greetings from south beach!
guys… i’m so happy to finally be able to say that bananas + bellinis is comin’ atcha from warm and sunny south beach!
after weeks of subzero temperatures, snow storms and slush puddles back in new york, this little beach getaway has been basically the only thing keeping me from totally losing my sh*t this week [even though i still kinda did just a little bit on monday night… but that’s neither here nor there].
we arrived last night and i’m beyond ready for a weekend away filled with my fraaannddssss, warm temperatures, sunshine, the beach, summer clothes, flip flops, this hat, which i don’t plan on ever taking off, and most importantly, cocktails with effing umbrellas and flowers in them. there. i said it. sue me.
i’ll fill you in on my weekend more formally next week, but be sure to follow along with me this weekend on instagram to see what I’m up to… a.k.a . what i’m eating and drinking. [disclaimer: i plan on taking the idea of balance to a new level this weekend.] we have a few restaurants/bars scoped out [as i always do anytime i go on vacation], but i would still love any recommendations you guys might have for food/drinks/activities, so leave ’em in the comments below!
stay warm and have an amazing weekend! any big plans?!
image courtesy of national geographic
diy aloe spritz for sunburnt skin
having been hashtag blessed with the gift of fair, sensitive skin [that was sarcastic, incase you didn’t pick up on that] no matter how high the spf i wear or how often i re-apply sunscreen, i will always, without fail, end up with a sunburn if i expose my skin to the sun for over 30 minutes. if i’m being diligent about applying sunscreen throughout the day, usually my burn will eventually turn to a tan, but the transition from bright red, burnt skin to a healthy, bronze glow can be quite painful.
i’m headed to miami this weekend and in addition to the natural sunscreen i’m packing, i’m also bringing along this homemade post-sun aloe spritz. aloe vera is an obvious choice when it comes to soothing sunburnt skin, but i also added a little lavender essential oil, which has many healing properties, and eucalyptus essential oil, an anti-inflammatory, both of which can help ease the pain of a sunburn and speed up the healing process.
this aloe spritz takes about 15 minutes to make and will definitely be coming along with me on all beach trips from here on out. to make your own, you will need:
- 1 part pulp of aloe vera leaf [see steps 1-3]*
- 2 parts filtered water*
- 10-15 drops lavender essential oil [optional]
- 5-10 drops eucalyptus essential oil [optional]
*ex: if you are using 1/4 c. aloe vera pulp use 1/2 c. water.
to make the aloe spritz:
step 1: first, you’ll need to scoop the pulp from the aloe leaf. to do this, cut the bottom of the leaf off and prop it upright in a bowl/cup for about 10 minutes to allow the yellow resin to drain out. the resin can be a skin irritant, so make sure you don’t skip this part!
step 2: once the resin has been drained from the leaf, slice the skin from the inside of the leaf with a knife or a vegetable peeler, being sure to cut through to the gel-like substance that’s inside.step 3: with a spoon, scoop the desired amount of pulp from the leaf and place it in blender. it may have a pinkish hue to it – this is normal!
step 4: add the water and oils to the blender and blend until well-combined.
step 5: pour the mixture into a spray bottle and spritz onto sunburnt skin!
a couple of things to note: because aloe vera is perishable, this will only keep for about a week, so i don’t recommend making it in large batches. also, the mixture might settle and separate naturally, so shake it up a little bit before spritzing!
motivation mondays: week 24
today on motivation mondays, i want to cut right to the chase and talk about something really important that i had to remind myself of this weekend: sometimes saying “no” is the best thing that you can do for yourself.
saying “no” to that party you don’t really feel like going to, skipping the gym, taking a night to be as unproductive as possible and vegging out in front of the tv… anything that you’re not feeling [within reason] is absolutely okay to say no to every once in a while. we live in a go-go-go society, where we are often made to feel important and successful based on how busy our lives are.
i’ve made myself a victim of this for a very long time, making tedious to-do lists filled with even the most mundane tasks just so i can visually see how “productive” i’ve been that day/week/month, but over the past few weeks, with work, yoga teacher training, posting here regularly, hitting the gym plus every thing else that has needed to get done, i’ve allowed myself to just take things one step at a time and say “no”.
specifically, i’ve done this a few times over the past few weeks in regards to my workout schedule. i’m headed to south beach later this week, so as you can imagine, i’ve spent a lot of time “getting ready” by eating super clean [but still indulging here and there, because duh] and working out… a lot. yoga, the gym, some different group fitness classes… even “two-a-days” where i hit the gym in the morning and go to a yoga class at night. and while i’m feeling great and not dreading the idea of being in a bathing suit, i’m effing tired and feeling a little bit like i don’t have time to just relax and just do nothing anymore.
