day_skincare

winter day skincare regimen // organic beauty

day_skincare

With the winter season of cold winds and dry weather, my skin has been more patchy and sensitive than normal. I revamped my skincare regimen to include natural and nutrient-densed products and it has made a world of difference. Who knew my skin can be properly moistured, supple and radiant? Basically, back to basics.

With the rise of natural products it can be difficult to navigate what brands and products work best. My favorite brands of the moment are: Acure Organics, Josie Maran and Honest. I’m passionate on using natural and organic products that are free from animal testing, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, harmful preservatives and artificial colors. Most of the products I use are certified organic ingredients that meet my high standards of efficacy and purity.

This is my current winter daytime skincare regimen and the order of products that I typically use.

Acure Organics // Facial Cleansing Creme

This extra-gentle, creamy facial cleanser features the moisturizing benefits of Fair Trade Certied organic olive oil, Moroccan argan oil and cocoa butter, the antioxidant power of blackberry and rosehips and the mild cleansing of mint. It quickly removes makeup, dirt and impurities without stripping the skin’s natural moisture. Great for even the most sensitive skin. Tip: During winter I cleanse in the evening before bed. In the morning I just splash my face with water because my face doesn’t get that greasy at night and I don’t want to strip essential moisture in the morning. In the evening, I use this product after a warm shower because my pores are open and I can get a deep cleaning. I still use a separate makeup remover for the eyes. 

Acure Organics // Argan Stem Cell + Chlorella Growth Factor Brightening Facial Scrub

This is my secret weapon for smooth and glowing skin. The natural exfoliation of organic sea kelp gently exfoliates while French green clay and organic lemon peel remove impurities from my pores. Organic chlorella growth factor and argan stem cells help stimulate new cell growth while providing a deep cleansing, brightening experience. I think of the deep green color as a green smoothie for my face! Tip: After a warm shower when my pores are open, I squeeze a nickel-size amount in my hand, emulsify the product in my palm and lightly massage onto my skin with my fingertips. Use 2x a week.

Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil

Moroccan argan oil, extracted from the nut of the argan tree, is loaded with Vitamin E and essential fatty acids. This is a holy grail product that has multiple uses in my regimen. It can heal, condition and repair skin, hair, feet and nails. Tip: After drying my cleansed face, I place a few drops on my palm and press onto my skin. I also massage a couple drips into my nail cuticles.

Acure Organics // Day Cream

Deep moisture + fights the signs of aging. I normally have combination skin, but during the winter the cheek area gets dry and patchy. That is why I switch to a day cream during this dry season. I’m picky when it comes to cream, but this day cream is easily absorbed into my skin with no greasy residue. Great powerhouse combo: the gotu kola stem cells firm and help my skin fight environmental damage and free radicals + 1% chlorella growth factor supports collagen and elastic fibers. Bonus: 10 cents for every Day Cream and Night Cream sold supports United For HER’s efforts.

Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47 with Sunboost ATB

I’m a sunscreen fiend and truly believe preventative care is a key to anti-aging and preventing wrinkles. I’m selective when it comes to SPF, especially natural-based products since some can be greasy. I look for lightweight, non-greasy and chemical-free sunscreen that moisturizes and protects the skin. This is it! The pure argan oil, jojoba oil, green tea, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, and SunBoost ATB is packed with antioxidants and hydrators to protect my skin from the sun and nourish my skin at the same time. Tip: I warm a nickel-size amount between my fingertips and smooth over my face, gently pressing and working the formula into my skin until it totally disappears. This fast-absorbing sunscreen sinks into the skin while creating a smoother finish. If wearing foundation, this should be worn first as a multi-tasking primer.

Honest Organic Body Oil

This is a soothing blend of certified organic jojoba, tamanu, olive, avocado and sunflower oils that leaves my skin silky and nourished. I love that this non-toxic product is hypoallergnic, vegan, botanically-derived and pH balance. Tip: In the morning I like to provide extra moisture for my elbows, knees and arms. In the evening, I use this immediately after my shower, but is also great for baby massage and mom’s belly. Sometimes I also mix a few drops with my current body lotion for intense moisture.

 

CP

$20 off ClassPass // bargain + fitness

CP

As a long time fitness fiend, spending time training for marathons and even owning memberships at two gyms, I finally found my groove in a consistent workout routine. All thanks to ClassPass.

