Mindful Monday: What’s Your Story?

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At some point last week, the above quote popped up in my Instagram feed and stopped me in my tracks. (Don’t you just love when something great grabs hold of you and won’t let go?) That’s how I felt about this quote because, really, it’s just the truest of true. The stories that we tell ourselves…looping in our brains for years or even decades. And I’m here today to call it like it is. Many of the stories? Are outright lies.

Yet we listen to the stories. We ruminate over them…kneading them into 100 different editions in our minds. We pay such rapt attention to the thoughts that often keep us from meeting our full potential.

I can’t do that. I’m not smart enough. I don’t have enough time. I’m not doing enough for my family/clients/friends. I’ll be stuck in this crappy job forever. I’ll never find a mate. I’m never going to get well. I should have accomplished more by now. No one understands me. People don’t find me interesting. I’m not creative enough. My art is shit. I can’t lose the weight. My writing is horrible. I’ll never be as good as him/her. If I make them angry, they will leave me.

I think one or more of these thoughts have crossed most of our minds at some point. Unfortunately, these kind of thoughts can start to dictate lives. Isn’t the human experience such a blast sometimes?

I attended a meditation workshop this weekend as a part of my yoga teacher training, and while discussing working with our own thoughts, my instructor brought up the work of Byron Katie. Many of you might know of her – in a nutshell, her system (or “The Work,” as she calls it) is a way of identifying and questioning the thoughts that cause all the anger, fear, depression, addiction, and violence in the world.

What I love about Katie’s work is that it’s incredibly straight-forward. Four (seemingly) simple questions can create profound shifts in one’s thinking rapidly. So, what are the questions?

First off, think of a thought that troubles you or stresses you out or makes you feel like crap. Then apply these questions to that thought.

The Four Questions:

1) Is it true?

2) Can you absolutely know it’s true?

3) How do you react—what happens—when you believe that thought? Who you you become?

4) Who would you be without the thought?

After answering those questions, turn that thought around to make it positive. Then keep reminding yourself. Again and again.

For example, a thought I’ve had too many times to count over the past couple of years is that I will never feel completely well again. So, let’s take a look at the questions.

I will never feel completely well again.

1. Is it true? I don’t know.

2. Can I absolutely know it’s true? No. 

3. Who do I become when I have that thought? Fearful, worried, stressed, and unable to enjoy myself.

4. Who would I be without that thought? Happier, less worried, and, well, carefree.

Turnaround statement: I feel pretty good now, and will continue to improve.

The questions are where the truth really lies for me – the answers are right there, staring me in the face. The turnaround statement is the way to keep me from ruminating on the negative thought. The minute I start telling myself that familiar story, I immediately replace with the turnaround.

I watched several peers work through some of their most stress-inducing thoughts with these questions this weekend and come out feeling completely empowered. Seeing things in a different light, so to speak. I watched eyes light up when they discovered their “turnaround” statement and said it out loud.

I hope you try it out when you feel trapped by one of your “stories.” Can you imagine how different our lives would be if we didn’t possess the ability to engage these thoughts? Which would you prefer—life with or without your bullshit story? Without? Then let’s get cracking on eliminating it for good.



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Eat This: Roasted Cauliflower and Chick Peas

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While I’m galavanting around California this week, please feel free to make this delicious business. You won’t be sorry.

Roasted Cauliflower and Chick Peas with Mustard and Parsely from It’s All Good

Ingredients:

14-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
Extra virgin olive oil
Coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon seeded mustard
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped Italian Parsley

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F

Toss the chickpeas and cauliflower together in a large roasting pan with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and a big pinch of salt. Roast, stirring now and then, until everything is dark and the cauliflower is quite soft, about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together the mustards, vinegar, and 1/4 cup of olive oil with a big pinch of salt and a few healthy grinds of black pepper.
While the chickpeas and cauliflower are still warm, toss them with the mustard dressing and the parsley.
Serve warm or at room temperature.

I can’t get enough of this dish, you guys. SO GOOD. Enjoy!



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Odds and Ends

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1. What a lovely way to approach the new year. image credit: kristen delap

2. You all, I am simply fascinated by this article and Dr. Aron’s study on falling in love. Can you truly make two people fall in love by having them answer these 36 questions in one setting? Surely not. However, I feel the need to bust on up to a stranger and try it out. Maybe at my next airport layover? (Kidding, honey.) Will someone do this and report back?

3. Incredibly useful healthy-eating charts and graphics right here.

4. Lipstick alert. First off, Beautycounter just came out with a lip sheer in scarlet red. It looks gorgeous and we all know how much I like the lip sheers. Also! While doing research on safe lip color, I realized that the MAC Lustre lipsticks score surprisingly low on the EWG’s Skin Deep website. This excites me greatly because I love their tremendous color selection. I picked up Syrup and Plumful and can’t deal with how much I love both of the shades. (Also, Viva Glam V is about the best pinkish-nude out there.) What’s your favorite MAC lipstick shade?

