March Happenings

Random

Everyone is seemingly of the opinion that January is a long schlep of an uneventful month but March is that month for me. It’s still kinda winter, nobody knows what to wear, produce is terrible. I’m glad to see the end of it, I’ve been gone for a bit so let’s have a catch-up!

My new car is still the main event of this past month. I definitely like it and am happy to report that I sold the Mazda to someone who seemed excited to fix it. I think it will ride again 😭

I think that I found the most amazing burger replacement ever. I picked up these Beyond Meat patties randomly even though I’m not big into meat replacements and I’m so glad I did! They have a grilled flavor to them and the texture is perfect, not at all like a mashed bean patty. I definitely recommend!

I didn’t read a single book in March and I blame Desperate Housewives and BuzzFeed Unsolved for my lack of reading time. I do plan to read more in April but if the weather gets really good, I might whiff again 😝

Lent has been trying and we’re not even half-way through, I’m not having trouble sticking to my penitence but I’m getting burnt out on going to mass. I think I’m the only person under 60 at my church, where are all of the hot Irish Catholic guys?! It doesn’t bother me when I’m only going once a week but when it’s three times a week, I want some eye candy! I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

Not much else to report, our busy season is ramping up at work but I have some fun excursions scheduled in the coming months. How was your month, what did you get up to?

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TOMS Wishlist

Sustainable Living

Have you ever eaten something really disappointing and thought, well fuck, I wish I could get those calories back. I wish I was one of those people who could create recipes but I’m not and depend on the internet for most of my recipes. Usually this works for me but this one was a dud.

It was supposed to snow 10 inches today, it didn’t. Instead it rained for hours and only just started snowing about an hour ago. The rain put me in a panic because I need new rainboots. I wear rainboots from about April 1 to Thanksgiving, I wear out a pair a year. Does it rain everyday for 6 months in Minnesota? No, in fact it does not but a few years ago, I stepped in a puddle of slimy water and woke up with a rash all the way up to my thigh. I got a skin infection, I had a fever and now I wear rainboots all of the time because water in the city is wretched. I didn’t find a new pair of rainboots but fell in love with about 10 pairs of new TOMS that I don’t need. I like TOMS, I’ve been sporting them since they became available in 2006. Over the years though, I’ve become more skeptical of this for-profit organization and its good intentions. It’s a couple of things for me, the influx of donated shoes must disrupt the local economies, canvas shoes aren’t great for most terrain, 40 bucks is a lot to pay for some canvas shoes that have basically become the trendy footwear of hipsters and yuppies. Do I like the idea of One-for-One? Yeah, absolutely but it makes me wonder if local businesses struggle to compete with a foreign supply chain. The donated shoes are exported to Ethiopia, Kenya, India and Haiti. Now, their shoes are plenty durable for my pedestrian, desk job working life but that 1/2 centimeter rubber sole wouldn’t hold up to much more. Are they the best shoes for kids in these countries? Being a middle class American, the cost of the shoes is a bit prohibitive. I own about a dozen pairs that I’ve collected over the years but wouldn’t they sell more pairs if they reduced their profit margin and cut the cost of them? I mean, I’m just sayin’. I’ve also owned my TOMS for years so I don’t really consider them fast fashion or wasteful, I get a lot of wear from them. I know that the organization now supports other causes like vaccines, clean water and eyecare so trendy shoes were obviously a great gateway cause. Anyway, I still like the shoes and appreciate the effort and need some spring kicks πŸ˜‰

Also, I just noticed that the canvas classics are 54.95! Let me know your thoughts on TOMS. How much good are they really doing? They’d just be ugly ass shoes if they weren’t TOMS, right πŸ˜‰

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Dust to Dust

Random

And so it begins, 40 days of repentance, giving up all my favorite things and basking in all-around misery. But I’m Catholic and if I’m not suffering then I’m probably doing it wrong 😭 In all honesty, Lent isn’t so bad – I hated it as a kid but I have found some clarity and peace in making small sacrifices as I have aged. Lent is a period of reflection and rebirth that I’ve come to enjoy. It’s also free of my mother’s salmon patties which is probably a huge reason that I dreaded it in my youth. My mom was a lot of things, a good cook not being one of those things πŸ˜‚ Anyway, in addition to the usual fasting I chose sugar and social media as my sacrifices this year. Social media was a bit of a softball since I don’t love it anyway but I have a pretty serious relationship with jellybeans and I’m already jonesing for a bag. Oh, and porn, decided to cut back on that too. Not really but I always wonder how honest people are about what they are abstaining from for Lent. Like you never hear anyone mention giving up porn or smoking crack – are sugar and social media really my only vices or are they just the ones that I feel comfortable sharing?! Who can say.

