Sunday, December 14, 2014

Zen Girl's 2014 Guide to Mindful Holiday Shopping

Every year, the holiday season brings out the consumer in all of us. There is a general understanding that we shower our loved ones with material possessions, which doesn't have to be a bad thing, if these gifts are coming from a mindful place. In this year's Zen Girl's Guide to Mindful Holiday Shopping, I'm featuring seven of my favorite small businesses of 2014 -- all of which sell presents with purpose. Each item has a story, a message and/or an ability to increase the overall health and happiness of the lucky recipient. I wish you all a beautiful holiday season and encourage you to shop with intention and mindfulness this year! XO!

1) The Bohemian Yogi -The Piece Collection
yoga girls with wanderlust in their hearts will appreciate any item from The Piece Collection. Casey and Allasia are "two girls collecting the world for you, one piece at a time". Their items for sale include: super soft Turkish robes, fringe Moroccan leather bags, handmade jewelry from Nepal, Peru and more. Their pieces have been carefully curated with intention and purpose and are sure t WOW whoever is lucky enough to receive one.

2) The Glamorous Yogi -- Axiology Lipstick
all natural, 100% organic, vegan lipstick. Look gorgeous and practice ahimsa -- the best of both worlds! Axiology founder Ericka Rodriguez lives in NYC and traveled to Bali last year to research the most natural, non-toxic ingredients for her new cosmetics line. She recently introduced her first product, vegan lipstick to the market and it's creating a firestorm of love in the yoga world. Axiology is about to change the way yoga girls shop for makeup. Snag a tube of this lipstick for the holistic hottie in your life!

3) The Fashionista Yogi -- Mermaid by Hand Jewelry
designer Eliza Sloane created the most beautiful pieces of jewelry that any bohemian, free-spirit, ocean-loving zen girl would swoon over. Using seashells, sea glass, big chunks of turquoise and beautiful gems like Australian opal, each piece of MBH jewelry is lovingly kissed by the sea, then crafted into an exquisite bracelet, necklace, ring or other statement piece of your choice.

4) The Mermaid Yogi -- Women's Inflatable Stand-up Paddleboard by ISLE
speaking of mermaids, earlier this year, I had the incredible opportunity to collaborate with San Diego based action sports company, ISLE to create the first inflatable stand up paddle board specifically for SUP Yoga. Of course, I had to make sure it was turquoise and pink and had lotus flowers all over it - duh! :) Not only is it one of the most affordable paddleboards on the market, but it deflates into the size of a backpack, so you can check it as luggage and take it with you around the world. This is a perfect present as it encourages you to stay healthy and therefore happy all year long!

5) The Creative Yogi -- Grizzy Love
we all know that girl who refuses to wear plain jane black yoga pants. Her soul cries out for color, design, creativity! Give this girl exactly what she needs, and wants -- anything from Grizzy Love. With an assortment of leggings that have everything from dream catchers to the colorful chakra system hand-screened down the leg, to tanks that have adorable sayings like child of the universe and OM is wherever i'm with you, this clothing line is full of intention and inspiration.

6) The Healthy Yogi -- Rickaroons
These three-bite snacks have personally saved my life on many occasions. You know those super busy days when you don't have time to sit down for breakfast....or lunch?! Rickaroons are the perfect superfood snack that are so deliciously indulgent but without the guilt. They're 100% organic, soy-free, gluten-free, vegan-friendly and paleo-approved. Packed full of healthy ingredients like: chia seeds, cacao nibs, almond butter and coconut, these guys have a 2 month shelf life, making them the crowd-pleasing stocking stuffer of 2014!

7) The Ultimate Seeker -- May Cause Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein
this book has totally changed my life! I started reading Gabby's books at the beginning of 2014 and they've encouraged me to dive deep into my spiritual practice, specifically seeking out my fears and transforming them into love. Through her books, I've learned to reflect, notice and understand parts of myself on a deeper level. I'm less quick to judge, get angry and feel scared. For that girl in your life that lives with a heart wide open and has a million unanswered questions about her purpose, the Universe and why we are all here, do her a favor and get her this book! She'll thank you later...

photo source
Books make the best gifts! Here is some other dope literature I got the chance to read in 2014 and totally fell in love with. Consider any of these for the free spirit, zen-seeking mamacita in your life....

