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It’s Jou Life | a DIY / lifestyle blog—musing about natural, healthy, artisanal living, and everything in between.

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Hello, and welcome to It’s Jou Life! We’re Wayne and Jennifer, a (relatively) newly wed couple who found love in the most unexpecting place. This is our DIY / lifestyle blog—musing about natural, healthy, artisanal living, and everything in between.

We started this blog because our family and friends always ask us how we grow our own organic vegetables, what is Wayne woodworking on now, to send over our miso black cod recipe, what snacks stock our pantry, a tutorial on that cute zippered pouch, tips for marathon running, where do we worship, what to bring for a camping trip, what’s Jennifer’s skincare regimen… you get the idea. This is our way to share life’s loves.

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Day 10 // Meditate for 1 Minute | Birchbox Challenge

Day 10 // Meditate for One Minute #BirchboxChallenge via It's Jou Life blog - https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1124

Sunrise up in the Alishan, Taiwan mountains

I’ve recently started setting my alarm clock at 11pm every night and been waking up more energized and ready to start my day (thanks to Day 16 #BirchboxChallenge)! I’ve been having quaint mornings of “me” time and among other things, I meditate for one minute. It helps reduce stress, clear my mind and calm my heart. I sit up straight, rest my palms in my lap, close my eyes, and pay attention to my inhales and exhales for 60 seconds.
The below tips to reap the full benefits of a one-minute meditation practice is taken from Birchbox and Tara Stiles, Strala Yoga founder and author of Make Your Own Rules DietI’m definitely guilty of getting lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life–rushing out of the house to get to an appointment, not taking enough walking breaks at work and Instagramming during dinner. Even taking just one minute to meditate gives me a jumpstart to a more productive and brighter day.

Get Comfortable

Set a time for one minute using your smartphone. Choose a place in your home where you won’t be disturbed, and arrange yourself in a comfortable seated position. If you are in a chair, place your feet on the ground evenly. If you are on the floor, try crossing your legs or sitting on your heels. Sit up straight and rest your palms in your lap. Close your eyes and begin to pay attention to your breath.

Focus on Your Breath

Watch your inhales and exhales as they come and go. Allow yourself to become interested in the depth and pace of your breathing. Begin to lengthen your inhales and exhales. If it feels comfortable, pause at the top of your inhale and at the bottom of your exhale.

Guide Your Thoughs

Relax your whole body, including your face, neck, shoulders, back, legs and feet. If you notice your thoughts starting to drift, guide your attention back to your breath.

Finish Strong

When the timer goes off, don’t just pop out of your practice. Continue to breathe for 10 more long, deep breaths. When you are ready, slowly open your eyes.

About the Birchbox Challenge

Birchbox teamed up with a panel of all-star experts to bring a 31-day challenge to make 2015 your healthiest, happiest, most gorgeous year ever. I’m joining Birchbox on this month-long challenge and will share my success with #BirchboxChallenge. Let’s do this together!

Day 9 // Get Sculpted in 6 Minutes | Birchbox Challenge

I’m a lover of High Intensity Training (HIT) classes. The pattern usually is 30-seconds of intense cardio/strength moves that get quickly gets the heart rate up, followed by 20-seconds of rest. The Day 9 Challenge is something a little different.

Day 9 Birchbox Challenge “Get Sculpted in 6 Minutes” is created by celebrity trainer Ashley Borden. She swears by crazy effective workouts that can be done in a short amount of time, with minimal equipment. She uses the AMRAP technique ( “as many reps as possible”), which works muscles nonstop to condition your entire body, increase your metabolic rate, and burn a ton of calories. Her Sexy Six workout is just six moves and six minutes long but will leave you breathless and sweaty. Once you learn the workout, repeat it multiple times a week, focusing on your form and adding time as you get stronger.

Set a timer for 6 minutes. Do the 6 moves below, in order. Repeat the order as fast as you can, while maintaining your form, until time’s up. Keep track of how many times you got through the entire workout at the end, and beat that at your next workout!

See the moves here on Day 9 Birchbox Challenge.

About the Birchbox Challenge

Birchbox teamed up with a panel of all-star experts to bring a 31-day challenge to make 2015 your healthiest, happiest, most gorgeous year ever. I’m joining Birchbox on this month-long challenge and will share my success with #BirchboxChallenge. Let’s do this together!

Day 8 // Outsmart Your Appetite for Sugar | Birchbox Challenge

My favorite healthy snacks #BirchboxChallenge Day 7 // via It's Jou Life blog - https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1112

I have an insane sweet tooth. I crave chocolate (most) times of the day. Recently Compartes (those retro, gorgeous packaged, eccentric flavor chocolate bars) have been infiltrating into my thoughts. (Okay, sugar has already distracted me from the message of this post).

When chocolates and cupcakes beckon me, I tend to distract myself by eating a healthy alternative, take a 15 minute walk around the block or check my Instagram feed. Most of the time the urge will subside.

