Monday, April 29

The Benefits of Raw Local Honey and Bee Pollen


 Lovely raw honey and bee pollen from my local farmer's market.

Ah! The simple things in life are always the best, and beautiful raw local honey and bee pollen are definitely amongst them. First off, honey is a simple sugar which means that the body can digest it better and it contains more nutrients than a sugar that has been overly processed. This completely contrasts something like everyday white cane sugar that's so processed that the body doesn't know how to handle it properly. It turns straight into fat, damages the skin, and causes serious inflammation. It's also highly addictive. Any white overly-processed food is a drug. This includes white cocaine processed from the coca plant, white sugar processed from sugar cane, and white flour processed from wheat.

Now most people would be very concerned about a cocaine addiction, but what about the others? It's pretty rare that you hear that someone is concerned about the sugar that they put on their cereal, or the cereal itself for that matter. Honey on the other hand is amazing. Perfectly made by little bees, this miracle sweetener is the way to go. Definitely replace all of your other sweeteners with it because it's unprocessed if it's raw, and full of enzymes, minerals, and proteins as well.

One should just be aware that, like with all sweeteners, it will raise your  blood glucose levels. All sugar does, so use it in moderation. Also, it's extremely important that it's raw, uncooked local honey. If the honey is processed, then what's the point? It needs to be the way nature intended it to be. That, and supporting local farmers that care for the bees and environment properly is so important. Everything is linked; when we do good for our bodies we most likely are making good sustainable choices all round.  

Then we have our fantastic bee pollen, which is just as amazing. Bee pollen, or also known as bee bread, is a mixture of pollen, honey, and nectar that a worker bee has collected. It's extremely good for the body, and is one of the best high protein foods. It also has lots of vitamins, enzymes, healthy fats, minerals, and amino acids. Which is really awesome because bee products in general have been known for loads of good things like prolonging lifespan, increasing energy, being good for the brain, and healing the body. 

Be warned about bee pollen though, because if you're allergic to bee stings then you cannot take it. People can also have allergic reactions to it because of the pollen, especially if one already has seasonal allergies. One has to heal first and strengthen the immune system before it can be taken. If you want to try it then do a test first by placing one granule under your tongue and see if you have a reaction. If you're good, then try three, then five, and eventually work your way up to a teaspoon. I personally don't have any problems with it. It tastes great, kinda like bland graham crackers, and I eat a teaspoon of it plain daily or put it in my smoothies in the mornings. 

Thank you bees!
~Claudia

Wednesday, April 24

Wearing Makeup Everyday Sucks

One thing that I've come to realize my first week of full time work is that wearing makeup everyday is just awful for the skin. In a week I've watched my skin and lips get extremely dry because of my new self-induced daily habit. I was shocked by this, because it's been so long that I've worn makeup everyday, and I had forgotten how much it affects the skin.

Most of my products are full of chemicals and it's apparent to me now how much they strip the skin, block pores, and chap lips. That, and the fact that it all has to be cleaned off at the end of the day leaving the skin looking dull and lusterless. It's better looking to go natural some days so that the skin can heal and breathe.

So I'm going to keep it to a minimum now, because it's just not worth it. Makeup's a fun artistic way to express oneself, but at what cost? Until I can replace more of my products with great natural organic options, like 100% Pure, I'm just going to save most of it for a special occasion.

Besides, it feels so good to be confident and love the natural you as well.
♡ Claudia

Tuesday, April 23

Vibram FiveFingers Rock My World!

I love my neon Vibram Spyridons

Talk about minimalism for shoes. I've been really wanting a pair of these ever since I first read about how great they were in Tim Ferriss' The 4-Hour Body, and learned how terrible shoes are. Not just high heels and flat sandals with hard insoles, but how bad most shoes are.

