Thoughts from Places: Sterling Renaissance Festival

I had the pleasure of attending my area’s Renaissance Festival just yesterday, and upon returning back to reality, I found I needed to collect my thoughts.

The short version: It was awesome. How can you say no to playing dress up for a day and feasting on turkey legs and fresh apple dumplings, immersing yourself in a crowd among peasants and jesters and knights, and just forgetting about the outside world for a little while?

The long version: This was only my second time at the Ren Faire. Last summer was my first visit, and I thought the whole thing was a hoot: the actors being silly and fun and the artisans putting their best foot forward preparing whimsical booths of fine handmade jewelry, natural soaps, various trinkets or even traditional weapons really make it worthwhile. I love seeing little children adorned in flower crowns and fairy wands and I commend each employee for their nonstop devotion to their characters – truly, it’s a sight to behold. We heard beautiful music played by musicians who kept the spirit of it all alive with traditional instruments and outfits. And the mead! Oh, the mead is spectacular. And since it’s all set up in the middle of nowhere in a pretty wooded area, it gives you that idea of being in some magical forest that never seems to end.

But what really stuck out to me yesterday was the fact that this was the first time in a very long time that I’ve gone an entire day without witnessing another human being act like a complete and utter jerk. We were there practically all day and I did not once hear or see anyone being mean spirited or rude, or putting someone else down or picking a fight. Most people were dressed to the nines in elaborate costumes: hoop skirts and headpieces, armor, fox tails, masks and painted faces, pirate outfits, tights, jingly bells, chainmail…. there were people of every size, shape, color, and personality… yet the standard was still upheld: “M’lord” this and “M’lady” that, all glowing smiles, genuine compliments, and good-natured humor. And get this: even though the booze was flowing freely, there weren’t even any drunk assholes. You know how there are kinda always those few drunk assholes at any event who ruin it for everybody else? Not here. They were nowhere to be found. I actually felt as though I could interact with anyone, Fest worker or visitor, man, woman, or child, and expect a positive result.

I’ve got to admit, it does sadden me that this is the exception rather than the rule — that most places will have their fair share of nasty, judgmental people saying nasty, judgmental things, and when you find a place where everyone is friendly and welcoming, you should be grateful because that’s so rare. But it really is astounding how something so silly and whimsical is such a great example of humans being good to each other, being as they should be to one another. I suppose it’s easy to overlook superficial differences that are really so often only based in ignorance and bias when everyone is, after all, all together at the Renaissance Faire in the first place.

But I must say, I walked out of there feeling a little better about the world than when I had walked in, amidst all the violence and hatred in the real world, all the awful things in the news. I felt a confidence in the kindness of others that I had previously lost. The Renaissance Festival is a place that is absolutely filled with people simply being comfortable just being themselves — we should all be so lucky to spend some time relaxing in that mindset.

Self Care Dates & Why You Need One Today

When is the last time you got together with friends and upon asking how they’re doing, they immediately respond with all the negative things floating around their head? Or their love life woes? Work related stresses? Wait, before even returning the question and asking how you’ve been? PAUSE.

So often, I come across people who just love to fill me in on how stressed and depressed they are. When I worked in retail, it actually shocked me how much personal information people would blurt out… it was like I was wearing a plaque that read: “PLEASE VENT TO ME! I WANT TO KNOW ALL YOUR ISSUES!” Not that I’m an insensitive person — anyone who knows me knows that couldn’t be farther from the truth — but I simply don’t want to hear it! Especially if they’re not seeking advice. Nevertheless, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s usually one of two things:

1. They truly are stressed & in a negative state of mind and instead of working to improve their state of mind it somehow soothes them to simply spread their negativity like the common cold,

or

2. They truly are stressed and depressed and they need some help. They’ve begun to neglect themselves at the cost of a demanding life.

For one thing, clinical depression is no joke — I struggled with it for years myself, and at times it can feel like an uphill battle — that’s why if you’re continually having intrusive depressive thoughts or episodes, it’s always best to see a doctor, talk to a therapist, and just work out the perfectly unique formula of wellness that’s right for you, no judgments, no qualms, no ifs ands or buts. However, so many of us who aren’t clinically depressed still struggle mentally, emotionally, and physically because we’re neglecting the importance of self care.  Whether it’s a demanding work/school schedule or just one too many nagging responsibilities, we can all too often glide through life on autopilot and forget we have unique needs and that we’re all deserving of quality time with ourselves.

