8 days of no gym and only yoga

I decided to step out of my comfort zone a bit this week and challenge myself a little.

You might think what, only 8 days of not going to the gym? This is a big thing for me. I’m a person that typically works out 5-6 times a week and if I skip more than two days, I start to feel uneasy. So, even though I’ve been a certified Yoga Teacher for a year now, I prefer going to the gym so that I can squeeze in an efficient workout in much faster time, and it gives me a better adrenaline rush. But, this whole process was becoming a bit mechanical and I just wanted to do something about it.

So why the challenge all of a sudden? Three reasons

  1. I’ve been a person who’s always been comfortable with sitting still and enjoying silence. But, as of lately I haven’t been that individual. I’ve been keeping my mind engaged all the time with a device on my hands,  trying to watch tv while being on a cell phone, zoning out of conversations while being sidetracked by a text, less at ease, and feeling like I always need to be doing something. I’ve been aware of this, but I just didn’t make the effort to do something about it.  The main reason I avoid doing yoga every day is you have to be completely present for that 1.5 hours that you’re in class. But, its something I just decided I needed to do, and be comfortable with stillness and just focus.
  2. I’ve been weight training consistently for about 2 months now, and while I’ve noticed results.. there’s a lot of held up tension in my shoulders that’s causing a lot of pain in my forearms/hands. So, I feel like my body needs to slow down a bit and take the time to heal. Plus, it’s always good to change up your routine. I noticed the same results with Yoga a while ago, so thought I’d give it a go again.
  3. At some point, I’d like to teach consistently. But, in order to be a good teacher for others, I need to be a better one for myself. And, that means pushing myself to slowly move towards uncomfortable poses or ones that take more effort.

 

Day 1– Saturday, August 26th

Woke up at 6am to go to a primarily Ashtanga class taught by my uncle. The entire hour and a half went by in a flash as I was challenged in the poses and ofcourse had my cousin on my right side giggling and yawning half the time so I was just enjoying that as well. I felt more relaxed and energized even though I woke up super early. I was dreading the idea of an hour and half though. This would mean trying to be alone with my thoughts for quite some time, and I was feeling a bit uncomfortable. But, I was able to zone in completely and forget about the rest.

Day 2– Sunday, August 27th 

Umm a little sore? I like feeling sore the next day. It just tells me that I’ve worked out my muscles efficiently and I’m feeling it all the right places. My lats, triceps, hamstrings, and hips were all sore. But, this just proved to me again, that you can get in a really good workout even with yoga. And, you get the breathing  benefits too. So, took it slow and did a routine at home, coming up with a sequence myself and adding in more strengthening poses by Morgan who is also known on social media as The Southern Yogi.

Day 3– Monday, August 28th

This is where it gets a little interesting. This entire day I was a little distracted and kept telling myself to let go and not have expectations in the case of a certain instace. There are always situations that come up in life where you try to form an idea of how it will turn out, then you keep dwelling/ thinking and I just really wanted to tell my mind to shut up.  I was annoyed that I wasn’t able to be quiet. So I went to class just being in my head. I get to class and my teacher says that today’s intention in the class it to just let go, and  leave all of the expectations that you have aside. This happens a lot with this teacher btw, where I am thinking about something and she’ll talk about it in class, or she’ll message me on the side about it. It just proves that certain individuals just have that connectivity. Coming back, the entire sequence that day was around a pose called Hanumanasana. Hanuman stands for the “I can” attitude. If you ever want courage, and strength, in Hinduism it’s always said to pray to Hanuman. Lastly in Savasana, Stacy gave an analogy: just pretend that you are in a garden and you fall into a hammock without trying to fight. The hammock is still there to protect you and support you so you don’t fall. It gave me a sense of realization that God is like that hammock too. If you let go of all the expectations/restrictions and you just surrender.. He’s not going anywhere but he’s always there to envelop you in that love and support. It was definitely an interesting day. Received all the physical benefits as well as some good teachings as well.

Day 4– Tuesday, August 29th

Came back from work with my forearms and wrists hurting a little too much and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to get through the class. Part of me, also was tired and I wanted to just skip it. But, my sister and I went. The class was centered around poses that would help release the tension in the shoulders and how to help release the pressure in the hands/wrists if it ever hurts 🙂 My day was made again. This time, I was asking for some physical relief and I got it, as well as an excellent practice.

Day 5– Wednesday, August 30th

This was an at home day. I really wasn’t feeling like going to the studio.. and I started freaking out about my achy arms/hands. Carpal tunnel is a real thing people.

