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  • Essential Oils: 5 Simple Faves for Home + Beauty

    Essential Oils: 5 Simple Faves for Home + Beauty

    When you think of essential oils, what comes to mind?

    A massage, maybe? Aromatherapy? When a friend first introduced me to oils, I had no idea how much they would change my life. I was simply looking for a way to go more "natural" when it came to the many products I was using. To simplify. 

    What I discovered was a whole new way to take care of myself, my family (and friends!), and our home. They are soothing, cleansing, calming, supportive, energizing, protective, and balancing to mind, body, and spirit -- and beyond. Their uses are seemingly endless. You will be amazed at the power of pure, exceptionally high quality essential oils.

    But for now, I'd like to introduce you to just a few: My top five must-have essential oils for home and beauty! They are: Lemon, Lavender, Melaleuca, a special blend of protective oils I love, and Frankincense.

    LEMON

    Lemon essential oil is a little bottle of joy! All of the citrus oils are! (I love Grapefruit and Orange, too!)

    Pop open the top, close your eyes, and take a deep breath in. Immediately, you begin to feel uplifted. It naturally promotes positivity and cognitive ability, and it's also wonderful for both beauty and keeping your home sparkling clean. A couple simple tips:

    • HOME: Make your own multipurpose spray cleaner! Lemon cleanses and purifies the air and surfaces. Need to freshen the air? Pop some Lemon in the diffuser, or make your own "Fresh Air" spray with just a simple glass spray bottle, water, and 15 drops of Lemon. (A few drops in a bowl of baking soda is super effective, too!) Bonus: Lemon essential oil is amazing for removing all things sticky, from glue to gum and even permanent marker!
    • BEAUTY: Try just 1 drop of Lemon essential oil in a big glass of water. (Stir it in to mix evenly.) It naturally cleanses the body and aids in digestion. And healthy digestion equals glowing skin - plus a whole host of other benefits! It also helps to ward off free radicals with its antioxidant properties, so drink up!

    LAVENDER

    Lavender essential oils is widely used and touted for its calming and relaxing qualities. Who couldn't use a little more of that?

    These days, with our crazy schedules and the unfortunate glorification of busy, one of the best things we most need to do for ourselves (and the people we love) is slow down. And that can be tough! Find comfort and ease in Lavender. 

    • HOME: Diffuse 3-5 drops of Lavender essential oil at bedtime to help slow things down and get ready for a restful night of sleep. Have guests coming? Go fancy on them and spritz a bit of Lavender water (mix 2 oz. of water and 10 drops of Lavender in a spray bottle) on their pillows and in their rooms. Smells aaahmazing and will ease the tensions of the day. 
    • BEAUTY: Lavender is soothing to the skin. Whether we're talking daily beauty routine (add a drop to your moisturizer for glowing skin) or a homemade after-sun balm (the absolute best thing you can use for too much sun), Lavender's got ya covered, helping skin to recover quickly. My first (and a classic favorite) combination for an all-natural deodorant that really works(!) also calls for Lavender. Dare you to give it a try - and experience how well it works for yourself.

    MELALEUCA

    Also known as Tea Tree, Melaleuca essential oil is renowned for its cleansing and rejuvenating effect on the skin. But it's also incredible for helping to freshen and purify the air. It's seemingly limitless applications have earned it the nickname of "the gentle giant". I love it for:

    • HOME: Make your toilet shine with a DIY toilet cleaner combo of 10 drops of Melaleuca, 1/2 a cup of baking soda, and a 1/4 cup of vinegar. Amazing, I tell you! (I like to add 10 drops of Lemon, too!)
    • BEAUTY: Melaleuca promotes a clear, healthy complexion. I used Melaleuca (along with Lavender) in an all-natural after Shave lotion for my husband- that he loves! Try adding a drop to your moisturizer - or even your shampoo!. It also soothes minor skin irritations. And remember: A little goes a long way! I love the combination of Lavender and Melaleuca for any of the minor skin stuff that comes along with summer - especially for the little people in our lives!

    MAKE YOUR OWN PROTECTIVE BLEND

    The gorgeous "protective" blend of Orange, Clove, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary essential oils is a powerful, natural, and effective combo for immune support. It smells like Fall and Winter to me - spicy, warm, energizing, uplifting, and soothing - but it's wonderful year-round.

    • HOME: It's safe to use on countertops, as a non-toxic way to cleanse surfaces, or to cleanse the atmosphere by diffusing. Make your own cleanser, hand wash, air freshener, laundry detergent. I love knowing that the products I'm using in my home are non-toxic and health-supportive. Taking out the trash? Give the inside of your trashcan a spray with a simple mix of water + this blend of oils (10 drops of the blend in 2 oz. of water) combo! (I use that same spray for an on-the-go hand cleanser, too!)
    • BEAUTY: This blend is also wonderful for purifying the skin while promoting healthy circulation. Try a drop, massaged into the bottoms of your feet, each night before bed. I also love it for oral health! I use it in my toothpaste, add a drop to water to make mouthwash, and add a drop to a spoonful of sesame or coconut oil for oil pulling. 

    FRANKINCENSE

    I can't wrap up my top 5 without mentioning my favorite oil of all: Frankincense. Royal, resin, and woody, Frankincense is considered the King of Oils. Why? Among other things, it helps build and maintain a healthy immune system. It promotes cellular health, reduces the appearance of blemishes, rejuvenates skin, and promotes feelings of peace, relaxation, satisfaction, and overall wellness. Heavy hitter, right? 

