"Everything Will Be Okay." - Told by an Anxious Soul

"Everything Will Be Okay." - Told by an Anxious Soul

In moments like this, I wish I could take all the worry I'll ever feel, away. In moments like this, I wish I could tell my mind that; that thing, that next thing that gets me going down that spiral, is going to work out. And actually believe it. And have that sick, anxious feeling, subside immediately. Because it's moments like these, that I realize, it really will be ok.

You know, people tell me. I'm anxious or the hearts palpitating or I can't catch my full breath and everyone always tell me; "it's going to be ok." This will pass. You're going to be ok. And while I appreciate that love, advice and support more than one might know, it rarely ever stops my heart from racing. It unfortunately never stops my stomach from churning. It doesn't clear the passage way for breath. Sometimes, although it comes from a beautiful place, it even constricts me more. It makes me more anxious. Anxious that I am getting anxious over a situation that I "SHOULDN'T" be anxious over. Am I a drama queen? Why do I allow myself to feel this way? Why do I disrupt others lives with my issues, when I don't have any "REAL" issues to "worry" about? I have a roof over my head, I have food, I have water, I have family, I have friends, I have a successful business, I have so much to be grateful for. It's a never ending list, so WHY do I get like this? I then get angry. And the cycle continues. 

Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems

I'm learning, slowly but surely, that while I may feel as though I "have it all," and I have no reason to have these lows, the pain and suffering is real. Wherever it comes from, for whatever reason, it is real and it is difficult. It is real and it is ok to feel in its entirety. It is real and it's ok to not be ok. It is real, and whether it happens in public, with family, with friends or completely alone, it's there and there is no magic pill or word to make it any less. It is real and most importantly, the more I resist, the more I fight: the longer it stays and the more frequently it comes. 

Sometime's there are big issues in my life, big hurdles that I have to jump over, and usually, it's funny, with these hurdles, I jump and I clear the fence 9 times out of 10 with GRACE. Near death incidents? Loss? Serious illness? I am strong. I hold it together. I feel it, but I keep it at bay.

For me, it's the little things that get me. And they GET me. It's being overdrawn in my bank account and only thinking about be-lining it to the bank to fix the mistake. It's applying for a credit card, and wondering all week if I will be accepted. It's thinking about what I want for breakfast, and wondering if I'll feel ok or sick after eating. It's scheduling a class for the first time and wondering if it will be successful. It's waking up and having 3 people ask to make plans that evening and trying to figure out how to be in 3 places at once, because I can't bare to let three people down. It's charging friends or family for classes or privates when I feel my time isn't worth taking their money. It's these little choices that make me a different person. They have the ability to take me from up high to down low in a matter of moments.  

There are very few moments that I feel completely relieved, but when the relief comes, its huge.

It's the difference between a good day, and a bad day for me. 

It's the biggest breath of fresh air I can ever explain.

It's the sun literally showing face after 10 days of pure overcast.

Isn't that completely bonkers?

That I know it will all be ok now, in this moment, but in those moments of complete and utter exhausted frustration, I am no where near understanding that relief will come at all?

There was a time in my life when a person, not every close to me personally, but someone I had known all of my life, committed suicide. It was years since I spoke to them. We didn't have the same friend group, we graduated high school and we rarely saw each other. I heard the news and of course, I was in a state of shock. Someone you know all of your life, gone in a matter of moments. Loss has never sat well with me, but to be completely honest, I was not new to it. I have had grandparents close to me pass, I have had friends pass, I have known of countless people pass in this little town. I have even known of a few who regrettably, took the same road as this one friend in particular. I have attended more wakes/funerals than weddings + christenings combined. And usually, surprisingly, in those moments, I hold it together, without even allowing a tear to escape my eyes.

RIP Tyler Valcich

RIP Tyler Valcich

The reason I bring this up, is because this one death affected me in a way that I had never really experienced. I attended the wake, to see photos of all of us together as children, and then to see this person, and their family. It hit me then. In that moment. The sadness. Then the overwhelming grief. The tears. The understanding but the incomprehensible feeling. The feeling of having no idea exactly where he was in his life that forced him to make this choice, but the understanding of the moments of immense pain. Not physical - but mental, emotional, spiritual. The connection. It was knowing what it feels like to feel like there is no way out of that place in your mind. And that cut deep for me in that moment. For me, it's anxiety, its the loss of breath, the sick stomach, the heart palpitations. Maybe for him it was the depression. The uncontrollable and overpowering heartache. Or maybe it came as apathy. Whatever it was for him, I felt it entirely in those days following his death. I didn't know why it affected me the way it did, until I realized, it was because in one way or another, I have been in the place where you feel so out of control. So sad, lost, or anxious, and you don't know when, how or if it'll subside. I allowed myself to feel that heartache. I felt it for him, for his family, for his close friends, for anyone going through was I was going through. 

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The pain taught me a lesson that day. Truthfully, it teaches me lessons every time. During the moments that I come out of that place, the moments I feel relief, or even the moments that I may not, it teaches me what I want to do with this one precious and wild life. It speaks to me. It tells me that my purpose today and everyday is to aim to take others, and myself, out of that place. But really lift them up from the most genuine place in my heart. Teach them to breath. Teach them to move their body in a way that is a release. Take a weight off. Perhaps the reason I love teaching + coaching. (I am a Yoga/Pilates instructor + Certified Health Coach.) It is my way of helping others - which makes me personally happy. But it's also reminding myself of that, even if they don't attend class. That's the hard part. Day to day, sit with people. Get to know them. Allow them the comfort of knowing that you are not alone. Write it out. Send it in a text, email or blog. Write a letter, note or card (I'm good at those.) Talk it out. Via phone or in person, alone, or during class. Show it. Hug them, kiss them, or send them a gift. A picture, a flower, a treat. From near or far. Show them the opposite of judgement. Acceptance and love. There is enough to go around. I come back to this thought often. 

There are pros to being someone who feels every emotion so deeply. On one side, and very simply put; when it's good, it's so good. It's an abundance of love, happiness, joy. The euphoria is unparalleled. But on the other side; having gone through the moments of despair, physical and mental suffering, one gains a sense unique strength + resilience. And with that, they can conquer anything.

-- Lacey 

www.ideallivingstudio.com

www.ideallivingstudio.com

Love

Love

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“It’s all about falling in love with yourself and sharing that love with someone who appreciates you, rather than looking for love to compensate for a self love deficit.” 

It's very easy to for me to distract myself with giving love. I am good at it. It is what I "love" to do. Call it my passion. I teach, I make others feel at home. I invest myself in everything outside of me. I dress everyone and everything around me up. Christmas? My favorite, to give presents and see joy on peoples faces. 

I love every person, every place with every ounce of me. I water and fertilize and feed the "love for others" seed and allow it to flourish and grow stronger and stronger. I allow myself to invest everything I have into that growth. Attach. Depend. On loving them. I allow my heart to basically bleed this love. Never enough love for me to give. It's a quality of myself that I, too, love. Yet this slope can turn out to be a slippy one.

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When it comes to self-love, self investment, it's sometimes different for me. I find myself on the opposite scale of "treat yo-self." I give away my clothing if it takes up more than 4 shelves. I rotate between two pairs of shoes and give the rest away. I get my hair done probably once a year. Nails? Forget it. I work my body to the core during daily workouts to mentally stay focused in the office. Time for me? Like real time for me? It comes last, when I am finished with everything else. Or when I am mid-panic attack. 

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection”

I work and write and teach and post and work and write and teach and post. I offer advice to family and friends. I try and be this person who love love loves, forgetting often that the genuine-type love begins inside. That this showering love I present isn't always the type of love that others want, need or expect. That people will love me, regardless. They will love me for me, and not solely because of all of the love I am dying to give. I have remembered today, of all days, to water, fertilize and feed my love-seed. Invest in ME. 

“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.” 

It's an easy thing to forget, investing in ourselves, healing ourselves from the inside-out. It's easy to invest everything we have in sources outside of ourselves. That way, we don't have to face our own demons. It's taken me a while to realize that that is why I do it. It's a selfish quality of mine, because it does others no service. I can give them all of the love in the world, but how real is this love when there's dependency attached? When there is a "need" for it? We don't have to dig deep into the fears we carry when we are distracted by everyone and everything else. When our main focus is to make others smile, to heal them. We don't need to face our past conditioning. We don't need to exercise the "whys?" Spending time on figuring out why we react the way we do. Going back to every single trauma we have faced and re-living them. We don't need to do any of this when we don't have time for it. When we are too busy filling our lives with people. With adventures. With things. Figuring out just who we are is scary, because we are forced to face the parts we may not like. We are forced to accept every little thing about ourselves. And we are forced to love it all. I think that once we have mastered this type of self acceptance, giving love to others becomes second nature. It doesn't become a "need." It becomes a win/win.

“Stop trying to be less of who you are. Let this time in your life cut you open and drain all of the things that are holding you back.”

Failure is the Key to Success

Failure is the Key to Success

Have you ever heard the famous quote, "Failure is the key to success?" If you haven't, I'm sure you can read through one of my blogs and find it written there several times, in many different forms. It's funny, by now I know rationally that the statement couldn't be more true, yet the magic only happens when I am faced with pain, suffering or failure, and decide to do something about it.

Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines.

Something that my future self will thank me for. Like, write, read, exercise, eat well, work extra hours, anything that gives my mind a break from thinking about the one thing that's been bringing me down. That is when I realize, yeah, failures can lead to successes beyond our wildest dreams, if we let them.

What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.
Remember the two benefits of failure. First, if you do fail, you learn what doesn’t work; and second, the failure gives you the opportunity to try a new approach.

Because at the end of the day, we are humans, and the last thing we want to feel is pain or suffering.  

I believe there comes a point in everyone's days, weeks or lives that they throw in the towel on the suffering, on the pain, and say, "I don't want to feel this anymore." So they learn from their mistakes and they get better. Yes, this may be of course after allowing themselves to be the victim for a while. Sit in their sadness and wallow in their own self pity (been there). But I do genuinely believe most people want more than the victim card. And when this realization hits, that's when something shifts. They have no other choice but to work harder, longer, faster, and before they know it, they do succeed bigger. Whether its in their personal life, business life or anything in between.

