Tuesday, July 31

How to Get Rid of Dark Under Eye Circles Naturally

Dark circles are more serious than puffy under eye bags. And no, these aren't just girl problems, these are health issues. They aren't genetic or age related either, and one can get rid of them because they are not natural. Dark circles could indicate that one has an internal health problem. Once again, this is the body's way of giving us a signal that something's wrong. We've just lost touch with ourselves and don't know how to understand the symptoms. Face mapping has been used for what seems like forever by the Chinese and it's a way to tell what's wrong with the body by understanding the face. So what do dark circles tell us?

What causes dark under eye circles:

- Poor Diet. We are what we eat, and processed foods, meat, dairy, eggs, table salt, isolated sugar, and bad oils can take a toll on the body quickly. It's as simple or as hard as we want to make it. Just be mindful and strong, because I know how hard kicking a food addiction is.

- Parasites. This sounds like madness, but it's unfortunately true. An individual with dark circles might be suffering from a parasite infestation. The typical American diet makes us more susceptible to them, because parasites thrive in this environment and feed off of it. The best way to clean them out is to stop eating the foods that they live off of. This is pretty much all processed foods, starchy carbs, grains, sugar, dairy, and raw meat like sushi. If these foods are part of the diet, then parasites are almost a guarantee. They're all mucus forming and the parasites can't live without them, but we can. So get out that juicer or blender and start right away.

- The kidneys and adrenal glands are not functioning properly. Not getting enough leafy greens is linked to this as well, and dark circles are specifically caused by a vitamin K deficiency.

- Stress and emotions. Stress is a huge factor. If emotions are running wild, just try your best to calm yourself. Breathing is great for this and helps me all of the time.

- Psychical and mental exhaustion. Be asleep by 10pm. If one's not sleeping during the hours of 10pm-2am then the organs do not get cleansed properly. The saying "beauty sleep" will take new meaning.

- Over medicated. Pills are not the answer to anything, they're only a bandage. They do not heal, they just suppress, and in turn cause more damage by side effects. Let food be your medicine.

So now that we know the causes, here are some things that can help combat dark under eye circles. Just remember that every little bit counts.

Long and short term treatments:

- Start eating more greens. This will help with give the body much needed vitamin K and help starve the parasites. Lettuce, collards, spinach, kale, cabbage, parsley, dandelion, cucumber with the peels, celery, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, broccoli, and peas are all great sources. Just remember to eat them all raw. Blended, juiced, or in salads are always best. Eating right can also help one rid themselves of medication. I highly recommend watching Forks Over Knives, it's a lifesaver.

- Go to bed earlier. Try to make this a regular habit. Start by going to bed five minutes earlier every night and set the alarm clock five minutes ahead. That way the body can slowly get use to the time shift until it becomes second nature. Then, one can just wake up naturally when the body wants to instead of forcing it. It's also very important to sleep on one's back to insure proper blood flow to the skin. If we don't, this constriction causes pooling under the delicate skin below the eyes causing dark circles.

- Meditate. Stress is a killer, and it's so important to try to manage this. Breathing exercises and meditation will completely calm the mind and body down. I find that a good time for this is during the early mornings, and once again before going to bed. During bath time is great too and so refreshing!

- Get outside. Exercise will help in so many ways. It calms the mind, floods the body with endorphins which makes us happy, gets the blood pumping, and the muscles working. So much good can come from more time outside in the fresh air.

- Try a turmeric mask. Make a paste out of a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of turmeric. Put it on your dark under circles for 20 minutes and gently wash it off with warm water or hop in the shower when the time is up. Just remember that this is a quick fix and not a solution to the real underlying problem.

- Find a nice concealer. Another temporary, but common, way to hide dark circles is with a concealer that's one or two shades lighter than your skin color. This can be applied to only the dark areas around the eye to create the illusion of a consistent skin tone.

So there you go, and just remember that dark circles are not just a cosmetic problem.
The body can heal itself if we make positive changes in our lives.

