She’s back!

Hello, darlings! That was a long two weeks, wasn’t it? By my count, it stretched out to five weeks and two days. I took some much needed time to get myself back into the swing of things, and I’m excited to restart my weekly posts this Sunday.

Also, a big announcement: I started a technical writing certificate course! I have wanted to be a professional writer since I was young, and I assumed that being an author or a journalist were the only ways I could achieve that. Alas, I was wrong, and I’m excited to see how my writing skills progress. (Wouldn’t hurt to get paid, and technical writing can pay the bills. Hint hint, wink wink.)

Permanent wink wink in action

Have a good week and check back on the 18th!

Good things come to those who wait

Real talk:

I’m adjusting to a new medication dosage and my head is all over the place. The next blog post is in a rough draft, and the following two posts are ready to be dressed to the nines for presentation.

This blog is intended for fun. I used to force myself to do the fun even when I didn’t want to. Now, I lean into my feelings and let myself feel them.

Next month marks one year since a lot of us in the U.S. went into quarantine. A year of being isolated is definitely taking its toll. While I’m grateful that I’ve been able to stay safe and physically healthy, I also know when my brain isn’t quite where I need it to be to function to my full potential.

I appreciate your patience and support. Much love.

Face Off, Part 1: Cleansers and Makeup Removers

I have a confession: for most of my life, I could not give a hoot about taking care of my skin. It seemed like such a hassle to spend so much money on things that would possibly break me out, so why bother? Plus, makeup can hide imperfections, and as sensitive as my skin is, I shy away from the possibility of irritating it.

My outlook changed as I perused good ol’ Reddit on the reg. Once I was home all the time and everything was canceled, there wasn’t much else for me to do besides read about what other people in the world were doing. (Super meta that you’re doing exactly that right now, eh?) I had great fun in the makeup and antiMLM subreddits, but I kept seeing r/skincareaddiction being suggested by users and the website itself. So, I took a tumble.

I am not proud to admit that I was squicked out by some of the photos. If you have not ventured into r/SCA as the kids call it, you will often see posts that ask, “what is this?” followed by a photo of a condition that likely needs to be treated by a doctor. In the desktop version of the site, you have the option to filter out all photo posts which helps big babies like me. After countless hours of reading product lists, reviews, and suggestions, I decided to give some new products a try. With the help of Redditors, Ipsy, and recommendations from trusted friends, I am having fun AND feeling better about how my bare face looks.

Originally, this was going to be a single post, but when I put together all of the products I have tried since I have been homebound, I realized that the sheer information load would be overwhelming! For simplicity, I am breaking this into four parts: cleansers and makeup removers; moisturizers and eye creams; toners, exfoliants and lip care; and face masks, both wash-off and sheet. (Yes, you should also wear a mask when you’re out and about for safety, but those aren’t the masks I’m talking about.)

Disclaimer: As of the writing and publication of this blog post, I am not affiliated with any of these brands or products. I get a 600 point referral bonus for anyone who uses my Ipsy link to sign up, but otherwise, I receive no other compensation or perks.

Aromatica Tea Tree Balancing Foaming Cleanser
Wow. WOW. I cannot stress how much I love this stuff. The Korean brand Aromatica teamed up with Ipsy to send this out to subscribers, and I am obsessed. It foams without stripping my skin of all moisture, and I especially like to use it to get makeup off at night. The tea tree oil scent is noticeable but not overpowering, and it helps keep my skin clear from pesky breakouts. My face reacts horribly to salicylic acid, so this is a welcome alternative. You can buy Aromatica directly from their website (click here!), on Amazon, or on Peach and Lily.

You are my sunshine!

COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
I picked this up at Ulta hoping that it would be similar in effect to the Aromatica cleanser. It was very much just…meh. I didn’t hate it, but I wasn’t sad to use it up. I noticed my face was a bit redder the first few days that I used it, but that subsided with regular daily use.

It would have been a fun experiment to buy pH strips and test this, but I forgot. Whoops!

Vanicream Unscented Gentle Facial Cleanser
So, you know how I love my Aromatica? I have similar feelings about this one. This is milder, but it leaves my face feeling soft and clean. I have used it in morning and nighttime routines, and it works well at both times. It’s available at Target (click here!).

Awww yisss. This bad boy is awesome. Buy it. Use it. Revel in its wonderfulness.

Malin+Goetz Grapefruit Face Cleanser
Meh. I got a sample of this in my Ipsy bag. It wasn’t awful, but I didn’t feel the need to buy a full size. Also, I’m not a fan of grapefruit anything, so that was not a selling point for me.

At least it didn’t break me out!

Makeup Removers
Simple Unscented Micellar Cleansing Water
Do yourself a favor: don’t try this. Don’t. Apparently it was reformulated and it irritates skin now. I tried it twice and looked like a lobster fresh out of the boiler. (Felt like one, too, except less dead.)

