Tag Archive for: wellness

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!

Ingredients:

  • 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

Instructions:

  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!

Ingredients:

  • 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

Instructions:

  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!

Ingredients:

  • 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

Instructions:

  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!

How to Start a Daily Meditation Practice

I’ve flirted with having a solid daily meditation practice since my early 20’s. Back then, I’d get on a good streak for a couple of weeks, and then head out to a wedding weekend or into a busy season of work and it would fall to the wayside. It wasn’t until I became pregnant in March of 2021, that I not only felt motivated to wake up each and every day to do it, but I genuinely loved and looked forward to it.

When it comes to starting a daily meditation practice, the rule of thumb is to be easy with yourself. This is not one of those habits that you need to get mad at yourself for not sticking to – it is self-care work, yes, but it’s still work! Sitting in the same category as exercise and a healthy diet, meditation can be challenging to work into a daily routine, but oh-so-rewarding when we do. Here are some insights from my own meditation journey that might help you start your own.

The benefit of a daily meditation practice

Throughout our day, we have experiences and conversations that we’re constantly reacting to. Oftentimes, without thinking or processing how they actually make us feel. And having those unaware reactions over and over again block us from feeling the calming and healing power of being present. Meditation is a beautiful practice that allows us to embrace stillness, presence and observance of our thoughts, by simply pressing pause.

The benefits of a daily meditation practice include lowered anxiety, increased happiness, and a myriad of health benefits that all follow suit when your body is less stressed.

Set a time and a place

One of the best ways to introduce a positive new habit is to attempt to do it at the same time and in the same place every single day. I meditate every single morning, before my baby and dogs wake up. I set my alarm for 6am, pour myself an iced coffee, and head to my little meditation corner – complete with a cozy rug and pillow to sit on. Creating this ritual every morning has made meditating as easy as brushing my teeth.

If you’re the kind of person who loves tracking a good habit streak, check out the Streak app. A friend of mine uses this to track her meditation practice and finds that seeing herself on a good streak, is enough motivation to keep going.

Start with a 5 minute meditation

You may hear about people who meditate for an hour a day and think: who has time for that? The funny thing is, once you have a developed meditation practice, you might be that person. But you don’t have to start there! Start with something easy and attainable, like a 5 minute meditation. You may want to increase that over time – or not!

Use a meditation app

Almost everyone I know who has a daily meditation practice, uses (or has used) an app to help guide their meditations. To me, listening to another person guide me through the process of clearing my mind is the ultimate relaxation. It’s one less thing I have to do, which makes the experience that much more enjoyable.

Another thing that’s nice about using an app is that these days, there are so many specific types of meditations to help someone through literally any season of life. Pregnant and struggling with first trimester nausea? There’s a meditation for that. Wanting to quit your job, but don’t know how to approach the conversation with your boss? There’s one for that too.

Meditate while doing yoga

If you’re having trouble finding the time and space to meditate, consider working your meditation practice into a routine that you already have. For example, during yoga! You can sign up for a yoga class at Bryony Body in Exeter, NH and treat your entire class as an exercise in meditation. Movement & meditation go hand in hand, so please – feel free to combine them.

Join us for yoga and meditation in Exeter

Photo Credit: Kate Donovan Photography

We offer in person and virtual yoga classes at Bryony Body in Exeter, NH. Take a look at our membership options to find the best fit for you. We can’t wait to see you in class!

Take a Barre Yoga Fusion Class For an Optimal Mind Body Experience

It’s April, and we’re willing to bet more than a few of you have gotten behind on those well-meaning New Year’s resolutions. Well, why not get a fresh start with a new class? Maybe you’re familiar with our yoga classes, but did you know that we also offer strength training classes as well? Today we’ll be talking to one of our instructors, Jessica Gutstein, about her specialty – our Barre Yoga Fusion class! But first let’s tackle a couple of common questions regarding barre.

What is a Barre Yoga Fusion class?

If you’ve never heard of barre, don’t get confused – it’s not just for ballet dancers! Our 45-minute Barre Yoga Fusion class combines the essential elements of barre and yoga for an optimal mind-body experience. The low-impact, high energy Barre workout is designed to improve flexibility, tone, and strengthen the body through the use of small isometric movements, weights, and resistance exercises. The yoga elements of the class focus on breathing, lengthening the muscles, and quieting the mind. By combining these modalities, you will feel relaxed, recharged and ready to make the most of your day. This unique sequence is designed for all fitness levels.

