Today’s tea: holy basil saves the day

Today’s tea is a tea I mentioned in one of my previous posts: tulsi tea, also called holy basil.

If any of you took my advice and decided to procrastinate, you’re probably feeling the same thing I’m feeling: stress.

The end of the semester is always an overwhelming time. Finals mean extra studying, end of term projects and research papers, and probably less sleep than usual. The gist of this article  from the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School is that sleep and mood are closely connected; poor or inadequate sleep can cause irritability and stress, while healthy sleep can enhance well-being.

So what do tulsi and stress have in common? To recap from my previous article, tulsi is a caffeine free plant that grows in India. It’s sacred there because of its anti-anxiety properties. That’s where the stress comes in.

Since tulsi is caffeine free, you can drink as much of it as you want and you can even drink some right before bed. It would actually be excellent on a night you can’t fall asleep, as it’s known for its soothing properties.

You don’t have to drink tulsi on its own either. It tastes great by itself, but if you wanted to, you could add other teas or herbs that help you relax such as rose petals or chamomile. Other ways that tulsi can be consumed are by capsule or droplet. Any of the forms of tulsi can be found at a local health food store. One brand of tulsi blend teas I like is called Organic India, and I find mine at Sprouts or Whole Foods.

So if you’re feeling that end of semester stress, maybe take a study break and hit up the Whole Foods for some tulsi. If you’re not in school and you’re just feeling stressed, you could also pick up some tulsi. Whatever you decide to do, remember to keep it klean out there!

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Get a workout buddy

So I’ve already told you guys about how I joined the gym and love it. I totally still love it but I have a confession to make: I didn’t go to the gym for one whole week. I know, sue me (but don’t actually sue me).

I felt dumb not utilizing the resource that I’m currently spending my hard earned money on. I ended up going today to break the habit of missing the gym and I noticed something while I was there. There were so many people with workout buddies.

One reason having a workout buddy will help you stay active is because it’s someone to try new kinds of exercises with. For some people it’s more motivating to do something new when they’re trying it with someone else. Personally, I would feel less intimated going into a yoga class or attempting a hike with one of my friends rather than going alone. And just because I prefer it doesn’t mean you have to; working out solo is just as good as in a group.

Another thing that’s handy about workout buddies is that if one of you feels like skipping your workout for the day, (hopefully) the other will motivate the lazy friend to stop being a potato. Even if you aren’t a gym-goer having a workout buddy is still nice for walks, runs, and even dance parties in the living room (it counts as cardio, people!).

Your workout buddy can be helpful in ways other than exercising as well. For example, the two of you can tell each other everything that you eat for the day, and that way no one cheats on their diet. Or the two of you can share new ideas for recipes that cater to your exercise routines.

If you’re trying to be active but find it hard to commit time each day to exercising, a workout buddy could be beneficial for you. If you aren’t sure where to find a workout buddy, try one of these links and remember to keep it klean out there!

How to procrastinate

‘Tis the season to be stressed out. The holidays are a bittersweet time for college students. While we do finally get our winter break after what seemed to be a never-ending semester or quarter, we have to get through one last hurdle: finals. I can probably count the amount of students I know who don’t procrastinate on one of my hands. This article found that between 80 and 95 percent of college students procrastinate on their schoolwork, according to the American Psychological Association. I 100 percent fall into that category, and these are some of the activities I choose over schoolwork.

Clean ~

One of my favorite methods of procrastinating is an activity I’ve coined, “procrasticleaning.” It’s exactly what it sounds like: procrastinating on something far more important than whatever chore I decide to do. This is sort of how it goes down in my brain: term paper or clean out my closet? Cleaning takes less brain power, therefore it’s an easier task to do there in the moment. It’s more satisfying to clean something and see the results immediately than it is to write a paper and have to wait for the grade to (hopefully) feel the satisfaction of the work you’ve done.

Exercise ~

Another fun way I like to procrastinate is by exercising instead, even if it’s just running around my neighborhood or dancing around my room for 20 minutes. The reason exercise is so much easier than trying to finish a project for class is because there’s zero risk in going for a run. You start when you want to and you finish when you’re tired, so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Schoolwork is challenging and learning new material or skills can be scary, because there’s risk. So why not refresh your brain with some light exercise the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed by finals.

