Friday, September 22, 2017

How-To: NamaSLAY


It's no secret that my day hasn't begun until I've completed my morning Sun Salutation, aka Surya Namaskar. Even though yoga is one of my favorite ways to get my body moving nowadays, it wasn't always. I used to be the one at the back of every yoga class giggling to myself about my lack of flexibility and balance, eventually falling asleep during savasana. lol

Over time, I've learned a few key ways to keep myself mindful and fully engaged in my workout. If you have trouble enjoying yoga and want to start a more engaged and meaningful practice so you can enjoy in all of its benefits, let me help! 


DECIDE TO HAVE FUN
It can be a little daunting trying to figure out which type of yoga is best for you. But don't forget that should be part of the fun, so you should enjoy the process of exploring and maybe bring a friend or two along with you. In fact, my most my memorable yoga event last year was attending Soul Pose with my besties. Stop over-thinking, get out of your own head, and decide that yoga is something you can enjoy!


ACCESSORIES MATTER 
Once I was in my new yogi mindset, I knew that I had to get the right gear. I scoured the internet for reviews to ensure that I'd get the most bang for my buck, and you should too! From new yoga outfits to look scorching at your next Bikram yoga class to finding the Best Yoga Mat, take your time and find accessories that set your yogi soul on fire!


LOOK GOOD | FEEL GOOD
Slowly but surely I saw and felt gradual changes in my body. It was amazing seeing myself doing things that I originally thought that my body was incapable of. Every day, whether it's my morning sun salutation or a Vinyasa class with my co-workers, I clear my mind and set my intentions for the day or even just the workout. Know that this time is for you and the more you focus and be mindful in this moment, the more benefits you'll reap later on. 

I hope my yogi tips help you NamaSLAY your next yoga sesh! :) 

XO,
Denise


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Take a Summer Cake Break


Sometimes, we forget to put ourselves first. It's easy to get lost in your day to day routine. With a 9 to 5 that requires me to invest in the development and goals of others, being successful comes at the expense of my own self-care. Yes, I do my best to get plenty of rest, eat well, and workout regularly, but honestly, self-care requires more than that.

Self-care as a child was more simple. In the Summer, once school was out, you just did what would make you happy, whether it was going outside to play with your friends or buying a Popsicle from the Ice Cream Man.

Today, I decided to take a Summer Cake Break. It's been so hot in the Bay Area lately, and I've been stressed from a combination of work and preparing to move. I decided to treat myself to an ice cream cake.

Growing up, I always asked my parents for an ice cream cake for my birthday, so ice cream cakes bring back so many happy memories. I went to Safeway and picked up an Oreo Ice Cream Cake to enjoy after dinner, while wearing a face mask with a glass of wine.

Don't forget to take your equivalent of a "Summer Cake Break" every once in a while, because you deserve it. Take care of yourself before taking care of others!

XO,
Denise

Special thanks to I Love Ice Cream Cakes for sponsoring this post. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Too Many Fish: My guide to online dating


When I was first introduced to online dating in 2010, I found it extremely odd and overwhelming. Just as anyone who is introduced to something completely new may feel... right? Up until then, I had only met potential partners in person, through mutual friends or in school. I created my 1st online dating profile on OkCupid followed by Coffee Meets Bagel, Bumble, Happn, Tinder, and most recently, Hinge. Despite creating my first profile 7 years ago, I didn't actually go on any dates until February of last year. lol 

Online dating has always been an overwhelming experience for me, because I usually find myself with too many choices. Majority of the time I feel like a warthog carcass being pulled in every which way by lions. After having a little over a year of experience, I've learned a thing or two on how to efficiently navigate the online dating scene. So if you're feeling like I once did,  here are my tips for getting the most out of your online dating experience!

1. Be ready
If you're not ready to meet someone, don't put yourself in the position to lead someone on. If you've recently had your heart broken or there's any other circumstance causing you to be emotionally unavailable, don't make the mistake of wasting a genuinely good person's time. I'm dead serious about this! If you're nowhere near ready, delete your dating apps NOW!

I've been guilty of this myself. After a terrible breakup in 2010, I took my 1st shot at online dating only to freak out and ghost as soon as the other person suggested to meet in person. 

To all the guys that I lead on because I wanted my emotional needs met, but had no intention of ever meeting you in person, I'm deeply sorry. I sincerely hope you found someone amazing, who is worthy of the time and attention you gave to me. 

