My Top 5 Tips for Travel Recovery (because Jetlag Sucks)
CAN’T WE JUST STAY ON VACATION FOREVER?? ✨ Coming back from vaca can be really HARD, and dealing with jet lag is always the WORST. As a girl who feels like she is CONSTANTLY on the move (over 20 flights last year!), here are my top five tips for getting back to reality as sanely as possible. But hey - a really long nap also won't hurt. Scroll down for my tips and a few good photos from our recent trip to Oahu! (PS thinking about framing the last one and hanging it in our bathroom - that North Shore sunset is the best!!)
1. Stop thinking about what time zone you WERE in or SHOULD be in - sleep when it’s dark and wake when it’s light. Your body’s natural circadian rhythm will do the rest! 😴 Don’t be afraid to let yourself sleep ok if you need it the next day, too. If you’re craving sleep, you probably need it!
2. HYDRATE like a crazy person. Water helps every system in your body move more happily and more efficiently - so chug chug chug! 💦
3. Move that sweet bod! Sweating, stretching and moving your muscles helps bring more fresh blood and oxygen to your tried and sore muscles. Even a little gentle yoga is GREAT before and after you get on that plane! ✈️
4. Have a PROBIOTICS PARTY in your belly! Take plenty of high-quality probiotics (my FAVE are @goodbelly) before you fly, while you travel, and after to land to help your digestion get and stay on track. 👌🏼
5. Skincare is a MUST. The plane is full of germs that get onto your skin and is it just me or do I always leave looking SUPER greasy?! The oils are real. 🙈 Bring face wipes and masks for the plane, and be sure to give yourself plenty of extra skin love after you return home. You’ve had a week of fun and your skin could probably use a good exfoliant and a whole lotta moisture. Treat yo’self and keep that visible vacation glow going long after you land!
What are your best travel recovery tips?? Share them below so we can all be better, happier travelers together!
I've been getting asked more and more about the presets I use to edit my IG photos. I created a pack of my favorite, custom-made Lightroom Mobile Presets to share with you guys! Purchase the entire bundle for $30 and get 7 totally custom, pre-made, California-inspired Lightroom filters. Download is easy - simply unzip the files, install to Lightroom CC, and start editing! I would write full instructions, but most of know what you're doing, and those that don't should head to Pretty Presets page on Installing Lightroom Presets - she has a variation for every possible situation you might encounter. I'll send you more info if you have questions - just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You'll need to download the Lightroom CC app to get started.
Once you have installed your Lightroom Preset Pack, feel free to get in there and start to play around with your own edits! That's wehre the real fun begins. Let me know how you're using them - tag me on IG so I can see your edits - @good_saint. Enjoy!
I cannot believe that next week is Thanksgiving. How?! When?! Can someone please explain this to me?! My new cookbook, The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook, was released at the end of last month and I've been busy book-touring and yoga instructing, so things have been absolutely flying by around here! Before we know it, it's going to be CHRISTMAS. But not so fast - for now, we've still got a Thanksgiving dinner to plan for, and I've got you covered. I've rounded up 33 of my best, Thanksgiving-worthy dishes that're totally vegan and good enough to impress your (or my) cranky grandma. Dishes like my Cranberry Apple Walnut Stuffing, Garam Masala Roasted Acorn Squash, and Purple Sweet Potato Pie Bars are sure to please everyone at your table this year!
I'm thankful for everyone that's on this journey with me: whether you're here because you're vegan, trying to eat a little healthier, or just stumbled across the page this morning - I'm happy you're here. Now, get your stretchy jeans ready and let's get cookin'!
We made our first trip together to Hawaii last month! It was a trip we had talked about taking for years together, and after a lucrative first part of the year I was able to buy tickets and surprise Alex for our 1 year wedding anniversary. The trip coincided with our 9 year dating anniversary, so it felt like the perfect place to celebrate and make some new memories together! Alex had been to Maui once as a kid, at around ten, but had few memories of what to do or see and mostly remembered sea turtles and black sand beaches from his first visit.
The first and hardest decision was simply what ISLAND to go to! There are 8 major islands, though obviously a few are far more frequently traveled than others. It had come down to choosing between Maui and Kauai for us, as we'd heard they both offered a very "Hawaiian" experience. Oahu and Hawaii seemed a little too 'city-like' for a vacation, and Kauai only lost out because I heard its better AFTER you've experienced Maui. Kauai is a much more 'rustic' and jungle-y island, more for the hikers and campers in your group than those who prefer to lounge pool- or oceanside. While we didn't stay in a resort (not our style!), we definitely felt the in-between on Maui of having everything you needed but also being a reasonable drive from anything you wanted. We loved it!
We flew out from LAX and took a direct flight to Maui. Five and a half hours later we were flying over Molokini, the horseshoe shaped crater off the southwest coast of Maui that we'd be snorkeling in just a few days later. It was incredibly gorgeous from above!
We stayed in an AirBNB and LOVED it (check out the house here), but we'll get there in a moment. After landing we scooped up our rental car, a basically requisite red open air Jeep to tour around the island in. Perfect for taking in that salty ocean air and traversing the sometimes sketchy roadways along the Road to (and from!) Hana.
