Thursday, April 2, 2020

My Top 12 Quarantine Purchases from Amazon




There isn't a week that goes by at our house where we don't receive some kind of package from Amazon. It's where we buy the majority of our vitamins, Lily's toys, kitchen gadgets and my skincare purchases. Their fast and free shipping makes it an easy choice for our family. We order many of our weekly groceries online so they can be delivered to our home. We've been placing orders almost daily as I've been discovering new craft supplies and educational books that Lily can enjoy from home now that I'm homeschooling her during the quarantine.

Today I've rounded up 12 Things I bought from Amazon during the Quarantine for you. Perhaps some will be items you haven't thought of that will help make this time spent indoors more enjoyable while keeping you healthy!



1. Adult Coloring Books- I find coloring to be such a relaxing activity. I often sit and color pages or draw with Lily, but there are such a variety of adult coloring books available now for everyone including: animal lovers, those who love daily affirmations, interior design, or floral images, etc. I just ordered this one from my favorite interior DIY couples and I'm excited to color it in room by room once it's back in stock and arrives.

2. Blue Corn Beeswax Candles- If you love the ambiance and warmth from candles, but not the black smoke most emit, these all natural beeswax candles actually clean and ionize the air as they burn-perfect during quarantine as we all focus on staying indoors. Blue Corn make everything from votives, pillar and tealights to taper and jarred candles also. I was surprised to see that beyond the natural yellow, they also offer a black or white version to match your decor, I like the natural yellow hue.

3. Prismacolor Quality Coloring Pencils- You don't need to use a high quality version of pencil crayons to color, a package of Crayola will certainly do. However, if you decide to purchase a few color books or enjoy sketching and doing other drawings like I do, I recommend investing in a higher quality set of coloring pencils like Prismacolor pencil crayons if you want better results. As an art student in high school, I know they offer a large array of hues, the pencils themselves also sharpen much easier with the casing in tact providing less pencil tip breakage so they are really long-lasting. Better quality pencils also produce a softness that makes coloring and blending easier. This brand is also very high quality and provides a wider range of colors, both have excellent 5 star reviews.

4. Drip Drop- The day before Lily came home from school with a fever and flu symptoms, I just so happened to stock up on several of our usual medicines along with a big variety pack of Drip Drop. We always keep some on hand for our hot yoga classes and intense workouts and pop into our carry-on bags for travel. Drip Drop is a natural oral rehydration powder that you combine with water to prevent or treat dehydration. Lily loves all 3 flavors so they are the perfect thing to fill her water bottle up with when she has a fever and/or flu. It's safe, tastes great and is far better than Gatorade which is filled with artificial colors and drinks like Pedialyte which very often contain artificial sweeteners like aspartame.

5. Alkaline Water Filter Pitcher- When our in-fridge water filtration system stopped working, we knew we didn't want to buy bottled water which is not only expensive, but isn't environmentally-friendly, so we opted for this stainless steel reusable filter pitcher instead that would provide alkaline ionized water and not just filter out chlorine "taste", but actually filter out the chlorine, heavy metals, most of the fluoride from tap water as well as other contaminants. While I loved their beautiful glass version of our stainless steel pitcher, with a 6 year old always reaching for it daily it just seemed less practical and the stainless steel is food grade and corrosion-free plus both of these chic pitchers come with a long-life replaceable filter bag. We've been using ours for 3 weeks now and we all really love it!

6. Bach Rescue Remedy Spray- When the covid-19 news first broke in the U.S. I could feel my stress level rise and as we received our first confirmed case in San Francisco, I found myself more anxious and not sleeping at night so I immediately ordered Rescue Remedy Stress Relief spray, something I've used in the past and found helpful when I was pregnant which was recommended as safe by my Midwife. The Bach flower remedies all serve a specific purpose, this blend helps calm nerves with just a couple sprays under the tongue as needed throughout the day (also comes in dropper form or pastilles and there is a version for pets too).

7. Plant Therapy Immune Blend- Whether you diffuse essential oils into the air or enjoy wearing them on your body mixed into lotion or other carrier oils, there are great benefits. I recently discovered this immune-aid blend by Plant Therapy which someone recommend placing on the bottoms of your feet before adding socks and climbing into bed for immune-building and preventative measures. Especially during the winter months when all sorts of virus are going around, I like to take precautions with natural remedies. They also offer this winter set of 3 which includes a germ-fighter.


