Saturday, June 22, 2013

Homesteading with Jesus

Obligatory thingie about how I'm sorry I haven't posted in two months goes here: ___________________. K.

Stuff that has happened:

 As you can see, I cutted ma hurr. This is called a side cut. I have NEVER EVER EVER in my life cut my hair before now, as you may know. I dust for split ends and have cut bangs twice in my life and maintained them, but never have I hacked off length or shaved anything until this day. And. I. LOVE IT. It's perfect for summer and I'm stoked I had the huevos to do it because I've always wanted a weird haircut. It may not be apparent from the photos above but it's still long, just with one side shaved. In the second photo (and the one below) I've got it pinned back.
My momma goat had her babies on 4/20 - here the are at about 6 weeks old before going off to their new forever homes. Two girls and one boy, all healthy. Their momma is making record amounts of milk for me and farm life continues to be a joy.

We got another dog. His name is Shadowfax. This picture sums him up better than words ever could.

I got a beehive. It's doing really great.


 And finally, most unexpectedly/awesomely, I have converted to Christianity. Writing that still sounds so strange because nothing could have been farther from my mind than Jesus for the majority of my life. I was not raised religious, have had some bad experiences with unkind Christian family members etc. Everything that people typically cite as reasons Christianity turns them off was true of me - I was a practicing pagan with experience in other modes of spirituality, I have worked as a psychic a few times in my life and I now have a weird haircut and an abiding love of eyeliner. Turns out, none of that is a barrier to Jesus.

I'm getting baptised tomorrow, along with my husband who is having his "believers baptism" tomorrow as well. We are super duper happy and blessed!

Here are some other projects I'm working on in that vein:
 Weird Jesus Art: A Tumblr

Strength/Dignity/Clothing - a fashiony, Jesusy sort of place.


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Long Hair Nerd Fest

After using my Hair Bean in place of a regular brush for a week now, all I can say is: WOW. I am REALLY glad I tried this brush! There are several other similar brushes out there like the Tangle Teaser and this one and a few different versions from Michel Mercier. Obviously the Hair Bean is lower end and so is its price point. I have not tried the others but there are many reviews on youtube comparing these "detangling" brushes and many of them are done by long haired people.

Here's what I have observed this week: At certain points throughout the average week  before I switched brushes I always knew to expect more visually obvious breakage between oilings (I use olive oil once or twice a week). I often sit in a sunny window and dust my ends for breakage with good quality hair scissors and it seemed that, with my pre-Hair Bean regime that I would see new breakage no. matter. what. And that was really frustrating. Well, all week I have been scouring my hair for the usual splits and honestly, I am having a hard time finding them! I definitely have a lot of damage to my hair because it is always dry and fragile. I never use heat or styling products, I just have a genetic predisposition to easily damaged hair (as does my mom).

I don't baby my hair as much as I should. After years of trying to do all the right things to get as much length out of my hair as possible I gave up in frustration. Of course I still like having the healthiest hair I could, but given that I saw new breakage daily no matter how many times I oiled it, no matter how sparingly I used shampoo I figured there was just no fighting the genetic component so I focused on keeping the length I did have as healthy as I could given the amount of time I had to spend on it/myself.

So, I can't tell you how stoked I am to find that much of the new breakage I used to see on a daily brasis was caused by the pulling and snapping of using a regular brush. When I oil my hair, my damaged ends stay "glued" together for a day or two after I wash it. Eventually, after a few brushings I could see the pre-existing damage "unfold" from the folicle as the brush distrupted the glueing effect of the oil residue. The Hair Bean doesn't do that. It just detangles. That's it. No pulling, I have not broken a single hair by pulling with this brush. It's a LOT easier to clean out than a regular brush too and, as I mentioned in my last post it really helps shed pillow lint out of your hair (jersey or flannel pillow cases + recently washed hair = lintapalooza) and it just falls off the brush instead of getting all wrapped around the bristles.

My friend Justice over at Cutting Out Counting Calories turned me on to this woman's youtube channel which has been a fun way to indulge my inner hair nerd (as well as my inner corset nerd!). She has hairstyle tutorials, hair care tips, rants about how weird people can be about long hair and other interesting stuff.

