Why you won't see me at a doctor's office...

Years ago I began a journey of self-healing. Most of y’all know my story about being diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (who doesn’t have anxiety…??) and wanting to get off my meds. I did that. 

And I've spent the last  10 years of discovering, researching, connecting to, and reclaiming MY BODY.

I do not ever want a doctor to know more about my body than I do.

I do not ever want to have to ask someone else why I feel the way I feel.

I do not ever want to have to put chemicals in my body to reduce symptoms of a bigger issue.

and I won’t.

To me, it’s not a big deal that I haven’t been to a doctor in many years. It’s not a big deal that I shell out over $100 for my annual exam so that I can see the midwife of my choice.  It’s not a big deal that I know every detail about my monthly cycle including the day that I can feel myself ovulating.

It’s not a big deal because it’s taken me YEARS to get here.  It didn’t happen overnight. It’s not some magical secret that all of a sudden I can read the signs of my body and take care of myself accordingly.

I get asked questions every single day that I easily answer off the top of my head-

“What herbs are best for me if I have really painful periods?” 

“What can I do to balance my hormones so that I stop having month-long periods?” 

“How can I figure out what MY body needs to eat, without being influenced by marketing and fad diets?”

These answers are all inside of me- not just in my brain but in my body because I LIVE this.  But I didn’t go to school to learn it. My college degree didn’t teach me about the four phases of my menstrual cycle and how my energy levels change and what self-care practices are best for each phase.  My high-paying communications job didn’t teach me how to mix different herbs for preventative care.

I learned this stuff on my own.  And you can too.

The biggest question that I get after I host a workshop on women’s wellness is, “How did you have time to learn all of this?”

I MADE the time. My priorities were a lot different from other 20-something’s around me.  My money didn’t go to shopping or movies or bars- it went to books and workshops and classes and high quality food and herbs.

My time wasn’t spent on Netflix series or vacations.

I didn’t feel like I had a choice. My body was warning me, through my anxiety, to learn how to take care of myself.  And so I did.

Many of our bodies don’t give us a warning until it’s often too late.  Frequently, it’s not until someone gets cancer or has a heart attack that they drastically shift their life to one of mindfulness and healing.

That’s because of the type of society we live. 

The things that we are taught to value are external, fast, productive, and most of all- distracting.

Every where we turn, we are met with something to keep us from looking within.  Because we want to deny that pain exists; we want to turn a blind eye to depression and illness- it’s easier that way.

Until we get sick.  Then we rush to the doctor or the health food store and we cram as many vitamins and supplements as we can into our bodies and crash until we get better.   

And then we forget about healing until it happens again.  And we suppress the pain or the sickness with medicine, we make the symptoms go away and it does, until it happens again and… you see where I’m going with this.

I like to think of self-healing as like taking a shower. If you went months or years without showering, you’re going to get pretty stinky and not feel so good.  So without even thinking about it, you take part in an almost daily ritual of cleansing your skin.  That’s great because our skin is the biggest organ on our body. But when we do we clean the rest of it?

I’m a HUGE non-believer in cleanses and juice fasts and diets.    There’s nothing you need to “flush” out of your system if you don’t cram it full of toxins regularly.

And health food stores? They have some of the most unhealthy food products ever- but it’s marketing. I say save your money, eat basic foods that your great grandparents would have eaten and most of all…

use common sense.

That alone will get you a lot farther than ignoring your body, hoping the doctor knows best, and continuing to push through everything.

Like the seasons, our bodies and our energy and our health waxes and wanes.  There are times when we need to rest, times to  be more active and foods to eat, according to those seasons.

Have you ever craved an ice cold smoothie when it’s snowing outside? Or a hot bowl of cozy soup when it’s 100 degrees out in the summer? Probably not; your biology won't let you.

We are animals- plan and simple.  Our human bodies have not evolved in 10,000 years…  so it’s up to us to keep returning back to the primal and simple actions that our ancestors relied on:

rest, good calories, active movement, community, and ritual

So, will a doctor ever know more about my body than me?

No. Because even if right now, I stopped learning anything new, I have a wealth of information about how to care for myself. 

If these last 10 years have taught me anything, it’s that we need to nurture our instincts because often, we know best.

If you want to explore your own natural cycles and how to live in rhythm with them for better sleep and less anxiety, click here to see my ebook Natural Cycles. 

How I learned to put the pieces back together

It was only a few years ago that I was driving home from work, sitting in traffic. I was probably pumping my head full of info from NPR but I remember not really wanting to *be* at home. I walked in the door and my roommate/partner/rocky relationship person had his back turned to me, didn't say hello, and I felt invisible. I went straight to the shower and broke down in tears as soon as the water turned on.  