so, yesterday morning, i threw my plans to attend an hour and half long yoga class before going to teacher training out the window and decided to stay in bed, meditate, make myself some coffee and do some reading/social media trolling instead. i woke up to my alarm, turned it off and literally just said, “nope”. and you know what? it was effing awesome.
we need to give ourselves permission to just say “no” sometimes. while being busy and having things to do is great, we can’t live our lives without down time somewhere in the mix or we risk burnout and once we hit that point, we’re usually down and out for the count much longer than a day. skipping one gym session isn’t going to doom you for failure or allow those few pounds you’ve lost to magically reappear. it’s all about balance and sometimes the best way to achieve that ideal balance is to just say “no”.
when was the last time you gave yourself a break?
fun stuff i’m into this week:
1. like i mentioned, i’m headed to warm and sunny south beach on thursday and i could not be more excited to escape the snow and the cold. i’m definitely making a stop at j. crew to pick up this hat before i leave… it just screams “sun, summer and drinks with paper umbrellas” to me.
2. yoga. and yoga inspiration. i’m seriously more obsessed than i have ever been. i’m seeing progress in my personal practice, even in the most minor details. and it feels awesome. i can’t wait to start teaching.
3. i recently signed up for trover, which is essentially pinterest but only for travel inspiration… pictures, stories, recommendations. considering my pinterest addiction, i’m pretty excited about this site and will definitely be using it to plan my upcoming trip to australia!
have an amazing week everyone! pledge to say “no” to at least one thing you’re really not feelin’ this week… i promise you won’t regret it!
also, do you have any recommendations for things to do/eat/drink in south beach?! would love any and all suggestions!
image courtesy of imgfave
the yoga diaries: pt. ii
this past weekend marked the completion of half of my yoga teacher training. i cannot believe how quickly the time has gone [i feel like i’m always saying that but it’s 100% true] and that in just a few weeks i will be certified to start spreading the love via yoga.
i’m excited, but also freaking out a little bit. while i’ve learned so much, the idea of actually teaching a class kinda, sorta petrifies me. what type of classes will i teach? what if no studio wants to hire me? what if my students don’t like me? all of these questions [and many, many more] have begun racing through my head over the past few days. i’m sure that in the coming weeks, as i delve even deeper into anatomy and alignment, yoga philosophy and how to actually lead a class, i’ll become more comfortable with the idea of walking into a studio to teach rather than practice, but that doesn’t make the fear any less real.
i’ve been thinking a lot about fear lately. what causes fear, how we deal with fear and how ultimately, we need to move through it to reach a higher state of being. fear is one of the five klesas, or causes of suffering, listed in patanjali’s yoga sutras. the yoga sutras talk about fear more so as the fear of death, but i think that fear of just about anything can be approached and looked at from the yogic perspective.
fear comes in all shapes and sizes and can show up just about anywhere… on the mat, at the office, in your personal life. we all have fears and we all struggle. no one is exempt from either of these things in life. no matter how “lucky” someone might seem, they will suffer and experience fear at some point in their life.. this is just a part of the human condition. the difference lies in how we tackle the fear and how we work through our struggles.
many people try to completely ignore whatever it is that’s causing them to experience fear and pain… if we don’t think about it or deal with it, it can’t bother us, right? wrong. just because you are choosing not to think about something doesn’t mean that the problem isn’t there. it just means that you’re not dealing with it and letting it linger… you won’t be able to avoid it forever and the longer you wait to confront it, the harder it will be to overcome. why not just get it done and over with?
now of course, depending on the circumstances, this isn’t always a possibility, but no matter what type of situation you find yourself in, what kind of fear you’re facing, you can’t avoid it forever. yoga teaches us to confront our demons, look them straight in the eye and tell them that you are stronger than they are.
day by day, i’m tackling my fears surrounding yoga and where i’m going and in turn becoming more and more excited about the possibilities that lie ahead of me. i was terrified of getting up in front of my class to teach a pose for the first time, but once i did, i realized how much fun it was and how much truly i enjoyed it. will teaching my first class be difficult? of course. will i be nervous? yes. but what we have to realize is that progress is made by confronting our fears and that success can only be achieved when we work through the fear and come out on the other side, allowing the journey to transform us along the way. this is a part of the path to discovering our true self, our purpose, our passion. conquering our fears makes us stronger and shows us that we are capable of just about anything, as long as we put our mind to it.
my top 3 essential oils + their uses
over the past several weeks, i’ve received a handful of emails from you guys asking about what essential oils i use. i’ve mentioned some different essential oils in a few blog posts here and there, but thought it would be more beneficial to dedicate a post to talking about my favorite ones and what i use them for in more detail.
the three oils that i always have on hand [lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus] are great because they each have more than one benefit and more than one way they can be used, so there’s no need to keep your medicine cabinet stocked with twenty different essential oils at all times [although i would kinda love that, not gonna lie]. here are three essential oils that i recommend having in your home at all times.
