Making The Most Of Sleepless Nights

It’s early in the morning, but too early for the rest of the world to be up and it’s becoming apparent that my restful beauty sleep has concluded for the night – which has become somewhat familiar, but always discomforting.

What do I do with these extra hours? Mind you, lack of sleep is not at all rejuvenating or relaxing, so sometimes these extra hours often come as a stressor and not very ‘productive.’

In the past, these nights have left me cranky, exhausted, irritable, sensitive and stressed, which, to be frank, I’m quickly getting over!

Instead of being drab about the experience, I’ve decided to embrace it and make the most of these supposed-to-be-restful hours. Although computers and cell phones are easy temptresses, they are too stimulating for the wee hours, especially if there are hopes of dozing before the rest of the world wakes.

Here are a few methods I practice that have helped in the coping process of sleeplessness and to reign in on a more ideal sleep schedule.

  • Meditate/Visualizing/Yoga Nidra/Breathing Techniques. One of the first things I’ve been doing lately is meditating when I can’t sleep. It immediately helps with any anxiety that is creeping in and at the very least puts me in a more positive, grounded, conscious state. I like guided meditations for the middle of the night because I don’t have to think. I can just listen and follow along and hopefully drift away while listening to the soothing voice of the guide… Visualizing helps manifest the things I am calling into my life (like this blog, my lovely & wonderful clients, opportunities for growth, etc…) Give it a try. Similar to meditating, breathing slows my heart rate and allows me to connect to my body more. Am I short of breath, am I breathing too fast? Once I become aware of how my breathing is and how I can control it makes me feel safe, comforted and very much in control!
  • A little puff puff… Hey, it’s legal in California! Make sure it’s indica for the evening – think ‘in-da-couch or the ‘downer’. For those in the legal states, go to your local dispensary and ask for something specifically for relaxation. I got a pen labeled ‘sleep’ and so far it seems to be helping – I’ve heard CBD oil is great for this purpose, so it’s on my to-buy list. Stay tuned; as I will definitely give the 411 once I give it a try.
  • Get out of bed. I’ve been going out on the couch or living room to meditate, read, write, stretch, listen to podcasts/books on tape, or try to sleep in a different room. The bed and bedroom are supposed to be dedicated for sleeping. Many experts express the importance of the bed/bedroom being for sleeping and not for other activities – minus the obvious fun one. In particular, try not to meditate in bed.
  • Essential Oils. I invested in a couple diffusers and balms that I just looove! At the very least I feel calm with the relaxing aromas. Take a look here for the best essential oils for sleeping.
  • Make yourself a cup of hot/warm non-caffeinated tea. Lemon, chamomile, ginger or another calming herbal tea. I find this very comforting and relaxing – which is exactly the point!
  • Crystal power! While laying down, sometimes I will hold one of my large crystals. Whether you believe in them or not, they’re supposed to promote positive, healing energy to flow into the body as negative, obstructing and disease-causing energy flows out. Works for me!

And of course with anything, the bad advice that I don’t recommend but can’t say I haven’t tried…booze, sleeping pills, Nyquil & the like. Just don’t make a habit of these because dependency to stuff like this is not great and you are putting unnatural & toxic chemicals in your body that can have adverse affects.

So, if you’ve been having some sleeping issues like me, try these and let me know what’s worked for you or if there’s something else that I need to give a whirl. If you’ve been following my other articles, you’ll find The Dreaded Sleepless Night, which discusses getting to the root of not sleeping versus just coping in the moment.

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The Dreaded Sleepless Night

I roll over and see the glow of the clock reading 3:12 AM and I immediately feel my heart beat start to quicken.

I’ve been tossing and turning for hours and my mind is racing with a whole host of things like the business that will bring me millions, traveling to foreign lands, the spelling test that I cheated on in the third grade, the errands and to-do lists for tomorrow, or if I should have sold the crypto currency I bought when it was high…

But everything changes when I see the numbers on the clock. The ideas for business ideas get pushed aside and now all I can think about is how non-functional I will be tomorrow with only three hours of sleep when I’m already running extremely low in the sleep department. How am I going to accomplish any of my goals if I don’t have the energy or the mental capacity to focus?

