Haven’t seen much of me on here this last semester, huh? Well that should be changing soon.
Last weekend, this happened:
My freshman roommate and first friend at Tulane, Sarah.
The graduation was held downtown at the Superdome.
My little sister, Kelsey, graduated from High School on the same day as me, so our family split up for the graduation ceremonies. My brother-in-law, Bob, niece, Georgiana, and mom came to mine.
Drew’s mom and dad, Susie and Bob, also came down for graduation.
I graduated cum laude from Tulane University with a B.A. in English and Studio Art (concentration in painting). After four tough years, I’m so happy to have those college days behind me. This past semester in particular was just so insanely hectic that I feel like I haven’t had a real life in forever. I’m happy to be getting back to the real world. The world of friends, cooking, sewing, gardening, house projects, travel, job searching, and not thinking about French classes or studying until late into the night. I’m excited to get back to blogging! I’ve got lots of things to share with you!
P.S. The Dalai Lama spoke at my graduation ceremony. How awesome is that? :)
It’s been a while, huh? I’ve missed blogging this semester. I have so many things I want to share, but this semester just leaves no extra time to do so. Just over one more month until school is over and I graduate! I can’t wait!
This week is my spring break, and although it is just as busy as any other week with schoolwork, I thought I would at least drop by for a minute and share a quick tip that I did last week:
I haven’t been wearing make-up very often lately. I used to wear it everyday, but with the late nights and early mornings of college, I’m just not getting enough sleep. Even if putting on make-up only takes five minutes, right now I have a million other better things to spend those five minutes on (like sleep!). My weekends this semester have mostly been spent on my couch reading school books and writing papers, so even on the weekends I haven’t been getting very dressed up for anything.
Anyway, I wore make-up almost every day over Christmas break with all the family get-togethers and pictures being taken. At that same time, with the winter weather making my skin really dry, I had a strange reaction to the face cream my dermatologist had put me on and one of my eyelids got really red and itchy.
Fast forward a month or so when Drew and I were going to a Superbowl promotion concert here in New Orleans. I got out my make-up bag and put my make-up on without even thinking anything of it. The next day I woke up to my eyelids all red and swollen. At first I thought I might be developing an allergy to my make-up. I’ve worn Bare Minerals make-up since I very first started wearing make-up in middle school and I really like it and didn’t want to have to switch to anything else. Then I remembered my red, itchy eyes at Christmastime! I thought it might not be the make-up, but maybe just the brushes holding in nasty germs! So I started by replacing my mascara with a brand new tube and then did some research online for a good DIY make-up brush cleaner. This is what I did:
DIY Make-up Brush Cleaner
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon liquid dish soap
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1. Mix all ingredients in a cup or bowl.
2. Wash each brush thoroughly in the mixture. Mine were really dirty, so I made a fresh batch of this for each brush. If you do this regularly, you might not need to make multiple batches.
3. Rinse each brush clean with warm water.
4. Squeeze the excess water out of each brush with a towel.
5. Shape the bristles into the correct shape.
6. Lay flat on a towel to dry.
This is how dirty the water was after slightly washing just ONE brush! How gross! There is no telling how many dead skin cells and who knows what else was all up in those.
I can’t believe that I had never thought to wash my brushes out before! I had been using these same brushes for the last 8-10 YEARS without cleaning them at all! I will now be doing this regularly!
Since I wanted to make sure that my make-up was clear of any leftover germs from my eye issues, I also took a slightly damp towel and cleaned out the lids of each of my make-up containers as well.
Drew and I drove home this past weekend to see my little sister, Jillian, in her high school musical and I wore make-up the whole weekend without any red, itchy, or swollen eyes! I’m so happy to have easily fixed the problem and I don’t have to invest in all new make-up. Plus, the brushes are so much softer now too!
I hope you all enjoyed your holiday season! Mine was great! However, just like the rest of 2012, it was so hectic and went by so fast! Drew and I visited our families in our hometown over the holidays and it was so nice to see them. We also got over 16 inches of snow while we were there! It was so fun and so pretty! I really miss that about winter when I’m in New Orleans!
