Hiking to the M*A*S*H* site in Malibu Creek State Park

We went drove up to Malibu Creek State Park the afternoon of July 26, 2014!  We decided to take PCH over and that was not the best decision we made, we were stuck in bumper to bumper traffic for an hour.  So if you plan on doing this hike over the weekend, don’t take PCH over, trust.

We were a bit lost as to where we should park because there were multiple parking lots and entrances for the park.  We decided to go over to the Visitor Center and ask them for directions.

Obligatory handstands at the visitor center.

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We eventually found out where to park and headed over to the parking lot, it was $10 to park so be sure to bring some cash!

In the very beginning of the hike, we found people swimming in the rock pools!! I am definitely going to bring my bathing suit next time!  There is a place called Century Lake that seemed like a popular spot to go for a lot of people.  I am DEFINITELY hitting that place up next time we go to MCSP!  I heard a lot of laughing and splashing from afar so it MUST be fun!

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“A cute kid I found whilst on our hike! He was so stoked when he found that horse mask, he didn’t want to take it off!”

Also, next time I go hiking, I’m going to plan to go a lot earlier, preferably early in the morning maybe at 6AM or 7AM!  That would be the perfect time, especially during the summer.  The heat has been kind of ridiculous here in California and I’m not the type of person that finds it the most enjoyable to go hiking in heat!  I find myself not being as “present” as I’d like to be.  All I thought about was getting to the destination and that’s no fun, it’s the journey that usually makes it fun!!

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“HIKING SELLLFIEEEEEEE”

reIMG_1085“This was a nice view….. The moutains were quite majestic.  And I learned that sometimes the candid photos are the best photos… Here’s one of me fixing my hair!”

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“You see that look I’m giving Mike? Yeah, that creepy starry eyed look is how you know when a person loves someone or at least realllly likes them. LOL!”

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The hike over to the M*A*S*H* site was just about 3.5 miles!  It was quite worth it!  The second half of the hike was the most beautiful, we crossed this bridge that had such beautiful trees hanging over it.

reIMG_1120“Obligatory headstand in a beautiful place, of course.”

reIMG_1124“The second half of the hike had much more greenery!  I loooove greeenery!”

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“Alas, we made it over to the M*A*S*H* site!  MAJOR PHOTO OP TIME~! OH HAI MIKE.”

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“This was another one of the abandoned cars left at the site! It’s so cute, all rusty and stuck in a bush!”

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“Guys, I’m lost, WHAT DO!?!!?!?!?!?!?”

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“You know you’ve reached high levels of intimacy in a relationship when your S/O isn’t afraid to pick your nose.  What is shamefulness. Also, I look so redneck here, it’s awesome.”

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“Hey guys, am I a hot import model yet? HAHAHHAHAHHAHAHA, I had to do this, even though I was sweating balls.”

Early Rising – Week 4

Conclusion:
I’m not sure if it was the “what the hell” effect that kicked in because this was my last week for the trial or what but I slept in 3 days of the 7 days out of this week.  But not to worry, I didn’t let that get to me, I added an extra day to this trial and woke up at 5:57AM!  I sat down last night and started to read the book “Habit Stacking: 96 Small Life Changes that Take 5 Minutes or Less” by S.J. Scott, and he said to never ever miss 2 days in a row of your habit because that will REALLY screw with your willpower.  I can attest to that!!!!!!!!  It is very dangerous to miss 2 days in a row because then the WHAT THE HELL EFFECT will really get to you, “Oh what the hell, I missed 2 days, it’s okay if I missed one more.” *A week passes by and you haven’t started up that habit you were trying to develop* *A month passes by and you still have not got back onto it* And well, you get that point.  The fact that I’ve been held accountable by making myself blog everyday about this is what kept me going.  To be very honest with all of you had I not been held accountable through blogging, I think I would’ve already quit by week 2.  So, I’M VERY GLAD that I tried my best to keep up with it.  I didn’t end up regularly waking up before 6AM this week like I wanted, but that’s okay.  Maybe it’s suppose to take me more than 4 weeks to wean myself down to regularly waking up at 5:30AM or maybe it’s because I wasn’t as disciplined as I could’ve been.  Either way I’m glad I did this 30 day trial, I’ve learned a LOT about myself and general habit building that I shall implement into the next habits and goals I’m trying to build.

You don’t always get everything perfectly the first time around and I’m beginning to accept that.  I used to be afraid to try new things out and take risks because I was just so damned afraid that I wasn’t going to be good at it right away.  But that was totally unrealistic, it’s normal and completely OKAY to not get things down correctly right away.  There’s a thing called practice, and that’s what you do to get better and improve.  I’ve always self-identified as a fast learner so I would put myself down and quit if I didn’t get how to do something right away.  BUT I’M A CHANGED SOULLLLL!  If this was me a couple months ago, I would have felt really down on myself and consider this 30 day trial as a failure because I didn’t get myself to wake up regularly at 5:30AM everyday, but I’ve recently been redefining what failure meant to me.  I would like to give major credit to Sean Wes’ podcast “Failure Does Not Exist” along with Scott Adams’ book, “How to Fail at Everything and Still Win Big” for helping me change my perspective on what failure meant.  I HIGHLY recommend giving those a listen or read.  Failure isn’t bad, quitting is bad. Failing just means that you have just found a way of how NOT to do something.  As long as you learn from it, it is OKAY!!!!!!  Don’t be down on yourself.  KEEP ON PERSISTING AND DON’T GIVE UP!!!!!!!!!

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Day 22


I kicked week 4 with a BANG but to be completely honest it was out of necessity.  I woke up at 5:12AM because we needed to leave the house by 6AM to catch the boat in Ventura for the Channel Islands for Mike’s birthday!

Bedtime: around 11:00PM
Wake up time: 5:12AM

Supplements:
N/A dont remember

Day 23
My body was absolutely sore from yesterday’s 8 mile hike so I gave myself permission to sleep in until 8:00AM today.  I think it was a good decision because I was going to Pole Fitness in the morning at 9:45AM and needed as much energy as possible!

Bedtime: 11:14AM
Wake up time: 8:00AM

Supplements:
1. 10:00PM 200mg – 5-HTP
2. 10:00PM 400mg – Magnesium
3. 10:00PM 5mg – Melatonin gummies

Things I shall improve:
1) Getting into bed earlier

Things I feel good about:
1) Despite being sore and hiking 8 miles the day before I still got up and went to pole fitness, NO EXCUSES BABY
2) I’ve been having intense workout sessions for 4 consecutive days

Day 24
I’m very proud of myself today!  I woke up with ease at 6:14 this morning.  One thing I should have done is to refrain from being distracted and finish up my early rising and Channel Island Posts first thing instead of getting myself distracted.  But I still do feel really good at waking at 6:14 this morning. I’m getting there! This Monday is off to such a great start.

Bedtime: 12:38AM
Wake up time: 6:14AM

Supplements:
1) 8:00AM – 400mg Magnesium
2) 8:30AM – 1000mg Green Tea Extract
3) 5:00PM – Green Tea
4)6:00PM – 200mg 5-HTP

Things I shall improve:
1) Once again, sleeping earlier. Although I woke up really early today despite sleeping past midnight, I would like to get more hours of sleep so that I don’t have to nap in the daytime
2) Wake up at 6:00AM or earlier tomorrow morning

Things I feel good about:
1) Waking up at 6:14AM
2) Getting caught up with my early rising posts
3) My healthy and limber body

Day 25
I stayed up quite late last night trying to finish up my blog post.  I really shouldn’t blame it on that though because if I wasn’t so distracted I would’ve finished the blog post a lot quicker.  I will have to do better tomorrow morning.  I’m not sure why but my acid reflux has been worse these past couple of days, I’m going to have to figure out why that is.  I need to quit drinking coffee and espresso.

Bedtime: 1:00AM
Wake up time: 7:52AM

Supplements:
1) 7:00AM – 1000mg Green Tea Extract
2) 7:00AM – 100mg 5-HTP
3) 3:00PM – 1 shot of espresso

Things I shall improve:
1) SLEEP EARLY, SLEEP EARLY, I WILL DO THIS TONIGHT

Things I feel good about:
1) A boyfriend that wakes me up in the morning when I sleep in

Day 26
I got into bed at around 10:00PM and went to bed at around 11:00PM BUT THE THING IS, I FELL ASLEEP AND FORGOT TO TURN ON MY ALARM!!! I woke up in a panic and asked my boyfriend what time it was….. To my disappoint it was 7:40AM!! I was in bed reading and finished my new favorite book #GIRLBOSS  and I guess I fell asleep and forgot to set my alarm.  At least now I know…… To remember to set alarm…… And maybe not read in bed.  I think this is the first time in this 30 day trial that I forgot to set my alarm! Oh poppycakes, there’s a first time for everything!  I’m going to make an effort once again today to get into bed really early and wake up really early. COME ON DAN TAM YOU CAN DO THIS. I GOT 4 DAYS TO PROVE TO MYSELF.

