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My Adaptogen Potion

Ladies and gentlemen, I did it. It started with a simple google search “what is Ashwagandha?” The next thing I know, I’d fallen down the rabbit hole and had 6 adaptogens in my cart, I was sucked in eager to try everything. What started this new obsession?

It’s no secret, I am not a coffee person. Don’t get me wrong, I love the smell, I love the idea of coffee – the ritual of making it – but I do not have the palate for it. I only really started drinking coffee a few years ago, and I realized, I was only drinking it because I enjoy drinking the copious amounts of cream that I was putting in my cup. I LOVE dairy, it just doesn’t love me back. So I went back to my old roots: tea.

I love tea for the same reason I enjoy the idea of coffee. I love the ritual of it: boiling the water, waiting for it to steep . . . I am not a major caffeine junky, but like everyone else, I need a little kick in the morning and my dandelion tea, while great for detoxing the kidneys and liver, isn’t going to add any pep to my step.

As a result, I have been searching for an alternative. Something that will provide health benefits, while increasing my energy and doesn’t tempt me to add heaps of sugar and 1/2 a cup of cream. After falling down a deep internet rabbit hole (hours and hours of research) I stumbled upon an article on adaptogenic herbs. The hook, line, and sinker was that they labeled it as a “potion”. I am such a sucker for magical marketing and once I read that, I knew I had to find out what all the fuss was about.

What are adaptogenic herbs? Ginseng, aloe vera, and rosemary are well-known adaptogens. Adaptogens are natural substances that work with your body and help it adapt to stress. They help you deal with stress and fatigue by working to regulate important hormones. Depending on the adaptogen they can:

  • Offer a boost for the immune system
  • Support for managing a healthy weight
  • Increased physical endurance and mental focus
  • Reduction in discomfort caused by poor health
  • Encouraging a balanced mood

How do they work?  The chemicals that adaptogens contain help to normalize adrenal fatigue. If you’ve taken a yoga class, then you’ve probably heard a lot about adrenal function. Adaptogens calm and nourish and support the adrenal glands and support the processes that are controlled by adrenals: from blood sugar and immune system regulation to hormones and blood pressure. It is important to keep in mind that, while you are going to get an immediate “boost”, the real benefits come from long-term, consistent use.

Think of it this way, stress is a hormonal reaction, if you are stressed out most of the day, it’s going to throw your hormones out of balance and that can affect everything from your digestive system, your mental well-being, and your energy levels. If you know you’re going to encounter stress throughout the day, arm yourself with some adaptogens to counter the stressors.

Now that we have that out of the way, I have found that drinking my morning “potion” does help provide a boost of energy and I handle things like traffic, and annoying emails in a much calmer, composed way.

These are the herbs I take on a daily basis:

  • Ashwagandha: Benefits brain health. Protects the brain from degeneration and improves symptoms of Alzheimer’s, depression, and anxiety.
  • Reishi: Helps the immune system, treats anxiety, high blood pressure, hepatitis, bronchitis, insomnia, and asthma
  • Cordyceps: Improves respiratory health, increases oxygen uptake, boosts heart health, detoxifies the body, slows the aging process, increases energy, and improves the immune system.
  • Mucuna Puriens: Supports a healthy central & peripheral nervous system, helps the body’s ability to handle stress. Is a natural source of levodopa (L-dopa)*. Improves energy and endurance.

Keep in mind, these herbs do NOT taste good. They are earthy and can be strong, so it took some trial and error to find a recipe that I actually enjoyed drinking. Lucky for you, I will save you from the bitter taste tests and provide you my recipe:

My Adaptogen Potion (Or my chai recipe with Adaptogens)

  •  ½ teaspoon ashwagandha
  • ½ teaspoon cordyceps
  •  ½ teaspoon mucuna puriens
  • ½ teaspoon reishi
  • ½ teaspoon collagen
  • 2 servings of chai: I use Blue Lotus 
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla (vanilla powder works too)
  • 1 date, pitted
  • splash of almond milk

Boil some water, enough for a cup, add all of the above to a blender and blend until smooth and frothy. Drink slowly.

