A Weekend in Mystic, Connecticut

I hope you followed along this weekend as my husband and I took a little adventure to Mystic, Connecticut.

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This town is known by far more than Mystic Pizza. From the culinary scene to the nightlife, this old, sleepy, fishing village is booming.

Below are the highlights on where we stayed, what we did, and (most importantly) what we ate:

Where We Stayed:

The Whaler’s Inn – Anytime we are in Mystic, we stay at the Whaler’s Inn. It’s conveniently located steps from the Mystic Drawbridge and has gotten quite the facelift in the past couple of years. We love the Nautical decor, the free *fresh* baked chocolate chip cookies at reception, and the fact that we can walk anywhere in town from it! They have 4 different buildings for rooms: The Main House, The Noank House, The Stonington House, and The 1865 House. We’ve stayed in both the Main House and The Stonington House and have enjoyed both.

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What We Did:

We normally only go to Mystic for a weekend since it is such a close drive from our home (about an hour and a half without traffic). Saturday is typically our only full day to explore. On previous trips we have visited the Mystic Seaport Museum, the Mystic Aquarium, and the Olde Mystic Village. This time around we headed out to Watch Hill, RI to have lunch at Ocean House (more on that below). Watch Hill is conveniently located only 20 minutes from Mystic and offers beaches and a quaint village filled with shops and bakeries. If you want to go to the beach (called East Beach), there is parking for $25 just a short walk from the beach entrance. We arrived around 11am and there was plenty of parking still available. What I loved the most about Watch Hill was admiring the homes and the stunning views of the ocean.

After our day in Watch Hill we headed back to Mystic for an afternoon sail on the Schooner Argia. The schooner took us out to Fishers Island Sound as the crew shared history and stories about the coastline and the lighthouses in the area. The waters are very calm in Fishers Island Sound so it’s suitable for all ages. They offer snacks and refreshments on board and you are welcome to bring beer or wine.

What We Ate:

Ford’s Lobster in Noank – This is ALWAYS our first stop off the highway. Unfortunately dock seating wasn’t available yet but it was still delicious. I always get the lobster bomb with lobster bisque. Andrew got the crab cake melt which was also delicious!

The Treehouse at Oyster Club – We love Oyster Club traditionally for their creative farm to table dishes and the freshest oysters in the area. Then we discovered The Treehouse and fell even more in love! Situated in the trees, The Treehouse is the perfect place for a cocktail and some farm fresh small bites (they do also serve main dishes but we like to pick and linger). The Treehouse is first come first serve, but tables do turnover quickly.

Sift – Skip the sit down breakfast and head to Sift for their famous pastries. I love their chocolate croissants and lemon scones. Their iced coffee is really good too! Psst…they recently opened a location in Watch Hill!

Ocean House in Watch Hill, RI – Even if you aren’t a guest at this gorgeous Relais & Chateaux hotel you can still enjoy the grounds by eating at one of their many restaurants. Such as the Verandah, which is where we had lunch. Get there early and you can have lunch overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It is at the Verandah that we enjoyed French Onion Crab Dip, a Kale Chopped Salad, and a Hot Lobster Roll. All delicious! Following lunch, we asked our server for directions to the Veuve Cliquot Secret Garden which is located on the property. The prices for a cocktail are little steep but the experience was worth it!

Grass & Bone – this Butcher Shop/Eat-In/Take-Out spot opened late last year and we were so excited to try it out. It’s definitely more casual. We were looking for something low key, so it was perfect for what we wanted that night. But if you are looking to go “out” to dinner, this would be more appropriate as a lunch spot for you. Since I am Vegetarian at the moment, I got the oyster mushroom sandwich. And it was really good! Andrew got the Thai Soup and Kielbasa platter which he enjoyed as well.

Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream – Obviously no wrong choices here.

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Daily Inspiration-Affirmations

Aim True Affirmation

What a powerful affirmation.

This one was made by my favorite yoga teacher, Kathryn Budig. She is the wonderful mind behind a Vinyasa flow called Aim True. Besides the amazing archery based sun salutations, the idea is that everyday you make an intention or affirmation to help you reach your goals. These intentions and affirmations help you keep your eye on the target and can help you stay true to what your heart and soul actually wants out of life.

I feel as though this affirmation can be used daily. To see things with loving eyes helps you to become less hurt when people cast judgment upon you or are rude to you. When you see things with loving eyes you are seeing the story behind the actions. This may be difficult at first but it is all a part of acting mindfully.

