Get to your sweet dreams faster

Yes, “yesterday” was awhile ago. I’ve spent days kneeling on a wooden floor, whipping my back a la Da Vinci Code style to repent for my lateness. Moving on! Here are some ways to help you fall asleep and things you should avoid.

Give your technology the cold shoulder.

Cell phones, tablets, and laptops are great excuses for us to stay awake into the wee hours of the morning. I’ve mentioned this before in a previous post, but when we use technology we are generally being passive. We’re watching videos or clicking on pictures. We turn into drones. Not only are we not using much brain power (and if we are it’s highly hindered due to how tired we are), but our eyes are unconsciously focusing on a pulsating light our laptop screen gives off. Instead, if you find you must do something before going to bed try picking up a hard-copy book. This is not the time for Dostoyevsky. Go down to a used book store and grab a cheap copy of some indulgent book.  I’m usually out after 10 pages.

I spent $1.50 on this book for sleepy-time purposes. I ain't too proud!

Sweat, baby!

If you find that you tend to be a night owl, despite your early morning classes, put pent up energy to good use and exercise. Not only will you get some mean muscles, but you’ll make sleeping beauty jealous. Honestly, some of the best nights of sleep I’ve gotten have been post workout.

Get Sudsy

You can also take a nice, hot shower. You’ll save time in the morning, jump into your sheets all squeaky clean, and allow your body to relax in a natural way. The hot water helps make you sleepy, and if you can find a nice lavender bar soap (or even a candle) you’ll be yawning all the way to the bedroom.

Things to avoid

Weed before bed: There is a lot of conflicting data on how marijuana affects your sleep cycle. There are propaganda sites that clearly think weed is the devil’s creation, and sites I feel go overboard on the positive side effects. Look, I’m not here to judge people that smoke pot.  What you should watch out for, though, is if you have a “dependence” oh needing it to go to sleep. People become psychologically, not chemically, dependent to smoking weed, but it can be just as problematic. You should feel like you can go to bed without lighting up a bowl.

Alcohol before bed: Unlike weed, there is a lot of science on how alcohol affects your sleep. Drinking before bed can mess with your REM cycle. Rapid Eye Movement (REM) is when you’re dreaming and your brain is processing a great deal of information. We always dream, but you just might remember them. Alcohol can also cause you to wake up during the night on several occasions, but not remember it. This can be very problematic if you are a frequent drinker, as you won’t be getting quality sleep.

Medicine & pills before bed: I swear the muscle relaxer I’ve been on for my neck releases magic sleeping dust into my system. However, I haven’t been taking it every night, because I know how easy it can be to start relying on OTC and prescription medicine to fall asleep. Not to mention it can be dangerous. Again, I write this coming from someone who made a lot, a lot of stupid decisions in my early college years. Don’t fall into a trap of taking medication to fall asleep unless you absolutely need it. During Freshman year one of my roommates at HPU couldn’t fall asleep without drinking Nyquil! It’s just not worth it. If you think you need help, get help. Most colleges have counselors you can talk to for free.

Finally, make sure you research any “herbal” remedies as well. I don’t know a lot about melatonin, but I dug up two websites I thought had interesting information. Just because something is herbal doesn’t mean you should take it, it’s safe to take, and it’s appropriate for your body or life style needs.


Peel Away ❤


Sleep deprivation induced alter egos are only sexy in Fight Club

I was inspired to write this post due in large part to a recent dream experience (no, nightmare) I had the other night. Ever since riding gluten from my diet, I’ve been able to dream much better. They are more vivid, and most recently I have been able to lucid dream, a wonderful experience when Johnny Depp, for some unbeknownst reason, saunters in my REM cycle; Chris did not approve. However, the funniest thing about my dream sphere is that it was a place where I could go to savor gooey cinnamon buns, crunchy slices of French bread, and pillow-y pizzas. If that isn’t akin to the cliché of women going to sleep to dream of their exes, then I don’t know what is! Sadly, the other night something new occurred. I had just swallowed the most delicious bite of pizza, when suddenly I was overcome with the pain gluten intolerants and celiacs feel when they’ve been “glutened. “ My hands went numb and I doubled over in pain. Upon waking up and realizing it was a dream (I’m not yet a pro at lucid dreaming), I was immensely sadden to realize that even my once safe dream space had turned against me; all good things cannot last forever.

