I’ve Moved!

I know, I know… It’s been a while. I promise I have a good excuse – I’ve been working on something exciting! Well, a few exciting things.

First, I’ve been spending a lot of time applying to graduate programs for occupational therapy! It’s something I’ve been anticipating since my freshman year of college and now it’s FINALLY happening!

Second, I’ve been working on a website! Yep – naturallyari.com is now a thing! It’s a newer, fresher version of this blog and I’m so excited! I have so many things planned for this website and I can’t wait for you all to be a part of it!

If you’re already following this blog, you should definitely go ahead and follow / subscribe to naturallyari.com. That’s where I’ll be blogging from here on out. If you’re not already following / subscribed to this blog, you should go follow / subscribe to naturallyari.com anyway ; )

I can’t wait to see you there!

Naturally,

Ari.

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A Letter to a Random Girl on Instagram

Dear Stranger,

I saw what you said.

“u know when all ur friends have there bellys out and your the chunky one in the middle, literally me :(“

If you don’t remember when or where you said this, I’ll help remind you. A few days ago, you posted a comment on a photo that a well-known company shared. The company shared a picture of 15 girls wearing their latest workout clothing line. These girls were ending a weekend of a lifetime, making sure to thank this company for believing in their community and for sponsoring this incredible weekend. These 15 girls were my friends and myself. The chunky one in the middle was literally ME.

I’m not going to sit here and pretend that reading your comment didn’t hurt. I’m not going to act like I didn’t read it over and over again, crying harder each time. I’m not going to lie to you and say that I easily brushed it off. What I will do, though, is use your unnecessarily upsetting comment to shed light on a situation much larger than mine.

I’m hoping that by sharing the comment mentioned earlier, you were trying show that you can relate to the “chunky girl in the middle”, rather than sharing it because you were trying to hurt her (A.K.A. me). Regardless of your intentions, your comment DID hurt me. But fortunately, I’m not the same girl I was years ago. I’m a healthy and strong human and I have an endless supply of love and support coming from the empowering community of women that I’m surrounded by. I was able to walk away from your comment (although it did take some time) feeling stronger and more empowered than ever before. I wish I could say the same thing about every other girl who has been affected by comments like yours.

The crazy thing about the internet is that EVERYONE has access to EVERYTHING. People who you have never met before can see pictures of you and vice versa. What these people choose to do when they see pictures of you is up to them, which is pretty scary when you think about it.

Because everything and everyone is on the internet these days, you don’t know 99% of the people in the pictures you see on a daily basis. You don’t know their names, you don’t know their story, you don’t know their struggles. Whether this person is “insta famous” or a random girl who was standing next to a distant high school friend in a picture, it’s safe to assume that you’ve only seen a tiny glimpse of their lives – and that glimpse is only what they want you to see. You don’t genuinely know these people.

You had no idea who I was, yet you chose to post a comment about my body anyway. What if I was someone who struggled with depression? Or someone who suffered from an eating disorder? Or maybe someone who struggled to appreciate the person I’ve become? A comment from a random girl on the internet could have broken my already broken spirits even more. Thankfully, I’m none of these people. But I can’t say the same about other girls out there who may be struggling to love themselves. There are girls out there who DO suffer from depression, eating disorders and a lack of self-appreciation. You may not realize it when you post things like that, but what you say can and does affect these girls, regardless of whether or not you know who they are.

So next time you think you need to share a comment that may not be kind or empowering, do us all a favor. Keep it to yourself.

Naturally,

Ari.

 

Toxic Friends: It’s Okay to Let Go

Recently, I’ve reconnected with my childhood best friend and we’ve been spending more quality time together than we have in quite some time. We both lead such busy lives that it’s hard to keep up with each other so during our time together, we spend a lot of time catching up and reflecting. Yesterday, we got on the subject of toxic friends. It all started with a simple question – “How are you and X?”. There was a moment of awkward silence before I gathered my thoughts and said “I haven’t talked to X in months… she’s not really a part of my life anymore”. Understandably, my friend was surprised and confused by my response, and so we got to talking about toxic friends.

