Monday, May 13, 2019

Joy In A Jar

I'm not really one for making things. I have zero artistic ability and can barely draw a normal looking smiley face. I am bad at wrapping presents. I'm bad a knitting and crafts. Baking is an enormous challenge for me. I am shocked Doug didn't leave me after the hideous (but allegedly delicious) birthday carrot cake I baked for him him. But I made this scrub the other day kind of on a whim and it THRILLED me and I wanted to share the "recipe" here.

You take...

Equal parts Coconut Oil and Himalayan Pink Salt
I used a quarter cup of each
A few drops of an essential oil of your choosing
I like a stronger smell and used three drops of lavender and two drops of tea tree
Toss it all in a little bowl and mix with a fork. If it stays chunky doesn't start to meld together into a paste, lose the fork and mix that shit with your hands.

Once it's all mixed together, put it in a little jar and screw the top on and let the joy wash over you. Let visions of quitting your job and staying home to make and sell scrubs flood your mind for just a few moments. Then come back to earth and go take a shower and use this stuff. I am pleasantly surprised at how much I like it. I hope you like it, too.

Here is exactly what I used: Coconut Oil, Salt, essential oils. And jars.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Oily Hair Don't Care

Sometimes I feel like everyone on the planet except me has dry hair. Everything I read about hair care talks about moisturizing products and deep conditioning and rubbing coconut oil on your scalp and only washing your hair once a week. It's as if the majority of the beauty industry seems to forget that it's possible for people to have oily hair after the 7th grade. I am six months away from 40. I have oily oily oily hair and I exercise a fair amount with my hair down. I need to shampoo pretty frequently to avoid looking like Pat Riley. Two RIDICULOUSLY effective products I've recently discovered if you have oily/dirty hair like mine: Josh Rosebrook Balance Shampoo and Lulu Organics Hair Powder, which is basically a dry shampoo.

The Rosebrook shampoo is super pricey, at least to me. It kind of kills me to spend $30 on a bottle of shampoo, but the stuff works better than anything I've ever tried and it's free of sulfates, parabens, synthetic fragrances, and all the other evil toxins we're supposed to avoid. It also boldly states right on the bottle that it's for oily hair. Yes! It smells... light, sweetly carbonated, like a healthy version of soda you wish tasted more like Coke but that you pretend to enjoy and then never buy again. Does that make sense? Fizzy, but healthy. It doesn't lather as much as the shampoo I was used to, but you get used to that lower lather feeling after a few washes. As "clean" shampoos go, it lathers more than most, if that piece really matters to you. It makes your hair feel like hair. Normal. Not weirdly heavy, not too clean or slippery, just hair. I've been using this stuff for two months and I'm giving it two thumbs up.

In an effort to make my $30 bottle of shampoo last longer, I started looking for a good dry shampoo to maybe get a second day out of each washing. I'd tried Batiste in the past but it made my hair a bit heavy and I got sick of the smell within a few days and it seemed to be full of questionable ingredients. Lulu Organics Hair Powder is so gorgeous I can't stand it. I got a small batch of it for $10. It's made of corn starch, white clay, baking soda, organic horsetail powder, and essential oils. (Horsetail is a plant. I had to Google that, not gonna lie. It's not powder from an actual horse's tail, don't worry.) Anyway, I tried this stuff last night and I am hooked. I want to order a case of it. My hair was DISGUSTING. I hadn't washed it in a day and a half AND I'd exercised and my hair got sweaty as hell. I put a little bit of this powder on my fingertips and ran my hands all over my scalp and when I was done? I liked the way my hair looked more than I do when I've just washed it. I reluctantly washed my hair this morning, and I seriously cannot wait for it to be dirty again so I can use this powder. Lucky for me, that won't take too long.

You can get both of these miracle products at my current favorite store on the planet: Cambridge Naturals.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

My Two CBD Cents

The way we talk about CBD reminds me of how we all used to talk about online dating. Remember when Match.com started and it was HORRIFYING if anyone knew you were using it? Now it's rare to hear about a new relationship that didn't start online or via some app. Everyone does it, everyone talks about it. (I met Doug on Bumble.) Anyway, I feel the same way about CBD. LOTS of us use it, very few of us do it all that openly.

