Use this old weird trick to safely* and quickly get rid of your zits

that “one weird trick” phrase is never going to get old for me.  Use this one weird trick to tie your shoes!  Use this one weird trick to roast vegetables!  I don’t know why I find that phrase so funny, but I do.

About a month ago, I got the worst case of acne of my adult life. Sure, I had zits as a teenager, but they mostly went away in my 20s and into my 30s. I’ve never had good skin, I’ve always battled a few zits here and there.  And don’t be asking me stupid questions like “are you washing your face?” “are you eating too much chocolate or greasy food?”  I just have easily clogged pores and very sensitive skin.

This stuff has been my go to zit fixer for years:

clean clear advantage

Smear a little on my face before bed and again in the morning, and within a few days I’m back to my regular “only a few zits instead of a lot” face.

but this breakout I had about a month ago? It was insane. I had zits on top of zits. On my hairline, on my cheekbones, on the side of my nose,  under my eyebrows for goodness sakes!

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Farmer’s Market Funk

Every year around this time, I always say to myself “I’m going to go to the Farmer’s Market every weekend this summer!”.  beautiful tomatoes, sweet lettuces, fruit, mushrooms, peppers,  local meat and cheese, food trucks, what could be better? Not much is right!

But it never seems to happen.  Saturdays go by, and I always say “I’ll go next week”.

there are two beautiful Farmer’s Markets not far from where I live. The “original” one is hidden in a neighborhood, smushed between a bingo parlor and the train tracks.  The place is packed, whether you get there at 6am or 1pm. Parking is a mess, with about a thousand people trying to park in a tiny neighborhood of narrow streets.  I’ve had some great experiences there, I’ve had some negative experiences there.  I don’t do well in bustling crowds, and this place is crowded and chaotic, so that could be part of my problem.

The “newer” Farmers Market is down south in the suburbs. parking seems fine, and the market is set up so that the bottlenecks are few and far between. there are picnic tables set up, there is no chaos whatsoever.  There are not that many booths (or at least not that many booths selling things I want to buy. How many booths of vegan doggie treats does a market really need?), so it seems a long drive for not much.

Am i terrible person that I’m perfectly OK buying my fruits and veggies at the grocery store most of the time?

Well, now I have to see Alien: Covenant

So, I’m a HUGE fan of the Alien movie franchise.  I can not believe my Dad let me watch the original when I was like 10 years old. How did I ever sleep again? Anyway, it was love at first xenomorph, and I’ve been a fan of the franchise and of H.R. Giger ever since.

I don’t care how stupid Alien:Resurrection is, it is one of the funnest action-y horror movies in the world, and if you say it sucks I will punch you in the face, and then I will make you sit next to me while I watch it and every 5 seconds I’ll say “isn’t this movie wonderful? I love this movie so much!”.  (Actually, I’m kinda afraid to watch Resurrection again, because what it if actually does suck?)

A handful of years ago we got Prometheus. I had high hopes.  I nearly walked out of the movie theater because that movie was so bad.  Like the 2nd Chris Pine Star Trek movie, it basically wrecked the Franchise (do not get met started on Star Trek. Do. Not.).  Prometheus had one thing going for it: Michael Fassbender.

If I have an ideal man, Fassbender is he. tall, toned, intense, confidence, a smile that with the tinest incremental change can go from sincerely happy to sneaky to looking like he’s thinking something dirty.  Prometheus was all about the Fass playing an android who uncanny valleys all over the place.  Yes I am all about the Fass.

Anyway, a review of Alien: Covenant on Slate.com included this beautiful Fass filled paragraph:

There’s only one character Covenant is interested in, and that’s Fassbender’s David, who has spent the 10 years since Prometheus growing out his blond locks and working on the best way to emerge out of the darkness while wearing a hooded cape. Like Walter, his double, David is a human creation, but he’s a little too human. The relationship between these two Fassbenders is at the heart of Alien: Covenant, and it’s one of the few things that really entertain on a level beyond the technical. Prometheus was nigh on a visual masterpiece, especially in 3-D, but it was hollow at its core. Covenant is a more by-the-numbers exercise in giving the people what they want, right down to a climax that feels like it’s cobbled together from the ends of Alien and Aliens, but at least it’s got some tender Fassbender-on-Fassbender action, including a scene where David teaches Walter to play a primitive flute and offers, “I’ll do the fingering.”

omg, where do I buy tickets for this movie.

