feminine

Goddess of the Month: Lauren Kleban creator of LEKfit

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know by now that I am in love with LEKFit. LEKfit is a fitness modality created by Lauren Kleban. I came across this movement when I started following Busy Philips on Instagram. Every day she would post her #sweatyselfie and would be dripping sweat and happy as can be. I googled it and saw that they offered streaming and the rest is history.

First off, let me tell you why I love LEKfit. For starters, it is SO fun. Lauren doesn't tell you how many times you should work out a week, for how long or to do this workout on this and day and this one on that day. She just teaches you to move you body and to LISTEN. Listen when you need to rest, listen when to take it easier, listen when to push hard. Her philosophy aligned perfectly with mine. I also love that you feel like you are in the class with them. When you stream the studio classes there are women of all different shapes and sizes bouncing to their hearts content. It's nice to do a workout video that isn't just women and men with perfect bodies. Last, but not least, I LOVE the way it makes me feel. I feel happier, more content in my body and stronger when I do it regularly and that makes me very happy.

This was the first in-person interview I have done. I attended Lauren's class on a very hot Friday morning in LA and after, we chatted. We talked about movement, what bring her bliss, how she achieves her goals and kids. It was a really beautiful experience and I am so grateful that she took the time to sit down and talk to me. Lauren, thank you so much for creating a safe space for women to move their bodies, for making us all feel beautiful and worthy and for kicking my ass!

If you are interested in trying out LEKfit, you can get a free 7 day trial by clicking here.

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What inspired you to create your own business?

I was a dancer my whole life and I always knew that fitness would be a natural transition. Even as far back as high school I was teaching some sort of fitness, dance class. Then I taught all over LA. I lived in Vegas prior to LA where I was in a show and taught at UNLV and a studio very similar to S factor, so I did pole stuff also, which was really fun. Now if you told me to go upside down on a pole I would say you are out of your mind, but in my twenties I was like "sure, I'll swing my legs and crawl down." There was an x-stripper who started right around the time Sheila (the creator of S Factor did) and she would take strippers and regular dancers and teach us. So I did that and then taught a Jazz, cardio type thing at UNLV and then I moved to LA and taught at different dance studios, boutique fitness studios and an old school gym where I trained clients, all while dancing professionally. It was always a side thing. I don't think I really knew until I had my son, my first child who is now 5 1/2, that that's what I wanted to do. There are so many avenues now that X-dancers can take, but I knew I didn't want to travel. I didn't want to live out of a suitcase. I knew that someday I wanted to get married and have children and being from the mid-west, that was just not my mindset. I needed something to keep me wherever I was going to settle down, which ended up being LA. From there it organically progressed. I taught a ballet class, very similar to my Sculpt now, but less mat and more barre. I would teach that daily, but still go for a run and that was my best body. That was the body that felt strongest and healthiest, but then with Miles (my oldest) I couldn't just teach an hour and then go for a run. I couldn't do 2 hours plus to workout every day. The rebounder had been in my life before and I just started playing around. I did not start LEKfit with the rebounder. I started without, but I knew that I had to create a less than one hour interval workout that gave me the same results as an hour barre class and running Runyon. After years of trial and error this is where we ended up. 

Who is the most inspiring woman in your life and why?

Oh my god! I mean there are so many for different reasons. That is a really hard question. It's gonna sound so lame because she's like my number one, but Busy! She is the best. So inspiring! I'm not kidding, when she was filling in for Kelly on "Regis and Kelly Live" I was like "you're the next Kelly Ripa, you are gonna have a talk show." She said she wanted it and she made it happen. That is crazy to me!

What is your current favorite song to move to?

Oh my God! That's like harder than the last question. I'm very into R&B. Gallant, Neo, Leon Bridges, Maxwell the list goes on and on and on.

What is your process in manifesting your dreams and your goals?

I think I just figure out what I want, focus on it and make it happen. I'm not into mood boards, I don't burn things. I just think I am really strategic about it. I'm also very practical, which sometimes I think is to a fault. I also try to stay in my lane, I'm not really phased by anyone else, which I am really happy about because I think that can make you crazy. 

What is your morning ritual?

It changes because I have children, so my mornings are not my own. I used to teach the 7 am class, so it used to be I would see nobody in the morning until I saw my clients. As my kids got older and started going to school, I wanted to be around, so now I teach the 9:30 and I usually get up, check my email, social media. Usually I've cleared everything the night before so I don't have anything important that I need to get to right away. I do breakfast and get my kids ready for school and then I am here for the studio. Sometimes my meditation is going into the studio when nobody is there, lock the door and just dance.

