Oatmeal and Coconut Milk Face Mask

Hello, readers! I’m so sorry that it’s been so long since my last post, but school has been killing me recently. Here’s a tip from me to you: don’t be an engineer.

Anyway, my face has been feeling itchy and irritated due to a recent cold spell here in Colorado, and I thought I would share with you a discovery I made to relieve my discomfort.

My boyfriend gave me a Nutribullet for our anniversary, and it came with a milling blade. I decided to put this blade to use and make an oatmeal face mask! I’ve seen posts on Pinterest that use oatmeal as a face mask, but they’re always so chunky, and I was looking for something a little smoother. So I decided to mill my little oats into a somewhat fine powder, and then mixed in coconut milk until my concoction had the consistency of a face mask. I put it on my rinsed face and rubbed in gentle little circles, then let the mixture sit on my face for a few minutes. I rinsed it off with warm water and followed up with a natural moisturizer. My face feels SO HAPPY! It doesn’t have that tight feeling that it gets after some masks, and my pores are distinctively smaller. My cheeks have a nice rosy glow, and I don’t smell half bad either! The itchy feeling is gone, and will hopefully stay that way until it warms up here.

Happy scrubbing!

In the Spirit of Scientific Discovery (and Deliciousness)

I caved in to my craving today and decided to make myself a brownie in a mug. As I was about to add the cocoa powder, I had a sudden stroke of brilliance: use the Carnation Breakfast Essentials powder instead! In my eyes, this was the perfect compromise between ooey-gooey brownie deliciousness and nutrition. Oh, was I wrong. So, so wrong.

First observation: the substance, when put in the microwave, bubbles like a witch’s cauldron.

Second observation: upon removal from the microwave, the substance had a thick layer of liquid covering it.

Third observation: it looks like poop-colored taffy. Moves like it, too.

 

Now, out of my desperation not only for chocolate but also to prove that my discovery wasn’t entirely a flop, I waited for the non-Newtonian solid to, well, solidify a little more, and then I took a bite. Once you get over the bizarre consistency, it isn’t too bad! It would probably be better if you dumped ice cream on it, but what wouldn’t? I would consider this to be an overall successful experiment, because nothing exploded or caught on fire, and nothing on me is burnt. Woohoo! A great day in the lab kitchen.

Jerks at Gyms

While I do believe that Planet Fitness is somewhat of a cop-out for the lazy, I also believe that they are on to something with the “Lunk Alarm” concept: people should not go to the gym to show off, they should go to the gym to improve themselves while allowing others to do the same. That being said, I would like to see a gym somewhere in between Planet Fitness and the Marines Bootcamp; a happy medium, if you will.

Working off of the Lunk Alarm concept, I would like to see a small, slightly painful electric shock delivered any time someone does any of the following:

1.) Drops weights from a height greater than one foot. If you’re strong enough to lift it past a foot, you’re strong enough to put it back down that far again. I don’t expect silence, because gyms are a noisy place by nature, but everyone in the gym doesn’t need to be alerted every time you do a dead lift.

2.) Lets plates slam on a machine. Not only is it similar to the attention-seeking-lunkness of dropping free weights, but it’s also damaging to the equipment.

3.) Leaves a piece of equipment out of its proper place. If you can lift the 100 lb dumbbells to get them over to the bench, then you can lift them and get them back to the rack, because I sure as heck can’t when I need to use that bench after you’re done.

4.) Finishes using a piece of equipment, then doesn’t wipe it down. I’m talking to you, men in muscle shirts who leave sweat on the benches from your exposed flesh.

5.) Flexes in the mirror. It’s a gym, not a fashion show.

6.) Snaps a selfie. This is similar to #5, but is mostly done by women. Note: the shock should also be intensified if the selfie-taker is making a duck face.

7.) Spits in the water fountain.

8.) Leaves their sweaty towel on a bench while they go workout on a different machine. Ew.

9.) Makes fun of anyone else for the shape they’re in. The shock should be intensified if done directly to the person.

10.) Loudly discusses sexual conquests. I neither care nor want to know who you slept with last night, and I certainly don’t want to know how.

