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National Chocolate Day

One of the best days of the year has FINALLY rolled back around… National Chocolate Day is here!  My first instinct was to celebrate this glorious day with a mocha  and chocolate donut for breakfast, chocolate cake for lunch, chocolate ice cream for dinner and my body weight in Milk Chocolate Lindts for dessert.  However, for obvious reasons , I don’t think that’s really the best idea.

Still, determined to celebrate, I meandered my way into my kitchen this morning to see what goodies I could whip up using one of my all time favourite ingredients. I found my 24%, Dutch process cocoa powder, some brown sugar and my trusty coconut oil.  These three simple ingredients make the most perfect lip scrub you could ever need.  The brown sugar exfoliates, the coconut oil moisturizes, and the cocoa powder makes it smell (and taste) amazing. My lips are so silky soft now, and prepped for all the beautiful fall lipstick shades I’ve been itching to use ever since the first leaf fell off my tree last week.

LipScrubJust mix ½ cup of coconut oil with 2 cups of brown sugar and 3 tbsp of cocoa powder. If you’re feeling adventurous add a little peppermint essential oil or even some high quality vanilla extract!  That’s really all there is too it, and you can keep it in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Thoroughly satisfied with myself for finding the perfect way to celebrate International Chocolate Day without having to do endless burpies the next day, I went rummaging through my fridge for a snack.  Inspiration hit the second my eyes landed on the greek yogurt.  I often plaster it all over my face to help reduce fine lines, dissolve dead skin and tighten my pores. It also works great as a deep conditioner in my hair!  In my world, greek yogurt can do no wrong.    

I spooned some into a bowl, added a tbsp of honey, and a heaping tablespoon of cocoa powder, and proceeded to paint the delicious mixture all over my face.  Honey is amazingly moisturizing, and really amps up that glow we are always searching for. It also has a ton of antioxidants, which help slow the aging process. Cocoa powder is also packed with antioxidants, which help repair skin cells.I let my mask sit for 20 minutes, and gently wiped it off with a warm, damp cloth.  Followed up with my favorite moisturizer, and my face has never felt so refreshed!

All it took was six simple ingredients and 40 minutes (including a 15 minute yoga flow while my mask worked it’s magic) to a bright, tight and smooth face.  If you ask me, that is the best way to celebrate a day like today without overindulging!  Don’t get me wrong though, I still had a chocolate bar.

Chocolate Lip Scrub
1/2 Cup Coconut Oil
2 Cups Brown Sugar
3 TBSP Cocoa Powder

Mix all ingredients together to form a paste.
Can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 6 months

Chocolate Face Mask
1/4 cup Full Fat Plain Greek Yogurt
1 TBSP Honey
1 TBSP Cocoa Powder

Mix all ingredients together.
Paint on your face, and let sit for 15-20 minutes
Gently wipe off with a warm damp washcloth

 

 

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FULL MOON IN SAGITTARIUS

A remarkable full moon is coming up on June 9th, exactly at 9:10 am EDT.

It occurs on the same day, within the same hour, of the largest planet in our solar system, Jupiter, turning stationary direct.

We can expect a significant energetic shift activated by this full moon in truth-seeking and adventurous Sagittarius.

The key themes are truth, expansion, and collaboration.

Here’s how we can work in alignment with the energies of this full moon:

