Vegan Chocolate Ganache

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Chocolate anything is pretty much my favorite, and ganache makes it to the top of my most adored dessert tricks list. Why? Because you can take any dessert, top with ganache, and suddenly have something magical.  Plus, this stuff is super versatile. Pour it for a drip, whip it for frosting, or roll it for truffles…you just can’t go wrong. And it only takes about 10 minutes to make. You see…kitchen magic.
:: VEGAN CHOCOLATE GANACHE ::
8 oz dark chocolate or enjoy life chocolate chips
1/2 cup coconut fat*
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
*full fat canned coconut milk stored in the fridge over night, fat skimmed off the top
Measure chocolate chips into a glass bowl and set aside.
In a medium sauce pan bring coconut fat to a boil.
Once boiling, pour over chocolate chips and whisk until completely melted.
Stir in coconut oil until melted.
Add vanilla and salt.
Pour onto cake, tart, cupcakes, pie, ice cream – whatever – immediately, or place in the fridge to harden for truffles or frosting.

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Listening to Your Inner Voice a story for me

Whether you call it your inner voice, intuition, or highest self, it’s all the same. That little tinge of knowing we carry through each decision truly has the capacity to lead us straight to our most vibrant lives. Today I’m going to share a story about how I came to find and trust my inner voice, and where that guidance has lead me.

Let’s rewind to January of this year. We were still in Port Townsend, WA getting ready for our road trip to California. I was feeling wildly overwhelmed with anxiety. After a year of traveling the fear of falling started to set in. For some reason, perhaps because this move was the ‘real’ one, I was terrified.  I meditated often on what I was feeling, set wide open intentions that helped me feel a little calmer, and I was a Craigslist savage hunting for work and a place to live. Before we left PT I mentioned to one of my friends that I knew I wasn’t going to be baking, or working in coffee, or even teaching. I was going to be doing something very different. Something I had never done before.  I said that, but continued to look for jobs in the vein of what I’d always done.

Fast forward to month of living in the Bay Area. To busy my mind while I still didn’t have work, I began taking some online anatomy and physiology courses. They were something I had always wanted to take, but didn’t have time. Since they were free I had absolutely no excuse not to do them. Point 1 for my inner voice. She kept telling me to work, but what I didn’t quite understand at first was that I needed to work on a project for myself. I needed to lay the foundation for something that I couldn’t have seen from where I was standing.

I had continued to apply to posts on Craigslist while I worked through these classes and one post in particular jumped out at me. It was so different than every other listing. This post was for an executive assistant position with a coding school and throughout the post were questions that had to be answered along with forwarding a resume. In that moment I was pretty clueless about the details of what an executive assistant did, and what a coding was, but I had an overwhelming urge to apply. I heard back shortly after contacting them and did a Skype interview a few days later. After a week of not hearing anything after that Skype meeting, I pushed the job to the back of my mind and continued on with classes.

One day after a morning of classes and a solid week of feeling somewhat stress-free, anxiety began to creep in again. I hoped in the shower to wash away some of that dark energy and heard my sweet intuition chime in again. This time the message was very clear. She said, ‘stop worrying, something will come from a friend’ [point 2 inner voice, ego 0] and I kid you not when I say that afternoon I received a text from a friend who had the perfect opportunity for me. My friend met a lady who runs a gluten free wholesale company and was looking for a right hand woman ASAP. I immediately contacted her, and we made plans to meet the following week.

In that time the coding school e-mailed me back and asked for a second interview in person. Now, I should note here that the position I had initially applied for had been filled, but they wanted to bring me in to discuss a few other options within the company.  Somehow the interviews for the bakery & the coding school fell on the exact same day with a few hours between each. First up was the coding school. This was my first time interviewing from something outside of a kitchen/coffee job and I was pretty terrified. The battle of ego V intuition was on. Each time the ego landed a punch I felt completely under qualified and honestly quite stupid. But then my inner voice – my truth – came back with a swift sweep of comfort. Surprisingly enough my strange range of experience seemed to fit perfectly for what the company was looking for and I left the interview feeling pretty awesome.

