a-modern-lady-clean-mindful-eating

My (Slow Down) Soup and Salad Challenge

Beloved readers, the “Slowdown Soup & Salad Challenge” is a culmination of a glorious experiment that I blundered into with the grace of a water-logged koala last Fall.

I cook 99% of what I consume, from scratch, with whole, mostly organic ingredients.

Having a love of aesthetics, last year I began serving ALL of my meals, on a bed of lettuce and required myself to eat it!. I also like to sip broth while cooking to not wholly ruin my appetite. I enjoy a light broth-based soup as an appetizer, to prevent my speed-eating habit from rearing its ugly head. I blame aggressive years of work and school. (I had to inhale calories whenever I had the chance.)

This allowed me to add more fresh greens into my diet without experiencing green-smoothie burnout. (It happens to the best of us. #TeamKale) I plate lovelier dishes, and I effortlessly reduced my portion sizes of carbs and animal proteins thanks to the filling fiber in the rich, dark greens.

This is significant for me as portion sizes in my childhood home were enormous. I learned to “eat with my eyes,” rather than listen to my body.  This is something I’ve had to be vigilant about correcting.

Better still, I was increasing my non-caffeinated fluid intake.

Furthermore it forced me to take the time to truly revel in and enjoy food preparation. I admit, at first I found myself having to literally schedule in this time.

And now?

Yeah, I still have to actually schedule this, or I’ll find reasons to not take the time to enjoy this necessary, but pleasant moment in every day life.

I soon realized…

How meditative and relaxing it was to enjoy the process of preparing nourishing food, even if only for myself.

How calming, meditative, and energizing it was to get up early to prepare a meal and allow my mind to slowly wake up. 

How glorious it was to hear nothing but the sound of sizzling ingredients, the rumbling steam produced by my kettle, and the pleasant “Chup, chup, chup!” of my handsome knife sliding through that day’s robust ingredients. Bonus points: Early morning birdsong!

(It’s worth getting up before the sun to enjoy!)

Trust me, it makes facing your daily commute so much easier!

Suffice to say: I discovered a entirely new realm of simple luxuries!

(Huzzah!)

So I’m challenging myself to keep this up.

How?

  1. Serve at least 90% of my meals on a bed of lettuce.
  2. Have a small salad and serving of broth-based soup with my entree.
  3. Sit down to eat (At a proper place setting) of some kind)

This’ll require variety in the broths, soups, and salads I consume as well as the type of greens I serve my meals upon. It’ll also require my buying those ingredients regularly and making them a regular part of my weekly menus.

Enter in fellow modern lady LV Davis.

She is the fantabulous author of:

Food Fashion and Flow Blog

Food, Fashion, and Flow.

If you are not checking out her content, you are missing out!

This lovely lady serves up style, life advice, and yummy recipes–particularly the three lovely salads below I cannot wait to try (Click the images to get the recipe and details!):

 A Modern Lady Food Fashion and Flow Recipe kale strawberry salad.jpg
Kale Cranberry Apple Salad – Gorgeous!
A Modern Lady and Food Fashion and Flow Recipes
Pear Salad With Maple Vinaigrette

(Let’s do this.)

a-modern-lady-what-high-heels-do-to-your-feet-and-how-to-wear-them-properly

What Heels Do to Your Feet & How to Wear Them Properly

YOU MUST TAKE CARE OF YOUR FEET.

The wearing of high heels must be treated like an athletic activity that requires “before” and “after” care of the body!

There’s no getting around the fact we’re asking something unnatural and potentially damaging of our bodies for the sake of aesthetics.

I have no judgements about this and quite frankly, I have no issues with heels, no matter how high–provided that you care for your feet properly!

These are the “DOs” I have learned over the years, in helping women in my life master their heels without risking bunions, corns, shortened Achilles tendons, in-grown toenails, and other issues. They also helped me while seriously engaged in Latin and Ballroom dance lessons.

1

WALK IN HEELS PROPERLY.

WALK HEEL to TOE. If you cannot perform a “foot flex” (P\point your foot like a gymnast, then lift it back up until it is “flat” as if you were standing on it barefoot) in your heels they are too high for you! (And/or the pitch of the shoe is too great for your height.)

An even better test: Standing in your heels, if you cannot lift yourself up on your toes about an inch–they are too high for you or the pitch meets the yoke of the shoe in a way that does not work for your feet. Pass on those shoes, for the sake of wellness.

2

Wear the right heel size, height, shape, and width for your weight–at the right pitch for your height.

