It’s time to apologize…

We are almost all mean people. We are hopelessly cruel, more likely to insult than compliment. We are the harshest bullies in the world.
I know many of you (hopefully all) are thinking, “I’m not mean! I’d never insult someone! WTF?!?”
You are though. Want to know who you’re bullying? 
Look in the mirror.
Think about what you say to yourself day after day. Would you say those things to a stranger? A family member? Your best friend? Would they say them to you?
I hope the answer is no.
It’s time to stop.
I want you to take a selfie right now. Don’t fix your hair. Don’t do your makeup. Ignore the lighting. Just take a picture.
Got it?
Now look at the person in that picture. Look them straight in the eye. Don’t analyze the picture.  Don’t pick yourself apart. Pretend it’s your best friend in the world, because really you should be your own best friend anyway.
Now apologize.  Apologize for all the times you called you fat. Apologize for all the times you called you ugly. Apologize for all the times you said you weren’t good enough. Apologize for all the times you compared yourself to models and pictures instead of appreciating your unique self. Apologize for thinking you weren’t worthy of love and respect, and for hurting yourself to try and “fix” the problems that were never really there to begin with. Say it out loud, even if you feel stupid doing it. Keep saying it until you forgive yourself.  Keep saying it until you can look at that picture and see how beautiful you actually are. Until you realize you’re looking at a picture of a really amazing person that you honestly love and respect.
This stuff is hard.
You might have to do this every day for a long time before it starts to feel okay. Keep doing it. Trust me. You’re worth the effort.
I’ll be doing it too.
When you’re feeling brave, post your selfie with something you needed to apologize to you for, and tag it #imsorryme so I can find it. Post more if you want to. Post a new one every day even. I’m posting one today, so I hope you’ll join me.

How to have good skin and hair part four: difficult advice to follow…

Finally getting back to things after the holiday madness. Sorry about the wait. I’ll be more regular from here. 🙂

So, here I go again with advice you probably don’t want to hear!
The previous posts were full of advice that I follow religiously. Today, I will discuss the things I know I should follow but tend to screw it up. XD

1. Don’t pick at your skin.
Picking at pimples, etc. leads to scarring and dark patches. It’s best if you can avoid touching your face at all.
I have OCD, and skin picking is one of my symptoms. I don’t even realize I’m doing it sometimes. I’m worst about picking my upper arms (I have keratosis pilaris so there’s plenty of bumps to pick!) but I also pick at large pores, blackheads, whiteheads, dry patches, random lumps, etc. It’s an awful habit, and I’m doing my best to stop. I carry silly putty so if I need to stop picking I can occupy my hands with something else. I also do needlework when I’m watching movies or chatting so I know what my hands are doing at all times.

2. Don’t pull skin around your cuticles
Hands are skin too! Pretty hands are an asset that anyone can cultivate.Use cuticle cream or oil at least twice a day, and lotion every time you wash your hands. If you do get a hangy bit, cut it off with a cuticle nipper, or cover it with a bandaid until you can cut it. While I’m on the hands, DO NOT BITE YOUR NAILS!!! It can permanently damage the nail beds, especially if you bite them really far back. I was never prone to nail biting, but I have seen the result on the hands of others. I also recognize the difficulty of breaking habits. Try that bitter stuff, or use silly putty to keep your hands away from your mouth.
I’m a licensed manicurist. I know not to pull the hangy bits. Half the time they end up bleeding everywhere if I do. I carry a nipper everywhere now, and I’m religious about cuticle cream, but there are times…

3. Cut back on sugar!
Apparently one of the processes that leads to the breakdown of collagen and elastin is called glycation. It happens naturally, but sugar makes it worse. *sigh* Science, why must you ruin everything…

4. Wear sunscreen. Every. Damn. Day.
Usually it’s pretty easy to remember this for me, but if it’s not sunny, or I’m not going outside…
Do it anyway. Fluorescent (and some incandescent) bulbs give of UV. Windows don’t block much either. Even tvs and computer screens can produce UV. ALWAYS wear sunscreen. I just saw an article in a magazine (I forget which one) that said a study demonstrated people who wear sunscreen every day look noticably younger than those who wear it only sometimes. And don’t forget to reapply!

