Before we get crafty, let's get real. The world is densely overpopulated at 7.1 billion of us roaming the planet. With more people comes a greater need for resources. Said by the brilliant animal rights activist Philip Wollen, "The Earth can produce enough for everyone's need. But not enough for everyone's greed." Climate change, deforestation, world hunger, pollution and wars on resources ravage the planet that is home to all beings. This year, let's get smart and let's get GREEN to help do our part in bettering the world for ourselves and future generations. Find your very own Earth Day survival kit below, with tips to help you stay on Mother Earth's good side.
"Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land." Aldo Leopold
Take a Hike! There is no other remedy like retreating into nature for a few hours to change setting. Being amidst the grandeur of nature and its beautiful forms has an amazing way of broadening your perspective to see the things cluttering our lives are very small, insignificant even. Fresh air, exercise and the sound of silence have immense healing and grounding properties.
Create a Vision Board. Heck, throw a vision board party. Gather your closest buddies, grab a few stacks of old magazines, pick up some foam boards and start gluing. Don't forget the wine. But seriously, creating a vision board is a great way to literally design your dream world, and it really gets the creative manifesting juices flowing.
Don't hate, meditate. You don't have to be in a yoga class or a temple to get quiet, silence the mind, and tap into your inner eye. Start with a 10 minute mediation in the morning or before you go to bed and watch your days transform. I prefer sitting on the ground, cross legged, eyes closed with soft music or silence. Natural or dim light preferred. I start quieting the mind by "following my breath." Follow the stream of breath flowing deeply in, and stretching all the way out. Once you clear that mental space, you're open to receiving light and good energy.
Disconnect from your electronics
When we're constantly looking down at our phones, we miss the beautiful world around us. I challenge you to disconnect from your phone for one whole day. If that's too easy, try three! I've done this a few times in the past and every time, I learn something new about myself and about the hold that my iPhone has on me. What stood out to me most was the growing amount of anxiety I had from a lack of constant updates. I felt like I was so out of the loop, disconnected and alienated from knowing what everyone was doing every second of the day! Our phones are a huge part of communication with the outside world, but can take us so far away from our immediate surroundings. Find gratitude in the simple things.
Make time every day to journal
When you say you don't have time, you probably need this the most. Sitting down to journal always reminds me that I have the final say in where I spend my time. Taking a moment to jot down a thought or two, or to vent about something alive in you has a very special and magical effect on the mind. When in doubt, write it down!
Do a 3-day juice cleanse
There is something very transforming and regenerative about juice cleanses; some having to with the juice itself, but a lot to do with the act of committing and letting go. Juice cleanses are great because they flush the body of toxins and reset the digestive system. Juicing takes incredible discipline, but once you've surrendered to the cleanse, you will feel a sense of humble and wholeness.
Clean, dust, organize, reset your living spaces
While running around all day like a chicken with my head cut off, I catch myself leaving piles of rubbish in my wake. Instead of keeping tidy as I go like a normal person, I go through binges of cleaning, dusting, organizing and resetting about once a week. Usually on Sundays, I will wake up with a cup of coffee and get started on my room, closet, bathroom, and main living spaces if I have time. It's important that my bed sheets are fluffy, fresh and neatly made, that my desk is free of paper clutter and that my bed side table holds only the necessary items: photograph of me and my Dad, a candle and a few crystals. Anything else can happily find a home in a drawer or cabinet! De-cluttering creates space for you to breathe and exercise full movement, without feeling cramped physically or energetically. Studies show that a clean and clutter free room reduces stress!
With the end of the semester around the corner and summer calling my name, my life tends to go into overdrive around this time every year. Between planning the rest of the year out, planning the rest of my life out, and staying afloat in work and school, it's easy to get stuck in the weeds of STRESS during the most beautiful time of the year. Over the past few years, I've learned to get a handle on stress so that I can be my best self and not let stress take over my life.
Stay in the NOW! Last summer, a friend lent me Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment" and it changed my life. The message of the book is simple: living in the present moment will transform your life for the better. This amazing read has reminded me on countless occasions to get out of my head and just be grateful for that moment. In the hustle and bustle of planning, take a break to appreciate what's going on right now.
Get enough sleep. It seems counterintuitive that when you're caught up in an endless to do list, you should drop everything for a cat nap. Sleep is essential for a person's health and well-being and is a huge part of limiting your stress. Often times, when your body doesn't seem to be functioning at optimum level, you may just need to get some Z's to regenerate and rest.
Take time to check in. Every six months or so, I take a couple hours to sit down to write down my short and long term goals (personal, health, and career-wise). When you're starting to feel overwhelmed by your tasks, check in with these goals to make sure the things you're doing every day are in line with your long term vision. Be a person of your own design.
Surround yourself with people that support you and want to see you do well. As much as I think of myself as a one-woman show, there are countless individuals in my life that I owe all of my success to. Surround yourself with people who have similar goals as you, who will remind you of the bigger picture and push you every day to be great.
Take time everyday to regroup, get grounded and retreat. Everyone has different ways of doing this. Some let off steam at the gym. Some like to meditate and focus on their breath. I have found that my happy place to re-center myself is through yoga. I started my practice a few years ago and since then it has been a crucial part of my life. I encourage everyone to take the time to try out a class at your local yoga studio.
Don't know where to start? Here are a list of my favorite studios on the West Side!
