Archive | January, 2010

Get Your Groove On – Jill Sung

29 Jan

I received an invitation the second week of January for a healthy brunch amongst friends. Little did I know what I was getting myself into! Three weeks later, I’m semi-regularly updating my exercise habits on a shared Google spreadsheet seen by friends and acquaintances, while being offered weekly encouraging communications from my “encouragement partner”, Amy.

The first email was a little bit tricky, I saw the words “brunch” and “get-together”, and without reading the fine print, jumped on the food-wagon…who says no to brunch?!  Okay, in re-reading the email, it wasn’t tricky. I’m just no good at details.

THE DEAL: set 2 attainable weekly goals (eg. sleep by 11pm, exercise 30 minutes 3 times a week, eat green veggies 7 meals a week)

TIME FRAME: 2 months (that’s 8 whole weeks of discipline! longer than most gym attendance memberships…)

THE METHOD: check in regularly to log your “success”, support a partner with similar goals, meet up at parties/brunches/yoga/events 2 times a month

Wish me luck in my goal of 20 minutes of solid exercise 3 times a week and no sugary snacks 3 times a week. And I’ll see you in 5 more weeks. Hopefully by then, I’ll have formed new habits and can start anew on other personal projects!

Scrub a Dub Dub, without the Tub – Metta Murdaya

19 Jan
The Scrub that Scrubs It All

The Scrub that Scrubs It All

Just last week I went for a Korean body scrub in Jakarta, patronized mainly by the Korean and Japanese expats of Jakarta. This bath house, (minus the Indonesian staff and architecture of the building,) was  typical of those you find in Korea in their bath houses. Unlike your typical pamper-me body scrub treatment with delicate music piping through, this was more like a no-nonsense factory setup of  the human skin smoothing machine. My friend said it was like scaling a fish, with you being the fish, of course, but that darn, it was worth it.

Step 1: Go into a sauna to soften your skin, or if available, sit in various hot pools in the bathhouse) This is the fun, relaxing, enjoyable and social part of the experience. An Indonesian twist – they offer you Ginger Tea before if you want, and unlimited coffee.

Step 2. Lie down on an assigned hospital gurney sized vinyl bed where a barely dressed no-nonsense woman in shorts and a tanktop (or only bra and undies in Korea,) basically splashes you down and scrubs every square inch of your buck naked (yep, showing them bits and all,) body with a special rough (yet strangely not skin-ripping) cloth, till all your dead skin and dirt gets sloughed off. You can even see the little clusters  of grey, dead, wet skin and feel it as it comes off between the intermittent rinsing with comfortably warm water.  Mind you, this scrub down is is not recommended for the modest. They get in all sorts of places, just shy of your hoo-ha, but these women are pros; I admire their tenacity and commitment to ridding you of all dead skin. Even the little areas behind your ears are not spared, as they ask to you lie on your back, side, front, and then the other side… nothing missed!

Step 3: Soften that skin… To soothe the newly rubbed down and rinsed skin, they then pour on and massage milk all over your body, which feels like a welcome contradictory feel to the previous scrub down. I am not sure if this is purely Korean or somewhat a local influence, but it is soft, creamy, yummy, and totally lovely. Then they pour honey all over your body, and also rub that onto the skin to soften and hydrate. Yes, I licked it off my arm to make sure it was the real deal, undiluted and all – and it was. An option to have a face mask of blended, fresh cucumbers to tone is available. This part is so awesome feeling you almost forget you’re on a vinyl gurney. Almost.

