Nourishing our bodies with a healthy and balanced diet will keep us feeling good from the inside out. Truthfully, I haven't done anything too crazy, but I'm making small changes each day that are helping me build a perfectly suited healthy lifestyle. In this post, I share the few things I’ve eliminated from my diet, the best whole foods to add and all the ways that these small changes have made me feel brand new!Read More
Hello, I’m here to remind you how important it is to take care of yourself throughout your mission to take care of the world. Today, I challenge you to take a few selfish moments to feel proud, to rest & allow yourself to sit with gratitude for everything you’ve already accomplished in life. Rediscover your peace because you deserve it.Read More
Here's a little snippet of how Mike surprised the heck out of me on a beautiful beach in Blowing Rocks Nature Preserve!Read More
Happy May, loves! Nature’s beauty is in full bloom, and so shall we be! Join me in welcoming May, Growth and planting the seeds of our future.Read More
Coconut oil is being found everywhere nowadays. From frying pans in the kitchen all the way to hair and beauty products, coconut oil seems to be the answer to countless health and wellness questions. It doesn't hurt that it's totally affordable, either (I buy Trader Joe's coconut oil for about $6)! I use coconut oil in almost every aspect of my life. There's a jar in my bathroom for use in my daily skincare routine, a jar in my bedroom to use with essential oils, and in my kitchen for cooking and recipes!
There are countless health and beauty benefits just waiting to be used up in each jar of coconut oil. One of the most popular being it's ability to boost your metabolism and provide the body with clean, sustainable energy throughout the entire day. The concentration of beneficial fats in coconut oil also makes it a great aid for not only digestion, but also hair growth! It's natural antioxidant properties and abundance of Vitamin E makes coconut oil a perfect product to add to your skin/hair care routines and a warrior in the fight against wrinkles!
Coconut oil is full of Medium Chain Fatty acids (or MCFA's). I know, the thought of saturated fats by any means has you ready to pass on the whole idea of coconut oil, but not all saturated fats are bad! These fats affect the body differently than the saturated fats we typically encounter because they are made up of short and medium chains, which are much easier to digest than the long chain fats. The medium chain fats found in coconut oil can do wonders for aiding in weight loss, increasing the amount of good cholesterol in the body, and lowering levels of bad cholesterol. These MCFA's are sent right to the liver for energy production, and since no bile or pancreatic enzymes are needed to digest it's fats, coconut oil is considered a healthy food for even diabetics. MCFA's have been proven to provide the body with instant energy and increase the metabolism. These are the main MCFA's found in coconut oil:
Lauric Acid- This makes up 40% of the fat composition in coconut oil. The body converts this acid into Monolaurin, which is beneficial for immune function.
Caprylic Acid- A healthy fat with antibacterial properties
Capri Acid- The body converts this to Monocaprin, which has immune boosting and antimicrobial properties.
All of these MCFA's have properties that are both beneficial to the body and easy to digest. The medium chain fats in coconut oil are not stored or digested in the same way as long chain fats found elsewhere, which is arguably why coconut oil is good for both weight loss, skincare and brain functionality!
You really can't go wrong investing in a jar (or 3) of coconut oil, as there are a million uses for this magic stuff! Let's see...
Coconut oil for skincare & beauty
Use by itself as a natural moisturizer
Combine with sea salt to create your own salt scrub face wash
Use to dilute essential oils before applying directly to skin
Mix with essential oils for a DIY massage lotion
Use by itself as a simple eye makeup remover
Use under eyes to reduce dark circles
Use as a natural option for shaving cream
Mix into any DIY lip balms or scrubs
Apply directly to chapped lips
Use alone or mixed with baking soda for a natural deodorant
Combine with sea salt to remove dry skin on feet or other parts of the body
Combine with baking soda to make a DIY whitening toothpaste
Apply to cuticles to help nails grow
Use for "oil pulling"- swish around your mouth for a couple minutes to reduce toxins in your mouth and also moisturize!
