Monday, April 30, 2018

Looking Forward to Summer

We've finally had our fist little taste of nice weather, and I am so ready. I am definitely not a winter person - I love summer so much. Part of it is that it's easier for me physically - I don't need to be worried about being stuck inside because of cold or snow, and honestly, this may sound silly, but it's just easier for me to physically move around with less layers of clothes on!

There are a few things I look forward to doing every summer... a bucket list, of sorts, except that they're nothing big, just little things I enjoy. I thought I'd share my list, and I'd love to hear what your favorite summertime activities are, too.

1. Pittsburgh's Annual Arts Festival
I feel like the Three Rivers Arts Festival marks the unofficial start to summer here in Pittsburgh. I love going and checking out the artists booths (especially since one of my good friends has a booth every year!), and even if you're not a big art person, you're guaranteed to find something you enjoy. They have outdoor concerts at "The Point" (where the city's three rivers converge), and tons of food trucks and other "fair food" like deep fried oreos and corn dogs and pulled pork - yum! You can see my pictures from last year's Arts Festival here.

2. Eating and Drinking on Patios
I love checking out new restaurants and bars year-round. But in the summer, if I'm going out to eat, I want to do it on a patio or rooftop. I feel like there's nothing more relaxing than enjoying a meal with friends or family outdoors!

3. Outdoor Concerts
I have posted here about going to so many concerts, but I seriously think outdoor concerts are the best. Everyone always seems to be having the best time, and you don't feel like you're in a crowded little box. I will go see almost any band if it means I can be outside while I listen to them.

4. Going to the Zoo
I try to make it to the Pittsburgh Zoo at least once every summer (read about when I went last year here). I love animals, and I think the zoo is doing a great job in trying to make the environment one that is suitable for the happiness of wild animals. It's always such a fun day, and leaves me feeling so relaxed and happy!

5. Reading Outside
This one is simple, but is truly a little pleasure of life. When the weather is nice, there's nothing I enjoy more than sipping on an iced coffee or iced black tea lemonade while I read a book outside. I feel so peaceful, and it really calms me. I love reading on its own, but sitting in Schenley Plaza (my favorite outdoor spot in Oakland) with a book is one of my favorite ways to spend an hour after work in the summer.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Friday Favorites

I feel like every Friday, I talk about how busy I've been this past week, and you'd think that it would have to slow down at some point.. but I've had so many work and personal deadlines this week that if anything, things seem to be picking up! I am happy, though, that we've had some beautiful weather this week. It makes me feel happier even with my long to-do list!
Regardless, I did have the chance to pull together a few things that I found this week.

The first is this beautiful song from the concert held to benefit the Parkland shooting victims. A lot of Broadway stars performed, and this song from Dear Evan Hansen, sung with members of the school's choir, is just incredible.



For something a little more lighthearted - Buzzfeed covered how a polite social media exchange led to this site changing the headline on their article. I realize that the article in question is a little bit of what is called "inspiration porn," where an article is written about someone with a disability doing something that wouldn't be newsworthy if it was done by anyone else. But I like the general message that a kind exchange of ideas can change minds!


My last article this week has a public health focus - this piece in The New York Times about a California judge ruling about a cancer warning on coffee, explains why we should be careful with what we label as carcinogenic and potentially dangerous. The article is a great read, but the upshot of it is - being careful is good, but being overly cautious, and putting a warning label on every substance that maybe, could possibly be dangerous is actually harmful. If we start going label-crazy, people are going to start ignoring them, and then they'll miss warnings for things that have been definitively proven to be dangerous!


Thursday, April 26, 2018

Liz's Nutrition Notes: Get the Whole Scoop on Whole Grains

Did you know that at least half of the grains you consume daily should be whole grains? I'm going to share a little bit about the nutritional benefits of whole grains, food suggestions for whole grains, and how to shop wisely.
 
Image via

Whole grains are made up of the bran, germ, and endosperm. These parts contain nutrients like:
  • Bran: fiber, B vitamins, antioxidants
  • Germ: B vitamins, proteins, fat, minerals
  • Endosperm: primarily starchy carbohydrates and protein
Why are these nutrients so important?

