Today

Square Earth Studio: Introducing Maryna Marston

I was terrified of my grandparent’s basement. It was cold and damp, and smelled like dirt. Nestled in the corner at the bottom of the stairs was a spooky closet. I dreaded being sent down there. Perhaps the thing that unnerved me most was the black and white portraits of my steely-eyed ancestors that hung on every wall. How could I be related to these people? My mother said we were lucky to have those pictures. I never understood. Photography has come a long way from the historical record of my family tree to the limitless art form we know today.

Created Woman would like to introduce you to one of Austin’s premier fashion photographers. Maryna Marston was born in Ukraine. Her mother introduced her to photography and used their bathroom as a darkroom. She experienced broad exposure to various art forms in her early education and enjoyed drawing, painting and sculpture. In those formative years she cultivated an excellent eye for framing and composition.

Maryna never considered photography a career option. Her family guided her toward a business degree. She graduated in 2005 with her Masters in International Business Management from Kyiv National Economic University. It wasn’t until she moved with her husband Justin to the US that she was free to pursue life as an artist. She was looking at the banking industry when Justin intervened and said “Maryna, you are one of the lucky people who can pick anything they want to do in life. What would you love to do? What are you passionate about?”

Maryna reflected on their days in London. Armed with her 3 megapixel Canon digital camera, she became the photo journalist for her family and friends. She never expected people to enjoy her photos as much as they did. She also remembered her experience with a London modeling agency, being treated like a beautiful girl with no brain. She swore if she ever went back to the fashion industry she would be on the other side of the lens. A designer friend introduced her to the work of fashion photography pioneer Richard Avedon and modern legend David LaChappelle. Finally the artist of her youth found expression.

She enrolled in photography classes and met business partner Marco Gutierrez. They challenged each other to new levels of creativity and have earned a collection of prestigious awards. Together they opened Square Earth Studio in June of 2012 specializing in fashion, editorial and product photography. Unlike those first photographers who wandered onto my great-great-grandparents farm, their goal is not to simply capture an image but to create art with each image they capture. Be watching for their work right here at Created Woman and in our digital version available at createdwoman.net.

Read about Square Earth Studio's co-owner, Marco Here

 

 

Lynn Marie Cherry has a heart to encourage women towards freedom and plant seeds of hope. She enjoys sharing insight from God’s word and the world around her. She has been married for almost 20 years to the same great guy, they have two amazing boys. You can read more at http://lynnmariecherry.blogspot.com/

 

Believe in the Greatness of Others

 Daniel, who was called Belteshazzar, was shocked for a bit. What he thought about frightened him.

The king declared, “Don’t let the dream and its meaning scare you, Belteshazzar.”

Then Belteshazzar answered, “Sir, I wish the dream to be for those who hate you and its meaning to be for your enemies!

Daniel 4:19

Daniel has every reason under the sun to not be for Nebuchadnezzar. However when he is given the interpretations of this dream his response seems to be filled with love and care for this king. A king who not only worships a different god but has renamed Daniel with that god's name. It seems Daniel has more than insight into his dream, but sees the greatness inside of his king.

A few years ago there was a popular bracelet circulating in the Christan community.  WWJD what would Jesus do? The idea being that you would see this bracelet, and remember to act the way you would think Jesus would act. I'm not sure if it worked or not.

I think today with  global concerns, our political climate, and economic worries maybe the question we should be asking ourselves is "what would Daniel do?".

No, I am not trying to be political. You did not hear me say anything about how we would vote. I am saying that maybe we should take a hint from Daniel and believe the best in people. In our country. In our economy. In our world. When we open our mouth to speak about such things are we speaking life or death? If we are the prophets of our own lives, and if we are the sons and daughters of God, made to bring hope and life and light to the earth than what are our words bringing? Are we cultivating honor respect and love? Are we like Daniel, sad when thing happen to people different than ourselves? Are we compassionate to those who don't worship our God? Because the truth is people do not care about what you believe until they believe that you care. The love of God sees the greatness in all of us.

 

Do you find it easier to agree with the negative things going on in your daily life or to speak hope?

Lord,

Thank you for your goodness. Allow us to have eyes to see your goodness in all of your creation.

Amen

What’s Hot: Religious and Ethical Topics

It is election year 2012 --- time once again for voters to march to the polls to elect the next President of the United States.  From George Washington, our first President, to the current President, there have always been, shall we say, hot topics that become issues for voters to consider as they start to cast their vote on the ballet. The deciding factor of which candidate to vote for often centers around the voters’ religious and ethical views, thus paving the way for the century old argument: Religion vs. Politics.