I cannot stress this enough: There is a direct relation to stress on your knees, heel height, and your weight. In short: There is no such thing as “sit and look cute shoes.”

You can either wear them without laming yourself or you cannot.

You may also need to go up a half-size for higher heights. Different companies cut shoes differently AND different styles requires different sizes for your feet! Some times I go up a full size, because the cut of the shoe may strangle my toes–I add heel grips and insole cushions and then go about my merry way! So please:

DON’T GET HUNG UP ON SIZE!

3

Have strong ankles.

Check out YouTube for exercises. Strong ankles resist sprains!! Ladies who regularly wear platform pumps, this is especially relevant!

4

Wear QUALITY leather shoes.

And then have them stretched, add cushioning soles, heel grips, and hell grips where they are needed. Fully leather shoes are best, but can be pricey. The next best thing? Wear shoes with leather-uppers!

Leather uppers can be found at price points from $30 to $3,000. Your feet change sizes slightly through out the day–your shoes must be able to accommodate this and still fit your feet perfectly.

Heels even more so.

PRO TIP: Try on and buy shoes after 2 p.m. Most of our feet have swelled by then.

5

Massage and realign the bones of your feet and ankles after wearing very high (3-4″ and up) heels.

This is KEY to keeping future problems at bay. You must put the bones of your feet back into proper alignment to avoid bunions. Stretch your ankles and Achilles tendons to reduce shortening of the latter (it’s extremely painful) and reduce injury in the former. Stretch and rolls toes to maintain alignment and flexibility.

PRO TIP: Alternating with flats is the easiest way to accomplish this (or be dedicated to vanity, by massaging your feet properly EVERYDAY that you wear super high heels).

6

Regularly soak sore feet with Epson salts and/or green tea (Read my tutorial here).

When your feet complain–LISTEN. Please, beloved readers, I implore you to not “wait a day or two” or “deal with it”. These are your (precious) feet.

You’re only given two, after all.

The BEST (Easy & Cheap) Remedy for Sore (High Heel) Feet

Long day on your feet? A great day hiking for miles? A night out dancing taking its toll? Yesterday’s work-out heavier than you realized? New shoes not broken in yet?

Whatever your reason for having sore feet, I have you covered, beloved readers.

What you need:

  1. Green tea or Black tea (Go for the cheapie brands for this treatment, sans guilt.)
  2. Soaking tub/object of choice
  3. Towels
  4. Hot water
  5. Feet

Optional: Your favorite massage cream, lotion, or oil.

What to do:

1

Add 2 tea bags for every 8 oz of water you plan to use to your foot bath.

2

(Carefully!) Pour boiling water over the tea bags.

3

Let it steep for the recommended time. (Varies from brand to brand.)

4

Carefully remove tea bags–I suggest tongs, as the water will be HOT. Be advised!

(PRO TIP: Squeeze the tea bags firmly over foot bath before throwing them away or composting.)

5

Let the water cool to a comfortable temperature and enjoy!

PRO TIP: Massage feet afterwards to feel like a brand new (modern) lady with your favorite lotion or oil.

Why does it work?

The caffeine in the tea plus the delightfully warm water help energize sore feet and lessen pain. #CuteFeetForever

After twenty minutes, my tired, sore feet are refreshed and renewed! They really feel as if I’ve been off of them for hours!

This is great for dancers, those who love their high heels, after any strenuous work outs, after long days on your feet, or just because it feels great. (I don’t judge, beloved readers.)

Do you have any sore feet hacks to share, beloved readers? I would love to hear them!

 

Note: If you have high blood pressure or are pregnant, check with your MD, because I am NOT one.

 

a-modern-lady-blog-7-seriously-life-changing-fast-and-easy-beauty-hacks

7 (Seriously!) Life-changing Fast and Easy Beauty Hacks

Want 7 ways to make staying gorgeous easier and nailing your signature look faster?

You’ve come to the right place.

1.

Keep shampoo where you need it most–your scalp.

Pour your favorite shampoo in a dye applicator bottle! Now applying shampoo right where you need it is a breeze –you will also use just what you need, saving money and shower space. (Who doesn’t want more of that?) Pick up an applicator bottle for less than a latte at your local Sally Beauty Supply.

2.

Oil treatments can be messy, causing you to put them off. Nip the mess in the bud! 

Pour your favorite oil or oil blend in a small spray bottle. (Those 3 oz containers for travel are great for this.) Spray into your palm or directly onto your mane to apply. This makes application to your ends for daily nourishment a breeze and saturating hair for a full treatment far less messy. You can pick up travel-sized spray bottles at your local drugstore, Target, or Walmart.

