Best Meditation App

Thursday, March 30, 2017

If you’re like me, a guided meditation is easier to get lost in, at least in these early stages of my meditation journey. I can usually only last 5 or so minutes all alone or with music, but with a guided meditation I can usually go a good 10-12 before my mind starts to get distracted.
I downloaded a couple of apps in the beginning, trying to find one that I liked best. I first tried Headspace, and did their free 10-day trial. I liked it, but at the end of the 10 days I wasn’t feeling hooked enough to want a subscription.

The next app I found was Meditation Studio, and after reading the description and reviews I was already sold. It’s $3 in the app store, but that’s it. No subscription, no in-app purchases. You get access to over 250 guided mediations, ranging in times span and focus. I don’t usually pay for an app I haven’t researched, but I snagged this one right away and I’m so glad I did.

You can create a personalized studio with meditations you like, pick a background sound (it’s always a stream or chimes for me), and even create a scheduled meditation time. I love this app, and it’s made meditating every morning easy and it’s nice to pick a meditation that focuses on how I’m feeling that morning, or what I want to work on that day.

I highly suggest downloading this app if you’re looking for a meditation app, it's really been my new best friend lately!

Love deeply xo

The Beginning

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Religion has always seemed to be a heavy word for me. I grew up in a pretty strict Christian family, but I can remember sitting in church or Sunday school at a very young age just not getting it- I could just never buy into this all powerful being thing. That being said, I’ve always been very interested in world religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, and going back to ancient Rome and Egypt. I have books on Hinduism and the old Greek and Roman gods on my bookshelf. Those stories have always been interesting to me. But what started my hard look into Buddhism and my mindfulness journey?

“The Story of God” hosted by Morgan Freeman.
I was skeptical about this documentary series in the beginning, but when I saw it on my Hulu homepage, I decided to give it a shot. I was pleased to see that it wasn’t a monotheistic view on God but drew elements and stories from the main religions of the world. I have also always felt that Morgan Freeman was a wise and intellectual man, so the fact that he was the one searching for the answers made it even better. He would question everything, a lot of the same things I would question, and he grew up in a church just like I did.

Even with my interests into world religions, I’d never really read about Buddhism until after I saw this series. He visits with a Buddhist monk and I learned that Buddhism isn’t a religion, it’s a philosophy. It only has a label of “religion” because there are so many people who follow the philosophy of the Buddha. Like I mentioned above, the word “religion” holds a lot of weight to me, so finding out that Buddhism is actually a philosophy and not the belief in an all powerful god, made it seem acceptable to resonate with it.
After I binged this series in a few days, I watched everything else I could get my hands on that focused on Buddhism and the teachings of the Buddha, including YouTube docs and videos. I was totally hooked. Everything about how I feel about the world around me and myself suddenly seemed to make sense, in a way. It was that feeling of suddenly realizing you’re not the only one sitting in a stadium listening to the same song.

I immediately tried to start meditating every morning, I wanted to refocus and get rid of the stress I had seemed to be carrying for so long, for no reason at all. I bought a kindle book on the basics of Buddhism, that just reiterated everything I had seen on the documentaries and videos I had watched. I bought a journal to keep whatever I wanted in it, as long as it pertained to my journey to mindfulness. I tried to bring a sense of calm and happiness to everything that I did.
It hasn’t been easy, and it would be untruthful to tell you that I can already meditate for long periods of time and am always so happy. I’m only a month into this journey, and even as I’m writing this I realized that I haven’t meditated yet today. These things take time. But even a month in, I have already noticed small changes in my moods and it’s a lot easier for me to calm down when I’m stressed at work than before I started daily meditations.

If you haven’t seen the documentary series I mentioned above, I highly suggest that you do. It’s fascinating to see how the different religions relate and how they differ. And listening to Morgan Freeman’s voice is always calming, in my opinion.

Love deeply xo

Waffles for Days

Have you ever watched a youtube video and immediately wanted to eat whatever that person in the video was eating? That's what happened to me the other day. But I mean honestly, it happens often.