♡ Claudia

Monday, July 30

How to Get Rid of Puffy Under Eyes Naturally

Health is beauty. Beauty is health. They're one in the same, and most beauty issues can be linked to poor health. This took me years to comes to grips with, because I was healthy right? I told myself that as I sat 12 hours a day working, eating candy, drinking bottled water, playing video games during break, never getting sun, associating with negative people, not sleeping properly, partying into the night, and eating out all of the time. Just because I wasn't overweight and completely falling apart, I was healthy, right?

Now it all makes sense. The more I started caring about myself, not in an egotistical way but in a respectful way, my life started to change. Problems that I thought were dictated by genes or age would disappear, I would have mad amounts of energy, and I started to love life in the same genuine way that I did once upon a time when I was a little child.

There is no pill, potion, or doctor that can help. We have to take responsibly for what is happening to our own bodies. Everything on the outside is a sign of what is happening on the inside. I'm not just talking about eating a salad every now and then; I'm talking a complete lifestyle change, one baby step at a time.

So let's begin with this step: How to cure puffy under eyes naturally. As mentioned before, this is a warning sign because your body is trying to get your attention. There is an internal problem which is most likely caused by insufficient nutrition, lack of proper exercise, and not enough quality sleep.

What causes puffy under eye bags:

- Processed foods, animal products, grains, alcohol, and caffeine. We are what we eat, and all of these things cause puffiness and fluid retention. Get rid of them or seriously cut back!

- Inflammation or irritation of a corresponding organ. Most likely the kidneys are overworked and swollen because of poor diet. The kidneys are specifically related to the under eye area.  

- Dehydration. Not getting enough water is a huge problem. Ideally, we should stay hydrated through the fresh fruits that we eat, and supplement extra through spring water on the side. Remember, water is the universal solvent and it will help repair the kidneys and other organs.  

- Stress. This can be the cause of a lot of issues. Just try your best.

- Too many late nights. Sleep is so important! It's the time the body shuts down and heals. It's important to go to sleep with the sun. Those are the best and most crucial hours for rest. I'm typically in bed by 9:30pm and sleeping by 10pm. I rarely need to set an alarm clock these days because I wake up when my body is ready. I'm typically up naturally between 6-7am, and that's the best feeling in the world.

- Allergies. Poor diet and chemical cosmetics make the body more susceptible to all sorts of things because the immune system is overburdened. I use to have seasonal allergies and I thought it was inevitable because I was born that way. Nope! Now it's not a problem anymore; it's all a thing of the past.

So now that we know that we're not doomed by age or genes, here are some things to help combat under eye puffiness. Just remember that every little bit counts.

Long and short term treatments:

- Start eating more greens. Lettuce, cabbage, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, bok choy, cilantro, parsley, basil, sage, dill, alfalfa, wheat grass, dandelion, celery leaves, bitter melon leaves (this is extremely bitter, which means it's extremely awesome), broccoli, snap peas, etc. Just remember to eat them raw, and pick out the most colorful varieties. Blended, juiced, or in salads are always best. If they're cooked over 115 degrees, that changes the food's chemical makeup. Eating organic, fresh produce is important too. How long ago were they picked? Ask the farmer, they don't bite. Or even better yet, if you're good with plants, grow your own so then they can be consumed within minutes or hours of being picked. That would be great! 

- Get to bed. This is so easy, but so important because this is when cell production increases and the body heals. Also, it's really important to sleep on one's back to insure proper blood flow to the skin. If we don't, this constriction of the blood causes puffiness. Start turning off or dimming the lights around 8-9pm. I actually try not to turn lights on at all for both health and eco reasons. It's amazing how sleepy I get! This is wonderful, and how nature intended. Our bodies produce more melatonin after dark and this makes us drowsy. So if we're staring at screens or surrounded by bright lights our bodies will not become tired easily.

