My Favorite Season

The temperature in DC keeps plummeting, the days keep getting shorter, and we’ve even got a forecast for snow on the horizon. So it’s not surprising (especially given today’s wet, gloomy, sunless weather) that I’m seeing a lot of posts from folks proclaiming their hatred for the winter season.

And hey, I get it! It’s cold, it’s dreary, it’s cold, your skin gets dry, there’s less sunlight, it’s cold… well, you see where I’m going with this. But maybe it’s because I’d rather take being cold every time over being too hot, or maybe it’s because I lived in Canada for several years of my life so the winters here just don’t seem so bad, or maybe it’s because winter is the setting of both beginnings of my love story (Sean and I had our first date and got married in January), but I just really love winter.

I love the feel of crisp, dry winter air hitting my cheeks every time I step outside.

I love curling up under a knit blanket and watching holiday movies–good and bad–with my husband.

I love the scent of apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, peppermint, and sugar that float through my house whenever I’m baking. And by “baking”, I mean when I’m lighting candles that smell like all those things, of course.

I love curating my holiday playlists and listening to nothing but Christmas music from the day after Thanksgiving on. And the Hamilton Mixtape, duh.

I loooooooove Christmas lights.

I love the tastes of apple cider, eggnog, and peppermint. Predominantly emanating from my Starbucks cup.

I love the excuse to wear my Santa hat nonstop for a month. And I love the fact that when I do, people smile in response more often than they roll their eyes.

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And most of all, I love snow. It’s my most Lorelai Gilmore-esque quality. I love the crispness in the air when it’s about to snow. I love how watching it fall from the sky still seems like magic. I love the way it covers up the ugliest parts of winter to make it all seem fresh and new again.

Even when there’s over 30 inches of it… on my wedding day… I still love it. That’s how you know it’s love.

And okay, yes, of course there are lots of not-so-great things about winter, too. People really suck at driving in the snow, and even when you’re kind of good at handling snowy roads, the icy ones can still get ya. The weather can get so dry that the skin on your hands and lips cracks and splits in the most painful way, no matter how much moisturizer you lather on. The winds can be harsh, the ice painful, and I recognize that it’s a privilege and luxury for me to be able to bundle up and hide out in my warm home when the cold is just too much.

But still.

I just love it all.

What’s your favorite thing about winter?

Feeling “Off”

Man, I don’t know what it is about this week, but I have been out of it.

After having an amazingly productive first three weeks of January — setting up events for Yelp’s Fit Club, rockin’ the first phase of P90, planning a work trip to Savannah in a couple of weeks — these past couple of days have hit me hard.

On Monday, I fell asleep at 5 PM.

Like, legitimately fell asleep.

Until morning.

WTF?

Granted, I’d been up until 3 – 4 AM the few nights before that, so maybe there really is something to the idea that your body eventually needs to catch up on sleep, but… still. That’s pretty crazy, right? I slept for like… 15 hours. And when I woke up, I was still tired!

Which meant that despite my extra long Goldilocks-esque sleeping sesh, I ended up going through most of Tuesday in a bit of a haze. I spent most of the day on the phone for work and then preparing for an event that I had that night, and while the event itself was super fun, I was definitely wiped out by the end of it.

I figure that there are a few possible reasons for this week getting off to such a rocky start. Maybe I’m getting sick (likely, given my piss poor immune system, but other than being exhausted I don’t think I have any other symptoms), maybe it’s stress-related since I’ve got so many things on my plate right now, or maybe it’s the weather (though not the snow — I legitimately loooove snow and am so happy we finally got some inches! I’m sure any of you who live in Boston do NOT feel the same way though… sorry.)

As far as being impacted by the weather beyond the beautiful white fluff on the ground, it’s a definite possibility. It’s been crazy cold this week, so I’ve been spending more time indoors and I hear that sun exposure (or lack thereof) has a tendency to mess with you. I’ve never really thought of myself as someone who suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder, though.

Sure, I’ve experienced my share of the winter blues, and during my very, very brief stint with tanning, I can’t say I didn’t notice how spending a few minutes under the UV bulbs lifted my mood, but I guess I never really paid attention until recently as to whether all of it was connected. Y’know, whether my mood might have been bluer due to the weather, or just due to me being me. (It’s not like I’m known for my general mood stability, after all.)

