Monday, October 3, 2011

I've moved!

I'm going to be blogging in a new place. I hope you'll join me over there!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Love: Do Fun Stuff, a charity kids album (for parents)

If you've been following my blog, you've heard me mention one of my favorite blogs here in the past: Pacing the Panic Room. I've been a fan of Ryan's for a while now. He gets it. His writing is very open and raw and honest and I so dig that.

So Ryan has put together a charity kids album (that is pretty damn rockin' for parents, too) that will help benefit a cause close to his heart.

The jist of the story (excerpted from shelookslikeamom): 
Meet Ryan. He has a lovely wife, Cole, their new daughter, Tessa, and Cole's son, LB (The Littlest Buddy). While Cole was pregnant with Tessa, she and Ryan discovered that LB had a chromosomal disorder called Smith-Magenis Syndrome (SMS). Very little is known about this condition (there isn't even a Wikipedia page for it!), and not much research has been done either. Ryan stepped up to the plate and petitioned artists and musicians to create a kids' album with music that is enjoyable for parents, as well, and 100% of the proceeds will be donated to SMS research. The album is called "Do Fun Stuff," and it will be released on iTunes today. 
I don't have kids, but I love this album. And I love what it represents: ordinary people doing extraordinary things by rallying together to take on something bigger than themselves.

Check it out, buy it if you can, and know that 100% of the proceeds from this album go toward funding graduate research on SMS.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hate: Disappointing People

I’ve been an emotional hermit for the past couple of days.

I am not the hermit type, especially not with my emotions, but a series of run-ins with friends and colleagues had me questioning a lot of things about myself, and about my decisions. I needed to figure out what I was doing right and what I was doing wrong. And I really needed space to think—without noise—to figure all that out. So into the cave I went.

The recurring themes were:
  1. my propensity to overschedule myself 
  2. my inability to deal with disappointing people (in a healthy way) 

Singly, these things are not bad. They are good problems to have, in a way. But coupled together, they are a formula for disaster. Which is why my brain tends to go through cycles of feeling how Pig-Pen looks.

I’ve been overly busy since I was in middle school. I do it because I need to, not because I love to. I need to... because if I give myself too much downtime, I over-think everything and fall into depression. My brain doesn’t work in idle. It starts eating me alive. And so I learned (at a young age, even) that doing a lot ultimately makes me happier.

But I have a hard time disappointing people. It crushes me, you could say. And when you’re busy you have to disappoint people a lot... scheduling things months in advance and sometimes having to say no to things you wish like hell you could do, but you just can’t.

Things have been building and I think I’m finally realizing that one of these things has to give. My gut tells me that I just have to get better at disappointing people. I can’t act like the world is going to end when I say no. In some ways, by BEING crushed, I make people feel more disappointed in me. Does that make sense? I watch my fiance say no all the time. He does it in such a non-emotional way that people don’t even think twice about it. Cool. No biggie. Move on. Maybe by getting emotional about it, I make others feel things they shouldn’t.

What advice do you have for me? Books to read, therapists to talk to, private islands to escape to... I’ll take it all. How do you cope with letting people down?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Love: Molly Mutt Dog Beds

We just bought Sophie a new dog bed for when she's chillin' in the living room. I, of course, searched high and low for just the right bed for a long time. A friend showed me a clip of this site from a magazine, and I fell in love with the design and the company.

:: Molly Mutt Dog Beds ::

Good things:
  1. Very affordable compared to similarly-sized beds. We ordered the medium ($30) which is more than big enough for our 50 lb. dog.
  2. Made of strong, durable canvas in super-cute prints. I was very impressed with the quality of the sewing and fabric.
  3. It's a duvet cover that you can fill with blankets, t-shirts, pillows, etc. which means you can use things around the house—with your scent on them—to fill the inside. How cool is that?!
  4. I love buying from a small company with a focused passion.

Bad things:
  1. Not a single one. I'm thinking of ordering another one, just because.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Love: The moral roots of liberals and conservatives

A year ago if you had told me that I'd be falling in love with a Republican, I'd have punched laughed in your face. I almost didn't go out with him. But, he seemed open-minded and I was willing to take a risk.

