Workshop Alert: Learn the Benefits of Sound Healing at Bryony Body

As longtime lovers of sound healing, we’re thrilled to share that Bryony Body is hosting a Yin & Sound Healing 90-minute workshop on Sunday, September 17th in Exeter, NH.

Since we are living in the unofficial GOOP-POOSH era (IYKYK), many of us have words like ‘reiki’, ‘ayahuasca ceremony’ and ‘grounding’ in our vocabulary. However, ‘sound healing’ is a term that seems to still require an explanation. Scroll down to learn more about the benefits of sound healing and how to sign up for the upcoming Bryony Body Yin & Sound Healing Workshop.

What is Sound Healing?

Before we dive into the do-re-mi’s of sound healing, it’s important to remember that every part of our body is vibrating at a unique frequency. When things are going well in life, you might feel like you’re literally BUZZING! When things are a bit ‘meh,’ you may feel physically flat. This is because emotions are just that: energy in motion. In many ancient and modern yoga practices, there’s the belief that the human body consists of seven energy centers called ‘chakras.’ As we go through the ebbs and flows of life, these centers can become energetically out of balance or even blocked.

For over 40,000 years, people have used sound vibrations from specific instruments, tones, beats, sonic vibrations, music, nature, or even a person’s voice to restore their chakras, improve their mental health, strengthen their immune system and/or find a deeper connection to the world around them. For example, it’s thought that certain notes and frequencies correlate with a specific chakra, therefore specific sounds are used to help clear and/or restore specific chakras. However, sound healing is also thought to help us influence and achieve optimal brain wave states for performance, creativity and deep rest.

Put simply, sound healing is the use of sound to create a therapeutic atmosphere that encourages you to activate your parasympathetic nervous system, open your heart and mind while realigning with your true energetic self.

Examples of Sound Healing Therapies

The act of sound healing can be done at home, under the guidance of a practitioner, through individual or group meditation, as part of a ceremony, or as an artistic or performance aid. Sound healing can also be delivered and received in a number of ways.

Some people use crystal or metal ‘singing’ bowls while others might opt for a rain stick or gong. When it comes to using sound healing for neuro-performance and reaching that elusive ‘flow state,’ you may just pop in your ear buds and cue up a playlist of binaural beats.

Common sound healing therapies:

  • Sound bath
  • Singing bowls (metal or crystal)
  • Gongs
  • Drumming
  • Chimes
  • Chanting
  • Nature sounds (e.g. a rain stick)
  • ASMR (Autonomous sensory meridian response)
  • Binaural beats

Why do People do Sound Healing?

As part of being human, it’s inevitable that certain experiences, relationships and world events will leave us feeling sad, heavy, confused, blocked, hopeless or in a way – even broken. This is why consciously ‘healing’ and ‘doing the work’ is so necessary.

But how do we heal and what is the work?

Truthfully, healing and doing the work is going to look different for everyone. Some of us will need to let go of attachments and uncover underlying fears while others will need to rest, recharge and reframe their thinking. Others may turn to therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy, meditation, reiki or sound healing.

What are the Benefits of Sound Healing?

As mentioned, many people turn to sound healing to increase their energy, achieve a sense of calm, sharpen their mental clarity and reduce physical and mental pain. However, sound healing is also often used to help prime oneself for meditation or raise energy for a performance or high-stakes interaction. Spiritually speaking, some report that sound healing helps them achieve a higher state of consciousness and connection with ‘Self’ and others. Below is a list of reported benefits of sound healing.

Potential Benefits of Sound Healing

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Decreases heart rate
  • Promotes sleep
  • Reduces physical pain
  • Improves symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Prevents and/or heals adrenal burnout
  • Restores energy levels
  • Helps with processing grief
  • Decreases brain fog
  • Sparks creativity
  • Boosts confidence

Book your spot at Bryony Body’s Yin & Sound Healing Workshop on September 17th

The Bryony Body Yin and Sound Bath Healing Workshop will be run by Lily Goldberg and Lauren DiRenzo on September 17th, 2023 from 6:00-7:30 pm.

Intended to provide you with a multi-sensory experience that will restore your body and mind, the Yin and Sound Bath Healing Workshop incorporates 90 minutes of sound healing using the frequencies of quartz bowls with 60 minutes of yin yoga and an extended 30-minute savasana. This gentle practice is suitable for all levels.