5. Did you see this article on the declining divorce rate? Promising.

6. The 35 best times someone on Facebook thought The Onion was real. HAHAAAAAA.

7. Since my clothing/accessory shopping days are over until late March, I’m just going to make you buy stuff instead. Did you see this reversible tote? Black AND cognac brown? For 48 bucks? DO IT.

I’m heading to Dallas for a couple of days followed by a quick trip back to the beach. Can’t wait to soak up some California sun, folks. Enjoy your weekend!



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My (Much Safer) Skincare Collection

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The makeup drawer is complete, so let’s talk about skincare. Finding skincare that suits you is challenging enough in the first place, never mind trying to find safe, good-for-you skincare that doesn’t harbor nasty ingredients. As you can imagine, this endeavor took me a bit longer than the makeup project. My unwavering adoration of Olay Daily Facial Cloths was intense. I mean, I used them for years and years, and figured someone would have to pry them out of my cold, dead hands. However, I persevered. They are officially goners. (psst – they are not good for you.)

Without further ado, here is my skincare routine. I have used all of these products for several months, so I’m past the newlywed phase and know they work well. The ones with the asterisks are my holy grail products.

Cleansers:

Be Natural Organics Rose Hip Seed Facial Cleanser* (EWG Score 0) – This has to be my favorite find of the lot. One of the reasons I loved the Olay Daily Cloths is that they removed all makeup, eyeliner, and mascara easily, and I didn’t have to use another product. Nothing makes me crazier than washing my face, looking up, and seeing traces of eye makeup under my eyes. Grrrrrrrrr. This cleanser is amazing because it takes every trace of my makeup off, but doesn’t have any chemicals in it. For real – the ingredients are purified water, olive oil, rose hip seed oil, sea kelp extract, and acai fruit extract. Yep, that’s it. It smells amazing, and still manages to sud a little bit when I rub it in my hands. I love this stuff. Truly, can’t say enough about it.

Beautycounter Routine Clean Cream Cleanser (EWG Rating 2) – While the above cleanser is my go-to every night, I like to use this cream cleanser with my Clarisonic during morning showers. The creamy consistency stays on the face while you use the Clarisonic, and it’s very soothing.

Beautycounter Nourishing Cleansing Balm* (EWG Rating 2) – Oh, man. Run, don’t walk. You have GOT to try this product. It’s an all-in-one product that I use on nights when I don’t want to use anything else. (Especially good for lazy nights when you just can’t be bothered to get up and wash your face at the sink.) It’s a really lovely balm that you rub all over your face with your fingers, and then wipe off with a washcloth or cleansing cloth. It doubles as a moisturizer, so you don’t need to rinse any of the remaining balm off your face, and (and!) you can use it as a mask, as well. If your face is super dry and flaky, just put this on and let it do its magic overnight. Take that, Old Man Winter. (Which, seriously, I can’t take the dryness, people. I completely forgot what it was like to live in a place with actual winters. A bunch of bull honkey, if you ask me.)

Moisturizers:

Uma Anti-Aging Face Oil* (EWG Rating 0) – I professed my love for Uma Oils here, but I just have to reiterate how amazing these oils are again. They somehow manage to give my face the moisture it needs without breaking me out or making my uber-sensitive skin freak out. I use the Anti-Aging Face Oil every night after washing my face with the rose hip seed cleanser. Just four drops warmed up in the palm of my hand is all I need – I lightly pat it all over my face and neck. Smells beautiful and I swear my skin is glowier (that is surely not a word) than ever.

Uma Skin Brightening Face Oil* (EWG Rating 0) – Okay, okay, if the the above doesn’t make you want to try the oils, let me tell you about the Brightening Oil. I use this in the morning all over my face (in the same manner as the other oil), and then sparingly use my tinted moisturizer on areas of my face that need some coverage. (Usually around the nose and mouth.) This combo makes my skin look so radiant, if I do say so myself. I can’t tell you how many years I tried to find a foundation, tinted moisturizer, or highlighter that would make my skin look dewy. Turns out all I needed was this oil.

Beautycounter PM Hydrating Cream (EWG Rating 2) – In the rare event that I don’t use one of the Uma oils on my face, the moisturizer is tops. If oils aren’t your cup of tea, and would rather use a lotion/cream, this is fab. It’s moisturizing, but still lightweight. Great for year-round, unless you are super duper dry, then I would go with this.

Sunscreen:

Olay Complete Sunscreen SPF 30 for Sensitive Skin (EWG Rating 4) – So this moisturizer scores a 4, which is high for me, but I really like it in the warmer months when the sun is strong. It protects my face without stinging or making my skin rage.

