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!

Current Skincare Favorites

Thursday February 5, 2015 | Beauty Skin Care

My skin has been looking much better these days.

I think it’s majorly to do with giving up a certain vice that I’ve previously hinted at…

But it also helps that I have an amazing collection of skincare products at my disposal!

My Skin Type

I have a complicated skin type: Combination Normal/Dry Skin, Sensitive and Blemish-Prone.

Which is why I tend to go for products that are suited for combination skin and are gentle and made with clean, safe ingredients.

Let me show you some of my top favorites!

1

Makeup Remover: Bioderma Crealine Micellar Water

I’ve gone on and on about the magic of micellar waters and how Bioderma trumps all micellar waters in the cleansing game. So it’s no surprise that Bioderma become a staple in my beauty cabinet.

It cleanses gently and effectively without disturbing my skin’s natural balance.

This is also my cheat product for nights when I don’t feel like washing my face. Which, you know, doesn’t happen that often.

2

Cleanser: Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel

This was recommended to me by an esthetician for my acne-prone combination type skin.

I’ve been using this cleanser for over a year now and as a result, have had less breakouts in the problem areas of my face.

Dermalogica products are formulated to be non-irritating, which is a boon for my sensitive and reactive skin.

3

Toner: Sanoflore Lavender Floral Water

Floral waters are a great alternative to alcohol-based toners. Lavender naturally has anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties. Which means it cleanses while calming the skin.

The droplets of moisture preps your skin to better absorb moisturizer. Meaning it’s the perfect step between cleansing and moisturizing.

I usually switch back and forth between rose floral water (my true love) and lavender floral water.

For night time, the soothing scent of lavender is simply divine.

Take a few spritzes to your pillow too! Why not?

4

Moisturizer (night-time): Weleda Iris Hydrating Night Cream

There’s really no need to use a different cream for daytime and night-time.

But at night, I like to keep my room really cold (it helps me sleep better.) So I need something that will help my skin to retain moisture (cold air dries out skin).

This cream does just that. But it’s also light enough to let my skin breathe. I love the texture, formulation, and scent of this.

And my skin wakes up feeling soft, balanced, and happy!

7

Exfoliation: Dermae Exfoliating Mask With Fruit Enzymes and Dead Sea Salt

This is a clay mask that helps to purify skin while gently sloughing off dead skin cells.

I use this once a week and continue to marvel at how my skin looks so fresh and radiant afterwards.

This one’s gone under the radar amidst all the hyped and over priced exfoliating products out there.

5

Serum: Ren Keep Young And Beautiful Serum

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve re-purchased this serum. Holy crap it’s pricey! But my skin loves it.

It’s gentle and powerful all at the same time. The spotlight ingredients are hexapeptides, more peptides, hyaluronic acid and vitamin c.

I use this sparingly, usually after I’ve exfoliated so my skin is prepped to absorb it.

I love the light tea scent and how it’s gentle enough to use around my eyes.

6

Moisturizer (day-time): Juice Beauty SPF 30 Oil-Free Moisturizer

Some people would probably call this a BB-cream because of its multi-tasking properties. It moisturizes, protects against the sun and works to heal the skin from blemishes.

I’ve noticed that my blemishes have been healing at a much faster rate since I’ve started using this.

Big thumbs up for its clean and safe natural ingredients!

***

While it may look like I use a complicated array of different skincare products, I maintain simplicity because I keep things consistent.

I’ve been using many of the same products for over a year now and I’ve been following the same routine.

And here I will end by re-affirming that simplicity and consistency is an important aspect of skincare!

Try This On Yo’ Face! Tanaka Facial Massage

Monday January 12, 2015 | Beauty Skin Care Wellness

Here is a beauty practice that doesn’t require spending any money.

Facial massage is an ancient technique that has a rational basis behind its application.

Adding facial massage to your daily beauty routine can help with the following:

- Drain lymphatic fluids
- Improve circulation
- Tone facial muscles

Thus helping to reduce puffiness, lift the sagging of the jowls, and reduce the formation of wrinkles on your face!

yukoku

The Tanaka Technique

The method I use is the Tanaka facial massage, which was created by Japanese makeup artist Yukuku Tanaka.

You can learn the Tanaka technique by watching these videos:

Tanaka Face Massage – Part 1
Tanaka Face Massage – Part 2
Tanaka Face Massage – Part 3
Tanaka Face Massage – Part 4

Although there are many of the Tanaka massage videos floating around on YouTube, I wanted to give a shoutout of thanks to Stephanie of Epic Beauty Guide who took on the the task of translating the videos into English.

If you watch the videos, there are some things that you may notice:

  • The massage is done according to a very specific sequence
  • Getting the right amount of pressure is important, “between pain and comfort”
  • For the sake of symmetry, always do to one side exactly what you did to the other
  • Yukuku Tanaka looks like a stern-faced Michael Jackson

Why I Think It Works

The reason for following the sequence according to the instructions and applying the proper amount of pressure is in order to facilitate the drainage of lymphatic fluids from your face.

Look at this illustration of the human anatomy:

lymph

[Henry Gray (1825–1861).  Anatomy of the Human Body.  1918. Source.]

Isn’t it beautiful?!

Ok, it may not be the most up to date illustration of the lymphatic system. But you get the idea.

There are lymph nodes in front of your ears, behind your ears, around your mouth, under your jaw line and down along your neck.

The movements of the Tanaka massage follow a path that hits the superficial nodes (the ones close to the surface of the skin) and moves the fluid down towards your chest.

Now you should be aware that lymphatic massage is a method that was developed and is used for people with lymphatic issues. It hasn’t been scientifically studied for its anti-aging benefits.

But personally, I do the massages on a regular basis and I’ve noticed that my jowls, which were starting to sag a bit, look better.

Also, if you suffer from puffiness because of allergies and sinus issues (like me), the massage can certainly help to reduce puffiness.

tanaka

How Often To Do This

Although the massage can be done safely every day, I do this about three times a week.

Usually it’s while I’m performing my nighttime routing using a creamy cleanser (like the sweet Aloree cleansing milk) or when I’m applying my nighttime moisturizer.

If your skin responds well to natural oils, then I would recommend using sweet almond oil or coconut oil.

Some words of caution

It’s very important to follow the sequence as shown in the video. If you don’t do it properly, it can lead to facial sagging.

Always keep symmetry in mind.

Also, it’s important to apply the proper amount of pressure so you are massaging the muscles and not just tugging at the skin.

If you are concerned about pulling the skin around the eyes, try applying pressure with the pads of your fingers on the space between your eye and brow bone. It will have the same effect of draining fluids and reducing puffy eyes.

And one last thing: if your skin is prone to acne, you may want to slowly try out the massage.

If it’s leading to more breakouts, I would suggest stopping or reducing the amount of time that you perform the massage.

In Closing…

No matter your age, I hope you bring the practice of facial massage into your life.

It can be a very relaxing and pleasant addition to your nightly or morning routine :)

And do let us know how it works for you!