2. Be open
I personally hate the swipe culture. We are all more than our face and body. Take the time to fill out your profile and read the profiles of others. Don't just swipe left and right! Amazing individuals fly under the radar all the time. Take a chance on that person who didn't immediately catch your eye, but made you smile after reading through their profile. How many times in life have you developed a crush on someone that you weren't immediately attracted to? Don't close yourself off to finding a real connection with someone just because they're not particularly photogenic. If they don't know how to take a selfie, it might actually be a good thing!

3. Know what you want & don't settle for less
As I stated previously, with online dating apps, there are TOO MANY fish in the sea. After a few dates, you should already be getting a pretty good vibe from the other individual. But before over investing yourself, be sure to clearly draw your boundaries. It's important to know what you want and to put your expectations on the table. I'm not talking about any superficial deal-breakers by the way. If your must-haves include guys over 6 ft tall with a full head of hair and a six figure salary, do yourself a favor and re-read number 2! 

It's okay to have non-negotiable qualities that you want in a partner. When you're ready to invest a lot of your time into another person, you should have standards. 

Here are mine:
- Shares similar values and beliefs
- Is there for me when I need them, even when it's inconvenient 
- Considers me when making decisions, no matter how big or small
- Has a growth mindset, always trying to work on themselves and be better than the person they were yesterday
- Challenges me to be my best and inspires me to go after what I want
- Respects me, how I live my life, and everything I stand for, including my thoughts, ambitions, opinions, family and friends
- Is trustworthy. I feel safe being completely open and honest with them, even when addressing tough issues

Having strong boundaries and standards will save you a lot of time and energy. Don't be afraid to cut a date short if need be! Respect and love yourself enough to walk away from a situation or a person that will only cause drama over time. I've ended dates early and ordered a Lyft quite a few times now, and I'm not ashamed of that. 

Are you currently online dating? What have you learned? What are your tips for success? Leave me a comment - I'd love to know! 

XO,
Denise

Monday, March 27, 2017

HAPPIFY your life

**Dedicated to Sheelo Meekat**

"Happiness is a choice. I base my happiness on my own accomplishments and the blessings I've been given."

Last year, I decided that I wanted to focus on being happier. Though I generally exude a positive outlook on life, I still have my fair share of internal battles as well. I guess you can say I'm a secret pessimist. Only the people closest to me ever see my struggle. 

While reading articles about successful women, I quickly discovered how important personal happiness contributes to their success. (Only seems natural right?) In one article, the author thanked the Happify app for helping her find happiness in each and every day. Seconds later, I downloaded the Happify app in hopes of improving my level of happiness and taking control of my emotional well being.

Happify is composed of science-based activities and games that aim to elevate individual happiness. After answering a few questions about your life, you're given personalized happiness tracks that focus on the areas of your life that need improvement. Over time, Happify helps reduce stress and anxiety and allows you to train your brain to overcome negativity. 

The activities and challenges have helped me tremendously over the past year. I'm so much more in tune with how I feel emotionally, and I don't waste energy on situations outside of my control. I also enjoy the monthly check-ins, so you can tangibly see the changes you've made over time. 


I don't want to draw this blog out any longer than it has to be, so I want to focus on two of my most influential completed activities, my first and my last. 

My first task was to "Get to Know Someone". I needed to choose one person in my life that I don't know very well then chat them up about who they are, what they want to accomplish, listen, and just appreciate what they've decided to share. 

Though it seems straightforward, it may surprise you that this task wasn't exactly easy for me to complete. As an adult, I find that it's become more and more difficult to make new friends. Often, we only have a handful of established friendships then only develop new friendships with coworkers, because you see and interact with them every day. But my decision was made after an old acquaintance of mine from college commented on my Facebook status. 

Even though we only had one brief, awkward, yet memorable interaction in college, he has always been a positive presence in my life. From his sporadic likes on my social media channels, funny comments, and subscribing to my YouTube channel over a year ago, I decided to take a chance and chose to get to know him last June.  

I'll admit that I approached our lunch half-heartedly, preparing for the worst, and thinking we'd probably never see each other again after another awkward interaction. BUT... I was so wrong! 


I learned so much about him in less than an hour. Though he was unhappy in his career, he spoke with conviction and integrity about what he hoped to accomplish and what he wanted for himself. I admired him for being able to be so vulnerable with me. I don't open up to new people easily, and I get social anxiety from time to time. But he made me feel so comfortable that I was actually able to uninhibitedly share with him as well.

As we grow older, we're more aware and can quickly recognize when a friendship is conditional. And for reasons unknown at the time, I knew right away that this friendship wasn't going be like that. We barely knew each other, but I felt connected to him. 