    • HOME: Frankincense smells intoxicatingly wonderful - and uplifts the mood. Diffuse 3-5 drops of Frankincense (I love it with Orange, too) in your home to promote ease and emotional balance. If you meditate (it will change your life), try starting your practice with a drop of Frankincense in the palms of your hands, slowly inhaled over a few deep breaths. Or: Rub 1 drop of Frankincence under your nose and massage into the base of your skull. 
    • BEAUTY: Nourish your skin this summer (and year-round) with Frankincense. It promotes youthful, radiant looking skin and slows the signs of aging. This is the main oil I use on my skin, and I use it every single day! A drop in a carrier oil (like jojoba, coconut, or sesame) massaged into your skin (or even along with your moisturizer) is fantastic. Try a DIY clay facial mask! Talk about self-care. Smells and feels amazing!

     
    Have I piqued your interest? One thing that's absolutely crucial when it comes to oils (and most things in life!) is QUALITY - and that you're using only the highest quality of oils (pure therapeutic grade, sourced indeigenously, thorough testing) in your homes and on your bodies. 
    It's truly become a passion of mine to support people in learning how to properly use essential oils and incorporate them into their daily lives. So if YOU'd like to learn more about my favorite essential oils and try them for yourself, check out the Essential Oils section of my website - or reach out to me here. I love hearing from you!

    [Originally published on the beautiful Lenore Design!]
  • Suddenly, nothing else matters.

    Suddenly, nothing else matters.

    There are times, sometimes, when I look back on my life and can see how everything that's happened has brought me to where I am.

    All the people I've met, people I've loved, people I've traveled with and worked beside.
    People I've lost. People I've let down. People I've hurt.
    And everything (and everyone) in between.
    All the ups and downs and tears and fears and fights and disappointment.
    All the laughter, love, and joy.

    Has brought me here now. Has taught me something.
    Has molded and created the person you see before you. 

    In tiny moments of flashes of light, I see that it has only been through the careful and consistent decision to follow my heart and do what feels right that I've begun to grow into the person I was meant to be.

    Somewhere along the line, something happens to people. We get a glimpse of our own mortality. Or someone else's.

    And we begin to see, to grasp, to feel in our bones - that there is only so much time we have here. So much space to fill. 

    And suddenly, nothing else matters.

    Nothing -- except the urgent, frantic, burning, bleeding, overwhelming need to love absolutely everything and everyone in our lives.

    And to accept nothing less than the right people, the right work, and the right adventures.

    To spend our time doing ONLY the things that really mean something. Or, at least, to do things differently now, savoring each moment: The soapy water in the sink, the colors in the produce section at the market, and the beautiful ritual of oil on your skin after a shower.

    To be held, to breathe it all in, to hold each other a little longer. To linger. And connect. And love MORE. (And more. And more.)

    To feel the sun on your skin, the earth beneath your feet, the rain on your tongue.

    To buy flowers, to cook from scratch, to breathe, to snuggle, to sing, to dance, to PLAY.

    Big or small, everything else (the fear, the pain, the anguish, the confusion, the overanalyzing, the anger, the perfectionism, the doing-too-much, the self-neglect, the self-doubt, the resentment, and all the wasted time and energy) must go.

    Because there is, at long last, no space for it here.

    Not anymore. And not ever again.

    As much as we can help it!

    Because life, it turns out, is far far FAR too short.

    Blink - and it's gone.
    In the meantime, I plan to make it count.

    Every single gorgeous second of it.

  • Travelogue: Tulum

    Travelogue: Tulum

    We're back! 

    A couple months ago, Eddie and I decided it was time to get away. Time for a little rest + relaxation.

    Ever since full-time entrepreneur life began, I've had a hard time closing my laptop and focusing on taking care of me. Why? I love the work!

    But I've learned that it's completely up to me to set these self-care parameters for myself, and it will only get better with practice.

    We both agreed that we needed sunshine, and we didn't really feel like doing too much. Just needed a place to park ourselves and stop go, go, going all the time. Unplug. 

    The solution? Tulum, way down along the east coast of the Yucatán peninsula in beautiful Quintana Roo, México. Home of the Mayan walled city of the same name (pictured above). And, I was told, a fairly holistically-minded type of place.

    Awesomely, Southwest Airlines is offering non-stop flights from BWI to Cancún these days, so we cashed in some miles and started making plans.

    Well, mainly Eddie made the plans. Don't get me wrong: I was DEFinitely psyched! I love México. It's mi segunda patria. It's where my love of Spanish and all things Latin American culture began.

    But I didn't really get involved until the day before we left. That's when I happened upon the New York Times article 36 Hours in Tulum. And got really excited!

    We pretty much always find places to stay using Airbnb. If you haven't tried them yet, you really must. Best tip: Find places with excellent ratings - and a lot of them. It's kind of hard to go wrong (knock on wood) with that approach. And especially if you've got a bit of an adventurer's spirit, I bet you'll love it. 

    The first two nights, we stayed inland. In a hut. In the jungle. With two of the most lovely people (and hosts) we've come across!

    Elisa and Alfredo are kind, caring, gifted people. Both artists, but in different ways. Everything about them is so genuine and warm. They've created a beautiful space, tucked away in the trees, barely visible from the dirt road that leads you there.

    We stayed in the Mayan Room, a small hut constructed in the traditional Mayan style. Gorgeous, simple, everything you need.

