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

The Birth of a New Product; My Process

Eye Elixir

Eye Elixir

Every time I create a new product (which isn’t often), I wonder if I will fall in love with it as much as my existing products. Is it possible to love some products more than others, or are they loved equally?

Well, the short answer is, I love my products equally, but all for different reasons.  I love some products for the results they bring my customers. It’s a humbling experience to have helped a stranger, sometimes a world away, with a skin problem they have suffered with for a lifetime (Calming Serum). I love some products for the media attention they bring (Youth Infusion High Potency Serum), and some products I love because they are a top seller (Coconut Creme Cleanser).

I am a ferocious reader, and one of my favorite things to read about are ingredients. I relish learning about the vast history of a particular ingredient and the results they deliver. I have a notebook that I jot down notes in to do further research when something really grabs my intention.

I love rich, luxurious textures. Maybe it’s my age (47), or maybe because I love the way my skin looks without makeup when it seems to be glowing from within.  Whatever the reason, I seek out these “miracles of nature” and then begin the process of creating a recipe to best highlight their strengths.

New products and formulas usually come to me when I am meditating. The “idea” will stay in my mind and if I can’t stop thinking about it…that’s when I know I have to create it, even if it’s just something that stays in my private collection.

However, a lot of my products start off as requests from friends, “Please help me with ________________!” If I get repeated requests, or hear similar complaints, I tuck the requests away in my mind, and when I discover specific ingredients that will help those conditions, I proceed with a prototype of a product.

Once I am happy with a prototype, I give out samples and I sit back and wait. If a product is ok (meaning: good, but nothing to get excited about), it doesn’t make the cut. “Good enough” or “nice” products never make it to the Celtic Complexion line.

However, if I get a phone call within one or two days asking “What is in this?!” or “Is this available now?”, I know I have a hit on my hands and it goes into production.

Eye Elixir 2.0 is one such product.

As I mentioned in my newsletter last summer, I wanted to revise Eye Elixir. As much as I have used and loved that product for the last three years, I knew I could improve the formula, but rather than change the original formula, I decided to start from scratch.

The delicate skin around the eye area is one of the fastest areas to show age, so I wanted to combine very regenerative oils to address that area. Oils that are rich in vitamins, anti-oxidants and essential fatty acids. I chose argan oil, squalene oil, avocado oil, rosehip seed oil, sea buckthorn berry oil just to name a few. Some of the world’s most expensive beauty oils contain a few of these oils, but this product contains them all.

Because of the richness of this product, all you need is one drop (two at most). This oil will stay on the skin, and you will feel it even hours after application.

It is available now, and I hope you’ll love my new “child” as much as I do! To read more about Eye Elixir, visit our visit our website

Secrets of a Beauty Entrepreneur; 5 Lessons Learned from an Indie Beauty Journey

CelticComplexion FounderJenniferWaller

I’m a happy entrepreneur!

It’s a few weeks before Thanksgiving Day and we are busy preparing for our BOGO sale, November 24th. It takes us about six full weeks to prepare the packaging, marketing materials, social media posts, blogger outreach programs, and of course making the actual products…but this post isn’t about products, or ingredients or methods. It’s about the actual journey of becoming an entrepreneur.

Today, as I write this, we just mailed out our new color catalogs. It took five years before we could actually produce them the way I wanted them. Five Years. Most new businesses don’t survive three years in business, so this was a huge milestone for me.

I experienced a lot of emotions when I was looking at them sitting there in the bins…I thought of all the moments of struggle and strife, of the times this dream of mine seemed so far away, of all the jobs I had working for other cosmetic companies, of all my friends and family that supported me (and those that didn’t)….it was a sublime moment and one that I will definitely cherish. Often the greatest victories for an entrepreneur are simple moments in time.

Looking back, I can clearly see how all of my so-called failures (both personally and professionally) allowed me to become stronger and appreciate success when it arrived. But when I was going through it, I would cry myself to sleep many nights, just shaking my head wondering if I had what it took to really create my dream.

For an entrepreneur, there are no rule books. Sure, you can get an education on business specifics, but each entrepreneur has their own imprint to make on the world, so it’s virtually impossible to learn how to become one by simply following another.

