17 December 2014

From Me to Myself

Next week at this time, we'll all be waiting for Santa to visit, and the ultimate day of anticipation will be nearly over.  I love Christmas Eve, as much as I love Christmas Day, to be honest.

Over the years, I've asked for some cosmetics or perfumes for Christmas, but I am pretty sure that The Tim doesn't think they are good gifts, since I can buy them for myself.  I finally decided that if I want anything like that, I'll just save up and buy it for myself and not think it can only be at Christmastime.

This year, I have decided I will treat myself to a NARS Audacious Lipstick.  I love lipstick, but seldom do I buy any expensive ones.  As a matter of fact, most that I have are gift-with-purchase ones, or samples that came with some other promotion.  But I've seen a few magazine articles in the last few months, and have read some beauty blogs where they have talked about the  Audacious Lipsticks, and I have really wanted to try them out.

I am trying to decide what shade to try, though.  I like Audrey:

but also Brigitte:

and even Fanny:

Of course, by the time I have saved enough to treat myself, I may have just changed my mind altogether!

What about you?  Do you ever received cosmetic gifts, or do you buy them for yourself?

03 December 2014

The Good. The Bad. The Verdict.

I keep reading how wonderful various serums are supposed to be, and that you should use them as part of your beauty routine.  A couple of months ago, I had a gift card from Macy's that was burning a hole in my pocket.  Having read a lot of good reviews about it, I decided to purchase Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Serum and give it a try.  My skin tends to be blotchy, and one of the things this product claimed to do was even out skin tone.  So I purchased the smaller size (1 oz.), and took it home to try.

The Good:  This is a lovely product!  A nice, light, smooth lotion that comes out of a pump bottle.  I decided I would only use this at night, and I used two pumps each time (which covered my face, but with a very light layer).  Well, it is a great product!  No discernible scent, easily absorbed, and very refreshing to use.  My face felt soft after application, and any moisturizer I used went on very easily after letting the serum set for a minute or so.

The Bad:  I was very conservative in the amounts I pumped out of the bottle, and this only lasted 22 days!  Not even a whole month, and granted it was the smaller size - but not a travel size or anything like that.  I could not believe it.  The small size retails for $59.50, which is not inexpensive, by any means.  Using the BMST, this product costs approximately $2.70 per use.  That seems on the spendy side, if you ask me.   Granted, I have not used any other serums to compare.   But if I wanted to continue using this, I might try the larger size to see how it compares, though I fear it may be the same or worse.

The Verdict:  Well, I have come to the conclusion that I would need to try one or two others in order to compare - maybe a high-end one, and an drugstore one - to have it be a fair fight.  However, I'm not 100% convinced that I actually *need* to use a serum.  As I said, I liked what it did to my skin, and how it felt, etc., but I've gone this long without using one and my skin is actually not that bad.  So until and unless I have another gift card, I think I'll just go back to my usual routine, because frankly, $2.70 per use seems ridiculous for something that, at best, is an add-on, even if it does help my skin a bit.

So there you go.  Have you tried any new products lately?  What did you think?

26 November 2014

Thanksgiving Day

Best wishes for a very happy Thanksgiving!

"We can only be said to be alive in those moments
when our hearts are conscious of our treasure"
-- Thornton Wilder

09 November 2014

An Old and New Fave

Years ago, I used to religiously take a bubble bath every Friday night.  Mostly so I could shave my legs, but it was also relaxing and cozy.  One year I asked for a bottle of Kiehl's Creme de Corps for Christmas, because I had read in a magazine that it was nice stuff, and I was too cheap to spend the money myself.  I really liked it, and when I would use it on my legs after shaving, it felt really soothing.

Eventually that bottle was used up, and that was that.

These days, I still take bubble baths, though not every single Friday night no matter what.  I still enjoy them, and particularly during cold weather, they warm me up quite nicely.  I've tried various different lotions to use afterwards, with varying results.

About a month ago, I was reading someone's blog (sorry I can't remember which it was to link), and they mentioned using Creme de Corps all of the time, since it was the ONLY thing that helped their skin in winter.  And I remembered how much I'd liked it when I had that bottle years ago.  And I decided to spring for a bottle myself and revisit it.

My skin gets extremely dry during the winter.  Dry as in cracking and bleeding, particularly on my legs and arms.  I have used various things, including a prescription lotion, which helps but is used up very quickly.  I figured maybe another try at Creme de Corps would be worth it.

It has been.  I treated myself to a 4.2 fluid ounce bottle, which cost $18.00.  I started out using it every time I took a shower, on my arms and legs.  And after a week, my skin was so soft, so supple, and so non-dry, that I decided to try using it every other day.  I seriously cannot believe the difference.  The other day, I was putting on a pair of tights, and there were no dry skin flakes flying around as I was getting them onto my legs!

So I am here to encourage you to try this stuff if cold weather makes your skin dry.  It is very luxurious feeling, but it almost immediately absorbs into your skin, leaving it soft but not greasy or lotion-y.  There is no discernible scent.  I also think that the bottle will last me a while, since a little bit goes a long way.

Kiehl's Creme de Corps.  Worth the splurge.  Try it.

02 November 2014

Two Mini-Reviews

Well hello there - I know I've been gone for a while, except for some quick check-ins.  October was pretty busy, plus I caught a cold that messed with me for about 10 days (7 of those days were particularly miserable).  But fortunately it's left, except for a few sniffles, so I can get back to my routine.

I realized that there were two products I meant to write about here, and just completely forgot about it.  So here you go.

I'd read a few reviews of this product, Ole Henriksen Ultimate Lift Eye Gel, and decided to give it a try.  I was really disappointed.  The thing that bothered me most was the consistency - it didn't feel like a gel to me at all.  It was really thick and goopy, and felt very sticky on your finger, as well as when you were applying it to the eye area.  It also stung a bit once applied, which surprised me, since the ingredients and the reviews made it sound incredibly gentle.

I used it for two weeks and gave up.  I just did not like it, and decided that it was stupid to keep using it just because I had it in my possession.

Next up, Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Radiance Lotion.  I really wanted to like this product, since Fresh products are usually so nice.  Unfortunately, this was another fail for me.  For one thing, the bottle is not that big, and you need a lot of pumps to get enough product to cover your face (or at least I did).  As a result, it doesn't last that long, so it is not cost-effective.  And this is another one that just had a weird consistency to me - not quite a lotion feel.  There was a slight, though not completely unpleasant, scent to it that dissipated almost immediately.
I will not be buying this one again.

So there you go - I realize I gave you two negative reviews here, but it's only fair when I tell you things I like to also tell you things I do not.

Of course, I do not in any way speak for anyone but myself.  Clearly, other people have had success with both of these products, and I'm sure they each have devotees.  For my money, though, I'll try something else.

17 October 2014


Hello there!  I just wanted to say that I'm still here and OK, just way too busy lately.  But I have some pictures I will be posting next week, some from an event that I attended with one of my favorite boys - Dug the Doodle Dog!

In the meantime, take care and enjoy this lovely fall weekend!