So the next morning I decided to make waffles with strawberries for breakfast and it may have been the best decision ever. The strawberries needed to get eaten anyway and what better way to eat them then on top of waffles?

I just use a box of Bisquick and add in soy milk and a flax egg, to replace the cow's milk and eggs. They always turn out perfect and taste just the same. Ignore the poorly formed waffle in the picture, I'm always so afraid of over-filling that I usually end up under-filling.

All I did to the strawberries was add a little sugar and stick them in the microwave for about 50 seconds, just to get them soft and a little syrup-like.

A super easy breakfast but it's fun to do it every once in a while instead of my usual toast with peanut butter and a banana.

Love deeply xo

Portland, Oregon

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The last time I made it to the Pacific coast was when I was a toddler. Oregon has been on my travel list for as long as I can remember. There is just something about those iconic coastal shots that makes you want to visit. The fact that Portland has one of the best vegan food scenes in the country didn't hinder the decision to visit this part of the country either.

One of my dearest friends from college moved out to Portland over a year ago with her boyfriend, and I knew I was going to have to go visit as soon as I could. With a break in my classes and enough money saved from taxes, I finally got to hop on a plane and visit PDX for a few days.

Fortunately, it didn't rain the entire 3 days I was there. The sun even came out when we made it to Haystack Rock! I felt pretty blessed.

Have you ever seen something to green? I about died of pure joy at the vine-covered trees that were everywhere! It was just so magical, like I fallen into one of my favorite books.

Couldn't exactly leave Portland without that iconic waterfall shot, now could I? This was the only day that it poured all day and didn't stop, we were soaked by the time we finished at the gorge. But man, I didn't really mind one bit.

I thought I would make a separate post on the food I ate while I was there, so make sure you head over to the Vegan Treats page to check that out. I had the best time in Portland but man, now I just want to pack my bag again and head out on another adventure. There's just something about seeing new places you've never been. I'd say it's time for a road trip....

Love deeply xo

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

It's the go-to on a cold and rainy day: a bowl of hot soup and a sandwich to go along with it.
I got my hands on some affordable almond milk cheese from Whole Foods that surprised me with how tasty is was. And it melted. Like really, I made nachos with it one day. Easy way to make a vegan's day.

When I purchased it, the price was something like $3.89. If you know vegan cheese, that's a pretty incredible price. It's soft, like most cheeses I've tried, but the flavor was good and really close to a cheddar cheese. I like the taste of Daiya better, but at that price? I'll definitely re-purchase.

Now maybe I'm the weird one here, but I only like tomato soup if I have grilled cheese to dip into it. Anyone else with me?

I usually just buy whatever can of tomato soup I see, usually the cheapest. And a tip for anyone who may not know- check if it already has added milk in it. It shouldn't, but these days you just never know.

I'll heat it up on the stove and add in some basil and garlic powder, just to give it a little more flavor. I also don't mind eating it with a spoon when there's a little extra something to it.

I've never been a huge soup person, and certainly not in summer, but there's just something about tomato soup and grilled cheese. Nostalgia, perhaps?

Love deeply xo


Friday, March 24, 2017

Have you ever watched those happy people and wondered how they practically seeped joy from their pores? Have you ever wondered how you could be that way, or why you weren't?

This has been on my mind a lot lately. I've always felt like I was missing something when I would see these people. I've had the wonderful privilege of working with one of these joyous humans and it's infectious to be around them. Not long ago I decided that I wanted to try and find that joy within myself, and that led me to meditation, a lot of research on its origins, and the beliefs of Buddhism.

I won't go into detail on this post, as this is just to act as an intro, but I want to share this journey to mindfulness with all of you out there in internet land. I want to share what I've been learning about the philosophy of Buddhism, what I'm reading, how meditation is helping me and what meditation aids I like.

I hope you'll stick around and maybe share your journey to mindfulness too.

Love deeply xo