Everything Hurts

wellness

Girls spa getaway in Montauk, LI

travel, spa, wellnessAmanda VinciComment

Autumn is long gone, and on these bitter January days I find myself thinking wistfully about the warm November weekend I spent with my mom and sister at Gurney's Montauk.

Gurney's is an iconic Hampton's resort located on a beautiful 2,000 ft private beach in Montauk, Long Island. My mother, sister and I are all hard working girls with packed schedules and little down time. We also all happen to suffer from some ailment or another, and decided the perfect way to spend Thanksgiving weekend would be floating in a warm saltwater pool overlooking the ocean. So to Gurneys we go!

We felt like we were in a different world from the moment we entered the resort. Recently renovated, the soothing interior design sets the tone for the relaxation you're about to encounter. We put down our bags and headed straight to the Seawater Spa.

The highlight of the spa is a beautiful saltwater pool filled with water from Montauk's coast - filtered of course! It's the only way to swim in actual Atlantic Ocean water in November without freezing your butt off. The best part is that the indoor pool is surrounded by floor to ceiling windows, allowing you to get a beautiful view of the beach while catching some rays in the comfort of indoor heating.

Next, we threw on our cozy Gurney's robes and slippers and headed down to the Finnish Rock Sauna. Spoonies, you have to try one of these out for your aches and pains. The high, dry temperatures settle in deep, relieving chronic pains, improving circulation and lowering your blood pressure. The aromatherapy water within the sauna is like inhaling a magic air, flowing through your lungs and helping you to let go off all the stress you hold inside.

We then went to sweat it out in the 120 degree 100% humidity Russian Steam Room (it's like a worldwide Spa in this place!) The moist heat in this room has been used for centuries to help release impurities through perspiration. We settled in and inhaled the sweet eucalyptus, opening our pores and soothing our respiratory tract. Be careful not to stay in for too long, and follow up with an aquatic massage in the Swiss shower right after!

The quiet Roman Bath deep within the spa was definitely a favorite way to end the day. We floated in hot salt water and rested our minds and bodies. The spa at Gurney's also offers massages, facials, skin treatments and more. We left feeling like our bodies had just been to the repair shop and came out shiny and new.

The rooms at Gurney's are gorgeous. Cozy, chic and just the right amount of beachy vibe! We stayed in a double bed room with a beautiful deck balcony facing the water. We had one of those global warming November weekends, and spent a lot of time out on the big couch sipping wine (juice for the sis!) and taking photos of the vibrant sunset.

We ended the day the only way three Italian girls know how — with some delicious homemade pasta, risotto and veggies at Scarpetta Beach, conveniently located right inside Gurney's. With food (almost) as good as my nonna's this Italian hotspot is the place to go for classics and seasonal dishes. No better way to wrap up a "treat yoself" day than with some good girl talk and a sweet treat from the pastry bar. 

If you're in the New York area, or even far away, a trip to Montauk is definitely worth the time and the money. Gurney's is open year round, enabling you to get those beach vibes no matter what the weather. While you're there hit up the breathtaking lighthouse at the end of the island, the adorable nostalgic town, and the high end shopping of the Hamptons. Definitely going to try and make our girls spa getaway a yearly tradition!

Veganuary! Going vegan for 1 month

cookies, health, recipe, vegan, wellnessAmanda VinciComment

It's cliche but the new year inspires us to try to make some life changes — and that's a good thing. Any kind of motivation for this spoonie, even if it is short lived, is a wonderful thing. To celebrate the death of 2016, I drank and ate whatever I wanted all over the city of New Orleans, but I did so with one thing in mind — Veganuary.

Veganuary is going vegan for the month of January of course. No animal products at all — no meat, no cheese, no eggs, no butter. Easy peasy I thought. I'm already vegetarian, what's a month without cheese?

Hard. That's what it is. It's damn hard. It's only been 5 days and the brie in the fridge is screaming at me from 3 rooms away. To make matters even more difficult, I'm doing dry January too... no alcohol. 

Why go vegan? Of course there's the obvious benefit of not contributing to the mistreatment of animals and the reduction of environmental pollution — which is a big part of why I went vegetarian. But there are also plenty of health benefits too!

  • a vegan diet is richer in nutrients
  • vegans tend to have lower BMIs
  • helps in weight loss more than other controlled diets
  • lowers blood sugar levels
  • improves kidney functions
  • may protect against certain cancers
  • lowers your risk of heart disease
  • can reduce pain from arthritis!

Read more about the health benefits of a vegan diet here.

To help myself stick to my new diet, I've collected a variety of delicious vegan recipes to try, from sweet to savory. I've also made a pact to not buy any products made from animals either — no leather, no wool — to fully commit myself to the lifestyle. Click each image below for the recipe.

Whatever your new year, new you health resolution may be, start with January — who knows, it might just stick around for February too.

Happy new year spoonies!

Enchanting herbals for your body & soul

ehreviews, mental health, products, reviews, shopping, wellnessAmanda Vinci1 Comment

This time of year always feels extra hectic. It's usually the good kind of crazy, but crazy nonetheless. In between gift buying and cookie baking and house decorating... oh, and working –— take time to care for yourself. These beautiful therapeutics from Sacred Botanica encourage healing both inside and out.

From the moment I heard about Sacred Botanica, one thing was clear — this is a truly special company. Each one of their products is made with such love and good intention, which shines through in every creation. Sacred Botanica bases their beliefs upon the fact that plants are magic. They have innate healing properties that are the Earth's a gift to each one of us.

