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Gemma’s Gem of the Week: The Desire to Work Less for More

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In the thick of the pandemic, millions around the world were faced with the option to sit without a strict work schedule; for some, this was the first time in years. For millions, this resulted in countless lost wages and heightened struggles.

When we look at the American way from the outside, we begin to unravel the unjust, tightly wound pieces that keep so many in poverty, depression, and hardship. It’s no surprise that many of us do not want to return to the way things were before; instead, there is a strong desire to work less for more.

America’s cultural normalities teach us to work hard for what we want, but this idea is oftentimes perpetuated in extremes. For example, we’re faced with endless slogans regarding “The Grind,” “The Hustle,” “No Pain, No Gain!” But why is this the favored structure of success? Where are the conversations that say you can still be successful without being burned out to the bone?

We’re taught that we can’t achieve downtime unless we’ve absolutely earned it. Or, if we have free time, we should fill that free time with something useful. Our society has become so used to burnout culture that we don’t know what to do with ourselves without work.

A Lyft driver recently said to me, upon discussing the cost of living skyrocketing through the roof: “You could be living in paradise, but if you don’t have time to do the things you want to do, you’ll end up stressed and exhausted. And that paradise won’t matter so much anymore.”

It’s become normal for people to have to work multiple jobs just to afford rent, without calculating the costs of food, hobbies, and personal use, as opposed to questioning the power and why the system is inherently built against the people. It’s become normal for people to sacrifice social life and personal time for work, as opposed to demanding higher pay from corporations so that their employees can have a life without being shamed out of it.

The desire to work less for more shouldn’t be shamed, but should rather challenge the mentality that says life was built for punching in and punching out – when life and its inhabitants are actually built for so much more.

Gemma Farquhar is the writer of "Gemma's Gem of the Week" and author of "The Shape of Something New." She is passionate about the future of storytelling and welcomes all ages to her column.

Beauty

The Ultimate Wellness and Beauty Summer Guide

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Summer is about to kick off in a gorgeous way.

Our ultimate annual wellness and beauty guide this season has been carefully curated with top editor picks that will bring you bliss. From beauty products to health companies, we have brought together a list of outstanding items that will shine as bright in your life as the summer sun. The time to feel and look remarkable is now.

For a Perfect Summer Glow –

Transform your skin with the power of Glutathione with Auro Skincare. Dr. Nayan Patel ’s newest venture into skincare is right on target to bring you a perfect summer glow. The line showcases products that have potent antioxidants and adaptogens delivered with the Auro GSH Antioxidant Delivery System. Transformative results are set to come your way and there is no better way to discover the power than an introduction to the company’s travel kit which highlights how you can allow your skin to absorb Glutathione and other antioxidants like Vitamin C and Resveratrol in a deeper way than ever before.

Auro Skincare is a protocol of potent antioxidant formulas powered by the patented, first-of-its-kind Auro GSH Antioxidant Delivery System. By combining powerful ingredients and technology, Auro Products penetrate to the deeper layers of your skin providing you with results powered from the inside out.

For a Perfect Summer Smile –

Davids sensitive+whitening nano-hydroxyapatite premium toothpaste with peppermint is the refreshing thing you need for an amazing smile this summer. Harnesses the regenerative power of nano-hydroxyapatite to relieve tooth sensitivity, repair enamel, remove plaque, smooth the tooth surface, and naturally whiten teeth. We love the line that focuses on safe and clean ingredients that are fluoride free and SLS free. The line also carries a great 100% medical grade stainless steel professional tongue scraper designed to lift bacteria and debris quickly to make your tongue and mouth healthier and cleaner.

For Perfect Summer Hair –

Peter Coppola is a fantastic woman-owned company named after the famous stylist who developed keratin systems, Peter Coppola. Offering more than just treatments, the company showcases a vast array of products that you will fall in love with.

Some highlights we love are Total Repair Smoothing Shampoo, which instantly repairs your hair. The deeply moisturizing sulfate-free shampoo weightlessly strengthens, smooths, and restores lackluster locks with a unique blend of Keratin and Ceramides. The protection to combat humidity of the season is fantastic along with color vibrancy throughout the day. We also love the Infusion Anti-Frizz Cream, which keeps hair tidy, shiny and soft-to-the-touch with ultra-lightweight cream. Infusion Anti-Frizz Cream keeps curls under control and cuts blow-dry time while creating a barrier to block humidity for hair that is sleek and smooth until your next shampoo.

