Monday, December 16, 2013

Modest Christmas Dresses 2013

I don't have any links for these, but Googling the brand or supplier will get you to the site just as quick. All of the dresses here are under $100, and most are under $50. I've also included the body type best paired with the dress cut. Merry Christmas and look fabulous!

North Style

For a Pear body type

For a Pear or Hourglass body type

For an Apple body type

JC Penny

For all body types

For all body types

For a Pear body type


For Apple body types

For Hourglass body types

For all body types

Monday, November 25, 2013

Outfit Pictures - purple skinnies

What I'm wearing:
  • Navy Blue Knit Slouchy Cardigan (Plato's Closet, $6)
  • White V-neck t-shirt (Walmart, $5)
  • Plum Purple Skinny jeans (Walmart, $3)
  • White lace-up winter boots (Saver's, $12)
  • Vintage "gold" metal bow tie necklace (Plato's Closet, $3)
  • "gold" hoop earrings (Mom's)
My hair looks so light in the sun! In reality it's very very dark brown
Blogger insists on posting pictures sideways. Don't hurt your neck.

My favorite necklace, currently.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Favorite Nail Polish Colors

 I must admit, I'm not really a "girly girl" when it comes to little things like manicures and facials, but they can be a lot of fun. My color preference has changed throughout the years, but for now, these are my favorites.
 My style: rich colors or neutrals.

  • L.A. Colors, Color Craze, BCC 557 (sparkly clear)
  • Savvy Nail Lacquer, French Cafe' 627226
  • Sally Hansen, Nailgrowth Miracle, Precious Pearl 140
  • Wet 'n Wild, Wild Shine, 412A (shimmery cranberry)
I especially like subtle, iridescent colors or finishes because it doesn't draw too much attention to my hands, or make my nails look heavy (I keep them relatively short, too). Also, I tend to chip my nail polish a lot, because I work with my hands constantly, so with a barely-there sheen, I don't have to worry about looking tacky or unkempt.  

What I'd really like to try is Covergirl Colorlast in a red color. Reviews state that it lasts without chipping for 7 days. In my case, it would probably two days, which would be a milestone in my experience.
What are your favorite colors or nail styles? Which ones would you like to try?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Annoying Things Christian Girls Do

1. Gossip through the guise of prayer requests. "Well, I just need to know how to pray for her... tell me every juicy detail!" - If you really cared, you'd become part of her life and get to know her - trying to encourage her in her Christian walk, or evangelize to her.

2. Compare themselves to other girls to feel more godly. "I know I'm not perfect, but at least I'm not like her." - Contrast yourself to the perfect image of Christ. It'll take your breath away!

3. Complain (aka: brag) about how many guys like/flirt with them. "I can't believe that three guys were staring at me during church. I mean, can't they help themselves?" - Get over yourself. Seriously.

4. Constantly proclaim how happy and content they are being single. "I just feel like I don't need a guy to be happy! I'm good enough on my own." - Oh really? Well I'm glad you cleared that up... again. I was beginning to think the opposite. Go ahead and tell me one more time that you're not desperate. (sarcasm overload)

5. Sing worship songs really, really loud. "PRAAAAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOOOOOWWWW!" - Maybe I'm the only one who thinks this way, but why does every girl nowadays think she's a singer? Even if you have a good voice, be considerate of those around you.

6. Put way too much time into dressing up for church. "Just trying to look my best for Jesus... and everyone else." - Jesus sees you all the time sweetheart, and He's more interested in how your heart looks.

7. Talk about what a godly wife they want to be someday, but don't have a problem disrespecting their father, or other male authorities in their life. "Every morning I'll cook him breakfast, and pray with him, and... what the heck, dad, I'll come when I'm ready!" - I hope I don't have to explain why this is contradictory.

8. Caption Bible verses on selfies. "Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." - Yeah, I like that verse too, but I was preoccupied with your overly edited face. But maybe you planned it that way.

 Disclaimer: I don't mean to be overly negative. Not all Christian girls do these things! And I'll have to admit, I'm guilty of some of these too. (for SHAME, Michaela)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Why I HATE being flirted with

 I respect myself.
I don't think I'm the best thing that happened to society, or that I'm even a terribly significant person, but however obscure or replaceable I may be, I respect myself.
 Not only do I respect myself, I respect others. But most of all, I respect God. I respect that He created me in His perfect image, and since I am His redeemed child, that makes my body His temple.
 I am a person. I am valuable. I am intelligent. I am confident and independent. I am worth fighting for.
 That's why I hate - yes, hate - when guys decide that I'm physically pleasing enough to hit on, ignoring my other qualities, because they haven't taken the time to get to know me. And frankly, I don't think many would put the effort into starting a candid conversation; a conversation as one would expect to hear from two intelligent human beings, speaking about legitimate matters that apply to real life.
 Think about it - any girl who has an adequate amount of confidence in her own being will not feel complimented by being objectified by the opposite gender. To me, flirting conveys this: "You aren't worth enough to me to take up the time it would take to pursue your heart (but I don't give a d*mn about your heart, it's your body I'm after) so I'm going to see if you're stupid enough to buy into the act, so that I can get what I want for as little as possible." Why buy the cow when the milk is free? That implies that I'm for sale. News flash: I'm not!

 If flirting is a game, does that make me a toy? Because I'm not okay with that!

 Men: If you're worried that you'll never be noticed by women if you don't put yourself out there and flash a few toothy grins, that communicates that you have nothing better to give. If shallow charm is your only attractive quality, you might consider developing a little bit of character! (Which is, after all, a good things to have in life, in general.)
 Also, if the girls you hang out with only seem attracted to fast words and a dashing physique, don't walk, run! Girls like boys, but women like men.
 Some of the most attractive men I have ever set eyes on have been doing such "menial" tasks as carrying groceries, taking out the garbage, or babysitting. If you want to be simply irresistible, offer to hold a baby for a frazzled mother. Want a tip to drive us ladies crazy? Be kind to those who are slovenly, annoying, and unlovely. THE MOST attractive traits you could cultivate are these: respect, service, integrity (honesty), vision, and confidence.  Anything less, and my head will not turn in your direction.

