It’s officially November so I’m doing a cheeky post on things & non-things that brought me joy in the month prior.
UPDATE: I wrote this article at the beginning of November but was very hesitant to post it because it’s more personal than I’m accustomed to sharing on the blog. Figured this is even more reason to release it so here goes.
1. Learned how to use a cast-iron skillet.
If you love cooking, it’s worth learning how to use a cast iron skillet. I received one as a gift and decided to test the hype for myself. The first few times were a fail since I (in typical LAJA style) ignored the instructions to properly season it. I was scarred from the experience and almost tossed it when one of my coworkers, a cast-iron purist schooled me on proper etiquette. I applied the advice and LET. ME. TELL. YOU. My life is forever changed. Mind you, I’m still cooking the same things but the flavour is on a whole new level. I’ve made pizza (wow), pan-seared chicken + roasted veggies (epic) and even my eggs taste better (facts). I hardly use my non-stick pans because it’s hard to go back once you’ve tasted this life. Cast irons are rugged and will last with proper care. The key is to properly season your cast iron before use, only hand-wash it with baking soda + hot water (using dish soap removes the seasoning) and dry it completely either by hand or on the stove (if not it will rust). Sounds high maintenance but it’s worth it. I’m a convert.
2. Found my go-to extra chocolate-y muffin recipe
I’m addicted to chocolate. Finally nailed a chocolate muffin recipe that is lazy people friendly, made with whole foods includes nutrient dense ingredients excludes refined sugars and fulfills my chocolate cravings. The ingredient list is minimal and includes oats, over ripe bananas, cacao powder, almond milk, chocolate chips and some extras. Let me know if you’d like me to share my recipe. Finished the first batch (12 muffins) in two days. Woop !
3. Upgraded my ankle booties
In this post from a while back, I mentioned my need for a new pair of high heeled ankle booties since my current pair had fallen apart. Snatched up a beautiful Phillip Lim pair I had been eyeing for the longest time as a replacement. It came in at the right time since it’s already getting embarrassingly cold.
4. Caught up with friends
Met up with two of my favorite girlfriends. We hadn’t seen since graduation and it was great talking, arguing, cooking, laughing, crying and eating with them. Having good friends a blessing. Love my babies.
5. Used milk as an exfoliant
Shout out to my mum for converting me. It’s great for my sensitive skin, cost effective and lazy people friendly. Once or twice a week, I cover my entire face & body in whole milk for 15 mins, rinse off and slather my skin with shea butter. It has aided in my skin’s texture and overall glow. Fresh milk is good but expired milk is equally effective so before you dispose yours (or it goes sour), try this mask and report back if it made a difference in your skin. You have nothing to lose right?
6. Bought knives
Back to food. Didn’t realize what I was missing out till I got new knives. I had been (and still am) rocking with my dollar tree knives however, one was blunt beyond recovery and the other was a safety hazard since the blade kept popping off the handle. Updated them to this set and I’ve never enjoyed cutting things in my entire life. This thing cut through a mango seed like butter. I was scared but the quality is real.
7. Thrifted a cashmere sweater
Found a stunning red 100% cashmere sweater from a consignment store for an absolute steal. Snatched it up and it’s been paying itself since I’m always cold. I love cashmere because it’s warm but not bulky.
8. Learned how to (kind of) not be cheated at the mechanic
It’s no secret that there’s a higher chance to receive inflated prices as a woman when you go the mechanic. Mostly due to lack of automotive knowledge. I recently realized that the auto-place I’d been frequenting was indeed trifling when I paid a stupid amount of money for a problem that was never fixed. Then, they asked me to pay more to re-diagnose the issue. Arrant foolishness. I packed my bags, found Place 2 that offered a diagnostic for $30 cheaper than Place 1. Place 2 tried to try me and gave me an unsurprisingly absurd quote. No longer a JJC, I smiled and asked if this was their best offer. They said yes, it’s the cheapest (complete bullshit). I took the quote and did my own research on the cost of parts they needed. Guess what? Turns out they quoted 3Xs the retail price for the EXACT SAME PART, BRAND & MODEL. If you’re familiar with mechanics and autocare place, I need help understanding this phenomenom. Long story short, when you do a car diagnostic, ask them what specific parts they need and why even if you have no clue what they’re talking about. Have every damn thing in writing to avoid having your words used against you. All info should be clearly written on the diagnostic form. Look up the prices online and request a price match. If they decline, buy the damn parts yourself and have them install it. Period. These auto-repair replaces ain’t loyal so show no mercy in your negotiating. I’m still learning but this realization was a big win.
9. Kayaked in the lake
Went on an early morning kayak trip as part of a river sweep volunteering gig. Spent about 3 hours paddling around instead of picking up trash from the lake as intended. Oh well, the weather was amazing and I felt refreshed afterwards.
10. Steamed my hair for the first time
My hair is significantly longer/thicker than a year ago and with the weather getting colder, it has been needing a lot more TLC. I took my deep conditioning routine to the next level by wrapping a hot towel around my head for about 30 mins. It was quite messy and the towel was hot and heavy. However, the results were significant. My hair was softer and I didn’t have to co-wash in-between deep conditionings like I was becoming accustomed to due to my hair’s excessive dryness. I look forward to making this a staple in my hair routine go forward and might consider purchasing a hair steamer if my hair continues to respond. So far so good.
What are things & non-things that made you happy recently?