Note to Self

Hi future self. It is currently July, 2016. I’ve enjoyed the first half of summer vacation and am currently wearing a face mask because, girl, it’s been supa dupa hot here in NYC! Like, mid-90s, no wind, high humidity! It’s been sweat central up in here so my face hasn’t been looking or feeling the greatest. Hence the face mask.

I’ve been thinking of a few things that I’d like you to remember a month, a year, or even a decade from now (unless internet and/or this blog doesn’t exist…one is more likely than the other). Some might be more inspirational than others…or there’s a chance that there is nothing inspirational at all, but nonetheless, let’s do this.

1. I want you to remember how good you’ve been feeling about yourself (physically, mentally, and emotionally!) for the past couple months. Of course, you had some days where one, two, or all three of those were not up to par, but, overall, I think this is the best you’ve felt about yourself in a long, long time. I believe this has to do with the fact that you’ve been making conscious decisions with what you are eating (you stopped eating meat [except fish, on occasion] about 3 months ago and have attempted to keep your animal byproduct [dairy, eggs, etc] consumption low), have more positive intentions when you go to the gym, and are being more open and honest with yourself rather than suppressing things you should be addressing.

You’ve also been more open to fighting for yourself; you’ve finally gotten to that point where you love yourself enough that you want better for yourself and think you deserve more than you’ve settled for in the past. You’ve realized that your perspective and opinion matters and that there are ways to vocalize these and be heard without coming across as arrogant (a pet peeve of yours; is it still? I bet it is) or rude. I’m seriously excited for you to continue to grow in this area and I’m happy you chose to put me as a priority!

2. Everyone and their dogs are having kids. Seriously, your Facebook is nothing but pregnancy announcements, updates, new babies, older babies…just all about the children (of course this is an exaggeration; there are also a lot of posts about politics with the Trump/Clinton election coming up, social justice posts/rants, engagement announcements/wedding pictures, vacation boasts, and funny memes/videos).

Your desire to have a baby is like a sine curve (amplitude varies from 0 to 1, 0 being “no kids right now please”, 1 being “let’s have one ASAP!”; the frequency is, like, 1 minute haha):

Ahh, no kids yet, feelin good. But then you want one. Then again, you don’t want one. But they’re so cute! But you want to enjoy just being married without kids a bit longer. But seriously, how amazing will it be to create a human being?! You’ll never sleep again. Look at that adorable child in the park! That kid on the train drove you crazy! etc and so forth

Moral of the story: you’re not ready yet and that’s totally okay!!!!!

You and Tom are happy right now, enjoying the time alone-alone, alone-together, and together-together. You’re loving your job (and the time off!) and Tom’s invested in his. You’re being financially conscious and responsible. You’ve got freedom to do what you want, when you want. When it’s your time, it’ll happen and you’ll love it and everything it entails. But, until then, enjoy your life now!

3. While on the baby front: when that time does come, DO NOT CUT YOUR HAIR SHORT/CUT YOUR BANGS!!!!! This happens to so many, I know it does; I see it on Facebook. I get that babies like to pull on long hair and stuff can get stuck in it, yada yada…BUT. I’m telling you, do not do it. Just throw your hair up in a ponytail/messy bun/use the sticky stuff to keep it up but whatever you do, do not cut it. Please, trust me on this one. You’ll thank me later. Here’s a funny video on the matter from SNL:

3b. Also on the baby front (I have a lot of feelings about this already!): don’t post everything about your children on social media. Like, posting stuff about them peeing and pooping in the “potty” is unnecessary. Also, stay strong and only post a handful of pictures (hand-selected too, not just mass uploaded), like, once a week. Remember how I, your current non-mommified self, feel about these things. Update me on your feelings when you do finally become a mom; I hear it’s like a vortex that you get sucked into, never to return.

4. You’ve been doing better at going out of your comfort zone and doing things you’ve never done before. Instead of sitting inside avoiding potentially awkward situations with people around, you’ve gotten out and done things to make yourself feel happier! You have chosen to take walks and most times this leads you to parks where you sit and read or write. You started using free weights a at the gym instead of sticking to cardio and weight machines! It’s taken you a few years to get the courage to do this, so well done on that! Keep it up!

