Simple Ways to Have a Healthier 2018

Simple Ways to Have a Healthier 2018

It’s so easy to get overwhelmed in the beginning of every year. Wherever you go – social media, the magazines by the check out aisle, commercials – we see this “new year, new you” message.

I completely recognize the reason behind this message, but at the same time part of me hates how self-deprecating this can be. So what about your old me? Or your present me? Why do I have to change? The word “new” is too drastic and extreme for me. I think the word “improved” or “progressed” is a better fit. Each new year is one more chance to become the best self you can be, NOT the best self that society imposes you. If you want o read more about this, check out my “healthy” post from last year.

Stepping off the soapbox, I wanted to share a few of my tips that are SIMPLE and effortless to make your 2018 a bit better.

DRINK MORE WATER // Serena and I are known by our friends as water monsters. We are always seen carrying our waterbottles and constantly refilling them. And it’s not for bad reason – staying hydrated makes you feel more energized (it’s my go-to alternative for coffee) and allows you to be more clear-minded and more headache-free.

Serena loves her Nalgene and I adore my Hydroflask – both great options that will stand the test of time!

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Serena with her beloved Nalgene

 

GO TO A DOCTOR FOR REGULAR CHECK-UPS// This might seem super obvious, but I know a handful of friends who don’t go to the doctor because they’re not sick. Now, this is not a good reason to have – we don’t always go to the doctor because we’re sick. We go to treat current illness but also to prevent future illness.

Below is an useful graphic from hims on what check-ups you should book an appointment for depending on your age. I love the sentence the graphic has at the bottom: “Having an issue isn’t weird. Not dealing with it is weird.” Ditto that.

Hims Health Checklist

Check out this blog post for even more information from hims!

LISTEN// This advice runs the gamut from eating habits to sleep needs. Our bodies are wonderfully made and are incredibly smart — they know what it needs and will do all they can to let you know. Trust what you feel and give your body what it truly needs. On certain days, that might mean a kale salad topped with salmon, but on other days that mean Chick-Fil-A, and that’s completely fine. This is easier than you think. Eat when hungry. Stop when full. Get sleep when you’re tired. Get exercise when you’re craving some movement. LISTEN LISTEN LISTEN

I truthfully think that these tips all together will allow for a 2018 that is in the smallest of ways healthier and more fulfilling.

What are your go-to tips for a healthy life?

xoxo,

Stephanie

 

How to Drink More Water!

How to Drink More Water!

From a young age, I always struggled to drink the recommended amount of water. I’m not sure if this is just me, but for some reason, I drink liquids very slowly-I physically cannot chug anything-small sips for some are like big gulps to me. So, I always viewed drinking water as a chore and never found any motivation to hydrate. But, my breakthrough moment was when I went backpacking last summer. Everyday, I carried two 32 oz. Nalgene bottles full of water, and ended up drinking all of it! Even though this could have been due to my thirst after so much physical exertion, it felt like I wasn’t drinking a significant amount of water, just two bottles a day. So, this leads me to my number one tip to hydrating actively….

1.) Use a 32 oz. reusable water bottle. My 32 oz. Nalgene bottle is very special to me-wherever I go, my Nalgene travels with me! The size of the bottle tricks me into drinking more water than I feel like I am consuming, but drinking the full bottle is equivalent to drinking two plastic bottles of water (what I used to drink from). As an added bonus, reusable bottles last forever (the one I use was actually my parents’ from when they were in college!), so you’ll save money and the Earth’s precious resources 😀

2.) Bring your bottle everywhere. As I said before, my bottle travels with me at all times. It’s presence reminds me to be constantly sipping. There have been multiple times where I have been in awkward social situations, and drinking water helped me look preoccupied and skip over any awkward silences.

3.) Use a bottle that is aesthetically pleasing. Having a good-looking bottle makes it appealing to look at, drink from, and carry around. I decorated my Nalgene completely with stickers of things that mean a lot to me- national parks, my high school, farmers markets, healthy food, my religion…but I also know plenty of people who go for a plain bottle. Stephanie is obsessed with her Hydroflask-it would definitely be worth purchasing if you enjoy ice cold or hot beverages.

So, those are the three tips I swear by to motivate me to drink more water. Let me know what you do to drink more water!

Love,

Serena

My Top Five Tips on Keeping your Skin Healthy

My Top Five Tips on Keeping your Skin Healthy

I don’t want to come off as bragging, but I have to admit that I have been blessed with great skin. Serena always asks me about my skincare routine, but to be honest, it’s too simple that I don’t think it will help.

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My entire skincare products! A mere five, it’s very simple and low maintenance.

