Monday, June 29, 2009

Amazing Sand Art!

Get this: today I stumbled on (literally, found using Stumble Upon) an article about sand artists' abilities to render human emotions in sand form. As someone whose childhood sand art consisted of essentially bucket "towers", this blows my mind. They're so realistic! And there's something to be said of artists who slave over these creations for hours, despite knowing that they'll eventually get washed away.

Have you ever seen sand art like this? You can check out the rest of the article (with more pictures!) here.

(PS: I know this is another late post. I hope that you all can please bear with me while I transition into having two jobs taking over my time. Once I get into the swing of things, posting should become less sporadic).

Images via Woman's Day (see link).

Friday, June 26, 2009

Name three good habits!

Random red panda, because it's cute and I was blanking on pictures.

After all the confessions yesterday (if you missed it, scroll down) I thought we maybe needed some extra positivity. So what are three GOOD things that you do for yourself?

Here are mine:
  • Drinking water- I love water, plain and simple. You know how you're supposed to go through 8 servings a day? Well I go through about 15, easy. I carry bottles of cold water around with me everywhere (I'm drinking one right now, actually).
  • Activity- I genuinely love moving around. Being stationary for too long actually makes me more tired than moving does.
  • Goofiness- I'm pretty much a dork all the time. And to be honest, I really don't mind that. It makes me happier and (I hope) makes others laugh. Which is so much more fun than being moody right?
So there you have it, I'm a goofy runner who loves water. What're your good habits?

Have a good weekend every one!

Red panda image via Wikipedia.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

What's your worst habit?

We all have bad habits. I have more than I could possibly list- everything from nail biting to procrastination. But what do you think is the one that impacts you the most right now?

For me, it's not getting out of bed in the morning. Every morning is like a fight for me, because I never want to get up, even when I've had plenty of sleep. On a good day, I will only hit the snooze button two or three times. We don't even need to talk about what a bad day looks like.

I know to some extent it impacts me because I never get things done in the morning. This morning I wanted to blog, make a real breakfast, maybe take a quick jog before work at 10am. I did none of that. Instead I got up just early enough to run out the door with a glass of juice and some string cheese (breakfast of champions).

The good news is technically I could turn my habit around. The bad news is that it's really hard to tell that to my sleepy brain, especially on those days I technically need to get up at six.

Your turn: what's your bad habit? Sugar? Shopping? Wasting time reading blogs (*wink*)?

Image via Domino.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Daily Puppy!

It's a little bit late for posting but I just had to share this one. A friend from work showed me this website where you can check out daily pictures of adorable puppies. That's right, a whole website devoted to adorable puppies. Isn't that genius? There are also lots of articles on puppies and their care but honestly, I just like the adorableness.

Now we just need a daily kitten and a daily panda and I'll be all set.

Edit: Turns out there is a daily kitten, which you can check out here. No word on a daily panda yet, but I'll keep an eye out :)

Image via The Daily Puppy.

A little technical difficulty.

Had a little technical difficulty today in that blogger wasn't letting me log in to post. So here's a picture of a cute panda and I promise I'll have a real post up and running later tonight :) In the meantime, don't forget to check out my greenify post from yesterday, it has lots of info and I'm still looking for suggestions!

Image via Wikipedia.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Greenify Your Skin- Body Edition

Skin is your largest organ. It is extremely important to your health because it keeps nasty stuff out of your body, keeps good stuff (like water) in, helps regulate temperature, and does a whole host of other important things. Not to mention, it's the first thing people see when they look at you. So when I was deciding which parts of my "routine" to greenify first, it made sense to really look into my skincare. I want to take care of my skin using natural products that will perform just as well as, if not better than, the ones in the drugstore without breaking the bank. And after a little experimentation, this is my routine so far:

I have to admit that the thing I liked most about Pangea Organics Bar Soaps is that they smell absolutely amazing. I have Italian White Sage, Geranium, & Yarrow; Pyrenees Lavender with Damiana Tea; and Canadian Pine with White Sage. These soaps don't strip my skin like a lot of other bar soaps, they moisturize using natural oils, and the scents are all-natural. The coolest part about them is that not only are they made of minimal packaging, but the box it comes in has seeds imbedded in it and can be planted. Total gimmick, but a fun idea.

The bars are about $7, so not the cheapest, but I found mine for 50% off at World Market and stocked up, and a bar will last you for awhile.

