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Daily Self-Care: Make a Green Smoothie

My favorite thing about a good smoothie is how nutrient dense they can be. A lot of the time, I think about smoothies as a meal in a cup. A lot of people will tell you, especially if you’re trying to lose weight, drinking your calories isn’t the best strategy. However, there are many benefits tied to making the right green smoothie. The benefits of constructing the perfect smoothie are found the dense nutrients that can be found in the fruits and vegetables you load up your blender with.

I love smoothies. One of my favorites combines frozen mangos, bananas, mixed berries (usually a combination of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries) whey protein powder, and fresh-squeezed orange juice.

When I’m really feeling like a treat, I’ll make an imitation of Jamba Juice’s chocolate peanut butter smoothie, using a frozen banana, some ice, cocoa powder, peanut butter, and milk (not exactly high on the detox scale, but it does provide a nice alternative to a piece of cake or some cookies).

After scouring the internet for the best green smoothie recipe, I found this one over at The Green Forks. Before I started writing this post, I didn’t realize how “adventurous” a smoothie can be. But, take a look at the ingredients:

  • Spinach
  • Romaine
  • Cucumber
  • Celery
  • Pear
  • Banana
  • Coconut water
  • Mint
  • Parsley
  • Lemon
  • Chia seeds
  • Ginger root
  • Cayenne
  • Cinnamon
  • Turmeric

While I haven’t gotten around to making this great smoothie every morning, drinking just one is definitely a self-care act when you’re feeling the need to detox.

What smoothie recipes do you love?

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Self-Care Act: Appreciate Your Feet!

In our August box we wanted to help you appreciate your body as you get out and enjoy the sunshine. Yoga is a great way to show your body some love as you practice new moves and breathing techniques to help you handle life’s daily stresses and ups and downs. That’s why we loved including the Yoga Deck to give you a chance to learn yoga basics and create routines that work for you.

But self-care isn’t just about clearing your mind and stretching those muscles. It’s also about learning to love you for you – to embrace your own beauty and feel comfortable in your own skin. That’s why August’s box included goodies to help you love the area we all tend to be a little self-conscious of: our feet.

And what better time to embrace our feet than in the summertime, am I right?

First off, we can’t get enough of the vegan nail polish from Black Dahlia Lacquer. This is powerful stuff – 30 days after my pedicure and my toes are still sparkly strong! One of the best things you can do to show your feet some love this weekend is to pick out your favorite nail polish and give your nails a shine.

trosta box nail polish

Even more amazing this month were the trösta box original barefoot sandals. At the beach or at the yoga studio – these are sure to make you smile! What I love about barefoot sandals is that they’re a little funky and are a way to get us all out of our comfort zone when we’d rather just be silent.

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So go on, start loving your body this month and start out by appreciating your feet and wear them proud!

 

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Daily Self-Care: Write Down 5 Things You Love about Yourself in Sidewalk Chalk

The other day I read an amazing post written by a women who had discovered organically how self-care allowed her to rejuvenate her life. What was so impressive about it though, is that she focuses on what her practice of self-care taught her about herself.

What she discovered is how truly awesome she really is.

A lot of the time we talk about self-care, we talk about its power in helping us through difficult times in our lives. No doubt self-care is 100 percent necessary for those hard times. What we don’t often talk about is the power of self-care to remind us how awesome we are. Yes, we can find the power to survive, but what we really want is to thrive.

For today’s self-care, start by grabbing your journal, turning on some energetic music, and writing a list of at least 5 things you absolutely love about yourself. Then, pick up some colored sidewalk chalk and find a space of sidewalk that you get to see most days so that you can see the results of your hard work every day. Finally, use your chalk (try to use all the colors) to write out the statements from your journal.

Not only will you now be able to remind yourself every day of just how amazing you are, but, because you wrote your statements publicly, there’s a chance other people will feel encouraged too. You could even challenge yourself to make a new friend or two if you happen upon someone enjoying your artwork!

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Getting Creative with A Quartzy Life

We love representing local artisans and small businesses, and this month we were blown
walking2away with the artwork from A Quartzy Life featured in our July box. We love A Quartzy Life’s prints, cards, and whimsical tattoos so much so we asked creator Lauren Younis to share more about her creative process and what she does for self-care.

 

 

 

We love your beautiful and inspiring cards that are in our July Box! Tell us about how you got involved in making and selling your own artwork?

Thank you! Creativity has been one of those things that’s probably been ‘under the surface’ in my life forever, but I really let it bloom when I was in my mid-twenties (I’m 28 now). That’s when I really chose to focus more on making art and designing my love is theown brand than anything else career-wise. It was a big decision indeed- there is no rule book when you’re embarking on a creative, entrepreneurial life, but the growth of A Quartzy Life has brought me so much joy, I can’t imagine committing as much time to anything else!

 

 

What is your favorite item to create, and where do you get your inspiration? What does your creative process look like?

