4 Reasons to Stay Active in Winter

photo via Shutterstock

photo via Shutterstock

It's not even March and we're already sick of the cold winter weather. We admit it happens every year. As the sunlight dwindles so does the appeal of the outdoors. Yet continuing to stay active in the cold months is vital for your wellbeing. Here are four reasons you should make movement a priority:

1. Boost Immunity. Research continues to show that consistent exercise, including a simple daily walk, strengthens the body's immune system. By increasing circulation, your white blood cells are more able to keep viruses, bacteria, and the flu at bay. Work a walk into your every day routine by going out to pick up lunch or taking the stairs in your office building.

2. Restore Energy. Your body already works overtime and the short days of winter can make you feel as if the day has come and gone before you've accomplished anything. Active rest like listening to a soothing guided meditation or visualization can keep your blood pressure, muscular tension, and nervous system in check. 

3. Try New Things. If you spend your time outdoors in the summer weather, use a nice, warm indoor setting as an enticement to explore in a new way. Check out the nearest rock climbing wall, try a spin class or an intenSati workout, walk through an art gallery, or book a fusion cooking class. Bonus points if you bring along a friend for motivation and company!

4. Maintain Weight. Of course we know we should be choosing salads over creamy soups this time of year, but the cold winter elements including lack of vitamin D can wreak havoc on our cravings. Manage your stress and food cravings by keeping your fitness routine in check. This way you can indulge a bit without a second thought. Then when you return to a more balanced diet in the spring, you won't feel like you have excess weight to shed.

{We're Obsessed} JADETribe

photo via Jadetribe

photo via Jadetribe

'Fashion with a conscience' is JADEtribe’s motto and their natural, organic, ethical textiles follow suit. You can find us wandering the streets of Thailand or Colombia with any one of their messenger bags– large enough to carry water and a camera, but not too big to be uncomfortably heavy. Our founder, Linden often get stopped in the streets and asked “where can I purchased this bag?” The feel of the hand-woven fabrics seems local no matter where in the world you find yourself. The fact that New York-based founder, Kimberly Hartman uses JADEtribe as a platform to employ small women’s co-ops in South East Asia makes us return every season to see what’s new. Get yours at www.jadetribe.com

6 Movements Toward Kindness

Photo via Shutterstock

Photo via Shutterstock

Many of us learned the staples of kindness in kindergarten: put others’ interests before one’s own, speak positively about other people, refrain from yelling or name-calling and share; but do these things really make us kind? In comparison to some people it does, but have I also cut someone off driving in the last month or let the door go because the person behind me was just a step too far to hold it? For sure. Have I diverted my eyes instead of embracing the chance to smile at a stranger? Absolutely. If we’re honest, most of us could identify these times, but the abstract idea of “being more kind” in our own lives isn’t something we often stop to think about, and when we do, it can be overwhelming.

At my yoga teacher’s recent dharma talk, we were asked to close our eyes and remember a time that we hurt someone- whether inadvertently or purposely. We were not to judge ourselves, but simply notice what the memory did to our physical bodies. Almost immediately my breath shortened, my shoulders and jaw tightened, and I got that awful sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. She then told us to let go of the memory and recall a time that we did something kind– either for a stranger or a loved one– and bring awareness to that effect on our bodies instead. This time, my breath deepened, shoulders relaxed and body became lighter and more expansive. Every action in our days, both big and small, have a tremendous effect on our overall wellness.

Increasing your kindness rating is a lot like learning to run– it takes time, training, and practice. With these six steps, you’ll be running a kindness marathon in no time. Here are six movements toward kindness:

1. {Crawl Forward} Be Kind to You
I could instantaneously rattle off a list about the things I’d like to improve about myself, but I’d have a bit more trouble telling you the things I like. Take the time to make a list of the things you love about you. Examine it and make a point to bring those things to the forefront of your mind. Wake up each morning, look in the mirror, and remind yourself of one of the things. Say it aloud because you deserve to not only think it, but to hear it. Cultivating kindness in our lives begins with being nice to ourselves first.

2. {Baby Step} Start With a Smile
Research shows that each time we smile our brain releases happiness hormones, which have a direct effect on our stress levels and wellbeing. Make an effort to smile more. Increase your kindness rating by making eye contact and smiling at two strangers per day. You’ll not only be increasing your own happiness, but chances are that stranger will return your smile and you’ll be helping to increase theirs as well.

