Tag Archives: Virginia

Simone France: Update


Blends, it is truly a treat that I am here with you in the middle of the week — even if it is 9:30 on Wednesday night. These days, while blogging is always a mental priority, my mental to-do lists don’t always transcend my realistic to-do lists. My day looks pretty much like this: wake up at 6:30, be out the door by 7:20, work from 7:45-3:00, hit the gym, shower, study, pack lunch, eat dinner, spend a little bit of leisure time with my family, crash by 10:30, lather, rinse, repeat. Pretty blasé, if I do say so myself, but this routine ends August 16 and a new one begins! [More exciting things are coming, and I can’t wait to share them with you on SWASOV!] Other bloggers manage to work longer days, fit in perkier routines, juggle babies and husbands, blog daily, and somehow smile through it all. But I’m not “other bloggers,” and I’m trying not to play the comparison game as much these days. As Judy Garland would advise, I’m trying my best to be a first-rate version of myself.


I wanted to check in with you and update you on my experience with Simone France! I won Colleen’s giveaway over at The Lunchbox Diaries June 21, and I received my SF travel kit goodies July 6. I checked in after one week of using Simone France, when I could already see noticeable results in the tone, texture, and appearance of my skin. I’ve been a bit absent on the update front, but who wants to read about somebody else’s giveaway goodies, anyway? 😉

The point is, I have absolutely L.O.V.E.D. using Simone France for the past month! However, using the travel kit as a full-time kit meant that I ran out of a number of supplies very quickly. I don’t know exactly when I ran out of the Signature Cleansing Cloths, but I have been substituting clean washcloths or just plain old tap water as part of the Sandwich routine. I have exactly one towelette left, and I’m saving it. For what, exactly, I couldn’t tell you. Maybe Luke Bryan will stop by one evening and be so grateful that I let him use my very last Simone France Signature Cleansing Cloth. Hey, you never know! 😉

So I’m out of those, as well as the moisturizer I have come to love so much. The SF moisturizer made my skin feel light, clean, and moisturized, without feeling oily or greasy. I have been substituting another quality moisturizer I purchased through my mom’s consultant in December, but being that the weather is hot and humid here in Virginia, things aren’t peachy in the skin department. I thought I loved my other-brand moisturizer, until two things happened: (1) the weather changed from cold and dry to hot and sticky, and (2) I fell in love with Simone France. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those lucky ducks who can simply go without, so over-moisturized it is. I try to use as little as possible, but the SF routine just isn’t the same without the SF moisturizer to complete it.

So, that’s pretty much where I stand. Out of two key components of my Simone France travel kit collection, and unable to afford to replenish them. I am certain that SF products are of high quality and good value; however, I wish they weren’t so darn expensive that they cost your unborn first child to replace! Perhaps Ruth (my mom) or Ian will feel generous come birthday time! 😉

It’s been brief, but it’s been great stopping in. See y’all later!

Quick question: Have you ever tried SF products? If not, would you?


Busy, Busy, Busy


Good morning, blends!

I’m penning this post on Tuesday morning, though I’m not sure when I’ll be able to publish it. We have not had Internet since Friday afternoon, hence my accidental hiatus from Sarcasm. But let me back up a bit…

On Thursday, I took my two final exams(!); afterward, a bunch of my classmates and I went out for margs and bottomless chips and salsa. I was so excited to come home, I could barely sleep. In fact, I woke up at 7:00 Friday morning, already packed and rarin’ to go.

Friday evening, Ian, my sister Caroline, and I went out to dinner at one of my all-time favorites to celebrate: P.F. Chang’s China Bistro!


Probably no one out there is totally Chang’s-obsessed like I am, but I have literally dreamt about the Ma Po Tofu, the spring rolls, and the lettuce wraps.

Then, we celebrated a little more. A few of my favorite ladies from college came over to Ian’s apartment, toting Bitch Bubbly and PBR.


I downed more moscato than I care to admit; if it’s in the name of celebrating the end of one’s second year of grad school, it doesn’t count, right? 😉

Saturday we slept in until the very great hour of 9:00 (ha!) before heading to my house to help my parents put the finishing touches on their Kentucky Derby party. This was one of my dad’s Bucket List items, complete with an electronic spreadsheet betting system, enormous hats, and tables laden with fancy finger food.




