Showing posts with label shopping. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shopping. Show all posts

02 September 2017

My Successful Skincare Regimen May Actually Just Be Magical Thinking

The master bathroom medicine cabinet annoys me and I dream of replacing it, but it's one of those "it's only annoying twice a day and no-one else sees it" issues so I've done nothing about it for ten years. It's annoyingly shallow and the shelves are tooclosetogether to allow for storage of anything that is much taller than a deodorant stick. To fit my full size Clinique products, I actually took out a shelf. But, even then, I have to tilt the bottles at an angle to get them in or out. And, because of the way the bottoms of the shelves are gridded, the bottles can't go all the way to the back of the cabinet. Every time I open the medicine cabinet, it basically feels like Clinique's Acne Solutions products are preparing to leap out and assault my face.


I've never had "good" skin. Over the years, I've spent so much time in dermatologists' offices and so much money on prescriptions without ever seeing enough improvement to warrant the cost. I stopped seeing my most recent dermatologist well over a year ago now, when I accepted that no matter what concerns I brought to her, she just going to keep giving me scrips for antibiotics and samples of rosaccea meds.

Antibiotics are something I want to take because I am ill, not because I am constantly and painfully broken out. As for rosaccea, maybe I have it. Maybe, I don't. It's the painful, cystic acne that's always bothered me and the thing I most wanted to deal with.

But, you know, the last few years were also full of Butt Troubles and there were only so many battles I could fight. Basically, I stopped going to the dermatologist, bought a Clarisonic face brush with the Acne Cleansing Brush Head and Acne Daily Clarifying Cleanser. Also started using the Clinique Redness Solutions Soothing Cleanser, Daily Relief Cream, and makeup. My face did not get worse and, sometimes, it was even visibly better. Indeed, it got to the point where I might have two or three weeks of relatively "normal" looking skin followed by a week of terribly broken out, painful skin. And I thought I could live with that.

Then I survived the Butt Troubles and changed jobs and decided I wanted "normal" pain free skin all the time, goshdarnit. So I went to the Internets and read many things and then I went to the Clinique counter at Macy's and talked to a nice Polish woman who send me home with the Acne Solutions Clear Skin System Starter Kit. She would have sent me home with a bunch of other products, too, I think but she could see that I was already balking at using three products. (I'd had a bad experience with an Avon acne treatment system in my teens and had been giving toner the side eye ever since).

So I gave it a try. And it's worked. Enough so that I now buy the full size bottles of the three. I don't need to apply much at any one time, so they last for a quite while.


In the mornings, I cleanse my face with a squirt of Acne Solutions Cleansing Foam on the Clarisonic Acne Cleansing Brush Head and then pop in the shower. After, I moisturize with Redness Solutions Daily Relief Cream and apply cosmetics.

In the evenings, I remove my cosmetics with a bit of Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm, followed by tepid rinse, then a squirt of Acne Solutions Cleansing Foam on the Clarisonic Acne Cleansing Brush Head, another tepid rinse, a quick dab of Acne Solutions Clarifying Lotion with a cotton ball, and then a very light coat of Acne Solutions All-Over Clearing Treatment. I cannot use the Clarifying Lotion and Clearing Treatment more than once a day or my face gets super itchy so I save them for bedtime, when I'm not going to be wearing cosmetics over them (because it seems weird to me to put cosmetics on after them, anyway).

I also have a wee bottle of Origins Super Spot Remover Blemish Treatment Gel which I dab on any blemishes that look like they're edging toward angry and painful. I started using the gel after reading about it on several acne forums and, wow, it works well. A little dab is all I need once or twice a day.


tl;dr: I seldom have whiteheads, anymore, and I can't tell you the last time I experienced a nodular or cystic acne flareup. Yes, my skin still has a tendency to run towards red and blotchy and I'll never insta #nomakeup, but my face doesn't ever hurt. So, hooray, I don't feel like I'm locked in eternal battle with my skin, anymore, and I'm finally beginning to enjoy cosmetics.

