Happy 1st day of August!

August. That means one more month of Winter. I’m not really at my best during cold season. July is always my waterloo as I feel it is the coldest month. I usually go hibernating in July. Well it may not be obvious, I somehow semi-hibernated last month. 

Semi-hibernation meant I still go to work, do what I need to do at work and then go home. Our weekends were spent at home because other than having a weekend project with the Husband, I don’t really want to go out. Going out with loved ones were limited, only when needed. At home, I’ve eased up on de-cluttering tasks and even took a break from working out. My free time was spent napping and doing nothing. I’ve got days when I’m just functioning for the sake of functioning.

I welcome these moments when the season dictates the mood for your body. The good thing with Winter is that it’s the season where it encourages us to sleep some more, snuggle some more, be close to our loved ones more. It’s like a signal to slow down a bit. So I take heed and give in to what Winter brings. 
But now, August is here. While it is the last month of Winter, my body seems to come alive a little bit more as it anticipates the coming of Spring. 

And to start the month, I share with you a very nice quote on Happiness and 15 Things Happy People Don’t Do (article from the Elite Daily), because I’m feeling happier that August is here! 
15 Things Happy People Don’t Do 
(from the Elite Daily)
1. Gossip
The only people who gossip are people whose personal lives are not fulfilling enough. If you are happy and content with your life, why do you even care what is going on in someone else’s? There is no reason to engage in this petty behavior — all it does is make you look pathetic and jealous.

2. Concern Themselves With Other People’s Problems
People who are unable to mind their own business are most likely internally miserable. They seek to find faults within others just to make themselves feel better. They tend to lead boring lives and have no excitement in their own, so they act in this manner to create something out of nothing. They seek to fill the gap in their lives by discussing the lives of others and judging them harshly, so that they can feel better about their own miserable existences.

3. Think Negatively
There are the miserable people, who are always complaining about anything and everything, while on the other side, we have the optimistic people who always look at the glass as half full and are constantly looking for more out of life. Thinking positively will directly affect your happiness since you are focusing on the good as opposed to the bad.

4. Act Jealous
There is no reason for a happy person to act jealous towards others. They recognize the good fortune they possess and relish in it. They do not compare themselves to others since they are more than likely content with themselves. Instead of acting jealous towards others, they take pleasure in their success and celebrate their accomplishments with them.

5. Seek Validation From Others
Happy people do not look to others to confirm their self-worth. They recognize their value on their own and don’t live up to anyone’s expectations. They do things for themselves that they believe will advance them in life. By not concerning themselves with the opinions of others, they can focus on personal growth.

6. Seek Revenge
There is no reason to actively seek revenge against another person. Leave that up to karma and just continue living your life accordingly. Instead of focusing on revenge, happy people try to make peace with the issue. The only way to stop revenge is to give up and to accept it. Replace the evil feelings with opposite thinking. This is the only way; rise above it and let it be.

7. Hold Onto Resentment
By holding onto resentment, all you are doing is continuing and intensifying your own sadness. Learn to let things go, especially those which are unchangeable and that are in the past. This feeling will eat at you from the inside and cause stress. There is a unique sense of freedom once you let your anger go.

8. Argue For The Sake Of Being Right
It’d be easy to voice my thoughts rationally, but quite as easy to do it condescendingly as well. Many people will have a belief and will hold onto it even when contrary facts are presented to them. If it is a topic that you know they won’t listen to with open ears, don’t open your mouth just so you can appear wiser in the eyes of those around you. You’re only boosting your ego. Do not force your opinions on others or think you know best, as everyone is coming from somewhere. State your point calmly and listen to others. At the very least, you can always agree to disagree.

9. Have Expectations
One of the biggest challenges we face in life is learning to accept people for who they truly are. Once you realize that your expectations cannot change people, the better off you will be. The problem will arise when the expectations do not materialize. Unrealistic expectations will, can, and most often do lead to disappointment. Do not expect things out of situations; just go into them with an open mind. This will allow you to fully immerse yourself without the pressure of living up to preconceived notions.

10. Avoid Personal Problems
When a problem arises, it is the unhappy people who tend to ignore it. This is an awful way to handle situations as the longer you let a problem linger, the greater it will become. You need to tackle issues head on and as soon as possible in hopes of rectifying the circumstances. The stress and anxiety of ignoring such things can and will make you miserable and consumed with worry.

