The Cosmetic Crisis; Part two

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Looking for ways to get rid of the plastic in your bathrooms and beauty bars? You’ve come to the right place.  Here are 5 great plastic-free alternatives to some of your most used items! Enjoy!

1) Mascara…Every lady’s must have!

I can speak for myself (but hopefully many others) when I say I am totally addicted to mascara! I use multiple different tubes and brands each day, and I have yet to implement a plastic-free alternative to regular plastic cased mascaras. Fortunately, by researching for this article I have found a company called ‘T.W.I.N.K. Beauty’ that sells mascara in small metal tins! How awesome is that!? I will be placing my order ASAP, and hoping you will to.

Product description: The lash paint is in the original, vintage style of “cake mascara” which means it comes pressed in a rectangular metal tin, unlike most plastic tube mascaras. Just add a drop of water and rub the applicator in it and there you go!

T.W.I.N.K Beauty has many more plastic-free beauty alternatives, so check them out!

You can buy the .25 oz tins for only $8 off etsy.com, here  https://www.etsy.com/shop/twinkbeauty

Here is a picture of the tin that I found off of myplasticfreelife.com ;

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 2.) Nail Polish Remover

Q) What can I use to remove nail polish without buying nail polisher remover in a plastic bottle?

A) Nail polish.

I’m serious! This tip is too good to be true! Just paint over your old nail polish with a fresh coat, don’t let it dry, immediately wipe it off and it will remove everything!

I discovered this trick accidentally…I was painting over old polish with a new green I bought, but to my dismay the green turned out to be more like vomit-colored, so I wiped it off right away and it took off the previous polish as well!

3.) Makeup remover

Make your own remover with 2 tablespoons of canola oil and one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Mix them together; dip a cotton ball in, and gently swipe across your face to clean off your makeup! It should come right off. Rinse with cool water. There are so many more recipes to making your own makeup remover, just search online! I just chose this one because it was so simple.

4.) SUNSCREEN!

Now for something I know affects each and every one of you readers at the moment… (unless you live somewhere very cold, but either way this is still cool info to know so keep reading! J)

We all know how damaging the sun can be to our skin…Speaking from firsthand experience, (and as a fair skinned individual) sunburns are the worst. I mean really, they are the worst. Having pigment to match a lobster is definitely not a confidence booster, not to mention how damaging sunburns or even light tans are to your skin. Sunblock should be your best friend, going everywhere you go. The problem today is that almost all forms of sunscreens, (sticks, lotions, sprays, chapsticks,) are available in plastic containers. Luckily, I found a great recipe for a DIY and plastic-free recipe for sun protection from cranberrylane.com

Sun protection Lotion stick

Use either Shea Butter Lotion base or Cocoa Butter Lotion Base for this recipe.

 6 Tbsp Lotion Bar base.

 Desired Sun Protection value:

SPF 15 = 1/2 tsp Titanium Dioxide per recipe

 SPF 30 = 1 tsp Titanium Dioxide per recipe

Directions:

1) Gently heat (low) lotion bar base in a stainless steel pot or use glass microwavable measuring cup until material melts and becomes clear.

2) Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly (the mixture will become slightly cloudy). Add Titanium Dioxide powder and stir until blended.

3) Pour into clear 30ml lotion stick container. Allow to cool completely before using.

 For best shelf life store in a cool dark place. (Shelf life for finished product is approximately 6 months)

All products can be bought offline from cranberrylane.com or elsewhere online!  I’m also sure you can find all of these ingredients locally!

 

5.) Zero Waste Toothpaste

No more need to buy brand name plastic toothpaste tubes!! Here is a recipe to make your own. Imagine what a great feeling you will have when you have 1) Made your own toothpaste!! And 2) Contributed to a cause to (basically) save the world.  Now how can you turn this down?? Such a must-try.

1 cup baking soda plus a bit extra, as needed

2 1/2 teaspoons finely ground sea salt, to taste

1/4 teaspoon Peppermint oil, or other flavoring oils of your choice

Powdered xylitol or stevia to taste.

Lidded jar or jars to store the finished toothpaste in.

This makes enough to fill 4 4-ounce Mason jelly jars each about 3/4 full.

Now go for it, you hero, you!