8. Hathaspace Hepa True Air Purifier- While a quality air purifier like our Hathaspace Smart True Help Air Purifier is essential if you have pets, live in a mold-prone humid climate or if you experience seasonal allergies, we bought ours specifically with virus' and potential mold in mind along with my sweetie's seasonal allergies. Although we have wood floors throughout (because carpet traps allergens), keep our home clean and don't have any pets, we purchased two of these units for our 1,300 sqft condo that we use in each of our 2 bedrooms and run them day/night. Since it's light, I can carry one downstairs easily to our main level and run it there too. I'm glad we bought both and I've noticed less sneezing when we began using it. Byron had a horrible flu for about 5 days back in February and we ran our Hathaspace unit day/night, even though I slept next to him every night Lily nor I picked up the bug, I attribute it to several things, including our new device. I love that it has 3 fan speeds (the lowest speed is so quiet I barely hear it) and there is a button to turn the display off at night while you sleep which was a huge selling point for me because I need a black room to sleep well.

9. Baking Pan- One thing that became clear from the first day of social-distancing and then eventually quarantine was that we weren't going to be eating out for a while including ordering take out for health safety reasons. Every meal was going to be prepared at home, and that meant having a stocked pantry and fridge as well as the right tools to prepare quick, healthy and delicious meals. While I often use glass dishes for roasting, baking pans like this are larger and far more versatile. They're the perfect solution for 5-ingredient meals where I can add chicken pieces, cubed sweet potato, Brussels sprouts and other veggies to a single tray, minimizing dishes an fuss at dinnertime. I also ordered this mini muffin/cupcake pan as Lily and I have been doing so much baking and the smaller portion sizes are more bite-sized for her and help us maintain our health.

10. Airborne Immune Gummies- Our entire family loves taking vitamins in gummy format. Since high potency and quality are important, we only do it with specific supplements, namely Immune gummies (we get this kids' version for Lily) and our melatonin gummies that we take before bed. Lily has the kids version and this is the adult version we take. The airborne gummies contain vitamin C as well as an herbal blend of immune-building ingredients such as echinacea and ginger.

11. Lemon Squeezer- I'm not sure why we didn't have this lemon squeezer in our kitchen drawer prior to quarantine, especially because we often drink hot water with lemon in the morning. However, once I began juicing lemons morning and night with vitamin C capsules mixed in as my DIY immunity drink (I prepare this when we run out of our Emergen-C packets) I knew there was a better way and it was so worth the tiny investment to eliminate all seeds and also press the maximum amount of lemon juice. It's easy to use and clean and should be in everyone

12. Epsoak Sleep Formula- If you already have lavender oil on hand as well as premium epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) then you may not need this, but if you prefer a prepared version for better sleep and relaxation that you can just pour into your bath, I recommend this particular Epsoak Sleep formula, they also have a unique detox+cleanse version if you're spending this time removing toxins from your body as well as a great foot soak! They also make a kids' sleep version, if you're a mama this is the perfect addition to your little one's peaceful bedtime routine.



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Let's Socialize!



I'd love to know what your must-have purchases have been. Has anyone else been ordering almost daily from Amazon like me?

XO

Sunday, March 22, 2020

15 Ways to Stay Healthy & Productive While Social Distancing



The first week of social distancing felt a bit like a working vacation. My sweetie and I stayed up really late every night (mostly to read and discuss the news), we've been cooking from scratch daily, taking long family walks in our neighborhood and have been more relaxed about screen time with Lily as we navigate homeschooling her while both of us work from home while keeping our sanity. Whether you're single, living with your partner, married or have a family, most of us have experienced dramatic shifts to our daily routine, social life and our overall level of productivity due to being self-quarantined and practicing social distancing.

While things are different and sometimes challenging right now, remember this time will pass by faster than you think, so I encourage you to use it wisely. It took me an entire week to figure out what was working and where things were falling apart with my work schedule and family routine to begin making necessary adjustments coupled with setting goals for myself so that I'll feel strong and accomplished. With that in mind, I put together this post on How to Stay Healthy & Productive While Social Distancing so that we can all come out of this as the best version of ourselves while also staying sane!


1. ORGANIZE YOUR CLOSET

Spring is synonymous with cleaning and organizing for most of us. It's a time to hit the refresh button on our home so why not finally color code your wardrobe the way you've long admired in magazines. A neat, organized closet is not only aesthetically pleasing but lack of clutter actually helps clear the mind along with speeding up the amount of time it takes to get ready, which will be especially important once we're all thrust back into our regular routines and are back at work.

*Start with trying on sections of clothing in your closet to determine what sparks joy as Marie Condo teaches. If you don't love something, it doesn't fit and isn't in style put it into a donation pile.

*Next, separate the items you need to fix such as sew a button, remove a stain, repair a hemline so you can actually wear them again. This may involve dropping an item off at a dry cleaners  (still open at this time) or taking a pair of shoes into a cobbler to replace a heel lift or to be resoled if they're in good condition.

