Own Your Beauty!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pink Washing

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and it feels like every company has slapped a pink ribbon or pink packaging on every single product. Now, to some extent I think this is a good thing because when you are surrounded by the pink every day you can't help but have your awareness raised, maybe remember to do your self breast exam that slipped your mind last month, finally get around to scheduling that mammogram since it is in the front of your mind - important things!

However, I think it is also a time to think critically about how companies use our collective social guilt and desire to make a difference in the easiest way possible to get us to spend more money on their pink washed items. There is a great post on the Crazy, Sexy Life blog about how hypocritical it is of these cosmetics companies in particular to put out makeup items plastered pink for breast cancer awareness, but that themselves are FILLED with cancer causing chemicals! Check out the post and take a look at a few of the links to see if the cosmetics you use are in the red zone or the green zone for dangerous content.

A few of the changes I have made to try and get more unknown chemicals out of my body -
1) Stopped using shampoo and conditioner and now use just hot water, baking soda and the occasional apple cider vinegar rinse.
2) Switched to basic Ivory bar soap from the chemical filled body wash
3) Replacing cosmetics with organic and mineral based makeups as mine run out
4) Shopping with a more critical eye in general to what I am putting on and in my body
Something I know I still need to work on is my hair dye. I do dye my hair red, and I like it a real brilliant color (as opposed to the natural dishwater blond I was born with). Feria is usually my hair color brand of choice, but in a complete NON surprise it scores as some of the absolute worst on types and amounts of cancer causing chemicals. So I need to decide how I can go about changing this and still enjoy having my signature fiery hair. Any suggestions would be extremely welcome!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Own Your Beauty Project

So I ran across this website today on the BlogHer network that is all about taking the next year to really own our own unique beauty and live more authentic lives. I think this is beautiful! So often it is easy to get caught up in the trap of comparisons with your friends, peers, celebrities, really everyone! But the fact of the matter is, no matter your age, your size, your skin color, your hair length, or your sense of style you are a beautiful, unique, wonderful person who adds to the tapestry of humanity in this world.

I read an interview with Eve Ensler (the author of The Vagina Monologues) once - and fair warning I am going to butcher what she said but get the main point across - and she said that when she had asked a woman in Africa didn't she ever get self conscious or compare herself to other women she pointed to the trees and said "look at that tree, it is skinny...look at that tree, it is large...would you say the large tree is ugly or wrong in some way? No, they are both beautiful trees in their own way, why is it any different for humans?"

So while I am working to be a healthier person for my own sense of energy and well being, my focus is not on losing weight or being "thin" because honestly, I am a curvy woman! I have broad hips, I have linebacker shoulders, I have big boobs...I can lose all the extra fat I want but I am never going to look like Kate Moss - and why would I want to? I want to have the energy to do everything I want to do and I want to live a long healthy life, so I eat nutritious food and exercise so I can achieve that...but I still love myself for who I am RIGHT THIS MINUTE and that is important!

The theme for this month is Authenticity - And everything I have done in the last 6 months has been about me trying to move into a more authentic life for myself. Moving out of Philadelphia, going back to school for what I love, leaving behind a stable (but soul destroying) corporate job for the uncertainty (but joy) of theatre, and just generally trying to focus on doing things that feed my spirit instead of taking it away. Is there something in your life that you just know is not serving you? Something you dread doing every day? Maybe it is time to let that go and replace it with something positive that can build you up instead of tearing you down. Take the leap and begin today with living your most authentic life!

Go to Own Your Beauty and sign the pledge to celebrate your own beauty...who knows how much richer your life could be this time next year? A lot of things can happen once you decide to take action!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I am the disappearing blogger evidently!

So theatre - it Is wonderful for giving me a sense of fulfillment and joy about pursing my dreams in life. Not so great for keeping up to date on a blog!
I was assistant stage manager for a show called Romantic Fools - which was hilarious, awesome, fun and a joy to work on. A sketch comedy type of show all about the absurdities of love, romance, sex and relationships. But it also meant that between classes/work/rehearsals/shows I was spending just about every day at school from 8am-10pm. And considering this is a food blog and I was eating an inordinate amount of ramen noodles and fast food burritos, also less than thrilling for updates. But...I'm baaaaaaaaack! And will try to ramp it back up a bit, at least until the next show starts :-)

That also means I will try to start posting more pictures again...promise! In the meantime - some updates and a recipe or two.