 

Something else I would like to see: a variety of offered training styles. Some of us (ahem) respond better to motivation that takes a positive perspective, things like “You’re doing great!” and “Keep it up!”. Others (usually those same people who would set off the shock device) prefer a more, shall we say, rigorous approach to their exercise motivation: “You can do better, you sack of lard!” and “I thought this was a GYM, not a day spa!” and “That’s pathetic!”. The trainers who use these methods should be identified by the color of their shirt: green for the positive people, and red for the drill sergeants. So those of us seeking congratulatory fist bumps can stay far, far away from the trainers who would rather give us congratulatory shoulder punches.

If anyone reading this would be interested in funding such a gym, I would be more than happy to capitalize on these ideas and improve the gym experience of human kind.

The Discovery that Ruined my Diet

If you’re trying to diet, DO NOT, under any circumstances, read this post. I’m only trying to spare you the humiliation and sense of defeat that I suffered myself.

Here’s the discovery: brownie in a mug. You know those “that-can’t-actually-work” pins that you see on Pinterest where people dump some goop into a mug and it comes out as a brownie? Those actually work, and I just blew my diet by eating an entire mug-brownie by myself. Here’s the pin I used. The only modification that I would personally make is to use vegetable oil instead of olive oil, because I noticed just a hint of Italy in my brownie with the olive stuff.

Yes, it really does work- take it from an engineer. So, microwave on! But don’t blow your diet like Amelia did.

Camping Survival Tips

I hate nature; I prefer glass between me and the great outdoors. I don’t like sunlight, walking into spider webs, or dirt. That having been said, my friends are trying to coerce me into going camping. I’ve been putting it off for a few summers now, but I don’t want to be that kid who always turns down sleep-over invitations out of fear of wetting the bed. So, after some research, I’m compiled some camping survival tips for people like me.

1.) Sunscreen. I don’t care how much you hate slathering that nastiness on, you’ll hate sunburns even more.

2.) Bug spray. “But it isn’t good for the environment!” the hippies say. Well, too damn bad. The bugs are just lucky that I’m not carting around a container of Agent Orange.

3.) Clothing. Here’s my policy on clothing: I’d rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. So pack your parkas, ladies and gentlemen- despite the warm days, the nights can get flipping cold.

4.) Medical supplies. My policy on medical supplies: (see above clothing policy). In my medical bag, I have: sutures, triangle bandages, butterfly closures, a minor surgery kit, saline solution, ammonia inhalants, a silver colloidal suspension, v-vac, CPR mask, alcohol prep pads, a splint, and a host of other miscellaneous supplies. I’m pretty sure that I could save my friends post-bear-attack, even though I’d probably puke while stitching them up.

5.) Flashlights. Plural. With a crap ton of extra batteries. I do NOT like having to pee in the dark.

6.) Allergy medicine. In my experience, the best way to combat allergies is with a grape-flavored preemptive strike. The children’s liquid stuff works best.

7.) My own car, because quite frankly, I want an escape plan in case #1 through #6 aren’t quite cutting it. 

 

So my friends, if you still aren’t dissuaded from the idea of camping, please remember these helpful tips- or you’ll come back miserable, sun burnt, covered in bug bites, cold, bloody, and in the dark.

A Midnight Snack

It’s the middle of the night here in Colorado, and I’m hungry. So, I did what any college student would do, and I scoured the internet for easy recipes; I came across this recipe for 2-ingredient cookies, and just couldn’t resist. I was almost discouraged when I found out that the Pintester had already disproved the deliciousness of this snack, but in the spirit of one-upsmanship, I decided to do it anyway. For my mix-ins, I included a handful (okay, maybe two) of chocolate chips, just to disguise the healthiness.

I just took them out of my mini oven, and I will admit that they look rather unappealing- but they actually smell delicious. I mustered up my courage, and took a bit of one of my creations. Verdict: they’re actually GOOD!! I would absolutely make these again for my vegan friends (sans the chocolate chips), and these would be great for when I have a hankering for something sweet but don’t want to pack on the pounds. Are they as good as regular cookies? Probably not. But they’re certainly better than just oatmeal! So snack on, my friends!

