Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A Very Bohemian Baby Shower

Last month, we celebrated my 30th birthday by saying goodbye to my 20's and hello to mama life. As someone who designs events and leads women's gatherings for a living, thinking of doing one for myself became overwhelming and stressful. It was such a breath of fresh air for my family and friends to take the lead on this one and plan my baby shower! I'm not so good at giving up control and letting others do for me, so there were many conversations that started out with, "Mandy relax, we got this!" 

Luckily, I'm surrounded by a group of creative, resourceful, go-getter goddesses who worked together to create one of the most beautiful days of my life. Walking into the shower literally took my breath away. From the handmade flower crowns, to the long farm tables, to the prayer flags, acoustic live music, henna tattoo artist, green juice cocktails, tie-dye onesie station, and all my favorite people frolicking around the garden barefoot -- these girls truly outdid themselves! Every detail was so intentional. 

Thank you so much to my family for flying in from the East Coast to be there for this special day. Shout out to my 85 year old Grandma for making the trek out to San Diego in style! Thank you to my mama, sisters, friends, and our local community of yoga girls for coming together to create my dream Bohemian Baby Shower. This little girl is surrounded by the best group of Aunties to teach her how to be a goddess one day. I'm forever grateful! 

Vendor List
If you're in the San Diego area and need some amazing people to help you pull off a bridal shower, bachelorette, baby shower, or birthday party, here are the magic makers I highly recommend!
Green Juice //  Farm to Fork  La Jolla
Catering //  Poke platters by ILYLYFfoods - the lilikoi (passionfruit) salmon was to die for!
Dessert //  Raw dairy free cheesecakes by Jenny - recipe here!
Flowers //  by Leslie of Cleo Beauty 
Photography //  Rozannne Edwards Media
Henna Artist //  Tejal of Henna San Diego
Music //  island blues acoustic serenades by musician Matt Huz 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Pre-Natal Yoga

Hi friends! As many of you know, I've been teaching my regular Vinyasa Flow classes throughout this pregnancy, and have witnessed my own practice shift in interesting ways. There's a commonly held idea out there that once you become pregnant, you need to pause your practice and only take "pre-natal yoga" classes, just to be safe. I disagree. Many pregnant women actually want (and need) to continue their regular Vinyasa practice, with some specific modifications. 

As yoga teachers, we should be well-equipped with the basic information for guiding and empowering a pregnant yogi on her mat. Simply saying "you can't do twists" is not good enough! As teachers, let's step up and learn creative ways to incorporate pre- and post-natal women into existing Vinyasa Flow yoga classes. 

At almost 9 months pregnant, I will show you what it actually looks and feels like in the body, allowing you as a teacher to understand the anatomy of pregnancy and ways to guide a safe, yet strong Vinyasa Flow. This will help make you a better teacher in studio classes, and open up doors to you working privately with pregnant clients in their home or workplace. 

Tuesday July 12 at 6:45pm
Bird Rock Yoga 
Pacific Beach, San Diego, California
cost: $25  // sign up here

Pre-requisite: Must be 200-hour YTT certified.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Best Brunch in Baja!

After brunching in Baja at least once a month for the past 7 years, I've finally found my dream Sunday spot! Conveniently located only 24 kilometers (about 15 minutes) south of the border, Mi Casa Supper Club is my go-to place to take yoga retreat groups, bachelorette parties, and my own family and friends. Everyone I've ever taken leaves feeling so relaxed, well-fed, and overall impressed with the quality of service, attention to detail, creativity and love poured into every dish. 

This past Sunday, I celebrated my 30th birthday with a beautiful brunch here with 12 of my closest friends. Handmade bloody marys, fresh-squeezed mimosas, local oysters, smoked salmon dishes, and delicious locally grown summer salads were happily circulating the table. Possibly the thing I love most about Mi Casa is that every detail is intentional. The minute you walk in, you feel like a Queen. The oversized luxurious Balinese furniture mixed with relaxed, oceanfront Baja energy is the perfect combination. Owner and Head Chef Bo Bendana Sein has a way of fusing worlds together that just works. She takes her Moroccan roots, mixes in some European flair, and pays tribute to her new home of Baja Mexico in a way that can only be understood if you feel it in person. Put this place on your Summer 2016 Bucket List! In the two short years since the restaurant's grand opening, they've received so much buzz that this place won't be a secret much longer. 