I was fucking miserable. Like... didn't want to live in my body any more - miserable. I was stifling my moans as tears mixed with shower water and felt like I couldn't breathe. In that moment I realized that I COULD NOT continue to just go through life, letting things happen to me. I wanted to be able to feel my emotions and not be guilty about it. I wanted to connect to who I was and be empowered in my femininity. I was so tired of living in a masculine society (usa) and feeling like a robot, operating and producing. I mean, I practiced yoga, I ate healthy, I had a semi-meaningful job, and *what I thought* was a connection to a higher power. But I did ALL of that on a totally intellectual level. My brain woke me up in the morning, it made decisions for me, it dictated my entire life. My heart wasn't in it- my intuition was starving, and my femininity was non-existent.


So through a process of introspection, self-care, and ritual, I decided to learn how to live in the flow, to listen to my heart, and to be my own woman. 

My life radically shifted- I left my partner and got my own apartment and learned how to be alone and love it. I quit my job to figure out what I wanted to do. I began to heal my relationship with my mother by individuating myself from her. I became ME- my clothes changed, my friendships changed, and I even began to learn how to eat according to how I FELT in my body.

Now, when I look back and how much of my life was spent feeling miserable and wanting to run away from it, I'm not sad. I realized that I needed those 20+ years of darkness, to be able to see the light. When I learned about my body, my cycles, and how to live in the feminine while existing in a masculine society- I BECAME a woman. Like a flower opening, my world opened up. It no longer felt small or claustrophobic. I literally felt like I could do anything and my biggest hopes and dreams started to look totally possible. When we are connected to ourselves, we learn how to make decisions from our heart. Life becomes a thing of love, not fear. When we know ourselves, on every level, we feel comfortable setting boundaries, saying NO, and feeling into the hell yes moments, too!

My own experience of navigating through popular self-care processes like yoga, meditation, ayurveda, and basic self-care taught me that self-care looks SO different for everyone. I didn't fully learn how to take care of my self until I connected to myself. Just like a child who needs something, instead of just putting down different items of support, we connect to the child, we speak to them, ask them questions, and we let them tell us what they need. In a world filled to the brim with teachers and healing modalities, and wellness retreats and self-help books, the overwhelm and anxiety can come simply from not knowing what we need.  


This is what I've learned- when we have permission to be ourselves, our higher self tells us what we need.

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I'm so honored that you all are stepping up and saying HELL YES to what you need. This is what I do- and for three more days, you'll have the opportunity to work with me in a self-paced, online experience for women called Balanced Babes. Because this is what I do - I help you connect to yourself so you can cut out the bullshit, honor what you need, and release what no longer serves you. I remember crying in the shower that day and realizing that never again would I feel so disconnected and this is why I do this work. And I would love to do this with you!

Simply click here to learn more.

5 simple ways to become your own healer

I always forget that no one can help me but myself.

I put all my eggs in one basket: “as soon as ___blank__ happens, I'll be fine.”  I do this with everything; small things and the big stuff.

“As soon as I quit my job I’ll feel better.”

“As soon as I stick to my yoga routine, I'll get back into shape.”

“As soon as I learn how to set boundaries, I'll have my freedom back.”

As soon as…..

But that never happens because as soon as I DO something, another thing pops up!

It’s not about jumping from one goal to the next.

It’s not about being “good enough” or “better than I was before”…

No- this IS life.

Life doesn’t magically stop happening when we reach a milestone. It continues- like water cutting through rocks; it’s a powerful force that can drown us or send us flowing; weightless and carried by it’s strength.

So what will you choose? To drown, or to be carried by the current?

I’m not sure about you but my mind is constantly a sea of thoughts. A barrage of “I should be doing this.”

“Why did I say that?”

“I have to be better at..”

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And sometimes (most of the time) I just want a break.  But the break, the reprieve, cannot come from anyone but me.  It’s ironic and kind of disheartening to know that it doesn’t matter how many times I see my therapist, or meditate, or eat healthy- I am the only one who knows what’s best for me, at every given moment.

We are not responsible for anyone but ourselves.  And that is both good and bad news.

It’s good to know that WE control how we feel because it allows us to really play the game of manifesting, of self-compassion, of designing our lives.

But it’s bad too because it’s HARD! Many of us don’t have a support system or a structure in our lives where we feel okay to accept ourselves.

So how can we learn to help ourselves? For me, it comes in steps- a sequence- like a dance.


