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.

Friday, January 2, 2015

My Favorite Instagrams from 2014

Happy New Year! I spent my NYE drinking champagne and dog-sitting, and spent New Years' Day hiking with my family. A couple of photos are up on my portfolio from that trip, if you're interested.

I love looking back through my Instagram (you can follow me at almostbritain) at the end of the year; it's a quick way to relive moments. I did my 2012 IG favorites but skipped 2013 for reasons probably involving health. But here are my favorite Instagram moments from 2014.

Zoe loves red lipstick as much as her aunt.

Somehow we separately bought the same pants. "Match!" as Zoe would say. 

 A rare "hold me, Aunt B" moment from the 5, going on 30 year old.

 Got little Monkey a bike for her birthday.

 I couldn't make it to my best friend's college graduation, but my other best friend went. I joined in on the photo through FaceTime.

 My mom and I drinking and playing at the beach.

 Both best friends schemed a surprise trip and showed up at my doorstep for a long weekend.

 We closed the long distance gap for a week in November and discovered the best way to watch TV.

I mean.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Blogmas Day 24: Christmas Eve

Earlier in Blogmas we talked about traditions and I mentioned how most are on Christmas Eve. Here's what some of those look like!

We open presents, my nieces make reindeer food and decorate cookies for Santa, and my dad reads Twas the Night Before Christmas - forwards and backwards.
I think Charlie loved his double squeaker Raccoon this year, too.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Blogmas Day 23: Paleo Cocktails

Mixed drinks can be a little tricky if you follow Paleo. Some may stray and indulge which is always a-okay in my book. But because I can't have gluten or dairy and I'm allergic to most citrus, mixed drinks are a little tough. I tend to stick to wine or shots of tequila.
But there are a few cocktails we can all enjoy. I have never had an issue with limes, so these are perfect liquid treats.

The Moscow Mule:

Gluten free ginger beer - most is naturally gf, but double check your brand.
1 oz lime juice
2 (or 5) oz gluten free vodka
Ice - optional
Lime wedge as garnish - optional

Pour in your vodka and lime juice and cover with ginger beer.


A lot of margarita mixes are gluten free, so if strict Paleo ain't your thing and you just want gf you're in luck. But if you're looking for a homemade recipe that's easy and tasty, here you go.

2 oz 100% agave tequila
1 oz lime juice
1 oz honey syrup
Salt for cup rim

Combine ingredients and shake to combine.

2-3 oz 100% agave tequila
Club soda
Juice from one lime

Combine lime juice and tequila and top with desired amount of club soda. If your relatives are in town, you may want to skip the soda.

Coco Rum:

2-4 oz coconut water
2 (or 5) oz gf rum
Squeeze of lime juice or lime wedge as garnish - optional

See, even if you have allergies you can still get drunk!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Blogmas Day 22: Christmas Movies.

I love Christmas movies almost as much as I love Christmas music, so it's hard to pick my favorite. I'm doing a Top 5 (although these aren't my actual top 5 because ten minutes after I post this, I'll remember another favorite).

Top 5 Favorite Christmas Movies:

The Holiday

Love Actually

Surviving Christmas

The Ref

Just Friends