Chef Bo has created such a beautiful, welcoming space and inspiring, innovative menu that keeps drawing me back month after month. Something was tugging at me to learn more about her and the journey she's taken to get to this place. Read my interview with Chef Bo Bendana Sein below...

Celebrating my 30th birthday brunch at Mi Casa - June 2016
Smoked Salmon puff pastry, fromage blanc, flying fish caviar, pickled red, pink and golden beets, capers,
cornichon pickles with an apple celery salad and home made vinaigrette

San Quintin Baja Gigamoto Oysters with Chili Ginger, Seaweed Salad, Champagne Vinegar sauce & Flying Fish Caviar.

Meet Head Chef, Founder, Creator of Mi Casa Supper Club, Bo Bendana Sein!

1) Where are you from and what did you do in a past life? (before Mi Casa)
I was born in Morocco and grew up mostly in Casablanca before moving to New York City to pursue a career in Interior Design where I attended the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Mi Casa Supper Club was born as a private underground club where members would make reservations to a monthly dinner at my ocean front home in Baja. I would create and cook a 7 to 8 course menus for 30 to 50 people inspired by Moroccan and Mexican cuisine we call Moroxican.

2) When did you decide to open Mi Casa and why?

My intention was to create a social gastro club for our friends and people like us who crave a place where they are treated like royalty, surrounded by fine furnishing and unique art while dinning on a cuisine that captures the essence and flavors of Baja while fused with Moroccan recipes. When we started getting phone calls and emails from people in Vegas, Arizona and Europe asking how to join our club, we realized that Mi Casa Supper Club was no longer a secret! To keep our privacy but keep our members happy we closed our home to the public and build Mi Casa Supper Club in July 2014. We tried to duplicate our living room and keep the same warmth and the feeling of dinning in a home verses a restaurant so we went back to Bali, Indonesia and found the same artist we used in hour home and brought back a container of carved stone, tile, wood carvings, sculptures, light fixtures, etc. So the restaurant reflects our love for Baja, Bali and everything eclectic and coastal!

3) What 5 words would you use to describe your unique restaurant?
Eclectic Elegance, Moroccan Mexican Fusion

4) What is your biggest challenge AND what is your biggest joy of living and working in Baja, Mexico?

Being creative is what keeps my body moving and my mind focused on what brings me joy verses my daily battle with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Many mornings, I struggle with getting out of bed due to inflammation and joint stiffness. I am 43 years old with energy of a 23 year old but often my body feels like a 70+ years old, LOL! :)

Living in Baja is a very laid-back style of living where you don't have to ever feel rushed. There is less pressure and less expectations. People come down to northern Baja to rejuvenate, to heal, to escape the hustle and bustle of US living and Dennis (my husband) and I are a perfect example. We could open our restaurant 7 days a week and probably make a fortune but that would mean we'll have to sacrifice our time with our kids, family and friends so instead we chose a more moderate life style, with a lower cost of living, so we only open the restaurant 4 days a week. We close one month a year so we don't miss out on living a fun, balanced life.

5) Speaking of balance, how do you juggle being a wife, mama, creative artist, and business woman? Any tips or tricks you've learned along the way?

I delegate and I am not shy to ask for help! I have a nanny that's been with me since the birth of my children who allows me to spend quality time with my family instead of time spent cleaning the house or squeezing oranges for my kids everyday. My husband loves being a dad and he has a tremendous amount of patience for our little ones but when I need ME time, I ask. I don't wait for him to offer and he does the same!

My husband and I love our independence, he loves to write and I love to cook and garden so every morning we discus our plans for the day and how to work around our kids schedule because time with our kids is priceless and irreplaceable, so they always come first.

