Good morning everyone. Grab your coffee while I grab my matcha concoction (haha) and let's chat blogs.
I hope your weekend was wonderful. I feel like the weekend flew by.....as if it were one long day. Whenever it is Saturday night, I always think 'How is this possible'? Sometimes I feel that way about life in general.
Today, I am going to be brief but, excited to share with you my favorite blogs. I no longer 'read blogs' simply to 'read blogs'. I utilize blogs to shop, get educated & purchase product.
Despite the blogging world being so over-saturated, I am someone who only references a few. I am all about 'the highest quality' via nutrition, clothing, skincare, beauty, supplements, etc. So, my choices are made after a ridiculous amount of research & time experimenting w/ the product (I am an analytical person so, think flow charts, excel spreadsheets, ingredient check lists).
Let's jump in!
When I purchase clothing (which isn't often): The Golden Girl Blog. Jess Keys puts together capsule wardrobes & various shopping 'guides' often which are all so on point & affordable. I immediately head to The Golden Girl Blog when I am looking to purchase any clothing item. I bought every Christmas present off of her blog.
Nutrition: It's interesting to me, while I follow a 'lot' of health/wellness lifestyle blogs on Instagram, I only follow two nutritional blogs 'on the regular'. And these two blogs are where I get the majority of my recipes as well as my nutritional advice: Deliciously Ella & Oh She Glows.
Health/Supplements: I have three websites that I am always updated on: Dr. Josh Axe, Garden of Life & Vega. I bet my regular followers could have easily guessed at least one of those!
Wellness: You all know this answer but, I am a huge supporter of MindBodyGreen.com.
I am also a huge supporter of Sarah Baker at Balanced Babe!
Skincare/Beauty: I am a huge supporter of Soapwalla & frequent the site. I am also a supporter of shopping w/ Bonnie Knobloch, the Senior Director of BeautyCounter in Chicago.
There you have it! If you shop these blogs/websites, I'd love to hear which ones. And please share your 'go-to's' with me!
I know it's Monday but, Friday will be here before we all know it!
I wanted to provide some words of encouragement to all of you who are suffering & healing from illness......whether you are suffering in an acute season or long term.
First & foremost, I am so sorry. There are never right words but, I am really genuinely sorry. I don't even know you but, to know you are struggling w/ an illness makes me want to reach out & hug you.
I also want to say, what an AMAZING opportunity for you! Say what?!?! Yes, I said opportunity. God uses 'all things' for our good. If He is allowing it in your life? It IS for your GOOD!!! So, this is an exciting time even though it feels anything but.
Secondly, I want to encourage you to keep pushing forward no matter what. If you are the only one left standing on the road to healing, keep going. There is a quote that really resonates with me 'She is perseverance personified but, she's exhausted. My God, she is is exhausted'. - H.J. Anderson. Can you relate? If so, don't give up....exhausted or not.
I don't know why God has allowed this trial in any of your lives but, He has. Do you know Him? Do you know God? Have you given your life to Him? Because I tell you what.....if I would not have given my life to Him when I got sick, I would not have made it through. No way. I wouldn't make it through one day without Him actually.
If we look at the world & suffering, the advice for how to manage through the trial & move forward is the complete opposite from how God says to move forward. It's this startling opposition - the world's instructions vs. God's.
Let's just focus on what God says:
Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world- John 16:33.
OK, so, we know that trials do not surprise Him. Matter of fact, he said we will endure MANY trials AND sorrows.
Next, He tells us 'Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart and a humble mind - 1 Peter 3:8.
So, I am to sympathize & empathize with your suffering & sorrows. And you, with mine. If you are struggling w/ any illness at all, I strongly encourage you to find someone who you can serve whether it be through prayer or baking or sending a word of encouragement. The world would say to 'focus on yourself' but, God is saying to remain in unity with a tender heart.......so extend a hand, get into community even if that means having a cup of tea in your home and love those around you. You are not the only one being refined through your suffering, those around you are too.
God is fully capable of healing you when He deems fit whether that is while you are on this earth or when His kingdom comes. 'Now unto to Him who is ABLE to do FAR MORE abundantly than ALL that we ask or THINK, according to the power at work WITHIN us, to Him be the glory in the church & in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever - Ephesians 3:20-21.
I encourage you to live in utter expectation of His goodness. I encourage you to open a bible to 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 and do what He says to do.
I want to encourage you to focus on HIM vs. your trial. I know how impossible that seems so, you are going to need His help to do that....His strength. Simply ask Him for it. We have His FULL attention.
I know this trial wouldn't seem to be a reason to celebrate but IT IS. So unfathomable right? BUT....if you really truly trust Him.....I mean, if you are rooted in Him, you will know that if He is allowing your suffering, it's a part of His plan.
Stay close to Him. Stay very close to those who are encouraging, supportive & uplifting. And set all of the rest aside.
I believe those of you who are really committed to healing and not giving up......I believe you are going to make it!!!! And 'making it' looks differently for all of us healing. Making it may be glorifying Him in sickness the rest of your life on earth, for some. And for others, making it may mean healing and going back to help save the lives of others in the trenches. Only He knows where your trial leads.
This breath of life isn't even about us....it's about Him. I promise you that if you put 100% of your focus on Him, you'll be blown away.
Ahhh, I cannot wait to hear all of your stories. I have heard so many & what an honor to listen!
If and when you need a pep talk, I am here to give you one. My very dear brother (brother in Christ) told me 'Whatever you do, do NOT GIVE UP'. Never settle in and say 'OK, well, nothing has worked so far so, I quit'. No. You keep going. You keep working hard. You keep trusting God.
