Getting to be that age

Last month, one of my friend’s father died.   I felt terrible for him.  My friends and I are in our 30s and our parents are in their 60s.  As much as we don’t want to think about it, our parents are getting older.  For our parents, a cold isn’t just a cold anymore.   A fall could turn lethal. Those aches and pains aren’t so random anymore.  I thought to myself that we’re getting to be that age where losing a parent could become very real.

So yesterday, I’m sitting on my sofa while taking a breaking from cleaning and I get a call from my uncle.  He said “I have some news that you don’t want to hear.”  I already knew what he was going to say.  My father died.  He had been sick for a long time and he had his ups and downs.  At Christmas, he was being rambunctious and arguing with his doctors about what he wasn’t going to do.  And now he’s gone. He was talking about the Redskins and teasing my uncle about his love life and now he’s gone.  That’s how quick it can happen.

Foreo Luna Mini sonic face brush review

Hello Readers,

A lot of craziness has been going on and once again I’m behind on my blog posts. So let’s get into review.

Foreo Luna Mini

Price: $99, other models range up to $199.  I believe all models are currently on sale for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

Where to buy: Foreo website, Sephora, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s

Skin type: This model is recommended for all skin types, other models are geared toward specific skin types.  I have combination skin with occasional eczema flare ups.

I bought the Foreo Luna Mini in late December 2015 and I’ve been using it daily.   As you can see from the pictures, the brush has a half clam shell design and is covered with different sized silicone touchpoint nubs that gently pulsate to cleanse the face.  This model has two intensities depending on your skin needs and gives a subtle beep indicating when you should move the device to a different part of your face and a double beep when one minute has passed.  The cleansing time is one minute but you could use it for longer.  You can apply a cleanser to your face or directly to the brush itself.  It is really a simple, effective product to use.

Other highlights:

  • It’s cost effective. My old Clarisonic face brush required an additional $100/year minimum investment due to the fact that you have to change the face brushes every few months.  With proper care, this brush should last several years.
  • It’s more hygienic.  The body-safe silicone nubs are easily to clean and won’t harbor bacteria like a standard nylon brush, washcloth, muslin cloth, etc.
  • Amazing battery life.  I’ve charged the brush twice since I’ve bought it: the initial charge and a recharge in late June.

I would say within about two to three weeks, I noticed an improvement in my skin.  Even other people started to notice that my skin looked clearer and more vibrant.  I really love this brush.  I love that my face is getting a deep cleanse minus the abrasiveness.




 

 

 

Finally, a vacation! Cruising the Caribbean.

Hello Readers!

I’m back from my vacation.  I haven’t had a vacation since before I bought my house in 2013.   I really need to take better care of myself and that includes taking a break from life now and then. 

On April 17, I departed for Miami for to go on 7 day cruise with my cousin, her husband, and one of their friends to the Western Carribbean!  Specifically, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Grand Cozumel, and Mexico.  We cruised on the Norwegian Getaway.  We booked this trip last April.  I was anticipating this trip for a long time.

April 17, Day 1: Flying and Embarkation

Can I just say how much airplanes bother me?  The act of flying itself does not, but airplanes do. I just feel so confined.  Checking a bag and getting through security are not big deals to me, but sitting in a cramped airplane seat does.  I’m constantly moving my legs because otherwise they would go numb from the uncomfortable seat.  It turns out, numb legs were not to be my biggest concern.   I went into a mild anaphylaxis.  Why?  My cousin could only surmise that the airplane cabin filter hadn’t been changed in a while and the pollen was just recirculating in the cabin.  I managed to take a Zyrtec and thankfully the stewardess came by shortly with soda and pretzels.

The rest of the flight was uneventful after that.  I landed in Miami and basked in the beautiful heat and humidity.  I met my cousins at their hotel and then we headed to the port.  I haven’t been on a cruise since Fall 2011 and I was on the Norwegian Jewel.  The Getaway is a much larger ship!  It’s like twice the size of the Jewel.   We got on, explored, and set sail.   I also visited the full sized Mandara Spa on the ship and purchased the week-long pass to the Thermal Spa Suite.  The thermal spa suite had a hot tub, hydro-therapy pool, saunas, salt bath, and a mosaic hot stone lounge chairs.   More importantly, the thermal suite was child free and a quiet zone.   We unpacked and ate and I went to the spa!   So relaxing!

