thirsty thursday: mint + honey spiked moonshine tea
finally the day has come for the first installment of the thirsty thursday series! guys, i’m seriously so excited about this. why, you ask?
well, first and foremost, i’ve been noodling on the idea of incorporating more cocktail recipes into the mix [see what i did there?] here at bananas + bellinis for a while now… after all, there is an alcoholic beverage mentioned in both the blog name and tagline, so it just seemed appropriate.
second, i think this is going to be a great way for me to begin building out my niche a little better. while health, wellness, and creating a balanced lifestyle have always been my passions and the focus of this blog, i think zeroing in on a few more specialized topics will really help me set myself apart from the other healthy lifestyle bloggers out there.
and finally… just because who the hell doesn’t enjoy a cocktail from time to time? even better if the cocktail contains natural ingredients instead of all that artificial sh*t… amiright?!
now, i knowwwww that iced tea is technically a summer drink, but i snagged a sample of a sweet iced tea at expo west a few weeks ago and had to experiment with it [and it’s basically always summer in l.a., duh]. what did i come up with? this mint + honey spiked moonshine tea. read on.
ingredients for 2 servings:
- 2 shots of vodka [1 oz. each]
- 16 oz. moonshine mint + honey sweet tea
- 2 tsp. raw honey
- 1 lemon, sliced
- a few sprigs of fresh mint [plus extra for garnish]
- ice cubes
- place several ice cubes, about 4 fresh mint leaves, one lemon slice that’s been cut into quarters, and 1 teaspoon of raw honey in each of your serving glasses [these look especially cute served in mason jars].
- in a cocktail shaker combine the vodka and sweet tea with ice; shake, shake, shake it up! [my mason jar shaker is from sharper image, similar to this one.]
- pour the cocktail mixture into your serving glasses and stir, topping off with a squeeze of lemon juice [to taste].
- garnish with a lemon slice, a sprig of mint and a paper straw.*
[and remember to never drink + drive!]
*best enjoyed outside in the sun, preferably in a hammock, while reading a book and listening to mellow acoustic jams.
the guest house
as a yogi, i’m a huge fan of rumi, a 13th century persian poet whose work is full of wisdom that integrates very well into the practice of yoga. i always find myself being able to take away so much from his beautiful insights, and love the fact that his work is still applicable and relevant in a world that he could have never imagined in his lifetime.
recently, i discovered one of his poems, the guest house, after coldplay [we can talk more about my obsession with them later] used several lines from this piece on their new album. the words intrigued me, so i started googling them… and wasn’t surprised to discover that the message coming through my speakers was from rumi:
needless to say, i’ve become completely obsessed with this piece, and find myself sharing it with friends, and reading it multiple times a week, especially when i feel like i need to take a step back and clear my head.
what i love most is that rumi is giving us permission to feel all of the feels. so often we try to control our emotions, ignore how we’re feeling and pretend like everything is fine, but from this approach, we’re actually being told that it’s not only okay to, but that we should, do the opposite.
i also love the idea of our bodies being the guest house for the feels… “guest” being the key word here… guests of any kind aren’t permanent… and neither are our emotions or those unavoidable bad days.
every situation, every feeling has a purpose. without the bad, we wouldn’t know the good. without feeling sadness, how would we ever know what it feels like to truly be happy? …see where i’m going here?
rumi is also suggesting that each emotion has been given to us as a means of figuring out what our next move is. something doesn’t feel right? okay, great. time to take a look at where this feeling is coming from and determine what can be done to resolve it.
feelings, emotions, situations… they aren’t punishment. you aren’t suffering because the universe hates you. there’s a reason for all of this. you just have to step back, look at things from a different perspective, and find out what that reason is.
a note on california
it’s been almost 8 months since i touched down in l.a. and looking back, i cannot believe it’s been that long. talk about time flying by. it feels like just last week i hopped off the plane at l.a.x. [get it? anyone?!] with 2 suitcases, a duffel bag and a backpack, moved onto the couch of my friends’ apartment, and did what i had to do to make living in california a thing… and i am so happy that i did!
when i first started breaking the news to everyone that i was quitting my job and leaving new york for california, most were supportive, as i expected them to be, but they also had a lot of warnings for me:
“well you know it’s nothing like new york, right?” … yea, duh, that’s why i’m moving there.
