Glowing skin

One of my favorite daily rituals (that sometimes occurs several times a day) is washing my face and caring for my skin.  My process begins with removing my makeup, if it happens to be the end of a long work day, by way of a cleaning towel or makeup remover.  Then, I scrub my face with whatever cleanser I happen to have in my rotation that month.  I tend to buy different cleaners, from either Origins, Whole Foods or Amazon, but they always fall under the same category of being chemical-free and possessing as many organic ingredients as possible.  I am always sure to thoroughly read the ingredients on every label, as well as the fine print.  This is an important step that I feel a lot of women tend to overlook since they may be more concerned with a desired outcome, such as anti-aging or acne, than what is actually in the product.  My philosophy has always been to value the quality of skin products just as highly as you value the quality of the food going into your mouth.  After all, your skin is your largest organ so it should be treated with love and respect.

After cleaning, I pat my skin dry and sometimes (yes, only sometimes), I use a light toner to remove excess dirt and grimy makeup residue.  Then it’s on to my favorite part – moisturizing!  I can’t tell you how many times, especially in recent years, I have found myself yelling to Hugo in the house about how much I am enjoying applying moisturizer to my face and neck (I will get back to the importance of moisturizing your neck in a minute).  There’s just something so enjoyable about cleansing and properly moisturizing a clean face that brings joy to my heart ♥  It makes me feel refreshed and beautiful – who couldn’t ask for a better way to start or end every day.

Keeping up with my healthy skin regimen really improves my glow and overall complexion.  Over the past month, several women that I work with have told me that my skin is glowing and it looks beautiful.  It feels really nice to be told that and I normally attribute my clear skin to what I am eating (organic, balanced diet) and my skincare regimen.  But tonight it occurred to me, I have been doing one other little thing that I completely forgot about – using argan oil mixed in with my moisturizer.

I bought a little bottle of organic argan oil about six months ago, after hearing about its beneficial applications for skin, hair and nails.  At times I will rub a few drops in my palms and finger-comb it through my hair, rub it over my eyebrows and massage the rest into my hands and fingernail beds.  It feels nice but it makes you look as if you have super oily, un-showered hair.  That’s normally alright though because I will just do it right before bed and then wake up to shower it out.

Since I have had this same bottle of argan oil hanging around on the bathroom counter for months, slowly chipping away at it, I decided to start mixing it with my tried-and-true Alba hawaiian facial moisturizer.  Hugo and I have been using that face cream for years and it is truly fabulous – lightweight, clean and refreshing.  Now, I cranked it up a notch with a few drops of argan oil and the results have been noticeable to those around me.

Final note – always moisturize your neck!  I will never forget reading a short article years ago about the importance for women, and men for that matter, to always give love to their neck skin throughout their lives.  Point being that we tend to give a lot of attention to our face in general, eye area and crows feet, and mouth and smile lines, yet the neck sometimes get forgotten.  Then, in later years, there may be a stark contrast between the face and neck skin.  I am firmly committed to always thoroughly moisturizing my neck and I am sure to remind Hugo that one day in the future, when I am a svelte seventy-five year old vixen, my neck will be flawless to match!

What is love

What is love

Not a question really, more of a statement

 

His hands roughly massage the arch of my bare right foot

He does it because he loves me, he does it because he wants to make me feel good, relax, at ease

He does it because he is a beautiful soul who cares more about his wife than anyone or anything else

And he would do it forever, without having to be asked

 

The feelings of love, that have grown from small sprouts of attraction into stalks of the deepest bond

Eternal, life-devouring, my other half

Some search their whole lives to find this or feel a fraction of it on any given day

 

On this Tuesday night, I am unapologetically drowning in it

I never want it to fade, we never want it to subside

All I can be is thankful for him

Diligent in loving him back

Careful to never take it for granted.

Why do we love leggings, ladies? I think I have the answer

Because they’re awesome!  I could wear leggings every day, all day.  Even to bed.  Form-fitting, soft, snug and figure-flattering, who doesn’t enjoy a sexy pair of well-made, skin-tight pants?  Leggings are cute and easy, two things working women need in their lives.

