Loving Lately 8.13.17

Hello lovelies and welcome to my second edition of Loving Lately, where I share all of the lovely things I love currently!  Was that enough love for one sentence?

The month since my last blog post has been a little… fast-moving. School is definitely picking back up, my volunteering club is getting busy, the newspaper I’m an editor for is working on their first issues. It’s a little bit overwhelming! I’m trying to stay mindful, and remind myself that it’s summer and it’s okay if I’m not doing something productive at every minute of the day.

This weekend will also be a little busy, as I am leaving on a road trip with my dad and brother on Monday... It's hard to believe! There is food to prepped, bags to be packed, and camera batteries to be charged.

Anyways, here’s what I’ve been loving this month!

Wild We Roam

How CUTE is this??

How CUTE is this??

This channel is EVERYTHING. These are the most creative, thoughtful, inspiring videos I have ever seen. The depictions of their big travels and those of their everyday lives are equally as grand. Each video is a little treasure.

Gosh, I feel like I’m gushing too much. But you just have to check them out! They used to be called Plant Based Traveler, and then they took a break from weekly YouTube videos five months ago to focus on other things like building their website, improving their skills, and getting started on their van life! However, they posted a new video about a week ago that was gorgeous. It was sort of a re-introduction: what they’ve been up to these past few months, what their channel is all about, some videos from their childhood, and a little bit about how they met. So sweet.

Also, if you want a little more heart-warming goodness, watch their wedding videos (part 1, part 2). I had always been the type of person who thought that a big (but not huge) wedding was the way to go. But their small, simple ceremony was so so beautiful, and it looked just as fun as (if not more fun than) those big elaborate weddings!

I’m so inspired by their art, their love, and their life.

Mantras

I printed out a couple of mantras/affirmations (whichever term floats your boat) recently. I love seeing them and really stopping to think about them. I’ve got “I am feeling immense gratitude” above my bed so that I feel gratitude at the start and end of the day. “I am open to receive all opportunities the universe sends me” above my desk to remind me to work hard and seek out what I want. The metta meditation one (“May all beings…”) is near my door so that I feel kindness towards everyone as I step out of my room and into the world. And the “namasté” definition is by my window for no reason other than that it looks pretty next to my lace curtain, haha! #honest

I couldn’t find printables that I liked so I went on Photoshop and made my own. Let me know if you want any of them and I’ll e-mail them to you!

Teeth Whitening

I’ve always been a little self-conscious about my teeth. I plan on getting braces but haven’t yet, so they’re not quite straight, have bumpy edges, and aren’t weren’t white.

For a long time I wanted to use those teeth whitening strips - it seemed like such an easy and quick fix! But then I discovered the health nut side of myself and that side of me said to me - “What are you THINKING?!”. So instead of those strips, I have been doing three healthy, natural things for my teeth.

The first thing I did was start oil pulling. Oil pulling is where you swish around anywhere from a teaspoon to a tablespoon of oil in your mouth for about 20 minutes. I use coconut oil and do it every other morning, before I eat or drink anything. It reduces the amount of plaque and bacteria in your mouth. Many people also find it helps with bad breath and whitens their teeth!

The second thing I did was purchase an eco-friendly, bamboo toothbrush. The bristles seem like they are longer than the ones I used to use, and my teeth feel so clean and smooth, I can’t stop running my tongue across them! I'm going to talk about this more in my next Slowly Green Habits post ;)

The last thing I did was the only one that I did solely for the purpose of whitening my teeth. I brushed with turmeric. I know, it sounds counter-intuitive. Put yellow stuff on your teeth to make them whiter? Wait until you hear what else whitens your teeth. Activated charcoal. So what you do is simply take some powdered turmeric, dab a wet toothbrush in it, brush your teeth with the turmeric, and then leave on for a few minutes before rinsing and brushing normally.

After all of these things, my teeth definitely feel whiter. And not just whiter, but healthier than ever, which is so exciting! When I was very little, I had very poor dental health. It’s incredible to think that I went from the kid who had tons of cavities and had to get teeth pulled… to the girl who flosses and brushes twice a day, oil pulls every other day, uses an eco-friendly toothbrush, and brushes turmeric on her teeth. Who am I?!

Judah & the Lion

Discovering this band was a little bit of a shock… Here is the story. I went to a Twenty One Pilots concert in January. It was the best concert I have ever been to. I was left thoroughly shaken and subsequent concerts left me longing to go back to that day. So yeah, you could say it was pretty good.