- lavender oil: this is definitely my favorite essential oil. it smells amazing and really helps with a few different things. most importantly, it can be used to aid relaxation and promote healthy sleep patterns. staying asleep throughout the night is something i struggle with regularly, so heating a little lavender oil in an oil warmer before i go to sleep can really help me relax and set me up for a restful night’s sleep. i’ll also put a few drops in my humidifier to keep the aroma in the air throughout the entire night. lavender oil can also be used to ease headaches by inhaling the aroma or applying it directly to the temples.
- tea tree oil: i use tea tree oil for so many different things at this point that i don’t even know where to begin! tea tree oil is a natural anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-septic, so it’s uses and benefits cover a lot of ground. it does have a little bit of a harsh scent that takes some getting used to, but i still recommend keeping this one around. personally, i use tea tree oil in my homemade facial toner and as a spot treatment, as it’s anti-bacterial properties help to fight breakouts. i’ll also use it to ease cuts, scrapes or burns in place of neosporin.
- eucalyptus oil: i find that i use eucalyptus oil most often in the winter months when i’m feeling under the weather, as it offers relief to the respiratory system. there are a few ways you can use it, but what i recommend is placing a few drops at the back of the shower as soon as the water is hot, which will create a steam that when breathed in can help ease a cough, sore throat and irritation in the sinuses. because it’s anti-inflammatory, eucalyptus can also soothe sore muscles when applied and massaged directly into the affected area.
if you’re going to start experimenting with essential oils, i recommend investing in high-quality, therapeutic grade, u.s.d.a. organic versions. while they will be a little more expensive, you’re going to experience more of the benefits these babies have to offer with a higher quality oil. i personally love aura cacia products, which you can order online directly from their site or pick up at most health food stores. a few other essential oils that i also recommend checking out are peppermint oil for indigestion [place 2-3 drops in an 8 oz. glass of water] and lemongrass as an insect repellant.
have you experimented with essential oils before? what ones? how did you like them? would love to hear from you in the comments below or via firstname.lastname@example.org!
motivation mondays: week 23
the cold temperatures that we’re experiencing in the northeast right now are seriously killin’ my vibe. i left my apartment wearing a regular shirt, a sweater, leggings, knee socks, leg warmers, uggs, two jackets, and more winter accessories than should be considered normal. because i can barely feel my extremities let alone put my thoughts into words this morning, today’s motivation mondays post is going to consist of motivational imagery instead of words. beach, anyone?
i’ll be spending the day listening to my “sunny days” playlist in an effort to transport my mind to the beach. i’m going to miami in just under two weeks, so i’m doing my best to keep my eye on the prize.
i hope everyone has an amazing week and most importantly, stays warm.
is it summer yet?
love + light on valentine’s day 2015
happy friday, loves! i hope your week has been amazing and that you’re all ready for the weekend [i know i am]! valentine’s day is tomorrow and i’ve talked about it a lot over the past week. i shared some gift ideas and talked about the importance of not stressing over this holiday regardless of your current “situation”. i’m not hating on valentine’s day at all, i’m just not worrying about it, and you shouldn’t be either!
don’t put any pressure on making tomorrow the best day, like, ever. honestly, my most memorable and fun valentine’s day was spent with two of my friends getting drunk, attempting to go out [and failing miserably], coming home early, changing into sweats, and eating drunk food while watching the office until we fell asleep.
it should only be about making the most of the day, whatever that means for you. relax. go out. cook. watch netflix. ho to yoga. hit the gym. drink some wine. book yourself a massage. plan a trip. do you. and don’t let anyone tell you there’s something wrong with that.
so, that’s my spiel. i’ll leave you with just a little valentine’s day inspiration…
happy valentine’s day!
peace, love, light + xo’s,
image #1 courtesy of glitter guide
5 winter skincare tips you need to try immediately
the winter months can do serious damage to our bodies. the constant fluctuation of temperatures, the bone chilling winds, the dry air… not only is being cold literally the worst, the winter can also impact our mood, our weight, our appetite and finally, our skin.
i’m pretty lucky in the sense that my skin tends to run on the normal side. i don’t have to do too much to keep it clear and since i’ve switched over to an all-natural skincare regimen, my skin has looked [and felt] better than ever… that is, until the temperatures dropped. over the past few weeks, between the cold, dry air outside and the hot, dry air in my apartment, my skin is freaking out in a way it normally doesn’t. i’m not surprised, as this tends to happen every year, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating.
sound familiar? if so, here are five things that i recommend you do every day to protect your skin from the elements and keep it looking fresh throughout the harsh winter months.
