Super Relaxing DIY Detox Bath Soak

It's definitely the time of year when our bodies, nerves, and skin get a bit frayed, but it's nothing a long bath, and maybe a good book, won't fix. If you haven't taken a bath with epsom salt before, well, let's just say, I almost fell asleep the first time. It's loaded with magnesium which is known as the relaxation mineral, any kind of tightness, twitching, or cramping is alleviated by magnesium. Apparently, magnesium deficiencies are super common, which is a shame because aside from alleviating tired muscles, it can also help with bruising, and even, ehem, smelly feet. I've learned recently that magnesium is one of the electrolytes needed to keep your body hydrated, so deficiencies in this, or other electrolytes can contribute to dry cracked feet, as well as a myriad of other unfortunate and unnecessary issues. 

It's also great for drawing out toxins. Sounds like a pretty productive bath, right?

This soak also has himalayan salt also great for detoxifying. It also has 84 different minerals in it, so you'll definitely end up with more nourished, balanced skin. It has some of the same relaxing benefits as epsom salt, but is also said to balance hormones. There's an awesome article here, on all pink salt can do. 

Lavender promotes sleep and relaxation. You've probably seen it as a popular additive in any bedtime teas, tinctures, and lotions. It's also great for headaches, anxiety, depression, and swollen or itchy skin. Add it in with anti-inflammatory rose buds, which are also super high in vitamin C, which is great for skin, and you'll be all set to face the rest of the holiday season without sacrificing your dignity/sanity/waistline. Need I go on? 

Here's what you'll need:

Directions:

  • Mix up all ingredients.
  • Dilute in bath water. I kind of take issue with this part, I've read the best temperature to use these salts at is 97°, but I know for sure my baths are always much warmer than that. I'm pretty confident I'm still getting all the benefits, but do your research and use your own discretion. 
  • Soak in your bath for minimum of 20 minutes to get the most of out it.
  • Towel dry, it's important to not rinse it off your skin. You really want to give it the minerals best opportunity of sinking in. 

Oh, if you forgot someone on your list, this would make a super affordable holiday gift. Maybe with a cute little tag listing off all the benefits. I already can't deal with how adorable that would be. 

Brown Sugar Chicken Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Pecans

Hey there,

I'm really excited to share something today that's not only gorgeous and simple to make, but also healthy. It has been a while. I've posted a lot of sweets recently, but I swear I eat real food sometimes, too!

There are few healthy combos I love more than spinach and strawberries, throw in some pecans and chicken and you've covered all the food groups. Right? I don't really know, sounds right though. 

Spinach is one of those amazing foods, with super low calories and super high nutritional content. There's really no way to lose. It's super high in vitamin K, vitamin A, and folate, which is specifically beneficial to pregnant women. It also helps keep bones healthy, is great for eye health, and provides and excellent source of iron, especially for vegetarians. 

I'm kind of obsessed with the benefits of strawberries, they're awesome for skin they have this type of acid called ellagic acid, which helps protect skin from ultraviolet rays, like natural sunscreen. In addition to that, it's super high in vitamin C, which plays a crucial role in rebuilding collagen, which you need to keep skin looking young. 

 

Here's what you'll need:

For the chicken:

  • 1 lb of boneless chicken breast
  • 4 cloves of garlic - minced
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of honey

For the salad:

  • 1/2 of strawberries - cut into thirds
  • 5 cups of spinach - washed 
  • 3/4 cup of pecans - coarsely chopped
  • Creamy balsamic dressing (optional) I like Newman's Own 

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400°
  • In a skillet melt coconut butter on medium heat. Mix in garlic, and stir until fragrant. 
  • Add in brown sugar and honey, mix well until brown. 
  • Add chicken and cook for about 2 minutes on each side. 
  • Place chicken on a foil lined baking sheet and distribute sauce.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, rotating at least once.
  • In a large bowl mix in strawberries, pecans, and spinach.
  • Once the chicken is done, set aside to cool. Then chop into small pieces and toss into the salad.
  • Add whichever dressing you like, but balsamic always goes will with strawberries, or any fruit for that matter. 

 

Apple Crumble Bars - My All-Time Favorite Non-Chocolate Dessert

Ok, so I used to live in San Luis Obispo, Ca and there was this little coffee shop called Linnaea's and they served these amazing little apple bars. They were sort of like pie, but I don't really love pie. I've always been a no-budge chocolate cake for dessert person, but I took a chance one afternoon on these apple crumble bars and there was really no going back for me. I would go downtown just to have apple crumble bars. When I moved away, naturally I had to learn to make my own. I feel like the true fashion of my life is to go through dozens of options and then finally through some stroke of luck come upon the right answer.

