What’s on Your Face?! : Florida Skin Care 101 (Sans Make up Edition)

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I know it’s been a WHILE since I did a “What’s on Your Face?!” post. And I do love them. They’re great for this time of year, when you’re still having enough cold weather to warrant a thick hand salve yet a couple warm days are starting to pop up here and there and you’re beginning to think about what you’re doing to do with your skin come Spring and Summer.

Moving to Florida has drastically changed my skin care routine. While it’s currently 34 degrees (F) outside at the moment, today it’ll creep up into the mid 60’s and be lovely and clear. Unlike last year, dry skin on my face (p.s. that carrot exfoliating cleanser is the JAM) hasn’t been an issue. Because the warm (humid, sticky, breathable cess pool) weather lingered for so long here (well into the end of October) I found myself scrambling to find a cleanser that would help me deal with sweat well into “Fall.” And then I finally found it. Walk through the body section at Target a beautiful black block with a red wrapper caught my eye:

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YES! I’d just read an article about skin care featuring LUSH’s Coalface bar and was considering ordering one. Then this beauty caught my eye. Yes to Tomatoes charcoal bar is less expensive, it’s lasted FOREVER, and it smells pretty great too. I keep it in a little porcelain dish in my bath goods cupboard and pull it out each time I need to wash my face.

To removed make up, I usually take off my eye make up and lipstick (if I’m wearing it) with a washcloth and warm water first, then I wash with this and use the washcloth to exfoliate. I keep the Yes to Carrots Daily Cream Facial Cleanser in my shower and use it regularly there, though I’ll often bring the coal bar along depending on my skin’s needs on any given day. I’ve been using tomatoes since middle school to help clear acne. My mom used to give me the stem end to rub on my face whenever I was having a break out–they’re acidic without being overly drying or harsh on human skin. Plus the coal (check out the Autostraddle article for more on that) makes for a great oil-reducing bar that I’m using year round.

I use the Yes to Grapefruit Even Tone Skin Moisturizer any time after washing my face, especially before applying make up (which also has a sunscreen in it too, because Florida). This stuff is amazing and fairly light. Grapefruit is thought to help with evening skin tone and helps with overall skin health and protection from the sun. It’s the perfect compliment to the cleansing quality of the soap.

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Which happens to be my favorite color by the way, and it matches all of my outfits. What’s not to love?

My next venture into the skin care section is in search of a face mask! There’s no LUSH here, and yes I feel very, very deprived. My efforts to procure my favorite LUSH mask have been in vain and they don’t sell them online as they have to be kept in the fridge. Stay tuned for my thoughts on finding one of those!

Note: This is not a sponsored post. I simply adore the Yes To… line and hope it might inform others about natural, cruelty-free skin care products. (They also have a few new items that look amazing!) Enjoy! 

Forced Rest Days: A Battle Within

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For my New Year’s day post this year (ugh! A month ago! YIKES!) I shared how personal my work outs are to me in my reflective post, On Losing (Re)gaining my Health. The feelings I have about working out go beyond exercising to get fit or maintain fitness. It’s my stress release, my meditation, my yoga, my nirvana, my solace and my solitude. I’ve found that lifting weights is what truly gives me this sense of physical and emotional peace brought together by mindful repetition and thoughtful variation. I like how similar and different a weight lifting session can be from the others I’ve done or will do that week. It’s my time to reflect, my time to process and plan, when I synthesize what’s on tap for the week or day ahead, and ruminate on the events of the past couple days or hours.

These feelings have always been present in my work outs, but there was a time when I worked out for different reasons. Like a lot of people, I lifted weights and did cardio to look a certain way and to change the way that specific parts of my body looked and felt to me. Over the past year or two, I’ve shifted toward exercise that makes me FEEL good. While I do want the benefits of health and having a strong body I’ve taken a more hollistic approach to wellness than a number is on a scale or the size on the tag in my jeans.

That change was one that was hard to come by, especially with the media perpetuating all sorts of work outs to get thin, cut, or have a flat tummy and toned arms. First of all, that’s not my body type: I’m a slightly-taller -than-average-smallish-framed-slightly-curvy-lady . Secondly, I don’t believe that’s a sustainable or healthful way to engage an exercise regimen. It’s more of a “quick fix” approach rather than one that facilitates lasting health, wellness, and growth.

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A huge part of making this mental shift in how I work out had to do with the rest day. The ever important weekly 24-48 hours of NO WORKING OUT! Ugh. I’ll be the first to admit that I struggle with the recovery day. As you likely already know, our bodies need a day or two off each week to recuperate and recover from what we put them through in our day to day lives, to (re)build the muscles we’re using in our exercise and to ease the strains of daily life. This is especially true if you lift weights or exercise 5-6 days per week. You need a day or two off in there. This is essential if you want to have a sustainable exercise plan and if you want to truly reap the benefits of your workouts. (More on that here.) But, ugh. To be honest I have a hard time taking a rest day when exercise is such a relief from long days of reading, writing, class, and work. To me, they’re a necessary evil —  one that I’ve had to battle with internally to accept and practice each week without fail as part of my overall exercise routine.

