Facilitator Spotlight: Kitty Blincoe

Kitty Blincoe has a particularly unique perspective as a yoga facilitator for The Foundation for Living Beauty, because she herself is a cancer survivor. Fourteen years ago, Kitty was diagnosed with kidney cancer in the midst of a successful, fast-paced career as a fashion executive. After her oncologist recommended reiki, Kitty began to recognize the power of blending Eastern + Western modalities. She says that after discovering yoga and reiki, she left fashion with a drive to dive into wellness. “Learning to breathe + practice yoga taught me boundaries and self care,” she explains. “I refer to myself as a ‘recovering type A.’ But [if you have cancer], you can find a new normal, day by day.”

Kitty has attended yoga retreats with The Foundation for Living Beauty as both a participant and a facilitator – she now assists Tari Prinster, who was one of the first instructors to help Kitty “slow down.” Instructor Max Strom, whose mantra is “breathe to heal,”  also influenced Kitty’s journey and commitment to yoga. “It was the breathing that hooked me – it’s a tool in my toolbox.” Also in Kitty’s yoga toolbox? Remixed Beatles music, restorative yoga and sound baths.

After reflecting on her journey from the busy corporate world of New York’s fashion scene to a peaceful community in San Diego, Kitty professes: “I like to say that doctors saved my life, but yoga gave me a life worth living.” It’s this life in San Diego that she’s generously sharing with The Foundation for Living Beauty, working to help facilitate future yoga events in San Diego. “I’m happy to introduce the Foundation to my community in San Diego, because the people are so authentic. The foundation honors our craft, and honors us as people. They honor each and every woman and the facilitators alike! My experience has always been that the events attract a special group of women who come together for a place to unwind, heal, learn tools to cope and manage daily life after being touched by cancer. No drama, no politics, just pure love and sisterhood. A tribe connected by cancer, strengthened by each other. A way to have the important “support group” without it being a traditional support group. An studies have shown being a part of a support group increases chance of survival significantly. It is my honor to share Light with anyone who needs a little to brighten their day.”

You can learn more about Kitty at www.kittyblincoe.com, or visit her in person at Sanctuary Z, her Sleep, Stretch and Stress Management space in Carlsbad, CA. 

Pure Alternatives to Manicure + Maintenance Favorites

We recently had an incredible chat with stila guru Sarah Lucero and inspirational author Kris Carr on Twitter. They both tweeted out some of their favorite low-toxin nail polishes, included on the list below. This got us thinking about pure alternatives to traditional beauty, manicure and wellness products.

Here are some ideas they shared and some others we love.

Looking for nail polishes that are non-toxic, plus free of fumes and chemicals? Here are Sarah and Kris’s pretty picks.

LEARN MORE: RMS Beauty: “6-Free Polish” , The Detox Market: “Acquarella, La Luna

 

One of our favorite sites to browse? Lush Cosmetics. Fresh, vegan and made by human hands daily, it’s always an adventure to see the creative, bright bath bombs, soaps and shampoos they invent. If you’re looking for an affordable birthday gift, Lush is the way to go. Even better, take a day just to wander through their store, relaxing as you smell their various samples, out to explore.

 

LEARN MORE: Lush “Titsy Totsy Bath Bomb

 

If you’re looking to cleanse, tone or protect from things like the elements and bug bites, essential oils can take you surprisingly far! We love Doterra’s blog for DIY ideas – learn to make cuticle cream, scrub, after sun spray and more from a variety of plant extracts.

LEARN MORE: Doterra DIY Blog 

7 Unique Ways to Celebrate Mother’s Day

We are so honored to have many talented, generous women in our family of Living Beauties! While many of our Beauties are mothers, all of them are nurturers as they share wisdom and comfort among themselves and with others in our community.

That’s why we wanted to share 7 unique ways to celebrate womanhood and enjoy a day of serenity this Mother’s Day – whether you take this day to lift up someone in your family, a girlfriend or your own spirit, we hope these simple pleasures enrich your health and serve as a reminder that there is both power and peace in femininity.