On the way to our AirBNB we drove through our first real little beach town and the one that easily become our favorite throughout the week, Paia. Paia is a tiny, adorable little stop on the north side of the island. Since we were staying in Makawao, just south and toward the center of the island, Paia became a frequent stop for us going in and out of town. The first little spot we fell in love with was Choice Health Bar. Located directly downtown, this clean and bright spot offers fresh, often locally-sourced dishes with specials that change daily. Our first stop I just grabbed Lilikoi (local type of passion fruit) Acai Bowl, but we ended up back there often for their warmer lunches and dinners, too. Below you'll see their Kale Caesar Salad and Ulu Breadfruit soup. We kept coming back for these dishes after long days at the beach, and they satisfied every time. For the record, breadfruit grows like a fruit on a tree but tastes like a potato or squash and is a cousin of the Mulberry. It is super nutritious and we were told than a single breadfruit tree can produce a ton of fruit and feed a TON of people! (Not like a LITERAL ton. But a lot!) There's a picture of an actual breadfruit tree down by the blue smoothie below. It kind of looks like a jackfruit while growing!
When we arrived at our AirBNB, a Plantation Style Tiny Home, we totally fell in love! Pictured below, it was a super cute guest cottage or 'hale' on a young, local family's small, private farm and orchard. It overlooked the orchard and banana trees, and had a screened in kitchen porch that made cooking up leftovers and farmers markets finds a truly unique experience! It was also super enchanting to hear the rain showers gently pound against the tin roof at night and had my husband asleep even before I was! Inside the place was small but perfect for us for the week. A single room with a large, comfy bed and a small futon, plus some gorgeous vintage furniture inside, and a completely renovated bathroom with some really cool features. Plus, a shower for two!
On our first full day of exploring we made our way across the island to Valley Isle Kombucha. We're not big drinkers but we'll go almost anywhere for good kombucha, and it was really amazing how much of it was on the island. We went to two different kombucha bars (Valley Isle was the best!) and even the general stores in the area had locally-made kombucha on tap. Valley Isle had at least 16 taps of different, fresh kombucha on tap, as well as a case full of bottles and a full lunch menu, too. They also partner with a company called Alchemy Maui that bakes fresh loaves of bread and baguettes right in their kitchen, so you can grab a loaf for the road or take it with you to the beach afterward!
We also fell in love with Coralynn, the server at Valley Isle and a local artist. She gave us so many tips - things to check out and places to go, and we ended up buying one of her gorgeous hand-drawn stickers to take home with us! The locals on the island were all incredibly helpful and friendly, which lent itself even more to the idyllic perception of island life. Nowhere to go fast and time to chat with everyone along the way!
Our second full day we decided to do The Road to Hana, basically an all-day adventure around the outer eastern edge of the island. We downloaded the GyPSy Guide, which is an app that adds historical and locational notes to your drive. It'll tell you where to stop for the best sights along the way the entire way there, and will give you history of the island on the drive back. I'd highly recommend spending the few dollars to download it, it was really fun and useful on the trip, and since most rental car companies don't insure you to drive all FULL Road to Hana all the way around the island, it gives you something fun to listen to on the drive back in the dark.
We started in Paia, heading East. Our first real stop was at The Garden of Eden Arboretum. In the bottom left picture, you can see the pointy rock to the right of the V - that's the rock shown in the opening scene of Jurassic Park! We loved getting out and walking around the lush gardens, enjoying the tropical flora and fauna, and checking out the waterfalls and 100-year old mango tree inside the park! Worth the visit for sure. Especially if you like birds - tons of them, including peacocks everywhere! A small admission fee, very much worth the stop if you take the trip - though I don't recommend wearing nice shoes. I forgot my extra flip flops the first day and totally destroyed my favorite fancy sandals. Whoops!
I won't tell you about every stop we made on the Road to Hana - we'd be here all day! But I recommend stopping often and eating often, too. There was SO much good food, but THE BEST BANANA BREAD ON THE DRIVE (this part is important - can you tell?) is at Aunt Sandy's along the Keanae Peninsula. Trust me. Buy at least 3 mini loaves for the day, you will not regret it! We saw painted eucalyptus trees, black sand beaches, and a million farmstands. We bought and ate local lilikoi and sugarcane, banana bread, and local kombucha and took selfies in front of waterfalls and fell even more in love.
We stopped at Coconut Glen's on the way up after many suggestions and had the BEST vegan ice cream I've ever eaten. We tried the coconut and lemongrass ginger flavors, which both had chunks of real coconut meat mashed inside. Literally could eat it for every meal ever - the perfect blend of sweet and fat and creamy. It was a perfect day.
We ended up checking out a ton of beaches, but the best for snorkeling and beach hanging while we were there seemed to be on the south side of the island, toward Wailea-Makena. We ended up returning here a couple times to hang and swim in calmer waters away from the resorts. At Big Beach there were waves so high and so powerful - shore pounders - that lifeguards weren't allowing people to swim, and one beach over at Little Beach we stumbled upon a nude beach! It was a fun, if unplanned, surprise and definitely a memorable one. At first I was intrigued, but after realizing the beaches occupants were almost entirely men, I was less enthused. This ended up being one of the places we also saw a TON of sea turtles swimming one afternoon in the rock outcroppings off the beach. Super cool!
We visited Lahaina and spent a morning and early afternoon walking around checking out the beach city, but if I'm being honest, this was one place I definitely only needed to see once. It was super touristy and felt kind of fabricated - I prefer to hang like a local when I travel and all of Lahaina felt like a tourist trap. Also, it was just down the street was a ton of huge resorts and the contrast of seeing how locals are forced to live in poverty next door to these huge tourist draws was more sad and reflection of the financial struggles really facing the island. BUT, we did meet a really cute little hippie kid selling vegan, gluten-free, marijuana-infused banana bread...and we definitely bought some and enjoyed a hazy afternoon on the beach.
