Conscious Beauty in Barcelona

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I think Barcelona knew I was coming to visit because my fiances apartment happened to be located near a few amazing holistic establishments – an organic grocery store, a vegan restaurant, an Herbalist, a flower shop and an organic beauty store. Needless to say I’v been in pure bliss living with these treasured spots just moments away from our doorstep.

I am obsessed with the eco-friendly, organic beauty store Ama-pola. Unbeknownst to us, many of our everyday cosmetic and beauty products contain harmful and toxic ingredients. This infographic helps share more on this topic. Talk about not friendly for our skin, bodies and the environment!

In an effort to clean up my beauty routine, I was anxious to explore this store. After marveling around the tiny shop and resisting temptation to purchase something from every product line, I selected a heavenly body milk – Leche Corporal de Manzanilla (Chamomile body milk). Chamomile is recommended for its anti-inflammatory and calming qualities, so it is suitable for sensitive skin. The feather light milk goes on silky smooth and absorbs into your skin quickly. Not to mention it smells absolutely divine. The perfect blend of sweet and citrus. Every day I look forward to my after shower routine just knowing I get to treat my body to this natural goodness. I definitely recommend stopping in this lovely shop if you are in Barcelona. Even if you are not on the natural beauty bandwagon, it is definitely worth checking out.

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How do you incorporate conscious beauty into your routine? 

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Simple Strawberry Jam

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A rainy and chilly morning in Barcelona brought upon the desire to experiment in the kitchen. I wanted something to accompany and change up my routine morning breakfast of oatmeal, sliced fruit, and nut butter breakfast. With previous days of sunshine and warm weather, spring was in my step, and I had a craving for berries. In particular, strawberries. Strawberries may not be in peak season at the moment, but I wanted them anyways.

A breakfast element that I rarely use but am always intrigued by is jam or jelly. Typically I find that most jams and jellies are comprised of majority sugar and little fruit. I love me some sugar, but I also want some of the sweet goodness that comes from fresh fruit. I was up for the challenge of creating a sweet jam, but made from all natural ingredients.

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One of my absolute favorite food bloggers is Minimalist Baker. Minimalist Baker provides simple, healthy and all natural ingredient recipes that come together quickly. I browsed the site and came across the perfect recipe for what I was looking for, Simple Berry Compote. This recipe is the inspiration for my delicious strawberry jam. So easy and versatile, you can really get creative with this one! The end result was a naturally sweet, warm, energizing and colorful addition to my morning breakfast. I switched up my standard oatmeal recipe by mixing in this jam and along with my almond butter. Not too drastic of a change, but enough to leave me happy, satisfied and accomplished. Yummy! I can’t wait to get even more creative by jarring the jam varieties in my own charming way. Homemade looks and tastes so good!

Simple Strawberry Jam Ingredients – Lyssandlemons version

– A batch of fresh strawberries, sliced into small pieces

– 3 tbsp of fresh squeezed juice (I used strawberry orange)

– 1/4 tsp cinnamon

– 1/4 tsp fresh ginger

– 1/4 tsp raw honey

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Instructions – as explained by Minimalist Baker

  1. Place fruit and juice in a small saucepan and bring to medium heat.
  2. Once bubbling, reduce heat slightly and use a wooden spoon to muddle and mash the fruit.
  3. Continue cooking over medium-low heat for 10-12 minutes, occasionally mashing fruit to combine.
  4. Remove from heat and add to your favorite breakfast element (oatmeal, toast, waffles, pancakes – anything!).
  5. Transfer left overs to glass jar or container to store in fridge.

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Have you tried this recipe? What’s your favorite jam combination? 

“Not knowing how near the truth is, we seek it far away.”

This past weekend I attended Tias Little’s “From the Ground Up” four day training course at Moksha Yoga Center. It was an insightful experience in which myself and 65 other yogi’s committed to a daily agenda of meditation, chanting, asana practice, and anatomy lessons. This short verse is one of the poetry readings we used during a meditation session and it has stuck with me this week. The analogy used for this one was “grasping at the midst”. Is it even possible? Close your eyes and repeat this one to yourself a few times, maybe even just once. What comes up? You don’t necessarily need a thirty minute session in lotus pose hands in the meditation mudra to hear an answer from within (although, fun to experiment with!). For me, I can relate to the idea that my truth has got to be other then where I am right now. I can relate to the frustration of searching, striving, and achieving for something other than what you already have or who you already are. Are you ever going to fully catch it? It doesn’t have to be that difficult if you surrender to what is, right now. Wash yourself of yourself. I find it to be a freeing concept that enables you to gain clarity as to what truly is and not what it should be.

How do you interpret this verse?