All of that said, now that I feel like I can possibly get the upper hand on my breakage, I am going to make some changes to my hair care regimen. In the above link Lucy talks about why using hair products which contain silicones (or 'cones) works for her and I am of the same school of thought. Some long hairs say 'cones are really bad for their hair and others say they can improve hair health and texture. I have gone 'cone free in the past and my hair was even dryer than before. Like using oil, 'cones seal the hair, and they can either seal IN moisture, or seal it out. Many heat-buffering products contain silicone because they seal/protect the hair shaft (keeping the little flakie bits on the outside of the shaft flat instead of letting them stick out like a pinecone, which is basically what breakage is under a microscope) without causing a "cooking" effect like oil would. So, I am going to continue using 'cone containing products and leave-in "conditioners"/protectors like Organic Root Stimulator's line. This can be really helpful on windy days, btw.

I AM going to switch to a sulfate free shampoo and conditioner though. I live outside a small town of 15,000 people and we have NO specialty beauty or health food stores so my options are limited to drug stores and Wal Mart. If anyone has any suggestions of inexpensive products that do not contain sulfates, I'd be really appreciative if posted your recommendations in the comments!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Stuff that might happen to you if you buy a house and how to be prepared!

So, in February my husband and I bought our first house. Now, if you had known us before, you'd probably be like 'WTF how did you pull that off??' because our financial situation has been less-than-steller for...well...ever. All I can say is that the universe is a weird place and I'm still having a hard time convincing myself it's okay to take the helmet off and emerge from the bunker...I am having a blast though, despite all the crazy stuff we're discovering (like the melted electrical outlets) and is generally awesome to finally have a real home.

But...weird stuff happens when you buy a house. Like, SURPRISEGoatPregnancy! We added a beautiful doe to our herd who was suspected to be in very early (accidental) pregnancy by her previous owners. Two weeks after we brought her home we got SURPRISEPrematureBabies! And it was actually pretty terrible because one of them was born with a fatal defect and didn't make it. But the other one is amazing! And we love her!

That very same day that we brought this SURPRISEPregnantGoat home we discovered our other doe had become pregnant during a planned liason with an unproven buck. Yadda yadda, goat jargon. ANYWAY, She is pregnant too, and in fact has been in early-stage labor since last night.

So, if you buy a house, just be aware: Goats. With babies inside them.

And also, asbestos flooring tile. Because, that probably lives under your carpet. At least it did under mine. If anyone ever wants to talk about DIY asbestos abatement I am now kind of an expert.

Lately, I have been thinking about stuff that normal girls and guys and non-gender-defined humans might want or need in order to make their initial house buying experience more...house-like. Here are some things you might want to consider having in your life. I have found all of the following to be fibromyalgia friendly and generally improved my quality of life while we were sleeping on a matress on bare sub floor and hoping our roof doesn't leak:

It might sound sort of cliche but you're going to want a Multi-Tool. A few years back my hubby was gaga over  a three peice multi-tool set for sale at Costco that we ended up buying for our anniversary. He later bequethed the medium sized tool to me and kept the large tool and the mini one with the flashlight for himself. In becoming a home owner I have started to develop my very own set of tools. People: Be prepared to buy yourself a tool box! And since I don't have one, I can't recommend one. If you can recommend a good, uber cheap tool box for a female-bodied person who cannot lift lots of heavy stuff all at once, I would be much obliged! Anyway, here is a link to a review of the multi-tool set we purchased. I am not sure if this particular set is even for sale anymore but it has been immeasurably handy. You should consider a multi-tool with both a phillips and a flat-head screw driver option, a knife and needle nose pliers. Especially if you have to remove bajillions of staples from your scary asbestos flooring (with appopriate safety equipment please and thank you). I have used this little tool to replace outlets and outlet covers, pick up dropped screws while wearing gloves and pulling out little bits of shrapnel from weird little places in my house.

