Friday, February 27, 2015

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you may have seen, in the past, multiple green drink photos or mentions. As with most people, I'm a firm believer in eating veggies (honestly, who isn't?), especially if you consume a lot of proteins. The thing is, proteins are wonderful for you, but they need a lot of veg to break them down and make them digestable. Because I love my meats and nuts and proteins, I try (key word being "try" here) to eat a significant amount of vegetables as well. Enter, the green drink - queen of Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr, does what it says on the tin, and is basically the best thing you could chug.

The hard part is making it taste good. I've tried a lot of different variations on this one, but for the benefits I like, this is difficult. I have listed below the ingredients and benefits for this green drink - the staple - but if you're interested, I would love to share my variations in the future.

The Green Drink (itself) - SERVES 2
-1 very large handful of raw spinach (Full of iron, good for skin, hair and bone health)
-1 whole cucumber, chopped (Aids in hydration, reduce bloating and skin irritation/redness)
-Juice of 1 lemon and/or lime juce. (Increases metabolism, full of Vitamin C which promotes clear skin, bolsters immune system)
-1/2 teaspoon ginger (Reduces muscle pain caused by exercise, increases metabolism)
-Honey (Natural sweetner)
-Water (Your body is nearly 90% water. If you need me to tell you why to drink it, you haven't been drinking it enough.)

Whiz up all your ingredients, and let them blend for 10 minutes. I've tried shorter time periods, but honestly this is the best option if you don't want any lumpiness. I cover my blender with a few towels to dull the sound, and the result is a beatifully thin, juice-like consistancy. Serve with ice for best results, and chug! Because for all it's health benefits I cannot promise this won't taste like drinking a garden. (Add a little more honey if its truly unbearable.)
The benefits, however, are worth it to me - 1 or more of these a week keep my skin glowing, even in the dead of winter, and I always feel great after drinking it. It works wonderfully as a post-workout snack or a coffee alternative too, by giving you a healthy energy boost.
Let me know if you give it a go, and in what ways you would like to see it remixed! 

The Beauty of Fashion

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

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I know there's a lot going around about finding your personal style at the moment. We see posts all over about discovering where your niche is and sticking with it, creating a capsule wardrobe that embodies it, or at the very least purging your closet of the things that aren't "you." I want to start by saying generally, I am for this principle. The more streamlined, simplified, and functional your wardrobe, the easier it is to dress in the morning, the less you find yourself hating everything in your closet, and the outfit mix-and-match range is larger. Seriously: knowing your style is crucial.

However (and here's where you'll need to bear with me) there are some places its better to be more flexible. For example, I have many times before foregone an outfit because it didn't feel like "me", and ended wearing jeans another day in a row (and wanting a break up in the flow). I've not bought things that I love, because they don't match the color scheme of my wardrobe. On the flip side, I have kept items for insignificant reasons like "I might wear it," and end up loving the item a few months later.

And recently, I've been wearing skirts and dresses on my rack I never thought I would wear again; but because I feel like it - because they're starting to feel like "me", too.
The beauty of fashion is it's always changing - you can wear that leather jacket and kick rears one evening, rock a tulle skirt to school the next day, and still leave room for the blouse-and-distressed-jeans you that makes more regular appearances. Fashion is costuming in the simplest sense.

What I'm saying is this: fashion changes, and so will your tastes, likes and dislikes. In general, you'll like the same sort of clothing, but the nuances are what make style so different from person to person. If you edit your wardrobe down too much (trust me, I've been there) you'll often end up bored of your own style.

So loosen up! Leave room for a few (just a few) of those fun, odd pieces that maybe you don't wear weekly, because sometimes you will wear them. Those little nuances are what make your style so distinctly you. The beauty of fashion is you can be a different person every day, and still all along be you.

Chatterbox: Passing The Time

Monday, February 23, 2015

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It's that time again, friends, in which the darling Rachel Heffington poses to the world a topic and we,  obliging, throw our characters in a room and have them chat on it. (Otherwise known as Chatterbox.)

Today, I'm breaking the rules, because ironically, after I had just explained how Finding My Balance was on the shelf this scene came to me and fit itself in the topic.
Today, you have an anti-chatterbox. As in, it is banter without any verbal expression of which. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, and to Rachel: thanks again as always for making me write more than I anticipated. You're golden.

Finding My Balance
"Push it in and twist the knife again / watch my face / as I pretend to feel no pain."