Take the word entrepreneur. It can be so intimidating. When I see that word, I think of Richard Branson. Steve Jobs. Julia Child. C.J. Walker. But Jennifer Waller? Um, not so much. But when you break down the essence of what an entrepreneur is – a visionary, then I kind of perk up.

My seventeen year old self had big dreams. She was idealistic, enthusiastic and would try anything once. She had a strong work ethic, and wanted to see the world. Her definition of success was defined by materialistic acquisitions (remember, this was in the 80’s “Greed is Good” heyday).

For a very long time, those goals were what motivated me. Being submerged in the high-end retail environment, I was subjected to daily doses of Madison Avenue marketing; If only I had the perfect shade of lipstick, the perfect bag or the perfect pair of shoes, I too would be perfect. To an extent, I was also peddling that dream on behalf of the companies I worked for.

From 1985 to 2004, I worked for more than a dozen cosmetic and skincare companies. I worked for big cosmetic conglomerates, and independent start ups. I logged thousands of airline miles, crossed the coast, and met thousands of women who shared with me their secrets, insecurities and high expectations of whatever miracle creme or lipstick I was selling at the time.  More often than not, they just wanted to be heard, if only for the brief minutes we were together.

From the start of my career, I felt the best when I was “connecting” with other women. I saw them as real people, not an “average unit sale”. My reward was their happiness, not the size of their purchase. I really felt humbled by their trust in me, and I worked hard not to ever take it for granted. Compassion was the first core value I was able to identify with.

Lesson #1: Determine from the start what your core personal values are, and use them as a blueprint to build your own company. Never waiver. They will become what you are known for, and will speak louder than any advertisement ever will.

When you are surrounded by like-minded people, it’s easy to work. You love your job, you love your co workers and everything comes up roses. I would say that for the first part of my career, it was exactly like a sorority. Beauty advisors working behind the counter, wearing the same uniform, working for one cause, and enjoying the perks and comradery.

Life was simple then.

As soon as I determined I was ready to break out of the pack, and move up the corporate ladder is when things changed. That’s when my true education began.

When you leave the familiarity of an insular work space (in my case, a beauty counter) and spread your wings, you are met with a lot of different personalities and agendas. It’s not for the faint-of-heart.

As a “road warrior” (a regional makeup artist that travels for events), part of my job was dealing with many, many people. The Account Executive in a given territory, the other road warriors, the cosmetic department manager, the beauty advisors and of course, the customers. In some cases, the owner of the cosmetic company. Each of these people had a different agenda, and it was my job to meet all those needs, and do it in heels, faux lashes and spanx.

Over the course of a decade of being a road warrior, I learned how to be a diplomat. I learned how to be on time (actually 15 minutes early for everything). I learned how to be a therapist. I learned how to be a visual display manager. And I learned how to take care of my feet (the stilettos came out of rotation in year three after another (older) road warrior showed me her bunions from wearing them for almost twenty years on the road).

Lesson #2: Become a sponge – to the good, the bad and the ugly. Every single thing you observe will serve you once you become your own boss.

I never took a job just for the sake of working. Even when I was young, I wanted to be happy working, so before I signed on the dotted line to rep for a company, I always did a little due diligence to try and determine if I shared the same values.

All I have to say about this is: you never truly know someone until you live with them or travel with them. Long before social media, and before transparency became the norm, the only thing you could find out about a company or owner of a company was the PR spin they provided for public consumption.

Lets just say, all that glitters is not gold.

What looks good on paper (or glossy company brochure) doesn’t always translate to the personality of the actual person you are working for. This can catch you off guard sometimes.

On more than one occasion, I have been singled out for my idealistic views of how things “should” run, or how people “should” be treated. After all, my personal motto is to treat others the way you want to be treated.

“Jen, you don’t really make a good employee. Quit questioning everything.”

“Jen, you aren’t the Norma Rae for the company, just do your job.”

“Are you an only child?”

Ouch.

At the time, those comments really, really hurt. Why couldn’t they see I only wanted to make things better? In fact, they more than hurt, if I was being 100% honest. I felt very unappreciated for my hard work.

