Monday, July 14, 2014

A List Of Things That Make Life Worth Living

It's easy to get down on yourself in life. I am guilty of it , you are as well and so is everyone else! It's so cliche to say this, but how can one truly appreciate the beauty life has to offer without going through the tough stuff, too? To counteract those blues, try making a list of the positives that make living worthwhile to you. There's always a silver lining. I hope this list helps inspire you...!

Things that make life worth living (to me):
  • riding a bike and feeling that cool, earthy breeze in your face
  • lucid dreaming (and flying!)
  • being solitude in the woods
  • the absolute astonishing GIFT of life and when you realize the insane complexity of it all
  • being at the right place, at the right time to help a complete stranger
  • connecting with someone on a very deep level
  • intelligent/interesting conversations
  • weirdos and people that are entirely comfortable with themselves
  • when someone is raw with you and shares their deepest emotions
  • genuine smiles (and crinkly eye smiles!)
  • that feeling when you discover something mind blowing
  • when you have a life changing epiphany
  • feeling your heart race
  • making someone belly laugh
  • when you witness a breathtaking experience and you look at the person next to you who also saw it..."whoa dude"
  • getting over your fears, your self doubts or depression (INVINCIBLE!...okay, mentally at least)
  • when you're on the same page as someone in a conversation and you both say the same sentence
  • meeting people with genuine, compassionate souls from the get go
  • those extremely rare people that do not judge you and from the moment they meet you have always welcomed you with open arms (I've expressed my gratitude to these people recently...if you are reading know who you are and I love you<3)
  • feeling free, open and beautiful, not caring of judgement (like your crazy hair)
  • seeing people who are passionate and KICK ASS at what they do (dancers/artists/musicians/performance artists)
  • seeing others flourish or succeed
  • witnessing breathtaking views in nature
  • seeing all the colors of a beautiful sunset/sunrise
  • laying in a hammock and rocking back and forth like a baby
  • feeling a cool breeze when you're hot and sweaty
  • watching plants grow that you personally planted yourself
  • the ability to express yourself and create something with your hands
  • listening to your favorite music and getting chills
  • waking up and seeing that it's sunny outside
  • the first day it's warm after a long and cold winter
  • when someone appreciates effort you put into something (like a piece of art or song)
  • people coming together to create something amazing or to help others/animals
  • seeing the birth of new life
  • seeing ALL living things as important life (that includes that spider you just intentionally squished...poor guy was cleaning up all the tiny bugs roaming around in your house and this is how you repay him?!)
  • late night bonfires with good friends
  • a warm shower after a day in the cold..or a cold shower after a day in the heat
  • a good, hoppy beer (or two) every once in a while
  • big fat green bong rips ;p (I'm sorry, I had to)
  • walking barefoot in the sand, mud or grass (so squishy in my toes)
  • the smell of the ocean, the woods, herbs/flowers/plants/greenery
  • dancing around your apartment to your favorite jams
  • playing an instrument
  • singing as loud as you can in your car (dude in the lane next to me...what chu staring at?!)
  • ice cream
  • chocolate
  • tacos
  • avocado
  • ice cream
  • fried foods
  • heart hugs
  • baby animals
    okay....I'm sorry, this list is getting a little ridiculous.

    Please share with me some of your favorite things that make life worth living!

  • Monday, July 7, 2014

    DIY - Clear mascara

    This simple do it yourself clear mascara will be perfect for you if: you don't care for make-up, mascara is irritating to your eyes, or you hate the raccoon eye look at the end of the night from your mascara. It works great for short lashes because it will help them grow. It also works great if you have long, unruly lashes that never curl. Regardless if you can live without your mascara or not, it's always good to give your lashes and eyes a break from time to time from the irritating chemicals that are in them.

