Friday, 3 October 2014

My Culture Should Not Be Trademarked

Draft after draft comes out of me and it is as if I cannot get the words out without writing a novel. That would be good, of course, if it was a novel I was aiming to write and not quick informational pieces and responses to recent bigotry. Growing up as a Native American has been alright for me, but for many others it is terrible: met with racism, being pulled from your home by the government, poverty. The only things I have experienced that are even remotely close to that would be living as lower middle class and attending a school where I was the only Native American student. Literally. 0.01% was myself and my neighbor, Amanda. When she left, it became 0% on all school letters that included demographics. When that happened it also seemed like the government didn't want to support Native American club or send benefits for Native students at my school (though technically students was just student - me.) One time. I got a letter saying I was federally recognized and could receive free books about Native Americans one time. But when I became that unlisted 0%, it was like I wasn't even there.

BELOW: In the infographic for my school's report card year 2012-2013, the 0.01% was bumped up to 1%. The following year, Native American was not a category at all. Despite my high test scores in English Language Arts, the category shows -- as not applicable.

Except for the time in my one of my History classes when we told the class our names and what ethnicity(ies) we were. "So do you like, dance around a fire?" someone asked me, and I was met with the horrible picture of a dancing Tiger Lily in my mind. No matter how many times I laugh it off the feeling of being at a loss for words, stammering, it does not go away. "Yeah, of course, we all do, right?" I threw back, rolling my eyes. But that was only to be met with "Are you really even an Indian?" and it kept going back and forth until the teacher moved on. He seemed genuinely interested, but being a History teacher that was expected.

Those who have asked me if I dance around a fire or if I go around barefoot like Pocahontas did not seem to mean any harm by their questions, but because they were so repetitive it made me sad; made me wonder. Why were those the questions they asked anyways? With the portrayal of Native characters the way they are, and the marketing of such characters, it is not hard to see why. Tiger Lily from Peter Pan? She was just supposed to dance and be lusted after by men; to be quiet and submissive instead of fighting back, waiting for Peter to save her. Pocahontas - though I personally love the film as opposed to other Disney classics - was extremely wrong in terms of stereotypes as well as being historically incorrect. Primary, secondary, college, and big league sports teams put the icing on the cake of offensive Native stereotypes. Which brings me to why I started this in the first place.

Sifting through social media tags to find writing on real cultural aspects of various tribes or just connect to other Native Americans always leads me to something like this:

"Soft Light" by nrprtm via Deviant Art

Though this photo is not as overly sexualized as often seen, it is still appropriation and an incorrect representation of tribal cultures. When the photographer posted this photo in 2011 she was met with a storm of people telling her about how it was wrong, racist, appropriative, and should be taken down. After saying she would fix it, she disabled the comments and captioned with a story about how she had not meant any offense - said caption has since been taken down, but the photo remains. Wearing a war bonnet or headdress is always something debated upon due to traditional reasoning for wearing or not wearing them. Companies and designers that create such head wear today usually have some sort of defense about how it is "cultural appreciation." 

A prime example of this is Novum Crafts, an "Indian Headdress" supplier online. They explain on their website that the crafts are by Indigenous Balinese artists. The headdresses "use real feathers and authentic leather," and are "authentic looking replicas." In a blog post titled "So, can I wear a native American headdress?" they talk about the cultural appreciation factor. The post even talks about sports teams, and  they say that the teams have chosen names or symblols in appreciation for characteristics like bravery, courage, valor, and honor. 

Well-known Washington Redskins owner Daniel 'Dan' Snyder often uses the same argument, as do other teams under fire. However, this argument is problematic itself. Those who use caricature versions of Native cultures all appear the same in terms of their perception of Natives: redface or other "war paint," feathers in the hair or a full headdress, lots of skin showing between ridiculous "animal skin" outfits. What do you get from such imaging? I sure don't see the cultural appreciation there. But why is the cultural appreciation argument wrong, you ask? Simple.

To say you are honoring Native American culture by using stereotyped versions of Native people is incorrect because it is singular. There isn't just one Native tribe, like this excuse often leads people to believe. As of 2013, there was over 500 federally recognized tribes and the numbers were growing. This means there is over 500 different cultures. Plural. Such a small difference between culture and cultures, one letter; but it is that one letter difference and blanket term that causes people to be depreciative of such cultures. 

Along with little to no knowledge of Native American groups, genocide is a term many people clearly do not have in their vocabulary range. All through school I never once heard that word in correlation with what was and is done to Native people. Genocide committed against those who were Jewish? Sure. Every year that was something I learned about. The largest genocide, though, was committed on our land. Millions upon millions of Native Americans were murdered. By continuing to stifle the history of genocide committed against Native Americans, our country continues to oppress us.

