I will be taking a writing hiatus. I will be back in the new year.
Take care of yourselves and have a little bit of fun too. ;-)
I will be taking a writing hiatus. I will be back in the new year.
Take care of yourselves and have a little bit of fun too. ;-)
For the past 5 years I’ve been focused on my quest for a simpler, healthier life. It’s been a fascinating and rewarding search. I’m constantly discovering strategies that help bring me into a more consistent state of equanimity. It may seem superficial to some, but focusing on my skin has been a part of my wellness because how I feel in my body and how I feel about my body can help me generate my Core Desired Feelings (CDFs). And ignoring my skin or mistreating it can take me off track.
As a woman in her late 40s my skin is changing. My hormonal balance is changing from my reproductive years (which were on a 28 day-ish cycle) to that of perimenopause (a bit all over the place with low progesterone and estrogen highs and lows and most definitely not 28 days) and heading towards menopause and postmenopause (consistent decline). My skin is reacting differently to my environment, my levels of stress, the food I eat, and the products I use.
What I used to work for me no longer does. This past year I’ve invested in my skincare so it’s right for me right now. I see it as a part of my simpler, healthier life quest. It’s self-care in this transitory phase of life. It’s a way of feeling Poise and Radiance (2 of my CDFs).
But when I think about it, the state of my skin has always been part and parcel of how I feel about myself and hoping for a sense of peace and composure. I think that’s because our skin is a visible example of how our body, while always working to be in a balanced state, is never static. It’s always changing. And that’s super frustrating.
I was a teen in the 1980s and an avid Seventeen reader. I have a very strong memory of buying a specific copy at McDermot’s – my small town’s family owned and run pharmacy – and all the feels I got from the purchase as well as the inspiration from the beauty articles and fashion spreads.
I experimented with so many DIY skin and hair treatments I found in this magazine. I remember going to school smelling like vinegar because I had used it as a hair rinse – oh, how my friends made fun of me. This experimentation was a bit of adventure fun. It helped me discover my likes and dislikes. It made me feel empowered, that I had some control over my changing body and over how I felt about it. Much like I feel now that I’m going through puberty, but in reverse!
Age 14 – 1985
I let my parents take my photo. It must have been a good skin day.
I don’t have many photos of me as a teenager.
However, like most adolescents I was awkward. I had a fair amount of outbreaks. Often on my forehead and on my nose. Perfectly aligned in the middle of my face. I hated them. I was lectured about eating too much chocolate. I was teased. I was given Noxema. And like many girls and young women I became a picker.
This turned into a compulsive behaviour that spread to other parts of my body and lasted well into my late twenties. If there is interest, I will write more about that and how I overcame it in a future blog. I touch on some of what I did below, but there is more. Other than ending my marriage and later getting sober it might be the hardest thing I’ve done.
This self-mutilation was the dark side of my skincare and was about a deeper struggle.
For the longest time I thought if I was perfect, then everything would be OK. I’d be OK. If I never made a mistake I’d make everyone around me happy. I’d never disappoint those I love. I’d never feel bad – ever again. A part of that perfection was appearance. Perfect skin would make me happy. Blemish free skin would make me happy. Smooth skin would make me happy. If I just looked perfect people would like me. I would be acceptable. I would belong.
This kind of thinking stuck around for a long time. It took me many years and a bunch of therapy to learn how totally unrealistic it was. Also to see how perfection actually doesn’t equate to happiness. Other things – like the healthy things I do every day to nurture my mental and physical health – are what make me feel good.
Having the desire to feel good is OK. It’s more than OK. It’s what drives me to create, to be of service, to engage, to be present. It’s what drives me to be connected to my body – something that for me is no mere tool for my consciousness to participate in this Earth experience. Getting precise on how I want to feel has helped me focus on healthy ways to feel the way I want to feel – more and more. So I do the pleasant in the moment yet damaging in the long-term things less and less.
The paradox is while desire for happiness is a big part of being human, to have some emotional stability you need to comfortable with discomfort as well be non-attached to the outcome of your desire. Tara Brach’s RAIN resource is a cornerstone for me and my wellness toolbox in this regard. It helps with big emotional pain, but also the smaller day-to-day things that come up.
