Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bellezza Numero Dos

Bellezza is the name I chose a couple months ago to highlight my contributions to the beauty world. I am very excited to be announcing the launch of this innovative company due to wonderful feedback regarding my make-up artistry.

I will be expanding into the softlines--Clothing! And not just any clothing, but fabulous clothing that comes from ...thrift stores. This line, under the company name, Bellezza, has no product line name yet, but I will eventually think of one. First triumph will be over this ...funky 80's dress. Beautiful color and fabric, but it needs a lot of updating!

Let me know what you think!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Bellezza in Life

Some of you who watch my make-up tutorials on YouTube may wonder what I mean when I say that there is Bellezza in life and you need to find it. 

In Italian, bellezza is a word that means beauty. It's a noun, not an adjective, so it's the essence of beauty that I ask you to seek. 

There is beauty everywhere, if you care to look for it. What is in your heart helps place the correct lenses to your sight. I can look at a crowd of people and break it up in my mind and see individuals. Each person has a life, a life full of pain, broken dreams, beliefs, and physical make-up. However, because we are so different, we can all appreciate what we are without fear, but with astonishment. Each person can make a difference, it's up to you on how.

I hate the saying, "Beauty is only skin deep," because it is so incorrect and misleading. Beauty comes from within and is emitted through our actions, words, and how we present ourselves. One who doesn't have an inner beauty isn't going to be pretty, even on the outside. The ugliness shows through and through. Are you attracted to someone who is mean, lies incessantly, brags, cheats, steals...?
So that's that. Bellezza...Beauty. Life. Go find it!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


We all manage to set goals at the beginning of each year, hoping to finally accomplish each one and keep that motivation. Well, as of today, June 23, 2010--precisely six months, 23 days, and 13 hours and nine minutes since the new year, how many people have adhered to their goals and actually accomplished them? 

Me? I didn't set these goals, but I do have a mindset to plan out my year, starting on every birthday. Obviously my birthday has come and gone, and since it is in amidst the chaos of the new year (beginning of February), it does have a tinge of New Year's Resolution, and, therefore, is far easier to break.

Starting today, June 23, the day my dad was born, 52 years ago, I am pledging to finally master this thing called life and move forward, NO, not backwards, sideways, nor crooked, but onward to achieving my dreams. What kind of goals might I want to set for myself? Some would say weight loss, work promotions, financial steadiness, getting healthy...

I say living. This year, I pledge to have adventures and to enjoy my youth. I will take thousands of pictures, commemorating my experiences, share that time with family and friends. I will travel, and not let my financial imperfections suck me down to oblivion. I will try new things--recipes, crafts, art, music, and charities. Oh I would love to work with charity! 

My lifelong goal is to be the opposite of my grandma--completely opposite. Sadly, a lot of the curve-balls life threw to her really broke her spirit over the years. My mom told me that she used to laugh all the time, but I never once heard her laugh in the way my mom described. Apparently she used to be like me...or rather, I am like how she used to be...big belly laughs, goofy, and funny. I vow to never let that happen to myself. I will never be bitter. I will always be happy and cheerful...okay, maybe not always, but I will always TRY to make that choice. Again, happiness is a choice, not a mood. I want to be one of those odd old people that everyone loves talking to because my infectious laughter and crazy stories inspire them. I will have lived a life full of adventure and intrigue! And, above all, I'm going to let God's light show through me...that's the biggest inspiration!

So what does that mean? For the remainder of this year (my 21st year, to be exact) this is what I'm going to do:

1. Continue doing the things I love: Church, choir, creating make-up tutorials for YouTube, writing my blog, social networking through Facebook and Twitter, and  reading!

2. Try something new: I watched Julie and Julia a few weeks ago, and that helped inspire me to commit to the make-up tutorials and blogging my reviews of products here on Blogspot. That, and my awesome friend Kayla helped remold my thinking of blogs in general, as I've had one before, but didn't commit to it at all...(seems so similar in many forms...). So what am I going to try? 

