Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Skincare Update: Sensitive + Eczema

I wrote about my skin woes in January, I think. Basically: dry, red, sensitive, eczema... You can read that post if you want the specifics. I've been making some changes and it's better. Not perfect, but definitely improved, so I thought I'd give an update on what I've done.
Like I mentioned then I've been interested in making a switch into more natural products. I like the idea of making my own products, and some I do, like lip balm and oil cleanser. But I have a very sensitive skin and especially the skin on my face does not react well on home made products. I think it just needs something more.

So here are a few products I've tried.

I started using a toner. I have tried a toner before and my skin hated it. It was one of those types that you put on a cotton pad and wipe your face with. My face does not like any rubbing. The product was all wrong too probably. This time I tried a spray and it's been great. I spray it on my face then apply moisturizer while my face is still wet. I'm not sure why I didn't think to try this before. I mean this is what I already do with my body. By my dermatologist's advice I apply body moisturizer after I shower without drying myself to avoid rubbing and irritating my skin. Using a toner on my face has had the same effect, my skin has definitely been less red and irritated. I'm currently using Suki concentrated clarifying toner and I love it. It's gentle, effective and smells great.

I also switched to a different cleanser. I love oil cleansers they get your skin clean without need for rubbing. I used to make my own, but it was just too harsh for my skin. I decided to try Tata Harper nourishing oil cleanser. It is expensive, but it came highly recommended. I have to say, it is pretty amazing. This alone caused a dramatic change. My skin used to be just painful after showering (I wash my face in the shower), but now it's just soft and not red at all. It feels like a much lighter oil than my home made one. It cleanses great, but is also easy to wash off. Also, smells nice. The price is the only downside for me. It's almost run out (sad face, literally) and I'm not sure I can justify buying another right now.

I finally found a natural deodorant that works for me! That's nearly a miracle. A friend recommended Lovefresh natural cream deodorant and it's just perfect. It's baking soda free so it doesn't irritate my skin. It lasts all day. I'm not a big sweater (underarm anyway, now my upper lip is a different story), so I can't really comment how that holds. But I definitely can't smell any sweat. I'll just pronounce this the best natural deodorant, right here. There are several different scents available, but as peppermint and tea tree are some of my favorite scents I got that. There's also a slight earthy (clay?) scent, but it you can't smell it once it's on you. To me it just smells so fresh and nice. 

So there. I'm still on the lookout for a serum, conditioner, eye cream and facial moisturizer. I've tried a few, but haven't found the right ones. Well, slowly, but surely, right?

Friday, May 13, 2016

Sort of Meal Planning

I'm one of those people who loves to plan. I've been wanting to try out meal planning,  for years, really. What it means is you decide all the meals you are going to eat for the next week (or month, if you are hardcore). You know, Monday: risotto, Tuesday: lasagna etc. (and maybe you make two hot meals a day, and good for you! I just manage to make one.) And then do a big shop for all the necessary ingredients. 

There are a lot of benefits. You know what you are going to eat, so you can plan accordingly and have the ingredients ready. You'll save money by making food from scratch. You'll reduce food waste by only buying what you need. 

Sounds good, right? My biggest obstacle has been... Jake. He does not like the idea of planning a weeks meals in advance. He's one of those people who wants to eat only what he feels like eating right at that moment. He can't even say what he wants tomorrow let alone next week. He usually knows what he wants a few hours before it's time to eat. It's kind of infuriating. Just a little bit. Tiny bit. Grr.

But I finally figured out a meal planning system that works for us! A sort of meal planning, anyway.

I made a list of meals we both love (and that I can make well). It's not many frankly.
Here's the list.
These might sound absolutely crazy, but I did my best to translate: meatballs + spaghetti, potatoes +  minced meat gravy, salmon + mashed potatoes, fish sticks + mashed potatoes + sour cream dip, macaroni casserole, lasagna, chicken curry sauce + rice, minced meat soup, minced meat and mashed potato casserole.
So all the meals are sort of decided and I just have to make sure we have ingredients for all of those. As much as possible. The non-perishable ones anyway. If Jake wants salmon and I don't feel like going to the store, he can go his own durn self. Grr. Ahem.

