Monday, August 27

Look of the Month :: Summer 2012 :: August

The look this month was from my first filmed YouTube video, and the same makeup from this photo here. I wanted to stay very natural and neutral with this look since it was my first appearance on video. Something elegantly simple mixed with a lot of contouring and highlighting because I was on camera. More so then what I would do for everyday life; but that was necessary to accentuate the face when filming or being photographed so that the plains of the face appear more structured. I'm quite pleased with how it came out, and I highly recommend this look if you're doing something similar. It's a great way to look pretty but not too made up. That way you're the focus, and not your makeup.    

The current look is:
A U G U S T  2 0 1 2


Color trends for this month:
Hot pink, lime green, aqua, white, and gold

Current motivation for the look:
Filming, natural beauty, and having fun


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

J U L 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

Thursday, August 23

How to Cure Acne Naturally

It's been awhile now since I have discovered what was causing my acne, and since then I have learned so much. It seems elementary, and it's all a thing of the past.

I'm all cleared up and am almost bare faced as far as foundation is concerned.
There is a little applied around my nose, chin, and jaw. So that's my real skin!

What was it that was causing my skin problems? Well my lifestyle choices of course, and I had no idea that I was doing anything wrong. I remember it vividly, like it was yesterday. I was in LA for E3, and the company took us out to Morton's The Steakhouse. I was having a blast and I ate my fill of crap that night. Well, when I got back to the hotel my face was covered in new spots. I couldn't believe it, and I was very upset. My body was so overburdened by my bad choices that it was breaking out within hours of consuming these foods.

When I got home after the vacation I started researching it right away and found that it was mostly my diet. The last thing I wanted to hear was that I had to give up some of the yummy foods that I liked; but it was time to fight the addictions, and my body would be better off overall. 

So no, it's not genetics. Sure, one might be more susceptible than others because of genes, but it's not the cause. Also, for us ladies, our "emo week" is that lovely time right before you-know-what starts that can make hormones go mad if we're not taking care of ourselves properly, but again it's not the hormones that cause it either. This can exacerbate the problem during this time though, so we best be mindful of that. I don't breakout if I'm behaving myself by eating right, drinking water, sleeping correctly, exercising, and not stressing. I can touch my face all I want, press my cell phone to my cheek, wear makeup, forget to wash my pillowcase, and do all of those things that "supposedly" cause breakouts all while being on my emo week. It all doesn't matter as long as I'm taking care of myself. My skin will stay clear, because the immune system is strong and can handle it. Lifestyle is key! I spent too many nights crying, and staying in during the day because I didn't want anyone to see me. I know how helpless one can feel and how depressing it is, but now it's time to get on with life. It truly is so easy to fix.

Here's my breakdown on acne causes


What causes acne:

- Bad foods. This is important! These foods induce acne because they're acid/mucus forming and cause the immune system to become weakened. The body does not know how to digest and utilize them properly, so instead, it pushes the toxins out through the skin causing buildup and then spots. One must eliminate ALL of these foods if one wants beautiful clear skin. There is NO exception. If I eat these things I breakout, and I'm absolutely positive that others that suffer with acne do as well. It's that simple. So here they are: Dairy, meat, gluten, processed sugar, too many nuts, alcohol, caffeine, fried foods, and processed foods.

- Lack of water. I never drank water the way I do now, and that was a big problem. The body cannot function correctly without proper amounts of water, specifically the organs. So of course this affects the skin, which is the largest organ of them all.     

- Lack of sleep. Not just enough sleep, but quality sleep. I didn't know that it was so important, and that it's the most critical time for healing. So without this sleep the body cannot, and will not, heal properly. Evening gaming, late-night movies, school work, or unfinished art projects are never worth staying up for. I found this out the hard way, so get it done during the day.    

- Stress. This can be the cause of almost any issue, including breakouts. Stress actually irritates the skin which can lead to redness, blotchiness, and even more sebum production which then can cause acne. It truly affects every cell in your body. I spent way too much time fretting in front of the mirror, which only made matters worse.

- Lack of exercise. Not moving is one of the most taxing things on the body. Unhealthy individuals actually have less blood vessels in the skin and therefore the body doesn't get it's much needed oxygen. Not going outside in the sun too is problematic because insufficient sun makes skin dull and takes longer to heal. 

- Environment. Over showering daily with hot water, touching one's face, sports gear, cell phones, makeup, dirty pillowcases, etc. are all things that may actually cause breakouts if the preceding issues haven't been addressed. A weak body may not be able to handle these things. So they could also become a problem, but are not a definite cause like the other factors listed over.

So now that we know that we're not doomed by genes, age, or gender, here are some things to help combat acne and get rid of it for good.


How to stop acne:

- Start eating right. If there's one thing above all else that helped clear up my skin it's getting rid of those bad foods listed above. It's more about what one does not eat, than what one does eat in this case. I will breakout if I eat those food, period, and if you suffer from acne you probably do too. They must be eliminated completely for the skin to heal. Replacing them with fresh fruits and veggies is the way to go.      

- Get in the habit of drinking water continuously. I've always got a glass or tea cup next to me these days. Water helps cleanse the cells and clear away toxins from the body, skin included. Water fasting helped me understand the amazing healing powers it has. Something so simple is so important. The photo above was actually taken right after my fast was completed and my skin was just glowing! 