(from Rockfarmer)For more info visit http://rockfarmer.me/

 

I hope you all enjoyed these 5 interesting tips to reduce plastic in your personal care cabinet! And don’t limit yourself to these solutions; get creative! Try making your own recipes, test it out and have fun! Comment with your experiences and any new helpful creations or ideas! If it works for you and it’s reducing plastic consumption, I want to hear about it!

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Something everyone should take into consideration..
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<a href="http://www.thenewecologist.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/environmental-facts-and-statistics.jpg&quot;

#DoNotLitter

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Image of the Chuang Yen Monastery via Emily Boeglin

Today the weather was absolutely beautiful and I have off work so I called my friend to make plans. We decided to spend the day exploring a Buddhist monastery which is only about 30 minutes from us, because we’ve seen pictures friends have posted on Instagram proving it to be breathtaking so we figured we needed to see it for ourselves.

Being nature enthusiasts, to put it slightly, this is the very type of activity we search for; walking around, enjoying nature, hiking, basically anything outdoors.

Not knowing much about this place except for its address, we plugged it into the GPS and got on the road. Sure enough, this place exceeded any expectations we had. Immediately after pulling onto the premises, I feel like we were in another country. A country that was so serene, so beautiful and so peaceful that I didn’t feel the need to speak above a whisper.

The monastery, called Chuang Yen Monastery in Carmel, NY, is deep in the beautiful woods, and has delicately manicured gardens, intricate stone pathways, and dark wooden pagodas that will make your jaw drop. Statues of famous Buddhists line walkways that lead to great pagodas and monasteries, the uniquely shaped architecture reminding you of that out of traditional Japanese scriptures and storybooks.

I was in awe that something so beautiful and richly historic and culture was so close to where I live, and that this was my first time there!

I couldn’t stop thinking about how gorgeous every part of it was, that the nature here was only touched when necessary, and everything else preserved and maintained beautifully. The only impression us humans have made were the little seats and scattered statues and monasteries. No roads, pollution, noise, waste, nothing.

My zen mindset quickly changed, when I rounded the corner of a glimmering lake full of large coy fish on the property. At the top of the lake, there was a wonderful little observation deck, if you may, with a grandiose statue of yet another beautiful historic Buddhist.

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Lookout over the lake Image via Emily Boeglin

To my dismay, right to the side of this observation deck, laying up against a tree right next to the lake, was a disgusting and heartbreakingmess of waste, carelessly thrown with no respect or regard to what beautiful place they were in.

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Trash at the Chuang Yen Monastery Image via Emily Boeglin

People do not know how to dispose of their plastic and waste. This is not acceptable anymore, seriously!! In this age of information and technology, there is no excuse except laziness for the constant littering I see that kills any beautiful natural scenery. Here is what you do instead of littering. Take note, I beg you, for the love of Earth.

Littering has been an unfortunate part of society for as long as we can remember. Although local and government laws have been made an efforts implemented to prevent it, the only thing that can truly prevent littering is US. Littering is persistent and spreads like a disease, the more common it is, the more likely other people will contract the behavior. We are better than that, aren’t we?!

According to Oprah.com, “If every person picked up just one piece of litter today, there would be over 300 million fewer pieces of litter. If every person picked up 10 pieces of litter, there would be 3 billion fewer pieces damaging our environment. If you and your friends spend just one hour today picking up litter in your own neighborhood, you will not only pick up thousands of pieces of trash, you will also make a tremendous impact on your community.”

It’s as easy as that! The next time you come across some litter, find it in yourself to make the first move. Pick it up, dispose of it properly, (hopefully it can be recycled, but definitely do not burn it…see my last article “But can’t you just burn it” to learn why…) and just do your part! No one else is going to do it, so make the right choice for future litterers to learn from, and keep your environment clean. Chances are, the better it looks, the less likely people will be to be willing to mess it up.

As for the beautiful Buddhist monastery, there is a crew that comes by every so often to clean up such trash. That is the crew’s job. But as for everywhere else, WE ARE THE CREW. So let’s get moving and making a difference! Spread the word.

#DoNotLitter

The Cosmetic Crisis: 5 quick and easy tips to avoid unnecessary plastic in your beauty bar

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I know this is not just an issue I face; just about every personal care product I own and am accustomed to buying is in a plastic container! (Which is an issue for obvious reasons!)

