A morning routine that can go anywhere & transitioning to summer!

Lemon water morning routine

I recently did a week-long spring cleanse ("Ayurvedic Kitchari," for those interested). While the cleanse itself was wonderful, what has stuck with me since has been the morning routine I developed that week. The idea of a morning routine is nothing revolutionary, but it is amazing how easy it is to forgo in favor of hitting the ground running straight into our very full lives. 

I like to start my morning with a big glass of hot lemon water. I juice half a lemon into about 10 ounces of hot water. This simple ritual has so many benefits! (Honestly, this is sometimes the only part of the routine I do; on weekends when I relax my routine, for example).

Next I do a bit of meditation and light stretching. If I'm pressed for time, I'll just do 15 minutes of meditation with my preferred meditation app (Insight Timer). On days when I have more time, I enjoy kundalini yoga classes on Yoga Glo.

That's the foundation of my morning routine. I keep it easy and flexible. In the past, my routines often failed because I was too ambitious. If I didn't do that hour-long walk and 30 minutes of stretching, it was OVER! Now, my routine is not a miracle cure. I still have good days and bad days like everyone, but a routine provides a peaceful touchstone to return to throughout the day. It also provides a domino effect. I've gotten better at cooking a solid breakfast, responding to stress in a less reactive way, and putting more time and attention into planning my day, for example. 

As we head into the intensity of the hot New Orleans summer, I'm grateful for any tools I can cultivate to stay grounded. I've also been revisiting my favorite herbal beverage, Golden Milk (see my blog post a few posts back for the recipe!), and reading more this week ("Love Warrior" by Glennon Doyle--aka the best book on healing I've read in a while!)

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Candle chat--essential oils vs. synthetic fragrance oils!

I often get questions about the benefits of using pure essential oils in our Smoke Candle (vs. using a blend of synthetics and essential oils or using just synthetics). The naturals do make for a more expensive candle, but read on to find out why we prioritize them. 

First, let's compare synthetics vs. naturals.

Synthetic fragrance oils are much cheaper than essential oils, and thus more commonly used. While synthetics are improving in quality, Many synthetic fragrance oils are derived from petroleum, and may contain chemicals that may lead to allergic reactions or act as hormone disruptors, which may lead to tumor growths, cancer, birth defects, and more. Yikes! 

Candles made with pure essential oils are made with plant-based ingredients derived from nature. They tend to enhance the natural aromas found in a space. A home that is free of added synthetics will showcase the natural candle's fragrance better. 

Synthetic fragrance oils do offer a much stronger scent throw, while the naturals will be more in the background. Natural candles do better in a smaller space free of drafts (like a washroom), or next to your bed (a personal favorite spot for mine!). 

Of course, a huge pro to the natural candles is that you will actually receive the therapeutic benefits of the essential oils themselves! I'll never forget the customer who reported having her sinuses clear as soon as she stepped into the room she was burning her Smoke Candle in!

At the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference. Personally, I find candles made with synthetic fragrance oils to completely overtake a room. This is very overwhelming to my nose. I find this to be distracting at best, and headache-inducing at worst (yes, even with high-quality synthetics). However, some people prefer this strong scent throw. I appreciate how the Smoke Candle can add a subtle shimmer to the space I burn it in. In fact, my nose appreciates this subtle scent more than an overpowering synthetic throw because it smells real! I continue to be enamored by the mysterious ways the plant-derived natural essences work, and find that as I've switched my life over to a more natural one in my home, dining, and beauty routine I've found that less is more!

At Smoke Perfume & Co. we remain committed to creating 100% of our products with pure, natural, plant-derived ingredients and zero synthetics. Why would we compromise with our candle?! 

Other wonderful natural ways to freshen your home include fresh cut flowers, the use of smudge sticks or palo santo (interestingly, they're finding that some smudges--like white sage--may help to clear harmful bacteria from the air--just be sure to purchase ethically sourced smudge sticks), natural incense, or an essential oil diffuser. 

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Herbal Kitchen / Golden Milk

turmeric

Happy Fall! Even though the temperature is still in the nineties here in New Orleans, I can feel the shift from Summer to Fall...The geese have made their way from up north to winter in Bayou St. John & City Park, the beauty berries have come in fuchsia (a sure sign of Fall here), and I've been craving my daily cup of golden milk! 

Turmeric is the key ingredient in golden milk, and its benefits are innumerable. It's best known for its anti-inflammatory superpowers due to high levels of curcumin––aiding all sorts of aches and pains specific to the neuromuscular and digestive systems. Turmeric is known to balance skin (due to its liver-nourishing properties), boost brain power, and ward off all sorts of illnesses. It's no wonder that this root gets hailed as one of the most beneficial superfoods on the planet. And don't forget that gorgeous color!

Golden milk is an easy and tasty way to give yourself some nourishing support any time of the year. This bev is packed with antioxidant-rich ingredients and is wonderful first thing in the morning to wake up our livers, or right before bed to ease into deep, restorative slumber. Either way, I've come to rely on this comforting cup throughout the years.

 

turmeric based Golden Milk

Recipe:

1 tsp ground organic turmeric powder 

1/4 tsp black pepper (aids absorption of turmeric––don't skip this!)

2 scoops collagen peptides (ok, this is a new addition for me. I jumped on the paleo-popularized collagen bandwagon, for skin health and inflammation management, and I will say my skin has been loving it! This is optional. I find it adds a slightly creamy consistency to the drink and doesn't affect taste.)

1 T. coconut oil

1 T. raw honey

1.5 cups boiling water

Add all ingredients in a blender, blend for 30 seconds on high, pour into a mug, sit back, sip & GLOW!

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