Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Things That Are Not The Color They're Supposed to Be

When we first moved to Virginia, I was browsing on Pinterest for cool things to do around here, when I came across this image.

I have no idea what the original source is. I have looked and looked and looked.

And I immediately thought, "I want to go to there." The pin described it as "Cherry River, West Virginia." So I looked up Cherry River, saw it was a 2.5 hour drive from us, decided that we would go when spring came, and stopped thinking about it.

So. It's now spring. Last week, I told Matt I wanted to go see Cherry River on Sunday, now that things are blooming. And we searched high and low and could find NO MENTION of pink trees. No other photos from people who had been there. No travel blogs listing it as a place to see. I asked my boss, who is from West Virginia, and she said she'd never heard of this, but went ahead and asked some of her hometown friends, none of whom had ever seen anything like this either.

They suspected someone took a picture of a river and stuck a pink filter on it. Plus, none of the other photos of Cherry River I found look like this at all.

I was disappointed. LIES, ALL LIES.

But that's okay. Matt and I decided that we'd go out and do something new on Saturday instead, so we found ourselves at a roller derby bout in Roanoke. It was pretty awesome; I'd never been to see roller derby before, and it was a fun experience, the two of us trying to figure out how the game was scored and watching the derby girls try to hip-check each other out of the rink.

(Side story: Matt and I went for a walk after work yesterday, and I told him I wanted to do some blogging. He said, "About your hair?" and I said "No, about Cherry River," and he said, "You could call the post, 'Things That Are Not The Color They Are Supposed to Be,'" and I laughed and laughed, so there you go.)

BTdubs, I LOVE MY HAIR. I went in Saturday and it took like three hours to get all the bleaching done and lavender added, but it turned out so awesome and I love it, and my colorist said it would still look good as it fades into lighter purple, with shades of pink and silver and blonde. It's like My Little Pony in the best possible way. 

Also, thanks to the bleaching experience, I now know that a whole head of blonde is not something that looks good on me, so now I don't feel like I have to try that anymore.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Hypochondriac's Guide to Books: Introduction

When I was in the seventh grade, our science teacher read the first chapter of The Hot Zone to our class. It was not a good experience. I have always been a worrier and a hypochondriac.

Emphasis on TERRIFYING.

After class that day, the teacher had to call my mom, because I was visibly not okay. I had never heard of ebola before, and after The Hot Zone's graphic descriptions of the symptoms, I subsequently spent the next 15 years worrying that I was going to get it, despite having never left the United States.

(I finally got over that worry — you know, as you do — as soon as that first case of ebola actually made its way to Texas. Because I don't worry about realistic problems.)

But to this day, I generally try not to read things that I think will freak me out. And more than once, I have googled "hypochondria [insert book title here]" to no avail. Apparently that's not something people think to include when they write book reviews.

But I decided that someone should go ahead and start this vital service! Because I have had several book club picks come up where I have been very worried about the month's selected or potential books, and people don't tend to take me seriously when I ask them if they think it will make me freak out. (It doesn't take much to freak me out.)

The first book I'm going to review is actually the one that I resisted for months in my new book club. Someone suggested Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel, and I asked the other members about the hypochondria factor, and they all told me that it was fine, I'd be fine, etc. etc. and yet I refused to believe them or vote for it and was basically a baby until finally they picked it anyway.

I'm actually pretty excited about revisiting some of the books I've read recently with illness factors, and maybe I can help someone out who does the same googling that I do.

Do you have any irrational worries? What do you look for in a book review?

Monday, March 7, 2016

Skin Care, or How Apathy Became Obsession

I have never had much interest in beauty products. I like lip colors a lot, and I wear a minimal amount of makeup everyday, but otherwise, you could pretty much guarantee that I was Not Interested. I routinely skipped past advertisements and recommendations for new treatments in the Beauty section of the few magazines I subscribe to, and I was generally bored by discussions of omg wrinkles crow's feet laugh lines aaaaah.

But then … a couple of months ago, I came to a realization. My skin was looking rough. There's a picture from Christmas from when Matt and I visited Washington D.C., and I swear you can tell how dry my skin is just by looking at the picture. I'm 28. I never developed a skin care routine, unless you count routinely falling asleep without washing my face. I was starting to see some good-sized creases in my forehead that didn't go away when I stopped making faces, and my skin always felt super itchy and dry.

And I thought maybe I was worrying about nothing, so I asked some friends about their skincare routines, and that's when I learned that I have been doing my entire life wrong. I didn't even know what my correct skin type was, so I don't know what I expected to happen when I bought face products. The few products that I had used and liked are, apparently, The Worst for your skin, according to people who pay attention to that kind of thing, and all the good habits I never developed are, apparently, Super Important. Things like, remove your makeup before bed! and Wear sunscreen every day! and If your skin is already dry, stop using things that dry it out more!

I bought moisturizers for day time and moisturizers for nighttime, cleansers that don't have skin-destroying plastic scrubby things in them, sunscreen that doesn't feel slimy and look greasy. I finally pulled the trigger and used a gift card to buy one of those face-scrub brushes that I've been thinking about since before we got married (… almost five years ago). I've become a tiny bit obsessed with reading about Korean skin care products, and got a subscription to the Jini Beauty Box so I can try out some of the products suggested by people who know what they're doing.

