Friday, December 30, 2011

the miracle acne clearer-er upper

Several years ago, my acne started getting pretty severe. I'd had very clear skin, and then, suddenly, out of the blue, it was a mess. And it wouldn't go away for ANYTHING. Just got worse, until it was covering both of my cheeks and my chin. It was painful, ugly, and out of control.

I have tried so many products. So many. Here's a summary:
Neutrogena Skin ID
Neutrogena Grapefruit cleansers
stridex pads (2 different kinds)
Burt's Bees
Biore strips
6 different spot treatments
Origins face washes
a BUNCH of different face masks and recipes
clearasil cleansers

I'm sure there are some I'm not thinking of.

Then, in November, I went and had a microderm appointment to see if that would help.  The lady was suuuuuper nice, and recommended a (pretty expensive) brand of face care. In the car, later on the phone with Mom, I said " I think I'm going to just go ahead and spend the $80 on it. I'm so sick of this, and it seems to be working already, and I don't want crappy skin for my college Graduation. " She agreed, and I went back to the store a week or so later and bought the first half of the new products- they were out of the others, and I was going to go back in two days to check.

That evening, I was on Pinterest, just bumming around when I saw "the Aspirin Face Mask" for acne. I thought, what's the harm, I should try that.

I did, and was pleased with the initial result. I decided to wait 4 weeks before I opened the new expensive stuff and see if I thought the aspirin was doing the trick.

I returned the product yesterday.

This face cleanser is the best I've ever used. It leaves my skin feeling fresh and clean. Occasionally I use some lotion on my face, and I am using a "Say Yes to Tomatoes" spot stick.

In four weeks, over Christmas, no less, my face is at least 50% better. It doesn't hurt, the spots are going away quicker.

So without further ado:

The Aspirin Face Mask:

Ingredients:
lightly coated aspirin tablets
warm water
Honey

Let the aspirin dissolve in a few drops of water ( I use a little tiny bowl for this and help it a long with a pickle fork). Add in a little honey so you're at about 40% honey and 60% aspirin mixture. Stir together. Smear all over your face and let dry. I leave mine on for about an hour, although I've left it on for anywhere from 10 minutes-overnight. Rinse with warm water. Repeat once or twice a day.

That's it! It costs me about 30 cents to make this for myself, and I love it.
Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

100 reasons I'm reaching my fitness goal in 2012

I'm starting my new year's resolutions early. This year, I am going to get to my fitness goal. I will do whatever it takes, healthily, to get down to what medical professionals say is an "ideal" weight for me- about 130 pounds. I'm not sure, but I think that is a loss of over 50 pounds.  My BMI needs to come down significantly. (as much as 15 points according to some calculators)
I've never been big on scales. I've always been heavy, and muscular, which has always meant that I weigh more than I look like I weigh. But tomorrow, I go to buy a scale. I am hoping that it will put it in my face that everyday, I need to make progress. No more excuses. No more "tomorrows" or "starting on Monday" or "I'll just have one".

Operation Skinny B*tch is now in session. Hold on, people. It's gonna be a heck of a ride.

I will do it. For all of these reasons (which are in no specific order whatsoever):


1. Because I refuse to be self conscious in my bikini when I move to LA.
2. Because I won't be known as "the one with the pretty face"
3. Because I won't have awkward "tight clothes" ruts on my skin.
4. Because I don't want any more size large clothes... and I need new ones
5. to be proud in the dressing rooms and locker rooms
6. Because I like the stares and compliments
7. to enjoy buying underwear and bras
8. to look fantastic in my dance clothes
9. to walk onto any store and be able to try things on
10. for better hugs
11. so my old friends double take when they see me coming
12. for my five year reunion
13. to not be lost in the gym
14. so the only thing that wiggles when I walk is behind me
15. to sit cross-legged in smaller chairs
16.  because curves are beautiful
17. to never ever worry about my shirt riding up again
18. for my health
19. to be comfortable in child's pose
20. to never be out of breath at the top of the stairs
21. because I'm too beautiful to hide behind a layer of blubber
22. because that dress is perfect, and it is a shame for it to live in the closet
23. to never pinch those "chicken nuggets" again
24. to love being picked up
25.  to take beautiful pictures, without worrying about how I'm standing
26. for the pure hedonistic pleasure of it
27. to not lie about my weight on my resume/ measurement sheets
28. For more energy
29. to stand next to my sisters and not feel three times their size
30. so I can wear short shorts and not yank them down every three steps
31. to avoid the doctor as much as possible
32. to be able to wrap my arms around my pulled up knees
33. to finally be where I planned to be 5 years ago
34. so all the hopes of " and it won't be long until I'm x size" will be over
35. So the boys will stare
36. to never worry about my belly being bigger than my boobs
37. to enjoy playing outside with my dad and brother
38. to outrun the zombies
39. Because the Doctor runs a lot
40. So I don't have to have knee replacement at 40
41. because I've grown up; time to shed my chrysalis
42. the less weight on a broomstick, the better
43. also, less likely to get splinched
44. to have to get remeasured in the costume departments
45. because I want to own a sweater dress
46. because this body is the only one I get
47. to inspire others
48. because this one thing, I will be completely in control of
49. To never go down the path of eating disorder again
50. to have the confidence to make the first move
51. So if I get selected for the Hunger Games, the odds will be ever in my favor.
52. to NEVER look like my gene pool, as much as I love them
53. to prove them all wrong
54. To never think "I'd have gotten that role if I wasn't fat" Ever. Again.
55. because a true triple threat has brains, brawn, and beauty.
56. because I'm finally done procrastinating
57. to work off the stress
58. to climb the rock wall
59. So I *have* to buy new clothes
60. so that I'll feel comfortable with (moderate) theatrical and cinematic nudity
61. to be deceptively strong, like my spirit
62. to always have the feeling of "I lost the weight. I can do this"
63. so I fit in his arms better, whomever he may be
64. so people use the phrase "coke bottle figure" when describing me, not "a little on the bigger side"
65. To be in the petite, not "curvy all over" section in the magazine fashion tips
66. to not always play the mothers
67. to "look" Musical Theatre
68. to never again bust out a seam. In anything.
69. To get rid of a pair of jeans for a reason other than a hole in the thigh.
70. more small clothes fit in suitcases than big clothes.
71. to be able to run one mile
72. Because my knees need this
73. because I'm tired of the excuse that my knees can't take it
74. to not be afraid to get on the scale at the doctor's
75. so my (future) tattoo will not get stretched
76. No. More. Control Top!
77. To never, ever, ever need surgery due to my weight.
78. So that no one will need to see past my my weight to find me attractive.
79. So that I'm never ashamed to be naked
80. to never have to sidle through narrow walkways
81. to never get chafed in the summer
82. to hear the phrase "Wow! What have you been doing?"
83. to make my brother proud of me.
84. to know my favorite outfit looks damn sexy when I wear it
85. because guys are more into fit women than "fat" ones. Genetic fact.
86. to be able to say "I'm little!" and not feel like a fraud
87. because my friends will be so impressed
88. so that first physical impressions will be just as impressive and memorable as when I start talking.
89. So that casting directors will try to seduce me.
90. for every insult, remark, and "suggestion"
91. because I'm strong, but you'd never know it.
92. because fitness is the most natural state for our bodies
93. to be another example of fit, healthy and beautiful instead of the model "before" picture
94. because it's more fun to cuddle
95. to need to get padded out, occasionally
96. because I'm tired of it literally weighing me down.
97. Because being lazy is disrespectful to my body
98. to look great in clothes
99. because I am worth the effort
100. because I am committed to self improvement in all areas this year.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Blessed Yule, Joyous Kwanzaa & Happy Festivus!

Did I miss anyone?

If I did, then I apologize. May your holiday bring you much joy!

This Christmas (for that is what I celebrate!) I am finding that what's most special to me are the quiet moments in my days. The moments where I can take a minute, over my coffee, cookie in hand, and simply enjoy sitting on my couch. Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas. I love the entire event. I love all of the shopping and crafting. I love the decorating and wrapping. I love the music and lights. The food, the time spent with friends and family, the chill in the air and the way children's eyes sparkle. The excitement of Santa coming juxtaposed against the divinity of the birth of Jesus Christ.  I love the entire event.