Some of the best things we ate, besides all the fresh local lilikoi, mango, starfruit, dragonfruit, guava and papaya - were macadamia nut chocolate chip pancakes (pictured above!), fresh mahi mahi, and basically any combo from Ululani's Shaved Ice, but especially the Paia location which ALSO carried Coconut Glen's vegan ice cream. My go-to order (we got it 5 times in 4 days - no joke) was CG's original coconut ice cream covered in lilikoi, strawberry, and guava shaved ice and topped with house made mochi. I am literally drooling just thinking about it! We also fell in love with a local coconut kefir that we found at the local health food store, Mana Foods (also pictured below), that we would come home each night and top with local lilikoi and take to munch in bed.
Since we were in Maui celebrating our 9 year dating anniversary and 1 year wedding anniversary, we decided to treat ourselves to a reservation at the fanciest restaurant on the island - Mama's Fish House! We got all gussied up and and headed to the loveliest dinner. Did it cost us a couple hundred dollars? Maybe yes. Was it worth every penny as we looked over the over eating some of the best food ever, more in love than ever? YOU BETCHA! An expensive dinner out, but VERY worth it if you can make room for it on your itinerary. Heads up - reservations go fast! We made ours 6 months in advance.
We loved finding tiny, locally owned places like Brekkie Bowls to eat at all week long. We like supporting local economy whenever possible, and frankly - the locals have the best recs for snorkeling, finding sea turtles, and sharing secret sunset spots! I also loved how accessible fruit, smoothies, acai bowls, and juice was on the island. My digestion was high functioning and I felt great all week long - which is NOT always the case when I'm traveling!
One of the definite highlights of out trip was snorkeling at Molokini, the horseshoe shaped crater off the coast that boats calm water, tons of beautiful fish, and sometimes even seat turtles! We didn't see any turtles but we had a blast boating out, snorkeling together, and filming underwater with the GoPro. We saw tons of beautiful, brightly colored fish and coral reef, and had a great time with the crew on the boat. We were out from about 7 am to 2 pm and chose to sail with The Four Winds. Highly recommend their outing, they let us hang out way longer than all of the other tourist-filled boats and they prepped a great lunch with a veggie burger option! We saw tons of dolphins on the way back too, some even swimming alongside out boat for over 20 minutes. Super cool!
I loved that we were able to hit the island's big Saturday Upcountry Farmers Market. It was full of local vendors selling unique and delicious specialties, and we feasted on a local eggs, probiotic coconut yogurt, tons of tropical fruit and of course - fresh coconuts! The market had something for everyone, and there was no shortage of vegan and vegetarian options, which was pretty cool to see in such a small place. We made friends with some locals and ended up bringing some local raw honey and bread back on the plane home a few days later!
We searched high and low for turtles while we were there and I don't know if was the time of year or just our luck but we barely found any. We FINALLY stumbled - literally I thought it was a rock until we got pretty close - upon a giant sea turtle at Tavares Bay, and hung out watching him for awhile. Like I mentioned earlier we also saw some near Makena Bay, but other than that - not a one!
Also if you have time, get over to Bamboo Forest Hike that leads to Pipiwai Waterfall - it was easy and a fun way to spend a couple hours after a heavy lunch and was super photograph-friendly.
One day ended up being SUPER rainy (it's Hawaii so daily rain is expected but this day was SUPER wet) so we decided to ditch our hiking plans and booked an afternoon at North Shore Zipline, which happened to be literally a half mile from our AirBNB. We had a damn blast! I expected it to be a little cheesy or lame but honestly the guys that worked there went above and beyond to make sure everyone had fun, and I would go again if I had the chance. Also - the photos at the end didn't suck like most places that try to sell you photos, so we actually bought them. Worth it! They gave us like 30 pictures for $30. Again - not normally a sucker for that stuff, but it was SUCH a fun outing and they really made it worth every penny. Check them out if you're in the area - we had a kid as young as 6 in our group so it's definitely family friendly!
The next day ended up being FAR nicer outside, so we packed a day bag and drove to Kula, basically where all the lush farmland lives at the center of the island. We found a super cute pumpkin patch flooded wit families and overlooking the ocean and stopped to take pictures and enjoy literally the most beautiful and scenic pumpkin patch maybe ever. It was incredibly gorgeous, and after we continued into Kula to the Ulapalakua Ranch Store, full of fun kitsch and really great locally raised, grass-fed burgers. Driving through Kula and all of the pasture and free roaming cows (literally no fences - drive carefully through here as they sometimes travel through the roadway to get to another pasture!) was a little bit like being home in Maine - if Maine started suddenly taking on a jungle climate.
That last afternoon we made the loooong (2-3 hours) drive from Kula to Haleakala National Park to see the sun set over the Haleakala Crater. It was SO incredibly worth it. It was a super cool, winding, beautiful drive up to the top, and then we parked and hiked the last mile or so to the very top. The place was crowded, but there was plenty of room to hunker down and watch the sun go down. We were ill-prepared clothing wise, both in shorts after a long day at the beach, but it was worth every shivering second to see what looked like literal heaven play out in front of us. Make the trip, but bundle up first. The drive down will take a little longer than you'd expect because of all the other people also departing as soon as the sun drops, so reward yourself with an extra trip to Ululani's on your way home!
