Feed Your Skin – Love Water

#infusedwaterSummer has begun, and I can already feel the potential damage it could impose on my skin.

I do love basking in the warmth of summer, and catching a few healthy rays of sun for a maximum of 15 minutes per day. But what I don’t want to see is leather skin that is dry and withered. After all, leathery skin will not help my anti-ageing quest!

There are a few steps I can take to avoid looking like a shriveled up prune. Top priority for this gal here!

Protect Your Skin

Protecting your skin comes in more ways than one.

Sunscreen – Some swear by lathering on the 50 SPF sunscreen from head to toe, any time you step out of your house. I personally have a slightly controversial approach to sunscreen, and the other damaging effects this chemical filled product does to the skin. Each to their own though! However, I do apply about a 15 SPF to my face and chest if I’m out for a few hours by the pool, and yes, I wear a hat here in hot Texas! For boat trips, and long day’s on the beach, I would also apply it to my whole body.

Healthy eating habits – Eating a well-balanced diet of juicy and nourishing nutrients, and plenty skin protecting foods will help the skin protect itself from harsh elements. Chocolate offers natural skin protection – just don’t be fooled by the sugary type…that will only send you on a trip to the dentist. Opt for a dark chocolate instead.

What to avoid –  Avoid or minimize drinks that could dehydrate you such as coffee, alcohol, and tea, etc.

One thing is certain on my personal quest for luscious skin – which I will have to put into place effective immediately, and that is to make water my best friend.

If You’re Thirsty Then You Are Already Dehydrated

This is true – thirst equals current dehydration. The idea is to avoid getting to the part where you’re thirsty, and in desperate need of water. It can be tricky at times when busy with jobs at hand, it’s easy forget to drink water. The moment we feel thirst, this is when our body tells us it’s dehydrated.

Learn To Love Water

The best way to keep hydrated is to drink water. And what’s better than water for ultimate absorption? Yes, infused water!

I do love water and drink copious amount of it at times. But there are times when I too forget, or get a bit bored of drinking it. I’m not really a juice or soda girl, unless it’s freshly squeezed juice, or bubbly water.

My kids and I are on a mission to love water and enjoy it. We’ve bought a few fun cups that have a way to infuse fruit into it. It’s nothing fancy, but it does make water a lot less boring. It’s all about doing what works, and getting into it, being obsessed with making new flavor combinations. We put in whatever fruit we have, a slither of lemon, some blueberries, strawberries, a tea bag, chia seeds (that’s a protein shake right there), a cinnamon stick, a piece of ginger, some watermelon.

We typically just put it in our cup first thing in the morning and top it up with water throughout the day. You can also buy jugs especially for infusions, or big water bottes to carry to work. They’re for purchase everywhere these day.

Your Skin Is On You

Summer is a great time to enjoy cocktails, beer, a few glasses of bubbly, and plenty of iced-coffee. Nothing feels better than a cold beer on a hot day, or after working in the garden. My favorite! That’s all good and well, but keeping it in balance with plenty of water is on you.

At the end of the day, drinking water will not only protect your body, but will feed your skin, allowing you to look like a sun-kissed goddess all summer.

You are in charge of how your skin looks.

Drinking plenty of healthy infused concoctions will definitely put the fun back into drinking water, and will keep your skin hydrated and glowing!

What are some fun way’s you have found that works to help you drink more water? Please post comments below…I would love to know!

xx Lara

A Moment Never to be Forgotten

The Element of Surprise

The 2nd of June 2016, brought the surprise of the year. An opportunity of a lifetime. A moment never to be forgotten.

Two of my brothers and I decided to fly from Canada, and the U.S, all the way to Italy, to surprise our grandparents on their 60th Anniversary. Of course, this was an opportunity to surprise the whole family.  The relatives, uncles, aunts, mom, dad, sister, and friends of the family – the only ones in the know were our other 2 brothers. We figured the fewer that knew, the more the surprise!

The 60th Anniversary Surprise

We arrived a day or two before. Just enough to nurse a day of jet lag. On the day of the anniversary we snuck into the refreshment room where one by one each person attending started trickling in. Our mother and sister, were the first faces to walk in – and this is the priceless moment – the look of shock, filled with a teary eye of joy, felt by a pounding heart of excitement as we jumped to hug each other. Dad has always been cool as a cucumber, but he too was touched by the surprise. And Nonna (grandma), she looked like she saw a friendly ghost. In her speech she mentioned we were the 3 kings!

Oh, what an amazing and epic day that was, and will continue to be replayed in our thoughts and minds for day’s to come. Thanks to our others half’s for taking on the job of homestead, enabling us to make this monumental surprise.

