Sunday, October 4, 2015

I knew this would happen!

In true Me fashion, I totally flaked out on blogging.  I just got busy, I guess. Or ADD or who knows.

Generally, not much has changed.  I still love to travel and eat and drink.  I still take terrible pictures, I still have two adorable kittens and an amazing boyfriend.

The biggest update right now is that I'm going through my 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training.  So far I've completed 2 / 10 weekends, so I can teach about 20% of yoga.  I'm hoping to use this to kick myself back into blogging.  I'm supposed to try a bunch of different styles (I'm dreading Bikram), try teaching my friends, live by the yogic principles and all that good stuff.

I'm not really sure what I'm going to do with my teacher certification.  I already have a full-time job and a full schedule, so we'll see.  I'm really in this to learn and see what happens.  I'm going to try and blog about the experience to see what comes up, to see what I discover and see what I can start to share with the larger world around me.  Here goes!

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Oil Cleansing System

I forget exactly why I did this, but a few months ago I started trying The Oil Cleansing System.  For those of you who have no idea what this is (I certainly didn't used to), it's where you stop using harsh detergent-based cleansers on your face and instead clean your face by smearing it with oil.

Sounds gross? Sounds like it won't work? I was skeptical too.

I've never had what you'd call "nice skin".  When I was a teenager I had terrible acne.  In hindsight I probably could have improved my situation by washing my face more often or clipping my huge, thick bangs back when I slept.  Instead I went about it in my typical teenage fashion, trying to solve problems by whining.

Fast forward a decade, and my 20-year-old skin has fewer rampaging breakouts (I also lost the bangs, so I think the two might be related), but I still had the amazing ability for my skin to be flaky dry while having an oil slick on top of it.  I also have enormous pores, but my mother does too so I think I'm just genetically screwed in that department.

Now that I'm in my 30's, I really was waiting for the day that I had acne and wrinkles at the same time, and I'm still not entirely convinced that's not my fate.

Anyhow, some crunchy hippy friends of mine were talking about the OCS a while ago, so I goggled it and came to the page I linked to above.  They kept talking about how great their skin was, so I figured I'd try it, and if it made my skin disgusting it wasn't like I didn't still own soap.

Now, I'm consistently terrible at following directions and I think my crunchy friends weren't using castor oil and I didn't have any in the house, so I went with just straight coconut oil.  I was doing this at night for a while, and I noticed that after I washed my face in the morning with my regular facial cleanser my skin was kinda red and irritated and dry.  I stopped for a while mostly because I'm terrible at washing my face at night (gross, I know) because I go from active to passed out on the couch in about .5 seconds.  If I was smart, I'd get ready for bed before sitting down on the couch, but that just doesn't happen.

I started up again maybe a month or so ago.  No clue why I did, I probably just ran out of face soap and was like "heck, let's go back to that OCS system because I still have oil in the house".  This time I used sweet almond oil and for fun put lavender and eucalyptus essential oils in with it.  I ran out of sweet almond oil the other week so now I'm onto grapeseed oil with lemongrass essential oil.

Here's the crazy thing - it totally works.  Do I look like an airbrushed magazine model? No.  But my skin is less oily, I haven't had a zit since I started (that could just be luck), and I think in general my skin looks more fresh and clear.

It's certainly possible that I want this to work, so even accounting for that, the OCS works just as good as facial cleansers with the words "deep cleaning" and "pore minimizing" in their names.  My skin certainly isn't any worse.  That's freaking nuts.  And I'm not even following the system exactly, imagine what could happen if I just ordered some castor oil on Amazon Smile!

This time around I'm washing my face only with the OCS system in the morning in the shower like I usually do, and sometimes at night if I think to. I'm not seeing the red, dry, irritated problem and I think that's because with the combination of the OCS followed 8 hours later by harsh facial cleansers, I was over cleaning my skin.

I think I liked the coconut oil better, it seemed to get down into my pores better and I could feel them opening.  But I do like the ability to add essential oils to the liquid carrier oils.  Downside of adding lemongrass oil is that I constantly crave Thai food now.

You can also use the oil you wash your face with as a facial or body moisturizer AND it removes makeup.  Just as an FYI, I think a lot of the lotions I was buying before had chemicals in them that made them absorb quickly, so moisturizing with straight oil is a bit different.  It's good to moisturize right before bed so that way your skin can absorb everything and you won't have the problem of not being able to do anything since your hands are covered in oil.

I read an article on lifehacker about shaving with olive oil, so I tried shaving with the same oil I was cleaning my face with, and that also totally works.  I actually like it better than shaving cream since it repels water, it actually stays on your legs for longer without having to constantly re-apply the saving cream you've just accidentally rinsed off.

So, all in all, with one bottle of sweet almond oil (which sells on Amazon Smile for like eight bucks), I've been able to replace:
* makeup remover
* facial cleanser
* facial moisturizer
* body lotion
* shaving cream.

