Why I Dry Brush + Why You Should Too

Hi, I’m Emily (cue “Hiiii, Emily”) and I am a self-diagnosed dry brush addict. If you’re reading this wondering what in the world dry brushing is, let me inform you. Dry brushing is using a natural bristle brush to brush all over your skin (yeah, that’s it!).

This is a beauty technique that I have been loving for about two years now, but I never touched base about it on the blog. So, why am I obsessed and how does it work? Keep reading to find out.

{photo source / sorry, i never use photos that aren’t my own but i didn’t have time to take one and wanted to get this post up asap!}

If you think back to high school biology classes (ew, I know), do you remember learning about how the largest organ is the human body is skin? What about how one of the most important daily detoxification organs in the body is skin? Or how about the skin being the last organ to receive nutrients in the body, but the first to show signs of an imbalance or deficiency? Do you remember learning that the skin receives one third of all of the blood circulating through your body? And how your skin will reflect when the blood is full of toxic materials?

Okay, I think I’ve made my point. You’re welcome for biology review session; don’t worry, there’s no exam this time.

So what am I getting at? Well, let me tell you. Here are the benefits of dry brushing:

  1. Dry brushing exfoliates and sheds dead skin cells, while also encourages new cell renewal. This results in smoother and brighter skin.
  2. It helps unclog pores so your skin can absorb nutrients better.
  3. It increases circulation, which is believed to smooth out cellulite, since cellulite is toxic material accumulated in fat cells.
  4. Similarly, dry brushing helps muscle tone by distributing fat cells.
  5. It rejuvenates the nervous system.
  6. It helps improve blood circulation and lymphatic drainage by releasing toxins. This encourages the body’s natural detox, making it run more effectively.
  7. Because of it’s stimulation effects, it wakes you up and provides a boost of energy.

Not to mention, it feels amazing — like a nice spa treatment at home. AND, it’s quick and easy as pie. There really are no excuses. Are you sold yet? Here’s how to do it:

  1. Get a natural bristle brush. Some people like to put a little oil on the brush, but that’s optional.
  2. Start on dry skin before showering.
  3. Work in gentle circular, upwards motions, then move into longer, smoother strokes.
  4. Begin at your feet and ankles, and move upwards towards the heart. Since the lymphatic fluid flows through your body towards your heart, you brush in the same direction. (Your back is an exception — brush from the neck down to your lower back.)
  5. After you’ve finished with the feet and ankle area, move up to the lower legs, thighs, stomach and chest, back, and arms/shoulders. Be careful on sensitive areas, and never brush over and cuts, sunburnt skin, etc.
  6. Shower to wash away dead skin cells and impurities, then follow up with a body moisturizer or oil to hydrate the skin.

Basically, you need two things: a dry brush, and some sort of body cream or oil. Here are some of my favorites:

smaller dry brush / dry brush with handle
brazilian body cream / coconut melt
whipped body souffle
gold beauty oil / squalane oil


Try this for a month straight and report back. You will love it. And, you’ll get on-board just in time to show off your new smooth and glowing skin in the warmer weather 🙂

What are your favorite semi-secret beauty tips? As always, thank you so much for reading. xx

How To Wake Up Happier

More than anything else in life, my biggest goal is to wake up happy each and every day. While it’s not always easy, there are a few ways to help make this happen — both big and small. I really believe that these tangible action items will help lead you to a happier life, which is why I wanted to share them with you today. It’s 2018 now — we out here drinking water and being happy, ok? Ok. Let’s get to it…

1. Start each day with gratitude. One habit that I started sometime last year that I know has made an impact on my attitude was keeping a gratitude journal. Every day when I wake up before I do anything else — even before I pet Charlie — I write down three things that I am thankful for. They can be big or small; some days I’m just thankful for my comfy bed and the cup of coffee I’m about to pour. Even on your worst days, you can always find three positive things to be grateful for. It’s important to do this right when you wake up before anything has the chance to put you into a bad mood, and it starts your day off from a place of contentment. If you’re familiar with the law of attraction, then you know that focusing on the good brings more good into your life (yes, really). So please try doing this — I promise you will feel the effects. This is a great journal that I use every day.