The Family Reunion

 

Needless to say this event was doubled up with a family reunion. For a family of 8 to get together from all parts of the world was something to be treasured – and organised. We spent the next few day’s, talking, laughing, catching up on stories, and filled our bellies with delicious Italian food.

There really is nothing like family. Family is where life begins, and one of the most important things in life. Family stands beside you when times are tough.

It’s hard not living near family and you definitely feel the absence when reunited. I’m blessed to say that I have one of those families that enjoy each day, each minute, each second, spent together. We’re all very different in our own way, and do disagree from time to time, but overall time spent together is pure gold.

DSC_0103

 

Family, like branches on a tree, we may grow in different directions, but our roots remain as one. –Anonymous

xx Lara

Embracing Your Changing Beauty

DSC_0995Beauty Standards In Society

To all you ladies out there who feel like today’s beauty standards in society are haunting your dreams or making you feel like its survival of the prettiest. I hear you and I feel you! Self-image is very important and we seem to have standards for ourselves that allow or don’t allow us to accept the skin we’re in.

I’ll be the first to admit that I set myself a very high standard for the level of fitness and health I WANT my body to be in. Accepting its never-ending-changes feels sometimes like a big lump in my throat, and very uncomfortable to swallow.

When did I give permission for all this white hair to make its home on my head?Hello! You should be charged rent. And those sneaky little wrinkles on my face? I’m certain they should be charged with permanent residency, effective immediately? That extra bit of post pregnancy belly chub I can’t shake? Or that mother who just stepped out without a stitch of make up, looking like a goddess in rags. Why is it I get to look like a zombie with the single absence of mascara? Hmm, I don’t know.

And then we have the small little health issues that start creeping in with age.

What is age though? And what makes one start feeling old and lacking in beauty confidence?

Acceptance of Self-Image

Finding peace and acceptance with our body is probably the reason why we start aging in the first place. It seems the more I start worrying and obsessing with my body the older I start to look and the less fun life seems to be.

Okay, just for the record, I’m not thinking about my body and my looks all the time. I am actually quite happy to age as naturally as possible –but I’m only human, so on a bad day the ageing effects do start to bum me out just like any other woman!

Yes, it’s important to have standards and to care for our body staying healthy and strong –this way it keeps us in good form as we get older and helps us age gracefully. But, obsessing never helps. The more negative we see in ourselves the more negative we’ll look in our minds. But instead if we choose to embrace our ever changing body on a daily basis, our opinions about ourselves will start to change making us look confidently gorgeous!

How To Redefine Your Definition of Beauty

Society keeps setting the bar so high for us women these days, we’re afraid of aging, afraid of getting too heavy or too thin. Truth is we can’t please the constant trends or deny the fact that our body is getting older/changing. We have to embrace ourselves, love our curves, our edges, all our perfect imperfections. (Even John Legend knows how to love our perfect imperfections, ladies!)

We have to be comfortable in our own skin, proud of our unique gorgeous self, celebrate our femininity on a daily basis, treat ourselves once in a while to something decadent and fabulous, realize that we are special and priceless and can’t be duplicated from a magazine.

This is how we redefine our definition of beauty and learn to accept and embrace the changes of our body that is out of our control!

You are you, and you are beautiful!

Lara xx

“People often say that, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that YOU are the beholder. This empowers us to find beauty in places where others have not dared to look, including inside ourselves.” — Salma Hayek

Raw For A Week

#rawfoodcleanseLast week my husband and I decided on a week-long raw food cleanse. It left us feeling squeaky clean, energized, lighter, and boosted our bond together. Here is why and how we did it.

Why Cleanse?

Why were we looking for a cleanse? Well, many individuals would argue the futility of cleanses, fasting, detoxes, and so on. I’ve watched and researched numerous studies in relation to the final outcome of detoxing and the scientific benefits or lack of benefits on the body. At the end of the day, any change in diet is going to show results and benefit in one way or another.

These days our bodies are taking a hit from food choices we make. Some day’s we drink a few too many caffeinated drinks from being exhausted or over-worked, it gives us the temporary buzz we need to make it through that tough day. At some point we all forget to drink those all important 2 litres of water, leaving our body slightly dehydrated. Then there is the evenings where we just want to relax and forget the troubles of the day so we sit down for 1 glass of wine which turns into several. Sweets and fast food starts creeping in a bit faster too as we stop caring about what we eat due to busy daily demands.

All of this is okay to an extent…but is it? Are we getting sick more often, or is there a bigger sickness lurking out there in our distant future?

Dedicating a week to a cleanse will help our mind and body detox, allowing us to get back on the straight and narrow with healthy food choices, and will help replenish our systems depleted nutrient stock.

