There’s nothing more important than our good health – that’s our principal capital asset.

Arlen Specter, American lawyer, politician (1930-2012)

+amp+

Good music is good music.

Gretchen Wilson, American country music artist (1973-present)

Everyday I go to the gym, I wonder what people listen to while they workout.  Obviously not everyone listens to music while they workout, i.e. my one friend studies on the treadmill by watching chemistry videos, but most of us are generally plugged in while we whip ourselves into shape.  Some may have their go to playlist, while others just listen to whatever’s on their phone.

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Personally, my playlist(s) changes depending on my mood.  There are days when I just want to listen to the old songs on my phone, while on other days, I will listen to a set of playlists targeted for certain workouts.

On my old songs days, some of the songs I jam to are

  • Avicii vs. Nicky Romero, I Could Be The One (Nicktim)
  • Boys Like Girls, The Great Escape
  • DJ Sammy, Heaven ft. Yanou, Do
  • Enrique Iglesias, Bailando ft. Descemer Bueno, Gente de Zona
  • G-Dragon, Black/Without You
  • Jimmy Eat World, The Middle
  • Justin Bieber, Sorry
  • Marina and the Diamonds, Blue/Forget/Froot/Primadonna
  • Phoebe Ryan, Mine (Illenium Remix)
  • Secondhand Serenade, Fall for You
  • Seven Lions x Illenium x Said the Sky, Rush Over Me ft. HALIENE
  • Shakira, La Tortura ft. Alejandro Sanz
  • We the Kings, Check Yes Juliet

On my old songs days, I basically workout to any song I have heard from the late 90s to today.  And if I’m not feeling a song while I work out, I just simply skip it and listen to the next song in the queue.

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When I’m feeling anal, I have multiple playlists that I must listen to.  These playlists are targeted for a specific workout; the cardio songs are different from my weight training songs.  I may be projecting too much, but I try to match the energy required for the workout with a respective song that will maintain that energy during the workout.  I don’t know if this is a scientifically proven thing, but personally, I feel that whenever I do this, I’m able to maximize on my productivity.

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Here are some of the songs in these playlists, separated by routine:

Walking to the gym and warm-up

  • AJR, Weak
  • Avicii, Wake Me Up
  • Daft Punk, Get Lucky ft. Pharell Williams
  • Jason Derulo, Talk Dirty ft. 2 Chainz
  • Sean Paul, Get Busy/Temperature
  • Slushii x Marshmello, Twinbow
  • Survivor, Eye of the Tiger

Cardio

  • All American Rejects, Dirty Little Secret
  • Cash Cash, Matches ft. ROZES
  • Ellie Goulding, Burn
  • Lady Gaga, Applause
  • Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Can’t Hold Us ft. Ray Dalton
  • Pitbull, Timber ft. Ke$sha
  • Sia, Cheap Thrills ft. Sean Paul
  • The Chainsmokers and Tritonal, Until You were Gone ft. Emily Warren

Weight training

  • Alan Walker, Alone/Faded/Sing Me to Sleep
  • Eminem, The Monster ft. Rihanna
  • Jennifer Lopez, On the Floor ft. Pitbull
  • Jon Bellion, All Time Low (Shew Remix)
  • Snakehips & MØ, Don’t Leave (Gryffin Remix)
  • The Chainsmokers, Roses ft. ROZES
  • will.i.am, #thatPOWER ft. Justin Bieber

Abs

  • Alan WalkerTired
  • Alexandra Stan, Mr. Saxobeat
  • David Guetta, Play Hard ft. Ne-Yo, Akon
  • Lady Gaga, Paparazzi
  • Porter Robinson & Madeon, Shelter
  • Rihanna, Diamonds
  • The Chainsmokers, All We Know ft. Phoebe Ryan

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I feel like when you work out, you can never go wrong with songs by Sean Paul, Lady Gaga, and Rihanna.  Their songs have a great combination of relevant lyrics and addictive beats that get you into the mood to move.

While I didn’t include my dance playlist, many of the songs scattered throughout my playlists have gotten inspiration from my dancing days.  Sean Paul, Usher, Britney Spears, and many more greats all have a place in my heart, as they are the original dance practice songs I would listen to when I was younger.  Just writing these names makes me want to dance as often as I used to.

