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Living, Wellness

maintain + sustain the good in your life

March 1, 2018

As the year progresses, so does our personal journey to detoxify and simplify our lives. With each month, we turn our focus to another crucial element in this process. For March, we will solidify into place the good habits and rituals we’ve identified as the ones that are integral to our daily lives and our daily happiness. How do we maintain and sustain the routines that ground us and, simultaneously, lift us up? How do we continue to do them so that they don’t slowly turn into dreaded chores? Let’s create the space we need to think thoughtfully about the routines we rely on day in and day out. In doing so, we can — and will — optimize our experiences for a happier, healthier life.


food • for • thought

What’s one thing you do every day that you wish were simpler?

What’s one thing that brings you joy every day?

How do you keep yourself organized? On time? 

Life, Living, Wellness

seven ways to stay grounded

February 26, 2018

Staying grounded is easier said than done. From small, daily stressors to bigger, fast-paced events (hello, SXSW), it’s necessary to be mindful of staying grounded. This month, we focused a great deal on reconnecting — in relationships, with yourself, and with the space around you. Now, let’s wrap up February (and kick off the week) with seven milk + honey recommended ways to keep your cool.


Call a friend or family member

It’s easy to have a false sense of closeness these days. After all, we use Facebook updates to represent life events and Instagram Stories to share our day-to-day. What could we be missing? Pick up the phone and call a long-distance pal, and you’ll find out. While social media does a lot to connect us, our online lives are curated and incomplete. There’s nothing like hearing the sound of your BFF’s voice as they tell you the good, bad, and the ugly. Just hearing a familiar voice can be extremely grounding and flat-out comforting.


Turn off your phone

While phones are great for say, calling an old friend (nudge, nudge), it’s nice to schedule intentional time apart from technology. We all know how it feels to be sucked into the world of eternal scrolling and it can be extremely draining — for both your time and your mood. Try to block off time first thing when you awake and right before bedtime to leave your phone face down and out of sight. Use this as your time to recharge and reconnect.


Incorporate CBD Oil

Ahhh, CBD oil. Before we go any further, let’s be clear — the hemp-derived oil is non-psychoactive and provides relaxation without intoxication. In some cases, CBD oil is ingested (try it in your next smoothie) or it can be used topically.

We love Mary’s Nutritionals patches and gel pen to provide topical relief for pain management. As of this month, both are carried at milk + honey locations.


Revisit an old favorite

What’s your favorite book? Movie? Vinyl album? Revisit that. Comfort can arise from familiarity and you may even get a dose of sweet nostalgia along with it. Our old favorites are still our favorites for a reason: they make us feel something.


Reserve a massage

Massages are an essential strategy to reconnect with yourself and improve your mood. You may think we’re biased, but there’s actual science to back it up. Studies have shown stress hormones lowering as much as 31% while dopamine and serotonin rose about 30% post-massage.

Explore milk + honey massages.


Make your sleep habitat a haven

Sleeping is such an important part of reconnecting with your best self. So, why not optimize your sleeping situation? Stacy Davenport, milk + honey’s go-to Feng Shui expert and energy catalyst recommends investing in hibernation. As she says, “Let your master bedroom be luscious.”

Some of our favorite additions:

  • New sheets and bedding
  • Blackout curtains
  • Silk pillowcases
  • Silk sleeping masks
  • Sound machines
  • Sunrise simulating alarm clocks (so much nicer than your iPhone alarm)


Take a bath

It’s no secret that we’re proponents of #TheArtOfTheBath at milk + honey. Whether it’s a quick, 20-minute dip or a lengthier, more indulgent escape, the bath can serve as a tool for reconnection.

Unless your phone has a waterproof case, the simple act of being in the bath takes technology out of the picture. It’s the perfect time to open that book you’ve been meaning to finish. Bathtime is also a great excuse to catch up on your favorite podcast or new music. Try to think of #TheArtOfTheBath as a five-sensory experience. You can indulge with essential scents, relaxing sounds, healing ingredients, a great book, and a glass of wine — if you insist. (I totally do.)


When you’re not taking a break from your phone, follow us on Instagram.

Living, Wellness

what is your #AMandPM?