Is a ballet background necessary to do a Barre Class?

No! You don’t need any ballet or dance experience at all to fully interact in and enjoy our Barre Yoga Fusion class. Barre was originally designed by a dancer, Lotte Berk, who started teaching in the 1970s and continued until she was well into her 80s. Some of her more famous clients included Joan Collins and Barbra Streisand. Because Lotte wanted both dancers and non-dancers to be able to reap Barre’s benefits, she designed the exercise to use basic dance positions that aid in developing muscle tone and core strength. Many Barre classes utilize a barre like ballet dancers do, however, it can also be done on mats on the floor or with no equipment at all. Barre can have therapeutic benefits as well and many have used it to ease back into exercising after an injury.

Photo Credit: Kate Donovan Photography

Meet Our Barre Yoga Fusion instructor, Jessica Gutstein

Jessica has been practicing yoga since 2002, teaching yoga since 2007 and teaching barre since 2017. To the Seacoast community and Bryony Body, she brings years of experience as well as a love for the mind-body connection each exercise provides.

“Leading this class is the greatest joy for me. Each student arrives with whatever body and mind they were blessed with on that particular day.

My goal is to help quiet the noise that life is constantly throwing at us through movement, breath work and a grounded approach to full body wellness. I want students to leave feeling a sense of strength and space in their bodies and minds, ready to tackle their day.”

Why might someone enjoy a Barre Yoga Fusion class as opposed to just doing Barre or just doing yoga?

Our instructor, Jessica says, “A barre yoga fusion experience combines the core tenants of both a high energy barre workout with the meditative and healing aspects of yoga.”

The beauty and healing lies in the strength and stillness, grit and grace that this synergistic practice offers.

Jessica continues, “The practice can be modified for all fitness levels and emphasizes basics of breath, stretching/lengthening, body awareness and concentrated muscle and core development.”

What times and days of the week do you offer the class?

Our Barre Yoga Fusion class is offered at Bryony Body in Exeter, NH on Wednesdays from 9:30 – 10:15am. To try it out, you can sign up on MindBody and if you’re a first timer, take advantage of our introductory 1-month trial membership.

Photo Credit: Kate Donovan Photography

Join us at Bryony Body

Now that you have a better handle on Barre (excuse the pun), we hope you will come check out a class! We look forward to welcoming new students no matter your age, body type, or experience level. Barre not your thing? We have several other types of classes to choose from, including strength training and basic yoga which you can find on our Bryony Body Yoga and Wellness Classes page. We are committed to meeting you where you’re at, so contact us today so that we can help you get started on the next step in your wellness journey!

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Meet Your Yoga Instructor: Jessalynn Hudgins

We had the pleasure of sitting down last week with Jessalynn Hudgins – yoga instructor, holistic wellness consultant and the studio manager at Bryony Body, our yoga studio in Exeter, NH. She taught us all about her journey with wellness, yoga and everything in between. Keep reading to learn more about how she’s actively changing the stigma around mental health in the workplace all while helping people find their zen.

Jessalynn sees yoga as her lifeline.

Credit: Kate Donovan Photography

Her peaceful escape from her high-functioning lifestyle. Fifteen years ago, she was in the heart of her career working in finance. She had a self-described “work hard, play hard” mindset and pushed herself to extremes mentally and physically. Yoga was a way for her to counteract any unhealthy choices she was making at the time.

After leveraging a few different roles in the business world, she found herself at the peak of her finance career working in operations for a distinguished private equity firm. This was high-producing, yet quickly became toxic and shut their doors, leaving her jobless. Jessalynn decided this was the perfect opportunity to chase one of her longtime dreams: visiting Bali and receiving her yoga certifications.

She headed straight to Bali in 2019 and began an intensive month-long yoga certification process. Six days a week beginning at 6am each day, Jessalynn learned the power and challenge of stillness in addition to understanding where anatomy and philosophy meet.