    You will need
    -Vegetable glycerin
    (buy/health food store)
    -Aloe Vera (fresh)
    (garden center, Walmart, Home Depot)
    -A mascara wand
    (buy/old tube mascara)

    -Eyelash curler
    (buy/drug store, walmart)

    To create, add together an equal amount of aloe and vegetable glycerin. (Only a drop of each is needed for single use.) Apply to lashes with a clean mascara wand. It will dry quickly. This mixture acts like a gel mascara to lengthen and separate lashes, while also helping lashes grow and thicken. You can use a wand from an old tube of mascara...just clean with soap and hot water. I prefer to use fresh aloe because it is the most natural source and it has a better texture than store bought aloe. After you have applied, curl lashes with an eyelash curler. I find this step almost crucial for those with extremely short or extremely long lashes like myself. Both lengths tend to stick out straight with no curl without the help of an eyelash curler. An eyelash curler is a natural/on the go girls best friend because it gives those tired looking eyes a quick pick me up. Instant bright eyes! Some may feel that vegetable glycerin isn't necessary. I found it useful because aloe alone can be too goopy and thick. The glycerin helps to thin out the aloe so it evenly applies on the lashes. It also helps to separate the lashes instead of goop them up. Aloe can also be too drying on its own. Many people like to add base oils to their own clear mascara. Oils are great for growing and conditioning lashes before bed, but during the day if you rub or touch your eyes it's just an oily mess. Glycerin is gel like and has a sort of oily feel to it, though when it dries with the aloe, it is a perfect alternative. I find it a much better option!

    Now, here are some tips if you're trying to keep a larger amount of it. I suggest purchasing an empty mascara tube online, or you can use an old tube of mascara and clean it out...which is a PAIN in the booty. Trust me on that (images of disgusting waxy waterproof mascara all over my hands comes to mind...) Empty mascara tubes are very cheap and 100% clean, so you know your product will be pure. Take fresh aloe, slice it in half, take a butter knife or a small metal tool and begin scraping the gel from aloe into a small container (one like this with a lip on the lid that will make it easier to pour into the mascara tube). Make sure you scrape the gel from the aloe gradually...just a little layer at a time so that you don't get large chunks in the dish. If there are larger pieces of gel, just pick them out with a pair of tweezers. Remove the little plastic/rubber cover over the container to make it easier to fill with the mixture. Fill the tube half way with aloe vera gel. You will have half an empty space left in the tube. Fill half of that empty space with vegetable glycerin (1/4th of the bottle). If you want to make a separate overnight growth gel to help lengthen/thicken eyelashes (and eyebrows), you can add in 2-3 drops of jojoba/coconut/avocado oil to the tube. I also add in ONE drop of ylang ylang essential oil (nourishes and stimulates growth). Rosemary essential oil is a cheaper alternative, but both are completely optional. Let me tell ya, I already had long lashes to begin with but WHOA baby, did my eyelashes flourish from using this mixture!

    Below are my before and afters. Click photos to enlarge. (Absolutely no mascara was used..only my clear gel mixture.)

    ^^ It straight up looks like I'm wearing mascara, huh? Sure, it's no where near as dramatic, but, they are my REAL lashes and I think they're beautiful all on their own.

    If you create it, let me know how it turns out!

    Sunday, July 6, 2014

    Homemade Body Scrub (that has MANY uses beyond skincare)

    There are many advantages to exfoliating skin regularly. Exfoliation softens and brightens dull skin, removes dead skin and keeps pores from clogging, speeds up renewal, aids moisturizers to penetrate more efficiently, helps with acne, discoloration, fine lines, wrinkles and cellulite. With all of these benefits, who wouldn't exfoliate? (Ehem..boys, I'm looking at you!)

    Various body scrubs purchased in stores tend to use fillers, chemicals and plastic exfoliating beads. Gross, right? On top of that, I've found a common problem with most exfoliators, whether from stores or made at home. These scrubs that contain sugar or beads, happen to be extremely harsh on the skin. Both can cause microscopic tears and cuts, which is counterproductive when exfoliating for benefits. This especially goes for on the face, as this can create the breeding ground for acne. In my personal opinion, baking soda is THEE best exfoliator. It has finer granules than that of sugar or beads and it scours the surface of your skin evenly and efficiently. Along with this, a common ingredient in body scrubs are base oils (olive, jojoba or the worst..mineral oil) which when used, can keep the dead skin on the surface of your body. And trust me, I can personally attest to this. Following the use of an oil based scrub and drying off after a shower, I found rolls of oily, dead skin on my body when I rubbed a towel across my skin. I've discovered that when using vegetable glycerin, it helps glide the baking soda, and easily rinses off of you, taking the dead skin with it! The results are fresh, silky skin.

    You will need:
    Baking Soda
    Vegetable Glycerin
    A wide mouth glass jar
    A spoon

    Lavender Oil or any preferable essential oil.