*Organize by Category. I personally like to keep work attire separated from everyday casual wear such as jeans and sun dresses etc. I like to arrange items by category so all tops are together, pants hanging in the same formal on an identical set of space saving thin velvet hangers and all facing the same direction in all parts of my closet. 

* Lastly, I then hang each item in their respective categories from lightest to darkest via color coding. This makes getting dressed in the morning so much easier and when I'm looking for a particular piece I can spot it right away or recognize that it's in the laundry and wash it right away if I need it for an upcoming event, etc.

If you want to take it a step further, you might also like this post on How to Maximize your Wardrobe with items you already have on and this other one on How to Maximize Your Wardrobe Budget (to avoid wasting money on clothes that never get worn).


2. START YOUR SIDE HUSTLE

Was one of your goals this year to finally start the business you've been dreaming about? For anyone who is looking to begin blogging, open an Etsy shop, wants to write a book, start a podcast, become a Photographer or Graphic Designer, manage social media accounts or a number of other work from home opportunities, I highly encourage you to start putting your business plan in place now and start where you are. If this global pandemic has taught us anything it's that life can change in an instant, no job is secure, anyone can be laid off on a moment's notice and the only guarantees are when we work on a side hustle that allows us to a) work from home or anywhere in the world b) create a business that will not disappear when a 'shelter in place' type order goes into effect and c) is a product or service that will always be needed (think: coaching services, marital counselling, social media marketing, an Editorial position, products on Etsy, etc).



3. REVAMP YOUR SKINCARE ROUTINE

What better time to revamp your beauty regimen? If your skin has been in a rut this winter, it might be time to introduce some new products, skin care techniques such as a quartz facial roller (I'm loving mine) to smooth out wrinkles and reduce puffiness. There is no time like being in quarantine away from others to test products without the fear of going out in public with potentially red or irritated skin-it's the perfect low-risk moment for trial and error! Have you been meaning to try those eye serum masks that everyone keeps talking about or use a new brightening moisturizer? Order it and give it a whirl, it might just become your new favorite!


If you've already got the skincare part down, this might be an ideal time to experiment with make up techniques such as the winged eyeliner you've wanted to attempt, try out different eye shadow colors or master the art of highlighting and bronzing. There are so many fun beauty tutorials on Youtube and Instagram for makeup and even some DIY skincare masks. When I began using this mineral bronzer about 8 years ago, it became a game changer adding a subtle year-round glow. One new item I want to try is their mineral bronzer/blush combo. Finding just the right shade of subtle natural nude lip gloss (or the perfect red lipstick for your skin tone) is something that takes time and is something  every classy woman should have in her arsenal.



4. LEARN A NEW SKILL

If you've ever wanted to improve your photography skills, learn to code or decorate cakes, many online education resources are generously offering e-courses (some of them are even free) to help people stay busy during this time. A classy woman is invested in her personal growth and strives to be a lifelong learner. There are so many free tutorials on YouTube, social media strategy courses, online photography workshops, cooking classes and traditional courses available. Some great free examples are Coursera, Khan academy, Udemy, edX, Codecademy, Ted-Ed and Stanford Online.



5. SCHEDULE REGULAR WORKOUTS

Treat this time as you would if it were part of your regular daily routine-schedule your workouts in advance and as often as you typically would (or more if you're looking to get some serious results during this time). While you can't attend a class surrounded by people, there are so many incredible online workouts available, and I can attest to the fact that some of the most challenging are those that use your own body weight so it's not essential to own a set of dumb bells or other equipment. My favorite Here is my favorite YouTube workout instructor for quick 10-15 minute power packed workouts that get results (it doesn't hurt that she plays great music too). I am also a big fan of the Sweat App (known as BBG-bikini body guide) where you can choose at home no weight workouts all the way through to weight machines at the gym so it's versatile. Tone It Up is another favorite and they also offer a healthy diet plan with multiple various in their own app. Increasing circulation and sweating is a great way to start the day. Don't forget to stretch!



6 . CLEAN UP YOUR DIET

I'm going to encourage you to use this extra time at home to be more mindful of how you're eating. It's easy to grab comfort food like potato chips as you relax and watch Netflix more than usual but our immune system needs to be at its peak, eliminating junk food and excess sugar is essential. Opt for a healthy green smoothie recipe instead of a bagel and cream cheese or replacing your takeout habit at dinnertime with an easy meal such as a salad with roasted chicken breast. With grocery store shelves not being as fully stocked as they were, it may be time to get creative with 4-ingredient meals.

