Monday, January 29, 2018

Vegan Brunch Recipe - Chia Seed Pudding



This past weekend, I had the pleasure of hosting a little DIY day with my friend, Helen. We both got into using Essential Oils a few months ago, and wanted to have a get together with all of our girlfriends so we could make roller bottles of oils, and really just share the wealth of all things essential oils.

Of course, I managed to procrastinate to the very last minute, but I was able to throw a few things together for everyone to snack on.

Also, shout out to @earthyandy for sharing these recipes in the first place. If you don't follow her already, I highly recommend doing so. She lives in Hawaii, and has a life full of surfing, healthy eating and family fun. 


Maple Chia Seed Pudding
Ingredients
2 cups coconut milk (homemade or natural, other nut milks are great too!)
    ½ cup Organic Chia Seeds
    ½ teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste
    ¼ cup maple syrup

*This recipe makes 4 servings*

                                                                   Video from Earthy Andy

Directions

Basically, all you do is dump these 4 ingredients into a bowl, and then stir. 

Once everything is mixed, pour mixture into a glass container. I used 4 little mason jars, with plenty of space for toppings later. 

Once your mason jars are filled to your liking, put the lid on, and place in the fridge. 

Make sure to refrigerate for at least 4 hours. I like to leave mine in the fridge overnight, so I have a quick and healthy breakfast option for me in the morning.

I definitely recommend topping this pudding with some fruit, or nut butter. 

*Original Recipe found here on Earthy Andy's site*

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"Caramel" Coconut Balls

Ingredients

(2) 8 oz. Pitted Dates
2 Tablespoons Water
1/2 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
1/3 Cup Coconut Sugar
(The original recipe calls for 1 cup of coconut sugar but I found that 1/3 - 1/2 cup was plenty)
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1.5 Cups Oats
1/4 Cup Coconut Shreds


Directions

If you didn't buy pitted dates, start by removing pits from the dates. 

Next chop up all your dates, and put them in a frying pan with your water and coconut sugar. 

Cook down for about 10 minutes on medium-low. Chop and Stir while cooking down.

Once it bubbles, and is almost paste-like, turn off heat and stir in vanilla.

Let it cool for a few minutes.

Next, stir in your oats and coconut shreds. (This may take some arm strength, since the dates are super sticky)

Now, once the mixture is cool enough to handle, start rolling your mixture into bite-sized balls and place on parchment paper

You can also roll in additional coconut shreds if you really like da coconut.

My friends said these tasted like the Girl Scout Samoa Cookies (Caramel Delight Cookies)

*Original Recipe can be found here, on Earthy Andy's blog*

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I then store these Caramel Bites in the fridge and let them firm up a bit. Then in the morning, I crumble them up and put them on top of my chia seed pudding, along with bananas, berries and nut butter. It's so delish.

They are also great to eat alone as a snack!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Whipped Body Butter - DIY



As some of you may know, I started selling Young Living a few months back and I am having SO much fun making new beauty products with my essential oils. I wanted to share a fun recipe I whipped up (pun intended) the other day that I am really loving. Plus it's super easy and chemical free. Right up my alley.

I found the original DIY recipe on Lauren Singer's Instagram/Youtube Page - Trash is for Tossers. (Check out her Instagram here - you won't regret it) One of my monthly goals for January is to produce less waste. So naturally, I went on Lauren's page and tried to find a few things I could do to help me reach my goal. Another goal of mine this month is to eliminate some clutter in my makeup/beauty routine.

I am a total and complete product junkie. I love finding new chemical free companies, and trying out their stuff. Unfortunately it has left me with a lot of products. Some I don't even really need. Hence why I am trying to organize and eliminate a few things from my beauty cabinet.

As always I love to use simple, and natural ingredients on my body since I have preached loud and clear about the dangers of using synthetic fragrances. (If you missed it, read this) What I love most about this DIY recipe is, it uses 4 organic ingredients. All which you can find from the grocery store. Thankfully I had 2 of these in my drawers already, which made things a little less expensive. 


The items in this Whipped Body Butter include

- Organic Coconut Oil - super moisturizing

- Organic Shea Butter - Helps stimulate collagen production, which smooths fine lines and wrinkles

- Organic Cocoa Butter - Rich in Antioxidants

- Organic Sweet Almond Oil - Rich in Vitamins E & B (helps repair sun damage)

*Optional Ingredient* - Essential Oils

I used Valor & Lavender, because why the heck not! Valor is a favorite Young Living blend of mine, that is made up of Black Spruce, Blue Tansy, and Frankincense. I like to call this my courage oil. I wear it in times where I need to be calm, or even brave. Lavender is known for relaxation, so I try to use this whenever I can. It can also help with bug bites/rashes too! 

