Why Mindfulness Is One of the Most Important Practices

thoughts

I get it – mindfulness has been a trendy buzzword lately…but with good reason.

For me, when I speak of this term, I’m refering to mindfulness in the sense of being present with the thoughts that are going on in my mind – being aware that I am having the thoughts and listening to them.  It means thinking about my negative thoughts and creating habits that keep negative self-talk to an absolute minimum.

I have listened to negative self-talk in my head for most of my life.  The thoughts have ranged from normal thoughts such as “Why did I do that stupid thing?” to much worse.  These negative thoughts have brought me down so many times in my life.  On other occasions, my negative thoughts have absolutely crippled me in both mind and body.

Recognizing and acknowledging the negative, paranoid, and compulsive thoughts in my mind is the first and most crucial step in releasing myself from the thoughts.  Once I “catch” myself in the act, I try to reflect on what my negative thoughts were about.  I don’t try to ignore them, because that only gives them strength.  I “sit” with them and logically ask myself if the thoughts are true.  Nearly 100% of the time, my negative thoughts are merely created by my mind at a weak moment.  I remind myself that worrying about a “potential” outcome only hurts me.  Constantly replaying “what if’s” only paralyzes my mind.

I love the quote, “Worry is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but gets you nowhere.”

For the past year, I’ve been working my mindfulness like a muscle.  I have to work at it to maintain it.  I have to be consistent and willing to change the thought processes that plague me.  Thoughts can be negative or positive, regardless of the situation.  I’d say 99% of the time, there is a way to put a positive spin on things.

When I have negative thoughts, I have an inner dialogue with myself.  The true me that isn’t negative and paranoid says, “You know these feelings and negative thoughts aren’t true” or “Stop worrying about what you cannot control” or simply, “Everything is OK.”

I try to listen to the negative thought, dispel it with rationality, and then replace it with a positive thought.  It takes time, effort, patience, and consistency, but it has helped me in my journey.

Do you have any experiences with being mindful of your thoughts?

My Splurge vs. Save for Non-Toxic Skincare & Makeup

 

splurgevssave

Making the decision to clean up your skincare and makeup products is a fantastic one, but it sometimes doesn’t come cheap.  Many products, though they are absolutely fantastic, can easily break the bank.

I have to make decisions all the time about what I can justify spending on my skincare and makeup products.  I’ve learned that there are products I will usually splurge on and products I like to save on.  These are my personal preferences where to save money and where to spend it.

Splurge:

Face Serum – The products that absorb into my skin are the ones that I want to be truly natural and pure.  Face oils and serums sit on my skin all day and night, and I want them to be of a high quality as long as I can afford it.  Also, I feel that usually, the higher quality face oils, while often more expensive, are the most effective.

Eye Serum – Eye serum/balm/oil falls into the same line of thinking as face serum – if a product is sitting on my skin for hours, and it is targeting the health of my skin, I want the product to be high quality.

Face Masks – In the past, I never had a face mask that I felt made a real difference, however, one in particular is the Mahalo Skincare Pele Mask, which I would say is the most effective face mask I’ve ever used.  While it is certainly not inexpensive, with its retail price running $64 (or $44 for a refill), this mask is top-notch quality.  I actually scored mine for an unbelievable $29 when I signed up for a Beauty Heroes subscription box. I truly feel that using this mask once a week on my skin has helped improve the overall clearness and brightness of my skin.

Lipstick – Because we all ingest a little bit of our lipstick by the sheer fact that it is on our mouth, I like to use good quality lipsticks like Ilia, Axiology, and Bite.  Some brands are quite expensive – one being Nudus at $34 a tube retail.  Ilia is slightly more affordable at $26 a tube, but I have bought all of mine with coupon codes and sales.

Dental Care – Taking care of my teeth is a top priority.  As soon as I use up my stash of toothpastes, I plan on investing in Living Libations dental products.  Though they are pricey, this is an area I feel comfortable spending more money on.  I want to have my teeth for the rest of my life, after all!