Yoga Salt. Of all the studios I've tried in the area, Yoga Salt is by far my favorite. The classes are mostly all levels, which makes it easy to bring some of my friends that haven't had much experience doing yoga. The studio is simple, bright and welcoming. Located at 11955 Washington Blvd. in Culver City.
YogaWorks. One piece of advice: Bring a towel. YogaWorks is no joke and will leave you feeling sore, sweaty, and like a true yogi. With locations in Santa Monica, Playa Vista and El Segundo, finding the right class for my schedule is always easy.
Yoga Vista. Located right in Playa Vista, this small vinyasa studio provides a variety of classes that are accessible for all levels and are taught by truly incredible teachers. Being located right by Whole Foods is also a plus.
Hot 8. Right next to the Promenade in Santa Monica, you can easily get your sweat on after a long day of shopping. Hot 8 will leave you feeling refreshed, detoxed and slightly euphoric. Hot yoga isn't for everyone, but is worth working up a sweat for. Also located right next to Nekter juice bar, another plus.
Please pass along your favorite ways to de-stress in the comments! Also, let us know any of your favorite yoga studios if we've missed any. Namaste, yogis.
Located in the heart of Culver City, Sage is by far my favorite plant-based joint on the West Side. The rustic style bistro has a brilliant way of converting classic comfort foods into yummy vegan masterpieces.
This vegan oasis is exquisite to say the least. From the bright dining room to the breathtaking back patio and garden, eating at this gem is truly an experience. Chef Matthew Kenney combines raw and cooked plant-based items to form a flawless menu. Favorites include the almond burrata special with citrus, and the ravioli.
Being my very first vegan experience in LA, Cafe G has a special place in my heart. The seasonally driven and ever-elvolving menu never disappoints. The dishes are fun and original plays on classic items like pizza, burgers and salads. Word to the wise: DON'T skip out on the brownie dessert.
4. Fala Bar
Fala Bar is my not-so-guilty pleasure burger joint. One of the toughest parts about being vegan is grabbing a quick bite somewhere. This little place on Abbot Kinney was the answer to my plant-based prayers. Comforting without the guilt, you can find THE perfect balance of flavor and freshness in every bite. Kale-falafel burger and sweet potato fries. I'll say no more.
This Abbot Kinney sanctuary literally pulls you in from the street with its bright, airy and whimsical ambiance and the food seals the deal. Vegan breakfast pizza, avocado toast, hand crafted pastries, the list goes on. Whether you're looking for a sit down brunch with an old friend or just dropping in to grab a juice, The Butcher's Daughter is taking up real-estate on your foodie bucket list.
Looks like ice cream. Tastes like ice cream. Feels like whole, organic, clean yumminess. Made with coconut cream, Kippy's non-dairy ice cream shop truly is a trip to vegan paradise. There's nothing like surrendering to some double dark chocolate with magic shell and cacao nibs. Treat yourself, treat your soul.
"The Gods created certain kinds of beings to replenish our bodies; they are the trees and the plants and the seeds." -Plato
If you're anything like me, you're 100% committed to exhausting every holistic + homeopathic remedy to cure illness before you step into that doctor's office. Here are some of my best health tricks to kick a cold before it kicks you.
W A T E R
Wake up, drink water. Get in your car, drink more water. Eat a snack, drink water. Go to the grocery store, buy loads of water. In all that you do, do it while drinking water. Water will flush out any and all toxins in the body while replenishing your energy supply and boosting your metabolism. Sound good? Drink water.
V I T A M I N C
The rumors are true. If you feel a cold creeping your way, overload on vitamin C. Luckily for you, this vitamin comes in so many different forms: oranges, lemons (great in your WATER), grapefruit, mango, berries, the list goes on. If you're in need of C to-go, grab an Emergen-C packet for your water.
G I N G E R
The ginger root is an age-old remedy for curing illness and helping with digestive problems. Ginger also reduces inflammation and can act as a fever reducer. Slice 3-5 slivers of ginger root and let it steep in hot water for 5 minutes and enjoy.
H O N E Y
Nothing is sweeter, and nothing can treat a cough or sore throat better. The thick consistency will coat the throat to relieve incessant coughing, while also acts an anti-inflammatory. Honey + lemon + warm water = wellness.
P R O B I O T I C S
The last and best way to ensure fool-proof immunity. Probiotics promote good bacteria in the body that help the immune system and the digestive system. I prefer to take a probiotic capsule every morning, but probiotic drinks are also great. You can also get your daily dose in sweet, fizzy Kombucha drinks.
I could go on forever with quick and easy wellness tips, but these are by far my top picks. When in doubt, drink more water and let food be thy medicine.
Health is a state of body. Wellness is a state of being. ~ J. Stanford
Between work, school & play, taking a yoga class is oftentimes out of the question. As a dedicated yogi, I've had to find crafty ways to squeeze in a daily practice in the hectic, hustle and bustle of my life. After all, a healthy life is a happy life.
First, find a space in your home that is free of congestion and clutter. This could be a living room, an open space on the floor in your bedroom, or even somewhere in your backyard. It's important that this space has natural or soft lighting- try to avoid fluorescent lighting. Most importantly, the space MUST be warm. Aim for 70-75 degrees so that the muscles can be sufficiently warm before they stretch.
Let the walls of your home become a space of creativity, spirituality and growth. Let your practice shine through every aspect of your life. Namaste, yogis.
“Yoga allows you to rediscover a sense of wholeness in your life, where you do not feel like you are constantly trying to fit broken pieces together.” B.K.S. Iyengar