Friday, March 19, 2021

Becoming ruthless with makeup

As I approach the half-century mark (I’m now 48, wtf) I find that I’ve become absolutely ruthless with my makeup and skincare. Late in the pandemic year I treated myself to a three-monther on Boxycharm, then re-upped, and I’m not sorry in the least -- although several of the products were total misses. Least favorite thing about Boxy? They won’t let you update reviews. So if you tried a serum and liked it the first 3 days, and then you get hives, you can’t update to say so. This often makes their reviewing system unrealistic.

So what did I get rid of recently?

· Three unopened toners (for oily, dry, and all skins): one from Boxy, one from Whole Foods, and one from an Ulta thing, I think
· An unopened snake lip oil from this month’s Boxy
· A cheap-but-useful-for-a-while palette that had worn out its welcome in my makeup bag. I tried to pop off the top for a Barbie vanity but the whole thing broke. Eh, it’s just as well.
· A bunch of e.l.f. stuff that was still unopened, but I just didn’t want it anymore.
· Other stuff, here and there. My “using now” makeup box has been pared down beautifully (of course, I still have boxes of unused items in my Beauty Corner that need love too, heh heh).

Friends and relatives claim whatever they think will work for them, and for that I am grateful. I really dislike throwing useful stuff away. The system works for makeup, skin and hair care, clothing, house items, etc. You never know what I have in my closet that's waiting to escape!

And what is going well? Skin care!

· I snagged a bunch of Grown Alchemist night and day creams on Boxy sales for next to nothing and I’m applying them diligently. They work! Color me surprised.
· Face masks. I have a lot of them, and I am using them. You can’t take them with you, people! Use your things! Last night were squishy plum eye masks and a gold foil CBD lip mask.
· I suppose I should open the d├ęcolletage cream I bought. Guess I’ll open that tonight.
· Drinking water and lots of decaf iced tea, because I just love my decaf Arizona green iced tea with honey and ginseng!

I have always loved the ritual of self-care and my new practice of quickly saying bye-bye to stuff that doesn’t work for me feels like a balm. And I’m gonna keep laying it on. Thick!


Friday, October 12, 2018

No dance class tonight, thanks

But it’s more than just “I want to be alone for a while.” It’s more than “I want a little time to myself.” I think I get enough of that… I love to be around D and I feel good when he is there and I can look at him. He grounds me.

BUT! There are times I cannot physically be around people, times when I have Had Enough. (By “people” I mean strangers, crowds.) Sometimes going to work is hard enough, and talking to coworkers with whom I have spent 14 years and know their styles pretty damn well. Putting the chipper tone in my voice when I just want to do my work by myself. I was lucky in that my boss was out of the office for two days this week so I had a little more work freedom. 

Sometimes it takes way more to get back the energy I’ve put out than is “fair”. Should be apples to apples, right? Except those days, those weeks, today… it’s more like apples to apples, berries, cherries, and I dunno, donuts? Those days I give more than I have and I am depleted and then I can’t do more until I have managed to suck up who knows how many times more energy than it looks like I have spent.

This week I went to the Topsfield Fair, with thousands of people... no one particularly creepy, but so many of them! I attended a product line launch which was pleasant enough but still a large room full of strangers. I saw wonderful friends and spent time with my parents, both times of which I enjoyed immensely. But I need to turn off for at bit. No constant jokes, no more being “on” all the time. No need to make up (literally, makeup!) my face with a persona. Can I just shut off?

Maybe it’s worse right now because I can’t get the blameworthy yet somehow absolved rapists and molesters and perverts out of my head (Kavanaugh, Trump, religious leaders, etc.). This week I found myself reading two NYT articles about Flushing. Each one was worse than the next: birth tourism, which itself is confusing enough (suicidal nanny, babies stabbed) and the one about Jane Doe Ponytail (sex work, possible suicide). And maybe I’m somehow becoming sentimental, but to think that the place where I grew up is now so shitty is really troubling.

And then the touching! I think I am identifying with the rest of the women who have also been patted, groped, pressed into, leered at, commented upon, sniffed, whatever, whose assailants have never been brought to justice. And why should I put myself into the position of being held closely at dance class when I am not feeling strong enough to? It’s enough of having a man who is not mine, in my face, having to smell his body as he leans in (however properly), and his arms around me, leading the dance. Another night, yes … tonight, hell no.

Monday, September 17, 2018

California Tea House!

I tried more flowering tea, everyone!!!

