Monday, May 17, 2021

Things I Like Lately

via Goulet Pens

Somehow, I managed to strain my right elbow recently while whisking sugar and fully melted butter together to make chocolate chip cookies (specifically, with the Cook's Illustrated recipe, which is pretty good!). It's been a little over a week of resting that arm as best I can and I still feel a faint twinge in my elbow at times. Of all the silly and unlikely ways to get a mild injury... 

Today's post is a bit of a grab bag of some of the small things I've been enjoying recently while continuing to mostly work from home. With how quickly COVID vaccine access has expanded in the US, I suspect I'll be back in the office full-time very soon. 

Within a few hours of when my previous post went live, the CDC and the Biden administration even announced that - as far as they were concerned - face masks were now unnecessary for fully vaccinated individuals except when on airplanes, trains, and buses, and in transportation hubs! (Though people should continue to follow state and local government policies that may still dictate otherwise. But I guess the clear signal from federal authorities is that they probably expect state and local governments to fall in line with the new mask guidelines shortly.) My personal choice is to continue masking whenever I'm indoors around people from other households, except when having small gatherings with friends and family whom I know to be fully vaccinated. 

Curology Update, Seven Months: I'm now roughly seven months in to using my custom prescription topical treatment from Curology, and it's continued to be good so far. By around four months in, I would describe my skin as pretty much clear, I went nearly two months without any of those nastier, larger blemishes that generally take at least a week or more to flatten out and start to really heal. During that time, I also wasn't really getting any of those smaller blemishes that only take a day or two to go away. 

But last month, I unfortunately got a pretty bad breakout with two of those larger, nastier blemishes that take forever to flatten out - maybe due to a combination of maskne from needing to go to the office a bit more often that month and also stress from preparing for my job interview - so then my skin wasn't "clear" anymore. Oh well. My skin's gotten much better again, so I think that breakout was an aberration. 

On whole, my Curology formula (tretinoin 0.04%, azelaic acid 7%, and clindamycin 1%) is definitely much better for my skin than the 0.1% Retin-A Micro I was using before. I no longer get irritation-induced breakouts and my skin is generally a lot more clear as a result. 

Fountain Pens and Ink: So far in 2021, I've chilled out considerably when it comes to shopping for the fountain pen hobby I acquired last July. I've spent a little bit each month on things like washi tape, a new fountain pen-friendly journal, and yet more colors of ink, but I haven't bought any more pens. 

Most recently, I've purchased two sets of newly released ink from the Korean brand Colorverse. (Both sets are currently sold out. In the fountain pen world, new products from popular brands often sell out extremely quickly from the various small specialty retailers that stock them when they're first released. But the items often become easier to get later on, in subsequent months.) When it comes to fountain pen inks, I like to read reviews from the blogger Mountain of Ink. She reviewed both sets I just purchased, and I can confirm the inks are indeed that cool-looking in real life. 

Please note that this post contains affiliate links that could result in my earning a small commission - at no extra cost to you - if you click and make a purchase. Thank you for your support!

I've also been thinking a bit about my next fountain pen purchase, and I'm leaning towards maybe a Pilot Decimo in pastel pink or purple (also available at Amazon from Japanese sellers, though without any real savings compared to US retailers, which is a bit unusual). I'm also somewhat tempted by a new teal-colored limited edition pen from Sailor, the Pro Gear Slim in Blue Green Nebula, but I think that one is a bit too pricey for me now that I'm trying not to spend so much on the hobby going forward. I already have well over a dozen pens - mostly more affordable ones than the Pilot Decimo or Sailor Pro Gear Slim - so I don't really need any more!

Pokemon Snap: I've been playing the new Pokemon Snap for the Nintendo Switch, and I really enjoy it. The original Pokemon Snap for the Nintendo 64 was my first-ever console game way, way back in the day, and I'm glad they finally made another one. It's definitely among the more relaxing types of games to play. I find that it's a good game to play in short spurts. (It takes a moderate amount of concentration to take good Pokemon photographs, so I can't sit down and play for too long a session at a time.) 

Fashion Things: As we reach what's likely to be my last week or two of working almost fully from home, I'm appreciating some of the COVID shutdown essentials in my wardrobe. The two Ficcare hair clips I bought back in June 2019 - the gold Ficarrisimo and caramel-colored Maximas, both in the medium size - were already a frequently-worn closet staple for me in pre-COVID times. Now that I've generally been keeping my hair longer, due to waiting a long time between salon visits during the pandemic, I'm relying on these Ficcare clips even more! 

I've worn my Ficcare hair clips frequently - nearly every day of the week most weeks, switching often between the two - ever since I first purchased them in June 2019. They're both still in perfect shape and continue to be perfectly functional. They stay in place and grip my hair very well, except maybe for the first two weeks or so after my hair is freshly cut to just past shoulder length, when my hair is a little too short and thinned out for the medium size clips to be suitable. So while they're fairly expensive for hair accessories, at ~$40 to $50 each for the ones I got, I consider them well worth it. 

The weather's getting quite warm in NYC now, it's already starting to feel like summer some days. Now that it's warming up, I won't be wearing my merino wool Babaa lounge set or Naadam cashmere joggers again until fall or winter. Instead, I've been reaching mainly for my Cuyana Boatneck Sweatshirt and Tapered Lounge Pants in their cotton-modal-spandex blend "French terry". (Sadly, the teal color I bought is no longer available, and Cuyana's current color selection is rather dull.) While I probably would have preferred if Cuyana had offered an all-cotton set instead, the cotton-modal blend fabric is suitable for wearing in warmer weather. I find that most modal-containing jersey fabrics like this can feel a bit cool to the touch and are generally quite breathable, so they're not that warm but are good for late spring and early summer.

Kitchen Things: K and I are continuing to derive great enjoyment from our new Nespresso Aeroccino 4 milk frother. We each use it once a day to make a latte-like coffee or tea that feels a bit special. I'm not sure that two months of intense use is quite enough for me to vouch for the long-term durability of this small appliance, but it's very easy to clean and we haven't had any problems with it thus far.

Nearly four months in, we've also gotten more used to cooking with our 12-inch Lodge Chef Collection cast iron skillet. Now that we've gotten the hang of cooking with it and cleaning it, I regret not getting a cast iron skillet sooner! It definitely is noticeably better for searing meat and cooking burgers than the nonstick cookware we were using before. And it makes a much more impressive-looking, more dramatically inflated dutch baby pancake than the 9'' x 13'' aluminum baking pan we previously used. 

I'm still far from an expert when it comes to cooking with and then cleaning the cast iron skillet, but Delish's YouTube channel just released a video from June about how to clean and maintain cast iron. And if you've been watching and enjoying June's cooking from home videos for Delish as much as I do, then you know she uses cast iron frequently to cook just about everything, so she definitely knows what she's talking about! 

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love to hear from anyone who might be reading! Please feel free to leave a comment or question.