Self Sufficient

Ramble-y

I’ve been ‘on my own’ for so long that at times, I don’t immediately grasp when someone is genuinely trying to help nor do I freely ask for help when I should. I do this with my husband and others in my orbit. I caught myself doing this with hubby fairly recently and he is my best friend! *face palm* his love language is doing things for me and I hurt him inadvertently when I engage in my ‘protective’ behaviors. I recognize why I developed this but it’s time to lower the curtain just a little bit.

Software

I finally started listening to some podcasts on software development and I’m kicking myself on not beginning earlier. I don’t have any favorites yet but it’s extremely useful to hear experienced developers talk about things that I can relate to as a working professional.

Health

My healing is going better than expected. In the downtime, I’m enjoying the slower pace of life and introspecting on how I can handle certain things at work in a healthier fashion.

Cute

My nails are growing rapidly and are quite strong to boot! I’m starting to like them without polish on. 😛

 

Skin and Hair Care Products

The current cast of products I’ve used are largely from Palmer’s, Alikay Naturals, Kyra’s Shea Medleys, Carol’s Daughter, and various other products.

Palmer’s

The main product I use is the Coconut Oil Body Lotion which has no parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, sulfate, or dyes. It leaves my skin feeling very smooth and it’s quick-absorbing too. For hair care, I’ve tried Coconut Oil Formula Dry Oil Mist and I wouldn’t recommend it. That said, I’m on a natural/organic kick and these two products are heavy on the chemicals. I’m giving SheaMoisture Raw Shea Chamomile & Argan Oil Baby Healing Lotion a try as a potential replacement.

Alikay Naturals

This company prides itself on not using any “petroleum, mineral oil, alcohol, parabens, sulfate or silicones”. I was immediately sold on the all-natural ingredients in use. I was first introduced to this brand via Target and gorged myself thereafter directly on the company site. 🙂

For hair care, I use the Shea Yogurt Hair Moisturizer as a leave-in moisturizer and Essential 17 Hair Growth Oil to nourish my roots. I shampoo with Moisturizing Black Soap Shampoo which, by the way, is the first shampoo I’ve tried that doesn’t leave my hair feeling dehydrated after a wash! For my body, I use Majestic Beauty Stretch Mark and Scar Remover and the only criticism I have about the product is the texture. My batch had several lumps and I would prefer a ‘smoother’ feel when applying the product. This gripe isn’t enough to be a deal breaker though. Lastly, I’ve tried Tropical Splash Body Icing which is a no for me (again, texture of this product just feels off).

Kyra’s Shea Medleys

I love the butter creams this company is famous for! I’ve tried almost all of them at this point and I can’t get enough. 🙂 This company feels like a more “grown up” version of Alikay Naturals in terms of packaging and product texture (the creams are whipped to an even consistency). One major selling point is the butters are made for *both* hair and body! Like Alikay Naturals, another selling point is this company’s use of “natural, certified organic, non-GMO, and fair-trade ingredients” (in keeping with the themes I shared in an older post titled “Pursuit of Happiness“). The products I’ve tried from this company can be found in the ‘Butters‘ section (I go for the X-Large):

  1. Original Butter Cream (repeat purchases)
  2. Strength + Emollient Butter Cream
  3. Growth + Restore Butter Cream
  4. Baby Powder Baby Butter (just got this and excited to try it out. 🙂 )

Carol’s Daughter

When I stopped cutting my hair, this was the first ‘ethnic’ hair care brand that I saw in the Target beauty aisles. Without knowing any better, I immediately purchased the following products:

  1. Black Vanilla Sulfate-Free Shampoo – This product lathers well and did a reasonable job of not drying my hair out too much. However, I’m sticking to Moisturizing Black Soap Shampoo for the natural-ingredients edge.
  2. Black Vanilla 4-in-1 “Combing” Crème – This product did not sit well with my hair i.e. didn’t absorb well and left a whitish residue with every application.
  3. Black Vanilla Leave-In Conditioner – Ambivalent about this product. Like the combing creme, my hair just did not take to this product. :/
  4. Black Vanilla Hair Smoothie – With the bad experiences I had, I haven’t tried this out yet. It’s been sitting unopened but maybe I’ll check it out someday.
  5. Mimosa Hair Honey Shine Pomade – This was probably the only product that I really liked from this company. It was made with all natural ingredients and the scent reminded me of the pomades I’d use growing up as a kid. That said, I immediately ditched this product in favor of Shea Yogurt Hair Moisturizer. I would still recommend the Mimosa pomade though.