I'm glad I did. The past year has been the best of my life.

I'll spare you all of the smooshy details of my relationship, but I do want to tell you how thankful I am that I'm becoming the open-minded person I thought I once was by falling in love with a Republican.

It's hard to hate someone you're in love with. So you have to find a way to understand where he's coming from, even if his opinions occasionally piss you off.

A lot of people think it's novel that I, the liberal Obama-loving girl, am dating the conservative who works in politics. While we do have some core values and beliefs that differ, we actually agree on the social issues that are most important to me.

During one of the early debates that occurred between us, I was worried that my opinion meant little to him because it was largely based on emotional conviction and not necessarily well-articulated facts. He said something to me that put my fears to rest: "Nobody's opinion. Matters more to me. Than yours."

How can you learn to love and accept people you disagree with? Have we lost the ability to do that with our modern-day sensational politics?

Watching this video helped me make sense of what I was learning in my heart for months: That the cartoon I had painted of conservatives—as unbendingly rigid fuckwits with no moral compass—was unfair and close-minded. To this day I catch myself judging people before I take a breath and put myself in their shoes for a minute. I may not ever agree with their beliefs, but I can't go on thinking they're just plain evil.

Food for thought. Watch this video and let me know what you think in the comments!

Jonathan Haidt on the moral roots of liberals and conservatives

Love: Pacing the Panic Room

There are a handful of blogs in my reader that, when a new post shows up, I get all giddy and want to savor the time I have to read it. Pacing the Panic Room is one of those blogs. When I found it a year or so ago, I spent a few evenings reading all of the archives. I couldn't get enough of it.

I'm not a baby-obsessed person. I've never really been drawn to blogs written by males that have lives that are nothing like mine. But there is something about the way Ryan writes about life, about family, and about the inner-workings of his head that just mesmerizes me. I find myself reading a sentence, taking a deep breath, and thinking, "Yeah. That's exactly how it is."

The posts are longer than I normally have patience for. It seems everything about this breaks the mold of what I typically like... but that's what makes it so extraordinary for me.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Love: Le Creuset Dutch Oven

Any foodie who watches Food Network will recognize these dutch ovens. (All-Clad pots and pans, KitchenAid mixers, W├╝sthof knives, Le Creuset dutch ovens... these are the things that make a home chef whimper and drool.)

I never thought I'd own one of these, until one day I happened upon one at a flea market. It was old, beaten up, and red (my favorite color). The white enamel had become well-worn and even had a couple spots of cast-iron showing through. After contacting a friend-of-a-friend who is a food scientist to make sure this old pot was too legit to quit, for $30 I took it home and figured I would give it as much love as it obviously once had.

I used that old thing for almost every meal. It became one of the most cherished pieces in my kitchen. There is nothing—and I mean nothing—like drizzling some oil in the Le Creuset and throwing in some onions/garlic/carrots/etc. The sound. The smell. The feel of moving around those ingredients with a simple wooden spatula. The way the food looks against the creamy enamel... It's pure heaven to me. (Right up there with the sound my dog makes when she's crunching her food.)

Sadly, that old dutch oven bit the dust one day when I accidently left it on to heat up without putting any oil in it. There was a horrible burnt smell and the enamel had blackened and starting popping off. I cried. It was as if I had killed something that I loved.

That was almost a year ago, and I didn't think I'd own another one unless I happened upon one at a yard sale or antique store. I wasn't about to pay full price for a new one.

Then, a couple of days ago I had a birthday, and my wonderful boyfriend bought me a big-mamba-jamba dijon Le Creuset dutch oven. Isn't he fantastic? I think he knows that when I am happy in the kitchen, his belly is happy.

