Category Archives: self-improvement

Paint Your Eyes with Color Contact Lenses

Dual Jade Green Contact LensesSkin care, anti-aging bargains, self improvement eyelids, moisturizing makeup and surgery: Whole industries have emerged to protect, maintain, enhance and even alter natural beauty. There is however an additional product that will create the desired effect. Today’s beauty tip is about color contacts and how they can make your eye sparkle.

The color contact is like any skin care product, meant to enhance natural beauty with the option of correcting eyesight. What many do not know, is the variety of ways in which it can be used. Contact lenses are for the vision impaired you say and color tints only fitting for Halloween.

There are however several types of color contact lenses:
* Enhancement tints
* Color tints
* Theatrical/Crazy/Special effect

All three types correct eye conditions such as myopia, farsightedness and light astigmatism, but can also be used on regular eyesight.

Enhancement color contact lenses

The color contact that enhances your natural eye color rather than replacing it, is perhaps the most unfamiliar of the three. Available is shades of common eye colors blue, green and brown, the enhancement tint will give the color of your eyes a distinct shade, increasing the volume of contrast for a more intense impression.

Color opaque contact lenses

For complete replacement of eye color, the opaque color contact lens is recommended. It gives you the freedom of switching the color of your eye while still keeping a natural look. This type of color contact is suitable for you with a natural dark eye color.

Crazy contact lenses

Popular in Hollywood, the theatrical contact lens is a frequent prop on movie sets. Indeed also suitable for Halloween and masquerades, thus type of color contact lens will transform your eyes completely, for a more fun and radical effect. While mentioned color contacts above only exist to decorate around the iris, the special effect lens is available in larger sizes, to alter the look of the whole eye, including the white of the eye.

Color contact safety tips

With or without vision impairment, using contact lenses require extra care. Faulty use may lead to any number of eye discomfort, including infections and dry eyes. If you choose to buy a pair of color contact lenses, the first rule of thumb is not to share them anyone. Also note for how long they are to be used (daily, weekly or monthly). Contact your local eye doctor for more information and instructions on proper usage.

Written by Jessica Elerby

GirlPaint here. I'm taking a momentary break from beauty to focus on success and inspiration. Here goes…

Image by Svilen MushkatovWhat is success? What is marketing? How do you make money on the internet?

All good questions (thanks, I thought so). I’ve been attempting to answer these questions for myself. And there are plenty of “experts” out there, both real and not-so-much. In fact, my yahoo reader is littered with lists of posts from top bloggers who write about these very topics every day. And, damn them, they make it all seem so easy.

Who are my favorites bloggers, you ask? Okay, well, you didn’t ask, but I’m going to tell you ‘cuz that’s just the kind of blogger I am.

One of my all-time favorites is Naomi Dunford over at Ittybiz. She’s my favorite writer. Her common-sense, plain-spoken approach to marketing and business is refreshing. Her personal story is compelling, and I wish I had her a fraction of her expertise (I’ll get there). Also, she writes in explicatives (sometimes). I like that.

Clay Collins, another fave, started The Growing Life, became blog-famous overnight then shifted directions with Finance Your Freedom. Clay speaks to me with his “quit your day job, get up late and work when you’re at your peak” message. Bless you, Clay, for giving me permission to sleep in. One of the most important things I’ve learned about myself is that I am NOT a morning person—I’ve accepted it, I’m okay with it, and it’s largely because of Clay. He’s the epitome of success in my book. He found something he’s REALLY good at, something that no one else has figured out nearly as well as him, and he actually likes what he does. He works for the clients he wants to and pretty much works the hours he wants. Plus, he makes a good living. He’s left himself plenty of breathing (and sleeping) room. I admire that.

Copyblogger (where incidentally Clay and Naomi have both contributed) is another favorite. I do a lot of things well, but writing copy isn’t one of them. I’ve been a top sales person, winning awards in every industry I’ve worked, but I’ve come to find out that sales success doesn’t necessarily translate into marketing and writing success. Granted, I have a few blogs and I enjoy writing posts well enough, but I struggle. Coming up with ideas for posts, writing them succinctly without a lot of sales jargon, and sounding like a human being when I write …frankly, it doesn’t come easy to a former sales goddess like me. So I turn to the best blog writers on Copyblogger for help. Their expert contributors give sound advice and tried-and-true techniques, and they do it all in a consistently smart and simple language I hope to emulate in my own writing. I want that.