But sadly, well, sad for the sake of story-telling, I came upon the perfect recipe the first time. The first time. It was pretty magical. Obviously, these crumble bars and I were meant to be. I found the recipe here, at Annie's Eats. It's pretty much the exact recipe, except I make mine in a 9 x 13 instead of an 8 x 8, because it's so popular whenever I make it. Well, the real reason may or may not be that I keep half for myself. I mean generosity is good and everything, but really you have to look out for number 1, right? By look out, I mean eat apple crumble bars for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

apple crumbe 4.jpg

Here's what you'll need:

Base Crust:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose white flour
  • 4 tablespoons of white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter

Filling:

  • 5 large apples - cored and peeled, an apple corer is a very useful tool in this scenario - I use Granny Smith Apples, they stay a bit crisp and tart through the whole process
  • 8 tablespoons of white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of powdered cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons of corn starch
  • 3/4 cup of jam - This St. Dalfour Peach Jam is the best one I've used so far

Top Crust:

  • 1 cup of all purpose white flour
  • 1/2 cup of white sugar
  • 1 stick of butter

note: all your butter should be at room temperature. So, it's a good idea to take it out of the fridge a while before you plan to start baking. 

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325°
  • I always start with the base, mix up your flour, sugar, and salt, until well mixed. Mix in butter. Since it's a crumble crust it will never get really soft and sticky like cookie dough. It'll be very flour-y and crumbly. So, I usually start mixing with a wooden spoon and then switch to mixing with my hands. If you find your crust is not crumbling enough then dust in a bit more flour and keep mixing, until it start to break apart.  
  • Place the crust to set in the oven for 10-12 minutes. 
  • While the crust is baking place your apples, sugar, and cinnamon in a large skillet on the stove on medium heat for about 7 minutes, more if you like softer apples. Make sure there's enough room to stir your apples and get them covered in the cinnamon mix. 
  • In a separate container mix up lemon juice with the cornstarch.
  • Once your filling is ready to come off the stove mix in the lemon/cornstarch mixture while it's still hot. Set aside until you're ready to take the crust out of the oven.
  • When the crust is done, and lightly brown at the edges, spread the jam over while it's still warm, so it spreads easier.
  • Making the crust is simple, just mix in butter, flour, and sugar into a crumble.  This mixture can be a bit softer and stickier than the crumbly crust, because it will melt a little over the apples, in the best way.
  • Now put your apple filling over the jam and top with the crumble topping.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the crust has slightly browned.
apple crumble 4.jpg

You're really going to want to wait to cut this until it's cooled, because otherwise the crust with kind of be a slippery mess, you may wonder where it's gone. If you're in a hurry to try it, place it in the freezer for 20 minutes, to help it cool a bit faster. You can always heat it up a bit later. 

I hope you love it as much as I do, although I'm not sure that's possible. 

Doing The Right Thing(!) Sucks But You Don't Really Have A Choice

"We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth others are here for, I don't know." W.H. Auden

What the hell are the others here for?

Just kidding, they're here to do the right thing, too. Whether or not they choose to do so. Well, that's just not your problem now is it? 

Don't we all wish sometimes, someone stronger, braver, older, with more authority would just swoop in and do stuff for us? 

Don't you? Or are you just dying to do everything by yourself, stay up all night drinking coffee, researching your rights on the internet, all while giving yourself an ulcer you won't soon recover from. 

Life is hard sometimes. It's going to get harder if you keep running away. 

Wisdom always comes from the most unlikely places. For example, when I was maybe 20 in college, there was this grocery store clerk, her name was Danielle. She told me the story of her life, which I'll save for another time, but the punch line was, "Life will keep handing you, back to you, until you figure it out."

I thought about it at the time, but I didn't really apply it to anything. I didn't think I had anything to apply it to. At the time, I was perfectly content to keep running away from my problems. I mean there was a great big world to see anyways right? I could just keep going and going and.. you probably know how this ends.

See, at some point, you're going to have to face yourself, challenge yourself, good, bad, ugly, against all odds and opposition, full of anger and doubt and who knows what else.

I'm not exactly talking about epic sagas but it'd be cool if your life were an epic saga. Well, I guess in a way, all our lives are pretty epic, I mean The Odyssey was just a story about a guy getting back to his wife. 

I'm talking about the common evils in the world. The things you know happen, but don't think they'll have to happen to you. When they do may you think, "Well, these things happen," or "Life isn't always fair." Thereby asserting your powerlessness in the situation.  

I mean, you could step out of the way and make it someone the next guy's problem. You could, yeah, that's an option. 

But

"Your life lessons are repeated, until they are learned."

I saw that on Facebook

My life lesson in this instance is, being the scapegoat. When I see an injustice I do everything, but the logical thing. Meaning pounding fists, yelling, and general, unintelligible dismay, sort of like an erupting volcano, lava flooding the streets and everyone just wants to go back in their house and forget the whole thing.

Leaving everyone around wondering if all the hubbub was really necessary. So, if I got my lava out, how does that make me the scapegoat? Well, you may find in life, people don't want to change. They want everything to stay the same, comfortable, even if that comfort is smothering them, and it probably is. So, the noisy voice ringing on about injustice, is out of the norm, and gets the heat for all the problems. Sort of like the siren that woke you up at night. It's not the emergency that's the problem, it's that damn siren for being so loud.  

