Friday, May 31, 2013

diy: pocket notebook

Today's diy is a quick and easy pocket notebook tutorial!  I made a series of these out of scrap papers and cardboard from used notebooks, and carried one with me everywhere I went.  This was during a major cartooning phase, but I also kept notes and lists in them.

My spiral-bound notebooks, by the time I'm finished with them, are often quite embellished all over!  I reused the cardboard back cover, which was conveniently decorated!  Once you've made a paper booklet as shown in the how-to above, just glue down two cardboard covers to the end papers and create a spine with several layers of masking tape.  

Fill it with drawings and notes and quotes!

Bonus points for Dante in Italian.  

The octopus is my favorite animal!

If you think I'm exaggerating Kant's head, he did it first!

Let me know if you give this diy a go!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

wishlist: handbag edition

I'm in the market for a.....purse!  Say it ain't so!  I've managed to go my whole life without carrying a bag consistently (or at all), and that probably won't change, but lately I've been feeling a lack.  Some days you don't have enough pockets!  I want something that can hold my camera, maybe a small notebook, the book I'm reading, phone, sunglasses, keys, wallet, and other items....  These are some of the elements I'm seeing that I like--military inspiration, leather, slouchy style, stripes, no-nonsense.  Got a favorite?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

how to grow out a pixie cut - step one

I had a pixie cut when I got to college, but it's a bit much to maintain since my hair grows so fast.  My approach was to grow it out, and to make it easier, I had it permed.  So far, so good...but man, perms grow out weird.  So I got another one, and at that point, it didn't take and my hair was quite damaged feeling.  Sad face.  Sick of dealing with long hair, I chopped it off over Spring Break to the shortest it's been.

Well, it's pretty short.  And sometimes I miss having long hair.  And I think if I change my idea of what my hair should be, it might stop disappointing me.... At any rate, I don't prefer it quite as short as it was after that haircut, so I'm growing it a bit.  Change it always good, right?

There's very little online about how to grow out a least very little that I find appealing.  Now, looking dorky for a week or two somewhere along the line is probably unavoidable, but it shouldn't be this hard...

So, Step 1: Keep the back trimmed up.  That bottom layer of hair right on your neck grows so fast, and it looks so nasty!  Especially since my hair is fine and stick-straight naturally, it just does weird things when it gets longer.  You can get by for quite awhile just growing out all the rest of your hair if you keep the back of the neck trimmed up.  You might have to pay attention to your little wispy-side-hair things if you have them, cause they grow fast too.

I'm at over 7 weeks since my initial chop, and I've had a friend trim up the very bottom of the back twice since then.  My hair has grown about an inch, and it's still behaving as a long pixie.  So far, so good!  I'll keep you posted with tips and strategies as the process continues.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

fire smoothie: the magic cure

There's not much worse than waking up to the feeling of a jackhammer in your head, a frog in your throat, and small quantities of sneeze-inducing dynamite in your nose.  I suffer from seasonal allergies when the pollen counts skyrocket, and I tend to catch about one cold a year...and I have discovered the cure!  Well...that might be an exaggeration...but this is a surefire way to feel better!  If I wake up sick, I drink this fire smoothie first thing in the morning.

It contains cayenne pepper to clear your sinuses and airways, honey to soothe a sore throat, and lemon juice to help hoarse vocal cords.  All of these ingredients are suspended in and ice-water slush, which combats the burning aftertaste from the pepper.  The best strategy is to drink it rapidly, without diluting it, so as to get the full effect.    Recipe below!

  • 1 cup cold water
  • 4 or 5 ice cubes
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (or as much as you can stand)

Blend together until ice is pulverized and enjoy!  Or at least, enjoy the clearing and healing effects that come afterward...  I made a small dose for my roommate when she had an impressive collection of "-itis" variants, and she agreed that it helps break up the gunk!  (Ew gross.)

Monday, May 27, 2013

on american parenting (is it all wrong?)