1. exfoliate. i cannot stress enough how important this is. exfoliating the skin will get rid of dead skin cells, help to remove dirt/makeup from your pores and reduce the size of your pores in general, helping to maintain a glowing complexion all year round. for my face, i swear by my clarisonic brush and highly recommend this to everyone. for the rest of your body, use a dry skin brush right before hopping in the shower!
2. cleanse with a cream cleanser. cream cleansers are a total game changer in the winter, as they help to add more moisture to the skin, while many standard cleansers just dry us out even more. a cream cleanser is also a great option for sensitive skin any time of the year. i recommend an all-natural cleanser, like this one from acure, that contains cocoa butter and argan oil.
3. moisturize. a sh*t ton. this may seem obvious, but you really can’t go overboard with this in the winter months. i slather coconut oil all over my body, including my face, every single morning and right before i go to bed. i know it sounds pretty counter intuitive to put oil directly onto your skin, as we’ve always been told that having oily skin is bad, but trust me, it needs it. if we strip our skin of natural oils, it will start to overproduce them and, trust me, you don’t want this to happen.
4. invest in a humidifier. as if battling the cold air wasn’t already enough, we also have to deal with the warm, dry air when indoors. one great way to do this is to invest in a humidifier. humidifiers add moisture to the air, which not only can help our skin, but can also help alleviate that dried out feeling we tend to get in our sinuses. i keep one on my desk that i run during the day and one on the floor next to my bed that i run while i sleep.
5. wear spf. even on those overcast winter days, our skin can still be damaged when exposed to the sun and using a daily moisturizer with spf is highly recommended [i’m sure this isn’t the first time you’ve heard this]. like i mentioned before, i use coconut oil, which just so happens to be a natural spf, to moisturize daily, so you can kill two birds with one stone here.
bonus tip: sometimes, even if we do everything imaginable to take care of our skin, we can’t avoid a breakout. when this happens, i suggest using organic tea tree oil as a spot treatment. it’s a natural antiseptic, so it works quickly to zap out the bacteria and reduce the appearance of blemishes. just put a few drops on your finger and apply directly to the breakout after you’ve gone through your regular skincare routine!
do you have any other trusted methods/products for combatting the cold weather?
motivation mondays: week 22
okay. real talk for a minute. i mean that’s what motivation mondays is all about anyways, right?
this week is leading up to what can be one of the most dreaded days of the year for many people… valentine’s day. for some of us, the thought of spending valentine’s day without a significant other makes us feel like we are missing out on something or failing at life, especially if our friends and family are all coupled up, posting sappy sh*t on social media and flaunting their “perfect” relationships everywhere. on the other side of things, those who are spending the holiday with someone can seriously stress themselves out over the “right” thing to do and they will typically put pressure on the other person to make sure everything is “perfect”, as well [ladies, i’m talking to you]. it can really take the fun out of a day that’s supposed to be about love, something that shouldn’t make anyone feel down on themselves or angry at their significant other.
i touched on this a little bit last week when i shared my favorite ideas for valentine’s day gifts, but for motivation mondays this week i wanted to reiterate it since it’s the dreaded “week of”. please, please, please don’t let this holiday define how you feel about yourself. if you’re celebrating with someone… don’t put too much pressure on yourself [or on them] and if you’re flying solo, don’t worry about it. it’s one day out the year and it’s just not worth stressing over one way or another. and, honestly… it’s not even a real holiday. so, with that being said…
the beatles said it in 1967 and it’s one of those famous lines that still is and always will be relevant… “all you need is love, love it all you need”. this is it. love. it’s all there is. if you have genuine love in your life… from your family, friends, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, dog, cat, kids, yourself… that’s all you need. you don’t need fancy dinners, expensive gifts or to even have a boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife at all to feel love in your life… ever.
the best thing you can do for other people is love them. the best thing you can do for yourself is to love who you are. you get back what you put out there. this doesn’t mean that love will solve all of your problems, but it does mean that love puts everything into perspective, helps you through the hard times and makes the good days even better. forget about valentine’s day… love all of the people in your life and show them that you care, love yourself and treat yourself to something that makes you happy. and most importantly, love your life every. single. day.
