Falling for this Season – 3 Things to Try this October

It’s hard to imagine it’s already October. The fall season is here! I’ve already seen Instagram posts of Pumpkin Spice Lattes, popular Halloween costumes this year, DIY fall decor and feeling the (slightly) brisk evenings.

Pumpkin – I { heart } pumpkin. If you’re anything like me, I scour the supermarket aisles for anything and everything pumpkin! I can always depend on Trader Joes to roll out an impressive season-appropriate pumpkin collection. The Fearless Flyer of their pumpkin products can be found here. The other night I did a mini-haul of the pumpkin necessities. I’ll have to go back again because I forgot to peruse the frozen section (c’mon, how could I have forgotten to grab Pumpkin Macarons and Pumpkin Croissants?).

3 Things to Try this October via It's Jou Life blog - http://wp.me/p3cljj-fY3 Things to Try this October via It's Jou Life blog - http://wp.me/p3cljj-fY

Dark Lip Color – Dark lips are all the rage this fall. A romantic take on this classic goth/vampy look is to find a formula with a slight sheen and keep the eyes light. Lip items are possibly my favorite beauty product. I have more than I’d like to admit to. Lip products I’ve been into lately are these two full-size limited-edition Marc Jacobs Beauty items I picked up from Sephora a few months back (I got them for free by redeeming my points). I finally took them out of the box this past weekend. { Lovemarc lip gel in Caberet & Lust for Lacquer Lip Vinyl in Shooting Stars } I usually pre-treat my lips with an exfoliant lip scrub or lightly rub a damp, warm towel over my lips after I shower. This will create a smooth lip canvas before applying product.

3 Things to Try this October via It's Jou Life blog - http://wp.me/p3cljj-fY

Gone Girl - I’ve joined the October Birchbloggers Book Club and will be reading all three bone-chilling books from the bestselling author Gillian Flynn. She’s known for Gone Girl, the insanely suspenseful thriller novel-turned-film, featuring Ben Affleck (movie is already out in theaters). Flynn’s other two novels, Dark Places and Sharp Objects also sound like the perfect Halloween-season reads. Thanks Birchbox for sending me the series to read!

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heart my birchbox !

There are so many subscriptions services–The MINT family (JewelMint, BeautyMint, IntiMint, StyleMint, ShoeMint), Umba Box, PaleoPax, BarkBox… It’s quite hard to resist the temptation to subscribing to them all, but it’s fun to receive a monthly package of surprise goodies. My favorite subscription service is Birchbox.

Birchbox is a monthly service that delivers beauty products directly to me to help me find ones I’ll love. For just $10 a month, I receive 4-5 hand-picked, deluxe beauty samples from the best brands—popular luxe brands I covet, to the new and niche brands I have yet to discover. Recent products that I’ve been trying are from brands like Tarte, Caudalie, Macadamia Professional, Acure Organics, and nail color brands Color Club and  Zoya.

It’s brilliant how Birchbox tailors the products to my beauty profile–skin & hair type, beauty style, high/low maintenance lifestyle. These deluxe samples are perfect for traveling or stashing in my purse. I can’t stop talking about it to the husband, friends, family and coworkers. This is my go-to gift to my loved ones. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Some of my past favorites boxes are the collabs with other media brands like Women’s Health, Teen Vogue and Glamour.

{ August 2014 – Everygirl collaboration }

The new Benefit They’re Real Push-up Liner lives up to the hype! It’s surprisingly easy to use and goes on so smooth. Harvey Prince’s Hello is as fresh as spring gets. I’m a fan of facial scrubs and this Acure Organics Brightening Facial Scrub unveils smooth, glowing skin.

I heart my Birchbox! via Its Jou Life blog - http://wp.me/p3cljj-7I

{ July 2014 – Women’s Health Collaboration }

First of all, this box design makes me happy. Who knew weights, water bottles and exercise ropes could be so adorable? “Power Up” was the perfect theme of the summer. I enjoyed reading all the clever 12 bite-size challenges Birchbox wrote up in their handy booklet. This was the first time Birchbox gave the opportunity for subscribers to select one of two product offers (Cynthia Rowley Beauty Lip Stain or a Ruffian nail polish). Among subscribers who loves choices, this was so popular  it crashed the Birchbox site!

