This Square Peg, Can You Hear Me?

The title’s reference is from here. If you’re a fan, allow me to welcome you into my heart forever. If you’re a superfan, allow me to move in with you because we’re officially besties.

It’s been a while, hasn’t it, since we chatted? And I’d like to imagine that my readers are in a wooded glen somewhere, like Yentl, asking if I can hear you. (Ah, this imagination of mine.) Yes, I can hear you, and yep, I’m here. Life gets in the way. The strange desire to not write or type a thing gets in the way. Planning for a European adventure that begins tomorrow gets in the way.

AudreyWave
Hey, y’all.

Wha-?

Yes, dear reader, three months after gallivanting around Germany and England, I’m headed back to Europe, this time to France. I fly out tomorrow evening and will be in Paris for about 8 days. (Seriously, y’all, jump on travel deals like there’s no tomorrow. More on that in another post.) This time, however, I’m going with two dear friends and I look forward to the fun that will be had, as well as the wine I intend to ingest while there. (I’ve been craving wine lately. So weird. I’m basically a teetotaler when it comes to alcohol, but when I want it, I wants it.) Add hot, French croissants to that list of intentions, and you can kiss my good eating regimen goodbye. Worth it, though. While I’m there and if WiFi doesn’t act up, I’ll be documenting my Frenchie adventures (such as how to recall all that French I’ve lost as the years passed me by) on TSP. Read along, won’t you?

Anywho, other than planning and putting off packing until tonight (as I do), and other life stuff, of course, I remain here. What have you been up to?

things i currently need #6

The first things I currently need of 2016. *insert celebratory applause here*

As always, images below are courtesy of my best friend 4 eva, Pinterest.

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I need everything about this ensemble. Every single thing.

creamsicle

This is a sherbet mimosa. Please and thank you. Need.

canopybed

I need to be in my bedroom and peer up at the ceiling and see stars. I mean, this needs to happen as soon as possible. Like, right now.

Welcome to the first Pinterest round-up of 2016!

Onwards…

Products from Heaven: Fits Like a Dove.

Here’s the real, no-holds barred truth about Your Square Peg: she sweats like a chocolate pig. There’s no other way to say it.

Ever since I woke up one morning a million years ago and discovered the monster known as–shudder–puberty, the sweat glands opened up, got to work, and decided to work overtime every single day. So when it comes to controlling that interesting region under the arms, I’ve been using Secret antiperspirant ever since I can remember, especially after my mother discreetly told me that borrowing my father’s deodorant (true story) was no longer acceptable. (I was 12. And it smelled nice. Strange children grow up to be sassy square pegs, so join me in embracing the strange, won’t you?)

Sidenote: I’ve long heard the conversations around me about not wearing deodorant because of all the chemicals. I appreciate it, and until I do research and find something organic and chemical free to control the sweat monster, sticking with the standard.

You know how Secret (and other antiperspirants) advertise the whole “invisible solid” thing on their products? Which should calm your fears about wearing dark clothes and not having white stains staring back at you in the mirror? Here’s a secret: This. Isn’t. True. This has never been true. You know it as much as I do. Nevertheless, I stuck with Secret through the years, wearing dark blouses very carefully and slowly, lest I disturb the Force, and kept it moving. But one gets tired of holding her breath as she pulls on her clothes. Enter Dove Dry Spray, which I happened to notice on dovedryspraythe shelf one afternoon last week. The following words on the bottle caught my eye: wetness protection. After engaging in the usual Square Peg side eye that I give any product, I decided to give it a try. It goes on dry, it boasted 48-hour odor protection, as well–why not, right?

Well, I don’t call it a Product from Heaven just because. It’s awesome. For one thing, I wasn’t lied to: this thing goes on instantly dry, it gives this chocolate square pig peg actual wetness protection, and I’ve yet to see any of those pesky white stains on my clothes. I love it so. And that scent…so heavenly.

So there you go: yet another Product from Heaven that I’ve stumbled on while meandering in the aisles of a store. Maybe I should just move in?