Click here to learn more about the workshop and to book your spot!

Continue reading The Bryony & Birch Times

What’s cooking this winter: Ginger Sesame Chicken, Broccoli Cheddar Soup & More

Been craving a mindful moment? Here’s How To Start a Daily Meditation Practice

Back to School: A Fresh Start for Creating New Habits

The New Year is famous for its slogan, “new year, new you!” In January, gyms are packed with aspiring weightlifters, and bars are empty as we take our annual sabbatical from booze: Dry January. We’re all pumped to become the best versions of ourselves after weeks of holiday feasts and fun. It’s a perfect time for turning a new leaf and ringing in the new year with that buzzing sense of change and optimism. This has predictably been my way of starting off the new year too—sweating alongside a jam-packed yoga studio and heading home to meal prep my salads for lunches the following week.

The problem arises within two months; I’ve lost most of my momentum, and by spring break, I’m not even sure what my goals were to begin with. Good habits are finicky and are heavily influenced by the environment. One vacation can throw us off our 60-day Duolingo streak. Moving houses just down the street can change our morning walking routine. After reading James Clear’s “Atomic Habits,” I became slightly obsessed with setting good habits in all areas of my life, and the main thing I’ve discovered is that habits need to be flexible and work with our ever-changing lifestyles to take root.

Since going back to school serves as another significant milestone in the calendar year, let’s use this time for a fresh start to revisit and refine our goals. Here are five strategies I employ to maintain positive habits throughout the year.

Embrace Flexibility

During winter, I was fully obsessed with hot yoga to heat my body and get a good cardio workout in. With this summer heat, the last thing I want is to sweat more than I need to. So now I’ve switched to gyms and swimming laps. I try to think of my end goal, which is “to move my body every day,” and allow that to be the only criterion so that I can keep enjoying exercise all year round.

Craft a New Schedule

After months of summer fun, travel, and kids out of school, you are more than likely to have dropped a habit or three. That’s okay! Use this back-to-school schedule as a way to start again, or even better, start anew! If you fold a new habit into your new schedule, the mind will associate this habit with this new environment and will more likely stick to it. For example, “I drop off the kids at school, then I drive straight to the gym.” Do this for a week, and it will become automatic.

Schedule It Ahead

One thing that really helps me when I’ve fallen off my good habits is to pre-schedule my desired habit. Bonus points if I create outer accountability as an extra buffer. In the past when I’ve fallen behind with workouts, I booked classes that have a cancellation fee or joined a group workout with friends so I won’t want to disappoint them by not showing up. I’m currently studying a new language so I prepay scheduled lessons with a teacher online so I feel accountable to show up.

Start Small

In “Atomic Habits,” James Clear says habits are more attainable if you are consistent. So instead of trying to force myself to work out for two hours, I tell myself that I only need to go to the gym and stay for 10 minutes. Once I get there, I usually stay for an hour. It’s a mind trick I play to get out the door, and it works!


I have one small habit that was so difficult to keep in the past: taking all my vitamins every day. So, I decided to make it very obvious and lazy-friendly. I put out all my supplements in a cute, clear container visible in the bathroom right next to my toothbrush so I couldn’t miss it. It worked!

Maintaining good habits is a lifelong journey and we’re bound to fail over and over again. The trick is to keep going, and find any good reason or season to start again.

Deepen Your Practice with Yoga Teacher Training at Bryony Body

We are honored and thrilled to invite you to deepen your yoga practice through the first ever 200-hour Yoga Alliance Yoga Teacher Training at Bryony Body this fall.

Beginning September 8th, the training program will occur during the first Friday, Saturday and Sunday of each month, September through January. Training will include everything from yoga sutras to pranayama and asanas – all led by instructor, Gail Picillo.

We sat down with Gail to get all of the details about the program and to give you all the information needed to decide if it’s right for you.

Can you tell us a little bit about what we can expect from the yoga teacher training curriculum?