Poverty was the greatest motivating factor in my life.
— Jimmy Dean

We need to be thankful for the downs because without them, we would just ride this stationary bike through life. We wouldn't feel the ups, we wouldn't go the extra mile because we wouldn't have to. If we didn't fail, we wouldn't have a reason to work harder, longer, better. If we didn't know how it felt to hit rock bottom, how would we have the dedication to never hit it again? To succeed so much higher to not have to dwell down there anymore? The drive and motivation would not be there. And that, my friends, makes all the difference. 

Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.

And along the way as we work towards these goals we place for ourselves, we hit new rock bottoms all over again, that tend to come out of absolutely now where. But these new lows, then allow us to excel even more. Like I always say (if you read all of my rants) life is cyclical. Its unfair, uneasy, but absolutely beautiful. It's the best gift we could be given. This, in my opinion, is something worth remembering.

WANDERLUST - BEACHES ALONG THE WAY

WANDERLUST - BEACHES ALONG THE WAY

We take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise forgotten

This post is long overdue, and while it is an abundant of information on my recommendations and "must see" beaches, that is all it is. This post does not even include any of the hikes or other attractions I was fortunate enough to see on the way. So for now, enjoy the list and photos of the beautiful beaches (and a few hostels/locations), but stay tuned for more travel bug blogs!

- Lacey

Haunama Bay

Haunama Bay

Being that I spent two years on this incredible island, lets begin here: Oahu, Hawaii 

Lanikai: In Kailua (East Side) of Oahu lies the infamous, Lanikai beach. Google it. White sand with two beautiful islands in the distance. People often paddle or take a speed boat over to those islands also known as the "moks."

 

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Makapu'u : A beach located in a little cove on the east side of the island. Absolutely gorgeous scenery, and an incredible drive to get there.

 

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Sandys: Before you hit Makapuu there will be another beach on your right, called "Sandys." Or aka "Break neck beach." This beach is for experienced body surfers, as the shore break is one of the most dangerous in the world. Still incredible!

 

Kahala: Kahala is more of a local spot, but definitely one of the most gorgeous beaches on the island. There are entrances all along Kahala road which is located on the East Side.

 

Diamond Head: Surfers beach, if you surf, this is a great spot for long boarders and short boarders! Located right before Kahala, also on the East Side.

 

Electric Beach: If you love to free-dive, this is the beach for you. Located on the West Side of Oahu, its a short drive from town and not too far out you will see tons of fish, turtles and if you're lucky, maybe even sharks or dolphins.

 

Waimea Bay, Pipeline, Laie Point: These beaches line the North shore. Beginning from town, if you head north on the H1, you will hit Waimea first, then pipe, then north east, Laie Point. Feel free to jump off the cliff here if you're feeling daring.

 

Lets Skip to Maui real fast

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Black Sand Beach: On the road to Hana, there's a turn for Wai'anapanapa State Park where you will find a beautiful Black sand beach. Check it out! 

 

Red Sand Beach: All the way at the end of the road to Hana lies a beautiful pristine red sand beach. Its worth the drive.

 

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Hawaii, aka Big Island: Makalawena Beach, worth the walk. Find a local to take you to this paradise of a beach!

 

Kauai, Hawaii: Polihale - a huge white sand beach on the western tip of Kauai. Worth the trek. Hanalei bay on north shore is also an infamous gorgeous beach!

 

Let's move on to some more beautiful places around the world:

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Turks and Caicos: Grace bay, Providenciales. Let me just say the sand there is whiter than white and the water bluer than blue. Paradise in a location.

 

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Bahamas: Don't need to say much here, if you are looking for white sand and clear water, the Caribbean is a must. 

 

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Santa Marta, Colombia: This little beach town has the largest beaches with the best vibes. The people, the places and the energy are some of the best I've seen. Check out Gitana Del Mar beach resort for some of the best homemade cuisine and bungalows I've ever stayed in. (And if you get a chance, hike up to Minca, its worth every sketchy moped ride.)

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Sicily, Italy: Drive up and down the coast and hit different beaches along the way. One of my favorites was San Lorenzo (Marzamemi). Clear water, white sand. Check out Floripa Surf and Yoga house for a stay you will never forget. 

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Malta: Golden bay, a beach on the northwestern tip of Malta, an island off the coast of Sicily is worth the hike. Ps. Try and find the hidden tide-pools. Worth every second walking in the heat.

Rincon, Puerto Rico: Villa Cofresi - Paradise is morning or evening walks with a cold pirata in your hand on the beach at this resort! I was lucky enough to have my flight home cancelled back when there was a huge storm in NY one year. I was forced to stay here an additional week. Me and Villa Cofresi got real close that week.

Mykonos, Greece: PLEASE go see my family at Villa Konstantin, a short walk from the incredible blue and white town of Mykonos. Any beach on this island will take you to paradise. The Mediterranean is stunning.

Spain: Barceloneta beach in Barcelona, and Malvarrosa beach in Valencia both are insane huge white sand beaches. Don't be surprised if people are topless, its normal there. Malaga (Southern Spain) also has my heart. Please stop in and say hi to my friends at Casa Babylon!! A beautiful family oriented hostel in Malaga.

Devon, UK: Enjoy a UK tradition and grab some fish and chips on at Lyme Regis, a beach on the southern tip of Devon (countryside) (Special thanks to Katie and Jenna for hosting me on my stay in the UK!)

 

Indonesia: Padang Padang + Uluwatu beaches on the southern tip of Bali are a surfers paradise! Also be sure to check out Nusa Lembongan, an island off the tip of Bali. This island is famous for free-diving with Manta Rays. One of the best experiences of my life!

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California: Santa Cruz; a fun and mellow beach town on the coast of California. While you're there make sure to check out Big Sur, the Redwoods + Yosemite. I know this post is about beaches, but you won't be disappointed by taking a few days to roam the mountains + forest. 

Virgin Islands: St. Thomas + St. John: "On an island in the sun." I spent time floating on a raft in the middle of the ocean on both of these islands. Highly recommend.

 

Wilmington, NC: Wrightsville beach just east of Wilmington is a beautiful mellow white sand beach on the coast of North Carolina. Worth the visit if you're in the area!

 

Florida: Boca Raton + Ginnie Springs; I had the opportunity to visit both of these locations in the last year; Ginnie Springs is North of Gainseville, and while it isn't a beach town like Boca, it does hold a fantastic cold water springs that is famous for is crystal clear water!

 

Montauk, NY: And of course, last but most definitely not least, the place I was born and raised and the place that stemmed my irresistible love for the ocean; Montauk. The beaches here are beaches that people travel all over the world to see. Montauk is a small fishing village on the eastern most tip of long island, right passed the infamous "East Hampton." These beaches are long, sandy and almost always have a fun shore break. Come visit me at my family motel; the Daunt's Albatross, where I just opened my very own Yoga Studio; Ideal Living Studio. Yoga + the ocean, what more can you ask for?


For more up to date photos of me and my journey, click below:

Learning To Let Go

Learning To Let Go

Sunrise, Montauk, NY

Sunrise, Montauk, NY

Someone who thinks the world is always cheating him is right. He is missing that wonderful feeling of trust in someone or something.

Sometimes, who am I kidding, all the time I tend to want to be in control. It's more than a want, its a need. I don't have trust that things will go the way I want them to, so I control what I can, in order to make life happen the way I want. I have realized recently that this has a lot to do with my childhood. Side note: I have an amazing family that I wouldn't trade for the world. I grew up with love, happiness and fun being the main goal everyday. I am lucky for that. I would do anything for them, and I am fortunate enough to still have all of my siblings and both parents by my side.

That said, growing up in an environment that wasn't always stable forced me to take control of anything and everything I could. It forced me to cling on to things, feelings and places because I knew at some point they would be ripped away from me. I wasn't aware of this need, it always just manifested in my life. It began with the need to do well in school, so I came home everyday and finished my homework right off the bat. As I grew, it was the need to do well in sports, so I stayed active. I planned out my days in order to stay in control of everything. I wanted to control the outcome, so I did. And as life went on, my habit to control as much as I could around me went with me wherever I roamed. To this day I find myself needing control. I plan out my days, and I worry about them not going as planned. Subconsciously I think that the child in me wonders when it will all be ripped away again. So, again, I stay in control and I do whatever I can to make sure that never happens.

You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you don’t trust enough.

This need for control has both helped me and hindered me in my life. It has forced me to be the best at anything and everything I set my mind to. It has also forced me to hold on to old feelings that no longer serve me for the best. This control helps me on a daily basis to get things done, but it also fills me with sometimes overwhelming bouts of anxiety. I am happy to say that as I grow, I am learning more and more how to let go. And I think, for me, letting go will always be the hardest part of life. I am so sad to see people, places and things go. I always hold on, even if the rope is burning my hands raw. I will hold on in fear that in letting go, I will lose that person, place or thing forever. One of the most important things I have learned is that this whole life is about acceptance and letting go. It's about allowing yourself to move forward and trust the unplanned outcome, especially when it is in your best interest (because usually, it is.) And in the moments where it feels like it isn't, it still is. No matter what, letting go and trusting your gut will be a learning experience. There isn't ever going to be a time where everything goes as planned, where life always works out in your favor. Realizing that there is something, or someone greater in charge, allows you to live a life without fear, worry, doubts, control.

At the end of the day, I have been to many countries, I have met many people. I have lived in two places halfway across the world and the one thing I learned about those I have met is that we all are just living our story. We are living the way we were conditioned. Generally, If we didn't feel safe as a child, we live in fear as adults. If we didn't feel secure, we live with anxiety. If we didn't feel loved, we lack the ability to fully express ourselves in love. We all have gone through something, no one has been conditioned perfectly. It's learning from this conditioning and either allowing your past to control you, or accepting yourself fully for who you are, and your past for what it was. If we don't look into our past, and analyze and accept the good and the bad, we will be stuck living from it forever.