For several years, I’ve struggled with taking this time to rest my body after a weekly dose of working out. Since my work outs are such a big part of my stress management and emotional well being, it’s hard for me to go without them, but essential nonetheless. I’ve had to teach myself to relish a day or two of rest per week, even if that means keeping my mind busy in other ways. I’ve found that days when I’m busiest and have the most to do between work and class are my easiest days to take a step back from my lifting and cardio routines. Having a packed day and jumping from activity to activity keeps me busy and by the time I get home in the evenings, I’m mentally exhausted and ready for a quiet relaxing evening on the couch with a cup of tea or glass of wine, the cat and a few shows on Netflix. On the other hand, maybe I’ll spend an entire day doing this and vegging out on the couch, with some article reading or research thrown in.

True rest in contrast to true work. I’ve come to realize that just as my weight lifting and cardio sessions are acts of self care, the rest day is too. It’s part of the whole package of wellness that I do for myself regularly, for health through stress management and pure joy and through the physical act of movement. I’m trying to love that rest day now, even though it’s incredibly hard to. I’ve come to terms with it because while I’m resting my body, my mind is able to focus on different things and taking up those weights or climbing onto the eliptical feels even better the next time I do it.

The (Vegan) Body: Single, Cruelty Free, Oiled Up, No Cheating!

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Time for some reading! Hopefully these will give you some inspiration and food for thought over the weekend.

“But living alone is the reverse of mastery. It’s scuttling around in surrender while hoping you don’t stub your toe because living alone is also a series of indignities like bouncing around on one foot, writhing in pain. Living alone is an elaborately clumsy wisening up.”

I generally love the writing on the Hairpin, but I especially love, love, LOVE and am in awe of this article about living alone. It comes at an interesting time for me as I just began drafting a blog post on living alone and veganism.

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The most amazing pho the other day at a place that’s SO close to my apartment. Definitely becoming a regular stop for me, I must say. I got the vegan pho with tofu and 2 tofu summer rolls. Amazing.

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“As vegans, we bear the privilege and burden of recognizing nonhuman personhood. We recognize that there are billions more persons being victimized by our culture than most of our peers acknowledge. With such recognition comes duty– not a duty to step back from the problem, but a duty to step in; to be, in every way we can and everywhere we go, living reminders to those around us that right now, we are in the midst of an atrocity.”

I LOVE this article! (Thanks to Ali of Farmers Market Vegan for sharing via Facebook!) It brings to light a lot of the downfalls with our current food and manufacture systems that I think a lot of vegans ignore.

The article’s one short coming: it’s list of proposed actions toward resolution: “Vegans, it’s time to step up.  Don’t just be vegan; tell people why. Don’t just speak softly; speak loudly and confidently.  Don’t just boycott non-vegan goods; refuse to join non-vegan meals.  Don’t just opt out of our culture’s violent norms; actively disrupt them.   Activists around the world disrupted speciesism on January 11th, and follow-up demonstrations are anticipated throughout the month.  Join us.”

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In my opinion based on my theoretical interests and personal research, the best way to NOT contribute to these powers that be: choose LOCAL, choose ORGANIC, choose FAIR TRADE, choose products NOT TESTED on animals. (There’s no mention of cosmetic testing in the article.) Just because something doesn’t contain animal products doesn’t mean it wasn’t exploitative of another living being to get into your hands which is really the crux of this write-up and raises a good point that I think a lot of vegans turn a blind eye to. Food for thought, and definitely worth a read!

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I made my own oil of oregano recently! It’s still infusing on the top of my fridge. Can’t wait to use it to fight off buggies this semester as stress and sickness cause people to drop off like flies it seems. Instructions here. Enjoy the reading! And poke around to see if oil or oregano might be your jam. A quick little project that you can share with friends or just use for yourself!

The title to this article says it all:

“There is No Such Thing as a Cheat Day” by Lacy Davis of Super Strength Health

“I’ve noticed it is popular to call meals like the ones I mentioned above a “cheat meal” and maybe my panties are just extra in a twist because of semantics today but eff that noise! A cheat meal implies that our most of the time foods are set in place by an outside governing body, and that eating something different is a slight to a code of ethics.”

I LOVE this lady’ approach to food in general and it’s really great to read someone else’s thoughts on eating a variety of foods. Lacy defines her “most of the time foods” and her “not all of the time foods” and asserts that one is not “better” or “cleaner” than the other. One of my favorite lines: “…I think clean eating is a ridiculous term, designed to capitalize on guilt and shame around food choices.”

Feel good about what you put in your body folks, and truly enjoy everything that you eat whether it’s a most of the timer, or a not most of the time food.

Sweet and sour purple and green salad

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Just a simple salad recipe to add some color to the dark of winter.

1 cup fresh kale

1 cup chopped romaine

2 tablespoons pomegranate arils

1 small blood orange, peeled and segmented (cut into smaller chunks if desired)

handful fresh sprouts

1 tablespoon sliced onion (red or white)

1 tablespoon diced bell pepper

dash of garlic powder

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

Massage the kale until tender. Toss in the other ingredients and allow to stand for 10-15 minutes. Devour.

I love adding a little kick of raw green veggies to my day when winter seems gray and endless. I like this time of year though. So quiet, just when Spring is around the corner. As if you can call it winter here. 61 degrees! But still, down into the 30’s at night so local veggies are sparse these days. This salad was a great little lunch pick me up. Note: it serves one, double everything up if you’re sharing.

Happy groundhog day!