a romantic setting in the bathroom

My Secret To Having a Productive Week

“A Sunday well spent brings a week of content.”

Since my life has gotten so busy, I always make sure to block out time for Sunday self-care. If you lead a busy life, I hope that sharing my self-care Sunday routine will help remind you to take time out for yourself when you need it. It’s my secret to having a productive week!

Prayer

After walking & feeding my pug, Pogi, I start every morning by praying. But on Sundays especially, I make sure to thank God for everything I’ve been blessed with & for guiding me through another week. I then say my Catholic prayers: Our Father, Hail Mary, & Glory Be, because prayer keeps me grounded & humble.

Breakfast

Next, I enjoy a delicious breakfast. I’ve mentioned before that breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Whether it’s actual breakfast or brunch, I usually cook myself something delicious, such as a veggie egg scramble or a spinach, mushroom, & feta wrap with a side of fruit. Last Sunday, I had blueberry waffles with bacon, along with a cup of coffee & a small glass of Simply orange with pineapple juice.

Spiritual Cleansing

The proverb “cleanliness is close to godliness” resonates with me 100%. On Sundays, I like to run my iRobot Roomba, do my laundry, & deep clean my apartment. I hate clutter & mess, so I like to start my week with a clean home. Once my apartment is dirt & germ-free, I spiritually cleanse & raise the loving vibrations within my home with my Camaya Healing sprays.

Next, I will clean & pamper myself. First, I take a shower. I shampoo & condition my hair with OGX coconut curls then apply a deep conditioning hair mask. I wash my body with my cleansing gloves & body wash. I’ll also do a body scrub, if needed. Then, before getting out of the shower, I give my bathtub a good scrub too.

Upon getting out, I pull my tub stop up, then I start drawing a bath. Depending on my mood, I’ll do a lavender bubble bath, a LUSH bath bomb, or a LUSH bubble bar. While my bathtub is filling up, I whiten my teeth with activated charcoal. Then, I’ll wipe down my sink & mirror, because it gets everywhere. I also wash my face with Biore pore unclogging scrub & apply Simple micellar water.

Then, I keep my hair up in a Kitsch towel scrunchie or an after spa hair towel wrap, light a few candles, & find a sound bath from YouTube to listen to while I relax in the bathtub. Before getting in the tub, I also put on either an under-eye mask, a sheet mask, or a mud mask on my face. Once I’m done with my bath after about 20 – 30 minutes later, I drain the tub & rinse out my deep conditioning hair mask.

Curly Hair Care Routine

Next is my curly hair care routine. While my curls are still damp, I use an OGX leave-in conditioner & It’s a 10 Haircare Lite Leave-In. Then, I scrunch curl cream into my hair. I’ll either use a diffuser, or I air dry my hair & slowly let my curls come to life!

My Skincare

Once my curls are all set, I move onto my skin next. I already washed my face in the shower, applied micellar water, & did a mask. To keep my skin glowing & well-moisturized, I always put lotion on my body after showering. Next, I apply eye cream, retinol serum, & moisturizer. I love letting my skin soak in all the products. It’s what gives me my youthful glow!

Planning

Up next is prepping & planning my week using my Happy Planner, colorful felt-tip pens, & stickers. To me, there’s something magical & special about physically writing down your goals & plans for the week. It makes each goal feel like a firm commitment, rather than just a thought at the back of my mind that I might get done. In my planner, I record everything that I’m doing that week & set goals for myself in 3 main categories: Health/Wellness, Career, & Personal

Health/Wellness
  • Workout (4x)
  • Meditate
  • Pray
  • Drink lots of water!
  • Nourish your body
  • Floss, flouride rinse, & charcoal!
Career
  • Project ABC
  • Project XYZ
  • Meeting Prep
  • 1:1 Prep
  • Etc.
Personal
  • Groceries
  • Laundry
  • XO Denise Joyce
    • Film
    • Edit
    • Write
    • Schedule content

Watching Feel-good Movies & Baking

I wrap up my Sunday evening by streaming one of my favorite feel-good movies (Shrek, UP, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Mean Girls, etc.) on Disney+, Hulu, or Netflix & baking. I love enjoying dessert on Sundays. And I feel like I deserve my dessert even more if I take the time to bake the tasty treats myself. lol

I bake banana bread, cupcakes, muffins, peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, or I can even prepare a no-bake cheesecake. Since all of my recipes are made with love, it’s a fun & very relaxing way to wrap up my day.