Ladies: care to share what you do when it comes to antiperspirant?

Products from Heaven: It’s Shea, Baby, All Shea. [The Body Edition]

shea
I make plenty of use of the three products to the right for my curly fro. I’m also now eyeing that Curl and Shine Kit.
Apparently, it wasn’t enough that I use almost every product in the wonderful and quite effective SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus line for my mind-of-its-own natural hair. I had to go and discover that SheaMoisture has amazing products for bath & body, too. (Where was I, you ask? Living under a rock, apparently. It takes square pegs some time, ok?) That said, I went ahead and fell in love with four specific products that I’ll share with you. Make way for bullets:

  • Coconut & Hibiscus Foaming Milk and Body Wash. What can I say, really? It’s foamy and milky and takes me to a coconut and hibiscus garden in the south of France somewhere. I recently purchased this product and it makes the body electric all soft and pliable and, again, I smell like an assortment of desserts. Win. [5/5 Square Pegs]
  • Coconut & Hibiscus Body Wash. I actually tried this one first. Hardly dissimilar from the first item; in fact, I first wondered why SM had two. I got the same effects from this one. And, really, the only reason that I purchased the first one and not a replacement of this one when I ran out was simply because of semantics and old age. In other words, they looked the same and I believed I was buying the same thing. (So many orange bottles.) I will say, however, that I like the whole milky/foamy aspect of the first body wash a bit more. Still a win, though. You can’t go wrong with either. [4/5 Square Pegs]
  • Coconut & Hibiscus Bath, Body & Massage Oil. Oh, are you sensing a theme here? I love that coco and ‘scus theme more than I can say. Anyway, after discovering that body oils were my new best friends, I purchased this product to see what it was all about. The consistency is heavy, yes, so unless you use the same dime-sized amount you’re cautioned to use when applying hair products–which I ignore and admit it, you do, too–you’ll learn, like me, that a little really goes a long way. (Especially after side eyeing the buckets of oil I had slathered all over me.) It’s a sweet scent, quite similar to the body washes, but can be cloying if, again, you don’t watch the amount you use. But it was also soft and yummy, so there’s that. [3-ish, close to 4 Square Pegs]
  • Coconut & Hibiscus Body Butter. All hail, basically. This product is creamy and delicious. The same aroma as the body washes, but so there’s the whole I-smell-like-a-French-garden thing, and it seriously does wonder for my dry skin. In fact, now that we’re in autumn and a month away from wintertime, I’ve placed the above-mentioned oil on the back burner while I use this body butter. With this, a little goes a long way, too, but perhaps I’m saying that because I want it to last forever and ever. I don’t know. The consistence is indeed butter like, as the product name suggests, so you may not need to slather it all over you. Really great overall. [5/5 Square Pegs and an extra praise emoji]

What are your tried-and-true or new beauty products?

Blogtober, Europe, and Me.

As we embark on a brand new October starting tomorrow, I’d like to officially announce the return of Project Blogtober! BlogtoberYou remember last year’s endeavor to blog every day during my favorite month, and my promise that I would do it again this year. Well, we’re doing it again! Here’s to blogging every day and enjoying the process like I did before. Oh, and here’s another announcement for you:

For the first fifteen days of Blogtober, your Square Peg will be blogging from–wait for it–Europe!

What?

Yes! Tomorrow, I am flying out of these United States towards a traveling adventure in Germany and London! I’m both excited and nervous. Excited because I love traveling and I love Europe and it’s been a whopping 11 years since I’ve been on that side of the world. Nervous because I’m traveling and it’s Europe and it’s been a whopping 11 years since I’ve been on that side of the world. You feel me. Other than my stateside trips, it’s been a while since I’ve embarked on an international traveling adventure. Now we need a passport (check), different currency, apps to figure out currency, etc. But I’m poised and ready for it. Here are a few of the questions I’ve received after letting friends and family and a handful of co-workers know about my impending trip.