People in my life are generally pretty surprised when they find out I’m a fairly devout Catholic and honestly, same. In the year or two after my mission trip and deciding not to be a nun, I didn’t participate in the church at all, it disgusted me. I still find Catholicism pretty problematic, the entire organization needs a rebrand and I’m not talking about tambourines in the choir because that’s blasphemy. All the geezers who have been responsible for covering up scandals have got to go – from the Pope down. I think that people my age are extremely disappointed and distrustful of our church leaders and these issues need to be dealt with before we can find peace in our faith. Could I convert to something else? Probably but like I said, tambourines.

This post was really just to announce my abstinence from social media (aside from blogging) and a plea for jelly beans πŸ˜‚ Do you celebrate Lent? Can it be referred to as a celebration? What are you abstaining from?

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Vegan Things I Can’t Even

Sustainable Living

March 1 marks two months since I jumped on the vegan train and I’ve mostly been loving it. As with anything though, there are some aspects of the vegan lifestyle that I just can’t get into. There are things I wouldn’t eat prior to my lifestyle change like caviar, frog’s legs or quail eggs – there are odd delicacies in any diet, plant-based being no exception. I don’t care how nutritious these items are, I just can’t even.

Nutritional Yeast – This deactivated yeast was a staple of my childhood nightmares. My dad used it as a popcorn topping and I’d forgotten about it until I needed it for a recipe recently. Once I cracked the seal, all of those years of foot popcorn came flooding back. Yack. Apparently it’s a staple ingredient in cheese substitutes which probably explains my aversion to them 😭

Black Bean & Most Plant Based Burgers – Now, I’ve tried some good ones but the vast majority of these burger substitutes have total gag-worthy texture.

Tofu Hotdogs – Another delicacy from my youth, tofu pressed into any unnatural shape is off-putting. It tastes delicious without having to masquerade as something else.

Cheese’ – Vegan cheese is literally the worst, how does it smell 100 times more like cheese than actual cheese?!

Kombucha – I don’t think this a vegan thing as much as it is an everyone’s lost their fucking minds thing. My first kombucha experience, I ended up with all the globs of fungus coming in the first swallow 🀒 Just gagged a little thinking about it.

Eggs – I’ve tried one soy egg product that was amazing and one that was just what you’d think soy eggs would be like. I’m steering clear for now, the good ones are incredibly hard to find.

Toona – Mostly because this plant-based tuna tastes like an old folks’ home smells – don’t act like you don’t know what that means 😝

There are loads of delicious recipes and vegan treats available, I find that I just don’t like the ones that are trying to imitate something else. I much prefer hodge podges of veggies and legumes to any processed stuff but it’s all about personal taste. Let me know what food aversions you have.

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February Favorites

Random

Before we get into the handful of favorite products that I have, has anyone tried Lularoe leggings? What’s the tea? Are they good quality? I’m down to my last couple pairs of workout leggings and need some that will hold up. Let me know!

My first favorites are these Blush Bomb liquid blushes from Flower Beauty. I’ve become more cognizant of fine lines which tends to happen when my skin is dry, I’ve been trying to use more cream products. These are awesome, super easy to use, I just press them on with a damp sponge and done.

Continuing with the anti-aging theme, I’ve not been wearing foundation and opting for this Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream instead. It doesn’t have a ton of coverage but enough to even my skin out. It’s very lightweight and doesn’t emphasize anything or settle in creases.

These are naked cleansing balms from Lush in Jade Roller and Tea-Totaler. I think they’re pretty new and are basically solid cleansing oils. Once you start to work them into your skin, they soften up. They remove makeup really well, smell lovely and are totally package free.

This cream shadow from Charlotte Tilbury is all I’ve been wearing on my eyes since getting my new lashes. It’s so creamy and long-wearing, I love that it has the appearance of being a whole eye look but it’s one shadow. I don’t know what the shade is because I’ve probably had it for too long and the label wore off πŸ˜‚

I’ve tried Schmidt’s deodorant before and didn’t love it. I gave it another shot because my psoriasis has been real bad on my underarms lately. Applying deodorant over broken skin is the worst and you aren’t supposed to do it anyway. I grabbed this out of desperation, this flavor is really good! I don’t think it feels nearly as wet as other ones I’ve tried and it doesn’t burn my irritated skin.

Already raved about it, still loving Karma Kream and waiting for a bigger tub!

Let me know what your you were loving this month, have you tried any of these?

