Category Archives: Wellness

Staying fit over the holidays…

I’ve been wanting to do a post about this for so long…

Honestly, fitness and exercise is more of our daily life than anything else we post about!  BUT…in my mind, I wondered who wants to read about that?  Um…Ok,  A LOT OF PEOPLE!

So, I thought I’d tell how I stay fit.  As a mom… As someone who is 40 and beyond… It’s different now, but I’ll try and share universal thoughts.

It’s also super important for me that some form of exercise is part of Maya’s daily life too, so…my number one tip?

  1. Get outside and be active with your kids!  They need it and love it, and you are having quality time with them while keeping you both healthy!  Go for a long walk around your neighborhood.  If you live near any hiking places, go hiking (a post from a hike we did a while back coming soon!).  Even in the colder rainy temps, layer up!  I have this set for Maya, and we layer it under everything.  If she gets too hot, we just peel the layers off!  Lately, it’s been HER pushing me to run more!  She will say “C’mon mom!!  You can go faster than that!  You can do it!!  (Video Here :))
  2. Make a date with a friend or family incorporating exercise instead of food!  This is good for a couple of reasons.  If it’s raining or cold, it’s easier to just want to curl up with a book, but if you have someone counting on you to meet them, you are more likely to get out there.  Instead of meeting for drinks/dinner.  Meet a friend for a walk or run!  Don’t get me wrong.  I want to get out there and have some drinks with my friends, BUT…it can add up both monetarily and calorically. And, honestly, most of the time I don’t want to take away from family time at night.  I have friend that I’ve been meeting every Monday for a 3 mile walk through the hills of our neighborhood.  We get exercise, but we also get to have some weekly quality time together and uninterrupted conversations-double win!  I know that isn’t a possibilty for moms that work 9-5 jobs, but you could make it a Sat or Sun morning date!  Maya and I also meet up with my parents every Sunday morning for a walk.  Lately, Maya has been running more, so we don’t get as much quality time with them, but it’s still better than nothing!  If you have kids, working out with your spouse can be harder, but you could absolutely make it a family affair!  With a stroller or once they are able…bikes!
  3. Join a class.  Can you tell I find the easiest way to hold myself accountable is using others-haha?  There is an outdoor bootcamp that I do through my local YMCA (more on THEM later!!) . I’ve made some good friends just from going there every week, and it’s SO nice having someone else forcing me to do things I’d never do on my own!  And there are SO many classes offered at your local gyms!
  4. Find an App you like!  There are so many apps out there for exercise!  One of the things I’ve found challenging about some apps is that I have to stop what I’m doing to look at what they are doing next.  OR…in reality, my eyesight is so bad that I have to have it in my face to see what they are doing.  It’s great once I get the routine down, but not so great for new exercises.  One app Aaptiv talks to you and plays customized music tailored to your tastes!  They have programs for running, treadmill, elliptical, Indoor Cycling, Stair Climber, Strength Training, Stretching, Yoga, Walking, Meditation (I’ve SO been meaning to try this!!), Race Training, and more!  It’s great if you only have a few minutes at home or aren’t able to meet someone else or make a class at the gym, because you can do a lot of the things outdoors or at home!  AND…they have a 30 day free trial!
  5. Join a gym with good daycare-find a YMCA if you have one near you!  Ok, this might sound obvious, and it is.  BUT…when you are a mom, finding a gym with good child care is absolutely the difference between going and not going sometimes.  I honestly should work for the YMCA, because I am one of it’s biggest supporters and tell every mom and dad I know to join-most do!   The salesperson in me hasn’t died ha!  Sadly, I don’t get paid for referrals, but I’m SO happy to give my friends happiness, and the YMCA is hands down been a life saver to my sanity and health.  The YMCA is SO catered to making sure your kids have fun, and if they are running around having fun/getting exercise, that means you can work out and TAKE A SHOWER guilt free!!  They have so many fun programs for kids and adults!  One thing you can do together is swim.  Maya and I go swimming every Sunday.  I tell her we have to stay in the deep end, which means she swims the entire time, and I have to tread water or swim the entire time.  Again…double win!
  6. Get a Kindle or listen to an audio book.  I used to not be able to work out without music, and I’m still a firm believer that it gives you a certain adrenaline boost that undoubtedly helps while working out.  However…I recently started reading while doing the elliptical, and it’s been a GAME CHANGER for me!  I LOVE to read, but once I had Maya I “never had time” . I felt too guilty sitting on the couch reading, so I was lucky if I read for 15 min at night before bed.  Now, I take my Kindle to the gym (or you can do the Kindle app on your phone if your eyesight allows ha!), and I’m reading again!  It’s such a nice escape!  Sometimes I’ll stay on extra long or go sit on the bike after if I’m at a good part in my book!  I’m sure the same would apply to audio books, but I just haven’t tried them yet.  Audio books would be GREAT for outdoor running or walking!
  7. Buy some cute/weather appropriate workout clothing.  Ok.  I know that the cute part might sound silly, BUT…whatever!  When I have cute work out gear, I feel better!  Oh, and if it’s flattering and sucks you in….EVEN BETTER!  It might sound gross to some, but I still buy all my work out gear at thrift stores or eBay.  Wash it on “sanitize” mode, and get over it!!  You get it at a fraction of the cost, and you feel and look great!  I get Lululemon pants for sometimes less than $10!  My average is less than $20!  Average for a jacket is $25!  And let’s be honest…there’s some CUTE workout gear out there now!!  SO…if you happen to wear it all day (I mean…I miiiiiiiight on occasion! ;)) you still feel cute!  Same for kids!  I said before, but I get Maya North Face jackets all the time for less than $10, and on eBay, I’ve been scoring her Ivviva (Lululemon’s kids line) for $10 or less.

