new things to smear on my face

I’m still obsessed with face products!

I’ve gotten some new stuff in the past few weeks and I wanna share my thoughts.

There is a Pretty & Cute near my house so I was able to do some in-person shopping for Asian beauty products. The store is really adorable and everything is on these gorgeous white shelves with pretty lighting.

I bought the Elizavecca Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Mask which I  have used only once so far but really enjoyed. It is grey & has a smooth, kinda sticky texture. It comes with a little miniature spatula to spread it on your face, which is cool. Once you put it on, it immediately bubbles up and becomes a crazy cloud on your face. It’s hilarious. It left my skin a little dry, but so does everything. I also found that the bubbling action was really, really tickly and I wanted to scratch my face really badly. But the fun factor of this product makes up for the weird sensation. I’m into it.

I bought a Pig Nose blackhead removal kit. This is a three-step process  and the instructions are not in English, but I found a translation online. The first step “opens the pores”, the second step is basically a Biore pore strip, and the third strip “closes the pores”. I did not discern a difference between this product and Biore, and it was hella expensive comparatively. Probably won’t buy again.

I got the Skin79 snail mask and aloe mask. I love these. The essence is super goopy; thicker than the other masks I’ve tried which makes them stay on my skin better. Very cooling and soothing. Also: cute packaging. Weird: the mouth hole on these masks is like…low? So the top lip part hangs over my lip and makes it aggravating to wear.

Tried the Elishacoy snail mask as well. This was more like the watery essence I was used to. Definitely cooling and soothing, but not as goopy as the Skin70 masks (so not as cool).

At Pretty & Cute I got a free sample: a Nature Republic Olive Give by Nature sheet mask. This was NOT something I enjoyed using. I’m used to sheet masks being soaked in a clear, slightly viscous essence. This sheet mask was soaked in something white and opaque which smelled like super cheap Suave lotion. It didn’t feel as cooling as other sheet masks I  have used and the smell bugged me so I ended up removing it after a couple of minutes. Will not be purchasing.

I also went to Lush and picked up some Rosy Cheeks. This is a clay mask which contains calamine and is advertised as cooling and soothing. It smells like roses (definitely my jam) and I loved using it. It’s stored in the fridge so it’s quite cool when you apply it, and the rose smell is strong and pleasant. It is a little difficult to apply (the texture is sort of sticky and it doesn’t spread easily) and it dried sort of slowly, but it was not drying or irritating at all. I really like this product.

Last but not least, my Japanese Biore spf face lotion arrived! I was really excited about this based on the reviews I had read. The smell is citrusy and bright (and a little alcohol-y). The texture is awesome; it’s sort of satiny and does not leave my face greasy at all. I actually find that it is not as moisturizing as I might need, so I’ve been applying a regular Cetaphil lotion sparingly and then layering the Biore over top of it. It is kinda mattifying so it doesn’t agree too well with my makeup, because makeup tends to be drying for me. Overall, I’m still figuring out how to use this…but I definitely prefer it to the SPF lotions I’ve tried up until this point!

sunshine, magicians, Beyonce, & toast talk

The weather has been ab-so-loot-lee gorgeous here. Sun for days, and it’s in the 70s-80s. I somehow managed to leave work at 2 pm today and will be doing the rest of my work from home this evening. I did some of it while sitting in a lawn chair in the sun today. I feel like that’s the best workspace I’ve ever had. I have a tie-out for my dog in the front yard (I never leave him tied up outside without supervision) so he can safely hang out with me when I’m out there. I’ve been doing a lot of reading outside in the sun with  my pup next to me, which feels pretty sublime.

Speaking of reading, I’m currently on book three of The Magicians Trilogy. It’s sort of like Harry Potter in that it involves a school for magic, but more grown up (the students are college aged) and quite a bit grittier…think sex, drugs, and alcohol. The first book was a little difficult to get into, but the second half is well worth it. I don’t want to describe much because spoilers, but I can definitely recommend the series. It’s exactly the type of fantasy books I enjoy, and I reckon if you like Diana Wynne Jones’s books, or Harry Potter, you’ll probably like these books as well.

I tend to listen to music on headphones while I read, and right now I’ve been listening to Beyonce’s new album, Lemonade, on repeat (me and everyone else on the planet right now). I haven’t watched the movie yet, but I’m going to (tonight, hopefully!). My favorite song is Hold Up. All of the lyrics to that song are A+, but I’m particularly infatuated with:

Let’s imagine for a moment that you never made a name for yourself
Or mastered wealth, they had you labeled as a king
Never made it out the cage, still out there movin’ in them streets
Never had the baddest woman in the game up in your sheets
Would they be down to ride?
No, they used to hide from you, lie to you
But y’all know we were made for each other
So I find you and hold you down

Really interested in whether the album is fact or fiction. It seems so pointed at Jay Z but it could also just be a really clever fictional story.

