We're settling in nicely after moving mid-January, and I'm so excited for the spring I decided to bring the spring to me in this petal pink outfit! I wouldn't usually wear pink on pink but I think it works here. One nice thing about moving: your clothes get thrown together in different ways, and you notice new combinations. I bought this petal pink Sézane coat on eBay last year and only noticed yesterday that it perfectly matches this blush Free People beanie I've had for years and this soft pink secondhand Tory Burch tote from Greene Street Consignment!) Would you wear pink on pink?
About a month ago, we moved for what felt like the bajillionth, gazillionth time since we became a family six short years ago. Our family having survived these many, many, many, many moves in one piece (more or less), I told myself I was a pro now! I was sure I could make this next (and hopefully last) move easily, efficiently... so basically in my dreams.
It was A MOVE. You know what they say: pride comes before a move... or is it a fall? Fall or move, it felt the same-- i.e. chaotic, endless with a nice thump on the tuckus at the end. By definition, moving is always going to be a no-good, 100% horrendous time. There's nothing you can do about that, but, afterwards, I did discover there IS something you can do about the stress that comes along with wintertime. You don't have to give in to winter stress! As for moving stress, in some ways, it was kind of a relief to finally surrender to the total horror of moving house with two toddlers, a puppy, a cat, and a 150 lb Newfoundland. Instead of adding pressure to do human things like wear clean clothes or eat square meals, I acknowledged there might sometimes be factors outside my control. Actually, the ordeal sort of reminded me of finals. I'm not quite sure what I learned that was of much use in college-- I was a Comp Lit major so I can parse the heck out of some gnarly semiotics or what have you-- but I do feel like finals week taught me one solid life lesson: you can survive anything if you just keep slogging to the other side and worry about washing your hair later.
I'm happy to report we're on the other side of this move! We're unpacked, the cable is hooked up, the kids are watching Super Why, and my hair is clean again! And I have learned another important life lesson: that while moving is inevitably horrible and there's nothing you can do about it, THERE IS SO MUCH YOU CAN DO TO FEEL 100% BETTER ABOUT YOURSELF IN THE WINTERTIME! Below are five things I did that helped me recover my sanity and my skin after a solid month of winter, moving, and being a full-time stay-at-home mommy/ zookeeper! I have been so excited at how much improvement I've seen in my skin and my outlook after a month of making these changes. What are some of your winter remedies for dry skin and the stress of bad weather?
1. Drink Water Inside and Out
This one's pretty basic, but it makes all the difference in the world. We're all familiar with the advice to drink your body weight in H2O, so I added this twist to help it stick in my head: drink a bunch of water whenever you can but also keep your humidifier going whenever you can as well. When you're asleep, place one beside your bed. When you're working, put it on your desk.... in fact let me go fetch mine right now! I love it. It's so easy to fill and cart around and it's purty. You can find it on Amazon. (This one even comes with a selection of essential oils for $34.95 including the humidifier/ diffuser.) BRB!
Okay, I'm back. I thought about it, and I have to admit maybe learned one thing of practical value in college. I took a Buddhist literature class my first year, and while I can't remember a single text that we read-- although maybe that's where I encountered Basho first and fell in love with Japanese poetry. You can read some of my haibun here!-- I did find out there was a Sri Lankan Buddhist Monastery in West Virginia pretty close to UVA, and I went to visit it one weekend for free. I learned to meditate there, but the beauty of meditation is you can learn/ do it anywhere at any time. The meditation the monk taught me was a simple one that I also use to help me count laps in the pool. Here it is: breathe in and count 1, breath out and count 2, breathe in (3), breathe out (4), and so on and so forth until you reach 10 and then you begin again. If you want something more guided, there are so many great apps with meditation exercises. They always put me to sleep, and I tend to meditate in the morning, so I've kept to my simple version. I don't manage to meditate every day, but even doing it occasionally for ten minutes here or there makes a dramatic difference in my outlook.