~I think I'll buy that Julia Child Cookbook and try making some of those recipes...mmm.
~New job--I've applied for a different kind of job...floral arrangements! And bakery...and caring for autistic teenagers! I want something where I can use my creativity and move around...
~Build new kingdoms: A. Contribute to a women's ministry at my church. B. Successfully organize a fundraiser event for the [upcoming] choir trip to Ireland/Scotland. C. Starting a fundraiser, thanks to http://www.crowdrise.com!
~Travel. I make so many promises to visit people...and I really, really, really want to! I do! I need to go to Garberville, CA, to visit my great grandpa; to Salem/Albany, ,to visit two of my good friends; Polson/Ronan/Seeley Lake, MT, to visit friends and family; Denver, CO to visit my grammy, auntie, and cousins; Hot Springs, AR, to visit my bestie Tara, with whom I've conspired to stay in the luxe haunted hotel and go to the spa!

3. Expand my existing empire. I already have a lot going in my life, which is amazing that I am doing this well. Screw bipolarity. I've got one hand on me that keeps me going--God's. He gives me the grace and ability to do what I do, and I've got an inkling that He is pushing me to do more....

~Singing--I will finally muster up the courage to take voice lessons! Not that I absolutely need them or anything, it's just that I want to expand the vocal range and characters of my voice. Yes, characters. From classical and opera to jazz! Also building up courage, I will finally go back to Gandhi's and get my butt up on that mini-stage and sing my favorite songs with Hoffman Entertainment Karaoke... I figure that one of my anonymous besties, who cannot carry a tune to even finish this cliche, would attempt karaoke, I should, especially since I do have half a decent voice...This will build my courage up for an even greater endeavor. This endeavor will bring me to edification and God's glory as I want to grow in the Worship ministry. Shyness, be gone with you!
~Photography. I have a better camera now...might as well use it! I found a couple contests out there, so I'm just going to have fun with my hobbies.
~Design. I've had this idea for years that I want to revolutionize the world's outlook on thriftiness and frugality, and combine it with the Green Movement...you know what this means? Rags to wonders, trash to treasures...and so on. What is one of the things that everybody likes about thrift stores? To answer, it is scavenging through the boxes of unwanted things and finding treasures and fun, quirky things. Flea markets and yard sales...everything we love about them is going to be the height of my idea...but instead of household objects and such, I'm going to be focusing on the softline approach instead. My retail readers would appreciate where I'm going with this--softline=clothing. Stay tuned for more word about how I'm going to revamp and revolutionize Fashion...couture. Glamour.
~Art. I have a poetic collage I started painting and piecing together about two years ago but it sits unfinished on a shelf looking down at me everyday until I decide to finish it. I will! and then I'll look for new projects! bwahaha. 

I feel chipper! And that's it for now! I must get ready for church so I can go to Worship practice and sing my big heart out. Enjoy the bellezza of the moment and behold the treasures of each day. Ciao! <3<3

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Principle of Spiritual Healing

Being of Native American ancestry, I find it fascinating to see how my ancestors methodically and meticulously performed ceremonies for spiritual cleansing. Of course there are going to be skeptics, as it hardly seems practical to sit on the dirt ground, inside a tent for hours nearly suffocating oneself and sweating until only God knows when you're going to pass out. But there is a practical purpose in the cleansing process. 

First of all, I have been so fortunate to be part of a pure ceremony nearly a year ago, hosted by a dear family friend, Jan. She is a brilliant teacher, kind in nature, and a wonderful guide. If it were the 1700s, she would be the grandmother and the spiritual medicinal woman of our people, comparable to Grandmother Willow in Pocahontas, only not in such a physical way. This spiritual take on healing has such a great depth and meaning. It purifies the body, and if you allow yourself, it can take you to a different plane in your mind. 

We welcome the grandfathers and the grandmothers and they must always be lead in and lead out. There is a particular order this must go, and the door of a true lodge must always face in the proper direction, as to allow the spirits of our ancestors to come and help us along our spiritual journey. The lodge that I am accustomed to is built of natural materials just as it would have been 200 years ago--pine beams and smoked leather covers. It smells so very rustic.

Inside, everyone sits around a large pit where stones about the size of one's hand line the outer edges. It is dark and the only light comes from the door, which is easily covered with leather and cloth later as to allow for a fuller spiritual experience...and to barricade heat from escaping and cool air from coming in. Stones from the river are gathered at the early dawn and set in a fire for several hours. We know if they are ready if they glow brightly of an orangy-red color. The spirit leader will begin prayers and a ceremonial dance and song before we are ready to enter the lodge. We must not carry any malicious or bad spirits in with us as this will contaminate the atmosphere and the grandfathers will not stay. The songs we sing are full of honor and pride, yearn, and sacredness, and we all know we are about to begin. As our spiritual leader steps forward, she has in hand a bundle of sage set inside a seashell, burning. She begins at the front of our line. We ease the smoke towards us, breathing in its rich infusing of spiritual cleansers, and smudge all over our bodies, careful to not miss a spot. Once everyone is cleansed, we sing, entering the lodge. We find our place and wait for the elder to call for the stones and one person stands watch outside. 

