Thursday, January 26, 2017

Link Loves and Must-Reads 1/26 (Plus a Beauty Mishap)

Last night I had a rather unfortunate incident with my right eyebrow.  To avoid getting into too much detail, let's just say that it's not entirely there anymore and that I'm incredibly grateful for my mum's touch-up skills.  #oops 
My little accident aside, though, here are [some of] today's Link Loves and Must-Reads . . . .
  • Amy Rosoff Davis: Actress, Celebrity Trainer, Producer + So Much More... by Robin Shobin
    • Amy Rosoff Davis is, as the title of this article suggests, a woman of many vocations, one of which is trainer for people like Selena Gomez and Emma Roberts.  What I like the most about her interview with Charlotte's Book, though, is her refreshing perspective on wellness.  Instead of preaching the "harder, faster, longer" dogma that so many of us are used to hearing nowadays, she talks about flexibility, doing something different every day based on how you feel, and having a "healthy relationship with your body and your mind" because "to obsess over any detail--that's not healthy." Thank you!!
  • 10 Actions You Can Take Today to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint by Zoe Fox
    • We can't keep denying the fact that humans are playing a major part in climate change, but we can do something about it.  It's actually really empowering to think that by reducing how much time you spend driving or by buying second-hand clothes you can make a difference for the sake of our sweet planet's health and well-being.
  • The Pantry (Yes, Pantry) Products Nikki Reed Uses for Luminous Skin by Nikki Reed
    • My "skintervention" is a continuing process, and I'm experimenting right now with yogurt masks, MSM, and Vitamin A because, more so than breakouts, my biggest issue right now is scarring. I'm even versing myself in special acne scar terminology.  I didn't know there were so many kinds of scars, and I'm hoping to get mine at least a little bit better because they've been around for a while and I'd love to part ways at some point.  I know I probably will never have 100% scar-free skin, and I'm okay with that, but if there's one thing I've learned form this skintervention process is that it's important to take action while you can. Anyway, I like this article by Nikki Reed because of her advice about all-natural, cruelty-free, chemical-free beauty hacks (eg. avocado in your hair and jojoba on your skin). With the current state of the planet (see my second Must-Read, lol), reducing the chemicals we put into the environment (and into ourselves!) is so crucial for everybody's health.  
Cyber hugs for your Thursday!

<3 Frances

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Wednesday Playlist

There's so much going on right now, and all the energy can be overwhelming sometimes. That's why we need music.  Listening to it, playing it, writing it, reading it . . . these are all forms of meditation, right? Much love and light for everyone today.  I'm hoping to share more must-reads soon.  I gather articles in between time spent procrastinating and doing homework, and most of the stuff I've gotten to see this week has to do with the environment (#envirosciwritergirls), having a healthy outlook on life, and cruelty-free beauty.  Let's make change and keep it positive!

Billie Eilish: "Six Feet Under"

Emiliana Torrini: "Birds"

Nick Drake: "Pink Moon"

<3 Frances

Friday, January 20, 2017

Friday Playlist

I haven't gotten to share a playlist in a long time, and it's making me realize how I haven't been listening to as much music as I used to lately.  Maybe that's why it's been so difficult to write!  Music has such an incredible way of clearing the mind and distracting it from stressful thought forms (even-and sometimes even more so--if the song is sad), and it inspires creativity that seems to have been evading me recently. Hopefully some of these songs will reach your creative energy, too, and help make today a bit easier.

Daughter: "How"

The Lumineers: "Sleep On The Floor"

Kate Bush: "This Woman's Work"

<3 Frances 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Link Loves and Must-Reads 1/18

I'd told myself I'd write this on Monday (aka two days ago), but it just didn't happen.  Happy post- post- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!  I spent most of the holiday running up and down a rainy street trying to locate an apartment building, doing work for school, and feeding pets.  One positive development from this weekend is that my hermit crab has stopped climbing upside-down on the roof of her little house. She's finally seemed to realize (hopefully) how dangerous that is. . . .