Good things:
  1. The heat retention on these things is incredible. It will truly be unlike any other pot in your kitchen. You can cook on a low or medium heat most of the time once it's heated up.
  2. You will feel like Giada, Ina, Tyler, or [insert name of your fave Food Network chef here]. Like me, you may find yourself talking out loud while you're cooking.
  3. It's so pretty that you can leave it on the stove when you're not using it. 
  4. If you're a busy person and don't have time to make a complicated meal every night, there are some amazing dutch oven recipes out there. They require that you layer some ingredients for an entire meal in the pot, throw it in your oven, and wait for the smell to tell you that it's done. I highly recommend this book if you're looking for recipes to try. It's a nice alternative to crockpot cooking.
Bad things:
  1. The price. It's pretty steep for a single tool in your kitchen. But if you can splurge, I don't think you'll regret it.
*image via batmansmells

Love: Dry Shampoo

I had been wanting to try a dry shampoo for a long time. My hair is fine, and I have to wash it everyday so it doesn't look like ass. But I realize that washing it everyday isn't all that healthy.

I waited a long time to actually purchase one. I agonized over which one to try, reading reviews, researching ingredients, etc.

I'm fairly confident this dry shampoo by Sexy Hair Concepts is the best on the market for the price.

Good things:
  1. Spray it on. Wait 2 minutes. Brush it out. Hair is refreshed with tremendous volume, and has a matte texture.
  2. Removes product buildup.
  3. I find my hair is much more styleable and awesome on the days I use this. I've heard that if you curl your hair, it will retain the curl longer using this.
  4. It doesn't leave a powdery residue like some dry shampoos do.
  5. The smell is decent. Kind of cucumber-melony.
  6. Way more affordable than most dry shampoos on the market.
Bad things:
  1. If you get serious bed-head, you may have to rinse and dry your hair before using this. It isn't going to get rid of that crazy look.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Rearranging the Blog Furniture

I haven't posted to this blog since February of 2009.

There are two main reasons for this:
  1. I fell in love with a boy.
  2. My obsession with makeup/beauty products has finite levels.
So I'm gonna switch things up around here. There's a new look and feel. And I'm going to be blogging about all things that I love (and hate). Movies. Recipes. Products. Whathaveyou.

Don't expect me to be posting everyday, because I still maintain that I need to feel truly enlivened about something for it to be blog-worthy. But I think you're going to get some more action.

Let's roll.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

In Which a Shampoo Makes Me Weak in the Knees

For months I have seriously cut back on my shampoo addiction. With the economy being in the tank, I am saving more, giving more to charity, and trying not to be such a consumer. But I am weak. I have moments where I just cannot resist temptation. My first mistake was even walking down the shampoo aisle at CVS. The bold colors of this line jumped out at me. I flipped open the lid and took a sniff and it seriously took me a few minutes to regain my composure. It smells THAT. GOOD. It had me at hello, but the scent is just the tip of the iceberg with these little gems.

:: Vitamin Shampoo and Conditioner ::

Good things:
  1. First and foremost: Sulfate-free and Paraben-free. This is important to me, as I'm trying to eliminate the use of sulfates.
  2. THE FREAKING SMELL. Choices like blueberry avocado, acai berry guava, and my choice: blackberry pomegranate. And the scent DOES linger throughout the day.
  3. Unlike some other natural shampoo lines, it doesn't dry your hair out at all.
  4. The real sell on this line is the use of superfruits. Not sure that does lickity split for your hair, but it can't hurt.

Bad things:
  1. You can't eat it.
  2. Sometimes the bottle makes it a little hard to squeeze out the product, but sometimes you have to work for the good things.

If you're in the mood to treat yourself to something yummy and nourishing, I would indulge in a set from this line. I don't think you'll be sorry.

Revlon Beyond Natural Eyeshadow Quads

I bought this on recommendation of my friend's mom, whose eye makeup always looks professionally done. Every time I talk to her I am distracted by how beautiful her eyes look. It's artsy and natural all at once. Now, a lot of that is talented application. But I can't resist heeding the advice of someone whose eye makeup I adore. And I ended up adoring these little shadows too.