I don't write this to gain sympathy, or be a victim to my conditioning. Everyday I am grateful for what I had and what I have. I write this because of a few reasons. One is that I love to write, getting things out of my head and on paper releases some of the never ending everyday thoughts I have buzzing in my head. Two is that it is absolutely beautiful to be able to be open about something so personal with others. The ability to express myself and my emotions hasn't always come easy, but I am fortunate enough to understand that this is an important part of life; communication on all levels. And three: maybe someone somewhere will read this and learn something from it. Or they won't feel alone in their struggle to always be in control. Maybe they will learn, like I am, to let go and let whatever is meant to happen, happen.

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.

Thoughts - July 24th, 2016.

Thoughts - July 24th, 2016.

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I'm laying here on the beach in front of my studio, ice coffee in hand, breakfast already finished. It's 7:58 AM, Sunday the 24th of July and I just realized that I haven't wrote in almost a month. I haven't journal-ed, blogged, even just jotted down what's been on my mind. 

I write to clear my head, I write because it feels good. 9 times out of 10 I don't share what I write with others. I just sat here and read all of my notes from my South America trip + from my Euro-trip. While I was reading I could hear the waves crashing on the shore and people in their beach chairs chatting. Right now, I feel the sun beating on my face and the sand making its way into my hair as I lay flat. I taste the yummy iced coffee while still remnants of the taste of the breakfast sandwich I just downed. (Bacon, egg and cheese on a croissant from the bakery I worked at as a kid - one of my favorite jobs, how could it not be when I was allowed a free breakfast like this?!) I see nothing but blue in the sky, and a beautiful reflection of the sun on the water. I love the way it sparkles. The air smells fresh and clean, sort of an "untainted" morning smell that Montauk tends to have anytime before 8 AM. (There's real life towns, where everyday people wake at 7 AM and then there's Montauk, we tend to run about two hours behind.)

Just sitting here explaining, writing, listing, what I see, feel, hear, taste and smell is enough to bring me back to center. It reminds me of a game my friend and I played in Europe. Whenever something went wrong and I was getting anxious or she was getting anxious we would take time to list 5 things around us that we could see. 4 things around us that we could hear. 3 things around us that we could touch. 2 things around us that we could smell. And one thing we could taste. Our anxiety almost always vanished after the game and we were able to move on with a laugh and a smile. 

Right now, digging my toes into the sand and taking a few moments to appreciate and become aware of my surroundings is such a meditation. There are so many things in life that I allow to take over my mind. There are so many times I find myself worrying, fearing, becoming overwhelmed with emotion - good or bad that it's always a go-go-go. It's not always bad, but it's always a lot. It's always busy, if that makes sense. But it's times like these, where I allow my mind to be still, to let go of the good and the bad and to just "be" that I am able to find so much peace. I am able to find that quietness where I can be at ease. Where nothing and no one takes up space in my mind. 

Diet, exercise, mental health, spirituality, socializing and continued education are all important aspects of life that I always have to remind myself to keep balanced. There are days when they all don't go as planned. There are days when they all do. But when weeks / months pass without diving deep into one. Without writing, or working out, or eating well -  that's when I start to notice something isn't right. That's when I usually tend to re-visit these roles and goals of mine. Mornings like today remind me how grateful I am for all that I have. Taking a few moments to appreciate my surroundings reminds me that we all are in this together. It forces me to continue to focus on the good, all around me. To forget about the bad and not let those things take up an inch of space in my mind. I am a firm believer that if we all focus on the good, on staying in integrity with ourselves, then that's what will thrive on the outside. Lead by example and pray and wish well for those who may not always see clearly. Because there are times when that person is yourself, and you might just need that prayer from others.

Side note: There's not one person on this earth who's perfect. It took me a while to realize this. There's not one person who hasn't used poor judgement, who hasn't hurt someone at some time in their lives. Even if those weren't our intentions. In my opinion, it doesn't matter how we see it, or what we mean / meant, what matters is how we make or made others feel. And all we can do is learn from these situations and always strive to be better.

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.

Everyone Laughs and Cries in the Same Language

Everyone Laughs and Cries in the Same Language

Excerpt from my notes; 

"I'm sitting here on my plane to Amsterdam (from Mykonos) as thoughts race by faster than cars on the autobahn. Could be the 3 coffees, could be the fact that anytime I have down time traveling between countries (or states) I feel compelled to write. 

I've been thinking like crazy these last few days. A large part of these thoughts are goals I've set. And one of the goals is that I want to post more blogs about my travels. I feel it may not only help others who may be curious, but it will be a great reminder for me. 

Will this particular post go anywhere? Who knows. I have hundreds of paragraphs of unfinished thoughts, letters I've wrote to people that I've never sent, blogs I've yet to get up. It all starts with getting these thoughts off my mind though."

Valencia, Spain

Valencia, Spain

"Different places - Same people"

Let's start with Oahu, Hawaii: a mellow island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. With mountains, a city and an ocean all within a few miles of each other. A solid 5,000 miles from my busy go-go-go home state. 

When I moved there from New York, I had one friend (my best friend from home actually.) I was positive the people there all had to be gorgeous laid back professional surfers who were happy 100% of the time. Talk about being intimidated.

Oahu, Hawaii

Oahu, Hawaii

As I met more locals I realized that just because they were from this amazing little rock, they still went through the same things we all have/do. Just because they grew up somewhere completely different, didn't mean they weren't human. They still fight with their parents, they get sick, they deal with heartbreak, they have insecurities, they have bad days, they have good days, etc...

This may sounds strange. And you may say "duh." But for me, I think I feared venturing out because I didn't think people would "get me" like they do at home. The people at home knew me, we grew up together, they had to understand. In a sense, they "had" to like me. Weird the way our minds work. Turns out the people I met in Hawaii became some of my best friends in the world. Turns out we connected just as much, if not, more, than people from home. 

From hopping around the Hawaiian islands and meeting some incredible people, I went off to Indonesia for a little over a month. Surely, I thought, people were different there. Foreign countries and all...

All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything.

Nope, wrong again. As I spent more and more time with the Balinese, Japanese, European, Brazilian, + Korean woman in my yoga class, I realized, we were really all so similar. Yeah, some of us may have different hobbies, or beliefs, but when it came down to it, we were all just trying to lead the best life we knew how. 

I realized then and there that we are all just trying to make it. We ALL have problems, we all have little ticks that bother us, we all can be irrational when we want to be. Most all of us have even gone through similar situations. From relationships to jobs to family issues. And as those five weeks went on, we opened up to each other. From there, it didn't matter what country we grew up in, we listened and we understood each other. 

Bali, Indonesia

Bali, Indonesia

From Indonesia it was back to Hawaii. It was driving cross country, it was visiting friends in multiple states, and then it was off to host these yoga retreats abroad. It's insane how much my life has changed.

I spent time in South America and it will be almost 2 months in Europe by the end of this trip. In Colombia I met friends who I instantly connected with. We sat in a circle on a hammock overlooking the mountains as we complained about the heat, bugs and continued to just reminisce on our crazy lives. As I listened to everyone's stories and sarcasm I really felt at home. I realized that this was because this is exactly what my friends and I would do at home. We wound up forming a bond and spending most of our days together.

Minca, Colombia

Minca, Colombia

It was the same with the women on my retreat. I find it so beautiful doing what I do because you're forced to be around anyone and everyone who comes to your retreat. People you may otherwise walk right passed on the street. As I became closer and closer to these people, I started listening more and more. Asking questions. Hearing their stories. And realizing yet again, it doesn't matter if we are 30 years apart in age, we form this friendship + bond that will last a lifetime. Age, race, looks, gender, location, etc.. -  these things are all secondary. They don't make up what a person is about. What makes up a person is what they think, what they say and what they do. 

Realizing all of this has allowed to let my guard down more and more.

Sicily, Italy

Sicily, Italy

From Colombia I stopped home, then headed to Europe for my first few retreats in Sicily. For 3 weeks I spent time with loads of different people. People from all over Europe, Asia, North America, South America, Australia. There wasn't one person I didn't connect with. There wasn't one person staying at that bnb that I couldn't have a conversation with. Regardless of language barrier. This is once again where it began to dawn on me that distance and location mean absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things. Distance does not make someone any different than you. No one is perfect. No matter what. And I am 100% positive that there are people all across the world that are going through or have gone through exactly what you are right now. Be it struggling in school, having a hard time at home or something great like getting a promotion or that new car you've been dreaming of. 

It's an incredible comforting and humbling feeling to be able to connect with people all over the world. To realize that we all want the same things; To be understood. To be genuinely happy. To succeed. To be heard. 

Do not let the roles you play in life make you forget that you are human.

There's no way I could even count how many friends I've acquired during these travels. And for that, I am so grateful. From people who stayed with me for weeks on retreats to clerks I've chatted and connected with as I paid for my water bottle. Everyone has a story and if you stick around to hear it, you'll realize that there's so much more to all of these faces you pass on the street. Even in your hometown. How often do we not strike up a conversation due to judgement, or fear that we will be rejected?

If traveling has done anything for me, it's opened my eyes to the fact that everyone has something to give. I am no better than the homeless man on the street, and the celebrity in the club is no better than me.

Don't allow judgement, your fear or insecurities keep you from meeting incredible people and having unforgettable experiences or lifelong friendships. 

Something surreal? Right now I could go to countless countries inside every continent (ok minus Antarctica) and have friends to meet back up with.  -- And just like that I was off to London to meet with friends I had just met in Sicily. 

Somewhere off the coast of Sicily

Somewhere off the coast of Sicily

From Attachment to Love

From Attachment to Love

Recently, a few people have told me that I'm a great writer. In the sense that my posts are articulate and well written. I laugh because they have no idea how terrible I think I am at this. In school, writing was my worst subject. I didn't like it, it didn't come easy, and I always did poorly on papers. So naturally I'm shocked when people actually enjoy what's coming out of my head and on paper. I've written blog posts that I've deleted because of how terribly written I felt they were. It's funny how we tend to be our own worst enemies, huh?

Your insecurities will follow you wherever you go, until you're ready to let them go. Until you are ready to understand why they are there, and understand why you no longer need to feel that way. See, my insecurities about writing haven't vanished, regardless of living half way across the world in Hawaii or halfway across the world in Greece. My self worth hasn't increased from moving from one place to another. I don't find myself more beautiful or "better" than I found myself 5 years ago sitting in my small bedroom in New York.