Did a great 40 minute practice and was fairly off of my hands, but took time to tune into my body. Again, I was a bit restless with my thoughts and scattered, but I made it a point to put away my phone after 7pm, and I felt lighter. I felt like I wasn’t obligated to check social media and operate in another world.

Day 6– Thursday, August 31st

Took a yoga therapy class today. My wrists/forearms/shoulders were hurting pretty bad and this class was perfect as we learned how to release fascia. Much much needed and it was relieving too.

 

Day 7– Friday, September 1st

I feel leaner, and my shirts fit loser too. I feel like instead of having bulky, man type of muscle, I feel toned and leaner (lost some body fat too– measured this).  These are usually the physically benefits of yoga that I have reaped before for my body, and it’s amazing since I lie on the more shorter end of the spectrum in terms of height. Decided to go for an at home practice and it just felt good to breathe deep, and stretch after a long work week.

Day 8– Saturday, September 2nd

This was probably one of the worst days to try this, but oh well. Went in for an hour and a half of a Ashtanga primary series class while it was 110 degrees outside. But, it was an amazing class, and as usual Stephanie nailed it out of the park. I always feel like such a badass when I practice Ashtanga. This style of yoga requires an immense amount of strength in the core, and shoulders/arms, and I always feel like I am a little closer to reaching my goals when I take the time to do this practice.  I did notice that I wasn’t anxious about being in an hour and a half class and the time didn’t make me feel afraid.

So, how did I feel at the end of the 8 days?

A lot calmer, and more aware. That may sound bit nuts to those who don’t practice yoga, but there is this heightened sense of body/mind awareness that comes with a consistent practice. I know exactly what to eat/how much/what I feel like eating, and I end up craving less of the bad stuff. Mentally, I am less reactive. I have always believe its our reactions to situations/people that can make or break that instance. And decisions– there’s a certain type of clarity that comes with practice and it helps me to make better decisions. But, with anything, to see lasting results a consistency in practice is required. Yoga, while it looks easy, is really challenging. That’s part of the reason I stay away from practicing everyday. It takes time and patience to get to the more challenging poses and sometimes I lack that. But, if I want to be a good teacher, then I need to be a better teacher for myself. So, I’ve decided to make a commitment to myself to practice everyday even if it is just for 10 minutes. One of the best things was I received what I had asked for at the beginning of the day. There are certain days, I practice meditation and set an intention for the day, but there were other days when I felt as though certain people/situations came looking for me without even me asking. This again, usually happens when I am more in tune with myself. So, besides making a commitment to practice, I’ve been trying to make a commitment with people as well. I want to be that person that listens patiently, responds patiently, and just can be present when people are talking to me– regardless of whether its a topic i’m interested in or not. It’s the time that you spend with the other person that makes the whole thing more valuable. This whole thing was different, but very much worth it.

 

~K

 

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Natasha Denona Sunset Palette

Well, it happened again. I don’t think one can have a finite amount of warm toned palettes. There’s always a better one around the corner that a brand is working to release.

Natasha Denona is a brand that’s been making the headlines and causing some uproar for quite sometime now, especially for her eyeshadows. I have followed her for sometime now, and she truly is an exceptionally talented makeup artist. I love it when an actual makeup artist creates a brand. They know how colors work together, the difference in textures, and the quality. Natasha has released quite a few eyeshadow palettes in her lineup by now, but the one that really caused some havoc is her sunset palette.

The mattes in this palette are so creamy and blend like a dream. I can’t say enough good things about the mattes. For everyday, I generally tend to gravitate more towards mattes as they are more subtle. The shimmers are beautiful and when applied and swatched have wet look to them. One thing I will say though– if you have hooded lids, apply the shimmers with a glitter glue. If you don’t, the glitter can fall onto the liner and just make your eyeliner smudge. Now, this palette also comes with one of her new formulas that was introduced in her Star Palette. There are two chroma crystal shadows. Basically they are crushed glitter pigments. I would apply all of her shimmer/crystal shadows with your bare fingers. A bush can kick up excess powder and cause a lot of fallout. And, they give a more wet look when pressed directly onto the lid with the finger.

The drawback is the price. This palette is $129. Which is a lot, but per shadow it comes out $8.6. Each pan, has more in it per ounce that a lot of other palettes on the market. Such as Anastasia, Tarte, etc. So in reality you are getting a lot of product for the price. But, when it’s packaged altogether and sold at this price, it does seem a lot. Her eyeshadows speak for themselves and i’m a that phase where, I don’t want to just keep hoarding new palettes. I’d rather invest in good quality palettes that I know I will get a lot of use out of.