I highly recommend reading this article.
The blog/article is SUCH an encouragement to me & I imagine it will be to you too!
All my love.
I absolutely love listening to podcasts. Truth be told, I listen to podcasts when I am getting IV's & often when I am in bed. Podcasts can be listened to any time.....while working out, cleaning, relaxing, traveling, etc. They are a chalk full of education (often for FREE) on such a wide variety of topics.
I asked on Insta Stories today what people's favorite podcasts were. And several of you responded (thank you by the way)!
Below are people's favorites!
1. MindBodyGreen Podcasts.
This is my personal favorite podcast (thus far) because Jason talks with authors, nutritionists, entrepreneurs, physicians, physical therapists, chef's, athletes. Basically, he speaks w/ the best of the best in the wellness arena. One of my favorite podcasts thus far is with Ella Woodward from Deliciously Ella.
2. Christine Caine, Timothy Keller, James McDonald:
I've yet to listen to all of these but they came recommended. I am listening to Christine Caine's podcast 'Unanswered Prayers' right now actually. And I am a huge supporter of Tim Keller.
3. Rich Roll
Rich Roll is this an ultra endurance athlete who is known for his plant based diet nutritional advocacy. And I always think it's industry that he is a former attorney. You can read about Rich here. Rich's podcast came 'highly' recommended by one of my friends on Insta.
4. Jefferson & Alyssa Bethke
I've learned so much from listening to this couple about marriage. I am single but, I am thankfully surrounded by friends in such healthy God focused marriages. They are amazing examples for me. And while I don't know Jeff & Alyssa, they are a couple who I have listened to for a few years now. Note their podcast is new to me but, loving it thus far.
5. The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson
This may be a surprise to some of you b/c I am not a 'primal' meat eater but, I really love Mark Sisson's podcasts. He is so brilliant & 'highly' educated on health. I actually had the opportunity to interview him several years ago and found him to be so wise via health/wellness. Many of the podcasts are very 'keto' driven but, I always look for the nuggest in between the overall message. It's there where I learn the most.
If you have any additional podcasts to share. please do! I am always excited to be further educated!
I have worked in medical biotech sales for 14 years+, including a few years in operating rooms for specifically burn patients. And I have spent several years in & out of hospitals, healing from illness. I feel highly educated on health. There is so much irony to my journey that I have been encouraged by Bob Goff to write a book. Yes, that's true! Bob even suggested a title to the first chapter. And should I follow through, I am 100% using the title he suggested. Any guesses? It's two words.
When I walk into any hospital (and I've walked into over 50 across the country...yes, I counted b/c I am an analytical nerd), I always feel really confident & comfortable. Because I know my way around an operating room & frankly, every area of a hospital. I am really comfortable with physicians....when I was in the field. I am comfortable with any specialty. But, place me in a hospital as a patient & I get scared and don't feel like anything I learned, applies. I don't feel that compatibility with the physicians any longer either. I don't even relate to them at all. Such irony. Such contrast.
To add more irony, I really did not learn about health & wellness until I was a patient. And I became a patient.....'suddenly'....my demise via my health wasn't gradual.......on the surface anyway. It felt sudden & traumatic. And still feels traumatic yet I imagine doesn't appear that way to others who only see me once and awhile.....the irony continues.
So, as I heal, I soak in every ounce of education on health & healing. I have learned so much from my own experience. I have sat w/ over 40 doctors (unreal). I have learned from so many of the educators at MindBodyGreen.com. I don't mean by reading and writing the articles but, by actually speaking to so many of them.
I also feel God has given me wisdom w/ how to spend so much of my time over the years I have been sick......rapidly gaining knowledge on health & wellness through podcasts, audios, lesson plans, books, videos, physicians of course, nutritionists, etc. I plan to share all I have learned when I heal. Right now, I frankly do not have the energy. Coming on here once in a while to chat w/ all of you is the best I have to give at the moment.
OK, so to jump into today's blog, there are five supplements that I take daily....that I will take the rest of my life.
I will take them in additional to any healing regimen or medical treatment and God willing, should I heal fully, I will continue to take them then too.
Let's get to it....
Any probiotic that any physician has recommended does not compare to Garden of Life's Women's Probiotic.
This probiotic as 30+ probiotic strains WITH 85 billion live cultures as the bottle states. This probiotic is uncooked, untreated, unadulterated, with no binders or fillers and no carriers such as maltodextrin or dextrose.
I have tried 'countless' - year(s) worth- of probiotics from naturopathic & integrative physicians. And nothing is better fuel for my gut than this one.
Note: It is expensive. But, in this case, you get what you pay for.
mykind Organics Women's Multi-Gummies. I really trust this brand. I trust Jordan. And no, none of this is sponsored. I really cannot say enough about Garden of Life.
Certified USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified fruit and vitamin gummies. Made with nine organic whole fruits in every bottle—no synthetic vitamins--mykind Organics Women’s Multi Gummies come in a great-tasting organic berry chew made with pectin from non-GMO apples and organic orange peel—no pig gelatin
Liposomal Vitamin C readily absorbs in your body. And the wisest physician I have ever worked w/ told me to take two packets every single day (right now I do 10,000mg but, that's simply for my body given the healing process).
If the wisest physician you know to date tells you to take liposomal Vit. C., I trust her. And she specifically only uses Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C for all of her patients. You can read why here.
If you made it this far - haha - you are all troopers!
I only wanted to share 3 supplements so not to overwhelm any of you. But, if you would like to learn more about my absolute favorite pure & natural wellness products from food, skincare to health & healing, please check out my brand new Snapshots of Wellness Shop! This shop is a collection of what I absolutely love!