 So if you want to be Prince Charming and win her heart, you had better man up. If you want me - or any other woman worth winning - it'll take a lot of courage, a lot of time, and a lot of respect. First, you'll have to talk to her father, guardian, or pastor. My dad is 6' and built like a tank. Did I mention he pumps iron and owns several rifles? He's rather protective, so he'll most likely grill you for an hour at least about your personal beliefs, past relationships, plan for the future, and how you feel about marriage and children. If you pass that test, don't expect things to get easier. Then you have to measure up to my standards. As you may have guessed, they're rather lofty, but not unrealistic. I don't expect a perfect man. After all, we all have flaws. I don't expect a hunk with perfect teeth and a successful career. I don't need flowers or candle-lit dinners. I'm not interested in money or gifts, or promises of a comfortable future. Indeed, those things are much more easily attained than integrity and godly morals.

 I know, this is a rant, but I believe that I'm allowed to be frustrated and feel insulted when I'm viewed as an object for someone else's fleeting visual enjoyment.

 My message to women: respect yourself. set boundaries.

 My message to men: respect us. reinforce boundaries.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Feminine, not Girly - plus a CD Review

I am feminine:
I can clean the house top to bottom without chipping a nail; I change diapers, rock-a-bye little children, and kiss "boo-boos." I wear dresses and denim skirts, simply because I can. I could counsel you on what hair care product to use, and what makeup looks best with your skin tone. A sewing machine has the place of honor in my room. I can bake a cherry pie from scratch, and mix my own spices. I can wash, dry, fold, and iron clothes like nobody's business! My hair is waist-length, and I can twist in into a bun in 5 seconds. I drink tea while I write poetry. I knit hats and scarves for my siblings. I love painting pretty pictures, and I wear polka-dots. I know how to walk in heels, and sit in a pencil skirt, and how to mend nylons. I can find the best deals on groceries. I rarely raise my voice, and say "please," and "thank you." My elders go by "sir," and "ma'am." My closet is overflowing with clothes and shoes. There's no doubt about it - I'm feminine.

I am NOT girly:
I not afraid of spiders and snakes. I can change the tires on my car, and know how to check the oil. I go running in the rain... barefoot. I listen to Christian rap, and jam out in our family van. I have a hunting license. Sometimes I use a bar of soap instead of shampoo. Makeup is an inconvenience. I burp when no one is listening. Giggling and talking about boys isn't my thing. I'm not afraid to work hard, get my clothes dirty, and lift heavy things. I can't remember the last time I've curled/straightened my hair. I go rock climbing, caving, and running. I helped my dad roof our house. I can lift 50lb bags and carry it on my shoulder. I'm less sensitive and dramatic than most guys I know. I can stand up for myself. I've gone weeks without shaving my legs (in the winter, when I wear pants). I know how to use a power drill. I always buy clothes at thrift shops, and accept hand-me-downs. I watch murder mysteries, but never soap operas. Big girls don't cry. It's pretty obvious - I'm NOT girly.

Ladies, are you confusing God's beautiful design of femininity, with the world's idea of "girly-ness?" Strive to be Women - not girls - tender and compassionate, yet strong and capable. Put away childish things, such as gossip, impurity, and self-centeredness. And don't confuse being feminine with being a feminist, which holds the opposite view of Scripture.

Still confused, or want to learn more? Check out Elizabeth and Anna Sophia Botkin's CD "Adventurous Femininity - when being 'girly' is not enough"

Monday, September 23, 2013

3 Outfit Collages

What I'm wearing - casual church outfit
Green/white checkered button-up with ruffles
Wine-colored corduroy pants
Brown flats
Green gem earrings
Hair - half up, half down
makeup - foundation, mascara, lip shimmer

What I'm wearing - work outfit
Light teel t-shirt
Medium-wash cuffed jeans
Pink Converse
Printed scarf
Pink purse
Green gem earrings, star earring in cartilage
Hair - half up bouffant, half down
Makeup - cover up, foundation, black liner, mascara
(my little curly-top sister in the background)

What I'm wearing - church outfit
Sage green tank top
Sage green cardigan
Green/off-white damask skirt
Tan sequined wedge heels
"Gold" hoop earrings
Hair - twist
Makeup - foundation, highlighter, brown liner, mascara

Sunday, September 22, 2013

"This is love," lyrics by me

Christ set the standard for love: dying to self so that
others might know life.
This is where easy ends
This is where sacrifice begins
This is where my heart bends
This is where my life caves in

This is how dreams are ruined
This is how chains are made
This is what love is doing
This is what kills my hate

This is not what you've been told
About how love behaves
They tell you satisfy your soul
But I say true love waits

And it's hard, and it hurts
And it sets you up to fall
But it's good, and it heals
And it will save you after all

This is where evil loses
This is where righteousness wins
This is where cuts and bruises
Are all worth it in the end

This is where I go last
This is where you go first
This is where I would fast
For you to satisfy your thirst

This is how rejection comes
To those who open their heart
This is why tears may run
When you don't get what you give out

This is love, this is truth
I gave my life for you
It is all in what I do
That made me living proof

Oh, before you loved me
This my love, I gave to you"
(written by Michaela Danielle)

