Update: Summer 2017 Fitness

Greeting Daizies,

I wanted to post an update regarding my summer 2017 fitness goals.During the earlier part of summer, I had signed up for a YMCA membership and was going to the gym 3 times a week. My ultimate goal was to loose 15 pounds by the time school started, become stronger, and have a healthier diet.

Readjusting my Weight-loss Goal to No Weight-loss Goal at All

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Fast forward to now and my outlook on fitness has completely changed. I was so adamant about loosing 15 pounds in order to achieve the weight I had when I was studying abroad. Now, I am not all about weight-loss. Last fall of 20016, I was traveling almost every week which meant walking about 20-30 miles a week. My lifestyle has changed and I don’t want to be stuck trying to force my body to maintain the weight I had at 20 or in high school.

What I’m focused on now is being active in a way that is sustainable. I’ve spent majority of college and actually most of my life with some sort of weight loss goal. Even in middle school I wanted loose weight, usually a small amount, but I always wanted to change something. At some point you gotta just be happy with how your body changes and the way it is.  I’m finally at that point now. My body changes as my lifestyle changes and I want to be more focused on working my way up to actually exercising frequently even when I get busy.

Now I want to focus more on my goal of improving my performance with working out rather than weight loss. This means, being able to run a little longer and lift 10 pound weights with my squats eventually. My weight will fluctuate a few pounds up and down and having a strict schedule of loosing weight became frustrating and wasn’t that fun. I’m at a healthy weight for my height, so I don’t want to put so much pressure on myself to loose so much weight just to be at the same size I was when I was younger. I want to love and appreciate the way my body is now.

Nap or Gym?

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The hardest thing with staying consistent was actually leaving my house to go workout once the weather started getting cold. After class and work, the main thing that’s on my mind is taking a nap, and once I’m in the house I’m in the house.It’s rainy season during the fall and winter, and there’s not much that can make me leave the house once I’m inside lol.So there were several weeks where I was in the zone juggling school and finding the motivation to exercise even at home was difficult. Towards the end of the summer, that fire slowly died down as I was so eager to end work and go to Ghana. When school started I went maybe once a month, and three times this month of December. Sometimes, I did workouts at home when I felt like it. Next year I hope to feel like it more, or maybe incorporate light exercise into my morning routine of yoga. I’ll have more time in the morning/afternoon since my classes start a little later next quarter (it’s my last quarter omg!).

But What About All Those Swiss Rolls?

Okay I can admit my diet hasn’t change much since my summer article. I pretty much eat whatever I want.  On a weekly basis I will most likely eat my famous homemade sub sandwich, some form of chicken and rice, peppered steak, oatmeal/cereal/bagel and cream cheese for breakfast. I’d say overall I have an average/healthy diet. I always have some apples, grapes, bananas, and oranges in rotation and of course I’m drinking plenty of water. But I am a sweets person, and I did just eat a box of swiss rolls to myself within 3 days lol. I hate depriving myself of what I love (chocolate cakes and cookies lol) so why should I? I just know that once I start, it’s hard to stop. Therefore, not getting into the habit of ALWAYS buying Tollhouse cookies and Simply juices are better for me. I “try” *keyword is “try”*

Overall, my biggest health success was accepting my body weight as is and having a more positive body image and increasing my water intake.

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Have a great New Year everyone!-POP

 

 

2017 Beauty and Health Hacks Rewind

Hey Daizies,

The year is winding on down and it’s time to take a walk down memory lane of the new things I’ve tried this year. It’s been a fun and interesting year trying new things for skin, health, and beauty.  Let’s see how it all turned out!

Oil Pulling for Teeth

  • Take about a spoonful of coconut oil and swish it in your mouth for 5-20 minutes.
  • Brush your teeth afterwards
  • Repeat daily or as often as you want
  • Helps fight germs, cavities, whitens teeth
  • The germs stick to the oil and rinse off as it is swished around

I’ve read about oil pulling last year and tried it only a few times in 2016. Now that I have a gallon of coconut oil, I have more to spare and use for other things besides hair. I typically use oil pulling about 3-5 times a week right before bed and swish the oil in my mouth while I’m in the shower. I have a cavity that needs a filling and to postpone it getting worse, I took oil pulling a lot more serious.