He recognized my struggles with being promoted recently and transitioning into a leadership position. He identified with my growth mindset and desire to learn. He supported my ambition, my desire to build an empire, my hope to inspire others, and believed in what I was trying to achieve without questioning it. 

Like any normal friendship, we've had our own individual ups and downs, but with honesty and understanding, I'm happy to say that I'm still proud to call him my friend. I learned how important it is to nurture the relationships you have with others, whether it's friends or family, and even despite how often you're able to see them in person. It's sad and somewhat scary to think that if I hadn't suggested we grab lunch together, last year would have been entirely different. 

This brings me to my most recent Happify activity... as a thank you, I chose him to "Spend $$ on a Shared Experience" with. For this task, I had to choose an experience that I found meaningful and ask someone to share it with me - on my dime. It was also encouraged to do something that you've always wanted to do, but have been putting it off. And so, we went zip lining! 


Last Saturday, we experienced a Mount Hermon Redwood Canopy Tour. Together we embarked on a two hour guided eco-adventure surrounded by Redwood trees. It included six zip lines and two sky bridges at heights up to 150 feet. This was actually a first-time experience for both of us, which made it that much more memorable, and it felt so good knowing that I gave my friend this opportunity. 


The Happify app has allowed me to feel moments of true joy. It's helped me to overcome fears, be mindful, and enjoy life's moments for exactly what they are. It's allowed me to build and appreciate both old and new friendships. Time will continue to move forward, so I want to make the most out of my experiences in my lifetime. I want to inspire, aspire, give, and be grateful for everything that I am lucky enough to do each day. Happiness is possible for all of us. You just need to be willing to make the choices necessary to achieve it. 

XO,
Denise

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Complacency Is Dangerous

"For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again." - F. Scott Fitzgerald


Once upon a time, I was a miserable bank teller. For three years, I was forced to put on a fake smile and engage in meaningless small talk with customers while handling their money. I woke up each morning desperately hoping for a change of pace and a new opportunity to present itself. Just as I was about to give up hope, I decided to change my mindset instead. Because there's no point in waiting for new opportunities, when we can create them ourselves.

Complacency is dangerous. It's easy to get lost in your day to day routine, settling for a life that is comfortable but not fulfilling. It's in the moments that we actively choose to take risks that allow us to grow.

Perusing through YouTube in 2011, I stumbled across the Beauty Vlogger Community. Through something as simple as watching YouTube videos, a new fire started within my soul. It was in those first few videos that I watched that I realized that this is something that I love and I can actually do if I just decide to be brave enough to go for it. 

My passion to learn more about all things Beauty grew exponentially in a matter of days. It was in the way strangers had the power within them to positively affect the lives of other individuals that intrigued and inspired me to follow in their footsteps. I suddenly had a new outlet to express myself, while receiving endless amounts of love and support from viewers that have never even met me in person. 

Though I don't upload as often as I once did, my decision to put myself out there and risk ridicule, judgement, and criticism was the greatest decision I've made thus far. I still get reminders from my subscribers, friends, and family to start filming videos again. 

From taking that first risk, I've learned that each decision you make in life is essential to your story. There are small victories in each and every day. Whether opportunity presents itself or you create your own opportunity, be aware and grateful for it.

Three years into my career in the Beauty industry, working for ipsy, I can honestly say that I love my job. I was actually given the day off by my CEO and other female leaders within the company for International Women's Day, which inspired this blog post. 

I challenge you to take a good look at where you are in your life, and if you're unsatisfied with it, I hope you find the courage within you to make the necessary changes to create a fulfilling life to be happy, because you deserve it. Love yourself enough to take risks and live fearlessly. 

XO,
Denise 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Miami & Nassau, Bahamas

If you follow me closely on my Social channels, you'll already know that for my 30th Birthday, I flew out to Miami and went on a Carnival Cruise to Nassau, Bahamas. Reaching this milestone chapter of my life, I knew that I wanted to do it BIG! I had never been to Florida or the Bahamas before, so I was so excited and grateful for the opportunity to experience this new adventure with my closest friends and family.

Like my sunglasses? Check out Sol Theory & use the code "DENISEJOYCE" for 20% off! 

I arrived in Miami Thursday evening on January 5th. My sister, cousin, friends, and I settled into our hotel room and adjusted to the heat and humidity, unlike the cold and stormy weather in the Bay Area. We then headed out for dinner at Versailles where I had my 1st Cuban Mojito and Cafe Cubano. Both were DELICIOUS!



