10 Ways to Increase Mindfulness

Increase Mindfulness

With the ongoing demands that many of us face it can seem hard, if not impossible to increase mindfulness and live live to the fullest. Stress from work life, family life and the incessant never ending list of chores can take its toll on our mental health and wellbeing, but the truth is that even the most mundane tasks can be amazing if you are truly present. More important, being mindful is undoubtedly one of the only ways to enjoy life to the fullest. This post will share with you 10 ways to increase mindfulness.

10 Ways to Increase Mindfulness

1. Do one thing at a time. Doing too many things at once can cause chaos and disarray. Single-tasking is an art. When you’re pouring water, just pour water. When you’re eating, just eat. When you’re bathing, just bathe. Don’t try to knock off a few tasks all at once. This can be very hard for many people, especially moms. Try to spend at least some part of your day without multi-tasking. Also, when completing a single-task do not rush that task. Instead, take your time, and move slowly. Make your actions deliberate and mindful, not rushed and random. It takes practice, but it helps you focus on the task at hand.

2. Do less. If you do less, you can do those things more slowly, more completely and with more concentration. If you fill your day with tasks, you will be rushing from one thing to the next without stopping to think about what you do. But you’re busy and you can’t possibly do less, right? You can. It’s simply a matter of figuring out what’s important, and letting go of what’s not. Read more: The Lazy Manifesto: Do Less.

3. Put space between things. Manage your schedule so that you always have time to complete each task. Don’t schedule things too close together — instead, leave room between things on your schedule for unforeseen interruptions. This allows for a more relaxed schedule, and leaves space in case one task takes longer than intended.

4. Spend at least 10 minutes each day doing nothing. I mean absolutely nothing. Just sit in silence and become aware of your thoughts and feelings. Focus on your breathing and simply notice the world around you. Become comfortable with the silence and stillness. It’ll do you a world of good — and for such a short time. I promise, you won’t regret it!

5. Stop worrying about the future – focus on the present. As you become more aware of your thinking you may begin to notice you are constantly worrying about the future. Learn to recognize when you’re doing this, and practice bringing yourself back to the present. Just focus on what you’re doing, right now. Enjoy the present moment, as you will never get it back. Notice the sights and the smells, take inventory of your body and how it feels. Live it. And just remember “Worry is interest paid on trouble before it’s due!” and Ain’t Nobody got time for that!

6. Be present in Personal Connection. This is one that is not only a way to practice mindfulness, but also applies to just about everyone. I know I am guilty of interacting with my phone during social engagements. How often do you see a group full of people all engagingly staring at their phones? Beyond technology many of us have spent time with someone but have been thinking about what we need to do in the future? Or thinking about what we want to say next, instead of really listening to that person? Instead, focus on being present and really listening and enjoying your time with that person. It’s a refreshing shot at life and it feels good to

7. Surround Yourself with Positive People. While it may be impossible to completely avoid all interactions with negative people in your life (Sorry!), you can limit exposure. Being around negative people undo feelings of peace and happiness and actually trigger the fight or flight response removing us mentally from the present moment. This response causes the sympathetic nervous system to release stress hormones within our body. Spending the majority of your time with positive people helps to empower you to grow. If you have a negative person in your life who you cannot avoid it is best to try to solve the underlying issue behind the negativity.

8. Eat Slowly and Enjoy Your Food. Hectic schedules can mean that most food is crammed down our throats in a rush. Where’s the joy in that? Eating mindfully is to savor each bite, slowly, and really get the most out of your food. Interestingly, you’ll eat less this way, and digest your food better as well. In addition, eating the healthiest possible food that is available to you, helps our bodies and mind to function on a higher level.

9. Live slowly and savor your life. Just as you would savor your food by eating it more slowly, do everything this way. Try to sit down and savor each and every moment. As I type this, for example, my kids are playing nicely together. Such a lovely and rare moment. In fact, I’m going to take a few minutes off to enjoy it. Be right back!

