Thursday, March 22, 2018

sessions with lesley.

I just wanted to share with you guys a few of my favorite photos with Lesley Anderson.

This series is inspired by just wandering the city and exploring new places. It was lightly slowing this day which I love because cloudy skies mean beautiful soft photos.
All taken in South End Boston. Thank you Cynthia for inspiring me with photography.  

Saturday, March 10, 2018

my first facial ft. derosa clinic

I have always been an advocate for skincare and did my fair share of research but something I have never done is go see a professional about my skin and putting the care of my skin in someone else's hands. Growing up (anyone who knew me in high school) I had awful cystic acne. I was young and didn't understand how hormones or skincare worked so I bought whatever sounded promising. From age 13-18 I kept trying different brands and nothing ever really helped. Growing up I did more research, took care of my health, and drank more water. I can honestly say that my skin is better than before! However, why not take the extra initiative and go to a professional? 

Where did I go? Derosa Clinic on Newbury street in Boston, Massachusetts.

Who was my specialist? Master Aesthetician Steven Giannetta

First off can I just say how stunning this clinic is? When you enter the clinic is so modern, clean and beautiful. The staff is amazing and everyone is so kind. My wait was short and upon checking in you are asked to fill out a brief informational survey so that they can better assist your skin needs.

Steven started off with a gentle cleansing and topical exfoliant of my skin in order to prepare it for the actual treatment. He then used a device called a high frequency "zapping" in order to kill any sort of bacteria on the skin surface and to speed up the healing of any small breakouts I previously had. He then prepared my skin with a "degreasing" solution to prep the skin for dermaplaning so that he could have a smooth dry surface to work on.

He then used a small tool that allowed for the removal of any dead, dehydrated skin cells, vellus hair or "peach fuzz" this can trap dirt, oil, and bacteria on the skin surface. This gentle means of exfoliation allows skin care products to work more effectively and allows makeup to glide onto the skin surface for a flawless finish.

He proceeded to use a chemical exfoliant which removed any residual dead skin, tightens pores, lightens hyperpigmentation, heals acne, provides a brighter and more glowing skin. Finally finishing the treatment with a hydrating serum, day moisturizer and of course a physical based sunscreen.
Products used are from EltaMD: Barrier Renewal Complex (Ceramide and Enzyme Therapy), AM/PM Therapy Facial Moisterizer, and UV Elements Broad-Spectrum SPF 44 Oil Free SunScreen (tinted).

Photo taken under natural light.

 I naturally have those freckly like spots on my face from sun damage as a kid for not ever wearing sunscreen on my face. I also have my eyebrows microbladed (2 years ago) and eyelash extensions. Other than that I have zero make-up on! I just have a thick layer of moisterizer and sunscreen on. Also my photos are somewhat dark because I took these photos when I got home from work. I wanted to make sure I got photos the same day as my facial to show you all the immediate results. 

Photo taken with beauty light.

Can I just say I love how naturally glowing my skin feels and looks? I had incredibly dark circles and dry cracking skin prior to my appointment (I didn't think to take a before photo I am so sorry) I am so happy with my experience. This location is incredibly convenient (train accessible), appointment times are very accommodating, punctual, relaxing atmosphere, modern ambience, and a knowledgable staff.

Thanks again Derosa Clinic for my amazing facial! xx

Sunday, March 4, 2018

fitness guide: legs, butt, and abs

Fitness has always been a rocky road for me. I stopped being active and caring in college and it was such a difficult journey getting more serious into fitness as well as educating myself on fitness. However, having someone to work with you is the greatest motivation ever. I have worked long and hard with one of my closest friends + gymbae Fiona to come up with this guide. We have both done so much research to come up with a work out routine that actually works for us. We generally stay for 2~3 hours on our long gym days to complete this.

It may not be ideal for everyone but with our body type and goals this was what we wanted most to target our lower body, tone legs, build a butt and work on our core. For arms and upper body I will be coming up with another workout plan for that in the near future.

First off we usually run for 1 mile or if that's too much run at a constant pace (at your comfortable speed) for 10 minutes. I know most people stretch first but I have found that running on 5-6 speed at 1~1.5 incline on the treadmill for at least 1 mile (or 10 minutes if 1 mile is too much) has helped me warm up and activate so many muscles. I generally go to the gym in the mornings so that morning run first thing really helps me wake up. Also a 10 minute run a day really helps blast away fats!