- Go to bed early and on an empty stomach. It's crucial to sleep properly. Not only 6-8 hours every night, one also has to sleep during the optimal hours between 10pm-2am for maximum healing, and make sure that all food is out of the system while sleeping. Why is it so important to go to bed on an empty stomach? Well so that the body can heal; not digest all night long. If there's food in the stomach, that's what the body will do. It will spend it's energy on digestion, and healing will come second. Do not eat four hours before going to bed. Besides, large meals at meant for the mornings and afternoon when we need the most fuel, not the evening right before bed. There's no point, and dinner should always be the smallest one.   

- Stop stressing and back away from the mirror. Acne is about the mindset too, and mirrors don't help. I've actually learned that if the brain knows that a spot is there then it doesn't heal fast or at all. I'm reminded of learning about phantom limb pain from one of the TEDtalks, where the brain actually tells the body it's in pain even though nothing is there. The same can be said about wounds and healing. If one focus on how terrible the spots are, then they just stay there and don't heal properly. On top of that, I probably picked and prodded them inevitably making them worse. Eventually, I forced myself to stop looking in mirrors. If my brain didn't see the spot, then I didn't even know it was there and this helped so much. 

- Start exercising outside daily. So I would exercise, but not daily, and definitely not outside because I was afraid of the sun. Sunlight actually helps to heel wounds faster by speeding up the process, acne included. That, and the combination of the much needed oxygen from exercise works wonders for the body. It's important to never wear makeup or other cosmetics on the skin while excising. Toxins are secreted through the skin to help clean out the body and the actual act of sweating helps to clean pores as well. That's why it's vital not to have makeup or other substances blocking the pores, which can make matters worse.

- Try to improve hygiene. One thing I did was switch over to a natural skin care regime, because chemicals didn't help and they're terrible for you anyway. That, and they bleached all of my stuff. I also started to shower less, and with warm water instead of hot. No, I'm not mad. Showering daily dries out the skin too much and disrupts the horny layer exposing the more sensitive epidermis beneath. Then this messes with the natural pH balance of the skin, because we wash away that much needed sebum that nourishes and moisturizes it. Showering too much makes skin issues worse; dry skin becomes drier because sebum is washed away and oily skin becomes more oily because when the sebum (oil) is washed off the body just keeps producing more of it to try to help. That, and never use any type of soap on the face, it's too harsh and filled with chemicals. I've noticed that if I'm doing good with all of the tips listed above I don't even need to use products on my skin at all, because nowadays I have normal skin. Which I'm loving and getting spoiled by.

Please let me know if you have any questions. I'm here to help and have lived through this personally. I know what it's like, but remember, our health is in our hands.

♡ Claudia

Wednesday, August 22

Why Gluten Is Bad For You

Gluten does terrible things to the body and we humans are not meant to eat it. Back in the day, our ancestors needed an easy way to fuel the body with a plant that was simple to store and transport. For some cultures that was wheat. It was a cheap source of carbs, that didn't spoil, and was easy to grow almost everywhere they traveled. Survival was key, health was not. So today in most first-world countries we have come along way, and are spoiled by all of the wonderful produce that farmers work so hard to grow for us. So there is no need to consume gluten any more. We have also learned that gluten, a substance present in most grains, is very taxing on the body. The human body treats gluten like an intruder, not a food, and attacks it because it doesn't know what to do. Read this excerpt from Tim Ferriss' How to Keep Feces Out of Your Bloodstream (or Lose 10 Pounds in 14 Days) (this entire article is great too):

"Here is a recap of how grains cause malabsorption issues and how that affects our health and well-being:

1. Damage to the gut lining. If the gut is damaged, you do not absorb nutrients. We need healthy villi and microvilli to absorb our nutrients, be they protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, or minerals.

2. Damage to the gall bladder and bile production. If you do not absorb fats and fat soluble nutrients such as vitamins A, D, K, and other nutrients, you will have problems utilizing any minerals you do absorb, to say nothing of the nutrient deficiencies from inadequate essential fats.

3. Phytates tightly bind to metal ions and make them unavailable for absorption. Analytical chemists actually use purified phytates in experiments where it is necessary to quantify the amounts of metal ions like calcium, zinc, or iron in a sample because the phytates bind to these metals tighter than just about any other molecule. The same thing happens when you eat phytates, and this is not a good thing for bone health or iron status.

4. Open door for autoimmunity and cancer. Once the gut lining is damaged, we are at exceptionally high risk of autoimmune disease, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and several types of cancer, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The pancreas is assailed by grain-induced inflammation due to CCK problems and elevated insulin levels. This inflammation is a potential cause of pancreatic cancer and pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).

Why does all this happen? Because grains are pissed that you want to eat them and they are willing, and able, to fight back."
- Tim Ferriss

So there is no reason at all to consume gluten (organic doesn't matter either). This includes: All wheat, barley, rye, and oats. Do not eat them (again that damn birthday cake is my weakness). I'm also reminded of Dr. Andrew Weil's lectures about grains, and how most have a high glycemic index, especially when the wheat is converted into flour. The body then turns that into sugar and is stored as fat. Which makes this a major cause of obesity and diabetes. Yes, grains make you fat! Lastly, based on archaeological fossil records the consumption of grains is linked with tooth decay, considerable loss of height, a shorter lifespan, and an increase in infant mortality.