    You sleep in a hammock or on the floor and see by candlelight (and flashlight) at night. Oh - and walk to a separate bathroom/shower hut across the property, complete with a super eco-friendly composting toilet. Very cool!

    In addition to being a joy to talk to, Elisa and Alfredo also cooked us delicious food, gave us wonderful fresh mango and papaya in the morning, introduced us to café de olla, and even shared an impressive home-brewed stout (compliments to Elisa) with us. 

    We hope we'll see them again one day. So very grateful for their hospitality. Books they recommended checking out, in case you're heading their way anytime soon are:

    Diego de Landa, RELACION DE LAS COSAS DE YUCATAN 
    Sylvanus Morley, THE ANCIENT MAYA

    If you ever find yourself in the Tulum region, definitely make time for a trip to the ruins of the city of Cobá.

    You'll be tempted to skip it and just visit the more popular seaside Tulum ruins, but trust me, you'll be glad you made the trip.

    Less crowded, much more to see, lovely tree-lined streets.

    You can walk, rent bikes, or hire a bike taxi to get around. And here, unlike at Tulum, you're still allowed to climb the big pyramid, which (at its peak) is the highest point on the peninsula.

    On your way out of Cobá, ask the guy at the entrance for a ticket to Multun Há, which Eddie has declared his favorite of all the cenotes. (Another recommendation from Alfredo and Elisa - thank you!)

    What the heck is a cenote? It's a sinkhole, more or less, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes fresh, azure-blue groundwater below.

    The guy will sell you a ticket and give you a map. It's not far from the ruins.

    Once there, you'll walk down three stories of a wooden spiral staircase (into a hole in the ground, essentially) before it opens up to one of the coolest scenes you've seen. 

    Just wow. These picture don't even do it justice. 

    Rent a mask and snorkel and hang out for as long as you like. We practically had the place to ourselves. Amazing!

    Back in Tulum, over on the beach side, we hit up some pretty great spots for food.

    Zamas, with tables practically on the beach, was the perfect start the second half of our trip. Eddie got the famous huevos rancheros and I got fresh pressed green juice (with a base of chaya, somewhat similar to spinach), and fruit with homemade yogurt and granola. YUM!

    With full bellies, we headed to the Tulum ruins. I'd been to this part of México twice before and am embarrassed to say I never went to see Tulum. (Too busy sipping fruity frozen beverages by the sea. Shameful.)

    Tulum is beautiful, but it was somewhat painfully hot and crowded. If you're going, go early (or late) to miss the crowds and scorching sun. And probably best to hire a guide! They seem to have a wealth of information to share.

    Since leaving teaching, the details I once remembered about this gorgeous place have gone foggy. I really wish I'd read those books Alfredo and Elisa recommended before getting to México! Time to backtrack, I guess. :)

    We ended our trip to the ruins with a swim (Eddie did - I forgot my suit) and homemade popcicles of mango and coconut. Perfectly refreshing doesn't even begin to describe them! Ahhh.

    Our next stop was lunch at the fabulous Restaurare, a popular vegan restaurant we'd read about in the New York Times article. It did not disappoint! I got fresh pressed cucumber and mint juice and Eddie ordered a local craft beer called Akumal.

    The food was phenomenal: Mushroom ceviche, a gorgeous seasonal veggie dish, and loads and loads of mole. When in México!


    Our second Airbnb rental, a Treetop Cabana deep within the biosphere of Sian Ka'an, was the next stop.

    To get there, you've got to get to the very end of the main drag in Tulum, and then just keep on driving down a (seemingly endless) dirt road.

    For nearly an hour.

    It's pretty far out there. Which was exactly what we needed.


    The place was just perfect.

    Right on the beach.

    Beautiful views.

    Sea breeze.

    Warm water.

    Fresh fruit, corn tortillas, and limonadas every dang day.

    A private bathroom.

    AND you didn't even have to get out of bed to see the sunrise! 

    We were very happy.

    And yes, that had a lot to do with the fact that we were at this crazy gorgeous place on the beach.

    But also - a lot to do with the insanely lovely people we met there! Friends we hope we'll stay in touch with for many many years to come.

    Not to mention this little sweet pea.

    It makes my heart so happy to have been able to share our trip with them. We even all piled into our SUVs and trekked back into town to have a special night out together at the completely dreamy Posada Margarita.

    Hand rolled pasta, fish poached in sea water. Vino. Fresh greens. Pistachio gelato. It was heavenly! Go, you must. (Gluten? What gluten?)

    On the way back to Highway 307, our last morning in México, we stopped at Maya Tulum.

    We'd hoped to make it to one of their traditional temazcal (sweat lodge) ceremonies, but timing just didn't work out, unfortunately. Friends have told us it is a must.

    It'll have to wait until next time for us. Instead, we had breakfast.

    Watermelon juice for me, followed by more fresh fruit, homeade granola, and yogurt.

    With happy bellies and full hearts we hit the road for the Cancún Airport. Hard to say goodbye, so we'll just say until next time. And thank you

    Hasta la vista, México. Gracias por todo.

  • Delicata What?

    Delicata What?

    Hey Loves!

    It's been far too long since we've connected here. Time to nip that in the bud! I've missed you!

    How are you? How's life going for you? 