This article has been on my mind ever since I saw it!  I've been recently thinking about what kind of mother I might like to be, and what I would do differently from my parents, and so on and so forth.  It seems to me that parents who raise their kids to be independent--who seem to take more of a "hands-off" approach--produce children who have a sense of self-reliance and general character quality.  Granted, they also seem to have an insufferable-teenager-phase, but honestly, who doesn't?  At any rate, it seems like the people I now consider "super cool" and want to be around were raised by laid-back, less-involved parents.  

I don't think this means not being loving or nurturing or available for you kids.  Far from it!  But I wonder, what's the middle line, and is there an approach that can combine the best of both worlds....  And so this article is the next input in a line of fascinating ideas.  I strongly encourage reading it in its entirety, but here's a quick summary of the main points: 
  • We need to let 3-year-olds climb trees and 5-year-olds use knives.
  • Children can go hungry from time-to-time.
  • Instead of keeping children satisfied, we need to fuel their feelings of frustration.
  • Children should spend less time in school.
  • Thou shalt spoil thy baby.
  • Children need to feel obligated.
Pique your interest?  Sound outrageous?  I know. But the arguments are actually quite compelling.  

I admit it would be very difficult for me to parent this way.  The more I hear childhood stories from my friends, the more I realize how extraordinarily tame my house was!  We were very quiet, very safety-conscious, very proper kids, for the most part.  We hardly left the yard, and definitely never wandered the neighborhood alone!  I wouldn't say I missed out growing up, and I love a quiet house and a peaceful existence, but I wonder what my childhood might have been like if I'd been...less...grown up from such a young age.  Now, it's highly likely that I was the weird one, and my parents' methods had nothing to do with it.  But it's something to think about....

Friday, May 24, 2013

here's to a trekkie weekend!

This week I watched both Star Trek and Star Trek: Into Darkness...and...I may just find myself attached to yet another nerdy fandom.  See below for your weekend science fiction links!

If you haven't yet, watch the trailer here and then get thee to a nunnery theatre! (Oh, too nerdy to take, Shakespeare and Star Trek?)

Want the Starfleet class ring above?  Yeah, me too.

I might need to put a few of these into my wallpaper rotation! (Science officer, obviously...)

If Star Trek is not quite your thing, these are pretty nifty too!

This news is a few months old, but it amuses me.  Does anyone know if a final decision has been made?

Memory-Alpha appears to have the equivalent of the Star Wars Wookieepedia, which incidentally has also eaten a portion of my life.

I identified strongly with Spock, so I found this clip with Leonard Nimoy very interesting!

Besides, I've always been able to do the Vulcan handsign because, like, nerdfighteria!

Picture from here

homemade iced latte

One morning, I ordered an iced latte at the university coffee shop.  As I stood there watching the barista put it together, I was like, "I'm paying $3 for this? I could make it in my sleep...."  Granted, their espresso machine is just a liiiittle bit higher-end than mine, haha!  But here's how to make your own ice latte, perfect for a hot summer day!

Prepare your coffee grounds and tamp them down with whatever you use to tamp.  My machine has an attachment, but my dad actually uses the bottom of an ibuprofen bottle!  Draw cutesy faces on your pictures.  Just kidding, you can skip that step. 

Pull your espresso.  If you don't really know how to do your manual...just kidding!  Usually, you just turn on the machine and let it run for no more than thirty seconds.  

Combine the shot with a cup or so of cold milk (preferably whole, and not some skim-impostor) and little bit of Stevia for a sugar-free sweetener.  Add a few ice cubes and a crazy straw, if you have one.  Enjoy!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

free pattern: reusable cotton rounds

Let's say you use a cotton ball or disposable cotton round to remove your make-up and apply toner every night.  A little bit of math tells us...

(2 cotton balls)(365 nights)(70 years) = 51,100 cotton balls in your lifetime!  
(1 cotton ball per square inch)(51,100 cotton balls) = 355 square feet.  I could carpet my dorm in the cotton balls I would be using!

