4 ways to practice gratitude

With Thanksgiving approaching, we thought gratitude would be a good topic for the week. There is a reason why gratitude is such a hot topic, why Oprah keeps a journal all about it, and why guided meditations use gratitude as a topic on the regular. Gratitude is one of the keys to happiness. If you aren’t grateful for what you have, what you have can’t make you happy. I’ve often reflected on the interesting paradox about how ambition and dissatisfaction drives one to achieve more, do more, gain wealth, and how the most wealthy are often never satisfied. That feeling of never feeling satisfied is what drives one to continue accumulating wealth, and at the same time, what prevents one from feeling grateful, and subsequently happy from the wealth they already have.  This is also true in relationships and life. If you don’t feel grateful for what you have, it can’t make you happy. If you don’t feel grateful to be with your partner, for your job, or to live where you live, chances are you aren’t deriving happiness from it. Gratitude really is one of the keys to happiness, and with practice, you can train your brain to notice things to be grateful for more often. You can train your brain to incorporate gratitude into your thinking habits and increase your overall happiness.

Below are 4 simple ways to practice gratitude in your everyday life:

  •  keep a gratitude journal: Write regularly in a journal about what you are thankful for. This could be as simple as the cup of coffee you are drinking, or when you are really having a hard day, simply that a new day begins tomorrow. Make this a regular habit. It could be everyday, or twice per week, but simply carving out a time every week to journal will help you create a habit out of it. Then, when something terrible happens, and you don’t know how you could ever feel grateful for anything, you can read through your old journal entries to be reminded of all the things you have in your life that are good, all the things that you are thankful for. This can be a powerful practice and a powerful resource when you are having a really hard time.
  •  practice gratitude meditations: I like to do this with my clients all the time. Simply close your eyes, take some full deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Then think of something that you are grateful for (it could be a relationship, job, pet, etc.). Feel that feeling of gratitude in your heart or your body and imagine it washing through your entire body until you are completely engulfed in the feeling gratitude. Picture that feeling of gratitude radiating out of you because it is so big. You can sit with this feeling for as long as you’d like. Take a few deep breaths to end the meditation and then bring your awareness back to the room, open your eyes, and notice if this practice changes your mood or changes the course of the rest of your day
  • enjoy simple pleasures: We are beginning a simple pleasures category on our blog because there truly are so many! There are so many simple pleasures we can take advantage of throughout our day to increase our gratitude. Some examples are: enjoying a nice hot cup of coffee or tea, going for a walk, getting out in nature, taking a bath, burning a scented candle, cleaning up your house and then luxuriating in how good it feels to be in a clean space, checking out an inspiring blog ; ), and watching a sunrise or sunset. The point is that there are so many little things we can feel thankful for that don’t cost any money, and setting intention to incorporate more of these simple pleasures into our life can increase our amount of gratitude and ultimately happiness.
  •  create a gratitude ritual: If you aren’t into writing in a journal, you can turn gratitude into a daily ritual. Think of something you do everyday (e.g. brushing your teeth, sitting down for dinner, drinking morning coffee or tea) and take time to think of at least one thing you are grateful for when you do that activity. If, for example, I decided to make a gratitude ritual out of brushing my teeth, I would take the 2 minutes I brushed my teeth to think about all the things I’m grateful for in my life.  You could even make this part of your family routine, like sharing one thing you are grateful for at dinnertime with everyone.

Try any or all of these and see if you don’t feel happier. Remember, if you don’t feel grateful for what you have, what you have can’t make you happy!!

enjoying the simple pleasure of a sunset by the sea.  

enjoying the simple pleasure of a sunset by the sea.  



