Mastering Makeup: Highlighting & Contouring

Have you ever seen photographs of celebrities without their makeup? In many cases the celebrity looks so very different in their bare skin than they do on the red carpet or in official photographs. What makes such a big difference in their appearance? It’s more than just makeup because if all it took was a little makeup you and I would be red carpet ready every time we put ours on. What makes the difference (besides a team of makeup artists)? The secret is highlighting and contouring!

Contouring is simply adding shading to make something recede into the background and highlighting is adding light to bring something forward.  Sounds simple enough so where do you begin?

Here are my tips to easy highlighting and contouring:

To contour apply bronzer wherever you want to create a shadow to make something recede into the background. Make sure to select one that is not too frosty, too orange or too brown. Try applying bronzer just under your cheekbone from mid-pupil to the ear to create a hollow and make your face appear thinner. To make your nose appear narrower apply a little on either side of your nose from your brow down either side of the nose. Contour around your temples, under your chin and slightly down your throat. Blend it well!

Use blush that is close to your natural colour on the apples of your cheeks and blend well. To figure out what colour is best simply smile, pinch your cheeks a little and see what colour they are. Remember the right colour may appear too bright and crazy in the container but be the perfect colour on.

To highlight apply a highlighting creme with a little bit of sheen to areas you want to bring forward. Right on the brow bone on the outer part of your brows to emphasize your arch. On the top part of your cheek bones and even a little under the eye toward the nose to help camouflage sagging.  A must is right along the jaw line to make your jawline stand out and create even better definition of your cheek bones (making you look slimmer).

Use the right tools! A fan brush works very well for contouring as it prevents heavy lines and blends the product more easily for a lighter effect. A small concealer brush or eyeshadow brush work well for applying highlighter. Use a big powder brush to blend.

Don’t be afraid to try. If you’re too heavy handed on the contouring just blend it away with a sponge or brush and if needed pressed powder to dilute the colour.  Grab your smartphone and take a self portrait. You may not have as much colour on as you think. Photos can make your makeup disappear so they can be a good indicator of what others see when they look at you. Most of all have fun and remember your face is unique. Don’t worry about rules and instead make the most the features you have so that you look your best. 

Highlighting and contouring examplesLike my hand drawn example? Happy highlighting and contouring! I’d love to hear how it goes for you.

Forever Young

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© Katseyephoto | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

If I am the least bit honest with myself I will admit that I am very good at looking at myself through wishful thinking lenses. When I look in the mirror I don’t see what I look like, I see myself as I imagine I look. No, I’m not pretending to be younger, I just feel younger and maybe even think younger in some ways. It seems I am not the only one guilty of wishful thinking.

Baby Boomers have been rewriting the rules from the moment they appeared on the scene so it is no surprise that they want to feel younger, live longer and have more energy throughout their retirement years. A positive outlook can serve us in our lives, but when it comes to health it turns out Boomers may just need to work harder at it then they thought. According to this Vancouver Sun article baby boomers may not be as healthy as they think they are and their dreams of healthy, long lives enjoying travel and basking in their freedom may be threatened. And they’re probably not the only ones.

Let’s face it, we are all guilty of overestimating our health and fitness.  So what can we do?

Make sure you get a realistic assessment of your health and then take active steps to improve it.

1. Maintain a healthy weight. No, not the perfect figure or number on a scale, but a healthy weight for your body frame. This reduces the risk for a number of diseases that may not show up until later in life. A better way to track your weight is by waist size. Experts recommend women have a waist no larger than 35 inches, aiming for 32.5 inches or less. Men you want to be under 40 inches in waist size, aiming for 37.5 inches or less.Waist size of over 35 inches for women and over 40 inches for men is associated with higher risk for things like Type 2 Diabetes.*

2. Get nourished. Eat well balanced meals and snacks to feed your cells the nutrients they need to stay healthy and strong for a long life. Avoid fad diets and eat enough protein, carbohydrates and fats, yes FATS! Your body needs them all. You don’t need a PhD in nutrition and you don’t need to break the bank. A simple rule of thumb: shop the outside aisles of the grocery store and avoid the middle. The less processed the food the better.