Now I know it seems to have been forever since I last posted, but life has been busy. Readers, I'm sorry if you've missed me, but... I'm ba-ack!

I updated my flowering tea hub last week with a bit on CTH but wanted to do a full review of three tea balls* from California Tea House: Violet Moon, Titanic Blossom, and Peri Flower. I was wary about their teas being the "the best tea you have ever tasted", but I shouldn't have been. Their products are gorgeous!

But first, a little about the company. They create their blends with only locally California-grown organic herbal teas, and the tea balls are hand-strung. If that's not enough to entice you to try their teas, how about this? They are a family-owned store. I love that!

First up, Violet Moon

Look at it! Just look at it!

I needed to try this one first as it is their newest. They have created Violet Moon with Silver Needle green tea as a base, but they add a beautiful violet flower to charm us. Oh, you didn't know that violets do not need to be, well, violet? The company uses pinkish flowers in this tea.

I was hoping the tea would brew purplish *teehee. Or should I say, tea hee* but that was wishful thinking, especially with a pale pink flower! Instead, it turns a very pale peach, which was a wonderful surprise. 

The inside of my mug is painted light green, so that is why the color appears a bit greenish. The flavor is subtle, and it reminded me of summer. I especially enjoyed this one because it minded its own business... and made it very enjoyable to drink. 

Next, Titanic Blossom. And it certainly is titanic!

The first thing that struck me about this tea was this the weight of the tea ball -- it was surprisingly heavy and dense. The ball itself was beautiful, with dark and light green leaves and pink and orange peeping through. I couldn't wait to get this one into the teapot! I knew I would need to take video of this ball dropping.

All told, it took about six minutes (the video runs at double speed).

As it bloomed, I was really excited because it was the prettiest one it ever seen so far, of all the tea balls I've tried... which has been a great many.

Tiny little unstrung pink flowers floated to the top while a big orange peony opened up to reveal a pink thistle looking flower (that's the globe amaranth) with a small white jasmine popping out at the top. The whole shebang is surrounded by good ol' silver needle.

It brewed into it a medium orange but looked pale green in the pot because I was outside and the green was reflecting off the grass.

Truth be told, as I gazed at the tea from across the room and looked at it outside on my deck, it looked as if a goldfish was swimming back and forth in a fishbowl amidst fluttery underwater growths. It was really, really eye-catching and the most romantic-looking of all of them in my opinion.

But the real test would be the flavor. As I sipped my first sip, I immediately sucked those tiny pink flowers into my mouth. Oops! They didn't taste like anything but they were chewy and I had to remove them.

As I tasted I was disappointed because it didn't seem to give up much flavor. But as it cooled it tasted almost peachy, or fruity. I figured that it must be the jasmine. There was a natural sweetness that came out as the tea cooled. This is definitely one of the best looking and most pleasant tasting blossoming teas I've ever had the good fortune to try.

Also, the spent flower *out of water* is more beautiful than other flowering teas I've seen actually *in* water.

Peri Flower was my final tasting. 

Beauteous as the multi-strung chrysanthemum blooms were (and there looked to be five!) this ball only took about three and a half minutes to drop. If I had been looking away I would have missed it completely. 

The tea brewed up a lovely, peaceful light yellow. But when I finally took my taste, it just tasted like a standard white tea. As a result an unfortunately, I was a bit underwhelmed by this one... especially after the Titanic Blossom.

So, Readers! Of these three blooming teas, my absolute favorite based on looks and flavor was Titanic Blossom... and it actually tops the list of the best flowering teas I've ever had. Second place goes to Violet Moon, and Peri Flower rounds out the list. As I said, it bloomed beautifully but lost in the flavor category.

If you have tried any of these teas, please comment! I would love to know what you think.

*These products were sent to me at no cost to review.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Tumescent was the sausage

I once made the mistake of looking into a sausage. I will never forget that fateful day.

Previously, I had enjoyed sausages in many forms… veal and pork sliced on the bias with peppers and onions, Italian style; Polish kielbasa with noodles; chicken with apple and onion with sweet potato; pepperoni pizza; eggs with chorizo; little breakfast links alongside pancakes, dippable in maple syrup; beef, pork, turkey, and even chicken tube steak nestled within soft buns. I think I even tried a bison sausage once (it was tough, not tender). But this was different.

I had been at a celebratory outdoor meal hosted by my workplace, beautifully served, with a variety of choice foodstuffs available amongst many tables set in a grassy quad. It was fresh off the grate, which had been added to my patiently waiting plate by a cheerful grillmaster. O, tumescent was the sausage; gleaming with heat; thick and tempting; crispy and crackling.

