Self-Care for Successful People

What is self-care and why should you take precious time out of your busy schedule for it?

At its most basic level, self-care means mindfully taking care of your needs. It’s about putting yourself first (physically, mentally, and emotionally), so that you can give your 100 percent in varied aspects of your life. It changes from person to person, and can take as little time as a few minutes to a few hours.

You might think that your time could be better spent elsewhere. But think of it this way: there’s a reason why, in times of crisis, aircraft safety instructions remind you to put on your oxygen mask first before helping others. “If you are depleted and exhausted emotionally, physically, or mentally, you will have nothing to give anyone else,” say wellness pioneers Nadia Narain and Katia Narain Phillips in their book Self-Care for the Real World.

Time invested on self-care is time well-spent. Think about all the minutes and hours you spend procrastinating or mindlessly scrolling online—and imagine how much better off you’d be if that time was spent on self-care.

With so many forms to choose from, try some of these methods to figure out which ones work best for you.

Photo by Victor Freitas for Unsplash.com

Get moving

Hit the gym in your condo, jog around your complex before work, or squeeze in a few laps at the pool as soon as you get home. All are easy to do especially when living in a condo that provides ample amenities for everyday wellness activities.

Regular exercise does wonders for your personal well-being and professional productivity. Author Tom Corley spent five years researching the daily habits of over 200 wealthy individuals for his books Rich Habits and Change Your Habits, Change Your Life. He found that 76 percent of his successful respondents work out for half an hour every day by jogging, biking, walking, or doing other aerobic exercises.

If you find the thought of working out particularly unappealing, think of it as a habit that can (and should) become second nature once you put in the initial effort. Corley writes, “Habits, by their very definition, are persistent routines. When you adopt good habits, they help you grow your skills and knowledge… Each good habit you add to your life has a cumulative effect. [Good habits] are like an investment in your individual success.”

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Be grateful

It may sound simplistic and even corny to some. Science, though, proves that being truly thankful has many practical benefits, including personal happiness. According to University of California gratitude researcher and psychology professor Robert Emmons, people who are grateful tend to be healthier, more focused, and more optimistic than others who don’t have a habit of being thankful.

In one study, Emmons writes, “In an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events. Beyond these, being grateful for big and small events in one’s life makes one resilient, improves one’s relationships, and gives one more control over his or her life.”

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Hit pause

There’s so much more to meditation than sitting cross-legged for an uncomfortable stretch of time. Meditation is simply “an umbrella term for the many ways to be in a relaxed state of being,” according to the medical research group Mayo Clinic. Meditation practices can include something as simple as quieting your mind as you enjoy your morning coffee, or spending some me-time in your favorite thinking spot. It’s one way to take stock of your overall well-being and pinpoint where you can do better in life. Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe even describes how liberating and transformative it is to stay still and do nothing for 10 straight minutes.

Multiple studies over the years have also brought to light the neurological benefits of meditation. For eight weeks, participants in a 2011 Harvard University study spent an average of 27 minutes every day practicing mindful exercises such as “non-judgmental awareness of sensations, feelings, and state of mind.” The study found that eight weeks of daily meditation led to “increased gray-matter density” in areas of the brain associated with learning, memory, self-awareness, compassion, and introspection, as well as decreased density in those associated with anxiety and stress. In short, a few minutes of daily meditation is an act of self-care that nourishes and even rebuilds your brain.

Photo by Brooke Lark for Unsplash.com

Eat well

As writer Virginia Woolf beautifully put it in her essay A Room of One’s Own, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” There is a simple, delicious joy in learning a new recipe or eating out to nourish yourself with good food.

“Being mindful of what you are eating and how it nourishes your body and soul is a good start to practicing self-care around food,” according to Nadia Narain and Katia Narain Phillips. “We’ve learned from experience that it’s not so much about what you’re eating as how you’re eating it. Are you eating from a place of love and nourishment, or out of punishment?” Knowing the benefits of working smart, don’t you think it’s also time to start eating smart?