 

Save:

Facial Cleanser – I want a natural, good quality face cleanser, but it doesn’t need to be over $20 or so to do the job.  My current favorite bargain face cleanser is the Indigo Wild Zum Facial Cleanser which I can pick up for around $10 for 4 ounces.  I use it to remove my makeup, and it does the job just fine.

Face Toner – In the summer, this is definitely a “save” category; in the winter, I might be willing to spend slightly more because I need something super hydrating.  Still, I’m never going to spend more than $20 or $25 for face toner at this point in my life.

Blush & Eyeshadow – These are fun categories as they aren’t skincare by any means. While I still like more natural makeup products, I personally cannot justify high price tags for these items.  I paid about $6 or less for all of my blushes and eye shadows, primarily from brands like Silk Naturals, Tarte, and Jane Iredale.  Additionally, I always buy during sales to save even more.

Body Oil – I use body oils and butters primarily after showers and most specifically in the fall and winter.  Maybe I’m low maintenence, but this is a category where a $5 or $10 bottle of oil or body butter suits me just fine.

Soap – I don’t like buying fancy body washes because I want to avoid the negative environmental impact of the huge plastic bottles.  Bar soap typically uses minimal packaging and frankly, I just like bar soap better.  I can often score great deals on all-natural bar soaps that work just fine. Not to mention there are some really fantastic artisanal natural soaps out there if you want something a bit “fancier”.

Haircare – My reason for saving on haircare is that your hair will be in infinitely better condition if you treat it gently – minimal color processing, limited amount of exposure to heat (sun, hair dryer, flat iron), and limited exposure to pool water.  Trimming the dead ends regularly also is necessary.  These steps have drastically improved the condition of my hair so that I don’t have any need to buy expensive hair care products.  If you abuse your hair, you may need more high-end products, however.  I buy clean hair care products, however, they are very affordable.

When it comes to skincare and makeup, what products do you splurge on?  What products to you like to save on?

An Eco-Friendly Lunchbox

lunchbox]Because I pack my daughter’s lunch for school everyday, we have quite  a few reusable containers and bags.  I try to be cost-effective,  so we do not have all top-of-the-line stainless steel and glass canisters.  Also, glass is quite heavy for a child’s lunchbox, so I usually use glass for myself.  These are some of my favorite child-friendly reusable lunchbox items.

1. I always let my daughter pick a fun reusable lunchbox (the one pictured is a licensed character lunchbox, so I turned it around).  I can still remember when I was in school some children used the brown paper bags. Thankfully, those seem to be a thing of the past.

2. She has reusable heavy duty plastic Blue Avocado bags  – I absolutely love these bags for foods like grapes, apple slices, or anything with moisture.  They are easy for little hands to open and have not leaked on us at all.

3. Next, we use plastic BPA-free food containers.  We have Lunchblox containers which have held up really well.  I also use Sistema containers and love them as well.  They are also very easy for young children to open and close, which is definitely a must!

4. I love the HustleMama reusuable cloth snack bags I bought last year.  Her prints are adorable and they have held up so well under constant use.  I toss them in the washing machine and I have not had any issues.  My daughter loved picking out the prints.  We use these for things like crackers and pretzels.

5. She gets a reusable cloth napkin aka “unpaper towel”.  I bought bird’s eye cotton napkins years and years ago, and I still use them!  I cannot remember which Etsy seller I purchased these from, but there are tons to choose from.  This napkin was from a pack of 12 cloth napkins with different edging colors.  The great thing about cloth napkins is they can really handle a big mess and won’t rip or tear.

6. Lastly, she has a reusable stainless steel water bottle – this one is from Sigg, a Swiss company that makes super cute kid’s water bottles. We don’t drink pop or juice in our house, so a water bottle is key, plus it reduces waste since we are not buying disposable drink boxes.  My daughter is so conditioned to drink water that she actually prefers it and asks for it!