Coconut oil for your hair
Use by itself is a leave-in conditioner/detangler on damp hair
Use on dry hair to control frizz
Make a DIY hair mask using coconut oil, banana and honey (for deep conditioning)
Or a hair mask using coconut oil, egg and honey (to repair damaged hair)
Rub into scalp (when hair is damp) to stimulate hair growth
In the kitchen
Use to grease preheated skillets or baking sheets (in place of canola oil or butter)
Use as a replacement for canola or vegetable oil in baking
Spread on toast in place of butter for a simple, yummy snack
Blend into your coffee as a dairy-free replacement for cream and milk (yum)
Add to your smoothie for extra energy
Mix a tablespoon coconut oil with a tablespoon of chia seeds for an all-day energy boost!
Infuse with herbs to give them a special twist
Around the house
Use in homemade soaps
Add into homemade laundry detergents
Use a small amount to dilute essential oils
Use as lotion for hands after washing dishes
Combine with mint essential oil to create a homemade bug repellent
Use in foods or smoothies for some added natural energy
May help soothe eczema
Can reduce discomfort of mosquito bites
Use regularly to resolve acne issues
Melt a tablespoon into hot tea to soothe a sore throat (and speed up recovery from cold or flu)
Naturally clears up cold sores
Ingest daily to fight allergy symptoms
Can help improve cholesterol levels
Great for use of homemade toothpastes
Apply to speed up recovery from sunburn
Apply daily to help repair dry or cracked skin
It has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to ease arthritis symptoms
Combine with apple cider vinegar for a natural Lice treatment
Use on skin to soothe itch and discomfort from chicken pox or poison ivy
Swish around mouth to soothe a toothache from an infected tooth or cavity
Pregnancy and babies
Use as a completely natural baby lotion
Use as a natural diaper cream (just rub on baby's bottom)
Nursing moms can take a couple tablespoons a day to increase milk supply and nutrients (usually add some Vitamin D)
Apply to skin to avoid stretch marks during pregnancy
Get rid of "cradle cap" on baby- Gently massage onto head, let sit for a few minute and rinse with warm water
For Pets (Quincy loves coconut oil!)
Add a tablespoon or 2 to entice picky eaters
Use as a supplement to minimize shedding hair
Apply directly to coat to moisturize (and also prevent shedding)
Apply to coat before putting a jacket on in the winter to reduce static
Apply directly to paws to soothe dry or cracked paw pads
Could reduce skin allergy symptoms when used externally
Brush your dog's teeth with coconut oil
There you have it. 58 uses of coconut oil, and I'm sure I've only scratched the surface of the health, beauty and household benefits that this versatile oil has to offer. I'll keep adding to this list as I experiment with my own daily routines and see where else I can sneak in the use of coconut oil!
What do you use coconut oil for? Leave a comment below!
Sending all love,
Kimber is a fellow soul searcher, yoga instructor, and proud dog mama. She invites you along her own journey to wellness and hopes to inspire people to be the healthiest & happiest version of themselves every day!
