Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Bon Voyage

Do you ever see a quote floating around the internet and it is what you need to hear at that exact moment? About two weeks ago, I came across this Tony Robbin's quote:

"Where attention goes, energy flows."

I've been thinking about it ever since. I don't have anything particularly enlightening to say about it right now; only that it has me thinking about negativity and gossip, happiness and goals, and how we manifest so much in our lives. I need to be more mindful of where I'm focusing my attention. 

What quotes have impacted you in this way?

In other news, I'm taking a two-week break to travel, spend time with family, and attend a (very exciting) wedding. I’ll be back soon and full of inspiration to share. In the meantime, you can follow me along here, or check out my ever-changing resources page. Happy summer!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Be a bridge

The other morning, I was making small talk with the two women who clean our house. They are hardworking ladies trying to launch a business in hopes of gaining financial freedom. I couldn't help but think about our interaction the rest of the afternoon. How is it that I sometimes feel a shared life with them, more so than with my own neighbors?

It's a strange feeling to grow up fighting to make something of your life when the odds are stacked against you, and then to be on the other side. Does your new life ever really feel like "home"? I no longer belong in my old life, but sometimes I feel like a fish out of water in this one. Don't get me wrong, I love this life and I'm so proud of my family. I wouldn't want things any other way. But I am learning to live without the nagging feeling that I must be in a constant state of stress, and instead find peace and contentment in this wonderful, yet imperfect fit. I've often read such transitions can be insolating and lonely, but I don't see it that way.

What some might see as loneliness or the sense of not belonging is actually a bridge. In my case, it's a bridge between struggle and prosperity. But it becomes a bridge between people; two groups that are never meant to understand what it's like to be in the other's shoes. It's the ultimate way to understand both worlds and have deep empathy for their inherent issues simultaneously.

There are so many opportunities in life to be a bridge.

Maybe you suffered a period of infertility before having a baby and can empathize with the feelings of uncertainty and desperation that come with longing to be a mother, but also the hardships of motherhood? Maybe you were living your best life for years but suffered a loss and are now finding your footing in this new, changed life? Maybe you worked tirelessly as an employee for years and now you're the boss?

Your experiences are as unique are you; and only you have the power to bring them, and people, together. And there is nothing more rewarding than bridging the gap between people and having meaningful human connection. So let's go out into the world and build our bridge.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Organizing 101

A couple weeks ago, I had a hilarious text message exchange with my mom that was along the lines of, "Help me, I can't get organized. How did you learn?" And yes, it's true we lost a puppy under a pile of laundry. And yes, my brother's pet snake escaped and we found it a year later, still alive, in his disastrous closet.

But it might surprise you to learn I was not organized either. I cringe now, but I definitely slept on a pile of dirty laundry in my college dorm room more than once.

It wasn't until I moved into my own tiny, closet-less apartment after college that I had to acknowledge my mess; there's no one else to blame, or clean up for that matter, when you live alone. As our family grew and we moved more times than I can count, being organized became a necessity. Here are my tried-and-true tips for every justification under the sun (and trust me, I've used them all):

"I need this shirt/kitchen gadget/book/picture frame/etc." No, actually you don't. Don't dilute the things you love with more things. I have a great pair of dark wash skinny jeans that I reach for often. It goes without saying that there is no reason to buy a second pair of a similar style because I'll always choose my favorite. Yet we're all guilty of buying multiples of things we already own (I'm talking to you, striped shirts). My second rule of thumb (to a minimalist closet) is if it doesn't coordinate with at least two items I already own, I skip it. Don't buy things that require buying more things!

In other areas of your home, don't buy single purpose items like an egg slicer or popsicle molds. Are those fun and convenient? Sure. But ultimately you have to store all those things. I like mixing bowls that double as tupperware or work as serving dishes. I'll pay a little extra for the bike trailer that doubles as a jogging stroller rather than purchase two separate items down the line. And borrow from a friend if you only need to use something once or twice. Be realistic about how much storage space you have and limit your belongings accordingly. Organization is just easier when you have less things.

"It is a gift/sentimental." As we age, we get sentimental about our things, often keeping them long after they've served their purpose. Is there another way to honor the memory? I have my grandmother's cookbook. Rather than keep the book, I plan to frame and display one recipe I remember her making as a child and pass the book on. And with the exception of a couple pieces per year, I don't save my children's artwork. Instead, I take pictures of all their work, recycle the originals, and make a small book that we page through often. I love honoring a memory in ways that are accessible or visible daily. Don't be tempted to keep things because you have been keeping them; only keep those things that bring you immense happiness.

"I don't have time." Do you know what takes time? Running around trying to find car keys when you're supposed to be somewhere. We've all been there! So put those keys back in your purse as soon as you walk in the door, put the spoons in their place in the drawer, open mail as soon as you bring it in, wash all the fruits and vegetables before you put them in the refrigerator. And be efficient with your time. Don't walk upstairs empty-handed if you can take that toy/folded laundry/hair bow with you. Do it now to save yourself time later.