5. SLATHER ON THE SPF!!! I know you’ve been pretty careless in the past with sunscreen because you’ve always longed for a tan. At this point in my life, I can honestly say that I don’t think you’ll ever attain that without self tanner. You’ve done well to apply an SPF daily face moisturizer, but be careful with the rest of your body.

You got a pretty awful sunburn on the back of your body 2 weeks ago [I honestly think it’s the worst one of your life so far] and you’ve been paying for it ever since. A careless application of a spray-on SPF 50 and then galavanting in the ocean without reapplying afterwards was a big mistake. You got the chills and your skin went through the painful, the itchy, the bubbly, and the peeling phases and it’s all been unglamorous and downright gross. And guess what…you’re still super pale, but now you just have weird blotches of skin that are pinker than the rest! Sad truth.

Alrighty, I think that’s enough stuff right now. This face mask needs to be washed off like 10 minutes ago. Maybe in the future you can respond to these, make additions, updates, etc. Make sure to include the date!

Summer 2015 Favorites: People, Surgery, and Stuff

Although summer isn’t “officially” over, it is for us teachers, so I gotta get this in now! Another season, another set of things to appreciate…

First, let’s start with Tom and my in-laws for their love and support before, during, and after my surgeries this summer. Tom helped me get comfortable by gently arranging pillows to my liking, brought me food sometimes, hugged me when I was frustrated, and has literally been my crutch a lot since my foot surgery. My in-laws have been nothing but generous in letting me stay at their house to recover, letting me take over their couch, and making me feel welcome and comfortable throughout the whole summer. And, finally, Finster for his wonderful cuddles and endless entertainment…except when he’s napping, which is 75% of the time.

Cuddle time!!

Also, for all the people, friends and strangers alike, who have reached out and offered help and/or encouragement in any form since having my surgeries. I seriously appreciate you all.

Touching story time: on our way back to Stony Brook from Brooklyn about a week ago, Tom and I had to actually cross over the track at Huntington because our connecting train was on the other track. Usually the connection follows behind the current train, but whatever; usually, it’s not a problem. However, I was moving at a snail’s pace because I was only 2 weeks out of surgery.

We made it to the elevator to go up just as the doors were closing, so a man inside held them for us. We walked over the train via the platform and found the elevator to go down on the other side; by now, about 5 minutes have gone by, so the train is about ready to take off. When we finally got down to the ground, I was telling Tom to run to the train and hold the doors, but he refused to leave me.

Wouldn’t you know, as I’m walking up the flight of 5 steps to the platform, I saw the man from the elevator standing halfway out of the train, waving to the conductor to wait for us. I was so grateful and totally exhausted from that trek, so when Tom and I sat down, I bawled like a baby. Silently, so as not to draw attention, but nonetheless, tears were a-flowing.

I was frustrated with my lack of mobility and felt hopeless and scared about a potential future like this. Mainly, I was having flashbacks of my mom when she used a cane, and then a walker, and then a motorized scooter. I was always the one by her side and appreciated the people who helped her and me during those tough times.

And now, I was so thankful for this man that took the time to hold the train for me. He could have just gotten on, taken a seat, and not had a second thought about me. But he didn’t. I thanked him as we got on, but I wish I could thank him 100 times more. He doesn’t realize just how much that meant to me.

Gah, all the feels.

Which brings me to said surgeries. Although they’ve been burdensome, and as much as I may have cursed myself for doing them while in the recovery phase and feeling like my summer was nothing but recovery, I’m happy I went through with them and am glad I got them out of the way!

redressed feet

Now let’s go to some of my favorite products from this summer: First, my trusty Batiste dry shampoo. I’ve mentioned this in multiple blog posts and will continue to recommend it to anyone interested in minimizing the number of times they wash their hair in a week. It’s been great all summer as I let my hair go unwashed for 3-4 days while also sweating and/or being pretty much couch-ridden after surgery.

Similarly, I used Oribe dry texturizing spray while I stayed at my in-laws after my foot surgery. It smells delicious and doesn’t leave any trace of white film or powder in my darker hair. I received a sample size in my Birchbox subscription, so it’s handy for traveling. What’s not handy is the price; the teensy weensy 2.2 fl. oz. purse sized one retails for $22. Yeah, disgusting! A regular 8.5 fl. oz. costs $42.