- Drink water throughout the day. My water fasting taught me how vitally important water is for healing. The more water we drink the less water retention we'll have. The body is trying to hang onto all of the water it can when it's not getting a sufficient amount, and this is making us puff up.

- Get up, and take a walk. This is the best remedy for stress. It's also great to get out in the fresh air and warm sun for a bit of exercise. This will help with water retention as well.

- The cold reduces swelling. Putting cold green tea bags, chilled spoons, or ice on the area for ten minutes will help as well, but remember that this is a quick fix when in a pinch. Putting one's eye cream in the fridge to chill will have a similar effect and de-puff the swollen area.

- Find a nice concealer. A temporary, but common, way to mask puffiness is with a concealer that is one or two shades lighter than your skin color. This can be applied to only the shadows of the puffy bags to create the illusion of a flat surface.

So there you have it, and just remember that the body will always let you know what's wrong.
We just have to listen and be wise about it. Our health is in our hands.

♡ Claudia

Thursday, July 26

10 Steps to Clutter-Free Living

 “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, 
but when there is nothing left to take away.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Where to even begin? Clutter is one of those things that affects us on every level. It's a constant reminder that we have unfinished business. Which is not a good thing to wake up to day after day. Most often the rooms that are the most cluttered in our homes or office spaces correspond with the part of our lives that are the most chaotic as well.

Ponder this thought for a moment: Is your home studio in disarray because there's unfinished work laying around, and stacks of papers everywhere? Perhaps that means that one lacks the focus to finish things or that busy schedules are too demanding. Is the entryway to the home cluttered with things thrown down because the statement, "I'll do it later", is being said too often and creating a mess around the opening of the house? This is the connection to the outside world, and in a way it's like a physical and mental barricade making it hard to let things or people in or out. Is the bedroom pure madness, with dirty clothes, and books just lying around? Maybe sleeping has been a problem lately or the love life is not going good, so why put the effort into cleaning. The bedroom is a suppose to be an inviting tranquil space, and looking at a heaping pile of clutter is going to be the last thing one sees before going to bed and the first thing when waking up. Again, whatever it is, these are all subconscious reminders of unfinished business. So when we put a conscious effort into these areas, we will most likely see an improvement in the corresponding aspect of our lives.

Here are 10 ways to help declutter the home:

1. Stop buying stuff. This is the solution to most issues, not just messy clutter. In this case, if one has less stuff, then it cannot clutter the home. Really think about purchases: Do I really need this, does this item truly make me happy, what does it do to the environment, what happens when I don't want it anymore, is it worth the time and money? All of these are great questions.

2. Mark it on the calender. Make it an event, and put a few hours or a day aside to really tackle the mess. Depending on the situation, make a reasonable goal for how much can be achieved during that time.

3. Start small. Doing everything in a day can be unreasonable and unrealistic. So start small with that desk or shelve that's been a bother. Empty it out or off completely, only put back the things that you truly need or want, and part with the rest.

4. Truly be honest. When deciding whether an item stays or goes, be honest about if it's needed or not. Recall the last time it was used; if it was never or too long ago then it is time to part with it. Of course very sentimental things are an exception. Make piles for trash/recyclable, charity/for sale, maybe, and keep. When finished, deal with them accordingly.

5. Designate a place for charity and sale items. I know this sounds counterproductive to just move things around, but it works if one is responsible about clearing it out later. I have a small closet in my hallway that I nicknamed "the giveaway closet", and it houses all of the things that are going to be sold on Craigslist, are going to be donated to charities, or given away to others. Sometimes it can take time to get rid of these things, especially for pending sale items. I also get notices in the mail about the charities that I donate to, so it's good to have all of the items in one place and ready to go when needed.

6. Box up "maybe" items. The best test for those pesky "maybe" items is to put them away in a box or a designated drawer for month and see if you have to go retrieve them because they're needed. If not, then the answer is clear, and they can be sold or given away. If more testing is needed for some items just put them away for a longer time. If six months to a year passes and the items in the box are never used then it's time to finally get rid of them.