3. Supplement wisely. It’s not what you eat, it’s what you absorb that counts. It would be great if we could get all our needs met through our food, but in a world where food is rarely allowed to ripen on the vine before it is picked, shipped and sold supplementing may be the only way to ensure you get everything you need. Choose the supplements wisely. Many bargain brands are not bargains when you realize the supplements do not break down in your digestive tract before they are eliminated. In other words you may as well place them directly in the bowl and flush! I recently did an experiment on my calcium supplements and placed a pill in a cold glass of water. To my surprise bubbles began to appear within seconds and within 10 minutes the pill was completely dissolved. That’s one supplement I know is being absorbed in my body! I highly recommend Arbonne’s vegan certified Essentials line for supplementing. If you’re going to spend money on supplements make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.

4. Water does a body good. Unless you landed in the western hemisphere today you’ve probably heard the 8 glasses of water rule. Truth is that a hard and fast rule may not serve everyone well. Make sure you drink enough to not feel thirsty and then probably add one or two glasses. Unsweetened tea counts. Avoid sugary drinks, drinks with artificial sweeteners and anything that has more calories than your meal. A great rule of thumb is don’t drink your day’s worth of calories, eat them!

5. Move your body. Our bodies were designed for motion. They don’t like being inactive and begin to seize up and stiffen when we don’t move. Use it or lose it couldn’t be truer. You don’t need to sign up for the latest class, commit to a gym membership or buy expensive equipment. Just add brisk walking to your day and you’re on your way to improving your health. If you need a measuring stick then choose 30 minutes of brisk activity, or 10,000 steps (use a pedometer) or start simply by parking farther away from the entrance, using the stairs instead of the elevator and walking around while you are on the phone.  Activity does not have to be complicated to benefit your health.

Start with one of the above and once you’ve mastered it and made it a habit move on and add another. Experts say it takes either 21 consecutive days to create a new habit while others say it takes 40 days. Whichever it is it takes a conscious effort before it becomes a habit. So don’t give up. With a little bit of effort you really can make sure you are healthy enough to enjoy the plans and dreams you are making for your future.

Your turn: I’d love to know if you’re taking steps to live a healthy life no matter your age. What is your one big tip for staying healthy for life?

* Source: I Can Do This Diet, Don Colbert, MD, 2010 Published by Siloam, A Strang Company, Florida

 

© Creatista | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

Did you look it up? We all fall for tricks, hoaxes and scams once in a while, but 2012 seemed to be a year full of scams that we were more than willing to believe. Especially on Facebook.

Here’s a list of some of my favorite too good to be true offers:

Free Disney Tickets

Free Southwest Tickets

Free Apple products

6 Biggest Scams of 2012

They all look appealing and and seem to hit people’s desires. That’s why they work. We are willing to suspend our better judgement and click out of curiosity. The best case scenario is we look a little foolish. In the worst cases though viruses attach themselves to your profile and/or computer and identity theft becomes possible.

What concerns me is that there may come a day when we stop being willing to share legitimate Amber Alerts because we’ve been hoaxed so many times and a life is lost as a result.

So how do you identify the legitimate offers from the scams? True Amber alerts from hoaxes?

* First, take a moment and think: if this were offered to me by a salesperson in the mall would I believe it without reading the fine print? If the answer is “no” then you should probably do some research before you click the link, share or ‘like’.

* Second, it’s not difficult to Google the offer and find out if it’s real. It takes a minute or two and you can save yourself a lot of grief. Others were probably offered this deal first and someone will likely know if it’s a hoax. So save face and look it up before you act.

* Third, remember the old saying, “if it’s too good to be true it is.” This really applies to about 99% of the offers. An airline would go out of business if it offered 2 free tickets to everyone on Facebook. Apple doesn’t give away free product out of the goodness of their heart. Walmart, Costco and such are not giving away gift cards for ‘liking’ and ‘sharing’ on Facebook. Clothing manufacturers are not giving away hundreds of thousands of pieces of clothing for sharing photos. They sell them and we buy.

