(SXSW) Music Meditation

You all know from previous posts that meditation isn’t about sitting in a very specific way and chanting “ohm” under your breath. It’s about taking a break from the day to reorganize and destress. My favorite way to do this? With music.

If you know anything about me, you know how bummed I am that I can’t make it to SXSW this year. With so many friends who are there, the constant #SXSW tags in Tweets and Facebook statuses boasting all of the cool things that are being learned are slowly driving me into a slightly jealous rage. Lucky for me, I had the solution to my unusual mood when I got into work and opened my email. A friend and coworker had emailed me a giant list of free downloads for a ton of SXSW artists.

So, friends, here’s what I want you to do: Download the list here, go outside, and take a walk. It’s gorgeous outside–too gorgeous to spend your meditation indoors.

And let me know, what’s your favorite song on the list? I’m looking forward to some Santigold and M. Ward on a day like today. There’s even something from Andrew Bird’s new album (pictured above).

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March 12, 2012 at 9:16 pm Leave a comment

Natural Medicine Substitutes

Being in public and trying to suppress a massive cough is the worst. For the past two months, I’ve been battling this very scenario, but  I managed to somehow keep my Zen thanks to a few natural health remedies. And I’m here to share the health wealth! Here are a few ways to suppress that hacking without Robitussen.

Honey and Lemon Juice

Mix a few drops of lemon juice in with a spoonful of honey and drink it down. Take two spoonfuls to replace a dose of cough medicine. Add a little bit of water if it’s too thick for you.

Nettle

These are available in capsules at natural food and health store. Take them as directed, and they’ll take out your cough in a few hours. The herb had a drying effect when it comes to getting that phlegm out of your system.

Vick’s Vapo Rub

This is a last-resort tactic. Take a bit of Vick’s Vapo Rub and put it on the tip of a spoon. Swallow it down and you’ll feel better within a few minutes. Yes, it’s gross, but my dad is a Vick’s swallowin’ veteran, and he survived. If you can handle your cough for a little longer, rub some Vick’s on your feet before you go to bed and cover them with socks. You’ll feel better by the time you wake up.

March 1, 2012 at 2:48 am Leave a comment

Penne Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce

It’s beautiful outside. For one day, you can throw away your cares and toss that coat to the side because the sun is out and the snow is melting.

But only for one day. Because the rain and snow will come back once or twice and you’ll have to dig out that coat for a few more chilly nights. While that depressing realization may be settling in, long live your awesome day–finish it off with some quick comfort food. It’s even kind of healthy*. Prefer to keep it all-natural? Check out these healthy salads from Whole Living.

Penne Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce (from VeryBestBaking.com)

  • 2 cups (8 oz.) dry penne pasta
  • 8 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Lowfat 2% Milk
  • 2 cups (8-oz. pkg.) shredded Italian-style four-cheese blend
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

PREPARE pasta according to package directions, adding sun-dried tomatoes to boiling pasta water for last two minutes of cooking time; drain.

MEANWHILE, COMBINE evaporated milk, cheese, basil, garlic powder and pepper in medium saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted. Remove from heat.

ADD pasta and sun-dried tomatoes to cheese sauce; stir until combined.

Dessert or summer snack? Try this treat on for size.

*If you substitute wheat noodles. Don’t hold me to that.

February 23, 2012 at 12:40 am Leave a comment

Sugar Detox

The big “holiday” is over, and hopefully most of you survived without any standing PTSD. As we all know, flowers die and the chocolate gets eaten. But there is one pesky little thing that will stick around long after Valentine’s Day: sugar calories (that we consumed in the name of love, of course).

Here are a few steps you can take to cutting down on the post V-Day sugar high and avoiding unwanted pounds.

Screw the Syrup!

Momma was right when she said to stay away from the high fructose corn syrup. It’ll only add to your sugar situation and mess with your hunger signals. Step away from the ketchup, soda, and cereal for a few days to help your blood sugar figure itself out.

Lean Protein

Never fear, vegetarian friends. There’s hope for you, too. Focus on getting enough tofu and beans into your diet. For you meat eaters, try chicken and salmon.

Healthy Substitute

Most candy consumption occurs because of a specific craving. Get rid of cravings by substituting something sweet–and healthy–into your diet. My go-to substitution? Cuties clementines. Small enough for a snack and easy to carry around anywhere.

Meditate and Exercise

Keep yourself sane–and focused–by getting 15-20 minutes of exercise every day. Add 10 minutes of meditation and you’ll be golden.

Sleep

Sugar can bring you down when you have too much of it in your system. Make sure and get a good night’s sleep and steer clear of frequent napping throughout the day. It’ll be tempting, but you’ll sleep better at night sans daytime power naps.

Don’t let cupid stab you in the back with his sugar-coated arrow. Trust me, he’s got good aim.

*Check out this slideshow from Self magazine with more ways to detox the healthy way.

February 15, 2012 at 10:12 pm 2 comments

Valentine’s Day Zen

Sometimes it’s hard to keep cool on a day full of love and romance when you don’t have either. Never fear! It’s possible to make it out of today even happier than those having to adjust and readjust the roses that keep piling up on their work desks.