The palette is heavily warm toned. If you don’t like that, the i’d stay away from it. But otherwise, it’s a warm eyeshadow lover’s paradise.

I’ve had a couple of months to play around with this, and this palette is exceptionally beautiful. I love the packaging, and everything about it.

You can find this at Beautylish.com, and Sephora.com. Beautylish in fact has an option where you can pay for this palette over 3 installments. Something to think about, if you don’t want to shell out $129 all at once.

 

Hope you found this post helpful if you were debating this purchase!

 

 

~K

A facial oil that does it all. Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Oil

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Oils are a very tricky thing. They had a beautiful glow, and they are beneficial to your skincare overall. But there are also a lot of oils which don’t provide enough hydration or they have a lot of irritating ingredients.

This baby is the Drunk Elephant Marula Oil. Now, this retails for $72 for a 1oz bottle. But, this is the best oil that I have come across so far that does everything in terms of glow, hydration, moisture, and bringing your tired skin back to life. I also like that this is a non-comedogenic oil-which means i’s not going to break you out. This oil can also be mixed in with one of their serums, and the serums penetrate deeper into the skin. In other words, Marula oil is a great carrier oil.

Another great thing is there is no fragrance and other added ingredients that counter act with the pure marula oil. Which really is great for all of us sensitive gals. I also like that this comes in an opaque bottle so the liquid in the bottle isn’t broken down by the harmful rays of the sun.

I do not even have to use a second moisturizer if I use this. And, that’s saying something as I have dry skin. With all the other oils I have tried before, I have always needed to pair it with a moisturizer as the one oil would not cut it for me. But, omg, I love doing my skincare in the morning/night so I can use this. It just glides onto the skin and skins into it, without sitting on the top. And, the next morning you have baby soft skin. If you are in the  market for a new oil, I HIGHLY recommend this. You can find this on drunkelephant.com, Sephora.com, and dermstore.com! Go grab it and tell me how it is.

 

-K

Didn’t cut it. Hourglass Surreal Light Palette

When spending $80 on a palette you expect it to be mind blowing. Unfortunately, even though the marble packaging was gorgeous on this palette, and the colors initially look appealing, the performance of the powders inside was a dud. This palette will work well for someone with fair skins. That’s about it.

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As you can see, the colors barely showed up on my skin. This palette comes with 5 all new exclusive colors.

1)Ambient Lighting powder in Surreal Light

2)Ambient Lighting bronzer in Surreal Bronze

3) Ambient Lighting Blush in Surreal Glow

4) Ambient Lighting Blush in Surreal Effect

5)Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder in Surreal Strobe Light

I was really excited that this palette had all new shades and that it was leaning warmer. But, I returned the palette. I found that the setting powder and Strobe Light Powder swatched essentially the same way. The Strobe Light Powder was hardly like a highlighter. The bronzer showed up like a blush for my skin tone. And, most of the powders gave me a ghostly finish to my skin.

I wish the colors were a bit darker, or atleast there were a variety of shades. I found the permanent powders in the line more creamier and less powdery.

The packaging is really gorgeous though. This palette retails for $80 for .30 oz. I think that if the colors were better I would have paid that kind of money.

If you are fair skinned, this palette would be something that you should definitely think about!

 

Hope this helps!

 

-K

The moment my skin said AHA…

I have become a HUGE fan of the Drunk Elephant skincare line. They are a brand which uses high-performance synthetics with a combination of natural ingredients that do not irritate the skin, and leave it feeling balanced. They are very much an up and coming brand and I like that their product line is geared towards all skin types.

I was using a couple of brands with a lot of essential oils and ingredients. And, I think that it’s believed in the market that organic/natural (where all the products are filled with oils, and irritating scents) are believed to be better for the skin. I was on this bandwagon too, till I met DE. I have eczema and dry skin.

I completely took out all of the products with essential oils and switched to DE to see how my skin would improve.

My number 1 favorite product in this line is the Glycolic acid serum called the T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum. This is a very hydrating serum that just lifts the dead skin cells away and leaves your skin radiant in the morning. And, my breakouts have gone down significantly and my skin is left glowing in the morning. I actually prefer my face without any foundation now.. which is a great thing. It takes away the texture and leaves the skin with a smooth finish. I definitely would repurchase and trust me I have. I started using this product every other night first, then incorporated it daily into my routine. Since, I have sensitive skin, it took a while to get used to it. Now I use it every night. I stopped using scrubby exfoliators or any thing with these harsh granules as they make your skin even drier and red. I promise you, you will not be disappointed. Left over dark marks have started to diminish and fade away.

I had a facial about 2 months ago, and the woman rubbed ( And, I literally say rubbed because it was NOT a massage), that half an hour later I saw three spots that were starting to come up.

