Weekend Retreat

This last weekend was Mother’s Day and my family and I were able to travel up to Ojai for a relaxing getaway. It was really nice to take a day to escape everyday life. While in Ojai we went to the Ojai Valley Inn for brunch with some family friends. Taking time to have fun and enjoy life is essential to a person’s well being and overall health.

We arrived around 12 into sunny Ojai from rainy Santa Barbara. We all sat in these cute wooden chairs on the large golf course while we waited for our table. I was the oldest of the four kids there, including my little sister, so I was given the task of watching them while the adults got their downtime.

We were then told our table was ready so we walked to the building where the brunch buffet was being held. It was in the new building that they Just built called The Farm House. It’s a large metal building in the shape of a barn surrounded by grassy hills, trees, and gardens. I had heard about the new building before but it was only used for special events so I was super excited to see what it was like.

Once we sat down it was off to the buffet. There were hundreds of food choices all made at the Inn and many used some of the fruits and vegetables grown in the surrounding gardens. There was a baratta making station, a custom salad and pasta bar, and of course lots of desserts. I used this opportunity of endless food to try new things and tried to stay on the healthy side, with the acception of a few desserts.

Overall I’d say Mother’s Day was a success we all got a much needed break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It is super important to take time for yourself and do things that you enjoy in order to reduce stress that you’ve accumulated over the week. So take time to do something fun whether it’s going to brunch, going on a trip, or simply being around those who make you feel good!

Mental Health

when first thinking of health our mind will most likely think of the physical aspects such as exercise and what you eat, but metal health is just as important as physical health. I just took my AP psychology exam and when reviewing I found out about the effects of low mental health and negitive emotions such depression, anxiety, and so on. While we may not experience these extremes everyday feelings of stress, anger, sadness, and worry can take their toll. I’m going to be taking about a few ways to help your mental health, so let’s get started!

One easy thing to do is is get enough sleep. Even though I have a hard time doing this myself it is essential. Sleep is where the body gets to recuperate and will help your mood monumentally.

Another great mental health booster is spending time with friends and family. Setting up a getaway or just taking some time out of your busy day to have fun and relax is quite beneficial. Surrounding yourself with good people that make you happy is quite important as well.

Doing things that you are good at and enjoy is quite beneficial as well. It will boost your self-confidence and realization. Whether you do it once a week or once a day you will just feel better. I like to draw and sketch, but others enjoy reading, writing, cooking, working out, etc…

I love ding art to relax

Dealing with emotions healthily is also a good way to boost mental health. When feeling stressed do something that calms you down rather than bottling it up. When angry you can let it out by writing about it or taking time to look at what is making you frustrated. Overall when expirencing negative emotions like stress, worry, anger, anxiety, sadness, and so on look for calm and productive ways to let it out without taking it out on others or yourself.

Just think positively. I know you always hear stuff like this but it really does help. It will help you view yourself, others, and the world around you in a better light. Positivity boosts self-esteem, productivity, and has effects on your success. If you tell yourself that you can’t do something or aren’t good enough you’ll never truly reach your full potential.

Overall mental health is a super important part of life because it affects everything you interact with. Keeping yourself mentally healthy will improve your life quality and relationship with others so try a few of the things mentioned above to improve your mental health!

Healthy Habits

We all want to be healthier, but sometimes it’s just difficult to commit to doing so. Life at times just gets in the way, but what if you could incorporate healthy habits into your everyday life? You’d feel better, live better, and be able to do so without even really thinking about it. I have a list of easy healthy habits that you can get into in order to improve your physical and mental health, so let’s get started!

First let’s talk about how to build up a habit. It starts with creating a simple healthy routine that you can add into your current schedule. Take small steps and be consistent. You need to be calm and commit to what you are doing. You also have to maintain the changes you’ve made. So now here are a few options that you can incorporate into your everyday life.