Finally, there’s my husband and life-partner, Joe Ed White. He’s been an artist his entire life. And over the past five years, he’s become a screenwriter. Fact is he’s a born storyteller. His writing is fun to read, exciting…his screenplays are page-turners. He knows how to keep the action moving, develop character arcs — and his stories always contain an unexpected twist. I love that.

I could go on about writers and bloggers I enjoy, but there’s still those nagging questions I posed at the beginning of this post. Guess what? I still don’t have those answers. What I do know is that there are many answers. Reading blogs has yet to make me rich, successful or a marketer a la Donnie Deutsch (dammit). But, what it does do is give me encouragement through stories, information, writing styles and advice. And someday I will find my success… my favorite blogs and writers keep me inspired to keep digging for the answers to those nagging questions.

Image by Svilen Mushkatov http://www.sxc.hu/profile/svilen001

What's the Opposite of Oscar?

Heath Ledger as The JokerI  knew EVERYONE and her dawg was going to be blogging about the Academy Awards today, and for some reason I just wanted to avoid the whole thing.

To be honest with you, I haven’t enjoyed the Oscars–much less any of the other awards shows–in a few years. It seems they’ve all changed their focus from the stuff being honored to the stuff coming down the red carpet. I know, I know. As much as I’m obsessed with beauty and fashion (look at my blog for Gawd’s sake), I’m just afraid “it” has become so homogenized, vanilla, dare-I-say boring? I mean, have you visited the Oscars website? Front and center is a video embed featuring some Entertainment Tonight “correspondent” selling us the latest red-carpet story. Geez-louise.

So, here I am wondering what to post. The opposite of Oscar? But what though? Something sorta punk-rock, independent, vintage, intelligent…?

That train of thought immediately led me to London street fashion, especially in the 1970’s. Iconist images of torn clothing, brightly-colored spikey hair, highly contrasting stripes, the Union Jack, leather, plastic, safety pins.

PunkThen I remembered: every bit of London Street had been packaged and sold, too. Vivienne Westwood, Malcolm McClaren, ForbiddenLondon.com (oh really?) and the endless stream of individuals and corporations paying homage to these creative kids and their crazy duds…guess what? That homage became none other than a new fad, the latest fashion trend, packaged, homogenous. I see it even now reflected in the skinny jeans and leather jackets the young hipsters are sporting. All the way down to Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker (okay, that might be a bit of a stretch but not much of one).

Westwood Fashion MontageI began to wonder: is nothing safe? Sacred? Above being bought and sold?

My answer: no. And that’s the nature of the world of beauty, fashion, and yes, even movies and Hollywood. In fact, Hollywood is one of the biggest “homage-payers,” or offenders, whichever way you want to look at it. The old saying, “everything old is new again” rings true year after year, collection after collection, movie after movie.

So what’s my point? Honestly I’m not sure if I have one, but I think my avoidance of all things-Hollywood this past year right up to Oscar is further evidence of my need for inspiration, something new and fresh. Some thing to pay homage to, if you will.

So I ask: what inspires you? Oh yes, and did your Oscar predictions win?

Uninspired.

(c) Steven Knight courtesy stock.xchng (www.sxc.hu). All rights reserved.
image courtesy stock.xchng (www.sxc.hu).

Lately I’ve been so uninspired. Can you tell? FYI: that’s NOT me in the picture; it’s actually the photographer. The expression on his face so perfectly represented how I’ve felt lately, I had to put it up.

Anyway, as you’ve probably noticed, I haven’t posted since election day. And let’s face it: that was a lazy post.

Ya know, probably like a lot of you, I’ve got a list of really great blogs to read when I’m feeling less than inspired. Except that over the past few months when I read one of my guru’s posts, I’m either less inspired than I was before I read it, or worse, I just get mad.

What is that?Where did this blah-anger (blanger?) come from?