After dinner we discussed the possibility of taking a salsa lesson and going salsa dancing, only to realize how tired we all were from traveling. We decided to try to go salsa dancing when we arrive back in Miami on Monday. The next morning we had brunch at The Local House and checked out South Beach before boarding our cruise at the Port of Miami.



The cruise ship was amazing! We spent a lot of time familiarizing ourselves with the ship layout, especially considering the casino, the Spa, and where we could eat. A majority of us made spa appointments for the very first night, so we'd be extra relaxed and energized when we arrived in Nassau the next morning.



Our day in Nassau was fun and exciting, while still being pretty slow-paced and relaxing. We saw the Queen's Staircase, Fort Fin Castle, Junkanoo Beach, and went to John Watling's distillery for a rum tasting and tour. One of my favorite aspects of the trip was how friendly and accommodating everyone we met was. At the Queen's Staircase and Fort Fin Castle, there were insightful guerrilla historians giving out history lessons, which were absolutely fascinating!






We spent Sunday at sea on the cruise ship. I luckily won $85 playing slots at the casino and spent some time in the steam room, since I wanted to relax and sweat a bit more and the thought of working out in the gym while on a moving ship scared me. lol That evening we had our formal dinner night, where I also celebrated my birthday. :)




We ported back in Miami on Monday morning. Being our last full day before flying home, we went to the Wynwood Walls to enjoy some street art, ate lunch at RUST Wynwood, and attempted to go salsa dancing at Mango's Miami. I say "attempted" because our plans were interrupted by a bomb scare that shut down Ocean Dr. where Mango's Tropical Cafe was located. We had to settle on more drinks, dinner at Naked Taco, and nearby hookah bars.









My 30th Birthday adventure was everything that I had hoped for, with the exception of missing out on learning how to salsa dance of course. lol I explored two places that I had never ventured to before and created lasting memories with my family and friends! I definitely want to check out other Bahamas Islands and return to Florida again one day.

Have you been on a cruise before? Where did you go? What did you do for your 30th Birthday, or what do you want to do? Were there other places I should have checked out while I was in Miami? Let me know in a comment below!

XO,
Denise

Monday, February 6, 2017

A Week in My Life | Money & Fitness Diary

Inspired by New York Magazine's Spending Diaries and Refinery 29's Money Diaries, I decided to keep track of my spending, eating, and fitness habits for one full week. Even though these two ongoing articles focus more on personal finances, I figured it would be beneficial for me to monitor my personal wellness as well.

Coming across these articles sparked my curiosity, especially considering my own relationship with money and wanting to live a healthier lifestyle. Year after year, I set new financial and wellness goals, but I don’t actually have a baseline or starting point to compare my progress. I quickly realized this would be a great way to see how I'm actually doing in these two areas of my life. I hoped to evaluate where I am and make improvements that I’ll hopefully see in the coming weeks. With that said, let's get right to it!

Sunday
8:00 AM
Rise & Shine
Sun Salutations
Self-Affirmations
Meditation

This is how I start my day, every day. Sun salutations allow me to stretch my muscles and get my body warm and moving. My self-affirmations fill me with confidence, and meditation helps me set my intentions for the day. I find that it's the most enjoyable on the weekends since my timeline for the day is much more flexible. Rather than only setting intentions for the current day, I find myself reflecting on more short and even long-term goals.


9:00 AM
Walk Beau
Drink a glass of water

My dog, Beau, is usually up and scratching at my door before 9:00 AM, begging me to take him for a walk after holding it in all night. Once Beau's been taken care of, I put some food in his bowl then pour myself a glass of water. I prioritize getting 64oz (8 cups) each day, so I'm always sure to start drinking my H20 ASAP!

9:30 AM
Get back in bed to check my social channels, interact with my friends and followers as needed, and read Daily News Articles (NPR, NY Times, etc.).

I always make time to keep up with my social channels. I love getting to interact with my followers, blog readers, and YouTube audience. I also like to stay up to date with current events. I like knowing what is going on in the world. Whether the news I come across is bad or good, it inspires and motivates me to actively embody the change I want to see in the world as much as possible.

10:30 AM
Get Ready for Brunch with my Besties

This past Sunday, I had a belated Holiday Brunch with my Best Friends. I've known these two ladies, since Kindergarten. The Holidays were pretty crazy for all of us, so we postponed exchanging gifts until we finally had time to get together. We do this gift exchange tradition every year.

