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Lifestyle

  • Confidence, Health, Lifestyle, Sports

    My Figure Skating Journey

    On my third figure skating lesson, I broke my finger.

    It must have been a spectacular sight: my tall, fairly stable body was brought crashing to the ice by a girl not more than half my height and no less than a third of my age. It was really only a matter of time, seeing as I was older than everyone in my skill group by at least a decade. However, I had never truly felt my age until I was kneeling on the ice, finger throbbing, at eye level for the first time with my group mates and trying to comfort the crying young girl who had accidentally tripped me.

    A scenario like this had never really crossed my mind when I entered the sport.

    I decided to take lessons initially because a close friend of mine had introduced me to competitive figure skating as a spectator sport. I would watch full broadcasts of past World Championships and Grand Prix circuits while making art, doing homework, on long car trips, and whenever I had nothing in particular to do. Before I knew it, I had familiarized myself with all of the common terminologies of the sport and had a ranking list for which skaters I expected to win which medals at the 2018 Olympics. Watching the fast, dramatic, yet elegant athleticism of the top athletes reminded me of my days as a dancer in elementary school. I felt my childhood joy reigniting, and decided to give figure skating a shot. Yes, I may have under anticipated just how much time and effort would be needed before I could actually land a Lutz or perform a perfectly executed scratch-spin, but I was motivated like I never had been before and the world wasn’t about to stop me from trying.

    I asked for lessons for my seventeenth birthday.

    Even though the closest rink to me was thirty minutes away on a day with no traffic. I didn’t even own a pair of skates, yet I went to my first class that March. I was aware that I would be the oldest skater in my beginner group, as many of the female skaters my age were already in the professional bracket. However, the swarm of tiny five and six-year-old girls zooming around the ice in tutus caught me completely off guard.

    My newfound confidence dwindled.

    I was in way over my head thinking that I could ever reach the level of the awe-inspiring women I watched so religiously on Youtube. My dreams of standing on the top of a podium with a medal hanging proudly around my neck slipped into the realm of the unattainable. I doubted that I would ever even land a small bunny-hop, much less a graceful triple Salchow. It would only occur to me after I had passed the basic classes and looked back on them, that those tiny girls with all of their talent and potential, probably felt the same as I did. Suddenly I didn’t feel so different from my teammates, despite the fact that none of them could even tie their own skates yet. The throbbing in my left ring finger felt more like the first landmark on a long journey than a detour.

    It has been a year and a half since my first lesson.

    My finger has completely healed (except for a small bump in my knuckle that will probably never go away) and my coach has praised me for how fast I picked up on the technical elements of figure skating. She tells me to breathe before I take the ice for my first competition, and the gold medal I hang over my bed later that day makes me excited for what will come next.

  • Makeup

    Is Your Makeup Cruelty-Free?

    Look in the mirror. Are you wearing makeup? Do you moisturize your skin? Is your hair clean? It is okay if you answered yes to the above questions or if you answered no. What you need to be asked is have you checked the facts on the brands you choose to use. Have those brands tested their products on animals or are they still testing on animals?

    Product safety is a huge concern for those producing the item and for the consumer. As the consumer, you should want to know what is going onto your skin or into your hair. You may have tried several different brands and established which one works best for you, which is great, but have you researched how those brands test their products or do you check the label for indication of animal testing?

    The label “cruelty-free” or “vegan” might be found on the packaging of the item you buy. This is usually a sign that the product has not been tested on animals before reaching your palms. However, there still begs the question if the company tests on other articles of their products. In the United States it would not be a lie for Victoria’s Secret to label a product as “cruelty-free,” yet the moment that package reaches China, it is government mandated to be tested on animals.

    Some companies will typically pay the extra expenses for the Chinese government to test their products on animals before reaching their shelves, to make a little extra money. To be sure that a brand is 100% cruelty-free, you will need to know if it also sells in China.

    For a little more information on how animal testing is done, you can check out the Humane Society’s article on Cosmetics Testing: https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/fact-sheet-cosmetic-testing

    A summary of the animal tests includes: swatching irritating products on bare animal skin, force-feeding products in large quantities to animals, and dropping particles into their eyes.

    I prefer to use brands that are in no way associated with animal testing. Some of my favorite brands are Smashbox, Pacifica, Tarte, and Lush. These brands do not sell in China, nor do they test on animals in the states.

    Other known cruelty-free brands are:

    Wet n Wild

    Aveda

    Urban Decay

    Kat Von D

    E.L.F.

    These are not the only cruelty-free makeup brands, but they are some popular ones. They can be found online, at Sephora, Ulta, Lush, JCPenny, Kohl’s, Target, or other cosmetics retailers.

    Here is a list of some brands that allow for animal testing on their products:

    Victoria’s Secret

    Avon

    GlamGlow

    Benefit

    Maybelline

    Mary Kay

    Elizabeth Arden

    O.P.I

    There are things you can do if you are interested in not only changing out your everyday products for animal-free tested items but also would like to help make a difference in how allergy testing is regulated for the cosmetics industry. Check out the Humane Society’s petition and do research online. They are trying to have a bill passed that requires alternative methods to be used to test cosmetic products, as well as the ban of animal-tested products from other countries. Check out the link above to find out more information.