We all have a toxic friend or two at some point in our lives, whether we know it or not. The worst part about having toxic friends is that it can be so difficult to pinpoint if someone is or isn’t a toxic friend, especially when you’re blinded by the really, really good moments. There are so many different kinds of toxic friends: friends who expect you to drop everything you’re doing to help them, but are never around when you need it; friends who are constantly complaining about themselves, other people and even you; friends that you always have to reach out to for plans; friends that always have to have higher highs or lower lows than you; friends who can’t let you be in the spotlight for even a moment; and friends who can only hang out with you when you’re both inebriated are just a few examples.

I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I’m constantly asking myself “Does this make me happy?”. As cliche as it sounds, life is far too short to do things that don’t bring you happiness. Hate your job? Leave it. Hate your major? Switch it. Don’t like going to the bar? Stop going. The same should apply to the people you spend your time with. If your friend brings negativity into your life more often than she brings you joy, that’s a sign that they’re toxic and it’s probably time to cut ties.

Once, someone told me that you become the people you spend your time with. I have no idea who told me this, but I could not thank them enough. I don’t want to become someone who makes my friends feel ashamed of who they are, who always has to be better than someone else, who has to be drunk to have a good time, or someone who brings negativity and takes happiness from someone else. I don’t want to become a toxic friend just because I’m too afraid to get rid of my own.

I know. It’s so hard to leave a friend behind when you’ve spent so many days, weeks, months and years together. It’s hard to say goodbye to someone who you’ve shared birthdays with, grieved over broken hearts with and celebrated successes with. But take this as your sign. It may be hard, but it’s okay.

You don’t have to cause some huge ordeal or confrontation to get rid of your toxic friends. It can be as simple as spending more time with people who you’re proud to be friends with, and less time with your toxic friend. More often than not, if they’re a toxic friend, they probably won’t even notice that you’ve stopped putting in the effort anyway. That’s how it worked in my situation.

Once the friendship fizzled out, I noticed that I was still feeling negative every time X would post something on social media. So I took it upon myself to unfollow her on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. I stopped responding to the insincere, obligatory “I miss you” texts. I didn’t cause a dramatic scene. I just silently let things naturally fall apart. It was tough to hit the unfollow button and to delete texts but I’m so much happier without someone dragging me down with them.

By cutting ties with a toxic friend, you’re not losing the good memories. You’ll always have those. By cutting ties, you’re losing the hurt feelings and negative energy. You’ll become more proud of the person you’re becoming and the people you surround yourself with.

It’s not going to be easy. But it will be okay.

Naturally,

Ari.

Essential Oils 101 [ft. Simply Earth]

It’s about time.

I’ve been using essential oils for a few months now and I’m hooked. Essential oils can provide so many natural benefits for our bodies, our moods and our homes. The possibilities are endless – I’m learning new ways to use my oils every single day!

Before I bought my first oils, I contemplated whether or not to start using them for months. They seemed like something I really wanted to try but I had two main hesitations: knowledge and cost. First, I had NO clue how to safely use oils. I wasn’t going to dive into something without having a basic understanding of how to incorporate them into my life in a safe, yet effective way. Second, the big essential oil companies are not super friendly to a college girl’s budget. I would stare at the websites for hours, planning what oils I wanted to get but I could never get past spending nearly $90 on a bottle of Frankincense oil. But I didn’t want to sacrifice quality for a cheaper oil. You can see how I felt stuck.

In writing today’s post, I hope that I can give you the push you need to stop contemplating whether or not essential oils are right for you and finally start using them!

*Before I get started with some of the many uses, I wanted to note that I am not a licensed or registered aromatherapist. All information has been gathered from various resources over time. *

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WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL OILS?

Essential oils are what makes plants have an aroma. When you breathe in the scent of a flower, you’re actually smelling the “essence”! The essence can be found in glands of a lot of plants and serve different purposes for each plant – some plants may use the essence to draw in bees for pollination and others may use it to deter predators.

The bottles of essential oils that we buy are highly concentrated versions of the plant essence. The plant goes through the process of distillation to extract the essence. It takes thousands of plants to make a single bottle of oil and drop of oil goes a very long way.

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WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF ESSENTIAL OILS?

Essential oils can provide so many benefits to our health. Some common things oils are used for include:

  • Air purification
  • Balancing hormones
  • Improving immune systems
  • Healing skin issues such as eczema or acne
  • Sanitizing
  • Lightening mood
  • Helping with anxiety and depression
  • Focus and concentration
  • Energy and revitalization
  • Relaxation

There are so many benefits that come with each oil. I’ve personally used oils to help my family and myself with sunburn, bug bites, snoring, arthritis, headaches, sleep and mood improvement.