"Where do I get my fiber from then?" Just like dairy is a terrible source of calcium, wheat and other gluten-containing foods are a not-so-awesome source of fiber. Once again, other organic plant sources are the way to go. Amazing foods like apples, apricots, pears, peaches, bananas, avocados, oranges, leafy greens, carrots, artichokes, broccoli, peas, beans, nuts, and seeds (Chia seeds are the best source of plant based omega-3s, protein, and fiber) all have fiber that the body loves.

"So what do I do about my favorite foods like bread, pasta, pastries, cereal, oatmeal, crackers, beer, and flour tortillas?" Well, stop eating them. I know it will be tough, but it's all for the best. Raw food is fast and easy food. I'm so spoiled by not cooking. It's easy to take a vegetable out of the refrigerator, wash it, and eat it. Simple. For me recently, mornings are all about juice/blended juice, and then I have whole produce for lunch and dinner. A plate full of the freshest organic seasonal plants is great. Today for dinner, I had a white peach, a pear, a cucumber with the peels, celery stalks, and carrots. This is the most epic dinner ever! 

Cheers and here's to happy, healthy living!
♡ Claudia

Tuesday, August 21

Why Dairy Is Bad For You

We humans are not meant to drink the breast milk of any other animal. It cause so much harm to us. Their milk was meant for them; our milk was meant for us. Not only that, but it was meant for infants. That is why teens and adults can get really sick from dairy. The body just doesn't know what's going on. Read this; here is one of my favorite excerpts from Skinny Bitch (this entire book is a must read by the way):

"When a woman gives birth, her body produces milk and she nurses her child. Breast milk can grow an 8-pound newborn into a 24-pound toddler. Sounds pretty fattening, huh? It is. By design, it is intended to allow for the biggest growth spurt of a person’s entire life. Breast milk alone can accommodate for a 300 percent weight gain in a 12 month period. When her child is anywhere from 12 to 24 months old, a mother stops breast feeding. Her milk dries up. The child will never drink breast milk ever again.

Cows, like all mammals, are much the same. Their bodies produce milk only when they give birth. Contrary to popular belief, they do not need to be milked – ever. Their udders, like women’s breasts, exist even when there is no milk in them. There is one major difference, however. Cows’ milk, by design, grows a 90-pound calf into a 2,000-pound cow over the course of 2 years. It allows calves to double their birth weight in forty-seven days and leaves their four stomachs feeling full. Sounds even more fattening than human milk, right? It is. It should be. Cows are bigger than humans. And the inner workings of their bodies are completely different than ours, which they should be. They are cows. We are humans. Duh."
- Skinny Bitch

So there you have it. There is no reason at all to consume dairy (organic doesn't matter either). This includes: Milk, butter, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream. Do not eat them (unless it's your birthday and you want a cake; that's my weakness and I'm trying my best to get over it). I'm also reminded of The China Study, which is another great read and is mentioned in Forks Over Knives, that talks about how the consumption of animal products (meat, eggs, and dairy) makes our bodies too acidic and is linked to disease. In a nutshell, the people that ate it were sick with all sorts of things like cancer, heart disease, high cholesterol, obesity, brain diseases, osteoporosis, eye diseases, diabetes, etc.

"So where do I get my calcium from?" Dairy is one of the worst ways to get proper calcium, and that lie is  perpetuated by a billion-dollar industry trying to sell their product. Organic leafy greens and other plant sources are the way to go. That's what nature intended; even the cows and goats get their calcium from the greens they eat. Wonderful foods like kale, spinach, lettuce, collards, dill, rhubarb, broccoli, Swiss chard, sea vegetables, nuts, and seeds all have calcium that the body can easily absorb. Acidic dairy actually pulls calcium from the bones and makes them weak and brittle causing osteoporosis and other bone related diseases.

"What do I do about my morning cereal?" Well, stop eating it. I know it's hard because I was raised on cereal myself. It's pretty comforting and addicting, but I don't miss it at all. There's nothing better than starting the morning off right than with a big bowl of diary, wheat/rice, chemicals, and sugar. My recommendation is to go cold turkey and juice/blend juice in the mornings. Make it fresh, with organic seasonal produce. Right now for breakfast I'm blending carrot juice, water, chia seeds, cassia cinnamon, turmeric, dill, garlic from the clove, mushroom, watermelon with the seeds and rinds, and dandelion. I also have one organic brown egg every now and then with the blended juice (just make less juice that day), maybe 3 times a week. Of course there is a lot of debate about eggs, but I've found that it's a decent transitional food. Again, if you're feeling super awesome, just stick with the juice/blended juice. One can't go wrong with that.

Cheers and here's to happy, healthy living!
♡ Claudia

Monday, August 20

Tag - 100 Questions

An amusingly long tag from Wolf250.

100 Questions:
 
1: Put your iTunes on shuffle, give me the first 6 songs that pop up.
(I have Foobar2000)

Lady Gaga - Bad Kids
Air - The Way You Look Tonight
Lady Gaga - Judas
Air  - Don't Be Light - The Hacker Remix
Air - People In The City - Jack Lahana Remix
Monolake - Alpenrausch

2: If you could meet anyone on this earth, who would it be? 
Akihiko Yoshida, and I would ask him for an art lesson.

3: Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 23, give me line 17.
H&M Magazine Summer 2012. I know it's not a book, but that's what I'm reading and it was right next to me: "And while keeping one step ahead of the trends using street style blogs is a highlight of our daily routine, it also piles impossible pressure on stores to deliver more and more collections faster than they do already." That's a terribly consumeristic line. Boo to that.

4: What do you think about most?
Staying fit and what I'm going to create next.

