Wednesday, February 29, 2012

{wanderlusting: feet}

I've been restless lately. It's a case of wanderlust. But this picture, taken while out with some dear friends over the weekend, reminds me that even though my feet want to go more places {and they plan to!}, I should appreciate the small moments by the fire with familiar laughter all around.
The people we care about really are where home is.

So todays lesson is one of simplicity. Be content where you are, excited for where you will go, and appreciative of where you've been.

Homework: Look down at your feet and reflect on that. Content right here. For now.
Class Dimissed.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Skincare: Oily/Dehydrated Skin

Happy Tuesday, folks.

Today we're going to learn about skincare for your face. Who wants healthy skin? Everybody? Yep.
Everyone looks at makeup and skincare differently. Some people find joy in natural beauty, minimal use of products and very light application of makeup or no makeup at all. And others, like to try out all sorts of products and express themselves with their makeup. Either way, we all have one thing in common:
Healthy skin is a necessity to get the look you want. And good skincare is a necessity to get healthy skin.

It doesn't matter if you go for a natural look or a "totally flawless" full coverage makeup look: your skin is your canvas. Your skin is also a true reflection of how well you care for yourself so please, by all means, love it well. This means you might have to save your money for skincare products by going out to a few less movies, or eating in, and maybe no more buying every new pair of shoes that hits the stores, but this is YOUR FACE we're talking about here. And you only get one. Really, just one. Look it up.
To start, let's tackle the basic issues to help you decide what you need. What type of skin do you have?
Do you wake up with an oily forehead? OILY /DEHYDRATED SKIN
Do you wake up with dry, tight skin? DRY/DEHYDRATED SKIN
Do you wake up with no issues but develop an oily forehead by afternoon and have been known to get dry skin flakes and your cheeks feel tight at times? COMBO/DEHYDRATED SKIN
None of the above? DEHYDRATED SKIN {you can't fight it, we live in a cruel, cruel world and your skin is suffering. Unless you live in Hawaii. My skin was AWESOME when I was there for two weeks.}
Now that you know what your concern is, let's get some answers. Read on if you are OILY/DEHYDRATED {others to come}


 Dear Oily-Skinned Girl, I sympathize with you. My forehead can be as slick as the dickens by 9am.You may not like heavy moisturizers because they remind you of the horror of feeling your fingers glide across an oily forhead or cheek and why on earth would you want to pile more on top of that??? So you use a drying bar of soap to stop the oil and then go sans moisturizer hoping that you won't compound the issue. But haven't you noticed that you still get oily?!
{light bulb moment>>>}Your skin's oiliness doesn't mean it is hydrated and must be stripped of all moisture. In fact,
your methods of controlling the oil have abused your skin into a state of severe dehydration. If you don't feed your skin some good, quality moisture, it will MAKE IT'S OWN OIL TO SURVIVE YOUR ABUSE. So you should do this:
1.) Exfoliate at night. Exfoliating will help clear your skin of excess oil, makeup, & dirt which can clog your pores and cause break-outs. Exfoliating will also activate your sebum glands causing minimal oil production so it's best to do this at night so in the morning you won't have to fight it. Use a daily, gentle exfoliator. If you use a harsh one with not-so-gentle exfoliating beads {like oh, say jagged-edged oatmeal or ground up apricot pit read: bits of gravel} you will have broken capillaries, MORE OIL, and a sad, sad face.
2.) Use a cleanser and toner for Oily skinned folks. Cleanser will cut through your oil and dirt. Toner will get rid of that drying residue left by water and makeup so your skin will feel fresh. And your pores will be cleansed {less zits, yay!}and ready to receive some moisture. A toner that also helps suppress oil is your best friend. See products list below...
3.) Use a serum. Serums go DEEP into your skin to release powerful ingredients where your new skin cells are developing. Get em' while their young and tell them to be fabulous!
4.) Moisture.Ize. Get a really great, semi-expensive, natural ingredients, super duper moisturizing, non-comedogenic {non pore clogging} great for balancing oily skin, mositurizer. Use sparingly day and night. This is where you teach your skin that you will take care giving it moisture so it can stop producing all that oil. Also, use a moisturizer that will suppress your natural oils so skin is balanced. Hydrated, but not oily.
5.) Apply a sunscreen. If you have some in your makeup and you go full coverage, we can MAYBE let you slide. But if you wear light coverage or don't have an SPF number higher than 10 on your foundation container...apply sunscreen for the face. Do it now.See below for a great matte sunscreen.
Some extras that aren't MUST DO'S but are amazing based on my personal experience: 2 or 3 times a week apply a mask to help purify the skin. Use this oil treatment at night. The oil aspect may seem counter-intuitive but it penetrates deeply to help tighten pores and its a natural astringent that works gently. Fight oil with oil. It works and won't strip your skin raw. Consider using a Clarisonic brush with your cleanser if you feel like you are really struggling with clogged pores and never feeling clean enough. I used one for 3 years when I was at my most oily, broken out and dehydrated sad state and loved it. I ended up cutting back on its use recently because my skin adjusted and improved and I just didn't feel the need to use it everyday. Also, they have replaceable brushes and you can use the ones for sensitive skin to help your skin adjust if necessary. Lastly, get a facial a few times a year. It's just relaxing, lovely and it feels like a fresh start for your skin.