Honestly? I think that maybe I had this image that if I up and moved to Hawaii, I'd find true happiness. I'd find nothing but love for myself and everything would fall into place. I saw the photos, I felt the feeling. It was a good plan in my head. Yeah, nope. You can up and run and live in the most beautiful places in the world and still feel empty. Trust me. Don't get me wrong, I truly loved every minute spent in Hawaii and am incredibly grateful for the growth I experience while living there. This growth, however, didn't come from location, it came from within.

ATTACHMENT

Attachment has always been a huge part of my life. Especially as I grew. I would completely attach myself to people, places and things for happiness. At the time I didn't see anything wrong with attachment or dependency on outside sources. Yet at the same time, I didn't realize how much I depended on things outside of myself to nourish me. I didn't realize how broken I was on the inside. I don't think I wanted to realize. So I focused on ways these "things" could fulfill me. Drinking, my friends, my boyfriend. When it came time to be alone in my room, I couldn't stand it. I couldn't stand myself.

The reason many people in our society are miserable, sick and highly stressed is because of an unhealthy attachment to things they have no control over.

Attachment is scary, because when you lose the things you're attached to, you feel like you're losing yourself. Partly because you are. But it's not a bad thing. When we attach ourselves to items, people, places, we lose everything that makes that place, person or item special. We begin needing it, depending on it, taking advantage of it. No longer appreciating it for its presence in our life, more so doing anything in our power to keep it for our own selfish reasons. It's survival. It's because we feel that we "can't" lose it. It's similar I imagine to an addiction. It's nourishing us, it's filling that void, so when it's gone, we feel this emptiness. And the emptiness manifests as fear, pain, depression, anxiety. What I have learned is that we are bound to lose these people and things. We are bound to change places. Change is inevitable. We cannot hold on to these things forever.

Happiness is not preventing those losses. It’s learning to adapt to them. It’s not the people and objects that fulfill the needs in my life that make me happy. I make me happy. And if those objects were all taken away, while I would mourn their loss, I would find new people and new objects, new activities and new passions, and build a new identity for myself, and live on.

For me, it takes a lot of soul searching. It takes a lot of "letting go." A lot of "me" time. (Notice the present tense - I am still working on it, everyday.) Doing the things that make my soul happy. And as I learn to just "be" with this emptiness I feel at times and allow it to completely take over, I find pain, yes, but the pain never lasts forever. There comes a time when you will find the inner strength, joy and peace which always burns out the pain.

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.

Something that always, always, always brings me out of a funk is exercising the body or the mind. Going for a walk, bike ride, lifting weights, doing yoga, reading, writing. I build myself up mentally and physically, because as long as I have a solid foundation, I am strong. Mentally & physically. I can handle "life." Build a strong foundation filled with happiness and joy from within and share that with the world. There's nothing we can't handle when have a strong core to fall back on.

Often times in life all it takes is a positive shift within yourself that will not only strengthen you and affect your life greatly, but will affect all of the lives around you. It will affect your relationships, your happiness, your self image and self worth. It'll affect your job, your family and your friends positively.

And now when those special opportunities, places, people, things come into our lives, we don't attach to them. We don't depend on them. We just love and appreciate them for what they are. We develop a healthy relationship based on appreciation and openness rather than need and attachment. They will just be a plus. The best plus, though. You will love them better because the love comes from deep within yourself. 

Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.

Want What You've Got

Want What You've Got

Last night I was sitting in the restaurant of the BnB I'm teaching at talking to Frances (the other yoga instructor) and Sharon (owner of Villa Konstantin in Greece). They were talking about how much they love the photos I post or are posted of me. They were making me die laughing saying the funniest and sweetest things. There was a point where the conversation turned though. From admiring me to feeling inadequate in their own skin. To wanting what I've got. Now in my head I'm thinking.. that's so sweet, but I wonder who they're looking at, because I don't feel that way about myself at all.

And let me tell you: NO AMOUNT OF INSTAGRAM OR FACEBOOK COMMENTS WILL EVER CHANGE THAT. This is huge - people think and say; but you have such a big following. So? 

In that moment I was exhausted, sore, bloated, uncomfortable and sad. With a pimple the size of Texas on my face, no make up and hair I hadn't brushed in ages. Hormones will get ya huh? I kinda touched on this in my most recent blog post, but there are rarely days that I love every single thing about myself. There are days that I am happy for no reason and days that I am sad for no reason. And there are certainly days that my life isn't perfect. This doesn't mean I am not grateful. This means I am human. I try and stay far far away from giving off the  "perfect life" on Instagram and FB because that's the last thing I want - is for anyone to look at me and say "I want that." No you don't. Trust me. I come with a whole bunch of issues 😂  - I am not perfect. My body isn't perfect. I have stretch marks. I have scars. I get pimples. And I feel like shit sometimes too. I get lost while traveling. I miss home. I meet shitty people. I get scared. I even see these perfect people on Instagram and fb and I catch myself saying "I want that." And I don't want to be a part of that cycle. 

For everything in this journey of life we are on, there is a right wing and a left wing: for the wing of love there is anger; for the wing of destiny there is fear; for the wing of pain there is healing; for the wing of hurt there is forgiveness; for the wing of pride there is humility; for the wing of giving there is taking; for the wing of tears there is joy; for the wing of rejection there is acceptance; for the wing of judgment there is grace; for the wing of honor there is shame; for the wing of letting go there is the wing of keeping. We can only fly with two wings and two wings can only stay in the air if there is a balance. Two beautiful wings is perfection. There is a generation of people who idealize perfection as the existence of only one of these wings every time. But I see that a bird with one wing is imperfect. An angel with one wing is imperfect. A butterfly with one wing is dead. So this generation of people strive to always cut off the other wing in the hopes of embodying their ideal of perfection, and in doing so, have created a crippled race.

I share usually only the good because that's my motivation too. In reality the photos aren't ever perfect on the first try. Or on the first 29384 tries. They're blurry or the angle is wrong or I have a pimple on my face (as seen below) 

So towards the end of the convo I told Sharon I would wake up this morning and take a photo of myself first thing. Before even looking in the mirror. Im telling you all that I feel like death. But this is me. No make up. Messy, greasy, sweaty hair. Pimple and I call them "sleepy eyes" because they are very sleepy in the morning. No filter. Probably the first time I've ever taken a photo on the first try and uploaded it. No editing app. Just me.

I don't like this photo at all. But that's the beauty of it - I don't have to post the perfect pic all the time. Life isn't about validation via Instagram or Facebook or any social media app. It's about validation through yourself. Accepting yourself fully, as you are. It's not about wanting what someone else has got because you are the most unique thing to walk this earth. Want what you've got. As I say this to you, I am telling myself as well. 

Love yourself. Forgive yourself. Be true to yourself. How you treat yourself sets the standard for how others will treat you.

So thank you Sharon and Frances for your inspiration always, thanks fb and instagram friends for the constant love. And today I also thank myself and my body. We're all rockstars.

Give freely to the world these gifts of love and compassion. Do not concern yourself with how much you receive in return, just know in your heart it will be returned.

Two of the Most Important Things I've Learned While Traveling the World

Two of the Most Important Things I've Learned While Traveling the World

Lately I've recieved a lot of emails, messages and comments from people all over complimenting me on my positivity, success and love for adventure and travel. Almost everyone I know and meet tells me it's inspiring and they want to "be like me," or have the courage to venture away from the familiar with a smile on. I must say that it's genuinely the most humbling feeling in the world. And for the most part, my smile and positivity are really real. 

But what I wanted to clear up is that it doesn't always come naturally for me. As I've grown, it's been a constant mind battle for me to be the "happy go lucky" chick. I wasn't ever someone who found letting go or change easy. I found my happy place in comfort and I've always been someone to cling on to stability for dear life. And while in the grand scheme of things, my life and the opportunities presented to me have been nothing short of amazing, there are indeed many moments and days that I have felt like giving up completely.

When I really sit to think about it, it's always been on my own account to feel anything but happy. And maybe I'm damaged, who knows. But there have been moments I've felt lower than low. Maybe some people will read this and call me spoiled or dramatic. That's ok. I don't write this to get pity, I write this so that others can relate. You can "have it all" without always feeling like or realizing you "have it all." And that's ok too.

Side note: I'm not sure there's a moment where anyone ever feels like they "always" have it all. Even the most famous or enlightened people on earth. They just make the best of what they do have, yeah? This is why, for me, I feel the need everyday to try my best to give nothing but love. To everyone. (Not always the case - key word here is "try.") But for the most part, I know there are dark days for all of us, and if you can make someone's day brighter, why wouldn't you?

Back to the story - It took years before I realized that hating myself, fighting myself, and depending on outside sources (especially toxic ones) for happiness would get me no where but deeper down into the negative spiral. It took years and years of figuring out how to naturally cope with the moments of breathlessness from intense anxiety. And I'm still not 100% there. Not even close, people. That's what I want to explain to you all, especially everyone who's commented, emailed, messaged, etc.. 

We are actually the same. I'm not higher or lower than you. I don't "have it all together." Any more than you do!!

With that said, there are a few things that have been game changers for me - especially lately. That have really had an impact on the way I view life. Thinking about it, I can sit here and write for days about all the things I've learned along the way that have helped. I can also express the struggles I've endured, and the bad experiences that may have allowed me to think this way. But really in this post, I want to focus on two things in particular. 

 

1.  Remember Gratitude. Every second of everyday. 

For the last few months I kept a gratitude journal. Every morning when I woke up, I would write one full page of things I was grateful for. Sometimes I was in a rush, but I forced myself everyday to do it. Even if it felt like it was doing nothing, it still started my morning off acknowledging all that was great in my life. 

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.

I left that journal at home when I began traveling. And due to teaching and life I didn't make the time to continue writing gratitude lists in the mornings. And what do you know? Anxiety has crept up on me on this trip. Maybe due to lack of sleep, so much traveling, bad experiences, too much coffee 😂  (haha) who knows, but what I do know well is that familiar feeling of breathlessness. The feeling of "I want to be home, comfortable in the place I know with the people who speak the language I speak." No disrespect to anyone here. But those are only a few of the thoughts when you're going into panic mode in your head. 

