in recent years

   

   

shit week survival kit: ten ways to help you make it through

Work has been intensely frustrating this week, largely due to pervasive bad attitudes, and my at-home rhythm has been completely stunted in increasingly stupid ways, so I am feeling pretty tired and overwhelmed and cranky as hell and that’s terrible! So, just in case you’re having one of those weeks too, here are some of the things you can do to make it through a crappy week. I have personally done all of these things with varying levels of success, so there’s some anecdotal evidence supporting these.

TEN WAYS TO HELP YOU MAKE IT THROUGH

1. Be nice to someone else! Find somebody, tell them something nice. Tell a stranger you like her shoes. Buy your significant other a small gift just because. Call your mom and thank her for doing a good job raising you. It’s always easier to be kind to yourself after you’ve been kind to someone else.

2. Write a letter to your past self! Did you make a lot of dumb decisions when you were young? Did your life turn out okay anyway? Write a letter to your idiot younger self and assure them that things will turn out okay, even if they seem life-ending in the moment. This is super good therapy and can help you let go of incidents from your past that you don’t even realize you’re hanging on to.

3. Go out to eat by yourself! Even if it’s just your favorite fast food place, take yourself out and eat a meal you like. Read a book or journal while you eat, if you feel weird sitting by yourself. Eat slowly, focus on your food, and really try to enjoy eating as an experience instead of eating to survive.

4. Ignore your phone for an hour! I don’t believe the machine that says that social media and FOMO is going to kill us all, mostly because I’ve been on the internet since I was ten and I’m FINE, but I have personally found that disconnecting from everything for a little bit can be a powerful way to reconnect with your own brain. Even if you spend that hour reading or watching a TV show, if you’re not also checking your phone, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy the experience more. Don’t you feel super good when you leave the movie theater after watching something uninterrupted? Do it at home!

5. Take a nap! I honestly cannot hype naps enough, especially in winter. I prefer to nap in bed, but the most important element is being exactly as cozy as possible. I especially like when I can get curled up in the perfect temperature and position and drift hazily to sleep while watching Friends on Netflix or YouTube beauty tutorials. The “If all else fails, take a nap and try again” portion of all my internet bios is NO JOKE.

6. Send a card or letter to someone just to say hi! I LOVE sending and receiving cards and letters and postcards and packages because mail is GREAT. And I know that other people like getting stuff in the mail too. So send some mail! Say hi to someone you don’t talk to all the time and let them know you were thinking of them.

7. Take a totally unnecessary bath or shower. Play music, use fancy bath stuff, take your time, and enjoy the warmth and solitude. I don’t have a bath (which I yell about regularly because I NEED A DAMN BATH) and I generally hate showering, but if I can get in and stand under the warm water for a while instead of rushing to clean myself, it definitely makes me a happier and more pleasant person. I still highly recommend cinematic showering too, if you’re really feeling it.

8. Write a list of ten things you like about yourself! Even if they’re totally arbitrary things like “I’m wearing a really cute sweater today,” they’ll make you feel better about yourself which you deserve because you are totally awesome.

9. Make a list of all the things that are upsetting you. This should be a long list with lots and lots of detail. When you’re done, either file it away somewhere you won’t find it for a while or destroy it. It’s kind of hokey to be like, “Getting your feelings out will free you,” but to be honest, it usually does. Some people like to read these things over and see how nothing they’re mad about is actually that big of a deal, but that’s garbage for me. I just like to get it all out and get rid of it.

10. Cry. The best thing about crying is that you can do it anytime, anywhere. I’ve cried in public, at my desk, at Disneyland, in hotel rooms, I’ve cried in the bathroom of every workplace I’ve ever had, every state I’ve ever visited, and there’s a good chance that if I’ve been in your home, I’ve cried there. Cry while listening to music! Cry while watching your favorite sad movie! Hell, you can cry while doing all other nine things on this list! When nothing else is working, crying can shake the shitty feelings right out of you.

Above all, remember that you are a wonderful, unique, worthy person and that you’re awesome and deserve to not be miserable!

review-ish: bath and body works candles

So, I recently got kind of hooked on watching YouTube videos of, like, make-up how-to people and I guess, like, lifestyle vloggers? And by hooked I mean I watched like four or five which is an outstanding number for someone who normally won’t watch a video longer than thirty seconds, especially when you take into account that a lot of these clock in the 12-15 minutes range. My tv has a built in YouTube app that recommends things to me, I’m powerless against its inscrutable algorithm.