With that thought in mind, the hot religious and ethical topics in today’s political debates making headlines are:

  1. Equal rights for same-sex marriage
  2. Abortion access including methods of reducing the abortion rate
  3. Contraception (provided by employer health care plans and/or birth control measures dictated by religious convictions)

My point in writing about these hot topics that voters are facing in this up-coming election is not to voice my opinion one way or the other on any of these issues.  I firmly believe in freedom of choice and free will.

My main point is this:

Religious freedom is one of the most cherished rights in our country.  Our Founding Fathers established our nation while envisioning that religious liberties would be celebrated and faith openly expressed.  Yet efforts to safeguard our First Amendment rights are opposed and ridiculed by activists determined to force people of faith to succumb to pressure and vote against their religious belief.

A former pastor of mine once said:  “A person who doesn’t know and stand for what he believes, will fall for anything.”

Did you say, "Green Cosmetics?"

In today's American society, to be "green" doesn't refer to green with envy but rather sensitive to the earth we . Is the product manufactured in an ethical way? Is recycling a part of the process? Is it friendly to the environment? In investigating beauty products  that fit the bill, I discovered brands whose mission and purpose earned them recognition by Certified Green Cosmetics.

Origins

Our mission is to create high performance natural skincare that is powered by nature, proven by science.

 

Burt's Bees

This company started out selling their renowned lip palm  at craft fairs and they've come a long way Baby! Their line now includes products for men, babies, skin, face, body, hair AND products for the outdoors.

Aside from a great quality product, here's what I love:

We believe in giving back.Through The Greater Good Foundation, we commit to pledge at least 10% of all Web Site sale revenues to our selected "well being" partners.

 

 

 

                                                                                   JASON

In 1959 when other companies were including man made perfume and petroleum in their products, a group of Californians moved towards a more natural approach with Apricot Oil, Peppermint Oil and Wheat Protein. In addition to face, body, hair and sun products these guys have a entire Oral lineup of toothpaste and mouthwash that  do not include chemicals and are safe for people and the environment.

  Mary Kay Cosmetics

While Mary Kay Cosmetics doesn't carry the "green seal" their newest product is called  Botanical Effects Skin Care and the products do not include synthetic dyes or added fragrance. All of their products have a 100% buy back guarantee.

Each of theses companies reaches out to a wide range of clients and they include products for dry, normal and oily skin. Focused on providing  people a quality product, it appears that each of these organizations has a reputation of  putting their clients needs out in front, and if you're not already 'brand loyal' you might want to give one of these companies a try.

Quirky Fashion

Media, fashion, and celebs have always gone hand in hand. In the 90's there was the "Rachel" hair cut, plain tees, Kate Moss, and the birth of "thinspiration." The frail silhouette of models reigned early in the millenium, along with the re-birth of the Olsen twins, (hello fashion moguls), and the inevitable fashion backlash from us "normal" folk.

 

These were the days before the Dove commercials that let us see that women actually look like us. But I won't ramble, let's get to the point, fashion today has taken a quirky turn! Yes, it's cyclical, I understand that. In fact, I have a picture of my mom from 1988 wearing leather print shoes, skinny jeans, and some crazy hair. While I never want to see that insane mohawk my mom had re-cycle, prints, skinnies, and all sorts of unique fashions are hitting stores as of late.  And while most people may want to thank Lady Gaga for making us feel like its okay to wear whatever we please, how many of us can really wear a dress made out of meat, or arrive to work only to "hatch" first.

 With that said, I would like to thank the media for making Zooey Deschanel their darling and allowing her to wear some adorably quirky outifts on her new hit show.

The runway gets it too. Spring collections were a clutter of print and pops of color.

 

For those of us that may not be able to spend thousands of dollars per outfit, there are great alternatives. I subscribe to the philosophy of splurging on classics and saving on trends. Below are two perfect examples of how to do just that. If you're a more conservative dresser but still like to mix it up a little, I recommend shopping at retailers like J.Crew, Banana Republic, and Anthropologie. These stores offer timeless pieces that you can mix and match with prints or brights. If you follow each trend without fail, stores like H&M and Zara are perfect for you, that is, if you're fortunate enough to live near either one. In addition, Madewell, Topshop, and even flash sale sites like RueLaLa offer good prices for pieces you may not want to wear next season.

 

All in all, this season's styles embrace your inner kookiness. Whether it be sheer tops and maxi skirts that make you want to throw the peace symbol around, or flouncy floral prints with a cardigan thrown over, find the you that you've been too shy to expose. Shop thrift stores, boutiques, and even estate sales to add some spunk to your style. Style is cyclical and there has to be another mom out there who is ready to let go of those designer grabs from the 80s, just in time for you to scoop them up!

