Healthy bites meet new traditions to create a recipe for a new kind of football watch partyRead More
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NatureMadeHeartHealth #CollectiveBias
If you read the title of this post and had the gut reaction of "yeah, definitely no - I'm not a morning person... I have to set the alarm 3 times and sleep until the very last second before I'm literally peeling out of the door, mornings are neeeeever easy" I promise we've likely got a lot more in common than you think.
So let's start with calling it like it is: most of us, I'd bet, are not morning people. Like for real, does ANYONE like getting out of their warm, cozy bed in the morning to get out in the world and adult? I mean yeah, sure maaaaybe on Sunday when it's brunch day, but for most of us, the next destination past the shower and maybe the coffee shop is either work or school - with maybe a stop for an errand or two along the way. None of that sounds like an exceptionally great time to me at 8 o'clock in the morning.
But then, we've all read the stories about how successful people rise before dawn, do an hour of meditation, yoga, jogging or marathon training (you catch my drift) and then eat their healthy breakfast and head off to conquer the day. Duuuuude, I envy those people, but I am definitely not one of them.
To be real, I do like to take a morning yoga class, however, I'm a writer - so if I choose to take a 10 a.m. class, it means I'll be burning the midnight oil that night, and hey - I'm okay with that. But for the purpose of this post, I'm intending to share tips with you that'll give you a happy a.m. glow and allow you to get going while feeling stress free, in time to make that morning meeting (with time to spare).
I shared a post earlier this year about my heart health routine while traveling. I don’t typically introduce new routines or plans into my life that I know I just won’t stick to - however it’s not an option for me to skip days of wellness. I’m fully committed to self care, so in that post I shared the absolute musts on my daily routine, no matter where in the world I might be traveling.
Those 3 absolute musts:
- daily yoga
- a smoothie a day
- a supplement plan
Now that I'm spending a bit more time at home, I've been finding ways to expand on my wellness plan and since I'm definitely not an early riser - I've focused on ways to incorporate little moments of happy, healthy living into my morning routine.
Here's 3 ways to start your day on the right foot, and you can do all of this in under 30 minutes, I promise.
1. She Likes to Move It, Move It:
Movement of any kind helps get the blood flowing. My favorite way to get the day going is with a walk in nature. I like a bit of structure in my yoga routine, however, in the morning, there's something extra spirit lifting about being outside, while the air is crisp and the world is just starting to stir. The variety of route or location creates a feeling of newness and since it's about getting the body going, it doesn't have to be a jog. Often I get dressed for the day, and on my way to my first destination I'll take a 15 minute detour to my favorite park. I'll hop out of the car, explore for 15 minutes, and something as simple as that can be a true meditative moment for me.
Some days I'll bring along a chilled out playlist, pop on my headphones and zen out.
If there isn't enough time to detour to the park I'll take those 15 minutes and dance in my living room and end with some meditative breathing (the last song on my playlist is always one I can get re-centered to). Here's the playlist I've been using this week.
2. Freshen It Up:
The next must-do in my wellness routine is the daily morning smoothie. Something I've added to my at home ritual is a morning turmeric tea. I have recipes for both below and here's a hint when it comes to smoothie making: when you're in a rush just freeze it. I like to batch out my smoothies and save a little extra. If I'm on the morning grind I'll use yesterday's leftovers. Here's a regular go to recipe:
Avocado Berry Smoothie
1/2 avocado blended with yesterday's berries. The berry mix is this (frozen and saved):
- a handful raspberries
- a handful blueberries
- a cup of water or almond milk (if your preference is a creamier smoothy)
It doesn't get much easier than that.
I've also committed to reducing my caffeine intake so while I do like a little coffee in the morning on occasion, I've started drinking turmeric golden milk as a substitute. The rooty-ness of the turmeric somehow gives me the same satisfaction as the taste of a coffee bean and the caffeine intake? Well: zero. If I'm really needing a little pick me up I'll add a little black tea to the recipe below.
Golden Milk Recipe
- 1/2 cup almond or coconut milk
- 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric paste**
- 1 piece ginger, unpeeled, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- ground cinnamon or cayenne pepper
Whisk coconut milk, turmeric paste, ginger, honey, coconut oil and 1/2 cup filtered water in a small saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer until flavors combine, about 10 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into mugs and top with a dash of cinnamon or cayenne.
