Sunday, June 19, 2016

Beauty rules you should always follow



1. HANDS OFF! Don't touch your face, period. I'm convinced that making this change is what helped my constant chin acne. You might not think you touch your face very often, but if you really started paying attention to how often you actually do, you'd probably be pretty surprised. And think about how dirty your hands really are. Sure you probably wash them after a trip to the bathroom and you probably usually even use soap, but what about everything you're touching in between? Doorknobs, car handles, other people's hands, your computer, and worst of all: your phone. All of those things have so much bacteria on them and you're just going around running it all over your face. No wonder your pores are so mad at you!
2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Yes, drink your water, but also MOISTURIZER. Morning and night. You may think you don't need to moisturizer if you skin is naturally oily, but you're wrong. Moisturizing will actually help others that. Do some research to find out what the best moisturizer is for you.
3. Stand up straight. Having good poster helps you look more confident, it makes you appear taller and more slender, and the most important reason is that it keeps you out of pain. I'm a notorious slouched but on days when I work hard to improve my posture I notice a difference in how much neck or back pain I experience. 
4. Start with less. When you're applying your makeup, start slowly. It's easier to add more eyeshadow or eyebrow pencil/gel than it is to remove it! Put on the minimum and if you need more, go for it. 
5. Don't pick at your cuticles or hangnails. This is probably my worst habit and I've never actually kicked it. My cuticles are awful and I always notice other people's cuticles, too. And I've learned you can tell who picks at their cuticles and who has self control and therefore beautiful fingernails.
6. Moisturize and exfoliate your feet. I fee like feet are often forgotten because (at least where I live and work) we are wearing tennis shoes 90% of the time. But in the summer you don't want to be baring soles that look like they need to have a chainsaw taken to them. Just some moisturizer after a shower will help a lot. Trust me. Ive been there. 

7. Don't wear clothes you aren't comfortable in. Can't walk in those shoes? Fine, don't. Nobody is making you. Those jeans are too tight? Take them off. You'll be miserable of you try to wear them. Hate berets but think they're cute on other people? Leave them on other people. Wear what makes you happy and don't wear something that makes people pity you for how uncomfortable you must be. 
8. Prime your f ace! Makeup primers are the best inventions ever. There are dozens (maybe more) to choose from and they range from $6 (maybe less idk)- like $1,500 (probably, I don't really know, I don't shop at places that have products that cost that much.)
9. Wash your face! Do not, I repeat DO NOT go to sleep with your makeup on. You wouldn't go to sleep holding a dirty toilet scrubber on your face would you? No. So why would you go to sleep with makeup on? It's the same exact thing. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

28 things for my 28th birthday

TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY.
I AM TWENTY-EIGHT.
28.

Let's party.
I'm not a huge fan of birthdays. It's not so much the getting older (although I do hate that there's no way around the fact that I'm in my late twenties), it's more the fact that they're so so so built up and bring with them so many feelings of nostalgia and it's mostly the fact that I hate opening gifts and cards in front of people. I'm not the only one who feels like that, right?

So today I'm just going to share twenty-eight things about myself that you might not* know about me.

*But you probably do know them all because I don't have a filter.

1. MY SISTER GOT ENGAGED LAST NIGHT. I've known this was going to happen for quite a while but have remained tight-lipped, which has been one of the most difficult things I've ever done. And this really doesn't have anything to do with me but I just had to share it.

2. My favorite food is sandwiches.

3. I have a secret desire to be a beauty blogger and film makeup and hair tutorials. Sometimes I film tutorials in my bathroom but then I watch them back and realize they're terrible and I'm not good on video and I delete them.

4. I did my own hair and makeup for my wedding.


5. I've never broken a bone.

6. But I've had over 40 stitches in my body.

7. When I was in middle school I wrote a list of rules "for raising your teenage daughter." One of the rules was to buy her a car when she turns 16, "but not something super expensive, just like a Toyota or something."

8. My toes are slightly slightly slightly webbed.

9. My most common dreams are of my teeth falling out.

10. Marrying Keith was literally a dream come true. If I showed you my journals from the years we weren't dating you would probably be super creeped out.

11. I'm probably the least organized person you've ever met.

12. You know those people who say they just loooooove being busy? I am not one of those people. I looooove NOT being busy.

