Wednesday, December 26, 2012

holidaze, travel and sanity

this week we are in the midst of the annual holiday season. Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and the New year co-exist during the month of December and give us a good reason to get together (being with the ones you love shouldn't be reserved for a few days out of the year, however). this year we traveled to Wisconsin to be with my family for Thanksgiving, so we made the even longer trek to Michigan to be with Trevor's family for Christmas. after working so many years at the ski resorts and not having a "real" Christmas, this one's been a doozy!

we drove about 11 hours to get to Northern Michigan (a very beautiful, quaint place on the north shore of Lake Michigan) and have been making the rounds to see family members and friends, all while trying to enjoy our first holiday season together. to maintain our sanity, we make sure to do a few things:

1. don't burn yourself out. I REPEAT: DO NOT BURN YOURSELF OUT. this is crucial to maintaining your cool when faced with any potentially embarrassing or offensive situation. give yourself time and space to cool off so you can be on your best behavior with everyone around you. even your servers and retail workers who are spending time away from their loved ones to work (speaking as an experienced server, of course).

2. travel with your necessities. we always make sure to pack healthy snacks for the road so we don't have to eat gas station crap while traveling. this has saved us many times and we pack a small cooler and/or grocery bag with food that will help us maintain our sanity. i also always pack a box of assorted teas, since i have my own preferences.

3. indulge, but don't OVERindulge. it's the holidays, there are sweets everywhere and lots of meals to share with family. it's certainly OK to indulge, but i try to at least limit myself somewhat. reward yourself for all those yoga classes and days at the gym!!

4. always stay POSITIVE. we all have people in our lives who challenge us. it is always important to stay positive, but especially during a time when you are surrounded by family, some of whom may be the very people who challenge us most. family gatherings can be overwhelming, so be sure to take time for yourself when you need to re-charge and see the bright side again. your family loves you!

...and with that, i wish you well during this busy but joyful time. i'm off to enjoy my organic peppermint tea that helps with digestion (see numbers 2 and 3 above) and take some time for myself with a good book. Happy Holidaze!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

more love for dogs

remember when i told you how much i love dogs and how much joy they bring me? well i want to add to those sentiments now that i'm living with Datsyuk and my parents' dog, Bettie White. Bettie came from a farm in Iowa and never had a good home until this past July. for a lot of the time she was in shelters, she missed out on a whole lotta love and support. my parents aren't necessarily "dog people,"  but they wanted a companion and some new life in their home (my step-dad is semi-retired and has the time to watch a needy puppy).

Syuky and Bettie White playing in the fresh snow

let's get one thing absolutely straight: Bettie White is totally crazy. i mean, she's CRAZY, always getting into mischief, running every which way, tearing apart toys and now that Syuky is here, terrorizing him. even though i know he is often annoyed, Datsyuk also likes the attention (he is still a full-on male, testosterone and all). imagine a teenage girl living in the same house as her handsome, older man crush. yah its like that.
Datsyuk being so gracious as my
cousins dress him up as a wizard

what else is special about Bettie is the way she loves. she is a little behind, she doesn't always behave, but she always, always wants to be loved and will love in return.  as crazy as she makes me some times, i can never be too upset, knowing that where she came from was probably much worse than our nice home in calm Northeast Minneapolis. it's hard for me to describe what its like to have my boyfriend and our dog here with me while i go to school, but if you can think of the best possible situation for yourself at this moment, you can relate. i have all the support in the world and for that i am forever grateful. Syuky and Bettie can always put a smile on my face, even when i want to smash faces after a tough day with over-pretentious grad students. their simple joy and love is contagious.

Monday, December 10, 2012

friendship always has benefits

remember when i told you about the currency of trade and how awesome it is? well, this other instance didn't exactly include a trade (though i had the option), but it's a perfect example of what can happen when you maintain a friendship, support one another, and both parties benefit. see exhibit:

my dear friend has a little shop in Truckee and recently opened a second one in Brooklyn, New York (check it out here). when i heard she would be opening the second location i immediately asked if she would need some jewelry merchandise to put in the shop. lo and behold, she did! (asking questions can get you very far) i sent her over $500 worth of jewelry and the shop opened up just a few weeks ago. i had also been eyeing a super sweet pair of Jeffrey Campbell platforms and we considered a trade, however my grad student budget will not allow for it right now.

in the end, i discovered that maintaining a good relationship/friendship can be super beneficial for all parties involved!! i'm not one to burn bridges, and as i get older i'm learning that this is especially important not to do. never underestimate what someone can do for you and what you can do for them. you might be surprised! ;)

Monday, December 3, 2012

coco loco

i've written my praises for coconut oil once before and i'm about to do it again. as a hair treatment, the oil is still working wonders. i try to keep most products out of my hair, only using a morroccan oil out of the shower and a smoothing product while my hair is still wet. the coconut oil goes on only when my hair is fairly dirty and ready for a washing the next day. leaving it in overnight is great and after it washes out, my hair feels smooth and shiny!!

lately i've also been experimenting with coconut oil as an overnight moisturizer on my face. its worked wonderfully. i have been washing my face less (only at night with a cream-based sensitive cleanser) and moisturizing more. seems as though the older i get, the more moisture my skin needs. it helps clear up breakouts and keeps my skin relaxed and fresh. in the morning i don't even need to cleanse, which keeps my skin even clearer of products. natural is always better!!!