the view from Sunday: a time to plant

Today was a day for gardening (among other chores).
You will note that the pot on the right reads “sweet mint”… it is not. I intended to buy sweet mint, and somehow came home with two lemon balms. Oh well. There will be lots of tea.
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I also did some replanting…
Repotted my jade plant (hoping it will continue to thrive), and spread some of the succulents around. It’s a riot of green!
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And repotted my baby jades. These survived the mite infestation that killed their mother plant. I have neighbors with nasty plants 😦

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life: still kicking around

I am alive! But barely. I caught the flu right as I was preparing to start my health reset (not a diet, just a kick in the rear exercise-wise). As happens, I was a mess for a good week and a half and am only just getting over the gut-wrenching cough, headaches, dizziness, and general breathlessness. It’s been rough, but I really do feel like I’m finally on the mend.

Of course, I tried to write and that didn’t go well. I’ve been focusing on my promotion file, so my writing is limited to weekend sprints at the moment, but even that went on hold while I recovered. I have a hard time divorcing my academic voice from my creative voice, so I need to set clear boundaries between professional writing and fiction. That means weekends, which means slower, but less schizophrenic results.

So here we are, sloth-like but chugging along.

sparking joy: scaling back on beauty and skincare

I have the flu! Which means I had a lot of time to sort through my bedroom and make some decisions. This is a fairly small declutter, but after the last two rounds of decluttering, I am down to those items I thought stood a chance. They didn’t, but I sometimes I find it better to wait than to live with regret.

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I was going to film a video, but these items are not revolutionary, so a post will suffice. I also tossed my empties. I was in the mood to purge and decided I could live without sharing my thoughts on mediocre products.

pictured from left to right:

top row

  • hair clips (assorted): My scalp reacted to these. Not sure if it’s the material or the tiny metal parts, but it was no bueno.
  • Honest Beauty creme foundation in Linen: I never really loved this. I thought about returning it at first, but decided to work with it instead. I found that the best application was skin to skin, patted on with fingers and blended with a brush, but the overall experience was mediocre and often patchy. I used it as a concealer more than a foundation, and now it’s well past the best by stage and I hit pan long ago. Tossed.
  • Hurraw balms in cherry and earl grey: They dried my lips. Did not moisturize at all.
  • elf lip stain: It’s ok, but it dries my lips the more I apply it.
  • Whole Foods dry skin hand lotion in vanilla amber: I like these lotions, but this scent is a little to heady for me.
  • Hourglass mineral veil: This was a sample and I’m unlikely to ever use it. Toss.
  • Assorted brushes: I have too many and I don’t use any of these regularly. Toss.

bottom row

  • Assorted samples: Red Apple lipstick, Buxom eyeshadow, Kjaer Weis eye shadow. These were nice, glad I sampled rather than purchased.
  • hair stick: like the clips, there’s just something about the material that doesn’t jive with my sensitive scalp.
  • Bare Minerals eye shadow (pink and smokey gray), Honey Bee Gardens shadow in Chai: I hate loose shadows. I don’t know why I even try.
  • Pixi shadow palette in gold: I like the colors, but the pigmentation is kind of weak. Replaced with an elf palette that works much better.
  • OPI gold matte polish: I like a nice gold for the holidays, but I’m not crazy about this formula.
  • Red Apple Lipstick in Audrey, Nars lipstick in Fast Ride: Audrey is past it’s use by and the formula went off. It smells really strong and feels slicker than before, and the color seems to be darker than when I purchased it. Fast Ride is nice, but it looks too much like Glossier Jam, and I like Jam better.
  • Elate lip to cheek color: This came in a Petit Vour box. The color is ok, but I hate that it smells like lemongrass and the packaging may be eco, but it just feels cheap.
  • Sephora lip liner: I never use lip liner.
  • Honey Bee Gardens eye liner in gunmetal(?); Pacifica eyeliner in jet: The HBG has glitter in it. Glitter! No good for my eyes. I like the Pacifica, but I prefer the brown.
  • Johnson’s bedtime lotion: An experiment for my nighttime migraines. Fail.
  • Marc Jacobs’ Dot: I like MJ scents, but Dot is a little to warm and cloying for me. I’m a Daisy girl, at best.

life: project use it up! update

In lieu of a proper “view from Sunday”, I give you a quick little update on “project use it up,” wherein I commit to using the stuff I have before purchasing replacements or backups. It’s all part of my goal to live more intentionally and minimally.

candles

My goals included using up my collection of scented candles (impulsively purchased throughout the year) and at least two of my perfumes. I used up nearly all my candles, and currently burning Wilfred Wax’s steamed&frothed, along with my favorite vanilla from IKEA, and a Healing candle from the Crystal Journey collection sold at my local Whole Foods.

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Time to clean these out and repurpose!

scents

I decided to shelve Honey & the Moon until the fall (it’s just too warm a scent for spring/summer) and am only a few spritz away from using up my spirit of moonflower from The Body Shop.
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pens

I also used up two pens, which was not part of the original plan, but deserve recognition, nonetheless. I am a pen hoarder by nature, though I’ve seriously decreased my collection over the last two years, and have made a concerted effort to only replace those I really love.

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video: hypothyroidism and WTF is up with my health

I filmed this video two months ago (wow! my hair has grown), but I was reluctant to post it at first. When all the other life drama hit, I decided to shelve it for a few weeks. Now that I’m embarking on a whole new health journey/experiment, I think the time is ripe to share my story.

