Monday, April 21, 2014

Looking at a flaw but feeling flawless

Happiness is a form of courage...So, I stayed up late last night. Until 12:30 a.m. to be exact. I know what you're thinking, "Wow, look at you taking the rebellious road." Oh yeah, you know me. Yeah, well the point isn't that I stayed up late on a school night but because of something I discovered that late at night.

   I took my first two novels out of my closet and looked at them for the first time in three years. It was weird. I actually was repulsed by how juvenile and immature the writing in these books was. If you haven't bought my books, that's ok. You aren't missing anything.

I actually am quite embarrassed by them now because my writing style has changed so much. I think it just changed with age and the things I've experienced but I'm going to work on what those books were missing which was included in every (well, most) YA books I've read in my lifetime. Something that makes the story withstand time, and maybe even gets the attention of movie producers who can't come up with their own ideas. (Hey, I'm not against books being made into movies. That's the marketing machine for any author).

As some of you may know, I recently read the book The Fault In Our Stars  by John Green and it really made me re-evaluate my YA writing style. Yes, it's admirable that at 15 I decided to become a writer even though no one was behind me, I understand that I published those books for the wrong reasons. (Plus, at 15, I was obsessed with Ryan Sheckler, I was going to marry him, and I thought becoming an author would not only make me stand out but make everyone want to be my friend.)  I'm going to work on a new novel as soon as my memoir is finished and in the process of publication that has the same characters but adds depth to the story line which is what TFIOS had.

It kind of made me feel like I let the world down because I published such a weak piece of literature. It was an underdeveloped project and I put it out there for everyone to see. It's like I told the world at a backyard barbecue that I was going to grill the hamburgers and served them to everyone raw and said, "Ta-Da."

Yet, I feel like the reason I decided to write a blog about this moment in my life is to let you know that I won't be hurt if you decide not to purchase my two novels because from every standpoint used to critique literature I can see that my novels lack important pieces of timeless literature and I am working on something more compelling than those two stories now and in the future.

It's very life-changing, ultimately, to be able to look at a flaw but feel flawless. I'm completely imperfect and that's ok. Why? Well, when I am weak, He is strong. And not I, but the Grace of God.♥

Love Times Infinity,
God Bless!

~Just Keep Swimming~

 Happy Easter from Katrina and I. :)

 It's finally here! My graduation picture. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Be The Change You Wish To See In The World (Healthy Lifestyle choices)

Happiness is a form of courage... I don't know about you but I'm not a big fan of the word diet. Why? Well, it has the word "die" in it. I don't like to talk death. The Bible says to speak life so that is what I work towards. I'm writing a book about overcoming death so that is the only place I really speak about death. Other than that, I try to choose words that will bring blessing, success, and longevity to my life.

     I've been meaning to write this post on healthy choices for a good month because I was going to include a video where my sister talked about how she's lost 40 + pounds since December of last year but I can always add the video later on so I decided it was time to talk about being healthy. I'm not an expert on health but I am interested in living a long life that is free from daily sickness and illnesses. If you are interested in that too, then  read on.