Batiste Hint of Color Brown Dry Shampoo     VS.   Oribe dry texturizing spray

>>MATH TIME!!!! Batiste is usually around $6 or $7 for the 6.7 oz. can – at $7, that’s $1.04 per fluid ounce; Oribe costs $4.94 per fluid ounce for the full size can! You’re paying almost $4 more per fluid ounce with the full size of Oribe! But wait, it gets even grosser: the Batiste travel size is usually $3 for 1.6 oz, coming to about $1.90 per fluid ounce while the Oribe comes in at $10 per fluid ounce for the travel size! Horrendous. Awesome product, I just don’t see it being worth that much money.<<<

Speaking of, my next favorite is wearing my hair 95% au naturel during most of August. After washing my hair, I’ve been letting it air dry with just a couple spritzes of my It’s a 10 Leave In spray and it actually doesn’t look all that terrible. I love not having to use heat on it as it’s already 80° so I’m sweating a lot, I save time, and my hair feels sooooooooo much healthier! I think I’ve only used heat (in the form of a straightener to curl my hair for my birthday dinner with Tom) once in the past month. Woot! I totally recommend anyone who wants to try a no heat challenge to do it – embrace your natural hair and notice the difference that it makes when you let your hair be who it wants to be without heat. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

au naturel hair

I am loving the Lash Sensational mascara by Maybelline. I’m on my third tube and really enjoy how it makes my lashes look fluttery and separated while also lengthening and defining them. I have been using the Very Black non-waterproof one and I have had no fallout or flakes and it stays all day; it actually takes quite a bit of [gentle] elbow grease to remove it entirely at night!

Which brings me to Simple Micellar Water. I saw a couple YouTubers talk about this and I was suckered into trying it out. I think it’s great! It’s a facial “cleanser” (doesn’t foam up or anything…it’s, like, water) and makeup remover that is super gentle, doesn’t sting my eyes, and takes off makeup with a few swipes of a cotton pad! Plus, I don’t have to rinse it off like the oil-based makeup removers because it’s pretty much like using water already.

Going with the skin theme: sunscreen. I’m white. Like, ghostly white. I went to Virginia Beach in July with a group of my best girlfriends from high school and we spent a few hours lounging on the beach on our first full day there. I sprayed myself multiple times with SPF 50 as the sun was really intense, but between that and the fact that we were in and out of the water to keep cool, I got pretty darn burnt.

Which brings me to my next favorite: Aloe. Any aloe. I used an entire tube (with a little help from my friends, but mostly me) of Walgreens’ brand Aloe Vera because, well, it’s cheap. I got the one for sensitive skin so it doesn’t have any added scent or lotion or anything. Just aloe.

I’m glad I brought the tube because all of us benefitted from it at one point or another. I actually bought another tube after coming home because I ran out of the first tube. I got burned so bad, I ended up with some sun blisters…yeah, it wasn’t pretty. Even with the excessive aloe and lotion applications, peeling happened, but it wasn’t as gross or as extreme as I expected. It was bad, don’t get me wrong, but I think the aloe helped it a bit.

And even though I got sunburned, I still favorite time at beautiful beaches. Here we have Montauk at sunset – Tom and I stayed on the beach until all the stars were out because we don’t get to see them in Brooklyn.

Montauk beach

How about my smashbook? I’m happy with the progress I’ve made and hope to finish it by the end of this year! I got a lot of it done out in Montauk as we sat on the front porch of our bed and breakfast.smashbook collage

Side note: I got a different journal to house the smashbook – I went with this gorgeous one that has ring binding to allow more room for expansion as I fill it.

smashbook cover

I also loved celebrating my one year anniversary of marriage to the wonderfully handsome Thomas!!! And going to Montauk for a weekend away together!!!

At the beach

Last, but certainly not least, I’ll favorite that I’m a teacher and had the privilege to have a summer vacation. Cheesy, but whatever. I spent lots of time reading for school and spent some time prepping a bit for my classes, but I spent more time not doing work stuff. I hung out with coworkers [friends], and although work stuff always tended to creep its way into conversations, we always ended up talking about life outside of school, too. I’m excited to be going back, teaching all math, coaching volleyball, seeing old friends, and meeting new ones. And I can proudly say I love going to work every day even though it gets stressful and overwhelming a lot (second year teacher here, I’m sure all the veterans are rolling their eyes).

The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness. — Dalai Lama