“you’ll have to have a car and traffic in l.a. is a nightmare.” … that’s what i’ve heard… but have you ever been on the subway? now that’s what nightmares are made of.
“they have no seasons there. it’s literally summer all the time.” … YEP, PICKED UP ON THAT PART.
even though i was confident that making the move was a great decision, in the back of my mind i kept telling myself that if i absolutely hated it and things didn’t work out, i could move back to new york after a year.
well, i’ve been here since july 23rd, and i can say with confidence that i don’t ever plan on going back to new york. honestly, i’m a little surprised myself. i never thought i would live anywhere but new york until i came to l.a. for the first time in 2013. but now, i don’t know how i ever thought new york was where i belonged. why, you ask? a few reasons:
1. the weather. not to beat a dead horse, but seriously, why do people choose to subject themselves to subzero temperatures, snow, wind chills and winters that last for 6 months? i will never understand this.
2. the beach. [see also: the ocean, sand, palm trees, the sun, the coastal views, etc.]
3. the people. new yorkers get a bad rap, yes, but seriously, the people in l.a. are so much nicer than the people in new york. from my uber driver to the guy ringing me up at whole foods to random people at bars… everyone is friendly, everyone asks how your day is going and genuinely seems to care. even the homeless people here are nice! must be all that vitamin d.
4. driving. is the traffic bad in l.a.? yes. it’s just as bad as they say it is. but you know what’s worse than sitting in your car, ac on/windows down, listening to music or talking on the phone while you’re stuck in traffic? standing in a crowded subway car with no air conditioning in the middle of summer with a stranger’s armpit in your face for 3 hours when your commute should only take 40 minutes because of a mysterious phenomena known as “train traffic” caused by “signal problems ahead”. pick your poison, but personally, i choose the former.
5. the lifestyle. the grind in new york is real. no one ever stops. everyone is moving quickly and is always “too busy” for this and “too busy” for that. when you’re caught up in it, it just becomes normal. but out in l.a. everything is more laid back. people walk slower [working on losing my “new york walk”], showing up 30 minutes late is considered being on time [also working on not showing up everywhere 30 minutes early] and the “i’m too busy” excuse is something you almost never hear. people are generally more carefree, open and relaxed… and it’s been a nice change of pace for me.
so there you have it. i’ve officially gone from “empire state of mind” to “golden state of mind” … and yea, i’m just fine with that.
guess who’s back?
hello to all of my lovely readers! i know it’s been some time since we’ve seen each other over here, but i’m happy to say that after a 2 month hiatus, i. am. BACK!
i consciously made the choice to hold off on blogging around the new year, simply because i felt like i was being pulled in too many directions and couldn’t do this the way that i wanted to … and if i’m going to do something, i always want to make sure i’m doing it right [or at least “right” in my eyes].
so, here we are, 2 months later, and i’m craving the creative outlet … dying to get back to writing and posting consistently … starting now. a few things i want to mention:
1. new post schedule: back when i started bananas + bellinis, i was working for a company that made me miserable, and was in a role that allowed me to devote hours each day to this blog … yes, even when i was in the office. that’s no longer the case [thank god], but it does mean the monday-wednesday-friday schedule i was on before is gone. i plan on posting twice per week … what days? whenever i can get it done. so check back often!
2. thirsty thursdays: considering there is an alcoholic beverage in the name of this little blog, i figure it’s about time we start actually talking about that. two times per month, i’ll post a recipe for a cocktail of some kind … with a healthy little twist … it’s all about that balance, remember?
3. less recipes, more real talk: as much as i love cooking, baking, experimenting in the kitchen and recipe testing … it’s a lot of work, and on top of that not very cheap, to constantly be doing. i’ll still be throwing in the occassional recipe, but moving forward, this will be less of a focus for bananas + bellinis, and more lifestyle tips and anecdotes from real life experiences can be expected.