You should also consider a valved respirator. This is the exact version I bought (several times over). It's an N-95 respirator, so it's considered medical quality. I did NOT use this for asbestos abatement and you shouldn't either. But, it did come in exceptionally handy for cleaning the scary amounts of mouse-poop that had accumulated in our home during the 9 months it was "unoccupied" (abandoned). It lasted forever because the valve wicks the moisture from your breath out of the mask, preventing the filtering media from getting bogged down by that moisture. It's cheap, infinitely reusable (unless you crawl under your house and the valve gets clogged with dirt, my husband can tell you about his personal experience with this) and comes in a  pack from Home Depot at a pretty decent discount. Our home was/is a fixer upper and was probably also the filthiest living space I have ever set foot in. Some sort of airway protection was obligatory for cleaning, not only because of the dust and god-knows-what but because of the chemicals I had to use to clean everything. I normally swear by home-made cleaning solutions like baking soda, vinegar and peroxide, but this time around I filled my cart up with oven-cleaner that made scary smokey fumes and soap for my kitchen cabinets. It's also great for wearing while doing your nails if fumes bother you! Here is the respirator in action:



Hey, do you own a shop-vac? If not, your life will get so much easier if you get one. I bought this one, though I think I paid quite a bit less for it. Seriously. It vacuums huge chunks of caved-in-ceiling-detritus (which has since been repaired, fear not) and nails and staples and mouse poop and stuff. If you want to vacuum dangerous stuff, including paint dust which almost certainly contains lead particles if your house was built before sometime in the 70's (I think?) then you will want to buy a special HEPA rated filter for your shop vac. You can also vacuum liquid. I haven't tried the liquid thing yet but seriously, this vacuum changed my life. Can you tell I really like vacuums?

I also got a really nifty super respirator that is rated for radioative air particles but I haven't really used it enough to review it. I did use it when dealing with asbestos but the jury is still out. Stay tuned for another product review on this shortly.

On a not-house related note, I bought a Hair Bean. If you are a long-hair, you should know that it is generally thought that brushes with the little balls on the end of the bristles cause damage by creating snags that break hair, at least this is the consensus among my long-haired brethren. I had been eyeing some Hair Beans at my local Grocery Outlet (I think it's a West Coast thing, it's a discount grocery store like Aldi or Canned Foods) for $5.99 and, after dealing with constant new breakage forming in my hair despite my best efforts and rigorous oiling and dusting, I decided to invest in one. Until now I have always used paddle brushes with the little balls on the bristles and never considered whether or not this was detrimental to my hair - In fact, I was even a little skeptical about it right up until I used the Hair Bean. It does NOT snag your hair, and in using it I realized just how many snags I felt with each stroke of my old paddle brush. The Hair Bean physically cannot break your hair strands. The bristles, which do not have balls on the ends, are so soft and flexible that they cannot cause snags. That said, my hair is fairly thick and so it was not easy to brush my hair in my usual fashion using the Hair Bean. While this brush's bristles are too short and too soft to "penetrate" into a thick lock of hair, it works marvelously if you seperate your hair into two locks and brush that way. You can even flip your hair over upside down and brush from the nape of the neck with no snagging whatsoever. As you can see from the link above, this is geared toward kids with sensitive scalps, but as an adult who wants to baby their hair, it'll work just as well unless your hair is very very thick AND coarse. It works really well for long hair and actually works well for styling bangs and creating side-parts.

And, just for your amusement, here is a photo of me in my haz-mat getup preparing to attempt to remove asbestos tiles (using appropriate safety procedures):


Thursday, February 14, 2013

RAPID NAILPOLISH ASSESSMENT!

I am super behind on a lot of reviews I wanted to do and some manicures I wanted to share. Once again I only have poor quality pics to post here and I am so sorry for that because I recently recieved some amazing nail polishes as birthday gifts that I wanted to showcase here!

The hand on the right (the one with the ring, technically MY left hand) is Maybelline Color Show in Green with Envy 320. Goes on fairly opaque for a light color, pictured are only two coats instead of the three or four I would expect with similar colors. It stayed on the longest of all of the colors in this image and because it is light it doesn't show chips as much as darker colors do.

