The Second Best Face Wash in the World

Simple Face Cleanser

I stumbled upon the recipe for the 2nd best face wash in the world.  It seems so very counter-intuitive though, I was scared to try it for quite a while.  But I saw it a second or third time in different locations, so had to give it a-go.  It’s so inexpensive, it nearly pays you to use it.  I no longer need face lotion and my pores are probably cleaner, thus smaller looking, than they’ve been since before I started experiencing acne as a teenager.

My process:  I rub a liberal amount of the face wash onto my dry face.  Next, I run hot water and use my wash cloth to give myself a short steam bath.  Then, I rinse the wash cloth and use it to gently rub the face wash off my face.  At the end, I splash some cold water on my face for good measure.  I’d like to do this morning and night, but I’m happy if I remember one or the other each day.

So, what is this magic face wash? It’s a mixture of 50% Extra Virgin Olive Oil and 50% Castor Oil!  No lie.  If you have oily skin, you may change the ratio to include more Castor Oil; dry skin users could change the ratio to include more Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Since I’m claiming this is the SECOND best face wash in the world, you’re probably wondering what the first place face wash consists of.  The answer is……wait for it……I don’t know!  If you claim to know, or have other simple, inexpensive options, let me know in the comments.

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5 Ways to Simplify Meal Planning

108392Some days, I don’t mind cooking assuming I have the time to do it.  Most days it’s not on my top-10 list though, and meal planning is simply dreadful for me.  Or at least it was until I started incorporating some of my top-5 tips to make Meal Planning easier.

1. Use Ziplist (or a similar tool):  Ziplist is awesome!  You can easily add recipes to your recipe box from nearly any internet source.  Then, you plan meals and add the ingredients to your shopping list.  The shopping list is smart too — it adds together most similar ingredients and groups them according to category (vegetables, meats, etc.).  Print out the list and return to the website when it’s time to cook.  They do have a meal planning calendar, but I’m not a fan of it — I use Cozi as our online family calendar and hate having multiple calendars.  Would love for it to integrate with Cozi, but still think this is a top-notch tool even without the integration.

2. Create a Recipe Binder: Instead of keeping all of your favorite recipes in multiple cookbooks, trying to recall which book has which recipe, store them all in a 3-ring binder.  This allows you to take printed recipes from any source and throw them in a plastic sheet protector inside your binder.  You can grab recipes from magazines, other cookbooks, handwritten notes or computer printouts.  If you don’t have a tablet or other device easily accessible in the kitchen, this is a must.

3. Create a Rotating Menu:  If you have a decent number of recipes that you and your family enjoy, spend some time to create 4-6 weeks worth of menus.  Consider leaving room for eating out and 1-2 new recipes per week to keep away some boredom.  When you make the menus, be sure to write up the shopping lists too.  You may want to get the shopping lists laminated so that you can easily reuse them.  Hint:  Use Ziplist for this.

4. Use Freezer Cooking:  You could do the majority of your meal planning for the month at one time and cook it in one day.  Then come meal time, you just cook the meal you took out of the freezer the night before to thaw.  I am not good at planning this, but others are.  I like OnceAMonthMom — there are up to 4-years worth of monthly menus with everything you need (directions, shopping lists, labels) for free, or you can pay a small fee for access to new menus each month.  Even without the subscription, you can still access all the current menus and recipes.  You just don’t get access to the consolidated shopping lists, instructions and labels.  These things are important if you are looking to save some time.  Another great thing about this site is the variety of menus available.  They have 8 menu options available (Traditional, Whole Foods, Gluten and Dairy Free, Paleo, Diet, Vegetarian, Baby Food, and Mini).  I’ve loved the recipes chosen in the Traditional menus I’ve used, but haven’t tried enough of the others to give an opinion.

5. Borrow from Foodie Bloggers:  There are a plethora of Foodie Bloggers out there.  They happily share their meal plans and recipes with anyone who cares.  Find a few of these and copy what they do — take their post from the previous week so you can plan your shopping trip on your time rather than waiting patiently for their posts.

6. Bonus option — Hire a personal chef:  This is actually my number 1 suggestion…if only I could afford it.  A girl can dream!

What tips do you have to simplify meal planning?