5 ways to become your own healer
 

1: Accept How you Feel

This step is HUGE.  Anxiety is created from disconnection to self.  When we don’t feel good, it’s often because we are resisting; whether it be pain or illness or emotional anguish or worry. We are resisting WHAT IS.  So the first step in helping ourselves is simple, accept how we feel.  I do this by stating it out loud or writing it down. Using very basic words and terms, “I feel sad.” “My feelings are hurt.”
 

2. FEEL how you feel

Once you accept how you feel, it’s time to actually FEEL it.  Like a child, sometimes we need to FEEL for just a few minutes, to get it out of our system.  If you put words to how you’re feeling, let yourself express them. If you’re sad, cry it out. If you’re overwhelmed, breathe loudly. If you’re happy, laugh. This is all about letting ourselves know that FEELING is okay- it’s not negative and it’s natural.  So, feel how you feel.
 

3. Practice compassion

When we feel our emotions, especially if we’re not used to that practice, a little guilt comes in.  “I have no reason to be upset” or “other people have it way worse than I do.”  So practice compassion for yourself. For your feelings, no matter how messy or silly they are.  Take a moment with a hand on your heart and a hand on your belly to just love yourself, no matter how you feel.
 

4. Process

Processing what comes up is where the work comes in.  When we don’t recognize what we’re feeling, it gets buried and blocked. Blocked energy is manifested as illness and even pain in the body.  So, help yourself by processing.  This looks different for everyone. For me, it helps to write in a journal.  Just noting what came up for me, and what I’m dealing with.  Processing could look like sweating it out in a yoga class or taking a walk or even calling a friend. It’s up to you but definitely let it out!
 

5. Take Action

This is the fun part! It’s time to take action to help yourself! You first accepted how you felt; maybe you felt guilty about something.  You let yourself feel the guilt and then you practiced self-compassion.  From there, you processed it; maybe called a friend and chatted about the guilt you had.  Now it’s time to take action- This is where we break the cycle.  Taking action could mean changing a situation (if you felt guilt about canceling plans, make new plans that YOU feel comfortable with).  Taking action could mean writing a note to your future self. Taking action could mean sharing that feeling with a loved one for the first time.  Whatever you do, let that feeling keep moving through you!

So, as we enter into a New Year, it’s up to us to stay connected with ourselves because we are our own teachers. We are our own healers and our own friends.

When we can love ourselves and care for ourselves, as much as we do for others, we are truly thriving- not just surviving.

How (& why) I've designed my life around my period

I used to dread getting my period. It was painful and I felt like it was unfair that men didn't have to experience this each month.  I hated going to work during that time and social obligations annoyed the shit out of me. But I didn't know there was any other option except to "keep on truckin'.."  

If you're anything like most women in modern society, you weren't exactly initiated into woman-hood. There was no ritual or party or ceremony done when you started your period. You were probably handed a pad or tampon along with a "welcome to the real world" sigh.  

I literally thought I had pooped my pants when I got my first period- I didn't know what the blood was supposed to look like, or that there was a reason my stomach had hurt all day.  It caught me totally off guard. I honestly didn't understand the point of bleeding, like on a physical and biological level.

It wasn't until 12 years later, at age 24, that I started to understand my body more than anyone else possibly could. It started with me tracking my period. I had used apps in the past but I'm not a techy person so I read books and tracked in a calendar. After I learned about the physical changes that take place in my body, I felt totally comfortable with my period. 

And a lot of my period pain went away!

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From observing my monthly physical changes (breast tenderness, appetite changes, bloating, and dips in energy) I began to see that there were also emotional and mental changes that occurred. 

I began to notice patterns in my own psyche, the way I viewed myself, and in my interactions with others. 

I learned that it was NO coincidence that my relationships were way harder towards the end of my cycle, right before starting my period. It was also harder for me to get any work done. My body really needed a lot of rest.  So over time, I learned how to schedule things around my cycle.  Saving most of my social and work obligations to the beginning of my cycle, and scheduling my massage or therapy appointments for the end of my cycle, when I needed the most support and self-care.  

My life completely took a different turn when I began honoring my cycle. It became a way for me to set boundaries (sorry, I can't do dinner that night- I'll be starting my period & will want to rest) and a way for me to honor how I felt (telling my partner to be sensitive with me during my pre-menstrual phase).  

My productivity levels would shoot through the roof because I learned how to work at APPROPRIATE times for myself.  And my rest would really, really nurture me because I would make time for it and plan ahead to my PMS phase.  

My nutrition and eating habits drastically improved when I began to learn how to eat according to my hormones and my cycle phase.  

