Organic Love

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I’m crazy about yoga, veggies and natural health. I’ve spent hours researching where to buy the least toxic foods, home products and skincare items. I’ve tried dozens of  facial cleansers and even more natural deodorants. My quest has led me to some pretty amazing companies and products that are healthy and way more effective than yucky chemical-laden stuff. Here are my all-time favorites and where to find them:

Food

I buy milk and eggs from an organic farmer that I have personally visited. Click here to read about our trip to Amish Country. Miller’s Biodiversity Farm is located in Pennsylvania with monthly deliveries to New Jersey and New York.

I get my vegetables from Bonterra Market (a local health food store), farmers’ markets and a weekly delivery from Door to Door Organics. Although I’m currently not a CSA member I support Jah’s Creation Organic Farm.

Home

I love Mrs. Meyer’s dish soap. My favorite scent is Lemon Verbena. I use Seventh Generation Free & Clear laundry soap. Both brands are sold at Target. I also like Method for cleaning products.

Skincare

I use Pangea’s Normal to Combo Face Ritual Set. The Australian Wild Plum & Willow Facial Cleanser and Green Mandarin with Sweet Lime Facial Toner smell amazing! I have three other essential products from Pangea: the facial scrub, mask and balancing oil. I really love their lip balm and body oil too.

I started using Pangea products recently, but I fell in love immediately. The Colorado-based company uses organic, fair trade and responsibly-sourced ingredients. Pangea is committed to transparency. An ingredient list is posted on the website. Pangea also uses environmentally-responsible packaging and has won many beauty and environmental-related awards.

Pangea is only sold through independent business owners. Part of my dream is to someday lead wellness retreats. To me, it makes sense to be part of a company with the same beliefs that I do, so I became an Independent Pangea Business Owner. I’m excited to start throwing mini spa parties & Pangea happy hours! Please email me if you have any questions about Pangea products or would like to host a happy hour (veggievinyasa@gmail.com).

Deodorant

This subject gets its own category because I have spent years testing out every brand I could find. I now have a combo that holds up through back-to-back 90 degree power yoga classes and weekend yoga teacher trainings!

I use 4-5 sprays of Thai Chrystal Mist Pump Spray topped with a few swipes of Philly-based Duross & Langel violet deodorant.

The salt spray kills bacteria, but does not neutralize odor. The stick does not prevent odor (for me) on its own. Together they are a magical nontoxic combo that keep me fresh. I reapply the violet stick as needed throughout the day.

What’s in my purse:

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What are your favorite organic brands? Which companies align with your values? 

Giving Up Alcohol

I’ve always been the friend to agree to suggest a round of drinks for just about any occasion. But the time has come for me to reevaluate habits that are no longer serving me. Drinking is one of ’em. I’m not sure if I’m going to be 100% dry, but I do know that I’m the type to eat the whole bag of chips. It’s easier for me to quit something altogether rather than do it in moderation.

Why I’m Giving Up Alcohol:

1. Health. As I’ve recently shared, I have an autoimmune liver condition. I’ve spoken to a specialist who suggested commanded I drastically reduce my drinking to a minimum. He said a glass of wine a day may be healthy for some people, but not me. So this is the main catalyst for change. However, if I really give it some thought there are many other reasons why I will probably be better off without drinking.

2. Making family a priority. Along with the idea of health comes living a long happy life. Being with my son as he grows up is my top priority.

3. More time and money for things that are fun. Like maybe this photography class.

4. No more hangovers. Waking up at six with a toddler isn’t fun with a headache. Waking up at six is never really fun, but it can be worth it for the hugs and giggles. My hubby and I are taking our little munchkin to Mexico this Saturday for a week. Hence, why I’m not sure about jumping into complete sobriety. But if I do drink, it will be only once or twice(?). But the days at the beaching running after Max will be much more enjoyable without the usual hangover symptoms.

5. Better sleep. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, but I’ve noticed that I sleep much more soundly on the nights that don’t involve a few glasses of vino. Better sleep = a much happier me.

As I test the waters of swimming upstream in a world where drinking is the social norm, I’ve found a lot of support in these relatable blog posts:

A Year Without Alcohol by Kelly at The Adventures of a Sober Senorita.

Why Blog About Giving Up Alcohol by Johanna at Mocktail Hour

Why I Finally Gave Up Booze by Rebecca

One Year of Living Without Alcohol by Alison Travels

How to Socialize Without Alcohol: 7 Tips and There is Another Way by Aidan at Ivy League Insecurities

 Would you or have you considered giving up alcohol?