Students will learn multiple dimensions of yoga in order to make them a well-rounded intructor and/or to deepen their personal practice. They can expect to learn the philosophy of yoga including studying the Yoga Sutras, understanding the Eight Limbs of Yoga, reviewing traditional yoga texts including the Bhavada Gita, and introduction to Ayurveda. With the learning of the philosophical background, students will  also learn the physical attributes including understanding anatomy and how it relates to the asanas (yoga postures), the breakdown of asanas, surya namaskara (sun salutations), safe and proper hands-on-assists, and how to develop a flow to teach a class.  Students will learn about the subtle body including the koshas, vayus, energy lines, and the chakra system. Finally, students will learn about trauma-informed yoga and elements of functional yoga.

I don’t know if I want to become a yoga teacher, but I’m interested in deepening my practice. Who is yoga teacher training for exactly?

This training if for those who want to deepen their practice, as well as for those who want to become an instructor. When I first took my yoga teacher training, I had no intentions on becoming an instructor. I wanted to understand the philosophy behind yoga, how to correctly practice, and to truly learn how to “breathe.”  Though this training does have instructor knowledge, students will all benefit from the deepening of their own practice whether they plan to teach or not.

How much time outside of class should I plan to spend on homework and practicing?

Homework is offered after each training session.  This usually encompasses readings, personal practice, and observations of other yoga classes. How much time between each session is based on the individual and what they are looking to get from their practice.  It is difficult to determine the amount of time based on how fast a person can read. I try to keep the homework in a reasonable amount, as I am aware that many of us have other busy aspects of our lives such as jobs and families.

What will I walk away with when it’s all said and done?

You will be a certified Yoga Alliance 200 Hour Yoga teacher instructor, who will have a strong foundation for yoga.  You may choose to share this knowledge as an instructor, or simply to practice your knowledege in your day to day life.  No matter what you decide to do, this training will help you develop a better understanding of the Self.

What’s your favorite part of teaching yoga?

I often talk of myself as a conduit.  I let the yoga speak for itself and allow myself to be the instrument in which it is shared.  So my favorite part of teaching yoga is to observe people become more gentle with themselves, so that they offer themselves and others grace to simply “be.”

Thinking about enrolling? Here’s what you need to know.

To get the early bird discount and save $500 total on your registration fee, you’ll want to enroll by August 15th. After that date, you can save $300 by registering and paying in full by the official start date, September 8th. And if you’re looking for a manageable way to pay for training over time, you can pay your $200 non-refundable registration fee to lock in your spot and then email to get your payment plan set up.

Click here to learn more and register for Yoga Teacher Training at Bryony Body.

Non-Alcoholic Drinks We’re Stocked Up On For The Summer

If we want to discuss blessings in disguise from the pandemic, here’s one: the wide variety of non- and low-alcoholic beverages that are now available to us both in-store and at the bar. If you haven’t noticed, next time you’re out for drinks with friends, look for the “Non-Alcoholic” section of the cocktail menu and you’ll likely find a variety of NA beers or even some tempting mocktail options. While we’ve always enjoyed a refreshing glass of wine or cocktail in moderation, having non-alcoholic options that not only extend past O’Doul’s, but are sometimes better than the alcohol version, that’s what we can get behind.

Interested? Below we’ve listed out some of our favorite non-alcoholic beverages that we’re stocking up on this summer. Because at the end of the day, happy hour is about spending quality relaxation time with friends, while having a refreshing beverage (regardless of the ABV.)

Beer from Athletic Brewing Company

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Athletic Brewing were the ones who really spearheaded the non-alcoholic beer movement and in 2023, they’re still at the top of their game. They have excellent staples like their Run Wild IPA and the Upside Dawn Golden, and introduce seasonal options like the Chelada Nada and their Lemon Radler for those of us who like a twist of citrus in our summer beverages. Their beers taste just like beers with alcohol and contain half the calories. The perfect end-of-the-weekday wind down drink, if you ask us.

Cocktails from Seedlip

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Cocktails more your thing? Sure, there’s nothing quite like a boozy margarita, but when tequila isn’t an option, we turn to the next best thing: Seedlip Spirits. You can buy bottles of their concoctions: Grove 42 (think: margarita or a gin & tonic), Spice 94 (think: espresso martini or a moscow mule) or Garden 108 (think: a ginger highball or a bloody mary). Their website provides dozens of cocktail recipes for each of their spirits, and if you’re wanting to make it even easier, they have specific cocktail kits that give you everything you need to mix up your favorite drink.

