5 Ways to Love Yourself this Valentine’s Day


We spend so much time and effort loving those around us, that it’s easy to forget to give that love back to yourself. This Valentine’s Day, we encourage you to set aside some time for YOU. Here are our favorite ways to show yourself some sweet love this Valentine’s day.

  1. Treat Yourself
    This can include a variety of ways to pamper yourself, such as a long, hot bubble bath, getting a massage, or mixing up your own face mask.
  2. Get Outside
    Spend some time outside, connecting with nature. Whether its watching the waves crash, sitting near a tree, or watching the clouds drift through the sky, get outside, and breathe in the fresh air.
  3. Indulge 
    Treat your taste buds to the finest of your favorites. Find the highest quality, yummiest superfoods and fill up. (We can’t get enough of the smoothie bowls at Beaming… with every topping)
  4. Express Yourself
    Sing! Dance! Paint! Let your creative juices flow. Don’t hold back, just let it out!
  5. Write Yourself a Love Letter
    Highlight all of the beautiful things you love about yourself. What do you love about your life? Your family, your friends? Your accomplishments and your best qualities? The more you continue to highlight the things you love the more they will continue to grow and show up in your life.

There are so many ways to show yourself love, and while it may feel challenging at first, just like anything else, it’s a practice. What are some other ways you can integrate self-love into your daily life? We would love to hear from you!


Michiala Ashkenazy | Founder MikiAsh Yoga & Caley Yavorsky | Founder Caley Yoga

@MikiAshYoga @CaleyAlyssa

5 ways to be spontaneous in a world that would rather you not!

by Laura Conley, Yoga Teacher & lululemon Ambassador

If you were to look at my calendar (yes, I still keep a hard copy) you would see mostly colorful ink and very little white space. Like most Americans, every second of every day is scheduled, planned, blocked or inked in a sharpie. Our culture thrives on do more, be more, multitask this and multitask that. It is our definition of success.

But what happened to a little good old-fashioned spontaneity? Besides the fact that it can be super fun, it also evokes a sense of freedom, cultivates authentic creativity, allows us to relax, and big belly laughs are pretty much guaranteed!

So here are 5 ways that I find freedom amidst the ink heavy Franklin planner:

  1. Take a hike. Keep a pair of sneakers + workout clothes in your car. Did one of those ‘inked’ meetings cancel on you? Throw on your sneakers and take a walk, run or skip around a new neighborhood or unexplored nature path. I dare you to high-five a stranger while at it. Palisades Park is my go to.
  2. Life’s a beach. Many of us are lucky enough to live near a neat park or the beach. Pop in your headphones or tune into a meditation in the midst of running errands. I like the Headspace app and yogaglo.com.
  3. Play hooky. From work, from your to-do list, from the full-of-dirty-dishes kitchen sink. Give yourself permission to say screw it and go on a stay-cation, just for one day. Do what you love, drink your full-fat latte followed by a mani/pedi and say “yes” to “10 minutes more” on the massage; heck tell them you want 30. Take a long nap. Drink an extra glass of wine. The point is to treat yourself. Most likely in 10 years you’ll remember the freeing feeling of this day rather than the load of laundry that was done a day “late.”
  4. Tell your routine to take a backseat. Where can you add in a little variety and get creative? Last week my colleague and I met on the beach instead of inside. I don’t know if it was the sound of the waves or the sand in our toes, but getting to the beach left us with an energy boost and ready to take on the rest of the day. It only took a bit more effort to change things up. Find yourself at the same restaurant or bar weekend after weekend? It’s even easy to get stuck in your routine of how you have fun. Check out goldstar.com to spice it up on the social side of things; at the last minute my girlfriends and I were able to catch a unique local play last weekend. If things are really heating up and you are far away from home, add to the impromptu party by booking a hotel “day of” at hoteltonight.com.
  5. Plan to be spontaneous. I know, I know! I am a sucker for the system. Some times letting your spontaneity flag fly requires blocking off an entire day with said sharpie. So grab a friend and agree that the only rule is to follow the sun and see where the day takes you. The last time my husband and I did this we grabbed coffee and cruised north on PCH finding ourselves in Ventura hiking the Mishe Mokwa trail. After, we hit up the (in)famous Neptune’s Net for a post hike feast! We shared unexpected and real conversation, a sweaty kiss or two and a probably little too much fried food.






Happy Spontaneity Hunting!