As I missed some flights and wound up on a train to Milan, I decided to write a gratitude list. I started listing everything I was thankful for. The words at first weren't coming. Crazy enough. But as I looked around and began to think, they came alright. I mean - the obvious. Friends, family, love, money, food, a home, a bed, the choice of who I want to love, where I want to be - being free. And then the other obvious things we don't even think of. I remember looking around the train and seeing people begging for money. I remember seeing people without limbs in the airport. People who were blind, sick or homeless in the station. 

Immediately, I had so much to be thankful for, my hand hurt with the rapid fire. I wrote the entire time until the train arrived to the station. I had a list of over 50 things I was grateful for within minutes. And with this, I noticed my breath calmed. My mood increased. My panic subsided. I noticed the trivial things that I was allowing to upset me vanished - all it took was bringing gratitude and love to light. 

See, I've been fortunate enough to have grown up with the most loving family, genuine friends and incredible community. I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to travel around the world these last four years. Hopping from island to island and sea to sea. It's been such an experience. I really didn't think I could ever meet people who loved me like my friends and family at home, but it turns out that I have. I've met people who love me just as much and who I love just as much. From Hawaii to Indonesia to the states to South America to Europe and many many more people from many many more countries and places. 

It's an insanely warm feeling to have family all over the world. Traveling shouldn't scare you. Isn't there a quote? Something like, "Comfort is an easy paved road, but no flowers grow there." I gave up a lot to travel. A lot of "things." And giving up this attachment has made me stronger than ever.

Allow yourself to release attachment. Love your friends, your home, your family as they are without using them as your only source of happiness. (I've written more about this elsewhere)

The reason many people in our society are miserable, sick, and highly stressed is because of an unhealthy attachment to things they have no control over.

Someone special recently told me "you gotta give it away to keep it." And it's been a quote I constantly go back to now. Give love, give thanks, give, give, give so that you can keep these things alive in yourself. 

Be grateful and appreciative for what you have while venturing out to get what you want. And make lists. Write it out. May sound weird or silly, but I promise it helps. 


2. Be YOU, boldly.

What does this mean? People used to say this to me and I didn't really understand. "Be you!" I'd sit and think, what an amazing feeling to know who "you" are. Because I have no idea who I am. And that would start the self - hate. I would ask myself "Are you even a person how do you not know who you are - get it together..blah blah blah."

Side note: If I could go back to 15 year old me, I would say 5 words to her - I love you beautiful girl!!! Because I do. I think it's so important to love who you are while you work towards who you want to be. You cannot become the person you want by hating yourself the whole way. Accept yourself and then move forward. Shoutout to all the teenagers reading this. You're all beautiful inside and out. Those years are some of the hardest in life and you're doing just fine. I love you all. Especially my little sister who's the funniest, strongest, most beautiful girl I know. (Okay maybe I'm a little biased) Miss that chick though!

Anyways, for me, I realized some time ago that I didn't know who I was because I was busy being who (I thought) others wanted me to be. In fear that if I did / said / acted the way I wanted, in with what made me happy, I'd lose all that love from all those people. That I'd be judged or friendless. And the love from them was what I thought kept me happy, kept me going. But in reality, I think I struggled for so long because I wasn't listening to myself, which caused me to hate myself. To be at war always. Sure the love was amazing but how can you let any true love in or out when you cannot even love yourself first? 

I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.

So my advice to you all? And to myself everyday?

Make a conscious effort to love the person you are. Everyday. Do all things with love. And most importantly, keep yourself wild. Don't ever let yourself live a mediocre life due to fear (I've also written about this. Check back in posts for more.) Do the things - big or little - that make YOU completely happy. That make your soul happy. Is it yoga? Do yoga. Is it dancing? Keep dancing to the music. Sing. Play. Surf. Run. Write. Read. Let the inner child out more than once a day. Smile. Laugh at yourself. Be silly. Move and live however you want without allowing yourself to even think for a second about what others will say or think. No judgement. 

Life is too short to waste any amount of time on wondering what other people think about you. In the first place, if they had better things going on in their lives, they wouldn’t have the time to sit around and talk about you. What’s important to me is not others’ opinions of me, but what’s important to me is my opinion of myself

Because, in the end, you are enough all by yourself. And with that, you are never ever alone. Physically all the people may leave, they may judge, or they may talk. But you are loved, always. Regardless of if you have 10000 people standing by your side or none at all. Life is cyclical. There probably will be moments that feel like it's only you. Embrace them. And be you, boldly. This allows the right people to fall into place and the wrong ones to fade. Love yourself enough to surround yourself with people, places and things that lift you higher. Love yourself enough to lift yourself high. Love yourself enough to be totally and completely YOU. 

Be sure to never hold back, change or try and be someone you are not to impress someone else. The mask always comes off. And guess what? When it does, you're back at square one. Trust me on that one. This life is short and sometimes our need for approval and acceptance are what will drive us to insanity - to that spiral down. Don't waste another minute. This is a beautiful opportunity we all have - to live, and to be free. A luxury many don't see. It's a privilege. Accept yourself and do not let the thoughts or opinions of others ever disrupt your inner peace. 

One of my favorites;

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

So I leave you all with those two thoughts that help me on a daily basis. If you want to read similar posts, I have a bunch on here or via Instagram. (I tend to write write write when I'm between travels) Feel free to check them out!

With love,

Lacey 

Type 1 or Type 2?

Type 1 or Type 2?

Who here has been asked the question, "what do you want to be when you grow up?"

I assume we all have.

At age five maybe your answer was an astronaut. At age 10, maybe it was a professional sports player. Then as the years go on, and as life, or society, forces you to choose, the answer becomes a little more complicated. At least for me this is what happened.

I have a theory.

Some know, right from the start. Type one. "I want to be a doctor. I want to save lives. That's my calling." And they go to med school, become a doctor, and they are fulfilled. They are successful and happy in their life, in their job and they don't dream of anything else, because they're living their ultimate dream. I am not one of these people. These people do exist though, and they deserve a lot of credit because they do have it all figured out at a young age, and ultimately, they are exceptionally happy once they follow their life dreams and take on the role of whatever it is that they have aspired to be. I applaud these people, society applauds these people. 

Then there are the type two's. (Me.) My dream changes like my outfits. I could not tell you how many professions I have dreamed of having. And all along, this pressure of having to choose has made me feel like maybe I was faulted. 

See, in my opinion, we are taught that we need to be all be the type ones. We are almost forced into it. We are told to choose a college major before we can even legally be considered an adult.

...But I have had so many ideas, so many "callings." I would always be jealous of those who knew. Because it was never clear to me what I was "meant" to do.

Throughout my life I have gone in so many different directions. I worked retail and did really well, I went to school for fashion. Then Psychology. Then I noticed I also loved nutrition... changing my major to dietetics. Then I found the world of holistic health, which I quickly chose over dietetics. During this, I began getting into fitness, and before you know it, I'm a Pilates instructor. Who took some time off school to "figure it out."

After exploring and traveling, I realized how much I loved being surrounded by constant sun and salt water. So much that I picked up and moved to Hawaii. I began my own business health coaching and teaching private lessons to anyone and everyone. I began diving into yoga and followed those dreams to Bali to become certified to teach. Now I'm traveling globally to do retreats followed by opening up a wellness studio. Am I done? Is this my dream? Right now it is. But I can't promise I won't take an interest in something else. I may even completely change course. Who knows. 

All of my life I have let myself feel discouraged. Feel like maybe I have commitment issues or poor decision making skills. Maybe I have no purpose because I get bored and move on to the next thing that catches my interest. But what I've realized is no, I'm not any less of a person because I have numerous interests. I am multi-talented. The people like me balance out the "type one's." And vice versa. We are both important in this world. We are both useful. We are both successful. Instead of putting one down, it is important to lift each other up. To applaud those who know exactly what path they want to take, and to also applaud those who have no idea. Or in my case...have too many ideas. It's important to never dull anyones shine. And it's even more important to never let others dull your own shine.

Don't be afraid of failure, don't be afraid to change course.

It is never too late to start over. Life is short. Live it your way.

Fear...What's the point?

Fear...What's the point?

Everyday we come in contact with things that scare us. Maybe we hide behind the facade "I'm too broke," "I'm too tired," "I have work," "I don't know how," "that's too far," "no one taught me to do this," "I'll get hurt," "what if this happens," the list goes on. But in reality for many of these circumstances, it's fear hiding behind those excuses. 

I don't know when this changed for me, but one day I realized that I'll never learn how to do something if I don't just go out and teach myself. Why wait around? Why think that someone else is going to do the work for me? I was never taught to free dive, I was never taught to brave the massive shore break in HI, I was never taught to surf, I was never taught to hike or climb, I was never taught how to run my own business. Growing up I had an insane fear of heights. I'm talking panic attacks while just being up 10 feet. The anxiety was so real. Growing up I was also a terrible writer (math and science were my stronger subjects) and I was never taught to blog or market myself or my business. 

I woke up one day and realized that I needed to teach myself these things. I needed to face my fears before I lived a life of "oh that looks fun, but I could never do it." So I swam out into the open ocean, I braved the waves in Hawaii, I found the endurance to hike all day. I walked out on every ledge and looked down at the ground thousands of feet below me. I even jumped out of a plane...Three times.

I began writing authentically whatever was on my mind in that moment, and you know what happened through all of this? I learned. I learned how to do these things. Am I an incredible free diver or surfer? Absolutely not, but I'm learning more with each time I get out there. Am I great at writing or marketing? I could be better. Have I failed or gotten hurt during any of these tasks? Absolutely. The reef and I are great friends. Does this stop me? Nope. Am I still here? Yup. 

What is worse? Starting a business and failing or failing at starting a business at all? Getting on a board and falling or failing to ever get on that board? Letting fear dictate your life or living the life YOU dream of?

If you look at science, our biggest regrets in life are not our actions, but our inactions. So go out there and get it. Whatever you want. The world is yours. And if you fail, you fail. Guess what? You can always get back up. You can always try again. Be grateful for that.

So often people are afraid of trying because their afraid of what others will say if they fail. Think of the worst thing someone could say about you or to you. Right now. Got it? K....

...Did you die? No?! You're still here. Great. We can continue.