Again, I love the quote “A Sunday well spent brings a week of content.” Sundays are one of my favorite days of the week because I spend the day pampering myself & enjoying everything that I love. That’s my secret to having a productive week. Do you have a Self-Care Sunday routine? What are some of your favorite ways to enjoy your Sunday? Please feel free to share in a comment below.

XO Denise

turned on silver imac with might mouse and keyboard

How I Survived Being Unemployed Post-Pandemic

When the San Francisco Bay Area announced the COVID-19 stay-at-home order last year, it honestly was a blessing in disguise for me. My consulting contract with Adobe was set to officially end on March 25th, 2020. So with the world shutting down, I was in a panic, unsure of what was coming next for me. Luckily, due to new extenuating circumstances, including a necessary hiring freeze, Adobe was able to extend my contract until July 2020. July turned into December 2020. Then December turned into March 2021. Until March, when I received my official contract end date: June 25th, 2021. July could have been a struggle for me mentally & financially, but I enjoyed the month without work as FUNemployment instead. Here’s how I survived being unemployed post-pandemic.

HAVE A SAVINGS

My Savings has always been the primary way to keep myself afloat. When I am employed, I deposit 10% of every paycheck into my Savings to use for emergency circumstances, such as unexpected medical expenses, car maintenance, sudden job termination, etc. I encourage you to always keep three months, or even six months if you can manage it, worth of your fixed monthly expenses in a Savings account. Then, once you have more than enough money in your Savings account, pretend that it’s not there. Do not continue to dip into your Savings to spend on non-essential, frivolous things. Your Savings isn’t extra cash you find laying around.

UPDATE YOUR LINKEDIN & RESUME

It’s important to keep your LinkedIn up to date. Recruiters scour LinkedIn every day looking for new potential candidates to fill their open roles. Be sure to keep your work history up to date, & update your profile picture to #OPENTOWORK. I worked with a few amazing recruiters during my job search last month, & I found amazing new job opportunities through my network.

Your resume is also important to keep up to date. While you may have had the luxury of not needing to apply to a new job for the past XYZ years, you want to add your most recent role & any relevant job, intern, or volunteering experience to give your future employers a sense of your career growth over the most recent years.

APPLY TO JOBS ASAP

It hurts to be blindsided by a sudden job layoff or termination. I was fortunate enough to have my end-of-contract day given to me three months in advance in March 2021. I immediately started applying for new job opportunities; only to be unsuccessful in my search. While I found & interviewed for many great roles in my particular area of expertise, the salaries for many of the roles I interviewed for were very low. With the rising cost of living in the Bay Area, there was no way I could justify taking a $30K pay cut, even if I was excited for the role.

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

Unemployment will always be unpredictable. I started looking for a new job three months before I became unemployed, & I still had to continue to look for a new job for a whole month without any income. But through lots of applying, interview prep, prep calls with Recruiters, & Zoom interviews, I finally found the perfect next role for myself with an amazing team, a substantial salary, stock options, & a variety of benefits!

If you are actively job searching, don’t give up hope! I survived being unemployed post-pandemic, & you can too. Unemployment is a struggle that many of us will experience at least once throughout our lifetime, but if you stay hopeful, prepare yourself, & put in the work to find the best new role for yourself, your next job offer will be here before you know it.

XO Denise

bed with cushions reflecting in mirror in bedroom

How I Deal With My Body Dysmorphia

Last March, I mentioned my Body Dysmorphia in the blog post: Learning to Love Myself. Anyone who also struggles with a Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) has a unique experience. We will all learn to deal with it in our own way. By sharing how I deal with my body dysmorphia today, I hope to inspire & help others who are still struggling on their personal journey with BDD.

