#WCW

As you all know, we have
decided to dedicate a portion of our blog to the
ever-so-popular #WCW trend. So, as I begin to feature my own edition of #WCW’s – I want to focus on
highlighting a particular breed of women. Up and coming women. Women striving for success. Women who are business owners. Women trying
to market, and positively brand themselves. Women who want to change
the world. Women willing to think outside of the box. Women who are
intelligent. Women who are uniquely beautiful – both inside and out. I think that it is
so important to actually uplift one another, especially in a world where tearing one another down, is so common. Real, substantial women are becoming  a rarity these days, so when we do come across these seldom women – credit should be given where credit is due.

So without further ado, I introduce my #WCW of the week:amare

#girlboss

Alexandria Mitchell

My first encounter with Alex was through a mutual friend. Upon meeting her, I immediately recognized her from social media and knew that she was a business owner, much like myself. My initial conversation with her was both organic and genuine.
I fell right in love with her personality – she was so refreshing & so “Bull City”
– and I loved every moment of it. After getting to know her a little better through random conversation, I decided that I would be more than willing to be supportive of her movement, and even purchase some of her items.

So who is Alexandria?

 Alex is a 20 year old
Durham, NC native – (born and raised). She is both the face and owner behind: A’mare, by Janelle Cosmetics 💋 . The name  A’mare was derived from the Italian verb: love –which Alex states represents everything underneath her line. Her brand A’mare was just recently launched
last April (2015) – featuring a wide variety of lipsticks, lip paints, lacquers, and glosses. (Often referring to herself as the #lipstickplugg) – Alex is currently working hard to expand her brand into a full cosmetics line. You can get a sneak peek of what she already  has in store – at her newly opened salon/beauty bar that she shares with her sister: “Candy Curls” . Their grand opening was just this past March (2016). In addition to that, Alex is also looking into opening her own boutique come this Fall (2016).

As you can see, this young lady has been working! Alex’s passion for her business is exactly
why I chose her as my #WCW. She is a true representation of hard work and the true definition of being a #girlboss. Check out her website here – to stay updated on what else this young lady has up her sleeve  – and be sure to take a look at her amazing products!

-Joelle

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The Proper Skincare Routine

Okay, ladies! Back to the skincare basics! I have been getting a lot of questions and concerns about what steps to include in your everyday routine. It is a very simple 4-5 step process. And, once you have mastered these simple steps, branch out and expand your products and routine to really reach your skin’s full glow potential. 😉

