5 Apps You Should Download

Whether you want to admit it or not, we live in world where technology is very much part of our lives.

My mantra with technology is that you are in complete control of it. You have the power to turn on and turn off your phone. You have the power to put your phone hidden away from sight while working. You have the power to spend 10,000+ hours on Instagram and Facebook. On that same note, you have the power to make your phone as a tool rather than as a distraction.

Currently, (as you can probably tell from the sporadic posts over here on Avolicious) I’ve running around like a mad woman. However, some of these iPhone apps keep me sane and healthy when I frankly don’t have time to care about health or sanity when my to-do list is a million miles long.

Here are my top five apps that I can’t get enough of and some that I think are essential

 

1. iNotes//

I use this app so much and I truly appreciate all the improvements Apple has made to the iNote app for every single iOS launch. I use iNotes for my to-do list/schedule as well as my food journal.

As a Type-A person and someone who has to do a lot of things, be at a lot of places, and remember a gazillion more things, I rely on an hour-by-hour schedule to keep me on track. I usually create this schedule right before I go to bed in preparation for the next day. I can definitely do a separate post about how I create my schedule because there is nothing worse than knowing that you’ve ruined your schedule by getting behind.

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I’ve also shifted away from MyFitnessPal toward using a food journal. One of my main reasons from deleting MyFitnessPal was that the app objectives food. Whether it’s an avocado or a bag of chips, they are both 200 calories. MyFitnessPal also doesn’t account for your feelings – whether you’ve been happy all day surrounded with loving family and friends or that you’ve been discouraged by a series of bad grades or meetings. With the food journal on the other hand, food has become much more personal. Let me know in the comments if you like to see a separate post on this! I could spend days talking about the importance of having an holistic approach to food rather than a caloric one.

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*I meant “You are EATING way too much” at the very bottom*

 

2. Prescription Check by Warby Parker// 

This summer was quite a whirlwind for me in terms of eye sight. My left and right eyes are completely opposites in the sense that my left eye has horrible prescription while my right eye has near perfect vision. I kind of lived with these eyes with the occasional head aches here and there, but I managed to survive.  However, this summer, I got severe migraines, almost three every day.

Upon going to the eye doctor, I realized that my reading glass dosage was way off and that I should get contacts. After learning this summer that taking care of my eyes is super important, I was so excited when I found out Warby Parker’s new app allows an eye doctor to assess your vision and provide an updated glasses prescription.

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It’s literally like you’re talking to an eye doctor! The replies come back very quickly!

Check out this link to see an intro video for the app: https://www.warbyparker.com/prescription-check-app

 

3. Flo/

This is by far one of the best period tracking apps on the app store. When I first started my period, I had really irregular cycles so I needed an app that both logged dates but logged other factors like mood swings, increase in appetite, the hours of sleep I’ve been getting, any headaches and acne appearances. I love how the app looks at your period as a holistic process rather than simply the number of days you have your period.

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4. Minimalist// 

This is great productivity app. It follows the Pomodoro Method (25 min work and 5 min work cycle) and motivates you to stop reaching for your phone.

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Whenever you reach for your phone while in your work session, it vibrates and pauses the timer until you set your phone down again. I recommended this app to Serena during our exam week last spring and she is hooked on it as well!

5. Apple Health App// 

I’ve been using this health app since it first came out. I can never justify myself in buying a FitBit or wearable tracker so I resort to my phone instead. Besides, I have my phone with me pretty much 24/7, so the data on the health app is a pretty accurate representation.

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What are some of your favorite apps?

xoxo,

Stephanie

Small Change, Big Gain

A couple of weeks ago, I shared my Tried & True Wellness Tips over on the blog. The central idea of that post was that while these tips are not life-changing, consistent practice and application of them will produce great results.

To be honest, this has been my mantra ever since I naively lost 40 lbs. in the course of two months and then gained it back again. I realized the importance of sustainable healthy practices, not extreme ones. Here is one of favorite posts that talk about this small change, big gain theme: How small steps (literally) can change your life

So you can imagine my excitement when Elysium Health included my advice in a graphic they created with this same theme! I’ve been perusing their website recently and I love reading their research and mission. They’ve also released an NAD+ supplement called Basis—it’s some really interesting stuff.

I loved the graphic so much that I decided to share it on the blog!

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Aren’t these great tips?

Hope you can use these small tips to create a big gain in your week!

What small change are you going to implement this week?

xoxo,

Stephanie

Thank you for Elysium Health for creating this awesome graphic.

