what i ate wednesday - 5.9.18

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Happy Wednesday, you guys! Today's another edition of 'What I Ate Wednesday' and I'm just going to get right into it.

I forgot to take a photo, but breakfast was two scrambled eggs, a piece of sprouted organic toast, and a few pieces of watermelon along with a big glass of ice-water.

After my workout, I like to have a protein snack and this week I'm really enjoying the chocolate coconut protein truffles I prepped on Sunday. They're made from almond butter, cacao powder, shredded coconut, honey, coconut oil, and oats.

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For lunch, I had a big salad made with whatever I found in the fridge. The base ended up being spinach and romaine (chopped with scissors, which I find is the way to go) topped with cherry tomatoes, pepitas, pistachios, goat cheese, and avocado. I dressed it with olive oil, salt, and pepper. On the side, I had a slice of toast with Earth Balance and a protein truffle.

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For an afternoon snack after swimming in the pool, I had a glass of ice water and caprese avocado toast. That's just avocado toast topped with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and balsamic vinegar. 

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For dinner, I had a few slices of takeout pizza as a treat and then for dessert, I had some leftover key lime pie from my birthday yesterday. I love that the pie is dairy free and actually really clean, so it's pretty much a guilt free dessert. The only sugar comes from agave nectar which has a low glycemic index.

So, that's what I ate! Right now, the plan is to do this kind of post once a month with all of the other Wednesdays being dedicated to other wellness topics. Let me know if you have any Wellness Wednesday requests! 

wellness wednesday: three quick ways to feel happier

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Welcome to the first official Wellness Wednesday here on the blog! Today, I wanted to talk about three super easy ways to feel instantly happier. Whether the cause is nasty weather, general life annoyances, or something bigger, we all feel down sometimes. I'm especially prone to feeling down during the winter months because of the cold and the lack of sunshine.

Back in March, I came back to New York from my trip to Florida and was met with really nasty, cold and wet weather which was such a downer. On the train ride back from the airport, I put on the song "Me & Michael" from MGMT's new album and seriously felt so much happier almost instantly. It's one of those songs that just makes me want to dance and it really did the trick in the moment!

Obviously, there is more work to be done for long lasting happiness, but if you need a quick jolt to get you out of a bad mood, here are three ideas:

Put on your happiest playlist.
Like I said above, that song made me so happy even in the cold night as I walked through gross Penn Station. When you are in a good mood, go ahead and make a little playlist with some songs that make you really happy. That way, you'll have it on hand and ready to go during moments that you're feeling sad, angry, or annoyed.

Try gratitude journaling.
This one is really good. When you're feeling down, grab your journal and write for at least 2-3 full pages. What are you writing? Amazing things that have happened to you, your big and small accomplishments, your favorite memories, and things that you are grateful for. Trust me, 2-3 pages will go by fast once you get started. It's crazy how just getting these thoughts out on paper will make you instantly feel more successful and happy.

Get outside in the sun.
If you're lucky and it is sunny outside, get out there and take a walk. I swear, sometimes when I don't feel my best, it's just that I'm tired or groggy from not getting fresh air. Take a quick walk around your block to get some Vitamin D and to stretch your legs. You'll feel so much better!

What do you do to feel better when you're in a bad mood?

What to Wear to... Fitness Class

 Image via  Well + Good

Image via Well + Good

Barre

For barre class, you want a good mix of form-fitting and loose-fitting garments so that you can add or remove layers depending on your temperature. Keep things ballet-inspired with soft pinks, white, and black. The only accessory you will need is a pair of grip socks and I recommend the kind with crossing straps to maximize the ballerina aesthetic.

Spin

The key to dressing for spin class is choosing garments that are moisture wicking since you will basically produce your body weight in sweat. It's best to choose a capri bottom as shorts leave your legs exposed to chafing and long leggings can sometimes restrict your range of motion. As for the top, the best combination is a great sports bra underneath a loose-fitting tank top. After class, you'll want to have your favorite facial mist on hand for a refresher.