Fiber
  • may decrease risk of heart disease and chronic diseases as a result of lowered cholesterol
  • adds bulk to improve GI function (if you also drink enough water!)
  • can aid in weight loss because it slows gastric emptying
B vitamins
  • play important role in metabolism
  • needed for energy production
  • Folate plays a role in production of red blood cells and DNA
Protein
  • important for muscle growth
  • important in our body's repair/healing process
  • slows gastric emptying and plays a role in glycemic control
Iron
  • carries oxygen in the blood to tissues and organs
  • needed to prevent iron-deficiency anemia
Magnesium
  • 50% is found in our bones!
  • involved in protein and fatty acid synthesis
So, now that you know why whole grains are important - what can you eat to make sure they're in your diet? Check out any of these options!
  • quinoa
  • bulgur wheat
  • brown rice
  • whole grains/wheat bread
  • whole grain rye
  • whole grain popcorn
  • rolled oats
  • wild rice
  • buckwheat
 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Never Meet (or Tweet) Your Idols


Have you ever heard that idiom - that you're not supposed to meet your idols, because they could end up disappointing you? I think social media has proven this for me a few times. There are celebrities whose work I've always loved, but had to unfollow on Twitter or Instagram because of what they posted - it just didn't live up to my expectations of them.

This is on my mind because of something I saw on Twitter earlier this week. For a bit of context - I love trivia, and I love Jeopardy. I DVR episodes! And Ken Jennings is one of Jeopardy's most well-known winners, because of how long his winning streak was. I was a fan! But earlier this week, an old tweet of his (from 2014) was unearthed and revived. He said "Nothing sadder than a hot person in a wheelchair."

Now, I'm not what you'd call a sensitive person. I don't get offended easily, and I can take a joke, even if it's at my expense. But that tweet caught me off guard, and it did not make me feel good. What made me feel even worse is that when he got some flak from the Internet, he basically battened the hatches and stood his ground. The tweet is still up, and he never issued any sort of apology.

Now, I'm not trying to just bash Jennings - 2014 was quite a while ago, and I suspect that if his mind wasn't changed after the initial backlash to his tweet, it's not going to change now. But... I guarantee that Jennings isn't the only person who has ever had this thought, even if he was the unfortunate person who had the nerve to tweet it.

Just to be clear - calling an attractive person sad because they use a wheelchair isn't a joke, and it isn't funny. Assuming that my life is sad just because I use a wheelchair is offensive - and it's wrong! And the underlying assumption on Jennings' end - that someone in a wheelchair can never be worthy of being in a relationship with, that they're "doomed" in some sense because of their wheelchair - is one that people with disabilities have been fighting so hard against for years. My wheelchair is part of my life - an important part - but it doesn't define me.

Someone can be hot, and in a wheelchair. The two are not mutually exclusive. I know that I'm preaching to the choir a bit, in that the people that read this mostly know me, and know I'm in a wheelchair, and don't think my life is sad! But coming across the tweet really affected me (in a way that surprised me a bit), so I thought it was worth sharing my thoughts on #HotPersonInAWheelchair. You can check that hashtag out on Twitter for more reactions, too!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Run for a Reason: Cure SMA and the Pittsburgh Marathon

My mom is a huge runner. It's her favorite way to decompress and relieve stress... plus, since she's helping my sister and I often, it's also her way to get away and have some "me time." So she tries to get in a little bit of a run every day, even if it's just 15 or 20 minutes.

For the past eight years now, she's been running the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon, and for the last few of them, she's been able to partner with Cure SMA and raise money for SMA advocacy and research while she runs! Cure SMA provides advocacy and support for families and individuals affected by SMA, and also raises money to fund research for the treatment and cure of SMA. They actually provided the seed funding for the research that eventually developed into Spinraza, the first-ever treatment for SMA.

SMA is a rare disease, which means that the number of organizations raising funds for it are limited, and Cure SMA really relies on grassroots fundraising and advocacy to advance their mission. That's why we're happy to help further their mission by creating a charity team each year at Pittsburgh's marathon.

