If its Going All Over My Face, it Better Be Good : A Journey to the Perfect Face Mask

Have you ever been so thrilled with a face mask or cleanser? You can actually SEE a difference in your skin, you snap your best friend with NO filter, and you feel like you have actually won some kind of skin care lottery! I recently had that fulfilling experience, only to be disappointed just seconds later. I made the mistake of turning the bottle around, and seeing a million ingredients that sounded more like toxic cleaning supplies than a soothing face mask…

Buying skincare has always felt like a “Catch 22”, you either have to blindly put chemicals on your face, and see some immediate results, and just hope and pray to goddess that later on it doesn’t have negative long term effects… OR you can try a natural one, and risk that it won’t give you the same results, or that you don’t use it in time before it spoils.

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Now, I told myself and a lot of my friends, that 2018 was the year that I stopped putting ingredients that I couldn’t pronounce on my skin in order to look/feel better. Needless to say, I have been on somewhat of a witch hunt, for the perfect mask. Between my best friend Anna and I, we have tried more masks than we can count on both of our hands and feet… and maybe even our dogs paws too… On my last trip to Portland to see her, I brought a clay mask from my friends all natural apothecary line.

The mask is packed full of gorgeous different herbs & botanicals. Roses, chamomile flowers, lavender, St. John’s wort and the list goes on. This blend of ingredients sounded great & didn’t make us feel bad about putting it onto our skin.

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The mask is in powder form, so the shelf life is over 2 years! That is amazing for a 100% natural face mask. We mixed the powder with water and applied it all over our face. You could smell the gorgeous ingredients… and My Mom is always telling me to get therapy…  I am assuming she means AromaTherapy. So done & done, Mom.

We let it sit on our skin until it was tight and dry, took about 8 mins. One of the first things I noticed after washing my face, was that my all of redness had dissipated. I couldn’t believe it. My skin felt so soft, and it was the calmest it had ever been. I had no redness on my cheeks & my skin felt like super cleansed.

Not only did it leave our skin feeling like I had just had a facial, it also totally dried out a breakout I had been struggling to get rid of. Needless to say I am obsessed. Anna loved it too, and she is really picky about her masks.

Anna and I have a vintage resale boutique online www.22ndandeverett.com where we are launching some of our own designs this year. We loved the mask SO MUCH, we decided to start carrying it in our online Apothecary.

I have used that mask once a week since I tried it, and I have never been happier with my skin. This mask is gentle enough for all skin types. It especially benefits those with redness, dry skin, or anyone that want an extra boost. You can read more details/purchase this mask in our online Apothecary

Follow us on Instagram @22nandEverett to hear about new products & product launches!

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Turning Inspiration into Productivity

Love this Amanda!!

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I recently received the opportunity to write a guest post on how to find your inspiration for 22nd and Everett. While I was writing, I realized that inspiration and productivity are irrevocably intertwined for me — if I’m inspired, I’m productive, and if I’m in a rut, it’s impossible to get things done.

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However, I also know that it can be easy to let inspirational energy become misguided to a non-productive end. How often has a jolt of inspiration come from an afternoon walk only to be lost by the time you sit down to work? Or how many times have you been excited to advance on a project, until an interruption causes you to lose your zest?

When you can harness the power of inspiration and apply it to a task, you enable yourself to create a quality product no matter the job. From homework to board meetings to passion…

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Spilling the Tea – By Cryssie Addis

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Are you ready to become a tea drinker? Or are you already one, but just want to know a little bit more about the amazing benefits of herbal tea? If you are new to the tea world, there are a few things that can help your tea game be better!

To have a good tea experience, you want to have a good tea infuser, a tea kettle, (preferably) filtered water, natural sweetener (if you prefer) and of course a mug to drink your warm cup of tea from.

I personally like to use the tea stick, where you place your tea leaves in the basket and let it steep for a few minutes. I would suggest steeping for 4-5 minutes and then remove the stick all together. You don’t want to steep too long because that can make your tea bitter.

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You might not realize the amazing health benefits that come from a good tea. Teas and tisanes have been used for thousands of years to help minor health concerns and to promote a healthier lifestyle. I view tea as not just something I drink when I’m reading an enjoyable book or talking with a good friend, but I view tea as a part of my health plan.