What the Tee-Shirt Tutorials Don’t Tell You

Today is the day of my boyfriend’s graduation from College, but he’s been using his gift for a few weeks now: a tee shirt quilt made by yours truly. Is it gorgeous? Hell no. Is it functional? Mostly. Was it a pain in my rear? Absolutely. So before any of you go attempting those cute little tee shirt quilts you see on Pinterest, let me fill you in on some of the details.

Too many tutorials expect you to actually know something about the subject- as an engineer with a pair of kitchen scissors and a bottom-of-the-line sewing machine, I was a n00b at the whole quilting thing, and most of the tutorials I found were directed at people with at least minimal experience. So, like any good engineer, I set about gathering data and techniques from various sources to compile for you a more complete tutorial.

The first thing that they should have told you, but didn’t: use tee shirts of the same size. If like me, you are an S woman trying to make a quilt for an L man, DO NOT, for the love of the sewing gods, try to include your own tee shirts. Use tee shirts of the same size for this project, or the cutting and piecing steps will take so long that you might just give up on the whole damn quilt, at which point you will be left with tee shirt scraps and a disappointed boyfriend. I came close to this myself, but managed to make do with some clever rearranging of the pieces towards the end. Cut all the tee shirt blocks to the SAME SIZE, so that maybe your seams will line up at the end if you’re lucky.

The second thing they don’t tell you: iron the tee shirts beforehand so that you don’t get wrinkles in your fusible interlining.

The third thing: what the hell is a “fusible interlining”? Well, aside from the actual tee shirts, it’s the most critical part of this whole project. Fusible interlining is available at any quilting store, and it’s basically a synthetic fiber mesh with stuff on one side that sticks to fabric when ironed. Why is this necessary? Because sewing with tee shirts by themselves is a biotch. They stretch and squirm and deform and the whole thing is just miserable. So, after you’ve cut your tee shirts into pieces, cut the interlining into pieces of the same size and iron it on. It will make the tee shirts stiffer so that you can sew with them without hassle.

Now arrange your tee shirt tiles on the floor in an arrangement that you like, and start sewing- easier said than done. I suggest starting with the lower left corner and sewing it to the lower second-from-the-left, and then after that seam is done, sewing the lower third-from-the-left onto your now forming row. After you’ve completed all your rows, which should just be strips, pin your bottom row to the second-from-the-bottom row and sew. Continue in this fashion until you have something that looks like a reasonably attractive blanket on the front, and a mess of thread and seams on the back. At this point, the majority of the work is out of the way, and it will actually start to look like a quilt.

The fourth thing they don’t tell you: how to piece together the back of your quilt. I used flannel for the back of mine, which makes it quite soft and cozy. My suggestion to avoid unnecessary measuring and cutting would be to make the backing out of two huge strips of fabric by sewing them together, and then folding that whole thing in half and sewing a little fake seam in the middle to make it look like you sewed four pieces together instead of two. Here’s the tricky part: you need to make sure that the dimensions of your backing are 2″ on each side BIGGER than your tee shirt cluster. Lay the backing on the ground, ugly side up, and move on to the batting.

The fifth thing: what is this “batting” stuff and does it mean baseball? Batting, apparently, is the fluffy stuff they put in the middle of quilts to make them warmer and puffier. You can buy it at quilting stores (also where you get that fusible weirdness) in big rolls.

Lay your fluffy stuff out on top of your backing so that it’s relatively flat-ish, and then lay your tee shirt cluster on top of that, making sure the cluster is CENTERED inside the backing, pretty side up.

Now, because I’m lazy and in a hurry, I will lead you to this woman’s excellent tutorial on “cheater binding”, which is how you finish your lovely quilt.

Well, you’ve almost finished it, anyway. The final step is to sew, by hand, little “tacks” at each of the tee shirt junctures. You sew all the way through the layers, which keeps them from shifting around.

Good luck, my fellow n00bs!