I Deserve Better Than What Feminism Offers

I Deserve Better Than What Feminism Offers

Alright, ladies… before you get your panties in a bunch, hear me out on this one.  Women deserve equal rights, equal pay, and equal opportunity based on qualifications.  SOLELY on qualifications, not their gender.

Girls, here’s where you’re being sold short.  Do I deserve for a man to open a door for me?  Absolutely.  Do I deserve for my husband to be the provider and protector of me and our family?  Absolutely.  Does that make me weak or a lesser individual?  Nope.  If you feel that it does, maybe you need to do a little soul searching.  Men opening doors for women and being chivalrous displays that women deserve to be taken care of, not because we’re fragile or can’t stand up for ourselves, but because we should be valued.  If that makes you feel less, your value problem may be with yourself, not with those around you.  I’ll happily tell all of the courteous men in my life to let the door slam in your face since you can take care of it yourself.

Women (and men while I’m at it) are being reduced to a gender, which means they MUST be underpaid, undervalued, weak, and subservient, right?  Because I’m a woman, I must be held back in a male dominated field, right?  Because I’m a woman, I must feel the need to march with a pink sign while wearing genitalia on my head (what I would be marching for… I’m still not sure…), right?  Because I’m a woman, I should demand to be paid while I go off and have babies and not contribute anything to my place of employment, right?  Because I’m a woman, I deserve the right to kill another human being because they’re an inconvenience in my life, right?  Sorry, guys… I know the sarcasm is strong in this one.  I am just finding it so hard to sit by and watch “feminists” claim that they deserve rights.  What rights are you lacking?  Seriously… fill me in.  I’m still waiting to hear a legitimate answer to this question.  Currently, in America, what rights are you lacking?

Did my gender define my career path?  Nope.  I work in a male dominated career field because it’s what I love.  Should all women choose a male dominated career path to stick it to the man?  Nope. Women should do what they love or do what is right for their family and for themselves, not because they’re being shoved toward a male dominated career field solely to fill a “void”.  If staying home with their kids is what’s best for them and their family, they should have full support.  If working a full-time job is what is best for them and their family, they should have full support.

While we’re on the subject of employment, let’s discuss this pay gap.  While I’m sure there are many instances of females earning less than their male counterparts, here are a few contributing factors that are being vastly overlooked.  First, many women have children and some time goes by that they are out of the workforce.  Now, if a male counterpart has been continually employed while a female with the same credentials has been out of the employment field even a few years, this means the male counterpart will likely earn a higher wage.  This is absolutely fair.  The female has chosen to take time away from her profession in order to rear her children.  This is a life choice the female has made, so there are consequences.  If the female wants to maintain the same compensation as her male counterpart arrangements must be made, otherwise, she will not be compensated at a comparable rate.  This leads to the next workplace “inequality”… maternity leave.

Women.  Have.  Babies.   Simple fact of life… if men had babies there would be a lot more whining and a lot more pain killers 😉 . Totally kidding, men (*cough cough* not really…).  Now, women must leave their place employment for a period of time to deliver their baby and recover.  While the mother is away from work, her coworkers must pick up her slack.  Yes… her slack.  Is she there contributing to her company?  No.  Simple answer.  Should she be compensated?  Well, that depends on the company’s stance-as it should be.  There are some awesome employers out there that will pay for maternity leave or even offer an extended maternity leave.  That’s great for their employees, but for the majority of new moms, very few companies offer full compensation and very little time off after delivery.  My solution for this?  Make.  Plans.  Life is full of unexpected twists and turns-male or female.  No one owes you ANYTHING.  Not a thing.  Don’t like maternity leave policies at your place of employment?  Search for a new employer, don’t whine for a handout funded by hardworking individuals.  Don’t be a charity case.

