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Favorite Healthy Date Spots in Manhattan

I get asked all of the time for places I recommend for healthy eating & for those with dietary restrictions. Below you can find some of my go-to date night spots (can be for with friend, family member or significant other). FAVORITES

@candle79 & @candlecafe – Vegan. Candle 79 is a little fancier, better for a weekend date whereas Candle Cafe is more casual but still a nice ambiance for weeknights.

@plantfoodandwine – Vegetarian/Vegan

@peacefoodnyc – Vegan . Upper west seems a bit more casual vibe than the EV location.

@divyaskitchennyc – Vegetarian Ayurvedic (first one in NYC). They have a great selection of herbal teas!

@thebutchersdaughter_official- Plant Based & GF. Great for brunch.

@risotteriamelottinyc – Gluten Free. Mainly risotto dishes, so is great for those of you that are gluten free. It’s the cutest spot, making you feel as if you are in Italy.

@abcvnyc – Flatiron, Vegetarian/Vegan.

@caravanofdreams405 – East Village, Vegan. A bit more low key than the above, but still a good date night spot. They also have live Jazz!

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MORE CASUAL – 👇🏼. Still so delicious for lunch or a weeknight quick dinner.

@le_botaniste – Vegetarian

@hukitchen – Paleo

@eatbychloe – Vegan & Gluten Free

@beyondsushinyc -Vegan

@bareburger – Sustainable, 50% Vegan with GF Options. On their menu, Bareburger details exactly where their food comes from, which farms etc. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ If you are going with someone who is new to the “healthy”, food space, my go-to spots to ease someone into it out of this list are @risotteriamelottinyc , @eatbychloe & @bareburger

You can check out my “NYC Eats” story highlight which includes videos of the food/ambiance for some of these locations.

⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ What are some of your favorites?!

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NYC Non-Toxic Self Care at sundays Nail Studio

I have been going to sundays nontoxic nail studio for the last few months and I am a huge fan! Since middle school, I’ve always, like clockwork have gotten my nails done every two weeks (and yes my nails have always been this long). When I started looking into more natural products a few years ago, I slowly started to take breaks between manicures to let my nails breath from the chemicals in the polish.

As we know, using toxic products that affect our endocrine system can contribute to disease over a prolonged use in the body. Last year a went a full 3 months in the winter with no polish. There really is no nail polish that is COMPLETELY chemical free, so I still like taking breaks in between my manicure here and there. But, there are better options that have way less chemicals in them, like the polish used at Sunday’s. It’s really nice to be able to get a manicure and not feel like I am doing something bad for my body in order to have a “fresh and polished” look. I was really impressed with their nail polish color selection. I have brought my own less toxic nail polish colors with me before to the nail salon, but there is still that toxic smell from the remover and from other chemicals being used in the salon.

I didn’t notice a super toxic smell at sundays, which is a major plus. I often feel bad for the manicurists in salons thinking how they have to breath in the chemicals in all day.

A few other things I liked about Sunday’s:

🔹They offer headsets for meditation while getting a mani or pedi ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀

🔹They offer tea (caffeinated and caffeine free)

🔹They put lemon in the water to soak your hand

🔹Their polish is cruelty free

Their newer Hudson Yards location includes:

🔹table with herbal tea for you to sit and let your nails dry

🔹a gratitude journal

🔹love letters to write to oneself

You can use code SIMPLY11 for 15% off any of their products. To shop, click here.

The light pink color I used above is color No 7. The darker color I used was color No 24.

