St. Patrick’s Day; Skincare Tips for Sweet Colleens

Jennifer-11Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, but not everyone shares the skin conditions of the thirty-four million people of Irish ancestry. Those with this pale, ruddy skin have been described in books as a “pale lass”, a “sweet colleen” or a “fair maiden”, but what the books don’t talk about is that while the iconic Celtic complexion is fine textured and beautiful on youth, it is often prone to redness, burns easily and can show signs of aging earlier. In order to keep the skin looking fine and free of blemish, those of Irish ancestry must use alternative products than what is normally found on store shelves.

Jennifer Devlin Waller, founder of Celtic Complexion Luxury Artisan Skincare shares these tips for keeping skin beautiful all year round.

1. The foundation of beautiful skin starts with a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, polyunsaturated fats. Avoid processed foods, sodas, alcohol, dairy and grains as these will all cause puffiness, inflammation, and under eye circles. Additionally, a poor diet contributes to rosacea, which is a common skin disorder that causes redness in the cheeks chin and nose area.

2. A good physical zinc-based sunscreen should be applied daily to protect the skin from prematurely aging. Fair skin has the least amount of melanin, a naturally occurring sun-block that protects our skin cells from the harmful effects of ultra-violet radiation from the sun and those rays are unavoidable. Think of sunscreen as anti-aging insurance. Look for a physical sunscreen with a high percentage of zinc oxide as the active ingredient.

3. Avoid synthetic chemicals, dyes and fragrances in your skin care products as these contribute to sensitivity. Look for products with plant and marine based ingredients instead.

4. Easy on the exfoliants. While it’s true that exfoliation does increase cell turnover, being overly aggressive strips the skin of its natural defense layer (called the acid mantle), which weakens delicate skin over time. Skip the Retin-A and glycolic acids, and opt for gentle exfoliants such as lactic acid and enzymes and use no more than twice per week.

5. Use high quality supplements designed for anti-aging. A good diet is the preferable source of vitamins and minerals, but modern day farming practices rob the soil of vital nutrients needed for mineral-rich crops. Plants do not create minerals. Minerals have to be absorbed through the soil, and if they are not present in the soil, then the plant’s roots cannot take them up, and therefore they will not be present in the plant. These are the most preventative anti-aging supplements for the skin:

a. Vitamin C: Prevents sagging skin by strengthening collagen and elastin, the structural substances which give your skin tone and resilience.
b. MSM Sulfur: MSM is necessary for collagen production. Sagging skin and wrinkles, as well as dry, cracked skin are all developed through a loss of collagen. MSM works together with Vitamin C to build new, healthy tissues.
c. Selenium: Protects skin from free radical damage, increases the elasticity of the skin and safeguards the skin against uv damage.

While there is no stopping time, skin’s aging process can be slowed when skin is taken care of properly, when healthy turnover is promoted, and moisture is introduced to the skin.

Beauty Tools

My 3 Must Have Beauty Tools

I am asked every week about beauty tools; which ones work, which ones are worth the money, etc.  When I was a practicing esthetician, I was introduced to a lot of tools. Some were great, some not so great. Just like with skincare, there is a lot of information out there and often times it can be conflicting. Today I want to share with you my favorites, the ones I can’t live without.

1. The Ashley BlackAshleyBlackFasciablasterFACE Guru FaceBlaster: If I was stuck on a deserted island and I could have ONE beauty tool, THIS WOULD BE IT! If my house was on fire and I had to grab one thing, THIS WOULD BE IT! Never has a product so lived up to it’s hype like this one has. My skepticism quickly turned into utter disbelief at what this little tool can do for sagging skin and wrinkles. I simply massage my face with it 5 minutes a day (after the shower) – paying close attention to my neck and jowls (AKA as “problem areas of the woman over 40”) and it firms it all up, instantly. I have turned on every customer, friend and family member I have to this little workhorse. The beauty is, it’s a lot cheaper than a plastic surgeon! $99 Link: https://ashleyblackguru.com/Faceblaster-protocols/

diamondbuff-microdermabrasion-exfoliation-tool-d-20160428093531443~4858222. The DiamondBuff Microdermabrasion Exfoliation Tool – This was my go-to tool as an esthetician (it was called Dermafile back then) because it was a portable exfoliation tool made with crushed diamonds (and who doesn’t love diamonds?!). It is a holistic/natural alternative to micro-dermabrasion. It deeply exfoliates the skin, leaving it glowing (just like micro-dermabrasion but without the high cost, and possible down time). The company made it available to the public and in my opinion, it’s something that every woman should have. $59.95 Link: https://www.hsn.com/products/diamondbuff-microdermabrasion-exfoliation-tool/8085488

ClarisonicMia13.Clarisonic Brush – The gold standard of cleaning brushes. I have three, the Mia model is my favorite because of it’s compact size. Every time I cleanse my face, it feels like I’ve had a spa treatment – and that’s no surprise because when I worked at five star resort spas, we used these brushes on clients to deep clean the pores. I’ve tried using the cheaper/knock off versions over the years, but always come back to the original. It’s even safe and gentle enough to use on my rosacea (with the sensitive skin brush head). $129 Link: http://www.clarisonic.com/facial-cleansing-brushes/mia-1-CL370.html?cgid=Devices&dwvar_CL370_color=White#start=3&cgid=Devices

 
Beauty tools compliment great skincare and can turn your bathroom into a spa. I encourage you to work with them and be sure to let me know how they are working for you.

 

wizard-of-oz

Never Meet Your Gurus

I think we can all relate to that that iconic scene in The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy pulls back the curtain to reveal the All Mighty, All Powerful Oz is simply a flawed man, with his share of shortcomings, not the guru everyone thought he was. I think that’s a powerful lesson everyone can learn from.

If you’ve read my blog post about my humble beginnings in high school as an Estee Lauder Beauty Advisor, you know how I came up the ranks of the cosmetic department. At 17, I was too young and naïve to question anything, I just enjoyed the fact that I didn’t have to work in the food court like my friends and that I got free products! Rule #1: never bite the hand that feeds you.