But I am glad for the few moments of silence in a season that is so full of mental and emotional noise. It is rejuvenating to the soul, to be silent. It helps us to refocus, rethink, and recenter.

Take time, in the next few days, while we hustle from one house to another, rip open the wrapping paper, squeal over new treasures, and try to talk over each other to stop and breathe.

And take time to think of those that aren't busily wrapping and unwrapping gifts. Of those who are lonely, sick, hungry and cold this weekend. And when you are cleaning up from your Christmas, considering giving back to your community and our world.

I know that I will be getting rid of a copious amount of stuff after the holidays, and I encourage you to do the same. Heaven knows we all have enough stuff!

But whatever you do, enjoy it. This is a joyful season, and I hope it brings you much, much joy.

And thanks for reading this, whoever you are! you have no idea what it means to me that you do.

xo
Charis

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

HOW TO: Epsom Salt glasswear

hey everybody! Hope your Christmas is going so well so far!!

Today I've got a very simple tutorial for the pretty jars in my Christmas Post. Remember those pretty candle holder jars and the bottles full of pretty sparklies? Well, here's how I made them


Supplies:
clear glass jars, bowls or bottles
bag of epsom salts
white glue

Tools:
shallow pan ( I used a disposable aluminum cooking pan)
foam brush
small bowl

1. pour some white glue into your small bowl and some epsom salts into the shallow pan.




2. Using your paintbrush, paint the outside of your glassware with the white glue.

 You want a nice thick coat- the thicker the better, but try not to let it get drippy!

3. Roll your now sticky piece in epsom salts


4. Allow to dry!

5. Fill with candles or other holiday decor!

cost:
epsom salts: $3/bag (one bag is PLENTY)
glassware: variable. I had mine on hand, so it was free!
white glue: $1 bottle



upsides:
-great, super easy, quick project with great result
-cheap and not overly popular!

downsides:
-messy. Both in making and in upkeep. I have trouble with epsom salts all over my apartment.
-when used as a candle holder, the epsom salts become opaque and matte, losing some of the frosted look. They are still very pretty, though!


rating:
4/5. I'd definitely try it again, and I'm very pleased with the result!!


*these pictures are not mine. No copyright infringement intended.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas!

Guess what, guys?
I finished the apartment!! And it looks so very precious! AND, I have pictures! So welcome to my house, everyone! Let me show you around!


Front door, with this precious Peace wreath, which I just love.

On the door to the coat closet are my Christmas cards!

Moving into the living room, we have this arrangement on my coffee table...

and this lovely thing on the wall. Which I LOVE. Favorite project.
Balcony door got some love....

here's a close up!


when you turn around, you've got these lovelies! ( I LOVE that glitter feather!) But wait, what's that behind it...?

oh, no big, just a homemade table runner, and such!

mirrored on the dining table! But what's that behind the table?

more lights, ornaments and garlands, of course! Moving into the kitchen...
Aren't these towels just THE CUTEST?! And I made them myself! Really, I DID!

And if we look up... more tinsel and lights!







 And now for the grand finale....


my liiiiittle tiny tree and a few presents!




 Isn't it all just the cutest?!  I love every piece of it. Tutorials for some of it coming soon!

Love!










Tuesday, December 6, 2011

seriously. Cookbook.

Why do I not cook for myself all the time??

Here's my latest culinary experiment:

Spinach Salad with warm ham:


Ingredients:
1 clementine
package salad greens
serving ham steak, raw
3 medium white mushrooms
pancake syrup

Instructions:
wash mushrooms and greens. chop mushrooms into bite sized pieces. (I choose to halve them and then chunk them but whatever works)

Peel clementine. Arrange half of clementine on plate with mushrooms and greens. Leave 4-5 pieces, set aside.

cut ham steak into bite sized pieces.

add syrup to skillet and put over medium heat. Use enough syrup to safely cover bottom of a small skillet. Wait until it starts to really sizzle, then squeeze two or three sections of the clementine into the syrup. Put the rest of the pieces in the skillet.

Add ham and the last pieces of clementine.

Cook in skillet and make sure to flip over- a few minutes on each side. Done when starting to turn golden brown, don't let the meat get too dark!

Put on separate plate for a few minutes to cool.

Add Feta crumbles to plate

Place ham and clementine pieces over top.

Enjoy!

I didn't use any dressing, but if I had wanted some, I would have gone for a nice balsamic or raspberry vinaigrette!

Friday, December 2, 2011

recipe: ham steak bake!

Sometimes, you guys, I have great ideas.

Today, I had one.

And it was so tasty!

I'm sorry I didn't get a picture, but I had to box it up and get to rehearsal. Anyway, here's what I remember of the recipe!

Charis's Potato and Ham Steak Bake
(Like all my recipes, it serves one!)


Ingredients:
1/4 large ham steak, defrosted
1 medium potato, scrubbed
1-2 carrots, peeled
1/3 white onion
olive oil
honey
salt
pepper
oregano
garlic powder
basil

1. Cut potato into slices, then halve.  Add Carrot, chopped into about bite size slices. Add to boiling water ( I used a medium sauce pan) Boil until they easily can be speared with a fork. (About 5-10 minutes)

2. While those are boiling, take olive oil, honey and spices and mix together in a 12x12 baking dish. I used about 4-5 tablespoons olive oil, 2-3 tablespoons honey, and liberal sprinklings of the spices.

3. Dip Ham steak into mixture, coating the outside. Set aside for a minute.

4. once veggies are done, put them in the baking dish. Using a big spoon, gently stir them until they all seem covered in the mixture. Add more oil or honey if you don't have enough. Dish should have some liquid left over. Add onion, in large pieces while stirring.

5. Nestle the ham steak into the middle of the dish, around and slightly under the veggies.

6. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, until onions are getting translucent, and meat is cooked through.

Enjoy!

Time:
prep: 20 minutes
cook: 20-30 minutes

Thursday, December 1, 2011

90 day challenge: wrap up!

Well, friends, here we are, 90 days later. How'd we do?

Ok, I'll start.

I am pleased to announce that I made it about 75% of the way to my goal. I am wearing size ten pants, and when they need to be washed, they are baggy on me. Not when they've just been through the dryer. That's where the 75% comes in.

However, there are plenty of things I could improve on. The biggest one is continuity. I am a project starter, not a project finisher, and that applies to exercise FOR SURE. I did better with the eating, but I can afford to improve there too.

However, all things considered, I am pleased with the results of the last 90 days. I think my next step is to tone up. Which, unfortunately, means working out. Abs don't tone themselves. Sadly.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like ( a very funky) Christmas!

OH. MY. GOSH!


I have just been a decorating fiend, you guys. The apartment is just looking SO FREAKING CUTE! There's a little tiny mini tree adorning one corner, and a wreath on the door, and lights and candles EVERYWHERE. There are ornaments hanging in front of the door, and this INCREDIBLY CUTE sign on the wall.

But it is not done yet, so you get no pictures. Sorry. When it's done, I will take too many and post them EVERYWHERE.

When it is done.

I still have a table runner and table cloth to do, and then the whole place needs to be cleaned within an inch of its life, and then maybe it'll be done. Oh, and I also need to finish my balcony... it is looking downright SAD.

Best part: I've decorated the entire place for less than $75. That's right.

Other than that project, I'm trying to get some of the Christmas crafting done... really, I am. And a few commissions. And I'm also renewing interest in making my own hygiene products- look for a recipe before the week is out!

And look for Christmas pictures very soon!! 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Letting Go

This is a tough one. For all of us, but for me especially. I wanted to post this one days ago- today's the 20th, so it would have been 6 days ago when I hit rock, stinking bottom. I've written about this experience in detail, and so I'll simply repost...

I wrote about this last year, so simply change this to two years ago now.

"I've always been kinda crazy for phoenixes, or rather, fascinated by them. I think they are beautiful images. Well, a year ago today, I burst into flame, and I died. Nobody told me that that part hurt so incredibly bad.