3. Work Out in the Morning
On a less esoteric note, I have to admit I picked up this bit of excellent advice, because I saw that Pete Davidson was dating Kate Beckinsale, an actress I haven't paid any attention to in many a moon. When I Googled her, I was blown away by how fit she looks! Her Instagram is also hilarious, so I hope that means they're soulmates and never break up. (They probably already broke up, didn't they. PLEASE DON'T AT ME. LET ME LIVE IN MY DREAM WORLD!) At any rate, Kate recommends morning workouts both for fitness and as a way to guard against anxiety and depression, both of which I struggle with to some degree every winter. (I think I might have SAD, but I've never been diagnosed.)
"Sweat," Kate Beckinsale claims, echoing one of my favorite authors Isak Dinsesen, "is nature's anti-depressant." I still don't think I would have taken this excellent advice if I hadn't found out my local gym offers morning daycare hours. I've been dropping my daughter off at school, grabbing coffee with my husband, dropping him at work, and then hitting the gym, and instead of exhausted by this grueling morning routine, I feel transformed. Instead of only feeling better in the evenings after my husband gets home from work and I squeeze in a workout, I am now 1000% more cheerful and energized the entire day long. Basically, me and Kate Beckinsale (and Isak Dinesen) can't recommend it enough. Sweat!
For anyone who's read this post to this point (Bless you. Thank you!), you might have picked up that I'm a bigtime reader. There are two side effects to this behavior: I'm constantly recommending books and authors (see points 2 & 3 above) but I'm also constantly frowning. For some reason, when I read, I frown. Ever since I was about 20, I've been fighting the curse of the 11. As much as I hate frown lines, the idea of Botox freaks me out, although I don't judge anyone for any cosmetic procedure they want to do to feel better about themselves. So for years, I remained stuck between Kim Kardashian's remedy-- resting bitch face ad eternitum-- or Botox, which carries the side effect of DEATH. So I did nothing besides massaging my forehead a lot and wearing bangs and felt kind of bad about it, and then I finally tried Frownies, and the temporary lines that were starting to become a permanent part of my look vanished! VANISHED! This stuff is magic. I also find fine lines are more prominent in winter, so I'm excited I don't have to wait until the air grows more humid for some relief this year.
5. Keep On Top of Moisturizing Creams and Masks
This isn't just a superficial suggestion: I've noticed the smells of my Jurlique rosewater spray or my favorite Bliss honey mask really perks me up and improve my mood in the gray, scentless winter especially. They might even provide the same effect as adding color to my wardrobe. Light floral scents and colors really trick my system in the winter! I'm currently really loving Edible Beauty's Ageless Goddess Serum, everything Jurlique does with roses, and Bliss's cruelty-free masks from their glycolic peel to their gentler honey mask. Check out this post for a simple nighttime routine that's easy to keep up. Mind you, I don't have sensitive skin, though, so I can try anything. For example, I love both olive oil or coconut oil for my hair and skin in the winter, although I recommend only using olive oil at home as it doesn't absorb the way coconut oil does.
What are your favorite winter moisturizers? Do you change your beauty routine in the winter same as me? Any tips or tricks for chilling out while keeping warm in the winter?
It's pretty telling that one of my toddler's favorite games is sitting on mommy's bathroom floor while I'm getting ready for the day, pawing through the easy-to-reach cabinets below the sink, asking again and again, "What dis, Mommy?"
"Cream," I've taken to telling him over and over regardless of the product, although, recently, he started calling me on my nonsense.
"No, DIS one, dis ONE," he now shakes his head, one chubby hand wrapped around a little blue bottle of rewetting drops he's been using to create a rainscape over my daughter's My Little Pony, the other clutching a glass jar of Burt's Bees that I'm forced to pry from his tiny fingers before he smashes it on the ground. My daily routine is usually pretty harried and rushed for this reason, so you can see why I've grown to prize my at-home spa routine come Sunday morning.
I will keep lying to him regardless, because I just don't feel like "Korean Beauty Miracle" or "Bliss Honey Moisturizer" are essential additions to his vocabulary at this point. Confession: yep, his mama is a beauty junkie, and while I don't feel like that knowledge can benefit my 2-year-old, I do feel it can benefit women closer to my age group who want to prevent issues before they arise or who are seeking to feel better about themselves!