I LOVE ClassPass. It’s a new kind of fitness membership that lets you enjoy diverse and exciting ways to work out. It’s a brilliant business model and suits my interests because I like variety and trying out new things. I’ve been doing hot yoga, spinning, circuit training, ballet barre, stand up paddle boarding and been meaning to try boxing and surfing.

Each workout is a good sweat leaving me recharged and refreshed. It’s challenging and I’ve learned to push myself physically and mentally. I’m stronger, more toned, built endurance and always leave feeling I can conquer the day. I recently ran a half marathon in hilly San Francisco and set my personal record (!) and I owe it all to spinning and the motivational energy of my favorite instructor, Rene. During that race I just kept pushing myself. My lungs burned and legs were tired, but I knew I had it in me.

I can’t stop talking about it to friends. CP doesn’t have promo offers often, but I just came across a $20 off your first month of unlimited group fitness classes. Note: I pay $119/month and max three classes at each studio. This is an awesome deal because sometimes a month membership at a fancy gym or studio runs $120+/month. This way I can jump around and get diversity and cross train at various studios in different cities.

Deal

$20 off your first month special – Join me on ClassPass and you’ll get $20 off your first month of unlimited group fitness classes. From yoga and barre to cycling and Pilates, ClassPass lets you try the best boutique studios in your area. One monthly membership, endless options, all up to you! http://fbuy.me/drQ8U

Do something good for your mind, body, soul this 2016. Cheers to good health!

why i write // weekly thought

I have a friend who once asked me why I find my writing so important to me. Why I get the urge to write a letter to myself. Why I have post-it notes with phrases on the back of my phone. Why I analyze and interpret a song, book or movie.

On why I write: I write as my authentic form of creative, self-expression. Reminding me of how I felt at that moment. It immortalizes and serves as my time capsule into my thoughts, my loves, my beliefs, my hopes, my feelings. It’s how I learn from life. It’s an intimate relationship. Feeling my most vulnerable is when I’m most creative. It’s to be understood. I’d liked to look back to what I’ve expressed and be reminded of the fire within me, the obstacles I’ve overcome, the growth I’ve experienced and relenting to the fact that I’m still learning and will never stop changing.

I want to capture all the feels.

2016

2016 // new year… new strengths

2016

This year is already feeling like a momentous year, even more so than 2015. Last year were moments filled with exhilaration, inspiration, discovery and transformation.

Cheers to 2016 – A new year filled with setting daily intentions, welcoming challenges, creating opportunities, a purposeful mindset, developing new strengths, all the while feeling grateful for my every day.

Join me in creating this community cultivating continual growth and happiness!

2015

2015 recap // my transformation

2015

2015 has been a transformative year. I’ve been on a personal and spiritual journey since my epiphany in March. I’m learning what it means to be a follower of Christ and discovering the path to true happiness and contentment. I’ve been challenged physically, intellectually and spiritually. The Lord has opened my eyes to the beauty around me, the fears that have enslaved me and the hunger for life within me.

Throughout 2015 I’ve composed phrases that have sparked compelling thoughts within me, about me.

When I think I am content with life, my earth shakes. I struggle. I fight. I learn. I adapt. I change. Through my transformation, I excel.

Embrace change. I hope I never stop learning and changing.

Happiness isn’t something you capture, it is something you create.

You are far more lost than you ever imagined and you are far more loved than you ever dare hoped.

Stop sleepwalking through life. Do great things with God’s gifts given to you.

 Live and Love with Purpose, Passion and Perseverance.

Pain is mental. Struggles build character. Challenge yourself to be the best you.

Fear is a friend who is misunderstood.

Work hard. Everyday is a new opportunity to be better.

Everything I have and everything that is good in my life is because of Him.

I’m thinking of starting a Weekly Thought to be published every Wednesday. Topics will range from growing up to body image to life’s lessons to passion and everything in between. Hope you stick around to hear what goes on in my brain!

My recap of 2014.

// 2015 photos

Hipster Bentley with homemade mustache cookie

Yosemite view at Cathedral Lakes hike

LACMA Lamps

Seattle city view

Yosemite

Oregon coast at sunset

Kauai

Succulents at Terranea

Wildlife Deer at Yosemite Valley

2015 Mtn2

Yosemite, my happy place // travel

2015 Mtn3

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. – John Muir

Lately I’ve been itching to go camping and wanting to go to explore the Sequoias or Yellowstone. I’ve always been an enthusiast of the outdoors, but it wasn’t until meeting Wayne that I started loving camping in the wilderness and hiking mountainous trails. One of my favorite feelings is connecting with nature–the early morning dew on the tent, the shy rays of light peeping through the trees, the smell of dirt, the clean, crisp air, the quietness of the midnight hour, lying on my back, star gazing.