A fresh perspective on wellness

Credit: Kate Donovan Photography

Fast forward to the Spring of 2020, just as the pandemic began, she moved to Newburyport with a fresh perspective on wellness. Soon after she met Katie and was introduced to the Bryony and Birch family in, what felt like, divine timing. She began teaching through the Bryony Body studio while simultaneously creating her own wellness consulting business, Whole Health Wellness.

Jessalynn’s consulting business merges her business expertise with her passion for health. It’s been a labor of love, but extremely rewarding to work with local businesses. Her biggest challenge is getting the decision maker of each company to understand the power of providing health and wellness services for their employees. From there she works with her clients to supply services ranging from physical and emotional counseling to nutritional guides from registered dietitians, to financial security coaching. All her services are assisted by providers certified in their fields.

Jessalynn’s lifestyle has changed quite a lot since moving out of the finance realm. She finds that her yoga practice keeps her zen and centered and she keeps her hands (and heart) full by managing the Bryony Body studio.

When asked what the #1 misconception about yoga is, she tells us it’s the idea that you need to be flexible. She finds that being flexible in the mind actually trains your body to follow and you come to realize it isn’t just about the body, but the 8 limbs that yoga is built on, which becomes very spiritual.

Finding her support system

When she isn’t teaching yoga or consulting, Jessalynn enjoys having strong self-care practices. She has a green thumb with a house full of plants. She also has a white fluff-ball cat named Elle that she adores. When asked what it means to be an empowered woman, she says it all starts with having an awesome support system, which Bryony and Birch is for her. Not only as business partners but also as friends. Her favorite quote and mantra is “A rising tide lifts all boats.” To her this means staying positive and uplifting all those around her.

You can stay in touch with Jessalynn by following @wholehealthwellnessusa and learn more about Bryony Body here.

Have the Winter Blues? 5 Ways We’re Investing in Wellness This Winter

Winter is hard. Our skin is dry and itchy, we’re vitamin D deficient and even going for a little mental health walk can seem daunting. Thanks a lot, February windchill.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the headspace that winter is never ending and our self-care isn’t as important. Thoughts can play over again in our minds, “Well if I gain these extra five pounds, no one will really notice because of all the layers I’m wearing.” “If I don’t get this pedicure it doesn’t matter because I’m in socks and boots for the next two more months.” But listen, you deserve to feel great even if the weather doesn’t. Here are some surefire ways to get back into the rhythm of your life so that the winter blues don’t keep you down.

Invest in loungewear

Sitting at home in the same old sweats can really affect our self-esteem. One of our favorite ways to spice things up is by investing in cozy loungewear sets or a new waffle knit sweater from a woman-run small business like VETTA or Darity (if you’re nursing or pumping.) Not only do they make you feel cute and comfortable, but you’re making your dollar count by supporting a small sustainable business. Get comfy!

Use a humidifier

Purchasing one of these handy little guys for the bedroom has been saving our sinuses this winter, and our plants too! You can find these for a decent price at a local big box store. As a moisturizer enthusiast, my lotions and body oils still just don’t cut it this time of year. Save your skin and your sinuses this season and find a humidifier ASAP.

Try heat light therapy

There are so many benefits to trying relaxation, muscle tension relief or detoxification in the winter months. One way us New Englanders love to relax in the dark winter months is with heat light therapy. Not only does it have positive effects on our mood, but it also provides many benefits for blood flow and cardiovascular health. You won’t have to look far for local heat light therapy, but if you have trouble finding somewhere, ask your dermatologist for a recommendation.

Relax in a healing bath

You deserve a mystical escape from your everyday routine once and a while. Treat yourself to some holistic soap and organic wellness products from our local favorite, Rooted Body Co. and set up a healing bath with crystals, candles, bath salts, a glass of wine and some soothing music. Anything that will make you feel like you’re at a spa, right from the comfort of your own home. If you don’t have a bath, hang a Eucalyptus sprig from your shower head. Calming scents, especially while bathing, nourish our minds and bodies.

Nourish with soups & stews

Are you on a rabbit hole of soup TikToks lately? No? Just us? Soup tok is all the rage right now. Invest in a Crockpot or slow cook a soup on your stove midday while you finish your work into the evening. The scent of a warm stew brewing throughout the home is no match for winter dread. And if you prefer sweet over savory, treat yourself to a relaxing CBD baked good from our local favorite, Fairy Good Organics. We’ll take their triple chocolate brownies any night of the week!