Why Raw?

Eating raw has big benefits as we’re not killing any of the powerful vitamins and enzymes in our food by overheating or overcooking. With that said, science has shown the benefits of heating some vegetables as they release added nutrients  from gentle heating such as steaming. They also make some foods easier for the body to digest. But that is for a different post altogether!

No cleanse is easy as change is hard, but if we make the rules it gives us the dedication to do it. We decided to do a raw food cleanse this time as our main goal was to alkalize our body. Most of us have very high acidic bodies from eating meat, drinking coffee and tea, etc. The body can’t get sick from an alkaline body which is why we chose this to be the emphasis of our cleanse.

Foods Off The List Were:

  • coffee
  • alcohol
  • dairy
  • meat
  • gluten (except for soaked oats. We make the rules, remember!:-))

Foods On The List:

  • water
  • lemon juice
  • raw vegetables (most can be eaten raw)
  • fruit
  • juices
  • smoothies
  • raw nuts
  • sprouts

We added a few other extra’s to help with a good “clear-out” and boost our metabolism and antioxidant intake:

  • cayenne pepper capsules (we sprinkled it on food but also put it in capsules for ease of use)
  • 1 laxative tea a day or every other day
  • oregano (very high in antioxidant so we sprinkled it on everything)
  • fresh turmeric (they look like very orange ginger. We added this to our juices)
  • fresh horse radish (powerful tasting. We added this also to our juices)
  • wheat grass (need I explain!This does require a special juicer for ultimate extraction, but we still went ahead and chucked it into our juice machine)
  • cinnamon
  • fresh ginger

How We Laid It Out

When embarking on any cleanse, fast, diet, or anything for that matter, preparation is imperative. Getting things lined up helps make your life easier and helps to stick to the plan.

Breakfast:

  • For breakfast we had either a smoothie with an added organic and plant-based protein powder. Or we had soaked oats done the previous night, and added fresh blueberries, cinnamon, and maple syrup.

Mid morning booster/”coffee”– juice:

  • Our booster was a fresh and very powerful juice. To keep it simple I would prepare 2 day’s worth at a time, minimizing the dreaded task of washing that juicer out everyday.

Lunch:

  • I usually enjoy a nice salad for lunch so this wasn’t too much of a change. But I made them extra antioxidant with cayenne pepper and oregano, and added a bit more onion, garlic and plenty of avocado! Yum!

Mid afternoon snack:

  • Fruit and nuts kept us going and helped fill us up.

Dinner:

  • For dinner I tried making denser salads adding plenty of nuts, seeds, and starchy vegetables.

Before sleep:

  • Time for a herbal tea or laxative tea!

What We Gained From This Week

Not only did we feel squeaky clean on the inside, but our skin also got an extra glow from all those vitamins, water and lack of dehydrating ingredients.

We felt our relationship got tighter as we went through this journey together, laughing through the ups and downs of the cleanse.

I regained my creativity and love for making fresh salads, and keeping the focus of meals around them.

We made the habit of adding at least 2 fresh juices a week to our diet.

I got some extra practice and insight with meat-free meal idea’s.

Our first “normal” meal was a nice piece of grilled tuna, with plenty of grilled asparagus, accompanied with a mango and coriander relish, and fresh guacamole. Man did it taste good!

xx Lara

This Yogi Life

this yogi lifeMy personal obsession for yoga stretches further than inversions, down dogs, and lion’s breath! Instead it’s my daily cornerstone for finding peace of mind, balance, and strength as I set my intentions for the day preparing mind and body. My journey with it began long ago, but it only truly began a little while ago!

Going Through The Steps

I’ve always loved exercising, the sweat, the elevated heartbeat, the red flushed cheeks, the satisfaction of feeling good after, and the sore muscles the next day. I love it! Some people however really don’t like it, they dislike sweating, and find daily exercise a bore and a chore. Exercise isn’t always fun and does sometimes feel like we’re just going through the steps waiting for it to be over with. When I did my first yoga class way back then I was hooked, but I think I was more hooked on the motions and hadn’t quite begun seeing yoga for its true purpose.

My Yoga Journey

Yoga brings something different to everyone, the spirituality, grounding, balance, meditation, muscle tone, and flexibility. While the physical benefits are endless there are other aspects to take into consideration. Nowadays’ I think most people are looking for more than just a good workout, we want to feel mentally good, we want to feel happy and stress free as much a possible.

Over a year and a half ago I was in a very difficult and emotional state. I went through a few situations that made be feel like society was suffocating me. My views and morals of what makes me who I am were different to people around me, and I felt alone, misunderstood and desperate for a way out, or more for a way of relief. I started to doubt myself and what I stand for. There was a week of craziness which included a terrible argument with a good friend at the time followed by a neighbor down the street who tragically passed away. I will never forget that week!

