Feminine Fire Pt. 4: Recognizing Your Feminine Truth

Asbury Park Boardwalk, NJ.

Asbury Park Boardwalk, NJ.

So we finally made it.  Happy Summer Solstice, my dears.

The last month has been somewhat of an eye-opener.   I knew for sure I wanted to get this off my chest and out to you all.  By "this" I mean these posts filled with everything I believe in and love.  From Feminism, to the beauty given by mother earth, to even a little beauty cheat sheet, I had one more topic to bring into this series.  I wanted to talk about the beauty possible in every woman.  That energy.  That soul.  It is what I believe truly connects us all.

The universe. Our planet.

I am no more than lover of the Sun.  I'm a worshipper of the moon.  I do not look for the stars to tell me how to live, but rather understand how I am already doing so.  Our bodies are mostly made up of the same water that embodies most of Mother Earth.  Her waves run through us, and though her currents may be strong at times, she is only following the cycle of the moon.  Every month we have the opportunity to cleanse and release.   Internally our body, just as strong as the currents of the ocean, sometimes painfully, pushes out what does not belong.  Like every month, the moon becomes New.  Not a coincidence, but a cycle of miracles

We are given the opportunity to live in sync with the universe.  Once we work towards that, I believe we get closer to understanding the powerful connection within us all.  Just like we follow the patterns of night and day, we can live consciously within the seasons of our community.  We are gatherers, care-givers, and providers.  She grows the grass, raises the cattle, and feeds the earth.  How amazing is she?  How amazing are we? 

Compassion.  Ahimsa.  To do no harm.

Words and practices I always try and live by.  Even when I go astray, I have another woman there to remind me.  When I don't have her, I have the permanent ink engraved on my skin, on top of my ribs that protects my heart.  For to understand pain, is to live through it ourselves.  We have the power to go past sympathy.  We have the power of empathy.

I wanted to have this post as a conclusion.  I wanted to leave this series as a beginning.  I only hope that one day all women will have the courage to realize we are all in this together.  We are powerful and strong, sometimes so much so we scare ourselves.  I don't want to confuse our great gifts with what society has named us.  Emotional. Crazy. Dramatic. Spiteful.  Do not speak about yourself what you wouldn't want to hear from others.  

If I am emotional, then I am privileged to feel.  Crazy?  I am crazy in love with Mother Earth.  So much so, that I revolved my whole life to make it a better place.  I am dramatic for the injustice and hurt that people endure from the those who are fearful of the unknown.  Sometimes we need to make a bigger fuss for the bigger things.  And I will never try to get even, but only make you realize that there was a better way.

So here is to a better way.  

My women, the ones who came before me, the ones who walked beside me, and the ones I may admire from a far,  I hope you always keep your beauty unique, your privilege honest, and your FEMININE FIRE always burning. 

Not only with love... with respect and pride.  

 

 

 

Feminine Fire Pt. 3: My Favorite Beauty Hacks and Picks

I thought I would do this series with a consistent flow. I honestly haven't written so much consecutively in a while, I almost feel a little in your face.  Am I in your face?  If I am, I apologize, but not really.  This is some gooood stuff.  I promise. 

Last week I discussed with you the secret of effortless Summer beauty through the power of food.  Because food is medicine, food heals, and food gives back. The good stuff from mother earth, at-least.

You know me though.  As I concluded, I am nothing more than a HOLISTIC FOODIE, who believes in the miracle of greens and therapy in a glass or two of wine.  So what happens when maybe you had a little too much?  Maybe sensitive heated skin from too much sun or maybe a pimple pop-up when approaching that special time of the month.  I still turn to fast relief, quick fix DIY products and solutions.

These are TRIED AND TRUEEEEE.  They are my go-to whenever I can't wait for my green juice to work miracles.

Raw Honey

This is my go-to cleanser.  I hope to one day make this into a face wash but for now, I enjoy this one ingredient quick cleansing mask. Raw honey is not only full of vitamin and minerals great for the body it is also great for the skin.  Both an antibacterial to act as a cleanser and full of antioxidants it actually rids blemishes with out clogging pores.  Once I rinse the honey with cold water my skin automatically feels smoother and softer, a natural moisturizer.  I do this mask at least three times a week. Yes, I swear by this.

Lemon Sugar Scrub

My homemade Lemon Sugar Scrub to be exact!  This is the perfect night or day scrub.  Ingredients that brighten (lemon), cleanse (coconut oil) , exfoliate (sugar), and moisturize, it's hard for me to go a day with out it.  Whether I use in the morning when my face is feeling a little dull or tight, I like to make sure I'm starting my day and face routine in an invigorating way.  After use my skin feels soft AND clean while riding any dry spots that come about.  For a spa feeling, I use this face scrub at night to prep for any mask I choose.  It opens pores, so make sure to rinse with cold water to lock moisture!

Tea Tree Oil

I honestly cannot even go on vacation without this stuff.  This product is an astringent which both cleanses and clears skin.  Perfect to combat acne, you can do one of two things.  Purchase a cleanser or make your own that features a low amount of Tea Tree Oil or if you usually only get spots of acne or that one annoying pimple, apply a low amount on that area. I usually do it the night before and wake up always with the pimple practically gone.  A small amount does wonders, so it is definitely worth the money spend on a small bottle.    

Rosehip Oil

A light weight skin absorbing cleanser.  I love this as it doesn't feel as if it's an extra layer to my skin.  It really does absorb easily leaving no greasy feel.  This is perfect for those who aren't big on high fragrant or ingredient moisturizers, since this one ingredient does it all.  The benefits over time? Rosehip actually has anti-aging properties, which help prevent or decrease visibility of wrinkles, visibly reduce pores, and treats sensitive skin.  Perfect for day or night.  

Rosewater

I swear by hydration.  Not just drinking tons of water, but actually keeping it on your face.  I love humidity for that reason, my skin automatically will retain the moisture.  But, what about when the heat kicks in? Despite my love for heat, the sensitivities are too real.  Rosewater actually contains anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, AND antioxidant properties.  Spray onto face and you will feel instantly refreshed, while leaving your skin soft and cleansed.  I keep a little spray bottle with me at all times during the Summer months!

