Thursday, December 29, 2011

Washing with Oils

I read a while ago that it can be good for your skin to wash it with oils instead of soap. The science behind it, allegedly, is that oil dissolves oil, so you can cleanse your skin without stripping it like soap does.

The hippy in me just had to try it! I've been using it for a few weeks now, and I have to say, I really have noticed a difference in my skin! While my breakouts have been about the same (which has more to do with my diet than anything else), my skin has been less irritated, and I don't have to worry about excess oil anymore.

I have been using a blend of two parts castor oil, one part olive oil, and a few drops of tee tree oil. The castor oil goes deep into the pores to cleanse the skin, the olive oil moisturizes, and the tee tree oil helps clear blemishes. If your skin is more dry than oily, you would want to use more olive oil than castor oil, and if you don't have breakouts then skip the tea tree oil altogether. I mixed it together in a $.99 travel bottle from Wal Mart. I squeeze about a quarter amount onto my hands, then rub it into my skin for a minute or two. It feels weird at first to be putting oil on your face, but you get used to it. Then put a really warm (but not hot) wet washcloth on your face and let it steam for a bit, maybe a minute or so. Rinse out the washcloth and wipe your face well.

The first few days, your skin will probably freak out because it's used to producing oil to make up for what the soap is taking out of it. But after a few days, it should even out.

Cheap, effective and natural. Who could ask for more??

Monday, December 26, 2011

One More Thing...

Thanks to Pintrest, I now have one more thing to add to my ever growing list of New Year's Resolutions. Add cleaning and de-cluttering to the list! Not that I have THAT much stuff. I'm a serial thrower away-er after all, but living a more minimalist lifestyle has been appealing to me more and more lately.

I went to a baby shower last week (it was super fun, great food and no one made me smell chocolate in a diaper!) and I was so overwhelmed with the amount of STUFF that you get when you are having a baby... As if adding another person to your family wasn't enough, now you 'need' 20 bibs with coordinating socks and enough bedding to last the child through his college years. Then I watched the documentary Babies, and it showed that kids that grow up without all the 'stimulating toys' that we think are so important, develop at almost exactly the same pace! So, once again - our stuff basically means nothing.

So the point of that little rant is, I am thinking of becoming a minimalist. Because I'm tired of the stuff.

I still have no idea what I would like to focus on in 2012, and only one more week to figure it out. Is it possible to focus on 20 things at the same time?? That way I won't have to choose!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas at the Mall

I went to the mall twice in the last two weeks. Both times I went to buy a jacket (it was an epic battle between my desire to be cheap, and my desire to be warm). I rarely went to the mall this year, since I couldn't buy anything there anyway, and when I did go, it was usually to go to a specific store (hello Sephora!!) and then go home.

Both times I went, I was struck with just how much STUFF there is. Stuff that we are told that we need. Especially for Christmas. While I am in the stores, I think, if only I had the money to buy all these fancy things. Think how nice m life would be! If I could get an expensive hair cut, have a designer purse, and the cutest boots, I would be so happy.

Of course, that isn't true. Nothing that can be bought can decide if I am happy or not. Only I can decide that. But the advertising is strong. The people who make commercials and set up stores know what they are doing, and they do it well!

I made it out with a jacket (both warm AND cheap AND cute) so I felt like it was a win, but it was an eye opening experience for me. I will be able to shop at mall stores in less than two weeks, and I hope I remember that buying things there won't really change my life!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Someday I Will...

...Wrap presents in eco friendly recycled gift wrap with cute decorations.
...Bake Christmas cookies to give to all my friends and coworkers.
...Put up all of the Christmas decorations sitting in boxes.
...Do all the ideas I have pinned on my Pintrest Christmas board.
...Make homemade stockings to hang.
...Invite people over for a lovely Christmas party.

But not today. Today I am going to go to bed on time. There's always next year, right?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A New Diet

My doctor suggested that I go on a low carb diet as part of the treatment for PCOS. After obsessing over every bite for a few days, and freaking out because I didn't know what to eat, I decided that I needed more guidance. So I chose the South Beach Diet. It emphasizes eating whole foods, with lots of whole grains and not a lot of sugar, which is how I want to eat anyway. For the first two weeks, you can't have... well, anything really. No sugar, no wheat, no fruit, no happiness. Ok, you can still have happiness, but only in moderation. :)

The worst part about being on a diet is that everyone assumes that I am doing it because I am unhappy with my body. 'How much weight have you lost?' they ask. Which always makes me think- Do I look that chubby that everyone automatically thinks I want to lose weight? Is it bad that I'm generally happy with how my body looks? Am I a huge jiggly blob that walks, and I just haven't noticed yet??  I'm not going to lie, losing weight is a perk, and it is nice to see the scale moving down instead of up, but seriously, if I were doing it for the weight loss, I would have quit on the first day. A Bethany with no cookies is not a Bethany at all...

I just have to keep reminding myself that it will be worth it.  And on Monday, I get to add whole wheat and fruit back in. I have never been more excited for a piece of toast in my life!

Friday, December 9, 2011

What the What??

I can't believe that its already the middle of December... Seriously, where did 2011 go?? I still have to catch myself from saying 2010 (I think that is one of the downsides to no longer writing checks, I don't have a reminder about what year it is!) and here it is, almost 2012!!

Looking back on this past year, it really seems like a big blur. so much happened, and we were so busy! I learned so much, and I feel like I am a better person than I was 12 months ago.

For the first time... well... ever, I guess, I completed BOTH of my New Year's Resolutions!

My first resolution was to only buy clothes at thrift stores all year. This was harder, and easier, than I thought it would be. I did slip a few times- I bought a pair of jeans (mega on sale, they were $12 from Eddie Bauer! Great jeans! What was I doing in an Eddie Bauer, you ask? Well, I am quite the outdoorsman, you know...) and a few tank tops from Old Navy (they were $2 each! And I needed new tank tops! And you can't buy those at a thrift store!) and I also got a pair of grey tights from Banana Republic, for $1.89. Seriously. I also got some stuff from J Crew, but I had a gift card from work, and I only spent like $6 of my own money, so I don't think it counts! I probably shouldn't officially cross this off the list, since I still have two and a half weeks to go, and I'm going shopping tomorrow for a winter coat (crossing my fingers that the thrift store has a good one, otherwise I will crack. It's cold!!), but really, I have done much better than I thought I would!

My second resolution was to run a 5k. Done and done!! I actually ran two this year! My first one was in November, and I ran it in 40:30. My second one was at Sea World last week, and I ran it in 39:47. I know, with a time like that, its basically like I was walking fast, but believe me, it felt like running... I actually enjoy running now, and I'm planning on doing another race on the coast in March.

I'm still crafting my resolutions for next year, I have a few really good ideas. I think the reason I was so successful this year is I had something really specific that I could actually cross off. You can't really measure 'being nicer' or 'being healthier' but I can specifically tell you that I did, in fact, run 3.1 miles (twice!), and I did (for the most part) only buy clothes at thrift stores. So I'm keeping that in mind for next year. Some things on the possible list:

  • Become an extreme couponer
  • Run 520 miles (over the year, not all at once!)
  • Do one thing from Pintrest a month
  • Have a baby (just kidding... sort of)
  • Bake 12 new kinds of bread
  • Run a 5k in under 30:00
  • Write a mission statement (a la 7 Habits)
  • Pay off my student loan