13. I hate the "words" "lurve" and "Fri-yay."

14. I once at 36 popsicles in a single sitting.

15. I almost always swallow my gum.

16. Most of these facts are about food.

17. I once asked Keith if he would pay for me to get lipsosuction on my knees.

18. He said yes, but only if I got it done in Mexico.

19. I often have very real feelings of sadness that my house is nowhere near pretty enough to be considered "Pinterest worthy."

20. I've always wanted to pierce somebody's ears like Lindsay Lohan did in The Parent Trap.

21. I deeply regret that we didn't have a videographer at our wedding.

22. If you send me a text, chances are I looked at it, thought of a reply, and forgot to actually reply for like, 3 days.

23. "Dad jokes" always make me laugh. One of my favorite is: "Why is milk the fastest drink?" "Because it's pasteurized before you drink it!"

24. Growing up I always wanted to live in a place where it snowed and in a house with stairs. Now I have both of those things and I've realized what an idiot I was when I was a child.

25. After my sister had a C-section I watched C-section videos on YouTube. Because of that I'm scarred for life, and it's a combined fear of what I saw in the video and the thought of a giant needle being shoved into my spine that make me what to have as natural a birth as possible whenever the time comes. I've also realized I wasn't just an idiot when I was a child...

26. When I was 14 I got a really bad case of pink eye which resulted in me having eye infections for an entire year and having to regularly use eye drops as well as go to the eye doctor. For this reason eye stuff really doesn't gross me out. Because of those infections I have scars on my corneas and can only wear daily contact lenses, which gets expensive. For that reason I regularly sleep in my contacts, but then I started hearing stories of people whose contacts got fused to their eyeballs and now I'm terrified.

27. I consider myself extremely blessed that I married into a family which made me feel welcome from the very second Keith and I began dating.

28. I also consider myself extremely blessed by the rest of my family and friends. I feel so loved not only on my birthday, but every day and I am so thankful for you all.




Monday, June 6, 2016

So, when are you going to have a baby?

For me, the first time it happened was less than 24 hours after Keith proposed. I've heard it inevitably happens sooner or later, but never not at all. It always happens, because people just can't help it. The hard part is knowing what to say.


"So, when are you going to have a baby?"

People excitedly and inevitably as this, and they will ask this until you're pregnant. And then, they'll ask you about a second. And a third. And if you're going to go back to work, or cloth diaper, or homeschool, or every other question on the planet until they're blue in the face.

At first, I'd be excited to talk about it and discuss the future, even with strangers. It wasn't a big deal to me. But after a while I just started giving a standard answer: "Oh, we're going to wait a few years. We want to travel first and just enjoy each other." That's usually met with a nod of understanding and a quip about how "it's so good to wait and really get to know each other." And I'm not lying when I say we want to wait so we can travel; that's really true. We have travel plans, and we have other reasons for wanting to wait a few years.

Of course, I've had a few people tell me about their second cousin's neighbor who waited about 5 minutes before having kids and now they've been married for eleventy-seven years and have thirty-twelve children/grandchildren/great-grandchildren and they couldn't imagine life to be any different. And I'm not lying when I say we want to wait so we can travel; that's really true. We have travel plans, and we have other re

Good for them, I think, but I don't say it. I just nod and smile and change the subject, because there's no point in continuing the conversation. People really just want to hear your answer so they can't say what they've been thinking about. It really doesn't bother me much when people ask about babies. I know it's just normal and nobody is trying to be insensitive or lessen my value as a woman byt reminding me that I don't have any kids and by the way your life means nothing until your uterus pops out a tiny human. 

No, they don't mean it like that.


For as long as I can remember, I've wanted children. I never wanted to have a career outside of the home, and that's part of the reason why I didn't really mind leaving my job and moving 229 miles away to be near Keith. We had a plan, and we still have a plan, and it just involves time and patience [for me].

We both want kids and we know that in the future we will have them. I mean hello, we (I) bought a high chair a few weeks ago! But we're not naive enough to believe that life will go exactly according to plan. Obviously there's truth to the phrase, "Write your plans in pencil." I know that in a few years when we decide we're as ready as we'll ever be, there could be problems. That's just life. And I have to accept it.


