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!
I was SO excited to see The GOOD Fest make it's west coast debut this year! I had followed along last year as some of my favorite friends and influencers traveled back East for the event and was thrilled to see them hosting an LA edition! I attended the day-long wellness festival with my friends Kruti and Michelle (pictured center) and met up with the beautiful Carina and Chiara Wolff when we got there. It was a day filled with wellness panels, yoga classes, crystal meditations, great snacks and inspiring women and it was AMAZING! We started the day with a meet and greet brunch for VIP gals with treats from Simple Mills and Live24k after picking up our track passes, then assembled in the Main Room for a brief chat from the founders before getting the day started.
The afternoon was split up into 5 different tracks, so depending on which track you picked, you had a customized day of panels, group activities, and female-led session. I picked Track 4, which included the following sessions throughout the day:
Session 1 - Food Freedom Panel with Jordan Younger, Talia Pollack, Jess Sepel and more Session 2 - How to Have GOOD Sex with Shan Boodram Session 3 - YOGA: Jordan Younger + Sophie Jaffe Session 4 - Modern Approach to Ayurveda with Sahara Rose
We arrived around 10 am and didn't leave until about 6, so it was definitely a full day. Each activity lasted about an hour, plus some time for lunch, shopping at the wellness marketplace inside the festival, and talks from a few different closeout speakers. Pictured below are the iced turmeric lattes from the meet and greet brunch in the morning, a shot of Jordan Younger from our yoga session, a lil' selfie action and a shot of the food panel I attended, as well.
The first event I attended in the morning was actually shopping the marketplace, where I bought a crystal and tried alllll kinds of samples, plus ogled plenty of gorgeous yoga pants and tops. Everything was pretty reasonably priced, but I wasn't there to spend much money. I did however buy a yoga block because I've been needing one and they we're pretty cheap. And it's cute!
My second session was the Food Freedom Panel with Jordan Younger of The Balanced Blonde, Lynn Chen of The Actor's Diet, Jessica Sepel of JS Health, August Vega - the founder of Malk, and Talia Pollack of Party in my Plants. Talia and I are pals so I was especially excited to see her onstage and squeeze her afterward, and I have followed Jordan forever, so I was super stoked to meet her and tell her how great she is. She was just as grounded in real life as you'd hope, and the food panel was super interesting. Each lady talked about what Food Freedom meant to them, along with some of their stories on getting a healthy, happy place with food.
Next up, and in the same big, beautiful main room, was the How to have GOOD Sex with Sexologist Shan Boodram session. And it was FANTASTIC! Her energy and straight up real knowledge dropping was both impressive and entertaining to watch. She talk about a few different topics but essentially encouraging your partner to do what you like and need with real, open conversation. She was rad. So was her outfit, haha.
After that was my third session, Yoga taught by Jordan Younger and Sophie Jaffe. I was super excited to do some yoga and take it from people I really admired. I sat in the back of the room and mostly enjoyed it, though Sophie was sick so her section seemed a little short. Fair enough! It lasted about 30 minutes, and then we headed into the next session, which was also my last: Modern Approach to Ayurveda with Sahara Rose. I have had very little introduction to ayurveda but have been interested in learning more for awhile, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much info Sahara was able to cram into our short session. I felt like I walked away with a great into on the breakdown of basic ayurveda and a desire to learn much more.
After our final session, we headed back downstairs for a catered lunch from Sweet Green (YUM!) and then back to the main hall for the final speakers. It was a fantastic day - seriously full of so much fun, health and wellness, and I met so many babes I've only had the pleasure of interacting with on IG. If you're interested in checking out their upcoming events, including the next GOOD Fest in Philly, check out their website and follow them on IG for the DL on upcoming events! I'll definitely be attending again next year - I had a dang blast and met so many new, fun, incredible women! See you then, babes.
