Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Life in a Red State

I won't get too political with this because frankly, politics has a tendency to either bore me to tears or make me unbelievably mad. I consider myself in the "middle of the road." My friends are typically extremely liberal (I did get a degree in a liberal art, after all) while my family tends to be extremely conservative (I live in Alabama, was raised in Mississippi, and the rest of them live in Texas), so it isn't much of a surprise that I've been influenced by both sides. Generally, I consider politics to be a personal thing and therefore, should be kept private.

However, a very good friend and I were having coffee the other day and he brought something up that has stuck with me. This matter involves the role of women in today's society. Let me just state here and for the record that I do not consider myself a feminist or an anti-feminist. I'm just a young woman of the 21st century.

This friend of mine, most definitely a liberal and damn proud of it, brought to my attention the fact that women in the south tend to believe that the man is the head of the household, women should be stay-at-home moms, and most certainly shouldn't hold the position of president. Initially, I totally balked at this idea. In my eyes, southern women have always been strong equals in the relationship. Toting guns and hunting by their husband's side. However, I now realize that this is simply the women in my life. I come from a hearty stock of strong willed females who aren't afraid to make themselves heard.

The more I think about it, the more I've realized that my friend is right. Women in the south get married younger and start families much earlier than in the rest of the nation. Seriously, it's true. Google it. This friend told me a story about hanging out with an ex-girlfriend and all of her conservative friends. They were discussing Hilary Clinton and how inappropriate it was for her to be running for president . . . because she has a vagina!

Granted, I would not have voted for Hilary, but I guarantee you it would not have been because of her hoo-ha. I'm still having such a hard time coming to terms with the fact that females in my own town believe that they have no right to run for office. Or to a fulfilling career outside of the family life.

I'm not saying that being a stay-at-home mom isn't a fulfilling career. I certainly believe it is, and I'm certain that it is hard, back-breaking work. My own mother stayed at home with me while my dad brought home the bacon. I assure you, however, that my mother did most of the work and I certainly didn't make it easy for her.

The trouble I have with all of this, is that these women think it's their place. It is their life's mission to find a husband and pop out some kiddies. What's the deal with that? Just because you have a vagina and the ability to bear children, doesn't mean that you are incapable of other fulfilling things. Read a book, ladies! Get inspired to be more than attracting a husband and bearing babies! Do something for you!

And then there is this issue of the man being the head of the household. I'm sorry, the 1950s called and they would like their mindset back. This is 2013, people. There is no room here for backwards thinking! How many Queens have ruled over England successfully? How many of them have done so more successfully than the Kings? All of them. There are female leaders across the globe. Why are southern women stuck in the past? It's doing absolutely nothing but proving to the rest of the world that we (as in the south, in general) are backwards hicks that should be missing teeth and wearing overalls. Cue the Deliverance music, please.

If you want to kill a stereotype, disprove it. I am a southern woman. I am educated. I am single. I am not desperately seeking a husband. I am not in a rush to pop out babies. I think women make fine leaders. And I believe a successful relationship requires equality and respect.

Now, I will step off of my soap box. =]

-xx-

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Importance of Being Moisturized

So first and foremost I should probably explain my skin woes. They aren't exactly "woes" as I've been lucky enough to have pretty decent skin my whole life with an occasional spot here and there. Rather, I should be saying "skin concerns." When I was younger I had a much milder case of your typical teen sebum-slicking face. Thankfully mine happened to be sans cystic acne (my skin has always favored getting those horrid under-the-skin bumps which are much easier to camouflage, but hurt like a motherbitch) and high on the shine. If only there was a way to harvest that oil and use it to power vehicles. Whoa. That's a fantastic idea. Is that possible? Where there's a will there's a way, right? I've got dibs on this idea! Dibs, dibs, dibs all over the place... I digress.

Nowadays, my skin has done a one-eighty in terms of its behavior. It still gets temperamental at times and pops up with a spot and gets shiny towards the end of the day (except that my eyelids are still forever an oil slick - good for aging, bad for eyeshadow. Primer is my best friend!) but I'm fairly certain that happens to us all. But the majority of the time, I don't really have any "woes" to complain about. My "concerns" however, lay within the fact that, fight it and deny it as I might, I am still getting older. 

With age comes two things. One good. One bad. Both starting with the letter 'W.'

Wisdom. Aaaaaand... WRINKLES!! Ohhhhh nooooo, Charlie!

So I'm most concerned with the prevention of these little bastards. My first sign of aging has showed itself in the guise of dehydration almost a year ago. I noticed that even though I was moisturizing my skin like I would normally - the same way I've been doing since I was 16 - my skin would get oily, but start flaking, too. I was flabbergasted. It was a paradox. Oily skin that flaked? How was that possible?  