Kickboxing

If you're trying to emulate Gigi Hadid, you are likely going to sign up for boxing lessons. Start your workout with a sweatshirt to warm up your muscles and then remove once you start to sweat. Keeping things minimal is best, so try a matching set sports bra and leggings. If you want to go all out and look ridiculously cool, buy a pair of these gold boxing gloves from Fashercise. 

How to Create a Bath Sanctuary

The best cure to a stressful day (or week/month/year/life) is almost always a visit to the spa. So, why not create one at home? 

Decorate using a calming color palette.
Choose a soft, relaxing color palette when thinking about your bathroom decor. Whites, blues, and blush pinks come to mind for me. Let this color palette be carried through all of your decor from the shower curtain to the towels and accessories. To keep things visually interesting, experiment with varying textures. For instance, selecting an all-white color scheme could mean that you have a white ruffled voile shower curtain, white marble soap dispensers, and white Egyptian cotton bath towels

Transfer your products into beautiful storage containers.
Empty products such as cotton balls and q-tips into glass apothecary jars, discarding the generic plastic bags in which they're sold. Unless the packaging is really beautiful (i.e. Aesop, Byredo, Ouai, etc.), consider transferring your soap, lotion, and shampoo into glass dispensers.  

Invest in a fluffy, monogrammed bathrobe.
I think that putting on a robe is the quickest way to feel as though you're actually at the spa. 

Gather an aromatherapy arsenal.
I recommend three types of candles for the optimal bath sanctuary. The first is an unscented pillar candle in a lantern to create relaxed low lighting. The second is a smaller candle in your favorite relaxing scent. The third is a collection of tealights to scatter around the room for added effect. For added aromatherapy benefits, use twine to tie sprigs of lavender and eucalyptus around your shower head.

Hide away your clutter.
Keep your space clutter-free by storing products in the medicine cabinet and dirty laundry in a nice basket hamper.

Stock up on beautifully packaged bath products.
Fill a basket with your favorite luxurious bath products such as oils, scrubs, salts, soaks, and mud masques

Keep things clean.
This is the most important point. You don't need luxury bath products and Egyptian cotton robes to have a relaxing bathroom. But, it is pivotal to have a fresh-smelling, clean bathroom. Splurge on a high-end cleaning product and use it often!

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Planning the Perfect Staycation

 Image via  Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

Travel, of course, is a joy and something that I wish I could be doing constantly. Sometimes, it's not possible and sometimes, staying home can be just as good. Whether you have a spring break or a long weekend coming up, here is a road map for planning a lovely staycation.

First, the prep work.
Before your staycation officially begins, prepare as though you are going out of town. Clear your refrigerator of old food, wipe down your counter tops and appliances with a fresh smelling, nontoxic cleaner or with a blend of white vinegar and essential oils. Put away your laundry, pick up loose items, and give your linens a good wash. Plan your meals for the week (see below)  and restock your kitchen with fresh fruits and vegetables, fun drinks, and an assortment of desserts. Assemble all of the supplies you will need for the week so that there is no need to run to the store.

Start your day with a low impact workout.
During your staycation, don't feel compelled to wake up at 5:00 am to go to the gym. Instead, wake up naturally with the sun and start your day with a low impact, relaxing workout. This could be a gentle yoga routine, a walk around the neighborhood, or a quick swim in the whichever body of water is nearest. By starting your day with a workout, you will feel more physically comfortable throughout the day and will be able to relax guilt-free. 

Follow up with an hour or two of home spa treatments.
After you've cooled down from your morning workout, follow up with a warm bath and spa treatments. Start with a good soak, using an aromatic soak from Fig + Yarrow, classic eucalyptus Epsom salts, a luxe bath oil, or a foaming bubble bath. While in the bath, apply your favorite mud masque. The steam in the room will help to enhance the benefits of the mud and also prevent that dry, cracking feeling. After your bath, when the skin is soft, apply a body exfoliant from a brand like Herbivore or Clarins, then rinse with a shower. Before drying your skin, moisturize with your favorite lotion. Slip on a robe and give yourself a manicure/pedicure while you dry. 