 

NEKKO is a pioneer of scalp and hair treatments geared toward achieving healthy and voluminous results. Believing in the principle that we must not neglect the scalp’s health and vitality; they showcase products that are meant to enrich with a carefully selected blend of plant-based ingredients and amino acids, strengthen and fortify hair and scalp with regular use,

NEKKO Scalp Oil makes a difference for those with a variety of hair issues. Cold-pressed to make for a gentle peeling effect and to purify the scalp, it removes loose dandruff flakes from the hair. This unique formula also works to regulate oily scalps. Delicately cleanses and moisturizes the scalp, which is important so much more in the summer as we expose ourselves to more sweat outdoors. You will love the way your hair feels over a few weeks.

For the Perfect Summer Manicure –

Radiant Cosmetics viral Nail Growth Oil lives up to all the hype.

Founder and TikTok influencer Ruth Ismayelyan and her vegan brand have overwhelmingly captivated beauty enthusiasts for good reason. Her cuticle oil has a unique formulation that after using in a week creates a noticeable difference. Nails look shinny and they start to grow in stronger. The results are really that quick. Nourishing your nails has never been easier and the vitamins in the formula also give a great boost to your overall nail health.

Ruth’s brand has also expanded to lipsticks, lip liners, and lash and brow serums. Products are cruelty-free, paraben-free, vegan, and non-GMO.

Zoya has the perfect polish shades to achieve the classic and beachy vibe for you any day this season. From colors that elevate summer to a product that lasts and shines through with true beauty, we adore everything about this brand.

Shades such as Lillian with a faded aquamarine with a glossy cream finish and Lauren with warm, pink-kissed light beige with very fine gold and copper metallic shimmer are our favorites. They are elegant and fun. To add to the joy is the fact that Zoya is non-toxic and cruelty-free.

For Perfect Summer Social Media Posts –

KISS is set to make all your summer social media posts look radiant. The newest lash collection, designed for a “no makeup, makeup” aesthetic with full sets and a brand-new half lash style is perfect for summer. This trend is about flawlessly imperfect lashes, featuring uneven, sparsely distributed lash patterns for a remarkably natural effect.

We love the way they are easy to apply, comfortable, and incredibly easy to apply. The lash lift effect emphasizes a longer and fuller lash look. Best of all the brand is cruelty free, vegan friendly, and good for contact lens wearers.

For a Perfect Summer Body –

Nuebiome is a leading plant-based and bioferment skincare brand dedicated to harnessing the power of nature and science to deliver clean, effective beauty solutions. Formulated with potent botanical extracts and biofermented ingredients, Nuebiome products are designed to nourish the skin while respecting the planet.

We love their Prebiotic Magnesium Muscle Recovery Flakes. They are a combination of magnesium flakes for muscle relaxation, paired with prebiotic bioferments for skin balance. This salt is designed to provide a soothing and restorative experience, promoting well-being and skin vitality. Crafted with 100% magnesium chloride for a relaxing bath or foot soak.

Reveka Skincare’s Tea Tree + Peppermint Body Bar is a perfect way to find balance and beauty for your skin. Developed by a woman named Darlene who understands the deep principles of clean and healthy skincare products through the benefits of topical magnesium, this soap is a gamechanger this summer season. Reveka is crafted with clean ingredients including no preservatives or dyes and are 100% made in the U.S. The rich lather of Reveka’s soap makes it perfect for shampoo, soap, and shaving cream. It’s made with tea tree, peppermint and shea butter and will hydrate your skin to the next level.

And the best part is the Magnesium Chloride from the Ancient Zechstein Seabed. Two weeks of use and you will see the difference ass use promotes new tissue growth and can help alleviate common skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and acne.

 

For Perfect Summer Wellness Sips –

Summer is all about fabulous workout in the sun. Head to the park for a run or do yoga on the beach and know you have a perfect drink to be by your side with PWR LIFT.

The divine taste is refreshing and amps you up for an ultimate session followed by glorious recovery and hydration. This incredible electrolyte-rich, flavored protein water drink is infused with 10g whey protein and B vitamins.  Scrumptious flavors of Berry Strawberry, Lemon Lime, Blueberry Pomegranate and Orange Mango refuel you in a delicious way from head to toe. Help give your body the recovery, strength and hydration it needs with zero sugar and  be grateful to add power to your workout.