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

How small steps (literally) can change your life

In this fast-paced world of instant access, it’s perfectly normal that we want change fast. Changes such as losing weight, eating healthier, and being more active. Things I talk about here in avolicious a lot.

We’ve all heard the phrase “Take a leap of faith.” Well actually don’t. I was to be honest tempted to title this post as “Don’t take that leap of faith”

Let me explain.

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Just like taking the stairs. One step at a time.

I took a huge leap of faith, a leap that looking back I realize was completely uneducated and made in blindness. That leap was in the faith that I would become skinner. I don’t what got into that eighth-grade self me. Looking through the pictures now, I was perfectly fine! But at that moment, I felt large. I felt big. I felt like I was that “fat friend” amidst my friend group. Nobody pressured me or treated me differently to lose weight. In fact, it was completely my decision.

I can’t completely say that I regret this decision, as this leap let me become so passionate about proper nutrition and fervent on redefining what “healthy” means to me (which you can read here).  However, if I was given the choice and go back in time, I would choose not to go through this arduous journey.

This leap of faith made me restrict myself to consuming a mere 1,200 calories and running an average of 3 miles daily in the scorching sun. Roughly calculating it, I probably lived off of 500-800 calories. In a matter of 3 months, I lost 20 pounds. But most importantly and significantly, I lost my self-esteem and self-confidence which still affects me today.

Yes, that big leap of faith allowed me to get quick results FAST. I was so proud and pleased with my appearance. I was able to fit into those skinny jeans, no problem. I had a thigh gap. I had a flat stomach. I finally looked like those girls on Instagram.

But I was completely miserable. My day was dictated merely on numbers – the number on the scale, the number of calories I ate that MyFitnessPal app told me, the number of miles I ran that day, the number on the size tag of my clothes. These numbers consumed my life and let me tell you, I felt so powerless. I was in such control of my eating, yet I felt so out of control in my life (it’s a hard feeling to describe but I’m sure a lot of those who’ve gone through ED or experiencing one right now can attest to this).

But fast-forward two years now, I am a much better relationship with food now. I don’t necessarily think that I am fully recovered. I still have a long way to go.

But I have made progress.

And through my experience, I can say that I’ve had successful progress when I took small steps.

Small and baby steps.

Give you an example? I’ve been straying away a bit from running these days. I used to love running the past, but these days I dread just thinking of the mileage and the prospect of running. Instead, I’ve been doing so much walking.

I’m a Type A gal so I love keeping track of things. I’ve been recently logging my steps into the Health app on my iPhone. I’ve been average 10,000+ steps daily!

I wake up at 6:30am when the weather is actually bearable and take a 30-40 minute power walk. This gets me to about 4,000 steps. Later in the evening, I take a 60-75 minute walk with my parents after dinner. This second walk allows me to get up to 10,000-12,000 steps.

And the best part? I get to enjoy being active. I sincerely do get excited about the prospect of walking in the morning and after dinner. While yes, walking necessarily may not burn as much calories, I am able to do it more consistently and with a glad heart.

And to be honest, all I’m going for is to develop a sustainable, maintainable, and happy lifestyle. Nothing too extreme – on both sides of the spectrum. Doing things that I enjoy, eating things that I enjoy, and most importantly, enjoying the body that I was born with.

So I challenge you: instead of making your goal to go to the gym for an hour everyday, or go cold turkey tomorrow, pick ONE change and stick with it.

Have you tried taking baby steps?

xoxo,

Stephanie

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

What are you hungry for? It might not be food

I have a lot of things that I’m not especially proud about. However, there is particularly one big problem that I want to fix because it’s bad for both my physical and mental health.

This big problem is my stress-eating.

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Literally me…no joke 

Especially during the final season, my eating habits just crumble. I gravitate towards sweet, oily, savory foods that I know should only be eaten as indulgences, but soon become regulars. It’s a vicious cycle – I surrender to stress eat, then when I come back home for break, I get mad at myself for stress eating from all the weight I gained. And then I try to lose some of the weight while I’m back home, but because I get so easily stressed, I easily gain all that weight back.

However, I realized that when I was stress-eating, I was stress-eating because I was trying to cope with my stress. But I was trying to cope with my stress by eating – and eating too much and eating not well. Other people cope with stress and challenging emotions in different ways. Some through drinking, some through exercising (I wish right?), some through getting cranky and venting their anger at their friends, some through shopping (aka retail therapy). It just happens to me that I cope with stress through food.

It might be because I had so much control over food when I had my eating disorder. During those (miserable and dark) days, I religiously counted every morsel and calories. 1,200 calories to be exact. I exercised every day or else I felt guilty. And when I mean exercise, it was mostly running and cardio as I was worried I would “bulk up.” I had so much control over my food and my exercise.