Next up was the bakery. That wasn’t stressful at all. I knew I was beyond qualified. Gluten free baking, after all, is what I do – err, one of the things I do – really well.  During my ‘interview’ I got to eat cookies and enjoy a really awesome conversation with the owner. Now, since the company was so small and I was the first employee, the position was only going to be part time. That kinda stressed me out because I knew financial responsibility was resting on my shoulders while Daren is in school. Point 3 for my inner voice. She YELLED at me to take the job. ‘YES! This is it. Forget the part time stuff, that’ll work out. Just take it. You need it.” Note that last part, the ‘you need it’ part, I wouldn’t understand that for a while. So I said yes.

A few days later I got another e-mail from the coding school asking for another interview for a slightly different department. I informed them that I had taken a position with the bakery, wished them all the best, and closed the door – so I thought. The next e-mail I received from them said if I ever needed a job to contact them and they would love to find room in the company for me. That totally knocked me back a bit. Wow! They’re really interested. I was pretty amazed and shocked. My next move was to ask if they would be interested in bringing me in part time. Point 4 for that intuition – ‘I’ [as in my ego] would’ve never gone for that. That move was came with pure guidance. And guess what! They said yes!

So here was my ‘perfect’ schedule: office 3 days a week, bakery 2 days a week, weekends with the pooch and dood…it was great.

About a month in though she came back to me. She told me to get clear on my goals. Get so clear on my goals that nothing could break my focus. You should know that loosing focus has been a common theme for me. Since I have a lot of passions and can move in so many different directions, it’s easy for me to get swept up in other people’s ideas of what I should do. Big lesson for me here: just because I can do something, doesn’t mean I need to. 

What I realized was that what I wanted and what I was doing was quite different. Like the wheels on my car were pointing in different directions so I couldn’t actually move forward. I got clear on my goals…oh boy did I get clear. I made a vision board so I wouldn’t forget what I was working toward. I simplified what I wanted and laid out steps to achieve my goals. As hard as it was to stand in my truth and make the breaks I needed to, I did it. Fives points to the intuitive self!

So now, here I am. A student at the National Holistic Institute studying massage therapy, working toward teaching Balinese orphans yoga this winter, and working full time at the coding school. What I couldn’t see before was that I needed to take those anatomy courses to start watering a seed I had planted long ago, and I needed one last job in a professional kitchen to truly close the door. I know now where I’m going. I don’t feel like I missing anything. I don’t feel rushed. I feel centered and grounded and so full of gratitude for the possibilities ahead. I am here, present, for the first time. Not looking too far ahead to what my next step is. Just enjoying the space of being a student and supporting others.

A-ho, my loves!

4 Steps to Honor Your Intuitive Self

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Whether you call it your inner voice, intuition, or highest self, it’s all the same. That little tinge of knowing we carry through each decision truly has the capacity to lead us straight to our most vibrant lives. Today I’m going to share a [very abridged] story of how I came to find and trust my inner voice, where that guidance has lead me, and 4 easy tips to find your own intuitive self. 

 Moving to San Francisco in January brought a lot of fear and anxiety to me. I was worried, so worried about everything falling into place, but knew deep within it would all work out.

Point 1 for my inner voice came when I was out of work and full of anxiety. She kept telling me to work, but what I didn’t quite understand at first was that I needed to work on a project for myself. I needed to lay the foundation for something that I couldn’t have seen from where I was standing. She didn’t want me to work for money just yet. No, instead I started some anatomy classes and found the work I needed for myself.

Next she said, ‘stop worrying, a job will come from a friend.’ And later that day a friend presented me with a wild opportunity. Two points to intuition.

Point 3 for my inner voice came in as a shout. She said ‘YES! This job [as head of operations working only part time a small gluten free wholesale company] was it. Forget the money worries, that’ll work out. Just take it. You need it.” Now that last part, the ‘you need it’ part, I wouldn’t understand that for a while. So I said yes.

I also took a part time opportunity as an executive assistant at a coding school. That position came with a lot of guidance as well…but it’s quite a long story.

