Friday, March 28, 2014

Today's Workout!

Hey, all. I'm completely exhausted from work and school and just life in general. Nonetheless, I did manage to  squeeze in a work out today. For the actual workout, I kept switching from using 5lb weights to using no weights at all. It was just too difficult to use the 5lbs all the way through for me! Anyway, here it is:

As a warm up:

Then, the actual workout (and yes, I did miss working out yesterday due to lack of time, so the title of this workout is pretty fittng)

And finally, I did this cool down. Which felt amazing after sweating and panting!

That's all for now. I hope you're having a good night and don't forget to keep breathing! --Dana

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Skin update/How I helped clear my acne.

Hello, all.

I thought I would make a blog post about some changes I have made to my skin routine/life style that have really helped in clearing my acne up. Now, I am not brave enough to post a before and after picture, but trust me, there HAS been a significant improvement in my skin. (I will link all products so you can check them out!)

First, I have started drinking more water and less sugary/soda-like drinks. This isn't rocket science, guys and gals. Sugary drinks like soda can make some people, including myself, break out. That's not to mention all the other chemicals and bad crap they put in soft drinks and all. Bottom line, they just aren't good for you. And besides, water is, in most cases, free. So drink as much as you can, daily! You can even add lemon, frozen berries, mint, etc to water to make it a little different. Or, try carbonated water, just make sure there is no added sodium.

Something I find interesting is that when I was 18 I saw a dermatologist who basically told me that diet has nothing to do with breakouts. Can you believe it?! Of course diet has a hand in breakouts! You are what you eat! I still do drink soda occasionally, but it is now about once every 2-4 months rather than having 2-3 sodas in a day, 3 or more times a week. Also, working out has helped clear my skin as well. Since a lot of my acne is caused by stress, working out regularly helps to better release my stress so it doesn't cause as many breakouts :)

Second, I have switched my actual skin care routine. Before (about 2-3 years ago), I would have a face full of make up and just use an acne cleanser at night to remove everything. WRONG. There is so much gunk that stays in your pores when you do that! Instead, I now use baby wipes or make up removing wipes to remove not only my eye makeup, but my face make up as well. You'd be surprised how great baby wipes work, and how inexpensive they are when compared to makeup removing wipes!

After I remove my make up, I cleanse my face with Lush's Fresh Farmacy. It is the ONLY acne cleanser that has ever truly worked for my skin. It's also a lot more natural than a lot of over the counter/prescription acne cleansers out there. It also helps to balance out my skin and I have noticed my skin has become a lot less red over the time I have used this product. It has also, in my opinion, helped to fade some of my acne marks. So, go Lush!

I then treat any acne bumps/breakouts I have. I use Say Yes to Tomatoes Treatment Spot Stick or Burts Bee's Herbal Blemish Stick. Both work equally as well, it just depends on which store I am purchasing an acne spot treatment at. Unfortunately, a lot of stores by me have stopped carrying the Say Yes to Tomatoes Spot Stick.

At night, if I feel my skin is dry, I apply my moisturizer, but most nights I do not. I do, however, use my Palmer's Coco Butter Formula Daily Facial Lotion every day, whether I am applying makeup over it or not. Although it does not smell the best, this stuff really does work well with my skin. It isn't greasy, yet it moisturizes my skin enough. I was using Aveeno's Positively Radiant Moisturizer, but 15 bucks every 2 months for a moisturizer was a bit too steep for my wallet.

Finally, the largest improvement in my skin is most likely because I have been on a birth control pill for over 2 years now. At first, it caused me to break out worse than I had in years, as well as making me gain about 3-5 pounds. My body simply needed to get used to having all of the hormones of the pill and after about 6 months, I saw a dramatic improvement in my skin. I no longer get the huge, painful, cystic acne break outs; the ones that were responsible for a lot of my acne marks and scars. (I also lost the weight I gained from introducing the pill). Whenever I break out now, it is less frequent, and I can almost always tell when I am going to have a break out because my hormones are now regulated. The actual blemishes are a lot smaller and a lot easier to shrink or get rid of, as well. I know there is a bit of controversy over 'The Pill' and whatnot, but this is just what has worked for me in my life and for my own body.

The pill was a last resort for me, really. I had already used every single proactiv, murad, clearasil, and so on product. I know enough about acne products to know what I am allergic to and what will definitely make me break out. I had already seen a dermatologist, who in the end, basically told me I would 'grow out' of my acne (which never happened, by the way).

My skin, as of now, is not perfect by any means but no one really has perfect skin. I still occasionally break out and I still have acne marks and scars. To me, I don't really care as much what others think about my skin. I know that it has come a long way from where it was and I have to say I am happy with how my skin is right now!