I am not a doctor, nor am I an herbalist or a nutritionist. Please speak with a doctor before incorporating any adaptogens into your diet. Most of my adaptogens are from Sun Potion, I got the reishi and collagen from Thrive Market.

There it is, do some research, find what you think will work for you. There are so many ways to consume adaptogens, you can take them in pill form, or add them to soups, you can make a matcha latte with them. The possibilities are endless. If you try my recipe above, let me know what you think!

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A Lazy Girl’s Guide To Healthy Living

Let me start by saying that I am not a nutritionist nor am I a health care professional. I am just a woman who loves to eat, nearing her 30’s and battling an ever-slowing metabolism.

That said, these are the tools/actions that keep me slim, healthy and happy.

Eating healthy and staying healthy is a STRUGGLE. We’ve all had our own variation of joining a gym, hitting it hard, eating clean, and for that first month we are on our best behavior but, over time, you start to slack off. You think “well I am seeing changes, one slice of pizza won’t hurt”. Then the next day you say “well. . . those nachos won’t hurt “. Then you do the one thing that puts the nail in the coffin – you skip the gym! The next thing you know, it’s been a month since your last workout and you’re back to the point where your clothes don’t fit, you don’t remember the last time you had a salad, and the only time your gym clothes are getting used is for those lazy Sunday’s binging on Netflix.

Sound familiar? This was my pattern. Now, I am not perfect, I have days where I overindulge. I have weeks where I only work out 3 times a week. And you know what? That is OK.

Step #1: Practice Self-Love

Please, stop beating yourself up. So, you ate some pizza, and ice cream and had a few beers. Did you hurt anyone? Did you hurt yourself? If the answer is “no”, you’re good. The minute you stop beating yourself up is THE very minute you step into the right direction of LIVING healthy. We need to have a positive relationship with ourselves. We need to have a positive relationship with food! We shouldn’t shame ourselves for treating ourselves to the food that we enjoy. Now, mind you – everything within reason. My motto is “everything in moderation”, but if you love pie, then go eat some pie! But consider this:

Step #2 Get to Cookin’

Bake that pie yourself. You’re less likely to funnel a piece or two of pie down your throat if you’re the one who baked it. You will savor it. You will share it. You will not overindulge, because you know the time and effort that went into that beautiful piece of pie – or cake- or cookies – or pizza.

If you want to be healthy and not drain your bank account, you have to LEARN TO COOK. If you’re lazy like I am, you’re not going to take the time out of your day to make pizza from scratch. Nah, I’d rather cook up some quinoa, roast some veggies and call it a day. Once you start cooking from scratch you’ll notice a difference in how food tastes. Soon all of those boxes of mac and cheese, and frozen meals will start to taste . . . like plastic (because they practically are). You have more control over what goes into your food and before you know it, you might enjoy cooking!

Not sure how to cook healthy food? Don’t worry, I get it. It’s intimidating AF. The first step is knowing how to shop:

Step #3 Shop the Perimeter

Avoid anything that comes in a box/package. Except for beans, butter, etc. Pass on that tasty, high sodium, preservative laced, chana masala package that you can throw in the microwave and in 5 minutes, BAM you’re in India. Don’t do it. I know it’s easy, but there are so many preservatives and added ingredients that go into pre-made meals. They might tell you it’s healthy – but guess what – that’s just MARKETING. Think about it. You should be questioning every label that tells you something is “healthy” or “natural”. If they have to tell you that it is good for you, it probably isn’t. When it comes to brands, just like people, you can always tell when they’re trying too hard.