Who are you going with?
No one. This is a Solo Square Peg Trip, which I’ve mentioned that I’ve done before and enjoy. I will be meeting/staying with new friends when I arrive, however, so this is a good thing.

Why are you going?
Edification. Meeting new people. Seeing new sights. I chose Germany because I’ve never been there and I hear it’s beautiful. I chose London because it’s insane that this Brit Baby hasn’t yet been to the place she’s dreamed of since she was a tween.

Wait, you’re really going alone?
Short of sitting in airports by myself, I won’t really be alone when I arrive in these places. It’s all good, Mom. I mean, readers. (Obviously, that question has come up.)

What are you doing with your hair?
Yep, an actual question. It’s not surprising. If you’re a lady, traveling includes your hair plans. And I’m someone who doesn’t mind hair products in a suitcase when I’m headed stateside. But going overseas? I got my hair braided into Senegalese twists this past Sunday. Worry-free, literally one product I need to pack, over and out.

Ze twists.
Ze twists.
Seriously, by yourself? Be careful!
I will. My resting face is “fierce”, as my mother likes to point out, so I’ll do my best to keep anyone, even nice old ladies, from approaching me.

Take lots and lots of pics.

Not a question, but a promise. Here’s to Blogtober in other lands and documenting every inch of the adventure along the way.

On Visuals and Inspiration.

The most popular question I get as I continue on this gaining health journey: what inspired you to want to lose weight in the first place? I don’t mind the question; to me, it’s natural that people want to know. And so I tell them: I was making very unhealthy choices in my life and it was beginning to affect my well-being. So I needed to make significant changes. Admittedly, however, there was another reason I was inspired: pure cosmetics.

Let’s be real about it: an enjoyable part of weight loss/health gain is how good you look in clothes. Sure, I’m still working on the whole not wearing baggy clothes thing (it’s all mental; we’ll talk about that in another post), but I can easily say that getting dressed has become far more enjoyable than it has been in the past. Of course, you know that beginning at age 30, my body and I became besties. I accepted this house in all its glory and that will never change, weight loss or not. But to dress it up in outfits I’m not used to wearing is certainly a treat. That said, I recently realized that even before I embarked on this journey, I had a lot of visual inspirations along the way; women that had transformed before my eyes and looked great and caught my attention. Seriously, I was stalking them on Pinterest and finally figured out why. Here are a few:

America Ferrera.

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Can I tell you, first, how much I adore this actress? I saw her in Real Women have Curves and absolutely thought she was amazing (see it if you haven’t); to me, she was the heart of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (no shame; see it and you’ll agree that it’s a terrific movie); and come on, Ugly Betty. So, being a fan, I certainly noticed a few years ago that the chubby girl on Ugly Betty was chubby no more. She was sleek, elegant, more confident. I remember thinking that I wanted the same thing if I ever slimmed down: still looking entirely like myself, stylish, real. An inspiration, for sure.

Marsha Ambrosius.

Marsha

Oh, Marsha. That hair that gives me life on a daily basis. Anyway. If you don’t know, Marsha is the other half of the soulful duo Floetry and an accomplished solo artist in her own right. Other than drooling over her gorgeous natural curls, what appealed to me was Marsha’s style. I loved how her style seemed to evolve along with her slim-down. Google her and see what I mean. Her sense of style is everything.

Jordin Sparks.

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What I love about Jordin? She talked about her journey. She talked about loving Zumba (and I learned that she took classes with my instructors!), she talked about watching her portions, she discussed the joy of wearing a dress without a bone-crushing instrument holding her together underneath. (Tell us how you really feel, huh, Ms. Square Peg?) I loved her transparency. Each time I saw her photo or happened to read an article about Jordin, I remember noting how impressed I was by her openness. Went a long way with me.

Real Women. There no photos of these women. But to me, they’re far more important than the bold names listed above. Some are my friends. Some are strangers. And yet whether I’ve watched their journeys occur right in front of me or talked to them about it, I have been and continue to be inspired by them. There’s a woman here at the office who, for years, I’ve watched transform before my eyes. When I see her now, I marvel. There are friends who are dedicated and so forthcoming about their continuing journeys to better health. Wholly inspired by them, too, even more so.