Bedtime: 11:00PM
Wake up time: 7:40AM

Supplements:
1) 9:30AM – Small cup of coffee
2) 7:00AM – 1000mg – Green Tea Extract
3) 10:00PM – 200mg – 5-HTP
4) 10:00PM – 400mg – Magnesium

Things I shall improve:
1) Have myself sleep by 10:30PM
2) Wake up before 6:00AM
3) Don’t check my email or social media until I’m done with my blog post and other important/productive tasks

Things I feel good about:
1) Mike rustling around this morning which roused me to wake up
2) Writing my blog post first thing in the morning
3) Making my super special banana and blueberry smoothie with maca root, spirulina, chaga mushroom powder and bee pollen

Day 27
WELL, I woke at 6:34AM today! It’s not bad considering I’ve been waking up past 7 the past couple of days…. I got into bed at around 10:00PM but then I started to browse the internet in bed and decided to go all out and exercise too so I didn’t actually sleep until 11:00PM.  My sleep quality wasn’t so great though. I’m wondering if it’s exercising literally right before bed? I also lessened my dose of 5-HTP so I’m wondering if that had anything to do with it either.  Either way, I’m happy I got myself out of bed before 7AM.  The temptation to sleep in was definitely there, but I had to overcome it!  I’m proud of myself for not wanting drink coffee.

Bedtime: 11:00PM
Wake up time: 6:34AM

Supplements:
1) 9:30AM – 1000mg of Green Tea Extract
2) 10:00AM – A few sips from my leftover Jasmine Green Tea drink from 85 degrees
3) 10:20PM – 100mg of 5-HTP
4) 10:20PM – 400mg of Magnesium

Things I shall improve:
1) Waking up before 6:00AM tomorrow morning
2) Get to sleep by 10:00PM
3) Come on Dan-Tam you got 3 more days! YOU CAN DO THIS!!! GET TO WAKING UP AT 5:30AM!!!

Things I feel good about:
1) Waking up before 7:00AM
2) Writing up this blog post
3) Selling my first item on craigslist last night for above craigslist market rate, the taste of first blood….. cash being handed to me for such little effort, that gave me an adrenaline rush!  I want to sell more things on craigslist.  I have an idea, I’m going to help other people sell big ticket items on craigslist for a cut of it, so basically being a broker or agent of sorts for people who suck at making craigslist ads.  I will take photos, write an awesome description and if need be make a video for it too!
4) Not checking my social media or email first thing in the morning, it feels so damn good. I’m back on facebook though, finished up the 30 days of no facebook

Day 28
Well, I woke up at 6:17AM today! HURRRRRRRAH! That’s closer to 6AM! I slept quite late though, maybe at midnight, sometime in the late 11:00PM.  Sleep quality didn’t feel so great today. I was woken up several times throughout the night because Mike wasn’t able to sleep.  I was also apparently sleep talking too except I remember it happening but I was less than conscious.  I don’t remember what I was saying but I remember feeling frustrated because I couldn’t explain to Mike what I was trying to say.  I think it’s amusing to have a partner that sleeps talk.

I was being bad today and was browsing on the internet for the past 45 minutes looking at cute drawings on deviantart. I’m working on my Kawaii Dickbutt drawing so I’m doing my ~research~ and trying to figure out how to best draw the kawaii eyes.  I think that’s the most important part here.  But alas, I must remember to finish the important things first like, writing up this blog post before I do anything else.

Bedtime: 12:00AM
Wake up time: 6:17AM

Supplements:
1. 8:00AM – Banana & Blueberry smoothie with maca root powder, chaga mushroom powder, spirulina, and bee pollen
2. 11:00AM – Vietnamese Iced Coffee (I really must stop with this coffee drinking shenanigans)
3. 11:00PM – 400mg of Magnesium
4. 11:00PM – 100mg of 5-HTP

Things I shall improve:
1. Well, I got into bed at around 11:00PM but I just stayed up quite late reading my horoscope and debating on facebook, I need to get into bed by 10:00PM today
2. Waking up earlier once again, let’s aim for 6AM tomorrow morning (or earlier if possible)
3. Finishing up my blog first thing in the morning

Things I feel good about:
1. Waking up at 6:17AM this morning, FUCK YEAH
2. Going to finish up my kawaii dickbutt drawing and post it up on redbubble
3. Having a couple craigslist items to take pictures of and sell for people
4. Getting paid to transcribe this awesome podcast about ASMR that Smarternootropics did yesterday, I’m really excited to give it a listen, fuck yeah.

Day 29 & Day 30
I don’t know what happened but these last 2 days of the 30 day trial I woke up late at either 7:30 or 8:00.  I’m not sure if it’s the “what the hell” effect that kicked in or what.  I slept late these 2 days (at around 1:00AM or later) because I was eating eating out on day 29 with friends I haven’t seen in awhile and then on day 30 I went up to LA with Mike and Alice to go to the Style Life Academy cocktail party.  But I can’t let it disappoint me, life happens! And I shouldn’t let it discourage me if I miss a day or two.  That’s the most important thing that I’ve learned on this 30 day experiment of early rising.

Day 31
I really wanted to end this trial on a good note so I wanted to add an extra day to let myself get back in the groove of waking up earlier.  I’m so glad I did because I broke a new record (minus the time I woke up for the Channel Islands at 5:12AM, it was an absolute necessity to wake up at that time)! I woke up at 5:57AM today!!! FEEEEELS GOOOOOOD MAN!  I’m not sure why but I feel like waking up late 2 days in a row made me feel like I woke up late far more than that.  I’m not sure if it’s because I focused more on myself not achieving the goals I had set for myself or what but that’s how it felt like to me.  I felt like I slacked off more than I did but when look back at my logs previously, I have actually been very good at waking up early this week.  Well, pretty good, I woke up late 3 out of the 7 days this week.  So more than half of the time I woke up early.  Well I guess I did slack off a bit but it wasn’t as bad as how I felt.  I felt like I woke up really late every day.  I didn’t get to my goal of waking up before 6AM regularly, but I did make a good impression this morning by waking up at 5:57AM.

Bedtime: 11:03PM
Wake up time: 5:57AM

Supplements:
1) 5:00PM – 7:00PM – 2 small cups of coffee with a lot of milk
2) 10:30PM – 400mg of Magnesium
3) 10:30PM – 200mg of 5-HTP

Things I shall improve:
1) Working on blogging first instead of getting sidetracked on the many other websites on the internet. It’s scary, one thing led to another.
2) Sleeping by 10:30PM (I got into bed at 10:45PM last night but I was on my phone for 15 minutes before I actually decided to sleep)

Things I feel good about:
1) Waking up before 6AM and giving myself a good impression on the way I ended this challenge!
2) Listening to Tove  Lo’s song: Habits (Stay High)
3) Walking outside to take a beautiful picture of what the sky looked like early in the morning (I wish I took it earlier when I woke up right away)
4) Being awake when most people are still asleep

Southern California: Santa Cruz Island of the Channel Islands National Park

pano view
Mike and I went hiking on the Santa Cruz island of the Channel Islands with 11 other friends for his 27th birthday on Saturday (July 12, 2014)!  We woke up at 5:12AM (thank goodness I’ve been practicing waking up early) so that we can get ready and drive up to Ventura (approx. 2 hours from Orange County) to catch the Island Packers boat that left at 9:00AM for Santa Cruz.

I highly recommend arriving early because the boat will NOT wait for you, so be there at LEAST half an hour early, we got there 45 minutes early.  I was really excited about this trip and brought my DSLR camera along but since I rushed to get out of the door, I LEFT MY CAMERA BATTERY BACK IN THE CHARGER, so PRO-TIP make sure your camera has it’s batteries and memory card in before you leave the house.  It always sucks to find out way too late that you forget essentials for your camera.  So I was basically lugging 2lbs of dead weight all day in my backpack (not fun).  So if anyone is wondering all these photos were taking with my iPhone 4′s camera.  Not too shabby, I especially liked the panorama photos.

ESSENTIALS TO BRING:
1) WATER, WATER, WATER there are no concession stands or anything on the island so whatever you bring with you from home or buy on the boat is all you have, so I HIGHLY recommend bringing enough water.  I brought along a 2 Liter Hydration pack with me and that lasted me all day.
2) Again, they do not sell any food at all on the island so you’re going to have to bring you enough to last you until 5:00PM (if you plan on just hiking for a day and not camping)

  • Sandwiches
  • Granola
  • Beef Jerky
  • Fruit (apples, nectarines, bananas, etc)
  • Trail Mix

3) SUNBLOCK, I made the mistake of not wearing any sunblock and I got REALLY sunburnt (haven’t gotten sunburnt since I was 16)
4) A pair of really good sturdy comfortable shoes with thick soles to hike in (I wore my boots that had thin soles and it was not very fun hiking in them, I was not prepared, but I WILL BE next time)
5) Bathing suit (if you plan on playing and swimming in the water)
6) Camera (to capture all your memories and the beauty you seeeeeeee whilst exploring)
7) Walkie-Talkies (If you’re going with a large group of people, these are really nice to have since there is no cellphone signal on the island. It is especially useful if you guys decide to go separate ways or one section is walking faster than the others and you guys can communicate via walkie talkie instead of shouting as loud as you could to try to communicate with the others.)