Salux Exfoliating Cloths

  • Replaces your usual shower loufa
  • Dries overnight
  • Can be washed and reused
  • No damp or moldy towel smell

I first heard about Salux Exfoliating Cloths from HeyFranHey of The Friend Zone Podcast. I love listening to this weekly wellness podcast and was excited to try these Japanese exfoliating cloths. The heels of my feet were always problem spots for me and I really wanted to use a thorough exfoliating cloth that could relieve my skin of the dead cells. I previously used exfoliating gloves that from the Dollar Tree or Ross. I think using this cloth takes my exfoliating to the next level. I bought a pack of 3 from Amazon for about $12. It’s not too harsh on my skin but definitely gets the dirt off and is easier to scrub my feet without spending forever in the shower trying to soften my feet. It dries so fast so I don’t run into the problem of that wet towel smell in my bathroom anymore.

African Black Soap

  • Exfoliating scrub for skin and face
  • DIY shampoo – using a small piece to form a lather

I hadn’t quite figured out the hype of African Black Soap until this year. When I was in Ghana, I got a huge tub for about $6 USD and brought it back with me. My prior experience was that the soap made my skin feel too dry and tight. Now, I only use a small amount and leave it on my skin for about 5 minutes. I always apply shea butter afterwards. African Black Soap cleanses my skin deep down to the pores. It easily removes makeup and gets the remaining traces that other makeup removers don’t reach. I also use African Black Soap for my entire body, in congruence with the Salux cloths, about 2-3 times a week. While I was at it, I looked towards black soap as a hair shampoo. I saw it as an ingredient for Shea Moisture’s African black soap line so I wanted to try it out in its natural form. Taking a dime size piece and lathering the soap in my hands, I use the lather to gently scrub my hair. I’ve tried this about 2 times and want to try melting the soap first in hot water, and adding some oils to it next time.

LCO(Liquid, Cream,Oil) Method for Skin

  • Directly after showering apply a body butter or cream to your skin
  • Follow with a light oil

This method is often used for hair and up until this year, I never put on lotions after showering. I always thought the point of a shower was to get all of the products off your body but I was forgetting the important step of moisterizing. Like with hair, seeling the moisture after a wash is so crucial. I use shea butter each night after showering. This, combined with the Salux exfoliating cloths, have soften my feet enormously and I haven’t had dry peeling feet ever since.

DIY Oatmeal Mask 

  • Helps skin retain moisture
  • Soothes skin
  • Natural exfoliator
  • Mix 2 tsp of oats with 1 tsp of honey

I had some extra plain oats one day and thought I would give a DIY oatmeal mask a try. It was a fun little activity but in the end I felt like I was just making a mess. Didn’t really feel or see a difference. I only used it once or twice so I don’t have that much to base it on but maybe I’ll try some other concoctions in the future.

ACV for my Whole Existence

  • Hair
  • Skin
  • Ingesting

I basically tried all forms of use for apple cider vinegar. First, I continued to use it in my hair for monthly cleansing rinses. This year I added a little to my leave-in conditioning sprays or sometimes to my deep conditioners. I applied diluted ACV to my skin during breakouts but didn’t notice any changes even after over a week of using the mixture. For a while, I turned to drinking 1/4 ACV and 3/4 water to prevent colds. It tastes so nasty but before drinking 3 liters of water, drinking ACV or eating an orange helped me feel better when I felt nauseas or slight cold symptoms. Now, I mainly use ACV just for hair.

Body Waxing – Sugaring vs Hard Wax

  • Smooth Finish
  • Minimizes ingrown hairs
  • Lasts longer than shaving

I think I’ve come to the conclusion that sugaring is better or the least painful compared to hard wax. With this last appointment it was a little painful at first but was painless once I knew what to expect. My first Brazilian wax was actually in Morocco last year. Compared to the prices in the US, the price was unbeatable in Morocco. I felt like it was torture and was sure I’d never do it again. That was until spring break, when I wanted a perfect wax for the beach. In the U.S, the best deals are on Groupon and I always check when there are happy hours at waxing spas near me. For the past few months, waxing/sugaring has been my hair removal of choice and I think it’s worth it.