So for now, I'm praying for peace, contentment, and patience. Even though I desperately want to be a mother, I don't want that to be where I find my joy or my worth. I don't want to be constantly thinking about "a few years from now" when our family grows by something other than four legged animals. I don't want to wish away the now, because I know when the future I've wished for gets here, I'll get nostalgic about what has passed.

So, if you ask me about babies, now you know what I'm really thinking when I say, "In a few years. We want to travel first."

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Life, lately

Hello, internet. Nice to see you today. Things around here haven't been anything extraordinary lately, but still rich and full and fun and wonderful. Although now that it's summer and regular TV shows have ended until fall (I'm looking at you, Grey's and Blindspot and Better Call Saul) I'm hoping to be able to spend more time here, in this space. Although, The Bachelorette did just start up again and Keith and I have to keep an eye on our brackets (they were all his idea, I swear) so you never know.

Lately, here's what we've been up to.

//We bought a high chair. Well, I bought a high chair. Memorial Day weekend is a major garage sale holiday so we scored some good deals, but my absolutely favorite is this wooden high chair that I snagged for only $20. No, this is not an announcement, it's just getting ready for the future. Plus, it's just really really cute and I'm obsessed with it.


//Keith turned 29, and he let me take him to see the new X-Men movie. I enjoyed this movie, thankfully. I liked it more than the recent Captain America movie. It's basically Jennifer Lawrence becoming a part of Blue Man Group with a special appearance by a very rugged Jean Valjean. Aaron Rodgers' girlfriend also makes an appearance in an outfit that looks highly impractical for her line of work. Also Robby from Atonement is in a wheelchair.


//ANTS. We have the giant carpenter ants outside (pictured) and I'm worried they're like termites and they're going to make our wooden driveway collapse. Their weaker smaller cousins are currently infesting our kitchen and do you know what is worse than ants? Nothing. Nothing at all.


//Baby Kate loves being a big sister.


//Speaking of Baby Kate, my sister is selling some of her old clothes on Instagram! (@raising_daughtersshop) My sister keeps everything in amazing condition, and most of these clothes were only worn a handful of time, at the most. You're welcome in advance.


//General Patton is still the star of my Snapchat (@notthatjuliet), and he's still adorable.

//We are going to Iowa this month! Keith's grandparents live out there, so we are traveling to see them with his parents. I'm really looking forward to spending time with them, but not to braving the heat and humidity. I'm going to be a bucket of sweat the whole time we're there.

That's all. Thank you for reading goodbye.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Life with a cat

It's been almost a month since we got General Patton, and as cheesy as it sounds, I become more and more in love with him every day. I think Keith is getting really sick of me making him pause our shows (Gotham, Survivor, Blindspot, Amazing Race, Modern Family, etc etc, yes all we do is watch tv shows) to say, 

"Look at Patton sleeping on my lap! He's so cute!" 
"Look at him biting the crap out of my hand! He's so cute!" 
"Look at him licking his butt! He's so cute!"
 

Currently, Patton's favorite things are:

his butt, biting human hands (playfully), tormenting the dogs, chasing his own tail, and getting his chin scratched, and in that order. He's very flexible when he cleans himself and it cracks me up.

He's an excellent sleeping, and while he doesn't sleep curled under my chin all night like he did at first, he still sleeps right next to me. Usually while I'm watching Netflix (going through Breaking Bad again and just as obsessed as the first time) he nuzzles up against my face and demands that I pet him. Then he goes crazy chasing his tail or playing with blankets for a few minutes before he curls up on my shoulder again ready to call it a night. He always ends up on the bed right next to my feet and stays put until atbout 5am, when Keith gets up for work. At that point he's super playful so I banish him to his own bedroom.



Oh, yeah, he has his own room. We still don't trust him to have full reign of the house unsupervised (we do not have a cat/child friendly home at all) so he gets to stay in the guest bedroom/bathroom while we're at work. He has lots of toys and food and a litter box in there and he's usually sleeping when I get home so I don't feel bad about keeping him in there. When he's older he'll get more house privileges.