Anyway, these color-coordinated, put-together, spotless-apartment-living, spend-more-on-make-up-in-a-month-than-I-have-in-five-years ladies kept mentioning Bath and Body Works candles. And I guess it sort of stuck in my head and then Crystal and I had to go to Minot so she could see her dentist and there’s a Bath and Body Works in the mall there and then the next thing I know I was coming home with eight candles? I think I was drunk. Or maybe lightheaded from sniffing every single candle in the store. Repeatedly.

I like candles! They’re great. I don’t buy a ton, but we do have a mix of real and battery candles scattered around our place. They look pretty cool and all and Crystal is really into this thing where we have a little row of them in mason jars in a windowsill. And we buy the occasional scented candle — I just sent Crystal on a mission to buy one while she was at Walmart the other day in fact — but I’m not, like, crazy about candles. So, you know, I didn’t expect to come home with eight of them.

i accidentally developed a bath and body works candle problem oooops

In our vegetable wax and lead-free wick induced haze, we bought:

Lemon Mint LeafFreshly cut lemon balm and spearmint leaves give a refreshing lift to a blend of vetiver and citrus — My girlfriend chose this one because it is eerily close to the basil-lime dish soap we use and love. Haven’t burned it yet, but has a good cold (what I learned on the internet is called) throw. The sales associate said it’s one of the most popular candles in their store. It’s too spring-y to burn now, but come March I think it’s going to be our go-to.

Sweater WeatherCuddle up with an aromatic blend of eucalyptus, juniper berry, and fresh sage that celebrates the arrival of sweater weather — This is amazing. I smelled this one pretty much as soon as I set foot in the store and came back to it over and over again. We knew we wanted a big fall candle and it came down between this one and Leaves because despite having very different descriptions, they smell incredibly similar, but Sweater Weather just had something that Leaves was missing. I’ll definitely be buying Leaves eventually though.

Harvest Coffee Relax with this rich, robust blend of roasted coffee beans topped off by creamy vanilla foam — I don’t like coffee at all unless it’s masked with a bucket of milk, sugar, and whipped cream, but I love the smell of it. This one gives off a great smell when it’s unlit, but once it gets warm it is way, way too sweet and caramel-y. I’m not really a sweet candle person (I learned in the Bath and Body Works yesterday) but if you are and you like coffee, you’ll probably love this one.

Bergamot WoodsAn aromatic woodsy blend, highlighted by bright bergamot, fresh lavender, and deep green cypress — I love this one, love love love it. Like, can’t stop opening it and sniffing it and worrying about “wasting” it. It’s what fragrance people probably classify as a masculine scent and those are scents to which I am frequently drawn. I see it pop up alongside reviews of Flannel pretty often, but I did not like Flannel at all, so clearly this scent thing is weird and subjective. This has a good burn smell and a good, lingering throw.

Marshmallow FiresideA sweet-toasty end to a snowy, fun-filled day — toasted marshmallows and sumptuous vanilla cream blend with the comforting aroma of rich smoldering woods — This was Crystal’s pick and I fought her on it in a lazy and unengaged way because I just thought it was way, way too sweet and was being obstinate about it, but now I can’t stop sniffing it. It’s got a nice sweet note that isn’t too cloying and there is that woodsy undertone that I think I was just missing in the store. Looking forward to burning this post-Halloween.*

Sparkling Icicles — As sparkling as the ice at the local skating pond, this fragrance features a citrus bouquet, bergamot, and a touch of holiday moss — Another one I love love love and another fairly masculine scent. I actually picked this one because it smells like the pine forest/river rafting section of Soarin’ Over California at Disney California Adventure and I plan to burn it and listen to the soundtrack and cry a lot. Just kidding. Kind of. Nice and woodsy.

Fresh BalsamThe invigorating aroma of evergreen woods on a clear, fall morning features crisp eucalyptus, fir needles, and cedarwood musk notes — Forget what the official descriptions says about fall, this is straight up Christmas, balsam is the smell of Christmas, and this one hits it just right. Not too woodsy, not too green, and it doesn’t smell like those little green Christmas tree car air fresheners.

WinterA season full of fun in the snow is captured in notes of pine needles, clementine and winter woods — This one has some of the same initial scent as Sparkling Icicles, but it’s much less masculinely woodsy and much more cinnamon bark and pine. It’s more foody than floral, but not super sweet or sugary. I initially liked Snow Day better, but the more I smelled it, the sweeter it got, so Winter won out.

sweater weather forever #bathandbodyworks

The big candles are $20. I still can’t get over that because it just seems absurd to me. I looked them up on the internet beforehand and I was like, “No, no way. $20 for a candle?! Who am I, Howard Hughes? I’m not lighting up the Spruce Goose over here!” And then I walked into the store and smelled them and just sort of stumbled from rack to rack, saying, “No, no, these are ridiculous. Twenty dollars!” until my arms were full and Crystal had to check us out and pull me bodily from the premises. To be fair, the little ones were 3 for $12 (3 for $10 online, but their shipping seems outrageous to me.) and that’s not terrible.

