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Sage + Tarragon Cleaning Spray

On Sunday, I turned 29 years old.

Today, I sit on a deck overlooking the wide open mountain vistas of Colorado drinking handmade herbal tea with a close girlfriend…on a Tuesday. This week, we’ll hang in the hammock, meditate in the teepee, and bathe in the hot springs under the starlit sky all in between spurts of productivity as we both play the role of CEO in our businesses and our lives.

10 months ago this very moment, I was at my desk – bleary eyed – overlooking the city of San Francisco fielding emails, leading meetings, and giving performance reviews.

How did I get here? To a place where I am living a more mindful, playful, adventurous life?

4 words.

I dance with fear.

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Vanilla Coconut Coffee Body Exfoliating Cubes

I want to talk about your skin.

I came across a beautiful quote last week at my yoga studio - “The body is a sacred garment.” 

And I believe the skin is a silk robe.

You don’t treat a beautiful silk robe poorly.  You don’t get greasy food on it and crumple it up in the corner of your bedroom floor. No, you delicately hang your silk robe on the special hook in your closet, treat it with care and feel like a queen when it adorns your body.

If you really think about it, your skin is miraculous.

It’s the largest organ in our entire body and a living system – with hair, nails, glands, and ducts. It acts as a moisture regulator, preventing excessive entry and evaporation of water. It metabolizes and stores fat. It secretes sebum, to lubricate and manage oil balance. It processes salts, urea, water, and toxins though sweating.  In one square inch of skin, you have 65 hairs, 9.5 million cells, 100 oil glands, 19 yards of blood vessels, 650 sweat glands, and 1,300 nerve endings.

So today, I want to talk about treating your skin with the gift of exfoliation and moisture.

You can make these exfoliation cubes really easily with just 2 ingredients: used coffee grounds and coconut oil. Then you can add on with essential oils or powdered herbs (like I’m using today) to boost the impact. I love using the coffee grounds because they are great for reducing the appearance of cellulite and skin discoloration and it’s a beautiful way to repurpose after your morning cup of joe. Coconut oil is the wonder ingredient – providing moisture, reducing inflammation, and healing the skin. With this recipe, I added in powdered vanilla bean pods (that had dried out in a mason jar in my cupboard) – which gives a great aromatic experience. It smells a bit like brownies, yum!

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Lately, I’ve been feeling called back to working with plants and flowers once again.  After launching Alchemy & Wonder back in February, I needed to take a little break from my witchiness and began focusing on some internal work I needed to do with aligning my heart and deepening my intuition. Once in a while, I would think about making my own shampoo but it felt exhausting.

I think I needed time to rest – just like the plants do each winter.

Because now, with the summer sun, I’m feeling more inspired by and connected to the plants and flowers than ever before.

I recently found out that my spirit animal is the elephant, and my animal totem guide opens with this:

The key teachings of the elephant are of regality and ancient strength. It appears in your life to awaken your ancient lineage of alchemy, mysticism, and strength.

You know when you read something and everything just clicks? The growing connection I feel with the plants and flowers is tapping into this expansive well inside of me (and I suspect inside all women).  I fully understand that, by connecting to the plants, we can be the source of our own healing and can reconnect to each other – to return to the days when women were in community with each other and were healers. That resonates very deeply with my heart.

A Return to Alchemy

I’ve also been connecting with other apothecaries (the word actually refers to a person, and not a place), herbalists, and makers who are creating such incredible things with their hands.

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chai honey

I’ve just returned from a dreamy 4-day getaway with my love, where we celebrated 3 years of marriage with farm-to-table cuisine, mineral pools, and the most comfortable bed I have ever laid my limbs upon. Our bodies and brains relished in the spaciousness and slower pace of things, which was made evident by the lazy smiles covering our faces nearly the entire time.

On our last day however, I woke up for our final morning of lovers paradise feeling that old familiar twinge of painful longing and nervousness creeping up from my belly into my chest. This was the feeling I used to get every Sunday afternoon. The knowing that the work week was coming and the fun and play of the weekend was over. My sunday sads used to be so bad that I would purposely not plan anything on those days and wallow at home with laundry and netflix, fixating on the coming week.

So, I was a little surprised by those sensations coming back to me that morning.

What the eff, brain? Life is good. I’ve already scheduled in a gentle Monday scheduled tomorrow and I want to enjoy these last bits of vacation I have left. Go away post vacation blues!

Have you ever felt this way at the end of a vacation? That nervous (sometimes nauseating) energy, sadness or frustration as your vacation comes to an end?

It turns out, post-vacation blues is a real thing that manifests very real sickness-inducing symptoms in the human body. And I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way. I was successfully able to zap those blues as soon as I stepped out of the steam room, and am continuing to manage as I slip into this week and back to my regularly scheduled program.

Here are some tips I recommend for overcoming the pesky post-vacation blues:

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What do you remember about life as a child?

I recall it being full of magical possibilities and that, no matter where you were, you could use your imagination to create alternate realities.

You were a warrior princess saving your teddy bear from the clutches of the toad king.

You made an epic fort out of sheets and couch cushions, where only members of the secret monkey society could congregate and entrance was only given upon use of the password, banana pants (said with a giggle of delight).

Or (in my case) you and your friends are the cast of Homeward Bound and the playground was the plot of the movie.

You caught imaginary butterfly fairies with the net you made out of your mom’s wash bag for her delicates and a tree branch, giddily ran around the park being chased by the dinosaur monster that wanted to eat your peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and wore your jellies in the creek searching for mermaid babies.

Play!

(Image via)

Life was full of wonder and possibility. And what made that all possible was PLAY.

But somewhere along the way, we lost play.

I lost play.

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