When we arrived at home yesterday my youngest declared it a productive day. After dropping my oldest off at a friend's house my youngest and I went grocery shopping. We shared a bison burger and a few salad greens. Neither of us loves power greens so we tossed the rest of our salad away and went through the checkout line. I had a chance to talk to my boss for a bit when I was at work. The other day I found a product that was on the shelf for less than we had paid for it. This is one of the downsides of working at a very small family owned store. Several unattended children went through the store wreaking havoc. They opened a bottle of vitamins, helped themselves to a bag of cookies, and tore the closure off a bar of soap while their mother was doing who knows what elsewhere. 

Friday night I told two girls that they needed to stop running in the store. Their solution was to get away from me, but I followed them and told them they needed to go find their parents. They tried going over to the gift area, but I stood behind them until they went to stand behind mom and dad who were ordering food from the cafe. I never have a problem calling people out for behavior that is unacceptable. One of the areas in my department that suffers is the bulk station. Kids will pump away at the dispensers and then run before their parents discover what they've done. Some parents are overly rigid, some don't seem to care at all. Watching parents and their children shop is an experience in what to do and what to avoid when parenting, interesting to say the least.

After grocery shopping I drove to Target to see if we could get the supplies we needed for my daughter's Barack Obama project. These are the kind of things I detest as a parent, driving all over the place to find fabric scraps, buttons, and a foam ball for the head. My daughter was told to purchase clay to put over the foam ball, but when we were at Wal-Mart we found these felt squares that we thought we could pin or glue to the foam for the head. I bought two calendars while we were at Target. My daughter told me I would use them for a month or so and then quit. I don't know if she's right or not, but that's been my habit in the past. I decided to go ahead with the planners anyways, I want to see if this format will help me keep better track of my time and money.

Speaking of money, I need to figure out how much I can spend on groceries. I spend more than I want to at work. It's so easy to grab a smoothie or some chocolate. I spend large and small amounts there, go elsewhere, and spend even more money there. I just got paid on Friday and I'm already in need of another payday. This is less than ideal. Last night I took the less expensive calendar and went back through the month of February to see when and where I was spending my money. I want to do this for January as well to see if any patterns emerge. The nice thing about this layout is I can write in what bills are due and when. The visual helps with my cashflow since then I can see that I need to save a set amount of money for the future.

My goal is to have a portion of each paycheck dedicated to something. March should be a better month since I've slashed my cell phone costs. My electric bill will be higher, I spend more in fuel than I realized, food is out of control and needs to be reined in post haste. I buy groceries, don't make the food, and then end up buying things at work. One of these habits needs to go away, and I'm pretty sure I can identify which one that is. Despite the low balance in my checking account I'm optimistic because I know part of the deficit stems from having transferred money to other accounts so it would be there when I need it. I'm still not happy with the expenditures, but knowing that I set up those accounts helped to ease the blow somewhat.

I don't want to spend too much time on this, but one of the things I spend money on is skincare for myself and the girls. Since I work in the health and beauty department I've learned a lot about various products and what they can do for you. In the past I felt like skincare was a huge waste of money. I used water to wash my face with an occasional foray into Walgreens or Target where I might purchase a tube of some Burt's Bees concoction. Now that I know what I do, those days are long gone. Having the right system can do wonders for your face and hair. It depends primarily correctly identifying what type of skin you have and understanding what it needs. 

My skin is very fair, very dry, and surprisingly youthful given my age. It needs moisture, healing, and protection. A lot of people are afraid to put oil on their skin to cleanse or nourish it. At work I have several lines that I feel confident about selling. To meet my criteria they must be organic, they need to work, and they have to appeal to my sense of smell. I'm a huge toner person, I probably sell more toner than anyone else there simply because I believe in it and use it myself. Hydrating your skin can be done internally through consumption of liquids, it can also be done externally through the application of toner. My favorite toners are alcohol free plant extracts. They feel like a pick me up for my face, I turn to them when I'm in need of a quick refresher, they never fail to give me that extra energy boost I need.

Throughout the day our skin loses moisture to the surrounding air. To counter this we need to replenish the moisture we had. Higher end places have a tool that measures the relative moisture content of your skin. This is useful when determining how dry you are. Selling systems to people who have skin like mine is very easy for me. I know how these products perform, what they will do, and what they can't do. For me it isn't a matter of spending too much money, it's a matter of getting my routine down to the products I need and want. Since I use very little product I buy the starter trial kits. The one I'm using now includes the cleansing milk, serum, toner, day cream, and a French red clay mask. 

When I use this system my skin feels fresher, plumper, and less red, raw, and irritated. I receive compliments on my skin on a pretty much daily basis. While at some level I understand what people are saying, I have a hard time seeing what others see. It's my skin and I'm probably more accustomed to searching for the flaws in it than cherishing my smooth scar free complexion. On a primal level health is hydration and circulation. They go hand in hand. As your blood pumps through your body it picks up toxins for removal. Dehydrated cells collaspse into themselves making the skin appear more wrinkled. You can literally see your face and hands change if you are down on water and start drinking it again. 

People who are expecting skin care to make up for a poor diet or other bad habits are barking up the wrong tree. Systems exist to supplement the healthy lifestyle you're leading. My system works because I do, and because I was genetically gifted with youthful Nordic skin. I wear very little makeup, I use it to even out the red in my skin when I do apply it, I can walk out of the house with or without it knowing that I'm confident in who I am regardless of what may be covering my skin. More than any other factor beauty is behavior. The way I act and the things I do for others determines my perceived level of beauty. Anyone spending time on a system or product that isn't examining their habits and how they treat others sets themselves up for perennial dissatisfaction.

We see all sorts at work. People who complain, who are angry, those without adequate self esteem, the overwhelmed, bewildered, lost, clueless, sad, empty, and shallow have more to gain from the idea that these products can be used to take care of you. The system I prefer uses a lot of essential oils, this is an underrated aspect of body care that I feel needs to be included in any discussion on these products and services. Vetiver is grounding and stabilizing. Chamomile is calming, it works on my skin, but it goes deeper than that. A lot of people tell me that I smell good. I'm a big aromatherapy person, I layer products because I love the way that they smell and make me feel.

Using a rose vetiver day cream on my skin is a simple and easy way to tell myself - hey, I love you and I'm going to take good care of you today. The product glides on and is absorbed quickly. I feel better because I'm protecting my skin from the whatever the day has in store for me, I'm also treating myself to the scent and taking advantage of its ability to even out my mood. Cheaper products that rely on petroleum bases smell synthetic, your body has to try and break these substances down, and you fail to get the mood boost that can be achieved by using higher quality products. I'd be curious to find out how much I'm spending on skin and body care products. Some of them have been a waste of money, but overall my life is better because I've learned how to care for me and my skin. 

Rather than searching for beauty I've decided to adopt class as my trademark. If beauty is your physical appearance class is how you treat others. Being diplomatic, generous, helpful, kind, nurturing, sensitive, gracious, playful, and accepting has opened far more doors for me than my face and body have. You can spend a lot of time and devote significant sums to beauty products without ever reaping the rewards class can give you. As I've written elsewhere, fads and fashions come and go, but class is always in style. It's much more difficult to obtain, but the price is a lot lower. Sacrifice your pride and vanity, submit to classy behavior and watch your perceived measure of beauty rise. Is there a more beautiful sight than the hand that helps others reaching out to you regardless of how undeserving you may be? I think not.

Until next time,


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