#justbepresent yoga challenge december 2014 beachyogagirl kinoyoga aloyoga instagram

I posted this graphic on my instagram the other day. I am planning on participating on this yoga challenge hosted by @beachyogagirl@kinoyoga. If you're on instagram and into yoga, I'm sure you know who they are already. They both post inspirational photos/videos (usually on the beach since they're both from Florida!) and have a bunch of followers. I try not to compare myself to others though. To me, yoga is a way for me to be more in touch with myself and what my body needs. It means that I might not be as flexible or as strong as others, but that's okay! I still like looking at photos and videos of people doing yoga because it's amazing to see what the human body is capable of doing.

Anyway, I'll be participating in the #justbepresent yoga challenge, which is both exciting and terrifying:
1) I am welcome to being motivated to practice yoga everyday. I haven't really been present on my mat lately and I know that I need it.
2) By looking at the scheduled poses, I can already tell that I won't be able to do some of them. I am not trying to be pessimistic; I just know what my body is capable of. I think pushing myself to do something that I'm not ready to do yet would invite injury. My hamstrings are tight tight tight, headstands scare me still, and I can't do a handstand yet despite practicing for it (sporadically!).
3) Posting pictures of myself in yoga poses online makes me nervous because it's putting myself out there, for all the world to see and judge.

It kind of sounds like I'm trying to psyche myself out, but I have already made peace with all my qualms. I'm just going to do it. I just have to figure out the self-timer on my camera (or ask my husband to kindly take photos of me after he comes home from school every night!). XD

cat yoga yogi yogini downward facing dog
I am interested to see the beginner variations on the poses that I can't do. :) Thankfully there are a lot of do-able poses! Check out that child's pose (24)! My fave! ;) If you are interested, follow me on instagram!

Do you guys do yoga? Would you ever do an online challenge like this? Anyone have any handstand tips?! :)

Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

I actually don't have any pictures of Thanksgiving food (my ext hard drive died), so here's a blurry phone pic of a plate from Christmas last year in Hawaii. :)
Thanksgiving is coming up next week! I'm super excited. It is my favorite holiday! Thanksgiving, to me, is all about good food, good people, and just being thankful! Back home in Hawaii, my entire extended family would always get together and it was so nice to spend time with them and eat delicious, home-cooked food all day (like my dad's signature baked fish!). It's tough being away from family, but Dallin and I try to make the most of it. We usually host holiday meals or go over to a friend's house. This year, however, it'll just be the two of us. But that's okay! I'm still excited! I love Thanksgiving food! :) Here are my favorite recipes that I personally like to use.

Birchbox Limited Edition Conscious Commerce Box

Conscious Commerce Limited Edition Curated Birchbox Products

Conscious Commerce Curated Limited Edition Birchbox

Conscious Commerce Limited Edition Curated Birchbox product list

I recently bought this limited edition Birchbox that was curated by the ladies behind Conscious Commerce (Olivia Wilde, who I love!, and Babs Burchfield). I had already bought the Vanity Affair LE box and I wasn't planning on getting the Conscious Commerce one, but then I saw the unboxing video. I fell in love and I impulsively bought it with the birchbox points that I earned from my previous purchase. I love everything that this box is about. Everything in this box is a product that gives back to an important cause. I received the box this past week and I love it! Everything is well-made and something that I know that I will use.

Skin Woes: Seasonal Transition

clinque moisture surge extended thirst relief, boots botanics facial oil 100% organic with nourishing rosehip, dr. jart+ dr.jart+ ceramidin cream derma care technology,

Charleston weather is so weird. One day I will wake up to a frozen car and temperatures in the 40/50's during the day, and the next it could be as warm as 80 degrees! Then back to the 50's again! That's crazy to me. But apparently it's normal for this area. I am not gonna complain about the occasional and unexpected warm day. However, my skin is so confused right now! Definitely doesn't help that I'm working inside of an office all day. All that heating and a/c makes the air super dry, which also makes my skin feeling parched. And when my skin is dry, it tends to overproduce oil and it is just not a good look.

Normally, my morning routine is basically this: cleanse, facial mist/toner, eye cream, facial oil, sunscreen, primer, makeup! Before I go to bed, my routine is pretty much the same except minus the sunscreen, add a serum, and sometimes I'll use an extra moisturizer after the facial oil if  Lately, I feel like this normal routine is not cutting it! My skin has been so dry and subsequently oily. So, I have had to break out the big guns recently.

eShakti Custom Dress (Review)

I have seen a couple reviews of dresses by the company eShakti.com floating around on the internet (the latest being this review by eyeheartit!). I had not looked into the site on my own though, to be honest, because I assumed that it wouldn't really be my style (based on the vintage-y/retro dresses I saw being reviewed). However, I was contacted about a month ago to write a review of a customized eShakti product on my blog. I figured that I would take a look at their site to see if I liked anything and if not, it wouldn't have been that big of a deal to decline. BUT OMG! I must say that I saw a lot of cute dresses that I would totally wear! It was actually hard to pick just one. So, I felt pretty stupid and I guess this is a perfect example of why I shouldn't really assume things without verifying or clarifying first.