Just buy yourself a spray bottle, some essential oils and go to town! You'll save money, won't be putting harsh chemicals on your skin and you'll smell delicious.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Tilex v Diet Pepsi

I tend to be slightly crunchy, I like things organic and natural, but I also like things effective and convenient.  This leads me to waffle back and forth between making cleaners at home and browsing Home Depot for whatever is labeled "industrial strength".  It confuses my poor boyfriend to no end, which leads to  him deep-frying donuts which leads to me being ultra-hippy for a few days, renewing the whole cycle.

Long story short, I read an article (on lifehacker, maybe ...) about how you can totally use Coke to clean your bathroom.  The Texan in me realized that when they said Coke, they meant any soft drink that came in a can and/or bottle.  This was totally awesome news, since I stopped drinking coke a year ago (lowercase c for the Texan definition) I have a bunch of old cans in my beer fridge.  I keep trying to pawn them off on my coke drinking friends, and they're all like "uh ... I think this is old, and bad and the sugar has separated" and I'm all like "it's a can full of chemicals, how can you tell? Shut up and drink it".  That doesn't go over well.

The news that I can clean things with old, potentially bad coke now means that I can kill two birds with one stone.  I get a clean bathroom, get rid of old coke and make more room for beer, which using my logic is way better for you than coke.  I guess that's three birds, so even better.

I tried cleaning my tub with Diet Pepsi.  Spoiler alert, it totally didn't work.  It made the bathroom smell like coke, so if your definition of "clean" means "smells different than normal", then I guess you're good.  But all the soap residue was still there, and I think the scrubbing did more than the coke did.

I ended up spraying the whole tub down with Tilex Mold and Mildew which worked like a champ, like usual.

I still have Dr. Pepper and Pepsi Max which I'm going to try on a toilet to see if perhaps those work any better.  Maybe it didn't work because it wasn't the full fledged coke with all the calories and corn syrup?

Either way, I'm not sure this will pan out.  I'll keep you updated with more trials.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Happy Birthday, Dave!

It was my friend Dave's birthday this Saturday, and despite feeling like I'd been run over by a truck, I went and had a good time.  Dave's birthday thing is to choose a restaurant, and then we all go out and eat there.  Simple!

We went to 8407 Kitchen bar in Silver Spring, MD.  This is actually my go-to place in Silver Spring because 1) I know where it is and 2) more importantly, it's really good so why go any where else?

It's got all the things that lure me in
1) a good cocktail program
2) the word "charcuterie" on the menu
3) cheese board
4) good scotch menu for dessert.

and this isn't on my list usually, but I like it about 8407: their portions are reasonable so I don't leave hating myself.

Despite #1, I didn't get any cocktails both because I wasn't feeling awesome and because THEY HAD MUSCADET ON THE MENU!!! I've been looking for that wine forever.  It's light and crisp and just a bit sweet, it went perfect with my squid ink tagliatelle and shrimp.

Because we're us, we ordered a metric crapton of appetizers and shared them around:

* deviled eggs - this was my order.  Nice, classic deviled eggs but served with crispy pork rinds and pickled beets.  Not sure the pork rinds were necessary, but who doesn't love them.

* trotter tots - easily my favorite.  The were creamy and porky and crisp around the edges. Heck yes!

* calamari - was the classic fried, breaded calamari.  What was most interesting was the sauce they served it with, wasn't the usual marinara but tasted like a Cuban Aji sauce with cilantro and jalapenos.  It was delicious and a bit spicy, but might have overwhelmed the squid a little.

* grilled liver pate - everyone else thought this was too salty, but I liked it.  I like salt and grew up eating liverwurst, so that could be part of it.  Overall a good classic pate.

* cheese plate - unfortunately I couldn't hear what cheeses were on it, but there was a blue, I think a camembert and a cheddar.  The camembert and blue were easily my favorites, but that's pretty normal for me.  Everyone LOVED the honey that came along with the cheese, I didn't try it and have no idea why.

* Rabbit rillette - for me, this was overpowered by the liver pate that I had right afterwords.  It was good, but was blown away by the much stronger taste I of pate.  Wish I had slowed down and had the rillette with my muscadet.

I'm surprised I didn't get the oysters, and surprised I didn't get scotch for desert.  Instead I got a chocolate peanut butter concoction that looked like a giant Reeses' peanut butter cup.  It had peanut butter chunks instead, so it wasn't as consistently peanut buttery as I would have liked.  I'm not a sweet dessert person, so please don't take my word on this one.  The thing that I thought was most interesting was the scoop of curried vanilla ice cream that came on top. I'm going to have to make that at home, wish it had been more curried, but I'm a curry sucker and honestly if they had done that it could have overpowered the rest of the dessert.