Now you have no excuse. If they judge, let them judge. Other people's words and thoughts can only affect us as much as we let them. And I don't know about you, but I am so grateful for the opportunity to live this life that I refuse to live in fear of what others say or think. I also refuse to live in fear of failure. So excuse me while I go chase my dreams..

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

All of my love,

--Lacey

 

PS. Follow my daily journey below!

5 LIFE CHANGING REASONS TO ATTEND LACEYS YOGA RETREATS ABROAD

5 LIFE CHANGING REASONS TO ATTEND LACEYS YOGA RETREATS ABROAD

1. You WILL leave a different person (physically, mentally, emotionally) 

  • This is by far the most significant reason there is. You will leave transformed. There is never a travel experience that leaves you the same as you were before. You meet people, you see new cultures, you experience a whole new way of life. (I'll get to that more within these next four reasons.) But most importantly, you will learn. You will learn where your limits are physically. You will learn how to relax the mind through asanas and breathing. You will learn about the importance of our physical and mental health. Along with simple tips and tricks on how to transition into a healthier lifestyle with a Certified Holistic Health Coach trained in over 40 thousand dietary theories. You will come out of this retreat rejuvenated and ready to take control of your life. 
Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.

2. You will gain connections

  • Regardless of if you try to or not, you are going to make friends. These friends won't be from your hometown, they most likely won't even be from your country. They will be from all over the world. So want a reason to visit Australia next year? Call your new friend you just met that lives there! Oh they're starting a new company that you can work for? Time to move! Oh and yes, this seriously happens. The universe works in funny ways once you become open to actually accomplishing everything you've ever dreamed of. Chase your goals and follow your dreams and watch how countless opportunities begin to arise. 
It is not enough if you just live life as it comes to you like a floating leaf in a pond. Make use of the powers bestowed in you and soar like an eagle.

3. You'll find yourself, or even better, you'll lose yourself in the journey

  • We venture out to see within. It's an old saying that rings with so much truth. How often have you just been sitting in your chair at work and thought, "Wow, this is incredible, I am feeling like that same tree I stare at out the window everyday is speaking to me." Unless you're on shrooms, chances are, you're probably not saying that. But as you tan on the beaches of Colombia, or you're over looking the chain of Greek islands as you land in Mykonos, you might think differently. Maybe you are practicing yoga in the serenity of the mountains of Southern Spain or even kite surfing the waves off the coast of Sicily at your retreat. My point is, the chances are that while experiencing those things, you are in-fact being spoken to. You're having the time of your life. You are growing with every new place your mind, body and soul have the opportunity to see. Whether it's breath taking views, seeing something you've never encountered before or viewing different cultures, you are evolving into a multicultural being. You are seeing the world outside but also the world of potential within yourself. And with that, each place you go, you find (or lose) yourself a little more. 
I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.

4. Less fear = More opportunities 

  • So you did this. You went abroad, alone, for a week, to attend a yoga retreat. Now what? Everything seems pretty do-able. Financially, physically and mentally. You know you swung it financially once, what's to say that won't happen again, and soon?! Physically you are stronger. You've used your body everyday to get through class. Vinyasa after vinyasa. Mentally, you got there. You didn't die, you weren't abducted, you didn't fail. Actually, you succeeded with flying colors. Congrats! Fear seems a distant memory now. You've opened the door to a most beautiful pandora a box my friend...
When you do what you fear most, then you can do anything

Ok, I lied, I only gave you four reasons. (Of the million that there are to actually go and do whatever it is you're dreaming of.) I saved the "5th reason" for me to say that exact thing: Go. Do it. I mean like, seriously, if you're reading this, book your ticket already. Or follow whatever dream it is that has you on here trying to find inspiration from me. 

Maybe it's not one of my four retreats that you want to go on. I'm not here to sell you anything, I'm here to tell you to take that chance. Maybe you want to travel to Asia. But either way, you're reading a blog post essentially attempting to convince you on your choice to travel. But why do you need someone from across the world to give you comfort to do something? I could be wrong, but I feel like you're looking for someone to tell you it's ok. That you'll be fine and everything will work out in your favor - financially, physically and mentally like it did for me. Plot twist, I'm not going to tell you that. It's not all ALWAYS (key word) going to work out in your favor. Another plot twist: It didn't all always work out for me. But as it turns out, the things that didn't work out almost every single time led to something even better. I got sick but I wound up meeting even more incredible people through that illness. I wound up learning even more about my body. I wound up forgetting how crappy I felt and learning how to be grateful each and every day. The fear of trials, failure and tribulations are what's stopping you, but trials, failures and tribulations are what will transform you in the most positive way imaginable. They are what's going to give you that feeling of accomplishment. Adrenaline. Life. Once you beat them, you have no where else to go but up.

There are always going to be thorns on roses. But guess what? They're beautiful and we love them anyway.

So is this planet. And so are you. It deserves to be seen and you deserve to be the person seeing it. So go. I'm not telling you it will always be ok, I'm telling you it will always be worth it. 

 

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What if I fall? But oh, my darling, what if you fly?

TRAVEL. AS FAR AS YOU CAN. FOR AS LONG AS YOU CAN.

TRAVEL. AS FAR AS YOU CAN. FOR AS LONG AS YOU CAN.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

As I strolled down the dirt pathway with the stray dog I had found leading the way, I felt the indescribable. Pure bliss. Free of any anxiety, worry, doubt, fear, guilt, or shame. In that moment, I was free. I felt completely connected to my surroundings in that rice field in Bali. I felt like I was exactly where I was meant to be. It was a familiar feeling, fortunately. It's a feeling that I live for. It's my end goal. But I get to experience it almost everyday now. 

Fear is funny because it can disguise and manifest itself in many different ways. Ever since I can remember, I dreamed of traveling the world. Experiencing the different cultures and beautiful landmarks of each and every country. We see it on TV and in photos, why shouldn't we experience it in person? Fear, usually. Either fear of going, fear of change, fear of traveling abroad, fear of not having enough income, fear of not having the time, fear of not being "fit" enough etc... It's all fear. 

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.

Making the decision to move to Hawaii was the first "on a whim" thing I did. And it was crazy, for sure, but if I told you the feeling of pure ecstasy I felt on my first visit to Oahu, you'd probably understand.

My next decision to drive cross country and hit every national park we had time for was planned one month before taking off from New York - LA. My next choice to drop out of college and fly to a foreign country in order to dive right into a Yoga Teacher Training was something I could've never pictured myself doing. (But I did. Booking flights 3 weeks prior.) Or how about booking a flight to hike Yosemite 3 days prior to take off? From the beginning, I didn't think I could make it financially. If you asked me two years ago if I would've accomplished any of these dreams, I would've laughed in your face. I thought I would miss home too much. I definitely didn't think I was fit enough, or friendly enough, or knowledgable enough to travel to any of these places. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong annnnd wrong. The only limitations we have are the ones we place on ourselves.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

It got easier and easier with each plane ride.. It's become more and more rewarding. And what do you know? Turns out, my relationships with those at home improved. I made it financially because where's there's a will, there's a way. 85 degree weather and beautiful snowy mountains proved to be worth it in the end. In Bali, everyone in my class was somehow at the same level. We each helped each other grow into incredible yogis creating an ever lasting friendship in the mean time. Hiking a 12 mile trail in Yosemite was exhausting and quite scary at times, but going into the hike prepared, there were no serious threats. Only beautiful views and breath taking moments. 

 

Not only did I leave these trips with new family, but I left with a new me each time. A happier me. A more care - free, loving, compassionate, confident yet modest me. A me that loved myself, my piers and this planet more and more. 

Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories

As I spent time in countless different places, many life lessons became clear to me. Judgement isn't a thing. It doesn't matter what brand clothing I wear in Bali. Chances are everyone's wearing Buddha pants and knit tops they bought at the market for $2 American. It also doesn't matter if I wear the same pants 3 days out of the week. As long as they're clean and comfortable. I don't need 2 closets full of clothing and shoes. (Time for a cleanse) 

 

I realized that I am way stronger and more capable than I thought. 

A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.

In my opinion, the challenge in life is the point. What would life be without a challenge? A challenge is what proves to us that we can do it. How would we know if we never got challenged? It strengthens us, it builds us up to be people who can handle shit. 

 

What's the best feeling in the world? What do we all strive for? I can definitely speak for myself when I say it's that crazy, insane and euphoric adrenaline rush. The on top of the world feeling. That motivation, inspiration and pure excitement. That's why I want the things I want. Many dream of fame and fortune, some dream of travels and experiences. Regardless of the dream, everyone's striving for these things with the end result in mind - pure bliss. 

Remember that happiness is a way of travel – not a destination.

Why not achieve this state now? Why not quit and go and make it work? Think of the worst possible outcome. Now live it. Play it out in your head. Feel the heartache or disappointment for a second. Okay. Now that's the worst possible outcome. On a scale of 1-10 what was it? Did it kill you? Injure someone? What serious affects does this have on the long run for you? Not as scary, not as many permanent affects huh? Once you live a moment, even your worst one, you tend to realize that it's not so bad after all. And the juice is almost always worth the squeeze. (Fully a girl next door reference) 

Investment in travel is an investment in yourself
My own personal picnic on the top of a mountain on Oahu, Hawaii.

My own personal picnic on the top of a mountain on Oahu, Hawaii.

So... what are you waiting for?

 

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"Forge Meaning, Build Identity and Share your Joy"

"Forge Meaning, Build Identity and Share your Joy"

De·pres·sion

dəˈpreSH(ə)n/

noun

  1. 1.

    feelings of severe despondency and dejection.

    "self-doubt creeps in and that swiftly turns to depression"

 

 

Have you ever felt so down, so frustrated, so exhausted that you just want to give up? Could be with anything. Workouts. Eating right. Studying. Even life. 

Over the last few days I've been listening to a lot of podcasts. Most have been about overcoming life's frustrations. How our low points actually are what shape us into the incredible people we come to be. I talk a lot about this in my posts. Probably because I can dream. I can see the light at the end of the dark tunnels I go through now. I can feel inspired and motivated. I can relate to these people and these stories because I can love life. I can love myself. But it hasn't always been this way for me. 

 

Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.

