un aguacate a la vez

holistic

5 Cheap and Easy Ways to Have a Spa Retreat at Home

wellness, Podcast, LifestyleMaría Elena RodríguezComment
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If you've been listening to my new podcast, Un aguacate a la vez, which I co-host with my friend Silvia Vallejo, you may have noticed that lately I've been reaaaally into self-care. I just keep coming back to this thought over and over again: Self Care is the new luxury. You don't need to have a trust fund, a fancy home or a sports car; you just need TIME, time for the most important person in your life: yourself. What better way to celebrate yourself than with self-care? So if for any reason you can't getaway this spring break, here are some ideas that will help you have a rejuvenating and luxurious experience at home. The best part? You can do this by yourself or with a loved one. Enjoy!

1. Turn off all your electronics

Want to feel renewed after this experience? I'm sorry but binge watching Netflix won't do it! Get rid of all the blue lights and electronics that take over our daily lives and make yourself a priority. This includes your phone, iPad, TV, Kindle, laptop and even your smart watch! 

Cost: $0

2. Give yourself an ayurvedic massage

Ever since I purchased The Idiot's Guide to Ayurveda by Sahara Rose, I can't stop giving myself spa rituals at home. My favorite ritual? Dry brushing and oil massaging! If you have been reading me since 2013, you know that I tried dry brushing a while back but I stopped very quickly (I even deleted that post lol). I guess it wasn't the right time for me. But now? I dry brush after showering for about ten minutes. It's not hard, all you need is a brush like this $5 one!  Here's a great article on how to dry brush. 

ayurveda sahara rose

After dry brushing, I grab some coconut oil or almond oil and spend a good 10-15 minutes just massaging the oil through my body. Why oil and not a cream moisturizer? According to Ayurveda, you shouldn't put anything in your body that you wouldn't eat because you don't want toxins in the biggest organ of your body, which is your skin. Makes sense doesn't it? Just as I thought putting oils on my face was crazy and now I can't get enough of it, I used to think that using oil as a body moisturizer was going to be a mess! But I promise it isn't, you just need to sit still for a few minutes afterwards to let the oil absorb and that's it! I like to do it right before bed and curl up with a book. You will wake up with the softest skin ever. 

By the way, you don't need any fancy department store body oil in order to achieve this. My favorite places to find good quality oils are Costco, Freshmart or my most recent obsession: iHerb.com, which I happen to have a discount code (AFU8252) if you want 5% off your purchase! You just need an organic, pure and unrefined oil (like this almond oil or this coconut oil) which are usually much cheaper than then ones branded as a beauty staple.

Cost: $0 if you already own a dry brush and oil. $30 at most if you need to purchase these items. Shop them here:

3. Practice Restorative or yin Yoga

I already talked about doing yoga at home in this post, but here's a more relaxing way of practicing yoga at home: Restorative or yin yoga. In the video above you will go over the basics of yin yoga, but it is basically a way to calm down and restore the body from all the stress. It is basically the rest day of your yoga practice. In order to achieve an easy and cheap restorative yoga practice at home you will need at least a yoga mat, a comfy pillow and a good connection to the internet for some free youtube videos like these. 

healing crystals

If you want to take your at home yoga practice to another level (I'm talking #BrujitasDeCloset level) here are some ideas:

You can read more about at home yoga practices here. 

Cost: You decide! My recommendation is to start with a good quality yoga mat and slowly start creating your yoga space. Here are some alternatives:

Cook your favorite food and invite your friends and family over

Self care is not just about enjoying yourself alone, it is also about enjoying yourself surrounded by the people who make you feel good. You know that dinner party you've been meaning to host for a while? Go ahead and plan it! Want to host a brunch with your friends? Do it! Whatever you do for your friends and family, make them feel special and let them know how happy you are to have them in your life. 

Cost: You decide! 

Go for a long walk or hike

Don't ever underestimate the power of bonding with nature. Nothing compares to feeling the breeze brush your skin and smelling the flowers and the grass as you go by. Why do you think I enjoy running outside so much?! It is a grounding experience that we should all prioritize at least 10 minutes daily. On your day off, dedicate an hour to this! Thank me later. 

Cost: You can buy a comfortable pair of tennis shoes for less than $100. (Brooks will always be my #1 choice!)

