Loving Lately // Winter 2019

As a way to share my favorites with you on a regular basis, I created the "Things I'm Loving Lately" series on my blog. In this series I share everything from food to fitness, brands to beauty products, good reads to good listens.

We’re still very much in winter in NYC - every year it comes as a surprise to me that March is still winter. I always considered myself a spring baby, but I’m learning that spring doesn’t come until at least April here in the Northeast. So today in honor of the season, and my birthday (it’s tomorrow!) I'm sharing some of things that I've been loving on this season.

Here's what I'm currently craving and crushing on: 

RECIPE: MY SIMPLE GREEN SMOOTHIE

Smoothies are usually the last thing I recommend in the winter - they’re cooling and typically the ingredients are not in season this time of year. But for some reason this simple smoothie is really working for me for breakfast right now. So I’m GOING WITH IT! And loving every sweet sip.

Get the recipe here: My Simple Green Smoothie

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 DRINK: CELERY JUICE

I’ve been drinking celery juice almost every morning on an empty stomach for the last few weeks. I haven’t experienced any health miracles yet but my digestion definitely feels better and it’s been a great way to reduce my caffeine intake (and kick the morning off on a GREEN, veggie filled way).

Celery juice is one of the newest health trends, but it’s healing qualities are nothing new. I’m planning to write a blog post about the topic once I have a little more self experimentation under my metaphorical belt!

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FOOD: FRUIT!

Like with the smoothies, fruit isn’t something I typically reach for this time of year. But my body has been craving it so I’ve listened.

I’m having bananas (and sometimes frozen wild blueberries) in my morning smoothies, and snacking on apples, blood oranges, grapes and pomegranate seeds. YUM! I definitely have noticed fewer sugar cravings since including more naturally sweet fruits in my diet.

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Book, blog or podcast: The Star Community

This is not technically any one of these things BUT it does fall under the learning and self development umbrella, which is why I’m including it here.

The Star Community is an astrology membership program created by Debra Silverman for individuals who want to learn more about the signs, stars and planets on a regular basis. It’s been really fun to be a part of this group and expand my knowledge through the library of informative videos and live Q&A calls.

I’ll definitely be sharing more about my explorations in astrology (I get SO many questions emailed in and from my clients!) here soon so stay tuned!

For now, check out these posts and resources to learn more:

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Essential oil: CYPRESS

This is another oil that my acupuncturist recommended for me - Cypress (as with many of the woody oils like cedarwood and vetiver) helps combat dampness in the body.

If you have a heavy or damp body type already (tendency toward oily skin, weight gain and depression), this may be an awesome oil for you, especially during this damp time of year. I use it as part of my nightly essential oil protocol, which I’m open to sharing more about in another blog post if you’re interested!

To learn more + purchase oils, head to www.emilynachazel.com/essential-oils.

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Workout or self care: Daily meditation

I’m on 67 days of meditation and counting and feeling beyond proud of myself for this accomplishment. I lost my daily meditation practice back around the holidays and I FELT it. So in January I committed to using the Calm meditation app and I'm happy to say I've been meditating daily ever since.

My past "streak" using any app was 21 days so where I'm at now feels really big. And I don't plan on stopping anytime soon... I love that there’s a new meditation each day so I just open the app and hit play.

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What are YOU loving lately? Let me know in the comments below!

Simple Green Smoothie

Smoothies are usually the last thing I recommend in the winter - they’re cooling and typically the ingredients are not in season this time of year. But for some reason this simple smoothie is really working for me for breakfast right now. So I’m GOING WITH IT! And loving every sweet sip.

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SIMPLE GREEN SMOOTHIE

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe bananas, sliced and frozen

  • Large handful of baby spinach

  • 1 tsp spirulina powder

  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla (into this alcohol free vanilla right now)

  • Dash cinnamon

  • 1 small piece of dulse (optional, great for detoxing)

  • 1- 2 cups filtered water

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to your high speed blender and blend on high for about 30 seconds (until smooth and creamy). Use 1 cup water for a thicker smoothie (more like banana nice cream) or 2 cups for a more sipable smoothie.

  2. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Do you love your smoothies for breakfast? I go through phases with em!

Patience

"Ahhh. I've been waiting all week for this." I said after I took the first delicious sip of my decaf almond milk latte.

My friend Amanda gave me a look and I explained further "I've been craving an almond milk latte ALL week. But I told myself I'd wait to get it until the weekend. I'm working on cultivating my patience."

A very much enjoyed coffee date :)

A very much enjoyed coffee date :)

I'm not naturally the patient type. When I see something that I want, I want it now. When I recognize a behavior in myself that isn't supportive, I want to change it ASAP.

And while this can often be a great motivator to get sh*t done and continually improve, I've also seen impatience lead to one too many impulse purchases, overindulging with certain foods and a general inability to be without.

I know I'm not alone and this is by no means my fault.

Our modern society does not foster patience with our 24-hour businesses, social media platforms that we're constantly updating and sites like Amazon.com where you can buy almost anything and have it delivered to you (often for FREE) within 2 days. Not to mention books and movies and shows all available at the click of a button.