IDENTIFY OBSESSIONS & STOP THEM IMMEDIATELY

Years ago, I would weigh myself & measure my arms, hips, thighs, & waist every Sunday. Unlike my current self-care rituals, this eventually became a self-hate ritual. I would hate myself & became frustrated & irritated if I gained weight or didn’t lose enough weight. I’d obsess over my flabby arms & thighs & constantly suck in my stomach with all my core strength. Because despite any change in the numbers on the scale or loss of inches, I never saw a leaner, sexier, or stronger body in the mirror.

All my obsessions did was justify depriving myself of things that I loved to eat. I was obsessed with hitting 10,000 steps every day, even on days that I took a barre3, RUMBLE, or SoulCycle class. With my FitBit & Noom, I obsessively record every single calorie that I eat, every calorie that I burn off, & shame myself for being weak & having a chocolate peanut butter cookie.

I was thrilled when I was sick & lost my appetite altogether. Or better yet… when I got the stomach flu because it would guarantee around 7 pounds of weight loss with minimal effort. It took a long time for me to finally self-reflect that my actions, despite not refusing to eat outright or making myself throw up, were unhealthy. Why would a sane person wish illness on themself?

Now, I do not allow myself to stare & judge my body. If I must look at myself in the mirror or look at a full body photo, I only compliment myself. I also do not take my measurements unless absolutely necessary. I no longer constantly wear a FitBit or check my Health app on my iPhone. It’s how I track my daily step count & the calories that I consume & burn throughout the day. But I know that obsessing over those numbers isn’t healthy.

BE MINDFUL OF ALL THE WAYS TO LOVE & NOURISH YOUR BODY

Instead of counting calories, I eat colorfully. I always make sure my meals are a mix of protein, veggies, & whole grains. I love fresh fruit & veggies! If I can count at least 5 natural colors that I’ve eaten for the day, I know that I’ve done my job of nourishing my body with healthy foods. For example, banana (yellow), spinach (green), baby carrots (orange), bell pepper (red), & blueberries (blue).

Instead of obsessing over calories or steps, I keep track of how many times I move in a week. Right now, I dance every day for 25 minutes by playing the Nintendo Switch video game Just Dance. Three times a week I lift weights. And once or twice a week, I stretch my body & do yoga. As long as I’m moving & strengthening my body in a way that I enjoy & love, I’m doing my best to be healthy.

ACCEPT THAT THE JOURNEY HAS JUST BEGUN

I am fully aware that acceptance of my BDD is just the beginning. There will be good & bad days when it comes to my relationship with my body & food, but that’s ok. I know that I can potentially struggle with my BDD for the rest of my life. There will be days that I slip up & eat a McDonald’s two sausage burrito breakfast meal with hash browns & an iced caramel mocha followed by Taco Bell as a late-night snack, but I am now more aware that I am human. We all make mistakes. Instead of punishing myself by walking around my apartment late at night until I hit 10,000 steps or skipping meals the next day, I accept what I did, forgive myself, & move forward.

I hope that sharing how I deal with my body dysmorphia helps you or someone that you love. Do you or someone you love have BDD? How do you or they deal with it? Let me know in a comment below.

XO Denise

pastry and boiled egg on plate

My Unemployment Routine

After many contract extensions, my consulting contract with Adobe officially ended on June 25, 2021. I am still so blessed & grateful to Adobe for keeping me employed through the COVID-19 pandemic. But with vaccinations & the world slowly reopening again, it was time for me to finally say goodbye. I’ve never been one to be lazy. From a very young age, I began to establish routines to stay productive, & that is why I’m going to share my unemployment routine today. I hope it helps inspire any of you who are lacking in motivation & productivity to create your own.

The Importance of a Routine

At only three years old, I established my very 1st-morning routine. I still remember waking up, brushing my teeth, getting dressed, pretending to put on makeup in my Dad’s car, getting dropped off at pre-school, saying hello to my teachers, & heading straight to the snack bar for my morning Fruit Roll-Up. lol it’s ok if you don’t believe that I have a clear memory from when I was three, but if I close my eyes, I can still see myself going through it. As an introvert, my mind is always deep in thought, & I personally love a routine to keep me productive as well as ensure that I’m taking care of myself.