Stay bundled up out there Chicago & of course, safe!
Since I was a little girl, Valentine's Day has always been so much fun to celebrate. Every single year in grade school, I would exchange those small cartoon valentine cards with students at school, dress in pink & my dad would buy me my favorite chocolate candies w/ a sweet card.
So, I grew up viewing Valentine's Day as this celebration of love with everyone around me. I never experienced Valentine's Day as a couple's holiday. And I am glad I didn't. Because whenever I have been single, I never became saddened on Feb. 14th rather, the opposite! Single or in a relationship, I am that gal dressing up with some hue of pink or red and heading out the door.
Below are a few ideas to make this Valentine's Day festive & fun whether you are single, dating or married.
Whatever you do, have fun with it!
3. Dating or Married.
My entire message to all of you is to celebrate love on Valentine's Day no matter what your circumstances are or what your 'status'....single, dating or married. It's a commercial holiday to have fun with!
Enjoy the first weekend in February!!!!!
Something I have noticed overtime (at greater frequency) is how people create their own false perceptions as 'facts'......without even knowing the facts.
It's actually scary to me. And it's incredibly damaging to one's self to rely on false information.
Here are some examples:
I have actually experienced it myself when a few have said "Oh you must be depressed or you have an 'emotional' illness' via Lyme Disease/Pots Syndrome. P.S. Lyme/Pots is 100% a physical illness - only - that does affect you emotionally....yet is not an emotional illness. And it's not a spiritual illness although it will certainly challenge your faith (In my case, my faith has been strengthened). And it's not depression. I will write an entire post on this very soon as so many of you have requested me to.
I also hear it when people are discussing their diets. I have heard 'You aren't getting enough protein' to vegans and vegans explode into laughter. I have heard it when people say things like 'everything in moderation is good for you'. Oh boy.
I have seen & heard it in the beauty industry and 'natural' product industry: 'Well, it says 'natural' on the product so, it's good for you'. No, not necessarily.
And sadly, I have heard it with people creating false perceptions of other people in conversation. So sad.
What examples can you share?
Knowledge is powerful...actually being informed of factual information so you can make informed wise decisions. And when people are speaking from a place of being informed, I listen respectfully. I also like to share only from a place of being informed.
This all brings us to the title of this blog post, Why I Do Not Eat Pigs.
I have found that many people truly are not informed about the intelligence of pigs and 'pig meat'. And if they were informed, they would literally never ever eat them again. You just cannot eat them once you are aware of the facts.
I will never eat a pig. But, I sure would love to care for one. Growing up, my mom & her friends bought a friend of theirs a baby micro-pig. And I was able to hold it. It was the sweetest & most gentle animal ever. And the pig was SO smart!
So, here are 5 Facts about pigs (sources linked) that should be enough to guarantee you would never eat one again. And if you do - after reading this - it would be disturbing.
1. According to research, pigs are much smarter than dogs, and they even do better at video games than some primates. In fact, pigs are extremely clever animals who form complex social networks and have excellent memories. Eating a pig is like eating your dog! Pigs have the mental capacities of a 3-year-old human. Let that sink in guys. Pigs have the mental capacity of a 3 year old child. Fascinating.
Pigs are extraordinarily intelligent. They are curious and insightful animals who are widely accepted as being smarter than young children of at least 3 years of age, dogs, and even some primates.
2. Dr. Rasid Buttar the author of, "9 Things to Keep the Doctor Away" says the two things people should never eat are Pork and Margarine. Margarine is obvious, it's liquid plastic, and Pigs (really any farm animal) from CAFO's are not good for humans or animals.
3. Pigs are easily trained to walk on a leash, use a litter box and do tricks. Pigs enjoy snuggling close to one another and prefer to sleep nose-to-nose.
4. Mother pigs use individual calls for each of their piglets. Newborn piglets recognize their own calls and run to their mothers voices.
5. Pigs have incredible memories and can travel miles to find their home should they get lost. They literally know how to find their way back up to over 11 miles.
If you aren't into these warm fuzzy facts and still intend to eat pigs, then read this article.
If you eat a pig after reading the article I just linked (above sentence), I would be speechless.
My overall message to you is to know the actual facts in every situation before you create an opinion and a choice.
I have come to believe through experience that people are so attached to their false perceptions that they are uncomfortable with the actual truth. Do not be one of those people in life.
'I am not a momentary decision maker. I like well informed decisions' - Natalia Dyer
I cannot believe it's Wednesday! I am so ready for the weekend. You too? My niece is coming in to visit (she is pregnant so, I cannot wait to see her growing bump). I cannot wait to relax w/ her. She said it is supposed to be 40 degrees in Chicago!
So, two blog posts down, I said that I would share where I grocery shop in Chicago. So, given that I have a small budget & must be creative in my purchases, I thought this list of stores would be helpful for many of you too.
Spring/Summer/Fall, I shop at the farmers markets. I love Green City Market the best. I learned from Whitney Lauritsen via Eco-Vegan Gal to go to the market towards closing. And that is a time when most people have left & most produce has already been purchased. It's at this time that you can barter with the farmers. The price is always 50% less than what the cost was even an hour before!
I can often buy a week's worth of organic fruit & veggies + pasta for less than 40.00 for the week!!!!!
I think Whole Foods gets a really bad rap for being 'so expensive'. You simply have to shop smart when you shop there. I am an analytical mind & I have a spreadsheet for 'everything' ....you know, that kind of gal. So, I once did a cost comparison of produce of major stores in Chicago. Maybe I should do a post on that for all of you - Would you like that?