Now, I’m not trying to self-diagnose myself with SAD or anything here. Rather, all of this conjecture is just to further illustrate the point that it’s been a bit of an off week for me so far. And unfortunately, this also means that I totally failed on the workout front on both Monday & Tuesday. So much for that flawless 90-day plan! Womp womp.

But! Snaps for me, I did get back on the wagon yesterday, so, hey, we move on. And, really, it’s not like taking two extra days off from working out is that big of a deal. I mean, let us not forget how many rest days I was taking before all of this. (Hint: all of them. It was all of them.)

Well, hopefully today will prove to be a very good day, even if it is once again jam-packed, because I’m off to see The Master. The master of hair color, that is! Yep, I’m heading back to Be Scene Studios so my main man Linh can work his hair color magic on me. The top half of the grey part of my hair has officially faded (interestingly enough, it’s faded to a blonde-ish color, which basically means my hair is like two-toned right now, aha!)

Any guesses as to what color I might come back with next? Here’s a quick reminder of what’s been done so far (in chronological order, but of course!):

Hair Collage

Aaaaanyway, I figure that gettin’ my hairs re-did is a good way to try and salvage the rest of this weird, weird week. Hope you’re all faring less strangely than I am this week!

Do any of you find the winter weather messes with you around this time of year? As with all things in my life, I do find it ever so comforting when I hear about all the various ways in which I’m not alone. 🙂

Fashion Friday: Snow Queen

In yet another misleading blog title, this is a makeup post hiding under the guise of Fashion Friday. Because, even though I still haven’t really figured out if makeup falls under the full “fashion” headline, “Makeup Friday” just doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. So, here we are. 🙂

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I actually had a pretty interesting (and hilarious) conversation with Sean the other night regarding winter makeup looks. It went something like this:

Me: I’m thinking about doing a winter makeup post on Friday. So basically I’m thinking it’ll just be like, glitter.
Sean: Makeup provides neither warmth nor coolness, so why is winter makeup different from summer makeup? Do you wear depressing makeup in the winter because winter is depressing?
Me: You are such a boy.
Sean: I just don’t understand women.

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Now, Sean’s unfortunate lack of knowledge regarding the intimate workings of makeup aside, he does make an interesting point. I mean, there’s no physical reason to sport different makeup looks just because of the weather. But I do it anyway, because I doubt I’m the only person who feels like there’s a shift in the air (and not just the temperature) when a new season rolls around. So over the next couple of months, as the weather continually gets colder and colder, expect to see more makeup looks on here that are winter appropro. Which, as stated above, essentially just means we’ll be diving further and further into the land of shimmer and glitter.

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Digression: I got contact lenses in the 6th grade, which means I was 10 years old (I skipped 2nd grade, so I’ve always been young for my year in school). I had to sit through this little class thing at the optometrist’s office where they instruct you on what not to do with your contacts. One of their rules was to be very careful when applying eye makeup (a rule that I obviously disregard wholeheartedly these days, hahaha). Well, little 10-year-old me had only one question throughout the entire training session (which, it should be said, was a group of people, all the rest of whom were adults). That question: Can I still wear eye glitter? I then proceeded to pull out my grape-scented purple glitter rollerball and show it to the technician. I am really serious about glitter.

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Anyway, this look is actually not very glittertastic (somewhat ironically, given that ridiculous story I just told, hahaha). But, it is super WINTERtastic. I used to think that light, shimmery makeup was retired back in high school, along with the light lipstick + dark lipliner trend (I’m looking at you, Jen Powell Robinson!), lest it conjure unfortunately dated looks like this one:

Yes, that is Katherine Heigl in the 1996 Disney Channel Original Movie, Wish Upon a Star, which was like Freaky Friday except totally awesomer. ANYWAY. As long as you’re not too heavy-handed, I’ve recently come to reappreciate the light, shimmery makeup look. And if you can look past the terrible lighting and bags under my eyes in these pics, since I took them at like, 11 PM last night, I think you might possibly be able to see why. It gives me this whole ethereal, winter-faerie-like look that I can totally vibe on.

And when paired with a subtle, shimmery lip, pink cheeks, and an icy blue eyeliner? It’s like a winter wonderland on your face, in a completely wearable, everyday way.

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Eyeshadow(s): Sephora Collection Colorful Mono Eyeshadow in Aspen Summit (23), all the way from my lash line to my brow bone. Then Urban Decay eyeshadow in Toasted along the outer half of my lid and in the crease (courtesy of my Naked palette, but they’re also sold individually).