I would say I’m a pretty happy person, I’ve had an amazing life full of adventure and good times, but going through this tough time made me see just how unhappy people can feel, and more than anything it helped me see just how important it is not to judge individuals, especially when you have no idea what they’re going through.

How I Found Peace And Strength Through Yoga

I only truly began to see yoga for what it really meant to me that one year and a half ago. I decided I needed to find my inner strength and peace and somehow I found it through starting a daily yoga practice at home. I think a home practice is totally overlooked and underrated, but that’s for another post! Practicing at home forces me to make it a part of my life,  it makes my house seem like a happy place as I’m surrounded by it while I breath in and out through my poses feeling great energy surrounding me! It keeps my mind grounded and gives me the desire for a more minimalistic life.

I’m sad to admit that I lost my daily practice a bit when we did this big move across the world and it definitely affected me. Some day’s have been pretty hard as I didn’t make the time to do yoga and find my inner peace. Sometimes a break is unavoidable, either because it’s not feasible at the time, or maybe it’s not working for us anymore and we need that break to find out. I all too quickly formed the habit again as I’ve seen how important it is to me. Yoga has me wrapped around its fingers! 🙂

How To Begin A Home Practice

One of the reasons why most people don’t start a home practice is they don’t have the yoga knowledge to begin with and need a teacher to lead them through it. Well this is the magic of the web. There are so many online classes to attend to and plenty of quality free stuff on YouTube to get you started.

Making a habit of a home practice also allows you the freedom of doing it in your own time, no excuses. You can do it as soon as you get out of bed, or right before you go to bed, when you come back from work, or something to do together with your children. I let my kids stand beside me while I’m doing it and they love joining in!

If you’re looking for somewhere to start I would highly recommend checking out “30 Day’s of Yoga with Adriene”.  She’s a teacher that I follow and recommend to everyone I meet who are either beginners or just looking to start a home practice yoga journey.

“Yoga is like music: the rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul create the perfect symphony of life”. –BKS Iyengar

I hope you’ll give yoga a try if you haven’t already.

Lara xxx

How To Be a Bikini Goddess

 A beautiful body to me has always been about being strong, fit and healthy, not a skinny figure-less shape. But I’m just like any other woman,  deep down inside it feels like I need to attain that hour-glass, flab-free body, or else I won’t feel “qualified” to slip into a bikini. It seems that everywhere we turn these “perfect” body types are splashed right in front of our face on TV commercials, magazines, social media, bulletin board ads, even kids Barbie dolls for that matter. How can we not feel inferior?

But who am I fooling?  I know those “perfect” bodies I’m putting on a pedestal are only human and have concealed flaws just like any of us – hello Photoshop! Okay, I’m not talking about those gorgeous bombshell beauties who truly were blessed with flawlessness – I don’t know how they sleep at night! The rest of us mere mortals are left somewhat lacking. 🙂

What Does a Perfect Bikini Body Mean to You?

All the magic diets, potions, and pills in the world could not provide the answer we are looking for. If you were to ask me what a perfect bikini body means to me I would say it in one word alone…

CONFIDENCE!

Because confidence = perfect bikini body

No matter what body type you have if you strip down bare with confidence you will inevitably give off a beauty that bypasses any of your own perceived bodily flaws.

We all have them!

The 3 Step Bikini Confidence Program

It’s no surprise that gaining confidence comes with a bit of hard work and determination, just being born with it would be way to simple! 🙂 The biggest mistake most of us women make is not being happy with ourselves. We should accept that we’re not perfect and instead try to tweak a few things. We’re not trying to change our body to be perfect we’re only trying to get the confidence to feel good.

My 3 steps to gaining body confidence are: exercise, healthy eating, and skin care. Magic potions, diets and pills you are not on my list!

Step 1 Exercise

  • Aim to do 10-20 minutes of exercise everyday – even on the weekends.
  • Embrace the plank! It’s a wonder-working exercise that works the entire body. If you’re new to planking first learn how to align yourself in the proper position and then aim to hold in plank for at least 1 minute everyday. If you can squeeze in 5 minutes a day then you’re a champ!
  • When choosing an exercise plan go for quality rather than quantity. You’ll stick with it better, get less bored, and see better results.