:: Revlon Beyond Natural Eyeshadow Quads ::

Good things:
  1. Has a cream to powder finish that makes it easy to apply but sets rather nicely.
  2. The colors are gorgeous. Pigmented but natural, and very blendable.
  3. Cute little compact.

Bad things:
  1. I wish they had more shades, but I guess this whole line is devoted to "natural" beauty so they aren't going to give you a huge range of color.
  2. I wouldn't recommend these to people who have oily eyelids. They tend to get a little shiny midday, so I'm guessing you'd want to stay away from these or else use a lot of powder to set them.

Mascara: The Good and the Evil

I feel compelled to blog about a good mascara after falling for what is quite possibly the most over-hyped, over-marketed mascara to come along in years: Maybelline Lash Stiletto. I fell for the marketing crap and bought this, thinking my lashes would be long and shiny and amazing. I was a fool to believe! I threw the tube out after one use, which I NEVER do. I always give things a few tries. But, I didn't think it was possible to make your lashes look worse than they do with nothing on them. This mascara lives up to none of its promises.

So, in the spirit of honoring that which is good...

:: Maybelline Volume Express Turbo Boost Mascara ::

This mascara is a staple in my bag. I wouldn't necessarily call it a holy grail item, cause it's not perfect. But the price and the performance are such that it's the one I grab most days, and I have repurchased many times over.

Good things:

  1. It does volumize your lashes pretty fabulously.
  2. For the most part, it doesn't clump or make a mess of your eye area.
  3. Doesn't flake off during the day.
  4. Cheap.

Bad things:
  1. Sometimes it can get a little shitty on you. i.e. it globs up on the wand and acts like a fool. If this happens, I resort to wiping the excess off with tissue first or just buying a new tube. It's not a problem most of the time, though.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Popsicle Lipgloss

If you're like me and you prefer lipgloss over lipstick, you know that sometimes life can get a little boring with that YLBB (your-lips-but-better) sheen. A few weeks ago I was pawing through my makeup bag and decided to try something new. 

You know when you were little and sucked on a red popsicle and the insides of your lips would be this gorgeous cherry red color? Yeah, for some reason I think that's really sexy, and just decided to stick some dark red gloss on the part where my lips touch. It's not hugely noticeable (I doubt anyone other than me takes note) but for some reason it makes me happy.

Here are some photos, which have more to do with the love I have for my iPhone and the fact that lipgloss photos are sexy, than for any need to really illustrate the process.

:: Popsicle Lipgloss Technique ::

Step 1. Apply a light pink, candy-colored gloss to the whole lip. I used L'Oreal Color Riche Lipgloss in Soft Pink (110).

Step 2. Apply a dark cherry red gloss to the insides of your lips, where they meet. I used the same brand listed above in Rich Red (300).

Step 3. Rub your lips together a bit to blend. 

I'd love to hear your lip gloss techniques in the comments.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Giovanni Nutrafix

I rarely use the same products in the shower day to day. Even when I love something, I need variety. I need to switch it up every few days. That's how I know I'm in love with this Giovanni Nutrafix Deep Conditioner. Because I've had it for a few weeks and I've used it every single day since I got it. *cue lovebird music*

:: Giovanni Nutrafix Hair Reconstructor ::

Good things:
  1. This is marketed as a deep conditioner. I don't use deep conditioners, though. If I do, it weighs my fine hair way too much and I end up looking like Olive Oyl. This conditions *so* well, but it doesn't weigh your hair down at. all. Even when used everyday.
  2. Adds protein-y ingredients to reconstruct your hair shaft. Kind of a line of bologna in general, but this does seem to repair damaged hair better than any higher-priced conditioner I've ever used.
  3. Has amazing slip without using silicones (which are bad for your hair) like most conditioners do.
  4. Leave it on for 10 minutes, which is a long time, but it kind of forces you to hang out in the shower and pamper yourself.
  5. Easily rinses clean without feeling greasy.
  6. Giovanni is a natural, organic line of hair care. Good for the polar bears!

Bad things:
  1. I can't think of a single one.

I found this in the organic section of my local Wegmans.