    *Side notes about the ingredients list* You can purchase the baking soda and vegetable glycerin for under $10 dollars total. And you will get quite a few batches with these two specific ingredients. If price (or shipping price) is an issue, you can find vegetable glycerin for $8 at your local health food store (depending on their pricing). You can also find a $.50 box of baking soda at your local family dollar store and name brand baking soda for under a dollar a box at Walmart or any grocery store. I suggest buying baking soda in bulk because you'll get more bang for your buck AND it can be used for many, many things from diy beauty and health to home cleaning products. A simple Google search will show you the vast uses of baking soda. I absolutely cannot live without it!

    If you don't mind an unscented scrub, you don't need to use essential oils for this recipe. Although, if you want to spice things up a bit, I suggest using an essential oil or two to scent your scrub. My personal favorite is lavender, but, you can use anything from ylang ylang to tea tree to rose hip. I should also mention that essential oils are quite beneficial to your skin in use with this scrub, so do some research on them if you're curious! A one ounce bottle of lavender oil can be purchased on Amazon for less than $6. Or, you can support your local health food store and buy it there. Regardless, essential oils may seem expensive, but they go a long way. My two ounce bottle lasted me a little less than a year.

    You can find wide mouth glass jars at art and craft supply stores, thrift stores or Goodwill. All between $1-2. Can you tell that I'm a bargain shopper? : ) Now, to the body scrub recipe!

    To create this scrub, fill your jar 3/4 of the way with baking soda (I suggest doing this over a sink). Then begin adding the vegetable glycerin. Slowly, pour in and stir with a spoon...until the scrub is the consistency of a paste. Be very careful not to add too much glycerin, causing it to become runny. Don't fret if you do, just add more baking soda to your mixture. If using essential oils, add a few in (5-15 drops should be good). Hey, that's it! Super simple, yet highly beneficial.

    example of what the consistency should be like

    Here are some techniques for effective results. Drench yourself in a warm shower. Soak for a bit to soften the skin. Turn off the water and rub the scrub all over from face to feet. Gently rub in circular motions over your body, paying extra attention to the legs and and areas where skin tends to be rough. Use a body brush to get the back area. Sometimes I will take a wash cloth, while the scrub is on my skin, and glide it over in circular motions to keep my hands from getting that weird numb feeling from scrubbing (you'll know what I mean if you use this scrub all over your body without the washcloth haha). Sometimes I will add a few drops of peppermint castile soap to the scoop in my hand, to act like a body wash (this will make you feel tingly clean!). Turn on the shower and wash off. Feel that fresh, soft skin! Great, right? Now, when you are done in the shower, use your favorite moisturizer. I use a hemp seed oil body spray...this stuff is the ultimate! Again, if prices are a concern for you but you'd still like to try an oil as moisturizer, I recommend grapeseed oil. It is a little more lightweight than most base oils, yet very moisturizing for the skin. Usually, while still wet in the shower, I will spray oil all over my body, blend it in, and then pat myself dry with a plushy towel. I promise you, if you follow these steps, you will be gifted the softest skin you've ever had. Enjoy!

    Here are a few extra uses that I've discovered from this life saving scrub:
    -it is great at removing paint, wax, oil, stain and inks from the hands
    -in conjunction with a pumice stone, it works fantastic at softening rough feet
    -along with tea tree oil, it is a great itchy scalp remedy
    -with a few drops of castile soup, it is the perfect face wash for oily skin and ALL make up remover (this includes the nasty, waxy waterproof mascara all over your hands from trying to clean out an old mascara container -_-)
    -perfect for scrubbing dishes and soap scum off of tubs and sinks
    -in a pinch, with ONE drop of peppermint or wintergreen essential oil, it works fantastic as a toothpaste (don't worry, vegetable glycerin is safe for use in mouth AND it tastes sweet ; )

    If you create this scrub, I hope it makes your life a little simpler as it has for mine. Please let me know if you find other uses for it!

    Saturday, July 5, 2014

    Laser Cut Artwork

    Innovative technology, like laser cutting, is broadening artistic horizons and promoting inspirations. Patterns and images come out crisp and clean, sometimes having a multidimensional feel to them. Check out some of these brilliant laser cut pieces from wood, paper, metal and even seaweed.
    (Images are linked to the source/artists)