So, why am I telling you this?

To put it quite simply: life is hard. We all experience the same highs and lows, no matter how much money we have, how much we love our career, or how amazing our partner is.  

"Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.
"

Life isn't just our experiences, but how we react to them.  There will never be a day where we don't get triggered by someone. A day will never pass where we don't feel a glimmer of sadness at the irony of simply existing. 

But there is a way that we can return to the home inside of ourselves.

By honoring who we are and accepting our ups and downs.  By realizing that our inner Moon cycle does indeed dictate many of our emotions. With this realization that, on a primal level, we are creatures of the Earth and daughters of the Moon, we can truly accept every part of who we are. 

My online course, a container for you to do this learning about yourself, is now open for enrollment! Balanced Babes is a 4 part online course where you'll learn about the 4 different phases of your monthly cycle! Click below to learn more and enroll today.

5 Books that changed my life

I don't talk about it a lot but I love to read.  So much so that when I was 8 years old, I read so much that my eyes weakened and I've worn glasses ever since. ( Actually, I have no idea why I became near-sighted...)

So, books have always been a HUGE part of my life. 

I almost went to school for a degree in Library Science! Of the hundreds of books that I've read, there are a handful that literally changed my life.

You know when pick up a book and don't want to put it down? And then you end up re-reading it every year or so? Well, I wanted to share my special book list with you! 

These are listed in the order that I read them :)

1. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

I read this one when I was a freshman in college (or maybe my senior year of high school?). It was the first "spiritual" kind of book that really spoke to me.  I loved how he spoke about mindfulness and sitting with ourselves.  This is one that I've read again and it's amazing how it's always relevant to my life.  I recommend reading this one when you're going through rough time.  

"Much more than simple principles and platitudes, the book takes readers on an inspiring spiritual journey to find their true and deepest self and reach the ultimate in personal growth and spirituality: the discovery of truth and light."

 

2. The 4 Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

This book came to me at the perfect time. The first time I read it I was in my early twenties and had just finished my yoga teacher training. I LOVE how simple it is! It's a super easy read but the lessons in the book just seem to stick to the mind and body and heart.  This is a simple book for simple living and is great for anyone wanting to communicate more honestly with other.  I recommend reading this book when you're in transition and growth.

"Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love."
 


3. Eastern Body, Western Mind by Anodea Judith

My personal life, my yoga teaching, and my work with women is heavily influenced by this book. It's a book for everyone but is especially good for wellness practitioners.  Anodea Judith weaves together psychology,  somatic therapy, metaphysics and so much more. This book is truly a gem for anyone wanting to learn about the chakras and your own experience. Highly recommend for wellness coaches or yoga instructors! 

"Arranged schematically, the book uses the inherent structure of the chakra system as a map upon which to chart our Western understanding of individual development. Each chapter focuses on a single chakra, starting with a description of its characteristics, then exploring its particular childhood developmental patterns, traumas and abuses, and how to heal and maintain balance. "

4. Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life by Claudia Welch

This book is what really fueled my passion for women's health and wellness. Reading this book really helped me learn how to balance my hormones, mainly through the foods I was eating. This is great for anyone wanting an introduction to ayurveda, your endocrine system, and how to enhance your health.  I recommend this for older women as well; she really speaks a lot to aging and how to gracefully do it.  

"In clear, accessible language, internationally renowned doctor Claudia Welch explains hormones from A to Z, specifically how they relate to each other, how and why they become imbalanced, and how women can restore that balance."

5. Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Ohhhh... this book.  Wow; I could probably write an entire blog series about this book.  If you're a woman, you should read this.  CP Estes uses folklore to explore women's lives.  I can relate to pretty much every single thing that she mentions in this book. It's a really big book but super easy to read because she breaks it down into the tale, then the explanation.  It's GREAT for a bookclub or to read with a friend. I cannot recommend this enough! 

"Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés unfolds rich intercultural myths, fairy tales, folk tales, and stories, many from her own traditions, in order to help women reconnect with the fierce, healthy, visionary attributes of this instinctual nature. Through the stories and commentaries in this remarkable book, we retrieve, examine, love, and understand the Wild Woman, and hold her against our deep psyches as one who is both magic and medicine."

What are your favorite books? Comment below! 

For more books regarding women's health, join the Balanced Babes online training! I share knowledge from some of the top leaders in women's wellness.

Fire Cider: My Fav Immune Boosting Tonic!

I love winter.  

Okay, well I love parts of it. I love the snow (which we don't get in Austin and I miss it!) and I love the silence of ice storms and the crunch of cold leaves.  I love pink noses and warm drinks.  

