Day 10 // Meditate for 1 Minute | Birchbox Challenge

Day 10 // Meditate for One Minute #BirchboxChallenge via It's Jou Life blog - https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1124

Sunrise up in the Alishan, Taiwan mountains

I’ve recently started setting my alarm clock at 11pm every night and been waking up more energized and ready to start my day (thanks to Day 16 #BirchboxChallenge)! I’ve been having quaint mornings of “me” time and among other things, I meditate for one minute. It helps reduce stress, clear my mind and calm my heart. I sit up straight, rest my palms in my lap, close my eyes, and pay attention to my inhales and exhales for 60 seconds.
The below tips to reap the full benefits of a one-minute meditation practice is taken from Birchbox and Tara Stiles, Strala Yoga founder and author of Make Your Own Rules DietI’m definitely guilty of getting lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life–rushing out of the house to get to an appointment, not taking enough walking breaks at work and Instagramming during dinner. Even taking just one minute to meditate gives me a jumpstart to a more productive and brighter day.

Get Comfortable

Set a time for one minute using your smartphone. Choose a place in your home where you won’t be disturbed, and arrange yourself in a comfortable seated position. If you are in a chair, place your feet on the ground evenly. If you are on the floor, try crossing your legs or sitting on your heels. Sit up straight and rest your palms in your lap. Close your eyes and begin to pay attention to your breath.

Focus on Your Breath

Watch your inhales and exhales as they come and go. Allow yourself to become interested in the depth and pace of your breathing. Begin to lengthen your inhales and exhales. If it feels comfortable, pause at the top of your inhale and at the bottom of your exhale.

Guide Your Thoughs

Relax your whole body, including your face, neck, shoulders, back, legs and feet. If you notice your thoughts starting to drift, guide your attention back to your breath.

Finish Strong

When the timer goes off, don’t just pop out of your practice. Continue to breathe for 10 more long, deep breaths. When you are ready, slowly open your eyes.

About the Birchbox Challenge

Birchbox teamed up with a panel of all-star experts to bring a 31-day challenge to make 2015 your healthiest, happiest, most gorgeous year ever. I’m joining Birchbox on this month-long challenge and will share my success with #BirchboxChallenge. Let’s do this together!

Day 9 // Get Sculpted in 6 Minutes | Birchbox Challenge

I’m a lover of High Intensity Training (HIT) classes. The pattern usually is 30-seconds of intense cardio/strength moves that get quickly gets the heart rate up, followed by 20-seconds of rest. The Day 9 Challenge is something a little different.

Day 9 Birchbox Challenge “Get Sculpted in 6 Minutes” is created by celebrity trainer Ashley Borden. She swears by crazy effective workouts that can be done in a short amount of time, with minimal equipment. She uses the AMRAP technique ( “as many reps as possible”), which works muscles nonstop to condition your entire body, increase your metabolic rate, and burn a ton of calories. Her Sexy Six workout is just six moves and six minutes long but will leave you breathless and sweaty. Once you learn the workout, repeat it multiple times a week, focusing on your form and adding time as you get stronger.

Set a timer for 6 minutes. Do the 6 moves below, in order. Repeat the order as fast as you can, while maintaining your form, until time’s up. Keep track of how many times you got through the entire workout at the end, and beat that at your next workout!

See the moves here on Day 9 Birchbox Challenge.

About the Birchbox Challenge

Birchbox teamed up with a panel of all-star experts to bring a 31-day challenge to make 2015 your healthiest, happiest, most gorgeous year ever. I’m joining Birchbox on this month-long challenge and will share my success with #BirchboxChallenge. Let’s do this together!

{ bargain } Free Museum Admission Nationwide

Free museum admission first wknd of every month via It's Jou Life blog - https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1163

Photos by Wayne // The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Free museum admission first wknd of every month via It's Jou Life blog - https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1163

Beautiful outdoor space // The MET, New York

Museum lovers listen up!
As part of Bank of America’s Museums on Us program, the first full weekend of every month (this weekend!) Bank of America or Merrill Lynch cardholders get FREE general admission at 150 participating museums, science centers, botanical gardens and more nationwide! It includes places like LAMCA, The San Diego Museum of Art, de Young Museum in Los Angeles; The MET and MOMA (!) in New York and so many more! All you need is a photo ID and your Bank of America card or Merrill Lynch card.

If you’re curious, there are also other museums on the list nationwide – http://museums.bankofamerica.com/. You can sign up for email and text alerts and they’ll send reminders before the qualifying weekend.

Let the adventures begin!

Free museum admission first wknd of every month via It's Jou Life blog - https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1163Free museum admission first wknd of every month via It's Jou Life blog - https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1163Free museum admission first wknd of every month via It's Jou Life blog - https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1163Free museum admission first wknd of every month via It's Jou Life blog - https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1163

Day 8 // Outsmart Your Appetite for Sugar | Birchbox Challenge

My favorite healthy snacks #BirchboxChallenge Day 7 // via It's Jou Life blog - https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1112

I have an insane sweet tooth. I crave chocolate (most) times of the day. Recently Compartes (those retro, gorgeous packaged, eccentric flavor chocolate bars) have been infiltrating into my thoughts. (Okay, sugar has already distracted me from the message of this post).

When chocolates and cupcakes beckon me, I tend to distract myself by eating a healthy alternative, take a 15 minute walk around the block or check my Instagram feed. Most of the time the urge will subside.

My favorite snack alternatives:

Apple & Natural Peanut Butter – I love the salty + sweet flavor combination. It reminds me of the healthier alternative to candied apples. The fiber of the apple and protein of the peanut butter make the perfect pairing of a nutritious and filling snack.

