Primally Pure Review.

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Anyone else trying to jump on the all-natural makeup & body care kick?

How amazing is it that we have access to the knowledge we need to know about what we’re putting on our bodies. And the fact that there are so many incredible companies that we can purchase these products from! I’ve been slowly transitioning my items to all-natural options as I run out, which I’ve found has been a common strategy for many of us. Makeup & body care items can be expensive so this totally makes sense. And in all transparency, this transition has taken me a full year and I’m not even fully all natural yet. I have a few products that I’m really attached to – hello, amazing grace lotion.

One brand (out of many) that I have been testing and have fallen in love with is Primally Pure. I was introduced to this brand through a friend of mine that raved about it – and it’s not so surprising after I dabbled in a few of their products.

I took advantage of a seasonal Black Friday sale last Fall and invested in two of their bundles; the Starter Kit & the Spa Kit. I’m a huge fan of bundle products not only because you get a handful of the brands products for a reasonable price but they are normally sample size, which are perfect for traveling. And I travel quite a bit!

A little about Primally Pure before I dive into my thoughts on the products: The company was founded by Bethany, the wife of a farmer, out of her passion for real, recognizable ingredients – not just in the food on her plate but also out of her skincare products (music to my ears!). Bethany’s family started Primal Pastures, an organic livestock farm in Southern California, which helped her to discover the power of eating real food and subsequently the power of real ingredients in her skincare. She purged her bathroom cabinets of toxic conventional products and began formulating her own replacements, that eventually inspired the creation of Primally Pure.

So great, right?! I was really excited to try out each item not only because of what my friends were saying about the brand but because I felt a real connection with the story and that this brand truly cares about their customers.

Here is what I received in each kit and my thoughts on each item:

The Starter Kit:

  • Full size 1.7 oz. deodorant
    • I was a Native deodorant user before this and was having a bit of issues with y sensitive skin when I would switch scents. After testing PP Blue Tansy deodorant, I have not notice my skin react and the scent is super lovely!
  • 2 oz. body butter
    • I picked this one in Alomond Vanilla and it is like a jar of sweet smelling cookie dough. I put it on my elbows and dry batches. My dog also can’t get enought of the scent after I use it.
  • 1 oz. everything spray
    • I personally always use a rose water toning spray on my face after I get out of the shower and I’ve rotated that with the Everything Spray. It leaves my face really refreshed and moisturized. I’m currently due for a reorder of this as well.
  • three lip balms
    • I allowed the order to send me the top three flavors of lip balm which had me end up with Lavender, Creamsicle, and Cocoa. I really like the Lavendar and Creamsicle but not a huge fan of the Cocoa. You can never have enough lip balm around!

The Spa Kit:

  • one dry brush
    • I didn’t really get the dry brushing trend until I recieved a brush in the Spa Kit. I’d seen plenty of people across social media talking about it but you just don’t understand the benefits until you try it out yourself. I began dry brushing my arms from my wrist up to my arm pits to help with flow to my lymph nodes. I noticed after just a couple uses of the dry brush that my forearms were a lot smoother and eczema had slightly calmed down. Another highly recommended product from me!
  • one 2 oz body oil
    • I love oil and was really excited for the Blue Tansy Body Oil in this kit. I use it when I get out of the shower and all over my torso. I have pretty combination skin type but living in Colorado, I do find that my skin is a lot drier than I’m use to so the oil definitely helps.
  • one 6 oz sea soak
    • Hello! This girl loves her some bathtime! The next two items are why I chose the Spa Kit. The Sea Soak is decribed for ‘Detox + Soothe’ and the scent is a bit more powerful than the flower bath. I use these bath salts on more stressful days when I need to unwind.
  • one 6 oz flower bath
    • As for the Flower Bath, it is described as ‘Balance + Soften’ and as the name may let on, it has a more floral scent. I like to use these bath salts on more quite evenings to tune out a little more.
  • organic bag
    • Each kit comes with a mesh organic bag. Full honestly, I’ve collected a lot of bags from beauty kits over the years (where are my clinque fans at?) but I travel so I do use select ones that are good quality – and these ones are it! I use one of the bags to hold all my nail polish because it is stretchy but can hold the weight. The other I use for bath products when traveling.

After a few months of using these products, I would say my favorites even though I’ve enjoyed all of them, are Deodorant, Body Oil, and Everything Spray and will be ordering these again. If you’re interested in testing out Primally Pure, the bundle kits are definitely you’re best option to be able to try out multiple products without having to invest to much at first.