So, my dears, if you’re currently on a journey, whatever it is, what’s your inspiration?

Elegant? Why, Thank You. (Fabu Fashion TBT)

Hey, y’all.

On Monday of this week, I wore a pencil skirt that I snagged from Nordstrom Rack (they built one by my house, so I officially bid all my money goodbye) and a peplum top that I’ve had for a million years. (Last Monday; therein lies the tbt.) I didn’t even think about it. Wasn’t that particularly exciting as far as outfits go. I just put it on and came to work like I do every day against my will. So imagine my surprise when two colleagues complimented me on how elegant I looked. When wearing a simple outfit and some flats you scored from your mother’s closet, you’re not thinking elegant. But I’ll take it. Some photos below.

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Happy Thursday…

The Great Lotion vs Oil Debate.

Well, it’s not cats vs. dogs, but in my opinion, it’s pretty high up there in terms of which you prefer. (Dogs, by the way.)

Anyway, I’ve been a lotion lover since I can remember. Hands down, Suave lotion was my favorite since I was old enough to buy my own beauty products in Rite Aid; its soft feel and lovely scent usually made waking up in the mornings for school somewhat bearable. Somewhat. I experimented with all kinds, though, judging them based on how my both dry and sensitive skin reacted to them, and how my senses were ignited by their aroma. However, several years ago, I discovered Aveeno Lotion and I’ve been a one-lotion lady ever since. All that said, the idea of using body oils was a foreign concept to me. For one thing, I had images of slipping off seats and other surfaces because of being just super oily. Just no. And honestly, having had oily skin since puberty struck (oily T-Zones represent!), the idea of introducing more oil onto my skin was no bueno.

But things change, huh? It started when I watched one of my favorite YouTube personalities, Evelyn from the Internets, discuss her skincare essentials. (Watch that video here, and stay for the rest of her videos because she. is. pure. hilarity.) When she discussed using body oils, it intrigued me. Mainly because I, too, want my clavicle all shiny and such (again, watch the video and you’ll know what I’m referring to.) Hey: with weight loss comes evident clavicle bones. And I’ve always loved that part of my body. So, yep, there you have it: I now wanted to try body oils because I want a shiny clavicle. This Square Peg is all about transparency, don’t you know?

bodyoil
       In all its glory.

It just so happened, as I wondered which oil to experiment with a few days later, that my mother had a bottle of Neutrogena Body Oil in her room. Also a surprise, being that she has been the founder and CEO of using lotion since I could remember. Anyway, I asked her if she liked it. It’s ok, she replied. I only use a bit, though, here and there, along with my lotion. Banning my oft-repeated images of being so oiled up that I fall of chairs from my mind, I asked if I could use some. Take the whole thing, she said. And so, after a great workout last night and jumping into the shower, I decided to use the oil.

Oh, powerful body oil gods, I just didn’t know. I didn’t know how so fresh and so clean clean I would feel. I didn’t know how that lovely aroma would make me smile in my sleep. I didn’t know just how the clavicle shine would delight my eyes. I feel refreshed. This morning, as I sit before this monitor, the aroma continues to cuddle my senses and I welcome it.

The bottle promises a “sheer moisturizing experience”. This is true. Not only do I feel refreshed, but I feel moisturized, hydrated, not dry. The light sesame formula mentioned on the bottle holds true, as well. It’s not overwhelming, throat-clogging, and no, I haven’t yet fallen off any chairs because I’m all greased up. I will say that being light with the application helps, though. Anyway, I love this product.

But I’m not bidding 1,000 goodbyes to lotion quite yet. Because ashiness lives, y’all. And since my feet and elbows hold PhDs in ash, and those two areas tend to be kind of tough, I decided to combine the lotion with the oil and applied both to those areas. Other than that, yeah, I’m officially a body oil believer.

So, tell me, dears, are you a Lotion Lady or a Body Oil Babe?