My First Yoga DVD: Vinyasa Prenatal Yoga

Yoga is my home.  When I’m on my mat, I feel as though no matter where I am, I am comfortable.  I love going to class at a studio and feeling that sense of community that comes with knowing that everyone is there to bring peace to their bodies and minds.

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The only issue I have is- actually making it to class!  When I moved from “out west” to “back east” almost two years ago, I noticed that the yoga classes here are much more expensive than what I am used to.  Also, getting motivated to put on your 4 layers of winter clothes, brush off the car, and take the extra time to make the drive to class in the elements can seem like more work than its worth.  I’ve never tried a yoga DVD before, but in light of all these obstacles I’ve been encountering getting to the studio, I thought now would be a great time to try out a guided practice in my own home.

Last weekend, I tried out my very first yoga DVD: Prenatal Vinyasa Yoga Workout with Julie.  I know that vinyasa can be invigorating and challenging- pretty different from my usual slow, gentle practice.  However, my chiropractor pointed out to me that since flexibility comes easily to me, I need to work on strengthening in my muscles more.   I decided that challenging myself through this yoga DVD would be a good way to start gaining that strength.

Just as a disclaimer, I’m not pregnant at the moment.  But in anticipation of becoming pregnant whenever the universe decides it is time (I am ready, universe!), I booted up this DVD.  The DVD is 60 minutes long, and is broken down into an intro meditation, active poses, and relaxing restorative poses to close.

 

aPros:

  • I felt the modifications the instructor (Julie) gives are great for pregnancy.  It was interesting to me to see how she changed things up to keep the instruction safe for mama and baby.
  • The meditation in the beginning is a nice way for mamas to connect with their babies.
  • This yoga DVD works for any trimester, and can be used after the baby is born too.
  • I loved the restorative portion of the DVD, which was very relaxing.
  • Even though the entire yoga workout lasts 60 minutes, the time flies by while you’re doing it!
  • I thought it was pretty fun!

Things to Keep In Mind:

  • I wouldn’t recommend this yoga DVD for women who have never practiced yoga before or who have only had a few sessions in the studio.  Julie moves quickly and mentions the names of poses without going into tons of detail about how to align yourself correctly.  I have been practicing for many years, so for me the pace was fine, but I can see how others would want it slowed down a bit with more details.
  • I’m used to a big focus on breathing, and this DVD focuses more on connection with baby.  You’ll  have to remember to breathe deeply, inhaling and exhaling throughout all the poses.
  •  They don’t mention the props you might need until they’re already setting up for the pose.  I made do with one big towel (which I used as a bolster, block, and blanket, but you might need 2-3 blankets, 2 blocks, 1 strap, 1 bolster/cushion, and a chair (you’ll need more props the further along you are).  Julie does give ideas for what to use in place for these things if you don’t own them (ie. a dog leash in place of a strap).

In the end, I was glad I got this DVD and followed along from my living room.  I think it is a great idea for the winter, or other times when you can’t get to the studio.

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**I received this product in exchange for writing an unbiased review. All opinions are my own.  For more reviews or to buy, see the product here: http://www.amazon.com/prenatal-vinyasa-workout-julie-schoen/dp/b00lv40mpc/ **

My Konjac Sponge (Facial Sponge Review)


I’m always on the lookout for new natural and organic bath and beauty products, so the My Konjac Sponge Bamboo Charcoal Facial Sponge seemed worth a try to me.

I hadn’t heard of this type of facial sponge before.  The konjac sponge is actually made of a natural material and originated in Japan, where it has been used for 1000+ years.  It is made of the fibers of a type of potato/yam plant, which has vitamins and minerals in it too.  This konjac sponge is made of 100% vegan food grade plant materials and filtered water- so it is compostable!  I got the Bamboo Charcoal variety of the sponge, which is for removing acne and extra oils on the skin.  My Konjac also has 8 other varieties of the sponge, which can help with dry skin, sensitive skin, or can be used on the whole body or for babies…
my konjac sponge package

 

 

This brand of konjac sponge is nice because there are no preservatives, coloring,  or chemicals used in the process of creating them.  In fact, the sponge works so that you don’t even have to use any cleanser or other products with it (but if you do, use less than the regular amount because it will foam up!).

hanging konjac sponge

 

When I tried it, I couldn’t believe how soft it is!  I tried to capture it in a picture but found there is no way to do that- it always looks like a pumice stone in the photos.  But it is far from it!  I have never felt a sponge that is so soft.  Though it felt delicate, it stood up to multiple washings (the package says to replace it every 3 months).  It is good at exfoliating, but it is very gentle so I think it’d be perfect for anyone with sensitive skin.  It left my skin feeling clean and smooth, and quick and easy to use before bedtime.  I would love to try the large size to use on my whole body!  So far I’m loving it- I will have to see after a few weeks if I notice any improvements in my skin!