Hopefully these tips and tricks inspire you to embrace this winter with a fresh attitude. The cold months are hard, but they make the spring and summer feel that much better. Get in touch with your body and don’t forget to indulge – you’ve got this.

Galentine’s Day: 5 Ways to Spoil Your Girlfriends This Month

You’re probably already aware of an immense pressure around the second week of February each year: Valentine’s Day. A stigma surrounds this holiday saying that we have to be in love, have the perfect relationship and shower our lovers with gifts. But why should extravagant love only be shared in romantic relationships, why can’t we spoil our platonic relationships as well? These are just as valuable relationships full of love. Continue reading for ideas on how to spoil your girlfriends this Valentine’s Day, they deserve it!

Food

There’s no better way to a person’s heart than through their stomach. Some say this only works for men, but we beg to differ. Whether it’s knowing your bestie’s favorite meal and cooking for her or taking her out to a hot new restaurant in town, share the gift of food this Galentine’s Day. Get dressed up, light some candles and have fun with it. Candle lit dinners are not strictly for romance, set the vibe right and indulge, it will bring you closer together and create the space for deeper conversations. See where The Bryony girls are keeping warm and well-fed on the North Shore this winter.

Crystals

Find a crystal that protects your friend based on her birth month or treat her to a reiki and crystal healing session at Bryony & Birch Different stones have different properties for protection and abundance that resonate with each zodiac sign in different ways. This way you can always be there in spirit, even when you physically aren’t. Not to mention… crystals and gems are beautiful decor to have in your home, so it’s a win-win.

Pamper Them

What better way to relax than knowing someone is gifting you the opportunity? There can never be enough self-care and a gift card for a manicure and pedicure appointment is a great place to start. If you have the budget to splurge a little more, a spa day including a massage or facial will really show your appreciation for their well-being. In our most recent holiday gift guide we cover all of our favorite ways to pamper our friends with gifts from local North Shore small businesses.

Cocktail Night

What’s more exciting than a cocktail night with the girls? Everyone comes prepared for the evening with a signature cocktail. You each take turns prepping your drink and presenting the cocktails with a grand entrance. Get creative with the themes of the drinks that are unique to your friendships. This is fun too because you can spread them out through the evening and everyone gets to be the star for an hour or so. February cabin fever setting in? Get out of the house to enjoy food and drinks at these Bryony & Birch favorites on the North Shore.

Flowers & Plants

Gardens and flowers raise the vibration of anyone’s home. If your girlfriend is already a green thumb, give her a new flower to plant and bring her joy. Getting in touch with our feminine energy is also getting in touch with our ability to nourish. If your friend is a little more glamorous or doesn’t enjoy gardening, a beautiful bouquet can also do the trick.

Ultimately you know your friends better than anyone else, so whatever feels sentimental to you and your crew will be special. There are so many ways to cherish love other than romance, so take a moment to celebrate all of the relationships in your life this Valentine’s Day.

 

Gratitude + Mental Health: Why They Go Together Like Turkey & Gravy

Have you ever sat around a table on Thanksgiving and been asked to share one thing you’re grateful for?For some, this is an easy request. “My job!” “My dog!” “My health!”

For others, this can literally be the reason they nearly faked a headache an hour before they were supposed to arrive. While it could simply be a fear of speaking in front of others, sometimes it’s that we’re subconsciously afraid to say what we’re grateful for. In a way, it’s like we’ll jinx it.

While we can’t do a whole lot for your stage fright, we can make quite a good case for expressing your gratitude (all year round.)

In this post, we’re chatting about the benefits of expressing gratitude as well as the gratitude practices we love.

Scroll down to learn more!

Benefits of Expressing Gratitude

#grateful is a thing for a reason. Just ask Robert Emmons Ph.D., the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude.

His decades of research shows that actively expressing your gratitude:

  • Improves your outlook on life and makes you more optimistic
  • Increases your confidence and self-efficacy
  • Improves your relationship with a romantic partner, friend or family member
  • Helps you make new friends and connections
  • Promotes better physical health (stronger immune system, less pain, lower blood pressure)
  • Promotes better mental health (Can help ease the symptoms of anxiety and depression)
  • Decreases feelings such as envy, resentment and aggression
  • Increases empathy, generosity and compassion
  • Fosters resilience

As we continue to live in the chaos that is the 2020s, it’s never been more important to take care of our mental health. Keep reading to find out the gratitude practices we love.