Read Tim's article here for more on Vibrams and foot health:

I'm loving these so far, and it's not taking me too long to adjust either. It's important to take it slow the first few weeks, because one has to learn how to walk properly and the phalanges most likely need to be realigned with the metatarsals. Also, the muscles and ligaments are weakened over decades of wearing traditional shoes, so it will feel kind of like being sore after a good workout. It's not the shoes though, it's the fact that the legs and feet are being properly strengthen again. Even I noticed some soreness in my lower legs and right calcaneus. Which I was surprised by because it's been two years now since I've been more cautious about not wearing socks and shoes as often, staying barefoot whenever I can.

I specifically picked out the Spyridon's because they have a thick sole, a nice cushioned heel, and are great for hard rocky terrain. I've read that some people were having issues with the thinner-soled versions on pavement and stone. So these seem to be perfect and I haven't had problems with blisters or anything like that. They're extremely comfortable and super flexible.

On another positive note, I did notice one of the toes that I broke last year that was giving me problems is not anymore. It's like it popped back into place the first time I wore these. It was incredible, and the stiffness is gone! I'm so happy that it's finally all better, and I wasn't expecting that to happen at all.

Lastly, it's neat that these shoes are partially made of coconut fibers which helps make them breathable. Unfortunately, I was told though by the store clerk that these will only last about two years, give or take. That made me a bit sad, because I love to keep my things for a long time. I hope that I can get a little more life out of them if I care for them well.

So if you do a ton of walking, want to heal your feet, or are trying to protect your
children or loved ones from the same fate, these shoes are definitely worth it.

Love Claudia xx

Thursday, April 18

Pink Grapefruit Avocado Salad Perfect for Springtime

The pretty pink and green colors are great for spring!

This fun meal is a favorite of mine for this time of year. The weather is getting warmer and that means that salads are all the rage. This particular one's great if you're really hungry, specifically because of the avocado. They're considered a healthy fat, but even healthy fats should be limited to an extent.

So this makes the perfect hardy salad for anyone that might be transitioning to raw foods and gets hungry easily because nutrients are not yet being absorbed properly and efficiently. Be the judge when it comes to making it for lunch or dinner. Remember, dinner should be the smallest meal of the day and eaten four hours before bed so that the body can properly digest before sleeping.


~~Makes two salads~~
(All produce is preferably organic and purchased from local farms)
A head of leaf lettuce
2 large pink grapefruits
1 large avocado
2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar
1 small tomato
2 teaspoons of pink grapefruit juice
A dash of fresh lemon pepper seasoning
A dash of course sea salt
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Start by breaking off one leaf of lettuce at a time and arrange a good amount around two large plates
Cut the pink grapefruit into slices, pith included, arrange it nicely over the lettuce, and save one slice for later
Peel the avocado, remove the pit, and slice it up equally, then arrange half on each plate
Slice the tomato up equally, and arrange half on each plate
Quickly pour about one tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar on each salad
Squeeze half of the juice from the pink grapefruit slice that was set aside on each salad
Grind a dash, which is roughly a half a teaspoon, of fresh lemon pepper seasoning on each salad
Grind a dash of course sea salt on each salad


Wonderful! This awesome salad doesn't take too long to make either. Maybe 10-15 minutes depending on if the ingredients are prewashed. It's a great way to get a mixture of salt, sugar, and fat in a healthy way.

Enjoy, and hurray for raw foods!
~Claudia

Monday, April 15

Paying Off Student Loan Debt is a Priority

Debt is no fun at all and it's something that I'm sure most of us struggle with. It doesn't have to be that way though, and throughout the years I've come to realize that. How can it be that simple? Well, there's a wise old saying that comes to mind, "Don't spend money that you don't have."

That's something that I apply to everything now. If I don't have the funds, I can simply live without it. Being a minimalist is awesome too, because being happy with the simple things in life is so rewarding. I've been living like this for ages it seems, but am still paying off debt from years past.

Going to a big university with amazing teachers in a large marvelous city was all I wanted at the time. It cost so much, and I paid the price. That's why I'm wary about giving young aspiring college-goers advice. Sure it was the experience of a lifetime, I would never trade it in for the world, but six-figure loan debt is a huge deal. For a lot of people, that kind of debt is just as life changing as the university experience. It's a heavy burden and can cause a lot of stress. Of course how one deals with stress is all a matter of choice, but back then I didn't know how to calm myself when faced with such issues.