A year ago today, I got cut from my Musical theatre program. When we went to pick up our letters, mine politely but firmly denied me from moving forward. "At this time, it is the wishes of the faculty..." The rest of that evening is a blur. I remember falling, eyes filling with tears, throat full of a wail that I couldn't release, skin burning, the smell of my burning feathers as my wings caught in the blaze... My roommates carried me home, I think. I don't know how they didn't burn their hands. I called mom, and my squawks were all but incoherent. "I got Cut", I sobbed. I was shaking as the fire burned higher and higher around me, the smoke making a haze that I couldn't see through. I went to the after party my classmates were having, several hours later and said goodbye to them. These people were my family, and I didn't know when or if I would see them again. As I said my goodbyes, my heart burst into flames, shards of it flying out of my body and piercing my skin. The next four days, a total blur. I was a pile of ashes. I didn't eat. I didn't sleep. I didn't charge my phone, turn on my computer, nothing. I closed my deadened heart and soul off to the world. I tried to find the way back, but could barely force myself to be interested. My parents watched, helpless. There were whispered conversations and arguments, which I still swear they started just to see if I would fight them back.


In the midst of that, I discovered DM. Today was my technical one year DMiversary, although I didn't become active for about a week, when I forced myself to check my email. Life began to rekindle in my ashes. The edge of the pain fro that burning fire began to recede.


Weeks passed as I started to heal. My parents relaxed a tiny amount. I started to try to think about things:was I going back to school? As what?

Could I handle it? What would people think? Was I going to spend the next three years seeing people look at me with their eyes full of pity? Could I deal with that? Did I want to? Did I have to?

I did go back to school. I switched to a Theatre Studies Major so I could take voice lessons with my teacher. I joined a choir. I added some more classes to my schedule. I tried to look forward. The year ended with me still barely a rehatched hatchling. A tiny, sputtering baby of a bird, no feathers, no wings, no trust, no faith.


I went to camp, and I healed some more. I spent my summer in the woods recovering, and healing others. Days in the trees, nights at the beach. My feathers grew in, brown down first, soon beginning to be replaced by orange and red plumage. I looked forward to coming home again to school and DM. Work and play, not necessarily in that order.


Fall quarter started. I returned to my apartment, a junior, yes, with two new roommates. I came home to my new, true family, my bondeds and other friends and family here on DM, where I knew I belonged. The quarter began, and it was a long one. No real classes I liked, lots of classes with stupid people. But my feathers continued to grow, golden tail feathers sprouting, and wings growing stronger.


I met my long lost sister, and grew stronger.


One day, I got pushed out of the nest. My voice teacher and accompanist nosed mme right up to the edge, and down I went, spinning, a whirlwind of tears, and red-gold feathers in the wind of my own swift descent. "Even out!", she shouted, high above me. "Calm down!" he added, "this is easy and natural!"


And I flew. It was a short glide, barely an hour long, before I was back in my nest, hiding my beautiful plumage and flight from anyone else who might try to see. They sighed, bemoaning my attitude and lack of confidence.


And then, this week, I set out on my first solo flight. I willingly jumped out, and to my honest surprise and delight, it was easy, natural. I glided my way through, and got through to the next round of auditions easily. The next night, I jumped again, hoping for a repeat performance. And I flew, circling, calling my joy to those below me.


It worked. Less than one week from the anniversary from my cut from my program, I got cast by the head of that program. I'm going to be in Jekyll and Hyde next quarter. The next day, I found out I'm also cast for Spring Quarter.


What a difference a year makes. A year ago, I wanted to die. I did die. I thought there was no hope.


I questioned everything I thought I wanted and was good at. I stopped believing that this is why I was created. I was almost ready to make public my decision to not pursue a career in theatre, but something else entirely, although I had no idea what.


This week, I was cast twice, attended a workshop with one of my idols, and worked crew on another show.


What an unbelievable difference a year makes. I have become a new person, even if I do still have the scars of the old."

*DM is the fantasy site I'm a member of.
 
 
 
The thing I couldn't see then is that I STILL wasn't over the whole thing. I'm not sure I ever will be, honestly, not that kind of hurt. But another year away from it, and a whole lot more has become different in my life.
I've met another of my soulmates. He is one of the most wonderful men I've ever known, and it was this circumstance that brought us together. 

I got a job, in the costume department at my University. I adore it, and I'm very good at it.

And I forgave him. The person, who, in my mind, masterminded my Cut. I have forgiven him. It took me two years, and I'll never, ever trust him any further than I can see him, but I have forgiven him. 

And that's the important bit, really. I couldn't see it last year yet. How tied up I still was in the mess of that whole situation. I couldn't see how unhappy it was still making me. I couldn't see how dark things still were. I deluded myself into thinking I was free of it. 
I'll never be free of it, the same way I'll never be free of the pain in my legs from the car accident I was in over 10 years ago.

But the same way I've let go of that, I have let go of this. I can celebrate it, in a way, now. I can honestly say that if I had to have gone through that to get where I am: the people in my life, the circumstances, the work I've done, I would do it again. I wouldn't jump at the chance, but I would take it, knowing what I do now.
 
But I can only see that because I have let go of it.
What's holding you down? What memory, circumstance is tethering you to the ground? What's keeping you from soaring like a Phoenix? Let go of it. 
Let go of anger.
Let go of fear.
Let go of hurt.
Let go of grief.
Let go of discord.
Let go of pride.

And find the peace you were meant to experience. Find the peace that welcomes you home, frees you, lifts you up, creates joy, love and bounty in our lives.

Let go, and fly high.
 

Friday, November 18, 2011

End of Fall Quarter Recap!

Hello all!

Goodness, what a quarter! I turned in my last final this afternoon, and now I am officially free to do as I wish until January. That's right, JANUARY! Oh, the plans I have made... Hopefully I will get back to regular updates here too.

The quarter went well, but it was long  and very grueling. I must admit that as much as I dragged my feet about getting an account, I love having pinterest to be inspired by. I have seen all sorts of great DIY things: laundry detergent, shampoo, hand soap, et cetera, et cetera. I'll DEFINITELY be trying those out in the days to come- they're sure to be frugal, and probably greener than store bought ones.

And then there's the OODLES of Christmas decorating, crafting and baking I intend to do. And i do mean OODLES. I tend to make a LOT of my presents- I think I'm up to four or five projects before Christmas, and then there's the baking that I want to give away to friends and employers and such, and then there's all the items i want to make in order to decorate the apartment. And THEN there's all the projects that have been growing in stacks because I have just been too gosh-darned busy to even look at them!

What's that? Oh, you want to KNOW what I'm planning?

uhhhhh... ok...

well, I won't tell oyu the present ideas, because they're good, and this is public and my mom (hi, Mom!) is (supposedly) one of my readers. Anyway, let's start with my ideas for decorating, shall we? ok!

Well, firstly, I created a theme (of course). As this is a frugal Christmas, I'm gonna try to use my own stuff as much as possible, or use cheap alternatives if I have to purchase. But the theme is *ahem*
A Very Peaceful Christmas
Great, right? Ok, well, I think so. And it is MY house, after all.I also have a color palette, and I'm really excited about this too. I've chosen to do the house in White, Silver, Turquoise, lime green, magenta and purple. Unfortunately, I bought some fabric that I'm really excited to use, and it has some red in it, but I'm gonna try to restrict it to the bathroom and a couple touches in the kitchen. But it is GREAT fabric, so I'm willing to sacrifice.  So that's the theme.

Ok, so first, I'm going to make a wreath in the shape of a peace sign. To do this, I'm going to use some plumber's tubing (great and CHEAP!) and cover it with... something. Possibly fabric, but I'm leaning towards yarn. Especially if I can get silver yarn. Or oooo! White with silver sparkles. Then, I'm going to add a few paper flowers in a crisp white. I might teach myself rosettes, or I might bunch up some coffee filters. I'm leaning toward coffee filters, because I love that look.  Then, I'm going to fold a couple paper cranes, and possibly a couple origami stars, and glue them in with the flowers. Super cute, and totally eclectic and modern. I can see it. If you can't yet, well, you will when I take pictures!

Then, once the wreath is done, I'm going to go get some washers. As in, the tiny things you put on nuts and bolts and stuff. (I might be able to steal some from Mom, too, actually... uh, hi Mom!) I'm also going to get some cheap letters, probably spelling "PEACE", and I'm going to spray paint (or other wise color) them all. I am not sure what color yet, but I'm leaning towards one of the colors. Maybe the blue. And then I'm going to glue the washers down to the letters, creating nice, shiny, cheap wall art. I saw a piece that used quarters, and the effect was AMAZING, but, well, that's a LOT of quarters.  So unless someone has a good cheap replacement, I'll be using the washers. I'm going to hang those in our living room, probably over the couch.