He and the dogs get along super well, for the most part. He's like the cool high school senior who is just too important to hang out with measly freshmen. The dogs chase him all the time and he loves it (probably). If he's somewhere the dogs can't reach him (under a sofa, on a bookcase, on the ping pong table) they just sit and stare at him without moving. Like, you know the dog Doug from "Up" and how he randomly says "POINT!" and then sits still as a statue? That's the dogs when they're waiting for Patton to emerge from his hiding place.

He also likes to [lovingly] swat at their faces when he wants to play.

And when they're all exhausted, they basically cuddle together.


Sometimes when I'm petting him in the evening he just passes out and my voice gets all squeaky while I'm like "LOOK AT HOW CUTE HE IS OH MY GAWSH!"



And then he wakes up and I play with him... and I let him bite/scratch the crap out of my hands. People at work often say to me, "Oh, you have a cat, don't you!" And at first I thought they were commenting on the cat fur all over my scrubs but then I figured out it was because of the scratches on my hands.


But he's cute, so it's totally worth it.

Other things:
-we started using a spray bottle to keep him off of the counter and away from places he shouldn't be (behind the tv, which is the only place other than the litter box that he has pooped) and he hates it so much. Every time I squirt him he acts like I committed a deep act of betrayal and it hurts my heart so much.

-I feel guilty when I clip his nails. I know it's not hurting him and I've never cut too far down but he looks so miserable when I do it and this is why I am worried about having human children one day, because I'll never be able to cut their nails.

-He desperately wants to eat our human food. He gets all up in our business when we eat and if he gets too close I squirt him, but I always feel bad. Especially last night when I had fish tacos because hello, it wasn't his fault his instincts were bringing him to the food.

-I'm his favorite.

-I like to post about him on snapchat (@notthatjuliet). I also like to post about him on instagram (@jliette) and I pretend like he's a human child and I crack myself up.

That's all. Cats are fun.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Honeymoon: Cappadocia Part One (a castle, an underground city, Turkish outlaws, etc)


Today's post is about our first day in my very favorite city and surrounding area: Cappadocia/Goreme, which is in Central Turkey. We truly made the most of our days by getting up with the sun (sometimes earlier!) and staying up as late as we could keep our eyes open. My husband, Keith, had done a LOT of research and planned amazing activities for us that kept us really busy allllllll the time. To catch up on our trip so far, visit these posts:

Honeymoon Part One
Athens Day One
Athens Day Two
Ephesus and the Surrounding Sights

I didn't count how many pictures are in today's post but it could be upwards of 100. This post is just our first day in Cappadocia, and it could easily be split into four or five different posts, but since I'm generous I'm cramming it all together into one. You can thank me at the end of the post (if you make it that far).

We flew into Kayseri and landed in the middle of the night. I had to admit I don't remember much of this night because I was so tired I couldn't stay awake. Keith was driving us to our hotel in our rented Volvo and I remember the roads being totally crazy (all of a sudden your lane would end due to construction and you had to just try to figure out where you were supposed to go), Keith trying to get me to navigate the dark roads of a foreign country with his hand drawn map, and literally not being able to keep my eyes open. The few street/city signs we did see were in Turkish, so we had no idea if we were going the right way. Once we made it to the town our hotel was in, Goreme, we felt like we were in a maze. Our hotel was some kind of "Goreme cave hotel" (the whole area has caves built into the sides of mountains and underground and they've been there for thousands and thousands of years), but literally every hotel was some kind of cave hotel. There were dozens. And there were no English signs and no street lights so I'm pretty sure the only way we made it to our hotel was by the grace of God.

When we finally made it to our hotel we were greeted by some of the nicest people I've ever met! Keith had e-mailed them ahead of time and told them we were on our honeymoon, and they congratulated us, gave us an upgraded room with an amazing view of the city, and brought us wine to enjoy! Keith doesn't like wine so I got TWO glasses! Too bad it was almost 3am and I was basically sleep sipping.



The shower was so strange because the sides of the shower were so small! Whenever you took a shower water would get all over the floor. I'm sure it was an engineering flaw and not just my poor showering skills.



The view from the hotel's rooftop restaurant, which was right below our window.


A Turkish breakfast, complete with Turkish coffee, which is very thick and the consistency of mud. It was also very bitter. I needed the caffeine boost, though, so I gulped down a few cups. Plus, bread. ALL OF THE BREAD because of my starvation diet not drastic diet before the wedding.