Black tea is a suitable place to start. Black tea has some awesome benefits that you might not know about. There is evidence that drinking black tea can help lower blood pressure, boost heart health, can help in reducing the risk of diabetes, can help lower stress hormones and can relieve upset tummies. Black tea is also full of polyphenols, which are antioxidants that can help protect your cells from DNA damage and can help in preventing some types of cancer.

I really enjoy a good Turmeric ‘N Spice blend from Steeped Tea (this is not a sponsored post, Steeped Tea is just my choice of tea). This tea has an awesome blend of black tea, turmeric and ginger bits, orange peels, pink peppercorns, coriander, cardamom, chili loops and marigold blossoms. Turmeric tea has some anti-inflammatory benefits and can help boost the immune system. We all could use some help with our immune system during the season of colds and flus! The health benefits of ginger tea also include immunity boost and can help treat nausea and indigestion.

I hope this helps you decide on a good tea to start with and welcome to the tea drinking club! Feel free to find me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and ask me about more tea benefits! Trust me, there are HUNDREDS more teas and tea blends that contain different health benefits.

I Deeply Dislike The Upside-down Smiley Face Emoji – Grace Tandy

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It’s almost time for New Year’s resolutions and I know those can be tricky. You don’t want to commit yourself to something massively challenging, like giving up chocolate, but you also don’t’ want to sign up for something so minor that it doesn’t make a difference. That’s I’m taking it upon myself to offer up a suggestion. Something that will unequivocally make the world a better place but which shouldn’t require an insurmountable amount of effort. Ladies, it’s time to put an end to the upside-down smiley face emoji.

The humble emoji is meant to make our lives easier. From heart-eyes cat to smiling poop these tiny digital pictograms have eliminated the need for words, conveying sometimes complex or relatable feelings in a single simple image. In this regard, the upside-down smiley face is an abomination. Where other emojis add clarity, this little bastard only adds confusion. Sarcasm? Annoyance? Joviality? Cynicism? Like a compliment from Regina George, it’s unclear what the upside-down smiley face really means, but it is most definitely a toxic presence in our digital lives.

I’m not here to tell you how to live or who to be. I’m just here to tell you to stop using this emoji because frankly, I am confused. This is doubly true if you are a man. Men have done THE MOST this year and if you want to get out of 2018 unscathed you had better curb your use of this inscrutable emoji ASAP. When I reschedule our date or tell you I’m running late, sending me this little creep is the perfect way to convince me to just stay home. I can’t tell if you’re mad or amused or just being a dick and I gotta tell you, buddy, I’m not gonna waste my precious time figuring it out.

What if, in 2018, we all do ourselves a favor and try not to make communication any more exhausting and terrible than it already is? Wouldn’t that be fun?

Finding The Magic Of Inspiration – Amanda McDowell

This is a guest post by Amanda McDowell. She’s a recent transfer to the Bay Area, where she works in Writing & Content Marketing. She also runs her own blog, Propagating Adventure!

When you have a lot on your plate, day-to-day life can become mundane — until, suddenly, you see something that makes you ready to #SLAY. In that way inspiration is a bit like a fairy godmother, dropping by out of the blue to add a touch of pixie dust to your world.

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The process of getting inspired can seem a bit random, but what if you could access that blissful feeling on demand? A plethora of self-help guides advocate everything from meditation retreats to college classes to achieve this — and I know exactly no one who has that kind of time.

What I do know are women who are just like me, with packed schedules and high aspirations, that just want to feel a little more magic in their lives (without sacrificing their sanity or moving to a remote island!).

I’m here to tell you: it’s possible. By adopting some new habits, you’ll find life’s magic moments just around the corner.

  • Walk it off. Have you ever focused on your screen for hours, only to resurface and find yourself severely dehydrated and mentally tapped? With so much on your to-do list, leaving your desk during the day can seem like an unnecessary luxury — but it can actually make you happier and less drained come Friday afternoon.

    You’ll have a hard time decluttering your mind sitting in the same spot, so schedule some time each day to move around and look away from the task at hand. Checking in with yourself and getting your body moving gets your brain moving as well — leading to that jolt of inspiration you’re craving.
  • Smell good, feel good. When the budget gets tight, we’ve all gotten trapped in thoughts like “what if I hadn’t gotten that $6 coffee in 2014”, but things that smell good are something worth investing in. Whether you grab a $1 Target candle or opt to splurge on a fancy hand cream, exposing yourself to a new smell changes your perspective. For inspiration, we recommend rosemary or citrus, but whatever you choose will put you on track to becoming a more inspired you.