 

 

 

 

Kubo Tea is a great way to get amazing clean energy this summer. Crafted with organic green tea caffeine, their blends offer a revitalizing boost without the crash. With more caffeine than traditional teas and coffee, Kubo Tea activates your metabolism and increases energy levels. We love the taste and the pumped-up vibe without the jitters. It helps you concentrate, and you feel the amped up love during workouts and long summer walks on the beach.

Cover art by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

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ekuBOX Elevates the Gifting Experience

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Finding the perfect gift sometimes can be complicated. You want to get all the details just right. With ekuBOX the guessing game of gifting is taken away and you are granted instead just an amazing and elevated way to show your love and appreciation for someone special in your life.

Each curated gift box in the collection is truly divine. When you open a box what you are doing is opening a world of sparkling magic. And the glitter is in all the details that make a grand difference that only comes with ekuBOX.

Each item in their boxes is intentionally sourced and hand-selected by their Chief Gift Guru. Every present is well-balanced and incredibly thoughtful. With a beautiful balance of luxury, function, and form each gift includes something to eat, something to keep, and something to use.

eku stands for EAT, KEEP, and USE which all comes in a delightful hand-curated box. And to add to this fantastic concept ekuBOX plants a tree for every box sold. There are just a million and one reasons to give a gift like this. From birthdays to Mother’s Day, this gift will give you as much joy as the bliss to the person you are sharing this kindness with from the heart.

Here are some incredible curated items in the line that will create the ultimate present for you to give.

La Vie en Rose Box ($69) – Send roses that never fade. This petite gift box has a Rose Otto Macaron Candle by Voluspa, Rose Acacia hand cream from France, handmade herb and floral garden soap, and Sugarfina Sparkling Rose Gummy Bears. Finished with beautiful dried rose petals.

Mini Spa, Relax ($95) – This gift box celebrates the little quiet moments we all need to survive and thrive with spa essentials. This beautiful box is finished with rose petals, a purple satin ribbon bow, and a petite lavender bouquet. ebuBOX includes a handwritten note, too!

Coastal Grandmother Gift Box ($278) – Inspired by the timeless coastal style featured in the film Something’s Gotta Give, this luxurious gift box is sure to delight anyone who loves the ocean and the beachy vibes it brings. Inside you’ll find a 100% Cashmere Poncho by Alashan Cashmere, a beautiful one-size piece that can be worn five different ways. You don’t have to be a grandmother to LOVE this fabulous piece.

Bubbles & Bliss Spa Gift Set ( $158)- A unique assortment of pampering goodies, including a mimosa kit with the Corkcicle thermal flute to keep drinks chilled for hours, a Voluspa candle, and more luxurious goodies, such as the Patchology Detox Mud Masque, French Girl Lip Scrub, and Infinite She Lip Balm.

Let Your Garden Grow ($175/$255) – A best-seller! The perfect gift for someone who loves to roll up their sleeves and play in the dirt. Full of accessories that assist in growing the ideal herb garden or microgreens, whether the garden is outside or on a window sill. Includes Bella Cucina’s artichoke Lemon Pesto sauce – one of Oprah’s “Favorite Things.” Small and large versions are available.

The Breakfast Club ($225) – A decadent treat for any food lover, including cinnamon-infused whipped honey from Appalachia, barrel-aged organic cinnamon vanilla-infused maple syrup from Vermont, balanced fruity coffee beans from Peru, a professional restaurant-style French wire whisk, a great organic hand-woven kitchen towel, and a lovely Sunday Morning candle.

Relax and Unwind Small and Large ($148/$325) – Know someone who deserves a little R+R (namely mom)? It’s time to draw a bath, pour a glass of wine, and turn up the tunes. These thoughtfully curated spa gift boxes with ultra-clean, organic, and natural beauty products leave moms sparkling inside and out. The large version is a perfect choice when you want to make a statement!

For more information, visit www.ekubox.com. Also, be sure to check out Instagram at @eku_box.

 

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Beauty

Look I Have Some Lips Where There Never Was a Lip

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Now I never have been one for tattoos, until I heard about permanent makeup. This cosmetic technique employs tattoos as a means of correcting flaws either nature, old age or disease has erased or forgot. In my case my mother plucked my eyebrows way to thin and I am fair so they all but disappeared. I also was left out in the lip department when God was handing out lips, I got ones that evaporated. As I got older in pictures, this flaw made me look almost snake like.

Thanks to Jeffrey Lyle Segal, I have been corrected. I have metamorphosed into a butterfly who can now smile with confidence. as I looked in the mirror.