02 October 2014

Makeup Alley

I will admit that I love reading magazines like Allure, where they talk about various beauty products, and often rate them according to a panel of experts in skincare and beauty.  I also enjoy other magazines where I can drool over clothes and shoes, but I can very seldom afford to try those items (or even find them, where I shop!).

And I do enjoy blathering on about various products (hence this blog), and I have a couple of friends who also do, so we do a lot of e-mail exchanges about various products and topics (neither lives nearby, so I seldom get to see them in person).

A few years back, one of them told me about Makeup Alley.  Do you know it?  It's an online site where reviews of different products have been contributed by members.  All ages, all price ranges, all personal opinions - and a great place to get a feel for things you might want to try.  You can even filter the reviews by your skin type, age, etc., which can be particularly helpful.

Like most things in the universe, I like to form my own opinions in the end.  But this site is really wonderful for giving you an idea of what "real" people think, as opposed to marketing and beauty editors whose raison d'etre is to get you to buy the products.  There are also forums where you can ask questions and get specific answers to them from various members.

If you have never visited, you should check it out.  It's free to join, and other than a monthly "What's New" e-mail newsletter, they never bug you with other messages/spam.  If you do decide to join - or even if you are already a member - you can even avail yourself of my reviews!  My username there is Gitte, *and I think I have approximately 20 reviews that I've contributed.

Please note that this post is my opinion only, and I have not been asked to write it by Makeup Alley or anyone associated with it.  I just wanted to tell you what my experience with it has been.


*One of the e-mail friends referenced above used to call me "Brigitte," and then shortened it to "Gitte."  It's a useful username, since it's usually not already in existence.  :-)

27 September 2014

Thinking Ahead to Fall

Fall is one of my very favorite times of year.  The weather cools (well not here today, but ...) and the air feels crisp, the leaves change, and there is a sense of anticipation.  Even as a kid, when I wouldn't necessarily look forward to going back to school, I still enjoyed it when fall actually announced itself.

For me, and maybe also for you, it means switching out most of what is in my closet and dresser drawers.  The shorts, sleeveless tops, and sandals get put away to make room for heavier clothes, shoes, and boots.  I like to change purses as well, and update my makeup.  Granted, this doesn't all take me that long, since it's not like I have so much stuff to work with, but I am still determined this year to do it more thoughtfully.  Too often I keep things because of "maybe" - as in, maybe it's better than not having a blue shirt, etc. at all, maybe it will fit again/fit better next year - you get the drift.  Then when I pull it out the next year, I feel obliged to keep it.

Not this time.  I am prepared to be serious about what I actually keep and donate what I can.  Other stuff will either be repurposed, or thrown away.  And I'm going to apply this rule of mine to everything I put away.  Another bonus is that it will mean taking up less storage space, and in our house that's always a good thing.

Will it actually happen?  Can I do it?  Well, I'll keep you posted, wish me luck!

17 September 2014

Thoughts on Body Image

I have been thinking a lot lately about the topic of body image.  Probably  because lately I have also been thinking a lot about my body.  Some thoughts that are mine are below, and I am not claiming to have the answer, or be perfect.  But I just felt like telling you - of course, that does not mean you even have to read any more of this, but if you do, please know that I do not mean to sound superior, OK?

For as long as I can remember, I have been out of the loop, so to speak, on this topic.  I was fortunate as a kid and then again as a teenager to never, ever have my mother say anything about whether I was fat, skinny, tall, short, whatever.  I also am not aware of her ever saying anything like that about my sisters either.  Don't get me wrong, it's not like she was above saying, "Wow, So-and-So looks like she gained weight," or similar, but it was not something she was always talking about.

Now of course, I was surrounded by other people and their parents who seemed obsessed with weight, appearance, boyfriends, etc.  And who longed to look like certain movie stars or models.  Mostly I thought they were kind of stupid.

It really and truly never, ever, occurred to me that I was *supposed* to look anything like women in fashion magazines.  Oh, I would wish I had some of the clothes or shoes, and often I wished I had the hair/hairstyle, but I can truly say that I never saw those women as having anything directly to do with me or how I looked.  And it's not like I was super well-adjusted - trust me, I had (and still have) PLENTY of my own issues!

As an adult, it's definitely been a good thing that I have never been obsessed with body image.  I've certainly been on the cusp of overweight on more than one occasion, and I've also wished plenty of times that I could fit into last year's slacks or jeans.  I've been dismayed when I couldn't, and had to buy new ones in a larger size.  However, I've lived through this without a feeling of shame or devastation.

This has served me well, after several major surgeries.  My body is now a series of scars that look like a road map for medical students who have wanted to practice doing surgery!  Things are messy, misshapen, not the same size, and even puffy.  I always tell The Tim that I have no plans to donate my body to science, since at this point, science already has most of it!

Though I'm not in any way sure that it was a conscious action on the part of my parents, I am grateful that my growing up focused on things other than appearance.  I've never thought I am ravishingly beautiful, but then again, I've never been convinced that I am ugly.  Likewise, I've never worried about being "fat" or what size my clothes happened to be - particularly in relationship to anyone else.

I wish more people could feel this way.  I am not convinced that it's fashion magazines and advertising that are completely to blame for our society's obsession with looks, weight, etc.  I think it was a problem long before Vogue put super-thin supermodels on the cover, or before Kate Moss and/or others were forced on us as the epitome of beautiful women.  For anyone feeling self-conscious about themselves already, or who thinks that what others say about them is the most important thing, I think life must be a series of miserable days, and I wish that they were able to move beyond it.  I'm sure that the barrage of images and messages about body image needing to be a certain way doesn't help.
I don't know that there is an easy answer.  I think that the fault lies within ourselves, and until *we* let it all go, we're gonna keep passing it on to the next generation.  That is what bothers me.  When I think of the mothers of my friends who would tell them not to eat dessert so they wouldn't get fat, or the girls at school who would call others fat, or ugly, or whatever, I am amazed that so many years later, it still happens.  All the time.

If you think of it, and ever find yourself doing it, please stop.  None of us need that kind of criticism and pressure.  We all need a break.

08 September 2014

Makeup Uniform?

As you know, I love clothes, shoes, makeup, jewelry - well, all that kind of stuff.  However, I do not have the time or the money or even the desire to spend my life in search of something new, better, or prettier all of the time.  Granted, I do buy things, but like most people, my job and our bills get in the way of leading a glamorous, all-leisure life!

In addition, since my surgery, I am still at the point where most things take me a long time to do.  Certainly I am improving in small ways each day, but a week from today, I have to return to work.  I'm not thrilled about it, because my job has become pretty unpleasant ever since our museum affiliated with another local institution.  But it *is* a job, and it will be nice to start getting a paycheck again, since I have been unpaid while on medical leave.

I'd been thinking about all of this, and how my morning routine might need some adjustments, at least for the near future.  Granted, putting on my makeup is not something that takes a long time for me, at least not for every day (I will take my time and make an effort for special occasions), but if other things take longer, I'll need to take that into consideration.  Last week, while reading blogs that I follow on various topics, I came across this post, and decided that having a makeup "uniform" would not be a bad thing.  I spent most of my life wearing uniforms to school, and it was nice to not have to spend time every single morning thinking about/deciding what to wear.  (Though it was daunting to then get to college and suddenly have to think of such things!)