    The last few months have been a bit of a wild (and awesome) ride for me. I've been TA-ing for the most wonderful Culinary Nutrition Expert program, teaching people how to use essential oils to improve their (and their families') lives, and working on a very cool group coaching program!! (Definitely keep an eye out for that one - because I'll be sharing all the details very soon!)

    Lots of good things! And lots to be grateful for. 

    But in the midst of a lot of professional goodness, I found that my self-care routine had been taking a bit of a back seat. (Raise your hand if that sounds familiar.) I know I'm not the only one who struggles with maintaining self-care and work-life balance! 

    It's an ongoing thing. Life is always gonna be busy, right? Things are always gonna happen.

    So what are we gonna do about that? Well, I've decided that I've got to stop putting myself last. And you know what's kind of awesome and amazing?

    I'm finding that my relationships, my body, and my business will ALL benefit from my re-commitment to self-care.

    You can't take care of others if you're not taking care of yourself.

    AmIright? So from here on out - and I'm putting it out into the interwebs for all of you to hear...and hold me accountable - I'm recommitting to doing what I need to do in order to love and respect myself AND be able to serve all of you best

    Let's start with food! Today, I've got a delicious delicata squash salad for you. It's seasonal, simple, and so delicious. If you haven't had delicata squash before, then you need to try this. It's a personal fave, inspired by a recipe a dear friend of mine sent me last year! Ready? Here we go:

    Super Simple Delicata Salad

    Ingredients:
    1 delicata squash
    1/2 tablespoon EVOO (or coconut oil)
    1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
    Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
    Leafy greens Enough to fill a plate. (I used mesclun and spinach.)
    1/4 cup of walnuts (roughly chopped)
    1 tablespoon of dried cranberries

    For salad dressing:
    1/2 tablespoon EVOO
    1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    1 teaspoon dijon mustard
    Splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice

    Instructions:

    • Wash squash and slice it in half long-ways. Scoop out the seeds. 
    • Slice squash into half-medallions (as pictured) and place in a medium-size bowl.
    • Add EVOO, maple syrup, and sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper. Toss to combine/lightly coat.
    • Place on parchment paper-lined cooking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 350F.
    • Place greens on plate, and sprinkle walnuts and cranberries on top.
    • In a small bowl, mix all salad dressing ingredients together.
    • When squash is finished baking, add it to the top of your salad. The warmth of the squash will warm your salad just the right amount, making it a nice salad for cold weather.
    • Drizzle with salad dressing, and enjoy!

    Let me know what you think! And take me up on this self-care challenge: Do at least one thing today to take care of yourself. What will it be? You are so worth it, my friend. XO

    Love,
    Katie

  • Dreamy Super Greens Salad

    Dreamy Super Greens Salad

    I love a meal that lasts. The kind that you can twist and turn and use a bunch of different ways throughout the week. That peanut sauce I made yesterday, recipe over at Food52, is just that. And it's all real, whole food. Nothing processed. Just DIY goodness that loves you up. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to make it!

    Last night's soba + homemade peanut sauce extravaganza was a success!

    And today, I decided to use the leftover sauce as salad dressing. It worked perfectly! And thankfully, there's still a LOT left. (I can't get enough.) :) My favorite base these days? It's Organic Girl's  SUPER GREENS! mix.  

    Here's the beautiful salad I created today. Really simple, super nourishing, and delicious.

    Creating beautiful, nourishing food is a form of self-love and self-care. And when you do it for others, you're extending that same love and care to them.

    Plus: It's fun to get creative with your food!



    What are your favorite dishes to make that stretch throughout the week? Do double or triple duty? Take a minute to share below!

    Have a great rest of the week, guys!

    LOVE,
    Katie
    XO

  • Sharing My Story

    Sharing My Story

    I'm so honored to have been featured on the Institute for Integrative Nutrition's blog. I stumbled across this post this morning and felt like this was exactly the time to share it with you. 

    My journey to becoming a Holistic Health Coach began with sickness and hopelessness. Now, my life is so very different.

    And I want others to see that this is possible for them, too.

    Today is the first day of this awesome new class I'm taking, and I was asked to introduce myself by answering these two questions:

    1. What do you do? 
    2. Why do you do it?

    Here's what I said: 

    What Do I Do?: I support and empower women (and some pretty awesome men, too!) to heal and thrive naturally - so they can stop feeling stuck and do more of what they love in the world.  

    Why Do I Do It?: It's what I'm most passionate about. I believe everyone deserves to have the knowledge and support (this part is crucial) they need to make their dreams (health, happiness, career, relationships) a reality. I've been on the other side of thriving and happy, and it truly felt like there was no way I would be able to turn things around. Hopeless, depressed, stressed-out, frustrated, angry. But when I began to pay attention to the way I nourished my body, mind, and spirit, everything changed. Now, I'm exactly where I want to be and trust that there are more good things coming.

    Truly, the most important message here is that change is possible. And I am here to help. Sometimes asking for help is the one thing that turns everything else around. 

    Here's the original article, in case you want to check it out:


    Have an awesome rest of the day, guys!

    Much love!
    Katie

  • How To Make The Most Of Your Lunch Break

    How To Make The Most Of Your Lunch Break

    On Sundays the atrium is a quiet place. Light fills the open space, flowing in from above and all around, creating a peaceful calm that’s difficult to find in a busy city hospital.

    It’s not often I sit here on my lunch break. Because most days aren’t like Sundays.

