healthy lifestyle

The Best Workouts in Los Angeles

Being new to the Los Angeles scene, I’ve been doing a lot of research into the best workouts in the area. It’s no secret that LA is a wellness-oriented city; we are home to some of the most talented personal trainers, the best-of-the-best gyms, and certainly no shortage of both tried-and-true and up-and-coming fitness trends.

Now that I’ve been here for a few weeks and had the chance to check out the fitness scene, I wanted to share some of the best workouts I’ve found. These range from hikes to yoga studios, and everything in-between. I hope you enjoy!

{runyon canyon views}

/ B E S T  H I K E S /

1. Runyon Canyon. If you know anything about LA, you probably have heard about Runyon Canyon. This is without a doubt one of the mot popular hiking destinations in the area, and for good reason. I have started hiking Runyon a few times a week, and it hasn’t gotten old yet. What makes this place so popular is because it’s extremely dog-friendly, there are plenty of celebrity sitings, there are water fountains along the way, and the views are great as long as it’s not too hazy out.

2. Griffith Park. Griffith Park has a few different trails, with Wisdom Tree and The Hollywood Sign/Mount Lee being some of the most popular. They’re both great options depending on what you’re looking for: Wisdom Tree is a little bit more challenging, but the Hollywood Sign is a bit longer. The Hollywood Sign brings you up and close and personal with Los Angeles’ most notable landmark, and while you can’t get up too close to the giant letters, it brings you up behind them with the view of the city beyond them. Wisdom Tree takes you up to see beautiful views of the city, along with one lonely tree at the top. This is the one and only tree that survived the massive Hollywood Hills fire in 2007, and was originally planted by a man who dedicated trees to his mother. There is a also box where hikers leave things behind — ranging from business cards to handwritten letters, and everything in between.

/ B E S T  Y O G A /

1. Wanderlust Hollywood. Wanderlust Hollywood is a cult fav and is from the makers of the famous Wanderlust festivals. The vibe here is amazing, with a mix of wood, metal and exposed brick. There are two floors, complete with a café and patio, multiple studios and a meditation room.

2. Set & Flow. Set & Flow has more a modern, sleek vibe than Wanderlust. It has super high ceilings and mood lighting/lighting therapy, which is — in my opinion — the coolest aspect of the studio. There is also kombucha on tap and Runyon is in walking distance… You can’t go wrong.

3. One Down Dog. One Down Dog has two locations on the Eastside, and has a different feel than most other yoga studios. They offer super unique classes with great playlists. They have a down-to-earth, upbeat vibe, and offer plenty of workshops, too — everything ranging from tarot circles to sound baths.

/ S P E C I A L T Y  S T U D I O S /

1. modelFIT. Let me just start off by saying modelFIT is loved by Karlie Kloss and Taylor Swift. Enough said. This fitness studio focuses on small muscle groups, striving to give you a long and lean look. They offer a variety of classes, ranging from toning to dance cardio, barre, and kickboxing.

2. Cycle House. Cycle House reportedly has the toughest spin classes in LA. Picture dim lights, intense music, amazing instructors, and sweat everywhere — that’s what Cycle House is supposed to feel like. Jessica Alba is a fan, so I am too.

3. Box Union. Think of Box Union as the Cycle House of boxing. It has dimmed lights, loud hip-hop music, and drips of sweat everywhere. There are floor-to-ceiling windows that set the tone for a great ambiance. The only downside is that it’s over in Santa Monica, which is a hike for me personally.

 

Do you have any more suggestions of workouts I should try? I would love to hear your thoughts!

How to Become a Morning Person

If there’s anything in this world that I’m certain I am, it’s a morning person. Sleeping in has just never been my thing, and I don’t think it ever will be. Why? I just feel better when I wake up and get a head start on my day, as opposed to sleeping the day away and losing those precious sunlight hours.

There are many days where I wake up and have a productive morning: I’ll meditate, work out, get a head start on whatever work that needs to be done that day, and clean my room all before some people are even awake. But don’t get me wrong, I also love to wake up early even if it’s just to give myself extra time to chill. I’ll have an extra cup of coffee and catch up on some Netflix or YouTube videos that I’ve missed, read a book or magazine, or whatever else I’m feeling that day. Either way, I’m a happy camper who loves those early hours of the day.