10. Turn Mundane Tasks into Meditation. Cooking and cleaning are often seen as drudgery, but actually they are both great ways to practice mindfulness, and can be great rituals performed each day. If cooking and cleaning seem like boring chores to you, try doing them as a form of meditation. Put your entire mind into those tasks, concentrate, and do them slowly and completely. Taking this time to become mindful become a special time and could change your entire day (as well as leave you with a cleaner house). Instead of thinking negative thoughts of the activity you bring yourself a sense of peace and relaxation.

Now rinse and repeat. This is not a quick fix. You have to continually practice the above suggestions daily. When you notice yourself getting frustrated, take a deep breath. When you ask yourself, “What should I do now?”, the answer is to keep practicing. It takes 21 days to establish a habit so practicing daily will help to establish mindful habits. Increasing mindfulness is something that should be practiced often and is important for everyone in all stages of life.

 Increase Mindfulness

Spirulina Popcorn

Spirulina Popcorn

I had to share one of our new favorite snacks. My son will eat just about anything, but my daughter can be very picky, both of them go crazy for this snack and ask for it often. It is something I can happily give them and it makes me so happy they love it, and it is SO EASY to make. It’s Spirulina popcorn! I know, Who woulda thunk, huh? I’ve had this superfood in my smoothie or in vitamin form, but that’s really the extent that I’ve use it. I happened upon this inspiration while getting a sample snack from our local coop. The kids loved it and I quickly stocked up on my of this green superfood!

So Easy and So Healthy Spirulina Popcorn

Why Choosing Organic Non-GMO Popcorn is Important

Did you know that much of the Corn in the U.S. is Genetically Modified? Using organic non-GMO corn to make spiralina popcorn is the best choice. Popcorn is rich in iron, protein, vitamin B 1, vitamin B 2 and Niacin. It contains calcium and phosphorous that is important for strong bones in the body. It is high in antioxidants and low in calories. Organic popcorn does not have any pesticide or toxic residues that are found in popcorn that is not organic.

What is Spirulina?

Spirulina is a green superfood that has one of the highest concentration of chlorophyll of any food known. Chlorophyll has numerous health benefits; it’s well-known for its ability to break down and eliminate toxins and heavy metals such as DDT, PCBs, mercury, cadmium, and lead. Spirulina has also been shown to be beneficial for GI problems, fighting infections and helping the body assimilate calcium and balance other trace minerals. Spirulina helps support a healthy pH balance in your body. A diet heavy on acidic foods such as animal proteins and grains can be effectively balanced by the alkaline properties of spirulina.

Other benefits of Spirulina:

  • reduce blood pressure and cholesterol
  • reduce blood pressure and cholesterol
  • control symptoms of ulcerative colitis
  • strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects
  • helps boost the immune system
  • inhibits the power of many viruses
  • diminish allergies such as hay fever

Spirulina Popcorn Recipe:

I would recommend popping your own corn without a microwave if you have that choice. Microwave popcorn bags contain toxins not to mention the fact that I don’t think microwaves are a very healthy and effective way of cooking in general.
To pop you own use the stove and turn to medium high heat. In a large pot, pour/melt just enough margarine/oil to cover the bottom of the pot no deeper than 1/4inch and cover with about twice that depth with popcorn kernels. Stir to cover the kernels with the oil. COVER and put on a hot burner, move it around a bit to evenly heat the bottom of the pot. It will take a few minutes before the first popping starts. Remove from the heat when the popping slows down or when you see the pot lid rise (full)
The recipe itself is easy, pop the corn, or use already popped organic corn (Trader Joe’s has a yummy olive oil version) add a dash of sea salt and sprinkle some spirulina and mix up so that most pieces of popped corn have some green on them. Enjoy!

 

Spirulina Popcorn

Manifesting

Manifest

Did you know that you have the power to create your destiny? That’s right, we all do! It’s made possible by Manifesting. Have you heard of it? It’s been something that I’ve been working on the past few years and am so excited to learn more and continue to apply it to my daily routine. I have recently gotten very serious about it and amazing things are happening. I can’t keep this secret any longer and I want to share with the world this amazing power we are all capable of!

