My Favorite Yoga Jewelry

NOTE: I mention products in this post but I bought all this jewelry myself and the companies have no idea who I am. I’m not even using affiliate links, so take that, FCC.

It’s more than halfway through the year and I haven’t done an update on my 2015 to do list. A few of the items are going to fall off completely, due to last weeks post. Also due to last weeks post, I’m going to go back to blogging more along the format of my thinking.

One of my favorite to dos so far has been the jewelry. I actually thought this was going to be the worst, and in January I was really grumpy quite about it. But then I discovered a couple of things that have made it a little bit easier and more fun.

I admit that I am taking my jewelry inspiration from Instagram yogis, because that’s the look I’m most comfortable with. I think it’s a pretty good idea to find a style that resonates, follow people who wear the style well, and find similar pieces for yourself.

Tattoo Jewelry | Living Consciously Blog

I started out with tattoo jewelry. I love it because you don’t have to put it on in the morning, or take it off when you wash your hands or take a shower. There are tons of different brands nowadays, and I can’t really recommend one over another because I haven’t had that much experience. I found mine in the clearance aisle at Target for $2! A few popular brands include, Flash Tattoos and Hot Jewels. It’s a little pricey to buy online off those sites — I would actually recommend you go to a department store and look in the jewelry aisle or even the tween girls aisle for the best deals. If you are brave enough to go into Claire’s in a mall (I’m not), they have quite the selection as well. Warning: not all the brands lasted through a sweaty yoga practice. I got some nice, sparkly gold glitter on my rubber yoga mat at one point!

Another favorite yogi jewelry investment: malas. Malas are beaded necklaces and sometimes bracelets made of stones or seeds with specific healing or spiritual properties. A mala necklace always has 108 beans, while shorter necklaces or bracelets can have beads in other increments of 9 or 12, as those are sacred numbers in many traditions. A mala is used for meditation. You run each bead through your finger each time you say a mantra during meditation. That is why the number of beads is important, the mantras are supposed to be said a certain number of times. Malas have been used in many religious traditions, including Christian. They are related in a way to the Catholic rosary. There is actually nothing magical about a mala, but I like the way it is a piece of jewelry that is also useful. A mala is also said to carry the energy of your yoga practice and when it breaks that is the sign of an intentional being fulfilled and seen as a good thing. This is convenient since I’m super hard on jewelry and very likely to break mine. The cord is knotted between each bead so that when it breaks, the beads won’t scatter.

Malas, however, are not exactly cheap. They have to be handmade (knotting between the beads) and the intention set by the person who knots the mala is also important. The stones or seeds that they are made of are significant to different intentions in meditation. Because that was all too overwhelming for me, I signed up for a subscription to Yogi Surprise Jewelry box (referral link). They did not pay me to say this, and I don’t even have an account anymore because I couldn’t finanically sustain my subscription for more than 4 months. But let me say that their quality is very good and I enjoyed every piece I received from them! They send one mala-style necklace and one bracelet along with a  vegan, sustainable, fair-trade and whole-food chocolate treat each month. I seriously have to say that I loved nearly everything they sent. There was one chocolate that was too bitter for me, but that wasn’t their fault. If you are as overwhelmed by yoga jewelry options as I am, I highly recommend this box. Disclaimer: The link above is my referral link, if 3 of you sign up from it I will get a free box.

Malas And Yoga Jewelry |Living Consciously Blog

I found through my encounter with the surprise jewelry box that I really enjoy bracelets. I like the pretty music they make when I use my hands! It is like having beautiful hands. I actually am starting to see the gentle clicking as a reminder to be gentle and beautiful in my actions. Yes, that is kind of a woo-woo yogi thing to say, but why not? I am hoping at some point to invest in some MantraBands and Pura Vida bracelets to deepen those intentions.

I’d love to see your yoga (or otherwise) jewelry! Tag me in your photos on Instagram!

DIY Sports Skirt & Leggings coverup from an old t-shirt

DIY Sport Skirt and Leggings Coverup, #reuse an old t-shirt | Living Consciously Blog

Let’s get straight to the point here: I teach or take fitness classes almost all week long. I usually pack my classes in while my kids are in preschool or at home with my husband, and since those are the only kid-free time periods that I have, I often run quick errands either right before or right after class. While I agree that leggings are not pants from a style perspective, I do happen to still be dressed for Lagree fitness or yoga at those times. As an instructor, I have strong opinions about the type of workout pants that I chose, but that is a subject for another post. Suffice to say, baggy pants are not a good idea, either from a participant or an instructor’s standpoint. I wear workout leggings that provide compression, support, moisture wicking, and do not get in the way of twisting, flexing, and moving. So leggings as pants it is, at least when I go grocery shopping at Whole Foods after class on my way home.