I rarely shop the middle of a grocery store, unless I am buying my cooking building blocks like olive oil, or spices. How does this help? If I don’t keep it in the house, then I won’t eat it. Why? Because I am lazy. If it’s not within reach, it’s not going in my belly.

OK, now that we’ve addressed that, where do you go to find inspiration for nutritious meals? Find a company that sells healthy meals (for ex. Fit Kitchen). Look at their menu and copy it. They normally list all of the ingredients, so follow their lead. Pinterest is another great place to find motivation. Let’s be honest, this can be overwhelming. It can even be annoying and you might want to quit. That’s OK. Remember, be kind to yourself. Take a step back, treat yourself to some chocolate and try again tomorrow. Another great resource is the gym. If you’ve joined one, ask a trainer about healthy eating. See what they recommend. I guarantee they have a resource that you can use. Which takes us to our final step:

Step #4 Workout

You have to move your body. Our bodies are incredible. They do amazing things. Intimidating? Yeah. Worth it? HELL YEAH.

We’ve all been there. Even that yogi that can fly from crow to chaturanga was a beginner who couldn’t touch her toes and thought that binds were for those that didn’t have bones in their bodies. I remember walking into my first yoga class, my first barre class, my first HIIT class. It sucked. I didn’t know what to wear. I didn’t understand proper form, but I kept going back. I kept trying new things. Until I found a routine that worked for me.

There is no “one way” to work out – some people love boot camp style workouts, cool. Some people like Zumba, cool. Explore. Figure out what you enjoy and get into it! Don’t try to push yourself into a style that doesn’t work for you. Why? Because you’ll never go.

Have a bad day? Couldn’t quite get into the groove? Forgive yourself. Take a deep breath, thank yourself for GOING to the gym, treat yourself to some chocolate, and try again tomorrow.

But, please don’t give up. Don’t stop. You owe it yourself to keep going!

You’ve probably gone through this list thinking, “there isn’t anything lazy about these steps!” I hear you, but once you start to introduce these 4 things into your daily life, you’ll see it’s not that hard! You’ll find that you will be healthier and happier. You WILL start to see change. It won’t be overnight, so be patient and be kind to yourself. Just remember, everyone’s definition of “healthy” is going to be different, listen to your body, if something doesn’t feel right, stop doing it.

What are your “lazy girl” recommendations for healthy living? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear them!

Weekly Favorites: V

Happy New Year! Hard to believe that it is already 2017! I can’t wait to see what this new year has in store. Because of the holiday, I am posting this a little later than I normally would. Without further ado, here are a few items that I have been loving this past year:

Harry Josh Pro Tools Blow Dryer – This blow dryer is absurdly expensive, but I have to say it was the best investment. It dries my hair in 3(!) minutes flat! I hate blow-drying my hair and I am always running late, so this blow dryer is a life saver. It leaves my hair smooth and never frizzy. Let’s be honest, it doesn’t hurt that it’s also super chic, I love that it’s mint green and it’s compact size. (I found this for 1/2 off in Black Friday last year 🙌🏽 I believe it’s on sale now. . . )

‘Black Opium’ by Yves Saint Laraunt – This has been my go-to scent for the past year. I’m constantly receiving compliments on it from both men and women. It’s the sexiest scent, not overwhelming with just the right amount of intruige. It’s sweet, but not overtly so, it’s warm with notes of coffee, tobacco and vanilla. It lingers on the skin foever and is surprisingly fitting for every season, I love it!

Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder – This powder is the best for oily skin girls like myself. Say “bye, bye” to creasing, this sets everything perfectly and sinks in immediately 👌🏽. It is a bit pricey, but unless you spill it, it will last forever.

Trilogy Rosehip Oil – Rosehip oil is full of antioxidants, fatty acids and vitamins. It’s great for scars, dark marks and is deeply hydrating. If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll know that lately, I’ve really been focusing on healing and nourishing my skin. Once I applied it, I noticed a difference in my skin immediately. It was really calming and hydrating. I also apprecaite that there isn’t really a scent with this oil (aka no added perfumes, just the good stuff). This is a new staple in my routine.