Start waking up and going to sleep earlier. Personally I am a night owl so this habit is a challenge for me, but sleep is a very important aspect of our health. Sleep allows your body to heal, digest, and renew itself for tomorrow. I would recommend setting a goal to go to sleep around a similar time throughout the week then you can allow yourself a break on the weekend. I believe a reasonable time to go to sleep during weekdays is from 9:30 to 10:30 pm because that would allow you to get about eight hours if you wake up between 6 and 7 for work or school.

Next would be incorporating some form of regular exercise into your week, whether its a walk, hike, bike ride, going to the gym, swimming, or yoga. There are so many ways you can add small bits of exercise into your schedule that will make a big impact on your physical health. You can pick certain days on which to exercise with friends or on your own. You could also choose exercise whenever you have some free time. Even just thirty minutes every other day can have a major impact.

Finally, healthy eating and drinking habits. Drinking water regularly is one of the best things you can do for you body. It promotes skin and gut health, boosts the immune system, prevents headaches, and even helps weight loss. If you need some flavor add lemon to your water because it promotes digestion and complexion. While drinking water regularly instead of soda or juice may not be that difficult constantly eating healthy is a bit harder. What I would suggest for this is eating healthy five out of the seven days in a week then choose two cheat days. Going too crazy on your cheat days will defeat the purpose of eating healthy, but using it as a way to get in your small sugar fix will have great benefits in the long run.

Drinking tea is another great habit this is one of my favorites!

Overall living healthy these days is a commitment, and if you want to gain these healthy habits you have to stick with them. While it may feel a bit difficult now, in the long run it will bring many benefits that will provide you with a healthy life both physically and mentally!

Core Power Yoga

This week my friend Madeline and I went to Core Power Yoga. She had been talking about it for some time now and I was really excited to try it. Yoga is a great, relaxing way to exercise as you work your core, legs, and flexibility. We took the 3 o’clock Yoga One class which is ah hour beginner class with no heat. At Core Power you can take levels one through three with varying levels of heat and your first week trying it out is free which is really nice!

After school we grabbed our workout clothes and mats then headed to the class. Everyone there was super nice and helpful as we signed in and set up our spots. The room was dim and full of peaceful music. We began with some easy stretches and positions gradually working our way up to the harder workout. By the end we were both exhausted which I was surprised by because I never really thought of yoga as a way to workout.

I like the first class so much that I went again that week. I tried the seven to eight candlelight yoga level two and the max heat. I was a step up from my first class but it was just as fun with a little challenge. I liked the heated class too because I was able to burn more calories than if it was non-heated. I would say if you are looking to get in a little workout try the heated yoga two. I was super relaxing and I felt great when I got home and was able to sleep really well.

Core Power has a shop within the building as well

Yoga has many, many health benefits both physically and mentally. According to the American Osteopathic Association yoga provides increased flexibility, muscle strength and tone, improved respiration, energy and vitality maintaining a balanced metabolism, weight reduction, cardio and circulatory health, improved athletic performance, and protection from injury. Mentally yoga helps provide mental clarity and calmness, increases body awareness, relieves chronic stress patterns, relaxes the mind, centers attention, and sharpens concentration.

Overall yoga is a great way to get active with friends or on your own and it provides both physical and mental health benefits. Find a Core Power or other yoga studio near you and invite a friend to see how you benefit from this fun, relaxing way to exercise!

Healthy Snacks

I have found twelve easy, healthy snacks that are all under one hundred calories. I know that when I am looking for something quick to snack on I often just go for convenience which means it is most likely no the healthiest choice. But now I have a great list of healthy convenient snacks that you can eat everyday!

Six of the snacks I’m going to talk about are fruit based which is great since I love fruit, so let’s get started! Snack one is apple slices and peanut butter. Take one apple and half a tablespoon of peanut butter and you are good to go. Another easy fruit snack is fruit with cinnamon. Take one large apple or a banana and a tablespoon of cinnamon. It’s that easy! To take it one step further you can microwave it to give it an almost pie filling taste! A fruit and yogurt parfait is also quite simple to make. All you need is half a cup of fat-free yogurt, half a cup of berries, and a sprinkle of granola.