However, if you put those comments together now, it all adds up to this: if I wanted to make things better, I had to create my own company and have it embody all the principals I value so dearly.

And I did.

If I was a “perfect” employee, Celtic Complexion might have never been created.

Lesson #3: The way others view you is their business. Don’t let it shape the way you view yourself or take it personally. Ever. Be your truly amazing authentic self. One day, you will be rewarded for it, but probably not in the way you envision.

When I was a little girl, my paternal grandmother advised me to “be free, see the world and live your life.” As a young girl, I didn’t understand her advice at all, in fact, I didn’t fully understand her words until I was well into my forties. She was a strong woman who lived her life with the expectations of her generation. She did her duty by marrying (although she was 32 when she did so, which was practically spinster territory at the time) and having three kids.

I think she yearned to live free and independently, and as her granddaughter, she wanted me to get that message loud and clear. As a result, that message was embedded into me, and has served my wanderlust desires since childhood. After all, what is it to be an entrepreneur than to hitch a wagon to your dreams and follow them to the end?

That advice has made me try things – everything in fact. The very nature of an entrepreneur is to try a lot of things, determine what works, tweak it, make it your own and then share it with the world.

It also made me courageous. To leave jobs, relationships, places and situations that no longer served my best interest. I’ve never regretted anything I’ve done, nor have I ever regretted letting it go. To me, it’s all experience, and it has all gave me perspective to grow. I don’t cry over spilled milk. Ever.

Lesson #4: Be unapologetically selfish in your quest for happiness. Your resulting happiness will be able to help more people in the long run. The vibration of happiness will touch everything you create.

I recently opened boxes in my garage from my last move to North Carolina (two years ago). I discovered journals I had been keeping for years, some even decades old. They were filled with pictures, affirmations, and personal mementos from my travels. I was amazed at how much of what I wrote had come true. I had forgotten some of the things I put to paper.

During my road warrior days, I would write in my journals when I was flying, or in a hotel room at night. I would sketch out what would become the Celtic Complexion logo. I would write product descriptions and website layouts.

I remember thinking “How the heck am I ever going to get from point A to point B?!” When you are struggling financially, or emotionally, it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But that’s when you need to do this exercise more!

I also kept every single thank you letter I ever received from a customer. I was also lucky enough to have some incredible mentors that saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. At times, those letters were the only dimly lit light to guide me to where I am now.

Those journals actually have versions of the recipes I use today.

Even with just a dream, I always did something every day to inch towards that dream. Whether it be creating file folders of pretty images, studying fonts, honing my writing, or reading about ingredients. It would all some day serve me.

Once I learned the art of manifesting (getting out of my own way, eliminating baggage, truly believing I was worthy of achieving my dreams, persisting when no evidence of success was visible) everything came very easy.

Here is an affirmation from my journal (authored by Mike Dooley)

  So what if it takes a long time, Jennifer? So what if it’s already taken longer than you thought? So what if it will still take longer? The day will nevertheless arrive, as it always does, when all your prior efforts, determination, and persistence will seem a paltry price indeed as you are lifted irrevocably higher, as if by chariots of fire, into realms previously un-imagined, and then you’ll think to yourself, “Wow, that was fast!”

Lesson #5: Never be concerned about How you will become successful. Place 100% of your attention on the end result. Put your blinders on and have faith. Everything else is just noise. With belief, everything else falls into place. I promise. 

My journey has taken many twists and turns, but it has also had a lot of laughter. The goals of my seventeen year old self have, for the most part, been accomplished. However, they didn’t feel like I thought they would. As a matter of fact, I distinctly remember wondering why the things I had coveted for most of my life didn’t bring me the happiness I thought they would. Damn you Madison Avenue for making me think they would!

My definition of success has changed as I age. To me, it’s being content, doing what I love, being healthy, being surrounded by love. By the way, I think those are also the same things that make you look vibrant and youthful :)

Here’s looking at you kid!

Jennifer

Celtic Complexion Graceful Aging Blog

Not Your Mother’s Anti Aging Advice…

What kind of images appear in your mind when you think of the word “aging”? How about “getting older”? Do you fear getting older, or look forward to it?

