Raw//Live//Local

Keep your feet on the ground and your head in the clouds.


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How I Learned to Trust Myself

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I just got out of a four and a half year relationship. It was the biggest shock of my life. I needed a reset, so I decided to travel alone. Here’s what I learned.

Go towards the fear

Courage doesn’t mean not having fear, it means going into the unknown despite of all of your fears. I was so scared of being single. Of loosing everything I had known for over four years. But obviously, I’m still alive, and a lot more whole than I was leaving it to someone else to make me happy.

Going towards my fear strengthened my heart and gave me faith in myself and conviction in my decisions. It opened me up to things I didn’t know about myself, and made me realize that ultimately, nothing is ever as bad as we expect it to be.

When you want to do something but it seems scary, go for it. Only good can come of it. And even if the other side is worse, it’s still better than staying in the situation you were in, because otherwise you live wondering what could be.

I am responsible for my own happiness

Traveling alone, it was up to me to give myself the exact experience I desired. This is an amazing position to be in because you have to be completely sincere with yourself, which is actually quite rare. You learn to trust your intuition, to accept every situation, and to give yourself what you want, all of which nourishes self-love.

This in turn transfers to your everyday life so significantly. When you learn to give yourself what you need, you don’t wait for it from anyone else, and accept complete responsibility for every piece of your life. When we take responsibility for our own happiness, it exists complete and whole within us, and no person or circumstance can take it away.

Surrender to every situation and be present

Every time I had to make a decision to go to a new location, I really had nothing to base it on except for the fact that I had to keep moving. This resulted in a mini panic attack every time I booked a ticket anywhere.

To move away from the discomfort of having no idea what to expect out of my totally baseless decisions, I surrendered to every situation. This included not questioning myself, committing to fully observe every emotion I felt, and waking up each morning and putting a smile on my face.

Whatever uncomfortable emotion I felt, I recognized and accepted it, and every situation became really alive. When I felt unhappy, I actively changed my response from frustration to gratitude for the opportunity to do something that showed me more about myself than something I was totally comfortable with. This enabled me to be happy and relaxed everywhere I was, and helped me learn to really enjoy my own company.

To the rocks and the trees and the stars our life is nothing but the life of a fly, a blink of an eye. Yes, life is long, but it’s also meant to be lived, and if we don’t do what scares us, we submit to mediocrity, so I try to always remember these words:

‘…once one has tasted the joys of freedom and fearlessness, one never repents because then one knows what it means to live at the optimum. And even a single moment of that intensity is more gratifying than the whole eternity of mediocre living.’

– Osho

Photo by Monika Majkowska


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5 Habits for Exceptional Health

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1. Start your day with awareness

Meditate. Drink tea. Write down three things you’re grateful for.

By paying attention to yourself first thing in the morning you set a peaceful tone for the day ahead, and honor the possibilities of a new day.

2. Only eat when you’re hungry

We make thousands of choices about food every day. Eating should only be done when you’re hungry. Not bored. Not sad. Not lonely. Not drunk. By eating when you’re not hungry you don’t allow your digestive system to relax, and more than likely you’ve got waste hanging out in your intestines that won’t get properly broken down and used for energy. This leads to weight gain, lack of energy, inflammation, and toxicity in the body. When you feel hungry, ask yourself if that’s really what it is. Most of the time, a glass of water, cup of tea, or walk around the block will help get rid of the urge and tide you over until your next meal.

3. Don’t punish yourself

We all do things we’re not proud of, but when it comes to food we tend to be typically brutal on ourselves. If you want desert, eat desert. If you want a glass of wine, enjoy a glass of wine. Don’t look back on it and hate on yourself for it.

By making reasonable indulgences part of your regimen, you won’t go crazy at your niece’s pizza party and pass out covered in ice cream. Commit to a solid foundation of whole, nutrient dense foods, and mindfully appreciate when it comes to enjoying things that aren’t necessarily so healthy.

4. Make exercise an enjoyable ritual

If you hate yoga, don’t do yoga. If running the stairs ten times makes you nauseous at the thought of it, stay away from the stairs.