Jeffrey Lyle Segal,

For those who know me, they know I am terrified of needles. With the ointment Jeff uses there is a minimal of pain. For the eye brows there is none. What you do is hear a sound that sounds like tearing. For the lips, the initial round it is pain free. There is a little discomfort when the needle returns to same place, but nothing that one can’t handle. For me the eyes are the hardest and not because of the needle. I have hyper sensitive eyes that tear up and send hundreds of droplets down my face in the wind. When the ointment is applied my eyes rebel and I become a difficult patient but Jeffrey was patient and now the eyeliner is done to perfection.

Having permanent make-up, means you wake up looking refresh and put together without doing a thing. When you are sick, you still look radiant, which can lift your spirits to heal faster.

all the make-up here is tattooed

Normally eyeliner costs $475 for a single application top or bottom or $850 for two sessions a month apart. Lips run $475 for liner and $575 for both lining and lip stain. For a second session take a $100 off if prepaid at the first session. For eyebrows the price is $475 for a single application or $850 for two sessions a month apart. These prices are all on the low end for Manhattan. As a special deal for all T2C readers, as a Valentine’s Special booked by February 14th  Jeff will offer an additional $100 discount for what ever service you choose.

Jeff has been a permanent cosmetic artist since 1991. He has been a media makeup artist in film, theater and TV with over 30 years experience. He is the author of “The Shape of Permanent Beauty” and he teaches makeup design training for permanent cosmetics. Besides being a permanent cosmetic artist, he is also a certified Hypnotist offering non-drug assisted version of anesthesia and anxiety reduction.

To make an appointment call Jeff at 323-828-8740 or email him at info@bestpermanentmakeup.net

 

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Tom Ruck – The Patriot Behind the Parades

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Visionary Tom Ruck Set to make history as the only person to have both marched and actively participated in All Major Landmark Parades with his Appearance in this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, creating a special moment in patriotic history.

His upcoming Appearance in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday, November 23rd, 2023 will see him make history as the only person to have both marched and actively participated in All Major Landmark Parades in the United States with his Appearance in this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

After applying earlier this year, Ruck was selected as an official balloon wrangler for the new character appearance of “Leo.” Based on the Adam Sandler Netflix animated comedy, he will march down Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and past the storied halls of Macy’s Department store to the delight of thousands of revelers on the street and millions of fans worldwide watching the broadcast show on both television and internet streaming.

As a proud American citizen, it was his belief in the importance of the traditions of America that spurred his involvement which over time led to his appearing in some of the biggest parades rooted in the tradition and heritage in the country.

“I believe in America and American traditions,” Tom states. “There’s nothing more traditional and more American than the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as well as the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day.”

Few people can boast about playing a big part in recognizable parades such as the Thanksgiving celebration along with the Tournament of Roses Parade, which is the annual parade held along Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena, California, on New Year’s Day.

During his high school years in 1971 he was selected as a member of the prestigious McDonald’s All American High School Band, where two musicians were selected from each state and marched in the 1971 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and following that the 1972 Tournament of Roses Rose Parade. After high school, while at the University of Missouri Ruck continued his participation in Music with “Marching Mizzou”.

Years later as an adult he moved to California and joined the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association. He became a member of the tournament as a “White Suitor” and has been involved with the organization since 2008.

Making an American dream come true has always been a motivating factor for Ruck. As an individual has accomplished several notable feats during his professional career that have carved out profound chapters that motivate the reader of his personal biography.

Currently based in Alexandria, Virginia, his life has led down a road worthy of a Hollywood screenplay. He has been presented to two Presidential Transition Teams for the position of Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs. The Boeing Corporation and his “hometown” St. Louis Cardinals have honored Ruck for his achievements in supporting America’s Veterans and his contributions to veteran causes.

 

He also is an accomplished author and has published an award-winning book that honors the American Veteran. “Sacred Ground, A Tribute to America’s Veterans” was released by Regnery Publishing, now part of Salem Media Group, and achieved a #5 ranking on Amazon.

“I created this book as a labor of love to honor the truest of American heroes, our veterans,” he enthusiastically expresses, “and to give back I donate all royalties from the book to the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund.”

Ruck has appeared on over 100 radio and television programs and served as featured speaker at over 50 national and regional events. He was also an invited guest speaker at the 70th anniversary of D-Day in 2014 in Sainte Mere-Eglise in Normandy, France honoring the men of the 82nd and 101st Airborne for their courageous efforts that fateful day.