Share a Scent: 

If you’re looking for an affordable, thoughtful gift that keeps on giving, try a diffuser necklace or bracelet. The wearer simply dips a pre-cut pad in their (or your) favorite essential oil, then places it in a locket. Different scents can relieve a variety of symptoms, and it’s a special reminder throughout the day of how much you care. Browse styles here! 

Send a Handwritten Note

There’s nothing like a handwritten note – try writing down your favorite memory or story with your mom or loved one, and then surprise her with good old fashioned snail mail! Or, write down why you feel most proud to be a woman, and keep the note in your wallet for a rainy day.

Create a “Thinking of You” Playlist 

Whether it’s heartfelt or funky, a playlist tribute to your mom or a woman you admire is a great way to show you care. Send it to her and suggest she soak in the bath as she listens, or get together for an impromptu dance party!

Stroll in a Beautiful Garden 

The Huntington Library and Gardens, Descanso Gardens and Lacy Park are some of our local favorite spots to sit and picnic or stroll and chat.

Create Your Own Bouquet 

Head to Trader Joe’s or the DTLA Flower Mart and design your own bouquet for a surefire way to brighten any day.

Get Pampered – Naturally 

Give the gift of vegan cosmetics, soaps or other products – LUSH is all about using only safe, non-animal testing ingredients and has a special collection for Mother’s Day! Browse the freshly made treats here. 

Take a Yoga Class 

Local yoga houses often offer discounts on first month memberships or the occasional free class. Plan a morning or afternoon to spend together meditating, stretching and strengthening. There’s nothing like yoga with a friend to inspire confidence and bring a smile to your face.

 

Facilitator Friday: Caspar Poyck

Each week we’ve been celebrating Facilitator Friday on social media as a tribute to the many talented individuals who support our Living Beauties. Today, we asked psychosomatic therapist Caspar Poyck to help introduce his one-day workshop, How, Why, When and What We Eat, scheduled for February 18th, 2017.

When we first asked Caspar about his experiences as a nutritionist, he was quick to make a distinction between traditional nutritional counseling and his craft: “First and foremost I am NOT a nutritionist. Rather, I am a psychosomatic therapist and have related that science specifically to eating in a modality called Digestive Therapy,” Caspar explained.

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In fact, Digestive Therapy helps to evaluate and address eating from an extremely comprehensive perspective. Caspar went on to explain how his process considers some key elements that are often overlooked when individuals evaluate their dietary habits. “When we think of resolving our food related health issues we often look at food and nutrition, but have you ever noticed how people who start dieting usually end up yo-yo-ing ? Do you ever wonder why people who follow the newest fad diets and cleanses end up with a lifestyle instead of a remedy ? Why is it that many people who are determined and exact in their focus on avoiding foods they are sensitive to most often become allergic to more foods instead of less ?”

“The most important, and most often overlooked, part of our relationship to food is our emotions!” answers Poyck. Emotions affect HOW we eat and emotions affect everything from blood pressure and heart rate to digestion and allergies. A person will run from diet to diet until the REAL issues are addressed.”

Caspar’s February 18th workshop, a collaboration with nutritionist and lifestyle coach Julie Hefner, endeavors to help participants consider these issues and more in their own lives. The workshop is open to the public for a fee of $199, with a $50 deposit due to register. It will be held at The Hood Kitchen Space in Costa Mesa.

Check out more information on the workshop below!

 

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Spring Clean Eating with Lilly Padilla

Lilly Padilla is the author of Anti-cancer Habits & Anti-inflammatory Nutrition. She is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Coach, Holistic Nutrition Chef, and 13-year cancer survivor.  Lilly’s Anti-cancer book is on sale right now at  https://www.createspace.com/5553140.

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FFLB: What are your favorite spring foods?

LP: Because of the natural Renewal energy in spring, Sprouts (baby foods full of energy) are probably my favorite foods to add to my recipes in Springtime. Sprouts, especially broccoli sprouts, which are known for their anti-cancer properties, along with daikon radish sprouts both make easy adds to salads, soups, beans and whole grain dishes. They provide high amounts of vitamins, fiber and phytonutrients. Just what we need in spring!