April 18, Day 2: Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas
Great Stirrup Cay is Norwegian Cruise Line’s private cay.   You can snorkel, parasail, lounge on the beach, swim, eat, and drink.  You can do all of that provided the seas are permitting!  In order to get the cay, you have to take a small boat called a tender boat to the island.  If the waves are too high, it isn’t safe to tender.   So we had an extra day at sea.  Some of the passengers were pissed off.  This was supposed to be the free beach day.   So, we relaxed and my cousin and I went to spa.  Readers, you will notice that the spa was really a part of my daily crusing.

April 19, Day 3: A day at Sea

Again, another relaxing day of being at the spa, eating, and drinking and not worry about cooking or cleaning for myself.  Glorious.  We did more ship exploration, played some cruise games, and attended some port shopping reviews.   I’m also discovered a drink called the Miami Vice: It’s a Pina Colada with Blue Curaçao liqueur and strawberries. I also cackled at one of my cousins thinking that the cruise chefs were feeding us diabetic desserts.   Yes, there are diabetic desserts onboard, but we had to explain to him that American desserts, and other foods, are so full of extra sugar that when Americans eat regular foods that we think something is wrong.

Later that day, we went to the onboard shops.  An associate tried to sell me a $12k ring for $2.9k.  Cool deal, bro. I still didn’t buy anything.  I told him that I was just browsing.

April 20: Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Finally, a port!  Pulling into port was absolutely stunning.   The coastline was amazing and the water was blue.   We disembarked and did some walking around and shopping.   We eventually agreed to go on a small tour with a local taxi.  Our taxi driver was born and raised in Ocho Rios.   He drove us all around the town and showed us the local culture.  It really made me sad that a country so rich in culture and resources is dirt poor.   After about 20 minutes, we noticed the locals would stop the tax and try to sell goods or perform acts for money.  We eventually had to tell the tax driver to stop taking us to every place where a local was trying to get money out of us.  We simply didn’t have the resources to tip everyone.   The funniest part of the whole trip was the taxi driver taking us a literal hole in the wall so my cousin’s husband could videotape the waterfalls without paying the $20 entrance.  Yeah…mmhmm.  

On the way back through Port Authority, I asked if they could stamp my passport.  They said that they don’t bother to do that anymore.  You would seriously think that I’ve never been out of the country because my passport is stampless.  One of the port authority guards also told me that “Sometimes, you look a lady and other times, a girl.  Your face needs to make up its mind.”  Thanks, port authority guard.  I ended my day with dinner and a trip to the spa.

April 21: Georgetown, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

The port shopping specialist was correct; Grand Cayman should be called “Brand Cayman.”   All we saw were shops and banks that wealthy people hide money in.  We didn’t stay long in Georgetown.  We went back to the ship and played some of the cruise games.  When I went back to my room to change for my evening spa ritual, I turned on the international news and saw that Prince died.   I stayed in my room and listened to the Purple Rain album before heading out.

April 22: Cozumel, Mexico

This is the only port where I booked a shore excursion.   We went to the Mayan Ruins at San Gervasio National Park and the beach.   For some odd reason, the cruise director let all of the passengers disembark at the port at the same time instead of letting the excursion ticket holders go first.   After what seemed an eternity, my cousins and I finally managed to meet with our tour guide at the proper spot.  His name was Jesus and he was quite the character.  He was of Mayan descent and provided so many extra details about Mayan culture while we were at the ruins.  While at the ruins, I became dehydrated from the heat and almost fainted like a Yankee.  I’m a southerner.  I should be accustomed to the heat!  I was able to get some snacks and drinks at the onsite convenience store.  I had a Mexican Pepsi.  It’s like angel tears.  There cannot be another.  I haven’t touched American Pepsi since I’ve been back to the states.