I’m not naive enough to think that there aren’t women who are being paid less than their male counterparts, are discriminated against for having family responsibilities, or being told they can’t simply because they’re a woman.  The world is not perfect and there will always, ALWAYS be bias and there is nothing anyone can do to completely eliminate all bias in the world.  What we can do is stand up for what is right, what is fair, and for equality… for EVERYONE, regardless of race, gender, whatever.  Equality based on qualifications, not rallying for handouts or special treatment because of gender.  Break stereotypes.  Be a strong leader in your place of employment.  This means leading with dignity, with honor, and leading without any bias.  Don’t embrace victimhood, but shatter it.  Don’t elicit over-emotional responses and assume you’re being singled out based on your gender.  Stand and fight for what is right in a diplomatic matter.  Keep killin’ it ladies 🙂

Oh, and for those that completely disagree, that’s what creates healthy, thought-provoking conversation, so keep it classy when you discuss any of these deep topics with others, k? K. *stores soapbox until another day*

Sweaty Palms and How to Deal

Sweaty Palms and How to Deal

If you’re thinking TMI, you may want to move on to another post.  I’m writing this post because I figure if this can even help one person, it’s worth the time to put it out there.  When I say sweaty palms, I really mean completely drenched.  Like, dripping.  As a teen, I would play video games with friends, hand off a controller to the next player, then hear, “What did you spill on the controller?”.  Story. Of. My.  Life.  I would submit exams in blue books at school to my teacher or professor only to hear them say “What did you spill on your exam book?”.  When I would tell them it was my sweaty hands they would respond with, “Oh, you were that nervous?”.  Nope.  I wasn’t.  My hands have a mind of their own with no rhyme or reason to their sweatiness.

It wasn’t just my hands, my feet also had a puddling mind of their own.  I danced throughout school and we typically wore lyrical sandals (we fondly called them Jesus sandals…).  For those who have never been part of the dance world, this translates to a tiny piece of leather to cover the ball of your foot to allow you to turn effortlessly, but the rest of the “shoe” consisted of well, nothing-straps and that’s about it.  Now, imagine having consistently drenched feet and doing leaps across a hardwood gym floor in these suckers.  It ain’t pretty.  I fell on my butt more times than I can count.

I know, I know… get to the point, right?  Well, the point is I never found something that actually “worked”.  I did find things to help me manage the awkward effects of my sweaty hands and feet.  First of all, it has a name: hyperhydrosis (basically the scientific name for sweating too much).  A lot of people with hyperhydrosis seem to sweat more in the underarm area, but in this case, my hands and feet are the culprits.  I’ve had people all my life say “yeah, I get sweaty palms, too”.  No, just no.  Until your hands literally drip and you have to plan your outfit or shoe choice because you know you’ll either be standing in a puddle or will have sweat marks all over your clothing from your hands dripping, don’t tell me you can sympathize.  I have only met a few people that can actually sympathize.  My dad (thanks, dad… I know where I get it…), my sister-in-law, a foreign exchange student I met in high school, and I recently found out a friend’s sister has the same problem.

There is a surgery that can be done that severs sweat glands in the underarm area that will eliminate all sweating in the hands.  Well, I’ve dealt with this problem all my life, so thousands of dollars of surgery not covered by insurance isn’t a solution for me.  I have also been prescribed deodorants that “should” stop the sweating.  You guys.  Have you ever applied deodorant to the palms of your hand?  No?  Try it and see how that works out throughout the day for you.  Not practical whatsoever.  So, what has worked?  Not much, but I have found a few products that help some.  I have found a lotion as well as wipes that seem to work better than anything else I’ve tried.

DERMAdoctor MED e TATE Antiperspirant Wipes

wipes
Photo Credit: Sephora

These wipes are convenient and they work fairly well.  They sometimes gave my hands a somewhat waxy feeling, but other than that they didn’t leave a greasy or oily feel like some other products do.  They did slow the sweating, but when you wash your hands a few times the product loses its effects.  Overall, these were expensive (around $2 per wipe), but they were great for situations where I really, REALLY wanted my hands to be a little dryer than they normally are.  I came across these in a Sephora while in college.  I was taking yoga classes (yes… engineers can do yoga, too…) and would just get continually frustrated falling on my face while going into downward dog.  At the time these were $48 for a 24-pack, which is pricey, but I was willing to try anything.  A wipe in a convenient package?  Sold.  I was finally able to actually free my mind and not continually fixate on which pose would bring me crashing to the floor next.