So whereas Tamira was writing her post talking about how she often ends up using the very same things every day, even though she has never consciously decided on a makeup uniform, I have decided this is just the kind of thing I need for my return to work.

I don't wear a *whole* lot of makeup to start with, but I have been known to take way too much time to decide whether or not to wear eyeshadow/eyeliner, and then take even longer to decide which one out of the few choices I have.  My new plan is to have a "uniform" for the week, that does not vary for the most part; I can take the time for choices for special occasions or on days when I am feeling particularly inspired.

I really think - and sincerely hope - this will allow me to go back to work feeling a little bit more polished and confident, without worrying about how long I am taking, and possibly getting to work late as a result.

Because let's face it, "my dog ate my homework" is one type of excuse, but "I had a hard time deciding on eye makeup" is a whole 'nother issue ...


05 September 2014

Walking the Walk

I have always enjoyed walking.  And I am fortunate enough to live close enough to where I work to walk back and forth, thus being the only one responsible for how long my commute takes.

Since my surgery, the only physical exercise that is allowed to me is walking - at least until the end of October.  The first week or so, making it around the block was exhausting.  Since then, I've been making reasonable progress, and increasing the distance little by little.  I try to take a walk twice a day, which has not been a problem until this past week, when it has been ridiculously hot and humid here.  But I've still managed to get two walks in - though usually the one in the morning is longer, since it's more bearable, temperature-wise.

The thing that I have noticed though, is that most of the other people I see who are out walking don't look like they are walking for pleasure or exercise.  Rather, they are clearly on their way to something/someplace else, with a specific destination or purpose in mind.  I'll easily admit that a lot of the time, I'm in that situation as well.

But I am now reminded of how wonderful it is to walk just to go out and walk.  You know, because it's a nice day, and being outside is pleasant.  Or even not, but you want to get out of the house even though you have no particular reason to do so.

I would encourage you to take a walk.  Even if it is only for ten minutes a day.  First of all, that little bit of  movement is better than none at all.  But more importantly, taking a walk can do so much.  You notice things, because you are taking your time, and not thinking of the next thing (at least in theory).  You can take the time to think about things, and sometimes clear your head of lots of worries and cobwebs.  It's alone time if you want it to be, or the perfect time to catch up with a friend without a thousand interruptions.  For the most part, you don't need to buy any special equipment or clothes to do it - you can just get dressed and go.

This time around with my surgery and my walking, I've had so much time to think, to enjoy the world around me, and to decide that I am going to try more than ever to live in the present, and take my time with my life.  I think I'm around so many people who are always in a hurry, or bragging about how well they multitask, that I get caught up in it without even realizing that it is happening.  I feel stressed so much of the time, and it's as much because of everyone and everything around me as it is things that I personally have going on in my life.

I am lucky.  I have a nice life.  And I want to start to appreciate and enjoy it more.  Because I am here now, and I can.

And I'm going to be sure to keep walking.

26 August 2014

Here I Am Again

Yes, here I am - bruised and scarred, but making my way slowly back to daily life.  It's been difficult and painful, but I am making slow, reasonable progress each day, and that's what it's all about in the end.

I've had lots of time to think, plan, wish, and just decide who/what/why/etc. I want to be and do.  It's not vastly different from who I already am, but I feel like there are refinements to be made.  So I'll be blabbing about that, as well as regaling boring you with some of the details of my surgery and recovery.   You, of course, have no obligation to read it all.  :-)

Anyway, I wanted to say hello, and let you know that I will be posting again.  I feel like I've been gone for a much longer time than I actually have, but I guess when it is surgery rather than something like a vacation, time away takes on a different personality.

Until the next time, take care.  For anyone who stayed around, thanks and I'll be here again soon.

16 July 2014

Preparation for Upcoming Radio Silence

I know that it's not like I post here every single day, or even on a regular basis, but there may be some time coming up when you really don't hear from me for a while.

You may remember that last month was The Big Fall, when I was in the ER for a couple of days, and then home recovering with stitches, etc.  During the time I was in the hospital, they did many many tests to be certain I didn't break any bones (I didn't), and that my fall had not been caused by a cardiac problem (it wasn't).

But as a result of the tests, they did find a mass on my right kidney, which has shown to be cancer.  Today I will go for several x-rays and MRIs in preparation for my upcoming surgery.  I already had a day of tests and dr visits this past Monday.  Friday afternoon, I have an appt with a cardiologist.

So many doctors.  So many tests.  But it works out to be a good thing in the end.  The urologic surgeon said that if I hadn't fallen, I probably would not have symptoms of kidney problems until the tumor had gotten to the point where they could not do much to help me.  The Big Fall turned out to be a Big Bonus.

I am lucky.  I have great doctors, live in an area with wonderful healthcare, and via The Tim's employer, I have good health insurance.  The surgeon told me that he thinks I will recover just fine.  Those things are keeping me sane.

Sadly, my employer does not offer short-term disability, and because we are not allowed to carry over sick time or vacation time, I will only be paid for six days of the six weeks I will be out of work.  Thanks to the Family Leave and Medical Act (FMLA), I will be guaranteed a job when I return to work, but it's gonna be tricky to have to pay bills, etc. with only one person's paycheck.  These are the things that are worrying me.

But in the end, the good outweighs the bad.  I have a supportive spouse and family, and lots of friends.  I have the kitties and Dug the Doodle Dog.  I have determination to work hard to get back to my usual level of health and activity.

So please keep a good thought for me.  On July 28, I will be having a partial nephrectomy (unless when they open me up things are worse than they initially appeared to be, and they do a full nephrectomy), and then going into my recovery period.  I may not post for a while, but I will definitely be back!

Here's hoping the rest of your summer is less eventful than mine ... :-)

12 July 2014

Marble Lip

I am recovering (or really, have recovered) from The Big Fall about a month ago.  Most of the bruises have faded, and I have regained my confidence to just walk around without worrying.

However, I'm still stuck with Marble Lip.  And it a) hurts, and b) drives me nuts.  What, you may ask, is Marble Lip?  Well, as a result of my fall, I got stitches in my upper lip, both inside and outside.  And I guess that I have some scar tissue, because I have a big bump on the right side of my top lip, where the scars are.  I don't mind the scars at all, they are no big deal, but the bump drives me nuts.  It keeps my lips from "closing" properly, and when I touch it or accidently bump it, it does hurt.  

The only way I can describe it is to say that it is what I imagine it would feel like/look like if you had a marble under the skin of your lip - really uncomfortable!  Because of Marble Lip, I can still only eat or drink out of one side of my mouth, and my sandwiches must be in small strips, like tea sandwiches.  I also have to use a straw to drink anything.

I have an appt with the plastic surgeon who did my breast reconstruction years ago, to see if it can be dealt with.  Having said that, I won't be able to do anything about it if insurance doesn't cover it; and I really don't have time to take off work to have it taken care of.  But if nothing else, at least I'll know if it is a temporary condition, or if Marble Lip will become a permanent part of my face.