Whole Foods organic produce is the most expensive in the city. And yet they often have the best sales on organic produce reducing their cost to less than many other stores (Including Mariano's, Trader Joes, etc). Also, many of their 'dry products' are actually less than all other grocery stores in the city (minus Stanley's and I've not shopped much at Trader's Joe's but intend to)....gasp.
I personally love Whole Foods. I particularly love the Whole Foods on Kingsbury because of it's size. I've always prayed 'God, I would love to meet my husband in the organic fruit aisle of WF'. haha! I am actually serious. I have a friend from college who met her husband there.
I am digressing but, I head to Whole Foods for sales basically. And I love the hunt.
I feel like this is SUCH A HIDDEN GEM in the city of Chicago!
I buy all of my basic supplements from Fresh Thyme! Why? Because they have the best prices in the entire city!
I also think Fresh Thyme has amazing prices on 'snacks'!
With that being said, like Whole Foods, their organic produce is pricey.
I did a post on Fresh Thyme so, if you'd like, please read that!
So, that's where I shop. I get my organic produce from Farmer's Markets, sales at Whole Foods & all snacks & supplements from Fresh Thyme.
Where do you shop? Where do you find the best bargains?
Also, apologies to Trader Joe's. I hear they are fabulous. I just haven't explored them much but, intend to. But, two bloggers that I LOVE (Lows to Luxe & The Golden Girl Blog) shop at Trader Joe's all of the time and share their hauls. I love tuning into what they find!
Where do you shop? Are you a budget shopper? If so, please share your favorite finds!
Hi guys! Are you enjoying the snowy weather or are you 'over it'? I try to appreciate every season but, often (like most) cannot wait for winter to end. I am such a 'summer girl'.
Let's jump into today's topic....keeping our lips moisturized during the winter!
If you are a frequent visitor to Snapshots of Wellness, you know I only use products that are truly pure & clean. I feel like the SW community is well versed in what that means.
For those of you who are learning about 'health/beauty/skincare', it's critical to your health not to use products that have dangerous toxins (psst.....most do). It's also important not to use products that test on animals. And beauty companies are often sneaky in not sharing how they do their testing, what they are adding to their products & even what words they use via their marketing...to trick ya. For example, the word 'natural' can be a cover for toxic beauty. Thus, you really need to do your homework. If you would all like, I can do a post on this topic another time. Let me know.
I have a small budget which means I have to be strategic & highly selective in what beauty/skincare products I buy. I used to buy so many products (a ridiculous amount) but, now I have to really consider what it is my skin needs and what products total will achieve the results I am looking for.
Today I want to focus on our LIPS. I know chapped lips are a huge challenge for many during the winter months and trust me, if you use the three beauty products below, you will have hydrated lips all winter long.
My NUMBER ONE beauty/skincare product that I use daily is MYMATCHA by Cocokind.
MYMATCHA is an all over moisture stick that I use as a facial moisturizer, lip balm, under eye hydration & any area on my skin that is dry. It only has THREE ingredients: Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Beeswax & Organic Matcha Tea Powder.
It's SO hydrating and I never ever get chapped lips. I love having MYMATCHA in my purse so, it's 'on hand' at all times.
Guys, MYMATCHA is only 8.99. And it will last you 4-5 months.
Beautycounter lip sheer in Rose.
This is my favorite lipstick...possibly ever. I am a creature of habit so, I am not too experimental once I find what I like.
Beautycounter said this lip sheer was silky smooth & moisturizing and IT IS. It's so smooth on my lips that I seriously forget I am wearing it. I never reapply throughout the day. I put it on each morning & it lasts until I take my makeup off! My lips are also so soft as a result.
I cannot say enough about this product. The lip sheer shade of Rose is so versatile; You can wear this color from day to night, casual w/ jeans & a tee to a more formal date night. I bought this through Senior Director at Beautycounter, Bonnie Knobloch.
There are so many aspects of buying through Bonnie at BeautyCounter that I love. And the main one is that I can reach out to her anytime and give her a description of what look I am trying to achieve, my style, what exactly I am hoping for in choosing a product like a lip sheer and she will make an informed recommendation. Bonnie has a background in the beauty industry which is yet another reason why I like to purchase through her. She also has incredible style. Watch Bonnie here to get a feel for her yourself. And if you are wanting to purchase BC products through her, go here.
I think specifically for a lip sheer, I told Bonnie I wanted a subtle shade that I could wear day to night (that would also go w/ a primarily monochromatic style of navy, white, grey & black). And she recommended the shade Rose.
My third & final beauty find for my lips is a DIY scrub at home. I have been exfoliating my lips for over ten years. I do a gentle brown sugar lip scrub three nights a week.....every week for as long as I can remember.
I love organic homemade beauty. I think it would be fun to host a girls night where we make facial masks of fruits & avocados, lip scrubs, etc. Have you ever hosted a spa evening at home w/ your friends?
My lip scrub takes 1 minute to mix together. I mix Coconut Oil & an Organic Brown Sugar together and that's it! If my lips are exceptionally dry, I will sprinkle in a more course Himalayan Sea Salt but, I think you have to be very careful that the scrub isn't too rough for your skin.
Wala, so simple, cost effective and your lips will be baby soft.
How do you keep your lips moisturized all winter? Have you used any of the products above?
Big hugs guys! Chat soon!
What are your grocery cart staples? Please share because I love to chat organic food....which is no surprise to any of you.
While I love to try new food all of the time, I am also a 'kitchen staple' type of gal. So, there are always five things you will always find in my grocery cart which I will share below.
