Goals for 2018 / 2019

Last year I set myself six goals for the year, as follows:

  1. Enter Button Poetry Competition
  2. Save $30,000
  3. Family Holiday in England
  4. Manage Daughter’s Anxiety
  5. House Organization
  6. Read Two Books a Month

I have managed to pull together enough poems that I think are good enough to enter into the poetry competition. This has been more challenging than I thought it would be due to how stressful this year has ultimately been. More of the child care has fallen to me on the weekends as a result of my husband’s ridiculous work schedule, and I have ended up too exhausted to have the mental energy to do much more than watch a bit of television before falling asleep on the sofa most nights.

We didn’t manage to save as much as I had hoped to either, partly due to our family holiday, and partly due to the fact that we had to replace our washing machine and our microwave this year. We started off the year with $35,000 in savings, and ended the year with $49,000 in savings. Despite the fact that we failed to achieve our goal, I still consider us very fortunate to have even this much money saved up. In addition, our daughter’s savings account currently stands at $4,000.

Our family holiday was largely a success, although it sucked that we visited England during the worst heat wave since before I was born. We took our daughter to St James’s Park and the Natural History Museum in London, the beach that I used to go to when I was a child, and we also visited Prickly Ball Farm (a hedgehog sanctuary).

Our daughter suffers from anxiety on and off as a result of trauma caused by her adoption… and exacerbated by the overall stress and grief in our lives over the past two years. It kind of sucks to have to admit that her becoming part of our family is a mixed bag for her (she stayed with her foster family in South Korea until she was two years old) rather than the obvious joy it is to us, but all we can do is try to help her to navigate her emotions. Due to an incident at school (not caused by our kiddo) we have been able to enlist the help of the school counsellor to help her to deal with some of her concerns. We have also established direct contact with her foster family, which has helped a lot. More generally, we are trying to encourage open communication about feelings… one of the things that has been a surprising help is a television programme called Steven Universe, as our daughter identifies with many of the same issues that Steven deals with. My husband has also decided to take a significant pay cut in order to be able to reduce stress and be more present, which comes with its own challenges – but is overall probably a good move to make.

I have tried, multiple times, to organize the house and have had some successes… but overall this is something that I have failed at.

I also failed to consistently read two books a month, although I have happily read some really good stories over the past 12 months. I actually read very quickly, I just rarely make the time or have the mental energy to do so. On the plus side, I have discovered some new authors 🙂

My goals for this year will be as follows:

  1. Write at least 10 more poems
  2. Save $5,000
  3. Mum making a trip out here (hopefully)
  4. Family trip to Disneyland
  5. Manage Daughter’s Anxiety
  6. House Organization
  7. Read Two Books a Month

December 2018

READING

Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve

WATCHING

Cinema:
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)

Film:
Outlander (2008/9)
Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)
Venom (2018)
Bird Box (2018)
2036 Origin Unknown (2018)

Television (ongoing):
The Love Knot: His Excellency’s First Love / 结爱·千岁大人的初恋  (2018 Chinese drama)
Steven Universe
Kim’s Convenience (second season)
The Big Bang Theory (tenth season)
The Good Doctor (second season)
Manifest (first season)
American Housewife (third season)
New Amsterdam (first season)
The Good Place (third season)
Feel Good To Die /  죽어도 좋아  (2018 Korean drama)
Love Alert /  설렘주의보  (2018 Korean drama)
Love in the Moonlight /  구르미 그린 달빛  (2016 Korean drama)
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (second season)
Ulysses 31 (English dubbed animation, originally broadcast in the UK 1985-1986)
Supernatural (seventh season)

Television (completed):
Supernatural (second season, rewatch)
Supernatural (third season, rewatch)
The Eternal Love 2  /  双世宠妃II  (2018 Chinese drama)
Supernatural (fourth season, rewatch)
Supernatural (fifth season, rewatch)
Supernatural (sixth season)

CRAVINGS

Sleep and more sleep

HOME & FAMILY

Husband is switching jobs (starting in January 2019) and, while this represents a significant pay cut, it feels like a good move to make as overall stress levels should be reduced and the availability for family time will increase.