When it comes to my skin I take pause when a critical thought comes to mind, I acknowledge it, I investigate it with kindness and curiosity, and I don’t try to change the thought or feeling. Using this technique I have learned to accept my skin on good AND bad days. I accept that hormonal fluctuations will mean pimples are certain times of the month. I recognize that when I eat to satisfy a craving one day will affect my skin a few days down the road. I’m becoming comfortable with the aging process. I know that repeated expressions of emotion like smiling and frowning will show up on my face. I accept the feelings of discomfort that arise when my body’s aging and hormonal changes show up on my face.
The neat thing is the more I practice RAIN – and gosh, is it ever a practice – the more I make healthy choices for my skin. I eat foods that fight inflammation and use products that don’t irritate my skin it’s clear and smooth. I don’t eat my feelings with an enormous portions, unhealthy fat, salt and sugar. I don’t pick. I don’t over clean or over scrub my skin. I don’t overload my skin with products.
I do believe in the cliché when you feel good, you look good. That good will look different day-by-day, through out your menstrual cycle and as you age. As you nourish feeling good, your outer being will reflect that. It will not look the same as it did in the past and it likely won’t look like anyone else’s good – especially media representations. It will be * your * good.
And, I also think the reverse is true too. When you look good, you feel good. Especially if it’s coming from a state of mindfulness and compassion, imperfection and acceptance, intention and vitality.
A few days ago I wrote an introductory post about my skin and the irritations and reactions I’ve been experiencing in recent years. I’ve been researching and reading books in hopes of finding a remedy. Most have been diet related. Recently though I read Beyond Soap: The Real Truth About What You Are Doing to Your Skin and How to Fix It for a Beautiful, Healthy Glow by Dr. Sandy Skotnicki (a dermatologist with over 20 years of professional experience) and it has me adding a new tool to my clear, smooth and radiant skin toolbox.
Our skin’s appearance is due to a mix of genetics (about 60%) and lifestyle choices (40%). Lifestyle includes things like exercise, diet, sun exposure, and smoking. I’m doing OK on the first three (room for more consistency, but OK) and I’ve never smoked. Upon reading Beyond Soap I think I’ve found the missing piece of the puzzle for my problem skin — I have irritation from using too many skin care products as well as sensitivity to some ingredients in my skincare products (quite likely some of the amazing smelling botanicals). However, I won’t know for sure until I do a product reboot.
Before I get into that, here is a little book review.
This book is a throughly well-researched and accessible read. It addresses how allergies, irritation and sensitive skin are on the rise. It begins with a combination history, anthropology and science lesson on hygiene, cleanliness, and the truth behind ingredients. The marketing of body care products and the lack of their regulation is astounding and depressing.
In recent decades Dr. Skotnicki (and many others) say we have been over cleaning our skin, stripping away our healthy oils ,and breaking down our protective layers. When issues arise we pile on more cleansers, exfoliants, creams and serums (plus shampoos and conditioners). Instead of helping this makes things worse.
Beyond Soap provides excellent information and easy-to-follow suggestions so you can be empowered with good science (and not hearsay ) and take a step back from excessive cleaning, hidden ingredients, marketing fears, and bottomline – take better care of your skin.
Have you ever heard of an elimination diet? You remove foods that are common allergens or cause disruptive digestion or other unpleasant symptoms and then one by one slowly re-introduce them to your diet. It’s a useful way of identifying triggers to your symptoms so you can avoid them in the future. The skin version works in much the same way. You stick to a very simple allergen and irritant free regime of products an then after 2 weeks you introduce products one by one, each week or every few days. You monitor your skin to see if and what causes a reaction.
Since Sunday I’ve stopped using all of my skincare products as well as hair styling products. I’ve stopped diffusing essential oils, got rid of fabric sheets that I used to keep my shoes from stinking up the closet. I carry a little bit of hand cleanser bar with me for public washroom use.
Organic virgin coconut oil
No name petroleum jelly
Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Cleansing Water and Makeup Remover Solution for Face and Eyes – 16.7 fl. oz. *
Vichy 24H Deodorant Sensitive Skin Aluminum-Free Stick
Eau Thermale Avène Tolérance Extrême Cream, 1.69 fl. oz. *
Aveeno Moisturizing Bar 3.5 Oz (Pack of 6) *
* Affiliate Links – Thank you for supporting me and the blog.