Yosemite is a favorite travel spot. Wayne and I try to make an annual pilgrimage and we’ve created so many epic adventures there. My favorite memory is Half Dome–pulling an all nighter to climb this beauty of a rock at sunrise. It was challenging and strenuous, yet so rewarding and worth it!

Some of my favorite photos taken from over the years. Can’t wait to go back…2014 HD22014 HD12014 HD20152015 Mtn42014 Pork2015 Mtn22014 Chicken2015 Hiking2015 Deer2015 Sandwich2015 WJ2015 Shoes2015 Yosemite_TinyMatters2015 Family2014 Tree2015 Peach2014 Sloth2015 Mtn2015 Waterfall2015 Feet2015 Yosemite_BeyondtheTrees2015 VV2015 Waterfall32014 Night2015 Wayne2015 osemite_IHeartYou

XmasLights

Merry Christmas // the greatest gift

 

As 2015 winds down to an end, I can’t believe what blessings this year has brought to us. I love this time of year and spending time with loved ones. Aside from giving and receiving presents, the greatest gift of all is the birth of Christ. He’s brought renewal to my life and I’ve been changed for the better.

Wayne and I wish you and your families a joyful holiday wrapped with warmth, touched with blessings and filled with love. Hope to see you all sometime soon in the near year!

Merry Christmas!

PCC_Choir

My church, Pacific Crossroads Church in downtown LA

Healthy Walnut + Date Cocoa Energy Balls via It's Jou Life https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2015/11/22/recipe-walnut-and-date-cocoa-energy-balls

recipe // walnut and date cocoa energy balls

Healthy Walnut + Date Cocoa Energy Balls via It's Jou Life https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2015/11/22/recipe-walnut-and-date-cocoa-energy-balls

Lately I find myself getting hungry between meals at work, rushing to workout classes and running errands. These healthy walnut + date cocoa balls have been a staple in my every day. It not only provides protein and energy to get me through my long days, but also hits my sweet tooth cravings–guilt-free. Best of all, it’s so easy to make.

Walnut and Date Cocoa Energy Balls

Prep: 15 minutes

Yields: Approx. 19, depending on size

Ingredients

1 cup raw walnuts (or ½ cup raw walnuts and ½ cup raw almonds)

1 cup firmly packed pitted dates (slightly softened)

2 T goji berries (optional)

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Optional: dash of ground cinnamon, raw honey

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor, and process until extremely fine. Tip: If the dates were in the fridge, let it soften in room-temperature for about 15 min. Not required though. I just find it blends and have a more favorable texture if slightly softened.
  2. Taste mixture. Tip: If the mixture isn’t sweet or on the dry/crumbly side, add a few drizzles of raw honey. Process again.
  3. Shape into 1” balls. Tip: I like to use a mini ice cream scooper and then roll between my palms.
  4. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Good for about a week.

Healthy Walnut + Date Cocoa Energy Balls via It's Jou Life https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2015/11/22/recipe-walnut-and-date-cocoa-energy-ballsHealthy Walnut + Date Cocoa Energy Balls via It's Jou Life https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2015/11/22/recipe-walnut-and-date-cocoa-energy-ballsHealthy Walnut + Date Cocoa Energy Balls via It's Jou Life https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2015/11/22/recipe-walnut-and-date-cocoa-energy-ballsHealthy Walnut + Date Cocoa Energy Balls via It's Jou Life https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2015/11/22/recipe-walnut-and-date-cocoa-energy-ballsHealthy Walnut + Date Cocoa Energy Balls via It's Jou Life https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2015/11/22/recipe-walnut-and-date-cocoa-energy-ballsHealthy Walnut + Date Cocoa Energy Balls via It's Jou Life https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2015/11/22/recipe-walnut-and-date-cocoa-energy-ballsHealthy Walnut + Date Cocoa Energy Balls via It's Jou Life https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2015/11/22/recipe-walnut-and-date-cocoa-energy-balls

 

norwegian wood

norwegian wood, a novel by haruki murakami // reads

norwegian wood

It was natural for me to be drawn to this book – Beatles song title + vintage printed cover. Just like the opening line of the song, “I once had a girl / Or should I say, she once had me,” is the premise of a serious boy who falls in love with an introspective girl and are both changed forever.