How do you honor your feminine body?

By keeping it healthy! Staying out of the sun. I used to be a sun worshipper. 

Where do you find Bliss in your life?

My kids! Most of the time, not all of the time (laughs).

What does self-care mean to you?

Whatever feels good to you. It's not something you can go outward for because it is a head spin. I can remember days where I would force myself to go to a yoga class or even a dance class that I just didn't want to go to and I would be like "Why am I doing this? Why am I spending the money and wasting my time?" When I would rather be on a hike or in the studio, to me that is the opposite of self care. 

If you could offer one piece of advice to women, what would it be?

The first thing that comes to mind is that our moms and grandmothers, for sure, relied on each other, but they relied on who was immediately near them so they all had a similar mindset. In the age of social media there is an ability as moms and as women to rely on each other as well, but in a much bigger way. We are getting so much more info and I think it's too much. We need to find those core people that you really trust. We definitely still need each other, but because of social media and because the world is so big now there is too much and it's so overwhelming. It's all a mind-fuck. Don't limit it, but find your group or community that you can hold on to and trust. 

BIO: 

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BIO: 

Lauren Kleban is a celebrity fitness instructor and founder of LEKfit, a dance-inspired fitness method designed to create long and lean muscles by using intervals of low impact, high intensity, fat burning cardio with muscle sculpting techniques created to strengthen and tone.  

LEKfit takes a musically driven approach to fitness with Lauren consistently drawing inspiration from her ballet, jazz, burlesque and yoga training to create fun and effective workouts that empower and promote body love and acceptance. 

LEKfit has developed a constant following of devotees, both in the LA studio and LEKfit on demand online, that come for Lauren and her team’s unique approach to dance inspired fitness.

Goddess of the Month: Chelsea of Juniper and The Sea

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A couple months ago I won a photoshoot with a local company called Juniper and the Sea. If you are unfamiliar with them, you should definitely check out their work. They are working to create a safe space for women to strip down (literally and figuratively) and have the most beautiful boudoir photos taken. These are boudoir photos like you have never seen before: They are for you and nobody else! Organic, raw and sensual without being overtly sexual. Chelsea and Simone have a gift of seeing your essence and capturing it in that moment. 

I didn't know exactly what to expect. I was told to show up with a clean face and dry hair. When I walked into the space I was welcomed with herbal tea, warm and inviting lighting, hugs and a team of amazingly talented women who transformed me into a woodland nymph. With Kendrick Lamar as my soundtrack (um, yes please) I worked with Chelsea and Simone to pick from the outfits I brought. I changed and we got started. Now, I teach women how to feel comfortable in their bodies; how to love the skin they are in. Full transparency, this is so challenging for me, at times. With Chelsea and Simone, I felt natural and comfortable to just be me in their presence. They gave suggestion of directions for me to turn my head, but pretty much gave me free range to move as my body loves to move. The last few photos I shot topless. I have never done a nude photo shoot before and have always been curious. I never once felt insecure about my body or felt like I needed to be a different size or a different shape. They made me feel safe and comfortable. Before I knew it, it was over and they sent me on my way feeling lit up and totally empowered!

When I got the photos back, I have to admit that I had a moment of wishing my body looked a little different. Wishing that I hasn't put so much weight on in the last couple of years. When I was showing them to a friend and she was saying how gorgeous they are, I realized that my body is beautiful exactly as it is. It doesn't mean I can't work to make it more fit or to lose weight, but that it is also just as valuable now as it would be if I lost 10 lbs. It took someone else looking at me and telling me I was beautiful to fully accept it. And you know what? That is ok. Sometimes we need the reflection of another to recognize the beauty within ourselves. 

I am counting down the days when I can do another shoot with these Goddesses. If you feel called to do this. DO IT!!! It is honestly one of the most beautiful and lasting gifts you can give to yourself. Without further ado, here is the beautiful interview with Chelsea.

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What inspired you to create your own business?

"We worked together and had previously shot weddings, but we wanted to give a different experience and capture something different. Both dealing with health and body image issues we thought it was important to document and make women feel good in their bodies without it needing to be sexualized."

Why boudoir photos?

"We wanted to tap into something that wasn’t being done in Portland and give women a space to feel liberated about themselves and their bodies and what they’ve gone through or what they are going through rather than just creating sexy photos that weren't for them or doing it for someone else to look a certain way. We wanted a space for women to feel comfortable and tap into that vulnerability or to celebrate whatever was going on. " 

Who is the most inspiring woman in your life and why?