Photo from pixabay.com

Say no

In her book The Art of Extreme Self-Care: Transform Your Life One Month at a Time, Cheryl Richardson suggests to make a list of things you don’t want to do. She says the list should “make you feel safe, protected, taken care of, and free to be your best self.” Items on your list could be things you’ve stopped doing or no longer want to do; or things that stress you out. For example: “I will stop using my credit card until I’ve paid my outstanding bill in full. I will not volunteer for an organization that I don’t completely believe in.”

Once you know which things you no longer want to tolerate in your life, you will see how many opportunities there are to be happy.

These are but a few examples of self-care, but there are plenty of other options you can explore. The point is to do something for yourself without feeling guilty or selfish, so that you avoid burnouts and feel recharged.

Self-care takes time and initiative, and choosing where you live, for example, can make all the difference. As one of the top real estate developers in the Philippines, Alveo Land provides great opportunities for wellness and recreation with choice amenities in their developments, along with proximity to key locations within the city. With condos for sale in such locations as BGC, Makati, Pasig, Quezon City, Cebu, Davao, Pampanga, Manila, and Laguna, Alveo Land can make your daily self-care journey that much easier. Click here to learn more.

How to Use Hygge for Work-Life Balance

Hygge is often associated with knitted throws over the couch and soft gray and white palettes. It is a Denmark-originated design concept meant to evoke comfort and restfulness; and now, work-life balance.

However, hygge is not just about how the home looks. Derived from the Norwegian word that means “well-being,” the Danes think of it as a way of life–-a combination of design, behaviors, and attitudes.

In The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Contentment, Comfort, and Connection, author Louisa Thomsen Brits writes, “In our overstretched, complex lives, hygge is an uncomplicated daily practice that engages us, keeping us attuned to our surroundings and open to empathy and wonder.” It makes sense then that some of the most popular design features of hygge can be translated into behaviors that help find balance and live a more comfortable lifestyle.

Hygge is all about comfort

Design Element: If there is one thing that hygge loathes, it is roughness. Think about how blankets and pillows can be used to infuse softness into a room. The auditory similarities of “hug” and “hygge” is perhaps not a coincidence considering that original meaning of the word, “hug” is “to make oneself snug”, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

Work-Life Balance Principle: Hygge translates to only doing things that make you feel comfortable. A practical way of achieving this state is learning how to say no. This can apply to refusing extra work to avoid stress, or creating boundaries when it comes to personal space.

Hygge encourages the enjoyment of greenery

Design Element: The Danish love to use natural elements, such as plants, in their design. The easiest way to implement this is to place indoor plants around the home. Having large windows that allow natural light to come in while providing outdoor views is also ideal. This can also translate to using natural materials, such as wood, in furniture.

Work-Life Balance Principle: Bringing greenery indoors is a start, but nothing beats going out and experiencing it for yourself. Make going outdoors part of your daily routine to get fresh air and exercise.

Declutter to achieve serenity

Design element: Hygge shares a feature with minimalism, another popular design trend, in that it encourages to keep the things you love and then get rid of the rest. The objective of hygge is to create an environment that encourages relaxation and feelings of contentment. Aesthetically, this means removing unnecessary objects that make the home look disorderly.

Work-Life Balance Principle: Stress is unavoidable, but it can be managed. If the fast pace of the city – and the weeknight traffic jams that go along with it – is too much, opt to move somewhere quieter.

It’s always important to explore your options, and that includes choosing the best real estate investments in the Philippines. Alveo Land’s Park Cascades in Arca South, a condominium for sale in Taguig, combines open park spaces and easy accessibility for the ideal work-life balance. Aveia, on the other hand, is a lot for sale in Cavite that offers a homey respite from the pace of urban living, without having to sacrifice basic daily comforts for your family.

Securing your investment with one of the top real estate developers in the Philippines will definitely help you achieve Hygge. To learn more about various Alveo Land properties, click here.

Warung Kapitolyo: A Taste of Indonesia in Pasig City

Imagine walking into a little piece of Indonesia in Pasig City.