In the ten years that followed, I guess you could say I was mesmerized by the industry, heavily influenced by celebrities and models (a world that I would never be a part of, but happy to live vicariously through). I remember having serious conversations to my colleagues about Sharon Stone’s makeup in Casino and waiting patiently to devour InStyle magazine from cover to cover each month.

I think I have scars somewhere on my body from the Spanx and stilettos I wore to work each day, and I’m definitely a few hundred eye lashes short, thanks to the daily faux lashes I wore.

Looking back, it all seemed so Stepford-esque, but what do you expect from your twenties?

As much fun as I thought I had, there was a sadness in me, one that could not be filled up with enough lipstick, happy hour margaritas or relationships, although I had no idea about this sort of thing back then.  I believed things happened to me, not seeing the big picture that I was attracting every situation in my life because of how I felt inside. It’s called patterns people, and we all have them, even if we can’t see them.

The underlying message of my industry is “you aren’t good enough by yourself, buy this and you will be enough”. There was a reason I was in debt to Nordstrom and had a mini Sephora in my bathroom. Rule #2: Don’t drink the Kool-Aid

The first time I met one of my gurus was shortly after I had been crowned a Nordstrom Beauty Director. The pay was dismal, but the opportunity to meet my makeup idols was priceless. I felt like a tweener meeting the Beibs.

This celebrity makeup artist had created an empire, and she was certainly considered Box Office Gold in the eyes of Nordstrom. She sold out events in every store when she did personal appearances. Women lined up to get a personal makeup evaluation (and then her team of makeup artists would execute the look she recommended).

I felt giddy to be in her presence, little ole’ me, but here I was in a room with my colleagues, standing ten feet from her! PERSONAL INTERACTION!

I had butterflies in my stomach for a week prior to meeting her, writing down exactly what I wanted to know, which mainly had to do with how she started, what were her early influences, how did she set trends, etc. I was approaching this training like a Sixty Minutes reporter preparing for a Castro interview.

She blew in the room and smelled like gardenias.  She was a no nonsense kind of woman, and got to work right away. I imagined her critiquing my artistry, giving me an insider tip or two…but she got right to work with her agenda, and that agenda was sales. Period.

She told us how many brushes were expected to be used in each makeover and how to sell at least three. “I built my business on brushes”.  For the next four hours, I learned how to use and sell 27 brushes.

Now in her defense, she was running a business and making money is akin to business. She did nothing wrong, it was my own expectations that weren’t met which caused me such disenchantment that day. There was just such a disconnect between the public persona and the business mogul that I felt a little mislead.

The second, third and fourth time I met (different) gurus (all in my own industry), I was also sadly disappointed because the person didn’t live up to their well written bio. Rule #3: Never underestimate good PR.

By the time I reached my forties, I personally started to shift. Actually, that’s an understatement. I started shifting like the Earth’s tectonic plates, and I yearned for truth and authenticity. I was discovering things that seemed unimaginable to me just ten years prior that set me off to an entirely new trajectory.  I became more interested in health, wellness,  mind/body/soul connection than with makeup trends.

I felt a bit like Alice in Wonderland peeking down the rabbit hole.  That can be both exciting and scary. I’ve always craved truth, but it wasn’t until my forties until I knew how to seek it.

Which brings me to my next encounter with a guru.

I am an avid reader and I love to research, so when I learn about something new, and it resonates with me, I get massive butterflies in my stomach. That’s a sign from my intuition that I’m on the right path, pushing me to explore further.

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”

There is so much information out there to follow. Just look in the aisle on any book store in the diet section and there will be hundreds of books describing the end-all be-all way of eating. Same thing goes for an internet web search, but the results can be millions of pages of info, and most of that info is completely contradictory!

I felt completely overwhelmed when I started my own health journey, and that’s why I felt nothing worked and why I ended up returning to the eating habits of my youth. “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know”.

Eventually though, my quest for knowledge led me to finding someone who I felt spoke the truth. I read a book of his, and was inspired to watch every single YouTube video he ever made. The videos were very DIY and the quality was not great but the message was very clear, and you could tell he followed his own advice. I had never heard of him before so for the next year or so I researched the things he recommended, adopted some of them and experienced great results. Over the next five years, his popularity increased and he began making appearances in mainstream media shows and commercials (with a much more refined look – Made for TV).

My everyday not-so-glam look

Then one day I was talking to a friend who knew of him and she said he started to live up to his rock star status (of the health world) and was quite the ladies’ man on his book tours. She didn’t imply anything inappropriate; he is after all single, but suddenly I felt different about him. I think in my mind, he spent his nights meditating on a mountain and maybe that’s due to his Instagram account. Rule #4: All photographs are accurate; none of them is the truth.

When I started Celtic Complexion, I thought the success of my business would solely be about the products.  However in order to be competitive, to stay in the public eye, to climb the ladder of indie success is to engage with the public via social media.

It’s not enough to make a great product, you have to be accessible and on fleek (I actually had to look that phrase up after my step son used it in a sentence) after all, Indies are the face of their brand. From a marketing perspective I get that, but from a personal standpoint it can feel like a lot of pressure.  It can also feel a bit inauthentic.

If you are part of my health coaching program, you know I preach to stay off social media as much as possible, to covet your privacy and to get outdoors.

I actually practice what I preach. That’s why you won’t see me replying to a Tweet instantly, or answering messages from our Facebook account 24/7. And don’t get me started about Instagram. I resisted it for years.

Let’s get this out there once and for all: 99% of the time I wear black yoga pants, a fitted t-shirt, Sketchers, no makeup and a ponytail.  It’s my uniform. It transitions effortlessly from packing and shipping to the grocery store to after school pick up. Instagram is pure fantasy and reminds me of the days I would be at my grandma’s house and get to play dress up in her shoes and jewelry.

I only share this with you, lest you bump into me at the grocery store one day and be disappointed. Heck, who am I kidding, you probably wouldn’t even recognize me!

Despite that fact, you will always get a product from me that will exceed your expectations, and I will personally reply to all of your correspondence.  I stand behind my products, and go out of my way to make you feel welcomed into the Celtic Complexion family.  Rule #5: Point your compass north and be your own guru.

