How to de-stress at home

Life is a whirlwind! Always changing, speeding up, then slowing down….then inevitably speeding right back up again! It’s exhausting! In the midst of this glorious chaos, do you ever feel like you need some time to check out and get pampered? That sounds wonderfully luxurious doesn’t it? Well, I’ve got some good news for you, it’s just within your reach and you don’t even need to leave your home and nor spend a fortune (#winnning ). charcoal

I’m sharing some of my favorite “go-to’s” for when I need to get some spa-laxation at home. I hope you’ll give these a try!

1) Quiet time – I can be quite the energizer bunny when I want to be. Between running errands & chores, parenting, working out, and building my health coaching and Beautycounter businesses, I can get myself worked up into a serious self-induced tizzy. Often times this causes me to unnecessarily stress myself out. It’s not a good look…Can you relate? When I get into this state I know how important it is for me to take a time out and just a few minutes can do the trick to help me hit the reset button. Typically when my son takes his afternoon nap, I jam in as many things as I can off my to-do list at home, tackling laundry, tidying up, answering emails, etc. More recently, after a friend of mine (who is a mother with two young children) reminded me that parenting is a truly 24 hour job, I realized that it was ok to use some of my son’s nap time to have some quiet time for myself even if it means simply sitting down and flipping through a magazine or spending 10 minutes in quiet meditation. Being that I am a stay-at home mom, I have the luxury of this built in time during the day and can use it when I need to. Of course, I fully recognize that not everyone’s day or life is like this. Some other moments where you may be able to take some time to yourself is during your bath/shower time and before you go to bed. Take the time. You need it and you DESERVE it.

2) Yoga– My relationship with my yoga practice is always changing. I find that certain times of my life allow for more dedication, formal classes at a studio, and regular practice. But lately, I’ve found that less is sometimes more (or honestly all I can squeeze in) and a few sun salutations will really bring me back down to earth. If that’s not in the cards for me I’ll do some light stretching on the floor and rest in a few poses for as long as it feels good. Some favorites include “legs up the wall” and “child’s pose.”  Both are truly restorative.

3) Mask & Scrub – Out with old and in with the new. Skin, that is! There’s no reason why you can’t give yourself a great facial or body treatment at home. Sure it’s not EXACTLY the same as having an esthetician perform the service but I can assure you that if you use great products during your “quiet time” you can reap the benefits all on your own. If you are short on time, combine your mask and scrub experience in the tub! Right now, I’m loving the charcoal mask by Beautycounter and use that weekly. It’s awesome at drawing out impurities in your skin and has a cooling peppermint feel. For my scrub, the Beautycounter Lustro Body Scrub is divine. Truly, it smells like heaven in a jar. Nothing feels better than scrubbing off the day with this citrus smelling scrub and the silky smooth feeling you get afterwards!

maskscrub

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4) Soothing sippers– I often drink tea several times a day depending on my mood or need for a pick me up. Sometimes a cup of tea is just what you need to satisfy or calm you during an anxious moment. Personally, I don’t discriminate on most of my teas but just like produce, it’s good to look for organic teas when possible. I love the brand Aloha! Also, be aware of caffeine. For those who are easily made anxious, caffeine can hurt you more than help you.

In the evening sometimes a “sleepy” time tea will do. Something with chamomile or valerian root will help me settle into a calm state of mind. But, If I’m feeling particularly stressed I love to mix up a glass of Natural Calm. Natural Calm is magnesium supplement that helps to balance out your magnesium and calcium balance and provides a natural assistance for stress relief. I love the raspberry-lemon flavor and it’s delicious both hot and cold. You can learn more Natural Calm by clicking here!

naturalcalm

5) Aromatherapy – Essential oils became a part of my life in the last few months thanks to a fellow health coach, Julie Sanella. Julie introduced me to the many benefits of essential oils and I soon I began diffusing essential oils in my bedroom in the late afternoon and early evening. Certain oils have healing properties but for me a simple lavender scent really does the trick. Then I met “Peace” an oil blend made by Doterra. My first whiff of the scent immediately gave me a feeling of PEACE and so for me, diffusing this oil in my bedroom in the evening is such a treat and really calms me down for a restful night.

peace

* Please remember that herbs, supplements, and oils can sometimes interact with medications and are not always safe depending on a specific health conditions, pregnancy, or breastfeeding. Pay particular attention to what is or isn’t safe for children. Always educate yourself first and consult your physician to be on the safe side.