But my body doesn't love winter.

Each year, since 2013 I have gotten a flu or cold or bronchitis. It's really becoming quite annoying.  It typically happens either when fall comes or when winter hits head on.  If you know anything about me though, you know that I have a thing against taking traditional medicine. I haven't been to a physician in 3 years and the only medicine I've taken since then is the occasional ibuprofen.

I also love to make my own herbal teas, tinctures, and tonics.  So when I discovered Fire Cider a couple of years ago- I knew I wanted to make my own! 

Fire Cider is basically your grandmothers KA-POW, knock down the cold, immune booster. It's a tonic made from basic kitchen staples; garlic, onion, ginger, horseradish, peppers, and the mother..... apple cider vinegar. 

It boosts your immune system and gives viruses a kick in the butt.

Now that I've made several batches over the years, I wanted to share with you what works for me! I will say though that not pictured** are chili pequins; these tiny spicy buggers are native to Austin and my sister, Marlena, first introduced them to me when she started adding them to her fire cider. You always want a spicy element in your cider and I love using as many local foods as possible! We pick ours straight off of the land that she lives on.

Another note** don't let the word "cider" confuse you. This shit is spicy and not sweet at all and tastes like a really strong spoonful of soup.  

Okay, on the to process....

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I start with the freshest and most organic/ local ingredients as possible. The more of these you can get from your farmer's market- the better! 

Ingredients

ginger
garlic
onion
chili peppers, jalapeño, or chili pequins!
horseradish root
turmeric root (this is my own secret ingredient!)
apple cider vinegar
raw honey (for later)
fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano


How to make it

I typically make one batch per season, enough that can fit into a pint-sized wide-mouthed Mason jar.  

1. To start, I peel the garlic, onion, turmeric horseradish and ginger. I use 1 whole head of garlic (that's anywhere from 10-15 cloves) and a fistful of ginger (makes 1/2 cup grated) and the same amount of horseradish root.  For the turmeric, I usually just do a piece about the size of my thumb.

2. I throw all of that in the jar along with the peppers that I chose. Then, add enough vinegar to cover that and almost reach the top.  

3. Before you screw the lid on, put a piece of parchment or wax paper underneath; otherwise the vinegar will corrode the lid! 

4. Screw that baby tight and let it sit in a cool dark place for a month! Shake it up at least every day!

Then wait...

5. When it's ready, strain out the liquid and mix with at least 1/4 cup of raw honey or more if you need it so it goes down smoothly. Write the date on the top, put it in the fridge, and treat yourself to a spoonful every day on an empty stomach.

Let me know if you try it and how it turns out!

Here's my latest batch... ready to strain...

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Have you ever tried Fire Cider? Comment below! 

 

Ethical Fashion... why I buy used clothing

Money is an exchange of energy.

It is the most grounding currency we use and it’s the major player in the game of our existence. It feeds us and …clothes us.  So, if we’ve gotta spend it; why not do it in a spiritual or ethical way?

I love clothes and I love fashion and making it my own- as an art form.  But I refuse to play the game of fast fashion where clothes cost next to nothing because someone risked their life to make it for me.  No thank you- that does NOT feel good to me.  

So, I buy everything used/second-hand OR from ethical companies that I feel good supporting! There are few reasons I do this, and have been doing it for the past 15 years (basically since I was in junior high).

Reason #1: I love the Mother.

Earth- she keeps me grounded and provides for me.  So I serve her when I can. Even when I’m buying things for myself.  If I can keep an item from going in the trash, and it looks good on me- why not? “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”…
 

Reason #2:  I REFUSE to support greedy people and greedy corporations

For a company to be able to sell clothing at extremely low prices ($10 shirts, $30 jeans, etc), it has to rely on extremely inexpensive labor.  Labor = people.  It’s a hard pill to swallow but when your clothing tag says “made in Cambodia” or China or Vietnam, or Thailand or any other developing country, you can pretty much guarantee it was made by a person working in very poor conditions.  So what makes you buy it?  Because it’s cheap.  Because we want to fill a void by filling our closets.  At the cost of someone else’s life.  No thank you. Gap, Adidas, Forever 21, H&M…etc.- it’s not worth it to me. Why would I want my energy (my money) to support a company who’s CEO makes $8 MILLION dollars a year so that someone can slave over an $8 t-shirt?

