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Writing in the Woods Reflection

Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.—Thoreau

Last weekend I hosted the annual Writing in the Woods retreat and, per usual, we had a powerful group of women join us. When Tim and I arrived late Thursday night, we couldn’t tell if the West Virginia foliage was still on the trees. I woke up Friday morning to a beautiful surprise—the trees were peppered with yellow, orange, red, and brown and the sky was blue.

After decorating with twinkle lights, pumpkins, and yellow mums, the house was ready to host all weekend. Due to the outside chill, we spent our days writing and practicing yoga by the fire inside. Saturday night we roasted s’mores by the campfire and waved sparkles in circular patterns before the storm rolled in. A torrential downpour provided the meditative backdrop to Sunday.

The past few days of colorful foliage, sounds of rain, heat from a roaring fire, taste of colorful roasted veggies, and smell of freshly-baked pumpkin pie provided a welcomed respite for this city dweller’s soul.

Time away offers an opportunity to hit that pause button and check in. What’s working? What needs attention? Does how I spend my time align with my values?

By shifting routine through time away or doing things differently, there’s a break in the “rinse and repeat” lifestyle of get up, go to work, come home, go to bed.

One exercise I encouraged the retreaters explore was creating a two-month wish list. We have two months left in 2017, what do you want to see, smell, hear, taste, and feel by New Year’s Eve?

Wishing you a sensory-filled conclusion to October. Bisous. x

Mindfulness + Tranquility Tools mp3

Last week I took the early morning train down to Richmond to speak at Shape Soirée—a three-day wellness conference co-created by my friend Kelly Kostecki of Om on Yoga.

While participants munched on a yummy kale salad topped with cranberries and pumpkin seeds, I gave a talk titled “Mindfulness for finding more tranquility in your life.” During the hour, I shared five mindfulness tools and five tranquility tips to ease stress and savor more.

Ahhhh, doesn’t that just sound divine? Less stress, more savor—makes for a good mantra!

I’ve posted the mp3 in Tranquil Treasures under “Tranquility Tips,” so please have a listen and share your takeaways below. I’d love to hear what most resonates.

Wishing you a beautiful weekend filled with foliage, pumpkins, and mulled cider. Bisous. x

My Week of Eating Pretty

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.—Hippocrates

Last week I came home around 10 to nosh on a leftover piece of pizza and the last 1/4 remaining in my tub of non-dairy Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter & Cookies ice cream. As I stood in the kitchen eating my exhaustion, I scrolled through Facebook and stumbled upon a friend’s invitation to join a group cleanse. I looked down at the now empty tub as my belly began to ache and sent her a text, “I’m in!”

You may recall the not-so-successful 10-day cleanse I tried in January. I was determined to do better since I’ve been semi-successful at cutting back on sugar this year. With Tim away on a bike trip, I figured I’d be living on green smoothies and cold cereal with almond milk anyway, so why not nix the wheat chex and add in salads instead?

The 7-day cleanse started last Sunday and ends today. Basically it’s no animal products, no caffeine, no alcohol, no gluten, no added sugar, no processed foods—hello, plants! Plus skin brushing, journaling, baths, exercise, and 12-hour fasting from dinner to breakfast (ex. last meal by 8pm, breakfast after 8am).

The photos above show my week’s colorful buffet: green salads, green smoothies, warm water with ground flaxseed and lemon, kale chips with nutritional yeast, brown rice with broccoli and Bragg’s liquid aminos.

My main indulgence has been an entire tub of Crazy Richard’s all-natural (only peanuts) chunky peanut butter eaten by the spoonful and often smothered over apples. Honestly, probably not allowed, but I ignored that one. My cheats have been a few dried apricots and a tiny bag of pretzels leftover from a recent Southwest flight.

For the past two years I’ve suffered from chronic headaches and semi-regular migraines. Today I realized I hadn’t reached for an Advil all week and definitely not those hardcore migraine pills that kill the headache and create a ripple effect of other issues.

I’ve dealt with eczema since I was a little girl and while it comes in waves, I’m usually treating some irritation. This week I noticed the tiny spots on my wrist and calf had cleared up without the use of my steroid ointment.

I’ve definitely felt lighter and cleaner, too. All in my mind? Maybe, but I’ll take it.

Oh, and other than a dinner date at Fig & Olive with a girlfriend (I had a salad), I only purchased food out once—a $3 miso soup. Typically I get tons of food at various spots like Sweetgreen, Starbucks, and Teaism. Instead I hit the grocery store twice and had plenty of fresh produce to sustain me.

I’ll complete the cleanse tonight with a salad or smoothie and probably reward myself with a Trader Joe’s mini croissant (or two) for breakfast.

The book Eat Pretty in the top image also served as inspiration for this cleanse. Over the past few months I kept eyeing it in bookstores and specialty shops, so I picked up my own copy. I’m loving the reminder to let wholesome foods be the tool for an inner and outer glow and to nourish from the inside out.

While we know this, it can be hard to remember when tempted by that not-so-healthy treat. As we feed our souls, may we choose to eat pretty . . . with occasional indulgences, of course. Bisous.