Well, I’ve thought about it a little– ignored it mostly — but here’s what I’ve come up with. The recent election, while incredibly inspiring (sorry if you’re not an Obama supporter…I clearly am), was exhausting. Then, a close relative was all but taken down by a stroke. Next, the economy tumbled…some more, and then took a nosedive. Then the holidays hit. Then we were expected to be all happy it was 2009, and make some exciting new resolutions for ourselves. And I did. And I haven’t kept any of them. And now everything seems that much worse.

It comes down to this: mid-winter is hard for me. And it’s hard for a lot of people. Just do a google search for “mid-winter blues,” and you’ll see what I’m talking about, if you’re not already a fellow sufferer.

I suppose I’ve always been a little low-energy this time of year, but this year, it’s more magnified. With all the bad news of late (and yes, I’m a total news hound), I’ve been absorbing it all. Plus we (as in, the U.S.) have experienced a harsher-than-usual winter. And that equals less time outside in the fresh air. Guess what? Lack of sunlight is a proven depressant. Not to mention the lack of exercise that naturally accompanies lengthy indoor stays.

So, what’s the solution? One guy with the Chicago Sun-Times suggests playing hooky and going ice fishing. Some genius over at Cosmo swears flavored lip gloss is the cure. And yet another recommedation to beat the blues? Poetry.

I’m definitely on board with staying home from work, and I do love my lipgloss. Poetry? Maybe.

Honestly, the trick to pushing through the winter blues, mean reds, the blahs…also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), isn’t really a trick at all. Being patient (difficult, I know), giving yourself a break (go ahead, take a day off), recognizing it’s a stressful time and doing your best to mitigate it…these can be the best “cures” for what ails those of us who aren’t their best this time of year.

Of course avoiding known stressors helps too: lack of sleep, poor diet, worrying, too much caffeine or alcohol, and the like…you know what your s are.And taking care of yourself will help, too. Eating breakfast, getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, savoring a cup of your favorite tea or cocoa, enjoying a nice, long soak in the tub…these are all simple ways to get through the winter.

And although you might not be able to go for a jog — or you just can’t seem to drag your butt to the gym — doing a little gentle stretching before bed or incorporating a couple of minutes of squats or lunges while you brush your teeth in the morning will make you feel like less of a slug.

And guess what? Spring will be here before we know it. Spring in all its bountiful glory. Ah, just thinking about it inspires me.

30 Days to Healthier, Younger-looking Skin

On Memorial Day, it’s appropriate to remember your skin, no?

Last post, I gave you a recipe for a youth-inducing serum.

This time, we’re going to add some active ingredients to the Fountain of Youth Serum to bump up it’s healthful qualities and increase your skin’s ability to maintain its youthfulness…and maybe even take a few years off.

First, use the recommended quantities. Period. Click on the links to purchase the individual ingredients.

To 1-2 tablespoons of plain vegetable glycerin, add

  • pinch Ellagic Acid - antioxidant, cancer preventive, anti-inflammatory, helps improve discoloration
  • pinch Ferulic Acid - cancer preventive, protects the skin against UVB-induced erythema, skin lightener, increases stability of vitamins C (MAP) and E
  • 1/8 teaspoon of Coenzyme Q10 - topical application restores mitochondrial activity, increasing energy production plus minimizing energy needed to make new collagen; antiaging, antioxidant, stimulating active, it will push your skin into “high gear”

Mix thoroughly until all actives are dissolved. If you have difficulty dissolving, microwave for 10-15 seconds and mix, mix, mix. Set aside.

Next, to the Fountain of Youth serum, add:

  • 1/8 teaspoon Alpha Lipoic Acid** - (aka ALA) essential for youthful cell function; our bodies’ own production dimishes as we age
  • pinch Beta Glucan - anti-aging, cancer-preventive
  • pinch Carnosine - accelerates and improves healing. Prevents wrinkles and loss of elasticity brought about by aging and exposure to sunlight, .also an antioxidant and seems to improve immune response
  • 1/8 teaspoon DMAE** - antioxidant, increases firmness and overall appearance of aging skin
  • pinch Green Tea ECGC - antioxidant, repair of damage done by UVA radiation, cancer preventive
  • 1/4 teaspoon Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate - (aka MAP) the “real” ester-C, a stable and soluble form of ascorbic acid, stimulates collagen synthesis, anti-aging, anti-oxidant, anti-acne, skin brightening, decrease appearance of sun spots
  • 1/8 teaspoon Niacin - relieves itching, controls sebum products, skin lightening effects

Last, add the glycerin-active mix to the serum. Mix thoroughly. Put the mix into a glass dropper-top bottle or other non-reactive liquid dispensing container.