Most of my makeup and body care products are in plastic cases, with plastic labels on them. Being a makeup lover, I have mountains of products for my eyes, lips, face, and body. And the products I prefer are usually from big brand-name retailers that I have grown to trust and be loyal to over many years.

My problem was, (until recently,) which I’m sure many of you have faced as well, is that I thought there was no other plastic-free alternative to my products. But after doing some research, I have quickly learned and implemented some new great tips that help me maintain my daily routine, all while being environmentally conscious.

In this article, I am going to tackle some problematic areas of your daily personal are routines, with alternative solutions to follow them. It is my hope that you will take this knowledge and use it to change not only your daily life, but to change the amount of long-term plastic we have all been so used to using so excessively! By doing so, no matter how small you think these changes are, we are making BIG advances for our plastic-free future.

1) Check labels before buying anything!!!

Did you know that some facial scrubs and other personal care products contain tiny plastic beads?
Microbeads are added to face wash and body wash with the purpose of exfoliating the skin, and whether they work or not is not the issue here. The problem is that environmentalists and scientists have found these tiny beads to be harmful to the Earth’s water supply.
Since they are so small, they cannot be filtered out of the water treatment plants after they are washed down sinks. They end up in the environment, in lakes, rivers, oceans and ponds. Since they are not biodegradable like most plastics aren’t, they are harmful to the environment and it’s inhabitants.

Lesson learned, Avoid anything with “polyethylene” listed as an ingredient.

Instead, try to exfoliate naturally using honey, yogurt, and sugar!

2) Use a bar of soap instead of your usual plastic bottle!

People have prejudices towards bars of soap because they think they are less sanitary, but if you think about your big plastic bottle and compare it to one simple bar of soap, which do you think is cleaner? I think the bar of soap, because every time I shower with it and hold it, it cleans itself under the hot water! When was the last time you cleaned your bottle of body wash?

3) Deodorant Alternatives!

All store bought deodorants are in plastic containers, not to mention full of chemicals, so forget those! Here are other ways to keep your underarms dry and smelling fresh.

• Baking soda and corn starch! No excuses not to try these, because who doesn’t have these around the house?! “Mix an eighth of a teaspoon of baking soda with a little bit of water — don’t dissolve it — and rub it under your arms. You can also create a baking soda and cornstarch mix to fight odor and help prevent wetness. Simply mix one part baking soda with six parts cornstarch and dust a little on your underarms.” (mnn.com)

• Lemon Juice- the citric acid in lemon juice is known to kill odor causing bacteria!

• Rubbing alcohol- another product to kill odor causing bacteria! Just pat some on your pits and you should be good to go!

• Homemade deodorant: Make your own! Here are two recipes I found on mnn.com…

Tammy Luna’s deodorant

1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup arrow root powder or corn starch
5 tablespoons coconut oil

Combine baking soda and arrow root powder in a bowl and mix with a fork. Start with about 4 tablespoons of coconut oil and add it to the baking soda mixture, working it into a paste. You can store the deodorant in a small, air-tight container or put it into an empty deodorant stick dispenser.

Amy Karol’s deodorant

3 tablespoons shea butter
3 tablespoons baking soda
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons cocoa butter
2 vitamin E oil gel caps (squeeze out the oil)
Essential oil

Melt all the ingredients except the oils and stir. Then mix in the oils, pour the mixture into a container, and place the container in the fridge to set. This recipe filled a 1/4 pint jar.
*Read more: http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/natural-beauty-fashion/photos/5-deodorant-alternatives/homemade-deodorant#ixzz36nWok5jn

4) Wooden Brushes!

Luckily, it is not hard to find wooden brushes instead of plastic ones! Just shop around and you’ll be sure to find one. Not only does it probably look sleeker, but it is surely more durable than plastic!

5) Ditch Shaving Crème.

Shaving Crème is not natural to use on your body, and it always comes in containers that are not biodegradable. Instead, take one for the planet and just use a regular bar of soap. Or, better yet, try coconut oil! All natural and much better for yourself and the environment.