After seeing the television ads for Kate Hudson’s company, Fabletics, I finally decided to visit their website a couple of months ago.  I fell right into their VIP offer that includes 2 pairs of leggings for $24 as an introductory offer.  The only catch is that you have to either keep or cancel their VIP membership after capitalizing on the offer.  Despite what you do with the VIP status, the leggings and that price are excellent.  I would recommend that everyone, or every lady, checks out these hot pants.  For $24, you really won’t be disappointed.  In fact, you may react like me on a recent laundry day.  When taking my clean laundry out of the dryer, I had a full-blown meltdown when I realized I forgot to remove the leggings from the full dryer cycle, exposing my new spandex to roughly fifty minutes of hot temps.  Despite my oversight, the leggings fared fine in the heat so I dried my tears and lived to wear my jet black leggings another day.

Unhappy but determined

It’s funny how you can’t deny or change who you are at your core, despite how hard you try.  That can be both a good and a bad thing, sometimes at the same time.  My current work environment does not make me happy and I don’t feel appreciated by my supervisors.  I am a skilled and determined employee.  I pour my heart into my assignments and genuinely care about doing a thorough, respectable job, for myself and the organization that I serve.  The most frustrating thing I am finding as of recently is not feeling like my authentic self is not appreciated.

Now, don’t misinterpret what I am saying as I have no intention of appearing conceited or needy for attention.  I take pride in my work ethic and am fully conscious of the high percentage of sub-par employees with whom I populate our office with.  I know my worth and I am not afraid to say it.  I am proud of how far I have progressed in my organization in the short eleven years of my employment.  I am also fully aware of how many coworkers put out a mediocre product, it is no shock to anyone as they are transparent with their lack of interest or hustle on the job.

So, given that I bust my hump, day in and day out, routinely coming into work with aches and pains, even limping at times, one can see how I would be frustrated when my upper management lacks any empathy for my recurring injuries, given my undying dedication I routinely exhibit in my workplace.  If one of my bosses called me at 2am and needed a favor, I would be there and they know it.  When someone has a complicated task that they need to entrust to someone they know will deliver, on time and well-done, I am the one they call.  So it is reasonable that I feel let down by the very people who employ me.

But it’s not personal, it’s business.  And even I have to remember that at times.  Hugo is constantly telling me that I need to distance myself from caring so intently about my career because, in the end, it is just a job.  None of the people I work with will be there fifty years from now, when I am waddling around after knee replacement surgery, which is inevitable, needing a hand up the stairs.  You know who will be there, my Hugo.  My eternal best friend and the love of my life.

Despite feeling unhappy at times and frustrated with things that I definitely can’t change, it helps to put pen to paper and vent.  It also helps to take a moment to realize that despite how certain individuals treat me, I will continue fighting on.  I can’t change my devotion and my intense interest in doing a good job.  That drive is inherent and honestly, I don’t want it to change.  I will always work hard and be determined to be the best because that is in my blood.  And deep down I know that one day I will settle into a position with like-minded people where I am appreciated for who I am.

 

I spoke too soon…

Just as fast as I posted my last thoughts today, Hugo agreed to getting a second puppy!!  We will now be getting the first pick male (boy pick of the litter, if you will) from the next batch of puppies slated to be whelped in late December with our breeder.  Our girl will now have a best friend for life, permanent wrestling opponent and partner in crime as it relates to chewing on our newly renovated kitchen cabinets.  I can’t wait to see what fun and joy the next chapter brings ♥

Circle of life

I am beyond excited for December 28th now.  Not only because the date is smack dab in the middle of the holiday season but mainly because that is the planned date that we will be picking up our new female pup!  We are so fortunate to have found a local, ethical breeder who has true respect for our favorite breed, the Rottweiler.  Vom Bustos Hause is owned by Frank Bustos and based in Temecula, a few hours away from us.  The mama Rottweiler is pregnant as I type this, with a due date of November 3rd.  Eight weeks after that date is the end of December, when the pups will be weened and ready to go off to their new homes.

I can’t sum up how happy and overwhelmed I feel at the thought of our new puppy joining our family.  It was a rough summer, that included knee surgery and the painful loss of our two beloved dogs, and Hugo and I are ready for happiness to once again be the presiding emotion in our home.  After months of deep sadness, fading hope, declining health and feeling broken losing our two best friends, I have so much love to give to someone new.  Our ‘someone new’ isn’t even in this world yet and I already love her ♥

Since she will be of European descent, with her father being a Serbian show champion, Hugo and I intend to pay homage to her German ancestry by naming her accordingly.  I have been trolling German dog name sites, compiling a list of suitable two-syllable names for potential future use.  If anyone reading this has any good name ideas in German for a bad ass female Rottweiler, please do share.