4. yoga: because yoga is such a huge part of my life [both the physical aspect and otherwise] i want to make this more of a focus here at bananas + bellinis! basically, i’ll be taking the yoga diaries to the next level.
5. restaurant reviews: if you follow me on instagram, you already know that i’m a huge foodie. i love checking out new restaurants, trying new cuisines, and enjoying a cocktail [or three] at new, fun bars. i want to make this a larger aspect of bananas + bellinis, and start full-on reviewing all of the new places i go … whether here in l.a. or while i’m traveling!
alright, that’s it for now. i’m pretty excited to take this new direction and see what happens! there’s definitely more where this came from, too … but one thing at a time. it’s all about those baby steps, after all!
see you guys on friday for my “first” new post … what’s the topic … you’ll have to wait and find out! and on that note, i’ll leave you with this:
“sometimes it ends up different … and that’s okay.” – unknown
merry christmas! merry everything!
season’s greetings from north western p.a.! i’m back home in good old edinboro until monday, and i’m so excited to spend some quality time with my family and friends, eat and drink more than i should, and get a little r + r in before heading back to l.a. and resuming “reality” next week.
the weather here is unseasonably warm [as it’s been unseasonably cold in l.a.], which is fine by me [5 months in california and my already low tolerance for cold is even worse than it was before] … a white christmas would have been nice … but that just means i literally won’t have to see snow until winter 2016 … hashtag blessed.
i’m spending this week doing some planning for the 2016 bananas + bellinis updates [expect january to be full of newness], and even though december’s posts have been sporadic, i wanted to take a minute to wish you all a merry christmas! … a merry everything really! i hope santa brings you all you wished for and more … can anyone make sure this dog is under my tree tomorrow morning? that would be just spectacular.
p.s. don’t forgot about balance this week! indulge. be lazy. relax. eat. drink. sleep. but not without making sure you’re eating well, moving and being active even if just a little bit, and spending your time in a way that makes you feel good.
also, don’t let your annoying relatives get to you. let the questions about why you’re still single or where your career is going from your aunt/uncle/cousin/parents roll off your shoulder. nix the political discussions … they’re never productive and only add stress and chaos to your life.
personally, i’m doing my best to make sure i’m doing all of these things … yes, it’s hard this time of year … but you’ll thank yourself later … trust me.
the yoga diaries: an update
it’s been quite some time since i’ve done an installment of the yoga diaries, and as i sat in front of my computer trying to come up with a topic for a new post, i gravitated in this direction.
as i’ve mentioned in previous posts, my transition to life on the west coast [best coast] has been a process, and for a couple of months, i really neglected my yoga practice. the studio was too far away or i was too tired after a long day at work … i couldn’t afford a monthly membership … whatever the excuse was, i made it. and even though yoga has played such an important role in my life, for some reason, i failed to realize that this was going to be a problem … and wow, did it become a problem.
when i neglected my yoga practice, a lot changed … and not in a good way! i was constantly stressed out, sleeping for less than 4 hours each night, and just constantly on edge. it felt like nothing was going my way and that i was pushing and pushing and pushing towards things that i was just never going to get to. when i finally reached a breaking point, i assessed what i was doing and realized that one major thing that had shifted was how often i was hitting the mat. i recommitted to a consistent practice and almost instantly felt a shift in my demeanor.
this isn’t to say that there wasn’t anything else impacting how i was feeling, but it made me realize how important my practice is to my sanity and how i go about tackling each day. getting back to a consist practice [and teaching more!] is a new year’s resolution i’m already getting after … i mean, why wait when you can start now?
so, the moral of the story? whatever it is that keeps you sane … keeps you in balance, makes you feel good … never stop doing it, even when … especially when … things get crazy. they will only get crazier. find the hour, the day, whatever you need, to do what you need to do for you.
with all of this being said, a monthly installment of the yoga diaries will be part of the changes i’m making to bananas + bellinis in the new year. it’s important to me as i grow as a teacher and student, and i’m excited to get back to sharing the journey with you here.
my holiday gift ideas for the hard to buy for people in your life!
it’s the most wonderful time of the year … and in the blogging world, that means one thing … holiday gift guides!
this year, i decided to combine the women’s and men’s gift guides into one post, since we’re approaching the final full week for holiday shopping before christmas is officially here.
here are a few holiday gift ideas from your’s truly … #4 in the men’s guide is my brother’s company … so if you have a bearded guy in your life, this will be perfect!
