Monday, July 6, 2020

A few of my favourite things - skincare

I'm still working on perfecting my skincare routine after my skin went bonkers from going off the pill/pregnancy/losing the baby. It has mostly calmed down and now I'm just working on specific issues. My skin is sensitive though and I can't introduce new products often, so the journey to my holy grail perfect skincare routine is a slow one. I don't mind though - compared to how my skin was during the pill/baby time, I'm very happy with it.

Obligatory disclaimer - everyone is different and just because something works for you doesn't mean it will work for me, and vice versa. When I started my skincare journey, I bought all the popular products and I believe that some people with normal/tolerant skin can use pretty much anything and see 'results'. Some people like me though, no. So, do your own research and find what works for you. No affiliate links used. Aside from being sensitive, my skin is kind of combo/normal. Mostly normal with a side of dehydrated, sometimes oily sometimes dry. I only really breakout around my period.

Anywho, while I'm not going to share my full routine because I've not finalised it, I thought I'd share a few of my favourite things.

Timeless Vitamin C + E Ferulic Acid - I tried 4 other vitamin c serums before I tried this one. They either irritated my skin, didn't do anything or I hated the tacky feeling. I've gone through 5 bottles of this one. I love it. If they ever stop making it, I will protest. I highly doubt they will, since it's so popular. Some people say it is a dupe for the skinceuticals one, I wouldn't know because I've never tried it and never will- no judgement at all, just way out of my budget. I use it first thing in the morning (after cleansing if I workout, after just a splash of water if I don't workout). If I have time, I wait 15-20 minutes before continuing my routine. If I don't, I just wait until it dries. They recently changed the bottle and I haven't tried the new one*. I love it because it has brightened my skin and evened out my skin tone. I can never remember the exact wording, but your skin does something in the sun and using a vitamin c serum acts as a shield so the sun takes that instead of the stuff from your skin (a professional, I am not). So I use it for that reason too. I keep mine in the fridge. From what I remember, took about 2-3 months to see a difference, it was definitely gradual.
*I wrote this post a couple of months ago, I've since used the new bottle and I hate it with the fire of a thousand suns. It leaks and stopped pumping in less than 2 weeks. I bought the bigger one - which is also the new bottle, but so far it doesn't leak or hasn't stopped pumping. So I really hope they fix it, because I'm not sure I can recommend the smaller one with the crappy bottle, and the big one is too expensive/too much for someone to try it out.

The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors + HA - this moisturiser, holy moly. It is so simple and unassuming. It's so cheap. I have like 27 in storage because again, if they stop making it, I will revolt. It is amazeballs, I can't shut up about it. I only use it in the morning, I like to be more of a slug at nighttime.
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% - ahhhh I love this. It does not do anything amazing for existing breakouts (for me anyway) but this is 100% the reason my skin stopped breaking out in general. Also, if I do get a breakout now, the life of it is dramatically reduced (used to be 7-10 days, now it's 2-3 days without any special treatment). It cleared all the congestion and little bumps under my skin. I also think it helped with the overall dull appearance of my skin - with tone, redness and texture. There are some places that say you can't use this with vitamin c, but from what I've read, that myth has been debunked and you should only avoid them together if your skin doesn't like it. My skin does. Love it. Took a bit over a month to really notice it worked.
Kate Somerville Anti Bac - I was hesitant to put this one on here, because I'm not sure yet if I will repurchase. I bought it when my skin was at its worst - the first time I used it (as directed, thin layer all over), I had a very bad reaction. I almost got rid of it then, but my friend who'd recommended it told me to use it as a spot treatment, and it was amazing. It's expensive, in my opinion, but the bottle lasted me almost 2 years, I used so little each time. I have had several spot treatments work miracles the first few times but then stop working - this one worked every.single.time. I used this before I started using the niacinamide and it would get rid of a breakout within a few days (the ones that used to hang around for well over a week). Now that I use the niacinamde, this product will reduce a huge breakout overnight, and it'll be completely gone within 2 days. I tried the up&up BP but it's not cruelty free, and it didn't work anywhere near as well. I also tried this Paula's Choice 5% BP one, and it does work but not as well though it is much cheaper. I don't really get huge breakouts anymore, so I suppose I don't *need* the Kate Somerville one, but honestly, it's definitely the best (for me).
DHC Cleansing Oil - I hate that I love this. It is not cruelty free. I have tried every other cruelty free oil cleanser in the entire world (perhaps slight exaggeration) and none of them worked as well as this one or my skin instantly hated them (burts bees, qv, body shop, paula's choice, bare minerals). When I run out of my hoarder stash though, I will not repurchase because I simply cannot in good conscience support something that isn't CF. From what I think I've figured out, my skin does not like fragrance, mineral oil or coconut oil. It loves olive oil though. Sigh. Wish it wasn't so perfect for my skin. I do love my makeup eraser that I got in a Fab Fit Fun box, but I only have one and my skin doesn't exactly feel clean once I've used it, just makeup-less.
Sunscreen - Australian Gold & EltaMD - I won't go on a rant about how everyone should use sunscreen since everyone knows, right?? These two are my favourites - if I'm wearing makeup, I prefer the Australian Gold, if I'm going to be outside running or something, I prefer the EltaMD.
Anyway - there are a ton of other products I use or have liked in the past, but these are definitely my 'holy grail' items.