Check out my Instagram to see more photos of our holiday vacation, including the snow, the scarves I crocheted, and our quick getaway trip to Saint Louis while we were home as well.
I know it is after Christmas now and I should have posted this sooner, but I wanted to share with you our first ever Rowland family Christmas card!
It was extra special this year being our first Christmas as a married couple! Drew’s birthday is also on Christmas, so it is always a special holiday around here.
I’m naturally a really self-reflective person, always re-evaluating my goals and how I’m meeting them, but I love how the holiday season gets everyone in a reflective mood — focusing on family and what is important, thinking over the past year and then making goals they want to meet in the upcoming one.
2012 was a really crazy year for me/us. A whole lot of wedding planning, Drew graduating from college, Drew starting work in a salary position, expanding our business, getting married, going on our honeymoon (to Boston, New Hampshire and Maine — I still need to blog about that!), working on making our apartment our home, and me getting closer and closer to graduating as well. It was a great year, but a really busy/crazy/hectic one, and I’m happy it is now over. School has gotten more and more intense as I’m getting closer to graduating and this past semester really seemed to take over my life. I was at school from early in the morning to really late at night (some of my classes didn’t get out until 9:30 at night!) and didn’t have time for a whole lot else (including blogging — that’s why I’ve been so MIA). I’ve really been stretched thin lately, and I don’t see it getting too much better (actually probably much worse) until this upcoming semester is over and I graduate.
However, even though 2013 will probably be a hectic year as well, I’ve got a lot to look forward to! I graduate this year! I could not be more excited for that day to come! I’m so over the whole college lifestyle and everything that comes with it. I’m also excited to see what job opportunities lie ahead and what I end up doing once I get out of school. So many exciting things to pursue!
I also have a lot of big changes in my life for 2013. As of the new year, Drew and I are now on Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. This is such an important change for me this year. As a single woman, I had a older, used car paid for by my parents when I turned 16 and a scholarship that covered pretty much all my college expenses. I knew people lived in debt, but never really knew what that felt like. When I got married, I inherited from my husband a car that has monthly payments, a lot of money in student loans, and a small amount of credit card debt. Debt sucks, y’all. A couple months of that stress and I decided that is all I could take. Dave Ramsey’s book really is life-changing. It makes you think about money, spending and debt in a whole new way. We have re-evaluated our budget and are doing all we can to diminish our debts as quickly as possible. Our goal for 2013 is to pay off all credit card debt and Drew’s car by the end of the year. Hopefully in the two years following that we can get all of Drew’s student loans paid off. Those payments are not something I want to live with for any longer than humanly possible. Even if that means sacrificing a lot of other things along the way (like eating out, spending money on things for our house we don’t need, extra television stations, extras on phone plans and bigger things like waiting to buy a house or start a family). So hopefully we can get that over with and get on with our lives! Really, I know we are just starting this, but if you have any debt or need tips on managing your money, saving for retirement, saving for college for your kids, or just want to live in financial peace, read Dave’s books. I really think everyone needs to read them. Your life will be changed. I’m warning you.
If that wasn’t a big enough goal to start out 2013 with, I also have big lifestyle changes in the health department. Over this past summer I found out that I have hypothyroidism. That basically means that my thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone and in turn causes a whole slew of other problems — exhaustion/tiredness, lack of concentration, impaired memory, depression, headaches, acne, digestive problems, problems being able to stand cold temperatures, problems with metabolism, weakness, muscle aches, etc. I’ve been experiencing different levels of these problems for the past several years and didn’t know what was wrong with me. Being in college and therefore working late nights, being stressed out and not getting enough sleep also tended to exaggerate these problems. I was so thankful to finally figure out what was causing the symptoms though. Hypothyroidism can be treated — but that means I have to take thyroid hormone supplements every day and likely will have to for the rest of my life. After I started taking the thyroid supplements and got my levels in the right place, I was feeling much better, but still not perfect. So I didn’t stop there.