FYI, if you are ever on a cruise, please listen to everything your tour guide tells you.  Our tour guide Jesus told us not to shop at the ruins because we were on a timetable and there would be plenty of time to shop back at the Punta Langosta port.  So what does one guy do?  He shopped and Jesus left him behind like a sinner in the apocalypse.  The guy got lucky when one of the shop owners used a golf cart to get him to the bus before we left the national park.

On the beach, it was lovely!!!! I live for the water.  I got in the water as quickly as I could. My cousins lounged and took pictures.   So we had about hours at the beach.  Our tour guide told us to be back on the bus at 3:45.   I got out of the water around 3:30 to dry off and get dressed.  Guess who came swanning down to the beach like he has all of the time in the world?   The same idiot that was left behind the first time.  Normally, I prefer to let stupid people have their follies, but I decided to be nice and alerted him to the fact that he only 15 minutes to soak up the sun and water before we were scheduled to be back on the bus.  He didn’t get left at the beach.  Another fool almost get left instead.  She was at the beach restaurant waiting for her beer as if there wasn’t a ton of alcohol on the cruise ship.  The lack of situational awareness is astounding.

After the excursion ended, we walked around the port awhile and then got back on the ship.  More food, more spa time.

Quotes of the day: 

The shop owners will tell you ‘oh, your tour guide won’t leave you.’  That is a lie.  – Jesus, our tour guide.

Come in!  I have more flavors than Baskin Robbins. –  Tequila bar owner

April 23: Last day at sea
Le sigh.   My final day to relax before returning to the life.  I got my last time at the spa in and just spent the rest of the day day trying to win various raffles and other lighthearted pursuits.

April 24: Disembarkation and Flying

I did not end up with sea legs this time and the airplane ride back home didn’t make me sick.   

I had a blast.  I really need to move to a warmer climate.   I’m happier in the sun and sand.   My skin looks better and my allergies practically disappear.

LASIK: One week Post Op

It is hard to believe that it’s been one week since I’ve had LASIK surgery.   Having the surgery has been one of the best decisions that I’ve made to improve my quality of life.  I can wake up and see.  I’m not struggling with glasses or messing around with contacts. 

I had my surgery at TLC Laser Eye Center with Drs Holzman and Weigel.  They and the nurses were very helpful and very patient with all of my questions.  I also have a friend that had LASIK a few years ago and she was just so helpful as well.

My aunt and uncle drove me to the center for the surgery.  The surgery itself doesn’t take more than 15 minutes.  They give me a pill to relax me and my doctor and nurses let me choose music to listen to during the surgery.  I chose the Sade station on Pandora.  The first song that played: Sade’s Smooth Operator. I just followed the doctor’s instructions and then bam, it was over.  I could see after surgery, but my vision was cloudy so obviously, someone has to drive me home so I could take the standard post procedure nap.  When I woke up from nap, the world was clear.   My vision continued to stabilize throughout the day and I drove myself back to my house after traffic cleared.  I also got to see the dreaded light halos that Dr. Holzman said will gradually diminish over the coming months.

Funny story:  My three year old god-sister grabbed my mom’s iPhone and used Siri to call my aunt so she could ask me how my surgery went.  So sweet.

Over the past week, I’ve put in endless eye drops: antibiotic, steroid, artificial tears, and another drop that encourages tear production.  I had to sleep in special goggles. I’ve had the humidifier going non-stop.  I couldn’t exercise or wear makeup and I had to be careful when washing my face.   I also experienced throbbing headaches that went away with sleep.  

So this afternoon at Post Op, I was told by Dr. Weigel that my eyes are healing quite well and that I can start going back into my normal routine.  I told the doctor that I was absolutely terrified of touching my eyes.  She laughed and said she noticed how gingerly I blotted my eyes when she did the pressure check.   She then demonstrated the proper amount of pressure that could be used when washing my face or remove eye makeup.   Will I wear makeup tomorrow or will my paranoid win out?  We shall see.