** turmeric paste is a mixture of 1/4 cup of dried turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper and 1/2 cup filtered water - heated and then stored in the refrigerator in a glass jar
3. One for You, One for Me
Here's where the supplements come in.
Here's the full report from them on the benefits:
- Only 1 softgel per day provides 720mg of heart healthy omega-3s (660 mg EPA/DHA).†
- Nature Made® supports leading heart health experts who recommend eating 250 - 500 mg of EPA/DHA per day to help support a healthy heart. “Recommend” amount equates to a calculation based on approximately 1,750 - 3,500 mg of omega-3 fatty acids EPA/DHA found in 2 servings of fatty fish per week.
- Nature Made® is the #1 Pharmacist Recommended Omega-3/Fish Oil Brand* (Based on US News & World Report - Pharmacy Times Survey of pharmacists recommending this category.)
- USP Verified & purified to remove mercury. State-of-the-art purification processes remove PCBs, dioxins and furans, and mercury to ensure purity levels below 0.09 ppm, 2 ppt WHO TEQs, and 0.1 ppm respectively.
- No Color Added, No Artificial Flavors, No Yeast or Starch, Gluten Free.
Make it extra easy on yourself by keeping your supplements separated out by daily dosage. I'll keep my Fish Oil, C, B, CoQ10 and Collagen ready to go in a daily supplement organizer so I don't have to sort through each bottle in the morning.
So what do you think you guys? Easy does it? I'm amazed sometimes by how much better I feel when making these practices a part of my daily routine. I'd love to hear from you guys on your easy tips to keep that wellness routine in check because aren't we all learning new things everyday?
Learn more via the video below.
†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, INC. and The Coca-Cola Company, all opinions are mine alone. #RefreshinglyHonestSnacks #CollectiveBias
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” - Albert Camus
As summer days are slowly fading away I become a teeeeny bit nervous. I am a summer girl through and through - and leaving summer mode is so bittersweet for me. Festival days and trips to the lake are fewer, however, nature reminds us with the ebb and flow of the seasons, that there’s beauty in change (and that’s nothing to be nervous about!).
For lots of us fall also means back to school and football games; for my traveler friends it means long mountain weekends and for my fashion friends it means shows and events. However for me, this season, it means a little more time at home! Ben will be off tour in October and while we still have plenty of travels lined up, even having a week or so at home is such a luxury for us!
Read on for my tips, and at the close of the post learn a bit more about our current products of choice!
Skip the Trends:
In recent years wellness has truly become a trend, but to fully achieve a lifestyle of wellness look past the trends. Sure, do that cleanse and take the latest yoga class - but more importantly make wellness a part of your daily life. Find some stretches that you can incorporate into your day (even if you’re running from class to class or event to event)! When you’re home in the evenings, take long walks with your loved ones and just catch up on each other’s happenings (good for the body of course, but the connection is amazing for the mind). On the weekends, take your newspaper, grab an Honest Tea Honey Green (my flavor of choice) and read outside. Add some stretching to your reading time for bonus points!
Skip the Line (But Really, Being Healthy is Hot):
Man, I can remember when the most important thing my girlfriends and I talked about on a Friday night was what we were going to wear for a night out. Not so much anymore. It’s not that we don’t still want to look good and have a fun time, but there’s so many other ways to enjoy our time together. Looking for an activity to do with your friends on the weekend that doesn’t involve waiting in line for a show? Here’s a few options!
Find your local “pick your own” farm and make an afternoon of it. Afterwards go home and create new recipe with what you’ve gathered at the farm.
Host a meditation night! Invite your BFFs over throw some cushions on the floor and zen out. Pushing your mental and physical comfort levels with friends by your side can create major fulfillment!
Meet for a night of stargazing and moon watching. As the fall air turns brisk, find a spot near your own home where you can build a campfire and just hang out and tell stories!
Have a pajama dance party date! Ben and I rarely go to bars, however, that doesn’t mean we don’t love a little late night dancing. We’ll put on our PJs, pull out some old school seventies jams and crank up the record player. Again, it’s all about the movement, and we truly have the best time!