Before I do, a few of you asked me where I grocery shop. I am a huge budget shopper so, I go to a variety of stores & farmers markets in order to make sure I am buying the lowest cost yet highest quality products! I will do a post on this topic next.
For now, let's chat 'What is in my grocery cart':
Enjoy this 60 degree weather Chicago!
I have a strict & small budget that doesn't allot for much clothing purchases.
Right before I had gotten sick (we are talking three weeks before), I had purchased a long black Northface coat, Hunter boots & a TON of ski gear. And I thank God I was able to do that because my Northface coat & boots have lasted since 2010! My Hunters are slit up the sides though now - Has that happened to any of your Hunters? Please share!
I literally - rarely - buy clothes because 1). My dollars go toward medical expenses in Chicago & primarily organic food (and of course bills). This leaves little leeway to zero dollars for fashion.
I have had to get so creative about every purchase I make. I wrote about budgeting here for MindBodyGreen. And I find living with less quite freeing in many ways actually. I try to find joy in what I have vs. what I do not have.
In the winter, I basically wear one of two skirts every single day w/ exchanging one of four sweaters, three pair of tights, Hunters, TOMS ankle boots & above the knee boots I have had for 7 years. I wear a lot of pajamas too as I am in bed a lot. And that's the bulk of my wardrobe.
As I said, I have had to get creative.
Let me share three classic style ideas for those of you that have a small budget as well. The scarf in the photo above is 12.00 at Nordstrom w/ free shipping. Grab it! It's classic & versatile and goes with basically everything. You can wear it Winter/Spring/Fall. And I think it easily changes up any outfit. As shown in the photog, it dresses up even a crisp white shirt.
I really love layering & this marled grey tee at Nordstrom above is 13.00. What a steal. Add the scarf above (choose striped scarf in navy) to this tee w/ skinny dark jeans or a skirt and you have a classic outfit. I also love wearing this tee under black/navy sweaters for a bit of dimension to a monochromatic look.
If you are going to splurge on one year-round versatile item, this top is a great choice. Being that it's Navy & White, it will go with pretty much everything in your closets. It's again - classic - with a bit of preppy infusion which I personally love. You can wear this year round......yes, even in the summer on breezy nights.
It's casual but, can be dressed up with heels or even dressed down with sneakers.
I first saw this top by the way on kellyinthecity.com. And I don't have the top but, hope to one day.
Guys, you can pull off a classic style at any budget at all. You just have to shop smart and get creative w/ what you already have. And if you can buy nothing at all? Dress up your style w/ a red lip or even change the part in your hair. Yes, changing the part in your hair changes your entire look!
Lastly, if you are really into fashion & have the budget, my favorite fashion blogs are kellyinthecity.com and my absolute GO TO is thegoldengirlblog.com.
It's freezing in Chicago. And the majority are struggling w/ how to stay motivated w/out sunlight & being able to be outdoors for any length of time.
Are you over this cold front or do you enjoy it? I'd love to hear how you are surviving these frigid temps.
I have always been in the minority because I enjoy it. I know, don't throw a snowball at my head. When I used to be in medical sales, I traveled all over the country. And I was exercising daily as well as hosting evening dinner programs for physicians multiple times per week. My free nights, I was playing co-ed softball & volleyball in the city. I LOVED it all but, I always looked forward to winter. Winter was a time to hibernate and drastically slow down the pace. It still is. I would exchange my 7-10 mile daily runs for the sauna at the gym or no exercise at all beyond gentle stretching.
To me, winter = shedding. It's a season to declutter, provide extra nourishment to your body & soul and shed the 'excess'.
With all of that being said, I feel like we all need some survival hacks until this weather breaks:
1). HOME WELLNESS.
Eat as many organic greens & veggies as you can. You need to boost your immune system to starve off the nasty flu going around. Get your Vitamin D in (Go for 10,000 IU a day minimum). I love Garden of Life's Vitamin D best.
Have fun building your 'home wellness apothecary' from going through your supplements & herbals in your cabinets to cleaning out the food in your fridge. Reorganize it all. Trust me, it'll feel SO good when you done.
Spend time cooking & baking at home. Invite friends over for warm tea & whatever it is you baked.
ENJOY & EMBRACE the slower pace rather than complain about it.
This is the perfect drought (as I refer to it) to read your favorite books. Because come Spring, you will be out that front door catching up on the plethora of Chicago activities.
I am presently reading 'Legacy of a Pack Rat by Ruth Graham Bell'. I received the book for Christmas from my sis. I am loving it. And I just ordered a Proverbs at home bible study that I am really excited about.
Special Note for those w/ Lyme Disease: Reading can be tough for people w/ Lyme (b/c the blood vessels aren't constricting properly in the eyes) so, for those of you suffering, try audio books!
3). Workout at Home.
You can go to YouTube and find every type of workout from floor Pilates to yoga to weight lifting. You can find workouts that are 5 minutes (Yes, those are a thing) to 1 hour. So, essentially, no excuses. Move your body in the warmth of your own home!
I feel like this is the PERFECT season to explore all of the Chicago museums. Go with some friends and/or your family. If you are driving, they all have indoor heated parking & if you are taking public transit, simply bundle up!
5). Neighborhood Coffee Shops & Brunch Spots
In the city of Chicago, our neighborhoods are our little islands. Head out into your neighborhood to meet friends & neighbors for hot chocolate or brunch.
It is important that you do not isolate in the winter as it's so easy to do. And I think it's when people isolate that they fall into the doldrums or SAD (seasonal affective disorder).
My favorite place in Wicker Park/Bucktown to meet friends is Milk & Honey on Division. The food is delish, it's a neighborhood staple & the blazing cozy fireplace warms up the small space quickly! I also love meeting my friends w/ little ones at Stans Donuts because it's lively, colorful and well, they have the best donuts in the city.