I ended up picking this Floral Crop Top Dress. It's so cute and I don't really have anything like it! I customized it by using my exact measurements and also removed the floral embellishment because I'm a simple gal. 

eShakti Floral Crop Top Cotton Dress cathyahh
It was actually sunny today! So, don't mind my squinty eyes. And also my awkward legs! Also, those wrinkles! I did iron it, I promise!

It actually does not fit perfectly on me. :( It fits a little too big in both the waist and the bust. I actually measured my waist again and it is 1" smaller than what I put on my order (blame it on the bloat!). It can be taken in at least 2" though. And the bust... I figure that the "crop top" part is supposed to be a little loose. However, it does cause the under arm area to fit kind of awkwardly. I actually really like this dress though and it is well-made, so I will be taking this in to get tailored. :)

Also, I was totally under the impression that this was a two-piece, but it's actually ONE PIECE! That's actually pretty cool because I won't be able to flash my midriff if I raise my arms. Also, its getting cold here lately, and it's nice that everything is covered. Keeps me warmer! Our neighbors caught us after we were finished taking pictures in the backyard and we talked to them outside for an hour! It was a little less than 50 degrees! (I am from Hawaii and we also lived in Guam before moving to Charleston. Self explanatory.) After we finally got into the house, my husband told me that he was surprised that I could handle it. Yeah, I don't know. Haha. I was surprised, too. But I digress!

eshakti floral crop top cotton dress cathyahh

I LOVE THE POCKETS! I love a skirt/dress with pockets!

eShakti floral crop top cotton dress button detail closure back cathyahh

And how cute are the buttons in the back? This is a faux-closure and non-functional, but I love these types of little details. (But I don't like fake pockets!)

What I like most about eShakti.com is that their clothing is available in sizes 0-36!!! That's amazing to me. I love that they're inclusive to women of all sizes! Also, you can customize the dresses for a small fee of $7.50 by either entering your own measurements or customizing the length, neckline, sleeves, and such.

In conclusion, I'm a fan! If you are interested in purchasing anything for yourself, eShakti is offering 10% off if you use the coupon code: "cathystyles" (good until 11/29/2014). Also, I just checked their site and they have an awesome "Buy 2, Get 1 Free" deal happening for a limited time! You can visit their site here and connect with them on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Code has to be entered in the ‘promotional code’ box.   It is not case-sensitive.  
Code can be used any number of times until the validity period. 
It can be clubbed with any other promotional offer, gift coupon or gift card in the same order unless explicitly specified otherwise in the offer conditions.
This discount code is not applicable on clearance / sale, gift cards & overstock categories.
Not applicable on previous purchases.

Dress: eShakti
Shoes: Nine West

(Dress was received as a sample to review and keep. All opinions are my own!)

Sample Decision: Full-Size or Skip?

Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Tone Perfecting Eye Gel Creme and Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate serum samples from birchbox

I received both of these samples in my Birchbox subscription boxes and they're both about to run out! Now I'm left to decide whether to buy the full-sized products or try something else.

The Laura Mercier Tone Perfecting Eye Gel Creme came in my August 2014 birchbox and I've been using it every night since. The sample came in a 0.17 oz tub and I still have enough left over to last about a week or two (been using it for almost 3 months!). It is super lightweight and absorbs fairly quickly, so it would totally make a great daytime eye creme, too! It adds the perfect amount of moisture and I really like this gel creme formula. Not sure about the "tone perfecting" part, but I also don't expect too much from eye cremes. My eye bags only go away with enough sleep and relaxation. No amount of heavenly eye creme can get rid of my baggage and dark circles if I have them! I have come to terms with that. Anyway, I think I might need a more heavy duty eye creme now that it's getting colder (yeah, I know that I'm a wimp!) and also since I'm getting "older." So, I'm going to try out the Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Active Moisture Vitamin E Eye Balm. I actually haven't tried any of the Elizabeth Dehn stuff, but I really loved the regular One Love Organics line while I used it a couple years ago. So, we'll see! I can always go back to the Laura Mercier Eye Gel Creme later. :)

The Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate came in my September 2014 birchbox and I have also been using it every night since I got it. The sample came in a 10 mL bottle and I suspect that I only have enough left for maybe a week. This stuff smells GREAT! It smells botanical/natural, fresh, light, and not cloying. The smells dissipates quickly after application. And even though it's a lightweight serum, I did notice that it is pretty good at moisturizing. Or at least my face feels like it holds onto moisture longer when I use it (versus just using the face oil that I use as a moisturizer). I think that's great. I'm not so sure about the antioxidant claims, but I love the way this makes my skin feel. I wanted to hate this, but I ended up really liking it. Full-size is $65 for 30 mL though! If I am gonna spend that much, I think I would rather repurchase the Caudalie VinoPerfect Radiance Serum because I feel like this is the only thing that helps lighten my dark spots (that resulted from breakouts in the past). However, I will definitely look into the Ultimune serum again when I feel like I don't have to focus on lightening my spots anymore!

Have you tried any of these products before? Do you have better suggestions for serums or eye cremes? :)

Btw, my SD card is super corrupted and won't format. I suspect that there is something wrong with the SD card and/or my computer. So, this picture was taken with my iPhone! I guess there will be no actual camera photos until I replace my SD card. And I might have to buy a new computer (I have had this laptop since 2009 though!). BOO!

(all links are for convenience only! and all opinions are my own.)