I heart my Birchbox! via Its Jou Life blog - http://wp.me/p3cljj-7I

{ March 2012 Teen Vogue collaboration }

This is my all-time favorite box. Hello, full-size Essie polish and Tarte Lipsurgence products!? The value of this box surpasses the $10 price I paid and I adore the nail and lip color. I still use the Twistband hair tie too.

I heart my Birchbox! via Its Jou Life blog - http://wp.me/p3cljj-7I

{ July 2012 Glamour collaboration }

This was chock-full of favorites. I loved the Boscia BB Cream so much I ended up buying and using up two full-size bottles since. The mint green Color Club nail polish color was perfect for summer and the full-size Still Lip Glaze brought sexy back to my lips.

I heart my Birchbox! via Its Jou Life blog - http://wp.me/p3cljj-7I

Birchbox is by far the best beauty box out there. For just $10/month, you won’t only receive beauty, skincare and lifestyle products, you’ll re-discover and understand the importance of taking care of your skin and well-being. It’s a lifestyle change and Birchbox guided me through it! Sign up!

free fitness running

With the Nike Women’s SF Marathon next month, training should be in full gear. Below are a list of free running clubs to help whip us into shape. We always prefer running outdoors (no hamster-style on the treadmill) and this is the perfect way to make running fun and enjoyable.

It’s a great way to meet new friends with like interests, there are multiple distances (5K, 5 miles, 10K) and paces, refreshments and most importantly, it’s absolutely free!

Some of our favorites:

Nike & Niketown

Every Nike store has a run club. Based on the area, some stores hold run clubs twice a week. Check with your local store for their schedule.

Lululemon

I LOVE their clothes! Lululemon also holds free yoga classes and run clubs every week. Check with your local store for their schedule.

Running retail stores

Usually running stores like Top to Top and Road Runner have their own run club. Check with your local store for their schedule.

Live in West LA?

Top to Top (2621 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90403)

http://www.yelp.com/biz/niketown-running-club-beverly-hills

Wednesday at 6:30pm

Enjoy 3 distances of 5k, 5 miles, 10k, multiple paces, raffles (shirts, socks and even shoes!), and refreshments. I’m a proud member of the run club, since the days of when Ryan Greene and Paul Shanklin ran the run club–the best of times!! Also, at one of the anniversary celebrations of run club, they had a full-blown celebration! They invited the Cool Haus Ice Cream Sandwich Truck out (ate unlimited ice cream sammys), mariachi band, donkey pinanta filled with GUs, coupons and loot and pairs of shoes! They take care of their running family. Competitor Magazine rated TTT “BEST RUNNING STORE, Southern CA” & “BEST RUNNING STORE, Southern CA”. that HAS to say somethin’!

Niketown Beverly Hills (9560 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212)

http://www.yelp.com/biz/niketown-running-club-beverly-hills

Thursday at 6:30pm

There are distances of 5K, 5 miles and 8 miles. Sometimes they have athletic, beverage and beauty brands sponsors present. In the past, Neutrogena was there providing sun protection kits for all the runners! KeVita Probiotic beverage was also there sampling and giving away bottles. They always attract a good amount of runners and it’s fun to hang out afterwards.

Parking: On the street.

Brentwood Country Club Running Loop (793 Gretna Green Way, Los Angeles, CA 90049)

http://www.yelp.com/biz/brentwood-country-club-running-loop-los-angeles

I love this 2.1 mile loop. You can loop it however many times to build your miles. The mostly dirt path is easy on the knees and has slight inclines and a mini hill. Just becareful of the tree roots. Some of them protrude out from the dirt and can cause trippings for tired legs (or if you aren’t careful or if it’s too dark). Don’t run this after sun down. Paths aren’t lighted. Guarantee adventure if you do.
I usually start on Gretna Green Way, heading south and making a right on Montana, then right on Burlingame, right on San Vicente, right back onto Gretna Green Way.
Here is a map of the route via MapMyRun – http://www.mapmyrun.com/…
Parking: Free, easy parking along Gretna Green Way (btwn San Vicente & Montana), across from the Brentwood Science Magnet school. Please note: No parking along Gretna Green Way every Sunday morning because of the Brentwood Farmer’s Market.

