Thursday, June 21, 2012

Not all pies are created equal

I think pie is swell. I love making and eating all kinds of pie. Apple, pumpkin, key lime, pecan, and chocolate mousse are all delicious. Savory variations are also fabulous in my book: a good pizza pie is worth traveling for, and I do enjoy a good slice of quiche for brunch. But not all pies are created equal.

Now, I know tastes are a very personal thing. I know this as someone who does not particularly like cake. That being said, I give a lot of extra leway to pie-type foods. I even give what is blatantly a cake trying to go undercover, AKA Boston Creme Pie, a pass. But if there is one style of pie-like concoctions that I am just not ok with, it's the German kuchen.

Now, I don't know if anyone who is reading this grew up in a German family or perhaps is from Germany. My paternal great grandparents were German. I love hearty German breads, cheeses, and deli meats. I think Ritter Sport make a pretty tasty chocolate bar. And I think German cars are very cool. So please know this is my personal opinion and I mean no offense when I say that I. HATE. KUCHEN.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What I'm loving

I love to talk about things I'm currently digging, be it entertainment or food or whatever, so I thought I'd write about it too and continue to spread the love for those of you who don't see me on the regular (or ever). Here are some of the things I haven't been able to shut up about lately:

Monday, June 18, 2012

I need to learn Irish

A good friend of mine and I have had an inside joke for many years about how we have to learn Irish. This running gag started because we're both fun-loving gals who like to comment about our surroundings (some people might say we like to gossip) but want to avoid potential conflict by having our comments overheard and understood. We're both bilingual English/Spanish, so usually can switch into one or the other, or a combo of both, to get away with our narration. However, while I was visiting her some years ago, we found ourselves in a situation where we were surrounded by crazy and wanted to talk about it, but the crazy were all bilingual too.

Picture this: two friends who hadn't seen each other in awhile, and have just spent the afternoon walking around eating, shopping and laughing while catching up. It's the end of the day, and they find themselves watching the sunset at a boardwalk in Key West. All around them are people who appear to have just been released from or about to go into a mental institution. They want to comment about all the crazy, but are afraid of getting their asses kicked. After a lot of pointed looks, attempts at code Spanglish, and eye rolling, one turns to the other in frustration and says: "I wish we could speak Irish." The other takes a long pause, then replies, "Don't they speak English there?" They then embraced the crazy surrounding them by laughing hysterically for way too long over this "joke".

Friday, June 15, 2012

I'm a makeup geek, and Happy Father's Day

I love makeup, it is known. My love of beauty supplies has been acknowledged and accepted or ridiculed by my friends and family for many, many years. I have hosted many days of beau-tay, involving everything from facials and makeovers to hair dye and styling. Friends have had me do their makeup for special occasions, and I've even had the privilege of being asked to do my best friend's and a cousin's makeup at their weddings.

I honestly cannot remember a time in which I wasn't fascinated by articles about the latest beauty trends, spent way too much time in the drugstore makeup aisle, or said "no" when offered a free product demo/makeover. Most people have something they spend more money than they should on, and for me that something has been makeup. 

Despite my love of cosmetics, I have never considered myself an expert of any kind. I have watched many a makeover show, read many a beauty tips magazine article, even watched the video and read the cards that came with that Victoria Jackson makeup kit I bought back in the dark ages (the 90s, from an infomercial!), but haven't really practiced these techniques regularly. I love making recommendations of products, especially when I find something I love, but I'm not a professional, and the only face I feel truly comfortable applying makeup on is my own. I love it when folks let me make them over, and trust that I won't make them look like clowns, but I know I'm not contouring their faces or hiding any imperfections as well as a professional could.

I know I'm a geek about makeup, but finding others with my same obsession has been tough. All of my really close friends indulge me, but none of them get as excited as I do over a new limited edition release, or know their favorite eyeshadow shades by name. The closest I came to finding others who shared my love of cosmetics was at department store makeup counters - but those people were always trying to sell me something. Ditto with those at-home cosmetics sales ladies. I thought we were bonding over finding the best mascara ever, but they were just trying to recruit me into their pyramid scheme sales team. Thankfully we now live in an age where everything is easily searchable, so the resources for beauty junkies like me to find others with the same obsessions have dramatically increased.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Booze tourism

I love booze tourism. I don't mean I like to get drunk when I'm on vacation, I mean I like to visit places where alcoholic beverages are produced. Generally speaking, I don't really care for getting drunk, but I do enjoy some good cocktails. If there is a vineyard or a distillery somewhere in the vicinity of where I'm traveling, I'm going to want to visit.

Santa Rita vineyard, Chile
Booze tourism is AWESOME. You get to see different parts of a city or a country, learn about local customs and traditions, and drink booze. Now, it's not always good booze, sometimes it's fantastic, sometimes it's mediocre, but you almost always learn something new.

Things I've learned during some of my booze tours:

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Prepping for summer

Summer weather is upon us, which means my great appreciation for the inventors of air conditioning and refrigeration increase along with the outside temperature. In my opinion, these two inventions are what make summer bearable. I love the longer days, but I hate the heat and humidity that come along with the summer months.

Summer sun and heat alter my primary beauty concerns. Although I am a fan of the extra sunlight, it brings out a heightened paranoia in me regarding sun damage and skin cancer. Especially after reading articles like this one about the aging effects of the sun. I wear a face moisturizer with sunscreen every day, and my makeup has sunscreen in it as well. (Side note: I am currently slightly obsessed with Asian BB creams as my daily makeup and want to try other Asian beauty supplies next. So glad Amazon broadens the availability of products from around the world.)
A selection of sunscreen products currently in rotation

In the summer I increase the SPF of my daily moisturizer, plus add a daily body moisturizer with sunscreen in it, and layer extra sunscreen over it if I'm going to be outside for a significant amount of time. Even the bug repellent I use has sunscreen in it. I read that Australia has more stringent standards for labeling sunscreen, so now I'm all about products that pass the mustard down under. I have even started carrying a little sample size sunscreen with me at all times, just in case I spend more time outdoors than originally anticipated. Next step: getting myself a pretty parasol for when the sun starts to really ramp it up. Basically I really, really don't want to look like that leathery tan lady that was in the news recently.

The other thing I obsess over in the summer months is not stinking. Let's face it, increased heat and humidity equals increased prespiration - which in my case means that in addition to all my sunscreen layering, there has to be a lot of deodorant layering as well. It also means that I have to keep a stash of toiletries in the office for reapplication and touch-ups after my commute, especially when the air conditioning on Metro fails me (which is more often than I care for.)  There have been many a commute with my face stuck next to some stranger's sweaty, stinky armpit, and I try to avoid being that gross person to someone else.

An essential for the summer
For others with similar concerns, I found a product a couple of years ago that I highly recommend to dealing with the extra moisture of summer: Gold Bond Ultimate Comfort body powder. Powder is something that many of use quite a bit of in the summer months, and really love this one. I like that it has a fresh scent, is corn starch not talc, and it really works to control odor. So if like me you are looking for an adult alternative to baby powder, check it out. I do have to say that I've found it hard to find in most drugstores. I heard rumors it was being discontinued, which had me tempted to stockpile it in my bunker, but thankfully it still easily available on all the drugstore websites I've checked.

With my stash of sunscreen, deodorant, and powder, I'm braced for the summer heat that is surely coming. Now I just need to get a new filter for my AC and make sure the freezer has plenty of ice. And maybe double check that I have sunscreen in my purse. And powder in the office. Shoot, I'm not ready at all.