Next, we move on to the dining area. That's where I start stitching. I found a great tutorial for making your own appliques, and I think I'm in love. I found this AMAZING fabric, which is white based and has peace signs and birds in green and red, and I love love love it. So, the kitchen is getting new towels: little white hand towels with a peace sign, star, or bird cut from that fabric appliqued on.  SO CUTE. And, even better... I have a good feeling I can get cheap towels this weekend. Score! So the bathroom and kitchen are getting cute little towels, and the dining room is getting appliqued placemats. Maybe. The last time I made placemats I HATED them, so... I might give up. But I'd like to try. I'm thinking they'd be so cute in my four accent colors with  a little white applique on them... great, right? Again, a star, a bird, a peace sign, and a what? I don't know. I need to do four, so help me out, friends. I need a fourth shape. I'm trying to avoid out right christmas, which is weird, I know, but I'm feeling like it is SO OVER DONE. So, uh, help a girl out.

There's some more things I'm gonna add, like jars coated in Epsom salts, painted pine cones, some mini trees, and possibly some ribbon, candles, old wine bottles, and some painted sticks.

Not sure how that's adding up? Just trust.

Boy, I got vision and the rest of the world is wearing bi-focals.

Anyway, tutorials and pictures to come!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

90 day challenge: some moderate success!

Today, I busted out the inseam of my size twelve jeans. (I know, boo, right? I loved those jeans!) But they were old, and worn out, and on top of it all, too big.

So I took myself off to Old Navy, where I always end up buying my jeans. They just fit me right, you know?

Anyway, I grabbed a pair of size ten skinny jeans and headed for the dressing rooms with my fingers crossed.


AND SUCCESS! All my jeans are now size tens (both pairs, lol) I'm so pleased with that result! And the other (non-skinny) pair fit really well now. We're halfway to the goal!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

new distractions

I've finally been persuaded to join Pinterest. As if I didn't have enough t do with my time, right? Oh well. I'd been thinking about it for a while, and recently I've seen some things and thought, oh, I want to remember that so I can do something with it! Well, now I have a place to store that kind of stuff, right? So maybe it is more like organization, and not a distraction.


Next I'll want a Twitter. These kids and their crazy technology...


But anyway, if you want to see what I'm inspired by, here's the link to my pinterest boards: http://pinterest.com/charisweible/

I promise to fill them up!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

90 day challenge: update

Hey everyone!

I haven't been doing very well with this whole thing, have I? Oh well, that's life!

Anyway, I am long past due for a 90 day challenge update! It is going pretty well, although I simply do not have the time and energy for the proper amounts of exercise. I am having trouble eating enough at regular intervals, although I am doing better than I was last spring. But I'm doing alright.

The good news is, though, that my size ten pants are fitting really well now! They aren't too big yet, but they are very comfortable, and I feel good in them. On the flip side, my size twelves are HUGE on me, and I can tell they are starting to look a little ridiculous. Unfortunately, I HATE buying jeans, so that will have to wait until I force myself into it, like usual.

And that's the majority of the update! We're about halfway through- I hope you're hanging in there with me! Let me know how you're doing in the comments!

Monday, October 3, 2011

attachment

Being attached to people is a funny thing, isn't it? Whoever thought up the meaning to the word "relationships" was some kind of sick masochist.

I don't often toot my own horn, but there are a couple of things I'm really very good at. One of them is forming attachments to people. Sometimes, I'm too good. I have a (shrinking) tendency to get clingy if I'm not careful. But overall, I can be the best relationship in a person's life.

But that's a double edged sword. Because every relationship has its pitfalls- and when its the best thing in your life, it has a strong tendency to become the worst, and to break your heart that much easier.

I hope, for each of you, that someday you meet the person that completes you. Or the people, I'm not picky. I have met at least one of mine, and let me tell you that my life has performed a complete 360 since we met. She's my sister, although we are biologically unrelated. But she's my Soul Sister. Our souls are attached in ways I don't think we even understand.

I was trying to explain that relationship to someone the other night, so here goes. Imagine that you were 85% blind. Your only sight was colorless, vague, fuzzy shadows and shapes. No color, no focus. This is all you've ever known, although you've heard others talk about things like a blue cloudless sky, or a rainbow, or the detail in a picture. Then, one day, the doctors say to you, "we can fix your sight. You'll be able to see, 100%" So you undergo the surgery, and oh, the things you can SEE! Colors! Shapes! Faces! Letters! Textures! So much to look at! Then, just as you've gotten to rely on your new sight, the doctors come back. "We're sorry", they say, "but this isn't gonna work" and they take your precious new sight back, leaving you more helpless than before, because ow oyu know what it is like to see perfectly.

When we're together with the person attached to our souls, we have new sight. Especially for me and my high levels of Empathic abilities, it is truly like getting my sixth sense back fully functioning. But then, next thing I know, it is being ripped away from me all over again, and that hurts. When we're right, the whole world is right. Everything makes sense. She's a part of me that was left gapingly empty. I'm convinced she was meant to be my twin, and when that didn't work, she was given to another family who needed her in their lives. And honestly, I think it has worked out better this way. When we found each other, we really needed each other. And it has worked out perfectly.

She flew home today. 3000 miles is a long way. It'll be ten months before I see her again, at least. My soul, though it feels hers still, is protesting the distance. They don't like to stretch that far, souls. That's why long distance relationships are so hard.

And now I have to stop typing before I start crying again. Melo-dramatic actress, coming through!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Craft tutorial: wine cork key chain

This is a great quick project that takes 30 minutes or less, and turns out beautiful!

Here's what you'll need:
-wine cork
-2-6 beads of your choice
-16 gauge aluminum wire (about 8 inches)
-key chain ring
-upholstery needle
-scissors
-pliers

Step One:
Take your wine cork, and carefully stab the upholstery needle through it. All the way. This is a kind of slow process. But patience will win the day. Once you get the needle all the way through, use the needle and widen the hole a little bit, as the needle is narrower than the wire.

Step Two:
Use the pliers to remove the needle from the cork. (Mine tended to get stuck there) Now, take your wire, which you've cut with your scissors, and string it equally through the cork. I have found, actually, that the imitation corks seem to work better for this, by the way.

Step Three:
Once the cork is strung, pick out the beads you want to use.  On one end, (the end that will NOT have the ring on it) once you have the beads on, use your pliers to bend the wire and then use the scissors to cut off the end.

Step Four:
String beads on the other end. Once the beads are on, wind the end around the key ring using the pliers. Snip off the end.


Step Five:
All done! Attach to keys and off you go!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

it's chilly out...

and it should be, it's almost the end of September already! Amazing how this month has seemed to absolutely fly by, isn't it? Things have been absolutely ridiculously busy, as usual, but I'm hoping to get a little time to go for a walk in a park soon. The leaves are changing, and I'd love to get to see some of the trees all lit up for their yearly finale, colors ablaze, before winter sets in and they, unlike the rest of us, get to hide and rest until it gets warm again.

It really has been a good month. School started, and although I wasn't excited for that, I soon settled back into the routine of it, and it is going well. I spend way too many hours in the costume shop- I even got a special present from the designer of the first show- like the two full time faculty members got. I counted it up- I spend 33 hours a week in the costume shop. Oy.

We're also coming up on my one-month anniversary with the new Boy. So far so good- I cannot for the life of me figure out why he is so nice to me, but I'm not complaining, either.

And lastly, but perhaps most importantly, my sister came to visit. Trying to explain that relationship is a whole series of posts, but to suffice, Sissy is my other half. We also tend to call each other "wifey" quite a bit, and she is truly one of my life partners. I am so fortunate that we have found each other, and it is always wonderful when she is here. She leaves in a week- but we're enjoying the time together.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

balm for sore nerves

Sometimes, my hands shake. I don't know why, or what triggers it, or what causes them in the first place. But sometimes, my hands shake so badly that I have to stop what I am doing and wait for the tremors to pass. There are a few things that help- physical pressure, especially from another person, seems to be the best, followed by deep breaths and clenching and un-clenching my fists. Sometimes, albeit rarely, I simply let the tremors take over until they pass.