Thus began my hunt for the proper skincare. My search began with Google which led me to YouTube and a time warpish black hole that led to me discovering Vivianna Does Makeup (who I still adore and follow religiously. the girl is a goldmine of knowledge and wonderful advice) and she linked me over to Caroline Hirons, who I have worshiped ever since. She is my skincare Yoda. Seriously. This lady knows her shiz. And she tells it in a no-frills attitude. I love it.

And while my first product in the fight with my aging skin was not a recommendation by my Yoda, it was inspired by her advice on how to combat dehydrated skin. So I popped over to my local Ulta and dropped a cool $40 on this little ditty below.

Source

I had read some good reviews and it boasted a "tri-radiance complex" that would pump up the water reserves. Good things for dehydrated skin, so I felt positive that this would be my answer. And I was right. At least for a while. I am now nearing the bottom of my second jar. That's right, I liked it so nice - I bought it twice! 

However, for some unknown reason I'm beginning to react poorly to this. I'm also just plum fed-up with the smell. Initially the smell was pleasant and relaxing, but now I'm beginning to find it over-powering and obnoxious. It has also begun making my eyes burn and water like crazy. I don't understand why this has started to happen, and it makes me sad because I really did like the way it made my skin feel. Just plump and moist and glowy. It's quite a lovely product, I just wish it came in an unscented version as I'm fairly certain its the fragrance I'm reacting to. 

Perhaps I should add sensitivity to my skin concerns now? Is this my newest sign of aging? Oh jeez, it just never stops, does it?!

So my hunt for a new night cream begins! Got any suggestions?!

-xx-



Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Slipped Disc Debacle

So I've been down since Valentine's day. Yes, my bloody back decided to throw a bitch-fit on the most romantic and loving holiday of the year. The first year in forever that I might have had a valentine to share it with. That's what I get for trying to make plans - life just laughs in my face! C'est la vie . . .

However, the good thing about being down is that it has allowed me to catch up on my shows (and read a couple of fantastic books)! And my nails and hair have never looked better. I've learned new braiding techniques and read all my favorite blogs. I've researched new products and I've got a shopping list a mile long! My dog is sufficiently more spoiled and I'm going out of my mind.

Now if only I could walk without looking like an 80 year old grandmother. I am slowly getting better though. Let's just hope it happens before I die from lack of human contact with the outside world. Oh, how I miss my friends and being able to put my pants on without wanting to cry! Looks like I might be wearing dresses for a while.

In other news, because of my back issues, I've had to take a break from the C25K training. I'm itching to get well and back into the groove of things that I had going before. I will probably be taking it pretty easy for a while and my doctor has mentioned to work with yoga or Pilates to help strengthen my lower back. I'm looking forward to that. And I've also been pondering the idea of investing in a fluidity bar. Ballet stretches are supposed to be amazing for the back. 

As for the Nutrisystem diet, I managed to last a week. It just wasn't right for me. I've given the rest of my product to my best friend and am hoping the best for her. I'll try to update her progress with her consent, of course. Instead, I'm going to start Weight Watchers as soon as I'm off the steroids my doctor has given me. Bloating and sodium retention does not make weight-loss easier, that's for sure.

I'm going to try to venture out in the world tomorrow. And to make a trip Ulta. What's better motivation than a new lip gloss and nail polish?! I can't think of one! I'm also in the process of researching male skincare. I just need a guinea pig to allow me to design a skincare routine for him. I have a few chaps in mind. I'm sure it'll come as quite a shock when I ask them to go along with my plans for the sake of research for my blog (that they likely have no idea exists). Here's hoping I've got some open-minded male friends!

Wish me luck and a quick recovery, readers! I could really use the positive and uplifting vibes!!


-xx-

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Humpday Update

So it's the middle of the week and I've officially been on Nutrisystem for 3 days. I want to gouge my eyes out and eat them. Honestly, I'm not sure that I've ever been on a diet as terrible as this one. Sadly, I'm not sure that I'll be able to continue on with it. This blows because I had such high hopes for it. 

It is, however, obscenely convenient. It's supremely easy to follow - if only it didn't leave me so damn hungry I could gnaw my own arm off. And to be completely honest, the little food you do get to eat is disgusting. Granted, I was not expecting gourmet meals or anything, but seriously this stuff is damn near inedible. But I expected this. Not for the food to be as barf-worthy as it is, but still. That wasn't the deal-breaker though. 

