Pass the Creative Energy Please

I went to a beauty show yesterday for professional hair stylists and found the talent and the creative energy of the platform artists awe-inspiring!  platformThese artists had so much energy for what they do, the show actually ran two hours longer than scheduled, simply because they wanted to share with us “just one more design.”  You cannot help feeling inspired after watching incredible talent like that.  You know what I mean?

You’ve seen it before: the street vendor sketching a masterpiece out of chalk on the sidewalk; the welder who welds scrap metal into the finest of sculptures; you have listened to a piece of music that moved you to your soul.  All these created by a person.  An artist.  chalk artAll for our senses – their senses – to enjoy.  When I have experienced such things I have often thought, “wow… I wish I could have that kind of creativity.”  Haven’t we all thought that?  Have you ever wondered where that creativity comes from?  I think some of us feel only some of us have this kind of creative energy. But why?

Did you ever think that maybe we all have the potential to possess this creative energy?  Maybe it’s there, within us all, but it’s just laying there, dormant, because you thought you didn’t “have the talent” for such things.

I challenge you to think about this: We have all been inspired by art, so what brings about the creative energy in artists and not in us (a.k.a. the “untalented”)?  Is it truly a DNA thing that only a select few have, or an “instinct” that compels them?  Or is it that those creative people are just more willing to dig deep into their own selves to wake the dormant personal talents within and bring them to action?

I mean, we all started out the same.  None of us knew how to read straight out of the womb, for example.  But we were taught, mentored and [hopefully] challenged by our parents or teachers to continue working on these skills.  As a result, those who worked at learning and honing their skills became excellent readers and those who didn’t, didn’t.  Practice makes perfect, they say.

I believe talent is God-given. But we all know about that pesky free-will too.  There’s that choice again:  Leave my talents dormant or find and release my own creative energy.  Decisions, decisions….

I guess my rambling has brought me to this conclusion:  If you have the slightest interest in something creative, even if it is only a slight feeling in your heart or thought in your mind right now, I believe your own creative energy can be nurtured into something as amazing as any artist.

Sometimes fear holds us back from releasing our creativity.  Feelings of inadequacy maybe.  Let’s face it. None of us are going to be another Shakespeare or John Lennon or Meryl Streep.  But why would you want to?  They have already made their mark in this world. That’s theirs. Not ours. Let them own their talent and you nurture yours.

I’m talking about developing your own personal best.  Find it. Embrace it. Make it your own.  Be willing to invest in your own interests.  Be willing to believe in yourself.  It just takes practice. Because with practice comes confidence and with confidence comes bravery and with bravery comes endless potential.

So, I am going to keep on practicing my craft(s).  I love doing anything where I can create something from nothing with my hands.  So I will continue to learn, to gain my confidence and become brave enough to break through any boundary I’ve previously set for myself.  Because I believe we all have the potential to discover and release our own creative energy.

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Sensational Cinnamon

Tis the season to start using more of those warming-to-the-scenes spices like: cinnamon.  This ancient spice has been around for centuries.  But hey!  Did you know: Cinnamon has been used as a botanical medicine since about 2,700 BC – What!? Getottahere!  No! It’s true!  With many of its healing properties attributed to its special essential oils.

Therapeutically, cinnamon may be used for digestive problems like sluggish digestion, spasm, or colitis, according to Cristina Proano of Aromandina Essental Oils. She wants to remind you that the beneficial oil comes from the cinnamon leaf, not the cinnamon bark.  It’s warming effect makes it also useful for chills, colds and respiratory infections.

Not to mention the irresistible flavor of a freshly baked cinnamon-apple pie or a hot mug of apple cider with a cinnamon stick warming your senses. But wait (as the say…) there’s more!

According to George Mateljan, author of The World’s Healthiest Foods, this sensational spice provides anti-inflammatory phytonutrients which may help prevent the unwanted clumping of blood platelets. It also has antimicrobial protection which fights against unwanted bacterial growth.  Cinnamon also has significant amounts of calcium, manganese and heart-healthy dietary fiber.

09.29.14 cinnamonAll this can be achieved in only 2 teaspoons of cinnamon daily. In fact, as small as 1 gram per day (that’s 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon) may even reduce blood sugar levels by as much as 20% !!

