Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Unsolicited Advice: The Blogging Community















Even though my current blog is only a few months old, I've been blogging for three years continuously and in multiple places (Twenties Hacker. Check them out!). In no way am I an expert, but I have learned a thing or two since hitting publish for the first time. I feel a little weird about writing a how-to on blogging, but I feel compelled to complain about blogging pet peeves pass on any wisdom that I might have.  

My very favourite part of blogging is that it is a community. Some of my favourite people in the world (Lorraine Sydney Pia Kate Bobbi Cheryl) I've never actually met in person, which sounds really creepy if you aren't a blogger. Or maybe it is creepy, in which case don't have me arrested.  

There are so many ways to connect: Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, email, dedicated communities like 20sb and Studio 30 Plus, and of course by commenting directly on a blog. Some people I only interact with on one platform, some I stalk on all. The key word here is interact.

I totally understand that sometimes a tweet or a comment can be missed here or there, I'm very sure that I've missed some as well. But it drives me absolutely bonkers when people just don't respond. The elite Blog Famous folks get a break on this one--I wouldn't have time to respond to hundreds of comments on multiple platforms either! But for the rest of us mere mortals? It isn't difficult to show some love to your readers, and it's downright rude to ignore the loyal readers that reach out to you on a regular basis.

So respond. Interact. They don't have to be your best friend, but be friendly. It's how you grow your blog, and more importantly, it's how you be a good person. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

"Bah! Mondays!" she said with disdain.

{source}

I woke up this morning completely and irrationally mad at Boyfriend. In my dream, he had reached over and turned my alarm off, then proceeded to yell at me for hitting snooze way too many times. Now, in reality, I hit snooze approximately eight times every morning. He's never actually yelled at me for it, but he is quick to point out how incredibly irritating it is. So this totally could have happened in real life. 

I'm not one of those people that jumps out of bed at the first chime of my alarm, ready to face the day. 

No. This is not me at all. Those people bug me to no end.

I hit snooze, pull the blanket over my head, and grumble for the next nine minutes until my alarm goes off again. I repeat this several times; if I'm at Boyfriend's house, then after the second time I'm either being kicked (gently) out of bed, or he flat-out tells me to knock it off. If I'm at home, then Boy Cat will slap me with his paw (claws out) until I get up. 

This morning, it was me that attacked my alarm. But instead of hitting snooze I turned it off. So I woke up an hour later in a mad panic, knowing that I still had to take my dog home and get ready for work, and was super stressed out about having to rush around. {Is anyone happy when they wake up stressed??} In my dream-addled mind, though, I blamed Boyfriend. I almost didn't give him a kiss when I left. 

But I did, and I managed to instruct him to have a good day--in probably the least loving tone I could muster. But it's the try that counts, right?

Have you ever been mad at someone for what they did in your dream?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up #3



So what have I learned this week? 

  • Don't schedule a post until it's been finished!
  • Freighters don't run on granola or complaints, to quote Mr. Rebak. {Love you}
  • People mock my colour-coded organization system because they are jealous. At least, that's what I tell myself.
  • ALWAYS CHECK TO MAKE SURE THE ATTACHMENT THAT YOU ADVISE IS ATTACHED ACTUALLY IS ATTACHED. 
  • The recall function in Outlook might as well not exist, because people read their dang emails so quickly. STOP BEING EFFICIENT, BUSINESS WORLD. 
  • Never let someone put a bag of candy on my desk, because I will inhale it before they come back to get it. What? I thought it was a gift!
  • When caring for your mother's dog: always allow an extra half hour in your mornings because she will need to pee four times before you leave. Bonus: if it turns out that the dog wakes up every day at 5AM, just say no. Or request that your mother retrain her to wake up at a reasonable time, like 7AM. 
  • This whole KStew cheating on RPatz with her {married!} director is less irritating than the constant 'OMG ARE THEY BLOOD DOPING????" Olympics talk that is freaking everywhere.
****

Although I'm a big fan of my own work, I also enjoy what other people write. What were my favourite reads this week?
  1. Lexa's post "On Feminism and Fatness" was amazing, and so very, very true. We've all been there, but we shouldn't need to experience it. 
  2. Ah! Embarrassing blog emails! I have felt Kathy's pain many, many times. 
  3. Because I'm obsessed with Paris, and weddings. I die. I wish. 
  4. I have an unapologetic love for exposed beams
  5. Esther nailed it when she wrote about traveling alone. 