I tend to go through phases where I want to eat the same meal multiple times a day for weeks at a time. Right now, I’m alllll about toast. I’m obsessed with Dave’s Killer Bread, particularly Good Seed. Here are the current variations I’ve been rotating through:

  1. Good Seed bread, toasted, spread with Adam’s Peanut Butter (I like crunchy), and sometimes a little bit of honey. Pro tip: put the honey on BEFORE the peanut butter. The peanut butter locks the honey in and it doesn’t drip everywhere!
  2. Good Seed bread, toasted, spread with butter and Marmite*, topped with smashed avocado and a fried egg (runny yolk needed!). No need for salt on the egg, since the Marmite provides that. (*Give Marmite a chance! If you’ve never tried it, you should! It’s salty and has almost a soy sauce taste, which pairs really well with the avocado. It’s also full of B vitamins. The key is to use it sparingly. A little bit goes a long way!)
  3. Good Seed bread, toasted, topped with avocado tuna salad. I like albacore canned tuna (or the kind in a pouch–I love that you don’t have to drain this tuna!). You can mix it with smashed avocado and skip mayo. I like to sprinkle a little bit of seasoning salt and sesame seeds on top. (If you have access to high-quality canned salmon, that’s also super delicious with avocado.)

YUM.

My current skincare situation

Hello!

It’s been over a year since my last post. I have no excuses, but I’ll try a couple on for size: work has been nuts (I got a promotion & extra responsibilities). I’ve been working hard to make more time in my life for hanging out with my friends and family, including monthly game night! My laptop has basically bitten the dust and blogging from a phone or tablet sux.

Anyway. The Husband and I are watching the new episode of Game of Thrones right now, and I usually multitask while we watch that show because I like to look away from the screen during stressful parts (s0, like, half of each episode). And I actually have a topic to blog about!

I’m turning 29 in a few months, which means I’m v.v. close to 30. In my teens I was always really excited for my late twenties and early thirties and they’ve been about as great as anticipated. It’s really nice to be past my early twenties, which in retrospect basically look like a blur of anxiety-ridden parties. However, being at the tail end of my 20s means my body no longer bounces back from awful treatment the way it once did. I’ve cleaned up my act a lot. I’m more or less vegetarian, though I do still eat wild meat like venison on occasion, and I do pretty well at getting my servings of fruit and veg every day. I lost 30ish lbs last year and have kept 25 of those pound off for an entire year,which feels like quite the accomplishment. I need to get back on the exercise bandwagon, but I do make an effort to stretch every day and walk as much as I can. I don’t drink much alcohol and try to get as much sleep as I can (though I still have trouble getting even 7 hours per night…but I try). I try to read books or listen to podcasts instead of watching much TV. I’ve even gotten better about keeping our house tidy. Overall? I feel like some kind of adult.

The most recent thing I’ve changed is skincare. I’ve always been super minimalist with any body care stuff. I wash my hair just a couple of times a week and have used coconut oil as moisturizer for a few years now. I use bar soap instead of fancy bath gel. I tend to buy whatever is on sale. Most days, I do not wear makeup, and if I do, I try to avoid foundation and just do very minimal eye makeup and some blush. I spend very, very little money on cosmetics and personal care items. The idea of adopting a ~*skincare routine*~ felt really daunting to me, and maybe unnecessary…but I really want to maintain my skin as I head into my third decade. Also, my skin has historically been sensitive and finicky (I’ve been known to break out in hives when I use certain shampoos) and I worried that trying out a lot of new products would do more damage than good (a few years ago I started using Neutrogena bar soap on my face, which is really mild. It BURNED my face, and I was bright red and peeling for days! So sensitive.). I decided to look for products that are a) not super expensive b) have good reviews c) are easy to use and d) don’t irritate my sensitive skin.

I also did a lot of research about dry skin, something which I’ve dealt with for years, and came up with some changes that have really helped. For one, I stopped using “squeaky clean” cleansers and switched to moisturizing cleansers. That has taken some getting used to, but it’s pretty clear that I’ve been stripping my face of its natural oils for a long time and was actually causing my own dry skin problem. I avoid astringent toners (which I never used regularly before but always seem to be kicking around in my medicine cabinet) and went for a more mellow witch hazel toner. And finally, I’ve started using a thick night cream on my face before bed. Dry skin supposedly helps wrinkles form, so I wanted to focus on correcting that issue. Happy to report that my skin has responded really well to these changes and I’m not even sure I consider myself to have dry skin any more!

