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Happiness Tip: WHAT YOU SAY MATTERS ~ Is it helpful, is it kind, and is it NECESSARY?

27 Feb

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We’ve all heard the old adage “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”  I remember being reminded of this maxim many times in my youth whilst wondering what exactly I had said that wasn’t exactly nice.  Of course children have a way of not knowing that what they are saying may be hurtful, or at the very least unnecessarily true.  We allow children to make these mistakes, but can we also be allowed to make them as adults?

I feel certain that I have made it well known to all of my friends and readers that I believe we are all placed in each other’s lives for a purpose, although we may not know what those reasons are at any given point in time… I also believe that the Universe keeps sending each of us the same lessons over and over again until we finally get the message and make a change in our lives and or our thinking (for me it’s God, but for many of you God may not be the right term, so here I’ll use the term Universe in place of God which to me is one and the same and allow you to insert whatever higher power, or force you believe exists in the world).

This week, I have been hearing the same words, or messages continually, and this repetition has prompted me to share with you, a series of lessons that I am certain I will keep building on as I grow and become more aware of my own ability to affect the world and people around me. The root of this concept is “WHAT YOU SAY MATTERS.”

In one of my most recent posts, I mentioned several lessons, which were painfully reinforced through some difficult situations, such as “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”  When expanded upon, to me this means that we each carry within us our own unique set of experiences which direct each individual in his or her actions, and subsequently shapes how we perceive the world around us (Obviously not rocket science 🙂 ).  In addition, each of us, within our own personal walls, both at home and in our minds, is dealing with our own triumphs, struggles, and perceived shortcomings.  Sometimes none of these are known to even the closest outside party… As time goes on, most of us learn to drown out the voice inside that prompts us each to compare ourselves, or possessions and positions to those around us… Sometimes though, it’s hard.  And although I don’t often lean towards jealousy or lack of confidence, sometimes it does happen, and I don’t know anyone in the world who is harder on me, than me.

This long introduction brings me to an equally long point.  Often times, when I am struggling the most with myself, I can also fall into habit of criticizing others.  This is not something I even notice that I am doing; but I come from the kind of southern stock that doles out the sobering medicine of raw truth with a pinch of pessimism or sobering reality the way a doctor writes a antibiotic prescription to the ailing patient, suggesting that the medicine really is meant to help.

Screen Shot 2013-02-26 at 10.21.12 PMHowever, not along ago, after talking to a dear friend who has seen me through so many hard times with such wonderful and insightful advise, I began to draw some interesting conclusions about the “messages” I’ve been receiving… from THE UNIVERSE… This friend told me that after all the years of self-work and inward looking, she realized at one point in the past she had fallen into a pattern of “agreement”.  That is, when a friend would talk about someone else, she wouldn’t necessarily disagree, but rather listen and nod. Often, after hearing the negative observations of the one friend about the other, she would find herself silently adopting the position of the critical friend… I’ve certainly been in this situation before and most likely will be again in the future, and I might even put one of YOU in this position against my greatest hopes…  Sometimes though, with certain people, it just seems easier to smile and nod than to put up a protest about what’s being said.

Again, I thought about some of my recent clients and friends who have talked to me about what a difficult time they are having at work or in life because one person or a group of people are talking about someone else that THEY are friends with… But what can be done? How can you keep yourself out of an argument but still be respectful of the other person or friendship?

Here are a few of the conclusions I’ve made:

Class1: When I feel the need to bad mouth someone else, and I mean really knock them (I’m a comedian by nature, so some of my humorous observations are just who I am), it’s usually because of MY OWN insecurities… That really took a lot for me to admit!