Detoxing with Infused Water

  • Changed the frequency of my cravings for sweetened drinks
  • Helped ease my way into increased water intake
  • Can help with weight loss
  • Good source of vitamin C (with lemon water)

My most recent blog recounted my experience with drinking 3 liters of water daily but before that challenge, I was drinking fruit infused water. During the summer months, I was very interested in the idea detoxing with lemon water. I had this really cool infused water bottle that had a little tube for fruit and I would cut up lemon slices and sometimes cucumber slices. I liked that it added a taste to water and I began to drink this over juices and the free pops at work. After a while, I really couldn’t stand drinking sweetened drinks that weren’t water. I started to notice how much sugar was in the drinks once I cut it out of my daily diet. I don’t drink infused water anymore because I got tired of the taste. It was better when I mixed up the flavors because too much lemon became unbearable and the cucumber flavor sometimes left a musty flavor in my mouth lol. Eventually, I just opted for pure water.

What beauty or health hacks did you try this year?

Thanks for checking out my blog. Have a great holiday!

-POP

3 Liter Water Challenge|3 Month Review Expectations vs. Reality

A few months ago after getting back from Ghana, I made it a point to keep up with drinking the same amount of water I did in the humidity of the summer. I drank 3 liters of water, sometimes more, with no problem. I went on amazon and purchased a pink 3 liter water jug and I was so excited to begin my new increased water intake journey.

Expectations: My expected outcomes for drinking more water was to boost my immune system, give me more energy and to have clearer skin. Here’s how things turned out:

Week One:

Carrying 3 liters everyday to school was a nuisance. I had to make sure I sat on the isles for quicker access for my hourly bathroom runs. I would start the day off strong with continuous sips of water but lag off as the day went on and find myself with about a quarter left with bedtime around the corner. I really got tired of the taste of water by day 3. I took a picture a couple of days into my challenge so I could compare skin changes.

Week Two:

After the first week I figured out a time frame as to how far through my jug I should be during the day. At 5pm I should be at the halfway mark. I figured out it’s best to finish my water before 10pm, so that I won’t constantly have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. The weekends or days when I’m mostly in the house, were the hardest to reach my goal. I didn’t have the weight of 100 ounces to remind me to drink water when I’m in bed watching Netflix all day. I would often just chug as much as I could when chill days arrived. By the second week, I felt pretty adjusted to drinking 3 liters daily.

Week Three:

I wondered how I ever went without drinking this amount of water. I really carried my jug everywhere I went and loved that I had made it apart of my lifestyle.

Week Four:

Drinking 3 liters is just the way I go about life at this point. I have to pee about every other hour but I just got used to that. I have to try harder on the inactive days but I still managed to get through the amount. There were a few days where I had about 16 ounces left by the end of the night but it would be too late to drink that amount without throwing off my sleeping schedule with several trips of the bathroom. I would end up drinking that amount in the morning and continuing with 3 liters for the day.

Energy

I didn’t really feel a change in the amount of energy I had. I think the seasonal change and my lack of vitamin D also has something to do with that. I expected drinking more water to really make me feel a lot more awake but when it gets dark at 4pm it’s like my body can’t help but feel like going back to bed lol.

Reality on Skin, Energy, and Immune System

Skin

Prior to drinking 3 liters a day, my average intake was about 64 ounces. I was always adamant about drinking water and had a healthy intake before. Drinking 64 ounces is what is considered the amount a person should drink each day. I have normal skin with few breakouts so going from 64 ounces to 100 ounces didn’t drastically improve my skin’s appearance. I think drinking more than 64 ounces is like the point of diminishing returns. Drinking 200 ounces probably wouldn’t do anything more than drinking 64 ounces did. So i didn’t see any changes with my skin over these past few months. My skin behaved like it normally would, super clear some days and a few pimples here and there. There’s obvious lighting differences between the photo on the left and right. One was taken in late September and the next in October.

 

Immune System/Overall Health

The main pros come in at my overall health and immune system.Every year I get a cold almost every other month. It’s particularly harsh during the fall season and especially when I have a demanding school schedule usually near midterms and finals. It was always annoying to have to battle a cold and find the energy to study when all I wanted to do was lay in bed and get better. Drinking 3 liters of water has helped me stay healthy even during the weeks of having multiple interviews in a week and a midterm week when I had 2 exams on one day. I felt intense stress and pressure during trying to prepare for 2 final interviews and 3 exams that fell in the same week but I was able to avoid getting sick.