Once in a while I come across a book that gives me all the #feels. Insert: Norwegian Wood, a dark romantic coming-of-age novel. I felt it all: tragedy, hope, eroticism, laughs and love. Marukami is a master at introspective #mood. His words come easily, yet his thoughts are profoundly complex and ignite perspectives.

This novel touched my hearts in many places. It evoked memories of past loves, love lost and love found. I empathized with the character’s feelings of unbearable sadness, sexual desires and thirst for love. It provoked thoughts that genuinely honest friendships are just as special as romantic relationships. Love comes in various forms of relationships in life. We all yearn for the sweet embrace of another. It’s the emotional connection, the human touch that we long for in relationships. The special relationships that Toru has formed with Naoko and Midori may be unconventional, but make perfect sense. They’ve played a pivotal role in each other’s lives and changed it for the better.

I’m officially addicted and Norwegian Wood is the gateway book to all things-Murakami.

Memorable Moments

Hurting someone you love. “No, we weren’t lovers, but in a way we had opened ourselves to each other even more deeply than lovers do. The thought caused me a good deal of grief. What a terrible thing is it to wound someone you really care for – and to do it so unconsciously.”

Being remembered. “I want you to remember me. Will you remember that I existed, and that I stood next to you here like this?”

Love leaving a mark. “I’ll never forget you. I could never forget you.”

“I never met a girl who thinks like you.”

Being vulnerable with love. “When you fall in love, the natural thing is to give yourself to it. That’s what I think. It’s just a form of sincerity.”

When love heals. “What happens to people when they open their hearts? They get better.”

Connecting with that special person. “I have left a wound inside you, it is not just your wound but mine as well.”

On trying to relate and understand another. “So what’s wrong if there happens to be one guy in the world who enjoys trying to understand you?”

On being a gentleman. “A gentleman is someone who does not what he wants to do, but what he should do.”

Don’t feel sorry. “Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Only assholes do that.”

Missing that special person. “I have a million things to talk to you about. All I want in this world is you. I want to see you and talk. I want the two of us to begin everything from the beginning.”

On reading. “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”

Why some kids lack the tenacity to excel in life. “They can’t take it any further. And why not? Because they won’t put in the effort. Because they haven’t had the discipline pounded into them. They’ve been spoiled. They have just enough talent so they’ve been able to play things well without any effort and they’ve had people telling them how great they are from the time they’re little, so hard work looks stupid on them…The trick to teaching children like that is not to praise them too much. They’re so used to praise it doesn’t mean anything to them. You’ve got to dole it out wisely. And you can’t force anything on them. You have to let them choose for themselves. And you don’t let them rush ahead from one thing to the next: you make them stop and think. But that’s about it. If you do those things, you’ll get good results.”

Being busy. “I really couldn’t blame Midori for being mad. What with all the moving and fixing up and working for extra cash, I had never given her a second thought. Not even Naoko had crossed my mind the whole time. This was nothing new for me. Whenever I got involved in something, I shut out everything else.”

Being perfectly lonely. “Nobody likes being alone that much. I don’t go out of my way to make friends, that’s all. It just leads to disappointment.”

I can’t wait until I get my next Murakami fix. Any recommendations?

BentleyAug-83

Pets // Who Rescued Who? One-Year Recap of Dog Adoption

Who Rescued Who? One-Year Recap of Dog Adoption // http://wp.me/p3cljj-jq

Happy Adoption Anniversary, Bentley! Now, how old are you, REALLY?

Crazy to believe it’s already been over a year since we rescued our furkid through Wags and Walk’s pop-up event at The Grove. Read that post here. Wayne and I were both first-time dog owners and weren’t exactly sure what to expect, except that we both share the love of furry friends, wanted to adopt and were ready to be responsible dog owners.

Who Rescued Who? When we thought we were rescuing Bentley through adoption, it turns out it is he who rescued us.

Be social and meet new friends: Bentley has a social life worthy of a Kardashian (minus the drama + selfies). We are normally reserved individuals and keep to ourselves, but we are now more social with others in the community because Bentley insists on saying hello to every person and dog we pass by. He encouraged us to talk to other dog owners and (surprise!) we’ve met a handful of people that we genuinely like and hang out with.

