I’ve been pretty quiet around here for the last couple weeks since Summer tends to get crazy busy every year and the time just slips right away from me. I’ve been more focused on getting outside while I can and taking full advantage of my free time since I have been teaching multiple yoga classes a week, Barre Teacher Training, and working full time. Fortunately and intentionally my schedule is clearing up finally! My Enneagram type 7 personality is a bit worried to have a more open schedule so of course, I’m already starting to fill it with goals I want to tackle in the upcoming weeks (like organizing my closet and improve my hair care routine).
Which brings me to my post today and my goal for August. I’ve recently dove headfirst back into my passion for running and decided its overdue for me to train for another half marathon so this month’s focus will be about increasing my distance and ultimately covering 100 km (~62 miles). I’m including my rough schedule if anyone else would like to join in!
For the forecast, I’m mapping out a lot more than 100 km to give myself flexibility in case the days I schedule my longer runs I’m just not feeling it. As always, I’m open to any tips and tricks to help complete this monthly goal. Let’s go!
You’ve probably experienced in the last few months. I know I have at least once or twice for an extended period of time. Between work changes, my classes being postponed, scheduled, and rescheduled, finances, car issues, travel plans, and the normal everyday woes, life has been pretty darn stressful lately!
Stress can put a lot of pressure on your stomach and abdomen, and also upset your hormone balance. This stress can also cause digestion issues for food your body normally does not have a problem digesting, leading to discomfort, pain, gas, and bloating. Which gives us that uncomfortably large belly section.
It is first important to determine if your bloating and discomfort is truly from stress or if it is possibly from your diet. If you are aware that your irritable digestive tract and bloating are caused by your diet, then it is important to familiarize yourself and pontentially avoid FODMAPs. If it is not food-related, then it is time to evaluate your daily stress level and what is causing it.
Stress bloating is not as widely discussed and therefore many people have never heard of it. It can be a surprise to some that stress can trigger a physiological reaction. But if you’re under chronic stress, cortisol hormones are constantly dominant and the result is bloating and gas and because the body is not seeing digestion as a priority, the sympathetic system redirects blood flow away from the intestine area and to other parts of the body that seem to “need it more”.
Okay, so now we get it that we’re bloated and gassy. How do we resolve this? Stress management and digestive support.
First determine what is causing you to stress. Is it work-related, money issues, relationship problems, or is simply just watching the daily news. Once you’ve determined the source, assess if you can change anything to reduce your stress. (i.e. Maybe you’re taking on too much responsibility at work)
Check out my post on How To Start Meditating. Stress management definitely starts with our mind set and how we’re choosing to show up to each individual situation in our lives.
When the gut becomes unbalanced with unhealthy levels of certain bacteria, probiotics can help restore the balance. They’ve been shown to secrete protective substances, which may turn on the immune system and prevent pathogens from taking hold and creating major disease.
It might sound counterintuitive to drink more water when retaining water, but drinking water can actually help reduce bloat. Drinking plenty of water helps to naturally flush our systems of excess water and sodium that we might retain
It is important that you are monitoring what you are eating and maintaining a healthy gut.
Physical activity can get the bowels moving more regularly, which can help to release excess gas and stool. Getting the bowels to move is especially important if a person is feeling constipated. A walk around the block can provide fast relief from gas pressure.
Bloat is never fun, but if it is stress bloat start at the source of the stress to reduce the consequences and then add activities and habits into your daily routine to reduce bloating and gas.
I’ve probably seen all the Tiny House Hunters episodes on HGTV and I don’t want to admit how many Tiny Home Instagram accounts I follow. I have a fascination with the minimalistic lifestyle and the fact that you don’t seem too settled down in one place.
I’ve moved a lot growing up and I get asked often if I’m going to “stick around for a while”. I love living in Colorado, my current home, but my soul will always have a longing to continue to explore. I don’t have a huge desire to buy a house, though I do want a backyard for my dog so I’m constantly considering the tiny home lifestyle.