Without any further storytelling…here’s my routine.

Morning

  1. Cleanse: Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. I use this in the shower and use a brush to apply it if I want some gentle exfoliating. (No link to the brush I use because it came from Forever 21 a few years ago and was like $2. Just search for facial cleansing brushes or check them out at Sephora, where they have some affordable ones. I’m not talking a Clarisonic, I’m talking a soft little brush that you use by hand.)
  2. Toner: Thayer’s Witch Hazel Rose Petal Toner. I apply this with a cotton ball. Here’s a post about why toner is an important step. Turns out, it’s mostly about pH. Who knew? This stuff smells AWESOME and leaves my skin feeling kinda…soggy? But in a good way. Apparently that’s the point, because moisturizers (the next step) are better absorbed by wet skin. 
  3. Moisturizer: I am still working on finding a daytime moisturizer that I like. I currently use either Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer with SPF 50+ or Yes to Carrots Daily Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15. I find that both of these moisturizers make my face simultaneously chalky and greasy, and put a weird white cast across my normally olive-toned skin. Turns out, this is a common problem with SPF lotion made in the US. I’ve ordered some Japanese facial lotion which apparently should help, but it won’t be here until June! For the time being, I cut my SPF lotion with Cetaphil Daily Moisturizer, which is more of a body lotion and does not contain SPF. That means I’m losing some sun protection, but it helps with the chalky/greasy feeling. To be clear, I do not strongly recommend either of those SPF moisturizers because of the way they make my skin look and feel after use. I’ll report back on the Japanese lotion.
  4. Makeup, if I’m wearing it. (Usually not the case.) (I might do a makeup post to share my super minimal routine & products.)

Evening

  1. Remove Makeup, if I’m wearing it: Simple Micellar Water. This is where things go into crazy-skincare-town. Micellar water sounds totally made up, but it really does remove makeup. It’s much gentler on my skin than most makeup removal cloths, and doesn’t leave my face feeling super greasy like some remover pads do. I sometimes use the micellar water even if I’m not wearing makeup, because it feels kinda nice.
  2. Cleanse: either a repeat of the Cetaphil cleanser I use in the morning, OR Pond’s Cold Cream Cleanser. Sometimes both, because Pond’s does leave my face feeling a little greasy. It is extremely effective, though, and doesn’t strip moisture at all. Pond’s is super old school and has an awesome smell that reminds me of my grandma. Its main ingredient is mineral oil, which I used to think was evil (thanks to “natural” skincare companies), but I’ve been reading up on it and decided to give it a shot.
  3. Toner: Thayer’s again.
  4. Moisturize: Boot’s No. 7 Beautiful Skin Night Cream for Dry/Very Dry. This stuff is HEAVY DUTY. My husband always comments that I look very “shiny” when I use it. It has done so much to resolve my dry skin problem, so I’m not fussed.

Occasional Treatments

  1. Exfoliate: This is something I do very, very occasionally. My sensitive skin does not hold up well to exfoliating, and rarely needs it. I got a sample of MAC Mineralize Volcanic Ash Exfoliator. It is gentle-ish in that it doesn’t irritate my skin if I use it carefully, but if I were to rub it in roughly, it would definitely make my skin unhappy. The grit is a little intense. This is also a very, very messy product. Use it in the shower. It leaves my face feeling super soft. This product doesn’t qualify as “affordable” so I’m not sure if I will buy more once my sample runs out.
  2. Sheet mask: This is another totally new thing for me. I use a Korean brand: Dermal Collagen Essence Masks. These are pretty cool. The soft cloth-like mask is soaked in a goopy “essence” that sits on your face for about 30 minutes. Very cooling and soothing. Leaves my skin feeling soft and moisturized. No clue if they’re really doing anything, but they aren’t too expensive and they’re fun to use.
  3. I use this method for pore “shrinking”. Read the whole post; lots of good info (and that blog in general has been a total wealth of skincare knowledge). I don’t use the exact products in that post. I use Stridex pads as the BHA element, an ancient bottle of pHisoderm 5 Minute Mask as the clay mask (no link because it is no longer produced, which is probably an indication that I should toss the bottle I have…), and Pond’s Cold Cream as the mineral oil element. I haven’t had the experience of pulling “grits” from my skin (ew!) but it leaves my skin feeling SO soft and smooth. It’s unreal. I think that I might buy the exact products she recommends to try out, since I’ve had pretty good success with my version but would love the full effect.