I'm going to Capital Ex and getting my hair cut (!!!!!) this weekend. 
What are you up to? 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Eff, Marry, Kill!



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Michelle from The Vintage Apple might be my blogging soul mate, because her theme for this week's Eff, Marry, Kill is: 

HOT MEN OF THE 80's!!!!!


Um, love. So much love for this, which is why I am participating. Can we get a drumroll for my picks please?


Everyone's favourite teen heartthrob, Michael J. Fox

The jock of all jock's, Emilioooooooo Estevez

The Man, Harrison Ford*


I'm kind of kicking myself for not choosing Anthony Michael Hall...that would have made choosing "kill" way easier (sorry, Brian!). 

I don't know that it even needs to be stated, OBVIOUSLY my Eff choice is Han. Mr Solo, you can say "I know" when I tell you that I love you any day

I would totally marry Michael J Fox. Yum. 

So that leaves Emilio as my kill choice...not because I don't like him--even if he's kind of douchey at the beginning of The Breakfast Club--but because I like him least out of these three. 



*Empire Strikes Back came out in 1980, naysayers, so Han Solo TOTALLY COUNTS.

What would your choices be?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Daily Ten Minute Tidy

Rakas Kesa


After reading The Happiness Project, I was inspired to embark on my own journey to find personal happiness. Each Wednesday I will be posting about my weekly challenge, including both successes and failures. Follow along, and don't be afraid to join in! 



*****

I am a champion procrastinator, this has been established already. This seems especially true when it comes to cleaning, because seriously--who enjoys cleaning? I do not, at all, so this can be a struggle for me. 

Now, when it comes to food messes (ew) I take care of those right away. I don't like messy or smelly dishes. But I'm a "stack it and leave"-er. I have piles of paper and books and dog leashes and veterinary receipts and clean clothes pretty much everywhere. My version of "cleaning" has always been to neaten up these stacks, so that they are slightly more pleasing to the eye. So basically, I cheat when it comes to cleaning. 

This week, I've been forcing myself to take ten minutes at the end of every day to tidy. I do it on my way to bed at night; I'll stop in each room and quickly organize mail, put away clothes or shoes, and any other quick task that I can see. The first few days, I actually set a timer on my phone just to make sure that I actually cleaned for ten minutes, but once I got into it I found it a lot easier to fill the whole time without prompting.

Honestly, I didn't have high hopes for this challenge when I wrote it. Not only was I sure that I wouldn't have enough tasks every day to tidy for ten minutes, but I also didn't think that it would make a noticeable difference. 


I was wrong. (My mom just took a screenshot of this). 


Ten minutes of completing seemingly random tasks made a huge difference. Sorting through my mail leaves me with a small stack of papers that I neatly clip to my fridge, with the envelopes in the recycling bin, instead of a mess of papers on my counter. My bathroom always looks like a cyclone hit it in the mornings, but it only takes me a few minutes to put away my blow-dryer, hair products, and makeup. The last minute of my ten minute tidy is pull out the clothes that I plan on wearing in the morning, complete with underwear, shoes, and accessories. I can't explain it, but I am much more decisive before bed than in the morning, so this actually saves me about a half an hour in the mornings. 


The moral of my story? I actually enjoy my ten minute tidy; it helps me unwind, and feel more prepared for tomorrow. 

How do you keep your house tidy?

Next Week: No more nagging!


