meditation in lincoln park.

For me, one of the (frankly…MANY) good things to come out of COVID was getting to meet some new JC gal pals via Jersey City Women’s Collaborative…via Zoom. It’s an awesome group of women and a perfect way to connect with other like-minded gals about the town. Everyone has some kind of cool business or expertise or talent or art or cause and some people have ALL OF THOSE THINGS BECAUSE THEY ARE SUPER HUMAN AND I SALUTE THEM. And this past weekend, it was time to actually meet some of them in person at a meditation in Lincoln Park!

You already know I love Lincoln Park, and now you know I love Jersey City Women’s Collaborative too, so needless to say I was pretty pumped.

But also a little nervous! In-person event etiquette is rusty for all and I didn’t realize COVID’s impact on my social skills at first but I do think that they have definitely suffered. I’m an extrovert in the sense that I’m loud and I’m out there and I need to suck the collective energy from other humans around me to survive, but I also kind of really don’t like people overall and I especially dislike strangers. I don’t love to make small talk. I also have a lot of difficulty hearing…LIKE A LOT…so I usually prefer the written word for interactions. Like if I message with you all the time on Instagram and then don’t really talk to you when I see you at a loud-ass bar or concert or workout class…that’s why. Like I literally CANNOT HEAR YOU and it is MENTALLY EXHAUSTING to try.

Sadly there is another element to my nervousness and it involves caring what other people think. I know…ew. So gross. And I don’t usually care what people think, I really do not. But in a situation where the whole GOAL is to try to make new friends/acquaintances and possibly locate the social jackpot that is a kindred-spirit, a small amount of care must go into considering the thoughts of others. Like really just a “read the room” approach is acceptable here but even that makes me nervous that I’ll do it wrong. Whew. Human-ing is just too much.

Enough about me because I want to tell you about this meditation in Lincoln Park! It was led by Jennifer Wai, Intuitive Consultant. She has an incredibly calming and thoughtful vibe and also has THE BEST HAIR. Not to take it THERE and make it about PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES, but…love her hair. When I arrived I looked across the park with her awesome hair in mind and when I spotted it I knew which group I should head toward!

This is a creepy photo I took because I didn’t want to be disruptive.

Okay but BEYOND THE HAIR she expertly led us through a really calming and relaxing meditation under a tree in Lincoln Park. We were invited to sit down or lay down and it was Sunday and I had my blanket and I was also very tired so I laid down on my back and looked up at the beautiful tree before closing my eyes.

IT FELT SO NICE.

She talked to us about using nature as a grounding force and how connecting with something alive can help us meditate. LOVE THAT. I personally avoided meditating for many years because I 1 – thought it was silly and 2 – thought I would suck at it. In the past few years I’ve been more open to it and have definitely seen real and valuable benefits, but the suggestion of using something alive/in nature to help in your meditation like COMPLETELY BLEW MY MIND. Which is what is ACTUALLY SILLY because I love nature and I’m always hanging out there anyway so I don’t know why I didn’t think of that.

Oops. Sry.

Jennifer played some music and guided us through the meditation and I will say again that it just felt so relaxing and nice. The park is beautiful right now, and the weather wasn’t perfect but it was good enough. It was SATISFACTORY. We all just relaxed and listened to her voice and connected with nature and when she told us it was done and to open our eyes I felt very warm and fuzzy and float-y.

Oooooo ya.

I SHOULD DO IT EVERY SUNDAY.

But the fun wasn’t over because we got up and headed across the park to do another exercise! I couldn’t wait to see what it was and we found out soon enough when we gathered in a circle in a grove of big ass trees.

We partnered up, and usually partner things make me feel weird. Like in dance classes if there is partner work I will go hide in the bathroom until the class is done learning that part because I don’t want to do it. But for this exercise I was able to partner with a gal I have met via Instagram and I felt like I already knew her and she wasn’t a scary stranger and that was great!

It’s worth pointing out that no one there was actually a scary stranger and I’m just a weirdo. This one’s on me.

After we found our partner, Jennifer passed out some neat little blindfolds and told us that we would be taking turns being blindfolded and led around by our partner to a particular tree. Our partner would also try to disorient us by spinning us around. We would then be expected to touch, smell, hear, etc the tree. Also, and this is my favorite part, we were instructed to “Ask the tree for information.” AND I FELT LIKE I HAD BEEN WAITING MY WHOLE LIFE TO BE GIVEN PERMISSION TO ASK A TREE FOR INFORMATION AND I COULD NOT CONTAIN MY EXCITEMENT. After getting to know the tree we would be led back to our starting spot, take off the blindfold, and try to ID which tree around us we had just had a moment with.

Whoa.

