Origin Story: Part I

It’s an international scandal, as dumbfounding as it is unsurprising: flights more than 8 hours long do not promise planes with ample legroom for all.

I am researching flights to South Korea, my browser tabs shrunken and unreadable, with too many travel sites open. I click from portal to portal, gauging prices, assessing potential for misery. And yet, that frisson of excitement which accompanies great adventures is there, humming steadily in the background. Despite air travel’s propensity for inconvenience, it always amazes me that the far away places we daydream about and pin to “someday” boards are really only a few clicks and a credit card number away. Sometimes I think the most exciting moment of any trip is when you commit to the air travel that will get you there. The most important ones make you feel like you’re standing on the edge of a great precipice, and with a simple ticket purchase, you dive headfirst toward some new horizon bound to change you. You fall slowly towards your destiny at first; faster and faster as the journey nears.

Over 12 hours from SFO to Seoul; almost 11 hours coming back. Hmm. I’m not great on long haul flights to New York as it is, so to travel across our planet’s largest body of water feels like a journey in and of itself, never mind what awaits me once we land on terra firma. My hand retreats from the mouse and I stare at the monitor again, wondering, am I really doing this? I’m actually going to go to South Korea for almost two weeks, on my own? South Korea. What a funny place to plan your biggest trip of the year; no, the biggest trip of a lifetime. It was where I was born, and I have not stepped foot on Korean soil in well over 30 years. Actually, scratch that—I’ve likely never stepped foot on Korean soil at all, because I was six months old when I left the country. View more

A Mega Beauty Post: Everything I’ve Been Loving

Plus, why Manuka honey needs to be in your beauty arsenal, stat.

Let me preface this post by saying I have tried more new beauty products in the last two months than I have in the last year. It all started when, in early December, I broke out across my forehead and proceeded to have the worst bout of acne that I’ve had since I was a teenager (maybe worse, as I remember my teenage skin being pretty receptive to your standard drugstore acne washes and creams).

I’m going to back up and give you the details, because the culprit of my acne was something I suspect a lot of people might experience during the winter. Dryness. Well, that, and my skin’s pH balance being thrown completely off kilter. If you’ve ever suffered from an annoying bout of adult acne, this next section may feel relevant to you. If not (lucky you!), skip on down to the sections below, where I talk about all the beauty goodies I’ve been using and loving.

So here’s how the story goes: in early December, we had a cold front move through San Francisco. Cold fronts warrant extra hot showers, right? I can’t tell you how awesome it felt to steam up my bathroom right before bed with a scalding hot shower to wash away the day. Ahhhh. Thing is, your skin really, really hates too-hot water. This I know, and I did it anyway. I stripped my forehead skin of all its natural oils, so it kicked into oil production overdrive. And then, the more I messed with it, the worse it got. I put myself into a terrible breakout cycle, where oil was getting trapped in the pores, and my skin’s natural defenses weren’t there to take care of the bacteria that can cause problems.

I was even desperate enough to go to a dermatologist. Maybe that doesn’t sound like an act of desperation, but my experiences with dermatologists have never been especially great — I have yet to find one who is willing to listen to your symptoms and help you piece together causation, versus spending 3 minutes with you (not exaggerating) and slapping you with a prescription for something super harsh. Again, maybe it’s just my experience. But I truly believe that when our skin is reactive, it’s probably trying to tell us something, so for me anyway, slathering it with even harsher chemicals hasn’t felt like a real solution (to wit: it was suggested that in addition to switching all my skincare products to ones with salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, that I use a high-strength prescription benzoyl peroxide cream, and also start applying Retin-A . On a small patch of forehead skin that hadn’t been acneic in 20 years. This made zero sense to me!).

As always, my aesthetician Marion came to my rescue. I don’t know why I didn’t opt for a facial before dermatologist; probably because the skin had been reactive enough that I didn’t think it was ready for more poking and prodding. But two weeks ago, I went in for a facial and Marion sorted me out. Three big things she told me when you have breakouts you can’t kick: View more

Writing Homework

Two birds, one stone: if only I had been this efficient in school.

I’ve mentioned in a couple recent posts that I’ve been taking a five week writing workshop. I can’t tell you how helpful it’s been, both to gain clarity around a writing process and to get myself started on a “work in progress!”

We’ve had a few different homework assignments, and this week, our assignment was to pick several different times of day throughout the week and treat those times as if they were serious writing appointments — no excuses, no missing the meeting, no prioritizing anything else. One of my preset times was yesterday in the early evening, when I still had one other item on my to do list: writing a blog post. And now, I’ll cop to it… I might’ve cheated on the homework by using my writing appointment as a time to write something I could post here. Hey, two birds, one stone, right?

So in the spirit of visually interesting blog posts and also flexing spur-of-the-moment creative writing muscles, I devised a little assignment for myself. You know how in Instagram you can save images to various collections? Occasionally, I’ll go through my collections and marvel at how much I like the mix of photos that all end up next to one another. A while back, I had this idea to take screenshots of my favorite sequences and then write short poems for you here, inspired by the imagery. Today’s the day we try it. I didn’t end up writing poems, but instead, little snippets that were inspired by the photo groupings — usually the first things that came to mind when I saw the images together. They’re totally random and don’t have anything to do with the work I’m developing (at least, I don’t think they do, but who knows where the wind will blow that story). I thought you might enjoy! We’re kicking it old school blog style today and sharing just to share because I liked creating all this. Fair warning that you might find the style of writing totally different than my normal blog voice; either way, I hope you like this random little post I came up with! Promise not to tell of your aiding and abetting my cheating ;)

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