If you would like to support me and the side hustle, you can shop Primally Pure through my personal link. It’s more than appreciated 🙂 I’m also here to share my thoughts on any specific product or my other favorite brands.

Blueberry “Cinnamon Roll” Breakfast Bars.

I’m a sucker for quick + simple recipes that call for items I already have around my place. So when I came across 2 ingredient Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls on Instagram last week, I knew I needed to try it out. Disclaimer: this recipe always had more than 2 ingredient – they aren’t tricking anyone. 

I attempt the baking exactly as the recipe directed yesterday and than did my small tweaks today to test making it more to my own preferences. The original recipe calls for you to roll out the dough, add the blueberries and cinnamon, and then roll up the dough to create “cinnamon rolls”. This did not work for me, so instead I place the mixture directly into the pan and bake as bars. Below, I write out the original recipe as is and then I explain what I’ve changed to the recipe. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • Handful of blueberries
  • Cinnamon 

Directions: 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a glass 8×8 pan. 
  • Mix first three dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add in yogurt and mix, creating a dough. Mix in blueberries and cinnamon.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until dough is thoroughly cooked through. 

The first attempt tasted too bitter to me so this morning I switched out the plain greek yogurt with Two Goods brand Vanilla yogurt. Since it calls for a cup, all you need to buy at the store for 1 batch is two small individual vanilla yogurt cups. I’m not a fan of having a lot of excess ingredients left over so this worked out perfectly. 

I also added about 3 teaspoons of brown sugar and a splash of vanilla extract to the dough to provide a bit more flavor. Then to top it off, I used Trader Joe’s Coconut Whip Cream as an icing alternative. 

This was definitely a winner in my book. It’s simple and doesn’t provide too much of a sweet taste early in the morning. I love me some french toast or a good decadent muffin but if an item is too sweet it normally leaves my stomach not so happy (cue the sugar gram counting). Also, if you noticed, we don’t add any sugar or sugar alternative (except the brown sugar) so if you stick with the original recipe than you’re still on track for the added-sugar detox!

Let me know if you try this one out and of course, enjoy!!

Quarantine Pick-Me-Ups.

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As best as we’re trying, we might be feeling down quite often during this “stay-at-home” time. You might not be as productive as you would like or feel you’re getting as much accomplished as you wish. Maybe that workout routine has fallen to the waist side or there are a few too many snack times in the afternoon. And guess what, it might be hard to hear and accept, but it’s actually all alright!

We are going to feel down at points, that is how the body processes situations and emotions and we should learn to embrace them as they come and learn from them. But what’s not alright is wallowing in these down thoughts. They will happen, we’re not meant to be happy all the time and this is a very difficult situation that we’re going through (uncharted waters for literally all of us). It’s great to set goals while we have the free time but if we don’t meet these goals or feel we’ve done our best, life. will. go. on. 

So today I wanted to address some of my practices I embrace if I’m having a hard day or a really emotional week. Like I said before, we shouldn’t shy away from these emotions and attempt to avoid them because that has potential to cause more damage but there are certain healthy things we can do to process through these emotions.

  • Meditation: I recently shared a post for how to create your own meditation practice which is really helpful if you are new to it. This might be scary to attempt to sit with our feelings and emotions when it feels like the last thing we want to do. But addressing these feelings and approaching them with a positive attitude can completeing repaint the way we are handling them. [Stay tuned for an upcoming post about how to work with mantras during meditation]
  • Journaling: Put those thoughts down on paper and let them all out. A journaling practice can feel odd and different if you’re new to it but once you find a stride with writing you can really notice the benefits it provides. Don’t place expectations with your writing either, like ‘you always need to write a full page’ or ‘you always need to write about once certain topic – like what you did that day’. Allow yourself the freedom to just write whatever thoughts are flowing through you at that moment.
  • Setting Routines: You don’t need to map out your enitre day but putting in place a simple daily routine provides your mental health structure – similar to what it is use to when “life is normal”. I just shared a morning routine for a healthy gut and this is a good example of simple daily tasks you can do to provide your life some structure. It can also be as simple as taking a walk outside each day at 3PM or maybe it’s not even daily but every other day you take a really nice bath with all the bells and whistles. Don’t only set a routine of mundane items you need to get done but also things you look forward to do and feel a bit like pampering.
  • Movement: I prefer yoga, barre, and running and I really rotate through these depending on my mood. Find a form of excercise that makes your body feel good that is accessible and you enjoy doing (for the most part because working out isn’t as enjoyable as other things – like eating brownies 😉 I shared my favorite at-home workouts last month so if you’re looking for ideas, check out that post! (Bonus: I also shared my favorite at-home workout equipment and all of it can be found on Amazon)
  • Get Outside: If you have the access and the weather is nice, try to get outside at least once a day. This provides you with a different scenery than inside your home or apartment and gets you body some Vitamin D. I can’t tell you how many times in the last couple weeks I’ve been feeling mentally heavy and how a simple short walk around the block with my dog can completely change my perspective.