After my run I always stretch and roll out my black and legs straight after. Rolling is so important to me because it has significantly improved my posture and helped me work on my back. I like to also use the roller to roll out my legs. I like to roll my back an legs for roughly 2 minutes. Then comes stretching! Some basic ones I love doing are: lunges on both legs for 30 seconds each side (do your best to hold the form and really activate those muscles), toe touches on each leg (do your best to stand straight and do not bend your knees when stretching/touching your toes), sitting down in the butterfly position and pulling your legs in as close as possible and holding it for at least 30 seconds.

After stretching we'll usually do our stair master squat jump and kickbacks workout. (5 minutes only it burns) we do this every other workout. Although I only use the stair master for 5 minutes. These are the worst 5 minutes ever. Set the speed to 5-8 depending on what you are comfortable with. You want to skip a step each time you do a kick back, basically as you step up skip one step kick back and go for the next and repeat. This really helps work your legs and activate glutes. Keep this going. There are two marks where you stop. Once at 1:30 min and once again at 3:30 min. At those times you'll actually go into the squat position and do your best to hop on the steps instead of just walking up those steps. This sounds so much easier than it actually is. When you hop you want to also skip a step. I usually try to do this for 30 seconds but if you cant just try to do at least 5+ jumps before returning to just walking on the stairs.

Cables are our most favorite workout. This is the one thing we never skip. Try to do 20 reps each leg and 3 sets. I like to set my weight to 20~25lbs. Set it to whatever feels comfortable to you to ensure that you are able to do at least 15-20 butt kicks on each side. For some reason this one gets me sweating the most and works out your glutes, legs and surprisingly your back as well. 

Using cables again we usually attach the rope and set the weight to roughly 38~40 lbs depending on what's available at your gym. Each time you pull through squeeze your glutes and keep your back straight. I have found that this is an excellent workout for your back and glutes. We generally do 30reps and 3 sets total. Combining this with the cable kick backs makes an awesome power set.

35lbs on each side, 15 lunges per leg, 3 sets total. If you are just starting off try using 10~15lb weights on each side instead of 35lb. I just worked my way to 35lbs over time and that is what I am comfortable with now. Once you are comfortable with 15lbs on each side try going to 25lbs and so on. The goal is to have more reps in order to burn more fat. Set the weight to however much you feel comfortable doing at least 15 lunges on each leg. I feel that doing this helps tone my legs so much and really helps me feel those activated glutes (especially doing this after the cable butt kicks).

I alternate between assisted and unassisted depending on which gym I'm at. Try doing at least 3-4 reps. I am still really new to squats because I have never been to a gym that even had free weights until early this year/end of last year. I started off working on my form first. Legs spread a part and toes pointed outwards and shifting all of the weights onto my heels, not toes (for safety reasons). You want to also keep your back straight and not hunched and finding the spot for where the bar rests takes time for you to know what is most comfortable for you. I like to squat 10-15 reps with just the bar if I am using unassisted weights since the bar itself is already 45lbs. It is a great warm up. After that I'll slowly add on weights. Since I am still new and training on this I just go in increments of 5-10lbs. So after squatting the unassisted I would add on 15lbs on each side (making it 75lbs) and squatting at least 10-15 times. After that set I'll go up to 25lbs on each side (95lbs total) and trying to do 8-10 squats. Squatting is amazing and doesn't just work out your legs and butt but really helps you with your core whereas squatting with the assisted just help me work on my lower body alone not too much my core.

Hip thrusters using 25/25 lbs weights + cushion to protect your hips (35-40 reps and 4 sets).
Oh my god hip thrusters are amazing and our new favorite. Fiona came up with this one and we have somewhat modified it to really activate your glutes. Grab a bar (45lbs) and grab 2x 25lbs free weights. I like to fold up a yoga mat and place it between my hips and the bar so that I don't get bruised the next day or anything, also for comfort. You want to support your back on something just like I have here and do at least 30-40 thrusts. By your last one you want to hold it up in the air and feel that burn! Hold it for as long as you can.

Glute workout using the hydraulic outer thigh machine. You wantto set the weight at roughly 100~110lbs. I only like using the outer thigh machine and not the inner thigh because I am working on building my hips/fixing those hip dips and I do not want to grow too much of my inner thigh. I recommend setting the weight to a lower one where you feel comfortable doing more reps. It's important to do low weight and high rep. I generally set my weight at 110lbs and do 30 reps and 3 sets. Your butt will be on fire!