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EDM songs are also a great choice to work out to because their beats usually keep you motivated throughout your workout.  Some of these choices are obvious, like Ellie Goulding’s Burn, to burn off your fat, or like The Chainsmokers and Tritonal’s Until You Were Gone, whose music video was a tribute to cardio (shoutout to soul cycle 🤗).  Other songs are there to boost your self-confidence, like Rihanna’s Diamonds and AJR’s Weak because “I’m weak, and what’s wrong with that?”, a clear tribute to my noodle arms that struggle the most during arm workouts.

xoxo,

the girl who proudly shows off her noodle arms at the gym

p.s. I compiled the songs featured in this posts into a large melting pot playlist.  Feel free to listen to these songs while you work out, and I hope they help you on your fitness journey!

 

IMAGE CREDIT: Pjatt.is

I believe there are two periods in life, one for the bike, the other for becoming active on one’s work.

Bernard Hinault, French former cyclist (1954-present)

+forever+

I love natural beauty, and I think it’s your best look, but I think makeup as an artist is so transformative.

Marina and the Diamonds, Welsh singer-songwriter (1985-present)

Something that any makeup user knows is that it doesn’t last forever.

I’m not talking about the time it takes to start smudging on your face – I’m talking about its longevity.  As much as we’d like to deny it, the truth is that makeup, like most things, has an expiration date.

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Despite spending a pretty penny on the products that you love, it’s frustrating to know that if you don’t use it within a given time frame, it’ll go bad.  However, even though we know that we should use it by a certain date, the fact that we spent so much on it deters us from tossing it – we want to use it for as long as we can.

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Most of us, myself included, have two reasons for not throwing away makeup, besides its cost.  One reason is because even if a product is expired, if it doesn’t show any adverse side effects, we convince ourselves that it’s still viable.  Another reason is that we generally don’t know when makeup expires because we don’t understand how to read the makeup expiration dates.

To this day, I still don’t know how to read the confusing combination of letters and numbers on makeup products.  Strangely, many articles, beauty shows, and YouTube clips are confusing and unclear about it because in each country, their expiration codes are different.  France won’t have the same code as South Korea does, and this discrepancy makes users reluctant to find out.

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From what I’ve experienced, as well as what is agreed by various professionals, I have compiled a longevity list for different types of makeup products.

NOTE:  Keep in mind that once you open a product, its shelf life decreases because putting your germs or letting the makeup come into contact with the air will inevitably contaminate it.  That being said, unopened makeup products do last longer, but that doesn’t mean that they last forever.
  • Basic Cleansing Products: cleansing foam, cleaning tissue, cleansing oil, etc.
    • Before opening: 30 months
    • After opening: 12 months
  • Basic Skincare Products: toner, lotion/moisturizer, eye cream, essence, sunblock, etc.
    • Before opening: 30 months
    • After opening: 12 months
  • Lipstick, Lip Gloss, Lip Tint
    • Before opening: 30 months
    • After opening: 6-18 months
  • Mascara, Eyeliner
    • Before opening: 24 months
    • After opening: 6 months
  • Powder, Compact Products
    • Before opening: 60 months
    • After opening: 36 months
  • Basic Coverage Products: Blush, Concealer, Base, Foundation, etc.
    • Before opening: 36 months
    • After opening: 12 months

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Why can’t makeup products not have expiration dates?

Every makeup brand will have a slightly different combination of chemicals and materials that go into their products, and each material will have a different longevity.  Combining these materials will create a certain use by date.  Think of prescription medication: we need to use them or toss them by its expiration date because the chemicals in the medication will start to deteriorate and turn funky past that date.  Makeup, like medication, has chemicals in it, so it will have a period when it is most effective.

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If you are still confused about how long your makeup lasts, you should consider going on a brave journey to decipher the expiration code.  Or, you can simply pop into your nearest Sephora, or beauty specialty store, to ask how long a certain product lasts.  When in doubt, ask someone, whether it’s Google, or a real person!  You don’t want to get some sort of weird skin condition because you couldn’t be bothered.

xoxo,

the girl who’s trying to use her makeup by the expiration dates

IMAGE CREDIT: Condé Nast Traveler

+leg day+

A bear, however hard he tried, grows tubby without exercise.

A. A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh (1926)

Ever since I began my new and specialized workout routine catered to my gym goals, which were briefly mentioned in +air+, my perspective on life changed.  First and foremost, I began to love Mondays because Mondays were always leg day.  I chose Monday as the designated leg day because I would start off my week with a challenging and fun workout, as opposed to arm or shoulders, which are very week – raise your hands if you have noodle arms 🙋🏻.

