Thursday, June 28

Look of the Month :: Summer 2012 :: June

Summertime is here and it's one of my favorite seasons! I love the warmth and everything associated with this time of year. I'm awfully nostalgic of amazing camping trips, biking with sisters, eating ice cream sandwiches by the poolside, bonfires, and family dinners outside on the picnic table my uncle made. Good times indeed, and it was that unscheduled freedom that I grew to love during these three wonderful months.

So of course we need a pretty look that won't take a lot of time, and won't melt off in the hot temperatures. This digital face chart consists of just three products that one can easily carry on them if needed for touch-ups throughout the day. Perfect for vacation as well, if suitcase or purse space is limited. I love multitasking with products and that's exactly what I do with the eyeliner and lipstick. Any lipstick can be used as a cream blush on the checks and any brow pencil can be used as a wonderfully natural eyeliner. Don't fuss too much with it, just get outside and play.

The current look is:
J U N E  2 0 1 2


Color trends for this month:
Fuchsia, pastel mint, denim blue, white, and gold

Current motivation for the look:
Simplification, healing, and mindfulness


Previous Looks this Year:

J A N U A R Y  2 0 1 2

F E B R U A R Y  2 0 1 2

M A R C H  2 0 1 2

A P R I L  2 0 1 2

M A Y  2 0 1 2

Please feel free to express yourself as well! Share links, tips, or any other suggestions in the comments. I would love to hear from you.

 xoxo,
~Claudia

Wednesday, June 27

The Most Exciting Upcoming Movies for the Rest of 2012

This is a guest post from Jack McTaylor that writes about cinema, finance, and more at healthinsurancequotes.org.

Summer is heating up, and so are the movies premieres. Hollywood is bringing attractions for all tastes and ages, and here are the most exciting movies for 2012.

Thirsty for Action?
First, The United States is being attacked by thirsty vampires, and the President of the nation must stop them at all costs. 20th Century Fox presents the unstoppable action film, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Full of amazing special effects, this movie will keep you on the edge of the chair!

Batman is back. After disappearing for a long time, the superhero emerges again to face a new foe, stronger and more determined to save Gotham City. The movie The Dark Knight Rises comes to the screen in less than a month!

The saga continues with the release of The Amazing Spider-Man. This time around, our super hero discovers a clue that will take him to find the real reason behind the disappearance of his parents. Full of action, emotion, and webs; this film takes Parker to the skyscrapers of the heart.

And don't forget about my favorite upcoming movie, Taken 2. Your skin is going to bristle as agent Mills is kidnapped along with his wife. This is one movie you will not want to miss. Revenge is in the air, so take a big whiff.

Animated Outings
Walt Disney presents Brave, in which magic has its charm, and courage is rewarded. A wish has been granted, and courage and determination are at stake. This is a movie for the whole family that will make you sympathize with the enthusiastic and brave Merida.

On a different note, 20th Century Fox presents the long awaited Ice Age: Continental Drift, which will freeze your senses. In this installment, the three friends have drifted far on an iceberg, where they have found sea creatures in the way of their ultimate goal.

Illin for Chillers?

Feel the chill of horror with the movie The Possession. Coming to theaters in August, this film will be a nightmare itself. A box, a curse, a family, and everything breaks loose with gruesome consequences. For horror movie lovers, none can beat this one.

And remember that Paranormal Activity 4 will return to us with the always unexpected. Once again this film captures the essence of horror, making you jump with fright. You will not be able to sit still for a second!

Thrillers
For those who love action and adventure, Premium Rush will satisfy your senses with its fast speeds, intense car chases, and nonstop action. It will give you an adrenaline rush til the very end.

Finally, Argo, a Warner Bros. film, takes us to Iran, to rescue six Americans during the most sensitive political moment in this part of the world. A plan is conceived, an ex CIA agent is involved, and the will to save these men will all vie for your attention.

It doesn't matter if you want films with special effects, family friendly laughs or chills, this summer promises to provide more options than ever before!

Tuesday, June 26

Don't Be Afraid of the Summer Sun

Summer is finally here! That means pool parties, camping, and lots of awesome walks down by the beach. I love being outside so much, but one has to play it safe with the summer sun right? As a porcelain-skinned lady you would always find me in the shade or slathering on loads of sunscreen. Well not anymore! I'm not afraid of skin cancer or freckles. Recently I've learned a lot about the sun, and that our feared skin problems are not the sun's fault. Think about it logically, why would the very thing that energizes us and keeps us alive make us sick and potentially kill us? It wouldn't, we do that to ourselves.

The Healing Power of Sunlight


Watch this. Once again Markus and Cara do an amazing job at explaining this.

