Monthly Archives: November 2009

Shedding my Winter Skin

Anyone that has lived in or visited Chicago in the winter knows that the bitter cold takes its toll on your skin. After being here for 32 years, I have gotten to the point of pretty much forgetting about my skin when the temperature drops because I know there isn’t much hope until it starts warming up again. I get pasty white, dry, and itchy with the occasional patch of eczema on my arm. Shaving of the legs doesn’t happen very often. I call it my winter fur. With the amount of layers I have to wear in the dead of winter, my lack of skin maintenance is my little secret that gets tucked away in my pocket until the spring clothes come back out.

I’m a bit scared this year though because this time, I can’t ignore my skin. The wedding is fast approaching and I can’t let my skin look the way it did this past April. So I decided to come up with a 7-step plan of attack, and who knows, maybe I’ll stay on this regimen for years to come. Though knowing my history, I’m guessing probably not. Baby steps.

To add to the dry winter skin dilemma, I went off the pill a year ago to up our chances down the road for little nachos. Problem is, I didn’t realize those hormones had been doing fantastic things for my skin, and once I stopped taking them, my body went a little nutzo. My forehead is like a mirror by the end of the day if I don’t blot it periodically. I now, without fail, get the PMS zit. And it’s never a little one, it’s always one of those big, painful, wake up and wonder if I somehow punched myself in the chin, underground mountains. And I hate hate HATE to admit it, but I. Had. Backne. Ugh. I actually debated going back on the pill because for years I never had any problems like this, but decided I’d have to go through this eventually so I might as well face it now.

So here’s my plan of attack against the winter skin blues to make sure it looks fabulous come April….

1. Lukewarm showers

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For someone who is always cold, there is nothing better than jumping into a scalding hot shower and letting my chills wash down the drain. Though I will miss them more than anyone will know, I am convinced those showers are the number one reason my skin ends up so dry.

2. Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash

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I’ve always been an Ivory soap girl, but I need a little extra help fighting off those little bumps that randomly appear on my legs and upper back (ew, I still hate the thought of those). That, paired with scrubby shower gloves from CVS, seem to be doing the trick. If you’ve never tried the gloves, at $3.99 a pair I HIGHLY recommend them.

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3. Clean and Clear Continuous Control Cleanser

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I’ve been using this stuff for years, and although a lot of people are sensitive to benzoyl peroxide, it’s the only face wash that works for me in keeping the blemishes away.

4. Clean and Clear Acne Spot Treatment

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This is a new thing that I just started using – when I saw “100% of people saw improvement in 1 day”, I couldn’t resist! Have I mentioned that stress also has been taking a huge toll on my skin? Although the wedding planning hasn’t been too stressful thus far, knowing it’s right around the corner is starting to wreak havoc on my face. So far, this stuff is awesome!

5. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize

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I normally only use lotion when it’s too late and I’m all dry and flaky. But for the past 2 weeks, I’ve been coating myself in the stuff right out of the shower and it’s really making a huge difference. I’ve been using Dove cucumber/green tea lotion and I really like that I don’t feel sticky after I put it on.

6. (gasp!) Tanning

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I know it is a hot topic, but I have been hitting the tanning beds, usually about once a week for the last month. Many people are against tanning, but my dermatologist actually said a little sun is good for you. It makes your skin stronger, clears up eczema, and makes your body produce Vitamin D which is critical for bone health and cell growth. My doctor actually has a stand up bed in the office for eczema patients and prescribes timed “light sessions”. It was the first thing I did when I noticed my upper back bumps (Ew. I say Ew.) and it cleared up very quickly. I don’t over expose, I go for less time than recommended, and I know it will help me not burn the second I hit the beach in St. Thomas.

7. Drink lots of water

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I am normally a huge water drinker to begin with, but I’m trying to up my consumption to flush out those nasty toxins that can affect your skin in not so pretty ways. It also plumps it up and helps with those yucko dark circles.

I’m hoping to have the same glow I get in the summer for the wedding, and I’m thinking if I can stick to my plan, it will happen. As for the hormones, there’s not a whole lot I can do other than attack back when they go haywire.

I needs me some bridal glow! Fingers crossed for pretty skin in the spring….

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OOT Bags (pt 1)

I decided a while back that we should give out-of-town bags to all of our guests. Considering they are all spending a ton of money to make it out for us, I want them to feel welcome when they arrive with a little gift/beach survival kit. I saw some cute ideas with a beach theme like this….

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…but how in the world do you bring 24 buckets in your luggage? We could always have them shipped, but I figured if it would be hard for us to bring them, it would be hard for everyone to get them home. Call me crazy, but I’m thinking most people don’t leave enough space in their luggage for a bucket on their return trip.

Then I thought about a tote that my friend gave me as a bridesmaid gift and I went off that idea. A beach tote that our guests could take down to the pool or carry in town or around the resort would be perfect. And they would be a lot easier to stick in a carry-on for us on the way there, and for guests on the way home. Not to mention, I’m always looking for new DIY wedding projects and this one seemed far from impossible. So I scoured the internet for inexpensive but well crafted totes and I found these on InGreetings.com….

