Gift Guide for Your Spiritual Friend

Your Vlogmas in July Holiday Gift Guide for your spiritual friend!

Happy (summer) Holidays! Since vlogmas is all about normalizing WANTING I thought it would be an opportune time to share my current spiritual, woo, witchy, whatever you want to call it favorites online! The items on this list are perfect for those who are into the spiritual stuff OR are spiritually curious!

Let’s online shop!

*this post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you click through my link and shop I will receive a monetary kick back.

Tarot Cards & Oracle Decks

As I mentioned in my recent self-care vlogmas video I am a BIG oracle card fan. Don’t get me wrong- I love tarot but oracle cards are SO much easier to read.

If you’ve never jumped into the world of woo and oracle cards I give a quick overview of how I use them in this video!

Here are links to the two I own:

If I had to pick a favorite it would be the Starseed deck but BOTH are gorgeous. I love the colors, design and the cards explanations in the booklets that they come with!

Photo by Danielle Rangel on Pexels.com

The oracle deck below gets a honorable mention! I’ve seen quite a few readers with it but I personally don’t own it. Looks insightful, perfect for the astrology minded and reasonably priced!

For tarot cards a lot of people prefer the Ride Waite deck but I find it a bit morbid for my taste. I think the art is a bit distracting because it is rather dark. It can give off a negative connotation for cards that actually denote positive change.

Some people swear by it so if it resonates I say good for you.

For me, I prefer decks with modern art. I own a deck made by the same illustrator of the oracle decks I mentioned but it’s currently sold out. So I listed some other decks that caught my eye below. Personal favorite might be the cat deck but check them out for yourself!

Meditation & Yoga Tools

Meditating and yoga are my most effective ways to nurture. I consider yoga a moving meditation and view them as equally important in my health, wellness and woo! Meditation can also be wildly uncomfortable if you don’t have a good set up. I like to use headphones and sit in a comfy position on a yoga block OR lay down on the floor.

For yoga I’ve learned that investing in a good mat is crucial if I don’t want my knees to hurt.

Below are some of my favorite yoga and meditation helpers!

This one if you want to splurge!

There you have it! These are a few of my favorite Amazon finds at the moment. Let me know what you think, what you buy and if you have any other ideas to add to this gift guide!

March Madness and April’s Recap

March was for action and boy did I take it in that goal on in my personal life. Mid month I decided it was time to start waking up early and working out and feeding my body the good stuff. Starting that habit has created a paradigm shift in my daily routine. Work is no longer the first thing of my day or the last thing that I think about at night.

America has cultivated this unhealthy obsession with getting ahead and my actions helped me realize that. (Yes, I know it is seemingly ironic that by doing more things I have stopped trying to get ahead but being mindful and meditative while doing yoga and running has been so good for me). While I want to succeed in my career I’ve realized that my health has to come before my job. I’m oh so very lucky to work at a company that allows me to take midday walks on beautiful days and encourages the use of PTO but the culture of American corporations in general weighs heavily on all of us. My morning routine and evening workouts allow me to put myself on the schedule instead of just my job. Due to this focus on myself, I have been better at focusing at work. Yin and Yang. That work life balance is oh so very important.

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The view from one of the many beautiful places I’ve gotten to visit. Rattlesnake Ridge in Seattle.

My external actions were a little trickier. I tried to make as many calls to my representatives as I could but I did not reach my goal for the number of calls that I wanted to have made. I still highly recommend Jen Hoffman’s guide and I will still continue to build on this baby foundation of political activism.

April was my month of reflection and repetition. I had not taken enough political action by the end of March to feel like I had accomplished my goal. In April I continued to take action. I donated clothes to a local women’s shelter. I donated money to the ACLU and Emily’s List. I revisited my goal of self-love by getting back into daily yoga and doing little things that made me happy like enjoying coffee with B in the morning. I practiced self-love by reading the book Cunt and really sitting in my powerful feminine energy.  I made plans with friends that I hadn’t seen in a while and visited them in their cities. I allowed myself to appreciate the moments I spent with them and to be present. I revisited my goal of listening by taking the time to think about the needs of those I interact with daily and trying to view the world from their perspective as well as my own. I have added this extra lense to as many conversations as I can.

I’m so glad I spent this month slowing down. Making times for friends, myself and relationships I feel like I have now built the steady loving habits I need to start plugging into my creativity. Bring it on May – I’m ready for you.

Self-Love and Gratitude – January Recap

We made it through January!

 

January was a whirlwind. Everyone was running around, trying to stick to strict goals and putting themselves in boxes as a way to better themselves. We watched a tyrant man who refuses to listen to the people he represents take over this country. We watched his administration lie on day one in office. But, most importantly we fought back.

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Tina & I are ready to join WITCH. Image from Bob’s Burgers

If protesting isn’t a sign of self-love and gratitude I don’t know what is. Women’s Marches all over the world promoted love, peace and a lot of gratefulness for living in a country where we are allowed to make our voices heard. We have a long way to go before we get to equality but January 21st left me feeling grateful for the women, men and children who are going to be on the right side of history.

 

My intentions for January were to meditate every day, do 31 days of yoga and to turn my “I’m Sorry’s” into “Thank you’s” I am proud to say that I did it, well mostly. I did miss a few days of meditation, I’m not perfect.

