The Art of Doing Nothing (And Enjoying It)

the art of doing nothing

A few years ago I realized I had a BIG problem.

I was at the beach with my family, and as always, I was looking for something exciting to do. You know, I wanted to tour some historical location or find some quaint little antique shop to peruse or maybe look for an amusement park….anything besides sitting aimlessly on the beach staring out into the horizon for hours. I couldn’t imagine just sitting there being unproductive for a whole day. My brain was relentlessly going over all the reasons that would be a waste of time, boring, and generally NOT fun…….when it hit me.

I had become one of THOSE people!

Somehow I had lost the ability to feel happy and content in silence and tranquility, but instead needed constant entertainment and input. And even worse, I felt like this type of down time was unproductive and wasteful. Now, this truly sneaked up on me because I have always been the type to put down my phone and turn off other electronics. I consciously revel in my alone time.

So I was completely overwhelmed when I realized I lost the ability to enjoy the simplest joys in life – quiet, uncomplicated time that allowed my body and brain to completely rest.

After all, there are many ways to fill our minds and time, right?

Information/Input Junkies

Consider this quote from Psychology Today titled “Flooding Your Brain’s Engine: How You Can Have Too Much of a Good Thing” by Joanne Cantor, Ph.D:

“According to a recent international poll by LexisNexis, workers around the world are increasingly overwhelmed by the amount of information they have to manage, and information overload is widely seen as a growing threat to workplace productivity.”

So here’s the problem: We live in a world of constant input. We have gone from a slower, more natural pace of life that evolved around the seasons and agriculture to a life that is always switched on.

Many elements of our modern life have contributed to this shift, but here are the main offenders:

  • the Internet
  • 24 hour television stations
  • 24 hour stores

I remember when I was young (which wasn’t THAT long ago) and most stores closed on Sundays….or at least kept shorter hours.  In fact, I actually remember when Wal-Mart used to close. Sounds strange now, doesn’t it?  (What I can’t get dog treats after 10:00 pm????)

We are used to getting what we want, when we want it. This has caused our addiction to instant gratification. No one has to actually wait for anything now.

Want to watch a movie? Boom……it takes than less than a minute to find it on Netflix or Amazon Prime. How about reading a new book? Download it in about 30 seconds on your Kindle. Or music. No wonder we are all so spoiled and entitled.

And with this comes the need to be the coolest, hippest person in any room. So you try to ready EVERY new best seller-book, and watch EVERY discussion-worthy movie, try EVERY fashionable new recipe, and try to fit in EVERY attraction on vacation so you don’t feel like you are missing something….etc, etc., etc……

Which leads me to the next problem……

How and When to Turn Off the Noise

Let’s be honest. The world of constant input has become our “normal” now. Even those of us young enough to remember a slower life are now acclimated to the constant barrage of information that is currently our world.

So when should we turn it off?

Every chance we get!

I used to mindlessly come home and immediately turn on the television or radio for “background” noise. But why?  Because that was my normal. Is that your normal, too?

Here are some ways to cut out some of the noise in your life and also find ways to do nothing and rest your brain.

  1. Place a small fountain in your living/family room and use it instead of turning on television/music.
  2. Open windows and listen to the sounds of nature.
  3. Turn on low, calming music such as classical or slow jazz (instead of other music).
  4. Sit on your front porch with a cup of tea or coffee (we installed an outdoor fan so we could do this more often).
  5. Sit outside at night and watch the stars.
  6. Go on vacation and purposefully plan time to do nothing except sit on the balcony.
  7. Don’t put a television or radio in your camper.
  8. Turn off the radio in your vehicle and just listen to the lulling sounds of the road.

Science has proved that resting our minds and bodies gains more productivity in the long run, so there is your excuse to try all of the above.

How To Find the Joy in Doing Nothing

Okay, you now have a list of ways to do nothing, but how do you learn to enjoy it (instead of constantly thinking about things you could or should be doing)?

This one is simple: Give yourself permission to do so.