So this year I'm going to really start focusing on it again. I'm inspired to do a lot of research about debt, money making, minimalism, etc. I also put a percentage of my progress here on the sidebar so that I can track my growth. Maybe it will inspire others in someway, or encourage me to keep going one dollar at a time.

It's been seven years now that I've been in debt, and it feels way too long. Perhaps this will be my lucky year, and it's time to get rid of it once and for all. From now on, I live by the quote mentioned above.

Cheers, and here's to being debt free. Check back for more finance-themed posts.
I'll definitely be focusing on that more.
~Claudia

Wednesday, April 10

Jon Troy Nickel - My 10 Steps to 3D Character Creation

Jon is an awesome guy and an amazing artist. He posted this yesterday and it blew my mind. Take a look:


Now that sure is something, and I really appreciate all of the effort he put into it. The fact that we have so many talented people online sharing their knowledge inspires me to no end. It's wonderful that we all can learn from each other and cooperate in such a way. Jon, again, you're truly an inspiration.

Also, check out his FFXII Fran Sculpt:

He's been hugely supportive of my Fran cosplay, as am I for his model. We'll both have to motivate each other to get them done! All in due time for sure.

Cheers,
~Claudia

Tuesday, April 9

How to Overcome Procrastination in 5 Steps

"Much of the stress that people feel doesn't come from having too much to do.
It comes from not finishing what they started." - David Allen

What exactly is procrastination anyway? Procrastination is when we hold off doing or finishing a brilliant idea, concept, plan, project, task, etc. There's always an excuse, or something else to finish first. Why do we do it? Well there's a reason for that, and it all comes down to these two things: Fear and laziness.

Fear
We are afraid of failure. Grand plans are just too overwhelming to even consider. Doubt starts to creep in, and then we start making excuses for why we can't/shouldn't do it or that it's too late to consider going through with our ideas. We avoid situations that we think are outside of our control. Our brains tells us that this is uncharted territory and we should reconsider. So it's safer to stay numb and comfortable. Never moving forward and only wishing along the way that it would be different.

Laziness
We all like convenience. Do we not? We want it now, but we don't want to work for it. Something might be too hard or outside one's comfort zone. So of course the brain talks us out of it. Running through a list of "what ifs" and warnings. So instead, we sit in front of the TV and convince ourselves that we'll start work tomorrow. Well tomorrow will never come my friend with that mindset. We have to change our thinking first.


Here's how to be more productive now:

1. Define worthy goals. We all know what we want deep down. We feel it in our hearts. Perhaps it's to lose weight, go on that dream vacation, write a book, complete that project, etc. Write it down so that you can see the goal daily, and even visualize what it would be like to have it. How great it would feel to complete the task or check off something on the bucket list. Focusing on the wonderful outcome instead of worrying about it will provide momentum to keep going when the going gets tough.   

2. Knowing and education. Seek out knowledge, tips, help, and solutions for your task. Find a teacher or a mentor if possible and learn what they know. Again, procrastination is mostly fear of the unknown. So educate yourself about the topic of your choice, and grow in that direction. The Internet is a brilliant tool that makes our lives so much easier. Get connected, and learn!

3. Make an outline and focus on one little step at a time. This is a huge deal, and is extremely useful. An outline is vital for overcoming fear and laziness, because one can focus on a single task at hand. This makes a large goal or project accessible because there's a clear path to the finish line. Dealing with small things one at a time will also give one the sense of progress and accomplishment. Which makes conquering the goal even more reasonable, thus convincing us that it's possible.  