As one of my sisters would say, "White People Problems."  :-)

06 July 2014

New Sandals!

I love shoes.  I love looking at shoes.  Unfortunately, due to foot problems, and the fact that I walk back and forth to work every day, I can't wear most of the styles out there.  In the summer, I am a big fan of sandals, but I have always had a hard time finding ones that I could wear that would look OK with dresses or skirts without being too casual.  Not necessarily dressy, but with a little bit more oomph than plain old sandals or certainly more than flip flops.

So I was pretty excited when I stopped at one of the shoe stores in my neighborhood yesterday after I got my hair cut, and saw these:

Well, OK, technically I didn't find them on my own - the woman who was helping me was wearing a pair in the Natural shade.  I complimented her on them, and she said that she liked them because they were lightweight and comfy, had good arch support, and were stable because of the way the sole was constructed - she wasn't in danger of falling off her shoes, so to speak.  Then she said they were Danskos, and it all made sense.  I love Dansko clogs, and decided that even though they looked "high" to me, I'd try them.

Crazy.  They are just like the clogs, where you are "up" on a platform, but your foot is even with itself, so it's not like wearing heels.  They feel *very* steady, and they are incredibly lightweight.  Plus, they actually look nice on your feet!  Add all of this with the fact that they were on sale, and they came home with me.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I must say that I have been known to kinda sorta fall off of my clogs, but fortunately the results have just been embarrassment rather than injury.  However, 99.9999999% of the time, I'm just fine walking along.  I sure hope that's the case with these as well.

If you want a pair for yourself, Zappos has them on sale here.  They are not uber-cheap, but they are worth the money - I find that I get tired of my Dansko clogs before they ever even come close to wearing out!

04 July 2014

Happy Independence Day!

"The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness,
you have to catch it yourself"
-- Benjamin Franklin

20 June 2014


Now that the weather is getting warmer, it's time to pack away my tights until next year.  I know some people still wear them during the summer, but I am so incredibly heat sensitive, I would pass out if I wore them.

I have pantyhose, but a) they are not comfortable in the summer either, and b) apparently they are a big NO as far as style.  Not really a problem as far as I'm concerned, since I am all about being comfortable when I think the weather isn't.

Every year though, I feel really self-conscious about my legs.  Not because they aren't perfect as far as shape, size, etc., but because I have so many varicose veins.  I used to try self-tanner, but then decided that it was too much work to use it all of the time, when I was not necessarily wearing shorts or dresses all of the time.  (Laziness kicks in quickly for me.)  I have worn shorts or dresses a lot with my pasty-white, bruised, and varicose vein-y legs and lived, but I do feel very self-conscious about it, particularly when I am going to work or out someplace.

So this year, I decided that for the most part, I would do my best to just "own" it, and for the times I was going out or going to work, and wanted to wear a dress, I'd try this:

I'm willing to make the effort now and then, just not every day.  This seemed like a reasonable attempt on my part to somewhat calm my self-consciousness.  So I bought a tube at a local CVS this past Monday.

That evening, I took Dug the Doodle Dog out for his evening walk, and it was so pleasant, with a nice breeze.  We were going along on our way home nicely.  Then all of a sudden, I woke up and I was lying in the middle of the street, with him sitting next to me.  I sat up, and saw that my glasses were broken, and I was covered in blood, and bleeding.  A woman brought a towel over, and was trying to help me, and a young man came up and asked if he could call someone for me (I was with it enough to give him the number for The Tim at work).  Another lady was kind enough to drive me and Dug home for The Tim to meet us there.

So when he got home about two seconds after I did, we headed over the ER at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, which is really near our house.  They of course took me back to a room immediately.  Since I couldn't remember anything about what happened, they wanted to keep me overnight for observation and do a bunch of tests.  I got ten stitches in my upper right lip, some inside, some outside.  I broke off part of a front tooth.  There were no observation rooms available, so I spent the next 24 hours in my ER room.  I had approximately 1,000 tests of  all kinds, was poked, prodded, questioned, had blood drawn and my temperature taken approximately 100 times, and finally they let me go home.

Coming home and taking a shower - washing off the dried blood and cinders from the street - was one of the best things ever.  I still hurt, I missed a week of work which pains me since I already planned to be out next week, but I am OK.  I look much better than I did a few days ago, but would still likely frighten small children.

And though I will feel self-conscious about some of my injuries for a while, I think I should be fine.  However, I don't think there are enough tubes of the product above in existence to cover my "flaws" now!

And that, my friends, is called Karma.  :-)

On the bright side, I did get to wear every armband available ...

11 June 2014

Drive- By Post

Hi all ~ nothing really to report at the moment, but I wanted to share a recipe with you.

We love rhubarb in our house, but on the occasions we have it available, we are not always thrilled with the things we usually make, or don't have the ingredients for a favorite recipe.  Well, I came across this one recently, and tried the Rhubarb Cake.

The result?  FABULOUS!  I used lowfat yogurt, but otherwise followed the recipe as posted, and the resulting cake was ridiculously yummy.  Even The Tim really liked it, and he is not usually a fan of anything containing cornmeal.

The whole thing is really quite straightforward, and doesn't take that long to put together.

Try it, you'll like it!

07 June 2014

Feet Don't Fail Me Now!

One thing I like about warmer weather is the chance to wear sandals.  I love sandals, and if I had tons of money would probably buy even more pairs than I have.  One of the biggest problems with sandals, though, is that often they don't have much support for my feet.  So, if I wear them to work, by the time I get home, my poor feet sometimes hurt, but always wish they could get some real comfort.

I used to make sure that I put on my walking shoes for a while, but in really hot weather, that only made the rest of me uncomfortable.  A few weeks ago, I was in the local City Sports when they were having a sale, and I saw these:

They were on sale, which is always appealing to me, and they looked like something a little bit more than the regular flip-flop, so I tried them on.   Wow!  Even though they are plastic, they are pillow soft, and even better, they have cushioned heels and arch support.  They were *so* comfortable trying on, I decided that I would give them a try.  And since then, my feet and I have been so very glad that I did!

Before this, I'd never heard of the brand, Oofos.  (Not that it means anything - I'm not necessarily a shoe-brand afficionado.)  But they make these shoes for both men and women, and there are several different colors to choose from, besides the periwinkle blue that I chose, shown above.  I have been wearing mine a lot, and they are still as comfy as the first time I tried them on.  Even though they are plastic, they are not plastic-y feeling, and the piece between your toes does not rub at all, so you don't get blisters.  If say, you are giving your plants a drink of water and your shoes get wet, it's not a problem and they are not in danger of being ruined.  :-)

You should try a pair of Oofos.  Now that I have tried them, I can say that I would definitely buy them again, even if they were not on sale.

Happy weekend!

31 May 2014

Well, I Didn't Mean For That to Happen!

As in, I didn't intend to post early in the month and then not again until the last day!  I mean, not that I have anything terribly fascinating to report, but I was very surprised when I saw that my last post here was on May 10 - what's that about?

