The Introspective Salon
May Favorites [minimal waste, beautifully aromatic soap, crunchy granola, bulk buy coffee, television shows both horrific and humorous]
I couldn't think of any favorites last month, but this month I have quite a few. Or, at least I think I do. Throughout May I kept thinking "oh, this is a favorite," but I never wrote any of it down so hopefully I can remember them all.
As always, all links are for your convenience only.
I've been slowly accumulating reusable household items so that I can produce less waste. I'm not edging toward a zero-waste life, but a minimal-waste life because there are a lot of disposable daily items that we use everyday and it's easy to make a few switches. A few years ago, I purchased a reusable coffee filter. This is an especially easy replacement, yet one that makes a big difference. Especially if you drink coffee every day like I do.
This month, I made another step toward minimal waste and purchased another everyday item, a safety razor, which has a couple of great benefits:
1. It's less ugly than a disposable razor. There's just something appealing about a sturdy, steel-made razor.
2. The blades last longer than those on disposable razors.
3. I only have to buy it once! I no longer have to add "razors" to my grocery list every month and a half. For me, this is especially great because I was so bad about buying new razors when I needed to, I would make my inefficient and dull razors last me long past the time you're supposed to. So, rather than buying new razors every month and a half as I said, it was more like every 3-5 months. Yikes. My skin did not appreciate that.
So, for me, the 4th benefit is a closer shave.
Along the lines of minimal waste, I also recently purchased some reusable produce bags. They're mesh bags with a drawstring and are very roomy for all the lemons! (I buy lots of lemons). I get produce every time I go to the grocery store and I get so annoyed having to use all those flimsy plastic bags. My use of the mesh produce bags is, honestly, more about being annoyed by the plastic bags than it is about minimal-waste, as I still use plastic bags to haul all my groceries home, but! I do feel better not having to just toss away all those little plastic bags. I reuse the big plastic bags as trash bags, so I feel a little less guilty with those.
As I've said, I'm not trying to be zero-waste. I admire that lifestyle, but in the modern world, it requires a great deal of sacrifice. In my opinion, it's key to find a balance that reduces dissonance, but doesn't require so much sacrifice that you no longer enjoy life.
Alright, onto other favorites.
I have been wanting to join a subscription box for a long time. There is just something wonderful about getting things in the mail, but receiving packages once a month is a bit much for me. So, Fortune Cookie Soap Box is perfect for me because there are only 4 boxes a year, one for each season. (There is an option for a monthly box if you want that). I signed up just as their Summer box came out, filled with samples from their collection "A Pirate's Life For Me." The products I received are: face oil, exfoliating body scrub, body cream, perfume oil, lip scrub, hand sanitizer, foot scrub, and bar of soap (in the shape of a fortune cookie). Everything had a bit of a tropical smell, but not the usual floral scent that comes with tropical scented body care items. Some of the "notes," as they say, are aged bourbon, tobacco, mandarin zest, and coconut. My favorite item from the box was the Aqua De Vida face oil. It was the one thing I wanted to purchase full size, but when I went to get it, it was already sold out! So, I must not be the only one who loved it.
Sometimes I feel bad about indulging in body care like this. I usually have instant buyer's remorse when I buy these kinds of things. I love stepping into Bath and Body Works, but it's also like instant anxiety if I see anything I want to buy. The Fortune Cookie Soap Box is a nice little treat because it comes so infrequently I don't have to pay a lot to enjoy it, and each item appears to be so carefully crafted that it really does feel quite special. This box is very much worth the price.
I've been buying Bear Naked cereal for several months, and I was so excited when I read about their Custom Granola. I made a custom creation pretty quickly after finding out about it, and it turned out to be DELICIOUS! The only down side for me was the site's UI wasn't very intuitive, so I missed all the usual granola ingredients like fruits and nuts. I made a coffee and bourbon flavored granola that had chocolate covered coffee beans in it. When I later saw I missed all the dried fruits and nuts I was worried that my granola would be too plain, but it turned out to be delicious, and it tastes amazing over some vanilla yogurt. I'm looking forward to making some more with all the delicious things.
