The Garage Sale That Wasn’t

So the plan for June was for me to have this mega garage sale. I was supposed to dedicate a weekend and clean out all the junk.  I am the first to admit it was an ambitious plan given all the stuff I have and I am not surprised that the garage sale didn’t end up happening.  I have been purging and purging and purging but there is still so much more stuff I need to go through.  It seems like there is just so much stuff.  And I keep finding random things as well.  I found toys, socks, roland drums available at Musicians Friend , baby blankets and so much more.  I just can’t believe just how much stuff we have accumulated over the years.  I have this tendency to save things in case I need them at a later date but I have to stop that.  It just causes me to have more garbage than anything else.  I also need to figure out better ways to store things.  I have things piled and stuffed into closets and I need to stop doing that.  I need to organize my closets otherwise in a couple of months I’ll be in the same position again.

Things I learned in April

Facemasks make me break out.

So I tried a couple of different kinds of face masks over the past month. They were all these random combinations of exotic ingredients meant to make my skin amazing.  I have to say that I don’t usually use things on my face.  I have good skin to start with.  I normally don’t get acne or any other kind of common skin issues.  So when it comes to my face, it’s just bar soap and water.  But I really wanted to try the face masks because they looked so cool.  (Yes, I feel for the marketing.)  So I bought them and tried them all out.  And what I learned was I should just leave well enough alone.

The first kind of mask I tried was clay. It was meant to get rid of impurities and make my face feel tighter and younger.  This one was OK.  It did what it said it would do but it didn’t have the all the pomp and circumstance of other masks.  It is was ingredients I could pronounce making my skin feel smooth, big whoop.

Then I tried a mud and algae mask. Again this one did exactly what it said it would do.  It cleansed, it tighten and it moisturized.  But like the clay mask, there really wasn’t any kind of pomp and circumstance to it.

The last mask I tried was the black charcoal mask. This was the dramatic one.  It was the one I had been waiting for.  You could feel it tightening.  After a while it was hard to talk and peeling it off resulted in all these little white things being pulled off your face.  It was satisfying actually seeing things being removed.  Since the other masks just washed off after you were done, you never really saw if they pulled gunk off of my face or not but this mask let you see the gunk it all its glory.  So I made it up in my mind, this mask was my favourite, simply because I could see what it was doing.

Until later in the week, that is. My face had started feeling funny.  It would burn when I applied lotion to it.  It was really sensitive.  And I started to notice blemishes on my skin.  I was getting blackheads and they were noticeable.  I was getting pimples.  Nothing major just little ones but I had never gotten pimples before.  It was weird. And it was all because of the face masks.  Using them deep cleaned my face, yes, but they also made my skin more susceptible to all the things I had been able to avoid for most of my life.  So now I need to figure out how to get my skin to being as resilient as it used to be.

Apple cider vinegar is not a cure all.

The next big thing for April was apple cider vinegar. A co-worker of mine swears it can help with anything going on in your life.  It’s what coconut oil was in 2016.  She swears it can help with hair loss/hair growth, weight loss and everything in-between.  So I started using it for Maks skin issues and as a hair rinse.

For Maks I made this wonderful little scrub and I have had him using it every couple of days. For my hair, I diluted the cider with some water and would use it to rinse my hair after shampooing but before conditioning once a week.

Maks used the scrub and I used the rinse for about a month and the verdict is, we are both smellier but his skin hasn’t changed and my hair is just about the same. I am sure apple cider vinegar works for some people and maybe we just aren’t giving it enough time to be effective but Maks skin condition is something we have been dealing with for a long time and it may take something stronger than apple cider vinegar to get it cleared up.  I am on the fence about whether or not I am going to keep using the apple cider vinegar in my hair.  I need some sort of reassurance the rinse is working for me to keep using it.  In my mind, if I haven’t seen any results four weeks in, it’s just not working.

*I got this cartoon from Adamtots over on Instagram. His watermark is on the cartoon if you want to check out his work.

**I didn’t try all these masks at the same time. Even though the post makes it sound that way.  I tried them over the course of the month.