If you find that fresh produce is lacking, frozen is just as fresh. If you're not already doing this, buy bananas in bulk and once they're ripe you can slice them up and freeze them in a ziploc bag for smoothies and and making 'nice cream', a healthier non-dairy take on ice cream that whip up like dessert magic in the Vitamix blender (we use ours almost daily for smoothies plus you can make homemade soup in it!). Also, did you know you can freeze those plastic cellophane packs of spinach or kale? It's the perfect way to preserve your power greens for smoothies. Veggies that tend to keep longer are sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots and squash. Bean salads are a healthy lunch alternative with a few bell peppers and onions added and you can always make a meal out of avocado toast sprinkled with hemp seeds or topped with cherry tomatoes. Since bread freezes well, you may want to stock up on it. Be sure to keep shelf stable dairy-free milks on hand so they don't have to be refrigerated until opened to use for granola, cereal, smoothies and coffee/tea. Make batches of healthy muffins and freeze the majority so you won't be tempted to eat them all in one day but still always have access to fresh baked goods. If you're feeling extra ambitious start pre-making healthy freezer meals that can just be popped into the oven or microwave in case you feel ill and can't cook for yourself on the fly.



7. SPRING CLEAN YOUR HOUSE

Is there anything better than a freshly cleaned home? I always breathe a sigh of relief when everything has been scrubbed and polished, now it's extra important to stay on top of disinfecting surfaces such as doorknobs, phones, light switches, refrigerator door handles and faucets. Be sure to use all-natural cleaning products so you're not creating a toxic indoor air environment. I recommend tackling your spring cleaning room by room or category by category over the course of a week or two. I started with our pantry for obvious reasons: tossing anything expired, condensing packages down and making room for new items we need to store. Before replacing everything I took a few minutes to wipe down the shelves. I've also tackled Lily's toy and book bins which have made life easier as she's at home with me all day. If you have kids under foot right now, you may want to save floor washing for after they're in bed. I emptied out our under-stairs storage which we're now able to walk to the back of once again, making room for extra cleaning supplies and some non-perishables. My number one goal during our quarantine time is cleaning and organizing our entire home so that once we're able to be social once again, I won't be spending my weekends inside.



8. SOAK UP SOME VITAMIN D

Just because you can't socialize right now doesn't mean that you should stay cooped up indoors. Getting outside into the sunshine is a great way to keep Vitamin D levels high to build immunity, plus sunlight is mood enhancing. Whether you're enjoying coffee on your balcony, lunch on your front porch, barbecuing dinner on your rooftop deck or laying out in the sun with a good book for a few minutes, there are many ways to get your daily allowance. Since wearing sunblock prevents the absorption, I typically go outdoors first thing in the morning. If for some reason you are sick indoors for an extended period of time and cannot get out of bed, a vitamin D3 supplement is your next best option (once cleared with your medical Physician).


9. READ BOOKS

If you're used to reading blog posts and quick news snippets, I encourage you to dive into a good book, it provides mental clarity as you immerse yourself in it helping the stresses of the day melt away. All book stores might be closed in your area but Amazon and Target remain my favorite places to order books online. If you're not able to step foot into a library and are trying to save money, there are tons of free e-books available with your library membership or you can find great titles on Free PDF drive. Use this time to join an online book clubs or just read that mammoth book you've been starting then stopping again and again. If you've felt pressed for time during regular days and find it hard to keep up with current events, now is a great time to get into that habit of starting and ending the day with reading.



10. LIMIT YOUR NEWS CONSUMPTION

While it's important to stay current on what's happening with covid-19 and I wholeheartedly believe that a classy woman is well informed so she can be an interesting conversationalist and lady with depth, a constant stream of news is not helpful for our mental health. It can be anxiety-inducing and contribute to poor quality of sleep and rob us of our daily joy and feelings of gratitude. I check news stories in twice per day but avoid using my phone or watching the news at least an hour before bed. 



11. CREATE A GALLERY WALL 

Now is the best time to go through all the photos that are currently living in your phone's camera roll or stored on your camera's memory card and bring them to life! Once you find a few that you love, order the photos to be printed or enlarged online (I find a set of black and white are timeless), then pop them into some black picture frames and create a gallery wall displaying your favorite moments. For larger walls, you can trace your frames onto craft paper or even wrapping paper you have on hand then cut them out and tape them to the wall. Once you have the arrangement you like, take a pencil and mark where the nail holes would go. You can now hammer that nail right through the paper then remove all paper taped to the wall and simply hang your frames in place.