Currently, I'm trying to find that holy grail heavy night time moisturiser. I asked on instagram a month or so ago and got tons of cruelty free suggestions, so working through those now. Currently using this Derma E one which sometimes feels amazing and sometimes does not. The scent is super strong and sometimes it makes my face feel super tight and dry which is super weird for a moisturiser. Won't be repurchasing.

I've also been trying to find a good body moisturiser, one that actually sinks in and doesn't feel greasy - if you have any cruelty free suggestions, please share!

Thursday, July 2, 2020

June 2020 - What's New With You

Hello all, time for another what's new with you link up! Thanks again if you join me, I always appreciate it. You don't have to display the button if you don't want to, but don't forget to mention it somewhere in your post and check out some of the other posts!

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I keep doing these recaps even though, like everyone else, I don't have a ton to recap. I'm still not 100% sure what day it is, and with tomorrow being a holiday, I'm even more off. Maybe by 2021 I'll figure it out.

To be honest, I'm not totally up to date on things being open and whatnot since I'm not going out, I go to work and the supermarket and my friends houses. I hear bits and pieces about restaurants and things opening, but since I am not going I don't really stay on top of it. I know about salons because of my best friend. Of course, I'm ready for things to be... not 'back to normal' but for it to be over and be able to do all the things, but I'm content to just lay low right now. Yeah, all of my hobbies kind of went kaput, a lot of my social activities are cancelled, I really should get some check ups and stuff done, my feet are crying for a pedicure, but I can still read and hang out with friends. It makes for a boring blog post/monthly recap, but hey, in my opinion, well worth it. 

That being said, this is what I did in June:

- cat & dog sitting (I *knew* dogs were more work than cats, but actually doing it for a week, good lord I was exhausted but they were so cute and fabulous)

- we're supposed to be in Europe but we're not so lets eat all the food and drink all the alcohol from all the places we were supposed to go and try to make the best of it hang out - the Netherlands, Belgium & Spain if you were curious.

- book club
- yoga & running
- read books & loved on my fat cats

And, I mean, that's about it. Like I said, I'm totally okay with it, but it doesn't make for very exciting blogging. July will be more of the same, I'd wager.

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So, what's new with you?

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Link Up Reminder

Hello all! Just a quick reminder to anyone who wants to link up - this Thursday the 2nd is the next What's New With You link up if you want to join me! 

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Friday, June 12, 2020

Friday random stuff & thoughts

I keep thinking I want to blog more but then I think my life is super boring and I don't have that much to talk about anyway. Then I go and write this long ass random jumbled post. Happy Friday!

Yesterday would have been my daughter's first birthday. If she was born on her due date, that is. I took the day off to just not be around people. Perhaps one day it will stop hurting. Perhaps not. So much has happened in a year. Last year, I got this watercolour print made from one of the ultrasound pictures. I love it. I wish I had more, more to remind me of her, but it's not like I ever stop thinking about her. There's no real point to sharing this except that I want to. Sometimes I worry people think I am looking for attention, or bringing it up just to bring it up. Everyone is different, perhaps if I was still married and had been able to get pregnant again, I wouldn't talk about my first daughter as much. I don't know.

I got this table from Ikea ages ago and finally put it together the other day. I didn't realise how much I missed sitting down to eat or be on my laptop instead of sitting on the couch. Also, Millie loves it, which is of course all that really matters. It extends, you know, for all the dinner parties I host.

Yoga with Adriene (and Heather)
Sometime in mid-March, Heather and I started doing yoga 'together' and we did the 30 day Home challenge in April - one of my goals was to do yoga every day (oh hey goals, totally forgot about you for May and June) and then we continued with the May calendar and again in June, though we've been a bit more flexible in June with doing random videos rather than following the calendar exactly. So anyway, that's almost 3 months of yoga every day. I feel like it's done wonders for me, mainly mentally, but also in improving my yoga practice. Sometimes it's 40 minutes, sometimes it's 5 minutes. I really enjoy the habit now and it's something I don't really think about. These are from April, when I wanted to record each day for the goal I totally forgot about:

Buffalo Tempeh Quinoa Bowls
I got a purple carrot box through Kaity and this was one of the meals. I'd had tempeh before but this was the first time I cooked it myself - it was so good that I've already made it twice on my own and can see it becoming one of my staples. When I made it on my own, I skipped the celery mainly because I forgot to buy it, I didn't feel like the radishes added a whole lot so I skipped them too and I made the sauce with greek yoghurt instead of vegan sour cream. Next time I think I'll add cauliflower to beef it up a bit more... except, you know, without beef. A strict recipe follower, I am not. It doesn't look the best but goodness gracious it was tasty.