1) Very exciting news...I got foodstamps!!! Hooray!! That means my approximately $30/month budget for groceries has been tripled...I still have to work around a budget because $120/month which is still lower than I was used to before, but with eating healthy, cooking more from scratch and going vegetarian I can definitely do it. It also means that I can go back to buying certain things that I was morally and healthfully struggling with because I couldn't afford it - things like almond/soy milk instead of dairy milk, organic cheese, organic eggs, organic produce, leave the ramen behind! Because I am not using my foodstamps to buy a ton of junk like soda, chips, cookies, cereal, etc. I can afford to spend a bit more on organic, high quality of what I do buy.
2) Also because I have food stamps now and I don't have to watch literally every single penny at the grocery store, I decided to go ahead and take the vegetarian plunge again right now. The meat still in my freezer can stay there until I want to use it for friends or my dog or something. As of Sunday I haven't had any meat and feeling damn good about it! I have decided I am not going to stress over being vegan just yet, although I have continued to drastically reduce my dairy consumption and anything I do buy I am committed to getting from organic, humane, sustainable sources. I may make the vegan transition at some point, but honestly I just don't like hummus that much and my bagel and cream cheese is an easy on the go breakfast for rushed school mornings when I don't have time to blend a smoothie!

2) One of the things I loved most when the show was over was being able to go back into my kitchen and cook for myself without feeling like I had to run back out the door in 15 minutes. The first thing I made was a batch of peanut butter cookies for the cast party...and they were successful! I made 3 dozen and they were devoured in less than an hour (with the director himself polishing off about 6 of them!) So yeah, I got to have a cookie and enjoy baking and share the rest so I don't have them sitting around tempting me all week. The second thing I made was jello shots (also for the cast party!). Ok ok, maybe not really COOKING persay - but they were even more successful than the cookies! I will let you in on the secret of the world's most amazing grown up jello shots shortly ;-)
3) On the vegetarian side of things, I made a killer pot of veggie chili on Sunday afternoon! I have been making chili for others for awhile, so I tend to stick to a pretty simple meat/beans/tomatoes recipe...but for myself I decided to PUMP IT UP! I ended up with (ready for it?) onions, garlic, bell peppers, green beans, peas, corn, zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes, carrots black beans and kidney beans! I added in some cooked elbow macaroni to make it chili mac and topped with a little shredded cheddar and some sliced avocado. Holy YUM! Made lots too, I put 2 containers in the freezer and 1 in the fridge for lunches. I don't really use much of a recipe but here is what I did for anyone who would like to try your own variation:
* Sautee 1 onion (diced) for 1-2 minutes in olive oil until translucent.
* Add all diced fresh veggies you are using (mushrooms, bell peppers, garlic, celery, etc.) and cook until tender
* add any extra frozen veggies you have sitting around that you want to use up (green beans, corn, peas and carrots, etc.)
* add 1 large can of diced tomatoes, and 1 large can of crushed tomatoes, 1 can of black beans, 1 can of kidney beans, and 1 bottle of beer to the pot and stir everything together well
* season with chili powder, cumin, salt, red pepper and oregano (and if you are feeling CRAZY a dash of cinnamon!) to taste
* simmer for 30 minutes to allow all the flavors to combine well
* while the chili is simmering, cook a box of elbow macaroni until tender, drain and add to the
* serve with tortilla chips, avocado, and/or shredded cheese as you like!

4) Fitness! Because this blog is also about me getting HEALTHY I wanted to let you know that I have begun going to the gym...hooray! I started the week before the show and went for 30-45 minutes every day. Then the week of the show happened and I felt like I had been run over by a truck, so I decided rest and sanity were more important and took a week pause. But, rather than let that throw me off schedule, I am back again this week and feeling great!

Let me share my planned fitness program with you so I can stay accountable -
M/W/F I have 35 minutes between classes to exercise - so I will be doing the Couch to 5K running program to work myself back up to running condition (maybe I will be able to finally tackle that Disney World half marathon in 2012??). It is fairly high intensity, I can push myself, and it is done in 30 minutes plus some stretches.
A screen shot of the fabulous IPhone Couch to 5K app that I use

T/Th I have an hour between classes to exercise - so I will be doing a 15 minute cardio warmup and then 30 minutes of the Shape "Best Body" strength training workout using resistance bands, and then 15 minutes of additional abs work and stretching
Sa/Su I will pick one of the days that is the most free and do a repeat of my 1 hour T/Th cardio/strength/abs workout and one day will be purely rest.

This is a total of 4 1/2 hours of exercise a week - add in the 2-3 hours a week that I am riding my back back and forth to school and around campus and that makes 6-7 hours a week of exercise or almost an hour a day. Very doable and great for fitness and hopefully some weight loss! The other thing I like about this program is that it is doing it in decent chunks of time that I have available...I know I have a hard time going to the gym at 5pm after work when I really want to go home and get dinner and see my dog. So if I only have 1/2 hour to workout between classes but I know that I will DEFINITELY DO that 1/2 hour, that is more valuable than having an hour scheduled every evening that 50% of the time or more I don't follow through on.

Ok - enough for now! I will share the post o' jello shots soon...something to look forward to ;-)