The deal-breaker for me comes from the fact that this food simply does not agree with me. I'm not sure what ingredient they pack into this food, but I'm intolerant of it. Add to this that you also have to eat dairy (I'm lactose intolerant) and this has made me a very unhappy girl. Had I known all this before hand, I never would have ordered it in the first place. 

But that's neither here nor there, I've ordered it and the deed is done. I'm going to hold out for as long as I can, but I can hear Weight Watchers calling my name already. My original plan was to get myself acclimated to this diet the first week and start C25K the next week. I'm still planning on C25K next week, but I'm not sure where I'll be with Nutrisystem. 

Wish me luck!

-xx-

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Nostalgic Morning Music!

This morning I had an interesting and entertaining text conversation about vivid dreams with a good girlfriend of mine. I can't help but believe that this start has set the tone for my day. I've been abundantly happy and bubbly - possibly even a little giggly. Hmm, perhaps I'm a touch sleep deprived? Regardless, as I popped my happy ass in the car to grab some grub this morning (yes, fast food. don't judge! i've said my new new year starts tomorrow) I turn on some tunes only to find:




I cannot begin to describe the joy this gave me. I'm sure passers-by had quite the show as they watched me unabashedly shake my ass to this song in my car. Betwixt the dancing there can be no doubt that my face held a gloriously cheesy smile as I basked in the memories of my childhood spent in the roller rink on skates. As the song was ending and just before the depression of seeing a familiar and warm childhood memory melt away kicked in the beginning chords of this next song kicked in.



I couldn't believe it! How lucky could one girl get? If you're anything like me, when I have the radio on I'll stop searching when I hear one good song and then groan loudly as some crap disguising itself as music comes on next. It's an endlessly frustrating cycle. I damn near worship the fact that I have an AUX input in my car. Unfortunately, my cable has a short in it. Hence the radio tunes. I digress.

Third Eye Blind takes me back to my earliest years in undergrad. And yes, I realize the song was released in 1997, but I was too young then to fully enjoy the meaning. My group of friends had dubbed this song as "ours". It spoke to us on the level that we were all young kids born in the mid to late 80s (just beginning our love affair with seedy bars and alcohol), most of whom had previous experience in recreational experimentation (to put it politely), missing 90s music. There was that and the fact that I had been in love with Stephan Jenkins since the band released their first album. Back when I had no idea what the song actually meant. Who cares? I still love this song and I rocked it like no other this morning - there's no room for shame in my game! 

An atrocious commercial about a dating website came on after Mr. Jenkins and I promptly changed the station only to hear the sweet, sweet sound of Sublime. 


 

Another fantastic song from 1997 - Damn, that was a good music year - that I couldn't appreciate until later in life. I discovered Sublime in high school and this song particularly takes me back to good times and memories of great friends! It's really such a shame that Bradley Nowell overdosed in '96. He was such a great talent. It makes me especially sad when I think of some of the stuff that passes for decent music now. That's neither here nor there, though! Obviously, I had a great morning filled with lovely music from my younger years and felt like sharing! Do you have any particular songs that just take you back to your childhood and adolescence?

-xx-

Saturday, February 2, 2013

My (late!) New Year

I began the new year with bright eyes and a head full of resolutions. This year I was going to be full on - no matter what, shit was going to get done. Unfortunately, my list of resolutions might have been too ambitious to accomplish all at once. Putting down the cigarettes, cutting down on the alcohol intake, starting a new diet, sticking to an intense beauty/skincare routine, beginning C25K, and getting back into a gym routine may have been a tad too much, too fast. 

These are all still my resolutions. I have no doubt that I can accomplish them. When I become determined to do something, I do it. That's how I've made my way through college and how I'm making my way through graduate school. However, I do have the tendency to get overwhelmed. That feeling you get when you have so much shit to do that you don't do any of it? That's what January 1st felt like to me. 

I awoke the morning of the new year still battling a wicked cold, hungover from imbibing too much the night before, and thought about my new resolution of thoroughly cleansing my face before I did anything else. I slowly trudged to my bathroom with a thick head and brushed my teeth. Realizing that my head pounded horribly as I leaned over the sink, I skipped the facial cleansing in favor of a cleansing cloth, made my way down the stairs to my coffee pot and promptly lit a cigarette. All thoughts of quitting, the new diet, the gym, and C25K went down the drain with that first delightful drag. 

I squandered away the first month of 2013 ashamed that I hadn't made a single dent in my list of things to do. Then it occurred to me that it doesn't matter when you decide to start something, as long as you start it! And that's what this blog will be about. My (slow) journey through all these resolutions. Slow and steady wins the race, right?

And because I'm a procrastinator and tomorrow is Downton Abbey (eep!) night, my new New Year will start on Monday!
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