Monday, December 31

Five Ways to Make Sure You Keep Your New Year's Resolutions

This is a guest post from Jeremiah Brocka that writes about self-help, education, and addiction at Addiction Watch.

Every new year, people make resolutions to better themselves. Gyms and tracks are flooded with new members trying to lose weight, people take up new hobbies, etc. However, by the first stroke of March, the crowds have tapered off from all the cooking and dance classes, because people have given up their hopes of the New Year. How can you keep yours this year? Read on for 5 great tips for keeping that resolution.

Start Now
The longer you continue to do something, the more you are going to want and crave it. Now, that doesn't mean you must quit cigarettes cold turkey right this instant. However, make it easier on yourself for when New Year's Day rolls around. Limit yourself from a full pack to half a pack now, and then slowly cut down in the remaining days until New Years.

Set Realistic Goals
One of the reasons people fail at their resolutions is because they tend to create these tremendous goals. For example, individuals who drink too much say they are going to never have a sip of alcohol again once the ball comes down on midnight. For true alcoholics, this decision might be a necessary one. When it comes to people who simply need to cut back though, they might first aim to drink only on weekends and special occasions. As the months progress, they can decide to eliminate the weekends. Having small goals is often one of the best ways to achieve the overall goal.

Ask for Help
In some situations, it's going to be difficult to cut out the addiction by yourself. People who are addicted to drugs may need to seek the help of counselors if they simply cannot resolve the problem by themselves. Even those who have an addiction to food are often best served by a nutritionist who can tailor a diet plan that is specific to their particular needs. Of course, all help does not need to be of such a serious level. If your spouse goes for a run each morning and your resolution is to join him, tell him to make sure that he does not allow you to stay away.

Re-evaluating Goals
So you are now in the middle of March, and you realized that going to the gym every single day is not quite working. You have no time to clean the house, and you're simply beyond exhausted. You don't want to completely throw your goals to the curb, but something needs to change. Don't be afraid to re-evaluate your goals and to make a new plan. Certainly, you do not want to be changing things up every single week, but it's fine to make the decision to go to the gym every other day as opposed to every day.

Friday, December 14

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

I was sad when I returned to the parking lot after my experience in Middle-earth. I love that world so much and I didn't want to leave again. Not that I didn't have some minor issues with the film, but overall I loved this movie and was quite happy to see this franchise back on the silver screen. At the last minute I decided to see it in 24fps just like the first films. It was a hard choice, but I haven't quite adjusted to faster frame rates just yet. It doesn't feel right to me to view films that way, like it's live theater or something, and they seem to lose their charming cinematic feel. It was unfortunate to miss out on the 3D, but not on the headache. Reports are claiming that it's really bad and I personally have had issues myself with 3D in the past. I would have done the 3D if it wasn't for the 48fps though.

One aspect that I didn't enjoy, even though the overall experience was wonderful, is that I wish there was less CG and more practical effects. I miss the full body creature makeup because it seemed so much more real and tactile. This film is cluttered with CG, and that definitely takes away from the gritty realistic feel of the first trilogy. That, and the perfect hair of the dwarfs bothered me a little. Great character designs, but I don't know where they find the time to tend to their intricate hairstyles while out on adventures.

Another thing I wasn't into was the humor and speech of the goblins, trolls, and orcs. In comparison to the first trilogy, this was poorly done, making them seem more human with comic relief that wasn't necessary or really working. Something more guttural or hissy would have been preferable.

Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed it, recommend it, and will be there next year when the second one comes out. The art direction, costumes, lighting, and sets were once again a thing to behold and it made me nostalgic for my first time. Espically Rivendell and the elves which will always be my favorite.

Happy movie watching!

Thursday, December 13

Looking to Break into the Arts World? 5 Useful Degrees You Should Consider

This is a guest post from Walter James that writes about the arts, education, and more. His proudest piece is on the ten best degrees for intellectuals.

Are you anxious to begin your career in the dazzling world of art? If so, you have many options for a long, fulfilling career. However, just as with any industry, the path to your dream career can be filled with competition and hardships. You really need to understand the art world if you wish to be successful in it. The best way to do that is to become properly educated. You need to have the right degree if you want to enter a competitive master's program that will connect you to the job of your dreams. The following degrees are the best choices for anyone who wants to work in the art world.