I love the ocean blue! They arrived and are actually a lot nicer than I thought they’d be. They’re 18″x14″x4″ so they have some good depth to them and they zip closed. With the 2 little kiddies that are coming too, these bags are bigger than they are, so I also got 2 smaller ones for them….

The initial on the top is an iron-on that I found at Michaels. I thought it would be cute to personalize all of the bags, so for the couples, I applied each person’s first initials on one bag, and for the singles, I did the same.

I realized when I was organizing the initials that some of our coupled-guests have some unfortunate first initial combos – BM, BJ, S&M – so I had to choose wisely who would be the top letter and who would be the bottom.

I also have since then realized that I may have jumped the gun on initials since we don’t have a final RSVP from everyone. I guess we’ll have to figure out what to do down the road if someone RSVPs no, or if any of our single couples happen to go their separate ways by then.

I also realized once the bags were finished and I threw them in a box, that although they’re smaller than buckets, they still take up quite a bit of room….

Add that to everything we’ll be putting in them, and they’d take up a decent amount of precious luggage space. Thankfully, my friend that is coming is a frequent VIP flyer on United (I think?) and she has no luggage restrictions and doesn’t get charged for extra bags, so she offered to bring them down with her. What a lifesaver!

Although they turned out cute, I still think they’re a little plain looking, so I may be taking a trip to Michaels for some more embellishments soon.

More to come….

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Tales of an Excessive Sweater

For someone that is always chilly, I sweat. A lot. It’s always been an issue for me to the point where in the summer, I have to be careful what colored shirts I wear cause sweat marks are never pretty and they show more in certain colors. My mom always said it was a sign that I was healthy. If that’s the case, I ooze health by dripping it from my armpits.

I love Ugly Betty/America Ferrara and I totally feel for her knowing this picture is out there (although I guess I’m just perpetuating the spread of this picture, but it’s for educational purposes, I swear!)….

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Thinking about being in the Caribbean has me a little worried, especially since all eyes are going to be on us and lots of pics will be taken. Heat + me = AHHHH! pit stains, and that is NOT something I want all over my taffeta wedding dress. So I have to weigh my options….

Option 1: regular deodorant

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Though this is not really an option since I’ve been using it for years and it has failed me more times than I care to remember. I’ve always been jealous of the girls that can wear cute fitted tops with sleeves in the summer and never seem to sweat. Please please please tell me your secrets!

Option 2: clinical strength

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I’ve tried a few – Dove, Dry Idea, Degree – and they’ve all worked for about a week, then it’s armpit waterfalls and stink all over again. Right now I’m using the Degree Clinical Strength which seemed very promising in the beginning, but now after a few weeks of use, it’s getting to that point again and I’m running out of options.

Option 3: prescription deodorant

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I’ve tried this and it was fantastic for a few months. You put it on before bed, shower in the morning, and you seriously do not sweat for a week. But just like everything else I’ve tried thus far, my body figured out what I was trying to do and fought me every step of the way by sweating even more. And let me tell you, the nights I used it, I did not sleep. It causes this burning, itchy, really irritating feeling that makes you want to get up and wash it off anyway.

Option 4: botox

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This is the one that I have yet to try, but I am definitely intrigued. 6 months and no sweat??? To me, that sounds like a little piece of heaven wrapped in diamonds and covered in puppy dogs and rainbows. I figured if I’d ever get it done, it would be for my wedding. It’s a special occasion that calls for some drastic decision making! So I called my dermatologist to get some info. Apparently, it works for most people. Now, I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to spend that kind of money and go through 14 shots in my pits, I kind of want a better guarantee. The procedure at this particular doctors office costs $1000. Ouch.

I called up my insurance company to see if they would cover it. Their policy is that you had to have tried and failed using regular strength, clinical strength, and prescription deodorants, and get a note from your doctor saying so. Check, check, and check. After that though, they’ll cover 80% after the deductible is met, which for me is $500. So basically I’d end up having to pay $600. I could swing it… the question is, do I want to?

As I sit here writing and sweating, my answer for today is a resounding yes (as I cringe at the thought of those needles in my pits). Tomorrow, it could be a no because I’ll probably think of all the other things that money could be put towards, especially wedding related stuff. Then again, it could be considered wedding related because I won’t have to worry about being stinky when I say “I do”.Then again, what if I’m part of the small handful of people it doesn’t work for?

Grrrrrr. I hate internal debates and I’m pretty torn at this point, but I’ll keep you posted if I decide to take the armpit botox plunge.

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Ask and You Shall Receive – The Home Movies

So after I posted the story behind Scott and I, a lot of people wanted to see the home movies. I had my dad make a copy for me in a file I could use on here. After a little trouble opening up the .avi file, I downloaded a video converter and turned it into a .wav file, then uploaded it to YouTube.

It’s a little long (just over 7 minutes) but here’s who’s who:

Scott’s in the fancy red and yellow snow suit, his brother is in black, my sisters are the other 2 outside, and me? I’m the one giggling like a weirdo in the background, and I make my appearance fashioning a snazzy turtleneck and bright red bowl haircut about 2/3rds of the way in. The music definitely tells it all – I’m guessing I was about 5 years old which would make this circa 1983, and I think the songs were new releases!