     Let me start with my nine tips to a healthier, happier you.
1. Don't weigh yourself every day. Instead, weigh yourself once a week at the same time. They say the best time to get an accurate picture of your body weight is by weighing yourself first thing in the morning before you eat or drink anything. Personally, I weigh myself every Sunday morning.
2. Don't eat anything after eight.  Try not to eat after eight because studies have shown that your body takes longer to digest food around this time meaning it won't process fats and nutrients properly leading to further weight gain. I've started doing this as part of my 2014 healthy choice and I do it from S-Th. I noticed weight loss of four to five pounds per week. It's small but it's a start. Personally, I'm not trying to lose that much; I just want to be healthy and also try to cut the size of my waist down. Instead of eating after eight, if you get hungry, drink water. At first, it may be difficult. It's extremely weird to my friends but I feel better and just make sure to eat a big breakfast when I wake up. It also is beneficial for me since I have to take my thyroid medicine on an empty stomach.
3. Drink at least 32 ounces of water a day. This is pretty self-explanatory but I do know that your body is 70% water and uses it for everything so stay hydrated and have a glass of water.
4. Limit your sweet intake to one day a week This one I'm still working toward because I have a huge sweet tooth and enjoy lots of desserts plus, Saint Leo's cafe doesn't help me here. They always have cake and desserts at every meal. Even at breakfast now, they have a huge assortment of pastries and donuts. It's such a temptation. It's not always easy to walk away without grabbing a glazed donut. (FYI, glazed donuts and bagels are my weakness). Yet, a few times this semester, I've been able to walk away knowing my self-control is greater than a measly empty calorie donut or bagel. As I said, this is my work in progress.
5. Stay Away from Fried Food This is impossible to do in college since the cafeteria usually doesn't always have good food available to eat but you must limit your intake of fried food because it leads to clogged arteries and heart attacks. As someone who almost had a heart attack at age 21, I can honestly say nothing about it is fun. Just think of open heart surgery every time you look at a french fry and I promise it will get you to wean off that fried food habit.
6. Exercise. Get moving! In case you didn't know, laziness leads to slow death. Your body was made for activity so buy some cute work out clothes or if you're a guy, some new Nikes, and start making working out a habit. As a college student, access to a gym is easy and included in my housing but for most people, they can't afford it and if you are like me, you probably feel awkward going to work out in a public place. My sister just bought a treadmill which I look forward to using when I'm home for good but I really want to invest in a stationary bike because I like bike riding but don't like to ride a real bike.
     You should aim at starting with 30 minutes of cardio and then eventually increasing it to 45 minutes. I like to do 30 minutes of cardio and then a strength training workout that targets my abs, arms, and legs. Sometimes, I do workouts that target my butt, my legs, my arms, or just my abs. I also am a Pilates lover because it makes me feel good all-around as well as leaner and stronger. I also eventually want to start bench pressing again because I liked taking weightlifting in high school because knowing I could lift more and more made me feel like a badass. I aim to workout at least 3 times a week and sometimes even do an extra day of cardio on Sundays.

Chelsea's Workout Playlist
1. Ball by T.I. ft. Lil Wayne
2. Good Feeling by Florida
3. Anything by Karmin
4. Most of Britney Spears new and old hits
5. Can't Believe It by Florida ft. Pitbull (Good for squats)
6. Fergalicious by Fergie
7. I Know by Lecrae
8. Dum Dum by Tedashii ft. Lecrae
9. One More by Superchick
10. Feeling Myself by Will I Am ft. Miley Cyrus

These are ten songs to get you started but from there you can add your own jams. These songs are upbeat and some of them are motivating. Just get moving! I promise you, you will feel better and sleep better because of it.

7. Snack Smart
 Since I have a sensitive stomach, I can't eat everything that is healthy but I try to eat healthy snacks. My faves are cereal (it's the only thing that makes my stomach happy without making me sick) which I eat with lactose-free milk. I also like fruit and oatmeal. The trick is to aim for a snack with a lot of fiber so you feel full and stay full for longer. You can also eat nuts, yogurt, and cottage cheese, or even cheese. (These options don't work for me because I'm lactose intolerant and nuts make my stomach sick).
8. Avoid Caffeine after 4 p.m. if possible
This doesn't work for me since I need caffeine like all the time in order to be alert and study and work on papers and what not but if you can avoid it, it will allow you to get to sleep easier at night. 