Side glance. That was new.
Damien was frowning, had pulled his lips back in a peculiar shape that had Scarlett biting her own, but her brow was unchanged. Craven, that's what it was. Unmoving.
They weren't speaking of it - they weren't speaking of anything, but the air was thick with the scent of it. Heavy, weighted, a ball-and-chain on the tongue that wriggled to speak. But there was a lot more could be said without talking, a gentler lot that could be said with the posture and facial expression. That was another language within itself, but it was a universal one, too. It was full of odd inflections and confused signals, a labyrinth of emotion on one flicked eyebrow, a well of tears in the haughty lifted chin. Subtleties were it's alphabet; emotion its accent; it was the hardest language known to man, but so intrinsically tied to his heart all the same.

Both used it with the light, even hand of experience.

His jaw was clenching now; she watched with bated breath. Would he speak? Not likely.
Her gaze was unmoved yet, unmoved and unmoving - but his eyes were on her and she felt him, felt the pride blossom in her breast. Of course he was watching her.

One sly glance, just one, to check if he was still looking - oh! not eye contact. Anything but. The two pairs of eyes brushed over each other, but both still pleaded innocence and passed, looking again at the patient floor. Still, she felt them on her again, and this time they weren't moving, weren't leaving.

Scarlett looked up from the floor into the wells of Damien's eyes and found she could not run, nor could she stay. She tried to pry from her stare any meaning, any intent, but felt only vulnerable, a slight flush catching her cheeks and making them glow. Grip, grip, grip! She was trying to hold to her composure but it was slowly sliding off. Did he see her, then? Could he see the crumbling confusion of her emotion, the weird twist of imagination, hope, and hatred that was her mind's silhouette of him? If, in Damien, she could have seen something, it was lost in her own guessing of what he saw in her. She did not look into his eyes, whether for fear or otherwise; she did not know what he saw, then in herself - for what Scarlett had forgotten was reflection. And his eyes, in searching hers, had become like hers - that in looking in his eyes, she may have seen some very honest image of him, as affected by her.

3 Sugar-Free Breakfast Ideas

Friday, February 20, 2015

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For Lent this year I've chosen to abstain from all white sugars (which, I will admit, is already cropping up to be harder than I planned - why is it so hard to find sugar-free peanut butter without added chemicals?), because I have an incurable sweet tooth. Sugar-free, however, does not have to mean either bland or gross, with the addition of natural sweeteners and naturally sweet flavors. Breakfast is one of the hardest meals in which to avoid sugar, especially when, in an attempt to avoid sugars other healthful assets are sacrificed - but it's not impossible. I've scrounged together some of my favorites for you today..

1. Apple-and-Cinnamon Oatmeal & Earl Grey Tea
I had this for breakfast this morning, and it's essentially the apple-pie of oatmeals. I cook my oats in the microwave with water (because I find it goes much faster) but if you're looking for a creamier texture, skim milk is a good choice. The ratio is 1:2 - 1/3 cup of oatmeal to 2/3 cup of liquid is my perfect balance, but play around with it till you find yours. I cook them for 2 minutes, stopping to stir every now and then. Top with half a chopped apple of your choice, a sprinkle of cinnamon (a little under a teaspoon) and drizzle with honey. I love to eat this with a mug of Earl Grey tea, brewed for 1.5 - 2 minutes, and of course a glass of water.

2. Mexican Omelettes
Nothing better than egg for breakfast! This was one I learned from my father. Whisk two eggs in a bowl with a small dash of cream, pour into a greased, hot pan. Start cooking your omelette, flip when ready, and fill the center with chopped peppers, the cheese of your choice, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Top with sour cream & salsa (most should be without sugar), a sprig of cilantro and another pinch of shredded cheese if you're cheeky. Best paired with half an avocado and a glass of water.

3. Grilled Pineapple Parfait
I got the ideas for this one from our Breakfast Club (the lovely ladies here, here and here). I use canned pineapple (be sure it's in water, not syrup), grill it in a frying pan, and pat it dry with paper towels. A few chunks become the base of the parfait, then a dollop of plain/Greek yoghurt, rolled oats and a drizzle of honey. Repeat pineapple and yogurt, topping with another pinch of oats, a drizzle of honey, and a few berries (raspberries would be wonderful, if you can get hold of some). I would love to try this recipe with some slivered almonds thrown in somewhere as well, but haven't had a chance yet.

Let me know if you try any recipes, or if you have any of your own! I'm always searching for new ways to make breakfast beautiful, healthy, and tasty.