It is amazing how simply and easily this works. When I told myself it was perfect and natural to want to some down time and it didn’t matter if I didn’t see every attraction while on vacation, my trip immediately got better. The pressure was off and my time was now mine. I was in complete control of my vacation and no longer felt the urge to cover as much ground as possible while on vacation lest my time and energy be ill spent.

It was so liberating that I wondered why I hadn’t given myself this gift before then. But I guess it all boils down to sometimes not seeing the simplest solutions for our lives.

When we talk about minimalism and removing the clutter from our lives, we can easily forget about the things we can’t see. Giving yourself this permission is also giving yourself love on the most basic level.

And love is like money, you need to give to yourself first. When you love yourself, you have abundant love to give to others.

 

 

Pur Minerals Fully Charged Mascara Review

Pur Minerals Fully Charged Mascara Review

Pur Minerals Fully Charged Mascara Review

I have been researching mascaras for some time, which let do this Pur Minerals Fully Charged Mascara Review.

First, I set out to find the ultimate lengthening mascara. I tried a couple different ones before realizing that my eyelashes were suddenly getting shorter. They were literally breaking off. They got so short that I actually freaked out a little. I was afraid they might not go back to their previous length.

I can’t say for sure if the mascara caused the problem or if it could have been the make up remover. Again, I tried several different removers at this time. It would be difficult to pin the blame on any one product because I switched so many times.

Next, I started looking so a mascara that was just “safe”. I tried a couple different ones before realizing that my sight was become extremely blurry. However, I noticed that every time I had some extended time of work my sight would improve again.

After doing some research and doing some trial and error, it became clear that either mascara or make up remover (or both) was making my eye sight blurry.

The Dilema

No girl wants to give up her mascara, right?

I have been wearing and/or playing in make up since I was five years old and I don’t care to stop now. So I started researching and looking for a mascara without chemicals.

Turns out these are amazing difficult to find. You have to look past the advertising and read the actually ingredient list. (Look Up Any Cosmetic on EWG.org.)

This led me to Pur Minerals Fully Charged Mascara. (This mascara has a rating of “1” on the site, which is the best you can get. I simply searched “mascara” and the most natural ones came up first.)

The Good & the Bad

After reading some of the reviews of other more natural mascaras I was afraid this one might go on wet and glumpy, but it didn’t. Two coats on each eye gets a nice look that gets my eyelashes looking long and luscious without looking over coated. (I actually must put three coats on one eye because those lashes haven’t completely recovered from previous products.)

It stayed on all day and I had no problems at all with smudging or flaking.

Some reviews I had read mentioned that is came off easily while others said it was difficult to remove. It came right off for me. No raccoon eyes after I got out of the bath. I used a mild cream remover, but tonight I plan to try plain soap and water to see what happens.

This morning it applied the mascara again, and it went on perfectly again. (JOY, JOY!)

This is my assessment so far. Today is just the second day of wear for me. However, I will update this post if anything changes.

The Good:

  • Goes on evenly
  • Defines & lengthens
  • No flaking
  • No smudging
  • Removes easily

The Bad:

  • Only comes in one color – hope you like black 🙂

 

Here is a list of the ingredients as listed on EWG.org:

Ingredients

Aqua, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Cyclopentasiloxane, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Alcohol Denat., Palmitic Acid, Nylon-12, VP/Eicosene Copolymer, Stearic Acid, Triethanolamine, Acacia Senegal Gum, Glycerin, Polybutene, Biotinoyl Tripeptide-1, Panthenol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Polyquaternium-10, Polyvinyl Alcohol, VP/VA Copolymer, Aminomethyl Propanediol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Propylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Iron Oxides (CI 77499) PÜR does NOT test its products on animals.

Conclusion

I love this mascara at the moment and I really hope to continue loving it for a long time to come. I am cautiously optimistic that this mascara will become my new go to.

Get it on Amazon:

Curly Hair Tips – Keep The Curls, Lose The Frizz

Curly Hair TipsCurly Hair Tips

Looking for curly hair tips?

If you have curly hair like me, you have probably experienced some frustration in your life since .

My hair was not always naturally curly, however. Years ago my hair was simply wavy. If it was cut slightly short on the sides it would flip up around my face. No problem.