Steve and Jennifer Waller

How to Rekindle the Romance with Your Spouse

Rekindling Romance with a Couples Photo Session

Rekindling Romance with a Couples Photo Session

Being an entrepreneur is stressful enough, but when both spouses are entrepreneurs, it can really be stressful!

Mr. Celtic Complexion and I work together, live together and play together. That’s a LOT of together.

Thankfully, we get along swell 95% of the time, but that 5% is very passionate “persuasion” time. When it comes to the marriage partnership, it’s pretty smooth sailing, but when I have my CEO hat on, and he has his COO hat on, lets just say, sparks can fly.

When this happens, the last thing we want to do is look soulfully into each other’s eyes and dance around the kitchen making dinner together. Entrepreneurs rarely turn off. There is always a “great idea” to discuss, and you must be an inherent “creative financier”.

To balance the time we spend working, we have a standing weekly date night, where we dress up and romance each other. No shop talk allowed.

Jennifer Waller Celtic Complexion CEO

After the initial awkwardness wore off, we had fun with it!

The past two weeks we’ve had to postpone date night for very valid reasons, namely I am launching another complimentary business to Celtic Complexion, and it’s taking up a lot of time. I noticed when we don’t have that designated time, we both become cranky and we feel disconnected, so last week I decided to plan something out of the ordinary for date night (and hoped he would be up for it).

I found a very creative local photographer whose style I greatly admired, and booked her “romance special”; meet in a gorgeous local park at sunset for a half hour of canoodling, and she would document the special moments. Her images are dreamy confections of love and romance – so I signed up right away.

Most couples only have portraits done for their engagement and/or wedding, and that time can be very stressful for couples, so the images may not capture the true essence of the couple. Contrast that with a lovely stroll through the park, holding hands with not a care in the world.

Harlequin Romance novel

Is this too much to ask?

I’d like to tell you that my surprise was met with welcome enthusiasm. I mean, what man wouldn’t want to get dressed up and play Rhett Butler to my Scarlett O’Hara? Mr. Celtic Complexion is probably like most men, not really comfortable in front of the camera and would rather be anywhere than trying to channel his inner Harlequin romance novel cover.

In fact, earlier that day, we were having one of those “passionate discussions”, and the last thing we wanted to do is get dressed up and be lovey-dovey with each other, but after the initial ten minutes of awkwardness, we really got into it. We were laughing about private jokes, and soon forgot that Andrea was even following us.

The time went by quickly, and when the sun melted over the horizon, our session was over. The flirting and laughing continued the rest of the night through dinner.

Receiving the actual pictures was almost a bonus. They arrived a few short days later, and we sat on the couch looking through them like giddy teenagers flipping through a yearbook.  I see in these pictures two best friends who have weathered a lot of storms, who are still madly in love with each other. I see a comfort level that wasn’t there when we got married, that can only come from the passage of time.

Steve&JenniferFEB2017-6

Our version of the Harlequin Romance novel cover

Steve and Jennifer Waller

Best friends

Unlike the distraction of a movie, this date rekindled our romance, and affirmed why we got married in the first place. It’s so important to rekindle that fire regularly, in some small way because at the end of the day, LOVE is what’s most important, everything else is just background noise.

Photography by: Andrea Dawn

 

 

 

Beauty CEO Reveals That Raw Juicing Does More for the Skin Than Skincare

21 Day Juice Fast Results

Juicing results, before/during/after

I get the same question from just about all of my customers (who are mostly Gen-X and Baby Boomers), and that is “What is the best product to improve my skin?”

The truth, as I am about to reveal, has more to do with what you are putting in your body, rather than what you are putting on your body. I do share this with everyone, but the advice seems to be glazed over in hopes that there is a quick-fix miracle I can sell them.

Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that great skincare can vastly improve one’s complexion, however it can only do so much. It’s kind of like working out with a personal trainer, but still eating fast food every day…there is only so much progress you can hope to achieve.

I decided to put my own advice to the test, and follow every single thing I recommend to my own customers, to prove that you have the ability (in a relatively short period of time) to change your skin’s tone, texture and evenness. So I cleared my schedule to embark on a three week journey through the mountains, with my best friend in tow, to see how much my skin could change. We did this all in a little vintage travel trailer, who I affectionately call Alexis Carrington.

We reluctantly took “before” pictures and measurements of ourselves, and set off into the summer heat for a glamping adventure.

I went into the woods expecting to report back on how to make certain juices (recipes) and how great my complexion looked (and it did!), but what I discovered was something so life-changing and cathartic, that is has completely changed me at a cellular level, and I feel compelled to move in a different direction with my life (more on that later). I could have called this the “Ten Years Younger Road Trip” because that’s exactly what happened.

In case you missed it, my previous blog entry explains why I chose raw juicing for this experiment. I have done raw juice fasts in the past, but it was more of a struggle for me, and I was never able to sustain long-term changes in my behavior. I did continue to juice after my fasts, but I also did other things (alcohol, processed foods, etc). All of this lead to puffiness, inflammation and rosacea flare-ups (as you can see from my before picture above, in the top left photo).

What I believe was the missing component to make long term changes was a mind/body/spirit connection. I viewed the fast as a punishment – as in “I can’t wait to get off this fast and then I can enjoy real food again”. I even joined a few raw juice Facebook support groups, but although they provided great recipes, most newbies in the groups seemed scared, depressed and defeated (especially if they could not keep it going after a few days), and the emphasis is always on juice recipes. That’s great, but in my opinion, it’s one small piece of the puzzle.

This time, I prepared much differently for the fast, and yes I use the word prepare, because just like you  wouldn’t run a marathon without training first, you can’t just jump into a raw juice fast without some preparation. I now believe this is why so many people attempt and fail at juicing, because they didn’t train properly first.

I created a plan-of-action…The Glamper’s Guide to Juicing, and not only did it enable me to go through the 21 day raw juice fast with ease, I came home and decided to continue my juice fast for a total of 60 days!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         By the way, if you aren’t familiar with the term glamper/glamping, it means glamorous

My 1972 Shasta Compact, Alexis Carrington

My 1972 Shasta Compact, Alexis Carrington

camper/camping. It brings five star ambiance to nature (complete with Egyptian cotton sheets and chandeliers!). It takes the “roughing it” out of camping.

