Thursday, August 17, 2017

Packing Light... and Right

The are a few pieces of clothing I really love... and never wear. In a closet already pared down from its unneeded and unworn pieces from high school, a few key pieces remain. And of those few key pieces, there are a several that make a debut once a year... so they don't get wrinkled, don't get dirty and don't get breathed on wrong. 

The irony of being a minimalist is that the few pieces I choose to purchase are often sold at prices high above my budget. I justify the purchase by the fact(s) that a) I really want it b) its presence in my closet makes me happy (within reason) and c) it's usually my second of three clothing purchases in a year. But while I can suck it up and drop some cash on a piece I really like, the constant dry cleaning it often requires drives me up the wall. Ergo, such pieces usually sit at the back of my closet until they're pulled out for a wedding, the holidays or, in this case, a vacation. 

On a recent trip to Ireland, I began the packing process early, ensuring we had everything we needed in order to prepare for what wasn't sold abroad. Within the packing process, I began to think of clothes and figured that, since even my camera-shy fiancΓ©, would be taking a lot of pictures, it'd probably be one of those scenarios where looking a bit better might be in my best interest. Also, clothes have been my only defense recently against what seems to be a decaying body. So, with that in mind, I set out to pack...

Plane Ride: Giants Sweatshirt (obvi.)
While it's not one of my favorite articles of clothing or even my article of clothing to begin with, who gives a shit what you look like in the Hartford airport or on a plane. And while nice sites suggest you to bring a warm pashmina or some slippers for a long ride... they can go eff themselves. A sweatshirt and a stiff drink are the two things essential for an international flight. So, nailed that one.

Damp, cold and beautiful.

Dublin: Things get weird.
So, while I have some nice tops that I love, the bottom half of my wardrobe is pretty scrubby... and I like it that way. So, while I forced myself to wear some silk tops which rarely make an appearance in the off (wedding) season, I found myself wearing breezy Adam Lippes tanks with mesh shorts snagged from my school's lost and found. So, nailed that one too.

Galway: Things get cold.
On the middle of our trip is where I found the "middle road" of my dressing routine. While the temperature rarely reaches above seventy-five on the Emerald Isle and my body rarely feels comfortable below that number, I often paired a wool or thick dress with a cotton hoodie. When you're far away from home, it's comforting to wear what you would everyfrigginday when you're back there.

If you look closely, you'll see the gray hair matches the gray jackets.

Kilkenny: Things get normal.
Just as any resolution for change, my motivation began to diminish towards the end of the trip. This meant hoodies more often, mesh shorts more often... yoga clothes more often. Luckily for me, Kilkenny was a lovely but decidedly less cosmopolitan destination than our previous two. In this sense, urban sophistication and (Irish) trendiness gave way to a more rural air of ease... in both culture and in clothing. 

Plane Ride Home: Fuhgeddaboudit. 

So what did I learn? 1.That my nice clothes won't melt when I take them out of the closet. 2. That I should probably stick with my routine of wearing simple dresses and hoodies for days since that is my default here and across the pond and 3. The Irish are too nice to care what you wear. Slainte!

Friday, August 4, 2017

A Decrease in Worries for Vegetarians

I'm not enamored with the title of this post... deciding it sounds more like a headline than some witty play on words. And while breaking news stories and the headlines which accompany them often carry cutting-edge information unbeknownst before publication, the information presented herein has come to me slowly... and contains things you probably could have learned on your own. Nevertheless, enjoy!

Just as the information contained in this post has come to me slowly, so has my engagement with vegetarian practices. In middle school, it seemed my mother cooked a meal with meat each night. In high school, when sometimes left to my own devices, I ended up eating turkey sandwiches on the daily and in college, I went full-fledged vegetarian before bouncing back to a routine where I presently eat mostly veggies and some meat (along with a shit ton of sugar). And this is because I've seen the way my dad eats and have simply fallen in line. I would never tell anyone to eat a certain way because everyone has developed a way of eating that is uniquely theirs. And, frankly, I've never understood the idea of cutting out entire food groups if you're not a card carrying member of the "severe allergy tribe." This being said... there are a few ways eating (mostly) vegetarian makes your life a bit simpler.

Aside from the health benefits of a reasonable, vegetarian diet (i.e. one not wholly reliant on carbs) there are a few advantages of vegetarianism when it comes to cleaning. During the school year, a hectic schedule means I eat very little meat: too impatient to heat it up when I can dunk broccoli in a bathtub of blue cheese dressing. But during the summer, when I have more time and a carnivorous fiance, I cook meat pretty much each day. Ergo, I've noticed I have to plan a bit more (which is nice) but also use a few more dishes compared to when it's just me, myself and the flexitarian I.

Let's, for a moment, switch to water usage. While I didn't want to wax poetic about how much environmental damage we can diminish when we don't eat cows who eat massive amounts of plants and shoot methane up in the air, eating more veggies makes quite an environmental impact in our daily lives. While my father's medical background led him towards a vegetarian diet, it also instilled in him a slight fear of germs. Ergo, we learned from an early age that anything which came in contact with raw meat was to be washed thor-ou-ghly. This meant plates, our hands, forks and cutlery. It's pretty much the one thing I learned from my dad in the kitchen. And when it comes to washing our hands and plates and then sterilizing the latter in the dishwasher, we're talking about a whole lot of water. So lets... breakitdownmeow...

 dance amy schumer dance moves golden globes 2016 break it down GIF
Break it down, meow.

