Sunday, April 21, 2013

The History of Makeup

Living Beautifully 
By Emily Myers

Ever wonder how far back the world of cosmetics goes? What about the products used to moisturize the skin, fight blemishes and enhance beauty? The saying, “There is nothing new under the sun,” isn’t too far from the truth here. You may be surprised to find out that research has dated cosmetics all the way back to 10,000 B.C. The early Egyptians wore makeup to improve their appearances because they believed it would make them more appealing to the gods. They made everything from creams used to reduce stretch marks to ointments to combat blemishes and an array of perfumed oils, to not only moisturize the skin, but also to combat odor (since water was invaluable in their harsh climate). Sometime around 4,000 B.C., both men and women started using kohl liner around their eyes. It may not be well known however, that this wasn’t just used to improve appearances; it had other uses as well. Apparently, it also helped to keep bugs away from the eye area, was believed to restore poor eyesight and reduce eye infection. This kohl liner was made of a combination of crushed antimony, burnt almonds, lead, oxidized copper, ochre and ash.  It was around the same time that women in Greece discovered using crushed berries as rouge and lip-stain. Women in China used rice powder to whiten their faces, which the current day Geisha still use to this day.
It seems that no matter the economic climate, women have always found a way to make themselves feel better by improving their appearances. Leonard Lauder, chairman of the board of Estee Lauder, put out a report called The Lipstick Theory, where he compiled over 50 years of consumer cosmetic/lipstick sales and compared those numbers with the current economic state. What he found was that when the economy is down, lipstick sales skyrocket! Compared to other cosmetic items, lipstick costs less, but still gives us immediate gratification.
So, what are we to gain from this information? As women, we all want to feel beautiful. Through the centuries, that feeling has not dissipated; in fact, it has only increased. I’m not saying, however, that this is necessarily a good thing; we should all feel like the beauties that we are, considering God made us in His image. Regardless, cosmetics are here to stay. I, for one, am thankful for them. There’s simply something about starting out my day with my makeup ritual and walking out the door feeling like a million bucks. I believe in the motto, “When you look good, you feel good, when you feel good, you do good.” So, don’t forget, it’s about your outward appearances matching the beauty that lives inside of you!


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Montana Magic History

Age-ing to Sage-ing: A Profound New Vision of Growing Older
By Ina Albert

            We are celebrating our 12th year in Montana, and what a journey it has been.  Like many of you, we have lived in many places before discovering this paradise.  Work and raising my children took me from New York to New Jersey to Florida to Chicago, and finally to Whitefish.
Each stop along the way represents a jumping off place for the next phase of my life, as I guess is true of most of us.

But Montana was different.  As soon as I saw the mountains, my heart uttered a gigantic “Yes!”  My eyes filled with tears when I looked at the house we would be buying in the next month, and I felt completely at home.  This was a big jump for a city girl from the East Coast and Chicago, and one that my friends could not imagine would fit my habits or personality, but they were wrong.

What we found here is that we could make more of a difference in our small community than we ever did in a large city.  Montana has built its history around the deeds, industry and commitment of individuals who sunk their teeth and their life goals in this terrain.  Strangers are welcome and our conversations seem to immediately settle around how long you’ve lived here and where you came from.  We don't focus on what you do or your status in society, as is the case in many other communities I have experienced.

Acceptance is such an important quality in a community.  It can be seen in of our habit of waving to people in passing cars as we walk our dogs and saying hello to folks we pass on the street, whether we know them or not.  When the history of Montana is written for the 21st Century, it should start with a “Hello, there!”

I have met many people whose parents were pioneers, but one story sticks out.  Governor Brian
Schweitzer’s mom was a mainstay in her son’s first gubernatorial campaign that was run out of a house in Whitefish.  As we stuffed envelopes and put campaign packages together on her dining room table, she spoke of growing up in the state’s early days, of having her dresses made from sack cloth, of walking to school through mountains of snow to a small school house.  Through her I got a feel for the vast differences in her experiences growing up and those of us city folk.  Those early days must have strengthened her commitment to her values and to seeing our state be the best it can be.  She never stopped working toward that goal.