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  • Take (productive) breaks. As a content creator, my livelihood depends on how well I can process information and communicate it to an audience. Getting to read all day is a dream, but at a certain point, my brain gets totally overloaded with info. Sometimes I have to recharge, but I catch myself migrating from my computer to my phone and wondering why I’m still listless.

    As it turns out, what you think is a break might be a lot different than what your brain needs to refuel — and brain fuel is crucial for getting inspired. Even if you’re combing Insta for #inspiration, things like meditating, playing a game, or chatting with a friend will do way more for your mind (and bonus: won’t lead to FOMO!).

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  • Schedule time that’s yours. Making time for yourself is vital to inspiration and self-care, which go hand-in-hand. Block off your calendar like you would for drinks with a friend and do whatever makes you tick. Don’t respond to texts / calls / emails, ghost your newsfeed, and give yourself a chance to thrive.

    Whether you read a book, do something creative, or just sit in silence, giving your brain some old-school quality time is the perfect refresher course in what makes you feel the best — allowing you to generate new ideas with a clear outlook.

Taking care of what your brain needs is the best way to get inspired — think of it like texting your fairy godmother! When you’re feeling stuck, it might seem that every turn leads to a dead end. Instead of getting frustrated, make time for one of these tips and welcome the magic back into your life!

3 Holiday Fitness Tips To Avoid Becoming a Grinch – By: Grace Tandy

 It’s the most wonderful time of the year….if you’re not trying to fit into a New Year’s Eve dress you bought four months ago. I’m a girl who loves Christmas. LOVES IT! Catch me watching Hallmark movies and bopping along to a Mariah Christmas classic sometime around October 15th. The one thing I could live without is the endless whirl of holiday parties, dinners, and delicious desserts that knock me off my fitness grind.

But nothing is going to come between me and my love of the holiday season. Here are three tips for staying accountable even while you enjoy your favorite holiday traditions.

Plan Ahead

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Maybe it’s just the type-a girl in me, but I love to have a plan. Knowing what comes next just makes everything easier. The holidays can be a fitness hazard because they take you out of your routine. When you’d normally be hitting the gym, or sweating it out in a SoulCycle session, instead you’re sitting at home watching your mom pop a pie into the oven.

Since you know you’ll be off your usual routine, come up with a mini-routine for the time you’ll be away. Make sure you get in your daily run or do some arm curls in your brother-in-law’s home gym (Hi Dave!) Setting some expectations for yourself will help to keep you moving when it might seem more fun to curl up by the fire.

Relax

Relax

Look, the holidays are stressful. For most of us, they involve cramming our stuff into a bag and cramming ourselves into planes, trains, and automobiles to go back home for an involuntary stay-cation. Add that to a few days living in close quarters with parents and relatives and you’re facing a fun but not entirely stress-free setting, and when I’m stressed you can expect me to hit the hors d’oeuvres like a freight train.

Remember to take a minute for yourself, even if it means kicking your sister out of a bedroom that you’re sharing so you can take a few deep breaths and sneak in a yoga session. Keep yourself calm and collected and it’ll be easier to stay on track.

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Focus on you

The holidays are tough because they’re all about indulgence. Everything and everyone around you are holding up a big “Treat Yo’ Self” sign and you might feel like a Scrooge for saying “no.” Remember that the whole point is to enjoy yourself and if hitting your goals is going to make you happy then you’re doing the holidays right.

Bonus tip

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Focus on all the things that aren’t going to knock you off your game. The holidays are about friends, family, and watching Candace Cameron-Bure fall in love in a variety of equally unlikely scenarios on the Hallmark channel. What’s a few extra calories compared to that?

