"Secret skimping is out, like false bosoms." - Marjorie Hillis, Orchids on Your Budget, 1937.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Job History

Over at Punch Debt in the Face, DN asked readers to make a list of their job histories to see if their current jobs are the last in a line of logical progressions. Here is my job history, from age 12:

1. Babysitter
2. Grocery store bagger/cashier
3. Sales associate at the Gap
4. File clerk temp at phone company
5. Instrument sterilizer at dental office
6. Junior dental assistant
7. File clerk at law firm
8. Slide projectionist for an art history class (work-study)
9. Server at seafood restaurant
10. Intern at a an art museum (unpaid, does this count?)
11. Paralegal
12. Front desk at a dental office

Totally predictable. My job history looks sort of like a circle. Not only have I not been making any large leaps forward, but my latest job, especially in this context, appears to be a step back. I'm approaching it more as a momentary pause, but it's still annoying to it see laid out like this.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Inspired by FB's post today on skincare, I decided to share my own.

You might say that I have been blessed with perfect skin my entire life... or as close to perfect as human skin can get before it dips into the uncanny valley.

As a pre-teen, my first brush with "blemishes" occurred when I developed an acne-like rash on one cheek. My mother, bless her heart, has always wanted to give me/make me the best, so I was immediately taken to the dermatologist, where I was diagnosed with the vague catch-all that is "dermatitis" (I'm sort of prone to sensitive skin ailments, like rashes - gross). I came away from that appointment armed with a tube of Differin, plus instructions to throw away my Seabreeze cooling bar facial soap, and replace it with a bar of Cetaphil, along with a PM application of Curel body lotion to my face.

Since that day (probably more than 14 years ago) my routine hasn't changed much. Sure, I've experimented with weird and fancy products, but I always find myself reaching for my basics. No combination of products I've tried works more gently or consistently.

Now, before you think I'm peddling anything, let me say that I know plenty of people for whom Differin didn't work - to each her own. For instance, Proactiv works like hell. No, really, you can feel it working in a really hellasciously effective, burning way. Retin-A definitely works, but in a really visible, peely sort of way. I tried Rx-only sulfur-based lotions and washes (Klaron, Plexion), but they were so stanky, the twice daily application nixed any aesthetic gain.

So, without further ado, this is what works for me:


Wash face with a little bit of Cetaphil bar soap after brushing teeth (a lot of toothpastes have ingredients that can cause perioral dermatitis, so I like to wash after brushing, just in case). Pat dry with washcloth set aside exclusively for facial use, and quickly apply moisturizer before face dries completely. Frequently, especially in the winter when my skin is hurty and dry, I'll just use my Curel fragrance-free body lotion. I know, SPF=0 - I'm terrible. In the summer, I for sure use an high SPF lotion like La Roche-Posey Anthelios 40.


Wash face with Cetaphil again after brushing teeth and flossing. Pat dry. This time, I let my skin dry completely. I apply Differin almost all over the face, minus the eye/nose/mouth area. Afterward, about every other night - and here's where it gets a little scandalous - I pat some Retin-A under my eyes (not too close) and along the top of my cheek bones. You know that tell-tale shiny look Retin A gives you? I think it looks terrible when it affects the entire face, but wonderful when it's confined to the cheekbone area. Plus, I'm not getting any younger in the eyes, and this is definitely keeping the fine lines at bay. Then I answer a couple emails and wait a while for everything to sink in, wash and dry my hands, then moisturize my dry areas with Curel.

It's relatively inexpensive (with insurance for the Rx's), effective, and an efficient use of my time an energy, because I know it works.

Remember the sulfur products I mentioned? Instead of using them daily, I use a sulfur mask when I feel like it. I used to use the Proactiv mask like FB, but now I use Serious Skin Care's Continuously Clear "Unmasked". I prefer the texture and the tub (vs. tube) packaging, but they're essentially the same product. Occasionally I'll use the glycolic acid mask from the same line if I'm in the mood for some exfoliation.

