Stuff Worth Sharing: June 2019

I can't decide if hearing what a 77% pro-Trump town did after witnessing an ICE raid makes me hopeful or incredibly frustrated. Listen to the story to understand. Please.

Netflix show that is dark and mysterious and questioning and I thought it was too depressing but now I'm hooked. Also, love Linda Cardellini. Always.

Hilarious new podcast, check it out, and you're welcome.

Palmer's Olive Oil Leave In Conditioner
This stuff is great for the ends of my hair that are super dry and frizzy. It's works great...when I remember to spray it on before bed. Which I don't always do. It does make my roots a little greasy but overall still good.

I've Made Too Many Vampire Jokes...

 Photo by Sean O. on Unsplash

and now it's really happening.

For years I have said I'm part vampire, because I'm always cold and very pale.

Now I can add a sun allergy to the list.

Seriously, it's a thing.

It first happened last year. We went to the beach with some friends; we spent the morning at the beach and the afternoon at the aquarium. On the way to the aquarium I noticed these small hives on my hands and forearms. I started freaking out and as soon as we got the aquarium I asked my friend who is a doctor what it was. She said it just looked like a little allergic reaction, and to just take some antihistamines and it would probably be fine.

It happened again at the beginning of this summer, when I was working out with FiA. It was mild, probably because I was only outside for about an hour. But it was right around the time change so my body wasn't used to being in direct sunlight. Took some more Benedryl and waited it out. Now I can workout with no problem, because apparently sun allergies just require slow, gradual sun exposure.

Fast forward to this past weekend, when we went camping at the Outer Banks. We had a great time, and obviously my sun time increased a ton very quickly because...we were camping at the beach.

Saturday after coming back to camp from a few hours on the beach, I realized I was covered in hives. I felt kind of bad because one of my friends commented about it being on my face- turns out he was very concerned and thought they were going to have to rush me to Urgent Care.

Thankfully, it is just superficial dermatitis...but holy fuck balls, everything itches.

Let me be clear, this is not sunburn or sun poison. It's straight up hives from prolonged sun exposure.

I went to the doctor and the NP student nurse also thinks it could be fungal- not really sure how or why, but she seems to think it's from being humid and sweaty and generally wet. I disagree, because of where it is and how it happens. The regular NP said it could be or it could just be dermatitis. So she prescribed a cream that is a mix of steroid cream and anti-fungal cream so we can cover both bases.

Here's hoping it works. I can also try taking Benedryl before I spend a lot of time outside to try and prevent this reaction from happening again. 

Also, I feel very adult because I finally got tired of Googling and saved both my doctor's office and pharmacy's phone numbers in my phone. Probably should have done it before now, but thankfully haven't had to use them too often.

What fuels you?

My pastor was telling a story about his kids the other night. His toddlers didn't want to eat their dinner, even though it was different than what the rest of the family was having and was specifically foods they enjoyed.

His wife was ready to just let them not eat, but he wasn't having it. They needed to it, so he spent his night alternating between putting them in time and out and sitting at the table with them.

On the way home, I said I would definitely have done the same as his wife and say let it go. Hubby would have done the same as the pastor and made the kids eat.

While it seems like a control issue, we figured out that it had a lot to do with personality types and how we learn.

To me, there's a natural consequence to not eating- you get hungry. Hunger is, to me, a punishment. I would rather eat than fight, because eating = beneficial and fighting = unrewarding.

Hubs doesn't agree though. He can, in his words, "live off of spite for days."

And that, my friends, is the kind of fundamental differences you don't even think of until you are in a deeply committed relationship and it slaps you in the face.

Bookish Questionnaire [June 2019]

 I saw this questionnaire last week during the Show Us Your Books Link-up by Rebecca at Knit by God's Hand and had to do it!