Ok so this leaves us with the “how.” How do you become a morning person if you are a night owl who can’t bear the thought of giving up those extra Zzzs in the morning? Here are my thoughts and helpful tips and tricks:

  1. Get to bed earlier. The first step to becoming a morning person is to get to bed at a reasonable time. Here are a few easy ways to get to sleep: Set your phone and other electronics aside an hour or so before you want to sleep; try a nighttime yoga routine with a few moon salutations; create a bedtime meditation practice (I love the sleep options from Headspace); have a cup of nice and warm herbal tea. These are just a few ideas on how you can get to bed on time, so that your body is well-rested and ready to start the day bright and early.
  2. Wake up and get up. I’ve always found that the more times I hit snooze and the longer I sit around in bed, the harder it is to actually get up. When I wake up and get up, it immediately lets my body know that it’s time to start the day. I don’t have any scientific facts to back this up — strictly speaking from experience here. For me, the snooze button is like a thorn on a rose.
  3. Have something to look forward to. I always find that when I have something I’m looking forward to, it makes it easier to drag yourself out of bed and get on with your day. This can be something big or small — some days it’s a new breakfast recipe that I’m planning on trying, some days it’s a big project I have scheduled to work on, and some days it’s plans with friends. Make your days filled with what you love, and you will be excited and happy to get out of bed in the morning.
  4. Have your coffee ready. If you’re a coffee person like me, it’s probably the very first thing you do when you wake up. I always either get my French press all set up the night before so that it’s ready to be made first-thing, or I set the timer on my coffee maker so that it starts brewing at a specific time and is already made when I wake up. This makes it so much easier for me to roll out of bed, knowing that my coffee is just a few steps away. If you’re more of a tea person, the same principle can apply.
  5. Get some sun. Once I grab my coffee, I go out into the backyard to let Charlie outside. The combination of the fresh air with my coffee perks me right up, and instantly puts me in a good mood. (Sidenote: if you have a dog, you’re pretty much forced to be a morning person — they usually wake you up bright and early, lol). Whether you live in the suburbs with a big backyard, or a cute little balcony in a big city, stepping out into the sunshine can only help.
  6. Move your body. Moving my body right when I wake up has always been an effective way to perk up. I would suggest a few sun salutations while your coffee is brewing or while you’re letting your dog outside — that’s my personal favorite. But whatever works for you is perfect… If you want something a little more high-energy to kick your body into high gear, try putting on your favorite playlist.
  7. Have a routine. If you wake up at around the same time every day, sooner or later your body will just become used to it and it will come naturally. They say it takes about 21 days to form a habit, so use the rest of these tips to wake up at a specific time for 21 days, and find out how much easier it is once you have this set routine.

 

While you’re at it, want to know how you can wake up happier? Well you’re in luck. Here ya go; you can thank me later.
Are you a morning person? Or are you on a mission to become one? 

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

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

Rainbow Buddha Bowl Recipe

It is no secret that I love Buddha Bowls (see my first two recipes here and here!), and if you’re not sure what I’m talking about, let me explain really quickly: a Buddha Bowl is basically a giant bowl of plant-based deliciousness. You start with a healthy grain (brown rice, quinoa, etc.), then add all sorts of toppings, ranging from veggies to fruits and garnishes.

So, I am always making different combinations with whatever ingredients I have on hand (because I make some sort of variation just about every week). This week I wanted to take my recipe to the next level and include all colors of the rainbow, and this is what I came up with. Not only does it look delicious, but it tasted just as great. So, without further ado, here is my rainbow Buddha Bowl recipe…

o1. Brown rice
02.
Red pepper
03.
Orange pepper
04.
Acorn squash
05.
Broccoli 
06.
Brussels sprouts
07. Spinach
08.
Asparagus 
09.
Blueberries
10. Purple potatoes
11. Beets (sadly, I completely forgot to put these into my bowl and didn’t realize until I finished eating it! 😣)
12. Sprouts
13. Hummus
14. Goddess dressing

o1. Cook brown rice, following directions on package.
02.
Roast the peppers, squash, broccoli, brussels sprouts, asparagus, and potatoes. I heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for about half an hour, rotating halfway through. (I personally like to use olive oil to coat the veggies and sprinkle on a little garlic salt.)
03.
Now it’s time to assemble the bowl: place brown rice in bottom of your bowl, then add all toppings. I added a small bed of spinach above the rice, and placed all other toppings above that, with the hummus in the middle. 
04.
Drizzle goddess dressing on top, or leave aside to dip veggies in. Enjoy!

 

What is your favorite Buddha Bowl recipe?

01. Buddha Bowl Recipe
02. Fall Harvest Buddha Bowl Recipe
03. Açai Bowl Recipe
04. Peppermint Patty Recipe

 

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