DIY Your Snack Game:
Our household is fully focused on organic living and the slow food lifestyle. We love weekends at the local market and finding farms near our home to buy from. It’s so easy however, to skip the healthy stuff when you’re on the go. Our local grocery is Kroger Marketplace, and when we’re there we shop the Simple Truth products all the time! I often use the Simple Truth products in my smoothies and nightly recipes, however I stock up on the Simple Truth snack options too.
My friends often laugh that I’m the girl that constantly has a cooler in the car or the most packed picnic basket, however, keeping healthy goodies on hand is so much better than pulling over for fast food or convenience store snacks. I’ll make snacks to keep in the fridge that I can throw in the cooler on a whim, and even on days when I’m in a rush I’ll find a spot to pull over and re-center.
Beauty is so much more than what you’re wearing (clothing, makeup or otherwise!) and I’m staying on the side of working to get that glow from the inside!
Here’s a little more about my current Kroger favorites below:
Simple Truth Beef Jerky - made with certified organic beef and organic spices, it’s a good protein boost!
Simple Truth 7 Ancient Grain Rice Crackers with Sea Salt. I slice up a few apples and my local farmer’s market cheese, add a drizzle of local honey and I’ve got snacks to go!
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This is something that's been on my mind for a while - every day I feel like I'm reading more and more via the likes of goop, mind body green and Because I'm Addicted about all the things that are potentially bad for us living in our homes. (This is about chemicals btw, not a hanger-on friend that's sleeping on your couch if that's your story.... 😉 ).
I'm a child of the 80's and I can clearly remember my mom having the carpet man come and shampoo the house, while she was scrubbing the bathroom with ammonia & spraying down the oven with some sort of potent AF cleaner... you know, these things were all totally the norm. And while I'm the type that's pretty much always bought the version of things that's got the most eco-friendly formula there's so many potential toxins that we often don't even think about.
As we've moved into our new home I partnered up with EnviroKlenz, an eco-conscious company whose products are made from natural earth minerals with no masking agents nor toxic chemicals to set us on the right path. There were things I hadn't even considered when moving into our new home. For example:
Did you know that your new rug, if it's made of synthetic materials can emit noxious gases, including VOCs?
At our house we bought new rugs for every single room and we're always piling up pillows and lounging on the floor. I read a study last week that reported that the average home can contain more than 300 different chemicals... and while that number might be high for my home, or yours, I don't even want 20 chemicals hanging around... that's where products like the EnvironKlenz Odor Eliminator make me feel at ease.
I decided to undergo a bit of a weekend home detox before taking off for the flea markets and my favorite antique shops today, here's what I did and how to do your own home detox.
1. Shop For Organics & Eco Friendly Materials
Consider purchasing rugs & blankets made of sustainable materials - organic cotton, sisal, jute or wool are always good options. Furniture made of natural materials is also a good bet. A general rule of thumb, if it's hand made from an artisan it's likely fine, made in a factory, not so fine.
2. Be a Plant Mama
NASA published a study ages ago that justified a love of the plant babes. They're awesome detoxifiers, filtering out VOCs while prettying up your space! I add new ones to our home every single weekend, and you can ask your local garden center which are the easiest to maintain if you're new to the plant magic.
3. Just Say No to Chemical Cleaners
Just like you'd do for your food, real the label. And, if you don't know what the words mean or can't even pronounce it, it's probably not good for you. Respiratory irritation, headaches and even mood swings have been attributed to house cleaning supplies. And, do you guys remember those videos in the 80s about what can happen when mixing ammonia and bleach?! If not, google it, and DON'T ever do it.
A few other quick tips:
- Take off your shoes at home. Just imagine for a minute the things that the bottom of your shoes see: pesticides, germs, asphalt, and so much more... and then you're going to lounge around on that stuff? Nope. Def nope.
- Open your windows. Allow the fresh air in, and the fume-y stuff out.
- Round up the bad stuff you clean with, and replace with essential oils. Tea tree, lemon, rosemary and pine are a few of my favorites for this.
Want to learn more about environmental toxins: EnviroKlenz has a podcast on their site with a whole lot more information from the likes of microbiologists and integrative medicine professionals. I've learned so much from them! Their products offer a systematic approach to removing chemical odors and malodors from indoor air space and surfaces. I, for one, was so glad to find them.
