guest post: quick workouts when you’re pressed for time
happy friday, everyone! i’m super excited to be welcoming missa, blogger over at skinny affair, to bananas + bellinis for today’s post! missa and myself recently connected somewhere in the blogosphere and when i saw how aligned our approaches to health and wellness were, i knew she would be perfect for a guest post. i asked her to share something that she thought fit into the bananas + bellinis lifestyle, but was still true to who she was and what she puts out there on skinny affair. she came up with a little list of her favorite quick workouts for when you’re on-the-go or in a rush, but still want to maintain a certain level of activity. i can’t wait to give these a try!
we all know what it’s like to be super busy [or just plain lazy]. experts recommend adults get at least 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity. that’s about 10 minutes per day!
so, on those days when you don’t have enough time to go to the gym or your favorite workout class, try doing quick bursts of at-home workouts. i’ve put together a list of my favorite youtube workouts for when I’m pressed for time. all you need is a mat and a laptop, tablet or smartphone.
- your yoga gym | energizing mars yoga routine: when i’m feeling like i need some energy, this is my go-to yoga workout. this sequence goes through vigorous movements in a little less than 10 minutes.
- tone it up | bikini yoga: this yoga sequence is about 15 minutes long. it’s a little less traditional, but it can stretch, elongate and strengthen your entire body. i love that this sequence starts off slow, but quickly picks up the pace.
- livestrong women | lift + tone booty routine with katrina: it’s becoming obvious that i’m a huge tone it up fan. katrina and karena have so many quick workouts that target different areas of the body. this specific routine will teach you a bunch of great booty workouts to target all angles.
- tone it up | bikini abs routine: we all need a good ab routine! this one has movements for your obliques, upper abs and lower abs. karena’s bikini abs routine is one of my favorites because it’s so quick, but still gives me a good sweat.
tip: wake up 15-30 minutes early and do one or two of the workouts above first thing in the morning. it’ll wake up your muscles and give you some energy to start your day strong.
have a go-to workout? i’d love to hear about them! share in the comments below or tweet me @skinnyaffair!
and, if you’re into health/wellness, style, beauty and everything in between, check out my blog!
5 tips for surviving mercury in retrograde
we’ve all heard it before and many of us have lived it, but what exactly does it mean when mercury goes retrograde? essentially, about three time a year, mercury slows down its journey around the sun, which makes it appear as if it is now going backwards. it’s not actually going backwards, but this three week period that happens about three times a year [sometimes four] is known as “mercury in retrograde”. so what’s the big deal?
many of us have come to find that when mercury is in retrograde…sh*t just kinda goes haywire. communication gets fuzzy, people go back on their word, technology systems break, travel plans gets delayed or cancelled… you name it. while i have personally felt the effects of mercury being in retrograde on more than one occasion [to the point that I now map it out on my calendars at the beginning of every year], i find that taking a different approach works much better than an “oh sh*t, mercury goes retrograde tomorrow… life is about to get messy” attitude. here are five ways i make sure that mercury in retrograde doesn’t negatively impact my life:
1. don’t expect bad things to happen. just because mercury is in retrograde doesn’t mean that you should go about your day waiting for something terrible to happen. expecting bad things will manifest bad things, regardless of what mercury is doing.
2. if something bad does happen, don’t blame it on mercury in retrograde. i’ve fallen victim to this plenty of times and it’s so easy to say, “well, what can you do? mercury is in retrograde!” the reality is that bad things can happen at anytime. rather than blaming some random planet, take a look at what you are doing and what’s going on in your life first to see if you can just maybe find a real, tangible explanation… and stop playing the blame game!
3. avoid making decisions that could have a major impact on your life. big business deal in the works? booking flights? buying a new phone/tv/computer? wait. since mercury in retrograde is known to mess with these kinds of things, hold off on committing to anything [if you can] until the retrograde period is over [it only last for about three weeks]. take this time to observe what’s going on in your life and really think about what you could be committing to. ask yourself what will it look like in the long run.