But that’s not the point. The point is that when we walked into the arena before the concert, Judah & the Lion were playing as the first opening act (before Jon Bellion). And, I don’t know what it was, but for some reason it seemed sooo boring. It could have been the fact that Jon Bellion’s performance was so energetic and packed with lights/effects, while Judah & the Lion were left to play to a still-lit arena with people chattering and slowly streaming in. It could have been that I was just so darn excited for Twenty One Pilots. It could have also been that we came in late and missed their better songs.

Whatever the reason - it doesn’t matter now! Because I’ve rediscovered them, and I am so in love with their music. You may have heard Take it All Back but I also recommend Going to Mars. And is it just me, or do they sound like Twenty One Pilots if they had a banjo instead of a ukulele?

Oatmeal

Lately I have been waking up every single morning craving oatmeal. Ooey, gooey, chocolate-y, almond butter-y, banana-y oatmeal. Today I actually forced myself to have a smoothie bowl. Not because oatmeal is unhealthy, but I need more variety! And moooore greens and veggies. It was actually delicious, so sometimes you just have to branch out!

Smoothies and oatmeal are basically my two go-tos. I do make pancakes, chia puddings, other grains, etc. but I will always crave smoothies and oatmeal. I guess the fact that I now crave green smoothie bowls and healthy grain bowls really speaks to the power of healthy eating ;)

Podcasts

I’m obsessed. You know when you just wanna learn, learn, learn but you feel like you don’t have the time? Like, I have all of these books about nutrition, business, lifestyle design, etc. and I want to just devour all of them. I used to read exclusively fiction, and thought non-fiction was a bore. I can tell you that I am a total convert. Non-fiction all the way.

Podcasts are a wonderful way to fit in learning and maximize your time by sprinkling *knowledge* into mindless tasks. Think: sorting laundry, washing dishes, chopping vegetables, vacuuming, mowing the lawn, dusting the furniture, going on a walk, going on a run, driving (be careful!).

I just wrote a post about the 3 that I listen to - they’re amazing and I highly recommend them for anyone who is interested in living a healthy, mindful, simple lifestyle!

What have you been loving lately?

Happy Sunday! Hope you all have a wonderful week!

 

My 9-Step Morning Routine for a Great Day

1. Wake up using Sleep Cycle app // The very first thing anyone has to do in the morning is wake up! For a long time, I have usually slept in 1.5 hour increments. Why? Because your body goes through sleep cycles when you sleep. Each cycle lasts approximately 90 minutes and they keep repeating throughout the night. In the middle of the cycle you are in deeep sleep. Good luck waking up. I must have been in this stage of sleep that one time our carbon monoxide alarm went off loudly because it was broken and my entire family woke up and spent a long time trying to fix it while I slept soundly through the whole ordeal… hehe.

However, in between cycles is your lightest stage of sleep, and this is when it should be easiest for you to wake up. That’s why, if you try to shoot for the 8 hours of sleep recommended by many people, you might find it difficult to wake up. Seriously, though, what is it with all the 8’s? 8 hours of sleep, 8 8-ounce glasses of water per day…

I have been using the Sleep Cycle app, which uses your phone’s microphone to record the amount of sound you make during the night and attempt to wake you up during your lightest sleep. There is a premium version but I tried it and I think it’s totally not necessary, but the app is definitely something you might want to experiment with if you have trouble with the very first part of your morning routine!

I may or may not have spilled a bunch of chlorophyll while trying to take this photo and tried to wipe it up, leaving behind a big, green stain. I may or may not have freaked tf out as a result. Helpful hint (in case you ever need it, I sure have never needed it): try wiping with a soapy paper towel...

I may or may not have spilled a bunch of chlorophyll while trying to take this photo and tried to wipe it up, leaving behind a big, green stain. I may or may not have freaked tf out as a result. Helpful hint (in case you ever need it, I sure have never needed it): try wiping with a soapy paper towel...

2. Make hot lemon water // I like to save time, so instead of standing alone, quietly, in my kitchen, watching a pot of water boil and having a grand old time, I get it going as soon as I wake up so that I can get other things done while it heats up. I also prepare by grabbing a mug and putting a slice of lemon in there.

Once the water is hot (I don’t wait until it’s boiling), I pour it over the lemon slice. I usually drink this while I’m at my desk with my planner, and by then it’s a nice, warm temperature. According to mindbodygreen, warm lemon water boosts your immune system, gets your digestion going, helps flush out toxins (by making you pee), and helps clear your skin. Sounds like a perfect way to start your morning!

The website recommends using one cup of warm water with juice from half a lemon and I’m glad I was sitting down because reading that would have knocked me off my feet. Personally, I use a big mug with just one slice of lemon in it. I squeeze it to juice it and then leave the rest in there to float and marinte. And that amount of acidity is already a lot to handle for me! So… If you can manage a half lemon in there, by all means, do your thang! But I say, if it’s so sour you can barely get it down, it won’t stay part of your morning routine for long!