And that's a conservative estimate.  Non-organic cotton balls can have all kinds of garbage in them as well, and that sits around in landfills for a long time.  Organic cotton balls can get expensive for something you use once and toss in the trash.  

I've been knitting up washcloths and dishcloths out of 100% cotton yarn for years.  The Peaches & Cream brand is inexpensive, and after a few washes, turns into a wonderfully soft and squishy knit.  This inspired me to crochet up some double-thick rounds to use instead of disposable cotton balls.  I have seven, since I use one per night.  When it comes time to do laundry, just stick a large safety pin through all of them and throw them in with your other towels and rags.  Easy, earth-friendly, and economical!

Want to make some of your own?  See the pattern below!

Use a size K crochet hook and 100% cotton yarn. For all sc, only work sc in the back loop of the stitch. 

Chain one stitch using the magic adjustable ring.  Ch 1 again, then sc 6 in the magic ring.  Join the round with a slip stitch through the first stitch created.
Ch 1, sc in same space, sc2 in each stitch around, join round as before.
Ch 1, sc in same space, *sc1, sc2 in same space* around, join as before.
Cut and finish off; this makes one layer.

Repeat these steps to make another round, but don't finish it off.  After joining the last round, put your hook through a stitch on the other round and use a slip stitch to join them together.  Lay them flat over each other and sc around, going through each stitch on both rounds at the same time.  This attaches them together with a clean end.  Finish off and weave ends into the middle of the round.  

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

May ipsy

It's here!  The products that came inside are listed below with a quick review.  If you don't know about ipsy yet, check out the website or my April post!

  • Pacifica Coconut Crushed Pearl Bronzing Body Butter - I do like the smell of this, but it's very "I just put on tanning lotion and went to the beach," so you can't really wear it around day to day if you wanted to.... I can see a slight difference when I compare a pre-bronzed leg to a post-bronzed leg, but it's not orange or very noticeable in the end, haha!  I'll definitely get use out of it when the pools open up.
  • Zoya nail polish in Blu - Jackpot!  I was beyond thrilled with the color!  Apparently Zoya doesn't use any formaldehyde in their polishes either!  
  • Macadamia Oil  - I used to have a mini sample size of this stuff, years ago, and it is the holy grail of detangling fine, straight hair.  Not kidding.  Love that they sent me a whole ounce!  It will last forever. 
  • Juice Beauty Reflective Gloss in Pink - At first I was disappointed with this product.  It's very sheer, a bit sticky, and has an interesting smell... but after reading about all the good things in it, I think I will actually get a lot of use out of it!  
  • Yaby concealer refill in Buff - I don't have much of an opinion on this's a little dark for me, but everything is!  It seems to blend really well, and to stick relatively well.  
Overall, I'm impressed with the amount of natural and organic products in this month's bag!  That's always a huge plus for me.  I also love the bag itself this month!  While I'm not exactly fawning over every product, this bag was worth over $48, and I only pay $10 for the service, so you won't find me complaining!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

how to slice up a mango

The other day I was shopping the produce section looking for some variety and I found mangoes on sale!  I've never actually bought a fresh mango and eaten it, so I wasn't sure how to get into it.  If you are similarly confused, here is a general how-to.

I didn't know this, but mangoes have one long, thin seed in the middle.  So the first thing you want to do is slice the mango into three sections, with the two outer slices a little thicker than the middle one.  To do this, place the little stem-knobby-thing down on the cutting board and slice straight downward about half an inch on either side.

Take the outer slices and begin scoring slices into them, but don't cut through the skin.  Just cut through the flesh of the fruit, leaving the skin intact. I like to start out with slices about an inch apart, and then go back and put in slices in between all of those.  That gives me a grid of half-inch by half-inch squares.

Now pop the mango inside out by pushing on the middle of the skin.  This is so cool looking!

I pull or cut off the sectioned fruit from the skin.  You can eat mangoes just like this, but I'm not really a fan.  They kinda feel like shark skin when fresh.  I like to stick the cubes in a bag and freeze them.  Then use them in smoothies, or just eat I'm doing right now.