The panic starts to set in…

Calm down, just breathe. In for four breathes, hold for seven, and out for eight. And repeat. I start to calm myself down from a mini breakdown of exhaustion (which has ended many times in hour-long sobs).

Lack of sleep is NO JOKE and it’s been a real struggle. Is this what being an adult is like? Is this some sort of joke the universe is playing on me? “Um, hello, Universe, I thought you were aware but I don’t have kids yet!” Or is there some sort of imbalance causing me to stay awake?

I know for sue that this is NOT the life I’m supposed to be living with scant sleep, tired eyes and a short fuse. I’m going to take a Hard Pass and refuse to have sleepless nights dictate my days anymore.

So, what’s the holdup?

In a recent life coaching session, I was told that I am sleep walking thru the day, doing my tasks without thinking about them and not quite feeling fully purposeful in the day. However, at night my mind is scheming exciting adventures to live and experience. It seems I have swapped my days and nights. So, I’ve vowed to myself to scheme up exciting adventures and actually doing them during the day and the night is for sleep to rest, restore & renew and my mind will be satisfied with the day. Basically my body/mind is telling me at night that the life I’m living during the day is not the life that is intended for me. I’m meant for something else.

Um right, okay… So, where do I start and what do I change?

I guess the old saying has a good point; you have to change something in your life if you want your life to change…

Starting point: I’ve made a vow to myself (with the help of my trusty life coach) to take charge and bring into my life the things that will satisfy my wants and desires. Starting with adventure.

I’ve made a couple small changes to bring some immediate adventure into my life by going to new coffee shops to work instead of working from home, getting crafty with date nights (think comedy clubs, art shows, sounds baths, live music, beach walks, sunset picnics, bringing friends along and more) and the most obvious, planning more getaways, near and far.

Long term, I can even be more adventurous with my business (ahem, using this blog as a source of adventure!) or finally start selling my products at the farmers market until they’re a massive success and are in stores everywhere (the start the manifesting process).

It’s only been about a week since this realization of a life change and good news; Longer and deeper sleep…for the most part.

So, my advice to everyone is if you notice something not going well in your life, something that is maybe keeping you up at night, or causing unwanted stress or anxiety –  YOU ABSOLUTELY HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE IT. Listen to your body and hear the message that something is not quite working.

With everything, change takes time. The sooner you realize that an adjustment needs to happen, the sooner you can make the transformation. It might come naturally or you might have to put some real elbow grease into navigating the root of the problem.

Stay tuned for my revamping breakthroughs and if you feel like sharing, I’d love to hear any challenges, progress and/or success you have had when you’ve realized that a life revision needs to happen.

Happy Sleeping.

Clean Air, Don’t Care

Imagine yourself in the mountains. It’s a clear morning, birds are chirping, the air is crisp and clean and you’re surrounded by trees, wild flowers and greenery as far as the eye can see…away from any smog or pollution and everything artificial. You pause and take a deep breath of that clean mountain air.

Ahhhh! So refreshing, right?

But let’s face it; clean mountain air just isn’t in the cards for all of us, especially us big city folk.

But alas, clean air is not impossible!

We cannot control the cleanliness of all the air we breathe but we can absolutely have a hand in the air we breathe in our home. Here are a five things to add or swap that will make a big difference in air care quality assurance in your home (or office).