I hope these 5 tips helped! Bundle up Chicago!!!
Burrrrrr.......it's freezing in Chicago (literally). Have any of you seen those epic photos of the frozen Chicago River? Whoa. These are the days when you venture out in the am & stay cold throughout the day because the chill has reached your bones.
My mind always goes immediately to the lost pets and outdoor cats. I am always so concerned for them. If you ever happen to see one, please try to save it and take it a nearby animal shelter. Wow, that is so off topic but, I digress.
I thought I would share five simple tips to ward off the winter cold/flu-bug in exchange for a boosted immune system. And trust me, they are simple, doable & they make a huge difference in your health.
Let's get started:
1). Eat more organic greens. Simple enough, eh?
Sauteed greens are great because, not only are they nutrient packed but, they are warming to the body. Eat as many as you can everyday. If you absolutely just loathe greens (I know some of you do - ha), then take huge handfuls and place them in your smoothies. You will not taste them w/ all you add in. My favorite smoothie always involves Vega or Dr. Axe protein, a hearty spoonful of unsweetened almond butter, organic berries and a huge handful of extra organic greens.
2). I am not a doctor as ya'll know but, I highly recommend Liposomal Vitamin C. It's quickly absorbed & has better absorbency than say, a typical Vitamin C coated supplement. I cannot recommend more highly. The one I take daily is here.
3). A high potency probiotic. I have been told that you want a probiotic with as many strands as possible. And it's important that you 'switch up' your probiotic frequently. My favorites are Garden of Life & Dr. Josh Axe's. It's agreed upon by every health practitioner that a daily probiotic is critical. If your bacteria are sick, you are too. And over 70% of the cells that make up our immune systems are housed in the gut wall. Read this article to get educated if you aren't already.
4). Boost your mood. Yes, it's true! Our immune systems functions better when we bolster our healthy living strategies. And this includes mood. Create habits that bring you JOY every single day. Some ideas are: Meditation (even 5 minutes) morning stretching, lunch w/ a loved one, playing w/ your children or pets, a workout or any hobby that you enjoy.
5). Get as much sleep as possible. The best advice on sleep that I have ever personally gotten is to place your phone in another room...shut off of course....a minimum of two to three hours before you go to sleep. Read or simply 'be still' and allow your body to relax. I always do deep breathing exercises before I fall asleep. It relaxes me and helps get me into a drowsy state. Finally, sometimes I like to slowly & gently stretch my fingers/feet/ankles/hands/wrists/legs/neck & back before I fall asleep.
I know these were all quite easy steps but, that was the point! Let me know if you incorporate any of them moving forward and if you have any additional tips!
Also, hold on Chicago...and New York, bundle up friends! Next week is supposed to be in the 30's which will feel like Spring haha!
Talk soon everyone!
As we all begin yet another year, my sincere hope is that we all flourish
into the people that God created us to be.
“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” – C.S. Lewis
Salute to new beginnings my friends - Happy New Year!!!!
I wanted to chat w/ all of you about this blog. Will you grab a coffee or hot cocoa w/ me and listen? I'd love to hear your feedback as well.
How about we kick this off with a big dose of transparency. Ready? This blog is nowhere close to being truly authentically 'me'. It's just not. The writing absolutely is of course but, I am restricted in a number of ways physically and otherwise (for a time). So, I write extremely infrequently and I choose my domain's stock photos typically. While they are lovely, I want to do my own photography, team with brands again & parlay this blog into a digital magazine. So, that's on my 'one day' list.
If that all comes to fruition, I intend to code & build it myself. Sorry Weebly.
But for now, this is just a very small space for me to share numerous aspects of wellness with all of you. It allows me small amounts of time to be creative, meet like minded people & learn from all of you as well. And I have met the most incredibly talented & gifted people in the arena of fitness, nutrition, integrative health & wellness. Best of all, I have built some pretty enriching friendships as a result.
My site intentionally has a small number of followers & I make sure that my Instagram handle never goes over 1400. I am ironically doing the opposite of what all bloggers do.....as they are all trying to increase their following & exposure.....naturally.
It is because I am still suffering & healing from illness so, I like to keep this as more of a 'wellness diary' if you will. Anything more than that would be too much for me right now. And frankly, this is such a reprieve for me to write from bed when I feel up to it.
Plus, do any of you ever miss the simple blogs? Do you all remember when the first few blogs were created? Wow, I do. I immediately loved them! Do you remember heading over to Wordpress for a peak into people's lives & expertise via whatever topics they were choosing to share?
Blogging has exploded since and it's become a hugely populated profession which I LOVE. But, for now, consider this blog a 'small town corner store'....not too many people, not gaining attention or followers but, a familiar space for all of you to occasionally chat health and wellness.
Sustainability has always been important to me but, the past several years, it's become crucial to my well-being. I have learned hacks from the best physicians & experts across the country. And I want to share some really amazing 'home hacks' w/ you!
I make my own natural/healthy/toxic free laundry detergent. I got the recipe from Alyssa Bethke on her Instagram Stories a year ago. Making my own laundry detergent has cut my yearly bill by 75% and the homemade detergent is so much healthier, toxin free & cruelty free, leaving my clothes soft & clean. Alyssa also makes her own fabric softener which I will share the recipe below too. I've yet to try the latter but, I will.
Laundry Soap Recipe:
2 bars of grated Lavender Castle Soap
1 box of Boraz
1 box of Washing Soda
Mix it all in a large gallon container. Wala, you have laundry detergent for months on end.