I didn’t think we’d be able to do it! I went first as the Blindfolded, and my new pal guided me around. It was super weird to not be able to see and totally freaked me out…so that was tough. But I met my tree soon enough and I hugged it and explored its surface with my hands and smelled it and spoke to it and ASKED IT FOR INFORMATION. Then we did the whole thing again with my partner blindfolded and me guiding her.

And guess what? WE ALL FOUND OUR TREES. IT WAS NUTS. MY MIND WAS BLOWN.

My tree friend is in the middle! 💕

What a cool exercise! I kind of want to go back and make my friends or my mom or my boyfriend do it with me. She DID let us keep the blindfolds…

It was an outstanding and memorable event and a perfect way to spend a Sunday, so thank you very much Jennifer Wai and Jersey City Women’s Collaborative. I’m looking forward to the next event, a summer clothing swap at Canco Park 6/12 at 1pm. Maybe I’ll see ya there!

briogeo scalp revival.

Just want to share about the Briogeo Scalp Revival Kit I tried yesterday. I guess I don’t really have any results yet but I will let you know my experience and maybe update with the results if I remember.

My scalp is a disaster. I realize it’s probably not socially acceptable to admit that because it’s like a MESSY and UNSIGHTLY problem but it is a DISASTER. It is very dry and uncomfortable and I’ve tried many things and none of them have worked.

I haven’t gone to the dermatologist and asked her so I guess that’s the next step. I also have to go and ask her about the skin on my face constantly breaking out because THAT is an additional terrible disaster but let’s handle one thing at a time for now.

There are a lot of products for scalp problems! I’ve tried the classic Head and Shoulders and that did work for many winters, but it does not work now. Not sure how I managed to level up beyond its ability to help me. But I’m honored.

Just kidding I am NOT honored because I had to try this disgusting black tar Neutrogena shampoo and it actually smells and feels like tar. OMG I JUST LOOKED IT UP AND IT HAS ACTUAL TAR IN IT. The smell of it sickens me and makes me want to die and it totally dries my hair out and ruins it for at least two days so I was only using it once a week on Sundays and slathering an overnight hair mask on after.

It didn’t even work. It was disgusting and awful and IT DIDN’T EVEN WORK.

Maybe because I only used it once a week but honestly that’s all I could tolerate and I’m sorry. I don’t like to be a brat and hate on things so I’m sorry for that too. Neutrogena, forgive me.

But that shit didn’t work so it’s ON TO THE NEXT MY FRIENDS.

The Briogeo kit arrived last week but I waited until my lunch break yesterday to use it. I was actually really excited to open it up and try it out.

The best part is it has a little scalp rubbing tool and I thought that would be really fun. AND IT WAS.

Both the shampoo and conditioner made my scalp feel tingly and that was delightful.

AND THEY DIDN’T SMELL LIKE TAR.

I finished it off with the scalp oil and a hair mask because my poor hair is very dry and a hair mask is always necessary.

As my hair dried I noticed that my scalp was…still dry. Which is so so incredibly annoying. LIKE STOP ALREADY. I think I’m going to have to use this kit a couple of times a week for a few weeks and then report back on the results.

Fingers crossed that THERE ARE RESULTS to report on.

Ugh being a human is exhausting.

self love soirée.

Hey hi just going to do a quick recap of the Self Love Soiree I attended on Saturday because self love is very important especially during these valentines times.

LIKE VERY IMPORTANT.

I’ve written about this before but I think Valentine’s Day is a great time to reflect on loving yourself. Wait have I written about this before? I know I’ve written about loving your friends on Valentine’s Day. Also important!

Either way, love yourself. Just do it. It feels great. It’s totally worth it. And in the world today there are actually a ton of opportunities for self love and self care and it’s now socially acceptable to take a break and take a breath and also to admire yourself so LET’S DO IT.

The night before the Self Love Soiree I returned to drinking after a dry January so it was VERY DIFFICULT to get going but I eventually got out of bed. After a cold brew and a green juice at The Cottage on Monticello I was happily on my way to Deep Space/The Hive for the Soiree.

Yes, I do go there every weekend I guess. My boyfriend referred to it as my “community center.” MAYBE IT IS. It’s great because I can walk there and there’s always fun stuff there! I don’t know how it could get any better. I’m not ashamed.

Unfortunately I was still very hungover so I didn’t get a lot of pics. But I’ll share with you what I did!

I was excited to get a pair of conversation heart earrings from Aly Cupcake/Aly’s Little Things. THEY ARE SO COOL. There’s nothing I love more than cute jewelry with bad words on it. That’s not a lie.

WTF.

She also had some really awesome pink/red/romantic looking earrings with Cupids and actual anatomical hearts on them that were SO COOL. Truthfully I really wanted these but technically I’m still in “No Shop Q1” so I’m not supposed to buy clothes or accessories.