So, that’s what my current lineup looks like. All of these products are about $15 or less, except the exfoliator which, again, I got for free. It’s kind of bizarre to be spending a chunk of time on my skincare routine, twice a day, but there’s something soothing about it.

 

 

meatloaf and neurotoxins

I just made meatloaf. I looked up the recipe yesterday and let the ground venison (We’re all about the venison in this household and rarely eat beef; this makes for interesting recipes as venison is quite lean and has to be treated differently than beef. But I digress.) defrost in the fridge overnight. I almost always forget that step and end up defrosting in the microwave which is the worst. I was at the store today and was like, “Hey, I’m making meatloaf later. Do I have all the ingredients? I think so. Except I need tomato paste.” So I bought tomato paste.

Then I got home and looked at the recipe again and realized that it called for tomato sauce, not paste. And also I didn’t have bread crumbs or onions. I decided to improvise, which is usually ill-advised. I just used the paste instead of sauce without altering the amount (shrug, so lazy) and instead of onion I used onion powder, which I know is not the same but what are you gonna do. The whole breadcrumb thing was a little dicey though. We didn’t even have actual bread in the house. I toasted 1.5 English muffins and ran them through the blender (hmmmm) and that didn’t quite make the 1 cup of bread crumbs I needed, so I then tossed some rolled rye in the blender too (double hmmmm).

So, I was already on thin ice. Then I dumped everything together and smooshed it around and put it in a loaf pan and put ketchup on top, like the Husband likes. Then I took a look at the recipe, trying to find the correct temperature to bake at (lol I didn’t preheat the oven, of course not) and realized that half the ingredients I’d mixed in with the meat were actually meant to be a glaze on top. Except one of those ingredients was vinegar, which I’d completely forgotten and it was now too late to backtrack and add it. So, whoops.

It took about a million years to cook and there were still visible flecks of the poorly-ground rolled rye in the loaf. But you know what? It turned out legitimately delicious. It goes against all logic, doesn’t it? But I guess maybe when you put tomato product + eggs + ground up bread product + delicious wild venison + spices all together it is hard to mess it up that badly.

After not having the internet for a long time we finally got it again a while ago, and then we went crazy with getting all the streaming video services on our Wii. We have Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime Instant Video. We still don’t watch a ton of TV; I love my trashy reality shows and Husband has been watching everything with the word “gang” in the title (who knows). I also love re-watching The Office, Friends, and 30 Rock. Question: When is Sex and the City going to be on any streaming service other than HBO Go? Never? Okay. Anyway I watched the last season of Parks & Rec and I’m really impressed with the way the show stayed golden and hilarious until the very end (and that last episode is a tear jerker!). Also, Husband and I are both into Cutthroat Kitchen. I love Chopped but Cutthroat Kitchen takes it to a whoooole different level. He and I watch it together and spend a lot of time yelling at the contestants about how much they should bid on the different auction items and what they should obviously be cooking. Stamp of approval for that show, in case you’re on the fence. (I doubt you were. But just in case.)

I have been thinking about doing one of those “What’s in your purse?” posts but it would just be kind of embarrasing because mostly in my purse is old receipts, gum wrappers, pay stubs that I never remember to file away, the Valentine’s Day card I got from my husband and have been meaning to hang up at work but keep forgetting and thus shuttling it back and forth in my purse for weeks, four or five lip products, a pen that probably doesn’t work, my wallet and keys but only maybe since I always seem to lose them somewhere in the house, and probably a fork or something. Not worth it.

