The Beginning of Your Yoga Journey


First off, the differences between the two. Yoga is a Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practiced for health and relaxation. On the other hand, meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing their mind on a particular object, thought or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.

Even though yoga and meditation are two different things, they do go hand in hand. Both of these practices are ancient, abopted by Western culture around the 1980s and soon became extremely popular.

Yoga

Although there are many different variations of yoga, the benefits still remain the same.

Back Pain Relief

Yoga sessions once or twice a week can help with discomfort and back pain. Through various stretchs, poses, and/or exercises, your back muscles will experience greater flexiability and agility with an added bonus of increased core strength.

Assist with Arthritis Management

Slow, easy paced yoga forms help relieves tension, as well as pain in joints or muscles. A few specific forms of yoga, such as Iyengar and Bikram help withh rheumatoid arthritis.

Migraines Be Gone

For those who search for alternatives to combat headaches or migranes, yoga and meditation can help. Yoga is an excellent exercise to do to help prevent them or to help with an existing one. If able, the bridge pose is most beneficial. It helps relieve the tension in the neck and shoulders, areas that can cause a migrane.

Meditation

Meditation has become highly popular in managing stress levels. There are several different types of meditation that have become popular and they all share the same benefits as well.

Emotional Improvement

Since meditation requires deep relaxation, coming out of your thoughtful state leaves many feeling refreshed. It is encouraged to look at the postive aspects of your life and focus only on that. So after the 10 minutes, you are feeling more up-beat and positive.

Stress Management

The main reason many people practice meditation is the benefits of reduced stress levels. Regularly meditating helps reduces the stress responses that happen in the brain throughout the day. So the more you meditate, the better you handle and react to stress which is a huge bonus when it comes to high blood pressure.

Better Concentration

With helping to manage stress and improve emotions, obviously you would be able to concentrate better. BUT, meditaiton also helps increase levels of gray matter concentration in the brain. So it is an added bonus, leaving you to regulate and process emotions more effectively, help with your memory, and boost your learning ability.

Overall, meditation and yoga have many benefits. By combining meditation and yoga you can get even more of the benefits from the two. What are some of you favorite yoga poses? Let us know in the comments! Until next time lovelies!

Just Desserts

With Easter coming around the corner, here is a cute and delicious treat to share with the family!  Here is a step by step recipe for personal cheesecakes!

The first step is to Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Next, line your cupcake tin with liners.

First you will make the crust by mixing the graham cracker crumbs with melted butter.

Press the crust into the bottom of each of the cupcake liners.

Now it’s time to make the actual cream cheese layer.  Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla with a mixer until blended.  Add eggs 1 at a time and mixing on a low speed after each egg is added until just blended.

Spoon the cheesecake mixture over the crusts.

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the centers are almost set.  Let them cool completely and then refrigerate for 2 hours.

Now time to decorate!  You can use shredded coconut to form a nest and fill it with chocolate eggs.  If you are not a coconut person you can also use nut toppings which is what is pictured below.  They make the perfect Easter treat!

Here is the full recipe with instructions!

  • 1-1/4 cup graham crumbs
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3 pkg. (250 g each) Philadelphia Brick Cream Cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. desiccated unsweetened coconut, toasted
  • 54 speckled chocolate eggs (250 g)

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix graham crumbs and butter; press onto bottoms of 18 paper-lined muffin cups.
  3. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Spoon over crusts.
  4. Bake 18 to 20 min. or until centers are almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate 2 hours.
  5. Top each cheesecake with 1 Tbsp. coconut; shape to resemble bird’s nest. Fill with chocolate eggs.

Let us know what you think of the cheesecakes! Have a great Easter lovelies!

Hungry for Hummus

H-U-M-M-U-S! Hummus, Hummus!

It is no secret that Hummus has become very popular over the past decade. According to a website called Dr. Axe, over 15 million Americans said they eat hummus on a regular basis. At least we know a lot of people are experiencing the health benefits of this food and after having some ourselves, we wondered why we haven’t eaten it earlier.

First off, what is Hummus?

Basically the best ingredients for your body mashed up together to make an amazing tasting spread. Those ingredients are; chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, and tahini.

Inflammation go away, come again a different day!