15 ways to create healthier and happier relationships in 2015

by Kimberly Sandstrom, M.A., Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

After 25 years of marriage & almost 50 years of friendships, I’ve seen my share of broken, mended, & thriving relationships. I’ve learned through hard work and observation that relationships take time and investment—they’re certainly not easy and many times, the source of pain. Learn to play, listen, and communicate.

Here’s 15 ways to create better relationships in 2015:

  1. Play. Build a fort in the living room when the kids go to bed–sip on sparkling cider or a glass of wine together. Forts aren’t just for kids!
  2. Break the rules. We have so many constraints and responsibilities in the world (school, work, church, driving on the freeway!). Take some whip cream and go wild in the backyard.
  3. Have a zero care day. No outside friends, no rules, no fights. Just each other. Ignore responsibility and go on an adventure.
  4. Text encouragement. Text more than logistics. Text something sentimental, text appreciation, & text playfully. Don’t expect a text in return. Technology should maximize your relationships, not compete with it.
  5. Post positively. Don’t post your differences on social media. EVER.
  6. Eye contact is key. Sit on the couch across from each other, chat, and keep eye contact! Be playful and flirty. See how long the distance lasts…
  7. Cook together. If possible, do it in just your aprons!
  8. Go on a picnic! They’re fun & you probably haven’t been on one in a bit.
  9. Listen. Listen before speaking & put what you want to say aside. Reflect back what you heard before moving on.
  10. Share love. Tell people you cherish that you love them, and tell them often.
  11. Stop comparing. Find what works for your relationship and keep at it. Ignore others—every relationship has their pain points.
  12. Be vulnerable. Take a risk and share how you are feeling.
  13. Apologize. Healing apologies use the three A’s: Acknowledge, Accept, Ask.
  14. Work from a place of rest instead of resting after all the work is done. Schedule rest and relaxation before work and notice the difference.
  15. Live beaming. Don’t underestimate the power of a smile to make another’s day.

Wishing you a rich, full 2015 full of connection and fun.


Kimberly Sandstrom is a Licensed Marriage &  Family Therapist & Relationship Educator in San Diego, CA. Hopeful & handy with matters of the heart, Kimberly helps couples, families & individuals create & strengthen their most cherished connections. To learn more about Kimberly visit: www.KimberlySandstrom.com, For couples workshop schedule visit www.HoldMeTight4Couples.com.


The Winter Solstice: Time to Pause, Reset, & Renew

by Sara Vance, Nutritionist & Author of The Perfect Metabolism Plan. Founder of ReBalance Life

This time of year can be demanding and stressful – shopping endlessly to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list, preparing for parties and travel, dealing with long lines and congested traffic, and being tempted at every turn by holiday treats and sweets. All of this can leave us feeling depleted both mentally and physically.

Thankfully, smack dab right in the middle of all the holiday hustle and bustle is a little gift for the soul –

The Winter Solstice

A solstice is an astronomical event that happens twice a year as the sun reaches the highest or lowest point relative to the equator.  The word solstice is derived from the Latin sol or “sun” and sistere, “to stand still,” because the moon appears to stand still in the sky.  This Sunday, December 21 marks the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere*, which is the shortest day of the year.

The Winter Solstice is a wonderful time to hit the pause button in our lives. It is said that the Winter Solstice opens up a portal to the soul.  Historically, the Winter Solstice has been a time to renew our connection to each other, the divine, and within.  So it is an ideal time to slow down, look inward to reflect and renew; and to nourish the body and soul.

Just Stop the Madness!

Many of us have a hard time slowing down.  We are used to juggling 20 things at once. And if we do take a pause, we might even feel guilty!  But just know – that allowing the body to rest and recover is essential for lasting mental and physical wellness.  In my upcoming book The Perfect Metabolism Plan, I discuss how poorly managed stress can lead to weight gain, increased disease risk, and more.  Some possible signs that you are over-extending yourself or under excess stress include:

  • Frequent colds/flu
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Resentment/anger
  • Digestion issues
  • Elevated cholesterol, glucose or blood pressure
  • Excess weight gain (especially around midsection)
  • Hormone imbalances

So this Sunday, hit your pause button without a shred of guilt – give yourself permission to take a break from the stressful aspects of the holidays.  Don’t have time to spend the whole day relaxing?  Just start small – even setting aside a few minutes for some peace and quiet can go a long way to heal your adrenals and clear your mind.

