Hello from Pittsburgh!

Why is it when you fall out of a routine, it’s so hard to get it back.

It happens to me all the time with running. When I haven’t ran in awhile, the first run back is always tough. And then it takes way too long to gain that endurance again.

Blogging feels the same. When I have lost the habit of posting, the first post back doesn’t come natural and nobody wants to read a forced post. I’ve been wanting to post for so long but I just don’t know where to start.

2013/2014 were crazy. One of the busiest/best years yet.  This little blog is like a life journal so I need to recap a little bit of what we’ve missed!

In 2014, Todd made the decision to attend Tepper Business School at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. That means, we were moving across the country!

On August 1st, 2014 we joined family & friends on the beach to celebrate our wedding! That will need to be a post in itself once we get our pictures back.  It will be fun. :)

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After the wedding we left sunny San Diego for Pittsburgh.  We left our wonderful home we had in Leucadia for the past 5 years to start a new chapter in our lives.  It’s going to be an adventure!

We’ve been here for a little over a month but it feels like so much longer. We’ve spent what feels like way too much money furnishing our apartment and making countless trips to Ikea, Target & Bed Bath and Beyond.  But, we’re getting there! We are living in the community of Shadyside which is very close to multiple universities including Pitt, Chatham & Carnegie Mellon. We are living on the 3rd floor of a converted home.  Our place is small, but it’s perfect for us for the next two years. I have a room to work (I’m working from home), it’s in a pretty centralized location, walking distance to Whole Foods, Target, Trader Joes & many restaurants & bars, AND the price is right.

We are slowly starting to learn our way around town.  Lots of walking, lots of meeting and hanging out with new people.

We did a Duck tour, which was just OK.

We saw the Pirates play the Padres in the beautiful Pirates stadium.

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We saw the preseason Steelers/Bills game.

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We went white water rafting in Ohiopyle State Park.

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We went on our first bike ride which was much better than expected & I signed up for my first race! I am running the Pittsburgh 10 miler in November and am recruiting others as well.  So far, I have 3 others committed to running it! Still working on Todd..  It might be pretty chilly but I think it will be a great first race in Pittsburgh.  It’s a running tour of the city & a good distance to start with I think.

As for yoga, the first month I tried out Amazing Yoga. It was different than Yoga Six for sure, but I expected that.  Amazing Yoga offers heated power yoga classes in 3 different studio locations.  There are lots of plank holds (or high push-ups as they call them) & lots of power yoga poses.  It’s a tough class & I love to get my ass kicked and sweat a lot.  But, there was something missing for me.  I could use more quiet time & maybe more variety in the class offerings. There were days I wanted yoga, but I wasn’t in the mood for a tough power yoga class. I wanted to sweat a little, stretch & lay in savasana in the quiet.  I really didn’t like that the yoga room was loud before and after class. I wanted a couple minutes of quiet me time. I think Amazing Yoga would be a great addition to my yoga practice but I don’t think I would want it to be my only option.

This weekend I went to my 2nd studio for the first time. Yoga Hive is a little bit smaller and I’ve only been to one class so far. After my introductory 3 weeks is up, I’ll recap what I think. :)

Things are going well for us so far. I feel like we’ve done a lot.  Todd’s busy with school & I’m busy with work.  We are meeting new people and exploring where we can.

I am going to try and provide more updates.

What do you like to read/hear about? Food? Exercise? Life? Stella?  

Here’s a Stella photo just in case you missed her.  She’s still cute as ever but more spoiled & getting used to having mom at home all day long.

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Thanks for listening to me ramble. Happy Sunday, Chargers win! Yay!

Make it a great week!

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I want to be greener (Part 2)

So it’s been a long time since my first of these posts. (Part 1)

But, I want to keep them going..

The first post I made laundry detergent.  I’ve been making that detergent since 2011. That means I like it right? :)

Recently a friend came over & used my washer bringing her own detergent.  A typical store bought one.. maybe Tide or something.  She washed a few pieces of my clothing & oh my gosh.. the smell.  That ‘laundry smell’ that people love smells like chemicals to me now.  You don’t get much of a smell at all with the homemade kind but you definitely get used to it.