During the winter months, I am more than happy to slip some warmup pants over my leggings for extra warmth, but when I have tried that in the Texas summers (110 degrees most of the time), I felt like I was suffocating within the first few minutes, and that was in the air conditioning! Attempting to be in a car that had been sitting in the sun for 2 hours was just right out of the question wearing 2 pairs of pants. I’m already carrying snacks, water bottle, yoga mat, grocery bags, even a cooler on some days. So carrying a whole extra change of clothes is equally out of the question. And why would I put on clean clothes when I’m all sweaty from class or when I’ll just have to change when I get to the studio? For the past several years there has just been no solution to the leggings-as-pants dilemma for me.

As I was cleaning out some old workout clothes last week, I came across several old fitted t-shirts. They were in good shape and fairly neutral colors. I had been drooling over this yoga skirt on Etsy but hadn’t pulled the trigger yet because I wasn’t sure of the logistics. The skirt doesn’t have a waistband and relies on tucking the top of it into your leggings or yoga pants. How would that even work?

I was willing to try cutting up the old t-shirts to try and make a DIY sports skirt and leggings coverup. Here is what I did.

Supplies:

Old t-shirt (see optional step below if it is wider than your hips)

Sewing machine, thread

Scissors

Something to use for a drawstring

 

Step 1: Cut right below the armpits to make a tube with the bottom already hemmed.

Sport Skirt CoverUp Step 1, cutting | Living Consciously Blog

Note: I chose a shirt with very little design. If your shirt does have a design and you don’t want it, you might try turning the shirt inside-out and re-hemming the sides from the other direction. That could be handy anyway if your skirt needs to be narrowed to fit your hips.

Optional next step: The ideal width for this t-shirt tube is the width of the widest part of your hips. So again, you might want to re-hem to make it more narrow. I didn’t have to do it with this t-shirt because it was so narrow already.

Step 2: Turn the waistband under. Try it on at this point and look in a mirror, holding it up with your hands. You want the bottom of the skirt to hit just below your rear end. If you go to far down the upper leg, it just looks weird. You might have to cut more off the top to make it the right length. If you are a fancy sewing person, you can use pins to pin stuff here. But t-shirts are very good at holding shape and you probably don’t even need pins!

Sport Skirt CoverUp Step 2, folding waist for hemming | Living Consciously Blog

I turned mine under a little asymmetrically to allow for my rear end. If you have a rear end, you might want to do this too. My angle is not as severe as this picture looks, though, because I am actually just a terrible fashion and sewing photographer.

Step 3: Hem the waistband, leaving a gap for the drawstring. I took several pictures of this because again, not a sewing photographer.

Sport Skirt CoverUp Step 3, waistband and drawstring | Living Consciously Blog

Sport Skirt CoverUp Step 3, closer shot of waistband and drawstring opening | Living Consciously BlogStep 4: String the drawstring through the tube you made, using the gap you left.

DONE!

DIY Sport Skirt and Leggings CoverUp Final product | Living Consciously Blog
Completed sports skirt leggings coverup. I am staring off into the distance not only because I am so impressed by the skirt but also because when I smiled for this picture it looked really weird and creepy.

Super easy and fast! It definitely took me longer to try to take pictures of this process and the finished product than it took for me to make the skirt.

Other optional steps might include tapering the waist (this would be done before Step 3. I didn’t do it in my first skirt, but I’ll do it on subsequent skirts).

I’ll try to update this post with pictures of future skirts, if you make one from this tutorial, I’d love to see it – post it on Instagram and tag me!

2015 To Do List

As explained in previous years, I don’t make resolutions. I make “to do” lists, to help inspire me to complete tasks that I would otherwise skip. Sometimes it’s something around the house, sometimes it’s learning something new, and sometimes it’s actually self-care (last year: go to the dentist after 3 years). I have the entire year to get these things done…or not. At the end of the year, I give an update on how I’ve done (see the 2014 How Did I Do? post).

I’ve noticed that as I’ve looked toward 2015 with the changes in my approach to life that I gained in 2014, my “To Do” items got a little more long-term oriented. Perhaps a little less measurable than before. I’ll try to create some kind of measurement for each one, if I can.