  1. Change your household cleaning products to natural ones. Dish soap, counter top sprays, air misters, body washes and more can contain unnatural chemicals that get into the air when used – and when we breathe those chemicals get into our lungs and are awaiting to being transported around our bodies. There are so many choices for natural products at the markets and easy recipes for DIY cleaning products; it’s just about making that change. Start by replacing the next empty item with an eco and air friendly version of what you’re already using. Get crafty with white vinegar, lemon juice, essential oils and/or baking soda for DIY products.
  2. Add some plants around the house. Plants are amazing at filtering the air and a turning carbon dioxide into oxygen…hello 7th grade science class! Plus, having plants in the house will be sure to boost your mood. Don’t forget to show them love by talking or touching them…nobody will judge you if you name them either! Check out this article for the best houseplants for cleaning the air. https://greatist.com/connect/houseplants-that-clean-air/amp.
  3. Filter your air. Last year there were fires all around the LA area and it was hard to get away from that smokiness. Going outside was
  4. Think twice about those scented candles & air fresheners you use when company is over. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency most store bought air fresheners contain formaldehyde, petrochemicals, p-dichlorobenzene & aerosol pollutants. Candles can have heavy metals in the wicks not to mention the chemicals that are released in the air from the wax itself like benzene and toluene that have been known to cause damage tot eh brain, lung and nervous system that is, um… BAD FOR YOUR BODY! Ever walk by a store that carries cheap scented candles and you get an instant headache? Don’t worry; there are plenty of natural options! Organic & natural candles are the way to go. Wild Beautiful Free and Diptuque are great choices for candles, to name a few. If you don’t have a diffuser, I highly recommend it for using essential oils. And a very inexpensive way to add scent to your home without any harm is to burn incense, palos santos or sage.
  5. Open your windows. Air can get stuffy and stagnant inside. Get some airflow by opening up your windows or cracking a door for a little bit of freshness.

It’s no mountain air, but it is a step in the right direction! Happy breathing.

 

 

The Great Tampon Debate

I have actually never heard of anyone getting this until my partner, who asked to be referred to as ‘my cowboy’ (insert expressionless face emoji) asked me if I know of TSS, AKA Toxic Shock Syndrome, and if I’m taking the right precautions. The obvious question, “Where did you hear those words and who have you been talking to?” He looked concerned and I looked at him with funny, laughable eyes.

He happened to come across an article while swiping thru the news on his phone about some celebrity speaking out about TSS and bringing attention to the subject. At first, I was like, “okay, she obviously left her tampon in too long or some other irresponsible thing that celebrities do,” (judging, of course)….

Well, it got me thinking that I have actually been noticing natural brands of tampons in my gym and in Instagram ads– and then it got me thinking if some brands are labeling themselves as natural then have the regular tampons I’ve been using my ENTIRE LIFE been unnatural? ­­­

As it turns out, non-organic, AKA your Tampax, Kotex, Playtex, etc., tampons are made of cotton, rayon and other synthetic fibers – and then some other ingredients like dyes, fragrances, odor neutralizers and other chemicals that the FDA doesn’t require manufactures to put on the label because tampons are “medical devices.” Um, what?!

The cotton is non-organic and likely sprayed with Round Up (pesticides) – which is a known cancer-causing agent and rayon contains trace amounts of dioxins from the bleaching process (which the FDA also approves of, of course). And we are just supposed to put this in our vajayjays every four weeks with no questions asked? (Scoff!)

So what did I do? I went to Costco, of course, and bought three commercial size boxes of organic tampons – I may have gone overboard and probably didn’t need 300 tampons, but they were on sale and I was being dramatic with the point that I will not put chemicals and toxins in my vagina!

There’s quite a few articles debating the subject but in an instance like this, I’d rather be safe than sorry, especially in a place my body that is can absorb so much (no pun intended).

Here are a couple of articles that on each side of the fence and you can make up your own mind.

Pro Organic Tampons: https://goop.com/wellness/sexual-health/are-tampons-toxic/

Against Organic Tampons: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kavinsenapathy/2017/06/28/everyone-calm-down-about-chemicals-in-tampons/#7b7cde515f00

And here are a few organic tampons on the market. I’m sure your local health store will have organic and you can find the one that works with you!

Rael: https://amzn.to/2Lngsqk

Cora: https://amzn.to/2M2zCD1

Organyc: https://amzn.to/2sAp6dV

7th Generation: https://amzn.to/2kP3Gp5

 

Vanilla Tigernut Birthday Cake

Did you know there are cakes out there that you can wholeheartedly and guiltlessly enjoy? Yep, it’s, like, a REAL thing! I know what you’re thinking, “Aren’t cakes are filled with tons junk? ” Also, yep! They usually have all the bad stuff that we hate to love – processed sugars, flours, preservatives (from boxed goods), and all sorts of other unnecessary ingredients.

