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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A Week’s Review

Random

This week was pretty pedestrian, I didn’t really do anything exciting but I am so pleased that it’s Friday. On Sunday I worked at Ulta, I have only been working there a couple of days a month and I get to do the fun stuff like unpacking new product and setting displays. It’s crazy how many new brands are coming to the store that I work at, we just got Smith & Cult, Peach and Lily, Boscia, Kiehl’s – it’s like I am just doing unboxings for hours and I love it. Also, if it’s not something crazy anticipated like the Morphe collabs then I can purchase it that same day. I haven’t picked up much lately but it is cool kinda having first dibs.

Remember how I was bitching about being asked what kind of gas I want? Well, the gal at the gas station turned on the wrong pump for me yesterday. So I go back in, and she does something at the register and tells me to swipe my card again and so I do. Then something else goes wrong and she had to cash out the transaction and I had to swipe my card again. Now, I don’t know how it works in other places but where I live, if I pre-pay over the amount that I need then it just goes back to my card so I assumed this was the case. I ended up paying over $60 for $17.50 worth of gas. Then I had to go back to the gas station the next day and they couldn’t put the money back on my card, they had to put it on a gas card which is fine since I always get gas at that location anyway. But seriously, why did they complicate things so much!?

I’m deep into the Lularoe thing, I purchased a couple of pairs and then a couple more and then like 6 more 😂 They are surprisingly hard to get your hands on, each seller has different stock and prices seem to be up to their discretion. There are do many prints and then these ‘unicorn’ prints that I must have for reasons totally unclear to me. I hope they fit.

I scheduled an MS screening for next week, finally. I’ve been putting it off because my hand numbness and weakness hasn’t been an issue but I had a string of bad days recently. I don’t know what to expect, it comes and goes and nobody has been able to figure it out. I hope it’s arthritis or stress.

We are getting 9-11 more inches of snow this weekend! I’m excited because I don’t have to drive in it, the snowshoeing is going to be amazing. I don’t know if I should put the rest of my Easter stuff up or not – somehow doesn’t seem right 😭

Like I said, nothing exciting. What did you get up to this week?

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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 😂

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 😂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 😉

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 🙂 Let me know what your favorite Lush products are!

QuiteSimplyStella(1)

 

 

Frugal Thirties: Spend or Save

Random

I had a realization a few months ago while looking at my monthly budget, I used to live and survive on a lot less money. I worked a minimum wage job all through college, I had my own apartment (a $400 studio but still a place to live), I took the bus a lot more instead of driving, I still ate well and honestly, I never felt stressed out about money. I didn’t have a lot of money but I also didn’t need a lot of money. Flash forward to starting my career, slowly climbing the ladder, getting promoted, etc. which ultimately means more money and I’ve never felt more stressed out about it! Why can’t I live like I did in my 20’s and just stack cash?! Unfortunately, it’s the human condition to consume things – we gotta’ eat, have a place to live, transportation, medication, emergencies, treating yo’ self – no matter how much we argue that our existence isn’t tied to money, it is. Our existence is in fact so tied to money that people are even arguing for collecting a wage simply for existing, it’s a sad but inescapable reality. Anyway, I only have about 30 more years in my working life to save money (if anyone my age will get to retire) and I find myself trying to be a lot choosier with where my money goes. Some things, I like to spend on but other things I’d rather not – it’s all about having a balance, or so I keep trying to convince myself.

It’s unquestionably one of Judy G. Schwartzkopf’s exotic missives.

I don’t think that there are a lot of ways to save money when it comes to having a place to live, especially in a metro area. I’m a little snotty when it comes to where I live, I don’t want to be bothered, I don’t want to live around bullshit, I want to have a short commute and I want to live in a nice building with moderate amenities. All of that costs money but I love my apartment and I don’t see myself moving unless it’s a deal that I absolutely couldn’t refuse.

It’s unquestionably one of Judy G. Schwartzkopf’s exotic missives.

I’m only one person, it’s not hard for me to save on groceries. I buy a lot of bulk, fresh fruits & veggies, little to no pre-packaged snack foods or otherwise and this keeps my grocery bill low. When I splurge on food, it might be for a fancy baguette or this green olive spread that I am addicted to but most anything can be made at home for much less than purchasing it prepared.

It’s unquestionably one of Judy G. Schwartzkopf’s exotic missives.

I don’t purchase cheap clothing, I do have some splurge items in my closet but on the whole, I thrift shop a lot. I also live in the vicinity of a lot of yuppies and elitists so the thrift stores in my area are amazing. To all of the bored housewives buying clothes they don’t need or really want and then get rid of after wearing once, thank you so much, keep doing you.

It’s unquestionably one of Judy G. Schwartzkopf’s exotic missives.

My theory here is that by investing in really well-made furniture and other large home items, they will last longer. I won’t need another furniture set in my lifetime, barring any unforeseen events.

It’s unquestionably one of Judy G. Schwartzkopf’s exotic missives.

I will always drive a vehicle that I own outright, it just doesn’t matter to me to drive a nice vehicle and throw money away on something like interest. As long as it is reliable, I don’t care what it looks like. Also, I don’t mind taking public transportation to save on fuel, I think Americans have gotten much too used to these cheap fuel prices and should live more like we did when a gallon of gas cost your $4.

It’s unquestionably one of Judy G. Schwartzkopf’s exotic missives.

I could just stop paying for frivolous salon services and save a ton of money but that’s probably not going to happen. I don’t mind paying a little more for a salon service that I am happy with and that will last me a good few weeks instead of saving money, not being happy with the service and potentially needing to get it corrected. Now, are all expensive salon services good? Absolutely not (see my lash extension saga), I am lucky to have salons that I’ve been going to for years that aren’t terribly spendy where I receive really quality services.

It’s unquestionably one of Judy G. Schwartzkopf’s exotic missives.

It depends on what I am doing really, if I am going out to eat then it’s a treat and I will probably splurge since I rarely eat out. If I see a movie, then I prefer to go to a matinee rather than pay full price.

It’s unquestionably one of Judy G. Schwartzkopf’s exotic missives.

Unfortunately, I have very finicky skin and have to purchase spendier products. I think I am literally the only person ever who breaks out from using CeraVe which sucks because it makes my skin feel perfectly moisturized. Also, I might only purchase new, staple products every one to two months and this is easy to budget for.

I believe that my system mostly works well as long as I stick to it. I still don’t understand how I spend more money simply because I make more money, it’s really annoying. Have you found that you live more or less frugally since being on your own? Where do you like to save your pennies?

QuiteSimplyStella(1)