    When I first started working here, I’d go to the cafeteria every day. I’d eat with my wonderful preceptor – and we’d talk about work, life, and recipes. She was a model of a nurse. Honest, full of integrity, and genuinely concerned with the health of her patients. I was lucky to have her.

    After orientation, when I was on my own, I’d often allow myself fifteen minutes of my break to catch up on charting. Something my preceptor highly discouraged.

    This is your break time. Get faster/better at keeping up – or catch up later. Take this time for you.

    She was right.

    Now that I no longer need to catch up on my lunch break (it just comes with practice), I seek a quiet spot. An empty room, a tiny green space outside (when it’s warm), or the break room (when it’s not full).

    I know what I need to slow my heart rate, breathe, and disconnect for those precious 45 minutes. Maybe I’ll catch up on a few personal emails. Call my love. Or listen to an audiobook. I’ll steep a cup of peppermint tea, listen to a favorite song, or take a walk outside – if only for a few minutes. 

    This break is important. Essential. I’ve been saying for years that we should have naptime built into our schedules. Imagine how much more focused, productive, and positive the rest of the workday would be!

    Even when I’m working from home, I need this midday pause. A mindful lunch, a music break, a moment to look around and appreciate the world and what I’ve got. 

    You’re out there doing awesome work in the world. You’re driven, passionate, determined. So don’t forget to stop and breathe. And eat. And take care of yourself. So you can keep doing what you do best. 

    Need some ideas to make the most of your break time? 

    1. Stop doing work. Leave your workspace. And minimize screen time.

    2. Take several slow breaths – in your nose for five seconds, out your mouth for five seconds – before you eat.

    3. Eat real food, preferably the kind you made at home.

    4. Eat mindfully. Give thanks for your food. Chew it well. And put your fork down between bites.

    5. If possible, go outside. Go for a walk in the sunshine.

    6. Do something that relaxes you. Get some music therapy. Today I can’t stop listening to this song. Or make yourself a cup of tea. (I love peppermint because it's energizing.)

    7. Make new friends. Eat lunch or have a conversation with someone you haven’t before. You might be surprised at what you’ll learn.

    8. Catch up with people you love with a quick phone call, message, or email.

    9. Read a book. Or listen to one.

    10. If time allows, squeeze in a little shut-eye or simply lie down and breathe for a few minutes.


    OVER TO YOU


    The underlying message here is to take this time for you.
    So how do you make the most of your lunch break?
    And is there one thing you'd like to try from the list above?  

    LOVE,
    Katie
    XO

  • Calling Out Sick + February Freebie

    Calling Out Sick + February Freebie

    My husband rarely gets sick. 

    We always say he's got the Brazilian GI tract of steel. He can eat or drink just about anything and feel just peachy in the AM. Meanwhile, the rest of us are lying listlessly on the couch, wishing we could take (give?) it all back.

    Somtimes he comes down with a little cough+sneezing fit. Says he feels like hell for a few hours. And next thing you know? Good as new!

    He says it's because of how he grew up. None of this fussing over bacteria we seem to have here. Cheese? Oh, we leave that out on the counter. Pot of beans on the stovetop? Oh, we let that sit out all night. It's fine. 

    Meanwhile, we're sanitizing, spraying, and wiping everything down over here. Covering things with saran wrap and putting everything in the fridge to keep the bacteria at bay. Question any of this, by the way, and my dad will tell you all about his days in the Microbiology Lab.

    Sigh.

    This week was a little different. He was a mucousy, runny-nosed, aching-all-over sneezing mess. Poor buddy. In bed for the good part of several days.

    Now that's saying something! He was very much no bueno.

    Aaand while I felt perfectly fantastic during his bout with whatever that was (making him tea and good food, taking care of him, and trying to get him to use the dang neti pot already!), it is with great sadness that I write to you this morning.

    From the Kleenex-covered confines of my bed.

    Why? Had to call out sick today - to let my body take care of itself and get better. (Getting there, I think!) But UGH.

    Isn't it the worst?

    Since I've been all up in the natural remedies this week, I thought it'd be the perfect time to put together a freebie resource for you guys. 

    Enter the... 

    When it comes to treating cold and flu viruses (of which there are many many strands), I like the idea of working with my body, instead of against it. AKA, suppressing the symptoms.

    The goal here is to pump up the immune system. So it can take care of the bugs faster.

    There's simply not a whole lot of evidence out there to suggest that over-the-counter meds do much anyway. And frankly, ever since I read that FoodBabe article about Nyquil (and the like), I question the contents of such products.

    I'm just not a fan of artificial sugars, artificial colors, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), or chemical preservatives. And what the heck are they doing in our "medicine"?

    Meh.

    I've got big things coming up and I need to be healthy darn it. Heading to Haiti in about a week to do some volunteer work. Aaand working on some very cool new offerings for YOU! 

    I love love love my one-on-one coaching clients! But it's time people had more options.

    Over the last year, I've had a bunch of people ask about group programs. And cooking classes. And a few who've asked for a la carte sessions. A little extra support goes a long way. 

    It's good to have options.

    I don't have all the details worked out just yet, but there's definitely a group program in the works. AND a 21-day option for folks of the more get-results-fast persuasion. Thinking a springtime debut sounds about right. Stay tuned for updates...

    For now, I'm heading back to bed.

    SO MUCH LOVE
    & GRATITUDE,
    Katie
    XO

    P.S. Let's build our anticold+flu arsenal together! Tell me YOUR go-to natural cold and flu remedy OR tell me which new remedy you'll be adding to the mix.