Fewer than 72 hours to go

The clock is counting down fast.  On Wednesday morning, I’ll be having LASIK surgery.  I’m excited but I had to stop watching videos of the surgery on YouTube because I was beginning to unnerve myself.

It’s so weird.  I’ve worn glasses since fourth grade and contacts since my late 20s.  I still remember when it was determined that I needed glasses.   I had trouble viewing the blackboard in school.  I’m trying to imagine life without glasses or contacts.  At this point, they’ve been a part of my life for so long.   I’m significantly myopic to the point where the world is rather blurry.  The first thing I do in the morning is reach for my glasses.

I just want to wake up and not squint to see the alarm clock.  I don’t want to worry if I remembered to pack lens solution when I leave on trips or bring extra contacts in case the pair that I’m wearing get torn.   I’m tired of condensation on my glasses in humid weather.  I want to be able to open my eyes underwater while swimming.  I want to comfortably read in bed.  I want to be able discern a walker from a human if the zombie apocalypse happens!  

These may seem like small things but it’s the small things that make up life.

Skin Care Challenge Update: Products I will no longer use

Hello Readers,

The main objective of the Skin Care Challenge that started in December was to create and maintain a skin care routine because we’re adults who should have a routine, we live in a polluted area, and we have occasionally stressful lives.

As I mentioned in my last post, I have eczema and acne-prone, combination skin.  A product that is great for my acne might cause an eczema flare-up and vice versa. At the start of the challenge, my skin was just static. A major step in the challenge was getting rid of products that do not work. I read a ton of dermatologists websites, looked at other blogs, and read information on Paula’s Choice/Beautypedia to find information on skin care ingredients.

So to clean up my routine, I’m no longer using any product with a bunch of essential oils and/or fragrance. Due to my eczema, my dermatologist had me switch to fragrance-free laundry detergent and dryer sheets a long time ago.  I don’t know why it never dawned on me to do the same for skin care.  So any product that I had from Clarins is out.  In the recycling bin, it went. Philosophy Purity Cleanser is also out.  I have a lot leftover and it will be used as makeup brush cleanser.  It has too many essential oils.

Also, I stopped using soap bars like Cetaphil or Dove on my face.  They are fine for body cleansers, but the fat content in the bars can be an issue for acne-prone skin.

Tis all for now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lifestyle Challenge Updates

Hello Readers,

I have so many posts to write and I’ve been too distracted/lazy to get them out. I look at a computer all day at work and honestly I don’t want to look at one when I get home. I just need to make more of an effort.  Without further ado, here are the latest updates.

Bring your lunch to work challenge:  I’m still doing great on this challenge.  I’ve had days where I’ve forgotten my lunch or didn’t want what I had, but I’m still bringing my lunch to work at 95% of the time, so that’s win-win for my health and savings.

Finance challenge: I refinanced my house at a lower rate and saved myself two months of mortgage payments. I put my tax return into savings. I got a raise at work! Bam!  Of course, my retirement accounts took a huge hit due to the damn market free fall.

Fitness challenge:  I’m still going to the gym.  My aunt and my best friend think that I don’t eat enough.  Another friend says that my face looks thinner and stomach looks flatter.  I also did a two week diet cleanse to really kick start my fitness goals.   I’ll be writing a review on that cleansing product.

Skin care challenge:  This challenge has been the most difficult. I have acne-prone, combination skin and eczema.  One little ingredient can set my skin aflame or cause a massive breakout.  There are dozens of skin care companies out there.  I’m just glad that companies like Sephora, Nordstrom, and Space NK are so damn generous with samples.  I have a ton of product reviews posts to write.

Right now, we’re still working on these four challenges.  Maybe in May, we’ll add another challenge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January Lifestyle Challenge: Fitness and Finance!

Happy New Year, everyone!

