Make A Difference!

Make A Difference!

As a new year approaches, I think most people are inspired to take the opportunity to make the upcoming year better than the last…but rather than just focusing solely on what we might do to improve our own habits and circumstances, I’d like to suggest that perhaps this year, we try just as hard to make a difference in the lives of others, as well.

Make A Difference!

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”  Mahatma Gandhi

Make A Difference For The Better!

I have been very fortunate in my life, to rub shoulders with passionate people who are dedicated to living well and making a difference for the better…not only in their own lives, but in those of their family members, neighbors, work associates and communities.  Their selfless actions are contagious and always inspire me to up my game, so to speak, as I try to be a better influence for good myself. 

Make A Difference!

“Be who God meant you to be…and you will set the world on fire!”  Catherine of Siena

Three Doable Ways To Make A Difference!

I am a big believer in the power of one…one unique person, one simple idea, one kind action…each can cause a ripple effect that makes a big difference.  This simple concept can change the trajectory of many lives–including our own!  Here then, are three ways I think will help us all make a difference as we celebrate a new year!

1.  Daily Devotions!  

In trying to better catch a glimpse into the “big picture” of my life…I tend to face the day with better perspective and more focus on others when I take the time to acknowledge a higher power.  Whether through meditation, scripture study or prayer, inviting God into our lives seems like a sure way to start the day off right, helping us to be more genuine in our actions as we associate with others.

Daily Devotions!

“The purpose of life, of course, is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate; to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

2.  Do Good!

As we strive to reach out to one another with a more dedicated desire to do good and with a certain level of excellence, we can’t help but inspire each other to do better and make a difference as we work together to make our journey in life more joyful!

Abraham Lincoln quote.

My father used to tell a story of an elderly man who was a forklift operator at a big warehouse.  “The man would ride the forklift around with a big smile on his face and always exuded great passion for his job.  Knowing that most of his younger co-workers would eventually move on from this menial labor, he often felt compelled to remind them to do good and be the best at the job they were doing…no matter where life took them.  The man made everyone feel good.”  After reciting the story, my dad always asked a question: Do you have a special person in your life that you think of when you interact with others…someone that reminds you to always do good and be your best?  Most of life is simply showing up and putting your heart, mind and soul into whatever it is you are doing, no matter how mundane.  Showing up in life and doing good allows you a committed chance at making a difference every day for the people you love, the people you will meet, and the person you will eventually become!

Reach out and do good.

“Never underestimate the difference YOU can make in the lives of others; step forward, reach out and help with graciousness.”   Pablo

3.  Dare To Dream!

If there was ever a notion that my husband and I  wanted to impress upon our children, it was that they should dream big, work hard and surround themselves with good people.  Most “overnight” success stories that we hear of, are often about people who are persistent in achieving their goals despite having to wrangle with many trials and errors along the way.  These individuals show great thoughtfulness in making decisions and are always willing to learn; they also seem to have equal parts of depth in character and humility of heart…making them a powerful force against the words and actions of naysayers who would tell them that their dreams are impossible!

“I am always blown away by the good and dedicated people who help hold our society together with their dreams.”  Jeff Chaplin

Make A Difference In The New Year!

I believe that we are put on this earth to realize God’s plan for each of us and make the world a better place.  As we look forward to the New Year, it’s my deepest desire that together we will raise the standard of living well by implementing more fully the power of our beliefs, the decency of our actions and the fulfillment of our collective dreams!

God's plan for you quote.

“Stand for something.  Make your life mean something.  Start where you are with what you have.  You are enough.”  Germany Kent

Please inspire us with some of your dreams and aspirations for the coming New Year.  

–Best wishes, Mary 

 

Naturally BeYOUtiful!

Naturally BeYOUtiful!

The Christmas season usually involves some family celebrations with relatives we may not have seen in a while, dinner dates with dear friends, and parties with work associates.  While we all usually want to look our best at these social functions…I’ve found as I get older that enhancing our God-given attributes, along with a happy smile, is the best way to be truly beautiful!

Naturally BeYoutiful!