"This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." - 1 John 4:10

Friday, September 13, 2013

Review - VegaSport sugar free Energizer

I like the berry flavor better than
the lemon-lime flavor
 A little over a year ago I took up running again, and have been running at least once every week since then. Working within my busy schedule, I usually get up at 6 to run 3-4 miles (I'm a distance runner, not speed), and even though I'm thoroughly awake by the time I finish my workout, I sometimes find it hard to work up the energy for an optimal running experience. I stay away from energy drinks at all costs, and rarely drink coffee. Eating healthfully and drinking lots of water and tea gives me more than enough energy to complete my day, but I needed an extra boost in the morning.
 I was aware of several great work-out energizers, but didn't want to load my body with sugar first thing in the morning. I looked up VegaSport, but couldn't justify all the sugar their products have, even though it is natural sugar, and their formulas were the best I had seen. That's why I was so happy when I saw that they had come out with a stevia-sweetened energy powder that was only 5 calories per packet, and mixed easily in water. This morning I got up at my usual time, but had trouble motivating myself to really take off. I mixed the Acai Berry flavor into 6 oz of filtered water and gulped it down. It did have a slightly mineral taste, but was surprisingly tasty compared to most I had tried. I stretched, put on my running shoes, and took off! Our house is half way up on two mile hill that can be pretty steep at times, and I decided to take my usual route - "up and around." I literally sprinted one mile uphill! I felt great! I didn't have time for my usual 3 1/2 miles because I worked extra early, so I did 2, but instead of getting a drop in my energy levels, I kept my energy up all day.
 I appreciate that it doesn't give me a "buzz" or an energy "serge," but helps me keep my stamina and concentration. I'm also caffeine sensitive, and this didn't bother me, so I'm happy about that too!

 My rating: 5 out of 5 stars!

 Note: I've been conditioning my leg muscles for a while, so this supplement only gave me the energy and stamina. It didn't make me suddenly fit, or pump me up.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

DIY Facial Masque Recipe - soothing, cleansing, brightening

There are so many topical body products for women - toners, moisturizers, scrubs, primers, lotions, and more. I've thrown in the towel on trying to keep up! For one thing, they're usually very expensive, or they are filled with harmful chemicals and skin-irritants. But even the top-end brands may contain parabens and synthetic minerals. To save myself the headache of checking labels, looking up words like stearamidopropyl dimethylamine, and rearranging my budget to fit my beauty wishes, I like to make many of my own beauty products out of all-natural and simple ingredients.
 I've been making and using a wonderful cleansing mask I can make using [high-quality] kitchen ingredients.
 In a small dish or saucer, pour 1/2 tsp Aluminum-free Baking Soda and 1/2 tsp raw honey. That's it! (measurements are 1:1 ratio) Then stir together with a toothpick until it looks thick and milky. Apply to your clean, makeup and dirt free face, and smear it all around with your fingers! It will feel funny at first, but I've come to really enjoy it. Let it sit for 10 minutes, or however long you feel comfortable with, but no more than 20 minutes. Rinse your face with warm water and spritz with some organic rose water for an extra radiant feel and look.
 The raw, preferably organic honey soothes the skin and opens up the pores. Because it hasn't been heated and treated, it has every original nutrient and benefit that it is meant to have! And I always try to use organic when putting anything on or in my body. It will find its way to your blood stream either way!
 The aluminum-free baking soda pulls toxins out of your skin and flakes away dead skin cells, thus giving your face a bright, fresh look. Be sure to use aluminum-free, as aluminum is a soft metal that is toxic and irritating to the human body.
Bob's Red Mill (left) and Y.S
Organic Bee Farm (right)
 Refrain from using this masque too often - your body needs time to regenerate - but it really is gentle enough to use even on the most sensitive skin (although I wouldn't recommend it for a young child or baby).  I can usually tell right away if a product is abrasive, or has chemicals in it, because my skin is
so sensitive, and I use this scrub maybe once a month or more to detox the epidermis.
 So put in some harp music, soak your feet, and slice some cucumbers to place over your eyes. The DIY Spa Night is here!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

My opinion on Breast Cancer "Awareness"

OK, I hope I don't offend anyone, and I'm pretty sure this will take plenty of people out of their comfort zone, but I have something to say about Breast Cancer Awareness. For October, ladies everywhere are hanging their braziers on their front porches, dying their hair pink, wearing explicit messages, or even going topless.
First of all, I cannot imagine for one second that anyone in America doesn't know about Breast Cancer. Like they're going to see a pink ribbon shirt and say "seriously? I had no idea. Tell me more."
Secondly, do you really want everyone who sees your statement to think of a chest? (and most likely yours, at that)
I'm NOT trying to be insensitive to a very real problem that is plaguing women. It's an awful tragedy that has taken too many wonderful women, some whom I have known personally. But if you want to make their lives count, live in their memory by helping others and making a positive difference in the world. If you want to do something about the many who will no doubt get Breast Cancer, invest in science and healthy living.
Empowering women doesn't come from flashing yourself or showcasing your undies. That, my fellow females, is demeaning.
Anyway, that's my opinion. Take it or leave it.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Outfit Pics - Name Brand?

What I'm Wearing:

- American Eagle corral t-shirt
- Printed floral scarf
- Candie's denim knee-length skirt
- American Eagle blue printed flats
- Star earring (in cartilage) and green earrings (in lobe)
- Hair - all down
- Minimal Makeup - concealer, foundation, powder, mascara

 The last time I bought clothing new was when Wal-mart had a $3 blow-out sale, and I only bought 2 things. But since I almost exclusively shop at thrift shops, I often get name brand clothing. They aren't new, but still have the tag to prove their origin. I could care less, but it's fun when someone sees the logo on my top and says "Oh, I love Banana Republic! I got that same top at Mall of America." I chuckle and nod, imagining what their face would look like if I told them the same article of clothing they paid $50 for, I got for $3.50.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The reasons I'm schooling Online after a year of hard work after homeschool highschool

I was homeschooled (and yes, I have friends) from kindergarten to 12th grade. I got my first job when I was 13, and have kept it for 5 years. When I graduated at 17, I decided to take a year "off" to work, and decide where God wanted me to go after that. Living at home, being frugal, working hard both at home and at work, I waited to get my driver's license only until I really needed it, and walked, rode my bike, or rode with friends or family to get where I needed to go. I'll be taking courses online through College Plus for my Bachelors in Psychology this fall. (And yes, I'm still living at home.) Everyone who actually knows me is fine with this, and most are rooting for me, but there are severe skeptics, let me tell you! You may even be one of them. But even though I really don't mind if people think ill of me, I would like to share an amusing and inspirational article written by another blogger I found through Facebook (which I didn't have until last year *gasp*). He challenges the unquestioned notion that every educated and ambitious person must attend college. Just for the record, I am not anti-college. I'm simply saying that it is not the only (nor the best) way to acquire useful academic knowledge that will equip you for the "real world."