11:30 AM
Brunch at The Table
Corned Beef Hash ($16)
Side of Fruit ($3)
Coffee ($3)
Water
SHARED Lemon Ricotta Pancakes ($13/3 = $4.33)
$$$: $30 + tax & tip


1:00 PM
Strolling around Santana Row

After spending so much on my recent 30th Birthday Celebration in Miami and the Bahamas, it's strictly window shopping for me. I still enjoy continuing the conversations from Brunch with my friends, though.

I prioritize getting 10,000 Steps every day of the week. 10,000 steps are approximately equivalent to 3 miles. Even if I'm not able to get a workout in on most days, hitting my step goal allows me to be more cognizant of how much I've been moving.

2:30 PM
Head home for a midday nap

I don't always get a chance to take a nap on Sundays, but if I have an hour to spare, I TAKE ONE! Not getting enough sleep can really wreak havoc on your body, so I do my best to rest and recharge whenever I have the time.

4:00 PM
Yin Vinyasa
Climbing
Planet Granite Family Membership ($150/2 = $75)
Average of 4 climbs or classes per week = ~$5 per activity
Shoe & Harness Rental = $5
Water
$$$: ~$15

I signed up for a Planet Granite Membership last month. I prioritize going at least 4 times per week, depending on how busy my schedule gets. I take yoga classes, fitness classes, climb, and use the regular gym facilities (treadmills, ellipticals, weights, etc.).

6:00 PM
Grocery Shopping
$$$: ~$30

I like to buy groceries, especially fresh produce, at the beginning of the week. This way, I can plan out my meals ahead of time to cook more and prevent any potential unhealthy eating.

6:30 PM
Cook Dinner

Depending on what I decide to cook, this varies anywhere from a half an hour to an hour. It all really depends on food prep and actually cooking time.

7:30 PM
Dinner
Baked Salmon
Asparagus
Brown Rice Pilaf
Water

To ensure a balanced diet, I ensure I always have a combination of proteins, veggies, and carbs.


8:30 PM
Pack leftovers for Monday's lunch
Shower
Bath
Face Mask

I have a "Spa Sunday" ritual where I treat myself to a long, warm bath and a face mask. I don't like stewing when I'm not fully clean, so I always take a shower first to wash my hair and exfoliate my body before relaxing.

9:15 PM
Plan for the Week Ahead
Dragon Ball Super

My favorite part of Sunday evenings! I plan for the week ahead using my Happy Planner. I note meetings and deadlines for work, workout days, date nights, etc. Then, I put on the latest episode of Dragon Ball Super to wind down before bed.

10:30 PM
Water
Bedtime

I don't fall asleep immediately since my brain usually decides that it wants to reflect on anything and everything, but I try to at least be lights out and eyes closed. I don't function as well with any less sleep than 8 hours.

DAILY RECAP
Total $ Spent: ~$75
Steps: 10,297
Water Intake: 64 oz

Monday
6:15 AM
Rise & Shine
Sun Salutations
Self-Affirmations
Meditation

6:45 AM
Get ready for work (Including Full Hair & Makeup)

On days that I have meetings or will be interacting with several people, I prioritize looking my best. On other days, I embrace the natural texture of my hair and go makeup free.

7:45 AM
Walk to the Caltrain Station

8:03 AM
Caltrain Commute to Work
Read & Answer Emails
Read Daily News Articles
$$$: $0

I get commuter benefits, so the monthly pass I use to take the train to the office is FREE. Though my commute is somewhat long and tedious, I do enjoy the extra time in the morning to slowly get ramped up for the day ahead.

8:44 AM
Arrive in Downtown San Mateo

9:00 AM
Breakfast
Coffee
Fresh Fruit
Water
$$$: $0

With a Keurig machine and a fully stocked kitchen, I make myself a cup of coffee, fill a glass with water, grab a piece of fresh fruit, and settle at my desk.

Work Work Work Work Work

12:00 PM
Lunch (Leftovers from Sunday's Dinner)
Water

Most days I pack leftovers from the night before. It saves so much money not having to spend money and not letting any leftover food go to waste.

12:30 AM
After lunch stroll in the Downtown Japanese Gardens

Since I aim to reach 10,000 steps every day, my after lunch stroll is pretty much the only way to ensure that I hit my target. I know it's hard to keep moving when you're sitting behind a desk all day, so I prioritize getting away from my desk and enjoying my strolls outside as often as possible.


