Belated Small Change Saturday: Cuddle Bug

It’s funny… it just hit me. Today is 6 months till the wedding. Oh boy!

And I’m so excited and so nervous and sooo looking at the to-do list. 🙂

But really, I can’t wait. I can’t wait to make this amazing man my husband and be with him for the rest of my life. I can’t wait to have children with him. I can’t wait to be old and wrinkly sitting next to him in rocking chairs reminiscing about our life together. I just plain can’t wait.

 

So on that wonderful note, the small change that I will be focusing on this week is the power of touch… cuddling to be exact.

Having studied child development in school, I knew that touch was important for infants to bond with their parents, but until now I never realized how important it was for adults, and couples specifically.

 

Touch is amazing. Touch is what we need, what we crave, what gives us a renewed sense of humanity every single day. Touch is not an option. And when it comes to a relationship, touch is vital. (Make sure to check out the links shared here, they have some amazing information.)

But I also know that in our day to day lives, touch is not always our number one priority. We don’t always work on making sure we connect with someone through touch. And we don’t always take the time to make sure we connect with our loved ones daily that way. It’s something that gets dropped, lost, crushed, forgotten, and abused. It’s time to take this essential back.

One amazing type of touch is cuddling. Cuddling is one of the most intimate types of touch, without entering into the realm of sexuality. Cuddling is putting your body right up against another’s feeling their breath, their heart beat, while at the same time they can feel yours. It’s a way to communicate your love and connection to someone without saying a single word.

My focus will be on making sure to connect through touch with the man that I will spending my life with. Your goal may include a different, but no less important, relationship that you would like to foster through touch. The focus here is to be aware of how necessary touch is and use it as a way to foster and nurture relationships of all kinds.

 

I wanted to end by sharing a poem that I wrote… here goes.

 

                                       DEAR

Give me your hand dear and I’ll give you mine.

Give me your heart dear and we’ll reach the divine.

Give me your hopes dear and I’ll keep them real close.

Give me your prayers dear and I’ll love you the most.

Look in my eyes dear and you’ll see my own dreams

Hold on to me tight dear, life’s not as it seems

We’ll weather the storm dear, together we’ll stay

As long as you’re near dear, just a touch away

 

Love!

 

 

Saturday Small Change: Walk This Way!

Good day!

How is your weekend going so far? Mine has had a bit of a slow start… thus the late post. Ah well, who says you can’t be lazy on a Saturday. 🙂

Today I want to discuss our newest small change.

I want you to walk… 30 minutes… everyday. And I mean everyday. Phew! That wasn’t so hard now was it? 🙂

Walking is a fabulous form of exercise, stress reliever,  and a way to get you outdoors (see small change #2).

Don’t believe me? Just check out these sources. (Love me some Dr. Oz!)

 

One of the reasons I love walking is because almost anyone can do it, anywhere, anytime, it doesn’t make you sweat so you don’t have to shower afterwards, and it can provide some amazing benefits.

 

Need some motivation? Grab your pooch! It’s great for them too.

Don’t have a dog? One of my favorite ways to walk, is by listening to an audio book. Find a book you’ve really been wanting to read, grab it on audio, and get walking. You’ll find that the 30 minutes goes really quickly. You may even walk more, just to get through a chapter… or two. 🙂

Not a bigger reader? (we’ll work on that later) Grab a friend. Walk on your lunch hour. Start a new habit with your family by walking after dinner instead of watching TV. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just do it!

Still not convinced? By walking at 3 mph (or a 20 minute mile), you can burn from 100-300 calories per 1/2 hour depending on your weight. If you change nothing in your lifestyle from today on except for walking 30 minutes daily, you can burn 10-15 lbs by the end of this year. Now that’s motivation!

 

Want some extra credit?

The Surgeon General has recommended every American take 10,000 steps a day (roughly 5 miles) for good health. Track your steps with a pedometer and work up to the 10,000 steps. Want some help? Check out this program.

 

Love!

 

My Homemade Skincare Regimen

I have a love/hate relationship with all-natural homemade products. Half of me wants to do what’s right for the planet and my body, the other really just wants to run over to target and get a huge a** bottle of something chemically laden cause it’s easy and everyone else is doing it. But then I’m all, “self, that’s selfish (haha pun!) you should want to do what’s best for the earth. And you don’t want to give your money to some huge conglomerate that’s just going to squander your money and make profits off worker’s from other countries”. “But self, it’s so much easier!!”… You see, it’s complicated.

But deep down, I really want to go “all-natural” and I really don’t want to have to depend on someone else to do the research on what’s best for my body and the planet. So, here we are. 🙂

And I wanted to share with you my latest “switch” to homemade products…

My skincare routine.

