Current skincare regimen. (Per request!)

Today, I’m honoring several recent requests for an updated skincare regimen. This is going to be quite detailed, just so you know. Pass on over it if it’s not your thing. If it is your thing or you’re otherwise interested, keep reading.

The products I use are cruelty-free (not tested on animals), and most of it is vegan. I’ve provided links to all of it,* including the collagen supplement I’ve been taking daily for the last four months. You’ll find that link in the “Notes” at the bottom.

*I hope all of the links work. My computer froze up while I was writing this; I had to re-start, etc. I’ll check them after I post and fix them if needed.

Here we go!

 

Current skincare products (August 2018)

 

Kind of extensive, right? I spend more time and money on skincare than I do on make-up. Good skincare translates to less make-up on my face, anyway, though.

Daytime routine (gym mornings)

I don’t do anything to my face before going to the gym in the morning. I don’t even wash it. I just put on sunscreen and go.

When I get home, I get in the shower and wash my face with Alba Botanica Hawaiian Facial Cleanser Pore Purifying Pineapple Enzyme.

After that, the routine (in order):

*I apply water to my face as if it were a product.

Daytime routine (non-gym mornings)

On mornings I don’t go to the gym, I exfoliate my face with Alba Botanica Hawaiian Facial Scrub Pore Purifying Pineapple Enzyme.

After that, I do the same routine (as above).

Night routine

I take my showers at night. (If it’s a gym day, it’s my second shower of the day.) In the shower, I wash my face with Alba Botanica Hawaiian Facial Cleanser Pore Purifying Pineapple Enzyme.

After that, the night routine:

[All of the above-mentioned products are great for both women and men]

Make-up Removal

I remove my make-up before getting into the shower at night. I use:

*I use the wipes with both the cleansing butter and the micellar water

Also pictured above, I forgot to say: the Pacifica Bali Coconut lip balm I use throughout the day, and Alba Botanica Very Emollient Maximum Body Lotion

[Products I loved but don’t use anymore because they’ve been discontinued: The Body Shop Honey & Oat 3-in-1 Moisturising Scrub Mask and Acure Magical Wonderfluff Overnight Hydrating Booster Mask]

Notes

  • I take a collagen supplement (and I believe that my skin loves it)
  • I do a facial massage in the shower as I’m cleansing my skin at night
  • To dry, I press the towel to my skin lightly rather than wiping it over my face
  • I pat on the serum (day) and the oil (night), and I apply the creams in an upward motion
  • I extend the face products to my neck and upper chest
  • I layer on the products, waiting 2-3 minutes between layers

Some of the following habits I’ve adopted for health reasons, but I believe they’re good for the skin:

  • drink water in great quantities, basically non-stop all day
  • avoid refined sugar and refined carbs (sugary sweets and beverages; white pasta, white bread, white rice, and white potatoes)
  • avoid deep-fried foods
  • avoid direct sunlight as much as possible (I have to, anyway, because of methotrexate)
  • refrain completely from smoking and drinking alcohol
  • eat fresh fruit and veggies every day
  • work out 3x/week, unless life interferes. I would like to work out at least 4x/week, but for one reason or another, I haven’t managed to hit the 4th workout on a regular basis. Ideally, I would work out 5x/week.

I think this is about as thorough as it’s going to get, my friends. Some of it may seem, to put it in the parlance of our times, “extra.” But I’m a total skincare junkie, as you may already know, and I prefer DIY skincare… I don’t go to spas or salons to have anything done.

On a final note, if you didn’t laugh when you read “in the parlance of our times,” you need to watch The Big Lebowski again. Just saying.

A skincare post wouldn’t be complete without a pic, so here’s one from yesterday… as usual, no filtering or modifying, blah blah…

 

(finally) updated “professional” profile pic (8/15/2018)

 

With that, I wish you a good weekend!

 

 

A comedy, a thriller, products, and food: August Favorites!

September! The month I start blacking out weekdays for 90 days, so I can ramp up my writing output. This means no social plans (i.e. lunch) with friends, and no appointments of any kind, unless drastically necessary. I do have a drastically necessary appointment at the end of next week. I’m hoping that’ll be the end of it until after October, at least. We’ll see.

Here are just a few little things I loved in August…

 

ENTERTAINMENT:

1). black-ish (T.V. series)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-Black_ish

 

HI-LAR-IOUS. There are a few comedies we love and find funny, but no comedy has ever made us laugh as much as this one.

 

2). Orphan Black (T.V. series)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-OrphanBlack

 

We watched the pilot on a whim, and it grabbed us immediately. This actress is superb; her range is fully visible in this series. It’s really incredible to see, and the story is great, too.