Crazy cravings

I could always use a snack. I am not starving or anything but, I am always like “it would be nice if I could have a snack right now”.  There are very few occasions where I can say I am full and couldn’t eat another bite.  Those happen very rarely.

Right now, I have some crazy cravings going on for some weird stuff.

Smoked salmon – I really want some smoked salmon especially with avocado and eggs.  It’s crazy because I am not normally all about smoked salmon but lately I have been.

Ceviche – really good ceviche. I big bowl of it.  It would be awesome if I could have some ceviche now.  I would prefer a mix of seafood ceviche but I am willing to settle for shrimp ceviche.  Weird, right?

Dulce de leche – I just love the stuff. I am not particular about what the dulce de leche is on or in, I just want it to taste like dulce de leche.

My goal is to get some of the above in my belly.

Hello May!

May means I will be super busy.

It’s the start of warm weather.  (Or at least, it is supposed to be the start of warm weather.)

It’s a month of birthdays.  I have 6 birthdays to celebrate in May and there are only four weekends.  So It’s a lot of time management.

This is my confession

I raid my children’s Easter baskets after they go to bed but instead of eating all the candy, I bring it to work and add it to the communal candy bowl. I don’t think they need to eat all the chocolate and candy they got and I don’t know what else to do with it so it ends up in my office. My coworkers appreciate my thievery.

10 Things That Make Me Happy

Because sometimes I need reminding.

  1. Books, books and more books. There is nothing quite like book therapy.
  2. My electric blanket. Love it!
  3. Delicious food. My cravings change daily but I am happy as long as I am eating something yummy.
  4. Beaches, the sea, saltwater. The manatee in me is most at home in the water.
  5. Peonies. Because they are pretty and smell nice.
  6. Sunshine and warm weather. Pretty self-explanatory, no?
  7. A good playlist. Music makes everything better.
  8. Being outdoors. Warm weather helps with this.
  9. Sleeping in. I don’t get to do this very often but when I do, it is just fantastic.
  10. Macros that run like they should.

Apple Cider Vinegar – Just Like Windex

I loved the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”. Way back when, I thought it was hilariously funny. And now I swear I am working with one of the characters from the movie; the dad, only my coworker is female and younger. In the movie, the dad had this fixation on Windex. Whenever anything went wrong, he was certain Windex could fix it. And my coworker is the same way. Only her fixation is not Windex, it is on apple cider vinegar. I swear any time I mention an ailment or inconvenience, her solution is apple cider vinegar.

My conversations with her go something like this:

I have a headache – use apple cider vinegar

I have a clogged shower head – use apple cider vinegar

I haven’t been sleeping well – use apple cider vinegar

I have baked on grease on my cookie sheets – use apple cider vinegar

I have killer crampsuse apple cider vinegar

I have thinning hair – use apple cider vinegar

I forgot to put on deodorant – use apple cider vinegar

I need to lose some weight – use apple cider vinegar

When it comes to her, every problem has one simple solution; apple cider vinegar. No matter what the topic of discussion is, I know what the response will be and even though it is funny, I never really took her seriously. I am sure apple cider vinegar is good for some things, I don’t believe it is the cure all she claims it to be.

Until now.

I went to get some of the lotions the dermatologist recommended for Maks’ Keratosis Pilaris and ended up speaking with the pharmacist about some natural options to treating Maks’ skin. She even suggested apple cider vinegar scrub in lieu of the lotion I went in to get. According to her, she has seen better results in children when an apple cider vinegar scrub is used instead of the Salic acid solution.

So I am jumping on the apple cider vinegar bandwagon. (My coworker would be proud) I have put together a brown sugar apple cider vinegar scrub for Maks to try out. The hardest part of the scrub was finding the organic apple cider vinegar with “mother”*. I use apple cider vinegar when I make pasta salad but apparently, I couldn’t use the same kind of vinegar for the scrub because it is not organic. Organic apple cider vinegar with mother wasn’t something I could find at my local Walmart. After some searching, I ended up finding the vinegar at a local bulk food / health food store.