What is Manifesting?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Manifesting means to make something tangible or readily perceived by the senses especially by sight. Manifesting is used to materialize our desires, goals & dreams that only take their forms in our minds. It is a way of empowering us to take charge of our lives instead of just leaving it to chance. Whatever you put your focus on will manifest, so if you are focusing on what you DON’T want you will begin to see that is what you will manifest. By changing the mindset and practicing ancient manifestation techniques you will begin to see your greatest dreams and desires manifesting before your eyes.

Why You Should be Manifesting

Our minds are very powerful tools, what you focus on expands. The untrained mind can wander into deep dark places and gets stuck in negative thinking vibrational patterns. The body’s vibration is an actual physical measurable frequency that relates to the depth and height of energy, emotion, and consciousness your body typically remains in throughout the day. The mind/body connection is the vehicle through which manifestation occurs. A person with a higher manifesting vibration will create their desires easier, faster and more effectively than someone who is experiencing a lower vibration level.

How to Manifest

1. Clear the mind- Find some quiet time and sit comfortably. Close your eyes and allow some time to focus on your breathe and just be. Inhaling light and energy and exhaling any negative thoughts, feelings and discomforts. Take a few moments of this breathing meditation to clear the mind before you begin manifesting. Focus on clearing blocks and releasing any feelings of disbelief that may be holding you back. The more you clean your thoughts and energy the more positive experiences you will attract into your life.

2. Focus on clear direct goals- It is important to be clear and intent on what you what so that you don’t manifest a lot of what you don’t want! When you clarify what you want you can begin to feel as if your dreams have already come true. That feeling is what makes the manifestation come into form. Don’t put limitations on your manifestations. Take some time to be clear about what you want and Think It, Feel It, Believe It! Let go of any doubts, negativity and fears and allow your deepest desires to begin manifesting.

3. Raise your vibration- It shouldn’t be a surprise that the better mood you are in the more you will be able to attract positive things into your life. You can naturally raise your vibrations from exercising, meditation, earthing and eating healthy foods. Surrounding yourself around positive people, listening to upbeat music and watching funny movies or TV shows are other ways to raise vibrations. Affirmations and positive saying are a great way to help change the mindset from negative to positive. Simple statements such as “I am grateful” or “I am open to accepting abundance” are great ways to stimulate positivity.

4. Be patient- Also trust that the Universe has a much better plan than you do. Though you are clear about what you want, you cannot control the timing or the form in which it comes. Stay calm, relax, and trust that the Universe has your back! Keep your eyes open and be accepting to opportunities that come your way. Many times you may notice that better opportunities arise meaning that something greater has been given to us.

Manifest with Me!

There are many different manifesting programs and books out there that can help to retrain the brain to think positively and manifest in ways you never believed possible.Here are some books I am currently reading as I begin to delve deeper into my manifestation journey! They can be found online at Amazon here and here. I also found a new program I am excited to start. I like the fact that it offers money back guarantee if you are unsatisfied.You can find the program here. I am just getting started but am hoping to blog a review in a future post! So stay tuned for that!

Do you Manifest? We would love for you to share your stories!

Manifest

End of Summer Detox Giveaway

Detox Giveaway

We have had a F-U-N Summer! Hot sunny days, cold drinks, yummy not always so healthy foods, late nights, vacations – You name it! I try to always live my life with balance and have been making sure to take care of our bodies by making healthy choices every chance I get, but sometimes life gets in the way, and that’s okay! As the post Summer indulgence sessions will be coming to an end in a few weeks I am planning to get back into the swing of things with a detox to eliminate toxins and help to boost and prepare my body against cold and flu season. I would love for you to join me!

Are you:

  • Feeling like you need to drop a few pounds
  • Tired
  • Bloated or irregular
  • Suffering from skin problems (acne, rashes, eczema)
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • In a constant brain fog or have trouble concentrating
  • Sick of looking at a closet full of clothes and still not finding anything to wear
  • Dealing with allergies
  • Popping pills for headaches, joint pain, or muscle aches
  • Covering up those dark circles and puffy eyes with makeup and expensive skin creams
  • Battling cravings
  • Moody

If so, this month’s detox giveaway is for you!

I’m so excited to be teaming up with Kristen over at MIX | wellness solutions for a balanced life and some of my favorite bloggers to give YOU the chance to reclaim your inner Superwoman (or man) and WIN a coveted spot in The Superwoman Slim Down: A Real Food Detox & Cleanse for Real Women (a $347 value!)! Read all about it here.