I tried to order flea medicine for the dogs (’tis the season) from the 1-800-Pet-Meds website. (Btw I think it is really silly that they kept the phone number as the name of their website. Years from now when the 1-800 number is defunct because no one uses phones anymore and the internet is the tyrranical king, the name is going to make no sense.) I did this rather than buy at a store because after comparing prices, I realized that it was cheaper online. Especially after googling “1800 pet meds coupon codes” which EVERYONE SHOULD ALWAYS DO BEFORE BUYING ANYTHING ONLINE. SERIOUSLY. IF YOU’RE NOT DOING THAT, YOU’RE SILLY. I placed the order on February 17th. I immediately got an order confirmation email, which said I would be receiving a second email once my product shipped. Meanwhile my dogs probably already have fleas. So I’m being pretty patient, thinking 7 days shipping might not include processing before they send it out, and probably only counts business days. Today, it’s been 12 business days and not a sign of the package, or even the email saying it’s been shipped. I finally give them a call to see what gives. I’m told that in order to process the payment, they need the CVV code from the back of the card we paid with. That card was in my husband’s wallet, with him, at work. I said I’d call back. I also asked what the hell–why wasn’t I informed of this? I’ve been sitting around twiddling my thumbs for over two weeks and all they needed was those three little numbers. The lady told me that they sent me an email on February 17th, the day I placed my order. I told her that I got an email but it was only the confirmation. She said she had record of both emails going out that day. I told her I didn’t get it and she just gave me strong overtones of “Well, we sent it, so that’s not really our fault, is it?” without saying it outright. Anyway I hung up but I was really cranky about it. So I go into my email to look for this supposed email. Checked my spam and trash, though I really don’t delete stuff from my inbox often so there’s not a lot in the trash. No email, of course. I’m not saying they didn’t send one, but I definitely couldn’t find any trace of it in my email. At that point I decided to just call and cancel the order because I was so annoyed. I have to say I won’t be shopping there again. The part that I don’t understand is that they supposedly sent me an email on the day of the order saying they needed that code, but then I didn’t respond for almost 3 weeks so they just let my order sit in limbo? I wonder how long they were going to let it go without sending a second email or just cancelling the order or something. Moral of the story: price be damned, I’m buying those little packets of neurotoxins at a brick and mortar pet supply shop instead.

hey there, it’s march

Writing this from my same ol’ laptop, the spirit of which has been bolstered by the arrival of a new battery!!! My sister was in town and helped me decipher the tiny numbers on the original battery and figure out how to buy a (non-HP-endorsed and therefore cheap) replacement. So far, so good. Up until today, the laptop died every time it was unplugged. Husband’s solution was to plug a 50 foot orange extension cord in to a bedroom outlet and then just drag it with him to whichever room he wanted to use the laptop in. Hm. It worked okay, except for UGH I got really tired of looking at that stupid extension cord. Also, our dogs were frequently running by and tripping over the cord and unplugging the laptop, and bloop, it would die. Needless to say, I’m stoked about the replacement. Foot-loose and cord-free!

I keep a little list on my phone of things to write about here, but my phone died and the charger is in the other room so I’m just going to type until some ideas happen.

I bought a pattern for the Emery Dress a few weeks ago, and went to the fabric store immediately. I actually bought plain muslin and am making a muslin mock-up for the first time in my life. I worked on it for one day and then kinda haven’t picked it up again since then. I actually have a really good excuse, though!

I’ve lost 15 lbs in just over a month. Woo hoo! I have been going to my MIL’s doctor’s appointments with her and I stepped on the scale at the office just out of curiosity, since I didn’t own one at home. UM. I was horrified to see the highest number of my entire life. So I got the MyFitnessPal app as well as a Misfit fitness tracker and have been keeping close tabs on my food intake and activity levels. I feel healthier and happier than I have in a long time. I have more energy and my meals are more nutritious. I’m also cooking at home for the vast majority of my meals so I’m saving a lot of money.

This ties in to the whole dress thing because I cut out the muslin based on measurements before I started all that, which means the dress will be too big. It would be so unbelievably frustrating to put together a dress and have it be a few sizes too big, so I decided I won’t make the dress until I reach my ~*goal size*~. Btw I’m sorry to talk about weight loss–I feel like it is so grating and annoying but I’m pretty proud of myself and am never going to be one of those bonkers Fitness Ladies.

I’m also irritated because remember that awesome skirt I got from Asos back in December? Yeah, it doesn’t fit anymore. Sigh.

I’ve also been mostly sorta kinda keeping up with my book-reading goal for 2015. I set a goal of 52 books for the year and Goodreads tells me I’ve read 6 so far, and am nearly done with my 7th. So I’m actually slightly behind but I feel pretty good about accomplishing the goal by the end of the year. The books I’ve read so far are pretty lame. Not even sure I want to say this here but I read the first two Twilight books as well as 50 Shades of Grey. I don’t have a good explanation for this, except curiosity…and then once I got into the first Twilight book I felt that I needed to hear the end of the story. So I’m currently tracking down the third book at Goodwill (I refuse to pay for it new, yuck!). Twilight isn’t actually THAT poorly written but the story itself is eh, plus problematic as people have been pointing out for years. 50 Shades of Gray is SOOOOO poorly written. The author seems limited to about five descriptive phrases and repeats them over and over and over again during the sexy scenes. It’s irritating and bad. I still might finish the series (I just always want to know how things end) but I refuse to enjoy it.