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As I love football (soccer in America*), and used to dance, though I’m slowly getting back into dancing again, I’m no stranger to being active on my feet.

* NOTE: even though I was born and raised in America, football has always been a sport where you kick a ball with your feet across a field to score a goal, and it’s understood internationally as such, so we as Americans should also acknowledge that what we call football is more akin to rugby or something.  I wouldn’t know, as all I know about American football is that as a New Yorker, I should support the Giants.

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However, incorporating new machines and routines to my leg day workout opened my eyes to how much room for improvement that I have.  Below is an example of a leg day routine, though it may change by week, so my muscles don’t get used to doing the same thing and stop improving

  1. Cardio: two 15-minute interval run on a treadmill on an incline with a two-minute break in between
  2. Smith Machine: three different types of squats (4 sets)
    1. No added weight: 20 reps
    2. Light weights: 15 reps
    3. Heavy weights: 12 reps
    4. No added weight: 20 reps
  3. Leg Extensions: three sets
    1. No added weight: 20 reps
    2. Light weights: 17 reps
    3. Heavy: 15 reps
  4. Seated Leg Curl: three sets (similar to leg extensions)
  5. I can’t remember the name of the machine but I do the same set routine as leg extensions
  6. Abs: three sets, minute break in between
    1. Plank – minute
    2. Crunches – 20 reps
    3. Bicycle crunches – 20 reps
    4. Leg raises – 20 reps
    5. Side crunches with a medicine ball – 20 reps on each side
  7. Cardio: rowing for fifteen minutes

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I’ve gotten questions about my use of the Smith machine because many do think that it can be useful and counterproductive, but to me, it’s a godsend.  Without a Smith machine, I can barely hold up the bar, let alone lift it, so to have the assistance when I squat is extremely helpful.  I know that I can have someone spot me constantly, but sometimes I feel self-conscious when I work out and don’t appreciate the feeling of dependence.

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Clearly, even if my goals are to tone my muscles and improve on my endurance, I still have a long way to go.  The cool thing about going to the gym is the humbling experience of realizing that you can always improve.  It may sound like a blow to your self-confidence when you see fitter people out there, but the only person you should compare yourself to is yourself.  Now I can confidently go the gym with my imperfect body because I know that I improved from a month ago, and I’m fine with that.

xoxo,

the girl who used to think running was enough

IMAGE CREDIT: Odyssey

+pockets+

Don’t forget that healing takes time.  Don’t expect to try meditation and a new skincare line and end up with perfect skin in a week.  Give yourself the gift of time and patience.  The body is a complicated, miraculous system and each body processes change in its own time.

Yancy Lael, Soulful Skincare: The Ultimate Guide to Radically Transforming Your Complexion (2016)

For as long as I can remember, every few months or so, I would develop a sty along my waterline.  It made blinking irritating because the top lid would have to touch the bump on my bottom lid.  Each time I had one, it would disappear on its own after a few days, and I would forget that I even had one.

♓️

As I got older, and started putting on makeup, the occurrences of stys didn’t increase (thankfully), but it made me remember that I had them because I wouldn’t put on makeup for the week of the stye.  However, I knew that I couldn’t live like this anymore, not because of the inconvenience of not putting on makeup, but because it was just made a natural body function annoying.

♓️

A few weeks ago, during my recent eye doctor’s visit, which coincided with the time I started feeling a sty develop 😂, I asked her if there was any solution out there.  I told her my situation, explaining that makeup was definitely not the cause, as I hadn’t put it on in over two months because makeup’s a hassle when you work in the summer.

She told me that the oils in my glands probably moved slower than most, so I had a proclivity towards developing infected oil pockets along my waterline.  There was no permanent solution to get rid of it – I just had to be vigilant about keeping the area clean.  She also recommended hot compresses at least once a week for ten minutes to stimulate movement in my glands in my eyes, though it would be most effective if I did a compress once a day.

♓️

I don’t know if I was doing it wrong, but the sty in my eye didn’t go away and grew more painful.  I was desperate for a solution, but everyone online said the same thing my eye doctor said.  I started thinking about all sorts of solutions, and one of them was a lymph node drainage method I read a few years ago, and thought that it would help with my affliction flushing out the dirty oils.