We begin with one blazed stone, thrown into the pit. These stones are larger than the ones lining the pit--nearly the size of a small watermelon. We wear light fabrics to allow for our bodies to be covered, but also for temperature regulation. We make sure everyone is ready. Depending on who leads the prayers, there may be a drummer and several singers. Boom. Boom. Boom...The drumming begins. Our elder begins singing in an ancient tongue once known by hundreds, now only known by few. Sage is thrown onto the stone--it sizzles and the air fills of sage. Pine needles are thrown onto the stone, and it smells of pine. A few moments later, water is poured onto the stone, causing an immense vapor, staying stagnant in our lodge. 

We relax and close our eyes, praying for cleansing, healing, miracles. We pray for relief and peace within our bodies, families, and neighbors, for purification. We rid our bodies of all the evils we accumulate and find rest in the heat. This round may last 15 minutes to half an hour. The end of the first round comes--the door is opened and we have a chance to pass a communal water dish around for thirst quenching. There is an opportunity to leave if one is unable to tolerate the immensely humid heat. The elder calls for another stone, and it is placed into the pit. More pine and more sage fill the air as they are placed onto the stone to smolder. Water is poured and the heat intensifies. Boom. Boom. Boom. The drums begin again. Someone sings, then another joins, and soon all who know the words sing and we pray for healing, purification, and guidance. Sweat drops form on our foreheads and in our hair. Breathing is a little harder and we slow our thoughts. Another round slips by and we are welcomed with cool air of the opening door, the passing of the water, and a pipe of tobacco. This is meant to calm your soul and is shared amongst the members. Some members exit as the heat is too powerful. Most stay.

The ceremony progresses and more stones are cast into the pit, and the heat is very intense. Sometimes, ceremonies will be complete at a full 12-stone set, sometimes only at four. The number of stones depict the need for a stronger purity ceremony, the call for guidance from the grandfathers, and the healing of our bodies. As a fever does to a human body, the intensity of the heat draws out impurities, toxins, and sanitizes our temples. When we sweat, we are releasing all the build-up of these impurities and allowing the good spirits to take over. We are cleansed. 

Depending on who the last members are in the lodge, the end of the ceremony ends with  song and prayers. Those of us who left early go into the house and may shower, removing the sweat, and eat. The meals for this ceremony are always hearty and filling as the journey is exhausting and we must all have energy to travel home. The time that I participated, there was a delicious beef vegetable stew, salad, and dessert. Nobody left hungry. Sharing is the nature of a good spirit, so we must show that example at our fellowship. We visit and share stories, and for some, this may mean gossip about our family issues and problems. 

When I had showered and cooled my body temperature down, my skin felt absolutely soft and amazing. My hair felt as though I had purchased an expensive deep conditioning treatment, and my face felt as though I had just had a facial. What a wonderful way to naturally cleanse and moisturize your skin!

As for my spirituality, it felt incredible to be connected to the earth and to partake in a cultural event exclusive to my heritage and I felt completely refreshed. If only I didn't live 150 miles away, I would partake in these sweats more often! It would do wonders for my allergies and cold.

The reason I choose to write on a sweat lodge today is because I got to visit with Jan today before I came home. She talked about the changing tides in our Native community, being excluded from our ceremonies, and passing along the dear culture to our children. I am amazed at her courage and wisdom, astounded by her teachings and her skill. I am blessed by the number one spirit (God) to know her. May He bring eternal blessings upon her and the whole family. Amen.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Politically, I am not very charged up in discussing events and occurrences, as I find them hard to break apart and to decipher all the words and all the accusations into the truth. I am a truth seeker, wanting nothing more than justice to be served, but with issues that are so controversial, I think it takes a deliberate yearn to discover what we need to know. We are human where an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth is just a basic, instinctual desire. However, a wise man once said that an eye for an eye will only make the world blind. And we are blind, so very blind. Where is the light and the truth?

As always, Iran is the center for all discussions and debates for nuclear proliferation, democracy, and poverty issues. Today, the New York Times ran an article about new sanctions for nuclear proliferation, approved by the United Nations. Here is the link to the  article. According to the it, 12 out of the 15 members voted for the sanctions, which are supposed to be the strictest yet. The three countries that did not vote in favor of the sanctions were Turkey, Brazil, and Lebanon (who abstained from voting at all). 