FFLB: How have you seen a clean, fresh diet positively affect a cancer journey?

LP: Over more than 9 years of working with cancer survivors, and in my own experience as a 13-year cancer survivor, I have noticed that overall, survivors who have changed their eating habits and consistently consumed a clean diet have a better outcome than those who occasionally eat conventional vegetables but don’t really change their diet of  processed foods.

There is a harmonious wellness between nature and the human body. Most people do create and release the same type of energy that they ingest through food. For example, eating leafy greens consistently makes people become more flexible and feel lighter, fresher and more energetic. And the opposite is true: When eating heavy fats, like animal fats, people often feel heavy, slow and dull. The nature of the food will be reflected in the type of energy release. For thousands of years Chinese Nutritional Therapy has worked with the concept that we are ONE with nature and that what we eat impacts our human nature, health, mood and energy. I have seen amazing results when survivors prioritize consistent healthy lifestyle routines that include a clean healthy diet, exercise, mindful meditations, healthy cooking and a set menu that works for their unique nutritional needs.

For more info on the subject, feel free to send Lilly a note or questions at [email protected]

Lilly’s Springtime recipe:

Lilly’s Detoxifying Spring Salad

 Beets, carrots and apples have all been traditionally used for liver detoxification.

1 large beet, coarsely grated (good source iron- supports liver function)

1 organic green apple cut tiny pieces (antioxidant protection)

1 large carrot coarsely grated

5 tbs. fresh dill

1/2 c. parsley leaves chopped

1 c. dandelion greens (excellent liver cleansing)

2 c. seasonal mix green salad

1/2  c. broccoli sprouts (anti-cancer protection)

1/2 cup watercress (support lungs detoxification)

DRESSING

¼ c. flaxseed oil or toasted sesame oil

1 lemon juice – add more to taste

3-4 tbs. apple cider vinegar

1/4 tsp. turmeric powder

1 clove garlic minced tiny

hand full sprouted almonds chopped

Himalayan salt to taste

In a medium salad bowl mix grated beets and carrots, then add apples, lemon juice, turmeric, salt and garlic. Then, stir in your green salad mix, watercress, sprouts, parsley, dill and dandelion greens. Lastly, add oil and almonds. Mix all ingredients well and add more lemon to your desired taste.  It makes a delicious, nutritious cleansing salad, and your liver will love it!

 Chew truly and enjoy the flavors!

Cancer-Fighting Salad Ingredients

If you’re looking to give your spring salads an extra-healthy boost, we have the ingredient list for you! Sometimes it can be tough to quickly cook up a stellar and well-balanced meal, especially during lunch time. We often find ourselves in the frozen food aisle or microwaving poorly portioned leftovers, neither of which makes for an ideal lunch. So, we put together the perfect list of salad ingredients to stock up your fridge, whether it’s at home or at work. They don’t take up too much space and have tons of nutritious value. Even if you buy salad kits from the grocery store, consider rounding them out by sprinkling in these ingredients!

Pomegranate Seeds

While you can buy whole pomegranates, you’ll save time and work getting packets of seeds alone in the produce section. Delicious with chunks of butternut squash, kale and a huge lineup of fruits, pomegranate seeds also are a prime superfood in the fight against breast cancer. Chemicals in the pom suppress the production of estrogen, which research hopes will help stunt some cancer growth. You can also buy pomegranate seed oil, which is a great addition to your bathroom cabinet for extra skin health.

Blueberries

Another fruit that City of Hope has found helpful against tough breast cancer cases, blueberries are the perfect size for throwing into a spring salad. They taste especially delicious with spinach.

Lentils

Lentils add lots of texture to your salad, but are also provide Vitamin B and a very healthy form of fiber. Use these and beans to replace lunchtime bread! It’s helpful to cook lentils yourself and be sure to avoid adding too much salt. Lentils are delicious with tons of healthy spices, though, like turmeric and rosemary. Try them with these, kale and chicken for a delicious warm salad!

