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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

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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.

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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!
Life, Living

7 Books on Our Summer Reading List Right Now

June 20, 2017

There’s nothing like diving into a light, frothy beach read (something more substantial works, too!) — preferably with sand between my toes and the sound of waves breaking on the shore in the not-too-far distance. Of course, the beach isn’t an actual requirement for some good ol’ fashioned summer reading. I’m just as happy parking myself somewhere cozy on a warm lazy day, finding an escape with each turn of the page. Wherever you find yourself over the next few months, let these books serve as inspiration for your own reading to-do list.

What books are on your list? Do tell! 

*All seven book picks include the official teasers from Amazon*

  1. Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane
    Since We Fell follows Rachel Childs, a former journalist who, after an on-air mental breakdown, now lives as a virtual shut-in. In all other respects, however, she enjoys an ideal life with an ideal husband. Until a chance encounter on a rainy afternoon causes that ideal life to fray. As does Rachel’s marriage. As does Rachel herself. Sucked into a conspiracy thick with deception, violence, and possibly madness, Rachel must find the strength within herself to conquer unimaginable fears and mind-altering truths.
  2. Hunger by Roxane Gay
    Bestselling author Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and bodies, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she casts an insightful and critical eye on her childhood, teens, and twenties—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers into the present and the realities, pains, and joys of her daily life. With the bracing candor, vulnerability, and authority that have made her one of the most admired voices of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to be overweight in a time when the bigger you are, the less you are seen. Hunger is a deeply personal memoir from one of our finest writers, and tells a story that hasn’t yet been told but needs to be.
  3. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
    In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet — sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair, and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors — doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through….
    Exit West follows these remarkable characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.
  4. Startup by Doree Shafrir
    Mack McAllister has a $600 million dollar idea. His mindfulness app, TakeOff, is already the hottest thing in tech and he’s about to launch a new and improved version that promises to bring investors running and may turn his brainchild into a $1 billion dollar business–in startup parlance, an elusive unicorn. Katya Pasternack is hungry for a scoop that will drive traffic. An ambitious young journalist at a gossipy tech blog, Katya knows that she needs more than another PR friendly puff piece to make her the go-to byline for industry news. Sabrina Choe Blum just wants to stay afloat. The exhausted mother of two and failed creative writer is trying to escape from her credit card debt and an inattentive husband-who also happens to be Katya’s boss-as she rejoins a work force that has gotten younger, hipper, and much more computer literate since she’s been away. Before the ink on Mack’s latest round of funding is dry, an errant text message hints that he may be working a bit too closely for comfort with a young social media manager in his office. When Mack’s bad behavior collides with Katya’s search for a salacious post, Sabrina gets caught in the middle as TakeOff goes viral for all the wrong reasons. As the fallout from Mack’s scandal engulfs the lower Manhattan office building where all three work, it’s up to Katya and Sabrina to write the story the men in their lives would prefer remain untold.
  5. All the Lives I Want by Alana Massey
    Mixing Didion’s affected cool with moments of giddy celebrity worship, Massey examines the lives of the women who reflect our greatest aspirations and darkest fears back onto us. These essays are personal without being confessional and clever in a way that invites readers into the joke. A cultural critique and a finely wrought fan letter, interwoven with stories that are achingly personal, All the Lives I Want is also an exploration of mental illness, the sex industry, and the dangers of loving too hard. But it is, above all, a paean to the celebrities who have shaped a generation of women–from Scarlett Johansson to Amber Rose, Lil’ Kim, Anjelica Huston, Lana Del Rey, Anna Nicole Smith, and many more. These reflections aim to reimagine these women’s legacies, and in the process, teach us new ways of forgiving ourselves.
  6. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
    Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career. Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.
  7. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
    One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating’s christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny’s mother, Beverly — thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families. Spanning five decades, Commonwealth explores how this chance encounter reverberates through the lives of the four parents and six children involved. Spending summers together in Virginia, the Keating and Cousins children forge a lasting bond that is based on a shared disillusionment with their parents and the strange and genuine affection that grows up between them. When, in her twenties, Franny begins an affair with the legendary author Leon Posen and tells him about her family, the story of her siblings is no longer hers to control. Their childhood becomes the basis for his wildly successful book, ultimately forcing them to come to terms with their losses, their guilt, and the deeply loyal connection they feel for one another.

