Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Beauty: Henna/Aloe/Mood Lipstick

One of the many learnings I picked up in Costa Rica was how to achieve my natural lip color. One of my fellow yogis, Clea, swears by henna lipstick. Clea is from Brazil, and said that henna lipstick is the only lipstick she remembers her mom wearing growing up.

So naturally, Clea had some henna lipstick on hand, and we all had to give it a go. The result? Woah.

I had never heard of henna lipstick until Costa Rica, and now that I'm back stateside, I'm obsessed with it (it's also called aloe and/or mood lipstick). This trend has been covered pretty extensively over the past few years (Manrepeller, The Frisky, Beauty Bets), but I somehow missed the memo on it. How I've been living for 25 years without knowing about this little wonder is a mystery to me.

So naturally, I had to buy some (and what a steal this product is on Amazon). 

Yes, it's green. I promise your lips won't be that color.

Apply it lightly; you don't need a lot!

Bottom lip - much pinker than my top lip.

Loving it so far.

Time for the top lip.


Three hours later; still pink and natural.

|| Photos are property of Twentyapolis. Must give credit. || 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Travel: Pura Vida -- Costa Rica

It's crazy to think that not even two weeks ago, I was gallivanting around the jungle and getting lost on the soft, sand beaches of Costa Rica. To say that this was the trip of a lifetime is an understatement. I could never have imagined how much this adventure would change my life.

Costa Rica is a dream. Its thick jungles, mountains and volcanoes, sandy beaches and coral coastlines; it's truly a world like no other. Combined with amazing new friends and my soul sister Caitlin, it was nothing short of magical.

The reason we decided to go to Costa Rica began with yoga. Caitlin and I were accepted to go on a week-long yoga retreat with Rachel Brathen (better known as @yoga_girl on Instagram) last fall. We decided to extend our trip by five days to backpack and travel the country before we relaxed on the southwest coast. 12 days in Costa Rica? Yes, please!

Before we left, I had hopes and ideas for our yoga retreat. I hope I meet new people, I hope my yoga practice deepens, I hope I relax and be present. Multiply that by about infinity, and that barely scratches the surface of what my days in Uvita were like.

I have never met a group of women (yes, our yoga retreat group was all women!) who love so openly, care so deeply and share so honestly. From the moment we arrived at Selva Armonia, we could tell our week together was going to be special. Daily yoga practice, days hiking hidden waterfalls, surfing, lounging on the beach, exploring surfing towns, relaxing in our eco-villa and sharing our deepest thoughts and secrets, we became one. By the time we left after an entire week together, saying goodbye was almost painful. Something brought all 19 of us together (whether it was fate, the universe, chance, or the gods), and I have no doubt we'll see each-other again.

And the five days prior to the yoga retreat? Equally as amazing. We backpacked into the Costa Rican mountains, and made lifelong friends from Canada, Germany, England and the U.S. We made our own little family in La Fortuna.

Magical, life-changing, empowering, overwhelming. I am beyond grateful, and my heart is full.

At the top of Cerro Chato in La Fortuna. A five hour hike in total!

Getting ready to surf at Playa Hermosa.

Saluting the morning sun at Selva Armonia with Buddha.

Picking fresh fruits and vegetables for dinner at Selva Armonia.

Henna hands.

A cold Imperial in the natural hot springs of La Fortuna.

Immersing ourselves in the La Fortuna waterfall.

Tree pose on our private beach near the Whale's Tail.

Attending a handstand workshop with Rachel and Dennis (in matching Power Y tanks).

Saying "see you soon" to Rachel at Selva Armonia.

Walking along quiet rivers to the ocean near the Whale's Tail.

A kale bouquet at the greenhouses at Selva Armonia.

Relaxing in hammocks at La Fortuna Backpackers Hostel.

Rope swinging with Caitlin during our Cerro Chato hike (read: dangerous).

Vegan, natural everything.

Waterfall hike in the mountains of Selva Armonia.

Playa Uvita view from the mountains.

Sunset yoga session at Selva Armonia.

Daytime chats with Rachel, Dennis and RIngo.

Dominical beach days and sunsets.

Sharing the trip of a lifetime with my soul sister, bindis and all.

 || Photos are property of Twentyapolis. Must give credit. ||

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Pet: Camp's Must-Haves

Adopting Camp has been equally the most rewarding and most difficult thing I've ever done. I can't explain how much I love that dog! Jack likes to play tough, but I know Camp has stolen his heart. Just look at him - how could he not?

Before we adopted Camp, I thought we were prepared. We had a kennel, a dog bed, dog food and bowls, some dog treats and a handful of dog toys. We're all set, I thought.

Just writing that made me laugh. 

I had no idea what we/Camp needed until we had him. I feel like I've heard similar things about people having children (for all those who hate when dog parents compare themselves to "human" parents, I'm sorry!) Before we adopted Camp, I had these ideas in my head of the things we'd need, what we'd feed him, what type of leash would work best for him. But in truth, much of what I had envisioned before we adopted him was thrown out the window shortly after he arrived.

I'm no expert yet, and Camp's needs/ likes/wants are constantly evolving, but here's what I do know: invest in things that last, purchase quality foods and invest in a good brush.

The must-haves. Camp is up to date on all of his shots (distemper, bordatella, rabies, etc.), and was neutered before we adopted him. In addition to his basic shots, we opted to have him receive his leptospieros and lyme disease shots, since we spend so much time with him outside. He also takes a Frontline chew each month for fleas and ticks.

Toys. Camp's happiest, calmest and best-behaved when he has quality toys. We've learned the hard way that cheap toys are cheap for a reason; don't expect them to last longer than 20-30 minutes (at least, that's the case with our 60 pound beast of a dog). We've learned that Kong toys hold up well and keep Camp occupied and happy (his current favorites are here and here). We've also invested in a few of Kong's "mental stimulating" dog games (like this one) that do keep him occupied from time to time.