My favorite healthy snacks #BirchboxChallenge Day 7 // via It's Jou Life blog - https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1112

Crackers & Cheese – My favorite crackers of the moment are Raincoast Crisps Rosemary Raisin (cheaper dupe is Trader Joes Raisin Rosemary Crisps) and any spreadable cheese.

My favorite healthy snacks #BirchboxChallenge Day 7 // via It's Jou Life blog - https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1112

Trail Mix – I either buy it from Costco or make my own. Mixed nuts, especially walnuts are high in omega-3 and almonds help lower bad cholesterol. I like to add dried cranberries and a sprinkle of chocolate chips.

About the Birchbox Challenge

Birchbox teamed up with a panel of all-star experts to bring a 31-day challenge to make 2015 your healthiest, happiest, most gorgeous year ever. I’m joining Birchbox on this month-long challenge and will share my success with #BirchboxChallenge. Let’s do this together!

Day 7 // Easy DIY Honey Egg White Yogurt Cucumber Face Mask

Day 7 is my own home recipe // Honey Egg-White Yogurt Cucumber Face Mask. It’s a change from the scheduled Wine-Infused Face Mask, but I didn’t have red wine and wanted to work in a moisturizing and soothing face mask instead. Growing up my mom taught me how to take care and pamper my skin with DIY natural ingredients found in the kitchen pantry. My favorite is the Honey Egg White Yogurt Cucumber Face Mask.

This DIY mask recipe has major benefits that will aid parched skin and fight against the environmental harm that inevitably affects the skin.

  • Honey can aid in the relief of irritated skin because of its mild antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
  • Egg whites contains many proteins, high in collagen, maintain the elasticity of skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines. (Remember to mix the egg white well enough to obtain a foamy egg white look).
  • Yogurt can help moisturize and contains lactic acid that will smooth and gently exfoliate your skin while reducing fine lines and wrinkles by tightening the pores.
  • Cucumbers aid and sooth sunburn, hydrate the eye area and cleanse the skin.

Ingredients

1 egg white

1 tsp honey

1 tsp fresh plain organic yogurt

8  thinly-sliced cucumbers *optional

Directions

  1. Beat the egg white with a fork until it turns a little frothy. Tip: Coolest way to separate the yolk from the egg whites.
  2. In a bowl thoroughly combine the egg white, honey and yogurt.
  3. Apply the mask on your cleansed face and leave it for 15 minutes until you feel it dry.
  4. Gently rinse it off with warm water.

Click here if you prefer to try the Birchbox Challenge Wine-Infused Face Mask instead.

About the Birchbox Challenge

Birchbox teamed up with a panel of all-star experts to bring a 31-day challenge to make 2015 your healthiest, happiest, most gorgeous year ever. I’m joining Birchbox on this month-long challenge and will share my success with #BirchboxChallenge. Make sure to also enter for their daily prize giveaways. Let’s do this together!

Day 6 // Turn Your Sandwich into a Salad | Birchbox Challenge

Skipping the bread doesn’t have to mean bland leafy greens leaving you hungry. This recipe for a tuna egg salad features creamy ingredients that are protein-rich and low on guilt.

Tuna Egg Salad with Avocado

Ingredients

1 can tuna (in water)

2 cups halved cherry tomatoes

1 medium Haas avocado, cubed

2 boiled eggs

1/8 tsp kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

6 cups chopped romaine lettuce

2 T Goddess dressing (I prefer Trader Joes’ Goddess Dressing)

Directions

1. In a mixing bowl, combine tuna, sliced cherry tomatoes, cubed avocados, cubed boiled eggs and salt.

2. Toss in the chopped romaine lettuce and dressing and mix gently.

About the Birchbox Challenge

Birchbox teamed up with a panel of all-star experts to bring a 31-day challenge to make 2015 your healthiest, happiest, most gorgeous year ever. I’m joining Birchbox on this month-long challenge and will share my success with #BirchboxChallenge. Make sure to also enter for their daily prize giveaways. Let’s do this together!

Day 5 // Become a Morning Warrior | Birchbox Challenge

I’d like to say I’m a selective morning person. I enjoy waking up early on the weekends–make tea, journal, go to the gym and even declutter my desk. As for the weekday, after hitting snooze three times, I drag myself out of bed with just enough time to brush my teeth and wash my face before bolting out the door for work.

I keep telling myself I should wake up earlier during the work week to make time to quiet my heart, energize my body and mentally prepare for a full day. I’ve been trying these three powerful yoga poses from the Day 5 // Become a Morning Warrior from the Birchbox Challenge and been getting a jumpstart on my day and feeling invigorated.

This three-pose yoga sequence from Masumi Goldman and Laura Kasperzak, the brains (and muscle) behind Two Fit Moms, will leave you feeling peaceful and centered. Plus, you’ll get a gentle flexibility and strength workout just minutes after you roll out of bed. Each of these fundamental yoga poses stretches and strengthens your muscles in a short period of time. Once you’re familiar with each of the poses and can hold each pose for five full breaths, repeat the sequence at a faster pace. Remember to practice the poses on both sides of the body.

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About the Birchbox Challenge

Birchbox teamed up with a panel of all-star experts to bring a 31-day challenge to make 2015 your healthiest, happiest, most gorgeous year ever. I’m joining Birchbox on this month-long challenge and will share my success with #BirchboxChallenge. Make sure to also enter for their daily prize giveaways. Let’s do this together!