Current skincare routine

I’ve gotten a little suckered into the whole ‘Asian skincare’ craze, and it’s inspired me to step it up a bit in terms of taking care of my skin and working on clearing up my ‘adult acne’ that I’ve been battling for years and years now. Step 1: document what I’m doing now and how well it’s working.



  1. Remove makeup/sunscreen with either Jojoba oil or an argan oil that I got from Marshalls that is probably not (entirely) argan oil.
  2. Wash face with CeraVe foaming face wash.
  3. Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence.
  4. Target-brand anti-fungal around my nose for seborrhoeic dermatitis redness/dryness/flaking
  5. Either:
    a. Epiduo (benzol peroxide + tretinoin, expired)
    b. AHA+ (glycolic acid) from
    c. skip both if skin is looking good OR too irritated.
  6. Optional, depending on previous product application + skin condition + humidity/weather: jojoba oil as a final moisturizer. In the winter, I have to go to a much heavier moisturizer.
  7. low-dose hormonal birth control


  1. Rinse face with water
  2. Misha First Treatment essence
  3. Target-brand anti-fungal cream
  4. Olay SPF 15 for sensitive skin moisturizer.

I’m not really wearing much makeup these days. If I’m wearing anything, its some eyeliner and mascara. I don’t have time/am not motivated to do foundation/blush/anything else, and it’s gotten hot enough that it’d all melt off anyway.

Product notes:

  • Jojoba oil. I bought mine from It makes for a good medium-level moisturizer for me, except in the winter when it isn’t moisturizing enough. My bottle from has lasted for at least 5 years of intermittent use as both a moisturizer and makeup remover.
  • CeraVe foaming face wash. This one is supposed to keep your skin closer to it’s usual pH, which is supposed to help your skin’s natural barrier function. I’m hoping this helps with both my acne problems and my seborrhoeic dermititis issues (abbreviated to seb derm on some forums). Spending a little more time gently rubbing my face with this seems to also be helping with general blackheads. This seems to be more effective than the Cetaphil face wash I was using for a while.
  • MISSHA Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence. Since my skin is a special snowflake that is both very oily by nature, and also dries out at the drop of a hat, I’m intrigued by the idea of Asian products that seem to understand this is a thing. Many Western/American products seem to assume that if you have oily skin, you never have a problem with dryness, or your skin is always dry and you never have excess oil on your face. I’ve been using this for a few weeks, and I like it quite a bit. If it is more humid or warm, this works as a good moisturizer over night to keep things from drying out, but doesn’t make my face sticky all night and doesn’t break me out. It also goes nicely under my usual moisturizer/sun screen (though I’m looking to change that up soonish). It is also supposed to have similar properties to the much more expensive SK-II Treatment Essence, but as much as I love Cate Blanchett (their spokesperson), I’ve never tried it. Maybe if I can find a sample that seems legit…
  • I’ve had off and on problems with dandruff around the edges of my scalp that got much worse in grad school. It’s mostly under control, but a few years ago, I started getting red itchy flakey spots around my nose. I haven’t had a diagnosis from a dermatologist, but it clears right up with regular treatment with an anti-fungal cream, which matches the symptoms of seborrhoeic dermititis aka dandruff on other parts of your body besides your scalp. I just use the target brand because it works and is cheap.
  • Epiduo was proscribed to me by a dermatologist I was seeing briefly. The tube I have now is pretty well expired, but it still seems to work. I use it when I’m seeing a lot of inflamed spots on my face, or I’m seeing a big uptick in whiteheads/clogged pores. It looks like maybe they’ve changed the formulation, and it’s something not Tretinoin now?
  • AHA+ from I’ve also used this intermittently for 5+ years, so it lasts a long time. Works well, stings a bit if there are any recently popped zits or other major irritations of the skin. Possibly exacerbates seb derm. Seems to work best when applied generously. According to The Internet, chemical exfoliators like AHA work best when the accompanying products are of a certain pH range, but I haven’t really read up on this one yet.
  • Olay moisturizer SPF 15 for sensitive skin. I get the sensitive skin kind because it does not have aveobenzone (a sunscreen ingredient) that irritates the ever-loving heck out of my eyes. If I’m wearing something with aveobenzone on my face, my eyes start to itch uncontrollably after ~4 hours, so I read the ingredient list of any sunscreens that is going on my face pretty carefully. Since I started doing that, I haven’t had any problems with eye irritation, so I feel pretty confident that aveobenzone is the culprit. I’m in the process of researching a new face sunscreen since I’m not 100% happy with this sunscreen/moisturizer combo.