But once I realized that I couldn’t live like this through a number of events and close family and friends, I suddenly lost all that control. I ate so much. I gained back the weight I lost and then some more. I continually kept on eating because I had restricted my body for so long.

So maybe it’s because of this history and background that when I undergo stress or unwelcome feelings, when I feel like I’ve lost control of my day and my life, I continue to lose control by eating.

But this is bad. And I’m not proud of it.

These days, as I’m studying for SATs (as that is the high school life haha), my mind often times wander and starts craving food. But I stop myself and think:

“Stephanie, what do you really want?”

“I want food.”

“Are you sure? But you’re not hungry…”

“I just want something else to do. Something else other than studying. I’m getting so bored just studying so I want to do something else. And that something else is food.”

That’s the key. It’s not that I want to eat because I’m hungry. I want to eat because currently, at the present, I don’t want to do the thing I’m doing. I want to go away from it. I want to take a little breather, a little break, go away from studying. But guess what? As soon as I’m done eating, studying is going to be still there.

Or sometimes, I want to eat because I’m tired. So when I really need to sleep and relax, I want to eat.

While I haven’t figured out the magical key to stop stress eating, I’ve realized that it’s so important to LISTEN to your body. It takes lots of practice. But when your mind wants to eat, wants to do _____, stop and ask yourself: what do you really want right now?

Your body is your temple. If you don’t listen and respect it, nobody else will.

So what are you hungry for? Comfort? A place to hide? Something enjoyable?

Well you can find this without having to eat food. You can find comfort by hugging a close family or friend and telling them your current mood and thoughts. Need a place to hide? I find that a lot of times when I’m in this situation, I like to listen to my favorite music and take an hour long nap. Just to take a break and a breather from life. Something enjoyable? Go watch some YouTube videos, go hang out with friends, go do what you actually enjoy!

What are you hungry for?

xoxo,

Stephanie

How I Get It All Done

I’m known by many to be a Type-A, workaholic, and perfectionist. There are pros and cons to this. The pros are that I get everything that I say I’m going to do, done. The cons are that it’s not necessarily “healthy.”

Having a healthy lifestyle not only means eating healthy, being active, and maintaining your body such as your eyes, but it also means having a manageable schedule and workload, having that balance.

Here are a few of my tips on how I get it all done, without sacrificing my health and happiness.

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ONE// Prioritize

This is so important. There are a million and one things to do and to be real with you, we’re just not going to have enough time for that.

Rather than being pulled in so many directions, choose a handful of things that are truly important to you and that is worth investing your energy into. To give you a sense, my priorities are: school work, friends, family, health, Avolicious, my faith.

If some work pops up that involves these categories, then I’m willing to stay up later, sacrifice my sleep time and get it done. If the work does not involve these categories, I’ll either put it off to the side to work on it later, OR I’ll say no.

This is said so so so many times, but saying NO is okay. Period. No questions.

Keep your important categories in mind and as you create your schedule/to-do list, make sure those categories are on the top of that list.

 

TWO// Nourish

As much as hangry (hungry + angry) exists, losing focus when hungry is very much a real thing (do we have a term for this?). I tend to always lose focus when I’m hungry. This is perfectly normal because rather than using our energy to focus on our work, because we have no energy, we can’t focus. The key is that the snacks you eat should help you study and work longer. They shouldn’t drift you away from studying because of their absurd sugar content or some weird chemical ingredient.

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The easiest snacks that are both healthy and convenient to carry around are granola bars. My recent favorites are the GoMacro bars. GoMacro bars provide organic, plant-powered and wholesome nutrition  – a perfect combination for a little pick me up at around that 3pm/4pm time.

I love stashing these in my backpack during school or even in the summer, when I’m going out and about doing internships and volunteer work.

THREE// 120% Focus

I live by the mantra, “Work hard, Play Hard.” And working hard for me not only means putting in the time, the hours to work, but to be ultra-efficient while doing so. Making sure the concentration between the effort and time is the highest it can be.

Completely hone in on your work. No other thoughts. Put away your distractions, including music. Go all in.

You’ll find that when you have a 120% focus you get much more work done in less time, meaning you get more time to relax and play hard.

FOUR// My non-negotiables

With these three tips above, I get my non-negotiables accomplished. My non-negotiables are: sleeping at least 6+ hours every day, eating healthy (eating at least one meal where it is non-meat and green), and at least 1-2 hours of relaxing and play time.