I first started to hear about CBD maybe a little under a year ago. I didn't really have it on my radar. I knew marijuana sales were starting soon in Massachusetts, I knew CBD was somehow related to marijuana but I didn't really understand what it was and I didn't really care. Meh. The thing that made my ears perk up was an Instagram story posted by Jessamyn Stanley. She talked about Veritas Farms CBD Oil and how it worked for her. She said it "settled every part of her." That sounded great. I was intrigued. I dug a bit deeper and posted a little blurb on my own Instagram story asking people to message me if they'd tried CBD and were comfortable sharing their opinion/experience. I received lots of positive messages. The thing that came across most loudly was that CBD can help with anxiety. HELLO. GOOD MORNING.

I really struggle with anxiety, I think most of you who will read this already know that. I worry about everything. Anxiety for me feels like a relentless churn. It makes the tough days a LOT tougher and the good days sort of mediocre. I've dealt with it in a number of ways over the years. Yoga (and really any movement) has always been and continues to be an amazing way to temper my anxiety. Cutting back on and/or eliminating alcohol. Saying "no" more often. Taking stock of friendships and professional relationships and stepping away from those that had gone to an unhealthy place. Teaching. Writing. Tea. All the stuff the blogs tell you to do.

For a little while I took medication for my anxiety: a low dose of Zoloft. It helped a little, but I didn't love the way it made me feel. I felt less anxious, but I also felt like I was sitting in the back seat of my life, not fully present, so I weened myself off.

I didn't take anything for anxiety until I tried CBD about a month ago. I started with gummies that I purchased at one of my absolute favorite stores, Cambridge Naturals. I also ordered the oil from Veritas Farms that Jessamyn referenced in her post. I started slow and small. The lowest dosage gummies, the lowest dosage oil, and I've kept it there. So far? This stuff really works for me. Is all of my anxiety gone? No. Not even close. Does it make me feel amazing? Nope. It's not a magic bullet. I'm not walking around without a care in the world smiling at everyone. I'm still me. It just makes me feel...... not shitty.

My experience is that you don't notice it right away. You take it and think, welp, I wasted money on that, this is doing nothing. Then an hour later you realize, huh. I'm not having a constant internal meltdown. Someone has their office door closed at work and I'm not sweating and assuming it's about me and that I'm getting fired. I just got a lot of things done and they didn't all seem so monumental. A person who isn't particularly nice to me just crossed my path and I don't feel like eating nine bags of Doritos to cope. I'm a person. I'm doing things. This is cool. It doesn't make me noticeably drowsy. I've taken it and gone and taught a fitness class a few hours later. It doesn't make me feel like I'm under the influence at all. Taking one Benadryl has a stronger impact on me.

It seems too good to be true - like finding the perfect person on Match.com only to learn that they are mean and awful a short time later - but until someone can prove that this is bad for me or it stops making me feel better, I'm all over it. My two CBD cents.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Black Honey 4-Eva

Last May I read a post on A Cup of Jo written by my favorite contributor, Caroline, about the one beauty product she always finishes: Weleda Skin Food. I immediately went out and bought Weleda Skin Food and have been loving it since. At the end of the post Caroline asked readers if they had any products they always finish, and I left a comment about my favorite lipstick of all time: Clinique's Black Honey Almost Lipstick.

Fast forward nine months.

A couple days ago I'm doing my daily visit to A Cup of Jo and there is a new post called "14 Great Reader Comments on Beauty."  The second comment they shared for the entire Cup of Jo world to see? Was mine. MINE! On a day where I was feeling kind of down and anxious and meh, it made me feel like the smartest, prettiest girl in the world.

In all seriousness, Black Honey is truly the world's best lipstick color. It's subtle. You don't necessarily look like you have lipstick on. You just look... good. Brightened up. Awake. Pretty. Oh I just love it. I actually HAVE been wearing it since the 7th grade. I can still remember stacking it next to my erasable pen on top of my books in the 8th grade. I remember buying a fresh tube of it for my prom, even though I already had one going. One time when I was 24 a man I was dating looked at me said, "Oh. It was better before." after I put Black Honey on. I will never forget it. He was a really dreadful human being and that was the first moment I started to really realize it. It was as if he'd disrespected a member of my family. No one doesn't like Black Honey. Madonna is wearing it on the cover of her "Ray of Light" single. New York magazine's fashion editor buys it in bulk. It is the best.