Michael-Fassbender-Shame-700x384

What a Weird Job Interview

I lost my job in February (srsly, it’s OK), which means I’ve been applying for a ton of jobs, and have been on a bunch of job interviews lately.   For those of you keeping score, I mostly use Indeed.com and LinkedIn for job searching.  Local networking events have been very helpful as well.

I got a good laugh at a networking event by comparing job interviews with meeting a marriage suitor.  You’re going to be spending 40+ hours a week with this person, possibly for years, so you better like them before agreeing to a committed relationship! Everyone laughed, nervously.

But, job interviews. Wow can you learn a lot about a company through the interview process! and if the person interviewing you is the person you’d be reporting to if hired? Pay attention, because they are telling you everything you need to know about their management style through the way they run the interview.

I have been on a lot of really good interviews. Interviews where the person interviewing me asking pointed questions about how I handled specific situations, what am I looking for in a new career, why am I interested in their company, etc.    If I listed all the positive experiences I’ve had, the list would be ten pages long.

But I want to share with you a negative, or if not negative, a weird interviewing experience I had.  there were many weird and unprofessional things this person did,  these are what stuck in my mind:

  • The hiring manager called me on a Saturday afternoon, and went right into a phone screening without asking “is now a good time?”
  • the interviewer scheduled in-person interviews 30 minutes apart
  • the interviewer carbon copied all of the candidates on the interview schedule
  • the interviewer was not clear about the job description or expectations

As our in-person interview progressed, I got the impression that this person had no idea how to interview candidates, and didn’t think it was important to learn how.  This is the kind of person who is not committed to hiring the right person, who thinks hiring the right person happens magically.

As our interview came to a close an hour later, the interviewer asked me the following questions.  I do not believe any of these are illegal to ask in an interview, but they sure were strange:

Do you have family nearby?

Where are you from?

Do you have any pets?

Do you rent or own your home?

I answered these questions with an increasingly puzzled look on my face.  The interviewer responded to my non-verbal communication with “I need someone who doesn’t have any obligations outside of work. Nothing is more frustrating than when someone says they have to go home to take care of their dog”.

I did not walk out of that job interview, I RAN.   There were two other people waiting in the reception area, one of whose interview was supposed to have started an hour ago.  I hope none of them had pets, kids, or a lawn to mow.

 

 

 

Co-washing success!

I don’t wash my hair every day, I admit it!  I’ve got thick curly hair that confounds all hair stylists. It does whatever it wants, and honestly, the days that I don’t make any attempt to do anything with it are the days it looks the nicest.   I don’t own a hairbrush, I don’t use a blow-dryer, i don’t put product in my hair. I braid it to keep the tangles down.  Whenever someone asks me what my secret to big wavy/curly hair is, I shrug and say “Pantene”. It’s like $6 at Target.

pantene smooth and sleek

Sometime in my mid 20s, I discovered Pantene conditioner. Just the right amount of whatever stuff they put in their conditioner, it was just the right formula for my hair. It detangled, and didn’t weigh my hair down. I freakin’ LOVE Pantene conditioner. Been using this stuff for going on 10 years!  Smooth and Sleek is the absolute best, but in a pinch Curl Perfection or Moisturizing works too. I stay away from the Volumizer stuff, because as much as I love my  big hair, I don’t need it to be bigger.

Shampoo is not a super big deal, I use whatever is around.  It usually takes 4-6 days for my scalp to get itchy and greasy and gross, and time to wash my hair. For two days after I wash my hair, it looks like crap.

If you’re a Pantene user, you noticed in the last few months they’ve switched my beloved Smooth and Sleek conditioner to a line called “DreamCare”.  When the old stuff went on clearance at Target I knew it was being discontinued and bought ALL OF IT.  Because Smooth and Sleek IS LIFE.   I didn’t like being forced to chance to a different hair care product. The new stuff had a weird texture like vanilla pudding, it didn’t seem to detangle my hair as well.  It was different and weird, and I was running out places that still had the old stuff on the shelf.

but . . .

a few weeks later I noticed something.  I’ve been using DreamCare for about two weeks solid now, and my scalp doesn’t get greasy. Or itchy. like, at all.