Which brings me to WeeCasa, the tiny home resort in Lyons, CO. In this current state of staying at home this was the perfect get away! My mother had a big birthday coming up at the end of June this year and we knew we would want to celebrate in some way but traveling was pretty much out of the question (and our favorite thing so we were pretty bummed). It was decided that my South Dakota fam would visit me in CO but I selfishly didn’t want another weekend sticking around my apartment. So the great idea to spend a weekend at WeeCasa came to life!
We had the perfect relaxing weekend of grabbing coffee in town, sitting by the river, sipping wine, and going to bed early. The resort is right in the heart of downtown so access to food and activity was in arms reach.
We headed down Friday from Fort Collins after I spent a few hours working. We hit the road around 2 and were making good time to make it to the resort within an hour but had to make a pitstop at Spirit Hound Distillers first. If you are a cocktail person, then this is a must! My mom and I both ordered a Cherry Limade Mule and my sister ordered the Cucumber Coop – both drinks were amazing.
*Forewarning you that everything we ate and drink over this trip did not disappoint in the least 🙂
We then got into Lyons, checked into our tiny home, unpacked, and headed into town to find ourselves some chips & salsa and Margaritas. Which lead us to Mojo Taqueria and some delicious street tacos. We ordered the Roasted Tomatilla Medium salsa for the table and our individual orders which as followed:
A: Watermelon Mint Marg, Tacos – Carnitas & Short Rib
B: House Marg, Tacos – Carnitas & Chicken Tinga
K: Mezcalrita, Tacos – Short Rib & Rajas con Calabazas
After dinner, we stopped at the St. Vrain Market to grab ice cream and baked goodies and spent the evening with some take-home margaritas and boxed wine.
Saturday morning we got up early for a walk into town and stumbled across our new favorite coffee shop The Stone Cup where I ordered the Iced Mexican mocha, my mom had an Iced White Mocha, Kimberly had the Caramello, and we all split a Lemon Blueberry scone. We then hopped around downtown for some shopping, where I found some new great finds at Red Canyon Art Co, grabbed a Santa Fe (Spicy Turkey) and Miami (Tuna) sandwich from the Market, and spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing by the river. Saturday’s dinner was probably my favorite meal of the week at the Pizza Bar 66. We took recommendations from our waitress and ordered the ravioli (because we are from STL), cheesy garlic sticks, and the Gonzo pizza (add pinneapple). Everything tasted so delicious and especially alongside two bottles of chilled Sauv Blanc wine. The rest of the evening we simply relaxed outside our tiny home in lawn chairs and chatted with our tiny home neighbors.
On our last morning, we woke up and packed up the vehicle before heading back into town to grabbed coffee at The Stone Cup again. This time we all ordered Cold Brews with Sweet Cream and were very bummed we can’t have those every day now! We then headed out of Lyons into Longmont, CO for lunch and shopping. It was such a nice, relaxing weekend and just a short drive from Fort Collins that I honestly can’t wait to go back and try out my next tiny home at the resort!
I’ve talked about this brand a few times but I am a huge fan of Four Sigmatic! A company that started in Finland, which focuses on providing plants and mushrooms through drink form. So you don’t have to go to the forest to consume exotic mushrooms for the health benefits!
I learned of this brand like I learn about many, through a referral from a friend which is why I wanted to share about them and my favorite items in a post. It’s also perfect timing because they are having one of their (very few)huge sales right now with up to 50% off on some items.
Here is an explanation of Four Sigmatic in their words:
“Four Sigmatic foods are the 100 most nutrient dense, most studied foods on the planet. And now they’re easy to add to your daily routines. We’re making these foods as easy as possible to eat and use and talk about. Because the world is asking more of you. Of everyone. We’d all feel a lot better doing that work if we got off the hamster wheel of coffee jitters and hangovers and sugar highs.”
My favorite items:
Cacao Mix with Reishi: By far my all-time fav four sig products. Reishi mushroom is meant to relax so it is a perfect before-bed sipper.
Chai Latte Mix w/ Turkey Tail & Reishi: Another great drink for bedtime is the chai latte with reishi and turkey tail, which is a stress-reliever mushroom. If you’re a chai latte fan, it is definitely not as sweet as you’re used to. I like to mix this one with almond or coconut milk.
Mushroom Elixir Mix with Lion’s Mane: Lion’s Mane mushroom will help with focus on the days where your brain just wants to be all over the place. I love this option for a mid-morning pick-me-up before lunchtime hits.
