How Disney’s ‘Frozen’ Addresses Mental Illness and Smashes the White Knight Narrative

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Warning: major spoilers Unless you’re into spontaneous rich people falling in love and musicals, the first fifteen minutes of Disney’s ‘Frozen’ might turn you off. Even I, a firm believer in the potential of a good Disney princess, was dreading … Continue reading

Why Your Teenager Should Watch Teen Mom

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My first experience with motherhood was at birth. Though I don’t remember the bloody details, my mother often describes the profound connection we shared that day in early March. My second experience with motherhood was at five years old, when … Continue reading

I’m back! Have you missed me?!

Hello, WordPress World!

I’m home and ready to mingle with all of you wonderful personalities.

I want to announce the return of my weekly blog entries (for my poor, neglected subscribers)

and the release of the Young Writer’s Anthology edited by Derek Koehl (Dinner at Tiffany’s) which I was invited to participate in.

It is titled “Exploring the Hidden Paths”

6 of my poems are published in the anthology and it is available at Barnes and Noble or Amazon for those who are interested in silly poetry!

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See ya’ll in a week with an update <3

10 Random Things I’m Obsessed With

When writer’s block settles in my frontal lobes for weeks of apathy, I rely on nostalgia to get me through blog entries. You guys, nostalgia can be fun! Reflections about those little things we love, those tiny trinkets that make us whole, are always worth sharing. What are you obsessed with? Is your life incomplete without that pimple-popping app on your iPad? Do you have a crush on any presidents? What makeup brands make your life worth living? Well, before you rush to give me some answers – here are some random things I’m obsessed with (besides English literature, which is a given) in no particular order. Look for the links I’ve posted to websites that hold the key to my favorite things!

Let’s get to know each other.

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1. High-Waisted Shorts

I’m not usually the first person to hop on the trend-train, and I definitely wouldn’t consider myself a trend-setter. Let’s face it, these shorts are just irresistible. They have that soft-grunge vibe, while making your figure look dainty and curvy at the same time. There’s just no hiding it anymore; high-waisted shorts are my new guilty pleasure.

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2. Ramen Noodles

When I think of comfort, I have a vision of me sitting beside my beloved laptop, chowing down on a bowl of traditional Japanese Ramen noodles complete with boiled eggs and chewy bamboo. If you click the photo, you’ll be directed to a great recipe for these. However, I’m a firm believer in a little healthy take-out every now and then, so it wouldn’t hurt to find your nearest Japanese restaurant and give it a well deserved chance!

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3. Bonnie and Clyde

Ah, America’s sweet and murderous famous couple, who turned the great depression into a playground for mischief. I’m not usually one to glamorize criminals, but I’ve always been enticed by their love story, and inspired by this era in general.

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4. Twin Peaks

This should say “David Lynch in general” because everything by him I have watched and adored. There is just something about Twin Peaks – something that can only be described as perfect, that I am obsessed with. Whenever I am feeling blue, I feel better with a slice of pie and an episode of Twin Peaks. Mind you, I’ve seen every episode about a hundred times each.

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5. Charles Bukowski

As a tragically imperfect person, as a poet and writer, as an unlikely inspiration, I blindly love this man. His poetry connects, and he has this way of making sense of all the ugliness in the world.

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6. T-Shirts by Sober is Sexy

This clothing company is so inspiring; I couldn’t help but include them in the random things I’m obsessed with list. These t-shirts, undies, stickers, and even mugs – make being sober cool, for once. Their social media outlets are positive, healthy, and just lovely to look at. Plus, you’ll look like a total Betty in these garments.

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7. Vintage Punk Rockers

Whether it’s Keith Morris of the Circle Jerks, Lorna Doom of the Germs, Xcene Cervenka of X, or Mike Watt of the Minute Men, I’m obsessed with old school punk rockers. Not only did I grow up in the mosh pits of some of these bands, but my home L.A was the breeding ground for original West Coast punk.

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8. Hay House Radio

Home to world-renowned motivational speakers, clairvoyants, and life-coaches, this is my nightly ritual. This “Radio for your Soul” is a free, online source of happiness, light, and inspiration.