[also, if someone wants to snag #1 on the women’s list for me, i promise to love you forever.]
exciting changes in the works!
happy monday, lovelies! hope you all had an amazing weekend … mine was pretty damn good, if i do say so myself.
as i’ve mentioned a few times before, motivation mondays is getting revamped, so these posts are on hold until 2016, but i wanted to use today’s post to let you guys know that i’m currently working on making some other changes to the way i do things over here at bananas + bellinis, too!
as you’ve probably noticed, i’ve been posting pretty sporadically over the past few months. between moving from new york to l.a., living on a couch and out of a suitcase for a while, finding an apartment, buying a car, starting a new job, meeting new friends, and exploring my new city … it’s been hard for me to find time to dedicate to creating content. and it bums me out!
but sometimes, you have to go with the flow and live in the moment, which is definitely what i’ve been doing. i even made a rule for myself that i’m not allowed to say “no” to anything [unless there is a really good reason, like i already have said “yes!” to something else or it’s dangerous/illegal/against my morals] for the foreseable future. this will either be the best or worst decision of my life … but it’s to ensure that i’m stepping outside of my comfort zone, putting myself out there, and not becoming too much of a homebody as i build my life on the west coast.
and … not gonna lie … life is pretty good right now.
but, with time away from blogging, i’ve had some time to brainstorm some ways to switch it up and keep things fun and exiting over here, and i have to say, i’ve got a few things up my sleeve that i’m anxious to get started with!
so, what does this all mean? let me give you the rundown.
motivation mondays makeover: the details for this change are still up in the air, but i do know that i want to continue incorporating positive quotes each week, and i’m thinking about doing weekend recaps, and highlighting 3-5 things i’m digging at the current moment … books, websites, products, videos, you name it! but i’m not 100% sure yet … so stay tuned!
**all new** thirsty thursdays: i’ve only posted one “clean” cocktail recipe before, but this is something i have so much fun doing that i want to make it a regular thing. and what better day of the week than good old thirsty thursday?
more recipes: in 2016, i’m committing to doing more recipe testing so that i can post more recipes for you guys. i love cooking and baking, and need to be doing more of it … and i also want to work on my food photography skills!
restaurant reviews: i honestly can’t even believe how long it’s taken me to realize that this is something i need to be doing. for anyone who follows me on instagram, it comes as no surprise that i consider myself to be a bit of a foodie … i love a good excuse to do some #eatingfortheinsta and i think some official reviewing is long overdue. [and just to be clear, these reviews will include all types of restaurants … not only “healthy” ones … balance, remember?]
so, that’s that! who knows what other ideas i’ll come up with along the way, but this is a start. i’m going to be posting regularly for the rest of the month … check back thursday for my healthy, happy holiday gift guide, and on friday for more newness that’s still t.b.d.!
oh, and here’s a quick quote for you today … a reminder to find the courage within yourself to get after whatever it is that you want … via j.k. rowling.
photo courtesy of society6
gratitude journals + what i’m thankful for
i know it’s not thanksgiving anymore, but that doesn’t mean that that being thankful and acknowledging our blessings should stop. to be completely honest, taking time each day to note what we’re thankful for can help put our entire lives into perspective [which, let’s be honest, we need sometimes].
gratitude journals have become quite popular. it’s been proven that keeping a gratitude journal can help lower stress levels, improve sleeping patterns, boost self-esteem and increase happiness, just to name a few. seriously, they’re even written about it in forbes.
and it’s a pretty simple thing to do. the steps are:
- buy a journal.
- keep it by your bed.
- every night before you go to sleep write down three things you’re grateful for and why.
- start reaping the benefits!
so today, the day after the day of giving thanks, i wanted to take a minute to note 27 things i’m grateful for [one for each year of my life]. here we go [in no particular order]:
- my amazing, loving, supportive, weird, crazy family. every last one of them.