  • Morning Pages

    Morning Pages

    Cold, rainy, gray day. 

    So what'd I do? I made myself a cup of turmeric tea, threw an acorn squash in the oven, lit a bunch of candles, and pulled out my journal. 

    Morning pages. It's something I discovered in nutrition school. Sit and write. Pen to paper. (Before I check my cell phone or open my laptop.) 

    First, whatever comes to mind - how I'm feeling, what I'm obsessing over, what I want, what I need, what's good and bad.

    Next, gratitudes. Three things. Today I wrote: 

    • a warm, dry, loving home
    • time and space to create
    • this right now; light and love and excitement
    I keep it simple. After that there may be more to get out. Or maybe not. I keep it simple. The whole thing takes about 15 minutes.
     
    This simple practice keeps me grounded and grateful, but also dreaming and creative. Do you do your own morning pages? Or have a special morning ritual of some sort? Share with me in the comments below! I'd love to hear about it.

    Katie
    XO 
  • Rejection + Inspiration

    Is there something you've been wanting to try for a while now - but just haven't gotten around to? Maybe you haven't worked up the courage to finally go for it?

    Something maybe a little intimidating? Something that could TOTALLY change your life? 

    In one of the Facebook groups of which I'm a member, someone posted that he'd recently given himself a challenge:

    30 Rejections 

    The idea? Go out on a limb. Take action. Go for it! (Once and for all.) Give yourself 30 days (or 3 months, or 1 year) to really go for something, with the expectation that you'll have 30 rejections. Or 30 failures.

    I know, I know - seems a bit negative at first. But think about it. It could be a completely transformative, door-opening, confidence-boosting experience.

    If you're passionate - and really going for what's possible (instead of hanging back in fear), then you're bound to make some progress! 

    When you're taking on something new, it can be scary. It can be depressing. It can hurt. Sure, they'll be some rejections and failed attempts along the way. But sometimes we've just gotta fall down a bunch before we can really take off flying!

    This particular guy shared multiple amazing things that had come from his 30 Rejections challenge! And I was so impressed! (And totally inspired!) What a genius idea!, I thought. I've got to try this, too. 

    What could happen to YOU? What is possible for YOU? How could this change YOUR life?

    Are you looking for a new job? Trying to launch a program? Develop a product? Get published? Start a blog? Lose weight? Become a musician? Start a biz? Learn something awesome?

    WHATEVER it is, you have to power to make some sh*t happen, my friend. All you have to do...is decide. And get moving! (I'm right there with you, giving myself the same advice.)

    As the beautiful Danielle LaPorte says, Joy lives at the edge.

    So get going!

    And tell me, what are you taking on this year? 

    LOVE,

    P.S. And you guys! Have you seen this website? For some extra inspiration, click on the image below and see what all these amazing humans are up to - seriously cool.  

  • It's Really NOT All About The Vegetables

    It's Really NOT All About The Vegetables

    Health Coaching the very natural and obvious answer to a question I'd been asking myelf for years.

    How can I do what I love and make a meaningful difference in the world?

    My personal struggle with intense gastrointestinal problems and debilitating asthma led me, quite unexpectedly, to a plant-based diet. To my great amazement, I healed what doctors and pharmaceuticals had been unable to heal - simply by changing the way I ate. 

    I became a very loud advocate for the whole food, plant-based diet. I began to explore other natural healing modalities: yoga, in particular, and massage, herbal supplements, essential oils, meditation. The list goes on.

    This very "give me the facts" and "show me the science" type of gal now fully and completely believes in the power of integrative health. And in questioning what's best for me, instead of accepting what I'm told at face value - or because it's just "how things are". Eastern and western. Alternative and conventional. Yin and yang. One is simply incomplete without the other.

    So I invested in myself - went back to school (more than once) and started my health coaching practice. The journey has been amazing. But there is so much more to this story.

    What I understand now, more than ever before, is that there is no one right way to heal your body - or live your best life, for that matter. Every body - every person - is different. 

    There's no question in my mind that the whole foods, plant-based diet is a very healing diet. But that doesn't necessarily mean you have to eat that way forever. Will plants always make up the majority of my diet? Absolutely! No question.

    But what's most important is that we pay attention to what our bodies need. What our hearts want. What lights us up and satisfies our souls. Makes us come alive. And gives us peace. 

    And that, dear friends, is what lights me up right now.

    It's not about how many vegetables I eat. It's about being true to myself and living my vision - more and more each day. 

    So what does my body need? Clean, nourishing foods, a vigorous yoga practice, and the human touch. What does my heart want? Deep connection, love, and friendship. And what gives me peace? Feeling good about what I'm putting into the world and knowing I'm making a difference.

    And now for an invitation.

    In the comments below, tell me. What's it all about for you? Why do you choose to take care of yourself - mind, body, and spirit? I'm guessing there's more to it than vegetables.

    Lots and lots of love, from me to you. XO

    Join me for more love notes.
    Find me on Facebook.
    Reach out to me here

  • Music + A Very Important Question

    Music + A Very Important Question

    It's a special Tuesday edition of Musical Medicine Monday - with some very powerful questions to consider. 

    Today's selection comes from Lord Huron, the musical personality of Ben Schneider, a Michigan-born visual arts major and very very talented musician. One of my amazing clients (who shares my love of music) recommended him - and I just can't get enough. {Thank you!} 

    What good is livin' a life you've been given
    If all you do is stand in one place?