Reason #3: I save tons of money

I probably don't even need to explain this one because who doesn't love to save money?! Amanda Steinberg writes that it's more important to have a nest than to have wings. This means, saving our money for things that last or that will bring us stability, rather than on trendy purchases. As a new entrepreneur, I don't have a disposable income. Every penny that I earn goes to important purchases like food, rent, and bills. I also put money away each month into my different retirement and investment accounts and very little of my money goes to pay for clothing.  BUT... like I said, I love fashion so, used clothing is a way for me to have fun and buy things I want, without breaking the bank.  I actually end up making money by buying used but more on that later....

I could go into a thousand more reasons why I buy second hand but instead, I”ll share with you my tips and tricks in case you’re interested in making the switch!


My tips & tricks for buying used clothing...


Before you go ...

Before you go on your next shopping trip, take a moment to survey your current pieces.  More than likely, you’ve got a full closet and a full dresser of clothing; some that you haven’t worn in years.  Go through and collect the items that you haven’t worn in over a year.  Put it in a bag to donate.  (If you’d like to go on a deeper dive of cleaning out your clothes, contact me here to schedule a Skype session where Ill lead you through the Kon Mari method of clearing!)

I’ve learned that in shopping at thrift stores, it’s best to have a list of places beforehand so you’re not driving all over town.  When you think about ethical purchases, shopping local is best. That money stays your town’s economy and you’ll see direct benefits. So scan the interwebs for thrift stores in your town that aren’t “big box”.  IF you’ve only got large ones like Goodwill or Salvation Army, then by all means, add those to your list.

Thrift store shopping is best done with a friend, so bring one along and also, wear comfy clothes are easy to slip on and off, for trying things on!
 

When you get there...

If you’ve never gone thrifting, it’s overwhelming at first.  You walk in and it’s not a shiny, perfume-y department store where clerks ask you if you need help. But this is the charm! Just like with food; when you cook it yourself, it tastes so much better. You’ll be really proud of any awesome pieces you find!

So, when you walk in, divide and conquer.  You’ll have to dig; since each piece is one of a kind (not 10 of the same thing *that's fast fashion* ) you have to go through each and every rack to see what’s in the store. If something is a maybe, try it on- you never know what you’ll find!

Thrifting is different because you may go to a few places only get one thing- or nothing! But have patience.  (Tip* wash your items before wearing them).


But there's one thing I love more than thrift stores....

Thrift stores are fun but YARD SALES are my jam! This is my favorite solo weekend activity.

Here's how I do it:
#1- I wake up early on Saturday and/or Sunday, and visit my city’s local Craigslist site for garage sales.
#2- I look on the “map view” for the ones nearest me and if I make sure each ad lists “clothing”- otherwise I don’t go. 
#3- I write down the sales in order of closest and farthest away. I number them so I'll know when to put each in my GPS.  Then, I make myself a cozy drink, grab breakfast and set off!

I LOVE yard-saling because you meet the neatest people! Everyone yard-sales. Poor, rich, young, old- it’s so neat to see who comes together! I've had some really interesting conversations with complete strangers.  If you're not the chatty type- don't worry about it. You can always wear headphones and listen to music. 

I know some might feel shy about the idea of going to someone’s house and looking through their stuff but it’s actually okay! You are giving them money for something that, otherwise, they would have to haul off to the thrift store. 
 

Yard Sale Tip #1:

At yard sales, I never ask the price of an item. I bundle up everything that I want and then give them an offer. For example, if I find a few dresses and a sweater, along with some jeans and maybe a purse, Ill say, “I have $12 cash- would you take that?” and 99% of the time, they say yes. Because it takes the pressure off of them- they don’t have to figure out a price or add it all up!
 

Yard Sale Tip #2:

Another reason I go to yard sales is to buy vintage clothing and t-shirts that I then re-sale to my local Buffalo Exchange consignment store. Then I get store credit to buy whatever clothing I want! I do this mainly because I am very small and I can’t often find my size at yard sales. But also, because having store credit allows me to buy whatever I want!  Last month, I went to a yard sale and bought 5 vintage t-shirts for $2 total and sold them for $50 store credit. Can’t beat it! Even though I don’t find a Trisha Yearwood concert shirt ironic and cool, someone else did!

So now what? 

 

This week, go through your closet and clear out some things you don't like or don't wear anymore.  Then, visit a thrift store or a yard sale, and let me know it goes! 

Remember, if this is totally new to you, shoot me and email and let’s chat about it.  Together, we can work on clearing out the old, to make room for the new!

Comment below and tell us what you found! Or do you already shop second-hand? What do you like about it? 

Self-Care Down There: audio-blog episode #1

Self-care for our bodies can heal us from the inside out.  I thought I’d share a few simple tips for how to take care of your sensitive lady parts/ vulva. Take a listen and then if you'd like more resources, check out what's below!

