Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Book Blink: Six Feet Over It.

Book #2 of my reading challenge is book #6 on the list: A Book By An Author You've Never Read Before - Six Feet Over It by Jennifer Longo.


Makes me want to buy and live in a cemetery - almost. Characters were very well-written and likeable.  However, I think this could've been about half the length it was and it would've been even better. 3/4 bones.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Book Blink: Love, Lucy.

Thus begins my journey into book reviews. Like I said before, I'm not into really long reviews that go over so many details and nitpick things, etc.
My reviews will be three sentences long. You heard me. Three sentences. I'm calling this series Book Blink because 'in a blink, it's over.' Or something clever like that.
Some might be long sentences, some might be short, but these will be three sentence book reviews. Short and to the point. No bullshit. Plus, my rating system is dog bones. I wanted a picture of a dog or puppy but I got overwhelmed and couldn't pick one, so for now it's just bones. Rating of 1-4 bones, 4 bones being the better rating.

You can look back at the challenge I'm doing this year to get an idea of what's coming up. I'm not doing the challenge in order, so while this is book one of the challenge for me it's actually book three on the challenge list.

How excited are you?

Love, Lucy is my book #3: A Book You Pick Solely Because of the Cover.

The cover makes me think Europe, gelato, adventure, etc., and it was spot on (plus, I've always wanted a red Vespa). This was a lovely, easy read perfect for a plane ride or vacation and will make you yearn to travel when you're young. Predictable, but wanted, ending gives it 3/4 bones!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge

I love challenges. I've done the squat challenge, the plank challenge, a photography challenge, etc., and I can't get enough. My friend Ariel showed me this reading challenge and I'm so into it! I like that you can take the whole year because I can't read 26 books in a month. That's the dream though, I tell ya. I'm not doing these in order, either. As I check books out at the library I'll put them into this challenge. Is anyone else doing this? If not, I encourage you to do so! It could help you start reading again, or read more, or keep reading exciting. <3
I'll also be posting reviews of my 26 on here which I'm excited about. I've gone back and forth about doing book reviews and I've finally decided to just do it. It'll be a bit different than some because I find it a bit unnecessary to read 10 paragraphs about one book. I like to read short and sweet reviews. I just want to know if I should pass or give it a read. So mine will be on the shorter side and more to the point. But more on that later!
I'll also be posting about this challenge on my Instagram if you want to follow along - I'm almostbritain over there!
And be sure to check out the hashtag as well as the blog that's the root of this challenge!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Dog Death Cake.

A couple weeks ago a dog I sat for regularly passed away. She was really old, we all knew it was coming, but there's still that flash of every other death you've been through. She was a Labrador like mine that I lost three years ago, so the comparisons were there. I took it harder than I thought I would and spent a good ten minutes in my car crying after I got the text that she had died. But then I pulled myself together and did what anyone else would have done: made cake.

If you don't know who Brittany Angell is, you should go check out her site. She makes the most amazing allergen-free recipes. Her desserts in-particular are usually gluten and dairy free and usually pretty Paleo-friendly. She has a moist triple chocolate cake in her new book, Every Last Crumb, so I made that and holy shit, it was mouth heaven. I left out the coffee in her icing recipe since I'm allergic, and added her ganache over the frosting even though it's not called for in this recipe. But I did, and recommend, both. And I called it the Dog Death Cake.

I mean, c'mon. <3

Sunday, January 25, 2015

My Gluten-Free Shower

Since having to cut gluten out of my diet, I keep noticing gluten-related symptoms every so often with no explanation. Or so I thought. Le duh, your skin is your largest organ so everything you put on it eventually gets absorbed into your bloodstream. I keep pretty natural products in my day-to-day life but this year I've decided that, as I need things, I'll buy a gluten-free and/or natural version of it to see if that keeps those gluten symptoms at bay.
Feminine hygiene was the first to come up and good lord, that needs its own blog post. But over the past week it's been shower things. Shaving cream, shampoo, body wash. So those have been replaced and I feel better (mentally, anyway) about them.
So, what's in my new shower?

If you've followed me for a while, you know I did the "no-poo" method for well over a year. My hair responded to it really well for a while but then my body decided to attack itself with an autoimmune disease and all these new allergies and deficiencies and, surprise, the "no-poo" method began making my hair straw-like and my scalp insanely dry and itchy. I tried several other home recipes for shampoos but nothing worked. So, I decided to go back to a more conventional shampoo and finally found a brand my hair really likes - Desert Essence Organics. Man, I love this brand. No wheat, gluten, parabens, sulfates, etc. I recognize everything on the ingredient list. Everything I've tried has been amazing. I wanted to get the fragrance free line but no one local carries it. I'll have to get it online next time I need things.

Desert Essence Organics Green Apple & Ginger Shampoo. This smells so good. I had the Lemon Tea Tree shampoo and while it smells great and worked well, I developed a nasty citrus allergy about a year and a half ago, so that shampoo had to go as it gave me a scalp rash I'm still trying to heal and left things dry and itchy all the damn time. The site claims, "Sugar and Coconut Oil Cleansers gently lift and remove everyday pollutants from hair, while Organic Kelp and Nettle extracts provide iron, calcium, potassium, and other vitamins and minerals that absorb into and help strengthen each hair strand." So far, it cleans well and isn't aggravating my scalp further.

