It’s the time of year for self-improvements of various kinds, and don’t even let me hear you open your whine-hole about how laaaaaaame and superfiiiiicial it is when people talk about diets in January, because 1) get back to us when you’re done volunteering in Haiti, Mr. Deep and Meaningful, and 2) maybe you should ask yourself why people feeling motivated and having goals makes you so uncomfortable.

Anyway! I have some lame and superficial things I’ve been thinking about lately, starting with my face.

I’ve been pretty unhappy with my skin for a while now. Somewhere back at the beginning of the summer I started getting this rashy sort of breakout around my chin, which I assumed was a rosacea flareup of some kind possibly associated with switching to cheaper skincare. I went back to the higher quality makeups, moisturizers, cleansers, but nothing helped, so I finally saw a dermatologist. (Leading to an amusing first visit where he carefully asked, with female assistant present, if the issue I was there to discuss was above or below my waist.)

The dermatologist thought it probably wasn’t rosacea but some kind of dermatitis, although he wasn’t really sure what it was. He gave me some antibiotics which in turn gave me nasty headaches, so I went back and he prescribed a different round of antibiotics which made my stomach unhappy.

Fuck this, I thought, and resigned myself to shitty skin.

It’s gotten worse in the last couple months, though, so when I saw AndreAnna talking about the Oil Cleansing Method I decided to give it a try. You can read about it on her site (and there are some handy additional links at the bottom of her post), but basically the idea is to clean your face using a mixture of castor oil and some other vegetable oil.

(I notice that many people who are fans of the oil cleansing method have pretty bottles of organic castor oil, but I bought mine in the drugstore. The bottle said STIMULANT LAXATIVE FOR RELIEF OF CONSTIPATION in very, very, very large letters.)

After trying it for a few days, I’m a new fan. I’m using about 30% castor oil and 70% grapeseed oil, mixed together and rubbed into my face nightly. It sounds so awful, doesn’t it? Rubbing oil on your face? But I swear to god my skin feels like a baby’s buttcheek afterwards. My pores are smaller, my face looks smoother, that bullshit on my chin is less inflamed and not raised like it was.

I also got a Clarisonic Mia after hearing more and more rave reviews about this device (plus it’s made by the Sonicare folks, and I am purely addicted to my Sonicare), and I’ve been using that in the mornings. No soap, just a quick buzz over my face in the morning during my shower. This, I think, is helping with some of the flakiness I am also prone to.

It’s too early to unreservedly endorse the expensive Clarisonic, but I think I’d recommend the oil method to anyone, even if you just try it as an occasional facial.

These aren’t very good before/after photos, but the first is intended to show the Chin Yuck from a week ago, the second was taken this morning with minimal makeup.



Okay! Next thing: diet.

I’ve been having a really hard time breaking out of an ongoing habit of dieting followed closely by wild junk food abandon. It would probably be okay if I could keep the junk binges under some sort of control, but they’re getting much longer than the stretches of healthy eating. I’ve gained a fair amount of muscle in the last few months thanks to CrossFit, but I’ve also piled on some fat. My jeans don’t fit, I don’t like the way I look, I don’t like the way I feel.

To help me stay on track with meals, if only to force myself to be more thoughtful about food before mindlessly shoveling it in, I started a daily food diary. I’m not entirely diligent with this, but I try and document meals via photo, and more recently, CrossFit workouts.

At total cross-purposes with the obsessive food-journalling, I’m reading Geneen Roth’s When Food is Love. It’s often a little too . . . touchy-feely for me, but there were some passages that sort of reached out and grabbed me by the collar.

I’m going to post them without comment on what they mean for me personally, because that’s probably a whole different blog post.

Love is the willingness and ability to be affected by another human being and to allow that effect to make a difference in what you do, say, become. […] Compulsion is the act of wrapping ourselves around an activity (…) to numb our experience of the moment.

We create drama by externalizing our pain, by making things hard between ourselves in relationships instead of being honest about how hard it is inside ourselves. [...] Compulsive eating is fabulous theater. It is replete with all the elements of good tragedy: rage, frustration, grief, sorrow, fear, happiness, hope, exhilaration, excasty.

You never have to do anything but go on extravagant binges and rigid diets (…) to experience the vitality and intensity most people define as being alive. You never have to let another human being come close.

Something is wrong when we feel we have to deprive ourselves of foods we love because we believe we would abuse them—or ourselves—if we allowed them in our lives. Something is wrong and we are using food to express it.

The choice is exactly the same for all of us—alcoholics, drug addicts, smokers, compulsive eaters: Do I want to live while I’m alive and embrace what sustains me or do I want to die while I’m still alive and embrace what destroys me?

Really interesting and insightful stuff. I’m going to read more of her books.

Lastly! I’ve decided to try and take part in Flickr’s Project 365, where the idea is to take a photo a day throughout the year. It’s been, you know, all of five days, so we’ll see if I can keep it up, but so far it’s a fun daily activity. No rule that says it’s too late to join, should you feel so inclined.