For more information on reducing plastic in your everyday routines, visit plasticfreetuesday.org

Ketchup Cars! Just kidding, but not really

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image via edmunds-media.com

 

 

 

The other day my Mother approached me, asking whether or not I had seen the news that morning. When I answered no, she excitedly began telling me how, “They’re trying to replace car parts with tomato skins!!”

Your reaction must be the same as mine…Who? What? How? You must be joking.

Well, I am pleased to tell you, my mom does not lie. And since our conversation that morning, I’ve done my online research, and the news was exactly right!

Researchers from H.J. Heinz Co. and Ford Motor Co. are teaming up and studying the possibility of replacing the plastic parts in cars with…you guessed it…TOMATOES.

Why does this matter, you wonder?

The answer to that is hopefully self-explanatory, but I’ll elaborate nonetheless. With the introduction of plant based plastics to our vehicles, the environment will be thanking us. According to Livescience.com, today’s automobiles have more than 260 pounds, or, 120 kilograms of plastic on board. Those statistics are astounding, and it is no wonder these companies have decided to make a change.

Scientists are working on the development of a composite material made from the skin of tomatoes.  That material is to replace the petroleum-based plastics used for wiring brackets, storage bins or other interior parts in automobiles, creating a much more environmental-friendly vehicle.

Explained in a recent news release by Heinz and Ford, this innovation is part of an ongoing effort to develop “sustainable bio-plastic material for vehicles” that could “reduce the use of petrochemicals in manufacturing and reduce the impact of vehicles on the environment.”

Motor vehicle companies, perhaps the most popular and largest grossing market, are supported by families and individuals across the globe.  They are also some of the biggest plastic consumers and users, and it surprises me that this fantastic development to change that is not a bigger deal in the media. If perfected, these changes would affect every car company who was willing, reducing the use of petroleum toxic plastic drastically all over the world.

 

Such great news for the environment.

For more information about how you can reduce plastic in your everyday life, visit http://plasticfreetuesday.com/

 

Organic Food; How choosing organic can help yourself and the environment

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Image via earthdoctor.com

 

Most conventional farming methods today are increasingly dependent on chemicals. The toxic chemicals are used for various reasons, (for example quicker production purposes, pesticides, keeping food fresher longer, the list goes on) and no matter the reason, those chemicals end up in our soil. Rain falls and causes all of these chemicals to move from the source, such as a farm, and it seeps into streams, rivers, soil, and more. The damage these toxins do are something to be concerned about.

According to Grower’s Organic, these conventional methods have adversely affected soil quality, water purity, biodiversity, safety and health of both animals and humans, survival of family farms, and knowledge of where and how our food is being made.

Just to paint a picture of the damage I’m talking about, here is an example. A recent study by the German Research Centre for Environmental Health has found that the repeated application of manure that is contaminated with antibiotics causes irreparable damage and change to the composition of bacteria in our soil. The antibiotic used in many farming industries, sulfadiazine, commonly referred to as SDZ, was the main focus of this study. It is one of the most commonly used antibiotics in animal husbandry, and it leads to a decrease in beneficial soil bacteria, but at the same time increases the bacteria that is harmful to humans.

Professor Michael Schloter, head of Research Unit Environmental Genomics at Helmholtz Zentrum München, explained “The number of microbes living in the soil that are harmful to humans increased under the experimental conditions of the study.”

He continues, “reaching consequences for human health. We are in continous contact with these microorganisms, and the probability of contracting an infection increases accordingly. This applies particularly to diseases of the respiratory system and the lungs, as bacteria are spread through the air and inhaled.

Many of the bacteria are resistant to commonly used antibiotics, making treatment more difficult and putting humans at more of a health risk.

Professor Schloter suggests, “We must therefore urgently develop a new mindset as regards the use of antibiotics in animal husbandry.”

Long story short, if all farming was organic and did not include these chemical dependent methods, this would not be an issue.

Organic farming is a safe and healthy alternative to chemical and conventional farming. Organic farming is simply a method of farming that coincides with nature, rather than altering and controlling it. It encourages biodiversity, water and soil quality, there is no risk of chemicals, pesticides, or animal antibiotics that cause bacteria growth, it minimalizes farmer and consumer health risks, and it encourages the maintaining of a sustainable and growing ecosystem.