Now that you’ve read some of my favorite spa-laxing tips and tricks, I hope you’ll take sometime for yourself to try some of them! If you want to super stack these for an ultimate R&R session then try these tips one evening as a relaxation routine:

1) First, diffuse some soothing essential oils in your bedroom and set the tone for the evening.

2) Next, draw a warm bath.

3) While you prepare your tub, in the privacy of your bedroom/ bathroom, stretch or practice an easy yoga flow.

4) Apply a mask then enjoy a nice loooooong soak.

5) Try a body scrub using circular motions and moving upwards towards your heart.

6) Dry off and moisturize.

7) Get ready for bed, sip on something soothing and snuggle up

ENJOY!

Developing your child’s palate: 7 do’s and don’ts

When it is time for your child to start trying new foods you may be wondering what happens beyond air puffed snacks and rice cereal. You’ll Google, you’ll read, and you’ll likely get a ton of unsolicited advice from people about what your child should be eating and how much. It’s important to recognize that all children are unique and what works for one child may certainly not work for another. That being said I’ve developed some helpful “do’s and don’ts” that I believe can help children explore food in a way that’s healthy, exciting, and what it should be—an experience. IMG_8548

Recommended Do’s & Don’ts:
  1. Do test for allergy or intolerance. Keep a journal in your kitchen when your baby first starts trying solids. Write down the date that they try a new food and do that for roughly 3-4 days. Offer a little each day into your child’s mouth, even if they don’t scarf it down. Allow for them to get that exposure and then watch for any signs of allergy or intolerance such as rash or upset stomach. It’s important to speak with your pediatrician about when to introduce common allergy foods such as eggs and peanuts as some foods may cause serious reactions. Also important, no honey for babies before age 1.DSC04357
  2. Don’t assume your child won’t like something. I think this is the biggest mistake we can make as parents. Just because YOU don’t like something doesn’t mean your child won’t like it. Allow them to figure that out for themselves. For example, a super nutritious food like broccoli may not be your thing but your kid may enjoy it! Don’t turn them off to something just because it’s not your favorite.
  3. Do say “Ok” when your child wants to try something new. I’ve gotten plenty of funny looks when my son eats seaweed paper or pickled ginger. The thing is, he wanted to try it and I said “ok”. The truth is, why not? We must allow children to explore taste and flavor just as they do through play. It is part of the human experience!
  4. Do offer things multiple times in different varieties. All too often parents assume that after one failed attempt it’s over for that new food. A wrinkled face and spitting out food followed by a “yuck” shouldn’t mean that that food is out forever; try cooking the food a different way and offering it again a few days later.
  5. Don’t OVER glorify goodies and treats. We’ve made such a big deal about cake and ice cream that it’s become this magical meal in the eyes of many children. Of course, you would be hard pressed to find a human being on this planet who doesn’t love a decadent desert but it’s important to set healthy habits regarding dessert when children are young. If we treat these things as the ultimate reward then they may start think they “need” this food as part of their normal diet. With childhood obesity rates on the rise, this is something absolutely within our control. It’s our job as parents to teach our children about how we can enjoy treats from time to time and that a healthy diet involves balance and awareness of the power of food (both good and bad). Even better, we are fortunate that there are company’s creating healthier snacks and cookies that parents can feel good about. IMG_5625
  6. Do talk about healthy foods from the start. This is a fun one! Talk about the amazing properties of food with your kiddos. This can be a great way for you to enhance your own knowledge of the nutritious benefits of different foods and their incredible properties. I’m not saying you need to get super scientific here but simply share the information with your toddlers. It will stick and it’s never too early to help them appreciate the healing powers of nutritious cuisine.
  7. Lastly, Do get creative. From teething to tummy aches, there will be some times where your munchkin is just not in the mood and peanut butter crackers are all that he or she may want. Recognize that as frustrating as this is, it likely a temporary phase and you’ll have to work around it. A great way to do this is to use other foods as a vehicle for superfoods. For example, you can get a lot of fruits and veggies into a power packed smoothie or oatmeal bowl. Chat with other moms for support, they’ll be your best bet for finding great tips for sneaking in broccoli and kale when the little one is suddenly boycotting dinner!IMG_7686

Chocolate Protein Poppers

If you haven’t jumped on the protein ball bandwagon, please join me! PS- These plant-based poppers are gluten-free.

proteinpoppers1For years, I’ve loved the concept of raw and healthy snacks that you can easily whip up at home. From time to time I’ll throw together a mixture or try some of the other amazing recipes out in the google-sphere.

Today, was one of those days where I just felt like a cookie. You know what I mean?