 

PRODUCTS:

3). The Body Shop Honey and Oat 3 in 1 moisturising scrub mask [LONG-AWAITED RE-STOCK]

 

The Body Shop Honey and Oat 3 in 1 moisturising scrub mask

The Body Shop Honey and Oat 3 in 1 moisturising scrub mask

 

This is a repeat favorite. Here’s why, in case you’re interested. (If not, scroll on down!)

I put this on a “favorites” list back when I first started using it over a year ago. Since then, it’s become my HOLY GRAIL, RIDE OR DIE mask. (I went cruelty-free and had to stop using my Korean Epielle sheet masks, which I’d loved. I haven’t missed them at all with this amazing product from The Body Shop.)

Three months ago, I was running low, and The Body Shop was having one of their Buy 3 Get 3 Free sales. I went to pick up three pots of the mask.

It was out of stock, but I could get three of a different kind so I could take advantage of the sale, and then do an exchange. My name and phone number went on a long waiting list.

The shipment would come in “next week Tuesday.” It actually came in three months later. “It’ll probably sell out again right away,” the girl said.

It came in last week Tuesday. The earliest I could get to the store was Saturday, but on Saturday, we couldn’t do it during the day. So that night, we left our social gathering a little early because the shop closed at 9:00pm. I wanted to make sure I got the mask before it sold out again. OBSESSED.

Best news: there’s a rumor that The Body Shop is discontinuing the mask because they’re developing one that’s basically the same, but vegan!!

 

4). Shea Moisture raw shea butter deep treatment hair masque.

 

Shea Moisture raw shea butter deep treatment hair masque

Shea Moisture raw shea butter deep treatment hair masque

 

This item and the next are a part of my effort to rescue my hair from myself. I’ve been destroying it slowly over the last few years. I can’t be trusted with my own hair. But now that I’ve seen the error of my ways, I’m taking measures.

First, I’ve stopped pulling my hair back tight at the gym. That was the main problem, as it’s resulted in broken, thinning hair in the front. I’m now putting it in a loose, lower ponytail, and instead of using barrettes in the front, I’m using a thin headband. It doesn’t really work and it looks ratchet, but if it’ll help the situation, then great.

Secondly, I’ve started using this hair mask once a week. I’ve only used it twice so far, so I can’t say that it works and that I really love it, but it’s not terrible, and I do like it. I was just glad to have found an affordable, cruelty-free hair mask.

 

5). OGX Healing + Vitamin E shampoo and conditioner.

 

OGX Healing + Vitamin E shampoo and conditioner

OGX Healing + Vitamin E shampoo and conditioner

 

Now this stuff, I do love, and I will be repurchasing it. This shampoo and conditioner from OGX is meant to be good for damaged hair. I can see the difference after I use it, and bonus! I love the way it smells.

The best part is that it’s drugstore, so it costs half as much as I’d been paying for Living Proof.

 

FOOD:

6). KIND dark chocolate cherry cashew bars.

 

KIND dark chocolate cherry cashew bars

KIND dark chocolate cherry cashew bars

 

This is a glorified candy bar, but it’s nutritionally dense candy and vegan, so it’s not for naught. (<–haha Words)

 

7). Pizza pommes de terres.

 

Pizza pommes de terres

Pizza pommes de terres

 

I came up with this combination as an inside joke with Callaghan. It’s just two things: Amy’s roasted vegetable no cheese pizza, and roasted, sliced potatoes on top. (I use Peruvian potatoes. SO GOOD.) It’s currently our favorite way to eat pizza.

Oh, and I always coat my pizza with hot red pepper flakes, no matter what kind of pizza it is.

 

Pizza pommes de terres with hot pepper flakes

Pizza pommes de terres with hot pepper flakes

 

 

8). Van’s Power Grains waffles.

 

Van's power grain waffles

Van’s power grain waffles

 

Van’s has a new version of their waffles! I’m loving their power grains with 10g/protein for breakfast. I have two with peanut butter and jelly in the middle. Best breakfast sandwich ever.

 

the end!

 

One film, one T.V. series, delicious indulgences, and cruelty-free make-up: January Favorites!

Let me start by throwing a huge THANK YOU out into the ether for Idris Elba’s winning a SAG Award (Best Supporting Actor, or however they call it at the SAG) for his role as Commandant in Beasts of No Nation. The win alleviates my annoyance over seeing that Elba’s well-deserved recognition wasn’t reflected on the list of Oscar nominations.

So, I’m back to doing these “monthly favorites” posts. January’s list is mostly about food and cosmetic items, the latter of which came from my stash – things I already had, but wasn’t using. The only newly purchased item here is the Burt’s Bees lip crayon color.

As usual, though, I’ll start with entertainment. Here’s the one film and the one T.V. series that held our attention in January:

 

1). Amy (documentary)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-Amy_documentary

 

If I had to choose one word for this documentary: Devastating. It started with a scene showing footage of Amy at 14 years of age singing “Happy Birthday” to her friend, a heart-breaking scene because we knew how her story ended. Here was this happy girl in possession of a brilliant talent, and then she was neglected, used, and preyed upon by vultures masquerading as people who loved her. Well, they loved her, alright. They loved her to death.