Afterwards, there’s a generally non-ceremonious end where you are handed a towel after a final rinse to dry off and change – and off you go. Did I like it? I thought it was interesting – I LOVED the way I felt after, but let’s just say it’s made way more awesome if you focus on the after vs. the during, and that never has milk and honey felt so good…

My 5 New Year Resolutions – Yoshiko Roth-Hidalgo

13 Jan

Each year, I embark on my new year resolutions with fresh motivation.  My resolutions are never outlandish… the usual “eat healthier”, “exercise more” or “be a kinder person”… this year, it’s all about “can I really live up to my resolutions”.  We shall see in 3 months how I do.  My top 5 resolutions for 2010 are:

Keep healthy eating in perspective

We all know what’s bad, what’s good and what’s better.  I feel fortunate that I rarely crave junk food or soda, but what about that last mile of “goodness” where you have to choose between healthy and enjoyable?  For 2010, I will maintain good habits, but I draw the line where my pleasure in food is truly compromised.  Example:  Brown rice is better than white rice and brown rice tastes pretty good.  But do Sushi rolls with brown rice kind of miss the point?  I remember my mother’s horrified look when she saw brown rice sushi rolls at Wholefoods for the first time.  Japanese people are one of the healthiest people on earth with the highest life expectancy.  A lot of them still eat white rice instead of brown.  I’d say, it’s ok to eat white rice as part of a healthy diet, and let’s face it, it often tastes a lot better than brown rice.

Don’t exercise if it feels like a chore

I’ve tried many tricks to get motivated to hit the gym:  “Visualize a healthier, fitter self!”  Or “Imagine how GOOD you will feel after the work out.”  It may work a couple of times, but really, I think it’s torture to have to coax myself to exercise like that for a whole year, let alone the rest of my life.  My resolution:  I will only work out if I feel naturally excited or at least motivated to do so.  And to trick my mind, I will incorporate as much “accidental” or “hobby” exercise into my daily life as possible.  Take the stairs, walk to the subway, do the vacuum cleaning myself, run to make a light, go dancing.  No more blank stares on the treadmill in 2010!

Get more sleep

Healthy eating and sufficient exercise has become almost a question of social status these days.  People that live on junk food and are couch potatoes are considered… uncool!  That consciousness has not reached the topic of sleep yet, even though it’s been shown that chronic lack of sleep affects our health just as much as if not more than what we eat and how much we move.  Lack of sleep results in inflammation, messes with your blood sugar and your heart health.  In 2010, I will make sure I get enough sleep on the reg, yes, at the expense of work or exercise!

Keep in touch more

Feeling connected to people is a major source of peace and happiness in life.  It’s so easy to become consumed by work and your own life’s chores, so for 2010 I vow to keep in touch more with friends and family.  Yes, at the expense of work or exercise!

Keep it simple

This is less concrete but probably my most important resolution.  From the clothes I keep to the goals I set, I vow to keep my life simple and free of clutter, literally and metaphorically because simplicity is key to a serene mind, especially when you are about to embark on parenthood.

Let’s touch base in 3 months and see how I fared!

Happy New Year, Happy New Video! – The JUARA Girls

4 Jan

Happy New Year everyone! Hope everyone’s off to a good start. Here’s a little something to perk up your day – one of our favorite JUARA videos (also newly up on our homepage).

For starters, it’s inspired by so many people who have told us how they feel about JUARA – that it’s doesn’t only work, but that it’s sooo indulgent feeling. The tales we hear… that someone wanted to bathe in the body creme, (hmm, might be hard to drain but ok…,) or eat the coffee scrub, (delish tho it smells, we’re sad to say we don’t recommend that…) and more. So all in all, we’re glad to be able to provide that guilty pleasure feel – without any of the guilt.

Plus, it’s actually quite a personal video; there are cameos of the JUARA girls (can you find us?) and many of our friends in it. It made the whole making of it so much fun! (To our JUARA Friends: It wouldn’t have been the same without you!)

If you are inspired to indulge after watching, please feel free to do so at If you also have other ideas for future JUARA videos, please post a comment and let us know!

Have an awesome week!
JUARA Girls – Metta, Jill, Yoshiko & Tami

Video Credits:
Producted & Directed by Kirsten Magwood, POP Media TV.