Both my parents never had major acne breakouts – when I look back at their old high school/college photos, their faces look clear (or maybe it looks clear because the photos are not as good quality as today’s haha).

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My skin despite the dry and not-so-great quality air in airplanes. Read below for my tips on how to keep clear and glowing skin!

However, my mom continually reminds me to not take my clear and healthy skin for granted. She told me that if there is one regret she has with her skin, it’s that she took her healthy and clear teenage skin for granted and now the slacking is showing up. I definitely know what she’s talking about – nowadays, my skin occasionally breaks out and doesn’t have that glow as it used to.

Here are some of my basic (yet always important to hear again) tips for skin care!

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I’ve been drinking so much water that all my reusable bottles are in the dishwasher! So a plastic bottle would have to do for today.

ONE// Drink water – and lots of it.

If you search “water” in the search bar of Avolicious, you’ll find so many photos where both Serena and I talk about the importance of drinking water. Drinking water has so many benefits and is such a quick and easy way to instantly feel and look better!

Our skin is an organ too! A large one in fact. So we need to supply our skin with water so that our skin cells can function properly and at its best.

Unfortunately, water reaches our other organs first before it reaches our skin, so that’s why you have to drink so much water! So go drink up!

TIP: keep multiple reusable bottles (my favorites are Hydroflasks!) in the fridge and take one out to bring around the house or when you go outside. Continually be sipping. It’s going to be hard the first few weeks where you’ll be running to the loo constantly, but once your body adjusts, you’ll be going to the bathroom less!

 

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I use these two as my lotion. I first apply the rose-petal toner and then as it dries out, I apply the Korean lotion. Secret: the Korean lotion is actually a baby lotion; my mom and I have been using baby lotion for around three years now!

TWO// Over-moisturize

This is one of my other biggest tips. I tend to over-moisturize (if that even is a word) my face. I make sure my skin is really moist and dewy. This ensures that my skin is both moist and hydrated from the inside (from drinking water) and the outside!

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My FAVORITE face cleanser for a strong 4-5 years now. It literally thoroughly cleans your face haha! I usually get this cleanser from either Whole Foods or order it on Amazon Prime if its urgent.

THREE// Wash your face regularly

For the 16 years I’ve been living, I have always, always, without a single day missing, washed my face right after wake up. It’s a habit that my mom has drilled into me since I was young. Before I go downstairs to eat breakfast, I always wash my face. While yes, you’ve only been sleeping, those 8 hours (or less or more), the oils, impurities and other things that are on your pillow and bed have appeared on your face. You want to wash them away!!! I usually wash my face right after I wake up and right before I go to sleep. If I wash my face in the middle of the day, it’s because I came right after a workout.

Make sure to wash your face especially if you’ve been sweating a lot. Your sweat can clog up your pores and not allow your skin to breathe enough and get the air it needs.

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I apply the sunscreen on the left when I know I’m going to be outside for a long time. The one on the right is a mix of a lotion and sunscreen. I use the Aveeno either in the winter or when I’m going to be outside for very little (such as being in the car).

FOUR// Apply sunscreen

I know, I know. This is one of my least parts also. But it’s so important. Make sure to apply sunscreen both in the summer and winter. To be frank, I would rather be tan, but my mom is constantly reminding me that I’ll thank her later when I don’t have wrinkles (or even worse skin cancer) from not applying enough sunscreen.

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FIVE// Nourish

You become what you eat is so true when it comes to skin. You probably know that when you eat very oily or fatty foods, your skin is bound to break out. After a bowl of instant ramen, our faces get bloated. Our skins are a clear indicator of the quality of our diets. Make sure to get lots of nutrients – veggies, fruits, healthy fats, and whole grains. Of course, you can indulge yourself, but in order to have that radiant skin (without the help of make up of course), you need to eat right.

Do you have any skin care tips that you would like to share?

xoxo

Stephanie

Essentials for a Great Workout Routine

Essentials for a Great Workout Routine

It’s finally spring weather! After a super cold and dreary winter season, it’s so nice to sit on the porch with the sun shining and wind billowing. And of course, spring means that there is absolutely NO excuse to exercise! As much as I love working out and breaking a sweat, it’s definitely hard in the winter with the weather and just the ole winter blues.

With spring season and summer right around the corner, I wanted to share a few of my essentials for a killer workout routine.