Here’s that scene of Amy as a kid singing “Happy Birthday” to her friend:

 

 

R.I.P., Amy.

 

2). How to Get Away With Murder (T.V. series)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-HowtoGetAwayWithMurder_2016

 

We started January binge-watching How to Get Away With Murder. Then we tried to watch the documentary series Making a Murderer, and on the heels of the former, it’s hard to watch the courtroom scenes without thinking of how Annalise would flatten her opposition in one sweeping, ire-charged oratory. “Steven Avery needs Annalise” became our Making a Murderer tag-line up until we stopped watching it. Seriously! One day with Annalise in court and Avery would walk.

Minus: Annalise is a fictional character. Plus: Viola Davis won a SAG Award for her performance as Annalise.

 

3). The Body Shop Shea Body Butter.

 

The Body Shop body butter in Shea.

The Body Shop body butter in Shea.

 

This is an old favorite that’s made a come-back as our night hand cream. I’ll always love its unique scent, and the rich body butter formula is wonderful on our dry hands.

 

4). Burt’s Bees lip crayon in Sedona Sands.

 

Burt's Bees lip crayon in Sedona Sands.

Burt’s Bees lip crayon in Sedona Sands.

 

This was the only shade of Burt’s Bees lip crayons I didn’t have, and now it’s tied as my favorite (with Redwood Forest). I’ve been wearing Sedona Sands every day, since I’m feeling the nude/pink vibe right now. It’s hard for me to find a nude shade I really love, so I’m glad to have discovered a perfect one in my favorite lip color formula.

 

5). e.l.f. Flawless Finish foundation in Sand.

 

e.l.f. Flawless Finish foundation in Sand.

e.l.f. Flawless Finish foundation in Sand.

 

(Yes, that would be a half-eaten Larabar in the pic. I’d set it down on that paper towel and then decided to place the product next to it, for some reason.) Toward the end of last year, I experimented with a couple of high-end cruelty-free foundations and ended up putting the new one by Too Faced on my 2015 Favorites list. When I found this old bottle of e.l.f. foundation, I started using it again and realized that it actually looks better on me than the Too Faced one. So I stand corrected: The e.l.f. foundation IS my favorite foundation. Six bucks at Target! Amazing.

 

6). e.l.f. High-Definition powder in Soft Luminescence.

 

e.l.f. High-Definition powder in Soft Luminescence

e.l.f. High-Definition powder in Soft Luminescence

 

(And yes, that would be Nenette poking her nose into the pic!) e.l.f. came out with this new-ish version of their High-Definition powder, so I had to try it. Also six bucks! Why not? And I love it. Their original (Sheer) High-Definition powder always seemed a bit chalky on me, and I was loving the Shimmer version for a while, but this one in Soft Luminescence is like the perfect hybrid of the two. It’s fabulous.

 

7). e.l.f. Jumbo Eyeshadow stick in Rock Out.

 

e.l.f. Jumbo Eyeshadow Stick in Rock Out

e.l.f. Jumbo Eyeshadow Stick in Rock Out

 

I still love e.l.f.’s Smudge Pot cream eyeshadow in Cruisin’ Chic, but in January I dug through my e.l.f. collection, found the eyeshadow stick in Rock Out, and have been using it ever since. It’s slightly darker than Cruisin’ Chic, and the color is more like a deep olive, kind of a shimmery, moth-like greenish-brown. It blends as easily as the Smudge Pot formulas, too.

 

8). Vegan donuts and cookies.

 

Vegan donut and cookie from Whole Foods.

Vegan donut and cookie from Whole Foods.

 

I spent January eating way too much refined sugar, once again, and I had the zits to prove it. I just didn’t have the inner wherewithal to walk past Whole Food’s bakery without raiding the pastry case. They have vegan cookies, muffins, donuts, and scones. The donuts and the chocolate chip cookies are my favorites.

 

9). Nachos.

 

Vegan nachos.

Vegan nachos.

 

Okay, so January wasn’t my healthiest month ever. For dinners, I mostly alternated between big plates of nachos and heaps of pasta. Callaghan was on a salad kick, so I didn’t even share. Granted, vegan nachos and pasta the way I make it aren’t that unhealthy, but my diet was definitely lacking in veggies in January! The nachos on the plate you see here are made of blue corn tortilla chips, vegan cheese, salsa, and avocado. What can I say.

 

10). Cheerios with peanut butter.

 

Original Cheerios with peanut butter for breakfast.

Original Cheerios with peanut butter for breakfast.