Cleaning products

The skin that makes up the vulva is ultra-sensitive.  In fact, your body’s skin is just like an organ, so a good rule of thumb for using anything is that if you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin. This applies to cleaning products as well.  If you’re currently using a cleaning product specifically for your vagina, take a look at the ingredient list. If there’s a word you don’t know, throw it out. Instead, use Dr. Bronner’s or another organic soap. NOTE*** If you do use a soap, like Dr. Bronner's, for your vulva, DILUTE it, a lot. I use a ratio of one drop of soap to one cup of water.  


Period hygiene

Remember to use organic, non-bleached, cotton tampons or pads.  Another option is menstrual cups and menstrual sponges.  

I mentioned what I wear, Thinx period panties. You can find them here. Another option are reusable cloth pads. I like gladrags. You can find them here. 

* correction: ACTUALLY THEY SAY YOU LOSE BETWEEN 2-6 TABLESPOONS of blood on your heaviest days!


Personal lubricants

Remember* don't use coconut oil as a lubricant because it can break down the material of the condom. Click here to explore organic lubricants by Living Libations. Top of the line and amazing!


Vaginal Steaming

Click here to read my post all about steaming! It includes a list of my favorite herbs for steaming.

www.mountainroseherbs.com for organic dried herbs to create your own steam blend.


Underwear

Some all natural panties= blue canoe, wear pact, and remember to try cotton yoga pants!
 

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Pelvic floor

Read Dr. Christiane Northrup's article on the psoas. This is linked to your pelvic floor.

tight psoas leads to a tight pelvic floor; an overstretched psoas can be linked to a weak pelvic floor. 

Want more tips for self-care, down there? Join our online course, Balanced Babes to learn all things feminine including monthly rituals for connecting to your womb.  Click here to learn more about this amazing journey.

 

Hormone Disruptors Are Hiding In Your Home...

And here's what you can replace them with:

Your endocrine system is made up of all of your hormone-producing glands.  It’s a big deal in your body as it determines your growth, sex drive, reproduction, aging and sooooo much more. It’s basically your body’s system of checks and balances. When a part of that system is out wack, your body tells you through dis-ease or pain. The endocrine system is especially important regarding women’s health since our hormones are the main decider of how we feel on a physical and emotional level, every single day.  

In the last 2 decades though, our endocrine system has been disrupted due to the rise of modern “conveniences”. Endocrine disruptors are anything (mainly chemicals) that throw that system out of balance, mainly by mimicking our natural hormones or by stopping their production all together. This manifests in women's body mainly in menstrual disorders including PCOS, endometriosis, irregular periods, early menopause, infertility and more. 

Common endocrine disruptors include pharmaceuticals, pesticides, plastics, metal food cans, and cosmetics.  

Endocrine disruptors are everywhere and we often can’t control when we come into contact with them. But there’s one place that we have almost 100% control; our home.  Here are a few common household items that are common disruptors of your endocrine system and entire hormonal system and some ways you can replace them!

Your Kitchen:

This is the first on the list because it’s the biggest impact on your health.  Take a look at what you’re heating your food up in; your cookware.  Is it plastic, or non-stick? Start with your utensils.  Are there plastics on your eating utensils; how about that spatula or slotted spoon? Most stores that carry our kitchenware are “big box” stores- they want to make things for ½ a penny and make a profit by turning them around quickly.  So, more often than not, your cooking utensils are made with plastic; they’re cheap to purchase and you just throw them away when they wear out.  If yours are plastic, consider switching to stainless steel or even wood. If you’re on a budget, you can get these at a thrift store for cheap, or yard sales for next to nothing!

What do you store your food in? If your tupperware is plastic, consider making the switch to glass. These will often come with a plastic lid but it’s okay for food storage since the lid doesn’t usually touch the food.  

 

Your Bathroom:

This is a big area that’s prey to filling up with endocrine disruptors.  Many bathroom storage items are plastic (think bins, makeup bags, toothbrush holder, soap dispenser). Notice just how much plastic your hands touch each day.  Think about your shower; what are you scrubbing yourself with? You could switch from the plastic-y shower scrub to a natural loofa or a cotton washrag.  Notice your shampoo bottles.  I love the stainless steel shampoo dispenser from Hairstory. There are also great options on Amazon; even if your products come in a plastic bottle, that doesn't mean they have to stay in a plastic bottle. 