On the other hand are Maybelline Color Show in Shocking Seas 370 (pinky and middle finger) and Blue Blowout 80 (ring and index finger) - both very similar colors as you can see but Blue Blowout is very metallic. I had every intention of using my new nail stamps to do a mermaid themed manicure but this is as far as I got! My husband and I switched desks and so my manicure surface is much smaller now and I just need to get my act together and plan to have a clean space to use for a stamp manicure.

I LOVE all three of these colors. I want to experiment with a different base/topcoat (I currently use Sally Hansen Double Duty but hope to upgrade when I can find an affordable, cruelty free topcoat of higher quality). I have I believe two more from my friend that I have not tried yet but hope to experiment with and share soon!

In the same batch of amazing gifties I got two of Revlon Moon Candy colors though they do not appear to have color names (and their website SUCKS and does not show the color combinations available). I just read that Revlon has come out with a bunch of new colors in this line and it looks like the new formula colors have been adjusted. I REALLY like these and I hope they have not altered them too much because I think they are so subtle and perfect!



The first one pictured is not black but a very dark blue base coat with bits of foil or "flakeys" in a blue jelly. The second one is a dark military green with yellow flakeys and it reminded me so much of nori seaweed when I was wearing it!! I wish the second photo came out better because it does not really show off the unusual colors and depth this combo has. In photos of the recently released formulas the "nori" themed duo is a lot lighter green.

Part of the reason I have been delayed on this post is because my husband and I just bought a house! It's been a hectic few weeks with my birthday, a visit from my mom, a mysterious and persistent ear malady that has thankfully subsided and now futurehouse! I will absolutely post more updates about that soon! For now I wanted to focus on fun product reviews before shit gets real.

I placed an order with Sephora in order to recieve some birthday freebies from them which you can sign up for here. I opted for the Real Birthday Turn Ons from Benefit which comes with a mini highlighter/luminizer called Watts Up (link will lead you to the full size version) and They're Real mini mascara. I have only ever tried drug-store mascaras so I was really impressed with the quality of the wand that comes with the mascara. It's not 100% smudge/water proof but it's darn close and it's very easy to apply one coat. However I attempted to apply two coats and instead of beautiful eyelashes I ended up with teeth-like clumps sticking out from my eyelids. NOT the mascara's fault, I just need to improve my application technique or stick to one coat. The highlighter is REALLY shimmery at first though after a few hours seems to basically wear off entirely. It's probably not something I would have bought for myself but it's been fun to experiment with.

I got two other skin-care samples and retained the packages so that I could do a review but honestly after only using each of them for two days I can't tell you enough about them to make it worth the time to post photos and links and all that jazz. If I purchase the products I'll definitely do a review but, being a homeowner now I think my self-customization allowance just became my house-customization allowance!

I also bought some clearance Sephora brand nail bling decal thingies (they have since sold out of the ones I purchased) - they are full nail stickers like what Revlon has been selling. They were very pretty but did not take kindly to being coated in clear polish - the surface of them got all crinkly and rough feeling. They stayed on extremely well and didn't show any wear besides the unusual surface effect for three days. For $3 I would totally buy them again however I believe Sephora is discontinuing them. They were very easy to remove as well, no polish remover needed and withstood showering and hand washing very nicely.

Another lovely friend just sent me a whole package of lovely stuff from ELF that I cannot wait to share photos of! I am playing with those things tonight while watching BBC's Sherlock Holmes.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

BH Cosmetics Order! But is it really cruelty free? Plus: Parabens! Eep!

Guess what arrived today?!?





I know I was grumping about how long it took for my order with BH Cosmetics to be shipped but it arrived today, 9 days after my order was placed! That's not too bad. The shipping tracking made it look like it was going to take much longer but you never can trust what USPS says :p

I was feeling rather glum this morning so before heading into town to run some errands, before I realized my package had arrived, of course I did a full face of makeup to cheer myself up. I tried locking myself in the bathroom with some music to unwind while I played with makeup but of course the husband had to interupt every few minutes. So, as yet, I have not tried any of my new BH palettes but I will ASAP!