I prefer bar soap to body wash because it cuts down on packaging. However, if you really don't like bar soap, I found lots of natural body washes too. Hugo Naturals Shower Gels come highly recommended by just about everyone I asked. They use mostly natural ingredients and contain no SLS, but they wash thoroughly without stripping. Not to mention, they come in delicious-sounding scents like Sweet Orange & Lemon and Shea Butter & Vanilla. Plus they're not terribly expensive ($8-9 for a big bottle) and easy to find at places like Whole Foods and online.
When it comes to moisturizer, I'm pretty low-maintenance. I want something light that I can slap on after a shower, and that won't irritate my skin or smell like butt. Nature's Gate moisturizers do the trick for me. They're inexpensive (about $9 for a huge 18-oz bottle) and easy to find, made with mostly natural ingredients, and the scents are light. I like the Pomegranate Sunflower one for its antioxidant properties but they have a whole host of other lotions for everthing from aging to very dry skin. There is also a fragrance-free line if you're sensitive.
When it comes to body scrubs, I prefer to make my own. Take olive oil (or anything oily) and add brown sugar or oatmeal and voila, you have a scrub. It's so easy I don't really see the point in buying one from the store. If I did decide to purchase a scrub, however, I might splurge on 100% Pure's body scrubs. They come highly recommended for being effective at smoothing without irritating sensitive skin, plus the ingredients are all-natural and mostly organic. Plus there's a huge variety, from Pomegranate to Fuji Apple to Sugared Lemon Peel (and lots more). They're not cheap (around $22 per scrub) but I think they'd be a fun treat for when you don't want to make your own.
Sunburn happens. This weekend I went to a parade covered in SPF 60 and still somehow came back with a nasty sunburn on my upper back. Jason's 98% Aloe Vera Gel has been my lifesaver. Aloe Vera is useful post-sun exposure, as well as for general skin irritation, and it makes a great light moisturizer if you have oily, acne-prone skin like me. And like all the others, it's inexpensive and easy to find in most natural grocers and some drug stores.

Tell me what you think of my new skin routine, and keep an eye out for the facial skin edition, coming just as soon as I get done testing products! :)

PS: You can check out the rest of the Greenify posts here.

Images via

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Summer Reading List

One of the best parts of summer is that I no longer have a huge pile of required class readings to do. Three months of reading things because I want to, not because I have to, is sheer bliss.

You can see the beginnings of my summer reading list, above. I like to create a big list every summer and see how far I get by fall.

My list so far:
  • The Golden Road: Notes on my Gentrification by Caille Millner
  • Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi (this one has been on my list for a looong time)
  • Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping by Judith Levine (and I thought a 3-month spending hiatus was a long time!)
  • Life of Pi by Yann Martel

What's on your summer reading list, and what do you think of mine?

Images via

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

First Jobs

For the past couple of weeks I have been looking hard for a part time summer job, and this past weekend I got hired on at a department store. So it's no wonder that lately I've been thinking about some of the jobs I've held in the past.

My very first job was at Steve and Barry's, a large discount store that sold clothes and shoes, with everything being below $20. I spent entire days folding clothes, making displays look neat, and picking up after messy shoppers (fact: women are slobs when they shop). It wasn't my favorite job, but it did pay for gas and nights out with friends AND I got a 30% discount so pretty much all of my clothes for a year there were bought at Steve and Barry's. The chain finally went out of business last year, though, about a year after I left to go to college.

After Steve and Barry's, I spent a summer pulling weekend shifts with my sister at a dinky little diner that specialized in all-you-can-eat spaghetti and Yum-Yums (ice cream sundaes, essentially). Then I got a job as a lab assistant in my university's medical center, where I still work. And now I'm back to retail, albeit at a much nicer store where things generally cost a good deal more than $20. Guess I'm moving up in the world, right?

Where was your first job? Restaurant? Clothing store? Alpaca farm?

Image via

Monday, June 15, 2009

How do you work out?

I've been thinking a lot about workouts lately. Probably because I have no more classes until mid-September and that gives me a lot more time to think about getting healthy. Maybe because I spoke to my mom the other day and learned that over 75% of her parents' generation have died of heart disease related conditions (eek) or cancer. Also, probably because it's hot now and I feel like the Pillsbury Doughboy in my tank tops (not to mention bathing suits). So today I thought we should discuss working out.