1:00 PM
Sparkling water
Back to work

4:43 PM
Caltrain Commute Home
Answer lingering work emails
Check Social channels

5:28 PM
Arrive in San Jose

5:40 PM
Walk Beau
Water
Tidy up my room

I get a few more steps in walking Beau in the afternoons. This is usually right around the time I hit my step goal for the day! I also prioritize tidying up my room (throwing dirty clothes in the hamper, putting clean clothes away, dusting, etc.) In general, I'm a naturally messy person. I've been told that it comes with having a creative mind. Either way, I do my best to actively tackle my messiness, before my environment is unlivable. LOL

6:00 PM
Take off my pants and relax
Read

If you know me well enough, you'll know that it's no secret that I hate wearing pants. The first opportunity I get to take them off and crawl into bed, I TAKE IT! Reading varies from books to blogs, depending if I'm starting a new book, finishing a book, or in between books. LOL

7:00 PM
Dinner
Asian Chicken Salad
Water
$$$: $0

Sometimes my sister will generously offer to pick up dinner on her way home and not ask me to pay her back for it. :D

8:00 PM
Squats
Core Work

On off nights when I don't have a set workout planned, I do squats and core work before taking a shower and calling it a night.

8:30 PM
Shower

9:00 PM
Vanderpump Rules

The Monday night ritual between me and my sister is watching Vanderpump Rules in her room and listening to each other's latest gossip.

10:30 PM
Bedtime

DAILY RECAP
Total $ Spent: $0
Steps: 10,266
Water Intake: 64 oz

Tuesday
6:15 AM - 9:00 AM
SAME

12:00 PM
Lunch Roulette
Shabu Shabu
Wagyu Beef
Mixed Veggies
Rice
Hot Tea
Water
$$$: $0

Once a week, I'm treated to lunch with my co-workers from different departments within ipsy. It's called "Lunch Roulette". This week, since it's been so cold in the Bay Area, I threw out the idea for Shabu Shabu!


1:30 PM - 6:00PM
SAME

6:30 PM
Dinner
Spicy Thai Chicken Salad
Water

7:45 PM
Total Body Fitness
$$$: $5

8:45 PM
Get home & Shower

9:00 PM
Check Social channels
Read

10:30 PM
Bedtime

DAILY RECAP
Total $ Spent: $5
Steps: 11,524
Water Intake: 64 oz

Wednesday
6:15 AM - 12:00 PM
SAME

12:00 PM
Lunch
Spicy Thai Chicken Salad (Extra ingredients from the previous night)
Water

12:30 PM - 6:00PM
SAME

7:00 PM
Dinner
Lasagna
Caesar Salad
Water

8:00 PM
Squats
Core Work
Plank

8:30 PM
Shower

9:00 PM
Read

10:30 PM
Bedtime

DAILY RECAP
Total $ Spent: $0
Steps: 10,220
Water Intake: 64 oz

Thursday
6:15 AM - 9:00 AM
SAME

12:00 PM
ipsyCare Lunch
Mixed Salad
Assorted Bruschetta
Assorted Panini
Water
$$$: $0

Once a month, I plan a lunch for my team. It's a fun and simple way for us to all bond good food away from our desks. It's nice to be in a more relaxed environment, just enjoying each other's company.


12:30 PM - 5:40 PM
SAME

5:45 PM
Get ready for Date Night!

6:00 PM
Drive to Millbrae

6:22 PM
Millbrae BART to 16th Mission
$$$: $0

Again, I gotta love my commuter benefits! Free Clipper Card money to travel around the Bay Area using public transit.

7:30 PM
Partner Vinyasa Flow
$$$: $0
(Please note: I'm a self-sufficient woman, who makes good money and believes in gender equality and fairness. Even though he insisted on paying for the evening's events, I just want it to be clear that I do not date anyone with the expectation that the man should pay for everything.)

I LOVE YOGA! Especially with how much I've been ramping up my workouts lately, I love any activity that helps me stretch out my over-worked muscles. I'm always eager to try something new.

8:30 PM
Dinner at Hog & Rocks
Raw Oysters
Brussel Sprouts
Water
$$$: $0

10:00 PM
Head back to Millbrae BART

10:30 PM
Drive home

12:00
Bedtime

DAILY RECAP
Total $ Spent: $0
Steps: 11,577
Water Intake: 64 oz

Friday
7:30 AM
Rise & Shine
Sun Salutations
Self-Affirmations
Meditation

7:45 AM
Get ready for work (No time for Hair & Makeup!)

Unlike other days where I have to put on a good face, I thoroughly enjoy my fresh-faced days!

8:07 AM
Walk to the Caltrain Station

8:22 AM
Caltrain Commute to Work
Read & Answer Emails
Read Daily News Articles

Yes, I take a later train when I've had a long night. I'm only human, and I really do need the extra rest to ensure I can power through the day.