I had Trader Joe’s cookie butter for the first time, finally. It’s pretty good. It definitely tastes good but the texture is a little odd. It isn’t oily like peanut butter, and it isn’t grainy like cookie dough (two textures I really like). It’s more…sticky? Idk, I don’t really like the way it sticks to the inside of my mouth. But the flavor is fairly redeeming, so I’ve been having a tablespoon of it by itself or on an English muffin every now and then.

I just taught my husband how to take a screenshot on his phone. Baby’s first screenshot🙂

It was really sunny today (and has been for days/weeks, wtf, is this end times or???) and we had a really nice day. Husby woke up early to babysit our nephew for a couple of hours (I slept in because lazy) and when he finished we went out to lunch at Lardo, a sandwich shop which grew out of one of the famous Portland food carts. Um, yum. Though the name doesn’t bode well for currently-calorie-counting me. I had the Italian Tuna Melt and it was crazy delicious. Capers in tuna salad! Genius, and I’m totally doing that from now on. I skipped the fries but Chris got them and offered me a taste, and those rosemary Parmesan covered potatoes are the business. I also got iced tea and I think their iced tea might be a jasmine black tea because it was definitely above average and had a floral taste.

We then went to Music Millennium, a record store in this funky building. Very Portland. I got Cat Stevens’s album Cat’s in the Cradle on vinyl (and some incense because I am 15 years old). That album includes the song I Love My Dog…

…which is amazing, and obviously speaks to me on a very deep level.

We then came home and did some chores, and then went to Home Depot

17072878

for plants. We got our pea and Swiss chard starts in, and are starting some tomato seeds indoors to plant in a few weeks. We already have a few volunteer tomatoes from ones that dropped off the vine last year, which is nice and easy for us!

I also got some flowering perennials (English daisy, Shasta daisy, pincushion flower) for my flower bed in the front yard.

THEN our friend finished working on his boat and took us for a ride in the river! Afterward we made dinner (chicken korma and rice) and now I’m going to read Julie and Julia until I pass out. (Spoiler alert: this book is a total bummer!!! I mean maybe I’m being harsh but it is making me sad to read it.)

fancy stuff

I had a weird drifting-off-to-sleep thought last night. You know that time, when you’re not yet asleep but your brain is kind of heading into dreamland so your thoughts start out normal and then take a sharp left. Well the thought was “It would be horrible if books were made of sand”. I was actually halfway dreaming that I had a book made of sand and every time I tried to turn a page, it just, you know, acted like sand and kind of sifted through my fingers and it was unbelievably frustrating.

I think the reason I was thinking about books and reading is that I made an uncharacteristically vague New Year’s resolution for myself, which is basically “read more”. But I always like to set goals which are quite firm and definitive and that was a bit too wishy washy for me so I ended up downloading the Goodreads app and am now tracking all the books I’m reading; to give the whole thing more structure. I read two books in the first 6 days of the year, which felt like a good start. It isn’t really an accurate picture of how much & how quickly I read, though, because the bulk of that reading took place while we were at the cabin this weekend for two days. I parked it in front of the woodstove with m&ms and donuts and a pile of books. I read Ann Rule’s Heart Full of Lies which was extremely meh. I am usually a true-crime fan, and I have liked the majority of Ann Rule’s stuff that I’ve read, but this one had a few glaring mistakes that were hard to overlook. It was interesting, though, because the crime took place in my home state and I found out that the criminal has actually been released from prison and is living not far from me. Huh.

The other book I read was My Life In France by Julia Child and Alex Prud’Homme which I cannot recommend highly enough. I have never cooked a Julia Child recipe and though I do remember watching her show a few times as a kid, most of what I know about her comes from Meryl Streep’s (lovely) portrayal of her in Julie and Julia. Being 6 feet tall myself, I’m always infatuated with really tall women and I had been meaning for a while to learn more about her. This book was fascinating and I really enjoyed her photographs and words about Paris in the 1950s. Right up my alley. I’m going to get my hands on some of her cookbooks and try a few French recipes, though they sound VERY complicated and detail-oriented compared to my typical style (aka no style) in the kitchen.

I think overall I’d like to read 52 books in the year, which is one per week (duh) and so far, so good. I think that might be a little on the high side and I might end up in a mad scramble at the end of the year, but I guess we’ll see.