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9. Daisies, the Film

Daisies is a film that came out in 1966 about two young women who are just sick of living by the status quo. They decide to become “spoiled” like milk, and bratty as they look. They prank men around town and slither their way into parties and bars, all while causing irreparable trouble and looking adorable at the same time. It was banned by Czech authorities because of it’s style, and it’s director was not allowed to work in her homeland again until 1975.

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10. Body-Positive Blogging

One thing that makes me inexplicably sad is when I see body negative blogs that make hurting our beautiful incarnations seem glamorous. When I see body positive blogging, I feel a sense of empowerment and love knowing there is a community of people banding together to end body-shame. That makes me a self-loving, happy camper, and I’m proud!

What are you obsessed with?

Oil Pulling & The Dangers of Flouride

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“Oil pulling” has been circling the social media and online world for the past few years, but some of us are still skeptical of it’s benefits. Some of us are still unpersuaded by the unbelievable results this process promises. Did … Continue reading

A Fun Guide to Fashionable and Responsible Thrift Shopping

I follow one sport. One that requires concentration, stamina, speed, focus, flexibility and intense organization. The one sport all starving writers consider themselves familiar with; and it is characterized by incredible fashion finds and incredible amounts of wasted time. The sport of thrifting is unlike regular shopping because you won’t be catered to by sales associates or be able to find anything in exactly your size. You’ll need to take it upon yourself to come prepared, and be willing to suffer the loss of an entire day if all you find is a stained silk handbag from the eighties (god bless) and a troll doll with the jewel missing. You’ll have to crawl under locked dressing rooms and cough up dust balls while paying and endure a melancholy nostalgia like no other. Luckily, I have thoroughly explored the exciting world of thrifting on your behalf – and am willing to share my secrets to ensure you’ll come home with an original new wardrobe. The amazing thing about thrift shopping is the freedom to manifest a wardrobe unlike any of your friends’. One that cannot be duplicated or even categorized because it is solely your own creation.

thriftThey sell your granddad’s clothes, you’ll look incredible (not negotiable)

Find local stores - Before you leave your home for an escapade of thrifting, you should scope out the local stores in the area. Are there any obscure vintage stores in addition to the local Goodwill and Salvation Army? Check out reviews on Yelp to find out what thrift stores have the types of items you’re looking for. Use the Thrift Store Directory online to find specific styles and items in whatever area you seek.

Pick a theme – Once you have figured out which road you’re taking and what stores you’re likely to visit – it’s time to pick a theme. Each time you visit a thrift store, you should have a specific theme, era of time, or particular style you’ll be focusing on. Some examples of possible themes are: soft grunge, heroin chic, bohemian, flapper, pin-up, street folk, or greaser. Stick to this theme in order to make sure your pieces go together, so they don’t end up sitting in your closet without anything to match. It is very common to find a special, must-have piece and end up never wearing it because there is just no occasion or accessories for it.

Research modern trends – If you are unsure about your theme, you should research what is “in” right now. Researching the modern trends will give you an idea of what you’ll likely build upon with older, more worn pieces. You can achieve trendy looks by researching on Pinterest, Tumblr, fashion magazines, or your local mall. Once you have the exact idea of what your day will be planned around, get ready to have fun with it! Dress accordingly but comfortably, pick a music playlist to match your theme, and call up a few friends who are as bored as you.

Donate your old clothes – For every piece you thrift, you should donate something that doesn’t quite fit anymore or just doesn’t suit your new style. It is healthy to detach yourself from clothes that hoard old energy, and to be aware that your belongings don’t define you. There are also places like Buffalo Exchange, where it is encouraged to trade in your old items for new, as long as they’re in good condition and still in style.

Use logic, not gut - Usually I’m the first to trust my inner voice and flow with my intuition. However, when it comes to shopping – my inner voice is overpowered by my inner child. It is much like a candy store metaphor to me, except the candy is sequin and lace. So, please examine your pieces before you decide on buying them. Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Will I ever truly wear this?