I'm not super structured when it comes to working out. I don't have a training plan, I just tend to work out when I feel like it and leave it there. Right now my work outs look a little like this:

Running: I've always been a runner. I was in track in highschool (800m, woot) and I never really lost running as a hobby, though I run more sometimes than others. Right now I run probably 4-5 days a week, depending on how stressed I am (I actually run more when I'm stressed). Usually my runs are pretty casual- I'll head out with my ipod and just let my feet lead me wherever until I get tired enough to turn around. Most of the time I don't even time myself. When I have glanced at the time, my runs are usually between 30 and 45 minutes in length, so not super long but not terribly short either. How hard I run usually varies too- I run faster when I'm stressed and slower when I just want to enjoy myself. In case you can't tell, I'm super casual about my running, and I get to wondering whether I should start planning out my runs better. But I've learned that when I plan them, they start to feel like a chore.

Yoga: This is something that I picked up last spring, when I took a yoga class at my university. For awhile there, I did yoga almost every day. It was amazing for muscle tone and posture, two things I struggle with (not to mention obvious psychological benefits). I've let my yoga slip away lately, to the point where I almost never do it anymore. But it's something I hope to bring back over the summer when my schedule is (hopefully) less hectic. Anybody know of any good yoga DVDs?

Rock Climbing: Okay, so this is something I just started doing once a week as of two weeks ago and already I LOVE it. I'm pretty lucky in that my university has a huge climbing center not too far away from me, and I'm thinking of buying a rec pass just so I can have access to it over the summer. Rock climbing is a great upper body workout for me, namely because I have almost no upper body strength. Not to mention, it's just plain fun. I'm encouraging all of you who have access to a climbing wall to give it a shot- I'm planning on going once a week over the summer if I can get ahold of a rec pass.

Those are pretty much my three primary workouts right now. I'm also thinking of picking up swimming over the summer, especially if I do get a rec pass, since my university has several swimming pools as well. What are your favorite workouts and how do you stay healthy? Got any fun suggestions for me?

PS: Thanks for all of your well wishes last Thursday as I went in for my job interview. I got the job! So now I'm a sales associate and fitting room attendant at a large department store in addition to my usual part time job, which means I can actually pay my rent over the summer. Woohoo!

Image by Per Breiehagen via

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thursday Bullets

  • It's Thursday and I just got done with finals week yesterday. Two tests and one giant paper later, I'm feeling pretty tuckered out. Tuckered out enough to miss blogging for a day and a half, heh.
  • On the other hand- it's officially summer break for me! I don't have classes or papers or homework to deal with until September! So hopefully you all can forgive me for my sporadic blogging if I promise to throw in a few extra posts over the summer?
  • Summer doesn't mean I get to be lazy. Instead, it means that I have to find a (second) summer job stat if I want to pay my rent. I've got my first job interview Saturday afternoon- wish me luck!
  • I want an Organic Chocolate Trio from farmsteadorganic's Etsy shop. Organic chocolate fudge goat milk soap, chocolate body balm, and chocolate lip balm. Sounds good enough to eat (not that I'd recommend it).
  • I have a giant hot fudge sundae in front of me instead.
  • I just realized that the first ingredient on my hot fudge is not chocolate, as you might expect, but high fructose corn syrup. That can't be good.
  • I couldn't come up with a good picture for this post, so I stuck one of a cute girl from The Sartorialist up there. On a related note, I really wish I was as cute/hip/pretty as anyone that makes it onto The Sartorialist.
  • That's about all I can think about right now (post-exam brain freeze). I'll be back in normal blogging mode again tomorrow though! :)
How has your week been going?

Image via The Sartorialist.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Greenify Your Hair

So as some of you know, awhile ago I officially jumped on the green bandwagon. I want to become more eco-conscious by looking critically at the things I own: those that I need, those that I like, and those that are inevitably wasted. What I don't want is to contribute to the idea that in order to be green you need to toss out all your old stuff and buy new, super-expensive "green" things (that may or may not be all that "green").

That said, as I have been trying to greenify my beauty routine by cutting back on the number of products I own (because, ahem, I own a lot), and picking more natural alternatives for ones that I keep around. And since I know you all will keep me accountable, I thought I'd share my new (much simpler) hair-care routine with you.