I can add to this later, but would love to hear ideas that you have for staying fit!

On me…

Top- Lululemon (thrited for $14, similar here)
Pants- Lululemon “In the Flow” ($15 on eBay, similar here)
Shoes- New Balance “Fresh Foam Zante” (purchased through Joe’s New Balance)
On Maya…
Jacket- Ivivva “Live to Move” ($8 on eBay, but similar here)
Pants- Ivviva “Rythmic Crop” ($10 eBay)
Shoes- New Balance (thrifted, but similar here)
Keeping it Real…
It should first be noted that we took these pictures AFTER our actual morning walk.
Had I taken a shower…nope.
I’d always imagined I’d take these pictures with a perfectly curled pony tail, and I wouldn’t be in the midsts of my stress eating/drinking super busy work time, but…let’s be real.
SO…I put on a pair of Lululemon compression leggings.  Which they don’t seem to offer anymore??!!!  TRAGEDY!  Do yourself a favor and eBay “In the Flow” and BUY A PAIR!  They look so bizarre not on, but they are AMAZING!  High rise to suck you in all over!
Um, never mind.  This is just me normal…
😉
So….while we do go for walks/runs every Sunday, I don’t bring my camera!  I take lots of iPhone pics of our walks usually documented in our Instagram Stories!  The other day we went BACK out after our walk and just grabbed a few pics with the tripod (shown above).
Here’s a hilarious video of the timer going off surprising us, and us just running back and forth hoping to get a shot or two haha.  It should be noted that it was warmer in the morning when we took our walk, and then went down to 45 degrees later when we took these.  SO…it was a get it in one try shoot!  And…I love the shots we got!!  Honestly, we are usually running and laughing anyways, so it’s a totally true depiction!
Here’s us turning around for another go!  Not even remotely in focus, because I had set the focus point way ahead of this, but…who cares!  I love it!
Here’s a few iPhone pics from the past few Sunday’s walks.
She literally says all the time that she wants to start a dog walking business.  She literally stops for every dog “Can I pet your dog?”  FYI…this is not our dog!
haha!  We meet a lot of nice people… 🙂
Oh, and btw, this is the jacket Maya was wearing above.  It was the same day, but the jacket is reversible!
When the tide is out, we go down and play on the beach.
FYI, North Face Jacket, Ivviva Pants, and Puma Sneakers all thrifted… Another compelling reason to get outside…this view!
Oh, and she’s wearing the 32 degree top here AND a REVERSIBLE Patagonia down jacket that was….$2.50!!!  WHAAAAAT?!  It had some stains, but a night in Oxyclean, and one side is now stain free!   The other side has a stain under an arm!
Even in the rain.  REI rain jacket…less than $5 at the thriftstore!  Sadlly…the shoes aren’t waterproof, but also thrifted, so…
And yes, she usually brings along a toy, and YES, she rain with this!!
(all pictures taken with a shutter release and tripod, except ones of Maya :))

dit-elle-Lauren

Roasted Garlic

Roasted Garlic is one of the easiest and elegant baked dishes! Slice top of garlic bulb, drizzle with some coconut oil, olive oil, or butter, bake in a hot oven for about an hour and voila. Perfectly tender garlic! The garlic will be soft and smooth so that you can spread it on toast or eat with veggies, add it to pasta, salad, or anything where you want some roasted garlic flavor. Enjoy!

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Ingredients

  • One bulb of garlic, top sliced off (crosswise and you’ll slice some of the garlic cloves as well)
  • Oil or butter

Directions

  • Put oil or butter on garlic half, put top back on and bake for around one hour in a 400* hot oven
  • Serve hot or let cool and wrap in plastic or tinfoil and refrigerate

dit-elle-Esther

Wellness Remedy: Turmeric

I’ve alluded to the “super powers” of Turmeric  on this blog before (see this general Wellness Post) and I recently wrote about Ginger as a wellness remedy (to ward off colds and aid in digestion)! Turmeric and Ginger are actually in the same family and both are known for their medicinal properties, specifically for their anti-inflammatory properties.