Failure to realize that we are still a marginalized people is also lack of willingness to learn in this current day and age. My personal experience shows that even those who are part of the crusade to be politically correct turn away from information regarding the continued oppression of Native people. With someone right in front of you saying "I am here, I am Native, and this offends me, check out Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry,"and giving information, how can one - in good conscious - say something along the lines of Native Americans don't care about offensive mascotry, stereotyped film characters, and other issues that we are against. How can one, with a Native American right in front of them disagreeing, throw out horrible stereotypes and jokes about alcoholism, suicide rates, and poverty while claiming that the actions of the majority do not contribute?

While it may be true that as a people we have loads of other issues to worry about than football teams and Disney films, one has to take a look at the bigger picture. All of the problems have to stem from a source, which means we must look to the root in order to fix all of the other problems. A good place to start would be with poverty: look at the patterns, habits, and lifestyles of those in poverty, try to fix those problems, go from there. There are many different approaches that can be taken to begin rebuilding our broken bridges, depending on a starting point. Like Jacqueline Keeler said, "we can multitask." If we cannot have an opinion and a say in who can benefit from watered-down imitations of our cultures how can we begin to give the world what we have?

This piece was edited by myself and Jasmine. It is an introduction to a series in which I will address many of the things that have been said to me in response to controversy over the Washington Redskins team.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Mercury Retrograde Survival Guide

This blog entry was taken from its original format at Evolve & Ascend - here - and drafted for refreshing in the future. The original post went up on 8 February 2014, but the information is still relevant and helpful! I hope you like what I've written, as this was my first piece with Evolve & Ascend and a lot of love went into writing it. What better theme for anything astrology than Sailor Moon? Hop into a nice bath like Sailor Mercury and get reading, because there is a lot more in store for you with this version!
“Hello again, Mercury Retrograde! It is not-so-nice to see you!” many say while balling up their fists in frustration as they are late for a job interview, miss a flight, or get snowed in the day of a big performance. “Can you just give me one day of peace? One amazingly beautiful day full of success and happiness with not one second of slight problem?” To which one is answered with another disaster.
While some experience this as a disheartening period where everything falls apart, many find solace in it as they are able to rejuvenate. This retrograde period is lasting 5th October to 25th October in Scorpio, though the effects can be felt for a few additional days on either end. Whilst searching different social medias on this Mercury Retrograde, I found that all too frequently people were becoming upset. Never fear! I have some things for helping you through this. 
“Mercury Retrograde: How To Survive for Dummies” coming right up! Okay, so definitely not dummies, but beings who are super sensitive to all this energy. If you are feeling like things are slowing in pace or coming to a stop, this is definitely the time to take a few moments for yourself. Think of these mishaps you are experiencing as a gift, not a curse. The lovely Lohla has even done an emergency Astreauxlogy report on The Pulp Zine that offers insight to all of the other Astro weather situations one may be experiencing right now, including Mercury Retrograde and what to expect. While the post is a little longer due to content I have found it quite helpful already, and it includes many details you may be wanting. Don't let length discourage you, though, as she has subheadings for each Astro weather situation!

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  • Health: Make sure to be eating normally and healthily so that you can be in great energy and not feel sick. (Or any sicker than you need to, depending on the effects this retrograde takes on you.) Personal tip – drink plenty of water to aid in any dizzy/airy effects your head may be feeling. Tea is always nice to have, especially if it has healing properties. There are plenty of online shops where you can buy specialty teas, create your own blends, or try blends others have created. The list below includes teas that you can get at a local cafĂ© or even at a store nearby.

  • Declutter: Not only is this good for your energy in general, but it will give you something to do as well as something easy to focus on. If there is not too much space being taken up, just rearrange some things for a new look! Pinterest is a really lovely place to look for inspiration. I personally have two boards that include room looks I am inspired by: cherie and xo. You might also find some inspiration in Georgia's Bedroom Files - such a clean and organized space, with a picture perfect look.
  • Electronics: Technology seems to be a big problem for everyone during this time. Areas in California have been on a flex alert and having power outages during the heat for a while already! Make sure to do a backup of any files you know you cannot stand to lose, just to be safe. Many electronic devices get a little wonky. You will also want to try to limit use for a period of time – too many devices at once could cause an energy problem with all of them. Oh, and if you are still having issues with your iOS8 device then perhaps try a simple approach to things: dial down the cellular use, check your email, and find a print book to relax with! There's no shame in that game.
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  • Confirmation: Have you booked a flight? Maybe an interview? Make sure to double check the information you were given. Since many are feeling off it is a possibility that you could have been misinformed the first time. Ask as many questions as you feel you need to. It is also good to think in terms of yourself and any risky decisions you may be making. “Better safe than sorry!”
  • Emotions: Keep them in check. I know there will be instances in which you feel like something is a personal attack, but chances are, it probably is not – and if it is, it is probably best left alone. Repeat to yourself this: “It is only the Mercury Retrograde. Everything is grand.” And so it shall be! If you are really feeling alone, try spending time with some friends that are also aware of Mercury Retrograde so that there will be a mutual understanding, or writing all your thoughts down.