In honor of Earth Day, I've put together a small collection of ways that we can make our daily lives more eco-friendly! These tips are all small, simple changes that are easy to maintain and make it SO easy to Go Green!Read More
In honor of Earth Month, I've put together a small collection of ways that we can go greener in our daily lives! These tips are all small, simple changes that are easy to maintain and will help to leave a softer footprint on our planet. The second part in this Earth-loving sequence covers everything you need to know in order to keep your showers both cruelty-free AND eco-friendly!Read More
From personal experience, I can assure you that living up to anybody's standards of success aside from your own will only leave you feeling unfulfilled, incomplete, and like you failed. After all, if you judge a fish by how well he can fly, he'll spend his whole life believing he's stupid!Read More
In honor of April being Earth month, I'll be sharing a small series of posts (leading up to Earth day) that include some tips and suggestions for living a more eco-friendly lifestyle! Yay! We'll cover everything from making your showers more green to adjusting your small, daily tasks. In making these simple changes, you can feel good knowing you're doing your part in our efforts to maintain a clean planet.Read More
You don't need to dedicate a huge chunk of your free time to self-improvement, either. As a matter of fact, most of the little tasks that improve the quality of my days are ones that I would already be doing, just done a little more mindfully. Take these tips for what they are, try one or maybe all of them, work them into your daily schedule however they fit. After a week, see what sticks, what doesn't, and what serves you the best!Read More
These peanut butter protein balls are gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan (optional) and whole wheat. They require 6 ingredients total and the no-bake recipe takes just a couple minutes. These little guys are full the good stuff - Who doesn't love peanut butter and chocolate chips? If you're looking for a quick, healthful and energizing snack, this is your jam. All you have to do is combine the ingredients together and then mold it into balls.
These babies can last up to a week in the fridge, and there's always the option to throw any extra in the freezer! I quickly made a batch of these for Mike and I the night before we left on a 10 day road trip and had no problem keeping them good on the road. We tossed them in our cooler and made sure to keep it at arms length for easy access, of course.
This proved to be a perfect snack option for any vegans hitting the road, or just on a busy day! Loaded with protein, they are small but mighty in keeping you feeling full and energized.
Prep time: 10 min. Cook time: 0.
1 cup natural peanut butter (I used the kind with just peanuts and salt)
1/4 cup honey, OR 1/4 cup brown rice syrup for a vegan option
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup rolled oats (i used gluten-free)
pinch of salt
1/3 cup MINI chocolate chips (i used vegan chocolate chips)
2-4 extra teaspoons of water or some additional vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, combine your peanut butter, honey (or rice substitute) and vanilla extract
Stir in the oats and salt until well-combined
Add in the chocolate chips (test the consistency by pinching the mixture together. If it doesn't stick well, add some additional vanilla OR water. try just 1/2 teaspoon at a time until the mixture holds together when pinched).
Form balls using about 1 tablespoon of mixture at a time and pressing/rolling between your palms (1 tablespoon of mixture should make a 1" ball)
Store in tupperware at room temperature for 3 days, refrigerate for about a week, or even place some in the freezer
Enjoy your little bites of delight!
Leave a comment below if you tried these little balls of delight!
Nobody can deny the abundance of love particles swirling around the air during the month of February. Not only is it the birthday month of yours truly (wink), but every year during the second week of February, we get to witness as relationships of all kinds, old and new, are cherished and appreciated. Valentine's day gives everybody in the world an excuse to act sappy, to write that lovey Instagram post, to upload the "kissy" pic that our friends might normally laugh at us for, send sweet surprises and most importantly, make the one we adore feel undoubtedly special. On Valentine's day, we'd all love to spoil our loved one's with the gifts, vacations and 5 star dinners they deserve. But a romantic Valentine's celebration doesn't need to be an expensive one! In fact, I find something even more special in the idea of an intimate night spent at home. With just a little bit of thoughtfulness, you can create the stay-in, magical Valentine's night of your dreams (seriously, I'm speaking from experience). In honor of Valentine's day and the couples who like to keep it low-key (like us), I've written a guideline to having a cozy and meaningful night at home.
Night includes a cozy blanket fort, dinner + dessert, some corny movies, laughter, wine (if it's your thing), conversation, an optional little surprise and maybe a kiss (or 100).
First thing's first- build your sheet fort! Our first Valentine's day, Mike and I had fun collecting random pieces of furniture for this project together, however coming home to a surprise blanket fort already set up wouldn't be horrible, either! Use clothespins to secure sheets over the backs of chairs, tables, etc. Build the fort around an air mattress for added comfort, or if you're like us and don't own an air mattress, fill your fort with fluffy blankets and pillows to make it perfectly cozy. Set your entrance up with a clear view of the TV (for #3 on the guideline), or bring along your laptop. We decorated the inside with some battery operated pink string lights and, for some added cuteness, some polaroid pictures of us.