2015 To Do List | Living Consciously Blog

1. Keep track of the money I make (or lose) in essential oils. If you know me in real life, or even just casually read the blog, you know that I don’t actively SELL oils. I mean, I am a distributor for essential oils and I buy them myself. I always have a link at the top of my blog if you want to buy from me online at retail prices (“Product List” in the navigation), or sign up under me to buy wholesale (“Sign Up Here” in the navigation). But I don’t push them. I don’t mention that I sell them very often. I do allow my local friends to order oils through me when I put in my monthly order and I only charge them what I pay. I pay the ($10-$11) shipping myself and don’t charge them for that. Unfortunately, I just realized last month that some of the oils I order for others are also taxed — and with some of the more expensive blends this can be as much as $6 — but I’ve never charged anyone tax. I often have someone tell me on Facebook that they want me to order an oil for them, I order it, and when I attempt to contact them to drop it off and collect payment, they never respond. Likewise, it is not unusual for me to deliver an order and not be repaid for as many as 4 weeks.

Basically, I am a terrible business person. I am horrible at math, bad at conducting business, and I don’t like to ask people to pay me.

I think the first step in the process of figuring out if I am even breaking even (probably not) is to open a separate checking account for the EO purchases. That way I can track the cash going in and out. I have avoided doing this since my husband and I have all joint accounts and having a separate account feels dishonest to me, somehow. But unless I want to keep losing our joint money, I have to separate these expenses.

Measurement: I should be able to at least give a rough guess as to whether I am losing money or gaining money, even if it’s not an exact number.

2. #handstandby40  If you follow me on Instagram, you know that in January 2014 I took a yoga arm balance workshop and almost immediately became obsessed with arm balances and yoga challenges. I vowed in 2014 that I would learn to handstand (a straight yoga handstand, which is done in complete stillness, no “walking” on the hands to maintain stability) by the time I turn 40. And by that, I mean be able to arrive in handstand reliably without falling and stay for as long as I want to, without falling due to instability. I literally practiced handstanding every single day from January to August, 8 straight months. If I was tired, if I was sick, if I hadn’t done a full yoga practice that day: handstand. 

In August, through practicing the yogic yama satya — truthfulness, including truthfulness to self — I realized that my body needed a rest to reach the next level. So I backed off of the handstand part of my practice. I actually saw an improvement for a few months! Less intensity was beneficial.

And then I got lazy about handstanding. At this point, I’ve lost the ability to arrive in handstand reliably, and cannot seem to maintain stability for as long anymore. I need to pick it up again with the handstand practice. I only have 3 years!

Measurement: Obviously, I’ll still have a little more than 2 years left until 40 at the end of 2015, so not having nailed handstands is OK. Let’s say that I hope to be able to arrive in handstand reliably. I shouldn’t have to fall over 5 times before I catch some air.

3. A less intense cleanse. I learned this year from my macrobiotic cleanse and my shorter liver detox, that cleanses are do-able. I was on the fence about cleanses until 2014. Now that I know I can do it, and that a short term cleanse (like the 2 week liver detox) does make me feel better, I’d like to investigate doing something more simple and short term a few times a year. Maybe something I even make up myself. Nothing expensive, and no more of these 30-day things. Just 3-5 days of very clean eating and lots of veggies in the Vitamix, perhaps?

Measurement: One cleanse, of any type. Bonus: 2 cleanses.

4. Learn to wear jewelry. Let’s not get crazy here. I am not a flashy person. I have worn the same silver hoops in all 6 of my ear holes 24/7 for the past 5 years at least. I am going to say that Hot Jewels count as jewelry here. And diffuser necklaces count too. But I really need to work on at least changing my earrings once a month. I think I might start documenting my success on Instagram. Maybe with the hashtag #learntowearjewelry?

Measurement: A few pictures on my Instagram this year showing that I wore jewelry of some kind without being forced (i.e., by a special occasion that requires jewelry).

5. Morning Time. Another practice I developed in the latter half of 2014 was getting up before my family is up and reading scripture and meditating. When it was warmer and I got up early enough, I also did some yoga. Since the weather turned cold, like a lizard I cannot maintain enough body heat to leave the blanket in the chair where I’m reading to do yoga in the morning, but I digress. The morning time has been good for my patience as a mom and my overall view of the ebb and flow of life throughout the day. I even feel like catching up on social media that early in the day is profitable because it keeps me from having to check my phone constantly while getting the kids ready in the morning.

Measurement: I’d like to be able to say at the end of 2015 that I maintained my morning time as a regular habit. That I committed to morning time more often than not.

Green Apple Active vegan organic non-toxic yoga gear

NOTE: Green Apple Active provided yoga gear for this post. All opinions are completely my own.

