Day With a Camera: Sugar Plum Fairytales

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.

my pink cookie heart

popple baby

sugar plum cupcake

grapefruit

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!

Healthy Life Stylist: Caffeine Addiction

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!

How to Start a Video Blog or Vlog

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?

Ask a Healthy Life Stylist and Coach


Greetings & Salutations, Miseducated!

As your new virtual healthy life stylist, I am thrilled to be your guide through the wonderland of wellness. In the coming months, I look forward to answering your most burning health & wellness questions, but first, allow me clear up a few common questions about what I do:

What is a Healthy Life Stylist?

A healthy life stylist is like a fashion stylist for the health world. Much like a fashion stylist would help you makeover your wardrobe [getting rid of the items that don’t flatter you & giving you new items that allow your inner goddess to sparkle], I help you makeover your life. From what to eat to feel your best to what steps to take to achieve your dreams, my job is about creating health for your whole being. Health and wellness aren’t just about eating vegetables; they’re about loving yourself, loving your job, developing healthy relationships, and cultivating a spiritual practice that makes you feel enlightened & at peace. I’m here to help with all these things and more.

What kind of questions do you answer?

Because I like to think of myself as a nutritionist, a life coach, and a therapist, all rolled into one, I can answer questions about any area you’re feeling less than fabulous about. I’m here to help you feel your best.

How can I learn more about your services?

If you’re in need of more than just a few questions answered or you want to receive an individualized lifestyle plan, consider signing up for my Health & Happiness in Half a Year program. You can check out the details & pricing for individual or group sessions on my website.

That’s it for now, darlings. <3 I look forward to answering your deepest health ponderings. xoxo, Michelle Shea Walker, H.C.

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!

Photo of Michelle by Aaron Ehinger Photography.

We Call Them Chicago Weekends

I live in a small city I like to call OZ. It’s cute, sweet and colorful with bright blue skies, yellow meadows and green grass. Living here is nice, you get small-city life but there’s not so much hustle bustle that you can’t get around easily. I love Indianapolis, I’ve tried to move several times and I keep coming back here to roost (the people here are rad).

One way we Indy folk like to have fun is to go to Chicago over the weekend. Our neighbor is a major city, has delicious deep dish pizza, and has an abundance of sky scrapers, shops, events and food to enjoy.

chicago
Exploring.
folklorique
Foklorique fashion show
gino's east
Deep dish at Gino’s East.

The pizza was delicious and quite different from my usual favorite. It was refreshing to try something new but, as you can imagine, very messy. This baby was not so much a hands-on pizza slice.

It was also here that Benjamin and I met and had pizza with Jamie of Japan L.A. and Stephie of Dollybeast — both were visiting Chicago and couldn’t stop raving about it. It surely is a special place and it will always have a special place in my heart.

Stay tuned for features on two of my favorite places in Chicago, Chinatown and Rotofugi.