A Week in Clothes 8.13-8.20

Oh my gods, you guys.  What a long, long week it has been.  Rather, a long month.  I haven’t been posting much (quality over quantity, I hope) due to an intense family situation and consequently being super busy and exhausted.  So here we are, over a week since my last post, and I have decided to check in re: my Summer capsule wardrobe.

Here’s something I didn’t expect:

Having less makes me want less.  It’s a drive not unlike having/wanting more, but cheaper.  Having given myself permission via the capsule wardrobe to wear my favorite things more often and repeat outfits freely, I find myself doing just that–repeating the same 5 things over and over.  I feel great about this except that I still have too much stuff!  A few of the things I bought at the beginning of summer are favorites that I rotate frequently (chambray swing dress, jeans, teal maxi skirt) but I wear the other things only sometimes.  I could definitely have done without them.  We think we need more than we do.

The past week has been pretty typical of what I wear, although I don’t usually wear shorts and a tshirt to work.  I hadn’t been sleeping and that was about all I could handle.  It is one of my favorite weekend/evening outfits, though!  Anyway, here is a look at what I’ve been wearing…in cartoon form.

8-14 So Tired | Whisper & Howl

Friday 8-14: Beck concert t shirt, cutoffs, Crocs flats

 

Saturday 8-15 | Whisper & Howl

Saturday 8-15: WUNC t shirt, Champion bike shorts

 

GAP t shirt, cutoffs, Crown Vintage sandals | Whisper & Howl

Sunday 8-16: GAP t shirt, cutoffs, Crown Vintage sandals

 

LOFT dress, Crown Vintage sandals | Whisper & Howl

Monday 8-17: LOFT dress, Crown Vintage sandals

 

GAP jeans, LOFT trapeze t, Crocs flats | Whisper & Howl

Tuesday 8-16: GAP jeans, LOFT trapeze t, Crocs flats

 

Bass dress, Franco Sarto sandals | Whisper & Howl

Wednesday 8-19: Bass dress, Franco Sarto sandals

 

Target dress, Crocs flats | Whisper & Howl

Thursday 8-20: Target dress, Crocs flats

 

Yep.  That’s it.  See you next week.

Double-Cleansing Skin Magic

I love beauty products.  LOVE.  Luxuriate in.  Collect.  Make great use of.  Research.  Buy.  Create.

I particularly love natural beauty, by which I mean products made with all-natural ingredients.  I have a nice stash of essential oils, waxes, carrier oils, butters and herbs that I use to mix my own balms and creams using recipes from herbal magician Rosemary Gladstar, author Julia Gabriel, and various bloggers.  In my effort to reduce my spending and promote personal minimalism, I’ve cut way down on purchasing products and instead invest more in ingredients and in finding what methods work for me and sticking to them, rather than switching brands and methods just to try something new.  This brings me to my absolute favorite, most-effective, miracle skin-care routine, which I learned about from The Green Beauty Guide (and which, as a bonus, is big in Japan).  Without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to…

The Double-Cleansing Method For Radiant, Healthy Skin!

Double-Cleansing Skin Care | Whisper & Howl This process has 4 steps, but requires minimal investment.  You can easily make most of the products at home using simple recipes, or can use products you already have.

Products

  1. Cleansing Oil.  Sound fancy?  It doesn’t have to be!  There are plenty of cleansing oils on the market that contain nourishing botanicals, but you can also get by just fine with coconut, almond, grapeseed, sesame, olive oil…you get the idea.  The secret’s out: your skin loves oil!  Feed it.
  2. Soap.  Soap for your face.  I use lots of different fancy, handmade soaps, but that’s because I’m an addict and cannot pass by a soapmaker’s stall at a market or craft fair without making a purchase.  You can also use a cleansing milk if your skin is sensitive, or whatever non-drying soap you are already using on your beautiful face.
  3. Toner.  Your toner should not include alcohol!  Alcohol will dry out your skin, making it overproduce oil, and you do not want that (do you?).  You can easily make your own toner with a mixture of easy-to-find witch hazel or apple cider vinegar and distilled water.  I often use a simple spritz of rosewater.
  4. Moisturizer.  Any moisturizer will do.  I feel like the more fresh and natural this product is, the better, since preservatives and synthetic chemicals can break down over time and through processing, generating toxic byproducts that will be absorbed into your body through your skin.  I generally use more oil to moisturize before bed, and in the morning I use a CC cream with sunscreen.

PROCESS

  1. Cleanse with oil.  Really.  Get some of your cleansing oil in your clean hands, rub together to get it nice and warm and mobile, and massage it all over your gorgeous face.  Using oil will dissolve sebum, remove makeup, and wipe away dirt.  When you’re satisfied with your lovely face massage, use a clean cloth to wipe the oil off your face.  Look at all the stuff that’s collected on your face over the day!  Be glad that it is on the cloth and not clogging your sweet pores.
  2. Wash with soap.  That’s all.  Just wash with soap like you normally would, to deep-clean the pores and remove leftover oil, dirt, everything else that’s collected over the day.  If you want to use an exfoliating cleanser, now is the time.
  3. Spritz with toner. After gently drying your face, spray some of that refreshing toner on your clean face, or wipe it on delicately with a cotton pad.
  4. Moisturize.  Apply moisturizer, night cream, oil, sunscreen…whatever you’d normally use to moisturize.  During the day, moisturizer (with sunscreen!) protects skin and provides a surface for makeup; at night, moisturizer nourishes skin.

