Thursday, April 18, 2019

My fitness journey :: 30-day active challenge

{This is the treadmill I am using - NordicTrack 1650C}
Since summer is right around the corner, I thought I'd talk about my fitness journey and a challenge that I am currently participating. I like staying active but I am not hardcore when it comes to working out. When I was in my 30s, I could eat anything I want without gaining weight. Once I hit 40, it seems like an internal switch has flipped. I gain weight easily and it becomes more challenging to keep the weight off. My metabolism slows down drastically. It may sound depressing but getting old is not fun. I wrote this post in June 2017 talking about my body stats. Since then, I gained about 5 lbs. Now, I completely understand that I am not overweight by any means. As the matter of fact, I am a little bit underweight. Based on the ideal weight calculator, at 5'2", my ideal weight is 115 lbs. I am currently at 108 lbs. I know weight is just a number but it's easier for me to maintain my weight when I am under 105 lbs. I will share my current body stats in a bit. When it comes to weight loss, the key is to adopt a healthy lifestyle that suits your individual needs and that you can maintain for life rather than try to lose weight quickly. Did you know 3500 calories = 1 lbs of fat? In order to lose one pound per week, you need to cut down 500 calories per day. Two basic things I do when it comes to staying fit: counting calories and staying consistent with exercise. My husband got me this treadmill for Christmas and it's been wonderful. If you're interested in a full review, let me know.

Counting calories:
My daily calorie goal is 1500. It's not easy but it's doable. Calories add up fast! I can share what I eat in a day in a separate post if you're interested. There are many free calorie counter apps out there. I use my Fitness Pal to track my daily calorie intake. It's super easy to use. You can log your daily calories intake, your water intake and your daily exercise. While tracking every single calorie is not necessary for me, it's a great way to understand exactly that I am putting in my body. You'll be surprised at the calorie count in some of the most unassuming foods. Did you know a slice of Cheesecake Factory red velvet cheesecake (my favorite) is 1250 calories? Yikes!

Workout routine: Since the beginning of 2018, I have stepped up my fitness game. I ran 2 half marathons. I've completed 12 weeks of BBG 1.0 and I am consistently working out 4, 5 days a week. Let's take a look at my body composition results today.
{My current body stats | I use this digital body scale}

Understanding your measurements:
Weight: Your total weight in lbs. My current weight = 108.6 lbs
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a weight to height ratio (weight/height). Underweight: BMI is less than 18.5 and normal weight: BMI is 18.5 to 24.9. My current BMI = 19.2
Body Fat Percentage (BFP) is the percentage of your body made up of fat. BFP chart for a woman: Essential Fat (10% - 13%), Athletics (14% - 20%), Fitness (21% - 24%), Average (25% - 31%). My current BFP = 17.4% (Athletics - I will talk more about this in a second)
Muscle Mass Percentage (MMP) is the percentage of muscle in the body as compared to total body weight. There is no ideal muscle mass because this number varies greatly with height and body type. My current MMP = 34.5% (I will talk more about this number in a second)
Water Weight Percentage (WWP) is the percentage of body fluid as compared to total body weight. The average adult female has 45% - 60% water of body fluid. My current WWP = 60.2%
Bone Mass Percentage (BMP) is the percentage of bone mineral as compared to total body weight. The average bone content for adults is  3% - 5%. My current BMP = 4.8%
2019BodyStats_SydneysFashionDiary (2)
{My favorite running shoes and socks of life}
Now that we understand the meaning of these number, let's compare!
As you can tell, there is a huge change in my Body Fat Percentage and my Muscle Mass Percentage. I mentioned in this post that I was shocked to see my body fat was at 27.4% (average). Fast forward almost 2 years later, I am now at 17.4%. I dropped a whopping 10% and that's huge!! Even though I am a few pounds heavier than I was in 2017, my muscle mass percentage went up 7%. What do these numbers tell me? I am gaining more muscles and burned an insane amount of body fat. I feel like my best self (physically and mentally). I know I am getting stronger everyday.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle:
It's not an easy thing to do especially when my day starts at 5:30 a.m. By 6:00 pm, I am physically exhausted. I just have to keep pushing myself. The best way to keep yourself motivated is to workout with a group of people. I started a 30-day active challenge with some of my coworkers a week ago. The rule is staying active for 30 days straight. Each day, we need to do some form of exercise. Doesn't have to be an intense workout. It can be a 30-minute workout at the gym, a fitness class or even a long walk. The idea is to make sure we get moving everyday. We each put in $20 and at the end, whoever makes it will get to use that money for a fancy lunch. It's fun and it's a great way to keep each other accountable. We just completed week 1. I went to Orange Theory for 7 days straight. Not going to lie, I am pretty exhausted. If you've been to Orange Theory before, you know how intense their classes are. I burned between 500 - 550 calories in one hour. At the end of each class, I felt like I was going to die. I did indeed take 7 Orange Theory classes in a row (my heart rate monitor messed up on day 6 so the numbers were off). I am looking forward to see where I'll be at the end of the challenge. I will share my weekly recap.

