Sunday, September 8, 2019

Book Review: White Awake by Daniel Hill

White Awake: An Honest Look at What it Means to be White
by Daniel Hill


What brought me to this book?
White Awake was one of the first books in my journey to be more educated on racial reconciliation in the United States. I first heard about it when the author, Daniel Hill, was invited to speak at my church by their Ministry of Racial Justice and Reconciliation. I had no clue what to expect, but I was intrigued by a book about race written by a white, Christian, male with the subtitle of "an honest look at what it means to be white." Although I trust my church, I don't blindly trust them and honestly, I was thinking the talk had the potential of going wrong. I'm not exactly sure how. Just wrong.

Other than Daniel speaking way too fast, it was a great night that helped light a fire in my heart to better educate myself on racism, especially as a white Christian in the US. I read White Awake twice (so far), and although I certainly haven't come close to mentally resolving all the issues around a multifaceted subject like racism, this book has helped begin an expedition that I believe I will continue for the rest of my life. It has led me to examine practically every thought I previously had on the subject, which, given my analytical mind, thoroughly exhausted me...seeing as concrete resolutions in my brain are hard to come by. But I owe it to my neighbor, myself, and my Christian beliefs to not shy away from such critical thinking just because it's hard on me. A little mental anguish is nothing compared to the inhumane racism that so many face every day.

Something I started during the second reading of this book, was a race journal. Somewhere that I could process my thoughts about racial topics, rather than have them ruminate in my brain day in and day out. Somewhere that I could safely work through concepts and questions without fear of saying the wrong thing or offending someone. After all, our society has become quick to demonize anyone who says anything remotely wrong. Although this can be understandable, the downside is that it can also create a fear in people's minds that keep them from engaging in genuine dialog with others...or themselves. People either remain stagnant in their thinking or blindly follow popular opinion without creating their own convictions, all because they're afraid of saying the wrong thing. But it was important for me to be able to look at my thoughts unabashedly and unfiltered; to make sure that I'm being honest with my feelings, my attitudes, and my beliefs. Unfortunately, so far, I haven't found many people I can have these candid conversations with and feel safe; not even with those I would have most expected to be able to. This journal, therefore, has been invaluable as I navigate through the rough terrain.

What did I think of the book (in a nutshell)?
As I said above, White Awake was my first thorough dive into race relations in the US and taught me a lot; much more than I could put in a quick book review. One of the most simple, yet interesting concepts presented is that race is a social construct - an idea created by humans, not God. Prior to slavery, white Europeans who settled in America were British, French, German, Irish, etc. Not white. But then slavery infected the US and Europeans began to identify as a collective, white - a group inherently superior to those of color. Like I said, such a simple and obvious concept (which is presented more thoroughly in the book), but one I had never thought about before, even though we talk about race every day in our society. I'll admit that I haven't fully worked out the ramifications of this idea in my mind yet, but I know that it's an important distinction for me.

Beyond educating me on the history of race, I appreciated how the author, as a white Christian doesn't shy away from pointing out the many theological and human errors white Christians made to justify and even promote slavery. How the more subtle roots of these egregious thoughts have followed us through the generations and helped create a normalization of white culture. As Hill describes it "white culture is the 'norm' by which all other cultural identities are evaluated [...] when we attempt to categorize culture internally, we almost always treat white culture as 'normal.' With white culture serving as the baseline, we then evaluate everyone else's culture based on the norms we associate with white culture." This plays a big role is the double-consciousness likely experienced by most people of color in America today. Hill calls this "two-ness" - "the experience of operating in one America that's white and one America that's black." These concepts need far more explanation than this to be fully understood and are better explained in the book, but I bring them up here as notions that I'm still contemplating and have opened my mind and eyes even further.

The concept that has had the most impact on me, though, is the author's definition of white privilege - simply, "the ability to walk away." As Hill writes, "When the journey begins to feel like any combination of scary, confusing, disorienting, or even painful, we have a privilege that people of color do not: we can walk away; we can go back to 'normal,' if we choose." I appreciated this definition quite a bit, because I've definitely felt each of these emotions - scared, confused, disoriented, and pained - in this racial journey of mine. And, honestly, I have very often felt like giving up. Like I won't be able to figure it all out. Like I won't be able to make a difference. If I can't figure it out and I can't make a difference, why bother. I have thought about walking away more than I'd like to admit. And I know...I know that I can walk away, unscathed. That my life would continue on, like normal. And as I write this...that pains me. That fact brings me to tears. And that makes me determined to never walk away. I know I will fail to do as much as I can do at times. But I am committed to always keep standing and walking towards education, walking towards guidance from the Holy Spirit, walking towards love, walking towards compassion, walking towards reconciliation, walking towards justice, walking towards equality.