8) The Adevturous Yogi -- a ZEN GIRL YOGA RETREAT!
give the gift of world and soul exploration. I've got a fun line-up of yoga retreats and workshops coming up in 2015 and would love to have the Zen Girl in your life join us! I've been lucky enough to witness some major spiritual breakthroughs happen on my retreats and am so excited for next year's bunch of open-hearted yogis. Email me and we can set something up!

Love and Blessings to you all!
Zen Girl Mandy

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Healthy Horchata Green Smoothie

Here in southern California, we are blessed with a melting pot of foods and flavors at our fingertips. One of Mexico's most delicious drinks that we are lucky enough to see regularly on San Diego menus is called horchata. When prepared traditionally, horchata is an ice-cold refreshing drink infused with cinnamon and lots of sugar. While tasty, it's not the most healthy beverage. My friend Alyson (founder of wellness blog Simply Alyson) is an avid green smoothie maker and decided to re-mix the traditional horchata with some farm-fresh ingredients. Here's her take on a Healthy Horchata Green Smoothie, which is the ideal healthy elixir to indulge in this Winter, as it features pears and Swiss chard, which are perfectly in season right now!
  • 2 cups of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 pears (remove cores)
  • 1 banana (frozen will make for a thicker creamier smoothie)
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon of chia seeds, optional
  • 2 to 3 big leafs of swiss or red chard without the stems (you can of course use two handfuls of spinach)
  • 1 handful of ice
  1. Add all ingredients in order listed above into high-speed blender and blend until liquid! If you don’t have a high-speed blender first add all liquid ingredients and greens then blend until liquid. Next add all other goodness and continue to blend (if you slice your banana before freezing it, it will work nicer with a regular blender).
  2. Pour into two cups, share and enjoy the tastes of Fall with a friend!
Note: If you are having trouble staying warm this winter, add a teaspoon of maca powder into the mix. Maca naturally warms your body from the inside out and has a nutty flavor, which compliments cinnamon. Also, it's just super fun to say MACA HORCHATA. Thanks Alyson for the kitchen inspiration. Visit her blog for more!

Friday, December 5, 2014

tonight's gemini full moon - are you ready to connect the dots?

This last full moon of 2014 peaks at around 4am California time on Saturday, December 6th and comes loaded with some powerful questions. What type of energy are you putting out into the world? What type of life do you really want to be living?

Gemini, represented by the twins, is a sign of duality. This full moon illuminates the opposing forces in our lives. Notice in your life where the tugs exists. Where are you feeling pulled between two drastically different things? In what parts of your life are you really fearful....and in what parts are you really loving? This Gemini Full Moon brings those opposites to the surface and encourages you to seek balance to find a happy place moving between the two with grace and ease. Own the dualities in your life. This month, stand in your power. And in doing so, take ownership of your life and direct it in the way that you want it to go. 

This Gemini Full Moon is the time to wrap up old, toxic energies that are no longer serving you. We must do the hard work now and move from the darkness to the light so that 2015 can begin on a positive, uplifting note. Use these next few weeks to tie up the loose ends of past pain and move forward into the light. 

Astrologer Kelly Rosano says ~ “Real growth is painful at times. Change is the only constant. Growth is optional. The Gemini Full Moon message is to Step Up. Be brave. Get in the driver seat. Empower yourself.” (via mystic mamma

Gemini is also the powerhouse sign of communication and community. Start articulating what you really want out of life. Reach out to your community. Let them know that you need help and support in your spiritual journey. Don't have a tribe yet? One of my favorite astrologers, Rebekah Shaman has this advice about tonight's moon -- Ruled by Mercury, the planet of communication, Gemini full moon boosts our courage so we can start sharing and speaking our truth. However, Gemini reminds us to also be self aware and take personal responsibility for everything that is happening in our lives. Take time out from miserable, depressing people and use the friendly, communicative, adventurous Gemini energy to find a new positive, uplifting community. This Gemini moon will show us mind-blowing synchronicities, magical meetings and connections and how everything is interconnected when our hearts and minds are aligned with the same purpose."