I don't use this space to ask for things very often - I like to just share my life. But I'm making an exception in this case because it's something that's so important to me. You can view my mom's fundraising page here - we'd be grateful if you were able to donate a small amount, or even if you are able to share the page yourself. In cases like these, any amount you're able to give really does make a big difference!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Feeling Worn Out

These past few months have seemed LONG. We've had almost no nice spring weather, which always makes me feel stir-crazy and cooped up, and I also have had a lot going on. Deadlines at work, accessibility advocacy things I'm working on outside of work, the end of the semester for school, some sort of a social life... it sounds exhausting just typing it out. I have really loved everything that I've been part of. But I also love (and need!) sleep, and time to decompress and relax... and I haven't had a lot of time to do that. It's been difficult prioritizing, though, because I've been presented with some really amazing, impossible to pass up opportunities lately (like being named Ms. Wheelchair PA USA!). I'm definitely not complaining - 2018 has been a really amazing year for me so far, personally - but after a while, not having a break starts to wear me down, even if the things I've been doing have been things I'm loving.

So I've been trying to re-gain a little bit of the balance, now that my semester is finally over and a few other things have slowed down a little bit. I took some time on one of the rare spring-like days to finish reading My Absolute Darling (which I loved), and just relax outside and soak in some sun. I have not done very well with trying to read a little bit every night... usually, I am asleep the minute my head hits the pillow. I'm definitely going to try to start it up again, though. I think it's one of the easiest things I can do to decompress a little bit each night.
I also enjoyed relaxing dinner at Mezzo, the second of my sister's birthday celebrations. I had been once, years ago, right after it opened, but hadn't been back since. I'm really glad I went back, because the meal was so delicious. They had a special pork belly pizza that was so incredibly good, and mushroom risotto, which is impossible for me to pass up whenever it's on a menu.

And finally... I've been watching many episodes of my own personal comfort food of TV shows, Smallville. There's nothing like nostalgia to help you chill out!



Friday, April 20, 2018

Friday Favorites

This week has seemed soooo long to me! I am finally officially done with the semester, though, and I'm also hoping that this week saw the last of the snow. I don't think I'll be able to handle it if it happens again!

This first article is so Pittsburgh, I knew I had to share. I don't think I speak that much "Pittsburghese" - I don't say redd up, or warsh... but it's still fun to think about Alexa learning this specific accent!

I'm not an American Idol watcher, but I ran across this on YouTube and had to listen. Lea Michele's voice is amazing, and I'm always up for a Wicked duet.



I love this article about being able to figure out how close friends were through their brain waves! Science is so cool.

This interview with the founder of the skincare company Drunk Elephant is a great read. I've always wanted to try their products (they're a little bit out of my price range!), and I really like the philosophy behind natural/synthetic that the founder talks about. Natural doesn't always mean good for your skin, and chemical doesn't always mean bad!

I have the hardest time finding clothes that fit me, are easy to get on, and are cute! A fascinating quote in this Forbes article estimates that the "healthware apparel" market is worth $40 billion globally - that market includes adaptive clothing. I agree that it's an almost untapped market right now... if I had any sort of artistic ability, this would definitely nudge me to start sketching. Any entrepreneurs interested in partnering up?



Thursday, April 19, 2018

Shopping the Sephora VIB Sale

It's that time of year again - the Sephora VIB sale! Since Sephora doesn't have many sales throughout the year, their two big sales are a big deal, and the perfect time to stock up on old favorites, or take advantage of the discount to pick out some new treats you've had your eye on. The sale starts Friday, April 20 this year, and VIB and Beauty Insider members get 15% off.

I pulled together a mix of old and new favorites from Sephora - some everyday staples, and some special occasion items.

Top row, left to right:

 I never thought I could be a highlighter person - I thought that my skin was so oily that any extra shimmer/shine would be too much. But this Becca highlighter (in Champagne Pop) is really subtle, and adds just a little bit of glow. I apply it VERY lightly, and just dust it on the top of my cheekbones and down the bridge of my nose. This is definitely not an every day item for me, but it makes me feel fancy when I do wear it!

I've mentioned these Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow Sticks before (here), but they deserve another mention because they remain my go-to choice for a staple eyeshadows. There's a great mix of matte and shimmer shades (my favorite is "Goldstone"), they're super easy to apply, and they LAST, even without an eyeshadow primer! "Golden Pink" is also a nice, everyday shade with a bit of shimmer without being too dramatic.

