Your Best Morning.

In our fast paced world, many of us (myself included) are guilty of grabbing our phones first thing in the morning before bounding out of bed and into our day. It's easy to go through an entire twelve hours without taking a deep breath or checking in with yourself which is why we've teamed up with Jill from Live Clean Kitchen to bring you your best morning. 

Before you check your phone, sit up in bed and take a big stretch. Why, this helps to lubricate your fascial tissue, more on that later. Maybe you gently stretch your neck from side to side.Then, simply begin to breath in and out through your nose - a few deep, steady breaths can help significantly to ground and connect you to how you feel. Listen to the noises around you - savoring the stillness of the morning. This simple noticing allows you to be grateful simply for being, for your inhales and exhales and for having a safe space to wake up in. 

If you struggle to focus on your breath, try this - count down from 5 for each inhale and exhale - when you get to the bottom of the breath pause for a brief moment before you take your next one. Do this for a few minutes or as long as feels good, allow thoughts to come and go as they will, not lingering on any one idea - nothing is more urgent that getting in the right head space for the day.

When you feel ready, you can move into some gentle stretches, yes, while still in bed! Morning movement does not have to be intense - taking a little bit of time to move can help you to better gauge your energy and to move into your day with intention. Our fascia (mentioned above) is a network of sinuous tissue that wraps around our muscle groups, keeping us mobile. Fascia can get stiff overnight or over prolonged periods of stillness which is why it feels so good to stretch in the morning! Taking the time to stretch first thing can help you to feel more mobile and energized throughout your day in addition to stimulating the cognitive brain and the digestive system! Try these stretching suggestions from Jill below...

  1.  Gentle Neck Stretch - sitting up tall, gently drawing your right ear towards your right shoulder, and then your left ear towards your left shoulder. Pause on each side for a few moments before moving to the next side. Repeat 4-5 times on each side.

  2.  Shoulder Rolls - lift your shoulders UP, BACK and then DOWN a few times times, helping to take any tension out of this sensitive area.

  3. Temple Massage - bring your forefingers to either side of your forehead and massage in counter clockwise motions for a few breaths. You can bring this massage down to your jaw as well as we tend to hold tension there when we sleep.

  4. Wrist Stretch - reach your arms out, interlace your fingers and draw your palms together. Make 'figure 8' motions with your knuckles to help to stretch out the wrists, forearms and hands.

  5. Torso Twists - while seated and facing forward, place your hands on your knees. Take a deep inhale, twist your torso to the right and send your gaze to the right side of the room. Inhale back to center and twist out to the left. Repeat 4-5 times on both sides.
  6. Side-Body Sun Breaths - As you inhale send your arms up overhead and on the exhale twist your torso to the right as you melt your right hand to the right side of the bed, keeping your left hand lifted, reaching towards the right. Ground down through your left side, making sure both sits bones stay firmly rooted. Inhale back up through center and take this stretch on the left.

  7. Foot/hamstring Stretch - extend your legs out in front of you with a deep bend in the knees. Reach your hands to your feet and wrap your fingers around the tops of your toes, pull back with your arms to stretch out the bottoms of your feet. Then, slowly, begin to pull your heels away from you, stretching out the backs of the legs - you do not need to go deep to make this stretch effective.

  8. Hip Stretch with Hands at Heart Center - in a seated position, bend your knees out to the sides and draw the bottoms of your feet together. Press your feet into one another and allow the knees to open as much as they can - you should feel this in your inner and outer hips. Your hands can be wrapped around the feet or you can draw your hands into your chest in a pray position - gently pressing into your sternum to feel your heart beat beneath your thumbs.

After moving a bit, the next thing I like to do is make my bed. I keep it somewhat meditative by thinking of a few things I am grateful for while pulling the sheets tighter and re-fluffing my pillows. I love coming home after a long day to a made bed for a restful nights sleep. It's a little thing that makes a world of difference.

Every morning following your mediation and stretching, brew up Jennie Fresa's go-to morning elixer, combining warm water, fresh lemon juice, with a dash of lemon or turmeric. Why? Because one of the best things you can do for your digestive system is to start your morning with hot water and lemon. The lemon promotes alkalinity in the body, and also kickstarts the liver for the day — encouraging the release of digestive fluids, while hydrating the body. The cinnamon or turmeric in this Morning Elixir also brings warmth to the tummy, boosts your metabolism, circulation and immunity.

  • 1 cup of water
  • ½ of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 dash of turmeric or cinnamon

In the warm summer months it can benefit us to have a nourishing smoothie for breakfast. I take time to make sure my smoothies are naturally rich in micronutrients to flood the body with vitamins and minerals. And in an effort to keep you full and satisfied til lunch. I also like build smoothie recipes that have an ideal balance of macronutrients (a.k.a the building blocks of nutrition) - proteins, carbs and fats. 

pro-tip: When enjoying my breakfast, whether it's a smoothie or anything else, I like to take a few moments prior to enjoying to set everything else aside feel grateful for my food - it connects me to how I am feeling and to the flavors I am about to enjoy.

I've chosen two season-specific smoothies to share with you here! And as a special bonus, I always like to add a little something special to my smoothies so I have included the recipes to two of my favorite smoothie toppings. If you love these two dishes, you can check out more here!.

