


Yogaglo

This is my "indulgence" that I completely justify, especially when I think about how much I'm going to be saving each month by cutting out the things above. I thought about getting rid of it, but I use Yogaglo every single day. I'm not exaggerating. Every single day, whether it's for an hour or just 15 minutes, it gets used. I dropped my gym membership to save money. I pretty much just work out at home now. And Yogaglo is how I get it done. I also have a few weights and do a lot of bodyweight HIIT workouts, but the Yogaglo membership is the one that I can't get rid of! I have tried other free YouTube yoga channels but Yogaglo is the best fit for me, especially since I am so in love with Kathryn Budig :) No this is not a sponsored post, no Yogaglo has no idea who the eff I am. I just really, really love this program and think that it's worth every penny, at least for me. Also, yoga studios in Chicago run about $15-20 per class and up to $100 for a monthly membership. I'd much rather chuck out the $18 a month for my personal emotional, physical, and mental health and just work out at home.

So here it is! These are the steps I will be taking to get my life in order. I have made a lot of mistakes, especially in the last year, and especially money wise. Even though I am hurting during this breakup and I miss Steven SO SO SO much, I think this is actually one of the best things that has happened to me. I'm getting a chance to start over and be a better person. I am going to be more independent than I've ever been and am only going to have myself to blame for both the good and bad things that will come. I'm ready to grow up a little. I am hurting, but I'm so so excited to work on myself, inside and out.

What things do you think you could give up to save a little money?



P.S. I do highly suggest reading Drea's post above. It is really insightful and even though nothing in there is ground-breakingly new, it's a wonderful reminder that things are things and that's all, and that having more and spending more does not make your life more, if that makes sense. It's really wonderful. Read it :)



4/14/14

Vegas State of Mind

Did you guys know April is National Stress Awareness Month? For me, this couldn't come at a better time, as I'm pretty much stressed to the max right now. 


Stress is bad. Duh! But stress doesn't just affect you mentally; it can affect you physically as well. Here's some stress info:

Forty-three percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress.

Seventy-five percent to 90% of all doctor's office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.

Stress can play a part in problems such as headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression, and anxiety.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declared stress a hazard of the workplace. Stress costs American industry more than $300 billion annually.

The lifetime prevalence of an emotional disorder is more than 50%, often due to chronic, untreated stress reactions.

Obviously, stress is a big time factor in many people's lives. Stress can come from a million and one different things in life; job, family, relationships, health, school, children, parents, I could go on and on. It's really important to understand how to handle stress, not only for your peace of mind, but for your health as well!

That's why Jennifer at Vegas.com  contacted me to be a part of their "Vegas State of Mind" campaign, sharing how busy, on-the-go people find ways to "let loose" and relieve stress! I've talked about ways to relieve stress here , but I wanted to talk a little more in depth about one way to relax.

Since I already wrote that post, I wanted to think of something new, but I do want to talk about something that I actually do, and that list is very honest. Jennifer gave me a few ideas- plan a weekend treat, a spa date with the girls, etc. All these things sound amazing :) But honestly, the number one thing I do when I'm stressed is go outside.

Sometimes it's with my main man Rodney, for a walk or run


I like to do Color Runs :)


And I love watching the sun set


You know I do yoga outside


And I loooove hiking


Riding on the RZR is a pretty common outdoor activity in AZ


I take my foam roller out by the pool pretty much on a nightly basis...


I eat outside


I love being by the water


And taking Rodney to the dog park, where he tries to learn how to share :)



I'm pretty sure I could go on and on forever, but really, my biggest way to let loose and relieve stress is to be outside. Oh! And it's not just me! Harvard says being outside is good for you too.....

Your vitamin D levels rise. Sunlight hitting the skin begins a process that leads to the creation and activation of vitamin D. Studies suggest that this vitamin helps fight certain conditions, from osteoporosis and cancer to depression and heart attacks. Limited sun exposure (don’t overdo it), supplemented with vitamin D pills if necessary, is a good regimen.
You’ll get more exercise. If you make getting outside a goal, that should mean less time in front of the television and computer and more time walking and doing other things that put the body in motion.
You’ll be happier. Light tends to elevate people’s mood, and there’s usually more light available outside than in. Physical activity has been shown to help people relax and cheer up, so if being outside replaces inactive pursuits with active ones, it might also mean more smiles.
Your concentration will improve. Children with ADHD seem to focus better after being outdoors. It might be a stretch to say that applies to adults, but if you have trouble concentrating, outdoor activity may help.
You may heal faster. In one study, people recovering from spinal surgery experienced less pain and stress and took fewer pain medications when they were exposed to natural light. An older study showed that the view out the window (trees vs. a brick wall) helped recovery in the hospital.
  
So, feeling stressed? Go outside! Not only do I say it's a good idea, Harvard backs me up, and, that's cool :)

Jennifer also asked what I'd do if I COULD get to Vegas...hehehe. I've been to Vegas a few times, and while gambling and drinking all night aren't really my thing, the mountains and sunshine are! If I could get to Vegas to relax over my Spring Break, I'd love to book myself a lovely massage and spa facial in one of the fanciest hotels there :) I'd also love to do a little hiking, sightseeing, and hit up some shows! I would die to see Brittney's show right now gahhhhh...or Cirque De Soleil!  I also know the Body exhibition is in Vegas right now..I've been dying to see that as well!

What's your favorite way to relieve stress? If you could go to Vegas for the weekend, what would you do?

4/13/14

Letting Go


"I took it off. I did not want to carry it with me anymore."

Sometimes holding on and "hanging in there" is a test of our strength. Sometimes a true test of strength is knowing when to let go, and being able to do it. This test can come in many different aspects in life, but by doing so, we allow strength, enlightenment, and growth to take control. Whatever it is, let it go.

4/10/14

Friday Is My Favorite!

Hey guys! I literally don't think anyone in the world can be as happy that it's Friday as I am. Because it's my last day before Spring Break baby!!! If you want to know my plans for SB, check them out here

I have kind of stopped doing link ups lately, but I always like to make sure I partake in Friday Favorites with Heather at Housewife Glamour. It just always makes me happy to review things that made me smile this week!
Housewife Glamour


I never get sick of looking at his adorable little face!


I have been doing morning yoga again lately out by the pool and, well, obviously it's just been lovely :)



#springfeveryogis is fully underway!!! You know I was so happy with how pretty this picture turned out until one of the girls in Instagram pointed out the umbrella placement...I'm dying. Makes the picture even better I think.


Kathryn Budig put this up on Fbook and obviously I loved it.


I broke down and bought this shirt that has been in my Etsy checkout bag for 7 months...yes 7 months. It's on its way to me this weekend!



A coworker and friend gave me this book to read and I finally finished it today. OMG you need to read it. Seriously. It's about the US and Mexican border and some of the horrible things that have happened to people trying to cross into the United States. I'm very conservative but this book made me so sad, and it's evident that SOMETHING needs to be done. Also, it was so interesting to read about all of the things happening right where I'm living. Seriously, all of these things are happening in Tucson, Yuma, etc, and they talked about all these landmarks that I know or have been to. It's crazy. If you want to know the main idea of the book, google "Yuma 14" or "Wellton 26" and that pretty much sums it up.

Bonus: here's a few Buzzfeed articles that I adored this week!

I am off to go...relax! And sleep! And walk Rodney! And enjoy my last few days with Steven. I hope you guys all have a wonderful weekend.