    So my question to you, dear friends, as you listen, is:

    Are you standing in one place?

    In other words, what are you doing with this one precious life you've been given? Are you surrounding yourself with people you love? Creating a life of joy, creativity, and connection? What inspires you? What matters to you? What satisfies your soul?

    And what would you like to do more of? Or less? Are you happy with your day-to-day? Are you expanding your mind? Your universe? Your horizons? Are you feeling more and more yourself? Or have you perhaps lost something? (That energy? That passion? That zest for life?) 

    This is important. What will you do today (this week, this month, this year) to enjoy your time here on Earth? To make the most of it? To take care of yourself? 

    It is in taking care of ourselves (mind, body, and soul) that we allow ourselves to be most alive - and to give the best of ourselves in everything we do.

    So tell me, in the comments below, what will you do? And how will you keep from standing still? Need some ideas? Hop on over here.

    MUCH LOVE,
    Katie 

  • A Morning Meditation

    A Morning Meditation

    To be honest, this is my most genuine and constant form of meditation. Nothing fancy. Nothing complicated. Just paying attention, breathing, and feeling. This quiet, grounding practice is so simple - and yet so powerful. A few moments - a few times a day - can change everything. 

    One big window looks out over our tiny backyard, framed by bright red, fiery orange, and brilliant yellow foliage – the last few days, probably, of the most colorful time of year. On the shelves are mason jars, filled with all varieties of grains and legumes, silver pots, and a well-loved collection of cookbooks. Bright green walls the color of the underbellies of leaves in early spring frame the room. And a teakettle calls my name. Even with my wool scarf, winter sweater, and hiking socks, it’s cold here this morning. Time to warm up.

    Grabbing a pack of Yogi tea, I tear open the wrapper to find my fortune for the day. Work, it says, but don’t forget to live. I smile, conceding guilt – and making a mental note to remember this message. As hot water hits cool air, the sweet scent of cinnamon steam spirals out and up. And I breathe deeply, closing my eyes. Appreciating this moment for what it is. A time for quiet reflection, appreciation, and gratitude.

    I sip my tea, careful not to burn my lip and tongue, taking my time. I sit tall. Breathing. Letting the air flow in and fill me up. Belly, ribcage, collarbones. And then slowly exhale, emptying, clearing. Creating space. 

    An endless stream of things to do so easily creeps in and clutters my mind. Emails, blog posts, homework, insurance paperwork, meetings, cleaning, and more. So much more. I can’t even remember all the things I’m supposed to remember. I resist the urge to grab a pen and make a list. This is my time.

    Sitting at the kitchen table, listening to the tink, tink, tink of the sleepy radiator coming to life, I remember the words of a great meditation teacher. 

    Focus on a feeling of love. A time of supreme joy, blissful happiness. Sink into the gratitude. For that time, that person, that experience, that connection. Lose yourself in this, if only for a few breaths. And then hold it. That sensation. The warmth. Let it fill you up. Let the corners of your mouth curl with a gentle smile. Let it wrap its arms around you and cradle you. You’re safe.

    It happens effortlessly. I feel the fullness of hot, heavy tears behind my eyelids. Tears of love, of thanks. I feel my breathing grow shallow, steeped in raw emotion. My breath is catching, uneven, choppy. But I am aware. And because of this I can change things. Holding on to the warmth of love and gratitude, I slowly begin to deepen my breathing, opening the door to a sense of overwhelming calm and serenity.

    My eyes blink open and adjust to the light that spills into the room from the window. I am grounded and alert. Steady. And ready for the day.
  • MOON RIVER + REST

    MOON RIVER + REST

    Good Monday Morning Friends,
    Hope you all got a little extra rest in this weekend. 
    It's sooo nice to have some time away, time to breathe - no matter how brief. 
    And so essential for my sanity, my happiness, my health.
    I'm thankful for friends, sunshine, and fresh Shenandoah air this weekend.
    What did you get into?
    Something good, I hope!
    Here's a little bit of sweetness a dear friend of mine shared on her awesome page last week. 
    And here's to a lovely week ahead,
    Katie XO  

  • WAYS TO LABOR LESS + MUSIC

    WAYS TO LABOR LESS + MUSIC

    Happy Labor Day, my loves.

    Today is a day for not laboring so very much. For paying attention to what your soul needs. What your body needs. What your heart needs. 

    Did you get a little extra sleep this morning? Planning to spend the day with old friends? Or new? Appreciate your family, your life, your world? Did you spend a few mildly mindless minutes (or longer!) listening to music you love? Or moving in a way that makes sense to your body? (The kind of moving your muscles and joints and lungs crave?) Maybe you've decided to commit to something that truly calls to you? (New love, new life, new project, new classes, new mission?)

    Respond to every call that excites your spirit.
    ― Rumi

    Or - maybe you had a giant to-do list for today? Thought you'd take advantage of this day off and get super productive. (Guilty. Raising my hand...) I had a big old to-do list planned for today (website stuff, blogging, groceries, yoga, and working on various Gratitude Wellness projects), but instead, I've opted to pick just a few of these and do them only if I can really enjoy them. No rush. No stress. No hurry. I'll still get things done - but in an enjoyable way. A different approach. More peaceful and satisfying.