If you are truly struggling during these times, no matter what mentally you are battling, I am also here to chat and listen. Feel free to always reach out to me at ashraeeiningyoga@gmail.com. We will get through this together!

 

Mother’s Day: A Weekend Guide to the Hills.

Was it even really Spring and how are we already almost in the heat of Summer? This quarantine life definitely changes the sense of time. Since the only people I’ve really interacted with is my immediate family, I decided to head out of Colorado for a bit and spend Mother’s Day up in Rapid City, SD where my mother lives.

It was a beautiful weather and a relaxing weekend spent with family. Some restrictions are slightly lifted so we decided to safely venture out a bit around the area. Here are a few of our favorite things to do around the Hills [Yes, it of course includes plenty of wine]. This post mainly focuses on Hill City hot spots but stay tuned for more Rapid City favorites in future posts.

On Friday evening after work wrapped up, my mother had an appointment downtown so my sister grabbed her camera and we had a little impromptu photo shoot around downtown Rapid City. After all the hard work, we stopped into Que Pasa for some happy hour margaritas and chips & salsa. 

Friday & Saturday were my splurge days from the no-sugar challenge, so I definitely indulged in a Marg. Then we went home for some pizza.

I was planning to drive back to Colorado on Sunday so we celebrated Mother’s Day on Saturday. We started the morning off with a live stream Barre class and breakfast at home. Then we all piled in the car and headed up to Hill City [about an hours drive from Rapid]. First stop was Alpine Inn for lunch. This place is known for excellent German food during the lunch hour and a special steak plate for dinner. I ordered the Pear & Fig Salad – bonus, it had almond brickle. I would have never thought of almond brickle for a salad ingredient, but let me tell you – I wasn’t complaining! 

It’s a holiday weekend so of course we had to have lunch dessert! Alpine Inn never disappoints with the dessert options so we went with two – An apple tart over caramel and ice cream and the bread pudding. Both were AMAZING!

Next stop [and as most would know, my local favorite] was Firehouse Winery. There are two locations, one in Hill City and one downtown Rapid City. We frequent the RC location most of the time and you’ll more than likely find us enjoying some Margarita pizza and a bottle of Sauv Blanc on a warm afternoon. But the Hill City location as an equally warm environment. We stopped here for a quick tasting & to catch up with a couple of the wine-tenders. 

Last stop before heading home was Prairie Berry Winery. If you are more of a sweeter wine fan than this is your place in the Hills. The tasting room is gorgeous and spacious. They also have a small kitchen that you can order appetizer or small plates from. My favorite in the summer time is the open-face salmon sandwich. If you have the time, stop here to sit out on the lawn, take in the view, enjoy some yard games & a bottle of wine. 

We headed home and I will say, one of my most enjoyable activities is just simply driving around and taking in the views.  The scenery of the hills and the greenery will take your breath away. Another highly recommended item to check off your list if you visit the area. 

The afternoon was spent enjoying a simple meal of chicken wings and watching Outer Banks [anyone else binging?]. The next morning we got up early to sweat it out through another Barre class and then enjoyed a homemade brunch before I hit the road. It was a simple weekend in quarantine but was nice to get out just a bit to feel a little normal again. 

If you ever find yourself heading to the Hills area or swinging through on a road trip, be sure to hit me up for more recommendations of my favorite spots! 

 

Setting a Morning Routine for a Happy Gut.

A happy gut equals a more enjoyable life & starting out your routine right away in the morning to make sure you have that happy gut sets everything in the right order. I recently shared all about what the gut is and why it’s important in a recent post so if you’re unfamiliar about it, check out that post now & then head back here for your morning routine.