4. slow down and reflect. while mercury in retrograde can be a time of chaos, it can also be a time of renewal. slow down, take some time for yourself to just be. reflect on the past few weeks and revisit your goals and dreams. figure out where you’re going and what the next step towards reaching your goal is. there’s no better time to lay low and make plans than now.
5. communicate clearly. repeat yourself when necessary. mercury is the messenger and when he’s is in retrograde, misunderstandings are common. if you feel like someone took something you said the wrong way, re-address it. think before you speak and really listen to others. something that seems like a trivial miscommunication could end up becoming a major issue down the road.
ultimately, we have the power to decide if we approach life with a positive attitude, expecting amazing things, or with a bad attitude, waiting for the worst possible scenario to play out in any given situation. mercury is in retrograde as of january 21st and will stay there until february 11th… while it’s good to be aware of this shift, we don’t need to let it control our lives.
image courtesy of quick memes
3 reasons you should start oil pulling
oil pulling is one of those things i had known about for a really long time before taking the plunge and trying it out for myself. i mean… who wants to swish a tablespoon of oil around in their mouth for 20 minutes? not me… or so i thought.
after doing more research and reading about all of the amazing health benefits of oil pulling, my curiosity got the best of me and I decided to give it a try. oil pulling is an ancient ayurvedic practice that is said to rid not only the mouth, but the entire body, of harmful toxins while restoring balance throughout your system. as you might have guessed, once i started oil pulling, i became obsessed with it.
basically, all you do is pick an oil [i recommend coconut oil because of it’s strong anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties and mild taste], swish around a tablespoon of it in your mouth for 15-20 minutes on an empty stomach and spit the oil out into the trash can, not the sink. it was easiest to work into my daily routine by taking a spoonful of oil right before brushing my teeth and hopping in the shower in the morning. here are three reasons you should make it part of your day-to-day routine, as well!
- it improves oral health. after just a few days you should notice whiter teeth and better breath. over time oil pulling will also build up the strength of your teeth and gums.
- it can reduce the symptoms of allergies. this includes sinus congestion, mucus build up in the chest and that terrible dried out feeling you sometimes experience in your sinuses.
- it can improve skin issues. because oil pulling rids the entire body of toxins, many have experienced clearer skin and reduced severity of eczema after oil pulling regularly. this can be super helpful even if you don’t experience severe acne, especially in the cold, dry winter months.
other reported benefits of oil pulling include reduction of sleep issues, elevated energy levels, reduced inflammation, improved kidney function, correction of hormone imbalances and, my personal favorite, alleviated symptoms of a hangover.
i recommend trying this out for at least a week to see what kinds of changes you notice before making a decision about it one way or another. the first few times can be kind of rough [swishing around a spoonful of oil in your mouth is definitely something that takes time to get used to] and if you can’t make it through the entire 20 minutes at first, don’t worry! you’ll slowly get used to it and once you start seeing and feeling the benefits, you’ll probably wonder how you ever lived without it.
image courtesy of green med tv
miracle hangover cure: milk thistle extract
as you probably know, one of the recurring themes here at bananas + bellinis is balance, simply because i believe that in order to live a healthy life, you have to live a happy life and happiness doesn’t come from deprivation, restriction or self-inflicted punishment or criticism. i know from personal experience that depriving yourself, obsessing over your food intake and criticizing yourself for your appearance, weight, financial status, life choices, etc. does not lead to happiness… at all.
one thing that i’m not afraid to share is my love for going out and enjoying myself over a few drinks. cocktails, beer, wine… i like all of it. i believe that in moderation, having a drink or two… or three… is perfectly fine and nothing to feel bad about. now, with that being said, there is one kinda out there, health nut thing that i do to give my liver a little prep and that is incorporating milk thistle extract into my supplement regimen the day of an event I know i’ll be drinking at.
milk thistle extract is something that i was introduced to when i was doing a 30-day mind-body cleanse last january and it has seriously changed my life. milk thistle is a plant and the extract that comes from its leaves is known for its ability to detoxify and protect the liver and its vital functions, so obviously this stuff has a place when it comes to the prevention/cure of hangovers.
