Monday, January 24, 2011

{RECIPE} What You Already Got Casserole...For Your Face

If there is anything I love more than finding goodness, it's sharing it with all of you.  I can't speak for everyone else, but what I know for sure is that this winter in particular is wrecking havoc on my skin!  The dry air and the space heaters, the sweaters and the static - it's all accumulating into a big pile of YUCK!

Winter, while beautiful in its own way, is the season that annoys me most.  I am perpetually cold, and winter just doesn't help that.  Throw in the ingredients that I mentioned above, and it's enough to send me into a downward spiral.

The topic of the day, however, is my face.  I have sensitive skin anyways, and Jack Frost seems determined to destroy the first thing people see when they see me.  Boo hiss, Jack Frost.  I absolutely hate when my face is dry and I often find that normal over-the-counter scrubs don't do it for me.  They have way too many chemicals that end up contributing to the problem rather than solving it.

Since I taught you how to make "What-You-Already-Got Casserole" for dinner here, I thought I could be nice and do the same in regards to minimizing the dryness of your winter faces.  What can I say?  I'm a giver.

I found an online recipe for a facial scrub that is both exfoliating and moisturizing, and it has helped me immensely!  I normally use it once per week, and in case of emergencies.  I can't guarantee that it will work for everyone, but if your face is itchy, dry, and nothing has worked yet, I bet you'll be willing to try anything!

What You Need (for a six-month supply):

1.  A lidded container to put it in.  The only requirement is that it should be able to hold two cups of facial scrub. (Mine is a glass jar with a metal lid on it).

 2.  1 cup white sugar.
You know you have this!

3.  1 cup brown sugar.
You might even have this!

4.  Blend these together in a medium-sized bowl.

5.  Add 1/4 cup of olive oil to the sugar mixture and blend well with a spoon.
For moisturizing!

6.  Pour the mixture into whatever container you chose, and store it until you are ready to use it! Just be sure to use this batch within six months (I labeled my jar with 'Use before date.').

Directions for Use:

1.  Dampen face. (The jury is always split on whether to apply scrubs to wet or dry faces, but I find that it works better for me if I have a little bit of water on my face).

2.  Apply the scrub with your fingers - but don't use too much!  You really only need an amount that equals out to the size of a quarter.

3.  Apply using GENTLE, circular motions.  While itchy skin may cause you to want to scrub the dickens out of your face, I would HIGHLY recommend that you not do that.  Gentle is the key!

4.  Rinse using cool - lukewarm water.

5.  Pat dry with your towel.

Sidenote:  I usually do this at night when I've taken off my makeup.  I do not use this as a substitute to cleaning my face, but as a supplement step. 

Additional sidenote:  You may not be a fan of the way your face/hands feel when you're washing the facial scrub off, but that is simply the oil reacting to the water.  Trust me, go with it and sleep on it, and you will find your face to be much better moisturized than it was before.

I hope you find this an easy, helpful tutorial of "What-You-Already-Got Casserole...For Your Face."  :)

Until next time,

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Reverb 10 - Prompt #31 - The Last Prompt

December 31 – Core Story. What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world? (Author: Molly O’Neill)

I think the central story at the core of me is that I have finally figured out what it means to trust this year.  I've learned to trust myself and my instincts.  I've learned to let people into my heart and trust them to be kind while they're there.  I've learned to trust that God has a plan and that at the end of the day, that is all that matters.

I've learned to trust the incredible strength that I possess (and for such a little Wing, at that)!  When I encounter a mountain, while it may be daunting to me (and you know I'm going to initially stress and worry about it), I will overcome it - slowly but surely.  When life threatens to knock me down, I have learned to trust the power of prayer and the support of good friends and family.

Trust is a scary little monster.  Trust is knowing that people can let you down but giving them the benefit of the doubt that they won't.  Trust is allowing someone to get to know who you really are; you have to set the fear that they won't like what they see aside.  Trust is letting someone know about where you've been and believing they won't hold it against you.  Trust is believing in yourself.  A quote I heard once that still resonates with me is, "Look in the mirror.  That's who's going to save you."

I think the way I share my core story with the world is through this blog.  I have rediscovered my love for the written word.  I love to share my thoughts, beliefs, ideas, and experiences with you!  I hope that there are times when something I post is something you can relate to.  I hope the sharing of mistakes I've made will turn into less mistakes for each of you.  I hope when I share a lesson I've learned the hard way that it will save you from the same fate.

Naturally, for those of you who know me in person, I'm always happy to share my core story and my history with you verbally.  Some people come to me and want my opinions and advice, and while I am careful with what I say, I always try to give an honest account of how I would react or just offer new perspectives.