 

Those of you who hang with me on Instagram and FaceBook might remember when I posted this pic. That was the day I’d forgotten to bring bread to go with my peanut butter at work, so I ran to the little shop on campus and came back with this little container of original Cheerios. The Cheerios/peanut butter combination was a little dry, but I enjoyed it. Now I bring Cheerios to work every day. Nutritionally speaking, they really aren’t that bad! They have a little sugar and one preservative, but I’m not going to argue with whole grain oats.

 

11). Celestial Seasonings Honey Vanilla Chamomile tea.

 

Celestial Seasoning's Honey Vanilla Chamomile tea.

Celestial Seasoning’s Honey Vanilla Chamomile tea.

 

Here’s another old favorite! I love this deliciously mellow, sweet tea. We often have it as a dessert between dinner and bedtime. I think it’s the hint of licorice that makes it special.

That covers it for January. I hope the first month of the year brought simple, pleasurable little things into your lives, as well!

What I’m Digging Right Now – July Favorites

Is it just me, or did July come and go at the speed of light? I hardly recognized it was July before it was over! I don’t even know what happened there! Well, I guess I do. A lot happened in July. We enjoyed and cherished the blessing of priceless moments with family, friends, and our new kitty, Nenette, but I’m glad to take this moment to dwell on the Little Things that helped to make the month awesome.

Jumping right in…

1). Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers (novels by Stephen King)

 

Stephen King novels - always a good time!

Stephen King novels – always a good time!

 

How did the existence of Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes escape me for a whole year? Finders Keepers came to my attention when it became available this summer, but it wasn’t until then that I learned about Mr. Mercedes, which precedes Finders Keepers. On the up side, discovering the two books at the same time meant that I got to indulge in some delicious Stephen King binge reading. I heartily enjoyed the stories and characters in these novels, along with the technical surprises of them… they’re more thriller than horror, and King’s writing style departs from his usual, as well… but they’re not lacking in his usual flair. No matter how he writes, I’m always left wanting more. Such is the genius of Stephen King.

 

2). Southpaw (film)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-SouthpawMoviePoster

 

Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance in this film is brilliant. It’s exciting to think that his superb portrayal of boxer Billy Hope, a role of a sort he’s never taken on before, might lead to an even broader selection of projects. He had nothing to prove in the first place, but now that we know he’s solid action flick material, we hope to see him turn up in more places we wouldn’t have expected.

 

3). The Body Shop’s Honeymania (fragrance).

Honeymania by The Body Shop (eau de toilette and body butter). I also have the Honeymania shower gel.

Honeymania by The Body Shop (eau de toilette and body butter). I also have the Honeymania shower gel.

 

When I made the commitment to use cruelty-free products as much as possible, I started experimenting with fragrances from The Body Shop. You know I love their beautiful Madagascar Vanilla scent, but I found that I’m even more enamored with Honeymania. On me, this fragrance works better than the former in terms of staying power and sillage, and it’s gorgeous, presenting, with my particular chemistry, like wildflowers with a subtle note of honey underneath. Other people love it when they smell it on me, too, which is always a good thing! I keep the body butter on my desk at work so my friends there can enjoy it, too.

 

4). Alba Botanica Very Emollient sunless tanner.

 

Alba Botanica Very Emollient Sunless Tanner

Alba Botanica Very Emollient Sunless Tanner

 

This pic is supposed to show how the color from Alba Botanica’s Very Emollient sunless tanner develops on my legs, the only place I put the stuff. I’m aware that my legs still look pale. That’s because they’re very pale in their natural state! Like many mixed chicks, I’m two-toned, with varying shades and textures of skin on different body parts. My face and legs are pale with thin skin that burns rather than tans, while the skin on my neck, arms, torso and back is thicker and tans easily. Every summer, my neck and arms turn brown no matter what I do, so I like to do a little self-tanning on my legs just to even things out a bit.

I like the way this cruelty-free sunless tanner works, but my favorite thing about it is the surprising way that it smells. Inexplicably… this is a self-tanning lotion we’re talking about, remember… this product smells like a scrumptious, baked treat. Callaghan and I have been trying to identify it, and it’s been driving us crazy, as we can’t quite figure it out. It’s a familiar scent, kind of buttery and caramelesque, but… not quite. It’s a mystery. It’s awesome.

 

5). Naturtint Naturally Better permanent hair color in 5G (Light Golden Chestnut).

 

Excellent cruelty-free hair color by Naturtint!

Excellent cruelty-free hair color by Naturtint!

 

Here’s another cruelty-free product that, because of what it is, has no business wafting a delicious food scent into your nostrils. This hair color actually smells like anise! This is a permanent hair dye. It smells like anise, not like chemicals. Amazing! The shade I use is beautiful, too. The color comes out rich and multi-dimensional, and it lasts longer than the product I was using before. Like the Honeymania fragrance, others have noticed; I’ve never received compliments on my hair color before I started using this one. In every respect, this hair color is superior to any I’ve ever used… and I never would have found it had I not gone cruelty-free.