When we take a few steps back and reset ourselves, keeping everyone else’s negativity and bad energy at bay, we reconnect with who we are. We remember that life is meant to be lived authentically, with passion and joy, and that we don’t need to be everywhere all at once. I’ve been really focusing on self care this summer, especially during this golden month of August. After spending too long feeling especially high-strung and a bit cluttered, I’ve made it a habit instead of something to feel guilty about, or worse, something that’s completely forgotten. Leo season is begging us all to remind ourselves that we’re queens (or kings!). Life is just too short to go through it without showing yourself some love!

There are so many ways to practice self care and love, but below are some specific ways I’ve really been enjoying or just some die-hard practices I tend to fall back on time and time again. If you lead a busy life, you may want to physically mark a date on the calendar to do nothing but spend the day focusing on you. If not, you can be more lenient in your self care practices, but always make time for it! Remember, self care is mental, spiritual, and physical — there are many facets and many ways to practice, so have fun and make a self care date for yourself. You deserve the best.

1. Write It Down, Sketch It Out

Photo by Rachael Gorjestani on Unsplash

Sometimes the most therapeutic thing can be as simple as journaling. Very often when I find my mind feeling scattered and unfocused, I’m completely unaware of everything that I’ve been feeling and focusing on until I actually write it down. You can journal online, but nothing beats a moleskine notebook or a quality sketchbook. There’s just something so much better about pressing ink to paper that we just don’t get while violently hitting the computer keys! In this digital age, a tactile notebook will be your best friend. Plus, bonus points if it fits in your pocket or purse.

2.  Relax, Meditate, Take a Breather

Photo by Andre Benz on Unsplash

It always astounds me how some people are just constantly going. You know, just always on the move? Whaaat? I, for one, need to chill. I prefer gliding through life rather than free falling, and if you do as well, scoring some true relaxation time can vastly improve your wellbeing. I’m leaving this category kind of open-ended because everyone has different ways of relaxing and unwinding. Maybe you feel most relaxed when you’re snuggled up with a good book, or maybe going for a long hike might get you in a chill head space. Whatever it is, don’t forget to relax. Take up meditation if you want to kick it up a notch, as it’s a proven method of centering yourself, after all. I’ve been meditating more and more frequently and trying not to go a single day without it, so if anyone else is doing something similar let’s keep each other going strong! With all the chaos in the world, it’s so important to give your mind and spirit a break. Meditating for at least 10 minutes a day to begin is a perfect way to get back on track, or at least ride the waves better.

3. Clean, De-clutter, Purge

Photo by tu tu on Unsplash

When my energy gets too disorderly, I need to clean. I sweep the floors, do all the laundry, throw things away or donate clothing I no longer wear, burn sage around the corners, doors, and windows, and make sure there’s no leftover clutter. Whenever I get overwhelmed in my life or in my emotional frequency, I notice that my physical surroundings are probably a mess as well. Tidy space = tidy mind. This can actually be kind of fun too, even though it’s technically work, but how can it be?! You’re decluttering your life and ridding yourself of things that no longer serve you in order to bring vibrancy and newness in, and that, my friends, is self care.

4. Get Moving

Photo by Marion Michele on Unsplash

I am by no means a naturally athletic person. Hell, I skipped gym class in high school so often I had to write essays just to pass. I do however understand that exercise is absolutely necessary to achieving a positive state of mind, and it doesn’t always have to brutal and gross and sweaty. I’m not the kind of gal that will go sprint around the neighborhood for everyone to see, but I love yoga, Pilates, swimming, and hiking or anything outdoors. But that’s just my preference — if you’re a crossfit boss, by all means do your thing, but if you’d rather listen to Prince at an unreasonable volume and dance like crazy, that’s ok too. As long as you get your body moving, you’re reaping the benefits. I’ve been loving getting back into yoga because of the way it strengthens the mind as well as the muscles — it can be so relaxing while being a great workout.

5. Create

Photo by Khara Woods on Unsplash

Creation looks different to everyone. Maybe you’re a gifted artist and the only way to express yourself is through your work. Maybe you’re a musician, and writing and playing music is therapy in and of itself. Whatever it is, give yourself the time and space to nurture your creativity and simply create. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. It doesn’t even have to be pretty. Whenever I’m feeling low or in need of some self care time, I dig out a bunch of old magazines, put on a good record, and cut stuff up. What is it about collage that’s so lovely to me? I love taking an old image and breathing new life into it. It’s refreshing to me. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but who cares? That’s art if you ask me: creating life out of something lifeless. Your creation is unique to you, and that’s beautiful.