Not Your Mother’s Self-Care By: Clara Colleen

When you search #selfcare on Instagram, you will find over three million posts. As you sift through these posts, you are likely to see motivational memes and contemplative captions, or multi-colored food shots and exercise videos. But more often than not you will see a slew of selfies, each with its own unique explanation of what self-care looks like. While each act of self-love is beautiful and important, it seems that posting it online somewhat defeats the purpose.
The idea of self-care is in no way new. Some known origins of self-care date back to the Ancient Greeks when Socrates, on the brink of execution, urged future generations to pay more attention to the upkeep of their own souls. It rose to the surface again during the 70s and 80s as a form of resistance for black and queer communities. During that time, similar to the climate we live in today, it was made clear to queer communities and communities of color that their existence was not valued in society’s eyes. So, figures like Audre Lorde and June Jordan publicized the importance of self-care through their writing. It was through their words that people started realizing the power in putting their health first.
When we examine the roots of self-care and the historical experiences connected to it, we can see very clearly that it is a sacred practice, one free from outside influences and judgement, a secret emotional superfood to which only you have access. However, unlike folks of previous generations, most of us are developing alongside technology and as we grow, so do the number of social media platforms. It has become almost a requirement to have an online presence and a norm to provide live updates of social activity. And sometimes we get so excited about the new releases and the updates and the apps that we can no longer eat lunch without telling our “followers” about it.  This is self-care for the screen addicted. It is for those who need a break from the hashtags and the snapchats and want to have a love affair with themselves.

 

Realize that self-care isn’t always face masks and pedicures.

A common understanding of self-care often consists of treating oneself to decadent desserts or relaxing spa treatments. But caring for yourself doesn’t always mean spending money on fluffy and fun, yet temporary, relaxation techniques. Sometimes it means sticking to a routine that feels tedious and unnecessary but might have a positive, yet gradual, impact. Sometimes it means cutting something you love out of your life because it causes your body or your mind too much harm. Sometimes it means spending time mapping out your month, week or day so that you can save yourself from future stress. Sometimes it even means feeling uncomfortable about the fact that you are taking time away from time with others and giving it to yourself.
As someone who is more often than not a people-pleasing ball of stress, it took me quite a while to commit to the two-hour, twice daily self-care routine that I knew I needed. I felt guilty for not spending time with my roommates at night and would make excuses or drag my feet before I willingly spent time by myself with no screens or distractions. Getting to know yourself sans everything and everyone can be one of the most liberating yet terrifying experiences that you can have. However, if you take it in baby steps, self-care no longer feels like just another thing someone on the internet told you to do; it becomes the best hour (or two) of your day. It turns into the longest lasting emotional and physical hug you could ever receive. It becomes the secret to your success; success that needs no social media proof because the proof is in your healthy relationships, your positive outlook, your improved communication, and your overall happiness. So, let’s dig in!

 

Survey your life… then make some cuts.

There are so many things in our lives that we just accept at face value. We don’t even think to question them or dig deeper. You are the expert of your own experience and just because your doctor, your family, your friends, or your boss tells you everything is normal doesn’t mean you have to just shrug your shoulders and live with it. There are always solutions; whether it be adjusting your diet, your mindset, your surroundings, or your daily routine, it is up to you to find the right balance.
Become a researcher of your own life. Think about what is working well and what is causing you stress. Observe your responses to things like food, activities, people, and work. Think about what things in your life you could do without. What do you absolutely hate doing? What do you agree to do only because you feel uncomfortable saying no? What is causing you to hit the snooze button eight times? Think about the people you surround yourself with. Do they lift you up and encourage you? When you leave them, do you feel energized and fulfilled or do you feel depleted and in need of recuperation? Try to keep a running list of things or people that are having a negative impact on you. Ask yourself if you need them. If the answer is no, make a plan to gradually ween away from it/them. If the answer is yes, start to strategize some solutions. Understand your limits and set healthy boundaries for yourself. Take your time with this and be gentle with yourself.

 

Treat yourself as you would your best friends

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Just for a second, think about the negative things you tell yourself on a daily basis. Now imagine you’re saying all of those things… out loud… to your best friend. How do you think they would react? Mine would probably slap me and never talk to me again. Why do we continue to tell ourselves these friendship-ending insults as if they’re normal? These negative thoughts are having the same effect on you internally as they would have on your best friend.
Correcting this tendency is a life-long process but once you start, you are already making progress. Negative thinking is unfortunately a normal part of the human experience. So, although it’s not ideal, these thoughts happen to everyone. On the plus side, each negative thought only lasts about seventeen seconds so bringing your awareness to your negative thought patterns will actually make it easier for you to stop them from doing any damage. Once you notice yourself going into negativity land, bring yourself back by counting to seventeen, taking a deep breath, and giving yourself a compliment.
Another thing to remember is that you don’t have to believe your thoughts. They happen regardless of your awareness, but it is your choice to accept them. Try writing the thought down on a loose piece of paper to remind yourself that you are in control. For example, write down, “I don’t feel badly, my mind does.” Seeing the words written out releases you from an endless loop of toxic thinking and reminds you that you are not your thoughts. Think of your thoughts as passing cars on the highway; you’re going to see them regardless, but unless you grab onto a bumper and let the thought take you to wherever it wants to go, you’ll just watch it pass you by. So, be your own best friend and feed your mind positivity as you watch the negative cars take the next exit.