I know I cheated with buying the convo heart earrings but they were like $10 so I think that’s a minimal shopping footprint.

Had to support a local business, you guys.

I really enjoyed checking out the display that find & revive set up. I realize I’m a broken record with this but the space looks so different at every event and I think that is so cool. I MEAN IT IS MY COMMUNITY CENTER, PEOPLE.

They had lots of reds and purples and animal print and it was all very romantic and lovely. Honestly I couldn’t even go near it because I would have been too tempted to buy.

I can’t wait until April 1.

This Saturday 2/13/21, find & revive will be back with a pop up at the Galentine’s event at Monroe’s in Hoboken so check THAT out. (I will)

Tainable, Kaze Jewels, and Dalia Handcrafts were also in attendance as vendors. I didn’t get to take the closest look at them on Saturday but I checked them out on Instagram and they all have great stuff so I hope to see them again when I can buy…EVERYTHING.

On my way out I got distracted by some books and I came across two advance copies of books I’ve been wanting to read! Like they’re released now but these copies were advance at one time and now very affordable because the person that had them originally was giving them away. Because books are expensive!

One of them is Detransition, Baby and it’s the next book for Roxanne Gay’s online book club The Audacious Book Club SO THIS WORKED OUT PERFECTLY. I can tell you more about the book club another time but it’s really incredibly great and you should also subscribe to her newsletter The Audacity BECAUSE WHY NOT.

I got the books from Xtina’s Variety and Vintage Shop and I’m going to be looking for more books there next time. BECAUSE BOOKS.

So that was the Self Love Soiree! I loved myself so much that I needed a nap after. A long one.

As far as my community center, there is a Galentine’s event there this weekend they’re hosting along with JC Women’s Collaborative that looks very fun so if you’re a gal and you have pals that are gals you should check it out.

months and months of birchboxes pt. 2.

Once again I have collected months and months of unopened Birchboxes. And I’ve found myself with a BIRCHBOX BACKLOG.

WHAT AM I SAVING THEM FOR?!

I guess…this?

Let’s begin.

october 2020.

Okay honestly I don’t really know what month any of these are from but October was my best guess for this one, for whatever reason. I guess I could look it up but I don’t really feel like it.

I am very, VERY excited about the eyeshadow in this one because I need eyeshadow but I didn’t feel like buying it. I haven’t really used it for a while but want to put it back in the ‘ol routine, if I ever get to leave my house again.

This box also includes a product for “scalp detox.” Personally I am currently very into “scalp detox” because my poor scalp is really suffering. I never realized it could be a problem but it really kind of is. Hopefully this will help! Yay!

The makeup brush made me laugh because I collect makeup brushes like Birchboxes…I put them somewhere and never open them.

And that has to stop.

This month’s box design was really fun too, I love all these different ladies with their different lipsticks!

november 2020.

November is my BIRTHDAY MONTH so I know this one is from then because on the silly shipping label it said, “Happy Birthday Shannon Popov.”

Okay first of all, THIS BOX CONTAINS A JADE ROLLER. I have been wanting to try a jade roller forever but really didn’t feel like buying one. But here one is! In my hand! For me to try!

This box has an amika hair product in it, which is great, because amika makes the only styling products I’ve found that make my hair look how I want it to look. AND I NEED AS MUCH OF IT AS I CAN GET.

It also has a Rebecca Minkoff perfume sample, which got me thinking. For the last 3-ish years I have obsessively worn “Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanille Abricot” (which I found via Birchbox) because it SMELLS LIKE DELICIOUS COOKIES but I’ve let that run out so I think it’s time to try some new stuff? Maybe for the next month or so I’ll try on all the perfume samples I’ve been hoarding. IT WILL BE FUN.

december 2020.

Is this from December? I think? The little card said something about the holidays?

The box is very understated but a peaceful blue. Peaceful is always good.

I’ve been trying to do a hair mask once or twice a week so I was VERY PLEASED to find a hair mask in here, as my hair mask supply is not infinite and needed to be replenished.

I really LOVE this red nail polish and I wish I opened this box before Xmas because I would have used the polish then. Whatever I’ll still use it now.

RED POLISH 4EVA.

Additionally this box has hand cream! Always need that. Every minute of every day. In every purse. Thx.

mystery month 1.

No idea what month this is from but I LOVE this flowery box! Wow! I wish I had something to do with the boxes besides throw them out…plz share ideas if you have any.

Biggest takeaway is that this box has a CANNABIS moisturizer and I’ve never tried that and I want to. I don’t think it’s going to MAKE MY FACE HIGH or anything but I’m interested to see what benefit it might add to a moisturizer…if anything.

I GUESS I’LL FIND OUT.

I love the hydrating collagen eye masks in this box, too. I’ve gotten them in a box two or three times before and I will always take them again because they’re great.

mystery month 2.