Grooming. I can't stress how important a good brush has been for us. While he's short-haired, Camp sheds a lot. A friend of ours gave us the Furminator brush (thanks, Meg!), and our lives have improved significantly ever since. Don't get me wrong, our apartment is still constantly covered with hair, but seeing how much hair could be floating around is so much worse. One way we get rid of extra hair is by giving him baths (which he doesn't love). When he gets a bath (every three months or so), we used Burt's Bees dog shampoo. We also invested in a good nail clippers and some strong cleaning product (mistakes happen!)

Sleep. We quickly learned that Camp has kennel anxiety from being in shelters for the majority of his life. We tried kenneling him soon after we got him, but it's just not for him. We're lucky he's pretty well-behaved when we leave him out in the apartment all day. It makes having to go to work much easier knowing he's king of the apartment all day! Instead of his kennel, Camp has a pillow bed from Boots & Barkley. He loves it and lays on it constantly throughout the day.

Treats. Let's be honest, we could give Camp any kind of dog treat and he'd happily eat it. However, we've opted for treats that contain quality ingredients and are healthier, since we usually are giving him so many! Right now, we've been giving him NutriSource and Charlee Bears. In addition to dog treats, peanut butter is gold. When we leave him alone on the weekends (especially if we're feeling guilty), we'll fill a dog bone or his Kong with peanut butter. He'll spend hours chewing on it and eating the peanut butter. It's magic. 

Meal time. Similar to his treats, we've been buying quality, grain-free food for Camp. He eats twice a day, and lately we've been mixing Taste of the Wild dog food with a bit of wet food (right now, it's Beneful). When we adopted him, we invested in stainless steel bowls (which will last forever) and a food mat. Camp's still pretty messy and gets water all over the place, but the mat helps! 

Outdoors. Camp's collar is as straight up and simple as it gets. For his leash, we opted for a Gentle Leader harness. Camp likes to pull on the leash and is ridiculously strong, so this helps me take control when we're out on our walks. And when we're out, you can't forget the poo bags! My favorite are the lavender-scented Earth-Rated bags. Not only are they strong, they smell GREAT (yes, you heard that) and are eco-friendly. You can read more about them here. I love this company! 

What products do you swear on for your pet? 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

DIY: Mala Necklace

Mala beads have a special place in my heart. In addition to looking natural and chic, they hold immense spiritual qualities.

Typically, malas have 108 beads, bound together by a guru bead or tassel. The beads are used to keep count while reciting prayers, mantras or other good thoughts. Hindu and Buddhist practitioners commonly use mala beads, but the practice is also growing among yogis.

Before I left for Costa Rica at the end of February, I was in the market for a new mala necklace and a few more bracelets. I was over the moon with the malas from Mala Collective and Tiny Devotions, but wanted to save as much money as I could to spend in Costa Rica. The solution? A DIY project, of course!

I'd never made a mala necklace before, but I knew a thing or two about jewelry making (my mom made jewelry constantly as I was growing up, and always let me make little bracelets and necklaces alongside her). A few hours later, and I had myself a pretty little mala. It's not perfect by any means, but the meaning behind making it myself makes all of the little imperfections worth it.

Semi-precious beads: 108+ depending on how you're designing your mala. Beads can be anywhere from 6 to 10 mm in diameter.
Embroidery thread: 5-8 feet depending on the desired thickness of your tassel
Elastic string: 5-7 feet
Super glue
Bead board (not necessary but is recommended)


Lay out your beads in a pattern on your bead board. I chose a mix of two different semi-precious beads, as well as metal hamsas. In addition to the overall color and look of the stones, choose a stone with spiritual properties that are important to you. For this mala necklace, I chose howlite and jade. Howlite is said to be a calming stone that promotes relaxation, while Jade promotes love and healing.

If you want to adhere to the traditional mala design, choose 108 total beads. Lay out the design of the necklace so that you will start and end the necklace in the front where the tassel will lay.

Tie a knot at the end of your elastic string, and begin stringing your beads on. The necklace will tie at the front where the tassel will hang (not at the back like traditional necklaces).

Once you have strung all of your beads, tie off the open end of your necklace. Then, tie both ends of your necklace together. The tassel will eventually be wrapped around the visible elastic knot, so don't worry about that for now.

Now it's time to make your tassel. Take your embroidery thread and wrap it in an oval. The oval should be roughly 6 inches long.

Fold the embroidery thread over your finger, with equal thread on each side.

Take an additional piece of embroidery thread (roughly 2 feet in length) and tie a knot in the middle of the oval where your finger was previously. The thread should be roughly equal on either side of the knot.

Using another piece of embroidery thread (roughly 2 feet in length), tie a knot a half inch down from the top knot.

Wrap the string around the tassel, leaving the top string free. Once the string is wrapped fully around, secure with super glue.

Then, cut the bottom loop of the tassel open, so the thread hangs free.

Now it's time to secure your tassel to your mala, on top of the elastic knot. I didn't find a precise way of doing this, other than just wrapping the embroidery thread around the knot multiple times and securing it with super glue. The result should look like the below.

And voila! Your own DIY mala necklace.

|| All photos are property of Twentyapolis. Must give credit. ||

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Mood: March feel

Happy March, lovelies!

For me, March is really just starting now. I spent the first half of the month in Costa Rica exploring, practicing yoga and meeting some of the best people this world has to offer. More of that coming your way soon...

This month, I'm looking forward to walks with Camp without my winter coat. To denim shirts, warm socks and maybe even an iced coffee? To getting things crossed off my to-do list, and to weekend days spent snoozing.

What are you looking forward to this month?

one || two || three || four || five || six
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