Santa Monica Stairs (4th St & Adelaide Dr., Santa Monica, CA 90402)

http://www.yelp.com/biz/santa-monica-stairs-santa-monica

SM Stairs–equipped with 175 steps of steep, straight-away, wooden stairs. There is plenty of huffing and puffing, paired with sweating and thigh burnings (and @#$%#$@, under my breath).
TIPS: For those, wanting a more challenging workout, take two steps at a time on your ‘up’ or try running it. There is a large grassy island on 4th Street where you can stretch, warm up and cool down–or lay in pain…
Location: You can access the top of SM Stairs at Adelaide Drive and 4th Street (in this residential area). Or access the bottom of the SM Stairs on Ocean Ave.
I normally park my car along San Vicente (few miles away) and run westbound on San Vicente to 4th street then do the stairs and run back to the car. This forces me to run more. I mean, I guess I gotta run back to my car if I want to go home, right?
Parking: Available on the street during daylight hours.  Restrictions kick in after 6pm, others 7pm.  Be aware of the midday street sweeping restrictions on alternating sides of the street on Thru and Fri (parking even more limited during those times). Parking is often available on 4th St. of San Vicente… just a short walk to the stairs.

{ recipe } summer favorite eats | 4-ingredient avocado + tofu + tomato salad

{ recipe } summer favorite eats | 4-ingredient avocado + tofu + tomato salad via itsjoulife - http://wp.me/p3cljj-ep

Summer may be coming to an end, but the heat remains. This is another favorite summertime dish that doesn’t involve stove top cooking. My mother used to make this for me all the time. It’s a refreshing dish that satisfies taste, nutrition and ease. Best of all, the cherry tomatoes are from our garden.

4-ingredient Avocado + Tofu + Tomato Salad (and Soy Paste)

Serves: 3 to 4

Prep: 10 minutes

Ingredients

1 ripe avocado, cubed

10 ounces of soft tofu, cubed

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

3 tablespoons of Soy Paste

1 tablespoon of sesame oil (optional)

Directions

  1. Gently layer the avocado, tofu, tomatoes in a glass bowl.
  2. Mix the soy paste and sesame oil until well combined. Drizzle over everything.

{ recipe } summer favorite eats | 4-ingredient avocado + tofu + tomato salad via itsjoulife - http://wp.me/p3cljj-ep

{ events } A Labor of Love — Harvest Moon Festival 2014

Harvest Moon Festival 2014 - Free event 9/7/14, Arcadia, 11am-5pm | http://wp.me/p3cljj-fd

Free Event | Sunday, September 7, 2014 | 11am – 5pm | Arcadia County Park (405 S. Santa Anita Ave, Arcadia, CA)

Drawing large crowds from across Southern California, LA 18 hosts the most exciting festival of the season.

Equivalent to Thanksgiving, the Harvest Moon Festival is a holiday celebrated by many Asian communities and revolves around the family, the provision of bountiful food and the full moon. Enjoy a family-filled FREE event with Asian street foods, live entertainment, cultural activities, shopping and prize giveaways. Entertainment includes performances by Quest CrewDavid ChoiJason Chen, Dan aka Dan, Joseph Vincent, Johnny HiFi and cultural dance performances. There will also be cash prize giveaways every hour starting at 1pm! :) You can win up to $500!

The HMF holds a special place in my heart. This event was a labor of love when I worked at LA 18 KSCI-TV (Channel 18) many moons ago. I was the Entertainment Stage Manager for several years and I’ve seen it grow in attendance, sponsors and helped introduce food trucks (before they came in every color) and invigorated the talent line-up to include fresh, local and popular performing artists like Quest Crew, Far East Movement, David Choi, Jason Chen, Jennifer Chung, Clara C, Melissa Polinar, just a taste. (I LOVE their music/dance!) I’m a big fan girl of all these artists and have been humbled to have had the priviledge to work with them in past years. 

I return this year not as an employee, but as the volunteer day-of Entertainment Stage Manager. I’m filled to the brim with excitement and to dive back into collaborating with the emcees, cueing the performers, ensuring the stage is smoothly running on time (I hope!), catching up with local (and incredibly talented) Asian-American performers and working alongside former colleagues that I’ve always respected. The months leading up to event day haven’t always been easy, but come festival day with the tireless efforts of the festival team and volunteers, everything finds its place and the long days of meetings, crunching numbers, researching, writing, finalizing details, soon become a distant memory. There’s something truly beautiful about planning an event for the community. It’s creating a vision with our audience in mind, working towards goals and seeing the fruits of our labor in action. Best of all, it’s executing a free event that attendees of all ages can enjoy and are appreciated by those who make our great city diverse and cultured.

