Try it Tuesday – Self-esteem Selfie

#20BeautifulWomenChallenge

I’ve noticed the above hashtag circling around social media sites. Perhaps you have too. So I decided to look into it…

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After doing some interweb digging I actually came up pretty short on the origins and meaning behind the latest selfie phenomena.

I did find there was a 20 Beautiful Women book that the Huffington Post gave an exceptional review. Author Sabe Tekle shares her own story alongside 19 other women she gathered for the 2013 publication. These stories of women conquering their battles, discovering their virtues and understanding what enabled them down their paths, sound like the kind of collection I need to get in-between the pages of, and QUICK!

But back to the hashtag.

The #20BeautfulChallenge can be described as a cyclical series of selfies to spread self-empowerment and self-esteem. (Awesome alliteration!) A nominated person posts a picture of themselves in which they feel beautiful. They then tag, and so nominate, 20 other people to do the same. The idea of the selfie is not to grab “likes” but to confidently share an ideal of yourself with others. The pictures I saw ranged from facial beauty shots to quirky faces, from travel photos to action shots. There are group shots along with the singles and members of the male gender as well.

While there are mocking pictures and negative feedback on sites like Twitter and Instagram, the negativity seems to be aimed at the self-serving-selfie takers interested more in posting for lust or likes and perhaps gathering followers through the movement.

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One Twitter follower seemed to be against the need for the movement the way people are against Valentine’s Day as a need to show love; if you love someone you should show it everyday, or in this case, friends don’t need to tag you for you to feel beautiful:

All-in-all, applied in the intended context, the movement seems to be another hash-mark in the positive column for hastags and the power of social media, much like the #nomakeup hashtag inspired clean-faced selfies and natural-beauty acceptance.

So in honor of the challenge here is my most recent selfie that is by far one of my favorites:

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This is my sister Ann & I in the Royalty Room with the King of Barkus and crew, before the parade this past Sunday, 2/8/15. This picture makes me feel beautiful because it captured the true excitement in our eyes to be spending such a fun day together. My sister is the other half of me in a way no one else will be and only a few can understand. Any time with her is fantastic. She is so ridiculously beautiful, inside and out, and she makes me feel more beautiful just by proximity. The sunlight of this gorgeous day shines on our faces and radiates from our smiles. I just think there are few things more beautiful than sister-love; especially when it’s glittered with the magic of Mardi Gras in New Orleans!

“A beautiful woman is peaceful: she has made peace with her past. A beautiful woman is passionate: she is on fire with a strong desire to change the world. A beautiful woman is purposeful: she knows why she was born and does what she was created here to do. Be beautiful.” Sabe Tekle

So my beautiful readers, I hope you will get inspired to post your own #20BeautifulWomenChallenge picture and nominate women you see as beautiful!

Spread Stupendous Self-Esteem

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Share your thoughts on the #20BeautifulWomenChallenge. Love it? Think it’s just a bunch of selfies? Know more about it? Have you done it?

Try it Tuesday – Bag Balm

 

Made for Cows – Great for Humans

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The Bag Balm Clover and Cow Logo


The only way that I can think to properly begin this post is to start with a confession…”Hi, my name is Alicia, and I love the reality show Laguna Beach.” I share this  because the show was the first place I saw Bag Balm. In a montage of behind-the-scenes footage, the product was raved about by almost all of the female characters. Me being the kind of gal who loves to try cult products (& now to blog about them) I went out to investigate.

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I was pleased to easily locate some Bag Balm at my local pharmacy but I was utterly confused to read that it was made for use on cows! (Utterly…cows…get it? Get it?? Ha. OK, I’ll stop.) Seriously though, the product says that it’s made

“…to provide moisturizing and softening…For use on cows…teats & udder…”

However, turning the signature green, square tin, I read it was

“For chapped conditions and superficial abrasions.”

IMG_5597Checking out the ingredients, it was clear that the “petroletum, lanolin base” are what provide most of the moisturizing properties.

I decided if it was a hit with California girls who dealt with the sun and salt water in Summer and wind and snow on ski trips in Winter, I was down to loose the less than $6 it cost if I hated it. I would be a fibber if I said the packaging, with it’s vintage, slightly apothecary look, wasn’t a significant factor in my choice to purchase. But then again, that’s why companies put so much research and money into packaging; it sells!

I got home and opened the signature, clover covered tin. I found exactly what I expected, a naturally colored, waxy salve.

IMG_5592Bag Balm has a fairly neutral smell and, thankfully doesn’t taste like much. If anything, a faint hint of minerals is present, but nothing overpowering. Because of this and due to it’s soothing qualities,  Bag Balm is excellent for all kinds of dry/chapped skin needs.

I had decided when I first got my hands on the packaging that I was not carrying the cumbersome cube around in my purse as the Laguna girls had done (note they do come in 1oz cans but are sometimes harder to find individually. Online, you can get them in packs) and choose instead to keep it on my nightstand. It comes in handy for all sorts of nightime rituals. I slather a considerable sized glob on my hands and then place them in moisture gloves, letting the balm soak in while I soak up a satisfying half-hour of whatever Bravo show I’m currently addicted to. I rub some on dry elbows, knees and feet. I have made coating my lips with a serious swipe a do-not-skip nightly step, the result of which has been soft, pleasantly plump lips when I awake.

Use on nails and cuticles. Take off stubborn eye makeup and waterproof mascara(carefully). Mix with lipstick remnants for a D.I.Y. gloss of a color you have almost used up. Treat burnt or blistered skin…The list goes on.

As we move into the winter months and our skin will soon be exposed to frigged outside air and drying inside heat, I highly recommend you grab yourself some udder jelly and make Bag Balm a part of your soft-skin regimen.