For years I pooh-poohed the idea of skin care because there's nothing wrong with aging and I'm going to look the way I'm going to look whether I spend money on face cream or not and  it all seems so complicated and I have other things to think about. (At my sister's bachelorette party, I compared skin care "routines" with both the bride and my cousin, and discovered that NONE of us had ever removed our makeup before bedtime.)

But it makes a difference. In how my skin looks and how it feels. And how I feel about myself. I'm a convert.

I'm still early enough in the process that I'm hesitant to share my favorite items yet (plus, discovering new ones all the time!), but maybe I will over the next few months. My sister has asked for recommendations when I find things I like, so I'm excited that maybe my trial and error will be helpful to someone that is still as apathetic as I used to be about the whole thing.

What are your favorite beauty items? At what age did you start to get serious about your skin?

Monday, January 18, 2016

If I'm Honest, I'm Afraid

Yesterday I had a bit of an existential crisis, and so I did the only thing I could think of that always puts me in a better mood: I went to the bookstore.

And as I was browsing the "Personal Growth" self-help shelves, I saw a daily journal titled something like Do Something That Scares You Every Day, full of pages with quotes about conquering fear and making your dreams come true and whatnot.

And as I flipped through it rather quickly, I kind of scoffed. This could not be useful to me. I'm not scared of anything, I thought.

So I turned away, and continued browsing, picked out a couple books to buy (Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey and Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert), got a latte and sat in the cafe to read the book I was carrying in my purse at the time. (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. A re-read. Also, very heavy to be carrying around all the time.)

But as I drove home, and made dinner, and sat in front of the fourth quarter of the football game that Matt was watching, my brain was percolating. If I'm being honest, I'm afraid of LOTS of things.

I'm afraid of falling. Of failing. Of getting hurt, or embarrassed, or hurting someone else on accident. Of disappointing others.

I'm afraid of making the wrong decision. Of permanence. Of how impermanent my existence is.

I'm scared that I won't make an impact. I'm scared of alienating people with the things I'm passionate about. I'm scared that I am passionate about too many things, and that I never make the proper effort or time to follow through with any of them.

It scares me that I still don't know what I want to do with my life. It scares me that I'm getting closer to 30 and still don't know if I want kids.

I'm afraid that I've lost my creative spark from lack of use.

It scares me that I could go so long without writing.

It scares me that I am still so ignorant about so many things, even though I am trying hard to learn more about other time periods, other cultures, other experiences.

And so maybe I need to stop thinking I've got it together, and start dealing with these fears. Maybe if I have a grip on what scares me, I won't be so afraid of squandering my own existence.

What are you afraid of? Have you taken active steps to get over any of your fears? What things make you feel better when you start questioning everything?

Monday, December 14, 2015

My Sister's Married!

It was beautiful. She was beautiful. The groom cried. I cried. I made a toast and cried some more. I made a Friends reference in my toast.

It is a love about having, and giving, and sharing, and receiving.
(Honeymoon portrait by the photographer on their cruise. Rachel hasn't gotten all the official wedding photos back yet.)

But let's be honest. What you really want to see is how her dress turned out. You may recall that Rachel went to school to study fashion design. And that she had planned to design and sew her own wedding dress.

She said she spent over 260 hours hand-beading the dress. And she looked like a million bucks.

All photos by me or via Facebook unless otherwise specified

From her bridal portrait session by Tyson Pough, pulled from Facebook. 
(It's the best photo I have of the detail, sorry if I'm not supposed to steal it, Rachel!)

I'm so impressed. Every time anyone asks me how the wedding went, I have to whip out my phone and show them her work. I keep telling her she needs to start her own business.

With our beautiful mom. Rachel didn't carry a bouquet; instead she won this dramatic bridal cuff.

I did a good job as Best Person of Awesomeness, if I do say so myself. I confiscated her phone pretty much immediately and fielded all the potential drama away from her. I did ridiculous things to try to keep her laughing. We watched/quoted the Friends episode with Monica and Chandler's wedding, because that's what Rachel wanted to do, and we probably destroyed my cousin's data plan with the Netflix usage.

Waiting around inside. It was cold and incredibly windy out.

Bridesmaid selfies! 

With my pretty cousin! 
The flowers were really beautiful. It's a shame I couldn't take them home, because Elliott likes to eat flowers.

The wedding was lovely, and the food was excellent. I ate a lot of dinner rolls and penne pasta, among other things, and Matt ate a lot of cake. We danced to Big Band-era music, with the occasional "Cha-Cha Slide" and "Cupid Shuffle" thrown in. My parents danced together quite a few times (!!!), and my mom was out on the dance floor almost the whole night!

I don't have any photos of Rachel's car, but we decorated it too, for the sendoff. (Matt thought of that. In that regard, I failed as Best Person of Awesomeness.) We got it done just in time for them to walk out among golden ribbon wands, and Matt threw some snacks and beers and waters in the backseat for them to consume later (since they left a lot of their dinner and cake plates on the sweetheart table, uneaten, FOR SHAME).

And once the wedding was over, we went back to my parents' house with some of our family members where I learned that my dad had bought not one, but THREE enormous bottles of moscato! (Regular moscato, pink moscato and red moscato! He's not a wine drinker, and I guess I didn't make myself clear when I requested red wine…) Surprise, they all tasted basically the same.

I'm so glad we had time to spend with the family and that everything turned out so beautifully. :)