Sunday, February 15, 2015

a day of love

What did you do for Valentine's Day yesterday?  We had a pretty low key, typical Saturday...Mike worked.  I went to the gym & grocery shopped.  Mike and I don't really do presents anymore except for each other's birthday but when he came home at lunch, he tossed me an envelope and inside the envelope was a silicon wedding ring.  How romantic, huh?  :)

Back story - Mike bought a silicon wedding ring for himself a few months ago to wear to work.  He has a tungsten wedding band, which is incredibly durable but also heavy and probably a little dangerous to wear as a law enforcement officer so he got the silicon ring so it could be cut off easily, if necessary.  It's all the rage amongst his law enforcement friends.  I've been talking about getting myself one so I could wear it during activities like hiking, biking, rafting, & camping because I do not wear my wedding ring when I do stuff like that.  Hence the reason he got me the silicon ring.  It looks like this one except it's pink.  The heart is so cute.

While Mike was at work I made some chocolate covered strawberries.  I had never done it before and thought it would be super complicated but it was actually the easiest thing ever and they turned out great.  I just melted chocolate chips with a little grape seed oil(per other recipes, this is what makes them shiny) in the microwave in 20 second intervals until they were melted, washed & dried the strawberries, then dipped the strawberries in the chocolate, then put them in the fridge to harden.  They were very tasty!

I made shrimp enchiladas for dinner and we watched Hall Pass.  Have you seen that movie?  It cracks me up - there are definitely some laugh out loud moments.

Aside from the silicon wedding ring and the chocolate covered strawberries, it was a normal Saturday for us.

What did you do?  Was your day filled with love? ;)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

it's time for me to take a Facebook break

I just deactivated my Facebook account!  This obviously doesn't need an announcement to the world and most people won't even notice but as I got to thinking about the reasons I'm taking a break from Facebook, it seemed like it could be an 'interesting' blog post and maybe some of you can relate.

Why I like Facebook:
- Since I live far away from my family and close friends, it's a great way to connect me with those people instead of making a million phones calls each month. (but let's be honest, I would never make those phone calls each month...I can barely manage calling my Mom and Dad each month)
- For the most part, I really love seeing peoples updates, their travels, their kids, their life changes, etc.
- I follow a bunch of fitness groups and fitness people so I do enjoy seeing those updates and that fitness information.

Why I'm taking a Facebook(known as 'fb' from here out) break:
(for the record, I know I'm guilty of some of this also!)
- At this point, I've restricted my fb posts/pictures so much that probably about 90% of my "friends" cannot see anything I post.
- I've adjusted my "News Feed" so much that I don't see many of the updates from the "friends."  My feed is mostly close friends or fitness related.
- I hate all the political posts on fb.  I realize fb is a tool for political and social movement but frankly I go to fb for the fun and motivational stuff.  I'm not interested in hearing why you do or don't support gun control, etc. And honestly, it can sometimes make me change my opinion about you. (not that you care about my opinion but nonetheless.)
- On a similar note, I'm so sick of the judgmental and passive aggressive comments.  I'm not a parent but it must be maddening for parents because there are so many judgmental comments made about parenting styles.  Good grief, can't we lift each other up and support all ways of parenting instead of telling someone they are doing it wrong?  Fitness posts also get a lot of rude comments.  It's amazing how people hide behind their social media accounts.  Whatever happened to "if you don't have something nice to say, don't say it at all?"  Man, people can be darn right vicious on social media.
- I love seeing pictures of your vacation or your family pictures but if you post 150 pictures on your vacation, you have lost me.  Sorry - I'm not going to look through that many pictures.  I don't even spend that much time going through my own pictures.
- Unless we are truly "friends," I'm probably not going to accept your friend request.  I receive a lot of requests from co-workers and I generally do not accept them or I put you on my Restricted list so you cannot see anything I post.  Sorry but it's true!  Find me on LinkedIn if you want to connect.  
- We are in a world of over-sharing and I go through those phases occasionally too(I mean, I have a public blog for goodness sake) but I do get annoyed when people WAY over share.  Some things are just meant to be kept to yourself. (trust me, I've done this too!)
- I hate that I feel an obligation to check fb every day, multiple times per day.  
- Most of my fitness stuff can be found in blogs or on instagram(instagram is a lot easier to control what you see) so I really don't need fb for the fitness stuff.  (Yes, I plan to keep insta for now)
- I don't enjoy seeing "news" from family and friends via fb.  If it's important enough, then I can call, email, or text to let people know and vice versa.
- It irks me when I miss a post from a friend and that friend makes a comment like, "didn't you see that on fb?"  Ugh!  Are you relying on fb to share information with me?
- Hurt feelings have occurred by things that have been posted on fb.  I never want to hurt someone's feelings by something I do or don't post of fb.