The next snack is frozen fruit. Take a few grapes, a half of a banana, and a few strawberries then freeze them overnight. I really like this option because it is pretty sweet tasting, but doesn’t contain all the unhealthy additives that sweet snack normally have. Speaking of sweet snacks another easy, cold fruit based snack is a fruit popsicle. It only requires half a cup of your choice of fruit and one third a cup of water frozen overnight. The final fruity snack is a banana berry smoothie. To make this you only need half a banana, a fourth a cup of berries, half a cup of almond milk, and a few ice cubes.

Next are some simple more breakfast-like snacks. The first is cereal and milk which only needs half a cup of cereal and half a cup of skim milk. You could also do a half a cup of oatmeal and water. Next is an omelette which just needs an egg, half a cup of chopped veggies, and spices that are then mixed together and fried in a pan. Bread and jam is another breakfast option. You need on slice of whole grain bread and one tablespoon of jam with no added sugars.

The last three snacks I’m going to share with you are guilt free popcorn, the reverse wrap, and rice cake with peanut butter. The guilt free popcorn consists of three cups of air popped popcorn and one packet of zero calorie sweetener. The reverse wrap is one slice of turkey, ham, beef, or chicken and half a cup of spinach or veggie f your choice in the center. And finally the rice cake with one tablespoon of peanut butter.

What I realized about all of these snacks is that portion control and measurement is key in eating healthy. You want just the right amount of food to fill you up, but not add unwanted calories. I hope this was helpful and has given you a few healthy and easy snack ideas!

Importance of Iron

Ever since I was really young I have avoided most meats, and now I only eat fish and chicken. This has health benefits such as lower cholesterol, decreasing your calorie intake, making your body less acidic, feeling less bloated, and decreasing your cancer risk. But it also deprives my body of iron, which is why I want to talk about some healthier iron packed options! I wanted to know why iron was so important and found out that iron is a component of hemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to transport it throughout your body. If you don’t have enough iron, your body can’t make enough healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells. A lack of red blood cells is called iron deficiency anemia. Iron is clearly super important so here are four healthy iron packed food options!

The first iron filled food I’m going to talk about are legumes. The most common types are beans, lentils, chickpeas, and soybeans. Legumes are also rich in potassium, magnesium, and folate. One cup of cooked lentils contains 6.6 mg of iron. Legumes may also help you lose weight. They’re very high in soluble fiber, which can increase feelings of fullness and reduce calorie intake.

Legumes and some quinoa

The next food is quinoa. One cup of cooked quinoa contains 2.8 mg of iron as well as folate, magnesium, copper, manganese and many other nutrients. Quinoa is also gluten free, and has more antioxidant activity than many other grains. Antioxidants help protect your cells from the damage done by free radicals, which are formed during metabolism and in response to stress.

As for a portable, great tasting snack food containing iron pumpkin seeds are a great option. One cup contains 4.2 mg of iron. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of vitamin K, zinc and manganese. They’re also one of the best sources of magnesium which many people are deficient in. Magnesium helps reduce your risk of insulin resistance, diabetes and depression.

organic pumpkin seeds

Spinach is another amazing iron rich food is spinach and in general most dark, leafy greens. 3.5 ounces of spinach contains 3.6 mg of iron and contains few calories. Spinach is also rich in vitamin C which is important since vitamin C significantly boosts iron absorption. Spinach is full of antioxidants called carotenoids that can reduce your risk of cancer, decrease inflammation, and protect your eyes from disease. Consuming spinach and other dark leafy greens with fat helps your body absorb the carotenoids, so try to eat a healthy fat like olive oil with your spinach.

Salad with spinach, arugula, goat cheese, apples, butternut squash, almonds, and cranberries

Hopefully this displayed the importance of iron and gave you some options that are healthier than just having red meat. These items are all great in salads, but the legumes, quinoa, and pumpkin seeds can all be consumed on their own and are actually all really delicious. I am going to work more to increase my iron intake in a healthy way, and hopefully you’ve been inspired to do the same!