12. SET UP A SPA NIGHT

A spa night is the perfect way to end any day in my opinion, not only is it relaxing and rejuvenating mind, body and spirit, but it's also a great way to unwind before bed for a better night's sleep especially if it involves soaking in the tub with epsom salt which naturally detoxes and relaxes tired muscles. Burning a candle and playing soft mediation music adds to the overall vibe. You can create a combination of spa rituals. For a well rounded spa evening, make sure to focus on the body, feet and face. A purifying clay mask for clearer skin, feet covered in soothing lotion and extra soft spa socks to retain moisture for silky softness and a basic no polish manicure to tidy up cuticles and file rough edges. I always feel like a new woman after I've given myself a treatment or two. Finish the evening off with some lavender essential oil vaporized into the air of your bedroom or a couple drops added to your pillow for restful sleep.



13. CONNECT ONLINE WITH LOVED ONES

With technology like Zoom, FaceTime and Skype, we can stay in touch with loved ones, host casual Netflix watch parties, have a ladies happy hour catch-up session, join other moms who are currently teaching their kids from home or even follow a recipe and cook or bake together. My sweetie has been setting up 5pm happy hour calls to meet up with friends (all are in the same industry so they can talk, keep conversation casual or even play poker). I reached out via a Facebook women's group to see if other ladies want to start regular sessions for a much needed reprieve from our current daily routines and we're already planning our first one which I'm excited about.


14. SET GOALS 

The coronavirus may have put a kink in your plans for 2020, but it doesn't mean you can't still achieve some of your goals this year while you're hunkering down inside for a while. Tony Robbins has always said that our happiness is directly tied to our ability to experience progress in our life. Maybe you want to go from being able to do 2 regular push ups to 20 in the next couple weeks or you want to work up to 2 extra miles for your daily run. Maybe you'd love to finish 3 new books (one per week) or try a brand new recipe every single day for dinner. Perhaps you're looking to freshen up your space and your goal is to repaint your bathroom or add an accent wall to your living room or get all of your spring flowers planted in pots on your front porch or backyard to add some cheer. We all need meaningful goals to work towards which will help us keep our sanity and also force us to be productive.

15. GO FOR A DRIVE 

While we may not be able to stroll along a beach, enjoy our favorite cafes or bring our kids to the playground (ours are all closed in the city), we can go for a little drive to change the scenery by getting out of the house without technically being "outdoors" or interacting with others. If you're doing the same daily walk around your neighborhood that may get old as the weeks pass. It's amazing how just hopping in your car and driving through a scenic area or parking somewhere in nature can provide a visual refresh. Our go-to has been a local beach just 15 minutes away from home. A nice side bonus being that Lily will often take a nap by the time I've arrived if it's midday or later, so I always pack a good book along with my airpods so that I can read or listen to a podcast as she rests which is a win-win for everyone.


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Let's Socialize!



XO

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Social Distancing Etiquette



Have you been practicing 'social distancing' because of the Covid-19 coronavirus, but simultaneously wondering how exactly to politely communicate it all to those around you? Whether you find yourself needing to turn down requests from friends who are still sending out invitations for girls' brunches, kids' birthday parties (I received 2 for Lily yesterday!) or that client who extends her arm to shake your hand but you're trying to figure out how to politely introduce yourself, build a connection and conduct business without ever sharing germs, my goal is to arm you with the right tips so you're that prepared before you ever find yourself in these situations.

A classy woman likes to be prepared, organized and have a plan, she also strives to make those around her feel comfortable at all times. That said, let's look at 3 specific ways that a modern lady can approach these tricky times with ease and grace.


1. Make it about Them- Instead of expressing personal concerns over how you could potentially contract the virus from someone else, flip it around by showing concern for the recipient by saying "Thank you so much for the invitation, and normally I'd love to join, however  I would feel just awful if I unknowingly spread any germs to your family and made them ill". This way, it takes the focus off you and simultaneously shows genuine care which everyone will appreciate.

2. Use Self-Deprecating Humor-While I won't typically recommend that a lady degrade herself or speak unkindly of her personality traits or habits, there are times when a little bit of humor can really lighten the mood and still get your message across. Here are some examples when invited somewhere you cannot attend: "You know me, I've always been the germophobe in the group, I'll have to sit this one out". This can work well if it truly resembles who you are. For that person who is looking for a hug or at the very least, a handshake, you could respond with: "I'm normally such a hugger, but given what's going around right now, I'm greeting everyone with elbow bumps these days!"