 What book has been on your shelf the longest?
I'm going to go with the one that's been there the longest without being read, which is probably The Way We Never Were by Stephanie Coontz. I bought it in 2016, when I heard of it, because it felt like a "Duh" response to people who voted in 45 on nostalgia for bygone good ole' days that never actually existed. But for this reason it also is sad and frustrating and annoying to read.

What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?
Next read: Probably Bone and Bread by Saleema Nawaz or The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout because those are the ones I'm picking up from the library today.

What Books Did Everyone Like, but You Hated?
I didn't hate them, but I did not enjoy Simon Versus the Homo Sapiens or Girl, Wash Your Face nearly as much as everyone else did.

What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?
Kids Are Worth It!: Giving Your Child the Gift of Inner Discipline. It's been on my list since I heard about it while pregnant, but I haven't been able to get my hands on at when I'm in the mood. Honestly, my kid is relatively, a friend says she will almost wants to send her kid to our house for behavior boot camp. So...I feel like we're doing pretty good. 

What book are you saving for retirement?
Life is way too short to save books!

Last page: read it first or wait ’til the end?
Wait till the end, obviously...what kind of monster do you think I am?!?!

Acknowledgment: waste of paper and ink or interesting aside?
Interesting aside.

Which book character would you switch places with?
So cliche but Hermione, obviously.

Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life (place, time, person)?
People talk a lot of trash about it...but I read the Twilight series during my husband's deployment and it will forever be special to me because it was exactly the type of story I needed at the time.

Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way
I've acquired books in so many ways...I don't even know. Found in old houses. Passed down from relatives. Literally any time a family member came across a book they would just throw it at me...

Have you ever given a book away for a special reason/to a special person?
No...unfortunately, I don't think that many people in my life would appreciate books the way I do! But I have gotten several special books for Babycakes, and given her some of my old ones from childhood. She is receptive so far :)

Which book has been with you to the most places?
My Bible, probably.

Any ‘required reading’ you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later?
I didn't reread most required readings, but the ones I remember enjoying in high school were The Scarlet Letter - Brave New World - The Hobbit - The Chosen - The Poisonwood Bible - The Things They Carried - To Kill a Mockingbird.

Used or brand new?
Either! I take books any way I can get them.

Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?

Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book?
Bridget Jone's Diary. I also think Crazy Rich Asians might fall into this category, but I haven't actually seen the movie yet.

Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks included?

Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?
Hmmm I don't think there is anyone. Everyone takes books slightly differently!

Is there a book out of your comfort zone (e.g. outside of your usual reading genre) that you ended up loving?
I never thought I would love The Lunar Chronicles the way I did. For the longest time I thought I did not like sci-fi or fantasy, but this series solidified that I do! Not all the time, not exclusively, but it's no longer enough to immediately put me off of a story thankfully.

No One Is Perfect- Stop Expecting It

I've been seeing to much, for too long now, that deals with people being imperfect.

No one is perfect.

It's tempting to demand it. It's tempting to ignore forgiveness.

Righteous anger feels so good.

In this age especially, when so much information is available so quickly, it is easy to write people off.

Humanity is lost without hope. We are lost without redemption. We are lost without the recognition that sometimes there are only poor choices in poor situations.

No, we shouldn't do wrong knowingly. Yes, we should talk with those around us and do our best.

But no one is perfect. People are going to screw up. People are going to make massive mistakes. People are going to say ignorant and uneducated and careless things- out of anger, or fear, or frustration, or a dozen other difficult emotions.

And those people should pay recompense for those mistakes.

I'm not saying they should be able to restore their lives completely to the way it was before the mistake.

But we must recognize that relentlessness, that mercilessness, in any direction, is not the way we move forward.

Let us always remember that mercy and kindness and steadfastness is a better teacher of justice than stubbornness and pride.

Let us always remember that change is not best achieved by stamping out those who disagree with us, but by convincing those that disagree with us. And you can't do that when you believe they, or those around them, are incapable of change.

Here are two concrete examples of this:

Nuance: Natural Gas by Hank Green: video in which Hank discusses how fracking is bad but also useful and maybe something that could get us into something good.