PS.  There are always honorable mentions.  Vitamin E, clay masks, and my DIY Yogurt Face Mask does sensitive skin goood. 

Feminine Fire Pt 2: Summer Beauty Foods

Happy June!  So excited to start off this month with a few of my favorite things. Summer, food, and beauty!

It actually wasn't until a few years ago, I started to get into beauty.  Like skincare, makeup, and eyebrows-on-fleek beauty.  (Yes I still use fleek, even fleeky sometimes....)

I was a Jersey Girl in Florida figuring out new roads, befriending new people, living in what felt like another world sometimes.  I was becoming more involved with my full-time job, which was transforming from working in retail, to working in the fashion industry.  I started to put my clothes together differently (I somehow managed to maintain what I call City Tropics), wearing makeup as both a feature enhancer and bold statement, and then looking into natural beauty options.

You see, no matter how much makeup I wore and experimented with, I wanted to stay true to my roots.  Yes, I wore foundation, but would I love my skin even if I didn't?  I caked, contoured, and penciled in every bare spot, and then washed it all off at the end of the night.  Keeping my face clean and healthy became more important than ever before.  I made sure to buy the cleanest vegan makeup I could find and purchasing natural face mask and cleansers.  Read: Shit got expensive.  In Florida, not only did I divulge in this whole other world, I learned to incorporate what I already knew to be true.... Food creates Health and Beauty.

That is when I began to believe in feeling beautiful in every aspect of my life.  From using inside out practices, to creating products to take care of the skin I was in.  

Now that is is Summer and seeing that I started this love in the hot humid days of the south, I thought it was only fitting to do this post as a little tribute .  My Northeast, down South, and West Coast loves can enjoy most of the in season foods and ingredients.  These are just my favorite, there are many more to experiment and enjoy for your specific skin type.  Also because this is food, most of the ingredients are great to use on your skin as well!

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Aloe

My summer favorite.  This is a regular/must for me when I travel to hotter and more humid climates.  Aloe serves double duty too!

The Aloe Vera plant has very cooling and healing properties.  Full of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, this plant is great topically or taken internally.  Notice I say plant, get more for your buck ya'll!  Everything from healing rashes, sun burns, to even constipation and digestion.  Quick little tidbit, if you're digestion is not track, most likely neither is your skin. It's in your gut, not genes.  

How To:

  • Peel off the skin, chop jelly interior into fine pieces.  Put into a gallon of purified water and refrigerate.  
  • To drink, enjoy a glass with some pineapple juice, agave, and/or herbs for an easy go to cocktail.
  • To heal irritated or sensitive skin, apply aloe mixture on top and let air dry.  

Avocado

How can I not?  If I don't have avocado in a day, I sometimes feel incomplete, like I missed something so delicious to make it my day/dish ten times better. 

Rich in all the good GOOD fats, which is great for overall body health, the effects are amazing for the skin as well.  These good fats are anti-inflammatory which is also play a key role for the skin.  If you are prone to redness (rosacea), dry patches, and feel your skin becoming dull or loosing elasticity, this is for you!  I find myself more often than not poking and pulling at my skin.  Have I reached the time in my life where I worry about wrinkles?  Yes, I think I have.  But, I embrace it and now have the excuse of eating all the avocados.  Honestly, a win-win.  Also containing antioxidants which repair cell damage, so for those who love the summer sun, you absolutely cannot say no to a bowl of guacamole. 

Whether eaten or applied as a mask, affects are the same! On the skin for fast relief, eaten for overall maintenance.  

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Greens

From vegetables such as kale, spinach, and dandelion, to herbs like cilantro and parsley, every green has an abundance of properties to help maintain great skin.  Full of vitamins and minerals that basically start the journey to clean beauty.  Whenever I do a detox, the first thing I notice right away is my skin.  It is calm, clear, and because of less inflammatory foods, less likely to get irritated.  The chlorophyl in greens is one of the most detoxing properties which rid heavy metals and impurities which cleanse your gut and colon, which in turn automatically helps clear your skin.  Vegetables like cucumbers and celery are great for keeping you and your skin properly hydrated, helping the cleansing effect and keeping your skin glowing!

How To:

  • You DO NOT need a detox.  Simply just up your greens.  Green juices and monsters, salads, and super greens will do!
  • Play with different facial mask using herbs such as parsley or basil.  More to come on next post!

Fruits

Fruits don't get enough praise and love as they should.  They are first healing, full of antioxidants which as previously mentioned help repair cell damage.  Whether from the sun or harsh temperatures, we sometimes miss how to properly care for our face and skin.  Antioxidants are an easy way to do any reversal.  Along with Vitamin C which creates radiance within the skin, it helps to absorb other nutrients such as magnesium which serves your body and sleep well.  My favorites are blueberries and raspberries (I sometimes eat a pint for a light dinner), mangos, pineapples, and watermelon more for hydration.  If there is one thing that your skin is usually missing no matter if you have dry or oily skin, is proper hydration.  

Another plus for fruit, natural sugars which help curb cravings!  Some may have a higher sugar content than others, but I guarantee you, it is better than that piece of cake, ice cream, or even nutrition bar, that you save your calories for.  Those ADDED sugars wreak havoc.  

So there you have you it,  not a complete list, but a great guide to keep your skin looking and feeling amazing.  It all comes down to following three different keys/nutrients... hydration, anti-inflammatory, antioxidants, and CONSISTENCY. 

Yes, I could add all the ingredients and foods to stay a way from, but in reality, I like pizza, meaty tacos, coffee, and a cocktail every now and then.  This practice is called MODERATION.

Dedicated to all my summa lovin' beauties.

 

Feminine Fire Pt. 1: What Being a Feminist Means to Me

DISCLAIMER: I am not a life coach, psychiatrist, or currently participating in any activist group. 

Feminism - The theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.

My dears, this post was a long time coming.  I have given little hints and sneak peaks, but I thought in honor of the summer and birthday to come, I want to express what I find beautiful.

I found myself talking to my mom one night, confiding how I want to speak more about womanhood, current politics, and all those "taboo" subjects that aren't to be spoken about at work, public place, and sometimes even between friends.  So, with who then? When is it okay? I know there are communities and organizations who focus on the real big stuff.  But damn, I just wanna have some deep inspiring conversation, unafraid, and authentic, about presidencies, war, the environment, white privilege, and woman empowerment.  Yes, ALL THAT. 

