Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ask an old married lady: What's your skincare routine?

Am I the only one who finds the beauty and skincare section of any store (be it Wal-Mart, Target, Ulta or Sephora) totally overwhelming? I find myself asking questions like: 
  • What should I put on my face?
  • Should I be lightening, brightening, tightening, firming or anti-acne-ing? 
  • Do I need to use a serum? Pore shrinker? Wrinkle reducer? BB cream? 
  • How do I know if I should use one of those fancy facial brush-thingies? Doesn't a washcloth do the same thing? 
  • Once I pick a type of product, how do I decide on a brand? 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Update: Lavender field redux

Fall is here, and with it comes the freedom to dig in new plants, move plants, and tidy up the garden. Until now, I never realized how much fall and spring have in common. There are even plants that are can be grown in the fall as second-season crops.

On the top of my to-do list has been the lavender. I've been itching to continue working on it but the summer heat has kept me away. I knew that if I moved the lavender in July or August, it would just end up dying. With the glorious cool weather of fall (and my husband in Asia for work), I finally started digging.

It wasn't the most difficult gardening I've done (wait for my rant about lily of the valley!), but it is the biggest change I've made to the front of the house.



I carefully dug up each plant, placed them in my trusty wheelbarrow and moved them to the back yard. In the spring, I had planted young lavender plants to fill in the gaps. I thought that would be enough to make the walk look nice but it just didn't work. Too much of the walk was taken up by the plants, making it barely passable. Even my poor dog hated walking down it (apparently puppies are embarrassed if they smell like lavender).  However, those young lavender plants have had some time under their belts and have grown hardy enough to survive the winter (I hope!). So I just moved them so that they were evenly spaced out, giving the walk a neater look.

I didn't just throw away the old lavender. I managed to place a few of the plants in different spots in the back yard. Hopefully, they will get used to their new home and thrive. Some of them weren't worth saving, so I will harvest all the lavender off them and make something.

I was immediately gratified by my work because the mail man came up the walk. He told me how much he appreciated that I removed the overgrown shrubs. From his point of view, I can see how annoying it is to traipse through people's plants to get to their door. It made me feel less bad for ripping out the old lavender and appreciate the slow but eventual beauty that the front walk will have again.

Right now the front walk consists of irises, lavender and poppies. The poppies weren't as much of a success as I thought they would be. They took a while to bloom, and then the blossoms fell off in a day or two. I want to add more plants but I'm going to give it one more year until I've made up my mind.

Any suggestions of what to plant along with the lavender?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Confession: I don't know how to shave my legs

OK, I've had this sad, silly personal confession that I need help with. I am older than 30, and I cannot, for the life of me, shave my knees properly. 

Every time I shave my legs, I think, "OK, go slow. Try a few angles. That's it, just-OW. I NICKED MYSELF." Then when I'm in different lighting, I can see a bunch of remaining hairs, always sticking straight out.  

I asked my sister, who seemed like she should have this thing handled, too, and she said, "The key is the razor. Triple blade is your best bet."

Then I asked my mom, because shouldn't your mom teach you these things when you're, like, 12? Her suggestion: "Best technique: shave legs in shower, carry razor with you, sit in car in bright sunlight and shave knees."

I guess it's time to upgrade from the men's twin-blade razors I usually buy. And keep a razor in my car, like all good ladies? 

Friends, share your shame: What life skill secretly stymies you? 

Photo: 'Young Woman Modeling' from the Library of Congress collection here