[By Matt Walsh]

What we're teaching our children

 As you may know, my parents recently adopted three young children, and although they were great parents to start with, they had to learn and adapt a lot to raise two girls and a boy - all under the age of five - who had come from a background that they had no experience with. We love them dearly, and are devoted to raising them well, but it has been a struggle to define exactly what that is. Although each family is different, each child is different, and each situation is different, I believe that I've put together a list of seven principles we live by, and hope that they might benefit anyone who has children, who is thinking about having children, or even works with children on a regular basis.

1. God's Word is Truth - In order to have a logical standard for morality, for the origin of the universe, for our relationship with others, for how we view the nature of humanity, for how we order our day, and for how we grow, one needs a standard for TRUTH. We believe that the Truth is found in the inspired Word of God, the Bible. We encourage prayer, and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, but our part is to live out our own relationship with Jesus, and teach them the truth, and hope they choose to do the same.

2. Family is Forever - Even though they may grow up and someday start a family of their own somewhere else, we are still their family. There is nothing they can do to make us leave them, or not be their family anymore. Because my new siblings were adopted, their understanding of "family" is no doubt different than mine. To make a distinction between what "family" they came from, and what family they are in now, (in a gentle and simple way) we say that we are their "Forever Family;" we love them, keep them safe, and will always be there for them.

3. Emotions are okay to have, but they should not control you - Everyone has emotions - happiness, sadness, anger, etc. - and that's perfectly alright. It's what we do when we have those feelings that matters. Trying to give the children a healthy way to process what they're feeling, we often give them a simple response, and some coping skills, when they, for example, make a fist and say they're mad: "It's okay to be mad, sweetheart. What are you going to do?" When they feel like hitting, we encourage them to clap their hands. When they feel like shouting, we ask that they "bbbbbrrrrrr" with their lips until they can talk about it. If they can learn to take control of their actions and process what they're feeling, they will be free of countless limitations most people feel incapable of breaking free from.

4. Real Strength is having self-control and helping others - Lack of control is hard for children with tough backgrounds. Wanting to prove themselves, and exerting their power over other children is prevalent, and makes them feel like they have that control. But that kind of "strength" is only giving into their wants, and doing what they feel like, which is easy to do. Real strength is doing the right thing, even when it's the hardest thing to do. The Bible teaches that the strong have a moral obligation to help those who are weaker. We want to instill in them that their strengths are a gift to be used in the right way.

5. "I love you the same, even when you're behavior makes me sad" - Even though raucous
behavior abounds, the fear factor of "what if they will stop loving me if I don't make them happy?" is present in many children's minds who have faced rejection and/or abuse in the past. Nothing they could say or do could ever make their family love them any less or more. That will never change! But when their actions are negative it makes us sad. It's not a guilt trip, it's simply saying that we want the best for them, and that their decisions always effect those around them.

6. Rules keep us safe - If you've ever been around children (or anyone, for that matter,) you've heard that one word over and over again: "Why?" While most of the time simply inquisitive, people don't like being told what to do, and challenge that. Sometimes with an indignant "why" and sometimes with a bold "no." We often respond with "because I love you," and "because I want to keep you safe." We all know that [good] rules are made to keep us within the boundaries of safety.

7. Real life, real consequences - One does not need to be creative to come up with an appropriate punishment for disobedience. One must only be logical. If the child has a hard time listening to Mommy during the day, he/she won't be able to take a bike ride with Daddy after supper, because "it is very important to listen right away and all the time when riding bikes, because we cross streets. I need to make sure you are going to be safe! If you show Mom tomorrow that you are a good listener, then you might be able to come."  If a child is too rough with his/her toys, then perhaps their brother and sister will get a new toy, but not them. If they have a problem with hitting and kicking, perhaps Mom has to cancel their play-date with their friend, in order to "keep their friend safe." It is really very simple! This will prepare them for real life, when the scenarios go from "if I'm unkind to that person, they won't want to be kind to me," to "if I spend this money on wants rather than needs, I might go hungry," or "if I disrespect my boss, I'll lose my job."

I'm sure there are many basic principles of good child-rearing, and more that we do practice, but these are just seven that I put together that I think are pretty important. Remember that God blesses those who bless the life of a child!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Small milestones

One of last year's Graduation pictures

 They say you're not really living if you're just standing still, but sometimes the meaningful advances in live are the product of many small steps. From day to day, not much seems to change, but look back over the year, and you'll be amazed at how far you've come! That has been my experience for 2013, even though it isn't over yet. (I can only hope that the rest of it holds great progress as well!) Let me share with you a few things that have happened to me - or my family - in order to encourage you.
  • Promotion at work (rank, hours, and wage)
  • Got my Driver's License
  • My Parents adopted three children (I'm a big sister again!)
  • Ran 4 miles at a good pace
  • Furnished my new room
  • Took Theology classes (via video)
  • Planted a garden
  • Applied to CollegePlus for my Bachelors is Psychology
 I don't mean to brag - I'm sure you've accomplished much more throughout your summer - but it goes to show that when little things are done with all your heart for the glory of God, good things happen. It won't always be easy, but anything good is worth fighting for.

Colossians 3:33-34 -
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Hilarious names for paint colors!

These are a few of my favorite funny names for paint colors! Wall Paint and Nail Polish names can be hilarious! And to think people are paid to come up with these names... Tell me, do you think any of these names got them fired?
What I did here is tried to redeem the color names from my very own imagination. (Yes, some of them are meant to be humorous and ironic, also.) The original name will be to the left, and my name will be in green to the right. Tell me what you think, and what funny titles you've seen.