In case you missed my post about the Becca Ever-Matte primer (here), I'm mentioning it again, because it's that good. If you've ever struggled with oily skin, you absolutely have to try this! It is the only thing that has ever controlled my oil without making my makeup get clumpy. It takes some trial and error to get the application down, but it's totally worth it.

Bottom row, left to right:

I've shared the Glitter and Glow shadows, but this is Shimmer and Glow - same concept, but more of a metallic look than the all-out disco ball of the glitter version. I do need a primer with this one, but it's also really easy to apply, and really pigmented. I have "La Douce," which is the coolest green/gold shade. It's a more dramatic look, but really fun when you're looking for more of a statement look.

I've never been a huge lipstick person - I own a lot, but I very rarely actually wear them! But I recently discovered Clinique's Pep-Start Pout Perfecting Balm, and it's the perfect combination of lip balm and lipstick. You don't need a mirror to apply, it feels super moisturizing, and it gives your lips just a little pop of color. This tin is such a cute little gift, and a great deal!

Is there anything that you're planning to pick up during the sale? Let me know in the comments!

(This post uses affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for any clicks/purchases you make.)


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

On Stage at Heinz Hall


I've talked about my involvement with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's New Leadership Council before here - it's something that I've really loved being a part of. I've also mentioned (here) that we recently launched the Young Professionals Club, a group for young professionals in Pittsburgh who enjoy classical music and are looking to socialize and network!

The Young Professionals Club is holding a fun happy hour on Thursday, May 3. It's going to be at Heinz Hall, where the symphony performs - but it's not just at Heinz Hall, it's actually going to be held on the stage! I've honestly never been on the stage before, so I'm really excited about this. There will be food and drinks, plus performances by members of the symphony!

I'm really looking forward to this happy hour - I'd love to see you there, too! You can check out the Facebook event page here, or buy your ticket here.

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Element of Surprise

Over the weekend, one of my sister's friends planned a surprise birthday party for my sister - her birthday isn't actually until next weekend, but we were nervous she'd figure it out if we waited until her actual birthday. I was nervous all day (really, all week...) that I'd give away the surprise somehow, but it all worked out, and she was completely surprised. We had a really fun dinner at Honest John's, a new-ish restaurant in Homestead - it was my first time there, but I'll definitely be back!

I got to the restaurant a little bit early, so I had some time to walk around the area and take advantage of the beautiful weather. I found these really cool murals memorializing the history of the area, and I couldn't resist taking a few pictures.
 I felt like the amazing weather called for a bright dress, and I had this bright green one from ASOS waiting to be worn! I should admit that you may have seen this dress before, in one or two other colors. What can I say... when I find something I like, I can't pass it up! It's sold out, but you can get the shorter version of the dress here.

As much fun as the surprise birthday dinner for my sister was, it confirmed for me that I never want to be thrown a surprise anything! I am such a planner and control freak by nature (I am already making plans for my 30th birthday, which isn't until September!) that being thrown a surprise totally freaks me out and makes me feel so anxious. I like to know every detail of what's happening - I have been the "planner" of every group of friends I've ever had, since way back in middle school before I even knew what a Type A personality was! So I'll keep making my own plans - for myself, and for others.

What about you- are you someone who likes to be surprised, or are you someone who would rather be doing the surprising?


Friday, April 13, 2018

Friday Favorites

Thank you so much to everyone for the sweet words of congratulations on yesterday's announcement - I really appreciate it so much!

I don't have too many things to share this week - the past two weeks have been so busy, and I haven't had enough time to find things to share! But I do have a few.

If you're looking for a show to watch, I just binged The Good Place in about a week flat (this is, apparently, where all my free time went)! It's another one of those shows where I thought I would hate it, but it's actually amazing. Also, I think every show currently on air could benefit from giving Jason Mantzoukas a role of some kind, just saying.

I came across this article in Teen Vogue and knew that I had to share. I love the effort they've been making to really highlight diverse voices, and share such a variety of opinions. Representation always matters.

If you're looking for a fun distraction, check out Vanity Fair's "Tinder Takeover" series on YouTube. Each episode is so hilarious! The very first is below, but they're all amazing.