Gratitude Practices We Love

Now that we know how powerful gratitude is when it comes to our mental and physical health, let’s talk about all of the ways you can cultivate it!

1.) Create a Gratitude Wall or Board

Seeing what you’re grateful for every day is a powerful thing. Try creating a collage on your wall or make a board (similar to a vision board) that allows you to stick photos, words or drawings of the things you’re grateful for.

2.) Keep a Gratitude Journal

One of the most fascinating studies Dr Emmons did was on journaling gratitude.

“In an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events.” (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).

3.) Meditate

Meditation is a great way to consciously show love for the things you’re grateful for. While you can simply sit and do this silently, there are some fantastic guided meditation tracks on gratitude on apps like Calm and Insight Timer.

4.) Get a Gratitude Buddy

Sometimes you need an accountability partner! Try finding a friend or family member that you either call, text or email every day and mutually share 3-5 things you’re grateful for.

5.) Say it Out Loud

One of the best ways to consistently express gratitude is to make it part of your morning and/or evening routine. The minute your head hits the pillow or your feet hit the floor, express your gratitude audibly! You could also do this when you get in the car or get home from work!

6.) Write a Letter

If you’re particularly grateful for someone – tell them! Writing a letter of gratitude won’t just make your day – it will make the recipient’s too! Even if you don’t send it, the act of expressing your gratitude will still work wonders.

7.) Call a Friend

Nothing brings us more joy than someone calling to say they are grateful that we’re in their life. Honestly, it’s soul-soothing to feel that love. Try calling a friend (or family member) and letting them know that you’re so grateful that they’re in your life.

8.) Look in a Mirror

Self-love isn’t selfish. Take a moment to look at yourself and thank YOU for showing up everyday. Thank your smile, your eyes, your ears, your hands… thank everything about you.

9.) Make It (Another) Love Language

If you’re in a romantic relationship, let your partner know that you’re grateful for them and why. This can be emotional or physical aspects. It will deepen your bond and connection as well as your appreciation and respect for each other.

10.) Prayer

Perhaps the OG of gratitude expression, prayer is a beautiful way to consciously give thanks for the people, food, opportunities and experiences in your life.

Meet Bryony Body Yoga + Meditation Instructor: Veronica Woodlief

In 2017, Veronica was diagnosed with Panic Attack Disorder and PTSD. Searching for a way to soothe the anxiety, she committed to a 40-day Kundalini meditation practice and her life has never been the same. Veronica knew instantly that she wanted to become a teacher and share the benefits of this practice with others, which is why she chose to complete the Kundalini Research Institute’s 200 hour YTT.

Veronica’s goal is to empower students with practices that promote a sense of inner peace, balance in body, mind & spirit, and a strong sense of self. She strives to bring a grounded approach to esoteric spiritual concepts and yogic philosophy so they’re relatable and easy-to-understand. Off the mat, Veronica loves cooking vegan food, reading, and spending time on the beach with her husband and two dogs.

Click here to book a Bryony Body class with Veronica!

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Boo: The Scary Side of Wedding Makeup

While you may be thinking we’re about to show you a photographic essay of smudged lipstick, mascara-stained cheeks, and a face so bronzed you’d assume the bride was heading to a side gig as a Living Statue after her reception, we actually want to talk about the scary side of wedding makeup that you can’t see.

Did you know that in the US, the FDA has only banned or restricted the use of eleven chemicals in cosmetic products? When you compare this to the over 1,300 chemicals regulated by the EU, it kind of makes your head spin, doesn’t it?

While the state of California recently signed the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act that banned an additional 24 ingredients in products sold there, at this point in time, it’s pretty much up to us as consumers to make sure what we’re putting on our skin is as safe as possible.

Why the concern? A lot of the EU’s 1,300 banned or restricted chemicals are linked to skin and respiratory allergies, and many of them are known endocrine disruptors and/or carcinogenic. (This means they’re going to mess with your hormones and potentially cause cancer.)