After looking at hundreds of cake recipes throughout and after culinary school, I recognized that most cake recipes require CUPS of sugar. After a while, this just started to makes my insides cringe and twist – I just recently read that the average American person consumes over 150 pounds of sugar every year! EEEK!!  Eventually, I got to thinking. Why can’t there be a delicious cake out there for those who don’t want to have all that sugar? Why aren’t there cakes out there that don’t require gluten or processed wheat flour? After all, cakes are often used in joyful celebrations and special occasions, so shouldn’t cake be something we can enjoy eating without the regret afterwards?

It seemed reasonable to come up with a special recipe that would take into account dietary restrictions/preferences while still being absolutely delicious. After a few weeks of playing in my kitchen, I finally came up with a recipe that optimizes enjoyment without the guilt! The greatest part about it is that I used tigernut flour, which is a  root vegetable (not a nut, despite the name) and is gluten-free. I substituted processed sugar for the sweet taste of maple syrup and opted out of dairy too because it can equally be a troublesome culprit for bodily inflammation and digestive problems.

Are you getting excited yet? Well, here goes.. a tigernut, coconut oil and maple syrup cake that is gluten-free, refined-sugar-free, and dairy-free. Time to indulge!

The recipe below makes ONE 8” cake. While making this very special cake for a friend, I made a three layer cake and tripled the ingredients on the recipe list.

Cake ingredients:

  • 2 ½ c tigernut flour (can sub almond flour)
  • ½ t baking soda
  • ½ t Himalayan salt
  • 2 free range eggs
  • ¼ c coconut oil, melted (grass-fed butter would be a nice sub)
  • ½ c maple syrup
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • organic berries for topping/layering
  • flowers for topping (optional)

Frosting ingredients:

  • 1-2 regular can of organic coconut cream cooled in the fridge overnight*
  • splash of maple syrup
  • splash of vanilla extract

Method:

Preheat oven to 350˚ and line/grease pans. This is for an 8” cake.

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and give a quick mix. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, and then add the rest of the wet ingredients. Combine the bowls. Separate the batter evenly to baking pans and cook for about 25 minutes, or until done and toothpick comes out clean.

Wait for the cake to cool for at least 10-15 minutes to take it out of the tin. Wait until the cake is fully cooled (not warm!) before you frost. If the cake is warm, the frosting will melt very quickly as it’s made from coconut.

For the frosting, place mixing bowl and whisk in the freezer for at least 5 minutes. Take just the cream out of the can which will be at the very top and use the watery part for another purpose (smoothies?). Pour the coconut cream in the cold mixing bowl and whip until it’s light and fluffy. Sweeten with a splash of maple syrup and vanilla extract.

Decorate by topping the cake with the coconut cream, berries and flowers.

*If you forgot to put the coconut cream in the fridge, put it in an ice bath for at least 20 minutes. It gets very cold quickly and won’t freeze like it would if you try to put it in the freezer. Also, I like to make extra so that I have plenty to work with, and have some extra if possible for dipping other fruit in.

 

DIY Facial Toner

I know I’m not alone when I say that I love facial products – or maybe I’m just obsessed with making sure my skin looks great!

Creams or cleansers, masks or mists, serums or scrubs…they’re all so fun to experiment with and don’t you love when you find one that just makes your skin glow? When I find a product that supports my skin health, I really feel like a responsible adult! 

I just read somewhere that the average American woman will spend $300,000 over her lifetime on facial products. What?! That’s insane! I like to think I could and should spend some of that money on other things. So, as much as I do LOVE face products I decided to create a DIY facial toner that checks all the boxes – safe, natural, and easy on the wallet. I’ve been using (and loving) this DIY toner over the last year and thought I’d share it with you today.

All you need is rosewater (I like this one), which hazel (I like this brand) apple cider vinegar, aka ACV, (like this) and a combination of your favorite essential oils (check here for what works for your skin needs). Make sure you use products that do not contain any other chemicals and ideally organic. The apple cider vinegar should be unfiltered and contain the mother – it is this substance that contains active ingredients to boost your overall health and wellbeing. The mother is alive and abundant with beneficial bacteria and nutrients.

Why use this toner?