One thing I noticed: BOTH the palettes I ordered contain parabens! It didn't even occur to me to check the contents of powdered products for this substance! Realistically, you won't be getting much just by using face powder and eyeshadow, but when combined with body lotion (which almost always contains parabens) deodorant (again, almost always contains them) body wash, shampoo and conditioner AND sunscreen...you really don't want to get more of this in or around your body. If you have breast problems, female cancers or hormone imbalances then it's best to avoid all parabens at all times, ESPECIALLY under the arms. Arm and Hammer has a really good unscented, paraben-free deoderant which can normally be found in the men's deoderant section. My husband began using it when my allergies worsened as I am very sensitive to fragrances and I recently picked up a tube for myself. It's also much cheaper than the typical "women's" deodorant. It's almost certainly not cruelty free, like most bargain products :/

So, I checked BH's video about the contouring palette to make sure I was clear about whether or not the lightest powder was considered to be translucent, and ended up stumbling upon a review of Coastal Scent's palette. THEY APPEAR TO BE EXACTLY THE SAME PRODUCT. This concerns me. If BH claims to be cruelty free (I believe their website says "we never test on animals") but I could not confirm whether or not any of their ingredients had been animal tested...it leads me to question where the ingredients come from. CS also states they are cruelty free which is somewhat reassuring. Since it appears that Coastal Scents sells many of the SAME EXACT PRODUCTS then something's not right - two seperate companies in two different states are obviously not truly manufacturing all of their own products. I knew CS and BH manufactured SOME of their own products but it's not clear from their websites which products are made where. I also found a blog mention of ingredients bought from China in the case of both companies. And China = animal testing.

If anyone out there as more information about this I would really love to hear it. I might e-mail both companies to see what the story is. Photos of my palettes to come! I won't let this tarnish my excitement about this, I am still really excited to have such nice make-up and it's still an awesome birthday prezzie!



Tuesday, January 8, 2013

More Adventures with Peroxide, Mini Haul and Product Review for Queen Helene Jojoba Hot Oil Treatment

A peroxide facial cleanser/toner update: After a week of using peroxide on my face once or twice a day I am starting to notice my eyebrows lightening a  little bit. I mentioned previously that I have intentionally not been avoiding my eyebrows and eyelashes just to see what effects it would have. The verdict is if you use peroxide often, avoid your eyelashes and eyebrows unless you are looking for a way to gradually lighten them. I have always liked the look of very light eyelashes and mine are naturally pretty light anyway. If I want to change the look I can just apply mascara. The peroxide has really helped shorten the duration of my monthly breakout which was exacerbated by getting hair oil on my face overnight while deep conditioning with olive oil. I would recommend avoiding dry areas of your face with peroxide, as well as your lips and definitely avoid your eyes. I got the teeniest amount of peroxide from the puff into my eye and boy howdy did that suck!

My mini-haul: nothing worth photographing but I did get 8 shower caps at the dollar store today which are really helpful for deep conditioning. I also found Wet n Wild Ultimate Match Foundation SPF 15 in Ivory for $1.24 at Raleys. (Image below taken from the link above)

It seems to be one of two cruelty-free brands I am able to reliably find locally, the other being Physicians Formula which I love but I just needed something cheap for now. Unfortunately, they did not have the corresponding powder in stock. I also got some more of my favorite budget topcoat from Sally Hansen which I think I have mentioned here before in passing for $3 on sale at Raley's. I only remembered that it is not cruelty free after I had gone through the check out. :/ This will be the last bottle I purchase of this stuff. If you have an awesome chip-resistent base and/or topcoat that you use that is cruelty free please share! It was a splurge but I have recently generated some of my own earnings to contribute to our household fund and it is nice to occasionally do some retail therapy on the cheap like this.

I also scored some awesome Jesus stickers at the dollar store. A month or so ago I found some Virgin Mary stickers which I have spent the last month regretting not buying (at the time I was struggling with a fit of responsible adulthood) and so I was excited to find the Jesus ones. I am not religious but I do love religous art and have a lot of it up around my desk and in my sewing room. Not sure what I will do with the stickers I plan to keep yet, but I have ideas about sending the stickers I don't like as much to some Christian friends of mine in home-made greeting cards.

