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)




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!


Happy New year!!!

Ok folks it’s been quite some time since I’ve updated this blog. My apologies… I’m deff not the best at this social media stuff but I’ll get there I swear!!! Lol

I hope everyone had an amazing holiday whatever it is you celebrate. New years are always great motivation to start over, rid all the gunk from the year before, and create new goals! I refrain from using resolutions because that word is always so stressful and it implies something wasn’t working previously, and that is deff not always the case.

So let’s talk about 2018 plans and how you can keep these goals in check.

Try this little activity:

Write down 3 to 4 goals you have for this year, they can be as simple or complex as you want, you can always add to this list later. So don’t freak out if you only have 1 goal right now.

Once you have these goals then write down 3 to 5 ways/steps you think you can achieve them. So for example if you want to learn a new language, perhaps some steps would be take a class, buy a book, use audio tapes, and maybe eventually be ready to travel to that country! If you’re having trouble with finding ways to achieve these goals, skip it and let’s move on to the next step.

Next, list 3 to 5 reasons why these goals are important to you. What they mean, why do you even have them? Sometimes we get so caught up in what we’re suppose to do or be based on the media or what’s on the cover of a magazine that we make resolutions or goals that are not important to us; we keep it up for a month or so but by the spring we’re bored, hate it or don’t want to put in all this effort for something we realize we didn’t even truly want in the first place. So for example last year my goal was to try at least 2 new recipes a month (could be anything dessert, dinner, lunch)… My reasoning was to keep the tradition I had with my friend before he passed away from leukemia. It meant a lot to me so it was really easy to keep it up. Don’t stress if the reasons you have aren’t that deep but try to really figure out what you value and be true to that. It will be a lot better than the typical “lose 10 lbs bc social media says I should be a size 2 at my height”.

Lastly, keep this list on the fridge or somewhere you always look, maybe a desk, a bedroom mirror, wherever it is… Read these to yourself at least 1 to 2x a week if not daily…. Remember your reason why…. If something changes along the way…. Write it down… You can always add to your list or make changes…. At the end of each month or maybe even quarterly (your choice) take a look at the progress you’ve made and write down 3 successes you’ve had. Remember that your goals can’t happen without you!!! Give it your all because you deserve the best.

In case you were wondering….

My goals for this year:

– use my new cork blocks for yoga especially for strength building and advanced poses.

– decrease the amount of sugar I eat

– start the application process for my masters, including taking all the necessary exams

– meditate more
I’ll let you know how this progress develops!!!! Stay tuned.

Comment below and let me know your goals and if you need help achieving them!!!

How do you do it?

This weekend I got my Barre Teacher Training certification from Tula (the same place I did my yoga training). It was absolutely incredible! Megan, the teacher has the best energy I’ve felt in so long and she was so extremely knowledgeable  on the subject between anatomy, injuries, pregnancies, you name it, she know how to adjust for it!

When going in to class on Saturday I ran into a friend of mine and fellow teacher, Erica (we got our yoga certificates together, and she is fantastic!), she asked me “How do you do it all? Where do you get your energy from? How do you have time for everything you do?” This is a big question, and it’s funny because I generally just say I don’t know, or I just try my hardest to make a difference for others…. but it was something I put a lot of thought into this weekend.

To backtrack a little… what exactly is it that I do everyday that she’s so curious about? Or what is Erica talking about?…. I work a 9-5 job in NYC as a fragrance chemist, but commuting from NJ does mean I’m up at 5:30 am and home at 6:30 pm (that in itself can be exhausting)…. 2 nights a week I teach my powerflow yoga class from 6:45-8 pm, I often wind up subbing at least 1 more time almost every single week around that same time, on Sundays I also teach a vinyasa class at 9 am, I am taking online courses for my nutrition degree that come out with a new lecture every Monday, I was getting my Barre Certification, I am teaching in Costa Rica next month, planning a yoga retreat, writing a yoga program, health coaching on the weekends, and somehow in between all of that I find time for hockey and football season, spending time with loved ones, and oh yeah even taking some fitness classes as well (TRX, yoga, barre, etc)…. Well….how? I almost don’t always know the answer myself… it seems like I am crazy, and that there’s not enough hours in a day for all of that to get done, and the truth is sometimes there isn’t!

