Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Not Feeling Much Like Myself

My mom has been bugging me for a new post :p

Despite my best intentions, I have not gone for a run, I haven't even worked out at home, and I'm still eating a lot of junk.

A big part of the problem is the weather. It's just too cold to get out there and do anything. I have running clothes for the winter, but nothing warm enough for how cold it's been the past several weeks. And the few days where it's been decently warm I just haven't had the time or energy to go.

Another problem is my unemployment. I'd love to have a gym membership (which would give me a place to workout when the weather is crappy), but until I have a job, we can't afford it. And being unemployed gets depressing. Really depressing. I'm pretty much stuck at home all day every day, which I really hate. It's boring and my pets are driving me nuts. I try to spend as much of my day searching and applying for jobs and writing, but some days I don't have the drive or the energy. Other days there just aren't any jobs worth applying for and I don't have an upcoming deadline (although that has changed now that I'm doing weekly stories).

Looking for jobs and stressing about not having a job is exhausting. On top of that, since I'm the one at home, I'm doing most of the laundry, dishes, cleaning, and cooking. Not fun.

I just haven't felt like myself in a really long time. It's been almost a month since my job and my four-hour commute ended but I'm still exhausted. And yet there are nights where I just can't sleep. And although I hate being stuck at home all day every day, I also hate going out. I love my family, but it gets exhausting for me to be around so many people after just a couple hours. Everyone is talking at once and loudly trying to talk over one another and it just makes me tired.

I've been really irritable and moody lately, usually for no real reason. I'm just exhausted by everything lately and I'd really like to change that, but I don't know how. You'd think that while I'm not working I'd be getting a lot of rest and I've got tons of time to work out and make healthy meals but none of that is happening. I'm too tired to work out and cook, but I'm not getting much rest because I'm working part-time and looking for jobs as much as possible and stressing about not having a job.

I'm trying to stay positive. I had an interview with a staffing company recently and will hopefully have an interview with a different company in the next week or so (I passed their editing test so they just have to schedule my interview). And I'm hoping that once I do have a full-time job again--one that doesn't include a four-hour commute--I'll be a lot less stressed and maybe things will get back to normal...whatever that is.

On the plus-side, I have been making time to read more which has been really nice. I finally finished The Hangman's Daughter which was really good, but long. Or maybe it just seemed really long because it took me months to finish it.

  I also read Girl, Interrupted. I had seen the movie before and really liked it. The book was excellent.

I'm now reading Slaughterhouse Five. And I'm on the waiting list for several books from the library.

I've also decided I really want to learn to crochet or knit. Problem with that is I'd have to buy the stuff to do it. So if any of you would like to donate some crocheting or knitting supplies so I have stuff to do when I'm not applying for jobs and writing, I'd really, really appreciate it! Oh and I have no idea how to crochet or knit, so if anyone wants to teach me, that'd be great too :)

And finally: I let my sister cut my hair!

And I've got a new cover story in the North County Community News about the Myers house in Florissant. You can read it here:

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I Made Soap!

Sort of.

In my last post I talked about how I wanted to eliminate more chemicals from our lives. My starting point was switching our hand soap. The chemicals in the soap we were using made my hands so dry and chapped it was painful and no amount of lotion, oil, etc. helped.

So I searched around on Pinterest and found several different ways to make hand soap. The simplest one I found was to use Dr. Bronner's soap.

I bought the 18-in-1 Hemp Peppermint at Target.

I dumped the rest of our Bath & Body Works soap down the sink and rinsed the bottle/dispenser out really well. I had to "pump" it several times to make sure all the old soap was out of it. It's a foaming dispenser which seems to be what works best according to Pinterest. 

All I did was fill the bottle about 1/4 with the Peppermint soap (which is organic), then filled the rest with water (not all the way to the top or it will make a mess when you screw the dispenser back on). You can also add some essential oils like tea tree, which is an antibacterial oil, or some other oil. I didn't have any essential oils, so I just used the soap and water (the soap does have a lot of oils in it). Then I gently shook the bottle to mix the soap and water. 

Voila! Organic hand soap that won't destroy your

I have loved it so far. Chris seems indifferent to it. He liked the way the Bath & Body Works soap smelled (vanilla) and apparently wasn't having as many problems with dry hands as I was. But he's tolerating it for me :)

If you're having issues with dry skin like I was or just want to rid your household of harsh chemicals, I highly recommend using this method. My hands haven't transformed overnight. I wash my hands a lot throughout the day, so by the time I was able to make this soap, my hands were in really bad shape. But there has been a noticeable difference, and I think with some more coconut oil at night, my hands will be in much better shape!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Trying to be Chemical Free

I have officially applied for 50 jobs since the end of October 2013. Of those, I've received 10 rejection emails. So most are either still considering me (I can hope) or they've rejected me without bothering to notify me.

Luckily I found my part time writing position. It doesn't pay much, but it at least gives me a little something to do each day, and it's writing. That's very important to me. It's almost like being in school again. I get an assignment. I procrastinate. I write it. I turn it in. The only difference is, I get paid for these.

Aside from not having a full-time job, life is pretty good. Except for that whole being home all day, every day thing. That's not so fun for me. I'm getting bored. I can only search for and apply for so many jobs in one day.

I love her to pieces, but I am really not enjoying
being a stay at home dog-mom!

So I'm looking for other things to occupy my time. I should be exercising, but thanks to the foot of snow outside covering most sidewalks, I think I'll wait until it starts to melt. I've been spending a lot more time on Pinterest. Looking at wedding stuff, food stuff, workout stuff, etc. etc. As you may know, I'm working harder to eliminate chemicals from my life (and Chris's and our fur-babies).