So that’s my condensed list. I just wanted to take some time and remind all of you readers how important it is to honor yourself and honor your life by indulging in self care frequently, without judgment, guilt, or expectations. What self care practices do you keep?

July 23: New Moon in Leo

The Sun moved into Leo just yesterday (July 22), so happy birthday month to all the lions and lionesses out there! This Leo season in particular is filled with action and jump starts us to a season of change, beginning with today’s New Moon, which grows to a lunar eclipse in Leo/Aquarius, and ending with a solar eclipse that also happens to be a second New Moon in Leo towards the end of the month. Prepare for a heatwave of the stars so to speak, as we’re practically leaping into flames after being in emo Cancer for a month. Stay grounded and stay ready for what lies ahead.

If you are familiar with the phases of the moon, you already understand that the New Moon is a time for setting intentions and goals for the upcoming lunar cycle, and also a time for reflection; a clear lens to examine how far we’ve come from the last New Moon. It’s a time to give yourself that extra bit of solitary time to relax and unwind and ask yourself: “what am I doing right? what can I change? what do I want to manifest in my life? what can I let go of in order to bring forth something new?”

With this particular New Moon, there are several aspects and planets in Leo all struggling for the spotlight. Last lunar cycle, we were asked to process things very emotionally because we were dealing with watery, Cancerian energy, beckoning us to safety, to home, to Mother — but Leo is all about action! Leo is the warrior of the zodiac, the Kings and Queens of the jungle. We are experiencing a shift with this energy from a reclusive state into pure, outward expression of Self. Leo invites us to play the game of life with a bit more fun and flair. Leo always asks us to remain true to our path, true to our light. It’s that spark of light that reminds us to keep going and trust our process. It’s the child that lives within us all, flying kites in our daydreams and building sandcastles. This New Moon invites us back to realign with our inner child while standing proud and fearlessly within our own magic.

With the Sun/Moon/Mars in Leo trio squaring Uranus is Aries, this Call-of-the-Wild connection urges us to break out of our tired and comfortable routines and shake things up again, and to remain true and pave our way with vigor and confidence, trusting that what is meant to be ours will always be ours. There is a great shift ahead and this is only the beginning! Trust that you will meet that shift with peace of mind and courage.

Photo by Noah Grezlak on Unsplash

Some good questions to ask yourself around this New Moon are questions surrounding your self worth and true identity. The questions you ask at this time and the inner work that you put in will only aid in the determination of alignment to your personal best. If you struggle with the plague of comparison, recognize that your growth will never be the same as anyone else’s and that your path is unique to you. Stay calm and kind to yourself during this upcoming month of wild energy. Stay grounded by meditating with some citrine, carnelian, or garnet — all associated with Leo. Set intentions that align with honoring your Self and your direction, and remember Leo is urging us to bask in every aspect of ourselves that we’ve previously tried to hide — so recognize who you are. Act with trust, honor, and virtue, like the Lion himself, and have a blessed New Moon!

Solar Power: The Sun Sign in Astrology

Astrology is something that has always interested me. Having studied it since childhood, I find it a fascinating way to get in touch with ourselves and those that are in our lives. Of course, the Sun signs – defined by the zodiacal sign that was occupied by the Sun at the time we were born – won’t tell the whole story as far as our intricate personalities are concerned, but they certainly can offer some invaluable insight to the inner workings of these complex, celestial bodies and minds that we call home.

First and foremost, astrology is truly about you. It’s as much about concrete biological humanity as it is about the spirit. It’s about both the eccentricities and generalities found within something as complicated and intricate as human nature. It can be described as the bridge leading you to your deeper self; yet it still holds the promise that you can, within limits, direct your own fate and in the process, reach a richer understanding of the self and those around you.