  • Spending: You have probably already heard that it is not the best time to make big purchases, but I will give you some new tips. Think of things in terms of a month ago: would you have spent $300 on a new purse? No? Then it would probably be best that you sit the money aside and wait for November before doing so. If it is something absolutely necessary to your life – car, house, etc. – make sure you double check any paperwork, especially the fine print, and double check it again. Having a second set of eyes help would not hurt, either. This does not mean you cannot get nice things or search for them. As I previously mentioned, I have been on Pinterest - and eBay thanks to the anticipation of a gift card from Influenster. Just play the waiting game with mass amounts or many little amounts.
  • Nostalgia: This is the perfect time to reminisce. Take out those old mixtapes, scrapbooks, and letters from middle school locker buddies! Go out for coffee with an old friend you haven’t seen in a while, or to mend things with one you may have had a falling out with. This is the time to forgive and forget. It is also a good time to finish any old projects you may have left to fall through the cracks.

  • Love: This bit is brand new, of course, because in the middle of vamping it up I received a DM from The Indie Chicks telling me that I am amazing and capable of getting everything I've dreamed of. With the stress I'm feeling over my Go Fund Me campaign - or lack there of, thanks to this retrograde - it was a nice reminder. Tell people nice things! Go on tumblr and send cute anonymous asks, message random followers sweet things if they seem down, compliment strangers! Just because retrograde might be hard doesn't stop you from being capable of spreading good vibes.
  • Create: Have you been thinking of starting a new project? Maybe working on a new canvas since you have finished all your old projects? This could be the time. Though you do not want to invest too deeply in some things where money is concerned, taking the time to plan out something new won’t hurt. Of course if you have the supplies for small things already, why not give that a go? The Pulp Zine has some really cool DIY tutorials for various things, complete with photos that show you step by step. I really like the dip dye nail tutorial Gabriel did, and the DIY fruit ice cubes one by Mariah - yummy!
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  • Relax: A day should not pass where your mind becomes so clouded that you do not take out a few moments for yourself. In all the stress of the retrograde, especially, now is the time to relax. Take a nice, hot bath as you sip a cup of Earl Grey; stretch and do some yoga or go for a light jog; read under a tree. Do something to be at peace with yourself and the things around you, even if for a short moment.
  • Journal: Yes. That is all. Journaling is a good way to get your thoughts out. Whether you understand them or not, journal. When the retrograde passes you can look back at what you have written and find that you understand it. Also take a look back at old journals. There may be new meaning that you happen upon. If you don't have any words for things that are going on, try art journaling, photo journaling, or even dream journaling. There are endless ways to journal, and none of them are wrong.
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  • Learn: Feel an unusual push/pull that almost went unnoticed? Do not ignore it, for it may be something that the universe wants you to notice. Just make sure that what you do notice is in accordance with the other things from this list, as you still want to be mindful of what is around you. You can also take this as a tip to do some research into something you may not know about! Before Mercury actually went direct, I did some shopping for books about my tribe - Choctaw Nation - as well as general writing by Native Americans about our issues. Other than the recent controversy about the Redskins, people don't really have knowledge unless they are involved. Perhaps check out Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry if you are at a loss for what to do with your time~ EONM is an organization I really admire.
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Since self-care is really the key during Mercury Retrograde (or at least in my opinion,) I've compiled some cute things from other Pulp Babes that you can take a look at or read while you relax. All of these pieces are from the self-care section or relating to one of the above listed things.

Take Care - a comic by Molly, a reminder
The Legal (And Healthy) Miracle Herb by Lucy, some health
Comfort: A Click Away by Myself, some electronic health
On Being a Lone Wolf by Myself, some emotions
My First Skin-Baring Photoshoot by Georgia, some nostalgia
Hotlines & Resources for Those in Need by Candy, some love
Once Upon A Dream - a photoshoot by Jessi Jae Joplin, some creation
For When You Need a Pick Me Up by Kiki, some journaling
The Trans Asterisk and Why We Need To Stop Using It by Gabriel, some learning

The list may have looked long, but be assured that it will help ease the stress that is felt during Mercury Retrograde. Go ahead and tweet/DM @cosmicdear for more chat on the Mercury Retrograde or just if you need someone to be a listening ear. If you do not have twitter or would my other contacts, please feel free to email me:

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Happy retrograde!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

The Good, the Bad, and the Vital!