The boat ride over to the island was surprisingly VERY FUN.  I believe the boat ride was about an hour, give or take, I wasn’t really watching the time because I was having so much fun!  I initially thought it would be a dinky and slow ride over to the island but the boat ride was actually quite speedy!  I felt like a kid again, hair flying all over the place, with my hands out, feeling the ocean water splash playfully against my skin as the boat hits the waves at high speeds.  We also got to see a pack of sea lions sunbathing on a buoy, a sunfish laying on it’s side at the ocean’s surface and dolphins swimming around on the ride over to the island!  Seeing dolphins swimming in the wild has always been such a magical event for me.  They are such beautiful and majestic creatures!

bay view
Pictured above is a boat anchored near the island as we approached closer to the shores.  Something very important to take note of, this is a LEAVE NO TRACE BEHIND type of national park (as it should be) there are NO TRASH CANS on the island so whatever trash you have, you must keep with you throughout the whole time until you get back onto the boat or home.  LITTER makes anything and everything ugly, so please be considerate and keep your trash with you at all times.  I highly recommend bringing with you an extra plastic bag so that you can store all your trash in. :)

dt bay

Our plan for this trip was to hike over to see the abandoned Oil Well and then after that hike over to Smuggler’s Cove.  Both places were very much worth the hike (especially Smuggler’s Cove).  The hike from the harbor (Scorpion Anchorage) over to Smuggler’s Cove was about 3.5 miles.  The first half of the hike was mostly uphill and the second half was downhill.  On our way to Smuggler’s Cove we made a little detour that was about .25 miles to see the abandoned Oil Well and eat our lunches.

oil well
oil rig

 (Obligatory picture with the sexy birthday boy Mike)

Whilst hiking I decided to take my shirt off because I was getting WAY TOO SWEATY, I was so happy I made the decision to wear a bikini under all my clothes.  That made life much easier.

pathway

(So close yet, so farrrrrrrrr.  The views that we got when we were at high elevations were absolutely beautiful.)

datura

(I believe this flower is called Datura, there were heaps and heaps of them on the island)

boys on hill

(Some of our friends hiked over to this bed of rocks and decided to rest for a bit, I thought it would be a great chance for a picture)

So we’re hiking and hiking and hiking and it totally feels like forever getting over to Smuggler’s Cove.  This was actually my first long hike out in the wilderness so I’m obviously not used to hiking long distances to places.

smugglers cove

( HURRAH, finally a sign that says we are close to Smuggler’s Cove, I believe it was about another 30 minutes of mostly hiking downhill from this sign post)

Let me tell you it was COMPLETELY WORTH THE HIKE OVER TO SMUGGLER’S COVE.  We reached a beach that was totally deserted, basically had the beach alllll to ourselves.  For me, one of the best things in life is being on a beach where there’s little to no people on it.  There’s just something so intimate about being out on a beach with no one else besides you, your friends and the ocean.   I quickly took off my clothes and got into the water in my bathing suit!  Oh I forgot to mention, there is a bathroom here too, so that was very nice and convenient!  LOOK AT THE VIEW I GOT TO EXPERIENCE!!

beach
Alright, PRO-TIP:  The shores of this beach were reallllly rocky so it kind of hurt to walk over the rocks.  I basically just kinda sat down on a rock and crab walked my over towards the ocean.  I was really sad at first at how rocky the shore was because I thought it was going to be rocky all way through but our courageous friend Joel decided to walk farther and farther into the ocean and about 20 feet or so from the shore he discovered SAND!! SOFT, SOFT SAND!!!!  He yelled and jumped for joy when he discovered that and so did the rest of us.  I got so damn excited I was crab crawling as fast as I could over and man was the sand sooooo soft.  For the next half hour or so, we spent it playing around in the water and catching waves with our bodies.  It was TOTALLY, TOTALLY WORTH IT.  It felt soooo very refreshing to be in the water after such a long hike under the sun!!!  I wish we could stay longer at Smuggler’s Cove but we needed to hike back over to Scorpion Anchorage to catch our boat that left at 5:00PM.

swimming in beach

Another tip, remember to re-apply SUNBLOCK if you decide to go into the water.  Most of us all got badly sunburnt because we forgot to re-apply.  I on the other hand didn’t even apply sunblock (because I usually don’t burn in the sun and I hate the feeling of sunblock) this whole time we’ve been hiking so I was heavily sun burnt by the end of the day!  Lesson learned.  NEVER AGAIN WILL I HIKE WITHOUT A HAT AND SUNBLOCK.

hike back

Alright so for the first half of the 3.5 mile hike back to the harbor, it was seriously one of the most brutal hikes.  The uphills were very steep and it just felt very difficult especially with the sun so high in the sky.  BUT WE MUST TRUDGE ON AND NOT GIVE UP!!!!! This was where many of our friends realized how important water was.  Most of them didn’t bring enough water so I gladly shared my water with them too!  I HIGHLLLLY recommend buying a hydration backpack, they are very VERY handy, a complete lifesaver! I was sipping on water throughout the whole hike so I never felt dehydrated.  It’s got to be one of the most uncomfortable and dangerous feelings to be out under the sun walking long distances whilst feeling dehydrated.  I am now obsessed with it and want to bring it with me whenever I need to walk long distances.

Mike was really worried we wouldn’t make it in time for the boat so he sent two of our strongest and fastest hiking friends Joel and Timothy to go ahead of us in case we needed to alert the boat that we had a large group that was still hiking over to the boat.  I on the other hand believed that we could make it, I think it’s better to stay positive and to keep group morale high because most of our friends at this point were feeling very very tired.  But it was definitely a good move to send out two of our strongest to move ahead of us, just in case!

Yep!! And so we made it back and had about 3o minutes to spare (I knew we would make it in time). :)  I was really disappointed because I was looking forward to seeing some wild foxes!  Mike told me there were a lot of fox on the island and since the fox is my spirit animal, I was really excited to see wild ones for the very first time.  The whole time on the hike we didn’t spot any, but in the end we decided to go over to the campgrounds where we found this cute but sad little fox.  It was limping and looked kind of delirious but it was still a wild fox nonetheless.  It didn’t seem to be afraid of humans at all, I guess they’re used to it but I got to stand pretty close to it!  Poor thing, I wish I could help it but we are not allowed to feed any of the wild animals because human food can really harm them and also, the park rangers want to keep the animals wild!)  But anywho, spotting the fox was a great way to end this trip!

fox
All in all, I’m really glad I got to explore this island and went on this crazy hike!  Although it was a difficult hike (especially since most of us aren’t experienced hikers) it was totally worth it.  All of it.  The sore legs and sunburn and everything.  It was totally worth everything we experienced that day.  I’m really excited to see and explore more places this beautiful world has to offer us!!! Thank you Mike for choosing to go hiking here for your birthday!  This was an amazing experience and I hope we get to do more things like this often!

 

Early Rising – Week 3

Conclusion:
So I didn’t get my baseline wake up time to waking up at 6:00AM this week. I am going to try that out next week once again and aim to break the threshold into the 5AM mark by my 30th day.  I am very excited for that.  I will make a more conscious effort to sleep earlier also.  If you want to take a gander as to how I felt each day click on the “continue reading” link!

Day 15

WOOT. I’m slowly getting back on track. I woke up at 6:20AM today. My alarm woke me up at 5:59AM and I was about to get up but I slept a bit late last night and I didn’t want to feel groggy and grumpy in the afternoon since I’ll be at Anime Expo again today.   Slowly but surely getting back on track to early rising.  I’m in such a good mood right now, I found this song remix by Sunglasses Kid to Futurecop! – Lost Love. This tune is going to go on repeat for awhile, it’s the perfect song to drive down PCH to on a sunny day in a convertible.  I’m not sure but I think I took 200mg – 5-HTP last night, I felt like I had good sleep.

Bedtime: 11:52PM
Wake up time: 6:20AM

Supplements:
1. 7:00AM – 8oz of Green Tea
2. 11:00AM – Sea salt cream Jasmine Tea
3. 11:30PM – 200mg 5-HTP

Things I’d like to improve:
1. Finish up blogpost first thing in the morning without getting distracted
2. Go to bed by 10:30PM

Things I feel good about:
1. The song Lost Love (Sunglasses Remix) by Futurecop!
2. Waking up at 6:20AM in the morning
3. Going to AX again today, I’m going to take a bunch more video selfies with amazing cosplayers

Continue reading

Day 16

I stayed up late ’til around 1AM or so learning how to use After Effects and editing this video of me cosplaying as Jacket from Hotline Miami. I woke up at 7:40AM and ate breakfast and then went straight to pole fitness class! I felt good waking up though, I didn’t feel tired or anything.

