Category Archives: beauty

breathe

One of the most awesome things I do every year is devote some focused time to, put simply, reflect on where I’ve been, where I am and where I want to be, both literally and figuratively.  I do most of this through both a self-designed personal retreat and a program called the Stratejoy Holiday Council.  Once the dust of this reflection settles, one of the many things I emerge with is a theme.  It may be a word or a phrase.  It may have a whole story that builds up to it or it may have been born out of my time of reflection.  It falls into the rhythm of my heartbeat, speaks truth and inspires my goals.  For me, the value of my theme for the year (or whatever amount of time it remains) is grand.

All that said, I wanted to share my theme for the present time.

Breathe.

I could write much more to draw out the beauty of how this theme developed and what it means to me, but, instead, I will share the visual representation and encourage this process of listening to your own voice, creating a collage of cravings and moving with more strength and love through YOUR journey.  🙂

breathe

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homemade peppermint foot cream and scrub

Feet.  Our poor, tender, hard-working feet.  Don’t they deserve a break?
Between a summer of heat, hiking and sandals, jobs that keep me on my feet 12 hours a day and the moment I smashed my big toe on the crush pad this fall (toe is fine, but toenail is gone), I know mine have certainly earned some pampering.
So, I went searching for some ways to treat my feet and was enticed by these pepperminty options. It only takes 9 ingredients to make both the cream and the scrub, several of which may already be sitting on the bathroom and/or kitchen shelves.
DSCN0665

 

PEPPERMINT FOOT CREAM

Ingredients:
1 T. Cocoa Butter
1/4 cup Shea Butter (I used a little more)
2 T. Coconut Oil
1 T. Avocado Oil
1 t. Vitamin E Oil
1/4 t. Tea Tree Essential Oil
1/4 t. Peppermint Essential Oil
1-2 t. Peppermint Extract (optional)

My process:
1. Soften/melt cocoa butter. (Mine is in a microwavable container)
2. Combine all ingredients
3. Place container in freezer for 5 minutes.
4. Stir well and enjoy!

I am including the original instructions below as my process was a little more simple, but created more of a heavy lotion than a cream.  Though I love what I created, I look forward to following these steps more closely and making a nice fluffy cream.

1.In a double boiler, melt the cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut oil, and avocado oil.  Mix well and remove from heat.
2. Let cool until it starts to set up. Put it in the fridge or freezer to help this process go a little faster. Once cooled, add in remaining ingredients.
3. Using a hand mixer, whip lotion and then pour into desired container.

found recipe via pinterest on Robyns View

DSCN0659

PEPPERMINT FOOT SCRUB

Ingredients:
3.5 T. Sea Salt (I used Epsom Salt)
1 t. Vitamin E Oil
1/2 t. Olive Oil
5 Drops Peppermint Essential Oil

Combine Ingredients in bowl.  I made double the recipe, so that I had enough for a few uses.

To Use:
Massage scrub all over feet and then rinse off.

found recipe via pinterest on The Sensible Mom

I had such a great time creating and using these simple and delicious foot treatments.  One of my favorite things about the process was the minty smell that filled the house on a rainy Monday morning.  I also loved the results and look forward to using these products often.

Treat your feet and enjoy!!

 

 

and now…

…to explain my absence…

I made a conscious decision to take a break from blogging. It was well into the holiday season and I had an awesome new job and some fabulous new projects going. Opportunities were abundant. I was feeling overwhelmed by time and did not want my blog to be something that drained me. I always desire for writing/blogging/creating to be something that challenges and inspires,  so giving myself a little breathing room to shift focus was intentional.

Stepping away for eight months, however, was never the plan and feels a bit shocking in the present.

I got lost in the new things, which in and of themselves were not at all bad, but before I knew it, I was just sucked up into day to day life survival and my own pulse was feeling faint.

Don’t get me wrong. There have been many awesome things that have happened over the last year. My world has included an incredible and successful new business with a company I love, people that I can’t even fathom not knowing, a fabulous creative space, good hard work, plenty of wine, laughter, positive changes, moments of rejuvenation and lots of inspiration. The problem is that I feel weary and have never craved health, creativity and balance more.

Image found on GabbieBrownsblog via pinterest

 And, so, now it is time to return. It is time to bring some focus back toward the things that help my heart to beat strong. It is time to find a way to embrace moxie again. Now it is time to maintain all of the fabulous new things, but to also do what I need to do .

If I have any point in this whole post, it is that I am finally starting to accept the possibility that by making my own heartbeat my focus, all of the other things that extend will carry more life.

This is huge.

