Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Milk of Magnesia is Gross and Also Awesome

So, if you have oily skin and wear makeup, you've probably had to deal with foundation just melting off your face throughout the day (unless you stopped wearing foundation, like I did - outlined here) and feeling as gross as it looked.
While I still feel like I'm happy to go foundationless (and makeupless! I work at home, fools), there are times where I've wanted to even up my tone and be able to experiment with contouring and different colors of blush - which really do require a foundation. Not only that, but what about Halloween makeup? I don't want to worry about whether it's staying on my face in the middle of a party, yo.
So, a few internet searches on the best primers and foundations for oily skin turned up something really interesting.
Milk of Magnesia - that gross, thin, white liquid you may have had to gulp if you couldn't poop (not me. I can't take liquid medicines because they make me vomit) supposedly keeps greasy skin matte when used as a primer.
On multiple sites - Makeup Alley alone being a source of hundreds of testimonials - reported this, and there's real science to back it up.
However, there were also a few people out there who began suffering from cystic acne and dermatitis after integrating it into their makeup routine. Here's the science behind that.
"Because it was originally intended to neutralize the pH of our gastric environment, Milk of Magnesia is quite basic with an overall pH of 10.5.  Furthermore, the bleach found in MOM produces Sodium Hydroxide when it reacts with water.  And Sodium Hydroxide has a pH of 14 making it even more basic. The estimated natural skin pH is below 5 making it acidic.  When this pH is followed, the normal flora (resident bacteria) on our skin stays attached to the skin.  Now don't go "eewww" and "yucky" on me.  We actually need these resident bacteria on our skin.  They're not freeloaders on your face, they actually serve a purpose.  First off, the normal flora on our skin are good bacteria much like the lactobacillus shirota strain in your yakult.  They don't cause pimples or harm your skin, that's why they're called NORMAL flora.  Also, they serve as guardians and protectors of our skin.  When the normal flora on your skin is present it fights off other forms of bacteria that can be potentially harmful.  It competes for space on your face.  Now when the pH levels of our skin rise (above 5) we actually disperse the normal flora on our skin lighting up the "vacancy" sign and making it a playground for other harmful bacteria.  In using MOM, which is a very basic product, we actually increase our pH level making our skin more basic and warding off our friendly, protector bacteria."
So - my dilemma (really? This is my life's dilemma?) was whether I wanted to risk skin problems where I'd always had pretty healthy skin with just the greasiness factor or deal with never being able to wear foundation for longer than an hour or so.
However, let's go back to science (or what my pinky-gray mass behind my face says it science).
As you all know because you read every stupid word I write on here, I use apple cider vinegar as a toner. Acids cancel out bases - right?
Also, I work at home. How often am I going to realistically going to wear foundation just to talk on the phone with my agents?
This week? Apparently, every damn day.
That's right - I have been making up my face every day in an attempt to see the result of Milk of Magnesia. So that makeup doesn't go to waste, I've been forcing all of my employees to look at my mug on webcam instead of just talking to me like a normal person over the phone.
Saturday was the first day, and it didn't really work. I still got greasy after a couple of hours. I think I didn't wait long enough between toner/moisture/MoM/foundation.
Sunday was less greasy.
Monday and today have been AH-mazing! Like, really. You'd never know I was a greasy gal! I don't know if it's continued use or what, but my skin has been like someone else's. If I wanted a truly matte finish, I could probably maintain it with a little powder or blotting papers (or Starbuck's napkins).
Here's my face with MoM, foundation, sans any form of powder, 8 hours after applying makeup.
Compare that to my face about two hours after washing it, without foundation, a couple of weeks ago.
Using it is sort of self-explanatory. Clean face (baby shampoo is a super gentle cleanser!), use apple cider diluted with water as a toner (1/2 and 1/2), and moisturize (seriously, anything - I use Jergens). Let your moisturizer sink in while you do your hair or something.
Basically, wet a cotton ball or cosmetic sponge with the MoM and put it on your face, making sure to hit everywhere - even the crevices next to your nostrils. Let it dry completely. If there are white spots, just rub them out with your finger or a dry cotton ball. Then, apply foundation. I've been using E.L.F Studio Flawless Finish Foundation, so it's not like it has to be amazing or high-end (though this product is great, considering the price point!).
Then, just do your thing. That's it. For reals.
Alright - so will I be using it daily? Nah bra. However, when I want to wear makeup, fersher. I don't think I'm risking my skin health because of my apple cider routine, and I haven't found anything nearly as effective in controlling my oil as this $6 bottle of Milk of Magnesia.
Also, is anyone tired of my big ole hipster glasses? Ready for a new look? I'm really digging on a pair of brow-liners.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Rededication to Health

I have been a bad, bad girl.

I have diabetes, and I have only been paying minimal attention to my eating in the last month or so.

My sugar has been fine, which is almost worse because it's like my body is giving me permission to eat whatever I want. Don't get me wrong - I don't eat junk. I haven't been counting carbs, though.

