Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Resources to Reclaim Your Time

To say the last two months have been hectic would be an understatement. My world has been a whirlwind of projects, events, audits, deadlines, and never-ending to do lists. Needless to say, my personal time has been nill and my belly dance practice has fallen by the wayside. In short, I've been busy.

Busy. That ever present word in our modern day society. Ask someone how they are, and they'll likely tell you "busy". Some of us wear it like a badge of honor, with busy bestowing a mark of importance and purpose to the cycle of our lives. 

But if you're feeling like me and are ready to jump off the hamster wheel and reclaim your time for the activities that resonate most deeply with your spirit, consider utilizing some of the following resources and ideas to reclaim your time and ultimately your life.
  1. Discover how you spend your time. It might surprise you. Most of us actually have more time than we think, but we fritter it way with social media, Internet browsing, and TV watching. Consider tracking your time for a week or two to discover how you really spend your days. If you sign up for time guru Laura Vanderkam's newsletter, she'll send you a free template for time tracking. Or you can create your own template. If you want to take it a step further, read Laura's book, 168 Hours.
  2. Get organized. You can't use your time wisely if you can't keep track of what needs to be done and where you're supposed to be. If you don't already have some type of planner system for tracking appointments and to dos, get one. I personally like my iPhone calendar coupled with Toodledo. It's free to open an account on the Toodledo website, while the Toodledo iPhone app is $3.99. I use both and they automatically sync with each other. The website/app allows you to create categories, set recurring tasks, prioritize by importance, and set reminders. I love it. However, if you are more of a paper planner gal, try the cute planners over at Erin Condren. They also have lesson planners that belly dance teachers could utilize for planning their dance classes.
  3. Manage your passwords. Ever wasted time searching for an account password? Ever practically pulled out your hair in frustration because you can't get logged-in into an account, or your account is frozen from one too many incorrect tries? Then try a password manager. iTunes offers a number of choices, including a free and well-reviewed one by Norton
  4. Let it go. Is there something on your to do list that you don't really need to do? Be honest now. Are there things listed that you feel you should do, but aren't really necessary? Analyze your list and see if there are things you can let go of or perhaps delegate to someone else. Hello kids and husband! 
  5. Schedule time with yourself. Want to have time to practice your dance, attend a class, exercise, or cook a healthy meal? Then schedule it. Most people's schedules only include time they have scheduled with others, while any time they need for themselves gets whatever is leftover, which usually isn't much. Want to fit in a belly dance practice session? Look at your upcoming week and block out the time for yourself right now. 
  6. Explore further to reclaim even more time. Like where this is going? Then consider reclaiming even more of your time by pursuing time management best selling books or utilizing more tools to stay organized. 
Photo Credit: Unknown

Monday, November 2, 2015

3rd Annual Beauty Awards

It's the 3rd annual belly dance beauty awards! Every year I like to post about the top beauty products I've discovered in the past year. Here's my new favorite discoveries since last year's post!

1. Dior Diorshow Maximizer Active Plumping Lash Primer - I previously had eyelash extensions for almost two years. While I absolutely loved the look, I did not love the time or price of upkeep, which eventually lead to me having them removed. But man, did I miss that big lash look. Enter Dior's lash primer. I discovered this product while checking out at Nordstrom Rack. I noticed how amazing the lashes of the girl ringing up me were, and she told me she used this product. I immediately ran out and purchased this primer, and it couldn't have been a better choice. The result was dramatic and noticeable, even to others. When I went to get a facial, my estitician asked me if I had lash extensions on. Nope. And my husband even noticed that my lashes looked longer. And seriously, what guy actually notices your lashes!? Damn, that's a good product.

2. Physicians Formula Eye Booster 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner + Serum - Who doesn't love a 2-in-1 product? This is a eyeliner and lash growth serum in one. It's also the easiest to use liquid liner I have ever used. If you are an eye makeup virgin, this is your product. If you have been around the block and back, this is also your product, because why wouldn't you want a product that's easy to apply and stays in place, even through back to back classes?

3. Supergoop Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50 - Another 2-in-1! If you've ever put on your full face of makeup, and then realized that you forgot to start with a layer of sun protection, never fear. This beauty toolkit essential is a makeup setting spray and SPF in one. Sprays on light and clear without leaving  you feeling like you've added a layer of gunk to your face. Great for SPF touchups throughout the day, especially if vacationing somewhere warm and tropical. Also great for setting makeup before gigs in hot rooms or under warm stage lights.

4. Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk - In last year's beauty awards, I'd listed a dry shampoo from Lush. But then I discovered this one and now I'll never go back. It's a ingenious spray. Here's what you do: you just spray at the roots, and voila! You spray in volume and spray out excess oil. There's no white residue leftover like with many traditional powder-based dry shampoos, and it really does add noticeable volume and enhanced style.

5. Neutrogena Body Clear Body Spray - A solution for body blemishes was another product I'd included in last year's awards, and another area where I've found an upgrade. Neutrogena's Body Clear Body Spray is now a permanent fixture in my beauty arsenal. It's a power house at preventing acne, and if you do have a blemish that pops up, will cut your healing time in half or, even less. It's designed for the back, and even sprays up side down. It does not stain or bleach the color out of clothes, so you can use it and put your costume on (if say for instance you want to use it between sets to prevent any perspiration that might be sitting on the skin from building up and creating acne). And I've even used it occasionally on my face when I'm had an unfortunate blemish pop up. And the icing on the cake? All this can be yours for less than $10.

6. Make Up For Ever Artist Plexi-Gloss - I've written about it before, but heavily pigmented lipsticks can suck the life and moisture right out of your lips, especially if you have sensitive skin like me. That's why I love heavily pigmented glosses, like this one by Make Up For Ever. In the darker shades, it adds enough color to wear alone for performances, but won't feel you with dry and cracked lips after. If you are looking for a color suggestion, I love 304, which is fun and bright pop of color in red-coral.

7. Kaplan MD Perfect Pout Lip Mask + Lip Balm - Want to take the lip care a step further? Then I recommend Kaplan's lip mask and balm. The mask gently dissolves dry, cracked skin and then the balm seals in the healing with a dose of intense moisture. Great for either before or after shows, during wintertime, or whenever your lips needed a little extra care.

8. Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel - Nothing beats a professional chemical peel for smoothing fine lines, plumping skin, and getting you to glow. But this at home peel is the next best thing for at home skin maintenance. Juice Beauty's Green Apple Peel uses fruit enzymes to exfoliate off dead skin and reveal glowing skin underneath. Whenever my skin is looking a bit tired, I slather on a treatment of this to see instantly revitalized skin. Also comes in sensitive and blemish control versions.

9. Peter Thomas Roth Laser Free Retexturizer Exfoliating Scrub - If you couldn't tell, I'm big into skin exfoliation. It's one of the key cornerstones of youthful, radiant skin. I love this exfoliating scrub. It's gentle enough to use daily and helps reduce the size of pores, prevents blemishes, and eradicates dull-looking skin.

10. Beauty Protector Protect and Detangle - Hair can take a beating from too much blow-drying and heat styling. Help your hair out with Beauty Protector's leave-in conditioner. Another multitasker, this spray detangles, protects against heat, fights frizz, safeguards color, adds shine, and tops it all off with a yummy, fruity scent. Another product that I don't leave home without.