Mixers from Ghia

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Instead of creating a non-alcoholic version of a spirit, the team over at Ghia has created a unique beverage that can stand on its own as a boozy sippable cocktail (all non-alcoholic) and as a mixer for the spirit of your choice. It’s a super interesting take on a non-alcoholic cocktail because it gives you the feeling of having an old fashioned or a manhattan… without the booze. Genius, if you ask us.


What’s Cooking This Winter: Ginger Sesame Chicken, Broccoli Cheddar Soup & More

root vegetables on a plate

As far as winters go, this year’s has been manageable. We’ve had a lot of warm days, barely any snow and as we head into the month of March, it’s clear that spring is on the horizon… woohoo! So as we close in on the end of our season of soups, stews and roasts, we thought we’d share some of our favorite recipes that we’ve been cooking up all winter long.

Ginger Sesame Chicken Tacos

If there’s one thing we know to be true, it’s that tacos are on our menu all year round. In this unique take from Half Baked Harvest, however, we trade out spicy and limey chicken for more savory flavors. The best part is, we make a big batch of the ginger sesame chicken at the start of the week and have it as tacos one night, and on top of white rice in a bowl format another. Two weeknight meals down!



  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • Sesame or olive oil, for drizzling


  • 1/2 cup tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup orange juice + 2 tablespoons zest
  • 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 1-3 tablespoons chili paste
  • 2 teaspoons creamy peanut butter
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger


  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 12 hard shell tacos
  • nori sheets, lettuce, kimchi, cilantro, green onion, and queso fresco or your favorite cheese, for serving
  • yum yum style sauce, for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 475° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with oil.
  2. In a bowl, combine the chicken, egg white, tamari/soy sauce, and orange zest. Toss well to coat. In a separate bowl, add the cornstarch.
  3. Coat the chicken with cornstarch and place on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with oil. Bake for 8 minutes. Flip the chicken and bake another 3-5 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Switch the oven to broil.
  4. Whisk together the tamari/soy sauce, orange juice, honey/maple, chili paste, peanut butter, garlic, and ginger. Pour the sauce over the chicken, then toss to coat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Broil 1-3 minutes, until the sauce begins to stick to the chicken and thicken.
  5. Stuff the chicken into shells, then top as desired. Serve with any extra sauce from the sheet pan and/or yum yum style sauce.

Healthy Broccoli Cheddar Soup

For those nights when you’re wanting something healthy but hearty, we highly recommend cooking up a batch of Detoxinista’s Broccoli Cheddar Soup. Using white beans, instead of flour, to thicken it and cashews, instead of heavy cream, for added creaminess, this soup will warm and fill you up, without making you feel too full.


  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion , chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 (15 oz.) can white beans , rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews (optional, but recommended)
  • 1 pound broccoli florets , chopped (about 10 cups)
  • 1 large carrot , shredded (about 1 cup)
  • Salt & black pepper , to taste
  • 4 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese , shredded (1 cup)


  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat, and saute the onion until it starts to soften, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and stir briefly, just until fragrant, about 1 more minute.
  • Add the drained beans to a blender, along with the water and cashews (if using). Blend until very smooth, then immediately add it to the pot, so the garlic won’t burn.
  • Add in the broccoli and shredded carrot, along with 2 teaspoons of salt and a 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper. Bring the liquid to a boil.
  • Once the liquid is boiling, lower the heat and cover with a lid. Let the soup gently simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the broccoli is very tender.
  • Transfer roughly 3 cups of the soup to a blender, making sure to grab any large pieces of broccoli, so there won’t be large chunks in the soup. Blend briefly, pulsing the broccoli into smaller pieces, but not blending until it’s totally pureed. You want some texture in this soup! (Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender to blend directly in the soup pot.)
  • Return the blended soup back to the pot, then add in the shredded cheese. Stir briefly, just until the cheese has melted, then adjust any seasoning to taste. I usually add in more salt, just a 1/4 teaspoon at a time, until the soup is extra flavorful.
  • Serve warm with extra toppings you love.

Basmati Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers are one of our favorite meals to make at the end of the week because you can pretty much stuff the peppers with any leftover ingredients in the fridge and if you make extra, they’re easy to freeze and re-heat. Bonus! We especially love these Basmati Stuffed Peppers from the Bad Manners crew because they’re heavy on the vegetables and pack a lot of punch in flavor.