What detox rituals are you guys doing? Any other things I should be trying?
Images 3-6 are from my Décor bohème Pinterest board. Go follow along for all sorts of stylish bohemian home ideas!
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SummerSoStrong #CollectiveBias
If you've been hanging around here for awhile you know that Ben and I moved into our new home this past fall, we're officially into the first month of our first summer here and already we're spending so many days grilling out and enjoying porch weather. I find a meditation in cooking and Ben loves to grill so we've just recently started having friends over to experience a little bit of country living with us.
This past weekend I made plans with my friend Lauren and intended to bring some of that outdoor summer cheer over to her house as we planned a pool day afternoon. I packed up a basket and traveled over with every intention of dining al fresco. Well sometimes, despite the blue sky weather report, the sunshine refused to come out, the rain comes in - and so what was originally intended to be an afternoon cooking outdoors became rainy day indoor fun.
The Dixie Ultra® paper plates, are strong, super cute (co-created with the design gurus at Target) and will keep up with your long-summer days - standing up to whatever you dish up during your backyard barbecues, pool days and parties. Keeping in mind this particular afternoon was really a “just because” Saturday hang out, it seemed like the perfect time to test out the plates and celebrate time together without worrying about lots of clean up afterwards.
So, why ROYGBIV and why is this in the beauty column?
As you guys know I'm all about eating for my health and to be your healthiest reflect back to elementary school art class and remember this rule: ROYGBIV - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. Mama Earth gives us fruits & veggies of every color and the general idea is to eat foods from each of these color families every day. The goal in this is to get all of your vitamins and minerals in without having to supplement and following this approach will allow for that!
Read on for the recipe, a few variations and learn a bit more about Dixie at the close of this post!
Rainy Day Rainbow Veggie Pizzas
- Organic Pizza Crust (get fancy and make your own, or buy a store bought version to keep things simple)
- Organic Pizza Sauce (same as above!)
- Mozzarella Cheese, sliced thin or shredded (or whatever your preference is!)
Here's the veggie and spice breakdown in order of the color scheme, you don't need all of these, truly you can choose your favorites as long as you promise to load up on them. I never really measure things out for recipes like this, it's all a bit intuitive, just chop up enough veggies to cover the pizzas and eat the leftovers on the side:
- Red: Red Pepper, Sundried & Heirloom Tomatoes, Cayenne Pepper (a pinch, sprinkled across the top)
- Orange: Freshly Grated Turmeric (a thumb is plenty)
- Yellow: Yellow Pepper, Heirloom Tomatoes, Freshly Grated Garlic (a clove or 3)
- Green: Asparagus, Brussel Sprouts, Fresh Basil, Oregano (a dash)
- Blue: Hmm, this one was a little trickier to get on the pizza, so I diced up some fruit for a salad on the side with blueberries, strawberries & bananas for dessert.
- Indigo: can we include this in the Blue category? I think so.
- Purple: My heirloom tomatoes included a few with purple hues, however you could add in eggplant here too!
Ok, now to give you some variations if you want this to be suuuuper easy and "just because" you could purchase a pre-made organic pizza and throw it on a pizza stone over the grill or in the oven - and as I mentioned if you want to get a little fancier you could also make your own dough & sauce. I won't leave the recipe for that here, but my friend Lauren has been making her own and so far the results have been good!
Back to the process: once you've got all of your ingredients lined up give all of the veggies a rough chop and get things underway.
If you're going to grill your pizza, start by grilling the veggies first. I like to pile mine into aluminum foil and let them cook over direct heat for a few minutes. You could cut them a bit larger too and place them directly on the grill. (Ben loves this approach).
Once the veggies are looking good give the grill a coat of oil and add the crust. Let it cook for just a few minutes over direct heat. Using tongs, check to make sure it's browned a bit and flip.
Once it's browned, flip it and follow up with your sauce, cheese and then pile on the veggies. If the crust seems to be cooking through and the toppings still need more time using the tongs slide the pizza to lower heat. You're in for a charred and deliciously awesome treat.
Roasted & Baked Option
Chop all the veggies just the same, heat the oven to 350 degrees and spread them across a baking sheet. Add some olive oil and sea salt and let them roast.