11. Look For Happiness Externally
Your happiness is contingent upon your outlook and not the actual situation. You have the power to view things in certain ways, so it is crucial to try and remain positive. Look within yourself to create your own happiness. Do not look at others to fulfill you, you are more than capable on your own. No relationship or material possession can bring you true happiness until you are happy on your own, first and foremost. This is a fatal error far too many people make in their lives.

12. Over Think Things
Over thinking is what creates problems from nothing and is probably the leading cause for arguments between two people. Many people falsely believe that by over thinking certain things, they can garner a better result. There are actually little to no benefits to overanalyzing any given situation. All this will do is cause a person stress and anxiety. The more time a person analyzes a decision, the more time this person makes themselves susceptible to negative thinking. Rational decisions can become clouded when a person lingers on them for too long. The motivation and drive behind the initial idea can and will start to obscure.

13. Live In The Past
The past is the past for a reason — it has already happened. There is no reason to linger there since it cannot be changed. Happy people tend to make peace with their past and focus on the future. They actively seek out different opportunities in order to make the most out of their lives.

14. Follow The Crowd
Confidence is a crucial aspect of any happy person, just like this is a critical characteristic for a leader. Happy people tend to be secure in their values and beliefs and, as a result, have a propensity to be leaders as opposed to followers.

15. Take Things Personally
When you hear a comment that you think is directed at you, take a moment and think. Do not over analyze the situation at hand, just let the other person speak freely. Listen completely to what this person is saying – selective hearing is the cause of these misinterpretations. People tend to get caught up in petty drama, which typically occurs when one person takes something the wrong way. When it comes down to it, you’re in control of how you interpret things. Think of how much more you could achieve with a new perspective, one seen only through your eyes.

One of the healthy habits I discovered this year was dry brushing of the skin. A beauty blog has led me to information about it and while I was open to trying it out, it took me some time to finally buy my first dry brush and making it a habit. 

What is Dry Brushing? It is a way of exfoliating the skin by using just a brush. No water needed. It aids in the detoxification of the body’s lymphatic system.
I purchased a dry brush when I was in Manila last April. I found a reasonably-priced dry brush at Watsons (not more than P500.00) and it was only here in Sydney that I started using it. 

Did I like using it? Yes. My skin immediately adjusted to the bristles of the brush. It was neither hard nor soft, it just had enough roughness to exfoliate the skin. 

Effects on My Skin and Body. After a few days of dry brushing, I noticed my stretchmarks have disappeared and my cellulites have reduced. I noticed too that even if it’s Winter now, I don’t suffer from too much dryness of skin. 

When and How Often Do I Dry Brush? I dry brush before I take a shower and I try to do it everyday. Although on some days I can’t because I woke up late and rushing in the morning to go to work BUT I try to do it as regularly as possible.

Let me share with you a few things I learned about dry brushing:

Benefits of Dry Brushing

  • Removes dead layers of skin and other outer impurities.
  • Stimulates and increases blood circulation.
  • Helps release fatty deposits under your skin’s surface.
  • Assists the eliminative capacity of your body’s organs.
  • Rejuvenates your cells.
  • Strengthens your immune system.
  • Increases muscle tone.
  • Improves skin texture.
  • Helps prevent premature ageing.

                  How To Dry Brush: 

                  1. Begin with your feet and brush vigorously in circular motions.
                  2. Continue brushing up your legs.
                  3. Proceed to your hands and arms.
                  4. Brush your entire back and abdomen area, shoulders and neck.
                  5. Use circular counter-clockwise strokes on the abdomen.
                  6. Use light pressure on the breasts and any other sensitive areas.
                  7. Brush upwards on the back and down from the neck. Better yet, have a friend, spouse or family member brush your back.
                  A short video I found which shows the proper way of dry skin brushing:
                  Some Tips:
                  • You will need a brush with soft natural bristles for dry brushing. Do not use synthetic bristles. Buy one that has a longer handle so it’ll be easier to reach your back and sides.
                  • Make sure that the dry brushing is done softly in the initial stages so that soreness is avoided. 
                  • Application of a little more pressure can be done as your skin gets used to dry brushing.
                  • Your skin and brush should be dry. Shower after skin brushing to remove exfoliated skin.
                  • Do not do any dry brushing over cuts, wounds or rashes.
                  • Begin by brushing the outermost parts of your body (hands and feet) towards the center of your body.
                  • Pass the brush once over your body, except the face.
                  • The brush strokes should move towards your heart. This improvement in blood circulation is why so many people feel extremely refreshed after an energetic session of dry brushing.
                  • It is only when you are dry brushing your stomach that you are going to apply clockwise brushing movements.
                  • Slight flushing of the skin is normal, due to increased circulation. The skin should not be red or irritated, if it is you’re using too much pressure.
                  • The entire process should only take one to two minutes.
                  • Clean the brush meticulously after every brushing session.
                  • If your skin is extremely dry, rub some oil into it after you have brushed it and showered. 