The other night, I was shaking so badly I had to sit through a green light and wait for them to pass. I was alone, in my car, and I couldn't hold the steering wheel tightly enough to turn. It was terrifying.

Eventually the tremors passed, and I drove myself home, climbed into my bed, and slept.

It occurred to me shortly thereafter, that my hands are a physical manifestation of what we all do to our bodies. We strain our nerves until they break. We push ourselves until we are frazzled enough that we just. Can't. TAKE IT ANYMORE!

Our poor nerves. Our poor minds. We have to find the balm for our poor shaking minds. What is it that comforts your frazzled brain like someone taking hold of my hand? Is it coffee with a friend? Is it a nap? Is it taking a walk, or reading a book? Find it. Find it before it is you shaking uncontrollably at three in the morning, waiting to drive through the green light so you can get yourself home.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

90 day challenge: check in 1

hey all!

It's been just over a week since I started my 90  day challenge, and so, here I am, checking in with all of you about it!

I had a great week food-wise. I ate really pretty healthily. There were some mishaps along the way, of course, but for the most part, it was a good week!

Now... exercise-wise, I did not do well at all. I rode my bike to and from school two days this week, so I did get about 80 minutes of cardio in. But I didn't do a single minute of "toning exercises". You heard me. Not one minute.

Here's my problem with them. I hate crunches. I really do. I need an extra motivator to get down on the floor and do those exercises! Anyone have any ideas? Because I'm fresh out.

However, in spite of that, I'm feeling really good about the challenge. I feel really healthy, and full, and pleased with myself. I've made two different (and delicious!!) breakfast smoothies, packed healthy lunches and eaten healthy dinners. I'm having the most difficulty with the dinners- it's hard for me to plan in advance, and by the time I get home from work, I am HUNGRY.

But that's how my first 8 days went- how were yours?

And here are the recipes for my smoothies- enjoy!

Weight loss Frappucino Smoothie:

1 scoop slimfast meal powder
1 serving instant iced coffee
1 1/2 cups of milk
2(ish) cups iced cubes

Blend until smooth. This keeps me full for at least four hours, and tastes like a $4- and diet ruining- coffeehouse drink!

Mango-Pineapple-Peach smoothie

1 fresh peach, peeled and chopped
1 single serve pineapple cup
1 1/2 cups frozen mango pieces
1 cup(ish) ice cubes
blend until smooth (put the ice and mango on the bottom!)

This is a VERY tasty, healthy, fruity drink! Not quite as filling, but absolutely delicious!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

using the right tools

The other night, I was sewing. I was sewing along, when the machine went "cuh-LUNK!"

Uh-oh.

So I take the fabric out of the machine, and the whole bottom piece is a disaster- the stitches  are at the wrong tension, there are a million extra threads.... oh boy. I cut the threads from the machine, and reloaded it and tried again: same nasty looking seam!!

Finally, I tried a new spool of thread, and it worked like a dream. The joy of higher quality materials!

We have to use the right tools. We have to make sure we take the compassion or kindness tools off the shelf and use them, and keep them in working order.

We have to know when the compassion tool will go the furthest, or when dedication is required. Likewise, we have to know when we need a day off, or to bury our faces and scream.

Use the right tools, and you'll save so much heartache!

Monday, September 5, 2011

tomorrow's the day!

Tomorrow is my last first day of school. I'd love to wax emotional and regale you with stories from my childhood, or talk about how much I've enjoyed college, or how much I think I will miss it eventually. But I don't believe in lying. So I won't.

As I head into my last first day of school, I'm a bit disappointed at how detached I feel from it. My boyfriend was asking me if I was excited (he is).. and the truth is, I'm not. Calm. Like it is nothing new. But not excited. Here are a few things I am excited about though!

I'm officially moved into my apartment! That's right, I'm snuggled in my bed as I type! The room is looking very good- not perfect yet, but very good!

I'm also really excited about riding my bike to class tomorrow. I got a basket for it tonight and it looks so CUTE!

The pillow for my papasan chair is coming along nicely. Still needs a good amount of stuffing, but we are getting very close.

My sister comes to visit in 12 days! That's VERY exciting!

I get to go to work tomorrow and see my grandmother- both blessings in my life.

I was getting clothes out tonight, and my size ten jeans are fitting GREAT! *happy pants dance*

So there. I'm not excited about school necessarily. But I am excited about parts of what that means. I like my routines, and I like the order that school brings to me.

So here's to one last year of school- and to living it more simply!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

when it is time for a change

If you're like me, you love your routines. You derive real pleasure from schedules, known quantities, and a neat calendar. And not only that, but when life gives a heave and comes down in a new direction, it makes you (read me) want to curl up in a little tiny armored ball and not come out until things look right again.

Oh, if only it were that easy!

I don't do change. It is difficult for me to accept it, hard to figure out it's place in my busy life. Daunting to adjust how I do things around something I wasn't prepared for in the first place. This is why I don't like surprises. I'm not good at them, I don't know how to react.

But there are times when all of a sudden, change is coming at you, for better or worse, and all you can do is decide whether to curl up like a pillbug and drown, or ride the wave. My natural instinct in this case is to be the pillbug. But I am learning to surf. Metaphorically. There's nowhere to surf in Ohio.

Anyway, while we've all been preparing for my 90 Day Challenge, there's been a little mini-earthquake happening in my life. The biggest, most significant change is that I recently became a girlfriend. Which means I have a boyfriend, which is definitely a change! On top of that, we sent my brother back to school this week, I am continuing to move, and I seem to have developed some weird allergies. All of that makes my poor little pillbug self really uncomfortable.

But it got me thinking. Sometimes, our lives feel really stagnant. Like we're trapped in who we are, trapped in the comforting cocoon of our routines. Like a Hamster running on a wheel, watching its reflection, and never moving. Stuck.

That's the way my life has been- swampy, a dead water source. I've been very comfortable with it, but that's because it has been very safe.  And when we get to a certain point with that, Life has a way of throwing something new in to teach us to adapt to it. Of shaking us awake, with a new job, a new boyfriend, or, if we're less lucky, a car accident, an unexpected death, or a medical issue.

Is it time for a change in your life? Time to do something just a little bit different? Just foreign enough to make you a little uncomfortable? Maybe you take a different route to work, or try a different brand of coffee. Maybe you wear that sweater that you bought on a whim but can't figure out now. Do something to change it up.
You'll thank yourself later.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

90 day challenge prep: part 6

Tomorrow is the day! Everyone ready? Fridges stocked with healthy food? Exercise stuff ready? Goals made?

yah, me either. I'm stil working on my paperchains- and just think: I'll get to tear a couple off right away!

Here's why this 90 day plan will work for me, and why thousands of diets fail. It is also, consequently, the topic of this final prep post before I return to more of my normal programming.

Today, we're talking about the Power of Forgiveness.

Now, this is a great topic in more than one area of our lives, and I may revisit it on occasion. But for now, we'll leave it to things that pertain to our 90 day challenge.

Here's the thing: we're human. We're going to screw up, eat Oreos, want ice cream,  take days off from our workouts. The important thing to me is that I don't let that stop me. Yes, when I do things like that that I regret, I'm a little disappointed, but I don't let it wreck my whole fitness challenge!

I say, well, you could have made a better choice there... so try again tomorrow. This diet is not an ultimatum. It is not an all-or-nothing. It is a daily re-commitment to fitness.

And when we make mistakes, we must forgive them, not let ourselves give up! If we can forgive our mistakes, it makes it that much easier to go back to the gym the next day!


Alright, here we go...

The 90 day challenge is up and running! Good luck, if you're following along with me!!


Friday, September 2, 2011

90 day challenge prep: part 5

Today, we're planning out our fitness routines! I know, I said it was a post on forgiveness, but that is TOMORROW (I promise). So... deal, lol.

That being said, working out. The all-important calorie burning! Working those muscles, and getting that heart rate up!

So, because this is MY blog, here's about me:
I lead a very active lifestyle. I walk a lot, and I'm on my feet a lot. I also need to focus more on toning up my muscle mass then necessarily losing weight. Lastly, I have very weak knees, which severely limits the amount and type of exercise I can do. I'm also, as I have mentioned, very strong for my size and build, and in the middle of my fitness journey. Please adjust anything you do for yourself to your body, and work at your own pace!

ok, that being said, here's what I'm going to try for, work out wise:

30 minutes of toning exercise or a "focused cardio" session (30 mins or more) every day.
I'm aiming for three weekly cardio sessions, and four toning days, but I'm flexible.

