What I’m Into: March 2017

March continued to involve very little sleep, but at least I watched some quality movies in those midnight hours (when the toddler wasn’t screaming.) (I instagrammed them, by the way. P.S. you should follow me there!)

pride and prejudice bbc

We went on a mini-vacation to Michigan to visit a museum and do some shopping, and most of all, to get some sleep. (Felix stayed with grandparents, God bless them.) It was very refreshing.

museum

snow

It wasn’t exactly the two-week Florida trip we’d originally been planning, but it was something.

Well, here’s what I’ve been into!

Audiobooks

audiobooks

A Man Called OveFrederik Backman. A completely heartwarming story from a Swedish blogger. Ove may be the most endearing grumpy old man you’ve ever met. You will fall in love with every single character. I cried both sad and happy tears. The writing is vibrant and lovely. I already think it might be one of the best books I read in 2017. (And the narrator is great.)

The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern. A delight for those who love magical stories. Two young magicians are forced into a lifelong duel of magic they don’t fully understand, and the setting for the competition is a mysterious traveling circus. And what happens when the opponents, who must battle to the death, fall in love with one another? The descriptions of the magical circus are breathtaking and riveting. The audiobook is read by the talented Jim Dale, famous for his narration of the Harry Potter series.

KultiMariana Zapata. I listened to the audiobook after Leigh Kramer’s glowing recommendation. I enjoy the occasional romance story! It was kind of fun to try a subject matter I don’t usually go for — it follows the story of a female soccer player, whose childhood idol becomes her coach. Turns out, I’m more old-fashioned than I thought, because the explicit sex scene at the end completely ruined it for me. I swear I grimaced through the whole ten-minute scene. I might have even said, “EWWWWWWWWWWW” out loud, more than once. This from a happily married woman of almost twelve years.

Children’s Picture Books

picture books about art

This month I decided to focus on books about art. (I got most of my ideas from this list.)

Ish – Peter H. Reynolds. Ramon’s older brother makes fun of his drawing, so Ramon gives up drawing . . . until his little sister helps him see the beauty in a drawing of a vase that’s “vase-ish.” A sweet story about the beauty of the artistic process.

The Dot – Peter H. Reynolds. About a little girls who thinks she can’t draw until her teacher encourages her to draw a dot. Her creativity is ignited and we learn that anyone can be an artist.

Art & Max – David Wiesner. This one is a feast for the eyes and a ton of fun. Things go awry when Max has his own take on what it means to “paint his friend.”

Frederick – Leo Lionni. Frederick the mouse teaches us the real value of art.

Children’s Read-Aloud Chapter Books

oz

The Wizard of Oz – Frank L Baum. FORGET EVERYTHING YOU REMEMBER FROM THE CREEPY MOVIE. If you have any negative preconceived ideas about this book based on the film, let me assure you it is nothing like it. (I repeat: Oz is NOT a shudder-inducing hellscape populated by overacting old men in costumes and little people in bad wigs.) Get this edition with the gorgeous cover art to help you get a fresh perspective. I’m so glad I gave this book a try despite my misgivings. It is completely charming. Lydia is loving it. The characters are lovable and the story is exciting. (However, it does contain some bloodless violence. The Tin Woodman is handy with his axe.)

Movies

Beauty and the Beast. I took Lydia to the theaters to see the new live-action remake. LOVED IT. It was visually stunning and everything my grown-up six-year-old heart would have wished.

Pride and Prejudice (1995 BBC version). Can you believe I had NEVER EVER seen this version of P&P? I borrowed it from our library and watched it in segments during Felix’s middle-of-the-night wakings. I thought it might be boring (Five hours of idle upper-class Brits standing around and talking!) but I found it utterly delightful. Heart-eyes for young Colin Firth! You have to seriously suspend your belief to imagine that Jane is the town beauty, though. (P.S. I still like the 2005 Kiera Knighty version the best, SUE ME.)

Pete’s Dragon – saw this with the famjam. It was enjoyable for everyone. Heartwarming, good music, impressive visuals.

What have you been into?

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Why the LGBT community might not feel loved by Christians

Why the LGBT community might not feel loved by ChristiansPhoto credit

Note: I consider myself a recent but very imperfect LGBTQ ally and also a Christian. So if I say things that are hurtful or incorrect to those who belong to either/both camps, I apologize in advance. And I’m aware that there are affirming churches out there, so I’m not talking about them when I say LGBTQ people might not feel loved by “Christians.” I’m talking about those individuals and groups that express the attitude I’m describing below.

As many of you are probably aware, there has been much debate and discussion around the new Beauty and the Beast movie in the Christian community. Much of it has to do with the inclusion of what the director has called an “exclusively gay moment,” and whether or not parents should let their children watch it.

This post is not about that. (But I will say that I took my daughter to see the movie, IT WAS DELIGHTFUL, and that any hints towards homosexuality were very, very subtle.)

Anyway, what I wanted to talk about was something I read in one of those well-circulated articles by a Christian mom debating the merits of the movie.

Overall, the article is a very thoughtful, kind and gentle reflection on the kinds of things we want to share with our children. She doesn’t tell us whether or not we should watch the movie with our kids, — in fact, she seems unsure herself — only that we ought to be thoughtful about such decisions.