Gemini is the great connector. Now is the time to connect the dots of your year. Look back with love at 2014. How has each event (good and bad) led you to where you are at in this very moment. How have the people you met shaped your reality? Who has opened YOUR eyes to new ways of thinking? Who have YOU helped see the light? Now, in this final Full Moon of 2014, is the time to see and really, truly believe that WE ARE ALL CONNECTED. We are all one. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

scenes from sweet sayulita >< start 2015 in paradise!

Where better to set intentions for the new year than on a beach with good company? Join me for our 4th annual yoga retreat to Sayulita, Mexico ~ January 15 - 19, 2015 . Get ready for five days of growth, adventure and transformation where the jungle meet the ocean. Classes will be a combination of both challenging and healing to encourage you to step - or leap! - out of your comfort zone to start living a life you truly love.

I put together this photographic journey to show you what to expect on our yoga retreat. I've fallen head over heels for this adorable bohemian surf village and I hope you'll consider starting your 2015 off on the right foot with us down in Sayulita. Every year, I've been lucky enough to witness tremendous growth and spiritual breakthroughs on this particular retreat. If you're ready for a change and some fresh inspiration courtesy of the jungle, this is the right adventure for you!

your retreat guides: heather grisco + mandy burstein
 { yoga teachers, adventure seekers, students of life, part-time mermaids, full-time free spirits }

retreat theme: NEW YEAR, NEW YOU!

retreat intention: lounge in the sun, play in the warm mexican sea; explore the jungle; practice powerful vinyasa flow and deeply restorative, healing yoga; set goals and envision living the life you love in 2015. 

Heather and I first discovered this magical beach town in 2010 and since then, have led yoga retreats every winter there. Only a two hour flight from San Diego, it's become an easy escape for yogis looking to reconnect with nature and enjoy the cool hippie-surfer-artist vibes of this peaceful seaside village. 

accommodations: safe, serene, sweet rustic charm. one block from the beach.
practice space: ocean view, warm breezes rolling through, total bliss.

fun facts about this retreat: 

The entire town will be absolutely buzzing with positive, uplifting energy.

retreat pricing: $999 for shared room. $1099 for private room.

retreat package includes: ground transportation to and from puerto vallarta aiport, 4 nights stay at beautiful Hotelito Los Suenos, green smoothies and breakfast every morning, 2 group dinners, 8 yoga classes, one specialty workshop, and includes Airfare - if leaving from San Diego. *special pricing of $799 if airfare is not needed (if traveling from somewhere other than San Diego and would prefer to meet us at the Puerto Vallarta airport)

questions? ready to sign up? email mandy or heather to reserve your spot!  space is limited; first come, first serve.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Yogi Book Club Starts Today!

Hi friends! It's been a whirlwind of a month and I am so happy to be back home in San Diego! The first half of November was spent in Sayulita, Mexico leading our Mermaid Yogis Retreat in the jungle. It was a truly amazing experience. I was lucky enough to witness some major breakthroughs in the group of goddess girls that attended. This was the 6th yoga retreat in Mexico I had the privilege of coordinating and facilitating and no matter how many groups I lead on these adventures, one thing never changes -- I learn SO much from the process. The participants, their unique life paths, what they reflect onto me and my life, the lessons from the warm Pacific Ocean, the vibrations from the jungle, the messages from my local healers and shaman friends, the late-night conversations and dancing under the full moon -- all of it teaches me so, so much. 

Upon returning home last week, I felt super inspired to stay rooted in my studentship and continue soaking up as much wisdom as I can before year's end. I looked over on my nightstand and this beautiful book caught my eye: MAY CAUSE MIRACLES by Gabrielle Bernstein. 

My grandma gifted me this book last Christmas and I still haven't gotten around to it yet! I let a few friends borrow it, and I've noticed what a huge shift it's made in their lives. This isn't an easy read or something you casually flip through once a week. This is a book that requires dedication, presence, focus and intention. Most importantly, to me, this book is all about accountability. Which is probably why I've "avoided" it for almost a year now, haha! I dread discipline. I'm not so good at staying committed to a task over multiple weeks. In order for this to be a success, I'll need to call on my tribe and create a support system of girls going on this 6 week journey together.