9. Take Vitamins
Personally, I recommend you take a mult-vitamin no matter who you are. It's a great way to start taking supplements. I also take the following: 
Calcium- Bone Density (Plus, if I don't take this, eventually my thyroid medicine will weaken my bones). Plus, I don't drink much milk so it's important for me to take this.
Vitamin B6- I read that this can help with fatigue (especially fatigue associated with your menstrual cycle) so I take it. It also helps with PMS irritability so it's double important for me to take this. lol.
Dong Quai- If I don't take this as PMS settles in (days 10-28) then I basically am the biggest sack of sadness and self-doubt you will ever meet. Dong quai is used for menstrual cramps, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and menopausal symptoms. It is also used orally as a ”blood purifier”; to manage hypertension, infertility, joint pain, ulcers, “tired blood” (anemia), and constipation; and in the prevention and treatment of allergic attacks. Dong quai is also used orally for the treatment of loss of skin color (depigmentation) and psoriasis ( By taking it, I can deal with life. 
St. John's Wort- When I found out I had depression because it is a side effect of hypothyroidism, I read a book called the Bible Cure for Depression by Don Colbert. In it, Dr. Colbert mentioned taking St. John's Wort for Depression. He prescribed 300 mg per day. I've been taking this and I really can tell that it helps avoid "dark days" for me. It doesn't completely make me happy and upbeat 24 hours a day but it helps me avoid sleeping away my life.
Melatonin- I take this every night 30 minutes before going to sleep and it really helps me have more REM sleep which is important for your body's overall health. Plus, my dreams are crazy vivid when I take it so I love it (Unless I'm having a nightmare).
Biotin- I think I'm going to start taking this in order to make my nails and hair thicker because with my thyroid disorder, my skin is dry, my nails are brittle and break easily, and my hair is thin and falls out easier.

I also wrote a blog about healthy hair almost a year ago that you can check out here.

Tips for having Clearer Skin

I think I should be a spokesperson for acne because I've tried everything and still had bad acne up until I turned 22. Now that I've followed this regime and learned what works and what doesn't, I feel like I should share it with you.

1. Only wash your face at night; Just rinse your face with cold water in the morning. 
I found this tip in Seventeen and it has really helped me have less acne.

The products I use twice a day on my face are: 
Palmer's skin success deep cleansing facial astringent with Vitamin E. -This is like a face wash within itself. My skin feels so clean after I use this. ( You can buy 4 bottles at a time for $17.96 on Amazon).
After using this, I follow with Equate Moisturizing Lotion. I found this big bottle at Walmart for $5.00 by the skin-care stuff and it's moisturizer for all skin-types so no matter if you have oily or dry skin, you can use it.

After moisturizing, I use an acne cream:
In the morning, I use: Nature's Cure Vanishing Cream which contains 5% Benzoyl Peroxide. I'm almost out of this so I will just look for an acne cream with 5% Benzoyl Peroxide to substitute or I may eliminate it from my routine.
In the evening: I use Acnevir Adult Formula - I found an advertisement in Cosmopolitan and decided to look it up. I bought it to try it and I will use this until I die because it really is a miracle worker.
I also use Dove soap each night when I wash my face (It's gentle, contains moisturizers, and doesn't clog pores.) followed by toner, moisturizer, and Acnevir.

Once a week, I use Noxema's Deep Cleansing Cream Plus Moisturizers in order to deep clean my pores. I also do a Baking Soda mask in order to deep clean my pores and prevent blackheads. (Baking soda +water; leave on for 20 minutes, wash off).

If I pop a pimple and it bleeds, after I put acne cream on it, before I go to bed, I put a dot of honey on it because it has anti-bacterial properties and heals the pimple without leaving a scar.

Make-up wise, I've found that foundation actually clogs your pores and causes acne so I don't wear it anymore. I wear N.Y. Color Concealer in Fair,  Tinted Moisturizer (I use Covergirl Smoothers BB Cream in Light/Medium) and Pressed Powder (Almay Smart Shade Pressed Powder in Light/Medium). Pressed powder helps to rid your skin of excess oil and tinted moisturizer contains sunscreen and benefits skin unlike heavy foundation. I also wear Nivea A Kiss of Smoothness chapstick and it keeps my lips smooth and healthy, never chapped.

Sorry for name dropping all these brands but you should know what really has worked for me and what doesn't. 

I hope this blog benefits you in some way and gets you on the path to a healthier, happier life.

If this blog is helpful at all, please leave me a comment and let me know.

Until next time, remember: Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.-Kahlil Gibran 

Love Times Infinity,
God Bless!
~Just Keep Swimming~