3. Defer to an Expert- Unlike personal opinion, facts can't be disputed and sometimes this is the easiest and best way (as it relieves you of having to come up with a creative reply or appear opinionated), and yet still provide useful information to someone who may not be quite as educated and informed as you are on the subject. You can cite everything from your favorite business magazine such as TIME, Newsweek or Forbes to medical-based articles, and of course share stats from the CDC website itself. The key here is to do it in a way that gently informs another without making them feel unintelligent about the subject or as if they themselves are the plague you're looking to steer clear of. If you've been invited to a small church event or business meeting of 6 people and don't feel comfortable, you could site how easily it's transmitted just sitting next to someone else who is unknowingly carrying the virus with the CDC's  information or make mention of the spike in cases around your area and suggest a conference call or Skype call if your employer or client isn't up to-the-minute on what's happening. By staying current and being well read, you'll be more prepared and in the know, but benefit from letting the graphs and stats speak for themselves.


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Let's Socialize!



In what ways have you changed the ways you socialize and communicate these details to those you come in contact with?

Thanks for reading!

XO
Karla

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Valentine's Day Gift Guide





CLASSY VALENTINE'S DAY GIFTS:

1  //  2  //   3  //  4  //  5  //  6  //  7  //  8  //  9  //  10  //  11 // 12  // 13  //  14


Happy February everyone! If you're anything like me, Valentine's Day's day is anything but an after-thought, I consider it to be love month. I had Valentine cards picked out for Lily's classmates a month ago and even  bought a fun pack of cards to leave my sweetie a special note of what I love most about him daily up until Feb.14th. It's been fun to lavish him with appreciation, and now he has a little collection he can keep reminding him about what I love most about him.

Since I find that most men are grateful for hints as they choose the perfect gift to show their love and appreciation for us, I always have fun putting together a gift guide of ladylike things I personally love and think every classy woman will enjoy too! Some of these will make great gifts if you're flying solo and opting for a Galentine's celebration instead or just want to love on your bestie or follow though on your promise to yourself this year of being more intentional about self care.

These monogrammed pearl hair pins are such a unique and personalized gesture and I've found that Voluspa candles are as beautiful as they are high quality. They come in the prettiest glass jars, are affordable and their scents are heavenly! We have a few in our home and I love how they enhance my nightstand and coffee table.



SHOP THIS POST:





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Let's Socialize!


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What gifts do you most enjoy receiving for Valentine's Day? I wish you all a beautiful day of love no matter how you choose to celebrate it!

XO
Karla



Wednesday, January 1, 2020

8 Powerful Books to Read in the New Year



Happy 2020 Everyone!! I'm so excited about this new year, but more specifically this fresh decade upon us. I have a lot of new posts planned and something I want to share more is the books I recommend (and I want to hear what you're reading too)! A classy woman is always looking for ways to continually learn and educate herself, improve her knowledge in a variety of areas so she can hold an interesting conversation and live a better quality life. I also find that it's quite relaxing to read a real book before bed, instead of an electronic version on my iPad- it's just one of my secrets for a better night's sleep!

Raise your hand if reading more books was on your list of goals for this year! *hand raised over here!* This has been something that I've been more intentional about, especially as I encourage our 6-year-old daughter Lily to sit quietly and read on Saturday mornings with mommy and daddy so we can all begin our day in a relaxed state. Ideally I'd like to be reading one new book I can add to my library every single week (or approximately 50 new books per year), but the reality is that I'm often driving in the car listening to Podcasts as well as audio books along with reading to/having Lily read out loud to us. 

During our 2019 summer vacation I got to read a few hard copy books uninterrupted as we lost ourselves in the moment and our surroundings, where were the stunning views in Tuscany. As I added to my list of books I'd happily recommend or gift to others, I decided it was time to share a fresh round of book recommendations with you. As we've entered the new year many wish to hit a reset button of sorts, tackle new goals and clear out old patterns. The books I'm sharing address everything from healthier eating habits to adding more gratitude to your day, they are books I proudly display in my library and my hope is that they will be a welcomed addition to your own bedroom nightstand.




1. The Art of The Good Life- What I love about this book  written by Rolf Dobelli (which focuses on the shortcuts to happiness, wealth and success) is that it's broken down into 52 little mini chapters- concepts you can incorporate into your own life and thinking. Rolf couples modern psychology with ancient philosophy which is rooted in Stoicism, so if that's not your thing then this book may not be for you. I found his insights and examples provided refreshing and truly provided food for thought-this book could make for a fun conversation starter as it encourages us to live a more engaged, intentional and authentic life . Dobelli breaks the myth that their is one answer to solve  with  that you could reach each day or as the topic numbers dictate, you could read a new one each week on a Sunday for example and complete it in a year or finish it in a day. Personally, I have gotten more out of it by not rushing though and instead letting each idea sink it. You can pick it up any time, one to keep on your bookshelf to refer back to your favorite dog-eared chapters when you need a reminder. I also like that this one makes a great gift for virtually anyone male or female and bonus points because it looks pretty on a coffee table. B added his bestselling book "The Art of Thinking Clearly" to our library a few years ago but it's new for me, so I'll be adding that to my reading list.