3. {Take a Stroll} Say “Thank You”
Scientific gratitude expert, Robert Emmons, spent years studying how gratitude positively affects health and happiness. His work proves that being grateful creates physical, psychological and social benefits. Taking time to thank someone not only makes them feel appreciated but provides you with a chance to reflect on a reason you have to be grateful. Watch how this small action spreads positivity in the world around you like wildfire!

4. {Speed Walk} Offer a Compliment
You never know whose day you might make with a genuine compliment. Psychology Today calls them “little gifts of love” and in giving them, you'll notice the positive attributes of those around you. It’s easy to notice that a person’s outfit doesn’t match, but if you instead notice how great their new haircut looks, your focus moves toward the good and away from the bad.

5. {Go For a Jog} Donate Time
Time is arguably one thing many of us could use more of, and giving it to others is a giant step towards increasing kindness. Spend a weekend day volunteering at a local shelter or charity or, for those who may not have that availability, get creative: let someone merge into your lane during a traffic jam instead of cutting them off; allow the person behind you in line to go in front of you; stop to give someone directions even though you’re in a rush. These small things only take a few minutes from your life, but they can help another person tremendously.

6. {Full on Sprint} Practice One Good Deed A Day
I recently purchased the book, One Good Deed A Day which offers 365 simple ideas for increasing kindness daily. Suggestions like, "write a nice little note on the check to your server" and “ask your partner about his day and listen” make it easy to start cultivating kindness. Pledging to do a good deed every day is certainly a big a commitment, so go back to the baby steps and vow to be kind to yourself even if you miss a day of being kind to other people. My guess though, is that once you start inching toward kindness, it will start to become part of each step you take! - Kate Lombardo

5 Ways To Wellness In New Mexico

America’s Southwest is filled with vast sprawling landscapes and colorful floral oases that can be mistaken for mirages. New Mexico has an added air of Wild West and Butch Cassidy fused with healers and art galleries that make it unique in its own right.

Photo by Pravassa

Photo by Pravassa

Physical Activity

Rock Climbing. With over 300 days of sunshine a year, rock climbing is a year round sport in Taos (though morning shade is the best time to get started). Test your skills with the vertical to low angle granite cliffs in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, which offer beginners and experienced climbers bolted routes or multi-pitch climbs. Pack your gear and set out for an adventure on these uncrowded cliffs that offer magical panoramic vistas.

Stress Reduction

Absolute Nirvana. Located in a quaint B&B and run by an ex-pat French couple who were inspired after numerous trips to Bali, this spa has an other worldly feel. Spas and healing treatments are available on every corner in Santa Fe; to stand out, Absolute Nirvana only works with Master level therapists (that’s 17+ years of experience) and only use green, chemical-free massage products. I’d give you more details, but I only remember being expertly rubbed down and coming out of the room feeling like jelly.

Photo by Pravassa

Food Education

Santa Fe School of Cooking. In its 25th year, the award-winning Santa Fe School of Cooking led the charge toward a local, sustainable lifestyle tradition when it opened in the late 1980’s. Offering more than just hands-on cooking classes, you can make reservations for a restaurant walking tour or sit down and enjoy the spoils from a demonstration class. If you don’t have time for any of the above, just swing by for the market place and stock up on clay pots, cookbooks (written by the founders of course), and southwestern spices.

Spiritual Connection

Ojo Caliente Hot Springs Tranquilo. The sacred hot springs of Ojo Caliente have long been a gathering place for healing and rejuvenation. One of the oldest natural health resorts in the U.S., these springs have been generating geothermal mineral waters for thousands of years. The cliffside pools have transfixing, meditative views and the mud baths allow you to bake out the toxins under the desert sun.

Photo by Pravassa

Photo by Pravassa

Cultural Involvement

Taos Pueblo. As the only living Native American community, this UNESCO World Heritage site is worth a visit. Local residents will give you a tour through the village and walk you through their oral history. The adobe buildings date back to 1000 A.D. with most of the structures having been preserved from their discovery in the 16th century. Take time to chat with some of the 1900 Taos Indian residents about their thoughts on advancement of modernization and how it will impact their cultural heritage. Pravassa’s 5-tenet wellness philosophy is rooted in these core concepts: physical activity, stress reduction, food education, spiritual connection, and cultural involvement. These principles have guided our company’s wellness practices from inception and are the foundation on which we build our travel vacations and educational content.

{Well on the road} Alexandra Bonetti Perez

photo via alexandra perez

photo via alexandra perez

Alexandra Bonetti Perez
Founder of The Bari Studio

Most recently in: Dominican Republic & Turkey

The one snack you can always find in my carry on is: Dried pineapple.