When I found out that I would be able to participate in several yoga-themed events while I was in Chicago this weekend, I immediately thought about what to wear. As a fitness instructor, I wear workout clothes a minimum of 4 days a week, if not more. So what brand do I think of when I think about vegan organic non-toxic yoga clothes? Green Apple Active Wear. I can’t remember where I first learned about them — either from another green blogger or when our Pilates studio started selling the brand — but I fell in love with the über-softness and the unique vintage style immediately. I was so excited to be wearing Green Apple Active Gear at several yoga related events in Chicago.

First off was the Yasso Yoga event in Wrigley Park on Friday morning. I just loved doing yoga in this outdoor venue with the grass beneath our feet. The weather there was perfect, very near 70 degrees. There was a light mist, but it felt great!

Yasso Yoga in Wrigley Park,
Yasso Yoga in Wrigley Park, I’m in the upper left corner — look for my purple hair!
Yoga in Wrigley Park
Yogis in Wrigley Park
Yoga participants in Wrigley Park
Group shot of Yasso Yoga participants – I’m the middle left

When I left this event, I was so comfy in my Green Apple gear, and it looked so nice that I just went straight to the conference for the day in my yoga clothes! Talk about clothing with workout-to-daily-life transitional ability! While I was at the conference, I met with a PR rep regarding an upcoming project and she was kind enough to snap this photo.

Green Apple Active at BlogHer

Later that same evening, I attended an EcoFab50 event at a local yoga studio. No actual workout this time, but some great henna and fabulous green brands that I was excited to meet. I just threw on some black skinny jeans with the Green Apple top and I was good to go!

EcoFab50 Party wearing Green Apple Active

EcoFab50 Party wearing Green Apple Active
When I went to get onto my bus for the 19 hour bus ride home (this is an experience I don’t really want to talk about…), I put my Green Apple duds back on and wore them the whole trip. It was definitely the most comfortable part of my bus ride.

I hope you get a chance to check out Green Apple Active‘s line of toxin-free workout gear and lounge styles. I can highly recommend any of them and would like to say “Thanks”  to them for making my weekend in Chicago more comfortable, flexible, and zen!

Wine n cheese with “the girls”, if you know what I mean

I had the opportunity this week to spend an evening at the fabulous Hotel ZaZa in uptown Dallas with a few fellow contributors to Dallas Moms Blog. The suite was decorated with old school Hollywood pinup photos, dark paint, leopard couches, and luxe touches. While we were there, we had wine and cheese and other snacks that I don’t get to see much of in my house full of dairy-intolerant toddlers.

Other things that we just don’t see a lot of in our house…

…Wacoal’s line of bras and lingerie!

Yep, we were there for what was, in my case, a much need bra fitting!

I knew I was overdue for this fitting. Heather from CottonBabies wrote a great post about why we need to stop and take time to get refitted after having children, and just this past fall, Amber wrote about her fitting in NYC while attending BlogHer. After breastfeeding two babies in 3 years, I had very little idea what size I actually am anymore, and honestly I was a bit afraid to find out. This is why they gave us wine.

When I got back into the fitting room, the super hip New York bra fitting expert took one look at me and declared me a 30 band size. This was not a surprise, since I typically get 28 or 30 when I measure myself (at which point I give up). If you are familiar with ladies’ undergarment shopping, you will recognize this as an extremely difficult band size to find. You cannot, for instance, just go to Target or even Victoria’s Secret. Most brands don’t go below 32.

Here’s where I learned something, though: did you know that the cup size alters a bit for smaller band sizes? For example, a D cup for a 30 band size is smaller than a D cup for a 40 band size. Makes sense, proportionately. This news made me super excited, because I turned out to be a “larger” size than I thought I would be. All is not lost!

Fortunately, Wacoal bras come in band sizes from 28-46 and cup sizes from AA to HH. Their b.tempt’d line has some super cute styles, with a slightly smaller size range. Both lines are conveniently available at Macy’s, Dillards, Nordstrom, and Neiman Marcus.

And now, I will leave you with some compelling facts from Wacoal’s Bra Expert, Liz Smith:

Bra Facts

  • 8 out of 10 women wear the wrong sized bra 
  • A woman should be fitted once a year 
  • If you gain 5 – 7 lbs, your bra size will change 
  • It only takes 15 minutes to be fitted for a bra 
  • Most women wear their bras 1 – 1 ½ inches too big in the band and 1 cup size too small
  • The average woman has 27 bras in her lingerie draw and wears the same 2 bras repeatedly 
  • A bra should be worn once and then washed to extend her life
  • After washing and wearing a bra 100 times she needs to be replaced

Well, if that doesn’t make you want to go out and get fitted, I don’t know what does…
Good luck and good fitting to you!