Final verdict
White Awake went into so much more than what is written above. In fact, these concepts are all found within the first few chapters of the book and probably only take up a combined total of 3 pages. Maybe I'll write a Part Two to discuss the other 180 pages someday. But these ideas, and the rest of the book, have begun a journey in me. Maybe they will in you too.

Overall, I fully recommend this book. Read it with an open mind and seeking heart. If Hill says something that bothers you, stop and question it. It's possible that it's just an idea you don't agree with and you can articulate why. It's also possible that it's something you need to wrestle with, in a safe and honest environment. Start a journal and/or call me up. I'd love to be someone you can talk openly with and feel safe. To be a listening ear; to be a supportive heart; to be a friend. Only together, with love, compassion, and support for everyone and their journey, will we grow.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Book Review: Educated by Tara Westover

Educated by Tara Westover

What brought me to this book?
To be honest, I really just needed a break from all the emotionally reflective books I've been reading as of late and this has been on my list for a while. A lot of people have recommended Educated, including Bill Gates. So I figured now would be a good time.

What did I think of the book (in a nutshell)?
Educated is the memoir of a woman, born to survivalist parents, who grew up in rural Idaho. She lived a life I could never imagine. For example, her parents believed doctors were out to kill people, not help them; the number of near death experiences in her family and recoveries without the help of doctors thoroughly astonished me. Her parents also proclaimed that "public school was a ploy by the Government to lead children away from God." Instead of being home schooled, though, Tara was put to work in the family's junkyard business. When she was a teenager she finally decided to go against her parents wishes, educating herself well enough to pass the ACTs, and getting into BYU (having said that she was wonderfully home schooled in her application). There's plenty more to her story, but that gives you an idea. She had a life unlike anyone I know. It was fascinating...and heartbreaking.

One of the themes that resonated the most with me was watching her journey to find her herself. This is something I feel like I've been trying to do my entire life...and still am. While I believe that we are fluid beings, always changing, I maintain (or hope, I guess) that we can find our root identity. That with great reflection and work we can chisel away that which we adopt to please other people and scuff off that which other people force upon us. Sometimes I still feel so far from finding my core, yet I know that I have excavated many layers since my teenage years. And really, that's often what keeps me going.

Reading about how Tara navigated this journey was enthralling and inspiring. One of my favorite ruminations was something a teacher of hers told her: "You are not fool's gold, shining only under a particular light. Whomever you become, whatever you make yourself into, that is who you always were. It was always in you. [...] You are gold. And returning to [...] that mountain you came from, will not change who you are. It may change how others see you, it may even change how you see yourself - even gold appears dull in some lighting - but that is the illusion. And it always was."

When I think about her entire story I'm also reminded just how different each of our histories are. Unfortunately, I suspect that we impose our histories on others, and in some respects expect them to react like we do because that's what makes sense to us. While it's impossible to truly see through someone else's life-lens, I have to remind myself how important it is that we seek some sort of understanding of their lens rather than simply judging or criticizing them. I have failed to do this a number of times and those relationships never prospered. When I've been brave enough to seek someone's history and fortunate enough that they blessed me with their story, a bond was created that surpassed our differences. Did I all of a sudden understand everything about them or agree with everything they did? No. Rather, my goal was to hear them, understand them better, and to accept them as they were in that moment in time.

As much as we try to change people (I'm undeniably guilty of this), we won't succeed. Change needs to come from them. A number of people tried to change Tara by pressuring her to go to the doctor or by forcing their will on her. Tara's lasting change, though, came from herself. If we're fortunate enough to be in someone's story we should encourage growth where growth is available and motivate them when they are stuck. Tara was blessed to have people who did this for her throughout her life. Without them who knows where she would be today.