Anecdote aside, this post will be on the importance of sleep. We need it to function. During nighty-time our brain acts like a computer that is updating itself, making sure everything is going into the right slots. Fighting the urge to sleep weakens the body. We are more susceptible to being sick. I know that when I don’t get enough sleep, I’m apt to wake up with a raging headache and a stuffy nose. It can also lead to depression and memory loss (WebMD.)It’s tempting to feel powerful, like a colonist sticking his flag in the sand of new found lands, when you’ve pulled an all nighter to complete a paper—which you probably should have done earlier—but your body will demand that the sleep debt you’ve accrued be repaid. Not to mention, they call it beauty sleep for a reason.  Have you seen people that don’t get enough sleep? For the most part…HAGGARD, YO!

Another interesting thing that happens when you don’t get much sleep is that you tend to put on weight. This happens for two reasons. The first is chemical. Our body produces ghrelin and leptin. Doctor Michael Breus says, “Ghrelin is the ‘go’ hormone that tells you when to eat, and when you are sleep-deprived, you have more ghrelin. Leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating, and when you are sleep deprived, you have less leptin.” (Source)Sleep deprivation is the groggy breeding ground for unhappy midsections and hips.

The other reason, linked to chemical imbalances, is when we are tired we have less energy to do healthy things. We don’t have the energy put together balanced meals and snacks to take to work or school. Instead, we reach for the easiest thing, which tends to be calorically dense, nutritionally void junk foods and drinks.  And if we’ve had sleep deprivation for quite some time, we probably cannot muster up the strength to work out. Over time that leads to weight gain, over time that can lead to low self-image, which left alone can encourage anxiety, extreme sadness, and possibly depression. Get in some winks, man.

In this country we put a lot before ourselves. It’s understandable that we have deadlines to meet, meetings to attend, and possibly children to take care of, but please look at your schedule to find time to fit these things in. I’m in college and I work three jobs, but I still find time to do my homework, prepare healthy meals (sometimes I pass the responsibility onto Chris, who sautés with gusto after I give him the stank eye), and do some yoga.  And to be honest, on most days, I still find myself with 90 minutes of left over time, so I assure you it’s possible to run a tight ship and find time to veg out and get in solid sleep. It can seem restrictive, but you’ll feel much better.

Being healthy means working in harmony with your body. Sure, not everyone needs to follow the adage of eight hours a night. Really healthy people can run on five, some are fine with seven, but you have to find what works for you. Get off the hamster wheel and take control of our life. The occasional all nighters happen, but habitually staying up late (well, actually staying up early), as you can see above, is not doing your body any favors.

This post is going to be 2-parts. Check in tomorrow for the encore, which talks about finding ways for the average person to get to bed without unnecessary and possibly addictive aids. Again, I’m all for medication be it depression, ADD/ADHD, sleep disorders, and the likes, if you need it, but if you don’t then please don’t fall prey.

Peel Away those sleepy seeds (hehe….ew!)

❤ Jocellyn

Chasing After Lotus

First published in The Current

Champlain College’s Student Newspaper.


The majority of my yoga career has been spent building upper body strength so I can flip my way easily and gracefully into arm balances. Eight-angle pose was no big deal. Forearm stand took a year’s worth of off and on practice, but I finally got the hang of balancing my body. My once bent and wobbly crow grew up and has taken flight to somewhere warm, like Florida. But I have to admit, I’m structurally made for arm balances. I have broad, base building shoulders and arms that bulk up easily. Dabbling in the delightful world of inversions was really swimming around in the comforting, shallow-end of my yoga pool. Recently, I’ve started swimming out to where my toes no longer touch to tread water and tango with on bad ass asana: padmasana.

Known in English as Lotus (or “Indian sitting”, which I’m sure isn’t terribly PC), padmasana is a posture synonymous with yoga. The image of a serene-being seated with their legs folded up like a delicious soft pretzel is what comes to the minds of many a non-yogi. Ironically, Lotus is not that simple. For starters, our sedentary western lives have tightened up our hips to an unimaginable degree. And, unlike our Indian friends, we did not grow up sitting in this fashion. Sometimes our exercise endeavors tighten up our hips as well due to repetitive motion; my teacher is fond of saying, “Yoga is good for your running, but running is not good for your yoga.”