You will perhaps know turmeric best from Indian cuisine (it’s a common ingredient in curry, but does not taste or smell anything like curry), Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Asian cuisine. It is used for flavor (warm and slightly spicy) and as a natural color agent – creating a beautiful rich golden color in anything you add it to.

I learned about the medicinal properties of turmeric from an Indian colleague years ago. She would give a tiny pinch of turmeric in milk to her kids to help build a strong immune system. I was intrigued – having two little ones myself. But there’s more! There seems to be a lot of recent research on natural remedies and turmeric has other benefits including: fighting various types of cancer, supporting brain, liver and eye health, used as natural painkiller and anti-depressant, and used for better sleep! Further reading included in links below.

Anyway, I am preparing for some upcoming international travel and also fighting a bit of a spring cold which has been going around. So.. turmeric to the rescue. Icarry the dry powder with me when I travel and drink it in hot water with breakfast.

The only downside I’ve found is that it is very yellow – so brush your teeth or eat some crunchy food (like an apple) after eating turmeric.

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Ingredients

  • Fresh turmeric, rinsed and peeled
  • Turmeric powder (found in the spice aisle or bulk section)
  • Water or milk

Directions

  • Heat liquid and add desired amount of fresh or dry turmeric (I will use ~1 tsp of dry or 1 Tbsp of fresh in a cup of boiling water)

Further reading

Enjoy, stay well, and be happy!

dit-elle-Esther

Wellness Remedy: Ginger

This one is for all the tired moms out there.. and everyone else who is interested in ginger as a wellness remedy!

I’m traveling in the US this week and have some international travel coming up later this month. How do you stay healthy? People ask. I have two kids in preschool and most of us have been on that plane where you’re surrounded by people sneezing! Cover, please!

When my kids come home with the sniffles I tell them “sleep fixes everything”. OK, maybe I want them to go to bed early when they have the sniffles – but I mostly just want them to feel better and we all want to “get rid of the grouchies” as we call them in our house..

Sleep does do wonders for body and mood! So, sleep is the #1 remedy but sometimes hard for YOU to get when you have young children. My youngest is 3 years old and I am just now starting to have regular full nights of sleep! Yes, I’m a tired mama! Ack! But wow, 7-8 hours of sleep feels amazing. Anyway, I digress.. what else? Ginger! I’m a huge fan of wellness remedies – and at the first sign or onset of a cold will brew myself some super potent ginger tea and then go to bed.

The kids brought home a cold a few weeks ago and I have – so far – completely evaded it! I use fresh ginger at home and bring dry powdered ginger (and/or turmeric!) for the road. Ginger has the additional super power of being really good for your digestion and nausea (read more about nausea remedies here)! Double benefit!

Ingredients

  • Fresh ginger root – rinsed, peeled and grated – or – a teaspoon of dry powdered ginger
  • Hot water
  • Honey (optional)

Directions

  • Boil water and stir in fresh or powdered ginger
  • Enjoy and go to bed! 🙂

dit-elle-Esther

Don’t like yoga? Try hot!

yoga toes blog

I have been sort of obsessed with hot yoga this past year and wanted to share this story as part of our goal to share mom life & fashion stories, recipes and wellness tips! 🙂

As snowstorms are raging around the country I’m reminded of my first hot yoga class a year ago. People had raved about hot yoga for years. “Try it, it’s amazing” they would say. But I was suspicious. I had tried yoga on several occasions without any apparent benefit. Still mind, relaxed body? Don’t think so. Was hot yoga going to be just another frustrating and non-relaxing yoga class, but hot? Sounded stifling.

I’m not a “yoga person”. From my limited past experience I had concluded that it simply wasn’t for me.. physically, emotionally, or mentally. I’m tall and notoriously inflexible. My mind is never still, always working to solve some problem, run through a to-do list, or daydreaming. But one gray evening, in the heart of the damp Seattle winter, I decided hot yoga sounded like just the warm hug I needed. Looking like a true Seattlelite, I set out with my yoga mat, towel and water bottle to give yoga another try.

I remember one of my first classes. “Your planks are looking good,” the instructor said as we were all starting to shake in our forward planks, legs and arms outstretched with palms and toes anchored to the floor. “Now in one swift movement like a panther, you’re going to leap and land in between your hands.” Panther!? I saw blurred flashes out of the corners of my eyes. Black clothed yogis jumped, effortlessly, silently, landing in position. I awkwardly ‘toe heeled’ my way up in a – let’s just say – less than pantherlike fashion. “We’re going to get ready for our headstands,” the instructor continued. Headstand!? I was certain the class description had said “all levels welcome”.