Next up, watch Lauren's video below. She will teach you how to mix up these ingredients and whip it into a luxurious body butter.

*Helpful Tip: I recommend doing this with friends, so you can split the cost of all the supplies! Or purchasing your items on Amazon or Thrive Market online to save some money. I bought some big containers of cocoa butter, and shea butter from Whole Foods which led me to spend $40. Just on those two items. Granted, I will probably have these items for life because the jars are so big, but it was shocking to see the prices of everything*

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Another fun idea, is to make these for gifts! I am not the biggest fan of Valentine's Day (mainly because one time I got broken up with two days after Valentine's day, LOL), but I always try to treat my girlfriends to a little something so they all know how loved they are. Thankfully, I found some leftover tins in my craft drawer, and I plan to wrap these up with twine and give them away to my girlfriends. That way they feel the love over Valentine's Day, and I know they are using products that are non-toxic and actually help support their body in their everyday life. It's a win, win!



Other great Essential Oil combos for this Whipped Body Butter would be...

-Copaiba & Frankincense: Copaiba helps lock in moisture, and frankincense is a very grounding oil. It also helps restore that youthful looking glow!

-Lavender & Frankincense: Great for sleep support!

-Panaway & Peppermint: This would be great for sore muscles. Peppermint leaves your skin feeling a little tingly, and helps with aches and pains. Make sure to keep away from your eyes





Friday, January 5, 2018

Happy SIXTH Birthday, Little Pieces of Hope!


By golly, we have done it! Little Pieces of Hope is SIX years old today!

Most years I forget to celebrate the anniversary of Little Pieces of Hope, but somehow I was able to catch it early on the calendar and actually remember. So naturally, I am sitting down and reflecting on how crazy this jewelry journey has been for me.

As some of you may know, Little Pieces of Hope started as a hobby when I was back in college studying Apparel Merchandising at Colorado State University. My roomie (oh heeeey, Mel!!) and I were all about that Colorado music scene, and I was constantly trying to refine my dirty (yet somewhat put together) hippie look...cue the feather earrings. 

Yup, you heard me....feather earrings. Don't worry there are some pictures down below with some AWESOME instagram filters. Joking, these are the worst filters you have ever seen. And believe it or not, I actually posted pictures like this on the Etsy shop. I know, palm to the face.



While feather earrings sparked the jewelry maker inside me, the company slowly transitioned to carry necklaces, bracelets, rings, and even paintings at one point.  It's been fun, and somewhat embarrassing, looking back at pictures this week and seeing what I sold back in college versus now. 


Now, don't get me wrong. Little Pieces of Hope has been fun, but not always a breeze. It's been a lot of trial and error. Feast & famine if you will. But no matter how many people told me "Maybe it's time you get another job", it's always been my number 1. My little jewelry sanctuary.

The best part about reflecting and looking back at photos today, is realizing that Little Pieces of Hope has accompanied me throughout all my chapters of life. Break ups, health scares, traveling across the world. It's been right there beside me, growing as I do. It's been my outlet to heal, to create and to express myself.





I am beyond thankful for your love & support along this fun little journey of mine. Throughout the years we have been able to donate over $10,000 to over 10 different non-profits. How cool is that?! I am still trying to figure out the exact number we have donated. College Ceci didn't really ever feel the need to document how much we donated so that's been fun trying to search emails and find receipts from 2012-2013.


All in all, if you have made it this far in reading, I want to say thank you. From the very bottom of my heart. Thank you for supporting me and my dream, and watching Little Pieces of Hope grow while I do too. 

Thank you.

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Now the good stuff. I wanted to share a few of my favorite photos throughout the year. Now like I said, some may have terrible instagram filters, but they show off a memory nonetheless.


 

These are the infamous feather earrings that started it all. My sweet Mom was kind enough to let me sell these in her shop in Spicewood, Texas.

 

Then came the long necklaces. Here are a few of my first pieces that I sold in college. 


 

This was one of my very first trunk shows in Colorado - I had my friends over and we raised funds for the local chapter of Red Cross - This was during the High Park Wildfire of 2012




These are a few style shots from the very first store that made a wholesale purchase from me! Thank you Cotone!


Over time trunkshows became a regular thing for me - Here is one of me at Langford Market by UT Campus in Austin, TX. Either from 2013, or 2014.


Fast forward a few months, and soon bloggers were wearing my stuff and featuring Little Pieces of Hope on their social media outlets. Ivana Revic (pictured above) was one of the most influential people who wore LPOH. She made the LPOH buffalo skull ring the "it" item for over a year! There are more bloggers photos over here (although I have to admit I haven't updated this page in years!)