May was a weird month.  Not a bad one, just weird in that lots of things were going on, but not necessarily exciting things.  There were some highlights - a trip to Maryland Sheep and Wool at the very beginning of the month, and a trip home to West Virginia over the Memorial Day weekend - but it was mostly going to work and not killing anyone there, coming home and being lazy, and running errands/cleaning on the weekends.

However, one of the things I do every single May, usually the week before the holiday weekend, is get my first pedicure of the season.  During the rest of the year, I treat myself to a manicure now and then, but other than, er, "maintaining" clean feet and trimmed toenails, I never polish or pamper them.  Most of the year I wear socks, boots, etc., and if I'm paying someone to do my nails, I want to see them regularly, you know?

Anyhow, I have lately been going to a place around here that I'd heard about off and on, and finally decided to try for a manicure.  For anyone reading this in the Philadelphia area, it's Mi Cumbia, and it's really a great place.  Very small, and you do need an appointment, but I think it's worth the effort.  They use all non-toxic polishes, and it's really a place to be pampered.  The cost of a manicure or pedicure is only about two dollars more than at the in-and-out quickie places, and for me at least, the manicures have lasted without chipping for five days or more!

So I decided to try a pedicure there, and it was an incredibly decadent experience.  I opted for the basic one, but with the time they took and the way I was pampered, I felt like I'd been to a spa when I was finished.*  And my pedicure was really pretty too!  The people are all very nice and friendly, which is also a plus.  You never feel like a stranger, or that they are rushing you.

Now, I just need a nice pair of sandals to show it off ...

*No, I've never actually been to a spa.  But I feel like it must be an experience similar to what I had when getting a pedicure.  Work with me here, people

10 May 2014

So There's Good News and There's Bad News

Such is life, no?  I will admit that, even when I am suspicious of something being "improved," I am disappointed when I feel that it is not.  Such is the case with a moisturizer that I loved in the old formulation, but not so much in the new one.

A couple of years ago, I tried Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer with sunscreen.  I was slightly skeptical, since it had argan oil in it, and even now, I'm hesitant to try things on my face that have oil.  But I'd read a lot of good things about it, so I decided to give it a shot.  And I *loved* the stuff!  I used it religiously, even deciding that it did my skin some good.   But, as these things often go, the one time I went to get a new bottle, and was told by the salesperson that it was discontinued, because they were working on making an "improved" formula.

Recently, that new, improved formula was available.

So I ordered it from sephora.com, since I didn't see it in the store.  I was pretty excited to receive it.  But not so excited now that I've actually used it.

The old formula was really lotion-y.  It was easy to put onto your face, and felt very smooth. This formula is a lot thicker, and feels more oily.  You really have to work to smooth it onto your face, and it's really hard to wash off your hands.  I guess it still works the same, because my face is not oily, and seems to be doing well, but I have to say that I will probably not buy it again once this bottle is gone.

(Side note: a sales person recently told me that the cosmetics companies were going to stop making moisturizers with sunscreen, since it has a negative effect on the anti-aging products.  Has anyone else heard this?)

But now - on to the good news!

This product, which I ordered on a whim along with the moisturizer above, is fabulous:

I was a little hesitant, because again, I didn't want my face to look shiny, and also because these things can also be pretty dark and/or orange-y, and I didn't want to look like I was attempting to channel John Boehner.  But I knew I could return it if I didn't like it, so I figured I'd give it a try.

I love this!  One squirt from the bottle seems like it's way too much, but when you mix it with your foundation or tinted  moisturizer, or whatever else you use, it blends in nicely.  Once it's on your face, there is no shininess, and really not even any noticeable color/shade difference.  Instead, your skin looks very healthy, like you have been taking a brisk walk, and a natural kind of brightness is there.

I recommend this product if you like to look a little bit extra healthy, but not bronzed or noticeably different.

Bad news and good news.  I'm happy with this 50% success story.  :-)

23 April 2014

Shape, Age, Health, Food

Last week, I read this blog post, and it really made me think.  The blog is one that I read regularly, and like most blogs (about anything) that I read, sometimes it "speaks" to me more than others.  The particular post I'm linking to was one that I thought made a lot of good points, and was accessible to most people.

I was not necessarily the world's  most well-adjusted kid, but I have to tell you, it never, ever, EVER occurred to me as a tween, teenager, or a young adult that I was somehow *supposed* to look like models or celebrities in magazines.  I would maybe like what they were wearing, or their hair and makeup, etc., but I truly never felt inadequate because of my body.  So although I can intellectually understand that it can be/is a problem for women of all ages today, I can't really relate to the whole issue.

As I got older, and became responsible for feeding, dressing, and being completely in charge of myself, my biggest desire was to be healthy and fit.  It didn't necessarily translate into me treating my body as the temple that health fanatics do, but it made me more aware that my overall health and fitness was my own responsibility.  I have been fortunate to be a person who is comfortable in my own skin.

So anyway, back to the post mentioned at the beginning of this post.  She points out that genetics and privilege make a difference.  Unlike the writer's mother, my mother was not one who made sure that we always had whole grain breads, and fresh vegetables.  We always had some kind of fruit, and there was always milk in the refrigerator, but my "deprivations" growing up were a result of my parents' coming of age when having convenience foods was such a wonderful luxury, that opening a can of vegetables, or cooking frozen foods were desirable ways to feed your family.  The other reason was budgetary.  We didn't have money for much, and although we were fortunate to always have something to eat, many of our meals would likely make people today gasp in horror.  Milk was rationed to one glass for each of us a day, since it was seen as necessary but not easily affordable.

Having said that, I thought a lot of the points raised in the aforementioned blog post were worth stating.  We all need food to survive, but in today's world, food and your individual relationship to it is such a sensitive subject that it can be hard to do what really works well for YOU and not feel that somehow you are wrong.  My relationship with food, exercise, and just life in general has been an ever-changing one, and I've always been fortunate because there has never been pressure from anyone who mattered to me to be any different than I am.

So yes, I directed you to one person's way of doing things, and talking about it, and it may not have any relevance to anything about your existence.  But when I read it, I really started thinking about ways that I try to "maintain my shape" and why I do what I do.  In my case, I have had so many health problems that were beyond my control, I want to do my best to be conscientious about the things I can control.

Just like in clothing, one size does not fit all.  It never will, and never should.

I do firmly believe though, that YOUR one size/shape/activity level should always work for you, and make you a happier and healthier person.  I hope by reading this post, as well as the one that started me on this topic, you will be able to feel good about yourself, and decide what you want to try for your health.  I truly believe that if you feel good, you look good, no matter how old you are.

19 April 2014

Easter Weekend

Sorry to have been incommunicado for a while here, but things got a bit hectic at work, and my small amounts of spare time were spent just trying to keep my head above water here at home, with exciting things like laundry ...

Then this week, we were preparing for guests who should be arriving at any moment, so it was time to clean the house and really get ready for Easter - which seemed so far away for so long, at least to me!