This is NOT your average detox. The Superwoman Slim Down is a fully-supported “done-for you” 21 day 100% REAL FOOD, hunger-free program led by experienced registered nurse, certified health and wellness coach, and certified specialist in fitness nutrition, Kristen Boucher! She will teach you step-by-step how to feel better than you ever imagined in your own skin, while eating delicious, nutrient-dense, metabolism-boosting foods and (finally) making your health a priority! But don’t take my word for it! Check out what these former Superwomen have to say about it here.

Giveaway Details

One winner will receive FREE ACCESS to The Superwoman Slim Down: A Real Food Detox & Cleanse for Real Women (a $347 value).

How to enter the giveaway:

1. Sign up for the MIX | wellness solutions for a balanced life email newsletter.
2. Like MIX | wellness solutions for balanced life on Facebook.
3. Follow MIX | wellness solutions for a balanced life on Pinterest.

4. Like Yogi Mami on Facebook

5. Follow Yogi Mami on Pinterest

6. Use Rafflecopter to log your entries and unlock bonus entries.

***Be sure to visit all the blogs responsible for this giveaway to unlock more chances to win!***

Oh Lardy
The Healthy Honeys
Kula Mama
Refocus on Being
Yogi Mami
Our Small Hours
realfoodsimple
Oh, The Things We’ll Make

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

The Fine Print

The Detox giveaway ends at midnight ET, August 31, 2014. I will announce the lucky winner on September 1, 2014. Once contacted, the lucky winner will have 48 hours to respond with his/her full name and email address.  There is no purchase necessary to win. This giveaway is open to everyone except where prohibited by law.

Detox Giveaway

How to Stop Snoring Naturally

Stop Snoring

Snoring can be a real pain! Did you know that 45% of adults snore occasionally? This usually means the spouse or partners of those who snore aren’t getting a good nights sleep. Snoring is caused by air trying to get through a restricted breathing passages. It can be a nuisance and also a sign of health problems.

What if I told you that I had a simple and natural way to stop snoring? It’s true, I know many people who have had success, including myself! I snored during both pregnancies which I read can be from the weight of the baby on the lungs and diaphragm. The snoring continued after the birth of my son and some nights my husband would have to wake me up to try to stop me or resort to the couch. I wasn’t the only one at fault either, he was an occasional loud snorer as well. We were recently talking about how its been a snore free couple of months and how much better we both have been sleeping better at night!

What’s the Secret?

Well, it’s really no secret, if you have been following me for a while now you know of my love of Young Living Essential Oils. They have become a staple in my house for their versatility and therapeutic properties. One of the popular blends Valor, AKA – Chiropractor in a Bottle – just so happens to be great at alleviating snoring and sleep apnea! Rubbing a drop or two of the oil into the feet at night before bed helps to relieve breathing problems and stop snoring naturally.

Valor is a beautiful blend that contains oils of Spruce, rosewood, blue tansy and frankincense in a base of coconut oil. This blend works with both the physical and spiritual aspects of the body to increase feelings of strength, courage, and self-esteem in the face of adversity. Renowned for its strengthening qualities, Valor enhances an individual’s internal resources. It has also been found to help energy alignment in the body.

If you are interested in learning more about how essential oils can be used therapeutically and as an alternative to pharmaceuticals and everyday products you can sign up for my FREE 14-Day Essential Oils Email course. If you have any questions or want more information on ordering therapeutic grade essential oils click here.

Other Ways to Stop Snoring Naturally

1. Change sleep positions- Lying on your back makes the base of the tongue and soft palate collapse into the back wall of your throat which causes a vibrating sound when breathing during sleep. Lying on the side instead of on back can help to prevent this. An inclined position is also helpful to reduce snoring naturally.

2. Avoid Alcohol and Dairy- Both alcohol and dairy can encourage snoring. Alcohol relaxes the muscles in the back of the throat and can make snoring worse. People who don’t normally snore will snore after drinking. Dairy can create mucus build-up which can restrict airways. Eliminating these from the diet can help stop snoring.