Warung Kapitolyo, a new restaurant on East Capitol Drive in Pasig City, feels like a cozy Indonesian home. Sisters Louh Decena and Tess Doctora lived in Jakarta, Indonesia for many years, and have always wanted to share their love of Indonesian cooking when they moved back to Manila. Having a stall in the Sunday Legaspi Market for eight years, they then built what they imagined to be an extension of their Indonesian home in the city.

Like Coming Home

According to Louh’s son, Imman, “warung” is an Indonesian word that means “a type of small family-owned business.” This is exactly what sets Warung Kapitolyo apart. “It’s the hands-on approach that the two owners have,” explains Imman. “For the two sisters, they see Warung Kapitolyo as an extension of their home, and the customers are their guests. They continue to improve on their dishes, and really take to heart what their customers say.”

Gado-Gado: A delicious combination of fresh veggies, tofu, tempeh, with a peanut dressing

Extraordinary Food

When asked to describe his home in Indonesia, Imman says it was “nothing out of the ordinary except for one thing: his mom’s expertise in the kitchen. “She would whip out the best dishes. Dinners were always a treat. And probably the reason why my brothers and I were so fat back when we were younger!”

Ayam Goreng Kremes: Tender, juicy, fried chicken enveloped by a flavorful crispy flakes

When you experience what Imman calls “probably the most authentic Indonesian experience in terms of food and ambience that you will find here in Manila,” you can expect the food to be delicious. “We wanted to keep it as simple as possible and focus on dishes that Indonesia is known for,” says Imman, “but keeping in mind the Filipino palate.”

Bakmi Goreng: Indonesian-style fried homemade noodles

Well-Loved Dishes

When you find yourself in Warung, here are some customer favorites to try: martabak telur (a pan-fried crepe stuffed with fresh vegetables and ground beef), sate ayam (grilled, skewered chicken with peanut sauce), ikan bakar (grilled fish bathed in different spices), and gado-gado (tofu, fresh vegetables, and crackers tossed together in peanut dressing).

Nasi Goreng: Indonesian-style fried rice

The desserts are just as mouthwatering. There are the different shaved ice choices with various toppings, and griddle pancakes (with or without chocolate syrup). Don’t also pass up on the Indonesian fruitshakes and teas to complete your authentic experience.

Feels Like Indonesia

You can also get great Asian design ideas by visiting Warung Kapitolyo. In fact, the beautiful decorations in the restaurant aren’t just imported from Indonesia. Imman adds, “Most of the items are taken directly from our family home, and accumulated from more than 20 years of living in Indonesia. An interior designer just put it all together.”

Warung Kapitolyo’s al fresco area

Warung proves to be a great place for Indonesian gastronomic (and design) inspiration. And if you live in Portico, an Alveo condo for sale in Pasig, you too can mix up items from your family home with a few new pieces for a great Southeast Asian design aesthetic.

To know more about Alveo’s project in Pasig, click here. Showrooms are available for viewing onsite and at the G/F Ayala Malls The 30th.

 

 

10 Habits to Enhance Your Productivity and Happiness

How many hours of your work week do you devote to relaxing or just enjoying time with family and friends?

If you find yourself becoming increasingly distracted and unable to focus (or even physically exhausted and emotionally drained), it’s worth making some lifestyle changes. Try giving these healthy habits a go.

1. Put away your devices.

Our mind and body crave activity, and we owe it to ourselves to look for pastimes that promote productivity and don’t always require going digital. If you already spend 8 hours at work in front of a screen, give your eyes a break. Edwin Soriano, life coach, trainer, and author of You Can Be Happy Again, advises to “make your bed a no-device zone. The glow of screens emit light that mimics the effect of sunlight on our body, thus keeping the body ‘awake,’ and messing up our sleep cycle.”

2. Eat slow.

Food should be as much about enjoyment as it is about sustenance. Take notice of the various tastes, colors, aromas, textures, and temperatures of every meal. Paying attention to what you eat creates small delights that inspire a daily “discovery,” rather than a much desired escape from work.

Soriano suggests scheduling “a monthly lunch with a mentor, to learn something constructive while enjoying a good meal.”

3. Drink water–plenty of it.

Staying hydrated can do wonders to your brain activity and general well-being, encouraging productivity. It helps boost the immune system and flush out toxins.