Then, on the other hand, I find myself thinking, "WHO THE HELL AM I?" I talk about avocados and salads, the importance of mindfulness and kindness.  The uncomfortable stuff, even words, I dare not speak or avoid, because well, I created a healthy-living wellness blog with a focus on food. But, if I must classify and justify myself, I'm just a woman who believes in her potential and the potential of this crazy beautiful world we live in.  With that said, here we go.

I believe that being a feminist is nothing more than being a human being.  Nobody is better than you and you are better than no one else.  There are certain reminders and ways I keep myself humble, open, and female as fuck.

Lay Off the Judgement

Whether you practice modesty or religious dress, a doctor or stay at home mother, a woman who shaves her armpits or not, or a man who resonates with the female soul, there are so many difference between us all, you will never hear about many at all.  It's okay to be curious and ask, even maybe just wonder.  But, when I hear that someone is not good enough, smart enough, or pretty enough, it breaks my heart. There are so many different beliefs it has become too easy to pass judgement onto one another.  What makes us unique and human, especially in a place I call home, has created so much DRAMA.  

Because I choose to wear revealing clothing and no bra make me seem I have less self respect?  Because I choose to refrain from sex in time when women sexual liberation is becoming well acknowledged and accepted, make me a prude?  Does me not smiling make you uncomfortable?  I heard women are prettier when they smile.  Are you automatically intelligent and worthy of work because you went on to higher education?  If I didn't, would you think I was ignorant? When did clothing, job choice, education, or looks define a person?  Those things were meant to empower us, not put us down. 

You never know what someone else has went through or done to get where they are.  When it comes to woman I see this way to often, even within themselves.  What we do is usually for ourselves, not attention or praise.  And if it is, I say this with sincerity, it is time for you seek something greater than approval.  So please, be mindful of automatic judgement and be open to see what really makes that individual beautifully being.

Stand for Everyone

It's not just women rights, it's every individual's birth right to feel free and unafraid in the skin they are in.  Whether it is indigenous Latinos being seen as illegal (correct term - undocumented), Muslims suspected as terrorist, blacks perceived as violent, or women seen as too sensitive or inad (forever far from), we have segregated ourselves greatly.  There are men of different races violating women in the same way and when being prosecuted, they have different sentences. Why? Because one "will not be able handle the devastating impact." Oh, and the woman? Well, she should have never put herself in such a position to be abused in the first place.  

Stand up for our children who are open and ready to receive so much love and knowledge, but maybe can't because politics say lower budget schools are not priority when it comes to education.  Stand up for the woman next to you being harassed for wearing too little AND for the one made uncomfortable for wearing too much, stand up for the colored men who are being seen as a threat.  Use your voice. Not your phone.  Your voice is the greatest tool you have to make up for the women and children who are silenced.  Ignorance may seem like bliss, until it affects you.  

Shit Happens. Don't Get Over it. 

I recently received came across a quote by Gloria Steinem. "The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off."

Get mad, get upset, send prayers, and love.  Understand that this is the Universe we live in.  It's hard to see the good in so much bad and hurt that happens EVERY DAY, but it's possible.  Talk about it.  Read about it and don't let anyone ever tell you, you are one person.  There was once only one vegan, only one farmer, one female politician, and one company donating their products to young women in need of feminine hygiene products so they may go to school.  

Do you see where I'm going with this?  Don't stop with "that's the way it is." 

Always with love and a big fucking heart.

PS.  We are all a work in progress.  To say I haven't classified myself once or twice as a chonga, or thought any man I met may be worth my time, would be lie.  Take note on your own thoughts and words.  They mean a ton whether spoken to yourself or to others. 

 

 

 

 

What I Found... Again: Scenes from Peru

Hello, my beauties! If you only read my blog, you probably think I disappeared, or even ran away.  Don't worry, I've been around!  Social media has a way of letting me get in yo face.  Or maybe, you haven't worried at all and you've been so busy living your spectacular lives as any wild human being should! Either way, I'm gonna explain myself.

I've been making jellies, body scrubs, and deodorants. I've been traveling, started working in a new enormous city, and dealing with every commuter issue you could think of.  It's been time consuming, frustrating, beautifully new, surreal, and of course scary. It kind of looks more like a negative than positive, but trust me, the positives are way big too ignore. 

I was actually up the other night, not able to sleep, thinking about... shit, and what the hell I was going to write.  And even though I had an idea, I had no clue how I was going to do it.  Meaning I couldn't put into words.  

I wanted to talk about my trip.  The first time I traveled out of country and visited where my father, who I believe makes America great, came from.  I also wanted to talk about my experience working in a totally new environment.  Everything from the position, place, and people has been SO DIFFERENT. 

Then it occurred to me, I didn't want to talk about my experiences.  Honestly, I tried writing for a few days and couldn't find the words to put it together.  I couldn't even find the words for it to actually mean something.   So instead, I decided to talk about my feelings.  Because, I realized that's where my experiences were connected.  Are you with me?  Did I lose you?  Look at pictures or read on.  It ain't no thang.

I've been feeling two great forces as of late.  

There is the one that makes me feel it's my time to go again.  It's time to pack up leave into a new world (maybe just state) and experience something there.  Because, I want to feel alive every fucking minute of the day.  Because, I felt stuck. 

When I was in Peru, it actually made me miss some of my past.  My past of living in a place where, goddamn it, it was warm, there was a culture, latin food, and cafe con leché on every corner.  It made me miss traveling to mother land #2.  Humble countries and islands, fruits falling from the trees, and nature's beauty made for everyone to enjoy.  I think that's where I left a piece of my heart at.  

Then there is this other part.  The part that reminds me why I stay.  For the first time in a while, I'm working on and progressing, SLOWLY, towards a vision.  A vision to do what I love, sharing what I create, and making some kind of mark within my communities.  It's hard. Even when those times come and I really think I am about to give it all up, I remember yet, something else.  I have every kind of support I could ask for and a family I don't think I'm ready to leave again.  I actually find this even scarier.  The feeling of familiarity, being committed to one place.  Have I reached the other reason people "settle down." 

