These last few months have been all gray and subzero temperatures and holidays and stress and I’ve sometimes struggled to be my “glass half full” self lately. Just to be clear, I’m happy and have no real complaints, I’m just a little worn out. So I’m just going share a little bit of what’s going on with me, because this is my blog and I feel like it.
It’s -11 degrees outside and day 2 of Polar Vortex: The Return. This is the type of weather where you just want to stay huddled underneath a blanket and binge watch TV shows on Netflix. When it’s cold, I want comfort food and one of my favorites is oatmeal.
I’ve been perfecting my oatmeal recipe for years and I want to share my perfect bowl of oatmeal recipe with you. No shade against making instant oatmeal with water, but I promise you it tastes so much better when you make it on the stove with milk*.
*Almond milk in my case, or for those of you who don’t do lactose
I’ve had problem skin for much of my life. I’ve done everything imaginable to my face in the hopes of having clear skin and I figured a lot of useful information out in the process. But something that took me the longest to figure out about my skin is the principle of less is more.
It never occurred to me until I got pregnant and realized that I had to get rid of all products that weren’t baby safe that it finally dawned on me: I’ve been using too much shit on my face. All those acne washes and creams and position were keeping my skin from being all that it could be. Through diet changes and taking certain supplements, I got my skin mostly clear. But two problems still remained: My periodic breakouts that always left hyper pigmentation scars and I still had excessively oily skin.
As children, we believe we can do anything. When I was a toddler, I wanted to be a princess and an Olympic track star (yes, both). Maybe that was a bit farfetched, but at least I had big dreams. As we get older, we start to receive messages that we actually can’t do or be whatever we want and should be realistic. Some can brush this off and keep plugging away at their dreams.
Others like myself eventually let these messages stop them in their tracks or cause them to spiral into a ball of confusion. Though I have managed to do a few improbable things over the years like getting a graphic design job in college without ever having used Photoshop or Illustrator and getting my first web developer job with no prior experience or formal training. Or start a successful t-shirt company with no garment or apparel industry experience. Even still, more times than not I have felt like I wasn’t reaching my full potential in life.
I got an e-mail from a reader (shout out to Colleen) asking me to detail my hair regimen. It’s a question I get fairly often in real life too, so I figured I’d go ahead and write a post about it.
I have abused my hair a lot during my life, but at the end of 2011 I made a decision I was going to take care of my hair and grow it as long as possible. I had ridiculously long hair as a child, but over then years, relaxers and flat irons and too tight ponytails took their toll. These days I get a lot of compliments on my hair, but it’s my civic duty to let you know I didn’t just wake up like dis.
I started working on this post yesterday and I figured it would take me a few hours of research and writing and I’d post it for your reading enjoyment and then I’d be on with the rest of my day. WRONG! Researching what was in my products opened up Pandora’s box and this information has since consumed my waking (and sleeping) moments. I consider myself to be a knowledgable person as far as what’s in the products I use, but I ended up learning so much more.
In recent years I have been interested in the ingredients I put in and on my body. I limited the products I purchased that contained parabens, propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate, etc. because I felt like a more natural approach just worked better for me.
I’ve gotten even more serious about what products I use on my body since I found out I was pregnant 5 months ago. The first to go was my deodorant which contained aluminum. Then was my homey since my teenage years, salicylic acid which is in pretty much every acne product known to man. Then I ditched nail polish and anything with strong, synthetic fragrances or artificial colors.
Interestingly enough, the more I read labels, the more I felt like I needed a chemistry degree to decipher why was in the products I was using. Even “natural” products had ingredients listed that I wasn’t completely sure about so I decided to look a lot of them up. I made a helpful list of some well known controversial product additives and some lesser known ones you may not be aware of, but here’s a little background before we get to that.
This was really hard to write. I don’t know why because I really do like finding the lessons in my experiences but I guess I put myself on the spot. But as we head into 2014, I felt like it was important to reflect on this past year. So um, here goes nothing!
Time flies when you don’t have a plan
I think everyone thinks they’re going to take over the world at the beginning of a new year. Some do, but most don’t. I had a lot of plans for 2013 that I’m just now gaining traction on. How can you actually accomplish something and not underachieve in your new year? Identify some goals. Keep yourself accountable and do a little bit every day. It’s not magic, but it works.
Avoid burning bridges
At the end of 2012, my life was a little bit of a mess. I was in a substantial amount of debt with no health insurance and in the process of moving from Connecticut back to Chicago with some uncertainty about where I would live long term. This was a recipe for disaster, but luckily I left my old job on good terms and they took me back when I needed it most. I started again on January 1, 2013 and I am coming up on my second-time-around 1-year anniversary. I’m proud to announce I’m debt free and have been for quite a few months now. You never know how life is going to turn out, so it’s best to keep your options open.
I love accessories and own a lot of earrings, bracelets and necklaces, but I often find myself getting attached to just a few. Here are some of the pieces I feel naked without.
I loooove body scrubs! I am a huge fan of buying sugar scrubs, but like my recent experiment with whipped shea butter, I was curious about the process of making my own scrub. It’s so simple, I think I may be making all of my own scrubs from now on. Customized scrubs also make great gifts! I gave a few away for Christmas and have already gotten rave reviews.
Benefits of Sugar Scrub
There are a million and one benefits for using scrubs, so I’ll just name a few that I know from experience:
- Great exfoliant
- Moisturizes skin
- Safe for individuals with sensitive skin
- Improves circulation
- Can help with certain skin conditions, like eczema
While salt scrubs are also beneficial, I prefer sugar scrubs for the above reasons but mostly because I feel it is less abrasive and damaging to your skin. I think salt scrubs are a better choice for feet or very rough areas of skin. Now let’s make some scrub!