5: What does your latest text message from someone else say?
I don't have texting.

6: Do you sleep with or without clothes on?
I would love to sleep naked but it's always too cold. I do in hotels though because I can blast the heat. Yeah!

7: What's your strangest talent?
Breaking bones! Bwah!

8: Finish: Girls are...
Fun!

9: Ever had a poem or song written about you?
Yes, and I have it framed.

10: When is the last time you played the air guitar?
Too long ago.

11: Do you have any strange phobias?
Yes, I answered this one already here.

12: Ever stuck a foreign object up your nose?

Yes! Scissors for those pesky nose hairs. Gotta keep that maintained.

13: What's your religion?
Oh that's a good question.

14: If you are outside, what are you most likely doing?
Walking down by the beach at sunset.

15: Do you prefer to be behind the camera or in front of it?
In front. Which that's going to be my next YouTube video. 

16: Simple but extremely complex. Favorite band?

The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Always and forever.

17: What was the last lie you told?
Wow, I can't remember. It's important to me to be honest. I really mean that.

18: Do you believe in karma?
That's a good question. I believe that we get what we put out there most of the times. So if you're kind to people, most likely they will return the kindness.

19: What does your URL mean?
I always just want to go by my real name, because it's easier to remember and then I can be associated with the things that I do.

20: What is your greatest weakness; your greatest strength?
Perfectionism. It's always great to do your best, but it wears you down too.

21: Who is your celebrity crush?
No crush, but I would love to hangout with Emma Watson or Keira Knightley. We could all be BBFs!

22: Have you ever gone skinny dipping?
No, maybe that's something that I should get around to doing. That seems like a bucket list type of thing.

23: How do you vent your anger?
By ranting to my loved ones. Oh yes.

24: Do you have a collection of anything?
Yes, a small collection of Zelda strategy guides. I'm trying to sell some of them now on Craigslist though.

25: Do you prefer talking on the phone or video chatting online?
Neither. I like talking in person.

26: Are you happy with the person you've become?
Oh wow, does that ever happen? I'm content, yes, but I've got an entire lifetime ahead of me. 

27: What's a sound you hate; sound you love?
Hate: Anything when I'm trying to fall asleep. Love: A familiar voice.

28: What's your biggest "what if"?
What if I decided not to go to university.

29: Do you believe in ghosts? How about aliens?
Ghosts, I don't know what I believe. I don't really think about it. Aliens, for sure. There has to be life out there.

30: Stick your right arm out; what do you touch first?

Sony Studio Monitor Headphones, for my audio editing.

31: Smell the air. What do you smell?

Nothing.

32: What's the worst place you have ever been to?
Silver Avenue, San Francisco.

33: Choose: East Coast or West Coast?
West, it's my home now.

34: Most attractive singer of your opposite gender?
Anthony still has it.

35: To you, what is the meaning of life?
Love and being loved.

36: Define Art.
Almost everything.

37: Do you believe in luck? 
Yes, especially with getting discovered.

38: What's the weather like right now?
Foggy in the mornings because of the ocean, mid 70's during the day, and a cool calm evening.

39: What time is it?
7:21am

40: Do you drive? If so, have you ever crashed?
No, I'm typically driven, but I can drive and just got my new license in the mail. California IDs have changed a lot. No, I never crashed my car, but I did fly over someones ditch and into their yard. It was because of ice and snow on a Michigan road.

41: What was the last book you read?
Eclipse.

42: Do you like the smell of gasoline?
Oh my! No! I'm quite spoiled by not being around cars too much. I want a Tesla soon too.

43: Do you have any nicknames?
Yes, Silly Rabbit.

44: What was the last movie you saw?
Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars.

45: What's the worst injury you've ever had?
Bwah! As I sit here with three broken toes, but no, the worst was a skateboarding accident that left me with a broken leg for six months.

46: Have you ever caught a butterfly?
Yes, we had a butterfly net when my sisters and I were children. Looking back on it now, that was a pretty cruel thing to do to them. I love to just observe now, and we have a lot of Monarchs in the garden.

47: Do you have any obsessions right now?
Yes, getting well again. I'm pretty focused on it.

48: What's your sexual orientation?
The usual.

49: Ever had a rumor spread about you?
Oh yes! Haven't we all. That's like a part of being human.

50: Do you believe in magic?
Life is magical.

51: Do you tend to hold grudges against people who have done you wrong?
They really have to do a lot for that to happen.

52: What is your astrological sign?
Virgo, the maiden.

53: Do you save money or spend it?
I pay bills.

54: What's the last thing you purchased?
Yummy produce at the farmer's market. I'm a bills and food type of girl. 

55: Love or lust?
Oh my! So much love!

56: In a relationship?
Of course.

57: How many relationships have you had?
I don't count most of them. Silly little flings.

58: Can you touch your nose with your tongue?
Nope.

59: Where were you yesterday?
At home and in the garden.

60: Is there anything pink within 10 feet of you?
Yes, CD cover art.  

61: Are you wearing socks right now?
No, I haven't since I broke my toes. That would hurt. 

62: What's your favorite animal?
That's hard, because I really don't have one. I like owls, rabbits, cats, giraffes, and of course unicorns.

63: What is your secret weapon to get someone to like you?
Secret? Oh no no, but that would be kindness. It goes along way. That, and listening.

64: Where is your friend?
What? At work or home?