Finally I wanted to give a heads up that I will be beginning a 30 Day Ayurveda Challenge for Silvia this April, so let me know if you are interested in joining us! Make sure you follow our podcast, Un aguacate a la vez on  FacebookInstagram and Twitter so you don't miss when it happens.

Besos, 

María Elena

The Cruelty-Free Beauty Gift Guide

Beauty, wellness, LifestyleMaría Elena RodríguezComment
erbaviva sunscreen and natural deodorant

Disclaimer: We are very pleased to announce that this blog post is sponsored by GoodCubed.com. Nevertheless, all the opinions in this post are our own.

Being cruelty-free is kind of tricky. Ever since I made the conscious life choice of not supporting brands that still test on animals, I've had to spend some time researching products that fit these requirements before purchasing. But when the holiday season comes around it gets specially challenging. I want to buy people ethically correct products, but they are not always as accessible as I would wish. And lets be honest, when that VIB Sale comes around, all you want to do is find what fits best to your friends and family and be done with it! And to be really honest (as always), even though I've been completely cruelty-free these last years, my gifts haven't and that doesn't feel right. 

Enter GoodCubed.com. The team contacted me right after Hurricane María and while I was dying to check them out, I didn't have enough cell phone reception or electricity to properly review them. So when I finally had the chance to check them out and know their values, it was one of the few non-disaster-related good news that I received after the hurricanes.  According to their website, their "mission is to give animals a greater voice while connecting you with lovely, effective, clean beauty products that are 100% Cruelty-Free". Not only do they support and give cruelty-free brands a special retail space, they have an entire section dedicated to vegan products and women owned brands. Plus, 1% of all sales are donated to the Beagle Freedom Foundation. Talk about guilt free shopping! 

Needless to say, after all we've been through as Puertorricans, the only way it felt right to create a gift guide this Holiday Season was if it had a purpose behind it. And what better way to give back this season than buying your gifts from a store that already supports an amazing cause? Plus, this is a great way to introduce your friends to the cruelty-free movement! (More on this in the end of this post) 

So after browsing around in their website and testing out two of their products, I put together a gift guide that is perfect for stocking stuffers! 

PS: Read all the way to the end of this post so you learn all the ways you can save and accumulate rewards with GoodCubed.com. ;) 

CRUELTY-FREE BEAUTY WISH LIST

Cruelty-Free Beauty Gift Guide: 

Psst! Use this link to get a 10% discount code

 

For your sporty friend: Erbaviva Vegan Sunscreen (SPF 30)

If you follow me on Twitter you know I have been really into running these past few months. Since I run in the morning, I need a good sunscreen so I can take care of my skin while I take care of my health.

But as many of you know, many sunscreens have a lot of toxins and pore clogging ingredients which are without a doubt not good while you are sweating your a** off. This is why I decided to give this one a try. According to goodcubed.com this sunscreen is "naturally crafted with zinc oxide (a naturally occurring mineral), aloe, sunflower, olive, and jojoba oils and infused with organic essential oils of chamomile and lavender". Sounds beautiful doesn't it? It smells great also! So far, I've had no complains! 

erbaviva sunscreen

Grab Erbaviva Vegan Sunscreen (SPF 30)

 

For your holistic friend: Kaia Naturals Cold Pressed Deodorant

I don't know if it's just me, but I've had really bad experiences with natural deodorants. They almost never work on me and if they do, they have a really strong smell which I don't enjoy for my armpits. This is why I decided to give this one a chance as a last attempt with natural deodorants. 

But to my surprise, I haven't had any bad experiences with this one. For the past week my armpits have been dry and odorless. According to goodcubed.com, this deodorant is made with an ingredient called Ta-keh-su-mee, which is bamboo charcoal, "a time-honored Japanese secret for odor control and detoxification". Also, I read that this deodorant is great for getting out toxins and making you smell less with its constant use. Cool!

But I must say that you should store this deodorant in a cool place. With the heat and humidity in Puerto Rico I've had the experience of having this product smear all over my armpits and it's a bit messy. 

natural deodorant
natural deodorant
natural deodorant

Grab Kaia Naturals Cold Pressed Deodorant here

 

for your always on the go friend: Cocovit Vegan Coconut Water Hydro Mist

Cocovit is a brand that I have been meaning to try for a while now! You all know my obsession with facial sprays, so when I saw this vegan product I knew I had to include it in this gift guide. 