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  • Step One: CLEANSE! without stating the obvious – this is your first step. to be done twice daily. (once in the AM, once in the PM) select your cleanser wisely, based on your skin type. try to stay with the same brand or cleanser type (gel, creme, oil etc.) gradually introduce new cleansers when you are looking to switch. although forgivable, our skin can be very sensitive when exposed to new products. try to maintain the same cleanser for no less than 2-3 months. likewise – give yourself time to actually see results! scientifically speaking, our skin cell turnover rate (the rate at which newer skin cells surface to reproduce new, glowing skin) on average, varies anywhere from 28-45 days, depending on your age. so be patient! last but certainly not least – BODY SOAP IS NOT A CLEANSER!!!! do some research, browse through your local drugstore and explore all the options for a cleanser that’s best for you and your skin.
  • Step Two: EXFOLIATE! on the subject of cell turnover rates – there are ways to promote and speed up that process. one of those is by exfoliating. this should be done once daily (weekly for dry skin types). you can kill two birds with one stone and choose an exfoliating cleanser if you find that, that works for you. otherwise, exfoliants can be found in liquid versions, micro-beads, scrubs etc. if you want to see the best results from your cleanser you must exfoliate. exfoliating helps to remove the excess remnants and dead skin left on the outermost layer of your skin, to make room for those new, fresh skin cells to push through. this in return, helps eliminate any infections on the surface, helps ward off wrinkles, blemishes, and impurities. i don’t know about you – but that is more than enough reason for me to include this step- sold! lastly, don’t just stop at exfoliating your face. lips, nips, kit, all require the same attention! check my “esti” board out for easy-peasy scrubs you can make right at home!
  • Step Three: TONE! one of the more underestimated – yet equally important steps. when we cleanse and exfoliate – we are rubbing and scrubbing- away all of our skin’s natural oils and essentials. so how do we keep our skin squeaky clean and not tear it apart in the process? you tone! toners are astringents/liquids specifically designed to re-balance our skin after cleansing. (they’re magical, if you ask me) our skin has a pH level that has to remain balanced. as ladies, we ALL know about the importance of pH levels and balances. same story here with our skin. major key. luckily, toners are very accessible, they too can be found in your local drugstores or cosmetic stores. while there is also the option of using essential oils to tone, too. tea tree oil, rosewater,  or chamomile, for example. any oils that carry soothing properties work just fine. witch hazel – a more well-known product can also be used as a toner. easily apply toners with a cotton round or spray bottle – using a pat and roll motion until the skin has fully absorbed the liquid. tone each time you cleanse. ALCOHOL AND PEROXIDES ARE NOT NATURAL TONERS!
  • Step Four: Moisturize! By this step, your skin will more than likely feel taut or dry. it’s time to moisturize. and BODY LOTION IS NOT A FACIAL MOISTURIZER. there are plenty of moisturizers out there on the market targeted for all different skin types. consider a moisturizer that contains salicylic acid if your skin is more problematic. shoot for a lightweight/oil-free moisturizer if your skin is more on the oily side. or find one designed for dry skin if that is what your’re experiencing. moisturize each time you cleanse and tone. sidenotes: try finding a moisturizer that already contains SPF. sunscreen is to be used anytime you are outdoors. if you are using any eye creams, serums, or spot treatments – apply these prior to using your moisturizer.

Skin is the body’s LARGEST organ it is made up of mulitple layers, all of which serve as protective barriers to our bodies. Our skin  works to protect us from infection, harmful chemicals, pathogens, and helps to regulate our body temperatures. It takes good care of us, so we should return the favor!

extra skincare tips & tricks:

  • stick to a consistent routine
  • diet/exercise play an important role. sweating helps to promote detoxification and eliminate any nasty bacteria’s that our body or skin does not need. diet can have a big influence on our skin. cut back on the sugars and get some more fruits, veggies, fatty fish, and nuts in your system
  • get your beauty sleep. that term wasn’t created for nothing! a good night’s rest really helps restore the skin and keep us looking youthful. our cell-turnover rate is also twice as fast during sleep! and don’t fall asleep with your makeup on, ladies.
  • keep your makeup brushes and pillow covers clean!
  • try masking weekly.

 

-Chelsea

 

 

 

 

Confession : “I have anxiety”

At contourandconfessions we want to approach the idea of beauty blogging from a different angle than most. We are firm believers that beauty starts from the inside…out, which is how we derived the name “contourandconfessions”. An educative combination of both beauty and wellness tips. We hope to reach out to our readers in a way that helps them achieve both inner and outer beauty, with a focus on total body wellness and a sense of self.

 

Being that we both suffer from different forms of anxiety, we decided that this disorder will be our first “confession” post. So here goes nothing.

 

Chelsea’s personal experience:

 

I have always openly discussed my struggle with anxiety – simply because I know that there are a lot of people out there who can relate. However, I have never really opened up about w h y it is I suffer from it. Throughout my life I have always had to remain resilient, stay strong, keep it together, & keep pushing during some of the worst of times imaginable. You can ask anyone who knows me personally, & they will tell u that, that is one my defining characters: strength. I even have it tattooed on me. But having that strength and resilience is the same reason is why I have never really expressed the causing factors behind my anxiety. That would involve me removing my tough outer shell or “suit of armor” to do so. I have never been the type to seek sympathy from others, throw myself pity parties, or play the victim. But sadly enough, that mindset and disassociation with my reality – is the exact reason why I suffer from generalized/panic disorder anxiety.

 

At 25, I’ve been through a lot and I’ve seen a lot. Adoption, suffered from child abuse up until the age of 15, experienced tragic deaths and homicides within my family, seen my father in and out of prison & nearly shot to death outside my home, countless physical altercations, anger management classes, mental abuse from partners, trust issues, severe health issues – & the list goes on. But, all of these are things I rarely discuss or choose to identify with.