Healthy in Hawaii

Over spring break I got the opportunity to travel to Maui with my family. We had a week full of sunshine, pools, snorkeling, beaches, and of course delicious food. It was a great place to get some sun and take a break from the chaos of everyday life.

We stayed at The Grand Wailea first, located in Kihei which is on the West coast of the island. The beach off our hotel was really nice to snorkel in and it ended up being one of my favorite things to do. We saw turtles, many types of fish, and even eels! Another thing I loved was the food, especially the fresh fruit and vegetables that were grown on the island. Hawaii gave me a great opportunity to take a break and step back from the stress and worries that everyday life brings.

Halfway through the week we switched hotels and went up to the Ritz in Kapalua on the North coast. It was a lot more secluded and quiet than the Waliela which made it the ultimate spot to relax. There the waves were a lot bigger so we weren’t able to snorkel but there were still a lot to do like surf and boogie board. We were also able to walk onto this lava cliff over the water and watch whales which was pretty amazing!

Other than the natural beauty and fun things to do Hawaii had great healthy food options and good ways to exercise. We were able do do a lot of walking, hiking, and swimming while surrounded by nature. We were also able to get some much needed sleep that is often lost in a regular week. Sleep is essential to living a healthy life giving your body much needed rest and time to heal. As for food we ate tons of fruit, my personal favorite was the papaya and pineapple. One of my favorite dishes I got was an Açaí Bowl topped with a bunch of rest fruits and homemade coconut glazed granola. We also ate a bunch of fish because it so abundant and fresh on the islands. I really liked the Ahi which is one of the main fish served along with Mahi Mahi. Fish is among the healthiest foods on the planet. It is loaded with important nutrients, such as protein and vitamin D. Fish is also the world’s best source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are incredibly important for your body and brain.

Overall I had an amazing time in Hawaii! I felt relaxed and refreshed after this tropical getaway where I was able to live healthy without much effort. I hope I get to go back soon and I would highly recommend Hawaii to anyone who is looking for a change in scenery that isn’t too far from home.

Benefits of Being Outdoors

This week the academy I’m apart of, Mulitmedia and Digital Art Acdemy (MAD), took a sophomore retreat up to the Montecito Sequoias. It was a great opportunity to get away from the business and stress of everyday life, while also being tech free. On Wednesday we arrived at 7:15 and began our six hour bus trip from Santa Barbara. We drove through the gorgeous California mountains but the real fun started when we got there.

Reina, Hayden, and Bella on the bus.

When we arrived the first thing we did was hike around the frozen lake. Many people brought tubes and sleds along to go down the snow covered hills and trails. Now days we spend most of our time indoors especially during the winter months, but getting outdoors can be both fun and healthy. Aside from just escaping the chaos of everyday life you get to breath better air, soak up vitamin D, and studies have shown getting outside reduces anxiety and lowers blood pressure. Also when you are outside you are most likely being active which is always good for you.

The next day we began our biggest trek to the top of the mountain. After breakfast we all gathered outside and began our journey. It was an uphill hike in the powdery snow which was really difficult. My classmates and I bonded over the struggle and encouraged one another. Though it was tough I think it was worth it because at the top of the mountain there was and amazing view accompanied by a great sense of accomplishment! While on top of the mountain there were snowball fights and a lot of picture taking. Even though it was the most difficult part of the trip it is definitely one of the most memorable things and I felt accomplished afterwards which is always good!

Once we returned to the lodge we ate lunch and were then given free time. A few friends and I decided to go snowboard! I had never snowboarded in my life so it was pretty rough at first but eventually I got the hang of it. Another fun perk of the trip was that it was tech free. At first I wasn’t too excited about that but it actually enabled me to meet new people and be more present. Being tech free has its own benefits such as getting better sleep, being more active, strengthening real relationships, and just being all around present in the real world. On our last day we visited the Giant Sequoias and saw the tree with the largest diameter in the world. Seeing these giant trees really put into perspective the magnificence of Earth.

Overall we had an amazing time on our mountain getaway. We got a great taste of the natural world and took time to get away from our phones and strengthen our friendships within the class. I would really recommend taking time to be outdoors with friends whether it is a planned out getaway or a quick day trip, being outside away from normal chaos and stress is really fun, relaxing, and healthy for you both physically and mentally!

