Thursday, June 9, 2011

Skin Care Things

I think I did a post a while back about cleaning my face with castor and olive oils. It's supposed to clear up your skin and make it look healthy and moisturized. I tried it for a little while (two different times) and gave up. It did reducetheredness in my face and make my skin glowy, but it didn't clear my skin and it's kind of a pain to do (washcloths and oil droplets everywhere). I never had skin problems until I went off the pill (which I'd been taking since 8th grade, gloriously skipping over teenage acne years). And now that I'm pregnant, there are only certain things I can use on my face. Pretty much all the stuff that actually works isn't safe to use. And....I've been pretty determined to find a natural way of making it better. For one thing, I quit using BareMinerals makeup after a friend told me she knew of several people who'd said it made their skin freak out (something I may not have noticed while still on the pill). I also started using pure tea tree oil, a natural antimicrobial, on my blemishes. The tea tree oil worked great, but it smells weird and some people say it's not safe during pregnancy, so I quit using it. I will be using it again for sure, once baby is here. Those two things cleared up my skin quite a bit, but without the tea tree oil, I still have trouble keeping the zits away. Another friend told me recently that the SPF ingredient in makeups and moisturizers can cause breakouts. So, I've changed both my makeup and moisturizer to see what happens. Meanwhile, I've been on the lookout for just the right face wash....something gentle and effective that's safe during pregnancy. Harder to find that you might think. Here's what I've been using that I've been really happy with so far:

Pure Olive Oil soap! I found it at Publix and was very excited. It's made in Greece and smells wonderful. All the effects of the oil cleansing without the yucky mess!

Fancy moisturizer. Smells fantastic (if you like Lavender) and feels SO soothing on my skin. No SPF or other weird stuff, and I put it all over my face, neck and chest, it feels so good. It's kind of expensive, though ($12.95 at Publix).

Makeup stuff. This stuff is called Halo Yellow Color Correcting Powder (made by Smashbox) and is $40 at Sephora. It's lightweight and magically reduces all the redness in my face. I just wear it over the fancy moisturizer, unless I'm going somewhere nice and need more makeup. It really is magical. And it's so lightweight, I can look presentable without having to wear icky liquid makeup (which I really hate). Just moisturizer, concealer under my zombie eyes, mascara, and magic yellow powder. Ready to go. This is my new favorite thing.

So, that's it...the new skin care regimen. Simple, natural (mostly), and effective. Fingers crossed that it keeps working.

In other news, we're having a baby girl! I'm super excited and have already started decorating her room. Before and after baby room photos will be posted in the coming weeks. Hooray! Here she is. Her name is Lucy. She says hi. =)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Spring Garden-Round 2

So, I haven't given up on trying to grow my own veggies. I'm trying it again this year. Everything's organic, like last time. I'm determined to get at least some veggie production this time around. Last year, I made lots of mistakes like:
planting too soon
not planting in full sun
falling and being stuck on crutches most of the season

So, this time, I started my seeds indoors, under controlled (mostly) conditions. I bought a seed heating mat and a thermometer to control the temperature of the soil. I used special sterile potting soil, sure to be free of any bugs or disease. I put them in front of a south-facing window, which is supposed to be the best. I keep the soil moist but not wet. I rotate the seedlings often so that they don't stretch toward the light and get wimpy stems. If I don't get veggies after all this, I will be thoroughly frustrated. Here's my garage set-up:

So far, so good. I have about a 95% germination rate! Hooray! The onions are the only thing that didn't germinate, which didn't surprise me, b/c I was really pushing the limit on their season anyway. The other seedlings are tomatoes (three varieties), red and orange bell peppers, and eggplant.

Within a week or so I'll direct seed some other foods outside. Plants with larger seeds do better if you just plant them outdoors, so I'll put beans, cucumber, squash and maybe some others out soon. I'm also going to do some herbs on our deck. Our deck gets full sun all day long, so I'm also going to plant a few of my tomato seedlings out there....just in case. Soon, my seedlings from the garage will be ready to get acclimated to the wild outdoors and I'll have to slowly introduce them to being outside. Seems strange having to do that for a plant that's meant to be outside, but they haven't experienced wind, rain or temperature fluctuation at all, so they're kind of fragile. If I just plop them out there, they won't make it. So....that's the garden update for this year! Cross your fingers that we get some food! If you live close, maybe you can come share in our harvest. I'm excited.

Also, if you've read this whole post, you either are interested in growing your own food, or you're a friend. So, I've saved our other update for last. We're having a baby!!! Due this fall. It's kind of fun that the life of my seedlings coincides with the life of our new little addition. Is that nerdy? Anywho, we're excited. Hooray for gardens and babies!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The One

This is quite possibly the best photo I have ever taken:

It references this photo of French writer and philosopher Albert Camus:

I've been reminded recently of photographer Henri Cartier Bresson's famous quote, "Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst." I've definitely taken that many photos since I got my first film camera in 2004, and I think I'm just now starting to get good at it. I'm just now finding that happy place between what I love and what I'm good at. I've known that I love photography and that I'm okay at it for a long time now. But only in the past year or so have I really started to explore the particular type of photography that I love and can do well (thanks in large part to having Josh and Lou in our house for the better part of that year). Hopefully, I'll keep getting better at it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Delicious Soup

Doug and I tried a new recipe the other night for Creamless Creamy Tomato Soup. Tomato soup is not my favorite thing, probably because my choices have always been the stuff in a can (ew) or the rich creamy stuff (bad news for my lactose-intolerant tummy). But Doug loves tomato soup and even eats the canned kind without adding any water. So, I decided to give this recipe a shot. It was SOO delicious! The recipe is from America's Test Kitchen, but I altered it slightly. Here's what we did:

1/2 red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
pinch red pepper flakes
1 280z can whole tomatoes
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 slices high-quality sandwich bread, torn into 1-inch pieces (we used french bread from the bakery)
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon brandy (we substituted bourbon)
black pepper
olive oil
1/8 cup chopped fresh chives

Heat olive oil over medium high heat in large pot or dutch oven. Add the onion and pepper flakes. Cook until onion is translucent, stirring frequently. Stir in the tomatoes and their juice. Mash with a potato masher until no pieces larger than 2 inches remain. Stir in the sugar and bread; bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium
and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bread is completely saturated and starts to break down, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the soup to a blender (you may have to this in batches if you're blender is small). Add a touch more olive oil and process until the soup is smooth and creamy, 2 to3 minutes. Rinse out your pot/dutch oven and return the soup to the pot. Stir in the chicken broth and bourbon. Return soup to a boil and season with pepper to taste. Sprinkle chives on top and serve.

We enjoyed ours with cheese toast/grilled cheese made with cheddar on french bread. Perfect for a winter day.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Pictures!

When friends come to visit, they get their picture made. It's mandatory. =)