Out-of-the-blue and random:

Adopt a dog - Toupee
Big Foot's Delight - Natural Selection
Alice in Freezeland - Early Frost
Very Expensive Wool - Grandpa's sweater
In Your House - Girl Next Door
Certain Frogs - Catching Tadpoles
Ask Google - Techie Boyfriend
Not a banana! - Fruit Bowl
Midgets Hate Farts - Epiphany
Another Lie of Rat - Scoundrel

Names that make me never want to eat again:

American Teeth - Pearly Whites
Don't Eat the Snow - Chandelier
Dead Beetle - Garden Loam
Watermelon Guts - Pink Frost
Wasabi KitKat - Mint Chip Ice Cream
Allergic to Lobster - Lipstick Stain
Purge - Happy Thoughts
Milky Blood - Sunset Inspiration
Alien Fart Mist - Wicked-Cool

Names that would gross me out if I knew I painted my wall that color:

Flu - Porch Swing
Creep - Bunny Slippers
Go and Buy a Soul - In Love
Monster in My House - Avocado
Cute but Psycho - Polka-Dotted Hair Bow
Oh, That's Just Blood... - From the Depth of my Heart

At least spell it right!

Curiouser and Curiouser - Show me Your Heart
Blomb - Bloom


Totally out of creativity:

Some Kind of Mint - After-Dinner Mint
White-ish - Whicker Rocker
Another Grey - Burnt to a Crisp
Um... - Tickled Pink
Orange (The Fruit) - Autumn Joy
Try Not to Look - Wrapping Presents


Completely NOT that color the name described:

Coffee (describing a lime green) - Poison Ivy
Black Velvet (medium purple) - Ripe Plumb
Puppy Orange (yellow/white) - Colonial Pantry
Anna Banana (electric blue) - Sky Diving
Cornered by Blues (deep black) - Velvet Mocha

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Big Sister! (and outfit pictures)

My three "newest" siblings! We fostered them for about a year and a half, and recently the adoption was finalized!
From left to right: Tabitha Kate (2), William Andrew (5), and Janessa Karis (3).
Tabby's full name means "graceful, kind, and generous." Janessa's means "precious gift from God," and Will's means "strong protector."
Pray that God would bless them with a heart to know and love Him, and that our family would be able to provide every possible benefit to help them learn and grow.
I became an elder sister at two years old when my sister was born. Now at eighteen I am a big sis of four! What a blessing!
Here are the kids all dressed for church on Sunday morning.
What I'm wearing:
- blue knit top
- brown/white floral skirt
- brown sequined wedge heels
- blue heart earrings (not visible in picture)
- hair: half back
- makeup: foundation, highlighter, navy blue eyeliner and mascara

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Protein Powder Reviews

Nearly any Supermarket you walk in to will have some type of concentrated protein, usually in the form of a powder, shake, or bars. The reasons abound for getting plenty of protein, and it's the satisfying factor in our diet. But not many people take the time to look at the ingredients, or if they do scan the small-print, do they know what words like "isolated whey" or "sucralose" or "ribose" mean. But little does the protein-sucking-public know is that even "100% pure whey" does NOT insure quality. Growth hormones and low-grade milk abound! Even vegetarian protein powders can be laden with GMO's (Genetically Modified Organisms). So where can you look to get a protein mix that isn't murky with questionable ingredients? I've compiled a short list here that many health stores stock, or might be interested in carrying.

Genuine Health Vegan Proteins Plus, strawberry banana - One of the first vegan protein powders to include GMO-free sprouted greens in their formula, sporting a full amino-acid profile. Sweetened with stevia and natural flavors, I enjoyed a smoothie that curbed my afternoon craving and refueled my protein needs. Good, natural flavor, but a slight alfalfa-like aftertaste. Vegan, Gluten-free, GMO-free, sprouted, stevia-sweet, animo-acids.

Garden of Life RAW Protein, vanilla chai - the farther I read on the organic, vegan, GMO-free, sprouted, allergen-free nutrition label, the bigger my eyes (and stomach) seemed to grow. One scoop provides more delicious nutrition than most people get in a few days time. Easy on the stomach, raw probiotics help ensure you are utilizing everything in your shake. Truthfully, it is the only product of its kind on the market. Great flavor blend, but a little bit "powdery," quickly remedied by adding to a smoothie of fruit and almond milk. Raw, Organic, GMO-free, Vega, Gluten-free, Probiotics, stevia-sweet, amino-acids.

Vega Performance Protein, chocolate - Formulated for those looking to take their protein consumption - and athletic performance - to the next level. Vegan winner of multiple triathlons, iron-man competitions, and Ultra Marathons, Brendan Brazier, couldn't find a protein good enough for him... so he made his own. Plant-based and complete with replenishing minerals and electrolytes, I'd recommend the very "chocolatey" chocolate to anyone serious about their dietary protein. Vegan, Athletic-grade, GMO-free, Gluten-free, amino-acids, minerals.

Tera's Whey, organic coffee - If you are like most coffee-lovers, a bad brew is sacrilegious. But this organic whey blend stays true to it's name, with a hint of sugar-free sweetness (stevia, of course). In fact, everything about this is pure, not to mention rGBH-free and from grass-fed cattle. Seriously one of the best whey sources I've seen, and oh-so-delicious! Try blended cold with ice and organic milk, or mix with warm milk and a dash of cocoa. Organic, RGBH-free, grass-fed origins, Gluten-free, stevia-sweet, digestive enzymes, amino-acids.

Natural Factors Whey Factors, French vanilla - Did you know that America has virtually no standard for the quality of their whey? Scary, huh? Well, Canadian whey to the rescue! This ultra-clean protein is considered "gold" for anyone looking for a basic protein supplement, with full-spectrum amino acids naturally occurring. My guess is that you'll love the stevia-sweetened French vanilla enough to add it to water or milk. GMO-free, Gluten-free, amino acids, stevia-sweet, high-quality, reasonable price.