‘Havana Nights’ Liquid Lipstick by Ofra – This is my perfect vampy shade. It is a deep browny burgundy. It’s easy to wear and shamelessly sexy. I love Ofra, their products are super affordable and their liqud lipstick formula is one of the best, not too dry, great wear time and doesn’t feather.

‘Impassioned’ Blush by NARS – I love this delicate pink blush. It’s a great pink for my olive skinned guys as gals with yellow undertones. It blends perfectly, gives a bright wash of color and is really wearable.

‘Stepping Out’ Always On Matte Liquid Lipstick by Smashbox – This deep nude/ brown shade is stunning. This formula is very different from other liquid lipsticks in that it’s light, layers easily and doesn’t dry out your lips. It also has some serious staying power. This has been my go-to everyday nude lip.

‘Like’ lipgloss by Kylie Cosmetics– I know. I know. But this is a really great product. Not too sticky, subtle scent and for a gloss, it really stays put. I love pairing this with the smashbox liquid lipstick listed above. It’s the perfect combination.

Satin jumpsuit from ASOS – I’m in love with this jumpsuit. Recently, I’ve been wanting to update and class up my lounge wear, which mostly consists of well worn sweats and sweaters. This is precisly what I had in mind. It is feminine, flirty and so soft. I feel like such a lady when I wear it.

Weekly Favorites: IV (The Winter Edit) 

Once the temperatures drop and sky has gone gray, I crave all things cozy. I long for warm baths, a plush robe and a comforting cup of tea. Here are a few of my favorite winter indulgences:

Scottish Fine Soap Au Lait: I love this bathing milk. It’s luxurious, the scent is subtle and it makes my skin so soft!! I like to toss this in with some Epsom salts and an essential oil for a truly spa-like experience.

Elephant Mug: Winter tends to put me in a bad mood. I really dislike being cold, but this mug makes me smile every time I use it. This is a two in one because elephants also happen to be my favorite animal.

Soap & Glory Smoothie Star Body Milk: Soap and Glory is one of my favorite “drugstore” brands and this lotion is one of the reasons why. It’s really hydrating and perfect for combating the dry, thin, Colorado air. It also has the perfect fall/winter scent. It’s warm with hints of vanilla and oats, but it’s not too sweet. A lot of similar scents tend to be too strong and will wind up giving me a stomach ache (strange right?), but this one is perfect. It warms the senses and doesn’t overpower.

Super Soft Robe: One of my favorite Target buys. This robe is so soft, so warm and was super affordable. I have been LIVING in this robe for the past2 months lol.

Cozy socks: Were these socks purchased with the robe? You know it. I am a sucker for super soft/fluffy socks and these fit the bill perfectly. ( I loved them so much I bought them in 3 different colors). There is nothing quite as satisfying as putting these on after a bath, and settling in with a great book.

What are your winter favorites?

 

Weekly Favorites: III 


As mentioned in my previous post, my skin is fickle and can be so unforgiving. Here are a few of my holy grail skincare products (old and new) as well as a few beauty items to round it out.

(Left to Right)

Advanced Snail Mucin Power Essence by COSRX: My skin has gone THROUGH it in the past two months.With 96% Snail Secretion Filtrate, it helps with cell regeneration, speeds up the healing and provides moisture.

Good Genes by Sunday Riley: This is an incredible lactic acid treatment. It’s a chemical exfoliant that helps with dullness, dark spots and really plumps the skin (which I love for my acne scars). It claims to be clarifying as well. All I know is if I skip this treatment, I will notice it.

C-Firma Day Serum by Drunk Elephant: This vitamin c serum has pumpkin ferment enzymes. It helps to firm, brighten and diminish the appearance of dark spots. It’s expensive but so worth it.