Some Winter Solstice rituals:

  • Curl up in a comfy chair with a blanket and a warming cup of herbal tea
  • Take an Epsom salt bath
  • Get lost in a good book
  • Meditate
  • Take a nap or a leisurely walk
  • Light some candles (choose beeswax or soy-based, avoid parafin or synthetically scented candles – read more)
  • Do something that you find nurturing – healthy cooking, crafts, scrapbooking, knitting, playing games.
  • Forgive (yourself or someone else)
  • Reflect on 2014, and dream about the New Year

And just remember, it does not need to be a Solstice to hit the pause button. If we can regularly give the body and mind some rest and recovery time, we can become more productive and effective down the road.

Need some other tips for staying healthy and managing holiday stress?  Read Keep Calm and Merry On for 10 tips to stay healthy a reduce stress this holiday season.

*In the Southern Hemisphere, Sunday, December 21st is the longest day of the year, or the Summer Solstice.
Interested in learning more about the Solstices’?  Further reading:Winter Solstice Traditions – Rituals for a Simple Celebration

Is good health as simple as getting sleep?

A good night’s sleep is essential for ALL aspects of your health. It’s during sleep that your body regenerates and detoxifies. Chronic, long-term insufficient sleep increases your odds of diabetes, depression, cardiovascular disease, and even weight gain. Not just logging hours in bed, but quality sleep is one of the most important factors to keep your brain sharp, and immune system strong. A recent study showed that a good night’s sleep is even responsible for promoting skin health and a youthful appearance.

With the holiday season rapidly approaching, we know the coming months are going to be filled with family gatherings, late nights and less sleep. By making sure your body gets the rest it needs, you will help strengthen your body to ward off common colds. Follow these healthy sleep habits, which you can put in place immediately, to get a head start on feeling incredibly well-rested and energetic all season long!

 1. Avoid stimulants that interfere with your sleep

As any coffee lover knows, caffeine is a stimulant that can keep you awake. Curbing caffeine intake (found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and some pain relievers) after 2pm can have a huge impact on how quickly you’re able to fall asleep. Although that glass of wine after dinner is always tempting, it might be hurting you more than it’s helping. Alcohol may help bring on sleep, after a few hours it acts as a stimulant, increasing the number of awakenings and generally decreasing the quality of sleep later in the night. Aim to limit alcohol consumption and avoid drinking within three hours of bedtime.

 2. Create a pre-sleep routine

Ease into bedtime by creating an environment for quality sleep; this includes starting to dim the amount of artificial lighting, adjusting the room to have cooler temperatures, and taking note of activities that leave you feeling restless or anxious before bed.

Be cautious of watching TV or using other electronic devices as part of your bedtime ritual. Research suggests that screen time before bedtime interferes with sleep. Not only stimulating your brain before bed, electronics can also disrupt your body’s production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for making you sleepy and regulating your internal sleep clock.

 3. Keep a consistent sleep schedule

Aim to go to sleep and wake up around the same time everyday. Training your body’s “internal clock” to expect sleep at a certain time night after night. Try to stick as closely as possible to your routine on weekends to help increase the effectiveness. Schedule your morning yoga class ahead of time, committing to those feel good asanas will make it less tempting to keep hitting the snooze button.

 4. Lighten evening eating and drinking

Similarly to alcohol, a big meal before bed might make you fall right asleep but it will disturb your sleep (it’s likely you’ll wake up in the middle of the night “burning off” the heavy meal). Also, hydrate throughout the day so that as you approach bedtime you can limit your fluid intake to avoid waking up to use the restroom all night.

 5. Exercise early

We all know that regular exercise has incredible benefits on our physical and mental state. Sure it can even help us sleep better – but it’s good to note that timing is important. Try to finish working out at least 2 hours before bed, as exercising too close to bedtime can leave you feeling too energized to fall asleep.

 6. Try sleep-inducing snacks to increase your odds of a successful slumber:

  • Bananas – well known for being rich in potassium, are also a good source of Vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin.
  • Kale – green leafy vegetables, such as kale and collards, boasts a healthy dose of calcium, which helps you fall asleep.
  • Quinoa – a good source of the calming mineral, magnesium, which helps you stay asleep.
  • Almonds / almond butter –unsaturated fats will not only boost your heart health but also improve your serotonin levels, the “feel good” hormone in charge of regulating the sleep/wake cycle.

 7. Go to sleep when you’re truly tired

Struggling to fall sleep just leads to frustration. If you’re not asleep after 20 minutes, go to another room, and do something relaxing (such as reading or listening to music) until you are tired enough to sleep. If you find tomorrow’s to-do lists flooding your thoughts, try writing them down—and then putting them aside.