I got an iPhone 5s in gold which is the nicest electronic I think I’ve ever owned. I’ve always had different Android phones and have been disappointed time and time again, so when my mom’s phone broke and she decided that she wanted to change plans, we moved to AT&T together and both got iPhones. She got the 6, fancy lady. I’m really excited about the phone in general, but specifically, the camera is so great and I’ve been taking a lot of photos! Also, apps! And texting is great! Especially iMessage. ALSO I got to FaceTime with my little sissies overseas. iPhone: A+.

Here are the other goals I have for the next year:

-Visit the mortgage consultant with husband and get the ball rolling on buying a house. This will take place within the first six months of the year.
-Take at least one fun trip, most likely domestic and not international (but don’t say no to an international trip if it comes up…). I am thinking of visiting the East Coast, maybe Boston? I was born there & lived there as a wee babe, and have been back one time for a crazy day trip where we did SO MANY THINGS in 12 hours, but I’d like to go back for another, less rushed, visit. Especially with husband, as he’s never been. Other options; Washington DC? (Husband’s been, I haven’t.) NYC? (Neither of us have been, this might be far too overwhelming.) San Francisco? (Husband and I have both  been, but not together.)

Husband was 100% on board with the trip, particularly domestic. We have traveled internationally together multiple times and he really, really doesn’t like long plane trips. The older I get, the more I dislike them. Being 6 feet tall at 18 was fine because I could just fold up like an umbrella and hang out on a plane for 24 hours. But my knees and back are starting to rebel so I don’t enjoy plane rides like I used to. (That said, there are plenty of international trips we could take that call for shorter plane rides so we might revisit that point.) He also said he feels a little silly traveling to other countries when there are parts of the US that we’ve never seen. Point taken.

He also wants to spend more time exploring our area and getting away from the city. In particular, he wants to go to the cabin with me more often. And we managed to go in the first week of the new year! If we’re smart about it, we might even be able to go once a month or something. The most exciting part of going to the cabin this week is that we TOOK OUR CAT WITH US. I had to ask for that for a whole week leading up to it. Husband thought it was a really weird idea because we always take our dogs to the cabin but taking a cat seemed silly, but I told him about the cat that my family had when I was a teenager and how we used to take her to the family cabin with us, and he finally relented and we took her with us.

catcabin

And here she is, helping us unpack our food and beer.

Other stuff, in a list:
1. I’ve been listening to a TON of podcasts for the first time in my life. My favorites: No Such Thing As Fish (from the writers of British quiz show QI); Sound Opinions (music opinions & reviews, interviews, playlists, etc.etc.); CRIMINAL (short episodes, 15 mins each, crime topics); The Moth (people tell stories about their experiences in front of live audiences); Radio Lab; This American Life; and SERIAL!!! Which is the podcast that got me into this whole podcast thing. A true crime story–FASCINATING and a must-listen.
2. The No Such Thing As Fish podcast made me want to watch QI which is what I’m doing as I type this. I think an unofficial resolution for the year is to take in better media in general. More reading, more podcasts, more well-made television. Less vegging out in front of hours and hours while watching reality television.
3. That said, I am in no way prepared to defend my choice of books. Books are good no matter what, right? Even if I’m reading cheesy chick lit or true crime garbage? Right????

Alright, I think that’s enough for now!

good little consumer

Be warned: this post is mostly about buying stuff.

I think I’ve stayed up too late, because I just went on an online shopping spree. I do love online shopping and do a lot of Amazon Wishlist curating, and I did just buy a lot of Christmas presents for people online. But I feel sort of terribly guilty about buying stuff for myself. But I can justify it by remembering that I desperately need new work clothes (seriously–I wear the same two or three shirts, one skirt, and one pair of slacks all the time). I just needed a few more items so I have a tiny bit more variety in my wardrobe. Plus, Forever 21 is having a buy-one-get-one-free sale on all sale items (dang) AND free shipping (double dang) so my total was really reasonable.

As I’ve mentioned before, I wear almost all black, almost all the time. I also wear gray, though. And sometimes white. But mostly black. I actually went out on a limb and bought some non-black clothing!

I got this top in blush.

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I got this top in peach (and black, natch).