It's all about what we put on and in the body that keeps us healthy or slowly makes us ill. The sun does not cause cancer. The things in our daily lives that we expose ourselves to are what make us susceptible to disease. One of which is the very thing sold to "protect" us: Toxic sunscreens. They're full of carcinogens, neurotoxins, developmental and reproductive toxins, allergens, and immunotoxins. Just look up your favorite sunscreen on Skin Deep Cosmetics Database and see what's in it. Not to mentioned that all of the chemicals from the plastic packaging seep into the products as well. They cause cancer, not the sun. We slather that garbage all over us and then go outside and bake it into our skin.

Our diets are also a huge factor. If we're not eating correctly our bodies are weakened and sensitive to the sun. Just like the poisons in sunscreens and other skin cosmetics, the bad foods we eat are just as problematic. The body secretes toxins through the skin when the kidneys are overburdened and then they sit on the skin's surface and cook just like the topically-applied chemicals. Non-organic meat, dairy, sugar, gluten, starchy carbs, and chemical additives are the cause of the problem. On the flipside, watermelon, oranges, carrots, blueberries, apricots, and leafy greens are nature's sunscreen. One should get their protection from plants, because nature knows best.

So don't be afraid of the sun, but be wise about it. One has to clean out their body before attempting to spend time in the sun. Even freckles are caused by too many toxins, such as the foods listed above. Freckles and moles, just like pimples, are a sign that something's wrong inside. Did you know that moles can heal and fall off if one changes their diet? They are fed by bad foods and can only exist in weakened parts of the body. Everything's connected, and everything either works in perfect harmony, or falls apart and becomes diseased.

Ever since my long water fast, I've been sunbathing for 20 minutes (10 minutes on each side) in the sunlight that comes through my baloney and I have only good things to say about it. Getting more sun helps strengthen the immune system, makes one happier, increase energy, strengthens nerves, makes bones more dense, helps heal dry skin, and give the body a wonderful dose of vitamin D. Lastly, I don't see any difference in the color of my fair skin, which is great because I don't wish to change.

So yes, have fun in the sun this summer, but only after internal house cleaning. Be smart until then and stay in the shade, wear clothing that covers the skin, stay indoors during the hours of 12-3pm when the sun is at it's peak, and soon enough sunlight will not be the enemy.

♡ Claudia

Monday, June 25

Are Plastics Safe?

No, nope, and nah. There is no such thing as a safe plastic. Not only for the environment, but for you as well. I just finished watching three documentaries about plastics and toxins which was a good reminded that I need to cut back on my plastic. Now more than ever. Especially during such a crucial time, growing healthy new bone is not an easy thing. This image here sums up how I feel about it.

These Documentaries Are A Must Watch

Also Here's A Useful Guide that I got from Plastic Planet
Can you see my hand? Bwah! I had to take a photo of the iPad.

I've always been opposed to them, and try not to buy food or cosmetics in plastic. The basic concept is that anything packaged in plastic will contain the plastic in the product. Everything. It should be printed on the label in the ingredients. Something new that I learned from the film is that even touching plastic is harmful. It goes right through the skin and into the bloodstream. This effects everyone, but mostly children and mother's to be. Couples can actually become sterile because of plastic exposure. Men can become feminized, and woman have lower chances of having baby boys. Children are being born with asthma, allergies, ADD, autism, and hearing disables because their mother's are exposed during the child's vital development time.

Then there's the fact that plastics take centuries to decompose. It breaks my heart every time I throw plastic away or "recycle" it. Recycling plastics is not like paper, glass, or aluminum. It is very dirty, and produces a second-grade plastic that can only be used in certain ways because it's impure. Lastly, if we humans stopped using plastic today it would take the Earth 500 years to heal itself. That is intolerable.

Of course there's always hope, and if we wanted to we could fix this now. Scientists are even developing new materials for one-use products. Like this silk, check it out here, it's biodegradable and it can replace plastic. Now there's no need to live in fear, but it's good to be aware of the health risks involved. I thought to myself, "Wow, it would be hard to live without plastic, but I'm sure I can minimize it."


Here are some ways to reduce the amount of plastic:

1. Avoid food and beverages packaged in plastic. I know this sounds hard, but one baby step at a time. The way that I got myself to do it is to remind myself that most food packaged in plastic is dead or rotting food that isn't going to do my body any good anyway. It's all about the farmer's market baby! Companies that care will package their products in glass or paper anyway, so that's a good way to tell. If it's in plastic, take it out immediately at home and store it in glass or paper. I do this with my wild rice, but then again, I shouldn't be buying rice in the first place for a number of reasons. It's a bad comfort food and I'm working on it, but that's a perfect example of how a food packaged in plastic is probably not ideal for the diet in the first place.  

2. Buy clothing made of natural materials. Polyester, nylon, spandex, and latex should all be excluded and replaced with natural fibers like cotton, hemp, flax, and wool. I for one will pay closer attention to my clothing labels, because they stay on the body all day long. That's something to ponder indeed. Especially if I buy any clothing for little ones. I would never want to expose my nephew to toxins such as these. Of course purchasing organic clothing is extra awesome!