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Personalized Stretching at LYMBR

I was able to get in a stretch session at LYMBR’s new Hamptons location LYMBR Hamptons located in Bridgehampton at The BARN Soul Cycle

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The space is serene with an outdoor seating area to relax or hangout before/after a session. ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀

During my session, we stretched out my neck. This was the area I wanted to focus on. Because we only did my neck, I sat in the chair the whole session. They also have a table to lay on for other areas of the body. ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀

I have been stretching out my neck a lot on my own recently and have been getting some relief from my neck pain by doing so. In order to get relief, I need a really deep stretch that can be painful and which I have to put a lot of effort on my own. It was really helpful to have Cesar (who was great btw) hold my shoulder in place while pulling my arm or neck in the other direction. Having someone stretch me really hits certain spots where I need it the most and can get into certain areas I wouldn’t be able to get into on my own. ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀

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The movements LYMBR uses are designed to:

▫️increase flexibility

▫️improve range of motion ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ▫️expand myofascial pathways for greater oxygenation & circulation.

The guided stretches are performed in multiple repetitions and only held for a few seconds. Sessions are 30 or 60 min. ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀

I felt some relief after the session, although I know it will take many more sessions for me to get more permanent relief. I did feel more relaxed and lighter after my session which was an added benefit. ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀

I am a more recent proponent of stretching, working it into my routine, where I now stretch my full body a few times a week. I have noticed for me, it is necessary for injury prevention, helps maximize my strength and relaxes my mind. ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀

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Kambo – Healing Frog Poison

KAMBO. Aka Frog Poison.

Kambo is a traditional ritual that uses the poison of the giant monkey frog to purify the body.  

I originally heard of Kambo when I was in Costa Rica last winter. I saw something that looked like a unique tattoo on a girl I was talking to and asked what it was. She explained it was from multiple Kambo experiences. She felt great benefits from Kambo and it was on my radar ever since. A few weeks ago, one of my friends posted about it on his Instagram, so I reached out. He directed me to someone who was in NYC for the next week doing Kambo house calls, so I jumped on the opportunity.

Kambo is a bright green tree frog native to the Amazon basin is supposed to act like a reset to ones body. Many people seek it out to  reinvigorate the body and mind. Kambo has a span of traditional and potential therapeutic applications, both medical and psycho-spiritual. The secretion is known for its powerful purgative effects.

The women asked me which side of the body I would like to have the Kambo. The right side is for the “physical” and the left is more for “emotional”. My friend who had done Kambo had relief from some of his chronic pain. I was doing it to hopefully relieve my joint pain, so I chose the right arm.

She then burned my arm (the size of one of the dots seen in the photo) and proceeded to put the kambo on top of the burn. After a little but, we moved onto a second dot. I started to feel the kambo pretty heavily at this point.

My body became very hot and my heart started to beat more rapidly. I felt pretty out of it. Then, I started to get nauseous. The feeling was overwhelming. Then, she put one last dot on my arm. This is when I started to purge. I was purging bright green liquid which is supposedly bile from your liver. The Kambo practitioner had a really calming energy to her. She was supporting me with positive words and  made the process a bit more tolerable. After about 20-30 min of vomiting, I had to use the restroom. Then, my body started to normalize. The Kambo was very uncomfortable for about 40 minutes.The Kambo was then taken off. Then, the practitioner put on Dragon’s Blood (or Sangre de Drago) on top of the three burn marks, which is liquid resin obtained from the Croton Lechleri Tree. This is applied to the burns upon conclusion of the ceremony, Dragon’s Blood protects the healing burn by covering it with an antibacterial layer.  It helps to heal wounds and preventing scar tissue. When dried up it completely closes the wound. This is what you are seeing in the photo of my arm. The Dragon’s Blood fell off after a few weeks naturally and I can hardly see any scar now (see 3rd photo). Apparently, the scars fade completely in a few months, but depending on your skin color and type you may always have small visible scars. Most people see their Kambo scars as a badge of honor.

Then, I was given tobacco called Rapé, which is a tribal healing, blown into the nose through a blow pipe. Rapé clears and focuses the mind and thoughts, centers and grounds your energy, opens up your physical and spiritual senses and awareness, cleanses and purifies your body and energetic fields, connects you to your spirit allies and other medicines, and much more.  

