How I’ve Been Staying Healthy These Days

Monday April 6, 2015 | Lifestyle Wellness

I’ve been so focused on beauty products lately. But of course, there’s a lot more to beauty than cosmetics!

Consider the energy and vitality that you radiate. No amount of makeup or skincare serums can hide your snotty face when you’re sick and shooting neon-green sillystring out of your nose!

Unless of course you’re the bomb at applying makeup. But come on, no one is that good.

So let’s switch our focus for a bit and go back to talking about beauty by maintaining a simple, healthy and happy lifestyle.

Here’s how I’ve been staying healthy these dayzzz!

A simple breakfast

Food

My food habits of late have not exactly been stellar. 

I regularly indulge in pastries, cakes, butter, cheeses, burgers, pizzas… you name it, I’ll eat!

Following restrictive diets is just not in my best interests.

However, I do follow a regular eating schedule. I’ve also mastered the balancing act of moderation and portion control (something I learned during my time in Paris).

And I make it a point to eat at least two healthy meals out of the three that I eat per day. And by healthy, I mean balanced with protein, heavy on the veggies and sparing on carby gluten.

But the most important habit I’ve been practicing lately? Slowing down. Savoring my food, whatever it may be.

It’s important to be mindful and appreciative of your food. Where it comes from, how it will be used as energy for your body, even the fact that you’re eating at all!

I believe there is a real connection between your thoughts (calm vs stressed) and your digestive process. I’m sure if you google it, you’ll find some article about this.

Or you can just try this: with each bite, think about how this food is nourishing your body and providing you with good energy.

Fitness: Kettle Bell And Jump Rope

Exercise

I do HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts twice per week, using a 10 lb kettlebell as my weight. I like this workout because it’s short! I hardly ever go longer than 12 minutes per session.

I still practice yoga at home regularly. I have a Sivananda yoga book that I’ve been using for years. I’m also subscribed to My Yoga Online. 

And I got a Kinect for our Xbox! The first game I bought was Just Dance Greatest Hits. It’s pretty dorky. And also pretty awesome. So I’ve been dancing up a storm.

When it comes to exercise, I much prefer a relaxed and playful attitude.

My weight: I feel good about my weight these days. It fluctuates, but overall it’s in the range that’s healthy for my size and my height.

I do feel like I need to step up my workout game though and tone it UP!

Oh and I finally got a bike! So I’ve been riding my bike around a lot.

If you follow me on instagram (no really, you don’t have to), you may have seen that I did a bike ride across the Golden Gate bridge.

That was intense. I haven’t used that set of muscles in forever.

hair

Sleep

I’ve been really good about averaging 7.5 hours of sleep per night.

The con: between having a full time job and getting a full night’s sleep, there’s not a lot of time left for anything in between.

The pros: I usually feel pretty great! And my mind (and skin) is clear and happy.

When it comes to sleep, the quality of sleep matters just as much as the quantity. We need Deep Sleep for Complete Rejuvenation.

There are many things we can do to increase the quality of our sleep. Exercise definitely helps. Also be mindful of how you use technology.

I never bring in my phone in the bedroom and it automatically goes on silent after 9pm.

Other ways I’ve been staying healthy:

  • Sunscreen. I wear it almost every day.
  • Vitamin D supplements. Even if I didn’t wear sunscreen, I’d still need to supplement.
  • Meditation. Doing this regularly deepens the quality my sleep.
  • Switching tea out for coffee. Ok, but this one was out of necessity because I’ve become sensitive to caffeine and get headaches. Major bummer.
  • Eased up on alcohol. Also out of necessity. Terrible headaches now. If I drink, it’s usually paired with food (another thing I learned to do in Paris).
  • Playing and goofing around. And just overall staying chillaxed.

That’s it!

Leona DIY All Natural Body Butter Kit

Monday March 2, 2015 | Beauty DIY

For the holidays, I received this fun package of ready to make all natural body butter!

Leona Make Homemade All Natural Body Butter - 1

This is the first I’ve come across something like this.

Leona is a brand that specializes in Hand Craft Kits of all-natural personal care products.

Their ingredients are simple, high quality, natural and organic. All very good things!

Leona Make Homemade All Natural Body Butter - 2

The kit comes with shea butter, coconut oil, jojoba oil and lavender essential oil, as well as a step-by-step guide on how to whip up the body butter.

All ingredients are organic and fair trade.

Leona Make Homemade All Natural Body Butter - 3

Contents shown above, from left to right:

Empty container for finished product
Shea Butter 2.0 oz
Coconut Oil 1.0 oz
Jojoba Oil 1.0 oz
Lavender Essential Oil .03 oz

Leona Make Homemade All Natural Body Butter - 5

Step 1

Boil water on low heat in a  double boiler or a small pot with a heat-safe mixing jar (pyrex or mason jar).