The Holidays are here again and that means it's time for our yearly Holiday Gift Guide! This year I've compiled a list of gifts that I would LOVE to open up on Christmas morning - or any morning, let's be honest! Like some of the stuff you see here? All you have to do is share the link with your family members and make shopping that much easier on them. Every product on this list can be purchased online and can be shipped by Christmas (if that's your Holiday of choice!) so no searching through crowded stores or waiting in long store lines. I also included discount codes for you guys when I could - because who doesn't love a good deal?! I'm a real believer in all the things on this list and have tried every single one myself. If you're interested, you can also check out our gift guides from Holidays past: 2013,2014, 2015, and 2016, or head over to our SHOP for signed cookbook copies. Let's open some presents!
1. Canopy Verde Greenpoint Vegan Convertible Backpack THIS BAG. You guys - I've been wanting a backpack-style bag for so long now. The 90s are back and so are those adorable black leather bags! Lucky for all of us, my fave bag brand Canopy Verde has released their Greenpoint Vegan Convertible Backpack just in time for the Holidays and its is THE CUTEST. I'm totally obsessed! It's got all the functionality and comfort of a backpack, with the cute faux leather straps and roomy interior - but has the option of converting into an easy-carry, oversize tote for work or play. I never take it off! I love that I can easily switch from a shoulder bag to an easy carry side tote without having to change anything. And the navy + black style goes with almost everything I wear! Their most popular bag style, it is available in navy, olive, indigo, and stone. And because it's the Holiday season, you can get 10% OFF your order with code:AMBER10. PLUS, when you spend $175, you'll get their chic Carroll Cutch free! The Carroll clutch is a classic foldover clutch made with organic cotton and vegan leather. Makes a great gift - or keep it for yourself! SHOP NOW
2. Cards Against Humanity - The Period Pack If you haven't played Cards Against Humanity yet, I'll assume you've been living under a rock. It's the most fun, most outrageous and unfiltered game of word and sentence association and it is amazing. I've played with everyone from close friends to my mother-in-law and it's always a good time. These cards are uncensored in the best way - and the Period Pack is no exception. Full of feminine wordplay and menstrual persiflage, this pack will bring hormonal tears of joy to your favorite lady - and it even comes with a wrapped, heart-shaped chocolate, just in case you need it. I thoroughly enjoyed the cleverness of both the cards and the packaging. It's been a rough year for ladies and vaginas in general - but this was a high note in an otherwise crummy year full of pussy jokes. SHOP NOW
3. LL Bean Sweater Fleece Pullover Hoodie Okay - I already own this. In full disclosure, my sister bought me this for Christmas this year and I ripped into early and have been loving it and keeping cozy ever since! It's the perfect amount of soft & comfortable and makes layering a breeze. I'm a Mainer and have been wearing LL Bean for years - so I can attest to the high quality and incredible return policy. As someone who officially owns three different versions of this fleece, I think the addition of the hood is the best! It keeps your ears nice and toasty, and these new color combos they've come out with are so cute! I'm loving the orange - and this fleece totally matches my snow boots! SHOP NOW
4. LEVO Oil Machine When I first heard about the LEVO Oil machine I was totally intrigued; a machine that allowed you to create any custom infused oil, at home, with all the conveniences of a countertop coffee pod maker - but easier, cleaner, and sleeker than any other model on the market. Maybe you're wondering, "What kind of infusions could I possibly make?" And friends - the list is so, so long. As a yoga instructor I see value in this machine beyond food infusions, as a tool to help me create my own custom massage oils for practice and teaching. As someone with a love for cooking, I see unlimited infusion possibilities. Everything from garlic-infused olive oil and vanilla-infused vodka to cannabis-infused coconut oil and cinnamon-infused maple syrup. If you can cook with it, you can infuse it! The machine uses controlled heat and time are used to transfer the flavor, scent, color, and nutrients from a variety of ingredients into the carrier of your choice. And it's now sold in 4 colors - but I am LIVING for that rose gold! Use code GOODSAINT to get $10 OFF your LEVO infuser! SHOP NOW