Some people are genetically blessed with the ability to flip into this deceptively elusive pose. I know yoga-envy is the wrong, wrong, wrong, radioactive-greenness that can lead to injury, but I can’t help feeling it when I look around the room of lithe men and women gently settling into the posture and lifting themselves. Don’t even get me started on how, in shoulder stand, you can maneuver your way into Lotus and pull your knees into your chest, creating a little egg shape with your body.  Oh, how I long to tackle forearm stand,  while my legs are in a pretzel so fierce Auntie Anne would just have to add it to her food court menu.

Sadly, my Lotus is stuck in an awkward, pre-pubescent phase. My left hip is incredibly open and my foot can nestle into the crease of my right hip easily. My right hip is stubborn and can barely make it up to the left hip. You can try to finagle your way in, but finagling and Lotus go together like cats and dogs. When your hip has done all the rotating it can your knee will lock up. When that happens you can try to manipulate your ankle and “cheat” yourself a little further, but it is only putting undue stress on the delicate knee. Push too hard and say bye, bye to your meniscus. Who would have thought such an innocent looking pose could cause such stress, envy, and possible injury. The only way to move forward is with patience, like, years worth of patience.

Not only do our hips carry the wear and tear of time, but people (especially ladies) can lug around a huge amount of emotionally baggage in that spot. One of the best things you can do to open the hips is sit in wide angle pose. In a seated position, spread your legs as far as your feel comfortable. Keyword: comfortable. You’ll be hanging out in this posture for quite some time, so no need to pretend you are auditioning for Cirque Du Soleil! Make sure to keep your back straight and start leaning on forward. You might need to keep your hands on the ground to support yourself. It’s important to watch out for two things here. Be wary of earthquake shaking legs.  Major muscle spasmimg is a sign that you’re pushing your body to a point where you have started to release adrenaline (when you are getting a good stretch you’re releasing feel-good endorphins) and approaching a threshold where tears can happen. Bring your legs closer together if this happens and proceed again. The other thing to be aware of is where your knees are at. The kneecaps should be facing up towards the ceiling and not rolling in. If they are, recruit your leg muscles and gentle activate your hips to point them back up. If you are new to this posture start out gently a few nights a week. It’s okay if you can only hold it for a minute.  If you have been practicing yoga for a bit longer, try holding the pose until your body starts whispering “hey, hey now!”  This will allow you to push yourself, and you may feel a little sore the next day, but you won’t injure your body. It’s also a great activity that can be done while reading those long CORE assignments, watching T.V, or Facebook stalking your peers.

Again, this takes time. You might notice significant gains after a month. You might plateau and not see a difference for what feels like ages. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Lotus may never be something you achieve, and that’s okay too. Your body is slowly, slowly starting to undo the tightness that has accumulated which means it can take years. It’s a lesson in patience, which I can safely say us instant-gratification-seeking Americans could use.

My teachers have always said that our physical yoga practice meets us where we are, and where we are is exactly where we need to be. Sometimes we aren’t ready for a pose, for whatever the reason. Perhaps our muscles aren’t prepared, or our bones aren’t strong enough, or we have a mental block. I can agree. As a first year yoga practitioner I had no business being in forearm stand. I had the brute strength, yes, but not the stability in the shoulders, understanding of gaze, or abdominal control. I would have probably hurt myself. Instead, I paid my dues in upper-body building Chaturanga (low plank) and gritted my way through ab-strengthening  navasana (boat pose). I earned my right to forearm-stand and scratch it off my pain-in-my-asana list! Yes, the outro is cheesy, but I’m hopeful that someday my Lotus will push up through the muck and bloom.

Got Ashtanga?

This post is dedicated to Claudia at cloud9yoga, who popped on over and liked my video. She had a post on bicep growth, and since I cannot leave pics in her comments, I thought this was the next best thing.

Ashtanga has most definitely blown up my biceps, shoulders, and pectorals; I can even make my chest move like guys. Unfortunately, this is a move that the general public will never see, but I swear I can do it! I admit, my lower body doesn’t get much muscle building love, but I admire a lady with fierce arms.

Just finished teaching an ashtanga-inspired flow class.