Anyway, I hope that you and yours have a joyous Easter if you celebrate, and regardless of whether you do or not, a lovely spring weekend!

06 April 2014


If you are anything at all like me, you truly love it when you find something that is a bargain.  I am not patient enough to be  one of those people who look for the best price possible, but I do try to be careful when I purchase something, particularly when it is not a necessity.

Even better, though, is when a bargain finds you.  A couple of weeks ago, we had gone out to get some things at Petsmart, and make a stop at the liquor store.  The shopping center where the Petsmart is also has a Kohl's, and we decided to stop there too.  I was looking at some tops that were on sale, and at the bottom of one pile was this:

Nice, huh?  I really liked it, and thought it was a pretty color for spring.  I looked at the price tag, and it was marked down from $59.00 to $11.88.  I figured with a sale like that, maybe there was something wrong with it - you know, one of those "as is" sales.  But it seemed to be just fine. 

Then when we checked out, the price scanned as $9.50, which was pretty exciting, as far as I'm concerned.  But, there was still an additional discount to be added, so I ended up paying a grand total of $7.50 for this purse!

Now THAT is a bargain, no?

29 March 2014

Be Careful What You Wish For ...

Sigh.  That's what I have been telling myself all day.  Cold comfort, but the truth.

You may recall that I have ongoing issues with my hair and various stylists who have cut it.  Though I would love to have luxurious hair, I have very fine hair (thought lots of it), and I am too lazy to fool with it more than is absolutely necessary.  And once the weather gets hot, I can't stand to have it on my neck at all.

A few years ago, I got a cut that I absolutely loved.  I think it might have been one of the best haircuts of my life.  And it was one that apparently everyone else thought was a good one, too, as I always received compliments on it.  Basically, it was a messy pixie - meaning there was no specific part, and I didn't have to blow it dry.

But that place was really out of my way, and kind of a pain to get to, especially in the winter.  And the stylist stopped working on Saturdays, which limited me even more.  So I shopped around.

For the last year or so, I've been going to a place very close to my house.  It's nice, it's in the neighborhood, it's reasonably priced, and I really like my stylist.  She does a good job with cutting, and an awesome job at color.  Everyone in the salon is great.  My only complaint is that I could never get her to cut my hair as short as I'd like.

I ran into an acquaintance about a month ago, who told me that the person at the other place was going to be working on Saturdays in March, filling in for another stylist on maternity leave.  I gave it some thought, and devised a plan which I felt was *such* a good idea (which actually should have been a warning).  I decided to make an appt with her, and then when it was time for a "clean-up" I would go to my current stylist to show her what I meant, and we would all live happily ever after.  I talked to the girl who does appts at the current place, and she said no one would find that a problem, people do it a lot.

You know the result, right?  Well, to add insult to eventual injury, it was POURING this morning, so I had to trudge over in that.  Then the stylist was half an hour late (I was her first appt).  And when all was said and done, I ended up with a slightly longer haircut than a buzz cut.

I'm doing my best to look at the bright side: 1) my hair grows pretty quickly, so it should look at least a little better in a week or so, 2) when I go for my "clean up," it will hopefully be pretty much the way I want it to, so the current stylist will see what I mean, and, 3) it's convinced me once and for all to stay where I am.

In the meantime, I'll live.  But for about the millionth time in my life, a lesson has been learned.  I wish these lessons - once learned about one thing - would apply to all other things, so it would be done in one fell swoop.  But I'm pretty sure that would be too easy, and people would forget, or start ignoring the lessons.

As my sister would say, "White People Problems," and I agree, but I sure wish I didn't have to walk around with this haircut at all, even for another day ...

25 March 2014

Lip Solution

Like a lot of people, I get chapped lips during the winter.  Unlike some people, mine get really awful - to the point of bleeding.  I regularly use some kind of lip balm, with varying results.  Some are so temporary, that by the time I leave the room where I applied them, my lips are dried out again!

I really like wearing lipstick, too, so it can be really disappointing to have my icky lips make the lipstick look awful.  Besides cracking and bleeding, at a minimum they start to peel, and the whole thing just looks bad.

Fast forward to a couple of weekends ago, when my niece and her husband asked us to spend the weekend with them at a beach house in Rehoboth Beach.  One of our favorite places to visit while there, is a soap shop called Little Egg Harbor Soap Shop.  First of all, it's a cute shop, and they have really nice, handmade soaps.  We went there last fall when we visited, and by the time we were going this time, the soaps we'd bought then were gone.  So we were really hoping to get some more, and hoping the shop was open in the off-season.

It was, so we were able to get more of the soaps we liked, and try one or two new ones.  But the best thing I bought that day was this little jar:

I bought this as a kind of afterthought, while waiting to check out.  The lady who works there said that it had been very popular, and that she really liked it.  It was $5.00, so I figured, what the heck I'd give it a try.

Wow.  I love this product.  A teeny amount rubbed across your lips not only feels good and even tastes OK, but immediately softens, exfoliates, and conditions your lips.  You wash it off, and your lips feel like you put a really lovely balm on them for about an hour or so afterwards.  All of a sudden, my lips were in good shape, even after only two times using this!  And you need such a small amount for big results, I think I'll have this for a while - so the $5.00 price tag is a good deal!

Little Egg Harbor Soap company has a website here, and the specific link for the lip scrub is here.  Of course, if you are in Rehoboth Beach or any of the other locations, you can buy it in person, while also getting a whiff of their lovely soaps.  But if you need something to help your lips, it may just be worth ordering it and paying for the shipping. 

I, for one, couldn't be happier about the way this works.

11 March 2014

Do You Anthropologie?

Do you ever shop at Anthropologie?  I know so many people who are addicted to that place, and truly live for their sales.  I go back and forth - I think a lot of their stuff is way overpriced (at least for my budget) for what it is, and I also think a lot of their stuff is just too much.  Too cool, too perfect - you know what I mean.  But I also like a lot of the things they sell.  I don't go in to the store all that often, so I can't really claim to be an expert.

For reasons that I can't explain, I got a coupon in the mail at the end of February, giving me 15% off on any purchase during the month of March, for my birthday.  As I said, I have no idea why I got it, but I figured it was worth going in to look around and see if I wanted to treat myself to anything.  I saw a few things I really liked, but decided were either too young for me, or just more than I would be willing to spend, for what they were.  I was walking out, and I saw a t-shirt that really struck me.  I took a closer look, and decided that if the price was in any way reasonable, I was going to use my coupon and buy it.  So I did, and here is what it looks like:

Pretty, right?  I love the shade of blue, and the fruit print is fresh, but not too sweet or hipster-y.  With my coupon, it was a price that I was willing to pay.  I like the way it looks on me, and am looking forward to wearing it.  (So of course now we are having a cold spell again!)  When I was checking out, the clerk said, "This is the kind of shirt I can see myself wearing while drinking a margarita."  At which point I really wanted a margarita.  (It was 11:00 a.m.)