 

Recently, I was talking to a friend about being in a state of depression. First, let me describe this friend to you - she's incredible. Would give me the shirt off her back no questions asked. Since the day we've met she's stood out in my eyes as the "do anything for anyone" type. 

She's been through more than most quite honestly. Things that I cannot even begin to imagine or comprehend. She's tough as hell and inspires me to no end. During our talk, she expressed having suicidal thoughts. We spoke about the feeling of being so low that there is no visible light at the end of the tunnel. The grass isn't greener on either side. The only thing that would take the pain away is no longer having to live at all. Or at least that's how it feels. It sounds morbid, and if you've never felt this way then it might even sound crazy. But regardless of how it sounds, I promise you it feels even worse. 

 

The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.

 

We all go through things in life that one way or another tend to affect our sense of worth. We feel embarrassed, ashamed, guilty, ugly, worthless. The list can go on. And the things we go through can sometimes be the unthinkable. Or the things we go through can be smaller in comparison. 

Im going to be honest in saying that I truly don't know how to help someone when they're feeling this low. I know from experience, there were days I didn't want to change my thoughts. I dug myself into a deep hole and the only person that could save me, was me. There were times that I didn't even know what was causing the pain or sadness. So how could anyone be of any help? I know that I would direct those feeling this way to seek professional help. But I also know that I would try my hardest to show them that they are loved. Because that is what helped me through my darkest times. Love.

 

Before you can live a part of you has to die. You have to let go of what could have been, how you should have acted and what you wish you would have said differently. You have to accept that you can’t change the past experiences, opinions of others at that moment in time or outcomes from their choices or yours. When you finally recognize that truth then you will understand the true meaning of forgiveness of yourself and others. From this point you will finally be free.

 

For me, it was learning to love every part about myself. Even the "ugly" parts. It was knowing that I am not defined by my mistakes. It was knowing that I can forgive myself for the things I've said / done wrong. It was forgiving others, especially family members and loved ones, for what they've done or said that hurt me. Forgiveness. Letting go. Not holding on to anger, resentment or guilt. It was facing everything. It was facing myself and realizing that I couldn't be loved or love others without first loving myself. I couldn't find happiness without being happy in my skin. It wasn't allowing the hardships I went through define who I was going to be. But it was facing them and accepting them and myself. It was coming out on top and then realizing that if I spread nothing but love each and everyday I will be the change I wish to see in today's world. I still have bad days, but the light gets brighter and brighter and the tunnel gets shorter and shorter with each passing struggle. 

 

I do however want you all to know that whatever you are battling, you are not going through it alone. I want you to know that you are enough. And that your presence here means more than you know. I want you to know that you are loved. By me. I want you to know that if you ever feel like there isn't a purpose for you, you're wrong. There is. And you deserve to see the day where you find that purpose. I want you to know that if you ever need a shoulder to lean on or a person to listen, I am only an email away. With today's technology people across the world can connect and lift each other up. It's a magical thing. And something we should use to our advantage. 

 

Sometimes the smallest gesture can go the longest way. In one of my podcasts there was a story of a kid, tom, who noticed a more "nerdy-looking" student as tom described him, walking home from school with a ton of books one day. Some bullies came over and hit the books out of his hand. Tom went over, helped him retrieve his books from the ground and walked him home. They actually wound up becoming good friends. As the years went by, this student won valedictorian of their high school. His speech was about a day back in middle school where he cleaned out his locker purposely, because he planned to kill himself that evening. That was the day he met tom. Tom had no idea at the time, but he saved this kids life. And this kid is now a different person. A happy person. The kid who was once sure that his time here had no meaning, had gone on to become valedictorian of his class. If this story teaches you something, I hope it's that you can overcome any struggle that comes your way. That the person you are right now can and will change. In 5 years your life will be completely different. 

 

For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.

 

Forge meaning and build identity. Forge meaning from the struggles. And build your identity out of them. And then invite the world to share your joy. I share these stories with you, my struggles with you and where I'm at now because I want to spread my love. Spread my joy and spread my story. It's difficult for me to sit here and type these rants most days. Mostly because 25 thousand strangers have the ability to tear me apart if they want to. I open myself to you all and I am vulnerable. But I hope in my vulnerability it helps at least one of you realize that you truly aren't going through anything alone.

 

Thank you for reading x

All photos by @dauntphotography -- check him out!

 

 

 

THE "NATURAL FLAVOR" IN YOUR FOOD...THAT ISN'T SO NATURAL.

THE "NATURAL FLAVOR" IN YOUR FOOD...THAT ISN'T SO NATURAL.

Aloha again loves!

Today, I thought I would address one of the largest issues concerning processed and pre-packaged foods. This issue comes in a variety of names, but essentially means one thing; bad news. 

A very silent killer that’s ultimately worse for your personal health than any alcohol, nicotine or drug is likely hiding your kitchen cabinets as we speak.

This widespread toxin is monosodium glutamate (MSG). A flavor enhancer that’s known to have been an addition to Chinese food, but that's only the beginning. This substance is actually added to most ALL of the foods you and your family regularly eat. This is especially true if you are like the common American, where the majority of your food intake comes from processed foods or restaurants. Hey, this isn't a bad thing either. No judgements here because I am just as guilty! We are ALL busy. Especially during the summertime here in "The Hamptons." There's nothing easier than grabbing take out on your way to work or buying that granola bar to quickly inhale during your 5 minute break!! But now, let's dig a little deeper into what MSG is, and how we can stray away from it.

MSG is in fact one of the worst food additives on the market right now. It is used in canned soups, granola bars, cookies, crackers, meats, salad dressings, frozen dinners and so much more. MSG is found in restaurants, school cafeterias and surprisingly enough, even in baby food and infant formula!!!

MSG is more than just a seasoning like your regular table salt. This product basically enhances the flavor and effects of all foods. Literally tricking your brain! So having anything from canned foods, to processed meats and frozen dinners will taste fresher, smell better and be more enjoyable! It completely shows why MSG is all over the market. The food industry is benefitting endlessly from having us as consumers keep coming back for more! This could be a reason why the FDA keeps claiming that MSG has no harmful effects on the body.

But, MSG has been proven to be an excitotoxin which means that it overexcites your cells to the point of damage or death. The effects of this cause brain damage of varying degrees while potentially even triggering or worsening learning disabilities. Other common  effects that have been linked to the consumption of MSG include but aren't limited to: obesity, headaches, eye damage, fatigue, rapid heartbeat, tingling or numbness and depression.

Studies have even suggested that 25 to 30 percent of the US population was intolerant of MSG at levels that were found in food! Recently, studies have been showing that after the consumption of a food fortified with MSG, numerous glutamate receptors have been found both within the human heart's electrical conduction system and the heart muscle itself. This can potentially be damaging to your heart AND could even explain the sudden deaths sometimes seen among young athletes.

"When an excess of food-borne excitotoxins, such as MSG, hydrolyzed protein soy protein isolate and concentrate, natural flavoring, sodium caseinate and aspartate from aspartame, are consumed, these glutamate receptors are over-stimulated, producing cardiac arrhythmias.

When magnesium stores are low, as we see in athletes, the glutamate receptors are so sensitive that even low levels of these excitotoxins can result in cardiac arrhythmias and death."  - Dr. Blaylock

YIKES!

In general, if a food is processed you can assume it contains MSG (or one of its hidden names). So how to avoid this toxin? Sticking to a whole, plant-based, fresh food (and hopefully vegan) diet will ensure that you stray away from MSG.  The other place where you might need to watch out for MSG is whenever you eat out. Restaurants, cafeterias, etc... You are 100% free to ask your server which menu items are MSG-free and request that no MSG be added to your meal!  Of course, only when you are in your own kitchen are you able to be entirely sure of what is being added to your food!

MSG in processed foods comes under all different types of names, so check out this list here for the ingredients that ALWAYS contain MSG: Gelatin, Calcium Caseinate, Monosodium Glutamate, Yeast Extract, Natural Flavors, Flavoring, Maltodextrin, Pectin (often times), Enzymes, Ultra Pasteurized anything.

Alright folks, there you have it! The inside scoop on MSG, what it is and how to avoid it! Happy eating! XO

--Lacey

PLANTS FOR THE WIN! 

PLANTS FOR THE WIN! 


12 REASONS TO DRINK (EVEN MORE) WATER

12 REASONS TO DRINK (EVEN MORE) WATER

WATER - wa·ter / ˈwôdər,ˈwädər/ noun; a colorless, transparent, odorless, tasteless liquid that forms the seas, lakes, rivers, and rain and is the basis of the fluids of all living organisms. There you have it; this substance is literally everywhere. We are even made of it!

Water, making up around 65% of the human body, is easily the most essential part of one's diet. Each cell in the body relies on water to carry out daily human tasks. Did you know, that the human body can survive a whopping 3 weeks without food? Yet, after only 3 days without water, our bodies would begin to perish. Organ by organ our bodies would begin to shut down, due to the lack of this absolutely critical substance. We lose tons of water daily from urine, sweat, bowel movements, and even breathing. Without replenishing this water, we cannot and will not maintain homeostasis.  If I haven't made you think twice about drinking more water yet, here's 12 facts on why this amazing liquid is so vital.

#1. Improves Digestion + Bloating - Things not flowing so smoothly? Water, water and more water! Water is crucial to a healthy digestive track. Our intestines need water to guide proteins, fibrous carbs and fats through our digestive track. Without water, these foods will begin to linger in our digestive track. As food dwells in the gut, and does not continue through our intestines with ease, it begins to ferment. When these foods (especially animal carcass) ferment in our gut it causes bloating, gas, infection, pain and serious fatigue. This is mainly because our immune system is constantly fighting harmful bacteria created from poor digestion.

#2. Weight-loss - Feeling larger than normal? It could be water weight! Drinking even more water per day is actually proven to reduce water retention in the body. Once you fully hydrate your body, it won't need to hold on to all of that water anymore. Remember, our bodies are smart, so if we are not regularly feeding it what it needs, it will make sure that it holds on to every last drop it can get. Water can also aid in the feeling of satiety. Our mind might tell us we are hungry when we are really just longing for some liquids. Drink a glass of water before cooking up a huge meal! You may just feel satisfied after a little hydration! Finally, water helps the liver in the metabolization of fat. The more water, the easier it is for the liver to do it's job.