For my third Vox Box of the year, Influenster sent me the Vita Vox Box. This box was full of fun things that didn't necessarily connect in one way or another, but were all vital to everyday life, which I've realised after testing them for this semi-short period. If you've been reading my blog up until now you may have already seen a few things, so this will just round up my final points and thoughts on the products. So what did they send me and how did I like everything?
  • Playtex Sport tampons
  • Softlips lipbalm cube (missing from my package)
  • First Degree burn cream tube
  • Elizabeth Arden Flawless Future Ceremide Capulet Serum
  • Pure Leaf tea, unsweetened
  • Bikini Ready Lifestyle gummy vitamin sample

A lot of what was included quickly became my favourite things, which may have been the work of the universe. "I have never even burned myself enough to use this," I said when I opened the box and discovered the burn cream, which quickly became my biggest need over the two months, Tampons, always good. The lipbalm cube had also come in my Spring Vox Box, so I was able to keep loving that and sharing it. Pure Leaf, well I've wasted all my money on that. Elizabeth Arden might not be for sensitive faces, so I've had my mum using it.

One thought I have is what is the proper rating for this box? 0/10 since Influenster didn't give me the full bottle of Bikini Ready haha. Totally KIDDING, of course! I rate each product separately, but I do give this box an overall A rating.

Playtex Sport: 5/5 VITAL
One of my previous entries was dedicated to Playtex Sport and my thoughts on the tampons. I recall, "For getting me to go from hating tampons to testing and loving them, 5/5. Definitely worth at least trying. I don't think there are any cons to this except maybe that they are scented and this can be irritating to the body - and I haven't seen any unscented ones. Other than that, everything is swell."

Softlips lipbalm cube: 4/5 VITAL
Though I'm not sure if I have ever given a proper rating for this product, I have found other lipbalms that I don't have to apply so frequently. We won't get into that now. However, I do love this product. "Though not conventionally shaped, it is very compact which I found convenient. Since I have skin that tends  to get oily, choosing a product can become problematic. I'd definitely recommend this after having used it."

First Degree burn cream: 5/5 VITAL
Oh where do I start? As I said before, I didn't think I would need this product. Within the first five days of having it around I did. Though not a burn, the cream really helped to heal a badly busted nail. Out of the three active ingredients, two of them can be beneficial for most types of cuts, scrapes, etc. I have since used this on food burns, scratches, open bug-bites, and even small open areas from hitting my toes on things. Perfection.

Elizabeth Arden Flawless Future Ceremide Caplet Serum: 3/5 GOOD
If you've been reading, you have probably already seen an entry dedicated to this product. I have had my ups and downs with it, but it isn't a bad product. And my mum likes it. To get Flawless Future to a 5/5 I would probably have to test other products in the line as this particular one is not necessary to me personally at this time. If you find yourself stressed with wrinkles starting to show, however, I do recommend this!

Pure Leaf tea: 5/5 VITAL
I don't know what it is about this tea, but I feel like it is definitely better than the others. The price, not so much. But you do get what you pay for. After having a sip of the one sent to me, I did add a pinch or two of sugar as unsweetened really isn't my... cup of tea. (Pun unintended, really.) Anyways, I tried out both the unsweetened and sweetened on multiple occasions and decided I loved it. If you have the $2 per bottle to spend, do it! If not, you can always buy a package of Lipton tea bags and make your own at home~

Bikini Ready Lifestyle gummies: 5/5 VITAL
Yet another product I have dedicated a whole post to. "Out of all the supplements I have tried, I think this might be my favourite. I wasn't drained after the supplements wore off, and I didn't feel shaky while still at full energy." The only setback is that a bottle is about $15 plus shipping & handling + tax if a local store doesn't carry the line depending on the state, which is something I can't do. But, this doesn't mean this wasn't an ace product. I may have to get a bottle for when I go out of state, so I'm at full energy and in good spirits the whole time.

This is it~ This box of products sent by Influenster for testing is definitely VITAL! Be sure to tune in for a guest post, reviews of gifts Influenster supporting companies have sent me, and more~

Monday, 22 September 2014

Learn to feel Strong Body Love

Earlier in the month I was somehow extremely lucky to receive an email with the conference code for Ashley Burnett's self love conference. Since it was over the phone I, like many others, expected it to be something addressing a group of people who were very self loathing. What I got was the exact opposite.While on the line with Ashley and hundreds of other women I somehow felt that she was speaking directly to me and guiding me to the tools I really need. For an hour I took notes (five pages) and participated in meditation exercises - definitely not something I expected!