We loved Maui SO much and can't wait to go back and take advantage of the chill vibes, beautiful views, and delicious food! If you're considering going, check out my rec's below as well as all the one's mentioned above, they're an easy copy and paste into your phone before you go so you can reference place as you drive around. And when you go - LET ME KNOW so I can live vicariously through you and your vacation. 😉
Food places we tried and loved: Choice Health Bar, Valley Isle Kombucha, Tin Roof for super traditional Hawaiian cuisine, A'a Roots, Paia Bowls, Brekkie Bowls, Mana Foods, Flatbread Company, Paia Fish House, Joy's Cafe in Kihei, Maui Kombucha Bar, Choice Health Bar, Aunt Sandy's along the Keanae Peninsula, Mama's Fish House, Farmacy, Paia Inn Brunch, Mokuroots, Ululani's Shaved Ice, Coconut Glen's, Ulapalakua Ranch Store, and the Upcountry Farmer's Market.
Places to See + Things to Check out: EVERYTHING! But specifically - Sea Turtles at Tavares Bay, Turtle Beach, Makawao Forest Hike, Bamboo Forest Hike to Pipiwai Waterfall, Lao Valley, Waihee Ridge Trail Hike, Paia, Poli Poli, Haleakala Crater + National Park for sunrise or sunset (sunrise requires a planned ahead permit), Kaupo Drive (the long way back from Road to Hana - only if you've got a jeep), Red + Black Sand Beaches, Maleaka Beach, Ulua Beach, Ahihi Kinau Natural Reserve, North Shore Zipline, Kula Country Farms, Little Beach (NUDE beach!), Upcountry Farmer's Market, snorkeling Molokini, Lahaina, Road to Hana (download the GyPSy App!).
5 APPS I LOVE USING TO EDIT MY INSTAGRAM POSTS + STORIES!
I get SO many questions from you guys on what apps I like to use and utilize to edit my Instagram feed. It's super flattering and definitely no secret, so I wanted to craft a little post today on what apps specifically I like to use to edit my photos and stories before I post! I'm not much of a post-scheduler, so I often edit my photos in real time on my phone or on my computer right before I decide to post, and then just post whenever I find time or feel inspired. I think that's how I keep my feed most authentic - not a ton of pre-planning, and just enough cleaning up of the photos that they're still enjoyable to look at and cohesive within the feed. Anyway - would love to hear what you babes think! Have you tried these apps? Are you sitting on some hidden gems I should be using? Let me know in the comments below. Otherwise let's talk editing, friends!
If you're wondering how most people get that cohesive, similar vibes look on all their photos - chances are they're using Lightroom. I know I am! Part of the Adobe suite, you can use Lightroom on a computer or through a phone app and it is the fastest way to make your photos look more professional. You can edit all facets of a photos light, color, shade, temp, ect - plus create your own filters and presets so you can consistently get the same edited feel on all your photos. I have created a few of my own presets that I like to use to keep things looking clean and similar, so often times I'll start by slapping one of my presets on the photo and then editing whatever else needs it from there!
An oldie but a goodie - almost a must-have-y. VSCO is easily the best go-to photo editor on your phone. Laden with editable presets and filters, with more styles always available for purchase in the store, this app allows you to not only edit but store and share with the world if you so choose. Before I really went for a super consistent look on my feed and started running everything through LR, I used VSCO pretty exclusively. It works great and there's a filter style for everyone's aesthetic, plus you can save your presets for super easy future editing. I feel like VSCO if great for enhancing colors and specific attributes of a photo. My husband basically only uses VSCO when he does any editing - so you know it's easy and quick!
Look I'm really not much of a retoucher, and never on a photo of myself - but sometimes you need a little extra help! In the photo above I specifically used it to edit some cracks out of the wall behind the bars and also edit out a couple darker spots on the wall to prevent from describing. It's super handy! If you are into some subtle retouching, I'm a big fan. It's super easy to use, easy to edit, and even easier to recommend - seriously, the best quick-fix photo editor around AND a cheap download!
The Unfold app has quickly become one of my favorite story and layout editors for instagram. It costs like 99¢ to download and has optional in-app purchases for different styles of frames and layouts. It makes organizing and theming your instagram stories super easy and really fun to do. There are tons of frames and ways to add text and revise your photos and videos within the app. I love using it to highlight specific shots or to bring extra attention to a slide and I ALWAYS get DM's asking how I made it happen. Highly recommend!
HOW FUN IS THIS APP?! It makes all your photos look like they were processed through an old snap and shoot film camera with the colors, light effects and dates of the photos along the sides. Its a total 90's throwback and I LOVE it! Since I try to keep my feed pretty consistent in color and photo type, I usually just use these edits to spice up my stories. Loving it though - especially for a cute retro photoshoot!
3 EASY, PLANT-BASED DONUT RECIPES FOR NAT'L DONUT DAY!
It's official guys - I missed National Donut Day yesterday. Whoops! This week had been so busy, it flew right by me yesterday until late last night as I was scrolling through instagram and realizing a real, round, dole-shaped pattern. And that's when I realized! Now I'm home, late on a Friday night while my husband works, whipping up a batch of baked donuts topped in a sweet, simple glaze so we can celebrate. Because let's be honest - I'll use any excuse to whip up a batch of donuts, but this day makes it a must! Since it's the weekend, it's almost a better time to make donut. You can sleep in, whip up the batter, bake while you face mask and catch up on Netflix, then munch on fresh baked donuts for the rest of the afternoon! That's basically my perfect Saturday, guys. Scroll down for the recipes - and let me know how you plan to spend you Nat'l Donut Day re-do tomorrow. I may just have to make another batch of donuts...🍩 P.S. The beautiful donuts above are from our wedding - read more about that here and here!