3. Buy cosmetics in glass or paper. Just like food, it's a sure way to see how much the company cares. Or better yet, make your own beauty products and store them in glass. I make my own lotion, lip balm, lip stain, cheek stain, and hairspray. Products like olive, jojoba, and tea tree oil go along way.

4. Don't use plastic bags. Bring your own cloth bags to the store. It's easy and cuts down on waste so much. That, and why would one want their items touching plastic? Let alone touching the plastic ourselves. 

5. Try to stay away from household items, toys, and gadgets made out of plastic. Yes, it's unfortunate that computers have BPA in them, that's one thing that I haven't been able to do anything about. If I didn't have my laptop I wouldn't be able to write or create artwork. Again, just try to limit these things. Especially plastic toys for little children. They put them in their mouths and get a big dose of the chemicals. Not cool whatsoever. This goes for plastic flatware and dishes as well. Switching over to bamboo or glass is the best.

If we all do our part it will make for a better future. Money is powerful and every time something is purchased that's a vote cast. Support responsible companies that have you and the earth's best interest in mind. One little step at a time.

Cheers and here's to happy, healthy living.
~Claudia

Friday, June 22

Symptoms of Early Menopause

This is a guest post from Moira Taylor that writes about women's health and finances.

Signs of early menopause can be hard to detect or missed completely, especially in younger women. In most cases, menopause begins around 45 years of age. One in every 100 women will be completely different and have early menopause or at least the symptoms of early menopause. Below are some of the signs that indicate you may be experiencing this strange, but completely healthy, condition.

Irregular Bleeding
For most women, the most common and noticeable sign of early menopause is irregular bleeding. However, it can be hard to distinguish whether this is actually early menopause or not, because many women already experience irregular or excessive bleeding during their normal cycle. In the case of early menopause, it is very common to miss a cycle or two, and the following month have two cycles in one month. Sporadic menstrual cycles like this are generally a sign of early menopause.

Hot Flashes
A lot of women who begin to have hot flashes associate this with menopause. A hot flash feels like your entire body is getting warm, and then there is a rush of perspiration. Hot flashes are much like night sweats, in which some women wake up in a soaking sweat. Scientifically, there is no generally agreed upon reason for night sweats or hot flashes, but over 40% of women have them, and it is a sure sign of early menopause. Either can occur regularly, for as long as five years. Some women have them for up to ten.

Mood Swings
It has been often said that mood swings are a sign of early menopause, but there is no concrete evidence to that. Experts generally agree that mood swings could actually be due to the fact that a woman is not getting enough sleep, because of night sweats or hot flashes. Generally, mood swings can occur if there is a lack of sleep, regardless of age or sex.

Weight Gain
This could be a sign of hormonal changes. Also, women who are overweight are also likely to experience other symptoms of early menopause. This is because these women already have inconsistencies in their menstrual periods, and seem to experience more sporadic bleeding patterns.

One should always see their doctor and discuss early menopause symptoms, especially if they become bothersome. Hormone therapies are common for women experiencing these, and they can really help. Also, note that if a woman still wishes to have a baby, but has already gone through some premature symptoms of menopause, hormone therapy is available that will help to increase the odds that she can do so. Always ask your doctor, research online, and speak out.

Thursday, June 21

TED Rocks My World

So I must have been living under a rock, because it wasn't until Netflix put up the TEDtalks that I discovered their awesomeness. Again, because I've been in bed recovering, I wanted to spend some time learning and feeding the mind. I ended up watching almost all of them! I just couldn't get enough. They're on every subject imaginable: Beauty, green living, science, health, culture, food, design, art, and so forth.

Check out TED

Also, just for fun, here's a faux TEDtalk for Prometheus

There's truly something for everyone and they're all free, which I appreciate very much. Education should be available to everyone, not just the wealthy. That's one reason why I love doing what I do here on my blog and YouTube. I find such joy in helping others and teaching (perhaps that's the Virgo in me). That's why I get bent out of shape that only a select few can afford the top schools or teachers. It's something that I would like to help change, just like TED. Whether it be art, beauty, ecology, or health, I hope that what I do inspires or encourage others. Never stop learning and never stop giving.


In closing, here's one of my favorite inspirational moments from all of the videos.



Cheers,
~Claudia

Wednesday, June 20

Could A Change in Diet Be The Solution to Your Migraine?

This is a guest post from Ashley Willis who loves to write about health, finance, and lowering her credit report.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a migraine is characterized by a severe pulsating pain concentrated in a particular part of the head. This pain may be accompanied by sensitivity to light and sound, as well as nausea and vomiting. If you have migraines, you likely know that certain foods and beverages may trigger attacks. These foods vary from one person to the next, but those on the list that follows are commonly reported as migraine triggers.