Another mystery. Who knows. I apologize for kind of half-assing this post but like…this was a lot of boxes, you guys. I will try to get back on track next month I swear.

Anyway, this box is like a little drawer and has a little pink tassel to pull it open. LOOK AT THE LITTLE PINK TASSEL IT IS EVERYTHING.

This box had a cute little bingo in it that you could fill out and post on social media and enter to win a prize. But I missed that because it was over at the end of September and I didn’t open the box until now. Maybe this was the August box? Either way, I’m sad about the bingo.

There is ANOTHER hair mask in this box and I’m just so glad that I’ve got more hair masks in my arsenal. My poor dry, frizzy hair needs to be masked as much as possible so it doesn’t fully snap off my head. It’s a tough life.

This box also has an Arrow lip product and I AM VERY INTO ARROW LIP PRODUCTS. I always enjoyed grabbing an Arrow lip balm in the Birchbox section of the Hollywood Walgreens. I MISS TRAVEL. SOB.

This appears to be a moisturizing oil and again I wish I opened this box sooner because my lips were REAL BAD around Xmas and I really needed some help and this would have…helped.

Next time.

That’s all the Birchboxes! Whew! Okay I have to take a nap now bye.

nike run club app.

Friends, I’d like to use this time to tell you about the Nike Run Club app. A friend told ME about it so as your friend I am now going to tell YOU.

The Nike Run Club app is the single reason I have run more than one half assed time in the last two weeks. I HAVE RUN 8 TIMES IN THE PAST TWO WEEKS AND GOTTEN BETTER EVERY TIME.

I don’t know who I even am anymore but I don’t think I care.

my history of running.

Let me be clear, I have NEVER EVER been a runner. I always HATED running at my adult height, weight, size, etc.

As like a 7-10 year old I was super into running but then it was ONLY sprinting because we had this really fun “junior olympics” in our township every fall and I placed in at least the top 3 and often won in that 3 or 4 year period. AND I LIKE NOTHING BETTER THAN WINNING. Add standing on a podium in front of all the kids I went to school with and my dad (who made me do sports and I hated sports but I felt great when I did well at sport and he was proud, he was always proud anyway because he is a nice dad) and I was RIDING HIGH.

Like I got a PRIZE in the form of a medal AND I got to be the center of attention and I was pumped to know what running could do for ME in the long…run.

The answer is: nothing at all. I had my obligatory growth spurt at like 11/12 and then I was the full sized adult woman I am now and also had the same boobs. And it got so much harder to run. Like so, SO MUCH harder. At the same time I was also trying to master using my newly enormous-feeling, deadweight body to do back flips and jumps and cheerleading shit so I was like ok it’s gonna have to be one thing at a time because I’m not the athlete my dad tried to make me be. Just not in the cards.

Most of my peers, as in the other gals that were good at running when we were young, continued to be good at running. And the spring of freshman year of high school, I joined them on the track to try to get my ass in gear.

And it did not work. As I said, not in the cards. I felt so slow and sluggish. I got really bad shin splints. I thought it was insane and ridiculous and unnecessary to run in the rain and up hills and through corn fields where you could sprain an ankle at any second. It was just. Not. Worth it.

So I gave up because I wasn’t good at it. Which I would like to say is actually NOT some kind of terrible character flaw and is in fact HUMAN NATURE. Like if you you don’t NEED to do something to live and thrive and you’re not good at it, why would you KEEP DOING IT? That makes no sense. Just find something else. And spare me the “work hard and you’ll get good at it” thing. That whole idea can suck it.

Since that misguided flirtation with track and field freshman year of high school, and the forced running I had to do in gym class and cheerleading practice that I complained the whole way through, during my whole adult life I have not been running. I love working out! But I never wanted to run. Until like 2 weeks ago.

the running begins.

I have really been struggling with the weight I’ve gained while stuck inside, and my usual workouts were not helping. Listen, I know that weight loss is like 20% exercise and 80% diet. I think for me it’s actually 5% exercise and 95% diet. Either way I SUCK at the diet part because like WHY BOTHER, but the workouts seemed to help more in the past and I felt I had plateaued and they weren’t working at all. So on Thanksgiving after a lovely meal and some adult candy I was like, “When I digest this food and sober up, so it will probably be tomorrow, but I’ma HIT THE TRACK.”

And then I did. I set off with a goal of working up to a 7min mile. The first timed mile I ran was 8.21, not bad, I thought. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. I don’t know anything about running and I don’t have a coach. I guess i’ll Google it. The “7min mile” was some bullshit they made us do at cheerleading practice in high school and I wanted to die and I don’t think I ever actually did it in 7mins because I was a little asshole and didn’t do what people told me to do if I found it ridiculous and arbitrary and unnecessary.