2. Are there any stains or holes?

3. Are the stains removable or visible?

4. How faded is this item?

5. How high or low is the quality of this brand?

6.  Will I ever truly wear this? (Yes, again on purpose)

7. How does this item fit with my theme?

8. Can this item match with anything else in my closet?

9. How can I make this item more fabulous?

10. Does this item comply with my personal ethics? (i.e made in China, etc.)

Bring cash – After you’ve asked yourself these questions with every wonderfully eye-catching item you’ve browsed through, you’ll likely come across things you’re happy with! You should make sure you bring cash because some smaller thrift stores do not take credit or debit cards. Cash will also make it easier to keep track of how much you’re spending and whether the amount you paid is over the original budget. Plus, you never know when a sweet vendor will roll up on the thrift store’s block with mouthwatering cash-only treats.

Know what to avoid – I could not write an entry about thrifting without mentioning what not to buy. Underwear is not something usually sold at mainstream thrift stores, and unless it once belonged to Betty Page – I wouldn’t recommend buying it from one. Instead, last minute lingerie can be bought at the local Dollar Tree. Other items that should be off limits are kitchen appliances (which may be out of date), makeup, and mattresses. Used mattresses have a high possibility of hosting bed bug parties, and beg bugs are more trouble than the mattress is worth. Please save up the extra money to buy the aforementioned items brand new. Thrift for records or books instead!

Use apps and sales – A lot of the time, bigger thrift stores will have in-store sales. These sales are absolutely marvelous and I’ll reveal why. The sales are usually 20 – 70% off the original price, which means you’re getting a (pardon my French) hell of a deal. Basically, when something that was 4$ turns into 2$, you’re able to double the items you take home. If there is no sale on your planned thrifting day, ask an employee to give you information on the next sale. If an employee can’t help you - thrifting apps can keep you connected to garage sales and stores near you.

Remember to arrive prepared, get creative with your new pieces, and maximize your thrifting journey to the thrifty-fullest.

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Clothing in landfills was diminished by 89% due to thrifting, since the year 1980

How to Love and Sculpt Your Body at the Same Time

(T.W Warning weight loss, unhealthy dieting, negative body image)

I still remain that no one in the western world is a stranger to negative body image. We may have felt self-conscious or ashamed about our physical incarnations, while projecting bad self esteem onto the young ones who look up to us. How can you blame us? We are bombarded with aesthetically perfect bodies on billboards and in our fashion magazines, but wonder why we can never achieve the same level of perfection. A lot of us have damaged our bodies while aiming for super model features. For every person who has felt body shame or has harmed her body in order to lose weight, I have come up with solutions that may certainly help.

And guess what? Your weight doesn’t define your character, and losing it is not for everyone. It is also no one’s place to police your body. If you are comfortable with your current weight, or are completely appalled by the idea of losing it, this article is not for you (and fuck yeah, infinite power to you for that). This article is for those who are struggling with weight-loss. I do not believe being thin is the answer to any deep seated problems, but if you are set on losing weight – you should remain patient, aware, and learn to love yourself as you are.

Below are healthy tips to keeping your ecology free of negativity and other toxins!

Affirm – Begin by affirming love for yourself. If you constantly insult yourself with thoughts about your perceived ugliness or unwanted fat, you will never move forward in a healthy manner. We are often our own worst enemies, are we not? Well, think about it this way: you would never insult a friend or stranger about their body, so why continue to insult yourself with negative thoughts? Instead, embrace your weight and your features. Embrace whatever marks or curves you may have hated in the past. You can write letters to yourself, leave positive notes on your bathroom mirror, and take time to look deeply at our own reflection with kindness.

Stop skipping meals – No matter how busy your schedule, you should never make a habit of skipping meals. A latte or a Frappuccino does not count as a meal (guilty, guilty, guilty)! Empty calories are those from added sugars and solid fats. These facts remind us that sugary coffee drinks do not count as food. Skipping meals can damage and slow your metabolism, which means you will see slower results in the long run anyway. Staying comfortably full at all times is the best way to tell if you are consuming enough calories. Eating at least six healthy snacks throughout the day will keep you full and also make sure you don’t end up binging at the end of the day. Lastly, when you deprive yourself of proper nutrition and vitamins, your mood will be affected significantly. This will lead to anger toward your diet and put your goal at a stand-still.