3. Lose Weight- If you have gained weight and started snoring since loosing weight can help. Extra weight can put pressure on the the organs and muscles around the throat and can trigger snoring, but weight is not always an issue as thin people can suffer from snoring too.

4. Stay Hydrated- When we are dehydrated secretions in our nasal passages can become sticker and cause snoring. Making sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day is another way to help reduce the changes of snoring.

Stop Snoring

Travel Healthy: Tips for Traveling with Kids and Food Allergies

Travel Healthy

Summer is a popular time for vacations. We have two coming up and although they are fun and a great way to make memories they can be stressful. Especially if you have kids and/or food allergies. To make my upcoming travels more enjoyable I have compiled some of the best posts from my favorite bloggers. Here are some great tips on how to travel healthy and happy!

Tips for Traveling With Kids:

6 Ways to Travel Lighter With Your Baby by Green Mom’s Collective

Eco Travel Tips with Young Children by Green Mom’s Collective

How to Survive Air Travel with Kids by Holistic Squid

4 Healthy Tips for Traveling With Kids by Kula Mama

4 Tips That Will Change Everything When Traveling With Kids by Kula Mama

 

Healthy Eating While Traveling:

Packing with Food Intolerances by Conscientious Confusion

Healthy Traveling Snacks Made Easy by Eat Your Beets

Tips for Traveling on GAPS by Eat Your Beets

Easy & Healthy Snack Ideas by Eat Your Beets

Real Food Camping Plan Ahead and Play More by Oh Lardy

Real Food at Disney Land by Oh Lardy 

Real Food Travel Snack by Whole Green Love

How to Eat Real Food While Traveling by Whole Green Love

Homemade Travel Snacks by Kula Mama

 

Other Tips

Make your own Holistic Travel Medicine Kit by Holistic Saffron

One Travel Tip That Will Change Everything by And Here We Are

Packing for Healthy Traveling by Read Food Kosher

Naturopathic Family Travel by Loula Natural

 

Travel Healthy

Simple Everyday Detox

For awhile now I have been drinking warm lemon water first thing in the morning and love it. Lately I have tried something new that I wanted to share. It’s a great way to give your insides some luvin’ first thing in the morning. Think of it as a morning shower for your internal organs! Its super duper easy and more than likely you already have all the ingredients in your kitchen! It’s a super simple and effective detox that can be done daily.

3 Simple Ingredients for an Everyday Detox

  • Water (good filtered drinking water)
  • Baking Soda (I use this brand)
  • Lemon (Organic if possible)

I start my morning by heating up water on the stove, I don’t bring it to a boil because, personally, I don’t like my water too hot.  I grab a glass mason jar, add 1 tsp of baking soda and add the warmed water. Then I add the lemon juice of either a half or whole lemon, depending on the size and the amount of juice. That’s it! So easy and so simple right? Drink up!

But why is this combination so powerful?

Lemons have strong anti-microbial benefits and help to protect against many fungal and bacterial infections. It regulates the blood pressure, reduces stress and calms the nerves. Lemon juice acts as a natural diuretic which helps to flush out toxins and boosts the fat flushing process aiding in digestion and nutrient absorption. Lemons are rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant known for its ability to neutralize cell-damaging free radicals and prevents cholesterol build-up. Lemons are also contain limonene, a substance that helps to stimulate lymph flow and get rid of carcinogens.

Baking Soda is sodium bicarbonate, which acts as a antacid. It is alkalizing and has been used in treatment of many diseases, including cancer. You want to make sure you a using a good quality, pure baking soda such as this brand that I use. The reason being is the point of this tonic is to eliminate toxins, not ingest them!

When the ingredients are combined they create a simple, yet intense, detox drink that is safe for every day use!  The work together to destroy the carcinogenic cells without harming the healthy ones. The taste might take a little bit to get used to, but it really energizes and cleanses and is a great way to start the day!

How do you start your morning? Have you tried baking soda and lemon water? 

 

Birth Story #1- The Day I Became a Mommy!