How to you get everything done (in a healthy way)?

xoxo,

Stephanie

 

 

Taking Care of Your Eyes

As much as Serena and I devote much of Avolicious to nutrition and health (and of course body image ramblings by me), I don’t think we’ve talked much about taking care of our skin, our hair, our teeth, and our eyes. I’m planning to do a summer series talking about these sort of basics because I don’t think we hear these enough.

First up, our eyes. I’m not old by any means (still a high schooler), but as I grow older I do realize how much more care and attention I have to put towards my eyes than when I was an elementary school kid.

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Especially as a student, I’m constantly looking at something. The minute I wake up, I look at my iPhone because my iPhone is my alarm. I scroll through Instagram, check my Snaps, look at the news. Throughout the day, I’m either studying or on my phone. For only a couple of hours am I exercising, eating, hanging out with friends (and let’s be real, sometimes even with friends we’re looking at our phones) and sleeping.

So as the kick-off post for this series, here are a few of my tips and advices about taking care of your eyes.

ONE// Nourish

Yes, yes, yes, I’m still going to be talking about the importance of eating healthy. A lot of people (including myself) are jealous at those people who are naturally skinny (cough cough Serena ;)). No matter how much they eat, they don’t gain a pound. However, as much as there is to be jealous about those people, the real people to be jealous about are those who are healthy. Now, I know I discussed the nuances of healthy on the blog previously, but in this context, healthy is good. Having healthy and strong eyes is important. No questions about that. In order to have healthy eyes, you need to nourish your eyes with good food.

While of course mineral-rich vegetables and fruits are a definite no-brainer here are few foods known to be especially good for healthy eyes:

  • carrots
  • eggs
  • blueberries
  • almonds
  • fatty fish (salmon, mackerel)
  • oranges

TWO// Get proper eyewear – eyeglasses and sunglasses

This is probably a no-brainer. Even those who take high-maintenance of their eyes, we’re bound to wear prescription eyeglasses or lenses. Make sure to go get your eyes checked once a year if possible or once every other year at the latest. Listen to your body and see if you have any headaches (as that could be due to wrong prescription). Make sure to get glasses that are light. While chic and stylish glasses are great, you want to make sure they’re light enough so they don’t weigh you down.

Especially in the summer, but also in the winter, make sure to wear sunglasses. It’s hard to get in the habit, but once you start wearing sunglasses, it’ll become a lot easier to wear them consistently.

In need of new eyeglasses and sunglasses? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. I’ve recently been obsessed with an eyewear company called Warby Parker. Go and take a look and you’ll be amazed at their amazing selection of eyeglasses and sunglasses. What’s great is that Warby Parker has a Home Try-On system where you can try on 5 pairs for 5 days for FREE!

So you can imagine my sheer excitement when Warby Parker asked us to help share the news that they just launched a limited edition Sculpted Series. These new frames are handcrafted in Italy made from premium acetate. If you’re unsure of how these new frames will look, then use the Home Try-On system!

I mean what’s not to love? Whatever frames you choose, you can’t go wrong! They are all so gorgeous!

THREE// Look away from the screen

Like seriously. With the advent of iPhones, iPads, and etc, we are on our screens too much. Make a conscious effort to take a breather and unplug. Yes, there are instances where we have to be on our phones (studying, business emails etc) but sometimes, it’s unnecessary.

Try to have a check-out time for your phone at night. For example, after 10pm, you can’t go on your phone except for emergencies. Meet up with your friends face-to-face rather than texting or calling. Meeting someone in-person makes a huge difference in how much commitment you have towards that friendship. Taking a complete unplug day once a month, or once a week if daring.

Or even simply distancing yourself a bit more than usual from your computer screen. I remember as a kid my mom would always make me read my book by having my arms straight in front of me.

So there you have it, some tips and (long) advice on how to take care of your eyes!

Make sure to wear your sunglasses when out and about this summer and look away from the screen from time to time!

How do you take care of your eyes? 

xoxo,

Stephanie

You know what’s good for the soul? — JOURNALING

As much as Avolicious is about keeping your physical body healthy and happy, I think discussing our mental body is just as important.

I’ve been keeping a diary ever since I was little. My parents, ever since I started to write, have armed with journal and pencil to write in my diary. Now of course, back in those days, it was just a way for me to practice my handwriting. During elementary and to be honest, early middle school, I didn’t write in my diary at all.

However, I started writing in my diary (I call it now journaling instead) at the middle/end of eighth grade.