My Unemployment Routine

So let’s get into my unemployment routine! Please keep in mind that I adjust as needed for Zoom readings, Job Interviews, etc.

7:25 am | Wake-Up
  • Walk Pogi
  • Feed Pogi
  • Pray
  • Meditate
  • Shower
  • Breakfast
8:45 am | XO Denise Joyce Daily Card Pulls
9:00 am | XO Denise Joyce
  • Post to Instagram & TikTok
  • Engagement with my Followers on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Twitter, & YouTube
  • Analyze & update XO Denise Joyce Engagement & Growth Analytics
  • Check Emails
    • Reply to reading requests
    • Send reading reminders for that day’s scheduled Zoom readings
  • Do my Hair & Makeup
  • Cleanse my workspace with my Camaya Healing Sprays
  • Fulfill paid Instagram & Twitter DM intuitive card reading requests
  • Fulfill paid digital intuitive card reading requests
  • Set up & cleanse my filming space with my Camaya Healing Sprays
  • Film 2 – 4 General Energy Intuitive Card Readings for YouTube
12:00 pm | Lunch
  • Walk Pogi
  • Prepare a salad or sandwich
  • Cuddle & play with Pogi
  • YouTube Sound Bath Meditation
  • Cup of Tea (Green or Peppermint)
1:00 pm | XO Denise Joyce
  • Edit YouTube videos
  • Create YouTube thumbnails
  • Upload & schedule YouTube videos
  • Schedule YouTube Tweets for when the videos are live
2:00 pm | Zoom
  • Job Interviews
  • Zoom card readings
  • Fulfill any additional paid Instagram & Twitter DM intuitive card reading requests
  • Fulfill any additional paid digital intuitive card reading requests
4:00 pm | Job Search
  • Apply to new job opportunities
  • Interview prep
  • Follow up with Recruiters
6:00 pm | Dinner
  • Walk Pogi
  • Feed Pogi
  • Cook Dinner
  • Eat Dinner
8:00 pm | Workout
  • Abs
  • Arms
  • Squats
  • Just Dance or Peloton Ride
  • Shower
9:00 pm | Relax
  • Video Games
  • Watch TV
10:00 pm | No more screens!
11:00 pm | Get ready for bed

How My Unemployment Routine Has Helped Me

If COVID-19 stay-at-home orders have taught me anything, it’s that without a routine in place, it would be easy for me to stop taking care of myself. Last month, I could have been neglecting Pogi, sleeping in until noon, ordering DoorDash every day instead of cooking, & not working out. But instead, I’m busier & more productive than ever because I’m working to create a beautiful & successful life for myself.

Do you have a daily routine? How do you ensure that you stay productive? Let me know in a comment below.

XO Denise

round shaped clock hanging on wall above wooden cabinet

Complacency is Dangerous

From my blog archives with a few new edits, I originally wrote this on March 8th, 2017. Enjoy!

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Once upon a time, I was a miserable bank teller. For three years, I put on a fake smile to engage in meaningless small talk with customers while handling their money. I woke up each morning desperately hoping for a change of pace & a new opportunity to present itself. Just as I was about to give up hope, I decided to change my mindset instead. Because there’s no point in waiting for new opportunities, when we can create them ourselves. This is how I learned that complacency is dangerous.

Complacency is Dangerous 

It’s easy to get lost in your day to day routine. Don’t settle for a life that is comfortable but not fulfilling. It’s in the moments that we actively choose to take risks that allow us to grow. Perusing through YouTube in May 2011, I stumbled across the Beauty Vlogger Community & decided to start my own YouTube channel. Through something as simple as watching YouTube videos, a new fire started within my soul. I knew I could start a successful channel, if I just decide to be brave enough to go for it. 

My passion to learn more about all things Beauty grew exponentially in a matter of days. Strangers have the power within them to positively affect the lives of other individuals that intrigued and inspired me to follow in their footsteps. I suddenly had a new outlet to express myself, while receiving endless amounts of love and support from viewers that have never even met me in person. Though I don’t upload as often as I once did, my decision to put myself out there and risk ridicule, judgement, and criticism was the greatest decision I’ve made thus far. I still get reminders from my subscribers, friends, & family to start filming videos again. 