3.

Make DIY manicures more refreshing for pennies!

Pre-soak cotton balls or rounds in nail-polish remover:  Putting your cotton-product of choice in a plastic ziploc bag, and just enough of your favorite nail polish remover to saturate them in a baggy. Then store them in the fridge–that’s it! The cool feeling is a great touch for tired hands.

4.

Avoid ingrown hairs post-shave. 

Always exfoliate before or after shaving (I have great results either way, personally.) Keep a drugstore, anti-acne toner in the shower that contains 2% salicyclic acid. (Neutrogena makes great ones.) Right after shaving, apply the toner shaved areas. (It may sting if you used dull razors.) Be sure to moisturize after wards.

5.

Have sandal-ready, cashmere-soft feet year-round!

Keep your pumice stone or ped-egg in the bath. Take 20 seconds with each bath or shower to give your callous-prone areas a quick scrub. Doing it for less than a minute a day prevents the need for a major session later by keeping callouses forever at bay. Twenty seconds now can save twenty minutes (or a shoe change) later.

6.

Go to bed with a clean face.

This one is over-stated but for good reason: Keep your make-up remover wipes by the bed! Want to save $$$? Cut larger make-up wipes in half. You will find half may be just enough (for light make-up days at least) and can reduce product waste.

7.

Always have a great #OOTD.

Always pick your clothes out the night before

(PRO TIP: Plan your make-up and hairstyle to go with it as well).

TL;DR

Want to be effortlessly #chic?

Remember this trifecta:

  • Preparation
  • Organization
  • Priorities

Preparing for tomorrow today creates healthy routines that empower you to balance the micro and macro of your life.

(Flexible) routines keep you organized. (Everything has a place and a time.)

Being organized helps you set priorities–what actually has to happen today, for tomorrow to be successful? A great piece of life advice I received was to ask myself this question:

Will this have lasting consequences (good or bad) 24 hours (or more) from now?

If the answer is no–it’s not a priority.

 

Do you have any “beauty hacks” or sites to share? Please do in the comments below!

A-Modern-Lady-Clean-Fifteen-Organic-Raw-Vegan-Vegetarian-Paleo-Non-GMO-Information-Post

When to Buy Organic and When to Save Your Money

Allow me to introduce you to the Clean Fifteen.

Why do I ask? There are non-organic foods that require lower levels of convention pesticides than others. These are safe(er) to ingest when not organic, saving you money. (Huzzah!)

Have you heard of the Clean Fifteen? Like the Dirty Dozen, if you prefer to eat organic you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the list below, and the one in this post.

Please note: Both lists are updated annually.

The Environmental Working Group (non-partisan, not-for-profit) has named these lovely fruits and veggies as safe(er), even though they are conventionally grown.

(You can thank their thick skins for the extra change in your wallet.)

The Clean Fifteen of 2010

Asparagus

Avocado

Broccoli

Cabbage

Eggplant

Kiwi

Mango

Onions

Papaya

Pineapple

Sweet corn (frozen)

Sweet peas (frozen)

Sweet potatoes

Tomatoes

Watermelon

 

 

Happy shopping!

a-modern-lady-blog-the-dirty-dozen-eat-clean-whole-raw-vegan-vegetarian-organic-paleo-gluten-free-cheap-healthy-easy

The Dirty Dozen

I pick my poisons carefully. When it comes to what I eat I try to avoid the Dirty Dozen.

I have found that my body works best when I avoid highly processed foods and certain veggies and fruits conventionally grown with high levels of endocrine disrupting pesticides. These pesticides mimic estrogen and other hormones in our bodies, potentially throwing of their delicate balance.

You may have heard of the “Dirty Dozen” before: Twelve popular fruits and veggies in the North American diet that have the highest amount of pesticides, due to their potential for skin-diseases, thin outer skins, and their popularity among insects.

I would be amiss if I did not pass this information on to you, beloved readers.

This list is updated from year to year, I might add.

You can read about these items and enjoy a nice slide show here or just glance at the list below, taken from said link for this year. The link also includes notes about coffee, milk, meat etc.

The 2010 Dirty Dozen

Celery

Peaches

Strawberries

Apples

Blueberries

Nectarines

Bell Peppers

Spinach

Kale

Cherries

Potatoes

Grapes (Imported)

 

Are any of your favorites on the Dirty Dozen list?

(I adore apples and blueberries!)

A Modern Lady Ceramide Treatment recipe and tutorial

Ceramides: A New Head Of Hair #everytime

Increasing ceramides in my hair regimen allowed me to reduce the number of protein treatments I needed, increased elasticity, and gave my shinier, softer, thicker hair with greater movement curly or straightened.

