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Happy Friday, everyone! I still can’t believe we’re already almost through September. Fall is here (but really, in Southern California it feels like summer just started), and I’m really hoping that we can reign in this pandemic over the next few months so that we can reopen safely around Halloween time. I’ve gotten pretty adjusted to quarantine living, but it would be nice to feel some semblance of a normal functioning society when it’s safe again.
What’s New This Month:
I finally completed phase 1 of the guest bedroom and I’m really happy to share the before and after on this blog post! I’m itching to start another home improvement project, but I have so much work to catch up on as well as books to read before adding another demanding project to my to-do list.
I also finally started therapy, which has been both a difficult yet liberating process, simultaneously. If you are having a rough time, always know that it’s okay to seek professional help – the cost may be intimidating, but if you have insurance, call and ask what your coverage is for behavioral health – Medicare offers it too. Medicare may be a little challenging to deal with, but you can take a look at their website and search for a list of providers near you to call and inquire. If you don’t have insurance, Psychology Today has a search feature to find professionals near you that offer services within your budget – many also do sliding scale pricing as well, so there is flexibility – you just have to look for it. I believe in you!
Volume 21 of Friday Favorites is finally here! And I’m doing a double-dose of everything because it’s been a while since my last one.
More Friday Favorites:
- Friday Favorites Vol. 23: Plant Mama Life, I Got COVID-19, February Zero Budget Challenge
- Friday Favorites Vol. 22: Coconut Jelly Sheet Masks, Easy French Dip Sandwiches, Affordable German Knives & More
- Friday Favorites Vol. 21: DIY Salon Blowouts, Autoimmune Protocols, My New Favorite Book, Taking Breaks & More
- Friday Favorites Vol. 20: Matcha Madness, Leopard Print Obsession, Thoughts About “13th” & More
- Friday Favorites Vol. 19: Workout Favorites, Indoor Grilling & More
As much as I loved my John Frieda Hot Air Brush for at-home salon blowouts, it finally died after years of use. My trusted hairstylist recommended the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer And Volumizer Hot Air Brush, so I gave it a shot, and I’m pretty pleased with the results! I feel like the Revlon Hot Air Brush dries faster than my John Frieda one did, and because the barrel is larger, I get fewer tangles and snags. Give it a shot if you love the blowouts you get from a fresh cut at the salon, but can’t do it at home yourself.
Beauty: Dollar Shave Club
I had to switch back from waxing to shaving because every kind of wax was causing me an autoimmune reaction. Honestly, I hate shaving because my skin tends to get dry and the price of replacement blades can be a lot, especially if you get a quality blade.
I’ve been using my stash of unused Dollar Shave Club blade cartridges, and I can’t believe I forgot how much I love Dollar Shave Club! The blade cartridges are really great quality and they give me a close and smooth shave without drying my skin out (I’ve noticed those “moisturizing strips” on women’s razors are the culprit!). They also don’t get clogged up with shaving cream or hair the way a lot of shaving blades do. A pack of four blades is $10 and the shaving handle and shipping are free!
It also takes me a while to go through blades because my hair isn’t too thick, but they’re ultra-sharp and last way longer than my Gilette Venus Extra Smooth blades ever did. I would actually say that 4 blades can last me a year, which means I really only pay $10 for my shaving expenses annually.
As I get older, I realize how much cheap jewelry just isn’t cutting it anymore. Even on the affordable end, I try to get gold-plated at the least. But I’ve been stepping it up and getting gold-filled jewelry, and you can seriously tell the difference! I love dainty pieces like this 14k Gold Filled 18″ Dainty Moon Necklace. It gives me Sailor Moon vibes without being too kitschy and is perfect to layer with other necklaces. I love Etsy for jewelry because mostly everything is handmade, so you know you’re getting great quality compared to places like Amazon. It was only $31.05 for the 14K gold-filled 18″ option, too!