Bedtime: 1:30AM
Wake up time: 7:40AM

Supplements:
1. 200mg 5-HTP

Things I’d like to improve:
1. I’m very proud of the video I edited and all the time I put into it, but I shall try editing early in the morning instead of late at night!

Things I feel good about:
1. How my video came out. I recently told myself not to half-ass anything anymore in my life and to take the time to really do the best of my best.  I haven’t ever been so proud of a creation of mine ever until this video!! I cannot wait to learn how to do even cooler things in After Effects!!!

Day 17

I slept REALLY early last night, at around 10AM and I was so excited to wake up at at least 5:30 in the morning, but my alarm clock froze on me and I had overslept and woke up at 7:40AM yet again!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! NOOOOOOOO!! I did wake up to go to the bathroom at around 4:50AM, perhaps I should’ve stayed awake….. Next time!! Today I will sleep early again and try my best to wake up before 6! IT WILL BE DONE!!!!

Bedtime: 10:00PM
Wake up time: 7:40AM

Supplements:
1. 1:30pM – 400mg Magnesium
2. 9:30PM – 100mg 5-HTP

Things I shall improve:
1. Wake up earlier and make sure alarm doesn’t freeze.
2. Wake up the first time the alarm goes off

Things I feel good about:
1. Sleeping so damn early yesterday, fuck yeah

Day 18

I think my serotonin levels are fucked. I’ve been eating non-stop lately like 6 times or so a day. Yesterday I had a bowl of spaghetti and then an hour later I had sashimi and tempura ice cream and then 2 hours later I was hungry again and had some eggs.  I just keep on eating and eating. Along with that I’ve been feeling more sleepy but then I sleep like 8-9 hours and I feel so tired and groggy not even a shot of espresso can wake me up.  I was feeling all down yesterday too.  Serotonin is what regulates your mood, appetite and sleep.  Alrighty, back to taking the 5-HTP with Green Tea Extract for me!  I know this is just temporary feels, but it just doesn’t feel good while it lasts.

COME ON DAN-TAM, WE MUST START WAKING UP REGULARLY AT 6AM THIS WEEK. WE GOT THIS.

Bedtime: 10:30AM
Wake up time: 6:45AM

Supplements:
1. 9:30AM – Half of a regular drink size of Vietnamese Coffee
2. 1:30PM – 1 shot of espresso

Things I shall improve:
1. Not feeling like shit and waking up earlier. I’ve been going to bed early but waking up the same time, which is quite strange.
2. I start exercising regularly again, I haven’t for a couple weeks now

Things I feel good about:
1. Being alive
2. Going on a date with myself last night, eating sashimi and tempura ice cream and watching the movie A Coffee in Berlin

Day 19

MUCH SUCCESS!!! I broke a new record this morning!!!! I woke up at 5:54AM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so so proud of myself. First thing I did this morning was a 15 minute yoga session on my Yoga Studio app! Wow, I am superrrrr stiff this morning I can barely do my forward bends. But that’s alright, I’m just happy I’m getting back into yoga again in what feels like forever!!

Supplements:
1. 12:30PM – shot of espresso
2. 5:30PM – Jasmine Milk Tea
3. 10:30PM – 100mg of 5-HTP
4. 10:30PM – 400mg of Magnesium
5. 10:30PM – 5mg of Melatonin

Things I shall improve:
1. Better sleep quality

Things I feel good about:
1. Breaking a new record FINALLY
2. Doing yoga first thing in the morning

Update: After yoga at around 6:30AM I felt like I needed a nap so I took a 1.5 hour nap until 8. It was much needed tho, felt good to nap.  After that I proceeded to work out, and that felt sooo damn good.  Makes me feel so much better whenever I work out. Those natural endorphins though.

Day 20

I woke up in the middle of the night at around 2:00AM because Mike had a migraine and I stayed up for a bit to take care of him.  Man, I really hope we figure out what these triggers are.  The wake up really screwed up with my sleeping schedule though so I gave myself time to sleep in because I know I wouldn’t have had enough sleep if I woke up at 6:15AM today.  I woke up at around 7:40AM instead.  About to go to some body combat kickboxing exercise class thing with Thi (damn girl, you a strong preggo lady) at 10AM today.  Then later on in the evening I’ll be taking my polefitness class.

Supplements:
N/A

Things I shall improve:
1. Waking up at 6:00AM, COME ON, THIS IS THE LAST DAY
2. Friends came over yesterday and we watched the first episode of Tokyo Ghoul and then went to bed a little late (around 11:30PM)

Things I feel good about:
1. Being alive
2. Chatting with Cherry for a bit over Skype

Day 21

I didn’t post first thing in the morning (I’m catching up on my posts, havent posted for 2 days) that day but I woke up at around 7:40AM once again but I gave myself permission to do so that day because I felt like my sleep quality wasn’t as great.   I’m hypothesizing that my body was focusing more on recovering from all the torn muscles and soreness I got from all the exercise I did the day before so my sleep wasn’t as great.   It felt good to actually be okay and not mad at myself for not waking up as early as I’d like.  I usually get pretty down on myself when I find myself not accomplishing the goals I had set for myself and that’s not the most healthy habit to carry.  I think it is much healthier to let myself feel okay and tell myself that I will do better tomorrow instead of kicking myself while I’m already down on the ground for feeling like a “failure”.  It’s not failure unless you give up.  I have not given up yet.

Bedtime: Around 11PM (I forgot)
Wake up time: Around 7:40AM

Supplements: N/A (forgot)

Things I shall improve:
1) Waking up earlier

Things I feel good about today:
1) Being able to feel okay about giving myself permission to consciously sleep in

Early Rising – Week 2

Conclusion: 6:30AM now feels like my baseline standard for normal wake up time. I am HAPPY I got that down. Within this week I have only broken past the 6AM threshold once and that was during Day 8.  I discovered that Green Tea Extract helped our bodies better absorb 5-HTP and also helps us use fat as our energy source when we are exercising if we take GTE consistently.  Studies also showed that it helped increase our exercise endurance, I wrote about it in more detail on my Day 10 entry.  Near the ending of this week I stopped taking too much supplements and have not really paid much attention to my sleep graphs.  I’ve instead just been using the Sleep Cycle app to help rouse me awake during the supposed “optimal” times, I also really like how it gently wakes me up with the slowly rising volume of the alarm instead of a straight up 100% loud alarm.  Week 3 I’m setting it as my goal to make 6:00AM my baseline standard for wake up time.  Week 4 will be when I make it my goal to make 5:30AM be my baseline for normal wake up time.

Continue reading

Day 8

WELL WELL WELL!!!! Look who’s already up? I woke up at 6AM today!!! Well 5:59AM to be specific!! WOOOT!! I just broke the threshold of 6AM!!! Slowly but surely…
Mike was getting a migraine yesterday so we decided to get a hotel to sleep in for a change of scenery! Since he was associating not being able to sleep and negative energy with our bedroom at the moment. I don’t mind though, I love sleeping at hotels (for the most part), the feeling of fresh pillows and sheets are one of my favorites!
I actually wasn’t thinking about waking up when my alarm came on because I felt really tired at first.  But I had to text my friend to remind them something and then decided to check instagram which then, really woke me up. So I just decided to brush my teeth and wash up and stay up! I’m so very proud of myself!!

Bedtime
: 11:50PM
Wake Up Time: 5:59AM

Supplements
:
1. 11:45AM - double shot of espresso
2. 10:00AM - 200mg Magnesium & 100mg 5-HTP
Things I would like to improve:
1. Getting to bed earlier, again by 10:30
2. Taking supplements earlier
3. Cut down and rid myself of taking espresso shots
Things I feel good about today:
1. The fact that I’m awake so early and have passed the threshold into 5AM!!! I am absolutely excited about this!
2. Happy that I proved to myself that I would wake up early despite sleeping in so late yesterday. I’m so happy I didn’t let the “what the hell effect” take over me when I had missed one day of early rising!
3. To be alive
Update: I stayed up til around 7:00 or 7:30, ate an apple and sat in the lobby of the hotel.  Once I got back to the hotel though, it was really dark so I got sleepy and went to bed once again for 2 hours. Nooooo. I also had another 2 hour nap in the afternoon.  I don’t know why I’m so sleep today. I didn’t drink any caffeine though so that might be it.  My body is also probably catching up on sleep.  I didn’t drink my normal banana spirulina, maca root, reishi mushroom powder, and bee pollen shake that I’ve been drinking the past week every morning.  That might be it too.