My favorite snack alternatives:

Apple & Natural Peanut Butter – I love the salty + sweet flavor combination. It reminds me of the healthier alternative to candied apples. The fiber of the apple and protein of the peanut butter make the perfect pairing of a nutritious and filling snack.

My favorite healthy snacks #BirchboxChallenge Day 7 // via It's Jou Life blog - https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1112

Crackers & Cheese – My favorite crackers of the moment are Raincoast Crisps Rosemary Raisin (cheaper dupe is Trader Joes Raisin Rosemary Crisps) and any spreadable cheese.

My favorite healthy snacks #BirchboxChallenge Day 7 // via It's Jou Life blog - https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1112

Trail Mix – I either buy it from Costco or make my own. Mixed nuts, especially walnuts are high in omega-3 and almonds help lower bad cholesterol. I like to add dried cranberries and a sprinkle of chocolate chips.

About the Birchbox Challenge

Birchbox teamed up with a panel of all-star experts to bring a 31-day challenge to make 2015 your healthiest, happiest, most gorgeous year ever. I’m joining Birchbox on this month-long challenge and will share my success with #BirchboxChallenge. Let’s do this together!

Day 7 // Easy DIY Honey Egg White Yogurt Cucumber Face Mask

Day 7 is my own home recipe // Honey Egg-White Yogurt Cucumber Face Mask. It’s a change from the scheduled Wine-Infused Face Mask, but I didn’t have red wine and wanted to work in a moisturizing and soothing face mask instead. Growing up my mom taught me how to take care and pamper my skin with DIY natural ingredients found in the kitchen pantry. My favorite is the Honey Egg White Yogurt Cucumber Face Mask.

This DIY mask recipe has major benefits that will aid parched skin and fight against the environmental harm that inevitably affects the skin.

  • Honey can aid in the relief of irritated skin because of its mild antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
  • Egg whites contains many proteins, high in collagen, maintain the elasticity of skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines. (Remember to mix the egg white well enough to obtain a foamy egg white look).
  • Yogurt can help moisturize and contains lactic acid that will smooth and gently exfoliate your skin while reducing fine lines and wrinkles by tightening the pores.
  • Cucumbers aid and sooth sunburn, hydrate the eye area and cleanse the skin.

Ingredients

1 egg white

1 tsp honey

1 tsp fresh plain organic yogurt

8  thinly-sliced cucumbers *optional

Directions

  1. Beat the egg white with a fork until it turns a little frothy. Tip: Coolest way to separate the yolk from the egg whites.
  2. In a bowl thoroughly combine the egg white, honey and yogurt.
  3. Apply the mask on your cleansed face and leave it for 15 minutes until you feel it dry.
  4. Gently rinse it off with warm water.

Click here if you prefer to try the Birchbox Challenge Wine-Infused Face Mask instead.

About the Birchbox Challenge

Birchbox teamed up with a panel of all-star experts to bring a 31-day challenge to make 2015 your healthiest, happiest, most gorgeous year ever. I’m joining Birchbox on this month-long challenge and will share my success with #BirchboxChallenge. Make sure to also enter for their daily prize giveaways. Let’s do this together!

Day 6 // Turn Your Sandwich into a Salad | Birchbox Challenge

Skipping the bread doesn’t have to mean bland leafy greens leaving you hungry. This recipe for a tuna egg salad features creamy ingredients that are protein-rich and low on guilt.

Tuna Egg Salad with Avocado

Ingredients

1 can tuna (in water)

2 cups halved cherry tomatoes

1 medium Haas avocado, cubed

2 boiled eggs

1/8 tsp kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

6 cups chopped romaine lettuce

2 T Goddess dressing (I prefer Trader Joes’ Goddess Dressing)

Directions

1. In a mixing bowl, combine tuna, sliced cherry tomatoes, cubed avocados, cubed boiled eggs and salt.

2. Toss in the chopped romaine lettuce and dressing and mix gently.

About the Birchbox Challenge

Birchbox teamed up with a panel of all-star experts to bring a 31-day challenge to make 2015 your healthiest, happiest, most gorgeous year ever. I’m joining Birchbox on this month-long challenge and will share my success with #BirchboxChallenge. Make sure to also enter for their daily prize giveaways. Let’s do this together!

Day 5 // Become a Morning Warrior | Birchbox Challenge

I’d like to say I’m a selective morning person. I enjoy waking up early on the weekends–make tea, journal, go to the gym and even declutter my desk. As for the weekday, after hitting snooze three times, I drag myself out of bed with just enough time to brush my teeth and wash my face before bolting out the door for work.

I keep telling myself I should wake up earlier during the work week to make time to quiet my heart, energize my body and mentally prepare for a full day. I’ve been trying these three powerful yoga poses from the Day 5 // Become a Morning Warrior from the Birchbox Challenge and been getting a jumpstart on my day and feeling invigorated.

This three-pose yoga sequence from Masumi Goldman and Laura Kasperzak, the brains (and muscle) behind Two Fit Moms, will leave you feeling peaceful and centered. Plus, you’ll get a gentle flexibility and strength workout just minutes after you roll out of bed. Each of these fundamental yoga poses stretches and strengthens your muscles in a short period of time. Once you’re familiar with each of the poses and can hold each pose for five full breaths, repeat the sequence at a faster pace. Remember to practice the poses on both sides of the body.