Sleep ~

Not only is sleep something that everyone needs to do, it’s a good way to refresh your brain in the middle of the day. Naps, people! They’re not just for children! According to an article by Kimberly Cote, PhD Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Brock University and president of the Canadian Sleep Society, “an afternoon nap of 20 minutes is ideal to increase alertness, mood, and to improve work productivity.”

Don’t procrastinate ~

My list is definitely helpful if you wish to procrastinate. However, another option you have is to not procrastinate at all. That doesn’t necessarily mean do all of your homework the instant you get it; it means to practice good time management. If you’re one of the many college students juggling school, work, and just life in general, being able to plan out when you’re going to do what work is a key in being a successful student. It’s something I’ve been battling since the start of my college career, and if you’re struggling with time management too maybe this link can help you out.

The morale of my story is that I can’t tell you what to do. If you want to do your homework, good on you. If you don’t want to do your homework, that’s also your decision. Whatever you decide to do, good luck on your finals and remember to keep it klean out there!

Say thanks every day

Isn’t it a good Thursday to be thankful?

Wait Michelle, you’re like, hella late. Thanksgiving was two weeks ago.

Oh, actually that’s because I’m not talking about Thanksgiving Thursday. I’m talking about this Thursday, today, December 8, 2016.

Except I’m not talking about this Thursday either. What I actually mean is all Thursdays, and all of the other days. Thanksgiving is great because there’s hella excellent food and family time can be nice. But I think the idea of Thanksgiving is overrated; why not be thankful everyday? There are plenty of reasons to be appreciative on any given Thursday such as today. Here’s a few of mine:

  • Good health
    Having a healthy, functional body is definitely something to be thankful for. Your body is capable of doing so many different activities, how cool is that? Humans can run, swim, juggle, sing, fly, among so many other actions. Our bodies were made to move. Being active feels good and I’m thankful that I have a body capable enough to try to maintain an active lifestyle.
  • School
    Although I can’t help but complain at times about the stress that school brings, I’m thankful for the opportunity of learning it provides for me. Whenever I have a helpful professor or a class that teaches me useful information for later in life I’m appreciative. Sometimes both of those things happen simultaneously, and that calls for extra thanks.
  • Family & friends
    There’s really no answer for where I would be without my family and best friends. I just wouldn’t exist, honestly. My parents are definitely my best friends and I’m glad I finally stopped being a teenager so that I could fully appreciate all that they do for me on a daily basis. My sisters and brother are my friends that can never leave me, but my friends are most likely stuck with me too. Essentially I’m thankful for great times and even greater people. Cheesy, I know.
  • Nature
    I’m not sure if you figured this out from my blog title or anything, but I love the Earth! The sky, water, grass, and trees are just a small part of the list that fill me with happiness. I love walking through forests and flower gardens, long walks on the beach (lol), and views from mountains. Why wouldn’t anyone be thankful for such a beautiful world? Plus, the plants are what give humans oxygen according to science so everyone should really be saying thank you to a tree or two.
  • Work
    Another hot topic on my complaining list: work. When you work in retail, it’s hard not to complain. However like school, I’m thankful that I’m lucky enough to have a job when there are people out there who don’t have jobs or even homes. Plus my coworkers are some rad human beings, and it makes it so much better when you work with people that you like.
  • Music
    I’ll probably do another blog post about music, but for now I feel like I should add it to my list. Music makes everything better. Are you happy? Music makes you happier. Sad? Music helps. Angry? Music definitely helps. From my previous post, you know that my favorite way to vent is to write songs. There’s music for the different times of year, and movies wouldn’t be the same without music. We have a lot to be thankful for when it comes to music.

Okay, readers. That about sums up my main reasons to be thankful on a daily basis. Of course there’s about a million more, no exaggeration there. So tell me, why are you thankful on any given day? And remember, keep it klean out there!

 

How to beat your period

It’s not everyday that you hear your sister or mom or friend say, “Man, I just can’t wait to get my period.” In fact, I’m not sure if you’d hear anyone say that any day. Who would be excited for a week of feeling like someone’s stabbing you through your abdomen with a trident while you’re also leaking? Not me.