1) Applied Arts
If you want to be an artist, then you probably already have a good degree of talent. However, you will be taught to hone in on your abilities in art school. An applied arts program will give you the chance to expand your horizons and technique. Plus, you will be given the opportunity to work with new mediums. You cannot expect to become a great artist if you are not properly trained. Plus, a degree is the best option for people who want to become teachers or art dealers in addition to owning a studio.

2) Art History
Art History is a must for anyone who wants to work in the art world. However, it is the best degree for someone who wants to work in a museum or gallery. You need to know specific dates, styles, and artistic movements if you are going to be a professional. A degree of this nature can be broad or specific depending on the student's interests. Many Art History degrees also give lessons in curatorial management as well. An Art History degree is a must for someone who loves art, and wished to pursue it as a career.

3) Business
Business may seem like an odd choice for someone who wants to work in the art world. In truth, it is actually a great way for people to learn how to run a gallery or auction house. A Business degree combined with a focus in the arts is probably the most useful degree one could attain from an undergrad degree. It will prepare you for graduate work, or make you ready for a job in a prestigious firm such as Sotheby's or Christie's.

4) Graphic Design
Graphic design is the best major for the modern artist. You will be taught the best ways to produce work with digital media. You can then go on to a master's degree or work in an advertising firm. A graphic design degree is probably the most relevant and useful in today's world.

5) Classical Studies
Classical Studies is a focus on ancient culture, history, and art. This degree is ideal for someone who wishes to specialize in Greek and Roman art or architecture in graduate school. It is a unique degree that will stand out when applying to graduate schools.

Wednesday, December 12

Experience vs. Education - What Do You Need to Make it as an Artist?

This is a guest post from Walter James that writes about the arts, education, and career development. Recently, he has written a series of pieces on how to find the best online colleges for liberal arts degrees.

Art is a field into which many decide to venture, and it's quite broad. From painters and sculptors to writers and actors, art is really ever expanding. Some will say that a degree in an artistic field is useless, and they are quite incorrect. However, experience is a necessary factor of the equation as well. Since both experience and education are generally necessary components to succeeding in this field, what needs to be taken into consideration to determine the best path for yourself?

Current Success
Sometimes, education might fall to the wayside if you are already quite successful in the field. Perhaps you wrote an excellent novel right after high school, and now this work of art is bringing you in a sizable amount of money. In this scenario, obtaining a college degree might not be too useful if you continue to work as a novelist. However, if you wish to start teaching at a public high school, receiving an education degree is likely necessary.

Specific Plans
The difference between experience and education comes more into play when you start to discuss your specific plans for the future. For example, maybe you are more of a behind-the-scenes type of person and wish to work as a stagehand. In this case, a trade school, coupled with plenty of experience working with the stage crew on local and high school productions, will likely be the better route than a traditional college degree. Discussing your specific goals with an academic adviser will help to paint a better picture of the route you should take.

Making Contacts
In any field, knowing powerful and reputable individuals is one of the pathways to success. However, this truth becomes even more relevant in the arts, which is an extremely difficult business to break into. When it comes to making contacts, both experience and education are very important. Clearly, if you are working on local or even state productions, then you are meeting with individuals in the field. In receiving a formal education, you can make contacts with professors, peers, advisers and professionals at your internships.

Backup Plans
To truly make it as an artist, you're likely going to need some money to support you while embarking on artistic adventures. Remember, some gigs might be unpaid at first. Obtaining experience does not always guarantee a paycheck at the end of the production or writing a novel. Therefore, attending college is a smart idea, especially if you decide to double major. Having another field of study in which you can engage can help to pay the bills while you are busy dabbling in the wonderful world of the arts.

When you are deciding whether to jump right into job experiences or head off to college, the most important factors to consider are your ultimate goals. Once you have clearly defined that goal, find out what the requirements are for such a position. This way, you'll truly know what type of experience and/or education you must have to secure this job. Also, consider your other goals - do you want to have kids soon? Do you want to have money so that you can travel? Consider these options when deciding whether to obtain a credential or simply go for the gold first.

