Ready in 30 Minutes or Less

How long do you spend getting ready for school or work every day? Do you wake up two hours before you have to leave just so you can look perfect before you go? Or are you the girl who wakes up, throws on yesterday’s jeans, brushes your teeth, and is out the door? What if we were neither? How great would it be to be clean, look nice, and be ready to leave just 30 minutes after waking up?

How to do it

Do everything you can the night before. Lay out your clothes, make sure your bag is ready to go, and put your healthy lunch in a bag in the fridge. Take your shower at night if you can. Some people are morning shower people, but try taking it at night for a week and you may never switch back! If you have oily or hard-to-manage hair, it may help save time to bathe and shave at night, then just wash your hair in the morning.

Forget snoozing. How much more rested are you after hitting snooze seven times? Chances are, none, and you’ve just wasted a bunch of precious morning time! Instead of hitting snooze several times, then finally groggily pulling yourself out of bed, try jumping out of bed the second the alarm goes off and jumping into the shower (if you’re a morning shower person). If you tend to set your alarm early, so that you have “time” to hit snooze several times, forget that! Set it for when you need to get up, and you’ll get better sleep until then.

Make your water slightly cooler than optimal. I’m not talking icicles here; I mean make the water temperature slightly cooler than what your ideal temperature normally is. You can do this in the shower, or just at the sink when washing your face. This will alert your senses without freezing you out.

Try ten minute hair. If you spend more than ten minutes on your hair for anything other than special occasions, you’re spending too much time! If you’re blessed with curly hair, comb it, scrunch it, spray it, and leave it alone. If you have thin and straight hair like me, dry it, comb it, smooth crème over the flyaways, and consider it done! Remember that ponytails are always classic!

Only put on one outfit. Hopefully you’ve laid out your outfit the night before, but even if you didn’t, choose one outfit, put it on, and stick with it! We often spend so much time trying on several outfits, just to end up wearing the first thing we put on.

Keep jewelry simple. Sometimes less really is more. Try pairing small silver hoops with a simple silver necklace that will go with most outfits, to save the time of searching for unique pieces every day. Save the really fun stuff for the weekends.

Minimize the make-up routine. If you have a great complexion, count your blessings and skip the make-up altogether. If you’re like the rest of the world, then put on make-up, but remember that if it takes longer than five minutes to apply, it’s too much for a normal day. Try this instead: Use tinted moisturizer. This doubles as a moisturizer and a foundation, plus it really evens out skin. It’s fast and easy. Once you have that in place, apply small amounts of blush and neutral eye shadow, then put on a sheer powder over that. Add mascara and lip gloss, and you’re done! Save the elaborate make-up jobs for going out with friends.

How to use the extra time

Now we’re ready to leave, and since we’ve used the above tips (and thought of things on our own) to get ready faster, we have extra time! How should we spend it?

The first and most obvious thing most of us will think of is to sleep in later! While that’s a cozy and tempting thought, I have some better ideas which will help us look out for and give to our families, like Miriam did in Exodus 2:1-10.

Spend time in God’s word. He should be the most important part of our day, and our day will go much smoother if we focus our minds and hearts on Him first thing every morning. Focusing on Him will also make us more compassionate toward others, so our hearts will be open to their needs.

Help with––and eat––breakfast. Even if your family just has cereal in the mornings (and there’s nothing wrong with that!), you can help by putting out cereal, milk, sugar, and setting the table. Once breakfast is over, you can help clean-up by putting your dishes in the dishwasher and nicely encouraging other family members to do the same. If you don’t eat breakfast, this is the time to start. Not only does it help you mentally throughout the day, but it also is helpful in controlling your weight.

Teach your family about His love. If you have younger siblings, read a devotional to them during breakfast each morning. If your family is closer to your age, or older than you, choose a verse that stood out to you during your solo study, and tell them about the verse and what it means to you. You could then ask them what that verse means to them, or ask them to tell you about another verse they are thinking about today.