Pink Knit & Knee-High Socks | #OOTD

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

/ / / TOP / / /
-Pink chunky knit sweater (Aeropostale)

/ / / BOTTOM / / /
-Black shorts (Forever 21)
-Ribbed knee-socks (Unknown)
-Brown lace-up boots (DSW)

/ / / ACCESSORIES / / /
-Blue-and-gold tiered earrings (Forever 21)
-Coffee mug (full of yumminess)

I wore thise outfit last week when the weather was warmer, but since then we have had both snow and ice and I don't think I could pull it off (jeans it is!) I love the combination of the high-low sweater and the shorts: there's something so swish and fashion-designer about it that makes me want to sketch and drink coffee. The boots I got a few years ago for Christmas, tiered as they are because I couldn't decide between a knee-high and a combat boot, and these were right between. They're a little shorter than I would like, however, so the socks extend the warmth further up my leg (because let's face it: winter is cold, and I'm wearing shorts). Chipped red nail polish is due to the fact that I am lazy and did not have time to repaint my nails, .

But the sweater is the main show, and the sweater is my favorite. I've been wearing it almost nonstop the past week and loving it!

What winter pieces are you loving at the moment?

There Are Many Paths To Tread

Monday, February 16, 2015

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"Through shadows / to the edge of night / until the stars are all alight"

There is sleet covering the powdery snow outside my window, and I have a paper to write on The Great Gastby - so why not write a blog post? This won't exactly be a constructive post, but more of an update on How Things Are (for one, I've been re-reading Winnie The Pooh) because let's be honest: there hasn't been a nice chatty post here in a while. I like to keep things polished, but sometimes you've just got to be plain.

I've been writing a decent bit lately, partly due to my challenge, and also in part because I simply have ideas. Lots of them. I don't know what it is about being cooped up in the house during the wintertime, but it makes me want to write my way out of it, if you will; it forces me to use my imagination to create color for the world of grey that is February (gosh that sounds dreary). What am I writing? Mostly Psithurism, as per usual. A few of you have asked me about the progress of Finding My Balance, and to be completely honest with you, I haven't done much with it in a while, other than a snippet here and there that gets stashed in the grande olde file for later use, but has no current purpose. I'm not forgoing it by any means, but writing a fantasy takes a lot of headspace, and I'm not one to write two things at once, at least not consistently. Finding My Balance will resurface, but just not yet. I think once I have the second (third?) draft of Psithurism beaten out I'll be able to think more clearly about other projects on the back burner (because they're always there, whether being written in or no).

The strange thing is, I'm doing more this school semester than last, I'm dancing again (oh yes, there's that: I didn't dance last semester) and somehow feeling more motivated to write. Life can be befuddling sometimes.

Book-wise, I finished Their Eyes Were Watching God on Wednesday - it was an assigned read for American Literature, but I enjoyed it more than I expected. Over Christmas Break I read Jane Eyre and loved it, and between now and then I've read My Antonia and re-read Gatsby. I would love to fit in more reading from my self-assigned list, but it hasn't happened yet, and I'm not sure where I'd like to start. If you have any burning suggestions, let me know! For now, I'm thinking I'll crack open Mere Christianity, because I haven't read it (gasp!) and because Lewis is like my favorite mug in the cabinet: every time I think I'll use a different one, but I just keep coming back to it.

What writing/reading/living have you been doing lately? Let me know!

The One About Prayer

Friday, February 13, 2015

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"Lay me at the throne / Leave me there alone / To gaze upon Your glory"

I know several people who struggle with sleeping. It's an interesting predicament, too, because the more  you struggle with it, the harder it is to find a healthy sleeping schedule - and life gets in the way too, with homework that needs completion, people that want to talk to you, issues that need to be resolved or general business that has you burning the candle on both ends. It only gets harder as a writer, when my best hours of inspiration come between 10 and 12 at night, and I often get up early to write or read or research.

So what does this have to do with health, exactly?
Sleep is important. I know you've heard it before, but it's true - particularly the amount of sleep you get - and when that is affected by anxiety or stress, the problem only doubles on itself. That said, I've never had any issues with sleeping (save your typical insane dream here and there), even though I definitely struggle with being anxious and getting overwhelmed for no reason. I listen to gentle music sometimes, or choose three things from the day for which to be happy, but sometimes my heart will not rest & my soul won't be quiet. So how do I turn off my brain when I want to sleep?


It sounds too easy, doesn't it? Just pray and you'll be able to sleep?
To tell the truth, it's not that simple. Prayer takes time that sometimes I would rather spend trying to sleep (or if I'm particularly tired, just plain sleeping). There are often times when I would rather mind-rant about things that are bothering me, or go over every single mistake I've made in life (don't we all have those night?) But the truth is: I know I'll sleep better once I've spent time talking with my Maker. And even if not, it's incredibly vital to spend time in prayer - no better time than before you sleep.

