Add Some Spice to Your Life

I’ve never been a fan of spicy or hot foods. I never was big on Thai or Mexican cuisine simply because I always feared the food would be too spicy for me to handle. I remember growing up thinking my dad was a total weirdo for going to Kansas City and trying the hottest barbecue sauce that he could find, to the point where there would be tears coming from his eyes. Now that I’ve had time for my pallet to grow and I’ve expanded my cooking skills beyond the basic American diet, I’m starting to really enjoy a good kick in a lot of my foods. I know I’m not breaking any new ground by sharing my favorite ways to add some spice to my meals, but this is a new experience for me! I actually crave something hot and spicy to the point where that’s what I’ll tell Jake that’s what I want for dinner. Yes, my hormones are totally normal so please don’t jump to any conclusions.

Jake always makes fun of me and my “sauce collection” going on in the fridge, but I’ve finally discover sriracha and I need it in my life. Also, it’s cousin sriracha mayo – so good on tacos! I had some tofu tacos a few months back when we had a food truck at work and my coworker highly encouraged me to add sriracha mayo on for a little something, something. I’m blaming this new found addition on her. After that I made tacos at home just so I could buy sriracha mayo for my “sauce collection”. It’s great on top of normal tacos, fish tacos, tofu tacos, or these sweet potato and black bean slow cooker tacos. We made this recipe two weeks in a row at home and it’s a perfect dinner dish for fall! And it’s a slow cooker recipe, so it can’t get much easier – I highly recommend trying it. Adding a little sriracha or taco sauce on scrambled eggs or a breakfast sandwich will also fulfill my cravings as they come along.

Another great recipe for a little spice, and also so easy to make, is this easy lo mein dish from Damn Delicious. I added in a tablespoon of sriracha and omitted the sugar, and it turns out perfect. Like I said, this recipe is super easy to make and takes nearly no time to cook it. Jake and I are pretty busy and also work opposite schedules, so I don’t like taking a lot of time to make the meals we get to eat together. Another sriracha inspired meal is this 20-minute spicy ramen. I even did the poached eggs and ate it with chop sticks. I’d love to try out some more homemade ramen recipes for the winter months, so please leave suggestions if you have them!

I’m finally figuring out what I’ve been missing out on all this time. I want to go out and try some authentic Thai or Indian cuisine, play around with their spice levels. Maybe some good, authentic Mexican food too. I’ve already been trying out some new salsas to see how much I can handle; I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew – for now.

My Skin Care Routine

My skin care routine is nothing ground breaking, but it works for me.  It’s also *fairly* simple compared to a lot that I have seen.  About half of the products I use are from the drugstore, about half high end including Clarisonic. During my high school years, I was pretty fortunate not to have too much acne, only hormonal breakouts.  When I got to college, I started getting some more serious acne along my jaw line. I went to a dermatologist and started using a prescription, but stopped using it when the product ran out.  Part of the reason I didn’t stick with it was because my skin was better and prescriptions acne treatments are fairly expensive.  About a year later my acne came up again and I did the same thing until the prescription was gone again.  Third time is the charm, over two years ago I got on a routine that I continue to use today with a few new anti-aging skin care products.

In the morning, I like to exfoliate my skin, which I do almost every morning.  That sounds like a lot, but the exfoliater I use is gentle, almost too gentle.  During my Iceland trip, I brought a travel size of the Olay Regenerist Regenerating Cream Cleanser and came home with skin softer than I’ve been able to remember in a long time.  Jake said it might have been the water in Iceland, but I attributed it to the cleanser.  The cleanser has micro-exfoliating beads in it, with a light scent, and also claims to help with skin cell regenerating.  Now that I’ve had this cleanser the past month or so, I can’t say I’m loving it because I’m not totally sure it isn’t breaking me out.  After cleansing, I use a spritz of diluted witch hazel for toning then use 10 percent benzoyl peroxide treatment all over my skin.  This is the product that changed my skin and cleared my skin completely.  When you first start using it, it can be very drying or even irritating if you have sensitive skin so work it into your routine slowly and maybe at night.  Be sure to use an SPF with benzolyl peroxide as sun can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so I apply the Eurcerin Daily Protection Moisturizing Lotion with SPF 30 every day, all year round.  My favorite eye cream is the Mario Beduscu Hylauranic Eye Cream which is the only eye cream that has actually helped the skin in my eye area.

My night time routine includes removing all my makeup thoroughly, including removing waterproof mascara which I use daily to hold the curl on my lashes.  After that I use a simple face cleanser, right now it’s the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, but I’d like to stop using after this bottle is gone since it has parabens in its ingredient list.  I work a little bit on my face then put a little on my Clarisonic Mia and work the brush gently around my face.  This is truly what removes my face makeup and I honestly believe that the Clarisonic has diminished a lot of my old acne scars and sunspots.  I would repurchase mine in an instant, discount or no discount, if it broke.  You’ll never wash your skin the same way without one.  After my initial cleansing with my Clarisonic, I go back in and do a quick cleansing with the Oxy Maximum Action Advanced* benozyl peroxide cleanser.  This is quick and I don’t over-do-it with this cleanser because the ingredients can be drying to my skin, but as I said earlier in this post, benzoyl peroxide really keeps my skin clear of acne.  I then pat my face dry and tone with witch hazel, as opposed to a toner with a higher alcohol content.

As of my last birthday, I really have been putting forth a new effort to use anti-aging skin care products as a preventative measure.  I invested in the Dermadoctor Kakadu C 20% Vitamin C Serum that I use nightly after cleansing.  I was using this for two weeks after I got in my car accident, and I almost returned it because of the price.  But I held on to because I had bought it as an investment and a gift to myself because I was happy with a lot at work.  I’m glad I kept it.  I’ve been using it for about a month and I do see a difference in the look and feel of my skin.  It’s more hydrated and the very fine lines that were starting to appear on my forehead have started to recede.  Now, my very fine lines are nothing to call home about, I’m only 25, but they were something that I was starting to notice. I wanted to get a treatment that was going to be easy going and enhance my skin rather than treat it for aging.  I also started using the Lumene Bright Now Vitamin C cream that I have been using in the evenings.  The scent on this is a little strong from my liking, I would definitely prefer something fragrance free, but this product is in my price range right now.

I’m very happy with my skin right now and the routine that I have going.  If you’re my age or similar, I would recommend this routine for a good starter.  There’s a lot of other factors that go into skin, such as environment, lifestyle, sleep, and diet. I have a dermatologist appointment in a few weeks and I’ll be sure to do an update if I make any changes.