Here’s the part that stood out to me, though, and made me pause. It comes at the end of the post:

…if you are one of my gay friends, and you read this and heard me hating you or disrespecting you or looking down on you, hear me now: I love you. I love you more than you think I do. I pray for you – not to not be gay. I pray you have a good day, that your kids are protected and grow up kind and strong. I pray you are happy and loved. I pray you’ll know Jesus in an intimate and amazing way. I pray you’ll know His love for you. [Italics in original]

Outwardly, this seems like a very loving and respectful sentiment. She loves gay people! She wishes them well! She doesn’t even want to change their sexuality! Who could object to that? I’ve heard this sentiment repeated over and over by many wonderful, caring Christians, and it sounds really loving.

But something didn’t sit right with me, and it took a couple of seconds to figure it out.

The part that bothered me was this: “I pray you’ll know Jesus in an intimate and amazing way. I pray you’ll know His love for you.”

Future tense.

The author seems to assume the gay reader doesn’t already know Jesus in an intimate way, or already know Jesus’ love for them.

The author appears to assume that the gay reader isn’t already a Christian.

That’s what bothered me. How can she possibly know that they aren’t already Christians? Maybe the gay reader already feels perfectly aligned and in tune with God, in a perfect, loving relationship.

It seems really presumptuous to assume that because the person is gay, that necessarily means they are not already a Christian. Maybe that person has a different interpretation of Scripture which allows them to feel they are already in good standing with God . . . while still being gay. Heck, maybe they’re better Christians than the author!

After reading this passage, reiterating a sentiment I’ve heard a hundred times and even shared myself in the past, I couldn’t help thinking that LGBTQ people will always feel unloved and unwelcome by the church as long as we believe you can’t be gay and Christian at the same time.

(Of course I can’t speak for how gay people feel, as I’m not one of them. But when I imagine myself in a situation where the dominant group thought it was impossible for me to be one of them on account of my sexuality, I think this is how I would feel. I’ve heard from LGBTQ people expressing similar feelings.)

This isn’t about the author specifically, but about all Christians who say they love gay people but believe they are living in sin. I’m not saying they’re wrong, I’m just saying I’m not surprised if gay people aren’t flocking to their doors for church invitations.

If you think it’s impossible to be gay and also be in a good relationship with Jesus, I suspect you will never feel like a completely safe person for an LGBTQ person to be around.

I couldn’t help but think that if I was one of the author’s gay friends, I still wouldn’t really feel loved or accepted, no matter how nicely she told me she loved me. Because she doesn’t think I’m in a good relationship with Jesus!

It made me think of how insulted I feel when an evangelist comes to my door and starts trying to convert me to their particular brand of Christianity without learning a thing about me first. I’m already a Christian! I want to tell them. How do you know I need saving? How do you know I shouldn’t be teaching you about spirituality??

It reminded me of an experience I had a few years ago. Some friends were talking about Ellen Degeneres and her show, and how much she amuses us. Ellen is one funny lady! Then one friend piped up, “Too bad she’s going to hell.” And everyone nodded sadly in agreement.

Wait, what? I thought. How do we know anything about Ellen’s soul and her eternal destination? We’ve never even met her in person! And even if we had, how much do we really know about a person’s relationship with God? How can we possibly know if someone is “going to hell”? Who are we to say we know such a thing? But it’s fairly common among many Christian circles to assume that people living “the gay lifestyle” ( <– a really problematic phrase, BTW) are destined for hell unless they change something dramatic.

Again, if I was gay, I don’t think I’d feel comfortable hanging around people who “knew” I was going to hell. I wouldn’t feel loved. I would feel judged. Even if everyone was polite and friendly.

If you do believe being gay or being in a homosexual relationship is a sin, I am not trying to argue with you. I think it’s your right to believe that. I know it’s possible to hold that belief and be perfectly civil to people who disagree with you. We can live in harmony and hold different beliefs. I’m just saying, don’t be surprised or confused if gay people don’t really want to be around you or listen to you.

Would you want to be around someone who thought you were living in sin and going to hell? Even if they repeatedly told you they loved you?? I just don’t think I would. I would want to seek out people who thought I was their complete equal in Christ.

That’s all I’m trying to say here. You may think you love gay people, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they feel it.

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DIY Natural Mineral Makeup Liquid Foundation (Only 3 Ingredients!)

makeup header

Those who know me know that over the years, I’ve transitioned to non-toxic home and body care products. I make my own deodorant and toothpaste, I wash my hair with baking soda and apple cider vinegar, and I moisturize with natural oils. I clean most of my home with baking soda, vinegar, and elbow grease.

One thing that took longer to change up was makeup. Yes, the best thing to do would be to give up makeup entirely. I am not a high-maintenance girl, and I wish I could do that; but man, I have the worst skin. I have had terrible acne since I was 11 and it is not letting up at all in my thirties.

I . . . I don’t want to talk about it. It really bums me out. Suffice it to say, I’m really self-conscious about my skin and I feel better with a bit of makeup.

