Saturday, September 26, 2009

Dealing with Adult-Onset....ACNE????

In my teens and early twenties, I was one of the fortunate ones. I really never had to deal with very many breakouts at all, which led me to take my clear skin for granted. I took care of it, mind you....I was faithful, although not zealous, to clean my face morning and night, and then later, to make sure that I moisturized appropriately. In my mid-twenties, a friend and I went to a hair show and were picked out of the audience to be makeup application models. One of the tidbits that I remember most from that session was that anytime one sleeps in makeup, the face ages thirteen days just in that one night's sleep. That was enough to encourage me, even in the most sleepy moments, to make sure my face was clean before bed.
In the past couple of years, however, I started to notice that my skin was beginning to look dull and started to be congested, for lack of a better word. Earlier this year, it even began to break was like going through a very belated puberty! I even researched Proactive, but some of the reviews seemed to indicate that it can be very harsh and drying, and my skin is already very dry to begin with. Eventually I read that the primary ingredient in any good skin-clearing wash is salicylic acid. I went to good ol' WalMart and scanned the shelves for a product containing salicylic acid, eventually settling on one of the brands that primarily targets teenagers. Within three days, I noticed a huge difference; as a bonus, my pores even seemed smaller.
Then I ran out. And kept forgetting to buy more. Once again, I started getting huge breakouts...they were painful, deep and lasted for weeks. Literally.
Once again, I went back to WalMart. This time, I purchased a creamy acne wash, and I have noticed that it is considerably less drying that the one intended for teenagers.
I'm keeping it on the list.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Feelin' Saucy, Part 2

Super-simple Honey Mustard:
2 parts mayonnaise
1 part mustard
1 part honey

I was really surprised by how simple it is to make honey mustard sauce...I really, really like it, and the other day my husband asked me to make chicken fried chicken (which I had never made before), and honey mustard sounded so good with it, so I looked up a recipe for it and simplified it according to the portion size that I needed. The recipe called for dijon mustard, but I thought I didn't have any, so I made it with plain yellow mustard. I thought it tasted exactly like Chili's sauce. I was pleased with myself, lol!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

It Was My Birthday

When I was very young, my mother started a tradition in our family that my siblings and I have continued as we have gotten older and started our own families: for our birthdays, we have the privilege of choosing whatever we want to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In this way, we really celebrate the birthday girl's/guy's life and favorite things. It's a lot of fun!
So this year, I really wanted Cracker Barrel Pecan Pancakes, but knew that time and money would not really permit a breakfast "out." So I decided to look for the recipe online, and sure enough, there it was! My husband was sweet enough to make them for me and they were absolutely DELISH.
That kind of got me to thinking about how easy it is to find "copycats" of some of our favorite restaurant treats. One that we have used over and over again is a hot wing recipe from a particular restaurant that exploits and demeans women (I'll let you figure out which one that is exactly). It is SO worth it to learn how to make some of these things at home; in addition to significantly reducing the cost of a treat, we know precisely which ingredients are going into what we are about to eat, so we can closely monitor the quality of the food.
The next time you find yourself hankering for a particular menu item, look it up and see if you can't make it just as well (if not better!) at home. You might just surprise yourself.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Making Makeup Multi-task

I never, never thought I would become one of "those moms" that doesn't take time for simple things....fixing hair, putting on makeup, SHOWERING....and I'm still determined to put out the effort, but time is a premium commodity these days! And as I'm getting older (What?! How did THAT happen?), I have found that my skin is really, truly, and rapidly changing. I never used to need liquid foundation, and I absolutely hated how it left a kind of film on my skin, but my powder foundation just wasn't giving me good coverage anymore. Enter tinted moisturizer.....
Tinted moisturizers have been available in high-end cosmetics for quite a while, but for some reason the discount brands have been slow to catch on. Earlier this year, I ordered a tinted moisturizer from Stila (they were offering a ridiculous discount at the time), but it unfortunately was too light, so I'm saving it for winter when what little summer color I have is gone. I started looking around for a (far) less expensive option, and found that Neutrogena has just begun to offer a tinted moisturizer, and as it turns out, I really, really like it!
The good thing about it is that 1) it is (obviously) a moisturizer, and my skin is like Death Valley, 2) it offers sheer (read -- not mask-y) coverage, 3) it has an SPF of 20....very necessary these days, as skin cancer has become a young woman's disease, and 4) it contains retinols, which aid in anti-aging. So if I just need to run to the grocery store, I can smooth a little on, throw on some mascara, and I don't look like a hag who spent a sleepless night holding a baby! Bonus!

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Poor Man's Salt Scrub

One of my magazines this month featured an article on models' beauty secrets...some of them are (naturally) pricey, but this one caught my eye:
One model says she makes a paste from kosher salt and honey and uses it as an exfoliater. I thought I could try it since I have the makings in my cabinet. It really does work nicely, and I thought it was a novel idea until I remembered that a few years ago salt scrubs were all the rage and every skin care line put one out. I don't remember seeing any recently....I guess like all fads it faded out. Still, it's a good idea, and I feel like it's left my skin very glowy. One tip: it helps to wet your hands with water before scrubbing, otherwise it feels like the skin is peeling off of your face. But maybe that's the price of beauty; my skin felt very soft afterwards, and my bank account remained mercifully undented.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Three Anchors

Recently, after a particularly emotionally exhausting and trying time, a sweet friend made a valuable suggestion to me.
As women and as mothers (for those of us who are mothers), we have such constant demands on us and on our time; if we work outside the home, the stress of "what needs to be done at home" is nagging in the back of our minds, and if we are busting our backsides working in the home, it's easy to wish we could just walk away for a while and talk to an adult about something other than "house stuff." But SOMEone always needs SOMEthing, so we feel like we can't really get anything done! And then we wonder if we matter (maybe that's self-pity.....?).
So my friend suggested that I put "three anchors" into my day. This means that every morning, every afternoon, and every night, I do something that helps me calm myself down and bring what I need to do into sharper focus. Different people might have different anchors, but this is what I TRY to do: 1) in the morning, I work out for 30 minutes or might take longer on strength-training days...this helps me think more clearly, I believe....2) in the afternoon, when the kids are napping/resting, I take some time to read or just chill....usually this is when I do my quiet time....3) in the evening....well, let's just say it's a work in progress....I've never actually managed to do anything in the evening yet. My girlfriend takes a bubble bath. That sounds good in theory!
Maybe tonight will be different, though.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Feelin' Saucy, Part 1

So I've decided lately that sauces up the ante when it comes to cooking. They can transform something ordinary into something that has the appearance of being gourmet. Very Julia Child, no? Or maybe we're channelling Paula Deen? So......let's make something with butter....

Awesome Honey Pecan Sauce:
Equal parts honey and butter
Chopped pecans

Melt the butter over low heat; when it's melted, stir in the honey, then sprinkle in as many pecans as you think you'd like. It's just that easy.

This sauce was originally intended to be served over fried pork chops, but I like it just well over grilled pork chops. It's also good to dip bread it's probably good over pancakes, waffles, anyone else feeling hungry? :)