We are much more sophisticated now.  There are no more homesteaders or sod houses, and flour sack dresses are no longer in style.  But we have other concerns.  Can we remain an accepting and caring community that welcomes strangers?  Can we maintain the beauty of our state and be a good place to work at the same time?  Will we continue to stand up for the rights of others and recognize the need to protect our property?

Some of these goals are paradoxical and require considerable compromise.  They are not easy problems to solve, and tempers can flare as we try to resolve them. The Southern Poverty Law Center tells us that hate groups are growing all over the country, and that Montana has twelve groups that are bent on white supremacy and racial hatred.  Love Lives Here in the Flathead Valley, a group founded several years ago to offer an alternative to this philosophy and to encourage caring, openness and inclusiveness, has now become an affiliate of the Montana Human Right Network and is encouraging valley residents to join with them to resist violence and promote peaceful and open conversations to solve problems. I ask that you support this organization and join them in their efforts to maintain the Flathead as a “happy” valley for everyone.

As we age, it is important to stand firm for our beliefs and pass on the wisdom that we have acquired through years of life experience.  I pray that our beliefs reflect the peace and beauty that brought us to this Garden of Eden.

Ina Albert, CSL, Life Transitions Coach and author can be reached at

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Mouse in the House Salad!

Company is coming for dinner tomorrow evening, over twelve hours away, and I am wide-awake laying here in bed thinking about how much fun it will be making this salad.  I absolutely love planning dinner and especially when adding creative touches like this adorable mouse to my salad.  It makes me feel like Montana’s Martha Stewart!  Seriously, I wish I could jump out of bed right now and get busy fixing this scrumptious Italian salad shown in the photo.  This creative, crunchy side dish is bound to break the boredom of the usual everyday green salad.
Being as I can’t sleep, let me get up and write it down for you.  Perhaps giving you the recipe will appease my actually making it right now. 

2 heads of romaine lettuce
1 large tomato
1 cucumber
4 olives
1 small jar of Delallo Olive Bruschetta
1 cup croutons
1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese, or 4 wedges
1 bunch of radishes with roots
12 whole black peppercorns
Serve with balsamic vinegar or blue cheese dressing

Here’s how to prepare:
Split both heads of romaine lettuce lengthwise, cutting off the tops and placing each half on a salad plate.  Add a tomato wedge and slice of cucumber.  Set an olive, along with a teaspoon of bruschetta, on top of the lettuce.  Place a few croutons on the side.  Now comes the fun!  On the salad plate, add either a wedge or small pile of mild cheddar cheese; you know what a mouse’s favorite snack is!
To make a mouse, wash radishes and remove only the green tops, leaving the roots.  Select four radishes out of the bunch that have long curly roots.  Obviously the root is the tail, so point the tail to angle upward.  To get our roly-poly mouse level, slightly slice off the bottom of the radish.  Thinly slice off the tail’s opposite end for the face, discarding that first slice.  Now carefully slice off two more slices for the big ears.  To attach ears:  slice across the top of the radish, about three-quarters of the way down, making a place to insert those cute edible ears.  Now give Mickey his adorable eyes and nose by pushing in three peppercorns.
These quick and colorful salads served with your favorite Italian dish will bring great raves from your dinner guests.
Problem is… now that I wrote the recipe down, it’s teased my appetite, making me hungry at 4 A M.  It’s a good thing I have chocolates hidden here somewhere in the drawer of my nightstand for emergencies like this.  Ah-h there they are!  Did I ever share my middle of the night philosophy about why every Montana woman should have chocolate stashed at arms-length beside her bed?  As they melt in our mouths, they help soothe us back to sleep so we can have sweet dreams.