February 21, 2018

When manifesting positivity for the day, we believe the small things can set you up for success. Whether you’re enjoying your favorite cup of tea in the AM or a unwinding in a PM salt bath, these tiny moments of mindfulness can change the course of your day and affect how you impact others.


Next month, we are launching #AMandPM, a blog series and collection of Instagram takeovers featuring a mix of milk + honey experts and influencers. Today, we’re giving you a sneak peek into what you can expect. Read on for milk + honey massage therapist, Lala’s #AMandPM.




Stretch | While still in bed, I like to do a morning stretch with deep breaths. I raise my hands over my head and make my body as long as I can reaching from side to side. If I’m feeling fancy, I make a Figure 4 with my legs and stretch across my side body with cactus arms. I’ll curl to the fetal position and breathe for a moment before planting my feet down and starting the day. Deep breathing and gentle stretching helps the circulatory and pulmonary systems wake up gradually without shocking the system awake.


Lemon Water | I juice one full lemon into a cup of warm water and drink it down to chase an apple cider vinegar shot & probiotic pills I take in the morning. The lemon water gets your gut moving and wakes up your digestive system along with providing antioxidants and immunity strengtheners. If I don’t press snooze two extra times, I’ll even make a smoothie with greens, frozen fruit, coconut milk, and whatever else may be hanging out in the fridge.


Affirmations | Here’s where I may lose ya. I like to dry brush in the morning and then apply coconut oil to my skin while telling myself nice things. Dry brushing is fantastic for exfoliation, circulation, cellulite prevention and all kinds of magic. Coconut oil is great for my skin type and smells fantastic. I find saying affirmations can be cheesy… though when I do them in a power stance in the mirror while listening to Beyoncé, I feel amazing AF.




Foam Roll | My clients never hear the end of me asking if they foam roll. Rolling out the stagnant blood and adhered tissues of your body will make you feel better! After a long day of doing massage or working out, or both, I have a love/hate relationship with my foam roller. Roll out your back, legs, IT band, PSOAS, and hamstrings. If I’m feeling frisky, I’ll grab a lacrosse ball and roll around — targeting my upper back or glutes to release the tighter muscles. (m+h has an amazing product called the RAD roller, which I use on my break at work.)


Hot Tea | As a tradition from my childhood, my grandmother and mom both used tea as a form of stress relief. Tea was a cure-all. So you can find me curled up on the couch with my cats and favorite blanket. Yogi Teas are my favorite because they have special messages on the bag for you to feel inspired. (Some fave blends are: Detox, Bedtime, Stomach Ease, and Kava Stress Relief.)


Epsom Salt Bath | For sore, tired muscles, energetically draining, or treat yo’self days, Epsom salt is straight wizard level. It calms inflammation, flushes toxins, softens skin, reduces pain, and relieves stress from the magnesium in the salt.


Keep an eye out for our #AMandPM Stories — launching in March.

What is your #AMandPM?

Living, Wellness

this will make you a bath person.

February 16, 2018

Disclaimer: If you have a bathtub and rarely use it, let this post serve as “what are you waiting for?” nudge in the right direction. If you have a bathtub and are a bathtime enthusiast, continue reading for your new must-have essential.

The milk + honey Milk Bath No. 05 is — hands down — the most indulgent way to unwind and we highly recommend it. Here’s why:

  1. Bathe like royalty.
    We were inspired by Cleopatra’s legendary beauty routine, which included daily milk and honey baths meant to restore and preserve healthy, glowing skin.
  2. Let it nourish and hydrate your winter skin.
    With nourishing and organic dehydrated coconut milk, your skin is in for a moisturizing treat. Pro tip: exfoliate with the Body Polish, then soothe your skin with the Milk Bath.
  3. It is pure bathtime indulgence.
    The sweet blend of vanilla and lemon peel oil provides a deliciously aromatic atmosphere — we encourage deep, relaxing breaths and lingering in the bath a little longer.

Pro tip: Less is more with this Milk Bath. You only need to add two to four tablespoons under warm running water to create the most luxurious, soothing bath. Enjoy.


Life, Living, Wellness

how we connect + communicate

February 14, 2018

At the start of February, we talked about the power of connection and the crucial role it plays in our daily lives. Whether they be romantic, platonic, or familial, the relationships we nurture and maintain are essential to our personal growth and happiness. So much so, that we’re taking today — Valentine’s Day — to pay homage to these many meaningful connections.