So I am very happy with my Anthropologie purchase.  It's nicely made, and even fairly practical, and will be a versatile addition to my wardrobe.  It also made it possible for me to get rid of another shirt from my existing wardrobe that I finally admitted to myself that I would never wear again.  Hopefully someone will want to give it a good home, and think it's beautiful.

I'm not sure when I'll visit Anthropologie again, but I'm happy that I had the coupon to give me a push this time.

04 March 2014

The Monthly Review

Do you "review" your makeup regularly?  Well I do, every month.  Yep.  Every month, I wash my makeup brushes* and go through my makeup to decide what has or has not worked.  Sometimes I resurrect things I've put away, and other times I add some new things.  At changes of seasons, I do adjust things like lipstick colors - for instance, really dark colors get put away in spring and summer.  It's all part of my desire for organization, and my low-level OCD.

I recently saw a segment on a TV show about a quick way to do everyday makeup that looked polished and natural.  So of course I became obsessed.  I had a gift certificate to Blue Mercury, and so today on my way home from a dr's appointment, I stopped and treated myself to two eyeshadows that - in theory at least - will work for this "look."  The person who waited on me tried it on me as I had described, and I liked the way it highlighted my eyes without making me look like I was loaded down with eye makeup.  Which let's face it, is not a look I want every day at work.

I bought a Bobbi Brown cream eyeshadow in Suede:
and a regular eyeshadow in Slate:

Now - just for the record, it's not that I spend a lot of time on my makeup on any regular day.  But I am, in the end, lazy and as a result, any way it can be even less time, and still look good, works for me.

Whether this will all really work for me, or passes the test of staying for more than a month, who knows?  But I plan to have some fun trying it, that's for sure!

*Yes, I know I should clean them more frequently.  But it's an improvement for me, since I used to just use them until they were really disgusting, and then throw them away.  Baby steps, people ...

19 February 2014

Staying Inside the Lines

I love eye makeup.  I don't wear a lot, but I love it when it makes your eyes look more defined.  And eyeliner is one of my favorites.  I have given up on the idea of ever mastering even the slightest cat-eye, but I keep trying to get it right.  I've tried all versions, with varying success (or lack of).

With powder liner that is slightly dampened, a firm, straight brush, and concentration, I have been able to master the close-to-the-lash line that opens up my eyes without making me look like either a raccoon, or someone who got drunk and went to bed without removing their makeup.

Pencils and I have never been able to be friends.  A makeup artist showed me how to line my inner eyelid, and though I can do that, I end up with bloodshot eyes, which is not something I desire!  So I was skeptical when I read in a magazine about a new product from Smashbox Cosmetics, the Always Sharp Waterproof Kohl Liner.  The tip is sharpened every time you twist the cap to open it for use.  According to the blurb, it allowed for smooth and easy application.

I was intrigued.  So I went to my local Sephora, and they had them.  The next thing was, what color would I try?

(The answer I wanted was ALL OF THEM.  The answer I could afford was one of them.)

I decided to try Penny Lane, a shimmery brown.  It wasn't really too dark, so I figured if I didn't get it just right, it might not look too bizarre.  (Plus, the Beatles fan in me couldn't resist!)

Well, after trying it several times in the past couple of months, I have to say that I love it!  It is easy to apply, so you don't need to keep going over and over the line, and/or pulling on your eyelid, and the tip really is nicely sharp for a slight line.  You could probably also apply more to make a thicker line.  My guess about the particular shade I purchased was correct, so I've been able to get used to it without noticeable mistakes.

Unfortunately, I still cannot afford (nor do I actually need) all of the other colors.  But I do want to get at least one more.

Sorry other pencils, but you are dead to me ...

12 February 2014

Falling Down

I wear socks nearly every day.  Even with slacks, I generally wear socks instead of nylon knee-highs, or nothing at all, because a) I get blisters easily, and b) my feet are often cold, especially at this time of year.  As a result, I can be really picky about socks.

For as long as I've been knitting, and for as many pairs of socks that I've knit, up to this point, I've only knit three pairs for myself.  I have a pair on the needles right now that are about 65% finished, but I don't knit that fast to crank them out quickly, so it would take me a long time to have my own hand-knit sock wardrobe.

One thing that drives me nuts is to wear socks that fall down.  It makes me really stabby when that happens!  I've gotten pretty good at being able to tell when I am buying socks which ones will or won't fall down, but there are always times when I fail.  Like recently.

I love Kohl's.  I think they are very nice stores overall, and have good prices.  Plus, they have a lot of sales and coupons, so you can really save on some very nice things.  For instance, I have quite a few cotton tees and turtlenecks from Croft & Barrow, and they not only look nice and feel good when you wear them, but they hold up well after many washings.  The Tim buys a lot of his casual pants there, and wears them to death, but they last a long time before dying.

But even Kohl's carries some things that are fails for me.  Recently, we shopped there, and they were having a sale on their Simply Vera socks.  Now, though I am picky about socks, I am also cheap when it comes to buying them.  I think nothing of paying $24.00 for sock yarn and knitting my own socks.  But I really hate to pay that much when I buy them.   Anyway, they had the Simply Vera socks on sale, plus I had an extra 20% off coupon.  With the coupon, they would be about $5.99 a pair.   So I bought two pairs of the crew socks.

Should you be tempted to try these socks, I have three words for you.  Just. Say. No.  For one thing, they are not very warm.  But then again, I wasn't buying them thinking they would be wonderfully toasty winter socks, though I hoped they would be as warm as "regular" socks are. They were not.  But even worse than that, they immediately started falling down.  As in, I walked out of the bedroom and they were bunched around my ankles!

Now, for whatever reason, I apparently thought that would change as the day went on, and kept them on.  They did not stay up.  At all.  For any length of time.  I even waited a few days to try the second pair, thinking that maybe the first pair was a fluke.  No difference whatsoever.

And so, in my opinion, even on sale, the Simply Vera crew socks are not worth your money.  They seem to be made cheaply and poorly, and I will definitely not be buying them again.

My two cents worth, but if you are picky about socks, I hope this is helpful.

31 January 2014

January Recap

I started the year with great ambition.  Honestly, I haven't done much that has been on my list of goals and intentions.  Actually, I haven't done anything yet.

I am not sure why, but January just moved right along without me.  I know a lot of people don't like February, but January is usually hard for me.  Christmas is over, and though I am always planning for the new year, the month of January always makes me feel like I'm on hold or something.  And I guess it just always feels longer since not much happens.  For me at least, it's usually a "clean up" time.  You know, put away the Christmas decorations, get the house back in order, put away the gifts and clean out what is no longer needed.  All of these things need to be done, and in and of themselves they are not difficult for me.  But I think that having it all be part of January makes it seem like the month drags.

On the plus side, I didn't get sick this January, like I have the past two years.  And, we definitely did not have a wimpy month, weather-wise.  I did eat too much, and didn't really exercise at all.  I didn't spend a lot of money on useless things, and I did finish one knitting project and nearly finish another one that has been languishing.

I guess the most frustrating thing is that I just didn't care enough about anything.  Not really depressed, just uninterested.  I did what I absolutely needed to do  - went to work, did laundry, fed us, etc. - but did not feel the desire or the need to make any real effort.