Step 2 Eat Healthy

  • Forget dieting and starving yourself to get a skinny tummy, it’s all about portion control. Serve yourself a plate as if you were in a fine dining restaurant – remember they don’t serve seconds.
  • Avoid any and all carbonated drinks as this will only lead to bloating and orange peel skin.
  • Eat more brown rice! Brown rice is high in fibre which helps in eliminating unnecessary waste that is maybe being trapped in the body resulting in weight gain.
  • Please, please, oh please, do not forget to eat your complex carb’s. You aren’t doing your muscles or energy levels any favors by skipping out on the very needed carbohydrates your body needs for energy. Protein isn’t for energy, it’s for muscle growth and repair. If we leave out the healthy carb’s our muscles will suffer as protein will be used for energy instead. Our poor muscles will be left with very little nutrition.

Step 3 Take care of your skin

  • Healthy looking skin is so attractive and on the list for bombshell beauty. Drinking plenty of water will help your skin to look radiant and healthy, allowing you to look like a goddess on the beach!
  • Be sure to exfoliate your skin regularly to get rid of dead skin cells and improve circulation. No need for “air-brushing” your beach photo’s to make your skin look flawless…body brushing will do just fine!
  • Applying a natural body butter or body oil will make your skin look even more luxurious and it also gives added protection and moisture for your skin while in the sun allowing you to maintain a healthy looking glow.

Hello Perfect Body Goddess!

As soon as you start on my 3 Step Bikini Confidence Program you will undeniable start seeing changes in your body.  You’ll notice your legs looking more toned, your waistline sculpted, your posture improved, energy levels on the rise, and luscious looking skin. With all this you will now get that much need confidence to step into that little tiny bikini you felt “unqualified” to get into, ignoring all the small little imperfections you once thought were an issue, and you will now have that Perfect Bikini Body!

And you did it all on your own with basic healthy living!

“Confidence is beautiful, no matter your size, no matter your weight. Be confident in who you are and you’ll be beautiful! ” – Anonymous

xxx Lara

Confessions of a Green Tea Drinker

green teaI’ve sat down to write this post with a cup of tea in hand – none other than green tea. If my facial expressions were any indication of my enjoyment of this tea you would assume instead that I must have just smelt poo as my face has is puckered up due to the lingering after taste on the back of my tongue.

It’s safe to say I’m no fan of the flavor, and in all honesty I REALLY don’t like green tea, but I drink about 2-3 cups a day.

It’s not that I don’t like a bitter taste, in fact I only ever drink my tea and coffee black and sugar free…this way I get the real flavor. (Die hard here!)

You may ask why I drink green tea if I dislike it so much? I drink it because it’s good for me, it’s full of antioxidants and anti-aging nutrients so I tolerate the flavor in hopes of infinite health and beauty!

Is Exercise Your Green Tea?

The reason why I’m sharing with you my love/hate relationship with green tea is because it shares a similar parallel to exercise and certain individuals utter dislike of it.

I personally love exercise, I need it as it keeps my head clear and my stress levels at a decent level. I can’t understand how anyone doesn’t like it, but I guess I would have to agree that much like green tea – exercise just isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

In my mind exercise is one of those things that isn’t negotiable. Society today is uber modern making certain things way to easy for us, everything is convenient which is only making us even more lazy by the day. I’m not suggesting I would ever want to go back to the dark ages but they did have a few perks as exercise was a daily task. There were no grocery shops where we could just buy our dinner…much less ready meals. You had to work hard to farm, beg, borrow, or steal, in order to have any food at all.

Likes and dislikes aside we don’t always get to choose what we like and eliminate what we don’t like, we have to make a compromise here for the better. If it’s good for us we have to make the effort to get out of our comfort zone and try tolerating it.

How to Start Exercising When You Don’t Want to – But Need to!

I’m using exercise as an example here but the same rule could apply to healthy eating, or just about anything you know you need to do because it’s good for you but don’t want to.

Identify why you need to exercise – It’s always a good idea to identify why you need to do something this way you have an incentive. Are you experiencing any symptoms such as a bad back? Tight neck? Overweight? High blood pressure? Stressed out? Feeling overwhelmed? Insomnia? Incontinence? These are just a few obvious signals your body is sending you to tell you to get up and exercise. Unfortunately most of us wait for these symptoms before we realize we need to get up and do something about it. But it’s never too late to start.

Start small/consistent – I know I always go on and on about how doing just 20 minutes of exercise a day is better than doing nothing. It is something I firmly believe in. I hardly see the point of doing an intense 2 hours of exercise just once a week. I believe it’s much better to train the mind and body to do even just 5 minutes every single day. The body loves consistency.

Be specific – You may or may not find this part useful, but I sometimes like to have a target goal. That mummy tummy that never seems to go away is my current target! Yup, bikini season is coming up! (more on that to come in a future post!) So my target goal here is to do 5-10 minutes of ab work every day. I may not fit in any other exercise but each day I have to work my tum. For you it could be planking for 5 minutes every day or doing push ups, or even skip rope. Remember something each day is more effective than 2 hours once a week.