 

6). Freeman Feeling Beautiful Golden Grain Brightening Mask.

 

Freeman Feeling Beautiful Golden Grain Brightening Mask

Freeman Feeling Beautiful Golden Grain Brightening Mask

 

I’m missing my beloved Epielle sheet masks much less now, thanks to this product from Freeman. My explorations into the realm of cruelty-free facial masks led me to their Golden Grain Brightening Mask, which is unlike anything I’ve used before.

Formulated with vitamin C to brighten the skin and even out discoloration, the product comes out of the tube looking and feeling like clear hair gel. I eyed it warily at first, but there’s nothing even remotely unpleasant about it. The mask spreads over your skin like watery silk, not the slightest bit sticky. It’s good for dry skin, but it’s not oily or greasy. It’s thick, but it goes on feeling hydrating. If water came in gel form, it would be like this. I love its fresh, clean herbal scent, too, which is just as important!

I leave the mask on five minutes longer than recommended, and it never feels tight, dry or otherwise uncomfortable. The entire experience of this mask is pleasant and relaxing. I use it interchangeably with Freeman’s Feeling Beautiful Dead Sea Minerals Anti-Stress Mask, which is more like your traditional clay mask. I’ve said that I’d never go back to masks that harden on your skin and require work to remove, but my skin likes a variety of masks (when I was using the Epielle sheet masks, I alternated between four different formulas), so I re-thought that when I began my cruelty-free adventure. The Dead Sea Minerals mask by Freeman is a great one, as well.

Now that I’ve talked about products that smell like food… fragrance that smells of honey, self-tanning lotion that smells of a buttery-sweet dessert, and hair color that smells of anise… let’s talk about actual food!

 

7). Cherries.

 

Fresh sweet cherries!

Fresh sweet cherries!

 

It appears that I have a tendency to find things I love and then proceed to eat them to excess all month long. This probably isn’t the best idea, especially when the food in question tends to give me digestive issues! I’ve always had a mild sensitivity to cherries, but they’re my favorite fruit, so I eat them with abandon when they’re in season, regardless. I ate tons of cherries in July and didn’t regret a single one.

 

8). Spaghetti with garlic and olive oil.

 

Whole wheat spaghetti with olive oil, fresh garlic and coarsely ground sea salt.

Whole wheat spaghetti with olive oil, fresh garlic and coarsely ground sea salt.

 

This is my all-time favorite dish, and it so happened that I married the person who makes it the best, in my opinion! Callaghan’s pasta with garlic and olive oil is sublime. Of course, I grind more sea salt onto my plate than anyone should eat in a sitting, probably, but I love this dish on the saltier side. There’s just something about the combination of garlic and salt. We like to eat the pasta first and then distribute the minced garlic and olive oil (left at the bottom of the pasta bowls) over toasted whole wheat bread spread with Earth Balance. Fantastic garlic bread!

We eat this year-round – it’s one of our staple meals – but we went a little crazy with it in July. We started out the month with four pounds of whole wheat spaghetti in the pantry, and by the end of the month, we’d eaten it all. We’ll never get tired of it.

 

9). Sprouts’ Vegan Super Fruit muffins.

 

Vegan super fruit muffins at Sprouts

Vegan super fruit muffins at Sprouts

 

We found these muffins in Sprouts’ bakery, and we enjoyed them all through July. These are not your standard, oversized muffins, bloated with sugar and bad fats. These are delicious and just perfect. They’re large, but not two-servings huge, and they’re light and not too sweet. The fruit in them balances the flavor with a nice tang. I wish Sprouts existed outside of Arizona so you could all try them!

ETA: I just checked their web site and saw that new locations are coming to Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Georgia! Sprouts is finally branching out of the Land of AZ. Move over, Whole Paycheck!

 

10). Clif bar in Nuts & Seeds.

 

Clif's new flavor: Nuts & Seeds

Clif’s new flavor: Nuts & Seeds

 

Like the muffins, the new Nuts & Seeds Clif bar isn’t as sweet as you’d expect. I still love their Sierra Trail Mix bar, but this one’s my new favorite! I usually enjoy half a bar as weekday workout fuel. You can’t go wrong with a combination of complex carbs, protein and healthy fats.

That’s it for July’s Little Things… my list for August is already filling up, and we’re only three days into it!

What I’m Digging Right Now – June Favorites

My favorite “Little Things” of June were mostly edible… succulent yellow nectarines, crisp, white nectarines and peaches, and white corn, too. Family and food. They go together. One major personal development for me in June was that when my parents were here, I ventured into Costco, and I didn’t have a panic attack! I don’t know how. It was like, that whole Costco thing was an irrational trigger that just ran its course.