Second- Dinner! You can get creative for this one, too, surprising your boo with their favorite meal ready upon their arrival home from work, or making it a date to prepare the meal together. If you guys are food network fans, you could even find an episode from your favorite cooking show, collect the ingredients and partake in a makeshift cooking class in the comfort of your own kitchen! Get a little fancy with your herbs and spices (it's a special occasion, after all). Feel free to pick up some wine that pairs well with the food. And absolutely, do not forget dessert!!
Third- After sitting down to enjoy your romantic candle-lit dinner for two, grab the wine (and maybe a second serving of dessert) and report back to the blanket fort! Here's your playlist of Romantic Comedy movies to snuggle up to:
No Strings Attached
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
Valentine's Day (duh)
The Big Sick
Crazy, Stupid, Love
Note: While I'm all about movies that make me say "awww," please don't feel obligated to stick to the stereotypical idea of watching romantic movies on Valentine's Day if they're just not your thing. Collaborate with your guy/girl. If sic-fi is more up your alley then mix it up with some aliens! Maybe some aliens in loooove!? - If anybody discovers such a movie, please let me know!
Lastly, the perfect cap to a thoughtful, stay-in V day is a little homemade DIY gift. Since ice cream is our favorite food to share, on our first Valentine's day together, I gave Mike 2 hand painted ice cream mugs. It involved $5 mugs from Target, sharpie paint markers and putting them in the oven to set. Super simple, super cute and we still eat our ice cream out of them every movie night. You can find similarly easy ideas that won't break your wallet over on Pinterest! A home-made card is an added bonus.
While flowers and chocolates are always welcomed, the most important thing to remember this upcoming Valentine's Day is that the best present is simply your presence. On this day, my hope for everybody reading is that you spend it with the one you love. Whether you celebrate Valentine's Day big with a fancy date night out or you use this guideline for a low-key, intimate night at home, let's remember the meaning behind this holiday. Appreciate that no matter what you're doing together, you're doing it together.
And spread the love, y'all!
Leave a comment below if you enjoyed any of these at-home, cozy Valentine's date ideas and share what you loved the most about your day!
”Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are.” - Jason Crandell
When I started yoga, the idea of an at-home practice was far from my mind. I was new to yoga, and the thought of being my own instructor was an overwhelming one. At the time, I was committed to two classes a week at my studio and felt content. However, after a couple months (when the weather got colder and the desire to leave my house got smaller), I started to dabble with home practice youtube videos and getting a feel for moving with no instruction at all. Still, for me, it didn't compare to the atmosphere of my studio. I also found it hard to make my daily routine, tiny apartment and silly dog work with me. Fast forward to when I started my 200 hr. teacher training this past August, and it was no surprise that one of the most important elements was maintaining a home practice. So, I went home and started to mold a practice that would coincide well with my schedule and other aspects of my life. Now, I am so in love with my home practice that I can't go a day without it! I look forward to the time I have dedicated each day towards exploring my own mind, body and soul and I've experienced so much growth in these places. Below are a few tips that helped me along the journey of developing my home yoga practice, and a few that you may find helpful if you're struggling to connect with your own.
Your practice space doesn't have to be huge, and you don't need an entire room dedicated to yoga. However, the space you designate to your practice should be comfortable with good energy. I live in a tiny, one bedroom apartment. I barely have space for my shoes, let alone a yoga mat! This was a challenge for me when I started my home practice- BUT with just a little rearranging, I built myself a "yoga corner." This is just a small corner of my living room, under a window where I leave my mat and meditation pillow. I usually sit here for meditation and then shift my mat out to make space for my asana practice. Do a quick scan of your house and find a place to make your own! Once you have it, decorate the space with a couple things that bring you happiness. In my corner, I have a a plant, my incense burner, and some pictures of my family.