Kettle Corn Donuts We adjusted our typical donut cake base to make a richer, brown sugar-sweetened donut, slathered it in rich butter glaze (yup, BUTTER GLAZE GUYS. I'm not messing around here.), and topped it with perfectly crunchy kettle corn. The kettle corn's combination of sweet and salty flavors was the inspiration for the whole combination. The sweet cake base slathered in thick, creamy butter glaze might be almost too rich without the addition of the popcorn, but with it becomes the perfect combo and sweet and salty! They're super rich and delicious, which makes them perfect for sharing. Double the batch for a fun treat to share with friends or serve at a brunch, or make a single batch all for yourself! I would never judge when it comes to donut consumption. If you're looking for a creative new donut flavor, or just another excuse to squeeze a few more donuts into your day, these are definitely for you.
Baked Pumpkin Cinnamon Sugar Donuts Just because Halloween is over doesn't mean the pumpkin has to go away! These pumpkin donuts have a ton of flavor - and that's before they're rolled in cinnamon sugar. They literally are SO EASY to make that I thought I must be doing it wrong. From start to finish this was maybe a half-hour project, and I was so happy with how they came out! They so remind me of getting fresh donuts at apple farms when I was a little girl. Simple and SO GOOD! These are the kind of donuts that give you street cred for being such a great cook. And you'll be like "Oh these easy things? I whipped these up lickety split!" and feel like a badass.
Blood Orange Glazed Donuts Sometimes I'm more of a glaze person than a sugared person, so I whipped up this batch of healthier baked donuts and covered them in sweet, seasonal blood orange glaze and OH, guys! The blood oranges gave the glaze a really lovely pink color and a light citrus taste that is next level when paired with the light cakes texture of the donut itself. Plus, the added flax means you can have two (or three...) instead of just one, because flax makes everything healthier, right? Seriously, these donuts come together from start to finish in about a half an hour and save pretty well for next day consumption, too. Let's bake, babes!
This post has been a long time coming friends, and I am so excited to share this info with you! I've always been a rock collector, ever since I was kid. I would make my Dad take me a local gem store, Perham's of Maine, on the way up to our ski vacations every winter so I could add to my growing collection of gems, stones, and regular old rocks. I loved collecting, identifying, and classifying them, and would organize them into little plastic cases to keep them safe. It made me feel more interested in and connected to nature and was such a fun way to pass the time - plus they didn't need to be walked or fed, unlike my dog or my Giga Pets!
It's no surprise really that as an adult I still totally nerd out on geological formations of all kinds, but especially those on a smaller scale. I love collecting beautiful crystals and stones to keep around my house both for the decoration and also because much like having a plant indoors, they act as a way to help bring nature inside and fuse the inner with the outdoor in modern living spaces. That said, there is a lot more interest in crystals, gems, and their possible healing benefits these days. Maybe it's exacerbated because I live just outside of LA, but it seems like everyone here is hopping on the crystal-collecting' bandwagon. And not to say that its a bad thing - I'm all for sharing and spreading positive energy and power everywhere we go, but it is something we should have a serious conversation about so you can make sure you're being ethical and you know what the heck you're talking about when you show up at your witchy friend's New Moon circle next month!
Get Educated Before we get into my favorite stones, why I use them, and how I use them - let's start with the serious stuff. Transparency is key, my friends. My friend and podcast co-host Nathalie recently forwarded me this post after our conversation about crystals. I figured there were some stones collected in less than ethical or ideal ways, but had no idea at the overall lack of traceability in this industry. Don't get me wrong - there are a lot of ethical, law abiding, living wage-paying mines; but it would be remiss for us to ignore that there are also very sketchy, illegal situations happening to fill the ever growing demand we Westerners are placing on the industry. I recommend you check out the article here, and please do your research before buying. That said, let's talk about where to start!
Creating Your Collection When starting your collection, it can be really fun and eye opening to let your stones choose you. Stay with me! When you're walking around a rock shop, gem fair or high-end crystal store you're going to be naturally more drawn to some stones than others. Obviously. This is natural, depending on what colors and textures you like, but also says a little something about what energy you're giving off and drawing in. As a yoga instructor, I firmly believe in the exchange of energy. I feel it, in almost every class I teach, and I know we as humans feel it when we walk into a room and are naturally drawn to certain people or pieces of furniture, too. You might not know why you want to walk over and pick up the crustal quarts on the counter, but maybe its because you're drawn to the calming qualities the stone possesses as well! We'll get more into that in a bit, but I want you to know that where you start is where you start. There aren't a basic 5 stones you need, although I will totally tell you about some of my favorites. It's more about starting to build a collection based on what you love and what you need in your life, and allowing that to guide your selection.