3. Bathroom + contacts // I use the bathroom, splash my face with some cold water to wake myself up, admire my skin from washing my face with coconut oil the night before ;), and then put in my contacts. I’ve been wearing glasses for… almost two years now and contacts for just about a month. I love them!!

4. Make bed // I have a super simple bed, so there’s not much to do. I smooth out the sheet, shake out the blanket so it lays flat, and center my pillow. It really helps get you out of that sleep state though because it’s like a physical declaration that you are not going back to bed.

5. Stretch // I grab my phone and some headphones and turn on some music. I love Spotify’s Morning Commute playlist (even though I don’t commute, I’m a rebel and I do things like that). HIIT-Pop is also a good one, although maybe a little too high-energy for simply waking up. I stretch however feels good. Usually that includes a lot of reaching for the sky, forward folds, and downward dogs. And maybe, maybe a little bit of dancing in the beginning ;) I said the playlist was good!!

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6. Plan day and flip through planner // I sit down and I get out my trusty planner. I first flip through my pages, making sure to add anything I’d forgotten to add. Did I finish a book? Watch a movie? Listen to a podcast? Find out about a concert? (Yes, I keep track of all of these, because I’m a freak). I flip to my habit tracker and make sure that’s updated. Then I flip to my weekly layout and just look over my tasks. I think about what needs to get done and add some things, try to plan out what will get done first, etc.

7. Read news // Once that’s all done I grab my phone again for the “This AM” app by Refinery29. They give you 8 news stories every morning, presented in a gorgeously simple layout. They range from the major, political news, to the silly, just-for-fun stories. You can read the one-sentence summaries, or if you’re really interested, you can tap to open the full article and learn more.

8. Eat breakfast // Arguably the best part. Sometimes I have something prepped and ready to eat, sometimes I make it from scratch. My breakfasts are pretty varied: sometimes I have smoothies, sometimes pancakes, sometimes oatmeal, etc. And, of course, if the breakfast looks good, I gotta take a picture for the ‘gram ;) While eating I either just sit in silence (wow, that sounds depressing) or read a book. I also have started enjoying a matcha latte with my breakfast.

9. Brush teeth // Yay, dental hygiene. I floss and then brush with my brother’s Tom’s mint toothpaste (shh, don’t tell him). He doesn’t like the strong mint flavor of other toothpastes and I just feel like it’s a better choice than the stronger, harsher toothpastes. However, switching to a better, more natural toothpaste or making my own is on my list of Slowly Green habits!

Keeping it short

Personally, I’m the type of person that needs a morning routine, but also needs to get through it quickly in order to feel productive, ya know? Getting off to a slow start makes me feel a little bit sluggish the rest of the day.

Experimenting

But it’s NOT the same for everyone! I know plenty of people who have long morning routines full of relaxing rituals and they love it!

The key is to experiment. For example, reading used to be part of my morning routine. I got rid of that - I’d rather do it in the middle of the day. I have also started oil pulling every other day, which requires me to shift my routine around to make space for those 20 minutes (because I do NOT want to stretch while I’m swishing oil in my mouth).

On this very day that I am writing the blog post, I am experimenting. I just got up, made some lemon water, and went straight to writing. I have a theory (a hypothesis, you might call it), that getting some work done right away will make me feel super productive, and actually produce some quality work because my mind is (mostly) clear and the house is quiet. I will see how it goes! And if it works, you betcha my morning routine will look different.

Always be changing, always be flexible, always be open to experimentation. Rigid routines don’t serve you. Following someone else’s rigid routine serves you even less. You are a completely unique person that needs their own unique routine. I shared mine with you only to inspire you and give you some ideas.

So, what’s one thing YOU can’t go without doing in the morning?

Loving Lately 7.23.17

In my effort to become a serious, official blogger, I thought to myself, "Hm, what do fancy bloggers do?". The answer came to me suddenly. "Fancy bloggers do series". So without further ado, please enjoy my latest series, "Loving Lately"! :)

Lemon water // This has been a wonderful little simple ritual to get my day started on a quiet and healthy note. I posted on Instagram a while ago with a caption that explained this a little more, so if you're interested in the health benefits you can click on the picture :)

Driving // ;) I got my license exactly two weeks ago and started driving really only a few days ago, and I am over the moon. Anyone who has been a teenager will understand the incredible feeling of independence. Honestly the littlest things are the most exciting. Like being able to take my time stretching after a workout at the gym. Or not having to worry about whether or not my Spanish lesson is actually over so that I can let my parents know. Or being able to control the radio volume (which sometimes means turning it completely off).