(But ... I'm aware I may be engaging in magical thinking, that my clearer pain-free skin may be due to a number of factors out of my control like hormonal changes caused by a loss of fibroids and incipient perimenopause. But I don't know for certain, so I'll keep doing what I'm doing until it stops working).

27 September 2016

A Hankering for Cake; Or, a Cake Emergency Is Averted & there is rejoicing

I was experiencing a powerful hankering for cake, but didn't have the energy to commit to baking a full-size scratch cake, and then remembered the Duncan Hines Perfect Size Red Velvet Crush Heart-Shaped Cake mix kit I'd picked up on clearance just after Valentine's Day last year and put away for a "cake emergency." (What? You don't have cake emergencies? Get on with you!)

These Perfect Size cake mix kits are really quite a clever gimmick. In each kit, there's a bag of glaze or frosting mix, a bag of cake mix, and a twee little baking pan. You just add a bit of egg, butter, water, and milk and *ta-da* you're off to the races. Each cake serves 2-4 people, depending on appetite, and we did manage 4 servings from this heart-shaped one.

Threw on some red confetti sprinkles to make it look less homely. Did not succeed.

What did this red velvet cake taste like? Like a light, mildly chocolate sponge. The glaze was also only mildly chocolate-y, but quite sweet. Happily, the unsweetened whipped cream I served with this cake helped to balance out the sweetness of the glaze and we scarfed it down with big cups of tea. A quarter of the cake per person (or one ventricle, as The Husband called it) was the perfect sized serving -- cravings were assuaged without leaving anyone feeling uncomfy around the waistband.

Would I buy this cake mix kit again? Not the red velvet (the heart-shaped kit was a limited edition, but there's an all-season round version available), no, but I wouldn't mind trying the Perfect Size Strawberries and Crème cake mix kit (garnished with fresh strawberries and whipped cream, obviously).

28 January 2012

Tomatoes All The Time w/ Amazon Subscribe & Save

I wasn't joking when I said we've been going through a lot of tomato products since I started the pantry challenge. Oh, I mean, I must have known we normally go through a lot of them as it feels as if I'm always buying more, but I never really tracked usage as obsessively as I have since I started the challenge. I'm thinking I should really start buying tomato products -- diced, crushed, and fire-roasted -- by the case.

Back in 2009, I talked about buying Muir Glen products through Amazon's Subscribe & Save, but I whussed out because buying groceries from Amazon seemed like the height of laziness. I'd probably still think that if I hadn't broken my ankle and been off my feet for six months -- Subscribe & Save became The Best Thing Ever at that point as all the things I needed came to me. So, yes, maybe I should subscribe to some tomatoes already!

What have I been making with all these tomatoes? Many delicious things! Most recently, I made a heavily adapted version of Rachael Ray's "Gemilli with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce" for the pantry challenge. It came out really well, but I should really try the original one day!

Pasta!

Easy Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce & Chicken

1 large shallot, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
12 oz jar roasted red peppers, drained
6 oz frozen cooked chicken strips, halved
1 cup low-sodium tomato sauce (leftover from other recipes)
½ cup white wine
2 tsp Penzeys Tuscan Sunset (salt-free Italian-style seasoning blend)
salt and pepper to taste
6 oz whole wheat fusilli, prepared as directed
Parmesan, as desired

Puree red peppers using whatever appliance you prefer -- I used my immersion blender, because I am obsessed with it and must blend all the things.

Heat oil in a French/Dutch oven. Add shallot and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are translucent and a little gold around the edges. Add pepper puree and cook, stirring occasionally, for two minutes. Add tomato sauce, wine, chicken, and seasoning blend. Cover and cook at a low simmer for about 10 minutes (or as long as it takes you to make the pasta). Season to taste. Toss with pasta. Sprinkle with a little Parmesan. Eat. Serves 2 hungry people.