There are lots of things I am trying to do right now, I won't go over them all here, but I will share this guide for unpacking your anti-blackness from Brittany at A Little Britt of Fun if you've not already seen it. It's full of resources, links, things to do, ways to educate yourself. It is something I have saved and will revisit often.

Books are something I think about and talk about a lot. In the past, I know I've thought that I read what I read, and that's all there is to it. I don't think a person should read a genre they don't want to read, reading is for an enjoyment, etc etc. I'm not going to go pick up a book just because it is by a diverse author, I'm not going to not pick up a book because it is by a diverse author. I'll just read whatever as long as it sounds good and it's one of the genres I like. I told myself that was good and right and enough. I figured that other people were doing their jobs and getting BIPOC authors out there. I didn't see my part in it, or rather, I didn't accept my part in it. But now I realise that ignoring the problem is accepting the problem, and that's not okay with me. I'm realising it in a lot of areas, but books are what I'm talking about today. I'm still a mood reader, I still want to read the kinds of books I want to read, but now I recognise it is completely on me to seek out the books by BIPOC authors that do appeal to me. What did I think, they would just miraculously fall in my lap? I've also saved articles with podcasts to listen to or things to watch, but I read more than I listen/watch, so that's why I'm talking about books.

Non-Fiction on my TBR
I've been really into non-fiction this year, though I've read mostly self-help/development kind of books. A lot of these were on my list already, but I put them off for stupid reasons, I've purchased most of them or got them from the library so hopefully sooner rather than later.

Fiction on my TBR
The A.I. Who Loved Me - this finally came out on ebook after being an audible exclusive for 6 months. I love Alyssa Cole.
With the Fire on High - this has been on my list ever since Tanya shared it one SUYB. I know I've borrowed it from the library twice, just didn't get to it in time. That cover is gorgeous and I've heard nothing but good things.
The Vanishing Half - I have heard amazing things about The Mothers but just think because of something in that book it's not the right choice for me, personally, for about another 10 years. Netgalley declined me for this one and sometimes that makes me bitter and not want to read the book, but Heather loved it so I can't wait to read it.
Shades of Love series - I am pretty sure I heard about this from The Fated Mates podcast, sounds right up my alley.

The Water Dancer - I have this from the library now, but haven't been in a super reading mood lately. Soon, hopefully. Something about that cover just calls to me.
Opposite of Always - this sounds so unique! I love a good time travel book, not gonna lie.
Such a Fun Age - I've heard this one will make me feel lots of feelings. Can't wait.
The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls  - that cover though. I've heard mixed things about this one, it's been on my list for ages and I'm curious.

Binti - this is a novella and it's been on my radar for a long time. Finally borrowed it from the library because it sounds fantastic and should be a quick read.
The Boy in the Black Suit - I absolutely loved Long Way Down and have been meaning to read more by Jason Reynolds.
This Is My America - popped up on netgalley and sounded awesome. I saw the 'fans of Jason Reynolds' and I was sold. Also, yes, am a sucker for a gorgeous cover. Comes out in July.
Here to Stay - another netgalley one, I'd heard fantastic things about her book American Dreamer but M/M romance is not my jam. This one sounds delightful. Comes out in August.

Books I've read and would recommend
most of these are romance because most of the books I read are romance

The Wedding Date - I know a lot of people have issues with this one, and I didn't enjoy the later books in the series, but I did really like this one.
Sin & Ink and Passion & Ink - listen, these are steamy AF. but so freaking good. I need more from her.
Hoops series - these are heavy books, not light reads at all, I have to space them out for my poor heart.
Chloe Brown & A Girl Like Her - my love for Talia Hibbert knows no bounds.

Queenie - oh, Queenie. I still think about her like I knew her or something.
Reluctant Royals & The Loyal League - contemporary, historical, dystopian, and a new thriller (below) - is there anything Alyssa Cole can't do?! 
When No-One is Watching - I know I just shared this book on Tuesday but I seriously thought it was so good. I might be a teensy bit biased because I do love Alyssa Cole so much, but.... maybe not.
Final Hour series - these books are fantastic, some of the best romantic suspense I've ever read.

Long Way Down - seriously, even if you don't like poetry (I don't normally), you should read this. 
Red at the Bone - I loved this one so much. Her writing is so beautiful.
We're Going to Need More Wine - she's so fun and honest and I feel like she's my friend now, like I was inordinately happy when she welcomed her daughter.
Year of Yes - I read this years ago and still think about it. Have been meaning to re-read it.

Alrighty, well that's all from me. I had a weird week with the anniversary of my due date (my daughter's would be first birthday? I don't know what to call it) and I'm thankful it is almost the weekend. My brain is trying to tell me I had something planned on Saturday, but I can't quite get a grasp on the memory. I really need to write things down or actually remember where I wrote them down. I'm sure it will come to me.

If you have any book suggestions you didn't see me mention above, I'd love to hear them!