To be successful at this, you need to have the right mind set going in.

The first thing we did was to make a date to disappear, and then made no apologies for it to anyone. It may seem selfish. It is, but you have to be selfish in order to take care of yourself first so that you can be healthy for your family. This proved to be the hardest step, because we had to rely on others to help us with kids, animals, work, etc.

If you think you can’t get away for three weeks, then take a week, or a weekend. The point is, you have to remove yourself from distractions so you can focus on yourself 100%. You can make the time if it’s important enough for you. Look at it this way, if your doctor told you that you have something wrong with you, and he is putting you in the hospital to figure it out, you would probably go, no questions asked because they are “doctor’s orders”. Nobody would even question it, they would figure out a way to get things done in your household.

Why wait until you are sick before you do something so life-changing that it could prevent you from getting sick?

If I was not doing this for the benefit of my customers, I wouldn’t have told anyone about my decision to do a 21 day juice fast (except of course my husband) because all of the sudden you will get everyone coming out of the woodwork giving you health advice and opinions, most of them negative. I believe this is because they don’t  understand how juicing works (it’s been done safely for centuries, and all religions observe some kind of fasting rituals), or they read sensationalized headlines about juicing designed to scare people.

Nobody can make the decision to change your health; not your spouse, friends, family or doctor. Only you can. It’s up to you to educate yourself about your health, and what it means to be truly healthy.

Before we left, we both watched three documentaries about juicing (which explain the science behind it): Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, Hungry for Change, and Super Juice Me. We also downloaded them so we could watch them during our trip. That really kept us motivated.

If you are experiencing a disease (as opposed to just wanting to look better or lose a few pounds), I encourage you to also watch The Beautiful Truth. The way food is poisoned (with pesticides), genetically modified, and processed (with additives and chemicals), it’s no wonder we are a nation of obese and sick people. It effects your weight, the way you age, and your health.

There are chemicals in food that make us crave it, in fact there is an entire industry of food engineers whose sole purpose it is to make you crave it more, so you will buy it more. It’s all about profit. Then when you get sick, you go to the doctor who prescribes medication (which cause all sorts of side effects). Then you get strange diseases (which were unheard of fifty years ago) and you get depressed, so you eat to numb yourself, or to cope with the depression and the cycle continues.

When you are able to break that food addiction (and lose the cravings for sugar, salt, processed foods), you lose the brain fog (which you may not even realize you have), and have more energy that you could possibly imagine. It feels like you are a child again.

I eliminated alcohol, processed foods, and refined carbs (sweets) and added a juice or two (daily) for the two weeks prior to leaving. This made it MUCH easier to transition into just juice. The last time I did this, I partied like a rock star up until the day I started the fast (to be fair, it was the month of my birthday and Thanksgiving, so there was a lot of celebrating going on), and it was a big mistake. I had detox symptoms (feeling sick) for the first four days and it I felt awful. I believe it happens to a lot of people who don’t properly prepare, and that’s why a lot of people give up after a few days.

We chose our route based on the weather. While it was summer, it was much cooler in the Blue Ridge mountains than in the rest of the country. We chose to camp because it would get us off the grid (we rarely had cell phone or internet service), and the campgrounds were off the beaten path and away from temptation, i.e. restaurants. We also wanted to be as active as possible, and it doesn’t get more active than camping, where most conveniences are gone and you have to move around a lot. The walk to the bathrooms alone were far.

As far as the cost, we camped for three weeks at different campgrounds, and the total for lodging was about $650 total. Add to that gas, activities (such as zip lining, water water rafting, a movie on rainy days, etc), food purchased at local produce stands, and the whole trip was about $1,000 each.

Something remarkable happened as a result of being off the grid, and I also believe this helped us succeed. We were not exposed to any negativity or fear from the media. When you expose yourself (even peripherally) to the news, it will make you anxious, angry, even fearful. This causes your body to be in  “flight-or-fight” mode, which releases the hormone cortisol. Add that “out there” stress to the everyday stress of commuting, picking up kids, dealing with work, arguments with your spouse, preparing meals, etc. and it all adds up to a lot of cortisol being released. This can turn your overeating into a habit. Because increased levels of the hormone also help cause higher insulin levels, your blood sugar drops and you crave sugary, fatty foods.

Imagine three weeks without hearing about shootings, Isis, the presidential race or the Kardashians?! Imagine not being able to have any internet or cell service. Then imagine no dogs in your bed, no alarm clock ringing at 7 a.m. or no kids to get off to school. It was Pure Silent Bliss! It was almost too quiet at first – but soon we found our body’s responding to the natural circadian rhythms of nature and we slept more soundly and deeply than at any time in our lives.

Good sleep is essential for cellular repair. We woke up just about every day looking refreshed (not like we had to go back to bed for a couple of more hours).

Our physical exercise plan was simple. Make it fun! I brought along a weighted hula hoop (purchased at Target), and Sandy brought her exercise bands, but the majority of our exercise came from walking (we walked just about every morning and again when the sun went down), hiking trails in the parks, cleaning our campsite, and preparing our juices.

Our mental exercises comprised of journaling, EFT (also known as tapping), vision boarding, reading books from authors that inspire me.

The recipes we chose were simple. We made four different recipes which we got from the Reboot with Joe website.We did the Low Sugar Green Juice, The Original Mean Green Juice, Hot V6 Juice (this was our favorite!), and Beet the Heat Juice. We read all the testimonials from that website too, which are all very inspirational.

On week one, we drank 4-5 juices per day, one every 3 hours and lots of water! It seemed like we were in the bathroom all the time in the beginning. One week two, we lost our urges to eat (this happens on day 4-7, it varies by person), so we only drank 3 juices and more water. By week three, we had one juice in the morning and one at night.

For three weeks, we maintained a can-do attitude. We didn’t sit around whining about what we couldn’t have, or count the days till we could. Our spirits were high, and each day brought us to new heights. This is hard to put into words, but as we got healthier, and our cells became nourished with real nutrients, we became happier! I consider myself a very happy person anyway, but when you add the nutrition element to it, it is simply incomprehensible at how GOOD you feel. It’s euphoric! I felt reborn!