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has been a very popular health food for skin and digestion. If you’re having trouble with either, it doesn’t hurt to add a little tang to your salad with a homemade dressing. Try this recipe with honey and dijon mustard. Lots of salad dressings are unfortunately very sugary and fatty, so this is a great homemade alternative! Plus, you can adjust it to your taste.

Avocado

One of the best ways to get a healthy fat in your diet, some studies say that avocados can fight leukemia and other cancers. Plus, the edge of avocados closest to the skin can be full of cancer-fighting carotenoids, a type of antioxidant. Learn how to reach these when you cut your avocado here, and leave a couple on your desk to ripen up!

Wonderful Meditation Podcasts

When a busy week of work, travel or treatment feels overwhelming, it’s important to take a moment of peace for yourself. The Foundation for Living Beauty loves building grounding retreats for our women. Between those retreats, continue your moments of meditation and self-love with some of our favorite free podcasts. They all have different voices, perspectives and reflections, so you can find the best fit for your quiet moments!

If You Can’t Sleep:

Stin Hansen’s wonderful playlist (Fittingly entitled “ZZZZZZ….”) is an excellent choice for nights when it just feels tough to doze off. Stin gives gentle reminders that each project, worry or even joy has its own time and place. The calm music will also sweep you away into a good night of sleep. Download her podcast here.

If You’d Like A Beautiful Getaway or Love Nature: 

As one of our favorite meditation groups, the Meditation Society of Australia gives your moments of reflection and visualization an extra peaceful twist. Perfect for mornings or naps, their Cliff Visualization podcast brings you straight to the edge of a stunning Australian sunrise and leaves you feeling weightless. Download the podcast here.

If You Want to Take Yoga With You

If you’ve fallen in love with yoga, check out Yoga Download podcasts. Some are videos, and some are simply audio guides, but each podcast gives a variety of yoga poses for many purposes. Whether you’re a beginner or simply want to stretch, there is a wealth of free guidance! See their selections here.

If You’d Like a Quiet Moment to Focus on Breathing

Jesse and Jeane Stern have a variety of incredible podcasts, but their piece on Transformational Breathing can be done anywhere and is truly simple and grounding. Download the audio episode here.

Are there any other meditation focuses you’d like us to search out? We’re happy to help! Let us know which you enjoy, too!

Therapy on the Trails

Sometimes, clearing your mind also means freeing your body from its normal routine. For therapist Nicole Shannon, the power of time outdoors can be healing and deeply powerful. Below, she tells us all about her Trail Sessions, where traditional therapy intersects with exercise and relaxation on hikes.

Trail Sessions Therapy sends your therapy on a hike. It adds the vast benefits of the outdoors to those of traditional psychotherapy. It puts your healing of mind and body in motion. Wellness of body and mind are so closely connected, that engaging your body in the healing of your mind naturally accelerates results. The trail becomes a dynamic work space for your body and mind. I encourage letting go of technology to embrace the natural beauty around us while doing physical activity. Trail Sessions Therapy was developed out of the belief that one’s emotional health is closely tied to their connection to nature and time spent outdoors. The ground beneath your feet will center you. The direction will unstick you from where you are stuck.

The trail hiking therapy sessions emphasize the distance you cover emotionally. It will focus on your strength and empowerment. Every step is a manifestation of your progress, every inhale is energy, every exhale is letting go of what does not serve you.

While the trail can seem daunting and steep you will not walk it alone. You have already shown courage by reaching out and putting yourself on the trail. I will help you find your footing, overcome obstacles and gain a deeper understanding of yourself and those around you. You will hike into a stronger and better you.

You set the pace and I will match it. Slower, meditative walks allow for clearing of the mind and free-flowing contemplation. Faster, power sessions facilitate targeted break-throughs and emotional responses. Trail Sessions Therapy adapts seamlessly and instantly to your ever evolving path to growth, wellness and healing.

If you’re interested in booking a session with Nicole, email [email protected] for rates and more information.

