Skin problems, I've got 'em, you've got 'em too! Na-na-na-na-na! (nobody can make me stop listening to Emotion).
It's winter time, and I've got super sensitive skin that hates the dry, dry air. I get rosacea, eczema, and chapped lips so easily. Plus, I'm allergic to everything, which means that finding ways to take care of my skin is kind of like a fun, 1000-piece puzzle where the health and comfort of my largest bodily organ is on the line.
But! Over the years, I've figured out a couple of products that consistently work for me, and I thought I'd share them here – sometimes I get requests for advice from people who've seen my posts about spoonie life and allergies on social media. So even though this is my author website, it is relevant, I promise! Read ahead for products that I can and like to use! A rarity in my allergic life. I have ordered these online, but have also found them at Whole Foods too.
*Please read the ingredients, do your research for yourself, and try out these products at your own discretion.
I know so well that what works for one person doesn't work for everyone.*
Badger Balm is my favorite chapstick – I'm allergic to sheep oil, commonly known in ingredients lists as lanolin, which is in most regular chapsticks. But not this one! It's a thicker chapstick, and it's a really nice healing/protective coating. It's also somehow never made my lips break out in hives, so it wins against all other chapsticks, basically. For those less sensitive, there's a large variety of flavors/scents that they make! I stick to unscented, and sometimes vanilla, if I'm feeling lucky. Check it out here!
Ingredients (unscented): Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract
Also of note from the website: Organic, cruelty free, non GMO, gluten free
Medicine Mama's Sweet Bee Magic Wand
OK, this is one of my favorite-ever allergy discoveries. This wand is for lips, face, and hands, and it feels and smells WONDERFUL. All the honey. And you know how some chapstick smells so good you want to eat it? Their website brags that the magic wand's ingredients are so pure that you could actually eat it. I mean, I don't, because I'd rather have happy skin, but still. Impressive. The wand creates a thinner layer than the badger balm – I'll use this on my lips, but I really, really like it for wind/cold burn on my cheeks. Also BONUS: It's a chapstick-like container, but like, 5 times the size, which means I rarely lose it. 10+ points for being easily find-able by my scattered brain. Check it out here!
Ingredients: Organic Honey, Vitamin B, Propolis, Organic Cera Alba Beeswax, Organic Avocado Oil, Organic Extra Virgin Olea Europaea (Olive)
Also of note from the website: Cruelty free, as well as free of synthetic dyes, fragrances, chemicals, preservatives, parabens, sulfates, soy, fillers, binders and petroleum
All Natural Emily Skin Soother
My mom found this skin cream for me during college, in a particularly allergic phase of my life, and I honestly don't know how I existed without it. When I get eczema or other skin reactions, I can't use hydrocortisone or Benadryl creams – they actually make it worse. So I've never been able to use a cream to soothe my skin.
Enter: Emily! This skin soother was originally created by an acupuncturist & herbalist for his very sensitive daughter (Emily!). The basic kind, unscented, only has five ingredients, and is a heckin' miracle. I use this on any patch of eczema and on the sensitive skin around my eyes. I use it as a moisturizer before I put on make up, and also before I shower – hot water is really irritating for eczema and skin reactions, so I'll use it to create a protective barrier. I also use it on skin healing from burns or cuts, which totally speeds along the process. It's magical. And because you only need to use a thin layer, one jar can last a long time – for me, it definitely lasts the whole winter. The basic kind is my go-to, as less ingredients are safer for me, but there are versions for super dry skin, hot skin, diaper rash, and a lavender scented one too. Check it out here!
Ingredients (original, unscented): Made with olive oil, beeswax, angelica sinensis (Dang Gui), Potentillae Chinensis Herb (Bei Zi Cao) and Mentha Haplocalyx Herb (Bo He / Mint)
Also of note from the website: No colors, fragrances or chemicals added
Hope some of these work for you, and help keep your skinny happy this winter! :)
Goals for 2018
At least some of these are attainable!
This post is modified from my January e-newsletter! To subscribe to all that good, good nerdiness and get these ramblings ASAP, click here!
For all of 2017, and I'm sure I'm not alone, I felt like I was careening forward. I could just barely grasp a handle, before being thrown out of whack again. I learned a lot about being a grown up this year – like that sometimes, the smallest pauses are victories. Little moments to breathe in between wind tunnels. I learned that there are periods of life, maybe long periods, where that's all I'm going to be able to manage.
That being said, I'm hoping 2018 will let me breathe deeper.
I'm hoping I can be more intentional.
Here are some of my goals for 2018:
This last one is big for me. I know writers who can conquer way more than 1,000 words a day, every day, no sweat. But friends, dear readers, that is not me. For the past couple of years, I have written a lot, but in unpredictable periods of stressful productivity. I've become scared of writing, and some days, gathering the courage to face it hasn't seemed possible.
But recently, I was reading through my old journals from college, and I found the volumes I wrote while I was working on my first book, Saving Hamlet. College me was delighted to discover that good writing is not a mysteriously bestowed, completely innate talent, but a craft, that she could practice and improve on. College Molly explains in her journal, so naively and wisely, that once she started writing 1,000 words a day, it was easier every day. Not only to sit down and write the 1,000 words, but it became easier to write whenever the muse struck, too. College Molly had some things figured out. (Others spectacularly not figured out, but that's another blog post/novel.)
How funny it is that we have to learn the same lessons, so many times. My Shakespeare professor this past semester has collected many wonderful truths in his illustrious career. One of them perfectly correlates to my experience reading through these journals: "What is learning, but repetition?"