 

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Day 9
Wow I totally slacked off today. I woke up at 7:20AM this morning and then was browsing around the internet for almost an hour.  A had a glass or 3 of wine last night before bed.  The warm buzz from the alcohol felt very nice but I think that really didn’t help me wake up this morning.  I think the fact that I slept quite late (12:21AM) was also another reason why it was so hard to get up.  I’m not going to beat myself up though. 7:20AM is not that bad but I gotta get back on track and wake up earlier! You got this, girl!Wake up time: 7:20AM
Bedtime: 12:21AMSupplements:
1. 11:00PM – 200mg Magnesium
2. 11:00PM – 100mg 5-HTP
3. 2-3 glasses of red wineThings I would like to improve:
1. Build my bedtime back to 10:30PM
2. Focus, remember not to browse on the internet until I’m finished with my postThings I feel good about:
1. Waking up at 7:20AM which isn’t TOO late for the time I slept at last night.
2. Beginning my first pole fitness class today
3. Listening to the song You Know What by N.E.R.D.

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Day 10

SUCCESS!! I woke up at 6:19AM and I am quite sure I’m not going to go back to sleep.  Slowly but, SURELY!!! I had dreams of doing a lot of amazing things because I have so much time now that I’m awake so early.  I didn’t wake up automatically, it took a bit of an effort but I’m not feeling super tired or anything.  I’ll be writing up my post on my first day of pole fitness class and be editing the video for it! I’m so happy! Everything is going as planned. Before I would tell myself that I never had time to edit because of how “busy” I am, but that excuse won’t work anymore!  My goal is to try something new, edit at least 1 video and write up a blog post a week and that’s not even ambitious!

I read the other day that EGCG ( I couldn’t find that compound alone at CVS so I bought Green Tea Extract instead which should have EGCG along with other antioxidants) helps our bodies break down 5-HTP making our bodies absorb it better.  I was afraid that taking Green Tea Extract would keep me awake at night so I took my supplements at around 4:30PM today.  I don’t know if it was the Green Tea Extract or what but I did feel more energized and focus during badminton yesterday.  I just found another benefit to ingesting green tea extract (or drinking green tea), this only works if you drink green tea (around 4 cups of tea a day) consistently  everyday but it apparently boosts exercise endurance by 8-24% by using the fat in your body as energy. The article talks about the details of the research they’ve done in Tokyo with mice that was supplemented Green Tea extract with a standard diet and how much longer they were able to swim after 10 weeks of the supplemented diet.  It was a reallllly interesting read and I would definitely recommend, I learned so much just reading that one article.  Here’s the link to the Science Daily article: Green Tea Extract Boosts Exercise Endurance 8 – 24%, Utilizing Fat as Energy Source.  YESSS, I would love to be able to exercise longer!  I’m going to try to drink the actual green tea instead of the supplement though once I finish up the bottle that I have and see if I notice better improvement. I’m currently using the brand from CVS: Radiance Platinum: Green Tea 500mg Polyphenols.

Wake up time: 6:19AM
Bedtime: 11:12PM

Supplements:
1. 200mg of Magnesium – 4:30PM
2. 100mg of 5-HTP – 4:30PM
3. 500mg of Green Tea Extract – 4:30PM
4. Sea cream black coffee w/ extra shot of espresso – 2:30PM

Things I’d like to improve:
1. Wake up at 6:00AM and not go back to sleep
2. Get to bed by 10:30PM

Things I feel good about:
1. Writing this detailed post for today and learning so much about the benefits of Green Tea Extract
2. Reading the whole article, Extract Boosts Exercise Endurance 8 – 24%, Utilizing Fat as Energy Source and learning so much
3. Waking up at 6:19AM, WOOOOHOOOO!photo 1

Day 11

I’m going to keep this short. I stayed up late last night til around 11:30PM finishing on editing the video for my First day of pole fitness class! I didn’t want to half ass the edit so I spent longer than usual to make everything nice!  After that I went to bed but couldn’t fall asleep til 12:30AM or so…. I don’t know why I had such difficulty falling asleep!  I woke up late today, really late. Like 8:40AM late. Taking away my freebie 2 out of the 4.  Nooooooooo. It’s okay, I’ll do better tomorrow.  At least I got in 8 hours of sleep.

Wake up time: 8:40AM 
Bedtime
: 12:30AM

Supplements:
1. 12:30PM – 1 shot of espresso

Things I’d like to improve:
1.  If I have any videos or posts to edit, I must do them all when I wake up in the morning instead of the evening
2.  Get into bed at 10:30PM
3. Wake up at 6:00AM

Things I feel good about:
1. I don’t feel tired
2. Feeling productive right when I wake up and writing up this post
3. Writing these posts every single morning, I haven’t skipped a day yet *knock on wood*

Day 12

I woke up at 6:30AM today, it was hard to get up. The alarm initially went off at 5:40AM and when it did I was pretty much ready to wake up but then I decided to go
back to sleep. DAMN IT. I wish I stayed up! Next time, next time! I shall just do it next time!

Wake up time: 6:30AM

Supplements:
1. 1:00PM – White Rose Cream tea  (I’m trying not to drink a shot of espresso everyday so I drank this instead)
2. 7:00PM – 400mg of Magnesium

Things I’d like to improve:
1. I wasn’t as disciplined and checked my social media first thing today , so none of that, same with email
2. Sleep by 10:30PM I got into bed by 10:45PM last night but didn’t fall asleep until like 11:15PM or so

Things I feel good about:
1. The awesome video game music I’m listening to at the moment, like this one: To the Moon – Main Theme
2. Getting myself to get out of bed despite my feelings of wanting to stay in longer

Day 13

I woke up at 6:30AM today once again.  Went to bed at around 11:30PM but couldn’t really fall asleep until 12:00AM. I had a vietnamese coffee earlier in the day, just sipping it every now and then.  Only getting through a quarter of the drink but I swear viet coffee is the legal form of crack, I instantly feel a buzz once it hits my mouth.  I don’t drink it too often though because coffee is acidic and it doesn’t help with the acid reflux that I have.  Drinking a lot of things that are at a low pH level aren’t good for you in general.  But anywho, we went to eat some tempura ice cream and snacked on salmon sashimi along with 3.5 shots of sake before watching the movie 22 Jump Street at the theater (AN AMAZINGLY HILARIOUS MOVIE BTW).  I felt a bit sick at first with those 3.5 shots under 20 minutes…..And I was thinking it was a bad idea…. but in the end it just made me feel more unhindered to laugh my ass off during the movie. Getting back onto topic, my sleep quality didn’t feel that great today. I think it must be the alcohol in my system, I’ve noticed it does that to me.  Duly noted.

Bedtime: 11:30PM
Wake up time: 6:30AM

Supplements:
1. 9:00AM – Afternoon – Sipping on vietnamese coffee
2. 2:00PM – 500mg of Green Tea Extract

Things I’d like to improve:
1. COME ON DAN-TAM YOU GOTTA WAKE UP BY 6:00AM, MAKE IT POINT TO DO SO TOMORROW MORNING
2. SLEEP BY 10:30PM TONIGHT, DO IT
3. Take magnesium and 5-HTP in the evening
4. Make sure to write blog post first and THEN read other people’s blogs

Things I feel good about:
1. Being up at 6:30AM once again despite feeling tired, DRINKING WATER HELPS WAKE YOU UP
2. Tomorrow is Anime Expo!!! I shall work on my cosplay today and film the process!
3. Reading World of Wanderlust’ interview of Sjana Earp (I absolutely adore this beautiful soul)

 

Day 14

I stayed up a bit late working on my cosplay for Hotline Miami, I went to bed at around 11:30PM which isn’t TOO late.  I had a difficult time waking up at 6AM today though.  So I woke up at 6:45AM instead.  I’ve been fucking around on the internet for almost an hour until I got to actually doing my blogpost.  I am very very happy with my Hotline Miami Cosplay! I recorded myself making the cosplay and will be editing a video tutorial soon!  I am veryyyyy excited for that! I had so much fun because the cosplay is quite simple so I spent my sweet time perfecting every detail.  I am very happy I didn’t half ass it.

Bedtime: 11:30PM
Wake up time: 6:45AM

Supplements:
1. 10:00PM – Melatonin gummies
2. 7:00PM – 11:00PM – Green tea (yeah I know I broke my rule of not drinking tea after 4PM but I wanted something to sip on while I was making my cosplay)

Things I’d like to improve:
1. Commmmme on, gotta get back on track with waking up earlier!!

Things I feel good about:
1. Heading over to Anime Expo today
2. Cosplaying as “Jacket” from Hotline Miami
3. The Hotline Miami OST on repeat

First day of Pole Fitness

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I got my intro class for pole fitness today (June 29, 2014)  at Smoke and Mirrors! I am absolutely EXCITED to try it out! Finally!! I’ve been wanting to give pole fitness a try for 4-5 years! Ever since I saw this video from Dirty Birdy I had to add it into my bucket list.

I swear I’ve watched this video like 20 times or so throughout the years by now.  I’m always showing it to others whenever I get on the topic of cool and sexy videos to watch on the internet.  I am just absolutely in love with how meditative and at peace she looks while she’s spinning and holding herself up on the pole.  So much strength and grace!  I’m in loveeeeeeee.