For most of us, it’s typical around the post-lunch lull to want something like this. I often sip a hot green tea and nibble on some of my favorite Alter Eco Blackout chocolate. Today I recalled a great post on aloha.com that was recently shared on their website. That got me thinking I ought to whip up some protein balls to cure my cookie craving. I’ve been loving the chocolate Aloha plant-based protein powder in my smoothies and so it was destined to appear in this afternoon’s creation (I get a protein supply mailed to me directly from the company that comes in handy single-serve packets which means I’ve always got it on hand). alohaprotein

Here’s how you can throw together these scrumptious chocolate protein poppers!

Mix the following dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl:

Then mix in:

  • 1/3 cup of 100% pure organic maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup Justin’s almond butter (I used maple almond which I keep refridgerated)
  • and throw in a handful of dark chocolate chips!

Stir well, but let’s be honest…I got right in there! I worked the mixture with clean hands into a well-mixed dough and got to rollin’.  I rolled roughly 10-12 balls and put them on a plate in a fridge for 20 min.proteinpoppers2

20 minutes later… Cookie fix taken care of! Even my little guy liked them! romeoproteinballYou can try this for yourself or get creative and see what you can come up with. Have a little fun and share your creation with me on Instagram by taking a photo and tagging @mindbodybespoke!

Pure Barre: The Inside Scoop for Beginners

Kicking off 2016 with a new guest post, my friend Nicole Cleary gives us the scoop on getting started at Pure Barre!

Hello fit friends! My name is Nicole and Iʼm a Pure Barre instructor at Pure Barre in Bronxville, New York. I am also the Studio Coordinator. Iʼm here today to share the inside scoop on Pure Barre for beginners!

Moving to a new area?  Looking to try a new gym? Iʼm sure a lot of us can relate to these situations. I found Pure Barre when I moved to Eastchester, New York in August of 2014, right before my wedding. I wanted something different and searched for low impact activity because I had hurt my knee in the spring. Pure Barre was just opening in Bronxville (which was a few minutes away) so I bought the New Client Special. After that first class I was left with a million different thoughts and feelings– Beginning with, “Wow, why was that so hard?!” I was a dancer all my life and fitness enthusiast after all! Well, let me tell you none of that matters at your first Pure Barre class. Whether you have prior experience or none at all, you will still start as a beginner, and thatʼs okay! I can guarantee you, youʼve never tried a workout like Pure Barre before. Listen to that little voice and step out of your comfort zone. Give Pure Barre a try with these helpful hints!

1. The beginning: Set a goal–The class is challenging. You begin on the floor doing Pilates inspired moves, there is a 90 second plank and weight work. The weights may be light (2, 3 and 5 lb.) but the moves will exhaust your muscles. Maybe your goal will be to get your form perfect in tricep extension before choosing to pick up weights. The next time you come your goal may be to hold your plank 5 seconds longer than you did last time. Eventually, making it the whole 90 seconds on your toes! Think about smaller goals overall so the whole class doesnʼt seem like a long, tiring 55 minutes. It can be fun with small goals!

ImproperTricep

Improper Tricep Extension

ProperTricep

Proper Tricep Extension

ImproperPlank

Improper Plank Form

Proper Plank Form

Proper Plank Form

2. The middle: Find your working zone–Three thigh sprints come after warm-up. These will engage the top of your thigh, as well as the inner and outer thigh. You want to find the point where your muscle shakes. Thatʼs when the change happens! Beautifully sculpted, lean thighs are in reach my friends. It may be difficult to feel the thighs engaged if you are not in correct form. As an instructor, we come over to adjust and help you find your deepest working zone but you should be able to feel it on your own after coming to a few classes! Here is the thigh position called “Chair.”

ImproperChair

Improper Chair

ProperChair

Proper Chair

3. The climax: Contract your seat muscles–During seat work in Pure Barre, you are in two positions. One of them is a “turned out” position, which works your side seat and outer hip. The other is “parallel” where your hips are squared off and you are working the base of your seat. We like to call that your “Pure Barre Ledge.” Sounds prettier than butt, right? 🙂 It is hard to sometimes find the working zone and contract these muscles around the seat. Always look in the mirror to see your form and make sure your hips are tucked under. When you work against your tucked hips, you can get deeper into the muscle contractions. The more you come, the more you will continue to push yourself and find your best form.