Make it fun – I love Yogi Tea, they have a cute little quote on the tag that gives me the fun factor when drinking my green tea. I can’t wait to drink one as I’m obsessed with what message I’m going to get. One of the reasons why you may dislike exercise is because you find it boring. But it doesn’t have to be if you find your “yogi tea” distraction. Find what makes you tick, it doesn’t have to be the gym, it can be anything that gets your muscles working and your heart rate bouncing. Get some music on to get you pumped, or take your workout outside in the fresh air. Maybe you just need a new pair of crazy lycra workout pants to get you in the mood and connected to your skin, your muscles, your body!

 “You don’t have to be great to start. But you DO have to start to be great.”

xxx Lara

21 Day’s

Society has spread a common myth that it takes 21 day’s to make or break a habit. My analytical self questions the idea that this random number was just picked out of a hat and has fast become a trend. Scientists have proven this myth true as in some study cases behavioral change took place within a 3 week period. So is it a myth or fact, and does it serve a purpose? Whether the magic number is 21, 30, 50 or 500, it’s all about making goals and having a deadline in place for maximum effectiveness. With that said I think there is reason to apply this myth in your personal goal setting.

Breaking Habits

The quote “old habits die hard” is a fact, but let’s not forget that they can and will die eventually with hard work and determination. If we want to make a change we just have to believe we can, and then take action. Making new habits is much easier but still proves to be challenging for many of us humble mortals:-)

Shifting Focus

I believe there is too much focus on breaking an old habit instead of focusing on swapping it for a good one.

I’m going to take 5 common bad habits and show you what I mean by shifting the focus on something positive.

1. Eating too fast – Eating fast or gulping without chewing due to work pressure or a lack of time can put tremendous pressure on your digestive system and will effect the body in more way’s than one. Heart burn, acidity, bloating, excess gas in the stomach are all nasty side effects. Eating fast also makes room for extra calories and weight gain as the brain only starts to tell the belly that it’s full after approximately 20 minutes.

Reverse the habit – Practice mindful eating. Take small bites of food feeling the texture change in your mouth, allowing you to savor each flavor. Concentrate on chewing the food till it’s practically blended in your mouth. Feel the food nourish your body as you swallow. Put your phone away, step away from the TV, put aside your book and live in the moment enjoying every bite!

2. Drinking too much alcohol – Over drinking can result in brittle bones, memory loss, liver failure, high blood pressure, and depression.

Reverse the habit – Stick to a healthy limit, drinking for flavor rather than to get drunk. Drink with meals like the French & Italians this way you’re more likely to sip slowly instead of binge. Why not swap a delicious tea on most evenings instead of a glass of wine? My recent obsession is a Yogi Sweet Chai! I know it sounds like an old lady thing to do, but sometimes all we want to do is relax in the evenings sipping something in hand…why not try a few evenings with a good old cup of tea!

3. Stress, Anger & Worry – Bad behavior such as stress and worry can cause a lot of damage on the body, it can lower immunity, cause weight-gain from comfort eating, high-blood pressure, and depression.

Reverse the habit Engage in a stress reduced program such as yoga or meditation. Add a bit of fun in your life by doing something goofy releasing the inner child. Dance in your kitchen like no one’s watching. Adopt a positive outlook on life by practicing mindfulness and gratitude. Be the optimist seeing the good in everything!

4. Eating too much fast food and sugary treats – Having a hamburger and chips once in a while isn’t going to kill you, but eating it regularly can cause diabetes, heart disease, digestive disorders, and hardening of the arteries. Not to mention tooth decay from sugary treats!

Reverse the habit Aim to pack a lunch or healthy sandwiches especially when going on a family outing this way when hunger strikes fast food isn’t the only quick option to quickly fill those hungry bellies. If you usually have a daily chocolate treat try opting for some other decadent but healthy treat. My choice would be a bowl of juicy berries!

5. Addiction to Facebook surfing before bed – I think this is a common bad habit, we hop into bed and have to spend another half hour looking at our social media, not realizing that it’s keeping us awake and not allowing our mind and body to shut down and relax. The result is less sleep, insomnia, followed by a bad day from waking up in the morning like a tired grouch!

Reverse the habit – I’ve made the habit of falling asleep with meditation/spa music off you tube on my phone, this not only puts me to sleep like a baby but it stops me from being able to look at Facebook as my phone can’t do both at the same time.