To learn (and re-learn) that writing is not scary, we have to write, over and over.
*The Last Jedi spoilers ahead!*
I went to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and I loved it, and anything I love I immediately relate to Shakespeare. Here are my suggestions for the Shakespearean counterparts of some of the main TLJ characters.
Rey – Prince Hal/Henry V from Henry IV pts 1 + 2, Henry V. Rey is the hero of her epic saga, as Hal is for his. She wasn’t always a hero type, but like Hal, her life changes abruptly, and now she’s becoming “like the sun,” and taking on great responsibility. As we find out in TLJ, there is darkness and light inside of her, like Prince Hal struggles with. She’s also quickly becoming a skilled warrior, and a leader who must learn to bear the loneliness and burden of her power.
Finn – Horatio from Hamlet. Like Horatio, Finn is a fiercely loyal friend and ally. As Horatio does for Hamlet, Finn passionately supports his heroes in both films, Rey and Rose, in their major arcs and battles. Horatio can also see the corruption in Denmark, and doesn’t trust the monarchy, as Finn can and doesn’t with The First Order. Lastly, Horatio’s super gay, and I’m leaving that door open for Finn in the third movie. Rooting for you, JJ Abrams.
Rose Tico – Viola from Twelfth Night. Like Viola, Rose’s sister dies, and she deals with grief by setting off an adventure and transforming herself. Viola has a lot of compassion, and so does Rose, as we see with the amazing furry fathiers that she frees. Also Rose falls for her friend, like Viola falls for Duke Orsino. Lastly, Viola is a notoriously eloquent speaker, and Kelly Marie Tran delivered some of the most beautiful, quotable lines in TLJ.
Kylo Ren – Prospero from The Tempest. Like Prospero, Kylo has light and darkness and conflict within him, and he has been wronged in the past. His tendencies veer toward revenge; however, influenced by someone who seems to care about him, the good in him seems potentially salvageable. Also, his force powers tend to be about controlling and hurting people, as Prospero’s magic is. It’s unclear whether Prospero, too, has fantastic, long, windswept hair, but he lives on an island and probably doesn’t have scissors, so we could make that leap for the sake of the argument.
Poe Dameron – Caius Martius/Coriolanus from Coriolanus. Like Coriolanus, Poe is a fierce soldier on the battlefield, and actions (explosions) make sense to him. But also like Coriolanus, Poe isn’t adept at leading, largely because he has a hard time listening to Holdo and valuing what she brings to the operation. And no, it’s no coincidence that I’ve also chosen a character for Poe who is also pretty gay. Thanks, Oscar Isaac!
Snoke – Richard III from Richard III. Like Richard, Snoke's view of himself and his abilities is distorted by his ego. He thinks he has control of his followers, when in reality, he alienates and underestimates them. Like Richard, Snoke thinks he can perceive more about humanity than he can, and that is his undoing. His assumption that he knows Kylo Ren’s entire mind gets him sliced in half. He should’ve been running the minute Rey showed up. A fathier, a fathier! My galaxy for a fathier!
Leia Organa – Queen Titania from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Titania’s royal power, her biting wit, her surrounding of loyal followers all match up with General Organa. Titania has a fighting spirit (the actor playing her is often double cast as the Amazon warrior Hyppolita) and fiercely loves her chosen family. Titania’s also magical, and as we saw in TLJ, the force is strong with Leia. Also, Han works as either Oberon (metaphorical ass) or Bottom (literal ass). 'cause Han is kind of an ass, right?
Luke Skywalker – Bolingbroke from Richard II/ Henry IV pts 1 + 2. Like Bolingbroke, Luke dethroned and killed an important figure in his life. Bolingbroke goes onto become King Henry IV, but he’s crippled by guilt for much of the remainder of his life. In TLJ, we see Luke suffers similarly – though Luke saw the enormous danger in Kylo Ren, as Bolingbroke sees in King Richard, neither one can recover from taking the “low road,” and fighting fire with fire.
OLIVIA – So Many Men Want To Marry Me
ORSINO – Friendzoned For Seven Years
VIOLA – Whoops! Let’s Just See How This Plays Out?
SEBASTIAN – My Dead Sister Shows Up To My Random Wedding
SEA CAPTAIN – I’m Glad My Ship Getting Wrecked Is Such An Effective Plot Device
SIR TOBY – 99 Bottles Of Beer On The Wall
MALVOLIO – The Tragedy of Malvolio
MARIA – Stop Ruining The Moment, Malvolio
SIR ANDREW – I Have No Idea What I’m Doing
FABIAN – Is This A Comedy? Because Everyone’s Being Mean
ANTONIO – Antonio & Sebastian
FOOL – While We’re Talking, Let Me Offer You Some Free Advice
Hamlet, Re-Titled by the Characters
Hamlet – Watson, The Game Is On!
Horatio – I’m Coming, Mr. Frodo!
Ophelia – My Famous F*ckboi Ex
Polonius – To Thine Own Self Be True, And Other Straightforward Advice
Gertrude – My Fave Is Problematic
Claudius – Dear Prudence: My Millennial Stepson Is Ruining My Life
Laertes – So What’d I Miss? *Jazz Hands*
Rosencrantz – Who Am I?
Guildenstern – Am I Rosencrantz?
Ghost – I Feel Like My Instructions Were Really Simple??
Fortinbras – Perfect Timing, Again
Marcellus & Bernardo – Now Everyone’s Dead, So Let’s Pinky Promise We’re Gonna Not Tell Anyone About The Ghost
I can find out no rhyme to 'lady' but 'baby.'