1) Aaptiv

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Aaptiv is one of my newest discoveries, but quickly becoming my favorite and most crucial to have an amazing workout session. Warning: this is not a regular fitness app. The app provides motivation and guidance right from your headphones. For instance, when I do a treadmill workout, throughout the whole run, the trainers (one of my favorites being Rochelle) are continually motivating and cheering you on. The trainers are all super inspiring and their pumped-up voices are literally what makes me go that extra mile or push harder. Rather than my voice telling me that I should stop, go slower, or take a break, Rochelle’s voice shatters those doubtful thoughts. For those who are lacking in the motivation department, especially when you’re in the midst of the workout, give Aaptiv a try! (They provide a free 7-day trial. I’m sure you’ll be hooked on it after the 7 days, haha). If you check out their website and scroll down, you can hear a sample workout.

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^ Go to the website link and find this button to hear a sample workout!

2) Hydroflask Waterbottle

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I have this one in purple and LOOOVE it

Now, this isn’t just any water bottle. It has to be a Hydroflask. Oh my goodness, I can’t express how much I love my Hydroflask. On those hot and boiling days, opening my Hydroflask and sipping on ice-cold water is THE BEST FEELING. Even if I filled it up in the morning, my water stays cold even when I finish a workout late at night. (I believe that it insulates cold water for 24-hours and hot water for 12-hours). I highly recommend investing in a great insulating water bottle – it will change the way you drink water. (I’ve seen other popular insulating water bottles like S’well)

 

3) Scheduling

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Any bullet journal fanatics around here?

Out of all the essentials here, I believe that number three is the most important. Scheduling and carving out time to workout is key. For me especially, I am a busy-bee and have a million and one things to do in the weekday (and weekend sadly). So unless I schedule and write down that I’m going to workout, chances are, I’m not. And the workouts don’t have to be long at all. Even 20 minutes each day will make you feel much more energized and fit! In the app I was talking about previously, there is a filter where you can filter workouts depending on their duration, a feature I love and use a lot. If I only time to squeeze in a short workout I filter the time to 20 minutes and I can pick and choose which workouts I want to do within the 20 minutes. If I have more time, I would choose like a 45-min or even an hour long piece. TIP: Make sure that when you schedule your workout session, you create buffer time before and after the session. Usually I have a 5-min buffer before and a 10-min buffer after so that I have time to change, head to the gym, and take a break if needed.

 

4) Be realistic

Don’t overdo yourself. Make sure that your workout routine is sustainable. There are very low chances that you will continue a workout session if every time it is miserable and you hate it. In fact, for around 3 weeks, I’ve been routinely walking 10,000 steps daily. And while it took some modifications to get to that quota, the changes weren’t so drastic that I’ve been able to do it everyday. Making manageable changes are key to continue your workout session. In addition to manageable changes, it’s important to make sure you’re enjoying the workout. For me, I love running, taking long walks, golfing, or doing yoga, so I get to be happy while I’m burning calories – a win-win! I think Aaptiv does a great job with this (have I mentioned how much I love Aaptiv?!). The trainers are super motivating and after the end of each workout, I feel so rejuvenated and energized. The trainers at Aaptiv are what allows me to come back to the app each time for another workout.

 

What are your workout essentials?

xoxo,

Stephanie

 

Healthy Skin 101

Healthy Skin 101

We all want clear skin. Not only that, we want glowing, vibrant, and acne-free skin. And while not the complete cure/solution, our diet and our lifestyle affects a good portion of our skin.

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Here are a few tips and tricks on getting clearer skin, tips and tricks that are all in your control!

1. Drink lots of water | A hydrated skin comes from the inside and then out. No matter how much of expensive hydrating lotion and creams you put on yourself, if you don’t hydrate your body internally, your skin isn’t going to give much of a glow. Not only does water keep your skin cells hydrated, but it also flushes out toxins. Moreover, by being properly hydrated, your body sweats more efficiently, meaning it keeps your skin cleaner and clearer.

2. Drink green tea | Green tea has anti-inflammatory properties as well as properties that are protective to the cell membrane. Green tea may not only make your skin look better, but prevent or reduce the risk of skin cancer by reducing the risk of damage from ultraviolet light.

3. Eat a healthy diet | Overall, a healthy, clean, and unprocessed diet is the best for your skin. When you eat food (or don’t eat enough of it), the food is getting digested and broken down into vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. However, if there is no vitamins, minerals and amino acids as if you eat a heavily processed diet OR, if you go on a restrictive diet, you’re not allowing your body to have enough of these vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Make sure to eat enough and to eat enough of the good stuff.

4. Avoid sugar | This includes cupcakes, pastry breads (like croissants), anything with refined sugar. When you consume refined sugar, your insulin levels spike which can aggravate acne, wrinkles, and rashes.