Then, in my mid-twenties I decided to get a perm. Don’t ask me why. Just needed a change, I guess. Plus I have oily hair, which a perm helps.

Well, I hated the perm, of course. (Which reminded me why I had stopped getting them way back when.) And I kept waiting for it to grow out.

I waited…..and waited…..and waited.

Finally, one day it dawned on me. It wasn’t the perm making my hair curl anymore. It was doing it on its own!

Well, I have been curly ever since.

But here’s the problem: From the roots down for about 3 or 4 inches it is still straight. So I spend a lot of time trying to get some volume on my scalp. The end result can be lots of frizz.

So here are the tips I have learned over the years:

Curly Hair Tips

1. NEVER wrap your hair up in a towel

2. Lightly pat your hair dry

3. Apply styling products while your hair is still drippy

4. Lightly detangle your hair with as few strokes as possible

5. Scrunch your curls and add parts or anything else you like

6. Place the towel across your shoulders & under your hair while you dress

7. Scrunch your hair ever couple minutes

8. After 5 to 10 minutes start using a diffuser to dry hair

9. Flip your head over while drying for more volume while still scrunching

10. Don’t dry your hair completely

11. Tease as little as possible at the crown

12. Apply as little hairspray as possible

These tips have made a huge difference in the way my hair looks. I have had many compliments on it since I started this new routine. I hope it helps you too.

Stay Beautiful – Inside and Out!

If your experience has been different (or even the same), please leave feedback.

(Also, if this review has been helpful to you, please click the “like” button and help a girl out!)

 

 

 

Let Me Dance On The Table (And Other Things You’ll Never Hear Me Say)

Woman DancingMy mother is a table dancer.

Well, sort of.

But only when there’s a mouse in the house.

She can move with lightning speed and precision at the twitching of a whisker. Up on the table she goes where she waits for someone – anyone – to rescue her.

How well I remember waking up to her screaming when I was five years old. You would have thought someone was stabbing her to death, but no. She only wanted me to get out of bed and go outside to get one of the guys working on our house to come inside and kill the mouse -me, the five year old, while she, the adult, danced on the table.

Where am I going with this?

Well, there are three different kinds of women:

1. Those who climb the table and wait for help

2. Those who calmly tell the guy of the house to remove the icky little rodent

3. Those who kill the the rascal themselves and throw him out the back door

So which one are you, girls?

You can get a lot of insight about yourself just from how you handle the appearance of a tiny mouse. It speaks loads about your level of independence, don’t you think?

I’m a middle of the road kind of girl myself. I know I could kill it if I wanted to, but I choose not to. I like to make use of that man I have around the house. And, thankfully, he likes to be used (mostly in good ways).

I don’t need a man to take care of me, but I want one to. Big difference.

You will also never hear me say, “Will you pump my gas?” or “Can you change this light bulb?”

Why?

Because my husband already does all those things, plus much more.

Somewhere he got the crazy idea that I am not capable of chopping a vegetable or removing hot items from the oven. (Even though I manage to somehow do these things when he’s not here.)

I am also not allowed to cut the grass when he’s not home, use most power tools or any saws (even when he is at home), or do anything he views as unsafe without him.

Being the middle of the road girl that I am, how do you think that makes me feel?

Fantastic!

Someone cares enough to devote their life to protecting me. Without getting all “Freud” about it, let me just say that I actually found a man who treats me as well as my father – something that’s hard to do.

By the way, every time my mother was dancing on the table my father came running to kill the mouse. He knew it wasn’t going to kill and eat her, of course. But that wasn’t the point.

It still isn’t.

My wonderful husband comes running too, even though I don’t stand on the table to get that response.

So husbands, if your wife (or girlfriend) is a table dancer, please do the gentlemanly thing and come running to rescue her. After all, she only needs a little attention and reassurance.

That’s what we all need in life.

Another thing you will never hear me say: It’s too much love or attention.

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Thanks a bunch!

by Angela Christian Pope @ ModernRelationship.org

Holiday Stress (Take Back Your Holiday!)

Holiday Stress

My, oh my. Holiday stress is here!