Snape and Dumbledore from Harry Potter. Yes, this seems dumb. But I keep hearing about it, because over a decade later there is still debate about whether Snape is a 'good' guy or a 'bad' guy. In my humble opinion, Snape is an asshole who didn't want evil to take over the world. No, he's not 'nice.' He's a dick. He's a bully and a coward and a bit stalker-y and pathetic and maybe he has a terrible back story that makes these understandable but doesn't take them away. However- yes, he ultimately helped the side of good more than bad. Voldemort probably wouldn't have been defeated, at least not as quickly, without him. Of course, he allowed and probably even assisted abuse..."for the greater good." Not all good, not all bad- nuanced. Same with Dumbledore. People hate him for leaving Harry at the Dursley's at all...but um, he was literally marked for death by the equivalent of magic Hitler. Would a life on the run, full of assassination attempts- if he managed to live at all- really better?! I'm not saying Dumbledore was perfect either (although I am ignoring the Fantastic Beasts follow-ups because that part of the timeline is not complete yet). I'm saying- nuanced.

I just want us all to admit that the gray area exists, and it's okay.

Show Us Your Books: June 2019

I don't have a lot of witty repartee this month...let's just get to the books!

This book had been on my TBR for a really long time. It was good, but not as good as I had hoped. Large estranged family forced together to sit shivah for dead patriarch. Focused on romantic relationships and fidelity and family and parenthood and talked a lot about how the main character loved women- the idea of them, and the idea of fucking them. Like, maybe that's how guys think...but it got old to read repeatedly. 

I was nervous going into this one because I loved You so much. This had a completely different vibe; TBH I was not expecting the supernatural-ish aspect of this story. Sometimes it was boring but sometimes it was super intriguing and moving.

This book freakin' wrecked. It wrecked me hard. So hard that I was bawling like a baby at 8:00 in the morning, and then went back to bed because I was emotionally drained before my day ever started. It's about love and relationships and family and who we want to be and how to make things work and looking at what we want versus what we think we want.

Ever want a book to work and it just...doesn't? That's how I was with this. It is sort of like a prequel to Jane Eyre, and gives back story on Rochsester and Bertha. I think the point might have been to make Rochester look bad...but it didn't make me hate him. I just think it was a really shitty, sad situation and kinda makes Jane Eyre that much happier. I may be biased though because Jane Eyre is one of the very few classics I actually enjoy. It's apparently modernist if you like Hemingway, maybe try it?

This book is hard to talk about because there were things I liked it but it is easier to talk about what I didn't like. The good: female characters who act their age but are still vibrant and interesting; a mother who wasn't overbearing; marriages that worked and marriages that didn't, instead of pretending they are all one way or another. The bad: there was a lot of reliance on dialog and action, without a lot of the internal thoughts/explanations you often get from main characters so it was to tell sometimes what was sarcasm and what wasn't- also I missed several things, apparently, because they were hinted at but not confirmed and then later it was treated like a known fact;  there were so many characters and facets of the story that it felt a little disjointed...things just didn't flow as well as I would have liked. A review on Goodreads stated a similar opinion and said it was a disappointment because McMillan's earlier works were much better, so I would definitely still give this author another shot.

What have you been reading lately?

Life According to Steph

What's New: June 2019

Well guys, it finally happened- I had a big blow-out with my MIL. I snapped after some things and we had this huge fight/conversation/disagreement/whatever you want to call it. It ended up fine, I think, and was probably good to clear the air. This was literally Hubby's worst nightmare, but now it's happened and no one died and we are all still talking to each other. Not sure anything will actually change, but I feel better that I was finally able to say some thing and make myself heard.

This Salted Caramel Biscotti is amazing. I'm a sucker for salted caramel, and this is legit salted caramel. Yummy big chunks of sea salt, enough to fully taste but not overwhelming. Highly recommend.