“Ah, so THIS is how we are supposed to feel!”

It was at this point in our fast (week 3) that we both decided to extend our fast to 60 days when we got back home. It’s also the same time I decided to make some real big changes in my life. I made a decision to be 100% happy every single day, to do things that make me happy, to be around people that make me laugh. When you take care of yourself first (the body), everything else falls into place.

Look, I know we aren’t going to live forever, but if I get to choose how to live out the remainder of my life, it will be to live with love, integrity, intention and perfect health. I had been doing pretty good with the first three parts of that equation, but hadn’t realized how much the health influenced the other areas. I guess that’s what they mean when they say mind/body/soul connection.

In the silence of the woods, I heard my true calling…which is to inspire and enlighten others on their own journeys. To help show them the way by example.

Up until now, I have done that, by making clean skincare. Since I founded Celtic Complexion in 2011, I have received hundreds of testimonials from women who thank me for changing their skin, but I want to make an even bigger impact and reach greater amount of women. I don’t want to just change skin, I want to change lives!

Celtic Complexion isn’t going anywhere, I am just expanding to create something bigger. I combined everything I’ve learned about natural health, applied it, tweaked it, and saw incredible results for myself.  In just three short weeks, I lost 21 lbs, 10 (over all) inches, lost 3 dress sizes, and my blood pressure (which had always been elevated) was normal. I also lost 3% body fat and my BMI went down 2.71%. IN THREE WEEKS.

I had a blood lipid panel done two days before I left (to establish a benchmark), and I will have them done again at the three month mark and share my before and after results.

As I begin the second phase of my fast, I am going to do something I have always wanted to do, but never had the time or will power to do, and that is a full body cleanse that was highly recommended to me a few years ago. For maximum results, they recommend you fast. Now that I have that down, it will be easy. It’s by Blessed Herbs and it’s a 21 day internal cleansing kit that cleanses your colon, liver, kidneys, gallbladder, lungs, blood, skin and lymphatic system. That link will give you 20% off, so you can save a little (and they will in turn give me a 20% coupon for referring you for my next cleanse).

This raw juice fast turned out to be much, much more than seeing superficial skin condition changes (rosacea). It also went beyond weight loss (in fact, we didn’t take a scale with us because we didn’t want the focus to be on weight loss). Instead it focused on creating a new way of living, a road map of how to age and feel great (from the inside out). We found how to create joy around these changes so it was actually fun to do. Raw juicing was only one component of the much bigger picture. There were so many subtle nuances that were drawn upon to achieve this monumental change in our lives.

When we were out there, we met lots of very nice people. They were mostly retirees who were 70+ years old. A few stuck out in my mind. Annie would walk by our set up every night and wave and smile. It happened to be her birthday during the week we were there, and she was smiling and almost glowing. I never ask a lady her age, but she volunteered that she was 84. If I had to guess, I would have thought she was at least a decade earlier. I asked her what her secret was, and she said “I eat very modestly and kept moving every single day!”

At another camp, we met Ralph and Darlene, who we later found out had been married for 63 years. They were hiking the same (strenuous) trail we were up the mountain. When we arrived at the top and sat for a rest, they came up beside us and we ended up chatting for a while. Feeling a bit homesick for our husbands about now, we asked them to tell us the secret to a long marriage, and Ralph said “being healthy enough to enjoy ourselves.” Talk about an ah-ha moment.

In this youth-obsessed society we live, we are being force-fed images (unrealistic images I might add) of women barely out of their teens as the standard of beauty. Honestly, how much of a challenge is it to look young when you are young?! It’s almost inescapable too – magazines, tv, internet. How often do you see real healthy women in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and beyond? Those are the women we should be looking to for advice, but in order to do so, you have to seek them out because they won’t be found in the mainstream media.

I don’t believe we have to throw our hands up and say “it’s too late, I can’t change”. I now believe that not only can you be healthy as you age, but you can get better with age too. One of the women who inspires me the most is Ernestine Sheperd, she is proof that you can change at any age, as long as you have the desire to do so.

We need many tools in our toolbox to help us navigate, and I’m building a brand new tool box. Instead of searching for my tribe, I am creating my tribe…stay tuned!

 

Chief Executive Glamper

Chief Executive Glamper

Happy trails,

Jennifer

Celtic Complexion Keys to Good Living

Juicing is the Best (and Quickest) Way to Improve Your Your Skin

10897958_1013361822013502_4800328254079535606_nThe question I get asked most is “what is the best way to improve my skin?” and invariably, they are expecting a product recommendation…after all, we are a skincare company. I can certainly understand why someone would assume that. Each month, every beauty magazine has a new “miracle cure”, but the truth is, what you eat and drink has a much greater impact on your complexion than anything you can apply topically.  When you are juicing AND using great skincare, the sky’s the limit!

I first began raw juicing fasts about three years ago, when I attended the Reboot Camp with Joe Cross. He took his own raw juice journey and turned it into a documentary called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. He was suffering from a chronic inflammatory disease, and he cured himself of it (and got off all of the medication). He also lost about 100 lbs.

He calls a juice fast a “reboot” because it reboots your system, and gives your body a break from having to deal with toxins (sugar, caffeine, alcohol, processed foods, etc).  It sounded very extreme to me at the time, but I still watched the movie a half dozen times and eventually, when I was ready, the knowledge sunk in.

It’s human nature to want the path of least resistance, so when I recommend to people seeking anti-aging advice to change their diet, they seem to glaze over. It was time to walk the line and follow the ver12316365_10153772732548658_1746394979607487946_ny advice I was dispensing.

I began searching for other “rebooters” on Youtube, and thousands have gratefully shared their journeys for everyone to follow. Most of the people (in the movie and on Youtube) were either overweight or sick. It was amazing to see the transformations.

I wasn’t sick, and although I could stand to lose a few pounds, my main curiosity was how fast could the skin change (rosacea, psoriasis, eczema, acne, wrinkles, etc). When the chance to attend one of his boot camps came up (at the beautiful Omega Institute in NY), I signed up, in the name of “research”.