All of my pieces begin as flashes of ideas, then sketches, then paintings, and then I turn them into prints, greetings cards, tattoos, stickers, you name it. I get my DSC08452inspiration from everywhere, literally: creativity is more a like a ‘lens’ through which I see the world than a ‘practice,’ if that makes sense. It’s how I see and who I am, not something I merely ‘do.’ Anything can inspire me: a talk with a friend or stranger, an idea from a book, nature… it’s about seeing the world as new every day. (Which is closely related to self-care, which I’ll talk about later!)

That said, my creative process is constant. It starts with paying attention and observing the world around me- and within me- and then manifests as art.

July’s theme is all about being adventurous. What are some ways you like to be adventurous in your daily life?

I couldn’t think of a theme I love more than adventure! Adventure in daily life is a necessity to me, and I often find myself leaving my comfort zone to seek it. I’m not even sure I have a ‘comfort zone’ any more, actually! I was born and raised in Illinois, trostaimagebut right now I’m in Colorado, and will soon be leaving for a National Parks road trip across the western US. Being in nature and beholding the splendor and beauty of the earth is something I need to to daily. I love hiking, camping, walking, just being surrounded by nature. It really puts me in touch with my soul. As I get older, another thing that inspires me a lot is people. I love learning about people, hearing their stories, deepening friendships and relationship- I’ve painted the words love is the greatest adventure more than once, and I truly believe that when we really hear, listen, and lovingly pay attention each other, we come alive in beautiful ways.

The trösta community is all about self-care and giving people an opportunity to try new activities to challenge themselves, be creative, and learn to love and grow in their strengths. What are some strategies you turn to when it comes to practicing self-care?

We live in a world that often demands us to be something we are truly not, asking us to play a role, put on a mask, and be concerned more with our appearance than our inner character and soul. Call me old-fashioned, but I think there’s nothing more dangerous to a creative, authentic, loving life! For myself, the foundation of self-knowledge is faith: knowing the source of my real beauty, knowing how I am wired and created, and being true to higher ideals than self-advancement and the need for approval from others. So anything that strengthens my faith is always a winning strategy, be it trostaimage2reading enriching books, sitting quietly in nature (or at my desk, sketching up ideas), or having conversations with those who inspire and uphold me. These things recharge my soul, and I seek them daily. Just as we need to fuel our bodies with goodness if we want to feel good, we need to fill our hearts and minds with the right things if we want the fruits of our life to be peaceable. In a more physical way, I love to practice yoga. I always tell people to forget attaching to the result: just do it! There is something about the mere practice of re-familiarizing yourself to your body in the most basic way that brings great joy and health. I love to run as well; to me it is meditative, rejuvenating, and even if it hurts at the time, my body always thanks me for it later.
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Engage in Grounding Exercises

 

If you’ve ever been through a time in your life where you feel out of control, you know just how helpless that can feel. But, feeling out of control doesn’t require you to be going through life-altering circumstances. We can all feel like things in our life are out of our control every single day, no matter how big or small those things are.

When you feel like your external circumstances are more in control of your life than you are, it can be helpful to practice grounding exercises.

What are grounding exercise?

Grounding exercises are real tasks or practices that can help you re-center yourself. Additionally, many of these tasks can help you focus your attention on something other than the “chaos” happening around you. While ground exercises won’t solve a problem for you, they can serve to put you in a state of mind to win back some control over your external circumstances. Grounding exercises are also great for helping manage intense anxiety.

Where can I start with grounding exercises?

key groundingGrounding exercises can be done using everyday things you may have in your pocket, or at least nearby. John Tsilimparis of the Anxiety and Panic Disorder Center recommends running your finger on the edge of a key or holding an ice cube in your hand for as long as you’re able before switching it to the other. For me, it’s helpful to think of these tasks as micro moments of meditation. By focusing my whole energy on feeling the key, I feel like I’m able to remove myself from the moment and just be.

Another tactic is to make a list of grounding questions and then answer them one by one. Examples of questions could be, “What is my name,” “When was I born,” or “Where am I now?” These kinds of questions can bring your attention to the here and now, which can be very helpful if the thing causing your anxiety is out of your control and not necessarily “present” in the moment.

Finally, if you’re the kind of person who enjoys nature, literally being one with the ground can have a similar impact. Stand barefoot in the grass and imagine the energy inside of barefoot in grassyou going through your feet and into the ground. You could also hug a tree, close your eyes and think about the vast root structure under your feet, imagining your energy pulsing through the tree and out through the roots, deep underground.

Have you taken advantage of ground exercises recently? If you’d like to share, please tell us your story in the comments.

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Free Tutorial! How to make your own flower press luminaries!

Hey all! In our July Box we partnered with Kyla O’Neill of Impressed by Nature to bring you a travel flower press to take with you on your adventures. Kyla is a rockstar when it comes to crafting beautiful creations from nature!

Pressed Flower Luminaries 

by Kyla O’Neill

The natural world has always been a source of calm and creativity throughout my life. As a child, my siblings and I would spend hours exploring the outdoors, including a real-life bat cave! Years later as a teacher, my kindergarten students and I spent monthkyla 1s creating elaborate fairy dwellings using natural found objects. Now, in my current life’s passion, I spend my days fawning over pressed flowers and leaves to create my natural jewelry designs. Running a business is not always relaxing, so in moments of stress and busyness, I continue to find ease and joy in the natural world around me–quite literally, stopping to smell the flowers. I think it’s safe to say that nature is my self-care muse!