My official review is basically this: these things smell pretty great and there was an awesome variety of scents and even if I can’t get over their price — $20 dollars! — they’re pretty much worth it, especially if you’re not burning them all day, every day. Each is strongly scented but not in that chemical, headachy way and two of the three I’ve burned thus far have had an incredible range, smell great after being extinguished, and linger in a super pleasant, not overwhelming way. (And the third just isn’t my favorite personally, a ton of people probably love the crap out of it.) Plus, the labels peel off so easy, like, window-cling easy and if you care about that, you know exactly what a big deal that is.

Just give in and buy some already so we can, like, high-five about it or something. Jeez.

*: I think you should be aware at this point that I’ve been reading the official descriptions of these in Dana Carvey’s Church Lady voice. Important.

my face care situation

okay, so, after an influx of new followers to my tumblr, i got a bunch of nice and not nice anon messages. and this kiiiiind of sounds terrible but someone finally asked me about my skiiiiiin! in the fat chick bingo of my life, “you have such beautiful skin” has been the center square since BIRTH. it’s not quite as good as it looks in pictures and i DO break out (much more frequently as an adult than i did in my youth) but yes, it is clear and i am super grateful that i haven’t had to spend years fighting it like my sister and my bff and stuff.

super old picture is super old

OKAY SO. anon asked what my ~skin care regimen~ is like. and let’s get real. it’s not a regimen. it’s not even regular. i’m an irregular showerer! there are days i don’t leave the house! and i sometimes forget to brush my teeth. i’m gross. let’s establish.

my skin is dry verging on “normal” verging on oily. it is really temperamental when it comes to weather changes. if the air is dry, my skin turns to paper. if the air is damp, it turns into a paula deen recipe. in general, i have dryish cheeks and forehead and a slightly oily upside-down t-zone. but that changes all the time and i generally do not change my skin care products to match because it’ll just change again. my face is like midwestern weather: if it’s being an ass, wait five minutes and it’ll change. that said!

faaaaaaaaaace

step one: i get some of this soap shit near my person. basis cleaner clean or clinique beauty bar in EXTRA MILD. i have the MOST SENSITIVE SKIN IN THE WORLD. i am allergic to everything (all neutrogena products, most cover girl, lots of eye make-up, almost all traditional deodorant/antiperspirant) and even food allergies manifest on my skin (this is such a common experience that i actually blogged about it once) so i have to be SO CAREFUL about what touches my face. we keep the basis in our shower and the clinique in the cupboard, so the basis only gets used once every other day, really. one out of four face washes. i soap up my hands and smooth the soapy shit over my dry face. no water on my face! because i am lazy. sometimes i use a washcloth instead of my hands if i feel flaky.

step two: get water all over the bathroom trying to splash my face clean. this is why i usually wash my face topless.

step three: dry gently. the single greatest realization about my face was to use a towel that was not the bathroom hand towel. why this took me, like, 24 years to realize is honestly baffling. that hand towel is filthy! and i was just rubbin’ it up and all over my face like it was nothing. i keep a separate towel in the cupboard that i use to dry my moony face for a couple days before i swap it out for a clean one.

step four: maybe apply some of that clinique acne solutions gunk if i am broken out or feel like beasts from the deep are emerging. maybe apply some all about eyes if i want my eyes to look dewey or if my eye area feels REALLY DRY or if i am going to wear eye make-up later which is pretty rare.

step five: squirt some of the jojoba oil into my palm, spread it around between my two hands and gently massage my face all over. up to my hairline and down my neck, sometimes into the boobal region if i got a lot of oil. then i rub the excess into my cuticles/hands and then wash them because i touch my hair too much to leave oil all over my fingers.

step six: there isn’t one.

i only started using jojoba oil in june when i moved to kansas city because i had never lived in high humidity before and my skin was FREAKING OUT. my body skin was like, “feels good, man” and my face was like, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME?!” and putting on lotion was like rubbing olive oil on a stick of butter. jojoba was like a magical revelation of face care. and i do not want to go back to lotion. nevah evah.

