Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Rules

Speaking of unwanted guests at the dinner table, do you and your loved ones have rules in place for keeping out too much technology?

Justin and I ignore our phones during dinner together. And I leave my phone on silent during most of my time at home. (Remember those prehistoric times – back in the 90’s – when you could simply be unavailable?) Periodically I need to take time off from technology, or at least from being “plugged in.” I crave down time.

And lately when Justin and I are out and about, doing errands and all of the boring but beautiful things that a pair of 20-something fiancés does in their spare time, I joke about scenarios like “No phones while waiting on the Duane Reade checkout aisle!” Ironically the only time we’re all about being on our respective smartphones is when we’re in taxis. We’re both susceptible to nausea brought on by reading in moving vehicles. (That’s the technical term of course.)

I read this Huffington Post article recently, which points out that we’re all “social zombies, alone together.”

I’m curious. Do you consider your phone a limb of sorts? Or do you ban technology from your kitchen table? What do you do, in terms of staying on, or disconnecting?

[Just me & the fiance. In the moment.]


P.S. The March issue of Women’s Health magazine reveals that “Having a phone out or texting” is the #1 reason a first date doesn’t make it to the second round.

P.P.S. in the April issue of Health magazine, editors provide “A new reason to power down… Those of us who media multitask are up to 70 percent more likely to have symptoms of anxiety and depression.”

photo credit: veronica lola 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Love the skin you’re in

This Refinery29 feature was so inspiring. Healthy skin requires the ultimate balance of performing the right skincare rituals for you, and investing in self-care practices like eating healthy food and drinking tons of water. Finding a great dermatologist and investing in the right products also do wonders.

A few of my favorite products, also favored among Refinery29 editors:

My fiancé actually got me hooked on this gentle cleanser, but it’s basically the go-to mild cleanser in every skincare magazine article I’ve ever read…

In the summer I alternate between Cetaphil and this exfoliant. In the winter I use the scrub sparingly, because I’m prone to dry skin when the weather’s bitter. But it really does give me the best glow.  

(Not to be mistaken for its gel counterpart… I made that mistake once… Tragic! J)
I’ve been using this moisturizer for years. I’m addicted. And I always buy the 1.7 oz option; it’s the perfect size for my work tote, evening clutch or travel toiletree case.

Drugstores everywhere only sell the super-sized version. It’s obscene considering you only need apply a tiny amount via q-tip or soft tissue to remove eye makeup. Thankfully sells this 6 oz version. My mom has been using this for more years than she probably cares to share. And I’ve been using it since I started wearing makeup (just a little!) in high school. As promised, it leaves skin soft and cleansed. Added bonus? It also leaves a slight sheen that makes eyes pop when you’re going au natural post makeup removal.


P.S. My friend Brian gets glowing skin via this regimen. (And he’s an enthusiastic brand loyalist.)

image via pinterest 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Phoning it in

I had a small spat with a girlfriend last week. She was upset about my lack of motivation to leave my cocoon of coziness and meet her in an alternate area of Manhattan. And rightfully so. I’m a total homebody and a bit of a downtown snob. I only go above 14th street for Elio’s and haircuts. But in all seriousness, I had been feeling in a funk and was uninspired to go to Jack’s, let alone Hell’s Kitchen. But alas, my friend had a point. Meeting in the middle is not only a metaphor for healthy relationship behavior; it’s literally the best-case scenario for friends who live on opposite poles of a city.

What’s not a good scenario? Schlepping from your home for some much needed quality time with your friend, only to find yourself sitting all by your lonesome for much of the meal, while your dining companion incessantly texts her other friends. And then of course you’re left with a couple of awkward options: take out your own cell phone and start trolling Twitter for the latest Alec Baldwin rant, or sit there, like a loser, chugging wine and trying not to spy too obviously on the conversations of fellow diners at close-by tables.

Since said incident, I’ve mustered up the cojones to kindly ask that my dates refrain from constant cell phone usage. Like many females, I cringe at thought of even necessary, mild confrontation. (I’ve warmed to non-stinky cheese. But I’ll never warm to even small-scale confrontation.)

I get it. Sometimes phones on dinner tables are a non-negotiable, i.e. for Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada and doctors on call. My attorney fiancé is fond of saying “The law is a demanding mistress.”

But many times, scrolling text messages during dinner is not only rude, it defeats the purpose of dining with companions. Two friends sit together physically, but are worlds away mentally. It’s downright silly. What’s more precious than being in the present moment with close friends?

There’s a time and a place for everything. I too, of course, am susceptible to the technology lure. Especially when I want to tweet a clever restaurant sign, or even announce to the world HELLO PEOPLE I AM OUT PARTYING WITH MY HOMEGILRS! I want to shout from the proverbial mountaintop (aka the Facebook status) that I am in love with spending time with my besties. So I say: let’s take a moment. Maybe at the end of a meal. Just a brief moment. To visit cyberspace. But for the remainder of the hangout time, let’s put down our connected devices and be left to our own devices, to really connect.


Monday, March 18, 2013

The Pillars of the Earth

I finally finished The Pillars of the Earth. All 973 pages. Real pages. I don’t do e-books. I feel accomplished. That is – I felt accomplished – until I picked up the sequel: World Without End. It’s just as long… Fortunately I have a beach vacation coming up next month. I’ve also found that reading something fictional (and preferably taking place in the middle ages) helps to lull me to sleep and combat insomnia. It’s pleasant to be transported to another time, without modern technology or climate change. So I save the current events articles and such for the subway. Follett’s books are too heavy to lug around the city anyway. And as stated above, I don’t do e-books. Anyway, the long-awaited (I’m sure with bated breath! JAMB review of The Pillars of the Earth:

I’ll be brief… Excellent. Captivating. Intricately woven. And worth the time commitment. Ken Follett is truly a master. Pillars centers on the construction of a cathedral in an English town in the middle ages. But even if cathedral building isn’t your cup of tea (it’s not mine) Follett’s architecture descriptions are captivating. Even more engaging are his clever and quite intricate storylines of evolving families, enduring romantic relationships, long-standing rivalries, disgusting acts of violence and power struggles between religion and royalty. Follett’s overarching story comes full circle. And it’s both a feat for him, and a treat for the reader.


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