Do workouts you love – If you find yourself staring at the tread mill and wanting to run home as fast as you can, do it! Take the apathy for your normal exercise routine and turn it into something else. Turn your long week into a kickboxing class. Attend a bike meet-up or simply ride your bike to work. Try different machines at the gym, and try not to be intimidated by taking classes. During a class it is likely you will meet someone who has goals similar to your own, and seeing their progress will become a staple to your success.

Stop overspending – A common mistake for new body sculptors is spending a fortune on low calorie items. These items may seem like a good idea until you open them and decide they have subpar taste and low nutritional value. The best thing to do is change our habits rather than trying to mask them with expensive low-calorie options. Instead of snacking on a chocolate-fiber science experiment, reach for a tropical papaya. I guarantee a better mood and better taste after you’ve replaced chocolate for fruit. Small changes like this can be personalized to your particular cravings and shortcomings. Spending money on whole, organic fruits and vegetables can save you money and will be up to par with your taste buds.

Sculpt responsibly – Body sculpting can be tricky. It can seem like your dreams are coming true within the first five weeks, until your results start to slow. You begin to notice the scale beneath your feet is not changing at all. You should never let this frustration into your sculpting sessions. Meaning, your movements should still be steady and precise. There is a lot of harm involved in cramming as many reps as possible into two minutes. Instead, try to breathe deeply while you sculpt or jog, and have patience with your body. You should feel energized after a workout; not frustrated and tired.

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Throughout your journey, remember that change is a result of baby steps and positive affirmation!

Enlightenment is for Everyone

Enlightenment is no longer a thought-form reserved for monks and reincarnated Buddhas. Enlightenment is not packaged, or marketed, or perpetuated – but achieved through consistent mindfulness, meditation, and a willingness to unlearn old habits. Consistency is key when en-route to your personal nirvana. Mind-changing philosophical discoveries are sure to follow, as well as a mostly stable, blissful life.

Meanwhile, it is so important to stay in motion, while also being aware of harmful habits like over-exercising or extreme dieting. Our thoughts should be distributed equally between the mind and the body, so that we can further visualize our healthy futures. Enlightenment is an ongoing process that is perhaps also never-ending (on this plane, at least!); but it doesn’t have to be impossible. One step to complete and total girl-nirvana is to free the Kundalini inside all of us.

I know what Yoga is, but what is Kundalini Yoga?

Kundalini Yoga is an ancient discipline to serve your mind and body. It incorporates both up-beat and gentle movements to promote relaxation and consciousness exploration. The Kundalini itself is the energy that sleeps like a dormant volcano in the base of your spine. As a result of these poses, the Kundalini travels upward through your chakras (see my master-post on chakras) to free your body from any lower vibrating shackles.

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This is your body on Kundalini Yoga

Here are some simple Kundalini traditions to incorporate into your daily meditations.

Below are some of the basic Kundalini Yoga traditions that are guaranteed to bring you closer to a calming, successful, and whole lifestyle. It is important to stay relaxed throughout your session and not over-do any of the poses. Work with what you have in the present moment. There is no need to rush or push yourself too hard. Yoga is about progress and not perfection.

  1. Rub your Palms Together to Create Energy. Rubbing your palms together is meant to generate your body’s natural energy. For this pose, you’ll want to sit cross legged and begin rubbing your palms together vigorously. Continue to rub your palms for about 3-5 minutes, or at least until they are warm to the touch. This is usually done at the start of a Kundalini Yoga session to get us focused and attentive for the poses to come.
  2.  Focus on your breath. A huge part of freeing your Kundalini is to breathe in and out deeply while concentrating. Why is this so? Because it is said when you breathe, you are communicating directly with “source” and therefore opening your channels to receive love. Source is defined by the creator of energy or, where we get our consciousness! Of course, breathing is also pragmatic because it keeps you centered and serene, not to mention alive. It will also increase your stamina, which is necessary for the more challenging poses.
  3. Sit cross legged and bring your back around. Firstly, sit with your back straight. Then, begin to round your back, bringing your head forward along with your back. Continue rounding your back in complete circles for about 5 minutes until you feel fully stretched. You should inhale every time you bring in your back, and exhale when you bring it outward. So when your head is furthest from your torso, you should be exhaling.
  4. Chant “Sat Nam”. There are many, many chants in Kundalini Yoga. It is understood by all Yogis that the vibrations in these sacred languages can bring inner peace and higher knowing. The word “Sat” means truth, while the word “Nam” means name. So, chanting “Sat Nam” has always been labeled a sure-fire way to connect with source, which is a Kundalini staple. You are basically saying something like “my true name” and pondering the highest of human truths all at the same time! Chant as loudly as you wish, and do so for about 3 minutes.
  5.  Practice Breath of Fire. Breath of fire isn’t as intimidating as it sounds, but it can be challenging for some and it has a slight level of strain. It’s the good kind of strain, but also the kind of strain that should not apply to pregnant women. So, expectant mommies can skip this tradition altogether, for now. You must practice breathing in only through your left nostril, and quickly too. The breath of fire should last about 26 full, rapid breaths. These breaths will help you release any pent up stress or anger that has been dormant inside of you. We all need help coping with the realities of life; breath of fire can keep us from exploding on others. A meditation that goes well with breath of fire is to breathe in anger and breathe out love. Breathe in anger and breathe out love. This way, you’re turning any anger into love.