Do you eat mangoes?  What do you put them in?

Monday, May 20, 2013


Gotta love it when the irises bloom!

a guide to lip balms

The best lip balm I know is 8 glasses of water per day, taken internally.  But in the event (aka, real life) of dehydration, I turn to various lip balms or chapsticks to get the job done.  Here's my quick guide/review!

I love this stuff.  I'll probably buy it again when it runs out.  It does that Blistex thing where it feels cold after you put it on?  Yeah, that's awesome.  However, the first few times I used it, I think it actually dried out the top layer of skin on my lips.  I haven't noticed this since, but I will admit I have to reapply periodically throughout the day.  Which doesn't bother me, except for the fact that this is in a tub and my fingers might be germy when I'm out and about on campus.  I haven't tried it in a stick yet, and I probably won't because I find the stick form to be generally less effective.  Purchased at Walgreens for about a buck thirty, I believe.

I believe my mom gave me this a loooong time ago, and I haven't used too much.  In fact, I may never get through it, because despite smelling a-freakin'-mazing, it really doesn't do anything for me.  The little tub is glass and tin however, which is super classy, and natural ingredients are a plus.  I won't replace it when (if) it (ever) runs out.  Especially since Burt's Bees is so expensive, I find.

Left to right!  Burt's Bees Lifeguard's Choice is probably really super protective, but I've not used it much because it goes on white!  Like seriously, you look like a zombie with purple-pale lips and it really doesn't rub in, but rather sits on top of the skin really awkwardly.  I could see using a small amount of this if you were going to wear some kind of color over it, but definitely do not try to use this by itself!

Young Living chapsticks are very soft, in my experience, and melt easily if you leave them in a car or a pocket on a hot day.  I'm not a fan of the scent/flavor of this CinnaMint one, but they do really moisturize well.  I believe I had a Lavender one that I loved, once upon a time.  Caution: these are expensive!

Good old ChapStick--I bought this in a gas station on a road trip when I was desperate, and frankly, I think $2 is steep for something so basic.  It does its job, but requires frequent reapplication.  The classic ChapStick smell doesn't do much for me either.

Picture from here because I ended up losing this one somewhere!  This was one of my absolute favorites.  It smells amazing, lasts for a long time, and is liquidy enough but comes in a tube so you don't have to use germy fingers!  I got this at the dollar store, which is pretty good in my opinion.

eos in Sweet Mint, purchased at Walgreens for a little over $3.  This one definitely takes the cake on packaging!  It's a great flavor, but the formula is very solid and thick so as to hold its shape, which bugs me a little bit.  I won't buy it again because it is rather expensive for not being miraculous...

Anyways, that's my take!  Do you have a favorite?

Friday, May 17, 2013

here's to an educational weekend!

Just a few interesting links to start your weekend off....

This is a bit evolutionary, but it's still gorgeous and mind-blowing.

The Brain Scoop is discussing de-extinction, in two parts.

I happened across this article on the subject as well.

This video is so well done!  Pretty and educational!

How to read calipers, for engineering students.

Have a good one, and learn something new!  See you on Monday!

on quitting...stuff...

I'm changing my major--and it's caused me to spend a lot of time thinking about being a "quitter" and whether I am one!  These are my thoughts at the moment...

Know your limits.  For example, at this point in my life, I don't cope well with stress or pressure.  I have a lot of trouble "letting go" and letting things take their course.  My boyfriend is a gem at this.  He told me the other day, "I take the energy that you spend worrying and do something about it. If it worries you, do something and then let it be, that's all you can do."  Here's hoping it'll rub off on me!  For the moment, I know not to try to do everything that I come across.  I've gotten pretty good at finding nice ways to say no.

Make conscious decisions based on deliberate thought.  Follow through on those.  Make sure you know exactly why you're taking on a project or responsibility.  Decide why you care about your grades, or why you want to put effort into something, and keep those reasons in the forefront of your mind.  When things get tougher, you'll need to remember your good reasons in order to see things through.

