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Benefits of Dry Skin Brushing

dry skin brushing benefits

Have you ever tried dry skin brushing? The first time I heard about it, I couldn’t really get past the name and didn’t pay much attention to it. But lately, I’ve heard it come up more and more, and the health benefits seem pretty substantial. According to the experts, dry skin brushing boosts circulation (bye bye cold winter toes!), exfoliates skin, aids the lymphatic system (the one responsible for eliminating cellular waste), improves digestion and kidney function, gives a glowy complexion and even banishes cellulite (bonus!). Many people even say it’s incredibly stress relieving. I ordered a dry skin brush myself this week to give it a shot. If you’re interested… Read more…

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Kale, Pomegranate & Walnut Salad

kale pomegranate walnut salad 1

Now that my workouts have ramped up the last few weeks (this one is my fave!), I’ve found myself craving nutrients left and right. This past week, I especially wanted kale, which I wouldn’t exactly classify as my most frequent craving (it’s a long road to beat chocolate, let’s be honest), but I ran with it. I made this salad from Pinch of Yum, minus the wild rice to make it a lighter meal. With hearty leaves, tangy pomegranates, rich feta and creamy walnuts — it felt like a sumptuous treat, but of the heart-healthy variety. Read more…

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In Your Thirties

in your thirties 2

My friend Vanessa, who always has the best finds, recently shared this article, and it was pretty instantly for me LOVE. Aleya Kassam writes a poetic piece about the way women dance in their younger years, then as teenagers, then as women. It’s a beautiful article that illustrates not only how we dance, but how we live these years; how we think about our bodies, how we relate to the world around us. You may read the full article here, which I highly recommend, but below is an excerpt:

Shame is a controlling animal. It demands. Don’t be fully you. Be less.

Then you will hit 30.

With wet hair dripping onto the paper, you will marvel at how hot you were when you were younger. How vibrant. How you glowed; how the stomach that you pinched at then was flatter than it may ever be. You will feel stupid that you wasted those years, feeling unattractive, when you could have been enjoying your body. You will not allow yourself at 50 years to look back and feel regret at wasted pity.

You will look in the mirror and see fleshy lips, mischievous eyes, big ears, chicken pock-marked forehead, crooked nose, long eyelashes, and a hint of cheekbone under full cheeks. Mostly, you will see a woman who has lived. Read more…

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Heart Swells

heart swell

Happy weekend, everyone! This week contained lots of reasons to celebrate — my dad’s 60th birthday was on Friday and my sister’s wedding is this weekend (here’s her engagement story). I’m looking forward to a productive and fun weekend. The moments I’m thankful for this past week:

- Weekly Bachelor night makes for another excuse to get together with friends
- A failed attempt at yoga with Ash, but a really great Whole Foods run instead
- My sister’s wedding rehearsal + dinner + bachelorette party
- A lunchtime errand with a colleauge who always makes me laugh
- A post-work hot yoga sesh
- Daily workouts (finally starting to get the hang of this…)
- A night out dancing with friends
- Brunch with my sister and momma
- Sunday night ‘couples’ dinner with friends

{Photo via Jess Wald}

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Vietnamese Coffee

Have you ever tried Vietnamese coffee? A few weeks ago during a rainy day, my colleagues and I ventured out for hot pho for lunch. One of them recommended we take some Vietnamese coffees back for the afternoon. And WOAH. Was I glad we did. (: Not only is it delicious, but it’s got a super strong kick that makes any other latte pale in comparison. Turns out, it’s not too hard to make at home, either. On days when a lunchtime getaway isn’t possible, here’s a short, playful video on how to get your fix…

{Image via Everyday Good Thinking}

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The Power of Setting Intentions

setting your intentions

This January 1, I started off the New Year with a yoga workshop led by my friend Megan Kountz. I met Megan last summer and since then have seen her pretty much weekly for brunches, game nights, and group dinners; she even attended part of Oprah’s Life You Want Weekend with me. Megan is the kind of person who brings life and a spark of energy to a room, but is also deeply intentional about her path and attentive in her conversations.

The more I’ve come to know Megan, the more I’ve been intrigued by her approach to starting each day by setting an intention. She made it part of her New Year’s Day yoga workshop, and since then I’ve made it one of my January resolutions to, upon waking, decide what my focus will be for the day. I have to say; it’s been pretty fascinating see what intention my mind gravitates to each morning. It’s been kind of an unexpected status check for what I might need for the day, and it’s made each day an adventure exploring a new focus.

I recently asked Megan to describe this practice in more detail, in case it’s a little thing that would add big value to your days, as well.

Can you explain more about what it means to set your intentions?