After college, I decided to make LPOH my full time job. Meaning I had to HUSTLE for that money. Thankfully, Jensen (pictured on the left) helped get me into a few boutiques around Fort Collins, Colorado. This is me and her meeting for the first time!


The WISHBONE bangle that helped connect me to the dreamers over at Free People where I was able to be a part of a few photo shoots and even photograph a few things of theirs myself. Probably the thing I am most proud of!

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Of course, I could share about a hundred more photos, but I thought I would attempt to pump the breaks. 



Thank you again for all the love and support over these last six years. I am beyond grateful and feeling blessed beyond belief. As a way to show my appreciation, I have made everything in the Little Pieces of Hope shop 30% off for the weekend. ENJOY!!


Friday, October 13, 2017

Natural Deodorant


Finding a Natural Deodorant used to be a never ending struggle for me. I constantly would ask my friends, what type of deodorant are you using? In hopes that I could find one to end my stinky ways.

Unfortunately I have come to find out through this natural deodorant journey that I stink like no other. My sister will vouch for this. One time I let her smell my underarm, and she said it was the worst smell and experience she has ever had in her entire life. She continued to say she wouldn't wish that smell upon her worst enemies...Sister's am I right? Anyways, the deodorants my friend's were using never seemed to work on me...until I found Schmidt's All Natural.

Now one thing you should know is, when switching to a natural deodorant there may be a brief time period where you smell a little more than you normally would. That's because for years, you have been using antiperspirants that don't allow your body to sweat, which is a healthy and natural process. So once you start using deodorant without the antiperspirant (aka chemicals -cough cough ALUMINUM) your body may go through a slight detox to rid it of unwanted toxins. But to be honest, I never came across this transition. So don't let the idea of a detox scare you because it's totally worth it in the end! If it does happen to you, you can use witch hazel to help cleanse the pores morning and night. OR you can simply reapply deodorant throughout the day. 

So let me introduce you to my favorite natural deodorant that I have come across thus far (thanks to my friend Lauryn)...may I present SCHMIDT's All Natural.

It's a company based out of Portland, Oregon that always puts their customers and ingredients first. In 2017, their mission was to "Change the way people think about deodorant" And I have to admit, they 100% changed the way I think about it. 

Not only does Schmidt's come in a variety of scents but they also offer a Sensitive Skin Formula, as well as a Jar Formula for people who prefer that type of application. Either way it's a win, win as their jars and sticks are 100% recyclable, and a little goes a long way when it comes to application. 

So if you have been thinking of making the switch to a natural deodorant, I highly suggest this one. It's available online or at Whole Foods, Target and even Wheatsville Co-op.


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Just to clarify this is a not a sponsored, or paid post. It's simply a brand that I wanted to share, since I have been receiving a lot of questions about my green beauty products on the new Clean Living with Little Pieces of Hope instagram. I hope this is able to help a few people out, and allow you to make the switch to a green and clean beauty routine. 



Monday, September 25, 2017

Clean Living with Little Pieces of Hope - Make up



A few weeks ago I started a new Instagram page, called Clean Living with Little Pieces of Hope. Throughout the years, I have found myself switching to a cleaner lifestyle. Not only with everyday health choices, but with make up products, household cleaners, as well as around the home products. 

I of course find this stuff super interesting since it goes hand-in-hand with my PCOS journey, and anxiety journey, so I wanted to share all that I have learned with you.

Last week, I went LIVE on Instagram to show off what's inside my make up bag. I know I have done one of these posts before, but as I keep learning more and more about this new lifestyle, I keep coming across new brands and products that I want to rant and rave about.

So, here are the newest members of my make up routine. 



This is how I start my makeup routine. After I put my facial oils and lotion on (which is important with this product to achieve that flawless no make up, make up look) I then put this on with my hands. I love how lightweight this moisturizer is, and the fact that is also has SPF 30 in it is beyond awesome. It's a light coverage, so it still shows your freckles underneath, and lets your skin still look like skin. Which to me is always important. I hate that cakey look on me.

This product is hypoallergenic, chemical free, cruelty free and fragrance free. It has soothing ingredients such as organic coconut, broccoli seed oil and ginseng. 



If my skin needs some extra love, (HELLO DARK UNDER EYE CIRCLES) this is the next step for me as it helps provide more coverage than the Bio Tint Moisturizer. I don't know about you guys, but anytime I use a concealer, I always have that issue where it dries out that problem area and almost draws more attention to the part I was trying to cover up, rather than actually hide it. That is before I found Glossier's Stretch Concealer. I LOVE this concealer. My friend Jewlie, turned me onto this stuff as it's buildable, flexible and nourishing. It has ingredients such as beeswax, avocado oil, jojoba oil and cocoa butter. 