Hermit crab antics aside, though, here are some shares for the day:
  • The Truth About Change by Heather Waxman
    • I love Heather's kind, holistic approach to living and connecting with our inner "soul sisters" (or brothers, etc.).  Her post on change is full of so much truth, and it always makes me feel a bit better to consider how change isn't something to be fought but rather a force we can work with.
  • This Superbug Is Resistant to All Antibiotics -- and Has Killed Its First American Victim by Tom Philpott
    • Okay, this one is very sad and upsetting and scary, but I think it's important to read anyway because it gets into the conversation about antibiotic-resistant bacteria and their relationship to factory farming. Factory farms are a a major user of antibiotics, and they're also responsible for massive animal cruelty.  My prayers are with the family of the woman who died, and also with animals in factory farms all over the world.
  • 5 Things I've Learned Living with 500 Plants by Summer Rayne Oakes 
    •  We may not all be able to afford nice Brooklyn apartments filled with plants, but this is a quirky reminder of how beneficial time in nature is.  And it's an inspiration to start an indoor garden. We have lots of little plants around our tiny apartment, and some of them have been around since I was a baby, so I often think of them as siblings. Looking at the pictures of Summer Rayne Oake's plant-filled abode is fun because all the green is so refreshing.  It's amazing how much I want to go hug a plant right now.
Best Wednesday wishes!
<3 Frances 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Jill's Library: "Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature"

Growing up, Beatrix Potter was such an integral part of my everyday life that I nearly made my senior yearbook quote the first line of Peter Rabbit.  When I'm teaching, Beatrix is an author I'm always drawn to, and I used to watch the lovely animated adaptations of her "little books" as a source of comfort whenever I traveled away from home.  Because of my fascination with and love for her, learning about her life beyond the world of Benjamin Bunny and Tom Kitten was an entirely necessary pursuit, and I'm excited (and admittedly a bit sad) to have just finished Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature by Linda Lear. When I began making my way through the account of Beatrix's life, I was a bit intimidated by the heavy language and technical information (so many dates!), but Lear managed to intersperse them with such sincerity and depth that the romantic elements of Beatrix's imagination, her tragic first love, and her country home weren't lost amongst the complicated details of financial issues and fell farming.

Image result for beatrix potter

Following Beatrix as she transitions from a young woman confined to the expectations of Victorian society into a strong and capable farmer really altered my idea of her as an individual.  I've always been inspired by her, but her strength in the face of hardships--like the death of her beloved fiance Norman, her strained relationship with her mother, and her frequent bouts of illness--add a level of depth to her character that I hadn't entirely seen before. Beatrix also had a level of pragmatism that people may not be aware of given the fantastical elements of her little children's stories.  She was truly a naturalist at heart more than anything else.  She loved nature and being in nature, and her art was as scientific as it was fantastical.  All her characters and settings were drawn from observation and captured the realities of proportions and visuals, and she translated country life into her stories with her rich illustrations and prose. Her perspective on life is also refreshing.  She truly embraced the wisdom and experience that come with age, and Lear included a quote of hers in A Life in Nature that I find particularly inspiring:
"Do you not feel it is rather pleasing to be so much wiser than quantities of young idiots?"

I also found the end of A Life in Nature to be incredibly meaningful in the way it ties Beatrix's naturalist ideas to her stories and her continued impact on the world.  Lear eloquently connects Beatrix's incorporation of the natural world into her stories to the progress of the environmentalist movement and shows how books like Peter Rabbit can inspire people to see the beauty in a world that has largely disappeared due to industry and modernization.  I highly recommend that anyone who was ever influenced by Jemima Puddleduck or Mrs. Tittlemouse to give Lear's biography of Beatrix Potter a looking at.  It's a very thick book, yes, but the story it shares is a compelling one, and the 100-odd pages of references in the back are fun for us literary-types, too.

<3 Frances

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Good News for Animals

Getting up at 5:55 AM instead of 5:15 AM makes such a difference.  It's not something I'll be able to do again in the near future during the work week, but I'm grateful for the extra sleep today because of so. many. tests.  Something else I'm grateful for?  Fake skin!  Okay, that sounds odd, but what I'm talking about is the fake skin being produced as a substitute for animals in product testing. 
MatTek grows its own human skin, and then sells it to companies that want it—companies that make laundry detergent, makeup, toilet bowl cleaner, anti-aging creams, tanning lotion.  Without lab-grown skin, these companies would be testing products on animals, usually rabbits, shaved to expose patches of naked skin. This practice is straight-up illegal for cosmetics in Europe now, and increasingly ethically dubious everywhere else.  (Sarah Zang)
Isn't it awesome that science is being used to save animals now instead of to hurt them?  While my favorite products are the ones that are natural and don't need intensive testing, I'm excited about the possibility of all companies being able to abandon animal testing practices and use synthetic skin instead.  Science for the win this time!

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That's our happy news for the day.

<3 Frances

Monday, January 9, 2017

Link Loves and Must-Reads (Again)

I know some of these articles aren't exactly new, but they're still meaningful reads, and if you get the chance, you should definitely check them out.