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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Typography is Sexy

Judge if you must, but I have a crush on beautiful fonts. I also have a bit of an addiction to downloading them-- Da Font just seems to feed my addiction. They have thousands of fonts available, and most are free {with the option to donate to the creator}. 

These are my current obsessions:
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What are your favourite fonts? 



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Monday, July 23, 2012

My Favourite Products: Hair

I have incredibly fussy hair; it's long, thin, fine, dry, and unbelievably straight. It's difficult to cut, style, and color. I'm very precise about how I like my hair, so I will try almost any product out there to tame my unruly tresses. I'm not being sponsored by any of the above companies; I'm sharing my favourites because they work well and I'm a loyal consumer!

1. Macadamia Deep Repair Mask--this is a miracle in a tub, y'all. Once a week, I'll wash my hair with shampoo, comb this mask through my hair, and leave it in for about ten minutes. It makes my hair soft and silky, but not limp or weighed down like a lot of masks do. And it smells so incredible that you could eat it. Uh but you know. Don't eat it.

2. Garnier Nutrisse Triple Nutrition 3 Minute Undo mask--if I don't have time to use the Macadamia mask, I'll use this one. I was really surprised the first time I used it, because it feels sort of gritty. Not as much as a face scrub does, but you can definitely feel little pieces of grit in it. I still haven't figured out how that may improve my hair, but I do find that this is a great deep conditioner in a pinch.

3. Pantene Fine Mousse--I have ridiculously fine hair, so I love the lightness of this formula. I use a palm full (slightly less than a small golf ball) on towel-dried hair, and then blow-dry normally. I have those irritating little baby hairs that stand up straight if I flip my head upside down to dry it, so I just use a paddle brush and large round brush.

4 & 5. Herbal Essences Hydralicious shampoo/conditioner--now, I know that some people are going to shake their heads at my choice in shampoo and conditioner. I've tried every drug store brand, and almost every salon brand, of shampoo and conditioner, and I can honestly say that the $3.99 Herbal Essences works better on my hair than anything else. It smells great without being over-powering, it doesn't weigh my hair down, and it keeps it healthy. And? It's $3.99 per bottle. Can't beat that!


6. Big Sexy Hair Spray & Play Harder--because of my baby hairs, I require a miracle hairspray. I love Spray & Play Harder because it keeps my curls intact without making them crunchy, it keeps my flyaways down when I put my hair up, and it lasts really well through those damp and/or humid days. 


7. Pantene Split End Repair keratin protection creme--I put this on the ends of my {damp} hair before blow-drying if I'm going to curl my hair as well. It stands up really well to the heat, and lessens the appearance of any frizzy ends that I end up with between trims.

8. Biosilk Silk Therapy--my fine hair is prone to split ends, so when they start to get uncontrollable I use Silk. It's $19.99 for a small bottle, so I don't go crazy and use it unless I'm having a "mayday!" split-end day. It's heaven in a bottle, and will rescue even incredibly damaged hair. Only cutting the ends off will eliminate the splits entirely, but this works wonders until you concede to needing a bigger hair cut.

What are your favourite hair products?



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Friday, July 20, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up # 2



Lordy, has this ever been an exhausting week! It has been crazy hot in Edmonton for the past few weeks, so we've been having intense nighttime storms with pounding rain, booming thunder, and lightning as bright as the sun. On Monday evening I came home to find that my cat, Toulouse, had somehow gotten his foot caught up in the cords in my blinds. He's going to be fine--his foot is swollen, and it's sore, but the coloring is back to normal and he is starting to walk on it. It hurts my heart to see him limp around, but I'm so very glad that he is going to be ok!

So what have I learned this week? 