So stop ignoring this sensation spice! Sprinkle it on everything! I personally like mixing 1/2 teaspoon with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter and using this as a dip with my apple – a powerful mid-day snack! I have even added a teaspoon to my homemade spaghetti sauce to give it a unique and wonderful taste.  Try adding it to your next pot of chili or burrito dish.

Remember to be timely, however.  Cinnamon’s potency doesn’t last forever.  Cinnamon powder is good for only 6 months when stored in a tightly sealed glass container that is stored in a cold dark place. While cinnamon sticks will last up to one year this way.  Need more time? Put this spice in the refrigerator to extend its shelf life.

How will you spice up your life using cinnamon?  Make a healthy, imaginative choice and play with all sorts of spices!

Until next time, remember to take care of you!

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Mindless Eating and Popcorn

We all do it, yet most of us don’t even know we do it.  I am reading the book, Mindless Eating by Brian Wanskink, PhD. and here is only one example of Mindless Eating:

In a study done of moviegoers and their popcorn eating habits, an experiment was run on these groups in several different states, at different times, different weather conditions and watching different movies.  Some people just finished a meal, some came hungry.

eating popcorn

 

Every moviegoer was given their own bucket of popcorn – FIVE DAY OLD, STALE POPCORN by the way.  It was safe to eat. It just tasted like “packing peanuts”, as one moviegoer described.  This fact was unknown to them at the time.  They just knew they could have the popcorn and a drink for free if they agreed to take a quick survey at the end of their movie.  They weren’t aware the survey was about their popcorn consumption – just their total movie experience.   Each bucket was weighed when full. Some moviegoers were given medium buckets and some large buckets. (Both buckets were too big for anyone to finish.)  After the movie, each moviegoer handed in their bucket at the survey. Their remaining popcorn was then weighed.

popcorn

Those who were given a large bucket ate an average of 53% more popcorn than those with medium buckets.  According to the survey, no one liked the taste of the popcorn. (obviously!)  It didn’t seem to matter their hunger levels or their taste satisfaction.  Time and again, it was proven that those who ate from a large bucket ate more than those who ate from the medium bucket.

Bottom line:  If you are given a lot of food, you will mindlessly eat a lot more of it – even if you think you can’t be fooled and know when to stop; even if you think since you are already full you won’t eat too much; and even if you don’t enjoy the taste so much!

Fascinating, isn’t it?  So be mindful.  Serve smaller portions.  Buy small – even if it doesn’t seem like the better “value.”  Stick to it.   In the end, your body will value your decision.

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Salt Is Of The Devil

Okay.  Admittedly, that was a bit over-dramatic.  But if we are to rely on the media, any time sodium is mentioned, it is about how bad it is!  So of course, in my limited understanding, I thought abandon all salt!  Eradicate it from my life – now!

salt2Until I took a moment to learn about the areas in our world where salt is quite necessary. Salt, or sodium chloride as it is scientifically called, is used in a multitude of applications. It was used in ancient times as well as today to help preserve our food and add flavor to our otherwise bland meals, but beyond that, it is needed in many other applications:  like in making toothpastes, laundry soaps and shampoo, glass and fire extinguishers. It it needed in the process of water-softening, curing concrete, de-icing  roads, in leather treatments, and in the manufacturing of bleach. (to name only a few)

So you can see where the production of salt is big business.  In 2010, the world salt production was a staggering 270 million tons; 45 million tons of which were produced solely in the United States –  according to Wikipedia, anyway.   World-wide, we mass-produce salt from seawater, brine wells and salt lakes.salt

If I am to base my thoughts on the shear production demand alone,  I would conclude salt has become an integral part of life here on earth, as we know it.  So I don’t think we can “eradicate it” at this point.  But should we control our use where we can?

YES!  All things in moderation is a great piece of advice, especially when talking salt.

We here in the great Northwest do not use salt to de-ice our highways, for example.  We have found that using sodium on the icy roads, causes the salty, melted run-off to enter into the local fresh water ecosystems.  Salt in fresh water is no good for the plants and creatures residing there.  And we love our fish, so no salt shall land in our fresh waters!  That’s good!  Let’s hope the manufacturing facilities of the world would consider such ecological consequences when using sodium in their productions.