Some tips:

  • Wash your makeup brushes and pillow cases regularly
  • Remove your makeup before washing with a cleanser
  • Drink less sugary/soda-like beverages
  • Workout to relieve stress hormones
  • Consider birth control, after speaking with your doctor
  • Drink more water!
  • Be careful of what makeup/topical products you use; read the ingredients!
  • Don't strive for 'perfect' skin, strive for 'clearer' skin
  • Try more natural-based products and see what happens

I hope this was helpful to those of you who are struggling with acne! Hang in there, and don't forget to breathe :)


Today's workout

Hey all!
Today I only managed to get through 25 minutes of this yoga video. It's an improvement from only being able to get through 10 minutes of it! My goal is to keep at it until I can do the entire video!

Time for a protein shake and to relax! Have a good day and don't forget to breathe!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Today's work out!

Hey, all.
I got sick last week and so my work out suffered. I sure made up for it today with killing my arms and rest of my body!

I drank two large glasses of water with my breakfast of an apple with peanut butter. Then, I also drank a small mug of green tea with honey. I did this about an hour or so before I worked out. I also drank another tall glass of water during the workout, itself.

This work out was meant to be a warm-up. However, it was a LOT harder than I thought it would be. This is especially true for my shoulders and arms.


Again, this workout video was a lot harder than I imagined it would be, but I found it to be fun, nonetheless.
I used 5lb weights in each hand and by the end, they felt like they were 20lbs instead of 5!


After doing the two previous videos, I thought it would be good to do a cool-down and so I did this Jillian Michaels one. It was relaxing and a super nice reward after killing my body!

Have a nice day and don't forget to breathe!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Today's Work out

Today I worked on my lower body! My butt is still on fiah.

First, for a warm up, I did this video:

Next, this:

And finally:
By the time I did this one, my legs and butt were dead. Next time, I'm going to switch this one (this one is harder and longer) with the lean legs work out. Whew. I feel the burn still!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Journaling and journaling ideas.

Lately I have been really into journaling. Not so much, "Dear, I did this, that, and this." My journal is more about self-care routines, what I think about future goals for myself and how I think I can attain them, what I'm grateful for, stress management, and just other random feelings/circumstances/and so on. In this blog, I wanted to share what I've found helpful in coping with stress and just daily life things that sometimes can get in my way.  (My journal pictured above!)

The first thing I wrote about in my journal was actually something from a book I was reading, 'The Complete Idiot's Guide to Buddhism' by Gary Gach. In the book I saw this really interesting looking set of lines and thought to turn it into a journal exercise:

Am I suffering? What's the situation? (Be brief)
What keeps me from being happy? What am I attached to about my suffering?
How do I identify myself with it? Is it real? Does it have a life of its own? Is is physically present here and now? Is it in my mind? Is it permanent?
What if I let got of my attachment to all in the situation that's not immediately present, and the self-image I identify with that situation? Then would I be happy?
How can I cultivate a better way of living that doesn't let me fall into the same patterns I fell into over again?
Here's a picture of my journal entry:

I've made journal entries using the same exercise and every single time, the answer to, "Is your suffering permanent?" has been 'No.' Try it! Don't worry about being precise in your writing or having to impress anyone or yourself with the answers. Just write whatever pops into your mind at the time. Then, Once you're finished, read over your answers and reflect :)

Some other journal exercises I have done are:
  • Write three things that made you happy today (do this before bed and reflect)
  • Self-care assessment tool, found here: Take it now!
  • Mandala; gratitude mandala (seen to the right)
  • Writing down random feelings or thoughts that come into my mind
  • Journaling about meditation
(Gratitude Mandala)

Finally, and I just did this exercise today, is drawing a picture of how I feel when I am stressed. Then, I wrote down things that make me stressed out. After reflecting on my picture, I think my next journal exercise would be to draw how I feel when I am happy/optimistic...then write down things that make me feel that way. I will post when I do that one! 
For now, I leave you with my awesome (and by awesome, I mean bad) drawing. I hope this has given some new ideas to you out there who journal! 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Healthy Changes

Hello, all. I have recently decided to get back into the whole blogging about my health and fitness stuff. (I'll also be posting random journal entries, book reviews, and so on as seen in previous posts) I've missed it. I've also really gotten into taking care of myself, more so than I was before. I don't claim to be a personal trainer, nutritionist, or anything of the sort. Some of you may think I should be working out for an hour or two at a time or something else. This is just what works for me. I'm not trying to lose weight, really. I just want to have more energy and be a bit more in shape. Go at your own pace and do whatever feels right to you :)
 So, I plan on posting recipes, workouts that I do, and even some holistic health things! Stay tuned! For now, I'll show you the work out I just did and my post work-out snack.

First I did:
5 minute butt lift

Waist Whittlers-100 Challenge
This one was especially hard. It works your arms, back, shoulders, as well as your entire core. It burned, made me sweat, and it was surprisingly fun!

Get Happy Routine
This I did as a sort of cool-down.

My post-work out snack I kind of oops on. I was making myself a smoothie: Vanilla protein powder, about a half a cup of almond milk, a handful of frozen peaches, and (it was supposed to be) a half a frozen banana. Instead, the banana was really a nub of frozen ginger I had mistaken for a banana. Oops. It still tasted good, though! Ginger is also very good for your immune system!