Tuesday, April 28, 2015

We Went to DC this Weekend

Rob and I drove to Washington DC on Friday to visit my sister at her new place. She's been there for two months now. Here are some pictures I took during the trip.

Sister pic at brunch. We went to brunch on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Saturday we had an all you can eat, and penny mimosa brunch. The food was incredible but we were so full after and booze-tired on top of that. Also, Saturday ended up being very cold, so our original plans of going to an outdoor festival fell through. Honestly.... we ended up going home and taking a long-ass nap and went back out at 10 p,m. Kind of felt like college.

We didn't stop at the traditional DC monuments because we've all seen them before, but next time we come to DC I wouldn't mind walking the National Mall on a nice day.

These are cupcakes from a place called Sprinkles in Georgetown on Sunday. Apparently this is "the original" cupcakery. The top cupcake is a lemon flavor (Liz's choice), the middle one is called "triple cinnamon" (my choice) and the bottom is a carrot cake cupcake (Rob's choice). We each picked a flavor and split them all three ways to taste. Liz's friend who works at sprinkles brought us a s'mores cupcake after. We barely had room. Trust me, just one cupcake is enough.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival was only two weeks before this so we were able to see all the flowering trees.
More flowering trees. These were taken at Arlington National Cemetery where we saw The Changing of the Guard on Sunday. Also, Picasa automatically made this collage of photos when it noticed there were three similar in a row. I would not have cut my face off on the top one. Thanks Google.

I was very happy to see my sister, but also to see Jordy. She's being a watch dog here.

Jordy and Liz

Crappy quality selfie. I like it anyway.

Liz sleepin' on the subway at 1 am.

Rob wide awake on the subway at 1 am. Those are pizza takeout boxes from a place called &Pizza (and pizza) - best place ever. It's like Chipotle for pizza.

Liz and I both get sick on the Metro. She has more practice than me.

More Jordy. Sweet, sweet Jordy <3.

She likes to wait outside the bathroom door when Liz showers, even though I AM RIGHT HERE.

Jordy is a busy lady.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Super Late Super Pi Day

Guys. My boyfriend and I made a pecan pie on SUPER PIE DAY. Want to know something awesome? I turned my kitchen into a film set for the process and filmed the entire experience. What to know something super lame? That's ok, I'll tell you anyway. We bickered the entire time.

So now I have an hour long video// correction, two, one-hour long videos... two cameras, two videos//... Anyway, I have 120 minutes of my boyfriend and I bickering about pecans, and pie, and pecan pie. I honestly haven't watched any of the video, because while we are going strong, I just am not in the mood to watch a video of us fighting about nothing. Maybe one day I'll go through the footage and put together the non fighting parts, or a blooper reel of making this pie, or just post the whole thing because I'm real like that. Until then, you get pictures.

Here's the result of our labor of love and... frustration.

Not too shabby eh? The recipe we used is from the list of 25 Perfect Pies on MarthaStuart.com that I vowed to complete in the first ever post in this blog. Something unique about this pie is that we made it in a spring form pan - you know, the kind that looks like a regular pan until it doesn't? As you can see our pie was baked in a pan with removable sides. I am really digging the effect here.

Three of three tasters responded positively to the pie - with one of the tasters requesting seconds, and then thirds. Since pie day I have made an easter pie, and a strawberry pie. I'll tell you more about them in the next few posts.

Until then!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

It's Time For a Poo Update

It's been two and a half months since I went no poo. In February I stopped using shampoo because my normal method of controlling dandruff was leaving my scalp feeling incredibly dry. It was also the dead of winter, so my skin felt like it was two sizes too small, and when I sat my butt and thighs got itchy. I was kind of a mess. Here's a picture of me from February:

I actually had a great experience going no poo. It improved the "health" (hair can't be healthy, it's dead) and look of my hair. Static that usually plagues me every day was non existent. My hair dried faster with a hair dryer; and it styled better and had so much more natural shine and body because it had a light layer of natural oils.

To recap: the goal is to use no product on your hair in the shower (not sure about styling products, but it seems like that would be a "no" too). However, going cold turkey on the shampoo can lead to a greasy mess for a lot of daily shampoo users whose scalp is used to overproducing oils to compete with the drying qualities of some shampoo ingredients. So during the transition period you can use baking soda and water to remove some of the oils gently. 