HEALTH

CREATIVE

Poetry, Photography projects

November 2018

READING

The Tale of the Wicked by John Scalzi

WATCHING

Cinema:
Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018)

Film:
The Meg  (2018)
Tag (2018)
Crazy Rich Asians (2018)

Television (ongoing):
The Love Knot: His Excellency’s First Love / 结爱·千岁大人的初恋  (2018 Chinese drama)
Steven Universe
Kim’s Convenience (second season)
The Big Bang Theory (tenth season)
The Good Doctor (second season)
Manifest (first season)
American Housewife (third season)
New Amsterdam (first season)
The Good Place (third season)
The Eternal Love 2  /  双世宠妃II  (2018 Chinese drama)
Feel Good To Die /  죽어도 좋아  (2018 Korean drama)
Love Alert /  설렘주의보  (2018 Korean drama)
Love in the Moonlight /  구르미 그린 달빛  (2016 Korean drama)

Television (completed):
The Beauty Inside /  뷰티 인사이드  (2018 Korean drama)
Iron Fist (second season)
Supernatural (first season, rewatch)

CRAVINGS

Sleep and more sleep

HOME & FAMILY

Still trying to get back on an even keel.

HEALTH

Still trying to figure out a completely new skin care regime that doesn’t cause my face to react or break out. Also fell and hurt myself on the ice, so that’s been fun. Gained some weight too… hoping to get back on track soon.

CREATIVE

Poetry, Photography projects

November Sales 2018

TATCHA

I actually ended up placing four orders to take advantage of both the annual Friends & Family sale and the Black Friday / Cyber Monday deals. All four orders were 20% off deals, so it made sense to buy things at a discount; plus three free samples with each order.

The Essence (full size)
Ageless Renewal Cream (travel size)

The Indigo Cream (full size)

The Deep Cleanse (full size)
The Indigo Cream (full size)

The Water Cream (full size)

I actually really wanted to buy some other things, but I restricted myself to mostly only buying full-size replacements of products that I know that I will use.

You may notice that I repurchased the Water Cream despite having previously said that I didn’t think it was a good fit for me. Having continued to use it, off and on in between trying out other brands, I’ve decided that I do actually quite like it. A large part of this revision in opinion stems from the fact that it stopped breaking me out, and that using the Indigo cream at night has made my skin less dehydrated, and also how well the Water Cream works with The City Sunscreen Serum from Supergoop! Additionally, I figured out that I sometimes need to apply more than one layer of the Water Cream in order to feel adequately moisturised – which is also true of several other face creams that I’ve tried recently.

First Aid Beauty

FAB had a 30% off sale, so I really couldn’t resist picking up a few things.

The core reason for my order was that I wanted to repurchase the Skin Rescue Acne Clearing Pads with White Clay and I like being able to get four sample packets with my order. I picked up a few small items that I thought that my Mum might like to try.

Skin Rescue Acne Clearing Pads with White Clay
Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration Green Tea & Lemon
Ultra Repair Cream Minis Original & Grapefruit
Hydration Harbour Kit
Free Deluxe Sample Ultra Repair Cream

Sephora

Sephora’s 20% off VIB sale was tempting enough for me to pick up some eye products that I wanted to try and to take a chance on the Skin Wonderland set. Sephora got stingy during the sales and only gave the option for two samples, you also couldn’t combine the 20% off code with any of the other coded beauty offers (bummer!).

Sephora Favourites Skin Wonderland set
Tarte Maracuja C-Brighter Eye Treatment
Edible Beauty Gold Rush Eye Balm
Kora Organics Noni Radiant Eye Oil

Hanna Andersson

As anyone with sensitive skinned kiddos probably already knows, this is the time of year that this brand offers a big discount on their organic pjs.

I picked up three pairs of organic long johns for our daughter – two pairs that will fit now, and one pair in the next size up.

While it may seem expensive even at the reduced price of $25, if you buy them a little larger (roll the sleeves up the first year) you can get 2-3 years wear out of them and they will STILL be in good enough condition to pass on to a younger sibling.

Tea Collection

This is the time to pick up $15 dresses and $10 leggings! Because these will only be in limited options, it is also worth checking out their 30% off sale (including already discounted items) as well.

4 pairs of leggings ($10 each)
1 shirt dress ($15)
1 skirted dress ($15)

2 pairs of leggings ($10.40 each)
1 skirt
1 tunic top
1 raglan tee*
1 skirted dress*

*The skirted dress and raglan tee in the second order were both full price before applying the 30% discount, but I really liked them (the raglan tee had a polar bear on it for my bear obsessed daughter). The 30% off sale code also included free shipping!

Mini Boden

I was only tempted here because I was sent a $25 coupon and they had a 30% off sale.

7 pack sock box
Pretty cord dress

Other Sale Items

We also bought an Instapot, a new television, and the Pandemic Legacy (Red) board game.