Sometimes the words don't come. Sometimes I don't know what to pray, whether I'm thankful or confused or otherwise. Sometimes I just sit in the silence and listen to Him, but it's always worth it.

Give it a try. Spend time in prayer when you can't sleep, and whether you sleep easier or not, you put your mind in a healthier, more peaceful place, than dwelling on things that cause you to be anxious. Whether you recall all the best and brightest parts of the day, release to Him your anxiety and confusion, or simply listen to His presence, spend time in the company of your Maker. We were created to fellowship with Him.

10 Minute Makeup: My 5 Picks

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

(product details below)
I'm one of those people who likes to spend a good fifteen or more minutes on her makeup. That's not because it's labor-intensive (ha...) or because I wear a ton of makeup, but simply that I really enjoy the process, picking the products, blending everything nicely and layering instead of loading (more on that bit another time). Of course, however, I don't have time to spend half an hour on my face every morning, and there are some days I am rushing out the door to work and have to do the job in a hurry.

Thus, my 10-minute makeup.

1. Pick 5 products.
One of the reasons makeup can be time-consuming is all the switching back and forth between bottles and tubes and pots and pencils. If you need to save time, pick an assortment of five products: no more, no less. You'd be surprised how far you can get, choosing the most affective and cohesive of your lot.

2. Lip balm doesn't count.
Your lips need hydration and this step takes no time at all. ;)

3. Don't rush.
You make more mistakes when you're hurrying your makeup, which often means you either have to clean up and start again, or spend extra time covering it up. Just take your time and be aware of - but not affected by - the time.

4. Choose ahead of time.
If you're really in a time crunch, and know you will be the night before, set out your products and tools in advance. This way, there is no deliberating over which products you will or will not use.

5. If all else fails, add mascara.
Mascara takes the least about of time to apply and probably does the most at opening and awakening your eyes.

My 5 Products
(see above photo)
These change often, of course, but this is my favorite 5-product, neutral look. A pop of bright lipstick if you have the spare time is a great way to up the glamour on this one.

1. Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser
This does what it says on the tin. If I'm having a spotty day, or didn't get enough sleep the previous day, I'll swap this for the Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer.

2. Rimmel Stay Matte Long Lasting Pressed Powder
I like quite a dewy finish on my cheeks, but my t-zone is invariably shinier than I would like. Enter one of the best drugstore pressed powders you can find. 

3. E.L.F. Allover Color Stick in Persimmon
This product is beautifully shimmery (as I said, I love a highlighted, dewy cheekbone) and easily acts as a blusher and highlighter in one. I dab this across the tops of my cheek bones, on my cupid's bow, and a little in the inner corner of my eyes. 

4. Eyebrows
I'm not a huge fan of this pigment, but it does the job. I'm a firm believer that well-groomed brows are the difference between looking like you know what you're doing & not. This goes for overdrawn/overplucked eyesbrows as well; it's well worth investing in good brow products (that being said, I ought to take my own advice. XD)

5. CoverGirl Clump Crusher by Lashblast (Water Resistant)
I love this mascara, but it's not for everyone - I know Chloe didn't prefer it, as it didn't give her much volume. It does a wonderful job at lengthening and defining, but if your goal is volume, this is not the one for you. That said, I love it for what it does.

What are your 5 favorite products for when you have little time?

January Snippets

Monday, February 09, 2015

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A new month, a new batch of writing to share! There is admittedly less here than I would have liked; however, I've challenged myself to write a very simple 100 words a day for the month of February (thanks, Braden!), knowing that once I start, I'll continue for more than that quota. It is also getting difficult to share things without spoiling other things; but I have managed to pick a few nonetheless. So then: the snippets themselves!