SO YEAH THAT IS IT. and sometimes i go days without actually doing this stuff because, i repeat, i’m unemployed and kiiiiiiiiiiind of gross. ALSO, i never ever ever use ANY foundation type make-up on my skin-skin because i hate the way it feels. except on halloween, but that’s it. i am actually that pale in real life. naturally.

on how i am not really into sci-fi but love star trek: the next generation

I am currently formulating a brilliant, serious post about how the JJ Abrams Star Trek reboot and The Big Bang Theory have somehow convinced me to watch Star Trek: The Next Generation and how I am spending scorching days in bed, blazing through the discs like FIRE and complaining that they’re not on Netflix Instant (UNACCEPTABLE) and shouting about what a MASSIVE BAG OF DOUCHE Picard is and how the internet has not yet brought forth PICARDICKERY.COM.

But whatever, it is 92F (33.3 C) outside and I am not mentally capable of putting together a string of coherent sentences because my BRAIN IS MELTING, so instead I am going to talk [AND LITERALLY RIGHT THIS SECOND THE POWER WENT OUT UGGGGGGGGGGGGGGH, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA SUCKS. ALSO, IT WAS OUT FOR ELEVEN HOURS. ELEVEN HOURS. FUCK YOU, SOCAL EDISON, FUCK YOU IN THE ASS WITH A BARBED WIRE WRAPPED BASEBALL BAT.] about how Geordi La Forge is a gaymo and I LOVE IT SO MUCH.

Or, okay, I am going to show you a whopping three screencaps from an early season one episode since that’s as far as I’ve gotten.

So in the episode “Hide and Q”, Q, the first and most obnoxious villain introduced in TNG appears to mess with the crew of the Enterprise and then gives Riker all of his powers. He can control time and space and bring back the dead and change all kinds of shit. And he promises Picard that he will never use his powers again (after saving the whole bridge crew) except for how he and Q come in and Riker’s like, “Heeeeeeeey, I’m gonna grant ALL YOUR DEEPEST WISHES” and everyone is like, “NO DON’T DO IT” basically.

So Riker chooses young Ensign Wesley Crusher as his first victim/recipient and he’s like, “I KNOW WHAT YOU WANT” and Wesley makes the same hapless, joyful face he makes 90% of the time and his mom is like, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” but then it’s like this:

And then:

And everyone is AGHAST because Wesley is ten years older oh noes! WESLEY JUST WANTS TO BE A GROWN-UP OKAY. And Riker smiles rakishly and is delighted and then Geordi La Forge is all, “Hey, Wes, not bad” and makes this lecherous face:

And I was all, YEEEEAAAAH, Geordi La Forge, YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAH.

And yeah, so, I love this awful, wonderful television show. I’ve only watched the first three discs of episodes and the whole time I’m doing it I keep thinking, “I should be doing something with this. I could be doing something hilarious. COME UP WITH SOMETHING BRILLIANT” and then I write a post like this and realize that anything I came up with would just be me screaming, “GAYMO LA FORGE, WESLEY CRUSHAAAAH, RAKISH RIKAH” over and over again and for real, no one wants that.

not an ad, just an endorsement

My skin is stupid and fickle. It breaks out totally irregularly, it’s often dry enough to feel uncomfortable, it’s allergic to everything. It’s rosy and yellow and pale and freckled. It’s a pain in my ass. Add to that my lax skincare routine (What? I’m forgetful. Back off!) and everything above my neck is kind of a mess.

I recently said, “I am so sick of this shit” and threw away every face product I owned. EVERYTHING. Hundreds of dollars of stuff I’d used once or twice, stuff that worked, stuff that kind of seemed like it might have, stuff I ended up being allergic to. I trashed it all and said, “What is the one thing I’ve used that ever worked?”

And I remembered six months of 2006 where I used Clinique’s 3 Step and got tons of compliments on my skin. Every older woman in my college classes offered me unsolicited praise, telling me to keep up whatever I was doing.

So why didn’t I? Because the stuff is expensive! But so totally worth it. Now that I’m using it again, my skin is clearer and less erratic. I have less days where it feels miserably tight every time I frown or scowl in disbelief.

I use the mild liquid soap in the shower, whether it’s morning or night and extra mild bar at the sink the other time. I use Clarifying Lotion 1 and the Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion. The salicylic acid spot treatment is working out for the times when I still get zits, though next time I might switch to their benzoyl peroxide spot treatment instead. I’ve yet to figure out which one works better on my temperamental face.

I like that the entire system is simple. I love the clean lines of the packaging. I love that none of it smells weird or chemical. I’m only a third of the way into my first order, but I think it’s a keeper. Way to go, Clinique!