Another thing I've been doing toward my goal of a minimal-waste lifestyle is purchasing more things from the bulk buy area of our local grocery store. We buy our groceries from Safeway, and they have a bulk buy area in the produce section, the coffee/tea aisle, and in the canned fruits section. So far, I've gotten coffee and walnuts from the bulk bin. Not only is this less wasteful because I can bring my own reusable bags, it's much cheaper. The bulk buy coffee at our Safeway is Boyer's brand, and it's delicious! It's also much more fresh because you pour it whole bean, then you can grind it right there in the store if you want. I think the price for this coffee is pretty comparable to the cheaper pre-packaged brands like Folger's or Maxwell's, but it's much less financially stressful getting nuts from the bulk buy because at our Safeway you can get a pound for $6 (that's for walnuts), whereas purchasing them pre-packaged is usually more like $8 for far less than a pound.
Netflix finally released the third season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt! As a person who is fascinated by cults and power-hungry religious fanatics, I really enjoy the backstory of this show. I don't always love the direction the present-day narrative goes, but this particular season was hilarious. I think I found it so funny because Kimmy goes to college in this season, and they went pretty heavy with the whole making fun of college students humor. I also really like it when the show gives insight into how Kimmy's psyche was affected by what happened to her (if you don't know, she was kidnapped by a man who tricked several women into believing it was the end of the world and he held them in a bunker, where he abused them). The show is honestly a little too light for me, given Kimmy's history I think they could have some darker themes (which they got into a bit more in Season 2), but in this new season they did return to that a little when Kimmy realizes that people can, and pretty much everyone does, Google each other so Kimmy can't keep her story secret. Though I would like to see darker themes, I enjoyed the humor more in this season than I have in any other seasons.
Speaking of dark themes, this next show is a bit of a love-hate relationship, but I've been watching (or mostly listening to, rather) Occult Crimes, which is also on Netflix. I say I'm listening to it because the production quality is quite low, so I don't much care to watch it. The narration is also pretty bad, truthfully, but the stories keep me listening. It's love-hate because it's not good for me as I'm already an anxious person. Hearing about horrific murders only makes my anxiety worse, but my curious mind makes it hard for me to stop listening! The other thing is, as I mentioned with Kimmy Schmidt, I find cult activity so fascinating. Now, the occult isn't necessarily the same thing as cult activity, but the people who get involved and become leaders of occult practices operate under the same power-hungry mindset as
Though I'm insatiably curious, I did recently have to turn off an episode that was about the Chicago Rippers. With most episodes, I'm able to calm myself through the idea that people get themselves involved in these occult rituals and put themselves in danger. It's not to say crime is the fault of the victim, but it makes the evil feel a little less random. However, the Chicago Rippers were quite random. It really freaked me out and made me feel like I have absolutely no control over steering clear from danger.
I ended up returning to the Chicago Rippers episode later because, like I said, my curious mind makes it hard for me to stop listening. It's really opened up the thoughts in my head about evil and whether people are just born evil, or if they become evil. I guess that's a variation on the nature-nurture debate, which I also enjoy ruminating over.
The last show I've been enjoying this month is an old one. My Name is Earl first aired back in early 2000 and I remember seeing trailers for it, but not being that interested. I decided to give it a try, and it's the exact kind of thing I need to counteract all the negative feelings I get from watching Occult Crimes. Although it's just a sitcom with 20-25 minute long episodes, it has also got me thinking about the nature of evil because Earl is battling with the idea of karma. Each episode involves him making up for something "bad" he did in his past to counteract karma. Each episode ends sentimentally, and yet, it's never sappy (my sappy threshold may be quite high, however). The last episode I watched revolved around Earl's relationship with his dad, and I'm not even ashamed to say I cried.
So, clearly, I've been enjoying quite a bit of television this month. I often feel bad for indulging in television, so I think it's good to remind myself that I get quite a lot of joy from it. I just remember being a lonely kid, bored at home, and practically zoning out on TV, so I worry about becoming that kid again when I watch too much TV. Just like every pleasure in life, though, it's about balance.
Okay, go forth, will you, and seek balance.