I actually love where I spend most my days... for a change.  The most intense area of the melting pot.  Where everyone is different.  I walk next to richest people and some of the poorest every day.  We all look so different, dress different, and most of the time I never understand the words they speak.  It's amazing.  I'm learning the deepest of patience and finding the absolute littlest things miraculously beautiful.  Even though I walk alone, ride alone, and work alone, in a place where everyone stands out individually, I can't help but feel of sense of belonging.  I feel as if I belong in this crazy noisy city made of the hustlers, dreamers, and radicals.  That's where I'm at.

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For the first time, I feel my vision coming alive.  What it fully is, I'm not %100 sure, and sometimes I'm so damn scared and annoyed.  I have my what-if moments, breakdowns, and feeling of defeat.  Then I remind myself why, my passion creates those feelings of empowerment and true love.  I turn to those who believe and make worth while every little thing I have accomplished.  My family that has learned to except each of our rebel, introverted, and traditional ways. For the first time, I started to feel confident in my version of stability.  I made it my own. 

I can't help my feelings of loving the road that takes me any where and every where.  The freedom being a woman who let's herself feel free any way she can, who dreams the unthinkable, and has learned to manifest love with her heart and hands.  

With every person I pass by, I only hope they are thinking of something just as spectacular.  Feeling unstoppable.  Becoming curious of the uncertain.  Pushing those limits and rules that were set upon them.  In every humbling place, I see your beauty, I feel your potential to be home. Thank you for teaching me in your own way patience, openness, and appreciation for both what I both experience and what I already have. 

Ayurvedic Turmeric Latte

So yea, about this transition to Spring... maybe we gotta take it slow.

I've done the meals, cut down on the meat, and already prepped for Spring detoxes to come.  But, in case you missed the memo, we are experiencing freezing temperatures, icy winds, and too much snow to actually enjoy. Believe me, I reverted to my hearty winter meals mixed with some good oven-lovin' cooking, REALLY FAST.  Wasn't the easiest to do, and I wish I could say I did it with a genuine a smile, but you know the way my body works, I barely made it.  

How do you guys cope? Accept?  Mind you, I said "accept" and not "adapt."  This whole winter I thought I was right on track.  I decided that I would be an Eskimo and that was okay.  I've tried everything to make this new transition of work a little easier.  Learning everyday something new to help my days go smoother.

It was not  until a few days ago I realized I was just learning to adapt, and I was not learning to accept.  Accepting the fact that winter's will always be intense, no matter how much I eat.  I may have to start questioning what is possible and what is reality.  Accepting that maybe the hardest and harshest of situations, will actually bring an abundance of beauty I never knew possible. 

To celebrate the comeback of winter, I made you a special drink.  An Ayurvedic Turmeric Latte.  Turmeric has properties I believe to be as strong as any medicine.  Not only an anti-inflammatory, treating ulcers, arthritis, and liver damage.  It also is a preventative of colds and DNA damage, keeping you feeling and looking young.  I usually take turmeric with my morning tonic, but this is a nice little midday or nighttime treat. 

Mix into an a neutral milk (I use almond) with cinnamon for flavor, pepper for absorption, coconut oil for another whole slew of benefits, honey for vitamins and sweetness.  A trending drink to match the already well-known and loved spice. You may adjust the ingredients how you like.  

The point is to keep it simple, enjoyable, and the let the turmeric shine.  Hoping this gives you a bit of comfort and warmth, while seeing the beauty in the simple things. 

Turmeric Latte

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Ingredients

  • ~1 cup milk
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 tbs raw honey
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnoman 
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Whisk and enjoy!

 

Coffee Confidential's

Joe & The Juice, New York

Joe & The Juice, New York

Well another week has passed, and if you are like me as of late, we really are confused as to wear the time has gone.  I've been considering a lot of different things as of late.  Job options, menu choices, and coffee vs matcha as of late.  Some really hard stuff, ya feel me?

Then every Sunday I think to myself, "Did I accomplish everything?" Not something I'm proud of, but something I learn to accept, for RIGHT NOW.

I thought we talk and list and ramble this Sunday morning/afternoon, if you will.

1.  Let's talk about working with what you got. I spent two shopping prepping for meals to come and I still found myself needing more! Seriously?  I looked at my pantry and for the first time in a while it was full.  I realized I had been over thinking it.  I used to make magic with anything.  So, when my menu comes out, don't be surprised if it says vegetable in season/available.  Surprise!!! Own it. Explore it. Be proud of it.

2.  I'm in a need of a new book.  I've been reading Gabrielle Bernstein's 108 book.  But, with longer train rides and alittle more downtime, I think a story is needed.  Even to give my mind a rest from thinking about food and work.  

3.  I've become a matcha fan.  A matcha fanatic if you will.  Can you believe I actually used to have to force it down my throat?  Sorry for any visuals.  But in all seriousness, I was not a fan.  I thought it made for a good coffee alternative for when under-the-weather.  But it used to taste like creamy green tea? Well, now I like creamy green tea lol

4.  Found another Netflix series!  I've actually been watching, Parenthood, as I've noticed I'm a sucker for family-real-talk TV.  I grew up with being very close with my family, grandparents, aunts, uncle, and cousins.  I guess it's a bit of nostalgia and wish to never change.  Like I say, "La vida no es facíl."

5.  The runner up is, The Chef's Table. OMGGGG! Give me all the inspiring foodie stories, all the failures and struggles, and all the good food proudly created.  It really does make you think about food in it's more vulnerable pure form, and how one person can make this ingredient so accessible to the masses.  Only with care, conciousness, and curiosity. Extra. Ordinary.  Basically, I want to go to cooking school now.  Or maybe in 10 years.  Or maybe in my dreams.  Hey, it's never too late, right?

6.  I finally see, or rather feel, the energy that so many people have tried to express.  I'm talking there love and appreciation for New York City. To be honest, I never saw much past the Christmas spectacular, broadway, and people looking super trendy in the dead of winter.  Yet now, I kinda love it.  I feel the diversity, strength, and pride that has gone with it.  I may be there to stay, just for a bit longer.

7.  I'm still a Jersey Girl.  My car let's my soul wander.  Downtowns keep me humble. The shore is my forever summer love affair. 