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About the Birchbox Challenge

Birchbox teamed up with a panel of all-star experts to bring a 31-day challenge to make 2015 your healthiest, happiest, most gorgeous year ever. I’m joining Birchbox on this month-long challenge and will share my success with #BirchboxChallenge. Make sure to also enter for their daily prize giveaways. Let’s do this together!

Day 4 // Make Lunch Your Biggest Meal // Homemade Korean-style BBQ Fish Burrito | Birchbox Challenge

Day 4 // Make Lunch Your Biggest Meal // Birchbox Challenge on It's Jou Life blog http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1041

Our minds have been hardwired to believe dinner is the most indulgent meal of the day. Instead of loading up at dinner, fill up on protein, good fats, and vegetables midday when your digestion peaks. It will keep your energy going throughout the afternoon.

Wayne and I made our interpretation of a Korean-style BBQ Fish Burrito. We wrapped tortilla with fresh, wholesome ingredients: marinated tilapia in a homemade Korean sauce (gochu jiang, a popular Korean red pepper paste + sesame oil + soy sauce), chopped fresh tomatoes, corn and chopped romaine greens tossed in sesame oil + soy sauce + seaweed. Recipe to come!

Day 4 // Make Lunch Your Biggest Meal // Birchbox Challenge on It's Jou Life blog http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1041Day 4 // Make Lunch Your Biggest Meal // Birchbox Challenge on It's Jou Life blog http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1041   Day 4 // Make Lunch Your Biggest Meal // Birchbox Challenge on It's Jou Life blog http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1041   Day 4 // Make Lunch Your Biggest Meal // Birchbox Challenge on It's Jou Life blog http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1041   Day 4 // Make Lunch Your Biggest Meal // Birchbox Challenge on It's Jou Life blog http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1041

About the Birchbox Challenge

Birchbox teamed up with a panel of all-star experts to bring a 31-day challenge to make 2015 your healthiest, happiest, most gorgeous year ever. I’m joining Birchbox on this month-long challenge and will share my success with #BirchboxChallenge. Make sure to also enter for their daily prize giveaways. Let’s do this together!

Day 3 // Set Email/Phone Boundaries | Birchbox Challenge

Christmas came early. #iphone6 #goforthegold #aphotoaday #215of365

A post shared by jennifer (@jenniferjou) on

With the start of the new year the challenge is not only the act of keeping resolutions, but understanding how to permanently change the behavior by making good habits and breaking the bad ones.

The Day 3 Birchbox Challenge is to Set Email/Phone Boundaries. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve passed out with my phone in my hand (even though I always laugh at my brother for doing the same), wake up in the middle of the night to check Groupon deals and texting under the table during family dinner time. Horrible, I know. It’s the many habits I’ve been meaning to break.

I’m taking a different approach with the help of Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness ProjectRubin recommends using what she calls the ‘strategy of clarity’ to create some guidelines for when you won’t check it or phone placement.

First, identify why you want to set boundaries, like “I want to be present and engage in meaningful conversation” or “I need better sleep at night.” Then set a shut down hour (say 30 minutes before dinner) or the phone placed far away from the bedside table (to avoid an arm’s reach.) Clearly establishing why you’re not checking your inbox will make it much easier to power down during those times.

About the Birchbox Challenge

Birchbox teamed up with a panel of all-star experts to bring a 31-day challenge to make 2015 your healthiest, happiest, most gorgeous year ever. I’m joining Birchbox on this month-long challenge and will share my success with #BirchboxChallenge. Make sure to also enter for their daily prize giveaways. Let’s do this together!

Day 2 // Get Sleek Arms Anywhere | Birchbox Challenge

Kick off 2015 on the right foot! Want toned biceps, triceps and shoulders but don’t have any weights? Channel your inner boxer with this series of quick movements (jab! hook!) to make them strong and defined. Last night I got home late from work and thought about skipping my workout. I’m glad I didn’t. I haven’t gone cardio kickboxing in ages, but came across this easy Sleek Arms Anywhere workout for the Birchbox Challenge, Day 2. It’s perfect for the busy individual. Recently my quick workout has been a 1-mile sprint, some arm-toning moves and 1 to 2 sets of the 10-minute workout (see the last video link below).

The One Arm-Toning Move To Master in 2015 | YouTube instructional video.

Another favorite workout of mine is a full-body, high intensity training, 10-minute workout that doesn’t require equipment. C’mon, you can find 10 minutes of your day to try this! You won’t regret it.

About the Birchbox Challenge

Birchbox teamed up with a panel of all-star experts to bring a 31-day challenge to make 2015 your healthiest, happiest, most gorgeous year ever. I’m joining Birchbox on this month-long challenge and will share my success with #BirchboxChallenge. Make sure to also enter for their daily prize giveaways. Let’s do this together!