What's the deal? 40 days of deep inner work, reflection and change. Replacing the fear in our lives with love and purpose.

How it works? Every morning, one minute guided meditation. Every afternoon, one minute check-in with your affirmation. Every evening, a journaling exercise. All facilitated by Gabby in this book, she is with us every step of the way.

How will we stay together? This is a very personal, individual journey. While we are reading this book in unison and supporting each other along the way, each person will have a unique experience. It's OK to stay on the same exercise and process it for a few days, or take a day off to deal with life. No worries! We don't all have to start and finish on the same day. Stay connected on instagram via the hashtag #zengirlbookclub to share your experiences with "May Cause Miracles" and how you are learning to release fear and invite more love in your life.

I'm excited to start the journey today, Sunday November 23rd. My personal journey with this book will take me into the first part of 2015, which I am so excited about! Please share and stay connected! Use this blog post and the tag #zengirlbookclub.

Here's to new beginnings! 


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

tonight's taurus full moon - feeling fierce?

Have you been feeling more energized lately? More focused on your goals than usual? If so, you are perfectly in sync with the cosmos!

This early November Full Moon brings the ambitious energy of Taurus into full effect. Typically, the last two months of the year tend to get lost in a haze of holiday gatherings and over-indulging, with more focus on letting loose and less focus on our goals. However, this year is proving to be much different! The opposite energy is circulating right now -- a fierce, determined, Taurus-influenced energy is encouraging us to do the opposite of years past. During this moon cycle, your drishti is on point. For all the non-yogis, that means your gaze or your focal point is spot on. Keep your eyes focused on your goals over the next two weeks. Don't be deterred by a bustling social calendar. Now is the time to indulge -- in your work, in your passions, in anything you have been aspiring towards all year long. It could finally be yours, if you choose to harness this potent, steadfast Taurus energy. 

The perfect yoga pose to practice under this full moon is a posture that truly challenges you. One that makes you dig your hands down into the earth, find your roots and learn how to fly. For me, this is handstand. Some other perfect challenge poses for this particular moon are: pincha mayurasana (forearm stand), koundinyasana (hurdler's pose) and titibasana (firefly pose). 

Taurus is an Earth sign so don't be afraid to practice outside. Now is the ideal time to feel the sand (or grass) between your toes and re-establish your connection with mama Earth.

For those of you that are feeling unclear on your goals, unsure of the next step to take in your career, relationships and/or life in general, don't worry -- we've all been there! I encourage you to soak up this determined Taurus energy and start to focus on what you really want out of life. The answers will come if you take time to listen. Even if you're life isn't making total sense right now, understand that everything is unfolding as it should, and there is indeed a higher purpose.

If this speaks to you, please take the time to experience our latest Mermaid Meditation. Janalyn Yanover and I created a series of seven meditations, inspired by the sea. This is number two. The "confidence" meditation will align you with your divine purpose, give you clarity and that push forward to continue to pursue your goals and dreams. 

I am trusting that I am exactly where I'm meant to be in my life at this very moment.
I have faith that the Universe will take good care of me on my journey.
I release the need to control or over-think the way my life is unfolding. 
I have faith that the Universe has my back. 

{if embedded video isn't working, you can view it here as well}

check out our other mermaid meditations here. namaste!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pumpkin + Maca = Healthy Halloween Superfood Smoothie

Not sure what to do with all that left-over pumpkin pulp after carving your jack-o-lanterns? If you're feeling adventurous and ready to tap into the abundant flavors of fall, here's the superfood smoothie for you! 

As we transition into Autumn here in San Diego, one of the best natural supplements to add into your diet in autumn is MACA. It's a root vegetable that has been grown in high-altitude Andes mountain ranges in Peru for the last 3000 years. Maca has a long list of health benefits and is used medicinally to treat lots of ailments like: osteoporosis, hormone imbalance, depression and chronic fatigue syndrome. On a daily basis, especially during the colder months, Maca can be used to increase energy, enhance memory, strengthen your immune system and slightly raise the overall temperature of your body, creating a warming effect. 

