Local Honey & Chinese Tea

Hope everyone had a great weekend, can’t wait to tell you all about mine! So as some of you know we have just bought a house in Boonton, NJ. This is a really cute area of town, a lot of local shops, and local farms that I’m already starting to support! It’s been a bit chaotic trying to get everything ready with the house and work but all I can say is that yoga/meditation room is complete… what else do I need? Oh and the kitchen was brand new renovated before we even bought #winning! lol.

So I got to experience quite a few fun things this weekend: The Denville Farmers Market, The Local Honey at Gooserock Farms, and the local tea shop called Sinolfilia Tea. Let’s start with how amazing a dinner I made with all the purchases from the farmers market…. Because it is still the winter season and it was only about 30 degrees here this last Sunday not a lot of vendors are out just yet, but more will be coming starting May 6th for those of you in the area. However, there was a local ravioli guy who had over 20 different kinds ranging from beet & goat cheese raviolis to lobster raviolis… whatever your preference, they had one for you! Because we weren’t aware that they would be one of the most amazing freshest pastas ever we only bought  1 kind. We chose the Artichoke and Goat Cheese raviolis. Another stand called Silver Birch specializes in different soups and sauces and meatballs! Of course we needed something to go with our raviolis so we got a basil pesto with chicken buffalo meatballs, of course all cage free & no hormones in any of their products.  (See photos below)

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Gooserock farms is a small little self-service local honey and egg shop. They are a small family owned company and have free range chickens and multiple bee hives. Not only do they just use the honey from the bees but they create soap bars, hand creams, lip balms, and facial creams using the beeswax and propolis from their bees. I could not believe how adorable their little shop was and how delicious it is! From them I got a Cider Spice soap bar, which is a bit like an apple cider but not overly sweet and obnoxious. They had several other kinds I would like to try like Honey & Oats, Lemon, and a Lavender… for me the only one that smelled a little too sweet was the mango. I have used it 2x this weekend on even my face and everyone keeps telling me my skin is glowing… It does not leave a sticky feeling in the shower, or a dryness, in fact it left my skin quite moist and less oily. I also bought their Cinnamon Honey spread… which is to die for!!!! I am in love, it can be put on anything, perhaps a fresh loaf of bread out of the oven, or in your tea if you like that sorta combo. The best part is the combination of local honey and cinnamon is an amazing natural way to remedy allergies as the season approaches along with sinus and throat infections…. feel free to combine it with a squeeze of lemon juice and 1 tsp for any of these illnesses. I also bought a blueberry wildflower honey, I only taste tested this quickly, but it was delicious and not artificial at all! I will be using it more this week to create some tasty sweets in the kitchen, will let you know how it goes. The last thing I bought, because I cannot resist… was a dozen fresh eggs….. what is amazing is that they are all different colors because different colored chickens lay different colored eggs. This to me is a sure sign that there is nothing artificial about this place…. you can even see the farm area that they raise everything in right from the side of the honey shop. It is so key to buy local products and things you know are grown 100% free from all the chemicals and crap we buy at the stores. This is not to say that everything at a grocery store is bad for you…. deff not!!! You just need to know what to look for but any time you get a chance to try your local neighbors gardening and farming please do so! It is an amazing way to support the community and keep fresh products coming. I wish I lived in a state or area where you could grow anything you wanted at any time and weather wasn’t an issue, but unfortunately NJ has a horrific winter and makes it hard to find anything that’s not imported during this season…. On a plus note, Spring is coming and more farmers markets will begin to open. =)

 

Lastly, the 3rd place I visited this weekend was a local tea shop called Sinofilia. The couple who owns this shop were absolutely adorable and sweet. The wife comes from China and every tea in the shop is 100% organic, no artificial colors or flavors whatsoever. They are some of the best quality teas you can get without massive amounts of sugar. She had multiple flavors including licorice, green tea, rosehips, and herbs I’ve never even heard of. To top it off she explained to me she practices something called Tea Ceremonies which is an ancient Chinese practice in which you learn about the Gods, the herbs and it is a mutual respect Buddhist like practice; “If you respect the herbs, they respect you”. She further went on to explain that even the poorest people of China are drinking better quality tea than the U.S. because they never use anything artificial just pure leaves and herbs and hot water and they only drink very small glasses of tea because of the way it is filtered. I will deff be doing a tea ceremony with her in which I can taste test all the different kinds and choose what is best for my body. Will let you know how it goes. Here are just a few photos of the store itself and the little tiny horse cup I bought because it reminded me of my dad and my cousin Madeline who have both taught me how to ride.

 

I hope for those of you reading that are local will check out these 3 places when you get the chance. They are well worth it. For those of you not so local, comment below and let me know what your favorite local shops are. =)

 

Namaste my yogis!

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Summer

So where have I been this last month!?!? Well this summer has just been absolutely incredible!

 

A few weeks ago I went to Boston for several reasons, 1- to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreaks (my 2nd fav band), 2- to see some friends I met along my yoga retreat in Italy, and 3- for some good ol’ quality time with the bf and relax!!!