I've tried a few of their wonderful items and can't say enough good things about them. What I'm most excited to try are products from their new CBD healing line, Sweet Relief. These herbalist formulated CBD topicals provide fast relief through the use of CBD oil and plant extracts. Our bodies have been found to react wonderfully to cannabidoil, resulting in anti-inflammatory, analgesic and neuroprotective benefits. 

I really love using North Star aromatherapy blend. For me, and for many of us, 2016 has been a year with many dark days. This roll-on oil was created to guide us through our darkest times, using plant allies to come together and lift our hearts higher. This oil's fragrance is uplifting and calming, with mild florals and sweet citrus and a subtle woodsy hint. It's wonderful to use when you're not feeling yourself or right before bedtime. 

Sacred Botanica's products are all beautifully designed and packaged, and made with the utmost attention and care. There really is something for everyone in their store! Be sure to check out their wonderful gift sets for birthdays and transformations — how thoughtful would it be to get one for someone in your life?

I hope you check out their website and love their products as much as I have! Sacred Botanica has created a special discount code just for Everything Hurts! Be sure to enter EHFRIENDS15 at checkout for 15% off your order until December 28th <3

Spoonie Shape Up Plan

wellness, physical therapy, exerciseAmanda VinciComment
Photo -  The Recreationalist  &nbsp;

I look in the mirror and I don't recognize myself. My body looks bloated, my joints look swollen and moving around isn't as easy as it used to be. What sucks is, I don't just have my chronic pain to blame. I've lost control of my health — eating too many sweets, exercising only once in a while, giving in to cravings. And sure, my chronic pain holds me back from being active, and my medications make it hard to lose weight, but it also doesn't force me to eat macaroni and cheese instead of apples and kale. It was time to commit to a healthier lifestyle.

Different plans work for different people, especially people with different chronic illnesses. Here's some of what's been working (and not working) for me and what I plan on tying as part of my Spoonie Shape Up Plan.

FOOD SWAP
From the beginning, I knew I wouldn't be able to go cold turkey and only eat healthy foods. I decided to start small and work my way up to big changes. On a recent trip to Texas I was introduced to mangos with fresh squeezed lime and Tajin seasoning, and I've been hooked on this snack since. To my little sister's amusement, and probably nobody else's, I started to post my #dailymango on Insta and Snapchat and it just kind of stuck as part of my daily diet. Mangos are awesome super fruits, packed with antioxidants, they help alkalize the body. They're also the perfect solve for a sweet tooth. Check out a few of my favorite recipes to get my #dailymango:

EXERCISE RIGHT
Oh exercise, the enemy of every spoonie everywhere. Finding the right type and the right amount of exercise for where you're at physically is pretty much a guessing game. I was tired of going to the gym now and then and just trying what everyone else was doing. It wasn't working for me and it definitely wasn't helping my pain. I joined a new gym, one that's closer to home and felt less intimidating. I bought some new comfortable work out clothes. This makes a HUGE difference in your ability to exercise for a longer period of time. Check out Outdoor Voices — a new brand with a wide variety of cuts and fabrics that are gentle on an achey body. I purchased a pair of these amazingly lightweight Flyknit sneakers from Nike, which I do almost everything in. They're worth every dollar. For me, it was learning that getting physical activity doesn't mean going hard at the gym once a week. It's daily choices. Taking the dog for a walk instead of letting her out in the yard, walking to the train instead of getting dropped off, helping my sister practice volleyball in the driveway for 30 minutes. Every bit adds up, and eventually becomes easier to fit into your day.

Physical therapy has become a staple in my week for the past 3 years. During my visits my therapist works with me to complete exercises that help what's bothering me at the time. Here are some Injury Prevention Exercises from Real Simple that I've found helpful when suffering with muscular and joint pain. I especially like the dying bug, since that's usually how I feel.

This is just the beginning of a lifelong commitment to being healthy, but instead of thinking about it as a grueling life sentence, I'm focusing on the daily challenge of getting my spoonie ass into shape. And don't get me wrong, I love my curves, but I know that with a balanced diet and a little less weight to carry around, my conditions just might improve. I'll post more as my plan evolves and let you know how my Spoonie Shape Up is working out.

Chronic Pain Confessions

chronic pain, blog, mental health, pain, wellness, personalAmanda Vinci3 Comments
confessions.jpg

It's time to set the record straight about my chronic pain. Like Usher once said — these are my confessionsssss. And you might find that some of them are yours too.

I feel pain every day.

Most of the time I'm so used to the pain it doesn't really effect me.

If I have more than 2 days of terrible flare up pain, I start to become depressed.

My pain causes depression and depression causes more pain.

When I don't feel good and people ask what could have caused it, I get mad.

I have a love hate relationship with my pain. Sometimes I'm happy I have it. It's made me stronger in other facets of my life.

I really enjoy going to the doctor. I feel like I'm accomplishing something each time I go.

I hate exercising "for fun". Extraneous physical movement is never fun.

When people innocently share what a good workout they've had, I feel resentful.

I push myself just to prove that I can be like everyone else.

I sometimes use my pain as an excuse to get out of things I don't want to do, even if I can do them.

Lots of times I do things I know will cause me to be in pain, just to show that my condition won't stop me.

I loved getting every surgery I've had.

My scars make me happy, because they make my pain visible. Giving it credibility that it is real.

Getting out of bed is the most difficult part of my day. I have a hard time functioning before 10am.

My pain changes constantly and is hard to predict or keep track of.

My ferret, Sneaky Weasel, is the best form of therapy for me.

I sometimes feel jealous of people with conditions that are more visible.

I find too much comfort in my favorite foods. 

Most foods completely disgust me.

Sometimes wearing clothing hurts.

Listening to my body is the best way to treat myself.

I've learned to love myself, chronic illness and all.

I'm very proud of my battle with pain, and love sharing my story with others.