For the next few hours, the only thing I was able to do was relax and watch TV. I went outside and took a short walk, almost feeling like I was high. I went to bed really early that night and slept 12 hours and could have slept longer. I was so exhausted from the experience.

That being said, everyone feels differently after taking it. It’s a warrior medicine so traditionally the tribes take it before going hunting.

The aftermath: it’s really hard to tell whether or not Kambo had a noticeable effect on me. I tried it hoping it would help ease up some of my joint pain, which it did not. However, I have been eating a cleaner since and haven’t had many cravings for dairy/gluten which I try and stay away from but usually give in to from time to time. I also my sleeping and some other habits are better. That being said, I also did Kambo a week before Memorial Day Weekend. Before the start of summer, I am generally in a better mood and more motivated to eat clean. It is hard to tell how much of my habit changes are directly related, but I can keep you guys posted on updates/if I try this again.

To prepare:

24 hours before treatment –  I was informed not to eat meat, anything too spicy, no alcohol, drugs, prescription medications, no supplements and to be well hydrated.

No caffeine in the morning the day of.

Fast for 10 hours before the treatment. It is common for people to do the treatment in the morning.

Make sure to have 2 liters of spring water on hand.

After the treatment – it was advised not to drink alcohol for a few days after the treatment to give my liver a rest.

If you are interested in learning more about Kambo, the article I sourced is a good reference to learn more. See below.

References:

Teal, George, et al. “Everything You Need To Know About Kambo, The Tree Frog Medicine.” The Third Wave, thethirdwave.co/psychedelics/kambo/.

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Photobiomodulation Therapy

I tried out Photobiomodulation Therapy (PBMT), also known as Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) at Lemon Light Lounge three times within a week in March. They are located in downtown New York City. Photobiomodulation is a bed with photos of LED lights (UV-free lights.) This is the first step in their 3 step detox process. ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀

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After getting out of this full body machine for the first time, I noticed that my face looked more clear, as if I had been in the sun for 15 minutes but I didn’t have any added color/tan. I also have been getting compliments on my skin the past few days from people in person when I have no makeup on. It seems like the combination of this and the infrared sauna (the 3rd step) have helped. ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀

I also felt like my mood and energy levels significantly got better right after this. I definitely have the “winter blues” and am in a better mood/happier during the warmer weather. Laying in the machine for the allotted time, really felt like I was getting some much needed sun in the middle of March and my increased mood stayed with my for that day and the next few days.

Below are some more benefits according to Lemon Light Lounge and dozens of studies. ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ 🔹Improve tissue repair / speeds wound healing

🔹Reduce pain and inflammation ⠀⠀

🔹Cognition: Cognitive benefits have shown that Near Infrared light can improve and restore

brain function in cases of TBI, CTE, Alzheimer’s and Dementia. ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀⠀

🔹Skin benefits: improved wound healing, increased collagen formation and tightening of the elastin layer. Green light seems to be beneficial for dermal wound healing, as well as hyperpigmentation, acne, MRSA and similar surface issues.

🔹 Cellular Benefits: improved circulation, improves mitochondrial function (energy or ATP), increased detoxification of waste and free radicals.

I also included some more information provided by Lemon Light Lounge below.

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Organic Tinted Moisturizer

My new skincare addiction is Organic Tinted Moisturizer by Sanre Organic Skinfood.⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Why I love it:

🔹 Its all natural and organic (for real) ⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀

🔹It makes my skin glow in the off summer months

🔹It doesn’t clog my pores or make me break out (my skin is sensitive to breakouts) ⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀

🔹I can continue to use it into the spring/summer, get a nice glow without overexposing myself to the sun ⠀

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I got this product a few weeks ago after trying a sample tinted moisturizer from a non-natural company and loving the way it made my skin look. The problem was, after using it for a week long, my pores started to clog with the toxic ingredients in the product. This was another reason (in addition to always looking for more natural products) to look for something with more pure ingredients. ⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀

I’ve been putting the tinted moisturizer from Sanre Organic on my face as a lotion during the daytime to test it out everyday over the past week and a half. After, I’ve been putting on the hibiscus tea on my checks (the trick I showed in my video 2 posts ago). When doing this, I’ve had people comment on my “tan, glow, Caribbean tan”! I even went out to dinner last night and used the same process INSTEAD of using foundation/bronzer/blush on my face and did my (eyes/lips) as per usual & it looked great. ⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀

The Ingredients are ALL ORGANIC (except for the iron oxide & titanium dioxide)

INGREDIENTS: Safflower Oil, Grape Seed Oil, Purified Water, Beeswax, Aloe Vera Gel, Iron Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, Citrus Extract, Essential Oils of Lavender, Rosemary, Jasmine Absolute, Sweet Orange, Thyme, Patchouli, Hyssop

I also have been using their products for a few years now and really love them. Their ingredients are the real deal- all natural and organic and not just marketed that way. I feel so comfortable knowing I can trust this brand when I use it.

Two of my other favorites by them are:

C-LOVE . I love this for my neck, chest and eyes or for face if I’m super dry. It smells AMAZING

Footsie Fiesta. I’ve never been one to use foot lotion, but I was very impressed with this. The texture and smell is perfect for the feet, locking in moisture and helps to relax.

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Hibiscus Tea Bags As Natural Blush

🌺HIBISCUS TEA BAGS AS NATURAL BLUSH🌺Missing my tan/sunkissed look from Colombia. I started using Hibiscus tea bags to get a natural sunkissed look on days I am not putting face makeup on. I really look so different when I have a healthy tan or glow vs when I haven’t seen the sun in months. I only wear makeup a few times a week, mainly when I go out. I mainly just put some lipstick/stain on and recently like to also add the hibiscus to make my face look more lively. ⠀ ⠀

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I was going for a subtle look, but you can also achieve a more red color if desired. This has been staying on super well for me! ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀

You can also freeze the tea bags prior to. The frozen tea bags wakes up the skin and the hibiscus tighters and gives a natural flush ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀

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Other benefits of hibiscus for your skin:

🌺Helps with age spots

🌺Encourage an all round fresher, younger, smoother looking complexion. ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀

🌺The natural acids present in Hibiscus help to purify the skin by breaking down dead skin and increasing cell turnover & can help to control acne breakouts.

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Sunbathing & Natural Sunscreen

☀️When I was younger, I would bake out in the sun for HOURS at a time seeking a dark tan & didn’t use sunscreen. After learning about how many chemicals are in synthetic sunblock, I am not sure if loading up on the sunscreen would have caused more harm than good? ⠀⠀⠀⠀

Now, I have a whole different approach around sunbathing. I allow myself to get sun when I am walking around/in the ocean for about an hour or less & put a natural sunscreen on, or nothing on if I have a base tan. When I am not being “active”, I seek shade and also love using a hat & coverup to cover my chest/shoulders. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀

The sun IS good for us in healthy doses. I am Vitamin D deficient in winter months & it really affects my mood a TON. After being in the ocean/sun, my friends commented on my increased energy levels & overall mood change. There are also many studies that show that Vitamin D is super important for bone health. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀

I really loved @moonandbloom post from the other week. She is a Registered Herbalist. I share the same thoughts as her relating to ☀️. She recommends: “Exposing one’s eyes to the sun (safely in moderation) activates the pineal gland quite markedly, as we know from ancient practice of sun gazing. It’s so good for skin disorders and healing, and cleans & oxygenates the blood.

While the whole synthetic sunblock industry is WAY toxic to humans, animals, and the Earth, there are numerous plant oils with natural SPF. All skin types have their own unique thresholds for sun that can vary with age and genetics. When the sun is really strong, I like a blend of St. Johnswort oil (approx SPF 8), Sea Buckthorn oil (approx spf 30) & coconut oil (approx spf 4-6). Watch the amounts- the Sea Buckthorn & Johnswort will dye your skin orange.” ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀

Face: I used a sunscreen by Naturopathica for my face for the first time & loved it! On the Think Dirty app it is rated as a 1 out of 10 toxicity level.