Being active is a critical part of a vibrant life. The most important part of exercising is finding activity that suits you as an individual. This is the only way you’ll stick with it and the only way it will benefit you. Do whatever is in line with what makes you happy. Ride your bike at sunset. Walk your dog for an extra twenty minutes. Join a local team for a sport you played in high school. Pick something and get to it.

5. Eat the colors of the rainbow

Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds – these foods are completely packed with all the nutrients you need for a healthy body and mind. Do as best you can to start all your meals with vegetables, and to snack on fruit and nuts during the day.  You’ll have tons of energy, great skin, and a strong immune system, and will save money at the store not buying packaged products.

Photo by Ben Moore


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Nutrition for a Glowing Complexion

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The skincare industry is a multi-billion dollar giant. The research into ingredients intended to make you way more attractive than nature did is a full time job for thousands of people every day.

There are two sides to the coin that make this industry so lucrative. One involves the factors that create the need for these products, and the other is what people are willing to spend in order to look better. What’s interesting to note is that the same thing that creates the symptoms of poor and unsightly skin is the same thing that can heal it. This, my friends, is food.

You can slather on thousand dollar products made on the tiniest islands with the finest minerals from the Black Sea, or you can simply eat clean, whole foods. Poor diet is a huge factor when it comes to the condition of your skin. The biggest crater-creating culprits are dairy, gluten, sugar, trans fats, and salt. Eating a diet high in high-glycemic and processed foods undoubtedly results in unsightly skin and expedites the aging process.

The good news is that there are hundreds of options in nature that will without question greatly create and maintain a glowing complexion. By incorporating foods with the right nutrients into your diet, your skin will be clear and bright, and wrinkles and signs of aging will diminish. Look for foods with the following nutrients and your skin will transform beautifully.

1. Beta-Carotene

Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that gives the yellow-orange pigment to certain foods making them so rich in color. The human body converts it into Vitamin A, or retinol, crucial for skin health. Beta-carotene helps stimulate cell regeneration, which reduces wrinkles and improves skin color and texture. It also minimizes the effects of environmental damage from the sun and external pollution.

Sources in nature:

Carrots

Sweet potatoes

Squash

Kale

Spinach

2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omegas are extremely important in hydrating your skin and regulating oil production. If you’re feeling dry and flaky (especially in winter months), incorporating quality sources of omega-3s into your diet can really help. Omega-3s are extremely anti-inflammatory and can soothe skin conditions like rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema. They can prevent the destruction of collagen and increase resilience to internal and external threats.

Sources in nature:

Coconut Oil

Avocados

Olive Oil

Hemp seeds

Flax seeds

Fish oil

Walnuts

Leafy greens

3. Vitamins C and E

These vitamins are imperative for a bright and glowing complexion. They increase collagen growth which gives skin its elasticity and protects against wrinkles. They can actually prevent your skin from harmful effects of the sun, and have the potential to reverse sun damage including age spots. Incorporating them into your diet will help you restore and maintain youthful skin.

Sources in nature:

Lemons

Grapefruits

Strawberries

Almonds

Spinach

Asparagus


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10 Ways to Empower Yourself & Change Your LIfe

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1. Plan a trip

Stop making excuses. Go rock climbing in Joshua Tree, walk across the Great Wall of China, learn to surf in Mexico. In the big scheme of things, doing what you want to do will give you so much more than saving a couple thousand dollars and spending an extra few days or weeks at the office.

2. Stop comparing yourself to others

You are exactly where you are supposed to be. Do your best and mind your own path.

3. Smile always

Seriously, when you frown, you look ugly.

4. Stop caring what other people think about you.

It’s none of your business.

5. Eat real food

Your body is alive so nourish your vibrance. Don’t eat shit, because it makes you look and feel like shit.

6. Send love to everyone

Quietly bless everyone you meet, especially if they suck. They have to wake up in their own grumpy body every day. You get to wake up in your blissed out life. Remember that.

7. Listen to your music loud

Dancing is good for you. Do it often.