Pantene curl

The last time I washed my hair with shampoo it was because I thought I should, not because I needed to.  My scalp and hair weren’t greasy or itchy.

It’s been at least a week since I washed my hair with shampoo, and my hair doesn’t look greasy, and my scalp feels great. My head feels like I washed my hair 4 days ago, which used to be the golden day of hair perfection.  I’ve been on day 4 for . .  I dunno, 4 days  now?

DreamCare might have a weird texture, it might not be the best detangler in the entire universe (there’s always Johnson’s Leave in conditioner), but it’s given me co-washing success!!

Low Carb Crunchy Flax Crackers

Thanks to blood sugar issues, I gotta watch my carbs.  But I love crunchy food!!!

Good thing I found flax crackers. The first few times I made these, I made them with regular flaxmeal, and I gotta say, the smell was not . . . appetizing.  Then I found Golden Flaxmeal from Bob’s Red Mill and now I’m making these every two weeks or so.  When I have a craving for something crunchy (which is like, nearly every day!), this is my go to snack.  I’ve even taken them on business trips in a tupperware in my suitcase. Watch TV in the hotel room and have a crunchy snack!

not worried about carbs? that’s cool. these are gluten free, vegan, and paleo-friendly. It’s just flax, water, and spices.  What could be easier??  nothin’, that’s what.  Nearly every recipe you find online will be 2 parts flaxmeal to one part water. But beyond that, that’s where you can get creative!

flax crackers are done

Flax Crackers

you’ll need: Mixing bowl, fork, unrimmed cookie sheet, parchment paper

1 cup Flaxmeal (I like Bob’s Red Mill Golden Flaxmeal)

1/2 cup water

salt & pepper to taste

couple of shakes oregano

pinch dried crushed rosemary

flax crackers ingredients

 

Preheat oven to 400.  Line an unrimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper. The parchment paper is non-negotiable. Keep reading, you’ll see why.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and mix well with a fork. The mixture will be very, very wet.  Let it sit uncovered for about 10 minutes, so that it dries out a tiny bit and so the flaxmeal can absorb more of the water.

flax mixed

Most of the recipes I’ve seen online call for you to roll out the “dough” on a greased countertop, with a greased rolling pin. Seriously? Roll this stuff out? Are you kidding??? This isn’t dough, it’s batter!  Trust me when I say this stuff is WAY too sticky to roll, and it is not worth the hassle. Use a fork to put a blob on your parchment paper lined cookie sheet, and use the fork to smush and smear it down into a very thin layer. The thinner you can get it, the better.   See how wet this is? Can you imagine putting this right on your cookie sheet?  yep,  parchment paper is your friend!

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A fried egg makes everything better

A fried egg really does make everything better.

I donated blood yesterday, and spent most of yesterday afternoon snoozing on the sofa and eating everything in sight. I have an epic bruise on my arm today! Now that I’ve got some energy back, I wanted to make some comfort food.  Which means eggs!   This recipe makes enough for one, but it is easily scaled up.

 

1/2 bunch swiss chard, cleaned very well

1/2 sweet pepper, diced

butter and or oil, 1/2 tbsp

1 garlic clove, minced

a little bit of minced ginger, optional

salt and pepper

1 egg

Cut the stems from the chard, and cut stems into small pieces.  Heat the  butter or oil in a skillet over medium heat, and saute the stem pieces, stirring occasionally. After a few minutes, add in the diced sweet pepper  and cook for another 5 minutes.  The stem pieces will give up some moisture, and will shrink up a little bit like onion does when you saute it.

While that is going, roll up the large chard leaves into a tight tube and very thinly slice the tube so that you get thin ribbons of chard.  Into the skillet add some black pepper and salt, and stir in the garlic (and ginger, if using). When the garlic and ginger become fragrant, dump in all the chard ribbons and stir them in.  They will wilt very quickly. I like my greens very wilted, but at this point the veggies are done at whatever level of wilted you like.  once cooked down to your preference, put all the greens from the frying pan into a bowl.

Crack and egg and fry it in the oil and moisture that’s left in the frying pan. You can add more oil if you need to, but you should have enough.  Put your fried egg on top of your grees in your bowl, and enjoy!

 

greens n eggs