Tell us your in-flight rituals: I love using time on a flight to stay offline. I like to read or write, and if the flight is long enough, both! I always bring a fiction and a business book to pick depending on my mood.

How do you conquer jet lag once you've arrived? Two ways: One, is powering through time changes to maximize play time (especially during quick trips). If I’m traveling to Europe, I’d rather power through the day and go to bed at night instead of taking naps, whereas if I’m traveling to the West coast, I try to go to bed at a reasonable time instead of staying up late. Two, is avoiding coffee or sleep medication. I'd rather stay as natural as possible by relying on healthy carbs for energy, and calming herbal tea before bed.

Describe your workout on the road style: I am an outdoor adventurer, but without a knack for the extreme and dangerous. I think the best way to get to know a place is explore it in the outdoors- few things bring me more peace and happiness. I love hiking, skiing, camping, swimming, and everything in between. One of my favorite countries to explore is Ecuador and one of my favorite trips ever was doing the Inca Trail in Peru.

How do you keep sickness at bay? I don’t really get sick while traveling! Is that just me? I love to eat local, stay hydrated, and sleep well!

What's your 'go-to' restaurant item? I gravitate to the specials. One of my favorite things about traveling is food- there isn’t much I don’t eat or like. I always try to find an authentic, local restaurant and order whatever the chef found in the market that day.

What do you do to stay grounded when away from home? I try to always stick to daily meditation, regardless of where I am. If I’m traveling somewhere remote and country-esque, I get outside as much as possible. If I’m traveling to a new city, I go for a run and explore the streets that way.

What is your preferred method of staying connected with loved ones? In an ideal world, I’m travelling with my loved ones! When that’s not the case, I check in via email and Skype. For the most part, though, I do my best to disconnect.

About Alexandra: Originally from Venezuela, Alexandra has lived in Cincinnati, Philadelphia, NYC, London, and the Hague, Netherlands. Keep up with her healthy pursuits at home and on the road via Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. Who knows, you may catch her at one of the Bari Studios newest studios in Newport Beach, California or Summit, New Jersey!  

{We're Obsessed} Yarok Hair

We love everything in this organic, all-natural botanical, consciously sourced hair line. Years ago we were lucky enough to be invited into their beauty kitchen in NYC and we were hooked. Our favorite product is the Feed Your Youth Hair SerumThis deeply hydrating treatment is applied ten minutes before you shower and is best activated with heat. The pure avocado and natural oils moisturize dry hair and remove product build up. Apply it at the gym post-workout and before you step into the sauna or plan a visit the Yarok beauty kitchen and score a killer head massage and a hot towel wrap. 

Give Back without Giving Money

Pravassa Founder, Linden Schaffer in Thailand

Pravassa Founder, Linden Schaffer in Thailand

The dawning of spring and subsequent theme of rebirth always have a way of nudging me to reevaluate my life: my choices, my actions, who I am as a person. I've realized that my life is, well, mostly about me. As a young adult, I've been focused, if not obsessed, on budgeting my time, developing my nascent career, and steering a tight ship through the choppy waters of my uncertain future. Age aside, so many of us are consumed with day-to-day affairs and planning for what is yet to be. Maybe it's time we look beyond our homes, jobs, and tiny worlds for the answers to what is lacking in our lives. A place where there is a community in need of contributors. A place that can only grow by the love and participation of good people.

Ways to give back and feel rich without spending or receiving a dime:

Strut your skills. Teach your talent. One of the most beautiful parts about being human is that we are all unique, each with our own perfect flaws, idiosyncrasies, strengths and weaknesses. And because this diversity exists, we all are born with a special knowledge or insight and the opportunity to share it with others. Are you good at something that others seem to struggle with? Do you have a passion or a hobby that other people seem interested in? Brooklyn street artist, RAE, recently lived this ethos in Ethiopia where he helped school children turn art into proceeds for the Alemu Woldehanna Community Library. Find your talent and get creative! You could host a free class at your home, a cozy restaurant or in a public park. An organization in Atlanta called the Atlanta Free School hosts free daily classes on myriad subjects. Everyone can teach and everyone can learn. See if something similar exists in your neck of the woods. If not, start one.

Fill bellies. Feed souls. There may be no better way to nurture the soul than to provide someone with a warm, delicious meal. You can take a hand-on approach, joining the ranks of groups likeFood Not Bombs, and directly contribute to foraging, cooking, and sharing meals with the hungry, you can volunteer at your local soup kitchen, or with an organization that distributes meals weekly in public places. Dine at a restaurant like Café 458, where all the workers are volunteers and all the proceeds (and tips) go directly to programs and services aiding the homeless. Whether you are volunteering to feed the homeless or simply sharing a feast with your friends, filling bellies feeds souls, and everyone deserves to go to sleep full.