Thank you Chaturanga Dandasana and Claudia, for reminding me how yoga

has changed the outside.


Peel Away ❤


Sun Salutations + A Video

Yoga is a big part of my life. I hope yoga continues to be a big part of my life. Thus, it wouldn’t be fair for me to not include yoga on this blog. Practicing yoga was what helped me start eating better. Learning difficult yoga postures is what taught me patience.

“Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuation of the mind.”

Yoga, yoga, yoga, yoga.


One: Ignore the fact that it looks like I’m wearing zero bottoms. Trust me: I am!

Two: Ignore the mess. I’m a poet. The chaotic workplace is what fuels me.

Three: I’m training to be a licensed yoga teacher. This video is a guide, not the word of the almighty. Now, I’m not expecting you to go call your doctor and slap down a $20 co-pay to make sure you’re fit for yoga, but use common sense.

Technical stuff I’ve learned: In making the video, you feel like you’re going so slowly, but when you decided to do a voice over it feels like you’re talking 100 miles per hour (and this is coming from a girl who was constantly told to slow down.)


Let’s cut to the chase!!!

Here’s a video of me narrating Sun Salutation A with various modifications for all levels.



This the breath count for people who are not as familiar.  When you are first starting out it’s common to feel like you’re exhaling when the teacher is telling you to inhale. Don’t worry. The most important part is to just breatheeeeee.  Over time, when you become more comfortable, your breath will start synching up with your teacher’s breath.

Inhale  arms above your head touch at the top. You can look straight ahead or up at your hands. I’m currently working through a neck irritation, so I’m trying not to crane my neck to much.

Exhale  fold.

Inhale straighten your arms and lengthen your back to prepare.

Exhale (a big one)  walk or hop back, go to plank, lower down through Chaturanga dandasana.

Inhale Up dog

Exhale Down Dog.

“Active Break” : Breathe, breathe, breathe, breathe. In Ashtanga we do a 5 count. Do whatever you want.

Inhale move forward.

Exhale fold.

Inhale raiiiiiiiise up. Touch at the top.

And do it all over again.

Peel away and namasteeee, hey, heyyy ❤



I love Saturdays. Not only is it the first day of the weekend, but it’s typically a day Chris and I spend window-shopping on Church Street. Thanks to the Presidents Day sales we did more shopping than perusing. We put on our cute outfits, linked arms, and sipped Starbucks Mocha’s as we shuffled in and out of stores. Disclaimer: I’m totally not a Starbucks cult member, but when you get a free gift card you consume those 400 calorie drinks with exponentially less guilt and shame.

I urge you to carve out some you time or couple time to do indulgent things. That might be getting a monthly massage, sitting alone at a coffee shop, taking naps with your beau (naps with a “snuggle-buggle” are so nice), or resting in a bubble bath with a glass of wine while watching some Netflix (don’t fall asleep; don’t drown; don’t electrocute yourself.)

Skirt- Pacsun $11. I’m excited to wear it out! I’m generally not one for loud prints, but I’m a huge fan of tribal designs and my squat sculpted derriere, so I like to whip out something flashy every now and then. Shake what yo mamma gave ya!

Shirt- Pacsun $4.98. Its a large mens top.  I love the bagginess. It’ll be great during Spring over some cute leggings or jeans cuffed up.

Hair oil- $24. This beauty business was having a out of business sale, and I scored a 30% on this big bottle. It’s not Moroccan oil, but it seemed similar. My ‘fro has been terribly dry lately!

Lipstick- $3.97.  4 shades from Urban Outfitters. Originally $18. I’m loving all the colors.Pucker up, sweeties.

As someone who buys a lot of stuff from Goodwill, it was nice to have a few brand new items. I also got some new mascara (lipstick and mascara are all a girl really needs, if any makeup be necessary) and this awesome, cheap leather watch (which is loudly ticking away on my bedside table.)  Rule #100: Retail therapy, much like Beer Tears  (or Wine Whines, in my case), and Ben and Jerry’s binges are perfectly acceptable if they only happen a few times a year.

Me and Alexa pre-Rusko.  She got me on the glitter band wagon and I’m personally loving this scarf-do I’ve got going on. Needless to say, as much as I still love Dubstep, Rusko was completely high-school packed, and I felt slightly embarrassed dressed up in brightly colored clothes like all the non-legal hooligans. Sigh, guess you gotta grow up a little sometimes.