As for makeup, I don't wear much. About once a year, I wear Bare Minerals foundation to appease my mother. About half the week I can't be bothered with makeup, and the other half I wear some under-eye concealer, blush, mascara (+eyelash curler), and chapstick. It takes less than 5 minutes, and I do admit I look far more rested with it than without it.

So that's that! Basically, when you've got some work-horse basics like Differin or any other kind of retinoid (Retin-A, Tazorac, etc), the best thing to do is to keep whatever else you put on your face simple and pared down, and be consistent with your routine.

Oh yeah, and drink water and eat food. The end. ;)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

New Job Beefs

I thought I had cracked the code to accepting a lower-paying job: overtime. I would just work a few teensy little hours of overtime each week, and viola, I could force them to pay me my asking price.

As good as I felt about logging those extra hours, after a few weeks in a row, my new employer was not amused. Apparently, they don't "do" overtime. Uh oh.

My first beef is that it's incredibly hard to even come close to completing all the work that needs to be done in any given day, even when I work overtime. I've only ever held a salaried job before, wherein I would work until the work was completed. Yes, at times I felt that I was being taken advantage of, but at least shit got done. Now, there is a completely different kind of pressure in the form of the office manager needling me out of the door as I approach 40 hours. What to do in this situation? Sure, I'll get better and faster as time goes by, but in reality, this job probably requires 2 people. We're looking for some part-time help, but until then, do I just let my stacks grow and hope that they recognize that I'm working my ass off, NOT slacking off?

My second beef really isn't on-topic at all, but is necessary for me to vent before it crushes my soul. So I work at the front desk. I understand the front desk needs to look presentable, and that it's semi-shared territory, as someone may need to sit there to check people out in my absence. I am completely fine with that, and I am not one of those people who latches onto the THIS IS MY DESK notion. ...HOWEVER, I do work there everyday, and 99% of time time, I am the only person using that desk, and yet I don't even get ANY drawer-space. I have one box of tea and a chapstick, yet there is no room to be had!

And don't even get me started on the TOP of the desk. When I leave 2 neat, staggered stacks of papers at the end of the day as a reminder for myself, the next morning it inevitably has transformed to 1 solid stack in the file tray in the corner. When I leave a few post-its in a neat row in front of my phone as a reminder to call certain people in the morning, they are moved to the corner, stuck one on top of the other, right next to the to-do stack. The office manager's fascist tendencies are going to drive me insane.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April 2010 Net Worth

Emergency Fund: $3,680.63
Checking: $200.87
Wedding Fund: $686.55
Other People's Weddings Fund: $170.01
Misc. ING Funds: $51.01
Roth IRA: $7,782.05 (out of the $7,500 I've invested so far)
401k: $4,877.10
Sharebuilder: $40.29 (out of $50 initial investment)
Amex Gift Card: $23.00
Total Positive: $17,511.51

Rent: $PAID
Groceries/Utilities: $PAID
Phone: $PAID
Subway Pass: $30
Credit cards: $156.56
Student Loan I: $7,556.94 (from over $19k)
Student Loan II: $0
Total Negative: $7,743.50

Total Net Worth: +$9,768.01

I made some pretty nice gains this month, despite my cut in pay, mostly due to the following:
  1. I got my final paycheck from my old job this month (we were paid every 2 weeks, with a 1 week delay, I think?), on top of the money I was making at the new job (paid weekly, with hardly any delay).
  2. My fiance and I are now each paying a percentage of the rent, instead of 50/50, so my share is about $200 less now.
  3. Retirement fund gains.

My expenses for next month will be through the roof with all the plane tickets alone. Starting the week after my own wedding in May, all my extra income (about $2k) will be earmarked for "Other People's Weddings". I have 3 weddings in the next few months, and all of them require travel. And one of them requires me to plan/pay the bulk of bridal shower/bachelorette party stuff. Woo? It's possible that I could not be any less enthusiastic ever, about anything, than I am at the moment.