21 Day’s

Whether the 21 day’s myth is fact or fiction, I like to believe it’s a good place to start on the road to a personal accomplishment. I love a challenge with a timeline as it works more effectively for me. The truth is it might actually take 30 to 50 day’s for me to really make or break a habit, but psychologically the 21 Days myth sits well. It’s short and sweet, and very doable! It also helps me be patient knowing things don’t change over night but with time I’ll get there.

I encourage you to go on a journey, starting your very own 21 day challenge! You can make it whatever you wish it to be, from starting a new hobby, to getting into yoga and meditation, holding a gratitude journal, to help you quit smoking, or to get fit. If you’re looking to get into clean eating you could put together 21 healthy recipes to eat each day, or if you’re looking to feed your mind and soul start on 21 day’s of mindfulness!

Whatever it may be find it, start it, and stick with it, you’ll be happy you did as you feel amazing and accomplished!

xxx Lara

Finding Balance In Your New Year Resolutions!

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Joseph Hubertus Pilates, founder of Pilates training was a huge advocate in the importance of balancing mind and body. His theory was very simple, he believed that neither the mind nor the body is stronger. They can not work alone but together in order to attain complete balance.

 A sound mind dwelling in a sound body is 100% balanced, like a brick house built on rock. Solid and healthy. – Joseph Hubertus Pilates

He taught that only with perfect balance of mind and body can we appreciate normal health and energy of life, and that with this energy we will be able to live life to the fullest.

 Imbalance

It’s that time of the year when everyone is busy making their new year resolutions. The Christmas holiday season was filled with parties, lots of eating, too much drinking, no exercising…but probably tons of fun! We reassure ourselves that we’ll make up for the over-indulgence by making some tough goals in the new year. We will most likely start off strong as we feel guilty of the sudden expansion of our waistline and the dreaded maxed out credit card. It’s not long though before our high ambitions are catapulted by yet another holiday – Easter! This is where our healthy eating and exercise regime takes a tumble as those chocolates and treats creep their way from the supermarket shelves to our bellies. From here the cycle starts to progressively repeat itself as summer is close and we want to look and feel our best. Sound familiar?

Before my post goes on any further I just want to say that my message isn’t all doom and gloom. My message is a message of balance. I’m not suggesting we forego all the fun that comes with the holiday festivities, but instead find balance using moderation – allowing us to still have fun but feeling great! This is what balance is all about.

Finding Balance

If there is any one goal we should make for this new year it should be to find a bit more balance for both mind and body. If we had this from the start then maybe our goals wouldn’t need to be drastic or overwhelming. If we maintained balance in our eating habits during the holiday’s then we wouldn’t feel unhappy with ourselves to where we feel the need to “starve”. I do firmly believe in setting goals as this is very important and sometimes drastic ones are needed to make an immediate change.

 7 Practical Ways to Find Balance This Year

Balance is found both internally (health, mind and soul), and externally (family, social, work, recreational). Here are a few idea’s to help you find balance.

  1. Switch off from work – Try when at all possible not to take work home with you, find a routine to do that tells your subconscious to switch off. This can even be doing absolutely nothing for 10 minutes. If you work from home use your stop watch to calculate how many hours of work you’re doing, pausing whenever you’re doing something non work-related such as a house chore, lunch, etc. At the end, calculate the hours and if you find you’re doing more than 40 hours re-evaluate your work by looking for ways to be more time efficient.
  2. Become a minimalist – Instead of cluttering the house with things, toys, clothes, and gadgets, avoid anything that isn’t essential or valuable in your life. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it.
  3. Take care of your health – Before a health crisis arises pay attention to your body making sure it’s in good health, getting plenty of sleep, making healthy food choices and engaging in physical activity and exercise.
  4. Make the weekends a time of relaxation – The body can’t be on the go 24/7. Find 2 day’s out of your week purely for recreational and relaxing purposes. A time where the body forgets about work responsibilities – a time to fully interact with family and friends.
  5. Try something new – Instead of staying in your comfort zone explore a bit by finding something new to do. Take on a new challenge, a new hobby, attend a new class.
  6. Spend quality time with those close to you – Turn the television off and instead play games as a family, laugh, joke, have a chat with your other half over a glass of wine, really connect and pay attention to those you care about.
  7. Find the time for yourself – Finding you time can be especially tricky and somewhat overlooked. Find something to do that you’re passionate about or have an interest in doing in your evenings a few times a week. This could be reading, sketching, crafting, playing music etc. Having you time is crucial in lowering stress levels and enjoying happiness and creativity!