With the note from above in mind, deciding where to buy your stones can be tricky business. I recommend doing a little research on origin countries and practices of your favorite gems, and then ask before you buy. If they look at you like you're nuts, they probably don't know where they got them either. And if being friends with my fellow gem lover Nathalie has taught me anything, it's to SHOP AROUND! I would never buy a crystal at any of the trendy places we constantly pass by because they are crazy overpriced and rarely what I'm looking for. I've had better luck online and at gem fairs, which are basically local bazaars that seem crystals, stones, beads and gems for jewelry. They often sell them at wholesale prices or in bigger quantities, and it can be a fun way to get a bunch at a time or split the price and the stones with a few friends. When buying your stones I still think you should let your intuition guide you - but also, let the CLARITY guide you! Clearer, more consistent pieces with better clarity may be more expensive, but it's because they're the nicest ones. You can sometime find hidden gems (no pun intended), but note that if you're willing to sacrifice a bit on cut and clarity, you'll save a lot of cash. In the end, like any material object, it's value really lies in what it means to you and how much joy it brings you. Allow that to guide how much you pay for them and how many you feel like you want or need. While some cuts will hold their value forever, these stones have never been more popular to the average shopper than they are right now - so expect them to relapse again slightly in value someday.
Cleansing, Charging, and Creating an Energetic Space Once you do start building a collection, you can place a bunch of your crystals in one place, creating a small altar or energetic space or opt to spread them around your space. I have a bit of both because I've amassed quite a few crystals at this point, so I have a small tray I keep my smaller stones and stones I meditate with on, and then I have a few of my larger crystals placed in various window sills, near plants, and in my workspace to keep the creative juices and the good energy flowing.
Wherever you decided to place them in your home, you're going to want to cleanse them first. Not literally, although if you've found cracked them open yourself them may need a little dirt removal. Cleansing is the way you choose to wash the stones of their previous energies and open them to receiving new, positive energy and an intention for use. We talk a lot about this over in Episode 4 of my Real Good Podcast, 'Crystals and Creating a Positive Energetic Space' and I recommend heading there if the words 'sage' and 'palo santo' mean absolutely nothing to you. I'll break down the basics: sage leaves are dried, wrapped and sold in bundles for burning and palo santo wood from fallen branches is collected, cut, and sold in bundles as well online, at mystic and crystal shops and often yoga studios, too. Both these methods of burning and cleansing the air and energy of a space or an object have been used by different groups of people for thousands of years, and we're just borrowing from that spiritual belief when we cleanse out crystals - but with the same intention of coaxing as much positive energy as possible from the stones themselves. Sage is used to cleanse ALL energy from a space, while palo santo is used to rid bad energy AND encourage the promotion of new, good energy. You can use them alone or together. You can also cleanse your crystals in the sunlight, moonlight, ocean water, and by 'earthing' them in the ground - though I know far less about those options and have always opened to sage and palo santo my space and my crystals. When I do charge my crystals, I leave them outside in the full or blue moonlight for one night from sun down until sun up. Again, there are other ways to charge including sunlight for some types and earthing as well. But that's it! Super easy. Re-cleanse them afterward and bring them back into your space, renewed with energy and positivity.
Setting Intentions Once you've cleansed your crystals, you've got to give them a job! I've had a lot of friends say that they have crystals in their homes, but feel like they aren't doing anything. "How do I know they're working?!" Again, like we tell you in yoga - you can practice all you want, but if you don't have a purpose, a drive, a motivation - what is it all for? So give your crytsal babies something to do! If you picked up a crystal that is good for the heart and love, encourages opening of the heart chakra and deeper connections with friends and loved ones - tell it why you picked it. Maybe you've been feeling a struggle in your love life, maybe you leave it in the bedroom to promote good relations for you and your partner, maybe you hold it every time you chat on the phone with your mom to relieve stress and invite compassion. Maybe you just bought a stone that is good for ridding a space of bad energy and you leave it near the front door; these all work, but make sure you communicate your intention to your crystal so you can start becoming open to receiving any energetic benefits it may provide! Since you let your stones choose you, you usually end of finding stones that will bring you the exact benefits you need.
You can use your crystals in so many different ways, but some of my favorite ways to enjoy my crystals and optimize their benefits is to use them while I'm meditating. You can hold the crystal, work it in your hands like a worry stone, channeling all of your stress into the stone itself. You can try using them at bath time in or around the tub, and even try sleeping with them near you to help improve sleep. And there's always the option to buy your crystals and use them simply as beautiful, natural decor in your home!
Now, obviously being that this is an energy discussion and science is still working on figuring out basic human energy transactions, there isn't a lot of hard science to back this stuff up. Like many personal practices including mediation, religion, and acupuncture - a lot has to do with your belief and the energy you place into your practice. Here's how I look at it: I don't really know if these crystals have any ability to heal meal from sickness or purify the air - but it can't hurt! I've always enjoyed being around beautiful rocks, and I love bringing a little extra nature into my home. Take all this info in, and leave with what resonates. No need to jump in and buy a bunch of crystals tomorrow, but if you curious about getting started, I say go for it! Now you know where to start. Okay, so onto some of my personal fave crystals to keep in my home!
My Must-Have Crystals (and why!) Amethyst: Thought of as mostly a protective stone (and pictured directly above), Amethyst is one of those crystals we've all seen somewhere. Thought to help purify the mind and clear negative thoughts, Amethyst is also associated with abundance - relieving stress and encouraging prosperity. Because it's color ranges in the most beautiful of pale purples to rich plums it makes great decor in any room, and can aid as a general stress stone - absorbing all of the bad energy in the room and helping to balance the environment. Amethyst is also February babes' birthstone, and is linked to the crown chakra. It's the perfect stone to get started with and can be found pretty easily!