My infatuation with astrology began when my mother bought me a pop-astrology book when I was young — it was just a watered-down, beginner-friendly Sun sign handbook that was geared towards tweens and young adults — I’ll never forget flipping through it together and reading off all the traits of my friends and family members while giggling at the accuracy, my mind sparkling with a brand new sense of wonder. How could something so broad connect so many people that are so different? That book would quickly escalate to being a guide — helping me to better understanding my teenage crushes, how to better relate to new friends, or how to help me understand someone I just couldn’t seem to get along with. From that point on, I was hooked. I quickly accepted hand-me-down books from my mom (the Linda Goodman books were passed down to her from her mother, and now they sit atop my bookshelf — no matter how tattered they are, I can never seem to replace them) and learned as much as I could on my own. To this day, my studies are ever-growing. One thing I love about the science of the stars is its constant newness — there is always something new to uncover.

Of course, to really get the most from astrology, one is advised to study a full birth chart based on the exact time, place, and date of your birth. It’s best to get this determined by a trained professional, but nowadays with online sites like astro.cafeastrology.com , it’s somewhat easy to read about it for yourself. Of course, proper study will only enhance your aptitude to reading charts and drawing meaning, but as with most things, receiving guidance from an actual pro is always preferred. A birth chart can be pictured in the mind as a photograph of the exact moment in time that you were born. You could also think of it this way: there are 12 signs of the zodiac, each one taking up 30° in your chart, making a complete 360° circle (12 signs x 30° = 360°) However, I’m a visual person, so I like to think of it like a personal snapshot — your own cosmic Kodak moment. Nevertheless, your chart shows the positions of the planets, aspects formed between planets and luminaries, as well as the Sun and Moon, and how they interact with each other – a fascinating dynamic which can usually be quite revealing. The Sun however is usually the star of the show, possibly because it’s the only literal star in the whole chart — and it’s often the first place one would begin in their studies in astrology.

To quote the aforementioned Linda Goodman (author, astrologer, Aries, and poet): “the Sun is the most powerful of all the stellar bodies. It colors the personality so strongly that an amazingly accurate picture can be given of the individual who was born when it was exercising its power through the known and predictable influences of a certain astrological sign. An individual’s Sun sign will be approximately 80 percent accurate, sometimes up to 90 percent… but if you know a person’s Sun sign, you’re substantially better informed than those who know nothing about them at all. True, Sun signs can be misleading if they’re used with the wrong attitude. But in the absence of a natal chart, they’re far ahead of any other known quick, reliable method of analyzing people and learning to understand human nature.”

Ultimately, your Sun sign represents your personal identity. Think of it as a bright ray of light illuminating your entire chart — it can light up or cast shadows on various planets or aspects, but undeniably, it’s always there. The Sun is your potent, solar life influence, signifying the very essence of your self, your will, your individuality, your vitality and will power. More than any other planet or point in astrology, the Sun represents who you are. It also symbolizes yang energy, or masculine energy in general. From our earthly viewpoint, the Sun travels around the earth once each year. During that time, the Sun moves through all 12 signs of the zodiac, spending around one month in each sign. The Sun in your birth chart paints the very first brushstrokes that make up the Portrait of You.

So often, I hear people say, “Astrology is FAKE! I’m a Capricorn, but whenever I read about my sign, it’s nothing like me, and whenever I read my horoscope, it’s nothing like what I’m going through.” Remember, the Sun is just the beginning of your portrait. You are composed of several identities, astrologically or otherwise. You also have a moon sign and several other planets and aspects that make up this grand and complex portrait. Always use your common sense when you read your daily or weekly horoscope and realize it’s merely a prediction for each Sun sign alone, not you personally, what with your beautifully unique personality. They might be accurate more than they’re off, but they’re far from infallible. I find that studying current transits and placements of the planets is really the best horoscope, because it applies to everyone instead of just using the blanket-effect for Sun signs.

To avoid making the mistake of skimming the surface in astrology, it’s crucial to note that not all Leos will be extravagant extroverts, and not all Virgos are virgins, not all Aries are outwardly domineering. Because a natal chart is so complex and so unique to each individual, it can sometimes be difficult for people to resonate with their Sun sign immediately, and that can turn them off to astrology as a whole — say you meet a more subdued Leo who happens to have several planets in say, Pisces — the energy from Pisces could water down this fiery sign, therefore making the Sun sign more difficult to identify at a glance. Always be careful when only considering Sun signs alone — their expressions and stereotypical personas can easily fall out of their archetypes very quickly. But make no mistake, there are bound to be at least a few undeniable Sun sign traits in everyone that may manifest in their own unique ways, and getting to know the traits of each sign can most certainly help you.