To help you find the safest cosmetics for your wedding day (and always), we’ll go over:

  • What chemicals you should avoid in makeup and why
  • How to know if your wedding makeup is safe
  • Where to find clean wedding makeup on the North Shore

Scroll down to learn more!

What Chemicals Should I Avoid In Makeup And Why?

According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, you should avoid the following ingredients because they’ve been linked to endocrine disruption, neurotoxicity, cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity and/or skin, eye and respiratory irritation. There are also concerns for bioaccumulation and ecotoxicity.

Ingredients to Avoid in Makeup

  • BHA & BHT
  • Ethanolamine Compounds (MEA, DEA, TEA AND OTHERS)
  • Formaldehyde & Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (such as Quaternium-15)
  • Lead
  • Parabens
  • Petrochemicals
  • Phthalates
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Synthetic fragrances
  • Talc
  • Triclosan

Click here to learn more about all the known chemicals and contaminants to avoid.

How Do I Know If My Wedding Makeup Is Safe?

Unfortunately, sometimes it’s not as easy as reading an ingredient list because toxic chemicals are really good at lurking under confusing names. Furthermore, sometimes the chemical you’re trying to avoid is actually a contaminate from another chemical, so it won’t be listed… Sneaky, we know.

Don’t fret though! Since 1994, the amazingly wonderful Environmental Working Group (EWG) has been working diligently to shine a spotlight on outdated legislation, harmful agricultural practices and industry loopholes that pose a risk to our health and the health of our environment. While their work certainly covers the use of pesticides in food, the presence of forever chemicals in water and toxins in cleaning products, they also have a huge sector dedicated to finding safe cosmetics and personal care products.

In 2004, they actually launched EWG’s Skin Deep® cosmetic database which not only goes into detail on which chemicals you should be avoiding and why, but they also have a super easy to understand danger-rating system for nearly 70,000 products and 9,000 ingredients on the market.

Further to using their website tto learn more about what could be lurking in your makeup and wreaking havoc on your body, EWG also has a EWG VERIFIED™ certification that a product can hold.

What does the EWG VERIFIED™ mark mean?

“The EWG VERIFIED™ mark on a product indicates that the product meets EWG’s strictest standards for transparency and health.

EWG VERIFIED products cannot contain any ingredients on EWG’s “Unacceptable” list, which includes ingredients with health, ecotoxicity and/or contamination concerns.

EWG VERIFIED products must meet EWG’s standards for ingredient disclosure on the label; products with the VERIFIED mark are made by manufacturers that have been fully transparent with EWG about that product’s ingredients, including fragrance ingredients.

EWG VERIFIED product manufacturers must develop and follow current good manufacturing practices to further ensure the safety of their products.”

Click here to learn more about EWG and Skin Deep ratings here.

Where Can I Find Clean Wedding Makeup in the North Shore?

If you’re getting married on the North Shore and want clean hair and makeup services, you’ve come to the right place. At Bryony & Birch, we’re passionate about only using products that are kind to our bodies both outside and in.

When you book your wedding hair and/or wedding makeup with Bryony & Birch, you’ll get to choose from brands like RPM, Sachajuan, Mr. Smith, Color.Me by Kevin Murphy, and Cezanne.

Click here to learn more about the brands Bryony & Birch carries.

How Does a Year of Pre-wedding Bliss Sound?

Pretty good, right?

Planning a wedding is stressful! From trying to pick a venue to having to select a menu that caters to allergies, intolerances and religious practices, it takes up more headspace than you think!
As a collective of hairstylists, makeup artists, photographers and videographers who’ve been in the North Shore wedding game a long time, we’ve actually put our brains together to create the type of wedding prep package we know we’d want and need before our big day.
The Bryony Bridal Experience includes tailored packages with services like:

  • Health and fitness: yoga, personal training, reiki and crystal healing
  • Hair prep: color correction
  • Wedding party hair: bride, bridesmaids and flower girl
  • Makeup services: upon request
  • Customizable photo & video packages: engagement, ceremony and reception

It doesn’t matter if you live in Amesbury, Newburyport, or Boston, you can easily tailor a Bryony Bridal Experience to suit your needs.

Click here to learn more about how we can give you a year of pre-wedding bliss!

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Introducing Bryony Body: The Exeter, NH Yoga Studio You Want To Know About

Bryony & Birch has expanded and we have a lot of feelings.