Peel Away ❤




To supplement or not to supplement? That is the question. Many stores have sections entirely dedicated to multi-vitamins and single vitamin supplements. They come in pretty bottles, some with scenes of nature depicted on the side, and millions of Americans buy them in hopes of riding themselves of any potential health problems. However, there are few reasons to be wary of taking vitamins.

For starters, I’m by no means putting down the use of vitamins. I happen to take some (when I remember to) but what tends to happen is people look to pills to get the vitamins they need when they should be looking towards a healthier, balanced diet. Why pop a vitamin C pill when you can eat some lovely citrus? One cannot rely solely on these pills to get the vitamins they need. Another vitamin pit-fall people should watch out for is the multi-vitamin. These honkers consist of ten or more vitamins packed into one pill fit for a horse or human without a sufficient gag-reflex. That’s a lot of different chemicals to be consuming all at once.

On top of that, vitamins are pretty damn finicky. Some need to be consumed with water. Some need the aid of a juice packed with vitamin C to be absorbed. Some need a swig of milk. Some vitamins, like B12, need to be taken in conjunction with another vitamin—in B-12’s case it needs a B6—to work. Some vitamins need to be taken on an empty stomach and some need food. Don’t even get me started on the back and forth debate on whether or not calcium supplements are beneficial for women or actually a hindrance. See how confusing it can get and how you might be spending top dollar to take a vitamin your body might be unable to process. Again, look to food first and then vitamins.

My advice? Ditch the multi and figure out what supplements you really need.  A good B-12 vitamin is essential for vegans or anyone who doesn’t consume a lot of animal products. Iron is great for women who avoid red meat and have heavy periods. Again, make sure you research, research, research what you plan on swallowing. Consumer lab is a great place to see what products have been cited for incorrect labeling.

Food and health topics, much like politics, can be very heated and exaggerated on both sides. But I’d rather err on the side of safety and become more aware of what is going in or on my body than blindly swallowing some pill that has trace elements of lead—oops. Check out this video on my two favvvvvorite supplements.

2 common scenarios to watch out for (Warning: They’re all poop alerts. Sorry people, but what you snot, sweat, pee, and poo can be a good indicator of what’s going on in your body)

Scenario 1: You go to the bathroom and notice your #2’s are looking a little darker than usual. Are you dying? Well, if you have started taking iron supplements, then those are probably the culprit—phew. Your body can only absorb so much iron, so the dark color is your body expelling the excess. Some doctors will say this is good because it shows you’re absorbing a good amount of iron and that if you aren’t experience this effect then you should try a different dosage.

Scenario 2:  Your gal friends have recently encouraged you to start taking prenatal pills because it has made their hair, skin, and nails look absolutely vibrant. The one problem is you are starting to feel like Whitney Houston (RIP) moments before she asked Bobby Brown to help her, erm, expedite some situations (for those of you who don’t remember/know: google. ) The culprit is iron levels that are too high. Try some biotin instead and return to strain free bathroom moments.

Peel Away ❤



In case you haven’t noticed, on my side bar I not only have a Twitter reel, but also a link

that says “Facebook Peel.” Click on it, people, and you’ll be brought to the Facebook page

I have set up to go along with this blog. It’ll be the place where I post quick updates, as I’m not

able to write a long entries for every day of the week. Pretty snazzy, eh?


Peel Away ❤


Location, Location, Location

I’ve come to terms with my quads, I enjoy squeezing my arms which have developed thanks to yoga, and during the Summer I often distract myself by playing with the bulge on my flexed calf. But there is an area I’m always a tad weary about. It’s my stomach. It is where I tend to store extra fat. I’m kind of a dude, actually, since women have a greater tendency to accumulate excess fat around their hips, thighs, and butt; Dear god, for once can’t that extra slice of cake go to my butt cheekies?  Alas. In fact, I get a little neurotic about my stomach area. Most days I do the whole bit where I stand in front of the mirror, pinch, and frown, turn to the side, and pinch again. Chris, being the dutiful boyfriend he is, will comment that he loves me no matter what, but it still doesn’t take away the concerns, which stem not only from aesthetic consideration, but also health factors. Unfortunately, where you hold your fat matters, and stomach fat can cause a whole mess of maladies.