Tuesday, December 11

Break the Addiction to Lip Balm and Cure Chapped Lips

I know what you're thinking, "Not my precious ChapStick! It's my favorite, and it works. I swear!" Well it doesn't do any good, and if anything, it keeps lips chapped. Here's why:

Most lip balms are made of mineral oil, which is a by-product of the distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline. This toxic oil coats the lips making them seem smooth, but in actuality it's like a layer of plastic on the lips/skin which prevents it from breathing. Natural moisturizing cannot occur, making chapped lips worst by drying them out even more. Using Petroleum Jelly is just as bad.

Then there's the issue of artificial colors and flavors that do the same thing. They make matters worst and are most likely made with fragrance or synthetic dyes that cause cancer, damage the immune system, and cause brain issues. The same can be said for any food or cosmetic that contains these ingredients.


Here are some real ways to combat chapped lips:

- Stop licking lips. Human saliva drys out the lips and leaves it exposed to dry air. So try to break the habit of licking lips. It doesn't help matters if one is wearing a tasty artificially-favored gloss that promotes licking. 

- Drink more water. Chapped lips occur mostly in the cold autumn and winter months when air is dry from heaters and fireplaces. This means dehydration is most likely a factor. Make sure to get plenty of water, not only from drinking, but from fruits and veggies with a high water content as well.

- Go for the greens. To keep lips/skin from drying out, make sure to eat loads of awesome dark greens. Broccoli, spinach, lettuce, and dandelion are particularly rich in vitamin A which encourages cell turnover, deters dryness, and helps keep the skin supple. I have a great example of this, because it seems like I was immune to dry lips all season and then I went out and ate some crappy food at a restaurant. The next morning, no joke, my lips were all chapped and cracked open down the center. All because of poor food choices! Let your food be your medicine, even for chapped lips.

- Get some sun. Again, this isn't a coincidence that chapped lips happen more in the overcast months of the year. Some time in the sun helps heal dry skin and eczema, and the same goes with lips because of the much needed vitamin D. Perhaps it's time to book that dreamy vacation in sunny paradise.

- Exfoliate in the shower. This helps so much, and I wish I would have learned about it sooner! The skin on our lips is practically the same as the skin on our body. If in need, a good exfoliation works wonders. I find that this is easiest in the shower after the lips are dampened by water. Just take a soft wash cloth and gently buff dry skin off in a circular motion. This will be an instant improvement, and it's now a part of my normal routine year-round to help keep chapped lips at bay.

- When in doubt go without. The body knows what it's doing and it wants to heal itself. We just have to be kind to it, and stop getting in the way. If you want to take the natural approach to healing it faster, try applying jojoba oil (recommendation because it's a light oil and similar to the skins own sebum), olive oil, or coconut oil. This is especially helpful right after a shower or bath because water strips the skin of moisture.

Good luck, keep at it, and it will improve. Promise.
♡ Claudia

Monday, December 10

Heal Your Face by Markus Rothkranz

Heal Your Face was actually how I discovered Markus' work and I'm so glad I did because it has changed my life for the better. I just stubble upon an interview one day and knew that I had to read the book, and keep in contact with Markus (he's great by the way, and so kind). To my surprise he had loads of other content, so I didn't want to start with this one first. Heal Yourself 101 is a must read before Heal Your Face because it goes hand and hand with what he talks about in it.

They're both so profound and I've learned a ton of new things, some of which I already implemented in my daily routine. Also, I look at others and myself differently now. It's fascinating how the face can tell so much. Here's some of the things I've changed already:

Lots of Seaweed - The one thing that Markus recommends to take away from the book above all else is to eat more seaweed because it helps with just about everything. I started blending some fresh seaweed into my morning juices and I started eating more with lunch as well. It's going to be a new Claudia staple. 

Papaya - Helps the liver and has loads of vitamin C, which is great for the skin. Sadly I had never tried one before, and I wanted to change that. So I got one, and blended it too. I was surprised by its smell and taste though. It was more bland than I imagined and had a soft musky aroma. Nevertheless, it's something that I'll eat now from time to time, keeping it in my rotation of fruits. 

Cut Back on Hot Liquids - This one surprised me, but it makes sense. It's not natural to drink hot things and it should be kept at a minimum. I never drank super hot liquids anyway because I knew that that can damage the throat and cause cancer, but now I'm going to limit it further and let my teasanes cool down more. What happens is that the body thinks it has a fever and increases the white blood cell count, we get a little high from it (that's why hot liquids are so comforting), but then over time it can wear on the body if it happens too often. Fascinating indeed that something so minor could be a big deal. 