A Date for the Busy Couple

Is it even possible to have a normal date (as you once did) and a candle lit dinner amidst every thing the world is bringing you.  Maybe you're new social life consists of party after party for those under the age of 10 and, to be honest, you're too tired to even think about a date.  How does today’s busy couple stay connected and still feel that they have time for each other? What I've learned as I work with busy women to create a Personalized Fitness Plan, is that most women are overwhelmed with life.  How in the world do you make time for exercise, much less have quality time with your husband?

For my marriage, we have to sometimes get creative and think outside of the normal dates we once had when our life was simpler.  Yet I still feel connected since we've made it a priority to find ways to spend time together.

A date for this busy couple may look something like this.

  • A walk or run

When my husband and I need to catch up or discuss certain things going on in life, we love putting on our shoes and going for a run or walk.  We tell the kids to grab their scooter or bike and head outside with the family.  While they are busy seeing who is the fastest, we are getting connected and spending quality time together.  We've also from time to time made a commitment to work out or train for a local race together.

  • Have Lunch

We don't always have time for a long dinner nor can we always make arrangements for a babysitter, so we schedule lunch.  The key words for a busy couple are “schedule it".  It's more likely to happen if you set a specific date and time and put it on the calendar that just having good intentions to make it happen.

  • Friend exchange

Some times we just need to have one hour for dinner.  We're fortunate to have best friends who need the same.  Babysitters can be expensive and not many want to waste one hour….which may be all they get.  Find a couple who's willing to keep your kids for an hour or two for a date night and be sure to find a time to offer the same to them.

The key is thinking outside the box.  You can still have romance and quality time.  It just may not be the way you once did.

 

Mean Girls, Not In My House

While the movie is truly hysterical to watch (Mean Girls 2004), the theme is all too real for girls today and yesterday for that matter.  We are always trying to remain fashionable, wear nothing larger than a size 5-6 and have the right friends.  It’s unfortunate, but the reality is that many girls, to make sure that they feel good about their situation, will find someone worse off than them and make sure they know it. My daughter is only 4 years old, but as I watch her play on the playground at the park I can already see the beginnings of cliques forming.  The adorable little boy with the glasses swings alone, the girl with un-brushed hair tries desperately to make it pretty with her little fingers and still none of the kids go near her.  It’s sad to watch them draw these lines for themselves at such a young age but it’s worse when their parents do it for them.

Several months ago during a Mommy’s night out, a friend shared a story of how another parent had rudely snapped at her in the school parking lot.  After hearing the story I was appalled.  What gave this woman the right to snap at my friend for a reason that was none of her business?  I wanted so badly to never speak to her during pickup or let my daughter anywhere near her child again.

The next couple of times I saw her I found myself being short and abrupt, and then I realized what I was doing.  I was behaving like a child!  “You’re mean to my friend so I’m going to be mean to you”… what kind of example was I setting?  It wasn’t until a birthday party several weeks later that I found out her mother had been battling the final stages of breast cancer while she was working over seas for extended periods of time.  In fact, her mother had passed away only 2 days before.  I pray I never find out how I would behave if faced with a similar situation.

We all do the best we can for our children and for now I refuse to let my 4-year choose all of her friends.  My mother used to tell me “I can see farther than you,” and she was right.  When she’s older, I hope that her exposure to people of different colors, sizes, religions and economic backgrounds will give her the wisdom to surround herself with diverse friends.  The last thing I want to raise is a Mean Girl.

Editor's Note, October 2011

Life experiences, trials and joy lead us to be the woman we are today and sometimes that woman is exactly who we were created to be.  Our experiences mold us, inspire us; some teach us about priorities by showing us what things we should do today and which ones we should wait on.  With life pulling us in so many directions and opportunities, it’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle, loosing ourselves in the  routine of life, never stopping to smell the roses.  We miss the good things in life often because of our task at hand.  Lots of times, we miss the opportunity to help someone who needs exactly what we have by simply not lifting our heads from our blackberry.  But sometimes, as women, we band together shouting with one voice yelling, ‘Enough is enough.’  And when we do that, the world listens! Women around the world have yelled loudly for the cause of Breast Cancer and the results have been astounding.  The month of October is nationally known as Breast Cancer Awareness month and I can’t think of a better theme for Created Woman Blogazine for the month October.  As women, we are poised to be each other’s cheerleaders – not the enemy.  So as we look out into the first cool month of the year, I charge each of you to be the cheerleader in someone’s life that is facing, not just breast cancer, but any type of cancer that has tried to consume their life.