The problem is, that this is under medication. My goal was to reduce and eliminate what I needed to take. I've learned from some accidental missed dosages that I can't eat what I want and not take my medication. It doesn't work. My sugar shoots up to diabetic and near-diabetic ranges (way better than when I was hospitalized earlier this year - over 300 when I checked into the ER).

I didn't fall off the food wagon all at once. It was little stuff that I excused. Once the little stuff was excused, things like mashed potatoes and ice cream became OK.

This was worse than when I was in the midst of my bottom-of-the-barrel drug days. Then, it was fully recognized that I was out of control. Anyone looking at me could have detected it. Now, it's food - and good food! I use unprocessed ingredients and everything is homemade. I not only know everything that's going into my mouth, but I can figure out the carb count per serving.

Patton Oswalt did a bit about how he couldn't end up in the cool rehab with the rock stars. Instead, he's in over-eater's anonymous with stories about waking up in a hotel room where the underage chubby prostitute took off with your Ritz crackers and how he needed to, "...Swim away from pie," (seriously, YouTube this - it's hilarious, and I totally ruined it).

It's not one decision, though; it's a million decisions throughout the day. This morning, there were cookies on the counter (homemade with all natural ingredients, y'all). I actually thought, "I should just eat these today and work on my food tomorrow. Just call today a wash." Then, I realized it sounded like me back when I'd have a baggie full of Adderall at midnight and work the next day. I could sleep, or I could just power through the night and tomorrow and sleep after that - knowing full well that I'd be calling in sick, but lying to myself about what would actually happen. If I'd eaten the cookies, I probably would have eaten more tomorrow.

But damn if that's now how it feels. I need to swim away from pie. I got my life under control once without having to resort to 12 steps - I'll do it again.

I didn't eat the cookies, by the way. Instead, one cup of fat free Greek yogurt (10 grams of carbs) and 1 tablespoon of homemade apple butter (8 grams of carbs) with two packets of stevia. That puts my breakfast total at 18 carbs. I could have had more (I'm allowing myself 30 per meal), but Greek yogurt is incredibly filling and the tartness curbs my appetite.

It would be so much easier if I was still trying to control my drug use.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I'm Not an Orphan

I've called myself an orphan ever since my mother died, when I was thirteen. First, I did it to take the sting out of it - though not knowingly. I mean, I said it like it was a joke. It was never funny, though. Normally, it just made situations awkward. Later, I said it because it was the truth.

Even before my mother died, I didn't really have a normal family. My mother and I lived together, my sisters - both being much older - had already started their families, and my mother's fiancé was only around on weekends because he lived two hours away. My mom worked full-time, sometimes holding down two jobs. I was alone most of the time.

I'd look at people interacting with their families and only understand them the way an observer could. I studied them like an anthropologist, trying to analyze how they worked. They were interesting, but not anything I longed for. They normally seemed more trouble than they were worth, and everyone I knew was hiding most of themselves from them (that may have been more related to the hedonistic lifestyle we were all living, but it was still all I really knew or saw). It seemed like they claimed to love people simply because they shared DNA.

Also, I wasn't completely without family. I have a sister who has kids. But, whenever she said she loved me, I've never believed it. She doesn't even know me. I don't love people I don't know, regardless of relation.

Instead of relying on the fickleness of genes, I built my community from friends. While most of those friendships have drifted away due to life and time, I still have some solid connections. And I love! I love my husband, I love my friends, I love my pets. I'm not some emotionless sociopath.

However, family ties became real a couple of months ago (written about here). Now, I have a father. He's not what I thought he'd be at all. And my god, but I have a fucking father!

We've been chatting back and forth through email and have built a rapport. I chide him for eating poorly, he tells me how proud he is of how I turned out. I cry sometimes because I hate how good that makes me feel. I'm living a family dynamic.

Now, we're talking about meeting - like real meeting in meat space.

Is it too late to have a father? When he says he loves me (which he does), does it mean anything? I mean, like my sister, he doesn't even know me. Is love automatic with genetics? If it is, does it mean I'm missing pieces somehow for not feeling it?

Is it pathetic to want your parents' approval when you haven't had parents most of your life?

When we meet, I don't know if I'll hug him. I'm not good with people I don't know touching me.

Lower Carb Recipe - Eggplant Pizzas

Pizza is a carb-heavy food. While it's alright to indulge once in awhile, it's not something you can consume regularly.

However, if you replace the crust with something lower in carbs (there are options - here, here, and here), you can enjoy the tastes without having to worry about your sugar. With the eggplant replacing the crust, you also get a high-fiber boost.

1 medium - large eggplant (a whole eggplant will have somewhere between 20 and 30 carbs)
1/4 cup marinara or pizza sauce (carbs will vary, but normally less than 10)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (normally about 4 grams)
pizza toppings (take those into account when you're adding your carbs)

Preheat your oven to 425 and grease a baking sheet. Slice the eggplant about 1/2 inch thick. I like to slice it vertically, but it doesn't really matter. If you wanted to use this as an appetizer, you could slice horizontally.

Bake your eggplant for 25 minutes.

When it comes out, move it with a spatula to make sure it didn't stick.

Top your eggplant however you like and bake for another 15 - 20 minutes.