Ultimately, fb is just not fun for me anymore so I think it's time to take a break.  I may come back to fb but I'm going to give it a break for now.  I never thought I could get rid of our DVR and we did that over a year ago(and shocker...I haven't really missed it) so I feel like I can manage living without fb. :)

Can you relate?  Are you pro-fb or anti-fb?  Or somewhere in between?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

beautiful new garden beds

Spring is just around the corner... :)
Mike was exploring various plans for new raised garden beds for our garden area back in October.  On Saturday in October, I woke up, he said he took the day off, he had found some garden bed plans online, and we were going to go to the gym and then Home Depot for supplies.  Ummm...ok, sounds good to me.  So off we went!  For the record, I love when Mike takes a day off on Saturday or Sunday!

As I picked up dog poo in the back yard(which is gross & takes forever) and cleaned out the plants from our garden this year, he was in the driveway making my garden beds.  I couldn't believe how fast they came together.  I did have to make two additional trips to Lowe's(Lowe's is closer than Home Depot) because Mike needed a few items, which you can probably imagine I was thrilled about.

Story time - I sort of hate going to Lowe's or Home Depot by causes me some anxiety because the stores are very overwhelming.  Luckily, Mike found the items he needed online so I could just go into the store, show the picture to someone, and they took me right to the location.  Also - in my experience, Home Depot has much better customer service than Lowe's.  Mike and I were in Home Depot for 5 minutes and we were asked by 5 different people if we needed help.  Also, there was an employee in practically every other aisle so it was easy to find assistance.  I had to hunt someone down in Lowe's and then he acted as though he was inconvenienced by me asking him to show me where two items were.  Nothing irritates me more than people in customer service who act annoyed by!  Quit being annoyed by your customers!

Here are the pictures of the garden beds - aren't they spectacular?  I wish we had a bigger yard so I could have more garden beds.  Next project will be to make a compost bin of some sort...hopefully!


One done!

All done!  They are filled with dirt now in case you were wondering.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

lovely holidays

How were your holidays?

Ours were lovely and spent with my side of the family in NE.  We were able to see all my immediate family, a good portion of my extended family on my Dad's side, & some of our best friends.  We had a lot of fun, lots of laughs, enjoyed delicious food, & endured ridiculously cold temperatures.  ;)  It's always hard to say goodbye but it's very nice to be home again...although the temps have been cold in NM too.  I like our "rotation" for the holidays (Mike's family one year, my family the next year, then stay in Santa Fe the next year, repeat).  I hear so many stressful stories from friends about having a billion different Christmas celebrations to go to each's so nice not to have to split our time between both of our families every year.

Although enjoyable, it's always slightly stressful and a little exhausting being in Nebraska.  I try so hard to fit as much in and see as many people as I can but that can wear on me and my health.  I ended up getting a cold a few days before we left but I'm hoping it's on the mend.  Something about sleeping in your own bed makes you start feeling better immediately! :)

My company gave us Jan. 1st and 2nd off so I'm in the middle of enjoying a nice long weekend!  I was in Nebraska for about 2 1/2 weeks so it's nice to finding a normal routine again.  I menu planned yesterday for the week and plan to do some more unpacking today.  I've been binge watching some Downton Abbey today too..a pretty mello day I guess.

Hope your holidays were full of love and fun!  Happy 2015!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

my skin care journey (part 3)

If you want to read part 1 and part 2 of my skin care journey, click here and here.

I shared my history and my current skin care routine so now I'd like to share my experiencing going to the skin care clinic and my first impressions of Retin A.

