Life: Technology, Stress, and Overeating

Technology makes me crazy.  This is a realization that came to me over the last few weeks.  I think to some degree technology makes us all crazy.  We’ve gone from a culture of sit down dinners with polite conversation to constant conversations through text messages and social media.

If I’m being honest about my own habits, there is something to be said about using the Internet as your stand in roommate and best friend.  Time ticks away without any productive work being done the moment I start checking e-mail.  Yet, as much as I would like to say I’m just going to shut my computer off, most of the work I do relies on the resources of the internet and the ability to e-mail.

I remember back in the day having a computer was both a novelty and a privilege.  Not everyone could afford a computer and when Internet came around, it was limited to dial up.  If you were lucky like I was and had a techie parent or two, you might have a separate phone line just for internet, but most people had to use their regular phone line.  If they were on the Internet, it meant that they couldn’t receive or make phone calls.

I always thought myself pretty balanced when it came to media and technology.  Growing up, my mom regulated when and how much TV we could watch and frankly, I don’t think my sisters and I were much into TV anyway.  Even when I went off to college, I didn’t have much interest in watching television.  There were a lot better things to do than watch TV.

Now, that I live in a cold clime and work long tiring hours, when I get home, Hulu has my TV shows queued up and waiting for me.  I don’t even need a television.  And even with the likes of Hulu and Netflix, people think it’s amazing that I don’t own a television.

So, I make some dinner and eat dinner at my desk while watching a show.  If I’m feeling guilty, I might even try to do some work while eating dinner and watching said show.  Can you say (or scream) inefficiency??  Hours later I’ll find that I’m tired and it’s time for bed and I haven’t done a single thing on my to do list.

Did I mention to you how effective online television is at helping you procrastinate and avoid things you really should be doing in life?  I mean, come on, in a race between do boring things like study or write e-mails to various powers that be and things like eat and watch made up stories about the drama in other people’s fake lives, what would you do?  It’s much easier to watch the fake drama and feel better about your life (albeit your rather unproductive one while you’re watching television shows) than to sit down with the silence around you and actually do some work.

I remember I used to really enjoy the peace and quiet when studying back in high school.  It felt meditative and for a while the sensation of time was suspended.  At work, productiveness is punctuated by phone calls and text messages.  Inefficiency is rampant.  Despite all our technological advances, the actual work sometimes takes longer.  Not because the actual work takes longer, but because we have far more interruptions and distractions.  Of course many will argue that interruptions have long been a part of medicine since the beeper has been around for far longer than most of the technology I’m discussing here.

We’re inefficient and distracted.  Now, throw in the fact that we work longer hours, we’re more mobile and spread out, and technology advancements seem to happen in the blink of an eye.  Well, we need to connect!  And the Internet and electronic technology industry have answers for that, too.  We can talk while we drive (a practice that is VERY DANGEROUS), video chat, share photos instantly, text message, tweet, and facebook.  I’m sure there are a million other ways to connect that I’m missing.  Oh, right, blogging.  Yeah.  I realize that I’m blogging right now and I won’t even try to defend myself.

Even when we do meet people face to face, it is rare to just focus on being with that person or people.  We’re too busy checking our phones for text message or getting called.  Sometimes we’re tweeting or instagramming (oh yeah, there is that one, too).  Even with a good old fashioned camera, I find myself distracted, so with all these options, I find myself wanting to pull my hair out.

I have a friend who texts the entire time she’s at the gym.  It drives me batty and it makes me less likely to want to go to the gym with her.  While, I, too, tend to multitask, I do my best to be present when I’m at the gym or driving or spending time with friends or family.  My terrible multitasking habits tend to crop up more when I’m alone and should be doing work.

So, what does this all mean?  We’re dumber, fatter, more stressed, less productive, and inherently less connected.  You might not like that I said it like that, but that is the plain truth.

Why the soapboxy, ranting like post?  Well, because I’m working on being less distracted and stressed out by technology.  In fact, I wrote this entire post without checking my phone or doing something else online.  Aren’t you all proud of me?  Okay, maybe not.  I’m still proud of myself though.