Don't allow yourself to be pressured or forced into something.  Reevaluate constantly to make sure you're doing what you're doing for the right reasons.  Do not be afraid to step out if you find an answer you don't like.  It took me awhile to come to terms with leaving the engineering major.  I'm naturally a bit averse to change, so that was part of it, but then I tried to evaluate my motives for being an engineer.  I declared the major because I liked problem solving, but had no experience.  I liked the glamour of being a female engineer--more than I would like to admit!  I anticipated job security.  But at the bottom line, I wasn't doing it because I loved it--in fact, the more classes I took, the less I liked it!  I was doing it because of the money, the image, the title.  Those weren't good enough reasons for me to suffer through two more years of classes I didn't enjoy, only to land in a job full of stress!  So I made the decision to change to mathematics and see where it took me.

Consider the effect on others, but remember: you are not responsible for others, though you are responsible to others.  My sister said, "If Lydia can't do engineering, who can?"  I certainly wouldn't want to discourage anyone from pursuing the major--but it has to be worth it to them.  I'm a girl, and I don't anticipate having to support a family (don't hate--I'm not saying girls shouldn't or can't support the family!) but if I had been a boy, looking for a lucrative job to hold the rest of my life, I might have decided to keep going.  I struggled with feeling like I'd let down my professors, and even people to whom I'd "talked up" the engineering program!  But that's that just a glorified sense of my own importance--they're taking the news just fine, haha!

Life is too short to be perpetually miserable.  Try to enjoy what you're doing, but if that proves impossible, have the courage to change what you're doing.  Sometimes it's just been too long, and you can't do anything about it.  I found myself completely burnt out this semester.  I'd come out of a very difficult freshman year and went straight to work all summer without a break or time off.  I worked up till the day before I left, came back to school, and struggled through a very difficult and unenjoyable semester.  After only two weeks off at Christmas, I came back for an accelerated 6 credit hours in 25 days, what we call "J-term."  That dead-ended straight into this spring semester.  I'm exhausted!  I can find a way to enjoy just about any work, but that takes a lot of energy.  In the end, the moment I decided I could stop fighting my way through this major, I felt my spirits lift.

Some people might feel let down or offended, which is why you must really think through every action.  On the other hand, most of the time, people aren't nearly as upset as you expect.  Thing is, they've got their own lives to worry about.  I had some people try to talk me out of it--but in fact, they strengthened my resolve that this was the right decision.  As we discussed it, I effectively convinced them and myself that this was the best thing to do at the time.  News flash: their worlds didn't revolve around my being an engineer, haha!

Be very aware of how much pressure you feel is coming from other people and how much is coming from just yourself.  I've always felt a lot of pressure to ace everything in school.  That didn't come from my parents at all--all they ask is that I do my best and look at the big picture!  I'm working on realizing that the only one telling me "If you don't keep your 4.0 GPA, your life will end!"!  There's no one breathing down my neck saying, "You must make a lot of money at your job!" or "You must get all these internships and work constantly!"  The people around me actually say the opposite quite often.  All that pressure is coming from me, and it's unnecessary!

So that's where I'm at right now.... Do you find ways to get out of things that are making you miserable, or do you make yourself push through? What are your thoughts on quitting things?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

kale noodle bowl - modified

It was love at first sight when I saw this recipe over on Sarah's blog.  I put avocados and kale back on my grocery list, and last week I finally tried it out--with a few modifications, because, like, I don't know what

So my version: no miso, add liquid aminos, a little salt, minced garlic instead of a garlic clove, brown rice noodles (gluten free!), and no sesame seeds, and I also massaged some grapeseed oil into the kale beforehand to make it more easily digested. If it's a little too kale-y for you, just add a bit more salt and refrigerate for a few hours.

Also, I did eat it with chopsticks, because I love chopsticks, but it took me a long time.  Slippery little buggers!  One batch will last me three or four meals.  I think I'll make this for the fam when I'm home over the summer.