9:15 AM
Arrive in Downtown San Mateo

9:30 AM
Breakfast
Coffee
Fresh Fruit
Water

Work Work Work Work Work

12:00 PM
Lunch
Lasagna Leftovers
Water

12:30 PM - 5:40PM
SAME

6:00 PM
Take off pants and relax
Read
WINE!

7:00 PM
Dinner at Izzo Restaurant
Soup Dumplings ($12)
Beef Noodle Soup ($12)
Kimchi Pork Belly Quesadilla ($13)
Garlic String Beans ($12)
Hot Tea
Water
$$$: $32(Split between 2 people + tax & tip)


8:00 PM
Gong Cha
Taro Milk Tea (M)
$$$: $3.75

9:00 PM - 1:30AM
Dancing at LVL 44
Tequila Pineapple (x2)
$$$: $9

I haven't gone out much since moving to San Jose, but I'm slowly trying to see what the Downtown San Jose Nightlife has to offer.

2:00AM
Bedtime

DAILY RECAP
Total $ Spent: $44.75
Steps: 11,754
Water Intake: 64 oz

Saturday
10:00 AM
Rise & Shine
Sun Salutations
Self-Affirmations
Meditation

10:30 AM
Walk Beau
Water
Coffee
Toast with Egg & Avocado

I prepare myself a more filling breakfast on the weekends, especially if I think I need the extra sustenance. LOL

11:00 AM
Back in bed
Read Daily News
Check Social channels
Netflix

It's the weekend. I'm allowed to slow down every once in a while. I'm currently watching The Magicians. :)

12:30 PM
Valley Fair Mall
Target
$$$: ~$60

Shopping. Errands. Household necessities. Pretty much a reason to finally leave the house and be a productive human. LOL

2:00 PM
Taco Bell
Crunchy Taco
Bean Burrito
Chicken Quesadilla
Water
$$$: ~$5

I prioritize eating healthy on the weekdays, but once I'm in the weekend mode, I don't mind eating whatever is convenient. I don't want to feel deprived if I'm craving something. I'm human! Give me a break!

3:30 PM
Midday Nap

4:30 PM
Squats
Core Work
Shower

5:30 PM
Blog
Brainstorm
Schedule future posts

The day and time I decide to do this varies, but I always prioritize time to ensure I'm still thinking ahead.

8:00 PM
Get ready to go out

10:00 PM
Dancing at The Loft
Tequila Pineapple(x2)
Water
$$$: $0

I prefer to go places that don't have a cover, and I'm lucky when friends offer to buy me a drink.

1:30 AM
Drunk Snack at La Victoria's
Carne Asada Fries
Water
$$$: $10

3:00 AM
Bedtime

DAILY RECAP
Total $ Spent: $75
Steps: 11,956
Water Intake: 64 oz

WEEKLY RECAP
Total $ Spent: $199.75
Steps: 77,594 (~23 miles of walking)
Water Intake: 448 oz (56 cups)
Active Days: 5

All in all, I realized that I'm much more active and healthy during the week than on the weekends. I definitely need to work on balancing that out. I also noticed how much more I tend to spend on the weekends compared to the weekdays.

Even though my weekly spending is right beneath $200, I want to get my spending down even more. Going out to eat and getting drinks really adds up fast, and in the end, I have nothing to really show for it, because I consumed it instantly. The money I spend frivolously could potentially go to more important experiences that I want to have in the future.

Traveling and experiencing more of what life has to offer in general are both high priorities for me. I want to do my best to ensure I’m spending and saving my money wisely. I want to invest more on experiences that will create memories that I’ll cherish throughout my lifetime.

This experiment was definitely fun, and I’m happy to say that I’m much more self-aware of my current wellness and spending behaviors. If you’d like me to do this again in the future to see my progress over time, please let me know in a comment below!

XO,
Denise

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

What I've Learned From Climbing

You can't fall if you don't climb... But there's no joy in living your whole life on the ground! 

Last month, I joined a climbing gym, Planet Granite, and since then, climbing has quickly become my favorite way to stay in shape. As someone who is still very much afraid of heights, I never thought that I'd grow to love it as much as I do now. I'm also pleasantly surprised at the way it's slowly influencing my way of life and overall mentality. I now often find myself applying the following core values and lessons learned from climbing to my every day life.  