this year, make an effort to let all of your expectations and opinions of valentine’s day just go. enjoy yourself, do whatever the eff you feel like doing and don’t let any “holiday” tell you that it’s not good enough.
for all of you new yorkers [or anyone visiting the city] looking for a quick and healthy breakfast spot, you have to check out OatMeals. it’s the most exciting take on plain old oatmeal i’ve ever seen… the sign in front of their shop sunday morning proclaimed how proud they are of being “basic”, but honestly, their creations are anything but. they have sweet and savory options [and even a “dessert” menu] or you can build your own bowl using any of the ingredients on the menu. i decided to build my own and ended up with bananas, raspberries, toasted coconut, dark chocolate chips and almond butter drizzle… yum.
a few quick links to check out on this monday morning…
1. i’m absolutely obsessing over these mantra bracelets. there are just so many to choose from that i can’t decide which one to go with! What do you guys think?
2. these dogs and their owners serve as an amazing reminder that you should never judge a book by its cover.
3. and finally, my amazing friend and fellow health coach, blogger and yogi [who just so happens to have the same name as me], gave me the sweetest shout out on her blog last week! head over to fresh meets fierce [um, how badass is that name?!] to check out her first fierce list!
that’s all I’ve got for you today! i would love to hear how everyone is planning on spending their valentine’s day! how are you going to put today’s motivation mondays message into practice this week?
peace, love and all of the xo’s,
image courtesy of how to nest for less
the yoga diaries: pt. I
as i have mentioned a few times over the past month, i’m currently in training to become a 200-hour certified yoga teacher. the past four weeks, [and for the next two months] my weekends have been spent with a group of about 25 yogis breaking down the practice of yoga piece by piece, learning not only the postures and how teach them, but studying anatomy, yoga history, the philosophy of yoga and learning so much about ourselves in the process.
i really want to document this experience here on bananas + bellinis, so i’m gonna go ahead and start a new little series i’m callin’ the yoga diaries. i’ve already thrown some yogi wisdom into a couple of motivation mondays posts [here and here], but every now and then i’ll go beyond that and talk about my progress and what i’m learning in a way that i think will be helpful to you. but first, just a little background…
i started practicing yoga about six years ago, sometime during my sophomore and junior years of college and it truly changed my life. at this time i was struggling with a fairly restrictive diet [that was fueled by the fear of eating something “bad for me”] and poor body image when someone suggested that i give yoga a try. i found out about some free classes held on campus and decided to check it out. i loved the practice and the way it made me feel, both mentally and physically, so i started attending classes here and there. since i was a broke college student, going to classes at a studio regularly wasn’t really an option, but i began practicing almost daily, following along with the YOGAmazing podcast in my room.
with that being said, my practice didn’t really become consistent until about three years ago. i would practice here and there at different studios in new york, taking advantage of every “your first 2-weeks free!” offer i could come across until i eventually accepted a job at a company that offers free yoga to their staff members four days a week… yes, free yoga… basically my dream. having access to yoga like this really took my obsession to a new level. i saw myself improving and having the confidence to attempt challenging poses i never thought i would be able to do. i became more interested in meditation and really going inward to find peace with not only myself, but the world around me. finally, about a year and a half ago, i started exploring the idea of becoming a yoga teacher. i felt that because yoga had done so much for me that i needed to share it with other people and if i could help others, even just one person, who might be struggling with something similar to what i’ve gone through, it would be worth it.
fast forward to today and I’m four weeks deep into making that happen. i did my research, checked out a bunch of different studios and in october decided to go with yogaworks. something in my gut just told me this was the right direction to go and i could not be happier with how it’s been going. my teachers are incredible, i’ve met so many wonderful people and i really feel my life transforming. it’s a lot of work, there’s absolutely no denying that, but i love what i’m doing and how i’m feeling, both in my mind and how i go about my days, but i also feel physically stronger and notice a huge difference in how i practice already.
this weekend will be the fifth [of twelve total] and i can’t believe how fast it’s going! we’re tackling inversions this weekend… and going into this training one of my goals was to have a perfect handstand by the end of it. five weeks later, i’m less concerned about having a “perfect” handstand and focusing on being okay with where i am now, both on and off the mat. perfect, imperfect… it doesn’t matter. yoga is now and i’m working so hard to accept where i am, enjoy the ride and see where it takes me.
so, with alllllll of that being said, i would love to know what your experiences [if any] have been with yoga? have you found something in your life that just totally makes you feel at peace… and what is it? i would love to hear from you in the comments below or via email [email@example.com]. until the next installment of the yoga diaries…
xo + namaste,
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