Smoothie Ingredients 
1 cup packed green (I love spinach, kale or dandelion greens)
1 cup frozen peaches
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 a lime, juiced
1/2-3/4 cup plant-based milk (I used coconut)
1/4 of an avocado

Smoothie Instructions
Add all of the ingredients except the avocado to your blender (starting with the greens first) and blend away! If you're struggling to get it blended, add another splash or two of liquid (smoothies are not an exact science). Once fully combined, drop in the avocado and blend on high for a few seconds more. Pour over your favorite granola (recipe below) and garnish with peach slices and a bit more granola.

pro-tip: Adding the avocado at the beginning of blending can result in a mousse-like consistency that is good, but not exactly what we're going for with a smoothie.

Granola Ingredients
1 cup gluten free old-fashioned oats (I use Bob's Red Mill)
3 tbsp. good quality tahini (I use this brand)
3 tbsp. maple syrup
1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1/4 cup coconut flakes
1/4 cup slivered almonds
A dash of cinnamon, cardamom and sea salt

Granola Instructions
Preheat your oven to 345*F. Toss your oats, quinoa, coconut and almonds into a large bowl to combine. Pour over the tahini and maple syrup and use a spatula to mix until evenly distributed (this works best with runny tahini). Mix in your spices and salt for that extra boost of flavor. Pour your granola onto a parchment linked baking sheet and press it down with the back of your spatula. Then bake for 20-25 minutes, tossing once at the 10 minute mark. Allow the granola to fully cool so it crisps up nicely and then break it apart with your hands. Store in an airtight container to sprinkle over smoothies or yogurt.

pro-tip: I like to pulse up my oats a few times in a food processor before I start the recipe - this results in a diverse texture yielding you more clusters at
the end!


Smoothie Ingredients
1/2 a large orange, rind removed
1 cup frozen mango
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/2 cup plant-based yogurt (this is my go-to brand)
1/2 cup water

Smoothie Instructions
Add all of your ingredients to your blender and blend on high til well combined. You may wish to add a bit of ice if you like a colder smoothie. Pour into a glass and top with yogurt bark.

Bark Ingredients
1 cup plant-based yogurt (this is my go-to brand)
1 tbsp. coconut oil
1 tbsp. agave or maple syrup *optional
2 tbsp. buckwheat groats
2 tbsp. goji berries
2 tbsp. slivered almonds

Bark Instructions
Melt 1 tbsp. of coconut oil and agave together and stir it into your yogurt until well combined. Pour the yogurt mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet and spread it out with the back of a spoon til it's ~1/4" thick. Then add the buckwheat, berries and almonds. Place the baking sheet in the freezer and allow an hour for the bark to set up - then chop it into pieces using a sharp knife. Store in the freezer an airtight container to use as a garnish for smoothies or as a cool and crunchy mid-day snack.

Put your best face forward with Jennie's curated morning routine. This daily routine will leave your skin cleansed, moisturized + ready to take on the day. Using the best in clean-beauty products this routine will leave you with glowing, clear + radiant skin. 

step 1 - oil cleanser. If you’re using oil-based products at night, an oil cleanse in the morning is an absolute must to effectively lift away those products and whatever they have brought to the skin’s surface overnight. 

application. Gently massage over dry face to remove makeup and loosen dirt and impurities.  Warm a cloth with water and place over your face.  The warmth will assist in softening sebum and buildup.  Wipe gently without scrubbing.
step 2 - water based cleanser. A low-PH water-based cleanser in your morning skincare routine helps to properly deep clean without causing redness that is hard to calm before makeup application.

application. Apply a small amount of cleanser to wet face. Use with a wet cotton pad to remove eye makeup. Rinse completely with water. Follow with toner and moisturizer. For external use only. 
step 3 - toner. Toner is easily the most misunderstood skin care product and way more important than it receives credit for. Toner is the first barrier product you apply – good toner balances your skin’s PH, and is intended to hydrate – not strip your skin the way your astringent did in middle school.
application. After cleansing, saturate a cotton pad with formula and gently apply all over face and throat, avoiding the eye area. Follow with moisturizer.
step 4 - serum. The most important (and expensive) step in your morning skincare routine – aside from sun protection – is an antioxidant-rich serum. Your face is up against a lot of agents that wish to do it harm throughout the day: exhaust fumes from the city bus, your dirty phone screen, your cortisol levels during a 3pm conference call, etc. Serums see to it that none of those stressors live eternally as fine lines between your eyebrows.

application. Warm a few drops in palms and press into clean face in an upward motion or add a few drops to warm bath. 
step 5 - moisturizer and spf. There is no such thing as skin that is too hydrated or protected. Make sure your applying an effective moisturizer and sunscreen every morning. 

application. Apply liberally 15 minutes before sun exposure. Reapply after 40 minutes of swimming or sweating, immediately after towel drying, and at least every two hours.

step 6 - primer. Primer is equal parts skincare and makeup, but an optional step if you aren’t planning on applying any pigmented products after your sun protection. Primer not only allows for a more flawless application of foundation, but it is the last barrier of protection for your skin.

application. Apply liberally before sun exposure. Reapply immediately after swimming, sweating, or towel drying, and at least every two hours.

So are you all set? Go + live your best day! 

P.S. Don't miss out on Jill's yoga instruction, services + events right here on the Connecticut Shoreline. Learn more by visiting her blog, Live Clean Kitchen here! 


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