I'm eternally grateful for Reverb 10.  It has caused quite the awakening for this blog, and for me as a writer.  In addition to forcing me to post more consistently, it has challenged me to really think about some of my experiences this year.  In fact, there are several things that I have shared in this blog that I never thought I would put "on paper," so to speak.  There were things that I would have much preferred to sweep under the rug and avoid until they went away. We all know that never happens.  Dust bunnies turn into elephants in the room.  Oh, you didn't know that?  You learn something new every day.

So, I think this was a great way to round out the prompts and it was a fantastic manner of self-reflection.  I was able to communicate my memories, thoughts, and dreams with the people of the interwebs, and I have to admit that it feels good.  I feel as though weight has been lifted and I am refreshed.  Thank you, Reverb 10, from the bottom of my heart.

Until next time,

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Reverb 10 - Prompt #30

December 30 – Gift. This month, gifts and gift-giving can seem inescapable. What’s the most memorable gift, tangible or emotional, you received this year? (Author: Holly Root)

While I have had to really buckle down and think on a lot of these prompts, this one is actually incredibly easy for me.  I have received the same gift over and over in the past year, and it never gets old.  This is one gift that I have never wanted to return.

There were plenty of things that were bound and determined to break me last year.  There were plenty of times when I could have easily chosen to give up and wallow in puddles of grief and self-loathing.  Because of this gift that I was given so often last year, though, I never even considered those options.

This gift was given to me in many different ways.  One of the ways I found most surprising was via facebook.  I have never been so shocked or so humbled by the amount of love and support that was sent to me.  Whether you did it by posting on my wall, commenting on one of my posts, or sending me encouraging messages, I was so incredibly touched by every single one.

People whom I had assumed could care less about me actually cared more.  Some folks I hadn't even spoken to in YEARS reached out to me at one time or another.  There were so many people who sent well-wishes and took precious time out of their days to lift me up.  I cannot say thank you enough.

Then there were the more traditional ways of support - cards (actually sent by snail mail - YAY!) and phone calls, and emails, too.  These also meant so much to me and I couldn't believe that in a nation as time-starved as ours, that people would even have the time to devote to sending me love and support.

There were the personal face-to-face interactions, as well.  The hugs.  The presenting of tissues.  The sending of flowers.  The shoulders that were offered.  The jokes that were told.  The invitations to events that were extended.  The times that kept me busy and kept me sane that were shared.  I have always been one of the most blessed and lucky girls I know, and this year only furthered that fact for me.

I know without second thought or reservation that love and support were the best gifts I could have ever received last year, and I am so grateful that I have so many people in my life who are so incredibly generous.  I love and appreciate each and every one of you so very much, and I know I don't communicate that often enough.  I hope that if any of you ever need me, you know that I am here and will be here for you.

Thanks a million, Peeps.

Until next time,

Friday, January 14, 2011

Reverb 10 - Prompt #29

December 29 – Defining Moment. Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year. (Author: Kathryn Fitzmaurice)

I feel as if this post could be very repetitive of what I've already said in prior posts for Reverb 10.  In order to not have that happen, I am going to take a different and silly approach.  I would not want to bore my faithful readers who never. miss. a. post.  Which, if we're being honest, is all of you right?  RIGHT?

Just kidding.  A definining moment for me this year was when I discovered something incredible.  I discovered something that I had fought learning about for my entire life.  I was not given a choice but to try something, and I was nearly paralyzed with fear. In fact, I was even bribed in order to make me go ahead with it. Want to guess what it is?

Whatever you guessed is more than likely wrong, but that's okay.  Chicken Wing still loves you.

I discovered, through an adamant push by Comanche, that I like Japanese food.  There, I said it.

I can recall sooooo many times growing up in my tiny town when multiple couples would make the journey to the "big city" to go to a Japanese restaurant where they would cook right in front of you and do tricks with knives.  Scary, to me.  There would be a huge open flame practically right in your face.  Also scary, to me.  Truthfully, I never saw the thrill in it.  Driving an hour to eat something (should I make it through the multiple near-death experiences that were occuring directly in front of me) was never my first choice, after all.

I can honestly say that Comanche at first laughed when I recounted these memories.  Then, he realized that I wasn't joking that I had never had Japanese food.  So, he said that he just couldn't deal with that and literally drove me to a Japanese restaurant, minus the open flames part.  I was exceptionally nervous because I didn't want him to pay for something that I didn't like.  I didn't even know what I would like.

To say my palette is less than sophisticated would be a compliment too kind to deserve.  I'm a work in progress, but this is not something that I came out of the gate excelling in.