Amber alerts can be easily verified online. The legitimate ones will have a trail coming from law enforcement and news media. The hoaxes will also be easily found by doing a little research.

So in 2013 arm yourself with information and remember, if it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is!

Happy New Year!

Becoming

Stock Images: Reading the contract. Image: 71764
© Photographer: Dreamstime Agency | Agency: Dreamstime.com

The other day my friend Alison posted a link to a blog and I was leery about reading it – the language was a little bit harsh. Okay the language was more than a little bit harsh but I pushed past it and I have to say the message was more than a little refreshing. (Read the original post here, but I warn you the language is not for the faint of heart).

David Wong basically drove home the point that its not about how kind or nice or interesting you are, it’s about what you have to offer that makes things happen in your life. His analogy was that if you have a loved one bleeding after an accident and someone is ready to help by performing a medical procedure on the spot you don’t care if he’s a nice guy, kind to his mother, remembers his girlfriend’s birthday, does his own laundry. What you care about is whether or not he has the medical expertise and skill to perform the medical procedure. All the other stuff doesn’t count.

Hmmmm, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in our personal development that we forget to develop our skills and let’s face it, no one pays you to be nice. You get paid because you bring a skill to the situation that can fix a problem. The better your skills the bigger the problems you can help fix. The bigger the problems the more you get paid to fix them. Yes, of course if you have great inter-personal skills (you’re nice and play well with others) you have an even bigger winning combination.

In my industry (direct sales or network marketing) not long ago you could come in with a basic set of skills and be wildly successful as long as you were persistent and consistent. Today the industry is changing. It’s not only becoming more main stream (Harvard and Yale teach courses on Network Marketing I’m told) but with the novelty of direct sales/network marketing wearing off if you come with basic skills you will create a basic income. To create a great income you need great skills. To be wildly successful you need to create superior skills.

The good news is this is still one industry in which you can come in with basic skills and with a willingness to learn, grow, and develop them you can create superior professional skills and become wildly successful. There is no other industry that I know of where you can truly get your professional training on the job and succeed at such a quick pace. After all you can’t start on the job training as a doctor with just a first aid certificate.

The challenge is if you don’t have professional skills yet are you willing to learn?

Greater Good

Over the last few days I have been wrestling with the idea of greater good. Our society seems to favour individual rights over being our brothers keepers. Don’t get me wrong I’m not advocating we give up our own rights and freedoms for the greater good of others, but I’m just wondering if maybe we weren’t so hell bent on what was best for me then we could create a safer environment for our children to grow up in

Maybe if we weren’t so dogged about my right to watch what I want, listen to what I want, wear what I want, do what I want, own assault rifle if I want then perhaps our children would never have to know the fear of gunmen entering schools, abductors selling them for the profit that can be made off little bodies, vile and cruel words, looks and actions. Maybe if we were a little bit more willing to consider our choices and actions and how they affect others than just maybe we could finally stop asking why these things happen?

For generations we understood that life didn’t begin and end with me. I was just part of a line of lives who came before me and those who would come after me. I was responsible not only to honour the sacrifices of my ancestors for my present freedom, but I was also responsible to pass on even greater to those who would come after me.

Some cultures still understand this, but even they are losing hold of this truth. Instead we have bought into the lie that it is all about me, my fulfillment, my pleasure, my comfort, my ease. If I leave nothing behind it doesn’t matter, my kids need to make their own way. Just so long as I live a happy and fulfilled life. Just so long as I leave a mark on the world. It doesn’t matter that it destroys the generations coming up behind me or those around me. It’s all about my right to do as I please.

I don’t think we need to go to the other extreme and live miserable existences just so another generation can benefit. What if we thought less about our own satisfaction and a little bit more about how our choices impact others? What if we were willing to give up something that we may enjoy but don’t absolutely need in order to ensure that others aren’t hurt? What if we rediscovered the concept of honour?