Jan 1:


Jan 2:


Jan 3:


Jan 4:


Now, tell me: what’s new in your 2011? Any personal improvement goals you’re working on, however superficial?


69 Responses to “Surface polish”

  1. Andrea on January 5th, 2011 4:18 pm

    I’m not looking at your chin. I’m looking at how smooth and perfect your hair is!

    That locket is killer.

  2. Pinkie Bling on January 5th, 2011 4:20 pm

    Diet/exercise, and finances. FUN, huh? I know people might want to smack me for this one, but I’m also looking for balance in all areas of my life. I tend to go to the extreme ends of the spectrum in whatever it might be – out of control shopping or eating, followed by completely spartan spending or rigid diet/exercise regimens, for instance. I just want to find the damned middle!!

    Best of luck to all of us, and looking forward to reading your journey through 2011!

  3. Scott Dierdorf on January 5th, 2011 4:21 pm

    Congrats on doing the 365! It’s a huge challenge, but it’s really rewarding. My advice: don’t skip a day, ever. It’s not the end of the world if you do (I think I missed three days), but it’s like exercise: once you skip a day it’s so easy to skip another. I tried to do it another time, and after I skipped two days, it was over.

    Also, do not be proud about subject matter. If you are stuck for a photo, don’t be afraid to shoot, say, the floor of a public bathroom:

  4. Pinkie Bling on January 5th, 2011 4:23 pm

    Also, I’ve had my full-size Clarisonic for a year now and it has continued to be fantastic. I want a Mia, too. I’m going to have to try this oil cleansing routine. You had me at “smaller pores!”

  5. Jenna McCarthy on January 5th, 2011 4:53 pm

    Okay first of all, I had the EXACT SAME chin yuck thing nearly 20 years ago. Tried everything–literally didn’t want to leave my house. Then I saw an ad in a magazine for Cetaphil and decided to try it (this was before it was everywhere). It cleared it up in about 3 days and (no shit here) NEVER came back.

    I eventually began adding baking soda to the Cetaphil, because I heard it was a great, gentle, natural exfoliator. You want to feel like a baby’s ass? No, like a baby’s ass that was smeared in butter and then swaddled in cashmere? Okay that’s a little gross, but if you want impossibly soft, smooth skin, this is your combo. I swear by it. (And um, it costs about $7 a year. But that is ICING! I’d pay a hundred times that if I had to.)

    Now, I went on to become a beauty editor for huge national/international magazines. Beauty editors get any product they want FOR FREE so I’ve tried it all, even the $500/ounce “miracle serums” reserved for celebrities. NOT ONE OF THEM has ever done what my trusty Cetaphil/baking soda cocktail does for my skin.

    I also would throw myself in front of a bus for my Clarisonic, and have been known to bathe my face in pure jojoba oil, but that’s another Oprah.

    Just saying.

  6. Meg Groesbeck on January 5th, 2011 4:59 pm

    I second that about how awesomely smooth your hair looks in photo #2. And don’t feel bad about your new years resolution, mine is to get back to the fitness level I was in last January when I ran a half marathon and promptly got pregnant with my first child. I ran two miles today and it nearly killed me…

    I have also found that Philosophy’s “Purity” cleanser works wonders with my skin. It’s full of all these natural oils and I initially thought it would make me break out horribly (I’ve always had acne since puberty and firmly believed in pharmaceuticals and thought all these “pure and natural” treatments were a bunch of mumbo jumbo) but it didn’t. My skin has never looked better.

  7. melanie on January 5th, 2011 4:59 pm

    My new years resolution is to take better care of me, I have let myself get far too heavy under the excuse that my metabolism is crap… and yes it is, but still going on a low does blood pressure pill at age 32 is total CRAP, so since I purchased my first treadmill (just a few days before xmas) I have put 30 miles on it, not a huge number for those of you who exercise, but for a girl who has let herself creep over the 200lb mark, it feels huge…. (in other news 30 miles in 2 weeks does not apparently mark any weight loss, but I am doing this for my blood pressure FIRST anyway so no matter the scale, I am going to try and for once make this fitness stuff part of my daily life

  8. melanie on January 5th, 2011 5:01 pm

    also because my tendency is to be a total slacker i am now keeping a pocket calendar where I record my time and distance, and yes it takes me 43 minutes to do 2.75 miles but its a start and the idea of having a blank square in that calendar really bothers me now!

  9. Nichole on January 5th, 2011 5:12 pm

    1. My brother-in-law really does volunteer in Haiti. And he runs and eats really healthy and lost about 50 pounds last year. So I guess we have to listen to him now. Ugh.

    2. I was just reading Fluid Pudding, and she wrote about that Clarisonic thing. I’d never heard of it. And then I click over here, and there it is again! Hey Universe? I hear you, and I see you. I’ll think about buying a Clarisonic. Please don’t give me a weird skin thing, ‘kay?