Some of the actives may never dissolve completely, but they will release their active ingredients continuously. If the undissolved ‘grit’ bothers you, strain your serum using CLEAN muslin, cheese cloth, nylon or any fine-sieve strainer.

DIRECTIONS: Use this super-active serum once or twice a day, after cleansing your skin, before you apply your moisturizer and sunscreen, and after 30 days, you will see smoother, brighter, clearer, younger-looking skin.

If you experience ANY irritation…

  • either your skin doesn’t like one (or more) of the ingredients–in which case you should stop using it altogether and toss it
  • OR your mix is too concentrated–dilute it with some distilled water until your skin can tolerate it
  • OR your skin is simply adjusting to one or more of the ingredients–use your serum only once a day when you are not using any other products and if the irritation doesn’t subside after 3-4 days, stop using it and toss it

COSTS: The active ingredients is this serum are exactly the same as those found in the most exclusive, expensive skincare products on the market today. What you’ll spend: $87.00, plus shipping. If you don’t have glycerin, you can find it at most pharmacies or grocery stores, about $6 for 4 oz.

BONUS: You’ll have LOTS of the active ingredients leftover, which you can add to most any moisturizer (NOT sunscreen, NOT already-active cream…plain Eucerin, Olay, et al are okay) to make your own super-active skincare cream–way better than the high-dollar stuff at the department stores. Whether you use your mix on your face or body–or both–is completely up to you. But keep in mind with all these actives: A LITTLE BIT GOES A LONG WAY.

**Many people experience mild stinging with Alpha Lipoic Acid and DMAE, especially when they first start using them. However, if the stinging is intense or if you experience ANY redness and irritation, OR if the stinging occurs for more than a few days, STOP USING THIS SERUM.

NOTE: If you have rosacea or sensitive skin, or if you want to avoid the irritation issue, DO NOT USE Alpha Lipoic Acid or DMAE.

AS ALWAYS: When mixing, take extra precautions to wash your hands and be sure to use sterilized mixing, measuring, straining implements and containers.

DIY Skin Care…Is it all it's cracked up to be?

In the world of do-it-yourself, there’s home repair, tech gadgetry (see make.com for some pretty cool projects) and then there’s your skin.

I started dabbling in DIY skincare a few years ago. My introduction started innocently enough with homemade lipbalm…some recipes incredibly successful–a chocolate-mint balm that used real chocolate chips…yum–and a few not-so–picture a sluggish mess of shea and cocoa butters sitting on a layer of glyercin goo…ewwww.

After a short while, I graduated to essential oils and aromatherapy home-study (ahhhh, lavender oil, the cure-all). The result of a solid year or so of investigation? Not much, I’m afraid, but I do still use a homemade concoction including sweet orange oil to clean my bathroom and freshen my linens. Plus, I know exactly which little smelly bottle to reach for when the signs of a cold sore pop up.

About a year and half ago, I disovered a little website called Skin Actives Scientific, a supplier of bulk skin care ingredients. And my DIY hobby became an obsession…as did my obsession with blogging about it.

Bulk actives suppliers, among them Bulk Actives, Lotioncrafter, The Herbarie and The Personal Formulator offer individual active skin care ingredients. The same ones found in the best, most expensive and most effective skincare products available on the market today–along with a nice selection of ready-made products–at a fraction of the price. So you can literally make your own version of Creme de la Mer…or just about any other high-end skin care product you can think up…as long as you have the INCI ingredient list.

My own first DIY products–mostly face treatments–were hit and miss. And many of them–the misses, anyway–looked a like anything from a vegan’s kitchen project gone bad to, well, baby poop.