It's not only food and things that we go overboard on, but also information.

Just like there's value in having space to digest food, there's value in the "in between" time - time where we don't have the answer or the next season or new cookbook.

So something I'm working on this year is PATIENCE. Instead of immediately buying or downloading or searching, I'm asking myself to take more space around my actions and decisions.

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What cultivating PATIENCE looks like for me...

 - When I hear of a new book I want to read, I'm not immediately buying or downloading it. I'll request it from my local library and WAIT for it to become available, even if there's a waiting list.

 - When I have a craving for a certain treat (like an almond milk latte), I'll give myself time before immediately giving in. This may just mean I wait until that afternoon, or maybe it means I wait until the weekend. If I still want the thing then, I'll have it and enjoy it fully.

- When I have a random question, I'll think about it before looking up the answer on the internet. This is more for little questions that pop up in life or in conversation (What was the name of that song we used to sing? I wonder what spice they use in this dish?) versus specific work or task focused questions.

- Instead of sharing ideas the moment they pop up, I'll sit with them a little longer to allow them to marinate. There are some exciting things I'm working on now that I want to share with you all, but I also know they'll be more flushed out and ultimately more impactful if they're given the appropriate time and space to blossom.

Not only has this practice of patience been supportive of my bank account, but I also feel like I'm using and strengthening my brain and my INTUITION more. The additional time and space allows me to more often connect to myself and understand if there's something else behind my craving or desire to buy or learn or know.

Maybe patience is no big deal for you, but my hunch is that patience is something most of us living within modern society could be more aware of.

If anything I shared today resonated with you, I encourage you to try it out! Pick one of the examples I listed above and practice it for a week or two. See how you feel and maybe where you could apply these principles in other areas of your life.

And then let me know how it goes!


HOW ARE YOU PRACTICING PATIENCE?

Leave a comment below so we can all be inspired!

Thai Red Curry

Like so many other foods, Thai curry holds memories for me.

Backpacking through Thailand and eating ALL the curry and pad thai.

Cold winter nights when I had just moved to Brooklyn and discovered my local Thai restaurant made a bomb veggie curry (which I got with “extra vegetables” every time).

And finally learning to cook this dish myself, one of my first more “exotic” recipes (I definitely did not grow up eating this food).

Me, searching for the best veg curry in all of Thailand (circa 2014)

Me, searching for the best veg curry in all of Thailand (circa 2014)

I forgot about Thai curry for awhile. Maybe because it held memories I wasn’t wanting to access, or maybe simply because I got in a routine of making other things and forgot about this once loved dish. Whatever the reason, I was reminded how much I love Thai curry during my recent trip to Sedona when my parents and I had Thai food for Valentine’s day dinner.

Homemade curry is especially awesome because you can customize it to your dietary preferences and taste buds: Not a fan of too much spice? Use a little less curry paste. Vegetarian? Add in some tofu or simply serve over rice. Grain free? Use cauliflower rice instead. Need more protein? Beef up this basic dish with whole shrimp or sliced chicken breast.

And so when I was thinking what dish to teach and make for last weekend’s retreat, curry immediately came to mind.

The recipe below is more of a rough formula. Don’t have snap peas? Leave ‘em out. Not a fan of mushrooms? Swap in another vegetable. Take my measurements and instructions as your guide, but feel free to make this your own.

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Simple THAI Red Curry

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

  • 1 onion, diced

  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 inch fresh ginger, minced

  • 4 tbsp Thai Red Curry paste (I always use this one by Thai Kitchen)

  • 1 8-oz package white button mushrooms, sliced

  • 1 bell pepper, sliced (orange, red or yellow all work)

  • 2 heads broccoli, cut into florets (save the stems for roasting and snacking!)

  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into coins

  • 1 cup snap peas, trimmed

  • 1 14-oz can full fat coconut milk (again I like the Thai Kitchen brand)

  • Juice of 1 lime

  • Fresh cilantro or basil, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Melt coconut oil in large pot over medium heat.

  2. Add onions and saute for 5 minutes and saute until soft and translucent.

  3. Add ginger, garlic, and curry paste and stir.

  4. Add all vegetables except snap peas and mix well so that curry paste is equally distributed.

  5. Add coconut milk and about 1/2 cup of water. Cover with a lid and let simmer until vegetables are cooked to desired done-ness (10 minutes or so).

  6. Add in snap peas and lime juice. Cover and let cook for another 2-3 minutes.

  7. Serve with fresh cilantro or basil, and more lime juice as desired.

Are you a curry fan? have you tried making it yourself?

Leave a comment below and let me know!

What even happens on a yoga retreat

"So what even happens on a yoga retreat?"

My roommate asked me this question when I arrived home from a weekend yoga retreat this Sunday. It was a good question, especially since I didn’t share any of the weekend on my Instagram account.

Yoga retreats have exploded in popularity in the last 5 years, likely due to an increased awareness around health but also thanks to social media, like Instagram, which gives teachers and students a platform to share these picture perfect adventures.