Off I went.

One week later, I was simply amazed at how different the people at boot camp looked. Their complexions GLOWED. I know it’s because inflammation and puffiness were significantly reduced. This was achieved by the micro nutrients of the juices, and the increased water intake. I felt like I looked years younger (and that was only with 5 days of juice fasting!).

When I got back from the retreat, I shared my new found knowledge with any friends or family that would listen, but unfortunately, they weren’t as excited as I was. I have since come to realize that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. I quit preaching to my family, and tried to incorporate as much raw green juice into my diet as possible.

A few months later that year, one of my childhood friends asked me about juicing. Up until she asked, it was pretty much cricket bombs in my inbox.  I was so excitIMG_10133446877621ed to share my knowledge with her, because she suffers from multiple sclerosis. She was looking to improve her health with dietary changes, and I was sure juicing could help (it certainly couldn’t hurt).

We made an aggressive plan to forgo the traditional holiday time traditions, and do a thirty day juice fast in December. No parties, no cookies, no egg nog. What seemed like a punishment on December 1, was a gift on December 31. We also incorporated colonics, ionic foot baths, massages and whole body vibration sessions. It was the only time in my entire life that I gave 10% focus to my body, and it showed.

I can’t explain how good we felt, because it’s indescribable. The sense of accomplishment, combined with the unbounded energy was pure euphoria. My thoughts were clearer, I slept better and I was happier. Oh, and my skin was “juicy”! It looked airbrushed.

I was convinced thaCeltic Complexion Keys to Good Livingt juicing is nature’s anti-aging secret.

At the time, it didn’t occur to me that I should document our journey because to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I could do it.

This summer we are doing it again, and I am going to document everything. I will take close up pictures so you can see the daily changes in my skin, and I will post the recipes I juice. I will be blogging and shooting youtube videos too, so you get a front seat to our experience.

Rather than doing our juice fast at home, this time we are taking the show on the road. We will be glamping (glamorous camping) in my vintage 1972 Shasta Compact trailer, along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Juicing and the great outdoors, there couldn’t be a better combination.

In the weeks leading up to the fast, I will be eliminating certain things in my diet to make the transition to juices easier, such as wine, sugar and all processed foods.

I hope you will follow along with me during my juicing journey.  Leave your questions or comments on our Facebook page (under this post) and I’ll be sure to answer them.

Happy trails,

 

Jennifer

 

 

 

Operation Love Bomb

operation lovebomb

It always amuses me when the desires in my life change…that something that had burned with such desire could simply vanish, cease to be, only a few years later.

These days, my main desire is to make a difference in people’s lives, whether that be with a bespoke skincare product, or a kind word.

I think a lot of that has to do with growing up, maturing and realizing what is truly important in life; the things that can’t be bought. Health, love, friendship.

As I get older, I see my friends and family deal with inevitable life changes; death of a loved one, divorce, business failures, heath challenges, financial strains, etc. and I can’t help to wonder, “How I can help?”

A jar of cream or a tube of lipstick can only go so far…and I don’t posses carpentry skills. My skill set lies in creating beauty and ambiance, not exactly the number one thing on anyone’s list when asking for help with a major life crises. Or maybe it is, and they just don’t know it.

Beauty takes many forms; in art, in the written word, in unconditional love from a stranger.

I remember once watching an Oprah show episode, where she said the one thing humans crave is to be acknowledged, to be seen. To know that they are not alone in their struggles.

When you stop and look around at your circle of friends, family, co-workers, and customers, you will see (and feel) their struggles, it will be etched on their faces and heard in their voices.

I want to be a light to these people and let them know they have been seen. I decided to create Operation Love Bomb, where I would ask the help of my friends to shower a person in need with postcards and letters of inspiration. Sometimes, all we need is a little love in our mailbox.

I imagined these letters being infused with love and intention – and them arriving in the mailbox of the recipient, where they would uplift the person and help them shift into a higher vibration.   The person could carry them around (unlike email) and re-read them whenever they needed a boost.

The best part about this, is that it costs only a couple of dollars and a little time.

There is so much power in words. Your ability to positively impact someone’s life with your words would delight you, and the ability to shift someone’s perspective by having a few dozen hand written letters show up unexpectedly would amaze you.

If you see someone in need of uplifting, simply put the call out to friends and family to write a note of encouragement to the person, and share their address (but not publicly!). You can do this anytime you see someone in need with any kind of life challenge.

As they say, “it takes a village!”. I for one, take pride in being a villager :)

 

Warmly,

Jennifer

 

 

Be someone's angel...

How to Create Your Own Angel Network

I am stepping out of my comfort zone here to write about something I am not particularly qualified to write about, but I am hoping that love will lead the direction.

Yesterday I was stopped dead in my tracks when a letter arrived in my mailbox.

It was a thank you card. A deeply personal and profound thank you card that carried more raw emotion and honesty than I have ever been witness to. This woman is a friend, but not a particularly close friend, so I felt privileged that she felt close enough to me to let her heart pour out, and to be heard.

Last year her sister was diagnosed with cancer. It came very suddenly and out of the blue. Without missing a beat, my friend sprung into action, and was by her side. She coordinated fundraising campaigns, doctor visits and provided her sister with a crash course in mind/body healing.

From afar, I was impressed with her unwavering ability to get things done. Her strength, both mentally and physically would put Superman to shame. Rather than illicit pity, her Facebook page was a daily dose of  inspiration. Stories of love and healing prevailed.

I sent her sister a years’ worth of my best creme to soothe her skin, and kept tabs on them both via Facebook and texts. The thing is, she made care taking look so easy. So when her thank you note arrived, it took my by surprise.