Crystal Quartz: Everyone has seen this stone before. It is THE crustal people think about when their mind shoots to crystal healing. They're pretty easy to find everywhere and are generally inexpensive - though this is one stone where clarity does indeed matter quite a bit when it comes to value. Clear Quartz is known as the "master healer" and will amplify energy and thought, as well as the effect of other crystals. It absorbs, stores, releases and regulates surrounding energy and aids in concentration and memory. Also a chakra aligner, if you're into it. It's a beauty, and a great place to start!
Dumortierite:A blue-hued stone with darker striations, this throat chakra-balancing stone is known to help with language-based skills, patience, and enhancing the connection between your lower and higher chakras (energy centers in the body). I use mind in mediation often, especially when experiencing throat trauma and often after teaching large, loud, yoga sculpt classes. Also said to help awaken psychic abilities, this stone is all about communication. I was given mine as a gift and of course cleansed it myself, but now carry it around whenever I've got a sore throat. I swear - it helps! (Even if it is just the power of suggestion. I'll take it.)
Selenite: This stone is usually long and cylindrical with white crystalline structure, and is super ethereal looking. Known as a cleansing stone, this crystal clears energy blockages in the home and body, and promotes purity and honesty. Selenite if often sold in wand shapes for clearing room energies, but can be found in many variations as well. More fragile than most, these stones are every bit as gorgeous as they are effective.
Black Tourmaline: This stone looks super similar in structure to selenite, but is onyx in color. It is an excellent grounding crystal, encouraging calmness and unwavering strength. It can be great protection against bad energies coming from other people that may affect you, and it a wonderful stone meditating with for concentration and focus. In the real world, black tourmaline can also be found in many electronic devised as a conduit for radio and TV frequencies. Also, it is said to help with motion sickness. I just found that out too, and now I NEED to try it because I'm always nauseas when riding in the back seat!
Rose Quartz: This stone is all about the love, baby. Famous for attracting and keeping love, rose quartz is also used when it comes to healing one's heart from pain and disappointment. Inexpensive and found nearly everywhere, people love this crystal because it carries the universal energy of love, so it attracts love AND helps to heal from painful love experiences as it calms and heals the heart. I keep a few rose quartz crystals in my bedroom to encourage any extra love flow and to to keep the positive benefits nearby as I sleep!
Smoky Quartz: An excellent grounding stone like black tourmaline, smoky quartz neutralizes negative vibrations and is detoxifying on all lovelies, prompting elimination of the digestive system (HI! MUST HAVE) and protecting against fear, depression, and negativity. Promotes positive thoughts, concentration and action, relieves stress and anxiety, and aids in communication difficulties. As shown in the photo below, I often use mine during meditation or as a focal stone when working through some serious digestive discomfort. Great to keep in the bathroom or on your desk, as well!
Fluorite: This stone comes in a variety of colors and thus can have slightly different strengths depending on the color variation. My fluorite is a large, striated purple and green stone, which places an extra focus on balancing hormones and connection the body and rational mind. Fluorite is said to help cleanse and stabilize the aura, absorbing and neutralizing negative energy and stress. Can help with concentration, self-confidence and decision-making. It encourages positivity, balances the energies, and improves balance and coordination, both physically and mentally. Plus - it's GORGEOUS! I use mine in meditation and also leave in on my bookshelf most of the time as decor and for improved vibes in my living room, too.
Resources You made it! I know that was a lot of info, but I think its helpful to have all of that knowledge before moving forward or investing in a crystal collection. My best tips? Start small, ask around for the best prices and, find what you truly need - what resonates with you, personally. Make sure you give the 'Crystals + Creating an Energetic Space' episode of our Real Good Podcast a listen for more discussion on our favorite stones and why we use them, and leave us a review while you're there. You can also check out the Energy Muse website, run by one of my fave crystal guru's, Heather Askinosie. She's also written a book with a breakdown of nearly every stone and crystal and it's use in your space and your practice. Hope this was helpful babes! I'd love to know what stones you got started with in the comments below!
If you follow me over on IG, you might already know that I've got a PODCAST coming out, guys! One of my very best friends, Nathalie Jamar, and I have teamed up to bring our love for podcasts and our interest in all things health, wellness, and girl-power-related to the microphone. And we're so excited to share it with you! We're calling it the Real Good Podcast - all about two ladies living in Southern California navigating real health, relationships & wellness. Cutting though the bullshit to help you live a good life!
We know there is a ton of information out there about all the trendy things: dieting, yoga, femininity, hippie voodoo, reality TV, what types of shoes are both comfy AND support your arch - but it's all paid opinions and weird comparisons. We'll dig into one topic each episode and break it down with our listeners so you can make the best, most educated decisions on what really matters for you. Plus, we'll swear a lot and have a lot of fun with it too. New episodes will be out every other Tuesday AM, and we're set to officially launch our first TWO episodes next Tuesday, April 10th. YAY! Until then, we want you to get excited, tell your friends, give us a follow on IG, and ask us questions! We plan to read one listener mail with a question, comment, or review at the end of each episode - so get involved and you just might hear your comment on air next week!
Tune in on Tuesdays, #GoodBabes! Upcoming episode include conversations about starting a yoga practice, guilty pleasures, food allergies and Reiki healing with a special guest! We'll chat with you then. (Sneak peek of our recording space below!)
ORGANIC ALMOND MILK WITH CASHEW + MY FAVORITE MORNING MATCHA RECIPE!