8. Challenge yourself

Find something that makes you uncomfortable and do it. Yoga, talking to strangers, speaking in front of a group – put yourself in positions you can’t back out of. You’ll get through it faster than expected and will realize you can do pretty much anything.

9. Let go of expectations

Do your best every day, be kind to your besties and to strangers, take care of your body, and know that everything will be fine. Don’t hold people or situations to expectations, accept challenges, and know that the infinite power of the universe is gently recalibrating your life at every moment to help guide you to your highest potential.

10. Practice gratitude

Be thankful for your parents and friends, your job, your apartment, and those tiny moments of happiness that you get from your morning coffee. This is your life, send appreciation and love to every corner of it.


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I made it to the top of an active volcano and it really hurt

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Eight grueling hours of hiking the steepest and slipperiest slope I’ve ever come across in my life.

It started harmlessly. A long walk up a rural path dotted with simple homes and farm animals snuffing out their breakfast at around 6 AM.

By the time we got to the entrance of the hike, however, I was sweating profusely.

We trekked out through the beautiful jungle accompanied by the sounds of howler monkeys and birds. Weaving up through varying terrain and surrounded by tropical trees, the lush setting distracted me from how steep the hike was getting.

When we stopped for a rest and my guide Alberto offered me a day-old piece of bread, I noted that we had gone from a warm and slightly windy temperature to what I would imagine it felt like to be in a cloud. I asked Alberto how much longer we had, as I was already quite tired from the steep incline of rubble, to which he responded, ‘dos e media, tres horas.’

At this point I realized I was in for way more than I had expected, and it was doubtful I’d get to catch up with my friends later on at the swimming hole for a coconut beverage as I had hoped.

As we climbed on, the terrain went from rubble to huge boulders, to slippery boulders, to slippery rocks, to pure mud and swamp that sucked at all edges of my once brightly colored pink Nikes. The air pressure became thinner and the temperature turned icy cold. The moisture on my body that before was perspiration was now rainwater from the heavy vapor that was coming from the, yes, cloud we were climbing through.

I began to understand that this was not a casual hike, and that maybe I should have paid attention when people told me that many hikers had fallen to their deaths on that very same volcano.

The moment this fact passed through my head, I began to panic. I wanted my parents. I wanted to turn around. Tears welled up in my eyes. The pain in my legs was becoming unbearable, and as Alberto hiked ahead and disappeared into the cloud, my resolve began to weaken. The eighty-five degree staircase of rocks and bushes went on for hours with no reprieve. My vision blurred, my calves began to cramp, and I seriously started wondering why this death trap trail even existed.

I knew I couldn’t turn around, mostly because I didn’t know how to say it in Spanish, so I began repeating positive affirmations to myself. ‘You got this Liv,’ ‘If anyone can do this it’s you,’ ‘It’s an adventure!’ This helped a little, until I would glance up into the howling vortex and wonder if I could ever actually make it to the top.

Then, at a certain point, I swear to God, Whitney Houston popped into my head, and ‘Dance with somebody’ got me motivated for the last two hours up. It was a miracle.

We finally made it to the crater, and it was absolutely miserable.

The wind was roaring at this point. I was freezing and soaking wet. There was heat blasting through the rocks and I could feel the power of the volcano beneath my feet. Visibility was absolute shit and I was more than ready to start the descent.

Going down, at first, was an amazing relief. My legs relaxed, I could plod along without the use of my walking stick, my neck relaxed. It was luxurious.

But then the injuries started. I began slipping and sliding everywhere. Scraping my legs, banging my knees, catching my backpack on bushes. The journey down would prove to be longer and more fearful than the climb.

After three hours, the wind quieted and I was able to see more than five feet ahead of me. My nerves slowly began to settle, and I came to believe that I probably was going to live. When I finally got to the bottom, flat ground had never felt so good.

All in all, it was the most painful and terrifying experience of my life. Would I do it again? Fuck no. Do I wish I hadn’t done it that day? Maybe. But where did staying in my comfort zone ever get me? I just hope that taking on challenges like that will help create the framework for future challenges of life; that I can learn to be calm, to persevere, and if all else fails, to put on an 80s song and dance through the pain.