2. Take a few deep breaths. At any point during the day when you can start to feel your mood taking a turn for the worse, take a few moments to practice deep breathing. It’s a simple technique but really is powerful in boosting your mood. Usually somewhere around three minutes is enough to reset your mood, so whenever you get the chance, try sitting still and focusing on your in and out breaths. Be sure to get all of the air out on the exhales to ensure you’re getting all of the old air out of your lungs. This exercise will bring you a sense of calm, and allow you to start fresh. This is a really simple and approachable introduction to meditation. You can also play high vibrational music (528 hz is my favorite) or find a guided meditation that you like (this is a good 10-minute morning one).

3. Get some fresh air. It is a proven fact that nature has the ability to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. So, whenever I get the chance, I love to take some time to get outside, especially when it’s sunny. You can take your dog for a walk around your neighborhood, spend some time at a nearby park, or — if you’re lucky — hang out by the beach. I read before that the reason getting outside is so beneficial is for two main reasons: first, it reminds you that the universe is so much bigger than you, so it helps to realign your ego. Second, when you’re in nature, you’re reminded how much beauty there is in the world, so it’s easier to see the good in the world.

4. Help someone. An easy way to feel better about yourself and raise your vibration is to be good to other people. I love small acts of generosity, like paying for the person behind you at the Starbucks drive-thru. It’s amazing what something as small as this will do for your mood — instantly boosting it. It makes your day just as much as it makes theirs. Other easy ways to make someone’s day? Call an old friend to catch up. Let someone who seems like they’re in a rush cash out at the store in front of you. Let an extra car merge in front of you in traffic. Compliment a stranger. If you’re brushing the snow off your car, brush the car next to you off, too. Tip your server a few extra bucks. Stop and buy lemonade at a kid’s lemonade stand. Add a little time to someone’s parking meter that ran out of time. These are all small things that you can do that will make someone else’s day, and in turn make yours too.

5. Break a sweat. Lastly, get your endorphins flowing with a good workout. As Elle Woods so eloquently said, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t!” The idea that working out puts you in a better mood is definitely true in my experience. I think without fail I leave the gym in a better mood than when I walked in. It also helps you be happier in the long-run — not just short-term. I have always found that working out gives you higher self-esteem, making you feel better about yourself as opposed to always being down on yourself. If you don’t already have a workout routine, I would highly suggest adding this in to your life. Here’s a glimpse into mine if you’re curious.


Do you have any tips for living a happier life? Thanks for reading; hope you’re having a great day. xx

Valentine’s Day Favorites

With Valentine’s Day just a few short days away, I wanted to share some fun finds. This is the perfect shopping guide for whether you’re buying for yourself or looking for a gift for someone else. Either way, I’ve got you covered 🙂 I think everything here would make the perfect purchase, from a festive tee to some (vegan!) gummy candies, and some pretty jewelry to top your Valentine’s Day outfit off with. Here are my favorite finds for the upcoming holiday; I hope you enjoy!

nude heelsiridescent cuff braceletblush crossbody bag
vegan gummy candies / lips + lashes teeblack lace bralette
glowy highlighter / candle
glitzy earringsrosy-hued eyeshadow palette / pretty watch

If you’re going out this holiday, I would say pretty nude heels and this blush crossbody bag are both must-haves. Pair them with a pretty iridescent cuff bracelet or watch, along with some glittery earrings, and your look is complete. Add some rosy-hued eyeshadow and a bit of highlighter to get that perfect candlelit glow — it doesn’t get much better than that.

If you’re staying in for a night at home, a pretty lace bralette and festive tee is the ideal combo. Add in some gummies (that are gelatin-free!) and a scented candle, and enjoy your low-key Valentine’s Day in.