Absolutely! We set intentions because it is easy to fall into a routine. Unfortunately, routines lose meaning over time. To recreate meaning we set an intention; moving out of our routine and focusing on the moment here and now. Mentally setting a purpose to focus your energy on a goal, emotion, feeling, or thought for the day, reminding ourselves of a deeper awareness in our life.

When and why did you begin the practice of setting your intentions?

I began the practice of intention setting in my role at a finance office two years ago. As I searched for a purpose in my day to day work, I found the idea of getting up and going to work upsetting.

My teacher spoke of intention and suggested I invite theme into my life. Although at first skeptical, after a few days of intention setting a sense of fulfillment swept over me. I realized I felt refreshed. Each day I was excited for my new motive and awoke with a hop in my step and a smile on my face. Read more…

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Winter Activities

winter activities 2

Now that the holiday rush is over, I’ve been thinking about ways to make the most of the remaining (months!) of winter. We’ve still got until March 20th for the first day of spring, and there are plenty of things to do in Seattle in winter, even without much snow. Until the weather warms up, I’d like to… [click to continue…]

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Getting Grief Right

getting grief right

The end of 2014 contained a few hard months for my loved ones; I had some that lost babies, some that lost relationships. So when I read this article, I thought it offered such light for anyone going through a grieving process. There’s so much pressure oftentimes in our society to move on quickly, to pull oneself together for the outside world before one’s inside world agrees. I thought it was a beautiful reminder that healing isn’t a linear trajectory, but a process with ups and downs, that sometimes takes longer than we ever expect it to. And that’s merely a testament to the love lost. A few excerpts:

Very gently, using simple, nonclinical words, I suggested to Mary that there was nothing wrong with her. She was not depressed or stuck or wrong. She was just very sad, consumed by sorrow, but not because she was grieving incorrectly. The depth of her sadness was simply a measure of the love she had. Read more…

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Heart Swells

heart swells

Happy weekend! This was my first full week back to work in half a month, and I have to say, I kinda loved it. It felt good to be back in the swing of things again. Although I had a fun few weeks off, this week still contained some great moments. Thankful for these ones this week:

- Brunch and cheerful talks throughout the week with my dad
- An annual Zoo Lights party at the Woodland Park Zoo
- Cocktails at Damn the Weather and Barolo
- A Saturday night out in Ballard and Capitol Hill
- Pizza at Branzino’s. Pizza every week, I know.
- Watching the start to the new season of The Bachelor with friends. Can’t believe I’m doing this to myself again…
- Group dinner at one of my favorites: Black Bottle
- A quiet night in catching up on TV shows and talking to my girlfriends
- Rooftop photo time with my friend Megan + a sweet surprise gift

{Photo via Her Paper Weight}

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On Finding Meaning & Staying Curious

finding meaning

This week, the NY Times published an op-ed referencing civic leader John Gardner’s commencement address to Stanford University. The speech itself was incredibly moving. A few of my favorite parts:

As you settle into your adult lives, you cannot write off the danger of complacency, boredom, growing rigidity, imprisonment by your own comfortable habits and opinions. A famous French writer once said, “There are people whose clocks stop at a certain point in their lives.”

If you are conscious of the danger of going to seed, you can resort to countervailing measures. At any age. You can keep your zest until the day you die. If I may offer you a simple maxim, “Be interested.” Everyone wants to be interesting, but the vitalizing thing is to be interested. Keep your curiosity, your sense of wonder. Discover new things. Care. Risk. Reach out.

Learn all your life. Learn from your failures, from your successes. I know that some of you are a little frightened – more than a little – of what’s ahead. You know a lot – perhaps too much – about the ways in which lives get messed up. Bright illusions aren’t your problem. But someone said, “Life is an error-making and error-correcting process.” When you hit a spell of trouble, ask yourself, “What is it trying to teach me?”

The lessons of maturity aren’t simple things such as acquiring information and skills. You learn not to engage in self- destructive behavior, not to burn up energy in anxiety. You learn to manage your tensions, if you have any, which you do. You find that self-pity and resentment are among the most toxic of drugs. You conclude that the world loves talent but pays off on character.

You discover that no matter how hard you try to please, some people in this world are not going to love you, a lesson that is at first troubling, and then really quite relaxing.

You learn to live along the way. You don’t let the nagging pressures of life smother moments of beauty that can never be recaptured. Careless people treat unique moments as throwaways and live to regret it.

There are men and women who make the world better just by being the kind of people they are. They have the gift of kindness or courage or loyalty or integrity. It really matters very little whether they are behind the wheel of a truck, or running a business, or bringing up a family. They teach the truth by living it.

{Photo via Dusk Jacket Attic}

P.S. Related: other top speeches on kindness and being brave.

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