For our body, inflammation is the natural defense system to remove toxins. When experiencing long terms of inflammation, or high levels of inflammation, serious health problems can arise. However, Hummus comes to the rescue with healthy ingredients that have anti-inflammatory benefits. Olive oil, chickpeas, and garlic are all found in hummus.

Satisfy your beating heart

Heart disease is a very serious thing. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that 1 in every 4 deaths worldwide is due to heart disease. Hummus helps reduce the risk of this disease with several different ingredients.

Olive oil, one of the ingredients, has been correlated with improving blood pressure levels, gluecose metabolism and reducing harmful cholesterol. (1)

It’s just that tasty!

I tried hummus for the first time a couple of months back and I wish I would have tried it sooner. I had a roasted garlic hummus which has been my go to because it is so yummy. What drew me to trying it in the first place was that it is so good for your body and you can eat it with all different kinds of veggies. It is a tasty and healthy snack, could it really get any better?

Try it out for yourself! Recipe found on FiveHeartHome.com

Roasted Garlic Hummus

Yield: Approximately 3 cups

Mellow roasted garlic is blended with chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, and lemon juice for a fresh, creamy Roasted Garlic Hummus that’s delicious with homemade pita chips or crunchy veggie dippers!Ingredients

  • 1 large head of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas/garbanzo beans (about 3 cups total), liquid drained & reserved
  • 1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for garnish
  • 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional to taste
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons reserved liquid from canned chickpeas, plus additional as needed
  • Smoked paprika and minced fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)
  • Homemade Pita Wedges, pita chips, crackers, and/or raw vegetable dippers, for serving

Instructions

  1. Place the oven rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 400°F. Peel away the outer skin of the head of garlic while leaving all of the cloves intact. Cut a 1/2-inch slice off the top of the head of garlic so that the cloves are exposed; discard the top. Set the head of garlic on a square of foil, drizzle with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, and wrap in the foil. Set on a pan and roast for 40 minutes. Carefully open the top of the foil packet (watch for hot steam!) and use a sharp knife to pierce down into a clove; the garlic should be completely softened and golden brown. If it’s not, re-wrap the foil and continue to roast, checking every 5 minutes or so, until garlic is done. Unwrap the garlic and set aside to cool. 
  2. Once the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze the resulting garlic paste into the bowl of a high-powered blender or large food processor. Add the drained chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and cayenne, plus 3 tablespoons of the reserved chickpea liquid. Puree until smooth, adding additional chickpea liquid 1 tablespoon at a time until a desirable consistency is reached. Continue to puree for another minute or two until completely smooth, scraping down the sides as needed and seasoning with additional salt to taste, if necessary. At this point, you may discard any leftover reserved chickpea liquid.
  3. Transfer the hummus to a serving dish and swirl the surface. Drizzle the top with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with smoked paprika and minced parsley. Serve with pita wedges or chips, crackers, and/or raw vegetable dippers.

Notes

When I opened my jar of tahini, it was extremely separated and stirring it with a spoon wasn’t going to be effective. So I scraped the whole mess into my food processor before beginning the recipe, pureed until the tahini was smooth and incorporated, and then transferred all of it back into the tahini jar. At that point, I proceeded with my recipe (without cleaning out the food processor first), measuring 1/4 cup tahini from the jar back into the food processor when the time came.

Video

Tasty, Edible Haystacks

Get ready for Easter with these yummy haystacks! They are always fun to make and taste just as great. While some people love to get creative and make their haystacks into adorable little nests with eggs, I just want to be able to make something quick and easy so my kiddo will have something to snack on or a bribery treat 😁. If you have picky eaters, I would recommend using pretzels instead of the noodles.

Music

Artist: Nicolai Heidlas

Song: Paint It

https://www.hooksounds.com/royalty-free-music/paint-it/48910

Feel free to drop your thoughts/comments 👇below👇. Until next time my lovelies!

Essential Oils

Abby: Eucalyptus and Spearmint

Aromatherapy Eucalyptus Spearmint Travel Size Body Lotion - Bath And Body Works

My favorite combination of oils and scents is Eucalyptus and Spearmint. I use this a lot in my classroom. The two scents combined are a wonderful stress reliever. I like to use lotion especially in the winter time to keep my skin moisturized. There is also fragrance oils, candles, hand soap, as well as diffuser oils.

Bath and Body Works has a few good choices for lotions, candles, or oils with prices starting at $5.50 up to $24.50 for all of their products.