10 simple holiday DIYs

As the holidays approach I am starting to think of DIY gifts to hand out to friends and family. I believe there is something so special about receiving a homemade gift. I have accumulated a list of DIYs that were previously posted throughout the years that I plan on making in the coming month. I decided to share that list here, thinking others may benefit from the links all being in one spot as well. Enjoy!

happy weekend

As we move closer and closer to Thanksgiving, I find myself thinking about what I'm thankful for. I find myself realizing that the things I'm thankful for are the simplest: relationships, lazy mornings, mindful moments, good food with good people, simple things. Our souls really are fed by simple pleasures. Remembering this when you are in a funk or feeling sorry for yourself can be so helpful. How can you incorporate a simple pleasure into your week? happy weekend : )

what yoga can teach you about life

How you practice yoga translates into how you live your life. The two are connected. The practice of yoga doesn’t always refer to the postures themselves, but rather everything else that goes into the postures (e.g. the mental strength, the need to have a connection to your breath, proper hydration and nutrition, the connection between your mind and body). What you need to work on in life often expresses itself on your mat during a yoga class. For example, if you are someone who pushes themselves too hard, injuring yourself in yoga as a result (e.g. a pulled muscle), you probably take on too much in life, put too much strain on yourself outside of the yoga studio. If you often give up during a class, tell yourself that this pose is “too hard” or that you are “too weak” you most likely defeat your own self in the outside world as well. Maybe you make excuses for why you can’t make it to the studio, putting everyone else’s needs before your own. 

I recently finished the book "Hell-Bent: Obsession, Pain, and the Search for Something Like Transcendence in Competitive Yoga" by Benjamin Lorr, which was all about the author’s immersion into the Bikram yoga world. 

In "Hell Bent" Lorr describes a particular Bikram class he took. A large, linebacker-type man was taking a class for the first time and appeared to be suffering and wheezing, right before bolting for the door. The teacher, stops the linebacker before he is about to open the door and exit the studio and tells the man he’s free to go but has a choice. He explains that “Sometimes your yoga is in the postures. Today, your yoga is recognizing that you have a choice."

For the linebacker, his yoga that day was to simply recognize that he had a choice whether or not to leave the hot room. His yoga was to work on the mental aspect of the practice, because that was the issue that arose for him that day.  The teacher explained to the class that even if they were doing the postures perfectly, if they weren’t “putting the same effort into it” they weren’t getting the benefits from the yoga. 

Yoga means “union” in Sanskrit, isn’t necessarily about the postures, it’s this “union” between the mat and life, mind and body, you and the universe. It’s about doing “work”, and maybe your yoga for now is just to identify what your “work” should be, what issues you may need to work on. Maybe your yoga is to back off and let yourself sit out once in a while, or to stop comparing yourself to the other yogis in the room, or to become comfortable with the way your body looks in the mirror during class.

Benjamin Lorr explains that “It’s a funny thing that way. Someone standing and looking very impressive in the mirror and someone sitting hunched over doing almost nothing. Same yoga.”


terrarium diy

Terrariums are definitely trending right now, but they can get expensive. The great thing about succulent terrariums is that they are super low maintenance, really hard to kill, and a great way to bring green into your space. Research shows that our brains and bodies do much better when we are around nature. Terrariums allow you to bring nature indoors and keep your greenery contained in an easily mobile space. You could use a terrarium to spruce up your nightstand, coffee table, office, entryway, kitchen or anywhere really. This terrarium was super easy to make and took around 30 minutes to assemble. 


  • Whatever plants you want to plant (we used succulents because they are sooo easy to care for)
  • Small pebbles or rocks  (these were gathered from the beach)
  • Activated charcoal (we bought ours on amazon here)
  • Potting soil
  • Terrarium container (this could be a bowl, actual terrarium, vase, large shell etc.)


 clockwise from top: terrarium container, succulents, potting soil, rocks, activated charcoal powder


  • Simply layer pebbles/rocks on the bottom of the container. They will be the bottom layer and support drainage for your plants. Our rocks were about 1/2 inch deep.
  • Next put a thin layer of soil, the activated charcoal (to keep your terrarium pure and free from bacterias) and then the remainder of the soil on top. You want the soil to be deep enough to cover all the roots of your plants.
  • Next, use your hands, or a spoon, to carve out space for your plants. Take your plants out of their pots and loosen the soil around their roots. Place the plants into the spaces you've carved out and cover their roots with soil.
  • Done! If you'd like, you can decorate the area around the plants with whatever tickles your fancy. We used more of the rocks collected from the beach, a piece of sea glass, a few shells and special rocks gathered from nearby beaches. Hope you enjoy making your own!

introducing love+yoga

If you are reading this, then you’ve happened upon Love + Yoga by some turn of fate. Before this post lies the remains of Sarah’s personal blog, and this post signifies the new beginning of Love + Yoga. Head over to our about page if you want to learn more about the two of us, how we met, and what this blog is all about. We love yoga, we love health and wellness, living an intentional, mindful life, and wanted an outlet to share our thoughts with you. Both of us had blogs individually but lost steam on them. It is our hope that, together, we will be greater than the sum of our parts. It is our hope that this blog will allow us to create something great, which at the very least is a community of inspiration, thoughts, recipes, and our journey to create a mindful, authentic life in this modern day.