<3 Frances

Golden Globes Fashion Haul

Hi, friends!  It is so cold outside today, and there is ice everywhere.  I'm hoping everyone stays safe this morning.  There are cute little bird footprints in the snow (awww), but I feel sorry for the birdies to have to be in such a chilly climate right now.  It was pretty warm up until last week.  I think all our Christmas weather just decided to come at once.  But the benefit of having work delayed today is that we got to watch some of the Golden Globes last night.  There's so much struggle in the world right now, and in life, and it's nice to be able to escape into a little film and fashion sometimes.  Not that some real-world difficulties weren't discussed last night, of course.  Meryl Streep gave a very meaningful speech, and there was a sweet dedication to Princess Leia and Debbie Reynolds.

Note: Red Carpet pics borrowed from the Popsugar website. 

Emma Stone
Emma Stone as a celestial goddess

Hailee Steinfeld 
Hailee Steinfeld in a soft purple princess look with angel sleeves

Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman looks Jackie Kennedy-chic in Prada

Lily Collins
Lily Collins as a ballerina fairy (I love this look so so so much)
Gina Rodriguez
Gina Rodriguez sparkles in Naeem Khan

Brie Larson
Brie Larson channels vintage glam in Rodarte
Laura Dern
Laura Dern is sweet in flowers
Drew Barrymore
Drew Barrymore looks breezy and magical
Naomie Harris
Naomie Harris stuns in metallics
Viola Davis
Viola Davis is bold and bright in Michael Kors
Claire Foy
Claire Foy makes sparkles adorable and glamorous
Zoe Saldana
Zoe Saldana is beautiful in blush
Reese Witherspoon
Reese Witherspoon is elegant in buttercream yellow
Michelle Williams
Michelle Williams plays with texture and the perfect simplicity of black and white
Ruth Negga
Ruth Negga goes futuristic-glam
Mandy Moore
Mandy Moore embraces goddess vibes
Octavia Spencer
Octavia Spencer is chic in a pantsuit
There were a lot of other beautiful looks last night, so if you get the chance, definitely check some of them out.  Which were your favorites?  Stay safe this Monday!
<3 Frances

Monday, January 2, 2017

Link Loves and Must-Reads

Hi, dears!  Happy 2017!  (Yesterday was technically New Year's Day, but it's the thought that counts, right?)  I'm getting ready to go back to work (school) tomorrow and have been teaching/volunteering today, but I'm excited to have some "must-reads" to share with you in case you find yourself with a spare moment. I know that seems unlikely given the whole rush of getting back into the "daily motions" of the post-holiday season, but I'm pretending that the holidays are still going on.  Our Christmas tree is still up, and I intend to keep it up as long as possible.  And I refuse to stop listening to Lissie's cover of "2000 Miles" despite it being a Christmas-y song .  .  .  .

  • The scientific reason you should be watching Planet Earth by Jessica Hullinger
    • Did you know how good being in "awe" is for not only your health but also your relationship with the world around you?  Given all the tragedies of the last year (and even the last few days), this article makes me really really really really want to watch Planet Earth II and then force everyone around me to watch it, too.  We all need to just sit in a group circle talking about swimming sloths and amazing tree frogs until we can achieve peace.
  • Diana Vreeland: Why Your Flaws Are Your Most Important Asset by Words of Women
    • With all the insecurities we have about our flaws, former Vogue editor Diana Vreeland's thoughts on using flaws as strengths are pretty freaking inspirational.  Diana was one of the forces behind the whole "unique beauty" movement.  You don't "owe" anyone prettiness, and stereotypical ideals of prettiness are irrelevant and just plain ugh. YOU are your style.
  • We'll Never See These Animals Again by Laura Smith
    • This article is a lot more depressing than the first two, but it's SO IMPORTANT that we take its message to heart!!!  Knowing that ocean acidity has increased as much as it has devastates me, and I'm traumatized that Toughie (the last Rabbs' fringe-limbed tree frog) has passed away.  PLEASE read this and spread the word. I'm so grateful to be hearing about what Obama has done to protect the environment, and I'm really going to miss him. 
  • Daily affirmations from Louise Hay
    • You Can Heal Your Life has been on my mum's bookshelf as long as I can remember.  Through death, autoimmune disease(s), major life stresses, etc., that book has always been a source comfort. The little affirmations available online are really sweet and uplifting and inspiring--perfect for the new year (or any time of year!).  So take a moment to treat yourself to a little positivity.

I hope you all find these link loves as meaningful as I do :).  Hopefully there will be more to share later, but for now it's time for some psychology textbook reading . . . .

<3 Frances