And guess what? I can’t even prove that it is true yet, but I look forward to sharing as I journey on.

take time

taketimefull
found on saying images via pinterest

tiny beautiful things

“You will learn a lot about yourself if you stretch in the direction of goodness, of bigness, of kindness, of forgiveness, of emotional bravery. Be a warrior for love.”
―Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

I have not read Wild (yet). I have a note in my journal from January that says, “read Wild“. There is even a copy sitting in the house.  I will read it.  But the first book I ever read by Cheryl Strayed will always be tiny beautiful things.

On the surface, this book is simply a collection of advice column letters and answers.  But, if your heart is open, it is so much more than that.

This is the sort of stuff that makes my heart want.  It is people.  It is stories.  It is real.  It is all three combined.  And then those real people are brave enough to reach out by writing in to an advice column.  In return, this beautiful writer, then known only as “Sugar”, reaches back with such raw emotion, both delicate and passionate, woven into words that address real life in a way that made me want to laugh and scream and cry all at once.

Read it if you are a human that lives in the real world and wants to embrace real life.

break the shell

For the second time this year, India Arie has made an appearance in the “pretty much the most pertinent song that could possibly exist right now for me” section of my life.

shining on

ImageI’m back!  I have been through a whirlwind of self-reflection over the last couple months and needed some time to focus on, well, myself.  Thank you to everyone who has been commenting, tweeting and emailing to encourage me to keep up with the moxie!  It means so much to me.  I can’t imagine a more perfect way to reemerge into my online world than with a quote from my friend Molly at stratejoy.
Let your brilliance shine!

the makeup cleanse

makeup overflowHaving a hard time digging out your favorite lip gloss every morning?  Mascara getting clumpy?   If cosmetics are starting to feel more like clutter, cleaning out the makeup bag can be an easy way to simplify and treat your skin well.
Makeup doesn’t last forever and over time it can harbor bacteria which causes skin irritation and breakouts as well as other infections such as conjunctivitis (pinkeye).  So, how do you know when makeup should be tossed?  If it starts to smell funny, definitely toss it.  If the consistency or color starts to change or you notice skin irritation when it is applied, its probably time to ditch it as well.  Otherwise, here is a general timeline for the healthy life of most products:

Foundation:
Water-based: 12 months  Oil-based: 18 months
Concealer: 12-18 months
Powder/Blush: 1-3 years
Mascara: 3-6 months
Liquid/Cream Eyeliner or Shadows: 6-12 months
Eyeshadow: 1-3 years
Eye/Lip Pencils: 1-3 years
Lisptick/Lip Gloss: 1-2 years
Nail Polish: 1-5 years

A few extra tips:
Treat Your Makeup Well. 
There are several things you can you can do to extend the life of your makeup.  First of all, store it in a cool and dry location.  That makeup sitting in the sunny car or open on the bathroom counter while you shower is going to go bad more quickly than the makeup in a fun bag on your dresser.  In addition to storage location, sharpen lip and eye pencils regularly and try not to pump mascara too much Both of these tricks, along with the next tip, will fight bacteria. 

DSCN9992 (5)-001Wash Your Brushes!  This is one of the most important things you can do for your makeup and your face.  If you have never washed your makeup brushes, prepare to be disgusted.  You can purchase a brush cleaner if you like or just use a mild soap of some sort.  I prefer to use a natural shampoo because, to me, brushes are more like hair.  Wash your brushes in the bathroom sink with water and soap and then lay them out to air dry.  This should be done often.  I try to do it every month.  If you use other applicators, such as sponges, be sure to wash or replace those often as well.

Keep Organized.  If you keep your makeup organized and accessible, you will save money, time and sanity.  Store makeup you use on an everyday basis in a handy location and in a way that makes it easy to move around.  You could use a fun makeup bag or colorful containers such as bowls or baskets.  Any excess can be stored in a makeup bag, bin or mini drawers and kept in a drawer or closet so that it is not in the way when you don’t need it. 

Have Fun With It!  Learn some new makeup tips.  Treat yourself to a new color or makeup bag. Have a spa day and use that nail polish.  Or go on a girls night out with that glitter blush you’ve been ignoring! 🙂
Enjoy your makeup cleanse!

homemade redness reducers

mint aloe cucumberI’ve been noticing some redness on my face lately (well, ok, for the last 20 years), so I took to researching natural home remedies to help calm my sensitive skin.  After reading up in a few books and magazines and on dozens of websites, there were a handful of ingredients that clearly stood out as redness reducers, many of them because of their natural anti-inflammatory properties.