Monday, April 15, 2019

In Memories of Notre Dame

I am shocked to hear a fire broke out at the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris this morning. This 850 year old church has a special place in my heart as my family and I were lucky enough to visit it a few years ago. Watching a piece of history falling down is absolutely devastating. I hope everyone is safe. My heart goes out to Paris and the French people.

{Courtney lit the candles inside Notre Dame}

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Easter Basket Ideas For Kids

I just put together 2 Easter baskets for the girls so I thought I'd share them just in case you're still looking for ideas. I got everything from Target and Amazon. Love those places! I got Madelyn this dress to wear to church on Easter. She'll look darling in it. A few fun things like this nail set, these heart sunglasses and the story of the Easter bunny book. Since she doesn't eat chocolate, I got her these M&M's white chocolate marshmallow and this Dylan's candy marshmallow pop

Friday, April 12, 2019

April Purchases :: Weekend Sales

Just wanted to quickly share a few weekend sales. This J.Crew leopard coat is almost $200 less than the original price. There is only one size left and that's the size I am wearing here. Grab it now while it's still available. The quality is amazing! I know this is not the time for outerwear but think how chic you'll look in the Fall wearing this coat.
Petite culotte jumpsuits
Tulip essential shirt
Leopard top coat
Red sweater dress
Petite midi dress
One shoulder swimsuit
Halter one-piece swimsuit
I also wanted to share my purchases for April so far since all of them are on sale right now just in case you're interested. A few things that I purchased this month in preparation for our summer vacation. I got this dress and this jumpsuit in the mail yesterday. I wasn't expecting to love both pieces so much. I probably won't be able to take pictures anytime soon but mark my words, they're amazing! I got them both in a size XS petite and couldn't have asked for a better fit. They're 50% off today!! I for sure will go back and order other colors. They make summer dressing a breeze.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Easy Vietnamese Crab Noodle Soup

Today, I am sharing one of my favorite dishes. Vietnamese Crab Noodle Soup (bún riêu) is a traditional Vietnamese rice vermicelli soup. There are so many versions out there but I am sharing the easiest way to make it. I can make this in less than an hour and it's super delicious! I cooked this a few weekends ago when we had some friends over and I got lots of compliments
  • 1 lbs of ground pork
  • 1/2 lbs of shrimp - roughly chopped
  • 2 lbs of tomatoes - cut into wedges
  • 1 jar of crab paste
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 bunch of green scallions
  • 1 pack of rice vermicelli
  • 1 pack of fried tofu cubes - I didn't have them at the time
  • Herbs, bean spouts, fried onions for garnishing

Monday, April 8, 2019

A Spring Outfit For Work

Last week, I purchased a few key pieces to help freshen up my Spring wardrobe and this lightweight sweater was one of them. Even though the weather is getting warmer, it's not quite warm enough to go out in short sleeves. This sweater is perfect for this time of year. I paired it with an old floral skirt for work but it can be easily dressed down with a pair of jeans. This beautiful shade of grey goes with pretty much everything. The best part? It's only $10. If grey is not your cup of tea, this sweater is available in a whooping 12 colors (all on sale). Outfit details: Ann Taylor sweater *size XS* | similar floral skirt | Christian Louboutin shoes | Teddy Blake bag | Free People sunglasses

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

March Recap :: April Plans

First, I wanted to take a moment to share our family's highlight of the month - Early March, we received a letter from Courtney's school. She has been selected by her teachers to go on an educational trip to Ecuador, South American next summer. How amazing is that? I am so so proud of her. I mentioned in this post that winning the trip to DC was just the beginning. This girl has so much potential. As someone who loves to travel, I am beyond excited for her. This experience will expand her comfort zone, broaden her horizons and most importantly, provide a greater idea of what's really going on in the world she lives in.