 

One of my daily meditations inspired me to start keeping a gratitude journal. Every night before bed I sit down and write at least 10 things that I am thankful for from that day. They can be as benign as food or as productive as learning a new skill at work. It can be hard as fuck, but love it. It forces me to recognize that even on long, tiresome, weird days there are still so many beautiful things in my life. This has turned some of my bad days around right before bed. Along with my magical pillow spray from my Calm Box, this has been helping me sleep better at night. It’s just like counting your blessings as a little kid.  

 

These acts of self-love that I participated in truly did help me on my journey to love and creativity. It is easiest to spread love when you already hold it within you.
How are you holding up on your intentions with the new year?

Relaxation Station: 5 Relaxation Techniques for the Technology Addict

In our chaotic, ADD, screen based society it’s almost impossible to disconnect and unwind. I find myself staring at screens almost all day. Some of this is work related but some of these wasted and blinding hours are self-inflicted. I could spend hours watching “Tasty” videos on Instagram, makeup tutorials on Youtube and creating Pinterest boards about my future home, birthday and wedding. I was beginning to get concerned about the amount of time I spend staring at screens so lately I’ve decided to invest an hour of my day in disconnecting and finding ways to unwind.

Warning- I’m still horrible at this but I’m getting better. At first not constantly being in communication with my friends (aka social media updates about people I barely know) felt lonely but I’m slowly beginning to get more comfortable with my alone time.

These are my five favorite ways to relax, unwind and quiet my anxiety.

  1. First on my list is Yoga with Adriene.I once again turned to my best friend youtube to solve my problems and it gave me Adriene. Youtube yoga is an ideal stepping stone for someone like me who needs to constantly engage in human interaction and needs to relax but can’t afford fancy shmancy fitness classes. Adriene has a yoga for EVERYTHING. Yoga for anxiety, yoga for weight loss, yoga for a broken heart – the rock n roll yoga queen does not disappoint. Spending 20-30 minutes a day with Adriene has improved my anxiety, my attention span, my self-esteem and has strengthened my body. This is my favorite way to unwind and put myself in a meditative state without having to sit still. screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-9-02-12-pm
  2. Next is Calm. Calm is a free app on IOS and Android with guided meditations on it.I know what you’re thinking, “But Em, you can barely sit still why are you trying to meditate” and to be honest I thought I was incapable of meditating too. But after laying in Shavasana too long after a particularly hard Yoga with Adriene video I decided to give guided meditation to old college try.Guided meditations are ideal for people like me who cannot be alone with their own thoughts. With the calm app a lovely woman talks me through the entire mediation process. After doing this off and on for months I can now spend at least two minutes in silence without having a panic attack. It works-  I promise. When you download calm you receive a free trial of their subscription service, which is only $30 a year one the trial ends and provides me with hours of guided meditation.

    If you decide to keep the free version and not take the $30 plunge you still receive some of their shorter programs and my favorite, the Loving Kindness guided meditation. Loving Kindness is a program directed at sending positive energy to yourself and others. It’s a wonderful reminder that everyone, even that misogynist in marketing at your work, deserves love and kindness directed at them.

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    The UCSB Labyrinth. A beautiful location for walking meditation.
  3. A new addition to my relaxation routine is walking.Its free, helps with anxiety and is a wonderful form of light exercise. Lately I have been walking to anything that is a mile or less from my house. Walking is another way to disconnect from my screen without feeling alone, there are always a million cars and people moving trying to run into me. Also, Calm has a walking meditation that is perfect for these short strolls to doctors appointments, interviews or the pharmacy.You may wisely point out, “But, it’s almost winter! How are you going to continue this walking practice” to which I say, I live in Southern California and I have no idea what seasons mean.

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    Hermione scolding me for not keeping up with my love of books
  4. Reading.I honestly feel ridiculous for forgetting during college that this is the most relaxing pastime. Instead of scrolling through Instagram in the dark I have been leaving the lights on a bit longer and picking up a book. I love to read! I love to read so much that I majored in books (English). What am I doing with that English major…well I work in HR but that’s beside the point. I’m a huge fan of non-fiction (check out my thoughts on my favorite non-fiction novel at the moment Feminist Fight Club in a previous post) but I think bedtime stories should always be fiction.Lately, I have been rereading my Vonnegut collection, Harry Potter, and The Name of the Rose.

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    The beautiful Comforter Bubble Bar available at Lush
  5. Bubble baths.The finale — and, in my experience, fastest working and most effective form of relaxation is taking a bubble bath. With a little help from our good friends at Lush the bathroom can go from boring to beautiful at the drop of a bath bomb. I have been obsessed with Lush for years and adore most of their products. The comforter is a tried and true classic for relaxation.But with the Holidays swiftly approaching my current favorite is The Magic of Christmas Bubble Bar (And no, dear reader it is NOT too early to be using Christmas bubbles).  

By using one, or more, of these techniques a day I am slowly regaining control of my anxious brain. I’m sleeping better and I have more focus in my daily tasks. I highly recommend creating a relaxation routine and giving it a try. Let me know in the comments if I’m missing out on any good relaxation techniques.

What’s your favorite way to unwind?

-Em