So, next time you are driving by a local food stand or have the option to take the easy way out and buy from a non-organic source, ask yourself this; is my consumption of this product helping or hurting the environment?

If you are choosing organic food, the answer will always be a proud, loud, and positive one.

 

What you need to know about plastic; 3 easy steps you can take to make a difference

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By Emily Boeglin

plastic

Image via solarroadways.com

Looking to make a difference in the environment and reduce your carbon footprint? You’ve come to the right place.

First, let’s learn a little bit about plastic.

Plastic is a great thing, right? It is durable, cheap, and can be recycled to make many other diverse products. Unfortunately, these positive qualities do not make up for the harmful effects plastic has on our Earth.

Plastic is composed of many different synthetic and/or semi-synthetic organic compounds, containing organic polymers. The polymers are chains of carbon atoms, mostly infused with oxygen, sulfur, and nitrogen as well.

The problem is, most of the plastic used today isn’t properly recycled. It intrudes on all sorts of wildlife, landfills, oceans, and many other places.  Some plastic bottles can take up to 400 years to decompose. And when is eventually breaks down, all of those dangerous ingredients permanently plant themselves into our environment.

Jessica A. Knoblauch
, in her article “Environmental Health News,” goes into extensive detail about how harmful plastic is to both human and animal life.

Knoblauch explains, “Plastic debris, laced with chemicals and often ingested by marine animals, injure and poison wildlife.
 Floating plastic waste, which can survive for thousands of years in water, serves as mini transportation devices for invasive species, disrupting habitats.
 Plastic buried deep in landfills can leach harmful chemicals that spread into groundwater.”

People are exposed to chemicals from plastic multiple times per day through the air, dust, water, food and use of consumer products.”

Scary stuff, isn’t it?

Intimidating as this information may be, do not fear! I’m almost to the fun part of this post… Although it may seem difficult to reduce your plastic usage since it has become so ingrained in our everyday lives, there is hope!

After doing some research, I have come up with (in my opinion) the three easiest steps both you and everyone you know can take to make the difference this world so desperately needs.

Step One: Use glass instead!

Unlike plastic, glass is made of sand. It has no harmful chemicals that seep into the Earth or our bodies, and recycling glass is a huge benefit to the environment. Recycling one glass bottle can light a 100-watt light bulb for up to four hours, and run a computer for 30 minutes!

Glass will not melt in your microwave, and will not release carcinogens into your drinks and food when frozen and unfrozen. Glass can replace almost any plastic product in your home that you can think of, just imagine all the things in your kitchen!

All those plastic milk bottles, Tupperware, and so much more can be bought as glass, so think twice next time you throw away all that plastic…instead, recycle it, and buy glass instead!

Step Two: Beeswax paper!

A new up and coming trend, if you haven’t already heard already, is beeswax paper! It is the most eco-friendly cloth and food storage alternative. Instead of using plastic wrap, sandwich bags, even Styrofoam and paper bags, beeswax paper should be your new go-to item.

By the heat in your hands, the wax easily molds around whatever you may be wrapping or covering, and hardens shortly after. It can be washed and reused and reformed as many times as you need.

Plastic bags and coverings are both expensive and very harmful to the environment. You can buy your own beeswax covering from many places online, such as beeswrap.com, or you can even make your own!

One easy recipe I found is on this site:  http://www.theartofdoingstuff.com/beeswax-fabric-food-wrap/.

Step Three: Reusable shopping bags

In almost every store in the United States, it’s almost impossible to avoid the bombardment of plastic bags. According to ‘Clean Air Council,’ 1 billion plastic bags pass through the U.S. every year, less than 1 percent of which are recycled. What doesn’t end up as 300,000 tons of U.S. landfill waste litters cities, towns, and oceans. Millions of sea turtles, birds, and other wildlife are killed each year. This must end.

By using a reusable shopping bag, you will be making a huge difference, more than you are able see. Whether it be an old backpack or shoulder bag you had lying around, or an official reusable bag that you can find at any store, this is one of the easiest ways to cut down on plastic consumption.

I hope that by reading this post, you are both educated and motivated to contribute to this wonderful “Plastic-Free Tuesday” movement, and also to create a long-lasting and sustainable lifestyle for yourself and for the environment.

PLEASE CHECK OUT plasticfreetuesday.com for more information about plastic and how you can help!