*Readers: Are you a Bag Balm lover already or have you taken my advice and purchased some of your own? Leave comments below and let us all know how you

Blob on  Bag Balm 

 

A is for…Avocado, Arugula, Asaragus

TTGS

Avocado, Arugula, Asparagus – three of my favorite, green veggies begin with my favorite letter, A. Coincidence? Not sure. Good eats? Most assuredly!

Asparagus has always been an enjoyable go-to green thanks in large part to how simple it is to cook but mostly for its crave-able crunch & bright taste. I imagine if Spring had a flavor it would taste like the sweet freshness of asparagus. Apparently my love for asparagus is nothing new for the stalky plant which has been considered a delicacy since ancient times. Asparagus boasts  anit-inflammatory and anti-oxidant benefits along with digestive support and even anti-cancer benefits! (More about these benefits  on World’s Healthiest Foods)

Arugula is a green I’ve been in love with since first bite. We’ve had one of those magical relationships you are promised to have with a prince when you’re a little girl playing princess: reliable, exciting and always evolving. Hot or cold, no matter how I’ve experimented with Arugula, it has always understood what I’m trying to accomplished and lent its peppery complexity to the dish. Nutrition and You lists excellent sources of Vitamins A (yay for the letter of the month), C and K in the green and, since K helps in limiting neurological damage, eating Arugula isn’t only enjoyable, it’s smart!

Avocado and I have had a rocky relationship. I live by the Andrew Zimmern adage to take more than one bite of something, you might like it more the second time. So I would try, try again with avocado, but each time my gag reflex was stronger than my pleasure receptors. I never gave up though and one evening after many New Orleans’ daytime libations I  stumbled walked into El Gato Negro with my sister-in-law and her family. When guacamole (yucky-mole is what I used to call it) was ordered instead of queso, I almost cried. I sadly nibbled on a chip till my hunger overcame me and I dove in. Light bulbs of realization flashed in my head as I finally experienced the rich, fatty unctuousness that drives people to put avocado on every thing! The good fats finally tasted good to me and now I top my lunches with it and mix it in my soups. I will put this heart healthy, cholesterol lowering, Vitamin E powerhouse on almost anything.

One night I found myself with no plan for dinner and all three of these veggies in my fridge. Dinner salad became an excellent idea and the Triple Threat Green Salad was born. I have since made this salad with many variations. Here is my way of putting it all together:

Triple Threat Green Salad:

  • 1 bunch of green asparagus (they come in white and purple varieties too)
  • 1 container of arugula (I prefer organic) large enough for the number and size of salads you want to make
  • 1-4 ripe avocados depending on size of the avocado and number of salads you are making
  • 1 bag of microwave steam-able corn
  • 1 container of miniature Portobello or button mushrooms
  • All purpose or Cajun spice mix
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/4 cup non-fat half & half *optional*
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil and light margarine as needed
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Follow instructions on microwave steam-able corn to heat (I prefer to cook it about a minute shy of the recommended cooking time because I will be heating the corn more after).
  3. Prep Asparagus – rinse and chop. *A trick to chopping asparagus:  Choose a stalk of an average size for the bunch and grasp with fingers on each end. Gently bend the stalk till it snaps. The “top” half of the asparagus is the tender part. Use this piece to measure how much to trim off the bottom of the remainder of the bunch. Discard the bottoms and cut the stalks into 1″ pieces.
  4. Prep mushrooms – Since mushrooms grow in dirt, there is typically some left on them and in the packaging. Dampen a paper towel and gently wipe down each mushroom to remove dirt. Slice or quarter mushrooms (I prefer them quartered because I like a meaty bite of ‘shroom). 😉
  5. Place chopped asparagus and mushrooms onto a baking sheet.
  6. Drizzle EVOO liberally onto the vegetables, tossing to coat evenly.
  7. Salt & pepper to taste. (I find fresh, cracked black pepper to be best).
  8. Place tray of veggies in oven to bake for 10 minutes, flipping veggies halfway through for even cooking.
  9. Melt a teaspoon of light margarine in a saute pan on medium high and add corn, sauteing for 3 minutes. Add all-purpose or Cajun seasoning to taste.
  10. If you choose to cream the corn slightly, add the half-and-half and cook for 5 more mins to reduce.
  11. Cube or slice the avocado. Don’t know how? Learn how to slice from Epicurious! For cubed, just cut the slices.
  12. Rinse & dry arugula and place in on serving dish. Top with roasted asparagus, mushrooms, corn and avocado.
  13. Drizzle with EVOO. Salt & pepper to taste.
  14. ENJOY!

The very best part of this salad, besides it’s taste and textures, is its versatility. TTGS makes a great base for leftover meat or seafood. You can easily fancy up the dish by using shiitake mushrooms. If company is coming, make the salad as a starter or stretch your entertaining budget by making it the main dish. Top with inexpensive Flank Steak and fan the avocado slices on top of each salad for a lovely presentation.


GSS

 

 

Here’s my “fancy” shiitake and left-over steak variation. I made this for myself, but if I was serving it at a dinner party I would fan the steak and avocado as suggested. Sauteing the mushrooms in truffle oil is another way to up the gourmet factor!

 

 

 

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My recipe calls for roasting the asparagus and mushrooms in the oven for easy cooking.  If you don’t have an oven available or prefer to do your cooking on the stove top, remember you can always saute the asparagus and mushrooms til tender, rather than roasting!

So give this nutritious, versatile and tasty salad a whirl and be sure to comment your thoughts and variations. Or email me a picture of your creation for use in a future post!

Euphorically Enjoy Eating!