Ideas for Focused Cardio:
- swimming laps. One of my FAVORITES- an all over work out
-bike riding
-walking
-Yoga (although this is BARELY a work out for me)

Why the phrase "Focused Cardio"? 
Like I said, I'm very active. It becomes very easy for me to say "well, I walked across campus, that's a work out!" Or "I moved boxes all day, that counts" I need to up my calorie burning, and to do that, I need to devote time to working out. So, I need to be able to commit to spending time working out!

Toning
I need to work primarily on my ab muscles and arms when I'm toning. My legs are in pretty good shape, from the long years of ballet training. They have pretty decent definition, and they are very strong. My arms, however strong, need to be toned and defined, as do my abs!

Toning Exercises I love:
-crunches
-backwards crunches (lift your tailbone instead of your shoulders)
-double crunches (do both at once!)
-side to side crunch/bike
-arm curls (use full water bottles instead of buying weights, if you're at home!)
-chair pullups (sit in a chair, arms on either side of your thighs. Lower your body off the chair and back up, by bending your arms!)
-jar exercise (hold your arms out to either side. hold 15 counts. Then 15 counts of a "turning" motion, like opening a peanut butter jar. then 15 of dipping your hands in the peanut butter, followed by 15 of spreading the pb on the wall, then putting the lid back on. Harder than it looks! For an extra challenge, add a SMALL amount of weight!)

So that's that! Those are my goals for working out. Toning everyday with no cardio, and at least 90 minutes a week of "focused cardio"

What are you going to do to get active?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

90 day challenge prep: part 4

I forgot two very important parts of planning food last night! They really are important to weight management- I can't believe I forgot! Anyway, food part two:


Treats and "freebies"

Both are super important to a successful weight loss plan! So I'm gonna list off a few great treats in my plan:

-sugar free jello
-whip cream with fruit
-low cal/fat ice cream (yes, I'll like it... I'm not picky!)
-frozen yogurt

now... freebies! Tomorrow's post is about forgiveness, so I don't want to get too deep into this, but I think it is important to give myself a couple freebies. These are for meals, not for whole days, but they are important! So I'm going to give myself 5 freebie meals. Bad days, nights with friends, my birthday, thanksgiving. Whatever comes up, these are free, guilt free meals!

What are your favorite low-regret treats?


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

90 day challenge prep: part 3

Today, we're planning what we're gonna eat!

Everybody's favorite part of dieting, right? Not. Certainly not mine! I have to be especially careful with this, as I have a tendency to stop eating when I get overly stressed or controlling about my weight. So for me, it is important to walk the line between planning and regimenting, which is not what I'm about this time!

So here's how I'm going to do this. I'm going to give myself options, keeping in mind that at least one meal a day has to be mobile-that is, I'll be out of the house, which makes it doubly difficult. So I'm gonna list off  a couple of meal and snack options, and try to work within that parameter. However, I'm not gonna be upset if I can't stick to this exactly. My life is so busy, there are gonna be days where I don't eat what I've planned and written down. But all we can do is try!

So, without further ado... meal ideas:

Breakfast:
fruit smoothies
whole wheat toast with peanut butter
yogurt with fruit
weight loss shake

Lunch:
fruit smoothie
weight loss shake
healthy options frozen meal
wraps
veggies and fruits
salads

Snacks:
fruit or veggies
trailmix
rice cakes
crackers and cheese

Dinners:
grilled chicken and veggies
pasta and veggies
skewers (veggies, fruit and chicken grilled together)
salads
frozen dinners (healthy options, of course!)

Here's the catch:
all of these are things that I enjoy eating, and look forward to! Don't plan things you won't actually eat! That being said, if you think you don't like fruits and veggies, find some sneaky way to get them in your diet! They are UNBELIEVABLY good for you, and so filling! for instance, if you don't like veggies, try some carrot apple juice! There are lots of varieties, and it is so sweet and tasty- I hate vegetable juice and I was amazed.

So what are you eating this 90 days?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

90 day challenge prep: part 2

Today's post is on: Staying Motivated. We all know how it goes. You start out great on a new fitness plan, you go to the gym for three or four days, and then, you're just so tired... you go home, eat an entire box of Oreos, and feel like a failure.

So, as I get ready to start my 90 Day Challenge, here are some ideas I have on how to keep myself motivated:


Countdown Paper Chains- this weekend, I'm going to make one of those paper garlands with 90 loops. If you've never made one before, you cut strips of paper about 6-8 inches long by about an inch, and you tape loops by connecting them through each other to make a chain. I'm gonna make one loop for each day so I can tear one off before bed. So as the chain gets shorter, I'll be feeling great!

Countdown Calendar- a similar idea, but you simply write 1-90 on spereate pages, and rip off one number day every evening.

Wallet sign- I'm gonna make a business card-sized sign that says 90 day challenge on it, and put it in my wallet, then, when I get a craving for fast food, or ice cream, or something else, I'll see that before i pay for it and go, nope. I'm challenging myself to be better.

Fridge Sign- same idea, but for the refrigerator!

Diary-this one I'm not good at, but I know it helps a lot of people. Writing down evrything you eat and keeping track that way can be a good thing!

This challenge is not about being perfect. We're human, we will fail, we will eat Oreos and skip days at the gym. But we can accept those little failings, and continue to make small changes- and THEN the weight will come off!


Monday, August 29, 2011

90 day challenge prep: part 1

Hey all!

I'm really looking forward to starting my 90 day fitness challenge this weekend, so to get ready, I'm posting a few things throughout the week! The focus of today's post is

(drumroll please)


Setting Goals!

I've found that this is a really important step for me, so that's what I'm starting with. So! I want to actually start with a disclaimer. This is not a weight loss program designed for me or anyone else. I am doing this on my own, without any help.

This is also not about losing weight for me, not really. It is about getting healthy and improving my exercise and general level of fitness. Should that result in weight loss, I certainly won't complain, but it is more important to me to be healthy (at this point) than it is to be super slim.

So, with that in mind, here are some of my goals, and the questions I'm asking myself.

Where am I in my weight loss right now?
I would say I'm about halfway to my ideal goal. Since I started down this road, I've lost about 30 pounds, and come down about 5 pants sizes. My goal is to start to tone up and lose another 1-2 pants sizes.

Where do I see myself in three years? 18 months? 6 months? At the end of this 90 days?
In three years, I'd like to be maintaining myself at my ideal pants size, which is a 6 or 8. I'd also like to be pleased with my eating habits, and maintaining a very active, healthy lifestyle. In 18 months, I'd like to buy a size 6 dress- and fit into it. In 6 months, I'd like to be looking at size 8 pants. And at the end of 90 days,  my biggest goal is that my "skinny jeans", which are currently about a half a size small on me, will be baggy by the time we are done.  (By half a size small, I mean that I still wear them, but with things that cover the muffin top.)


So, my goals:

1. Baggy "skinny jeans" in 90 days.

2. Institute healthier eating and exercise habits

3. Start toning my body, not just losing inches, but showing some definition.

4. 3 year goal: maintaining a 6/8 and healthy lifestyle
    18 month goal: buy a size 6
      6 month goal: buy size 8 pants
   

*** here's why you'll never hear me talk number of pounds***
       1.  I can't bring myself to be that transparent on the internet.
       2. I don't own a scale, making it difficult to get weight measurements
       3. I'm very muscular for my size, and I look about 40 or more pounds lighter than I actually am.    There fore, I don't use pounds as a way of measuring progress


Joining in? Write down your goals, or share them in the comments!

Friday, August 26, 2011

simple senses

Our five senses are our most powerful aids as we go through life. The ability to see, hear, taste, smell and touch, are nothing short of superpowers, and they continually amaze me with their abilities to improve our lives.

The sense I am most amazed with, however, is the sense of touch. How a simple touch changes your day or your mood is amazing. The ability to touch something or someone else and bring comfort, pleasure, or pain is a heavy burden, and one that we often take with a measure of apathy.

It is the simplest of remedies. At the end of a long day, is there anything more comforting than curling up somewhere safe and warm? Or in taking a long shower? Not for me. Whether it's a warm, fuzzy blanket and a good book, or the feeling of water dripping on my face, there's something about the feeling of being touched that is soothing for me.