    3. We made a Family Goals 2011 list, so we’ll be working toward some of those things this year. Just for me, though, it’s losing weight. I don’t know what I’d do if another year rolled around and I didn’t need to lose weight.

  10. Junni on January 5th, 2011 5:15 pm

    For some reason the only thing I can think about after reading this post is that the dermatologist didn’t KNOW what it was? He’s a DERMOTOLOGIST! And antibiotics? Really??

    Dang, I’m glad you found something that works for you.

  11. sooboo on January 5th, 2011 5:39 pm

    I got that Clarisonic thing for Christmas from my MIL. I’ve been calling it Face Erase. I haven’t tried it yet. This year I am dedicating myself to a daily meditation practice and organizing and tracking my finances. Also, I want to write more and cook one new thing from The Joy of Cooking (also a Christmas present) every week. I’m liking your picture a day project.

  12. lindsay on January 5th, 2011 5:41 pm

    when it comes to skin I feel like the answers are hopeless. Like the big cure for eczema is to eliminate stress in your life, but the painful, embarassing eczema is the source of my stress. CHICKEN AND EGG. Good luck!

  13. Lisa on January 5th, 2011 5:48 pm

    I’ve done the oil cleansing method and LOVED it. Sounds so counter-intuitive and all my friends grossed out when I told them, but it rocks!

  14. AndreAnna on January 5th, 2011 5:54 pm

    FWIW, I had to adjust my ratios because after 5-6 days, I was getting dry (so counter-intuitive huh?) and switched to 30% castor, 50% grapeseed and 20% sweet almond oil. I also add a few drops of tea tree oil since that is an anti-bacterial and helps with redness (though heard it can also be drying.) Maybe that would help the Mystery Rash a Guy Who Went To Med School For Eight Years Couldn’t Diagnose?

  15. Stubblejumpin' Gal on January 5th, 2011 5:54 pm

    I’ve been putting castor oil on my face before bed because I read it prevents wrinkles.

    I think I started too late!

    But I’ve still got a few decades to go before reaching age 90, so it’s worth a shot.

    A friend uses it to prevent varicose veins. Swears by it.

  16. Kristen on January 5th, 2011 5:57 pm

    Kudos on all the self improvement. You continue to inspire me, even when your jeans don’t fit. I also started the oil clense method – but I’m curious, why the 70% castor? The website suggests maxing out at 30%. I started at 30, and my face got so dry, i’m down to about 20% Castor, 80% grapeseed. Just curious because I see that AndreAnna has the same %’s. Am I missing something? Keep it up Mama… you rock.

  17. Kristen on January 5th, 2011 5:58 pm

    Ok, just saw AndreAnna’s update… opps! Still curious how the high castor oil percentage is working for you.

  18. Jen_Ann_W on January 5th, 2011 6:05 pm

    I can’t even get motivated to set any goals right now, that’s the kind of funk I’m in. I could say that #1 is “Get a Job” but I think we all know that it’s not up to me, which just chaps my ass. #2 would then be “Get Our Own Place Again” and at that point I’d be able to set some REAL goals and plans for my 2011, but right now I’m stuck where I am waiting for some employer to give me a chance. Ugh. 2010 sucked a bag of assholes, so I suppose this year has to be better…. right??

  19. Linda on January 5th, 2011 6:11 pm

    Kristen: I’m a dumbass and switched up the percentages in the post. (THIS IS [one of many reasons] WHY I AM NOT A FANCY LIFESTYLE/ADVICE BLOGGER.) Fixed now, thanks for letting me know!

  20. Kristen on January 5th, 2011 6:24 pm

    Well shit, you’re my lifestyle/advice blogger! :) You run, I run, you paleo, I (attempt) paleo, you lather oil on your face, I later oil on my face… :)

    Only reason I mentioned it was because I read AndreAnne’s post on it as well, and I could have sworn she did 70% Castor as well. I reread the OCM like 694832 times to make sure I wasn’t reading it wrong.

    Here’s to a great 2011!

  21. Caitlin on January 5th, 2011 6:37 pm

    I’m losing 30 pounds by my 30th birthday in July, and winning Jennie’s Biggest Blogging Loser contest in the process. (Just FYI. Sorry to any of you that are competing.)

    I love my Clarisonic. LOVE IT. A friend of mine recently asked me what I used on my skin, and here is what I told her: I was ‘home’ for a long holiday weekend and didn’t bring it with. I came home and used it and in those 60 seconds it looked like my face was photoshopped.

    I started reading Geneen Roth’s Women, Food, and God in the fall and while it’s sometimes a bit…*much* in its muchiness…that book is like 20 years of therapy crammed into 100 pages and it has taken me months – MONTHS – to wade through it because OH. Yes. And, well. I think it’s something I will need to come back to over and over, and it will be different every time I do.
    (And I don’t even believe in God, so don’t let the title turn you off.)