Black Friday Opt Out

Good Morning! It’s Black Friday and I’m snuggled at home in my pj’s with absolutely no intention of shopping today. In fact, I’m barely shopping at all this Christmas season. In the spirit of waste not, want not and gratitude for everything I already have I’m saying no to excess. I’ll still be giving gifts, but they won’t be the traditional items I usually give. Instead of focusing of stuff, I’m focusing on experiences.

I’ve gathered a few of my favorite resources about simple gift giving and keeping the integrity of the holidays.

If you want to read just one article about the subject then I highly recommend: Holiday Shopping: We Can Do Better by Becoming Minimalist.

Need more ideas, suggestions, or inspiration? Keep reading!

The Case Against Buying Christmas Presents by Zen Habits

Let’s Talk About Black Friday by The Minimalists

This quote from the above article says it all:

“Black Friday is the day we trample people for things we don’t need, the day after being thankful for what we have.”  

Nourishing Minimalism has Clutter Free Gift Lists for everyone: Toddlers, Children, Teens, Women, Men, Grandparents, and Teachers.

Clutter Free Christmas Ideas: One In, One Out by Neat Nest Organizing

How are you keeping Christmas simple this year?

Reason #9: Yoga Makes Me Smile

Reason #9 Yoga Makes Me Smile: Stretching out feels sooooo good!

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At Dhyana Yoga in Haddonfield, New Jersey

There are some poses that just make the heart sing they feel so good. Whether we’re hunched over at an office desk or toting around a 33 pound toddler (!) most of us are holding stress in our neck, shoulders, and back. Taking even just a few minutes to counteract that tension feels so good. One of my favorite heart opening poses is triangle:

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I also love reclining hero pose, especially when propped on a few pillows or a sturdy cushion.

Which poses feel soooo good to you?

For all the other reasons yoga makes me smile: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

5 Blogs

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A cold wintery sunrise in New Jersey

Five new (to me) blogs I adore:

Slow Your Home: The Simpler Life You Want

The Minimalist Mom

The Simple Year

The Fearse Family

A Cup of Jo

It started with a quest to find the perfect words to politely say “no gifts please” on Max’s birthday party invites. We have Christmas presents that haven’t been taken out of their boxes yet and he just doesn’t need anything. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. We are very lucky to have our needs met. But when it comes to stuff, I really want to simplify. As I mentioned on my About page, I love the idea of minimalism…but I have a hard time letting go of all the excess (like clothes that haven’t been worn in years or my 25-year-old collection of Lisa Frank stickers). As I write this I am inspired to lighten up. I’ve already put my wedding dress on Craigslist and stacked up all of the novels I’ll probably never read again. And if I did, I could just borrow them from the library. Now it’s time to tackle the stationary drawer(s).

What are you holding on to that could go? Do you have any favorite blogs?

Five Links

*The five links I’m referring to are in bold, the rest are just the background story. Enjoy and please share what you’re reading online!

1. Have you heard of Kathy Freston? She’s another gorgeous vegan author who’s always got a positive spin on life. A few months ago I read her book Veganist, which is full of cheerful advice, suggestions and personal stories. Click here for a short interview with her.

I’ll have what she’s having please.

2. Fellow blogger/yogini Lindsey found a veggie food truck in NYC…how cool is that?

3. I have an attractions to bucket lists, even if I don’t finish them on time. As with most things, I’ve decided it’s more about the intention than the outcome. Here’s a link for the the cutest summer bucket list idea ever.

Originally found on pinterest, picture taken by Jenny & Josh Solar

4. There are days I could use some hints for shifting my perspective. I like this simple list: Five Ways to Let Go of Your Story

5. And last but not least… summer traveling with the Spork Sisters. I adore these lovely ladies as well (click here to read about a cooking class with them, or here to get the recipe that wowed M’s family). By the way, I’m away this week myself… so I will be back with veggie pics in a few days. xoxo

What’s tickling your fancy on the internet (or elsewhere)?

The Versatile Blogger Award

It’s awards season in the blogging world, and I’m honored to share that House Poulette nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award. I’m not really sure what that means, but I’m happy to have a fan. Thanks for the love!

Here are the rules:

Nominate 7 fellow bloggers for The Versatile Blogger Award.

Thank the blogger who nominated you in a post with a link back to their blog.

Share 7 completely random pieces of information about yourself.