8.  Go to yoga.  Practice yoga. Make yoga. 

 

PS.  Excuse the typos.  I was flyin' free this morning

PSS. None of my links decided to work. So this is what we talked about.

https://www.joejuice.com

https://www.amazon.com/Miracles-Now-Life-Changing-Finding-Purpose/dp/1401944337/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1488729261&sr=8-4&keywords=gabrielle+bernstein

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1416765/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4295140/

Rebuilding and My Favorite Banana Bread

I really didn't know at first how I wanted to start this at first.  In general, with blogging about the topic at hand, or something I haven't done in a while, talk food. So, I thought we start out a little heavy, with the lightness and sweetness mixed in through out, till the ending. 

Remember the Mantras, affirmations, and intentions we created for this year? Yea, all those positive ideas and visions that we sought ourselves doing?  How are you guys doing with it?  I hope for the most part you were able to keep them in mind with lightness.  Maybe, you are even making some progress.  But, what happens when shit totally hits the fan?

If it hasn't happened to you yet, I can tell you what went down when it happened to me.  Honestly, it was a long time coming, but it still felt so sudden.  I went from just going along, creating, giving, and feeling great, to just watch it all start coming down.  

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I had been BUILDING.  I saw February as the month for everything to launch and grow.  Then when one part went astray, and I broke.  I questioned, cried, and doubted everything I created because of one I couldn't control anymore (in reality, I was loosing grip months ago).  I saw it as a domino effect against my other goals.  It was unreal.  One of the few things that kept me going were the people I could talk too about it.  And most of them said, "FUCK THAT.  Do what you need to do and better."  Really, the people in my life are the OG's and never keep it subtle.  It's a blessing and a curse.  

So with great words of wisdom, alone time, kitchen therapy, and Parenthood binging, I shaped up, readjusted my plans, and here I am. Writing a billion words per minute, excited to share this recipe with y'all, and ready to finally come back where it all began.  

Ahh the kitchen.  Where I have taken refuge the last few weeks.  Where I've been putting my ideas in fierce action.  Creating, testing, sometimes failing, but never giving up.  I have been toying with a banana bread recipe for weeks.  Trying to create one from scratch.  Then, finally, I saw one I couldn't resist.  I had to recreate that one.  

It's the most delicious banana bread I've ever tasted.  I tweaked only a couple of things, just because of what I had on hand, but it was still the best result I gotten.  

Key's to success:  

  1. You need parchment paper and when you use it, make it neat.  I called my wrinkled ends, booty bloopers, and while it still looked beautiful and tasted amazing, for a more traditional look, smooth out that paper!
  2. Do not skimp on the banana, it's the key to moistness.  Yes. Moistness.
  3. Do not open crack on top! Poke another part of center to check if ready.

Whole Wheat Banana Bread 

adapted by Hippy Banana Bread by Tracy of Shutterbean  

  • 1 and 1/2 cup whole wheat pasty flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1/2 grape seed oil
  • 1/2 brown sugar
  • 1/4 maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed 
  • 1/2 dates, chopped
  • 1/2 shopped macadamia nuts, chopped (or walnuts)

Preheat oven to 350. Line 8x4 loaf pan with parchment paper

In small bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

In a larger bowl, whisk together oil, brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, eggs, and banana.

Fold dry ingredients into wet.  Do not over mix or whisk.  Then add nuts and dates.  

Transfer into lined pan and into the oven for 55 min.  Enjoy!

Here is to the decision to keep that momentum of growth in every aspect of life going, even if that means taking a little more time to rebuild one.  It may just end up bigger and more impactful than you ever imagined. 

With sweet, soul, nourishment.

 

 

 

 

Creating Your Mantra

So many times we go into something, not completely knowing why and how we are doing it.  Especially at this time of year, with resolutions and both beginning and endings playing a significant role, the pressure is on!  

Constantly in our mind, are questions like what have we done, to what do we want to do.  What can we finally commit to, because this is the "perfect time".  Well, my dears, as you may note, this is where I tend to disagree.

Like most, I have seen my resolution lists after a year, only to check off a few of the items.  So many times after just half a year, I feel as if I aimed for the impossible.  I really started to let loose with my New Year Intentions.  Just another day, another night to hang out with family and wish each other the best.  Nothing wrong, but definitely not much to look forward too, but maybe a new planner.

So, I decided to go back to my roots.  To take a deeper look at who I was, and still becoming. I decided to create my mantra out of what I thought, and concluded.  Nothing concrete, but ever changing.  This gave me the platform.

A mantra.  A word or saying, repeated and reflective. Why and how?

1. Look Back

This is something I did naturally, and as much as I disliked it at first, I felt it had been the perfect way to figure out what I truly needed at this period in my life.  I found this to bring up intense emotions. You want to look back as if they were two of you.  Your present self looking upon the scenes and actions of your past self.  There is going to be the good, there is going to be the bad.  Recognize how you feel and probably felt.  I found this to be extremely uncomfortable at first, but eyeopening. 

The point is not to dwell, but to acknowledge from a different perspective.  A NON-JUDGEMENTAL PERSPECTIVE.

2.  Find the Pattern

Once you start looking back a bit, whether just the past year or a few years ago, you may start to notice something.  A trend, pattern, or events, that keep reoccurring in your life.  Once you see that we are definitely where we want to be. 

For myself, I noticed the trend of consistently wanting to start over.  So much so, I moved through states and jobs trying to find what worked for me.  I always thought if I just started all over, I could turn this into the life I wanted.  I even went as far as to take breaks in my wellness practices, such as yoga and nourishment. I started to notice not just the pattern, but also the reoccurring events in my life.  

In yoga, we call this our samskara and it’s something we constantly try to acknowledge and and work on. 

3.  Create Your Mantra

Any feeling and/or event can be held together by this word. 

We can do confidence.  Confidence in ourselves, journey, diet.  Maybe something more powerful, like infinite.  Our infinite power to create, be kind, and do great things. 

My mantra became to build.  To build on myself, off my practice, relationships, job and hustle.  I figured I created a great foundation on who I was and wanted to be, and although those findings are never done, what if I spent the next year creating something greater? 