I placed $1 bets on Overanalyze (true to my nature) and Orb (not just saying that because he won!), respectively, and won $16.40! By the start of the race I believe there was over $220 in the pot. The big winner was one of my neighbors, who won $82 on Orb. I’m not a gambler, typically, but I could easily see how this behavior becomes addictive…

It was early to bed for all of us after a long but exciting weekend.

Sunday, it was cool and breezy downright freezing here in Richmond, but we decided to hit Arts in the Park at Dogwood Dell anyway, and we dragged Ian along. I always enjoy seeing all the different vendors’ wares, like homemade soaps and candles, handspun pottery, local artists’ tapestries, and jewelry made from natural Virginia materials.

We ate an early snacky dinner from leftover picnic and party food, and crashed in front of Myrtle Manor. Have you seen that show?!

Yesterday, we had a bit of a incredibly lazy slow start, but we (my mom, my sister and I) finally made it to the gym. I had planned to run a light 5k in preparation for the Susan Komen 5k on Saturday, but I started cramping so badly around one mile that I only made it through two. Perhaps a do-over is in order.

Well, blends, I guess that’s what I’m off to do. Hopefully you’ll be reading this soon. Ta ta!

My Comfort Zone


Stepping outside of my comfort zone is not something I relish doing. However, it’s something I’m almost always really glad I did. As I mentioned, this semester I am beginning my Practicum experience requirement (100 hours) for my Master’s degree. I accepted a position at a school for children and adolescents with emotional and behavioral disturbances that require them to be at least temporarily removed from public schools.

Last Wednesday, I met with my supervising Practicum professor and my on-site supervisor. I was quakin’ in my boots at the prospect of beginning my first real counseling experience — until my on-site supervisor informed me that I’ll be working with the younger children, some of whom have autism. I love working with individuals with autism. My mind immediately flashed to my interview for my internship at the Faison School in 2010. That experience was perhaps the farthest I have ever stepped outside of my comfort zone; I had never before worked with children with autism, nor did I know what the hell I was supposed to be doing. And yet, I survived… and re-applied for two additional summers. And loved every minute of it. If a = b and b = c, then a equals… I can survive this, too!

This morning, when my alarm rudely awakened me at 6:55, I was immediately nervous about beginning Practicum. Then, I checked my email and the news. Due to freezing rain — and this being the state of Virginia, which causes people to compulsively close or delay the schools, as well as forget how to drive, the moment the skies darken — I was asked to arrive at 10:30 instead of 9:00. That relaxed me a bit. Unfortunately, I was awake 3 hours before I needed to be out the door, but it gave me a few extra minutes to linger in a hot shower. I had enough time to drink an extra cup of coffee, pack my lunch without haste, dress and style my hair (which would have been wet had I left at 8:20 instead of 9:55), and even read a few more of the 87 pages assigned in my Tuesday class. Okay, truth be told, I also had time to watch one-and-a-half episodes of Boy Meets World while I got things done around the apartment 😉

With all that unexpected time, I arrived at the school 20 minutes early, relaxed, alert, and prepared. And I had a wonderful first day! It really helped my anxiety that my on-site supervisor is so laid-back and encouraging of self-directedness. She was super flexible about the time and duration of my lunch break, and she encouraged me to simply observe today, to watch and listen without taking detailed notes and to start getting to know the peculiarities of such a unique environment. For the first day of a new “job,” I could not have been more far-removed from my comfort zone; and yet, I felt so genuinely comfortable in my own skin. I think it just goes to show that when I don’t build things up in my head, they aren’t ever as anxiety-producing as I’m anticipating. I’m truly looking forward to going back on Thursday!

Question: What takes you entirely out of your comfort zone? Like or dislike trying new things?

[Thursday — 234g carbohydrates (hoorah for quinoa!), 32g fiber (RDV reached!), 55g protein (RDV reached!), and 28g fat. Friday through Sunday, I did not keep tabs of my nutrition intake due to traveling, unavailability (i.e. Ian cooked dinner Saturday night), and meals eaten at restaurants. The experience of tabulating my nutrition intake without tabulating calories consumed is certainly proving to be interesting.]

Fresh Powder, Brah


Boy, have I missed blogging the past five days! I’ve been receiving update emails from my favorite bloggers, and I felt so behind on posting! So full of new ideas! I haven’t been sitting on my bum for five days, though. No sir.