Products I use and/or suggest:
Gentle Exfoliator
Toning Lotion
Pore Minimizing Serum
Hydra Quench Serum
Clarins Lotus Oil Treament: Oily Skin
Hydra-Matte: Combo Skin daily moisturizer
UV 40 Oil-Free Sunscreen for face
*Clarins products are natural, plant derived, and work wonders for me.
Bare Escentuals: Purifying Minerals Facial Cleanser
Shiseido Cleansing Purifying Dry Sheets
Shiseido Oil Control Starter Kit
*Shiseido and Bare Escentuals are also trusted friends with natural ingredients and for me, proven benefits.

I'll also post some HOMEMADE SKINCARE REMEDIES FOR OILY SKIN so stay tuned.
In a future makeup post you'll also hear more tips for combating the oilies...

Homework: Treat your skin like the gift it is and add at least one new and improved skincare product or treatment specific to your skin's needs to your beauty regimen.
Class Dismissed.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hair {Treats}

Self-Improvement Class:
Earlier we had a quick class on how to update your wardrobe with some colors and textures to be ready for Spring. And now that you'll be rocking your brights, you will need some shiny, beautiful hair to match.
{Don't let those snooty flowers that are about to bloom outdo you. They'll be flaunting all sorts of colors and fancy petals and shiz. So make sure your skin, hair and nails are in their tip top shape}
So tonight, your homework is to do this easy and amazing hair treatment! I did mine last night and my hair could rival any well-brushed Barbie doll out there. SHINE. E.
Here's the HOW TO part:
Mix 2 whole eggs with 1/4 cup of coconut milk, 1/2 tablespoon of honey and 1/2 tablespoon of warm grapeseed oil. CAREFULLY {over a sink or in the shower} apply to your hair starting at the tips and working up to the roots. I have long hair and this was plenty of product to get some good coverage. It's a pretty goopy texture so when I finished, I piled my hair on top of my head wrapped it up in a plastic bag & tied it at the nape of my neck. Leave on for ONE WHOLE HOUR. While you're waiting, put on a moisturizing face mask and paint your toes. And then do some laundry...like a boss.
{after one hour}
Get necked and hop in the shower! Take off your plastic bag and wash your hair! When you're finished doing all those other things you do in the shower, take 20 seconds to give your hair a quick shot of FREEZING COLD water to seal in the shine.
{if this seems unbearable, just think of all those darn snobbish roses that will bloom and shame you and your damaged mane with every petal they flaunt. they'll shame you. so DO THIS}

Last steps...use a small amount of oil on your ends. I use this RIDICULOUSLY EXPENSIVE but equally amazing and worth it all oil:
{Get some if you want your hair to be glorious.} THEN last step now, blow dry your hair on medium, NOT HIGH heat and use your fingers, NOT A BRUSH to comb through your hair. If you need a brush go through your hair only a few times.
Now, look at that hair. You look like a celebrity Barbie doll glamazon. And the flowers will hang their heads in shame.

