Currently – The April Edition

from Pinterest

Happy April!  Is the pollen killing anyone else?  Because I’m really struggling over here.

I’ve spent the past couple weeks returning to my normal schedule.  The last half of March was super-busy for me — I’m such a creature of habit that even a couple weeks of (fun) disturbances really threw me off.  I’m really appreciating being back in the swing of things.

Lately I’m …

Reading:  I have a company crush on Werk, a start-up that is all about work flexibility.  The company blog is full of interesting reads.  And this post (and the comments!) about kindness on Cup of Jo made me cry (in a good way).

Trying:  My new Nayoya Acupressure mat, which was a birthday gift.  I am digging it so far.  Beyond all the supposed benefits, I just like how it feels.  Plus, the other day I felt a headache coming on and did all the things on the mat that they say will help, and it worked!

Enjoying:  Recently I got some furniture for my balcony.  I got a comfy outdoor rocking chair and pillow, as well as a pretty potted plant, for my birthday.  I’ve since added a cute garden stool and a striped outdoor rug.  It’s coming together and I’m super-pleased!

Watching:  A couple weekends ago, my boyfriend and I went to see Isle of Dogs.  I really liked it!  Stop-motion anything blows my mind, but the movie is especially beautiful and detailed.  And the cast is A+, like always with Wes Anderson.

Sipping:  Anything I can out of my new Yeti mug.  This was another birthday gift and I love it.  It’s too big to fit in a car’s cup holder, but it’s great for carrying to work (if you’re a walker or public transportation fan) and for keeping drinks hot at home.  (Tip:  I like to put my fresh, hot coffee or tea in the mug, but leave the top off for a little while so it’s not too crazy hot.  Once I get to a temperature that’s almost drinkable, I’ll add the top to keep the temperature there.)

What are you loving lately?

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More Quick Snaps from Charleston

A couple weekends ago, a group of us visited Charleston for a bachelorette trip!  It was a fun weekend, full of lots of cute houses and lots of yummy food.  I’m still working on a full recap, but here’s a peek at the fun.

I ordered custom party wine labels from Label With Love’s Etsy shop — partially because every bachelorette party needs a personalized thing and partially because they were just so pretty.

One of the best things about Charleston is the large number of pink buildings — they’re so pretty.  We stopped at The Daily for breakfast one morning and I ordered this giant piece of sourdough toast with soft scrambled eggs on top.  Mmmmmmm!  I also insist that everyone pays attention to Charleston’s strong door knocker game.

We had our last dinner at goat. sheep. cow. North, which is adorable.  This candy shop right near Waterfront Park was crazy — there was so much chocolate everywhere.  And Revelry’s rooftop bar was on point.

My complete bachelorette weekend recap will be up next week, but if you need a little bit more Charleston in your life before then, check out these snaps and this recap of my last girls’ trip.

6 Months with The Ordinary

from The Ordinary

I’m about to do a totally #sponsored-y post that is not sponsored in any way.  So you can trust me!

Aside from the occasional really stubborn blemish, dryness, and never-ending shiny oil, I have never had any real problems with my skin.  Some of that is luck and genetics — thanks Mom and Dad!  But I have also always been really diligent and consistent with my facial skincare routine.  (You can get an idea of what I’ve been doing for years in my Beauty Uniform post.)  But about six months ago, after spotting the beginnings of fine lines and feeling like my face was looking especially dull, I decided it was time to get my hands on some specialty(ish) products.  It was time to start some preventive skincare and to address some of the little things that I’d started to notice!

It seemed like the entire population of the internet was obsessed with The Ordinary at the time, so I asked my friend for guidance (hi Rebecca!) and settled on three products for starters:  Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion, Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%, and 100% Plant-Derived Squalane.  I also referenced this article more than a few times.  (Full transparency:  I wanted a retinoid and vitamin C, and I added on the squalane to get free shipping.)  I wish I had clear before-and-after photos to share, but I just wasn’t thinking ahead.  I swear to you, I saw a positive change in my skin within two weeks and I’m still pleased six+ months later!  I can’t remember the last time I used a tinted moisturizer to fake even tone on my face or the last time I had a stubborn, weeks-long breakout.