About a month into my new, seeming perfect schedule she came back to me. She told me to get clear on my goals. Get so clear on my goals that nothing could break my focus. My big lesson here was just because I can do something, doesn’t mean I need to.

What I realized was that what I wanted and what I was doing was quite different. Like the wheels on my car were pointing in different directions so I couldn’t actually move forward. As hard as it was to stand in my truth and make the breaks I needed to, I did it. Fives points to the intuitive self!

Now, I feel centered and grounded in the work I’m doing. I feel like I’m actually moving forward. I’m holding the vision of what I want in the future, but am firmly planted in the now.

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  :: how to find your intuitive self ::

1. be still, listen, feel, and open up. 

Have a conversation with you inner self while you meditate. Ask for guidance and clearly say ‘I intend to listen to your wisdom. I trust your knowledge and fully expose my path to your guidance.’ One of my favorite daily affirmations that really helped in this transition is this:

“I intend to learn the lesson that is most important for my soul’s growth. I intend to thrive physically, financially, spiritually, and mentally in whatever I do. I intend to feel safe and supported. I trust the process of learning. I hold my hearts desires and passions close, and open to all possibilities.”

2. simplify what you want.

Allow your goals to be big enough to push you out of your comfort zone, but attainable. Simple goals will lead to manifestation and clear movement forward.

3. lay out steps to achieve your goals.

Once you simplify what it is you want, make a plan of action. Figure out exactly what you need to do to make it happen. Creating space to achieve smaller goals will make the larger goal feel possible. For example, my goal to go to massage school seemed almost impossible from where I was. Once I broke it down though, I made it happen IN ONE WEEK!

This is what my list looked like:

INTENTIONS
fund school fully, with ease
start classes ASAP
easily spread my energy between work, school, love, and play
have no conflict between Bali and class [more on this one later ;) ]

TO DO
start full time at the coding school/ leave the bakery
tour the school and sit in on a class
meet with admissions + apply
fill out FAFSA
start class!

Check, check, and check!

4. make a vision board

To me, this is super important. I can easily loose focus, so seeing what it is I want and what steps I need to make everyday really helps me make progress. I sept up my vision board above my alter. Each day I take a moment to sit in front of it and read everything. My board is full of quotes, affirmations, goals, and intentions. Reading that everyday has been such a powerful tool for progress.

I hope you all find that sweet, sweet intuition within. Blessings on your journey deep.

Practicing Ahimsa + Onzie Spring Collection

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Hello, my loves! It feels so good to finally be back. The past few months have been a wild journey for me deep into myself and into an amazing new life. More on that later though. Today I want to talk about Ahimsa.

The foundation of yoga were recorded in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali in roughly 200AD. This sacred text provides an 8 step path toward controlling the mind and bridging the gap between the physical and energetic realms where we exist.

The 8 fold path consists of:
1. Yama – the value you hold for how you interact with your world.
2. Niyama – the values you hold for how you treat yourself.
3. Asana – the practice of postures [the piece of yoga we're most familiar with in the West.]
4. Pranayama – the managing and directing of your energy/life force, often through breath technique.
5. Pratyahara – the synchronization of your senses and thoughts.
6. Dharana – attaining one-pointed concentration.
7. Dhyana – deep meditation.
8. Samadhi – awakening to and absorption in Spirit.

Each section is further broken down into pieces. Within Yama we find the practice of Ahimsa – non violence. This practice can be interpreted in many way, but I like to pull it into my yoga practice through non violence to my body.

For me the practice of Ahimsa is extremely important in my asana practice. It’s easy to get caught up in the visual aspects of yoga. We see amazing yogis on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, etc. and it’s hard not to compare ourselves to what we see. Yes, even teachers. My body has travelled a long way down a hard road of recovery, yet still I push myself beyond my limits.

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Many of you know that ten years ago I fractured my back. I didn’t listen to my body then, didn’t even know I could actually, and allowed scar tissue to build around the injury by continuing to dance competitively for 6 months. Because of the scar tissue, the fracture wasn’t able to heal properly and is still present in my body today. While rehabilitating I began compensating and set up some unfortunate alignment patterns.