All in all, my Silver Spring go-to still holds! Will return and eat more another day!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Thanks Hannah!

You ever have one of those days where you're pretty sure you have strep throat so you spend all day at home on the couch, and if it doesn't involve lozenges and/or the internet, you're not doing it?

That was my day today, and it just took a really unexpected turn.

There I was, dicking around on the internet, trying to watch funny videos to pass the time between lozenges.

I started on Mental Floss (see previous post), because their videos are hilarious and I learn things. Double whammy! From there I went on to My Drunk Kitchen, because that's also one of my go-tos for quality You Tube humor.  I love drinking, and I love food, so it's pretty much a perfect combination.

And that's when it took a left.

It's not that I ever thought poorly of Hannah Hart, I've loved her videos, and it's not that I ever thought her dumb, not even remotely. I've always found her adorable and hilarious (I love puns too!).   It's just that I never thought about her beyond her My Drunk Kitchen videos.

That's really unfair.  I learned this by stumbling upon this:

Dang, Hannah.  Thanks for making me realize again that all humans are so deep and complex and *personal*.  It's one of those lessons that yoga is supposed to teach me but that I somehow have to learn time and time again.  Everyone is on their own journey.

Back in high school I was friends with all of the weirdos.  We were all super straight-laced kids who got really good grades and were involved in extra curricular activities like orchestra, band and theatre.  We were essentially a huge group of nerds who bonded through our mutual outcastness and became the first unconditionally supportive group of people I'd ever been around.  You'd think our parents would have been thrilled with the friend group we'd all chosen, but no.

Needless to say, a lot of my friends ended up coming out as gay.  I'd like to say this didn't bother me the first time it happened but due to my religious upbringing, it really did.  I got over it by the time high school ended, but I also got over a lot of religion as well, which is it's own story.

It's so nice to see the Internet coming together now and then.  I think we get too blindsided by hateful comments and slurs people call us on XBox.  The Internet can really be a force for good, it can really be a powerful message for life and hope.  It gets better.  No matter what closet you're stuck in, there is a group of people out there who support you and love you.  When young, people can now find like-minded people on the Internet when 20 years ago we all thought we were so alone.  We don't have to wait until adulthood to learn that we're OK and that this too shall pass.

Thanks Hannah, for taking my sick day and showing me again the beauty and patience and love this world has to offer.

sick at home

The best part of having the flu is sitting on the couch watching Mental Floss videos all day

Yup, these will eat up an afternoon, no problem!

Kit .. Bar???

Last Wednesday I went to get a haircut.  This sounds like a totally normal, boring event, and I assure you it is.  Because I'm a crazy person I drive 1.5 hours to get my hair cut.  It's because the salon is near where I used to live and I really like my stylist and it gives me pre-allocated time to listen to audiobooks.

Totally nuts or not, It ensures that I have some me-time every 4-8 weeks.

Given the fact that I gave up on going to several pumpkin beer festivals, this shows that I was looking particularly rough and really needed to get my hair fixed.

After doing so, I was quite hungry and slipped into the Stone's Cove Kitbar.  I had only been there once before, and I kinda liked it so I wanted to go back.

This place has a really interesting concept.  In the middle of the restaurant is the kitchen, and surrounding it are all of the seats.  A lot of it is bar seating (which I love), with little table-like peninsulas sticking off for larger parties.  When you sit and eat, you don't have one waiter, you just have the team of people working in the middle and any of them can get you something.  This seemed strange at first, but I totally love it.  I love being able to watch people prepare the food, to see everyone bustling around.  It's like dinner and show if you're a person who loves the service industry like I do.

As it turns out, Wednesdays are half-price wine night.  I said I didn't really want to sit down and drink an entire bottle of wine, but they said they could wrap up whatever I didn't finish.  Game on! I ended up getting a really great bottle for like $15.  Since I was in a white mood (I was hoping they had Muscadet, but they did not ... nowhere does, it's my curse), I ended up getting a bottle of Ricardo Santos' Semillon (I posted a picture on twitter that night).

It was a bit sweeter than I was expecting, so I counteracted that by ordering some spicy fish tacos.  I was expecting them to be salsa-spicy but instead they were more spice-rub spicy.  Not what I had planned, but it turned out perfect!  They serve their fish tacos on this interesting wavy plate to hold up all three tacos.  This is awesome because you can eat half of a taco and put it down without the whole thing becoming a disaster.

I want to go back and eat more.  They had these interesting cones that contained avocado and some form of seafood (lobster or tuna, I think).  Maybe next time I'll bring the boyfriend, leave him to get a few drinks and return later with nicer hair and we can split a bunch of appetizers.

The waiter said they were opening up several other locations, but unfortunately none of them are closer to me.  The whole place is cozy, with stone and wood decor.  It would fit perfectly in Denver.  If there was one closer I'd eat there all the time.