Hana: Lavendar

Lavendar is such a popular scent among lotions, candles, and body washes. I love putting it in my essential oil diffuser and turning it on before I go to bed. It helps me calm down and relax and I am able to fall asleep so much more quickly than when I do not use my diffuser.

You can find lavendar scented products almost anywhere. My preference is the form of essential oils, however there are also lavendar scented bath bombs that are great to help you unwind at the end of a long day

Kelly: Jasmine

Yes, yes, it is an oil derived from the flower hence the name. I used this oil and scent frequently while I was pregnant. Like the scents my fellow Wisco Girls listed, it helps to overcome stress and improve moods but it also helps balance hormones (see why I worshipped this while pregnant). A few other perks include reducing anxiety, helps with sleep, and it can act as an aphrodisiac (wink wink).

Jasmine can be in oil form, candle, soaps, scrubs, or even perfume. If you are looking to pair it with other scents, people have recommended citrus oils or lavender.

What scents or oils do you prefer? Until next time lovelies!

From the Gym to Mother Nature

Now that spring has sprung in the Midwest, it’s time to start doing workouts outside rather than having to be cooped up in the gym. Here are some tips for working out safely as well as a couple of outdoor workout options.

Running Outdoors

When running at night make sure to wear reflective gear such as a yellow safety vest or even a blinking light. This is important so that when cars are driving past they can clearly see you. Do not wear black when running or walking at night. They make lights that can attach to your shoes, or even something like a headlight would work. They are hands-free and will help keep you safe.

Another good safety tip for running at all outdoors is to have a running buddy. This not only means you will not be alone, but you will also have someone to talk to and push you through your jog.

Hiking

Hiking can be a super fun workout activity when the weather is nice. If you decide to go on a hike make sure you are well prepared, especially for weather changes. Even if it is a nice sunny day, you never know when the weather may decide to change. Make sure to pack appropriate gear such as extra socks, warmer layers of clothes, and a plastic rain poncho that can easily be packed into any size bag.

Another important hiking tip is to bring plenty of water and food. You want to make sure you stay hydrated, as well as keeping up your energy level. Granola bars are a simple and small option to pack into your bag. If you are hiking a new trail that you are not familiar with, it is especially important to bring extra food and water in case the hike takes longer than you imagined it would. A compass, paper map, and walkie talkie are also good options, especially when you are not familiar with the trail.

Outdoor Events

Finding fun outdoor events in your area are always a good change of pace. Here in Wisconsin they have the Bubble Run, Color Run, Terrain Races, and Tough Mudder. Some of these events are nationwide, and other are local only. A quick search on Google can turn up the fun runs, walks, or other exercise related events in your area. You could try them out with your friends, family, or just by yourself. It will a good substitute for your normal everyday workout routine and a good change of pace!

Video

Yummy for the Tummy: DIY Shamrock Shake

Hello my lovelies!

Today is a big day! Drum roll please…

OUR VERY FIRST VLOG POST! 😀

In spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, we chose to find a recipe for Shamrock Shakes. Of course, we put the word ‘skinny’ before it in the search to make ourselves feel better while drinking these. The link for the recipes is posted below so you can also try it out.

Enjoy!

Skinny Shamrock Shake – Your Cup of Cake

Music credit @ Melody Loops

Stress Be Gone

Stress is something that most people struggle with on a daily basis. Everyone has their own ways of dealing with stress (there are also some people who don’t deal with it at all). Here are some ways to help deal with and reduce stress in your everyday life.

How Stress Affects the Body

Physical Effects: When you are stressed out chances are you will end up pushing yourself to an extreme. This could be long hours at work or multiple high-intensity workouts. There will be draining effects on your body, resulting from this that could lead to you feeling sick. Stress can also lead to overeating, which will result in weight gain, or on the other end of the spectrum loss of appetite causing you to lose an unhealthy amount of weight.

Emotional Effects: Being overly stressed can lead to emotional breakdowns or intense burst of emotion such as anger, jealousy, aggression, or even depression. This can cause strain on relationships with friends, family, or a significant other. Other signs of stress are when in public you can be perfectly fine and act happy, but as soon as you are alone you feel overwhelmed with emotion.