For starters, we’re feeling overwhelmed with gratitude for the Amesbury community. For our collective to have experienced the growth that it has in the age of a global pandemic is a testament to just how many incredible humans call the North Shore home. You’ve shown up on our mats for yoga, in our chairs for hair, in our studio for photos and on our porch to celebrate and support local makers and shakers. Thank you.

While we feel like we still have so many more exciting things to come in Amesbury, our next step in evolving happens to do with one of our other favorite places in the world – Exeter, NH. As lovers of this quintessential New Hampshire town that’s just a quick 15 minute drive from the flagship Bryony & Birch studio, we’re thrilled to announce that we have taken over Yogasmith Yoga Studio and are introducing our first brick and mortar space solely dedicated to yoga, fitness and wellness.

Scroll down to learn more!

What is Bryony Body?

Bryony Body is where yoga, fitness and wellness intersect. Located at 175 Water Street in Exeter, New Hampshire, our light and airy yoga studio space offers yoga and fitness classes for all levels.

When Bryony & Birch Founder, Katie Cavic, first started conceptualizing Bryony Body, she knew she wanted it to be accessible, restorative, invigorating, and something that helps soothe and strengthen people holistically.

Katie and her fellow Bryony Body yoga and fitness instructors know that the mind, the body and the soul are all interconnected, which is why Bryony Body also offers treatments such as reiki and crystal healing, nutrition coaching and massage therapy. It doesn’t matter if you’re going there to center or sculpt, you’ll leave feeling guided, grounded and grateful.

Meet the Bryony Body Instructors + Therapists

Katie Kavic
Owner & Instructor

 

Jessalyn Hudgins
Studio Manager & Instructor

 

Tayla David
Studio Manager

 

Kiana Morano
Personal Trainer & Instructor

 

Jessica Benedetto
Instructor

 

Carolyn Rubin
Instructor

 

Gail Picillo
Instructor

 

Sharon Gordon
Instructor

 

Jennifer Freeman
Instructor

 

Wilhelmina Bradley
Instructor

 

Allison Dugas
Instructor

 

Ankati Day
Instructor

 

Becky Kollmorgen
Instructor

 

Hannah Reed
Instructor

 

Veronica Woodlief
Instructor

 

Stacey Sargent
Instructor

Click here to learn more about Bryony Body’s yoga instructors here.

Where’s the Class Calendar for Bryony Body?

As people who love planning our days, weeks and months well in advance – we’ve got you covered!

Click here to view the Fall/ Winter Bryony Body class calendar.

Your First Bryony Body Class is FREE!

We’d love for you to come say hello and see what we do, which is why we are offering everyone their first class free of charge! Get in touch via yoga@bryonyandbirchstudio.com to book your free spot!

How do I Book Classes at Bryony Body?

The best way to book your Bryony Body class or wellness session is to head to Mindbody. There you’ll find our class calendar as well as payment and membership options for everything from Yoga Sculpt to 101 Personal Training Sessions.

With Bryony Body memberships starting from just $20 a month, we have options to suit those who want to do just in-person classes, just virtual classes or a mixture of both! We also adhere to the ‘try before you buy’ and ‘I’ve changed my mind for a moment’ ways of life, so you’ll find introductory trial memberships too.

3 Tips for Starting a Yoga Practice

We get it. Yoga can be intimidating.

For some people, it’s the quest of trying to reach their toes. For others, it’s the confronting thoughts they fear they’ll hear if they stop to be still throughout their day.

Here are our tips for starting a yoga practice.

#1 START SMALL
You don’t need to dive into a 90 minute power yoga session on Day 1. You don’t need to hold a pose for as long as your instructor said. The beautiful thing about yoga is that it’s your practice, your journey and your choice.

#2 EXPLORE YOUR OPTIONS
Like pretty much everything in life, one size does not fit all when it comes to yoga. Just because you didn’t resonate with breathwork, doesn’t mean a more physical flow won’t accomplish your same wellness goals. Try out different classes and instructors.

#3 CELEBRATE YOUR WINS
Gratitude exercises are a great way to stay positive when it comes to finances, your career and even your relationships. Don’t forget to count your yoga blessings too! For example: give thanks that you simply showed up, even if you didn’t want to.

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