1. Cucumber

2. Aloe
3. Green (or White) Tea
4. Mint
5. Licorice
Honorable Mention: Oats, Witch Hazel, Turmeric, Vitamin C and Milk

A few ideas for homemade treatments:
-Cucumber, aloe and mint got mixed in the blender today to create a soothing mask.  I also added a little honey to make it more thick and “maskish”. I spread the mask on, plopped some cucumber slices on my eyes and relaxed for 15 minutes.  Honestly, I noticed a reduction in redness as soon as I took off the mask.
Licorice powder and aloe combined could make a great mask as well.
-The cucumber oatmeal mask  I have used and written about before fits the redness bill.
-I plan to try using white or green tea extract and licorice root extract as a toner of sorts.

There are lots of possibilities available between all of these ingredients and I’m very interested in any recipes others may have!

I read some things about a  few of the ingredients mentioned that I wanted to share.
Witch hazel apparently has all kind of natural benefits, but some (rarely) do react to it and often it is sold at the store as a toner mixed with alcohol.  So, try a little bit first and make sure you buy it natural.
Turmeric is apparently amazing for treating redness, acne, pigmentation, etc., but it may temporarily stain the skin, so be aware of this!

As I treat my body with more natural ingredients, I continue to notice positive changes and hope you do too!

a little self-love…box

self-love boxComing into this new year, I spent several weeks defining goals, dreams and cravings and mapping out a road to success in achieving them (much thanks to my wonderful friend and founder of Stratejoy and her program, The Holiday Council…check it out!)  There is sooooo much awesomeness I could share about all of this, but one of the most important moments of clarity I gained from the experience was this:

I need to be LOVING MYSELF.

This might seem an obvious thing to do as a human, but somewhere along my journey, I completely missed that turn.  Now don’t misinterpret my feelings.  I don’t dislike myself.  In fact, I am a positive person with what I consider a fairly strong self-awareness and sincerity and I take pride in my strengths and accomplishments.  However, I have struggled to truly focus on myself in a way that nurtures my soul and instead focus on others with unbalanced abundance or walk straight into selfishness in an unhealthy way and then wonder why I still feel unfulfilled and even guilty.  My heart has been awakened to the reality that there is a distinction between selfishness and self-love and that I should be pursuing healthy self-love.
And so, I made loving myself one of my main goals for this year.  Figuring out how to do this took some time and brainstorming and is still developing, but one tool that I have created is what I call my self-love box.
I started by making a list of ways that I could love myself.  Then, I cut out a bunch of little hearts and wrote the items from my list on them.
Some of the thinself-love heartsgs from my list?

buy yourself a special t
reat
reach out to an encouraging person
get dressed up
take a nap
do something that inspires you
forgive yourself
dream, plan and go on a personal retreat
stop. breathe deep.
write yourself a love note
get a massage
be grateful.  make a list of things you are thankful for.

Next, I found an inexpensive heart shaped box at a craft store and plastered it with some meaningful and inspiring pictures.  The little self-love list hearts went inside and I am challenging myself to use the box several times a month.
Creating this simple little box and using it has been a rewarding and wonderful experience thus far and I recommend doing something like this to absolutely anyone.  Whether you create a box or a list or not, though, please remember to LOVE YOURSELF!  You are worth it!
xoxo

vulnerability

Early last week (after an interesting handful of days), I typed the word ‘vulnerable’ into the search tool at a local bookstore.  Five minutes later, I had Daring Greatly by Brene Brown  in my hands.  Fifteen minutes later, I was spilling chai all over the book.  (I was already sold, but that sealed it) Two hours later, I was watching her TED talk…

getting it together

Ok, so one month is long enough for my “yes, please winter wonder” (see previous post) retreat.  I spent much of this time writing, walking/skiing/hiking in the crisp air, focusing on defining my priorities, cravings and action steps for this year (thanks Holiday Council), writing, experiencing a lot of serendipitous moments, going on a mostly spontaneous New Years day venture where I came face to face with myself and my demons, listening to my heart and writing.  Did I mention that my journal was open a lot?  One important and wonderful thing that I discovered during this time is that this blog is aligned perfectly with what is important to me right now.  I crave moxie.  And three of my top priorities for the year are health, creativity and balance.  And so I am back in blogland and ready to pursue my passion and to do more, share more and grow more here.
About a week ago, I was staring at an emotionally filled journal page when this song popped up on pandora.  I was dumbfounded.  Many of the words that fill this song were the same as the exact words filling my page.  It feels like this song was made just for me at this very moment of my life.  It will be hard to convince me otherwise as I get it together, heal my heart and learn to fly…

rainy day sunshine

live swim drink


originally found on pinterest (the pin wont link anywhere, so that’s all I can reference…)