5. Avoid touching your face, rubbing your eyes, or playing with your hair.
Touching your skin means that dirt and bacteria from your hands get on your face. Gross, but true. Also, rubbing your eyes too often can stretch the skin and can cause dark circles. (Not to mention that I always forget I’m wearing makeup and end up looking like a racoon) Try to keep your hands away from your face as much as you can. Playing with your hair isn’t SO bad, but it can lead to breakage and frizzing. I find that these habits, along with picking, are the hardest to break, so if anyone has done it I’d love to hear how!

So, there ya go. I have trouble with these too, so please share any tips you’ve found in the comments.

How to have good skin and hair: part two (in which I end up sounding like your mother…)

Hello again!
Last time I talked about the most important things NOT to do. Today I’m going to talk about some really basic things you NEED to do if you want to have good skin and hair.
It’s really important to remember that good skin and hair require good health. Yes, you can fake it pretty well with makeup and procedures.  So what. Isn’t it better to be able to skip makeup entirely and still look lovely?
Okay then!

1. Get enough sleep.
The term “beauty sleep” exists for a reson.  During sleep the body repairs itself and renews the skin. If you skimp on sleep, not only will you look tired, but your skin won’t recover from the environmental damage it got during the day. 8 hours is about right for most people. No less than 6 though, and more than 10 is not so good either.
Bonus: if you can sleep on your back you will wrinkle less. If you can’t (like me. I keep trying though) use a satin pillowcase and try to put less pressure on your face if possible. Satin pillowcases also prevent tangled hair, so they’re a hood choice for anyone.

2. Get some exercise regularly.
You don’t have to spend hours at the gym, but you really should get off the couch and do something almost every day. Not only does it make you healthier, but it improves blood flow to the skin. Better blood flow gives you a glowing complexion and helps your hair grow faster! About 30 mins per day is good. Anything will do. A brisk walk is nice. I like strength training and HIIT but I’m a glutton for punishment.  If you’d rather play tag or go dancing, go for it!

3. Eat your vegetables.  (And fruits, and protein and good fats)
Vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.  So are fruits. The more colorful your diet, the better! However, don’t forget that you need protein for healthy hair, skin, and nails. You also need good fats (omega fatty acids) to avoid dry skin and reduce inflammation.  I like sardines and salmon because they have protein and good fats, but if you don’t eat fish there are plenty of other options.
Bonus: make a skin smoothie.  Put 1 cup skim milk in a blender with 1/2 cup each frozen strawberries and blueberries and a peeled banana. Add about a teaspoon cocoa powder and blend until smooth. Yum!

4. Keep your skin and scalp clean. (Gently)
Don’t sleep with makeup on. Ever. I wash my face twice a day, but a lot of people just wash at night. I like to get the night products off before I put on my day stuff because I think the spf is more effective on clean skin. Some people might go for three times if oil is a problem or the gym is a priority. If your skin is dry and tight after you wash your face, use a gentler cleanser and wash less often. I also LOVE my Clarisonic brush. It’s a bit spendy, but it leaves my skin really clean.
Some people say you shouldn’t wash your hair every day. I really think it depends on the person. I have eczema, and if I don’t shampoo daily my scalp gets super itchy and I end up scratching/picking at it until it bleeds. It won’t hurt you either way, as long as you use a low/no sulfate shampoo and a good conditioner.

5. Drink plenty of water.
Hydration makes a big difference in how you look and feel. Most people don’t drink nearly enough water. Carry a bottle (preferably a metal one that you fill yourself) with you everywhere. Green tea and white tea (brew them yourself and don’t add sweetners or dairy!) are awesome since they have minimal caffeine and tons of antioxidants. I love the using loose teas, but there’s nothing wrong with the humble teabag. (Bag tea isn’t as tasty though.) Decaf green is actually great too, but try to find the oxygen decaffeinated kind, rather than by water or chemicals. I love Bromley decaf green when I get teabags, because it’s decaffeinated the right way and the customer service people were super nice and very responsive when I emailed to ask! Coffee and soda, are not so good. Juice isn’t great either, since it’s mainly sugar. Vegetable juice is better than fruit juice, but not as good as whole veggies. Just get a bottle you love and keep it full of water. It’ll be your best friend before long!
Bonus: filtered water is better tasting, so get a filter pitcher and keep it full. I track my water by keeping 4 20oz bottles in my fridge filled with water and trying to finish them by the end of the day.
Bonus 2: learn to make green tea properly. Most people use water that is way too hot and then wonder why the tea ends up bitter. Different teas require different temperatures and steeping times, so learn about the tea before you brew it. There are also lots of different kinds of green and white teas, so try as many as you can! I like sencha, which tastes kind of asparagus-like and vegetal. I also love silver needles, which is a white tea where the leaves are rolled into long, thin needle shapes. It tastes almost sweet, and is a subtle flavor.