Spend Time in a Dry Sauna - Saunas in general are great because they're so relaxing and can even burn fat after 30 minutes. I'm so fortunate to have one of these, so I have no excuses and I love going because it feels so good. I can pair 10-15 minutes of sauna time with exercising to get a full hours worth of sweating. It cannot be a wet sauna though, because the chlorine in the water is not so good.

Broccoli - Helps fight sugar additions! I never knew this and is a must for when I can't help my sugar cravings. This usually happens after birthdays or holidays, when I have problems giving it up again.

Onions - I never knew how epic onions are either. Like super epic, good for practically everything, and help keep the body young. So I need to find a way to eat more onions. I blend garlic in my juice, so why not start doing onions too. Haha, nobody is going to partake in my blended juices with me anymore because they're getting too scary and hardcore. Seaweed, garlic, and onion smoothies. Yum! Does the body good.

It's a must read. Get it here:

"Unhappy with your face? Your body is trying to tell you something. Every line, wrinkle, spot, mole, and crease means something. They did NOT just randomly show up on your face. Every part of your face is connected to an organ or body part. If that body part is not functioning properly, it will show up on your face. No amount of cream will change that. If you want to improve your face, you must improve your health. And lucky for you - your face tells you exactly what's wrong with you. Forget plastic surgery - you can do it yourself. After reading this book, you will never look at people (or yourself) the same way again. You will instantly be able to tell what issues they have. And they will wonder why you now look 20 years younger!"

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

Thursday, December 6

Vegan Brownies Perfect for the Holidays

 Oh the delicious decadence!

I don't know about you, but this time of year is the hardest on me as far as diet is concerned. For the most part my good habits go out the window, because the nostalgia kicks in and I want to partake in all of the yummy sweet holiday treats that I enjoyed as a child. Every year I tell myself to behave, and every year it doesn't happen. It's very hard to fight.

So if a little cheating is inevitable for the holidays, try this amazing brownie recipe (can be made vegan with a few tweaks). My friend made them for a party and I had to ask for the recipe because it was so good.


~~Makes about 24 brownies~~
(All ingredients are preferably organic)
1 (16 ounce) jar of creamy raw almond butter
2 eggs
1 cup of raw honey
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of cacao powder
1/2 teaspoon of Celtic sea salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 cup of dark chocolate chips

Optional
1 cup of raw walnuts
1 cup of raisins

Vegan Egg Substitutions
1 egg = 1 flaxseed mixture*
or
1 egg = 1/3 cup applesauce

* 1 tablespoon of flaxseed meal mixed with 3 tablespoons of hot water. 
Let mixture sit for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally, until it gets gooey like an egg
---
In a large bowl, blend almond butter until smooth
Blend in eggs, then the honey and vanilla
Blend in cacao, salt and baking soda, then fold in chocolate chips
Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish or cupcake pan with coconut oil
Pour batter into dish
Bake at 325° for 30-35 minutes


There you have it! We enjoyed the vegan variety and they were heavenly. No gluten and no dairy for the win! I'm not claiming these are healthy whatsoever, they're just a happy middle ground. It's a treat without most of the really harmful ingredients like chemicals, dairy, flour, peanuts, white sugar, and processed oils.

Make it for your loved ones this holiday season.
~Claudia

Wednesday, December 5

Look of the Month :: Winter 2012 :: December

I absolutely love this time of year. Who doesn't! I'm getting excited to travel to snow-covered lands and gather with loved ones to celebrate the holidays. It's getting so cold out, but nothing compares to a good snowfall, and I'm hoping to have a white Christmas this year. That would just be splendid. So of course to complement that completely, here's a rich vampy party look for the end of the year. Dark oxbloods are still all the rage, so don't be nervous to play up both eyes and lips this season. It's rare that one can, so go for it and have fun.            

The current look is:
D E C E M B E R  2 0 1 2


Color trends for this month:
Oxblood, crimson red, cream, black, and antique gold

Current motivation for the look:
 The end of the year, nighttime, and holiday parties


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

A U G U S T  2 0 1 2

S E P T E M B E R  2 0 1 2

O C T O B E R  2 0 1 2

N O V E M B E R  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

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