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Au Naturale Cosmetics

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While I’m a firm believer that the best makeup in the world is good food, enough sleep, and drinking plenty of water, there are just times when you want a little bit more than just your fresh faced self. That’s what makeup is for.

I think other than the few school plays I was in and occasional lip gloss, I really didn’t start wearing makeup until last year. Even now, wearing makeup is a rarity. For one thing, putting on makeup takes me a while and I’d rather spend those minutes in the morning sleeping or eating. However, I do wear makeup on some days and it does get in my eyes and in my mouth. Not exactly glamourous, but that’s the reality.

So, if makeup is getting into my body, well I’d rather be wearing things that are less likely to harm me than not. Of course what is actually safe is really an ongoing debate.

I did a good amount of online research last year about safe makeup lines and what ingredients to avoid. I spent a lot of time on the EWG Skin Deep Database and just doing gobs of research. After all of that, I feel fairly comfortable with buying makeup and self care products after reading the ingredients list without having to look up every single ingredient. Of course, natural makeup is by no means perfect, but we’re all trying here and that’s the point.

Enter Au Naturale Cosmetics. I heard about this line off some blog I read (sorry, I don’t remember where and if I do happen to remember I’ll link back to you) and took a gander. Up until I discovered this line, I had been using mineral makeup from Alima Pure and various products from 100 Percent Pure. I love both of those companies and their products (I know I promised reviews a long time ago that never got posted…I’m working on it), but I’m also someone who loves variety.

I found a great deal during the holidays that I couldn’t pass up and ordered myself a lip gloss in poppy, a lip crayon in burnt sienna, and a creme eye shadow in noir. While rms beauty has a great line of eye shadows, they don’t have a saturated black, so I was excited to try one. I had also been looking for an red-orange lip color and the combo of burnt sienna and poppy looked like what I was looking for. In addition to the products I ordered, I snagged a sample trio of three mineral eye shadows and a mineral powder blush.

I’ve had the products for less than three weeks and I love them. The lip crayon and lip gloss are a great combination and it’s a nice change from reds and pinks. (That makes it sound like I have a lot of lip colors, when in reality I think I have one red lip tint and a light pink lip gloss.) The creme eye shadow is a true black that is very much creamy. A nice change from foiling on mineral powders. The eye shadow and blush powders are also very good, but I haven’t really used them more than once or twice because I’m too busy using the creme shadow and lip products.

Now I’m not going to lie, these products are not cheap. (Remember, this is a poor student talking.) Not cheap at all, especially when you compare them to the dollar products lining drug store shelves. However, at the end of the day, I’d rather pay for products that I love and trust rather than have a million different colors from the drug store (as fun as that is). Plus, the drug store doesn’t send me a hand written note saying thank you for your order.

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Seriously though, these products are good. I’ll tell you how good in the next few posts as I highlight each product and what I love about them. Please, also stay tuned as I do my best to actually post reviews of other natural makeup products that I’ve been using since I dumped all the conventional makeup products that I had in the trash.

A New Year

I’m finally getting around to posting in 2013.  You’ll noticed I also changed up the way this blog looks.  I did a quick switcheroo with no customizations, so the look is definitely not permanent.  I’m not sure how I feel about the change, but I wanted something different.  Thoughts on this are appreciated.

In the meantime, I feel I should apologize for making promises that I haven’t kept.  I have grand plans for this blog that I’ve mapped out on sticky notes and paper, but I still haven’t found the time to get around to actually making those changes and posting the posts that I keep meaning to post.

Things will in all likelihood get busier and while I hope that I will be able to start implementing some of my ideas for this blog and get some posts up, I can’t honestly figure out when these things will happen.  So my apologies in advance.

I’m still trying to get my head around the fact that it is a new year.  It’s been sort of a strange holidays for me and my brain is still playing catch up with real time.

So, this is my short, not entirely coherent update.  I hope that everyone is well and I hope to be better and connect more with all of you this year.  First, I need to get my regular life in order before I start cleaning and organizing my blogging house.  Wish me luck.