65: Spit or swallow?
Oh goodness, really? That shall forever remain a mystery to most.

66: What is your heritage?
English on my father's side (Sutton is Old English for "Southern Settlement") with a tiny bit of Irish, and French on my mother's side.

67: What were you doing last night at 12AM?
Sleeping.

68: What do you think is Satan's last name?
Who wrote this?

69: Be honest. Ever gotten yourself off?
No. Never. Virgo, remember. Just kidding, or am I?

70: Are you the kind of friend you would want to have as a friend yourself?
Sure.

71: You are walking down the street on your way to work. There is a dog drowning in the canal on the side of the street. Your boss has told you if you are late one more time you get fired. What do you do?
Work? Really? I don't care one bit about work.

72: You are at the doctor's office and she has just informed you that you have approximately one month to live. A) Do you tell anyone/everyone you are going to die? B) What do you do with your remaining days? C) Would you be afraid?
A) Yes, they should know. B) Visit everyone I love. C) Matters how old I am. Today, yes. When I'm 120, no.
 
73: You can only have one of these things; trust or love.

For me they kinda go hand in hand.

74: What's a song that always makes you happy when you hear it?
Too many to list. "Moment for Life" is one that always makes me extremely happy.

75: What are the last four digits in your cell phone number?

Really? No.

76: In your opinion, what makes a great relationship?
Openness, honesty, laughter, compatibility, trust, etc.

77: How can I win your heart?
Again, who wrote this? Now it's obvious that I didn't read all of these questions before starting this.

78: Can insanity bring on more creativity?
Van Gogh was insane and he did just fine creatively.

79: What is the single best decision you have made in your life so far?
Moving to California. It was like opening up the floodgates for me. So many things in my life have been effected by that choice.

80: What size shoes do you wear?
Anything between a 6.5 to a 7.5. I've noticed that it usually depends on the type of shoe. Sandals and heels are typically smaller and boots are larger. Most of my shoes are Aldos and are size 7.5 (38) because they just started making half sizes. So I might be a 7 (37.5), but it's always best to error on the bigger end of the spectrum. Then at least they'll fit and there can be room for insoles.

81: What would you want to be written on your tombstone?
I want to be cremated and scattered about.

82: What is your favorite word?
"Indeed!"

83: Give me the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word; heart Kingdom?
Kingdom Hearts. I pretty much stopped playing those.

84: What is a saying you say a lot?
"I best be off."

85: What's the last song you listened to?
A Flock of Seagulls - I Ran (So Far Away)

86: Basic question; what's your favorite color/colors?
Green. Followed by white, then red.

87: What is your current desktop picture?
My drawing of Balthier.

88: If you could press a button and make anyone in the world instantaneously explode, who would it be?
Oh my! No! Why would anyone say yes to that?

89: What would be a question you'd be afraid to tell the truth on?
Something that jeopardized the safety of my friends or family.

90: One night you wake up because you heard a noise. You turn on the light to find that you are surrounded by MUMMIES. The mummies aren't really doing anything, they're just standing around your bed. What do you do?
Scream, then run. That seems like a realistic reaction.

91: You accidentally eat some radioactive vegetables. They were good, and what's even cooler is that they endow you with the super-power of your choice! What is that power?
I've always liked the concept of teleporting or bamfing.

92: You can re-live any point of time in your life. The time-span can only be a half-hour, though. What half-hour of your past would you like to experience again?
Oh there are too many happy times. How can I choose just one. Besides, perhaps my good memories are better left alone, just how they are.

93: You can erase any horrible experience from your past. What will it be?
Probably breaking bones.

94: You have the opportunity to sleep with the music-celebrity of your choice. Who would it be?
What? This question says more about the tag writer than me. I really don't think about such things.

95: You just got a free plane ticket to anywhere. You have to depart right now. Where are you gonna go?
To see my family in Michigan. 

96: Do you have any relatives in jail?
I don't believe so.

97: Have you ever thrown up in the car?
Wow, that's tough because I want to say "yes", when I was little. Like in a bag. But I really can't remember. That makes me sad that I can't remember!

98: Ever been on a plane?
Of course! Both commercial and the family plane. I want to go up in my Uncle's jet, but still haven't had the opportunity. That would be fantastic.

99: If the whole world were listening to you right now, what would you say?
Drink green juice. Just kidding. Probably something like the golden rule, which is timeless and has been passed on in different forms throughout history. I stand by that.

100. Tag a few friends.
Anyone that reads this! Tag!

Now it's your turn! All 100 questions.
~Claudia

Friday, August 17

I'm Trying to Get My Summer Back

So yeah... Summer is almost over and it didn't even stop and wait for me. Oh well, I guess there's always next year but I really didn't think that I would miss out on the entire season.

I picked this magazine up at my local H&M this week, and that was pretty much as eventful as my summer outings are concerned. The farmer's market, exercising, physical therapy, and seeing family were some of the only exceptions within the past months. I can't believe we only have one month left, and I thought that I would be well again by now. I had just forgotten how much time it takes, being that the last bone I broke was when I was a kid. The memories are not very potent.

The Summer 2012 Magazine is out. Pick one up for free at H&M. 

Fashion and makeup is a creative outlet for me, and every season is exciting because in a way it's like making history through one's look. Think back to your favorite decades and how much fashion and style influenced it. So I unfortunately can't relive summer 2012 because fashion and makeup trends are always in flux. That of which is something that I love mixing with my personal style. It's like a happy marriage of being on trend, and doing wait ever the hell you want. If that even makes sense.