  • Nothing is safe for cats. Polysporin, aspirin, benadryl--the things that I am so used to relying on for my  dog--are toxic to cats. So you just have to watch them hurt, and cry a lot. 
  • Even if something is entirely out of your control, you will feel entirely culpable and guilty. And cry a lot.
  • Mini freezies make excellent ice packs for cat paw trauma.
  • Book clubs are actually really fun--even if no one in attendance actually finishes the book. 
  • Waiting for your best friend to have her baby is stressful. Although I'm very certain that she was much more stressed than I!
  • I should not be allowed to hold babies. It just makes me want them. And...no. Nope. I just shouldn't hold them. They're so tiny and sweet and they smell amazing when they aren't poopy. Yep. Staying away from babies. 
  • My car occasionally makes a sound that I can only describe as "trash compactor". I am told that this is neither good, nor cheap to fix. 
****

Although I'm a big fan of my own work, I also enjoy what other people write. What were my favourite reads this week?
  1. Probably the coolest parenting idea ever
  2. "I hope your raving ginger kid was worth the dark carnival of souls" I shouldn't read Noa Gavin at work, because I laugh like a maniac and my co-workers think that I'm having a seizure. 
  3. ...although Noa was spot-on with this one. 
  4.  Natasha's box of post cards made my heart melt, because I am a sucker for cheesy romantic gestures
  5.  I stumbled across Rebecca's style blog, and I am in love with her photography and location choices. 
  6. Blaming the Catholic School of your youth for your weight gain? That's something that I'd do, too. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Use The "One Minute Rule"

Rakas Kesa


After reading The Happiness Project, I was inspired to embark on my own journey to find personal happiness. Each Wednesday I will be posting about my weekly challenge, including both successes and failures. Follow along, and don't be afraid to join in! 



*****
The people that know (and love) me are very aware that my worst habit is procrastination. If someone asks me when I will be doing the laundry, unloading the dishwasher, or cleaning the kitty litter, my most common answer is "Soon!". This proclamation is usually followed by my continued absorption in a television show or my giggling at yet another internet meme. Frequently this leads to nagging by the requesting party, the occasional argument, and (if I'm lucky) it ends with them just completing the task themselves.

Laundry is not a difficult task; neither is helping with the dishes, or packing a lunch. They are not labour-intensive, and they really only take a few minutes of my time. In my mind, I rationalized my avoidance and procrastination as "time management" and "prioritizing tasks", when in reality I was just too lazy to get up and do them most of the time.

This week I have challenged myself to implement a "one minute rule"--if a task will take one minute or less, I just do it instead of adding it to a never-ending list of things to do. I decided to have the rule extend to all facets of my life, not just tasks at home, and I feel like I've been successful with it. In the past, I've frequently felt overwhelmed when looking at my task list for the day. I've realized now that (in too many cases) it would take me longer to physically write an item on the list than it actually would have taken for me to accomplish it. 


I quite like the rule, and it's definitely one that I plan on continuing. By the end of each day, I'm able to reflect on what I've accomplished during the day instead of focusing on what is still on my list. Spending a minute here or there to get something done has, in the long run, saved me quite a bit of time this week.

And now that I'm not writing as many lists, I don't have as many to lose!

What tasks do you tend to avoid? 

Next Week: Another rule to live by--the daily ten minute tidy

Monday, July 16, 2012

If You Really Knew Me...

I've seen this floating around on {Kristin's and Jenni's and Michelle's and Jessica's} many blogs recently, and I am going to blatantly copy them by doing my own. I think each one of their entries are beautiful, and honest, and personal, and relatable. So here is my take on it...



If you really knew me, you'd know that...


...I am incredibly emotional. From happiness to sadness, I feel emotions to the extreme. Naturally, this isn't always easy for those around me!

...I cannot stand feet--most especially having my own feet touched. Four people in this world have the ability to touch my feet without being kicked in the face by me, and that's only if they don't abuse it by tickling them.

...I am happiest when surrounded by (or at least near) large bodies of water. I grew up beside the Pacific ocean, so being near water makes me feel like I'm home. Many, many times I've been told by people that I'm a different person around water, and it's true. I'm less tense, I deal with my stress better, and I feel happier.