This has made me contemplate what stories I've been fortunate enough to be included in and to evaluate whether I'm engaging in a way that promotes their maturation. Verdict: while the self-reflective work I've been doing has been good and necessary, in order for me to be there for others in the way they need me, the best thing I can do is get out of my head and stop focusing so much on myself. I know...it's such an obvious statement, but, as an analyzer, not something I'm great at. I also need to truly listen and seeking understanding, but know that I won't be able to change them. I can help promote change, but they have to do the work themselves.

It has also made me wonder who I need to seek more understanding of. Who's story needs to be heard and who's life-lens will lend strength and diversity to my life? Verdict: I will concede that I'm guilty of judging quicker than I am of seeking understanding (and, sadly, I don't think I'm alone in this). I'm working to change this instinct in me, but it will likely be a lifelong work in progress. Ultimately, every person I come in contact with is a person who has a story and deserves to be listened to, whether I agree with them or not.

Finally, I've had to appraise who I've invited into my story. Are they helping me flourish, keeping me stagnant, or hindering growth? Are there people who say they want to help me develop, but don't seek the understanding of my life-lens; who want to force change upon me or "improve" me in ways that are part of their identity and aren't congruent with mine? Are there people truly willing to help me mature that I've kept at a distance and refused to let into my story or with whom I need to be more vulnerable?

Final verdict
I recommend this book to all. The stories, struggles, and teachings of her life were inspiring and captivating.

Ultimately, I find that when we experience people with different histories than ours (even in books) it broadens our minds and souls. It reminds us how diverse this world is. How complex humankind is. How strong we can be as individuals and how much stronger we can be as a community when we seek understanding and encourage growth rather than shaming and condemning others.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Book Review: The Bondage Breaker by Neil T. Anderson

The Bondage Breaker by Neil T. Anderson

What brought me to this book?
This was another recommended book from a Wellness Conference I went to. What drew me to it was my wanting to overcome negative thoughts and irrational feelings. Realizing that you have negative thoughts and irrational feelings is a great first step, but it doesn't mean you can just stop having those thoughts or feelings. I mean I have 30+ years of practice. Unfortunately, those are hard habits to break free from.

What did I think of the book (in a nutshell)?
This book definitely wasn't what I expected. One of his main focuses is how Satan (and demons) works in the world today. The topic came out of left field for me so I was a bit on guard, but I trusted the source of the book recommendation so kept reading. While I think he focuses on some possibly extreme cases a bit too much, it was actually an interesting topic to think through. I certainly don't know exactly how Satan works today, but I think, because of this book, it will be something that I continue to ponder and contemplate. In the past I've just avoided thinking about it because it kind of freaks me out. But that doesn't mean spiritual warfare isn't real. And if it is real, I should learn about it, rather than just pretend it doesn't exist.

The other focus of the book is our identity in Christ. (I've started to see this theme a lot lately in the books I've been reading and sermons I've been listening to....I wonder if the Holy Spirit is trying to tell me something?! Ha!). In order to overcome the lies we've believed and deceptions that have taken our focus off of Christ in us, we have to put on the amour of God and live into that identity.

The Steps to Freedom in Christ at the end of the book reminded me of the 12 Steps that I did in my Spiritual Journey class (though they aren't exactly the same). They include things like forgiving others and making amends for the wrongs you've done. These are great practices and he walks you through them pretty well. There were a few things in here that I wasn't sure about though, like the implication that sarcasm is a sin that we need to confess and repent of.

Final verdict
I would lightly recommend this book, with caution. I think some people will bristle at the topic of Satan working in lives today, but I would challenge them to have an open mind and think through why they resist the conversation. The overall message of the book is a great subject and I believe that truly going through the steps at the end of the book will help strengthen your relationship with Christ. Unfortunately, what's practiced in the steps isn't something that you do once and you're good to go for the rest of your life (boy do I wish). They are things we should continue to practice on an ongoing basis (such as forgiveness and confession).

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Book Review: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander


Let me start with my conclusion. READ. THIS. BOOK. Are you white? READ THIS BOOK. Are you black? READ THIS BOOK. Are you any color in between? READ THIS BOOK.

It's at times like this when I wish I had better writing skills. That I could put guttural feelings into words and inspire generations. Instead, there are far better reviews online for this book than the one I'm going to give, but I will proceed, as best as I am able, nonetheless. I hope this will at least help encourage those I know to...READ THIS BOOK.