I’m thinking of starting to vlog. I had hoped to start last fall, but I didn’t have the funds to get the equipment so I put the idea on hold while I saved up. But there was more than finances to the delay. There was trepidation.
If I vlog I want to focus on my current interests of simplicity, minimalism and wellness (especially midlife issues like perimenopause). I wasn’t sure if my following on social media was interested in that kind of content. I still mainly get e-mails and comments from people who knew me from my adult industry work. While some do say they enjoy my authenticity and openness as I’ve blogged about my life post-porn, they are men who found me because they were looking for porn and it’s mainly what they want to focus on in their e-mails. That was all fine and good when I worked in that industry, but I haven’t for nearly ten years now. I’ve moved on and would like people to move on too. I’m not ungrateful for past members or ashamed of my past. I’m just not interested in performative sexuality anymore.
My new interests do appeal to some of the old followers (especially when I talk about my sobriety as others have similar struggles), but I’m also seeking to reach out to people a little more like myself – CIS women in midlife going through all the joys and challenges that seem to come with this time in our lives. Many of us are questioning our choices, deconstructing our lives and rebuilding – not just us retired porn stars. Anyway, it’s these people I want to reach. If people who know me from my old life are interested they can follow along and if not they can live in the past and do whatever to all the stolen xxx of mine that is littered online. I’m OK with that as long as it’s on their time and in their space.
Anyway, intentional, sustainable and healthy living is what I’ve been posting about on Instagram and it’s allowed me to connect with people interested in much the same things. I find the experience of sharing my life lessons with people dealing with similar challenges rewarding and empowering. The same thing can be said from the other side – what I learn from the interesting, genuine people I follow. I find it inspiring and life affirming. I think vlogging can add to this experience. Enhance it even.
Granted, there is a lot of negativity and trolling in the comments on YouTube. Last fall I wasn’t sure if I could handle the mindless critiquing that seems to be ubiquitous there. A certain amount of not caring what other people think is required. I have experience with that given I’ve lived online since 1999 or so. Still, I can get peeved by certain engagements. I’m bored whenever I post a body shot or anything remotely ‘pretty’ or glamorous and get mainly the male gaze. I’m annoyed when I post about challenges or share a vulnerable moment and get advice or some pseudo uplifting message (***hugs***) when I wasn’t seeking any. I’m turned off when I get offers from strangers half way around the world to date me or have sex with me. I don’t understand how anyone thinks an Instagram or Twitter profile is a Tinder profile.
What makes me hopeful though is that I have found some channels like Eco Boost, Lauren Toyota, Samio, Pick Up Limes, My Green Closet, Jenny Mustard and Alli Cherry that brim with optimism, usefulness and kindness. I think by focusing on those qualities the haters will make their idiotic posts and then move on because of boredom.
Oh, and all of the talk of perimenopause. ;-)
My monthly Q &A thread will go live on Monday November 21st. Patreon supporters contributing $5 and more per month have access to this post. It’s a place to ask your questions. I set aside time that day to respond to questions and I will do my best to answer until the end of the month if the questions keep coming in.
I’m super excited to announce that I‘ve created a Patreon account! Patreon is an easy to use TRANSPARENT way for fans of my work (old and new) to directly support my work as a blogger and life coach. It gives you the opportunity to fund my ongoing content creation with a monthly subscription amount of your choice (as low as $1/month) and help provide me a sustainable income.
I’ve been documenting and sharing online in one form or another since 1999. The focus of my work today is blogging about simple pleasures and mindful living. I share strategies on how to bring balance to your day-to-day life so you can align how you WANT to feel with how you ACTUALLY feel. It’s all about nourishing YOU and making your life Simpler, Pleasurable and Sparkly. ***
I created a Patreon account to help support my current blogging and social media work, but my goal is to raise enough funds to buy video equipment and software to create AD FREE YouTube videos. I want to vlog (my life is pretty entertaining, I’ve been told), share lifestyle strategies (gotta stay grounded to stay healthy when you live a wacky life) and reach even more people.
You create an account and choose a reward level. This a monthly recurring payment. In exchange to you get some exclusive stuff from me like Patreon only posts, access to a Q & A threads, my live Periscope feed and a monthly Google hangout.