After the endocrinologist didn’t say much different, I headed to my dad’s nutritionist to see what was the cause of the hypothyroidism and how to better combat it. I never believe that medication is the only right and final answer to anything! I want to get to the source of these problems and treat that. So I met with this nutritionist and although we are still working through my hair analysis to figure out what nutrient deficiencies I have and what vitamin supplements I need to take, I’m as of 2013 on a much stricter diet to maintain optimal health. I found out that I have sensitivities to wheat and milk (I had suspected this before), so although I’m not necessary “allergic” and I’m not going to break out in hives when I eat/drink them, I can’t digest them as well as I should be able to and they are therefore not helping me or adding any needed nutrients to my diet. I also have sensitivities to soy as well, so I’m staying away from that. Soy has a lot of hormones, and my levels of estrogen are already really high, so soy isn’t good for me because of that. In addition, my diet suggests I cut out corn products, they are so genetically modified these days that there isn’t much good left in them and white rice as well (starchy, carbohydrate-rich foods aren’t really so great for anyone). So this year (and for likely the rest of my life), I will be doing my best to not eat wheat, white rice, corn, soy or milk. Yikes! I also need to up my meat intake and my vegetable intake. I can still have other less-genetically modified and more nutrient rich carbs like red and white potatoes, beans, peas, lentils, quinoa, oats, sprouted grains, wild rice and limited amounts of brown rice. I also need to limit my sugar intake (as does everyone) to practically zero, so I’m trying to use only honey, agave nectar, and very limited amounts of turbinado sugar as a sweetener and limiting my fruit intake (again most fruits today have been so genetically modified that they contain so much sugar and not as many nutrients anymore — but I can still have it all, just a limit on my daily intake). I also am limiting my salt intake and only using Celtic sea salt (pure salt, no additives). The diet only lets you drink water as well (along with herbal teas), but I already only drink water, so that really isn’t a change. There are some other rules as well about what to eat with what (eat meat and veggies together and then eat starches like potatoes, peas, beans, lentils with vegetables, but don’t eat meat with potatoes/beans/lentils, etc. One is acidic, one is alkaline, so eating them together limits nutrient absorption) and the doctor also told me a lot of really great health information, but I’ll leave it at that. I would recommend everyone see a good nutritionist and start eating right for themselves!
I’ve been at it for the last week or so, and really so far, it isn’t that hard. You just have to change your mindset from eating for comfort to eating for health. There are also a lot of really great recipes out there that are gluten/rice/corn/soy free. I really didn’t eat that much corn or soy before anyway, and not enough white rice to make it that hard to cut out (plus it is easy enough to sub for brown rice or wild rice). Wheat is the big one (pasta, bread, baked goods, etc.) but there are lots of gluten-free options and lots of other flours to bake with (almond flour, coconut flour, quinoa flour, oat flour, etc.), so it really isn’t that difficult either. I haven’t missed milk yet, but I can always sub that with almond milk or small amounts of raw milk if it becomes a problem. I’m excited to start feeling better and being healthier!
So here’s to a healthier year this 2013 in many ways!
Do you have any goals for the new year?
Hey y’all. Long time, no post. School has been pretty serious this semester and therefore has left very little time in which to blog. But I have lots of wedding pictures, house posts, and all kinds of stuff to share with you whenever things settle down! Trying to finish two majors is no joke!
Anyway, I wanted to share this little tidbit with you. This past weekend I crossed something off my bucket list! I ran a 5K! If you know me personally, then you know that running is not something I do. Side stitches, aching muscles, bouncing boobs, panting out of breath, what is fun about that!? Well, a few weeks ago, my friend, Sarah, asked if I would run in the Reindeer Run with her. My immediate response was, “Me? Run a 5K? You must be kidding!” But she reassured me that it was a fun thing and wasn’t too serious and that my super slow self wouldn’t be left behind. So I did the crazy thing and signed up for it!
I didn’t practice at all before this run. But I figured that if worse came to worse, I would walk the whole thing and at least be able to say that I put myself out there and did it. I didn’t have enough notice for training beforehand. I did do some research on running though — (how to breathe while running, how to keep your pace, tips for non-runners running 5Ks, what to eat beforehand, how to not get side stitches, etc) — which I definitely think helped.
I was still pretty nervous on my way to the race though.
But once I got there and saw that my race packet came with reindeer antlers to wear and jingle bells to tie on my shoes, I felt a little better.
The race itself was really fun and actually way easier than I thought! 3.2 miles goes by pretty quickly when you are chatting with friends! I can’t say that I really ran much, I pretty much speed walked/jogged the whole thing, but I was pretty happy with the pace I went and I kept it up the whole time with no side stitches and no out-of-breath-ness. It felt really good! I also did a good 30 minutes of pre-race yoga/pilates though, which I think really helped.
It was a really fun environment too. Everyone with their jingle bells and antlers, the Christmas lights all lit up at night, and the track we ran through downtown Baton Rouge was really neat! We looped around the Louisiana state capitol building!
It was such a great time and I’m so happy that I actually did it! (I think Drew was convinced for a while that I was going to chicken out at the last minute!) I definitely will be jogging and hopefully one day running more 5K’s in the future!
The last several weeks have been crazy around here! If you were watching the news lately, you saw that Hurricane Isaac made its path straight for New Orleans the last week of August/first week of September. Even though it hit New Orleans, only minor flooding and damage occurred (mostly just power outages and a few trees down). For most, it wasn’t bad at all. School was cancelled for me and work for Drew, so we decided to make a trip up to see our families in Southern Illinois. We thought that sounded better than sitting in our apartment that was bound to lose power during the storm! (August in New Orleans = HOT with no AC!) It was a good thing we did leave because our apartment didn’t have power for 4 or 5 days. We had lots of food in our fridge, freezer, and deep freeze to throw away when we got home. :(
Anyway, we had a nice week-long hurrication that allowed us some much needed relaxation and family time. Once we got back from that, things have been going along here at super speed! My schoolwork has jumped in double time to make up for time lost from the storm and so I have been busy non-stop! Lots of abstract painting, ceramics, digital media, impressionist art history, and 19th century literature by American women writers for me! I’ll be so happy to finish up this last year of school!
Anyway, other than catching you up with the happenings of my life, this post is really to celebrate 2 years of Icing on the Cake Blog! September 4th was my 2 year blogging anniversary (so you can see this post is a week or so late!). You can check out what I had to say last year about my 1 year blogging anniversary, here.
In the last two years, it has been so nice to be able to document the happenings of my life. It is a great resource for me to look back on things that I’ve done, house projects completed, to look up recipes and just re-live those memories. I love blogging for that very reason.
Over the last two years, I’ve posted 245 blog posts, with 750 tags (that is a lot of topics!), and had 458 comments. I’ve also had over 25,000 visitors to my blog.
My first year of blogging, I averaged about 3 1/2 blog posts per week, but this year I’ve only averaged 1 1/2 posts per week. I do feel that my blog content has gotten much better in the last year though. I started posting on all sorts of topics and in the last year feel like I have better narrowed down my blog focus — mostly to things related to the home — decorating, crafting, and cooking.
I feel like blogging might take somewhat of a backseat in the next year, since this school year is going to be a pretty tough one. I want blogging to stay as something that I enjoy and lately it has become somewhat stressful in my already busy life. Another thing demanding my attention. Don’t think that I’m going to disappear though, I just might not be posting as frequently! I still have tons of house projects, wedding photos, recipes, and all kinds of stuff that I’ve completed this summer that are just waiting to be featured! I simply haven’t had the time to do so lately!
A big thank all of you lovely readers that stop by to see what is going on over here! Here’s to another great year! :)