Fear Is All In Your Head
I first approached climbing as a way to get over my fear of heights. As expected, during my first few climbs, I let my fear get the best of me. I found myself giving up half way up the wall or three-quarters of the way up, with my legs quivering ready to be lowered back onto the ground immediately. But over time, I was slowly able to gain confidence and climb higher and attempt higher walls without hesitation. I've learned that fear only exists in your head, and as long as you work through your fear calmly and rationally, there is no fear you can't overcome.

Trust Your Counterpart
It's daunting to "literally" put your life in someone else's hands, but in life as well as climbing, you're not the only variable in an equation. I've learned that I thrive the most when I have another person's best interest at heart. When climbing, you and your counterpart must work as a team and do whatever it takes to allow the other person to succeed. Encouragement, clear communication, constructive criticism, and care for another's safety are all critical components to successful relationships. Without trust in your counterpart, things can go from bad to worse really quickly. You can become stagnant on the wall or even worse, never feel ready to leave the ground.  

You Can Reach The Top
You may not reach the top on your first try. You may even have to take several different approaches to get there, but it will happen if you want it badly enough. I never thought I'd have to think as hard as I do, while suspended in the air. I tend to focus on going at a pace I'm comfortable with, focusing on one problem at a time. The most important thing is to keep moving, no matter how slow. Like in life, the unique journey you take to reach your goals is just as important as reaching the peak of your climb. And when you get there, feel free to revel in your triumph, because you deserve it! 

XO,
Denise

Sunday, January 15, 2017

2017 #GOALS

Set goals that make you want to jump out of bed in the morning! 

It's only 15 days into 2017, and I'm happy to say I'm feeling very optimistic about the upcoming year. I rang in the New Year watching fireworks on the Strip in Las Vegas, and I just got back from a birthday getaway in Miami and the Bahamas with friends and family. (I'll discuss my birthday trip in more detail another day!)

In case you didn't already know, I prefer to set yearly goals for myself rather than a "New Years Resolution". 2016 was a year of tremendous growth for me. I faced so many of my fears and did things I used to tell myself I would never do. Through my growth, I was able to accomplish 14 out of the 17 goals I set for myself.

For my Career goals, I earned 3 raises and was promoted to a leadership position. I also started blogging regularly about topics other than Beauty and Fashion. For my Financial goals, I paid off 2 of my student loans. For my Relationship goals, I strengthened my friendships with both old and new friends. I spent a lot more quality time with my family, and I started dating again. For my Spiritual goals, I traveled (London, Paris, Rome, and Austin, TX). I got my first tattoo, and I was a much more adventurous, optimistic, inspiring, and kind person. For my Wellness goals, I ran and exercised more often, and I was very mindful of my diet.

As I've done in the past, I've set goals in the same 5 important areas of my life. Along with these goals, I've listed the small tangible steps that I will take daily to help me achieve them during the year. (Using this method, I find my goals are much easier to accomplish.) That said, here are my 2017 goals!

CAREER 
  • Earn a raise or promotion 
  • Build your personal brand and empire  

Tangible Steps

  • Brainstorm and prepare to lean in during meetings. Don't be afraid to share your ideas and opinions!
  • Create a new business plan to upload regularly and interact with my current audience to increase my Social reach 

FINANCE 
  • Pay off debt and school loans 
  • Have a substantial amount in Savings 

Tangible Steps
  • Stop using your credit cards!
  • Pay more than the minimum payment
  • Save 10% of every paycheck

RELATIONSHIP
  • Love yourself
  • Set clear and healthy boundaries 
  • Maintain friendships
  • Continue to spend more quality time with your family 
Tangible Steps

  • Start your day with Self-Affirmations
  • Be honest and upfront about what you want and how you expect to be treated
  • Be the one to reach out.
  • Prioritize family time. 

SPIRITUAL
  • Travel often and solo! 
  • Be optimistic 
  • Be kind 
  • Inspire others 

Tangible Steps

  • Use all of your available PTO to fulfill your wanderlust. 
  • Continue to look on the bright side. 
  • Continue to perform random acts of kindness.
  • Continue to be supportive of other's dreams and goals.
WELLNESS 
  • Workout 4x/week
  • Strengthen your core
  • Be mindful of what you eat 

Tangible Steps

  • Start each day with Sun Salutations and meditation
  • Climb 2x/week
  • 10,000 steps/day 
  • Eat 80% Healthy
  • Core work every other day

Ultimately, I want to continue to create memories that will last a lifetime. I want to make a positive impression on the world over time. I want to dream about unrealistic goals and strive to one day make them my reality. 

What are your goals for 2017? Please feel free to share them with me in a comment below! :) 

XO,
Denise