the closet cleanse

I love clothes and all the accessories that go with, but I have a small closet (think coat closet here).  Its a problem.  When I first tried to fit all my stuff in my current closet, I would catch myself daydreaming of the walk-in I had in my Chicago studio apartment (it was almost the biggest room!)  Back in reality, I scored one of the hall closets all to myself and use it for my dresses, skirts, sweaters and heels, which helps a lot.  I employed perfect sized drawers, crates and baskets to help me fit everything else in the closet in my room, but over time I noticed only about half my clothes were in the closet at any given time.  I had clothes in the bedroom closet, in the hall closet, all over my floor, in bins and baskets, in the laundry and in the garage.  Finally, one day, while trying not to drown in a sea of scarves, I threw out a lifeline to myself…”I have too many clothes!  Time to take control.

And so I began the process of really owning what I own.  I feel that being in the right frame of mind to do this is really important.  I was ready to simplify my wardrobe.  A few months before, I may not have been able to part with things or organize as well.


1. SORT
I started by making three different bins, one for stuff I wanted to keep for sure, one for things I could give up and the very important third bin that I could figure out later.  I made myself get rid of at least one of everything…one coat, one sweater, one dress, one t-shirt, etc. ,etc.  After going through everything, I bagged up the ‘give’ clothes right away.   Then, I focused on the ‘not sure’ collection.  I laid everything out and picked out one favorite to go back into ‘keep’.  Feeling good.  Next, I looked through the pile for things that I would wear if it was ‘improved’.  For example, there was a pair of jeans I love but never wear because of a missing button and a light blue puffy vest that I want to wear, but don’t because of the color.  A new button and some dye will hopefully fix those problems, so they get set aside in a new pile.   From there, I picked my least favorite thing and throw it in the ‘give’ bag.  The rest goes through individual decisions and quite a bit goes back to ‘keep’ so that I don’t stress myself out.    Then I repeat the process with all my accessories (hats, tights, shoes, scarves, etc…).

2. ORGANIZE
As I looked at the size of the bag of stuff that I would no longer have to fit in my closet, I felt energized and relieved and rode that clothing cleanse high straight into organization.
I put everything from the ‘keep’ bin in piles…shirts, pants, socks, bags, workout clothing, etc.  Then I pulled out all my baskets, crates, hangers and bins and got to work.  I love using baskets and small fabric bins for hats, socks and tights and purses.  For scarves and belts, I love a multitude of hooks that hang over doors and stay out of the way of everything else.  My favorite thing is a fabric bin with a lid, which I store things in, but also use as a chair, a computer stand or to reach the baskets up top in the closet.  I was so excited when everything I had kept fit in my closet(s) with a tiny bit of room to breathe.  Sigh of relief.

3. DEAL WITH THE FIXERS
Once all my keepers were happily put away, I still had a ‘give’ bag and a ‘fix’ pile to deal with.  I looked through the fixers and made a list of things I might need to fix them.  I actually got rid of one more thing in doing this.  Then I put them all in a box and made a deadline.  If I don’t deal with these by the end of the year, I never will and we will then say our goodbyes.

4. GIVE, SELL AND DONATE
One of the best parts of this whole process was finally giving the clothes away.  If something I dont need anymore will make somebody else happy, I’m happy.  The first thing I did was let some friends go through my pile of stuff.  Then I looked through one more time to see if there was anything I might be able to sell and actually picked out a few things.  There are lots of ways to sell, such as garage sales or ebay and for me this time around it was a consignment store.  I took in seven items, they took four and gave me $19.  Deal.  That money went to a savings for something special.  Finally, I took what was left and donated it.  There are lots of options here as well and I like doing a little research because I like to give to a womens shelter or local project if possible.  This time around, I was able to donate to a rummage sale to benefit a local outdoor school that one of the kids I watch attends.

5. A FEW EXTRA IDEAS
Don’t forget to do the laundry! 
This process will be easiest if everything is clean and available to sort.

Do some detailed sorting.  I found that I had more trouble getting rid of any skirts and dresses, so I went a little more intense in the sorting.  I laid everything out and arranged by color and/or category.  There was a gray skirt I had been contemplating that was then easier to get rid of because I saw that I had two other gray skirts.  It also became more easy to see that I didn’t need five floral spaghetti strap summer dresses!

Prepare for the next round.  I had seen a great idea on pinterest for hanging clothes and decided to use it.  Basically, you hang up all your hangers backwards and then after something is worn, they get turned around.  After a year or so, you can see easily if anything wasn’t used.  And if you dont wear something over the course of a year, do you really need it!?