That extends to people contact too. The next time you're stressed out, find someone who will hug you. I bet you'll be surprised at how much better and calmer you feel afterwards.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

good friends, good summer, goodbyes...

Today was the last day at my Summer job. I've fussed about it, here and there, and it isn't a perfect job. But I've enjoyed it, nonetheless. Had you asked me in May what I thought the Summer would be like, I'd have groaned and shot off some miserable, negative response. I was terrified to start this summer. But I needed the job, and so, off to work I went.

And slowly, slowly, I grew to really like the people I was working with, and I grew to really appreciate the job for what it was.

Imagine my surprise, therefore, when I realized today, that I wouldn't be coming back to work tomorrow. It was a strange feeling, saying goodbyes to people I'd been determined not to like. But I do like them, and I will miss them.

Here's the lesson: leave the doors open on life, and you never know who will walk in. Shut them, and no one can get it in to you. The more doors you have open, the more you can connect to people, and the more experiences you will have, both good and bad. but that is what life is about: experiences. And you get only one with your door closed. The experience of loneliness.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

all those toxins...

I work at a Summer Day Camp for one more day. Today, I was walking past a group of six year-olds who were passing around an ice pack like it was some sort of minor deity. Then one of them said, "hey, I wonder if we could drink this blue water in there, and it would cool us down?" Actually, it sounded more like:

"hey I wundah if we coul dwink dis blue waduh in dere and it would cool us down?"

Of course, at this point, I had to stop, explain that no, they couldn't drink the blue water in the ice pack, and that they should probably put it away and go play.

And then I got "the question".

"Why?"

I refrained from saying "because I said so", and instead settled for "because the blue water has nasty chemicals in it, and drinking it would give you a really awful belly ache."

"oh" they said, thought about it for a minute, and then scampered off to play whatever game they were playing.

But that stated me thinking. We are surrounded by toxic chemicals, even when we don't know it. For instance, you know the reason you can't swallow toothpaste? It's toxic. Will kill you in large amounts. Mmmhmm, please, put that in your mouth and swill it around!

But we do! We all do it, without even thinking twice! I continue to do it, knowing the sneaky truth about this guy!

What if our lives were the way we were intended to live them: naturally? What if we didn't have to keep the cleaning supplies out of the reach of children, because nothing we owned was toxic? What if everything in our lives was HEALTHY?

I realize that this is a wistful statement, and that it isn't easy, and probably not possible on a college student's budget and schedule. But over the coming months, I'm gonna test some more natural cleaners, shampoos, soaps, etc and see what I think of them.  If they're comparable in both price and quality, then I will probably switch over. When and if I do, I'll post the recipes here so that you can try them out too!

Monday, August 22, 2011

dreaming

Do you ever wonder what your dreams mean? I do. It is a rare thing for me to dream, and remember them in the morning. Part of this is the afore-mentioned lack of sleep. I honestly think I don't sleep enough to be able to remember any dreams I might have found time for.

However, when I DO dream, they are often vivid. I remember what's happening in them for a long time usually, although sometimes when I wake up, I talk about the dream aloud so I remember better. But I wonder what they mean.

I know that they mean something. It's part of being an empath. Not a huge part of my specific set of abilities, but it is there. I also wonder, especially when I have dreams about the people I'm tied to. For instance, in the last three weeks, I've had multiple dreams about a friend of mine. They're always different dreams, but often with the same tone, or theme. Said friend is a close tie of mine, and I have to believe that there is something to the dreams. If only I could figure out what!

For now, I guess, I'll have to live one just trying to remember the details of my dreams, and piecing them together in my head. Maybe they make a giant, connected story, if only i could remember all the chapters...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

90 day challenge has been pushed back!

Hi all! I've decided to push back my 90 day challenge event. I've been talking to a few friends about it, and I wanted to do a little more planning and prep before I really started it. So I've decided that the 90 day challenge will officially kick off on... (drumroll please...)



September 4, 2011!!



If you are looking to join me this fall on my 90 day challenge, I'm so glad! Here's the disclaimer: I'm not a doctor, nor am I attempting to run an exercise or diet regimen or program. I am doing this for MYSELF, and am not responsible for anyone else's actions due to their decision to follow along.

That being said, if you're interested, start tuning in on August 29, as I will be posting a week of prep on the 90 day challenge then. If this isn't something that necessarily interests you, don't be alarmed! Once we kick off on the fourth, I'll be doing weekly updates, and more normal blogs the rest of the week. But here's a thought: try your own version of the 90 day challenge. Need to see your family more? Try it for 90 days. Need to save money? Do it for 90 days! Try to make a new habit in these 90 days, and we'll see where we are on December 2!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

coke bottles on my eyes...

I wear contacts. No big deal, a lot of people do, and I'm not bothered by it. I try not to think about the fact that there is a small, foreign object floating on the surface of one of the body's most delicate and complex organs, but other than that, I really love my contacts. I've been wearing them for approximately four and a half years. I've had glasses for about 8 years.

When I first got "fitted" for my contacts, it took me an hour to get them into my eyes. I was AWFUL at it. I cried, and fussed, and it hurt, and was hard, and I . just. couldn't. do. it. BUT, I was tired of glasses. I'm an actor, and one of my pet acting peeves is when actors can't see onstage and they squint (in most productions, you can't wear your glasses-it's not the character!). So I knew I had to get contacts and be comfortable in them.

So my solution was to never take them out. Oh, don't get me wrong. For about two weeks, I was a good girl. I took them out at night, rinsed them, and got up forty minutes early to get them in my eyes. And then, one night, I forgot to take them out. And, miracle of miracles, I lived through the experience. So I stopped taking them out unless I HAD to.

Fast-forward 8 months. I go in for an eye exam, and my doctor asks me how the contacts are doing. I tell her I take them out 4 times a week. (This was a prevarication. I was hardly ever taking them out. Maybe four times a month.) She prescribes me a year's worth of the overnight kind. I rejoice.

Skip to present. Nearly three years after I receive this prescription, I have nearly run out of contacts. This morning, I woke up at five with my left contact stuck to my cheek. Well, shoot, I'll put another one in. Hm, back up pair... well, I knew we were getting close! Wake up at 11:30. Ow, my eye feels funny *rubrubrub*, rats, my new contact came out. *rinsrinserinse* hm, weird, it folded in half. Well, I'll just open it bac- dang it. It ripped. Well, I HOPE I have a last pair here in my stage makeup kit... WHEW. Thank God for believing in preparedness. Pop that bad boy in, but by now, the damage is done. Eye red and irritated, noticeably so, and contact ever feels quite right, all day long, causing head ache, general feeling of crankiness and of being off-kilter. Get through the day. I'm now on my very last left contact, and I have one spare right contact. So, I come upstairs for bed, and decide... you know... I'm gonna take them out so nothing can happen, and my eye can recover a little bit. Pop those bad boys out... wow. Weird. I can't see. Everything is blurry, and funny looking, almost like after you get your face wet in the pool and then open your eyes right away. Weird. And then I put on my glasses. I'm impressed I even knew where they were, really. I haven't had them on in YEARS. And now that they are on, HOW DID I DO THIS?! They're driving me batty!

And then I stopped for a second and thought about it.

When we put on our glasses, we see the world differently, in very physical terms. Things look different to me. Not quite as real, almost. Just like when I put my sunglasses on, and I can see in the bright sunlight. When I wear my contacts, I see things a lot more naturally, which, given their own lack of natural ingredients, is ironic.  Without either, I am hardly blind, but I don't see the world as well. Everything looks like it is in a soft camera focus, instead.

So tonight, my probing question is this: How do we choose to see the world? Naturally, the way it was intended? Or in Soft focus? Or with our sunglasses on, so we cannot see in darkness? Or in the cold, hard, brusque truth of our glasses?

I would hope, not in soft focus. We must look realistically at the world and our place in it, not with the blurriness of the naked, less than perfect human eye. Likewise, I would hope not in the harsh light of the glasses. There is much hope and beauty left here, but we won't see it if we look too closely, or focus on the smallest piece of negativity. No, I think the best way is to look naturally, in a way that is not always easy, but very comfortable once we adapt to it. In a way that allows us to see clearly, without obstruction. We must be able to see ourselves in a clear light, as well as our lives, our homes, our families and our friends. Look, but not judge. Help, not harm.