But it's been working great! We have home cooked meals everyday without added stress for me! Each day Jake picks out a meal from our "menu" and I make it. Also, because I know what all the meals require, if for example minced meat is on sale I can stock our freezer up, instead of having to run to the store to pick one up on full price. And if we have leftovers we eat those the next day. Jake is for some reason dead against freezing leftovers to eat later, but he thankfully is OK with eating the same food a few days a row. It's like living with a little kid really, hah.

I should point out that I only make meals during the week, Jake is in charge of them on the weekends. Which mostly means takeaway, but I'm fine with that.

So anyway, if you'd like to try out meal planning, but aren't ready for the full on everything-decided-for-a-week version, give this "lite" one a try. It's been working great for us!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Thrift Haul

Hey, another thrift haul!

 As always, these were picked up over several weeks, well months really, in this case. After purging a lot of stuff last year, I've tried to be a lot more intentional about what I bring home. I've tried to concentrate on things I love and  need and use. But I still love browsing flea markets and thrift stores, even if I'm not buying that much.
Another salt lamp, 6.80€. Bit on the expensive side, but I went in there to look for just this, found it and just grabbed it. Good thing too, because I haven't seen another one since. It sits on my night stand and I use it when I read in bed at night. It gives a nice warm glow that doesn't affect my sleep like a cold blue light would. It doesn't give out much light, but I mostly read books on my tablet now, and as the screen is lighted, it's just perfect for a cozy atmosphere.
Glass measuring cup, 3€. As you know, I've been trying to reduce plastic in our home, so I was so happy to find this. It has both liters and pints marked on it. I have a smaller one of these, too, with liters and cups. They are great if you do recipes from the internet, no conversion needed.
Stainless steel bowl, 3€. I'm pretty much obsessed with stainless steel right now, haha. I have two big bowls and three small ones, this one is somewhere in the middle. So good for baking and cooking prep.
Arabia bee bowl, 7€. This a bit on the useless side (and expensive), but it was just so cute. Useless in the sense that I have no fixed use in mind for it. I'll figure it out. I've really been wanting to try out making my own beeswax candles and wouldn't this look good as a container for one?
Small metal scoop, 0,40€. OK, so. Another Pinterest inspired purchase. I keep seeing there these homes with a big glass container of flour or whatever on the kitchen counter, and in them one of these little scoops. And it looks so cute. So. Yeah. I bought it and put it in my flour container. It made me feel like I have my life together.
Short fake fir garland, 1€. I'll use it for something next Christmas, I'm sure.
Linen bath towel, 2€. Mmm, linen, my love. I was so excited to find this. It seems to be a promotional towel for a sporting event, but I don't care. It's linen! I haven't yet decided if I should use it as a bath towel or make it into three tea towels.
Salt tea light, 2,90€. Yeah well, I like salt lamps now. 

So, there, that's it for now! More when I've amassed another collection of weird things.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Quick Tip: Sewing Leather

Just popping in here to share another quick tip. 

When sewing leather you are apparently not supposed to pin it, because pins will leave holes in the material. Also, trying to push a pin through leather is durn hard, I've discovered. I did try, and bend about five pins out of shape before giving up. 

So what to do? I saw a suggestion to use paperclips instead, but I actually don't have any. Shocking, I know, but we try to keep things as paperless as possible. 

What I do have, however, are hair pins. Incidentally, what I used in my last quick tip, too. Is there anything hair pins can't do?

For leather, anyway, they work great. They are easy to use, just push them in place. They have a really good grip, so they will stay put. And they don't leave a hole behind. 

Just don't sew over them like you would with a regular pin. I just pull them out just before I'm about to run over them and they are just perfect.
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