Have you heard of Juice Wave yet? It's San Diego's first (and still only!) green juice food truck. My yoga student Chef Arleigh Rose created this concept in the fall of 2013 and within six months, the truck was in existence and serving up healthy juices and smoothies all over town. Lucky for us, Juice Wave has agreed to share one of their top-secret recipes exclusively with the Zen Girl community!

Highlighting fall flavors and the healing power of Maca, here's Juice Wave's 
signature seasonal smoothie, The Smashing Pumpkin:

The Smashing Pumpkin
Pumpkin pulp / Orange / Carrot / Apple / Maca powder/ Almond milk 

Use approximately one cup of pumpkin pulp, one cup of almond milk, and one tablespoon of maca to make one large personal smoothie serving. Start by juicing or blending 2 medium sized raw carrots, one delicious red apple, and the juice from one ripe orange. Blend with pumpkin pulp, almond milk and maca powder and enjoy this healthy Halloween-inspired superfood smoothie!

[follow Juice Wave's local adventures on facebook and instagram]

Thursday, October 23, 2014

What is Mercury Retrograde? And why do hippies say things like that?!

I never really understood when people would say "OH NO - mercury's in retrograde!" until earlier this week. I got into a car accident on a major San Diego freeway, which of course ruined my day. The woman behind me didn't leave enough room and when cars started coming to a stop, she couldn't break fast enough and slammed into the back of me. Luckily, no one was badly hurt, but it just felt like the cherry on top of an extremely inconveniencing few weeks. I let myself wallow for a bit and started to count the sh*tty things that had occurred recently, as one does when wallowing. In the past three weeks, my husband had contracted a stomach parasite requiring multiple hospital visits, my dog got a gnarly eye infection equally a large vet bill, I got stung by a sting ray and tried to heal it naturally which led to bright purple left foot (#mermaidproblems) and finally.... this. 

While venting to a hippie friend about it, she just smiled and said, "yep, Mercury's in retrograde, that sounds about right." As silly as it might sound, that made me feel SO much better. I started to investigate what it's all about and actually learned a lot about the solar system. Added bonus: I came across some hilarious memes that needed to be shared with you guys. All in all, the whole process made me laugh and remember that this too shall pass. And the next time any non-believers try to doubt the retro, I'll have a whole list of fun facts to share with them. And you will too!

what is it actually? 
- a 3 week period of time that occurs 3 to 4 times each year
- the planet Mercury slows down, then stops, and appears to move backwards
- said to cause breakdowns in communication, technology, and life in general
- it's the worst time to start new projects or promote events, response will be slow
- travel delays are at an all time high; try not to plan any last minute trips
- if you absolutely have to travel, do so without expectations, be open to twist and turns
- communication is a hot mess during retrograde. when you speak, always be clear and kind 
- try extra hard not to take thing personally; understand people are not as careful with their words
- dive into home projects! retro is the perfect time to nestle down and enjoy your home

the good news?
this too shall pass! it's only a three week phase, this is the last one of the year

what you will want to do:
hide under the covers like this little guy

what you should do, instead:
stay open, breathe, let go of expectations

my sources >< astrology >< gala darling >< mystic mamma

Monday, October 20, 2014

the zen of marketing: less ego, more love

I'm happy to announce that next Tuesday, October 28th, I'll be leading a talk on HOLISTIC MARKETING at Bird Rock Yoga studio in Pacific Beach, San Diego. Are you a yoga teacher, health coach, nutritionist or healer of any kind? Learn how to create authentic marketing techniques for your spiritual-based business. overcome the fear of technology and learn how to leverage it to spread your message, build your class sizes, attract private clients and teach around the world!

Over the past four years, I've found myself trying a number of different things to making a living in the yoga/wellness world. I've taught yoga classes (on land and sea), taught other people how to teach these classes, created a yoga-inspired clothing line, built websites and social media platforms for fellow healers, been hired as a marketing consultant for a wellness brand ..... and a variety of other holistic side jobs. As a freelancer, you've gotta get creative, stay hungry and always try new things until you find the ones that stick. For the past year, my main source of work and income have come from teaching classes, freelance writing/consulting, managing 2 yoga studios and leading yoga retreats in Mexico. After trying what seems like a little bit of everything, I've finally found my groove and am ready to help those who are trying to build their spiritual-based business. In this 2 hour workshop, we'll cover everything from "how to write an OMmazing bio" to "your ego is not your amigo" - how to create content that is authentically from the heart and not ego-driven. If this sounds like what you need in your life and to help build your brand, please join us! 

investment: $20
Tuseday, October 28 from 7 - 9pm 
at Bird Rock Yoga ~ sign up here.