"Morning. A crack against the sky: blue white, and maybe a little pink to follow – but not just yet. No, just now it was only blue, and pale, pale white. Men would drink their ale and women would have their gossip and life would go on in a moment, but there was this breath in between, a grey, foggy breath that allowed for something beautiful to be made before all of that. It was the space between the days." -PSITHURISM

"The funeral pyre shot blood orange flecks high into the night, wafting off until Adara could see them no longer.
Favian was by her side. No one else was there. With a quick, impulsive movement, she flung the dagger into the flames and stepped back, watching it fall. She didn’t know where it landed; it didn’t matter." -PSITHURISM

“How’s the fishing?”
 Someone must have told him. Adair nodded his assent, and a sort of crooked smile pulled back on the other’s face, revealing a discolored jumble of teeth.
“When can we talk?” The man’s hands were folded in front of him when he spoke, looking shriveled against Adair’s own.
“I know places.”  -PSITHURISM

In the corner, a desk was cluttered with papers – all heavily scribbled on – odd writing instruments, a little orange lamp, and Tarquin, slouching diplomatically in the rickety round-back chair, like a wolf by the fireside.  He motioned to the floor cushions, and Adair seated himself, removing his boots as he’d been learned to do.
“Sir,” he cleared his throat, fiddling nervously with his satchel-strap. In the dim orangey light, his fingers looked very dark and square. “You asked an update.”
“Yes. Tell me about the boys.” - PSITHURISM

"There was the pink, now, so gentle! so warm! and encroaching like soft wings on the horizon, fraying into the blue watercolour. It was there as it always had been, but this time Adara noticed it more – or perhaps it noticed her – and the pink flushed her cheeks, her breast, her shoulders. Sometimes beauty is not so much of a striking thing, or a captivating thing, or even a lovely thing to see: sometimes, it is only small – and most times, it is only felt." - PSITHURISM

February Playlist

Friday, February 06, 2015

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We've talked about food and eating well a little bit on here, but one of the topics I want to delve into more this month is mental health. When you feed anxiety and stress you only cultivate it, and while that is another topic for another day, it is the start of what I want to share with you today.
One of the most important parts of keeping in a good mental state is, for me, the music I listen to. I find that the best way to start my day is by having a light-hearted selection of songs playing while I dress and do my makeup each morning (otherwise known as my Get Ready With Me Music) - and though the playlist is in a constant state of being changed, I thought I would share it with you, in its current state. It's definitely very different from my writing music, but that keeps me from getting distracted.

I am always looking for new music (as I'm sure you are) so I hope this is of some help, or introduces some new music you might enjoy. :)

1. Afterlife by Ingrid Michaelson
2. Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran
3. Home by Ingrid Michaelson
4. Old Shoes by Adam Barnes
5. Miracles by Coldplay
6. Kings and Queens by Brooke Fraser
7. It Is Well by Bethel Music
8. Try by Colbie Callait
9. How Long Will I Love You by Ellie Goulding
10. World Traveler by Andrew Peterson

What music are you listening to?


Wednesday, February 04, 2015

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(I apologise for the lack of post this Monday! Life has come down heavy-handed this week.)

Today I want to talk about money. Not economics (goodness knows I'm not the person to tell you about that) but more specifically, money in fashion. Clothing can be expensive, and depending on how much you're willing to give in trade for quality, can rack up quite a charge. If you're like me, you probably don't have money to spend on expensive items - even if it's something you need/have been eyeing for a long time. I'm sure we've all come across people, whether in real life or online, who's clothing/accessories/what-have-you costs a fortune. We could make the excuses for some of them that they are classic, staple pieces worth investing in, probably well-made and long-lasting, but when it comes down to it, most of us cannot afford to spend $1,000 for a handbag, or $500 for shoes. It's simply out of the question.

There's something quite deceptively attractive about that idea, that these women who can buy designer brands somehow care more about their appearance than those of us with smaller incomes and therefore more moderate wardrobes. We're told by magazines and websites that a $275 pair of jeans is "a little bit pricey, but worth investing in," while I bite my lip spending $35 for a pair. In a way, there's a large disconnect between the people who can spend that sort of money on clothing, and the people who can't.

But here's where creativity comes in (and where I only feel bad for the people who buy straight from the rack): between thrift shopping and sales, it's not as hard as you think to create a sturdy, beautiful wardrobe from a small income. True, thrifting is a pain, and yes, the experience is not half as enjoyable as strolling through the mall with a few large bags on your arm. I can't pretend there's any glamour in it. But there is a certain pride that comes when you've dug through loads of ugly sweaters and found that one gem - brand-name or otherwise - that is a fraction of it's original price, and still looking good. It feels like you've chipped off the dust and found gold, instead of buying what was already picked for you and a thousand other people.

I'm not condemning anyone who regularly shops retail - sometimes I get tired of the dingyness of thrift stores, and there is something so swish about saving your pennies and buying something truly fantastic, straight off the rack. I'm just saying don't knock it 'till you've tried it - you'd be surprised how many gems you come across if you just take the time and care to dig for them.

Do you thrift shop regularly? If so, what are your success stories?
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