Relieving your Stress

Coloring

This is such a great way to unwind, and with the newly popular “adult coloring books” it makes it way more fun for us adults. I have built up my collection of these over the more recent years, and they literally make themes for anything. If you don’t want to spend the money on “professional” coloring books, you could always just print some coloring sheets off of Google images. All you need to do then is grab your kid’s crayons and unwind for an hour or two.

Bath Bombs

Taking a hot bath or shower is a great way to just chill out for a while. If you do opt for the bath, bath bombs just make it seem 100 times more relaxing. There are so many different scents to choose from and you can get them almost anywhere nowadays. You could also just add bubbles. Whichever you choose to do, it is sure to help you relieve some stress.

Dance it Out

Fellow Grey’s Anatomy fans will understand this one. Whether you’re in your living room, kitchen, or in the middle of surgery, when it’s all just getting to be too much take a minute, and dance it out.

Journaling

Finding a nice quiet place and writing all of your worries down can be a great way to let it all out. Whether writing about what is stressing you out that day, or just talking about your day, in general, it is a good habit to get into. I’m someone who doesn’t like to talk about my problems with someone else face to face, so writing it out helps me to release some stress, and forget about it afterward. Plus, it’s an excuse to go out and buy a cute notebook or journal.

Yoga

This is a great way to relax both the mind and body. You could spend 20 minutes or an hour with this one, whichever fits best into your schedule. You can buy disks from Amazon, or you could look up some yoga routines on YouTube. A bonus is you are also getting a workout in with this one! You can also check to see if your local gym offers any yoga classes.

Spa Day

You can do a DIY spa day at home, or really treat yourself and go to an actual spa, both are sure to relieve that extra stress you have been feeling. You could buy a couple of face masks and a new nail polish color and cancel the rest of your plans for the day.

Oils

Essential Oils can be a great, simple option for relieving stress. If you get a diffuser you can have that going in the background of your everyday life. Lavender is a great scent option as it is very calming and can help you feel more relaxed. I use my diffuser with lavender oil at night, as it helps me fall asleep quickly rather than tossing and turning.

You Time

The most important tip to helping release stress is taking time for yourself. It’s okay to take off of your jobs a couple of times a month or go out by yourself on the weekend. Take a day to go shopping, out to lunch, or even just alone time at home reading.

Tell us about your favorite stress management tips below and give us a follow so you can see the rest of our posts. Until next time lovelies.

Tame the Mane

While working out and eating healthy are great ways to stay young and love your body, it is easy to forget about your long (or short) beautiful locks. Whether you have long flowing hair, or are rocking a pixie cut, here are some tip to keep your hair as healthy as can be.

General Hair Care

Condition: Keeping your scalp conditioned allows your hair to grow

Healthy Trim: Getting a healthy haircut and trimming the split ends every couple of months helps keep your hair healthy and allows it to grow

All Natural: While changing up your hairstyle every couple of months can be exciting, it is so harmful to your hair when you dye it all the time. If you are going to dye your hair once in a while, go into a salon and have it done, do not use the box stuff from stores. The professionals know how to make it look good, and their dye will most likely be better for your hair than the box stuff.

No Heat: Everyone wants to get all dolled up once in a while, either curling your hair if it’s naturally straight or straightening your hair if it’s naturally curly. Whichever you choose to do, try to limit the amount of heat you are using on your hair as it can permanently damage your lovely locks. Doing it once every couple of weeks is fine, but do not make this into a daily habit. Another heat factor to avoid is hair dryers. Give yourself enough time in the morning for your hair to air dry, rather than having to use a blow dryer and damaging your hair.

Switch up Shampoo: It is recommended to switch your shampoo every few months. This is because your hair will get so used to the different ingredients in certain shampoo that it will stop helping it grow. So once you finish a bottle of shampoo, instead of buying the same kind, try a different brand. Some people also will keep two bottles and switch back and forth between the two every other week.

Curly Hair Tips

Condition Wash: With curly hair, it is not always wise to use shampoo every time you wash your hair. Even if it says for frizzy, curly hair, it will end up drying out your hair. So, to counter this, just use conditioner on your hair every other wash. It will help prevent it from drying out and breaking.

Avoid Towel Drying: Tousling out excess water with a towel will create a frizzy mess. Instead, use a t-shirt to gently squeeze out leftover water after running a brush through your curly wet locks.