Acting to not react.

For example, when someone casts judgement upon you or says something purposely to hurt you. Simply remind yourself that this person is projecting onto you. It is them that feels this way about themselves. It is no secret that misery loves company. Don’t join them, don’t react. Somewhere in this persons life they are feeling a lack of love and usually that lack of love is coming from themselves.

Look inside,

breathe,

remind yourself why it isn’t true,

and send them the light and love that they are missing. 

Coconut Oil Changed My Life

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I love Coconut Oil.

You are probably thinking I love coconut oil for one reason, to cook. But that is not true.

I recently discovered the other amazing ways that you can use coconut oil and it has changed my life, beauty routine, hair and skin.

Here are the many ways that I use coconut oil on a daily basis:

Shaving Cream:

Yup, that’s right. I use coconut oil to shave my legs. I have never been a fan of shaving cream, it has always made my skin so dry. So I usually would just use conditioner. But then I was using so much conditioner. And sometimes that wasn’t as effective either. Since our skin is our largest organ I knew it would benefit from having coconut oil slathered all over it, so when I read that this was possible I immediately gave it a try. The results were amazing. The blade went over my skin smoother and I no longer needed to use lotion post-shower because my legs were already moisturized. So, not only did it make shaving easier but it also saved me time! Simply take a teaspoon of slightly soft coconut oil, rub on the desired area, and shave.

Face Wash and Make Up Remover:

Many of you may be thinking “But won’t that clog my pores and cause me to breakout?” I kind of thought it would too but it actually made my skin even clearer! Coconut oil is a natural anti-inflammatory, so it actually helps those flare ups of acne.It also works better than any make up remover I have ever tried. All you do is take a little bit onto your fingertips, tissue paper, or onto a cotton round (what I use) and wipe the oil all over your face. Take as much as you need, but don’t over do it. You just want enough to very thinly cover your face. Then wet a wash cloth with warm water and wipe the oil off. Your skin should feel moisturized and clean.

Deep Conditioning Hair Mask:

I only get a hair cut twice a year. They’re expensive and I have been loving my long hair. But I also have thick and curly hair that tends to get dry and frizzy. I have tried putting coconut oil in my hair before but it always came out greasy. I obviously didn’t know the correct way to use it. I now use it once a week as a deep conditioning mask. To do this just scoop about a tablespoon of solid oil into your fingers. Put the oil between your palms and rub in between your hands to warm and liquify it. With your hair dry and parted into 3 inch sections start to rub the oil into the hair, focusing more on the ends. Continue around your head, adding more oil as needed, until all of the sections are saturated with oil. I usually do this in the bathtub so that the oil and my hair stays warm. But if you are not in a bath, just wrap your hair in a towel to keep the heat in. Let it sit for about 15-20 minutes then wash it out in the shower with shampoo. I wash my hair twice to make sure I have gotten it all out. Style as usual. By the end your hair will be silky, smooth, and smell delicious.

One product with so many functions and believe it or not I have heard of more! Coconut oil can also be used as toothpaste, deodorant, and for oil pulling. By using one product for many beauty use you are also saving yourself money. I buy one jar for my kitchen and one for the bathroom.

And of course always choose organic and unrefined coconut oil.

Health. Happiness.Love.

Recipe of the Week: Banana Peanut Butter Cacao Smoothie

Cacao Smoothie

 

This smoothie is the perfect snack in the afternoon. You know that time when it’s around 3:00 and you start to feel a little tired, you start to experience a craving for something sweet or a second cup of coffee, and you may be feeling a little down about being stuck indoors at work. Especially as spring and summer are coming into bloom.

If this is the case, this smoothie is for you. 

The best part is that it is very simple to make.

All you will need is:

-1 medium ripe banana

-1 cup almond milk

-2 tablespoons all natural creamy peanut butter

-1 tablespoon cacao powder

-3 ice cubes

Now what?

-Place everything into a blender and blend until smooth!

I know what you’re thinking, how am I supposed to make this at work when I need it most?

Of course this is probably not possible. So make it that morning, or the night before. If you choose to make it the night before simply put it in a trusted, air tight mason jar and store it in the freezer overnight. Take it out in the morning and allow it to defrost throughout the day to be ready for you to enjoy by 3.

If you make it in the morning just make sure that you keep it refrigerated.