Let’s jump ahead to this past December. I had been teaching 9 classes a week, demoing on a cold body [boooo!] and still unaware of these insane alignment issues I had been carrying for 10 years.  By the end of a month I was unable to walk without intense pain, let alone practice asana. Enter Ahimsa.

It was easy for me to tear myself apart when this happened. I felt horrible, and boy does the ego love that. I wanted to be back on my mat more than anything, moving the way I used to – doing arm balances and advanced postures – but I couldn’t and still can’t.

After months of beating myself up, seeing yogis on IG rocking incredible postures I had a little breakthrough. It’s OKAY if I don’t do those poses. It’s okay if I NEVER do those poses. It’s okay if all I can do is a modified sun salutation. IT’S OKAY.

With the practice of non-violence to the body we can create the space we need to allow our bodies to move and create in a way that is safe and supported.

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So how does this practice apply to the Onzie spring collection? Well, it is the best example I have to show you all my journey.

When Onzie asked if I would write another piece on their line I was so excited. I LOVE their cloths. I was also a little worried. I thought, ‘damn, my practice looks like shit. How am I going to photograph their clothing – which is worn by incredible yogis who can do things I can only dream of –  and make them happy?’

That, of course, was my initial thought. A thought rooted in fear and ‘you’re not good enough.’ But then I thought, they asked ME. They want to work with ME. Not with an idea of what I should be, but with who I am. So I went out and did what I could, which was a lot of sitting, some backbends [which are surprising fantastic for my body unlike forward folds] and some falling.

I had FUN. I enjoyed the shoot and I’m really happy with the outcome.

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Now let’s talk Onzie

You guys know my love affair with this company. Everything they make, every piece of the process is done in Los Angeles, and you can wear everything in the water. Their spring line is even better than I expected. Awesome new patterns and my favorite piece they’ve ever put out: the sweetheart leotard.

Now, the sweetheart leotard is a little tough for yoga because of the full open back. I like to pair mine with the elastic bra top for some added coverage when I’m doing any kind of movement, OR you can rock it as a swimsuit. Double win.

I also got a pair of their long leggings in the new skyline patter and have a hard time taking them off. I’m a shorty coming in at a whopping 4’11 and the pants are little long in a great way. They wrap around the ankle and rest just below the ball of my foot, which is my preferred way to rock leggings. The pants are light but strong, which is always a big deal for me. My leggings take a beating so I need something that holds up without weighting me down. After months of wearing my long leggings at least 3 times a week, and many washes, my leggings still look and feel great. They haven’t faded at all and the seams are still perfectly intact -even on the inner thigh. Plus the bottom of the legging that wraps over my heel hasn’t worn AT ALL. They get mega bonus points for that one.

And washing them is super easy. I wash mine on delicate in the washer and hang them to dry. Since their line is created to go into water, everything air dries super fast.

The Spring Collection is full of bright colors, AWESOME patterns and some new styles. Plus their ‘Be Your Own Superhero’ campaign is so on point with the work this spring is bringing. Find your self-worth, root into your personal power and let it shine in your movement. A clothing company that helped me find ahimsa… what more can you ask for in a connection like this? Thank you, Onzie!

l o v e  +  l i g h t

so glad to be back!

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Lunar New Year: Year of the Wooden Horse

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Happy Lunar New Year! If you took part in any celebrations last night, I hope you had an incredible time. Last night marks the official beginning of the shift from the year of the water snake to the year of the wooden horse. With this transition comes many, many changes.

This New Year we’re moving from 2 consecutive water years into a year of wood. What exactly does that mean? Well, the last 2 years have been a time of diving deep to our internal darkness. It’s been a time of extreme introspection and hard fucking work. As we shift into the energy of the wooden horse, we’re hit with a fast paced surge of extroverted movement. The Western School of Feng Shui says “there might not be a bigger shift of energies in the entire 60 year wheel of Chinese astrology than this one.”