And again, this product is paraben free, fragrance free and cruelty free.



At first when I was introduced to the idea of my bronzer being in cream form rather than loose powder, I was completely intimidated. Little did I know, it's totally fool-proof. Plus, the product itself is so itty-bitty that it's perfect for traveling or applying on the go (which I tend to do more and more these days)

I remember when I first showed my friends this product, they were all like "whoa that looks too dark" and truthfully it does look super dark especially for someone like me who was a rather fair complexion. However it blends so well, and gives you that sunkissed glow everyone is going for these days. I simply apply this to under my cheekbones, and the top of my head for that natural sun-kissed look and blend with a brush. Super easy, and super clean. Ingredients include aloe extract, and green tea. Added bonus, this item is vegan!



I never knew my brows needed help, until I found this product. When I discovered Glossier I purchased a set of pre-packaged goodies, and Boy Brow was one of the things that came in the set. It took me a while to actually use this product because I thought my eyebrows were already good on their own. Woof, was I wrong. 

I love this stuff. I have had eyebrow stuff used on me before by makeup artists and it leaves them feeling so crunchy. Almost like they hair-sprayed these bad boys into place. Boy Brow is completely different. It's thickening, but yet also very flexible and buildable. So it's nice for people like me who already have dark eyebrows and just want them to have a little structure, AND it's good for people who don't have the darkest brows but want a natural looking product that will thicken and darken them up.



This product is definitely the product I have been using the longest. It's an all natural highlighter that I use under my eyebrows, in the corners of my eyes (to look more awake), on my cupids bow, and of course right above my cheekbones. It gives me that dewy, hydrated and all around healthy glow. I apply it by either putting the stick directly on my face, OR using my fingers first and then dab on my face on the areas that I want to glow. 




I found this product about a year ago, and not only do I love it but my sister has been known to steal it from my makeup bag as well. I purchased the Nude Peach color and it's great for any time of year. I use it not only on my cheeks, but also on my lips since I'm not the biggest fan of lipstick. With this stuff I just put it directly on my stick from the applicator. No brush needed, although it can definitely be used with one since it's a creamy formula. 

Another blush option I love is...


I used to think blush was a product of the past. In high school I was all about bronzer, even in College I was still living that bronzer life. Until I found Cloud Paint.

Seriously so much fun, and such a cute design. It's legit like paint that you get to mix and match and apply to the apples of your cheeks. It's easy, enhancing and plumping. Plus it gives you that naturally effortless flush look.

I love using Beam and Dusk. Again, Jewlie does a great job showing you how to use these on her instagram stories. 



Last but not least, I use Wowder to help set my make up. I use this with the brush provided in the Wowder Duo, and swipe under my eyes and usually around my nose, and forehead to take away that shine. Plus some people aren't a fan of that dewy look, so this can help minimize that and mattify it all. I don't know how this product works, but it does! It doesn't look like a power when it's applied, hence the cheesy name WOWDER, but this product is magic. Sometimes I just use this on top of my W3LL People Bio Tint, and call it a day. Again, this product is vegan!


Just in case you were wondering all these products are fragrance free, cruelty free, paraben free, gluten free, and hypoallergenic.  Some are even Vegan. 

As with any transition, ditching your toxic make up for cleaner alternatives takes time. Yes, make up is expensive so don't go out and expect to change everything at once. I recommend going to the Think Dirty app, typing in the make up you are currently using and swapping out your "dirtiest" offender.

With my experience I have found that I try to stay away from synthetic fragrance, as that is the worst offender in my book. Synthetic fragrances are NOT good for anyone, especially women with PCOS or hormonal problems, as they are known to disrupt your body's hormones. Constant exposure to these synthetic smells have been known to negatively impact our central nervous systems, and can even trigger allergies, migraines and asthma symptoms. Yuck.

There is no better time to ditch the chemicals and switch to a non-toxic, cleaner way of life.

I have linked all these products above, and even have a coupon code in case you are wanting to try Glossier out. Head to the link below, and save 10% if you are a first time Glossier customer.
http://bff.glossier.com/f6of1





If this type of information interests you, I kindly ask you to come on over and follow my new accounts on




Thursday, September 7, 2017

Anxiety Resources



One of the best things about releasing my 3 part journey with anxiety and sobriety has been the outreach I have received with questions, comments, and tips/tools on how to live life a little better.

I decided I wanted to put together a separate blog post talking about all my favorite tools, and the questions I have answered over the past few weeks. Because chances are, if one person has asked then a few more have probably thought to ask the exact same thing. So, here we go. This post will be broken down into helpful books, a question & answer section, as well as other helpful resources such as YouTube videos and activities that helped me during my reawakening.