I hope that you all enjoy your weekend and that you get some of the sunshine we're finally getting here!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania USA

I am very, very excited to announce that I have been chosen as 2018's Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania USA! This means that I'll be moving on and representing my state at Nationals later in July.
One of my friends actually found the Ms. Wheelchair PA information with me, and this year seemed like the perfect time to apply. I've been getting more involved in advocacy for people with disabilities, and this seemed like the perfect platform for my ideas! I'm so excited to use this opportunity to speak more widely about increasing accessibility for people with physical disabilities.

I will be sharing more as we get nearer to Nationals - I don't have much information yet! But I'm so honored to be chosen, and really looking forward to meeting the rest of the women competing.

If you want to follow along with my journey to Nationals more closely, you can follow my official Facebook page here!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Inclusive Innovation Week: Transit and Equity

I talked about the All-in Silent Disco earlier this week here, and now I want to talk about the other part of Inclusive Innovation Week that I got to be a part of this year.
I was invited to speak on a panel as part of a Sustainability Conference at CMU. We had such a great conversation about Transit and Equity - it's such an important conversation, but one that doesn't happen very often! We talked about the intersection of technology, sustainability, and equity - how to make sure that innovations in technologies are used to increase access to those who need it most, rather than for those who already have ample opportunities of access! It was really inspiring to see that this is a conversation that people are interested in, and want to learn more about.

I thought I'd share a little bit of what I talked about - because as we discussed at the panel, the conversation about who has access to transit, and what kind of access they have, isn't really happening elsewhere.

For someone like me, who uses a wheelchair, transportation is a tricky thing. I can't drive myself (well... other than driving my wheelchair!), so I rely on someone driving me, or using public transportation. I live in the suburbs right now, and in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, public transportation isn't really an option for me. The buses don't come very often, I'd be waiting for a while outside, I'd have to take multiple buses to get anywhere, and it would be a long, winding trip. So, I rely on someone driving me. Obviously, this has its own set of downsides! I have to be sure a friend or family member is free to drive me, I have to arrange when I want to get dropped off and picked up... there's no spontaneity!

You may have heard of ACCESS (or paratransit) - a bus that picks up people with disabilities who qualify for the program. That sounds like a way to get back some independence, right? Well, ACCESS is a service for both people with disabilities AND the elderly. As you might imagine, my life isn't really the same as someone who is retired, and trying to get to their doctor's appointment, or to the grocery store. With ACCESS, you have to plan your trip a day (or more) in advance, and you have to be ready exactly when you told them you would be, or they will leave without you. But they are allowed to be late - sometimes hours late! - and there is no penalty. That doesn't seem ideal for someone in their 20s who wants to go to work and maybe decide to meet a friend for coffee/a drink afterwards!

So that's why it's so important to make sure that as technology continues to move forward, especially at the quick rate that it is right now, that we include all types of voices in the conversation about how to best use these technologies to solve actual problems. I don't want to have to worry 20 years from now about whether or not I can get a ride to go to the movies. I want to know that I can call for an Uber (or whatever the equivalent of Uber is 20 years in the future), and not have to worry about whether or not it's accessible. We need to make sure that technologic innovations narrow the equity divide between the haves and the have nots, rather than widen it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

National Public Health Week 2018: Changing Our Future Together

Tomorrow I'll be back to talking about Inclusive Innovation Week, and the opportunity I had to speak on a panel about transit and equity, but something else happened last week that I wanted to make sure I talked about: National Public Health Week (NPHW).
Graduate School of Public Health
I've talked about my work/studying in public health before, but I know there are many people who don't really know what public health is. Because it's such a broad field, there isn't one strict definition of what the field is - I like to think of it as any work that makes, or keeps, people healthy. This means that, of course, vaccines are part of public health, and so is behavioral health, ensuring a healthy environment, and health equity.

I thought it was really appropriate that Inclusive Innovation Week and NPHW were the same week this year, especially since NPHW's theme this year was "Changing Our Future Together." To me, that is exactly the point of Inclusive Innovation Week - creating a future where everyone is included and involved!