Carpe Antiperspirant Lotion

71nwtNfKsUL._AC_UL480_FMwebp_QL65_
Photo Credit: Amazon

I haven’t used this lotion much, since I purchased it in dry winter months, but it has awesome reviews and is much more competitively priced at $24.95 for hand and foot lotion tubes.  The tubes are small, but it’s still a great start for a $25 price point.  The instructions say to use this product every night before bed and you will see results in around 4 weeks.  Ain’t got time for that?  That’s when the MED e TATE wipes might be handy.

Well, there you have it.  Is it a great list of solutions?  No, but I’ve tried everything to no avail.  I’ve tried prescriptions, lotions, deodorants on my hands, nothing has worked.  These two products at least give me some relief or improvement in a… sweaty… situation.  If this helps at least one person who suffers from acute sweat-itis (put that in the Big Book of Boo Boos, Doc McStuffins), then sharing this was worth it.

Crispy Garlic Parmesan Salmon

Crispy Garlic Parmesan Salmon

salmon
Photo Credit: Cafe Delites

Salmon is definitely my favorite fish.  Partially because all recipes I have happen to be mix some ingredients, cover the salmon, bake, and voila!  Delicious salmon dinner.  Well, this one is pretty much the same, so it works for me!  I typically make a mustard-maple salmon, so I was excited to try a more crusted salmon recipe.  This one didn’t disappoint!  I found this recipe from Cafe Delites.  Check out their original recipe here!

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds wild salmon fillet
  • 2/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lemon wedges , to serve

Directions

  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking tray / sheet with a large piece of foil. Place the salmon fillet, skin side down, on the baking sheet; set aside.
  2. Mix together the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, parsley and garlic in a small bowl. Pour in the melted butter; season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/3 teaspoon pepper (or to taste). Using your hands (it’s easier than using a wooden spoon), mix the ingredients together until the breadcrumbs absorb the butter (about 40 seconds).
  3. Pour the mixture over the salmon, pressing it into the top until the fillet is completely covered. Lightly spray salmon with cooking oil spray for a golden crumb.

  4. Bake uncovered for 12-15 minutes (depending on the thickness of your fillet), until the crust is golden and the salmon is cooked and flakes easily with fork.
  5. Serve with lemon wedges and a squeeze of lemon (optional).

This is a great salmon recipe if you’re looking for something with a little extra crunch.  I hope you enjoy it!

One Pot Cheesy Sausage Pasta

One Pot Cheesy Sausage Pasta

cheesy pasta
Photo Credit: RiverBender.com

Cheese.  Sausage.  Pasta.  All in one pot. Ingredients I usually have on hand at all times.  Easy weeknight meal with no prep whatsoever.  Yeah… we eat this quite a bit.  Good thing it’s delicious 😉   This is also a flexible recipe.  I’ve used all shapes and kinds of pasta from farfalle to rotini to whole grain pasta-it all works.  Out of shredded Cheddar-Jack cheese?  No problem!  Use whatever shredded cheese you happen to have on hand.  I adapted my recipe from one I found from RiverBender.com.  You can check out the original here!

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb Smoked Turkey Sausage, sliced
  • 1 cup frozen diced onion (fresh is fine, too-I use frozen to save time)
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic (about two fresh cloves)
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can Chicken Broth
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup milk or heavy cream
  • 8 oz dry pasta (any small pasta will do)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, each
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar-Jack cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped scallions, for garnish

Directions

1. Add olive oil to a 4-5 quart saute pan over medium high heat. Add onions and sausage and cook until lightly browned. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
2. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, milk, pasta, and seasonings. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until pasta is tender.
3. Turn off the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of cheese. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and cover for about five minutes to allow cheese to melt. Top with sliced scallions and serve.

I typically use a lot more cheese than a cup, because… cheese!  This is a recipe everyone loves.  You can customize it to your taste by using your pasta and cheese of choice, omitting chopped scallions or using green onion, and the list goes on.  I hope you enjoy this one!

Great Exfoliators and Moisturizers to Beat the Dry Weather!