In this month’s trösta box, you will have an opportunity to take part in a tradition that dates back to ancient Egypt. Flower pressing is a simple process that dries plant materials in a natural manner that maintains much of the color and integrity of the plant. The careful process encourages mindfulness of action as well as a deep connection to the natural world, and the end results leaves the door open for numerous creative projects. Here is just one option for you to try out.

Pressed Flower Luminaries

Materials:

  • Pressed flowers and leaves (use thin plant materials for this project smaller than 4 inches)
  • Wax paper
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Washi or clear tape

Steps:

Step 1: Cut four 5”x10” wax paper rectangles.
Step 2: Fold each rectangle in half to create 5”x5” squares.
Step 3: Open up each folded piece and place dried flowers or leaves on one side of the fold. Fold the top layer back down with flowers inside.

step 3 place flowers - luminaries - IMPRESSED by nature step 3b place flowers - luminaries - IMPRESSED by natureStep 4: Briefly run the iron (on medium setting) over the top layer to seal the two layers together. Do not leave the iron on the wax paper for too long or it will melt! Repeat with all four squares.

step 4 iron squares - luminaries - IMPRESSED by natureStep 5: Line up all four sealed squares in a row. Use the washi tape to connect them on the seams where they meet.
Step 6: Fold along each seam to create a square box and tape the final seam together.
Step 7: Place the luminary near a bright window and let the natural daylight outline the beautiful colors and shapes of the plants or add a small tealight or battery-operated candle in the center and watch the petals illuminate at night.

final product - pressed flower luminaries - IMPRESSED by nature

TIP: Make a set of differently sized luminaries by playing with the dimensions of the wax paper walls.

Visit IMPRESSED by nature’s Pinterest Page for more pressed flower projects.

Visit IMPRESSED by nature’s Online Shop for floral jewelry and flower pressing kits.  

Try out your July trösta box flower press with this tutorial from Impressed by Nature!
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How to make your own DIY sunscreen (recipes!)

The best part about the summer is the sunshine, of course. Being outdoors can have a ton of amazing physical and psychological effects. Plus, I absolutely love the self-care impact of being outdoors, where I can practice my grounding exercises.

But, the one thing to guard against while outdoors is the harmful effects of the sun if you’re out for too long. This is where sunscreen comes into play. If you’re like me, it can be pretty annoying to buy your own sunscreen, especially since many products don’t do the best job of speaking to the chemicals in their products. The best way to overcome these worries is to make your own sunscreen.

Not only can making your own sunscreen be healthier for you in the long run, but you can add a variety of personal ingredients to make it your own unique blend. Below, we include some of our favorite recipes, and tell you why we’re featuring each. Sunscreen recipes can be as diverse in their ingredients as they are similar. Many revolve around the same staples, such as coconut oil, shea butter or cocoa butter, vitamin E, and zinc oxide for sun protectant. We also love making our own sunscreen because you have the chance to add many of your own essential oils to the mix to give your blend the unique scent or skin healing properties you love.

Also, many of the recipes we found use beeswax. That’s because beeswax has natural water-repellant properties. So, these recipes will not only help you block the sun this summer, they’ll also stay on during the fun summertime water activities you’ll be engaging in.

Health Acne-Avoiding Facial Sunscreen

This recipe from pinsandprocrastination.com introduced me to how different ingredients can clog your pores. Many recipes use coconut oil, but this recipe uses a variety of oils that do a better job of keeping your pores clear and will lower the chance that you’ll break out because of the sunscreen. This recipe is a great facial sunscreen that incorporates shea butter, jojoba oil, beeswax, vitamin E oil, and red raspberry seed oil.

The Right Kind of Zinc

Most of the oils you’ll be using in your sunscreen have a natural SPF (actually the recipe above does a great job of listing some of those values), but the real sun blocking power comes from the zinc. Holistic Squid’s recipe coaches us in the right kind of zinc to look for, specifically uncoated non-nano zinc. Use this because the particles are big enough to not be absorbed by our skin.

How about Some Sunscreen with that Lotion?

Many of the recipes we found could be used as an everyday lotion as well as sunscreen. This recipe from mommypotamus starts with a base lotion recipe and then adds the wonderful sun-blocking ingredients. Similar to Holistic Squid, this recipe gives us some more information about how to properly handle the zinc compounds. Specifically, she mentions it’s smart to wear a mask to avoid breathing in the compounds when you begin mixing them into your homemade sunscreen and also gives us a formula for exactly how much to use to get the right SPF.

Add that Essential Oil

This recipe uses many of the standard elements, but recommends adding lavender essential oil to the mix. Additionally, rather than carrot or jojoba oils, she uses sweet almond oil, which she says is a great add-on for skin elasticity. Give it a try today.

Do you have a sunscreen recipe you’re partial to? Shoot us a note in the comments and let us know why you love it.

Photo credit goes to Alex Ruban, posting to Unsplash.