For the first week or so I used the baking soda mixture everyday. I was too afraid to risk drying my hair and having to get back in the shower when I had somewhere to be. So I waited for a morning where I had plenty of time to fix greasy hair if necessary. Day one of true no poo was a complete success. Day two was great, day three was still pretty good, by day four I needed a little help from the baking soda spray, and on the cycle went.

The rest of my no poo journey was pretty uneventful, aside from the fact that I LOVED what it did to my hair. However, I'm sad to report that I am going to have to go back to using daily shampoo at least for a little while. You see, all of my expectations were either met or exceeded by only washing my hair with water, except for one thing. My dandruff came back with a vengeance. It's a huge problem, and I know ladies is pimps too, but I can't keep walking around the office brushing my shoulders off, so that's that.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

How To Be One of Those Early Risers

I never thought I'd be the type of person to wake up earlier than absolutely necessary to work out before work. I also never thought I'd be the type of person to start a blog and stick it out for over 30 posts without really knowing if anyone is reading. This is really good news, because I usually have a hard time sticking to the tasks with extrinsic motivations or that I just don't feel like doing.

Three weeks ago a construction project started on my considerably minute highway commute to work that would route me, and a ton of other commuters, onto a bumpy two lane road. Dreading this change, I vowed to start getting to work on time, 7:30-8am, as opposed to my typical 8-8:30am arrival.

I started by setting my alarm for 6am that week. Monday my alarm went off and I went back to sleep until 7am, just to jump out of bed and rush out the door to beat the traffic. Tuesday ended up being a repeat of the day before. Wednesday I tried something a little bit different. I still didn't get out of bed at my 6am alarm, but I did force myself to stay awake in bed. I did the same thing Thursday, and I think by Friday I may have gotten out of bed as early as 6:30am. Through the weekend I "slept in" till I naturally woke up around 8am or so.

I was feeling pretty accomplished by getting up by 6:30am or so a few days in a row, so I had a crazy thought. What if I use the extra time to do something useful? What if I use the extra time to accomplish something?? What a novel idea. So anyway, all that week (week two) I woke up at 6am, got out of bed a little after, worked out till about 6:40 or so, and STILL got into the shower earlier than I had in months.

In two weeks I was a before-work-worker-outer. Outrageous. I still can't believe it. Honestly.

So what I want to pass onto you is this:

A) It took me about a week to become an early riser - I'm already kind of a morning person, so it might take you longer if you're not. I am also lazy as hell, so if you're not a slob, at least you have that going for you.

B) I have been putting myself into a lot of very specific categories for a long time, and now I'm sure I have been limiting myself. By saying "I'm not that kind of person" I ended up in a position where I had never even tried to be that kind of person. I am that kind of person. I'm all the kinds of persons.

C) By learning about how I am (generally slow to start) I figured out how to better handle a challenge. I have worked out, largely through writing in this blog, that I need baby steps to accomplish things I don't necessarily want to do. What kinds of things do you do to adopt a new habit?


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

This is What I Look Like Now

This is the third time I have started writing this post. I guess the reason is because I've been thinking a lot more about skin care recently - particularly anti aging- and before I go into telling you about it I want to have ALL the facts. But until then I'm stuck. I don't write posts just to get posts up, and right now this is very much on my mind. I'm not really doing many new things at the moment, just trying to stay on the tightest budget of my life, and being kind of boring about it. So I'm writing what I've got so far. I miss you!

I was inspired to pursue this topic because while a friend of mine was doing anti aging research for her blog she mentioned to me that the ideal time to start preparing an anti aging routine was in your mid 20s. This led to a lot of questions:
  • says who?
  • who is making money off of this belief?
  • what are other people doing for anti aging?
  • what are other people my age doing for anti aging?
I sifted through a lot (I really mean A LOT) of media to try to get more information on the topic. My first google search led me to countless articles. Most of them were very advertise-y, and my ears usually grow shut at the first hint of biased information so...

The majority of the results listed anti aging products and their active ingredients. Ok, It's great that you have this kind of acid, but what does that mean? I'll be honest. I know that good research goes past page two or three of google search, but this is not a dissertation, ok?

