Seven on Saturday: On Being Hot AF, Meditation, and More

Hello, friend, and happy weekend!

This is the first-ever actual installment of my new Seven on Saturday series! For more info on what exactly this is (and why I’m doing it), you can check out this post.

Otherwise, let’s go!

Sustainability practice I’m loving

Bambooee paper towel

I switched to reusable paper towels (yes, these exist, my favorite brand is called Bambooee and they’re WAY more awesome than you’d think) a few months ago, and it was way easier than expected. The thickness is more like a paper towel but the absorbancy and durability is like a cloth towel, and the roll of 20 sheets is equivalent to nearly 300 rolls of disposable paper towels.

So I took it a step further.

Now, I’ve cut out ALL disposable/one-use towel-ish products. This includes wet wipes (I’m making my own by cutting Bambooees in thirds, soaking them in water and a few drops of tea tree essential oil), disposable makeup remover wipes (I’m experimenting with just using plain old warmed coconut oil as makeup remover), and napkins (I’ve replaced disposable with reusable cloth).

No, I’m not to the point of eliminating toilet paper. I don’t know if I’ll be there, ever (pretty sure the husband would NOT be on board with that one). And yes, I’ve lived in Thailand, I am aware of the “bum gun” and I know it’s easy to install yourself.

Self-care / simple pleasure

Yoga shala
when I was in yoga teacher training, meditation was a part of my everyday routine

As promised in my monthly newsletter, I’m trying to meditate every day as part of my morning self-care routine.

While I’ve had so much internal resistance to working on solidifying my meditation practice, making the promise publicly to get serious about daily meditation has really helped me to follow through.

To be honest – I am so glad I did. It’s only been a week so far, but I can really, really feel and notice a difference. I feel calmer, I’m more in control of my thoughts throughout the day (I tend to be a ruminator), and I feel more present.

One week in, I’m so excited about meditating in the morning that when I woke up 15 minutes before my alarm went off, I jumped up to go meditate rather than snooze an extra 15 minutes (VERY unlike me).

I’ve noticed a few key factors that have helped my baby practice strengthen day by day. One is having a quiet, peaceful place to meditate away from distractions (I use the daybed in my office), I’ve incorporated it into my routine (I meditate first thing, after brushing my teeth and getting dressed and before taking my dog for a walk/run), and I use the Insight Timer app (it’s free and not too chatty like the more popular Headspace).

Skill I’m working on

Learning how to hand-build pottery
after glazing, before final firing

After moving to Puerto Vallarta, a very artsy community, I realized I really wanted to get in touch with my creative side, so I signed up for a one-off hand-building pottery class.

I’ve always really liked pottery (and my brother and sister both happen to be really talented at ceramics) but always felt like I wasn’t very artistic.

One of my before-I-turn 30 goals is to explore some of the negative narratives and pessimistic assumptions (like that I’m not artistically talented) I have about myself… so I figured pottery was a great place to start.

I. Am. So. OBSESSED. It’s so cool to be able to make something out of a lump of clay with your own two hands. It’s been so fun to build upon my skills and to increase my repertoire of pottery abilities. I definitely wouldn’t say I’m a naturally talented potter, but I don’t suck entirely. And who cares anyway? There’s no grade, there’s no contest, it’s all about enjoyment.

Now, I’m going every week. Yesterday, I finished glazing my first 4 pieces, and I’m so excited to see how they turn out.

Someone I recommend

Puebla, Mexico

I get a lot of compliments on this embroidered shirt in the photo (thanks!). I wear it almost every week, it’s one of my most surprisingly versatile pieces and perfect for traveling. It has sleeves and a modest cut, perfect for visits to more traditional villages and off-the-beaten track trips. At the same time, the fabric is super light and airy and breathable (it also dries very quickly), so it’s great even in 90+ degree heat.

The top comes from Siempre Viva Clothing, which has a TON of options in addition to the top (I also am obsessed with their RIDICULOUSLY comfortable and cute shoes, this skirt with pockets, and their handbags that I have).