He’s Just Like Us! Some say dogs take after their owners and Bentley’s personality mirrors ours. He’s calm, yet alluring. Friendly, yet selective. Brilliant and Behaved. Loyal and Lovable. Helps others and believes in the best in people. He’s the type of dog that if you tell once to not jump on the bed or couch, he won’t do it again. When the 6am alarm goes off, he quietly walks over and waits for us to wake up for his sunrise walk. There are times he’s already wide awake before 6am, just staring at us, waiting patiently for us to wake up.

#neighborhoodwatch: Bentley walks at least three miles a day—sunrise, afternoon and night. We’re more aware of our surroundings in the community and alert security if anything is out of the ordinary. We joke that we’re the unofficial neighborhood watch, but it’s true. We also appreciate the beautiful weather that Southern California offers. Love our city.

Patience + Trust + Faith: Bentley taught us about life and basic human interactions–patience, trust, faith. When we first got Bentley, he was reactive to other dogs and may have been traumatized. After weeks of reading about shelter dogs and YouTubing the Dog Whisperer dog-training videos, we implemented what we learned. But what worked most was having pure patience and truly trusting him. With time he realized we’re his home and won’t abandon him. Trust and Faith go hand in hand. In order to trust, you have to have faith he’ll do the right thing. In order to have faith, you have to trust in the unseen and let go. Not knowing what to expect he’d do without a watchful eye, the first week we crated him while we were at work. We soon realized this dog is special–he’s understanding, obedient and smart. We took that leap of faith, trusted in him  and let him roam freely around (without supervision!) Guess what, he didn’t destroy our home! To this day, he remains crate-free in our home.

Responsibility: Caring for Bentley is a big commitment. Beyond his 3-mile a day walks and feeding him on time, we brush his teeth + fur, wash him weekly, doctor visits, bake him healthy treats, plan our events and travels around his care and carve out time in our day to play fetch and have cuddle time. It’s because we want him to live a fulfilled and comfortable life. He’s our four-legged kid. Despite all the responsibilities that come with pet ownership, he also brings us immense joy.

Unconditional Love: No matter how long the workday is or challenges faced it’s always wonderful to come home to this delightful ball of fur. Just look at his smile and expressive eyes. He is always happy to see us and I’m surprised his tail hasn’t fallen off from wagging it so furiously. He always runs to us when we come through the door, follows us around from room to room, falls asleep everywhere wherever we are, waits patiently as we cook in the kitchen, senses our emotions and pleases in every way he can.

Bentley’s Purpose in Life: We’re convinced his purpose in life is to be a therapy dog and volunteer at children’s hospitals and convalescent homes. His has a calming demeanor, smart, uses his barks wisely and brings joy to all those who meet him.

He captured our hearts.

We’ve been truly lucky to have met this gentle creature through adoption. Much like humans, every animal has a story and just wants to love and be loved. Although we don’t know Bentley’s history, how old he is (vet thinks he’s six) or what he’s been through, we love him. What’s the secret? To have faith, patience, good intention, love and trust on your side.

It was love at first sight. We followed our hearts to want to save this pup and turns out he’s the one that saved us.

Cheers to many more years of learning, living and loving.

About Wags & Walks

Wags and Walks is a non-profit animal rescue organization based in Los Angeles. We’ve gotten to know founder, Lesley, and her team, and Wags and Walk is a wonderful organization serving with a purpose. Lesley’s passion for animals is undeniable and as a daughter of a vet, she left a comfortable, successful career to start this organization because so many animals are euthanized due to overpopulation in the shelters. Their mission and core values: choosing good, family-friendly dogs based on temperament rather than breed. Get involved. Adopt, foster, or donate. Together we can change the world, one dog at a time…

Who Rescued Who? One-Year Recap of Dog Adoption // http://wp.me/p3cljj-jq

meet lesley + bentley

Who Rescued Who? One-Year Recap of Dog Adoption // http://wp.me/p3cljj-jq

Who Rescued Who? One-Year Recap of Dog Adoption // http://wp.me/p3cljj-jq

Who Rescued Who? One-Year Recap of Dog Adoption // http://wp.me/p3cljj-jq

Who Rescued Who? One-Year Recap of Dog Adoption // http://wp.me/p3cljj-jq

Who Rescued Who? One-Year Recap of Dog Adoption // http://wp.me/p3cljj-jq

Who Rescued Who? One-Year Recap of Dog Adoption // http://wp.me/p3cljj-jq

Who Rescued Who? One-Year Recap of Dog Adoption // http://wp.me/p3cljj-jq