Product Review: Last summer I bought Queen Helene's Jojoba Hot Oil Treatment and still have a ton left. I don't really like it. I honestly don't know why I keep falling into the "oohh, hot oil on sale!" trap because most commercial hot oil treatments contain stuff other than oil. In this case, Queen Helene's formula contains parabens which I avoid as much as I possibly can. It also gets sudsy with any agitation which is not something oil should do. The ingredient list is long and it has a very strong odor. Some people might find the odor pleasant but it really bothers me and if I don't rinse it out of my hair extremely well then it follows me around all day, which I hate. The only useful purpose I can think of for this is the bottle - it's a good size and shape for putting in  a mug of hot water to warm and so I'll probably be dumping the rest of the product and filling it with my trusty pure olive oil for future oil treatments. I do normally LOVE Jojoba oil for hair, it's my favorite hair oil, but this has so little actual jojoba in it that it's sort of a scary product that I don't recommend. It IS a cruelty free product though!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Practical Ways to Build Confidence

A few days back I posted a little bit about my philosophy about beauty (you can find it at the bottom of this post). I was inspired by my friend's recent post on Cutting Out Counting Calories to discuss self-talk and some practical tips for confidence building. Some of this entry may sound a bit familiar as this is a theme I visited a little bit in a previous entry.

First off, many people say that confidence is beautiful, but for a long time I was completely at a loss as to how to authentically build confidence. In Western culture we really don't see many very good examples of truly liberated, confident people. Celebrities are probably the absolute worst role models to look to for this, regardless of how they truly are as people, because of the way media portrays fame and women's bodies. Contemporary culture also encourages comparisons between oneself and others and this is the number one worst thing you can do to make yourself unhappy. 

If you have problems with confidence and self esteem then I do encourage you to consider people in your life that are genuine, happy, healthy people that you respect. If no one comes to mind you might consider learning about your favorite authors or writers or even comedians - people who don't take themselves too seriously. I urge you to use caution with this, though - it's meant to give you an idea of what YOU find confidence to be about, and is not meant to cause you to compare yourself to others or to necessarily mimic anyone. It's a tentative baby step toward becoming a happy, confident person.

If you're lucky enough to have people like this in your life, spend time with them! The people we closely associate with have a huge impact on ourselves. If you hang out with people who are body-positive and have healthy emotional habits then you will learn a bit about these habits through proverbial osmosis.

Absolutely no more negative self talk. Period. If you want to be confident for your own sake (and truly this is the only real reason to pursue anything - FOR YOUR OWN SAKE. Not to make you more attractive or for any other reason) then you will. not. achieve. that goal unless you wipe negative self-talk out of your life. Believe it or not I found my internal dialogue to be much easier to change than my external dialogue. In other words, I have no problem taking a moment to recognize my accomplishments and to pat myself on the back, but when it comes to describing myself or referring to myself in any way to others I find the very core of the language I have always used for this purpose is inherently negative. Women are taught to self-deprecate. Speaking highly of oneself can be taboo. Of course there is truly positive language to use when referencing yourself and then there is empty bravado, which is certainly more common than the former in Western culture.

This step is very important not only for you but for women in general. If you model positive self talk for others, particularly young women, you'll find it's contagious. Same with negative self-talk. So know that these positive changes you make are good for you and for our culture!

Say you're having a bad day and things are snowballing out of control. One rough patch sets you off on a downward spiral and by the end of the day anything and everything upsets you - you're mad about so many things all at once you can't even remember what started the landslide in the first place. During this tail-spin it's normal that ALL PEOPLE will begin to experience negative feelings about themselves. "I'm not _________ enough." Thin enough, good enough, smart enough...this is something that every human being on the face of the earth does on a regular basis. Now, no one is perfect and it's absolutely acceptable to say, "I could have handled that better." These moments are wonderful opportunities to take stock of what is within your power to control. If there is nothing you can do to alter the situation that has got you bothered in the first place then it must be let go. You can "let it go" by using positive self-talk. It's as simple as that. If you feel you could have handled something better then take a moment to reflect on something you handled well, something you're good at or something that just makes you feel good. Tell yourself, "I did a good job at _____" or even "I deserve to be kind to myself. I am doing a good job of caring for myself by speaking positively to myself." Really, no detail is too small to focus on when it comes to cultivating positivity.