Product Review: Anker 2-port USB wall charger


A few months ago, I purchased the Anker 2-port USB wall charger from Amazon. I picked it because it’s sister-charger with 4 ports was picked by The Wirecutter as the best multi-port USB wall charger. Unfortunately, I was not impressed.

Out of the box, it is a bit larger than I was hoping, but overall not too large. I was hoping for something closer in size to my beloved Motorola USB charger, which is perfect in every way except it was designed for the phones of 5 years ago and has a max output of 750mA (as opposed to the standard but slow-by-current-standards 1A). Also, it’s white, which as Apple can tell you, makes your products all look like they are coming from somewhere in the future.



And that is where it’s positive attributes end. Sure, it charged my phone, and at a reasonable clip. However, it also has some sort of issue, possibly with it’s ‘iQ technology’, whereby it will just… stop… charging. The only solution is to unplug everything, wait 15 minutes, and then plug it all back in. As one might imagine, this is Less Than Optimal for what should be a basic and uninteresting piece of technology. I don’t think it’s too much to ask to have my USB charger Just Work. Lots of people seem to manage it. This is not one of them.

I’ve sent their support an email asking for a refund. Here’s hoping!

[UPDATE] SEPT 11: Refund received!

Perfect Summer Sandals

A million years ago, I found the perfect summer sandal.

It was at Target. An Isaac Mizrahi collaboration. Metallic, snake skin textured gladiator sandals. In a word: PERFECT.

I bought my first pair in bronze, and I had my friends scour Target’s in their local cities for a silver pair (they were pretty popular and sold out quickly). I loved these sandals to death, and wore then everywhere, all the time, for everything for about 5 years (an insanely long time given I wore them daily for 9 months out of the year, but I digress). Then, one drunken SXSW, I woke up to a missing heel on the silver pair. A few weeks later, the ankle strap on the bronze pair snapped and I couldn’t fix it.

And thus started my quest for a new Perfect Summer Sandal.

My requirements were specific:
1. metallic (SHINY!)
2. gladiator style (looks classy!)
3. no thong/flipflop style (a different look)
4. comfortable (I walk everywhere I don’t bike)
5. flat (I have a bum ankle and a need to move quickly and get stuff done)
6. comfortable to bike in

Thankfully (and at long last), Target has again provided me with a Perfect Summer Sandal. They aren’t embossed with a snakeskin texture, and they aren’t quite as 100% perfect as the old sandals, but the are flat, comfortable, gladiator style, and come in a million nine colors, including gold and silver. And did I mention they’re cheap?!

They are the Alma Sandals from Target, sold for $16.99. I currently own them in Gold, Silver, Blue, Black, and White. I’m thinking about the Turquoise and the Red. They go with everything and I wear them everywhere; to work, to the grocery store, to a night out at the dive bar, to brunch, to buy new windshield wipers for my car. Everything!

As a bonus, they are currently on sale! If you are buying them online, Target is offering a Buy 1, get 1 50% off sale, and if you spend $25, you can get free shipping!

Review: REI Compact Travel Adaptors

REI Travel Adaptor

I got this great little travel adaptor set for a recent trip to New Zealand and Australia. Since I love small things, small boxes, and things that fit nicely into small boxes, it is basically designed for me to love it! Also, it worked really well. The plugs in Australia and New Zealand are basically the same as in the US, except instead of being parallel, the two prongs are angled in toward each other. In many sets, the prongs just rotate.

One note is that you do have to push a little hard to get the plug into the back of the adaptor. It was a little startling how hard I had to push the first time I used it.

The one downside to this adorable little set is that it is a little bulky. Depending on the socket arrangement, it is entirely possible that it would block access to other nearby sockets, but since I only had the one adaptor, that was never really an issue for me.

You can buy it at REI.



In their travel recommendations, The Wirecutter recommends the Ceptics Travel Adaptor Set. I am more dubious about this set since it seems like you are carrying around a giant jumble of stuff, or you have to carefully pick out only the ones you need (which, if you are like me, and like to be prepared for EVERYTHING and also unsure of how some of this international travel stuff works, seems stressful). But, in general, I think the Wirecutter has good recommendations, so you can check that out too.