Friday, March 29, 2019

A career update

Happy Friday, ladies! Today is my kids' last day of Spring break. I unfortunately couldn't take any time off from work but we did spend lots of time together in the evenings. We walked, took many trips to a local park and the girls had a bunch of play dates with their friends. Can't believe March is coming to an end. Today marks the beginning of my 4th month at my new job! A few of you have reached out to wish me well in all my future endeavors after I shared that I changed job again. Today, I wanted to share a quick update with you. To make it short, I love it! I'd even go as far as to say that I might have landed my dream job. If you know me in person and you know where I work, you'd agree with me. The company is amazing. There are many opportunities to grow and develop myself and my career path here. Even though it's been only 3 months, I can see myself making a long-term career here. Having a full time career has already been a big part of my life and it always will be. Because of that, being happy at work is extremely important to me. Looking back at my previous job (that I had for only 5 months), it weighted me down. Will I continue to work there if I hadn't found this job? Yes, I had to. With our current lifestyle, we need 2 sources of income. However, as someone who likes to take charge, I knew I had to seeks way to make the situation better. This is not just about my job, it's who I am. Whether it's about my marriage, my body image or my financial situation etc..if there is something that I can do to make improvements, you bet I will find a way to do so. Outfit details: Target mom jeans | Forever 21 body suit | Steve Madden wedges | J.Crew coat

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Happy Birthday, Love!

Last weekend, we went out with my girlfriends and our significant others to celebrate hubby's birthday. Usually just the two of us but let's be honest, a birthday celebration is always a good excuse to dress up and hang out with my girls =) I wore this outfit that night and received countless compliments. I love jumpsuits and I love lace so this outfit is right up my alley. I can't believe even the length is perfect on my short frame. I always always have to shorten my jumpsuits/pants. This jumpsuit is so fun for a night out yet classy and unique at the same time. The best part? It's only $23 right now! I bet you can't tell =). I personally love red but if it's too much for you, this jumpsuit is also available in black and white. I am contemplating to grab the black one as well (especially at that price). I have a few pieces from Lulu's and I love every single one of them. Happy birthday, love! May you have many more years of happiness and success ahead. His present unfortunately did not get here on time. It's going to take a couple more weeks still but I will share once received. Outfit details: Lulu's lace jumpsuit *size XS* | Le Specs sunglasses | Michele Deco watch | Chanel wallet on chain *exact one in blue - new condition* | Gorjana earrings | Cartier bracelet

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Emile Cordon :: Luxury Lip Care

I'll be the first one to admit that I don't always take good care of my lips. They're often dry and can get much worse during winter months. A friend has introduced me to Emile Cordon miracle lip balms and I am hooked. This is probably one of the most luxurious lip balms that I've ever experienced. First, can we take a moment to appreciate how beautiful the packaging is? Each pot's scent is formulated by a New York perfume and they smell divine. I couldn't pick my favorite (I have Powdered Rose, Manhattan Flair *limited edition* and Mandarin Garden). I love them all! It was a pleasant surprise to know that Emile Cordon lip products do not contain Petrolatum. Key ingredients are wax, Castor oil, Almond oil and Vitamin E. They go on smooth as silk and smells likes like heaven. The texture is moisturizing without being greasy. It absorbs quickly and feels as if you do not have anything on the lips. I apply the balm every morning and night and I have noticed a difference in just 3 days. My lips remain hydrated throughout the day. I am not going to lie, they're expensive but a little goes a long way The best part? Each pot comes with an applicator for sanitizing purposes. It's definitely not a must have but if you are someone who is appreciate a little luxury every now and then, give these lip balms a try. I promise you won't regret it.