That’s it!  This routine is so simple that it’s hard to find an excuse not to do it.  Sometimes I fall off the double-cleansing wagon, but I always kick myself for doing so.  My skin feels softer and looks clearer and more radiant when I stick to this routine.  The oil cleansing step is especially relaxing, as it really is like giving yourself a little face massage.

Let me know if you have any questions about this routine or if you’d like any product recommendations–or if you have a beauty routine that you swear by!  I will post my recipes in the coming weeks.

How to Create an Altar

Creating an Altar | Whisper & Howl

My altar is the most important place in my home.  It’s the place I go to in the evening before bed, to do my yoga sadhana (practice) including asana, meditation, mantra, pranayama (breath work), and sometimes to read books or Tarot cards.  My altar defines my sacred space, a personal corner that is the outward manifestation of my inner spiritual life.  It helps to calm and focus my energy at the end of the day or any time I need a little peace.

How To Create an Altar or Sacred Space in Your Home

Getting Started

  • Choose a space.  Any space will work, but it should be a place you feel comfortable taking time out to reflect, meditate, etc.  This depends on what your purposes are.  I do yoga in front of my altar so I need space for a yoga mat.  Your altar can be any size that works for your space and your needs.  Currently, my altar takes up about 3 feet in the corner of my room, and extends right up the wall!
  • Choose a base.  Again, this depends on your space and needs.  I prefer to have my altar at sitting eye-level.  I’ve had altars on small stools, large bookshelves and in the alcove of a makeshift dresser/bookshelf combo.  Last year, I invested in a beautiful, handmade cedar table to use as my altar.  It’s a slice of tree trunk and retains its natural shape.  I like to turn it to mix things up periodically.  I also have “wings” on either side of my altar where I have laid down scarves to keep other items such as books, my Tarot cards, extra candles and my mala beads.

What should I put on my altar?

Your altar should be a space for contemplation, love, and peace.  It should bring you joy! Whether or not the items you choose for your altar have religious significance, they should have personal meaning for you.

Some things you might consider for your altar:

  • Figures or icons.  I focus on animals for my own sacred space.  I have a strong connection to nature and I love looking at my little animals, many of which I’ve had since childhood.  Some other figures to consider are icons of gods and goddesses, saints, or any other figures that bring you joy.
  • Crystals.  While I do not believe that crystals have any magical healing powers, I’m also not discounting the possibility.  Mostly though, I find them beautiful.  I’ve always loved rocks and gems and my great-grandfather was a jeweler who tumbled gemstones in his garage.  I do choose my crystals based on their “meaning” and give places of prominence to those with qualities I’d like to attract.  I use these a focal point for my thoughts, so that I can think about the qualities when I look at the stones.  Should they also happen to be magical, I’ll take it.
  • Images.  Many people keep photos of saints, gods and goddesses, etc on their altars.  I don’t do this but I do have images from magazines, collages, photos of calming places, quotations, postcards and other meaningful or beautiful images posted on the wall behind my altar.  I also keep a lovely drawing of a horse that a friend made for me in a frame on the floor beside my altar.
  • Candles or lamps.  I love candles and I keep several of them in my sacred space.  Lighting the candle on my altar reminds me that it is time to gather and focus my energy inward.  I often light the candle before I go to brush my teeth and wash my face, so that when I return to my room I know it is time to do my sadhana.  I have candles in many different colors and scents, mostly homemade.  A salt lamp can also be a wonderful addition to an altar.  Salt lamps have air-cleansing properties and create a gorgeous, warm glow that can be very soothing.
  • Incense or essential oils.  Aromatherapy can be a great way to help you get into the mood for meditation and other sacred-space activities.  Herbs and their essences have different evocative properties.  My acupuncturist just recommended I add frankincense to my routine as it is both grounding and uplifting, and sets the mood for spiritual communion.
  • Flowers, fruit, and other objects from nature.  If you place food on your altar, it will become sweet–metaphorically if not physically–and blessed.  I have a found butterfly wing on mine, and today I came across a perfect cicada to add to the collection.  I recently added a small vase to hold herbs and flowers from my garden, because these things bring me joy.

In addition, you might consider adding a prayer rug, yoga mat, meditation cushion or bench, or small table to add comfort to your sacred space.   You’re creating a space that will welcome you, a place that will draw you to it and hold your attention.  If you don’t love the space, you won’t want to spend time in it, so take your time gathering items and arranging your altar.  It can be a growing, organic process.  I am always adding new items to my altar, and every couple of months I will change up the placement of objects.

There are special rituals for cleaning your altar and I will address these in another post, but the most important thing is to keep your sacred objects from directly touching the floor–which is why I place scarves under the books and things I have on the floor beside my cedar table.

Creating an altar can be a wonderful step toward creating more intention and joy in your life. If you’ve been thinking of creating a sacred, personal space in your home, I highly recommend going for it!  If you have one already, what are your favorite objects to keep on your altar?