2: THINK! What YOU say matters! Here’s a reminder of what to do before you speak, I’m pretty sure we’ve all heard it before; it’s just a longer version of that same  OLD ADAGE AGAIN! First, Is what I am about to say helpful? If so, is it necessary? As in, do I really think the person NEEDS to hear what I am about to say, at least from MY standpoint?  (Listen girl, if that eyeshadow makes you look like you have black eyes, I NEED to tell you.  You don’t have to listen, or take the critique, but it’s just something I’m gonna need to do for my own belief in what friends help with… Oh yeah, and you’ve had something green in your teeth since 9am…) Finally, can my delivery of said information be KIND?  Even if you feel like screaming, you can always take a moment to find a BETTER way of saying what you need to say.  I regret that in the past I may not have paused to take my own advise, but I am using this moment to reaffirm that life and relationships will most certainly be better if I do these few things.

2.5: In the past I have said things about others out of insecurity, thank goodness it’s not that often any more (silver lining of aging? Heck yeah!)  That said, I have found it is best, especially if I am with a mutual friend, in a work setting, or in a group setting, to ask myself IS IT NECESSARY and USEFUL to say whatever the heck I feel like I need to say about another person… I mean, I can be a real stinker, if I don’t jive with someone, it can be written ALL OVER MY FACE! I need to work on this for the future, and maybe you do too!

3: IF YOU DON’T LIKE WHAT’S BEING SAID, CHANGE THE CONVERSATION! Now listen, we all have friends who never agree or disagree when we feel the need to vent about this subject or that.  Let me just say what I have learned is that more often than not, this is a tell-tell sign that the listener you have chosen IS NOT COMFORTABLE WITH WHAT YOU ARE SAYING, SO STOP! There are just some friends you can’t vent to, it’s just the truth.

Often times though, we can lead by example. If your coworker, friend, or spouse is being a Negative Nancy, then every time they bring the negative crap up, change the conversation.  I am NOT saying be an unsupportive friend, or co-worker, or spouse (bad days happen, and sometimes it’s a bad week… I’ve even had a bad YEAR before!!! Sometimes you just need an ear or a shoulder), but I am nodding to the fact that we can all get into the habit of talking about all the negative, and trust me, this can go on FOR DAYS with some people if you allow it, so CHANGE THE CONVERSATIONScreen Shot 2013-02-25 at 10.52.05 PM

If that doesn’t work, I’ll just have to tell you a quick little story… When I was even younger than I am now,  I found myself going through a very tough time, and I shared this with everyone at work.  I don’t want to say I was being intentionally being selfish, but I was devastated, and this devastation permeated my very being; I didn’t even realize how it was affecting those around me.  One day I noticed that whenever I would talk about this anguish, one specific co-worker would leave the room.  Once I realized this was happening, I went and spoke with the co-worker about it, and I acknowledged that I understood why they couldn’t hear it anymore, and that I would try to be more respectful in the future. Great lesson learned.  Thanks co-worker! Yet more proof that what you say matters!

It IS possible to train those people in your life to be MORE aware of the fact that what THEY say matters.  If you can’t do it by actually changing the conversation, or leaving the room, then I suggest using the method that would probably resolve most of the world’s problems… COMMUNICATION.  If someone is talking about someone you care about, or someone you don’t think deserves it, you don’t have to make enemies, but I do think it’s important to NOT agree inadvertently through silence.  A simple “Hmmm, what you’re saying about this person doesn’t really fit with how I view them, so if you don’t mind NOT talking about him/her around me, I would really appreciate it.” Now, if that doesn’t work, you might be screwed.

I hope those of you who read this took something valuable away for you that can be applied to your life today,  at first glance this seems like a problem for the young, but it’s not; they lied to us all when they said highschool would be the end of all of life’s drama! I have come to this truth, not on my own, but because so many of you have helped me through your stories, experiences, generosity, LEEWAY, and kindness.  If you did read it, trust that you read it for a reason, whether you know what that is yet, or not! (Wink, wink!)

“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”

21 Feb
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Etsy by DaisyChic

Hello my fabulous Glitterati… Long time no BLOG! I know, you can’t believe it, after nearly 2 weeks of web silence… I think I am back.  I’m pretty sure I’ve decided for this post, I might get a little more personal, and share with you what I’ve learned in these last two weeks… because yes, it is certainly surprising what you can learn in two weeks when life manages to throw you a few curve balls… Sometimes, even in spite of all your best efforts, it’s hard to find your happiness DARN IT!