“Beauty might bring happiness…..but happiness always brings beauty!     Tribute Journal

According to an article published by the Organization of Health Guidance For Better Health, a woman’s true beauty is an abstract term that is hard to define, and is usually a matter of opinion and very much in the eye of the beholder.  But I think you’ll agree, that being genuine in our efforts to be who we really are while working to improve imperfections and flaws, not only in how we look, but in how we behave, ensures that our authentic beauty will ultimately shine through!

A Tale: “Becoming The Best Version Of Ourselves!”

Once upon a time, there was a girl with freckles sprinkled across her nose and coarse, wavy hair during an era when creamy skin and silky, smooth hair were the accepted standard for defining true beauty.  Fortunately for this young gal, she had parents who were exceptional in their ability to help her gain a healthy balance in her view of achieving beauty in all its many aspects, helping her to focus her efforts on continually working to become the best version of herself…inside and out.

IMG_8588

As this girl got older…I also realized that surrounding myself with genuine friends and good style mentors, (often these people are one in the same) was perhaps one of my best beauty tricks!

The Best Beauty Tricks!

When time seems to be our most precious commodity…can we really afford to take the time to do the things that help us put our best foot forward, so to speak?  Well, as luck would have it, a few years ago, when I was in desperate need of a new hair stylist, I crossed paths with the ever talented, beauty magician extraordinaire, Rachel Wheeler, from Lox Studio Salon, and she helped me realize, once and for all, that the resounding answer to this question is, “YES!”  Adopting a simple routine to help us look good and feel better about ourselves and exude more confidence in a world that is sometimes happy to beat us down a bit, is always worthwhile.

For this holiday post, I asked Rachel, a natural beauty in her own right, to offer a few tricks of her trade, including some beauty products she recommends that will help inspire us to be more dedicated to a personal care routine.

Rachel Wheeler at Lox Studio Salon.

Rachel practices what she preaches and accentuates her beautiful eyes and bright smile, not to mention her gorgeous hair, with just a light application of some of her favorite beauty products.  She is truly is a credit to her profession!

•  Hair Care and Color:

Almost as important as our clothing fashion, our hair style seems to be just as vital when trying to convey our true selves; when we have a good hair day…all seems right with the world!  Fundamental to good hair care is a good trim (and for me a lot of texturizing to help my thick, unruly hair style easier) and finding products that are formulated to care for specific hair types is integral!  Rachel told me that if styling products didn’t exist, then she would insist on always having Lanza Trauma Treatment Conditioner in her hair care arsenal.

Lanza Trauma Coonditioner

“This conditioner will whip your hair back into shape if you haven’t washed it in a few days; you can use it as a regular conditioner after shampooing, or as a leave-in conditioner if your hair is in need of some extra TLC!  It smells great too…and who isn’t a sucker for a good smelling hair product!”Kenra Blow Dry SprayRachel says Kenra Blow Dry Spray deserves a special hair care product reward!  This spray conditions, detangles and protects your hair from heat exposure.  It seems to have unique memory powers as well, that help keep hair looking good all day.  Shake the bottle well and spray generously on towel dried hair then brush with a wet brush to help spread the product down the hair shaft.

Hair styles for special events.

(via Rachel Wheeler)

While you may not want to make any drastic changes to your current hair style during the holidays, a fancy up-do for a special event could be fun; and if your stylist is as creative as Rachel…you’re sure to feel festive and beautiful!    

When it comes to color…Rachel told me when she first started doing my hair, that unless you are going out on a limb and doing some exotic hair color, (which is definitely the trend now) her recommendation to clients is to color hair a shade or two lighter or darker than their natural eyebrow color.  As women age, she suggests going a little lighter than their natural hair color, adding some warm highlights to help brighten skin tones.  Rachel also let me know that I only needed to do a full color treatment on my hair about every 3 months or so, touching up the root growth in between.  Following this regimen is more gentle on your hair and dries it out less, but as mentioned above, conditioning your hair regularly after any treatment is always key to keeping it healthy.

Healthy hair is your crowning glory!