Desert Essence Organics Coconut Conditioner. This also smells so good. My hair has a tendency to hate conditioners. Most organic/natural ones weigh it down and make it so greasy that for months I didn't even use it - just shampoo and a little oil afterwards. That worked okay but the air is so dry here lately that it wasn't enough anymore. So, I'm giving conditioner a try again. This made my hair really soft and so far it's not weighed down or greasy. Jury's still out though.

Giovanni Purifying Body Wash. I am obsessed with activated charcoal lately. I love everything about it, so I picked this up (I wanted the DE one, but, again, nothing local here carried it - ah, Alabama). It has 3 steps (wash, scrub, and lotion), but I only got the body wash. It has activated charcoal, volcanic ash, acai, and other things in it. It makes my skin smell good but not overly fragrant, and it makes it so. smooth. It feels like you've exfoliated without scrubbing. Super soft and clean-feeling.  The ingredients look alright with only a couple questionable to me. The site says their stuff should be gluten-free but it's processed in a potentially gluten-contaminated area so cross-contamination is possible. Therefore, they cannot "explicitly guarantee products are gluten-free" which does worry me to the point where I probably won't buy anything else from them or repurchase this. But I've used it and my skin seems okay. Next time, I'll probably order a DE body wash.

Face Wash. I use the oil cleansing method, so this is homemade. I have a post on it from years ago, but I've recently changed my formula for winter which I haven't done before, so this is a bit of a trial and error at the moment. Usually I use castor, olive, jojoba, and tea tree oils. Right now I have avocado, sweet almond, jojoba, and castor oils. Switching them up has caused a bit of a skin purge, so I'm not sure if I'll keep this formula or try something different out. I'll do an update on my oil cleansing method once I figure this out.

Kiss My Face 4-in-1 Shaving Cream. It was a little odd going from the can of foam to pouring this out like a body wash, but this stuff lathers nicely and gets a real close shave. It has lemongrass in it but it doesn't seem to do anything with my citrus allergy. In the future, I'll find one with zero citrus just to be sure. But for now, I like this a lot. No razor burn, no rashes, and my skin is nice and silky afterwards.

Coffee Scrub. I've linked this before, but it's a homemade blend of ground coffee, coconut oil, and sugar. Such a lovely addition to showers but good god is it a mess when you're done. Grounds everywhere

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Advice for New College Grads.

I graduated with my Bachelor's in Creative Writing this past November and while the high of graduating and being done forever with term papers and finals, I quickly found myself thinking, "NOW WHAT?"
There are many career resources out there to help aid the search. TheLadders is a great resource that takes pride is being able to assist any demographic with their career- and seem to have pretty upbeat employees. I want to offer you guys some advice if you've just graduated or maybe you're going to graduate in the near future. Graduating can be fun, but the next step can be daunting.
Here are 5 things to remember when facing the task of getting your first "grown up job" after graduating college:

Keep Your Head in the Game

It takes most people a minimum of 6 months to find a good job in the field they want. You'll go around in circles with resumes (update yours after graduating!) and interviews and germ-ridden handshakes before someone like you and your lack of experiences enough to give you a shot.

You Do Not Have to Have Your Shit Together in Your Twenties

No more is the generation married and pregnant by 18 (most of us, anyway) and now we see our generation leaving home later, getting married later, and having kids later. Your twenties are not a race. Take a breath and remember that things will happen for you in their own time. You will find a job even if your best friend got a killer gig and moved out of her parents house two months after graduating while you're still watching Netflix and trying not to eat your feelings while getting rejected by every place you've applied.

Take This Time to Discover New Loves

While your degree may be in something specific and you're applying for jobs in that field, take your job-searching months to also pursue something a little "out there." Maybe you were actually born to be an underwater basket weaving teacher and not a lawyer. How would you know unless you tried a class? Take odd classes, go to new places (traveling after graduation is an amazing idea), experience things you've liked as a kid but never thought it would make any kind of career. Maybe you're the best giraffe feeder the zoo has ever seen and they want to offer you a part-time position. This is the time to question your degree so when you do land that job, you won't have any doubt in your mind that you're in the right field.

Money Isn't Everything and It's Okay to Settle - For Now

If you did find a new love for underwater basket weaving, but it won't pay the bills right now it is perfectly okay to take a job that's okay but not something you love. This will help out financially while you still pursue your passion on the side until that passion can make you enough to live off. 

Know That Your First Job Probably Won't Be Your Last

In most fields job security is not promised. Companies go broke, personalities clash, maybe there's no growth in the company and you want more. Don't stress out too much thinking this job has to be it for the rest of your life. It doesn't. You may even have more than one job after graduating just to make ends meet. That's okay. It is perfectly acceptable to bumble-fuck your way through life for a while until you've figured things out.

There, don't you feel better?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

My First eBook is out - Holy Shit, I'm Allergic to Gluten.

I finally released my first eBook! It's a bit of a support book for going gluten-free. Everyone talks about how great they feel on it and how wonderful it is - and it is, but at first the mental and physical symptoms you may endure can really f'ing suck, and no one talks about them. So, I did. I hope you'll give it a read if you're going gluten-free or even if you've been gluten-free for a while now. It's only $.99!  You can buy it on Amazon HERE.