And, of course that good feeling that comes from supporting independent creators (and retired porn stars – ha ha) like me.
I will be completely transparent with how I have spent any money received via Patreon. I created this profile in late September 2016 and starting on November 1st I will post a monthly update here and on my blog on how I used the financial support received.
I live a simple and frugal life and support of my work and the attainment of my goals is appreciated very much.
*** Sparkly for me is about brightness, vitality, radiance and passion.
click to learn more
As many of you know I was a vegetarian for 1 year then vegan for 15 years (1995-2010), but with my midlife crisis I fell off the wagon for a few years and then got back on this spring. When I returned to my vegan waysI felt like lots had changed between when I stopped being vegan, the few years I ate eggs and dairy (2010-2013) and then when I also ate land and marine animals (2013-2016). To refresh myself I decided to look to some of my old favourite sources of information (Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine, Vegetarian Resource Group and VegNews) AND the latest additions to the vegan info scene. This is where YouTube came in.
There are so many people chatting about vegan eating and vegan lifestyle choices on YouTube. Some are just broohaha clickbait drama (oh, dramatic and competitive YouTubers, you bore me), but there are others that are informative, positive, friendly AND entertaining.
Here are my top 3 favourite vegan YouTubers.
Also Hot For Food (recipes she makes with her boyfriend John)
Lauren’s videos are so nicely shot and edited, but what really shines through is her authenticity. Her What I Eat In A Day videos are not at all like the uber pristine ones so common on YouTube. She keeps it real, as the kids say (OK, the kids of the 1990s). She’s also a little woo. Her ideas about life, the universe and how to make your dreams a reality – I dig it, as the kids say (OK, the kids in the 1960s). Anyway, I like her and think we would get along and be friends. This means she is a REALLY good at her job as a YouTuber.
Their videos bring much value to my life. Their fat loss series is very informative and helped me devise a plan for myself. I keep watching because their daily videos are so positive and informative. They help me stay on plan. Motivation strategies are a must for me when it comes to eating well and exercising. I’m an introvert and I can easily just stay inside and hibernate – cocoon – tune out.
Hayley brings an interesting life experience to the topics of veganism, atheism, minimalism and living on less. Her transparency about her finances and lifestyle choices are both very inspiring. Same thing with her journey as a YouTuber. She just moved states and I’m interested to learn how the transition goes and what new adventures come her way.
BONUS: If you are nutrition geek like me you need to check out Dr. Michael Greger at Nutrition Facts. He reads EVERY published research study on nutrition every year and then makes these short, informative videos. All proceeds from his books, DVDs, and speaking go to charity.
Hello my blog friends! The blog has been quiet for a few months because I moved. It was quite the endeavour as I moved to an entirely new city (Montreal to Ottawa).
I spent most of April preparing for the move. I did a tremendous purging of belongings as I went from a 1000 sq feet space to a 450 sq feet one. I sold my bed, TV, bureau (set of drawers? commode? what the heck is it called?), shelving, kitchen island, and dining room table. I gave away a lot of clothes and books. I shredded and recycled a lot of paper documents. I listened to The Minimalist Podcasts through out which helped both pass the time and inspire me. Definitely something I need as I did this all on my own.
In May I made the move and promptly got hit by a horrible cold. So much sinus pain and such a disgusting cough. Then my cat Rufus came down with a life threatening urinary blockage. It was a very scary experience – emotionally and financially. He is OK now but it was so stressful because all my money was tied up in the move. On top of that I started a new job. It’s great in so many ways and it makes me quite happy. But like every new job there is a learning curve and that took up whatever little energy I had left. Hence the blog break.
Now I am settled and ready to write again. Expect quite a few posts in the coming days!
I am pleased to announce I will be hosting the Sunday brunch Show of the Montreal Bagel Burlesque Expo on Sunday April 24th, 2016. It will be a neo-burlesque celebration of beauty under all its less traditional forms.