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HOW CAN I USE ESSENTIAL OILS?

Essential oils can be used for virtually anything – the possibilities are endless. They can be added to various products such as massage oils, shampoos, lotions or used to create homemade products like body butters, perfumes, cleaning supplies and soaps.

Essential oils can be used for purely aromatic purposes, to relieve discomfort, to sanitize and so much more. The safest, and most common way to use oils is topically. There are some oils that you can get away with applying them neat (directly) to the skin such as lavender but it’s best to dilute most oils before applying them to the skin because the oils are so potent.

Some oils can be used internally, such as adding lemon to your water, oregano to your cooking or some oils to veggie capsules but I only advise this if you’ve spoken to a licensed aromatherapist first. Essential oils are extremely potent and having excess of these potent oils in your body can cause damage to your liver and kidneys as they have to work harder to dilute the oils in your body.

For more information, reference the Aromahead Institute’s safety guidelines.

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WHAT BRAND DO I USE?

When choosing your essential oils, make sure they’re 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade and that the only ingredient is the plant. You don’t want any oils that have any fillers or chemicals in them. I did months worth of research before deciding which company was for me.

I use Simply Earth essential oils. Simply Earth is a small start up business that has blown me away. Here are some of the many reasons why I love Simply Earth:

  1. It’s a small company – I love supporting smaller businesses – they usually have a “by the people, for the people” attitude and this could not be more true about Simply Earth. The founders of this company are genuinely interested in helping other people create a more natural lifestyle.
  2. They provide quality oils – Simply Earth‘s oils are 100% Pure, Therapeutic Grade. Basically, this means that the only thing in the bottle is the essential oil. No chemicals, no fillers, nothing but the oil!
  3. They’re inexpensive – for how incredible the quality is, these oils are surprisingly affordable. They’re only a fraction of the cost of some other companies in the industry.
  4. It’s geared toward a good cause – Simply Earth donates 13% of their profit to helping victims of human trafficking. I don’t know about you but it makes me feel better when I buy a product that gives back.
  5. Their customer service is phenomenal – Every single time I’ve ever had a question, they’ve answered it within a few hours. They really care about their customers.
  6. They make it easy on you – Simply Earth just started offering a monthly subscription service. It’s the first of it’s kind in the essential oil industry. They send recipes, oils, containers and extra ingredients to your door each month. For those who are beginners, who have run out of ideas, and even those who just really enjoy essential oils, this box is perfect.

I’ve yet to have a poor experience or read of someone else having a bad experience with this company. They are truly incredible and I would recommend this feel-good company to every single person.

I hope you now feel a little more prepared to start a more natural lifestyle with essential oils. It’s definitely a change I’m glad that I made.

Naturally,

Ari

 

*Disclaimer: I was not asked to write this post and it is not directly sponsored by Simply Earth or any other company but the link provided is an affiliate link. All thoughts on the company are genuinely my own.*

 

Resources:
Aromahead Institute
Simply Earth
Wellness Mama
Huffington Post

 

Avo Dressing [& Green Veggie Bowl]

Confession time. While on vacation, the closest things to a vegetable that I ate were pickles, coleslaw and the teeny tiny chunks of tomato and lettuce on my tacos. Talk about nutritious… I firmly believe that life is all about balance, but I struggled with balance as every restaurant in North Carolina had hush puppies and an assortment of pies. After a week of inhaling seafood and every carb, I needed a fresh start. In the moment, that meant green EVERYTHING. I went crazy in the produce section at my grocery store and for someone who has a love/hate relationship with veggies, I was pleasantly surprised with the result – avocado dressing for my green veggie bowl (insert heart eyeballs emoji here). Since I made this dressing a few weeks ago, I haven’t been able to stop craving it!

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This game changing recipe took me less than five minutes and is probably my favorite dressing so far.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 avocados
  • 1 1/2 limes
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • Handful of cilantro
  • Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

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Dice your avocados and juice your limes. Throw your avocado, lime juice, water, cilantro and spices into your blender and blend until smooth and creamy. For a more liquid consistency, add more water.