Honorable Mentions:

I’ve already read Rich People Problems, the third and final installment in Kevin Kwan’s trilogy, and it was just as delightfully frivolous as his first two novels. Back story? Kwan serves up an outrageous look into the lives of ridiculously rich Asian socialites. It’s best if you start with Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend before cracking open Rich People Problems. All three are fun, lighthearted, and completely removed from any reality that most of us live in — in the best sense possible.

The Secret History is one of my favorite books ever, ever, ever, and I’ll take any opportunity to sing its praises/recommend it to others. Author Donna Tartt is the master of pacing and character development. Together, along with lush language and a vivid New England backdrop, she weaves an unforgettable story of a group of eccentric college students who, under the tutelage of an enigmatic classics professor, develop a new way of looking at — and thinking about — the world. Moral lines are blurred, someone dies, tensions run high, and nothing can ever return to “the way it was.”

Full disclosure: I am finishing Emma Straub’s The Vacationers right now. More than a handful of people have told me that it is a quintessential “summer read,” so I’m finally jumping on the bandwagon. If you judge this book solely by its cover (title withstanding), it screams, “summer getaway!” Without revealing too much, I’ll say this: I’m thoroughly enjoying myself and I think you will, too. The basic plot line: an American family jets off to Mallorca for a two-week vacation, wherein familial and romantic relationships prove complex and tangled. What family vacation is without its ups and downs, amiright?!

My final honorable mention is not light and fluffy. It’s a quick read, yes, but it is not your typical beach read. Paul Kalanithi’s writing debut and memoir-in-one, When Breath Becomes Air, is a touching personal meditation on life, death, what it means to be hanging in the balance, and ultimately, what it means to live a meaningful life in the time we’re given. I finished this in one sitting. Have a tissue handy.

Photo: Instagram user mintshake

Living, Wellness

The Best Morning Routines for a (Much) Better Day

June 15, 2017

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There’s no time like the present to address some hard-wired morning habits we all are guilty of — reaching for our phones to check email/Instagram/more email/SportsCenter/you get the picture the moment our eyes open, grabbing the first caffeinated thing we can get our hands on, and never giving the day ahead a “big-picture review” before jumping into our 9 a.m. meeting. To avoid the proverbial, waking up on the wrong side of the bed, we must take matters into our own hands (and minds!). And that’s exactly what were doing right here.

1. Lemon Water Is Your New Favorite Drink. More specifically, a cup of warm purified water infused with fresh lemon is the perfect AM wake-up call. Drink it first thing — yes, before breakfast (which you should also be eating – it is the most important meal of the day after all!) — and reap the benefits of a natural miracle worker. Seriously. Warm lemon water helps to flush out toxins, purges the body of unwanted substances, helps to boost your immune system, aids in digestion, and improves your mood. Like we said, miracle. worker.

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2. Avoid Your Phone (and Get Your Head in the Game). If you’re one of those people (guilty as charged) that reaches for their phone as soon as you’ve reentered waking life, try avoiding the home screen — at least, for the first 10 to 15 minutes of your morning. Instead, take these initial moments to review the day ahead. Mentally align your priorities, assign goals for both the short term and long term, and give yourself breathing room. If avoiding your phone isn’t in the cards, then we say, “embrace it and open the Headspace app instead.” This app acts like a personal trainer for meditation, with exercises ranging from 10 minutes a day to lengthier sessions. Cellular clarity, if you will.

3. Make Stretching a Priority. Stretch before you even get out of bed. It feels so good and the actual health benefits are numerous. Let us count the ways. Stretching helps increase the blood flow to the muscles, which in turn, helps you to feel more energized and refreshed. It also helps to prevent future injury from muscle stiffness.

4. Get Movin’ and Sweat It Out. Stretching is one thing — and it’s important — but really getting your body into motion is equally important. Yes, this means you should probably invest in an earlier wake-up time, but it also means that you should create a time and space for something as simple as 10 minutes of mat yoga, a 25-minute jog around your neighborhood, or a 30-minute at-home barre workout. Many people find that working out in the morning jumpstarts their day (and metabolism), regulates their appetite, and provides a built-in rhythm and routine to the work week.

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5.  Nourish Your Body. There are so many ways to do this, but we’ll give you two excellent tips to set you on the right path for the day. First, in a more literal sense, try dry body brushing before showering. You’ll need a dry loofah or brush. With it, you’ll brush your body in circular motions toward your heart, working your way outward in. This action not only sloughs off dead skin cells, it also promotes better circulation and reduces cellulite. Second, make yourself a green smoothie. Remember to incorporate superfood ingredients like kale, spinach, and chard, but mix it with more palatable (but also nutritious) items like apple, ginger, mint, pineapple, mango, blueberries, and lemon. Need more smoothie inspiration? Go here.