Before I ever tried any anti-anxiety medication, I was a big advocate on reading self-improvement books. Let's be real, I am still a big advocate on reading these books, but now I don't have that pressure that this is my only solution to "getting better". Books are wonderful.  Especially self help books...which I like to call self-improvement! Self-help books have such a stigma around them. I remember the first time I purchased a self-help book I immediately felt a little embarrassed that I was reading a book for "sad people". Then I realized, what's inside these books can help give you a different perspective on things.They are a way to connect each day, in hopes to love yourself and understand yourself a little bit more.

So that being said, I wanted to share some of my favorite books along my journey.

BOOKS

-Zen and the Art of Happiness by Chris Prentiss-

This book is a short, quick read that introduced me to the power of positive thinking. On the back of the book it states that from reading this, "you'll learn how to adapt to life's inevitable changes, how to deal with stress in a healthy way, and how to nurture a mindful happiness in your daily life." I always recommend this book for beginners

-Be who you want, Have what you want by Chris Prentiss-

This was my first self improvement book that I purchased right after my break up. I was in a place where I needed help, and this book definitely gave me a platform to change my way of thinking and offer hands on exercises. I know the title of this sounds cheesy, but this read really was my gateway book that opened me up to a whole new world. 

It has a lot of exercises throughout the chapters, and was even responsible for teaching me how to meditate. You can best believe that it's covered in highlighter and dogeared pages. Seriously love this book, and recommend it to anyone looking to change their life for the best.

-The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz-

This is another great short read that is a "Toltec Wisdom Book" I have had a few friends in recovery that state they have read this book after treatment, and continue to read it every year for a refresher. I started reading this book before I stopped drinking, and the 4 agreements still ring true regardless of if you are in recovery or not.

-Woman Code by Alisa Vitti - 

This is a recommendation for any woman that has issues with their monthly cycle, fertility, or even sex drive. I started reading it due to my diagnosis with PCOS, and I still refer to it every once in a while when I'm trying to figure out what to eat or what type of supplements to take to alleviate certain pre-menstrual symptoms.

Alisa Vitti is so intelligent, and broke down everything in simple terms. She talks about the science of what is happening in your body, and how to help it along with healing foods and nutrients. I learned so much about feminine cycles, it truly was fascinating. 

I even recommend this book if you are just trying to better understand how to best care for your body (healthy periods, optimal fertility, and a healthy sex drive)

-The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein-

I freaking LOVE Gabby Bernstein. I can't quite remember how I found her, but I am so happy I did. She is a quote on quote "Spirit Junkie", that is stylish, straight-forward, and seriously WOKE. This book is all about how to feel safe and trust your life no matter what. I love this book because it talks all about turning your fear into faith. And it doesn't have to be a religious faith, it can be a spiritual one. Again this book has a few exercises throughout, and even some references to her website for guided meditations. 

I recommend looking into her website and instagram page, because she is just so real. I love how she is so spiritual, but still is just like every one of us. She admits to having fear in her life, but tells you how she remembers at any given moment she has the power to choose again. 

-The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson-

I have to admit I am not done with this book quite yet, but I know I already recommend it. I love how Mark Manson is so real, and communicates in such a way that most self improvement books aren't written in. It is groundbreaking and seriously has made me laugh out loud during certain chapters.

I love how it makes me feel confident to be uncertain in life because as Mark Mason states, uncertainty is the root for all progress and growth.

I have my sister to thank for this recommendation. Someone who is NOT a reader of self-improvement books but yet found this one extremely helpful, and refreshing.




Questions & Answers

"I've stopped drinking in excess (I haven't been drunk in over a year I'd say), I'd like to give it up for good - What advice can you give on going out with friends who like to drink? As of late, I've just been backing out of plans or not responding to invites to avoid drinking all together."

Seriously, an AWESOME question and I got my cute, and sober boyfriend, Maxwell, to help me come up with an answer.

Passing up on socially drinking can be so hard! I think I had it "easier" than some because my friends knew medically I needed to stop drinking due to my anxiety. So thankfully they never pressured me or guilt tripped me into drinking.

However, Maxwell mentioned 3 great things to hopefully help

1. Give yourself a break from that type of environment while you are building a foundation of living a sober lifestyle. Try not to feel pressured to go out just because everyone else is. I know that is sometimes easier said than done, but make sure to take the time to treat yourself, relax and ease into this new lifestyle.