About a year and a half ago, I lost one of the best friends of my life, very suddenly.  And I am telling you this because this week, I’ve thought about my dear friend Christine quite a bit and was reminded of some of the best lessons we learned together in our 10-year friendship…  To start, I remember talking to Christine once about some of the struggles we have endured in our lives, and how now and then, no matter how much work is done to heal; emotionally, through therapy, or just via the wonderful nature of time and growth, sometimes these struggles of our youths or those of our lives can suddenly and without warning come right back to rear their ugly little heads.

I remember describing it to Christine, one day when she was nursing some of her own ‘stuff’, as a deep wound that has been mended and even though the pain is gone and the skin is smooth something large or small happens in life, and almost if by magic the wound is reopened and you have to deal with it.  This is just part of life, and it’s good to be aware of those spots in our lives so we can remember two things: 1) Time will heal most things, including re-opened wounds (thank the Lord!) and 2) “Be kind; Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle (Plato).”

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These last 2 weeks have been hard for me, some of my oldest and newest wounds were reopened, and I just wasn’t prepared.  And, life being… well, life, my husband was also having a difficult two weeks too.  If any of you are married to your best friend like I am, this means you take on your spouse’s burden too, and vise versa… The good news is, generally, we can lean on each other, another lesson I learned from my friend Christine “We can’t all collapse at the same time, we need to fall apart at different times so we can slap each other out of it!” Of course, sometimes this just doesn’t happen, and the people we normally lean into are struggling too… Which can make things much more difficult.

Next, an ugly situation arose… A person who I use to call friend, committed what in my eyes is an “Unforgivable Curse” (I may be watching too much Harry Potter).  After standing up for what I felt was right in an uncomfortable situation (and to be fair this person thought they were doing the same thing as well) this … ehem, friend, basically slandered my FULL name on The Facebook. I was so saddened and mortified… But I learned a few things from this that I want to share with you all, I think they are things you already know, but I realized I hadn’t really ever thought about them… 1) DO NOT EVER POST SOMEONE’S NAME IN A PUBLIC FORUM SO THAT YOU CAN FEEL VALIDATED, no matter how wronged you may feel.  It’s just not right, and that is all I have to say about that.  2) If one of your friends doesn’t follow rule number #1 and slanders a friend, or a person in a public forum, think about what I am about to say.  Most likely, you do not know both sides of the story, so commenting in a negative manor, or ‘liking’ said post, doesn’t really do anything positive for the poster, even if you feel that you are helping.  How would you feel if the rolls were reversed? 3) Stand up for yourself! It’s not ok to give in to people who bully you!!  This is what was so sad about this post, I felt as if this person didn’t get what they wanted, to so they decided to potentially harm me emotionally, or even professionally.

Winston Churchill once said “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” While I don’t think one should go about making enemies, and you must always ask yourself how an enemy was created and take responsibility on your end if you did wrong in YOUR EYES; it’s taken me a long time to be ok with having them.  You just can’t please everyone all of the time and still have a life that is fulfilling FOR YOU.  And trust me here, no one but you is accountable for the life you live and the happiness you obtain therein.  I read something along these lines in a commencement speech once, which unfortunately I cannot find, but these words really put my heart at ease, simply because it’s the TRUTH!  It’s OK to be disliked by some people; sometimes it’s just a byproduct of standing up for yourself, or standing strong for something you believe in. (However, it’s not an excuse to be a jerk 🙂 )

At the end of these weeks, both my hubby and me were just feeling drained, or what my beloved Lucy from ‘I Love Lucy’ would say “BLAHHHHHH”. The two of us had a full-blown case of the Blahs. I might even use the word depressed… Yep, I know, this beacon of happiness got VERY BLUE, and I knew it, but I couldn’t get out of it… So I put some plans in action!!