What do you think of kale?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

a guide to supercheap nail polishes

This picture is true-to-life, with no editing so as to give you accurate representations of the colors.  Just so you know.

I don't spend money on unnecessary things very often.  I also used to hate nail polishes.  For one thing, I'm a musician, so any nail type thing doesn't last very long on me, and I keep my nails pretty dang short.  That said, lately I've found myself really enjoying a little color now and then.  I only buy the supercheap nail polishes from like Walmart and the dollar store, but I've found that not all formulas are created equal.  So here's my opinion, from left to right:

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in 340 Black Platinum: I know, I know, I promise I'm not goth.  I just bought this when I needed to feel tougher over the summer.  I was cross-training in a steel shop at the time, and the only girl, and I needed a little something edgier than usual. I like this polish.  It has the tiniest shimmer to it, which I wish it didn't, but all in all, Sally Hansen is my favorite cheap nail polish brand.

Milani Nail Lacquer NEON in 508 Pink Rocks!: This one is super sheer, and goes on a hot pink.  The bottle recommends putting it over a white base coat, which I haven't tried yet.  I just use multiple coats, but I don't wear this very often.  And I can't guarantee it's cheap, because it was a gift.

Pure ICE in Twinkle:  I want to like this one, because the orange-coral color is so great!  It's also very shimmery, but honestly, the formula quality is awful.  It's super sticky to apply, never ever goes on smoothly, dries and gets gummy immediately, and chips off quite quickly.  Bummer.  Skip this supercheap brand.

Sation Nail Lacquer in Of Corset I'll Call You:  This is the most expensive one I have, but I got it in my ipsy bag.  And I really like this one.  Not very opaque, because it's such a light color, but such a great color, and the formula lasts a long time without chipping.

Sally Hansen Hard as Nails in 370 No Hard Feelings:  I love this color, and recommend it for fair-skinned kids like me.  Love the formula again, bravo Sally.

ColorMates in Little Blue Box: I got this from the dollar store, and the formula is as expected--not great, peels off, and takes several coats to be opaque.  However, it's my favorite color out of all of them.

L.A. Colors Color Craze in 564: Also a dollar store purchase.  I like it a little less than the ColorMates, but it is darker so it's a little more opaque.  At least it doesn't peel off after a day!

There you have it: my modest and super not-fancy collection!  Do you spend money on your nail polishes or are you like me--willing to deal with just about anything, as long as the color is nice.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

on finals

I'm in the midst of five quite horrific finals this week!  I still don't know how to study...I try to learn stuff the first time around, and then go on instinct.  It's a little precarious, but it hasn't let me down yet!

Coffee and tea are mood- and energy-pick-me-ups!

Do you have advice for good test-taking or studying practices?

Monday, May 13, 2013

lobster love!

I saw this sweater on the adorable Emily from The Brain Scoop and about had a heart attack.  Little known weird fact about Lydia #1 - I luuuurve lobsters!  I used to knit them.  See picture below.  You thought I was kidding.  That's Cid.

Also Phil.  He's plastic and life-size!

So I kinda really really really really really want this sweater.  Gah.  But in the meantime, check out The Brain Scoop's tumblr and like them on facebook and most importantly......don't forget to be awesome!

P.S. Super cool fact about Emily: if you tweet her @Ehmee a picture of a bone you find, she'll identify it!

Friday, May 10, 2013

here's to the last weekend before summer!

The roses above are making my day(s).

Loving these clever comics!

This looks amazing, and as soon as I have time, I'll be checking it out!

Check out this super cool Scandinavian blogger!

This is nifty!

Love Aya's spring lookbook.

This made me smile.  I remember a time in my life when "random" was like, the cool kids' word.

Have a great weekend!  See you on Monday!

sugar-free ice coffee

Coffee lovers, rejoice!  GIF-lovers, rejoice!  Coffee-and-GIF-lovers, y'all are really cool.