In his book Water for Health, for Healing, for Life: You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty!, author Fereydoon Batmanghelidj says that “the body can suffer from deep dehydration without showing a dry mouth.” Don’t wait until you feel thirsty.

4. Have regular personal conversations.

Nodding to acknowledge someone is nice, but making the effort of conversing with a person you see on a daily basis can exponentially brighten both your days. Make it a habit to speak to different people. It will improve your social skills, and allow you to build relationships easily.

“Smile more often,” says Archimedes Miranda De Leon, San Francisco-based life coach of 10 years, fitness trainer for 15 years, and yoga teacher for 17 years. “It helps release serotonin and oxytocin for joy, and helps create trust.”

5. Add one song to a playlist every day.

Music can enhance experiences, heighten emotions, and perk up moods. So if or when you’re stuck in traffic, take the opportunity to look for new artists and discover old ones. Not only will you chance on some gems, but you’ll also build an interesting playlist worth sharing.

“You can also listen to motivational audiobooks,” De Leon suggests. Learning can distract you from the negativity of road traffic, and help you get to work or home in a better mood.

6. Get your unread emails down to zero.

It’s unsettling, isn’t it? Those little numbers staring back at you on your desktop and mobile, and never quite going down. You don’t know what’s what anymore, and it’s better to leave them be than go through each of them individually. But it’s a chore that needs to be done.

Open those newsletters, click “unsubscribe,” then delete. Commit to a few minutes of digital decluttering everyday for a friendlier inbox. Create folders so you can keep track of important matters, and use those folders to help you organize your affairs.

If or when you’re on holiday, Soriano suggests setting up an “out of office” auto-reply to let everyone in your professional circle know that you won’t be available until a certain time. “If there is anything important, have the sender re-send the email when you’re back at the office,” Soriano adds.

7. Learn to prioritize instead of multi-task.

This is easy. You need only remember two factors: important tasks and urgent tasks.

To help you identify which is which, ask yourself if the task is for you or for someone else. Most tasks demanding immediate action are most likely for someone else. They qualify as urgent because ignoring them can have implications for another person that is not you. But that’s not to say you can’t put yourself first.

If you feel that a task can wait and your needs are more important, communicate this with the people involved, and try to find a reasonable middle ground. By prioritizing, you are giving yourself more time and energy to do what you feel matters more, rather than trying to do everything at once. This can greatly enhance your personal productivity.

8. Don’t ruminate.

In other words, get out of your head. Don’t spend too much time thinking about something over and over. Do it, then move on to the next.

Whenever you catch yourself lost in thought, ask yourself why this matters…then find an outlet. Write down your thoughts, draw them, and share them with someone you trust. Don’t keep it inside, and don’t brush it aside. It will come back, and you’ll be running the same circle over and over again.

Take it from Derek Doepker’s book Why You’re Stuck: Your Guide to Finding Freedom from Any of Life’s Challenges. He says, “The first obvious reason why awareness is important is that you have to be aware of what the problem is in order to overcome it.”

De Leon says that focusing on what’s happening in the moment instead of what happened or what could happen, is key: “Be awake and be present to what is now.”

Soriano also shares a wonderful nugget of wisdom. “Instead of spending excessive time and energy on making decisions, learn to make ‘provisional decisions.’ You will never have all the information you need, so work with the information you have at hand. Move forward by taking that one step…and be okay with making adjustments later.”

9. Weigh the costs of your projects and commitments.

Everything has a price; the currency just varies. Some projects will cost you more time than necessary; others will cost you energy you can invest elsewhere. Opt for projects and commitments that give you the best returns.

Assessing opportunities is a good habit to have in achieving work-play balance, so ask yourself these questions: Does the project demand more than I’m happy to give for the amount it pays? Will it help me grow personally and professionally? Am I in the company of people I admire?

10. Live close to places where you work and play

Cutting down travel time will certainly boost your productivity as well as enhance your happiness. Alveo Land properties are always within ideal locations in the metro that help promote a happy and productive lifestyle. This includes residential condominiums for sale in Makati, BGC, Pasig, or QC, so choose to invest in the best place for you.