I think part of my personality has always done better with having something to do. I am not someone who can binge watch a show or read a whole book in one weekend, no matter how good either are… I don’t often like to sit still…. it is rare that I ever just stay home for an entire weekend; it is not for me… but with that being said, it is probably exactly what I need sometimes…. Developing a balance between the two is a huge challenge of mine that I am trying to overcome. I often forget to take a little time for myself, whether it’s a massage, a weekend getaway, or just an afternoon of doing simply nothing… it is well needed, and I will get better at it with time… The first step is a little self reflection which I am making a point to take, especially each time I notice an important question like this come up…

I don’t think of any of the things I mentioned above as work…. I love my science, always have, hence me continuing school for further science degrees… the commute, I could do without, but for now that’s ok. Teaching yoga, really comes from the heart with me, it is never something I find stressful, I love my students, and knowing that I have made such an impact on so many people with their injuries, relationships, and self care really always reminds me that this is why I do it. Don’t get me wrong it is not as easy day, nor does it mean I stay calm 24/7 or never break down, I am human… but the times where I am losing my cool, I look inside and remember why it is I started on this path.

The energy I have can be overwhelming to others at times, maybe even intimidating… I am the type of person who gets excited about everything, and not everyone understands this… I’ve been called “annoyingly happy” many times and even told in the workforce “I cannot be taken seriously” because of it…. well…. maybe they’re right, maybe I am a little annoying, maybe I am too excited about the smaller things…. but ya know what? I don’t care! That is what makes me who I am…. my passion is always all in… if it’s not, then what’s the point?

It is safe to say that sometimes I am completely exhausted and drained, but I never really let that show. I put on a smile and let everyone think I am perfectly fine all the time, but it is pretty obvious when I am not… The struggle is most deff. real with trying to be there for everyone all the time, making sure everyone I care about is happy, making sure my students and clients are safe, healthy, and thriving…. but I wouldn’t change it for anything in this world. I could sit here and tell you all my problems about my bills and family drama, or relationship struggles… but all of that comes and goes…. we all have ups and downs, highs and lows, this is inevitable, but finding passion….. now that is something we have to look within for and no one should ever take that away from you… whatever it is that you are passionate about, please go and do it! Do not let anyone’s negative opinions stop you, especially your own…. do not ever feel silly for being passionate about something, a mistake I made for so long b/c “I wasn’t serious enough” , have your breakdowns, but know that you are enough, no matter where you are or what you’re doing. If your heart is in the right place, you will always be right where you need to be and nothing will stop you.

The light in me shines, because of the light that shines in you; together we light up the sky. From my heart to yours, Namaste! Xoxo




Ok folks, it’s been a hectic summer with a bunch of travel and my fall schedule is extremely packed with amazing things.

For starters, I am hosting my very first yoga retreat in Stowe, Vt. From October 26th to October 29th. It is for all levels, and will be a fun quick re-charge of the batteries. Vermont is the perfect place to be around this time of year, the colors are gorgeous and the weather is wonderful.


The price is $500/person and will include the following:

Thursday Night: Arrive around 6:30 pm ( for those who can get off work early, great, if not, feel free to arrive a little later)

7:30 – 8:30 pm Yin Yoga class

8:45pm & on, get to know one another, snacks and wine provided (feel free to bring your own If you’d like).


7:15 -8:15 am Sunrise Yoga Class

9:00 am – Breakfast

10:00 am – Hiking the pinnacle (feel free to bring snacks)

Lunch will be at your own leisure/own expense, the afternoon is yours to explore/relax

5:30 pm Yoga Flow Class

7:00 pm – Dinner and Recipe Sharing/Nutrition info


7:15 – 8:15 am Sunrise Yoga Class

9:00 am – Breakfast

12:00 pm Stowe Village and Von Trapp Family Lodge (outdoor reforming arts center and brewery)

5:30 pm Partner Yoga Class

7:00 pm – Dinner


7:15 – 8 :15 am Group Meditation and Goodbyes


THERE ARE ONLY 10 SPOTS AVAILABLE, FIRST COME FIRST SERVE!!! For those interested please email me at stephaniegarafola@gmail.com and let me know if you have any special dietary needs/allergies.