I tried a few commercial brands of less-toxic makeup, but they were very expensive, the ingredients were still kind of sketchy, and they didn’t work as well. Making my own makeup just seemed too hard. How would I get the right shade for my skin? How could I get homemade mascara to not run?

The first thing I changed in my makeup kit was my eyeliner. I started making my own eyeliner out of activated charcoal. That was super-easy and inexpensive, and also really effective.

But the rest? It stayed the same for years. I’d been buying the exact same CoverGirl liquid powder foundation for the last 13 years. (I’m from the if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it camp on just about everything.)

I live in a small Canadian town, so I don’t have access to a lot of local shops making small batches of homemade lotions and makeup. And shipping is bonkers is expensive here. Buying makeup online is risky because you can’t test it out. What’s a girl to do?

Mineral Makeup: Almost Right?

 

Finally, a few years ago, I got a chance to try mineral makeup, which I’d been wanting to try for years.

Mineral makeup uses minerals such as iron oxides, talc, zinc oxide, and titanium dioxide, which are ground and milled into tiny particles to create makeup. It sits on the skin rather than being absorbed into it, making it safer. It’s free of parabens, chemical dyes, and perfumes, and are healthy for all skin types. Many brands even claim to nourish the skin rather than damage it.

But real mineral makeup always comes in a loose powdered form. One of the main reasons is because the ingredients that turn makeup into a liquid are generally the most toxic ones.

Basically, you need harsh ingredients to create a liquid makeup that won’t go bad.

Microbes thrive in water, so liquid formulations must include some kind of preservative. If you don’t want nasty preservatives in your makeup, you can’t have it in a liquid form.

So I gave powdered mineral makeup a good try. I watched all the YouTube videos on how to apply it and bought the fancy kabuki brush.

Brush, brush, brush, brush, brush, I went. And then brush, brush, brush, brush, brush some more. (Mineral makeup is hardcore, you guys. So much brushing.)

I couldn’t get it to work for me.

Like I said, I have really crappy skin: I have constant acne, and it’s always simultaneously dry, too. Powder always looks cakey on me, and it takes a ton of it to cover all my blemishes.

Mineral makeup is expensive. And I’m lazy. I can’t be brushing powder all over my face for ten minutes every day.

I wanted the natural-ness of mineral makeup, but the creamy texture of my favourite CoverGirl liquid powder foundation. But none of the toxic ingredients necessary for a commercial liquid makeup.

It was time to turn my powdered mineral makeup into a DIY liquid foundation.

(So in case it wasn’t clear yet: my DIY recipe uses pre-purchased mineral makeup powder. This is not one of those recipes that uses cinnamon and cocoa powder to provide colour. So you will have to go out and find a good mineral makeup that matches your skin tone to follow this recipe.)

MY DIY Liquid Powder Foundation

homemade liquid makeup

I realized that if I wanted to make my own liquid makeup, I would need to make it in small batches to prevent contamination and growth of microbes.

And if I needed to make it frequently, the recipe needed a minimum of ingredients to make it quick and easy.

One DIY recipe I came across online demands that you make a small batch every single day to prevent the growth of mould. Sheesh! I’m not that concerned about contamination. So I make a batch that lasts me about a month. I figure that most makeup you pick up from the drugstore shelf is probably already a month old by the time it gets into your shopping cart, so I’m at least doing better than that.

That same recipe claims to have only “two ingredients,” but one of the ingredients is a homemade lotion consisting of five other ingredients. So . . . no thanks. I wanted something quicker and easier.

After experimenting with a few different natural oils and butters, and playing with the proportions, I found one that made me happy. Just plain shea butter was too thick and pastey, so I added skin-friendly jojoba oil to thin it and add some slip. You may want to play around with it, too, in order to control the amount of coverage it offers and how thick you like it.

Okay, so now you’re wondering, Does it work? How does it look?

Here are my before and after pictures. I am being very vulnerable showing you my untouched, blemish-riddled “before” picture, so be nice. I really hope this isn’t the image that gets pinned. (I did not retouch these photos at all.)

homemade liquid mineral makeup

So maybe I don’t look like a model in a shampoo commercial, but I feel a lot more confident leaving the house looking like the “after” than the “before.”

(P.S. the homemade eyeliner recipe can be found here.)

The Recipe

This creates a thick, creamy foundation similar to CoverGirl’s Ultimate Finish Liquid Powder. It’s not pourable at room temperature. It can also work as a concealer.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tsp shea butter
  • 1/2 tsp jojoba oil
  • 1 tsp loose powder mineral makeup*

*I buy mine from a small store in London, Ontario. I’ve heard good things about Jane Iredale and Bare Minerals, available at Sephora. I’ve also purchased a decent mineral makeup from the Body Shop.

Tools:

  • double boiler (I just put a ceramic bowl over a small pot of boiling water)
  • small container (I use a Tupperware pill box)
  • makeup sponge

Place three ingredients in double boiler, and warm just until shea butter is melted. Then stir well. Scrape it into a small container and allow it to cool.

Apply to skin using a good-quality makeup sponge.

That’s it! I make a batch about every 6 weeks, but then, as a stay-at-home mom I rarely apply it.

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