7. Try not to horde. Easier said than done for some, I'm sure, but it's important to try. Only buy things like food or cosmetics for a short span of time. Having stocked up on goods in the past has been a mistake of mine, because tastes change or they expire. I've done this with spices before, and then I'm stuck with jars that are about ready to go bad. It's best to just save the money and only buy things when needed.

8. Everything has a place. This is so true. If it doesn't have a place then it is probably clutter. Designating a place for things also helps when tidying up the home, because then the items can be put back into place very quickly. It's also a sign that the items have been tampered with. I can tell when things in my home have been misplaced or touched. If I throw a party, it's easy for me to just go around and put things back in order again because I know exactly where they belong.

9. A clean surface is always best. When I arrange items on a fireplace mantel or shelve I do it in an artistic way. Typically close to nothing on a surface is best, so then the space can be used when needed. This is the case for counter tops and tables. Something to add as well, is how appealing the "rule of three" can be when arranging items. It can be found all over my home. A great example of this would be on my book shelve in my home studio. Two bookends and a row of books makes for three elements on a surface. Or in the bedroom there are three arrangements of pillar candles by the bed. Again, this can be very esthetically pleasing and gives a surface great visual impact.

10. Realize that value lies within you, not your stuff. Remember that you will always have those great memories and same values that an item once gave you. It's okay to let go. Most of the time it's fear that makes us cling to things. That the memory won't be as potent without the object or that one day the item will be needed again. Most likely both of these are not true. Our memories live on within us, and we probably will never use that horded object again. A great example of this is media. Unless it's an ultimate favorite, are we really going to watch all of those movies, read all of those books, and play all of those video games again. No, so let them go and brighten someone's day with a nice random present.

After awhile this will all become second nature and 
I promise that it will help bring peace of mind and clarity to your life. 

Love from Claudia

Wednesday, July 25

Why I'm a Minimalist

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." - Leonardo da Vinci

It all began when I was packing to go away to university and I realized that I couldn't take all of my belongings with me to California. I was leaving Michigan, and my family, to go study art in San Francisco. I was so excited! It was a new chapter in life and I was full of hopes, dreams, and ambitions. It was a fresh start.

When I started the obligatory task of packing my stuff I realized how much of a burden it was. I could only take two suitcases and a carry-on with me because that's all the airport would allow. Quite frankly, I didn't want to take much more. So I picked only the essentials and left the rest behind. This was a great lesson for me because it made me realize that I didn't need most of it.

From then on, life was different. I was lighter and free. My stuff didn't weigh me down. When I arrived in San Francisco for the very first time, my cousin picked me up and asked where all my stuff was. I told them that this was all I had, and it felt really good. Unpacking in my dorm was even more therapeutic. It was my very own wonderful, clean space free of clutter and burden. 

My family did end up mailing me a package with more stuff, but it made realize that I wasn't into most of it anymore. This changed the way that I spent money in the future, and I gave or sold the stuff that I didn't need. That in itself felt really great. To see a person's face light up when you surprise them with something was somewhat addictive. I love giving to others. Who doesn't?

Minimalism is just a part of who I am now. I continue to grow and learn because of it and it teaches me to truely value quality over quantity. It helps keep things in perspective, and lets one's character shine through because the objects one chooses to value and keep says a lot about the individual.

Embracing modern minimalism in interior design is wonderful as well. We are a reflection of our environment, so that beauty transcends and affects our mood. Simple design is so elegant and makes one feel calm and at peace. I love waking up very early and just walking through my home. The world is quiet, the house is clean, and Claudia is a happy girl. The day is off to a great start. Clutter and dust is a reminder that we don't have time for ourselves. Our busy schedules dedicated to others are more important than maintaining the home, this in turn can affect one's mental clarity because we spend so much time in our space. So devote time and effort into your personal environment, because it affects the mind on a subconscious level. Lastly, treasure each and everything you have, and ask yourself: Do I really need this?