My next search was youtube. That's where I get all of my makeup info. And why not? there are a ton of tutorials done by a ton of people of all ages and ranges of expertise. This search was not fruitful either. I could TELL immediately that everyone was trying to sell something, and if they weren't they were getting paid to sell something, and if they weren't they didn't seem to have any idea what they were talking about, and if they did all they listed was a bunch of products just like the google search. *deep breath* Not what I'm looking for, sorry.

Honestly, at this point all I had were more questions. And now I don't even really remember what I did next for research. I know I referenced some of my MVPs: Birchbox (aka Old Faithful), Peach and Lily (aka Korean Old Faithful), my friends (nobody cares about anti aging), Nordstrom (found a jar of $2000 cream).......... Here were my new questions:
  • what are all of these active ingredients, and what are they used for?
  • how do you take all of these active ingredients and create a routine that is right for you?
  • if I'm preventing problems I don't even have how do I know if I want wrinkle cream or depuffing cream?
  • wait a minute, why eat clean, stop using shampoo, and then bathe in acids?
So here are the important things I've learned about anti aging so far:

If you start thinking a lot about anti aging - you will find problems with your face that you didn't see EVER BEFORE. I know the wrinkles under my eyes didn't show up overnight, like magic, after my first google of the phrase "anti aging." By directing my thoughts toward anti aging I immediately aged my face (in my eyes) by maybe five years. That is disappointing because why create hangups where there are none?

There are two types of exfoliation - and they are totally different! There's physical exfoliation and chemical exfoliation. Your face is a big factory that is always running, day and night. It's entire job is to make new skin so when the top layer of skin cells on your face falls off, all day every day, there's still skin on your face. Newer skin is deeper and as it ages it gets closer to the surface and by the time it's at the surface it's dead. The rate at which this happens is called Cell Turnover - which I've learned is a very important buzzword to salespeople. As people age, the cell turnover rate slows and so basically you have more dead, dull skin cells sticking to your face, drying out, changing colors (maybe) and wrinkling up. Ew.

Physical exfoliation is great IMO - your dry-ass legs will thank you for running a scratchy scrubby over them once a week. This strategy isn't the same for your face. Don't ask me why. So that's where chemical exfoliators come in. You've probably heard of a Chemical Peel - are things starting to come together here? Cell turnover! A professional takes a very strong acid and basically exposes the baby skin on your face. Ta da. The active ingredients in your at-home, daily-use products will not work at on the same scale of course, but they use the same ingredients; and they work best overtime.

And then there are a lot of other ingredients that work alongside the whole cell turnover thing, like ingredients that get deep into the skin to help the skin factory produce an excellent final product for when it gets to the surface, and ingredients that draw as much moisture to the outer layers of your skin to make them even more baby soft and wrinkle free.

Your skin changes and you should change too - My holy grail of skin care started out as a regimen of salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. I would never be caught dead putting anything on my oil field of a face after washing with medication - including sunscreen. I was a golden goddess, invincible to melanoma, and sunscreen was for the birds.

Then, much more recently, I realized the real answer was to stop picking at my face, and eventually I arrived at a regimen of excessive exfoliation followed by excessive moisture twice a day. Scrape away all the dead and heal it up with a ton of lotion. My oil field had dried up and lotion was my best friend - still is. Also you. You are my best friend.

And now it's time to evolve again. I need to find a way to un-see a lot of what I've seen close up on my face, while also setting methods in place to help my skin to maintain a healthy and successful cell turnover - while still not worrying so much about the rate quite yet.

While I don't feel ready to get into the nitty gritty about the anti aging ingredients just yet, I promise I will soon. I never want to lie to or mislead you, ever. So far I've been working on finding out the truth about the following:
  • retinol/retinoids/vitamin A/retin A (and what is the difference)
  • hyaluronic acid
  • ceramides
  • vitamin C
  • alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids
  • l'ascorbic acid
  • peptides
Fyi, based on my findings I've been using hyaluronic acid, retinol, ceramides, and my sweet clarisonic for the last two weeks.  So, I'll let you know how that's going and why I chose those things. However, the biggest questions on the topic still remains.

Is this all necessary?


Is this all necessary NOW?