Some people may demonstrate their Sun sign quite easily, not even giving you a chance to reason to second-guess, and for other people it may be more difficult to uncover. I’ve encountered people where I instantly can feel their sign intuitively, or at least their element, and I’ve also met people that really caught me off guard at first. A fun way to practice honing in your astrological wit is by studying people in the media: politicians, performers, famous people, even fictional characters. Try to guess their Sun sign or at least the element you think they represent. Once you have a grasp on the ways that some deeply ingrained patterns may dominate a personality, you become more sympathetic to different people’s behaviors. Through a better knowledge of Sun signs, you might be more understanding of your Virgo friend who fusses about having everything in the exact “right” place, or you might not judge your Gemini brother so harshly when he shows up with your birthday gifts 3 days late — after all, he’s got a busy brain, things can easily get scattered up there! And if your Cancer wife nags and worries about everything, you’ll know she’s only doing it because she loves you, and that’s just her personal way of showing you she cares. Everyone has something to gain from studying the Sun signs — the knowledge there will only make us more tolerant of one another.

 

Easy as Pie: Quick and Delicious Blueberry Pie Bars

These bars are easy as pie — perfect for when you want blueberry pie without all the hassle!

blueberry pie bars, fresh flowers from the garden

This recipe comes together in a flash and is bursting with decadent berry flavor, a hint of lemon, and cinnamon! It’s an ideal treat to make when you’re looking for a classic dessert, but still want something a little bit unexpected to keep everyone on their toes. Plus, these delicious treats work just as well as breakfast bars for busybodies on the go.

blueberry pie pars

For the crust/crumb topping:

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup cold butter, sliced into chunks
  • 1 large egg

Berries:

  • 4 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch

  • Preheat oven to 375° and grease a 9 x 13″ pan.
  • In a medium bowl, combine sugars, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and zest. Use a fork or your hands to blend in the cold butter and egg. Mix together until the dough is crumbly. Pat ½ of this mixture into the pan and set the rest aside — the rest will go on top of the blueberry layer for a nice, crumbly topping.
  • In another bowl, stir together sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Gently fold in the blueberries. Once combined, pat the blueberry mixture evenly onto the crust, then follow up with crumbling the remaining dough on top of the blueberries.
  • Pop into your preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack completely before slicing. You can even store these bars in the fridge, they will keep longer and hold together nicely. Enjoy!

blueberry pie bars

It only took a day or two before the entire pan was completely devoured in my home, but these bars should keep nicely in the fridge or out for up to a week. You could even substitute another berry if you wish — I think raspberries would be lovely in this recipe and might try it out soon.

I hope you enjoy these blueberry pie bars and please let me know what you think in the comments!

Owning Your Emotions: 5 Signs You’re an Empath

An Empath is a highly sensitive person – not necessarily sensitive as in water works all the time, or so caught up in their emotions that they are unable to get anything done, but sensitive to surroundings, to people, to subtleties that may go unnoticed by other people. Technically speaking, an empath is someone who has the ability to feel the emotions of others as their own.

Realizing you’re an empath is a milestone in anyone’s life – at least it certainly was for me.

It’s like suddenly you realize that how you’ve felt every single day in your life has a name, and even better, that there are more people out there just like you. This realization brings clarity and purpose to how you might live your life.

Being an empath isn’t easy, but it’s absolutely not a bad thing!

I’ve sort of always known I’m an empath on a certain level, but I guess I just brushed it off for many years. Many people who are close to me and really know me well have remarked on my “sixth sense” or even “creepy” intuition, and this is true (although I promise I really do try not to creep anyone out!!), but it goes deeper than that. It’s about being connected with everything around you, everything in the earth and in your life.

Like I said, I didn’t realize there was a name and definition for how I identified, I just went about my life and pretty recently became aware of the term. Knowing this was a fairly common thing brought me comfort and coherence and helped me get one step closer to actualizing who I really am, because we’re all on that journey and we really are all in it together.

So if you’re wondering whether or not you might be an Empath too, chances are you might be if you clicked on this article in the first place, but below are the some classic signs.

1. You frequently feel emotions that you can’t quite explain

Say you’re having a great day when all of the sudden you get hit with the yucks. Maybe you entered a place, somewhere small like a café, and you begin feeling things like sadness, anxiety, or aggression, without having the slightest clue why.