What about salt and our bodies?  Now here is an area where we each can have a greater control over its use.  Humans do need salt for good health.  Our bodies need sodium to maintain proper water balance and blood pH, as well as proper stomach, nerve and muscle function.  But, a little salt goes a long way in meeting these needs – which is WAY less than what we Americans consume in our highly-over-processed-convenience-is-king lifestyle we live.     The American Heart Association, (AHA) once held the standard of 2,300mg of salt a day (that’s about 1 tsp) for a healthy lifestyle.  But now their recommendation has changed to only 1,500mg of salt (or approx. 2/3 of 1 tsp).  Why?  Because salt is associated with conditions that raise your risk for high blood pressure – which can lead to stroke, heart failure; also osteoporosis; stomach cancer; and kidney disease.

So why do we add so much of it if we know salt is bad for us?  Because, according to a recent Prevention magazine article, salt can be addictive.  Who knew!  When we consume salt, it triggers the release of dopamine, in the pleasure centers of our brain.  Because it makes us feel good, we want more of that good feeling – thank you very much!  Thus making salt something we crave.  Ultimately having the potential to be as addictive as nicotine or alcohol.  Another reason to “just say no” to salt.

Not to worry though.  This is an easier thing to control than you think.  We just don’t need to worry about the salt that is organically occurring in the natural, raw foods we eat.    We just need to put down the salt shaker more and avoid processed foods that add sodium to their list of ingredients!   According to the AHA, 75% of our overuse of salt comes from the salt that is added to our food.  So stop adding it!  Wean yourself off the added sodium.  With a little willpower you can kick the habit of excess salt.  Within a couple weeks, according to The Mayo Clinic, your taste buds should acclimate to a less-salty world, and you will be better for it!

shampooingAs far as our outer bodies are concerned, sodium (by means of sodium lauryl sulfate) is something to avoid as well.  Although it is great at creating an awesome lather, it definitely is a culprit in stripping our highly treasured, and often expensive salon hair colors.

Solution:  READ LABELS.  Avoid products where you see the words: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate in the ingredients.  Find food products that have a sodium level of 140mg of sodium (this is considered ‘low sodium’) or less per serving.  As I love to say so often, be an informed consumer!

After my investigation into this salty matter, I apologize for being hasty in declaring salt is from the devil. But as with so many things in this world, I learned there is a good side and a bad side to consider.  So for me, I guess I will continue in my love/hate relationship with salt.  But from now on, with a little more balance.

Until next time, remember to take care of you!

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Are You Blue Over Yellow Nails?

If you are a smoker or just a lover of  bright or dark colored nail polish, I am willing to bet at one time or another, you have cringed at the yellowish tint that has stained your nails.  No reason to feel blue about it.  Here are some interesting, natural options to help lessen the appearance of that pesky yellow discoloration.

Before you begin, remove any nail polish you may have on your nails, then lightly buff your nail plates with a super-fine grit nail file to remove small amounts of the yellow. Note:  whenever buffing the tops of your nail, the strokes should go in one direction only, or in a criss-cross pattern starting from cuticle to tip, not side-to-side.

yellow smoker nails

Then try one of the following ideas:

  • Soak your fingertips in a bowl of fresh squeezed lemon juice. Sit for 5 minutes or so.
  • Mix a paste of baking powder and lemon juice and apply to each nail.  Allow to sit 5 minutes or so.
  • Mix a paste of 3:1 baking soda and [3%] hydrogen peroxide.  Apply to nails with a cotton swab.  Let it sit for 5 minutes.

Wash your hands under running water using soap and a nail brush or old tooth brush to help remove the loosened debris.  If after drying your nails, there is still slight yellowing present, try applying a dab of buffing cream (this is a nail cream with a super-fine grit) to the nail plate. Then buff your nails lightly with a chamois cloth style buffer.  Again, whenever buffing the tops of your nail, the strokes should be gentle and go in one direction only, or a criss-cross pattern starting from cuticle to tip, not side-to-side.