This post is sponsored by So Delicious and all opinions are my own.
Good morning, guys! We’re off to a slow start over here this morning but have a busy day ahead. A planned yoga photoshoot with my favorite photographer on a trail I’ve never hiked before - should be exciting! But first, we’re slowing it down, enjoying the morning, and making a refreshing morning matcha with my new favorite nut milk. Now before I sell you on why this new crafted nut milk makes my morning matcha taste better, let me tell you why I normally avoid store bought nut milks: they’re packed with weird, unpronounceable ingredients and they taste funny. Not good funny, but a little weird funny. Like whatever the bottle is made of, or whatever weird stabilizers they added to the milk to make it shelf stable. Ick.
Lucky for us, food trends keep driving toward cleaner labels and simpler ingredients, and bigger brands with more influence are catching on, too. We’ve become a society that prefers to know where it’s food comes from - and I LOVE that. Even luckier for us, So Delicious DairyFree is getting in on the clean label game with their brand new 7-ingredient or less Organic Almondmilk with Cashew! It comes in 3 styles - Original, Vanilla and Unsweetened, and all contain quite literally 7 (or less!) super clean, purposeful ingredients and ZERO carrageenan. To paint you a clearer picture, here’s what’s inside the vanilla: organic almondmilk (filtered water, organic almonds), organic cane sugar, organic cashews, sea salt, gellan gum, real vanilla extract. I mean DANG! It doesn’t get much more pronounceable than that, am I right?! These super simple, clean ingredients mean it needs to be refrigerated to stay fresh, so look for their stylish new designs in the refrigerated milk section of your grocery store.
While you’re in that aisle, you may notice that these clean, tall bottles look a little different than most of the other bottles on the shelf and that’s because - HI! - they are! These bottles are super unique - not only is the inside material made of plants, the OUTSIDE is, too! This totally recyclable bottle is made from at least 80% plants - renewable sugarcane, to be exact. This helps to reduce So Delicious’ dependence on fossil fuels, which is great for the planet! I love the rich, creamy texture that combining the almond and cashewmilks gives, and the unsweetened version has quickly become my go-to milk in all of my sweet and savory recipes! Even better, these smooth, light-tasting almondmilks are USDA certified, organic, non-GMO certified, and of course - dairy, soy, and gluten-free! No artificial flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives to be found in these clean, healthy plant milks. Sharing my favorite Almondmilk Matcha Latté recipe below - scroll down for the simple, cozy recipe!
INGREDIENTS: 1-2 teaspoons high quality matcha powder 12 ounces steamed Vanilla So Delicious Almondmilk with Cashew 3-4 drops stevia OR 1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
DIRECTIONS: Simply heat your milk until warm, not to a boil. Using a milk frothy or a high-speed blender, been the milk at a high speed until foamy and frothy. Set aside. In a small bowl combine your matcha powder and a small splash of milk or water using a bamboo whisk. Create a smooth paste with the mixture, then add your additional steamed milk slowly, whisking to combine the matcha all together. Enjoy!
NOTES: You can add in other powders, oils, and mix-ins if you like, but this my super simple way to enjoy it every morning! Serves 1.
Find So Delicious Dairy Free NEW Organic Almondmilk with Cashew at stores nationwide - head to their website to find a store locator and sign up to receive exclusive product coupons! And let me know in the comments below what YOUR favorite morning drink to get your day started is - I know I can't be the only matcha fan around here, and I'm always looking for new ways to enjoy it. Thanks friends!
These GF, Grain-Free muffins are moist, rich, and packed with plant-based goodness! Plus, they're low in sugar and bake up quickly. I created them as part of a recipe pack for a anti-inflammatory post I was working on a few months ago and never ended up using the recipe - but never forgot about it, either! This recipe is amazing because the muffins have this soft, rustic, slightly crumbly around the edges texture, but are soft, moist, and perfectly cohesive on the inside. Add in the combo of sweet and tart summer fruits and you have a morning combination that's satisfying and just the right amount of healthy. These muffins are a crowd pleaser - perfect for allergen-friendly bake sales and at-home brunches alike!
HUGE thanks to my close friend and super talented videographer David Lee for filming this fun video of me making these scrumptious muffins. He made me - and my kitchen - look beautiful well lit, and for that I will be forever grateful! And better yet? He loved the muffins.
Watch the video below and scroll all the way down for the written recipe and a printable PDF, too. Don't forget to let me know what you think in the comments below - would love to hear about your favorite muffin flavor combos!
INGREDIENTS 1 cup almond milk 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar 1 cup almond flour 1 cup teff flour 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/3 cup sugar or maple syrup (for richer muffins) 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons coconut oil 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 cup frozen strawberries, halved (or use fresh!) 1 cup frozen rhubarb (or use fresh!)
DIRECTIONS In a small bowl combine the almond milk and vinegar to curdle. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the almond and teff flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients and set them to the side. In a separate, smaller mixing bowl whisk together the coconut oil, vanilla, and milk mixture.
Pour the wet ingredients into the well in the dry ingredients, then whisk the entire mixture together until just mixed. Fold in the fruit (fresh or frozen!) and scoop the mixture evenly into prepared muffin tins. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick pulls clean. Enjoy!
NOTES Makes 12 muffins.
Let muffins cool completely before serving!
Berries and rhubarb weren't exactly in season when we filmed, so we subbed frozen fruit instead. Fresh fruit works great here, too!