Once you work all these into your consciousness, you should be able to notice bits of positive shifts in your daily routine. In time, these will contribute to a significant and mindful life.

Game-changing Titles that Inspire the World’s Best Bosses

Innovation is the buzzword ad nauseam. It’s what today’s acclaimed entrepreneurs and bosses are all about, but what fuels them? They are all voracious readers.

Bill Gates is said to read some 50 books a year. Mark Zuckerberg aims to read 24 books every year, while Warren Buffett dedicates more than half a day to reading. If you’re plotting your game-changing moves for 2018, check out these 10 titles–a mix of classic and current–straight from the VIPs’ lists.

Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO, Amazon

The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail (Clayton M. Christensen, 1997)

This is a fascinating study on how the ability to innovate is born from organizational cultures. In

The Innovator’s Dilemma, Christensen explains how more established organizations can still stumble despite good management and a steady clientele. He also gives concrete examples on successful companies moving forward in the midst of mass markets.

It’s no wonder that this work figures among the Amazon editors’ 100 Leadership & Success Books to Read in a Lifetime. Harvard professor Christensen’s thoughts on embracing innovation remain fresh and relevant to this day.

In his book about Amazon, The Everything Store, Brad Stone cited The Innovator’s Dilemma, as “an enormously influential business book whose principles Amazon acted on, and that facilitated the creation of Kindle and AWS [Amazon Web Services].”

Sir Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action (Simon Sinek, 2011)

Branson, the maverick entrepreneur looks to leadership guru Sinek as a source of inspiration. Acting more like a handbook for CEOs, Start with Why gives brands practical tips on how to put themselves above the rest, attract the right people, and find greater client loyalty. Talking about a company’s driving purpose–i.e., why they do what they do–gives better insights than talking about a company’s product. “This book is not designed to tell you what to do or how to do it. Its goal is not to give you a course of action. Its goal is to offer you the cause of action,” writes Sinek.

Travels with Charley in Search of America (John Steinbeck, 1960)

Reading about someone’s tour of the US with a French poodle isn’t that edifying, unless it’s John Steinbeck and his dog taking the trip. Although he begins the trip just to get to know the country, Steinbeck ends up renewing his faith in humanity because of the different people he encounters along the way. This is why Branson considers Travels with Charley his manual for living. “It opens your eyes to the small pleasures of life, and the great wonders of humanity in the little moments that matter,” Branson writes in Business Insider.

Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway

Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street (John Brooks, 2014)

Although its focus is on world events in the 1960s, Business Adventures still manages to impart valuable insights into modern business practices. Brooks’ timeless analysis of Wall Street events is what hooked a couple of famous fans. Best pals Warren Buffett and Bill Gates share business and philanthropic pursuits, and their best reads as well. Buffett even gave Gates this book, calling it one of his favorites. Gates later told The Wall Street Journal, “More than two decades after Warren [Buffett] lent it to me—and more than four decades after it was first published— Business Adventures remains the best business book I’ve ever read…Brooks’s deeper insights about business are just as relevant today as they were back then.”

Bill Gates, Co-founder, Microsoft Corporation

Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2012 (Carol Loomis, 2013)

A collection of cover stories on Warren Buffet, plus other pieces written by Buffet himself, Tap Dancing to Work gives readers a peek into how one of the world’s wealthiest men lives his life–from running his businesses to parenting. His unique perspective acts as a useful guide for the book’s readers, including Bill Gates. For Gates, reading Buffett leaves you with two important life lessons: be consistent with your vision and investment principles, and never stop studying how businesses and markets work.

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike (Phil Knight, 2016)

This is another work that Gates considers a game-changer. Knight paints an honest picture of his life and career, from his ambitious first steps in Stanford to the mistakes that cost him. Knight’s autobiography is a compelling reminder that the journey to success is a bumpy ride. But, as he writes, “If you’re following your calling, the fatigue will be easier to bear, the disappointments will be fuel, the highs will be like nothing you’ve ever felt.”

Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World (Adam Grant, 2017)

The New York Time’s bestseller is best described as a dinner conversation with Grant on how to spot and champion innovation. Sandberg not only considers this book a source of inspiration for innovation, but also as a warning against mediocrity as Grant challenges the myths and conventional views on creativity. In her foreword to the book, Sandberg writes, “In these pages, I learned that great creators don’t necessarily have the deepest expertise but rather seek out the broadest perspectives…. It will not only change the way you see the world; it might just change the way you live your life.”

Elon Musk, Co-founder, CEO and Product Architect, Tesla

The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien, 1937-1949)

You would think that CEOs have no time to read voluminous novels like Tolkien’s much-celebrated trilogy about Middle Earth. But apparently, Elon Musk does, and with good reason. Basically a saga about good versus evil, Musk as a kid identified with the underdog story line: “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” Galadriel’s words sank into the consciousness of that young and nerdy boy, who took to fantasy and science fiction as a way of coping with a lonely childhood. Stories of heroes called to save the world led him to dream big. Just look at how far he’s gone.

Mark Zuckerberg, Founder, Facebook

“I love reading first-hand accounts about how people build great companies … and nurture innovation and creativity,” says Zuckerberg. Here are two of his favorites.

Creativity, Inc. Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration (Ed Catmull, 2017)

The story of Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios as told by their president and co-founder is entertaining as it is inspiring. This is a case study for creative leadership–how one maintains a collaborative environment while still effectively leading the company.

The Idea Factory and the Great Age of American Innovation (Jon Gertner, 2013)

The history of Bell Labs, founded by Alexander Graham Bell in the 1920s, offers a wealth of insight to the challenges and solutions to technological innovation, as seen through the life and work of the team tasked with establishing a transcontinental phone line to connect New York and San Francisco.

Reading is indeed the smart executive’s gateway to innovation and empowerment. Immersing yourself in new, even unfamiliar, worlds and to eye-opening accounts could profoundly change the way you see life.

Inspired by the same passion, Alveo Land offers a diverse portfolio for living and working well. See more of Alveo Land properties here.

Nationwide Culinary Tours: Indulging in Appetizing Local Dishes Across the Regions

PANCIT NEGRA | CAVITE

INGREDIENTS
1/2 kilo vermicelli pasta (cooked according to package directions)
1/2 kilo fresh squid (cleaned and cut into rings)
Celery (chopped)
3 tbsp. olive oil
5 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 large red onion (chopped)
1 thumb size ginger (cut into small pieces)
Chicaron bits
Salt and pepper to taste

COOKING DIRECTIONS
Cook your noodles to save you time while preparing your sauce and squid.
Clean the squid and carefully remove the squid’s funnel and place the ink on a clean bowl.
Slice the squid as well as its tentacles into small pieces. Rinse well and drain again.
Using a sauce pan, sauté the garlic, onion, and ginger over high heat. Add the sliced squid and stir-fry for one to two minutes.
Add vinegar, soy sauce, fish sauce, and squid ink. Pour a cup of water then slightly raise the temperature for it to start boiling.
After two to four minutes, lower the heat to medium flame then add the vermicelli. Stir well until it is absorbed into the sauce.
Season with salt and pepper and chopped celery then mix.
Sprinkle with chicharon on top alongside toasted garlic before serving.


MILLIONAIRE SALAD | VISAYAS REGION

INGREDIENTS
250 g heart of coconut palm
5 cooked medium sized tiger prawns (peeled and deveined)
1 ripe avocado (diced)
220 g of tomatoes (halved)
2 mangoes (diced)
50 g cooked pork (finely sliced)
1 small white onion (finely sliced)
carrot (julienned)
red chilli (seeds removed, finely sliced)
1 tsp of sesame seeds
2 tbsp of white wine vinegar
80 ml (1/3 cup) of extra-virgin olive oil

COOKING DIRECTIONS
Combine the oil and vinegar in a bowl and whisk.
Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and set aside.
Slice the coconut palm heart lengthways and place in a mixing bowl.
Add all the remaining ingredients, except for the sesame seeds. Toss well.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds then serve.