Cacao is the superhero of this smoothie. It will give you that lift that you need. Not only is cacao full of antioxidants and promote cardiovascular health but it also has been proven to raise the level of serotonin in the brain, which acts as an anti-depressant. It also releases endorphins which helps create a sort of “runner’s high” and also releases Anandamide which is our brains “bliss chemical”. Bottom line is cacao makes you feel pretty damn good about yourself! Which is crucial during that afternoon lull.

Cacao is also full of essential minerals such as magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron, zinc, and potassium.

Ditch the guilt laden afternoon snacks and cups of coffee and switch to this smoothie instead. It takes 2 minutes to make and will make you feel better than any last minute pick me up can.

Health.Happiness.Love.

Daily Inspiration

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“If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?” 
― Rumi

I really liked this quote today.

As a sensitive person I often fall victim to criticism or comparing myself to others. These past couple of months I have been able to get in touch with that on a deeper level and instead of being wounded or hurt by it, I learn from it and rise above it.

In every situation, especially the difficult ones, there is a lesson to be learned. Sometimes it can be really hard to see that lesson. That’s why I usually just straight up ask. I say “God, Universe, Spirit, What are you trying to tell me?” And usually the message comes out clearer. I know this sounds crazy, but I swear it really works.

This week those lessons have been coming out through my lectures at school. Tuesday I was feeling frazzled and stressed, while considering my mental health day Wednesday we discussed Existential Psychology in class and how important it is to have a balance between structure and freedom. My life with school and work revolves around structure, what my mind and soul needed was a little bit of freedom, so I took it.

Yesterday I was in an interesting mood AGAIN. And in my lecture, ran by the same amazing teacher, we discussed how neuroticism is manifested in our early developmental period. Usually I think to myself “Great, I am crazy” but he began to talk about the resilient people who come out of not so stellar situations. From just a few examples that he gave, I put myself in that category. It was a great reminder to appreciate myself, where I have come from, and to give myself some credit for all that I am doing. 

So although criticism and comparisons will come and go it’s important to remember that once they do come to look inside yourself and think about how you can grow from the experience. How can you handle this criticism better? But also better yet, how are you already great? 

The Importance of Personal Days

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After a frazzled and stressful Tuesday I decided to take a personal day on Wednesday. This sounded strange to some and I found myself internally defending why personal days are so important for our psyche.

In Existential psychology one personal need that they look at to be fulfilled is your ability to experience freedom. Do you have a balance between your organized schedule and your freedom? Most of us don’t. It reminds me of the extremes that I spoke about in my last article for Elephant Journal. We don’t know how to live in balanced harmony.

I know that it can be hard to call into work and tell them you need a personal day. You may feel like they will laugh in your face. So think about your situation. If you have something major going on in your life you would be showing yourself tremendous self love to say “you know what, I need a day to gather myself.” If you feel like a personal day can wait then cancel your plans on a Saturday or Sunday and let the day lead you. Do the things that you love. Read, sleep, visit family, exercise, spend time outside, have a delicious lunch. Make the day about you and your happiness. Personal days are meant to help re-charge our batteries.

I understand that this can be hard when you have children. But consider your options before you call it a loss. You could call in a babysitter for the day or make your kids a part of the personal day. Take them to the park with you, watch a movie together, play in the yard, or go out for a fun lunch. No schedule (besides family nap time :), all spontaneous.

A tight, rigorous schedule can cause order amid chaos but it can also become such a habit that whatever you do is scheduled and planned. When we do this we are projecting our need for control which causes the body stress. Our psyche needs some spontaneity, it excites your nervous system, in a good way. Even if its the little things. Saying no just once to the simplest act can be spontaneous enough. By doing this you are showing yourself support.

After my personal day yesterday I feel charged and more alive. And now I am ready to tackle the rest of the week and the rest of my semester.

What would you do on a personal day? How can you create personal moments throughout your day?

Tuesday Inspiration

Aim True Challenge

Unless someone can look into the core of your heart

And see the degree of your passion

Or look into the depths of your soul

And see the extent of your will

Then they have no business telling you what you can or cannot achieve

Because while they may know the odds

They don’t know you

Nor do they know the power of your angels

Aim True Yoga Challenge

Aim True to your dreams and what lies in your heart. Always.

Please ‘Like’ my photo (the one above:) on Pinterest for Kathryn Budig’s Aim True Yoga Challenge!

Love. Happiness. And Health. Always.