What brought me to this book?
In an effort to be vulnerable and transparent I feel that I should confess just some of the white privilege that I have unwittingly partaken in. My knowledge of African American history and the true plight that those of color have gone through, and continue to go through today, was severely lacking. It still is. It essentially consisted of being taught (at a high level) about slavery, the Civil War, and the Civil Rights Movement. After that, racism was deemed illegal and everything is now good. Ha. Like I said...severely lacking. Look, I knew that there was still racism in our country, but I always attributed it to certain places (e.g. The South) and certain, obviously racist people. In reality, it was out of sight, out of mind. White privilege.

But then I started dating an African American man. I wish I could say that I was instantly empathetic and enlightened, but I wasn't. In all honesty, I don't think I wanted to be. I didn't want my view of humanity to crumble. I didn't want to think that we as a society could unconsciously (and sometimes very consciously) degrade and undervalue other people. So I subconsciously chose not to see it. White privilege.

The New Jim Crow is a book I saw him reading near the beginning of our relationship. I desperately wish I had read it then. Unfortunately, it wasn't until a year later, that I was ready to have my eyes opened wider. White privilege.

What did I think of the book (in a nutshell)?
(Note that I debated quite a bit over how much information to present within this review. There's a part of me that wants to share the details of the author's argument so that people will start thinking about it and hopefully read the book. In the end, though, I am certain that I would do her argument a disservice and I want you to get the full impact from the author herself. If you think this is the wrong decision, please let me know. I'd be happy to reevaluate.)

After reading the introduction, I didn't want to believe the author's theory. I don't think anyone will WANT to believe it. But I will confess that I was skeptical. For me, she was going to have to present her case really well. She did. The amount of research and statistics presented in the book is astonishing, eye opening, and depressing. While I have yet to read any counter arguments (and I would like to, if they're out there) I believe it would be hard to invalidate many of the elements to her thesis. Even if someone were able to effectively refute her final conclusion, each of the building blocks are worrisome in themselves.

I went through a myriad of emotions because of this book. It started with fear. Honestly, I was afraid that her argument might be true. This was my white privilege rearing its ugly head. As a white person I've been able to walk away from race relations discussions unscathed. Out of sight, out of mind. But how would my life change if my eyes were opened to the horrific, and legal, racism being practiced in America today? I don't think I would be able to close them again. And, sadly, that's frightening. After all, ignorance is bliss. Equally frightening was the idea that after being enlightened, I would hibernate into my white privilege once again. So, yes, I'm not proud of it, but I'll fully admit that I was afraid when I first started reading this book.

Most of my fear quickly turned to anger, though. Angry that this is going on in our country today...and has been for decades. Anger at each one of the systemic laws and practices by themselves, that put together paints a horrendous picture. Angry that I have been blind and indifferent for so long.

Then the sadness came. At one point, I was reading the book in a coffee shop and had to actively work to hold back my tears. How can we be so cruel to each other? How come we can't see that we are all human and equal in God's eyes? How come we can't honor and celebrate our differences, rather than degrading others? How come we can't serve and look out for each other, rather than walking over them as we aim to climb the ladder of success? How can we as a nation realize and mourn our history and current practices? How can I be part of the solution when I feel so helpless and ill-equipped?

Final verdict
I'm not going to sugar coat it. This is not a happy book. No book about race relations is. But it's a necessary, educational, and eye opening book. I know this "review" didn't present any details of the book itself, but I'm hoping that my raw emotions and reactions will inspire others to venture out and read a book that will challenge them, but could also change their life and society for the better.

To the white people out there, you have to come to a conclusion as to what racism in America looks like today. Learn from my mistake...don't avoid making this conclusion because it's easier not to. Ignorance may be bliss for you, but it is hell for those who are experiencing racism day in and day out. Don't make your conclusion based on your small, white world. Don't make your conclusion without talking to and learning from African Americans. Understand the true meaning of white privilege and understand how indifference is greatly contributing to the problem. As Martin Luther King, Jr said, "It may well be that we will have to repent in this generation. Not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, 'Wait on time.' "

To the African Americans out there, I lament. I lament what this country has done to you. I lament what this country is still doing to you. I lament the fact that I have chosen for so long to turn a blind eye to your history and your pain because it was easier for me. I vow to do better. I vow to no longer be indifferent. I vow to do my best to open other people's eyes in love and compassion. I vow to stand with you. I vow to continue to learn, seek understanding, and lament.