Your Christmas card was the only one I received in two years. When you are caring for someone with cancer, you are invisible. Your life, your comforts, needs and desires are forgotten completely. The attention is always placed on the patient, as it should be, but it becomes very difficult to survive exhaustion, loneliness, and sorrow. No one wraps their arms around you, no one says I see you in this moment of darkness, your pain is dismissed and the last thing you want to do is complain. You find out very quickly who your friends are, relationships fracture, friends disappear not knowing what to say, even within your immediate family, and sometimes that includes the patient. Nerves are frayed, tempers flare, and not enough gratitude is expressed. I was away from home for almost six out of twelve months during which I had to find and leave two jobs. I willing gave up my dreams I had for myself in 2015, depleted my finances, and lived out of a box with a zipper, slept on a sofa or chair more nights than I can count. My body is sore, my mind is numb, and I don’t know how I will come back from this, but I would gladly do it all over again. I am so grateful to have my sister for as much time as her soul and body will allow. She feels every bit of kindness directed towards her and dare I say I do too. During these times of uncertainty, kindness is brilliantly highlighted.”

I sat there and began to cry. I had no idea. But, I was so happy that my handwritten words provided her with a little bit of comfort.

This made me want to do more for her. I know that fundraising campaigns are important, but I also believe that care packages and letters can provide love in a way that cash cannot. A letter can be held, cried upon, saved, and pulled out when you need to hear those words again.

I sent a letter to all of my friends asking them to send her a letter, a post card, draw a picture..really anything that would lift her spirits. It would only cost some time and the price of a stamp and it would mean so much to her. I envision all of that love energy surrounding her when she opens her mailbox, and that makes me very, very happy.

It got me thinking, how many caregivers are there that need this expression of love too? This is an idea that you can implement in your own life. Ask your circle of friends and family to support someone that needs it, and if you are called upon to send a love letter, consider it the best way to pay-it-forward.

Here are some other unique ways to support care givers:

  1. Send a gift certificate for a massage
  2. Arrange to have (or make) meals or raw juices delivered for a weekend
  3. Send a Himalayan salt lamp
  4. Make an aromatherapy hand lotion or massage oil
  5. Send a coloring book. My favorite is Enjoy the Journey by Mike Dooley
  6. Send a handkerchief to dry her tears
  7. Send an aromatherapy diffuser

From this day forward, I am cultivating my angel network, to call upon to do good deeds for those in need, and I will become someone’s angel too.

Thank you, my friend for opening my eyes, you will Always be seen…

 

In gratitude,

Jennifer

 

 

The 5 Best Anti-Aging Tips for Living in a Youth Obsessed World

Gather around ladies, these aren't your mother's anti-aging tips

Gather around ladies, these aren’t your mother’s anti-aging tips

If I had a nickel for every woman who has asked me the best/easiest/quickest/painless way to look younger/better, I could finance a year-long sabbatical to the destination of my dreams. After all, when you spend your life in the beauty industry, surrounded by a culture celebrating youth, you do learn a tip or two. In fact, I do write (and recommend) the virtues of sunscreen, green juice and yoga, but those are only external factors.

Navigating age is an inside job.

I know, it’s hard not imagine a universe where youth is not synonymous with beautiful, and the entire goal of advertising is to make women feel less than. As I get older, I look around at the mainstream media, and can’t help but feel left out that I can’t see my own reflection mirrored back to me. This is especially true of social media, where at times, I feel as though I see nothing but twenty-somethings.

I don’t know about you, but I want to reflect confidence, health and contentment to the world, qualities which I was hard pressed to find in my 20’s, probably because those qualities develop as we mature.

I recently became a huge fan of Carrie Fisher when she stood up to her age-shaming critics, judging her for her appearance in the latest Star Wars film. She tweeted,  “Please stop debating whether or not I aged well. Youth and beauty are not accomplishments, they’re the temporary and  happy by-products of time and/or DNA. Don’t hold your breath for either.”

Aging is a privilege not granted to all, so it’s important to appreciate it and be thankful for the experience, wisdom and lessons we’ve accumulated along the way.

Here are my best, most valuable pieces of advice for embracing your age, and thriving in your 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and beyond

Find Role Models/Find Your Tribe Find women who are Owning it, and their journey will reflect back to you as an example of how powerful a woman can be. Last year while watching the Grammy Awards, the usual display of T&A was displayed by the pop-tarts of the day, each one vying for the camera’s attention. About midway through the show, 61 year-old Annie Lennox came out, and dressed in a modest pant suit, BROUGHT THE HOUSE DOWN. Her two song set with Hozier was positively powerful. You can watch it here (she comes on at the 2 minute mark).

While scrolling through Netflix one evening, an original series caught my eye, Grace and Frankie, starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. It had some great reviews, so I thought I would give it a watch. The first episode was so-so.. but I’m so glad I kept watching. It kept getting better and better, and it made me imagine what life would be like with my best friend in our 70’s. These ladies are having FUN, and they are gorgeous and witty and navigating life with a great sense of humor.

Did you know that Julia Child did not learn to cook until she was in her forties, and she didn’t publish her first book, The Art of French Cooking until she was 50. For her inspirational story, rent Julie & Julia. It proves that your greatest accomplishments can arrive in act three of your life.

My final example of a powerful woman who is embracing her age is Ernestine Sheperd, the oldest female body builder. Her story is such an inspiration to women who feel they are too old to have the body of their dreams. She didn’t start her fitness journey until she was in her 50’s, and today, at 79, she has the body of a 30 year old. You can learn more about her story here.

If these ladies can express their gifts at any age, so can you.

Use Your Words Carefully Think about how you talk about yourself. What adjectives do you use to describe yourself? Are they kind and loving, or self-deprecating? Whatever follows the words “I am” are creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. Those words are defining to the world who you are and what you are capable of. Language is one of the most powerful tools you can use to transform yourself (think Affirmations). Make a conscious effort to permanently delete negative self-talk from your vocabulary.

Repeat these words (at least) daily:

I am strong. I am healthy. I am beautiful.

Soon, your outer appearance will reflect these verbal attributes. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.

Don’t Compare Yourself to Others This happens almost unconsciously. The marketing industry is built on making you feel inadequate in some way… after all, it’s their job. But nothing will make you age faster than chasing youth. I’m not saying to denounce the tools that can help us feel better about ourselves, if it makes you feel good about yourself, I’m all for it. But, if you are constantly searching for a magic bullet to make you look like an Allure cover girl, you are wasting precious time.