Make it healing.  Make it positive. Make it unique.  You want something that can relate to every aspect of your life. 

DIY: Yogurt Face Mask and Raw Honey Cleanser

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I left with a little DIY teaser, so a DIY I shall give.  

How have we been dealing with this winter weather? I think it is finally here and here to stay for a few more months.  If you were able to follow my Fall Transition Guide you should be on the right track adapting to the colder climate.  And it's not just cold if you noticed, but DRYYY.  Yes, and if you are a water feen and humid lover like myself, I think you are feeling the effects more intensely than most.  

From dried cracked knuckles, to a tighter dry face, these are just some of the effects that most of us tend to get right away.  It's more than uncomfortable and less than a beautiful feeling.  It's a great thing I believe in feeling great from the inside out.  If you keeping hydrated, eating a mostly cleansing diet with healthy routines, these DIY products and tips will be the icing on the cake.  

We're making a yogurt face mask followed by a raw honey cleanser.  

Each ingredient plays a role in keeping your skin healthy and glowing without going over budget. All the ingredients are edible!  Once you have them as staples, you rarely have to worry about what you have on hand to make beauty easy, sustainable, and attainable. 

Yogurt Face Mask

Whole Milk Greek/Regular Plain Yogurt - Lactid acid works to promote both a glow and softening skin treatment.  Great for sensitive skin to both cool and treat skin irritations as well.  

Lemon - Skin brighter!  Perfect for any feeling of dullness in the winter months.  A little goes a long way, especially with sensitive skin.  

Rosehip oil - An amazing investment.  Full of antioxidants, vitamins, and fatty acids. This will keep your skin hydrated and diminish any imperfections of fine lines and big pores.  One of my favorites!

Mix two tablespoons of yogurt, juice of 1/4 small lemon, and 2 pumps of reship oil.  Apply smoothly all over face and neck.  Leave for 10 minutes.  Rinse with warm water.

Raw Honey Cleanser

Vitamins and minerals are still in this wondrous product as no heat was involved like most honey products on the market.  Raw honey is also an antibacterial which will GENTLY removes impurities.  No irritation and softening effects involved. 

Rub in a circular motion onto face and neck and rinse with warm water.  Finish with cold water rinse to calm the skin and close the pores back up.  Key to locking in hydration!

I love to finish any face routines (exfoliants, mask, cleansers) with a toner and oil.  My favorites are witch hazel and jojoba oil!  But feel free to experiment and use what already works for you!

 

Fall Transition Guide: Part 3

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Yes! The finale of our transition!  Fall has been here for a full month now?  How has it been?  

There has almost been a confusion in New Jersey.  From 60 degrees to 80 and back in one week. I think it gave most of us a bit more time to get into the groove of Fall.  I must admit, I was super content with the little extended summer feels.  Bright yellow mini skirts and green juices definitely made their appearance.  Now it's time for fun stuff.  The continuous nourishment for the season upon us. 

We have already went through the acceptance, we made progress into making space in our system.  Now we make way into changing routines.  Nothing ever changes if we keep doing the same things.  Here is a way to make the most out of the rest of your Fall and ENTIRE Winter.  

Daily Oil Massages

An Ayurvedic practice and ritual for my seasonal beauties!

Time to switch up your oils first!  In the summer or in hotter climates, I always recommend using coconut oil.  Although, for the winter we want to switch over to almond or sesame oil.  Almond oil, being a bit thicker, it is also enriched with vitamin E which is great to treat dry skin, what most of us suffer from.  This is great to use everyday after a shower, massage oil on wet skin and pat to dry.  This keeps skin moisturized and still feeling light the whole day.

Sesame oil is the ultimate luxury.  Great for end of the day showers to keep skin extra hydrated throughout the whole night.  Not a big night-time cleanser?  A simple foot massage with sesame and essential oil will both warm and relax your body for a great night sleep.  

Daily Routines

More sleep.  This one has definitely been easier for me, than what I'm usually used to.  With shorter days and longer nights, a good 8 hours a night is something to enjoy without guilt.  Another exciting thing for my late risers?  Six in the morning wakeup calls seem fair enough, I think.

Exercise is still top priority.  Keeping the momentum going from summer is just what we need.  This will balance the heavy foods eaten, helping to keep the movement and heat of our digestive system.  If you are active while eating the right foods, you can actually maintain your weight that I know we all worked so hard for in the summer... If not, we'll just say the healthy fats are keeping us Vata selves warm and energized.

There are many other little things and practices we can do everyday to keep us at our healthiest state during this time of year.  I follow many Ayurvedic practices such as daily nasal cleansing and oiling to everyday dry brushing to keep the circulation of the lymph flowing.  Dry brushing will act as both a detox and every day self-care practice. 

Find what special oils and creations work with you to keep your skin looking healthy during this time of year.  Hint, you may glow even in the winter!

think we are due for a beauty post...

 

 

Fall Transition Guide: Part 2

Officially here.  The beginning of October.  I've been breaking out my sweaters and boots, feeling so confident I am a little more prepared for what the next few months have in store .  I don't know if you were aware, but there was a new moon last week, and boy did I feel it's raft.  

It was more of a wake up call.  Not one of the easiest, but definitely something that made me rethink, "Why am I doing this and do I still love it?"  So much so, I took a few days break, and this is what I concluded.  I'm going to keep this shit going and growing.  

Let's cleanse.  Let's balance what we eat.  Let's enjoy everything that enters our beautiful bodacious selves.

Cleansing.

We want to rid the body of Toxins.  Toxic buildup over the last few months.  If you are like me, you TRY and do this about twice a year.  So around this time, it's just what you might need for that pick-me-up.  This will readjust our digestive system and make space for what we will need during the winter months.  It's a lot more than you think. 

HOT WATER WITH LEMON

MILK THISTLE

DANDELION ROOT

TRIPHALA 

We are going to reignite the fire within us.  Using one of my favorite ways to treat and care for almost everything... food.  The food will reawaken what may want to become still from the cool air around us.  We are talking mentally and physically, to keep it moving.  I believe to help one, we must help the other.  So for now, let us start with nourishment we put in our bodies.  

