Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Musings - January 2018

It was a snowy start to the new year and a fresh start to a new couple this month! (More below.) Our house has been in mad preparation for The Guy's eldest's daughter's impending wedding. It happened January 5th and was a lovely day.  She wore the necklace in this photo as her something borrowed, old, and blue. It was La Gram Russe's. One of the few things she brought to this country.

Books: Had a bit of travel (Long Beach, CA for business) - which meant that an airport bookstore, my downfall, happened! And that is how I found The Roanoke Girls which was a fantastic air travel read, even if I did figure out the shape of the plot on page 35. It's well-written enough that I kept reading.  On The Birth of Venus, I can only say, that apparently smart girls don't get happy endings. Not my sort of book and it will be going to the Little Free Library later this week. On the other hand, a Little Free Library find was The Speckled People and it was wonderful! For anyone who grew up in any sort of immigrant community where the past was a living force that dictated the shape of your childhood - this book IS you. That feeling of not quite being anything is beautifully explored.

Gratitude: People who pitch in. (Elin who helped with making more than her share of endless yarn roses.) Cars that start on a cold, cold winter day. Waitresses who try to accommodate your rushed order and schedule. Yoga socks. Clean counters. The bright light of a full winter moon on a field of snow when you take the dog out at 2am - it make it less eerie. (Bad photo. He hates sitting still. He's currently rocking a new Mohawk.)

Listening: Sting, If on a Winter's Night. Side Hustle podcast. And that old fashioned thing called the radio. 

Perfumes: I've been rocking just one. Magazine Street from Strange Invisible Perfumes. Somehow, it fits this weather.  Or maybe it just makes me think about warmer places! I keep expecting the bottle to run out and yet it hasn't yet.

Recipe of the month: So delicious! I love an Instagram account called "Wicked Healthy" I saw a version of this salsa and had to try it! 

Asparagus salsa

- Chop 1 bunch of asparagus fine and saute in 1 tbsp of olive oil until crisp/tender (under 7 minutes)
- Dice 1/2 a red onion
- Cut fine 2-3 jalapenos (to taste)
- Dice 1 good sized red or orange pepper
- Chop fine 1 bunch of rinsed cilantro
- Salt + pepper
 Mix! Serve! (That's it!)

I served it over baked sweet potatoes and rice. Delicious! And easy. I did the rest of the chopping as the asparagus cooked. If you eat chicken, it would be grand with that as well.

One note of caution, it keeps well for several days in the fridge but the red onion becomes more intense.

Self-Care: Somehow, the winter seems to give me license to play. I tend to try new things (eye shadows, creams, etc.) more during this time of year. My skin has been treated several new creams, including Juice Beauty's Nutrient Moisturizer. Which my skin just drinks in at night, especially around the eyes. I've also been using a few rosewater-based sprays  to freshen make-up, quick morning zap tot the skin, etc. Overall, both pictured here (Garnier and Mario Badescu) are fine and I like both. I will say that apparently part of the price difference is in the quality of the spray effect - Garnier's is kind of like a tiny squirt gun in the application rather than a mist. I also have been masking about once a week as part of a "me time" ritual. Still love the brightening effect of the pumpkin mask from October. But I also, because I love a mix-in mask, tried Balm Balm Hibiscus Face Mask which is rice powder and hibiscus. Since I am allergic to Rose of Sharon, the hibiscus is a little dicey for me, and I've discovered leaving it on for longer than 15 minutes to dry results in some irritation. Thankfully that fades in a few hours, leaving me with luminous skin - and that initial irritation can be avoided entirely if I only leave it on for 10 minutes. So far,  I've just been mixing it up with a bit of the Rosewater from Caswell-Massey from last month. I'm going to try honey and see what happens. And the best for last! The Green Ceremony Cleanser by Odacite is a luxurious indulgence (which I thankfully got on sale! But it would be worth the regular price tag.) I love a dry cleanser. You may ask why - well, they are easier to travel with (no need to check your bag or only travel with small amounts or air pressure spillage) and I feel like they stay fresher for use because you just mix up what you need. This stuff is amazing. When you add water, it becomes a silky, pillow-y, foam that just sweeps across your face to cleanse your skin. I've never experienced anything like it before. I look forward  to washing my face on the days I use it!

Stress: The reason for December's take-away - the holidays and the maternal aunt who can't be anything other than passive aggressively rude and the family who makes a 1000 excuses for her behavior towards me. And that, my friends, is the real story of why I didn't spend Christmas at my aunt's - not my schedule. And I despise the polite lie told 'for me' to save face for that aunt, more actually than the behavior. Now, lines have been drawn. Sides have been chosen. What they don't realize is that I never expected them to choose me because they never ever have. And so I'm absolutely fine with the new status quo of not being part of that family. Part of being a grown up is moving away from the toxic and towards the healthy. I have other (healthier) family who actually value me and treat me well.

Watching: Criminal Minds. The Librarians. (Smart is sexy.) Blindspot. Travelers. Nashville. Caught up while off over  the holidays and doing zillions yarn roses for #NotTheDaughter's wedding bouquet. (And her bridesmaids, and the table wreaths, hairpins, etc.)

Random: 1. Customer service matters. I had a recent experience where I ordered  5+ stick eyeshadows from a natural line. Beautiful colors, as you can see in the photo (at the top). I love the ingredients and flow of the product from prior use. But several of the tops didn't cap and one didn't screw back down after being rolled up. I reached out to customer service 2x before receiving a misspelled and passively aggressively worded response which also included "we are aware of the problem and doing everything in our power to resolve it" without a resolution offered for my (the customer's) issue! The exchange did not improve. I actually told the representative not to send the replacement tops* I'd throw out the product because I was so disgusted with how bad the customer service was. (Something non-incensed, frugal me would never do.) And I didn't because my frugal heart wouldn't let me. The promised replacement tops never appeared as the rep seems to have taken me at my word. However, now I receive their marketing e-mails 2x a week! #Fail by Vapour Beauty. Despite my love of your all-natural, made in the USA product, there are alternatives. I'll find one. I like to experiment.

*It's not the tops. I've exchanged them among the tubes.The problem is not resolved with a new top. The flaw is in the tube design. Hope they figure it out.

2. Also, didn't #NotTheDaughter look like a snow queen! (Yes, she is old enough to get married. I'd have liked her to wait a year or two for more life experience, but as discussed in December we have this amazing gift called free will, and it was her choice.) Her theme was Snow Day - and it was! A snowy cold day brightened up by the warmth of Isy and Issac's happiness (also by the cocoa bar, but that's another story.) So many people love them. I hope they saw that during the bustle and stress of the wedding preparation and take that with them into their new life together.

In closing, I always end these monthly updates with a take-away. Sometimes they read like I'm sending a message to someone - and I do often have something in mind when I write them. But, what they really are is usually the thing I'm trying to remind myself to do more of or be better at. This month is no different.

Take-away - Remind yourself as often as needed that how other people act is not your issue but how you react to other people's choices is YOUR choice. (Try to remember you are a grown up.)

Wishing you the best as we all embark on this new year.