I discovered this method because of other problems – unluckily, I have been genetically cursed with eye bags, which made me look perpetually tired.  I didn’t want to get fillers to get rid of them because the price of fillers add up over time, and while I don’t hate cosmetic surgery, I just don’t want that for myself.  I stumbled across the lymph node drainage method after a few days of research, in which a person or yourself massages your face to help drain dirty fluids from your body.

♓️

It’s a simple method, and I have listed the steps below:

  1. Using your clean hands, use two fingers to massage the base of your neck, working your way up to your temple by going right under your ear and along your hairline in a circular motion.
  2. Next, massage towards your eyes, above and below, thoroughly, before going back to your temple.
  3. From your temple, massage downwards, back to the base of your neck.
  4. Repeat this a couple of times at least twice a week.

It may sound counterintuitive to go back up to your eyes, but to stimulate movement, you should open the channel both ways.  I can’t really remember why it’s good to go both ways besides this reason, but if someone is familiar with this method, please explain it in the comment section below!

♓️

Besides helping get rid of stys, it’s also very therapeutic because it feels very refreshing and it’s also good for your health.  I know it’s probably pseudoscience, but since it did work for me, I’m not going to say otherwise because if you suffer like I do, you become desperate for a solution.  This is essentially the manual method of a skin brush, as it massages the nodes right under your skin to flush out fluids like excess water weight.

xoxo,

the girl who admitted getting stys, something girls don’t want to admit having

IMAGE CREDIT: Homemade Beauty Tips

+air+

“To enjoy the glow of good health, you must exercise.” – Gene Tunney, American professional boxer (1897-1978)

NOTE: This will probably be the first and last Sunday post, but I just had to schedule one for Sunday because I’m brimming with ideas and excited to be back to sharing them to the world.  x enc

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An issue that I’ve struggled with all my life is my endurance.  My muscles rarely get to feel the sore and satisfying feeling of a good workout because my breathing hinders my progress.  Running can be a struggle because sometimes I feel like I can barely breathe.  I never really thought much about it and would just take a minute breather in between, but then in the recent months, something strange happened.

♓️

For about two hours a day, five times a week, my friend and I exercise at the gym.  Along with daily cardio and ab routines, each day is targeted to a specific part of the body, e.g. Monday=legs, Tuesday=shoulders, etc.  While the framework is the same, our routines are different, as we have different body goals – here are some of our differences.

What I do

  • More cardio and abs
  • Reps catered towards endurance
  • Lower weight classes in consideration for my noodle arms

What my friend does

  • More time spent on the target body area
  • Reps catered towards strength
  • Higher weight classes because I am the only one who has noodle arms

♓️

However, three months ago, my friend would comment on my blue lips while we worked out.  At first, I didn’t think much about it, as I didn’t feel any other symptoms.  As a side note, I suffer from migraines and tend to get bad cases of vertigo.  A little while later, I would get dizzy during my workouts, and was unable to tell if I was standing upright or if everything was perpetually sideways.

♓️

Fast forward to the visit to the doctor’s office, he put me through a stress test and other evaluations to see if there was a problem.  My results all came clear – I was pleasantly surprised to find out that in terms of health, my heart was like a professional tennis or basketball player.  Just to be safe, he also checked my oxygen absorption, and my absorption percentage actually went up during exercise.

He concluded that I probably just had an endurance problem, something that I already knew.  This made me frustrated because how could I condition myself when my breathing couldn’t sustain my workouts?  It was like a case of the chicken or the egg and I wished that I could get a concrete answer.

The doctor’s solutions were to spend each day, workout day or not, practicing breathing exercises.  He even recommended tai chi because the movements encourage practitioners to open their lungs.  He also suggested that whenever I felt dizzy or tired during my workouts to pause and spend a few minutes practicing my breathing exercises.  From his words, it was clear that there wasn’t one quick solution, and it would take a while before my endurance would improve.

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Denouement: Looking back, I understand why I wanted an easy solution, considering as this was a problem I had all my life.  However, I also laugh at myself because the first rule of working out is to keep in mind that results don’t happen overnight – it’s a journey, and fixing my breathing endurance issues also fit into that category.  Though if anyone has a solution they recommend, I would love to hear a few because I am lazy 😏.

xoxo,

the girl who like a good workout

IMAGE CREDIT: Houston Indoor Rock Climbing Gym & Activity Center