Let’s break down the two layers of fat. The first is subcutaneous fat, which is just below the skin. Subcutaneous fat is the kind of fat people dislike for vanity reasons. But the fat doesn’t stop there. Moving into further layers of skin we reach visceral fat. Ew, it’s a word that sounds so similar to gristle (and it’s not to far off.)  And believe me, visceral fat should make you go “ewww” and “ahhh!” Visceral fat hugs your organs. And this isn’t a loving kind of hug. It’s the type of hug your big brother will give you that crushes your bones. It can affect your cholesterol levels and raise your blood pressure. Here are some of the other negative side effects excessive visceral fat can have on your body:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Breast cancer
  • Colorectal cancer


It gets a little trickier. Just like I discussed Skinny Fat several blog posts ago, sedentary men and women who are naturally thin may also be at risk of carrying visceral fat. Because it’s not as apparent as someone with a “beer belly”, a thin person wouldn’t know they carried any unless they were to undergo a high-tech MRI. But why go spend the money when you can realistically audit yourself with a few simple questions. Do I work out regularly? Do I eat healthy food? Do I practice portion control? If you don’t do any of the above and do fill yourself with greasy foods more than fruits, vegetables, etc., then there is a good chance you might carry some visceral fat. No more playing out of sight-out of mind!

Thankfully this post isn’t all doom and gloom. Like most diet related health issues, they can corrected with time and patience.  For one, practice portion control. This is much easier to do if you are able to cook your own meals or chose the food you eat at a dining hall rather than eating out a restaurant; don’t you just hate how the meals are too big for one sitting, but are two little if cut in half? Conspiracy, I tell ya!

Here is a good way to portion control your meals for your body size, because you use your own hand as a “yard stick.”

Proper Portion Sizes:

1 serving of lean protein= Palm of your hand

1 serving of complex carbs from whole grains: 1 cupped hand

1 serving of complex carbs from Fruits & Veggies: 2 cupped hands together

(Source: The Eat Clean Diet by Tosca Reno)

The next thing you need to do is get off your lovely behind and start working out. Sigh, this goes for me as well… I feel as if this goes without saying, but don’t, don’t, don’t for the love of all things common sense crash diet. In fact, studies have shown that crash dieting can encourage visceral fat. Exercise smart. If you feel that you really need to work on that area you have to push a little harder than someone who wants to maintain. Walking briskly and worth purpose (no feet dragging here!) for 30 minutes, six times a week will help stave of accumulation. Bring that walk to a jog, start lifting weights, and/or try out some HIIT and you’ll blast that gunk away!  And there are so many YouTube trainers out there with certifications and free workouts, so there’s no need to plunk down dollar bills on a gym membership.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to lose my stomach fat for vanity reasons. But at the same time I realize exercising and dieting in a safe, slow, and appropriate manner will also keep my unseen organs healthy, which is what really counts.

Peel Away ❤


Look what I did last night! One giant step for me;one dying breath for visceral fat kind!


Links to check out—-visceral-and-subcutaneous—-and-which-poses-the-greatest-risk-to-you.htm

First video!!!


Can I just start out by saying having a full weekend off has been amazing? I feel like I’ve been so productive and able to creep into my day. Hopefully my boss will pull some strings so this becomes the norm. I’ve been far too spoiled with free Sunday’s the past two weekends, and I don’t know if I could possibly go back to the life as it was.

I have some exciting news to bring. As of today, this blog will now feature video content! Exciting, I know. Now, I’m not going to become the next Martin Scorsese, but I’ve been playing around on the Windows Movie Maker, and I feel comfortable enough to bring you this first video where I talk about 2 exciting food purchases I made this week.  Actually, there is a prior video… Maybe I’ll whip it out after I’ve become a video editing whiz as a whole “haha, look how incompetent I was” post. +2 points if you can find my awesome splice job. Fact one: I’ve definitely learned that if I mess up (or have to stop the video because my bread timer goes off) that I need to pause beforehand and pause before I begin so I can more easily edit out mistakes or my hand reaching to turn off and on the camera; aren’t I a quick learner!

So rest those tired, over worked eyes and listen to my sweet, sultry voice exclaim to the high heavens the benefit of trying new things!

Peel Away ❤