Speaking of bathroom; let’s talk about body and bath products. Make-up. This is a HUGE endocrine disruptor for women.  Your skin is your body’s biggest organ- if you wouldn’t eat it, you literally shouldn’t put it on your skin.  This goes for EVERYTHING. Take a look at your makeup bag.  Dump everything out and start with your makeup brushes.  Are the bristles plastic? Are the handles plastic? You can easily switch to wood and natural-bristle makeup brushes.  

Now, how about what you’re putting on your skin? This is a catch 22 for many women. They wear makeup to cover skin blemishes or uneven skin, when in reality, it’s what they’re putting on their skin that’s causing hormonal shifts that result in skin issues. Even what we wash our face with can be a detriment to our skin. Your skin, specifically your face, has natural oil spots and natural dry spots. Skin LOVES oil. When our skin doesn’t get to produce its natural oil, it over compensates, thus producing acne and blemishes.  Have you ever used a face-wash that has those micro-scrubbing beads? Those are plastic; you're literally scrubbing plastic into your face.  Not only that, but you wash that down the sink, it goes into the ocean, never breaks down, and is constantly being found in the stomach of deceased sea animals. Something to think about...

I invite you to go a week or two with washing your face with a product (a clay-based face wash) only every other day.  Skip the foundation and anything that goes on your skin (mascara and eye-liner are fine).  You’ll notice your skin will be softer and more supple as you go longer without letting those man-made ingredients soak into it.  You’ll also save a lot of money not buying makeup products!

Other places in your home:

Take a look at your living room and bedroom and find things that aren’t natural- what’s man-made? Here’s a list of common items that have tags so you can see what you’re touching every day:

Furniture (couch, coffee table, chairs, pillows, etc)
Rugs/carpet
Bedspread/sheets
Towels
Clothes
Underwear
Bags/Purses
Wallet

I could go and on but I’m sure you get my point; be intentional about what you are touching every day.  Imagine the span of your lifetime and how much plastic gets into your body on a daily basis.  It’s no coincidence that in our lifetime we’ve seen certain plastic items get BANNED, certain types of cancers rise, and infertility rates increase.  Your endocrine system determines how you feel on a daily basis so it’s no joke to asses what affects it, that you can directly change.

The quality of what we put on our around our bodies is a huge passion of my work and of Lunar Nourishment. In fact, it's a really big part of the Balanced Babes online training course.  In this 4 week long course, you'll discover not only how to reconnect to your body through your menstrual cycle, you'll learn all about endocrine disruptors and how they affect how you feel. Want to know more about the course? Click here! 

 

Life is a Ceremony

Without going into too many details right now, I have spent the last week understanding and fully feeling what it means to be alive.  I have taken part in a ceremony that opened the floodgates of my heart and showed me a truth that I feel I've been searching for, my entire life.

My sister, Marlena, writes songs that speak so much to the essence of what life is: 

"Each moment you wake up, the choice is yours to hold. Will you lay down in fear, or stand up and be bold? We have a choice to rise up and be a vessel for love. Sometimes there's boulders in our path; forcing us to slow down. Here we must face our pain, there's no easy way around. We have a choice to rise up and be a vessel for love. Can you see yourself as capable and divine? Treat yourself with reverence; and honor your life. We have a choice to rise up and be a vessel for love." 

It's true. When we go through our days, we can either fall down and let life run over us; being a victim to circumstance. Or we can stand tall and be the warriors; sending others our love as we trudge through our pain.

 Just as there are bad days and good days, each MINUTE of our lives is a constant current of energy. That's what we are; energetic beings taking part in this world in physical bodies.  Why do we do what we do? Is it all just a distraction from pain that needs to be pulled up and healed? Sometimes we distract ourselves by numbing our pain; sometimes we distract ourselves with drama as we become obsessed with the stories of our lives.

But sometimes, we get glimpses of our pain; we experience death or heartbreak or anger until we can't handle the intensity.

And we fall apart.

And in that falling apart, we are broken open. We let our tears or an injury or our rage take that pain and pull it out of us. 

And we begin to come back together again.

Without the breaking open; the falling apart; the darkness, we cannot feel the love- the joy. They are one in the same.  There is no person that experiences the deepest love, that hasn't felt the deepest pain.  So, as Marlena sings:

"Life is just a ceremony. Full of ups and downs. We can learn to ride the waves and we will never drown."

What waves are you riding? Do you feel like the current of life is always trying to pull you under? Do you feel confident in your energetic body? Do you love your physical body? Are you spending your entire life, waiting for someone or something to save you?

We have the strength to heal ourselves.  It's only a matter of time until we decide to do the work. Are you ready to be a warrior and embrace your pain to get to the love? 




photography by Richard Casteel