Interesting aside, the axiom "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" was actually coined by Benjamin Franklin, and since I'm currently living in Philadelphia, a city obsessed with old Ben, please forgive me for getting all clichéd! Overused as the phrase might be, it rings as true now as when Franklin wrote the words under an assumed name, while actually discussing fire safety (of all things, ha). Some (okay, a lot of people) might say face masks for helping you to feel good about yourself aren't as important as fire safety, but I trust that my building's superintendent has the latter under control. Feeling good about myself is something that's up to me, and my Sunday at-home spa time handily provides the cure! That said, here are my favorite preventive, organic, cruelty-free remedies!
1. Bliss In the Honey Moisturizing Mask, $12.99
I've only recently discovered the Bliss line, and I'm a fan! I was also blissfully-- (see what I did there? Okay I'll stop trying to be all axiomatic like Ben, hehe!)-- ahem, blissfully excited to hear that they've recently relaunched and stopped shipping to countries that require animal testing like China. They're also currently in the works to be certified by PETA! Read more here. While on a recent mommy run to Target, I was drawn to the large, blue sign that read "cruelty-free" and the price was an added incentive for this beauty junkie. While this mask is only $12.99, I can 100% vouch for the fact that it performs as well as masks I've purchased that are ten times the price such as SK-II's Facial Treatment Mask. (Incidentally, you can buy those in singles. It's definitely worth the occasional splurge for the cooling effect while grabbing a nap. FYI a GREAT gift for headache sufferers or new moms/ same thing aiaiai.) I've taken to applying my Bliss honey mask before I apply my mainstay Sunday mask, sometimes even leaving it on the night before while I sleep. Basically, as you might gather from this post, I'm a huge fan in general of napping in a mask. Have you guys ever tried the combo? It's another great way to mimic a real spa experience from your home. Lately, I've actually taken to alternating my nightly honey mask, which you can purchase here with this next favorite, recent purchase (below).
2. Bliss That's Incredi-Peel Glycolic Resurfacing Pads $19.99
This product truly delivers what it promises: a few swipes at night over clean skin and, talk about fire safety, you wake up absolutely glowing. However, I haven't experience the trouble side effect they mention: glycolic acid peels in general can increase sensitivity to sunlight. Personally, I don't have sensitive skin and don't burn easily, but exercise caution for sure if you're planning to be in the sun the next day. Otherwise, swipe away! This stuff is magic! You can order it online here or find it in any friendly, neighborhood Target infested with happy, squealing mommies like myself. (What is it about big box stores that fills mommies with unmitigated joy and peace? Oh, I don't know Izzy: rows of great summer reads (I'll be reviewing some faves this week!!!), beauty products galore, all the necessaries like diapers and produce in one spot, endless solutions for every household problem that might have arisen during the week. Plus snacks and coffee= yep, mommy heaven.)
3. Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial $80
Okay, this one is pricier, but this is why my love for this miracle mask is twofold: a. it's very, very, very effective and b. a wee bit goes a loooonnnnggg way! I've had my initial purchase since March, I've been using it at least weekly if not bi-weekly since then, and it's lasted for almost 20 uses. That's way less than ten dollars a face mask so far, and the bottle still feels substantially full. Actually, that's something I've noticed about all the Drunk Elephant products. They're made with super high-quality, vegan, cruelty-free ingredients, and a little goes a long way. As a true believer, I've recently purchased Drunk Elephant's "The Littles", this cute little bag with samples of their whole line. I'll be back to report on my faves soon!
Or 3. Hanacure the All-In-One Facial $110
Basically, after washing off a face mask that I applied the night before in anticipation of my Sunday soak, I apply a more expensive, intensive mask like the Drunk Elephant's Babyfacial one I just reviewed above or my newest purchase: the Hanacure All-In-One Facial. I only recently purchased Hanacure, so I've only had the opporutnity to use it once! If you're not an insane beauty junkie who has to jump on every Instagram beauty trend bandwagon and $110 seems a little crazy to plop down on a mask you've never tried, you can also buy a single one to sample from Amazon. It's available here for $45. I liked it, but I didn't apply it thick enough to warrant one of those silly, little old lady selfies that have helped popularize the brand. I was also sold on the face that the masks are also cruelty-free-- you might have noticed that's as important to me as a mask's efficacy!!-- and they're also formulated without parabens, phthalates (whatever those are, but they do sound bad!) or sulphates. Best of all, I can report it does feel gentler on the skin than either the Drunk Elephant Babyfacial or Bliss's Incredi-peel. If you have sensitive skin, this might be worth the splurge!