And then, instead of simply spearing it, lifting to my mouth, and biting, I decided to be an adult and cut into it. You know, with a knife and fork, since we were sitting at a table and not strolling our way through a carnival or fair.

Urk! To my stomach-churning dismay there was practically no plain meat inside – but fennel seeds amidst pockets of half-melted fat, and unidentifiable pink and white meat-like bits abounded. I sliced again… maybe I had simply found a super-fatty section. But no. Cross-section after cross-section of sausage littered my plate as I finally gave up slicing. I tried to separate some of the pinkish morsels from the whiter stuff and tasted it, but in my mind’s eye I could see nothing but slippery, opaque fat coating my poor tongue and had to spit it out. I couldn’t even eat the rest of the food on my plate, having been contaminated by the sausage’s innards.

Ever since then I have been incredibly wary of sausages… so much so that I still get the willies when I recall the moment.

So why recall the moment at all?

Well, I had to. An old friend of D’s hosted a Hofftoberfest last night – sausages and beer, in the style of David Hasselhoff. Ain’t no fest like a Hofftoberfest, ‘cuz a Hofftoberfest has the Hoff. *grin* I had been disappointed that D didn’t wear a half-unzipped leather jacket to display his wide and manly chest (mmmmmm)… but the host did wear lederhosen and the lady of the house had styled her hair in braids, so that was a fun surprise.

I had a moment of self-discovery when D, looking adorable as he does, leaned in to kiss me after downing a sausage off a pointy fork and swilling some beer. I felt myself begin to sweat, steeled myself for the taste of sausage, and then blurted out the question of the night. “Wait! Are you going to taste like sausage???” He considered, forehead wrinkling. “Uhhh, probably more like beer.” “Ok then.” And he kissed me and it truly was more beer-y than sausage-y and a lovely kiss as his kisses always are but I could still smell the sausage on the plate. And it made me sad.

“Wow, you really don’t like sausage, do you?” All I could do was shake my head pitifully and reach for a macaron (no, not the right country, but where else can I enjoy those, if not at a party?) Over the course of the evening I had three: one pink with fig, one yellow with vanilla, and a whitish one with sticky smooth coconut. My beer-drinking was limited to the ingestion of a fancy-schmancy doondut coated in a sweet vanilla beer glaze. It was a yummy little pillow of heaven! (And not overly large.)

But I have not renounced all sausage, oh, no! I have discovered a smoked turkey sausage with no “funny” bits in, low in fat, and high in flavor. It’s Eckrich Turkey Smoked Sausage and it’s wonderful. Basically, this sausage and I now have an understanding, and I would have been able to bring them had they been in stock at my local market! Stupid market!!! I also eat vegetarian sausage, and pepperoni crisped up in a pan. I have actually begun to prefer turkey pepperoni to regular because of the chewiness factor.

Anyway, if anyone has a sausage recommendation, send it along! Bye now!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

2016, CC's wonderfully exciting Year of Changes

So things turned around!

The kitchen is amazing, the living room looks great, I got the weight loss surgery, and I'm getting my groove back.

I'm healing like a dream, getting back into Zumba and short hikes, and I plan to get another kitty around my birthday.

I can *comfortably* tuck my pants into my boots because there's tons of room in there now.

Things on the horizon look positive, and I feel great.

As I've said before, a clever cat always lands on her feet. :)

Thursday, June 30, 2016

2016, CC's sad trombone year

'Well,' said Frances, 'things are not very good around here anymore. No clothes to wear. No raisins for the oatmeal. I think maybe I'll run away.'

 This year sucks!

So within the span of a little over three months I left my long-term, so-called “planning for the future” boyfriend (as you know); had a major flood in my kitchen and half my living room from the upstairs neighbor, requiring new everything in those spaces (I hadn’t gotten a chance to write about that tidbit yet, so… surprise!); and last night I had to say goodbye to my old man kitten, Butchiekins. I was doing not so very badly today until freaking Facebook “reminded” me that I gave a last kiss to the original clever cat, Twinkiecakes a year ago today.

I’ll say it again. This year sucks!!!

The high spot in all of this is that I get a new kitchen... but in the meantime I have to live at a hotel. At least I got a suite this time, and I must admit, coming back to a king-sized, pillow-top bed with extremely soft striped white-on-white sheets and mountains of pillows is pleasant to say the least.

I treated myself to Heath Klondike bars last night. What would I do for a Klondike bar? Probably retain and gain, I guess.