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First, I took stock of what I had; one of the things that literally touched me into tears was that some people had stood up for me in the afore mentioned post.  Really, people didn’t have to, they really didn’t… I mean these were brave people to speak out against this, and when I saw it, I was so uplifted.  And that was step one; Next, I decided I needed a break, and so, even though I hated to do it because I LOVE my clients, and of course it’s how I pay my bills, I decided to take a day off.  I cannot tell you how an impromptu day off can lift the spirits…  It did so in the same way I always say a good night’s sleep or a nice hot shower does.  Finally, my hubby and I decided to not watch anything on T.V. that would jostle our delicate senses… So we watched Harry Potter… full of childlike fantasy and magic, it took our minds right off the daily stresses and helped lighten the mood.

Just to round it out, here is the biggest secret for getting out of the blues, and it’s something you already know, something I already knew, and something I talked in depth about with my dear friend days before she passed.  The secret is to let go of what you cannot control.  And what dear friends can you control? Not a thing. NOT A THING.  This IS easier said than done, and really it can’t be forced, you have to go through the range of emotions, even if you have it in your head and know it to be true, you have to arrive at the place of letting-go before the burden of a bad day or a week can suddenly and swiftly take flight from your being.

So here I am, sharing this with you, in case any of you are having a hard time or will and hopefully these words will bring you comfort.  It’s going to be ok. I promise. It really is, things tend to end up in the rights. Take care of yourself. Be gentle with yourself and your support. Ask for help, even if it’s just an ear, or someone to make you dinner… It’s ok if someone doesn’t like you. You’ll live, and they’ll live. Sometimes it can be fixed, and sometimes it just can’t, and that’s ok too. You’re going to be ok.

Happy Thursday Everyone!

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Skincare Tip: The Importance of Masks!

6 Feb

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So…  If you’ve read my take on The Basic Five Skincare Regime  you know  I didn’t include MASKS as part of the most basic of skincare plans.   However, this does NOT mean they aren’t important!  In fact, while taking an advanced skincare course, one of the product knowledge consultants mentioned that in their recent skincare studies the products that encouraged the most positive changes in the skin were a combination of serums and MASKS.

Serums, I wasn’t surprised by… Anyone who knows me knows how much I LOVE me a serum… Masks though, I was impressed!

I’ve been doing masks on my face ever since elementary school. Back then I used Noxzema or a thick, gloppy little number called a Mint Julep that my Mammaw bought me at the local beauty store…

Nowadays our mask selections are ENDLESS! Each one claiming a multitude of miracles; anywhere from erasing wrinkles to ending the next world war that has erupted on your face.  But it’s so difficult to wade through the hordes of promises and figure out which mask (or in my opinion MASKS) are the best for YOU, and when to use it/them.

Last week, while forcing my husband (who’s skin was parched from all the flying he does) to smear an Aloe Gel Mask on(From Bloom, which I also love and has a small price tag), I noticed he was concerned that it wasn’t DRYING.  Let me say here, right now, most masks of today aren’t meant to dry (mind blowing I know), unless it’s of the deeply purifying variety, which is meant to draw out impurities (mostly reserved for me occasionally AND teens).

The next thing I am going to say MIGHT sound excessive, and for some it will be, but for me, and I am a serious beauty aficionado and hopeful preventer of skincare problems and Imageaging, this wisdom is invaluable and in the end money saving (since you won’t keep buying this or that and never knowing how to use or when to use them!)… Here it is: Most of us need 3 masks in our beauty arsenal. 

Let me explain…

I rarely EVER see a skin that is ALWAYS in revolt or ALWAYS dry.  I would venture to say that 95% of the skin I see is in varying degrees of dryness, dehydration, and/or other problems such as acne.

That said, my three-mask belief can be easily explained and perfectly executed.