10 December 2011

Tomato-tastic Presents!

For the third year in a row, Muir Glen sent me a limited edition Reserve kit. Besides the awesome little basket (which I look forward to using in my vegetable garden next summer), I received Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies, No-Salt Added Diced Tomatoes, Reserve Harvest Sunset Organic Fire Roasted Red & Yellow Diced Tomatoes, Reserve Harvest Sunset Organic Red & Yellow Diced Tomatoes, and a recipe booklet.

2011 Limited Edition Reserve Tomatoes

I don't know how Muir Glen found me or why they send me free products, but I hope they never stop. Muir Glen is the only brand of canned tomatoes I use these days as they're organic, high-quality, and so very flavorful -- sweet and ripe-tasting, that taste as if they were just picked and processed yesterday.

If you've never ordered a Muir Glen Reserve kit before, I suggest you do so rightnowthisminute. $15 dollars gets you a beautiful basket of tomato goodness!

Legalese: I am not affiliated with Muir Glen Organics nor was I compensated for gushing over their Reserve kit. All opinions, such as they are, are my own.

15 September 2011

Sweets from Abroad

Lest you think we spent all our vacation time eating, let me also just say we certainly spent some of it buying food to bring back with us. Yes. And we were doing pretty good until we wandered into the Wigan Thorntons shop. Until then, we'd only acquired a few boxes of Mr Kipling cakes and a couple small bags of chocolate. Thorntons was our undoing. We walked in ...

Thorntons ChocolatesThorntons Chocolates

... and we walked out with a carry-on's worth of chocolate.

British Sweets, ftw!
(Doesn't include all the chocolate we bought as gifts ... or ate before arriving home!)

14 August 2010

Happy Anniversary! I Bought You Some Peppers

We celebrated our eleventh wedding anniversary by visiting not one, but two farmers markets!

Burlington Farmers Market
268 Spielman Highway
Fridays through October, 3-6

This year, Gresczyk Farms is the only vendor at Burlington, but they put out a good spread and we picked up some lovely yellow squash, pickling cucumbers, peaches, and huge stuffing peppers. When we go back next Friday, I'll be sure to pick up some eggs and hydroponically grown butter lettuce, too.


Southington-Plantsville Farmers Market
1003 South Main Street
Fridays through October, 3-6

The Plantsville market had about five vendors -- including one who was custom cutting chunks of Cabot cheddar from a huge block. We considered buying some, but decided we had enough cheese at home. Madness, I know. We did buy tomatillos, zucchini, apples, and baked goods (including a yummy pumpkin pie square).


Combine my farmers market loot with the huge bowl of cherry and small fruit tomatoes I harvested from my garden and it looks as if my kitchen is exploding with produce. What to do?

Well, I have a plan. A menu plan ...

29 June 2010

Tasty Penzeys Loot

Over the weekend, The Husband took me to our local Penzeys so I could stock up on some necessities. I'd been a little worried about taking my wheelchair into such a little shop, but there was enough floorspace available for me to get around and find all the things I was looking for without knocking down racks of merchandise.

Penzeys Loot

I picked up:
  1. Regular Canadian Mustard Powder
  2. Herbes de Provence ("rosemary, cracked fennel, thyme, savory, basil, tarragon, dill weed, Turkish oregano, lavender, chervil and marjoram")
  3. Northwoods Seasoning ("coarse flake salt, paprika, black pepper, thyme, rosemary, garlic and chipotle")
  4. Horseradish Dip ("ground horseradish, salt, dextrose, onion powder, lemon peel, dill weed, black pepper and chives")
I had two coupons so the Northwoods Seasoning ($3.39) and the Herbes de Provence blend ($2.39) were free. Yays!

(Horseradish dip was The Husband's impulse buy. We like dip. We like horseradish. We shall like horseradish dip?)