This treatment never fails to give me (practically) a new head of hair. I use it as needed, or at least once a month if I’m regularly touching up my roots.

What are ceramides?

Ceramides are fatty lipids that act as “glue” or “cement”. They hold together the little “scales” that make up your hair’s cuticle. Chemical processing strips them out of your hair. (Boo!)

A great, cheaper source of ceramides that takes out the “Middle Men” of many commercial products is Wheat Germ Oil.

What you will need:

  • 2 T (Organic, Cold-expeller pressed)Wheat Germ Oil
  • 4 T Of your Favorite Conditioner

What to do:

1

Mix ingredients in a small bowl.

2

Apply it liberally to scalp, roots, lengths, and ends

3

Pop on a shower cap for (1) hour.

 

Please note: Be careful to keep this off of your face if you are acne prone. It is very comedogenic!

 

(!) If you have allergies to wheat or gluten, DO NOT USE THIS!

 

 

 

http://www.hair-science.com/_int/_en/topic/topic_sousrub.aspx?tc=ROOT-HAIR-SCIENCE^HAIR-SCIENTIFIC-ENIGMA^CERAMIDE-TO-PRODUCTS&cur=CERAMIDE-TO-PRODUCTS

http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/DOCKETS/95s0316/95s-0316-rpt0275-04-Udell-vol211.pdf

a-modern-lady-blog-how-i-keep-more-pores-small-clear-and-happy-tutorial-and-natural-bentonite-clay-recipe

How I Keep My Pores Clear, Small, & Happy

Beloved readers, my skin care regimen would be incomplete without Bentonite clay.*

Why Bentonite clay instead of some of the other popular clays out there? Behold:

Bentonite clays are essentially a molecule of Silicon, Aluminum and Oxygen.  Before you get all jumpy about aluminum, understand that these are the three most common elements in the earth’s crust.  Mother earth’s “skin” is made up of:

When silicon is combined with aluminum and oxygen, they tend to generate an electrical charge on the surface of the crystalline lattice.  The cumulative power of that charge is directly proportional to the total surface area of the crystal.  And shockingly, Bentonite clays, due to their Montmorillonite content have an unbelievably enormous surface area.

If the total surface area crystals in one gram of the really fine Bentonite clay material (like ION-MIN® montmorillonite) were exposed, it would cover a football field!  The amount of electrostatic charge on such a compound is simply tremendous.”

What’s the point?

It turns out that nearly all heavy metals and most pathogenic organisms are oppositely charged.  Bentonite clay is negatively charges (anionic; pronounced “an-eye-on-ic”) and pathogens are positively charged (cationic, pronounced “cat-eye-on-ic”).  And according to simple physics, opposite charges in nature attract.  So Bentonite clay nanoparticles stick to pathogenic compounds and heavy metals like flypaper to flies.  This is called adsorption (with a “d”).

When this happens (and in this case a lot of the “flypaper” is much smaller than the “fly”), the harmful substance is smothered and can be eliminated by natural body processes.  This detoxification can happen in the blood, on cells such as skin or liver, and in the colon.

This property is not manifested in other clays like Kaolin.  The ionic drawing power of most other clays is too weak to pull detox duty.

Calcium Bentonite clay has a slight swelling capacity and can be mixed with water and oils to create various kinds of preparations from drinks to pastes to masks or slippery massage substances.  Plus it tends to have a good balance of minerals, and a moderately high pH value.**

My Experience

For my face, my recipe is simple, use equal parts:

  • Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Bentonite Clay

That’s it!

You don’t have to use Bragg’s AVC. It happens to be the only one I use. It’s the highest quality, organic, vinegar you can conveniently pick up at the store, with “the Mother” strain in it.

I mix equal parts clay and vinegar, which magically puffs and fizzles into an airy, LUXURIOUS mousse! It spreads like a charm and vacuums all the not-so-awesome out of each and every pore.

Better still, you can use it on your body as well as your scalp.

 

SUGGESTIONS

  1. Apply a thin layer (just enough to be opaque).
  2. It may face red for about 20-30 minutes after wards,.
  3. DO NOT apply this around your eyes, or over your eyebrows.
  4. MIX THIS WITH PLASTIC OR CERAMIC UTENSILS ONLY!
  5. Use vinegar, instead of water (especially tap water, over distilled) for the mousse like texture-effect, Bragg’s AVC or standard white.