How? By taking a closer look at the love languages that serve us — and by understanding them, we can continue to improve how we best communicate and connect with one another.

What’s Your Love Language?

The five love languages, as outlined by Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, refer to the way in which we best express and experience love. We’d say that the concept of a “love language” certainly extends itself to more than just romantic relationships; often, we connect to our friends and family members in similar/modified iterations.

Here are the five love languages:

  • Words of Affirmation: You are fulfilled by compliments or words of encouragement and by that token, you also show your love through words of encouragement.
  • Quality Time: You enjoy your partner’s undivided attention and this could overflow into other relationships, where attention is given and received is imperative.
  • Giving and Receiving Gifts: You are sustained by symbols of love, like flowers or chocolates — this also applies to the feeling you get when you give gifts to others.
  • Acts of Service: Setting the table, walking the dog, or doing other small jobs make you happy. On a larger scale, volunteering and getting involved in community initiatives are fulfilling elements of your love language.
  • Physical Touch: Outward affection, such as holding hands, hugging, kissing, and having sex, is your romantic love language. When it comes to friends and family, you show your love through affection.

After reading all five, is there one or two that resonate with you most? Chapman asserts that most people have a primary and secondary love language. Perhaps, you thrive off of affection (physical touch) and verbal support (words of affirmation)? If that’s the case, you know that your best and healthiest connections reciprocate and/or bring out these elements in you.

While this is just one “school” of thought when it comes to how we strengthen and maintain our relationships, we think it’s an interesting one. Thoughts?

Life, Living, Wellness

gratitude is good for you

February 9, 2018

We talk a lot about gratitude at milk + honey — not just because it is in the very fabric (er, walls of our spas) of our ethos but because there is, at any given time, something to be thankful for.

If you’ve ever visited one of our spas, you may have noticed our gratitude jars. We welcome any and all #beegrateful thoughts during your milk + honey visit. To practice gratitude is to intentionally think of the things that make you uniquely happy and thankful. We couldn’t think of a better mental exercise than that.

Today, I’m practicing what we preach:

I moved to Austin in June 2013 with no job (yet), very few friends (yet), no dog (yet), no baby (yet), and only a sweet fiancé (now husband) to hang with as I carved a place for myself in this new city. After enduring my first Texas summer, I admittedly felt more at ease, but I still craved a routine and job to round out my new life in Austin.

Enter milk + honey. I don’t remember how I came across that fateful job posting but I do remember everything that followed. Many interviews and one presentation later, I was offered the marketing position. It felt right. It felt like I was not only gaining employment, but I was also gaining entry into the fold of the Austin community. What I gathered then — and know now — is that milk + honey is a beacon of relaxation, renewal, and comfort for so many in Austin. It is a safe space for people to visit, a place where they can unwind and reconnect without judgment. I’m thankful to be associated with something that has a positive impact on people’s lives.

Four years later, whenever people ask me what it was like to move from NYC and adjust to Austin (almost) sight unseen, I tell them that milk + honey was my turning point. It was the moment I felt grounded here. And that feeling of gratitude — to do something that fulfills me, to work alongside the founder and owners, Alissa and Shon Bayer, and a plethora of incredible individuals, to be a part of this company’s growth, and to contribute to the overarching goal of making people feel good — hasn’t subsided.

This is my #beegrateful moment.

What’s yours?

Life, Living

Energize Your Space: a Q&A with Energy Catalyst, Stacy Davenport

January 30, 2018

Whether you’re in our spa or luxuriating in an at-home milk + honey bath soak, creating spaces that reflect and cultivate clean goodness and positivity is our goal. To this end, every milk + honey location is planned and maintained with the help of Stacy Davenport, an incredibly knowledgeable Feng Shui expert and energy catalyst. We sat down with her to discuss how she maintains clear energy in our locations, as well as tips to maintain a clear and positive space at home.


What are some of the most important factors in creating a positive flow of energy in your space?