"I don't know where to start." Do you have a closet that empties every time you open the door? Start there. Do you have an overflowing tupperware drawer? Start there. The point is, start somewhere. Organize the closet and buy bins to store like supplies if needed. Throw away tupperware without lids. Start with a single area that irritates you daily and I dare you not to want to keep going.

"I don't have a place for this vase/kitchen utensil/bill/etc." Every single item must have a home - the remote control, extra blankets, toys (so many toys). Get bins or vacuum bags or a label maker or whatever you need to do to create a clear place for your things. Every time you're done using said item, put it back in it's home. It's equally important to teach other members of your household to do the same. It may be your job to establish the "home" and the process, but one person can't be responsible for keeping the entire family's things organized. Organization is a team effort.

"How often do I need to do this?" If you're following the above tips, you're doing a little every day. If items are finding their way "home" after being used, a complete clean-out is rarely necessary. But every season, I have to go through closets. I used to get overwhelmed with the idea because I thought I needed to sell items or find appropriate homes for them. So much so, I would avoid doing it altogether. Cleaning closets is hard enough, so at this stage of my life, it's okay to throw things away (and let's be honest, most of those kid clothes are stained anyway) or donate those that can be reused. There's no need to overcomplicate things.

Do you consider yourself organized? Add your tips or tricks below!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

A guide to the summer skin according to an expert

If I’m indulging in some much needed self-care, there’s a good chance you’ll find me at the little brick house in downtown Whitefish Bay. Located near the corner of Lake Drive and Silver Spring, High Brow Waxing Boutique is group of talented estheticians offering everything from lash lifts to facials to waxing, of course. Stefanie Corbett is the fierce lady and skin authority behind this local, woman-owned business.

When she’s not bestowing radiant skin facials and pain-free waxes on clients, you can find her whipping up scrubs and bath salts as part of her second business, Haven & Blythe. Yes, this woman is a powerhouse! And today she is discussing everything we need to know to achieve a summer glow.

You’ve been in the beauty industry for nearly 20 years. What drew you to this profession? How have things changed?

I was drawn to esthetics because of my love for makeup. Once I began my course work at the Institute of Beauty and Wellness, I fell in love with all things skin care! Having the ability to improve a someone's confidence through a wax or working through skin care challenges is incredibly rewarding.

In my opinion, things have changed quite a bit. Clients want to see more technology included in their treatments, while maintaining natural and pure ingredients. We’re seeing more lasers, microneedling, and machines offering non-surgical solutions. I think it's great!

You’re a long-time fan of Yon-Ka Paris Skin Care at High Brow. What do you love about this product line?

Yon-Ka has been a pioneer in skincare for 6o years! They are by far the most customized line I have come across in all my years as an esthetician. For example, they have over 30 moisturizers alone; each one providing the exact treatment promised. I find that so rare; a line that is so tailored to every unique skin type, and truly works!

You’re quickly approaching your first wedding anniversary. Congratulations! Do you have any tips for brides, or guests, who want to look natural and luminious for the event?

It's all about the facial. Don’t wait until the month of your wedding to treat yourself. Let your esthetician work their magic for at least 6 months prior and the glow will show.

Speaking of facials, tell us about your proprietary derma-renew facial?

It's the ultimate facial! It starts with dermaplanning exfoliation, followed by a Yon-Ka brightening peel, and finished with a hydrating Yon-Ka Excellence Code Sheet Masque. Because the results are immediate and long-lasting, it has quickly become our most popular facial.

Let's say you’re going on a summer getaway, what 1-2 products do you pack?

That’s tough! SPF is a must in the sun. Our time in the sun now will be reflected on our skin over the next 20 years, so layer on the SPF! I’d also grab my Yon-Ka Excellence Code Masque. I love this mask because it's simple but action-packed. It's applied at night, in place of a moisturizer and when you wake, your skin is radiant, hydrated, and firm.

Do you have a favorite sunscreen brand?

Well, my love for Yon-Ka runs deep! In additional to being paraben-free, their sunscreen also loaded with vitamins A, E, and B5 so you're getting the benefits of a treatment cream in each application. I love that! In terms of a body SPF, I love La Roche Posay Anthelios because it's super lightweight and great for all skin types.

I’ve asked you many times, but let’s settle this once and for all. What is the correct order to apply skin care products?

There's a little wiggle room to this one, as everyone has their preference, but I apply in this order:
cleanse, tone, eye/lip cream, serum, moisturize, and finally, SPF.

And don’t forget, your exfoliants and masks should be applied 1-2 times per week to maintain healthy skin!

What is the one thing everyone can do to maintain healthy summer skin?

Drink your water! The majority of skincare challenges are a reflection of what you’re putting in your body. If you’re not staying hydrated, your skin will show it by looking dull, dry, and even more aged – GASP! So drink up, generally speaking 8-10 glasses of water per day is best to maintain the summer glow we're looking for!

Thank you so much, Stefanie!