LA Eats

This weekend I went down to Los Angeles with my three good friends Madeline, Karissa, and Reina. Naturally, we did a lot of walking and shopping, but we also tested out some new, good, and, most importantly, healthy restaurants. I wanna talk about what we got and maybe inspire you with some new healthy meal ideas!

The first restaurant we went to was called Flower Child on 1332 2nd St, Santa Monica, CA 90401. Flower Child makes everything from scratch using farm fresh ingredients and has paleo, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options. There is an option on the menu for everyone and it is all incredibly healthy and tasty! I decided to get the Brussels and Squash salad. It contained arugula, roasted Brussels, butternut squash, organic apple, ancient grains, cranberry, goat chees, sprouted almond, and chia seed vinaigrette. This salad was really good and refreshing and seems pretty easy to make at home which is something I may try.

My tossed Brussels and Squash salad!

Karissa got the Mother Earth Bowl which has ancient grains, sweet potato, portobello mushroom, avocado, cucumber, broccoli pesto, charred onions, leafy greens, red pepper miso vinaigrette, and hemp seed. Reina got the gluten free Mac and cheese, and Madeline got the Flying Avocado wrap with smoked turkey, gouda, romaine, tomato, avocado hummus. All the food we got was very healthy, simple, and delicious!

Aside from being really healthy Flower Child also had a great design and atmosphere that really tied everything together! There were flowers at every table and painted murals on the white brick walls. It had a very cute and trendy vibe, and was perfect for pictures.

After some more walking and shopping we headed to dinner. We ate at a sushi restaurant called Sushi Roku on 1401 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica. Sushi is one of my favorite foods so I was pretty excited, but this was one of Madeline’s first time trying sushi. I recommended that she start off with something simple like a California Roll. She ordered one and loved it! I got tuna sushi and shared edamame and popcorn shrimp with the table. Overall the sushi was very delicious and of course healthy! My friends and I had an amazing time wandering the streets of Santa Monica and I hope I go back soon so I can try out more new, healthy foods!


An Escape to Ojai

Last week I talked about stress, how it affects the body, and ways to get rid of it. This weekend I had a sort of stress detox at the Ojai Valley Inn. I was able to get away from the chaos of everyday life and relax. The natural surroundings were beautiful, but what I was most excited about was getting to go to the spa. Overall it was just a great place for me to get away without being too far from home.

One of the pools at the spa

From the first moment I walked into the spa I felt calm and refreshed. There were healthy snacks and beverages around every corner like lavender lemonade and fruit. There was also a steam room and sauna which I tried. Surprisingly steam rooms and saunas actually carry heal benefits such as improving cardiovascular health by improving circulation, lowering blood pressure, and it helps to heal broken tissue. After relaxing in the hot tub I went upstairs to wait for my treatment. I got the Purifying Radiance Facial which uses all OSEA products. OSEA is an all organic natural approach to skincare that began in Malibu. I was really excited to try out these products and see if they were really all they seemed to be.

OSEA products at the spa boutique

So a very brief description of the fifty minute session; it began with steam to open up my pores then an exfoliating scrub which was balanced out with a lotion. Next she used serums which were was followed by a mask. Once that was removed she used the ocean cleanser. When I was done my skin felt refreshed and looked really good. I would say that these products did actually did make a difference which is probably due to their all natural ingredients. They are a bit on the pricey side but I’d say it is worth it! I was given recommendations for products and got a few samples including the cream cleansing mud, an exfoliator, blemish balm, and the ocean cleanser. I was super happy with the results and may begin to add OSEA into my skincare routine.

After I was finished with the facial I went to the Spa Cafe for lunch. I got the Farmer’s Market Salad which was really good. It contained mixed greens, feta, pecans, golden beets, croutons, and balsamic dressing. It was a simple salad that would be really easy to make at home. My sister got Thai spring rolls which were another healthy option.

Lunch at the Spa Cafe