While it is imperative that we ensure the safety of all our people and nations, what is the importance of restricting and prohibiting three "high-risk" countries from having nuclear powers, while several more have access and abilities to make them? Iran as a whole isn't rich, and they say that they are developing nuclear programs to build up their country. Why are Americans and Brits not considered potential terrorists, but Iranians, Iraqis, and Koreans are? I think this stems from an issue of tolerance, respect, and courtesy rather than safety. However, I will talk about those qualities of virtue in another blog.  

Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, a representative from Brazil to the UN, believes that sanctions will not be effective towards limiting uranium enrichment. Personally, I think the same thing. Looking at it from an Iranian perspective, if someone were to restrict the United States from our potential to grow, we would be angry and retaliate--and have been known to do that. I find that the entire western world is full of hypocrisy because a "free world" that we live in shouldn't have hostages that are prevented from rising up in a capitalist approach to life. I know that many of you who will stumble across this blog will not agree. However, I am using my right to say what I want and have an opinion. I do not fully support nuclear proliferation because if we in power have the ability to limit and control others, who are we on a moral level, to do that? Philosophically speaking, who is right and who is wrong?

Let's go back to a simple moral code that most people can agree on. Murder and killing of another person--good or bad? Majority will say it is bad regardless of reason, except in extreme circumstances, but they must fit certain criteria, and even then it is almost guaranteed to be debated upon. It's almost as if we have a responsibility to each other to protect, save, and assist during the hardest of times. Perhaps it's something called compassion or human duty? 

What about the case of Neda? She was a peaceful protester during the election riots a year ago. She lost her life. Why? Watch this video: Neda's story. It changed my perspective on a lot of things. Regardless of the issue at hand, who murdered her, and the reasons, it was still murder. In this case, people are scared--people in power. They are afraid to lose that power or to lose their financial means in life. In their perspective, they are trying to regain a foothold in their economic status. When they were scared, they wanted others to be scared too. An eye for an eye, remember? They are blind; we are blind. We see only what we want to see, are comfortable seeing, or are taught to see. 

What it comes down to is that it costs people's livelihoods, human rights, and essentially their lives during a conflict over what is right. Neda had a mother, she had family and friends that loved her. They grieve over her death. She died believing in her right to protest. We all have human rights and when they are violated and restricted, what are we to do? Some say retaliate, others say to protest. What happens if a small group of people turns into a nation whose rights are violated...what then? Compromise and negotiation, respect, and understanding is where we need to start to resolve this. Love and compassion for other human beings. It's easy to hate what you are scared of. A nation is comprised of millions of individuals who are just as human as you and I. Do these individuals have a right to life, love, peace, shelter, freedom? These words are for everyone--you and I, world leaders, your neighbor. Remember Neda. She was the voice that we all have inside.

Eye candy for the made up girl

Purple is an amazing color--deep and sophisticated, but offbeat at the same time, and paired with my dark eyes, I feel very royal. Over the past year or so, I've become a dedicated make-up junkie, reportedly in and out of Sephora and Macy's, stopping at several make-up counters to sample and buy products. I'm notorious for spending several minutes at the drugstore just looking at different products from different product lines. I've even begun to make Youtube video tutorials on how to create certain looks. Of course this will pick up more when I have a better camera or at the very least a decent microphone. 

The title of this piece is called "Haul," which is not what I'm talking about specifically. Why, you may ask, is that the name of this blog. Well, to answer, a haul is a basic overview of products and services recently purchased--somewhat of a mini-review, although not quite extensive as a full review. 

This evening, I am going to share with you some of the products I've recently purchased, and let you in on how they measure up in quality. Enjoy!

1. I've heard a lot of great things about the Jesse's Girl make up line, which is sold exclusively at Rite Aid. Julieg713 of Youtube, a fabulous make-up guru and artist, uses a lot of Jesse's Girl products and raves about them. I decided to try them--especially since they are far less expensive than Mac and Urban Decay. I purchased five products--to go for a sultry purple look I've been trying to create. 