Even though the car I’m driving is more than 10 years old, and not in great shape, I had spent hours deep-cleaning the interior of the car before I could even drive it. Trust me, what I found in there was the kind of disgusting fossilized foodstuffs, piles of crumbs, and layers of dust that you never want to encounter in your life. I worked with the precision of an obsessive car collector, toting around my vacuum cleaner and toothbrush back and forth, back and forth; sprinkling baking soda and spraying vinegar to make magic fizzing action bring forth the dirt particles; furiously scrubbing the stains off of every surface. Not to toot my own horn (wink wink) but that car has to be worth more now than it was the day we bought it.

Reading // If you follow me on my Instagram you may have seen this picture that I posted yesterday and the hella long caption that went with it… oops. Again, you can click on the pictureto check it out ;) I'm currently working on The Body Book by Charlize Theron and it's okay so far. But can we talk about the cover of Big Magic? They say don't judge a book by its cover... but if it has a gorgeous, color powder cover and has a title like "Big Magic", feel free.

This quote from Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser // “The medical literature on the causes of food poisoning is full of euphemisms and dry scientific terms: coliform levels, aerobic plate counts, sorbitol, MacConkey agar, and so on. Behind them lies a simple explanation for why eating a hamburger can now make you seriously ill: There is shit in the meat.”

Zen Habits meditations // This guy’s website is the bomb… but like a really calm, zen bomb. A while ago I signed up for his 44 training program, which is 11 different meditation practices that you do for 4 days each. I’ve been missing a lot of days, but it’s okay, because I keep going. I bring my laptop down to the floor of my room, sit down cross-legged, take a deep breath, and clear my mind for about 10 minutes or so. If you’re feeling stressed or anxious (tight chest, racing mind, shallow breaths), it’s the perfect time to bust out a meditation. And the more you practice, the better you’ll get at noticing that you’re stressed, and thus tending to those feelings.

Turbo Kick // I’ve been going to this a lot more now that school is out and now that I can drive ;) Turbo Kick is my personal FAVORITE class at my gym. If you've never heard of it, it’s sort of a combo kickboxing-dance class. There are tons of different "rounds" and each class will be one round. You do a warm-up, and then some routines. There's a "turbo" round in the middle, which is an intense 2-minute routine that you repeat 3 times. You do recovery, and then a finale. At my gym we finish off with a legs routine and an abs routine, then stretching. It’s honestly such a perfect workout. It’s challenging (or as challenging as you want it to be because it can be modified so easily), it’s always different, and there are alway so many people there, so it’s always a party!

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Chinae Alexander’s first YouTube video // I loooove this girl. I always get more excited than I should when I see that she has posted new stories on Instagram, and it took me way too long to watch her first YouTube video. Alas, I’ve only watched the first 5 minutes of it because I was crunched for time, but it was sooo refreshing. I know this is probably what people write about all YouTubers they admire, but she is like no. Other. YouTuber. Okay? You have to trust me on this. Just in the first minute, this gem: “Why not do the haul of all the stuff I bought at Sephora today? I went in for one eyeshadow and I left… Basically, um… I’m contemplating if I can still afford this home.” *cue the perfect dead serious facial expression* “So, might as well make a YouTube video out of it, right?"

Coconut oil face wash // In an effort to continue with my Slowly Green habits, I switched out my old face wash for an alternative that is 100x times simpler, much healthier, and much more natural. I consulted a few different websites but found the Coconuts and Kettlebells blog article to be the most comprehensive. After doing a little bit of research, I now wash my face with coconut oil! I know it might seem counterintuitive since a lot of people think oil=acne, and that’s only somewhat true. You see, your face really loves you and tries really really hard to please you, so when you dry out your face in an attempt to get rid of the oil, your face responds by making its own oil. So much oil. Too much oil. And that causes problems. That’s why you need to keep your face properly moisturized! My current nighttime routine consists of washing my face with coconut oil, using an apple cider vinegar toner, and then when I moisturize my body with my DIY moisturizer, I use the tiny bit left on my hands to moisturize on my face :)

Riverdale // I finished this TV show a long time ago, but it seems the universe won’t let me forget about it until season 2 comes out in October. There are just too many live Q+A’s on Facebook, cute videos on Instagram, and memes on Pinterest for me to ignore… For those of you who haven’t even seen the first season (who are you?) you can start watching because it’s on Netflix ;)

Well, that's all for today! I plan on doing these every month. If you have any ideas for things to read/see/watch/eat/try/etc. please feel free to e-mail me or dm me on Instagram! 

What have YOU been obsessed with this month?