Living

Spring Cleaning With the KonMari Method

March 3, 2016

Does this spark joy?

—Marie Kondo

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Spring cleaning. While some may look forward to dedicating an entire weekend to cleaning out their homes (shedding those winter layers, both metaphorically and literally), most of us dread this day. The prospect of rifling through items, figuring out what to keep/discard/donate, and trying to create storage for all of your stuff isn’t always enticing. If you’re anything like me, you have a complicated relationship with your possessions and will even just give up half-way through the entire endeavor.

But what if there was a way you could clean once and never have to do it again? Sounds like a bold claim, right? Organizing guru, Marie Kondo and her revolutionary cleaning method, “KonMari,” will make the dreaded spring cleaning a thing of the past. We’re breaking down the KonMari method here and now. Continue Reading…

Culture, Living

The 4 Books We Can’t Stop Talking About

August 14, 2015

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For many of us at milk + honey, reading provides an outlet for self-reflection, creativity, and inspiration. It’s an action that requires dedicated time away from our phones and computers. And, most importantly, reading allows us to engage our minds in a meditative way.

With the dog days of summer in our midst, herein find our top escape-the-heat picks. Our recommendation? Grab a book, pack your sunscreen and a towel, and head to Barton Springs for an afternoon of lounging and literature.

  1. The Dog Stars by Peter Heller — Hig survived the flu that killed everyone he knows. His wife is gone, his friends are dead, he lives in the hangar of a small abandoned airport with his dog, his only neighbor a gun-toting misanthrope. In his 1956 Cessna, Hig flies the perimeter of the airfield or sneaks off to the mountains to fish and to pretend that things are the way they used to be. But when a random transmission somehow beams through his radio, the voice ignites a hope deep inside him that a better life—something like his old life—exists beyond the airport. Risking everything, he flies past his point of no return—not enough fuel to get him home—following the trail of the static-broken voice on the radio. But what he encounters and what he must face—in the people he meets, and in himself—is both better and worse than anything he could have hoped for.“The best book I’ve read this year. The writing is so good, so stark.” — Emilie, HR
  2. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan — When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor.On Nick’s arm, Rachel may as well have a target on her back the second she steps off the plane, and soon, her relaxed vacation turns into an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers.

    “Frivolous, fun, and addictive. You’re immediately drawn in, like a fly on the wall of Singapore’s wealthiest [fictional] families. The characters are outrageous and the shopping is the stuff of fashionista dreams. And if you love this one, be sure to add China Rich Girlfriend to your list, too. ” — Marisa, marketing

     

  3. The Fever by Megan Abbott — Deenie Nash is a diligent student with a close-knit family; her brother Eli is a hockey star and her father is a popular teacher. But when Deenie’s best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class, the Nashes’ seeming stability dissolves into chaos. As rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through school, and hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families, and the town’s fragile sense of security.

    “Author Megan Abbott illustrates how quickly fear can sweep through even the sleepiest of towns. Like with any good book, you are left haunted long after you put it down. The scariest part? It all seems so real.” — Kate H., Hill Country Galleria assistant manager
  4. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr — Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

    “This was tortured reading for me, but not for the reason you think. I couldn’t put it down, but I didn’t want it to end. I’d find myself highlighting passages just so I could return to an exact turn of phrase later. Doerr’s writing is beautiful, lyrical even. The slow unfolding and eventual overlap of the characters’ lives expose us to the realities of World War II from two distinctive perspectives: a blind Parisian girl and a German boy. Highly recommend.” — Marisa, marketing
Living

Quoted // Maya Angelou

February 9, 2015

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It’s Monday. Mercury is still in retrograde. We’re days away from Valentine’s Day. Let’s put it this way — we won’t blame you if you’ve been feeling a little off lately.

We’re taking extra inspiration from incredible poet & writer/soulful person/insightful being, Maya Angelou, in a conscious effort to appreciate who we are, what we’re doing, and where we’re going. As trite as what we’re about to say may sound, it is true. Loving yourself, giving life and stock to your own ideas and beliefs, and never letting the noise get in the way of doing so is your very own, built-in secret weapon.

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