Leona Make Homemade All Natural Body Butter - 4

A metal mixing bowl placed inside a regular sauce pan works just as well!

Step 2

Place shea butter, coconut oil and jojoba oil in double boiler/mixing jar. Mix every few minutes.

Leona Make Homemade All Natural Body Butter - 6

Step 3

Heat until mixture turns to pure liquid form. Liquid should be translucent yellow color.

Leona Make Homemade All Natural Body Butter - 7

Step 4

Remove from heat and add lavender essential oil to the mixture.

Leona Make Homemade All Natural Body Butter - 8

Step 5

Place mixing jar in refrigerator to cool for 1+ hour. Leave in fridge until top layer is solid and bottom layer is solidifying.

Leona Make Homemade All Natural Body Butter - 9

Out of the way, old chinese food!

Step 6

Remove body butter from refrigerator. Use a large spoon or whisk to whip body butter for 10 minutes.

Leona Make Homemade All Natural Body Butter - 10

If you have a small hand mixer, even better!

Step 7 and 8

Place mixture back in the fridge for ten minutes. Then take out from fridge and whip for another 5 minutes.

Leona Make Homemade All Natural Body Butter - 11

Step 9

Once body butter has consistency of fluffy cream, add body butter to provided container.

Leona Make Homemade All Natural Body Butter - 12

And voilà! You have made yourself a very buttery body butter.

Leona Make Homemade All Natural Body Butter - 13

Mmm… just like making cake batter!

I couldn’t resist the yummy scent of the shea butter, I had to taste it! The best part is that I know exactly every ingredient that went into this.

Closing thoughts

The process itself was a lot of fun and reminded me that I’m terrible at following directions! Especially at keeping track of time. So instead of leaving it in the fridge for an hour, I left it for 2 hours. But all’s well that ends well :-)

At $40 for the kit, it’s admittedly a lot pricier than what it would cost if you were to just buy these ingredients individually at a health food store. But you’re paying for the convenience and the quality of the ingredients.

The finished ready to use body butter is available on the Leona website for $25.

Leona also offers two other DIY kits, “Make Your Own Lip Balm” and “Make Your Own Hard Lotion.”

Go check it out at www.leonamade.com!

What beauty products have you made at home? 

A Daytrip To Bodega Bay

Wednesday February 25, 2015 | Culture Travel

I haven’t really spoken much about life in California.

I love California because there’s so much beautiful nature everywhere!

Even city life isn’t that far away from a natural escape. Whether you feel like running off to the beach, the forest, the mountains or the desert, everything is less than a day’s drive away.

There are also so many cute little towns to discover.

Recently, Oliver and I took a day trip to Bodega Bay. It’s about two hours north of San Francisco. It’s so tiny I’m not sure if it qualifies as a town. You probably wouldn’t even notice it on a map.

So what makes Bodega Bay so special? Well… if you are a classic film buff and you love films where mother nature out of the blue goes on a rampage, then the town of Bodega Bay should sound familiar to you.

Ring any bells yet?

“The Birds” by Alfred Hitchcock was filmed in Bodega Bay!!

What, you mean to say you’ve NEVER seen The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock??

Spoiler alert, it’s an awesome film in which angry birds amass together and attack people!

Why? That part is never explained… but maybe you can take a stab after watching this short trailer in which the director himself talks about our feathered “friends.”

But ok, even if you have no idea what I’m talking about or really care to see the film, Bodega Bay is still a worthy destination for a road trip!

Here are several photos from that day…

1

While a lot of the town has changed since the filming of The Birds, there are still many familiar sights. Like this dock outside of The Tides Wharf and Restaurant.

2

3

These birds are not at all afraid of people. I got so close to one, it almost pecked out my eye! jk

4

My salty fisherman.

5

You will find many references to The Birds in this town. Having said that, the fish tacos at this place were pretty good.

6

7

8

9

I couldn’t resist…

10

We found a cozy coffee shop where everyone knew each other’s names…

11

And a real salty fisherman served us our coffee!

12

Bay Hill Road. Remember that scene of Tippi Hedren smugly swerving around in her car? This is that road.

13

Ocean behind me, the glittering bay in front of me.

14

15

Photo adventure partners in crime!

16The man is everywhere you look!

17

Bodega is actually a different town fives miles away. But parts of the movie were also filmed here…

18

“A nice store in a small town.”

19

I think this post office is so cute and quaint. Also take note of the “not too close” parking sign…

20

This is the school from where the children ran out. Today, it’s someone’s private house.

21

And this was the creepiest building that we found! Because what could be creepier than a church amiright? jk