On Thursday, most of the great state of Virginia got dumped a surprising amount of heavy, wet snow. The kind that falls in huge, fat flakes, and that makes driving (and attempting to go anywhere near a grocery store) treacherous. I truly thought that the previous week’s 60-degree temps would have made the ground far too warm for snow to stick or accumulate, but it turns out that my logic is every bit as unpredictable as VA’s weather patterns.

My dad and I took full advantage of the only substantial “fresh powder” Charlottesville has had all winter by skiing at Wintergreen Resort. Well, he skis; I snowboard 😉 Anyway, I was rushing around like a mad woman in the days preceding this ski trip in order to succinctly pack 6.5 weeks’ worth of clothes, Christmas gifts, acquired add-ons, and stuff that had been slowly and sneakily taking over every square inch of my room at home. I knew that when we got home from 4 hours of driving, 4 hours on the slopes, and more than a little anxiety and adrenaline over the impending “blizzard” predicted for the state, I wouldn’t want to do anything but pour myself into bed. Check.

There is nothing in this world quite like the feeling of flying down a mountain at what feels like Mach-3, the wind whistling in my ears, snowflakes being sucked past me, gliding over hills and valleys, dodging flags and fence posts, hearing the crunch of snow beneath my board when I finally spray-snow-to-a-halt at the orange flags approaching the lift. It literally feels like I am defying death, defying everything that seems humanly possible with regard to speed and balance and precision. My knees burn, my fingers tingle, my lips are so chapped they feel like they’re not a part of my face, and my heart races. Snowboarding is one of the most incredible things I’ve learned.

I must admit, I have spent so much time learning to snowboard and working on my technique on icy, synthetic snow that I didn’t quite know how to handle the real deal. I’m not fond of the words “I can’t” in the context of what I am physically capable of accomplishing, but there were multiple runs down the mountain when I literally could not move my board forward an inch. Twice, I ended up unbuckling my ratchets and walking the rest of the way to the lift. [If you’ve ever seen a snowboarder walk attached to his/her board, it is as exceedingly uncomfortable as it looks to walk with one leg twisted 90 degrees toward the other.] Sometimes, I fell in pockets of powder so deep, the drifts came up to my knees and the snow covered my board, making it impossible to gather momentum. Some of the slopes Dad and I are accustomed to skiing weren’t open because the resort hadn’t been able to blow or retain enough snow to cover the grass. No matter — Mike and I tore it up!

There were pros to it snowing while we were skiing, too. (Aside from the beauty of fresh, clean, white snow. I’ll always be in awe.) When I wiped, the fresh snow was refreshingly cushiony; I’m used to bruised hips and swollen knees and tender wrists after a boarding trip on icy slopes. I boarded off the lift successfully every single time. Because the weather wasn’t looking good for the mountain, there was hardly anyone at the resort. I’m sure it’s overrun right now, though, with it being a holiday weekend. Perhaps best of all, I measurably discovered how much more in shape I am than when we skied last year! Usually my entire body is sore for days afterward, but this time I just experienced some stiffness in my upper arms and my thighs. I was also impressed that we stayed on the slopes for the entirety of our four-hour lift ticket, with the exception of a quick Gatorade-and-granola-bar break. We’ve still got it, Dad 😉 I wish I’d had a way to record photos and the miles traveled via boarding for my 2,013 in 2013 goal, but alas, my personal bank of athletic equipment isn’t that advanced.

Another reason I haven’t blogged is that I’ve been at Ian’s family’s home in Roanoke since Friday evening. We’ve been car-shopping for him most of the weekend. It is one of the strangest feelings in the world to be browsing for a “family-friendly vehicle” at 24 years old. [Let me clarify that we have no intention of needing Ian’s new car to be family-friendly within the next few years. But when we do require such a car, because mine is not, we won’t be able to afford to buy a whole ‘nother one.] We’ve also been working a little bit on the wedding-planning agenda with Bonnie, my future mother-in-law. I was really excited to show her all of the material I’ve been gathering and the research Ian and I have done; my mom and I have done a lot of tossing ideas around, and I didn’t for one minute want Bonnie not to feel a part of it all.

Lastly — and honestly, depressingly — graduate classes resume tomorrow evening. Yep. I have class on Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. Guess that’s part of the total private-school package. I’ve been prepping as much as possible for the start of the semester, but mentally I’m not in the game yet. However, regular blogging, regular workouts, and regular clean-eating resume tomorrow (woooohoooo!).

Well, it’s dinner time between football games, so catch ya later, blends!