I know the day may not go smoothly as planned. There will be last-minute changes and unforeseen surprises, but I know God will provide me the strength and energy to power through all obstacles no matter how big or small, while allowing me to take a breather and appreciate Southern California’s gorgeous weather, the people and enjoy the festivities. 

For those in the area, please stop by! Feel free to text me, I’d love to see you and share a moon cake together. 

Last year’s HMF 2013

{ recipe } 3-ingredient pumpkin + peanut butter dog treats

3-Ingredient whole wheat peanut butter pumpkin dog cookies via itsjoulife blog - http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/recipe-3-ingre…ter-dog-treats/ ‎My pup is just like me. We love to snack and eat delectable treats. When it comes to food for Bentley, I always try to look for delicious, wholesome and healthy ingredients. It’s three simple ingredients–just whole wheat flour, pumpkin and peanut butter. These dog-friendly treats already have Bentley’s paw of approval! (I even had a cookie or two) My friend gifted me these dapper Fred’s Munchstaches cookie cutters.

3-Ingredient Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dog Treats

Ingredients

1/2 cup Natural Peanut Butter

1 cup 100% Pure Pumpkin Puree, canned

1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. I use a Silpat and it works perfectly.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together peanut butter and pumpkin. Stir in the flour 1/4 cup at a time just until dough is no longer sticky.
  3. Roll the dough out to 1/4″ thick. Tip: I align two chopsticks, one on each side of the flattened dough (in parallel) as a guide. A chopstick’s diameter is about 1/4″. Use a cookie cutter to cut out the dough, then place on the prepared pan.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 8-10 minutes. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container or freeze for up to 3 months.

Recipe from kevin {&} amanda blog.

3-Ingredient whole wheat peanut butter pumpkin dog cookies via itsjoulife blog - http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/recipe-3-ingre…ter-dog-treats/ ‎3-Ingredient whole wheat peanut butter pumpkin dog cookies via itsjoulife blog - http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/recipe-3-ingre…ter-dog-treats/ ‎

3-Ingredient whole wheat peanut butter pumpkin dog cookies via itsjoulife blog - http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/recipe-3-ingre…ter-dog-treats/ ‎

3-Ingredient whole wheat peanut butter pumpkin dog cookies via itsjoulife blog - http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/recipe-3-ingre…ter-dog-treats/ ‎3-Ingredient whole wheat peanut butter pumpkin dog cookies via itsjoulife blog - http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/recipe-3-ingre…ter-dog-treats/ ‎

3-Ingredient whole wheat peanut butter pumpkin dog cookies via itsjoulife blog - http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/recipe-3-ingre…ter-dog-treats/ ‎

 

{ recipe } summer favorite eats | easy peanut noodles

{ recipe } summer favorite eats | easy peanut noodles via itsjoulife - http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2014/08/24/recipe-summer-…peanut-noodles/ ‎

The warm summer weather calls for cool and refreshing dishes. Eating cold peanut noodles has been a childhood favorite. This dish is quick and easy and can easily be tailored to the season’s vegetables or what you like. I prefer to eat this dish with carrots, cucumbers, shredded rotisserie chicken and slice egg sheet, but others can top it off with broccoli, asparagus, bell peppers or toasted peanuts. You just chop, pour, mix and enjoy!

Easy Peanut Noodles

Serves: 4 to 6

Prep: 10 minutes | Cook: 15 minutes | Ready: 25 minutes

Ingredients

12 ounce pack of noodles (I like these Nanka Seimen Futonaga Udon Japanese noodles)

Dressing

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1/4 cup hot water

1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce

Toppings

1 medium-sized cucumber, julienne

1 medium-sized carrot, julienne

Optional: 2 cups shredded chicken (I use rotisserie chicken)

Optional: 1 cup sliced egg sheet

Directions

  1. Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling water until done. Rinse in cold water to prevent the starchy noodles from sticking.
  2. Dressing: Place the peanut butter in a large measuring cup and place in the microwave to soften for 10 seconds. Combine in soy sauce, rice vinegar, fresh ginger, sesame oil, hot water, Sriracha. (Dressing should be thick, but pourable)
  3. Place the noodles in a large bowl and pour dressing. Toss.
  4. Serve dressed noodles in bowls and top with cucumbers, carrots (and chicken and egg).