(via Rachel Wheeler)

“Healthy hair is literally your crowning glory!”  Andreas Stavrou Hairstylist

(*One quick word about drug store box color kits…did you know that your hair stylist’s are educated to be master mad scientists of sorts, in that they have extensive training on how certain chemicals react with your specific hair type and how to blend a variety of professional products to create a perfect mixture that is specific for your unique hair color?  Rachel advises that if you plan on never having your hair colored professionally that you’re probably fine using box color, but if you do want to have your hair done at a salon, then it’s best to stay away from over-the-counter products, because there are so many unknown chemicals added to them that make it extremely difficult and expensive to lift this kind of color from your hair before a professional one can be applied.  Over time, these products can also leave your hair dry, damaged and dull.)  

•  Beautiful Skin:

If I ever did stumble upon the fountain of youth…discovering the secrets of maintaining youthful skin (minus the break-outs!?!) would be my number one priority!  We put high expectation on skin care products, so you can imagine how pleasantly surprised I was to learn that many of Rachel’s favorite skin care and make-up picks are inexpensive brands, with some coming from her favorite local drug stores!  (A girl after my own heart!)

Norwex facial cloth.

While Rachel doesn’t usually go for multi-level marketing products, she says the Norwex Microfiber Wash Cloth is a good one, especially since many of the make-up removal towelettes on the market, no matter how gentle they claim to be, can be irritating to your eyes.  Rachel rinses her cloth in hot water to wash her face and remove make-up too.  According to the company, the cloths are naturally made and contain antimicrobial silver that when moistened activates a self-purifying process that stops bacteria, mold and fungi from forming.

Kiehl's ultra facial cream.

Rachel recommends Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream to moisturize skin in the morning before applying make-up and again in the evening as a night cream.  Although it’s often considered a splurge item, a 4 oz. jar is under $50 at Nordstrom’s, but you only apply a thin coat, so this seems like a good buy.  Rachel says it also serves as a great foundation primer too.  I just like that it isn’t greasy.  

Aquaphor healing oinment.

I chuckled when I saw Aquaphor Healing Ointment on Rachel’s skin care list, little did she know that it’s sort of a trade secret among nurses who use it on newborn babies and other patients who have dry, rashy skin.  It also provides intensive treatment for chappy lips and skin during the cold, winter months.

•  Best Brows and Lashes:

Care and maintenance of eyebrows and lashes has definitely taken a more prominent spot in most women’s daily care routine.  Besides being an amazing hair stylist, Rachel does lash extensions in her salon, and while I’ve never had mine done, I can vouch for the fact that her work just adds to the natural beauty of each client–a sure sign of an insightful artisan!

Brow care products.

Although she used to have her brows waxed, Rachel decided she prefers to have control of the shape and care of her brows, so she uses the Touch’N Brow razors by Sally Hansen.  Rachel says these also work great for getting rid of unwanted facial peach fuzz.  You might need to have your stylist help you learn how to use these.  You can see a YouTube demo here.  Once your brows are trimmed and shaped, Rachel likes using the Anastasia Brow Wiz Pencil to fill them in.

Cover Girl mascara.

If there is any one product that women seem to feel the most passionate about, it is finding the perfect mascara that gives volume and lengthens their eyelashes.  Some days a few coats of mascara and some lip gloss is all the make-up I wear.  As already mentioned, Rachel does eyelash extensions, but she told me that she’s not a huge advocate for having them for everyday life; if you have a big event or vacation coming up, then go for it, otherwise, just find some great products that accentuate your natural lashes.  Rachel has found that using RevitaLash to help lengthen and strengthen your own eyelashes is well worth the investment, and her very favorite go-to mascara brand for long, think lashes is Cover Girl Lash Blast…I love it too.  Other top mascara contenders that get my vote are Loreal Voluminous, Clinique High Impact, and the classic Maybelline Great Lash.

•  When Outer Beauty Meets Inner Beauty: 

I don’t think we should ever apologize or feel guilty for wanting to take care of ourselves.  I once heard it said that we should try and see our physical attributes the same way we would those of a child or beloved friend–with appreciation and acceptance, not criticism.  I hope we can all better understand that everyone is unique and we each have something to bring to the world; when we can walk out the door and feel beautiful and confident, I believe we will be less superficial and tap into our best beauty…the kind that is ignited in our hearts where we are thoughtful in our words, kind in our thoughts, and considerate in our actions.