Nutiva Hemp Protein Plus Fiber - Hemp is the vegan break-through seed for acquiring essential omegas for your brain, heart, nerves, and skin. It is also high in fiber and protein. Nutiva makes sure its products are organic, GMO-free, and pure. Unsweetened, add stevia to your shake, or enjoy the nutty, earthy flavor as-is with almond or hemp milk. Excellent for satisfying hunger. Organic, vegan, non-GMO, unsweetened, Gluten-free, fiber.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

5 {Good} Reasons to Make Healthy Choices While Young

  If I've heard it once, I've heard it a million times: "Health is fine for you, but I just want to have fun right now. I'll worry about it later when I'm old and sickly, if I live that long. I feel good right now." Working in a health food and supplement store for the past 5 years, talking to many, many people about their choices and conditions, it seems that the majority of people are only concerned with short-term benefits. If it works NOW, they'll buy it again and again, instead of spending just a little more and reaping long-term benefits, saving money in the long-run, and actually addressing the real problem. The "NOW" attitude is hard to shake, and I see many middle-aged customers carrying this mind-set from their childhood, when perhaps they thought that "worrying" about health simply wasn't something they wanted to "constrict" their lifestyle with. Whatever the reason for health neglect, they're reaping the consequences now. "Feeling good" in your teen and young adult years is no assurance of a care-free tomorrow. Let's look at five reasons (with science to back them up) why you should consider making healthy choices as soon as possible. I'll also help you get started with a few suggestions, and list a few tried-and-true supplements you may find helpful.

  1. Your Quality of Life is just as important as how long you live.
  2. If you don't do it now, it won't get done
  3. The effects of some choices may not be reversible
  4. It's easier to make the right choices now versus later.
  5. It goes beyond you: future generations.

1. Longevity is about aging well.

 If you've ever been to a nursing home, you may find yourself surrounded with delightful people blessed with long life, but not necessarily good health. Sometimes the pain has made them bitter, and other times it brings out their sweet spirit.  Obviously most of us want to live a full life, and be able to raise our children, see our grandchildren, and perhaps even our great grandchildren. While the greatest health care system in the world might be able to keep you alive that long, but not necessarily happy, healthy, and enjoying life. Watching my Great Grandma slowly waste away was hard for our family, and we can all vouch for the fact that she was bitter and in pain - not a happy woman! She smoked right up until the time she was taken to the hospital (where she died within two days) and her diet was horrendous, though pill bottles lined her cookie-filled shelves. Longing long does not mean living well. What steps will you take to prevent digressing health in later years? It is a decision you will have to make soon!

2. You can only run on empty for so long

 Consider your body an engine. Whatever you put into it, you will get out. Filling your engine with "empty" fuel, or even harmful substances, you are going to sputter out and your machinery will stop working, perhaps even in catastrophic ways. But since the body is so masterfully designed, it can take a lot of flack for a while without you feeling the full impact. Liver damage rarely presents its self in the immediate, shooting fashion that spraining your ankle would. And yet it is much more serious. Faithfully, your body works to sort through the fuel you put into it every day, and it does a good job. But just because you don't feel too bad now, doesn't mean you won't reap what you sow! There is only so long your body is able to put up with you. Ever wonder why it is so easy to recover from an injury when you're young, when the same fall for someone 30-40 years older might be serious to fatal? Let's look at the nature of the aging-process:
 Most people consider life from your birth on, but your own individual, personal DNA - providing information for everything you need for your individual life - came into being at the instant of conception.  In fact, you aren't even finished developing when you are welcomed into the world via mommy. Your brain, for example, is not fully constructed - "fleshed out" - until 25, when it stops regenerating. so from age "zero" to twenty-five, if you regularly dehydrate and deplete your brain of proper nutrients and fatty-acids, pollute it with excessive drinking or drugs, you will suffer later! The
same is true for almost every other function in your body.
 Your joints and bones will only regenerate themselves for so long before they need support outside of themselves. Athletes often have severe joint, bone, and tendon issues later in life since they only worked on maintaining health instead of fully replenishing their bodies after exerting so much effort, and requiring their system to go into over-drive to keep them functioning up to their active-body demands. That's why I make sure I invest in high-quality vitamins and don't leave my body wanting in the basics before I'm seriously dependent on these supplements, like so many middle-aged persons I talk to. I don't want my "regenerating years" to be used up maintaining my basic structure and daily functions. I want to save my "get out of jail free card" for when I really need it; when my body starts slowing down and relying on my healthy habits to support it more and more.

3. The point of no return?

 The absolute worst tactic for motivation is the scare-factor. It might work for a while, but I would rather see people confidently taking control of their situation. But their are some things you may need to know about the scary results of a reckless youth.
 In my previous point (2), I stated that the body can only regenerate its self for so long (usually age "zero" to 25 or 30) until it needs support to run without serious malfunctions. Here I'll touch on how certain activities can degrade upon your health, perhaps permanently.

 1. Stress - It's hard not to be stressed in the 21st century! And I need not go into detail about what stress is, and what causes us to "stress out." It is fair enough to say that we all know how that feels! But how does stress work? When you are in a tense situation, your body senses that it needs to up its performance - literally a "fight or flight" reaction, no matter how simple the cause of your stress. Your adrenal glands release cortisol, which tells your brain that it needs to go into "survival mode." Your brain tells your blood pressure to go up, which pumps your muscles full of oxygen, so that you are able to defend yourself, or turn and flee for your life. When there is so much re-direction of your body's fuel (oxygen) your immune system gets left out, because that is pretty much the last thing on your mind... literally. Other things such as rebuilding your body (bones, brain cells, skin, etc.) are also put on hold, which is fine if this adrenaline rush is not a common part of your day-to-day life. But cortisol is also a problem, because too much of it damages your hippocampus - the part of your brain that recalls memories, and stores new ones. Your body will then release another hormone to calm you back down. Your body is very efficient, and can take care of most problems easily enough, and amazingly well. But when stress becomes part of your 24/7 routine, pair that with decreased sleep, you may start to harm your limbic system, which is essential for social function. You may notice you are moody, fatigued, fidgety, gaining weight, work harder but get less done, get sick easier, and look older - to name a few - simply because your body is pre-occupied. But in the long-run, stress can play a part in Dementia and Alzheimer's disease, which are reported to be irreversible.