Mushroom Elixir Mix with Chaga: Who doesn’t love a good extra defense for your immune system? The Chaga mushroom helps with overall wellness which makes it a great option for when those sneaky colds start to come up.
Next up in my natural beauty journey is Ilia, another brand I was introduced to by a friend. I was intrigued by this brand originally to test out the natural mascara. I’m already very picky about my makeup but mascara is at the top of the list because it is hard to come across a good one.
I was skeptical at first since it is so hard to find a good mascara but I am definitely impressed. This mascara provides length and volume as well as an even coat across my lashes. The only thing I wasn’t so happy about is this product does run slightly under the eyes but I’ll chalk that up to the recent humidity.
I read an article recently stating that SPF in make-up really doesn’t cover the face enough to actually protect you acurately from UV rays so we’ll ignore this element. Beside that, I was very happy with the coverage of this product. I’m a huge fan of BB cream so this seems like it would be a nice replacement.
Love! The Lip Conditioner is probably my favorite item out of the batch. Most days I don’t wear a ton of color on my lips but this was a nice inbetween of chapstick and lipstick – mosturizing, light, with just the right hint of color. I will definitely be ordering additional colors!
I used the product the least but it isn’t because I wasn’t a fan. I typically don’t wear much on my cheeks and don’t prefer glossy lip coverage so I’m just not use to a product like this. Post-quarantine I think I’ll get more use out of this item and it will be fun to whip out on dates or nights out dancing.
Overall, Ilia will be an consistently brand on my daily makeup routine and I’m really happy with the mascara, serum skin tint, and lip conditioner. I’d love to hear if you have any Ilia favorites!
I took a bit of time to step away for some self-growth work through reading, education, and movement and girl, do I feel good now. It also might be these amazing chicken enchiladas recipe I enjoyed over the weekend. Let’s make this one simple so you can get right into the beef (or chicken) of this post.
8 Flour Tortillas
4 cups cooked + shredded Chicken
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
1 (10-ounce) can red Enchilada Sauce
2 tbsp Taco Seasoning
1 tbsp Onion Powder
2 tsp Cumin
1/8 tsp Garlic Powder
3 tbsp Butter
3 tbsp Flour
1 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
1 large Yellow Onion, diced +sauteed
1 (7.5 ounce) can diced Green Chilies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease a 9×13 baking pan. Mix chicken, sauteed onion, seasoning, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, and 1 cup cheese. Add enchilada sauce.
Spoon mixture into tortillas, dividing evenly throughout the 8. Roll up tortillas and place in pan seam side down.
In a sauce pan, melt butter, stir in flour, and cook for one minute. Add broth and whisk until smooth. Heat over medium heat until thick and bubbly; stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in greek yogurt, 1 cup cheese, and chilies. Do not bring to boil; you do not want the yogurt to curdle. Pour over enchiladas and top with remaining cheese.
Bake for 24 minutes and broil for final 3 minutes or until cheese on top begins to brown.
You might be thinking… this doesn’t sound very healthy? And it isn’t, but it’s delicious and sometimes that’s all that matters!
I will be muting on this platform until for a few days to make space for resources and information to be shared. I strongly believe we all have a voice that can be used no matter the size of your following. That voice can be used to spread positivity and light.
Here are a few great resources to dive into:
White Fragility by Robin Diangelo
Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria by Beverly Daniel Talum, PhD
How To Be AntiRacist by Ibram X. Kendi
Places to Donate:
National BLM Fund
Black Visions Collective
Communities United Against Police Brutality
NYC Black Mutual Aid
People to follow:
Check Your Privilege
I did not link any of these resources because this is a post solely on the spread of information and not meant for any promotion for this blog. If you are having any issues finding these resources, let me know and I will personally send you the link. If you would like to open up further discussion, I am also here.
I’ve been holding onto this post for a while. It hasn’t felt like the right time to publish it until now.
The world will constantly be a combination of good and bad. And man, does it feel like there is a lot of heavy situations going on lately. But I’m here to tell you that there is a lotof good in this world as well. I know it might not feel that way as we watch the news, listen to the radio, or scroll through our social media feeds lately. But we can always focus on the good in the world and there are always good things to focus on.