Hugo and I debated getting two puppies at once but we decided the cons might outweigh the pros.  The cons include difficulty in training two puppies at the same time and being overwhelmed, almost outnumbered and possibly taken over by puppies.  Some of those actually might be pros if you think about it.  The pros, on the other hand, include the fact that we would have two adorable puppies in our home at once, they would be brother and sister, and it would bring such joy to my heart watching them have fun together.  As I type this, I realize I am going to keep hounding Hugo about getting a second puppy in late December because it really would be amazing.

I really can’t wait for all of this love to enter our home again.  But rest assured, the fond memories of Nala and Kaiser will forever be imprinted on our hearts. We buried Nala yesterday in the same spot as Kaiser and Hugo is currently working on sealing both of their paw prints.  Once the sealed prints are ready for outdoor exposure, we will place them on their co-ed burial spot and remember them every time we walk past them.  Sometimes I catch myself looking out of the window and looking at their grave, just sending them love and wishing they were close to me.  But, like Hugo says, they still are.

Beautiful private rocket show from our balcony

20181007_192447My husband loves space.  From space travel and the discussion of life on Mars to touring our local Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Hugo’s inner little boy ignites when he hears Neil deGrasse Tyson speak.  I love how he loves it and because of his passion and fascination with the cosmos, I have slowly but surely become more engrossed with it all.  Sometimes at night we will shut the television off, grab a blanket, and lay in the middle of the driveway, watching and waiting patiently for shooting stars or the recent Perseid Meteor Shower.  On that particular night, our sick and dying Kaiser crawled on the blanket with Hugo and had a quiet moment alone under the night sky.

Last night, at 7:22 pm, we ran upstairs and perched ourselves on our western-facing 2nd floor balcony, ready for the rocket launch that Hugo had heard about.  From what he saw on TV, Vandenberg Airforce Base, which is about 100 miles northwest of us, was scheduled to launch a SpaceX rocket.  We waited for ten minutes, re-positioned ourselves in an open field adjacent to our house, and waited some more.  Nothing.  The only thing that happened was a scary bug crawled over my exposed sandal-clad foot, causing me to descend into minor panic.  And that’s when we realized we had the wrong night.

So, tonight, a little past 7 o’clock, while my husband was working and I sat online shopping for school books, Hugo texted me that it was about to start.  It being the SpaceX two-part launch that included a satellite being sent into space and the ‘first part’ (what I gather is part of the rocket launching mechanism) returning back to the launch pad at the base.  We both got into our respective positions, me at home and he outside of his car at work, and waited.  With the live stream countdown hitting zero, the bright rocket show began.

Over the course of a few minutes, the launch and separation illuminated the night sky so beautifully.  I toggled between taking photos, listening to the SpaceX commentary regarding the success of it all, and texting Hugo with excitement.  It is because of him, after all, that I got to enjoy such an awe-inspiring moment.  There’s something about watching an object lifting off from our planet and traveling out into the dark unknown that gives me chills.

The most marvelous part of learning to love and appreciate space, and all of its unique and limitless possibilities, is that I feel more centered and humbled.  By taking a few moments, like this launch or our night sky viewings laying in the driveway, you realize just how small we are down here on Earth.  My favorite part of that realization is the fact that our problems, worries and frustrations, despite feeling overwhelming and grandiose at times, are truly so small.  We are all just little ants floating on a big mass of water and dirt, surrounded by darkness and the unknown.  Now that is pretty cool.

Disgusting

A girl that I work with was bitten by a black widow while working a few days ago.  Not a huge deal since it is SoCal where black widows, among other spider species, are common.  Also not that devastating of a situation seeing as she only sustained swelling and mild discomfort.  The most frustrating aspect of the entire ordeal is that fact that our organization has decided to drastically increase their application of insecticides.  They intend to do so by having our contracted pest control company come to spray in more areas of our building and on a more frequent basis.