Use a Comb, Not a Brush: The large gaps between the teeth on a comb gently separate curls and can give them a little more bounce. Brushes will pull and instead of allowing strands of hair to stick together to give a smoother, thicker curl, you will have a frizzy mess.

Straight Hair Tips

Tangle Prevention: Using a wide-toothed comb while still in the shower before rinsing your conditioner can help to prevent tangles. Once out of the shower, it is best to just use this same comb, or your fingers, to gently comb through your hair. By not using a crush on your wet hair, you can avoid breakage.

Avoid Product: Too much product on straight hair will make it look weighed down. If you want some extra volume only use a small amount of product for this.

Static Control: If you live in a colder climate you know how tough winter can be for straight hair. In order to help prevent static while wearing a hat and brushing your hair, purchase some static guard. You can spray this on both your hairbrush and the inside of your hat in order to help control the frizz.

Who Else Wants to Enjoy Their Workouts?

When people say they love working out, you always ask about their routine…and it turns out to be crazy. So crazy that if you tried it you would surely die. The first thing I ask is ‘how can you enjoy that?’. At first, they didn’t. They hated it but they stayed focused on their goal, walking away from each workout with a major sense of accomplishment. And now, it is like breathing. However, in those grueling early days, there were a few things to help them get through to the next day.


Setting the Mood

Finding the right music for your workouts is important. It helps you get into the mindset of ‘yes, I can do this’ and gives you a positive outlook. It does not have to be one specific type of genre either. Country, pop, rock, heavy metal, it all depends on your personal preferences.

I have a mixed playlist for different types of workout days. I like to listen to different music depending on the type of exercise I will be doing. For example, if I am running that day, I like to listen to songs that keep me running and that are upbeat. While if I am lifting weights, I like to listen to hard core songs that empower me to keep me going until the end of the workout. Some of my favorite workout songs are:

Running

  • Classic- MKTO
  • Finesse- Cardi B
  • Pretty Girl- Maggie Lindemann
  • FRIENDS- Marshmello and Anne-Marie
  • 90’s Country- Walker Hayes
  • Why Wait- Rascal Flatts

Weights

  • Eye of the Tiger- Survivor
  • We are the Champions- Queen
  • Radioactive- Imagine Dragons
  • Bad at Love- Halsey
  • Gunpowder and Lead- Miranda Lambert
  • Before He Cheats- Carrie Underwood

Floor Cardio

  • Better When I’m Dancing- Meghan Trainor
  • Sorry, Not Sorry- Demi Lovato
  • No Excuses- Meghan Trainor
  • Don’t You Worry Child- Swedish House Mafia
  • T-shirt- Thomas Rhett
  • T-R-O-U-B-L-E – Travis Tritt


Buddy System

A lot of times the hardest part about getting into a healthy lifestyle is finding the motivation to do so. If you are able to find someone who is willing to work out with you, you will always have someone to hold you accountable for getting in that workout or going to the gym every day. If there is someone else involved, you are less likely to just put the gym off or say “I’ll do it tomorrow”. Having a workout buddy also makes the workout itself much more enjoyable, you can have someone to talk to and also new ideas for workouts!


Know Your Limits

There will be those die-hard gym people and are normally the first thing you see when you walk into the gym. How can you not? The girl squatting an amount of weight that would break your legs or the guy full out sprinting on the treadmill for the past twenty minutes. But remember, they did not get there overnight. There are people who go in and automatically go above and beyond what their body is capable of at that point in time. It does more harm than good.

Start out easy. Yes, compared to those gym beasts, it will look so simple that a child could do it but it is essential.

Focus on Yourself. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else at the gym. Everyone, there is at different levels and has different end goals. Do what works for you, and never feel like you’re not working as hard as anyone else there. You are there working out and that’s what matters.

Water. Water. Water. It speaks for itself, stay hydrated in order to prevent muscle cramping, pains, spasms, or slowed growth. Drinking plenty of water can also clean out toxins from your body which will help with natural weight loss.

Set goals. It will help you track your progress along the way. However, setting them weekly or bi-weekly is better than day to day. You won’t see an overnight difference, other than sore muscles. So maybe for the first week(s), your goal would be to run for five minutes out of your total cardio time.

What’re your must-have songs for your workout playlists? Share them in the comments along with any other workout tips you have!