5. Sleep | When you sleep, your body boosts blood flow including blood flow to your skin. In addition, poor sleep can lead to increased stress hormones that increases the severity of inflammatory skin conditions such as acne. And speaking of inflammatory conditions, increased inflammatory cells lead to an increase in the breakdown of collagen and hyaluronic acid. These molecules give the skin its glow.

There really isn’t much. When you eat healthy and eat clean, not only does your physical body reap benefits, but your skin shows it through its glow. It’s simply drinking lots of water, eating healthy, and sleeping lots.

 

Do you have a skin regime as simple as this?

Xoxo,

Stephanie

Thanksgiving No-No’s

Thanksgiving No-No’s

Thanksgiving is in a few days but it doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice healthy eating and all the progress you’ve made to spend quality time with friends and family. You can do both — eat relatively healthy and catch up with family. Make this Thanksgiving a Thanksgiving where you do NOT have to unbutton your pants.

Here are some tips for Thanksgiving: what to watch out for and what to do.

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1. DON’T STARVE

While people think it’s a smart idea to starve or eat barely anything before the Thanksgiving dinner, by not eating anything, you’re making your blood sugar levels really low. And when your blood sugar levels drop, you lose the ability to control what you eat. Not only do you lose control but you crave calorie-laden foods. This means that when you get to the Thanksgiving dinner you’re going to eat everything and anything in sight. So, do yourself a favor and eat a balanced and light breakfast and lunch.

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2.GET ACTIVE

Not only does getting some exercise burn off those calories you’re going to be eating, but in addition, exercise balances out your hormones, so you don’t get crazy cravings from your hormones. Balance out your body both internally and externally with exercise.

An additional tip: do your exercise with your family member. Either go out on a walk with the whole gang around the neighborhood, catch up while going on an easy run, hit some tennis balls, or go out to the golf course.

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3.EAT SLOWLY

Instead of gulping down your food (because you’re ravenous from not eating all day …), savor your food and set down your fork between each bite. Make sure to actually use Thanksgiving dinner to catch up with your family and friends. One way to do this is to pick a slow eater in the table and make sure you finish around the same time or even slower than them! Trust me, the slow eating will not only help with the social aspect of Thanksgiving, but the weight aspect of Thanksgiving.

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Image source

4.SAY NO TO THE TURKEY SKIN

Yes, yes, I know, the turkey skin is the best part of the turkey. However, that thin sliver is worth a lot of calories and fat (not the good kind). Do yourself a favor and eat the turkey meat NOT the turkey skin.

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Or tea…

5.DRINK LOTS OF WATER

Drinking lots of water will help you differentiate between thirst and hunger but also help you feel full faster. While apple cider is tempting, try to stick with water throughout the meal and sip on it often in between bites. Drinking water will also help with the bloating the morning after the Thanksgiving dinner.

 

 

Regardless of all these tips, make sure your FIRST priority is to spend quality time with friends and family. Get into those spontaneous laughter and snuggly hugs. And of course, officially ring in the holiday season!

What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?

xoxo,

Stephanie

Healthy Travel 101

Healthy Travel 101

Knowing myself, right now, I’ll have grown a food baby from all the good food I’ve been eating in Korea.

HOWEVER, I’m hoping that I don’t go so out of control. So this post is dedicated to those who want to travel the healthy way but at the same time go the #YOLO way. I think it’s really depressing if because of your weight loss regime, or diet, or whatever, that you pass up on the delicious concoctions that are only available at your travel destination. So here are some of my tips for healthy travel.

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1. HYDRATE | This is especially true on the plane. It gets especially dry up there, so make sure to properly hydrate.

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2. Have healthy snacks close at hand | Pack KIND bars, fruit, or any of these healthy snacks with you. Better safe than sorry!

3. Don’t think that you have to finish the whole thing | Yes, I know it’s manners and we’ve been taught as children to not leave anything on our plate, but don’t think like you have to finish that massive pasta bowl or whatever. Remember: restaurants usually do not serve proper portions but much larger portions. Make sure to listen to your body and STOP when you’re full.

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4. Share the good (indulgence food) | Similar to the previous point, if you want to order that dessert on the menu, don’t think you have to finish it all by yourself. Share it with someone at the table. Twice the joy, half the calories.

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5. Stretch everyday. | Flexibility is just as important than other fitness skills. And stretching is super easy to do on your hotel bed or while in your plane seat. Stretch, stretch, stretch.

6. Walk lots. | Take the long route (walking), walk up the stairs if you can. As a runner, I don’t think I’ll be able to run in Korea (insert sobbing emoji) nevertheless, make sure to just MOVE a lot.

 

BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY: Have fun!!!

What are some your healthy travel tips?

xoxo,

Stephanie