And it WAS ridiculous and arbitrary and unnecessary at the time, I stand by that. A 7min mile was not a valuable endurance benchmark for the type of sport and athleticism I was training for. So yes, I already said it BUT I STAND BY THAT.

But as an adult in the year 2020, I’ve gained a ton of weight and I don’t really have anything else to do so I was like why not.

nike run club app enters my life.

After that first run I asked around if anyone had running tips they could share and one friend was like “Nike Run Club app!” So I did my second run with that.

AND IT CHANGED EVERYTHING.

I still don’t love running and I think it’s pretty ridiculous as a sport. And also painful. Consistently painful. I even already injured myself and diagnosed myself with Cuboid syndrome, because I’m a doctor.

But the coach dude on the app, “Coach Bennett,” just talks you through it and says all the right things and basically brainwashes you into thinking everything will be okay. And I’m totally fine with being brainwashed. If it’s for my own good and it helps me get through something and it tricks me into thinking something terrible is fun, I AM FULLY ON BOARD.

It’s possible I use the word “brainwash” loosely and haphazardly, because I also referred to my successful experiences with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as brainwashing. But like either way, it’s positive brainwashing. And even better, a robot is doing it.

I guess “Coach Bennett” isn’t an actual robot but the means in which his message is delivered is 100% via a robot from the future. Because the future is now. The robot is my phone. “Coach Bennett” isn’t here. He doesn’t know who I am. He’s shouting into the void in a recording studio, but his message reaches me just the same.

And the message is, “running is okay.” Like, IT IS OKAY. I can make it through. I don’t even need to go fast. I can go at my own pace, I can zone out and listen to his voice, I can zone out completely and not listen to anything. And therein lies the beauty: running offers freedom from needing to think about anything.

ABOUT ANYTHING.

It’s also possible to link up your Spotify account and play your own playlists while you run. EVEN BETTER, they have custom playlists that they have made for their “Guided Runs” and from those playlists I have found new music I like for the first time in A WHILE. Listening to music I like while I’m running really helps me get it done.

And now I look forward to it. Yes I said that, I look forward to running. The Nike Run Club app has made me look forward to running. I wake up really early and I read the NYTimes morning daily brief email and wait for the sun to rise so it’s safe to walk to Lincoln Park and I get a medium hot black coffee with a coconut flavor shot and 1 mocha flavor swirl from the Dunkin Donuts on West Side Ave and I walk into the park and I look for the red tailed hawks and I say hi to the red tailed hawks and I finish my coffee and I check to see if the pond is frozen on that particular morning and wonder if I’ll see the yellow-crowned night heron they always advertise but I never see him and then I HIT THE TRACK and I press start on the Nike Run Club app and then it’s game on.

The other day “Coach Bennett” was talking about science biology stuff that goes along with running and I got so pumped up and was running along to the beat of my Spotify and shouting out “MITOCHONDRIAAAAA!” at the top of my lungs and it was the best day of my life.

This all happens before 9am and I like that even more. I take pride in the fact that I have forced myself into being a morning person. And I’ve never stopped feeling like I stole some of the day back. From who, I don’t know, “The Man,” I guess. But those 4 hours in the morning before 10am are ALL MINE and I’m never giving them back and now running helps me keep a firm grip on them.

And the Nike Run Club app helps me run.

Try it out, don’t be scared. You can find it in the App Store. It’s an app, you guys.

Let me know what you think!

covid test up the nose.

I haven’t been writing here much because I’ve been busy with something else in my free time and maybe I’ll tell you what it is someday but maybe you don’t even care. Today I WILL tell you about getting a covid test up the nose.

It’s actually called a…ugh whatever I can’t find what it’s actually called right now. So it’s called covid test up the nose.

“Goes up your nose”

I had heard that this test was “uncomfortable” so of course I was scared. I was also told IUD insertion was “uncomfortable” and it was a searing pain that radiated from my cervix out into my entire body. So no I don’t really trust the medical claim of “uncomfortable.”

There is a testing center on Marin Blvd in Jersey City that I’ve walked by and seen out the window of an Via on my way to Target so I knew it was there. The internet said it was open 8am-3pm so we decided to head over during my lunch break.

The line is usually very long and goes out the gate and around the block so in my mind I was like “the line will show us where to go.” But when we got there, there was no line and we did not know where to go. There weren’t even clear signs. It was like they were trying to hide it. Maybe they were.

In a hidden back corner of the parking lot we saw a woman emerge from a nondescript white trailer holding an official looking paper and we were like “there!”

No line!

We entered the trailer and there was no wait. We gave our IDs to the gals taking the IDs and got ready to get a covid test up the nose.