We like to always squeeze in a quick ab workout with3 sets (we consider these our HIIT workout). First of we start with TRX crunches (as shown in the photo) 30 reps as fast as you can. You can really feel the burn from this. Then we move onto Russian twists using 10 lbs dumbbell 30 on each side, and lastly scissors 15 total (counting extremely slowly).

Lastly, we like to end out workouts with a long walk high incline set at 10 incline 3.5~3.8 speed for roughly 20-30 minutes. I love just walking at high incline at the end of my workout because it's a great cool down yet you are still toning your body from the incline.

Supplements that I am currently taking are by Women's Best BCAAs in Iced Peach Tea  before and during my workouts. Immediately after my workouts I'll make a shake with one scoop of Women's Best Whey Protein and 2 scoops of Women's Best Slim Body Shake. I get so hungry after workouts so the extra carbs form the slim body shake really help me get my energy back. Oh also, a lot of water! Want to try out Women's Best supplements? Get 15% off with discount code "fitandhealthy15"
Outfit details: top/bra lululemon & leggings saski collection

I hope this guide helps! I'll have another one for upper body (arms/back/abs) later on!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

non dairy-matcha latte.

I have been spending way too much money on Starbucks lately (not that it's bad to get starbucks) but I should only treat myself once in a while. There's always that extra costs at Starbucks as well for non dairy alternatives. Me being lactose intolerant sucks because I love dairy everything. I mean it still doesn't stop me from having dairy products (it just really hurts). I found my solution! I recently fell in love with the taste of vanilla soymilk with matcha. So why not make myself a matcha latte? Here's the simple recipe/instructions:
— 1 cup organic vanilla soy milk (mine is from trader joe's)
— 1 teaspoon matcha tea powder 
— 1 tablespoon honey (optional)


— Serving hot? Simmer 1 cup of the soy milk on medium-high heat. If you'd like it cold skip this step.
— Add the teaspoon of matcha powder to your cup first.
— Then slowly pour in the soy milk in and whisk the matcha into the milk.
— Add one tablespoon of honey for sweetness and mix well (I only do this for the hot latte). 
— Then enjoy! For iced matcha latte I do enjoy adding in some ice cubes as well.

Thank you Jade Leaf for the delicious matcha!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

eyelash extensions + lash love.

First post of 2018! For those of you who know me know that I generally don't blog much unless I have something amazing I want to share. Well here we are. Eyelash extensions. I never thought I would get them but my bff Celine has been living the lash extension life for so long so it was about time I got on board. 

I generally wear makeup on a daily basis, but to work I usually just slap on foundation, concealer and mascara. On the days I go out with friends or just out I need my eyes to stand out (yes because they're small and awkward shaped) so I cake on some eye shadow and some cat eye winged eyeliner + maybe double stacked falsies. I love make up, especially lashes because it makes you feel & look alive. 

Alright lets get down to business.

Where did I go? RISE Beauty Studio Co. based in Boston, Massachusetts. 

Who was your stylist? The amazing master lash stylist Gladys

Why did I decide to go for it?
I wear falsies so often on top of my mascara so why not just wake up with some fluffy and curled lashes?! With a little bit of budgeting I'm sold. I'm just so busy with work + school this is a great way to make me look more alive and spend less time trying to get ready. 

How much is it? Their prices start at only $50 and goes up depending on lash technician level and what type of lashes you want. 

How long did it take? I got the Volume Quickie by a Master lash stylist which took roughly 75 minutes. 

Sorry about my image quality! I have been taking all of my photos on my iPhone because I broke my tripod for my main camera. But look at those lashes done so quickly! But onto post care and how long they last. When I do wear eye makeup I wear A LOT so I needed something to clean my eyes without ruining my lashes. I use Bella Lash's Deep Cleanser sold by RISE. It was recommended by one of the artists so I didn't even hesitate to grab one. It lasts so long and you really don't need much to clean your eyes. 

How long do they last? 
Pretty long! I got my first set from RISE back in December and when I got them done again the second week of January there was still a few lashes on! With my current volume set it's been a full week and I don't even recall any of them falling out yet. But honestly I would say 2-4 weeks (some people 5 weeks). But that's why there's refills right?