Natural Birth Story

It was only a couple weeks ago that I shared the birth story of my son and I, my second birth. Fast forward a few weeks later and now it is time to celebrate my daughter- the first one to make me a mommy.  I cannot believe how fast the years have gone by.  My little girl is so amazing, full of life and very VERY strong willed. She is sassy and sweet, smart and so funny. She is very social and loves being around people, she loves being silly and making jokes and is just so smart. I feel so blessed everyday for my beautiful children.The events of those days are still so vivid in my mind. In honor of my daughter’s birthday I wanted to share my first birth story with my readers.

Birth Story #1

It was a HOT Summer, our house had no air conditioning and I felt so SO big and uncomfortable. The scariest thing about labor for me was the fear of the unknown. I had known for years before I ever got pregnant that I wanted to have a natural, drug free labor, but during my pregnancy encountered many nay sayers who told me I was crazy and that it was basically impossible. I knew that I could do it for two reasons: 1) I am very stubborn and 2) I had my heart set on it. Usually when I deeply set an intention I try to do anything in my power to make it happen. I was still nervous about what to expect, how it would happen and most importantly when it would happen. Would my water break out in public? Would I wake up in the middle of the night? Being a control freak I really had to relinquish control and just know that it would happen exactly when it was supposed to.

We had just moved into our new house on July 3rd and I was due on July 24th. During the moving process I was so anxious to get everything done before baby girl came that I would stay up late unpacking and putting things away, setting up the nursery and sometimes just lay in bed with the anticipation of how much our lives would change. I didn’t know what labor felt like and was having braxton hicks for weeks and swore I was going into labor about 8 times during that period. On July 18th I started getting sensations that felt like period cramps and just knew deep down that I would be meeting my daughter soon.

That entire day I spent in bed, the cramping was irregular, they would come and go in waves. There was no real rhyme or reason to them and by 7pm that night they had disappeared. I woke up around 2am with the same cramps, but they were more frequent and a bit more intense. I watched the clock and realized that they were about every 5-7 minutes. My husband was sleeping so I got up and went into the nursery and sat on the birthing ball, doing hip circles and just breathing. I tried to walk around to see if they cramping would stop like they did the day before. They stayed frequent and lasted for about a minute. Once I realized this was most likely the real deal I decided to try to get some rest to save up my energy for when things started to progress and to listen to my relaxation prompts. I went back into bed and slept on and off until about 5am. I woke up and the cramping had gotten stronger so I thought it was a good idea to call the midwife. I was so happy when the midwife on call happened to be my favorite one that I had met with over the 9 months of my pregnancy. We talked through a couple of my contractions and she told me I sounded like it was still early and to call her in an hour or so to check in. I woke up my husband around 6:30 and let him know that it was time and that I was going to go in and get checked out shortly. I called the midwife back around 7 and she told me to come in to see how far along I was.

We drove to the birthing center and she opened the door. She looked at me and right away said “Honey, I can tell you have a ways to go because most women who come in here are pretty uncomfortable and hardly able to talk, and you still have a big smile on your face!” She checked me out and I was dilated to 2.5 centimeters. The birthing center wants you to be dilated to at least 4 before they check you in. They usually encourage moms to be walk around Balboa Park for awhile and come back to get checked, but it was Gay Pride Parade in Hillcrest and the last thing I wanted to do was walk around a crowded park while in labor. I told her I felt like I was going to progress really quickly and she just smiled and said “All women hope they progress quickly, but labor can last a long time!” She sent me home and said I could be dilated at 2 for hours or days and to call her if my water broke or if things got significantly stronger.

Home we went, I laid in bed and listened to my birth affirmation and relaxation prompts some more. My lower back was really hurting so I hopped into the shower and just put my hands up against the wall and let the hot water hit my lower back. It felt so good. It really helped to ease the discomfort. I stated to do some of the visualization and meditation techniques I learned and had two VERY strong surges in the shower, to the point I got dizzy and lightheaded. I decided at that point to get out of the shower. The contractions were starting to get very intense. I felt like I had to either throw up or poo, or both! I told my husband to call the midwife and tell her I needed to come in immediately. It had only been an hour or so since we left. He thought I was crazy and reminded me that she said it could take hours or days. I didn’t care, I begged him to call her because my body was telling me that it was progressing. He did and of course the midwife said that she doesn’t think that I would be that far along since I just left, but to come in and she would ease my mind and check me again. We headed back down to the center. This time she looked at me and said, “Well, you still have a smile, but you look a bit more uncomfortable, lets check you out!” All I kept thinking was ‘Dear God, Please let me be dilated to at least 7 or I don’t know if I can do this!” She checked me and was shocked “Oh My Gosh! You are at 10 centimeters and fully effaced! If your water broke you could have had this baby on the way over here!” When I heard that I knew the worst part was over! I knew I could do this! I had always heard that the dilating part was the hardest, once you get past that the worst has passed.