    I kind of want to keep Geneen Roth in my pocket so I can stare gape-mouthed at her as she tells me exactly what I am thinking in certain situations. (*whispers* how does she knooowwww)

  22. Sarah Miller on January 5th, 2011 6:46 pm

    Try “The Gospel of Food” by Barry Glassner

  23. AndreAnna on January 5th, 2011 6:49 pm

    Kristen – Oh make no mistake, my dumb ass DID start at 70% because I apparently can’t read.

    My friend said 1/3 castor and 2/3 grapseed and I got it backwards. SIGH.

    I had to go back and fix my post to not cause other people to follow in my DUMB ASS FOOTSTEPS.

    Still holding strong though and pleased overall. Hopefully this adjustment will help with the dryness. Although not the dopiness.

  24. Caitlin on January 5th, 2011 6:50 pm

    Oh, and also currently reading The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite by David Kessler. I just started but so far it’s some pretty interesting commentary on why we (collectively, culturally, scientifically) eat the way we do.

  25. Deb on January 5th, 2011 7:29 pm

    I am simultaneously intrigued and repulsed wondering what sort of Below-the-Waist situation would require a visit to a dermatologist.

    Also, I use Paula’s Choice skin care. She wrote a book in the 80s called Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me, which analyzed the ingredients in skin care and makeup products to tell you which ones are best. She was instrumental in convincing a teenaged me to wear sunscreen every day, which I am very grateful for now that I am bumping up unpleasantly against 40. She’s the one who first came up with the Cetaphil/Baking Soda routine. Eventually, she developed her own skin care line, which is all fragrance-free, dye-free, gimmick-free and not tested on animals. It’s fantastic, and not über-expensive. You might want to check it out.

    And that concludes the obnoxous advice-giving portion of this comment.

    I have to go check out this Clarisonic thingy now….

  26. Cara on January 5th, 2011 7:42 pm

    I’m fascinated by the oil cleansing. I have super sensitive and super dry skin on my face, so I have never been able to use anything but water and a sensitive skin moisturizer. Even using a washcloth on my face makes me itchy, and I only do it right before I moisturize. I was miserable after having a facial. I obviously don’t wear makeup regularly. As I’m getting older, though, my skin could really use some care and my pores are getting bigger… I’m off to read more on the oil cleansing. I’d never heard of it and it sounds perfect for me.

  27. Shannon C. on January 5th, 2011 7:51 pm

    I have three this year:

    1. To read nothing but new fiction all year. I’m a voracious non-fiction reader and need to break away from it. I took suggestions from friends and am keeping a list on my Facebook page.

    2. No french fries in 2011! Not because I have a problem with french fries or even eat them very often. It’s just that I realized that when I eat out and order a sandwich, it usually come with fries. The fries are hot & yummy for about 2 minutes, then they lose their appeal. BUT I KEEP EATING THEM. Just because they’re there! And then I feel gross and dissatisfied afterward. It stops now. I either get soup or nothing with my sandwich.

    3. No more negative superlatives to describe myself, not even jokingly. “God, I’m such an idiot!” “I’m so fat!” “Could my nose be any bigger in that photo!?” etc. I don’t actually believe that I am fat or stupid, at all, so when and why did I get into this habit? Since teenhood, I’m betting, with all of my other girlfriends. No more.

  28. Lisa on January 5th, 2011 7:59 pm

    I completely agree with the Cetaphil/baking soda regimen. I have been doing it for about 15 years. I saw Paula (Paula’s Choice) on Oprah way back then, bought her book, and have loved my skin since. I get tons of compliments from people who always think I am in my early 30s, but I am in my mid 40s.

    Just want to send some good karma back to you. When I read your post (like I do each year) about what you completed for the year, it really hit me how much you stretched yourself last year–which was a WAKE UP call for me to do the same. Screw fear of failing. The ass-dent in my couch is going to become much smaller this year. Thank you for that. Seriously.

  29. Sunny on January 5th, 2011 8:01 pm

    I’m loving the OCM and was looking at a Clarisonic at Sephora last week. I’ll be interested in hearing how it works with the oil method.

    I had to adjust my oil %. Went too wild with the castor oil and then overdid the next batch with tea tree. I felt a little sheepish buying the laxative-labeled castor oil at Walgreen’s, but got smart and just stocked up on the cold-pressed castor oil at the health food store. Shocking how my face actually dries out more with oil than it did with soaps. Oil=drying? Crazy. Face feels awesome though.

  30. M on January 5th, 2011 8:08 pm

    I recommend Geneen Roth’s “When You Eat At the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair.” Happy New Year!

  31. Lesley on January 5th, 2011 8:11 pm

    I turned over a new leaf on December 26, the same day a roiling perpetual hangover from too many cinnamon rolls, peppermint mochachinos, Christmas beer, miscellaneous Christmas gorging treats, and Christmas dinner, EXPLODED. Bleary-eyed, muffin-topped, feeling ghastly beyond words, I decided then and there I was completely overhauling my lifestyle.