I'm getting a little bit itchy do get a move on some things.  So we'll see if February makes me feel any more like I'm back on track.  I hope it does, because even though I've been uninterested, I've *wished* I was not ...

Having said all of that, it wasn't a terrible month ... it just ... was.

25 January 2014

Drier Than the Dryer - A Body Wash That Helps

My skin, that is.  Wintertime always does it, to the point where my poor skin is cracking, scaling, and being just generally icky.  Slathering on lotion is one way to deal with it, but that can make it messy and/or difficult to get dressed, as some lotions absorb better than others.

One thing that helps my skin year-round but especially in wintertime is this:

St. Ives Oatmeal and Shea Butter Body Wash - one of my favorite products in the world.  For one thing, it makes my skin feel soft, and hydrated.  But there are plenty of other reasons.

1.  You don't need to use a lot, so one bottle lasts a long time.
2.  It's inexpensive, making it worthwhile, budget-wise.  Easily found at CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Target - well, you get the picture.
3.  It has a nice fragrance, but not a strong one, and the fragrance doesn't stick around.
4.  It is not tested on animals.

Of course, I also make sure that I don't use the hottest water I can stand to use when showering, because I know that dries my skin out even more.  But if you take a warm shower, and use this body wash, you are really doing yourself a favor.  It feels luxurious, even though it's not produced by a "spa" company.

I will admit that I also don't shower every single day in the winter, unless of course, I've been at the gym, or doing something else strenuous, so I don't make things worse for my skin.  I do wash every day, so it's not like I walk around as a filthy, smelly mess.

With everything covered up and constantly going in and out of heated places, it's worth it to look for products that work.  I highly recommend this one.

18 January 2014

A Slow Start

Well, I don't know about you, but my 2014 has gotten off to a slow start.  Not terrible, just slow.

For one thing, we are just this weekend finishing putting away the Christmas decorations.  Since The Tim works two evenings and week, and one weekend day,
it takes us longer both to put up the decorations and take them down than it used to.  It's not a big deal/problem, but it just means we move a little more slowly into the new year activities than we used to.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I was completely unable to do much of anything for a whole weekend.  I had what my doctor called "an acute cardiopulmonary episode brought on by inflammation."  What happened was that on Saturday night before I went to bed, my right shoulder started hurting -  not soreness, more like stiffness.  Then I woke up in the middle of the night feeling the same kind of incredible pain in my whole body.  I also could not take a deep breath without pain.  For about 36 hours, I just literally had to sit in a chair, breathe slowly, and move very little.  Then as quickly as it arrived, it departed.  It was scary and disconcerting.  And I lost a whole weekend, for most intents and purposes.

But of course, it's only January.  And it's not like I'm in a contest, it's just that I like to feel like I get going quickly at the beginning of the year.

Every day is a new day though, so here's to a better one today.

Enjoy your weekend!

11 January 2014

Nothing Else Has Come Close

Once upon a time, I walked into a Kiehl's store here in Philadelphia, and bought this face balm:
I'd read about it in a magazine.  The article said it was great for really cold weather, because though it was a balm (aka "greasy") it absorbed into your skin and didn't sit on top.  Plus it had sunscreen in it.  I was skeptical, but figured it was worth a try, since I could return it if I didn't like it.

Let me tell you, it was amazing.  It really did protect my skin from extreme cold and wind, and even kept it from turning as red in that kind of weather.  You didn't need to use much, so one container easily lasted an entire winter of extreme weather.  During the week, I could even wear foundation over it without any problems.  It was one of the few products I'd ever tried that lived up to its hype, and that I continued purchasing whenever the container would be empty.

Then, Kiehl's decided to discontinue it.  I have no idea why, and though they have since claimed other products were similar, they are not.  I have tried in vain to find something similar in other brands, without anything even coming close.  The product is either too heavy and thick like Vaseline, or doesn't contain any sunscreen (or worse SPF 8 which might as well be zero as far as I'm concerned), or you can't wear makeup over it.

The last time I was at a Kiehl's store, I asked a clerk if they had any idea why it had been discontinued, and he said no, but so many people ask for it, he wished they would bring it back.  I don't really think they will, but I guess I can always hope.

In the meantime, please let me know if you have any suggestions.  My poor face has really suffered this past week, and it's only the beginning of winter!

03 January 2014

Fresh Start

Last year, I had some goals for myself for the year, and though it wasn't perfect, I did OK with them.  I'm hoping that I can improve on that this year.

I think I mentioned here in previous posts, that I finally realized that making New Year's resolutions just didn't work for me.  Once I started to think of goals and intentions, I took a different approach, and even when I didn't exactly reach them, I didn't have the same feeling of failure as I did with failed New Year's resolutions.  On the one hand, it's the terminology, but on the other hand, my goals and intentions were things that were more or less baby steps, not all-encompassing.

This year, I am going to work on the following:

1.  Fitness.  I didn't do as well as I'd hoped, partly because of a few illnesses that knocked me out for weeks at a time, and partly because I got lazy.  I'm still more fit than I was in previous years, but this year, I'd like to be more active.  So I'm hoping to ride my bicycle more (though not in the snow!), and I want to try some low-key running through a Couch to 5K program.  My goal with that would be to run a 5K this year.  I'd also like to do some hiking, and am hoping to get The Tim involved in that as well.  (We'll see.)

2.  Food.  I eat pretty healthily, so there are no major changes for me here.  But I would like to put more effort into cooking things that will serve more than one meal.  It's nice during the week to come home and be able to have a nice meal without it taking hours to fix.  So I'm going to try and expand my repertoire of soups, casseroles, and other dishes that by their nature make more than just two servings.

3.  Clothing.  I'm going to try and make my wardrobe more cohesive, and wearable.  I want to go through my closet and only keep the things that I really like, will actually wear/still fit, and work with more than one other item that I own.  It's not like I have a vast wardrobe, but it's become a mishmash of stuff over the past couple of years, and I want to pare it down.  I may try to save some money and invest in a new winter coat or some other big item, but will try to keep my spending under control otherwise.

4.  Beauty products/habits.  I already have this pretty well under control, so I'll try to stay with my good habits here.

5.  Attitude.  For the past couple of years, I've tried the One Little Word for the year idea.  My word for both of those years was "kindness" and though I'm not through working on that, I can say that I have been successful in being conscious of the word and changing my behavior.  I hope that now it will be a habit, so I'm choosing another word for 2014, which is grace.  As in a quote I saw here: "I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection."  Which basically means to remember that perfect should never get in the way of good.  I tend to be an obsessive perfectionist, and though I'm better at letting perfection go than I used to be, I need to work on it more.  Plus, I would really like to live my life with more grace and graciousness, in the hope to make grace work with kindness.  Life doesn't have to be as complicated as I often make it, and I also need to realize how great my life is and can be.  I'm hoping that grace will be my inspiration and my result.

Onward!  :-)

01 January 2014

On to 2014!

"Be in love with your life. Every minute of it."
-- Jack Kerouac

Best wishes for a year of love and happiness.