Miseducated | Whimsical Lifestyle Inspiration

kitties

For those who don’t know, my life mascot and furry soul mate, Hobbes, passed away in early June. He was 17. It was completely heart shattering. I felt closer to him than anyone, having him near me for 17 years, a constant in my life and losing him was very tough.

I allowed myself time to mourn and fall apart for several days and then began to pick myself up the following. In the midst of this was my daughter’s birthday and other activities so to be a good mother I took maybe one to two days to completely grieve (alone) and nothing else.. the next few days I maintained a positive outlook for our children before they arrived back home.

The days following that we began to speak about whether we would want another pet and if it would be a dog or a cat.. David was eventually open that he would want another cat because his bond with Hobbes turned him into a full blown cat person. We waited until we could have a family meeting about the passing of Hobbes and if we would want another pet. We looked online the next whole night for babies to adopt and found a little Manx which looked like a relative of Hobbes. We adopted the next weekend and David named him Calvin in honor of his big brother. It took him maybe one eve before he was completely obsessed with David and I. He is crazy, kittenish and hyper half the time while snuggly, cuddly and a nap lover the other half. He is officially our new baby boy.

So what is it about cats that steal our hearts and soothe our souls? We all know petting our cats helps us relax and feel comforted like no one else, unconditional love and admiration for every pat, but did you know they can also detect your feelings and even medical emergencies such as seizures? That they lower blood pressure and instill a feeling of safety and security?

I’ve read about quite a few cats detecting seizures on the web these days and I know my own cat always knew when I was upset or sad as he would meow to me and lay on me for hours if needed. I read up about this and scientists don’t really understand much about it other than the cats are able to detect biochemical scents. Many cats even alert family if an owner is beginning to have a seizure. Did you know cat purrs encourage the mending of broken bones? Cats have also been known to wake and alert families of house fires while they sleep. Yes, cats can save lives AND improve your health and happiness. In fact, read 8 Benefits of Being a Cat Owner by Mental Floss.

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greygardens

I’ve always enjoyed Grey Gardens. I love documentaries and anything concerning unique individuals and their points of view on the world. Especially former socialites (relatives of Jackie O) living in isolation within a house full of cats and costumes while reading astrology, talking of gossip, singing old songs and sun bathing on the beach. What’s not to love?

For those who have yet to see the 70s documentary, Grey Gardens is a film by Albert and David Maysles who filmed the documentary in a technique which allowed the women to tell their own stories. The film depicts the everyday lives of a mother and a daughter both named Edith Beale, who lived in a fall-to-ruin, cat and raccoon-filled mansion known as Grey Gardens located in East Hampton, New York. There has also been a broadway musical and an HBO movie created about the Beales due to the cult following of this interesting film.

If you can’t get a man to propose to you, you might as well be dead.
~Little Edie

Young Little Edie

Little Edie

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Little Edie: You can’t have your cake and eat it, too in life.
Big Edie: Oh, yes, I did. I did, I had my cake, loved it, masticated it, chewed it and had everything I wanted.

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I just stopped by to shove (delicately!) a spoon full of neon pink and pastel glitter down your throat on this glorious Wednesday. May you be inspired and enjoy the rest of your week! There are articles on the way so let’s meet again for tea real soon. xx

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kiddieland

lg67163This week and last week happened to be spring break for our children so one day we decided to cruise the craft store for fun projects. Among many things such as paints, beads, paracord and vinyl characters we got sewing kits for our two girls. Mary got a hanging bird for her room and Colette got a sew your own doll.

Upon investigating this new brand I hadn’t heard of or seen in the store before I was smitten. The products are adorable and teach kids to sew really cute little toys, create sculpted characters and even how to paper maché kokeshi dolls. I adored their display and product boxes and of course hoped the actual product was as well thought out as it appeared on the box.

Inside both boxes were very clear instructions for numerous stitches (though we only needed the double running stitch for our toys), a step by step guide and everything you need to create the toys. The fabric was a printed felt and very child-friendly with tiny holes all around it to teach them how to sew. It was like an advanced sewing lace kit with something you actually want to keep upon completion. To see how easy the kit was I actually let my 7 and 9 year olds sew parts they chose (they needed help occasionally and it gave me a chance to teach them to sew which I loved) and I assembled the doll by stuffing and sewing her body parts together. In the end our children exclaimed it was so fun that they wanted to do more (and I thought they’d give up after all the sewing!) while Colette was just excited to have her doll. She had previously held the box all through the store telling everyone she’s going to have a doll and it only made it more special that she and her family had a hand in it’s creation.

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William, 7, and myself sewed the arms and legs.

William, 7, and myself sewed the arms and legs.

Mary, 9, sewed the kitty friend and purse.

Mary, 9, sewed the kitty friend and purse.

The toughest part, though still easy, was sewing the arms and legs to the body. I did finished this up, the hair and her dress.

The toughest part, though still easy, was sewing the arms and legs to the body. I did finished this up, the hair and her dress.