    I threw out all the crap (all grains, starchy foods, sugar, sugary foods, refined foods) and built myself a Paleo plan I’m recording on fitday dot com, daily.

    I also swore to exercise every day. I made a commitment to do something once a day. Most days I opt for a vigorous workout (a Jillian or Jackie Warner program), but even on the lower energy days I power walk or throw on a Turbo Jam workout.

    To my utter shock, because I didn’t expect a huge change in a short time, I have lost 10.4 lbs since December 26. Now, I know some of that is water weight, but who cares? I feel so much better, and clothes that didn’t fit on December 26 now do. I’m seeing definition in places I didn’t have it before. My body is lighter, more firm.

    I have a ways to go (20 more lbs to lose, horrifyingly enough) but I am so motivated right now. I don’t give the junk food a second look at the grocery store. I’m not craving the frappucinos or the lattes. I’m not missing the ice cream.

    In the past I either exercised OR dieted. Rarely did I successfully combine both, and I think this has made the difference. Beyond that, the Paleo/primal way of eating leaves me feeling satisfied. I am never hungry or craving.

    Prior to the 26th, I was probably cramming in 4,000 and more calories a day. At a basal level, I only need 2,500 to maintain so I was eating much more than my body needed. And the exercise I had been doing wasn’t sufficient to burn it off. (Exercise alone doesn’t burn a hell of a lot of calories.)

    I’m eating about 1400 calories a day, on average a day. Some days I eat more, but it all balances out. In any case, the weight is peeling off. And I did not expect this.

    Beyond all this I feel proud of myself for sticking to my commitment, something I’m not very good at doing.

    Anyway, sorry for blathering, but I couldn’t resist answering your question.

  32. Kristin on January 5th, 2011 9:19 pm

    I was just telling my friends that I got muffins for Christmas! Who doesn’t love muffins, right? Well, it’s just a damn shame they’re the kind that hang over the top of my jeans! I, too have some fitness/food related goals for this year. I will be superficial right along with you, girl!

  33. Jamie :) on January 5th, 2011 9:55 pm

    Caitlin–I was totally going to say the same things about Geneen Roth’s “Women, Food, and God!” It was recommended to me months and months and months ago, I waited a few months to order it, finally ordered it, let it sit around my house for awhile, started it, let it sit, read some more, let it sit…etc. I was initially turned off my the “God” in the title, as I do not consider myself to be religious at all. But, after giving it a shot, I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t have a message of religion, but of well-being. Anyway, fantastic book–definitely crams in massive amounts of “therapy” and is an excellent jump start to thinking about healthy living. I love it!

  34. Erica on January 5th, 2011 11:20 pm

    My goals are BIG ones this year, for me anyway. By the end of the year, I plan to be full-on Suzy Homemaker: baking our bread, making soap and other cleaning products that are safer for my family, actually keeping the house clean enough for company all the time. There’s more and I’m blogging it @ Should be quite a year.

    Oh, and I am totally going to try the oil thing. My skin has been a wreck since jr high and I’ll try anything! And, that locket picture? Precious!

  35. Maggie on January 6th, 2011 7:14 am

    Intrigued by the oil cleansing method, while my skin is approaching 40, I am still using a skin care product from my 20s: Neutrogena and it is too drying.

    My resolution is very cliche, but daggumit I am going to eat healthier and hopefully lose weight. Specifically, I am 1. tracking everything I eat (on the Livestrong site’s Daily plate – it’s FREE!) and I am 2. trying to find ways to incorporate more fruits and veggies into my family’s diet.

    Love the locket, BTW.

  36. Melissa on January 6th, 2011 7:48 am

    I don’t want to call them resolutions because I won’t be able to keep them if I do, but here are my goals for the foreseeable future.

    1 – lose 20 pounds and keep it off. I just signed up at for the free daily plate thing which is cool tracking all my food.

    2 – write some things down. i have some personal situations i need to address and i need to write some things down to get a feeling for it and what to do about it. i’m already using the treadmill to bun off 300 calories every other day, so i’ll continue with that as well.

    3 – write some other things. i always tell myself, secretly, quietly, that i’d like to write something. something others might read, so i’d like to give it a real try.

    i’m hoping that my complete inability to blog on any regular schedule doesn’t mean my #3 goal is doomed already.

  37. Lawyerish on January 6th, 2011 8:17 am

    I had pretty much that exact same crud on my chin when I was pregnant, for pretty much the entire third trimester and NOTHING I did would clear it up. It disappeared shortly after I gave birth. Verdict: hormones (damn them).

    I need to blog about my goals for this year, I suppose.

  38. Ali on January 6th, 2011 8:19 am

    Yes, diet and exercise, crap. For vanity’s sake, of course, but also because, JESUS, I don’t want my kid to think that the TV is the only way for her to be entertained. Because I want to be an insipration to my husband to start his own commitment to health. Because I want him to be here when she goes to prom and then gets married.