I hope that everyone had a great time during the holidays.  So a new year is upon us and there are more ways to become responsible adults.  As part of our attempts at successful adulting, we’ve been doing ongoing challenges.
For January, we will have two much needed challenges to follow the holidays: Fitness and Finance!
Fitness Challenge:
  • Workout at least 3 times a week
  • Log your workouts.  You’re more likely to hit your goal if you track it.
    • You can do pen and paper, the Fitbit app has a built-in exercise logging, there are other apps like My Fitness Pal.

Finance Challenge:

  • Make a monthly budget. Write down daily spending.
    • By writing down daily spending, it really shows you where a lot of frivolous spending in your budget is. You have to monitor cash, credit, and debit down to the penny.  No exceptions!
    • Use January’s spending to gauge if you need to redo February’s budget.
  • Rebalance all of your retirement accounts and investments.
    • Increase your contributions if you can.
  • Rollover or combine retirement accounts from old jobs if you haven’t already done so.
    • Fidelity makes it really easy to open an account or process a rollover.  I hear Charles Schwab is nice as well.
  • Set up a savings goal if you haven’t already done so.
    • Have money automatically transferred to a savings account every time you get paid.

Good Luck 🙂

Don’t forget our other ongoing challenges are:
Bring your lunch to work:  I’m doing marvelous.
Skin care challenge: I have room for improvement.

December Lifestyle Challenge: Skin care!

Hello Readers!

I can’t believe the year is almost over.  2015 was an interesting year.  I’ll write more about that on my end of the year write-up.

One great thing that my friends and I started were little challenges to improve ourselves.

The first challenge started in October. We had to bring our lunch to work every day. Since October was a success, we continued the challenge into November and now we’re going strong into December.  It’s healthier to bring our lunch and we’re saving money.

It is so deeply ingrained in me that I need to cook and have groceries available for my breakfast smoothies and lunch that I’m back on a grocery shopping schedule.  Yay for adulting like an adult.

We have an additional challenge for December.  It’s the skin care challenge!
For the rest of the month, you need to take care of your skin.  Which includes, but is not limited to:
  • Creating and/or maintaining a morning and night routine with products appropriate to your skin type
  • Moisturizing after bathing
  • Exfoliating: face and body
  • Drinking a minimum of 1 liter of water per day
  • Aiming for 6 to 8 hours of sleep per night
  • If you wear makeup: clean your brushes and sponges regularly and use appropriate cleansers to remove the makeup at the end of the day.

Here’s to going through December silky smooth and well rested!

The Commander and The Architect

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a long time.  I have a friend at work.  A friend with whom I sometimes get very angry and wonder why we’re friends in the first damn place, but still a friend.

I watch her lash out at everyone about situations that are beyond her control.  I see the angst when other colleagues purposely needle her because they know every single button to push.  She’ll come to my desk, get advice from me, and turn around and fall back into the same traps.

Welcome to the friendship of the ENTJ and the INTJ: The Commander and the Architect.  It’s complicated.

For the most part, I agree with her grievances.  Our office could be so much more efficient and functional.  She will keep pushing and come hell or high water, she will find a way to get her vision realized. Why? Because that is what a commander does!  You lead.  You step up to the challenge.  You solve the problems.  Feelings be damned, this is business.

And that’s where the messy part comes in: feelings. Most managers don’t want to hear there are areas under their control that need improvement.  Most colleagues don’t want to hear how they are potentially making things difficult in the office.  It hurts their egos and their feelings.  Feelings are usually the weak spot of an xNTJ’s existence.  We’re so damned blunt and analytical that we forget that some things that appears to us as standard problems to be solved involve a lot of emotion to other people.

Knowing my friend’s MBTI makes it easier for me to calm down and let go of my anger when we do come into conflict.  We both want the same thing: an efficient work environment.  However, our methodologies and expectations are vastly different.  I may want a certain work environment, but I know that I may not get it.  So I do my best to work with the situations I’m given.  I build my little work cocoon and go about my business.  If I tell you something is broken, if you choose not to fix it, that’s not my problem.  An ENTJ just can’t get to that level of detachment and INTJ just cannot get riled up over things that they realistically cannot change.  So, boom! Fireworks!

 

 

 

 

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