Homework: Homemade Hair Treatment
Class Dismissed.

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{+} spring

Fashion & Style Class:
Hello there. I don't know where you live, but around these parts, the sun is beginning to shine longer and warm us up a little more. Oh, Happy Day!
Spring hasn't sprung, but winter must be rejected and shunned so it knows not to try to make a comeback or one last "hurrah".
So now is the time to look in your closet {or spare bedroom I am so very lucky to call my closet}and find your brights!
{does everyone else call bright clothing "brights"? I'm realizing that my mom, sister and I have some unique sayings about clothes....more on that another day}

Wearing chilly weather appropriate brights are a great way to add a little "almost spring" punch to your wardrobe. We're past ugg boots, no more big black sweaters, huge overcoats are over and it's time to trade some of those dreary drab pieces for some lighter, brighter uplifting threads.
The only real change that needs to be made thus far, is dressing in layers so you can adjust to the varied temps throughout the day and adding color, be it in accessories, shoes, hair {i added some lighter tips to my hair to make sure spring knew i was rooting for it}, nail color, or clothing. Here's what I am wearing at the ol' office today. The high is around 60° today so I went for just past the elbow sleeves and gray jeans.

{Top: Somewhere in Michigan, at some little shop}
{Belt: It's a fuscia purple if you can't tell & borrowed from a dress from Anthro}

{Gray Jeans: Urban Outfitters, Cigarette Midrise Skinny}
{Shoes: Nordstrom BP}
 Don't feel obligated to wear color all the time now{i typically do a lot of gray, light brown leather and offwhite} but it's officially acceptable to wear full on color and welcome in Spring! And if you are not into color at all, then start building on those springtime textures. Even the little gauzy chiffon bows on my new shoes add a touch of springtime.You can add more lace, wear a long flowy skirt, put an offwhite flower by your ponytail...just PLEASE, stop overdressing in Uggs, big socks, big bulky sweaters, all black and overcoats. You make me sad, you do.

Homework: Work on adding some color or a springtime texture into your wardrobe. Play outside.
Class Dismissed.

Monday, February 20, 2012

{Non-Traditional} DIY {Headboards}

DIY Class:
When I was looking for headboard ideas, I came across some really great non-traditional ways of decorating the space. Anthropologie is such great inspiration so here are the photos that got my creative juices flowing and I'll explain some options too:

{ChalkBoardHeadBoard}
Don't want to spend alot? Just buy some chalk board paint and cover the wall behind your bed. Then get super creative with your own headboard design. You can even draw lamps, a chandelier, use your favorite movie quote, song lyrics, or a poem. And I've always thought it would be cute to draw a scene like a river headed into the mountains with the moon hanging off centered above. It's like a little place where you can go dream:)


{Wooden Crates for extra bedding}
If you can find some great wooden crates, nail them over your bed offcentered and at different heights for effect and then you can fill them with extra pillows or blankets. It's extra storage AND cute decor!


{A Big Piece of Art}
Again, this could be chalkboard paint and chalk drawn or even just hand painted, but a big artsy design like this filled with the numbers for texture and variety is just neat. You could even get letters and numbers for everyone's birthday in your family.



{Plastic & Wooden Crates}
This is a cheaper way to do crates and it's also college room friendly because they're less fragile. It also looks much more casual. The clear plastic cups are super cheap and also a little casual so if you have a little apartment or dorm room, go for it. If you are worried about making marks or holes in the drywall, the cups are so lightweight that you could use sticky tack or double stick tape squares. Problem solved. You could paint a few random cups for some variety and a pop of color and you could mix and match some colorful crates too.
I love how the Anthropologie decorating wizards{because that's exactly what they are} put the owl cookie jars and mugs in the crates for the kitchen. Animal figurines could definitely make an appearance in your bedroom crates too. You could paint a big plasic elephant or dinasaur in a solid color like seafoam green or yellow for some cheer. And don't forget books and extra pillows for decorating too. The possibilities are endless. Just fill the crates with things you might need or things that make you smile.
For practical purposes I like that if you're lying in bed you can reach up and grab a book or a drink. I would make sure that I didn't put the crates too low so I wouldn't wake up with a headache from smashing into the corner of one...but that's just me. And another point for the plastic crates.