Great Exfoliators and Moisturizers to Beat the Dry Weather!

I meant to write this one before winter began, so I’m a little late on this one.  Hopefully there are a few products here that make the rest of the dry winter months a little more tolerable.  After all, you can only drink so much water in a 24 hour period to try to keep you hydrated!  Moisturizers are great, but exfoliating allows moisturizers to do their thing, so I’ve thrown a few of my favorites in as well.  Let me know what some of your favorites are!

Exfoliators

Soap & Glory Flake Away Body Polish

flake away
Photo Credit: Target

We’ll start with a great body scrub.  I’ve tried numerous body scrubs from those with crushed walnut shells, salt scrubs (yeah… don’t use those if you plan on shaving… you know, the phrase “don’t rub salt into the wound” should tell you why this is a bad idea…), and scrubs that I have no clue what they contain.  This one is hands down my favorite.  Actually, I’m not sure I’ve ever tried anything by Soap & Glory I didn’t love.  This scrub contains moisturizing shea butter, sugar, and peach seed powder to naturally exfoliate.  The scent of this scrub can’t even be described-one of my favs!

PMD Beauty Personal Microderm & PMD Clean

pmd
Photo Credit: Sephora

Alright.  Another Facebook ad made me do it.  I had seen ads for Personal Microderm for what seemed like months and as my skin ages and becomes dryer, uneven toned, and hyper-pigmented in areas, I decided to check out the reviews, which surprisingly were mostly positive.  I’ll spare you the details and I’ll post an entire review of the system after I’ve been using it a little longer than four weeks.  I will say in the short term I’ve loved the system as an exfoliator and my skin has never been this smooth and even after using the microderm every week the PMD Clean twice daily when cleansing.  All products seem to absorb much better because of this system.

e.l.f. Lip Exfoliator

lip exfoliator
Photo Credit: Target

Cheap.  Effective.  Look no further.  Seriously!  That’s about it for this one.  This exfoliator is a little more coarse than most I’ve tried, but it’s by far my favorite.  It absorbs well, exfoliates well, and the sugar crystals dissolve well.  Perfect for matte liquid lipstick obsessions.

 

 

Dr. Pedicure Foot Exfoliation Peeling Mask

mask
Photo Credit: Amazon

This one is by far the strangest in my lineup.  It’s a mask… for your feet.  Not kidding.  The package contains a set of plastic booties you put on your feet, secure them with tape so they don’t leak, let the chemicals do their thing, and in about a week or so all of the dead skin on your feet peels continually until it’s completely removed.  Disgusting?  Yes.  Effective?  Also yes.  Soo… whatevs.  If it works it works.  And it does work.  I don’t think any pedicure could’ve given me softer feet than this did.  Now I just do maintenance by using a natural pumice stone.  If my feet ever are in dire need again, I’ll definitely be grabbing another pack of these babies.

Moisturizers

Soap & Glory The Righteous Butter

righteous butter
Photo Credit: Target

Probably my favorite on this list.  Your skin will thank you every time you use this magical body butter.  I’m not exaggerating.  I have yet to find something more moisturizing and longer lasting than this stuff.  Amazing.

 

 

Soap & Glory Heel Genius

heel genius
Photo Credit: Target

Yep.  Another Soap & Glory product.  I’m telling you… they’re so effective, have such an amazing scent, and are so long lasting that I have yet to find anything that tops their products.  I’m able to maintain well manicured feet with this product alone as long as I apply it every night in the winter months and after showering in the summer months.

 

 

 

LilyAna Naturals Eye Cream Moisturizer

eye cream
Photo Credit: Popsugar

I know this isn’t necessarily a full moisturizer, but it’s awesome if my skin needs a little more moisture on dry days.  I use it as an eye cream twice a day, then on other areas of the face as needed and it does the job.

 

 

 

Organic Fractionated Coconut Oil

coconut oil
Photo Credit: Amazon

Coconut oil has always been suggested to me for dry skin, but alas, I can’t handle the greasiness that comes along with it.  So, I did what I usually do: search Amazon for a solution.  What I found was fractionated coconut oil that isn’t “greasy”, but is definitely oily (it’s an oil… so, duh).  In the winter months I put this on my hands, rub it in as much as possible, then apply O’Keefe’s Working Hands afterward, which seems to seal the moisture in.