Back to basics

“Keep it simple, keep it honest, keep it you.

For the past month I feel like I have done nothing but eat. And eating out of tune with my body and its needs. Between social work events, Thanksgiving, holiday parties, and even an engagement, a clear way to celebrate is with food. It is true, I absolutely love food and enjoy eating delicious meals with family, friends and colleagues, but I have lost sight of my favorite aspect of food … its healing, wholesome property. This past month I have resorted to convenient quick fixes for meals … cheap granola bars, chocolate covered treats from the office, donuts, pizza and more pizza, fizzy mimosas at multiple weekend brunches … I am on overload and have lost the rhythm of feeling good in my own skin. Digestive issues and frequent hazy, out of touch moods have set in, which is my body signaling SOS.

Today, I reunited with my true self and volunteered to teach a nutrition education class to first grade students at a local public school. Education and recipes for cranberries (perfect for the holidays) was the theme. Giggles of delight at the sight of these red, juicy berries rang throughout the room. Faces puckered at the taste of the sour flavor. The experience was beyond humbling. The little first graders were so excited to learn, taste and share thoughts on the different cranberry assortments. In case you are itching to know, we offered a half of a raw cranberry, a dried cranberry, cranberry fruit leather, and cranberry juice (which turned into a kiddie cocktail spritzer with lime & sparkling water. It was cute to witness little one’s ‘cheer’sing’ to one another). Students were encouraged to take one mindful bite as we moved through each item. Watching the children truly experience each scent, flavor and texture brought me back to the beauty of eating for health. One simple bite to help soak in the joy and energy that food can provide to us.

Upon leaving, I felt inspired to cook for myself again. I was yearning to get back to basics. I chose my favorite go to recipe to return to simplicity. I knew this particular recipe was meant for tonight when I was asking the man from produce where I could find the “box of fresh beets”. He immediately told me I was making a mistake if I purchased beets from the box and proceeded to show me the fresh, local beets that were on sale. He said, “you must feed your body properly in order to stay strong” and explained to me the various ways to cook beets. Beets are intimidating and sometimes messy to cook, but I took him up on the challenge. This kind soul was helping guide me back onto the feel good path – he even gave me gloves free of charge to help with the dirty work ; )

This recipe is one my good friend and I always make together. In fact, I believe she likely is the one who taught me how to create this delicious arrangement (thank you, hugs to you B!). It is a simple, “go to” recipe that almost always tastes delicious. This recipe may be a familiar one or a brand new one, but whenever and wherever you decide to make it, I hope it helps you feel grounded.

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 Beet & Sweet Potato Arugula Salad 

1 large beet, peeled, cut into smaller pieces, steamed for 15 minutes (please wear gloves to protect your skin and clothes – beet juice does stain!)

3 small sweet potatoes, cut into smaller pieces, tossed in tablespoon or so of olive oil, roasted with fresh rosemary and thyme at 375 degrees for 30 mins

A bunch of fresh, peppery arugula

Whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons raspberry blush balsamic vinegar, half tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon raw maple syrup, crack of pepper & salt.

Toss salad ingredients and dressing with pecans for an extra crunch.

** Try experimenting with different herbs/seasonings for roasting potatoes, balsamic vinegar’s for dressing and nuts each time you put together this salad. Doing so helps keep this one an oldie but goodie. 

 

A walk in the Secret Garden

I am sure there is Magic in everything, only we have not sense enough to get hold of it and make it do things for us” ~ Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

This week I was able to capture some magical images during one of my morning walks. It was one of those mornings where I didn’t want to get out of bed because it looked dark, cloudy, rainy, and overall dreary outside. Despite the circumstances, I still decided to head out for an early morning stroll with my umbrella. The title of this post pretty much sums up my experience. To my surprise, the elements created a very peaceful setting … nature and I were alone in a dream. During my trip down the tree lined and garden filled streets, I found myself pausing every few moments to snap a photo of the beautiful flowers that continuously caught my eye. Needless to say, my routine morning walk turned into an adventure that helped me remember there is beauty in everything no matter the circumstance.

When or where have you discovered magic when you least expected it?

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Lemon Love Affair

I have a love affair with lemons. The magic of these cheerful sunny little fruits always brighten my day, morning, noon, and night. A cup of warm water with fresh squeezed lemon juice has become my morning ritual. From the tart juice, I receive an energizing zing of flavor plus added benefits of vitamin c and detoxification. Noon, I squeeze a wedge of lemon over my lunch (veggies, salads, soups, anything!) for an all natural quick and easy dressing. Night, I zest these babies into my main meal for a refreshing citrus twist. Repeat. It never gets old.

What is your favorite way to incorporate lemons in your life?

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