3 cups of White Vinegar
1/4 c of Rubbing Alcohol (or vodka)
20 drops of Essential Oil (Tea Tree or Thieves)
Place in a glass jar, shake & you are ready to go for months (depending upon how many are in your household).
Of all of the water filters available, I swear by Aqua Sauna. I am committed to the brand because of their high quality products and no, I have zero affiliation with them. They filter out more than any other filter on the market.....in - the - country folks. I recommend purchasing a water filter, sink filters & shower filter.
Get educated from Environmental Working Group on the importance of filtering your water.
Clean Beauty for Men & Women:
Deodorant. We all now know that the lead & aluminum in most deodorants cause cancer as well as clogging the lymphatic system. The challenge with most natural healing deodorants (yes, I said healing because your body will need to heal from the years of damage from toxic deodorants) is that they do not work....they either leave you dry yet w/ odor or they leave you with no odor but sweaty.
I have tried countless natural deodorants and I have only found ONE to work 100% of the time. And that is Soapwalla. Soapwalla now has options for those who are extremely sensitive to baking soda. I promise you, Soapwalla is the best. I use this one. I don't even have to reapply (sometimes for 2 days which is wild).
I am really into natural oils. And I am into not spending much money on outrageous skincare oils when I know you can get the same results for less than half the cost. I've used so many luxury brands in my former life (while in the medial arena) & when my budget changed drastically, I focused on high quality yet less expensive oils....they work the same if not better.
My favorite oils are: JoJoba Oil, Argon Oil & Echo Vie Organic Body/Facial Oil. I am also experimenting w/ CocoKind Skincare line as you cannot beat the prices of 12.00 and under for the most pure ingredient list.
IF I am able to splurge, I love the BeautyCounter Facial Serum / I purchase my BeautyCounter products through Chicago Senior Director, Bonnie Knobloch. She is fantastic at helping you choose the best products for your skin (makeup too). I really want to try the BC Facial Brightening Oil and goop by Juice Beauty Facial Oil is incredible.
I have dozens of food hacks but, today, I am going to just share one: Garlic. So many home hacks w/ good ole stinky garlic!
First off, store garlic in a dark pantry away from sunlight. If you put garlic in the fridge, it will moisten which you don't want.
Secondly, are you ready for the benefits of garlic? Garlic has vitamin B6 and anti-microbial factors which starve off respiratory infections, reduces cancer risk, treats diabetes andddd aids in healing psoriasis.
Why is garlic on this list of home hacks?
For me, I use garlic for all ear & throat infections (hence why I rarely have them). I place a garlic clove in my ear & tape it there. I sleep with it overnight and by morning any remanent of an ear or throat infection is gone.
I place garlic on any splinter which removes them.....place a garlic clove on top of the area of skin w/ the splinter, add a bandaid and wait.....within a few hours the splinter will come out naturally. YES - haha!
I blend garlic into elixirs & sometimes organic green juices because garlic contains high amounts of sulfur which detoxifies the body.
Now I learned this next hack from a website years ago!!!! And I jotted it down in a journel. I don't recall the site (that's the worst feeling) but, here are the notes I took....it's for lessening grey hair: Heat 3-4 garlic cloves with coconut oil and fresh grounded black pepper. Let it cool and apply on the wet hair as a mask. Keep for 20 minutes and then wash your hair as usual.
I've used this hack above since I was 30 years old and I think I only have two strands of grey hair to this day! Pretty cool!
What are your home hacks? There are so many more but, I figured I'd lose all of your attention if I kept going. But, there will be a 'part two' to this blog post where I discuss home cleaning product hacks and several more home & food hacks.
Hacks are so fun, budget friendly & healing for the body and environment!!!!
Note: None of my content is sponsored. All opinions are my own & these products & companies mentioned are ones I happen to love and use daily.
Every year I choose ONE WORD as the theme of my entire year. I got the idea from 'My One Word' which is so brilliant because my 'one word' fuels every goal I have for 2018. I highly recommend going and picking your word (and no this is not sponsored) as the steps are laid out for you! And thank you to Jason Helveston (Pastor at my church & incredible author of 'Tell Me Everything') for sharing about My One Word on your website where I first learned of the concept.
My One Word replaces broken promises with a vision for real change. When you choose a single word, you have a clarity and focus. You are moving toward the future rather than swearing off the past.
My one word for 2018 is NOURISH: Nourishing my relationship w/ God - Eating nourishing foods - nourishing my body via healing - nourishing conversations - only being involved & trusting in relationships that are nourishing - nourishing what makes me feel alive - nourishing others via service.
The definition of nourishing is.... to supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth - to cherish, foster, keep alive - to strengthen, build up, or promote.
The word 'Nourish' first spoke to me when I saw that MindBodyGreen is rolling out a 'Nourishing New Year Program' . I quickly signed up and encourage you to too. I feel that MindBodyGreen is 'always' on the cutting edge of wellness and the leader in wellness across the country.
As I followed the steps for picking my word, every single thought and note I would journal led to....NOURISH. And choosing NOURISH means a complete overhaul of.....well, my entire life. The authors of 'one word' - Mike & Rachel - said 'Don’t be surprised if living out your “one word” feels unnatural and awkward at first. Remember, the reason you want to change is due to the fact that this godly characteristic is not currently present in your day-to-day life. Give it time and stay with it'.
So, what will be your own word in 2018?
Hi everyone! I know it's been awhile. I've missed you and I know we all have a lot to catch up on! So, a coffee date is in order!
For now, we all need to pull together & help those in Texas. They are living through utter incomprehensible devastation. We all need to pray without ceasing.