 2. Drugs/Alcohol - whether prescription or illegal, drugs can have detrimental and even deadly effects on your health. Even though a prescription drug could save your life, try and stay away from them if at all possible. Usually the only reason someone absolutely needs pharmaceuticals is for a severe genetic disease, or if their condition is untreated to the point of total toxicity. However, even in the necessary cases for a prescribed or over-the-counter drug, it will also have a long, long list of side effects. I hope that I do not come across as fearful and ignorant of the advancement and benefit of pharmaceuticals, but they should - in my humble opinion - be saved for emergencies, and not doled out to everyone with a health complaint. Illegal drugs should be avoided all-together, including cigarettes. My first concern is your liver. Your liver is like your filter. Everything you put into your body - whether you eat it, breath it, or absorb it through your skin - has to go through your liver. Drinking excessively, doing drugs, or even eating unhealthily will take a toll on your liver, and unless your filter is dealt with gently and cleaned out every once in a while, your body will suffer.
 Drinking alcohol dehydrates your brain, which is made up almost entirely of water. It also dilutes your blood, and causes your blood capillaries to swell, making you feel warm, while at the same time making your blood thick and sluggish, inhibiting good circulation. Too much of this will cut off a good supply of necessary nutrition to parts of your body. Causing a host of problems. The side-effects of drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol are too numerous to list here. If you are addicted and need help, please contact a hotline.

 3. Poor Diet - that is really a catch-all phrase that can mean many, many things. But first I'd like to clear up some misconceptions about the word "diet." Most people think it means "trying to lose weight," whereas in reality, diet is simply what your food intake consists of. Your diet could be cake and Mt. Dew, or it could be organic meats and vegetation. It's that simple! Diet is the food you eat, not your intentions for eating them. With that being said, let's move on.
 The food pyramid - developed in the 80's - recommends lots of grains, fruits, and vegetables, moderate protein, and minimal fat and animal products. But overloading your body with carbs can create insulin resistance, leading to diabetes, which is linked to heart disease. Sugars and carbohydrates increase inflammation in the body, which is the root of 80% of known diseases. Carbs are also Candida's (a certain fungus') preferred fuel, which causes infection and skin problems, not to mention indigestion, inhibiting nutrition from being absorbed. While carbohydrates are definitely NOT the enemy, too many - and the wrong kinds - can urge your body down the wrong path. Instead, I would encourage a higher level of high quality fats and proteins. Protein is the building block for all of life. Every single part of our body needs the amino acids that protein is made up of, and every single function in the body relies on them. While it is possible to get enough complete protein (complete = containing all 17 essential amino acids) from plant sources alone, it is difficult, and very easy to skimp on. High quality, organic, animal sourced protein is rich in amino acids, vitamins, enzymes, and minerals, proving to be an incredible health food. But it your own decision to make whether you prefer herbivorous or carnivorous protein sources. I, myself, enjoy both. Which brings us to the last food-group: fat! This nutrient has been villainized as the "health demon" to run away from at all costs. But there is absolutely n evidence to support that fat is bad for our health. In fact, the opposite is true. There is overwhelming proof that fat is the proverbial "fountain of youth." Before you take me for a quack, let me differentiate between fat, and its impostor. Trans fat is the big bad monster that has wiggled its way into the very core of our diet. Fast food, margarine, bread spreads, fried foods, and pre-packaged foods reek of trans fats, which is really just a plain old vegetable oil injected with chemicals. This being said, let's move on and talk about the benefits of real fat. It develops the brain, cleans the arteries, coats the nerves (reducing stress), lowers triglycerides, and raises your metabolism. It repairs your joints, promotes healthy skin and hair, aids in digestion, preserves your reproductive system, and helps your immune system stay strong and on-task. Plus more!

 There are many more issues that I could talk about that lead to serious health implications, including emotional health, inflammation, and exercise, but they will have to wait until another time. Keep in mind that just because we haven't found that Alzheimer's and Liver Psoriasis are reversible, doesn't mean that they aren't.

4. Don't get stuck in that rut!

 When I was a child, my dad would often care for his boss's horses and other animals when they were on vacation. I'd get up at 5am and we'd drive out to their country home on several acres of open pastures and wooded paths. After all the chores were done, Dad would get out the four-wheeler, and we'd hit the trails! After a heavy rain, the paths would be solid mud. Going through them once or twice wasn't too hard, but when the tire-treads were set, there was no going to either the right or the left. Our course was determined by our first one or two rides. If we tried to blaze a new trail, we would likely get stuck or even tip over. Habits are very similar! Generations upon generations have kept the same traditions, made the same kind of food the same way, and hold to the same religions.
 We are creatures of habit - no wonder we are sometimes scared to try something new or different! Some people jump at the chance to travel, or try new foods. Others are home-bodies, but are willing to follow each European trend, fresh from Prague. Perhaps someone else is fairly plain and modest in fashion, but doesn't mind zip-lining, parachuting, or rock-climbing. But another is afraid of heights, and simply enjoys meeting new people. Everyone is different, so each person will have to take different measures to incorporate a healthier habit in their life, or to kick an unhealthy habit.
 Maybe your "next step" is to upgrade your multi vitamin to an organic, food-based multi, versus a  synthetic, drug-store vitamin. Maybe your first step is simply to walk into a health food store and not feel overwhelmed. For others, it could be completely cutting out sugar or simple carbohydrates from their diet, or signing up for the local 5k fundraiser run/walk. You know what you need to do, and don't be discouraged by how far you think you have to go. Just put on your shoes and take the first step. (And while you're at it, take a leisurely walk around the neighborhood, and don't forget to stop and smell the roses.)

5. Your body, your health, your life... aren't just yours.

 What is one thing you do now that you've learned from your parents? Or one thing you swore you'd never do because they did? Whether you have children or not, you are setting someone else's standard for health. Perhaps positively, perhaps negatively.
 The subject of epigenetics is complicated, but it is very possible to pass down certain problematic health tendencies to the next generation. A friend has a history of heart failure passed down from his great grandfather, but he is taking into his own hands a chance to change that, and maybe - just maybe - start a genetic "chain reaction" of his own: the trait of a healthy heart for his children and grandchildren. Remember: healthier you = healthier world. Just like I said at the beginning of this article, about the "NOW" mentality of so many people who cannot see past today, take time to think about what legacy you are leaving for those you are influencing today.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Double Standards on Life?