#3. Improve Aches + Joint Pains - Stubborn ache or joint pain? Try upping your water intake! When our body is low on water, our blood vessels dilate causing swelling which can increase pain symptoms and stiffness. Drinking more water will also soften and hydrated your cartilage, keeping your joints lubricated for movement and physical activity!

#4. Keeps Your Skin Glowing - Our skin is the largest organ of our bodies! Millions of cells upon cells make up our epidermis. One sure way to keep your skin firm, plump, smooth and shiny is upping your water consumption. Increasing your water intake has been shown to improve skin elasticity, which prevents wrinkles now and even later on down the line. So drink up!

#5 Prevents Disease - Studies show that increased water intake lowers your risk of kidney disease, hyperglycemia, kidney stones, bladder cancer and even colon cancer! The kidneys in particular filter your entire volume of blood every three minutes. They are constantly working to keep your body energized and functioning properly. Without water, your kidneys have no way to filter this blood. Staying hydrated will help all of your organs to continue to work efficiently.

#6 Supports Your Heart - Your heart is the most important organ of the body, because without it, we would cease to live. We need that baby beating regularly everyday! Without water, our bodies will begin to go into a state of dehydration. Dehydration makes the heart work even harder to stay beating, increasing our risk of inducing a stroke. A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology shows that drinking more water is associated with decreased risk of coronary heart disease. I'll drink to that!!

#7 Improves Immune Function - Getting sick often?? Studies show that those with increased water intake suffer less from common colds. Water directly works with your immune system by flushing out waste and bacteria. No water consumption would equal no waste removal. If waste were to build up in the body, it could lead to fatigue, nausea, infection and gastrointestinal disease. So drink up and give that immune system a break!!

#8 Healthiest Drink Option - You may think this is a given, but it's not. Many people believe, "oh I'll order the green tea because it's an even healthier option than water!" False! Water is the healthiest liquid you can ingest. Unlike soft drinks, alcohol, coffee and most teas, water is hydrating! These other drinks, even though they are liquids, actually tend to dehydrate your body even more! So get on the water train and ditch the dehydrating cocktails. (PS I do drink tea often.. but water even more often!)

#9. Improves Mood, Alertness + Energy Levels - Bad mood? Drink up! (Water, that is!) Studies suggest that increasing water intake can greatly reduce fatigue, headaches, and irritability. According to a new study published in the Journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, those who drink water before performing a series of cognitive tasks react quicker than those who do not.

#10. Maintains Balance in the Body - More than half of our bodies are composed of water! Water aids in maintaining our body temperature. Without water to cool us down on a hot day, or during a sweaty gym session, our body temperature would continuously raise, increasing our chances for a stroke. Water moves nutrients, hormones, oxygen, and antibodies, and more through the lymphatic system as well as the bloodstream. Without it, these elements wouldn't get to where they need to be.

#11. Improves Muscle Performance - Water makes up for 75% of our muscle tissue! Without water, our electrolyte balance is thrown off, causing our cells to shrivel up. When cells shrink due to lack of hydration, muscle fatigue may occur. So stay hydrated to ensure you are able to really give it your ALL at the gym!

#12. Prevents Dehydration - Duh, right?! Well it's crazy to think, but many people are walking around completely dehydrated all the time and they do not even know it! It is said that the feeling of thirst is actually the onset of dehydration! Yikes. Dehydration can cause headaches, dry skin, weakness, dry mouth, dizziness, fatigue, sunken eyes, low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, fever and even death. It is so essential to continue drinking water even if you don't "feel" thirsty!

There you have it, 12 extremely significant reasons to always drink (more) water! My recommendation to my clients is to start off with at least 3 liters per day and go from there. Another rule of thumb is to cut your body weight in half and drink that much water in ounces per day. So if you are 120 lbs, that means you drink at the very minimum 60 ounces per day. That is before exercise comes into play. Always be sure to drink an extra liter of water post workout to replenish all of the minerals lost.

Aloha!

6 TIPS ON SUMMERTIME SUN AND SKIN CARE

6 TIPS ON SUMMERTIME SUN AND SKIN CARE

Ahhhh, summertime. The best part of the year in my opinion. The time of the year when no one has to worry about dry skin, applying bronzer or tending to their severely chapped lips. There is sunshine everyday and the beach is more often than not a two minute walk from home. The water is finally warming up and it's about time we get some color on our pale skin! Which brings me to one frustrating aspect of all of this summertime beauty;  To apply oily sunblock or suffer the consequences of severely burnt skin. Which brand of sunblock do we buy? Trying to find the perfect lotion that won't smear everywhere, applies well and doesn't stain our cute beach cover-ups can be tricky. And is this “sun protectant” even beneficial for us? What's that fuss about sunblock being dangerous? What if I told you that there’s a way out of the confusing mess? No sunblock, AND no sunburn. Too good to be true? No way! For me, with the proper
combination of natural oils, a healthy diet, and smart post/pre/and during sun exposure tips, you wont have to stress in the sun! You’re golden! (Literally!)

Tip #1- Diet
The most important diet that i can recommend to help protect and improve your skin is to increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables. The logic behind this this tip is simple. Fruits and veggies have the nutrients to fight off the free radicals from ultra violet radiation. There's one main antioxidant group that has been linked to the defense against UV radiation: Polyphenols. Polyphenols are naturally occurring compounds found in fruits, vegetables, and green tea. Studies suggest that long-term consumption of these plant polyphenols can boost our over-all longevity, as well as offer us protection against the development of diseases, including cancers such as melanoma. More specifically, what these nutrients do is combat the harmful free radicals from the sun, all the while allowing your body to absorb many of the benefits from the sun. You need sun in order to produce vitamin d3. The body needs vitamin d3 to carry out many daily functions, so it
is extremely important that we get enough. Unfortunately dairy products are fortified with the wrong vitamin d. This vitamin is d2. This means that when we consume dairy products high in fortified d2, we are not actually supplying the body with the vitamin D that it needs. I recommend to spend at least ten minutes in the sun daily, without sunblock or sunglasses!

Tip #2 - Coconut oil
My next tip to protect and care for your skin during the summer months is to apply raw and unpasteurized coconut oil. This oil has thousands of benefits including its UV-absorbing mechanism. Coconut oil only absorbs about one quarter of the UV Rays you will receive from the sun, but this seems to be the perfect amount for many of us. For years, the Pacific Islanders only used coconut oil for their sunscreen, and many still do to this day! There are many sunscreens on the market that have been scientifically proven to be more cancer causing than the UV rays themselves. Products that include para-aminobenzoic (PABA), benzophenones, cinnamates, oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate and many many more have shown to cause hormone disruptions, skin disease and an increase in the development of skin lesions and tumors. Think about it, your skin is always absorbing whatever you put on it. When you put on chemicals and toxins, the body has no idea what to do with them!
It's the same for ingesting. If you can't eat it, why are you going to put it on your skin? Either way, these harmful chemicals and toxins are entering your body.

Tip #3 - Be Smart
My third tip to protecting your sun this summer may be a little obvious, but even I forget this important rule at times. Listening to your bodily intuition when it comes to sun taking and being outdoors is so vital. If you feel you have had enough sun for the day it is your responsibility to seek shade. I know there are only so many days off of work you'll have to sit in the sun, but a severe burn will not get you far. Trust me. The damage you will do to your skin is irreversible! And all you will wind up doing is suffering while your skin peels, bubbles and looks beet red. Take your time in the sun. Ease into it with a base coat. The more time you spend in the sun the more your individual body will be able to handle it! And you will get that beautiful glow you want!

Tip #4 Natural Vegan Sunscreen
Okay okay, even when we have the tips on how to be smart and have healthy sun exposure without sunscreen, there's still something that is so comforting about applying protection. Am I right?! If it gives you more peace of mind to use sunscreen, please use it. Above all I aspire to always encourage you to follow your instincts! Now, my advice here would be to stay smart when it comes to picking what brand. Use the brands without all of those crazy chemicals I mentioned earlier. Find a brand that is completely vegan without tons of additives. A brand that uses ingredients you can actually resonate with! One brand I have used in the past, and highly recommend is http://www.sapphirebeachco.com/. Their products are 100% vegan, and their sunscreens do not irritate the skin, or organs, and that offer protection against an overdose of harmful UVs.

Tip #5 - Kukui Oil
Have you ever heard of it?! I hadn't until moving to Hawaii and becoming familiar with the brand www.hawaiianbathbody.com. But after testing out this product, and taking a full tour of the North Shore Soap Factory located here on Oahu, I was sold. I make sure to work with brands that produce the highest quality of natural products, especially, when it comes to my skin. Our skin is our first line of defense, as well as our largest organ. We have to treat it as such by staying away from chemically made artificial lotions and soaps we've become all too accustomed to. This brand, locally manufactured on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, is my go-to after sun care (and basic skin care) because of their use of locally sourced kukui and macademia nut tree oils. These oils naturally assist in helping sooth sunburnt skin, while at the same time, moisturizing and even helping to protect my skin from all of natures tough elements. I have never had skin so smooth!! Their exfoliants and shower soaps help to remove dead cells from the surface of my skin, but never leave my skin feeling dry. They also have products that assist in helping eczema psoriasis, dry skin, and more! I use kukui oil on my hair as well after a long beach day. It leaves it feeling as though I just got a hair cut! The added moisture is incredible. (And you can even use my discount code of lacey10 at checkout for 10% off your entire purchase!)

Tip #6 - Fresh Aloe (from the plant) 
Last, but not least, is to touch base on the god of all healing plants, aloe vera. The gel like substance found within this plant’s leaves can treat many types of serious burns, including a painful sunburn. The aloe plant has been proven to heal and regenerate cells faster than any over-the-counter products found in today’s pharmaceutical isle. These plants will grow most anywhere indoors and in warm climates outdoors. All you have to do is break off and squeeze the leaves of this plant until its gel is released. Be extremely generous with application of the gel! The aloe’s anti-inflammatory properties will be sure to smooth and sooth damaged, sunburnt skin!

Happy summer and happy sun tanning!