Being in the beauty business, I can’t help but to be inundated with questions about aging; How to turn back the hands of time, erase the life experience from your skin?

Beyond eating good, exercising, managing stress and using great products, our attitude towards aging is extremely important.  Your thoughts, words and feelings towards your body and health play a vital roll in how you will age. What is the internal dialog you have with yourself about aging?

Your body is a mirror of your consciousness.

Aging makes you wiser, more mature and stronger. Maintain your physical prowess, agility and strength by all the means you know how, and you will find the more you do, the more you will be able to do.

One of the reasons I believe we are not allowed to grow old gracefully, is because we live in a youth obsessed culture and are constantly subjected to images of youth. It seems to be celebrated and rewarded, and sure it’s easy to accept that as truth.

But, if you dig a little deeper (and in the right places), you will find women in their 70’s, 80’s and beyond who can inspire you to expect more.

I recently saw images of Christie Brinkley, who at 61 years old, can still rock at white bikini. Jane Fonda, at 77, walked the red carpet this season and would give any new starlet a run for her money. As lovely as these two women are, I’m sure their affluence enables them a team to cook and train and maybe nip and tuck them.

So, I sought out non celebrity women who have embraced their years and after seeing these powerful women celebrate their ages, it made me look forward to aging.

The youngest of the group is Mimi Kirk. She is 77 years old and is an author, lecturer and founder of RawOnYoungFood.com

She was voted Sexiest Vegetarian Over 50 by PETA. She travels the world lecturing on raw food and healthy living. She reports that she has the energy of someone in their 20’s, and judging by her picture, I have no doubt that is true.

Ernestine Shepard is 80 years old.

In her youth Ernestine is said to have been a “prissy” girl with little interest in athletics or exercise of any kind. As a 56-year-old she was a sedentary, well-padded school secretary and “slug” who had never worked out a day in her life. The obvious question is: What happened to transform Ernestine into a role model for the rest of us, and senior women in particular?

What happened was that the 56-year-old version of Ernestine went bathing suit shopping with her sister, Velvet. While trying on the suits, they found themselves laughing at each other. Then and there they knew it was time to get in better shape. Ernestine and her sister joined a gym and started working out together. A short time later, Velvet died suddenly from a brain aneurysm. Devastated, Ernestine stopped going to the gym. After some months of mourning the loss of her sister and on the advice of a friend that her sister would have wanted her to continue what they had started, Ernestine returned to the gym with a reignited determination to get fit.

Starting slowly and building her body step by little step, Ernestine over time completely transformed not only her body, but her life, too. She has never been happier. She trains mostly senior women five days a week and “live(s) to inspire senior women to reach their physical potential.” Read more about her on her website (and be sure to watch the videos) here

When Tao Porchon Lynch’s beautiful image appeared in my FB feed, I was in awe of her grace (and in complete disbelief of her age, 96!)

Tao teaches discipline and control of the body and mind through Yoga. As she elevates and balances her body in classic poses, she demonstrates how to tap into the primal spark of energy that all of us
receive from the universe. Whatever our religious beliefs, the spark makes us one with our fellow human beings and all forms of life on our planet.

Tao is a living advertisement for how to tap into our human potential. She is unique in her ability to overcome the effects of aging to control her body and mind in harmony with Yoga’s principles. Tao’s philosophy is “There is nothing we cannot do if we harness the power within us.” Her yoga principles and practices will be appreciated by current and future generations. Her current passion, in addition to yoga, is ballroom dancing and she is an award winning world-class dancer. Visit her website to read more here.

The fountain of youth is a state of being, not so much a state of doing. Begin to view your body as a magical form, a versatile machine that is capable of doing whatever you want, without pain or limitation. That is the best anti-aging advice I can ever share with you :)

 

Warmly,

Jennifer

 

Jen&AletaAug2015

When the Student is Ready, the Teacher Appears

In 1995, I was working as a Counter Manager for Makeup Forever at Nordstrom. I was 26 years old, and I thought I knew it all (Isn’t that what the 20’s are for?). I was living out my dream and I was very happy.

One day, a woman walked up to the counter and my life would change forever.