A light smear on your T-Zone or whole face, left to dry for twenty minutes and washed off, will have you jaw-agape before your mirror saying:

LOOK AT MY SEXY NOSE!!

Or something to that effect.

TL;DR

This stuff IS LIKE A VACUUM CLEANER FOR SKIN!

 

*I’m not a dermatologist. Always consult your skincare professional before you try something new. I hope this works for you as it has for me for the past few years. Enjoy!

**Source: http://www.californiaearthminerals.com/science/clay-minerals-research.php?16

A Modern Lady Tutorial How to Buy The Right Hair Care Product

How to Buy Hair Care Products That Work

Low-end, High end, drugstore or salon, niche or mainstream–a hair care product should be worth every penny, no matter what its price point.

How can you make an educated purchase?

I bring to you a snippet from the Beauty Brains.

You can read the full article here, to understand why we have ingredient lists and their purpose (besides the obvious).

With that said, let me provide you with a cliff notes version of their post, which is essentially what I keep in mind when I stare down the back of a bottle. (Again, the full version is here.)

According to the Beauty Brains:

When properly written, the labels can provide you with a lot of useful information. In the United States, any chemical above 1% by weight in the formula is required to be listed in order of concentration. Below 1% the order can be anything they like. Typically, preservatives, fragrances, and colors are listed at the end.

They go on to use the ingredient list of Jergen’s Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer (a gradual self tanning lotion) as an example:

Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Petrolatum, Mineral Oil, Ceteareth 20, Dimethicone, Glyceryl Dilaurate, Erythrulose, Persea Gratissima Fruit Extract (Avocado), Avena Sativa Meal Extract (Oat), Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Extract (Jojoba), Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Olea Europaea Fruit Oil (Olive), Tocopherol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Stearic Acid, Acrylates/C10 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide, DMDM Hydantoin, BHT, Fragrance, Caramel, Titanium Dioxide, Mica, Dihydroxyacetone

The first ingredient is water which means this formula is mostly water. Based on this Brain’s knowledge of lotions, it is about 80% water. Glycerin is the next most abundant ingredient probably in there at about 5%. The next few ingredients are anywhere from 1-3%. Look at other skin lotions. I bet you find many of the same ingredients listed in the first line.

It’s also good to note here that the bulk of what you’re paying for is in the first five ingredients. I generally don’t buy a drugstore OR salon product if what I’m paying for is not in the first 5 ingredients.

So what about that super fancy extract, or pearl powder, or silk protein, or avocado oil advertised on the bottle?

Most manufacturers like to throw lots of these “feature” ingredients in the formula just so they have something to talk about and to show their formula are different. The truth is the real functional work of the product is done by the ingredients above this 1% line.

This isn’t strictly true as there are many ingredients that give quite good benefits below the 1% level, but generally it’s true. The more abundant a material, the more function it will have.

TL;DR

Don’t be duped by clever marketing–know what you’re paying for by paying attention to the first 5 ingredients of your next hair care product purchase.

a-modern-lady-backing-soda-texturizer-curl-softener-tutorial-and-recipe

Baking Soda Curl Softener Recipe & Tutorial

 

Beloved readers, I am so excited to share this with you! However, before I proceed: USE DISCRETION. I’m not a doctor, stylist, or trichologist.

Especially if you have sensitive skin or extremely fickle hair, try it on a small section first or not at all.

This does not truly “texturize” or “relax” curls in the traditional sense.  This encourages curl definition and absorption of moisture due to its alkaline nature, which can cause them to “hang” a bit lower or appear looser.

The disclaimers are posted because baking soda is very alkaline.

Like relaxers? Yes and no.

No as in relaxers are at a pH of 12+ and baking soda is a 9 on the pH scale. Blood is close to 7. That said, from box to box pH can range from 7-9 on the pH scale.

You will need:

¾ to a cup of baking soda for the very adventurous. Otherwise start off with 1 Tablespoon.

½ Cup of Conditioner if you use 1 T of baking soda or 1 cup conditioner if you use 3/4 cup of baking soda.

 

What to do:

1

Wash hair with gentle SLS-free poo.

2

Dry to 80%. (Avoid dripping wet hair for this treatment.)

3

Mix baking soda and conditioner.

4

Apply 1/2″ to 1″ from roots to tips.

5

Pop on a shower cap.

6

Rinse after 30 minutes with warm (not hot) water.

7

Immediately add your deep conditioner. DO NOT attempt to detangle before adding deep conditioning treatment.

8

Detangle

9

Rinse hair.

10

Style as usual.

 

*For best results: Use a deep conditioner that is moisture-focused, not strengthening/protein heavy.