We had moved from the center of the room to the walls. In more fluid movements people were throwing their legs up in the air. “This can’t be happening, I cannot physically get in to a headstand,” I thought. The instructor came over to help. “Yay!” she cried when I was somehow in place and upside down, “you now have a new party trick,” she giggled joyfully and moved on to adjust someone else. “I don’t think I can get down,” I wanted to say, but I couldn’t get the words out.

There were many of those moments in yoga. Moments I thought belonged on Saturday Night Live. Awkward poses. People toppling over in Dancer or Bow Pulling pose. But no one got stuck. And only one class I tried included panther jumps and headstands. For the most part, the hot yoga classes had poses that everyone could easily do, but challenged you to find balance and core strength. And you worked so hard in that sweltering heat, you were forced to find some quiet and focus. I finally found my fit in the Hot Hatha style of yoga.

Here’s the thing about any type of hot yoga. It’s very uncomfortable. The only thing you can think of is “no more!” But then you say “yes I can”. And you do. And you survive. And the sweat drips. And you start to accept that the room is not getting any cooler, and you have about 59 minutes left of class. But here’s the other thing. You have to be uncomfortable first to get comfortable later. Just like life – it’s not comfortable, it’s full of discomfort. When you accept that, when you let go, when you say “OK, let’s get hot and do this thing,” the class gets a little easier and you can find peace in the moment.

In yoga you can find peace with turbulence and disruption. You realize you can work through it instead of fighting it.

Everyone was beautiful in yoga. The classes were always filled with a diverse set of people.. different shapes and sizes, people from different wakes of life. Men, women, old, young, big, small. There was a woman who had done an Ironman and just wanted to stay in shape. There was a young woman who could bend into shapes I didn’t think possible. There was a guy who was basically a human fountain. By the end of class, the pool around him was so large you had to walk in a circle to avoid slipping. Nevertheless, we were all there together with a common goal and on a yoga journey. There was always this great positive energy in the room and a sense of peace and calm.

Yoga makes you learn many things to counteract bad physical habits acquired while sitting at a desk. Tension in your shoulders, neck and back starts to dissipate. Emotionally, you realize that turbulence and disruption is not so challenging anymore. And as with any vigorous workout, your body releases endorphins and at some point, you start to feel really, really, really, really good.

So, if you ever thought yoga is just a bunch of stretches plus an attempt at meditating, try a hot yoga class! Some people can’t stand heat, but if you can, it helps with flexibility, the sweating is enormously cleansing, and standing on a floor with radiant heat feels amazing. Beyond that though, it’s an incredibly intense workout that combines core strength, balance, and endurance. And you will get to the end of class.

Finally, the best moment in yoga is at the end of class when you simply lie flat on your back with arms and legs relaxed.. endorphins unfurl through your body while you rest. You feel energized, restored and ready to reenter the world to take on the next challenge with an open mind. And as we awoke from a deeply relaxed state, wiped off the sweat and bundled up to go back out into the cold, dark night, I knew one thing. I would be back.

What’s your experience? Have you found yoga to be a fit for you?

dit-elle-Esther

Grated Apple for Little Tummies

Remember the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?” My daughter was recently complaining about a stomach ache. I remembered my mom grating an apple, letting it turn a little brown and then giving it to us for stomach upset, so I tried this first. Grated apple, by the way, is super yummy – juice is released and so it’s a nice mix of crunchy and juicy, but different than just eating an apple. Anyway, there were no more complaints (that day) about stomach ache. I’ve heard this can help against acid reflux as well! Enjoy and take care and be well!

Blog shredded apple

What kind of apple? Any kind will do. Gala Apples are my favorite.

I founds some other great natural remedy tips here! Natural is always a great place to start.

http://www.purplesage.org.uk/treatments/KitchenPharm.htm

dit-elle-Esther

Red Currants

Red currants are an awesome berry! This plant needs a cold winter to thrive and does very well in cold harsh climates. I remember it well from Norway, and you can find it in other parts of Western Europe. I found a great selection of currant plans in a local Seattle nursery and so far they have been very happy – yielding huge amount of berries in late spring. Ours are starting to ripen right now!

The berries come in many variations.. red, white and black. They are part of the gooseberry family and are widely used in jellies, jams, juice and can certainly be eaten raw as well! They’re a little tart, but are a great source of Vitamin C, antioxidants, iron, and fiber. So yes, pretty much a super berry!

Try them as a topping to ice cream or Greek yogurt. They are also a fabulous berry for little tots to pick and snack on directly from the plant – as the berries are very easy to spot and reach.

As the berries ripen I will experiment with recipes in the next few months (that is if the kids don’t eat them all!) – so stay tuned and let us know if you have a favorite recipe to share! 🙂

Blog Red Currants2

Blog Red Currants

dit-elle-Esther