  • 1 1/2 cups brown basmati or other long grain rice
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 large onion, yellow or white
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika*
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 1/4 cups veggie broth or water
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 ½ cups white beans or 1- 15 ounce can**
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped onion or 1 shallot
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (or whatever vinegar you’ve already used)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano dried
  • 4 large bell peppers
  • fresh basil to top


For step-by-step instructions, we recommend reading it straight from the author’s website, so you can get a full serving of their “cook with what you’ve got!” attitude.


Let’s Move! Tips for Sneaking in Exercise Every Day

As a mother of a 1 year old who is in the thick of his first winter at daycare, I can safely say that all expectations of a consistent gym routine are officially out the door. But in the ongoing practice of being kind to myself, I don’t sweat it (literally.) Instead, I look at it as an opportunity to get creative and make some changes to my lifestyle, by sneaking in fitness where I can.

If you struggle with creating a consistent gym routine, here are some tips for how you can move your body every day to get the exercise you need.

Set a daily step goal

If I can’t fit a workout into my day, I always try to get my 10,000 steps in. For those of us who live outside of a major city, that means doing at least a 1-2 mile walk, parking at the back of the parking lot, taking the stairs, and in general doing whatever you can to work a little extra walking into your everyday routine. A fitness tracker will help you get serious about your daily step goal and will majorly up your likelihood of reaching it every day.

Include yoga in your morning routine

One of the best ways to get moving first thing in the morning, is to carve out 5 minutes for some stretching and sun salutations. Not only is it a relaxing way to wake up your mind and begin your day, but it gets the blood pumping too! Especially after laying down for 7-8 hours, our backs, shoulders and limbs need some stretching before we put them into overdrive for the day.

Stand while you work

Standing desks are no longer just for tech startups. Everyone is hip to the fact that just because we may be sitting at a desk 5-8 hours per day, doesn’t mean we need to be sedentary. We can move while we work! I don’t have a standing desk (I like to stand at my countertop or a hightop table in my office,) but standing desks are excellent ways to secure some fitness in your work day.

Keep weights & fitness bands in your office

Another way to incorporate fitness into your workday, is by keeping your weights and fitness bands nearby, in your office space. This way, you can set a reminder to get up every hour and do 5 minutes of activity. And if you don’t have weights or bands, don’t fret. Set that reminder for every hour and do 10 push ups, 25 crunches and a 1 minute plank. An excellent way to build strength and force yourself to take necessary work breaks!

Join a fitness class… last minute

When I’m out of my routine, it’s extra difficult for me to be inspired to create a balanced workout for myself in the gym. That’s why I choose fitness classes in the winter season. Not only are they the most efficient workouts, but all you have to do is show up and stay the length of the class. That, I can do!

Instead of booking the class ahead and then potentially having to cancel it because you or someone in your family got sick, just call up the studio (or log onto MindBody) a few hours before to see if there are available spots. I find that if I sign up within two hours of the class, I don’t have time to think about it – I just go.

If you’re in the Exeter area, you can look up a yoga and fitness class at Bryony Body, here on our class calendar.

Get moving at Bryony Body

Even though we’re in the business of fitness, we still understand how difficult it is to keep a consistent workout routine week in and week out. That’s why we strive to give you tools and confidence to work wellness into your life, in whatever way works for you. And if you ever get a chance to stop by Bryony Body for a class, we think you’ll love it and will welcome you with warm arms. Get out there!

How to Reset & Renew at the End of the Year

Sure, the holidays are busy. But there is also a lot of downtime while businesses shut down and employees are encouraged to take a break and spend time with their loved ones. What you do with that time, determines how you end your year. Here at Bryony & Birch, we’re all in favor of an intentional reset and renew – and we’ve outlined some of our favorite ways to do that below.

Organize the Year’s Best Photos

If you have a pet or a child, your phone probably looks pretty similar: it’s filled with photos of them. We know the drill – you take 10-20 shots in an effort to get the smile and then you move on with your life and forget to delete the outtakes, which results in an overwhelming camera roll that ultimately stops you from doing anything at all with the good shots.