We filled up the tub and that was amazing. The warm water does so much for the labor sensations. I pushed when I felt the urge, I was able to eat almonds, raspberry and sip on orange juice to keep up my energy. So different from what I heard about hospital births and I loved it. The environment was so warm and homey, the midwife and nurses were so friendly and encouraging! I pushed for two hours and not much was happening. I started to get tired and frustrated. We all knew I had to get her out and soon. During the pushing process my husband had one of my feet on his shoulder, my mom had the other, the nurses had a sheet with two knots, one on each end, they held one end while I held the other and pulled on it while I tried to push her out. It was crazy, it felt so archaic, like something that my ancestors had done and I loved it!

After about 20 minutes of intense pushing I was exhausted.  Everyone went to talk in the other room while I was in the tub and they all came back with solemn looks on their faces. I knew something was wrong. My husband looked at me and said that I basically had 5 minutes to deliver the baby or I was going to be taken in an ambulance to get a C-section because they thought I was too tired to be able to continue pushing and wasnt progressing much. Don’t get me wrong, if I needed a Cesarean I was prepared and willing to have one, but at this point I felt that I could get her out on my own. I yelled “Alright, lets do this!” The nurses and midwife looked at me and asked if I was sure. HECK YES! LETS GO! We moved me out of the tub and on to the bed. I did a couple more pushes and her head was right there. I reached down and felt her hair, they gave me a mirror to show me how close I was and I got so much energy. After two more pushes I felt a pop and her head was out. One more push and I felt her body slide out and the next thing I knew she was on my chest. I was looking at this beautiful little girl that we made! I couldn’t believe it. What an amazing experience. Such a Rite of Passage into womanhood. I felt so full of life, experiencing a true love cocktail that I had read about in the natural birth books. Nobody’s description can prepare you for how it feels to see your child for the first time. It is a day that will always be one of my favorites, and it was a very special way for my husband and I to celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary! Yep, you heard right, she came 4 days early meaning that this day will always belong to two people in this world who are nearest and dearest to my heart. So while my husband and I will never get a day dedicated solely to ourselves, this day will always be cause for much celebration!

Natural Birth Story

The Oil Cleansing Method for Healthy Vibrant Skin

Oil Cleansing

For the past couple of years I have been trying to eliminate as many toxins as I can. As women, we come into contact with so many daily between makeup and personal body products. I have done away with commercial products such as face and body wash, moisturizer, wrinkle creams and body lotion. I get many people are curious about my routine and I love sharing my secrets for how to live healthier, so why not write a post on my face care regimen! Here you go!

If you are on the crunchy scene Oil Cleansing is most likely something you have at least heard of. For anyone else, or newbie crunchy mamas, Oil Cleansing might need some explaining.

What is Oil Cleansing?

Oil cleansing is a method of washing the face using a high grade oil such as extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil or jojoba seed oil (always organic if possible) as an alternative to face cleanser. It’s a great way to reduce toxins because by using a healthy oil, it’s the only ingredient! Many people are weary of the oil cleansing method because we have be taught that oil on our face is bad and is the source of skin problems. Because of this people focus on stripping the oil away which causes our skin to try to overcompensate by making more oil. This vicious cycle results in years of bad skin and frustration. Oil cleansing solves that because oil dissolves oil. The oil cleansing method works to balance our skin instead of stripping it of necessary oils.