For the October issue of Created Woman, we will hear stories of triumph over trials as well as re-visit some heroines from last year and catch up with what they are doing today.  Their personal stories of conquest will inspire you to go beyond what you ever thought you could achieve.  Plus, just as fashion makes everything look better, we’ll show you ways fashion can actually help fight the cause.

As much as we enjoy sharing our life with you, hearing your stories are just as important to us.  Your comments and emails allow us to have a conversation with you, our friends.  Tell us what you’re thinking, share what inspires you, how you are becoming the woman you were created to be!

Thank you as always, for being a part of the Created Woman Blogazine, and enjoy becoming and being the woman you were created to be!

 

Created Woman

Fashion blog that highlights family health fun & purposeful living

October Calendar 

 

What Can You Do?

  1. First, if you are 40 or over, take some time to get a mammogram.  Do this for you and your family!
  2. Help to find a cure by supporting one of the below organizations.
  3. Spread the word - Be a voice.
  4. Become someone's cheerleader.

Ways to be a part of the cure:

Fashion Targets Breast Cancer

Stand Up to Cancer

Susan G. Komen

Join the family!

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Email: created@createdwoman.net

CW Beauty Tips & Picks

One of the best ways to find the best Beauty Tips is look around and get the Top Picks from women who look their best! To find out how the  CW writers always look their best I asked them to share their personl Top Picks, the things they won't leave home without. It won't surprise you to see how diverse their choices are. Fownder and owner of Created Woman, Heather, says she's been using Oil of Olay Cleanser and Moisturizer since she was thirteen. "I have tried other products but have always switched back to my tried and true. "

 

 

 

                    Covergirl LashExact Mascara is Erika's top pick.

"After trying all the expensive brands of mascara,

this is the one that gives me the most definition, volume and length."

 

 

Jessica says this about  100% Organic Jojoba oil!

It is 100% natural and smells great! I LOVE this stuff because it has so many uses and a little goes a long way. I use it:

  • As a lip balm
  • Added to my face/body lotion (you really only need a few drops)
  • Apply to hair then wash out as a hair mask

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every one knows Carmindy, the encouraging makeup artist from What Not to Wear. Coby's Top Pick is from Sally Hansen's Natural Beauty by Carmindy.

This is the only thing that covers my melasma (hormonal discoloration from pregnancies).The melasma was so bad after my third pregnancy and this ws the only product that covered it and still felt light and natural.

 

 

I don't start or end my day without 3 pumps of

Mary Kay Replenishing Serum + C coupled with Day/Night Solution.  

My skin is tout, it's not too heavy and I started getting carded again.

~Kala~

 

 

~Nichole

Stila Natural Finish Oil-Free Makeup foundation gives me the perfect, natural coverage. It gives me a smooth, even look and lasts all day. 

 

 

Express is a clothing store but they have such a great lip gloss! Their "Black Cherry Lip Gloss" is the perfect color for anyone. It's a pinch of red with a little cherry flavor. I love it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                       MAC Studiotech Foundation

                                                                  The coverage and finish is flawless. - Lilly

It is the only line that makes a foundation with the color I need for my ebony skin.~Cheryl

 

So, if you've been on the search for a better age-fighting product, mascara or foundation, give these Top Picks a try.

Basil-Cilantro Pesto

It's quick! It's easy! It's healthy and more than anything, it's DELICIOUS! Pesto is a sauce that can be added to pasta, used as a topping on pizza  and today it's featured in Pesto Chicken Salad. Traditional pesto ingredients include basil, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. We're shaking it up a little and melding the sweet taste of basil with the fragrant mix of  parsley and citrus found in cilantro.

 

 

Ingredients:

1 c. fresh basil

1 c. cilantro (no stems)

1/3 c. walnuts

1 large clove garlic

1/3 c. Romano or Parmesan cheese (Romano is a little stronger)

1/4-1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil

pinch of kosher salt

 

 

First of all, run the walnuts through your processor.

 

 

Next, add the basil, cilantro, minced garlic, cheese, salt, and drizzle a little oil in the processor. Pulse and add oil. Repeat until it takes the form of a thick paste.

 

 

Chop 2 c. of chicken (what you see above is the last of a rotisserie chicken) and add some chopped black olives and the pesto. Because I like texture, I added some minced celery as an afterthought. Blanched almonds would also work. They would add texture, taste and visually change the look of the salad.

 

 

 

This Chicken Pesto Salad is whipped up in about 15 min. and served on a toasted baguette or crackers.