I always try to finish my Christmas shopping BEFORE Thanksgiving, but since we had kids it hasn’t really happened anymore. In fact, my Christmas shopping has become such a scary thing that I dread it every year.

Well, this year I was determined to get everything under control and enjoy Christmas again. I HAVE TAKEN BACK MY CHRISTMAS!

Christmas can put a huge strain on your relationships when you are stressed, and it usually comes out most to those you hold dearest. Holiday stress can be so bad that you forget the most important person in your life: your partner.

So here are some things we have implemented this year (and some other ideas that can help you as well):

1. Buy Online.
I have done lots of purchasing online this year – more than ever before. It is amazing how much you can get done in just one hour while shopping in front of your computer. No lines, no traffic. Pajamas and hot cocoa. How could shopping get more relaxing than that? Do it with your sweetheart and it becomes fun instead of daunting. (If it becomes stressful for you, just stop and finish it later. You don’t have to do it all in one sitting.) 

2. Don’t Stress Over Gifts.
I have a mother who is very difficult to buy for. I used to spend lots of time worrying and fretting over her gift every year. I have taken things back and exchanged them before the holiday. I have lost sleep thinking about how much she would or wouldn’t like it. In fact, I used to stress over everyone’s gifts. Do you see how silly this was? Giving a gift is a gesture. It’s not the biggest decision of your life. Amazon is great for one stop shopping.

Find a nice gift.

Buy it.

Give it.

Forget about it.

Giving gifts should feel joyful, not stressful.

3. Limit Your Activities.
You DON’T have to accept every invitation that comes your way. Everyone is busy and they understand if you can’t attend some activities. (And if your friend/family member doesn’t understand that, then they are selfish and you shouldn’t care what they think anyway.) That’s my opinion, by the way.

We turned down several activities last year and were much less stressed. That gave us the determination to simplify more this year.

4. Spread Your Activities Out.
My extended family are having a Christmas breakfast the weekend before Christmas this year. Because of this and some other changes we have made, we only have to go one place on Christmas day this year and only have to help prepare one meal. (I can just feel the stress leaving my body when I think about that.) You can celebrate the joys and love of the season on any day and new traditions are just waiting to be discovered.

5. Schedule at Least One Date Night During the Season.
During all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, everyone needs a little R & R. Schedule at least one day or evening that’s just about you as a couple. DO NOT DO ANY CHRISTMAS SHOPPING. You can schedule another couple day to do that.

Find something fun to do that encourages physical contact. Go for a walk and hold hands. Take a carriage ride and snuggle up together. The possibilities are endless. Scientists have proven that physical contact lowers stress levels in our bodies, so take advantage of some reconnect time to lower your stress and enhance your relationship at the same time.

Remember, a relationship is like a bank. You have to make deposits if you want to take something out when you need it.

6. Buy Your Partner Something To Spice Up Your Relationship.
Things can get as racy as you want. Girls, if you always sleep in flannel pajamas or sweats, buy yourself something silky to sleep in. Then throw in something silky for your guy, along with some scented candles. Place it all in a nice box or basket and give it to him as an early Christmas present. (Guys can also do this for your girl.)

You would be amazed at how much a small gesture can spark something bigger in your relationship.

I actually made my husband a coupon book a few years ago and it is still his all time favorite present.

Need some more ideas? Here you go:

1. Have a candlelight picnic on your living room floor.

2. Rent a hotel room for one night that has a fireplace and hot tub.

3. Take a thermos of hot coffee or cocoa and drive around looking at Christmas lights.

4. Go see a Christmas movie together after a nice dinner. (Still a classic.)

5. Go to a nice restaurant just for dessert and coffee.

6. Take a hot bubble bath together.

For even more ideas that you can apply now and year round, visit 50 Secrets of Blissful Relationships. This affordable resource by renowned author Michael Webb is packed full of tips and ideas that you can easily integrate into your daily life.

When you read all this, it actually makes Christmas seem fun, huh?

So let’s all make this the happiest, simplest holiday season ever. Don’t allow holiday stress to come into your life this year. It’s your Christmas. Take it back!

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Thanks a bunch!

by Angela Christian Pope @ ModernRelationship.org