I’ve also noticed that I rarely have headaches. I always had to reach for Tylenol or advil probably at least once a week but I’ve noticed I’ve probably only had a headache 1-2 times in the past months. A boost in immune system and preventing headaches were listed in the benefits of drinking 3 liters of water in the article I read by Health Fitness Revolution. It was found that

“drinking water ensures that your blood will carry plenty of oxygen throughout the cells in your body. Your immune system uses something called lymph to carry water and nutrients to your blood cells.”

My body was far from dehydrated which decreased my chance of getting headaches. I think extra intake of water added an extra shield to my immune system that otherwise had been easily shaken during stressful demands of school and life.

I plan on continuing drinking 3 liters a day in the future. The immune system results alone are enough to keep me going. I’ll probably have some fun with purchasing new water jugs and there are an assortment of colors on amazon. I’ll include the link below.

Have you ever tried a water intake challenge?

-POP

 

 

Self Care Trip 2017 | I Think Things Will Be Okay

Greetings Daizies,

I was on a roll in August with frequent uploads until I went to Ghana. It was a jam packed program and I’ve basically written tons of posts in my head lol. It’s crazy that it’s almost October and I’ll be starting my final year of college. Right now I’m in Portugal on a well needed self care trip. I needed a buffer between Ghana and going straight home. When I study abroad, I find it hard to go straight from an active, adventurous, and fun program filled with exploring to the rigorous demands of school, life, and rainy Seattle. It can truly be depressing. My intentions with these 3 days in Portugal is for reflection, rest, and to get into the right mindset to go back home.

I could feel myself getting anxious during my last week in Ghana. I would wake up with my heart beating fast and feeling like I wanted to cry. I had literally just woken up and nothing had happened yet. That’s how I knew I was just generally nervous and anxious, when I was just waking up and already sad. I strongly related to Solange’s ‘Cranes in the Sky’ when she said “I tried to run it away
Thought then my head be feeling clearer
I traveled 70 states
Thought moving round make me feel better” because when I’m away from home I can just leave my worries, problems, responsibilities, people, anything really at home. I feel free and I’m learning when I’m gone. But the sudden reality that this was my last study abroad program and around the corner was real life, kept running through my mind. Everything is different regarding a lot of things in my life compared to coming back abroad from Italy and the UK. I just don’t know what life is going to be like with the change of dynamics in personal relationships. The closer my departure came, the more anxious I became. I didn’t want to necessarily stay but I knew I didn’t want to go home just yet. This is what my trip to Portugal is for.

I’ve been in Lisbon for just a day and I can say I haven’t felt anxious or sad. I took a long nap when I arrived and then explored the area until I found live music and some food. Along the way I went shopping and bought a couple of cute pieces for my new fall wardrobe. Going solo travel is so fun because I’m on my own time and can literally do whatever I want and go off schedule depending on my mood. Most of the time, people want to just go go go as soon as they land. It’s like every minute needs to be occupied or its considered wasting time. But when its just me, myself, and I things are planned according to my mood and interests. A 3 hour nap was needed and some shopping in between occurred just because I wanted it to. And right now, I’m just blogging and have a  general idea of what time I want to leave the house, but there’s no set time or another person I have to be mindful of. It’s just what I needed right now after a whole month of organized activity and being with a group.

I know that this won’t be forever but I want my relaxed mindset to last a while. I’m going to do some sincere journaling to brainstorm solutions to problems I can control and ways I can be at peace with things I have no control over. I know I would rather be happy than sad. But there’s just days where I don’t know how to start my day because my mind is overwhelmed with every possible problem and challenging scenario in the world. It always seems to happen when I’m about to start a brand new day or go out somewhere. But when I get moving and start my day, I don’t have time to think about the reasons why I felt numb waking up. I want to work through whatever that is and not just keeping myself busy an avoiding it. I know I briefly looked into therapy but I put it on hold since I was about to travel. I might resume that search when I get back. Maybe it’ll be a rewarding experience. I’ve heard it’s lit lol.