4. Environment. Create an environment for you to get work done. Whether that's a space on the kitchen table, a home office, or going to the library to get some peace and quiet. If you continuously put yourself in the zone and retreat to that place of comfort, then work becomes that much easier. Also take note of what causes your procrastination. Is it a group of friends? Perhaps the TV is distracting? Is email always taking up way too much time? What are the reasons? Acknowledge them, and change them. Stop or cut back on whatever it is that's hindering your output. I'm sure that amazing goal is worth it. Also, surround yourself with loving people that will be accepting and encouraging of your new growth. They will always be there to lift you up, and offer support in hard times. 

5. Dealing with fear and laziness. So things are going great. Task by task the goal is being reached, but then a mistake is made or a workday is skipped and we lose our drive. What now? Beating ourselves up is not the solution. Instead, reflect upon why this happened, learn from it, make adjustments if necessary, and keep going. I for one know how hard it is to deal with perfectionism. It's something I've struggled with most of my life. Nothing's ever good enough, so why even try. It's much easier to put it off, and the idea's always better in my head anyway. Well, that may be true but let's face the facts, nothing's perfect. When we grow to except that there's beauty in imperfection, then we can finally breathe and continue on. Creating and achieving is always much better than not. Besides, the world needs whatever you have to give. Whether that's painting a picture, writing a book, being a better friend, or inspiring a person to become healthy by example, you will always be a positive role model for someone out there.  

So what have you been putting off? Perhaps today is the day to get on the right track.

Cheers, and here's to getting stuff done!
~Claudia

Monday, April 8

Springtime Banana Orange Blended Juice Recipe

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

Springtime Banana Orange Blended Juice Recipe

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

Tuesday, April 2

Look of the Month :: Spring 2013 :: April

So to wrap up Twilight in a nice creative way, I decided to do my month digital face chart on Bella's newborn vampire look from the beginning of the film. It's a beautiful, fresh look that's perfect for springtime, and doesn't require too much makeup. Also, I did my research for the look and found the products that Kristen Stewart's makeup artist used on her in the movie. So here they are:


Skincare
Skin was treated with Dr. Hauschka Moisturizing Day Cream in the morning and 
SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic and SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Masque at the end of the day.

Foundation
Primer: Laura Mercier Foundation Primer.
Chanel Vitalumière Moisture-Rich Radiance Fluid Makeup SPF 15 in Daphne (no longer available)
combined with Sensai Brightening Make-Up Base all over the face and neck.

Concealer
Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat in Luminous Ivory under the eyes. 

Powder
Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder was used to set the concealer under the eye, and 
T. LeClerc Loose Powder in Parme was applied all over to help 'whiten' the complexion. 

Eye Shadow
Laura Mercier Eye Basics in Wheat was applied to her eyelids to help keep the make-up on for long hours. 
Then Chanel Les 4 Ombres Quadra Eye Shadow in Variation was used to create a dramatic eye.
We also dabbed a bit of the white Chanel eye shadow in the corners of the eyes to help them pop. 

Eye Liner
Lancôme Le Stylo Waterproof in Noir was applied to the top lid. A combination of Chanel Les 4 Ombres Quadra Eye Shadow in Variation was used to line under the lower lashes. 

Brows
Anastasia Brow Powder Duo in Brunette. 

Mascara
Several coats of Dior Diorshow Waterproof in Black was applied to her lashes. 

False Lashes
Ardell Duralash Natural Knot Free in Short Black and Medium Black. 
Approximately seven lashes were used on each eye. 

Lips
Bobbi Brown Lip Liner in Nude (no longer available) was used all over her lips,
with Julie Hewett Cheekie in Destiny over the top.

Additional Information
A custom blend of make-up and moisturizer was used on her body to make it pale.


That being said, I will recreate this look with my kit because I don't have any of these products. It's always nice to look at them though, to see what colors and textures were used. Then it's easy to recreate it with anything that's similar. So get your vampire on! 

The current look is:
A P R I L  2 0 1 3


Color inspiration:
Alabaster, blood red, cobalt, black, and silver

Current motivation for the look:
 Newborn Vampire Bella Cullen


Previous Looks this Year:

J A N U A R Y  2 0 1 3

F E B R U A R Y  2 0 1 3

M A R C H  2 0 1 3

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

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