Red Hot Annie (Chicago)
James and the Giant Pasty (Toronto)
Bibi Lolo Bang Bang (Montreal)
Coeur De Lyon (Montreal)
Fifi & Foufou (Montreal)
Julie Paquet (Montreal)
Lady Scarlet Pearl (Montreal)
Lillian Bustle (Boston)
Paige la Pearl (Toronto)
Poison Eve (New York)
Hosted by Seska Lee
Stage Kittens: Emily Florence & Florence Emily
Show: 1 pm
PRICES in advance:
General seat: $25 + fees
VIP seat: $45 + fees
Combo for the 3 shows: $65 + fees
VIP Combo for the 3 shows: $99 + fees
I enjoy watching YouTube videos on simple and minimalist living. WHY? Because they inspire me to live a simple and minimalist life. Or rather they reinforce the choices I am making everyday to live a simpler, healthier and less consumer-driven lifestyle. I am on journey after all. ;-)
Here are some of my favourites. I like them because of the content AND the production style of the videos. They appeal to me on many levels. I like to watch them while I cook and do the dishes.
PS I’ve also included links to their other online spots in case you are more of a reader or photo person.
Jenny and her partner David create some of the most lovely v-logs. She shares vegan recipes, minimalist lifestyle advice, organization tips and her overall optimistic perspective on life. She has a stunning, edgy style and a very warm demeanour.
Originally from the Netherlands and now in the USA, Coco posts very simple and to the point videos with her tips for living a simple life. Her focus is on clothing and keeping a decluttered living (and head) space. She travels frequently so there is excellent packing advice too. Her videos are not overly edited, but they are high quality and very pleasant to watch. By the way, her fashion style most closely resembles my own. Except I am not tall. ;-)
Based out of Australia, Rachel shares minimalist organization, beauty and style advice. She and her partner Beau own and run a training gym Eat Run Lift as well as offer diet and exercise digital products so this topic pops up on the channel often. It doesn’t feel like a distraction from the minimalism but rather a compliment. She has a background in photography and design and it shows. Her keen eye and aesthetic is clear and consistent in all the products she creates.
What are your favourite SIMPLE LIVING websites and YouTube channels? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.
The Desire Map started out as a book, written by Danielle LaPorte. From there, it became the driver of over 500 book clubs around the world. At the heart of it all? A commitment to feeling good. Cynics would say that choosing to place your focus on feeling good is silly – maybe, even selfish.
But I (and thousands of other Desire Mappers around the globe) know better. Because who wants to live a life that doesn’t feel good?
Who wants to work in a job that sucks their life force?
Who wants to be in relationships where they don’t feel nourished and honoured?
Who wants to feel bored in their own life?
Not me. And I’m pretty sure, not you.
The Desire Map taught me how to make better choices by making decisions based on my core desired feelings. And that boils down to living a life that feels good to live.
I’ve watched this book inspire major transformation in my own life and in the lives of many others. I believe in this material — I know that it works.
Which is why… I took my passion for The Desire Map one step further. I have become an Official Licensed Facilitator of The Desire Map. Woo!
Event: Women’s Workshop Weekend – Organized by Jennifer June Chapman
Day: March 7th, 2015
Location: Chateau St-Ambroise (4020 St-Ambroise, Montréal, QC H4C 2C7)
Yes, I went there. Orchid as a symbol for the vulva.
Was what you learned useful? Did it make sense to you and your life as a teenager? How about now as an adult? Most likely your answer is NO.
Well, now that you are all grown-up you have the opportunity to fix that! Yes, you get a big Sex Ed do-over!
This workshop is all about getting accurate and up-to-date sex information in an approachable, judgement free, fun way. It’s important to me because being empowered and informed about all things sexual and sensual is essential to having a healthy and satisfying sex life.
A play adapted by Terry Johnson
Based on the novel by Charles Webb
And the motion picture screenplay by Calder Willingham & Buck Henry
Directed by Andrew Shaver
With original music composed and performed live on stage by Justin Rutledge & Matthew Barber
Starring Luke Humphrey & Brigitte Robinson
Hotel Clerk, Priest, Psychiatrist and Company
Stripper and Company
Mrs. Braddock (Mom)
A SEGAL CENTRE PRODUCTION
August 31st, 2014 – September 21st, 2014
My New Year’s Eve experience was not at all like I expected. I was worried I would sad or nostalgic, but I wasn’t. Working was a good idea. It kept me focused, but not distracted. I was with my colleagues and we did our thing. The night’s performances and appearances were spaced out so it made the night rather long though. We were upstairs in an office which basically was a series of alcoves with a large opening in the middle towards downstairs. It was very warm upstairs and made me and others not feel terribly well. That I think added to the long feeling of the night. In the end I did not feel terribly festive but not at all sad, lonely or depressed. I was in a pleasant mood and I felt OK. That was nice.