"My Grandmother. She was such a tough person. She had 6 siblings all from different fathers and she raised all of them. She dropped out of high school and worked as a cleaning lady and she still does and she is 72."

What is your favorite meal?

"I feel if I say for Simone and I, it’s definitely steak."

What is your process in manifesting your dreams and your goals?

"I think it’s finding a balance so that we give ourselves time to give everybody else everything we can. A lot of this is a journey for us as well and I feel like if we ever feel burnt out or down on ourselves then we can’t give this business everything we want to. So I think its finding that balance and continuing to feed off the women we photograph. its a mutual back and forth."

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What is your morning ritual?

"For me, I wake up and, recently, I have been making a latte or tea. I usually stretch or hang out for a minutes. Especially now, I enjoy sitting outside. I give myself an hour or so to do that before I go to work. "

How do you honor your feminine body?

"I know I have struggled a lot with body image. For a long time I was tom-boyish and didn’t feel womanly. I played sports and didn’t feel feminine in the way that society feels so. I feel honored in expressing myself in anything that feels good. Whether that is doing typical girly things like going to get a massage or my nails done, but also just going outside if I’m feeling stagnant or wearing things that show off things that I like about myself. Just taking care of myself, staying in-tune and listening to what my body wants rather than just tapping into what you’re “supposed” to do to feel good."

Where do you find bliss in your life?

"I find bliss from just disconnecting from social media. Uncapping from the normal day: Getting outside, in nature and spending time with my partner. Mostly just getting outside and working in the ground."

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What does self-care mean to you?

"Self-care for me is taking a break. Just doing things that can shut my brain off from being inline with everything that is going on on around us. Just to chill and recharge. Walks, a bath, turning phone and computer off, not feeling like I need to reply instantly and giving my brain a rest."

If you could offer one piece of advice to women, what would it be?

"We are all in this together. Things are going to be ok. What you are going through, the person next to you is probably going through. Whatever we are going through is valid and to just be kind to each other."

Meet Chelsea:

She loves embroidery. In fact, she's super talented at it. You can find her crafting and thrifting in almost all of her free time. She also totally understands dietary restrictions, and would prefer to bike everywhere. She dreams of living on a lot of land and growing her own food. She tans really easily, loves folk music, and may or may not have a ton of house plants.

Sexy aMYLK Latte

I first discovered aMylk through instragram. I was drawn to a company that made organic, high quality nut milks that were not filled with a ton of extra sugars and thickeners.  I reached out to Amy to see if she would like to collaborate on a recipe. When she said yes, I was over the moon excited. As you know, I am always eager to support and collaborate with kick-ass women who run kick-ass companies. Then when she asked me to infuse my feminine self into the recipe, I could I have burst with excitement. So into the kitchen I went to play. I pulled out all my hormone balancing/aphrodisiac herbs and adaptogens. Meet this delicious aphrodisiac and hormones balancing latte. I will explain why I used each ingredient below. I could not be more pleased without this turned out. It is delicious, a little sweet, loaded with amazing things to support and ignite your feminine body, plus its pretty and who doesn't like pretty things?!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup aMYLK shop vanilla Hazelnut milk
  • 1 cup fresh brewed coffee (regular, decaf or sub a cup of filtered water to make without)
  • 1 T Ahara Rasa Hot Date Ghee (optional but oh so delicious)
  • 1 T The Philosophie Cacao Magic or cacao powder
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • 1/2 tsp cordyceps
  • 1/4 tsp pine pollen
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
  • dried rose petals (i bought mine at Whole Foods)

heat the hazelnut mylk on low until hot, but not boiling. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until creamy. Pour into your favorite mug and top with crushed rose petals. Indulge and enjoy.

CHOCOLATE has been known for centuries as a sensual food. It has been found to increase dopamine levels. Its aphrodisiac qualities come from a chemical called tryptophan, a building block of seratonin which a brain chemical involved in sexual arousal. 

Chocolate always seems to get the spotlight when it comes to aphrodisia, but VANILLA is just as powerful. They enhance the hormones in the body that are associated with love and happiness. 

The caffeine in COFFEE ups the heart rate and makes the blood flow. 

MACA has a multitude of amazing benefits from mood boost and memory to female hormone balance, sexual health and fertility. This lovely root stimulates the organs responsible for hormone balance so they can function optimally. 

CORDYCEPS are the mushroom of sexual health. It increases the libido, make it easier for you to "get in the mood." It is also great for physical endurance.