CARDONOM/FENNEL/GINGER

PARSLEY

KIMCHI

CITRUS

We focus so much on maintaining this perfect healthy vision.  Or maybe more time figuring it out.  If we can just take one day to one week to reset, you may find the continuation a little easier.  That's the best part.  To keep it going.  

If you are curious of the extremities/benefits of juicing, GO FOR IT.  I highly recommend to try it at least once in your life.  If not, Kitchari, for my Ayurveda believers and lovers.  And when all else seems intimidating in some way, lets eat clean.  

Whole grains, cooked veggies, VEGAN deliciousness.  And I mean, vegan DELICIOUSNESS.

SQUASH CURRY

BEET JUICE

KALE SALADS

STEWED APPLES

Doing this may remind you, more than you like, why you chose it.  Was it reconnecting?  Curiosity? A feeling of accomplishment? To start over?  No matter what the reasoning, there is no wrong answer.  It's because I guarantee you will find something else involved.  You will learn something amazing about yourself and body, that you didn't know possible.  Never underestimate the power of SELF healing.

Ignite your own fire this Fall!

 

 

 

Fall Transition Guide: Part 1

Every year I want to talk about this important season, or I should say, about this important transition.  It's funny that the season I am most hesitant to embrace, is the one that I actually spend the most time trying to understand and work with.  

Fall.  It's the season from life into death.  From lightness to darkness.  From the warmth into a bitter cold.  In actuality though, it's beautiful.  The dead leaves that fall onto the ground, are they not the most beautiful colors of warmth?  The yellows, red, and orange, perfectly match the squashes and apples that come to life in this season.  It's as if one thing dies, another will bloom.  I finally see the magic right in my backyard. 

So of course with magic and power, comes the responsibility to manifest it's truest form.  It's the power of prevention.  The gain in strength. 

During the Fall, we want to prevent what may cause most of us discomfort in our daily lives.  This includes sickness, anxiousness, and weight gain.  Between the change in seasons, it's hard to keep this perfect health.  Of course life gets busier than what we had been use to in the summer.  Yet, you may still relax! You may still take take time and make sure some of it is for YOU!  This is the time to test your ability to recenter.  To gain that balance and energy to keep your momentum from the hotter months going, while letting in the tranquility of Fall's natural flow.  

Notice how calm it is outside during this time.  Where all you hear is the leaves crackling with the wind, you can't help but feel some sort of stillness. 

So, here is where it begins.  What is your Autumn Mantra?  Could it be the acceptance for change?  A graceful transition into something new?  It's a beautiful time of year to set the tone for colder months.  Soon to be a time for resolutions, maybe you can start with the simplicity of moving on.  

With the cooler air surrounding us, let us focus on the fire we have within us.  Focusing from the inside-out, we can create the warmth and beauty we wish to see in our daily lives.  What will come is rewarding. 

Once you decide on your mantra, you will be better able to put into practice the ideas and tips given.  This is for you.  Your practice.  Your transition.  

 

Puerto Rico

One week later, and I finally get to recap.  I've been going back and forth.  Trying to pick the perfect pictures and amazing words to do this trip justice.  Not easy.  But here it is, doing the best I can, with the quality camera/iphone I had.  From daytime travels full of history, to nights out in the city full of reggaeton and one too many drinks, I can honestly say this is it.  Puerto Rico, you are exactly what I needed.

I bought my first pair of sneakers, not for the beautiful island, but actually for work.  Turned out to be the best investment I ever made.  We hiked through El Yunque without a tour or knowledge of where it would lead us, but the trails, rocks, and streams were beautiful hints of what was to come.  Something that I was able to share with so many different people.  We were all there to see and experience what El Yunque had to offer.  

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If you ever get the chance, please go... and RENT A CAR.  Uber is not so accepted yet, and taxi situations could be better.  We relied on questionable rides from strangers, which turned out to be pretty interesting.  It actually forced us to bond with the locals, all with different backgrounds and stories to tell. 

Las Cuevas del Indio was also an amazing sight.  Probably the only place that actually charged to get in, but for five dollars, you get every penny worth.  The water colors, currents, and views were everything but ordinary.  Probably the most out of my comfort zone, I walked and sat on cliffs, experienced amazing heights, and looked further into the ocean than ever before.  Oh, and I saw bats.  A family of them.  And I watched them fly right above me as I climbed up rocks and over streams.  FYI, that was never on my agenda.

The. Food.  If you are going to another foreign country/land, take advantage of the culture.  I mainly mean food wise.  I am of Puerto Rican decent and pretty knowledgeable of the cuisine, so it wasn't so much exploring the food, but enjoying every bite of it.  The authentic shit.  From rice and beans, mofongo, and comida criolla, I was in all my glory. 

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If you can get out of the main city, and deep into the island, do it.  I had the opportunity to get aquatinted with someone who was able to take me THERE.  To that spot of real puerto rican street food.  It was very much so nostalgic.  When I used to visit my own grandparents on the island, where alcapurrias and empanadas were more common then any mofongo.  It was greasy.  It was delicious. 

From the beginning, I was surrounded by so many adventurous, food loving, understanding beings.  It may sound super corny, but I say it firmly and proudly.  They helped me get to amazing beautiful places, kept me company, and kept me smiling.  Even on my own, I felt at ease.  Nothing was more insightful than walking the streets of Old San Juan alone.   Nothing was more calming than just reading a book under the tropical skies.  

Puerto Rico is a beauty.  I think I got to experience it on a whole other level than my previous visits.  Not only was it my first solo trip, but one that I was able to explore from a different perspective.  One that is open, accepting, and ready for whatever may or may not come my way.  Like every place and experience,  there is the good, there is the bad.  I wouldn't have it any other way.  It actually encouraged me to see the amazement right here.  That everyday adventure in right now.  

Letting Go of Expectations

You are exactly where you need to be.  The universe has a way of working it out. 

 

I can go on, but I think most of us have related to these quotes every now and then.  There is as much truth in them as you make it to be.  

From the time we are young, we all had expectations put upon us, from ourselves or others.  Some with the best intentions.  Some from what society has said is best for us.  From being a great student, obtaining that amazing job, or being in a wondrous relationship, all of these are possible.  Some of them amazing goals and visions for the hopeful driven soul.  