2. Make the conscious effort
Another challenge I faced building my practice at home was fitting it into my schedule each day. I was working full time with another part time job, training my dog, volunteering at my yoga studio, plus did not want to sacrifice the class time I spent there! It seemed impossible to squeeze in one more thing. BUT. Everybody needs some me-time, right?! I'll bet you've had days at work that make you excited to go home, throw on a movie and enjoy a glass of wine (and that's great, too!). But the next time you have this urge, try investing that time into your home yoga practice. And if there's one thing I've learned in my twenties, it's that we are much more inclined to follow through with plans that are pencilled into our calenders. SO, my advice is to take out those planners and pick 2 or 3 days a week that you can commit to your practice. It could be an hour in the morning, a half hour at lunch or even right before bed, as long as you follow through and make it a habit!
3. Invest in props
I think I've made the most progress in yoga generally through my home practice. Purchasing a few blocks, a strap and a bolster was the best decision I could've made for my asana practice, and the beautiful thing about it is that I can spend all the time I want practicing one pose, and taking notice of what helps get me there. For example, my crow pose required two blocks for my forehead to rest on for quite some time. My home practice gave me the flexibility to play with removing one block, and then eventually both blocks at my own pace. Flowing through a guided class, you may feel the pressure to keep up with the instructor instead of hanging out in a place or pose that might need some extra attention, or just feels good. The one downside to practicing alone is that you don't have somebody who's able to come around and adjust your alignment or move you deeper into a pose. So, having a strap handy for forward folds, and a block for triangle pose has been wonderful. It doesn't hurt to fit in a little restorative pose using a bolster, either.
4. Let go of expectations
I felt insecure the first few times I practiced yoga at home, which is silly considering I was the only one there! It's not like I was trying to impress anybody, however it was hard to focus on my breath and remember the flows and poses from class. My mind kept wandering as I overthought ways to transition from tree to down dog, to forward fold, etc. This is important- the purpose of your practice is not to LOOK good and organized, but to FEEL good and nourishing. Once I accepted this fact into my home practice, it became much easier to flow where my body needs to go. Some days you'll arrive on your mat with the intention of working on strength and arm balances, but find that your body needs more of a calm practice. Some days it'll be vice versa. The point of your home practice is not to mimic the moves of your class instructor, it's to find what feels good for you! So let go of those expectations and honor your body. Start your home practice with some experimenting to discover your own style and flow and then keep it true to you!
5. If you fall off the bandwagon, just hop back on!
Practice can be challenging when faced with the distractions of your home life. We can be interrupted by kids, to-do lists, wandering minds, family members, pets, etc. My dog gets so happy and playful when I start flowing around on my mat and I won't lie- sometimes, I give in and my practice becomes more of a wrestling match with a big headed goofball. We're only human! Distractions happen, but the beautiful thing about practicing yoga (and being human) is that we always have the capability to begin again. Helpful tip: let the people you live with know when you'll be practicing so that they can be mindful of your space, maybe even keeping kids and pets occupied. I know how hard it is to hold bridge pose with a dog army crawling through the tunnel.
Bonus- Don't cheat! Your home practice should be kept fun, but take it seriously. Just because you don't have an instructor keeping an eye on you doesn't mean you shouldn't try. Check in with your breath and alignment as opposed to just going through the motions. Impress yourself! If a pose is hard, hang out there for 3 more breaths. Don't get lazy. It can be tempting to cut practice short when someone is cooking pancakes in the kitchen next to you (I've been there). Stay motivated. But above all, remember there's no pressure here, friends. So play! Try an arm balance, because why not? Take 20 breaths in child's pose, cause it feels damn good. Find your niche and help yourself flourish. Grow like a wildflower.
The hardest part is simply arriving on your mat. What are you waiting for?