How can we help? There are so many ways to help but, my money is going to Preemptive Love Coalition whose team is on the ground (we know this as a fact as they are providing video footage of their team there) in Houston, TX. They reiterated that the flooding and devastation is unreal. You can go to this link to contribute and stay updated.
Let's all pull together and contribute.
Otherwise, I will resume blogging at a later day guys. I just do not feel comfortable blogging right now about food and wellness when our neighbors in Texas are suffering and need us. So my time is going to pulling together donations in various forms to ship to Texas.
God Bless. And enjoy Labor Day weekend.
I feel like Spring is such a season of renewal and 'shedding' the winter layers which can mean a lot of different things to various people.
I am personally in the process of completely decluttering my life. And when I say I am getting rid of excess, I mean I'm going for it. We have already filled over 27+ bags full of material possessions to share with those in need. And approximately 14 additional bags of books & such. So that's over 41 bags total! Whoa.
I thought letting go of so many of my belongings would feel really refreshing. But, I was surprised to feel a bit saddened to say goodbye. I had so much nostalgia wrapped up in specific outfits that I wore or even shoes. Memories of the time I read 'that book' by 'that tree' in 'that city'. It's been an interesting experience to say the least.
Have any of you ever read the book 'Seven' by Jen Hatmaker? Seven is this:
A seven-month experimental mutiny against excess, tackling seven areas of overconsumption in the spirit of a fast; a fast from greed, irresponsibility, apathy, and insatiability. Each area boiled down to just seven choices for a month:
Only seven foods for a month. Only seven pieces of clothes for a month. Give away seven things we own a day for a month. Eliminate seven forms of media for a month. Adopt seven substantial habits for a greener life. Spend money in only seven places. Practice "seven sacred pauses" a day and observe the Sabbath...a deeply reduced life to find a greatly increased God.
I just love the concept of Jen's. I think there is something to be said for simplifying our lives. And it's such a cool experiment that not only transforms your external life but, most of all, your internal life.
I wish we could all commune together over a meal. Because I would LOVE to hear what 'seven things' in each category that you would each give up.
I'll share a few categories and then we can all get back to our relaxing Sundays!
Gosh, only eating 7 foods for an entire month. I will choose the following: Organic Spinach, Organic Salted Almonds, Organic Avocados, Vega Chocolate Peanut Butter Meal Bars, Organic Sweet Potatoes, Organic Millet Grain Free Rye bread & hmmm, this is tough. My last food will be organic broccoli. What would yours be????
And only seven pieces of clothing for a month is rather easy for me. So, I would choose: TOMS shoes, heather grey flats, black skirt, grey skirt, navy sweater, black sweater & grey knit tights. Wala. Easy! Some that are really into fashion - I imagine - would be so challenged by this!
I'll stop there but, I am joining this experiment. And I encourage you to as well! Let me know if you buy the book & journey 7 months without excess! I'd love to hear how both your inner & outer world change.
Real talk with all of you tonight.
I cannot think about much else outside of what is happening to all of the refugees in our country - the children - the people fleeing without anywhere safe to flee - the babies suffering - the animals - the voiceless.
There is a call to action for every single one of us.
We can sit, stew, swim in fear, stay stuck because we do not know how to help or we can take action. And do know that any level of action causes a ripple effect of aid for those who need our help.
Tonight, I want to share w/ all of you one organization that I am just absolutely astounded by.
Preemptive Love Coalition.
Preemptive Love Coalition's mission statement is In the face of terror, you can confront fear with preemptive love and remake the world. Violence unmakes the world, but preemptive love has the power to unmake violence. We bring relief to families fleeing war in Syria and Iraq. We help refugees rebuild their lives. And we provide lifesaving medical care for children in conflict zones.
Here is what we need to know about President Trump's refugee order. And here are Preemptive Love's solutions.
My dollars & time will be going to this organization.
If you want to learn more about the refugee crisis and steps you can take to help, you are welcome to join this event on February 13th!
The following news breaks my heart. I have always had a heart for the voiceless which includes animals. They are 100% dependent on us. And the level of abuse taking place against these innocent souls is horrifying. They need us!
The U.S. Department of Agriculture abruptly removed inspection reports and other information from its website about the treatment of animals at thousands of research laboratories, zoos, dog breeding operations and other facilities.
What does this mean?
The records that had been available were frequently used by animal welfare advocates to monitor government regulation of animal treatment at circuses, scientific labs and zoos. Journalists have used the documents to expose violations at universities.
“The USDA action cloaks even the worst puppy mills in secrecy and allows abusers of Tennessee walking horses, zoo animals and lab animals to hide even the worst track records in animal welfare,” said John Goodwin, senior director of the Humane Society’s Stop Puppy Mills Campaign, which uses the federal records, as well as state inspection reports, to publish its annual “Horrible Hundred” dog breeding operations that have been cited for welfare violations. [How our political vitriol harms dogs]
In a statement, Kathy Guillermo, the senior vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, called it “a shameful attempt to keep the public from knowing when and which laws and regulations have been violated. Many federally registered and licensed facilities have long histories of violations that have caused terrible suffering.”
(both excerpts written above can be found here).
What can we do about it?
First & foremost, you can sign this petition by Beagle Freedom Project.
We can also donate to organizations that are working tirelessly to save the animals such as Beagle Freedom Project and Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
We all need to donate. We have to help them. There are so many across the country suffering. This is truly heartbreaking and horrifying.
Created and curated by Kelly, Snapshots of Wellness encourages all of you to cultivate your 'joie de vivre': Compassion for Animals via food, style & lifestyle.