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Death of a Paperback Romance

Minimalism

No, this post is not about my non-existent love life πŸ˜‚This weekend I went to a used bookstore that I frequent on the regular. I haven’t purchased anything in awhile and mostly just go to check out their enormous collection of unusual sci-fi novels with hopes of picking up my very own Fox Mulder 😝 It’s a very cool shop operated by some old hippies and just one of those peculiar places that are disappearing. There are literally thousands of books in this store and this weekend I got to thinking about all the stacks of unwanted books and if books are becoming too much of a good thing.

There used to be a time when printed books were incredibly hard to acquire and treated like precious commodities. In the era of the mass paperback though, every household tends to have a few dozen books laying about. As a former educator, I certainly understand the importance of reading and literature being accessible to everyone. However, clearly there’s a lot of waste when it comes to books. While it’s important to ensure equal access to books, does there really need to be 20 copies of one Danielle Steele novel in existence?! Books can be recycled but it feels a bit wrong to throw a book away no matter how trivial the subject matter might be or how well-worn it is. Unwanted books can be donated which seems like a great way to waste not but are they really being purchased or rather sitting on a shelf in triplicate?

Even if the rest of the world doesn’t recognize what I refer to as book-waste or, seemingly doesn’t since I can’t find a single statistic on it, it’s something I’m trying to be more cognizant of. I rarely purchase physical books but always buy used when I do or simply check the book out from the library. I still absorb a ton of literature though through other mediums as well like audiobooks and yes, even the sacrilegious e-reader 😝 I don’t love the e-reader, I only just recently started using one and it doesn’t feel like a real book to me. That aside, my library offers a service where I can check out most any book digitally and access it on my device. There are also loads of free books available through my Amazon Prime subscription. My favorite zero-waste book though has to be the audiobook which I never would have thought possible since I love reading so much. Listening to a book though somehow makes me feel more immersed in the story. Even though I’m sure it’s more beneficial to my brain to actually be reading I still love a good audiobook. I’m still a total book junkie, whenever I need my book fix, I’ll visit a bookstore, do some browsing and then download the titles I’m interested in. It’s not quite the same but having consumed so many book already in my lifetime, I feel better about not creating more waste.

What are your thoughts on book-waste, is it even a thing to be concerned about? Tell me if you prefer a physical book or are fine with digital media! Does it make you a bit melancholy to see stacks if unwanted books or am I just a bit odd πŸ˜‰

QuiteSimplyStella(1)

Current Shower Essentials

Clean Beauty

I say current because I often get bored with the products that I am using and only have 1 or 2 that I must have in my routine. Especially when it comes to body and hair products, I am not terribly fussy. I love Lush and trying new things from them, I’ve generally had really good experiences with their bath/body care. Lush has definitely received some bad press over the years, not all of the ingredients they use are natural, they use essential oils, many of their products are heavily fragranced – you might even call them a green-washed beauty brand. While all of their products are vegetarian, they aren’t vegan and you get into the grey area if that means they can be truly cruelty-free, and I certainly understand some of the skepticism. I choose to shop at Lush because they have a large variety of package free products and their pots are made in the US of 100% post-consumer recycled plastic. Also, I don’t believe that just because something is natural that it’s automatically good for you, I have used a couple of bath bombs that irritate my skin and tend to avoid those but most of their products work for me. They aren’t the most cutting edge products and they tend to be a bit costly, some are worth the money and some simply aren’t.

P1

Delicious Yellow Regular

This has been my go-to body cleanser, I have repurchased it twice now and it’s amazing for dry skin. It doesn’t get terribly sudsy but enough to feel like I’m cleansing my skin, it also leaves my skin feeling soft and soothed. It smells mostly like nothing but does have a bit of a tea tree scent to it, nothing luxurious but does what it’s supposed to. It is packed with skin-soothing ingredients like rose water, oats, cocoa butter and olive oil. The 8 ounce pot lasts me about a month, I actually wish it came in a larger pot but I feel it’s a pretty good value.

Delicious Yellow Regular

I haven’t tried a shampoo bar from Lush that I haven’t liked but this one has the most beautiful, long-lasting scent. I have normal hair, it isn’t dry and it isn’t oily – I can pretty much use anything on it and it’s fine. This bar cleans my hair without drying it out or leaving any residue behind and the lather is crazy amazing. Since these bars are concentrated shampoo, I think you get about 80 washes from them and there’s no plastic waste.

P2

Delicious Yellow Regular

This is a product that I have to have, I’ve used Karma Kream for years – I love the scent and it keeps my skin super moisturized. It’s is fragranced with just enough patchouli, subtle and smoky and so lovely. The texture isn’t too thick and goopy like other natural creams that I’ve used, it’s a very nice texture and a little goes a long way.

That’s my current shower routine, simple products that get the job done πŸ™‚ Let me know what your favorite Lush products are!

QuiteSimplyStella(1)