I've gone through phases where I've felt like I should try to move on and "grow up" and try a new lipstick color. I've tried a few Mac shades, Revlon's Plum Velour (not bad), a Burt's Bees lip shimmer, meh. I've always come back to Black Honey. That said, in recent years I've become more and more interested in clean beauty. I like knowing that the things I'm slathering on my skin are good for me and not known to cause cancer. I've tried to figure out if Black Honey is "clean enough" and I honestly can't tell. I've switched every other product in my makeup bag over to the clean side of the fence, so even if Black Honey isn't 100% clean, I'm okay with it. However, I did find a dynamite company called Olio e Osso and they make a balm (No. 5 Currant) that is completely delicious and comes insanely close to being almost the exact same shade as Black Honey. If you're a clean freak and you want to make sure you're wearing the cleanest makeup possible AND you love or are intrigued by Black Honey, Oio e Osso's No. 5 is your scene. I own and wear both Olio e Osso No. 5 and Black Honey regularly.

While I'm at it, other clean makeup favorites:

RMS Beauty's "Un" Cover-up

Ilia's Silken Shadow Stick

W3LL People's Expressionist Mascara

Jane Iredale's PureBrow Brow Gel

Kjaer Weis Eye Pencil

All of them I have finished and purchased a second time. I wonder how many tubes of Black Honey I've purchased over the past 27 years...

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

I Hate Shaving My Legs

This blog has three posts and no followers, so this post is in NO WAY sponsored. I'm not that cool. I just had to tell you about this: Flamingo. I can't even remember how I found this company, probably during one of my mindless rabbit hole excursions into the depths of Instagram. Their tagline is "Body Care for Women with Hair" and they are named for the one-legged pose most of us strike in the shower when shaving our legs.

I hate shaving my legs. My legs are probably my least favorite thing about my physical self. I take that back. I'm trying to cut down on self-loathing. Let me rephrase: I love my legs because they allow me to dance and be active. They are strong and muscular as hell and I'm proud of their shape. What I do NOT like is the fact that they bruise easily and are incredibly pale. Defiantly pale. Self tanner literally doesn't work. My flesh rejects it. And what I've surmised from looking around the world and the internet is that being muscular is okay. Being pale is okay. But being pale and muscular is NOT okay. This makes me very insecure about my legs, so I cover 'em up. I haven't owned shorts in probably 15 years. Sometimes I try to wear nude pantyhose and pretend it's okay because Kate Middleton does it, but halfway through the day I want to run out and buy a pair of pants to throw on over them. I am a huge fan of very opaque black tights, maxi dresses, etc.

Anyway, taking care of this part of my body that doesn't make me all that happy has never been on my list of favorite things to do. I pretty much only did it if I was in a relationship where someone might regularly see my leg flesh, going to get a pedicure, going to the doctor, or planning to shower at the gym and felt that things were getting a bit out of hand.

When I saw the post about Flamingo my initial reaction was pretty basic, "Oooh it's pretty." It IS pretty. Their razors are pretty. I immediately wanted to have one in my bathroom, even if I never used it - ha! I assumed it would be way too expensive, but I clicked and to my delight: $9. Comparable to the stuff I was getting at CVS. Box of razor cartridges: $16. YAY! They even had shave gel - $5. Amazing. I impulse purchased all three.

I started using my Flamingo razor and shave gel last week and I am hooked in every possible way. You need only the tiniest bit of shave gel to make a mountain of foam - so the $5 can will last forever, and the razor really does give you the gentlest, closest shave. I have very sensitive skin and when I shave my legs I'm always frantic and in a rush and annoyed that I have to spend time standing on one leg taking care of my least favorite body part. Even in my angst-y shaving state I haven't had a single nick or bit of irritation. I love this razor so much I'm shaving more often and, at the risk of being incredibly cheesy, I like my poor legs more than I ever have. I never imagined my least favorite self-care task could have such a positive impact on one of my biggest insecurities.

Two thumbs way up for Flamingo. Go order yourself some shaving stuff right now. They offer a starter kit for $16 that includes the shave gel, lotion, razors, shower hook, extra cartridge, and a pouch if you don't believe me and want to give it all a little try first. Happy shaving.