In the meantime slather the sauce on the crust and add the cheese. Once the veggies have had 7-10 minutes to really get going, pull them out, and put the pizza in. I like to let it go long enough to have the cheese start to melt and then pull it back out to dress it with the veggies. Pile the veggies on top, and place it back for just a few more minutes.
About Dixie Ultra®
Strong & Confident: Dixie Plates are stress tested, stronger than ever and have a new, innovative rim. They're full perfect for piling lots of goodies on your plate.
Soak Proof Shield™ & FlexProof™ Technology: they stand up to the heaviest, messiest foods you can dish out.
Skip the dishes: spend time with your friends and family with less clean up, they're also microwave safe, recyclable and cut resistant.
Happy first day of Summer by the way my wanderful friends! How are you spending it? Thanks for being here, see you again soon!
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When I decided to add a Beauty column to Oui We I made a commitment to you guys (and myself) that I'd share rituals and routines that are working for me and products that are making a difference for me, as well.
Like so many of us paying attention to what's happening in beauty and wellness one of the things that's been showing up differently for me is how I approach getting ready in the morning. I was once a self proclaimed black eye liner junkie - like I wouldn't leave the house without a heavy handed cat eye application. I have a signature lip color that I've worn forever too and without those two things I didn't feel fully put together. As I'm getting older caring for my skin has become more important than ever (and honestly I've always had a holistic approach to skincare) and recently my smile, including my teeth, have been an area of focus.
I was having a convo with a friend the other day about how when we were growing up the style and beauty idols were girls like Kate Moss (cigarette in hand - although I personally never smoked, plus greasy hair and late night partying - I did have those things in my life - went along with it). However, now girls like Amanda Chantal Bacon of Moon Juice, are getting adoration from the masses - beauty fanatics, wellness gurus and fashionistas too. If there's something that's important to me now versus then it's this:
I want glowing skin, bright shiny eyes, and a naturally healthy smile.
So that means I'm often foregoing the cat eye makeup and focusing on skin care, oral care and getting plenty of sleep. A few months back I connected with Smile Brilliant. After pricing out treatments with my dentist's office I decided I'd rather go with an at home whitening treatment and to be honest, I'm kind of terrified of the dentist and only like to go for cleanings. Smile Brilliant offered to send me the system in exchange for sharing my thoughts with you all! I was more than happy to do it.
The process was easy. I got an email first from the team letting me know that my custom tray kit was on it's way. When I received it the instructions gave me all the details I needed to make the molds of my teeth. I sent off my molds and within a week or so I received my clear trays custom fit to my mouth.
Here's the nightly steps from there:
1. Brush your teeth (with no tooth paste) to prepare your mouth for treatment. Fill up your tray with the whitening gel and leave it on about 20 minutes or so. The information packet I received warned to be mindful of sensitivity and to work my way into leaving it on longer. Honestly, I used the product every other night for the first week and the sensitivity wasn't unbearable at all. I saw results within those first few days.
2. Once the trays are on find something to do for the time they are on, it's not the most comfortable thing in the world, but it's really not bad either. I decided to do a 20 minute meditation and that helped pass the time.
3. Rinse and brush again (with toothpaste this time).
4. Apply the trays again, this time filled with the Desensitizing Gel. This time you can leave on for 10 minutes or so.
5. Rinse and then go to sleep and let the gel settle in.
In the morning when I get up I can't feel a thing from the treatment the night before.
The kit contains close to 20 applications and after I did the first several weeks (like 3-4 times a week) I've got plenty of gel remaining to do weekly maintenance now.
I'll be posting again to share those results, but in the meantime, as a coffee drinking (and wine drinker too) girl that's counting my smile health as a big part of my beauty routine I'm so glad to have found this product!
Want to win your own kit? Enter to win via the Giveaway link. Winner will be announced at the end of April!
Want to go ahead and buy now? Use the code ouiwegirl for 10% off.
In the meantime, scroll through to see a few other products I'm loving!
This post was compensated in partnership with FiftyTwo45 in exchange for my honest review and feedback. As always, I'll only accept compensation from brands I feel truly stellar about.
Good morning and happy March!