5. The Reversible Mat 3mm from Lululemon I'm just obsessed with this mat. I've been using it for at least 6 months now and its my go-to for my everyday yoga practice. They make a slightly more cushioned 5mm version, but I've found this one being slightly smaller makes it perfect for all the traveling I do! It comes in a range of colors (I have one in Emerald Green from last season) and because it's two sided and reversible, is perfect for everything from sweaty hot yoga to a relaxing restore class. I rarely use the extra grippy side because the regular side - made with a polyurethane top layer that absorbs moisture - tends to be grippy enough, but I love the option in my sweatier, slipperier classes! Whenever I need another mat, I'd buy this one again for sure! SHOP NOW
6. Homestyle Vegan Cookbook I'm not one to push a lot of stuff on you guys, but if you don't already own it and you're looking for a great Holiday gift, my cookbook can still make it to you in time! It's stuffed with 80 original, cozy, comforting dishes - each with a full-page color photo - that'll remind you of what Mama used to make...only healthier! Plus, it's 34% OFF on Amazon right now! SHOP NOW
7. Hydroflask - 40 oz with Straw Lid We love our Hydroflask bottles and snack containers for iced and hot drinks and for taking warm breakfasts or lunches on the go. We each have a 32 oz bottle with a wide mouth lid, plus a 12 oz and 16 oz snack container and we are literally constantly using them. Now that I'm teaching yoga, having a larger amount of water and an easier way to grab a quick sip would be helpful, so I'm hoping Santa sneaks one of these babies under my tree - I love it in white! SHOP NOW
8. Native AP Mercury Lightknit Shoes I've worn my current pair of Native sneakers almost to death. They're the most comfortable shoes I own! I bought them just before our Honeymoon to Europe and ended up walking at least 20 miles a day in them. I never got blisters and the materials are so incredibly light and breathable that you can wear them with or without socks. The I can't wait to order my next pair and love the look of these mercury lightknits! They're clean, sporty, and I'm sure just as crazy comfortable. Plus, they're vegan! SHOP NOW
9. Square Organics Protein Popcorn I think Square Organics is making some of the best, most innovative, plant-based protein-packed snacks out there right now. They already have an 8-flavor line of SUPER yummy protein bars, and this year they released a line of cashew crisp bars that are like a healthy rice krispies. They're SO yummy! On top of that, they also dropped a line of protein popcorn this year. Let that sink in - snacking on popcorn AND getting a healthy serving of plant-based protein? HECK YES! It comes in three flavors - sweet, spicy, and salty and while I'm a sucker for plain salted, I think the spicy is a gift from the gods. You can use code GOODSAINT to get 20% OFF + FREE SHIPPING on their website! SHOP NOW
10. Healthade Holiday Cheers Kombucha If you follow me on IG, you know I'm always preaching about probiotics! If you love someone, give them the gift of happy belly bacteria! I know it sounds weird, but I promise - they'll thank you. Plus, it tastes great! Healthade is an incredible company that still brews small batch kombucha in glass jars right here in LA. I love that they're committed to keeping it real and keeping their flavors creative - like this warm, cozy Holiday Cheers flavor! Stay tuned and give us a follow on IG - we're hosting a giveaway with them next week! In the meantime, find your favorite flavor and order a 6-pack on their website! SHOP NOW
11. CorePower Yoga Gift Card You guys know that I LOVE Corepower Yoga! I got certified in both 200-hr Power Yoga and Yoga Sculpt this year and have nothing but positive things to say about my experiences. I'm made tons of friends and learned an incredible amount - my practice has gotten so much stronger. I still take class ay my home studio at least 4 days a week! They're having an great sale right now, so if you've been thinking about checking out a class - or just want to stock up on some new yoga gear - grab yourself a gift card! Right now, you can get a $100 gift card for just $80. That's a steal! SHOP NOW