2. Try doing something else with your friends. So instead of saying "let's go grab drinks" suggest going on a walk, trying out a yoga class, or even coming over to cook a meal together. This not only helps you get out of the drinking environment, but it also helps give you and your friends the healthy option of nourishing your body with love and care. But let's be real, you can also suggest to go out and get some ice cream...because it's all about that moderation people ;)

3.Most importantly, be honest with your friends. The transition of no longer drinking can be difficult. Tell them your reasons why you don't want to drink anymore, and if they try to guilt trip you, it's usually because they themselves feel guilty for not taking the step you are. 

I remember I was really nervous to no longer drink in front of my friends. I was scared of losing that "fun" connection with them, but thankfully a new connection has grown in place. Something that is still fun, and adventurous.


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In regard to managing stress and/or anxiety, what are your favorite resources for meditation? I'm a newbie and don't know much.

In the beginning of my meditation journey, I very much needed a guided meditation. Simply because I didn't know what I was doing, and I wasn't sure if I was doing it "correct". And to address that issue, there is no one correct way to meditate. Of course it can sometimes take practice, but the benefits always outweigh the little work it can take to get there. Scientifically, meditation changes the expression in our DNA, and ultimately alters your actual response to stress, and essentially quiet down the signals in your brain that make you feel bad.

One great resource for beginners is the app Headspace. I have used it for close to a year, and I love it. The first 3 lessons within the app are basic guided meditations that teach you how to breathe, and sink in to your relaxation. Then after you complete those 3 courses, you can customize your meditations however you please. So there are meditations that focus on Change, Anxiety, Stress, Regret, Anger, Self-Esteem...the list goes on and on. There is even a guided meditation called SOS for when you're in panic attack mode and I have definitely had to use this once or twice. I really love this app and can't say enough great things about it. 


Other guided meditations I enjoyed are from Gabby Bernstein's YouTube channel, and from Deep Eddy Psychotherapy's website. I love the forest relaxation one. Any meditation that includes visualization is the easiest, and most rewarding for me. I'm very much a visual person, so I love imagining being in the forest, and smelling and breathing in the mountain air.

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What are some other ways that reduce your anxiety or ways you're able to find stress relief and calmness besides meditation?

The best way for me to relieve stress and anxiety include

1. Journaling - Write down all your feelings. Whatever they may be, and don't hold back. I always feel better once I get out all my emotions and fears out on paper

2. Be Active - Hello, endorphins. Working out is a great way to kick stress and anxiety to the curb. According to Dr. Robert Bilder, a neuropsychologist, the best thing you can do for your brain is exercise. Even more than meditation! 

This is due to the increase of oxygen flowing to your brain. Physical activity is also that the best way to grow new brain cells. So if you're in a state of depression or anxiety, your brain cells are harboring an environment for those sad, and scared emotions. Then when you start to become active, your brain is creating and forming new cells that create a new environment for a happy and healthy body. It's awesome because in studies you can actually see neurons change in size and volume as a result of being active. 

My favorite ways of being active include riding my bike, going on walks or hikes, yoga, swimming and rock climbing.

3. Go outside! This kind of goes hand in hand with Being Active, but seriously the great outdoors changes everything for me. Since I work from home, I definitely get cabin fever a lot. If I feel as if I am getting too much in my head I will go outside and just simply soak up the sun, or read a book. Of course going outside and being active is a double whammy so that's usually what I try to aim for. Whether it be a 10 minute walk, a bike ride, or even a swim. Something that wakes up my senses, and helps me get out of my head and start over again with a clear slate.

3. Treat yo'self - Usually when I am in a state of anxiety, I like to try and create an optimal space for relaxation, and calmness. That being said, I'll take the time to light a candle, or even fill up my diffuser with some calming essential oils. Some of my favorite from the Young Living line include, Lavender, Peppermint, and Peace & Calming. My girl Emily Recker, has a great Instagram and Facebook page to learn all about oils, and how to use them. I seriously recommend it!

I also have started a new Instagram account called CleanLiving.LPOH to share and document my journey with oils.


*If you are interested in learning more about Oils I just signed up for a Membership with Young Living. They have seriously changed my way of living. I use them every single day for all types of things. Sleep, anxiety, headaches, immunity, you name it, and I probably have an oil for that.*

Here's the link in case you want to sign up on your own.

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When you eliminated drinking alcohol and coffee how did it make you feel? Did it help with your anxiety?

I believe I eliminated drinking caffeine before I stopped drinking alcohol. I have always been really sensitive to caffeine, so when I realized I was having anxiety troubles I did some researching and found out that it can be helpful to lessen the amount of caffeine and sugar in your diet.

So immediately I stopped drinking coffee, soda, energy drinks, and even green tea. Granted my anxiety was severe, so any type of caffeine would trigger my mind to race and then I felt as if I had a ton of energy and I didn't know how to process it all correctly.