Since then–after a few skincare experiments gone awry–I’ve learned *some* restraint, had a lot of fun…and gotten much improved skin, too boot. I was born in 1970, and my age is often guessed at least 10 years younger (even with my grey hairs showing!).

Over the next few months, I plan to post some of my successful recipes, along with some tips about what to do and not do when mixing your own skincare concoctions. I hope you enjoy the process as much as I have and that you save a few bucks. Who knows? We might just start a little DIY skincare revolution right here. Well, I can dream, can’t I?

Take 10 Years Off Your Age Right Now, Pt. 1

Properly applied make up can make you look fabulous. But unless it’s done the right way and using the right amount, make up can actually add years to your face.

As a 37 year old former makeup artist, I’ve learned a few simple tips to follow that will help you look younger starting today:

FACE

  • Moisturize your skin–face and neck–with a light moisturizer before you apply your makeup…and allow it to sink in, about 5-10 minutes
  • Apply makeup primer BEFORE any makeup. The least expensive and one of the most effective I’ve found (it rivals Smashbox): Monistat Anti-Chafing Gel. It contains the EXACT same ingredients as most of the best makeup primers. Plus, you can pick up a tube at most drugstores for $5
  • Apply your concealer BEFORE foundation. Using your finger or a concealer brush, pat a little concealer under your eyes, around your nose and on any blemishes or discoloration. Concealer before foundation prevents you applying too much foundation.
  • Apply less foundation. And switch to mineral foundation. The better brands and newest formulations (Jane Iredale, Everyday Minerals are some of my favorites) give excellent NATURAL coverage with a light application
  • Apply blush to the apple (round part that pops out when you smile) of your cheeks. For a youthful glow, use a cheek stain or cream blush in a pink, rosy or peach-y color
  • Blend your makeup well and use a light touch

Take 10 Years Off Your Age Right Now, Pt. 2

A few more simple tips to follow that will help you look younger starting today:

EYES

  • Groom your eyebrows. Pluck only stray hairs (those are the ones that fall outside your natural eyebrow)
  • Apply eyeliner to the top lash line only. And unless you have medium-or-dark toned skin, DO NOT use black eyeliner. Brown, grey, plum and green are better for fair-to-light toned skin
  • Apply two coats of mascara maximum. One coat for daytime wear is best
  • Curl your lashes. If you don’t like the traditional lash curlers, use an electric version. Sephora’s is terrific and a great deal at $16
  • Avoid shimmery eyeshadow
  • EXCEPTION to above tip: Use a shade-lighter-than-your-skin-tone colored shimmery eyeshadow applied with a light touch to your brow bone (the area just below the outter two-thirds of the eyebrow), AND apply a dab of shimmery ivory shadow to the inner corner of your eyes. These tips really open up the eye area–young!
  • Also, avoid ‘cool’ eyeshadow colors like grey, blue, true green. Opt for colors like pink, peach, gold, warm greens (olive, moss, sage), plum, ivory, brown, taupe

Take 10 Years Off Your Age Right Now, Pt. 3

And even more simple tips that will help you look younger starting today:

LIPS

  • Use lipgloss or sheer lipstick–NOT lipstick. Use a shade just deeper than your natural lip color. Avoid ‘cool’ colors and dark colors. Instead, choose a sheer pink, peach, rose, mauve or berry
  • Apply lipbalm or clear gloss when not wearing colored gloss. This will keep your lips moist and young-looking all the time

More Anti-Aging Tips:

  • Take care of your skin by cleansing, moisturizing and nourishing it every day using good skin care–P.S. good does not necessarily mean expensive
  • Wear SPF 15 (or higher) sunscreen every day
  • Drink a gallon of water every day
  • Go for a walk at lunch, shoot for 3 times a week. It’s a great excuse to catch up on your window shopping; just don’t take your wallet–debt makes you look and feel old
  • Smile, or better yet, laugh–a lot
  • Eat plenty of protein, complex carbs, fruits and vegetables
  • Manage your stress levels. Take up knitting, painting, piano, yoga or meditation. Find something you like to do and ‘just do it’
  • Get plenty of sleep–sleep is a proven fountain of youth
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