Although I had just started using some new skin care(2 days before my appointment), my ultimate goal was to get recommendations on skin care products and discuss the possibility of Retin A.  I have a few co-workers that use Retin A and swear by it.  When I arrived, I started filling out my paperwork and I had to sign a bunch of different papers about the effects of filler injections.  I only tell you this because I thought it was kind of funny because I don't have any intention of using fillers.  :)

They call me back, we chat about my concerns, and discuss what products I've been using.  She then used a skin scanner(similar to this) to analyze my skin.  We reviewed and discussed my pictures, then discussed recommendations.  Wow - these pictures are eye opening.  It analyzes and grades your skin against others in your age group.  She recommended I try a small dosage of Retin A and she also recommended the Clear & Brilliant laser treatment.

I purchased the Retin A and then wanted to do a little research on the laser treatment first.  Not to mention, the laser treatment is not "cheap"(by my standards anyway) so I definitely was not going to make a decision to schedule an appointment right then.

My first impressions of Retin A:
Oddly enough, my skin was actually pretty clear when I went to the skin care clinic.  I didn't have any blemishes.  I read about different experiences with Retin A and started it the next evening.  Everyone is different so you have to follow your doctors recommendations but I started with a .025% formula and it is put on in the evening.  I wash my face & tone it, wait 20-30 minutes then apply Retin A(avoiding areas close to the eyes, corners of nose and mouth), then wait another 15 minutes and apply moisturizer.  In the morning, I wash my face, tone it, then apply my moisturizer with SPF...SPF is crucial when using Retin A(products I currently use can be found here).  I'm grateful I work from home because I don't have to apply makeup everyday.  In the first week, my face was peeling and itchy feeling.  I didn't have a breakout(which I had read happens to people sometimes in the first few days...your skin gets worse before it gets better) so I am grateful for that.  I did realize early on the importance of moisturizing.  By the end of week 2, my skin pretty much normalized except for a few flaky spots.  I find I have to dab a little moisturizer on after applying foundation to lessen the flakiness.  I probably would have increased my usage to every night except I had to stop the Retin A to prepare for the laser treatment.

So what about that Clear & Brilliant laser treatment?
I ended up deciding to go for it.  I went to the web(where all reliable info is kept :)), learned about the procedure, read a few testimonials(preferably unbiased testimonials), and I decided to try it.  Pain associated with the treatment was a concern for me because I basically have no tolerance for pain.  Supposedly there is little pain but I'll let you know if I agreed in the next post.  The thing that probably tipped me over the edge was that my skin care clinic was having a sale on single laser treatments in November.  If you decided you wanted to buy a package, you could apply what you paid for the single treatment toward the total cost of the package.

In part 4, I'll describe my Clear & Brilliant laser treatment experience and any new impressions of Retin A.

Lesson of skin care journey part 3:  No major lesson this time other than don't forget to wear SPF and drink lots of water to hydrate your skin.  :)

Just checking in: Are you protecting your skin from the sun?  Do you sense a theme here?

Monday, December 1, 2014

weekend shopping

I went a little crazy with some shopping this weekend.  Am I the only one?

Mike has been out of town for week but he splurged with online shopping too so I wasn't the only one.  
Here's what I bought online and my justification, because it always feels better when you have justification ~> :)

  • 4 swimsuits - Mike and I are going on a 14 day warm weather cruise in the near future and I have been eyeing a few suits on at Victoria's Secret.  Ok - 4 swimsuits is probably unnecessary but I wanted choices so I could return as necessary. (bonus: free shipping & a free tote bag w/ my purchase)
  • iPod nano - Mike and I got new phones recently and it's too big to wear on my arm when working out now so I decided to purchase an iPod nano.  #firstworldproblems :) (bonus: $25 iTunes gift card with purchase)
  • 3 Firedaughter Clothing shirts - Ok, so I have no justification other than I love  LOVE Firedaughter Clothing and it was on sale.  The sales sucked me in this year.  Since I live in comfy clothes or workout clothes, her tops add a little extra "style."
  • A gift - can't tell you what it is but it was for someone special. (bonus: it was $15 off)
  • A gift - can't tell you, but again, it's for someone special. (bonus: it was $20 off & free shipping)
Ok - that doesn't seem to bad, right?  Well...then I ventured away from the computer and visited TJ Maxx, Target, & Kohl's yesterday.  I did it more out of boredom because Mike is out of town and I was sick of crocheting but I found things I couldn't live without. (obviously untrue but I like to dramatize stories)