Well, the reason why is because you’ve stepped in what someone else has dragged in. You’ve picked up someone else’s energy and emotions and you’re processing them as if they’re your own.

Another example of this is when you can clearly read the emotions of someone you’re around, even without knowing them well, or even at all. When you meet someone for the first time, you can pretty much instantly tell whether or not they like you, whether they’re anxious, etc. Of course, many people can do this. It’s as simple as paying attention to your surroundings, but it can just come more naturally to some, and if it comes naturally to you, you might very well be an empath.

Wanna know something creepy? Some empaths can even feel other people’s pain in their own bodies. Real talk: the night before my cousin’s appendix burst, I actually had a terrible pain right where my own appendix is. It lasted for hours and caused enough pain that I even wanted to go to the doctor and get it checked out, but it passed before too long. We got the call that she was in the hospital the next day, and she recovered quickly after her surgery, but wow! I almost feel guilty I didn’t say anything…

2. You find yourself in challenging relationships

Going your whole life as an empath without knowing it can be hard. When life knocks, it doesn’t tend to knock gently.

I’ve always been a sensitive person. For some odd reason, the majority of the world thinks being a sensitive person = having no back bone. Where does this insane logic come from?! (Oh right, the patriarchy.)

Because of this asinine mentality that sensitivity is concomitant with being weak-minded, fragile, or incapable, the majority of empaths find themselves in a powerless position. Since they are deeply sensitive to the emotions of others, all too often this can lead to a dangerous kind of Savior complex – the desire to help or bend for others in a way that doesn’t serve you.

The calling to help others is definitely not inherently bad. It’s good, even, but when you as an empath try to help someone that doesn’t want your help, or is not ready for your help, you may find yourself in some violently negative relationships.

Abusive people, manipulative people, narcissists, or people who just want to feed off your energy without giving back (emotional vampires, as I like to call them), can all creep into your life if you’re not careful about it. This can happen in any kind of relationship: family, friends, romantic relationships, work, etc. You don’t have to put walls up, but it’s so important to recognize someone’s bad energy vs the energy that you yourself put out. Of course, it can be difficult to do this when you’re highly sensitive and so naturally attuned to what’s around you. Difficult, but not impossible.

Challenging relationships will follow you around over and over again if you don’t take charge and finally decide when it’s over. Yes, you have the power to determine when it’s over, because the minute you close off a toxic relationship is the same minute you make honoring yourself a priority. You can’t save the whole world, but you can save yourself.

3. You need to withdraw to recharge

Empaths that tend to feel powerless can quickly turn into a slave to their social lives: saying yes to drinks when really they just wanna curl up in bed with a book, or dreading the plans they made last week but feeling guilty for wanting to cancel in order to score some solo time. Hey, you’re not alone.

Constantly being present, even when you feel incapable of it, can do more harm than good. It’s okay to take some time for yourself, especially if you’re an empath – you probably really need it! Empaths need time alone to recharge. It’s when they get to lay their burdens down and relax.

When you’re so used to going against what you really feel you want, you’re coming from a place of powerlessness. And when you come from a place of powerlessness or start to feel more like an emotional sponge and less like a human being, you feel desperately in need of some re-connection with the self. You may feel that being vulnerable to all kinds of energy is out of your control, but it’s not. This is where the fun begins.

Your mindset changes when you begin to focus on you. When an empath realizes their power and potential, they’re coming from a place of being whole and grounded, not powerless and drained. Only then are you able to help others without losing yourself in the process.

As an empath, you will probably always highly value your alone time because that’s a time to recharge your batteries no matter what kind of situations you may find yourself in. This is true for introverted people as well. “Me time” is crucial – don’t put yourself on the backburner! Develop a self care ritual that is entirely your own. Carve out a good chunk of time when you know you won’t be bothered and do something you love! Start that book you’ve been meaning to read, or treat yourself to a face mask, meditate, create some art or journal, or just get in your old pajamas and binge-watch your favorite show.

4. You are highly intuitive

Empaths have more than just sensitivity to others and the ability to “feel” energy – more often than not, they also tend to have heightened intuition.

Using your intuition is major. Your gut is where the truth lies, don’t brush it off, don’t ignore it, don’t even think about tuning it out. Listen!