Happy 2015! May we all strive to find balance in mind and body, quality over quantity, a minimalist vs materialist!

xx Lara

There’s No Bad Weather, Only Bad Clothes

rainy day's copyI remember loving the rain when I was little…I enjoyed it even more as an adventurous teenager – I would actually go out for walks with my friends just to get wet! Come a rainy day now and I’m like a stuck up cat I hate getting wet and when I do I am completely irritated that my toes are wet and I can’t play outside. Could it be old age?! Or maybe since joining motherhood I’ve lost my sense of child-like play and have incoherently opted for a more “responsible” don’t-get-sick-in-the-rain-mantra?

Having grown up for most of my life in hot climates, and over the course of time traveled to over 50+ countries some of which were hotter than the sun itself (or so it felt:-)) you may understand my dislike for wet, cold, and soggy weather. I spent a good bit of time in Italy – which is where I’m from, but before that the first 7 years of my life were spent in Asia, and then more recently 10 years in Africa. With that in mind maybe my joy of rain came from not seeing it that often, when it did come it came in torrential floods of monsoon rain! We didn’t mind though it was always a slight relief to have the air cooled down a bit.

Being outdoors is so important to me, I love nature, the warmth of the sun, the fresh colors, I mean who doesn’t! I’ve now found myself living for the past 4 years in a country that’s gorgeous and green but rains pretty much all the time, or so it seems. A good week is where it only rains twice – once for 3 day’s and once for 4 day’s! 🙂

Let’s face it, winter can put every mom with small children’s patience to the test. We assume the wet and cold outside is responsible for the never-ending snotty noses and spluttering coughs! The noise level in the house makes you certain you accidentally took the whole school back from school pick up, and that couch…well it doesn’t seem to have any spring left as it’s now become the indoor trampoline. The afternoon’s seem longer, darker and no amount of coffee seems to make it better…all we want is an early dinner and bed for the kids so we can finally relax, tuck into that nice glass of vino, and hibernate!

 The Importance of Outdoors For Children

Playing outdoors not only gets those little angels tired out, but also builds a strong immune system, strong bones, etc…an essential component for growing children just as much as eating is!  As I mentioned above we assume the cold is responsible for the never-ending dripping noses that we tend to stay in when in fact the culprit is the stuffy indoors where bacteria and flu’s are constantly circulating due to close proximity. Yes of course the outdoors can also be a guilty party if we’re already sick and badly dressed. This leads me to my final point!

There’s No Bad Weather, Only Bad Clothes

It’s easy when baby is young and we can strap them in the buggy with a nice rain protector and a cozy blanket, but as they become toddlers they need to move and play just as importantly as the older child. This is when it takes lots of patience, lots of dirty laundry (no, sadly not getting away from that task any time soon), and some good organization. I went out the other day with the kids in the rain to see what I need to do to make it a pleasant experience for no other than myself, as of course the kids were like pigs in poo…the dirtier the more exciting! The idea was we would walk around a bit in our local park which is home to a stunning Castle and gorgeous cafe/shop – Avoca (you want to look this place up), and enjoy a nice cup of hot chocolate! It’s a heavenly spot just a walk away from where we live I feel blessed to have it at my doorstep. To our disappointment we didn’t make it that far as this cute little stinker…Mr Ethan

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…check out that little face, what a show off…well, this little man became man in charge and decided to take a full-on swim in the puddles! To be fair he’s just getting used to running in those bulky wellies so he fell a lot, but he was of course so excited that he had to bounce in every puddle to where he was so soaking wet we had to head straight for the car and skip out on our well earned hot chocolate! Not a pleasant experience after all as there was lots more cleaning for mommy, no desire of a repeat walk in the rain! Here is where organization is so important as clearly the kids had fun –  mommy lots of work. I’ve decided that I have to come to terms with the rain and not let it stop my love for nature so I made a little list of rain essentials to have on hand or in the car this way I can’t make any excuses and ruin all the fun and adventure.

Rain Essentials

For Mommy

  1. Wellies (trendy ones if it helps get you in them more)
  2. Cozy boot socks
  3. Rain jacket
  4. A sense of adventure and fun 🙂
  5. Umbrella

For The Children

  1. Wellies
  2. Rain jacket
  3. Rain pants (a must for toddlers as they fall down so easily as my little man did. If he had them on we could have continued on to the cafe!)

For The Car

  1. Extra set of pants just in case
  2. Box or bag for wellies and anything wet (this is for easy access and handy storage for small houses/apartments)

When my kids were just babies I would never go anywhere without my baby bag. Now rain essentials have taken over my “baby bag” in hopes of allowing me to always be prepared and organized. I am trying to adopt a there’s-no-bad-weather-only-bad-clothes-mantra instead.

What are your rain essentials and how do you make rainy outdoor play fun?

xx Lara

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