Every day when she comes home, it’s her job to clean out her lunchbox. I think these type of chores teach responsibility.  Although occasionally there is a bit of trash, like a granola bar wrapper, for the most part there is no trash to throw away.

The best part of an eco-friendly lunchbox?  Enjoying the creative patterns, colors, and individuality that comes from all your unique, beautiful, reusable food storage!

What is your favorite eco-friendly lunch storage?

 

Mini Review of ANFGB Goodebox #2

anfgbgoodeboxIf you aren’t familiar with A Night For Green Beauty, read about it and the August 2015 event here.  To coincide with the ANFGB event, organizers partnered with Goodebox and released 5 limited edition boxes filled with products from companies that will be at the event.  When I saw the offerings in Box #2, I jumped on it!  I paid $145 total for everything that I received, and that included shipping.  Considering that the retail value of the package was $310, I think it’s a fantastic deal, not to mention the proceeds went to support this charity. Read on for my impressions so far on these fantastic products!

Osmia Organics Luz Enzyme Facial Soap (retail value $24) – When I think of facial bar soap, I think of my skin feeling dry and tight afterwards, which is not pleasant.  However, Luz is not your typical bar soap.  The scent is pleasant and complex, it lathers beautifully, and feels completely luxurious on my skin.  I think this would be a fabulous soap for dry, sensitive winter skin.  Want proof?  I always have to immediately use toner and oil on my face after I wash it, no matter what I use, because my face will start to feel dry.  However, after I use Luz to wash my face, I often forget that I haven’t put any oil or serum on my face because my skin is so hydrated and soft.  I’m completely sold on this.  The bar is petite for the price, but the ingredients and efficacy help to justify the price tag.

Strange Invisible Perfumes Body Wash in Lemon & Neroli (retail value $45) – This is probably my least favorite product from the box.  I’m not a big fan of body wash in general, as I prefer bar soap for washing my body.  Additionally, the scent is just OK to me – and for a body wash that retails for a staggering $45, I would have to seriously love it to justify that price.  The ingredients are top notch, to be sure, and it lathers beautifully.  I would absolutely LOVE to sample their perfumes…but I’m just “meh” about this body wash.  Let me end by saying that I will definitely use it up, though!

Josh Rosebrook Lift (retail value $22) – As soon as I heard about this relatively new product, I was thinking, “I must have it” because I have super fine, thin hair that has no body or volume the day I wash it.  There are a few things about this spray – the spray nozzle is great and delivers a fine mist; the scent is subtle but nice; the product doesn’t feel tacky or sticky at all…and does it give lift?  Yes, it does!  It isn’t va-va-voom, at least not for me, but it definitely gives me more body that I have on my own.  This product is absolutely a “win”.

Graydon Hand and Foot Relief Cream (retail value $18) – This was one of the products I glanced over when I got my package.  Another hand cream? I wasn’t too excited about it.  However, after the first use, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this.  It sounds like an oxymoron to say something is very lightweight but very hydrating – but somehow that is what this cream delivers.  I cannot wait to use this in the fall and winter on my notoriously dry skin.  Lastly, I am in love with the packaging.  A sleek tube with black label and a fantastic pump make this a joy to use.

Axiology Lipstick in Worth (retail value $26) – I knew I would receive either the shade Worth (bright red with coral and orange tones) or The Goodness (light pink creamy matte with light glimmer) and I was really hoping I’d get The Goodness.  So, naturally, I received Worth.  When I rolled up the tube, my heart sank a bit.  I’m quite fair and the strong orange red just looked disastrous.  I learned that I cannot apply this heavily nor on dry lips.  I have to apply balm first, then a sheer layer of Worth.  The result?  Amazingly beautiful orange-red lips that will be perfect for fall.  I don’t own any lipsticks like this shade and so I’ve made peace with getting Worth and expect to use this a lot during autumn.  The packaging is first a recycled paper tube which houses the lipstick tube itself. The lipstick is in a gorgeous sleek gold metal tube that has a unique pop-up mechanism that helps to avoid both the top coming off or the lipstick getting smooshed up into the top of the lipstick tube (lovely description, eh?).  The formula is fantastic, absolutely every bit as good as something like Ilia.