    I’m currently struggling with writing my intentions for the year. How to balance priorities, how to focus, how to be a good friend, wife, mother, daughter, etc.

    So, I suppose my goal right now is to find out what my goals are.

  39. Nik-Nak on January 6th, 2011 8:25 am

    I just wanted to comment on the food diary thing. I am currently trying to lose a few for an up-coming wedding. I have a Droid, and on this Droid I have the “My Fitness” app, it’s free. You put in your height and weight and your goal weight. It then tells you how many calories you can consume a day to lose weight. You go in every time you eat and plug in what you eat/drink. It adds the calories, you subtract your exercise and tells you how many you have left daily to eat. The best thing about it is anything you can imagine, foodwise and exercisewise, is in the app. Complete with nutrition details. So all you have to do is search it and add it. It’s essentially an electronic food diary with some perks.
    Just thought that might be something you could look into.

  40. Eric's Mommy on January 6th, 2011 8:51 am

    I didn’t make any resolutions this year. So far it’s been off to a horrid start too.

    My skin is so oily I can’t imagine putting more oil on it. I don’t get skin issues on my face in the winter but I do get them everywhere else on my body! My worst dry bumpy spots are my thighs and the backs of my shoulder/armpit areas, it’s so annoying and so itchy!

    I love the locket, very pretty.

  41. Tee on January 6th, 2011 8:56 am

    Resolutions (hopefully from now-always):

    1. Take vitamins everyday
    2. Find some winter-exercise that I like. And then maybe do it.
    3. Try to breathe and reflect before I react, especially when it comes to my kids. (See also: reduction of the raised voice syndrome).
    4. Find a swimsuit that doesn’t make me long for a burka-required swimming pool.

    I love the Spidey drawings. :)

  42. HollyLynne on January 6th, 2011 9:55 am

    I had similar chin nastiness while I was pregnant. I saw a derm who gave me cortisone which did basically nada. It seemed to go away on it’s own, only to come raging back right after I’d delivered, presumably due to the fact that I was allergic to most of the drugs they pumped into me. Fun times! I went to a second derm who deemed it peri-oral dermititis. She gave me antibiotics, a topical, THIRTY EXTRACTIONS IN ONE SITTING, followed by a different topical and, several weeks later, about 20 more extractions. My skin has been flawless ever since.

  43. MRW on January 6th, 2011 10:20 am

    My main resolution is to get more sleep. This includes doing things like stopping watching so much TV. I end up watching crappy shows after my kids are in bed and then next thing I know I’m up way too late and I have to get up at 6:00 and it’s not enough sleep particularly when my husband is snoring or my 18 month old wakes in the night. I have got to make it a priority to go to bed earlier so I don’t wake up every day feeling worn out, suck down way too much coffee, barely exercise, and basically shut down my brain at 3:30 (problematic since I work until 5:00). I can’t help but feel that if I got more rest I’d be a better mom, wife, worker, eater, exerciser, basically better everything.

  44. Danell on January 6th, 2011 10:46 am

    MRW : Yes! Me TOO! I don’t really care about making any other resolutions because I feel like everything else will just BE BETTER if I just manage to do this.

  45. Mel T. on January 6th, 2011 10:53 am

    FWIW, I had the red rashy face-yuck years ago, so bad that a TOTAL STRANGER walked up to me in a waiting room, gave me her card and suggested she had something to “clear that up.” (Bitch.) Anyway, I eventually ended up with a dermatologist who, along with antibiotics, prescribed what hubs calls my “face diet.” It could also be called the “no” diet. For two weeks, you can have NO dairy, caffeine, spicy food, or hot liquids. I know, bullshit, right? But it worked like a charm and didn’t come back when I dove headfirst right back into all the NO foods at the end of the two weeks. Every once in a while it starts to come back and I change my eating for a few days – presto. Apparently I must live on caliente queso coffee…

    Now I’m headed out to buy Cetaphil and baking soda because these comments have me in a turn-my-face-into-a-science-experiment frame of mind!

    And +1 on the hair!

  46. Liz on January 6th, 2011 11:05 am

    hmmm, i might have to look into that oil cleansing business! my skin is…variable. it’s fine, but variable. maybe this would help it be more stable? hmmm!

    i’m going to
    1. write more (journal AND non!). this has been an ongoing goal for the last few years, and i’m in no hurry to change it. i like it. i found the sunday scribblings group prompt online and that has worked pretty well, if rarely. i’m feeling the need to journal more these days, so i want to act on it.
    2. play the piano more. come on now. i took 15 years worth of lessons. i love playing. sit down and play already!
    3. there was a third, but i’ve forgotten. oh well! :)

    p.s. a FANTASTIC food read is “in defense of food” by michael pollan. don’t groan. it’s much more approachable than “omnivore’s dilemma” (tho i liked that too) and it educates you about some things that people ought to know about, like the basis for the government’s food recommedations, and what the results have been when people study the western diet vs. any other diet. the rule is also uber easy: eat food. not too much. mostly plants. ta da! i’ve been leaning heavily towards more veggies and i swear i have more energy. and he explains WHY veggies and fruits should satisfy you and that gives my mind something logical to grasp when my faulty hunger center is yelling COOKIES. loved the book.