Here’s how The Ordinary fits into my facial skincare routine …

If it’s a morning that started with a workout, I’ll wash my face in the shower.  I’ve been using Biore’s Baking Soda Pore Cleanser for a while and I really like it.  On non-workout mornings I don’t shower, so I start with a facial wipe or micellar water.  I’m not too picky about either, but I stick to the stuff that is gentle and intended for sensitive skin.  Once I’m refreshed, I rub a few drops of the Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% into my face, let that sit for a moment, and then rub a few drops of the 100% Plant-Derived Squalane on top.  If I’m going to be inside for the foreseeable future, I’ll stop there; I like to keep the number of products sitting on my face to a minimum.  If I’ll be leaving the house, I’ll add Garnier Skinactive’s Clearly Brighter SPF 15 on top — we all know this, but SPF is super-important (especially when using a retinoid)!!!  Make-up goes on top if I’m wearing any.

The same face wash in the shower vs. face wipe/micellar water trade-off applies at night.  After my face is completely clean, I apply a few drops of the Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion.  I top it off with whatever night cream I’m using at the time — I bounce around from cream to cream.  If I’ve got any pimples, I’ll apply Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion for nighttime spot treatment.

I was really not sure about adding more products to my routine — I know myself well enough to know that I won’t continue to do something that’s inconvenient or time-consuming.  This was such an easy change to make and to keep up.  And my skin is so happy!

Remember that I am not a specialist and everyone’s skin is different, but I have been pleased with this tiny (and relatively inexpensive!) change.  Just sharing the wealth.

Vegas Visit

Woo!  Long time, no post!  Sorry about that — life got busy and I wasn’t prepared for just how busy I would be.  I’m making my return today with a word-light and photo-heavy peek at my recent business trip to Las Vegas.  I was there for a giant conference and, as is often the case with work trips, I didn’t get out much.  But I did make the time to wander around a bit.

I stayed at the Venetian, which felt like the castle from Beauty and the Beast (or, obviously, Venice).  The lobbies were the best part:  all excessive and all gorgeous.  I walked through several hotel lobbies because they’re all masterpieces and the Venetian was my favorite, though Caesar’s Palace was a close second.

Vegas is not my scene — the crowds and the smoking and the parties are really not up my alley.  But I will say that the city is very aesthetically appealing, especially at sunset.

On our last night in town, a few of us walked over to the see The Fountains of Bellagio and I’m so glad we did.  The fountains “performed” to “Luck be a Lady” by Frank Sinatra.  It was very cool and, in true Vegas fashion, over-the-top.

Have you been to Vegas?  Do you have any favorite non-gambling, non-drinking things to do there?  Let me know, just in case there’s a next time.

Back to regular posting for now, I promise — see you Thursday!

Currently – The March Edition

“Great Future Ahead – Lisianthus Paris 9th” from Carla Coulson

Happy March!  We had a little taste of spring here for a week or two, but it’s been back to cold this week.  Our poor plants don’t know what to do with themselves!  After feeling like I was in a funk for a solid month or so, I finally feel like I’m getting my groove back.

Lately I’m …

Eating:  Recently, my sister had me try dried mango.  Initially, I was not into it — the texture had me feeling like I was chewing on leather.  But the flavor has me hooked, and now I kind of like the work I have to put into chewing it.  We’re lucky and can sometimes get ours from the local farmers market, but Trader Joe’s has yummy dried mango too.

Reading:  I just finished Feminist Fight Club:  An Office Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace and my neck is tired from my nodding in agreement and recognition.

Wearing:  I recently picked up these loafers from Target to replace an old pair of black flats.  Mine are a half-size down from my usual shoe size and I’ve really liked them for work wear.

Watching:  I started the second season of The Crown as soon as it came out, but abandoned after a few episodes because I just wasn’t feeling it.  I tried again and finished it up last week while I was sick — I think the second half of the season is better than the first, and it did take me a while to get used to the disjointed episode story lines and the presentation of time passage, but I am happy I finished it.  If you still haven’t watched it and/or are not feeling so sure, I would recommend sticking with it until the end!

Planning:  I’ve got two trips coming up, one for work and one for fun.  I’m heading to Las Vegas for a work conference.  It’ll be my first time there and I have absolutely no interest in the typical Vegas-y things, so if you’ve got off-the-beaten-path recommendations, please send them my way!  Then I’m heading to Charleston for a bachelorette party, which should be super-fun.

Using:  When I was home a few weeks ago, I had to steal some lotion from my mom because I have dry, angry skin and I cannot go without!  She had this baby oil gel on hand and I liked it so much that I bought my own as soon as I could.  I love the subtle shea and cocoa butter scent.

What are you loving lately?