Homework: Scrounge around town for crates or try your hand at chalkboard paint. {Make a headboard.}
Class Dismissed.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Lady Manners

Etiquette Class:

{This lady is POLITE}


 {Too MANY words}
Let's be honest. Manners have fallen to the wayside. And we're all convinced we're too busy to read a whole book about it to get better. And there's always someone next to you with less manners so you can convince yourself you're Fiiiiiine. But for all you know someone is thinking that about you...So here are the basics:

Lady Manners {rules for appearing ladylike}

1.) When you introduce yourself, look directly in the eyes of your new friend and smile with an extended hand ready to shake theirs firmly. No fist bumps. You aren't Howie Mandel.
2.) When introducing someone else, say their name first, then say how you know them. They are more than just your boyfriend. Maybe even throw in a compliment about something they study or are working on, their career or an accomplishment. No one likes to brag about themselves and it's a great icebreaker.
3.) Don't brag about yourself. Everything you brag about falls on deaf, annoyed ears. Everything you do without mention ends up making you shine brighter and truly blesses people around you.
4.) Say please, thank you, yes instead of yeah, and never say ain't, etc. Ladies know how to speak the English language proficiently. Ladies take pride in sounding educated and well-spoken. While we're on the subject...don't cuss unless it's EXTREMELY more funny if you do. And even then, cuss quietly because you never know who's listening. DO NOT be that girl at a restaurant cussing like a sailor in front of kids, even teenagers. You are a role model wherever you go.
5.) Smile. If you catch yourself frowning, stop it. Smiling is your first impression. You appear full of life, happy to be where you are, happy to be in the company of those around you and ready for conversation. You will meet more people if you smile. You will make more people smile if you smile. You will BE HAPPIER if you smile. Looking apathetic or even sad is not polite to those around you. It is immature to allow your inner thoughts to completely take over your visage when you are at work or in a social setting. Take time to clear your head before going to an event or someone's home, etc. Then smile until it feels real!

Homework: Check yourself. Do you need to upgrade your Lady Manners? Then try a rule and see if it feels like something you should commit to doing.
Class Dismissed.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love

I've just decided to put this post under Man-Things.
Here is a quick class on love.

God commands you to love others, as He loves you.
Love is a sacrifice you can do out of duty, but with joy that it is your task to do.
{look at how Jesus went to the cross}
God wants you to know love deeply, quietly, passionately, peacefully. {He is the calm, still whisper}
Love covers a multitude of sins.
God is love.

You don't know how to love. God is the one doing all the loving for you. So if you feel like you are failing at loving someone in your life, you might be, but you can't fix it with trying harder, or "being more committed" or a big gesture of love, or a poem {although all of those things are very cute and much appreciated, I'm sure}. What you CAN do is ask God to show this person His love THROUGH you by allowing you to love them well. With a mighty, unchanging love like God's love coming out of you, you are bound to make your loved ones feel like they can do no wrong. They will feel covered by love. God's grace is to love you and teach you to love others well. It is His greatest delight.

Homework: Love well. Class dismissed.

Monday, February 13, 2012

What NOT to eat {and what to eat instead} and WHY...

Hi. You know this post is going to be one of those things you wish you had never read because it will tug at you to change some things about your lifestyle...but here goes.