  47. Kristin H on January 6th, 2011 11:35 am

    About two weeks ago I resolved to be more like my husband in the realm of being generous and kind. Although today I feel like bludgeoning him with the flat part of a shovel. Hmpf.

  48. Dana on January 6th, 2011 12:55 pm

    I’m doing the 365 project too and I’m approaching it with this philosophy: I’m not a professional photographer but I am the family chronicler. So, I’m not trying to make the perfect photo, just collect photos that capture our day to day honestly.
    I’ll look forward to seeing your project unfold.

  49. Angela on January 6th, 2011 3:12 pm

    I have made many resolutions, but first and foremost is to take better care of myself. The person I see when I look in the mirror is not the person I see in my head, and I need to make some changes to make the two align. So I entered the blogging biggest loser contest also (even though I have no blog and only started tweeting this week)and I am going to be more consistent runner. It makes me feel so good after I do it, I just need to get out there and do it more often. Plus, I was looking back in my running logs from several years ago, and I was about 40 pounds lighter! I also resolve to be a better mother (less yelling) and wife (less nagging) and to get more organized in all areas of life.

    BTW- I love your bangs!

  50. Angela on January 6th, 2011 5:12 pm

    I got a Mia for Christmas, and my only hope is that it shrinks my pores to a size that will no longer allow the cats to burrow into my face for warmth at night. Now that I know about the oil thing? I’ll be heading to the store for STIMULANT LAXATIVE FOR RELIEF OF CONSTIPATION. Thanks for the tip!

    Although I hope I’m exaggerating, I sort of think that I’ll be battling with food until the day I die. I would love to look at myself in a pair of jeans and not wince. I either need to switch up my lifestyle or find someone to help me shop for new jeans. That may be a good goal for 2011.

    I don’t believe I’ve ever commented here before. Please know that I think you’re a gem.

  51. deanna on January 6th, 2011 5:41 pm

    just a thought on the skin: have you softened your water? i dont know what seattle water is like, but i grew up in buffalo (home to some of the hardest water on the planet!) and always had issues with dry, yucky, flaky skin. when i moved to nyc (home to some of the most amazing, softest water on the planet!) i noticed a total difference in my skin. even going home for xmas this year my skin freaked out and got all flaky in just a few days. its still recovering! might not be the answer or anything, but it might help.

    also, im doing project 365 this year, too!

  52. transientxpress on January 6th, 2011 7:29 pm

    I’ve heard Women, Food, and God is a great read on food relationships and body image, though I’ve not read it myself. Personally, I have been playing around with Jessica Seinfeld’s cookbooks that incorporate vegetable purees into regular dishes for healthier options. Some recipes are blander than I care for, but I can experiment with that. I just enjoy knowing I’m picking healthier foods without really dieting. And, per my new year resolution, I’m back to yoga. Aaaahhh! It hurts so good. And the ending meditation gives me time to reflect on how hard my body worked for me during my practice. Finding I have more respect for my body that way. Good stuff.

  53. KS on January 6th, 2011 8:08 pm

    I read “Women Food and God” and it changed my whole way of thinking about myself. New and improved, now with less self-loathing!

    Then I read “Intuitive Eating” and all the rest of the Roth books, and tried to find intuitive eating blogs, except there aren’t many out there.

    I’ve been at it for almost a year now. Making peace with food is a process. I’ve put on some weight (for now) but the everyday sense of calm and relief is incredible.

  54. Velocibadgergirl on January 6th, 2011 11:42 pm

    My main resolution / goal thingie is to declutter my house and life in a big way this year. I’m also hoping to do a daily post on Grace in Small Things.

    Secretly I also want to find a new job and get back into my pre-baby jeans this year.

  55. Karen on January 7th, 2011 9:04 am

    Dude. I am an avid reader of both your blog and your twitter feeds, but because I can’t be bothered to figure out how to use Twitter, just wanted to recommend the following TV programs: Party Down, Dollhouse (done by the Firefly guy), Eastbound and Down. So fun.

  56. Sara on January 7th, 2011 10:21 am

    I just wrote a post about my health journey and how Geneen helped me! I agree about the touchy-feely aspect of it, but man, her books changed my life anyway.

  57. Tatiana on January 7th, 2011 12:17 pm

    About the face-funk: try honey as a cleanser. I use Fresh’s lemon oil based cleanser and I love it, smells like a dream. When I get my monthly break-out I do a honey mask at night: spread it on dry skin, wait five minutes, rinse with warm water. It dries out the bumps right away.