This quiet time at the end of the year is the perfect space to go through and pick out the year’s best shots. Delete the outtakes or tuck them away in the cloud. Print, frame or do something creative with your favorite shots from the year and hand them up in your home. Being surrounded by recent photos of our loved ones is one of those things (alongside rugs and curtains) that makes a house a home.

Bake Something

I should start out by saying that I do not identify as a baker. I’m too much of a loosey goosey, salt-to-taste kind of gal. That said, when I bake, it’s because I’ve carved out a no-plans afternoon to do it. I’ll put a TV show on my iPad or a record on to set the vibe, make myself a fresh cup of coffee and take as much or as little time as I need to. And the best part is: later that day (or maybe right when it’s done) you have a fresh pie or some cookies to indulge in or share with friends.

Set the Phone Aside

It feels like all year long, I’m on my phone. When I’m not checking email or Instagram, I’m Facetiming with friends or texting to coordinate with caregivers or home projects. It’s honestly relentless, if you don’t set aside intentional no phone time. There’s no better time to do it then during the slow and cozy winter season. Take that week between Christmas and New Years to set aside your phone and instead focus on your people or taking a walk. A no phone reset may be the most important one of them all.

Practice Doing Nothing

This one is slightly controversial, but yes – do absolutely nothing. For some, that looks like laying on the couch with a good book and a cup of tea and for others, that means doing some yoga while the baby plays nearby. It doesn’t have to look a certain way because the point is for there to be no pressure at all about how you spend the time. Delight in your nothing, even for just an hour, and you’ll be surprised at how refreshed you may feel.

We’ll See You Next Year!

Anddd that’s a wrap! This being our final post in 2022, we can officially say, we’ll see you next year. We will be open from 9am – 8pm on Thursday, Dec. 22nd, for your last minute shopping needs and closed from Dec. 24th – 26th to celebrate the holidays with our loved ones. If your end-of-year reset & renew involves finally taking time to get your hair done, come in and see us –  you can book an appointment here.

Wishing you the happiest holiday season and new year, from our team to yours!

A Guide to Mindful Holiday Shopping

When it comes to shopping of any kind, it’s safe to say that it’s a love/hate relationship. Here at Bryony & Birch, we’re pretty much all on the same page about this: we love meaningful gift giving and spending our money with brands where it counts, but we can’t help but feel the consumer-culture pressure of “more is more” because we know the truth: more is more… anxiety. So this year, our gift giving is all about intention: less gifts, more quality and at every budget level. Below is our guide to designing a mindful holiday shopping action plan.

Step 1: Make your list

Where are my Google Sheets ladies at? In our house, spreadsheets aren’t just for work stuff. I use one to map out exactly who I need to buy gifts for and ideas for what to give them. Keeping this info listed out all in one place keeps me in-check and organized, so I don’t accidentally over-buy or forget anyone.

Step 2: Jot down gift ideas for each person

Once I know who I’m shopping for, then I also list out how many gifts I need to give to each person. For example: in my immediate family, we give two gifts + a stocking to each person. For my extended family, we do one family gift. Once I have that mapped out, then I start listing out ideas for each gift. Planning out these gift ideas ahead of time, allows me to meaningfully source the gift, create it or to wait for a sale to strike.

Step 3: Sourcing your gifts

Buying on a budget

Making your list ahead of time allows you to keep an eye out for sales, which as we know – are rampant this time of year.

Buying used

Not all gifts need to be brand new. You can get a really nice pre-worn Everlane sweater on Poshmark for half the price of new and in excellent condition, and a brand new (but owned by someone else) fire truck toy on the used marketplace, Kidizen. And if your loved one loves tea sets, you could find a really unique vintage one at a local thrift shop. Pair it with a new box of tea and you have yourself a very thoughtful gift set.

Buying ethical

Making your list ahead of time allows you to research which ethically-minded brands to buy from. Our hot tip is to visit ethical & sustainable product marketplaces, so you can shop multiple brands at once.

Buying experiences

Sometimes the best gifts are tickets to a comedy show or a gift certificate to a nice restaurant or spa in town. What makes them so special is that they’re treats. And ones that someone may not necessarily buy themselves.