Ashley teaches about how despite women coming into power, there is still this aspect of not fulling loving ourselves. We have the ability to move towards beautiful and loving relationships with ourselves, so why don't we? For whatever reason(s) we are standing in our own way, and therefore missing out on the large amounts of people we can impact if we were in a space of complete love and confidence.

But how does one achieve such a thing? It seems really hard, but by the end of the call I was already feeling so much better about myself. Set your intentions. For me it was to be comfortable in all aspects of life. But you also need to establish what you would really like and why. Ashley offers quite a few programs, but the one she used to aid this call was her Body Compassion Boot-Camp. It is there that you will learn how to set your intentions in a very clear way and work on different ways to achieve these intentions. The course lasts six weeks and actually has a new session starting on Tuesday. If you feel that you are ready to or need to end a war with your body, stop negative thoughts about it, create a positive image of yourself, start eating clean, get to the next level of your physicality, or feel free in your body then this is definitely a program for you.

(Obviously) I also mean that if you are sick of diets that don't work and want to learn what you are doing wrong and how to take charge and make change, then this is how. Diets are designed to deprive and almost always backfire, she will teach you. You have to learn to love and respect yourself before any method of weight loss can work. Another thing she teaches you is that what you think can really impact how your brain reacts to things. If you've ever heard the saying "Telling a lie long enough enables you to believe that it is true yourself, though you know it is not," or something along those lines... this is exactly the same. If you say you hate your body enough, eventually you will. BUT YOU CAN REVERSE THAT.

"[Manifesting is] a process and always remember: thoughts grow stronger as they're shared, so say it out loud to the Universe, [write] it down, and share it with your friends!" she told me in an email. If you feel bad about your body but want to change that, than why not let everyone know? Since the call I've emailed back and forth with her a few times about if I would be able to participate in the program or not and also about blogging about her program. Never did I imagine that I would be so impacted by a call or further impacted by emails. I decided to ask her a few questions, so you can get to know a little bit more about her line of thinking:

BRIDGETTE: Would you say you're happier now that you've begun to help others?
ASHLEY: I've always known I've meant to do work that's of service to others...and in a way I always have.  Teaching dance, massage therapy, and coaching have all been areas of service based work that I've engaged in and it's all been very rewarding.  I will say that this does contribute to my happiness--to help people live more fulfilling, connected, and fully expressed lives.

B: In three words, can you describe Body Compassion Boot-Camp?
A: Strong Body Love (smiles) Or empowering, life-changing, and confidence-building.

TRIGGER WARNING: EATING DISORDERS. The following question is directly about eating disorders, but I felt it was an important question to ask, and I personally love her answer.

B: To any girl struggling with a disorder - anorexia, bulimia, body dysmorphic disorder, EDNOS, etc - do you have any advice or words of encouragement?
A: I have not struggled personally with any of these disorders but here's what I'd say to these women: YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, you are powerful beyond measure, and you are wonderfully imperfect. You have a beautiful body and it is truly, truly AMAZING. It’s worthy of your LOVE and affection—it’s done SO MUCH for you over your life so far and will continue to do so, it deserves to be your BFF... Think about all the time, over all the years that you’ve wasted on thinking negative thoughts about your body and yourself. All time spent in your head and not in your body, driving yourself seriously crazy. All the comparison and judgment began. Here’s the thing, it’s not your fault.  You weren’t born hating your body…you were taught to hate it. But now it's time to let go and LOVE, love, love.

She has also done an in-depth interview with Michelle Konstantinovsky of the Huffington Post which you can read here. If there's anything you can take away from this it is to just love yourself. Without loving yourself you cannot create change in yourself as a person, in your workplace, or in life. If you think negatively about yourself, acknowledge that you do so and work on learning to be positive when you think of yourself or look in the mirror. And always, always know that you have to forgive yourself for whatever harmful thinking you have done and be open to receiving love from yourself and the Universe. Check back in the next month for blogs about my personal reflections since participating.

Photos were taken from the Strong Body Love website. Unfortunately I myself am not participating in this program at this time - this is why - but she has been so helpful in trying to accommodate me and helping me over email, so I do encourage that if you can take any of her classes that you do so. Stay tuned for my final thoughts on my Vita Vox Box and blogs about some companies that I'm really loving.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

How do I #PlayOn? Let me tell you...

Finally, I'm back! Blogging may not have been the best choice for me, due to my fluctuating stress level, but I truly do enjoy it. The following may not be a review all of you care for (especially you males, I know certain biological female things make you uncomfortable.) Skip on if you don’t have a period, read if you do! 
As part of the current Vox Box - Vitality - Influenster sent me a box of Playtex Sport tampons. Although I’ve had my period for almost 10 years now, I’ve never found tampons to be comfortable. Occasionally recently I found myself using Kotex brand regular security tampons but still wasn’t quite satisfied. Receiving this as a product made be really happy because I knew they would be great (as always with Influenster) - and they were.

Not only has this been a good experience in the period department because of the ease of application and removal, but I think this might be one of the best products I’ve tested. I would recommend this brand to anyone, and let them know that these are comfortable in every aspect; they can hardly be felt. There are some times when I sit down and find myself in extreme discomfort if I don't slide down in a certain way, but this may just be my own personal problem. 

Because I take birth control to regulate my period, I was able to keep the same box for about three months - most people I know use one box per period. If you have a light period, then these would be perfect. I use them for long walks, when I go out for extended periods (pun wasn't intended), dancing, stretching, yoga, and swimming. So that's really everything I do, honestly. My sister ended up taking some since she didn't remember to ask for the ones she gets and said they were even better than her brand (I forget which, but I know they're a paper applicator; who likes paper applicators? No thanks!) From here on out, this will be the brand I stick to.

I have found that this product can be purchased wherever similar products are sold, and yes they are a little pricier than some of the competing brands but they are completely worth it. 
My rating: 5/5
For getting me to go from hating tampons to testing them & loving them. What a feat, but it went so well. Definitely worth at least trying! There are always coupons for Playtex products, so if you really don't want to spend that extra dollar then keep your eye out. I don't think there are any cons to this except maybe that they are scented and this can be irritating to the body - and I haven't seen any unscented ones. Other than that, everything is swell.

Pictured: iPod touch 5th gen, playing New Beat Fund | Playtex Sport lightly scented | Nike Fitsole for Women | Hum Nutrition, Runway Ready. For links or prices, tweet/IG dm @cosmicdear~

Monday, 8 September 2014

Are you ready to live the #BikiniReadyLifestyle? I wasn't!

Out of all the supplements I have tried, I think Bikini Ready might be my favourite. So what have I tried? There was the green tea supplements which are used primarily for weight loss but also boost energy because of the high amount of protien. I've taken Disney and superhero vitamins for children because they always give a good boost to my immune system and overall energy. Just recently I started taking Runway Ready from Hum Nutrition - which I will be blogging about soon.

But what I love about Bikini Ready is the small amount of caffeine in it. The amount is miniscule in comparison to the green tea supplements I was taking, yet I had a load of energy and my appetite was suppressed without a nagging feeling that I should have been eating. Not over-eating was the best thing in the world, because I tend to do that. Unfortunately for me, I wasn't given the whole bottle - probably the only disappointing thing about the box of products I was sent to test.

Make sure to eat before you take these, as it is extremely dangerous to lose your appetite on an empty stomach. I was so dizzy that even drinking water didn't help and I had to force myself I eat. Luckily it was my first day of job training and I was kept busy enoug not to notice until almost dinner time. But don't take any chances!

What are some things you can do if you don't work? Work out! A balance of eating healthy and activity whilst on these supplements has got to be a killer combo. The results I have both seen and felt are amazing. Personally, I fancy yoga, swimming, or forms of cardio that can be done in the pool or on the grass. 

My rating: 5/5
I loved how I wasn't drained after the supplements wore off, and didn't feel shaky while still at full energy. Definitely a supplement I would love to take consistently and could stay faithful too. When taken correctly I don't think there are any cons. Unfortunately for me there isn't a merchant nearby and I'm not sure how I feel about buying a bottle online for $15 + tax, shipping, and handling. Definitely recommend looking at nearby stores or seeing how tax, shipping, and handling are in your states, though, because if this is a price you can afford or don't mind then it is 100% worth it! 

Product received complimentary for testing purposes from Influenster. Photo taken from my personal Twitter account.

Elizabeth Arden #FlawlessFuture powered by ceramide caplet serum REVIEW

As someone who often finds herself stressed out, the Flawless Future ceramide caplet serum by Elizabeth Arden is a dream. This anti-stress skincare product is made to help aid in the slowing of early aging. For those of you that don't know - signs of aging may be sped up due to stress. To ensure that this is to the point, you can visit the Elizabeth Arden website for your country to get more information on the product, or email me!

The first time I used the product, my face was just clearing up from a break-out and ended up having some sort of reaction. Mortified is the only way to describe how I felt about my face breaking out all over, over night. "Mum, I might have to give this to you, I don't think my face agrees with it," and away the serum went. That point had me ready to give one of those one-out-of-ten-because-zero-isn't-allowed type of reviews because if it made a break out worse, what sort of face would it actually work on?

When I realised perhaps it would work in areas that weren't already irritated, half of the bottle had already been used. But that didn't stop me from further testing it! My whole life my eyes have been a tad sunken in, and when I have dark circles they show terribly. You can see what I mean below.

Why not use the product under my eyes only? So I dabbed a bit under one, a bit under the other, and rubbed the access under my temples. Immediately I could feel some sort of feeling in my skin, and I was impressed out how soft the patches of skin were. It even seemed as if they had puffed out in a firmer way, which was really nice. Unfortunately, I'm honestly scared to use this after the bad reaction I had the first time. It wasn't an allergic reaction, but the irritation to a few small pimples I felt was ridiculous. Because my face is so sensitive and reacts badly to even organic products at times, I think I will just let my mum keep this one and try out Elizabeth Arden when I am a bit older.

My rating: 3/5
Though I liked this, I wasn't able to use it enough to fully judge the product. There were no visible signs of change in my mum's face though she has used it consistently. I also tend to dislike anti-aging products that aren't made for all faces, and in my opinion, this product was not. Samples or travel sizes are definitely worth trying and if it works for you, then I would be glad that you've found a nice product!

If there is any more you want to know about the product, or if you're interested in purchasing it, you may do so here.

Product received complimentary for testing purposes from Influenster. Photos have been taken from my personal Facebook account.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

What's that? A new release?

Boxed Set Release
11 August 2014

Written by Meg Collett
Paranormal Romance

Available EXCLUSIVELY on Amazon

All images by Adrienne McNellis Photography
Edited by Courtney Koschel & Elizabeth Phelps

Archangel Michaela, Heaven's General, learns that one simple mistake can have a thousand consequences. Framed for crimes she didn't commit against Heaven, Michaela must prove her innocence. But the line between right and wrong is ever shifting, and Michaela, disgraced and wingless, discovers the holy angels have their own plan for Heaven, and it is one that may prove to be the End of Days.

A group of rogue angels have turned their attention to the End of Days, and they won't rest until they obtain the tools of Earth's final destruction: The Seven Seals. But Archangel Michaela knows the secret about the seals, and she'll fight to the death to protect them. Even amidst the devastation on Earth, Michaela struggles with her love for Gabriel, a recently fallen angel.

In the final installment of the End of Days series, a heavenly civil war breaks out amongst the angels, and the stakes are higher than ever before. It's the war Michaela wanted, but she's realising it might not be the one she's meant to fight. What is mercy and sacrifice in the face of tyranny and madness? It's a lesson Michaela might not live long enough to fully understand.



Meg Collett lives deep in the hills of Tennessee where the cell phone service is a blessing and the internet is a myth of epic proportions. She is the mother of one giant horse named Elle and two dogs named Wylla and Mandy. Her husband is a saint for putting up with her ragtag life. End of Days is her first series.

You can contact Mrs. Collett at the links below:

 Happy release to Meg! Use for 5% of your purchase to be donated to a charity/organisation of your choice. Keep an eye out on my blog for giveaways, photo journals, guest posts, and more!

Friday, 8 August 2014

Giveaway winner!

First I must apologise for how late this is - about a full day! I was unable to post at the stated time, and figured an additional day couldn't hurt. With posts that went around every social media to reach over 200,000 viewers or more, I must say that I am a little disappointed at the turn out of this giveaway. The stats on the post alone were amazing, and I only wish that the comments were a quarter of the total views.

But without further ado, let's announce the winner! Allison Leighann, congratulations! I hope you will enjoy this read, and if you want to gift that to someone else then please feel free! Let me know the name and email you would like this sent to, and it will be added to the list of winners and be out at the end of the month.

Allison entered with a creative piece that continued the prompt I left, which I will leave below since I'm blogging from Stacie's house and don't have access to the many promotional photos I've collected:

Her concentration waned as she stared at the blank canvas and her eyes wandered to the shadow she had seen before in the day. As she fixed her eyes where the shadow had existed only hours earlier, she could've sworn that the shadow she'd seen had the specific outline of him. But even as the slight desperation in her brain wanted it to be so, her logic told her that there was no way that it could've been. He'd been gone for two years. Two whole years. The fact that she was even still thinking about him, seeing him in overplayed song lyrics, old memories, and now, apparently, shadows, was something that she really needed to get a handle on. Old lyrics were one thing, but to miss someone so sharply that it invaded everyday observations such as a shadow on a wall - that was borderline fanatical.


Sunday, 3 August 2014

GIVEAWAY: Digital copy of Tortured by Kate Givans

Are you a fan of adult or contemporary novels? Perhaps you are looking for a new book to read? I've got just the thing for you. Tortured by Kate Givans was just published in July, and in honor of this I'll be doing a giveaway. Tortured is a romantic drama about loss, healing, and love's ability to reach beyond scars and secrets, no matter how deep or hidden.

WARNING: This book is intended for 18+ readers ONLY. Potentially triggering content and concepts in books to follow. 

More than a year after the death of his best friend, Josh is still tormented by the past. Everything changes when free-spirited Willow barges into his life. She challenges him, helps him feel something other than the overwhelming pain, sadness, and anger.
There's just one problem. 
Underneath that carefree spirit, Willow is elusive and secretive.Josh believes she may be fighting a few demons of her own, but he harder he tries to uncover the truth, the more she pushes him away. 
Can Josh get her to open up before it’s too late? Or will he discover that some secrets are better left untold?

This synopsis had me, and I've been lucky enough to win a signed paperback of this book! Though I couldn't help myself and do have the Kindle version. One lucky winner will be getting their own Kindle, Kobo, Nook, or PDF version of their own. 

For your chance to win Tortured by Kate Givans, all you need to do is respond to the following prompt in the comments. You can do this however you choose, so long as it is creative. One entry per person. 

Her concentration waned as she stared at the blank canvas and her eyes wandered to the shadow she had seen before in the day.

You have between now, 3 August, and 7 August at 13:00 PST which is when I will be closing this giveaway. The winner will be chosen then and announced at 21:00 PST the same day. 

Please leave your comment with the best way to contact you, as I will need a response within 48 hours of making the announcement. If there is no response a new winner will be chosen. The winner will receive their prize after 29 August because of the amount of people taking part in this blitz.

Quirky, clumsy, and always a little off-key, Kate Givans has always loved books and the words contained within. Now that she's writing the stories, she's filling them with broken characters, angst, and even a few of those happily-ever-afters that seem to evade us in real life. 

When not writing, this wife and mother of five can be found guzzling coffee, day-dreaming, dancing for no reason at all, playing with the voices in her head, watching her favourite shows (Originals, Grey's, OUAT, The Following), listening to music, and reminding herself to "breathe." 

Connect with her here:

For bonus entries, you may refer whoever you like and let them know to leave the name you entered with in their comment. The more people you get here, the more entries you get! (Kate and I don't count.) +1 entry per referral, +2 entries for those following me. If you've stumbled upon this through a street team on facebook, you are exempt from posting the prompt or get +1 entries for stating so - thanks for helping out indie authors!

Thirteen Things, Issue 2

Things that inspire me, things I find aesthetically pleasing. Things I want to share, things people want to share. Email me if you'd like something featured.

The following images do not belong to me, nor can I properly source them.

#1, candles

#2, high tea

#3, radiant cosmetics

#4, tarot readings

#5, organised desks

 #6, elegant jewellery 

#7, dream-like photoshoots

#8, "nude" nails

#9, spacious rooms

#10, comics with a message

#11, eyes

#12, palmistry diagrams

#13, quirky bookshelves

Monday, 28 July 2014

Tourmente, a playlist

As promised here is a playlist for Tortured, created by the author herself. Please also check out the spotlight I put up for the book and the excerpts as well. This link leads to a Spotify version of the playlist. There is a star (*) next to the songs that weren't available.

Shinedown, Save Me

The Fray, You Found Me

Get Scared, Built for Blame

3 Doors Down, So Far Down*

Bush, Greedy Fly

Nickleback, Savin’ Me

Stone Sour, Bother

Papa Roach, Scars

The Fray, How to Save a Life

Coldplay, Fix You

Imagine Dragons, Demons

Jasmine Thomspon, Everybody Hurts

Seether, Fade Away

Goo Goo Dolls, Before It’s Too Late

Sick Puppies, All the Same

John Legend, All of Me

Hoobastank, Lucky

Adelitas Way, Alive

Evanescence, Bring Me to Life

Little Green Cars, The John Wayne

Breaking Benjamin, Diary of Jane

Fireflight, Desperate

LynardSkynard, Free Bird

Goo Goo Dolls, Here is Gone

3 Doors Down, Let Me Go

The Fray, Never Say Never

Art of Dying, Die Trying

Which song is your favourite? Leave a comment~ Also, stay tuned this week for a blog revealing what sorts of things I get in the mail: from companies, friends, authors; possible reviews depending on my schedule; and cool things from cool authors. Who knows? There might even be a giveaway or two coming.