Happy Plastic free Tuesday!

Ecotherapy; How connecting with nature will bring you peace

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cat rock

Image via Emily Boeglin

 

“You must learn to let go. Release the stress. You were never in control anyway.”~ Steve Maraboli

Ever since I was a small child, I’ve always had a deep love for nature. My area and the town I live in in upstate New York is surrounded by mountains, beautiful trails, untouched forests, lakes and endless green. So when I start to lose my sense of self and need a little perspective, I’ve learned over the years the only true therapy is eco-therapy.

There is no greater satisfaction than being able to lose yourself in the vastness of nature; and to allow yourself to be free and become a part of something so much larger than you is truly priceless. There is no absolutely no peace and harmony greater, than that of being engulfed by God’s most beautiful creation.

My favorite place to visit when I need a different view is called Cat Rock. Standing at the top of Cat Rock I can see my entire town. When I look in front and around me, all I see is a view that can quiet any conversation. The view encompasses the neighborhoods, farmlands, endless stretching fields all different shades of green, and endless winding roads that weave through the trees.

As I look around, I’m surrounded by a surface of rocks, with some bushes and flowers scattered about, and random grass growing in between the cracks of the rocks. Behind me is the trail that took me here, heavy with brush and various types of trees. All the trees are different heights and colors, but they are all together in a thick, beautiful mass nonetheless.

I remember how grateful I am to be taking in such a sight, and how I need to take more time to appreciate the little things each day, because they are actually enormous things.

Standing on a surface of all rock, you understand why they call it Cat rock. The shapes the rocks make are the shape of a cat’s face. Standing on it one can’t tell, but when at the bottom of the mountain or anywhere in town where there’s a clear view, the face of the mountain is all rocks.

These rocks form to make a cat’s face. I can see where the ears peak out in distinct v–shapes, and I can see the nose and mouth, and the chin below it.

The rocks extend the edge of the mountain, but I don’t ever walk that far because it’s a sharp cliff, so sharp that when I look down I just see the tops of trees. The trees alone are a view unlike any other. All the treetops are different colors.

The smells and sounds envelop your senses, and it will immediately become your favorite place. I always get a sense of nature’s immensity, and when I look out into the sky, it just seems endless and I easily get lost in its vastness. I always think of how there is so much more of the world I have yet to see.

The birds chirping, the smell of nature, grass and trees blowing in the cool wind, the rustle of leaves from little forest creatures behind me, is honesty the most calming feeling ever. I never felt truly at one with nature until I reach the top of Cat Rock.

Part of what makes me feel at one with nature is the fact that I am so disconnected from the rest of the world. I’m so high up, and the only thing I can focus on is the endless stretching sky, and the breathtaking view.

My cell phone service doesn’t‎ matter here, and neither does any stress from below. All I can focus on is the endless beauty, and the feeling of being a part of something that is much bigger than myself. I can never get enough of that.

It is so easy to get caught up in our everyday issues, from work to relationships, it can be exhausting. Human beings need time alone to themselves, time to reflect, and appreciate what they have. Everyone needs to find their own Cat Rock.

The reason I love cat rock so much is because when you’re standing there at the top, everything else is below you. When I say everything is below you, I mean it literally feels as if the world is underneath me, and I’m above and away from life at the bottom of the mountain. All the mediocre problems and drama I have in life don’t seem so big anymore.

I always say, Cat rock allows me to “zoom out” from the world, and it lets me have a very rare perspective on life. When I’m standing up there, I get to see the big picture. Nothing really seems to matter as much, because I feel so small in such a large world.

There is a distinct contrast between being up at the top and looking down below. Being at the pinnacle separates you from the cars, movement, stress, and noise down below. And it lets you experience true serenity, and calm. There is no work assignment to worry about up there, no relationship drama, nothing…except the subtle rustle of leaves each time the wind blows.

Being able to separate yourself for a little bit is rewarding to say the least. So next time you’re feeling overwhelmed with the obstacles life can throw at you, look outside your window. Take advantage on this amazing planet we live on.

Slow down for once, and take time to appreciate nature. Bask in it. Take a walk. Hike through some woods. Lose yourself in this endless and beautiful world.

 

I promise you, you won’t regret it.