Help everyone get out the door. Maybe your mom needs to turn on the dishwasher before she leaves. Load it up and turn it on for her. Or maybe a sibling lost their hat. Help them find it or let them borrow one of yours. Help the mornings run smoother by not only taking care of yourself, but by also helping your family with their needs.

Keep in mind

Nobody’s perfect, so there will be mornings when we wake up late, rush around to get ready, and fly out the door with barely enough time to slip into class before the bell rings, but that should not be our mornings all the time. We need to work on making our mornings run smoother and more efficiently so we can be calm, help our families, and let His love shine through us.

It’s nice to look pretty, but we need to be careful not to let that be our priority every day. We should make ourselves look presentable, but not to the point that we’re neglecting our own spiritual needs and the needs of other people. Remember that “charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord shall be praised” (Proverbs 31:30).

By Davonne Parks

Autumn Blush

“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” 1 Timothy 2:9-10

What Really Matters

While looking nice is important, it is also important to remember that how we look does not define who we are inside. If we are blessed with physical beauty, then we should use it for God’s work. Remember, Queen Esther (from the book of Esther) was chosen by the king for her beauty but used it to save her people (Esther 4).

Also, keep in mind next time you see a girl whose face is covered with acne, that she did not choose to look that way. She probably works very hard to try and clear her face, and it is unfair and ungodly to judge her by her appearance. The same holds true for everyone, whether they have big ears, a large nose, or are overweight. What if something happened and your beauty was taken away today? Would you still be the same person inside? Would you want others to judge you by what you look like?

The most important thing is what is our heart, because that is what God will judge. Outward beauty will fade, but if your heart is beautiful, it will always shine through. “Charm is deceitful, and beauty if vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised” (Proverbs 13:30). If someone isn’t interested in how your heart is, then they have the wrong mindset. Your true friends will always be there for you, even if you show up to school on Monday with a huge pimple on your forehead.

There will always be people that will be mean and make fun of others, and what you can do is love them. Yes, love them. We are to love our enemies as God first loved us. Pray for those who poke fun at you and others, pray that one day they will have the understanding you do about Jesus’ saving love and who we are in God’s eyes. Because even if they do have outward beauty, they have nothing unless they have Jesus (Luke 10:41-42).

Ten Steps to Make Your Skin Glow

September is a beautiful month––it’s almost fall, and this means the temperature is great and the leaves are starting to change. There are so many fun things to do outdoors this time of year, and with the cold weather coming, it’s important to take care of our skin. I challenge each and every one of you to follow these easy steps for six weeks––just six weeks––and see if you don’t have better-looking skin.

Step 1: Learn to read product labels! This will save you time and frustration! Don’t believe every commercial on TV; look into products for yourself. Read reviews online before buying products, and learn to read product labels for yourself so you know what you’re putting on your skin! For instance, let’s say you have skin prone to acne. You want to look for a product that either has 2% salicylic acid (a beta hydroxy acid) or 2% Benzoyl peroxide. However, if you have sensitive skin, be very careful, because salicylic acid is known to dry out skin. If you have this problem, talk to a dermatologist. When looking for an exfoliant, look for something with an alpha-hydroxy acid in it. There are many effective ingredients used in sunscreens; some you want to look for are: Avobenzone, Octisalate, Octocrylene and Oxybenzone. If a product has alcohol in it, beware––it can irritate and dry out skin. Take the time to research what you buy.

Step 2: Drink more water. Experts recommend eight glasses a day, which, I know, seems impossible. However, try adding just one extra glass a day this week. Maybe next week shoot for another one. This is a really easy way to help your skin by preventing it from becoming dehydrated and drying out. And the cool air of fall and winter dries out the skin even more. Try taking a bottle in your purse with you when you go out.