  • TJ Maxx - bought two shirts...well, just because.  I love the sale sections of TJ Maxx.  A few weeks ago, I bought a summer dress in clearance for $5.  It will also be going on the cruise with me.  I swear that NOW is the time to buy summer stuff.
  • Target - I spent a lot of time at Target and I ended up with the movie White Christmas.  I need to invest in some more Christmas movies...let's see Grinch(the Jim Carey version), Elf, The Holiday, The Christmas Story, The Santa Clause, & the cartoon classics(Rudolph, Frosty, & Grinch Stole Christmas) are all on my list.
  • Kohl's - This is another place that usually has some good clearance and sales takes time to dig through everything but I can usually find some good deals.  This time I found another summer dress for $6.80(regular price was $68<~that's 90% off folks).  They also had 40% off of toys so I got a few toys for some little kids I want to buy for.
Gotta love the hubs - after describing everything I purchased and the "deals" I got, he said "That's cool!"  Thank you for your support lover.

Am I the only one that succumbed to the deals and steals of the shopping weekend?  What'd you get?  Are you an online shopper or an in person shopper?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

my skin care journey (part 2)

If you missed part 1, you can read it here.

As you know from the last post, I found this blogger write about skin care she was using so I wanted to give some of it a try.  Although, I'm not doing everything she does, I did purchase a few of the products.
* Pacifica Sea Foam Complete Facewash ~ I really love this cleanser.  It's gentle, foams up nicely, feels good on my skin, & smells lovely.
* Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel ~ I apply this after I cleanse and it also feels good and seems really gentle.
* Grape Seed Oil ~ I was very hesitant to use an oil as a moisturizer but I have been using this occasionally in the evening.  I use the Derma E product(discussed below) on other nights.
* Boots No7 Beautiful Skin Day Cream for Normal/Oily Skin ~ I love this and have been using it every morning.  It feel really moisturizing and has sun protection in it.  When my sample size of Derma E runs out, I may try the nighttime formula of this Boots No7 product.

A few things I'm doing different than the other blogger:
* I don't wear makeup every day so I haven't been using coconut oil for makeup removal.  I did receive a product called Cailyn Dizzolv'It Makeup Melt Cleansing Balm in a recent Birchbox.  It has the consistency of coconut oil and I rub it all over my face when I need to remove makeup and then use the Pacifica Facewash.
* I have a few eye creams but I've been using the Anew Rejuvenate 24 Hour Eye Moisturizer by Avon.  It has a night formula and a day formula with SPF.
* For the nights I use Retin A, I have been apply the Derma E Hydrating Night Creme.  I also received this in a Birchbox and it's just really luxurious, moisturizing, & smells lovely.
* I don't use the oatmeal she suggested so I wash my face morning and night with the Pacifica Facewash.
* I also still occasionally use my face wipes if it's a late night or I can't muster up the energy to do my face routine.  It's quick and easy and I say, although they aren't perfect, it's better than sleeping on a dirty face.  I use the Simple Cleansing Face Wipes brand.

I have made a huge point of doing my face routine in the evening and morning these days.  I've only missed one 'washing' in the past 2 weeks.  I don't shower every morning since I work from home(ok, sometimes I don't even shower every day - don't judge!) but I have been doing my face/neck cleansing routine every morning and night.  Honestly, it really doesn't take that long and I think I'm already seeing the benefits.

About 2 days after I started using these products, I went to a local skin care clinic for my skin care analysis where I came away with Retin A and a few other recommendations.  I'll talk about my visit and my experience with Retin A so far in my next post.

Lesson of skin care journey part 2:  Try different products until you find the products that work for you.  I've been using the above for only 2 weeks and I really like them and how they make my skin feel.  Ask me in another month and I may have a different opinion. :) Everyone's skin is different.

Just checking in: Are you protecting your skin from the sun?  I hope so!  I'm even trying to get my husband to apply an SPF moisturizer every morning.