Monday, October 13, 2014

My #1 Mermaid Must-Have

Friends, it's official - I have a new obsession. This pretty-in-pink inflatable paddleboard by ISLE has completely stolen my heart. Not only is she easy on the eyes, but better yet, this beautiful board has been constructed with such detailed intention and mindfulness. It's the perfect compliment to the busy lifestyle of the modern-day traveling yoga girl!

My friends over at ISLE Surf & SUP introduced me to the concept of inflatable paddleboards at the beginning of 2014 and these boards have been game changer in both my personal life and professionally as a SUP Yoga instructor and teacher-trainer. When I'm home in San Diego, I'm teaching multiple classes a week and need equipment that is easy for me to carry and transport around town. Two summers ago, I suffered a really bad shoulder and elbow injury from hauling around super heavy boards all day long. Luckily, these new inflatable stand-up paddle boards are so much lighter and easier to carry. It makes the whole paddle experience that much more enjoyable!

My absolute favorite feature of the new Women's Inflatable SUP is the side sling for your paddle so it's completely out of the way when you're trying to practice yoga out on the water. For the past few years, during my SUP Yoga classes, I always have to stop the flow and have my students re-adjust their paddles, placing them across the top of the board. More often than not, the paddle ends up in the water, sometimes drifting far away or straight-up sinking. When designing this new Women's inflatable SUP (or i-SUP), I insisted on creating some sort of bungee system along the rails of the board so that during the flow, your paddle would never interfere with your yoga practice. This small but mindful change has made a huge difference in my teaching, allowing me to focus on my students and the postures, versus fumbling around with equipment.

The new Women's iSUP runs 31 inches wide, which gives you plenty of surface area to practice your yoga poses. The average yoga mat runs about 24 inches wide so those extra 7 inches of space provide you a bit more room to find your balance and center yourself. While my intention was to create a board that was spacious enough to practice SUP Yoga, I also wanted to keep it challenging and make sure you were utilizing your muscles at all times to get a true workout on the water.

In addition to teaching yoga locally at home in San Diego, California, I also travel frequently to different parts of the world leading yoga retreats abroad. When traveling to far-flung places, it can be difficult to find good quality paddleboards, if any at all! The iSUP solves that problem by folding down into the size of a large backpack, allowing you to check it as a piece of personal luggage. Even the paddle breaks down into 3 small pieces! I'm taking a big group of girls down to Sayulita, Mexico next month for our MERMAID YOGIS retreat and aside from cute bikins and organic sunscreen, this board is the most important piece of luggage to pack! Imagine landing in paradise, blowing up your beautiful paddleboard and immediately getting to explore new island chains while dolphins swim past you. Talk about embracing your inner mermaid! No more dealing with renting boards when you arrive or paying exorbitant airline fees to ship your full-sized board. The inflatable paddleboard concept really makes traveling the world that much more zen and worry free.

The beautiful thing about the paddleboarding culture is that it's inclusive to people of all ages and walks of life. I was at a paddle festival this past weekend where I witnessed a woman in a wheelchair paddling on the open ocean. Where there's a will, there's a way! That's the inspiring mantra of the ocean-minded community and as you can see, paddling is also a very family-friendly experience. Children of all ages can hop onto the front of a SUP and get an up-close and personal experience with the sea. This adorable little mermaid hopped onto my board the other day and we had a blast exploring the ocean together. The iSUP is even spacious enough for some partner yoga poses and a double down-dog!

- quick facts -
length: 10' 4"
width: 31 inches
weight: 27 lbs
pricing: $699 
(includes ~ board, adjustable aluminum paddle, hand pump and free shipping)

special offer for all my readers! 
for the next 30 days, use promo code ZENGIRL for $100 OFF listed price *offer expires 11.12.14
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