I don’t even have a swimming pool, but I’ve been envisioning having a normal summer by wearing this swimsuit around the house. It’s unique and ultra-sexy despite being a monokini, and you can tie the straps in a few different ways. It also pairs really well with black or brown trousers for a casual-California-summer look. And that price!!!
Food: Moroccan Chicken & Rice
Chris Loves Julia is one of my favorite dynamic duos to follow – from home improvement to Chris’s cooking, they really do it all – and well. Chris’s Moroccan Chicken & Rice is no exception. I get tired of American cuisine and I love to play with spices, so this was the perfect dish to shake things up! The golden raisins were the perfect touch. One thing I feel could have been improved was to rub the chicken with the spices of the recipe and let it sit prior to pan-frying it, because I felt like the meat itself was a little bland. But it could have been because I used regular drumsticks when they recommended using wings.
Another uh-mazing recipe. In fact, this is probably one of my top 3 favorite recipes of ALL TIME. No joke. I’ve made Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon only two times so far because it is, admittedly, very labor-intensive, BUT it is SO worth it. I feel like there isn’t enough French cuisine because of how many steps are involved in making a single dish, and most French restaurants have a tendency to be expensive. But alas, this recipe revolves around a chuck roast, a Dutch oven, and some red wine – nothing in the recipe is out of the ordinary. I even skipped the entire pearl onions part because I couldn’t find any pearl onions near me, and it was still AMAZING and just like the boeuf bourguignon that I’ve had at French restaurants. Try it once, and I’ll leave you alone.
Health: Karen Hurd’s Bean Protocol For Autoimmune Disorders
One of my favorite podcasts the Expanded Podcast had two episodes featuring nutritionist Karen Hurd and Unique Hammond, who was one of Karen’s success stories that healed her Crohn’s disease using “the bean protocol.” I tried the Medium Medium protocol but unfortunately, it didn’t work out too well for me because it required so much money and effort in the kitchen that it wasn’t sustainable to do this for, well, forever.
I listened to Karen Hurd’s podcast episode on Expanded and it was an extremely eye-opening podcast for healing not only autoimmune disorders, but many other disorders like infertility, PMS, PMDD, and more caused by toxicity trapped in the body. And great follow-up was Unique Hammond’s episode in which she shared her personal experience working with Karen Hurd and healing from Crohn’s disease.
I just finished reading Unique Hammond’s book “Your Tastebuds are Assholes” and it was a really hopeful read for me as someone who struggles with autoimmunity. I also ordered Karen Hurd’s book “And They Said It Wasn’t Possible: True Stories Of People Who Were Healed From The Impossible” for more insight. I think sometime next month I’ll be ready to sign up for Karen Hurd’s program so I can have 1-on-1 coaching with her to work through the protocol together. Give the podcast episodes a listen and maybe you’ll find something in there for you and your own unique health concerns (if you have any)!
Health: D-Ring Yoga Strap
I’ve been doing a lot of vegging out at home and my body is constantly screaming at me for some physical activity, but with my exhausted energy levels I can only manage to do some yoga. The stretching really helps, especially if I’ve been working on my computer all day and my back is aching. Yoga straps help get a deeper stretch, so if stretching is something you want to make part of your regular routine, then consider getting a yoga strap. They’re pretty affordable to come by and are so helpful for increasing your flexibility – which reduces the risk of injury!
While Jun and I went on a trip to Home Depot and Lowe’s to grab some necessary tools, we somehow wound up buying a keyless lock entry set. It’s actually one of the best home improvement purchases I think we’ve bought so far. I hate having to keep keys on me when I take Sam for a walk, and I don’t like the idea of giving copies of keys to family members or trusted friends because, well, people lose things. Being able to access your house with both a key and a passcode has been a game-changer! I’ve actually locked myself out of my own a few times before, so this alleviates the anxiety of facing that very-real possibility again. And since we had Kwikset locks previously, we didn’t have to re-key any of the existing locks, which saved us money.
Home: Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree
I’ve been jealous of seeing so many people on social media grow their own backyard farms during this pandemic. I don’t have that option because we have way too many gophers tearing up our yard, no matter how many traps we set. I’ve also always been terrible with taking care of plants, but I really wanted a fiddle leaf fig tree because they’re just so stinkin’ cute. So I finally pulled the trigger on one when we were at Lowe’s. The one I got was about 4″ tall and $49.99, which is honestly a great price for the size. I hear that they are fickle houseplants, so I’ve been checking on it every day and hoping for the best. Oh, and her name is Fiddy Cent. Don’t come at me.
Home Depot, Lowe’s and other big-box home improvement stores may carry them, but always save your receipt since sometimes you may take home an infected plant that winds up dying. I’ve heard that IKEA sells 2-feet tall fiddle trees for $20, which may be worth looking into! But above all, I always recommend shopping at a local plant nursery that takes great care of their plant babies. If you have a green thumb, take one home! And if you don’t, get a fake one! They really enliven a room. Shop live ones here, here, and here. Shop artificial ones here, here, and here.
Lifestyle: Essential Oil Rack
You know I’m obsessed with essential oils, right? I used to be all about Young Living and DoTerra until I found Edens Garden, which has the same quality essential oils as the leaders but is cheaper because they aren’t an MLM company (fun fact: they’re voted the #1 non-MLM company too!). Thanks to those prices, I’ve amassed a pretty sizeable collection of oils, so I wanted to better organize them for easier reference. This large nail polish display actually did the job perfectly! It fits all the way up to 30ml-sized bottles. Highly recommend it if you’re an essential oil junkie who wants to organize their collection in a presentable way.
Lifestyle: Edens Garden Salt Soaks
Speaking of Edens Garden, I’ve also been using their bath salts a lot lately to de-stress. I’m picky with bath salts because I find that they’re either not scented enough, smell too artificial, or are just way expensive if they’re good quality. Edens Garden Salt Soaks are where it’s at. They’re reasonably-priced and are pretty potent, but don’t irritate the nose or lungs because it’s fragranced with essential oils. I love the Good Night blend and the Lavender Magnolia blend – both are so calming and almost mouthwatering!
Where do I even start with Untamed? I’ve been having a major depressive episode this past month and it’s been hard to grasp reality again. This book really came when I needed it the most: it gave a voice and words to all of the pain I’ve been experiencing, from trauma to misogyny, to being bisexual, to failed relationships, to my fears of ever getting married or becoming a mother. I was surprised by how moved I was by this memoir because never has a book made me feel so seen and heard as a woman. I loved it so much that I read it twice in a single weekend, and I’ve never done that before. Hands-down, this is probably one of my top 5 favorite books of all time.
Untouched is a memoir of modern-day feminism that reads like a fiction novel and is told by a woman who is just like me. And possibly, you. I definitely saw myself within many of the pages and I’m sure many other women can, so I recommend this book for all the women in my life.
TV: Itaewon Class
Itaewon Class is one of the better Korean dramas I’ve seen in a while. It’s a story about a boy whose father was killed in a motorcycle accident and swears revenge on the rich family that covered up the accident. After being released from prison, Park Saeroyi has an elaborate 15-year plan to drive his father’s murderer out-of-business. It’s not as violent as most revenge dramas go (probably a good thing) and is a little slower than I prefer, but hey – if you watch K-dramas you know that they excel in delayed gratification. Watch it on Netflix.
One of my Instagram buddies @leannalray wrote this article on Nextshark bringing light to this alarming “fox eye trend” that went viral on Tiktok around August. I’m disappointed, but not surprised at the way this trend was seemingly innocent but its participants paid no attention to how this trend evolved into something so insidious and racially insensitive. I think many Asians have experienced the bullying towards our slanted eyes at some point in their life, so it’s disturbing for many of us to see how modern-day beauty has appropriated this feature and made an accessory out of it. And I’m not even talking about the fox eye makeup, which was what started this all – I’m talking about the gesture of putting one’s hands to the sides of their face and pulling their eyes back to slant their eyes. In grade school, I received this so often out of maliciousness, so it’s weird to see that people are doing this now to achieve a “coveted” beauty feature and seeing nothing wrong with this gesture. We definitely need to do better and learn racial and cultural sensitivity towards all races.
Article #2: These key psychological differences can determine whether you’re liberal or conservative
I’ve always found the polarizing divide between conservative and liberals a very curious topic to probe. What makes us lean left or right? There has to be something there. I don’t believe that people become “extremists” either way simply out of sheer lunacy, but because of the experiences they’ve individually had that shaped their beliefs and values into what they are today. There is quite a bit of psychology at play here, whether we want to acknowledge it or not.
I think this article did a really great job of emphasizing both the strengths and weaknesses of both sides. And it really goes to show that we’re just different. It’s difficult to have conversations with people who are vastly different from us, and we might not always be ready or willing to engage with the other side, but I hope this article gives you some perspective on it. Additionally, The Hidden Brain Podcast had an episode explaining the psychological differences between the red and blue parties. Give it a listen and read the transcript here.
This Week’s Quote #1: “Exhaustion will not create liberation.”
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I’m a new fan of The Nap Ministry. Their Instagram is chock-full of holding space for those who are exhausted by capitalism and grinding ourselves to the bone. As I continue to do my own anti-racism work and self-education, I am understanding that capitalism uses racism as a device to keep people working to 1) produce more money for corporations, and 2) keep them distracted, complicit, and too tired to create change. And it’s simply not sustainable for any of us, regardless of what color our skin is. I, like all of us, have been perpetually exhausted since the system legally recognized me as an “adult.” Everything revolved around adult responsibility – getting a car, getting auto insurance, getting life insurance, going to college, drowning in student loans, purchasing a home, getting shackled to a mortgage loan, having to use credit cards to pay for expenses because we didn’t make enough this month, getting sick from stress, having to pay tons of money on health insurance and prescription medicine – it all revolves around the idea of hustling despite constantly being in a deficit.
We work to live and live to work. We don’t live for ourselves. On our 18th birthdays, we all became workhorses for capitalism, and since then it’s been this neverending rat-race for money and security. There has been no time to rest since we became adults. But how do we change a system that’s designed to keep us tired so we have no more energy to change it? Rest.
This Week’s Quote #2: “Rest is resistance.”
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Another brilliant revelation from The Nap Ministry. I feel like all of us have been led to believe that taking action is the best way to push for change, but in a world where our capitalist system is slowly moving towards fascism, it’s more important than ever to rest unapologetically when our minds and bodies call for it. Continuing to work like a machine and suffering from exhaustion is exactly what this predatory system benefits from. When we are exhausted, we become more impressionable and susceptible to suggestion. We’re constantly told to work and that our worth is tied to our productivity when we should be measuring our self-worth with more than just how much work we do for our corporate employers or how much money we make. The idea of personal accountability and responsibility has made us unable to rest without feeling guilty, because the moment we rest, there’s one more thing we failed to accomplish.
Did you know that a lot of what makes us physically ill is due to stress and denying ourselves the time and care that we need for ourselves? There were many times where I’d gone to work against my will despite battling a cold or even a flu because my manager threatened to write me up or fire me. It’s not supposed to be this way. We have to rest. We need all our energy to change the world.
Hope you enjoyed this week’s double-dose of Friday Favorites! If you liked Volume 21, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter below so you get informed as soon as I hit publish on a new Friday Favorites post. And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram!
More Posts to Check Out:
- Wi Spa: The (Budget-Friendly) State-Side Korean Spa
- Edens Garden Body Oil: The Only Natural Beauty Multi-Tasker You Need
- Friday Favorites Vol. 8: I Got Tested For Coronavirus, a “Safe” Cookie Dough Recipe, a Staub Dutch Oven for $99!?
- Is Noom Worth the Price? My 156 to 135 lb Weight Loss Journey
- Hallway Bathroom Update: How Is Our DIY Bathroom Renovation Holding Up After 1 Year?