But, what happens when things don't go as planned? When you haven't found that amazing job for you just yet?  When the "clock is ticking" and you are trying to find that true love to lead to an amazing family. That person you thought would be there for you through it all, disappeared.  How do you cope when things didn't go as expected?  

More than ever, I think timing has a way of bringing a negative aspect to these "expectations".  Here is what to have instead.

~

Goals and Visions.

Make a vison board.  Make it beautiful , make it you.  I love what vision boards stand for.  They are your goals sans the time frame.  Nobody really makes a vision with a time stamped on it.  Visions are timeless, a story.  Understanding there is change, and letting that come into play.  Maybe you have to start out as a hostess to become an amazing chef, no matter how long it takes.  Looking at love as something shared between all of us, may attract the one who compliments the kind you offer (we all have our own ways of showing love).  Peace? The goal for the masses, make it your own to share.  Again, it may not be a fairytale, but it's yours to write.  Enjoy every chapter of it, till the very end.

Motivation

This can be a tricky one.  Mostly because it doesn't so much change, but come and go.  We depend so much on the outcomes to keep motivation going.  But positive ones aren't always going to be the case, your expectation.  Make your motivation intangible.  Not the amazing body, but amazing health.  Your motivation shouldn't be that dream home, but what you will fill that home with.  Vacation?  Not what you did.  How you experienced it.  This is the behind the scenes.  The feelings that take over, that's the motivation.   

Do Your Best

This is something that not only my parents always told me, but I was able to read more about in the book, "The Four Agreements," by Don Miguel Ruiz.  No matter what keep it going.  You may feel defeated at times and maybe even unappreciated.  Until you can get yourself out of the situation, never stop putting your best effort.  Either it will work out how you envisioned, if not move on.  But, as long as you know you tried your hardest, not only will it be seen, but you can move on with a lighter heart.  No matter the job, relationship, or love, doing your best, a beautiful agreement to live by.  

 

"It's not about getting into the pose, but what you learned along the way." ~ yogi quote

Summer's Not Over!

Yes, people!  We still have one whole month, plus a few more weeks of warm weather!

For myself, I am about to take advantage of what the rest of the season has to offer.  In more ways than one, I think there is something we are all going to miss.  Whether it's the laid-back vibes, vacations, farmers market, or beach days, there is no better feeling than the freedom Summer has to offer.  

With Fall coming, not only is this month the time to take advantage, but also prepare.  More mentally, than anything else.  A post is to come soon filled with Fall tips and treasures, but for now, I want to make sure we are living in-tune with the late Summer Sun as much as possible. 

Here is a list of the goodies, recommendations, and last minute reminders on how to enjoy and prepare for what is to come.

Greens

Drink them.  Eat them.  Blend them.  Whether in juice form for straight nutrients, or smoothies and salads for fiber, we want to take advantage of the greens this month before the colder temperatures kick in.  Even though they aren't as abundant when we started summer (Spring's abundance), we still have great herbs and green veggies to mix in.  Kale, zucchini, okra, cilantro, and parsley are some of my favorites.  If you are lucky enough to get your hands on some detoxifying dandelions, go for it!

Fruits

My all time favorite snack (next to hummus and chips, of course).  Each one full of so many vitamins and minerals, great for both the skin and body.  Eat'em up!  The sun has certainly taken a toll on our skin, so natural prevention and remedies start with food.  Stock up on your tomatoes, peaches, and blueberries as a great and easy way to keep your skin bright and belly full.

Coconut Oil

Your skins best friend during the warmer months.  This is an all-Summer routine, and for some, all year round.  A great anti-bacterial and moisturizer with a light SPF, most people can benefit from this oil, even those with oilier skin.  Out of all the oils, coconut oil is one of the lightest when applied.  Great for skin and hair, keep your skin hydrated and healthy right until Fall hits us with the dryness. 

Healthy Sun

In the winter, Vitamin D levels drop so much, many experience what is called Seasonal Affective Disorder.  This compromises your health, motivation, and over all good-feeling.  Although it is something that can be helped starting in the Fall, for now I want to focus on soaking in all the sun/Vit-D you can.  Whether it is a morning walk or mediation, to a day at the beach or park, enjoy what's left.  Don't be afraid of sweat and don't be afraid of lotion.

Movement

How easy it is to stay active and fit in the Summer!  Warm weather and longer days motivates myself more than I care to admit.  Which is why this month is key to keep it up and maybe go a little harder.  Yes, even a yogi like me wants to kick some ass.  Enjoy the tacos, enjoy the vacation days, and enjoy the work that comes with it.  You want to make sure we go into Fall feeling amazing as possible.  However that may be for yourself, commit to it for a lasting effect.

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This is a LIFE-STYLE.  Fit it to your every want and need.  

I Choose To Lead With The Heart

and let go of fear. 

A lot of different issues and emotions came up in the last couple months.  Whether affecting me directly or having felt the commotion of my surroundings, I couldn't help but think, a lot.  

Through it all, I saw myself trying to live and work towards what I had already found, what I have felt for a while now.  Not rocket science, but fatefully possible.  

I want to love what I do.  I want to embrace who I am.  I want to accept MY path.  

I have embraced my body as a woman.  The emotions and feelings are from my own being, with more of a feminine touch.  My desires come from so deep within, they consume me until I get exactly that.  I want no other type of love, no other type of freedom.

I have owned my strengths and faults.  

I take most pride in my abilities, my badass womanly strengths.  We bleed to cleanse.  We bleed so you may exist.  I let my feelings come from the divine.  Mother nature herself gave me this gift.  Silent and still like the moon, we can be as powerful as the ocean tides.  

I may cry a little more and love a bit greater.  The loyalty I have for you, is the same loyalty I have for my beliefs.  The trust I hesitate to give, is the same trust I doubted in my purpose.  

So I chose not to constrict myself any longer. I let my breasts that can feed the being from me, stay free.  No pressure on the cage that protects my heart, the one I choose to lead with.  This heart that lets me feel and feel for you, is the same that allows me to breath.  Did you know I can breath like the ocean? Like a lion?

Slowly the fear will creep, stare, and wait for me to cave.  I will let it pass. 

To love with passion, teach with humility, and live authentically.  

This is for the beings of the feminine.  ________ like a girl.