Every now and then I will have a few sips of some CLEAN Sparkling Energy (which is very lightly caffeinated) and I can always tell if I have had too much. It still triggers that feeling of "Oh sh!t, I'm about to HULK out." So usually I still skip out on the caffeine, unless I know I am about to do a physical activity such as rock climbing, or biking.


As for alcohol, I first stopped drinking it due to the fact that I realized that it was just a temporary fix for a problem I knew was bigger than booze. Once I eliminated drinking, it was almost as if I had to face my problems head on rather than skirt around them, and numb myself for a few hours with a cold brewski. Yes it was scary and intimidating but it was something that needed to be done, and I truly feel mentally stronger from it.

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YouTube Videos


I loved this series with Camille Rowe and British Vogue that is all about wellness. I learned a lot, and I think it's good for everyone to get a little glimpse into what the heck wellness really is. Plus it's awesome to hear how many times Camille Rowe snorts throughout it. Seriously the best. 

It covers topics from nutrition to meditation and even movement, and how each are integral for the optimal level of health. 


I also love the Wanderlust YouTube channel. One of my favorite series they do are the speakeasy lectures that they put on for each Wanderlust Festival. My favorite speaker to watch so far has been the late Wayne Dyer in regard to manifesting. He is seriously such a vessel for information and love.

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"We all get dealt cards. Some of us get better cards than others. And while it's easy to get hung up on our cards, and feel we got screwed over, the real game lies in the choices we make with those cards, the risks we decide to take, and the consequences we choose to live with. People who consistently make the best choices in the situations they're given are the ones who eventually come out ahead in poker, just as in life. And it's not necessarily the people with the best cards"
- Mark Manson - "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck" - 

I hope you all have enjoyed this post, as it seriously is FULL of the resources I use whenever I'm feeling a bit anxious.

Comment below if you have a tip, trick or tool you use when you're experiencing anxiety.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

1 Year of No Drinking : Part 3


Wahoo! On to the last and final part of my story with anxiety and sobriety.

Hello, my name is Ceci, and I have anxiety.

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After my appointment with my therapist, my mom helped me book an appointment with a local Psychiatrist to talk about my recent experiences with panic attacks and anxiety.

Throughout this whole process I felt as if I was at fault for getting anxiety. I felt weak that I wasn't "strong" enough to beat anxiety and this darkness that was all-consuming.

Thankfully, my psychiatrist quickly understood how I operated and began explaining the science  and chemistry behind anxiety. Anxiety can literally be a chemical imbalance in your body where your brain may need a helping hand in getting it back to tip top shape. He also mentioned how anxiety is very much passed down through genetics, which in my case is very true.


I tried to do without daily medication even after my first appointment, as I just hadn't let go of that stigma that comes with medication. I truly felt as if weak people took medication, and I didn't need that. I thought I was better than that. Little did I know that was FAR from the truth.

Then one day I woke up and realized Xanax wasn't enough. I needed to be on a daily medication to get my life back. I was tired. Exhausted of sitting on the sidelines of my life, and I wanted to enjoy the little things again.

Now, I'm not saying medication is the end all be all. I'm simply saying it was my solution, and even that being said, it's not a 100% guarantee. I tried everything before getting on anti-anxiety medication. I tried meditating, exercise, natural supplements, single session therapy, group therapy, you name it I more than likely have tried it. At first I felt defeated when I started my medication. I still experienced panic attacks, and noticed I was developing a new series of temporary side effects due to the influx of serotonin being released in my body thanks to the medication.


I stayed in bed for about 2 weeks while my medication was trying to kick in. Napping, eating, watching TV, looking out the window, praying this all would be over and soon. Then one day I woke up from my medication coma, and I had a glimmer of hope.

I saw the light in things again, and I even felt motivated. Motivated to make a to-do list, work again, grocery shop. I even started calling my friends back, and eventually making plans to meet up to go grab food.

Throughout this process I remained sober, as my psychiatrist told me my medication didn't mix well with alcohol. So I did what he told me, and laid off the booze.

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About a month or so after I started taking my medication, I created a profile on Bumble and decided it was time to put myself back out in the dating world. Looking back on this, I have NO idea how I had the courage to do this as I seriously was just starting to feel comfortable leaving the house again on my own. I think there was some Divine Intervention with this process as I clearly was just beginning to take baby steps towards getting my life back again.

My first day on the dating app, I came across a familiar face. Someone who I knew from my Middle School and High School days. I knew him as Max, a freckled boy with pretty green eyes that was good at math. We had a few classes together back in the day, and a few mutual friends, however we never really knew each other too well.