He even bribed me with cream cheese wontons.  {Pause for the "Oh, no he didn't."}

Come to mama. Right now. Drooooool.
Yeah, basically, it was on.  So, he ordered the Hibachi Chicken, complete with rice and what I learned was the mandatory "Yum Yum Sauce."  I couldn't help but think, "Seriously?"

You know what?  Boom.  In my face.  Yum Yum Sauce is, in fact, extremely yummy.  I get it.  I'm a believer.  Stop glaring at me. I plead ignorance.  No offense to anyone or any place, but my town had no stop lights.  That has to count for something!  Have mercy on me, people.

This was a defining moment for me for two reasons.  One:  I got my wontons!  VICTORY!  Two: I learned to embrace change yet again. 

I learned to try something new.  I learned to step outside of my comfort food and appreciate a new type of deliciousness.  I now would like to go to a restaurant and look fire and knives square in the eye.  I would also like more wontons.  And yum yum sauce.  I'm getting better about expanding my range as far as food goes, and I still have a long way to go.  But, the point, I think, is that I'm going.  And along the way, I'm becoming more and more willing.  I'm also becoming more and more excited!

Until next time,

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Reverb 10 - Prompt #28

December 28 – Achieve. What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today. (Author: Tara Sophia Mohr)

The thing I most want to achieve this year is to save more of my hard-earned money.  The economy has really made this goal hard to reach and I know that I haven't done the best job of furthering that goal, either.

I imagine I will feel both happy and prepared once I've accomplished this.  (By prepared, I mean that I will not feel so constantly worried that the bottom is going to drop out.  What if I need a major emergency auto repair?  What if I have to go to the hospital?  What if the price of gas keeps going up?  Where will I get the money if any of these things happen?)

Ten Things I Can Do To Feel Happy & Prepared Today:
1.  Make a To-Do list.
2.  Follow the To-Do list and check things off once completed.
3.  Do something that makes me laugh today.
4.  Pack my lunch or eat at home to save money!
5.  Research my next project so I am ready to face it head on!
6.  Have a longer play time with my puppies - nothing better than that!
7.  Lay out my clothes for tomorrow - reduces early morning thinking.
8.  Wear a smile as often as I can today.
9.  Listen to music while working = always a bonus!
10. Drink lots of water.  I always feel better when I do that.
11. Pray.  Give it to God.  That always makes me feel happy and prepared.

Until next time,

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Reverb 10 - Prompt #27

December 27 – Ordinary Joy. Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year? (Author: BrenĂ© Brown)

I have had several ordinary moments of profound joy in 2010.  Many of those were ordinary moments with my Papa before he passed away.  Whether we were talking, watching TV together, or eating something delicious that Grandma had made, they were all moments filled with joy and living in the present.

Others were ordinary moments spent with friends.  From group game nights to pre-wedding events, from dinners to movies, there were plenty of times in the past year that I was truly happy during ordinary times and thankful for the great people in my life that I have to make these types of memories with.

Others still were moments spent with family members.  Moments at home playing intense marathon games of Mexican dominoes.  Moments at the beach stuffing ourselves to the brim with seafood or delicious doughnuts.  Moments watching UNC games and getting into heated debates over what was going to happen.  Moments celebrating birthdays and holidays.  Moments where we had to lift each other up when things weren't going right.

Finally, there have been the moments with Comanche.  Most all of them have been moments of profound joy.  From every Sunday at church where I have a partner in worship to Friday night movie snuggle parties, there have been consistent smiles and fits of laughter.  One moment in particular where I was profoundly happy may seem odd to others, but I will share it here.

We were at Comanche's parents' house helping his father split up a large amount of wood that he needed to keep the house warm for the winter (and for the wicked awesome fire pit they had recently bought).  It was mildy chilly outside, but it was easy to lose the jackets once we really got to work.  In attendance were Comanche, Comanche's father, Comanche's older brother, Comanche's three little nephews (ages 9, 5, and 4), and one little Chicken Wing.

We worked for several hours, and the three grown men had the task of splitting the huge pieces.  Then, they passed the now smaller pieces to the oldest nephew, who then passed them to me.  I got the smaller boys involved by letting them point out where each piece should go, and we made a game of it.  They were so eager to help and they stayed out there the whole time!  What troopers they were!

I can see where it would be easy for someone to ask me why that moment would make me profoundly happy.  I can hear the eye rolls and thought bubbles now.  "Um, why would you want to run the risk of splinters and getting dirty?  Why would you want to be the only girl in the group?  Why wouldn't you rather be the one serving the sweet tea in this situation?"

Well, it was the first time that I've gotten to really participate in a "Be Dad's Little Helper" activity in many, many years.  Not only was I in that mindset, but all five of the boys who were also present felt exactly the same way.  I got to spend a day doing hard work, which is always rewarding in itself.  I knew I was helping someone with something that needed to be done.  I got to look over and be proud of my man for being a great son.  I could also see the pride in Comanche's father's eyes when he realized that his small army wasn't going anywhere until the job was done.