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Waiting for the Magic Bullet

So this morning I came across a book review of Dr. Don Colbert’s “I Can Do This Diet” book. The reviewer’s basic gripe was the book talked about sensible eating, eliminating foods that were high on the glycemic index but low in nutritional value and regular activity for balance, but Dr. Colbert didn’t have anything new to say. So what was the reviewer expecting? A top secret magic bullet to solve the weight issue without having to live a healthy life?

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, a few pounds or a ton (figuratively of course) you know that it takes dedication, work and there simply are no short cuts. Even if you seem to find a quick way to lose the weight it comes back on just as quickly because there really is no way around having to change your lifestyle from being solution oriented (go on a diet to lose some weight) to one of being results oriented (eat better, exercise more, become healthier resulting in weight loss).

As a child I never struggled with weight because I was active and food just provided fuel for my activities. But in the tween years food became a means of numbing pain and the added weight a buffer between me and the source of pain. That’s another blog at another time. The effect of that period of my life was that as an adult maintaining my healthy weight has been challenging at times, especially after having two babies within 18 months in my mid 30’s.

Believe me when I say I’ve looked for the magic bullet, the quick fix, the easy to follow system that didn’t take too long and wouldn’t be too complicated. I’ve tried a lot of things. And yes some of them seemed to work quickly but as soon as I stopped following the plan the weight came back on and brought an extra friend or two for good measure.  Deep down I knew that what needed addressing was my using food to soothe myself and a commitment to eating healthy, exercising regularly and choosing health.

At the end of the day I realized no magic bullet exists and never will. There never will really be anything other than healthy eating and regular physical activity – in other words a healthy and active lifestyle. Yet our generation seems determined to find a magic bullet for weight loss and everything else. Fad diets come and go and get recycled under new names. There’s the ketone-, the liquid-, low-carb, no-carb, low-fat, high-protein-, chips & salsa- (I kid you not), detox-, soup- diet and they all work for a little while but when we go back to eating the way we did in order to gain the weight in the first place the results are predictable. As I’ve said before if we focus on solving problems rather than outcomes from the process we end up in this predictable cycle of gain and loss and gain some more.

You know people who keep looking for the magic weight loss bullet. They keep hoping they can have their cake and eat it too. There’s also people looking for the magic debt reduction bullet, the wealth creation bullet, the great relationship bullet, the parenting bullet, the fame and fortune bullet. We all want to snap our fingers and have all our dreams come true without the effort. Guess what, it just doesn’t happen that way. Ask those who have won the lottery in the past. How many of them kept the wealth? Life just doesn’t happen that way. There are no magic bullets but anything is possible if you are willing to work at it, learn, change and grow.

So are you looking for any magic bullets?

Teaching an Old-er Dog New Tricks

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I’m a recovering perfectionist. Yes I admit it, I have this internal need for things to be just right. Nothing less will do. And yes, you’ve guessed it, the standard I measure things by is my own. I love clean lines, finished edges, precise angles and uncluttered spaces. I love order and function. And if you know me at all you know that my life looks NOTHING like the precision I crave.

What my life actually looks like is functional but utilized. The desk is covered with bits of paper that I mean to address in an hour, but never get around to. The filing that sits beside the files and not in them. The laundry that is folded, but not put away. The dishwasher that is clean, but still full! The floor is covered with little bits of train tracks and miniature horses. There are about a dozen notebooks lying around my work space and throughout my home. Each one started but not completed. Each one intended to be finished from one end to the other before the next one was begun. There are drawings and charts and graphs scattered throughout.

Don’t get me wrong, the house is not a complete mess but rather very lived in if you will. You see there is another side to me that craves creativity and must create solutions, systems and discover new possibilities and that side of me could care less about order, neatness and precision. That side wants to take bunny trails in every direction. That side wants to pursue a possibility and capture its every nuance. That side can’t see what’s around me until it notices a moodiness and anxiety rising with me that prevents it from focusing on the latest train of thought. When I stop and notice those signals I realize that the perfectionist in me is feeling overwhelmed by the chaos the creative side of me has made. And so the dance continues.