Now, I have extremely sensitive, reactive, acne-prone skin. After basically attacking it all throughout highschool (and reaping the uh, benefits), I have learned to be extremely gentle on my skin.

That said, I also need the stuff to work. My skin breaks out like nobody’s business, so I need solutions to fight the oil and bacteria, yet be gentle enough so that my skin doesn’t react to harsh treatments. Most of these products are great for all types of skin, but I will give you a few options if you are on the drier side of the skin spectrum.

There are 3 ways I take care of my skin. Cleanse, Treat, and Moisturize. Now you may be thinking, but Amy, if you have oily skin, why the heck would you want to moisturize? In fact, I thought that too. Up until recently I ran away from anything that might add moisture to my skin. But, what I found out was that the more you take away, the more your body is going to ramp up it’s oil production. So if you moisturize well, your body will slow down it’s oil production. Get it? Plus, moisturizing will keep the wrinkles at bay so… 🙂

Without further ado, my routine.

Morning

Cleanse: Honey Cinnamon “Scrub”

Mix 1 cup RAW honey with enough cinnamon till it makes a light paste… emphasis on light- cinnamon is strong!

This amazing scrub is enough to get any dry skin off from overnight while still being absolutely luscious. And it smells heavenly. I try to do it first thing in the shower and leave it on till the end to rinse. On the weekends, I’ll take a bath and leave it on for a good 20-30 minutes while I soak.

If you have extra dry skin: DO NOT ADD THE CINNAMON. It can be somewhat drying and irritate any super dry patches you may have. The honey is extremely moisturizing though, so just use it plain. Or add sugar to the honey for a light scrub. Remember, not too much. You want more honey than scrubber. We don’t want to tear at your skin.

Benefits of Honey. Benefits of Cinnamon.

Treat: Apple Cider Vinegar Toner

Mix 1 part ACV to 2 parts water (filtered or distilled is best)

That’s it. Put it in a squeezy bottle (you know the ones you can get for traveling) and just put a bit on a cotton ball on swipe on your face.

This is great for all skin types. Apple Cider Vinegar is amazing because it works to balance your skin’s ph levels so it’s not too oily or dry.

More benefits of ACV.

Moisturize: Aloe Vera

Straight up aloe vera  on a cotton ball. That’s it.

Make sure though to get 100% aloe vera. Which can be easier said than done. Personally I like Aubrey Organics, but just make sure to read the ingredients. Also, it’s a great sign if the packaging tells you to refrigerate after opening (bonus for a cooling effect and tighter pores!) meaning that it’s not full of preservatives.

Benefits of Aloe Vera

Evening

Cleanse: Baking Soda Paste

I keep a plastic container of baking soda in the bathroom. I just pore some out into my palm, add a bit of water and wash with my face like normal.

Baking soda is another way I exfoliate my skin. If you have dry skin, I recommend NOT using baking soda, at least not every day. Maybe once per week? Also, the more water you add, the less abrasive the baking soda, so feel free to add quite a bit, till it’s really not a paste anymore. Or, you can add some to honey (as done in a.m.).

Benefit of Baking Soda

Treat: Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree oil is amazing for acne, plus about a million other ailments. Make sure to purchase 100% pure tea tree oil, which then can be diluted due to your sensitivity. There are two options for dilution- oil or water. If you dilute in water make sure to use distilled. The concentration you use is up to you, but I would recommend starting out with about 5 drops per 1/2 cup, and go from there. I don’t recommend putting pure tea tree oil on your face- it will be much too strong and can burn. Once diluted, put in a sprayer bottle and you can spray onto a cotton ball or directly onto your face. If you use a carrier oil (more information below), you can use the same ratio as above; but put in a squeeze bottle instead.

If you have very dry skin- do not use tea tree oil. There are many essential oils that you can use instead, including but not limited to chamomile, lavender, rose, and sandalwood.

Benefits of tea tree oil.

Moisturize: Olive Oil

Olive oil is amazing for all skin types. It’s properties are very similar to the oil (sebum) that our bodies produce already, plus it’s full of vitamin E and A which help keep your skin fabulous. Make sure to use organic olive oil to keep away from any yucky chemicals.

Olive oil can used plain, but I use mine mixed with tea tree oil. I use olive oil as my carrier oil. Make sure to mix this combination before use. I squirt some out on a cotton ball and go to town. Do not wipe off afterwards though. Your skin will drink the olive oil in, and you will love the results in the morning.

Benefits of olive oil.

 

That’s it. That’s what I use on my face. It may seem a bit complicated at first, but it become habit very quickly. I would recommend buying small amounts of the ingredients first so that if you decide you don’t like something, you’re not out a huge chunk from your wallet.

