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.