Ruck has held national leadership positions primarily with nationwide financial and healthcare corporations. He also has served with the Department of Veterans Affairs, as the Director at Fayetteville National Cemetery, and the Director of the Los Angeles National Cemetery, and also served as the Strategic Planning Officer for the Department of Veterans Affairs Long Beach Medical Center.

Ruck recently moved to the Washington DC area to accept the position of Senior Engagement Manager with the Department of Homeland Security, Blue Campaign, developing national partnerships and awareness campaigns for Human Trafficking in 2022.

 

Now, his next walk on the journey of his life in Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade will once again tell the tale of a great American showing incredible patriotic love for their country and compassion for the citizens of the country.

 

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Loud and Clear Worldwide Awareness for Role of Climate Change on Wildlife

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This is your very important wake up call!

The climate crisis is now and it has dramatically impacted human beings, global industries, and the health of our environment.

“Humans, land, and breathable air are not the only collateral damage from climate change,” says Chris Weber, co-founder of Animals Around the Globe. “Animals everywhere are also greatly affected by the results of climate change.”

Climate change has had a potentially catastrophic impact on wildlife as rising temperatures, the breakdown of fragile global ecosystems, and diminishing habitats have led to a decrease in at-risk populations of certain species.

As world leaders and climate change experts work to combat the negative effects of climate change, Weber goes on to say there will need to be champions for wildlife who step up to take part in the fight.

Animals are part of a healthy ecosystem, and their habitats — with abundant trees and untouched nature — help absorb carbon and limit rising temperatures. Keeping animals and their habitats safe is part of the work to fight climate change.

“We need to cultivate a greater sense of affection toward and deeper connection with animals. When people care, they are more inclined to protect,” says Weber.

Through their animal-centered website and podcast, both Chris Weber and his fellow co-founder Jan Otte, have championed the need for focus on biodiversity and action on climate change. In a recent discussion with Lea Henzgen of the AMES Foundation, the two discussed with Henzgen how the biodiversity crisis may be a larger issue than the climate crisis, yet does not receive as much attention.

Biodiversity and climate change are intertwined. As the temperature of the Earth increases, vegetation, food sources, the makeup of habitats and environments, and water access and quality alter dramatically, forcing animals to migrate or adapt to find more livable conditions. If livable conditions cannot be found or adapted to, entire species could potentially be lost to extinction.

However, the climate crisis is not the only factor in the loss of habitats and extinction. Development by human beings and poaching play a significant role in the biodiversity crisis. The issue of conservation is complex, and goes beyond simply caring what happens to animals that may live a world away.

“One key challenge is the stark contrast between populations in developed regions, which possess the financial resources needed to assist but often remain distanced from wildlife, and those in developing regions, which live alongside wildlife but often exploit it for sustenance and income to combat pressing economic need,” Weber explained in an article for the Otto Beisheim School of Management.

Fighting the biodiversity crisis alongside the climate crisis takes a deeper understanding of economics and cultural differences, along with a grasp of the science behind climate change.

As climate change intensifies, the animal kingdom and the human world are becoming far more intermingled. Along with habitat loss that comes with human development and the negative effects of extreme weather like hurricanes and tsunamis, wildlife is increasingly in greater danger due to human interaction.

Ecosystems change due to climate issues, animals must move further and further from their original habitats to find food, shelter, and water; and as human beings occupy more geographical space and encroach on where animals are sourcing their food and water, chaos can ensue. In the end, it’s typically animals that bear the brunt of that chaos.

“We look at three core pillars to address these issues,” says Weber. “First, entertaining people. We want to capture their interest and draw them into the world of wildlife. Second, educating that audience. We are channeling the knowledge and insights of our experts and allowing them to share their own forays into the wild. Third, building an online community where users can immerse themselves in the topic and one that facilitates firsthand encounters, whether virtual or real.”

For Weber, Otte, and many like them interested in conservation and animal welfare, engaging people in caring about animals is the first step to saving them from the negative effects of climate change. By working to decrease conflict with humans — whether by saving habitats or helping animals find safe havens — the biodiversity and climate crisis issues are being addressed. Both crises are slippery slopes that, if not properly addressed and mitigated, will lead to further issues.

Through advocacy and boots-on-the-ground work, climate change and biodiversity crisis activists are making real change in the world. According to research, climate change is one of the primary concerns of voters — especially among younger generations. Making a noted difference for animals globally starts with awareness and small steps toward meaningful change.

Cover art by David Clode on Unsplash

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