Washing your hands

 Cheezburger water raccoons GIF 

Washing your hands is pretty essential after touching raw meat. While my experience with doing so often involves me unwrapping a pound of chicken breasts, people often handle them for longer periods when making cutlets or cutting the meat itself for kabobs, etc. And so if we wash our hands for a good 20 seconds like we should to kill ecoli and bacteria, it takes about four gallons of water to effectively do so.

Number of dishes used to cook meat

Cheezburger animals wtf monkey stream GIF

Along with washing our hands after they came in contact with meat, we were also told to do the same with dishes (like any normal household). This does create a few extra dishes when cooking meat, however. When my fiance and I grill chicken in the summer, there's the plate which holds the raw chicken (where you season it and then wash your hands) and the fork which brings the chicken from plate to the grill. There's also often the knife in which we use to check for "doneness". Then there are the plates and utensils we use to eat the meat itself. Needless to say... all this stuff is rinsed and then thrown in the dishwasher when it's done which adds up to a hefty amount of water down the drain(s).

Granted, salad often has to be prepared on a cutting board and placed in a bowl with tongs which eventually need washing. But me, being the somewhat crunchy kinda-vegetarian I am often just gives these items a soapy rinse before putting them in the drying rack. Additionally, veggies don't often require a knife for consumption. For a family of four, that's four less utensils per night or about 1,500 less utensils in a year which need cleaning.

Clean Up After

 snow white cleaning GIF 
This counts cause it has animals and Snow White.

If you're cooking either meat or veggies indoors, cleanup is generally the same. In this regard, cooking elements in the oven often amounts to throwing out some aluminum foil while stove-top cooking (which I like) often involves more soaking and scrubbing of the pan. But, over time, cooking meat, which releases oil, as opposed to veggies which release water may require one to clean their oven more often or scrub their pans more thoroughly. And, if you're like me, you just end up throwing those pans in the dishwasher (which takes about 15 gallons of water to run).

When it comes to our diets, small things add up. If you look over at the website, Meatless Monday, you'll learn that when Americans cut back on beef from 2005 to 2014, "the resulting reduction in pollution [was thought to] equal the emissions of 39 million cars, or about one-sixth of the number of cars registered in the United States," according to the New York Times. And while we need meat, a slight reduction can help our cleaning routines, the environment and, of course, our waistlines.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Change in Routine

"Change in Louise" is one of my favorite songs and, while it doesn't rhyme I always get the tune in my head when I hear the term, "change in routine." Many a well-healed girl might see constant changes in her (beauty) routines, perhaps having one for the weekend with its abundance of time and one for the week with its emphasis on work. I, however, have about two changes in routine... one shifting between the cycles of winter and summer or basically warm and cold weather and one which changes with the cycles of the moon (or month). And while these changes in routine might sound minimal, I'm hoping my bare-boned approach will shine a light on practices that even the grubbiest of girls can't do without. Enjoy!

Change in Louise

Hot/Cold: Many women change their routines within the course of hot and cold weather... as both the temperature and their activities change. And while I tend to add things to my simple routine of washing and moisturizing in the evening, the face wash and moisturizer I use rarely change. So while you'll see an array of products below, you can rest assured they're added to the use of my gentle cleanser (read: Mantle Pieces) and my mild moisturizer.

🌞: Like any good tomboy, my summer routine is pretty bare-boned, relaying mostly on the sun's rays to "cover-up" my cosmetic flaws. But one practice that does get amped up in the summer months is exfoliation... both on my locks and face. While most of us are outside more in the summer months... gardening, running, doing whatever, it stands to reason that we're exposed to more dirt and buildup on our skin. In this regard, exfoliating once or twice a week goes a long way in helping us to feel a little cleaner in the "sweaty season". And to do so best, I suggest Mario Badescu's Gylcolic Foaming Cleanser which can also double as and exfoliant.

❄️: While I don't consider myself a big user of beauty products my small collection  of them increases exponentially in winter as my skin gets quite dry. This means lotion on my hands, balm on my lips and oil under my moisturizer for and added (hydrating) boost. Some of my favorite products be...

🀚: I am still looking for a hand cream that will save me from cracked skin and dried cuticles. Try as I might, nothing has remedied my genetic predisposition for gross skin. So far, a good pair of gloves have proven my best defense against winter weather but, honestly, Keri Lotion is a close second.

πŸ‘„: While my hands began getting quite dry in middle school, my lips have only become a problem in recent years. And while lip exfoliators have hit market in recent years as well, they're a bit expensive for a mixture you can likely make with ingredients in your own kitchen. Ergo, I've included a video below (created in the heart of winter) which displays how to make your own lip exfoliant for chapped lips.

πŸ‘©πŸ»: My face is pretty oily, which makes it the least likely to be affected by cold weather. This being said, while I don't often change up my moisturizers between each season, I often add an extra step to my routine in winter to generally up my self care in harsher conditions (see Putzing). And for me, self care often means treating myself to something a little luxurious and beyond my budget. Enter Sunday Riley... a brand which is a little pricey but completely worth it. Since my birthday falls in November, I often ask for the brand's night oil so I can have it in my vanity before the winter season.

Month to Month

Like many women, my skin seems to take on different forms throughout the course of each month... ranging from oily to more oily. In this regard, while my body isn't feeling up to par anyway, I like to relax in a mask to take a bit more time out of my daily schedule for self care. For those times when my skin seems to be on a sebaceous bender, I use Origins Active Charcoal Mask To Clear Pores or, if I'm feeling a bit more fancy/less oily, I use May Lindstrom's The Honey Mud... or just honey.

So there you have it... a few things you probably know but stuff I figured I'd share nonetheless. Every skin needs something different, of course but, like most things, we are not so different. For example, I'm sure you all liked that video ;).