Rosewater and ACV help maintain a healthy pH (at least 5.5+) that often gets out of whack with our environment, diet and other facial products that contain unnatural chemicals. Both rosewater and ACV are anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial that help with acne, redness and scarring. They both help clean pores, even skin tone, and I hear even help with shrinking the pores (yes, please!).

ACV helps with fine lines as it acts as somewhat of a mild exfoliator and even helps lighten up those pesky sunspots!

Witch hazel has been used centuries because its strong antioxidant and astringent properties are fab for nixing the bacteria that lives within skin’s pores, stopping cellular damage, thus prevents the signs of aging and speeds up the healing process for when something does pop up.

I’m sure by now you’ve heard at least some of the amazing benefits of essential oils – if not, where have you been!?

The only downside is that the ACV is a taaad vinegary and may take a few days to get used to. However, the smell goes away quickly and you many learn to even like it since you’ll be on your way to beautiful, glowing skin! 

P.S. definitely use after an at-home facial/mask when the pores are squeaky clean. It’ll help close, protect and hydrate the pores for a beautiful, glowing look.

How To Make Your DIY Toner:

I like to mix 2 parts rosewater, 2 parts witch hazel, 1 part apple cider vinegar and 20-40 drops of skin-friendly essential oils for my concoction. I also like to use a glass bottle instead of plastic to hold my tonic.

Start with 1/2 cup of rosewater, 1/2 cup of witch hazel, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar and your oils. Pour into the glass bottle. Place the lid on and shake softly to get the solution fully mixed. Bam – you’re done!

This recipe makes enough to last at least a few months using 2-5 spritzes in the morning and night, or if you need a mid-day refresher.

I recommend spritzing on a clean face, before any other products for a happy face! 

Detox in the Morning With This

Those who know me personally know that being healthy (mind, body and spirit) is extremely important to me. It sounds silly, but this is the body I have right now, and I want to be good to it. The more knowledge I gain on how food, stress, exercise and even intention setting effects the body, especially on a cellular level, the more I practice these techniques for myself. Some of this information has taken me years to learn and I want to share as much of this knowledge with the people around me. Naturally, I’ve surrounded myself with like-minded people – it’s so important to do this to have a support system and have friends to encourage you to be your best self. Hence, why I am sharing this with you! We are all different so what works for me, may not work for you, but with the information, you can make up your own mind!

This year, I am committed to sharing my knowledge, hoping that you will take what works for you and have it become part of your ritual. Some will be recipes, articles, tips and/or questions to think about for you.

Tip one: don’t overwhelm yourself! We often put expectations on ourselves that can be daunting and feel like a chore versus a choice, adding more stress, ugh! January is often a time to map out the year and set intentions, often lofty, which has probably lost some steam by now. For example, going to the gym 5 days at 6AM for an hour before work…and when we only go 3 times, it’s a “failure.” I’ve recently heard on a couple of podcasts say a better strategy is aiming for 3 days a week for 30 minutes (because we’ll probably stay longer than 30 minutes anyways) and feeling the SUCCESS.! And if that turns into 5 days a week, another success, woo hoo! We feel great – not only for hitting are goals, but even surpassing it. SO, lets lower our goals a little, get some success going and those feel-good feelings, and raise your baseline a little at a time. Seems manageable, right?

So in keeping up with my own advice, and instead of feeling overwhelmed by the thought of all this work that has to go into sending out a newsletter, my tip for the day is to start your morning off with hot lemon water. Cold water often shocks the body first thing in the morning and causes our insides to tense up and work hard first thing in the morning to warm the water up to body temperature. Show some love to your body by taking some of the internal work off the checklist, at least for your first cup of water. And because we’re all drinking water first thing in the morning, right?!

The fresh lemon added to the water acts as a detoxifier. Even though lemons are acidic in nature, once they get into your body, they actually help alkalize the body and bring it back to a more balanced ph. Most people’s diets are highly acidic, so drinking hot (or warm) lemon water will help balance out the body, especially on an empty stomach, i.e., first thing in the morning. Easy peasy!

P.S. drinking lemon water first thing is so important for a mini daily detox and drinking lemon water, or having lemon throughout the day can also be helpful. But try not to overdue it so much that you get sick of it and don’t want to do it in the morning, because morning lemon water is muy importante!