Tarteist Mascara by Tarte: If you thought Too Faced “Better than sex” mascara was good, you’ll want to try this. It volumizes, separates, lengthens and doesn’t flake! Essentially, it’s all I’ve ever wanted in a mascara.

Gold by Commodity: I bought this for my fall travels and fell in love with it. This perfume is lovely. It’s warm, slightly spicy with a hint of sweetness. It’s sexy and sophisticated. It has quickly become the scent I’ve been reaching for everyday.

“Fraise” Matte Creme Lip Crayon by Bite Beauty: As its name suggests, this is a lovely strawberry red. I might go so far as to say it is THE perfect strawberry red for me. If you’re olive skinned with yellow undertones, this is a great red for you. I love this color, it has lasting power and it’s by Bite, you can’t go wrong.

Luna Oil by Sunday Riley: I love this night oil. The retinal a helps with my pitted scars and it really works to even out the skin tone. Despite what everyone says, I didn’t experience miraculous overnight results, but I have experienced great results over time.

Weekly Favorites: II

I’ve found that ever since I’ve gotten back into journaling, my head is clearer, I’m more in tune and starting to feel like my old self again. Here are a few favorites that I’ve loved and am still loving:

NARS Audacious lipstick in Audrey – this is the perfect berry shade for my skin tone. I love the magnetic cap (so satisfying). Great formula, it’s NARS…

Missha Essence Sun Milk – I love this sun block. It’s light weight, provides serious protection, doesn’t give a white cast,  absorbs quickly and doesn’t have that typical sunblock scent.

The Five Minute Journal– This is great for the journaling novice or the long time lover. Don’t worry if you’re short on time, all you need is 5 minutes in the morning and the evening and you’re that much closer to creating a new habit. I love that this journal is based around gratitude. There are weekly challenges, and inspirational quotes to help motivate. I know this sounds hippie-dippie, but there is something to be said for taking the time to acknowledge the good in our lives.

MycoShield Immune Support – When the temps drop and the germs spread, I need all the help I can get. The peppermint is strong in this, which I don’t mind, but be warned.

Heimish All Clean Balm – This stuff removes makeup like a dream! Massage it on and bye bye waterproof everything. There is, however, one caveat – it contains coconut oil. So my dear acne prone skin, let me save you the heartache – this WILL break you out! I learned this the hard way. As a result, I’m not using it anymore. Which really bums me out. If you’re lucky to not have acne issues, buy this STAT!

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Weekly Favorites: I

A few months ago I found myself getting lost in the bah-humbug of the Monday blues.

So I decided to take to my Snapchat to change my attitude. I wanted to reflect on the little everyday things that made me happy and well, make Mondays more bearable. Hence, Monday Fav’s was born. This is, by no means deep or profound, it can be as silly and shallow as my favorite lip scrub.

Initially, I didn’t think anyone would care, but I was surprised by the reactions I received and loved that people started sharing their favorites with me!

I’ve had a few people suggest that I post the series somewhere so that they can be referenced in the future. I thought about it and figured it was a great way to resurrect this blog. SO here we go, I will doing a little bit of back-tracking, but if you wish to follow along in real time you can find me on Snapchat! Username: s0njablade

My July 2016 favorites were:

My fav new snack: these coconut bars!

I was lucky enough to have my parents in town for the summer and they were staying pretty close to my ‘hood. As a result, I was treated to my dad’s home cookin’ several times a week.

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My favorite new water bottle: This teal beauty by Contigo

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My favorite accessory: my moonstone ring. I’ve worn every day for 14 years!

This face mist is great to set your makeup or to cool you down on a hot day

Yoga is life, but barre is my current favorite. The reason barre is my favorite is in part to Alison. I have literally followed her to 3 different gyms. I gleefully refer to her as “the mean ballerina”. If you’re in the Denver area, look her up. She will kick your ass. You won’t get bored and you won’t be able to walk for the rest of the week: