Thursday, July 28, 2011

Your legacy.... on the internet

So I ran across a story of a young woman suing her school for naming a co-valedictorian instead of assigning that role only to herself. In her lawsuit she claims that the fact she is black and a single mother were the reasons behind the school's choice.

She is asking for $75,000 in damages and asking that the school recognizes her as the only valedictorian of her class.

Read the whole story here

So here is my thought, what happens now when someone Google's the name "Kimberly Wymberly"? All that will pop up is the story of this lawsuit. Frankly, I think this makes her look petty. I mean, if she was suing her school and only demanded that they recognize her as the sole valedictorian and they needed to pay her legal fees when it was over, I could see that. But this smacks as greed with a grandstanding race card pulled out of her hat.

What will a future employer think when he sees her history? That she is a women who stands up for her rights and a just cause? Or a scam artist who will take advantage of the opportunity to sue for the sake of suing?

So in this age of technology and employers searching Facebook and Myspace for information about employees, is this really the best bet for your future when with one click, this is the first and lasting impression a future boss has of you.

What do you think, would you want this kind of Internet legacy for yourself? Do you think she is legit, greedy or somewhere in between?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Homemade Sugar Scrub

So does anyone else look at their personal products ingredients and get a little freaked out? I can't pronounce half of them, much less know what they are. I just keep thinking "does my skin actually need this?!?!". I mean, I have acne, I try to watch what I put on my body and especially on my face. Which is why I also dislike wearing makeup, not only do I believe that it is used as an unhealthy crutch for women, it is just plain bad for your skin. Why do you think so many aestheticians tell you to WASH OFF YOUR MAKEUP BEFORE BED. Seriously, they are practically yelling at you to do it.

(not that I, or most other women, do)

So after getting worried about all these ingredient I didn't know and having a growing awareness that half of them were bad for my skin, I decided to do... nothing.

You didn't see that coming, did ya?

No really, I didn't do anything. I'm not an organic vegan type who wants to live off the earth and wear only what God gave me. It just isn't my style.

But I did start on one little journey- last night I made some homemade sugar scrubs. Here's the thing, I LOVE sugar scrubs. They do amazing things for my skin and I feel totally all polished up (and smell delightful) after using them. But they are not cheap. Well, the good kind isn't ;)   About $12 will buy you a 12oz tube which will last you around 5 scrubbings. For $15, you can make your own and have around 40 scrubbings. Quite a bit of savings, yes?

So here we go, my The Ultimately Easy Way To Homemade Sugar Scrubs

Here is the recipe:

3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil (I used extra virgin but I have heard you could use Jojoba Oil, Coconut Oil or even Baby Oil. I wanted my scrub to be entirely edible so I went with Olive Oil)

2 Tablespoons of Honey (this is up to you, I liked the antibacterial nature of honey for my acne and skin tone issues)

1/2 Cup of Sugar (Cane sugar or regular brown sugar, I experimented with both. I've been told organic sugar is a no-no for this)

So I went shopping and came home with these items:

(left to right)
Pure Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fischer's Honey
Domino Dark Brown Sugar
Domino Sugar
Cinnamon Extract
Mint Extract

And then I splurged on these, a lovely glass container to put my scrub in whilst it is sitting in my shower and some plastic craft jars so I could share my concotions with a few friends.

Yellow is my signature color and of course I wanted my containers to look nice when I was done, so I HAD to invest in some pretty ribbon to wrap around the top

So here we go, I swear I spent more time getting all my brand new products open than I did actually making my scrub =)

Oh, before you attempt to do anything remotely crafty or with cooking tools I suggest you find yourself a decent music playlist for those inevitable "what the crap did I just do?!?!" moments

Trust me, if you are getting down to Bite The Dust, slipping up won't hardly matter nearly as much if all you had in your mind was the echoing failure you just committed.

I also suggest grabbing your refreshing beverage of choice to glug as you are creating genius.

Can you tell I try to turn projects into some kind of weird minuscule vacation?

Tools you need.

~A bowl to mix in

~A spoon or spatula to mix it with (my Mom would be so proud if she knew I used this Pampered Chef spatula for the first time since I got it at Christmas)

~1/2 measuring cup and a tablespoon

In general, I was taught to eyeball everything but because this is new to me, I went the old fashioned route and actually measured my ingredients.

I'm sorry Grandma!!

 So measure out 1/2 cup of sugar, pour in 3 tablespoons of Olive Oil, then add 2 tablespoons of honey. Word to the wise (and me), this stuff will s.l.o.w.l.y seep into your sugar so you will be tempted to think "this looks a bit dry, more oil/honey!"- DON'T FALL FOR IT   Those measurements are perfect, just mix it well and then let it sit for a minute or two.

I was too impatient and started adding more left and right and I ended up with a bit too soupy a mixture that I had to fix.

At this point, feel free to add in any various smell ingredients. I chose mint and cinnamon extract as those are two fragrences I adore. They were out of lemon at Walmart :(
You could add in vanilla extract, orange extract, coffee grounds or really any kind of spice you like.

This is what my white sugar/honey/oil with mint extract looked like after mixing:

This is what the brown sugar/honey/oil with cinnamon extract looked like:

Now, toward the end, I got a bit crazy and mixed my sugars together. Sue me.

Frankly, I wasn't sure if I wanted to just eat it at this point or go ahead and do it right. I resisted the temptation and added in my honey/oil. Turns out, mixing sugars is a fine idea but really the only change is the color.

So this is what I ended up with for my personal stash. Mixing sugars with various flavors was fun for my small containers for my friends but I just threw all of mine in one jar to use. I figure the only thing setting them apart is color and smell at this point so I didn't mind mixing it all up together.

I was feeling pretty smug about my success with these sugar scrubs (I mean, I hadn't tried them yet but I figured they sure look pretty)

So I went ahead and got crazy. I made up a sugar/honey scrub for my face. I found (and by "found" I mean I dug out of my trash can) an old powder makeup containter and cleaned it out. Then I put some sugar and honey in it. I stirred and added more honey or more sugar until I got exactly what I wanted. I used this that night and it was AM.AZ.ING on my skin. I felt weird at first to scrub my face with admittedly painful sugar crystals but then the feeling of glorious CLEAN set it. It was totally worth a bit of harsh rubbing to feel how smooth and clean my skin felt after using this concoction.

So there you have it, a way too wordy lesson on sugar scrubs. But wait! There's more.

After all that work.... alright, after spending 15 minutes doing this, I decided one cute ribbon wasn't enough for my handiwork. So I dug out (literally) all my old scrapbooking supplies and finished up the look by adding some ribbon around the sides and a note on the top of the jar. Behold my Martha Stewart moment:

(I put the plain jar with the fancy one side-by-side so you could see how much nicer it looks all dressed up)

So there is the true end. Honestly, I feel so good about doing this that I am thinking about making my next project be homemade lipgloss.

Oh! And as a bonus, try using your olive oil as a makeup remover or moisturizer. You will be pleasantly surprised if you put a light coat on your face at night and wakeup to smooth skin the next morning.

(as a side note- I did use the sugar scrub and it felt awesome! Just like *maybe even a bit better* than my $12 professional salon scrub)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Breath Of Angel *book review*

Publisher's synopsis:
When Melaia, a young priestess, witnesses the gruesome murder of a stranger in the temple courtyard, age-old legends recited in song suddenly come to life. She discovers wings on the stranger, and the murderer takes the shape of both a hawk and a man.

Angels. Shape-shifters. Myths and stories—until now.

Melaia finds herself in the middle of a blood feud between two immortal brothers who destroyed the stairway to heaven, stranding angels in the earthly realm. When Melaia becomes a target, she finds refuge with a band of angels attempting to restore the stairway. But the restoration is impossible without settling an ancient debt—the “breath of angel, blood of man,” a payment that involves Melaia’s heart, soul, and destiny

First off, I would say this book is a good start to what might be a great series. It has a bit of everything to offer; adventure and mystery, romance and betrayal, friendships and evil. Who doesn't love all of those?

The weak points in the book are the character development, you will grow very frustrated by Melaia's simpleness and bad choices. But you also cheer for her as she makes up her mind about her crush Tevin and the secrets she learns about her past during the course of the story.

If you are looking for a book with Christian themes, this is not it. Yes, there are angels and a Most High figure but that is where any resemblence ends. The Most High is very vaugely referenced and the angels feel more like wizards than spiritual beings.

All that aside, it was a good read that had interesting characters and a fast pace. If you like SciFi/fantasy, this is your book

*I recieved this book free from the Blogging For Books program through WaterBrook Multnomah*

Buy it on

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Place Called Blessing (book review)

 Five-year-old Josh and his two older brothers lose their parents in a drunk-driving accident. A series of foster homes and a shocking tragedy eventually separate them, leaving Josh alone, angry, and distrustful of most everyone. At age eighteen, Josh strikes out on his own to find work. With only a high school education and few life skills, he is one step away from homelessness when he meets Anna and Mike. For the first time in his life, Josh receives unconditional love and something every human being craves, the gift of "the blessing."

I chose to review this book because I am looking at becoming a foster parent in a year or two, so the premise of a child who lives through the foster care system and how that impacts him was something I wanted to explore.
This book is written as a fiction read, actually, it is fiction but with a non-fiction point.
From what I understood, the author wrote this as a companion to his nonfiction book called “The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance”
The following is the synopsis for it “The Blessing by Drs. John Trent and Gary Smalley explains how the biblical gift of "the blessing" is the key to one's self-worth and emotional well-being. A foundational parenting tool, "the Blessing" consists of five essential elements: meaningful touch, a spoken message, attaching value, picturing a special future, and an active commitment. If you've missed out on the approval of your parents, the final chapters are for you. They include help for those who grew up without their own parent's blessing and ideas for blessing events”
After reading “A Place Called Blessing” I am very interested in getting my hands on a copy of the original book.
But back to the review- this story is a simple read (which I appreciate) and written only from the perspective of the character Josh so it has a limited scope of details but what really draws you in is the way you can picture this young boy and all he went through. By meeting and being accepted by just two people, his whole world was changed from an angry loner to a man who found forgiveness and a family.
The point of this whole story was that anyone can give a blessing by using the five essential elements: meaningful touch, a spoken message, attaching value, picturing a special future, and an active commitment.
Through a fictional story the author gives an example of how each of those elements can be used in a person’s life and the change using them will have on the recipient.

*I recieved this book free from BookSneeze

I review for BookSneeze®

Life, In Spite Of Me (book review)

Kristen Anderson was 17 years old on the night she laid across a railroad track and waited to die. Over 30 cars passed over her but when she opened her eyes and looked to the right she saw laying there were her legs with the new white tennis shoes still on them. Both legs had been severed off completely.

This book was gripping. I admit, I didn’t have enough points to get the fiction book I really wanted so I chose this one as a “meh” sort of option. Boy was I in for a surprise.

Kristin had struggled with depression for months leading up to that night. That year she had dealt with the suicide of a friend and being raped at a party by a guy she thought liked her. She saw a counselor after the suicide and a psychiatrist when her grades started failing and her parents saw her picking up habits like drinking and smoking. The psychiatrist handed her an antidepressant medication and sent her on her way.

After time, Kristen’s depression and feelings of worthlessness led her to a park late at night where she looked at a line of train tracks and decided to let go of it all, thinking Heaven would be a better option than what she had.

When her suicide attempt failed, Kristen began her journey toward God and healing. This book takes you through what led up to her choice and how she moved past that night.

Two things stood out to me as I read Kristen’s story. The first scared me, this was a girl who came from a good home, had parents that loved her and grew up in the church. Simply put, she could have been me.

The next thing that hit me was the grace of God is shown in a million different ways. Kristen didn’t remember for years that she lost her legs because she attempted suicide. She didn’t remember the details of that night although she was told by doctors that was the reason she laid on the train track. She just couldn’t understand why she would do that and according to her, she couldn’t handle knowing that she tried to commit suicide. God placed protection over her by not letting her remember. While she struggled to rebuild a life without legs, deal with her depression and find true salvation, that memory was not a burden God left her to handle.

Over time, she did remember the details and she uses her story today to impact other teens struggling with suicidal thoughts. Her ministry website can be found here Reaching You

I would recommend this book to parents of teenagers and also to youth ministries at church. Kristen grew up in church; she knew the basics but never truly understood that salvation wasn’t about church but about Jesus. She didn’t have the hope of Christ to let her see past the depression and I wonder how many youth are in the same spot. They sing the songs, eat the cookies and drink the Kool-Aid but never really get it. It’s up to us to change that.

Hand this book to a teen you know or encourage your youth minister to start a book club using this as the kickoff to open the door to conversations about depression, suicide and how to overcome both through Christ’s powerful mercy and grace.

I received this book free from the Blogging For Books program by Waterbrook Multanomah. I wasn't coerced or bribed into giving positive reviews, just to give my honest opinion (this is a disclaimer for all you pessimists out there lol )