October 2018

READING

The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi
Dragon’s Code by Gigi McCaffrey

WATCHING

Cinema:
[Sadly, didn’t get to watch anything at the cinema this month]

Film:
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)
She’s Out of My League (2010)
Hotel Artemis (2018)

Television (ongoing):
The Love Knot: His Excellency’s First Love / 结爱·千岁大人的初恋  (2018 Chinese drama)
Steven Universe
Kim’s Convenience (second season)
The Big Bang Theory (tenth season)
The Good Doctor (second season)
Manifest (first season)
American Housewife (third season)
New Amsterdam (first season)
The Beauty Inside /  뷰티 인사이드  (2018 Korean drama)
The Good Place (third season)
The Eternal Love 2  /  双世宠妃II  (2018 Chinese drama)

Television (completed):
Accidentally in Love /  惹上冷殿下  (2018 Chinese drama)
Kiss Him, Not Me  /  私がモテてどうすんだ  (2016 Japanese anime)

CRAVINGS

Sleep

HOME & FAMILY

Still trying to get back on an even keel, but I think we’re mostly getting there. Daughter is seeing the school counsellor for help with her anxiety following an incident where a boy in her class was inappropriate.

HEALTH

Daughter’s vision remains stable. I’m trying to figure out a new skin care regime that doesn’t cause my face to react or break out. Husband is doing better, but still needs to keep on top of things to reduce stress.

CREATIVE

Poetry

Beauty Product Reviews

So, I turned 40 this year, stopped shaving my legs, and started to think maybe I needed to do a little more for my skin. The trouble being that I am pretty clueless, don’t have a ton of disposable income, have sensitive acne prone combination skin, and I’m both short on time and lazy about my appearance. I’m only interested in stuff that I can realistically shoehorn into my day and that will make a difference that even my husband can actually notice. I’m also wanting to move to mostly using cruelty-free products. 

My facial skincare routine has been pretty basic up until recently. I use Dr. Bronner’s Organic Castile Bar Soap (Citrus Orange) and had been moisturizing my face with Olay Active Hydrating Cream Original Facial Moisturizer.

I use St. Ives Fresh Skin Exfoliating Apricot Scrub once a week for a really fresh and invigorating feeling. I know that some people feel that this scrub is too harsh and can be damaging to the skin, but for me the trick is to very gently massage the scrub into the face and then rinse. You really don’t need to vigorously scrub at the skin!

I periodically use an Aloe face mask from either My Beauty Diary or Welcos Jeju Natural. My experience of using a facial mask with aloe is that it is very soothing for my skin and that I would probably benefit from more regular usage.

I’m going to go ahead and admit that I often pick at my acne, so I also use Savlon cream to prevent infection and spread of bacteria.

Let the Beauty Trials Begin!

Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil from TATCHA

I’ve never double-cleansed or used a cleansing oil before now, so I don’t have a point of comparison. The product smells wonderful and seems to do a nice job of cleansing my face. However, I rarely wear any makeup at all, so it was hard to see a noticeable benefit to this cleansing method.

The Rice Polish: The Classic from TATCHA

I’ve never used anything quite like this, and ended up using a facial brush and a small ceramic bowl to mix it in before applying it to my face. I certainly felt like my face was really clean and soft after using this product, but found the recommended two-step routine of the double-cleanse to be overkill for a face bare of make-up to begin with.

Also, I should add, I ended up purchasing more of the cleansing oil and rice polish as gifts for my sister and niece who wear make-up daily. 

The Deep Cleanse from TATCHA

I have actually really loved using this cleanser and will seriously consider incorporating it into my regular skincare routine. The smell is lovely, I like the additional exfoliation, and it is less fussy than double-cleansing but leaves my face feeling just as fresh and clean.

COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch

For trouble-shooting I love these little clear circles that suck out all the guck and clear up stubborn pimples. It also makes me less likely to pick at the acne, which reduces scarring.

The Essence from TATCHA

I love this product! I’ve never actually used an essence before, so I was pretty skeptical and thought it was just a money making scheme to convince women that they needed to apply yet another expensive product to their face. I was utterly astonished to find myself loving it and even my husband noticed that my skin is firmer and plumper after using this essence for two weeks! It also makes any creams or serums that you then apply to your skin go on much more smoothly and evenly.

The Water Cream from TATCHA

I wanted to love this cream, mostly because it has the cheapest price point of their face creams at $68, but found that it isn’t really moisturizing enough for me. I also feel like it may have made me break out a little more, and I’m not a huge fan of the smell (although that doesn’t linger for more than a few minutes after application).

I think it probably works really well for layering with sun protection products and makeup, so that you don’t have any issues with caking or emphasizing fine lines, but I felt that my face was slightly drier and even my husband commented that he thought my skin looked drier. This is not a negative reflection on the product itself, it is simply not a good match for my skin.

The Silk Cream from TATCHA

I love this cream so much and am so sad that it costs a whopping $120. Although I feel that a full-sized pot of cream would likely last two months, this is still a lot of money for me personally to spend on a face cream. IF I could afford to buy it regularly, I honestly probably would do so – the cream has made my skin feel wonderful and is a pleasure to use. However, for now, I will probably try out The Indigo Cream instead.

City Sunscreen Serum from Supergoop!

I had previously been very inconsistent about applying sun protection, mostly because a lot of products feel greasy and unpleasant and seem to contribute to acne breakouts.

The City Sunscreen Serum from Supergoop! is a light SPF 30 sunscreen that goes on smoothly and feels like a moisturizer.  At $42 I feel like this is a reasonable price to ensure that I will consistently apply some form of sun protection on a daily basis.

Organic Lip Balm from Dr Bronner

I’ve used this before for chapped lips, but have recently started using it as part of my regular skincare routine. I’ve noticed that my lips are less dry, smoother, and plumper – particularly since applying the product before bed. I’m sure that a lot of more expensive lip balms and moisturizers are very worthwhile as well but, for the price, nothing beats Dr Bronner.

Make-up Options

I don’t really wear much make-up, but I do have a few items that I keep in my make-up bag for days when I need it. What I use varies depending on what I might have picked up to try out. 

Fruit Pigmented Lip and Cheek Tint from 100% Pure

I don’t use this on my lips, but this is a wonderful blusher stick for days when I look a bit haunted. I like the Pink Grapefruit Glow, but they have quite a variety to choose from. I started using this about four years ago and just keep buying the same one.

The Silk Canvas from TATCHA

I’d never used a primer before receiving this as part of a set, but I think it makes a good alternative to foundation (as well as working well underneath foundation). Gives a pleasing blurring effect without feeling heavy on the skin or making the skin too matte.

Sheer Eye Zone Corrector from Shiseido 

This does a pretty good job of covering up dark circles, but your skin does need to be well moisturized to begin with – otherwise it can settle into fine lines and make your eye area look tired.

Peach Cotton Multi Finish Powder from SKINFOOD

This is a nice light powder for days when you don’t want to look too oily.

For the Body

I’ve been continuing to use Vaseline unscented lotion as a hand and body moisturizer, I’m not sure if this is tested on animals or not. I suspect that it is, but I’m not really sure what a good alternative would be. Unfortunately all of my attempts to use products containing Shea butter, including a pure form which came in a glass jar, were an utter failure for me as my skin became significantly drier and my feet actually ended up cracked and sore. I’m sure that Shea butter is fantastic for many people, just not for me.

I also still use Bio Oil sometimes, which I’ve been assured by the company is not tested on animals other than humans, as an all over moisturizer after showering.

For the Hair

Organic Olive and Aloe Hair Mask from Venus Secrets

I find using a hair mask a little fiddly to incorporate into my routine, but it makes a big difference to the texture of my hair.

The company also makes shampoos and conditioners.

 

September 2018

READING

The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang

WATCHING

Cinema:
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Film:
Deadpool 2: Super Duper Cut (2018)
Heathers
(1998) – [rewatched with husband]
Sierra Burgess is a Loser
(2018)
Singularity (2017) – [splice job on Aurora (2013) to add John Cusack]
SPF-18 (2017)
The Package (2018)
Destination Wedding (2018)
Bleach (2018)
Prodigy (2018)
Ocean’s Eight (2018)
Chasing Coral (2017 documentary)
Bad Moms (2016)
Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

Television (ongoing):
The Love Knot: His Excellency’s First Love / 结爱·千岁大人的初恋  (2018 Chinese drama)
Steven Universe
Kim’s Convenience (second season)
Kiss Him, Not Me  /  私がモテてどうすんだ  (2016 Japanese anime)
The Big Bang Theory (tenth season)
The Good Doctor (second season)
Manifest (first season)
American Housewife (third season)

Television (completed):
My ID is Gangnam Beauty /  내 아이디는 강남미인  (2018 Korean drama)
Still 17 /  서른이지만 열일곱입니다  (2018 Korean drama)

CRAVINGS

Sleep
Proper British Crisps, Chocolate, and BirdsEye Potato Waffles
Cheese and tomato sandwiches

HOME & FAMILY

Family photoshoot, health check-ups, and a party!

HEALTH

I’ve been trying out items from TATCHA and also the City Sunscreen Serum from Supergoop!

Needless to say, I am very ready for summer weather to be over and done with!!!

CREATIVE

Poetry