PINE POLLEN is currently one of my favorite adaptogens. It helps to balance the testosterone levels in your as well as helps to increase libido. 

Because of GINGER'S of it's anti-inflammatory properties, ginger has been long revered in helping with menstrual cramps and chronic pain. It's also an effective treatment for morning sickness. In some Hindu traditions; garlic, ginger and onion are not consumed as they are believed to rev the first and second chakra too strongly. 

CARDAMOM is related to ginger and can be used in many of the same ways. I use it daily as it tastes so delicious and lessens the acidity in coffee. 

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Heavenly Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar

A couple weeks ago I was have a massive sugar craving. Like the kind where I was considering running down to the store at 10:30 pm just to get my fix. It was note cute. I managed to get through it but the next morning I decided to take matters into my own hands and make something healthy and delicious that would satisfy my sweet tooth. And this chocolate peanut butter chocolate bar was born. It is loaded with good fats, adaptogens to help my body cope with stress and that sweet salty flavor combo that this girl is always chasing. 

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Ingredients:

In a double boiler or a glass bowl fit into a saucepan with water (you do not want the water to touch the bottom of the bowl when it boils), add coconut oil, coconut butter and cacao butter. Stir until melted and combined. Remove from heat and add cacao powder, cacao magic, maca, reishi, he shou wu and honey. Whisk together until smooth and combined. Pour into a small parchment paper lines pyrex or chocolate molds.  Place flat in the freezer for about 10 minutes until slightly firmed. Remove from freezer and drizzle with peanut butter. use a butter knife to marble. Sprinkle with sea salt and place back in freezer until set. Remove and cut into squares.

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Why I used what I used:

Cacao has 40 times the antioxidants than blueberries, is loaded with iron, magnesium and calcium, has anti-depressant properties and elevates your mood. No wonder we crave it when we are on our moon cycle. 

Maca has long been used to enhance the libido and balance hormones. It also gives you a natural energy without caffeine. Yes please!

Reishi is one of my favorite mushrooms. Like all adaptogens, it helps the body to adapt to stress; however, Reishi specifically helps with stress on the body. It also helps with liver functions, adrenals, hormones balance and helps to fight of illness. This is just a small list of the amazing benefits of Reishi*.

He Shou Wu has been used throughout history for longevity. It blood building and is said to be a support for beauty (hair and skin). 

*Make sure to use code "bodybliss" when ordering from Root and Bones to get 15% off your purchase.

Goddess of the Month: Alyssa Melody of Root & Bones

When I was pondering the idea of starting a blog, one of the things I knew I wanted to do was honor kick-ass women. A huge part of my platform is honoring and uplifting women, giving tools to help them live their best lives and feel good in their bodies. So here marks the first monthly "Goddess of the Month." I could not be more thrilled about this interview:

On a super hot Summer afternoon I sat down with my iced cold brew to interview Alyssa Melody of Root & Bones. I was drawn to her and her company for so many different reasons. Her high quality herbs and mushrooms are truly some of the best I have come across. They are high vibration and affordable. Since discovering Root & Bones, I have used them every single day and sometimes multiple times a day :). Alyssa is truly an amazing woman. She knows her stuff, she has passion for what she does, she is connected, conscious, grounded and is unapologetically herself.  I could have talked with her all afternoon. Check out what she had to say below and don't forget to hop on over to my instagram @bodyblisslife for a fun giveaway!

What inspired you to start your company?

I was truly inspired by the herbs themselves. I started using them during acupuncture school to help deal with the stress of a 3 1/2 yr Masters program. I was really focused on finding things that were going to keep me sane, healthy and keep my mind at ease. I dove right into tonic herbs. It was love at first sip. I've been taking them for over a decade now, and am so grateful to them for transforming me. What made me want to offer them as a product is that it is a way of reaching more people than I can just reach my my acupuncture practice. Its a simple, and effective way to increase your daily routine into something that can benefit body, mind and soul. 

Why tonic herbs/adaptogens/mushrooms?

Society is stressed out beyond belief. We have the fight or flight instinct for a historical reason, but we react the same way whether we are thinking about our 401k or if we are in a traffic jam and someone is honking at us. We are deteriorating because there is such a host of symptoms that come from stress. In Chinese medicine when we give herbs they are very specific to the person and condition, whereas these adaptogens are good for everyone.

Who is the most inspiring woman in your life and why?

My Grandma. She is a kick ass little lady. She  just lives her life the way she wants to. She is a no-apologies kind of lady. 

If you were stranded on an island and could only take two adaptogens with you, which two would you choose and why?