 

BONUS: I buy all my containers from here. Their website is fabulous and the prices rock!

 

Let me know what y’all think if you try anything, or if you make your own homemade skincare. I always love hearing of different “recipes”.

 

Love!

The Right Choices Make all the Difference

As a lot of you know I am working on getting back in shape. I’ve been Paleo for a few months now and I have to say, it’s getting easier. I am feeling better,  lost 10lbs in the first month, and am starting to really love eating healthier. I’m focusing on loading up on vegetables, using protein and fiber to stay full longer, and using fruit as my “sweet reward”. I’ve found that if I get into a routine it tends to be a lot easier to make the right choices. I wanted to share with you what my routine is.

thekitchn.com

thekitchn.com

 

 

Morning: Vegetable egg scramble

1-2 cups veggies (depending on if they cook down or not) sauteed in 1 tbsp butter with 3 eggs (optional: sausage and/or potatoes)

0r

Pumpkin Pancakes with 1 tbsp butter, 1 drizzle of real maple syrup or honey, and fresh fruit

 

Mid-Morning: Smoothie

2 cups mixed frozen fruit, 1 cup coconut or almond milk, 2 tbsp flax seed (optional: 2 tbsp nut butter); blend till       smooth

or

Homemade ‘LaraBar’ 

Lunch: Salad with Protein

2 heaping cups of raw vegetables, 1 cup grilled chicken, steak, fish, shrimp, hard boiled eggs, etc. Top with homemade salad dressing (optional: 2 tbsp nuts or seeds)

or

2 cups steamed vegetables with 1 cup protein

Mid-Afternoon:

Apple, Banana, or celery with nut butter on top

or

2 hard boiled eggs and a piece of fruit

Dinner: Whatever is on my plan (check out PaleoPlan.com or Emeals.com for options)

Evening: Hot Tea (my newest obsession is chai vanilla tea with coconut milk- yum!)

 

That’s it! Not that hard, no weird ingredients, and full of amazing paleo goodness. Plus, it’s so much nicer not having to think about what I’m going to eat.

Do you have any amazing quick and easy whole food recipes? I’d love to hear about them. 🙂

 

Love!

Small Change Saturday: Week 1

Hello all!

As promised, each week I will be offering you a small change. Hopefully, by the end of the year, all of these small changes will add up to a huge difference in our health, happiness, and wellbeing. Sounds like fun huh? 🙂

The first small change is (drumroll please….)

Flossing.

I know I know, not that exciting.

And personally, I really don’t like to floss. It’s uncomfortable, it’s an extra 5 minutes between me and my bed, and it’s not exactly  immediately gratifying.

But, the more I research flossing, the more I realize how absolutely important it is.

We all know that brushing is necessary, but toothbrushes are only meant to clean the tops, bottoms, and sides of our teeth. But what about in between? Think about everything you eat, and all that food that gets stuck in your teeth. Without flossing, that food can stay stuck in your teeth, start to rot, and lead to gum disease, tartar buildup, bad breath, and expensive procedures.

Plus it’s not just about your teeth.

Did you know that without flossing, bacteria can flourish which studies have shown can lead to whole body diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory illnesses?

So as much as I don’t like flossing, it really is necessary. Make it a habit, and in a few months it will feel like no big deal.

I recommend flossing before bed so that there are no food particles in your teeth overnight.

Follow up with mouthwash, and you’re golden. 🙂

Love!

What I have learned from a year with a child

As a nanny (or parent, or caregiver of any type), I’m always thinking about what knowledge I can impart upon Little Miss and Baby Miss. My brain is always attempting to use each moment to teach them something; be it education, spiritual, a life lesson, etc. But after reflecting on this past year, I must say, and I know it’s a bit clique; I think I learned more from them then they have from me. Children have a way on making everything simpler and more concrete. Through their eyes, one can really see a world full of wonder, curiosity, daily challenges, and fun. I wanted to share with you the top 5 lessons that I have learned this year.

1. Sometimes all you need is a nap.

As adults, we are expected to constantly be doing something. Our society praises people that stay up late to finish a report, miss dinner to go to a meeting, and spend their weekends catching up, or running errands. All that busy work can cause us to be (obviously) tired, cranky, and unproductive. Instead, I say, let’s do as the “babes” do. After lunch, when we all tend to get sleepy anyways, let’s take 45 minutes to close our eyes, count some sheep, and give our bodies and minds a much needed rest. And you know what? Studies have actually shown that those that take a mid-afternoon siesta are more productive, feel more refreshed, and are actually smarter. Check it out here!