So I will read my magazine, as I watch the last days of summer fade away. Do me a favor please, and tell me what you did this summer. What were some of your most grand adventures? Your stories will make me happy and put a smile on my face. Perhaps I can relive my summer through you.

Love Claudia xx

Thursday, August 16

I Just Finished Up Farscape


Farscape was just something that I popped in during the evenings, and before I knew it it was over. How did that happen so fast? Well that was one thing that I liked about it going in; four seasons and a movie (I don't plan on reading the comics because people have already filled me in) is pretty short in comparison to most shows. So I decided to make time for it finally and I'm glad I did.

It really was excellent, and I loved all of the characters so much because they're relatable and realistic. I even liked the bad guys and was always so forgiving if they changed for the better. Although, I would have to say that my favorite character was Aeryn Sun, not only because she's a fellow Claudia, but because I really liked her look, personality, and awesome accent. Strong females are always nice, and every main girl character on the show was brilliant in their own way.

I also enjoyed all of the puppetry, special effects makeup, and costumes too. It's definitely inspiring to see all of the hard work put into the traditional mediums. Whenever they used CG sometimes it would look a little dated or low budget, so the classic methods are much preferred and respected.

Lastly, the seasons seemed to blend together for me. I didn't even have a favorite because they all seemed like part of one long story. Sometimes series can get boring or have bad seasons that fans just disregard, but all of Farscape was great and very memorable.

Has anyone out there watched it? If so, what did you like and who was your favorite character?
♡ Claudia

Tuesday, August 14

Finally Got Around to Final Fantasy VI

 Kitty loves retro games!

Final Fantasy VI/III was one of those game that I never played as a child because our family didn't have a Super Nintendo. So I missed out on a lot of those old favorites that everyone raves about all of the time, and will never be as truly head over heels for anything on the platform because I'm not nostalgic for them like most are. Of course that's understandable though. That being said, a lot of my friends kept telling me that VI was something that I had to make time for because it was one of the best games on the system (it's Alvin's favorite too). Well now as an adult, I do have the system and cartridge so I wanted to dust it off and experience all of the awesome that everyone speaks of. Indeed, it's a great game and took me 62 hours to complete, and my characters ranged from a low level 38 to level 57.


So here are my thoughts about the game:

Pros

- This game is excellent and it still holds up. It took me a little while to get used to the controls and primitive art style (of course charming in it's own right), but after spending a few hours playing I was totally hooked by the compelling story and fantastic characters just like most Final Fantasies

- The concept art and art direction are very well done. I love Amano's work, so it was nice to finally play one of his titles. I tend to favor the more fantasy-esque FF's in comparison to their sci-fi counterparts.

- One can't go wrong with a traditional active turn-based battle system. As retro as this is, it's good classic gameplay that I never get bored of. I'm a sucker for leveling! Although getting attacked continuously when trying to explore is always a bit annoying. That's why I loved XII so much because it was easy to avoid enemies.

- My favorite characters were definitely the playboy King Edgar Roni Figaro, and the cunning thief Locke Cole. Both of which I gave the best gear. Edgar had the combo of the Atma Weapon, Excalibur, Genji Glove, and Offering making him uber-attach eight times in a row. Then Locke of course had the Sneak Ring and Thief Glove which made him a stealing fiend. Gogo and Sabin also accompanied them as my mains.

- I loved that this was a mature story in comparison to other titles in the series. It really seemed like the stakes were high and that the world was in some serious trouble. People died, although it was almost humorous at some parts because the pixel art is so cute that it made me giggle a bit because adorable pixel villagers were falling and flying everywhere. I know, that's terrible of me.

- The different battle scenarios were intriguing; like in the river and waterfall. Or when the party had to split up into groups to advance. That was clever, and fun to play.

- I enjoyed the cool set pieces such as the river, ghost train, fire, opera house, beach, etc. Each of which made the experience memorable and helped to keep the player entertained by switching things up. Most modern games don't even do that.

- The mid point threw me for a loop! I seriously thought that the game was over. So I went back to an older save to play more in the World of Balance before I continued on again.

- I liked how one could change the interface, and I customized mine to a teal green color. Heehee, I felt that it looked nice against all of the character art.

- It reminded me a bit of XII's story, which is good. Perhaps VI was an inspiration for it, but then again all FF's have similarities of course. Greed, corruption, power, magicite, and Espers all make for a great Final Fantasy. 

- The Vanish/Doom bug was awesome, and believe me I took full advantage of it when I didn't want to deal with an extra evil enemy. Such as the Intangir, that was the only way I could kill it before it ran away on me.

- Cyan's backstory about his family is really sad. Almost all of the characters have a tragic history and I couldn't even imagine going through something like that. Again, these dark themes are what really made me love this game. One feels so much for the characters.

- The Emperor's in-game sprite looks like a puppy with floppy ears! Doesn't he? I thought it was cute.

- I got all of Shadow's dreams (yes, I waited) and it was interesting to accidentally trigger story unintentionally. Little Easter eggs like that throughout the game made it super fun.

- The ending was great; I enjoyed finding my way through the tower and the crazy pixel art for some of the Big Bads were just incredible. I was very impressed by them. 


Cons

- Now I know that this is an old game so this doesn't even really count, but I was just dying for some of that beautiful Square CG. It would have be so nice to have some cutscenes like Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions in that amazing storybook type CG, except for maybe in Amano's style. Oh yes! I would love that.