Talking With: Art of Tea

We’ve been fortunate to have many great facilitators throughout the years at FFLB. One of our generous supporters has helped us “tea” up for greatness over and over again! Steve Schwartz, known throughout his industry as the “Master Tea Blender”, has always been ready to support our women and team with generosity and immense knowledge. We asked him some pressing questions about his area of expertise. Start a brew, sit back and learn a bit about the art of tea!

FFLB: How do you source your tea?

SS: Direct from origin whenever possible. I have relationships with farmers all across the world and work with them to source the top 2% of the world’s finest teas.

FFLB: Can you offer a brief two-sentence summary about tea’s origin?

SS: We believe true tea should come from Asia. All true teas come from the camellia sinensis evergreen shrub, which is the foundation for white, green, oolong, black, and pu-erh teas. If it isn’t from this shrub, it just isn’t a tea.

FFLB: Are there any types of teas that you recommend avoiding? If so, why?

SS: No, any tea that allows you to take a moment out of a busy day – whether it’s for the taste, health benefits, or simple satisfaction that brewing the perfect cup brings – is a good tea in my eyes.

FFLB: Are loose leaves better than teabags? Vice versa? Or is there no difference?

SS: High-quality, organic loose leaf and specialty teas are typically better in quality and taste.

FFLB: The most enriching tea or type of tea for general well-being is ___.

SS: I deeply enjoy gyorkuro for its grounding effect. It has a clean mouth feel and a grassy finish.

FFLB: Is there a type of tea you would recommend for cancer patients?

SS: I would recommend the process of brewing loose leaf teas in general. The mindfulness used in preparing the water, selecting the leaves, brewing the tea, and finally enjoying the cup can be highly therapeutic.

FFLB: The most popular tea from the Art of Tea collection is ___.

SS: That’s a close one. I’d say it’s a toss-up between our Earl Grey Crème and Classic Black teas.

FFLB: The healthiest and most effective tea sweetener is ___.

SS: I recommend either stevia leaf or raw local honey.

FFLB: How does tea compare to pure water consumption?

SS: 98% of what is consumed while drinking tea is water, making it a great way to hydrate while also experiencing the benefits of whatever tea is brewed. Therefore, a great water source is very important for enhancing the tea experience.

FFLB: Forget jam and bread! The best tea-time snack in your opinion is ___.

SS: Fresh baked, warm chocolate chip cookies.

Follow Art of Tea on Instagram, and take a look at their award-winning teas on artoftea.com!

Featured image. 

A Moment With Tari Prinster of Yoga 4 Cancer

FFLB has been blessed with the skills and advice of Tari Prinster on multiple occasions, especially in yoga sessions on retreats with Living Beauties. A cancer survivor herself, Tari has been deemed a Selfless Service Leader by Yoga Journal. She graciously answered some of our questions about four basic poses to help patients center themselves and relieve some stresses and aches during treatment. Each pose is accompanied by an illustrated guide. Thank you for your amazing insights, Tari!

1. The Best Pose for activating the lymph and circulatory system to detox the body: Knock-Kneed Cactus. 

Tari emphasized the importance of restorative poses with action quality post-chemotherapy. 

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2. A good pose to manage middle back (thoracic) tension: Restorative Fish

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3. For Activating Digestion: Cat and Cow (Im. 1) ; For Calming Digestion: Restorative Cobbler (Im. 2)

catcow

restorative cobbler

4. For Peace of Mind and Meditation: A Base Meditation Pose, And Tari’s Advice on Preparing.

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“Taking time to breathe can lead quite naturally into a moment of meditation. To begin, sit in dynamic stillness. You can also meditate lying down, standing, or walking, but a comfortable, upright seat is an ideal physical container to develop a wakeful, relaxed mental state…In meditation, we begin to tame our monkey mind, first my choosing a point of focus. Your focal point can be your breathing, a visualization, a mantra or a guided journey…No matter the state in which you find your mind, be kind to yourself.”

All of this article’s poses and illustrations can be found in Tari’s book, Yoga For Cancer. Add it to your collection for a daily dose of healing, exercise and spiritual wellness! 

Featured photo via Mantra Mag.

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