Blogs I love:

  1. Her New Leaf ~ Awesome advice for bloggers, as well as crafty ideas and fun Cali pics
  2. A Sonoma Garden ~ If you’ve ever dreamed about living in an organic California garden, check out her gorgeous photos and posts
  3. Meet the Shannons ~ A creative couple who’s veganizing recipes from The Betty Crocker Cookbook
  4. Chocolate Covered Katie ~ Amazingly delicious recipes that are healthy
  5. A Dose of Pretty ~ Pictures of all things pretty
  6. Crunchy Betty ~ My go-to for homemade product ideas and recipes
  7. Manifest Vegan ~ Gorgeous healthy recipe photos, plus the occasional post about happiness

Seven random facts about me:

  1. Sex and the City is my favorite show ever.
  2. I went to NYC to see each of the movies.
  3. I’m a Pisces and so is my gay hubby.
  4. I’m obsessed with avocado.
  5. My favorite place is the beach.
  6. My buddies and I like to make up silly bowling names.
  7. I love magazines, especially Marie Claire.

Can you guess which one’s me?

What are your favorite blogs? Care to share a random fact about yourself?

(I’m beach bunny….M was Jersey and this was one of the few times I’ve scored higher than him.)

Yoga Playlist

The beautiful & talented Anoushka Shankar

Songs I really love for an hour long yoga flow practice:

Easy by Anoushka Shankar and Karsh Kale

Melody by Kate Earl

Sunday by Sia

True to Myself by Ziggy Marley

Let it Out by Starrfadu

Again and Again by Jewel

Wonderful Life by Estelle

There’s Hope by India.Arie

Life Uncommon by Jewel

Reasons to Love You by Meiko

Find My Way Back Home by Priscilla Ahn

Those Sweet Words by Norah Jones

Like a Star by Corinne Bailey Rae

Across the Universe by The Beatles

One Road for Freedom by Ben Harper

Imagine by Jack Johnson

Suni-ai (slow) by Snatam Kaur

A surfer with soul: Jack Johnson

What’s on your yoga mix?

One Year

Happy birthday Veggie Vinyasa! It’s been one year since I first hit the “publish” button and sent all of my thoughts, feelings and pictures out into cyberspace (click here to read my first post).  Last spring I was so excited during yoga teacher training that I wanted a place to trade info about the cool new stuff I was learning, plus I used to be one of those people that posted their dinner on Facebook all the time so it only made sense to move the pics over to their own special little place.

12 Months of Blogging

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

January

February

March

April

Here’s why I love blogging:

  • It’s fun. It’s a creative outlet. It’s like a diary, but without the angst. Plus photos make everything better.
  • Bloggers read other blogs (it just started happening…and then I was hooked). I may be the only person I know in real life that’s obsessed with veggie ingredients and farmers’ markets, but there’s a whole world of people out there that share the same enthusiasm.
  • Bloggers are usually passionate about their recipe posts, therefore I trust them because they really do like what they post.
  • I love, love, love reader feedback. Even if someone points out that my Sanskrit translation is wrong or I messed up a fact somewhere (hey, it’s happened…we’re all human and I fully own my bloopers). Feel free to write me, compliment me or point out a mistake. Share your favorite recipes, products, places, stories. I love it all!

5 Reasons to Love Lunch

As if you really needed a reason to look forward to lunch, but I wanted to share why I love bringing healthy homemade food to the breakroom table.

5 Reasons packing your own lunch rocks:

  1. Something yummy to look forward to all morning
  2. Saves time and energy when you need it the most: during the workday (easier to spend a few minutes the night before on preparation than to run out during your break to buy something)
  3. Hardly any waste, especially when you’ve got special reusable containers and a cool lunchbox/bag
  4. You’ll have tons of energy from nutritious wholesome food
  5. It’s a conversation starter

Today’s veggie-licious lunch

Just this afternoon someone asked me what was in the bowl. They had never heard of quinoa, so I was in my glory as I described how easy it is to make and all the yummy things you can do with it (like make breakfast in a jiffy).

Here’s a list of today’s lunch mix-up:

  • 1 c. cooked quinoa
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 4 radishes, chopped
  • 1/2 c. canned white beans, rinsed (Eden brand)
  • 3 Tbsp. avocado
  • 2 Tbsp. dressing
  • sprinkle of fresh basil and parsley
  • pepper

Dressing: (estimated amounts)

  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tbsp. flax oil
  • 3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

*Shake all ingredients in a jar, store in the fridge. Pour a little on the salad in the morning. Save the rest in the fridge for another day.

As per a reader suggestion (Thanks Jennifer), I shook the whole thing up at lunch and let the avocado get all over everything so every bite was avocado-licious. Yummm!

What do you pack for lunch? Do you have any delicious salad dressing recipes? Please share!