Settle into the relaxation mindset.
Start by lighting a relaxing scented candle. My favorite calming scents usually include mint, sandalwood, or chamomile. During your preparation period, shop online or even at Target for a brand new candle. Next, put on the most luxurious, comfortable pajamas you own. It's important to meet both criteria. You will find a good balance with a quality cotton t-shirt and a pair of soft, thin shorts. While comfort is key, looks matter too! I always feel so much better wearing a matching set of pink pajamas than I do in an old shirt and random shorts. Brush your hair, pull it back out of your face. Take a few minutes to meditate and focus on manifesting a relaxed mindset.
 

 Image via The Zoe Report

Image via The Zoe Report


Have something nice to eat and drink.
The key to devising the perfect staycation meal plan is balancing comfort food with healthy, light dishes that won't have you feeling sick afterwards. Think of the type of food that makes you feel best. This is different for everyone but for me, it is rustic, vegetarian French dishes such as a slice of French bread with jam and Brie, crudite (haricots vert, bell peppers, cucumbers) with a yogurt dip, and a simple fruit tart. Pick a few simple things that you can make ahead of time and eat throughout the week. Gather together ingredients for a few variations of smoothies and juices. Finally, be sure to treat yourself to a dessert from your favorite bakery. If you don't know of an independent bakery nearby, the dessert sections of Fresh Market and Whole Foods are great! Keep a few good snacks on hand such as fresh cut fruit, sliced bell peppers and celery, and your favorite candy as a splurge.

A few recipe ideas:
- Chloe Coscarelli Vegan Blueberry Pancakes
- Really any recipe from Chloe's cookbooks
- Fruit smoothies and juices
- Whole Grain Strawberry Breakfast Bars
- Pomegranate, Orange, and Strawberry Salad
- Apple Cinnamon Chips
- Restore Kale Smoothie Popsicle

Spend some time with screen-free entertainment.
Rather than zoning out with the typical Netflix binge or HGTV marathon, try out screen-free entertainment for awhile. Queue up a few episodes from your favorite podcasts or try a a few new ones. For staycation, you may want to switch it up a little---perhaps let go of NPR for a bit (I know it's difficult) and try a lighthearted series such as What Should I Read Next?, Garance Dore's Pardon My French, or Style Scouting

Spend some time with a new book or a stack of magazines. Right now, I'm reading Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Gamache series which I have found to be the most relaxing yet compelling books, perfect for a staycation. Some other great, relaxing book options are The Starboard Sea, any historical fiction by Julianne Donaldson, or a classic fairy tale. If you're looking for less of a commitment, pick up an assortment of magazines to work your way through. 

 Image from Jean-Luc Godard's  La Chinoise

Image from Jean-Luc Godard's La Chinoise


Take a nap!
There aren't many things better than an afternoon nap. Once reading has tired your eyes or your podcasts lull you into a daze, let yourself sleep for awhile. Ensure that there will be enough light in the room when you wake up by opening the blinds or turning on a lamp, because waking up in the dark has the tendency to create foul moods. 

Go out for an ice-cream.
After dinner, go out for ice-cream or frozen yogurt. Pick your favorite treat in town and go all out. If you'd rather stay home, make your own soda float or banana split. Enjoy outdoors, if possible. 

Watch a relaxing movie or show.
When the sun goes down, pick out a movie or show to watch as you are winding down. My recommendation is to pick something light and calming. Game of Thrones is no way to end a relaxing day. For movies, I suggest The Intern, Before Sunrise, Pride & Prejudice, Begin Again, Legally Blonde, About Time, and Haute CuisineSome good TV options are Gilmore Girls, anything on HGTV, and The Great British Bake Off (which is basically Xanax in the form of television). 

Open the windows or go outside for a cup of tea.
After dusk, take in the fresh night air with a cup of tea. If you have a balcony or a backyard, use it! If not, simply open all the windows and doors in your apartment and listen to the relaxing night sounds while you drink a cup of warm tea to wind down. A few great bedtime teas are chamomile, passionflower, and lemon balm.

Get to bed early and have a restful sleep.
Before bed, slip on a pair of cozy socks and prep your skin with a night cream. Turn on a relaxing rain sound or white noise app and cover your eyes with a cute sleeping mask. Be sure to get a good night's rest and begin again in the morning.