 

Why – I have always took on this mentality of keeping it together and being strong for everyone around me before being strong for myself. I’m the oldest sibling and the oldest grandchild so at times I feel obligated to do so. But the truth is – most times I’m really dying inside. The whole “sweep it under the rug” approach I have adapted over the years has really caught up to me more so now than ever that I am in my adulthood years.

 

 

 

Feel & release.

 

If your’re going to worry don’t pray. If your’re going to pray, don’t worry.

 

 

 

When I really sit and put it all into perspective I’ve suffered from anxiety to a degree all of my life. I can remember in elementary school getting hives every year when it came time for EOG’s (yall remember those? #throwback) – anxiety

 

Up until I was 13-14 yrs. old I would get deathly sick every year during Christmas time, like clockwork. (too much excitement. too many people. overwhelmed) – anxiety

 

My last year and half of college, I suffered from extremely bad insomnia combined with intense itching and obsessive picking disorder. Dr’s tried to prescribe me different medications that did not work, insisting it was related to other healthcare issues. – it was really just my anxiety

 

As I have gotten older my anxiety has took a turn for the worst. I now occasionally experience full blown panic/anxiety attacks that either end in; me fearing I need to go to the ER due to shortness of breath, nose bleeds, vomiting, or crying uncontrollably until I pass out into a deep sleep. Once it got to these extremes, I had no choice but to do something about it. But that is how exactly how anxiety & most other mental disorders work. We disassociate so much with what is we have going on at the moment and don’t identify with it. We don’t express it. We bottle up tons of emotions. And, mentally – we clock out. Until: our body gives us a wake-up call. My panic attacks are really just my body’s way of telling me, bih: #getyourlife. Don’t make this mistake. This is why it’s so important to listen to your body. It relates a lot back to our message in Massage: 101 about really being at one with yourself and being connected and in tune with your body.

 

So how do I cope: Meditation has saved my life. I had to quickly learn to be able to be comfortable and alone in my own company and really be at one with my thoughts. Being in tune and connected to your thoughts is the easiest way to learn how to control them. Meditating, for me is so helpful, because I literally have moments where I have to tell myself to stop thinking. just S T O P. I used to consider myself a “metacognitive” thinker until i realized this form of thinking was always associated with my anxiety. Constantly thinking about what I’m thinking. Thinking about why I’m thinking about what I’m thinking. Wondering what everyone else is thinking. And playing out the 5.6345657 billion outcomes – in my head that can arise from just one situation. You catch my drift.

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It’s one thing to have those anxious moments and feelings of being overwhelmed – but to be in a constant state of it is a whole different ball game. It is physically and mentally draining. (which is why I sleep like a newborn, and I do mean sleep, and I mean anywhere – like i will deadass sleep in the club. yes i have done that in real life) But all jokes aside, it is a full time job alongside just merely trying to exist.

 

My message to everyone is: It’s okay to be strong & be there for others, but there also comes a time where you have to be selfish with yourself. Love yourself properly first. Most importantly, do away with the facade that showing or expressing emotions shows weakness. That could not be any further from the truth. If you or someone you know is at their weakest – it is only because they have been way too strong for way too long.

 

others tips for overcoming anxiety:

 

  • adult coloring books

 

  • aromatherapy (lavender)

 

  • daily affirmations/crystal healing

 

  • reading

 

  • pampering

 

  • yoga/exercise

 

*As you may or may not know, most prescribed medications for mental disorders are dependency drugs, highly addictive, and only temporarily relieve the suffering and do not cure the illness. Here are two vitamin supplements I like to keep close by that help reduce my symptoms :)*

 

Valerian Root

 

Ashwagandha Root

 

– Chelsea

 

 

 

Joelle’s personal experience:

 

Imagine this: you get behind the wheel of your car, buckle your seat belt,

adjust your mirrors, look behind you, pull back the gear shift, and pull off

to your intended location. Piece of cake, right? Well imagine trying to

do so every single day, but having the overwhelming feeling that

something terrible is going to happen… the thought that your entire life is no longer

in your control.