First, you need an EXFOLIATING MASK.  This is generally in the form of an enzyme or fruit acid (AHA, BHA) which will help the second mask you put on be more effective.  The reason for this is simple, exfoliation helps to slough off dead skin cells that might be clogging your pores and/or causing dryness, thus allowing anything you follow up with, like a mask to better treat the fresher skin below. Oh yeah, and this mask, this is the one that is going to help decrease the appearance of large pores and fine lines, soGET ONE OF THESE! (Use this mask at least once a week)

1. REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Mask: One of my FAVORITES!

2. FRESH: Sugar Face Polish: This is so luxurious and leaves your face feeling the same way your body does after a good scrub!

One of the other 2 masks should be one that you can turn to when you’re experiencing breakouts, or skin that needs EXTRA DETOXIFICATION.  These often include clays, tee tree oils, or other inflammation fighting ingredients.  Even if you aren’t acne prone, there are always times when you need extra purifying.  Whether it’s after a long trip or a stressful week, this is the mask for you!

1. PTR: Therapeutic Sulfur Masque: You REALLY feel this one! It’s great to use as a spot treatment, or when you have some MAJOR breakouts! Not for everyone!

2. Eminence: Clear Skin Probiotic Masque: This is the one I have in my shower ALL THE TIME.  It’s my go to detox mask because it doesn’t dehydrate!

3. BOSCIA: Luminizing Black Mask: Maybe this “Luminizes” because it peels off all your hair, lol, but I LOVED it! It did make my eyes water a bit, maybe that’s why I was glowing too…Image

In contrast, your third mask should be the one you turn to when you need a HYDRATION BOOST and a fabulous GLOW! This is usually a gel-type mask that will contain ingredients that should refresh the skin and infuse it with vitamins and boosters.

1. Eminence: Pink Grapefruit Vitality Masque: Also a GO-TO for me! Perfect for that hydration and glowing skin! Good for everyone, even my acne prone skin!

2. FRESH: Rose Face Mask: Nothing says lux like Rose to me, and this one pairs really well with the sugar scrub for a super hydrated glow! LOVE!

3. Eminence: Bright Skin Masque: This is a great line for targeting very specific issues, which means when you run out, you can try another hydrating treatment mask! This one helps brighten you up!

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Sometimes I use all three in one sitting depending on what’s going on with my skin, but I ALWAYS use the exfoliating mask first (if I’m using the EXFOLIATING mask and at least one of the other types), followed by the detox and then the hydration mask if I’m using all three.

Some tips: Obviously not everyone has the time it takes to do something like this once a week, and actually most of us could use a treatment mask (Detox or HYDRATING) 2-3 times a week.  How then, can one accomplish this with everything else there is to do in a day, in a week!? The way I have accomplished this feat is by keeping my masks in the shower.  I wash my face first when I hop in, and then put the mask or masks on and leave them on for 2-5 (7-10 is better) minutes each while I’m cleaning all the other bits.  This is a great way to get your mask on, and change your skin for the better!

I’ve included some of my favorite masks in this blog so you have an idea of exactly what to get! As a general rule though, the masks don’t have to be expensive either, if you’re buying from a drugstore, keep in mind the tips presented herein… Exfoliating formulas will have enzymes or acids, Detox versions will contain clays, muds, or acne fighters, and Hydrating masks will be in the form of a clear gel or a cream!

Happiness Tip: If it FEELS Unhealthy, it Probably IS!

22 Jan

 

 

 

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve EVER received was given to me while I was going through one of the most difficult times in my life.  It was simple and yet MIND-BLOWING:  IF IT FEELS TOXIC, IT PROBABLY IS. This was an epiphany to me! Of course! How could I have not seen it before, I just kept trying to fix things that just were not fixable; and people, these thing DO exist in the world.  It IS ok to let some people and things go.

I had spent so much time thinking and beating myself up… ‘what am I doing wrong’ ‘how could I have saved this friendship, moment, day, etc… (fill in the blank)’; sometimes relationships are just plan UNHEALTHY.  It’s not your fault souly or theirs, but if it can’t be fixed (and I mean by a good dose of communication and work from both ends), it IS ok to let it go.