I mentioned health equity as one of the fields of public health - to me, the work I've been starting to increase accessibility for people with physical disabilities fits perfectly in this box. Accessibility isn't often thought of as a health issue - the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is civil rights law, so accessibility as a civil right is where the conversation begins and ends. To be clear - I absolutely think that accessibility is a civil right! But that doesn't mean it's not a public health issue, too. So much of being healthy relies on being able to get out of your house - to avoid being isolated and reclusive. And to get out, there needs to be accessible transportation (which I'll talk more about tomorrow), whether it's sidewalks with curb cuts or accessible vehicles. And it's not only physical changes, either - for things to truly be equitable, there needs to be a societal shift in the way that disability is viewed as a burden.

This is why I love public health - it touches on so many different issues, and really has the potential to change the future for the better! I'm really glad to have the opportunity to work and study in this field.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Inclusive Innovation Week: All-in Silent Disco

I guess for me, it's more accurate to call it Inclusive Innovation Week(end), because work/life was too busy during the week for me to join in on any of the amazing events going on through the city. I made up for it by going to two events on Saturday, though, and it was such an incredible day. I'm going to do things a little out of order and talk about the second event first - the All-in Silent Disco.
Image by Pulsus Digital, a MWDBE certified business
The silent disco was the brainchild of a group of people from the disability community in Pittsburgh that came out of a meet up facilitated by the city's Innovation and Performance department - we wanted to make sure that the disability community was represented during Inclusive Innovation Week. I am so glad that I got to be a part of the silent disco, and had such a fun night!
The Ace Hotel was the perfect venue - the space was great, and we had lots of hotel guests and people who were at the hotel restaurant for dinner/drinks come in to check out the silent disco. The DJs (DanceCrush) were fantastic, and everyone who came had a great time dancing the night away.

Silent discos are so funny because without the headphones on, you can't hear the music - so you're watching people dance to nothing! And there are also 3 different music channels, so you're not necessarily hearing (or dancing to) the music that the people around you are. We also had vibrating floor panels (courtesy of Frequency-528), so that people with hearing impairments could feel the beats - but they ended up being a huge hit for everyone!

We partnered with Thrival, a local music festival (I think of it like Pittsburgh's version of South X Southwest), and UPMC, and it's great to know that organizations like these are interested in furthering conversations of diversity and inclusivity. And, I'm really glad that the disability community was able to come together and plan such a fun event - sometimes, conversations around disability and inclusion can be more like lectures, so I wanted to make sure that our event focused on showing how to be inclusive, and not telling - and I think we succeeded!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!
I know I've mentioned this a few times already, but... tomorrow is the Silent Disco I've been helping to plan as part of Inclusive Innovation Week 2018! I'm so excited for this, and I would love for you all to join me in a fun night! Check out the Facebook event here.

I actually have never been a bridesmaid/maid of honor, but I've been involved in planning enough events that I get the gist of this article. I thought it was absolutely hilarious!

Finally... I will admit that last weekend, I started (... and finished) a new show, Mozart in the Jungle. I don't know what took me so long to find out about this show, but it is SO amazing. Bernadette Peters is in it, so you know it's good - it's about the New York symphony. The cast is amazing, the plot is amazing, the music is amazing... honestly, it's just really good!



Thursday, April 5, 2018

Liz's Nutrition Notes: Spring Fruits and Vegetables


Happy Spring! By the way Mother Nature, can we please get some nice weather?! Seriously, what’s up with the wind and snow!

Anyways, as we are now (technically) in Spring, I wanted to share this link that lists all the “in season” fruits and vegetables. My favorites from the lists are strawberries, mango, oranges, swiss chard, cherries, corn, and collard greens! There are so many great recipes to make with these ingredients! Let me know what your favorite spring fruits and veggies are.
 
Image via

And if you’re looking for a recipe to try using your seasonal ingredients, give this one a go - nothing says spring like a smoothie! It's so simple and delicious. Let me know what you think if you try it out!