I quit reading beauty magazines years ago, they only made me feel insecure because I never felt like I measured up. Embrace your imperfections, they are what makes you YOU.

Don’t Apologize for Being Who You Want to Be One of the best things about getting older, is that you know yourself better. You are able to embrace your individuality without apologizing to those who don’t “get” you.

As you get older, you will realize that you don’t have to conform. If something makes you feel beautiful when you wear it (whether that be a red lipstick, or a gypsy skirt), then by all means WEAR IT!

Iris Apfel comes to mind. At 94, she is an American icon, and has created an empire for her eclectic style. Google her name, or watch the documentary made about her life, and you can’t help falling in love with her. She validates my desire to wear statement necklaces to breakfast. She is a breath of fresh air, and it’s her unique individuality that makes people attracted to her.

Remain in Gratitude and Pay-It-Forward Nothing will make you feel more empowered than empowering others. One of my favorite quotes is from Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

One of the greatest gifts you can share with the world, is your intention; a kind word, a good deed, a hug. It all goes out into the world, and returns to you tenfold. That universal light reflecting back at you is the best beauty potion in the world, and it can’t be bought or sold.

If you want great skincare, visit my website, if you want to remain ageless, go inside.

 

Grateful for you!

Jennifer

Holiday Gift Guide

Celtic Complexion Christmas Tree

Celtic Complexion Christmas Tree

The holidays are the perfect time of year to show gratitude to those you love with small tokens of appreciation. I don’t know about you, but as I get older, my desire for material things is replaced with a desire for moments…laughter…health…friendships and family.

While I was getting my home in holiday mode, pulling out decorations,  I came across a few dusty boxes in my garage. Those boxes contained the most precious gifts I have ever received.

They were letters that I have kept since childhood, from grandparents, parents and long-lost friends. Rich letters that seemed to take on a life of their own, with the ability to transport me back to an earlier time.

I could faintly still smell my grandmother’s perfume on the letters she had sent to me since I was a child. Others were sent to me by my dad, after my parents divorce, when he moved to California, which to a child seemed like a world apart from my hometown of Miami. There were yellowed cards marking every occasion, and notes from high school friends.

My grandmother is long gone, as is my father, but with a real letter in my hands, I can, for a brief moment, touch their handwriting and feel their presence, and it brings such great comfort.

The art of letter writing is fading, which is why it’s so important (even if just once a year) to put pen to paper and write a good old-fashioned love letter to your kids, your parents, your friends, anyone who has touched your life, because your words will live on long after a material gift has found it’s way into a landfill. Never under estimate the power of your words, and the positive influence they can have on someone you love.

I wanted to share with you some of my favorite ways to express gratitude this holiday season, and I hope it inspires you to give in a unique way.

  • Mini Paper Sculptures – I love these beautiful hand made colorful cards, and receiving one in the mail would make anyone on your list smile. It’s a perfect vessel for your love letters. $10
  • Operation Gratitude – This program delivers letters and care packages to veterans. When filling out your cards to family and friends, why not send one (or several) to show your appreciation for their service, it will surely make their day. FREE (Cost of a stamp)
  • Make an In-Kind Donation to a Homeless Shelter Most of us have an abundance of excess clothing and household items. Why not donate your excess to people in need. Just Google a homeless shelter in your area, most of them have a page for “how to donate”, with a list of the most requested items. FREE
  • Help a Dog in Need Our friends at The Blissful Dog  will donate a .15 oz tube of NOSE BUTTER, PAW BUTTER, ELBOW BUTTER or BOO BOO BUTTER to a dog rescue group or shelter (in your name) for every sale made until December 20th. From $5
  • Enjoy the Journey Coloring Book – Mike Dooley is one of my favorite authors. I have seen him in person and own all of his books. Coloring books act as a form of meditation, and the messages in the book are so inspirational and uplifting. $10
  • One Line a Day 5 Year Gratitude Journal – I love to write, and I understand the concept of how important journaling is, but sometimes all those blank pages intimidate me. I came across this journal on a weekend getaway with Mr. Celtic Complexion. It gives you a few lines to jot down what you are grateful for each day. It sits on my desk, and has now become a nightly ritual for me. $10
  • Turn Your Child’s Art Into a Toy – Bring your children’s imagination to life. This is truly a one-of-a-kind gift that will be cherished for years to come. Budsies (featured on Shark Tank) can turn any drawing or picture into a plush toy. $89
  • Create a Family Cookbook – Making my dad’s signature dish of stuffed shells, or my mom’s famous orange cake really connects me to them. Food is one of the best ways to bond with your family and friends. Why not create a cookbook, complete with your own recipes, with pictures and stories about the dishes? It will become a family heirloom someday.  $30
  • Make a Joy Jar – This is one of my favorite things to give, and it teaches us to be grateful for the little things, and over the course of a year, this can add up. It also has the potential to shift your attitude into a more positive way of being. I came across this wonderful blog post explaining how it works. FREE
  • A Little Luxury – I am amazed at how a  fifteen minute hot shower can bring me so much joy. It seems to wash all of my stress away, especially when I use a bar of hand-crafted soap. This year,  I discovered an artisan soap maker on Etsy and her soaps have become my favorite! I buy them by the loaf and give them as gifts too. They are beautiful all-natural golden yellow luxury bath & shower bars formulated using high quality oils and mango butter. It is scented with lemongrass and orange valencia and just a touch of patchouli essential oils. Use the coupon code “celtic” at checkout for a 20% discount. $5
  • Chemical Free Cleaning – A clean house is something you give to yourself and family. I have never been excited about cleaning my home (but I love a clean house!), so when a friend introduced me to a way I could clean my house without chemicals, I jumped at it. The idea seemed to defy logic, but these microfibers are now a staple in my home. I also keep them in my car, and I travel with them. They turned me into a neat freak (and I’m not complaining!). From $17

There you have it, my 11 favorite ways to gift! I’ll be sharing the Celtic Complexion gift in the December newsletter, so be sure to sign up for it to get details.

If you have unique ways to gift, I would love to hear them :)

In gratitude,

Jennifer