Benefits of Oil Cleansing

  • Protects skin naturally
  • Cost effective
  • Contains no toxic chemicals
  • Balances and Nourishes skin
  • Great for all skin types
It can take a couple of weeks for your skin to adjust and balance out during when you first start oil cleansing. You may be tempted to ditch the oil and go back to your conventional face wash, but if you stick it out your skin will thank you by being more balanced and radiant.

How to do Oil Cleansing

It can be as detailed or as easy as you want it to be. Put some oil in your palm, and rub all over your face. Massage the oil all over, paying particular attention to all of your problem areas. Oil is great for removing make-up and dirt. Next get a washcloth wet with very warm (not hot) water and wring out. Lay warm damp towel over face for about 30-60 seconds to open up pores and wipe off oil. When you are done you should not need to apply moisturizer as this method is an all in one!

As I work to earn my oily badge in my quest for full fledged Crunchy Momness (And yes, we have badges!) I have been learning more and more about the amazing benefits of therapeutic grade essential oils including, and not limited to, promoting vibrant skin. Lately I’ve been taking my oil cleaning routine to the next level by adding a drop or two of essential oils. Here is a list of essential oils that are a great addition to your skincare and/or oil cleansing routine. Click here to learn where to buy therapeutic grade essential oils.

Taking it to the next level

  • Frankincense: Smoothes lines and wrinkles, balances oily skin, accelerates healing of blemishes and inflammations.
  • Geranium: Regenerates skin cells and speeds healing, marts a healthy glow, giving skin a radiant and youthful appearance.
  • Helichrysum: Restorative properties to mature skin, effective sunscreen.
  • Jasmine: Regulates oil production, helps to moisturize dry, dehydrated or mature skin.
  • Lavender: Good for all skin types, calms and soothes skin.
  • Lemon: Astringent, skin toner, helps to clear acne, brightens pale, dull complexion.
  • Melaleuca: Great alternative to benzoyl peroxide for effectiveness in fighting acne with no side-effects, oil controlling agent.
  • Sandalwood: Nourishes dry, dehydrated and mature skin, smoothes and softens lines and wrinkles, clears acne.

Have you tried Oil Cleansing yet? If so, how do you like it?

Oil Cleansing

How to Tell if Yoga and Meditation Practice are Working for You!

Yoga and Meditation

Yoga and Meditation are vital to help us work toward becoming happier and more peaceful beings. However, this is not something that happens over night, this ongoing process can take a lifetime. It is common to wonder whether or not your regular yoga and meditation practices have been benefiting you, and if so, in what ways?

This post will discuss some ways that help to determine whether yoga and meditation are making a difference in your daily life.  These are just some of the benefits and changes that are commonly experienced by people who regularly practice yoga and meditation.

1. You feel calmer in your daily interactions with others, as well as in situations that may have once caused anger.

2. You realize you aren’t perfect, and life is a series of lessons to help you continue progressing.

3. You’re able to express yourself  and your feelings without hurting others.

4. You see challenges as opportunities for growth.

5. You know the right thing to do, and you do it.

6. You feel compassion for others, including people, animals, and the earth.

7. You begin to appreciate things that you once took for granted.

8. You focus on solutions, rather than problems.

9. You try to maintain an ongoing positive attitude and recognize when you feel off-balance.

10. You love, appreciate, and respect yourself and others.

11. Your happiness comes more from nurturing your mind, body, and spirit, rather than from other people and/or material objects.

12. You seek and find new ways to feel motivated and inspired.

13. You begin to listen to your intuition.

14. Others feel happy and positive just by being around you.

15. People’s opinions of you don’t seem to matter much anymore.

16. The practices themselves seem less like an inconvenience and more like a lifestyle.

If you are new or interested in beginning meditation you can read more about some tips for starting up a meditate practice. Yoga and Meditation are great for anyone and everyone. The excuses I hear the most are that people can’t meditate because they can’t quiet their mind and that people can’t do yoga because they aren’t flexible. Coincidentally, those are the people who need it the most. Yoga and Meditation is NOT about perfection, just taking small baby steps, listening to your body and taking the time to practice is what is important. The benefits are immense and once you get comfortable with your regular practice you will be happy you did!

Do you have a regular yoga and meditation practice? How can you tell if it is working? 

Yoga and Meditation