It's adorable how much she loves the snow.

We've already switched from traditional body washes and facial cleansers to Herbaria, handmade, natural soaps. We love them! It's been fun trying different bars of soap. We finally went into the store the day before Thanksgiving and again the Friday after Christmas. It smells lovely. And it's on the Hill. I love that place. In addition to their bars of soap, I've switched from regular deodorant to a natural spray deodorant they have. I think I'd like to try making my own deodorant in the future as well. (In case you're wondering, regular deodorants contain lots of chemicals, plus most contain aluminum which has been linked as a cause of breast cancer--no thank you!). It is way different from using regular deodorant (which is why I think I want to try to make my own), and it doesn't work as an antiperspirant (that's what aluminum does), but sweating is good for you!

Herbaria also makes a soap for dogs! We plan
to use it on her just as soon as it's warm enough!

We've also switched to laundry detergents that are of the "free and clear" varieties. Currently we're using Arm & Hammer. Eventually I'd like to try making my own of this as well and see how it turns out.

The first thing I plan to "diy" is hand soap. It won't be hand-made or anything, but it will be organic which means no cancer-causing chemicals or anything else bad that painfully dries my hands out. (We're currently using soap from Bath & Body Works which does contain cancer-causing chemicals and is the reason this is the first thing I'm making!)

The Bath & Body hand soap has made my hands so dry that they hurt and are about to start cracking. No amount of lotion or coconut oil (from Herbaria and usually works great) has helped. So I'm heading to the store later today to get some organic castile soap and I'll add some essential oils and our hands will be so much better off!

I'm also looking for an organic shampoo (one that's not super expensive!). I've just been using a "shampoo bar" from Herbaria and while it does the job, my hair still feels dry and looks dull. I've found a couple options I plan to try so I'll let you know how that goes!

It is really difficult to find organic stuff, especially things like shampoos. And many claim to be organic when they're really not. Read labels/ingredients on everything is what I've learned in researching this stuff. You can't trust something that says it's all-natural or organic to really be those things. It's very frustrating.

Anyone else trying to eliminate all these chemicals from their lives? I'd love to hear any tips, products you use/love, and anything you've diy'ed!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2014 Goals

In case you're wondering how I did with my 2013 goals, well I failed miserably with almost every single one of them. It was kind of depressing to look back at those and realize I had attempted a few of them and failed, and others I apparently immediately forgot about.

2014 isn't off to a great start either. I think my biggest goal is to get healthy. And the junk I've been eating lately isn't going to get me anywhere near that. Chris and I have both been feeling like crap lately and the crap we've been eating is probably at least 95% of the reason why. (The other 5%, at least in my case, is allergies/asthma.) And I'm tired of feeling like crap. The best way to change that is to change my eating habits.

Which is where this gets really tough. I don't care what people is expensive to eat healthy, especially when you're unemployed. Then there's also the problem of getting Chris on board. He pretty much hated when I tried going gluten-free last year, although he was nice and sort of did it with me. That was temporary (mainly because it just didn't work). This is a permanent change I'm talking about though. Eating primarily fruits and vegetables, less meat and carbs, and basically zero junk. He won't like that one bit.

I won't lie, I'm not sure I'll like it either. At least not at first. But I do know that eating crap makes me feel like crap. Eating healthy on a daily basis makes me feel great. I want to feel great all the time. I haven't quite figured out how I will afford all this, but I want to do it.

So that's my main goal, but here's a list of them:

1. Get healthy.
I plan to do this by eating clean and working out. The working out part hasn't really happened yet because it's been too cold to run outside and I can't afford a gym membership. That will be one of the first things I do when I get a full-time job though.

2. Get a full-time job.
It sounds kind of bad, but I'm to the point that I just want a full-time job. I don't care if it doesn't involve writing and editing. I can't afford to be unemployed and I really don't want to have multiple part-time jobs.

3. Start planning our wedding. 
This is a really daunting, overwhelming task. There are so many decisions to make and weddings cost so much money. If I could afford to, I would just hire a wedding planner so I wouldn't have to do it all myself. Wishful thinking.

And that's it. Honestly. I'm hoping that fewer goals means I can really focus on them and accomplish them. The first two are the most important to me and sort of go hand in hand. But the third one ties in to the second one as well. I refuse to really start planning until I have a full-time job. There's no point in making plans before I can afford them.

If any of you have any tips to help me reach some of these goals, I'd love to hear them!
How to eat clean on a budget. Job search tips. Wedding planning tips. Send 'em my way!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy New Year!

How was everyone's holiday?

Mine was excellent. I got to spend a lot of time with family and friends.

I also had a job interview, and I got it! It's a part time writing position, so I'm still looking for something full time, but I'm still very excited about it!

With all the time off I've had, you'd think I would have started working out and running again, but I'm a total slacker and I haven't. :/ I really do want to start running again, but temps for the next few days are going to be way too cold. Like the high for one day next week is 2 degrees I think, with a low of negative-whatever-I'm-not-going-outside. So while I do have some nice warm clothes for outdoor winter running, that's just too cold for me. I do plan on doing some more at-home exercises in the meantime though. I'll let you know how that goes.

Here's a few pics from our holiday! Hope yours was great! I'll be back next week!

Chris's bday/NYE...isn't he handsome ;)

Copper with one of her new toys...which she
destroyed shortly after.

Another Christmas present for Copper. This one's
supposed to be "indestructible." We'll see.

The adorable ornament Chris gave me for
Christmas :)