When it comes to shampoo, my stance is that it all gets washed out of my hair anyway, so I'm not terribly picky. I just need something that get my hair clean without drying it out to straw. Shi Kai shampoos do the trick for me- they clean my hair without the use of SLS or other harsh chemicals, and they don't strip it of its moisture. The Color Care Shampoo is my favorite for being pretty gentle and non-drying. The Everyday Shampoo does dry my hair out a little bit, but nothing conditioner can't fix. Better yet, both can be found at Whole Foods or just about any online drugstore, and they're pretty inexpensive ($5-7 for 12oz, depending on where you get it).
My hair is thick and tends to be dry, so when it comes to conditioner I tend to be more picky. The hardest part of switching to green products was finding a conditioner that would moisturize without the use of dimenthicone, which is found is just about every drugstore moisturizing conditioner. I finally found a friend in Desert Essence Red Raspberry Conditioner, which moisturizes using jojoba oil and contains vitamins A and C plus calcium, magnesium, and almond amino acids for healthy, shiny hair. It keeps my puffy hair relatively non-puffy, without making it flat or greasy looking. It also doesn't hurt that it smells amazing, like sweet raspberries on a summer day. And like the ShiKai shampoo, it's relatively easy to find both in stores and online, and it won't break the bank ($6-9 for 8oz, and a little goes a long way).
As far as styling products go, my hair is admittedly non-picky. It's straight and thick, so I typically look for something that will will add shine and keep it from puffing up mid-day, plus protect it from any heat styling I might do. For me, Giovanni Direct Leave-In Conditioner has worked wonders. Just a dime-sized amount keeps all of my hair under control without being greasy-looking. Plus it does it with natural oils instead of silicone, so I don't have as many issues with build-up. And, as you might suspect, it's also relatively easy to find and inexpensive ($5-8 for 8.5oz).

What do you think of my new hair routine? Does anyone have other natural products I should test out? If so, I'd love to hear them :)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Fabric Mania!

So I get the idea of making my own pillows in my head, and all of a sudden I'm obsessed with fabric. Some of the adorable printed fabrics on Etsy really make me wish I could sew something other than a square pillow. Maybe I should have paid more attention in home ec?

A few I really love:
  • Paisley in Earth at uberstitch's shop
  • Marimekko Sarastaa Floral from imaginefabric's shop (my favorite, and also the most expensive- because it always works out that way ya know?)
  • Fresh Start from sewhappyfabricshop's shop (cute name, adorable fabric)
  • Elephant print from KawaiiLovelyFabric's shop (would not match anything in my house, but is SO cute)
What do you think of my choices? Am I the only one who looks at fabric and just wishes I could sew?

PS: Just two exams this week and then it's summerrrrr :)

All images: their respective Etsy shops (see links above)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Speaking of flowers...

Isn't this sweet?
The flower shop just down the street from me has had this sign out for a couple weeks now, every day with a different name. Okay, so the economic side of me knows that this is totally a ploy to win over new customers, but I still think it is a super adorable idea. Wouldn't it be a nice surprise to see your name on the board for a free flower? I know I've been checking it every time I walk by, hoping there will be an "Amanda" up there soon.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Green Thumb

When I was little, I remember that my grandma helped me make a little square garden right outside of the apartment I shared with my dad. It was my first garden, and we filled it with petunias, marigolds, zinnias, snapdragons, and a couple of massive sunflowers. Flash forward a couple of years, and I got distracted with things like friends and boys, and the garden was filled with nothing but weeds.

Now that I'm older, I've regained my interest in gardening. Unfortunately, there is now nothing outside of my apartment except a parking lot, which isn't very good for growing things. I've been toying with the idea of potted plants, and today I stumbled across several articles discussing that very thing. Coincidence? I think not.

If you've got gardening on the mind, check these out...
Potted Plants 101.
Dummies' guide to shopping at the garden center.
Balcony garden inspiration.
A genius little inside window box idea. (for those of us who only have parking lots outside)

How do you feel about gardening? If you've got an impossible-to-kill potted plant suggestion for me, please share. :)

Both pictures, Apartment Therapy

Monday, June 1, 2009

Pumpkin Pie For Your Face

I don't do a ton of product reviews here on OHP, because I don't want the blog to turn into one big advertisement. But when I come across a product that really impresses me, I can't help but share it with the world.

One product that I've been loving lately is the MyChelle Incredible Pumpkin Peel. I picked it up from Whole Foods on a whim after hearing tons of good reviews for it on MUA. It's supposed to detoxify and exfoliate dead skin cells to promote skin regeneration- I'm not sure if it does all that, but it DOES make my skin feel ridiculously soft and it seems to help fade some of the red spots I have from past acne. Plus it looks and smells SO much like pumpkin pie batter, that it makes me think of Thanksgiving at Grandma's every time I use it (but please don't eat it).

The best part is that this peel is almost entirely made of organic ingredients, plus there's no animal testing. It seems pricey ($25-ish for 1.2fl. oz., eeps) but I've used it 4 or 5 times and barely put a dent in the jar, so it should last awhile. All in all, I think this might be my next big love.

Photo via which seems to have the cheapest price for MyChelle products. I got mine at Whole Foods.