Hope you have a wonderful week and fun Valentine’s Day. As always, love you lots for stopping by. xx

Current Fitness Wishlist

Sometimes all you need is a little bit of new workout gear to get your motivation in tip-top shape. I always find myself much more excited to get my butt to the gym when I have something new, whether it be something as small as a new water bottle or sports bra, or something bigger like new leggings or sneakers. Today, I wanted to share some stuff that’s on my current fitness wishlist (and a few things that I recently purchased).

I hope that this gives your motivation a little boost and inspires you to create your own fitness wishlist… It’s nice to reward yourself for your hard work and get you excited for your workout all in one 🙂 A little retail therapy never hurt anybody, right? Let’s get to it:

marble sports bragray leggings
nike joggerswater bottle / strappy sports bra
white + blue nikes black + gray hoodie

As you can probably tell, I mostly gravitate towards fun leggings, sports bras, and accessories. For some reason, purchasing workout tops is always a chore to me… More often than not I just wear a funky sports bra with a sweatshirt of some kind. (Or a college t-shirt or something along those lines).

My favorite thing about my picks from above is how you can mix and match any of them to create a cute look that can take you from the gym to errands or whatever else in-between. I would most definitely wear all of these pieces for a casual look during the day, even if I wasn’t headed to the gym.

The Nike joggers are probably my favorite thing up there, along with the marble sports bra and aqua-colored water bottle. I love them all, and think they make the perfect look for upper body workouts. Pair the moto leggings, black sports bra, and hoodie together for lower body, and just take off the hoodie for a cardio or yoga.


And there you have it — the perfect combo for almost any workout 🙂 What is on your current fitness wishlist? xx

Need some more inspiration or motivation for the new year? Find more health and fitness posts here.


Post-Holiday Detox

A week into the new year, and it’s safe to say the holiday season is officially behind us. For me, that means it’s time to reset and get back on track in terms of a healthy lifestyle. While I never fully fall off the bandwagon, I definitely get a bit more lenient and relaxed with what I consume during the holidays (who can resist vegan Christmas cookies and hot chocolate?). So, once the holiday season ends I like to take a few days as somewhat of a “detox period” to reset my system and whip it back into shape.

With that said, if you haven’t figured it out already, today I will be sharing my post-holiday detox tips with you guys. Whether you over-indulged this holiday and are getting back on track, or you’re are just getting started with a healthy lifestyle and want to start the new year off strong, these tips are sure to get you on the right foot. Here is my quick guide to a post-holiday detox, so you can start 2018 feeling refreshed and restored.

  1. Eliminate all the bad stuff. Whenever I need to reboot my system, the first thing I do is cut out all of the bad stuff that had slipped into my diet. From a few cookies here and there to some cocktails at holiday parties with friends, over the holiday season you’re bound to indulge a little more than normal. Now is the time to cut all of that out, and get back to a strict whole foods, plant-based diet.
  2. Drink up. One word: water. We hear time and time again how important staying hydrated is, and that’s because it is true. Aim to drink half of your body weight in ounces per day, and I promise you will feel a difference from the inside out. It’s crazy how big of a difference some good old h20 will do for your body. It’s easy to do once you get into a routine; just keep a filled water bottle with you all day, and you’ll find yourself sipping it more often than not.
  3. Hit the gym. If you’re looking to kick-start your workout routine, try some new workouts. I love switching up my routine to get reinspired, so if you typically run on a treadmill for cardio, try a circuit routine filled with burpees and mountain climbers instead. If you’re used to doing weight workouts with the machines at the gym, give the free weight section a try. There’s just something so motivating about trying out some new exercises when you’re feeling like you’ve plateaued or need a little kick-start.
  4. Yoga, yoga, yoga. Whether you’ve never done one downward dog in your life or you can do headstands like it’s nobody’s business, practice yoga a few times a week. It’s beneficial for your mind, body, and spirit, meaning while you get a workout you also get to find your inner zen. It’s therapeutic, so it’s perfect to detox from the inside out.
  5. Book a spa treatment. This may or may not just be an excuse to go to a spa, but I really do feel as though some good old TLC is just what the body needs when you want a little detox. Whether you choose a massage (which can have some serious healing properties!), a facial, or something else, you will feel as good as new. You’ll leave feeling refreshed, and ready to tackle your healthy lifestyle with ease.