                  Have you tried dry skin brushing? If so, what effects did you experience after dry brushing your skin?

                  After travelling to Asia in a span of two years, most of my winter clothing these days seem to come from three brands: Uniqlo, Muji and H&M.  In 2011, I did massive shopping at H&M and Muji but this year, Uniqlo was where I found a lot of clothing pieces I liked as they have good quality material at reasonable prices. I’m especially thankful to discover their HEATTECH clothing which generates heat and provides insulation too. Their HEATTECH range includes shirts, leggings, socks, cardigans, beannies and scarves.

                  I chose the long sleeve shirts for my first HEATTECH purchases. These are base layer shirts perfect for layering during cold season. The clothing material is soft, comforting and fits nicely on the body. 

                  I used them when we travelled in Seoul where we experienced 4-11 degree Celsius temperatures. Where I would normally have four layers of clothing, I survived the cold with just three layers and even had to ditch the scarf at times.
                  The next time I come across Uniqlo‘s HEATTECH range, I will try their other pieces such as the cardigans and scarves.

                  By the way, Uniqlo will soon open their first branch in Australia by end of this year. I’m happy that we will finally have one here down under, however, it will be in Melbourne which is a state away from where I am (and no we’re not flying to Melbourne just so we can shop for Uniqlo stuff). But we’ll never know, right? We might have one here in Sydney too in the future.

                  I’ve always cooked my oatmeal. I’m used to heating it up on the stove and I have to say that doing so sometimes discourages me from having oatmeal even though I like having it for breakfast (We don’t own a microwave at home so that premise is moot).

                  Thank goodness the universe heard me and one day, I read a tweet from one of my tweethearts Bettina (@blissfulcow) wherein she shared that it’s possible to eat chilled oatmeal. Hooray! Problem solved! 

                  So here’s what I do in creating chilled and no-cook oatmeal in jars:

                  You need:
                  2 cups of Oatmeal
                  180 grams Natural Yogurt
                  2 cups of Milk
                  3 tbsp Honey
                  Fruits (or nuts) to mix in with your oatmeal (to make it a healthier dish)
                  – this yields 4 jars.
                  The Chilled & No-Cook Oatmeal
                  I always opt for the Natural Yogurt as it’s less sour. Alternatives to Honey: Maple Syrup, Sugar, Nutella, Peanut Butter. 
                  The Chilled & No-Cook Oatmeal
                  Mix the oatmeal, yogurt, honey and milk in a bowl.
                  The Chilled & No-Cook Oatmeal

                  Then place the mixture inside jars or plastic containers. Throw in your fruits on top and seal the jar/container. You can also add nuts if you like.

                  The Chilled & No-Cook Oatmeal

                  Put the jars inside the fridge and chill them for at least 30 minutes. That’s enough time to soften the oatmeal.

                  Freeze and Eat
                  I make a big batch, enough to fill at least four jars, during weekends and store them inside the freezer. I usually bring a jar to work and eat it for breakfast or morning tea. I finish all four jars in the course of the workweek. 

                  I’ve read that frozen oatmeal can stay good until about a month. The longest time I’ve stored oatmeal inside the freezer was two weeks.

                  The Flexibility of Oatmeal
                  There are so many things you can add into your oatmeal other than fruits and nuts. You can also make substitutions for the milk (almond milk, soy milk etc) and flavour of your yogurt. You can also omit the yogurt from the recipe if you don’t like yogurt. You can add different toppings, syrups and seeds (i.e. chia seeds).

                  Why I Love It
                  It keeps me full for longer. It’s low in calories but high in fiber, removes bad cholesterol, contains antioxidants and enhances the immune system. It’s easy to make and and it tastes good!