 

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If there is anything you take from this article, please let it be this: social media and excessive screen time is more than likely undoing all your efforts to care for yourself. A study by the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that social media use is linked to greater feelings of social isolation. Although the original intention of technology and social media platforms was to bring people together no matter their geographical location, having 24/7 access to friends’ and strangers’ daily activities can make our own lives feel sepia-toned.
The most important thing I did for my mental health was disconnect from all social media for 30 days. In doing this, I uncovered several unhealthy habits that were keeping me from being fully present. In the end, I made the choice to keep all of social media apps off of my phone and to delete my snapchat completely. Each person has a different relationship with technology and social media, so a social media fast may affect you differently. I know I never would have realized the negative impact these platforms were having on me had I not taken a step back from them.
Regardless of what comes from your social media fast, though, I encourage you to start thinking of your self-care as private. It sounds more fun that way, does it not? Instead of including everyone in your life (plus some strangers), your non-negotiable “me time” guest list just decreased to one. Maybe try it in conjunction with the social media fast, to take away any temptation, and see how it feels.

 

Find something that brings you joy, then Rest & Repeat.

 

Now that we’ve gotten the big tasks out of the way, we can get into the fun stuff! This is where you schedule non-negotiable time for yourself (but try to be as specific as possible). “Me-time” as a calendar event can easily turn into binge watching The Office on Netflix. Instead, find an activity (away from screens) that you love and do it for at least a half an hour every day. Read your book, do some Sudoku, write or journal, draw or color, listen to music, etc. Put your phone in another room or on airplane mode and just let the good feelings wash over you for the half an hour you set aside for yourself. That’s your time and you deserve it.

 

In through the nose, out through the mouth.

Deep breathing should be a constant on almost everyone’s self-care list because it’s just that important. If you need to destress, the breath is your best friend. It’s pretty empowering when you realize that the most inexpensive and the most powerful destressing tool is something we do 24 hours a day. The American Institute of Stress explains that focused abdominal breathing for 20-30 minutes a day activates the body’s natural “relaxation response.” During this time, the metabolism decreases, the heart beats slower, the muscles relax, the blood pressure decreases, and nitric oxide (a free radical that expands blood vessels, increases blood flow and decreases plaque buildup and blood clotting) is released.
Take some time throughout the day to quiet your body and deepen your breath. Try to sneak it in before you leave for work, midway through your day, and after you get home. Try the three-part breath technique: as you inhale, fill your belly with air, then your chest and finally your throat; as you exhale, release the air from the throat first, then the chest and finally the belly, feeling your navel naturally draw inward. This can take some time to get the hang of so don’t get discouraged if you find yourself mixing up the order.

 

Fill your space with green, leafy stress relievers.

 

Finally, if you’re able to, get yourself some plant pals! Texas A&M Agriculture & Life Sciences Department has some pretty unbelievable facts that will make you want to run to your grocery store or local nursery and buy all the plants. Being around plants improves your concentration and memory and having flowers in your space reduces stress levels, improves moods, and generates happiness. Spending the majority of your time around plants improves your relationships and increases your capacity for compassion, and there’s even more where that came from!
If you doubt your ability to care for a plant, try out a succulent or an air plant. They’re calming to look at and they require very little care. Or, if you just can’t have plants period, try to spend 20 minutes outside among trees or in a park. This can be a great brain break in addition to all the benefits I previously mentioned.
When I started putting my health first, I didn’t even call it self-care because it didn’t feel great initially. However, when I started looking at self-care as a process as opposed to a quick fix, I stopped resisting. Suddenly, my doctor was no longer my excuse for everything. I was doing these things because they made my body and mind feel better. I stopped shrugging my shoulders and started pushing back on everything I had previously accepted at face value. Self-care for me manifested as taking unapologetic ownership of my choices. The best part is, I did all of this without posting on any social media. I know it seems unnecessary and tedious now but trust me when I say you don’t know until you know. Self-care is hard work and looks different for everyone but hopefully with these steps, it feels a little less daunting.