For this post, we’re diving into more specifics of how you can give your gut biome a start on the right direct early on in your day. That being said, if you’ve had a few days of junk food or a few too many glasses of wine the night before (no judgement!) – this routine won’t completely reset your gut. We all know life is about blanace but making sure our body feel healthy is a continual process of flushing out toxins, feeding ourselves with healthy, nutrious foods and getting plenty of water to hydrate ourselves.

The morning is a perfect time to set up a consistent routine of steps you implement into your lifestyle. Keep noted, you’ll want to find what works for you and make you feel your best so take and leave any suggestion below.

  • Set a time to wake up consistently
    • Getting your body on a routine provides it an opportunity to fully rest when it needs to and be energized when it’s being ask to because it’s on a schedule. Set a timeframe that works throughout your week. For myself, I like setting an alarm for 6:30AM during the week and 7:30AM for weekends. I provide my body a little more rest time on the weekend but I’m not totally throwing off my routine by sleeping into noon. Even though that sounds really nice, my body is so use to this routine that it physically can’t do that.
  • Hydrate
    • We all know the importance of water and it highly needed to rehydrate your body after a night of deep sleep. Try getting in 8-10oz right after waking up.
  • Meditate
    • It doesn’t have to look like the picture-perfect meditation set up. You can simply just sit up on the edge of your bed and provide yourself with 3-5 minutes to simply focus on your breath. I wrote about starting a meditation practice in a recent post that can provide more tips.
  • Journal
    • I prefer to journal at night but a morning practice is also very popular for many people. Journaling allows an opportunity for you to expel your thoughts onto paper and express your emotions in a way you might not have an outlet for in your daily life. The gut has a connection to our brains – we may notice this connection when we are nervous or excited and our stomach begins to feel funny. This is how journaling can have an effect on our gut by providing that outlet. Stay tuned for posts on the Gut + Brain connection and the power of gratitude journaling coming soon. 
  • Move your Body
    • A little exercise in the morning can do wonders for our body by jump starting our digestive system and getting oxygen following to the blood and organs. Keep it simple with walking, yoga, or light strength training if you’re not use to morning exercise.
  • Shower or Clean Up
    • Freshen up and feel good! Cleaning yourself up by showering or simply washing off your face and then getting dress is a mode booster and provides positive vibrations.
  • Probiotic + Vitamin
    • Speak with your doctor and research your options for a good daily probiotic and vitamin.
  • Set a Meal Plan
    • Decide what works best for your body for when your first meal will be. I prefer to have something very light around 10AM, such as a piece of fruit or lara bar. If you are more active in the morning, your schedule might look more like a heavy full meal in the early hours. Experiment and explore the different options to find the right fit.

The most important part of this is finding your routine. When you’re not only being healthy but you also allow your body an opportunity to get into a flow state, that is when it really starts to feel good.

If you try out these tips or like to implement other helpful routine items, feel free to share!

Healthy Road Trip Guide.

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Oh, the open road.

It’s a great escape during this time but it can also be a daunting one if we’re trying to stick to our health goals. Gas stations and rest area vending machines aren’t necessarily the best options when it comes to fueling our body with nutrition-dense food. Top 40 and talk radio also might not be the best option to feed our brains for a long drive either. Which is why today I’m sharing my tips on how I prepare for a long drive, because we know I’m on the road plenty! (Stay tuned for a Healthy Flying Guide soon)

I’ve been on my fair share of long drives and to be honest I’m not always super excited about them. There has been many mornings before hitting the road that I dreamed of a time traveling machine that would just zap me right to my desired location. But on days that I plan ahead, I can actually be excited for the time in my car. 

Working a desk job for 40 hours a week and running a blog on the site, it can be a much needed change of pace to get away from screens. And I know I’m not the only one that needs this change every once in awhile. So might as well use the time I’m already spending in the car to focus on hobbies I wouldn’t necessarily have time to invest in. 