Singles without a V-Day plan, let me make your day. Literally. Here’s a foolproof plan to beating out the stress of being single on the most “romantic” day of the year.

Step 1: Drown your sorrows.

But not really. Just run out and buy a bottle of your favorite wine. Or liquor. Or whatever. A glass of Moscato does it for me. It’s the best way to start off a night of relaxation. Just remember: One glass is enough. Drinking (and emotions) can run rampant on Valentine’s Day. You don’t want to be that person caught sobbing their forever-single sorrows to the bartender at 8:30 p.m.

Credit: someecards.com

Step 2: Art will always love you.

Today is not the day to force any romantic encounters. Dress up real nice and spend some time with something that won’t judge your solo self–the art museum. Find one piece to fall in love with and sit in front of it. Really pay attention to the detail you wouldn’t usually have time to notice. If that doesn’t get your creative juices rolling, the wine you previously imbibed should help with that.


Step 3: Gore, gore, and more gore.

Forget teary-eyed couples watching knock-offs of The Notebook. A good zombie flick will kick the pants off any romantic scheduled-to-release-on-Valentine’s-Day box office hit. My recommendation? Zombieland. It even has a hint of love and romance thrown in for those of you who just can’t kick the romantic holiday completely. Grab some popcorn and laugh yourself to sleep.

Keep your chins up! It’s just another Tuesday. Keep smiling. I promise you it’s a better look than the googly eyes everyone else will be walking around with.

February 14, 2012 at 5:43 pm 2 comments

Holiday De-stressing

At a time of year filled with family, it’s a weird feeling to want to get away from it all and de-stress. But it happens to the best of us. Keep these quick methods in mind the next time you feel your blood pressure rise and your head start to pound.

Don't be this girl.

Socialize

It may seem like an odd suggestion for a time when you want to be completely alone, but get together with a friend that never fails to make you laugh. Avoid those debbie downers at all costs, and soon you’ll be laughing yourself out of it. If you really don’t want to be around a close friend, go see a movie–a comedy, of course. It doesn’t matter if you go solo, no one can see you once it starts anyway. Being around a bunch of people who don’t share you exact stress will help get rid of it.

Fresh Air

It helps, really. The chilly weather and snow flurries will take you out of your foul mood and straight into a freeing chill. There’s just something about being able to see your breath in the air. If it doesn’t relax you, at least it’ll take your mind off of your object and stress, and into trying to keep you warm. Just having a destination to get to (the wonderful outdoors) will bring the urgency away from that gnawing stress and into the goal.

Write Lists

They can be about anything. A to-do list, a “what to buy people for Christmas” list, a countdown to the end of finals in a list form–the possiblities are endless. Seeing your worries on a piece of paper make them seem less intimidating.

These are just three easy things to incorporate into your days–minus my constant suggestion to meditate–that will immediately take your stress level down a notch. Here are a few things not to do:

...Or this girl.

Drink

Black Friday stress is different than holiday stress. It’s a time for family and relaxation, but don’t chug down that whole bottle of wine. ‘Tis the season to share the wealth.

Vent (too much)

Sure, getting it out in the open helps. But this isn’t the time to do it. If you need to call a close family member to get it out once, and leave it. Don’t let it come back and aggravate you. Everyone is feeling a little tense around the holidays, so be mindful.

Lose Sleep

This is the worst thing you can do–it’ll just make things worse. Make sure to sleep when you’re tired, even if it is 6 p.m. and only an hour after your holiday feast. Don’t push yourself, you’ll just regret it once you have to get back in the swing of things.

 

 

December 6, 2011 at 1:33 am Leave a comment

Healthy Gifts

The holiday season is upon us and it’s easy to lose sight of your well-being in the midst of it all. Never fear, I’ve compiled a few healthy gift ideas for your loved ones–they’ll be thanking you for looking out for them instead of adding to the post-Christmas food/family hangover.

Organic Fruit Basket

In a tight economy, fruit is expensive–especially the healthy stuff. Indulge friends and family and put together a colorful fruit basket full of the good stuff they hate paying for. Apples, oranges, pineapple; the opportunities are endless. Add a festive plant or some nuts (pistachios are good for the body) and you’re good to go.

Yoga 

Give the gift of relaxation. Include an at-home yoga video (or a subscription to Yoga Journal), a pair of yoga pants, a mat, and a scented candle or incense. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Massage

It may seem overdone, but think about how many times you’d love a massage at the end of a busy day. Especially during holiday times, this gift can be the light at the end of the tunnel for busy hosts and hostesses alike.

Tooth Cleaning

Don’t laugh, The Daily Beast named it as one of their top gifts of the season. It makes sense–in an economy that makes any kind of healthcare too expensive, a tooth cleaning could be the perfect gift for a smile-conscious family member.

Charity Donations

Give the gift of giving. Find a loved one’s favorite charity and donate some money. It’s the best time of the year to give to those who may not be able to celebrate the holidays. Give them a card with the donation information and watch their face light up. Doing a good deed is always a way to spike well-being.

 

Zen out, friends. And don’t stress the holiday season.

November 30, 2011 at 8:39 pm Leave a comment

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