Part of the Kundalini tradition is to raise the awareness and vibration of others around you. When you are healthy and evolved, you will reek of it. Others will see it, feel it, and be able to learn from you without you having to shove any ideologies down their throats.

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P.S I must admit, I am an advocate for a mindful cup of Yogi Tea

Meditative Steps for a Perfect Night’s Sleep

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Let’s start by disproving that counting sheep myth; the whole idea freaks me out.

Meditative Steps to a Perfect Night’s Sleep:

Create a sleep schedule: First, take a step back from the sheer madness of the daily grind and look at your usual routines during the week via calender or organizer. What time do you have class? What time is work? These are all questions that define the outlook of your day. Once you have figured out when you are most active, you can relax about what time to lie down. For example, if you need to wake up at 8:00 AM for a 9:00 AM class, you should be sleeping at around 10:00 PM the night before. You must not lay down anytime after midnight if you are serious about attempting the perfect night’s sleep. While you only need five hours to function, eight hours is our aim. Next, we will take steps to achieve the eight hour night.

No blue lights before bed: Okay, so I know most of us have the guilty pleasure of falling asleep to Nick at Night sitcoms and occasionally infomercials. I know because I was an executor of this habit for a very large chunk of my life, and mostly found myself waking up at 4 AM with images of Girls Gone Wild flashing before my young eyes. The reality is, the blue light of the television (computers, phones, or iPads) keeps us from getting proper sleep. The blue lights not only keeps us awake longer because our minds are engaged, but it also affects our dreams. If you’re a news junkie, know it is very responsible of you to be inflicted with world events, just not before bed.

Stop taking sleeping pills: Sleeping pills are known for being sedatives that keep you knocked out cold, which believe it or not, makes it harder to get up in the morning. Taking Nyquil or other cold medicines to get more sleep is also very harmful to your health and vitality. Not to mention, when taken every night, these medicines can harm your liver. So, replace your sleeping pills with Melatonin or other holistic sleeping aids like herbs or sleepytime tea. Melatonin is a naturally occurring chemical found in plants, that helps you sleep without you know, raging addiction.

No caffeine after 4 P.M: I know, I know.

Consciously meditate: Why is it after we crawl comfortably into our pijamas we start to ponder the day and all the mistakes we have made and all the things we could have done? The list goes on and on, does it not? I should have done the laundry because I will be too busy tomorrow and who knows whether I will even be home and when my paycheck is going to come in the mail. You get the point. I am not usually a fan of runon sentences, but when I get into bed I often ponder my regrets and the profound correlations between situations. Instead, we need to let ourselves breathe. If you breathe in and out for ten minutes every single night, you are likely to start falling asleep within those ten minutes. Would that not be wonderful?

Watch your bedtime diet: If you enjoy eating snacks in bed or find yourself sneaking into the kitchen for one too many midnight choco-pies, it is probably best to calm the cravings. Calm these cravings by drinking glasses of water or warm chamomile milk tea, because eating before bed can make you lose sleep. Eating before bed also accumulates fat, and affects your digestive system negatively. Have you ever gone out for the night and returned home with your girlfriends only to sloppily bake frozen pizza and pass out in your heels? No? Well it is common among some of us. However, it should not happen every day. Some foods to avoid before bed are pastas, cheeses, sweets, energy-packed bars or fruits, nuts, and ice cream.