The founder of Siempre Viva (and someone whose lipstick and fashion skills I admire), Sally January, lived in Mexico for years, and has a passion and love for the culture that literally exudes out of her.

But beyond the cute clothes and fashionable founder, Siempre Viva is committed to social responsibility, including ensuring fair direct pay and good working conditions (especially notable in an industry that is known for the exact opposite, in general).

From Siempre Viva:

“Our goal is to create economic opportunity within rural areas while preserving ancient traditions that have been passed down for centuries. We provide business mentoring to women who are able to start their own businesses by producing for us. By empowering women through employment opportunities, we provide them with a realistic + sustainable way to lift their families out of poverty.”

Spot you should know about

Antigua Guatemala


This country isn’t normally thought of as a trip destination, but rather added on to a visit to a neighboring nation, if at all considered. Its more popular and famous neighbors to the north, Mexico and Belize, are tourist hotspots but Guatemala gets ignored.

BUT IT SHOULDN’T! Guatemala has so much character and life, and I think is incredibly maligned in the media. The food is so good and hearty (and generally vegetarian-friendly), the landscape is diverse (Lake Atitlan and volcanoes and rivers and waterfalls and even seaside beaches), and the culture is incredibly diverse and interesting, with a lot of indigenous influence.

Two of my favorite spots are Antigua (of course) and the smaller communities around Lake Atitlan [San Marcos and San Pedro are definite backpacker hotspots but I’d urge you to check out other places as well, for more Guatemalan culture and fewer white people appropriating indigenous traditions and selling them at foreign prices].


Popcorn and gossip girl

My secret guilty pleasure is my home-alone, bad day ritual.

First off: I’m a carbs girl through and through (my go-to “comfort food” is plain whole-wheat pasta with butter, parmesan, and salt). I couldn’t finish a tub of ice cream myself, but I could easily burn through a whole baguette or loaf of bread.


I eat a huge bowl of nutritional yeast- and butter-covered popcorn for dinner. A lot.

When my husband is traveling for work (because when other people are around, I feel more guilty about having snack food for dinner, and my husband tends to eat really healthy at home, which puts me in the healthy-food-mood) and I’m home alone and I don’t feel like cooking or I’ve had a rough day or let’s be honest I just want to treat myself… I bust out the air popper, toss in some kernels, heat up some SmartBalance veg “buttery spread”, toss some sea salt and nutritional yeast on top, and settle in to binge-watch Gossip Girls (embarrassing but true). I used to pair it with a big glass of iced wine, but these days I’m cutting out or back on the booze, so I drink a water or dessert tea instead.

Something else

Scenes from rainy season in Puerto Vallarta - not so rainy!

It’s hot AF here in Puerto Vallarta, and the only time I can really stand to be outside is if it’s in the pool or before 9am.

Last week, on my way to meet a friend after pottery class, I got so hot I literally had to sit down and take a rest because I thought I was actually going to pass out. Just from walking about 20 minutes in the intense heat and humidity.

I’ve found three ways to battle the outdoors heat:

  1. Freeze a BPA-free water bottle and stash it in my bag so that I have water to drink and can press the cold bottle against my neck or forehead to cool down.
  2. Freeze a few of the homemade “wet wipes” in a shallow tupperware, pop it in my bag, and then use them to wipe away sweat/cool down.
  3. Wear lightweight, breathable clothes. All of my clothes feel like pajamas right now and I’ve totally eliminated underwire bras and anything tight or clingy or thick-fabricked [apparently not a real word] from my wardrobe at the moment. It’s too hot for that shit.

What about you? I’d especially love to hear about any self-care favorites, sustainability practices, skills you’re working on, secret spots you rave about, and small businesses you recommend!


A short vacation in Thailand turned into a life abroad with a canceled ticket home. Nearly a decade later and after living in Bangkok, Rio de Janeiro, Puebla, and Puerto Vallarta, Steph is on to her next adventure and living back in beautiful, cosmopolitan Mexico City. She is living, traveling, and working (both as an expat therapist and an international health insurance representative) around the world to find the beautiful, inspirational, and interesting while sharing it with you!

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