This year is a year of growth, but not the deep painful growth we’ve been trudging through. This growth comes full of optimism, inspiration, and hope. This is the year of foundation building. The beginning of a new way of living. A year of tapping into our creativity & personal power, and living our purpose. After spending the past 2 years in the darkness, this growth comes like a plant sprouting out of the soil. As the year progresses we will reach closer & closer to living our lives in a passionate, loving way, just as a sprout reaches for the sun. And it’s going to happen fast!

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We feel this growth from the element of wood but we also have another energy joining us this year and it comes from the Yang horse. This horse brings the element of fire. It’s passionate, powerful, and intuitive. The energy of the Yang horse is a constant reminder to follow your inner guidance, your higher voice, your gut…whatever the heck you call it, just listen to it!

Remember, this year is going to move fast. Dig out the craziest, most epic version of your life that you can, shoot far beyond what you ever imagined was possible in the past and hold on. If you listen to that inner voice you will have an incredible ride. A heart filling, mind blowing, creatively explosive ride.

If you feel like you’re getting off track or feeling overwhelmed, read this Eckhart Tolle quote:

“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.”

This quote is always the perfect reminder for me and I hope it does the same for you.

Major love to you all on your journey to passion.
A-ho!

Spicy Citrus and Parsnip Smoothie + Building Your Internal Fire

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Today I’m going to share some tips for building & stoking your internal fire. Not only is this a great way to balance out the yin energy of the winter, but it’s also a fantastic way to cultivate your confidence, self-worth, and will.

Our focus is on the third chakra, Manipura, located in the solar plexus just above the belly button. Manipura is your power center. It is the house of your internal fire and there are many ways to activate this energy center.

The best way to externally engage Manipura is with heat; weather it’s flowing through a vigorous workout or eating spicy food. Before we talk about how to tap into this space, let’s dive a little deeper into what our solar plexus chakra does.

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Head over to Tasty Yummies for the full post packed with yoga tips, this awesome spicy smoothie, and some affirmation work for Manipura. While you’re there, give Beth a little love while she wraps up her final week of yoga teacher training!

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Food to Raise Consciousness

Dain[photo courtesy of paul nine-o]

“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” Nikola Tesla

Before we talk about food and energy, let’s get to the bottom of energy itself. If we look at the sub-atomic level of anything we find pure energy. This energy vibrates creating a field around it. This field acts like a magnet pulling in and attaching to energy of the same frequency. The vibration becomes more & more intense as more energy gets compressed into the field. This can be said for all things from our kitchen table to our bananas, and the color purple to your body.

:: COLORS TO ACTIVATE ENERGY ::

Oil and food colouring - 1[photo courtesy of Leigh Feaviour]

In our bodies we have countless channels which prana/chi/energy flows. You may be familiar with the term for these channels as they relate to Chinese medicine; meridians. In traditional Indian medicine, these highways are referred to as nadis. Although we have an uncountable amount of nadis in our bodies, there are 3 main channels. Sushumna is the main nadi, running from the crown to the base of the spine. Ida & Pingala represent yin & yang or male & female energies. They wrap around Shshumna and intersect at each chakra center.

Chakra means wheel and each chakra acts as an energy center. There are 7 main chakras, plus smaller centers around the body including the feet & hands. Looking at a diagram of the chakras you will notice each center is shown using a color, a symbol, and a circle with petals. The number of petals & the color of the chakra represent the speed the circle/chakra spins. Darker colors & lower numbers of petals mean a slower spinning/lower vibrating chakra.

So how does this relate to our food? Well, we can tap into these centers by incorporating foods that matches the vibration of the chakra we’re working to open. Remember, these vibrations act as magnets and they become stronger as they attach to more of the same frequency. That means if you’re feeling fear try eating some beets to tap into your root chakra, Muladhara. Or if you’re having difficulty communicating, try eating some blueberries to connect to Vishuddha, your throat chakra.