And finally #6. ALWAYS WEAR SUNBLOCK. EVEN IN WINTER. EVEN INDOORS. JUST WEAR IT, OKAY?
Reapply every couple hours if possible.  I admit, I cheat on reapplication if I’m not going to be outside, but I am always wearing SPF 70 mineral block, over a moisturizer with sunscreen. Powder sunscreen is a nice way to reapply since it doesn’t leave you greasy or smear makeup.
Bonus: mineral block also blocks infrared light, which may increase photoaging. There isn’t a ton of evidence since UV is the supervillan in sunlight, but it doesn’t hurt to err on the side of caution. 

Well, that’s the basics. Again, probably stuff you already knew. And probably not the answers you were hoping for. In the next post in this series I will get into what ingredients to look for in skin care/hair care products and why they work.

In the mean time, let me know in the comments if you found this helpful/interesting,  and if you have any tips to add!

How to have good skin and hair part 1 (and a quick workout update)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Let’s talk beauty.

I have had many people ask me why I have such nice skin. I rarely break out, and I don’t look my age at all.
The problem is, when I tell them, they act like I’m hoarding a magic potion or something!
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This is me in natural light with absolutely no makeup on a relatively bad skin day. (Scary) Bonus points if you can guess my age! (Unless I told you. That’s cheating. )

Here’s the deal: a lot of this is not going to be news to anyone. I’m not breaking any new ground here.  I’m not a dermatologist, but I challenge anyone to find a derm that disagrees with most of what I’m going to recommend.
I’m gonna warn you right now:
You probably won’t like some of this advice. Suck it up, buttercup. Pretty isn’t always fun, and it doesn’t come from a pill, bottle, or can.

I’m starting with the most important things today.
1. Do. Not. Smoke.
2. Do. Not. Tan.
3. Alcohol is not your friend.
If you already avoid these things, pat yourself on the back and skip the rest of today’s lecture.
So the obvious reason not to smoke and/or tan is that IT CAN GIVE YOU CANCER! I know, if you don’t know this you’re probably living under a rock. I’m saying it anyway. 
If cancer doesn’t scre you enough, then you should also know that you will age MUCH faster by doing either of these things.  Both is even worse. Tanning gives you sunspots,  wrinkles, and leathery skin. (Ew.) It fades hair color, and makes strands dry and brittle too. Smoking gives you wrinkles, especially near the mouth from the combined action of the smoke and pursing your lips. Nicotine can stain the fingers too. It also takes away the healthy glow that makes you look beautiful.  If that wasn’t enough, it can cause your hair to thin, and the nicotine can affect your hair color too.
If you think you can fend all this off with creams and procedures, you are deluding yourself.
Both tanning and smoking have been deemed addictions, so quitting might not be easy. Get help if you need to. The short term problems of quitting are nothing compared to the long term cost of not quitting.
And speaking of costs, both of these habits are very expensive.  Use that to motivate you! Save the money you would have spent for cigarettes or tanning, and have a vacation! Or a skin treatment to undo some of the damage!  Or buy a fancy treat! 

You’ll notice I didn’t address alcohol yet. I don’t drink. At all. That said, many people do. A drink or two occasionally won’t really do much damage, so you don’t have to abstain entirely unless you want to. That said, drinking too much (and too much is probably less than you’re thinking it is) will affect your appearance.  That cliche of the drunk with the red nose? Yeah, that can happen. It damages your liver too, which prevents detoxification and can leave you looking sallow and greyish. Not pretty. Alcohol also dehydrates you, which deepens wrinkles and make your skin less plump. For your skin, happy hour is not so happy.It’s not the same level of damage you’d see with smoking or tanning, but it’s still hurting you. Remember too, anything that harms your skin is harming your hair too. A healthy scalp means healthy hair.
If you don’t believe me about the effects of alcohol on the skin, check out this article! Even knowing the effects I was still shocked how obvious the difference was when the woman in the article quit her “moderate” drinking habit for a month.

I know none of this is what you want to hear, and that giving up your addictions isn’t easy. I also know that deep down you know this is the truth.
Sorry.