And let me tell you, journaling has been so therapeutic to me. Being able to write down all your worries, concerns, thoughts, epiphanies, reflections is such a powerful way to cleanse your mind but to also get some organization and clarity in your life. Seeing your thoughts that used to be jumbled up in your head all laid down on paper refreshes you in ways that only you can experience if you actually do it.

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Here are a few of my tips for you to start journaling:

 

ONE// Don’t force it

There are definitely days when you can write a whole novel in your journal. But then there are days when you just don’t feel like journaling. Especially when I was in a funk in the beginning this summer, I really had no energy to journal.

I think the problem that I faced in elementary school that led me to quit journaling was that it became a burden. The burden of having to journal everyday. And for some reason or another, the human mind, when something becomes a burden, we have less of an urge to actually do it.

So my number one tip for you, is to don’t force it. Journaling works the best when everything just flows out. You want those thoughts and feelings that you are journaling to be in its purest and rawest form. Don’t force it. Period.

 

TWO// Pick a journal and a few pens that you’ll enjoy writing in

Maybe it’s because I’m a stationery junkie, but writing in a great journal with a smooth pen makes all the difference for me. Yes, it’s expensive, but think of it as buying high-end fitness gear. A lot of people who buy Lululemon for their exercise clothes always justify that at the end, they wear their Lululemon clothes the longest and that Lululemon pieces actually motivate them to go to the gym. In the same regard, your journal and pen are going to influence whether you feel motivated or not.

My current favorite is a 0.38 black MUJI pen (yes, I am that picky) and a Moleskine.

 

THREE// There are no rules in journaling

This is another important advice. There are no right’s and no wrong’s in journaling. Whatever feels right to you, is correct. Sometimes I just full on rant. With no paragraph breaks, I just fill up the whole page. Other times, I draw or do bullet points.

Sometimes even, I’m not even journaling. I lay out my goals, my schedule for the coming days, my eating log – my journal becomes my everything and anything. The dumbest thing to do when you start journaling is to be so careful and so wary about writing something “wrong” that you never get into the joy of journaling.

 

So there you have it! If you have any more questions in journaling, while I am by no means am I an expert, please email/comment me!

Have you journaled before?

xoxo,

Stephanie

Learning from Travel part 2

Yesterday’s blog post centered around why I think Japan is known to be such a healthy country from my visit to Japan.

Today’s post is centered around something more personal. If you have been sticking along on the blog for awhile now, you probably know that I, Stephanie, struggling with body image and self-love. As discussed in many posts previous, I am slowly and slowly inching myself to complete freedom. I’m still far but I’m not giving up.

Nevertheless, I’ve been able to make huge steps through my trip to Japan. Who knew that travel was also good for the struggling-with-self-love-and-body-image soul!

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Going to a completely new school where the majority of the student body and teachers spoke Japanese (a language I had no experience in), wearing a uniform, as a complete foreigner was terrifying. Again, as someone who struggled/struggles with body image and self-love on the first couple of days, I was extremely self-conscious about my body. I wanted to appear as thin as possible because a) the uniform was mercilessly unflattering and b) I knew that Japanese people were slim and I didn’t want to be an outsider already from appearance.

But what I was surprised was how much my host’s friends and classmates just didn’t care. Period. It’s hard to describe in writing or even through speaking, but you just know and you just feel it when people are #highkeyjudging.

But I felt none of that. I remember on my last day, all my new friends were saying how much they were going to miss my smile, my sweet demeanor, and my genuine curiosity in Japanese culture. And I believe them. Not once did I feel someone “scanning” me or having that judge-y face or feeling. They truly treated me as just me. As they only saw my inside and never the outside. (Now, important disclaimer: I never ever want any of my readers to think that being larger should be a social hinderance. NO. It’s just that in my own personal thoughts, as an individual, as Stephanie Yoon, I have always had that unhealthy and incorrect idea that thinner is better. Again, I’m still working on switching that attitude.)

I was so struck by this. I don’t know why, but I never felt this much sincerity of actually valuing what you have on the inside than the outside. It’s a sad reality I know. I’m someone who is very hard on myself and felt like only a handful of my close family and friends really valued me from the inside. So this experience in Japan was powerful.

And with this experience, I’ve been able to change as well, for the better. I’ve been able to really treat and value and only consider the inside of my family and friends. As much as I’m hard on myself, I am quite judge-y. It’s definitely something that I’m not proud of but is quite true. However, ever since I’ve been treated differently, I’ve been influenced to treat other differently too.

So with travel, I have first-handed experienced that what matters is NOT on the outside but on the INSIDE.

Do you 120% believe that what matters is on the INSIDE?

xoxo,

Stephanie