My boyfriend went first and the test caused him to sneeze everywhere. This was unfortunate because he had his bandana pulled down to uncover his nose for the covid test up the nose so it seemed like he was sneezing all over the whole trailer. And in a way he was.

The calm before the sneeze.

The ID gals were shocked and terrified and yelled, “Ah! Put on your mask!” And as he ran out of the trailer they generously sprayed Lysol everywhere.

That was a tough act to follow but I gathered my courage and obediently sat in the chair for the doctor gal to give me a covid test up the nose.

She said she was going to “take a sample while counting to 5,” and I was like “okay.”

The moment of truth had arrived and she shoved the swab up my nose. And honestly it wasn’t that bad. I took a big dramatic breath and closed my eyes to steel myself and she was probably like <eye roll> because it just felt like falling into water and getting water up your nose because you were surprised and unprepared to blow air out your nose.

My own personal test

Like it was just a water up your nose burning feeling. And she counted to 5 and I think that helped me get through. Bedside manner is v important my friends. Chair side manner?

This shit is free so go get it! I mean why not? I love free shit and we never, EVER get free health shit in this land of the free home of the Brave so why not take advantage. My phone insisted on capitalizing “Brave” there so I left it. Have some respect.

Here’s where you can find places to get tested in NJ: Covid Test NJ

Please don’t sneeze all over the trailer and scare the ID gals.

microneedling at home.

It seems fun to stick with a two days long theme so I’m going to tell you about another self care needle activity you can do trapped inside your house. And that is microneedling at home.

WTF is microneedling? I honestly have no idea, but it’s one of those words that sounds fancy and fashionable and EFFECTIVE. Because BEAUTY IS PAIN and NEEDLES EQUAL PAIN so this shit WILL WORK.

At least I hope so.

I ordered this little at home microneedling rolly thing from Grace and Stella. This store came out of nowhere and I think was in my Gmail ads. Like the things on top of your emails that aren’t actually emails and they say “Ad” next to them. Because they are ads.

My Gmail knows me better than anyone, even my own mother, so it knew that if it showed me this particular ad for this particular product that I WOULD click this ad and I WOULD purchase the product being sold by this ad. Does this sound like Rehoboam to you? That’s because it is. Google is Rehoboam, you heard it here first.

So this microneedling at home rolly thing (it’s called a “dermaroller”) arrived at my home and I was pumped to check it out. Just like with any facial skincare thing, I was also nervous. The skin on your face is sensitive AF (according to science) and when you’ve found a good balance for it through products and sleeping and drinking water and shit, it’s scary to throw something else into the mix that may tip the scale back to shittier skin.

When I opened the package it was like, “soak the needle thing in alcohol first.” So first, I soaked the needle thing in alcohol for 5 minutes.

Following the alcohol soaking sesh, I then rolled it on my face back and forth in different directions. I was afraid it would hurt but it didn’t – it was just like a tingly prickle. “Tingly prickle” sounds freaky but that’s what it was. Deal with it.

Afterward, I applied the hyaluronic acid that came with the rolly thing. This seemed like a good deal but they could have just tricked me with marketing. It happens again and again.

The instructions said not to wear makeup for 24 hours so I didn’t. Yesterday it was really humid and my face did get a little irritated when I was walking outside and got that disgusting sweaty sheen that happens on humid days, but it feels fine today!

I’m not sure it really did anything, but I think this may be something I have to do a few times to see results. The result I desire is blasting my forehead wrinkles off my face. Soon I’ll try Botox for that, but not yet.

Have you tried microneedling at home? Did I even do it right?

putting the t in gtl.

You’re likely aware that I am known to put the G and L in GTL but today I’m going to talk about putting the T in GTL.

If you don’t know what “GTL” is, it means “Gym, Tan, Laundry” and it is the guiding principle of the show Jersey Shore. This is important because Jersey Shore is about New Jersey. New Jersey is very important. I also started pondering this today because Pauly D introduced his quarantine beard via social media. If you click on that link you will see that it is also VERY IMPORTANT.

When Jersey Shore was on the television people from NJ would try to deny that people like the Jersey Shore characters even exist. They tried to turn them into urban legends/folktales/aliens because some of them came from like, “Connecticut” or “Staten Island.” Well guess what, one of them came from “Manalapan,” aka the most stereotypically “Jersey” place I have ever been. And I am pretty Jersey. SO THERE.

Even ten years later, Jersey Shore is very real. The exact type of folks depicted on Jersey Shore are very real. Variations of manifestations of those types of folks are even MORE real. Deal with it. It’s just like The Sorpanos, whenever I watch it I see everyone I’ve ever known or will know. It’s just the way it is.

The time of the year has come for the “T” to be very, VERY important and I would like to reflect on the T.

The T is “tanning.” Keep up.

tanning.