In my next post I’ll tell you some important thangs you SHOULD be doing to have good skin and hair! (And you may not like those either…)

Workout update:
So the new workouts ramped up pretty quickly. I’m really sore in my shoulders and upper back, which has always been my weak spot so it’s a good sore. My nutritionist cancelled, so more on that next week.

Things I’m Obsessed With: “Diamond Club” makeup transformation videos

I randomly discovered one of these videos a while back and it blew my mind completely.
I’m pretty sure this show is the reason I started trying to learn to do makeup again!
I really don’t know what anyone is saying, although a few videos are subbed in English, but that doesn’t matter. These videos are a testament to what makeup can do, and they are simply incredible.
I started watching to pick up some makeup tricks, but in the end I think my entire worldview was changed. I grew up under the assumption that pretty people were just born that way. Either you were pretty, or you weren’t. If you weren’t, well then tough luck kiddo. Makeup was something pretty people wore to look prettier and not-so-pretty people used to cover pimples. Obviously models were just lucky, and they rolled out of bed looking amazing, right?
Then this show comes along. These girls are GORGEOUS in their modeling shots, and totally ordinary without makeup!
The lightbulb came on…
So, wait… That means maybe I could look like a model too?
Really?
Whoa.
I watched about a zillion of these videos, and over time it was pounded into my head that pretty can be applied, and that being less pretty but a stellar makeup artist was every bit as good as being born gorgeous. My old ideas had been holding me back, and I had no trouble letting them go in favor of these new ones! I remember one subtitled video that really hit home. The girl said something to the effect of “I may look ordinary, but with the skill of my two hands I can become beautiful”. Wow. What an awesome thought. Skills matter more than nature. And that’s okay. I could’ve hugged her.
Since then I’ve been devouring makeup tutorials, camwhoring tutorials, and anything else that might help me harness this magic. I’ll be honest, it’s working. I can make myself look more like a model than I ever thought possible. I’m still learning, but it’s a fun process. Makeup is fun again. Yay!
I hope you can find inspiration here too. You are beautiful, even without makeup. However, if you can’t see it yet, maybe a transformation is in order. If you don’t like it, wash it off and try again. That’s the beauty of makeup: there’s no commitment, and you can do as much or as little as you want.
Now If I could only learn to make the makeup on the second eye come out as well as the makeup on the eye I do first…

Things I’m Obsessed With Part 1: Things That Are Purple

I love purple. It has been my favorite color as far back as I can remember. As a general rule, if something comes in purple, that will be the color I get. I’ve had dalliances with teal and pink, but my one true love will always be purple.

My hair is purple. I use Punky Colours in plum, and it takes three entire cans. Also, I have to bleach first, which I hate. It comes off on stuff when it’s wet for the first couple weeks too, which can be annoying. And my bathtub is purple most of the time.  And it tints my nail polish for the first several washings.  But even with all that, it lasts for months before I have to touch it up (as long as I ignore the roots) and I get tons of compliments, so it’s all worth it in the end.

The color shows better here.

The color shows better here.

It's high maintenance, but I love having purple hair.

It’s high maintenance, but I love having purple hair.

I have an embarrassing amount of purple nail polish too.purple polish

Seriously, who needs this much purple polish?

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I can’t even get it all in one shot.

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There’s, like, 9 different glitters.

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A whole bunch of pastels.

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And these three are practically the same color!

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Clearly I have a problem…

It doesn’t stop there though. Oh no it does not.

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Yup. Even my toothbrush. (And for the record, the fact that I’m wearing purple polish is entirely coincidental.)

I already picked out my graduation presents too (even though that isn’t till next May), and guess what? Purple.

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I wanted to wear a yukata for graduation, and I really wanted it to be purple with rabbits. I found one, and my parents paid for it to make sure I’d have it. I still need all the stuff that goes with it though…

I also got myself this amazing metallic purple Zatchel!

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I happened to find my way to the flash sale Zatchels had for their birthday, so I could afford this beauty without giving up food for too long. 😉

This is the third Zatchel I’ve purchased, the other two being slightly smaller in black and white, and they are amazingly sturdy. I’m saving this one for graduation, but it’s really hard knowing it’s in my closet being all shiny and perfect. T~T

I even got purple circle lenses, which just arrived today from solution-lens.com! They’re soaking now, but I intend to review them by the end of the week, so look forward to that!

I’ll be posting the next TIOW next week. In the mean time, if you’re obsessed with purple too, let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear about your favorite purple stuff!