Your intuition is your #1 guiding system – it never fails. That’s not to say that choosing to follow the mind instead of the intuition will always steer you wrong, but if your gut feeling is saying “HELL NO” when your mind is saying “Well… maybe…” I sincerely hope you go with your gut. Especially for empaths, intuition and gut feelings can feel less like subtle hints and more like blaring car horns sometimes. You know what’s best for you. All you need to do is trust yourself.

Strengthening intuition is a life-long process, and something that’s extremely beneficial for anyone. In this case, empaths may already have a sharp instinct, but listening to it and trusting it is the challenge.

5. You sometimes have a hard time knowing how you really feel

Empaths have the tendency to openly feel what is around them, sometimes more so than what is within them. Since they may be so tuned into the external, focusing on the internal can be uncharted territory.

Empaths may sacrifice their own needs or even ignore them. They may withhold their emotions or thoughts, but doing so only results in frustration, blockages, resentment and even bouts of depression.

If you relate to this, don’t feel guilty! But do make it a personal mission to do some inner work in order to better distinguish between your own emotions and the emotions of others. Ground yourself often, if you have to. Whatever it takes to get in touch with yourself and become increasingly familiar with your own personal energy. You will become much more in tune with how you feel and your wellbeing will become a priority, as it should be.

You will learn to say no, you will learn to take your time when someone or something doesn’t “feel right”, you will learn to trust yourself over anybody else.

Your own emotions are the motor that runs your life. Only when you commit to feeling and recognizing your own energy can you begin manifesting a new reality that is perfectly aligned with your inner truth. Stop the cycle of giving yourself away to others! Think of yourself as being tied to a weightless but unflinching anchor – you can float and you can swim, but you’re still locked down in the sands of who you really are.

 

Many people, especially those who are rigid or insensitive or intuitively inexperienced, feel the need to deny empaths or write them off as if they have some kind of curse. People who are insensitive or unaware of their gifts are simply disconnected: disconnected from the world around them, from the people who love them, and most importantly who they truly are.

Being an empath is no curse. It’s all blessing.

It can be difficult to navigate through life and through emotions as an empath, sometimes it can be downright overwhelming, but it’s a beautiful gift that you’ve been given – one you should honor. I truly believe that being sensitive to others is our natural state, because everything and everyone is connected.

If any of this information resonated with you, I’m so pleased. Honor your growth and know you’re valid as an empath, and above all that you’re not alone! Enjoy your journey to empowerment and if you’re already there, you’ve done a hell of a good job.

Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze

Coconut Banana Bread is perfect for anyone who wants to expand their banana bread horizons! The tangy lime glaze cuts the sweetness of the bread and adds a nice citrus kick!

For the bread:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup softened butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3½ very ripe bananas, mashed
  • ¼ cup plain greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • ½ cup + 1 tablespoon unsweetened organic coconut flakes, divided (I love this kind the most!)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest

For the glaze:

  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

  • Preheat oven to 350° and grease a 5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.
  • In a medium sized bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  • Place sugar and butter in an electric mixer or large bowl and beat together until well combined. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each one.
  • Add the banana, yogurt, lime juice, and vanilla, and beat until incorporated.
  • Gradually add in the dry ingredients and beat at a low speed until just blended.
  • Fold in the ½ cup of coconut.
  • Spoon mixture into the loaf pan and sprinkle the top with the extra 1 tablespoon coconut. Bake at 350° for 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • For the glaze, mix together powdered sugar and lime juice with a whisk and set aside until the bread has baked.
  • Cool for 10 minutes in a pan on a wire rack before removing your bread from the pan.
  • Drizzle glaze over warm bread, then let cool completely on a wire rack before digging in. Enjoy!

I hope you’ll try this recipe out whenever you feel like doing something a little different with your ripe bananas 🙂 This was a hit with everyone who tasted it, and it’s a perfect pre-summer treat to enjoy for a snack or for breakfast.

Orange Honey Cake: A Citrus Treat for Spring

An Orange Honey Cake is a deliciously subtle springtime staple! Flavored with honey, orange, and spices, it’s a simple but delectable treat that perfectly complements a cup of tea or coffee. It’s moist, perfectly sweet, nicely spiced, and the best part: it’s so easy.

Honey and orange both scream Spring and adding a few flowers into the mix really livens things up as well — as undemanding as this recipe is, it’s so easy and fun to add things to it to make it feel like a celebration.