So without further ado….

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Hodge Podge

My lease was up last year in September and his was up 6 months later, so when it came time for me to start thinking about renewing or moving again (it would be the 6th time in 6 years!), I started thinking about us moving in together since we knew it would happen eventually, and I didn’t know if I wanted to wait a whole other year. I was a little nervous about how he would react since he’s never lived with a girl before and hadn’t had a roommate since, well, ever. He had a great apartment in a high-rise downtown, but he knew I would never live downtown so that meant him living farther away from work. Plus we had only been exclusive for less than 9 months. I decided to casually mention it to him when there was still time for me to make a decision, and to my happy surprise, he was all for it.

We fell in love with the first apartment we saw, literally right behind Wrigley Field (it was his Cubs fanatic paradise!). We waited a day and called, and within those 24 hours, the apartment was spoken for. I was heartbroken, but what could we do? There was another apartment for rent not too far away, so the day we saw it and fell in love, we signed the lease. High ceilings, built in the 1880’s, vintage charm with beautiful exposed brick, we were sold and didn’t want that puppy to get away!

Moving in together was a lot of fun but a lot of work. Scott and I both have a ton of stuff since we had both had our own fully furnished apartments for years. He was smart. He hired movers. Me? Not so much. His mom watched my doggies for hours while we and a friend moved my stuff, and after that move, I have vowed to never again attempt to do it myself.

After we got it all in the apartment, we actually ended up having to throw out my full size couch and his bookshelf because there just wasn’t enough room. Once we got the big stuff in place, it was time to start introducing our little stuff to each other so they could learn to get along. But then I pulled this out of one of his boxes….

His

Now how in the world was I going to mesh that with this?…

Mine

Or this…

His

with this?….

Mine

Um…..

I’m sure you can guess

and…..

His. Just kidding.

We unpacked for a few days (luckily I’ve signed leases yearly on Labor Day weekend so we had an extra day to unpack) and honestly, and more surprisingly, it was the easiest unpacking job ever. I still to this day don’t know how our hodge-podge worlds of farts and flowers came together so beautifully, but our home is my sanctuary – Cubs, farts, flowers, and all.

I know not everyone is keen on the idea of moving in together before an engagement, but it just made sense and worked for us. We were paying 2 rents but taking turns staying at each others apartments so one apartment was always empty. I’m really happy we decided to take the moving plunge because we’ve learned each others good habits and not-so good quirks ahead of time. I also know it will make it that much easier when we buy a house in the next few years cause the movers will only have to make 1 trip.

Yeah, just doing my part and helping out the hard-working movers of Chicago.

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A Veil’s Details

When I bought my dress and accessories, I had my hair up in a loose messy bun (pretty much my norm these days – 5:30am workdays have killed my motivation to get up early and glam myself out). So when the sales lady put the flowers and veil in my hair, she stuck the veil underneath my poof.

Not sure what was going through my head but I love my expression!

And  I was never sure where to put my hands when trying on dresses. Ha, can someone say sexy?!?

Good full length shot

So this guy walks into a bar…

Ok, you get the picture. So the veil and flowers worked together nicely with the veil beneath the hair mess. Problem is that when I went back to David’s Bridal, they put the veil on top of my hair and I liked it more cause it made me feel more, I don’t know, bride-y? But the flowers didn’t work so much in the same place….

You can kind of see them peeking out on the right side of the pic but they got buried under the veil. I absolutely want to wear the flowers cause to me, they just scream beach-y (not to mention my mom paid $45 for them) and I really want to wear the veil on top, but I’m just not sure if it will work. I need suggestions on where exactly to put the flowers if I wear the veil higher. Funny, coming from someone who does hair for a living, I’m sure I’d have the answer if it was someone sitting in my chair. When it comes to myself though? I haven’t a clue.

Any ideas?

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Cheesy Goodness

Sorry I made all of my Bee friends so hungry right before lunch! I thought I’d explain the name….

Hi. My name is Miss Nachos, and I’m a junk food junkie.

I’m not ashamed to admit it. My friends at work stare at what I eat for lunch everyday and are astounded. I’m a little worried about when Scott and I start making little nachos that I’m gonna go more crazy than now and it’s all gonna catch up to me. But for now, I won’t worry about that.

Tonight, in honor of my introduction (and because my own icon is making me hungry), I had myself for dinner. Mr. Nachos actually ordered us buffalo nachos from one of my favorite restaurants the night I found out I was the newest bee and he snapped these…

mmmmm, buffalo nachos

Since becoming Miss Nachos, Scott has been cracking “that’s not-cho-bees” jokes (nacho cheese, not-yo-bees). He said he kept sneaking peeks of weddingbee at work today to keep himself updated which I think is the sweetest thing.

So in honor of the moment, here’s to all the junk food junkie out there….

May the bacon always be plentiful.

May the smell of chocolate always be at your back.

May you never be hungry with cookies in your pantry.

May you always eat nachos and think of me. Hee hee, let’s eat!

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