...my first love language is Words of Affirmation. If you want me to know that you care, you need to tell me. If you like something that I've done (and want me to do it again), compliment me when I do it. If you want to encourage me to do something more often, use affirming words. Praise will get you far with me...for the most part. This isn't just about a romantic relationship, it extends to platonic relationships as well!

...my second love language is physical touch. Self-explanatory, but also not necessarily just romantic. It means that I'm a hugger, and if I hug you then I feel closer to you. Also I'll hug you when you're upset, it's a reflex. On the flip side...hug me for a minimum of six seconds if I look sad. It's science.

...I'm incredibly girly. I love wearing dresses and skirts, I'll take the time to curl my hair or put on makeup, and I love to wear high heels and jewelry.

...I sleep soundly (and for about 12 hours at a time) when I'm content. Stress, worry, anxiety, anger, frustration--all of these affect my sleep patterns negatively. I also don't function very well when I'm tired, which helps nothing.

...I will justify spending hundreds of dollars on a high-quality purse because they seriously can last forever.

...I'm actually a pretty quiet person. I tend to chatter if I'm nervous, stressed out, or worried. Or tired. Or excited. The important part of this ramble is that you should feel pretty special if I feel comfortable enough to stay quiet for long periods of time with you. It means you're one of my few "comfort" people.

...I have baggage.

...my birthday really is that important to me. More important than Christmas. Is it selfish? Yes. But this is directly related to the above-mentioned baggage, so any attempts to make it out of the ordinary would leave me speechless.

...I never stop loving someone. There are a small handful of people that I have said those three words to, and even though I'm not in love with the people of my past...they are still there, in their own way.

...I'm a traditionalist, and a romantic at heart. Wooing will also get you far with me.

What would the people who really know you say about you?

Friday, July 13, 2012

The First Weekly Wrap-Up

{via weheartit}

Starting a new job is nerve-wracking. You don't know anyone, you don't know what you're doing, and you feel like you're failing before you even have a chance to do your job.

I've learned a lot this week. I'm going to pretend that y'all just asked enthusiastically "WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED, ASHLEY??" so that I can respond with a shouted "HOW VERY THOUGHTFUL OF YOU TO ASK, LET ME TELL YOU WHAT I'VE LEARNED THIS WEEK!"

  • Having an expensive post-secondary education does not mean that you're qualified to operate a paper cutter.
  • Don't walk out of your door in the morning wearing flip-flops. When you assume that you have business-appropriate shoes at your desk you just make an ass out of yourself. Because you don't have shoes under your desk. That was at your old job, dummy.
  • Companies don't have magical office supply closets containing your preferred brand of pens and highlighters. So if you really, really need them like right now, bring your own.
  • There is, however, a magical room where there is pretty much an unlimited supply of Dr. Pepper. Rock on, wonderful employer.
  • Wear tights with your skirts. If you don't, people will look at you like you forgot your pants at home. I actually checked a few times to make sure that I had bottoms on, because gosh people were scandalized.
  • Take your name tag off before leaving work, unless you want the clerk at the liquor store to spend the next twenty minutes attempting to pronounce your last name.
  • Having your lunch catered by the on-site restaurant is amazing, but don't eat so much that you spend all afternoon in pain and/or wanting to find an inconspicuous place to nap.
  • Patience is not just a virtue, it's an absolute necessity.
  • The people that you work with, that seemed so scary at first? Are actually kind of awesome
****

Although I'm a big fan of my own work, I also enjoy what other people write. What were my favourite reads this week? 

  1. Pretty much everything that the Snark Squad posts. I can't even describe the awesome that these girls produce, y'all have to experience it for yourself.
  2. IFB's take on how bloggers can benefit from criticism, because we all get it and it sucks.
  3. Lorraine's saga of attempting to share a bed with a preschooler had me in stitches, because Lordy have I been there.
  4. Jessica's sweet-but-honest post about who she really is
I'm planning on spending my weekend baking cookies and enjoying the beautiful weather with my little girl.