High Brow Waxing Boutique is generously offering readers 10% off a single service this summer when you mention this site! Yesss! I recommend the derma-renew facial (or really, any of their facials), or a lash tint/lift (perfect for those summer months when you'd like to forgo eye makeup, but you still want to look alive). Go get your glow on!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Worthy Reads: June edition

It's finally summer! Now if only today's weather would cooperate, right? This cool, cloudy day makes for a good opportunity to snuggle up and read this month's collection of the best internet finds. I'll just be over here staring at this picture of my babies trying to figure out where the time has gone. But without further ado, here are June's favorites:

A backyard barbecue, park picnic, or post-dinner walk isn't complete without these. Not only are these cups a convenient way to enjoy a beverage, they also make a wonderful housewarming or hostess gift accompanied with a bottle of wine. And I'm proud to call the amazing woman behind this genius product a dear friend.

I just purchased my third bottle of this sunscreen. It's been my go-to every day for almost five years (how's that for a long-lasting product!), and it is the best, non-greasy, lightweight liquid sunscreen I've found.

I finished this book in three days. It got mixed reviews, but if you enjoyed Gone Girl or a similar thriller, I'd recommend it. It's a page-turner and a perfect poolside read. This one is next up on my list. Have you read it?

Such a touching story.

"Compassion is an unlimited resource—in fact, self-compassion breeds compassion not just for others, but in others. If you want your daughter to take responsibility for herself, it’s going to be important for you to take some responsibility, too." Read more about a therapist's thoughtful response to healing a complicated mother-daughter relationship.

A good reminder that too much self-examination isn't healthy.

Mmm, yes please. Dinner. And dessert.

Finally, I'm compiling an interview series with local business owners (think an esthetician, a nutritionist, and a business owner/state assembly candidate). Are there any interviews you'd love to read here? Email me your ideas at amy@lakehouseeffect.com. I'll see you back here Thursday with my first guest!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Simple food swaps

Woah, these busy weeks before summer hit me hard and I have been eating in all the ice cream (forever my weakness), snacks, and wine. I'm have no regrets about the occasional indulgence, but when it's every meal, my stomach is pretty unhappy and repays me with that sluggish, overall unhealthy feeling.

These days, it's easy to replace the usual snacks and staples with healthier, cleaner versions. So I'm going back to the basics with these simple food swaps:

Ghee is a great replacement for butter in cooking. I actually prefer the taste to traditional butter and a small amount goes a long way. In that same sphere, coconut oil is a great dairy-free replacement in baking. With it's high heat threshold, it also works well in cooking, especially if you're making a stir-fry or a meal that lends itself to a little coconut flavor.

I used to be addicted to wheat thins, but now almond crackers are my thing. They are so much better than regular crackers and so filling.

When there's no time to whip up homemade salad dressing, I love Primal Kitchens Dressings. The ingredients are clean. I've also been using Trader Joe's Green Goddess dressing; a thick, herby dressing conveniently located near the salad in the refrigerated section.

Honey is a great substitute for sugar, but when a liquid won't cut it (i.e. in baking) monkfruit sweetener is the perfect one-to-one replacement.

Banza pasta made from chickpeas (my kids eat this with no complaints), or better yet, a roasted spaghetti squash, is an great alternative to regular pasta.

Sometimes I think I have the appetite of a five-year-old. Thankfully, dried mango or fruit leather are enough to quiet my inner child's gummy bear cravings.

Hummus is a substitute for cheese, said no Wisconsinite ever. But hummus does make a delicious addition to a summer smorgrasbord.

Just a reminder, you can sign up for Thrive Market here and get 25% off your first delivery! I promise I'm not secretly moonlighting as an employee; I'm just a happy customer.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The scarcity epidemic

I've been hearing about scarcity's role in our current society frequently these days. And it only makes sense when we live in a busy world of social media likes and endless stories about the power of money.

I am guilty of being in a place of want or need in my own life more often than I should. And for those who know me or have spent any time following me here, you know that's just ridiculous.

But our world supports these ideas. We are taught there is a finite amount of money and resources for the taking. On a smaller level, my own community consists of like families employed in a similar industry; one that is money-focused and ultracompetitive by nature. Just last week my husband mentioned last month's credit card bill was massive. And oh my, those lasting childhood stresses instantly triggered me and I was quickly tricked into believing there is not enough.

Scarcity is a real thing. It's the basic problem in which all economic theory was derived. The idea that people will always want more than the resources support.

Not enough money becomes my job isn't paying me enough, which quickly becomes I should have gone to a better college, but I'm not smart enough, for example. Scarcity transforms from "there is not enough" to "I am not enough." That is a dangerous place to live.

But there's hope (always, right?). Scarcity is an easy fix. It is simply a misallocation of personal resources. Spend less time seeking wealth and recognition, spend more time on opportunities to live in abundance that only comes with deeper connection and love.

While we still have to make money to support the financial demands of our families and we still enjoy pursuing our professional goals, we can't limit fulfillment to the superficial. One day we may not get that promotion or the economy will take a hit or we'll write a super amazing blog post and no one will read it (just me?). Extrinsic forces can and will fail us and if we've given them more weight, we will begin to believe everything in life is scarce.

If we celebrate the success of others, give love freely and often, make time to connect with loved ones, support someone else’s goals and accomplishments, we move the needle toward unwavering internal abundance. When I stop and relish in the company of friends or the laughter of children, I can’t help but feel overwhelming wealth; and scarcity has no place there.
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