2. Being silly is ok, and actually necessary

I don’t know what it is about being an adult and being on automatic serious mode, but I hate it. Sometimes all I want to do is blow bubbles in my chocolate milk, jump on the bed, and make a huge mess with finger paints. And you know what I’ve discovered? Being silly is ok. In fact, it’s good. I’ll take Baby Miss to a music class and all the other grownups are being so serious, but when I allow myself to sing and dance along, I and Baby Miss enjoy ourselves so much more. Who cares what other’s think? Who cares if I look dumb, or immature, or unsophisticated? Fun is good. Silly is good. Laughter is good. In fact, laughter has been shown to relieve stress, increase immunity, decrease pain, strengthen relationships and so much more. So go ahead, read the comics in the newspaper, watch funny Youtube videos, and join your kids when they are pretending to be a rock band. Be silly. You’ll thank me for it.

3. Go outside

Has anyone ever noticed that kids tend to crave time outside? It doesn’t matter what the weather is or the time of day; when given the opportunity kids love the outdoors. And yet, when you become an adult, it’s all you can do to get a few minutes during your lunch break to soak up some sun. Why is that? Is it that we have forgotten how great it is to be surrounded by nature. Have we just not given the outdoors it’s dues? In fact, many studies have shown the positive affects that nature can have on us; including but not limited to reducing anxiety and depression, better sleep quality, and immunity. So be more kid-like; take a recess, walk your dog, spend lunch outside, play touch football with friends at a local park; anything, just get outside. It’s good for you! 🙂

4. Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full

You know the old saying, “Clean your plate!”; well it’s wrong, and it’s time we stopped it right here and right now. It’s so funny how old sayings like that can come out of you so automatically. Both Little Miss and Baby Miss are huge “grazers”. They eat a few bites, want to play, a half hour later, come back to eat more. It used to bug me to no end; but I’ve come to peace with it. In fact, I’ve decided it’s a great way to eat for myself. I always feel such guilt at leaving food on my plate that I usually just plow through it; but if I slow down and take a moment, I realize that there really is no reason to feel guilty. In fact, I should feel proud for listening to my body. As adults we get so out of sync with our bodies that sometimes it’s hard to tell when we really are hunger, or full, or just perhaps bored. If we eat like a child, we spend more time enjoying the food and in turn have an easier time listening to what our body is telling us.

5. Enjoy each other.

If there is one thing that I could say my years with children has taught me, it would be that what children crave most often is time with their parents. Most of a child’s learning actually comes from unstructured time spent with family members. When they are surrounded by family, they feel secure, loved, trusting, and have a higher self-esteem. That connection goes the same for us; when we are surrounded by family and friends that love us we are better able to handle the stresses and complications that life brings. Just like children, when we have strong relationships with others we feel more secure, loved, trusting, and have a greater self-esteem. But, and that’s a strong but, that does not mean just connecting with people of Facebook, through email, or even over the phone. That means face to face connections. Make family dinners a priority. Join a book club. Meet up with friends once a month for dinner. Spend time with others, and enjoy their company.

Have any other lessons that your kids have taught you? I’d love to hear about them.

Love!

PS. If you’re in my area (Northern CA) I’ve started a children’s literature book club through Meetup. Email me if you’re interested. 🙂

Just between us girls..

Growing up I was a bit… well not fat, more heavy; thick. I was always the biggest of my friends and I knew it to. I mean how sick is it for a ten year old to compare herself to her friends and think that there must be something wrong with her? But thats where I was and thats what I thought.

Enter puberty, for the most part I thinned out. I grew taller, got boobs, and went from being one of the biggest to being, average. But for some reason I could never get it out my head that I was too big, too soft, that I needed fixing. And that was hard… is still hard.

And I tried, really hard, to fix myself. I counted every morsel entering my mouth. I worked out, alot. But you know what? No matter how much weight I lost I never felt ok.

Its a scary thing to hate yourself.

I feel though that my saving grace, was food. As Ive said before (in an earlier post), I love food. I never really could give up the joy that cooking, baking, and melted butter really bring. Man I love butter.

And then I read a book, Food Rules by Michael Pollan. It’s a list on how to approach food and eating. And it really hit me- eat real food. I mean REAL food. No diet food. No fake food. No processed, sitting on a shelf for 2 years food. And I really had one of those “duh!” moments. Of course, real food because thats what my body knows how to process. Thats what my body knows what to do with. If I just pay attention to my body it will get to the place where it is supposed to be. No guilt, no pressure, no straining my body to be what it can’t be and shouldn’t be. Eat when I’m hungry, eat only real food, and move as often as possible. It really should’nt be rocket science should it?

from mairakalman.com

So thats my goal. Eat real food. Eat when Im hungry. And move. Thats it.

And you know, for once, I love my body. Honestly and truly. And I love that.

Life is amazing isn’t it?