Goodnight, and good luck.

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Judging by this bed chamber, I assume Marie Antoinette didn’t have much trouble sleeping.

Let’s Talk About Vision, Baby

I realize this is probably not my sexiest article, but I’ve learned a lot about my star-gazers this month. Plus, I wouldn’t pass up the chance to show off a selfie.

When my doctor told me I had a slight astigmatism in my left eye, just enough for my insurance to cover the cost of glasses, I was honestly stunned. I had waltzed into the office in hopes of getting myself a pair of chic, square-rimmed glasses to assist my vision because I spend a considerable amount of time attached to my laptop. I was glad to be greeted by the warm surroundings of brand name frames and a polite female doctor who talked to me about tattoos and Starbucks and having daughters. Right up until doc asked me to sit with my forehead pasted to a device straight out of a dystopian science fiction flick, to test for some obscure eye condition I was sure I didn’t have. I must admit, even with the few tattoos I have endured, I was not ready for those tiny bursts of air into my retinas from the glaucoma test. In fact, all of the tests were a little intimidating – because those of us who are blessed with good vision are terrified of losing it. It is completely understandable to be frightened of aging eye problems, but these issues are a common reality for all women. Women live longer than men, so of course we are prone to developing more eye problems as the time passes.

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Here’s that selfie in my new glasses as promised

Those of us who are pregnant or taking birth control are also at a higher risk of developing eye problems. Birth control not only makes us retain water (I know), but also changes your lens perception. Pregnancy side-effects (too many of my own to list) also include blurred vision. If you are pregnant or nursing, you might find yourself feeling as though you are malnutrition because your eyes simply lose focus out of nowhere. Speaking of nutrients, a hugely important factor in relation to female vision is what we consume. Certain vitamins can help us keep our vision longer, and certain foods are packed with these vitamins. Let us discuss some ways to improve our eye health so our next eye doctor appointment won’t seem so apocalyptic.

Take Vitamins – Vitamin A, vitamin E, and C are very vital to eye health. They can help you see clearer and even perceive brighter! By the way, you do not have to chew on a slab of liver to get vitamin A. Vitamin A is found in carrots, leafy greens, sweet potato, and squash, which all make perfect summer lunches. Vitamin E is mostly found in nuts like almonds, peanuts, and pine nuts. Lastly, you can get your daily dose of vitamin C from a cool, tall glass of organic orange juice.

Keep your computer / laptop screen below vision level -   According to my own eye doctor, keeping your computer below eye level helps to keep them moist. You can get dry eye syndrome or even develop a stigmatism from staring directly into your computer screen. Instead, look down at it because it keeps your eyelids slightly shut. Imagine someone taking a picture from above you and that is the way your eyelids should look when your computer is below eye level.

Try to stay out of the heat – Obviously there is no escape from the sun unless you want to spend multiple months at the corners of the earth in complete darkness for thirty days out of the year. Instead, try to wear big (stylish) sun hats to shade your eyes from direct sunlight. You will want to shade your eyes with a visor or even a towel whenever you go tanning. Your last option is to sport sunglasses while you drive so the sun does not hit your eyes directly. Remember never to stare directly into the sun, no matter how lovely the sunset might be.

Distance yourself from junk food – A lot of us have strong-willed sweet tooth cravings that will not stop nagging at us until we nibble on a bag of Pretzel M&M’s. Understood. According to published studies regarding eye health, foods high in Omega 6 fatty acids are more likely to give you eye problems in the future. Remember, you can develop eye problems over time and it is very normal to do so in the case of women. Snacks that are processed or high in fat can be damaging to your eyes as the years fly by. Instead, try an organic vegan cookie to satisfy your sweet tooth. Another option is to drink a tall glass of water. Often we feel cravings simply because our bodies are thirsty.

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Mantra: I am grateful for my health and my clear vision, and vow to take care of myself and the physical gifts I have been given.