A. Eye dust pigment in Ultra Violet. This fierce color is amazing! You get 2.5 grams for $4, and for its quality, it gives Mac and UD a run for their money--almost. The pigmentation is awesome. The color is gorgeous; it isn't overly shimmery or heavy. It has a lightweight feel and for a pigment, is very smooth and fine. It doesn't have the exact same velvety finish as UD, but it does have a satiny feel. I look forward to buying more pigments.

B. Creme Eyeshadow in After Midnight. I wasn't very impressed with this product as much as I have been with the Wet 'N Wild version (in an eye crayon). The color is fabulous, but the consistency is a bit greasy to touch, and unless you use an eye primer first, it will cake and crease, which happens a lot when you have a slight hood to your eye like I do. As far as blending, it blends well, but loses its pigmentation. I purchased this creme shadow to be a base and primer for the Ultra Vitolet pigment, but it didn't work out to my liking. I didn't use my favorite UD Primer Potion, because I was going for a darker look. I think the cream shadow will be well suited for a liner and not as a shadow. This product is also $4, so it isn't expensive. I was a bit disappointed though.

C. Kohl Eyeliner Pencils in Silver Frost and Grape Expectations. What can I say other than WOW? I love their eyeliners! Most eyeliners I try don't have very good pigmentation, nor do they apply smoothly. I am in l-o-v-e. First of all, the most expensive eyeliner pencil I have is from L'Oreal--for $7. Not too expensive. At Sephora, I go to the UD section and their pencils are $18 each, a hefty price tag for a simple pencil. I will not spend that much money on a pencil, period, regardless of their brand name and quality. These Jesse's Girl pencils have a very similar formula, and the consistency is amazing. The silver one shows up on my light skin very well, and the purple is brilliant. I've used it already and needless to say, I found my new favorite brand--and at a bargain price of only $2 per pencil, I have a new eyeliner partner for life! Not to mention that the packaging is consumer friendly--each pencil comes with a handy pencil sharpener lid!

D. Sparklers in Lilac.  The packaging is a little different than any other glitter product I've tried. It's a double sided tube that comes with a clear gloss with a sponge-tip applicator, and the other side is the loose glitter. The applicator for the glitter is awkward--short and stubby. I prefer a brush or cotton swab regardless, but I would have hoped for an easier application wand. I haven't had a chance to utilize this product to the fullest of its versatility, but swatching it on my hand did dazzle me, no pun intended. I applied the clear gloss and let it sit for a few seconds then applied the glitter. I rubbed it down a few moments after it dried and to my amazement, it didn't smear, nor did it lose sparkles. I look forward to trying this out with other colors, and on my eyes. This product is $4.99 and comes with 1 gram each gloss and glitter.


2. The next product line I tried is a Hard Candy mascara. I was quite hesitant to try it, due to a previous disappointment with their mascaras, but it is a new line and a different formula, so I wanted to try it one more time. The product I got is called 1,000 Lashes-Fiberized Lash Weave Mascara in Lush Green. Yes, this is a colored mascara in a really pretty neon shamrock color. And it has fibers, which are meant to fill out and volumize one's lashes. I tried this out the other day, not using a base black underneath. I was quite impressed with the color. The green really popped! However, the fibers didn't astound me one bit. I already have full lashes, but it's the length they lack. The fibers didn't really add any extra perk to my lashes, but aside from this, I think that this addition to the formula is what makes the color pop out. Another upside is that during my 12 hour run with it, it never once flaked and removal was a breeze (using a baby wipe). This product is sold at Walmart for $6. I recommend this line if you are looking for an extra pizazz to your normal eye look.

3. The final product that I purchased lately is a Kat Von D.  Autograph Liquid Liner. I normally do not wear liquid eyeliner, unless applying false eyelashes, which is also rare on its own. The color I got is called Love Metal. The packaging is beautiful and goes well with the profession she is in. The screw-top is engraved with silver-lined roses, resembling tattoos. Very chic. The silvery consistency is great and I really like the shimmer. It doesn't fade and crease, nor does it flake. Its brush is thin, but not as fine as a pen  liner. I bought this product when it was half off, so I shelled out $9 for it at Sephora, where her line is sold exclusively (for now). I probably won't buy another liner from her brand unless they are on sale because again, they come with a hefty price tag. This liner is great for a special cat-eye look, to even just a little sparkle on a work-day (just don't go overboard!).

Well, that is it for my haul/review. Thank you for reading. If you disagree with any of my reviews or think you would like me to write a review on any other line, please let me know and I'll see what I can do! Auf wiedesehen for the evening, and have a Bellezza day! Ciao!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...