So, I will end with how I began. READ. THIS. BOOK. Don't be indifferent. Challenge yourself. Open your mind. Step out of your comfort zone. Expand your understanding. Learn. Love!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Book Review: Approval Addiction: Overcoming Your Need to Please Everyone by Joyce Meyer

(The book cover sure could use an update!)
Addictions. Such a complicated word. Such a complicated reality. As Joyce Meyer defines it in Approval Addiction: Overcoming Your Need to Please Everyone, "an addiction is something that controls people - something they feel they cannot do without or something they do to alleviate pain or pressure. It is what people run to when they are hurting or feel lonely."

We've all heard about certain addictions - to drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, shopping, exercise, eating, working, etc. But an addiction to approval? What's wrong with wanting approval? Just like many of the common addictions, nothing is wrong with the focus of the addiction itself (though there are definitely some where that's not the case). It's the addiction part that throws us off balance from a healthy state of being. In reference to approval addiction, as Meyer puts it, "when a person has an addiction the things they are addicted to are on their minds most of the time. Therefore, if a person is an approval addict, he or she will have an abnormal concern and an abundance of thoughts about what people think of them."

What brought me to this book?
I will admit to having some addictions, in particular an addiction to caffeine (usually in the form of Diet Soda, unless I'm in the midst of quitting it....again). And I'll admit that I seek approval from people, but an addiction to it? Well, somewhere inside of me I must've wondered if there was more in me than a normal seeking of approval, because the book title popped out at me from a list of recommended books provided at a Wellness Conference.

What did I think of the book (in a nutshell)?
Although I didn't agree with everything she said, I was glad I read the book. Ultimately the message is that we need to focus on our identity in Christ. We should pray and live into THAT identity rather than giving it away to others and subconsciously asking them to provide us with an identity that we already have.

The passage that hit me the most was the following:
"People who are in relationships with approval addicts feel manipulated instead of loved because the main focus of approval addicts is on feeling good about themselves. Everything centers on them, and soon the other parties in their relationships feel used. These wounded individuals are usually easily offended and touchy. Everyone must walk on eggshells when around them. They cannot be confronted or corrected simply because they already feel so bad about themselves that they cannot handle anyone even mentioning a fault in them or an area about their personality that needs improvement." (bold format added)

I never thought of myself as a manipulative person, but in this context I could see how my actions can be manipulative, especially within specific relationships, even though that's not my conscious intent. I'm also not proud to admit it, but the last sentence hit me hard. I've gotten much better at valuing myself, but still find that I take many things too personally. I'm all about working on myself and I appreciate people telling me the truth, but I tend to feel threatened or berated if it's not done in an extra loving, kind way (which is probably where the "eggshells" comment comes in). Yeah, it's something I'm actively working on.

Overall, the book didn't instantly change my life, but contained a message I needed to hear (my identity in Christ) and opened my eyes to the actions that I unconsciously take to feed my approval addiction. I'm now prayerfully working on living into my relationship with Christ through the Holy Spirit.

Additional comments
The book was first published in 2005 and could use an update. I think there is an opportunity to talk about approval addiction as it pertains to social media (which wasn't mentioned, presumably because it wasn't as prevalent at the time). Also, the Bible verses were hard to read as they were presented. Example: "May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love. (Ephesians 3:17)"

Final verdict
I lightly recommend this book. I think approval addiction is a fascinating subject that many people should evaluate for themselves. Her prescription for approval addiction (finding our identity in Christ, among other things) is valid and something everyone can work on whether they are an approval addict or not. I would be curious if there are other books on the subject as I believe this one could use an update and be presented a bit better. If approval addiction is something you're struggling with, though, this is a good place to start.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Currently Used Products

Last updated: 6/10/17

On this page I will keep track of all the beauty products I currently use. For now, it's a bit sparse as I slowly replace my horribly unclean products with cleaner ones.

I've included the EWG ratings (when available) as well as where to buy the product.