Cheers and happy living.

Tuesday, July 24

Claudia is Batman!

I never knew... Wait, yes I did. See for yourself here:

Thanks guys for the shoutout. I find it fascinating to see people from around the globe just going about their business. Looks like you had fun that day. It makes me want to travel more.


Monday, July 23

Look of the Month :: Summer 2012 :: July

I haven't gone too many places this month. I sit indoors and just daydream. This look reflects that with it's whimsical soft colors. It's almost a fairytale look... Perhaps I can go outside to play next month.

The current look is:
J U L Y  2 0 1 2

Color trends for this month:
Dove grey, pastel lavender, baby pink, white, and gold

Current motivation for the look:
A Midsummer's Night Dream, short walks, and reflection

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

J U N E  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.


Friday, July 20

Haute Azul

Ferocious indeed. I plan on stealing her outfit. That would be fun. Painted in Photoshop in 5 hours.

"Haute Azul" - Painting Steps
Level: Intermediate

Content, editing, and compositing by Claudia Sutton.
Music composed by Alvin Muolic.

Wednesday, July 18

Adobe Creative Suite 6 Master Collection!

I'll say it again, just in case: Thank you so much! Heehee.

Recently a wonderful, amazing, awesome friend of mine surprised me with the CS6 Master Collection. I'm so incredibly grateful, and words can't even explain how much a gesture like that meant to me. I'm starting to poke around and have found that I'm getting the hang of it already.

This is also very good news for videos, because from here on out tutorials will be made with the current software. After Effects was working pretty good, and I finished my latest video with it. I was a little afraid that my computer couldn't handle it, but it wasn't too bad at all. Photoshop seemed to be working alright as well, even with testing super large files. So that's awesome! Let's just see what happens with screen capturing.

I have a sketch planned as a gift, and he's going to get the full-sized file.
♡ Claudia

Friday, July 13

Ethos Made Me Sad

Last night I watched a documentary called Ethos, which made me so incredibly upset. By the end of the film I found myself furrowing with arms crossed, both of which I tend not to do quite often. It was about the world and all of the problems we face in this modern era, focusing specifically on the US. The film speaks out about media, banks, government, the lack of true freedom, ecological issues, poverty, and everything else that is unjust in the world but totally a choice that the wealthy elite make for us. Or is it?

Watch the documentary here or on Netflix:

For me this is a good reminder, because I was aware of most of the issues the film discusses, but it still gets to me. How can there be individuals out there that would want this? Just for power and money? How can they not see that we are all one and this will affect them too in the long run. Short term profit cannot be that blinding, can it?

I wanted to quote the end of the film because there is hope and like mentioned, we're not powerless. We just have to be very responsible, take some of the blame, and don't be lazy about it. By choosing what we buy we can control all of this. Every time we purchase something it's a vote being cast. Get to know the companies that you buy from. What type of business do they have? Do they hurt people, animals, or the Earth in the process? If so, it's as easy as not buying from them. Don't like pesticides, than support organic farmers. Plastics making you emo, try cutting out as much as you can. Is your shampoo cruelty free? Do research to find out or make homemade products that are even more awesome. What about coal obtained from flattening the Appalachian Mountains to power one's home? Wind and solar energy are cleaner and more cost efficient alternatives. The list goes on and on. Consumerism as a whole is destroying us and world. Even something as simple as passing an item onto a friend, going to the library, carpooling to work, or buying used goods at a thrift store can help out so much.

"However, the unlikely and ironic outcome of consumerism is that it makes you, the consumer, all powerful.  The way we use money has more influence in our society than anything else. And the way  we  choose to spend our money  can change everything.  No company will continue a practice or product that you, the consumer, will not buy. It's vitally important that you understand this, because this gives you ultimate power to change the world you live in." - Ethos

I never like to be the bearer of bad news. Positivity is always best, but this one really got me going. Remember, we make the choices. We can choose what type of world we want to live in.