2. The Universe Has Your Back- I cannot say enough good things about this book written by Gabrielle Bernstein, it is a must-read for everyone in my opinion!!  If you follow me on social media you may have seen me share it because it was life-changing for me. I make an effort to practice the power of positive thinking, understand the laws of attraction and faith is a huge part of my life. That said, I was feeling stuck a few years ago as I navigated un-chartered territory: life as a divorced woman and newly single mother who just moved across the country to start fresh. I stumbled upon Gabby's book in a book store one Sunday afternoon around the time I was ready to begin dating. I had so many fears at that time that I would get over in moments and then they'd pop back up again. Being a praying woman, I of course made the bible my main go-to but this was right next to it on my bedside table. I was able to see things differently and noticed amazing shifts taking place. I always knew I was in the driver's seat of my life and had already made many bold moves but this book is one that I've referred back to many times and just recently picked up her Universe Has Your Back 52-card deck of affirmations which are a lot of fun to select a daily card to be reminded up and inspired by. If you have a friend struggling with overcoming certain fears and longing to live in a place of faith, I highly recommend this as a resource.


3. The Clarity Cleanse- I discovered this book by Dr. Habib Sadeghi via a Podcast as several celebrities have read and endorsed it (there is a forward by Gwyneth Paltrow) so I ordered it and decided to read it during our flights while we flew to Europe this summer. I began the first couple chapters of the book at home curled up on the couch but got to more in-depth chapters while traveling. I was so impressed with his ability to make his insight easy to understand, his extensive medical knowledge-the man healed himself of cancer! His story is so inspiring and he unpacks how our unresolved and stored-up emotions actually impact us and express themselves in physical pain, illness and more. As I listened to his story, it struck a nerve and helped me unpack my own deeply-rooted beliefs reminding me of some childhood and teenage experiences I had, it triggered me in a way that I needed but one caution (which was my own fault) is that I do not recommend reading this one in public or during vacation for that matter! It was like having a therapy session while on vacation. LOL. I ended up sobbing during one leg of our trip and it actually brought up some negative feelings I was working through (abandonment issues from my childhood when my parents separated) which in moments didn't positively affect the emotions I had while my sweetie and I were trying to begin a beautiful and relaxing holiday together. That said, I had the good sense to tuck this powerful and transformative read away for the rest of the trip.  This book is not a light, fluffy read- it is truly for someone who is ready to do the work of creating clarity and cleansing their life of what no longer serves them, releasing emotions that have unbeknownst to you, held you back. So, if you're ready for that, I believe it's a brilliant guide, causing you to go deeper in a way that I haven't seen other authors do.


4. Judgement Detox- This was my second book by Gabby Bernstein and while I think it's an important read for everyone, it was more challenging and the work was a lot deeper that in her first book I mentioned above. Why I'm ultimately sharing it with you here is because I believe we live in a time where we're surrounded by judgement-we judge others AND ourselves constantly. This book helps us free ourselves of those perceptions and instead align ourselves in a greater place of love and acceptance. While Gabby has shared herself that this is not her most popular book (and one that many don't end up finishing because it requires us to go deeper and deal with our judgement in a way that we're often not ready to give up), if you're ready to do some major self-reflection and release the beliefs that hold you back in life, then this one is a clear winner in my opinion.

5. Everything is FigureoutableI've long followed Business and Life Coach Marie Forleo via her MarieTV episodes that I found on accident 7 years ago. Her fun, witty style always grabbed my attention while simultaneously adding to my knowledge base as she's filled with incredible insights and advice for business and life. Imagine my excitement when I found out she was writing a book and the very title was named after her famous phrase 'everything is figureoutable' encouraging all of us that there is no challenge or circumstance that can hold us back, we can overcome anything! I digested this book and took away SO many nuggets of wisdom. She herself is proof that it is all possible with dedication, determination and hard work. She deep dives into how exactly to do just that. One of my favorite chapters included the excuses we need to stop using and telling ourselves. Reading the breakdown of just how many hours are dedicated to social media and TV, and how many full 24-hour days of time that translated into if we chose to redirect our efforts and become less distracted struck a nerve and made me ultra-committed to ensuring I don't waste time on things that don't matter. Marie's book touches every area of life and I can't say enough good things about it, plus she is just such an amazing woman and I was proud to support her work by buying this book. Bottom line: Get yourself a copy ASAP, you will be armed with the wisdom you need to achieve all of your dreams!