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See, I told you it was easy. You can add this dressing to any of your favorite salads. I added mine to a giant veggie bowl that had spiralized zucchini, fresh green beans, broccoli, edamame and peas. It was SO yummy!

I highly encourage you to try this recipe out. You won’t regret it!

Naturally,

Ari

Do It Yourself: Almond Milk

Almond milk isn’t anything new – nearly everyone knows what it is. It’s a great alternative for those who are lactose intolerant or vegan, or even for those who just hate cow’s milk. But haven’t you ever wondered how almond milk is made? You can’t really “milk” an almond like you can milk a cow… so how the heck do you get milk from an almond?? I’ll tell ya! It’s much simpler than you think!

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Ingredients:

  • ½ c. raw almonds, soaked
  • 2 c. water
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. liquid sweetener (honey, agave, maple syrup, etc.)

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First things first. Soak your almonds. Place your almonds in a bowl of water. Let your almonds sit in the water over night (or for 8 hours).

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After 8 hours, drain the water from your almonds and rinse.

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Place your 1/2 cup of soaked almonds into a blender with 2 cups of fresh, filtered water. Blend until the almonds are finely ground and the liquid is a milky color. If you choose, add the vanilla and sweetener. Blend again.

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Grab a jar (or other container) and begin to strain the almond”pulp” from the liquid using a nut milk bag (you can find these cheap on Amazon!) or a cheese cloth. I don’t recommend using a coffee filter because they tend to rip once soaked, letting the “pulp” back into the strained liquid… nobody wants gritty almond milk.

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Once you’ve strained the liquid and almonds and have only the liquid in the jar, gently squeeze the remaining almond in the cheese cloth or nut milk bag, making sure not to let the pulp get into the liquid.

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That’s it! Once you’re done, store in the fridge. This recipe makes a very small batch, about 2 cups. For a larger batch, multiply the recipe. The important thing to keep in mind is to maintain a 1:4 ratio of almonds to water.

Let me know how this works for you!

Naturally,

Ari.

Essential Oil Scent Sachets

Before vacation, some part of me decided I needed to wash all of my clothes. Every. Single. Thing. Don’t ask – even I have no explanation for my radical behavior. Load after load, I began to realize the reason for the heap of clothes on my floor… I had no more room in my dresser or closet for clothes. I don’t ever remember having so much… As ashamed as I am to admit, I’ve always been one of those people who had a closet, dresser and floor full of clothes, yet had “nothing” to wear. I hadn’t worn half of my clothes in over a year (thank you, freshman fifteen) and decided that I needed to purge some things. While going through my closet and dresser, I found a few scent sachets. I thought I hit the jackpot (I mean, who doesn’t want their clothes to smell delightful all of the time?), only to find out that they don’t have a scent anymore.

Now stick with me here. I promise this mind-numbing story has a positive outcome.

Here I am, with two “problems” and a ton of creative juice flowing. Problem #1: I have piles of clothes to get rid of, some that aren’t in good enough condition to give away because of stains or holes. Problem #2: my clothes are boring and scentless thanks to unreliable scent sachets (this one may be less of a problem and more of an excuse to get crafty).

Here comes the thing we’ve all been waiting for… the solution. A cheap, easy way to make an endless supply of your own customizable scent sachets. Almost everything you need can be found in your home!

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Materials:

  • Fabric (any scrap fabric, old t-shirts, etc.)
  • Rice
  • Your favorite essential oil
  • Thread & needle (or sewing machine if ya have one)
  • Ruler
  • Scissors

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Lay your fabric flat. Grab your ruler and scissors and cut a rectangle that’s 6 inches long and 3 inches wide. The edges do NOT have to be perfectly straight.

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Fold your rectangle in half, making sure that the patterned side (or the side you want to see when you’re all done) is on the inside.

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Sew two of the three open sides. Gently flip the square right side out, so that the patterned side (or the side you want to see in the end) is now on the outside.

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Measure out a ¼ cup of rice into a small bowl and add 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil. I used Simply Earth’s lavender essential oil. Mix the rice/essential oil mixture.

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Gently spoon the scented rice into the sachet. Sew the remaining side closed.

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And there you have it! With little time and effort, you managed to reduce waste and make something that will leave your clothes smelling fresh!

Let me know what scents you decide to use!

Naturally,

Ari.