Definitely dusting — under your bed and furniture. It’s important this time of year because thought forms and gunk can get stuck in your space. Declutter from the right place. When you look at something, does it make your heart light up? Or is it an obligation? Create a system using three categories: yes, no, and maybe. This will help you to sort through your things and immediately trust your result. We spend so much time thinking things like, my Aunt Mary gave that to me so I should hold onto it.” If there are things in your environment you don’t really love, it’s creating an energetic block and taking up space where something new can come in.


So it’s also about being open to transition?

It’s especially important to re-evaluate the energy of your environment in times of change. When relationships have ended or you’re changing into a new job, walk through and identify what’s in your space that represents the old relationship or the old job that wasn’t fulfilling.


What are a few first fixes you think most people could make?

The first focus should be the bedroom or master bedroom. Sometimes I’ll ask people how long they’ve had their pillows and they’ll say, “Oh, I’ve had that pillow for 18 years.” All those thought forms are there — all the things you’ve gone through in the last 18 years. It’s important to initiate a new space or transition with new towels, new bedding, new pillows. Let your master bedroom be luscious. Make it so you just get in bed and exhale. It doesn’t have to be expensive… just something that represents you today. For example: if you have an orange bedspread, does it really fit anymore? This is a chance for brand new beginnings in 2018.


For the office or work area of the home, there’s often not enough storage. Go through your spaces and ask yourself: where does this live?” People often say they can’t get their clutter handled — they feel it’s continuous. Usually it’s because there’s not a system in place. There has to be a system so when you’re done with something it’s easy to put it away. If it’s difficult, your mind will say, “I’ll deal with that later.” The key is to create systems.


It’s clear you believe in a fresh start with a new year. Does 2018 have any specific significance?

When you add 2018 together, you get an 11. This year, we walked through a spiritual doorway. Double digits represent that the divine is supporting us, so taking care of your environment is really important. In numerology, 11 represents balance and connection to your divine self instead of your egoic self. This year is a really powerful opportunity to align with what’s true.


Tell me about some of the tools you use in cleansing the milk + honey spaces.

There’s a grid on the planet called the Hartmann Curry grid. Two scientists in the 1920s created it once they identified how energy flows. There’s the horizontal — like when you meet somebody. You know how they say, “you can know a person in 30 seconds,” that’s because we’re literally exchanging energy. That’s the horizontal. Then, when we pray and meditate we connect to the vertical.


Alissa, milk + honey’s founder, has me go through every location once a month and I go to the 2nd Street location twice a month. Every one of those clients has dumped their energy — emotionally, physically, mentally. In the salon, people are in their thought forms. Massage, they’re in their emotional body. Hair and nails, it’s all in the physical body. I clear the slate for the environment of milk + honey. It’s important to address the vertical so the higher vibration can come in and wash out the gunk. That’s the beauty of the milk + honey locations. They’re energetically cleansed so clients can trust they’re entering a clear space.


I work with a tool called a dowsing rod. It helps me identify, through my training, where energy is stuck. I also use powerful Chinese elements. One is to lift the old energy — energetic clearing. It lifts any detrimental energy. Then, I use nine capfuls of rum (representing fire) to lift the energy. A red powder is the blessing powder — it lures in blessings. I set the mixtures in the space according to this map (below). The packets stay for about three months to absorb energy. After three months, they’re thrown away.

What are some of your favorite plants to bring into indoor spaces?

It’s best to have fresh plants, but if you don’t have a green thumb, use silk. You don’t want to bring a fresh plant and then it starts to die — that’s energy that’s starting to die, go down the drain, and get weak. That will affect the individuals in the house. When the plant is dead, throw it away. So many people cling onto that one last leaf, but it’s dead. Plants absorb the gunk in the space, so plants may only live for a year. Its job is to clean the space.


Aloe is a great plant to have in a bedroom if you struggle with insomnia. It helps to oxygenate and absorb negativity. Instead of having a cell phone next to your bed, placing an aloe plant next to your bed is very beneficial. If you don’t do well with watering plants, I recommend Pathos Ivy — they will tell you when they’re thirsty. Bamboo is beneficial to bring into your space and can provide good luck.


What strategies do you recommend to digitally detox at night?

Keeping screens out can fire the brain so you’re processing that all night. I try to shut it off 30 minutes before going to bed. You should meditate or do something to move your focus down to your heart versus the brain. The brain is always processing: “Did I send that in the right way?” or “How is that coming across?” etc. Try this screen-free strategy for 30 days and see if you wake up feeling more refreshed.