This piece of advice is guiding me through the next phase of my life, both in my relationships AND in life choices.  When I am making a decision, I find myself really checking in with ME and asking ‘Does this feel like a HEALTHY choice?’ Whether it’s with food or if I’m pushing myself towards one more social event that might take me right over the deep end, I’m trying to make better decisions which really does lead to less stress and MORE HAPPINESS!  Life has been so much better since I let the unhealthy parts go and have begun to apply this simple philosophy to my life.

Thanks Dani for this gem, you probably had no idea you changed my life.

Flu BE~GONE: Ginger/Lemongrass Soup

17 Jan

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Get-Better-Soon ~or~ Never-Get-Sick

Lemongrass/Ginger Soup Recipe

So, I am seeing so many of you are sick L. This makes me sad, especially since AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT!  I am going to give you my go to recipe for getting over that flu quick, or trying to ward it away from your homestead.  I will say that I got the idea for this recipe from a dear friend and client, but hers is probably much better and involves a lot more time as she makes her stock from scratch, but I say again, when you’re sick AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT! 

This is so simple to make, that I have literally dragged my near-lifeless zombie-fied body to the kitchen and created a bubbling cauldron of healing goodness.  I ALWAYS have the ingredients on hand in the winter and I believe you should too! It’s even delicious with a  BLT or Grilled Cheese!

Here’s what you need!

  • Ginger, peeled and smashed, cut into 2ish inch cubes (I use a lot or a little depending on how serious I am, more is better! Sometimes you can even use the immersion blender at the end if you want it in the soup… but the soup isn’t as yummy then, ginger is NO JOKE!)
  • Lemongrass (2 sticks, I rinse them, take off the outermost layer after cutting into 2.5 inch pieces)
  • ½ White Onion, chopped
  • 1-3 Cloves of smashed or chopped Garlic (depending on what you can take!)
  • 2-4Tblsp of white vinegar
  • Juice of one Lime
  • 1 Carton of Chicken Stock 32 OZ
  • 2Tblsp of one of my FAVORITE ingredients, Better Than Bouillon (BTB) CHICKEN *
  • 1 Can of White Meat Chicken, rinsed (I know, canned chicken, but actually it’s not bad and when you are sick it’s perfect. Just rinse it first… or throw last nights chicken breast in)
  • 1 Serrano Pepper (Optional, I literally just cut the tips off and float it in the broth for the tiniest bit of heat)
  • Oil for pan
  • Cut Spaghetti Noodles, as few or as much as you want, I caution not to use too much.

Directions:

  1. Prep your ingredients, you’re sick! Just rough chop all that crap up! Put those bad boys on the cutting board and put your pot on the stove at Medium with just a little twist of olive oil to coat.
  2. Drop the white onion in and let it cook, about 1 minute, coating in the fat, add garlic and cook one more minute.  I like to keep everything in this fresh and white.
  3. Add chicken stock and 2Tblsp of BTB, sir until dissolved.
  4. Drop in Lemongrass and Ginger, bring to a boil; then, reduce to simmer.
    1. (Drop in option pepper here too if you want a little heat)
    2. Add rinsed chicken as well as salt if needed and pepper if you want, and desired amount of vinegar and a hand full of noodles.
    3. Let simmer for 10 minutes to an hour, remove ginger and lemongrass or if you’re too exhausted eat around it… Sometimes I need the soup right then and there, and it’s perfect! You don’t have to let it simmer forever!

This seems involved, but once I developed it, I can make it in a snap and my hubby swears it’s a cure-all!

*Note: Better Than Bouillon is something I have in all three flavors at all times in my kitchen: beef, chicken, and veggie. They make it in a variety of styles including gluten free and organic.  I can’t tell you how often I add it to a soup or sauce, or even as a little something salty and warm in the evening if I’m craving it! Enjoy!

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