People live with injustice, pain, and the like, out of the sense of security it allows them. It's not their/our fault, we grow and change from pain. 

Sometimes to provoke any growth you are forced to stand in the muck, by yourself. By. Your. Self. 

Yup, all alone, because when you bring up something everyone knows but doesn't want to say, you dear, will be the object of the scrutiny, not the injustice, not for a while at least. 

Because people take time to change. It may have hit you like a ton of bricks, and you think it's just oh, so obvious and you can't possibly understand why other's don't see it. That's why it's your life lesson. It came out of the sky and hit you on your head and now it's your problem, because if you don't pick it up, dust it off and address it. You'll have those same problems over and over.

I feel like I'm being dramatic,  but the thing is I've been allowing the blame to fall on me for the better part of my life. Which is interesting, because I'm not a person of cowardice. I'm the person who rises up and then slowly but surely, allows others to push me back down. They poke and prod and shush and scamper and I think "I can't exactly do this alone." That's when I pack it back in and crawl back into my hole. 

The thing I've learned is that in order to make a change, in the fashion of the things Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr. wanted us to do, you have to rise up and plant your feet firmly in the ground. Make it known you feel this way and no amount heckling and haranguing (I love that word, it took me a while to find the spelling) will shift the one set of feet you were given to stand on.  

So, I'm all full of conviction, because this was really a first for me. Because as I said before injustice makes me pound my fists and what have you, but I'm usually the second in line and quick to lose my blaze. 

See, there's the discoverer, the pioneer, the creator, the architect, all the same person by the way, who decides to stand alone. Then there are the chips off the block, falling one at a time to say, "Yes, this is in fact, truly horrible. I am outraged." I usually take the place of one of the outraged chips. 

Meanwhile that poor architect has been trying to find someone, anyone who might be willing to listen to the echoing cries of indecency, and is awfully relieved that the cause is (finally) gaining some traction.

Little known how long that individual's suffering has lasted while waiting for someone else to hear, but they stuck with it, because it only takes one.  

We are here to make the world a better place, alleviate suffering for someone, somewhere. We are also here to learn our lessons. Sometimes those two things meet in an ugly way.  

But if you get that nudge to dig and dig, you'll find not only a resolution, but the relief to your own suffering. See whether it's God, the universe, your unconscious mind, your soul, or the collective unconscious, who digs up these schemes and puts them in your lap, they were brought to you to show you something you've been putting up with for too long. 

You can fall in line and back into old habits or you can try something new. Get way, way out of your comfort zone and dare to not only to speak up, but to become useful to yourself and to the world.

I like to think about this kind of change as a swelling seed, so full of tension and intention that it either has to burst at the seams or rot, decompose, and become fertilizer for the seeds that are willing to bust. Not that fertilizer isn't necessary, but do you really want to fill a role that can be managed by poop?

Yeah, it just doesn't sound that attractive. 

"There are three classes of people: those who see, those who see when they are shown, those who do not see." Leonardo da Vinci (my favorite lefty)

I guess my journey in the past two months has been to stop occupying the space of a person who sees when shown and begin to just, see.

So, let those emotions swell you up, give them direction, and let them leap out. Trusting that one by one, the people who see when shown, will see, and those who do not see, will never see. 

“Whatever satisfies the soul is truth.” Walt Whitman

Even if nobody hears or sees, if it satisfies your little soul, I can promise you'll sleep a little easier knowing you walked through the fire and lived to tell the tale. 

Most Popular in November

Hello, it's December. December 5th to be exact, and I have not had a computer charger for 3 whole weeks. I have my suspicions about where the original one I ordered went, but I'll keep that to myself for the time being. Yes, I had to order two of them. Please, feel sorry for me. It was horrible, 3 weeks without my little internet home. 

So, what's become of me in these past weeks? 

You don't want to know, but I'm sure I'll bring it up on Monday, when I write about all my sentiments. 

I think I've mentioned a few times starting a second blog, which kinda seems crazy, buuuut, I think I just might. I'll talk a bit more about the things I deeply believe in. Things that may or may not belong on what is essentially a project-based lifestyle blog. Albeit an awesome project-based lifestyle blog, if I do say so myself. It's still in the makings. I'm starting a new life coaching program in February of this coming year. So, I may need a new place to get my thoughts out. More thoughts, less pictures. That's my vision for the new blog, or maybe I'll just keep subjecting all of you to my insufferable ramblings, FOR-E-VER.


So, it's December. Who's excited about Christmas? Nah, you're right, let's live in the moment. In southern California, it's difficult for it to ever truly feel like Christmas, because the weather is always the same, but nevertheless, I keep wishing everyone a Merry Christmas where ever I go. Because just like I've forgotten, I think everyone else has forgotten, too. Maybe I'll just run around with boughs of holly and bells on. Then they'll know for sure it's Christmas.  

So, here is what you loved in November!!

10. How to Make Meringues!