Currently, Mi Casa is nominated for the prestigious 100 Not-to-be Missed Restaurants in Mexico and is a key contributor to the highly-anticapted annual event, Sabor de Bajahappening August 31, 2016 where Chef Bo hosts her famous all-white party.  To keep up with their seasonal menu and special dinner parties, be sure to follow Mi Casa Supper Club on Facebook. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Change Your Breakfast, Change Your Life: The Ultimate Smoothie Bowls

I'm very excited to share with you guys something that's changed my mornings! As some of you know, I was never a big fan of breakfast. I love the idea in theory, but I'm usually rushing around in the mornings, or start my days with a yoga practice, so I'm cruising on an empty stomach until almost lunch time. Then, one day, about a year ago, my body needed more. I started to crave a steady morning ritual, so I began with a cup of hot water, lemon and honey, then moved onto chia seed pudding, homemade green juice, then green smoothies, and gradually became drawn to creating these elaborate, colorful, beautiful SMOOTHIE BOWLS! When I'm traveling in Mexico or Hawaii, these bowls are everywhere. It's such a perfect way to get in all your nutritional needs, start your day with loads of delicious superfoods, and feel full on the go. 

Here at home in San Diego, I realized I've been spending $8 - $12 a day on satisfying my cravings for acai, pitaya, and green smoothie bowls every day, so I decided to give it a try in my very own kitchen. The result = so easy and fun! 

The key is to remember it's not the same consistency as a typical smoothie, it's a lot thicker, more like an ice cream. Use very little, if any, liquids and if it comes out too watery at first, just throw in more frozen fruit or stick it in the freezer for a few minutes to harden up. 

Acai is the typical smoothie bowl you'll see around, which is a dark purple/reddish berry color. Pitaya is more my style -- that's the bright pink dragon fruit with less sugar than Acai. Lastly, the best invention ever -- GREEN smoothie bowls, which is a base of either acai/pitaya or just straight up frozen bananas, then you mix in a scoop of either moringa or spirulina and you have an instant energy-boosting, perfect protein packed bowl of deliciousness, straight from the Earth. 

Here's my go-to recipe for a classic Pitaya bowl: 
  • two handfuls of frozen bananas 
  • one packet of Pitaya Plus 
  • one scoop of almond butter 
  • blend these three ingrediants together until it becomes ice-cream texture
  • pour into bowl 
  • top with whateva! my favorite toppings are: granola, fresh pineapple bits, sprinkle local bee pollen, and drizzle honey overtop (to help with these crazy spring allergy attacks)
Number One rule of thumb when making Smoothie Bowls: DON'T GET INTIMIDATED! These photos I chose are beautiful and inspiring, but many times my bowls come out looking crazy with half of the toppings sinking to the bottom. So don't even worrry about that. Eventually you will find your rhythm, but just have fun with it! And make sure to cut up and freeze your bananas the night before so you're all set in the morning. A cupcake tray is the best thing to freeze banana slices in so they don't stick to each other and you'll have them perfectly portioned out. HAVE FUN! 

Do you have an amazing smoothie bowl recipe? If so, share it here! 

source >  plant fueled
source >  me! made this in my kitchen :)
source >  life of goodness
source >  ultima replenisher
source >  shape magazine

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


Wow, where does the time go? I feel like this experience is just flying by! As much as I try to stay present and enjoy each moment to the fullest, waking up one day and realizing that you're seven months pregnant is a total shock to the system! 

My yoga students, family, and friends are constantly asking me - how are you feeling? In short: I feel amazing. This pregnancy has been absolutely beautiful! I share this statement with you all with much hesitation because I know that not every pregnancy is the same, and some women have a much tougher time than others. But, if there's one thing I've committed myself to over the past few years, it's speaking my truth -- even if some people don't want to hear it. Believe it or not, some women actually don't like hearing that you're having a wonderful pregnancy!  Weird. 

But, I don't write this for them. I write this for me, as a place to process and share and document this super special time in my life. And I write this for you -- the girl who is afraid to get pregnant. The girl who is afraid that she'll be sick 24/7, won't be able to keep up her active lifestyle, will loose all her friends who don't understand what she's going through. The girl who will hate the changes happening in her body and resent the little human growing inside. That girl was me, circa 2013. My husband and I had just celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary and planned to start trying that year. But, my fears absolutely paralyzed me. All of those thoughts listed above (and then some) played over and over in my head. I knew, deep down, that the timing wasn't right for me. Having to break this news to my husband was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. But every cell in my being told me that I needed to sit with my fears, move through the darkness, and search, and seek, and fight for the light. I needed to do the hard work to figure out the root of my deepest fears, which after two years of self study, boiled down to me not loving myself or believing that I was worthy of being someone's mother. 