THE MAIN CHAKRAS
[for more information on the chakra, click here]

1
MULADHARA
base of spine
physical vitality, security, and survival.
red

2
SWADHISTANA
low belly
desire, emotions, intimacy- center of sexual energy.
orange

3
MANIPURA
solar plexus
creation, perception and projection of Self- i.e. self worth, will, and confidence.
yellow

4
ANAHATA
heart
universal love, compassion, empathy.
green

5
VISSHUDHA
throat center
communication, & creative expression.
blue

6
AJNA
forehead [3rd Eye]
visualization, & intuition.
indigo

7
SAHASRARA
crown of head
spirituality, wisdom, & the highest self.
violet or white

Need some help finding balance in the chakras? Try my 7 Day Juice + Yoga Chakra Cleanse.

:: DETOXING ::

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For many of us, included myself, we were raised on diets that were, well…empty. I was brought up on fast food & casseroles, boxed dinners & frozen, mushy vegetables. I didn’t even know what spinach truly looked like until I was in High School. And what’s left after all of those years of eating poorly? Junk!

Once I began moving into a place of awareness I began to shift my eating habits. I know as much as the next person just how difficult it is to change. My best advice is to start with a cleanse. Clear away the leftover junk & hit reset. Not only will the body feel cleaner, but you will also have an extra push to continue eating properly.

AID IN DETOXIFICATION

When working with a cleanse, it’s best to involve a naturopath or nutritionist to help with supplement support.

Here is a small list of foods that will activate the liver. The liver has many jobs ranging from processing nutrients from the small intestine, to producing bile which helps in digesting fat. But most importantly, the liver detoxifies harmful substances in the body, making it a great area to focus on stimulating during a cleanse.

LIVER ACTIVATING FOODS

Garlic
Avocados
Turmeric
Apples
Celery
Beets
Dark Leafy Greens
Walnuts
Green Vegetables
Burdock Root
Dandelion Root

I would also suggest eating more fermented foods including kimchi, kombucha, yogurt, and sauerkraut. Fermented foods add beneficial bacteria to your digestive system, making food absorption easier.

:: MINDFULLY PRODUCED FOOD ::

Psychedelic Deer[photo courtsey of TEVR]

Another way to lift your vibration is to eat foods that have been mindfully produced. As we know, all matter holds a vibration and each emotion carries a vibration as well. Animals are no different. They feel fear and sadness, happiness and security and although it may be a stretch to imagine, their emotions can effect yours.

Have you ever held factory farm meat next to locally raised meat? Everything looks different, from color to texture and size. That is no coincidence. The difference is health, an overall wellbeing of the animal before it died.

Eating mindfully produced food doesn’t just include animals. It extends into everything form vegetables to honey, milk, eggs, and everything else. On a more basic note, it’s much easier for the body to digest clean food. Food is a way to heal, nourish, and fuel the body. It can bring us to our optimal health, releasing aliments and creating space to focus on deeper [spiritual] progress.

:: HEIGHTEN THE VIBRATION ::

geo[illustration courtesy of daren magee]

When we eat it’s very common to scarf down the meal without much thought. Perhaps you’re in a rush, tired, or simply just lost in thought. It’s possible though to make a huge impact on the food we’re eating, and subsequently our emotions, by taking small steps to find awareness.

EASY WAYS TO LIFT THE VIBRATION OF FOOD

POSITIVE THOUGHTS Whenever you’re handling food, think positive thoughts. That goes for shopping, cooking, and eating.

SLOW DOWN take at least 30 minutes to eat your meal. Chew slowly, taste your food, and be present. Focus your mind on the food you’re eating.

GRATITUDE Once you begin to focus on the food you’re eating, allow gratitude to flow. Give thanks and appreciation for what you have.

BLESSINGS Take a moment to send love to your food. If you’re eating meat, send a blessing to the animal’s soul. If you’re eating vegetables, send a blessing to the farmer & the soil. Infuse your food with love & gratitude and those emotions will infuse right back into you.

The more we choose mindful behavior & awareness, the higher our vibration becomes. Raising your frequency will bring you into a new realm of consciousness, bringing peace, compassion, and happiness to your life.