Are they easy to take care of? 
I am someone who has a bad habit of rubbing my eyes so having these babies made me more conscious of that. Don't rub your eyes, don't sleep on your face, don't get them wet within the first 24 hours, and brush them often! So easy and worth saving time in the morning getting ready. 

Overall experience? 
WORTH IT. Me being someone with naturally boring small, narrow eyes and straight lashes, these babies give me so much life and confidence. I would highly recommend this to anyone who is like me and is lazy but needs lashes, or if you are going on vacation and don't want to deal with worrying about lashes, or if you just want that extra lash fluff.

Thanks so much Rise Beauty Studio Co. for my lashes! 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

health + fitness journey

I'm going to dedicate this post to my health + fitness journey and progress. This has definitely been one of the hardest journeys for me. I was athletic my entire life from age 5-17 playing soccer, running cross country and track and field. But when I went to college, those four years was me overeating, not balancing my diet, eating out every other day, and never exercising. By the time I finished college I had very little muscle and weighed about 145 lbs. I probably hit 155 lbs at one point but I honestly never weighed myself too much. 

I have really never labeled myself as fat or anything. I know I wasn't. I just hated how much muscle mass and endurance I lost and that although I was still average weight I didn't like the jiggling my body did. I wanted to feel strong again, I wanted to be toned, and I wanted to be confident about my body. It was a long journey with a lot of trial and error. But I think after 2 years I am very happy with my progress and I have found what worked best for me.

First off I only started using fitness supplements this year. I have been using Women's Best products for all of my weight loss and training. I started off with their slim body shake two times a day for protein and to prevent me from snacking. I only did this for a full week to get my body use to the shakes and shed a few pounds. It is technically a meal replacement but I found that it really just boosts my metabolism. I would get hungry a few hours after finishing a shake. I would drink one of these for breakfast or lunch and replace one of those meals. Now I drink whey protein or have some BCAAs before/during my workouts. I generally eat a very large breakfast and dinner so cutting out a large lunch with the shake made all of the difference. Also I have noticed drinking the protein shake that my snacking urges were close to gone. Stress eating from work and school was always my areas of weakness.

For the fitness portion I generally did my workouts at home. I religiously follow so many fitness guru's online including Chloe Ting, Robin Gallant, Whitney Simmons, and so much more. I could play it on my phone or laptop anywhere I went. I made a strict workout program for myself to do at least 2-3 gym days a week and 1 at home work out. I am thankful to have friends within the fitness industry so now I am not so clueless at the gym and youtube has saved me for at home workouts.

I would do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts at the end of each small workout. These are great for those with time limitations. I made it a habit to run at least twice a week at least 2 miles (cardio's great for fat loss). Gymming with friends has made all the difference for me. My real progress came when I started gymming with my friend Fiona. Having that extra someone always helps motivate and push you further. On average I would do these 2-5 times a week (depending on my school/work schedule). Aside from the protein shakes I would fill my bottle shaker with some BCAAs for when I don't have a protein shake. They're just your aminos/carbs to help with exercise and helps you with soreness.

I think the heaviest I weighed was around 150 lbs. As of last week I am about 120 lbs now. I am happy with the weight loss but now that I've been more focused on actually training harder to gain endurance. I am expecting my weight to increase due to muscle mass. Overall this experience has helped me mentally and physically improve.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

the girls that get it.

I haven't really been able to follow any trends these past few years. Those of you who know me know that my wardrobe consists of gym-wear and work clothes only. I haven't been able to splurge on any fashionable pieces in a while. I came across Are You Am I, based in my hometown in Los Angeles and I was sold.

"Easy to wear. Easy to style. Easy to combine. Perfect for any occasion and every casual moment in between."

top: ling top black size small
bottom: easy jean dark wash size small 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

acai bowl ft. women's best

With new workout routines and eating habits, sometimes you want something light to fuel your energy for the long week. I've been working on getting my daily dose of proteins and vitamins. Women's Best.

I used:

- 200ml vanilla soymilk (I get mine from Trader Joe's)
- 2 tbsp of acai powder from Women's Best

 - 1 tsp of honey 

- 1 tbsp of chia seeds 
- 200-250g frozen berries 
-2 scoops Women's Best Vanilla slim body shake.

Blend everything up (I added a few ice cubes)!
The top with your favorite fresh fruit and some oats/granola. 

Hope you enjoy this! More coming soon!