And then if you’re interested in all my crazy acro yoga activities on Sunday September 24th I will be teaching with my partner Melissa at http://www.pearlyogafitness.com in keyport, nj. Feel free to bring a friend or come solo as we learn the movements of acro, learn to trust one another, and a wonderful thai massage at the end! See you on the mat!

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And it is exactly 1 month that I will be in Costa Rica teaching at a resort for one whole week! I cannot wait, I have so many plans to see the volcanoes, mountains, jungle, beaches, and horseback riding. This experience is going to be life-changing!

More exciting news to come, stay tuned for more fall events and workshops.

And as for todays snack recipe I made Chewy Fudgy Brownie Energy Bites. The recipe is sooo simple and they are deff better warm then room temperature, so put them in the microwave or toaster oven!

Chewy Fudgy Brownie Energy Bites:


  • 3/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup pure
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder, unsweeted or 1/4 cup raw cacao
  • chocolate chips (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, roll into little balls, refrigerate and store. Can freeze for up to 1 month, and can heat slightly to make them extra chewy and fudgy! Enjoy!











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!!!

Happy 4th!

Happy 4th of July everyone! I hope wherever you are you are having a great day. I have had the luxury of having a 4 day weekend and it’s been well needed! As most of you know I work a good 65+ hours a week doing all of the things I love but sometimes we need that extra relaxation time. So what have I done all weekend!?!?

On Friday I had the amazing opportunity to teach glow in the dark yoga for a fun 2 hour workshop. We did some basic flow on our mats, got off the mats and worked with a partner and even did some strength building exercises to get us into some inversions!

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Saturday and Sunday I taught regular vinyasa flow classes (as I do every weekend) in the mornings and then spent the day relaxing. On Sunday we went up to bear mountain for a hike (was a little too hot for this so we did not get very far) and we saw Despicable Me 3…. was realllllllllllllllly cute! and we went to one of our favorite little spots to eat a meal out side called Catch on the Hudson in Haverstraw, NY (check it out, it’s well worth it!). For the 4th they do fireworks as well so it was a nice extra bonus, but the food is amazing and speaks for itself. See some photos below!

Yesterday and today have been more relaxing and cleaning up around the house while getting some good BBQ foods in. Today I made  the absolute greatest breakfast ever!!! I have already posted on Instagram some amazing photos and now I’m going to post the recipe as promised!

Matcha Waffles!!!! Not only are they so easy to make they were even more delicious than I expected. As someone who loves to bake and cook, the texture and consistency of a waffle is really everything… too thick and it’s gross, too thin and they burn… we’ve all had those mess ups! These however were perfect! And to be honest, when I searched for recipes it took a while to find one that didn’t have all these strange ingredients or extra steps or tons of sugar… but once I found it… I thought, I have to give this a try I love matcha iced lattes and ice cream… how can this be bad? I feared that the flour, milk, and eggs might over-power the matcha and not be enough but I was so wrong, the taste was really there and nothing over-powered the other flavors. They were fluffy and delicious.

So let’s get to the recipe:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour (I used regular, but I’m sure you can use whole wheat)
  • 1 tbsp. matcha powder (make sure it is culinary grade, will say on the package)
  • 1 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp. vanilla extra (I used a whole teaspoon)

Turn on the waffle iron and use butter or oil to grease the pan. In the meantime add the flour and matcha to a bowl, mix thoroughly, allow the flour to take on a green color. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Pour into waffle maker and then enjoy! Super easy and delicious! I topped mine with some mangoes, kiwis, and white nectarines, and maple syrup… you can use any fruits you’d like or none at all… I contemplated adding my dark chocolate peanut butter to them, but this time I just wanted to see how they tasted on their own (I shall try that tomorrow). Freeze or refrigerate the left over waffles and enjoy them again tomorrow… if you don’t eat them all right away. This batter makes about 10-12 waffles depending on the size of your waffle maker.

I hope everyone else is enjoying their day and weekend and if you make these waffles be sure to mention me on Instagram #namastedoingyoga or @namastedoingyoga can’t wait to see what you do with them!