NOTE: I was given a free fitting and bra from Wacoal at this event, but I was not obligated in any way to write about them or my experience. Opinions are my own. I just felt like you really hadn’t had enough TMI posts from me lately. You’re welcome.

7 Quick Takes #47

— 1 —

This is going to be really fast because I need to go nap. I’m teaching at 6:30am 3 mornings a week now instead of only 2, and it’s really hard for me to get up at 5am 3 days a week if I don’t get enough sleep somehow. Naps have really been standing in lieu of going to bed early since we have so much going on most evenings.

— 2 —

Speaking of teaching Pilates, if you are in the Plano area and would like to try out our Megaformer Pilates classes, we are running a great special on VOICE Daily Deals here. I recommend the 3-pack deal. Come see us!

— 3—

vIf you follow me on Facebook and Twitter, you know that I dyed my hair pink. Here’s a quick pick I took just now wearing very little makeup.

I have discovered that this haircolor really looks better if I wear some kind of color on my lips but, oops, I wasn’t doing that in this picture.

— 4 —

Hopefully this will be invisible to you, the readers, but I’ll probably be migrating this blog to WordPress (it’s on Blogger now) some time in the next few months. I am worried and reluctant to make this move, but there are reasons bigger than my personal preference that are involved. Some of the primary goals are to make the site much more usable for my readers, and make commenting easier.

— 5 —

Everyone here is freaked out about the flu, how about where you are? My friend EcoKaren did a great post today about natural ways to prevent the flu, aside from or in addition to vaccination. I highly recommend checking it out! As for handwashing, remember that last week I blogged about how to make your own antibacterial hand soap from essential oils and castille soap.

— 6 —

It’s January 11 and I have already completed one of the items on my To Do List: making our family blog books for 2011 and 2012. They take about 2 weeks to arrive from the publisher. Can’t wait to see how they turned out!

— 7 —

Have to give one last shout-out to my sponsor, Happy Feet, Healthy Body! Along the lines of flu prevention, remember that she has hand sanitizer pens made from essential oils. If you’ve just started a New Year’s workout routine (or you take one of my classes, haha!), I highly recommend her Lavender bath salts – lavender soothes sore muscles and will help you sleep at night.

~~~
Well that’s all for this week, be sure to visit Conversion Diary for links to more 7 Quick Takes Fridays.

The crazy hair project

If you follow this blog on Facebook or Twitter (and you should), you may have seen that this weekend I posted a link to the following YouTube video of a female drummer with amazing hair:

My husband found this video through one of his friends on Twitter, I think, and told me that it would be super great if I dyed my hair this way. I have to say, I thought it was a good idea. I asked you guys and my personal friends on Facebook and Twitter and got a lot of “go for it”s and no “um, no, you are too old”. So if you DO think I am too old (which was my initial fear too), you better speak up now because I am now at the seriously-considering-it phase.

It’s a good phase of life for me to do something like this because a) I do not have a “real” job — just teaching Pilates part time and no one there cares if my hair is pink b) my kids are too young to be embarrassed by me yet, c) I’m not planning on being pregnant or trying to get pregnant in the next 6 months, so it’s finally safe to dye my hairs, and d) if I wait much longer, I really WILL be too old.

I’m not going to get all single-white-female and exactly copy her look, I am probably going to keep my same haircut (maybe a little more razor cutting on the ends), and most likely just use my regular stylist for the cut. The color is going to take a little more thought. I am considering these options:

1) Pay for color at a real colorist. This could be pricey. I have several recommendations that I am going to research today. Since I’d have to do a platinum bleach first, I think it would have to be re-done every 2-4 weeks, right? The advantage of a professional is that they can target a shade that will look right with my skin. The disadvantage is that I wouldn’t have any control over the toxicity levels of the product they’re using.

2) Do it myself. I think I would probably go to the health food store and look for low-toxin bleaching options and then order Wild Streaks Henna in pink to do the highlights. Anyone ever tried this?

3) Some kind of hybrid of both. For example, go to a colorist for the first attempt and then try to replicate the touch-up myself with alternative products. I think the bleach part is the part I need to most professional help with because that’s where I’d need to match appropriately with my skin tone.

Either way, Lauren has told me that I’ll probably only be able to maintain this hair color for about 6 months before it destroys my hair and I have to stop.

Anyone else tried this, used henna color, or have any suggestions?