- Again, this one's not a big deal either, but I found it humorous that names were shortened or spelled oddly because of space limitations. Like Phoenix Down being spelled Fenix Down. Heehee.

- The map is just awful in this game. There are no names and obstacles like mountains are not mapped out, so on foot it was difficult to navigate around. I know it's old school, but I'm so spoiled by decent in-game maps. Perhaps one is suppose to rely on the one that they give you in manual.  

- I wish that the airship was indicated in someway on the map, because I lost it countless times when I was adventuring around. A little dot, or something, marking it's location would have been great.

- The inventory in this game was a mess and I had a hard time sifting through all of my items to find stuff. Unfortunately I'm not a minimalist in-game and I always keep one of each item, so some type of search function would have made my life easier. 

- It was annoying to have to pick out all four characters again when changing a party. It would have been better if the current party stayed in the selection box, and then one can pick who they wanted to switch out, because it was very rare that I wanted to change more than one character at a time. 

- I was stuck forever on the ghost train, and it took me along time to figure out the puzzle. So that wore on me a bit, but looking back it wasn't too bad. It was a neat story element nonetheless.

- There was dog fighting in this game! Haha, I was surprised by that and I just found it to be kinda funny. Again, mature content mixed with cute art always makes me giggle. Look at the cute pixel puppies, they're fighting!

- Relm got under my skin, and I wasn't even into her fighting style either (no, painting wasn't fun; it was an odd concept). It was mostly because I didn't like how she spoke to her Grandpa. Yes, I know it was suppose to be funny, but she came off as really bratty and annoying. That didn't do anything for me.


I thoroughly enjoyed my experience with Final Fantasy VI and now I feel like I'm in the loop, because it's a good game to have under my belt. I highly recommend it to anyone out there, or maybe for some it's even time to play again. My friends were surprised by how much they had forgotten over the years when we conversed about it. So perhaps it would be like a whole new experience, and definitely worth replaying.

Happy gaming,
~Claudia

Thursday, August 9

How to Make: Beachy Sea Salt Hairspray

Claudia’s Corner videos are dedicated to topics
outside the realm of digital art.

How to Make: Beachy Sea Salt Hairspray

For more information, please read the YouTube info box.


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

---

Please let me know what you think and if you have any questions feel free to ask.

♡ Claudia

Wednesday, August 8

To Achieve Your Dreams Remember Your ABCs

This is a poster that Carla has in her home that I find completely inspiring. So I made her take a picture of it for me so that I could have it on hand at all times. These values are something that I try my very best to live by. Even letter A: Avoid negative sources, people, places, things, and habits makes a good point and is a great place to start. It personally gives me strength.

"We are our thoughts, we are the company we keep, we are a product of our environment, and we are what we eat." As most of you know these are sayings that I repeat over and over again because they're so true! 

I'm reminded of a very sad example that I believe I learned from one of the TEDtalks that I watched, which talked about gifted children and their not-so-gifted counterparts. Well apparently some scientists wanted to see if the children's intelligence was completely unique, or if it was really because of their wonderful classes, topnotch teachers, and of course uplifting compliments given by their fellow peers and professors. So the scientists switched the kids, without the teachers knowing. They put the gifted kids that were getting high marks in the lower-end classes, and then they put the children with the poor grades in the gifted classes. Sure enough, the results began to shift. The "intelligent" children started to struggle and fail, and vice versa, the "untalented" children began to achieve greatness.

So the lesson from this unfortunate experiment is that we are our thoughts and we start to evolve based on the people we are surrounded by. Every person deserves equal opportunities, but of course we cannot control all circumstances. However we can control some. Do you have habits that lift you up, or bring you down? Do you respect yourself and try your best to achieve your dreams? Do you surround yourself with like-minded people that inspire you, or are you hanging with the wrong crowd?

This also reminds me of a great story my friend once told me. He knows a confident man that lives his dreams by doing exactly what he wants to do, and just allows for circumstances to unfold by themselves. So this guy decided that he wanted to live in one of the most posh apartment complexes in San Francisco. He saved up all he could for one months' rent and moved in. "Dude! You're mad and you can't afford this," my friend told him. But he kindly explained to my friend that within one months' time he would be fine, because he would make friends with all of his neighbors. Why is that important? Well, because they could all afford to live in this expensive place, so associating with these like-minded people would help him succeed. Sure enough, one of his neighbors got him a job at their company and now it's all history. So if he didn't have the confidence to try, he would have never had the opportunity to succeed. Yes, we do choose the company we keep and others impact us more than we think, so we have to take responsibility for who we keep close.  

Cheers,
~Claudia

Thursday, August 2

The Dark Knight Rises is Excellent

This movie made me think, in a good way of course. It was one of those films that I thought about for hours after leaving the theater, and I actually preferred this one more so than the second film. Just the story mostly, and I love Anne Hathaway's Catwoman. I was surprised because a lot of people were complaining about her and the costume. I had no issues with it, and thought she did a great job. I always love her, and she brought her usual sophistication to the character. All though those heels were a bit much. Especially since I'm stilling dealing with heel-induced broken toes. I can't see how she gets around in something like that. Some dude must have insisted that she wear them. I did however think it was clever how when her mask flipped up it created little ear silhouettes. That was fun, but not too unrealistic.