Beautycounter Protect Face SPF 30 (EWG Rating 1) – Another great, simple sunscreen in my arsenal. I do find that I have trouble with even application at times. It can apply a bit blotchy, but nothing a little elbow grease can’t remedy.

Treatment:

Beautycounter Gentle Exfoliator* (EWG Rating 2) – It’s so important to exfoliate your skin, even if you are sensitive like yours truly. I use this 2-3/week, and it keeps my skin fresh. I can’t tolerate a lot of exfoliating products, but this one is great. It’s gentle, but still gets the job done.

Beautycounter Enlightening Treatment Pads (EWG Rating 1) – Newsflash – I’m forty, and probably need to add a little something extra to keep my fine lines, wrinkles, and pores under control. I use these pads once a week (on a day that I’m not exfoliating) to refine my skin. They have a fruit acid complex that delivers antioxidants, and it also feels a little zing-zang on my skin, which I like. (“zing-zang” = tingly)

Makeup Remover:

S.W. Basics of Brooklyn – Wrote about it here. Great product, and only has three ingredients.

Body Moisturizers:

If you are looking for a new body moisturizer, there are tons of fantastic recs for lotions here and oils here from my Facebook page.

Everyone Body Lotion, Unscented* (EWG Rating 2) – This is my favorite lotion in the world, for three seasons out of the year. Screaming from the rooftops on this one – no scent (I’m not a scent girl), yet doesn’t smell weird. (You know how some unscented things smell, well, weird? Not this one.) I love it…yet it doesn’t hack it in the wintertime. Sad face.

NOW Sweet Almond Oil (EWG Rating 0) – Since I’m experiencing my first winter in 12 years, my skin is like HELL TO THE NO. I’m currently using this oil after showering to keep the moisture in. This oil smoothes over my skin easily, and has a very mild scent scent. (It doesn’t smell like almonds.)

Eucerin Original Healing Soothing Repair Lotion (EWG Rating 4) – This is nice, thick lotion to use during the colder months. I use this one on my kids too. Please pay attention to the name of this one – other Eucerin products are not as safe and score much higher on the EWG database.

Egyptian Magic Skin Cream* (EWG Rating 0) – You guys. Holy grail product. I am so thankful for those of you who recommended this to me. This is a wonder product for really dry skin, rashes, and red patches. It’s not really a cream, though. It’s more of a balm – you need to rub it between your palms to warm it up and make it spreadable, but when you do, it fixes everything. I practically slather my kiddos in it – Wito has had a rough time with his skin this winter, as he scratches and scratches until the skin breaks all over his thighs and mid-section. At night, I rub this all over his body. (It’s actually hilarious…he always asks, “is this really Egyptian MAGIC?” Yes, buddy, I guess it is. I can’t recommend this product enough.

Deodorant:

A word of caution about switching from traditional aluminum anti-perspirants to natural deodorants. It’s a process – you will feel wetness occasionally since you are no longer forcing the sweat to stay inside your body, but I promise you will never look back. Especially with the smell issue. When I used traditional scented (or unscented) anti-perspirants, I hated the way I smelled. It was so fake, and almost acrid in a chemical fragrance kind of way. Now? No scent at all. Even when I’m sweating. It’s just neutral and non-offensive and well, natural. Really, I invite you to smell my pits right this very minute.

Soapwalla Deodorant Cream (EWG Rating 0) – I’m happily using this product right now – I love the scent (it’s very simple and fresh), and it absorbs despite the absence of crazy chemicals. It has a cult following, for sure.

Primal Pit Paste, Unscented (EWG Rating 0) – I like this paste as well. Primal makes several different scents, but I am partial to the paste in the pot. The roll-on stick ones don’t seem to spread very well…it’s almost like they are too dry.

Toothpaste:

DoTerra On Guard Natural Whitening Toothpaste – Great essential oil-based toothpaste with none of the bad stuff.

Tinted Moisturizers and Concealers:

I wrote about these in the makeup post, but thought I would include them since they are the next step, and I found a new concealer that I simply must tell you about. (It’s from the drugstore! Yippee!)

Beautycounter Tint Skin (EWG Rating 2) – Amazing, awesome, still love it. Read about it here.

Tarte BB Tinted Moisturizer (EWG Rating 3) – Still awesome. This one has a slight edge over the Tint Skin due to the sunscreen component.

Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer (EWG Rating 3) – $8.99. What the what? I LOVE THIS STUFF. It’s the only undereye concealer I use anymore. I love it. Did I mention it was $8.99? EIGHT NINETY NINE, folks.

There you go! Everything I’m currently using on my face is right here. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments, and I have a quick question for you. Do any of you use disposable washcloths to wash your face? Ones that don’t have cleanser already in them…just plain, disposable washcloths that I could use with my cleanser when I travel. Standard, terry washcloths don’t seem to work for me.



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