  • 1 cup raw organic honey
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • confectioner’s sugar and flowers for garnish (optional – but pretty!)

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Grease an 8″ round cake pan.
  • Sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder in a mixing bowl.
  • In an electric mixer or separate bowl, beat honey, eggs, butter, and orange juice until well incorporated.
  • Gradually add in the dry ingredients and blend until just incorporated, being careful not to over-mix.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until the cake is set and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes until setting it free and leaving it on a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Garnish with confectioner’s sugar and a few fresh flowers if desired before serving, and enjoy!

This is a cake that gets even better after it sits awhile, so don’t worry about having to eat it all the same day! I find the cloves and ginger really complement the brightness of the orange flavor mixed with the warmth of the honey… if you’re a fan of no-fuss and relatively basic treats, give this a try! I hope you enjoy it.

Hopefully everybody had a lovely & peaceful Easter weekend. Celebrate your next spring event with this deliciously simple honey cake and let me know what you think in the comments! 🙂

Cookie Butter Blondies

Who doesn’t love cookie butter?! In case you might live under a rock or maybe just haven’t had the privilege of experiencing the sheer joy that is digging a spoon (or your finger, we’re all human) into a jar of this creamy, irresistible spread and going to town, I highly recommend you get your hands on some of this stuff! Trust me, you will thank me later.

The consistency of cookie butter is very similar to peanut butter — this recipe here is almost like making one big batch of peanut butter cookies (although it’s not quite as quick and easy as these peanut butter cookies). The dough will get kind of crumbly by the time everything is in the mix, but don’t let it freak you out or make you think you’ve done something wrong, this is just the way it is given the consistency!

This is the perfect treat for anyone who loves blondies, cookies, cookie butter… really, pretty much anyone with a sweet tooth. They are chewy and slightly nutty from the cookie butter itself — and absolutely heavenly when warm from the oven.

  • 1 ½ sticks of butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup cookie butter or Biscoff spread
  • 1 ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 3 ½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 350° and grease & flour a 9×13-inch baking pan.
  • In an electric mixer or large bowl, cream together the butter and cookie butter. Add sugars and continue mixing until fluffy.
  • Beat in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract or bean paste.
  • Gradually add in the flour, then add in baking soda and salt. Mix until incorporated.
  • Fold in chocolate chips and spread the batter into your prepared pan. You can even scatter a few right on top for some extra chocolate goodness.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Place the pan on a wire rack until completely cool, then slice into squares and dig in!

Let me know in the comments if you’re as addicted to these as I am! Be sure to pin it for later and follow me on Pinterest and Instagram as well 🙂

Instant Aromatherapy: DIY Lavender Rose Sugar Scrub

Ready to entice your senses, pamper your skin, and spend very little money doing so?

Behold, delicate readers:

A coconut oil-based scrub made with plain old sugar, dried lavender, crushed rose petals, and a couple drops of peppermint essential oil. That’s it!

Lavender is perfect for a scrub because it’s known as an herb that can help with stress relief, headaches, and even depression in some individuals. It has a subtle and relaxing scent that’s ideal for a bath or just simply to breathe in at the end of a long day. Rose petals add a little magic as well, promoting love, compassion, and beauty. Peppermint essential oil sharpens the mind and just has the cleanest smell — perfect to use for a body scrub, although you can substitute any kind of oil you like if you’re not a peppermint fan. Vanilla or almond would work wonderfully as well!

 

I made a small batch of this, but feel free to double up on measurements should you want to make a larger scrub. This would also be perfect as a gift, especially since it’s homemade using simple & real ingredients. I used dried lavender, but fresh will work just as well. You could probably use fresh rose petals as well, but I opted for dried since I already had some on hand and they’re easier to crush up when dried, in my opinion.

You will need:

You can either throw everything into a food processor and blend it that way or crush up your lavender & rose petals in a mortar and pestle and transfer it into a bowl along with the mixture of sugar, coconut oil, and peppermint essential oil. If you find your scrub is too coarse, add a little more coconut oil. Be careful putting in the essential oil, as peppermint has a very strong smell and too much would overpower the subtlety of the lavender and rose. I only used about 2 little drops. After everything is blended together, pour your scrub into an airtight jar and seal it up. That’s it! A quick and easy scrub to give your bod a little love.

Let me know what you think in the comments section! Be sure to pin this for later and follow my blog on bloglovin’ to stay on top of every update 🙂