I’ve written about my issues with weight, but I’ve never truly shared my story. This video barely covers the surface, but I like to think that this is my form of advocacy. If in doubt, keep searching for a second/third/fourth opinion. Health above all.

life: work. time. pcos.

Hello. Long time. Yeah, that happened. All schedules out the window; my head is awhirl with deadlines and documents, and no space for all the rest. Still working on promotion, still gathering evidence and examples. My NaNo project is on a slow roll, but progressing in between all the rest. Meanwhile, my home is a mess and my financial fast is not so fast. With all that’s happening, side goals have taken a step back.

In other news, I most likely have some form of PCOS, but my appointment was rescheduled just as I was driving to the office… so the official diagnosis will have to wait. I suspected. I have several of the symptoms, and my weight has been settling in odd places (odd for me). I want a diagnosis, but I don’t want to take hormones or metformin (for reasons I won’t go into, but it involves dependence, band-aid fixes, and other health issues that won’t jive with the treatment). I’m researching all I can, tracking my fertility (no babies! I want nothing to do with that!), and looking into medical research on supplements and other types of nutritional support (library with med school database access = librarian on the hunt!). Just received my latest order from Vitacost and a book from amazon, so it’s a sort of PCOS-inspired haul.

And my book arrived too! #pcosdiet #pcos #research

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I’m going to try this, look into other books for ideas, and rely on the Whole30/paleo as the basis for my eating habits. I seem to do well on a paleo-inspired diet, though I’ve not been the best at maintaining a strict protocol in recent months.

It may remain quiet around here, but feel free to follow on the insta if you want to check in or say hi 🙂

life: what have I done?

It’s never a “good” time to apply for promotion… not when it’s academic and requires a sh*t-load of documentation, writing, and compiling of letters. But I applied, and now I’m in it to win it (she says with a strained smile). I’m nothing, if not committed. But it does mean that my lofty writing goals are going to become a bit more down-to-earth. Namely, there’s no way I can reach my current word goal, while also putting together a promotion file, keeping up with reviews (something I do professionally, outside the blog), and grading essays. It’s crunch time! And some things are going to have to wait. I’m glad I’m between drafts with project #1, because there’s no way I was going to get any work done. I’m going to keep writing, but I’m going to scale back. Take things slow and steady, rather than rush and try to meet some arbitrary word count (it’s a rough draft, after all, there’s always Camp NaNo in July).

Things may be a bit quiet around here, but I’ll continue to check in from time to time. Wish me luck!

off the shelf: spies, forgers, and lovers unite!

a little departure from the Friday vlog.

I like to sneak some sweetness between the “serious” reads (you all know that), so I took a chance on a couple of prepub selections from Loveswept (via Netgalley).

512k37PVBiL._SY346_The first was Sharon Cullen’s Wed to a Spy, a historical romance set in the court of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Synopsis:

When Aimee de Verris is caught with her sweetheart, her aunt, Catherine de Medici, packs her off to Queen Mary’s court, where she is to spy on Mary or lose her chance to return to France.

Sir Simon Marcheford is one of Queen Elizabeth’s best agents. When the Queen sends him on a mission to Spain, until fate delivers him to Mary’s court. Things get heated when the two get caught between a forced marriage and a plot against Mary.

Thoughts:

With the exception of Philippa Gregory, this is a time period that I rarely see in romance (maybe I’m not looking in the right place?). Like most romances, this was a fun read and an easy romp. I liked the change in setting (I tend to read Regency or Victorian), and I found the dynamic between Aimee and Simon believable for the period. It wasn’t until I reached the end that I realized I Sharon Cullen also wrote Campbell’s Redemption, which I read a few months ago and found refreshing in its depiction of romance and widowhood. Definitely recommend if you want something Elizabethan.

Find Sharon Cullen on amazon.

51dwAl4i9FLThe second selection was K.C Bateman’s A Counterfeit Heart.

Synopsis:

Sabine de la Tour is on the run. A forger and a woman, she had everything to lose if caught. Unwilling to let her friend Anton take the fall for her actions, she flees with him to London, where she presents herself to the one man who came close to learning her secret: the relentless Lord Richard Lovell, agent of the crown and lust incarnate. Can a forger change her ways? Can she be more than a counterfeiter Lord Lovell’s eyes?

Thoughts:

I really liked this one. The moral ambiguity in particular added an extra something to the romance, as well as the “meeting of equals” feel between Sabine and Richard. In addition to history, there’s a lot of art in this novel, which made for a smart read (Bateman is an art appraiser and antiques expert, as well as a historical romance writer, which makes for some really rich description). If you want Regency with a dash of mystery and danger, check this one out.

Find K.C. Bateman on amazon.

Disclaimer: Previews via NetGalley. Not affiliate links. Just sharing the book love.

writing: on finishing draft 5

I can now say that I’ve finished draft 5. New prologue and all. I learn something new from each draft, but one element that really became obvious is how sparse I am when it comes to description. I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing, it’s just a fact. I tell myself to add more, but end up taking out. My very first rough draft was around 98k words (give or take, I have the numbers saved somewhere). The first draft rewrite clocked in around 90k. The next one was around 79k, followed by around 90k again. Current draft is complete at 83k.

Of course, now I need to do a continuity read, because I edited out of order and things might be screwy in places. But that will wait. For now, I will celebrate and get over the cold that finally got around to me. (I thwarted it for a good two months)