Set boundaries for balance. This year is about setting boundaries with yourself. People sometimes think it’s selfish and to that, I say, you must be. You need to take care of you, I need to take care of me. It’s appropriate self-orientation.


Talk about the role of crystals in indoor spaces. Do you have different suggestions for home/office, etc?

With feng shui there are specific crystals to use within the nine sections. Those same crystals are in the walls of every milk + honey location.


I like to provide the first layer of crystals to set the location. Then, there are many other crystals you can add in. In regards to love and partnership, rose quartz is the crystal. You can then say, for example, “I can see I’m having a problem being in my power with my husband.” So then I’m going to support bringing in an amethyst, which is about power.


You should start by identifying the crystals that bring in the quality of energy. For example, if you want good communication, that’s pyrite. Everybody is different, so it’s about what’s needed for that individual. It’s always in flux and in movement. You just can’t go backwards when choosing crystals for your space.


They’re in every wall at milk + honey locations. For the 2nd Street, Arboretum, and Galleria locations, intentions have been written on the walls. After that, we started #beegrateful notes, so South Lamar and Houston actually have gratitude notes in the walls — they’re connected to the crystals. The gratitude of clients and employees are actually embedded in the walls at milk + honey locations.


What do you do to cleanse crystals before bringing them into your space?

I recommend cleansing them in salt water overnight. Then, take them out of the water and place them in the sun for 24 hours. When you set them in their place, do so with an intention. For example, with amethyst: maybe it’s there to have more abundance, happiness, or joy in your life. Or perhaps it’s to bring in a raise, bring in more money, and fully stand in the power of who you are in a graceful way.


I recommend cleansing crystals about every six months to once a year. We can get negative, so we all have emotional gunk that gets dumped in our spaces.


Salt lamps have a big presence at milk + honey offices, as well as our spa and salon locations. Talk about the role that salt lamps can play in creating positive energy.

They create negative ions, so they create positive energy in a space. They’ve been strategically placed — especially in each treatment room. As a client releases all of their chi, the space will be cleansed.


For an apartment, I’d recommend placing salt lamps out in the main living area. It’s also helpful in a bedroom, but don’t sleep with it on. We need darkness at night. However, you can leave them on at all other times — they’re just 4-watt bulbs.



Let’s talk clutter. How often do you/do you recommend a spring cleaning of sorts?

I definitely like this for spring. We’re coming out of the darkness, out of hibernation, into new beginnings. Sometimes because someone’s life is so big, they can only do one a year. I highly recommend spring. After that, fall. That’s right before we go into the winter. Look around and think “what did I not touch?” because retreating inward is a sacred time.


It can be helpful to tie to the spring equinox and the fall equinox. Think of it as coming out and going in. It’s a time to totally refresh the seeds — the trees will be bringing new life. The bulbs that we planted in the fall have been down in the ground until sun comes out. It’s a cycle. Spring is expansion and fall equinox is contraction.

Austin, BEES, Green, Ingredients, Living, News, Products

Honey, We’ve Got BEES by milk + honey!

September 28, 2017

apiary montage copy

The U.S. honeybee population has been dying off in droves and the impact of this has a rippling effect on both our economy and on the global food supply. At the commercial beekeeping level, beekeepers are experiencing 30 to 50 percent hive loss (on average!) due to the not-so-mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder. Additionally, there have been major declines in native bee populations, which hold serious consequences for our native landscapes.

Let’s put it in everyday life perspective. Here’s what a meal without honeybees might look like, pictured below.

picnic without bees copyConsider that 90 percent of the wild plants you see around your neighborhood and 35 percent of the produce section in your local grocery store require bees to survive. Without bees, there will be a significant reduction in the quality and length of our planet’s health and human existence. Scary, right?

This is where our own story began in June 2015.

Alissa Bayer, milk + honey founder and owner, wanted to find a way to help the bees in the most direct way possible. So, in the winter of 2014, she reached out to Anna Gieselman. You may recognize Anna’s name from her gorgeous bee-inspired jewelry line, Bee Amour, which we sell in most of our locations. Or perhaps you know Anna as one of our original massage therapists. She has been a part of the milk + honey since our earliest days in 2006 and she also happens to be an experienced beekeeper.