Cocovit Coconut Oil (retail value $25) – I’ll start by saying I haven’t had a chance to use this product in all the ways I want to – yet.  I did learn that it cannot be kept in my bathroom in the summer, because I opened it one day and liquid coconut oil spilled all over my bathroom sink – and you better believe I scrapped every bit I could back into the jar.  After that, I put it on my vanity where it won’t melt.  I’ve used this to shave, which was fantastic for my legs, but not so fantastic for my gummed-up razor.  I might experiment with oil-pulling with this, but I’m on the fence about that one.  I do plan on using it as a deep treatment for my hair one day very soon.  And I definitely plan on taking some of the suggestions for use from the Cocovit website.  Come winter, there is a good chance I will also use it on my face, since I get very dry skin and my skin seems to do very well with coconut oil.  This product is fantastic because it is so versatile.

True Nature Botanicals Pacific Night Serum with Retinol (retail value $150) – This was the star in the night sky for me, the product that pushed me over the edge to say, “Yep, gonna buy this box.”  I wanted to try this several months ago when I first heard about it, but could not stomach that $150 price tag, especially when I had never even sampled it.  This was my opportunity to get an amazing deal on it, so I jumped for it.  Safe, gentle retinol in an all-natural serum?  Yes, yes, yes!  And though I’ve only been using this 3-4 times a week for about 3 weeks, I’m already a huge fan of this lightweight serum. I use one pump after I apply my regular face oil/serum at night.  I will only know over time what difference it really makes, and in addition, I don’t have any wrinkles at all yet, so I won’t see any difference there.  I wanted this mainly as a “preventative maintenance” type of product.  I won’t lie – I want to age very well and I’d love to keep any wrinkles to a minimum.  I plan on reviewing again once I’ve used the entire bottle.  But so far, I love this product.

 Have you tried any of these products?  Are any of them on your wish list?

My Aversion To Social Media

Notice how I don’t have links to social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram?  That’s because I don’t have any.  The only one I’ve ever used is Facebook, and I completely abandoned Facebook about 3 years ago.

What was it that made me walk away from probably the most popular and universal form of communication?  It was the way I felt when I was on Facebook.

I remember starting my Facebook page when I was in college.  It was like a drug.  I wanted to log on all the time, I thought about it when I wasn’t on, and I was always wondering if I would “miss” something good or interesting.  Eventually the “love affair” died down and I was probably a typical Facebook user for a few years.  But…

I couldn’t help but notice that 95% of what I was reading fell into one of three categories:

  1. useless and/or uninteresting information that had no relevance to my life
  2. negativity/complaining/drama
  3. narcissism/bragging/gratuitous attention seeking

Precious little on my feed fell outside those parameters.  And yet I was spending a decent amount of leisure time scrolling and scrolling and scrolling.  And I thought, “Why?”  I didn’t feel better or happier or more fulfilled after logging on to Facebook. I didn’t connect with people in a better way.  I am not interested in Twitter at all, and in fact can’t truly understand the appeal of it.  Instagram seems a bit intriguing because I enjoy looking at pictures, but I have not started an account.

I know a lot of people use social media to connect…but for me, it would be forced.  I only want to do something that comes genuinely. I have been able to find everything I need and want, without social media.  I still find out about family members and pertinent happenings.

The drawback is that, as someone with a blog, I’m missing a lot of potential traffic to my blog because I do not take part in social media.  But I am OK with this.  I started my blog as a personal creative outlet.  My secondary reason for my blog is to talk about my experiences with living an eco-friendly, all-natural lifestyle.

There may come a time in the future that social media may be integrated into my website – I have definitely learned to “never say never” – but for now, I am keeping it simple and not using social media, personally or for my blog.

What are your thoughts on this topic?