    What will you do today to give yourself a bit of a break? To labor less? (Even if only for a few minutes!) Need some ideas? I come bearing gifts: 

    1. Enjoy some musical medicine on this Monday. Check out one of my favorites below - you won't regret it. (I've been playing it on loop for the last hour.) Thank you, Adam Day
    2. Check out Jen Mazer's post on 7 Indulging Ways to Spend Labor Day. Good stuff. Thank you, Jen!
    3. Do yourself a favor and sign up for the incredible Sarah Jenks' Live More Weigh Less 28 Day Challenge for a month of learning how to have fun, eat well, and live the good life. (It starts tomorrow and it looks awesome.) Sarah, thank you - for all the amazing work you're doing.
    4. Need some self-care ideas? Check out my post on radical self-care here.

    And, as always, enjoy the music!

  • RADICAL SELF-CARE

    RADICAL SELF-CARE

    Radical Self-Care

    Too often, taking really good care of ourselves (in the same way we would lovingly take care of a newborn, a child, an aging parent, or a loved one fallen ill) is pushed aside with excuses of time, money, or the crazy idea that taking time for self-care is selfish.

    Develop easy self-care habits: People get so wrapped up in their busy lives that they forget to take care of themselves. This can be something as simple as a relaxing bath and as nice as a day at the spa. ― Joshua Rosenthal

    We put our own health at the bottom of our long list of priorities: raising a family, planning events, pursuing a career. Or we're too tired - and we spend our downtime on social media or in front of the television.

    This is all fine and good for a little while. Our bodies are powerful, miraculous machines that work tirelessly to keep us in balance. But eventually, our late nights, endless stress, and general self-abuse catch up with us. We feel like crap. Depressed and unable to keep up, our energy and enthusiasm drained.  

    The result? We can't enjoy the things we love, appreciate the things we have, or pursue our dreams.

    Something must be done.
    And that thing is called radical self-care.

    Self-care is just what you think it is: taking care of one's self. We do it every day: shower, brush our teeth, put food in our bellies. 

    But radical self-care is taking basic self-care a giant leap further. It is the quietly bold act of putting your health and your quality of life first. And it is in doing so that we are able to face (and overcome) the major challenges and stressors of life - and to live with greater balance and resilience.

    [Radical self care is...] acting on the premise that your need for sleep, time out, socializing with your friends, and exercising is JUST as important as getting the kids to soccer practice, doing laundry, and going to work. ― Aimee Gallo

    Here are some of my (easy, reliable, and) favorite ways to practice radical self care all day long:

    Start the day off right. Treat your body to cleansing, calming, energizing foods in the morning. A breakfast of fresh fruit and tea. Warm lemon water with cayenne. Maybe a green juice. And a little bit (even five or ten minutes) of you-time: to sit and calmly enjoy your meal. Take some slow, deep breaths, in your nose and out your mouth. Maybe swap the talk radio station for some soothing Pandora music on your way to work. (Often my ride to work is my morning me-time, and I treat it as such.) Consider starting your day with meditation. There's still time to start this one.

    Food as self care. What you choose to eat is a form of self-care. Choose foods that contribute to health - not disease. Whole, plant-based foods are the superheroes of nutrition, and summer is an easy time to eat this way. Experiment with new recipes and ingredients. Use spices to season and add flavor. Ditch the junk food, artificial sweeteners, and processed foods. Eat less meat, dairy, and sugar, and consume less coffee, alcohol, and tobacco. Pay attention to your body. How do you feel when you eat more of the good and less of the bad?

    Get it all out. When your mind is clogged with things to do and you feel like you're going a little cray-cray, it might be time for a mental purge. The good folks at zenhabits have put together an excellent list of 15 Can't-Miss Ways to Declutter Your Mind. Pick one and try it today.

    Throughout the day. Check in with yourself throughout the day. How's your breathing? When was the last time you took a deep breath, fully filling your chest and body with oxygen? If work is driving you mad, take a mini-break. Get outside - or at least out of the immediate environment. A change of scenery helps you focus on other things. Listen to your favorite song on your phone. Or take a quiet walk. It helps to break up the day with something more peaceful and positive. Another trick I use at work is humming. It brings me back to calm and helps me stay focused. GPS for the Soul, Insight Timer, and Relax Life are all great {free!} apps that help me through the overwhelm.

                     

    Disconnect. And reconnect. Take time to disconnect from the phone, computer, or television - and reconnect with family and friends. When my husband and I eat dinner, we put our iPhones out of reach. It's impossible to build meaningful relationships with people if you're constantly looking at your phone instead of actually looking at them and paying attention to the words coming out of their mouths. Be present and engaged. Your relationships will improve dramatically. 

    Evening self-care. A shower is an excellent opportunity for self care. Try a delicious-smelling body scrub. Dry skin brushing. Experiment with essential oils. Light a candle. After, while your muscles are still warm, treat yourself to an ayurvedic self massage. Check out this link for a how-to demonstration. On cold nights - or for sore muscles - fill a hot water bottle with hot water and take it to bed with you. It's comforting, warming, and healing. Old school - but super cool.

    Gratitude. Start a gratitude practice. (A good excuse to buy an awesome new journal!) Not buying it? Check out all these reasons why it's good to live gratefully. Starting a nightly gratitude practice is also comforting, and therefore a great exercise in self care. Instead of letting the worries and stress of the day (or day to come) cloud your minds - and keep you from a peaceful slumber - try writing down three things for which your grateful every night before bed. 

    How do you practice radical self-care?
    Which idea are you most excited to try?
    Leave a note in the comments below and let me know what you think.