That's something I've been missing for a long time.  So, while it may be an odd choice, it is an ordinary moment that created profound happiness for me.  Lucky for me, I have been smart enough to take the time to notice and appreciate moments like that.  I've taken the time to analyze why they made me happy, and that makes me happier still.

How about you?  Have you had any moments of ordinary joy?

Until next time,

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sunday Songs That Move Me

As I've stated before, I was blessed enough to discover an incredible new church this past year that has allowed me to rebuild the structured relationship I had been desperately seeking with God.  It has been an awesome feeling to listen to the message week after week and to get something out of the teachings every single time.

Another part of this church that I love so much is the music.  I love music to begin with and believe that it is one of the most powerful forms of expression out there.  Couple that with lifting up a congregation of people in worship and you've got one amazing vehicle.

So, since today is Sunday, I thought I would share a few of the powerful and non-traditional songs that have moved me since I began attending this church.  If you listen to the lyrics, along with the amazing singers and arrangements, I think they could move you too.  I hope that each and every one of you have found something special to believe in and something incredible to put your trust in.  I know I have.  If you're still looking, don't give up!  Happy Sunday, everyone!

One Thing Remains - Jesus Culture


Glory To God Forever - Steve Fee


No One Higher - The Stand - Steve Fee


Mighty To Save - Hillsong United


And finally, one from the music worship director at my church, Nicolas Carver - he truly is incredible, and I hope you enjoy!

Music Player web


Until next time,

Friday, January 7, 2011

Reverb 10 - Prompt #26

December 26 – Soul Food. What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth & touched your soul? (Author: Elise Marie Collins)

Holy Blogging Hiatus, Batman!  Now that the holidays are over and done with and 2011 has officially started, it's time to finish my Reverb 10 prompt responses

I know this might sound absolutely insane, but the one thing that I ate this year that I will never forget was a chicken salad sandwich.

Hungry yet?
{Insert long awkward silence, sarcastic eye rolls, and choir of crickets chirping here.}

Let me set the scene and this may make more sense.  Comanche (the boyfriend) had invited me to go on a top secret date at the very beginning of our relationship.  All I knew was that he was going to pick me up and take me wherever we were going and that I needed to be ready and wearing athletic, comfy clothes.

This was challenge enough for me because everyone knows that when you first start dating, you want to look gorgeous ALL THE TIME.  Flaws?  I know I don't have any.  (Okay, that's me just trying to pump myself up, but you know how it is - you want to be your best all the time while things are still new and you are still nervous.)

I did accomplish the athletic clothes and tennis shoes (farewell, high-heeled peep toes) much to my dismay.  Then, Comanche got to my house and picked me up and away we went.  We drove for more than half an hour and kept getting closer and closer to the mountains, so I was able to deduce that a hike was going to occur.  I was excited about that, though!

We got to the trail parking lot and got settled and Comanche told me to leave my things in the car.  He, meanwhile, grabbed a backpack.  We started on our way up the mountain, and it truly was gorgeous.  It was pretty warm and balmy, but not to the point where you were intensely uncomfortable.  We took turns taking the lead and went up the winding trail and weathered staircases.  We stopped at certain points to check out the waterfalls and views.

After we made it a quarter-mile up, Comanche started to look around, and he saw a wooden overlook point.  He walked up to it and looked around as though he was assessing the scene and then proceeded to climb down around the overlook onto a large rock located directly beside the waterfall.  He helped me down and then proceeded to unpack a picnic lunch.

It was amazing how thoughtful it was - he thought of everything!  We had a candlelit picnic on a mountain beside a waterfall - I mean, really people?!?!?  Yep, that's my unicorn

Because he wasn't sure if I'd like the way he'd made the main course chicken salad sandwiches (he'd picked up on my selectiveness regarding food), he had prepared a second sandwich for me (a peanut butter and jelly sandwich fixed just the way I do it) as a backup.  Yeah, I've got a pretty good situation going, if I do say so myself, and I wish you could have seen my face when he mentioned the second sandwich.

So, while it sounds crazy that I would credit a chicken salad sandwich with being my soul food, that's exactly what it was. My soul learned in the moments while eating that sandwich that there are people who will take time on you.  Those people will put in effort to make you happy.  Those people will go an extra mile (or extra PB&J sandwich) to ensure that you will want for nothing. Those people will pay attention when you speak and then use that information to help you later.

I'm curious - have any of you had any "soul food" that you'd like to share?  Feel free to toss out the recipe if you have it!  :)

Until next time,
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