I take time away from creating to reorganize my space, my life and my things. I determine I will stay on top of it this time. I promise my perfectionist self that I will not allow paper to pile up, but will file it immediately. I will not let laundry stay folded in the basket, I’ll put it away as I’m doing it. I promise my perfectionist self I will finally finish the profiles on all my social media accounts and I will plan out and prepare my blog. I do my best for a few days to stay on top of those tasks and then I notice a sadness and lack of energy and I realize I’ve been maintaining everything, but creating nothing. And the cycle begins again.

But I’m learning. I’m learning to identify those signals before they become so loud they drown out everything else. I’m learning not to let the perfectionist side of me dictate long to-do lists that prevent me from accomplishing them. I am learning to actually enjoy my children and not just plan their daily tasks (we home school). I’m also learning to not let the creative side of me get so engrossed in every bunny trail that nothing gets accomplished. In other words I’m learning to be a peace keeper between the two sides of me.

This old-er (not old) dog is learning some new tricks and giving both intense sides of who I am come out and play. I’m trying to give both sides equal billing and you know what, its kinda starting to work!

Am I the only one who feels like I’m at war within myself?

Problem or Outcome?

The other day I heard a commercial on radio (I know, how antiquated) and it actually got me thinking! This ad was for some weight management program that offered all the bells and whistles. I don’t know what it was and I didn’t even catch the name of the brand so I can’t give them direct credit except to say their ad started me on this train of thought.

Problem or Outcome?

When I am problem oriented in my thinking whatever changes I make are done to fix the problem. So if I diet I’m trying to fix the problem of being over-weight. If I join the gym as part of my new year’s resolution I am trying to fix the problem of being out of shape. I may succeed for a while, but once the problem is fixed more than likely I will go back to the old way of doing things and eventually the problem returns.

Athletes do not think of winning a game as solving a problem. To an athlete winning the game is an outcome of the training, practice and discipline they put in when playing their game or training for their sport. When they win they don’t stop doing what they did in order to win. They keep on practicing, training and perfecting their skills.  They are outcome oriented.

So far I’ve shared the commercial with you. Here is where my brain took off. How many times have I started learning a new skill or attended training in order to fix a problem? Once the problem appears to be fixed I eventually go back to my old ways. I stop following the budget. I eat whatever whenever. I don’t track my sales, prospects, referrals. Eventually the problem resurfaces because the fix wore off.

What could I accomplish if instead of trying to fix problems I focused on creating a healthier lifestyle? Systematic approach to sales or managing my finances? What if I made changes to my outlook? Perhaps the outcome I’m after would be the result of the process and not a solution from a fix?

What about you? Can you recognize times you’ve opted to fix the problem only to have the problem return once you’ve stopped doing the “fix”? Are their any cycles of problem solving you can recognize in your life?

It’s the Journey.

I haven’t blogged in a while (obviously). I felt I didn’t have anything to say. Well that’s not true, I’ve had lots to say I just wasn’t sure I should say it. I wasn’t sure what my voice should be. I know, it’s my blog so my voice is my voice, but what did that mean? I finally decided that I wasn’t going to wait any longer to figure it out. I was just going to figure it out in the process.

Process. Now there’s a word that seems straight forward enough and yet it holds so many challenges. In this day of instant access, instant gratification and instant everything I guess I expected that if I dream something, visualize it, believe it, start out toward it I should arrive at the destination in one or two simple and easy steps. Then I found out there is a process. “Lots of small actions over time create amazing results,” my coach told me today. I don’t know if this statement is originally yours, but it’s a good one Michelle.

Four years ago I became a word-from-home entrepreneur mom. I started because the other option was to put my kiddos in daycare and go back to a “real job” full-time. I would rather do just about anything than put my little ones in daycare so working from home seemed the reasonable choice.  My goal was simply to help make the family budget stretch a little further. No goals of conquering the world, becoming a celebrity or creating immeasurable wealth. Yet one of the gifts I discovered very quickly was that I could dream bigger, wider and a little audaciously if I was willing to work.