Tanning is very, very much a thing in New Jersey. I know it probably is elsewhere, but I’m just speaking from my personal experience here. We love to be tan. We really, really do. But along with that love comes the shame and occasional secrecy of a dirty habit that’s really bad for you and WILL give you cancer.

For some of us it started as children.

backyard pool.

The backyard pool is where it’s AT. I have photos of myself at 2 years old, wearing a bikini in a backyard pool. I most definitely chose this bikini so you can calm down about THAT.

Backyard pool parents.

Breaking out the backyard pool at the beginning of the season was incredible! My niece and nephew only just took theirs out last weekend and I think they probably lost their little minds.

When I was their age I was 100% thinking about getting tan. I think it’s just in my blood. I already was appalled by sunscreen. I liked to see how my skin got darker, my hair got blonder. What an entrancing transformation! I didn’t mind getting burned. I actually kind of liked getting burned because it would give me that summertime feeling of being really hot, like on fire, but then the AC cools you down and it’s delightful.

My legs…are just so tan that I’m mesmerized by them.

I got off to a bad start with this tanning thing.

straight-up backyard.

Oh you don’t have a backyard pool? I’m talking about a small inflatable kiddie pool here, we most definitely did not have a real pool…but if you don’t have an inflatable kiddie pool, just being in the backyard in your bathing suit on a sunny day will work. Do it.

Just a hose works too.

the beach.

It goes without saying that the beach is a place to get tan. I really shouldn’t have to explain it to you. Spend an entire day at the beach and then set up a backyard pool at your rented beach house to catch the late afternoon/early evening sun and you get bonus points.

Not the beach. Just a unicorn.

tanning bed.

Yes I used tanning beds. I used tanning beds EXCESSIVELY. It’s going to hurt me, I’m aware. I guess I started when I was like 13? Or maybe you had to be 15? Maybe there weren’t even any rules at that time, it was 1998.

I would get tanning packages that were “discounted” because you bought them in bulk, as packages ARE. I think we also figured out some way to like, be new clients without being “new” and got a better rate. Maybe I’m making this up. You’ll never know.

Going to the tanning salon was the best part of the GOD DAMN DAY. It was really something to look forward to, especially if it was rainy or cold. It was a sacred place to relax and be warm. It smelled like coconuts and tanning lotion. You could close your eyes and pretend you were somewhere that wasn’t NJ in March, which is basically hell.

I put a little palm tree sticker on my butt to track how tan I was getting.

It was a beautiful time.

bishop beach.

When I was a junior in high school and got sent to the principal’s office (every day) for wearing “inappropriate outfits,” I would say, “Fuck this I’m going to wear bathing suits to class in college.”

And then I did.

But when I wasn’t in class, I was at “Bishop Beach,” a lawn at Rutgers between Tinsley and some other one where people would “lay out.” And tan. I would walk the 3 minutes from my dorm in my Playboy bunny bikini (oh yes) and black platform flip flop sandals carrying the latest issue of Maxim (for some reason it inspired me) and then I would just lay on Bishop Beach for hours and pretend it was the real beach. I miss Rutgers EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

T and also G.

hoboken pier(s).

Ugh I can’t believe I’m even writing this but yes I once lived in Hoboken and hated it but the place to tan there was the “downtown pier.”

The downtown pier was the most basic place in the most basic town of all time and I probably would have thrown some random broseph in the Hudson if I didn’t eventually discover the “uptown pier.”

The uptown pier was far superior: much less crowded, more geese, quieter, etc. The bad news is, when I looked this up I found that maybe it’s Pier 13 now. Ugh.

van vorst park.

In the many years that I lived in downtown Jersey City, Van Vorst Park was my go-to spot for tanning. Van Vorst Park is a PARK AMONG PARKS. A REAL PARK’S PARK.

Seriously though Van Vorst Park kicks ass.

There is a fountain, there are so many plants, dogs for doggling. Van Vorst Park is also where Park Punch was created. Drinking while tanning is highly encouraged. Hydration and whatever.

rooftops.

I will end with rooftops, the poor Shan’s beach, park, and pool all in one. Rooftops are black and made of some kind of tar or something so the sun is really drawn to them. You don’t have to sit outside for long to really see results.

These are old buildings I live in, and continue to live in, and will likely live in forever, so a rooftop tan sesh usually involves scaling some kind of fire escape/ladder/wall. Fire escape ladders to the roof are so incredibly steep, like straight up and down. It’s kind of terrifying but worth the view.

You can only get this tan with real commitment.

Again, I know I’m encouraging tanning but I do feel guilty about it so…leave me alone. Also I do wear SPF 100 on my face, because I have a very important face product regimen that cannot be trifled with. I wear SPF 30 on my body because that will allow me to still get tan but not too red. It usually works.