3 Goals for 6-Weeks

Leo Babauta wrote in a post a short while ago that one should write everyday.  I’m guessing that only applies to those that actually aspire to become a better writer — I do!  I don’t necessarily aspire to be published or anything like that, but I would like to write concisely and persuasively any time I write without it taking a ton of effort.  The only way to do that is to practice.  Therefore, I am going to write daily.  For the handful of you that follow me, I will apologize in advance if my topics don’t seem to belong together.

There are also a few other areas of my life that require daily attention.  My head knows that I should tackle one area of my life at a time, but I’m kind of an all or nothing girl, so I’m going to try to do it all in small steps.  Here are my goals:

1. Write Daily.  I will post a new blog post each day — no writing in advance setting future publish times.

2. Purge 7+ items per week. I hope to go to Goodwill with most of it, and going there daily is out of the question.  The item doesn’t count as gone until it’s out of the house, so counting weekly rather than daily.

3. Lose 30-50 lbs.  Yikes — that’s a LOT of weight!  I plan on doing this by eating 1200-1600 calories daily — tracking my calorie intake.  I also will continue to workout, but be more consistent   I hate saying this because I’m so scared of failing, but I’m going to commit to doing some physical activity everyday.  Some days, this might just be a short walk if I don’t make my planned workout.  Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday mornings I plan on hitting my Kettlebell gym.  Then Tuesday nights doing a “Groove” class at my Pilates gym and Thursday and Sunday mornings doing Barre classes at my Pilates gym.  In addition, I will continue my Aerial classes 1 night a week when in session — for most of the summer, this will probably be Wednesday nights.

I have a few other things that I would love to add to my list, but that will be too much for right now.  June 22, 2013 is 6-weeks away — that will be a good time to re-evaluate these goals. They may need to be tweaked at that point (maybe I’ll have run out of things to get rid of!).  And maybe I’ll be ready to add another goal if these 3 are going swimmingly…time will tell.

Wish me luck!

Slave to Diet Mountain Dew No More

Did you know you don’t actually need to drink water?  You will not die of dehydration if you only drink soda – it’s a bit embarrassing that I know this, but I do from experience.  I could go chain and lockmonths without drinking any water at all, surviving on Diet Mountain Dew and maybe a glass of milk here and there.  I didn’t die.  No crazy health scares either.  But I had a fabulous vacation planned out of the country and knew I wouldn’t be able to easily find my drug of choice (Dt. Dew).  Had to give it up like I had so many times before.  This time, I wisely found a crutch to use to help me.  Sure, water would have been the wise choice but that has failed me in the past and I’ve returned to Diet Dew. Insert a new obsession with tea!

I started drinking hot tea using tea bags.  This was back in August of 2012. It was nice; plus it was socially acceptable especially in the morning where my soda habit always got weird looks.  For Christmas, I asked for real tea tools to take the plunge into the real world of tea with loose leaves and all.  This was so very sophisticated for me:-)  Love this!  So many options leave taste boredom in the dust.  Yet, it always has a familiar taste to it even when it’s an entirely new-to-me tea.

So, a couple days ago I was having a high-stress day and my husband told me to leave.  So dramatic, huh?  Actually he was being very sweet knowing my kids were driving me crazy so he was giving me a break.  I went to a tea shop (Tea Source) to grab a new tea.  I really wanted to have a seat, read my book and try a flight of tea.  I basically chickened out.  What?  I purchased some leaves and left, but still don’t understand why I didn’t also buy a flight and sit down — I had my Kindle Fire with me and was in the middle of a great read plus my husband had given me the OK to be out for as long as I needed.

Self analysis time:-) (And yes, I have an issue with using too many emoticons…sorry!)

Did I not want to be alone in public?  Probably not the case..while I was in the mood to talk to people that day, I am always fine being alone, especially with a book in hand.  I’m a bit of an introvert, so this is a natural state for me.

Was I feeling insecure?  Maybe…I’ve never actually had more than a sample of tea in public.  Is there a protocol for tea drinking that I don’t know about?  I like my tea sweetened, but is that taboo in the “tea world”? I am a grown-ass woman – why in the world would I even care about this!?! I think I do though.  This might be my answer.  Wow…so silly of me:-)

Well, despite my insecurity, the tea I bought (Breakfast Assam) is fabulous!