Read that last sentence again.
A baby is being born, a close friend gets engaged, a family member beats cancer, or it’s simply sunny and beautiful outside. If you’ve been around here a while you know I’m also one to tell you not to bury your emotions but there is a way to process your emotions and turn those heavier feelings into something to be grateful for. I’ve been re-reading Tim Desmond’s ‘How To Stay Human In a F*cked Up World‘. I purchased it this last fall when I was going through a very difficult time period. For most people, sometimes it feels imposible to get through certain situations in life but personally, I find enlightenment in focusing on progress, even if it is the tiniest step of progression. So I purchased this book and it continues to be one of my staples I pull off the shelf and skim through.
Desmond mentions that ‘bringing up pain and holding it with compassion leads to transformation’. You can sit with this said pain through meditation but another way is gratitude journaling. I’m a big fan of journaling as a practice to process emotions, make decisions, and work through trama. I’m also a big fan of gratetitude journaling for difficult times so you don’t feel the world is weighing down so much on you.
Below is a few prompts that can help start a gratitude journaling practice. All you need is a pen and paper then allow the prompts to guide you in topics to write about. Not only does gratitude journaling take your mind off negative or impactful thoughts but it allows you to focus on things that will bring your mind enjoyment and actively releases stress and tension from the body.
Someone you are grateful for
A food you are grateful for
A place you really love
A treasured experience
A skill you are grateful for
A teacher or mentor who made a large impact in your life
A trip you love to look back on
A meal or dessert you can’t get enough of
Your favorite birthday or holiday memory
Your favorite books you’ve read
A lesson you learn that made an impact
Your favorite movies
Your favorite smells
Someone who believes in you
Your favorite place
Your favorite pet
A activity you love to do
Music that makes you happy to listen to
Something that relaxes you
An activity that makes you feel alive
Your favorite memory from your childhood
A goal you’ve achieved
A person who makes you laugh
An answered prayer
Something you’ve created that makes you feel proud
Another way to start a gratitude journaling practice is to purchase a guided journal. My favorite brand is Ink & Volt. There are also endless options across Amazon and what I love is that you can find different options for women, men, and even teens and children.
I hope you enjoy your gratitude journaling practice & I would love to hear how it impacts your life!
How many times have I shared this dish on my Instagram? Way too many, that’s for sure. So it’s about time I give more details on how to make it since I’m so obsessed. It started with a Hello Fresh meal which I have a tendency to start up when I’m going through a slump with new cooking ideas. This recipe just stuck, clearly.
The Mediterranean Chicken Couscous dish is very filling with refreshing, nuritioning ingredients. It’s a meal I have about once a week if I know I have a big day the next day and will need to feel energized. It also makes good left-overs if you eat within the following 2-3 days.
1 Chicken breast
2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 tsp Zatar Seasoning
2/3 cup Coucous
3/4 cup Cherry Tomatoes
2 cloves Garlic
1 tsp Dill
1 tbsp Plain Greek Yogurt
1 tsp Lemon Juice
Preheat over to 350 degrees
Line a pan with a piece of foil, slice tomatoes in half, place in pan topped with olive oil, garlic, and half the dill. Cook in the oven for ~15 minutes.
While roasting tomatoes, boil chicken in a medium pot on high on top of the stove.
In another medium pot, heat a drizzle of olive oil on high. Once hot, pour in coucous and let cook until browned. Boil with 1 1/2 cups of water until couscous is thoroughly cooked.
Once chicken is thoroughly cooked through, take out of the pot and shredded. Pour out water and rinse pan. Place shredded chicken back in the pot cook on medium for 4-5 more minutes with balsamic vinegar and zatar seasoning.
In a small bowl, combine greek yogurt, 1 tsp water, remaining dill, and lemon juice. Stir until consitency is creamy.
Place cooked couscous, chicken, and tomatoes in bowl and top with feta cheese and yogurt creama.
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:
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!
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.
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.You can use code PRIMALLYASHRAE at checkout for 10% your order. All support is more than greatly appreciated 🙂 I’m also here to share my thoughts on any specific product or my other favorite brands.