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I got this sweater in charcoal (so, like, black) as well as heather grey. I think I’m the most excited about the sweaters. Darn if I don’t love sweaters.
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I also got this faux leather bag in black.
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And I may have gone slightly nuts and shopped at Asos for the first time in my life. I found this midi-length skirt and got it in black. The photos are in green, though, because the black doesn’t really look that good in photos–hopefully it looks okay in person! I really wanted the green, actually, but it is something I would have a hard time wearing frequently and the point is to get work clothes I can actually wear. I also found a promo code for 10% off and shipping was free. So, there. Justified.image2xxl image4xxl

I’m currently watching Love Actually for the second time this holiday season. Definitely a favorite of mine. Other favorite Christmas/Holiday movies:

  • Elf
  • The Family Stone
  • The Santa Clause (the original and the other two!)
  • The Grinch (the live action one, though the original cartoon is also excellent)

I will watch literally anything holiday related, though–I’ve sat through the crappiest of crap holiday movies on Netflix. Year-round, if I’m feeling bummed out for whatever reason, I’ll watch a Christmas movie on Netflix and feel better. Christmas is just my jam.

I’m whitening my teeth right now with these Crest 3D Whitestrips Luxe Glamorous White (jesus could that name be any more cringey/long?). I used to whiten my teeth once a year or so with the strips, and I remember them being really thin, and goopy/slimy feeling, and always sliding off my teeth. It’s been a few years since I’ve bought them, mostly because they’re expensive and a very very very First World thing to purchase which always makes me feel a little gross. But I’ve been watching The Only Way is Essex nonstop* and their teeth are just so damn white in that show. It just kept nagging at me that I haven’t whitened my teeth in so long and I could really use a box of Whitestrips and then I ordered them from Amazon like some kind of zombie. ANYWAY. The point of this is that Whitestrips have gotten so much better in the past few years. I was, like, shocked. Super surprised. They aren’t slimy anymore, they’re quite sticky. The plastic feels smooth now, instead of bumpy, and they don’t fill my mouth with slimy gross white hydrogen peroxide foam like the old ones used to. These stick on and don’t budge. You can actually drink water while wearing them. They’re actually so sticky that they’re a bit hard to remove, but whatever. As far as how well they whiten, well, I don’t know about that, as I’m only on day 3. So I guess I’ll get back to you on that one. (OF COURSE I took before photos–what kind of monster do you take me for?) I’ve also noticed that they do make my teeth a little sore, especially my bottom teeth, which are kind of sensitive to begin with. But it isn’t so bad and I’ve been able to pretty much ignore it so far.

*It’s ridiculous how much I love this show. I’m always watching British TV; not sure how or when the whole Anglophile thing started for me but I’m in too deep to escape at this point. I also love trashy American reality stuff like Jersey Shore, and TOWIE (yeah I did that) is like the perfect culmination of these two things. The makeup! The fake boobs! The yelling at one another in clubs! It’s too much.

By the way, I’ve found THE MOST EXCELLENT red lipstick of my whole life, and it only costs $3 at WalMart. I KNOW. It’s made by e.l.f. and it is a “matte” lipstick in Rich Red. The other colors of these matte lipsticks are utter garbage and not worth buying. The colors are really muted and weird and not at all flattering. Seriously, don’t bother. But this Rich Red color is amazing. First of all, the lipstick is quite thin–I guess it is called a crayon? You can basically use it as lipliner before applying the actual lipstick. The color is a really nice, bright red. Now, I wouldn’t call it matte, honestly–it’s more of a satin. But I can put it on before work and wear it all day without reapplying. It doesn’t wear off much (kind of like a lip stain really) and doesn’t clump or feel sticky. It’s slightly moisturizing but mostly just pleasantly dry and doesn’t feel like you’re wearing lipstick at all. Here is a better review than I’ve just given. My future does not lie in cosmetics reviewing. (I just stumbled upon this and now desperately want those other colors…I wonder if they’re available in the US! Didn’t see them at WalMart. Going to look into that because those colors are really nice.)

I got a cat. Did I mention that? Well, I did. Long story short, she was abandoned in the snow and my sister rescued her, but as my sister has two cats and an enormous dog already, she needed to find a home for her. The Husband had agreed that we could take in a homeless cat if we found one but he didn’t want to actively seek one out…I managed to convince him that my sister finding one was CLOSE ENOUGH. We have had her for over two weeks now and are having Name Problems. We didn’t call her anything at all for the first few days, but eventually decided on Mimsy, except that hasn’t really stuck. We just call her Cat. I don’t want that to be her name for good so I’m trying to find something suitable…Twiggy is sounding pretty good, as is Wellie. But Nothing is sticking. Meh.

Alright, Emma Thompson is explaining her love for Joni Mitchell and I have to work tomorrow and it’s 1 am. Time for sleep. (Or laying down and watching TOWIE in bed since Husband is already passed out…)