 The Royal baby has been born! But reflect back with me when the royal couple first found out Duchess Kate was pregnant. No one would dare call it a "fetus," or a "blob of cells." In fact, no one was thinking that it was anything other than a person; a very small, developing person, but human nonetheless! Is the new King-to-be any different than an unexpected pregnancy in the poorest suburbs in the dirtiest city? The answer is no! Then why do we consider one child a choice and another child a precious life? Does personhood depend on convenience?!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Runner's Fix (raw shake)

Raw, organic, vegan,
sprouted, enzymes,
stevia-sweetened, soy-
free, gluten-free
Category: Beverage/Sports Nutrition/Power Snack Makes: 1, 10oz serving Allergens: lactose (milk) Other Info: excellent sports nutrition, extremely satisfying, very high in protein, delicious, mixes easily, organic, raw, gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian, non-vegan, soy-free, sugar-free, low-carb

8 oz organic raw full-fat Milk
1-2 scoops Garden of Life Raw Protein, vanilla
1-2 Tbsp organic raw shelled hemp hearts/seeds

Blend together with a fork or French whisk in a tall glass. Drink while cold. You may add stevia if you want it sweeter. Enjoy!

 So satisfying and delicious I come to crave it after a long, hard run or swim. Cuts my recovery time down and helps me maintain a lean muscle-mass and weight.
Nutiva is one of my favorite brands for raw,
organic super-foods I can feel good about eating.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Plaid and dress pants (outfit picture)

What I'm wearing -
  • Black dress-pants ($4.50 thrift shop)
  • Plaid ruffled button-up (sister's)
  • Grey camisole (hand-me-down)
  • Black flats w/ bow ($2.50)
  • Hair - half-up
  • Makeup - foundation, green eye-shadow, black mascara

wrong way... again!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

6 Great Product Reviews in 2013


 I always look for quality products to report back to all of you, and I've come up with 6 of the best (so far) this year. Click on the link to check prices and more information, but make sure to check your local shops or health food store to see what your town can give you!

1. Aura Cacia organic essential oils, Yoga Mist Motivate, sweet orange & lavendin

 You don't have to do yoga to appreciate this delicious an delicate scent made out of high-quality organic essential oils. Your nose is the quickest and perhaps the most accurate sense you have, and Aura Cacia has developed a spray for your home and body to stimulate good health and mood. Spritz it on wherever and whenever. I promise it's contagious!

2. Steaz sparkling green tea, zero calorie raspberry

 You've heard about the abundant health-benefits of green tea, and you've also heard to stay away from energy drinks laden with sugar or artificial sweetener. Sparkling green tea is naturally carbonated and sweetened with stevia leaf, infused with a to-die-for natural flavors, and when chilled is the perfect refresher on a hot day, or special treat anytime. The best part? It's all-natural and zero-calorie!

3. Vega ONE nutritional shake, berry

 Everyone wants more nutrition, but nobody wants to take all the pills associated with it. If only there were a delicious shake! Vega ONE has 50% of your daily plant-based vitamins and minerals, greens, live probiotics, antioxidants, and omega-3s. Complete your supplement with 15grams of protein and 6grams of naturally occurring fiber. Gluten-free and vegan, Vega was formulated by a triathaloner and iron man who couldn't find a nutritional line good enough for him... so he made his own.

4. Kiss My Face whitening blanchissant, gentle mint

 A good toothpaste can go a lot way, but sometimes you need a little boost to give your smile that extra shine. This blanching gel is in a base of soothing aloe vera, and contains natural minerals and dentist-approved xylitol. My mouth and teeth were left feeling - and looking - squeaky clean and sparkling. Non-abrasive, it is safe and gentle on your enamel, but is effective enough that it doesn't need to replace your regular toothpaste.

5. Alaffia Authentic African black soap, peppermint

 Indigenously made in West Africa, this authentic black soap is gentle enough for baby's skin (choose unscented), cleansing enough for acne trouble, and moisturizing enough for a dry face. Incredibly clean ingredients and scented with essential oils, it's a great choice for anyone! Fair Trade ensures sustainability for the natives, and a clean conscious - and body - for you.

6. LesserEvil chia crisps, crunchy dill pickle

 Whoever thought of fusing one of America's favorite condiments with America's favorite snack was a genius. Whoever thought of making a crunchy, delicious chip out of chia seeds and black beans is even smarter! I must admit, I was skeptical when I saw the packaging and ingredients. Chia Crisps? Turns out our store sold out the first week, and we couldn't keep refilling the sample bowl. With naturally occurring fiber and protein, there's nothing I can say against this snack! Unless, of course, you count not being able to stop eating then a con.

 So there you have it - 6 product reviews straight from the horse's mouth.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Classy, sassy, and comfortable (outfit pics)

What I'm wearing-
  • Red fitted t-shirt (hand-me-down)
  • Grey & white patterned skirt ($3.50, thrift shop)
  • Black bow flats (sister's)
  • Black zipper earrings ($3 set, Wal-mart)
  • crystal cross earring, in cartilage (Christmas gift)
  • half-up hair
  • Makeup: foundation, mascara, minimal black eye-liner, red-tinted lip balm (Burt's Bees)

 When you think of "classy," you probably think of black, then grey and white, and maybe a splash of red or burgundy. What I've done today is made a casual and fun outfit with these classy colors. What do I call it? Classy and sassy! The best thing about this is that it's comfortable!
 Do you think I did right, or should I keep this color scheme to a more sophisticated outfit?

Blogger needs to get with the program ;) I can't get pictures right-side up

I'm not exactly sure what pattern this is, but I like it!

Classic black flats with a cute bow. There I go again,
mixing genres!