But yoga retreats are not just for committed "yogis" - they present awesome opportunities to relax, explore and connect with like minded individuals.

This past weekend I assisted in leading a retreat with my neighborhood yoga studio, Jewel City Yoga. It was such a joy to be a part of this experience, and such a pleasure to see how impactful this weekend was on each and every one of the participants, no matter their skill or interest in the physical yoga practice.

Yes, you can enjoy a yoga retreat even if you're a complete beginner, or if you decide not to participate in the yoga at all.

Today I'm sharing a bit more behind the scenes of this yoga retreat so that you can get an idea of what you might expect should you choose to participate in one in the future.

I'm also sharing three reasons a yoga retreat may be the perfect next vacation for you.

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Why go on a yoga retreat

Before we get into the WHAT, let’s talk about the WHY.

Why might you decide to go on a yoga retreat, versus simply traveling on your own?

  1. You prefer to have someone else take care of the logistics. With most yoga retreats, all of the details are handled with the exception of your flight or transport to the retreat location. You can literally just show up and not have to worry about food or outings or figuring out the best AirBnB to book. This can be especially nice when visiting a new foreign city, or if your life is particularly busy.

  2. You’re into health, wellness and/or self development. As I mentioned above, you don’t have to be an advanced yogi to go on a retreat, but you should have a general interest in health and wellness, or an openness to learning about these topics and yoga. I’ve taught at retreats where individuals opted out of the actual yoga, but they were happy to for the vibe of the trip to be health focused.

  3. You’re looking to connect with like minded individuals. In my opinion, the BEST part of retreats are the connections and conversations that co-habitating with other like minded humans for a week or weekend facilitates. Sometimes the retreat leaders initiate reflecting and sharing moments, but often it’s in the in between moments (in between yoga and brunch, during afternoon free time, in between dinner and bedtime) that conversation is sparked and connections are made. Each retreat will attract a unique set of people, all of which are there for a reason.

It’s definitely good if you like yoga, but there’s so much you’ll get out of a retreat regardless!

What actually happens? (example schedule)

Every retreat is unique, but I want to share this weekend’s schedule to give you an idea of what one might look like. With most retreats, the activities are always optional - you can choose to do everything, or decide to sleep in or spend some extra time with your journal (or hop over to the local winery, or whatever!).

The schedule below is for a weekend. Longer retreats usually follow the same flow, often with an adventure or excursion day in the middle of the trip to switch things up.

FRIDAY

5-7PM Arrive + settle in

7-8PM Dinner

8-9:30PM Welcome, intention setting + evening meditation

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SATURDAY

7:30-9AM Light breakfast + coffee and tea

9-10:15AM Morning yoga

10:15-11:15AM Free time

11:15AM-12:45PM Brunch

12:45-3:30PM Free time

3:30-4:45PM Afternoon yoga

4:45-6PM Free time

6-8PM Cooking class + dinner

8-9:30PM Post dinner discussion (we had a more formal chat about non violent communication, but often this will be additional free time)

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SUNDAY

7:30-9AM Light breakfast + coffee and tea

9-10:15AM Morning yoga

10:15-11:15AM Free time

11:15AM-12:45PM Brunch

12:45-1:30PM Free time

1:30-2PM Reflections, closing meditation + departure

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What do you eat? Is it only salads and green juice?

As you may expect, the food on yoga retreats is typically healthy, but also delicious. Sometimes a private chef is brought in to cook for the group, other times the retreat leader will do the cooking and ask participants to lend a hand with small tasks. If the retreat is held at a retreat center, the food is usually handled by their staff.

Most often meals are plant based.

Alcohol is usually not included, but not always discouraged - it’s simply up to you to purchase if you’d like to have it during your retreat. There was plenty of wine enjoyed this past weekend (not by me personally, but most everyone else had at least a glass or two with dinners).

DO I HAVE TO BE EXPERIENCED WITH YOGA?

The short answer: it depends.

Most often it’s completely fine to be a beginner, especially if you’re excited to learn. The beauty of a retreat is that you’ll get more time with a single teacher, and have the opportunity to ask questions, receive hands on adjustments and personal feedback.

There are some retreats that are geared more towards advanced practitioners and teachers. Likely you’ll know from the website if this is the case. And if you’re not sure, just ask! Get in touch with whoever is in charge and explain that you’re a beginner - would this retreat be a good fit for you?

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How do i find a retreat?

There are tons of companies these days who organize retreats as their full time business. And while you can absolutely find a great trip and have an amazing experience with one of these companies, I do suggest going with a teacher or studio you know if you can.

You’re way more likely to have a positive, enriching experience if you already know you like the teacher’s style (even if you’ve only taken a class or two but were into their vibe). In addition, you’ll meet people who live or work in your local community (which is less likely when going with a big, international retreat company).

That being said… YES, there are absolutely more yoga retreats in my future. Two are already brewing for this year :) Make sure you’re signed up for my weekly newsletter list to be the first to know about future retreat opportunities!




THANK YOU TO FROM THE HIP PHOTO FOR CAPTURING THIS WEEKEND SO BEAUTIFULLY