So, while these tips may seem just like common knowledge to living a healthy lifestyle, I think that’s kind of the point. A little post-holiday detox is all about getting back to the basics in order to reset your system. Thoughts?

Do you have your own post-holiday detox plan? I’d love to hear your ideas. xx

Two Thousand & Eighteen

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and are ready to take 2018 on by storm. While 2017 was one for the books — for both good and bad — I am definitely ready to leave it behind and look forward to a bright new year.

While I pretty much never set “New Year’s Resolutions” for myself, I do always head into the new year with a list of goals and some quotes that I strive to live by. It just works best for me that way, and I almost think of it as more of a mood board than anything else. That being said, I wanted to share that with you today, and maybe it will even inspire you to make your own list of non-revolutions for the new year. Even if you don’t share it with anyone, I encourage you to create it for yourself. It’s always super interesting to look back on previous year’s lists and reflect on them — you get the chance to see how far you’ve come, in addition to what you still need/want to work on for yourself. Anyways here’s mine for this new year, if you’re interested:

  1. Relentlessly follow my dreams to turn them into realities.
  2. Continue pursuing a lifestyle centered around wellness and happiness. This includes meditating every day — without exception.
  3. Keep booking plane tickets. Maybe even book a one-way.
  4. Don’t stop fighting for what I believe in. #resist
  5. “Worrying will never change the outcome.”
  6. “Everything you can imagine is real.”
  7. “What you seek is seeking you.”
  8. “It’s not what happens; it’s how you handle it.”
  9. “Make every day count.”
  10. “Be the energy you want to attract.”

In honor of the new year, I also wanted to share some highlights from 2017. I posted these to my Instagram Story, and thought they summed up the year pretty well.

{january in new orleans}

{february spent protesting}

{march in the adirondacks}

{april spent by the sea in montauk…}

{…and above the clouds in a helicopter}

{maine in may}

{crossed off a bucket list item in june / banff, alberta}

{summer things in july}

{august by the pool}

{traveled across the globe by myself in september / bali}

{california dreaming in october}

{feeling fall festive in november}

{decembrrr in iceland}

{home for the holidays}

I hope this inspires you to create your very own mood board for the new year. I would love to hear all about your peaks and pits from 2017, along with your big plans for 2018.

The best is yet to come. xx

Winter in Iceland Travel Diary

{wheels up / yyz ✈️ kef}

Earlier this month, I crossed another major item off of my travel bucket list: winter in Iceland. To sum up the experience in one quick sentence: it did NOT disappoint. Iceland is like no place I have ever been or seen in my entire life; it truly looks like the moon or some far off planet. The whole trip we just kept saying, “This cannot be planet Earth.” I had also always heard that it was “The Land of Fire and Ice” and it turned out to be a very fitting nickname (I’ll let the photos speak for themselves). So, today I wanted to share a little bit about our trip and give you all of my top recommendations. I hope you enjoy! Without further ado, here is my Winter in Iceland Travel Diary…

{360º view of reykjavík from the top of hallgrímskirkja church}

{kaffi vinyl}

{reykjavík roasters}

For the majority of our trip we stayed right in the city of Reykjavík which is the capital city of Iceland, and the only city in the entire country — everything else is considered a town or village. It is a very pretty and safe city, and we loved being in the center of it all. We found a great vegan restaurant that we loved so much we ended up eating there three days in a row… I can’t figure out if that’s just sad or flattering, lol. It’s called Kaffi Vinyl and it has an entirely vegan menu accompanied by a great vibe complete with a record player for music, of course. We also stumbled upon an amazing little coffee shop, Reykjavík Roasters, which we fell in love with immediately upon walking in. It’s a cozy little place that was perfect for warming up with an oat milk latte in.

{the blue lagoon}

If you’ve heard anything — and I mean anything — about Iceland, you’ve most definitely heard about The Blue Lagoon. It is truly as amazing as it sounds, and we wished we had more time on the trip to go back a second time. It’s right near the airport, so we went there right after we landed and got our rental car. It was such a nice way to start off the trip and relax after the journey there.