I HIGHLY recommend this brand and the sewing kits they produce. I believe the perfect age for their sewing kits is around 7-9 as my kids could do most of it with supervision and help but learned a ton about sewing plushes and didn’t even prick their fingers once as the needles are small and thin plastic ones! Perfect for teaching and a great family project. We are all excited to see what projects this brand comes out with next!

Colette, 3, is very pleased with the outcome and was a huge moral support.

Colette, 3, is very pleased with the outcome and was a huge moral support.

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rose

So recently a rad clothing store by the name of Rose Wholesale with inexpensive wholesale prices asked me if I would review or model a few of their clothes. I of course said I’d be willing to give them a look if they could pick out something they thought was fitting to me (their stock size is ENORMOUS and I got lost in eyecandyland). They sent me a galaxy mini dress and a gradient cotton candy, fuzzy sweater. I love both items and have worn them at least a dozen times with no issues, wear or tear. The products, although inexpensive, hold up well in the wash and during normal activities (I still haven’t worn them during a marathon swim and will not be doing so because I am not a marathon swimmer!). I would highly recommend their shop to anyone looking for some unique and special items to cute-ify their wardrobe this spring at a very affordable price. My Mistereducated even has a sweater from there (several years old!) and will be doing a review from a man’s point of view as well.

All in all I’d have to say they have a great selection for both male and female and no matter what your style is you can find something to wet your tastebuds! I’m also wearing contacts by Pinky Paradise whom I will be reviewing next by vlog and my accessories are by Sanrio and my partner in crime’s brand, Sugar Junkie, whom we will be doing a feature on in the coming weeks! Stay tuned and stay cute this spring whether you marathon swim or sit and read your favorite book under a cherry tree!

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If you have a company or product you think we would love, apply to be reviewed.

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Because I can never decide which one is better so all of my pastel-coated paintings always have a little hot pink strewn through-out and same for my collages. Why choose one when you can have both? Have a hot pink Easter.

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Easy Neon Hanging Planters Tutorial by Brit + Co

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Candy Necklace Inspiration by Love the Day

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Chocolate Surprise Egg DIY for Easter

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Dip Dye Placemats by Design Love Fest

and lastly a breathtakingly beautiful home office and craft studio to inspire you to design your work space to fit your inspiration ala I Love Crafty:

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testworld

Who says the occult can’t be kawaii? For a long time I’ve loved tarot card art and the amount of dedication it must take to finish such a large deck. It’s a stretch, something totally new I never considered really doing. I know this is the next step!

So my next huge personal project is designing an deck of TAROT CARDS >> This is big for me to admit. Dedicating my next year/s to producing extensively designed mixed media tarot cards (78 in a deck) that will be available as very limited large prints until the entire deck is complete and then they will be made into decks of cards included as a lovely kit complete with a book written by a friend on interpretations.

I’ve also recently become obsessed with cute tarot cards such as those by Sanrio, Aya Takano (THE BEST: top of my wish list), the numerous cat and animal tarot cards, etc so I had to feature them! I’ve always wondered how I can add a totally different style/take into the world of the tarot.

The first of my new prints will be on show RAW located at the Murat on [official date announced!!] March 19th (buy a ticket ($15), you wont regret it! if not in the area comment and receive a free print at $30~). “XXI The World” is the first card and, as stated, will be first available at RAW.

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Once upon a time there was a kitschy Queen with a pretty, pretty princess and a bossy kitten that enjoyed the finer things in life. Things such as sugar, fluff, puff, stuff and more sugar sprinkled mayhem on top of that. In fact she thought the world might be a bit better if covered in sugar and so she spent her life running amok with her beautiful best friends while trying to make her dreams come true. Then the universe smiled on her and she met her King who had a couple princes and another pretty, pretty princess. They all 6 (her new lucky number) ran around with big handfuls of glittery love to throw onto the ground like petals at a wedding while the bossy little kitty sang the song of sunshine to all who would listen.

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Buddha at the Art Institute of Chicago

This is a beautiful Buddha from the Art Institute of Chicago where my King took me last week and it reminded me of old, happy memories. I love it and it reminds me of my home in Japan and our home here because we have mini Buddha’s all over the house.

Jamie and Amber Renee by ZambiCandy

ZambiCandy drew this of Jamie and I recently! I commissioned it for her birthday because I knew she loved Zambi’s work and because we had been playing our 3DSs non-stop together and talking about how fun it was just like the cartoon above! It was perfect because we each got each other sentimental prints and gifts this year. Absolutely excellent work by an even sweeter artists. I highly recommend her for any chibi or manga work you want done!

PST! See more daily photos like this via instagram. My username is: amberrenee — xx!

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caffeineaddiction

Question

I drink tea and coffee all day, even at night. Are tea and coffee really healthy or unhealthy? What is the truth about how caffeine can help or hinder me from having a healthy life?Jamie, TN

Answer

Jamie,
This is an excellent question & certainly something that many people seem to struggle with these days. As a culture we’re overworked, under-rested and, as a result, highly caffeinated. Plus, because caffeine is an addictive substance that often causes withdrawal when you try to quit, it can be quite hard to shake the feeling of tired to wired and back again.