I’ve bought pole fitness class coupons a few times in the past couple years but I never got to use them because I always procrastinated on booking a class that by the next time I remember it (which is like almost half a year later or so) they were expired (so much sadnesssss). But lesson learned, right?  Now whenever I buy any kind of coupon like this I schedule a date right away!

PRO-TIP: When buying livingsocial or groupon coupons, ACT RIGHT AWAY on them and don’t wait ’til the last minute.  Classes and events might fill up by the last minute (since everyone else is probably going to scramble and try to do it last minute too) or you’ll forget about it and it expires.

Link to the coupon $20 for 2 intro classes (a realllly good deal): Smoke and Mirrors Fitness: Two Pole Fitness Classes
This coupon expires on July 4, 2014 I believe so if you’re interested, buy it here before the deal goes away! I would love to hear about your experience if you do decide to take it whether you buy the coupon or join another time at another studio!

Now onto my review of my first day of pole fitness.  Here’s a little vlog of my review, I included some short clips of me IN STUDIO (one really embarrassing clip of me too… -_- but #yolo)!

Okay, so I had soooooooooo much fun at my first pole fitness class! We warmed up for the first 20-30 minutes and man was that intense but the burn felt good!! Even the stretches made me feel sexy! The thing I like the most about all these sexy/graceful exercises is the slow and very controlled movements that are required to make things look smooth and sensual, which makes the exercises much more intense.

PRO-TIP: If you’re a visual learner (like me) and need to see the teacher clearly while she is demonstrating to figure out what to do, I highly recommend getting a position in the middle of the class or up front on the right side of the room (if you’re facing her).  At one point in class I moved to the left side of the room and it was really difficult for me to see because I had to turn back around to see her.

After that she taught us how to do pirouettes.  Conquering that move made me feel quite graceful. And then we learned how to do the fireman spin and stag spin (this one looked the coolest).  I had the most trouble with the spins and to be honest I felt really awkward at first but I told myself to not give a shit about it because I’m new, I can’t expect myself to be perfect at everything the first time.

I used to feel very self conscious (I still do a little bit) when trying new things out in front of people because I felt like other people would judge me and thought that I sucked and were making fun of me. But I’ve grown to not care anymore and I just do it anyway! I’m so glad too because it was so stressful before, just worrying about other people’s opinions. First of all they are probably all focusing on themselves so they aren’t noticing you. Second, if they are standing there, taking notice of you and really are making fun of you/judging you negatively. Who gives a fuck? A wise friend of mine said something to me the other day that really hit me, “judgement is a sign of a c*nt”, now I wouldn’t word it exactly like that when I give others advice but that’s basically it.  If people are judging you negatively, it means they aren’t the nicest people in the world and you don’t want to be friends or spend much energy on people like that anyway. So might as well be present, enjoy ourselves, just do our thing and make friends that are nice, compassionate and understanding!

The last 30-40 minutes of class was spent learning a routine! That was really fun to put all of what we learned into a sexy little routine.

Conclusion: If you’re looking to feel sexier and also get a good workout in without even feeling like you’re working out (because you’re having SO MUCH FUN) I HIGHLLLLLY recommend giving pole fitness a try! My arms were sore the next couple days but that just means that it gave my arms a really great work out!  You will come out feeling stronger and sexier! Let me know in the comments if you guys decide to give it a try!

The feeling of finally realizing what you want to do with your life

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Pictured: Me in one of the fields of an old castle in Eastbourne, England

It feels very much like falling in love.

You keep on thinking about it and you get so excited about all the things you’re going to do that it’s sometimes just so difficult to fall asleep at night.
You fantasize and daydream how certain things will play out.
Everything just seems brighter.
You will find a smile creep up on your face randomly throughout the day for no particular reason.
Life feels more worthwhile and adventurous.
You feel so damn alive.
You look forward to every day.
People notice the glow in your face.
You feel like you can conquer the impossible.
Motivation and inspiration come in an endless supply.

I am in love.

Early Rising – Week 1

Conclusion:
I absolutely love the feeling of waking up early while most people are still fast asleep.  Although at this point, I’ve just been training myself to get used to the fact of waking up very early. I feel like the days are longer and I can fit more things that I want to do in it! I’ve been able to fit in my workouts and making my breakfast early these past few days. I can no longer use the excuse of “I don’t have time for it” because that really is just a bs excuse, now that I’m awake early I have loads of time to do whatever I’d like.  I love it.  My standard of early and late has definitely changed now.  Now I feel 8:00AM is late, I personally feel that’s a good thing.  My goal is to get to the point where I’m waking up regularly at 5:30AM every morning.  I am getting really close to it!

I’ve got a couple of things I need to work on, like sleeping earlier.  That is the main thing. I do really love staying up ’til 2AM or 3AM but I’ve realized that that probably isn’t too healthy for me.  I always feel so horrible when I end up waking up close to afternoon.

I’ve also been taking 200mg magnesium and 100mg of 5-HTP every night to help calm my nervous system so that I can have better sleep quality.

I’ve learned a lot and will keep my progress on early rising updated every week!

To read my day to day posts of how I felt, what I ate, and what I did every night for this first week for my early rising:

Continue reading

Day 2

Alrighty, so I woke up at 6:58 today, a little later than yesterday.  I went to sleep later last night and according to my sleep graph, I didn’t get very good sleep.  According to the graph I got some deep sleep at around 1:00 – 2:00 and then after that it was just very meh sleep.  I’m proud of myself for waking up before 7 though, even though it was just 2 minutes before 7!  I’m also proud of myself for not checking any social media right when I got up! All I did was hit the snooze button a couple times and then got up, drank some water and headed out of the bedroom.  I really think the concept of having a shorter and shorter snooze time helps wake me up along with the gradual volume increase. I just feel that I’m not unpleasantly jerked awake, like how it usually is.

So I just read some articles on how to get better sleep and the one from Mind Body Green’s “10 Tips to get Really Good Sleep” suggests that I take some magnesium and calcium in the evening since that helps relax your nervous system. I already need to take those vitamins anyways but haven’t gotten into the habit of taking them daily so I’ll give that a go starting today!  They also suggest 5-HTP in the evening since it’s a precursor to serotonin and serotonin is the one that regulates your sleep and mood! I gotta go to the store and get some of that today because I ran out!

I really like looking at my sleep graph and then figuring out ways to better improve my sleep! It feels great to gather data, and then test and experiment to see what works and what doesn’t work and logging all of that down.

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Wake up time: 6:58AM
Bedtime: 11:24

Supplements: N/A

Things I’d like to improve:
1. Sleep earlier, I’m going to aim to get to bed at 22:30 (10:30PM) today and hopefully wake up from 6:00 – 6:30
2. Take magnesium, calcium, and 5-HTP in the evening
3. Cut caffeine out after 2PM

Things I feel good about today:
1. It still feels really great to be awake so early, on a SUNDAY too!
2. I didn’t check social media or email first thing in the morning!
3. Listening to Erik Satie’s Gymnopedies while I write my blog post
4. Getting up and writing a blog post first thing in the morning

Conclusion:
Although I didn’t really want to wake up again, I got myself to do it anyway!  I’ve got to really learn how to get better sleep so that when I wake up I don’t feel like I need more sleep.


Day 3

SUCCESS!!! I was able to wake up at 6:31AM today!!! I’m very proud of myself. Slowly but surely, I will get to 5:30AM. I looked through my sleep graph this morning when I woke up and again it didn’t seem as though I was getting the best sleep. I felt tired when I initially woke up but again, drinking water really helped rouse me awake.  So I tried the magnesium and 5-HTP (I couldn’t find the calcium, so I skipped it) last night but I took it literally right before I slept.  I was actually in bed for 5 minutes until I realized I forgot to take the supplements! In the Mind Body Green article that I referenced yesterday, they said for us to take the supplements in the evening… So I’m assuming a couple hours before bedtime so that the supplements can get into our system.  My sleep wasn’t the best last night, according to Sleep Cycle it was actually the worst out of the three nights I monitored myself, I’ll be sure to remind myself to take the supplements earlier today and see if it works for tonight’s sleep!  I actually had a bit of Jasmine Milk Tea before bed so I’m wondering if that also affected my sleep since that contains caffeine in it? Either way, I’ll try better today! I’m going to adjust the wake up phase to 45 minutes for tonight instead of the regular 30 minutes and see what happens.  It basically means that Sleep Cycle will wake me up at most 45 minutes before my set alarm time so if I’m closing in an ending a sleep cycle within 45 minutes of my alarm, Sleep Cycle app will wake me up before I start a new sleep cycle.  I’d like to see what happens if I increase the timeframe it can wake me up at, I’ve noticed that my alarm has been waking me up at exactly the time I set (instead of earlier), so I’m wondering if that means that I was still not quite done with my sleep cycle but time was running out so they woke me up anyway.

