healthy lifestyle

My Favorite Post-Workout Snack

Coming home from the gym and making a post-workout snack is truly one of my favorite parts of the day. It feels so nice to have finished your workout for the day, and making a good snack that tastes great but also refuels your body is a win-win. So, today I’m sharing my personal favorite. It is delicious, filling, and the perfect combo of carbs and protein to rebuild muscles and give you a boost of energy. This snack in particular is also so sweet and tasty — it almost feels like a dessert!

I also feel like this is the perfect snack for the fall season, because it involves apples and cinnamon, which are two flavors I always associate with fall. Being from Upstate New York, apple season is a big deal! They are a New York staple because we grow so many, and every September I go apple picking. It’s a beginning-of-fall tradition that I love 🙂 The crisp apple combined with the warm cinnamon flavor is the perfect fall combo. Pumpkin spice who? I only know cinnamon apple. (For the record, I actually also really love pumpkin spice, lol).

So, here is how I make my favorite post-workout snack… I hope you enjoy!

There are two different ways I’ll slice the apple, depending on how I feel. Sometimes I cut them into bite-sized cubes — that’s usually when I’m feeling lazy and want to cut the apple up quickly. Otherwise, I’ll slice the apple into thin slices. Whichever way you choose, lay them out on a plate before the next step. Apples are filled with fiber which keeps you fuller longer, which is great for after a workout. Since they’re a fruit, they are also a carb which gives you energy — again, perfect for after a workout. This helps me maintain that post-workout energy boost!

I then like to take a little peanut butter; you could use almond butter or whatever you prefer. I take somewhere between one and two tablespoons if I had to guess a measurement… It’s not too much but definitely not skimpy either 🙂 I like to melt the peanut butter in the microwave so that it’s warm and melty. This part makes the snack feel much more decadent, which I like. Once the peanut butter is melted, I drizzle that all over the apple slices that are laid out on the plate. I like to have peanut butter after a workout because it has some plant-based protein, which is good to have after you’ve done any kind of weight training. This will rebuild and repair your muscles after working them.

Lastly, I like to take a bit of cinnamon and sprinkle it right on top. This adds a nice twist to the flavor, amping up your usual apple/peanut butter combo. Not only is it a great flavor, but it has plenty of health benefits. You’ll often see cinnamon in detox recipes, it helps lower blood sugar levels, and also can help lower the risk of heart disease — sign me up!

I also sometimes make this snack when I haven’t worked out but I just happen to be craving it. During those times, I will sometimes add a little granola and/or dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs (whichever I have on hand). These are just tasty additions that you can combine with the other flavors, but they definitely don’t add to the health benefits of the snack, lol.

 

What is your favorite post-workout snack?

Journal Prompts for Happiness

I’ve read multiple times how important journaling each day is. You might be envisioning your younger self writing your secrets in a diary, but this is a bit different. This type of journaling is more so designed to let you reflect on your day — whether it’s to help find a good moment in an overwhelmingly bad day, verbalize what you could have done to make the day a better one, or expand upon something you learned that day.

I recommend getting a notebook and dedicating a few minutes to writing in it at the end of each day. Give it for two weeks and see how you feel at the end of it. This daily exercise should help quiet your mind a bit, help you become more mindful, and spark more joy. Today I’m sharing a few ideas to get you started. These will help you reflect on what makes you happy and lead you to finding out how you can have a good day every day. So, without further ado, here are 11 journal prompts for happiness…

  1. What is something you learned today? Big or small.
  2. How could you have made today a better day?
  3. What did you eat today and how did it make you feel?
  4. How has your mood changed throughout the day? From when you woke up until the present moment.
  5. What was one interesting conversation you had today?
  6. What was the best part about your day?
  7. Did you work out today and how do you feel now physically? Mentally?
  8. Did you feel mostly present or absent through the day?
  9. Who or what inspired you today?
  10. How do you want tomorrow to go?
  11. What do you want to accomplish tomorrow?

 

Do you journal? What are some of your favorite journal prompts?

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.

 

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