 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The Becca Primer That's Changing My Life

I know a lot of people get dry skin in the winter, but that's never been my issue. My skin, regardless of the season, is oily. I have tried every skincare product that claims to help with oil, I moisturize, I exfoliate... it's just genetics, and there's nothing I can do about it.
I have to wear decently long-wearing foundation, or else it starts to break down on my skin from the oil and gets really patchy really quickly. But even with long-wearing foundation and powder, my face would still get oily by lunchtime... until now. I realize that the rest of this post is going to read like an ad for this product, but it's really not! I'm just so excited about it and want to share it with everyone.
I have found a makeup product that actually lives up to its claims - it keeps my skin matte for hours! This life-changing product is called Becca Ever Matte Poreless Priming Perfector. I will note that you should not use this unless you actually have oily skin, because it will really dry you out. And you have to be really careful about the way that you apply - you really do have to follow the instructions. Warm it up in your fingers, and pat it on your face. Do not rub! It will ball up if you do. But once you get the hang of it, you will be amazed at how well it works and how long it holds up.

I actually found the primer in my sister's room, tried it, and asked her how she could have not made it clear to me how amazing this product actually was. I don't want any of you to suffer like I did! I have been telling everyone about it, and I wanted to make sure I shared here, too.

(This post uses affiliate links; I may earn a small commission for any clicks/purchases you make.)

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Ready for Spring

It's officially April, but it hasn't felt very much like spring to me. We've had a few warmer days, but overall, if it hasn't been freezing, it's been snowing or raining. I talked here about why I don't like the winter, and why it's hard for me to get around, and the rain is problematic in its own way.

There's no way for me to hold an umbrella and drive my wheelchair at the same time. It's hard for me to even balance an umbrella when I'm just sitting, and not driving my chair, so trying to drive and balance the umbrella and actually see what's in front of me is just impossible. So, once again... when it rains, I'm stuck inside until it stops.

That's why this winter has felt so long for me. That's also why I haven't had many fun pictures lately... there are only so many places inside my house and office that are good for photos. I snapped these on a rare, sunny day, and the sun makes it look deceivingly warmer than it actually was!

My day at work feels even longer when I can't even  take a 10 minute walk outside to get my lunchtime cappuccino at Starbucks. And I feel more tired, and more unmotivated, too. I've actually started taking a Vitamin D supplement because I think I've had that little time outside! The extended winter definitely has been a struggle for me.

So I've been trying to take advantage of every minute I can get outside... go on my coffee run in between raindrops, sit outside for a few minutes every time it gets to 40 degrees. But all in all, I will be very, very happy when spring finally comes and I get a little bit of my freedom back.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Last Week in the Cultural District

I try not to do too many things during the week after work. Work and school are busy enough, and take up enough of my time, and then I also work on this blog at night once I'm home - adding in other events in the evening is a lot! And I talked here, in this post, about how I'm already tired before I even get to work in the morning... and I really love my sleep.
But this past week, there were two events going on that I just couldn't pass up, both music-related. The first was the series announcement for subscribers, where we learned which musicals would be making their way to Pittsburgh next year. It was an amazing night - we found out that in addition to Hamilton, which we already knew was coming, Dear Evan Hansen, Come from Away, Anastasia, and more are also stopping in Pittsburgh next year! They also had a few performers throughout the night, including one of the current Broadway stars of Come from Away. They also brought the real-life inspiration for her character in the show - the first-ever female pilot for American Airlines. It was such an incredible evening, and made me even more excited for next year's shows!
The other event brought me back to the Cultural District to see Rent. Anyone who has ever sung in a choir or knows even a little something about musicals has probably heard 525,600 , about "measuring a year" in the lives that the show chronicles. Rent was one of the first shows to talk about current issues (current when it was written) - it's about the AIDS epidemic in New York - and the music is more current, too. Plus, it's almost all sung, which means that you can listen to the soundtrack and basically understand the whole show before you've seen it!

Rent brings back some nostalgic memories for me, too. When I was in college, I wrote for CMU's student-run newspaper, and wrote a review of Rent's touring performance when I was a senior. Because of an interview schedule mix-up, I was invited to the cast party, where I got to meet Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal. I was so incredibly excited, and have this picture to remember it by (major throwback picture ahead...).
I know that there's a movie version of Rent, too - which I do love - but there's something different about seeing the show live. Rent is a show with a message, and you leave feeling so electrified and energized to do something and make a difference! I'm so happy that I got to see it as part of this year's Broadway Across America series.