Oh something I haven’t mentioned, I’ve been taking power naps for the past 2 days since I started waking up because I’d start to feel sleepy at around the afternoon (power napped at around 13:30 [1:30PM] on Day 1 and then 15:45 [3:45PM] on Day 2.  I always wake up feeling refreshed though. The same people from Sleep Cycle had just launched their apps for napping called “Power Nap”.  I like using it so far, they’ve got:

  • Power nap mode: which lets you nap up to 20 minutes waking you up before deep sleep

  • Recovery nap mode: which lets you nap up to 45 minutes waking you up before deep sleep

  • 1 Sleep cycle mode: which lets you nap up to 120 minutes waking you after one full sleep cycle

It’s quite cool, they don’t have any graphs though or at least not in the power nap mode that I’ve been using this whole time.

Here’s last night’s sleep graph:

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Wake up time: 6:31AM
Bedtime: 11:15AM

Supplements:
1. 11:00PM – 200mg Magnesium & 100mg 5-HTP

Things I’d like to improve:
1. Take Magnesium, Calcium, and 5-HTP earlier in the evening, around 19:00 (7PM) or 20:00 (8PM)
2. Cut caffeine out after 4PM (2PM is a bit too early for me, I’ll try 4PM and see how that goes, if sleep still isn’t great I’ll go down to 3PM)
3. Sleep earlier, I actually slept at around 23:00 (11PM) last night, again I will aim for 22:30 (10:30PM)
4. Set wake up phase to 45 minutes instead of 30 minutes
5. Remember not to check email, I accidentally had my email open and looked through one message, thank goodness I realized what I was doing and then just quickly exited out of the window

Things I feel good about today:
1. I broke my record and woke up at 6:31 today! It always feels so amazing whenever you see yourself improve and beat previous records.
2. I saw I had two snapchat notifications but I resisted opening up the app and looking at them (+1 points for discipline, WOO!!!)
3. Getting up and writing this blog post today! I’m starting to feel myself get into a nice routine. I’m wondering if I should write in my journal along with this blog post.
4. I’m going to kick ass today!

Conclusion:
I’m definitely more tired waking up today but I won’t give up! This just means I gotta sleep earlier and see if taking those supplements will help relax my nervous system to have a deeper and better sleep!

Day 4

Well! I woke up feeling refreshed and much better today! I had the best sleep so far out of the 4 days I’ve been waking up early. I’m wondering if my body is getting used to the idea of rising earlier?  I woke up at 6:26 today, SUCCESS! It’s not 5:30 yet but I broke my previous record of 6:31 and well, progress is PROGRESS! My goal is to get to 5:30 by the end of this 30 day challenge and I’m just less than an hour away from that goal today!

So here’s a recap of some of the things I did yesterday, I’m wondering if any of them had an effect on the quality of my sleep.  Last night I took some magnesium and 5-HTP before I went to bed, I totally forgot to take it in the evening at 8 today. I’m wondering if that may be a reason why I slept so well? Yesterday I took it too at bedtime and I didn’t have the best sleep, hm. I also accidentally drank some half and half mango juice 30 minutes before I slept. I was craving really badly for some juice but I didn’t have any so my roomie offered me his half and half mango juice tea.  And I drank it, remember I said no caffeine after 4? But I somehow slept fine without it! I wonder if it’s because arizona tea is probably not real tea, so the content of caffeine is probably really low. I wouldn’t be surprised. Another thing I did differently from the previous days was that I didn’t take a nap this afternoon, I did have myself a shot of espresso (haven’t had one for a month) though and that kept my buzzing all afternoon.  I got home from work and found out that they had a Legend of Zelda exchange for reddit gifts month! I got excited and was talking to my roommate about Ocarinas and the game Ocarina of Time and then he surprised me with his n64 and the game OCARINA OF TIME amongst other amazingly nostalgic n64 games.  I sat down and played it for a couple hours but then got nauseous because I think I’m not used to staring at the tv without blinking while wearing my glasses. I ended the night with a light snack of mexican seasoned chicken and bell peppers. Browsed on the internet for a bit, had a glass of water and then went to bed at 23:00 (11PM).

I was woken up by Mike at around 5:30 today because he had a bad dream and I was pondering the idea of just waking up anyway since it was 5:30 and yolo. But the desire to stay in bed for another hour was a bit too strong.  I’m not feeling too bad though, I broke my record of waking up early by 5 minutes.

OH, I just remembered that I set the wake up phase to 45 minutes yesterday! I wonder if that has anything to do with me waking up feeling more refreshed!

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Wake up time: 6:26AM
Bedtime:
11:04PM

Supplements:
1. 11:00PM – 200mg Magnesium & 100mg 5-HTP

Things I’d like to improve:
1. Take magnesium and 5-HTP at 8PM and see how that works for me
2. Sleep at 22:30 (10:30PM)

Things I feel good about today:
1. Not checking social media although I was watching a girl play the ocarina for a couple minutes first thing in the morning
2. Waking up early and feeeeeeeling good! I don’t feel groggy or really tired!
3. Breaking my record of 6:31 yesterday and waking up at 6:26
4. 6:30 is starting to feel like a normal time for me to wake up instead of an absolutely crazy time to wake up unless given a reason to do so

Conclusion:
I woke up feeling great and not as groggy and tired as I was feeling the previous days.  My sleep cycles dipped into the deep sleep phase three times, which in the past few days it’s only really dipped into the deep sleep phase one time during the whole night.  I’m going to figure out what happened last night that made me sleep so well.

Day 5

I woke up not feeling the best and was really close using one of my freebie passes and sleeping in.  I’m thinking it’s because I went to sleep right after eating a really heavy dinner. So I’m definitely going to try not to do that again.  The alarm was ringing since 6:22 and I finally woke up at 6:31 but didn’t actually get out of bed until 6:40.  I totally forgot and checked my snapchat and was texting my friend Steffi. But I think the two really helped my brain wake up because I was feeling realllllly tired. I should find another way to wake up that isn’t social media.  Maybe I should open the window and stare outside to wake up or something, I’m not too sure yet.  I’ll probably google that up after I write this article. I didn’t take the supplements until I went to bed, I’m not going to make any excuses though. I will try taking them earlier again today. I got injured while trying to do a handstand against a pole yesterday and I have this huge bruise on my leg that makes it hurt to walk. I’m wondering if that also affected my sleep quality?

The one thing I’m confused about with the Sleep Cycle app is how they measure “sleep quality”. I didn’t even hit even 1 deep sleep phase last night but the app is saying this is my best sleep out of all of these past 5 nights??? The sleep graph was quite constant in terms of pattern so I’m wondering if that’s why they think my sleep quality was better?  I personally don’t feel like it’s better.

I didn’t take a nap again yesterday and instead had a shot of espresso (I shouldn’t make that a habit) at around 13:00 (1PM).

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Wake up time: 6:31AM
Bedtime:
11:11PM

Supplements:
1. 11:00PM – 200mg Magnesium & 100mg 5-HTP
2. 1:00PM – 1 shot of espresso


Things I’d like to improve
:
1. Eat earlier, if I’m going to eat, do not eat a really heavy meal right before bed
2. Take supplements earlier
3. Not check on social media right when I wake up
4. Not to rely on a shot of an espresso to stay awake during the day
5. Sleep at 22:30 (10:30PM)
6. Wake up earlier!

 Things I feel good about today:
1. I woke up early despite feeling like crap, that is HUGE for me! +1 points for discipline
2. Now that I’m awake I don’t feel as crappy
3. I’m listening to Hikaru Utada’s Sanctuary first thing in the morning, I absolutely love this song. It puts me in my safe place and makes me feel like “Everything will be a-okay.”
4. Waking up early and writing a blog post for the past 5 days consecutively

Conclusion:
Do not eat a heavy meal right before you sleep. I’m having a very strong feeling that is why I didn’t have the best sleep.

Day 6

Success! I woke up at 6:26AM today, although I laid around in bed until 6:33AM.  I had set my alarm to ring by 6:15AM with a 45 minute wake up phase and it woke me up at around 5:45AM!!! That was a bit way too early. I got into bed at around 10:40PM which was great because my goal to get into bed was 10:30PM!  But I was wide awake I think from both excitement and the couple sips of jasmine milk tea at around 9:00PM so according to my sleep graph I didn’t fall asleep until around 11:30PM…. I was thinking of maybe yolo’ing it and waking up at 5:45 anyways but the sleepiness had overcome me and I didn’t want to push my body too hard.  So I had to turn off my Sleep Cycle alarm at 5:45 and set up the Power Nap alarm since that would wake me up in under 20 minutes instead of after one sleep cycle.