After we rang in the New Year I went over to my favourite bar for a private party. It was 1ish and everyone was way ahead of me drink wise. I had no plans on catching up, but over the course of a few hours I had three beers and a couple of shots and I ended up more than a little tipsy. I was still in my pleasant mood. I chatted and I laughed. I tried to make sense of what my drunk friends were saying to me. Nothing terribly crazy. It was a good time.
For Christmas my sister got me a workbook for resolutions. I think she was giving me a hint. I have been rather lost these past two years and I have certainly felt like I am going through some major internal changes. I have an artist’s sensibility and enjoy exploring . Different things interest me at different times. Now, I do live in the real world and I have goals and plans. For a bit though I need to go inwards and evaluate myself and my life.
There has been one thing in particular I have learned about myself. While I am a dreamer and a creative person, I also have a very sensible serious side. However, it can be overly strict – a perfectionist of sorts. When I do not live up with my ideas of perfection I feel like a total failure. It’s ALL OR NOTHING for me. Good person or bad person. Saint or sinner. Selfish or altruistic. I cannot be both. I must only be one. Every mistake I make is perceived as something that will cause the world and its inhabitants suffering and I am the tipping point for its demise. It’s a twisted form of delusions of grandeur.
This past year I have been exploring this way of thinking and deconstructing it. I have looked at the emotional pieces that make up this way of thinking and started creating new pieces. These pieces are strong yet gentle. They support me and fill me. I am finding what was so elusive, what I so craved – emotional and physical equanimity. It is such a blessing.
I did fill out the resolution book with general things I wish to do in terms of my finances (pay down the debt I accumulated this past year) and my health. The love and sex part was left blank. I am not inspired at the moment to tackle that one. A little more internal work needs to be done I think. There were also other parts of the workbook I did not fill out. It has a section for rewards and punishments. I already have those. If I do not pay my credit card down I will have consequences. Awful phone calls. The reward is the awesome feeling I will have from not being financially burdened. I will be able to save up for something special. I will have that ever so strong feeling of balance.
There were a few books that have had a major impact on me this past year and along with weekly therapy have brought me to this more stable, kind emotional place and are helping me along physically as well.
Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr. I got this book at the beginning of last year and it introduced me to the joy and power of green juicing as well as so much more. There are amazing exercises that helped me listen to my body and figure out why I was eating what I was eating and when. It helped me get away from the computer and into the world. I started to meditate and do yoga again. I took long walks and I was still. Later, getting a TV and some bad news made me backslide into mindless escaping again. Time to get the juicer out again and be still every morning before getting on with my day.
The EveryGirl’s Guide to Life by Maria Menounos. Many celebrities write how to books and I suppose one could just lump hers with the rest, but I cannot. Her approach is very do-it-yourself, but not do-it-on-your-own. She believes in the power of allies. She also has great organizational tips that suit most any budget. I have implemented many of them (I still have a few to go) and it has made my life easier and I can actually focus on my passions. Overall, I suppose it’s her think big yet keep it simple, be true to yourself and your values, approach that resonated with me.
Magical Housekeeping by Tess Whitehurst. I loved the book’s way of explaining Feng Shui. I used her tips to help organize my apartment and get energy flowing. I also like her rituals and tasks to help this along. Its a good way for me to focus on the intangible things that I value and release things that are bogging me down. She has a great blog with new activities every couple of weeks.
Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach. This book has been recommended to me by my therapist. We have discussed many of the things from the book over the two years I have seen her, but it was only recently that I got a copy and dived into the words of wisdom. I have received a great deal over the years from Buddhist teachings. The idea of impermanence is one that I have struggled with though. In part I do know at my core that all things, good and bad feelings included, are not permanent, but I think the little girl in me finds hurt so unbearable that she created a system to avoid it. A very flawed system and the hurt always come back. The book explores alternatives to our flawed systems with the new system begin one of exploration and curiosity. In a short time it has done me wonders. I am getting so much from the book. So much!