- my friends [who are basically my family, too].
- my health [both physical + mental].
- a job that i love so much it stresses me out more than anything else does.
- yoga + how it’s changed my life.
- travel + adventure.
- this blog, my creative outlet.
- the beach.
- leonardo dicaprio.
- my [currently] minimally furnished apartment.
- having a car again + living in a city where driving is a requirement [seriously, eff the nyc mta].
- every single person that’s ever treated me poorly … you showed me exactly how not to act and who not to associate myself with.
- living in l.a.
- the idea that my biggest problems can typically be solved with retail therapy.
- long weekends.
- people who keep it real.
- music festivals.
- the 5 years i spent living in new york city, which will always hold the #1 spot in my heart [but seriously, eff the cold/snow].
- the good that comes out of terrible situations.
- healthy, hippie sh*t.
- like-minded, creative, passionate people.
that’s just a starting point, as i really have so much to be grateful for, but i’ll save all of that for another post.
do you keep a gratitude journal? how has it changed your life? share in the comments below!
3 tips for staying balanced this thanksgiving
thanksgiving is one of those holidays that most of us have a love/hate relationship with. on one hand, it’s amazing because it brings family and friends together over a big, home cooked meal where old traditions are carried out and new memories are made. on the other hand, family drama can come up, your entire life can be picked apart by judgmental aunts and uncles, and the big dinner can be the kickoff to the holiday weight gain we all dread so much.
anyone feelin’ me here?
while no one should be feeling like they need to take such drastic measures as drugging their family to survive thanksgiving, i think it’s so funny in the first place because it really is so relatable … amiright??
here are my 3 tips for staying balanced this thanksgiving, both mentally and physically, so you wake up monday morning after this long weekend not only feeling like yourself, but feeling better than you did today!
1. set aside some time for yourself. i’m not going home for thanksgiving this year because l.a. and my hometown are just too far apart and flights are too expensive, but somehow i still managed to fill up every single day of this long weekend with some kind of activity or adventure [not that that’s a bad thing]. however, i know the importance of taking some time for myself to chill the eff out, so tonight, when i leave the office, i’m heading to a yoga class to start my weekend off on the right foot. it’s very easy to get wrapped up in the go-go-go of a holiday weekend when you’re hopping from party to party, traveling or prepping for the big day, but it’s so essential to set aside some time for you! sleep in tomorrow, take a relaxing bath tonight or head out to your favorite workout class friday morning. whatever it is that helps you unwind and makes you feel good, make time for it!
2. eat mindfully. i obviously talk about this a lot [this is a health and wellness blog, after all] but this is even more important on thanksgiving, the holiday centered around eating. before you dive into your thanksgiving dinner, scope out all of the options and see what you’re workin’ with. fill your plate up with mostly veggies, and then add potatoes, turkey [if that’s your thing] and whatever else might be calling your name [obviously leaving some room for dessert, too!]. and when you do dive in: slow. the eff. down. take small bites. chew your food. breathe. it’s not a race. enjoy your food. by the time you’ve finished, you’ll feel full and satisfied, not like you need another huge plate to get the job done.
3. take 5 minutes to acknowledge what you are thankful for. this should be the obvious tip, as this is thanksgiving, but i think that the majority of us have lost sight of the holiday’s true meaning. thanksgiving isn’t about eating a turkey, it isn’t about leaving your family gathering early to head to the mall to trample other people in the name of “getting the best deals” … it’s about being thankful and appreciating everything you have. there are so many people in the world who would kill for your sh*tty studio apartment that you pay way too much money for … they would love to have a family as annoying and crazy as yours … and yes, they would probably do anything to have the job you complain about day in and day out. if you’re reading this from a computer or a smart phone, i guarantee you are luckier and more fortunate than most of the world’s population. take 5 minutes tomorrow to write down … yes! write down! what you’re thankful for and why. keep those things in mind when things aren’t going your way this weekend. an action this small can take you leaps and bounds … you’d be surprised!
happy thanksgiving, everyone! i hope you have an amazing day celebrating with your family and friends, and take some time to unwind the rest of the weekend … you deserve it!
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