Be sure to follow up with cuticle oil and hand lotion, as these methods can dry your skin.

I found these tips in an industry magazine for nail technicians.  I would love to hear back from any of you who give these approaches a try.  Sharing knowledge is beneficial to all.

Until next time, remember to take care of you!

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Sleep Isn’t Just for Sleeping

We all know that a restful night’s sleep is essential for our health – aiding the immune system and memory retention – but did you know that a good night’s sleep can rejuvenate your skin?

Daily, our skin is bombarded by the constant weather changes and the pollutants in our environment.  These environmental influences are known as extrinsic factors.  In fact, it is estimated that 80 to 99% of what we see happening to our skin is because of these extrinsic factors.  The obvious result being signs of photo-aging (a.k.a., wrinkles, fine lines and saggy skin).  How can we possibly help our skin against such an attack?  Other than wearing that essential sunscreen every day to protect against UVA and UVB rays, start with drinking plenty of water throughout your day; decrease the free-radical attack on your system by eating a diet rich in whole foods that contain vitamins A, C and E; and get a full night’s rest. Take advantage of those 7 to 9 hours of dedicated nighttime sleep! Woman Sleeping

Our body’s repair processes go to work at night giving our skin relief from the stresses of the day.  However, during the night our skin excretes less sebum, loses more water, is warmer and has a more acidic pH.  So before you lay that head down to rest, prepare your skin to effectively repair and restore balance once more.  This is simple enough to do by just remembering every night to wash and moisturize your face and neck before you go to sleep with products that feed your skin with water attracting, skin softening, lipid barrier-builders and collagen stimulaters by means of a premium skin care regimen.  With rejuvenating products like that, you will rest easy, confident in knowing your skin will be working at its best all night long to revive and restore all that this big bad, free-radical-wielding world has tried to degrade.  Fight the good anti-aging fight while you sleep.  It’s just that easy.

Until next time, remember to take care of you!

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Yes or No

I have many people in my chair or on my treatment table expressing to me their frustration with really wanting to say No to someone’s request of them or wanting to say Yes, to something good that’s come along, but feel like they don’t deserve it.

WHY?!

Even though these are simple, one syllable words to utter, it takes great strength at times to say them.  We don’t want to watch the neighbor’s dogs this weekend again – but maybe out of fear of being disliked or not wanting to feel guilty – instead of saying No, we say Yes.  After all – we lie to ourselves – any “good” person would never say No.  Right?

yesorno8.11.14      We place ourselves on a slippery slope with constantly saying Yes to every single request made of us when we really need to say No sometimes. These countless-Yes’s-that-should-be-No’s may leave us feeling resentful making us dislike ourselves for lying about our true desires. Which in turn, may even cause us to begin to dislike the very people we are helping out all the time with our Yes’s.  We can feel quite trapped. Caged.  But there is a key available for freedom: Just say No.

We could all benefit from learning how to say No when we really mean no.  In this way, we stop lying to ourselves, we gain control over ourselves again, and believe it or not, others will adapt to our more truthful answers.  They in fact, may even trust us more for our honesty.  They will learn to respect our boundaries.  They will come to believe our No’s mean no, and our Yes’s mean yes. We will begin to enjoy the freedom this gives us.

We also should say Yes when we want to say yes!  There is no shame in getting what we want when it is reasonable, acceptable and healthy to do so. We are as deserving as the next guy to say Yes to fun; accepting help; our own feelings… DO do for others when it makes us feel good, sincerely for ourselves to do so. That is the best kind of Yes!  We need to practice saying Yes to ourselves – giving ourselves permission to: take a break when we need one; accept that occasional homemade cookie offered; go for that walk; ask for that hug, or anything else that helps ourselves feel more nourished.

Until next time, remember to take care of you!

IMPORTANT: I am no therapist, nor do I claim to be one.  But when I read something from a reliable source, and it just makes sense to me, I want to share these ideas with you.  Remember the choice is and always will be yours to accept or reject any “pearls of wisdom” I say here. You ultimately have the final say as to whether or not to put whatever you learn in life into practice.  You are in control of you.

I gathered these ideas from a fantastic book called The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie.  You should check her out.  She’s a good read.

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