    If you know of any brands that support other positive movements, or are cruelty-free and not listed above, please feel free to comment down below.

  • Articles, Home Life, Lifestyle

    Unplug and Experience the Present

    Unplug and Experience the Present

    guest post by Martha Underwood, CEO of Executive Estrogen

    Do you have a hard time concentrating on one thing? Do you check your Instagram or snapchat first thing in the morning? Do you seem to lose track of time? Do you panic if you lose or forget your phone? Do you take the phone into the bathroom with you? If you’ve answered yes to two or more of these questions you may have a cyber addiction. This can have a negative effect on your health and life without realizing it. These habits can contribute to ADHD, anxiety and low self-esteem.

     

    Discover the Real

     Being online can feel like an escape from your emotions, but it’s not, because it’s not real. Some people put more value on the experience they create online than what they encounter in real life. The danger is that you can become immersed and sucked into the online presence they created instead of what’s truly real. That turns into an attachment to a fantasy. If you can relate to this, take small steps to reduce your time online and replace that reduced time with true human engagement. You can start with calling someone you’ve known for a while but only engaged with them through social media. Commit to finding real connections with people in your life and find ways to deepen those connections without technology.

     

    How to Unplug

    Disengaging and limiting your screen-time  is easier said than done. So, what steps can you take to help you unplug from your smartphone?

    Give yourself a list of things you must do before you get online. Here are a few suggestions of things you can do:

    • Read 3 chapters of a book
    • Create something – draw, compose a song, write a poem, write a short story
    • Practice playing an instrument
    • Play a board game with a friend or sibling
    • Take a dance class
    • Create a new hair style without recording it
    • Work on a jigsaw puzzle
    • Meet a friend at Starbucks

    You may be damaging your mental health while missing out on life by needing to see what’s happening online instead of connecting with the people right in front of you. It will still be there when you look an hour or two from later. I promise it will (unless you’re on snapchat ????) Until then……Find your balance.

     

    Keep Shining,

    Martha

  • Books

    How to Begin the Day

    Turnip greens yarrow ricebean rutabaga endive cauliflower sea lettuce kohlrabi amaranth water spinach avocado daikon napa cabbage asparagus winter purslane kale. Celery potato scallion desert raisin horseradish spinach carrot soko. Lotus root water spinach fennel kombu maize bamboo shoot green bean swiss chard seakale pumpkin onion chickpea gram corn pea. Brussels sprout coriander water chestnut gourd.

    Nori grape silver beet broccoli kombu beet greens fava bean potato quandong celery. Bunya nuts black-eyed pea prairie turnip leek lentil turnip greens parsnip. Sea lettuce lettuce water chestnut eggplant winter purslane fennel azuki bean earthnut pea sierra leone bologi leek soko chicory celtuce parsley ja­cama salsify.

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  • Articles

    Life Is Choices, Let’s Choose Joy

    Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco amaranth water spinach avocado daikon napa cabbage asparagus winter purslane kale. Celery potato scallion desert raisin horseradish spinach carrot soko. Lotus root water spinach fennel kombu maize bamboo shoot green bean swiss chard seakale pumpkin onion chickpea gram corn pea. Brussels sprout coriander water chestnut gourd.

    Nori grape silver beet broccoli kombu beet greens fava bean potato quandong celery. Bunya nuts black-eyed pea prairie turnip leek lentil turnip greens parsnip. Sea lettuce lettuce water chestnut eggplant winter purslane fennel azuki bean earthnut pea sierra leone bologi leek soko chicory celtuce parsley ja­cama salsify.

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  • Artwork

    Exploring My Surroundings

    Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit volup tatem doloremque laudantium spinach avocado daikon napa cabbage asparagus winter purslane kale. Celery potato scallion desert raisin horseradish spinach carrot soko. Lotus root water spinach fennel kombu maize bamboo shoot green bean swiss chard seakale pumpkin onion chickpea gram corn pea. Brussels sprout coriander water chestnut gourd.

    Nori grape silver beet broccoli kombu beet greens fava bean potato quandong celery. Bunya nuts black-eyed pea prairie turnip leek lentil turnip greens parsnip. Sea lettuce lettuce water chestnut eggplant winter purslane fennel azuki bean earthnut pea sierra leone bologi leek soko chicory celtuce parsley ja­cama salsify. Read more

  • Articles

    Real people. Real stories.

    Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum amaranth water spinach avocado daikon napa cabbage asparagus winter purslane kale. Celery potato scallion desert raisin horseradish spinach carrot soko. Lotus root water spinach fennel kombu maize bamboo shoot green bean swiss chard seakale pumpkin onion chickpea gram corn pea. Brussels sprout coriander water chestnut gourd.

    Nori grape silver beet broccoli kombu beet greens fava bean potato quandong celery. Bunya nuts black-eyed pea prairie turnip leek lentil turnip greens parsnip. Sea lettuce lettuce water chestnut eggplant winter purslane fennel azuki bean earthnut pea sierra leone bologi leek soko chicory celtuce parsley ja­cama salsify.

    Read more