Step 3: Watch what you eat. Good nutrition can play a vital role in having beautiful skin. They say you are what you eat, which is true. Ever notice when you eat junk you feel like junk? Well, your skin is the same way. No, I’m not saying that chocolate causes zits, just that eating your fruits and veggies can make a big impact on your complexion. Also remember, when trying to drink more water, fruits and vegetables contain water that can count toward your eight glasses. See! It just got easier.

Step 4: Get more sleep! This step can be the easiest one by far. As a teenager it can be hard to get enough sleep, what with homework, friends, practice after school, and those football games on weekends. However, try and squeeze in an extra half an hour a night. Have you noticed that when you don’t get enough sleep, the bags under your eyes become more pronounced and purplish? Your skin reflects how your body feels, so treat it right and get some extra sleep tonight.

Step 5: Autumn is a time of year when people, especially teens, start giving up the sunscreen because they think summer is over and they don’t have to worry about it anymore. Wrong. Every single morning, you should put on a moisturizer with sunscreen, and if you plan on staying outside for a while, plan on reapplying every two hours with at least an SPF of 30. Cooler temperatures don’t mean less risk of a burn. Try your best when outside to stay in the shade or to wear a hat. This is the single most important thing you can do for you skin. Remember not only to put it on your face but your neck and everywhere else that is exposed, including your arms, legs, and hands.

Step 6: Wash your face twice a day, every morning and before bed, even if you don’t have acne. This will clear away dirt and oil on the surface of the skin and help give it that clear, beautiful look we all want. If you’re in a hurry or really tired before bed, keep a pack of face wipes in your medicine cabinet. It only takes two minutes to wipe your face and take the make-up off, but you will thank yourself ten years down the road.

Step 7: Use an exfoliant (scrub) three times a week, but no more. An exfoliant can really make your skin glow by rubbing off all the dead skin on the epidermis (your top layer of skin). However, you have to be very careful about using this product too much or you will damage the new skin under the dead cell layers by rubbing them off too. Keep in mind that if you do this, you fighting premature aging. While they do make scrubs with medications for acne in them, make sure you’re not using too many products with these ingredients or you will really dry out your skin. Choose the scrub or the cleanser or the astringent with the salicylic acid in it, not all three.

Step 8: After washing and exfoliating your skin, apply a toner or an astringent. These two products are essentially the same thing, only an astringent contains a product to help control acne. However, astringents are known for drying out skin very easily. The purpose of the toner is to return the skin to its natural pH level. Something from chemistry class that you can actually use in real life! Remember the pH scale? A pH of 7 is considered neutral; above 7 is alkaline, and below is acidic. When you use different products on your skin, you change the pH level of your skin. The skin has a pH level of 4–5.5, and a toner will help return your skin to its normal level.

Step 9: Applying a moisturizer every morning and every night before bed (after you finish washing your face) is one of the best things you can do for your skin. Not only does it keep your skin from looking dry and flaky, but you’re also protecting your skin from premature aging. Look for something that is oil-free and contains an SPF of 15 or above. Apply it not only to your face, but use the moisturizer on your neck, as well, to prevent sagging. When looking for a product, make sure you find one that says oil-free so that it won’t clog pores.

Step 10: Beware of using body wash or other soap products on your face––they will dry out your skin and strip away your natural acid mantle (the top of your skin is a natural layer of oil and sebum called your acid mantle). The skin is naturally acidic, and this layer protects the skin from outside bacteria. Body wash strips away this layer, leaving your skin unprotected.

My Favorite Products: (Hover over photo to see product name.)

All of these can be found at your local drugstore for under $10!

Best for normal skin types, light, easy to wear under makeup, and also comes in a night-time version!

Best for normal skin types, light, easy to wear under makeup, and also comes in a night-time version!

Best for oily skin types because it contains salicylic acid, which helps fight acne all day.

Best for oily skin types because it contains salicylic acid, which helps fight acne all day.

Best for skin with blemishes because it contains salicylic acid.