So food was central, but let’s start with…

1). Sense8 (T.V. series)

 

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-Sense8

 

Netflix released season one of this series early in June, and it came to our attention, so we found it and watched it on the site we use to watch T.V. shows (we no longer have Netflix). Our reaction was HOLY. MOLY. We really didn’t have any expectation going in, so it was a nice surprise when Sense8 turned out to be utterly brilliant, a tour de force of sci-fi action/drama with a story fresh and skillfully wrought, seemingly over-ambitious, at first, then startlingly adept at dealing with the intricacies written into the plot. It’s going to be a long year waiting for season two! We might re-watch season one again as season two’s release date approaches; it’ll be good to refresh our memories of some of the story’s complexities.

 

2). True Detective (T.V. series)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-truedetectiveseason2

 

It’s been thrilling to finally sit before a new season of episodes that tell a new story in this excellent anthology series, but can I just say WTF, episode two?? Colin Farrell’s near-perfection in his role isn’t the only good and immediately evident thing about season two, but it’s the central thing so far, in my opinion. Just… really? That’s all I’m going to say. No spoilers here.

 

3). Jurassic World (film)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-jurassicworld

 

I actually deleted the paragraph I originally wrote about Jurassic World because I ended up digressing into a tangent that sounded more like a rant, and this is not the place for such thoughts. This is a place to highlight the Little Things I loved about June, so I’m just going to say (again) that I loved this movie. It’s a film with a plot that’s more or less a facade; it’s really just about dinosaurs and dinosaur-hybrids, particularly a monster in dinosaur clothing. This, to me, is the icing on the 2015 summer action blockbuster cake. A generous dash of visual sensationalism can sometimes have an anesthetizing effect, and Jurassic World delivered!

Now let’s get into some of the food…

 

4). Simple Truth organic creamy peanut butter.

 

Simple Truth Organic Creamy Peanut Butter

Simple Truth Organic Creamy Peanut Butter

 

As a peanut-butter junkie, I’m sensitive to the stuff; I feel like each brand has its own, distinct character. Somehow, they’re all different, even the ones that have the same ingredients. In past “Favorites” posts, I’ve talked about Whole Foods’ 365 brand, and, more recently, Justin’s. This one by Simple Truth is wonderful, too, with its rich flavor and ideal, creamy texture that isn’t too thick or thin. I’m loving it, and I’d definitely buy it again, but we now have two large jars of Costco’s peanut butter sitting in our pantry… they’re next up when this jar of Simple Truth’s is gone… so don’t be surprised if I come back in August reporting on how I noshed ecstatically on Costco’s peanut butter throughout July! We shall see. One can never have too many “favorite” peanut butters, as far as I’m concerned.

 

5). Kirkland Signature Extra Fancy Unsalted Mixed Nuts.

 

Giant jar of roasted, unsalted mixed nuts from Costco!

Giant jar of roasted, unsalted mixed nuts from Costco!

 

Why are these unsalted, roasted mixed nuts Extra Fancy? Only Costco knows. They seem pretty normal to me, and I was happy to find them in these enormous plastic jars. It’s like, my life is complete now… and now that I seem to be cured of my Costcophobia, we’re thinking we might have to join the cult Costco, because what are we going to do once these nuts are gone?

 

6). SkinnyPop popcorn mixed with Go Raw 100% Organic Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds.

 

SkinnyPop Popcorn combined with Go Raw 100% Organic Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds!

SkinnyPop Popcorn combined with Go Raw 100% Organic Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds!

 

I decided to pour some of these seeds over my bowl of popcorn one day after work, and I’ve been hooked on the combination ever since. It makes a thoroughly satisfying marriage of delicate flavors and delicious salt and light crunch and crisp meltiness, and hey, could salty snacking even get more American than this? Popcorn and pumpkin seeds. Welcome to the New World!

Here’s what a part of our kitchen counter’s been looking like:

 

What can I say. I snacked my way through June. The bag of blue corn tortilla chips is off to the side, and yes, that would be a big BOX of Justin's dark chocolate peanut butter cups in the back.

What can I say. I snacked my way through June. The bag of blue corn tortilla chips is off to the side, and yes, that would be a big BOX of Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups in the back.

 

7). Bark Thins Snacking Chocolate Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed with Sea Salt.

 

Bark Thins Snacking Chocolate Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed with Sea Salt

Bark Thins Snacking Chocolate Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed with Sea Salt

 

More dark chocolate! More pumpkin seeds! More salt!

Guess why these weren’t included in that happy little group photo of the other snacks? Because, yes, we polished off this gigantic bag of chocolate in less than a week. (Thanks, COSTCO!) Well, they weren’t all that unhealthy… not at all, in fact… but it was just a lot of sugar. In June, I probably consumed triple the amount of sugar I normally eat, and that is not an exaggeration. I’m surprised I didn’t break out. (*knocks wood*)

Actually, between this and that 28-count box of Justin’s organic dark chocolate peanut butter cups that I was helpless to resist, we might want to re-think that Costco membership. I need a dark chocolate intervention.