Anyway, I’ll be meeting the contractor for a final estimate today and move on to ordering everything to take advantage of this weekend’s sales. I’ll keep you posted, and in the meantime you can imagine me nibbling on a Klondike bar.


Friday, April 29, 2016

Traction attraction

So I’ve been receiving traction at my chiropractic appointments and I love it!!! Even my unlovely baby hump seems to be diminishing! Can one become addicted to chiropractic traction? Heh.

I find it extremely relaxing… now if only the office didn’t insist upon playing country music...

Monday, April 4, 2016

Measuring time in boyfriends

Does anyone else regularly measure time this way?

“Hey, what year did Ace of Base come out with “The Sign”?” “Hmm, let’s see, I was with Ev. M at that time until I wasn’t and *sings ‘and I was happy then, living without him, I’ve left him, oh oh oh!’* so it must have been late 1993 or early 94.”

Or, “Do you know what year the Hometown Buffet in Danvers closed?” Well no, but I can narrow it down –  I wouldn’t have gone there by myself, but I did go there with someone, which meant I went with Ex-H at the time because he liked the place, which means it was definitely after 2001, because that's when we divorced.

It’s like, I can remember who I “was”, or my persona, by remembering who I was dating at the time.

It’s like measuring time in fashion, or living arrangements, or weight. What year did I wear those sexy dark blue jeans that showed off my booty so well? Let’s see… I wore them on dates with M of PGH, so that must have been 2008. Or hey, that terrific sage striped t-shirt dress that fit me like a dream? I was with Pokey at the time, which means I was living in my first apartment (a 4th floor walk-up in Astoria) which means it was 1995.

So I realized something. When we do this, we are performing a disservice to ourselves. We must remember to think of time in terms of us, not in terms of other people, hairstyles, clothing, homes, meds we were taking, or the jobs we held. Instead, let's consider who we are on the inside, our actions, our reactions, and our thoughts, and be able to communicate who we are using those descriptors and facts. 

All that other stuff is just window dressing, and it needs to stay in the freaking window where it belongs.

Wall of Paper

Much like the Wall of Sound, my collection of out-of-date wallpaper books was overwhelming. So in the spirit of de-cluttering (and who am I kidding, to vent a bit) I decided to free the sheets from the books.

rip! RIP! RRIIIIIP! So satisfying! And I made good use of my utility knife too, even having to change the blade. Working out aggression by destroying something was surprisingly fun. I found myself just pulling the books apart, screws and all, with tools and muscles. Huh! Who knew it would be that great? (Not to mention the amount of space I freed up in The Clever Cat’s Closet of Crafts!)

Anyway, halfway through my debauch it turns out I had not been choosy in my pick of the papers. Appealing as they were, I did NOT need all the paper. So by the end of the ripandsortfest, I was left with about eight or nine inches of what I considered beautiful papers… and about six inches of other pretty papers, just not exactly my style.

I posted to see if anyone could use it, and discovered that one friend will be able to use them to create covers for personal books! I’m so glad someone else can use them.

Hmm? What’s that? What will CC use it for, you ask? Well, Barbie backgrounds, for one… one book I had gotten was of large-size pages of gorgeous photographic murals; covering items such as wall switch plates – yes, decoupage; general craft and art projects; and some are even suitable as art pieces on their own. One page was so gorgeous I’m going to frame it. Teehee!

In addition, I also took apart eight or so outdated upholstery sample books, for Barbie rugs and one special hanging art project that I've had in mind ever since I got the books (however many years ago). I can't wait to do that one, but it requires thought, backing strength, and some engineering so I'll need to really figure it out. I'm excited!

Google, you schmaltzy asshole

Google really needs to stop taking pre-breakup pictures and videos and forming them into collages and events. I innocently opened the gallery on my phone to post a fun update on Facebook only to discover new creations featuring items from a month ago!

Auto Awesome, my sweet A. More like Auto Asshole, amirite?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A heat pack helps

So I never know what to expect with this whole Failed Love Affair thing.

Sometimes I’m ok. I apply makeup, go to work, make jokes, cook dinner, hang out with friends, the same regular shit.

Sometimes I’m overcome with sadness (I turned on the radio yesterday I the car and the next thing I knew my cheeks were wet).

Sometimes I’m great! Clarity! Cleaning! And clutter? Adios!

But occasionally I am overwhelmed with a rage so cold that it burns. It burns its way from my heart to my neck and hangs out there for a while. A heat pack helps, sometimes.

‘Scuse me. Gotta go heat one up…