you can purchase milk thistle extract in tincture or pill form [i prefer the tincture] and take it during the day when you know you have a happy hour or a birthday party to attend. you can put a dropper full in your water or tea as much as you would like throughout the course of the day [the taste isn’t strong] or directly into your drink while at the event. the morning after a night of drinking, especially if I’m not having an #iwokeuplikethis moment, i’ll also put a dropper full into a glass of ice cold water and before i know it, i’m back to 100%.
of course, this trick is much less effective if you drink a lot, a lot or if you start mixing alcohol [that’s never a good idea and I can’t help you there], but give this a try the next time you go out for a few drinks and I promise you won’t know how you ever lived without it.
images courtesy of the glamorous housewife
5 tips for surviving the common cold
with winter fast approaching, many of us will find ourselves [or already have found ourselves] battling the common cold. it usually creeps up out of nowhere and before you know it, you’re waist deep in tissues and mouth-breathing in order to supply your brain with enough oxygen to think straight. fun, right?
i have a few [all-natural!] tricks up my sleeve that i turn to to make myself more comfortable when that cold inevitably hits. these are most effective at the first signs of a cold, so if you feel it coming on, start right away!
1. echinacea: echinacea is a plant known for its immune boosting qualities that is available in a variety of forms. as soon as you notice the signs of a cold, start popping some echinacea supplements or drinking an echinacea tea a few times a day to give your immune system a little oomph.
image courtesy of oglesby
2. the neti pot: the neti pot is one of those things that totally freaks people out when they first hear about it, but is something that you won’t know how you lived without once you give it a try. if you’re not familiar with it, the neti pot is basically a mini-teapot-ish vessel that you fill with a solution of lukewarm water and salt [you don’t want to use just any salt; there are many salts out there made for use with the neti pot]. you then pour the solution into one nostril while leaning over a sink and the salt solution works its way through the sinuses, flushing out any… stuff… that might be hanging out in there through the other nostril. i usually do this two times a day when i’m sick, once in the morning and once right before bed and the relief it provides for sinus pressure and a stuffy nose is almost immediate.
image courtesy of yoga lifestyle
3. eucalyptus oil: the eucalyptus plant has many medicinal properties that come in handy when treating the common cold. it’s an anti-imflammatory and works as as a decongestant, so it’s especially helpful if you have a sore throat, cough and/or a runny/stuff nose. it’s easiest to find and use as an essential oil. for a sore throat, place a few drops in a glass of warm water and gargle for 30 seconds, 2-3 times a day or whenever you feel like you need relief. when I’m in the shower, i also put a few drops on the floor of the tub all the way at the back, as far away from the drain as possible, so that when the hot water hits it, a nice vapor is created that will waft up into your respiratory system, helping to clear congestion and ease a lingering cough.
image courtesy of the health site
4. water: as simple as this sounds, staying hydrated when you’re sick is so important. make sure that you are drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day [you should do this when you aren’t sick, as well] to keep your system running optimally, prevent dehydration, loosen mucus and flush out toxins and germs.
image courtesy of m.n.n.
5. rest: i saved the best for last and this is seriously the most important thing on the list. i cannot stress enough how important it is to take it easy when you’re under the weather. your body is already working hard enough to fight off the cold in the first place, so the last thing you need to do is place even more stress and exhaustion on it. doing so will only make you feel worse and make your recovery time even longer. it’s okay to take a sick day from work or skip the gym when you aren’t feeling well. so email your boss, make yourself a cup of tea and get cozy on the couch with some netflix. your body will thank you for it.
image courtesy of the dog dish
so, while i don’t have a magic, instant cure for the common cold [sorry if you were expecting that from this post!], all of the things on this list will definitely alleviate your symptoms and make you a little more comfortable while it runs its course through your system. if you have any other tips for surviving the cold that i didn’t include, please share them in the comments below.
stay well and get better soon!
feature image courtesy of pearls of profundity
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