Try stuff on.  For me, trying things on helped to make the keep or give decision.  If something was far too tight, it went away.  On the other hand, I found some things that were far cuter than I remembered and made sure they were easy for me to find in the future.  Also, I know it is easy to think that something will fit once you lose those 10 pounds, but be careful about hanging on to things that aren’t being used.  I kept a few of my favorite ‘tight’ things as a fun reward, but tossed the rest.  If you lose enough weight to fit into things you can’t come close to fitting now, I say you deserve a shopping trip for new stuff! 🙂

Make a shopping list.  Once I had a fuller grasp of what was in my closet, I made a list of a few things that might help my wardrobe out.  For me, this included a colorful cardigan, a versatile black skirt and a neutral lacy top among a couple other things.  That way, when I’m shopping I can buy what I need and can build more outfits with instead of dropping money on something I already have!

It took time and made a mess for a little while, but it was worth the clean closet (and mind) in the end and I wish you the happiest of sorting, organizing and giving!

homemade honey nutmeg mask

As I’ve mentioned before, my sensitive skin and I are on the search for some great homemade beauty products.  When I saw a post about this acne mask, I knew I had to give it a try.
All three of the ingredients in this mask help to heal the skin.  Nutmeg has long been known and used as an anti-inflammatory and has antiseptic properties, making it incredibly healing.  Honey is a natural moisturizer and is packed with antioxidants.  It heals, protects and rejuvinates.  Milk is naturally soothing and lactic acid is also a great exfoliator.

I was a little nervous about this one because I had read some reviews in which people complained of their skin burning (most likely due to nutmeg sensitivity), so I tested a small area before I smothered it all over my face.  Green light.  The mask was simple to make and easy to apply.  I have to admit that while it was on, I felt nothing.  I wasn’t sure that it was actually doing anything, but once I took it off my skin just felt happy.  I look forward to using this again!

Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon Raw Honey
1 Tablespoon Ground Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Milk (recommend whole organic)

1. Combine ingredients.
2. Spread mixture generously on face and neck and let sit for 10-15 minutes.
3. Wash mask off with water.


found recipe on huda beauty

doing what i love

I have been on a blog hiatus.  On purpose.  Kind of.  Life got busy and I needed some room away from all the screens to breathe.  While I was away, I found some fresh air, but I lost the motivation that comes from the discipline of making my thoughts, photos, musings, projects and inspirations public in blogland.  Not only does it motivate me, but I genuinely love the creative outlet of blogging.

And so I am back.  Doing something I love.  Looking for motivation to do more of what I love.  And to let this love infiltrate all that I do.

What do you love?  What would you love to do?

homemade cucumber mask

If you know me, you know I have crazy sensitive skin.  (yay!)  If you don’t know me, you know that now too, I guess.  I sunburn in about a half a second, have a bazillion allergies and have been trying forever to find beauty products that I can use safely.   I don’t know why it took me so long to get in on the homemade beauty product scene, but I am there now.
Below is a recipe for an oatmeal cucumber face mask.  All of these ingredients have benefits for your skin.  Basically, I just threw it all in a blender and then put it on my face.  Simple.  It pretty much looks like cucumber oatmeal out of the blender.  (Okay, so it basically is cucumber oatmeal)  I was a bit apprehensive at first…thought it was going to slide off of my face and get all over my clothes.   Still, I was hopeful, so I put a headband on, put a towel on the floor and put the mask on.  I also set aside a couple cucumber slices for the eyes.  Let the healing begin!
About a minute into the experience, I thought, “I have cucumber oatmeal on my face.  What am I doing?”
Two minutes into the self-made spa moment, I realized the mask was not sliding off my face, but I was still feeling a little silly.
Then, somewhere around minute three, I felt the mask working.  It tightened and my skin felt tingly and cool in a refreshing sort of way.
I kept the mask on for about 20 minutes.  The last 17 minutes were spent trying to let my body re-teach me how to relax.  Seriously, when is the last time you actually cleared your mind and tried to relax your muscles intentionally?  It had been a while for me.  (sleeping doesn’t count)
After I washed the mask off, my skin felt and looked refreshed.  And, surprisingly to me, I felt refreshed.  Overall, this was a very positive experience and I will absolutely make this mask again.


Ingredients:
1/2  Cucumber, cut into chunks
1/4 cup Oatmeal
1 T. Raw Honey
1 t. Aloe*
1 t. Avocado Oil*

1.Combine ingredients in blender or food processor.
2. Spread mixture generously on face and neck.
3. Lie down and relax for at least 15 minutes.
4. Wash mask off with water.

*The aloe and avocado oil are optional and avocado could be used in place of the oil as well.

Enjoy!!

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