Not buying at all

My local friends and I exchange gifts every year, and ya know what? We don’t spend a dime. I’ve received DIY’d cocktail kits, jars of cookies, homemade dog biscuits and special handmade knit items. I love all of them because they’re a. DELICIOUS and b. from the heart. The best kind!

Step 4: Planning your gift wrapping

Aside from the gifts themselves, you’ll also want to plan a way to mindfully gift wrap your items. Sure, you could go to Target and pick up a bunch of new wrapping paper (no judgment – it’s too easy), but one thing I’ve started doing is buying my gift wrapping at my local thrift shop. Next time you check out your local thrift shop, look out for gift tags, wrapping paper, bags, tissue paper and unique containers that can all be used for your gift giving needs.

Intentional gift giving goes a long way

Taking a few extra steps to make your gift giving organized and thoughtful will go a long way in making you feel happy, relaxed and even excited about your holiday gift giving. It goes without saying that our favorite form of holiday shopping is buying local and we encourage you to check out our Holiday Event Round-Up to check out some opportunities to buy local and have fun while doing it!

Do your holiday shopping at Bryony & Birch

Come say hello and stay for some holiday shopping in store at Bryony & Birch in downtown Amesbury. We have a variety of wellness and self-care gifts (perfect for stocking stuffers), as well as a vintage rack filled with interesting pre-loved pieces! We’re always happy to make a recommendation and even point you in the direction of some of our favorite local business owners, who may have what you’re looking for.

Wishing you and your loved ones a happy (and calm) holiday season from all of us here at Bryony & Birch and Bryony Body!

What’s Cooking This Fall: Nourishing & Cozy Recipes from Bryony

When the weather starts to turn cool, our favorite way to warm up is with hearty and healthy recipes that can easily last us a few meals (we’re taking pre-made lunches for the workweek!) While we prefer to keep it vegetarian, meat can be added to almost any of these for some extra protein.

One Pot Lemon Orzo Soup

The best part about this one pot meal from Half Baked Harvest is that it takes 30 minutes from start to finish. Easy to put together on a weekday, it gets us our greens, tastes delicious and is very hearty and filling. Not to mention, it’s flexible and allows you to use what you have on hand!


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp salted butter
  • 2 cups dry orzo pasta
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • ½ bunch of kale, spinach (or whatever green you have on hand)
  • ½ cup basil pesto
  • ½ cup whole milk or coconut milk (whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon


  1. Heat your olive oil in a dutch oven over medium high heat.
  2. Add shallots, garlic and chili flakes. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  3. Drop in the butter, and then stir in the orzo. Cook until golden (about 1-3 minutes) and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Stir in your beans and your green of choice.
  5. Simmer for 8-10 minutes – it will become very creamy!
  6. Stir in the pesto, milk, parmesan and lemon and cook for another few minutes to warm through.
  7. Serve in bowls with additional parmesan and black pepper.

Spiced Moroccan Butternut Squash & Couscous

A vegetarian take on one of our favorite recipes from New York Times Cooking: Sarah Digregorio’s Slow Cooker Chicken Tagine with Butternut Squash. Don’t be intimidated by the list of ingredients – the concoction of flavor that this delivers is unbelievable. With its sweet, savory and nourishing profile, this dish is perfect for the Fall. We like to make a big batch on Sunday afternoons and eat it for lunch all week!


  • 1 medium to large butternut squash – cut into slices and then halved, gutted and cut into wedges
  • 8 pitted dates
  • 1 onion – chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp hot smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 large red onion
  • ¼ cup minced ginger
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ¼ cup lemon juice (or 1 large lemon)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • Served with: Cooked couscous and flavored to your liking (we like adding walnuts and cranberries)
  • Garnished with: Plain yogurt & toasted almonds


  1. Add your oil to a 6 to 8 quart slow cooker or dutch oven and set to medium. Add your dates, butternut squash, garlic, red onion and ginger.
  2. While everything is heating up, combine your spices in a small bowl and add to the pot. Mix everything together in the spices and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Once brown bits are starting to form on the bottom of the pan, add your broth and lemon juice, stirring to scrape up the bits and get everything submerged.
  4. Cover your pot and let it simmer on medium low for 1 – 1.5 hours (or 4 hours, if using a slow cooker.)
  5. You’ll know it’s done when the squash is almost falling apart. Serve with couscous and top with yogurt and almonds.