1. Aged Cheeses
Dr. Seymour Diamond of Chicago, originator of The Diamond Headache Clinic, says that aged cheeses are one of the most frequently cited food triggers of migraines. It turns out that if you have migraines, you can be sensitive to a substance in aged cheese called tyramine. Tyramine forms when the protein in the cheese breaks down slowly over time. According to the Cleveland Clinic, people who are sensitive to tyramine should be careful to avoid cheeses that include brie, cheddar, feta, Parmesan, mozzarella, and swiss.

2. Soy Sauce
According to EverydayHealth.com, the monosodium glutamate (MSG) that is an ingredient in soy sauce is a migraine trigger in about 15% of people who suffer from migraine headache. In addition, Dr. Noah Rosen of the Headache Institute at North Shore-LIJ Health System in New York state says that the salt in soy sauce may lead to dehydration which is another possible migraine trigger.

3. Red Wine
You may have noticed that you get a migraine after you have a glass of red wine. This is because red wine contains sulfites that are used as preservatives and these have been identified as possible migraine triggers. In addition, the alcohol in red wine increases the flow of blood to your brain and can lead to dehydration. Both of these effects of alcohol may trigger migraines.

4. Processed Meats
Foods such as hot dogs, sausage, luncheon meats, and bacon may be migraine triggers because they contain chemicals called nitrites or nitrates that help to inhibit the growth of bacteria and preserve the food color. These chemical preservatives cause your blood vessels to dilate, and this may lead to a migraine headache.

5. Aspartame

Foods and beverages that contain the artificial sweetener aspartame may trigger migraines in some individuals. In an article that appeared in the October 2001 issue of the journal "Headache", researchers from St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City reported that Maxalt-MLT, an aspartame-containing medication used to treat migraines, intensified the migraine headache of two patients. Both patients were known to suffer from aspartame-initiated migraines.

If you suffer from migraines, it may be a good idea to construct a headache diary. This involves writing down the date that you got the headache along with all the foods that you ate on that day and perhaps the day before. This way, you may be able to pinpoint foods that are playing some part in the onset of your migraines. If you then avoid these foods, you may see a decrease in the frequency of your attacks.

Tuesday, June 19

A Forced Mindfulness Exercise

A lot of good has come out of my injury. First off, I'm healing well and am starting to come around. It should only be another week or so until I'm completely back to normal. I'm starting to feel like I can resurface online part time, with enough energy to carry on.

This past mouth has been an interesting mental experience for me and I have grown so much because of it. Not only from the countless documentaries that I've devoured on Netflix, making me feel like I was back at University, but the improved ability to be mindful about the present moment. To truly experience life, one small wonderful thing at a time.

Being that I wanted to isolate myself for healing, this meant that I had to learn to be content with what was going on around me and being one with my current experiences. No phone, computer, television, or outings for the most part. Truly unplugged, like my mind was on vacation. A friend asked me, "How are you not going mad? I would go mad without this 'connection'." The truth was that I was fine. I could spend hours in my mind thinking and contemplating life, watching the birds and butterflies fly through the garden from my window, or experience the amazing taste of my first summer strawberry. These simple things were beautiful and they happen all the time. One just has to slow down and take them in.

I caught myself multitasking the other day and was taken aback. I was watching a documentary while drinking green tea. Before I realized what I was doing, the tea was practically gone. Sure I could make more tea or rewind the show, but that was besides the point. I made a choice to not fully appreciate either experience and that stuck with me. The same can be true about thoughts. If I found myself thinking about other things while doing something else, I would stop what I was doing to give myself time to dwell on what was on my mind. I found that this would only take a moment to sort out and then I could return to what I was doing with full consciousness and clarity. They didn't have to compete.

So I'm happy that I had the time to grow in this way. It was unexpected and forced if you will. I wouldn't have allowed myself the time to do something like this on my own watch. Busy, busy, busy. There would be no time for exploration of the mind. That would be a waste of the day and nothing on my precious calender would get done. Well, with my body unable to function the way I needed it to, this gave me all the time in the world to just... think... and be.

For that I am extremely grateful,
Love Claudia xx

Friday, June 8

My Toes Are Broken

So yesterday I found out that what I thought was sprained toes is actually fractures. Stress fractures to be exact. That's why the toes are still purple, swollen, and unusable. They're set now and bandaged. I still have not been able to walk for the most part, have been staying in bed, and sleeping a lot. I'm starting to get so bedsore though, and sad, because I'm watching June pass me by.

This will take 4-6 weeks to heal, so I still have a ways to go. Also, I wanted to thank everyone for all the kind heartfelt messages. I sure do appreciate them and they brought a smile to my face. 
I'm just too weary to write back right now.

~Claudia

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