O’Keefe’s Working Hands

working hands
Photo Credit: Amazon

I use this during the day when my hands become really dry because it’s not greasy, absorbs well, and keeps moisture in for a long time.  As I said before, this works great after applying fractionated coconut oil before bed to lock in the moisture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fake Naked Palette From Sephora?!

Fake Naked Palette From Sephora?!

After years of wanting to see what the hype of Urban Decay Naked palettes was all about, I could never bring myself to purchase one for full price.  Honestly, I always wear the same boring neutral shades of shadow and I wasn’t about to shell out over $50 for an eyeshadow palette.  Do you know how many diapers that can buy?  Oh, right… back to the palettes.  I finally bit the bullet when I found the Naked Smoky palette which had been previously discontinued for half price.  Do I ever wear a smoky eye?  Nope.  Was I going to buy it?  Yep.  Girl logic.

I was so excited to finally get my palette in the mail, tore open the packaging, and opened the prettiest box of makeup I had ever seen.  The packaging didn’t disappoint and there was a helpful tutorial inside the box.  Score!  Perfect for a smoky eye newbie like me.  I whipped out the little tutorial card and went to work.  Added the shade Password and moved on to the shimmery dark gray shade of Armor.  Wait… Armop?  What the heck is Armop?  Seriously?  Now, even though this is my first Urban Decay palette I KNOW shades should not be misspelled.  That is a perfect sign of a dupe.  Did Sephora ship a dupe?!  Ugh.  You. Are. Kidding.  The color also didn’t seem to be terribly pigmented.  So, I packed up the palette and called all local Sephoras.  They weren’t even aware that Urban Decay had brought the palette back at half price.  An email to Sephora customer service was in order.

 

To my surprise they responded in less than 24 hours and told me they would send a new palette out as soon as possible.  I received a follow-up email after the new palette had been shipped instructing me to ship the defective palette back to Sephora.  New palette arrived, I shipped the old one back, and my problem was solved.

I still can’t help but wonder if Sephora shipped a lot of these misspelled palettes.  Did they somehow receive a bad shipment?  Let me know if you happened to receive a misspelled palette!

Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana

Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana

crock-pot-zuppa-toscana-7-1
Photo Credit: Homemade Hooplah

More soup for the cold winter months!  This Olive Garden copycat soup is hearty and can stand on its own as a meal.  It has it all-meat, potatoes, kale… shhhhh… hang with me, kale haters!  I promise you’ll love it.  I adapted my recipe from the Crock Pot Zuppa Toscana recipe at Homemade Hooplah.  My version has cut quite a few corners.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 1 tbsp garlic minced
  • 1 cup frozen diced onion
  • 1 package Ore Ida diced hashbrown potatoes
  • 2-4 russet potatoes, diced
  • 1 pinch salt to taste
  • 1 pinch black pepper to taste
  • 4 cup chicken broth (32 oz)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bunch kale stems removed and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese (for topping)

Directions

  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown and crumble hot Italian sausage, about 5-8 minutes. Add onion and garlic and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes or until some of the onion begins to turn opaque (no need to cook onion completely at this point). Drain grease from skillet.
  2. In a 6 quart crock pot (or bigger), add cooked sausage & veggies plus the diced potato. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour chicken broth on top. There should be enough broth to cover the tops of the potatoes; if there isn’t, add up to 2 cups water so potatoes are covered.

  3. Gently stir ingredients, cover crock pot, and cook on LOW for 5-6 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.
  4. Remove lid from crock pot and add kale and heavy whipping cream, then stir to combine.
  5. Cover crock pot and cook on HIGH for another 30 minutes.
  6. Serve zuppa toscana immediately with shredded parmesan cheese as garnish.

Simple enough!  I usually brown the sausage, onion, and garlic the night before to make for a dump and go meal in the morning.  It’s chilly outside-hibernate and enjoy!