So that’s my ode to tanning, the “T” in “GTL.” We’ve come a long way together and we’ll continue to enjoy the sunshine on warmer days in the Garden State. Because I think tanning beds are illegal now. But I don’t really want to check because if they AREN’T illegal all bets are off.

press-on nails vol. 2 – pedicure edition.

During this terrible time in world history, one of our greatest challenges is dealing with the closure of nail salons. This closure happened RIGHT at the beginning of pedicure season and the situation is DIRE. So I have resorted to using press-on pedicures because I refuse to paint on anything.

I can’t deal with the painting on.

I JUST CAN’T.

The press-on pedicure I used for this post, which is still on my feet TWO WEEKS after applying it, was purchased at Target. It’s a Kiss product. They really have a hold on the press-on stuff market. But I’ve tried some other brands too, which I will tell you about another day.

To get started on this at home pedicure, I first applied a Dr. Foot foot mask from Grace and Stella.

I had no expectations for this foot mask, because I got it for free when I ordered some eye pads I still haven’t used. It’s usually sold for $20 so I was glad to get something like that for free. I mean come on.

You apply Dr. Foot to your feet and then put some socks on over him and you sit around for a while. I think at least an hour but I already forgot.

When you take the mask off, you don’t see much. Your feet are still there, and they look the same. BUT over the next couple of days your feet start to shed rough skin and it flakes off all over the place. Yes that is gross AF and I’m sorry. But it also means that this mask is KILLIN IT. And in time your feet will be softer and better.

Mine are ALMOST FULLY softer and better and this was two weeks ago. The effects last for LITERAL WEEKS. I just ordered another one today because it was definitely worth $20.

Okay enough about the foot mask. Next up I glued on the nails! Each fake nail has a little tab at the top so you can place it on your nail and not get glue all over your life. Which is the worst.

Once it’s firmly glued on you can remove the little tab. Once you remove the tabs, BOOM! Pedicure!

I did still end up getting glue on my life. Also this is terrible lighting.

The one thing I didn’t love about these is the glue tube. It’s not the best way to deliver the glue, and if you need to do touch ups later on, glue in a tube is harder to use after it’s been opened. The first press on manicure I did had stickers already on the nails that worked pretty well. I wish they all had that.

I’d recommend a press-on pedicure! Just because these are desperate times. I’d give this a 3 out of 5 compared to an actual pedicure. The first press-on manicure I did had me thinking I might never go get my nails painted again, but I do think a pedicure is best done by a professional. I can’t wait to get back into that massage chair with a magazine.

press-on nails vol. 1

I’ve been struggling with having un-manicured nails and messy, bloody cuticles during this worst time of our lives. I came across press-on nails as a possible solution.

I vaguely remember press-on nails from childhood. They were at the big box stores and they were cheap and they were crappy. And I was against them. At one point I procured some for “dress up” purposes and they stuck to my fingers for like 3 hours and then fell off. My faith in them was no more.

Press-on nails were something I hadn’t thought about since 1993 when I came across this the other day, which led me to this, and a new fascination with press-on nails was born in my mind.

kiss imPRESS false nails.

So I went and ordered a few of the recommended kinds online. But they won’t be here for DAYS so when I went to Target the other day I picked up a pack of these Kiss imPRESS False Nails. Because I could not wait. I COULD NOT…wait. My nails are a mess and therefore my life is a mess. My life is a mess and therefore my nails are a mess? Whatever. Either way the whole thing is a flaming garbage fire mess.

When I got home, I sat down and took off the pathetic attempt at a manicure I did on Monday.

Then I cleaned my nails with the little alcholol pad they provided.

Next I went nuts on my cuticles with a new cuticle clipper I also got during this particualr Target trip. I thought it would be better to clip them with the clipper instead of bite them. I don’t know if it was better as it seemed just as bloody.

After about 5 hours of doing that, I used the alcohol wipe again to be safe. THEN IT WAS TIME TO STICK ‘EM ON.

One by one, I tested out the different sizes on my nail beds to find the best match. Once found, I removed the sticker on the back, then stuck it on my nail. I held down on the nail for 30 seconds and pushed from side to side and up and down. APPLYING PRESSURE LIKE THEY SAID.

And you know what? It totally worked! It’s not my most favorite manicure of all time, as the color choices were limited at Target, but my nails look way better! I don’t start to have a panic attack and feel like I’m going to throw up when I look down at them typing on my keyboard. I am one step closer to sane and I have press-on nails to thank.

As the different brands of press-on nails I ordered start to roll in, I’m going to tell you about them. Because like what else do I even have to talk about? I’d like to give these a rating to on a scale of 1 to 5 I will say 3.5. This is great but I do think it can go up from here.

Have you ever tried press-on nails? What did you think?