The view of Goreme. In the very middle and back of the picture you can faintly see Uchisar Castle, which we visited later that day. It's the tallest point in the vicinity, and oh my goodness, it was incredible! But we'll get to that later.


Our first stop of the day was an open air museum, which was pretty much exactly what it sounded like. All over this region were castles, homes, and hideaways carved into the hillsides, and the open air museum gave you a chance to go inside a community of cave homes. On our way to the museum, we walked through an area of small stores. People were selling clothes, jewelry, food, artwork, and food to the tourists, and probably making a good sum of money doing it!


As we were walking we say two camels sitting by the road, so we decided to walk near them. I was so excited! Turkish camels! There were two men by the camels who must have sensed that I was a total sucker because one of them called to me and told me to go pet the camel. He asked where we were from and I told him, "The United States," and his face lit up and he said in broken English, "Perfect! This one is named Obama! Come, come! Pet him! Let me help you onto him!" I was basically forced to climb onto the camel's back and when I looked at Keith he was just laughing at me.

They pulled Keith up onto the other camel, and they took my phone so they could take pictures of us. They told us how to pose (Kiss! Put your hands up! Look to the side!) and led us around for a couple of minutes. They kept calling Keith Ali Baba and me Angelina Jolie. It was the coolest thing and I couldn't stop smiling!!




Camel riding is a lot harder than you would think. When the camels get up or sit down you have to hold on really tightly and really brace yourself of you'll tumble off over the camel's head. It was a good thing the two guys were there helping us.

When we got off the camels they demanded 30 Euros! Neither of us had noticed the sign saying that pictures were 5 Euros each, and a camel ride was 15 Euros. It was over $30 in US dollars, and definitely the most ridiculously overpriced part of our trip, but totally worth it. We kept joking that these camel guys were probably the richest guys in Turkey because they were able to take advantage of so many tourists.

Next, we got to the open air museum. There were tons of people there and it was pretty crowded. There were plenty of docents explaining what the different caves were used for (kitchens, churches, living rooms, even some graves with skeletons!) and that was really helpful. It was hard to navigate with so many people from so many countries all milling around and speaking in their native tongues, but a cool experience nonetheless.




It's amazing how they were able to carve so many homes and churches and things INTO the hills!



The churches all had amazing paintings inside of them. Most of the faces had been carved off around the 10th/11th century during different wars and changes in power, but it was still beautiful. I remember being extremely impressed/amazed that the people back then were able to do such intricate work, and be able to cover the whole ceiling! I was also amazed that these caves/painting have lasted for so long.





Most of the signs that were written in English weren't properly translated and we got a good laugh out of that!


There were very steep, slippery, and narrow stairs you had to take to get inside some of the caves. This was really hard with dozens of people trying to go up and down at once! I almost fell numerous times.


After the open air museum we went looking for what was called "The Hidden Church." It was very well hidden because we never succeeded in finding it, but we did find some other random hidden churches that had mattresses and sofas in them and were obviously inhabited by Turkish Country Folk, or Turkish Outlaws as I liked to call them. I was terrified that while we were out in the countryside on our own we would get attacked and robbed and left for dead. Keith assured me we were find but I'm convinced that we were in danger pretty often.

Next, we drove to Kaymakli to see an underground city. On our way we stopped at a gas station and I couldn't get over the neon cans of Coca Cola! They had pink, blue, purple, green, and orange. Keith laughed that the neon cans gave me so much delight but I refused to apologize for being so easily impressed.


Once we found the underground city, we had to find a guide. In Keith's research he found that it was pretty necessary to hire a local guide to take you through the city, and I'm so glad we did this! The price was pretty steep (50 Turkish Lira which ended up being about $17 I think), but if we hadn't hired him I think we may have gotten lost and ended up spending the night in the underground city. We read that a few years ago some tourists got lost in there and then got locked in and had to spend the night. I think I would have died if that had happened to us. I would have been terrified!
The cities went hundreds of feet deep, and it was a labyrinth. The Hittite people, who built the city, were very short, like 4 feet tall, so the tunnels had only been carved wide/tall enough to accommodate people with that kind of a stature. We hit our heads many times.