I am no Sally Sunshine. I grew up being constantly told I was "too negative". Much later in life I discovered that I have always had, since my very earliest memories, clinical depression and anxiety. Getting medical treatment and counseling for this problem did me a world of good and taught me coping techniques that I'd never seen modeled by anyone in my life before. This is why being positive and being around positive people is so important, as is seeking help when you need it. I mention this because so many people give off-the-cuff advice about being more positive when they have NO IDEA what it's like to not be able to easily access positive feelings. We are constantly taught that not being happier or not being in control of our emotional world is a personal failing. And that is not the case! Regardless of what you are going through, cultivating little pearls of positivity in your life will help. TRUST ME ON THIS. I still get angry, I still raise my voice, and I still get sad. I'm not perfect. I'm not always positive. But, I now have the power to take a break, step back and observe myself. Then I find I am able to take control over my feelings for the very first time in my life, and start with positive baby steps. "At least I tried! I took a risk! That was gutsy and I am proud of myself!" are all things we can say when things don't go the way we want them to. Flex these muscles often even when it's hard. Even when it doesn't feel like it's working. It WILL help you!

It goes without saying that when talking to others you have to abide by the "no negative self talk ever" rule just as much as ever. It's easy to say, "You have such a nice _____, mine is not as good". It's socially expected. In a way this is how we have learned to compliment each other and that is just not right. "You have such lovely ______!" is a fine compliment to pay to someone, just leave it at that.

Lately I have been watching a lot of make-up tutorials and I hear many subtle, insidious examples of negative-self talk. "My skin is too oily. My face is too round." While it's okay to cite facts about yourself in this setting, it would be better to thoughtfully change your vocabulary to suit a more positive self-outlook. You are not "too" anything. You do not have flaws that need to be corrected. How can you flip the negative comment into a positive one? Perhaps that you have a lovely full face which makes an excellent canvas for your artistic expression? And that you don't need to moisturize heavily as your skin is naturally soft and well-nourished? If you can't easily flip it (it takes a lot of practice) then just don't say it.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to use positive self-talk around children and young women. This is one reason that I strongly oppose letting young girls watch make-up tutorials which has become a bit of a trend on the internet lately. There are many videos out there of very young girls doing playful makeup tutorials. Cute? Sure. Healthy? Not without rigorous vigilance about how concepts of beauty, makeup and the words of others effect how she feels about herself. I played with make-up when I was a kid and I thought it was really fun. I think it's really fun to "do makeovers" with little girls too - but I am also very careful to always use positive language and to help a girl feel confident in who she is regardless of what she's wearing. You may believe that your daughter has excellent self-awareness and that may truly be the case. I was a smart, socially aware girl in my teens and I am only now unraveling the brain-washing we all have experienced and how it relates to how I view myself. Kids and teens, regardless of how awesome they may be, don't have the life experience to maintain a healthy level of self-esteem all on their own. They need positive feedback from trusted adults and friends. If the feedback they're getting is from women doing their make-up for public consumption then there is always the chance that they are not receiving the most positive language.

Do stuff that makes you happy.
I've mentioned this before and I find that it's as important to self-esteem as it is to overall enjoyment of life. If you believe that you are not good at anything, then cultivating confidence is going to be tough. In addition to the above steps, you've got to immerse yourself into things you enjoy. Who cares if you think you're "not good at it". Go watch a movie, it has nothing to do with you, but you'll enjoy it and you'll feel better afterwards (at least if the movie is good!). If you enjoy writing then write. If you're good at cooking then cook. In fact, I encourage you to make mistakes often and learn to let them go. You'll soon learn that mistakes are no big deal and are valuable learning opportunities. Plus, making mistakes can be fun. Don't forget your positive self-talk.