But it’s inevitable. That’s just the way human biology works. That doesn’t mean us ladies can’t work with Momma Nature to at least alleviate the pain we take on from the rotten characteristics of Aunt Flo. So here are a few tips and tricks to keep those troubles at bay.

If you’re one of the lucky readers that doesn’t have to experience a visit from Mr. Tom once a month, this is generally what we’re dealing with.

  1. Listen to your body
    The most important and easiest way to know how to beat your period is by figuring out what makes it worse for you specifically. For example, caffeinated drinks might make you less lethargic but have you ever noticed if that caffeine affects if your cramps are worse?
  2. Watch your diet
    Diet will always play a key role in a person’s general well being, however this role can be slightly more emphasized during menstruation depending on the person. Here’s a list of a couple of the foods you would want to stay away from. And of course there are foods that could be beneficial.
  3. Stay active
    From personal experience, I know that working out is one of the last thing’s anyone would want to do during their time. However, this article convinced me that I should probably get out of bed and at least do minimal amounts of exercise every other day. At least.
  4. But also rest
    I know, I know. I just told you to get off your butt and get the blood flowing, but you have to remember I didn’t tell you to exercise everyday. If you know you need rest (see tip #1) then rest is what you need. It makes no sense to push your body harder than necessary. So when you feel the time is right, take the day off.
  5. Stock up on chocolate
    Arguably the most important tip, pick up your favorite chocolates to snack on. Not only will it help to relax your muscles, but it’s a mood booster. Who doesn’t like chocolate? Oh, but make sure it’s dark chocolate because that’s where all the good antioxidants are at. If you aren’t that into dark chocolate, Bisou is one of my favorite chocolate companies.

Hopefully this list of tricks can be useful to you or someone you know who struggles through their fight with nature’s gift to us females, and remember keep it klean out there!

Shop smart for your wallet and planet

Who doesn’t like shopping? Probably a lot of people, but for those of us that do I have one word of advice for you: thrift!

The waste from factories producing clothing decreases when people shop at thrift stores versus retail stores. This not only helps by making less clothing, but also by reducing gases emitted and energy used from clothing factories. When people donate clothes to the thrift store, it reduces the waste being dumped into landfills – or should I say landfulls.

Shopping at the thrift store can seem like a chore having to sort through racks and racks of random used clothing. I like to think of it as a treasure hunt, although you don’t know where the X is marked. It’s more rewarding to me to dig through and find that broken in pair of Doc Martens, or a slightly used jean jacket that fits perfectly. Plus from personal experience, there are usually more humans in a retail store than a thrift store which makes it easier to navigate through clothes and knick knacks.

I can’t tell you the amount of compliments that I’ve received on different clothes that I’ve found on my treasure hunts. People are shocked when I reply that, “I found it at the thrift store.” Usually these clothes are under 10 bucks, and are always under 20.

Here’s a link to find a thrift store in your area, in case you were curious to check it out. Hopefully this post inspires you to save some cash and waste less, and remember keep it klean out there!

 

Today’s tea: the Earl of tea

Our tea today is earl grey. It’s a flavored, caffeinated tea that is most commonly made with black tea. Other types of teas like green, oolong, and white can be used as well, however black tea is the most traditional. The tea leaves are flavored with bergamot oil which gives it a floral flavor and scent.

Earl grey is a popular choice for a morning beverage. Since it’s generally a black tea, it has more caffeine than most green and all white teas. It’s also a great tea to do a tea latte with. A favorite concoction that’s come from earl grey is a London fog. The recipe for a London fog can be altered to preference, but it’s generally steamed milk with earl grey and vanilla. Soothing, especially on a cold day.

But morning beverages aren’t the only drinks that earl grey plays a role in. Earl grey infused alcoholic beverages are a popular trend, too. Here’s one recipe if you want to try to mess around with it. I plan to try it myself as well, so maybe I’ll let you guys know how it goes.

Besides being deliciously versatile in morning and evening beverages, earl grey has different health benefits that you get just by drinking it straight up. This time of year brings quite a chill, so make yourself a London fog and remember to keep it klean out there!