We thought this quote to be appropriate for our first post because creating this blog is taking a risk. Of course with all risks, there is hope that you will “win”, that the risk will pay off and be successful. Whenever risks are involved, there is always fear associated, and this fear reaction is a natural part of being human. All risks are an opportunity for growth, to gain wisdom, to gain perspective, to learn. We hope to learn from this blog, through our journey, and from all of you. We look at this risk as being exciting, exhilarating, and hope that this blog provides opportunity for our creativity. Welcome to Love + Yoga! Let’s be friends and share this journey together. We feel so grateful that you have visited : )

diy antiblemish elixir

This is another fabulous DIY found in the book, Organic Body Care Recipes. I have been using it for a couple weeks now when a pesky pimple pops up. When applied at night, the blemish reduces in size and redness by the next morning. I found the ingredients mentioned below at vitacost.com, Whole Foods, and amazon.com.


  • 4 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 2 drops clove essential oil
  • 2 drops german chamomile essential oil
  • 2 drops green myrtle essential oil
  • 2 teaspoons apricot kernel base oil
  • 1 teaspoon almond base oil
  • 1 ounce dark glass bottle with dropper top


  • combine all ingredients in the glass bottle
  • shake bottle vigorously for 2 minutes
  • store the elixir in a dark spot that's between 60 and 80º for 24 hours so that the ingredients can synergize
  • put a drop onto the blemish at night and sleep with the treatment on. wash off in the morning
  • use within 6 months, no refrigeration necessary

gluten free banana almond butter muffins

These muffins are hearty, healthy, and grain-free! They are full of protein and will leave you full for hours to come.  

Makes 12 muffins


  • 1 cup almond butter (or nut butter of your choice)
  • 2 ripe, mashed bananas
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds


  • Preheat oven to 350º 
  • Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners or lightly grease
  • Combine all ingredients
  • Divide batter evenly between muffin tins
  • Bake for around 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
  • Let cool for a few minutes before removing from the pan

diy makeup remover

I hate a lot of fuss when it comes to removing my makeup at night. I make sure I am applying makeup that can be easily removed (no waterproof anything!) with just my cleanser. But, there are special occasions where I have to dress up a bit, put on some eyeliner and some heavier mascara and those days call for makeup remover. A while back I had read somewhere that jojoba oil works well as a makeup remover. I have been using that ever since and it does do a decent job. What I really like about the oil is that it is doing so much more than removing makeup. It is very moisturizing and so it helps with under eye wrinkles and conditioning my lashes. It is also great for sensitive skin and does not make me breakout at all!  

On my recent trip to Oregon I had to make a stop at Powell's. There I found a great DIY skin care book called, Organic Body Care Recipes. Inside I discovered a recipe for makeup remover that used jojoba. I thought I would give it a try. It was so simple to make, used only 3 ingredients, and I believe does work better than just jojoba on its own. 


  • 1 tablespoon jojoba oil
  • 7 tablespoons pure vegetable shortening
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil
  • glass jar with lid


  • Warm jojoba oil and shortening over low heat in a small saucepan until the two have melted
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 15 minutes 
  • Add in the lavender and stir with a spoon until the mixture becomes thick and opaque
  • Pour into a storage jar, cap, and let sit for a couple hours or until it becomes a creamy consistency (to make this go faster you can put the container in the fridge for 30 minutes)
  • Use within 12 months 
  • The remover can be applied with your fingers or a cotton pad. A little bit goes a long way!

Above is a cute way to package the makeup remover if you are making it as a gift. I put a few cotton pads on top and tied it up with some twine.