  What are your plans for the weekend? 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sometimes You Need To Quote Karl Lagerfeld


I finally started editing the photos from my trip to BC in June, and I'm glad that I waited so long. There is something about reliving memories that I absolutely adore, and the daunting task of sorting through my .jpegs did not disappoint!

It always blows me away that I manage to take thousands of photos over the course of a trip, but in the end I only fall in love with a few handfuls. 

Those few that I do love, though? I really, really love. 




Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Express Gratitude {even for the little things}

Rakas Kesa



After reading The Happiness Project, I was inspired to embark on my own journey to find personal happiness. Each Wednesday I will be posting about my weekly challenge, including both successes and failures. Follow along, and don't be afraid to join in! 


Last week: Zero to Happy 

*****


I'm going to blindly categorise an entire nation and say that Canadians are incredibly polite. We are famous for apologising to inanimate objects when we so rudely bump into them, holding doors open for  anyone entering the building after us (even if that person is still ten meters away), and for saying 'please' and 'thank-you' to an extent that some find irritating.

When it comes to saying 'please' and 'thank-you', I operate at about 95%; there will be times when I ask for the salt by grunting and gesturing, or will be too distracted texting to thank the person that just held the door for me, but for the most part I am excellent at expressing gratitude. Where I fall entirely flat on my face is when it comes to thanking the most important people in my life.

Sometimes I'll come home from work and find that my mother cleaned my kitchen, and I fail to thank her. Even worse, sometimes I get grumpy when I can't find the can opener or if she failed to take out the garbage. Don't send me hate mail; I am well aware of how awful this not only makes me sound, but how awful I actually am sometimes.

Sometimes when my beautiful daughter hands me a glittery painted craft, accompanied by a heart-warming "I love you Maman!", my first instinct will be to reprimand her for getting paint on the table or for not wearing her painting smock. Yup, I'm cementing the "awful human being" persona right now.

The list goes on and on: not acknowledging the wonderful things that Boyfriend does (on a very regular basis) or the photo that Best Friend sent to cheer me up. In no way do I mean to take advantage of the most important people in my life, but at the end of the day I find myself enthusiastically thanking strangers for their simple acts of kindness while at the same time failing to extend the same courtesy to my loved ones.

This whole happiness challenge is very important to me, but this challenge is perhaps the single most important one on my list. I'm not sure that I can actually gauge the effectiveness of my attempt, but I feel like I paid more attention to the things that people were doing for me. I tried to thank each person that sent me a 'happy birthday' or 'congratulations on your new job' message. When I forgot to buy a USB cable with my printer, and my mom went out and got one for me, I made sure to give her a hug and thank her.

There was a giant fail on my part though. Boyfriend got me an amazing birthday present, and while I did kiss him and thank him, I was trying so hard not to cry at his thoughtfulness that he ended up asking me later if I liked it. I absolutely adore it, so my plan next time is to just let the tears flow so that he doesn't have to ask.

This week didn't make me the most grateful person on the planet; I'm still human so I still overlook things from time to time. But now that I've forced myself to pay more attention to the little things, I think it'll be easier for me to continue to be thankful towards loved ones when they do something kind for me. I don't want to be that person that takes advantage of the amazing people around them--not that anyone actually does want that. And I know that if I ever forget, there is a very good chance that one of them will point me back to this post as a reminder!

How do you feel when your actions go unnoticed?

Next week, the challenge is to use the 'one minute rule'--don't put off anything that will take one minute or less to complete. 




Friday, July 6, 2012

It's My Birthday!

Today is my 25th birthday, and it's also the first day of my brand-new job--the one that I have wanted (and been working towards!) for the last five years. 


This side of my twenties feels good




I've always held the belief that a birthday is a very important day.