  58. Chloe on January 7th, 2011 11:32 pm

    I actually don’t make New Year’s resolutions, I suppose my resolution this year is to keep doing what I’m doing (I’ve lost 30 pounds since April of last year, and have continued exercising for like 6 months with reasonable regularity, a personal record).

    I tried OCM a few years ago, it didn’t work for me, but I hope it does for you, the chin is looking much better! I make my own homemade cold cream, it’s easy and fits my lazy personality. Smear cold cream on face in shower. Wipe off with hot wet washcloth. Done. No moisturizer needed, and my skin is much better than ever before.

    Also, I like the pictures so far for the challenge.

  59. Nicole on January 8th, 2011 5:56 am

    I have the Clarisonic Mia and my rosacea is 80% better after using it for 8 months. I buy the blue heads (ultra sensitive) off of ebay as they are much cheaper (you get 2 for the price you pay for 1 at Ulta). The cleanser that comes with it irritated my face so I use CeraVa. I am down to some surface capillaries, slight pink tone and no drugs.

    Depending on how the year goes, I may spend some money and get a few passes with the laser on the capillaries and around my eyes.

  60. lonek8 on January 8th, 2011 10:32 am

    thanks for the tips on the Oil cleansing Method. I’ve already been using sweet almond oil at night as a moisturizer and it works so wonderfully – I’m going to have to try adding a bit of castor oil in and going full OCM.

  61. Julia on January 8th, 2011 5:58 pm

    Hey, your book reminds me- the book that changed my life in terms of my relationship with food and with my body: “When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies.” Seriously. When it comes to dieting and food-related stuff, I think of my adult life as Before and After reading that book.

    Happy New Year!

  62. Jen - Mom of 4 on January 8th, 2011 6:02 pm

    I have decided that even though I really want to loose the weight I regained this past year, that what I really need to do is to concentrate on being healthy. I am exercising 5 times a week and have cut my running time from 30 minutes for 1 mile to 15 minutes. I’m going to embrace those accomplishments and vow to continue them in 2011.

    It’s also the year of getting our finances in order – boring but necessary.

    Also, my 7 year old went bat-shit crazy for your photo of the web shooter idea! He thought all the ideas were well thought out and asked when we could make one :0)

  63. Ser on January 9th, 2011 5:10 am

    I think this might be my very first comment, although I read regularly. I have recently read my first Roth book, and, like you, found some of it a little much, but overall really interesting and helpful. That is one of my big goals this year: to try to get a mental grip on my junk food binging. I don’t even really care about the extra 10 lb. I carry (come on, I’ve had three kids, who really cares?) but I don’t like the mental stuff that goes along with it. My other goal is to blog regularly again.

    Your photos are beautiful.

  64. Alice on January 9th, 2011 3:41 pm

    Oh I love the idea of the tumbler visual food diary! Not only great for keeping accountable but also inspiration for later days if you are hungry and cant decide what to eat.

    Infact, I’ve decided to start my own! Thankyou! and best of luck with it all!


  65. Josefina on January 9th, 2011 3:58 pm

    Congrats on the face! I’m happy for you.

    This year I want to exercise more regularly to counteract the effects of stress. First I need to get my back healthy enough so I can do that, so there is another goal. In general, I’d like to take my stress more seriously and really try to deal with it rather than letting it control me.

    THANK YOU for the bit at the beginning of your post: “maybe you should ask yourself why people feeling motivated and having goals makes you so uncomfortable.” YES. I’m pretty bitchy at times, but I really am growing weary of it, and of hearing all the bitchitivity and…vitriol spewed from this source and that. Maybe that’s another goal of mine: to surround myself with less of that. Did I read too much into what you said? Sorry if yes.

  66. Carolyn on January 12th, 2011 10:49 pm

    I also thought your hair looked fabulous (and wished that mine would look that nice! Without effort, though. I don’t know if you have to work hard for your hair or not). I don’t think I’m prepared to switch to an oil based method of cleansing, but every so often I do use almond oil as a skin treatment – I just smear it all over my face, leave it on while I take a bath or do some chores, and then wash it off later with my regular cleanser. It is amazing sometimes how your skin can break out in reaction to being too DRY, and the oil really helps with that!

  67. Leah on January 13th, 2011 8:57 pm

    I use an oil cleanser made by DHC (a Japanese skin care line) – you can find it online at

    They’ll send you free samples if you ask!

  68. QID: On New Years Resolutions | Brouhaha on January 18th, 2011 4:26 pm

    [...] I Dig from “Surface Polish” at All & Sundry: ‘It’s the time of year for self-improvements of various kinds, [...]

  69. Now We’re Cleansing With Oil « Logy Express on February 22nd, 2011 7:21 pm

    [...] one of the most counter intuitive things I’ve read about in a long time. But if people on the internet jump off a [...]

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