Also, did you catch that Batman drinks green juice! Oh yes, I saw that and it made me happy. Well, he must take good care of himself to be fit like that, and isn't Christian Bale a vegetarian in real life? So drink your kale juice kids. Batman does it and so does Claudia.

Lastly, I had a hard time keeping the Aurora shooting out of my mind. As I sat there in the dark, I just imagined what it was like for those poor people. I found myself thinking about it multiple times, and that was one of the reasons it took me so long to go to see this film. The tragedy put a damper on it, and of course my heart goes out to all of the people affected by it.

Happy movie watching!
~Claudia

Wednesday, August 1

Eye Health and Perfect Vision: Care for them Naturally

Don't do what I'm doing right now, which is staring at this computer screen. Post completed! Done! But then I wouldn't have a blog anymore, and that would make me a sad girl. So enough of that, but yes, I kinda wasn't joking about the computer screen part.

Just like everything else in the body, the eyes are affected by our overall health and lifestyle choices. Yes, eyesight can be improved, but the eye doctors won't say that because they want patients back in the chair every year. Healthy people don't need doctors as often, if ever, and unfortunately making a profit is a big deal to the medical industry just like any other. The ideal patient is the one that keeps coming back.

Also, ever notice how the individuals that spend the most time outdoors often don't need glasses? But the people that work in offices, studios, or laboratories do? Almost everyone that spends the majority of their day indoors has a prescription. Interesting indeed.

Healthy vision has also been connected to choosing an ideal mate. In a recent dating study conduced by scientists, people without glasses were often chosen in a speed-dating scenario over their glasses-wearing counterparts. We're hardwired to want this, because we want a healthy partner. Beauty and health are one in the same. Sure glasses are cute and fashionable, but would one ever choose them over perfect vision?


What causes poor vision

- Staring at screens. This is taxing on the eyes because of the brightness of the monitors and the time spent literally staring at them. We tend not to blink as much when engrossed in something entertaining or even stressful. So this is problematic because it can put a lot of strain on the eyes.

- Only focusing on objects closeup. Our eyes are ideal for looking at things at long distances. This is just natural, and whether nature intended us to be prey or predators, our eyesight was crucial for survival. We're so detached from nature, rarely going outside, staring at paperwork, books, hobbies that require precision, and only focusing our eyes on objects close to us, therefore adapting to the situation at hand. Our long-distance eyesight becomes blurry, and we become nearsighted.    

- Lack of exercise. Just like any muscle, the eyes can become weakened by stagnation. This does not allow for proper oxygen to flow to the eyes, let alone the entire body. Insufficient movement of the body as a whole is the cause of a lot of issues. It truly is as simple as that.

- Wearing glasses/contacts too often. Now this info came straight from the eye doctor personally. Wearing glasses all day long coddles the eyes and makes them stay the same. If the prescription is worn all day long, no improvement can be made from strengthening them naturally. 

- Liver and gallbladder problems. If the eyes are cloudy or yellowed this could be caused by a poor diet, specifically too much bad fats from animal products. The liver is over burdened and is having issues releasing toxins properly. This is stress related as well. 

- Lack of sun. This can cause the eyes to become weak. Developing children are extremely susceptible to this because the lack of sun can cause the lens and retina to grow incorrectly causing nearsightedness. It's not necessarily about sunlight directed at the eyes specifically (so no sun gazing), but it's more about the overall wellness of the body and getting the necessary amount of sunlight to function properly. We're a product of our environment, and people that live in cloudy or foggy locations usually have more problems with this as well. It's fascinating, but sad, that this can be so problematic.

So now that we know that eyesight is related to our lifestyle, here are some things to help improve vision. Yes, it can happen!


Positive changes that can help vision

- Limit screen time. Okay, I'm going to be the first to admit that I need major improvement in this area. As a digital artist, blogger, and YouTuber I spend way too much time in front of the computer. So we can work on this together. Recently, I've been cracking down on only spending 30 minutes at a time in front of any screen (even films at home, take a bathroom break or something). Get up, walk around, stretch, get some water, tend to some random chores, etc. Just anything to take a break from sitting in front of a screen. 

- Focus on objects in the distance. Try to spend just as much time looking at distant things, without glasses or contacts. I've noticed that faraway objects appear clearer the more I do this, almost like my eyes are trying to adjust. This specifically happens outside when I'm out on walks.

- Start incorporating exercise into daily life. Get outside and walk, run, stretch, and play. The more oxygen we get via exercise the happier our muscles will be, eyes included.

- Only wear glasses when they're absolutely necessary. For me this is driving and watching movies. So the glasses/contacts stay in their case for most, if not all, of the day.

- Water fast. This did wonders for me, and I wasn't even expecting any vision results. I've heard that it could happen, but I wasn't sure if it would or if one fast was enough to help. I walked past the television on one of my fast days and noticed that I could read the captions on the screen. It wasn't crystal clear, but the fact that I could read it without glasses on had me in awe. So personally, I have seen results and this makes me want to try even harder. A lot of raw foodists have improved their vision and don't need glasses anymore because of the smart choices that they make in their daily lives. Water fasting is one of them, and it restores balance to one's life in so many ways. I highly recommend it.

- Get more sun. Sunlight improves our eyesight and so much more. We were meant to be outside under the sun. Bright outdoor light helps improve eye health by correcting the distances between the lens and the retina. So let there be light, and get outside!

That pretty much covers it, and just remember that everything is connected. 
Our vision is affected by our lifestyle choices, so I'm going outside now.

♡ Claudia

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