Best for skin with blemishes because it contains salicylic acid.

Good for all but sensitive skin types.

Good for all but sensitive skin types.

Great for normal or sensitive skin types.

Great for normal or sensitive skin types.

This is meant for oily skin, but it contains less alcohol and salicylic acid than normal astringents, making it gentler on sensitive skin.

This is meant for oily skin, but it contains less alcohol and salicylic acid than normal astringents, making it gentler on sensitive skin.

Works well for normal or oily skin types.

Works well for normal or oily skin types.

Great for spot treatment; however, not good for sensitive skin because it contains alcohol.

Great for spot treatment; however, not good for sensitive skin because it contains alcohol.

By Alicia Marie Sargent

Summer Glow

Looking Great Despite the Heat

It’s time for the pools to open, which can only mean one thing: summer! Summer means picnics, swimming, summer camp, and bonfires. It also means it’s time to hit the drugstore and find your perfect summer shades. Summer make-up is meant to be fun and easy. Why spend hours inside getting ready when you could be having fun in the sun?

Sunscreen is the most important thing you can do for your skin. The more you use sunscreen now, the better you will look ten or twenty years from now. Do you want to be one of those girls in their thirties who people look at and think, “She looks so young! Her skin is so smooth—there is no way she’s thirty-five!” or do you want them to think, “Wow, she spent way too much time in the tanning booth. Do you see those wrinkles?”

The next thing to consider is your foundation. If you choose to wear foundation, keep in mind the shade you have at the beginning of summer may not work in six weeks if you plan on spending time in the sun. Look for something light, like a powder that isn’t oil-based, so it won’t separate. If you cake your face with too much foundation you may find it streaks off when you sweat, which is a look no one wants. However, I suggest skipping the foundation altogether. Instead, go for a tinted moisturizer. It gives your face a little color, and evens out your skin tone while serving as a moisturizer, and you can’t beat how light it feels in the summer heat. Of course, find one that includes an SPF of at least 15 (SPF 30 is better). I also suggest skipping the blush. Let the outdoors provide you with a nice healthy glow or use a bronzing powder to give you a sun-kissed look.

Summer is a very critical time to treat your skin nicely. Wash your face every morning and night and also if you’ve been outside sweating. It’s also important to use a moisturizer, since the sun can dry out your skin. Try to find one that isn’t too heavy, like Dove moisturizer with SPF 15. Heavier crèmes are okay for nighttime, but be careful if you have oily skin, because it can clog your pores.

Summer = shimmer: use it in your eye shadow or your blush—the summer sun will really set it off. Light tones of pink are best for fair skin, and bronzed tones are better for tan or dark tones. But don’t stick to pink the whole time; summer is all about fun, so try bright colors like turquoise or purple. For daytime keep it light; in the evenings you can go with a little more color. Just don’t wear shimmer in all your make-up, or you’ll look like you were attacked by glitter.

Skip the lipstick. Lip gloss in all shades can be fun for summer—but be careful where you leave your tube. The hot summer sun plus lip gloss in your car equals a mess. Chap stick will melt, too, so make sure you take it inside.

When outside, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun. To avoid white raccoon eyes, though, apply sunscreen every two hours to your face and entire body. Make sure to keep lots of water around, and have fun in the sun!

My Favorite Products

These pictures and prices are from but the products can be found at almost any drug or grocery store.

CoverGirl Queen Collection Eyeshadow Single, $2.99

Maybelline pure makeup, $5.99

Maybelline Mineral Power Naturally Luminous Blush, $8.99

Maybelline Define-A-Lash Waterproof Mascara, $7.99

Maybelline Shiny-Licious Lipgloss, $5.79

Sally Hansen No Chip Ten Day Nail Color $4.49

Wet n’ Wild Ultimate Sheer Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15 $3.99

Neutrogena Instant Bronze Sunless Tanner $9.99

By Alicia Marie Sargent