Naturally beautiful!

I hope everyone has a beautiful holiday season!

I’d love to know of any fun beauty tips or tricks you use that you’d be willing to share with us here. 

–Mary     

Happy People!

Happy People!

With the anticipation of all the summer adventures ahead of us, what better time to remind ourselves of all the things that make us happy……and do some of them!!!

Emoji balloons!

“Happiness is not ready made.  It comes of your own actions.” 

Dalai Lama 

If you need a fresh perspective on truly being happy, listen to the lyrics of “Happy People” by the country group, Little Big Town.  The following is one of my favorite lines from the song:

Happy People by Little Big Town.

“Well, life is short and love is rare, and we all deserve to be happy while we’re here…so here’s to whatever puts a smile on your face!”

Here’s To Whatever Puts A Smile On Your Face!

I certainly don’t need to remind you that life isn’t all roses, in fact, it can bring us to our knees (literally) sometimes.  But perhaps we can all do a little better at making a conscious effort at seeing the fun and funny side of life!  So let’s consider a few of the little, everyday things that might make us smile!

1. Setting your alarm to a song that makes you happy to wake up!  I know, that’s a stretch…but I’ve tried it and it works!  I’ll find myself humming or singing some of the words to whatever song I woke up to throughout the day!  The song mentioned above is a good one—and will surely put a smile on your face.

2. A hot breakfast!  Especially if you don’t have to fix it!  On the weekends, my hubby will often make hot oatmeal with blueberries (so good) and wheat toast with fresh jam–eating it out on our patio during the summer months definitely puts a smile on my face!  A weekend brunch after doing some early morning cleaning is a win/win–and sure to have you smiling all day long!

The Park Cafe in Salt Lake City, Utah

A favorite brunch spot of mine is the Park Café!  (If you live close or find yourself visiting Salt Lake City, I highly recommend eating here!) 

3. Being outside when the weather is just right!  After a long winter season and a wet, rainy spring here in Utah, it seems that finally being able to get outside has everyone I meet sporting a happy smile!

Adventuring outside up City Creek Canyon!

A recent hike up gorgeous City Creek Canyon on a perfect summer day with two of my granddaughters had us all smiling! 

4. Laughing!  There’s no better way to put an exclamation mark on your day than laughter!   There are few things in life that lift my spirits more or put a smile on my face quicker than hearing my son’s deep, full-hearted laugh as he shares funny anecdotes from his experiences of living abroad in Germany, or as a dentist for the US Army.  Life can get hectic–we’d all do well to just smile and laugh at the craziness a little more!

5. Growing something!  I learned to love gardening from my grandmother, and my husband and I have planted a little vegetable garden almost every year.  The accomplishment of tending to something, watching it grow and then harvesting the fruits of our labors is rewarding and indeed smile worthy!

Growing strawberries!

I tried my hand at growing strawberries this year and I have to admit, I had a giddy smile on my face when I saw the first few blossoms turn to strawberries and start to ripen!

6. Encouraging others!  Being genuinely happy for others and offering them support and encouragement as they try hard to live their lives to the best of their ability can’t help but put the most satisfying smiles on our faces!

Being happy for others quote.

My parents were always quick to impress upon me the importance of showing love and appreciation for those who were happy to see me make accomplishments and achieve my dreams, as well. 

7. Being curious!  I’m a firm believer that inquisitive thinking and a passion for exploring will nourish our minds…and that my friends, is something to smile about!

8. Remaining young at heart!  No matter our age, don’t we love to be around those who have chosen to live, laugh and love with the infectious playfulness of a person untainted by the harsh realities of today’s world!  Let’s face it, when we choose happiness, we’re more fun, more childlike, we smile more…and hopefully, those around us will too!!

I love the saying, “Happiness appears where dreams meet preparation.”  It implies that like most things in life, happiness takes a little work–but living a more fulfilled life is the ultimate reward–that, and a lot of smiles!

Happy looks good on you quote.

Add to the list…I’d love to know some of the little, everyday things you do that help you smile more?

–With love and a big smile, Mary