Our guide stopped us pretty often to say, "Photo now," and that was really nice of him! He pointed out everything, like what niches were for food storage, which holes in the wall were for oil lamps, where the ventilation shafts were, etc.




We are standing on a Hittite means of defense. The Hittites used these caves for protection when their cities were under attack. When the enemy started to come down to the caves, their feet would echo which would let the Hittites know to uncover their traps. They would remove a rock and uncover a hole (which we were standing on) that had rock spikes at the bottom of it. The enemies would fall into the hole and be impaled and die. The Hittites could go deep into their underground city and be safe for several weeks.


It was really amazing but I was glad to be back out in the sunshine when we were done!


Next, we drove back toward Goreme and stopped at Uchisar Castle. The streets were these really cool cobblestone streets and Keith had a lot of fun driving on them.


This is the view of Pigeon Valley from Uchisar Castle. To the left you can see a valley (that's Pigeon Valley) and we hiked that valley after the castle. W walked from the castle to the end of the valley and then back. If you follow the road in the center you can sort of tell where it looks like it starts to go uphill, that was about where our turnaround point was.


At this point it began to rain and I was exhausted and ready for a nap, so I was pretty cranky. Keith gets major kudos for putting up with me.



The picture below is to show you a zoomed in picture of our hotel from Uchisar Castle. It's in the center toward the bottom. Can you see it?


Another picture of Pigeon Valley with beautiful rays of sunshine and a rainbow on the left!


This whole place was absolutely breathtaking. The natural beauty was astounding!



 

Pigeon Valley is so named because thousands of years ago the townspeople would use pigeon droppings for fertilizer. The pigeons would poop in all these little holes in the valley walls that the people had carved, and then they would go through and collect the poop to use for whatever purpose they desired. We also read that the poop could be used to make explosives, which is gross.

 


In the photo below, you can see Uchisar Castle again. It's just to the left of the very center of the photo.
 

We found a huge cave that we obviously had to explore, and once again I was afraid of Turkish outlaws, but we were fine.


Keith with some pigeon homes. He did not collect any poop.-



To the left you can see Uchisar Castle again. We walked so far!


We ended up getting a little lost and getting kind of stuck by a cliff. Keith maintains that he could have gotten us back to our hotel without a problem but he sure seemed like he was having a hard time, so I guess we'll never know for sure if he could have led us out on our own.

I was very cranky during our hike. I was still tired and what he had promised would be "a really short and practically all downhill hike" had turned into "a really long and largely uphill hike" and while I was enjoying the stunning views, I would have paid $100 for a soft bed and a long nap. I was also wearing jeans that had gotten soaked from the rain on the castle, and I was just uncomfortable all the way around. I was also starving!

We ran into a French couple who was also struggling to find their way out of the valley, and then they ran into a local Turk. Of course, my first thought was that he was a Turkish outlaw and he was going to rob us, but instead he led us out of the valley! He was practically running and I was really struggling to keep up with everyone.


Here is a narrow tunnel that we were led through. Keith thought it was amazing. I was terrified of, you guessed it: Turkish outlaws.

  



There were facades carved into the sides of the valley. It was really cool to see! We explored a few of the caves but most of them were weren't able to get to.

 
Finally, we made it out. Our unofficial Turkish guide demanded 20 Turkish Lira EACH (for a total of 80 TL), but I think among the four of us we only had about 10. The man was very angry and was demanding more money, saying he "couldn't even buy cigarettes with this much money!" As we each passed him he muttered to himself how disappointed he was in us and how we were so rude, but there wasn't anything else we could do.

I don't know if I've ever seen a sight more beautiful than when we finally saw our hotel room again! We showered and relaxed for a few minutes before walking a short ways to town to find a restaurant. We found a cute local restaurant owned by some very friendly people, and we really enjoyed our meal!

I don't remember the technical name for what we ate, but it was delicious! They cook some meat and vegetables in some pottery and it turns into basically a stew, and then the break the top of the pot in front of you and you pour your steaming stew over a plate of rice and you end up with heaven for dinner. It was also really cheap! I want to say it was about $5 in US dollars. There was also bread and wine, with which you can absolutely never go wrong.


My next honeymoon post will be of our hot air balloon, which was absolutely the most amazing part of our honeymoon and one of the most incredible experiences of my entire life! I can't wait to share it with you.