Chili Verde with White Beans

This vegetarian (and slightly simplified) rendition of J. Kenji López-Alt’s Chicken Chile Verde is the perfect way for a spice lover to warm up this fall. While Kenji recommends roasting your own peppers, we prefer buying them pre-roasted and skinned, to make it extra easy to throw this together!


  • 7 tomatillos, quartered
  • 1 pound of roasted and skinned hatch green chilis or poblanos
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 2 serranos or jalapenos (don’t include, if you don’t like spicy)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • 1 tbsp asian fish sauce
  • Serve with: Cornbread and cheddar cheese


  1. Combine tomatillos, hatch green chilis, garlic, onion, serranos, cumin and a pinch of salt in a dutch oven, over medium high heat.
  2. Once the vegetables are toasted, add your broth and bring to a simmer.
  3. Once simmering, put the cover on your dutch oven and turn the heat down to medium low. Let it cook for 1 hour.
  4. Add your cilantro and fish sauce and use an immersion blender to blend your chili together until smooth.
  5. Add your white beans and cook for a few more minutes, until everything is heated up.
  6. Serve with cornbread and some shredded cheddar cheese.

Best Hair Salon Tips for Your Post-Summer Hair

There’s no doubt about it, this summer has been a hot one. We’ve beached, pooled, road tripped, ate and drank all the things, and ultimately – had ourselves the exact kind of hot girl summer we’ve been craving the last few years. But all of the fun aside, this summer has taken a beating on our hair. Before we officially enter sherpa fleece season, a hair reset is a must. If you’re with us on that, read through our tips for repairing your sun-bleached summer hair and resetting your hair regimen for a healthy fall and winter ahead.

Get a Haircut

The best way to get rid of those crusty sun-bleached dead ends is to chop them off! At the Bryony & Birch Hair Loft, our stylists can do just that and more. If you’re looking for more than a trim, and want to change up your look, come in and treat yourself to a cut you’ll love. Get more information on cuts, colors and pricing at our hair salon in downtown Amesbury.

Get a Moisturizing Treatment

From the pool to the beach to the trail, your hair has been soaking up all of the sun, wind and salt it can handle! If it’s feeling dry and damaged from all of the adventures, you can pump some life and shine back into it with a moisturizing treatment. At Bryony & Birch, we love Electric London’s line of ultra-moisturizing products. Come into the Hair Loft to pick up one of their moisturizing hair masks or tack a moisturizing treatment onto your next haircut. Book a treatment with one of our stylists here.

Get a Toner

If you typically get a hair color service, then you’re probably familiar with your hair color starting to dull a few months after you get it done, especially if you’ve been spending a lot of time outside in the sun. To give that color a refresh and extend the life of it, book a toner with one of our hair stylists. A toner is like a top coat for your hair – it enhances your current color and gives it that fresh, polished, hair salon feel. In the Bryony & Birch Hair Loft, you can come in and get just a toner, blow dry and style, if a refresh is in order, but no haircut is needed.

Refresh Your Hair Regimen

Sometimes we get so married to a haircare product line or brand, that when the condition of our hair inevitably changes, we fail to treat it with the proper care that it actually needs and craves. That’s why we recommend taking a look at your hair regimen at least once a year and giving it a refresh. Our stylists at the Bryony & Birch Hair Loft are more than happy to give you some recommendations on product lines that can treat your hair’s specific needs. We always recommend finding a line with a shampoo, conditioner and moisturizing mask that you can incorporate into your daily and weekly regimen. Out with the old and in with the new!

Accessorize Your Hair

If you’re looking to update your look without making changes to the length or color of your hair, we always look to hair accessories for a nice bump in style. Think: butterfly clips, scrunchies, bright earrings or even a cute new beanie. All of them do the work of elevating your look without making any semi-permanent changes.

Bryony & Birch Offers Haircuts, Colors and More

Located in downtown Amesbury, Bryony & Birch is a hair salon that offers cuts, colors, toners, moisturizing treatments, extensions and more. We offer wedding party preparation services and also have a studio rental space that we rent to local entrepreneurs, creatives and anyone looking to host an event or workshop. Stop in the next time you’re in the area to browse our vintage rack, get a haircut or just say hello. We love our community and we’d love to meet you!