Monday, February 18, 2019

The Perfect Cold & Flu Season Soup

I spied this recipe for Chicken and Rice Soup with Garlicky Chile Oil on Bon Appetit's wonderful Basically website yesterday. Love at first sight. Chicken soup. Garlic. Spice. Finishing oil. Dill. I love all these words. I LOVE a finishing oil. As you'll see, the recipe is super simple and you'll already have almost everything you need to make it in your kitchen. I grabbed dill, kale, and chicken thighs at Trader Joe's and was pumped to make it today.

Then Doug came home last night really sick with the exact illness I'd just gotten over. Sorry, love. Pretty sure I had/he has the Norovirus. Disgusting. You feel fine one minute and the next minute it's like your abdomen is an aggressive balloon with an advanced vinyasa yoga class taking place inside of it. I was still planning to make the soup, though I felt a little bit guilty UNTIL I realized... leave out the chili oil and this is just about the easiest, most mild, nutritious chicken soup you can make. Perfect for a sick kiddo and kiddo who just got past three days of rice cakes and is ready for some flavor and heat. Perfect for cold and flu season where colds and the flu happen at different times in the same household. Full of vitamin C. Easy to digest. Cheap. Easy to make. Just perfect.

Quick note: Doug was okay with kale, if you're making this for one healthy person and one sick person, you could serve the sicko a bowl of this right after you add the chicken and before you add the kale and lemon to keep it REALLY mild.

Also: garlicky chili oil on everything from now on. Everything.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Hello, Fresh Vegetables. Hello, Old Blog.

I was eating a salad at my desk earlier today when it occurred to me that, WOW, I had not had a bowl of vegetables in a very, very long time. You know that feeling when you're eating something fresh and green and you can tell that your body is screaming "FINALLY!" at you? It was like that. Then it occurred to me that I hadn't written anything on this on-again/off-again blog for a while, so I bopped over to Runaway Shopgirl dot com, saw it sitting here empty, and remembered that I'd taken everything down one day when I was feeling shitty. Maybe it's the salad or the random eight hours of sleep I got last night, but I'm not feeling all that shitty today, so I thought I'd give this thing a shot again. Here are a few thoughts and blurbs and links....

I'm just about done reading Who Thought This Was A Good Idea? by Alyssa Mastromonaco who I am totally in awe of and fan girling like crazy over. She is the former deputy chief of staff to President Obama. You will love this book if you miss Obama, if you have a sense of humor, if you've ever scrambled to find a tampon during a busy work day, or if you have a job where you're a key member of the staff but pretty much unknown outside the office walls. Alyssa has another book coming out on March 5th, I am the second person in line for it when it arrives at the Boston Public Library. Love her.

Jojoba oil is doing great things for my horrific winter face and cuticles. You should get some.

Nancy Pelosi's Iconic Pity Clap at the State of the Union Will Sustain Me For Life

I'm taking a break from social media for the month of February. I've slipped and tapped on the Facebook and Instagram icons accidentally a few times, but for the most part I've stepped away. I'm not noticing any MAJOR life improvements just yet, but the constant hum of mildly negative thoughts about myself has quieted down slightly and my phone battery lasts FOREVER. I'm keeping a little journal on my phone (ha!) to monitor my thoughts on this as I go through the month. My motivation to try this little detox came from this GQ article.

Last week we got a Peloton. Doug had been looking into getting an exercise bike for a while because morning workouts that he can jump into relatively quickly after waking up work best for him, and there aren't any gyms or studios all that close to our building. I was skeptical at first but I went to the store and did a demo ride in January and was impressed. The bike itself is VERY nice, solid, and very quiet. The class options are seemingly endless and the reviews were glowing. We jumped in. I've done one class so far and it KICKED my ass. I've never been great at exercising at home. I get distracted and don't work that hard. This wasn't the case with the 30-min Intervals & Arms class I did last weekend. Maybe it's because I'm locked (clipped) into the bike? We'll see.

I picked up Every Body Yoga today. Have you read it? I like every single word Jessamyn Stanley writes on her various social media channels so I figured it was about time to read her book.

This recipe is always worth re-sharing. Have you made this? I've already made it twice this winter, I could literally eat it every single day. Maybe I need to make a batch Sunday... have a nice weekend, everyone.