6. Ketotarian-Switching gears for a moment, let's dive into a fabulous book by Dr. Will Cole for everyone who is looking to add more energy, experience better mental clarity and eliminate brain fog, burn fat, lose weight and keep it off in a healthy, sustainable way following a mostly plant-based approach while doing my favorite thing about keto-eliminating cravings! Anyone who knows me well (or follows my IG stories) knows that I go between the keto diet indulging in grass-fed red meat for the essential minerals I can't  balanced out with a huge adoration for the plant-based diet- my body actually craves the flavor and vibrancy of fruit and veggies but I've learned the key to staying full is with healthy fats and a lot of them (especially needed for brain function and to prevent degenerative mental diseases). This book marries the two and balances out both of these for me, plus I get to eat a lot of guac, so there's that! ;)  Ketotarian is filled with recipes that are almost entirely plant-based (with a bit of seafood and dairy) however, because I choose to be mostly dairy-free due to allergies, I just omit that when it's called for. So, if you are vegan, vegetarian or prefer a plant-based diet but feel the keto diet could never be for you because you don't eat things like bacon, steak, cheese or coat your veggies in butter, I would recommend reading this for a completely fresh perspective.


7. Celery Juice- Is it just me or was 2019 the year of the celery juicing movement? Some tried it and didn't love the taste, others raved about the incredible benefits that the simple act of juicing one ingredient-celery, had on their body. Anthony William (AKA Medical Medium) wrote this NY Times bestselling book which reveals why celery juice is having such a profound affect in the lives of so many people, particularly those suffering from skin conditions however it extends well beyond eczema, acne and psoriasis. The sodium cluster salts within this humble veggie have already healed millions worldwide. You all know I love my celery juice, I've shared many IG videos of Lily helping me juice and enjoying drinking it with mama. He explains in depth as to how specifically celery juice works within our body and why. I learned so much from him and I consider myself someone who knows far more than the average person with regards to health and wellness as I've studied it for over 20 years. Anthony's instagram feed showcases testimonials of the many people who have reversed disease and improved their life with this one simple change. If you are experiencing any health issues at all, I think his books and free information is incredibly eye opening. He is one of the most truly knowledgeable people in the health space that I've come across and has a following of over 2 Million on Instagram alone. You can prepare celery juice 2 different ways, he explains the 'blender method' as well as using a juicer. I personally prefer the juicer method even though we own a Vitamix that I use daily for smoothies, I don't find the clean up of a juicer to be a pain at all. I tend to make mass batches at once buying several bunches of organic celery instead of juicing daily. This is the juicer that Anthony and I both use which is the masticating type (vs. centrifugal) which allows the juice to be stored for up to 72 hours because of the way it breaks down the juice vs. 24 hours so I only end up juicing about twice per week when consuming it daily, then I use these 32 oz glass mason jars to store them in my fridge. I've had my juicer for 5 years without any issues at all and although it's a bit of an investment, it is the Ferrari of Juicers!


8. Super Attractor- This is my favorite of all Gabby's books and it's her most recent release! I wholeheartedly believe this book will change lives! I read it in a few days, I also picked up the audible copy so I could listen to it while driving in my car which just reinforces the methods and wisdom as daily reminders. That is the beauty of this book, not only is a great one to gift a loved one as we begin 2020 filled with desires in our heart to fulfill, but it is my daily go-to when I feel stuck, as thought I'm caught up in a negative thought pattern and need to redirect and "choose again" -just one method from this gem of a read. Lily and I begin most mornings with the morning mantra inside and I've referred to it on an almost daily basis. If you're looking to manifest amazing things into your life, stop blocking the blessings and opportunities you desire and instead learn how to draw them to you like a magnet, I encourage you to pick up a copy. As many of you know I'm a Christian and this book was not 'new age' to me, it is rooted in the spirit of God/Universe or what we each define it as. The author herself believes in God but doesn't push that on her readers, it is inviting to all. I was honored to get to see her speak live here in San Francisco a few months ago and picked up another autographed copy of her book along with the Super Attractor journal and then I later picked up the Super Attractor 52-card deck of affirmations. Lily and I like to pick 2 cards every single day and now I'm doing the same with her other deck. One day the card I randomly chose moved me to tears as it spoke directly to where I was at in that specific moment. My intention and focus this year is to have more joy and truly listen to my own intuition, I get myself into trouble every time I ignore it.


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One last book I'd like to recommend is this Simply Grateful journal! I gave a copy away during our 30 Day Giving Challenge on Facebook and own a copy myself. It is a beautiful high quality gratitude journal that is sustainably sourced and I can't believe it's only $12! These make great little hostess, birthday or 'just thinking of you gifts'. 



Have you read any of these books recommendations? What are you reading right now? I'm always up for something new!

XO
Karla

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