 

Still not clear enough?

 

Imagine getting in your car & having to take a deep breath (several in my

case) and literally having to talk yourself through every step of the way.

You check your mirrors an average of 4 times before you even contemplate

pulling off. You have a mini-concert in your car before you can even

imagine the idea of sharing the road with tons of other people.

 

Oh and don’t even get me started on the idea, or actual state of being on the highway. My chest feels soooo tight – that at any moment I feel like I may pass out behind the wheel. Sounds crazy, and sometimes I even wonder myself, if I am. But this is what my anxiety does to me.

 

What comes natural to others on a day-to-day basis, can be the biggest of struggles for someone suffering from any form of anxiety.

 

I remember the first time I ever had a panic attack while driving. I

was like 15 or 16 years old. I had my driver’s permit and my family was

on our way to visit my Grandmother. Well, my mom asked if I wanted to

drive, & of course being the excited teenager I was, I was 100% ready to get

behind the wheel…(or so I thought). My mom & I change seats. I check my

mirrors and make sure everyone has on their seat belt. Then, I begin to take

off for the highway. All of a sudden this overwhelming gut-wrenching

feeling (totally out of my control) comes over my body. All the cars

around me were going what to seemed to be at NASCAR speed.  It felt like they were going around behind, beside, and all around me. I literally felt like I was going to

throw up. I couldn’t breath. Immediately, I wanted to stop the car in

the middle of the road. I started crying, and pleading with my mom to

“Please, tell me what to do!” I had never felt so embarrassed in my life. Not

only did I feel totally responsible for every one in the car. But I

felt like a punk ass, biotch!

 

That was the first time anxiety hit

 

Me, myself – I’ve always been the nice,

sweet, wear-my-heart-on my sleeve, type of girl.  I

took my friendships, family, boyfriends, etc. very seriously. I treated everyone

with so much respect and love that I didn’t even recognize when someone

wasn’t showing me the same. I’ve always prided myself on my

relationships with people, mostly because I’ve always felt like I could

literally FEEL what other people are feeling. Overly-sensitive, so to speak. I

legit feel everything, and carrying along my feelings, along with other people’s feelings has made for: an overwhelmed Joelle.

Years of carrying and keeping those types of feelings bottled up over time  has took it’s toll on me.

 

…And then things got worse:

 

July 2015, I was working as a bartender. To keep a long story short – I was

robbed at gun point, and locked away in a freezer with my co-workers. Needless to say, my life hasn’t been the same since. Shortly thereafter,  I was diagnosed

with PTSD and anxiety. I was experiencing little to NO sleep. I feared

people behind me, or walking near or close to me. It made my heart beat so fast, sometimes, that I literally

feel like it was going to explode.  From there, I started recognizing how bad my

hands would ache after I had been driving (from gripping the wheel so

tight) ..that still continues to this day.

 

I say all this to say: I can’t tell you what experience it is that

exactly triggered my anxiety, or if I have had it my entire life.

But what I can tell you for a fact, is that my anxiety is 100% real.

 

Anxiety comes in all forms and it’s not a cry for attention. It’s an issue

that has been brought on by experiences that we as humans go through.

Although, I can’t tell you how to treat it – I can share my

story, and hopefully let someone else who feels exactly like me know:

that it’s ok. You are not alone. The first step is identifying with it. The next step is finding

a solution that works best for YOU.

 

Here are some things I do to help with my anxiety:

 

  • Adult coloring books
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Crystal Healing
  • Breathing
  • Music
  • Using essential oils
  • Showers

 

Catch this video for another interpretation of what anxiety feels like to those whose suffer from it.

 

-Joelle

#WCW

Anybody who has any form of social media is more than likely familiar with the token phrase or hashtag “#WCW” (Women/Woman Crush Wednesday). This hashtag took off on sites like Twitter and Instagram alike, where guys (& sometimes girls) would show their appreciation for a “woman” of their choosing and refer to them as their crush of the week. Living in an era where “instagram models” and “video vixens” are so popularly glorified – these are normally the types of women you see featured as #WCW’s. Curvy, busty, half-dressed women. No shade here though, I love the eye candy myself from time to time. But, can we recognize some women who are soul food & not just eye candy for once ?