Since the laundry detergent I made Homemade Body Scrubs for holiday presents that I should’ve added to this series.  This past December I made lip balm, body butter & cocktail bitters that I’ll try and work in to their own post.

I have a couple other things in the works for trying to leave less of a blueprint on this world.

PAPER TOWELS

For years, we bought paper towels in bulk from Costco.  I am horrible at using napkins/paper towels.  I use too many of them all the time.

I decided enough was enough and stopped buying them.  We now have hand/kitchen towels we use instead.  It hasn’t been easy.  A paper product seems to make so much more sense and I question using a towel.  But, really it does the same thing.  I may use a towel only once depending on what I’m using it for, but that’s ok.  They get thrown in the garage for the next cycle of wash we do.

Since making the body products I mentioned above and diving deeper into yoga, I’ve found a new love for essential oils.  Essential oils are naturally occurring in plants and are found to have therapeutic & medicinal benefits for humans.  I’ve mostly seen the therapeutic side to them but I don’t doubt they can work medicinally as well.

How do you feel when you smell citrus or peppermint.   Lemon, orange, grapefruit are all forms or citrus, but for me, citrus and peppermint are uplifting or energizing.  Makes sense when you think about drinking orange or grapefruit juice in the morning.  Now, how does Lavender make you feel?  Lavender is great calming/relaxing scent.

Lavender, lemon & peppermint are three basic scents used most often.  I used lavender for my body scrub & body butter.  I used lavender, lemon & eucalyptus for lip balm.

Essential oils have made me want to experiment more with making my own products.

If you’d like to experiment yourself, here’s a great place to buy them: Click Here

HAND SOAP
recipe from Wellness Mama

We ran out of hand soap and I thought it would be easy to make my own.  Here’s what I combined.

2-3 Tablespoons pure castille soap (I used Dr. Bronners)
5-10 drops of essential oil of choice (I used lavender & lemon combination)
1/2 teaspoon sweet almond oil
water to fill soap dispenser (this will work for foaming dispenser as well)

Add water & oil, then add soap last.  So far this seems to be working great.  It’s thinner than typical hand soap but I’m ok with it.

Once my soap was out I re-used the same container. Easy peasy.

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FACIAL MIST

I love essential oil facial mists. They make me feel so fresh.  When you look at the ingredients, it’s really just water & essential oil.  I could make that!

Find a mini spray bottle to keep in your purse. I bought one for $2.50 at Jimbos.

Essential Oil Facial Mist
5-10 drops essential oil of choice
1 teaspoon sweet almond oil for dry skin
1 teaspoon witch hazel for oily skin
water

Add all ingredients to spray bottle adding water last.

Rose Water Facial Mist
Rose Water (I bought this one)
1 teaspoon sweet almond oil
water

Fill up spray bottle 1/3 full with rose water. Add oil & then fill remaining with water.

Spray before & after applying makeup and whenever you could use a little pick me up. :)

I’ve been carrying the Rose Water Spray in my purse for awhile & love it!

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ALL PURPOSE CLEANING SPRAY 
Recipe from Wellness Mama

1 teaspoon borax
1/2 teaspoon super washing soda
1 teaspoon pure castille soap
5-10 drops of essential oils
distilled or boiled water

Add all ingredients to a spray bottle, shake & use as desired.

Once again, re-purposed an old bottle!

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HOMEMADE DEODORANT
(Recipe source)

5-6 T coconut oil
1/8 cup arrowroot powder
1/8 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup baking soda
Essential Oil of your choice

Mix the powders together. Melt the coconut oil & slowly mix with the powders.

Coconut Oil hardens when it gets cold.  I made a batch, let it sit for a day and realized I needed more oil.  It still gets kind of hard when it’s cooler but if you rub it between your fingers it’ll warm right up.  I think you want it just beyond the powdery stage.  I think it’s best as a paste.

You have to apply this deodorant with your fingers.  I’ve been doing it for about 5 days now and it’s no big deal really.  So far it seems to work pretty good!

Reading some of the reviews on the original recipe page, some people had adverse reactions to the baking soda.  I noticed if I used a lot, it almost stung slightly.  If this happens, reduce the amount you use or decrease the amount of baking soda in the recipe.

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Hope you enjoy this as much as I do! Have a great weekend. :)

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