Improper Ledge

Improper Position for Ledge

ProperLedge

Proper Position for Ledge

 

 

 

4. The end: Rounding through your abs–You made it! Almost at the end! Arenʼt you sad? Well, we still have some work to go ladies! Underneath the barre, you work your abs in two different sections. Again, this is not your typical ab work so it can sometimes feel like the work is coming from your legs or arms. First, you create a “C” curve with the spine and there are slow movements in the abs here with a relaxing song playing. You want to continuously keep your abs in tight and pressing down toward the mat. Second, there is an upbeat song playing and your black is completely flat against the wall. You may not be rounding your abs here, but you still want to contract the abs against the wall so you feel this work. There is an abs series at the end as well in the center of the room, where once again we will remind you to round your waistband down toward the mat. Beginnerʼs tip: Using a ball behind your back can help relieve tension as you work!

Remember, Pure Barre is fun! Even though it is challenging, your teacher is there to support and encourage you. We want you to modify exercises if you donʼt feel ready to try them, that is why we are always walking around and checking out everyoneʼs form (and ledges! :)) Now that you have a nice understanding of how the class is laid out, you should come and try it! Scaling back workouts is all apart of the learning process so donʼt feel frustrated at first if you didnʼt stay in every move for all the counts. Our community of women (and a few men!) is so strong and inspiring, you can just feel the energy in the room. That is one of the main reasons I would encourage you to try Pure Barre. It is a place to come where you can challenge yourself for 55 minutes and forget everything going on in the outside world. Sometimes, itʼs just what you need to do for yourself.

To try a Pure Barre class at a location near you, please visit www.purebarre.com.

To try a class at Pure Barre Bronxville with Nicole or any of the other outstanding teachers please visit http://purebarre.com/ny-bronxville/.

Pure Barre Bronxville is offers a “New Client” special where you can take unlimited classes for an entire month for just $99 as well as a “Extended New Client” for 9 weeks of classes for $199 (valid through January). 

Resolution Solutions

Out with the old and in with the new! Can you believe I’m writing a post about this during the holidays?? Crazy, I know. Who talks about resolutions before January 1st?

resolution

Ok, listen up. Let this holiday season MOTIVATE you and propel you into the New Year with guns blazin’. You must have a “take no prisoners attitude” this year if you are yet again setting a “get healthy” resolution. Why am I saying this?  Because chances are you are coming back to some of the same resolutions as you’ve set in the past (maybe more than once). Now,  I don’t want us to get hung up on why those past resolutions didn’t stick– that’s counter-productive. We need to forge ahead and focus on the new goal you have in mind and how you will get there.

Here are some solutions to staying the course on your journey to your health-focused resolution:

  1. Shout it out! Let your family, friends, co-workers, Facebook pals, whomever, know about your goal. Own it completely and show confidence in your desire to make self-improvements. By announcing your resolution to others, you’ll likely get a lot more support than trying to keep it to yourself and do it alone. There is no reason be alone in working on your resolution. The more positive encouragement around you, the more likely you will be to stick to it and succeed.
  2. Write it down. Everywhere. In your phone, on your iPad, on your work calendar, on a post-it on your fridge, have that goal all around you. This will serve to remind you that you are on a mission.
  3. Make a plan. This is the tricky one. We can all say we want to “do” something” but if we don’t plan HOW we will do it, it’s a lot less likely to happen. Scheduling time to work on your goal is essential for your success. I suggest using a few quiet minutes on a Sunday to map out your workouts or fitness classes. Put them in your phone as you would a business meeting. Don’t miss a meeting with yourself, you are too important to cancel on.
  4. Be accountable. The familiar quote: “The most important relationship you have is with yourself” is the meat and potatoes of self-accountability. By setting a resolution and making plans to work it, you are essentially making a promise to yourself. Keep your promise and when you find that you’re not sticking to it, own up to it, and the most importantly, REFLECT and RESTART. Do not let a missed workout or a bad meal, or even a bad day, stop you from getting right back at it. You are allowed to give yourself a second chance, you are human after all.
  5. Celebrate victories! Pat yourself on the back, clap for yourself, whatever you need to do to celebrate, do it! Find HEALTHY ways to treat yourself after a great week of working on your goal/resolution. Some ideas would be to have dinner out one night a week, treat yourself to a spa pedicure or sports massage,  or purchase yourself a new piece of workout gear that you want to add to your growing collection!

So now that we’ve covered some tips on how to really commit to your resolution, what do you say? Are you ready for 2016? Don’t wait until January 1st– start RIGHT NOW.

Need help? Working with a Health Coach is that extra support that may be exactly what you need to keep your eyes on the prize. I can help keep you motivated and accountable. Please email me at mindbodybespoke@gmail.com to set up your consultation!