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Wake up time: 6:26AM
Bedtime: 10:40PM

Supplements:
1. 11:00AM – 2 shots of espresso at around 11:00AM
2. 7:30PM – 9:00PM – A couple sips of Jasmine Milk Tea (caffeine)
3. 10:40PM – 200mg of Magnesium and 100mg 5-HTP

Things I’d like to improve:
1. Beat my score of 6:26AM and wake up at 6:15AM
2. Actually fall asleep at 10:30PM
3. Take supplements earlier in the evening (I’ve taken the initiative of packing the supplements in a plastic bag and put it in my purse for easy access)
4. Stronger discipline, no caffeine after

Things I feel good about today:
1. Waking up before 6:30AM
2. Listening to Lido’s remix of Bank’s Drowning
3. Realizing what I’d like to do with my life ‘til at least I’m 30
4. The thought of waking up at 7:00AM is starting to feel “late” to me (which is a good thing, my standards are shifting)

Day 7

I woke up today at 8AM and I am somewhat disappointed in myself.  I went to bed a bit before 12:00AM, worked out right before hitting the hay and I’m not sure if working out affects my quality of sleep but I did it anyway.  Mike couldn’t sleep so I spent the next hour helping him fall asleep.  I take full responsibility for not waking up early though because I’m a responsible human being that takes full responsibility of their actions and accepts the consequences of their mistakes.  The alarm woke me up at around 5:39AM because Mike had to wake up at 6AM for a work call.  I was absolutely beat and couldn’t get myself to wake up so I set up another alarm that woke me up at around 6:00AM and again I was too beat to wake up and then I forgot to set another alarm and stayed asleep until 8AM.  Good thing I gave myself a freebie pass since I will be using it today.

I was really proud of myself for passing up the chance to go out clubbing with friends last night though. That is something I am really happy I said no to.  It was really hard to say no to my friend but I kept on thinking about my goals and not wanting to stay up late and waking up early and that was what really motivated me to be more disciplined (Nathan if you’re reading this, you know I love you but I just really need to say ~No~ to you sometimes *hugs* you are really too good at being persuasive).  Like what Stephen Covey says:

quotes-change-stephen-covey

When I saw that quote on Tone It Up’s instagram it made quite a huge impact on me.  Something clicked in my head and it really stuck to me.  I realized that I had difficulty saying no to things before and would say yes even when I knew it went against my priorities because I had felt bad about saying no.  So I’m learning to be stronger with my communications with people and to have discipline to put my goals before other people’s desires.  I am very grateful for that experience.

Wake up time: 8:00AM
Bedtime: 12:00AM

Supplements:
1. 11:45AM – Double shot of espresso
2. 8:30PM – 200mg of Magnesium & 100mg of 5-HTP

Things I would like to improve:
1. Sleep earlier at least by 10:30PM
2. Wake up earlier at least 6:20AM
3. Don’t workout right before sleep

Things I feel good about today:
1. Feeling good about having the courage and discipline to say “no” to things that didn’t align with my goals
2. I do feel good waking up today I had around 7.5 – 8 hours of sleep, I don’t feel groggy or tired, just a bit sad that I didn’t wake up earlier
3. Having fresh water to drink in the morning

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To Love with Your 100%

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Always, always, always, love with an open heart. Love without any expectations! Love with your 100%. This is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned thus far in life. No matter how hurt you’ve been in the past, don’t let the trauma dim your light and ability to love without holding back. If you notice that the other person feels guarded and isn’t giving their 100% don’t mind that, be brave and be the first to initiate it and give them your love 100%. I promise you they will come around.  It’s all just a matter of time. Someone’s got to be the more courageous one and it might as well be you. You can’t ever experience the maximum potential of a relationship unless you’re giving it your 100%. Logically and technically, you can’t, am I right? We only live once so might as well take the plunge and see how things play out.

I am so very grateful and appreciative for all the people I love and the ones that love me back!

30 Day Trial: Early Rising

RiseShine

I’ve been playing with the idea of early rising for the past week and after stumbling upon Sean Wes’ episode “075: Why Early Birds Beat Night Owls Who Don’t Wake Up Early” yesterday, I was completely convinced to try it out.  I don’t identify myself as a night owl but I do feel like I work better when everyone is asleep.  It was just wayyyy easier to stay awake into the late of the night and working instead of making the effort of waking up early in the morning.  So I decided to give this a try for 30 days and log my results!  I got the concept of 30 day trials/challenges from my good friend Steve Pavlina! You should definitely check out his post on 30 Days to Success.

I’ve done 30 day challenges before and I know your morale heavily decreases if you miss a day and then after that the “what the hell effect” (as David DiSalvo calls it in his book “What Makes Your Brain Happy and How To Do the Opposite“)  kicks in and you start skipping more and more days because what the hell, you felt like you already “failed” by missing a day or two, so it won’t hurt if you miss a couple more days.  To combat this decrease in morale because I know I’m only human and will probably missing a couple days of early rising I’m going to give myself 4 freebie passes.  These will most likely be used on days I decide to go out for a night with friends because well, I have social life too.  I haven’t tried this method out yet but I’m hoping with these freebie passes it will help make me feel less guilty about missing a day and then just losing discipline after that.  We’re all human y’know? I don’t expect myself to be 100% perfect the first time I go about doing things so I’m just preparing myself for when I make mistakes.

During this 30 day trial I’m going to wake up and then write first thing in the morning. Sean Wes calls this routine the Early Wake and Daily Write.  He says that once you wake up it’s like you’re a fully charged battery.  You don’t want to spend all of that wonderful initial energy you get after you wake up checking emails, social media, reddit or whatever else that we do when we’re just trying to pass time by. Let me quote from his notes section of the episode:

  • Your mind is doing a lot of work for you while you’re sleeping. It’s processing things for you. Yes, you’ll be groggy for the first 15 minutes, that’s normal. But right when you wake up is the best time to do the most important work of your day.

  • External things you are exposed to during the day will cloud your thinking. It weighs on your mind. In the morning you don’t have that extra baggage.

I’ve been wanting to start writing up blog posts again so I’ll be taking the time to either write a blog post or journal every morning when I wake up. Here goes!

Day 1
Sean Wes mentioned about using the app “Sleep Cycle” as an alarm to wake him up at the most optimal time of his sleep cycle so I decided to try the same!  Let me tell you that was the most pleasant alarm I had ever woken up to.  I woke up to soft guitar playing that gently and gradually increased in volume. It initially kind of confused me because I didn’t know where this pleasant music suddenly came from. I set the alarm style to regular snooze where whenever I picked the phone up it would let me snooze, but the snooze time would decrease after each snooze.

To be really honest I almost didn’t want to wake up and was about to tell myself “oh I’m so tired today, I think I slept too late this time, I’ll just go back to sleep and try the early rising tomorrow”. Oh ho ho, I suddenly realized what I was getting myself into… I’ve seen myself do this WAY TOO MANY TIMES. When you tell yourself that you’ll just do it tomorrow and the next day comes and you put it off ’til the next day once again and so on and so forth (usually ends up not ever doing it or doing it right before it’s due if it had a deadline”? It’s this vicious cycle of procrastination that I feel a lot of us are guilty of getting into.  This sign basically sums it up:

yesterday-tomorrow-nike

 

My more disciplined self convinced me, “IT’S NOW OR NEVER DAN TAM”, I drank the water from my cup and decided to get the fuck up (excuse my french) and wash my face and brush my teeth. TIP: Drinking that cup of water by my bed really helped in rousing my senses and waking me up. So day 1 was a success, I woke up at 6:51, I’m going to make it a goal of mine to get to the point of waking up at 5:30!

Things I would like to improve:
1. Not checking instagram and snapchat right when I woke up (thank goodness I only spent a couple minutes on them each, a rare occurrence). I’ve been using instagram and other social medias to wake my brain up every morning because the images stimulated my senses and helped me wake up, but I realize now that I don’t want to be using my best energies browsing through random pictures.  Also, although I was ~awake~, I would usually stay in bed for another hour or 2 because social media just does that to you. There is rarely such a thing as “oh I’ll just check this for 5 minutes” when it comes to social media. IT’S A TRAP, DON’T DO IT!!!!!

Things I feel good about today:
1. It feels really great to look at the clock and seeing that it’s 7:55am and I’m wide awake about to finish up my first blog post in over half a year.
2. I JUST REALLY LOVE THE FEELING THAT I’M UP EARLY AND THAT I HAVE A WHOLE DAY AHEAD OF ME!!! IT’S BARELY 8AM AND TODAY IS SATURDAY.

Conclusion:
I’m feeling really great so far and I hope to continue on waking up early everyday for the next 30 days. Alright, now I’m going to figure out what I’d like to do for the rest of my morning because I haven’t planned that far out. I’m thinking of making myself some breakfast, then do some yoga and workout.  I would very much like to get to the point where I’m waking up early enough to do some sunrise yoga at the beach.  I think that would be a beautiful experience!

Oh and here’s what my Sleep Cycle sleep graph looked like for last night’s sleep. It doesn’t look like I slept too well. But that’s quite alright, now that I know my sleep cycles aren’t as deep as it could be, I’ll figure out how to improve on my sleep! :)

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