Body: I used a natural sunscreen I bought in Costa Rica and really like! See below for ingredients.

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Carry-On Essentials for Sleep

Being able to fall asleep on the plane can sometimes make or break a vacation. Especially on overnight flights or when I have a early flight and hardly slept the night before. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀See the photo below and keep reading for my Carry-On Essentials for Sleep.⠀

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1. Evolution Pillow: I would NEVER sleep on planes before getting the Evolution Pillow 6 years ago. It wraps around your head in a way that any way your head tilts, its supports it. Other neck pillows never worked and always felt like a strain on my neck. Ever since getting this pillow, there has not been a flight that I haven’t slept on. Whether its from a 20 min nap, or sleeping for hours straight. I managed to sleep 3.5 hours going to Cartagena. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀

2. Passionflower and Valerian: For sleep. I used to take melatonin on flights but decided to try these new herbs I recently bought from arielletheherbalist at the flowerpower in nyc I woke up after my 3.5 hours of sleep feeling energized. Sometimes after taking melatonin, I feel groggy when I wake. Be aware: some people GAIN energy from Valerian instead of become sleepy from it. It is individual to the person & something one must experiment with. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀

3. Earthen Warrior – Silk sleep mask, naturally dyed & handmade in NYC: A must especially when you don’t have control over the window situation.

This mask is made with:

-Rainbow Moonstone Third Eye: Moonstone helps promote rest, intuition and psychic abilities, making it a perfect crystal to place at your third eye during rest. -The front: Indigo dye -The back: Skin healing Turmeric silk against the eyes for extra restorative rest

-Filled with lavender, organic wildflowers, calendula & flax. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀

4. Earplugs: KEY to muffle out any sounds.

5. Headphones: I’ll use these if there is a really loud sound like a crying baby to play relaxing music to help me sleep.

6. Pashmina: I’ll use this as a blanket on the plane, a scarf in the cold weather and a jacket at night in the warm weather.

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Kadampa Meditation and Compassion

I attended a class yesterday evening at Kadampa in Chelsea, New York City.  The class started off with a 10 minute conversation about meditation led by the instructor, Taz. Taz then led the class into a 25 minute meditation- both guided with some moments of silence. The theme of the class was compassion- self compassion and compassion for others. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀

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After meditating, the instructor read some parts of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso’s book, Modern Buddhism. It is the distillation of Geshe Kelsang’s life’s work of bringing Kadampa Buddhism to the contemporary world in practical and modern way. Taz read through some of the book and then would reflect on the concepts to help us integrate methods of Buddhism into our lives, continuing with the theme of compassion. She spoke about having a headache and how in that moment how irritating a headache could be. When thinking about how many people in the world have headaches, the headache’s annoyance could then dissipate.
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This reminded me of many concepts from one of my favorite books by Pema Chodron , “When Things Fall Apart.” Below are a few excerpts from the book that came to mind during class. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀

🔹”Unwise selfish people think only of themselves, and they result is confusion and pain. Wise selfish people know that the best thing they can do for themselves is to be there for others. As a result, they experience joy.”⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀

🔹Tonglen is a practice to awaken our compassion. Whenever we encounter suffering in any form, the tonglen instruction is the breathe it in with the wish that everyone can be free of pain. Whenever we encounter happiness in any form, the instruction is to breathe it out, send it out, with the wish that everyone could feel joy. It is a practice that allows people to feel less burdened, a practice that shows us how to love without conditions.

Taz gave us a short homework exercise to do before next week’s class- to breathe in the pain/stress of someone we knew, then as we breathe out, to send happiness and joy their way.

The class was from 5:30-6:30 for only $10. They also have $5, 30 minute classes during lunch and after work during weekdays. I really liked this class and definitely recommend. It was really nice to go to a class that incorporated learning about Buddhism, meditation as well as self reflection.