There are two sides to the argument about caffeine, on the one hand, moderate amounts of caffeine have been found to improve concentration, increase memory function, reduce muscle soreness and even possibly prevent Alzheimer’s disease. On the other hand, it also interferes with your absorption of vitamins & minerals, stimulates stress hormones, spikes your blood sugar and dehydrates your cells, causing premature aging.

From the sound of things, your personal caffeine consumption is certainly above average. Over time, consuming at your current rate could fatigue your adrenal glands, putting your body in a perpetual state of stress and exhaustion. Cutting back on your caffeine, especially from coffee, can bring things back into balance, help you sleep better, and allow your body to absorb important nutrients it could be missing out on.

If you were one of my clients, I would encourage you to choose tea over coffee for awhile. Yes, you’ll still be consuming caffeine, but the caffeine in tea is more bio-available to your body than the caffeine in coffee. Plus, since tea is super high in antioxidants, the healthy benefits far out way any damage done by the caffeine that accompanies it.

The other great thing about the caffeine in tea is that it varies from type to type. This is helpful when trying to reduce your stimulant consumption slowly to avoid withdrawal. You can start off by trading your cup of joe for a nice black tea, the most caffeinated variety of teas. Then switch to oolong, green & white teas, the next step down. Until finally you can switch things up entirely with some tasty herbal teas. With the exception of yerba mate, herbal teas contain no caffeine at all, but they do help to replace the ritual of waking up to a warm beverage. If you find that you miss the earthy taste of coffee after cutting back, you may want to check out Teeccino, an herbal tea brand that’s roasted to mimic that java taste without the harmful caffeine.

Happy Drinking,
Michelle Shea Walker, H.C.

Ask A Healthy Life Stylist

Just make sure you are clear about if you mind your question/answer being published on Miseducated and if you’d prefer to be anonymous. All questions will be answered by Michelle regardless so ask away!

For more information about Health, Happiness, & Hoola Hoops please visit Michelle‘s website!

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I reworked this article from a couple of past articles because I decided to give “vlogging” another try!

There have been quite few awesome recommendations for the DO IT OURSELVES feature on Miseducated (suggest to us what you’d like us to both make and share the process of making) and so I decided I would try something I was asked about years ago.. mostly because I’m a bit shy/critical of myself and it’s VERY hard for me to force myself to make a video blog. I’ve done a couple through the years but I’ve deleted or never published most of them.

What I’ve been trying to do is to be as relaxed as I am when I’m writing.. as though I’m just hanging out with my friends and you’re coming along on the sugar trolly.


This first try is my new vlog introduction. It’s not perfect, it’s not even that great but I did check off my long list of basics such as finding a setting (key!), making the intro using an image and the custom theme (I got tired of the animation — maybe later) and having an idea of what I might say (but not scripted and slow!). I tried to put forth the basic tips I’ve collected throughout the internet years when creating this quick and dirty video show introduction. Stay tuned for both my notes and steps to try it yourself!

Notes

1. Theme Visual & Theme Song (or voiceover)
2. Introduction
3. Video Blog
4. End / Bloopers / Goodbye / Theme Close (with a cute animation??)
5. Credits (if needed)

Theme

What do you need to do this? Do you have any friends that compose original music? Can you use music that is free for public use? The possibilities are endless.

Video Editing

Again you can use and get creative with videos of public domain or grab your webcam and record some. You can settle for Quicktime Pro for quick and easy editing such as cutting, copying and pasting clips. If you’re interested in more advanced video editing software you should try Final Cut Pro~ for quick and easy editing I used iMovie.

Content

Of course this depends on what kind of video blog you’re making — if you’re interviewing a guest or featuring an event then obviously you would prepare questions and feature them as much as, if not more than, yourself.

AND if Miseducated has taught you anything it’s to pay attention to your mise-en-scene. Actually pay attention to what’s in the frame. If you’re filming in front of a pile of dirty laundry it probably wont have the same effect as in your local soda-shop or your cute office.

So if you want to start, read the following steps and join me in this fun medium of communication.

STEPS: Try it Yourself!

1. Watch a lot of video blogs.

Check out your friend’s blogs, their friend’s blogs, you favorite model’s blog and more. Surf around Flickr and Youtube and see how other’s carry out their video blogs. Pay attention to the content, length and format. Note what you like and don’t like about them.

2. Create the actual content.

Write down what you plan to talk about, keep it short and to the point so you can freely elaborate on video. Make sure you don’t look like you’re actually reading the notes to yourself; make it spontaneous but don’t get too lengthy. I think the best videos are short and sweet.

3. Practice makes perfect.

Practice in front of the camera. Take long videos, short videos, videos of you talking with your best friend, whatever video ideas you have practice them. Pay attention to how you present yourself in front of the camera and take notes. Re-record re-record re-record.

4. Post your video.

After following all the above steps you may or may not be ready to post your video. Post it anyway. We all have to start somewhere and that only leaves room for improvement.

Don’t worry about getting it right your first video. It will probably be too long, you’ll look like a huge dork, and the guys building a hotel next door will probably take the exact moment you’re recording to use their jackhammer. Whatever.” – Kontrary

Have you given it a try? Are you considering it now? Do you think we should further investigate this form of blogging?

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