My #WCW this week is the fabulous Alex Elle. Anyone who knows me knows I am obsessed with this woman, okaaaay ? So multi-faceted, wholesome, and flourished. She embodies everything I aspire to be as a woman. A mother, a woman with a testimony, & a self-made-entrepreneur. Many of you may recognize her from your twitter timeline where she drops quotable gems that are worthy of thousands of retweets.  Such as:

be you. love you. all ways, always. -alex elle

 

Or you may be familiar with a few of her books – as she is a published author. I can relate to this woman in so many different ways. She too, is a blogger, plant-powered scientist, and vegan/gluten-free foodie. If you are in need of daily inspiration, hope, and/or tips on self-love I encourage you to take a look at some of her work. I promise you, you will gain a different insight on things.

Twitter: @alexelle

Snapchat: alexellesnaps

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alex_elle/?hl=en

Shop: http://www.shopthebalm.co/

 

follow her blog  here where she shares intimate insights on her journeys throughout life, and be sure to check out any upcoming events or self-care sessions she may be having in a city near you!

check out this link to see what some of her published writings are all about.

#thankmelater 🙂

 

-Chelsea

 

 

 

 

Massage: 101

As we begin our blog we both want to individually introduce the basics of what it is we do and how it pertains to our readers. We covered Skin: 101. Now class is in session for:

(Massage: 101)

Take notes!

 

From the moment you wake up, your body is hit with forces that are out of your control. What you may not know is that the body is affected in numerous ways even down to the way we chew our food.

*Pause for Random Facts*

Did you know a toothache can affect the way you walk? Toothaches can cause you to clinch your teeth and hold your mouth in a way that isn’t recognizable to the body’s normal structure and build. In result, abnormal changes occur in your posture which inevitably change the way you walk.

Did you know handbags and high heels can cause headaches? Yea, you heard it right. Those stripper heels you wore out to the club the night before can have a terrible effect on your spine. They create an artificial alignment that can result in terrible migraines or headaches. And that 5 lb. tote you may be carrying? It is weighing your shoulders down and whacking your body all out of balance.This too can cause headaches and muscle pains.

legallyblondegif

 

The point is: every single thing in your body is connected.  The purpose of massage therapy is to make sure your body is totally aligned. Not just physically; but mentally and spiritually as well.   Most people associate massages with pampering and this idea of a “luxurious experience”.  As relaxing as they are, so little of us are aware of the medical benefits that stem from massage therapy. Your body is your temple. Each and every one of us is made so uniquely different, but oddly enough we are all wired the same. With that being said, it is recommended that the average person receive a full-body massage once every 4 months.

 

How it works:

Massage is broken down to into 3 different aspects.

Mechanical, Physical, and Psychological. 

Mechanical affects:: refer to the manipulation of muscle, tissues, fibers and blood circulation in our bodies.  Muscle tension builds up over time throughout the body causing harm to the body’s original structure.  Massage techniques are used to break up those points of tension and align the body in the state of which it is supposed to be. Massage also helps to aid in detoxifying the body and releasing toxins.

 

Physical effects:: Massage therapy physically helps  to improve blood pressure, hormone regulation, and blood flow throughout the body. These things combined can help achieve a healthier looking skin tone and body build.

 

Psychological effects:: Massage therapy has been known to help with decreasing anxiety, depression, and stress.  It promotes well-being and connection to your body. It has also been known to help with hyperactive disorders and can help in assisting with treating abuse victims.(with special training).  Most massage techniques are targeted to decrease cortical levels (“the stress hormone”) leaving you essentially feeling less stressed and happy.

 

At the end of the day my goal is to increase your knowledge and expand your thinking of what it means to be at one with your body. You have to think outside of the box a little and understand that traditional methods aren’t always the answer, when we ourselves – possess the keys to naturally change our bodies.