Enough food… let’s move on to products!

 

8). Lavanila Laboratories The Healthy Sunscreen SPF 40 Face Cream.

 

Lavanila Laboratories The Healthy Sunscreen SPF 40 Face Cream

Lavanila Laboratories The Healthy Sunscreen SPF 40 Face Cream

 

Here’s an important distinction: I love the sun, and I love living in the sunniest spot in the U.S. of A. But I’m not a sun-worshipper. I’m a sunscreen worshipper. Sunscreen is the number one most important product that I use, and when I went cruelty-free, it became one of the most difficult items to replace. After making much effort with some varieties available in drug stores, I caved and went to Sephora to pick up this expensive sunscreen of Lavanila’s. It’s made for the face, and that’s what I needed… the sunscreens by the other cruelty-free brand I tried not only didn’t play well with make-up, but they also stung when sweat got in my eyes! Lavanila got it right with this sunscreen. It is outstanding.

 

9). Burt’s Bees Vanilla Bean Moisturizing Lip Balm.

 

Burt's Bees Vanilla Bean Moisturizing Lip Balm

Burt’s Bees Vanilla Bean Moisturizing Lip Balm

 

This is my cruelty-free answer to EOS lip balms, which I’d loved. I keep the Burt’s Bees Vanilla Bean Moisturizing Lip Balm in my bag, and on my nightstand, I put the Burt’s Bees Ultra Conditioning Lip Balm with Kokum Butter, because I like a heavier lip balm for night… but I found myself reaching for this one more and more while getting ready for bed. For some reason, it works better for me than the one that’s supposed to be more moisturizing. Now, the Vanilla Bean is the only one that I use. I actually prefer it to EOS!

 

10). Make-up removers: The Body Shop Camomile Waterproof Eye and Lip Make-up Remover and e.l.f. Studio Makeup Removing Cleansing Cloths.

 

My current cruelty-free makeup removers of choice: e.l.f. Studio Makeup Remover Cleansing Cloths and The Body Shop Camomile Waterproof Eye & Make-up Remover

My current cruelty-free makeup removers of choice: e.l.f. Studio Makeup Remover Cleansing Cloths and The Body Shop Camomile Waterproof Eye & Make-up Remover

 

It was so hard to find good cruelty-free make-up removing products. e.l.f. to the rescue once again! (Huge e.l.f. product review post upcoming, by the way, once I can find time to do it.) e.l.f.’s make-up removing cleansing cloths are really good… and when I explored the shelves at The Body Shop, I found this waterproof eye make-up remover, which is not only fantastic, but it’s better than the ones I’d used that were tested on animals. See? If not for my resolution, I’d have never discovered these products.

That’s it for June. Bring on July! (Maybe less chocolate, though!)

Happy Friday, All… and Happy 4th of July, U.S. friends. =)

What I’m Digging Right Now – April Favorites

Some levity is in order around here, right? Conveniently, it’s May now, so I can rave about some of the Little Things that helped to make April enjoyable!

For one thing, we saw a phenomenal movie…

 

1). Ex Machina (film)

 

The movie poster in the theatre lobby....

The movie poster in the theatre lobby….

 

You know I love a good, well-crafted sci-fi thriller, and it’s been a while. I was just barely coasting along on the spectacular fumes of Pacific Rim when we walked into Ex Machina. I was almost skeptical going into it, but I knew that Luc Besson had nothing to do with this one, so I had high hopes that it wasn’t going to be another disappointment like last summer’s Lucy. We used the movie pass that Callaghan had gotten as a gift (thank you, friend!) and found ourselves stunned and in awe as Ex Machina dimmed the lights on its eerie, final scene. Certainly, the combination of elements made this film superb, but overall, I think it was the restraint used in its making that made it brilliant.

 

2). Mad Men (T.V. series)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-madmenS7

 

We’re having the same experience as most everyone who watches this series, I think: Mad Men’s last set of final season episodes isn’t striking us as being as purposeful as those in previous seasons. Whatever. Mad Men is back, and we’re loving it. The set! The hair, makeup, wardrobe! Mad Men is still my favorite period piece in television, and they’re killing it more than ever now that they’ve taken up solid residence in the 70’s. I almost don’t even care what happens at this point; I’m just there for the eye candy.

 

3). American Crime (T.V. series)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-AmericanCrime2015

 

Here’s a powerful new series that got right down to business and grabbed us by our throats. It’s dark, it’s gritty, it’s almost too ugly and depressing to watch… but it’s smashing.