Her name was Aleta, and she was unlike any person I had met up until that point in my life. She came in for a new lipstick color, and we chatted for almost forty five minutes. I was trying my best to show her the new colors that had arrived the week prior, but she was mesmerizing me with her philosophical ideas about vibration, energy, life and death (all while using the back of her hand to swatch pink lipsticks). Nobody I ever knew talked so nonchalantly about such serious subjects.

When she left my counter, I was confused. I wasn’t sure if she was crazy or the smartest person I had ever met. One thing I know for sure, I was magnetically attracted to her.

Over the next few months, she would visit me often and we developed a friendship. We shared coffee and Nordy bars in the Cafe, and I learned she was about the same age as my own mom (which would explain why I felt a maternal energy from her). She herself did not have any children, which probably made her all the more happy to share her wisdom.

Aleta had this calm, inner peace about her, and looked far younger than her years. The first time I visited her in her home, I felt something was different, but couldn’t put my finger on it. It smelled different and felt different, almost like a sanctuary.  She explained to me about about aromatherapy, electromagnetic pollution, organic food, the importance of plants in your home, Himalayan salt lamps and about a dozen other “alternative therapies”.

Each time we met, she explained a little more. I honestly had NO idea what she was talking about, since I certainly was never brought up learning anything remotely like what she was describing to me.

Honestly, a lot of what she was doing I wasn’t sure I believed in, but I did see it was obviously working for her.

She never preached or said “you should do this”, she only led by example.

In 2001, I moved away from California, back to my hometown of Miami, and our relationship changed, simply because of time, distance, circumstances and the fact that she didn’t have an email address (she only got one earlier this year).

We kept in touch sporadically, but I always kept her close to my heart.

As I got older, I began to make major changes in my life, and started my own journey of self exploration. Over the course of a decade, through love and loss, mistakes and lessons, the seeds Aleta planted in my twenties, began to bear fruit in my forties.

I would catch myself smiling when I would “discover” a profound nugget of wisdom, remembering back to my old friend who had introduced me to the very same concepts decades earlier. I would always say a little prayer of gratitude that she was put on my path.

Last week, Aleta paid me a week long visit. She looked like the same happy, loving woman I remembered.

We spent the time walking, and talking and laughing. We prepared healthy meals and lingered over tea. At night, we watched back to back episodes of the  PBS series Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries.

There were no selfies (except for the one you see above), Facebook status updates, reality tv or presidential debates.

I have never felt better, more alive, less stressed or more loved (by a friend). We were purely in the moment, enjoying life as it unfolded.

As our week came to an end today, I watched her disappear into the security line at the airport, blissfully walking to the beat of her own drum. She has been one of my greatest teachers, and I’m thankful I welcomed her with an open mind and allowed those seeds to grow. She is a living, breathing example of living an authentic life.

At some point in your life, you will ask the tough questions, and if you are open to receiving, you might just be given an Aleta to guide you. She may be unconventional, and will most definitely challenge your status-quo, but she will enlighten you with her wisdom and will help you along your own journey. At times, you may find yourself scratching your head, but it’s definitely worth the lessons you will learn.

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

CelticComplexionInfographic

Do You REALLY Know Who You are Supporting?

Recently, a post came through my Facebook news feed. It’s about Tom’s of Maine (toothpaste company) settling a class action lawsuit for $4.5 million dollars. It appears they have been advertising “natural” ingredients, when in fact they use highly processed ingredients. You can read the full story here: http://www.brandchannel.com/2015/07/29/toms-of-maine-072915/?utm_campaign=150729-toms&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email

But that’s not the *real* story.

The real story is that Tom’s of Maine is owned by Colgate-Palmolive, and has been since 2006. People who commented on the story were shocked. Those same people may be shocked to know that Burt’s Bees is owned by Clorox.

“Green” is very hot right now, so it makes sense that big conglomerates want to acquire smaller green companies for their portfolios. Once smaller indie brands are acquired by a larger company, you begin to see them everywhere.

I recently put together a chart (above) that shows which companies are owned by whom. It may surprise you. You may *think* you are supporting a small artisan, but in fact you may not be.

For the record, Celtic Complexion is solely owned by Mr. and Mrs. Celtic Complexion.