Then, the process of releasing that notion began. I worked diligently and intimately with energy healing, colon hydrotherapy, sound therapy to unblock my sacral and belly chakras, practiced womb healing and the "woman poetry" style of yoga, cultivated a tribe of supportive and nurturing female friends in my life, and spent quality time in nature reconnecting with the original mother, Pachamama (Mother Earth) to receive the messages and learn the lessons that I needed to learn from her. A combination of all these things helped me journey to a place of profound healing, self-acceptance, self-love, and ultimately -- shifting my thoughts into understanding that I am worthy of experiencing the joy and great privilege of motherhood. 

So, when you see me here smiling from ear to ear and embracing this beautiful, vibrant, growing belly of mine, understand that the person writing this in May of 2016 is very different than the fearful girl of 2013. I worked hard to get to this point and truly believe that LOVE IS GREATER THAN FEAR. You have the ability to build up your gratitude and love so strongly that it can smother even your deepest fears. It takes time. This process cannot and should not be rushed. But believe me, it feels so sooo good to be on the other side. And I truly believe that this is why my body and mind have reacted so positively to this pregnancy. I have never been sick once, I still enjoy a strong, fiery yoga practice a few times a week, while teaching every day, sometimes 3 yoga classes a day. I control my cravings and lean mostly towards healthy, nourishing foods. I just started my Third Trimester and I'm happy to report that everything has been smooth sailing physically and emotionally -- even in the midst of living in a construction zone while doing a 2 bathroom demo and remodel to create a beautiful home environment for baby. 

Thank you to everyone reading this for your constant love and support on this journey. I live my life by the philosophy that everything and everyone is connected, and I definitely can feel your positive energy lifting us up each day. My inbox is wide open if any of you ever want to chat about womb healing or the insane rollercoaster ride of transitioning from girl into woman, as these topics are so fresh on my heart right now. In closing, I have NO idea what the future holds, but I do know that living every single day with LOVE AND GRATITUDE is the only option. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Wild + Free Retreat

Welcome to the Wild + Free Retreat! A one day, all inclusive experience designed to stimulate creativity and connection on all levels -- mind, body, and soul.
Hosted by:   Mandy Burstein //  Jade Alectra //  Jenny Niezgoda
This mini-retreat is lovingly designed to help busy women harness the healing power of ancient wisdom within their modern lives. Through movement, creative expression, sound and food healing, this will be an educational, inspirational day of activation of all your senses. You will be radiating at the highest frequency by the culmination of our time together. Due to the intimate nature of this gathering, it is limited to only 20 women who are ready to escape, collaborate, and spark a new fire in their lives.

We've selected 3 ultra-inspiring locations in Encinitas, California to create a well-rounded, holistic experience. Here's the retreat itinerary of what you can expect:  
1 - 3pm:  Yoga, meditation, sound healing and goddess circle at Sea Vibes Yoga, guided by Mandy Burstein and Jade Alectra in their signature "Woman Poetry" teaching style. Expect a deeply cleansing and healing journey into yourself to help reveal the most beautiful version of you.
3 -  4pm:  Post-yoga kombucha toast, meet-and-greet, and raffle of some of our favorite items from local artisans in the SeaVibes boutique.  
4 -  5pm:  Walk over to the Meditations Gardens at Swami's Self Realization Fellowship. At this world-famous sanctuary space overlooking the ocean, we will guide you through a journaling exercise building on the themes from the yoga class.
5 - 8pm: Gourmet picnic dinner on the beach. Inspired food healer Jenny Niezgoda will indulge you with a gorgeous locally-sourced, organic feast, in collaboration with Farm to Fork Catering. During our time on the beach, we will cultivate conversation to allow you to flow into deeper connection with your new friends while learning even more about yourself in the process. As the sun goes down and our taste buds are fully satisfied, we will transition into a sunset bonfire ceremony, once and for all releasing into the flames what needs to be released, and enjoy a final celebratory toast to a beautiful, divinely feminine day together.

don't miss out on this chance to unplug, tap into your inner goddess, and connect with other women! 

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