This is a quick how-to on making wonderful sugar-free ice coffee.  To prep, get or brew some really good, really bold, strong black coffee.  I got mine from my campus coffee shop yesterday afternoon.  Put that coffee in the fridge overnight.  It's important that the coffee is cooled, otherwise it'll just melt all your ice and get watered down.  Uncool.

In the morning, just mix cooled coffee, some ice cubes, a little milk (or non-dairy alternative of your choice), and Stevia.  That's the non-sugar part.  If you think of it beforehand, which I didn't, mix in your Stevia when the coffee is still hot, the night before, so it will dissolve easily.  Otherwise you'll be stirring like a maniac.  For  future reference.

As I said, stir like a maniac.  Enjoy!

How do you like your coffee?  Leave a comment and tell me if you try this out!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

on the Oil Cleansing Method

I wanted this work, y'all, I really really did...  I gave it a fair shot, too, and twice even!  Here's my experience with the Oil Cleansing Method...

If you're not familiar with the OCM, the basic idea is this: like dissolves like... so to clean oil and gunk out of your pores, you must use oil to cleanse.  Sounds legit, right?  It makes sense to me, though it freaks some people out.  You massage oil into your skin, let it sit for a bit, and then steam/melt it off with a hot washcloth, with very little rubbing.  You can use a drop as moisturizer too, though you probably won't need it.  And that's all, you don't use any soaps or cleansers or anything.

So that's the basic idea, and now let me sum up my skin.  I would say I have combination skin, since I don't tend to get very oily on a normal day, and I can get a little dry in some areas of my face.  In general, texture isn't my problem--it's cystic acne.  Ew gross, and yes this sucks... it's when you get outbreaks of large, hard, super-painful bumps deep under the skin all along your jawline and in your cheeks and chin.  This indicates that it is caused by hormone changes, imbalances, stress, or "that time of the month."  I've dealt with this for years--and it's gotten gradually worse and worse since I got to college.

Proactiv seemed to work well, but it dried my skin out like no tomorrow, and I'm not all that keen on chemicals and harsh cleansers...  So I decided to try out the OCM.  The first time I tried it, I used straight-up extra virgin organic olive oil.  And that stuff heals you up, man!  I massaged it in every night, slept with it on, and washed it off in the morning.  I had no dryness issues, and my existing acne healed much faster than usual!  So far so good...but then, after a week of this routine, I started to break out in like normal, garden-variety acne, and got tiny bumps, which I knew were due to clogged pores.  So after about two weeks, I laid off the OCM, and went back to Proactiv, which was doing wonders.......

Until I forgot it when I went home for Spring Break.  My skin freaked out, and got worse than it's ever been.  It was quite depressing actually.  Even after I got back and reinstated the BP routine, it only got worse and worse.  I decided, once again, to scrap the harsh products and give the OCM another go.  This time, I used one part castor oil (for cleansing) to one part EVOO (for healing) to one part grapeseed oil (a good carrier oil because it's quite thin).  I massaged it in before my nightly shower, steamed and wiped it off at the end of my shower, and used a drop as moisturizer before bed.  I kept this up for two weeks, all while showing no improvement.  No, I didn't get any new cysts, but the old ones didn't heal, and refused to come to the surface.  Then the clogged pores returned, dun dun dun.... In the end, I got tired of not seeing a change, and decided to ditch it again.

I started using a mild cleanser with a mineral toner and moisturizer (it's a set) and lo and behold--my skin started getting worse!  My current strategy is to use the OCM and follow it with the cleanser to make sure it doesn't clog my pores.  It does seem to be the only thing that gets down into the cysts and makes them go away.  It's not a miracle, unfortunately, and I really wanted to to be some all-natural holy grail, but...hey, at least now I know it was doing something.  I'll probably carry on with this routine and see how it goes.

Have you tried the OCM?  Did it work for you?  What is your current routine?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


I've finally figured out how to foam my milk exactly how I like it!  Bring it, finals!