 

4). Nurse Jackie (T.V. series)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-NurseJackie

 

We’re late arrivals on the Nurse Jackie train, but like the critic said, “You just want to keep on watching.” Yep. We plowed through the first three seasons in such a short period of time, I’d be embarrassed to say how long if I could remember when, exactly, we started watching it. We just started season four, I can tell you that much! The hilarious short (half-hour) episodes make this dark dramedy especially easy to binge-watch. It goes well with popcorn, too.

 

5). It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-in Plus Keratin.

 

It's a 10 Miracle Leave-in Plus Keratin.

It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-in Plus Keratin.

 

This is an old favorite! Since we’ve now got ourselves on a strict budget because of Ronnie James’ medical costs, I went digging around in places where I store things I haven’t used in a while, and I happily re-discovered It’s a 10. And guess what? This brand meets my recently established criteria for beauty products! Because of expenses, I’d been procrastinating on the hair care part of my 2015 New Year’s resolution to go cruelty-free with cosmetics and such, so I was pleased to find that I’d stashed away this pricier gem of a hair care item that just so happens to have not been tested on animals.

Shopping my home supply for forgotten favorites is the best.

 

6). Madagascan Vanilla Flower perfume oil (The Body Shop).

 

Madagascan Vanilla Flower perfume oil from The Body Shop.

Madagascan Vanilla Flower perfume oil from The Body Shop.

 

My search for a gorgeous cruelty-free fragrance finally led me to The Body Shop and its array of perfume oils. Back in the 90’s, I’d used the one called “Ananya,” which was finally, recently discontinued. I still have a little bit left in my last old bottle, but it’s been a while, and it’s not what it was when I’d purchased it… its potency has faded, and the scent is slightly off. So I went back to The Body Shop and happened upon their Madagascan Vanilla Flower, and I am in love. I’m not usually drawn to vanilla scents, but this one is different… it’s a deeper, more exotic vanilla with its warm, ambery-floral heart.

 

7). Earrings from Target.

 

Current favorite earrings - sparkly cluster studs from Target.

Current favorite earrings – sparkly cluster studs from Target.

 

This was just one of those silly impulse Target purchases, you know, when you run in to get some almond milk and you come out with three bags full of random crap. I’m proud to say that I’ve stopped with all of that this last month – somehow, and I know that many of you can appreciate the self-control I’m having to employ in this effort, haha! – but not before I found these earrings on clearance (back in March, I believe). Over the last month they’ve become my favorite uniform earrings to wear to work on days I don’t go to the gym. They’re just round studs made of little sparkly clusters. I think they’re perfect.

 

8). Arizona Yellow Bells.

 

Fragrant Arizona Yellow Bells on my desk at home.

Fragrant Arizona Yellow Bells on my desk at home.

 

Our Arizona Yellow Bells are all in bloom, and they are splendiferous! Callaghan surprised me with a vase full of them on my desk one day, where they perfumed my entire office with their rich, sweet fragrance. Arizona Yellow Bells are native to our desert, but I never experienced them until we moved into this house. There are two robust Arizona Yellow Bells bushes in our backyard, and they attract many a hummingbird, which we also adore.

While I’m at it, what would an Arizona spring flora favorite entry be without a shot of my favorite cactus blooms?

 

Spring in the desert is my favorite!

Spring in the desert is my favorite!

 

 

9). Rositas’ salsa.

 

Salsa from Rosita's.

Salsa from Rosita’s.

 

I have several favorite restaurant salsas around here, and this is one of them. Yesterday, I decided to pick some up on my walk home from work, and we had it for dinner. I love salsas that aren’t sweet, and this one is satisfyingly tangy and bold on the cilantro and onion… just the way I like it!

 

10). April Favorite pick for Ronnie James and Nounours: Bench & Field Holistic Natural Feline Treats (at Trader Joes’).

 

Bench and Field Holistic Natural Feline Treats.

Bench and Field Holistic Natural Feline Treats.

 

Kitties’ Auntie M. gave them these treats for Christmas, and the little guys went nuts for them. The day we ran out was a woeful one, indeed. What’s more, we couldn’t find the treats anywhere, and Ronnie James and Nounours wouldn’t eat any other kind. Catastrophe. Finally, we asked a sales person at PetSmart. They didn’t have the treats there, but she looked up them up and told us that they could be found at Trader Joe’s. Yes! We went to get them, and happiness has been restored.

“With added vitamins and minerals,” it says. “OMEGA 6:3 Enriched” and “with Menhaden Oil,” it says. Ronnie James and Nounours just say, “MOOR PLEEEZZZ!!!!”

The thing is, while we were medicating the Wrah-Wrah to heck and back, these treats were the only consolation prize we could offer him. They got us all through and ended the sessions on a happy note.

 

That about wraps it up for this favorites list – Happy Friday, All! =)