Since getting an IUD, I rarely have a period. However, sometimes I have the symptoms of a period but it's so rare that I forget until I realize I've been stuffing my face full of ALL THE SALTY AND SWEET THINGS and so tired that I slept over an hour later than normal (on a work day). It's much less drastic than previous (seriously, I know some don't like but I love birth control) but it's a noticeable difference from my day-to-day. It's a gift from God not to have to deal with this every month.

Hubs and I started watching Game of Thrones when Season 8 was airing, so we managed to binge it and finish like 2 weeks after the season finale. Controversial, but not nearly as bad as I was thinking from all the whining online.  I actually enjoyed the way most of it played out. Yes, one character was dissapointing after so much awesome for most of the series...but that fall was hinted at for a while so it wasn't a surprise. Unfortunate, but not shocking really.

Alternatively, WHAT THE HELL re: Jane the Virgin S3 finale!?!?  Yes, I  am just getting caught up via Netflix.

I've spent almost a week working on my front porch. I've sprayed painted so much that my finger feels bruised. Tip: regardless of how trendy it is, don't use chalk paint on outside furniture...then you needs more coating and you have to buy expensive and hard to find sealant.

11 Random Facts about Me

Photo by Aricka Lewis on Unsplash
1. I get a lovely happy feeling when using a brand new marker or just flows so smooth and dark and makes me feel like life is manageable. If you ever want to get me a gift, Papermate Flairs (regular, not fine tipped).

2. One of the great ironies in life to me is how quickly people will get angry at a God they supposedly don't believe in.

3. This is ridiculously embarrassing, but a long time ago after hubs came home from R&R during his deployment I had to go to the OBGYN. I don't remember the doctor ever giving me a diagnosis, just saying that it happened after situations like this and giving me antibiotics. took me like 10 years to realize it was just a friggin' UTI.

4. I know it's controversial but I fucking love SeaWorld.

5. One thing I really wish I could tell middle-school Brittany is to use all that lonely time to LEARN TO STYLE YOUR HAIR. Your patience and time only decreases as you get older.

6. I recently saw something on Pinterest trashing Man Caves, like “what are you hiding from.” And while I get that, and I think the idea that men need to avoid their families for the sake of being men is dumb, I fully support the idea of EVERYONE having a specific area/time that belongs to them. Not because we should want to run away, but because alone time is a way to stay centered and recharge and shows you value yourself. And that’s hard when you have a family, but it’s necessary.

7. Hubs and I have been considering for a while now whether or not we want to try and have another baby at some point. We definitely had a plan for this before Babycakes...and then we realized we felt differently afterwards. It's been a long and thoughtful road...but I think we have come to a conclusion. We'll share later...but for now I'm just feeling relieved that the two of us have come to a decision we are both comfortable with.

8. I often talk about being white. I'm not referring to being Caucasian, or of Anglo-European descent, etc. although I definitely am. I'm talking about being as pale as Casper. So pale that the Jergen's tanning lotion that is supposed to take something like 7 days to show change shows within 24-48 hours on me. 

9. I like the idea of wine (not sure how it's the classy drinking option when the ABV is 2-3x higher than beer) but I don't actually like most wines. I'm a sweet wine girl, it's muscadine wine for me all the way. Specifically, Duplin's Black River Red

10. Some friends just moved into what is basically my perfect house. This girl is able to style a house to the point that Joanna Gaines herself would give the seal of approval. It's enough to make me feel inadequate, although I'm trying to channel that into inspiration because I think she felt bad when I told her that! So I'm coming up with ideas of stuff to do around my own home to make it a little bit more intentional. Her style is definitely white-bright-farmhouse which isn't exactly my style*, but I love how intentionally styled her home feels (*after pursuing Pinterest I think I would be more warm and rustic, which overlaps but is different IMO). My first project has been warming up my front porch. I also have ideas for the back porch...not sure why I'm starting with the outside areas.

11. One of my greatest day dreams is to road trip across the entire United States.