Cheers and happy movie watching.

Wednesday, July 11

Daily Inspiration: Carl Sagan's Message for Humanity

I hope that everyone's having a fantastic summer day. Recently a dear friend of mine, Aaron, suggested Carl Sagan's Cosmos as a must watch, and indeed it's quite fascinating. I wanted to share this short chip with you from the series that is both profound and inspiring.

Be kind to one another and the planet. I'm sure the future will be awesome!
Much love,

Monday, July 9

Stephen Fry in America

I adore Stephen Fry. So when I found this BBC TV series called Stephen Fry in America I just had to watch it. His philosophy on life, fantastic British accent, and heart-felt narration make this show so entertaining. I find myself agreeing with a lot of his points (expect for dancing, because I love to dance!) and want to travel the US in a similar fashion. It's been a dream of mine for quite some time. I plan on doing it, because I'm just dying to go on a long road trip. Then perhaps I can meet some of you fabulous people along the way. Anyway, take a peek at the series. It was surprising how much one can learn about all the States as well.

Here's the six part series:

Has anyone ever traveled around America like this? 
If so, tell me your stories. I would love to hear them.

Love Claudia xx

Friday, July 6

Coconut Oil Benefits - 10 Amazing Ways To Use It

Trader Joe's Organic Virgin Coconut Oil  - $5.99

Coconut Oil is my new love. Not only does it smell absolutely positively fantastic, but it's great for cooking and beauty needs. Coconut is one of the healthiest fats that one can consume, which helps rid and clean the body of bad fats and oils. It contains plenty of iron, vitamin K, and vitamin E which is awesome! I've been using it for cooking as well, saving my olive oil for raw foods. Coconut oil doesn't degrade when heated like other oils and its stability is ideal for high temperatures. I do all of my cooking with this oil now. 

So here's some awesome ways to use the oil. I love that you can do so much with it and you don't need to own multiple products. It's a natural all-in-one solution to a lot of problems.

Coconut Oil Uses

1. Weight loss - Using this oil helps the body rid itself of excess weight. It increase one's metabolism, is easy for the body to digest, helps the thyroid function properly, and contains fatty acids that help burn fat. 

2. For dry skin - It's amazing, and can be used like a lotion. It melts right into the skin and leaves a dreamy aroma behind. I use this after being in the sun if I need a little extra moisture. 

3. A lip balm - Just rub it onto dry lips. The oil is super moisturizing, helps plump lips, is full of vitamins, and tastes fantastic. It's the main ingredient it my homemade lip balm

4. Hair care  - After showering gently work a tiny bit into the ends of hair. The oil will leave hair beautiful and shiny, because it's one of the only oils that penetrates the hair to help fight protein damage. It combats dry scalp and dandruff as well if massaged into the roots. I also use it in my homemade hairspray

5. Used to make deodorant - This oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties which makes it an ideal ingredient in my natural homemade deodorant. There's nothing better than smelling like coconut!  

6. Stress relief - It can be used as an aromatherapy if massaged onto the temples and forehead. The soothing scent combined with the circular motions of the massage can help with headaches as well.

7. Sunscreen -  It's been used as a natural sunscreen for generations by islanders, and works by preventing free-radical reactions without affecting vitamin D formation.

8. For wounds, cuts, and bruises - Coconut oil is antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial. It repairs skin by promoting the formation of new tissue and creates a barrier for the wound to heal.

9. Massage oil - There is nothing more sensual and intoxicating than lovely coconut. Give a massage, get a massage. Right!

10. Cooking - It's one of the best oils to cook with, not only for it's wonderful flavor, but because of its many health benefits; specifically for the bones, heart, liver, kidneys, and the immune system. I use it to cook my eggs, veggies, and homemade popcorn.

Who knew that coconut oil could be used for so many different things.


Jojoba Oil Benefits - 10 Amazing Ways To Use It | CLAUDIASUTTON.blogspot: Health and Lifestyle