Together, they partnered up to create an urban apiary, BEES by milk + honey.

Under milk + honey’s sponsorship, Alissa and Anna sourced bees from fourth-generation beekeepers at Bee Weaver, who have been raising bees without the use of chemical interventions for more than 15 years. Our small, but growing, urban apiary started as 10 hives in total — six were hosted on some beautiful land off of Bee Cave Road and four hives are located on a rooftop near 5th Street and I-35 (the old Progress Coffee spot!) — and today, we have more than a dozen thriving hives located in East Austin.

At our apiary, we practice “organic” beekeeping, meaning we choose not to use chemicals to treat the bees for pests. We raise our bees with the intention of supporting them through non-aggressive beekeeping techniques and with the goal of raising healthy strong hives for our environment. We have also started a beekeeping apprenticeship program for milk + honey employees, in the hopes of educating even more people about the importance of bees.

IMG_4095 copy

Ultimately, we hope to see the apiary continue to thrive and expand in the coming years, as well as use the bees as a tool to keep the conversation going about the role humans must play in cultivating a healthy ecosystem.

Wondering how you can help, too?  Here are a few tips on how to start:

  1. Make a commitment to buy only organic produce and nuts when available and possible. By shopping at the numerous local farmers’ markets, you support organic growers and beekeepers in town. {FYI, this is a comprehensive list of food that requires pollinators.}
  2. Plant bee-supportive plants and do not use pesticides on those plants.
  3. Make a DIY solitary bee house.
  4. Petition Congress and local government officials to create and support bee-friendly agricultural policies and laws.

You can follow milk + honey and Anna’s beekeeping adventures on our Instagram as well as on Anna’s Instagram and Facebook page. Plus, stay tuned for more blog posts about what we are up to right here!

Ingredients, Living, Wellness

10 Feel-Good Benefits of Honey

August 17, 2017

We’re big fans of honey bees at milk + honey. Case in point: to bring awareness to the decline in the honey bee population and do our part to help save them, we created an urban apiary called BEES by milk + honey in 2015. Today, we have more than a dozen thriving hives in Austin, TX, all of which utilize organic, sustainable beekeeping practices.

In honor of National Honey Bee Appreciation Day, we’re sharing the top 10 reasons honey is good for you.

10 Reasons Why Honey is Good For You

  1. Antioxidant-rich. Honey contains phenols, enzymes, flavonoids, and organic acids — all of which play a crucial role in honey’s laundry list of health-positive benefits.
  2. Reduces the risk of heart-related ailments. Thanks to its antioxidant-rich properties, honey reduces the risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. But that’s not all! It also works overtime to regulate blood sugar levels and promote eye health. A better question might be: is there anything honey can’t do?
  3. Improves cholesterol levels. In addition to honey’s happy-heart ways, it also has been proven to lower LDL cholesterol and blood triglycerides. Win-win.
  4. Acts as a natural cough suppressant. For children one year and older, honey is a great alternative to traditional cough medicine. It acts as a natural and safe cough suppressant that is as effective as a single dose of dextromethorphan.
  5. Moisturizing and nourishing. You can use honey in your homemade face scrubs and washes. It emulsifies easily with water (surprisingly, no stickiness!) and can help to moisturize and further nourish dry skin.
  6. Reduces allergies. Not only is honey anti-inflammatory, it also contains small amounts of pollen, which can actually help your immune system stave off local allergies.
  7. Promotes burn and wound healing. Honey is packed with antibacterial and antifungal properties. When it comes to applying a natural salve to minor wounds, cuts, and burns, honey is your go-to.
  8. Consider it “brain food.” Honey can naturally assist the brain to prevent metabolic stress, which in turn, helps one to achieve truly restful sleep. And you know what happens after a good night’s sleep? Our cognitive and memory enhancement is on point. 
  9. Helps with an itchy scalp and dandruff. When diffused with water and applied to an itchy, dry scalp, honey’s natural humectant properties help to heal and moisturize.
  10. Increases athletic performance. Honey maintains glycogen levels and improves recovery time post-workout. In a nutshell? Athletes shouldn’t skip a daily spoonful of honey!

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