Vinaigrette Dressing

It can’t get any easier than vinaigrette dressing for a salad, but I recently read a few pointers (frenchandparfait.com) to make it better.

The basic recipe:

  • 1 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt (mix until dissolved), then add…
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper, mix then add…
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp at a time and mix

Here are the tips:

  • Vinegar to oil is always a 1 to 3 ratio
  • Use a wooden spoon (no metal)
  • The order you mix your ingredients is important. Mix as listed above

Variations:

  • Start with a minced shallot, then add the vinegar, salt, etc. as listed above
  • Add 1 tsp Dijon Mustard after the black pepper, before the oil

Product Recommendations

Here’s three products I’m loving.

Olema Rose Wine. So good and reasonably priced at $14.

 

Native Deodorant. Native contains no aluminum, smells great, and works better than any other deodorant I’ve tried.

 

Wanderlust, A Modern Yogi’s Guide to Discovering Your Best Self. This book provides a perfect introduction to yoga including workbook style prompts to help you be the best you.

Yoga Benefits

I’m almost 2 months into my yoga routine, Kundalini yoga to be specific. Do I feel better? For sure. Kundalini yoga focuses a lot on the spine. My back feels more flexible and in return my whole body feels more pliable.  In general, I feel lighter mentally and physically. Take a look below at 15 possible benefits you can have from yoga.

yoga-workout-for-beginners

Calm

Stress is an inevitable part of life, however being able to monitor it with breath and introspection can change the outcome of many situations. Ideally stress will begin to subside with the tools discovered in yoga.

Strength

Over time the body will become stronger and yoga poses will feel much more accessible. Discovering body awareness and incorporating appropriate cues from instructors can take a practice to another level. Yoga will never be easy, however the body builds up strength to support the practice in time. Certain daily activities that felt difficult before will get easier. Activities such as walking up stairs, balancing to put on shoes or picking up children can become less challenging.

Weight loss

Although many people do not initially turn to yoga for weight loss, it is a surprising bonus. The pure and detoxifying feeling the body experiences after practice sends people in a healthier direction. The body begins to crave nutritious foods and denies heavy meals.   

Happiness

Learning tools to incorporate breathing and body awareness into scenarios that are mentally or physically demanding will change the outcome of many situations. Letting go of self-medication with food, alcohol, or prescription drugs is difficult. However in minor cases, replacing self-medication with yoga can help. The residual buzz from a yoga practice can deliver some of the happiness people struggle to find.

Change

Releasing things that no longer serve or fulfill are some of the first steps toward change. Like-minded individuals, and better decision-making replace toxic relationships, negative friends, and harmful environments.

Diet

Some people have been known to try vegan or vegetarianism at least once. There are teachers that promote non-harming and compassion to living beings with emphasis on a plant based diet. Some bodies can handle not having meat while other bodies need it. The best advice is to do what fits for the individual. What works for one, may not work for all. Ask a doctor if uncertainty arises with diet.

Posture

Many of the postures in yoga strengthen the spine and the muscles surrounding the spine. The majority of the work is to maintain a tall spine in each pose. A great yoga class will train the practitioner to take daily habits such as a hunched over body out of the practice. Overtime, students will learn techniques on how to carry the body in everyday life. Some yoga poses and classes strengthen the abdominals, which improve the posture quite a bit.

Confidence

There are so many poses and ideologies in yoga that make the practice a lifelong journey. There is always another variation to achieve or a style to discover. One of the most gratifying feelings is when accomplishing a posture that seemed so difficult in the past. Noticing changes in the body and advancement in the practice gives a person that confidence they may have been searching for. Whether it is an inversion/arm balance or holding plank pose for an extended period of time, these small achievements ignite a positive sense of self.

Mindfulness

Bringing attention to areas of a person’s life that may have gone unnoticed in the past is the first step toward mindfulness. Maybe its deciding to stop wearing high heals, or forgoing the pain medication for small aches and pains, or possibly holding back on negative thinking. Maybe it’s noticing how many chips are consumed in one sitting or how the body is sitting while eating those chips. Shedding light on these little moments that are overlooked so often can change how life is lived in a positive way.

Flexibility

In time, tight muscles will release. That stiff and achy feeling when getting out of bed or right into downward facing dog won’t be as common. All bodies are different. Some people are extremely flexible and hypermobile, while other’s bone structure won’t allow for a super flexible practice. Finding the appropriate flexibility for each body type is the healthier way to think about it. Forcing or pushing the body to become flexible like the person on the neighboring mat is not a safe decision. It is extremely important to balance that flexibility with strength.