Eyeliner: Urban Decay 24/7 eyeliner in Electric, on both top and bottom lids.

Mascara: CoverGirl Lash Blast Luxe (it has glitter IN THE MASCARA!) in Black Platinum.

Brow Pencil: Too Faced Brownies

Lipgloss: I got it for free when I was trying out BeautyMint (a subscription skincare thing), but any light-colored, shimmery gloss would do.

Blush and highlighter: NARS blush in Orgasm and Smashbox Halo Highlighting Wand in Gold, as always.

Are you drawn to different makeup looks in the winter?

PS: Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for two cans of Blue Diamond Almonds’ exclusive seasonal flavors!

Winterization

Don’t let the outrageously mild weather and distinct lack of snow fool you.

Christmas has come and gone, I’ve busted open my under-bed storage bins full of sweaters (closet space is quite the commodity in my room), and our gas bill is already climbing its way to “astronomical”: Winter is here.

I actually really like winter. It does, after all, contain my favorite holiday, promotes public hot chocolate consumption, and has snow! I’m sure that the rest of the metropolitan DC area would disagree with me, but I actually really love snow. I don’t love how people around here DRIVE in it (yet another reason I am thankful to have taken driver’s ed. in Canada… in February) but I love snow. It’s pretty, it’s fun, and unlike when I lived in Ottawa, it actually causes school and work closures here. Win!

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From my visit to Ottawa last February.

Unfortunately, this season has its downside as well. It would probably sound better if I said I struggled with something legitimate like seasonal affective disorder or… hypothermia… or something… but my biggest issue with the winter months instead lies in the horrible, itchy, flaky disaster that is my hands and feet come December. My skin gets so dry that not only does it peel uncontrollably, but I develop small, itchy red bumps all over my palms and soles. You’re welcome for that image.

In the past, I’ve suffered in nonstop whining silence because I was too lazy to do anything about it. This year, I’m trying to stop scratching myself into oblivion and actually combat the dryness in what a way that will hopefully preserve both my skin and my sanity. I’m still experimenting with what works best though, so I need your input! This is what I’m planning to do so far, deduced from both personal experience and, y’know, Google:

Moisturize.

When it’s this dry out, regular moisturizer is simply not enough. Even I know this. What I have recently learned, however, is that even special dry-skin lotion is not enough. I never really knew what people used Vaseline for other than keeping hair dye from staining your forehead, but apparently it can be used as a skin moisturizer. It seems to be the only thing that is marginally working for me right now, although a little birdie told me on Twitter that I should check out something called Aquaphor. I’m also trying to do that wearing-socks-after-moisturizing-thing, but it’s kind of annoying. Still, the lesser of two evils when the first evil is hand-agony.

Wash my hands, um, differently?

Apparently, according to some article I read online that I’m sure is totally accurate and written by someone with credentials and stuff, we wash our hands more often in the wintertime. Something about being more scared of germs than usual or something, I don’t know. As it turns out, all that constant hand-washing is very drying for our skin. In order to help circumvent further peeling and awfulness for my hands, I’ve nixed my antibacterial soap (which I hear I’m not really supposed to use anyway) for a bar of handmade lavender soap that my mom gave me for Christmas! Apparently I’m supposed to use warm, rather than hot, water to combat the dryness as well. The more you know…!

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Exfoliate.

I am a notoriously terrible exfoliator. Aside from haphazardly using my loofah in the shower, my exfoliation efforts are pretty lax. I’m really trying to make an effort to slough off all that gross dry skin this year though, so I’m going to embrace the economical solution of… the homemade sugar scrub! I just combine sugar and coconut oil (or you could use almond, or olive, or vegetable oil if you wanted to be even thriftier) to make a sort of paste, then rub-a-dub-dub it into my skin. I adjust the sugar-to-oil ratio higher for hand/foot use versus leg/body use. I’ve also read about using salt instead, but that doesn’t make sense to me. I feel like that would only serve to sap the moisture out of your skin, right? Anyway, I can say with certainty as someone who spends $38 on her face wash (I really should be more ashamed of that, shouldn’t I?), that this homemade concoction really is wonderful. And helps justify the aforementioned face wash, heh.

I’m hoping that making these things part of my routine will help save me from this horrible, ugly, itchy death. I’m also hoping that I can actually make these things part of my routine. Feel free to chime in with any other tips or tricks you might have up your sleeves!

Do you suffer from similar wintertime maladies? What are your self-winterization techniques?