From taking that first risk, I’ve learned that each decision you make in life is essential to your story. There are small victories in each and every day. Whether opportunity presents itself or you create your own opportunity, be aware and grateful for it. Three years into my career in the Beauty industry, working for IPSY, I can honestly say that I love my job. I was actually given the day off by my CEO & other female leaders within the company for International Women’s Day, which inspired this blog post. 

Do you think complacency is dangerous?

I challenge you to take a good look at where you are in your life, & if you’re unsatisfied with it, I hope you find the courage within you to make the necessary changes to create a fulfilling, happy life, because you deserve it. Love yourself enough to take risks and live fearlessly. 

XO Denise 

beige and black hat near swimming pool

How To Stay Healthy This Summer

If I’ve learned anything over the past few years, it’s that the real “hot girls” are actually “healthy” girls. Getting lots of attention from guys, having a ton of options, & partying all Summer long is not on my personal Summer bucket list. But being happy & healthy is always my top priority. Here’s how I plan to stay healthy this Summer!

How To Stay Healthy This Summer

Watch the Sunrise

It’s a well-known fact that it’s a good idea to start your day early. While I don’t necessarily mean that you need to wake up every day before the sun, taking the time to get up earlier than usual to watch the sky change colors as the sun peeks over the horizon is good for your mental health.

Drink Water

With the warmer temperatures, you’re going to be sweating a lot more. Drinking water will help replenish your body as well as give you glowing skin. It’ll also curb your appetite so that you can stay on the go without getting hungry before your usual mealtimes.

Eat Fresh Fruit & Veggies

When you do get hungry, I highly encourage you to eat more fresh fruit & veggies. They’re packed with healthy nutrients as well as water to help you refuel throughout the day, without being calorie-dense or high in salt or processed sugar.

Cook

Summer is a great time to try new recipes! With lots of popular cooking methods, such as baking, grilling on a BBQ, using an air fryer, or the classic stove, there are so many delicious, healthy recipes on Pinterest! I try to cook at least one new recipe a week, so I can continue to flex my cooking skills.

Go to the Beach

Nothing says Summertime like the beach. I love feeling the sand between my toes, & saltwater does wonders for my hair & skin. I always feel like a beautiful, ethereal mermaid at the beach.

Swim

If you can’t make it to the beach to swim or spend some time splashing around in the water, I recommend going to a public pool or finding a friend with access to a pool. I’m lucky enough to have a rooftop pool at my apartment building in Oakland, CA. On the warmest days, I find myself always taking the time to go swimming whenever I can. Not only is it a great way to cool down, but it’s also a fun way to work out. I love swimming laps for cardio as well as other pool-friendly exercises for strength!

Hike

Hiking is one of my favorite ways to work out as well as spend time out in nature. I have a few hiking vlogs on my YouTube channel with a couple of local, East Bay hikes. One of the best things about the Bay Area is the mild climate & different terrains. There are so many different hikes available on All Trails, & you can filter them by difficulty & length.

Volunteer

I love giving back to my local community. In the past, I’ve volunteered with the San Francisco Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity East Bay, as well as local homeless shelters & senior care homes. During COVID-19, I also signed up for Letters to Seniors to help combat social isolation by writing letters to senior citizens.

Watch the Sunset

Just as important as waking up early to watch the sunrise, it’s equally important to slow down at the end of your day to watch the sunset. I’m always in awe at how the colors of any sunset are never the same. That’s why with these long Summer days, I always take a quiet moment to myself to watch the sunset & the sky change colors over downtown Oakland, or wherever I happen to be that day.

Stargaze

It’s hard to see the stars when you live in Downtown Oakland. But when I’m visiting family or camping, I always have to look up at the stars & think about how we are also just a tiny sparkling speck in the universe.

It’s time for us to forget about “Hot Girl Summer”. Summer isn’t about dieting so you can take pictures in a bikini to get likes on Instagram. Summer is about enjoying the sunlight & longer days while they’re here. Summer should be a celebration of who you are & what you love.

What are you doing to stay healthy this Summer?

XO Denise