{Please don't eat}
1.) Things dyed red, or blue or green, or orange or yellow or white. Or any other color.
Why??? It's unnatural, silly. Your body won't know what to do with all that "fakeness".
2.) Processed foods like cheese puffs and gushers and twinkies.
Why??? See number one. And also you aren't in elementary school anymore. And also, you don't want to be fat. And all that processed food is sugary, dyed and chalk full of "fake". So your body will say " Ok, fine. Fill me up with CRAP that hurts me and I'll protect myself. By storing up some FAT around these organs. And also, I'll be SO FLIPPING TIRED from trying to flush all this FAKENESS out of me that we'll pretty much be on the couch all day. Good move. "
3.) Too much.
Why??? You know your limits. Don't stretch out your stomach, slow down your metabolism and put yourself in a FOOD COMA. If you are sad about life and want to eat to cushion yourself from the pain. Talk to someone. Go on a walk. Do something creative. OR EAT A LOT OF SPINACH. Like full on GORGE yourself on it. Then go ahead and eat something naughty. Your belly will be so full of leafy greens that you won't get too far. You're welcome:)
4.) Twice a day. Late in the day.
Why??? METABOLISM. You know this. Seriously. Your body would do GREAT THINGS with several SMALL meals a day. And if you are following the other rules, those SMALL meals are healthy, mentally, physically and emotionally boosting foods that will keep you satisfied and going strong all day.

PLEASE EAT:
1.) Breakfast
Why??? You want to be a champion, dont' you?
2.) Snacks
Why??? Keep your metabolism up. Don't starve and then BINGE at lunch. Make this a healthy, light snack. An apple. 1/4 cup of pecans. An orange. Celery and peanut butter.
3.) MORE VEGGIES!!!!
Why??? They cure cancer, boost your immune system, cure gout, help your body poop like a champion, keep you balanced (no sugar induced bouts of crazy) help you feel FULL, and give you all the minerals and vitamins you need, help your creaky joints, boost your eyesight, your memory, your organs functionality, your brain, your mood, your muscles. Not eating vegetables all the time and instead eating junk food is like purposefully breathing in air with only half the amount of oxygen you need and entirely too many pollutants. Why on earth would you do that to yourself? And more importantly...why on earth would you do that to your kids?! If they don't like veggies, do them a favor and make them eat them anyway. And I bet if you took the Twinkies off the table, they'd get used to carrots. And you can even make some carmelized carrots or yams with onions and pecans...that shiz is SWEEEEEET.

Also, I did these rules plus started excercising and lost tons of weight and got rid of every last one of my Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome symptoms which included weight gain, acne, mood swings, lack of monthly period, fatigue AND WHICH LEAD TO diabetes, infertility, and obesity. YOWZA. Food is the best medicine out there. And eating right is a gateway drug to feeling better and wanting to work out.

Do this for your life. You only get one.

Need More? Takes notes, class.

"While there is still more to be learned, it seems vegetables release chemicals that help keep cancer cells from taking root."lookathis
And just so you know veggiesareheroes
"Artificial food coloring ingredients (food dye) contain plenty of chemicals. Many are derived from highly toxic sources and can cause many different diseases, disorders, and mutations in humans. Although it seems unlikely that a trivial amount of food coloring in a piece of a candy you eat (like liquorice) would have any harmful effect on you, you would be wrong, because it does."

Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Is_red_food_coloring_bad_for_you#ixzz1mI8N9hZB

Class Dismissed. Your homework: Change something in your diet today.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Getting Minty.


I was going to wait to create this blog. The Mint Academy is a little a dream of mine. It is a real building in a real city full of real people that gather for real learning. Inner city youth, young single moms, young men, new moms. Anyone that wants to enhance their life by attending little classes on life. Like, How to Sew Things, How to Build Things, How to Change a Tire, How to Make a Cheap & Delicious Menu for Your Family, DIY Home Decor, How to Lose Weight THE RIGHT WAY, Gluten Free Eating, Makeup for Teens, Makeup for Moms, ETC. The list goes on. Literally, I have a list of classes I could teach or enlist the help of my family members to teach. But alas, that dream will have to wait for a HEAP of money to arrive on my doorstep. So for now, we're getting minty, just not ALL the way minty. The Mint Academy will have to live online. I'll post some DIY's and teach little mini classes with a few posts a week {for now} and hopefully we'll all learn some new things together...