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**I received this product in exchange for writing an unbiased review. All opinions are my own.  For more reviews or to buy, see the product here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00B1M0XCG/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1**

Tea Giveaway: Relaxing “Tea Gift Set”

I’ll admit it:  I’m a tea addict.  There are not many types of teas that I dislike, but I love so many that I could not possibly list them all here!  Black, green, rooibos, herbal, white…I love them all! I especially like trying out new teas.  So in appreciation of tea lovers everywhere, I’m bringing you a chance to enter to win this awesome relaxing tea gift set.  This tea giveaway has a few of my favorite teas and tea accessories for you to try.

Tea Gift Set Giveaway

The person who wins this tea giveaway will receive all the following items…

  • 1 Black and White Tea Wallet:
    • The tea wallet is the most popular handmade item from the Two Bees Creations shop on Etsy.  It holds your favorite tea bags so they won’t get crunched in the bottom of your purse or bookbag. It comes pre-loaded with 4 assorted teas for you to try.
  • 1 Strawberry Tea Infuser:
    • This cute loose leaf tea holder works well with the rooibos included in this giveaway, since it is for coarse-grained teas.  I love its bright colors!
  • Celestial Seasonings Fruit Tea Sampler Box:
    • This box has 5 of their most popular herbal teas so you can decide on which you like best.  I love this brand because it is easy to find in most stores when you need a quick tea fix.  They also have a great variety.
  • 2 Mini-Tins of Richmond Tea:
    • Each of these adorable UK-themed mini-tins has loose leaf black tea from England.  Great if you love a classic vibe in a tea.
  • 1 oz Rainbow Rooibos:
    • This package of tea is from my favorite local tea shop in my area, TeaLeafs in Williamsville, NY.  If you ever visit the Western New York area, I suggest stopping by their store.  Luckily for you, if you aren’t planning a trip here soon you can buy from them online as well!

Check out the images below to see all the goodies you could win in this tea giveaway. Good luck!

tea gift set giveaway photo

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Tea Giveaway Strawberry Infuser

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Review: Dead Sea Mud Mask


I was happy when I got a chance to try the Dead Sea Mud Mask because I love natural products. This mud mask is a detoxifying and rejuvenating mask.  It’s only ingredients are dead sea mud and grapeseed oil, so it is truly natural and pure.

When I opened it up, it lived up to its name! It looks like pure, cool mud. The smell is luckily not unpleasant like mud- it smelled earthy, but it didn’t have a smell at all while putting it on.  I thought it looked a little bit like chocolate mousse…

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Review: Natural Hot Chocolate K-Cups from Black Bear Market

Have you ever tried hot chocolate k-cups?  When I bought my Keurig brewer, it came with some regular and dark hot chocolate k-cups.  They were sickeningly sweet!  My family just couldn’t drink them.  On looking at their ingredients, I saw they were full of chemical additives and artificial colors and flavors.  When I found out that Black Bear Market’s hot chocolate was all-natural, I had to try it out myself.

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To give you some background info, Black Bear Market is a family owned and run business.  You’re supporting an American small business when you order from them…

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Food & Fun in Toronto

One of my favorite places to visit is Toronto, Ontario.  I’m lucky that its only about two hours away, because it is an awesome multi-cultural city!  My husband and I went there recently, mainly to see the Medieval Times Tournament.  We stayed overnight in a condo right in the middle of the downtown area that we found on Air B&B.  If you haven’t heard of Air B&B, it is a great website that connects travelers with people who are looking to rent out all or part of their homes.  Usually people rent out the homes they live in, but this time we found someone who rents out a condo he owns but doesn’t live in.  We got a great deal and parking was included (if you’ve ever driven in a big city you know how much parking can end up adding to your budget!).  Each person has a profile on airbnb.com and has reviews of the times they’ve stayed or hosted- here is mine!

This was a pretty quick trip for us.  We got on the highway at 10am and arrived just in time to have lunch, so we headed straight to Kensington Market.  It’s not a market like you’d usually think of one- it is a neighborhood with lots of unique shops and places to eat.  We always go to the same place in Toronto to get tacos al pastor- this type of taco is hard to find in regular Mexican restaurants!  However, I’ve been wanting to go to this grilled cheese place too (aptly named The Grilled Cheese).  I had the great idea to split a grilled cheese, walk around Kensington Market, and then to get tacos for part two of lunch.  When we make foods for ourselves at home, we try to keep it organic and healthy…but on vacation we go all out!

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Gooey cheese & bacon deliciousness
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Sandwich from The Grilled Cheese
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Tacos Al Pastor
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Those are pineapple bits in there!
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Churro for Dessert

While on our walk, we went by the most amazing murals that were done by a neighboring school in Toronto…

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