Obsession

The yoga practice can become addictive because of the mental relief it offers practitioners. Yoga is a lifetime practice with so many different postures, variations, and lineages. Some people practice intensely on a consistent basis to achieve their goals faster. This is when injury occurs. Many people learn the hard way and ultimately realize that a safe, strong practice will result in longevity of the muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons.

Body awareness

Depending on which route is traveled in the yoga world; learning about the body is an incredible discovery. How often does a person cross their legs every time they sit, with the same leg over? Understanding how body patterns and daily routine can affect well-being is tremendous.

Clarity

Life can be very hectic and stressful with to-do lists and priorities. The mind eventually becomes cluttered putting up roadblocks in our path to clarity. The physical yoga practice is helpful with clearing the mind, however the meditative aspects of yoga can change thoughts drastically. A daily meditation practice is known to clear the mind and bring clarity to situations in which we feel limited.

Self Inquiry

Depending on the person, there will be interest in becoming a yoga instructor. Even if teaching isn’t the goal, some become certified to understand the practice on a deeper level. Spirituality is a huge part of the path of yoga. Studying yogic philosophy or reading up on spiritual teachings can help. Learning more about who you are as a person is a growth process unlike anything else.

Love

I have found that if you love life, life will love you right back.”- Arthur Rubinstein. Learning to move through life from a place of love is one of the best feelings in the world. Whether it is love for one’s own body, other people, or the love of life in itself, positive outcomes normally result in this way of thinking.

Yoga can turn a person’s world upside-down, literally and figuratively. Diving into a yoga practice in order to gain wisdom, peace, and physical strength is one of life’s best-kept secrets. As time goes on, life will continue to change for the better with the help of a little thing called yoga.

 

via yogaclub.com

Finally, A Face Moisturizer for My Sensitive Skin

My face is extremely sensitive to product. I know this because I have spent hundreds of dollars trying different face moisturizers only to have them all cause redness and irritation to my skin. So I finally decided to try an oil on my face, instead of a moisturizer.

I’ve been reading a lot about Argan Oil. Argan oil comes from a fruit tree (using the nut inside the fruit) found in Morocco and has been used for generations as a skin/hair moisturizer. It contains vitamins A and E, anti-oxidants and omega 6. Normally, I fear all natural skin products as they cause the worst reactions for me. However, the information on Argan oil says it helps with inflammation too. Not wanting to spend a small fortune again, I went to Target and found Acure Argan Oil for $12.99.

I have been using this product for about a week now and it has yet to cause any skin problems for me and my skin looks great. A little goes a long way. One pump of the oil is all I need for my face and neck. So if you have sensitive skin and are in need of a moisturizer, Argan Oil might be the way to go for you.

Trying face moisturizer tip: Put a little bit of the moisturizer on the back of your ear to see if it will cause a reaction. (Putting it on the wrist never worked for me)

The Year of Magical Thinking-Book Review

Joan Didion takes us through her year after losing her husband unexpectedly; and at the same time, having her only daughter in critical condition. It’s an honestly written book on the denial, fog, and numbness she felt from her loss.  I thought for sure I would cry through this whole book, but someone in denial doesn’t cause tears. It’s in the paragraph below that I cried.

“Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it. We anticipate (we know) that someone close to us could die, but we do not look beyond the few days or weeks that immediately follow such an imagined death. We misconstrue the nature of even those few days or weeks. We might expect if the death is sudden to feel shock. We do not expect the shock to be obliterative, dislocating to both body and mind. We might expect that we will be prostrate, inconsolable, crazy with loss. We do not expect to be literally crazy, cool customers who believe that their husband is about to return and need his shoes. In the version of grief we imagine, the model will be “healing.” A certain forward movement will prevail. The worst days will be the earliest days. We imagine that the moment to most severely test us will be the funeral, after which this hypothetical healing will take place. When we anticipate the funeral we wonder about failing to “get through it,” rise to the occasion, exhibit the “strength” that invariably gets mentioned as the correct response to death. We anticipate needing to steel ourselves the for the moment: will I be able to greet people, will I be able to leave the scene, will I be able even to get dressed that day? We have no way of knowing that this will not be the issue. We have no way of knowing that the funeral itself will be anodyne, a kind of narcotic regression in which we are wrapped in the care of others and the gravity and meaning of the occasion. Nor can we know ahead of the fact (and here lies the heart of the difference between grief was we imagine it and grief as it is) the unending absence that follows, the void, the very opposite of meaning, the relentless succession of moments during which we will confront the experience of meaninglessness itself.”
Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking