The Season for Slowing Down
Happy October 1st everyone!
Can you believe we’re already in the 10th month of the year? It feels like just last week that I was waiting for summer blossoms to open themselves to warm sunshine and now the clouds are settling in. Gone are the afternoons of basking in the sun, swimming in crystalline waters, and walking hand-in-hand in the heady embrace of a sultry evening. Fret not! While I love a good lazy day in the sun, there are so many wonderful things to look forward to as my favorite month of the year begins.
Cozy sweaters? Absolutely. Warm drinks under thick blankets? Check. The warm, brassy colors of the surrounding woods? Need I say more? Countless, splendid lists have been growing on my desk of experiences and recipes and ideas for the coming weeks. Pinterest is a bottomless trove of treasures for your “Top 10 Must Autumnal Dos” and I wholeheartedly recommend checking out some of these lists to plan yourself the most fantastic autumnal time.
Though it’s very easy to become engrossed in the creation of get togethers and outings, it’s also the time of year when Mother Nature herself encourages us to take a breathe and check in with ourselves. I mean, our part of the globe is literally preparing for hibernation. If you were looking for a sign to press pause, there is no better one than what currently waits right outside our windows.
One big thing I want to work on is taking time for my health, both a bit physically and most certainly mentally. (Somewhere I hear the distant voices of Rachaels past as they mock, “Didn’t she say that last year?") Why yes, yes I did. But hey, who says you can’t take time to work on your health every year?
I’m still struggling with doing the best for 2018!Rachael, but I do feel a measure of comfort knowing that I can acknowledge my shortcomings. My biggest issue with self care is becoming overly obsessed with one aspect of it. I will very quickly spend every day at the gym, sweating and feeling great, but then eat crap. Or I’ll work hard on eating clean, no carbs, more veggies, and I’ll quickly fall off the wagon and eat things I longed for during my “cleansing” period. In the end, my weight yo-yos, my skin suffers, and my depression comes back full swing. It’s a really great time.
So this round, I have a few smaller things I want to work on:
Clearing up my skin
I have been very much blessed by the dermatology gods in that I hardly have more than a few break outs at a time. (#nobrag, honestly) However, what I’ve been putting on my skin isn’t always the best. I naturally have oily skin and, compounded with my tendency to rest my chin on my hands or unnecessarily touch my skin, I tend to break out along my chin. I usually use Clean & Clear Foaming Facial Cleanser which, I have to say, is a pretty fantastic cleanser. Truly. I’ve been using it for the better part of three years, and it is a great staple to my skin care routine. However, I’m no 26 (withhold judgement!) and my skin has therefore changed and aged and requires something different. After watch an incredibly inspiring video from Rowena Tsai, having a few friends in the makeup/skincare industry, and having a little heart-to-heart with my face, I’ve begun looking into different routine options. My favorite options (which I will undoubtedly test out in the next few weeks for further research) are the Follain Clean Essentials, Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser, and Pai Skincare. So this is where you come in! I would be forever grateful for anyone’s advice as to what they’ve used and loved. I 100% know that skincare is a very personal experience and therefore everyone has their own go-tos. I’m hoping to tailor something to my own skin and I’ll be back with a follow-up post about what worked and what didn’t.
Reading for pleasure
2018 has been my year of really getting into books again. After my disastrous attempt at reading the most on-trend books of 2017 and realizing I wasn’t a fan of some of them, I took this year to delve into genres that I really love with no shame. I love classics and biographies, but I’ve found a part of my soul deep down that is absurdly in love with the YA/NA fantasy genre. At first, I was a bit embarrassed to be seen reading books with wild covers and (sometimes, only sometimes) ridiculous names. Now, I couldn’t care less. Life’s too short to try and be a pretentious reader. I’ve been voraciously going through V.E. Schwab’s entire list of publications because honestly, if you love a good dark, complex, character who doesn’t always end up on the right side of the moral compass by the end, this gal has go it. With words that whisk you away to worlds never before imagined, sidestepping every obvious trope, and delivering stories that are outrageously compelling, Schwab has really captivated me. Another great author I’ve loved is Donna Tartt. Here rings a name true to anyone who wants to read and discuss on a semi-pretentious level. After seeing gorgeous edits and layouts for her first novel, The Secret History, I decided to pick up a secondhand copy and boy howdy was I drawn in. Her follow up, The Goldfinch, Was not to my taste exactly, but her rich diction, flourishing phrases, and look at true evil really intrigued me. Other favorites have included Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology, Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles which wrecks me every goddamn time, and Jessica Shattuck’s The Women in the Castle which was actually one of the first books I reviewed and posted publicly. (I really want to start reviewing more!) There is no time like the cooling months of autumn to curl up with a book and really slow down.
being in the real life™
While I’m a huge fan of Instagram and social media in general and everything it has put at our fingertips, I’ve also seen the very real side effects it can have on our psyche. I’ve realized a part of myself that tends to be more excited about going somewhere for the Instagrammable moments more than the experience itself. With my move back to Washington next week, I already started thinking of hikes take and cities to venture around to build up a better cache of imaging to use on Instagram. Not the best frame of mind as the move is primarily to be closer with aging family members and to help around the home and on outings. Instead of focusing on all the pictures I can take to make my life seem more “exciting,” I want to take these few months to really get to know my grandparents better, to do fun things with my mom, to reconnect with friends from high school. If I happen to snap a few pics here and there, that’s great! But I don’t want to lose focus of a day because I want to share it with my digital friends before my physical ones.