    1. Connect with your purpose and big “why”. Once your highest vision is made crystal clear in your mind during this full moon, make sure that what you feel in your body feels good in your heart as you envision it. If there is no emotion or no connection sensed, seek a new image in your inner eye until you receive the aligned vision AND the sensation of what you are here to create and experience. It will feel exciting, expansive, delicious or light (e.g. like a relief) in your body. Then, tune into this expansive feeling for a few moments, breathe it all in, and allow all levels of your being to experience this as a new reality.
    2. Increase your reach. It’s a fantastic week to reach 3 times further and to connect with like-hearted communities and exciting collaborators. For example, share your blog or video in 3 new groups, or engage with 3 influencers that you appreciate. The energy of this full moon and stationary Jupiter can help you amplify your inspiring message many times.
    3. Spruce up your sacred space or your 2017 vision board (we are exactly halfway through the year now – yay!) or look for one new inspired visual that holds the vibration or intention of what you are looking to create this year in a bigger way. It can also be a new crystal or a sacred item that carries high-vibrational energy for you. Let it help you connect with the energy of expansion and self-belief on this highly-activating full moon.
    4. Embrace a new community. This full moon has the power of bringing communities, destined partners, and allies who share a common purpose together, even if they come from diverse paths. With Venus and Mars in a harmonious aspect, and Jupiter stationary in social and partner-oriented Libra, we are invited to expand our beliefs around the meaning and value of teamwork, contribution, and commitment in partnerships. To choose to work together even when we are not ready to fully trust or surrender to the unknown. There is a mystical quality to trusting our team, partner, and universe during this time, becoming acutely aware of that one excuse that can divert us from the path and still take a big leap forward (Jupiter quincunx Neptune).
    5. Release, release to feel lighter on this full moon. Remember to do some releasing work. The full moon is exact at 9:10 am EDT (Eastern Time Zone) on June 9th, however, there will also be a very helpful alignment in the evening hours to help you tune in to the energy of emotional freedom and release what’s holding you back (the Moon aligns with the highly-potent Galactic Centre and Saturn as it approaches a trine with liberating Uranus exactly 12 hours later). The “when” and the “how” of the releasing ritual are not as critical. It is your intention to release that is most important (i.e. all energies, thoughts, emotions that no longer support your joyous expansion).

JOIN US LIVE ON OUR TINY DEVOTIONS FACEBOOK PAGE, FRIDAY, JUNE 9TH AT 12 PM EDT WITH MILADA SAKIC WITH MORE ASTRO INSIGHTS ON THIS FULL MOON’S ENERGIES.

_MG_6727_Milada Sakic_450 x 450Milada Sakic, business astrologer, energy healer, and holistic wellness teacher, helps healers and highly-creative visionaries live on purpose and fully embrace their own intuitive healing gifts in order to create an energy-vibrant lifestyle and a heart-centered business they adore.

Milada is teaching Astrology for Business, Holistic Wellness with Essential Oils, as well as the soul-level healing modality, Akashic Records – The Soul Journeys® Akashic Records Certification Program. Her Karmic Astrology 101 online group course is coming up on June 20th. www.miladasakic.com

 

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MINDFULNESS + SOCIAL MEDIA

Last month, I gave an introduction to living a mindful life in a material world– how we can enjoy everything that out physical world has to offer while maintaining a deep connection to our inner selves.

Today I want to get more specific and look at how we can bring mindfulness into our social media usage. This has been a huge conversation for me personally as I’ve struggled to balance the positives and the negatives of an online life. I’ve learned that I have to be very mindful of how I use social media, or I seriously suffer the consequences.

For me, it all starts with this one question:

Am I picking up my phone to get inspired and connected or to zone and numb out?

This is a really important thing to recognize– why exactly are you scrolling through social media?

When I’m bored, stressed, indecisive, or anxious I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll immediately reach for my phone. When being alone with my thoughts or worries feels like too much, a quick scroll through Instagram seems like the quickest way to distract myself and not deal with what’s really going on.

The thing is, I am not necessarily saying this is a bad thing. Sometimes diversions and distractions are good coping mechanisms, but being mindful of what’s going on behind your scrolling is key. It takes you out of autopilot and puts you back in control of your actions.

Another question to consider is why do you post what you post? Is it for “likes” or validation, or is it to share a piece of yourself with others and connect with a community?

Again, I don’t actually think there’s a right or wrong reason- personally, I am happy to grow my online platforms- it opens up a lot of doors! What’s really important is that you’re aware of your intention.

The hashtags you use, the filters, the editing, the comments you leave- they can all be applied mindfully or not. This might make the whole thing seem way too complicated, but it’s as simple as bringing awareness to how you’re feeling when you do these things.

Recently, I’ve really begun evaluating my social media use and looking at what works for me and what doesn’t. I’ve finally accepted that too much scrolling makes me feel overwhelmed, cloudy, and less satisfied with my life. And this is coming from someone whose feed is comprised of really inspirational, wellness focused content.

It’s not the posts itself that throws me off; it’s the sheer volume of information. Having constant access to so many differing opinions, quotes, beliefs, and experiences, just leaves me confused and disconnected from myself.

I am able to get so much clearer when I’m not overloaded with social media content. I feel so much more content and present when I’m offline more of the time.