I was willing to work. Hard. Just because I was willing to work hard didn’t ensure success. I soon discovered that I didn’t know what I didn’t know and I needed to learn. I needed to figure out how to ride this roller-coaster of business. I needed to know how to break things down into small actions over time.

Thankfully accessing amazing minds in business, social media, sales and so much more is as simple as point and click! If ever there was an age where information was easily accessible it would be now. If ever there was amazing access to great thinkers, leaders and trailblazers it would be today. And yet, with all this access so few people choose to learn from those who know what it takes to succeed. Most choose to listen to their family, friends, coworkers and the guy at the doughnut shop who all say it can’t be done and have proven that they wholeheartedly believe that.

The first part of the process to success is to choose to listen to those who know how to succeed and have the track record to prove it.”What you believe you can achieve.” I don’t know who the quote belongs to (though I know its actual source). In order to believe you can succeed you need to start listening to the voices of those who know how. Once you listen to them you’ll need to do differently, but that’s another post…

 

 

 

Parenting: It’s not a competitive sport!

If you ask any parent about their child you will hear descriptions that eventually reveal the uniqueness of each child, how they are different (in a good way) from any other child alive, special, precious, amazing. It’s how it should be. I have yet to meet a parent that tells me their child is run-of-the-mill, ordinary, just like every other kid ever born. So let me ask you then, if each of our children is different and gifted and precious in their OWN way, why do we feel the need to compare as parents how we parent?

Why do we say things like “I could never do that” (usually referring to our choice to homeschool), or “wow, that must keep you busy” (referring to any activity we choose to engage our children in). Why do parents ask other parents what they do for discipline, school, vaccination, bed-time routine, feeding, diapering, etc., and then immediately make a judgement statement or an excuse for why “we” don’t do it that way? Seriously? Seriously?!

If each child is unique, gifted, special, precious and full of potential than it stands to reason that the approach you take to feeding, training, teaching, disciplining them would be different. It stands to reason that each set of parents will have to make unique decisions on what is best for each of their children based on who those precious little people are. What fits for my daughter may not fit for my son. They are different people. And if they are different and require different approaches when they share so much in common (genetic ancestry, parents, home environment, etc.) then it seems to me that the approach I take for my children will not necessarily work for yours. I mean they have nothing else in common other than perhaps being born in the same generation, in the same general geographic location. Those are important factors yes, but not important enough to mean they should be raised the same, educated the same, fed the same, engaged in the same activities and presented the same options.

Recently a surprising large number of my friends and acquaintances have opted to homeschool their children. Can I tell you all a big secret? None of us who ended up homeschooling consulted each other, nor did we choose to homeschool our kids because that’s what the others were doing. Sure we talked about it, but when we talked about it I’d venture to say 98% of us had already decided to homeschool or were leaning very strongly in that direction as we were researching our options. There was never a conversation that went along the way of “okay, if you’re all doing it we’re going to do it too, its gonna be fun!” That conversation never happened. Ever.

And yes a large number of our friends have chosen to place their children in a variety of other educational environments. Some are in public schools, some in Catholic schools, some in other Christian schools and some others have opted for other private schools. Truthfully I don’t think any of them should pull their kids out of their schools and homeschool just because that’s what I choose to do. Nope, wrong motivation.

Please, can we as parents do our children (and ourselves) a huge favour and realize that the decisions we make should be based on what is best for OUR OWN unique children and not what the group is doing? Can we stop comparing what everyone else does and seeing how we stack up? Can we extend enough grace to other parents and assume that the decisions they are making are based on the uniquely gifted, talented individuals they have been blessed to parent? Can we just stop competing with each other or treating each others’ decisions as a judgement statement of our own parenting choices? Just because I’m doing something for my child does not mean I think you should be doing it for yours.

Okay, rant over. Time to go take my son to soccer now.