Offer a free service. In our modern-day world of capitalism and consumerism, the exchange of money for goods and services seems to be a never-ending transaction. "Time is money" is an oft-repeated phrase. Let's reinvent the concept of doing random acts of kindness before it becomes an obsolete one. Offer childcare services for a busy family, tutor a student, clean for an elderly couple. Offer a ride to your coworkers, do yard work for your neighbors, send snail mail to a soldier, or give an hour of good conversation to someone in need of a friend.

Get your hands dirty. If you've ever been interested in working on an organic farm, now is the perfect time to learn. Sustainable agriculture is a growing movement and there are a variety of services that match volunteers looking to work and learn with farmers in need of little help. In exchange for a few hours of work a day, the host farm provides a free meal, a place to stay, and the opportunity to learn the ropes of rural life and the local lifestyle of a new community. Organizations like WWOOF and Workaway are great places to start, and each lists farms, gardens, and projects in almost every country in the world. Spend half a day at a local farm or half a year in a foreign country. Leave dirtier, heartier, happier.

Use the Internet for good: Many of us would love to volunteer, but can't find the time because of demanding, jam-packed schedules. Yet, we all find time, sometimes hours a day, for the Internet. Using Sparked.com, online volunteering for busy people, you can peruse a list of nonprofits and help them overcome their challenges based on your interests and skills. Copywriters, graphic designers, techies, social media buffs, and researchers wanted. It's a great way to volunteer digitally and to break up the monotony of email-checking and web-browsing. Instead of being sucked down the Internet vortex that often leads to Buzzfeed, channel your cyber savvy towards the betterment of your community. - Josalin Saffer


photo via demente

photo via demente

This year-old hipster haunt is located on a thriving corner of Plaza la Trinidad in the quickly gentrifying Getsemani neighborhood of Cartagena, Colombia. Through a nondescript turquoise door you'll enter a small bar and restaurant seating for about 20. Rocking chairs, a retractable roof, and local artwork make this refurbished ruin the late night place to be for locals and tourists alike. Considering they're one of the only places with Colombia's Aguila beer on tap, you'll want to get there early to claim your spot. This tapas only restaurant has a small offering letting you sample  virtually the entire menu. The Spanish-inspired choices created by Bogota-born owner, Nicolas Wiesner, were worth every bite. Upon learning the food was local and seasonal, we were hooked! The Hamburguesita de Rabo was a small slider, perfectly seasoned. The Ensalada de Cous Cous came with tabbuleh and mint so fresh you could smell it the second they set down the dish.

Our favorite? Queso a la plancha, an amazing piece of grilled cheese topped with a marmalade of chopped and grilled onions. Served with a few small pieces of crisp toast, spreading this salty and savory concoction served as a stand-in for dessert. Between courses we admired the artwork: mirrored paintings with quotes from famous, if slightly demented artists (hence the restaurant name) and the confounding hand-painted quotes from local poet, Raul Gomez Jattin, which were hand-written on our plates and revealed after each bite. We ended the evening full and happy, leaving with a bottle cap business card and handshake on our way out the door. Heading into the night, as sounds of kids play soccer echoed through the Plaza and the soft sway of Champeta filled the air, I realized that Demente might feel like an undiscovered neighborhood haunt, but it won't stay that way for long.

tapas $4 - $6 usd                                                                   Open 6pm - 2am daily


Street Food Tour | Hanoi, Vietnam

Have at least a day in Hanoi during your trip to Vietnam? Do not miss this 3.5 hour guided walking tour of Hanoi's Old Quarter lead by the brilliant Mark Lowerson. We always recommend sampling food as the fastest way to gain an understanding of a new to you culture. This tour is for the adventurous and open-minded. Read: vegetarians need not inquire! Tours are given in English and are small in size, 2 - 4 people.

Staying Centered Overseas

Picture this: It’s 102 degrees. Your face is burnt, your lips are chapped, and you’re dripping with sweat. Lost in a foreign country and surrounded by illegible signs written in characters that may as well be hieroglyphs. You are holding a pack that weighs half as much as you do, and you have no transportation besides the worn-out feet that are barely supporting you at a standstill. You see people that you want to ask for help, but you don’t know their language, and they don’t know yours. And in this moment, I am infinitely happy. Why? Because I'm thousands of miles from home, light-years beyond my comfort zone, and I'm thrilled to finally be here.