We paid for one of the packages that includes a few extra perks, and definitely recommend doing so! I unfortunately didn’t get too many photos while we were there so bear with me as I explain all of the details! Although this was at the top of my to-do list for our trip, I admittedly didn’t know too much about The Blue Lagoon other than it was a big natural pool of hot geothermal water. Without even knowing anything else about it, I was sold! I didn’t realize how much more there was to it, including a swim-up bar (we got green juices that were some of the best we’ve ever had!), a swim-up clay/mud face mask bar (there is one complimentary for all guests, and an additional one if you buy a higher package with your ticket), and a sauna and steam room. It was incredible and we spent hours just relaxing in the warm water.

Three major things that I want to point out if you plan on going: 1. Buy tickets ahead of time. They sell out fast so plan ahead! 2. Purchase an early morning ticket time. We got there early in the morning since it worked out best with our flight times, and we were so happy with the way it panned out.  It seemed to just get more and more crowded as the day went on, and — for obvious reasons — the less people there were, the more enjoyable it was. 3. Be mindful about your hair! Something in the water can make your hair stiff and unmanageable, but if you’re careful then you will have no problem. You’re supposed to rinse off in showers before you go into the water, so when I did that, I took a bunch of the conditioner provided and put it all over my hair. Then, I left it in my hair without rinsing it out and went in to the water just like that. Afterwards, I went over my hair a few more times with the same conditioner, and my hair felt just as nice and soft as it did when I arrived 🙂

{skógafoss waterfall}

{mýrdalsjökull glacier}

{gullfoss waterfall}


{vík’s black sand beach at sunset}

{the great geyser}

{diamond beach}

{jökulsárlón lagoon}

{vatnajokull glacier + ice cave}

{the friendly wild horses}

One of my favorite parts of the trip was seeing the beautiful wild horses all over along Ring Road. They were so incredibly friendly — it was so different than coming across wild animals anywhere else I’ve been. Every time we got the chance, we would pull over and get out of the car, and every time we started to get out, they would all come walking right over and come right up to us. We would just stand there and talk to them and pet them for so long… They would never leave until we did. We had heard before that it’s important to be gentle and talk quietly because some of them have never come into contact with humans before so you don’t want to scare them. Too cute — I loved them.

{fire + ice}

{random sights}

I’m not sure if the photos do it justice, but as I mentioned before, Iceland really looked like a completely different planet. It is such an amazing mix of mountains, volcanoes, streams, lagoons, and fields — unlike anything I’ve ever seen! I can 100% understand why so many movies are filmed here. We spent a lot of time just driving along Ring Road (Route 1) both north and south, and had such a good time doing that. It reminded me a lot of driving along the Icefields Parkway in Banff if you’ve ever been there. We could just drive aimlessly for hours pulling off and taking it all in every chance we got. We came across so many cute towns with friendly locals, amazing geography, animals (including reindeer. Yes, really!), and even a handful of turf houses.

Another interesting part of the trip comes with traveling there in the winter: short, short, short days! It was so interesting to experience! Iceland has only a few short hours of daylight in the winter, and almost 24 hours of sunlight in the summer (something I would also really like to experience!). The sun didn’t come up until 10 or 11 am while we were there, and it would start to set around 3:30 pm (but didn’t actually get completely dark until 5 or so). One thing I actually really enjoyed about this was that almost every hour was golden hour — a photographer’s dream! It cast such a beautiful light orange and pink light all day long, which made everything look even more beautiful.

Another perk of traveling there in the winter is the northern lights; it is the best time of year to see them there! Sadly, we got very unlucky and didn’t get to see them, though we were very close on two nights! However, it’s just another reason to go plan another trip back to Scandinavia, right? 🙂 We did get to witness the biggest meteor shower of the year while looking for them one night though, so that certainly was a silver lining.

I hope you enjoyed my Iceland Travel Diary! Have you ever been The Land of Fire and Ice? What are your favorite hidden gems on the island?



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