Then came scrub assembly. It is a super easy recipe; equal parts brown sugar, apple cider vinegar and coconut oil. Voila! You have a scrub to combat Keratosis Pilaris. I was super excited to try it out and so was Maks until he got into the same room as the concoction and smelt it. The scrub smells horrible. According to Millhouse the vinegar smells like fart, Maks says it smells like feet and Mats says it smells like farty feet. It really is an awful smell and Maks was put off when I told him it would have to be rubbed onto his skin. He was a trooper about it. He plugged his nose and used it last night. So far, nothing has changed with his skin and I really didn’t expect it to after the first application. We are going to try it out every other day for the next couple of weeks and see what happens. If there is no change then I will head back to the pharmacy and just pick up the topical ointment I went there to get in the first place.

*mother is the important part of the vinegar. It is a specific molecule chain that makes the vinegar cloudy and effective.

Hello April!

So far, no snow!  Hooray!

I am in full spring cleaning mode.  I am slowly decluttering the house.  My pack rat ways are finally starting to catch up with me and that needs to be change.  So I actually throwing away stuff this time around.  I mean I kept a audio technica turntable at Guitar Center .  Who does that?!  I do, I guess.

But not anymore.  I am going to become a minimalist.  Or at least try to be.

More Snow!!

There is more snow in the forecast! I really thought we were done with all this snow stuff. I had plans for spring cleaning. I need to go through the garage. I wanted to put the odds and ends together for a garage sale. I mean between the pillar candles, Musicians Friend’s remo drums , paintings, and linens; I think I could put together a pretty impressive garage sale.

But I can’t do that if it’s snowing!

Sugar Makes Me Nauseous

A couple months ago, I completely cut sugar out of my diet. And I am not just talking about refined sugar here, I am talking about everything. No sweet things of any kind, no bread, no ketchup or prepared sauces of any kind, no pop, and no juice; nothing with sugar in it at all and there are a lot of things in which some sort of sugar is added. Case in point; did you know most Asian dishes, including Thai curries and sushi, have sugar added? Well, they do. And because of the hidden sugars in things, most prepared and fast foods were cut out too. Just about everything I loved was cut out, pretty much cold turkey. The first month was hard. I am not going to play it off like cutting out sugar was super easy to do, it wasn’t. It was hard. I got physically sick. I had aches right down into my bones, it was some of the worst withdrawal symptoms* I have ever gone through. I also had to start reading labels. Reading labels isn’t fun. People in the grocery store look at you like you are crazy. You take up space in the aisles, comparing products trying to find the ones that best adhere to your nutritional needs. And spoiler alert; a lot of products don’t conform to your nutritional needs.

But I made it through and things started to look up. In general, I started to feel better, my skin got clearer, and I started to lose weight. I got better at figuring out what I could and could not eat and reading labels got easier. All in all, good things started happening and I maintained my no sugar routine for almost three months. There were times when I would fall off and have something with like sticky toffee pudding or a macchiato from Starbucks but for the most part, I kept on track.

Then Trinidad happened and I completely feel off the wagon. I ate everything and anything I could get my hands on. My level of outright gluttony was not pretty. I didn’t gain a lot of weight but I threw my body for a loop and it has taken me a whole lot of time to recover. When I got back, I didn’t go back to eating sugar free right away. I wanted to take some time off, just be a lazy butt for a bit, and just eat what I wanted.

Such a bad idea!! Bad, bad, bad idea!

My body wasn’t having it and it started to make its displeasure known, quite vocally. I can’t eat sugar now, even if I wanted to. When I do, I get physically ill. My stomach starts to hurt to the point where I cannot stand up. I get insane bouts of nausea. It is so bad, I was laid up in bed for almost an entire weekend because I ate a whole bag of BBQ potato chips**. It was horrible. So I am back to no sugar at all. The only sucky part is I ended up going through all the withdrawal symptoms again. They weren’t so bad this time around but they were far from pleasant.

I did learn my lesson though. Sugar is bad and if I forget, my body will remind me.

*I haven’t really gone through withdrawal symptoms, not major ones anyway. There were times when I gave up caffeine and nearly exploded. I am comparing those times to this time.

**yes, I realize a whole bag of BBQ potato chips is excessive but remember I was being a glutton.