Hit the lights

I spend a lot of time in building 8 at Skyline College because I’m a journalism major and that’s where the newsroom is. During the time I’ve roamed those halls, I’ve stumbled upon a horror more than enough times for me to be prompted to write about it. Ready to find out what it is?

People keep leaving the lights on in empty classrooms! EMPTY. CLASSROOMS.

Do you know what happens when the lights are left on in an empty room? Electricity is being wasted, therefore money is being wasted. Here’s a good example of how much it costs to keep the lights on.

Considering the fact that whenever I find this atrocity it’s in an EMPTY classroom, I unfortunately haven’t caught the culprits that are responsible for this heinous crime. But that doesn’t mean I can’t complain to others about it.

If this situation is familiar because you’re acquainted with electricity-suckers or if it’s something you find yourself doing, here’s how to know when to turn the lights off, and remember keep it klean out there!

The best day of my klean life

For years, I was reluctant to join a gym. I assumed it would be a smelly, hot place filled with googly-eyed meatheads that just wanted to ask me if I needed help with my weights.

Boy, was I wrong.

I joined a gym for the first time this month and it was definitely a good call. It’s a cheap price to pay per month, and I get to work out whenever I want to.

Before I joined the gym I still tried to be as active as possible. Running was my physical activity of choice, but I also liked to do yoga, dance, and lift whatever weights I had at home. If you haven’t tried any of these at home workouts but are interested, here’s a yoga session that’s excellent in the mornings.

In the beginning, this was a solid workout regiment that had enough variety to keep me entertained. However, after a while it became clear to me that working out at home wasn’t going to be enough to satisfy my muscles. So a friend of mine decided to join a gym while there was a particularly good deal going on and I thought, well why the heck not?

So I get to the gym, am given a quick tour, and then am free to roam as I please. And what did I find? Definitely no googly-eyed meatheads, if that’s what you’re thinking. Instead, I was like a kid in a candy store.

gym-photo

There were rows upon rows of  cardio machines. And then of course there were ab, arm, and leg machines, oh my! There’s even a section with free weights (although I’m not strong enough to hang with those non-googly meatheads yet). I think you’re probably starting to get the picture.

Basically, the point I’m trying to make is that if you’re on the fence about joining a gym, don’t be! If money is the reason you haven’t joined yet, (it was definitely my reason) think about it this way: you’re paying for the services so it’s just another motivator to get out there and use them. Keeping an eye out for good deals is also helpful.

I hope my story might be the tiniest bit inspiring for those of you that want to hit the gym but don’t want to at the same time. What I would say to those of you that aren’t inspired is don’t knock it till you try it, and keep it klean out there!

 

Today’s tea: a lean, green, caffeine machine

Our tea of the day today is matcha.

Matcha is a green tea that has been ground down into a fine powder. It might sound weird, and it kind of is, but it is also filled with health benefits.

Green tea leaves alone are known for caffeine and antioxidants that are great for the skin and metabolism. So, because matcha is ground up green tea leaves, when you consume it, you’re consuming the maximum amount of caffeine and antioxidants. It’s much more concentrated than straining full green tea leaves and only drinking the water that comes from the process. Who doesn’t want a stronger tea in the morning?

But also, since matcha is a powdered tea, it’s multipurpose. You don’t have to just mix it into hot water or milk to make tea, there’s actually a multitude of uses of matcha. You could sprinkle it on top of oatmeal or yogurt, add a pinch to a smoothie, and it’s even fun to add to baking. Personally, I’ve added it to homemade icing. It was a vanilla matcha icing on top of chocolate cupcakes, and it sure was good. Sorry, I’m getting off topic but I think you get the point: matcha has many uses. Here are some recipes to help get you started.

No matter what way you decide to implement matcha into your diet, you’ll still be getting those benefits. But another thing to remember is that because of the high concentration of caffeine, it’s much easier to get an upset stomach or become too caffeinated from matcha. Start with a pinch, and if you need more you can always add more. That’s the beauty of powdered tea, dear readers!

Try looking for matcha at any tea store or Asian market. The only downside of matcha is that it is a bit on the pricey side. One way to remedy a hurting wallet is to see a matcha purchase as a health benefit, not just tea that costs more than all the other green teas. You’ll thank yourself and so will your body. Oh, and remember to keep it klean out there!