After our first date, I knew I wanted to spend as much time with this man as humanly possible.
Of course, I was very much still adjusting to my medication and even handling the responsibilities of every day life again, but when I got together with Maxwell, everything shifted. I forgot about my anxiety. I forgot about feeling sick. I was able to have fun again. Not to mention, he too was (and still is) living a clean and sober lifestyle.

Without Maxwell, I wouldn't be where I am today in terms of healing and growth. He helped show me how to rebuild my life again in a way that I would be proud of, anxiety and all. And as much as I wanted to run away from my anxiety forever, there were definitely still glimpses of darkness in my beginning days of dating him. I struggled with random anxiety attacks, as everything was so new and foreign to me. As much as I wanted it to be gone forever, I would still bump into issues that eventually Maxwell saw. I was horrified that he would run away once seeing how I had some baggage that came along with dating me, but he stayed and loved me for exactly who I was and still am.

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Dating Maxwell has been nothing but a breath of fresh air. He has taught me a lot about recovery, rebuilding, and how to have fun in life the old fashioned way...SOBER. What's been most rewarding about this new clean lifestyle for me is the fact that I am facing everything head on and feeling what is going on with my body directly, rather than immediately reacting and numbing myself with alcohol.

Of course, I am in no way shape or form 100% free of anxiety, but I am proud of having one year of sobriety under my belt.

I have learned that being sober, and having anxiety, doesn't mean you have to live a boring life. I live an even more exciting and exhilarating life than I ever have. I still go out with friends to see shows, and dance the night away for bachelorette parties. I still actively participate in my social group, and attend happy hours with my friends. Yes, my role may have shifted from sad party girl, to sober girl, but guess what...I'm never hung over (yep, imagine that for a few seconds. It's wonderful) and I still manage to dance like a crazy person.



Not drinking has brought me clarity. It has brought me peace, it has brought me freedom and it has restored my light from within. Not to mention it has strengthened my relationship with myself, which is the relationship I value the most.

I am still learning what works for me in terms of tools on how to accept my anxiety rather than fight it. I have learned that my struggle and pain, has lead me to a life that I am proud of. A life that is worth fighting for, even if I do have a few more hiccups than I used to.

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"It's simple, really: things go wrong, people upset us, accidents happen. These things make us feel like shit. And that's fine. Negative emotions are a necessary component of emotional health. To deny that negativity is to perpetuate problems rather than solve them.

The trick with negative emotions is to 1) express them in a socially acceptable and healthy manner and 2) express them in a way that aligns with your values.

When we force ourselves to stay positive at all times, we deny the existence of our life's problems. And when we deny our problems, we rob ourselves of the chance to solve them and generate happiness. Problems add a sense of meaning and importance to our life."

-Mark Manson / The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck-

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As always, I want to thank the people near and dear to me during this time in my life.

           picture found on pinterest

To my sister, Hannah: I can't thank you enough for always watching TV with me during my bad days. No matter how many times I said "I don't feel good", you would lay with me and distract me from what was happening. Whether that be with silly snapchat filters, or wrestling and getting bit by a wild raccoon, you helped me immensely. Thank you for being you and always making me laugh.

To my Mom: Thank you for taking care of me when I couldn't take care of myself. Thank you for ALL the nights of sleeping in my bed, and scratching my head. Thank you for driving me around everywhere and constantly setting me up for success. I love you!

To my stepdad, Buster: Thank you for always being so kind and loving. I will always remember last Summer, and swimming at the dock with you and Mom at sunset.

To my dear friend, Emilie: Thank you for always checking in on me, and messaging my sister to see how I was feeling. You were one of the only people I trusted to take me out of the house on your weekly errands. Through thick and thin, you will always be my rock.

To my friends Lauryn, Melanie, Sammi, Erica & Jocelyn: Thank you for being so patient with me, and calling me endlessly until I finally answered. Thank you for still being my friends after all these years, and letting me be a part of all your bachelorette parties, weddings, and every day life.

To my dear boyfriend, Maxwell: Thank you for loving me at a time where I didn't even love myself. Thank you for continuing to love me and teach me every single day how strong I really am. I am so thankful we were brought back together again after all these years.

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I can only hope my story will inspire you, or someone close to you, to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Life can be hard, but guess what, it also can be amazing. All you have to do is find what works for you. Sometimes it may be a year long journey such as mine, or it might be just a few days. The whole point is to stop focusing on how others live their life, and find out what works for you. If that includes medication then by all means, get on that medication. If it includes yoga, then sign up for a yoga class. There is no right or wrong answer for how to do things. This is just simply my story.

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The next blog post will feature some of my favorite tools I have used throughout my journey of living a clean and natural lifestyle. I was also thinking of including a Q&A section, so if you have any questions please feel free to email me or comment below.