But until then, there will be plenty of us who slide into bed at night, slip on our coke bottle lenses, and blur the world out.

Friday, August 19, 2011

the merits of sleep

The ironic thing about this post is that I think I'm probably about half asleep as I write it.  I have horrible sleeping habits. Confess now, College Students, yours are bad too. We live in a sleep vacuum. Welcome to college, you can choose sleep OR good Grades OR a social life. You cannot have all three, and having two of the three is difficult. However, sleep, is so good for our bodies.

The problem is, I always have something better to do. Somehow, sleep always ends up on the bottom of my priority list. I like sleep. I really do. But it just isn't that important to me.

Unfortunately.

 Because if I slept more, I'd be slimmer, have more energy, be more focused, need to eat less, be prettier, have better skin and hair, and my muscles would hurt less.

Or would they?

Could it be that I simply haven't found the right balance of sleep yet? Could it be that I just need to balance my diet and sleep habits, making smart choices and listening to my body? I really do believe that everyone's needs are significantly different. Our bodies need different things, and the amount of sleep we need is just one of them.

On that note, though, it is about time for bed for me. I'm working on hour number 18, and I'm sleepy.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

our very own treasure trove

If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm moving. Welcome to the party. As anyone who has ever moved before knows, this is a royal pain in the tookus. Luckily, I don't have to vacate my current residence. But my main residence will become my apartment in about 2 weeks. And so, I am sorting and packing and TRYING to get rid of some (read most) of my possessions. It's hard. But we've discussed that.

Anyway, I was reading a post on Miss Minimalist (link to your right. over...over...down... there!) that talked about her ebay adventures. When she started selling her stuff, she had an ebay mountain. It was her second job. But as she whittled away at her stuff, she realized that not only did she not need THIS stuff, she didn't need new stuff! And now, as she thinks about buying things, she thinks about selling them later and what a hassle it will be, so she doesn't do it as often.

Well, I read that. I thought about what hard work it would be to sell even an eighth of what I own. I looked around at the piles of stuff that were suffocating me as I looked at them. And I logged onto half.com. I listed 11 books, most of them textbooks. I'm hoping they will sell... can't hurt, right? I've got some other "junk" that needs to go on there as well- a pair of dance shoes that are too big, an old computer charger cord, et cetera. The thing is, we all have hundreds of unused dollars sitting in our homes. Our very own little treasure trove. And here's the thing: they're all things we SIMPLY DON'T NEED! Once upon a time, I needed almost all of those books for class. I used them, and then some of them sat on a shelf for four years! I could have turned around and made $20 FOUR YEARS ago. Hopefully they sell now. Some of them will, I bet. But perhaps not all.

So as i move, I'm trying to make four piles out of all of my stuff. The first, and largest, sadly, is The Stuff I am Going to Keep. For at least another year. The second is The Stuff That Gets Pitched. In the garbage. Buh-bye. The thirs is The Stuff That Gets Donated. Any clothes and shoes especially, go in here. Along with some books and toys. The final pile is The Stuff I'm Trying To Sell. This is the newest pile, but I am going to attempt to get a LITTLE money out of ridding myself of my possessions. So far... nada. But I've only had the books listed for three hours.

Patience, padawan.

Monday, August 15, 2011

purging and packing

I spent an hour today going through my toiletries and trying (and failing) to get them all into one container for their move to the apartment in 3 weeks. We're close. It depends a lot on your definition of "Toiletries". If you count two curling irons, the curlers, the flat iron and the hair dryer... No, we're not close. It's frustrating.

However, I did manage to throw some things away, and every piece thrown out is one I don't have to move. The more the merrier. The packing will have to begin in earnest soon. I'm running out of "easy" trips to make.

I hate to admit it, but I think the craft drawers are going on Wednesday. The sewing machine and box are already there... and I already miss them. But the reality is, I'm not going to really make good use of them until school starts, and the thing about moving is... all of your stuff ends up in the new place eventually. Better the crafts than your clothes!

Luckily, once it is there, I may get to purge my craft drawers. I'm working on a project which requires a BIG pillow. it's the cushion for my papasan chair frame, and the pillow is massive. I bought 2 and a half yards of fabric, and used almost every inch. The Chair. is. big. But anyway, I'm planning on stuffing the pillow at least part of the way with fabric scraps. I think it'll give the pillow some nice weight, in addition to keeping me from buying nasty plastic, petroleum based pillow stuffing, or the bamboo, stuff, which I really can't afford.  And so, that being true, I will get to go through my fabric scrap stash, and use whatever is small enough or goofed up enough and stuff it into the pillow.

Along with a couple of dead bodies. Great.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

90 day challenge: week 1

I've decided to do a series! As I work towards getting in shape this year, I've decided to do a 90 day challenge, and then see where we are.  Here's what my 90 days will look like:

-on Sundays, I will post some pictures of me every week, detailing my progress, along with a couple of measurements.

-I will also detail how I feel like the week has gone for me on my fitness quest: eating habits, whether or not I worked out to fulfill my goals, how I'm feeling, etc.

Ok, that being said, welcome to Charis's 90 day fitness challenge! This is week one!

This was an impromptu thing I started, and my tape measure is not at this house (moving...such fun!) so I have no measurements this week. Next week, I promise. Or later this one if I get to the new apartment and think about it.

Ok, so first up, a face on shot. Clearly I have some work to do. Also, please excuse, a) the poor picture quality and b) any mess you might see. I blame moving.


                                         The side view is NOT my best angle.  Oh, hey, belly.


                                           Back view that i thought would be more useful...

And lastly, the almighty arm...  (and the aforementioned mess!) Clearly, we have work to do!

Well, that seems like it is about enough for tonight- I'm going to do some ab work, and then hit my bed. I have to be at work in *gulp* 8 hours.

 Want to join the 90 day challenge? Feel free! Let me know in the Comments, and away we'll go!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

all stuffed up

We all have so. Much. Stuff. Far more than we need. Far more than we could ever use up! Far more than our planet or our budgets can support. And yet, even in this "down economy" all we do is buy, buy, buy! Consumerism is the slave driver, and who are we to disagree? This is how things are. Buy things to feel better, buy things when you feel bad. Buy things when you have enough money, buy things to help you save money. But things when you need to organize, buy things when you need to de-clutter!

None of this makes any sense. It is an unnatural habit. Animals do not keep building bigger and better nests or homes; they build one that is strong, safe and durable, and they repair it when and if it is necessary, but they don't add on to it incessantly.

As I think about preparing my budget and my body for a possible cross-country move, I am also thinking about preparing my stuff. I'd love to be able to make it out there with everything I need in the back of my car. I'm not sure that that's exactly feasible for me, but think about freeing it would be! So, here are a few things that I am committing to this year at school that will help me de-stress and de-clutter before I leave college forever.

  • As I move to my apartment, I'm not unpacking. I unpacked my books, but I have no plans to unpack my clothing. As I get it out to wear it, I'll put it away. By Thanksgiving, if I haven't worn it,  it will get donated. If I don't wear it in ten weeks, it won't get worn. 
  • The Year of No Buying. I will no longer be purchasing anything I can possibly do without. I have plenty of shoes- I don't need more. More jewelry than I can use up ever. Even items like shampoo and soap, I have extras of. I'm going to use all of those things up before I purchase more.
  • Make What You Don't Have. I'm an avid DIYer.  Once I'm out of shampoo, I'm planning on making my own. The same goes for the schoolbag I want to own, Birthday and Christmas presents, and a hundred other items.
  • Wait a week before you buy. When you think to yourself, 'oh, I need such-and-such', write it down, and then wait one week. If at the end of the week, you've caught yourself thinking,  'I REALLY need such and such' or 'SHOOT! I still need this or that!', then I will buy it. In the meantime, I'll think about making it or doing without.

Hopefully, this will enable me to get rid of things I never use, and to live more frugally, another big goal of mine. I'm thinking of taking my bike to class and the grocery, so that will help me save on gasoline, and I'm going to make as much as I can out of local fruits and veggies, keeping my grocery bill low. I will get myself out to California, and I will do it next Summer.

Without an entire TRAIN of stuff behind me.