That's it! Step 1: a mask the night before combined with step 2: a morning mask and a quick soak to wash off the week and I feel prepared for (almost) everything the next week has to bring! I've also noticed a big difference in my skin since I've started taking the time to apply these masks when I have the opportunity or force my family to (ahem) respect the opportunity. What are your favorite masks? Any home remedies? I used to be more into home remedies when acne was an issue-- egg yolks can work magic!-- but lately it's all about moisture and brightness for me. I'd love to hear your suggestions for either kinds! I think organic home remedies would be fun to test out and would make for a fun Sunday self-care post! Have a great week!
P.S. On a quick related note: my husband and I also chose to destress by, as we call it "crushing it"-- pizza, wine, fries, sushi-- aka food, the other pathway to bliss next to big box stores. The result was one fine day recently neither of us could fit into our pants! We've adopted the "Fit Into Your Pants Diet" and it's going great. So far this week, I lost a pound and a half. Read more about it, and the many dietary benefits of drinking celery, here.
For some reason, (read: the election), I've been on a poetry fast for about a year now. Knowing April is National Poetry Month, I had to read some poetry, but I felt unable to crack a book of poems just like that after a whole year away. A whole year without touching my heart in the places poetry touches it. It's like when you've been sitting on your foot. You've got to shake your foot out first before you try to run.
So I grabbed The Poetry Lesson by Andrei Codrescu, a Romanian born poet who writes more beautifully in English than 99.99% of native-born speakers. The Poetry Lesson is ostensibly about an older poet teaching an introduction to poetry class to some young, naive things, but it's really a windy, fun ride. A sort of syllabus of the poet's own experience of being a poet in a world that doesn't just put aside poetry for a year but sometimes seems to have put it aside entirely.
"Intro to Poetry Writing is always like this: a long labor, a breech birth, or, obversely, mining in the dark. You take healthy young Americans used to sunshine (aided sometimes by Xanax and Adderall), you blindfold them and lead them by the hand into a labyrinth made from bones. Then you tell them their assignment: 'Find the Grail. You have a New York minute to get it.'"
So I settled into my pink, foamy bath made from an adorable cupcake bath bomb by Sky Organics. A person needs a warm, cozy place to delve into the terrifying depths of the soul. The book is only 117 pages, but by the time I'd finished it, so was my list of poets I wanted to read or re-read.
My favorite conceit from the book is that we can each pick a poet, dead or alive, as our ghost companion-- or G-C as Andrei calls them. For the sake of simplicity, he assigns a poet to each student based on the letter of their last name. My list cum Andrei's vision would look something like this: Emily Dickinson, Rita Dove, John Dryden, Bob Dylan, Camille Dungy, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Guillaume du Salluste du Bartas, Annette von Drust Hölshoff, H.D., or, maybe best of all, Jane Draycott-- because she's 1. living, 2. a woman, and 3. British.
(I'm an anglophile, because I'm half-French, and we're perverse that way. (The English famously loathe-- "Your mother smells of huckleberry!"-- but also love the French and vice versa.) Also now, thanks to my husband's last name, I'm Irish, so the English have become even more forbidden fruit to me.) Or maybe I will simply choose Andrei... at least for this bath. I feel like he would get a kick out of his book being put to such pink, frothy uses by a languid woman immersed in a tub.
Do you have a writer who's like a soul mate or an imaginary friend or who seems like they could be a friend? I used to feel that way about so many writers when I was younger, including, of course, J.K. Rowling, the whole world's imaginary, magical writing pal. I especially feel that way about her now, because she's even more amazing on epigrammatic Twitter than she might even be in novel form. Do you follow her?
Also, P.S. I linked a bunch of green beauty treats I like to indulge in on Saturdays or Sundays when I treat myself to a (quarter-full) bath. P.P.S. This K. Bunni Cosmetics mask that I adore is only $10 and works so well! You can use my code "greenbeauty" to get an additional 10% off.
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