You were the chosen one! Simple has never done me wrong!

Ulta Waterproof Eye & Lip Makeup Remover
This feels…greasy? It’s pretty effective at removing waterproof makeup, but you may have to rub your eyes a bit to get everything. It’s inexpensive, too. If it wasn’t obvious, you can find it at Ulta.

When you shake it, the pink turns into bubbles!

Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Cleanser & Waterproof Makeup Remover
So, I have used this for makeup removal as well as double cleansing. (The latter, I am sad to report, does not appear to be the miracle method of skincare for me, but if it works for you, go nuts.) Unlike Simple, it doesn’t burn or turn my face an angry crimson shade. I can also use it to wipe up accidental spills when I am coloring my hair; in fact, given the choice between micellar water or nail polish remover, I much prefer to use the water on my face, neck, and ears. I will also use it occasionally when I am too tired to properly wash my face and let it air dry, and it gets the muck out. You can find this at Ulta, Target, and any drugstore.

I’ve heard that this stuff combined with a makeup-removing towel is amazing, but I haven’t tried that yet. Maybe it’s something else to consider while I’m stuck at home, right?

I have a special post for next Sunday, and then we will resume skin care on the 21st. Stay safe and healthy, friends!

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Let’s travel back in time

Ah, the film photography era. I am a proud millennial, and as such, my childhood was documented on film cameras. There was a special thrill that arose from filling up a roll, dropping it off at a drug store or big box retailer, and waiting eagerly for days to get your pictures back. You could relive memories of class field trips, family vacations, and major milestones like birthdays and weddings. You would also try to destroy any horribly embarrassing evidence of frumpy outfits your parents forced you to wear or moments when you were in the bath or just inexplicably naked as a toddler. You wouldn’t always succeed and would have mere seconds to brace yourself before they were shown to high school sweethearts or a gleeful sadist on the staff of your high school yearbook committee.

I recall major drawbacks to the old method of documenting our lives: first of all, it took serious skill to get a good shot with the right lighting and all of your subjects in the frame. Second, you had no way of knowing before you sent your photos off for development if they were going to be gorgeous or utter garbage that cost money to print and later destroy. Finally, if you lost the photos or the negatives, you would be up a creek if you wished to recover the snaps you took. There was no cloud storage to rely on if your childhood home was damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster or if boxes were misplaced during a move. If you or your photo developer did not document the date on the back of the photo, you could be guessing what year your picture was taken. Also, if you inherited someone else’s photos and they did not write the names or the activity of whatever was occurring in the shot, you could be at a loss for piecing together whatever you had in your possession.

All of this background ties in to a project I undertook in May 2020. I had been in quarantine since mid March, and there was little to do outside of the home. My sister asked if I had photos of her on her childhood pony because she wanted to use one for a work project. Fortunately, we were in luck: I happened to have a gleeful mid-nineties photo of her with her pony, grinning from ear to ear at the photographer (likely my mother). As we discussed how I would get the digital copy to her, we decided that it would be a good idea to create a shared album in Google Photos of our old family pictures. We live in different cities and our parents grew up in another state, so seeing family members in person can be difficult to coordinate. (As of the publication of this blog post, I have not seen a blood relative in person in one year, three weeks and two days due to COVID 19. I desperately hope that I will be able to safely visit and hug my aging family members before the clock runs out.) I have been sitting on a decrepit shoe box filled with family photos that my husband grumbles about each time we move houses. “Why don’t you do something will all these photos?” he asks regularly, waiting for me to free up space in our tiny apartment. Much to his chagrin, I have not destroyed the physical copies of the photos even after scanning them into the cloud. I toe a fine line between being sentimental and being a hoarder of precious memories. Perhaps my therapist and I can delve into this in more detail in a future session.

While I have no plans of sharing every single one of the dozens of images I have with the Internet at large, I will put up a few that are meaningful in some way. Hope you enjoy looking into this with me!

Continue reading “Let’s travel back in time”

What now?

This week, I watched a violent coup against the government of my homeland take place live on TV.

This falls into the category of things I did in quarantine that I’ve never done before. It is a wild experience that I don’t recommend.

I know some of you spent the day avoiding the media because it was a lot to handle. Truthfully, that would have been better for me to do; I plastered myself to every screen, worried I would miss something even though I could do nothing to stop what was happening. I didn’t know if we were going to watch public servants die. I didn’t know what was going to happen.

I have been perpetually exhausted since 2016. Even though I knew everything would not magically improve after the election in 2020, I had hope. I still do in some weird way that I can’t explain. However, I am shaken and I am scared and I have no idea what will unfold in the coming weeks.

Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Is this the beginning of something worse, a harbinger of worse and deadlier events to come? Where do we go from here?