So what is my plan you ask? Here is how I prepare before my road trips to make the time more enjoyable: 

  • Clean my car, vacuum the floors, and insert a new Air Freshener (I use the car fragrances from Bath & Body Works)
    • It feels so good to spend time in a fresh space!
    • You’ll also need space for your suitcase and anything else you’ve packed so remove unnecessary items you’ve had store in your backseat and trunk.
  • Prep Podcasts and Music Playlists
    • I go back and forth between the two when I find my mind drifting off. Sometimes podcasts are nice to dive into for new inspiring information and at other times, you just need to have a little car karaoke session. 
    • Here is my current playlist I’ve been jamming out to in the car. 
    • Favorite recent Podcasts:
      • Den Talks Podcast
      • Teaching Yoga Podcast
      • Goal Digger Podcast by Jenna Kutcher
      • Mile High Podcast
  • Pack snacks – this is a very important one!
    • Favorite road snacks:
      • Pretzel sticks
      • Apples
      • Bananas
      • Grapes
      • Lara Bars
      • Built Bars
    • I pretty much like anything that is light (in the sense I won’t feel heavy or tired after eating too much) and that won’t be distracting to eat. 
  • A good pair of Sunglasses 
    • Because it’s always more fun to be fashionable – but we also need to protect our eyes.
    • If you wear contacts, have your glasses ready incase your eyes get dry and you need to switch out. 
  • Sunscreen
    • You might be thinking, “we’re not outside”. But you are still being exposed to sun rays so not only should we look out for our eyes but our skin as well. 
  • Stop & enjoy the view when possible.
    • A really smart person once said “It’s not just about the destination, it’s about the journey” (It was Ralph Waldo Emerson if you were wondering). Give your mind and eyes a break from staring at the road & take in some open air. 
  • Simply enjoy your time!

 

Gut Health: What is it & why it matters.

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The human gut microbiome is complex and powerful in impacting our overall health – in a good or bad way depending on how we treat it. A healthy gut contributes to a strong immune system, as well as heart & brain health, boosted mood, healthy sleeping patterns, and an effective digestive tract.

The term gut microbiome refers specifically to the microorganisms living in your intestines. A person has about 300 to 500 different species of bacteria in their digestive tract. While some microorganisms are harmful to our health, many are incredibly beneficial and even necessary to a healthy body.

Signs your gut might be out of whack:

  • Digestive Issues
    • Gas and/or bloating
    • Constipation
    • Irregular bowel movements
  • Mental Issues
    • Like depression, anxiety, and brain fog
  • Vitamin & Mineral Deficiencies
  • Unintential Weight Gains
    • Or struggles managing a healthy weight
  • Chronic Unmanaged Stress
  • Skin Problems
  • Trouble Falling into a Deep Sleep

Ways to improve your gut health: 

  • Improve Eating habits (see below section)
    • Monitor consumption of prebiotics and probiotics
      • If it is a struggle to get enough in your normal diet, consider taking a supplement (address this with your doctor to make sure it is a healthy option for you)
    • Consider food intolerances that upset your gut
  • Stay Hydrated
    • Attempt to get in a recommended amount of water for your body weight
  • Implement a Consistent Sleep Pattern
    • Going to bed and waking up at the same times will help your body & digestive system fall into a flow
  • Reduce Stress
    • This is easy said than done but consider areas of your life that are more stress inducing and consider how you can change this.

A happy gut means a healthy feeling body. A diet rich in immune-supporting probiotic & prebiotic foods will fuel your gut with what it needs for your microbiome to thrive. Probioctic foods contain “good” bacteria or live cultures that are found naturally in your gut. Prebiotic foods nourish the probiotic foods in your digestive tract.

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Probioctic Foods:

  • Greek Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Fermented Foods
    • Kimchi
    • Kombucha
    • Olives
    • Pickled Beets
    • Pickles
    • Sauerkraut
    • Soybeans
  • Grains
    • Sourdough Bread

Prebiotic Foods: 

  • Fruit
    • Berries
    • Bananas
    • Tomatoes
  • Veggies
  • Grains
    • Barley
    • Flaxseeds
    • Oatmeal
    • Wheat
  • Legumes
    • Beans
    • Chickpeas
    • Lentils

Beginning a journey to improve your gut might take a bit, so be patient. Implementing a healthy diet and reducing your stress won’t heal a gut in a day but will begin to detox the gut microbiome of toxins.

But please keep in mind this isn’t an overhaul either! Like I always like to say, life is a balance of healthy habits and periodic indulgences. We want to incorporate healthy habits in our lives so that WE. FEEL. GOOD. but what also feels good…. a fudgy brownie with vanilla ice cream. So definitely implement new healthy habits into your life but don’t deprive yourself!

Stayed tuned for a Morning Routine for a Happy Gut later this week!