I am so disturbed by this response, considering the building itself is old and extremely dirty.  Rather than cleaning and approaching a potential bug problem with a natural, common-sense approach, our management, who is not health conscious in the least, went with the quick fix.  I understand that pesticides and insecticides are household products that countless citizens use in their homes without thought.  However, I am not one of them and I do not appreciate having to be exposed to toxins based on others’ ignorance.  I wish people would educate themselves regarding the risks of exposure to chemicals and be more aware of how they were taking care of themselves and one another.

Nala’s 9th Birthday

Although she passed one short week before her ninth birthday, today we celebrate all the good, loving and wonderful that was Nala.  We miss her dearly and feel the void she left in our home.  It is quiet and I am lonely.  Adjusting to life without a guard dog isn’t any fun as every small noise I hear through the open slider doors makes me feel helpless at the thought of a prowling burglar.  With Nala and Kaiser close by, I always felt that I not only had an early warning system for impending threats but I knew deep down that those dogs would be there for me if I ever needed them.  Little love bugs at the core, those two beasts would’ve battled if the circumstances dictated such.  And I truly loved them for it, even if it was just at the thought of them protecting me.

In other news – I almost fell for a phone scam this afternoon!  Around 4pm, I received a call on our land line from a heavily accented male who claimed to work for AT&T.  The caller congratulated me on being a valued customer and offered me a ‘too good to be true’ promotional rate, plus free movie channels (I mean, come on…who can resist free HBO?).  When I asked what the catch was, if anything, he replied that since the promo was sponsored by Amazon, it was necessary to pay three months up front with a $450 Amazon e-gift card, which would have to be purchased through the Amazon website.  Despite $450 sounding like a steep rate, the offer was actually a huge savings.  In addition, we would receive a Visa check card as a thank-you gift.  As I clung to every word, he had me…hook, line and sinker.

Suspicious as I was, I asked a variety of questions, all of which were met with reassuring responses.  The scammer ended our conversation by providing me with my unique promotional code and a DirecTV promo phone number to call once I had my gift card number.  I called the number and I was met with the same automated menu that I have heard during prior DirecTV calls so it immediately appeared legitimate.  Then, the male voice who answered validated all of my account info so I once again felt reassured.

At this point, I had also purchased the Amazon gift card but for some reason it hadn’t been delivered to my email inbox yet.  The order info from Amazon said that it would arrive within 24 hours and thankfully it was delayed.  Had I received it instantaneously, I probably would have handed it over via phone to my second scam artist right away.  Thankfully, the email was delayed for about forty-five minutes at this point so I called my level-headed Hugo (code name – smartest man alive) to tell him about his great offer.  He yelled, “Babe, it’s a scam, don’t do it!”  Within seconds, Hugo had conducted an online search that revealed his wife had almost fallen victim to a popular scam.  Thankfully I have Hugo to conduct checks and balances on me.  We all need a second set of eyes from time to time – I am just happy that it happened before I gave that swindler our money!

I think I was even more susceptible to being hoodwinked because I have been beyond annoyed with both DirecTV and AT&T recently, due to constantly increasing rates and the lies both companies have told us through the years.  Having just switched from Sprint to AT&T for our cell phones, Hugo and I were initially offered an outstanding rate for service and two new Samsung S9 phones.  I got the purple, he got the black and we were thrilled (Side note: The phones are just swell).  However, once we received the bill, the rate was quite a bit higher than we had agreed upon.  This pissed me off as it felt unfair, considering our whole purpose in switching was due to the reduced rate.  So, needless to say, when I got that 4pm phone call, my internal voice said, “Well, it’s about time that they did something good to us!”  Boy was I wrong!  That should have been my first clue that it was a scam – big corporations never do anything good for the consumer.

The biggest learning lesson that I took away from this was to double-check with the actual company when something appears too good to be.  When I first told Hugo on the phone about it, he told me to call DirecTV on the regular customer service number to ask them if they were offering the promotion.  Rather than call the number the scammer provided, which in hindsight was obviously a bullshit number as well, call the legitimate number to verify.  When I did, I was told outright that they have never offered a promotion like that and confirmed it was fraudulent.  I feel embarrassed even writing that I fell for this nonsense but hopefully I can prevent someone else from giving their hard-earned cash away.