It's a one-day vacation from the stress of day-to-day life. 

It's a day about cake, and dinners, and parties. 

It's a day about presents, and laughter. 

It's a day spent celebrating you. 

Stress doesn't exist. 

Just you


Because everyone deserves a day

that is just as special 

as them. 










Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Zero to Happy


Although I wouldn't classify myself as a happy person, I also wouldn't call myself unhappy. While I am cognizant of all that I have in my life that does make me happy, I tend to lose sight of them and focus on the negative. Rejection from a job interview, the cats emptying the contents of my purse for the billionth time, a glass of spilled milk, not receiving a good-night kiss--all small grievances in the grand scheme of things, yet I seem to find myself stuck on them, mulling them over time and time again until I find a cloud above my head and the entire world seems to be against me. Dramatic? Definitely. Completely honest? Absolutely.

In a moment of sheer desperation, or perhaps out of a more subtle want to change the way I view things, I picked up a copy of Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project. In it, Gretchen spends one year consciously trying to change bad habits and focusing on what really mattered in her life--family, friends, and happiness. The book is well written, documenting her successes and failures on a (sometimes very) personal level, and includes a lot of useful information about the science of happiness, as well as different thoughts and beliefs from different cultures. 

I have found her journey to be inspiring, and although it isn't entirely original, have decided to embark on my own Happiness Project. I made a list of all of the things that I want to accomplish with this challenge--some are inspired by the book, others are traits that I've admired in other people or habits that I want to form for myself. Each week I will tackle the new one, while trying to carry forward the previous challenges. I don't anticipate that it will be easy, but in the end I hope to learn a lot--and, of course, look at life with an optimistic tilt! 

Come back each Wednesday to see where this experience will take me, and be sure to let me know if you have decided to join in! 

Visit my Zero to Happy page for the full list of challenges! 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Practice Safe Sun



1. Replace your daily body lotion with a hydrating sunblock. I really enjoy the smell and formula of Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration lotion--I choose the broad-spectrum SPF 30 formula, and I apply it once I'm out of the shower and dry. I don't normally spend hours on end in the sun, so one application is enough for me; if you are spending all day outside, or planning on swimming, don't forget to reapply every few hours!

2. Don't forget your face. My face is very sensitive, so instead of using regular sunblock on my face (or skipping it all together!) I opt for a lotion that is formulated specifically for my face with a minimum of SPF 15 mixed in. In case you didn't get the memo, I'm a little bit obsessed with Neutrogena Healthy Skin Face Lotion with SPF 15.

3. Skip the tanning beds. Nobody wants to be called an Oompa Loompa (ahem, Snooki), nor do they want to battle skin cancer. Do yourself a favour, and skip the tanning beds. A healthy glow is sexier than tangerine skin anyways--seriously, ask your significant other. I like to use Dove Summer Glow body lotion every three days to gradually darken my skin; if I try to use it more frequently then I look like I had an unfortunate accident with self-tanner. Pro tip: exfoliate your body well before using any self tanner (even gradual ones!) the color will appear more even after application.

4. Protect your beautiful tresses. Although no one has developed a true sunblock for hair, there are quite a few companies that have formulated products that will help protect your hair from damaging UV rays. My hair (even when colored) tends to lighten quite quickly in the sun, and my favourite UV protector so far is Bumble + Bumble's Color Minded UV Protective Styling Balm. It doesn't weigh my hair down or make it greasy, and it doesn't take a lot of product to cover my long but fine hair. My color will still fade with washes, but won't dramatically lighten from a day in the sun.

5. Make sure you cover & hydrate. Cover your head with your favourite hat to reduce your chance of sunstroke and replenish the fluids your body loses in the heat by drinking lots of water; eating frozen fruits and veggies (my favourite are frozen grapes and frozen peas) and popsicles will also hydrate you while cooling your core body temperature.


water bottle pictured is by nalgene; hat is by forever21


What are your go-to sun products?
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