Body
  • Lotion: Aveeno Active Naturals - Daily Moisturizing Lotion 
  • Deodorant: Native 
    • EWG - not on EWG, but all found ingredients are 1
    • Native
  • Sunscreen: 
  • Hand soap: 

Face (non-makeup)
  • Face wash:
  • Hydration: Batty's Bath - Hydra Healing Skin Rescue Gel
  • Moisturizer: Batty's Bath - Daily Detox (Primer) Facial Moisturizer
  • Mask: Batty's Bath - Charcoal Detox Mask
  • Note: facial cleansing products are from Batty's Bath detox kit
  • Eye makeup remover:
  • Eye cream:
  • Eye lash serum: 
  • Sunscreen: 

Makeup
  • Foundation: 
  • Concealer (under eye): NYX Cosmetics - Dark Circle Concealer
  • Powder (translucent):
  • Mascara: Physicians Formula - Organic Wear Mascara
  • Eye shadow:

Shower
  • Shampoo: 
  • Conditioner: 
  • Leave-in:
  • Body wash: 
House
  • Laundry detergent: 
  • Fabric softener:
  • Dish soap: 
  • Dishwasher detergent:
  • General cleaner:

My Chemical Detox - Skin Deep database

After making the decision to go cosmetically "clean" I almost immediately overwhelmed myself. I started, as I said in my last post, by putting together a list of ingredients to look out for in products. Unfortunately, I knew that if I took the time to research every ingredient on that list to know *why* I should avoid it and then validate those findings I'd never make any changes, so for the time being I made the assumption that these people know what they're talking about.

Equipped with this list I made my way to the store. If a product had an ingredient on the list I put it back on the shelf. I was specifically in the "natural" aisle so I really didn't think it would take too long and I'd have a fairly large choice of options. Um…no. I admit that I didn't look at ALL the products available, but it took a good 20-30 minutes to find a face wash and night moisturizer that did fairly well when compared to my list. That's way too long in my opinion, but I was still pumped. I was on my way to being clean and healthy!

My excitement (and pride in myself for making the clean choice), didn't last long, though. You see, in my mind, I typically equate "clean" products with being better working products (when compared to "not so clean" versions). Um…no. Better for you? Very likely. Better working on your skin? Not always.

Now, I completely understand that the clear-ness of your face is decided by many different factors - what you eat, genetics, hormones, your skincare regimen, etc. But in my mind, the easiest thing to blame, and change, is your skincare products and routine. Which is why I imagined my acne (yes, I'm in my late 30s and have acne…so fun!) would clear right up when I started using clean products. Um…no. But, based on my first shopping experience, how was I ever going to find a clean product that worked for my face?! Sigh.

It was at this point that I came across the Skin Deep Cosmetic Database by EWG. This is a website where you can look up ingredients or products and see how good or bad they are for you, based on the research available. While the site is far from perfect I find it a great resource as someone who hasn't done all the research myself. My biggest frustration is that the product I'm looking for often isn't included in their database. But, to be fair, there are millions of products out there…they can't ALL be in there! Plus, if I really wanted to I could build my own report by inputting all the ingredients in the product. I have yet to find an ingredient not found in their database (that I can remember, at least).

You can go to the site to learn exactly how it works, but in a nutshell the database rates products and ingredients with two ratings - a hazard rating (1 being the best or lowest hazard and 7 being the worst or highest hazard) and a data availability rating (with a range from None to Robust). The cleanest rating a product or ingredient can get, therefore, is 1/Robust.

What I found interesting, after surfing the website for a while (does anyone still say "surfing the web"?), is that many products can have a 1 (low hazard) rating even though they have an ingredient on someone's "avoid at all cost" list. That made me sigh with relief and stress me out at the same time. On the one hand, it meant that the use of "avoid at all cost" lists can be too strict. On the other hand, it meant that it's not as "easy" as just using an "avoid at all cost" list. You have to take more into account. Sigh.

The good news, though, is that EWG's Skin Deep group does all the research for you. Yes, you have to trust someone else's work. But you don't have to spend years re-learning chemistry and reading hundreds of scientific studies. I know which of those options I'm picking. If you happen to remember your chemistry or want to read horribly boring (to me) scientific studies the database denotes their data sources and includes some chemistry type of information as well.


I've found it easy to get lost or overwhelmed with the Skin Deep database, but overall it has been very helpful. In fact, it helped me find the new basic skin care regimen I'm currently using. More on that next time.

Book Review: White Awake by Daniel Hill

White Awake: An Honest Look at What it Means to be White by Daniel Hill What brought me to this book? White Awake was one of the f...