According to their website, what's great about this hydro mist is that it consists of coconut water, great for toning, Aloe Vera which helps heal and hydrate your skin and coconut oil which we all know is rich in antioxidants and healthy acids. Perfect for that friend who needs a pick-me-up every day. 

Grab the Cocovit Vegan Coconut Water Hydro Mist here

 

for your skincare obsessed friend: Cocovit Besan and Turmeric Vegan Polishing Grains

Not many of you know this but these past few months, specially after surviving two devastating hurricanes, I have been approaching a more holistic lifestyle. And while researching my holistic ways, I've found all the great health benefits about turmeric; from easing headaches to helping with inflammation and insomnia.

This is why I'm totally down to try this blend of besan and turmeric which promises to "gently lift impurities, remove dead cells and stimulate cellular turnover for soft and glowing skin". I know your skincare obsessed friend will be down to trying this interesting mix of natural ingredients! 

Grab the Cocovit Besan and Turmeric Vegan Polishing Grains here

 

for your makeup obsessed friend: EcoBella FlowerColor Natural Mascara

When it comes to mascara and being cruelty-free I haven't found a whole lot of options. I try to stay with the Better than Sex Mascara by Too Faced and the Buxon mascara. So when I saw Ecco Bella’s FlowerColor Natural Mascara I immediately added it to my wish list.

"We leave out the lacquer, shellac, and alcohol and put in natural clay and flower wax coated iron oxides. This mascara wraps around and lengthens lashes to their longest. It's water-resistant, but not waterproof. The brown and black mascara is gentle and can be easily removed. Excellent for sensitive eyes." 

Umm.. Sold! Plus, since it includes a mini mirror, it is a perfect stocking stuffer for your makeup obsessed friend! 

Grab the Ecobella Flower Color Natural Mascara here

 

for that picky and fancy person in your life: Erbaviva Relax and Awaken Body Lotions

I have so many sample body lotions that I hardly ever buy or enjoy one. This is why every once in a while I will invest in a little more luxurious one for my pampering routine, which is usually once a month (shame on me!).  What's special about these two is their aroma. One is made to be used in the morning or if you need a pick me up and the other one is meant for relaxation. I would use this last one in my feet right before putting on my fuzzy socks for bed.

And since is such a self-care item, I think it would be a great gift for someone fancy and picky... like my grandmother!

Grab the Erbaviva Relax Body Lotion here.

Grab the Erbaviva Awaken Body Lotion here

 

for that friend who needs pampering ASAP: The Soil and the Sea's Bamboo Charcoal Vegan Body Wash

No time or money for a spa day? No problem! This body wash has you covered. 

"Loaded with nourishing organic ingredients, including organic aloe vera, organic coconut oil, organic olive oil, organic sunflower oil, organic hemp seed oil, and dead sea salt, this body wash will leave your skin cleansed, revitalized, and moisturized." - goodcubed.com

I think we can all agree this is the gift you need to give that friend who is always looking out for others instead of herself.

Grab The Soil and theSea's Bamboo Charcoal Vegan Body Wash here.

 

Why shop at GoodCubed.com?

Rewards Program

  • When you join the Rewards Program you'll get 250 rewards points, called "Cubes" that you can use for a future purchase. 
  • Once you sign up, you will earn Cubes for every purchase.
  • You can also earn Cubes from sharing GoodCubed.com in your social media channels, reviewing products and your birthday. 
  • You can redeem your cubes for free shipping, or $5, $10 or even $25 off your purchase! 
  • Join here

 

Referrals:

Once you create an account at goodcubed.com, you will be given a unique link that will grant your friends 10% off their first purchase while giving you a $5 off discount for every friend that makes a purchase. Win/ win! So prepare for this shameless plug: If you are interested in a 10% discount in your first purchase and you want to support ambinityblog.com and more reviews like this, you can use this link. Thank you very much! :) 

Remember what I told you about getting your friends into the cruelty-free beauty world? This is your chance! 

 

Free Returns:

GoodCubed.com offers free returns for any unopened and unused products within forty-five (45) days of the date the order is placed.

 

They donate 1% of all your purchases to the Beagle Freedom Project

This project negotiates with laboratories across the world to secure the release of dogs and other animals and give them a chance at a normal home life after everything they have endured for vanity and scientific curiosity. Read about them here.

 

Their Cruelty-Free Pledge

You can read it here


We thank GoodCubed.com for sponsoring this post and supporting this cruelty-free beauty space. 

Until next time, 

María Elena