First! It's the day after Mardi Gras. And in days of past that would mean I'd be going on a serious cleanse or detox plan to combat all of the sugar fueled foods and drinks I'd consumed over the past several weeks.
This year, however, is different. I've been at our home in Nashville quite a bit, and traveling still too.
In Nashville the weather is still fluxing between grey cold winter vibes and hints of sunshine on occasion, and even last week in Los Angeles temperatures were cooler than I've ever experienced there. Soon, however, Spring will be here. And for a sunshine loving girl, it couldn't come soon enough. (YAY!) After days of travel and a pretty serious halt in my usual self care routine I'm committed to re-upping my health game this week.
Sugar filled foods, blasting heat, moisture sucking air travel... I've had a case of it all.
(Must I remind you of that king cake that's been on repeat at my house. Le sigh!).
If you're in the same boat and feeling like your skin is showing it, I find the fastest way to recover that healthy glow is by working nutrient rich, probiotic filled foods and drinks into the daily routine. You'd have to truly be living under a rock to have not heard of the benefits of probiotics to your over all well-being. Probiotics are the "good" kind of bacteria that help maintain total body wellness - however while you might know that probiotics keep the gut healthy they're also effective in improving our skin health. (HANDS UP!)
I honestly hear girlfriends of mine talking regularly about the topical products they're using to care for their skin. In the meantime, the wellness world is sharing more and more about the importance of what you eat and drink in regards to how your skin looks. I'm a serious advocate for considering what you're ingesting (green smoothie obsession over here) when it comes to your outer glow. However, if you're out on the road like I am so often, and skipping a day of smoothies here and there, my recommendation is to consume lots of leafy greens (challenge yourself to adding kale to every meal, and minimally order a salad when all else fails) and add probiotic rich foods to that.
Here's a list of 5 probiotic rich foods that are easy to find anywhere:
- Dark Chocolate
- Miso Soup
Each of these foods are quick menu additions and things that, as a traveler, I can get anywhere.
Want to know a little more about how it works?
A way probiotics support skin health is by aiding our natural moisture levels through the production of hyaluronic acid. HA is a "natural substance our body produces and is a major contributor to the elasticity, tightness, and strength of our skin."
According to Dr. Roshini Raj of Mind Body Green "probiotics strengthen our skin so that it can act as a physical barrier to the negative effects of winter by keeping out pathogens, bad bacteria, pollution, and other toxins."
I definitely need all of that. Count me in.
And, because, hey, I am from New Orleans and even though Mardi Gras is over we still have the oncoming Spring days to celebrate (and c'mon! cocktails are a serious part of my culture) I've got a fun little probiotic cocktail recipe for you too!
Pomegranate Blueberry Probiotic Mimosas
- 1 bottle of champagne or prosecco
- 2 - 1 liter bottles of Indian River Select Brand Prohealthy Blend Orange Juice
- 1/4 cup wild blueberries
- 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
- Oranges, sliced
- Squeeze of lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
- Dash of Cayenne Pepper (optional)
Add the bubbles to a large pitcher first, and then top with the OJ and stir. From there, add the berries, pomegranate and orange slices. Mix in the ACV, squeeze a bit of lemon and garnish each drink with a dash of cayenne. If you're not an OJ lover you can sub in Indian River Select Brand Prohealthy Blend Grapefruit Juice.
The ACV increases nutrient absorption, reduces water retention and has antioxidant properties.
The Indian River juices (both are available in 1 liter bottles at Harris Teeter) are non GMO and have GanedenBC30® Probiotic. I'm also stocking the 59oz grapefruit and 1 liter OJ on my brunch bar for this recipe this coming weekend (good to have extra for those that want several rounds of mimosas)!
I hope these beauty tips have been helpful to you guys. I'm seriously committed to living my healthiest life, while having a bit of fun along the way! Btw - send your ideas my way. I love hearing from you.
Here's a few probiotic skin care products I'm testing out too.
Enjoy the coming Spring days you guys. I'll see you outside!
This post is in partnership with Indian River Select Brand. As always, creative direction and content is my own.
It's Saturday morning and I'm feeling.
Truly, I was thinking, how do I open this little post? I woke up early, the sun is shining, I blended up a green smoothie and sat down to think.