I’m going straight into my career search when I get back home. It’s crazy to think this entire chapter of undergrad is about to come to an end. I think the idea of being in a full-time job is scary because it’s not just a 2 or 3 month internship, but you’re really there…every weekday…forever basically.  I think for a while I tried avoided this reality because I know my overall goal is to have my own business. I would have thought that I would already be a business owner right now at 21 and that hasn’t happened yet. Not being where I want with my goal as an entrepreneur was very stressful probably earlier this summer but now I’m in a different place. When I look at the age 21 typed right now it actually is quite young lol. I guess I’m saying this to just reflect on an ongoing reality that I’ve put myself at ease with so that I can help myself realize that I can make peace with my current problems as well. I know going on dozens of interviews is nerve-wracking but I’ve been on dozens before and I just want to get this done and secure this bag. I won’t loose sight of having a business and I will continue to build my brand, take action on my ideas, and make progress step by step (and daibydai).

By now I have almost devoured an entire box of grapes. Grapes were so rare in Ghana an d just 10 large grapes were equivalent to $3 USD. So you can guess that I refrained from eating grapes. On today’s agenda I plan to go to the Castelo de S. Jorge, Museu Colecao Berado and Bario Alto. We shall see how the day goes. And at night, I will be doing some sincere journaling, reflecting, and slowly getting into the productive mode of facing my responsibilities.

When I look at my life now, I know that I am exactly where I wanted to be 5 years ago. I’ve actually gone to so many places I dreamed of. I made it into my major. I’ve passed all those classes that I thought I wouldn’t. I made it through back to back interviews and had some interesting internships. I finally have the fro I always wanted. I think I’m doing just fine and I’ve made it so far. Maybe there’s nothing wrong with the reality I’ve been so reluctant to face but right now I’m just thinking to myself and I think I will be okay.

 

View from the Castello S. Jorge

 

 

-POP

Summer Fitness 2017 Goals

Greetings Daizies!

Last time I blogged, I was preparing for a deep condition before my first silk press (which I’ll do a blog post on soon). Since then, I finished finals and started a full-time internship in advertising.  After my first full 8 hour work day, I was so exhausted when I got home and was wondering how I would survive the whole summer. I was so tired coming home that all I wanted to do was sleep. I then started to incorporate going to the gym, in order to make my summer more fun and not simply working and sleeping every single day.

Fitness started to become part of my summer routine and now it is week 3 of my new life-style. I started going to the YMCA near my house and have participated in weekly Zumba, Pilates, and Strength & Conditioning classes. I enjoy group fitness classes because it’s structured and also pushes me to try keeping up with the instructor during class. So far I have successfully worked out at the gym 3 times each week which is a huge accomplishment for me considering going that often was always a goal during the school year. After going to one of the fitness classes or even working out individually on the elliptical or free weights, I noticed I have so much more energy.

My quantitative goals with becoming more active is to loose 1 pound a week until school starts (so about 15 pounds). When I came back from studying abroad, I had lost 11 pounds without even trying. I really liked my lifestyle I had when being abroad simply because I was always walking and ate way better than I did when I was home. I hoped to keep up the healthy eating but after a quarter of the year away from BBQ chips, Jimmy John’s, Charley’s Steakery and more, it was hard to not indulge in my favorite junk foods lol. Anyways, I kinda went overboard and combined with being less active during the school year and not counting on walking 10 miles each weekend for travelling, weight gain came back faster than I imagined. I realize that now and want to make a change. I can’t continue in my twenties eating 2 giant bowls of cocoapuffs every other day and wonder why I’m gaining more weight than normal lol.

A healthier diet is also important for my overall health goals.  I’ve cut out sugary drinks and replaced them with cucumber water. CUCUMBER WATER IS AMAZING! Like seriously I am having no trouble drinking 4+ bottles of water of day just by adding 3 cucumber slices. The extra flavor is everything. Some of the benefits are that it helps with weight loss (drinking more makes you feel full), its rich in antioxidants, and supports healthy skin. I’m adding more nutritional value to my diet by eating healthy snacks such as trail mix, granola bars, and bananas instead of hot Cheetos and Swiss Rolls lol. Just taking it step by step ….day by day literally. But every now in there I do give myself a treat 😉

My other healthy goals is to become stronger and  be able to lift heavier weights. Right now I stick to the 3lb weight during classes and I want to work my way up.  I’m learning more about health and fitness via other blogs and articles but all together it’s really fun being more active and having another goal to reach. I’m excited to make it to the finish line!

Xoxo,

-POP