Other Products

I’ve also been experimenting with oils like PURA D’OR Organic Moroccan Argan Oil (moisturizer). Argan oil is really nice because it’s one of those oils that can be applied all over and it feels amazing when applied. I recently got Rosehip Oil (I noticed it was a common ingredient in many scar removing products).

Overall, my skin has really improved since I started paying more attention to the labels. I’m excited to keep discovering more companies that makes awesome products!

Organization

At work, I have a decent system in place to organize my browser bookmarks, emails (Outlook rules and folders, use of priorities and labelling), and notes (organized by day/folder on my Mac)

However, this behavior isn’t reflected in my personal life w.r.t. to the areas mentioned (my home pc’s bookmarks are in shambles, all notes are in one giant folder and search sucks on Windows, etc). My email (Gmail primarily) is really a ‘set it and forget it’ pit and I think something has got to give!

During my downtime, I’ll tackle the problem of my notes first. I’ve finally decided to pony up for an Evernote subscription and begun the task of copying certain notes over. Wish me luck!

A better day

As foretold, today turned out to be a very fulfilling day!

For starters, I got up pretty early (5am) and started working on my personal (technical) project involving Java spring application, postgresql, and Docker. I’m happy to report that I was able to tame the beast and happy enough to blurb about it. I love days like today when I make tangible progress on little goals. 🙂 Speaking of goals, Trello is a neat little tool that helps organize my scattered thoughts and keeps me honest! If you’re like me and tend to thing of a million things at one, Trello helps organize my thoughts.

Also, the weekend is upon us! Alas, I’m house-bound for a while so I’ll still be parked in the house. Thankfully, we’ve got a pretty sweet view so I won’t feel too left out.

Growth

Synonyms for growth: development, maturation, growing, germination, sprouting.

M & I have been together for over a decade which is awesome. 😛 For much of that, we were nowhere near ready to even *think* of bringing little ones into our chaos. I mean, I sort of knew I’d want them but in a very ‘hand-wavy’ some day way. Lately, I’ve been surer than ever that I do in fact want a little person. 🙂 No, I’m not in the ‘family way’ but for the first time in a long while, I have a definitive answer to the kid question. Now it’s a case of when and planning for that happy day (sometime before my fortieth birthday. :))

I’ve disconnected from various time sucks (Facebook, Instagram are the two biggest ones) for a few years now but I’m still hanging on to Twitter and Reddit. Unsurprisingly, my usage of the remaining outlets has increased. Twitter lately has started feeling like FB did (FOMO intensifying, etc) and I’m actively trying to cut back on my use of this service. I do think that I need to become disciplined but until I do, my strategy of “reduce and remove” will have to do.

The one area I feel stagnation in has been my development chops. Sure, I’m objectively writing better code but I don’t feel I could architect a scalable application from scratch. Lately, one thing that has helped to help combat these feelings of inadequacy is cleaning up my older applications to use things I learn on the job. It’s slow going but it helps me feel like I’m making some progress.

Overall, feeling a bit blue today, a general malaise. Tomorrow will be better.

Full house!

Life is so beautiful at this moment.

I can’t help but marvel at the love shown by family (blood and by marriage) and friends.

I am looking forward to enjoying my down time and bouncing back stronger than ever.

In other news, my nails are looking fly and strong (regular polish)! I will try a french manicure next time I get ’em done.

Gratitude

One of the perks at my job is a yoga class twice monthly and I love our yoga teacher for her insistence on good practices. At the start of every session, we set our intentions for the class. I particularly love this component because it allows me to feel connected to myself and how I’m feeling (a check-in of sorts). After this, the torture workout begins. 🙂

Anyway this week’s theme has been gratitude. Here are some things I’m grateful for:

  1. Gratitude that I’ve made huge strides in my personal health journey (some day, I’ll write about this but I’m too chicken to pen this under my real name).
  2. Gratitude that I work with people that I enjoy being around and gratitude that they share the same sentiment!
  3. Gratitude that I’ll be done with my student loans in less than a month! Freeing up that cash-flow feels wonderful. Thanks to a combination of bonuses and savings, I paid down almost $40,000 in less than 3.5 years. Yeah, I get to toot my horn a little bit here. 🙂 Next up, killing the car debt (own a hair over $6, 000 on this asset).
  4. Gratitude that I have pretty good health insurance to handle some upcoming events in this calendar year.
  5. Gratitude that I have the support of M, his family, and of course my family

In short, my heart is full!