I used to write about feeling a lot. Well in some regard. Often it was more under the guise of creative writing, a strange poetic self expression, but truly, that's how I got all the stuff out of my head.
A few years ago I wrote a little piece about New Year's reflections. I noted my intention to:
Reflect deeply * Create resolve * Be resolute
"All of those things seem like great starts to me, however "reflecting" is really my term for a momentary breakdown. And for the most part I don't think a little breakdown is a bad thing. When those breakdowns show up for me the fastest way to move past them is to take that same part of my brain that's making me feel a little crazy and engage it in something beautiful."
Since then I've expanded on that strategy.
Backing up: I attended a series of workshops last year - the content was specific to creating your own future... how to live an extraordinary life... things of that sort of subject matter. It was a bit out there. However, it took. In that, I made a conscious decision to avoid placing blame... to stay out of word battles, to understand the stories we tell ourselves, and to take personal responsibility and move along.
Those workshops changed my brain. Why am I sharing this? In the state of the world right now we're all being slammed. There's no getting around it.
And, sometimes it feels literally so...
with messages and blasts that perhaps are intended to tumble into the abyss but instead land on us, it can be extraordinarily painful.
My Grandfather (in an email to me yesterday put it this way):
The phases we recently heard “America First” or “Lock Her Up” repeated do not reveal the personal concerns of the shouter. It also gives the utterer group (crowd/mob) protection. An open discussion within a closed group in most instances is a learning opportunity. You can ask why they feel that way. Often times that moves them from the three or four word political slogans to how they personally are concerned. They may disclose why they are afraid of impending change.
I'd written to him to ask his advice. It was sparked from the same situation that many of us are likely experiencing. It was this:
(and I'll preface - I am not someone that likes to get into controversial conversations on the internet... definitely not on Facebook, nor on Twitter or Instagram either. Those of you guys that have been in this space with me for a while likely know that about me.)
Lately, I've shared some things, with an intention of keeping the messages love filled... for example, I shared a piece on how to help the Native Americans out at Standing Rock, and I shared how to dial a senator if you're upset about a Presidential appointee...
And even in those cases - there's a few folks that come out of the woodwork to digital media "yell".
You know it: lots of "!!!" or maybe it's a "???" and all caps - they're demanding that you listen to them.
The thing that happened felt strange. I didn't realize I was asking for an internet argument. We're all seeing this happen over and over again right? Two of my closest people have decided to delete Facebook because of it.
I have a family member that distanced themselves from me years and years ago. It hurt tremendously then, however I became stronger for it. A few holiday seasons ago we reconnected for the first time in 5 + years and it's been a slow walk back to a relationship.
However, lately, she's engaging with me on the internet. And it's not what she's saying that hurts, it's what she's not saying. It's the fact that she's not interested in other parts of my life... my work, my friends, my dreams and goals ... I'm not even sure she knows what I do for a living or that I moved 6 months ago... she's never met my partner of 2 years... So whyyyyy in the world does she care to talk to me about this stuff? That's what feels bad.
I invited her to an "off line" conversation (as I often do)... She still wasn't interested in sharing our lives, just in making sure I understand her views. Alas.
Here's a quote from John Wooden: "surround yourself with smart people who'll argue with you." I've been thinking about this a bit differently: how about surrounding yourself with great reads from the minds of people that did just that type of arguing but in a respectful way. Or, have a dinner party with folks of a variety of mindsets with active conversation that is born from a commitment of care for those within the conversation.
I share all of that with you guys because it's on us to create those conversations and connections that boost our empathy and personal well-being.
I also share it as a reminder - let's be mindful in our communication. We're all feeling what's happening in the world, and for most of us it feels awful. However, yelling into the internet ether likely won't create compassion.
Btw - I included this post in the "Beauty" column of Oui We because, truly, if we aren't feeling our best, and aren't taking good care of each other, we can't be our most beautiful selves.
Ok, moving along. I've got book edits to attend to, and Ben and I are going for a jog (a new thing we're doing, cheer me on pleeaaasssseeee.)
Let me know what you think about all of this. How are you coping? Who's inspiring you to keep your sanity in check?
Much love you guys.
opening photo by Ben Alleman, shot in 35mm