Well let’s talk about that trip! The weather was so perfect!!! Friday night we arrived to our hotel, and sadly this was the only “bad” part of our trip. The company we used to book our hotel did not actually have the 1 we requested available and gave us a 2 star dirty hotel (that was going out of business this September) instead without even letting us know….. as much as this sucked…. we made the most of it b/c honestly all we did was spend the nights to sleep, we were too busy throughout the day to really let it drag us down……

That Friday was the Tom Petty show at the TD garden…. now I have been in love with Tom’s music since high-school, I always make all my friends watch his documentary (so if you haven’t you know what to do now), I’ve probably read over 6 books about him and the band…. I cannot get enough of these guys!!! (Pink Floyd will always be my number 1 but these guys are an extremely close 2nd)….. THE SHOW WAS INCREDIBLE!!! They were doing their 40th anniversary tour and you could just tell how much fun they were having. They started off with their very first song ever “Rocking Around (with you)”. A song that is quite cheesy and adorable and so typical Tom… it is not nearly their best…. but to see how much progress they’ve made with their writing is just mind blowing to me. I have seen these guys once before in college at MSG and although the show was fun… the energy was soo different this time…. not to mention he did my absolute FAVORITE SONG of theirs called “Crawling Back to You”….. this song has my favorite line of all his lyrics…. “most things I worry about never happen anyway” I often use this in my yoga classes as a reminder that we constantly fear what if what if what if…. or we go to the worst possible scenario no matter how unrealistic it actually is…. and let’s face it, these things don’t even come close to happening!

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I think the reason I absolutely love this band is b/c at every moment in my life, both good and bad… I can relate his lyrics to what I’m going through… from songs about heart break to the best love ever to war, fights, and just the journey of life their music has always reminded me of who I am and how far I’ve come. I can’t quite explain why this sorta thing happens with one musician vs. the next but it just does. It’s just a feeling you get when you hear a certain song or style of music that takes you to that moment in time where you felt that exact same emotion being portrayed and everything just makes sense again. They also did 2 other songs from the album Wildflowers… “It’s good to be king” and “wildflowers”…. It is probably my favorite tom petty album and it doesn’t get enough recognition, so if you don’t know it, go check it out! And I’m not entirely sure why b/c it came really unexpected but when they did “Learning to Fly” I cried happy tears…. something about the energy of being their that night just made me remember why I listen to music, play guitar, and just feed off of their lyrics to keep me going…..BEST/FUNNEST SHOW I’ve been to in quite some time!!!

So Saturday came and we got to meet up with the girls from our Italy retreat…. Meg and KB… KB introduced us to a studio called Xtendbarre and we took a TRX suspension class together…. now there were several options but I of course chose the hardest level (without knowing lol) and man let me tell you…. I got my butt kicked hard core! KB made it look so easy, she was an extreme bad-ass about it and looked like a pro! I give her so much credit. (Meg, Gary, and I still love you KB we just now can kick your butt harder with all those squats lol). All joking aside it was a great class and we loved it so much that we found a studio here in Montclair, NJ that teaches TRX suspension classes. We’ve already taken 2 and plan on getting monthly memberships come September wen we come back from all our next set of weekend get-a-ways! After this TRX class we went to a place called Mother Juice….. holy cow it was sooooooooooooooooo delicious! Everything of course super healthy, vegan and vegetarian options of all sorts. KB has been posting photos of this place since we met in April and I have been craving it since then… it did NOT disappoint by any means. If you’re in the Boston area check them out!

Later that evening we went to the farmers market and this little arts and crafts festival where I found a yoga shirt that combines my chemistry degree with yoga (see photo on the slideshow). We had dinner at Post 395 a farm to table restaurant that was incredible! The vegetable pin-wheel I had was sooooo good and Gary was finally able to get his seafood platter! The following morning I treated us to Stephanie’s on Newbury (not just b/c it has my name, but b/c it’s rated one of the number 1 brunch spots in all of Massachusetts). The coolest thing about them, was you got to build your own bloody Mary’s… now I do not drink them, but they are his absolute favorite things about brunch…. this drink was bigger than his head, he got bacon, hot peppers, celery, olives stuffed with blue cheese, celery and I don’t even know what else (see that photo in the slideshow). HANDS DOWN ONE OF THE BEST BRUNCHES WE’VE EVER HAD! I got the blueberry pancakes with cinnamon butter, and he had some sort of skillet with everything you could possibly need for a vacation brunch. The white sangria was amazing as well! Was such a great weekend, and I’m so thankful for KB’s and Meg’s brunch date with a workout included. (as you can tell even when I travel I try to get some fitness classes in and experiment)

I also dragged Gary to goat yoga this weekend and he fell in love with it…. I went without him in June, and I don’t think he understood the hype when I told him about it, but now he knows and he really had a great time. They are amazing creatures and to be able to practice in THEIR space is just a really humbling and playful experience. Check out http://www.madlavenderfarm.com for more info on goat yoga!

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Aside from all that everything else is going great, my health coaching flier will be launched very soon and in another 2 weeks I will begin to see clients! (feel free to message me if you are interested in my program offers, there’s rates for all different needs and they can be done via skype, phone call, or in person)

I am getting my Barre  Teaching certification in September!! (and I get to stay down the shore that weekend for a mini-vacay)

And I will be away in Cape May for labor day weekend enjoying a well deserved relaxation on the beach weekend.

ANDDDDDDDDDDDDD in October I will be teaching yoga in Costa Rica….. dreams are starting to come together and I am so happy to be sharing it all with you. Keep your dreams alive no matter how big or small!!!