I would take Reishi. It is the first one I tried and is the most well known for calming the nervous system down. He Shou Wu to keep my skin moist on this hot island. 

What is your morning ritual?

I do lemon water, chlorophyll, stretching, breathing and then make a bomb-ass coffee adaptogen drink. I try to drink it outside no matter what the weather is to have that time in nature and get started with my day. I try to do most of movement in the morning: Walk in the woods, weight lifting or stretching. I love doing that in the morning.

How do you honor your feminine body?

Movement and dancing around. It doesn’t have to be a certain kind of music. I could get down to Enya or Rihanna. Giving myself acupuncture every week is something that really helps me reconnect with my body and get out of my mind. I also think its really important to masturbate, even if it’s not even a sexual drive, its more just loving on the yoni. 

Where do you find Bliss in your life?

Nature!  I grew up in Oakland in a cement warehouse. My brother and I shared a room with no window to the outside. I feel like my childhood was deeply deprived of nature. I feel so invigorated and inspired by nature which is one of the reasons I live in Arcata. Being around thousand year old redwood trees is incredibly humbling. Any stressful day I can go into the woods and feel like better. Almost everything starts to feel trivial when you are in nature. It puts things into perspective I love it and I love being alone in it. It is where I get some of my best thinking done. 

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Iced Root & Bone Rooibos Latte

  • 1 cup strongly brewed rooibos tea
  • 1/2 cup nut milk
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1 T coconut butter
  • 1 tsp R&B Reishi
  • 1 tsp R&B Cordyceps
  • 1 tsp R&B He Shou Wu
  • 1 tsp local honey
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom

Blend in a high speed blender and pour over ice.

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Don't forget to use "bodybliss" at www.rootandbones.com for 15% off your order

Summer Veggies and Lentil Fusilli

I know I have been MIA. We have been in the middle of a move and this crazy lady thought she would somehow be able to cook and or have the time to stop and write a blog post. That didn't happen :) I did; however, manage to throw together a delicious and easy dinner the other night. It is quick, loaded with plant-based protein and veggies. It is the perfect Summer evening pasta. I am happy to be back up and running. Stay tuned for some exciting content in the next couple weeks. 

 

A little about my pasta journey:  Living in Italy greatly influenced and changed the way I make Italian food. One of my most favorite ways to cook pasta is by adding lentils. It adds protein, texture and a delicious earthy flavor. Italians love to lace their pasta with beans. Trust me on this one!

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz gluten free pasta
  • 2 small or 1 large zucchini
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 1 cup steamed lentils
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, chopped
  • Zest and juice from half a lemon 
  • 1 cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • Chili flakes
  • Salt to taste
  • Pecorino cheese (optional, but oh so delicious
  • Micro greens
  • drizzle of good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

Bring a large saucepan with a small handful of course salt to boil. Add the pasta (I used this one). Cook until tender, drain and reserve 1 cup pasta water. 

Thinly slice the garlic. Cut zucchini down the middle lengthwise, turn so that flat side is on your cutting board and cut in half lengthwise again. Cute quarters into 1/2 inch slices. Wash, stem and chop the kale.

Heat a cast iron skillet on medium heat until hot, add 1 T olive or avocado oil and garlic. Stir until fragrant and add zucchini, a sprinkle of salt and dried red pepper flakes. Cook until softened and add lentils. Cover with a lid and let steam until zucchini is very soft. Add kale and cover with lid. Cook until kale is bright green and slightly wilted. Add lemon zest and cook until fragrant. Add 1/2 cup pasta water and cook until reduced by at least 1/2. Squeeze in juice from half a lemon, kalamata olives and drained pasta. 

Plate the pasta, drizzle with a generous amount of EVOO. Top with shaved pecorino and micro greens of choice (I used pea shoots)

Welcome!

Hello Beauties! Welcome to my Blog: "Living consciously through the feminine!"

I am thrilled to start this journey and to take you along with me. I have had requests for years to start a blog and its finally time for me to take the plunge. Here is a little about me:

  •  I am a feminine movement teacher living in Portland
  • I love to cook and play in the kitchen
  • I love all things feminine
  • I've been practicing Kundalini yoga and meditation most of my life
  • I have a passion for real foods and creating beauty with them
  • I have my degree in voice performance and you can catch me performing from time to time

My goal is to bring you recipes, products, guest bloggers and movement. To inspire you to live a little more in your gorgeous feminine body every day. To create a community that uplifts and supports. When women come together and support one another, amazing things happen!