It’s not always easy to put down my phone though. There’s this feeling when you’ve checked all of your accounts and you’re just kind of sitting there with your phone not sure what to check next. We look for connection through our phones when we’re not finding it within ourselves or in the physical world around us.

I also recognize that there is SO much good that can come from social media. I’ve met new friends, clients, and collaborators through my Instagram and Facebook accounts, and I’ve learned so much from the inspiring people I follow and connect with! I’ve discovered new places, new recipes, new books, new ways of thinking, all through the community I am able to connect with online. And that is extremely powerful.

I also love the creative aspect of social media. Taking photos of my travels, my kitten, and my smoothies is so much fun. Filtering, editing, and writing captions is a creative experience for me.

When I use social media now, in addition to limiting my time spent scrolling or posting, I’m mindful of how I’m feeling. When I’m feeling inspired and connected to others, I stay online. Once I start feeling overwhelmed, less-than, or judgmental, I know it’s time to switch off.

Learning how to navigate this online world takes practice. The majority of us didn’t grow up with smartphones, so we’re still learning how to adapt to this new way of life- to find balance and not lose ourselves online. Using social media gives us an amazing opportunity to set boundaries and become mindful of what works for us and what doesn’t.

Taking selfies, seeking followers, scrolling through your feeds, perfecting your filters and edits- these are all neutral actions. The power is in bringing mindfulness to these actions and becoming aware of why you’re doing them.

How do you find balance online? What are your tips for staying mindful and present in this age of information overload? We would love to hear from you!

p.s. Social media and the effect that it has on our lives is such a huge conversation, one that I can’t even begin to properly cover in one short article. If this is something you’re interested in, there are two TedTalks that I highly recommend.

Quit Social Media, by Dr. Cal Newport

Social Media Makes us Unsocial, Allison Graham

I don’t necessarily agree with everything they say, but they offer a really powerful perspective on the importance of understanding the effect that social media can have on us. I think educating ourselves in this way can help us to stay more mindful and make informed online choices.

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Kate is a lifestyle and travel writer based in Halifax.  You can find her online at her site, and on Instagram

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How to use your Mala in a Yoga Practice

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1) Grounding:
Inhale, exhale… Grab your mat, blankets, bolster and blocks. Find a comfortable seated position with a straight spine rooting yourself into the mat. Gently close your eyes or soften your gaze allowing yourself to dive inwards.

2) Choose Your Mantra:
Take a moment to choose your mantra to guide you through your meditative practice. What brought you to your mat today? What intention did you set this morning when you awoke? What emotion does your mala evoke within you? Your intention is personal to you- it can be a thought, a word, a sentence or song. Once you have chosen your mantra chant it aloud or silently.

3) Japa Meditation:
Hold your Mala Beads in your right hand allowing it to drape between the thumb and middle finger. Starting at the Guru Bead or the sacred stone- gently roll each bead while repeating your mantra. Repeat this 108 times, or until you are back at the sacred stone.

4) Yoga Practice:
Place your Mala beads at the top of your yoga mat. Allow your mantra and intention to flow through you guiding you through your asanas. If you feel yourself getting lost in the physical practice, use the intention you set with your Mala Beads to bring yourself back to the present.

5) Savasana:
Finish your yoga practice on your mat with a juicy savasana. You may choose to end with another round of Japa Meditation bringing your practice full circle.

Virgo Full Moon

Virgo’s Full Moon is taking place today, February 22nd at 1:19pm EST. The Full Moon is believed to shine a light on relationships, challenges and other areas of your life that need improvement. It brings about a perfect time to complete any projects that have been lingering, have conversations you may have been avoiding or dealing with love and relationship problems that you’ve tried to ignore.

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The energy created by the Full Moon in Virgo will drive passion in your desire for change. The spell of this full moon is said to be a time of curiosity, inspiration and drive. You might feel inspired to make positive changes in your life, from healthy eating + working out to decluttering and minimalizing your home. The zodiac signs most affected by this Full Moon will be Virgo, Capricorn, Taurus, Pisces, and Sagittarius. The Full Moon can make you feel frustrated and restless, but it also will push you to make significant changes in love and life. It’s a time of high emotions and that might create some tension to force you to let go of past anger to allow relationships to heal. Get ready to embrace change throughout the rest of February and into March!