I went home and quickly put on this serum with the Marula Oil( Which I will save for later) and went to bed. Before this serum, those spots would have turned into some pimples. But the next day, they were GONE.

If you want to try this serum, I picked up this set in Sephora for the holidays called the AHA moment which retails for $96. This gives you chance to try this serum as well as two other ones from the line in a travel size. (will save the review for those later. I have the full sizes of those, btw.)

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You will not be disappointed, I promise. I have not liked a skincare item more than this before. I feel like saying AHA, I’ve finally found the one at last 😉

 

Here is the link to purchase:http://www.sephora.com/aha-moment-P411868?skuId=1862432&icid2=products%20grid:p411868

 

-K

Homemade Pizza

Sometimes you just want to eat comfort food. But, eating outside is not really healthy all the time. So, on the days that everyone in the family has had a long day, or just really want something to boost our moods, we make homemade pizza. We tend to just make it a family affair, and the four of us have a lot of fun. It gives us a chance to wind down in a therapeutic way as well.

Now, we do not make the dough from scratch. On a weekday, there just isn’t enough time when everyone is really hungry.

The easiest way is to buy some dough from WholeFoods or Trader Joe’s and we normally pick up the wholewheat option unless we are really craving a full on download of carbs.

There is no hard and fast recipe. You can make your pizza any shape you want and get as creative as you would like. This is all about what you feel like eating that particular night.

So here goes:

  1. Roll out your dough in a round shape on a pizza pan.
  2. Mix marinara sauce and tomato paste to make your sauce. We usually buy all of this from Trader Joe’s. Usually, I add in a spoon of fresh pesto, but that can make the pizza soggy, so just be cautious.
  3. Start with placing spinach pieces in a circle on top of the sauce, then add a light layer of mozzarella cheese. I add a light layer first so the veggies have something to stick to. We are trying to be cautious of our milk products, so we have been switching over to grass fed cheese.
  4. Sprinkle all of your veggies on top in any which way you like. I added bellpepper, mushrooms, olives, broccoli, and zucchini, and jalepenos.
  5. Then finish off with another layer of light cheese and this time to make it more flavorful, I usually add Cheddar or Parmesan.
  6. Top it off with minced garlic if you’d like.
  7. Then bake your pizza for 10-15 min and then voila, it’s ready to eat.

So why is this a better option?

Well, you know exactly where your ingredients are coming from, how fresh they are, whether they are canned/not canned, etc. It’s easier to keep track of what you are eating and source it back.

We do not use cheese with animal rennet, so we mostly use mozzarella, cheddar, and Parmesan. And, typically we don’t use a lot of cheese as none of us like it too much.

Just try to use the freshest ingredients as possible, and wherever/if you can, organic.

At the end of this meal, none of us ever feel like we ate really greasy food, and need to work out. We still feel light, and feel as though we ate clean food (which it is).

We have made our dough before, but this is how a weekday pizza normally looks like.

Enjoy!

 

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-K

 

SPF anyone? Drunk Elephant Umbra

I have never ever been a fan of sunscreen. Mostly due to the fact that it smells funny, and it always leaves a white cast on my tanned skin.

But, I never understood the importance of it up until a couple of months ago. My skin started breaking out, so I started to introduce Drunk Elephant’s Glycolic Serum as well as the Vitamin C (coming in future posts), to my skin care routine. Now, to help heal breakouts and to not make the spots any darker, one needs to incorporate an spf into their routine.

So here comes in Drunk Elephant. This brand combines high powered synthetics with natural organics to give you a non-irritating, good for your skin product.

This Spf is a physical one and is made with Zinc Oxide and sunflower shoot extract. A physical Spf sits on the skin instead of soaking it, into the deeper layers of your skin. So this is really good for those people who break out easily with sunscreen. It doesn’t clog your pores and leaves your skin supple. I mix this in with their Marula oil, and I kid you not, I have the most glowy skin ever and I actually wear less foundation now..

This sunscreen comes in a tube and has about 3.30z of product and retails for $38. If you compare this sunscreen to all the other ones out there and considering the brand and the ingredients you are getting a very very good deal here.

The product itself is on a thicker side. You just take a little and pat it into your skin instead of rubbing it in. It does not leave a white cast, and it gives your skin a very luminous finish.

I have been testing or using this product for 3 months now. I actually bought it way back in April returned it, then bought it again in May and have stuck with it ever since. To me, this works as my day moisturizer and I mix it with drop of marula to make it more potent.

And, it goes beautifully under makeup 🙂

 

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-K