 

 

-Joelle

Skin: 101

skintypes

Let’s talk skin. The basics…

I find that most of my clients or people I consult with have no earthly idea of what proper skincare maintenance consists of. But its okay, once upon a time I didn’t either. That’s what I’m here for :). So let’s start with talking skin types. (*majorrrrrr key*)

Why?: being able to indicate your skin type is imperative for a number of reasons. From choosing the proper skincare routine, the proper treatment/s, and even proper make-up products.

Typically skin types are categorized into 3-4 types. Each different type is influenced by a number of factors (stress, environment, diet, medications, etc.) but essentially it boils down to the amount of sebum (oil) your skin tends to produce.

  • Normal Skin – this skin type is least problematic. pores are not very visible. there is no excessive oiliness or dryness. blemishes/pimples rarely occur. skin appears to have an overall even texture and tone. unfortunately, this skin is also the rarest type there is. if you only find that you get break-outs when exposed to unfamiliar products (or when it’s near that time of the month) then this is more than likely your skin type. you will also probably find that although your skin isn’t typically problematic, you are quick to have sensitive tendencies (easily irritated/inflammation occurs easily) with that being said; your skin maybe as close to flawless as flawless can get, but it still requires the proper maintenance: Tips for normal skin : stick to a cleanser with the least amount of salicylic acid (this can easily dry out your already easily irritated skin) a foaming cleanser usually is best. follow up with a gentle exfoliator 1x daily. (this eliminates the possibility of any excess dryness occurring) preferably a liquid exfoliant. stick to a gentle toner. you may find that most astringents are too harsh on your skin and leave you feeling dry, this DOES NOT mean skip the toning process. it is imperative!! (we will discuss why later) instead consider a toner with calming properties such as tea tree, rose, or lavender. lastly be sure to moisturize your skin! a gentle mask is best for this skin type. something simple like an oatmeal honey mask. just enough to rejuvenate and refresh the skin while still keeping its natural glow.
  • Oily Skin- woe is me! may the skin gawds be with us on this one. if you suffer from oily skin, you know like i do that it can be quite the little pest. oily skin types work overtime to produce oil, resulting in a build-up of oil, which in return leads to breakouts. if you tend to carry oil absorbing wipes around in your clutch, this is you boo. Tips for oily skin: in this instance you want a cleanser with salicylic acid, it will help to absorb some of the excess oiliness. you can also go harsher with your exfoliant, so a mechanical exfoliant will do (micro-beads, scrubs etc.) tone as normal. be careful with your moisturizer, keep your moisturizer lightweight, it can contain salicylic acid as well. the key to this skin type is making sure to tackle the excess oil and NOT the natural oils that are essential to your skin. play around with your routine until you find that perfect balance. clay/mud masks are specifically made for oily skin types, they remove just the right amount of oil and impurities from your pores.
  • Dry Skin – dry skin typically consists of those pesky patches of flaky or red skin. the texture is dry to the touch and the skin typically feels taut, especially after cleansing. you may even find that you have “oily skin” in the spring/summer time and more of a “dry skin” type in the winter. this is normal. Tips for dry skin: stating the obvious, you would want to up your water intake. water, water, water! as far as your daily skincare routine is concerned: stick to a creme cleanser (this will help put some moisture back into the skin) although exfoliating tends to leave us all with a dry feeling, those with dry skin will still need to include this step. for you it will slough off that already dead (flaky) skin that is lying on the surface. tone as normal. moisturize as normal. coconut oil will work wonders! try a honey and milk or avocado and banana mask for this skin type to really help replenish that lack of moisture.
  • Combination Skin – is the most common skin type there is. self-explanatory. it is a combination of any of the two above types. typically oiliness will be found in the T-zone (forehead, cheeks, chin) and normal-dry patches can be found outside of that area. the key to this skin type is using a targeted treatment method. for example: use a mud mask to tackle the oiliness, BUT only apply it to the oily areas. be careful when selecting your cleanser and other facial products be sure to indicate that the product label reads: for combination skin.

follow my pinterest board titled: “esti”  for more skincare tricks and tips and be sure to stay tuned for more blog posts about proper skincare routines, recipes, and products. feel free to connect if have any questions that you think i maybe able to answer 🙂

 

-Chelsea