The Weekly Edit: Here Comes the Sun

Feb 12, 2020

Winters in Montana are cold, and they are long.  They could start in August and finish in April, and then throw in a June snowstorm just to remind you who’s really in charge.  But the wonderful thing about Southwestern Montana winters is that even when the wind chill has plunged to 30-below-zero, and the snow drifts reach roof, the sun is almost always shining.

Not in Spokane.

With only 171 sunny days per year, it’s no wonder that winters in Spokane are dark and dreary.  Two winters ago we saw the sun just eight times in four months.  It was enough to make me start searching for homes in Scottsdale.

But yesterday, after months plunged into perpetual darkness, the sun came out from behind the clouds.  And even more miraculous, it did it again today.

All it takes to raise my spirits is a bit of sunshine.  I don’t care of it’s cold.  I don’t care if it’s windy.  But, Lord above, let the sun come out.

The New York Times Upshot broke my heart this morning with an article titled: Young Men Embrace Gender Equality, but They Still Don’t Want to Vacuum.

The article discusses how men in their 20s and 30s are totally cool with women attending higher education, having careers, and running for office.  But they still expect their female partners to do the majority of the housework.  From child rearing to housework to laundry, fewer than 20-percent of men report that they are more likely to handle that role than their female partner.

To paraphrase popular meme: I’m just trying to excel at work, raise great kids, have a Pinterest-worthy home, be politically active, hang out with my friends, stay in shape, drink enough water, and keep my skin looking clear and bright.  No big deal.

Ladies, if we want to populate this planet with men who no longer view housework as synonymous with women’s work, we are going to have to raise them.

To say that I live in J.Crew’s Regent Blazer would be something of an understatement.  Video conference with campaign consultants? Blazer.  Lunch with Kyle? Blazer.  Client meeting at local women’s shelter?  Blazer.  Plane flight to Seattle for a CLE? Blazer.

It goes everywhere and does everything.  And it is now 30% off with code WEEKEND.

The camel is my favorite, it also sells out the fastest.   They will backorder it for you, but it may take months.  I also own it in the four-season stretch in the graphite.  So when I have “nothing to wear,” and I wore the camel one yesterday, I have a backup.

It’s in my top 3 purchases of 2019.  No questions asked.

These Meringue Encased Chocolate Mousse S’more Cakes from Half Baked Harvest look very intimidating to make, but surprisingly, not that hard.

If you’re not blessed with lots of free time, I would make them in stages.  Make the cakes and freeze them.  Then, make the mousse (which is good in the fridge for 24-48 hours no problem).  And then, on the night you want to serve them, make the meringue.

The meringue is the tricky part.  Taste of Home has a great tutorial on making great meringues, including using old eggs and rewashing the bowl before use.  And you get to use a kitchen blow torch; what could be more fun than that?

I own this $40 blowtorch. I know that’s not the cheapest one on Amazon.  But when something can blow up and maim me or light my house on fire, I figure spending a few extra bucks on a nice one can’t hurt.

My acne has markedly improved over the past year, but I still get painful, deep pimples every few weeks.  The only cure?  Acropass’s Trouble Cure Plus.

At $25 for 6 patches, these little miracle workers are not cheap, but they are worth it.  Trust me.  I have tried every lower-priced option on Amazon, and none of them can hold a candle to these for effectiveness or speed.

The patches have tiny “needles” that penetrate the skin to deliver the treatment to the still-forming pimple.  Then, the hydrocolloid patch pulls the gunk to the surface.

Last night, I had a large, painful blemish forming on my cheek.  One Acropass patch later, and the blemish is 75% smaller.

Killing the pimple before it rises to the surface is key for preventing new acne scarring and dark spots.  My one word of caution is that overuse of the patches on a single area can cause the skin to scab and then peel.  So I only use one on each spot.  If that doesn’t do it, I wait a day in between applications to give the skin time to recover.

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  1. Jules says:

    huh. I guess I got…. lucky(?) That feels like the wrong word. But my husband is the designated home cleaner (dishes, vacuum, scrubbing, watering the plants). I… cook and offer moral support. He’s not any sort of clean freak by any means. I remember having a conversation with an acquaintance who was surprised that my husband did his own laundry. In turn I was surprised that wasn’t normal. I wonder what it will take for this to change.

    • Dina says:

      I remember one of the early suffragettes (sorry, I don’t remember who) theorizing that women would have to start refusing to marry men en masse to get them to shape up. I think she may have been on to something.

      I have always been explicit with male roommates and my now live-in boyfriend as to who has what household responsibilities. Most of them have not done a thing unless nagged, which I refuse to do. The others (including boyfriend) have taken advantage of my half of the chores. They will be inconsiderately messy with whatever I am supposed to clean. Clean up your spills, you know? Don’t just leave it for my weekly cleaning when I have to scrub to get the crust off and deal with the bugs you’ve attracted.

      Needless to say, boyfriend is moving out.

      • Belle says:

        Years ago, women in a Brazilian town went on a sex strike to get rival gangs to broker peace. It’s incredible, but not surprising, how effective it was.

    • Allison says:

      I’m in a similar boat, my husband does lots of housework. He’s actually the only one that vacuums. What’s strange is that I really don’t know what made him this way. He grew up with a SAHM and full time working dad. When I ask him why he thinks he is this way he just says it’s because he’s not a jerk. Ha. We’re raising a boy and love the Montessori method of his day care program because he learns to clean up after himself. I knew I was sold on it when I visiting and saw a little boy drop a bowl of dried beans. Rather than panicking and crying and expecting the aide to clean up for him, he just went and got a broom on his own. I think it’s a great first step to building men who take care of themselves, which includes their homes.

    • Belle says:

      Kyle does his own washing because I “don’t do it correctly.” I am the only woman who just throws everything in the wash at once (except jeans with towels, because dye transfer). He is fastidious about it. I’m sure if I did it “right” I would get stuck doing it more often. So thank the Lord.

      • Amandag says:

        I also am in the boat of “just put it all in at the same time” for the most part. When the black clothes started getting fuzzies and lightening up, I started separating the darks and lights. But my husband is weird and wants things washed a certain way. So, he usually does the laundry. He can knock it out in one day while I can maybe do two loads. I help with the folding and putting away. I also make sure the kids get their clothes in the washer/moved to dryer. The hubs is excellent at putting stuff away (or getting rid of it) while I think I’m better at the cleaning but not so much at the putting stuff away. So it works. My car would be a disaster if it weren’t for him cleaning it out. I am not sure how he turned out this way, since his Mom took care of everything when he was younger.

  2. Christine says:

    Can you give a little input on the Regent blazer sizing? I’m pretty solidly a size small on top in most sizes, so I was leaning towards a 4, but reviews look like they say it runs small.

  3. Mo says:

    FYI, my Regent Blazer in camel shipped faster than they said it would and was worth the wait. It is a more fitted style but I still think it fits TTS.

  4. strin012 says:

    They’re best for fully formed blemishes, but I swear by Peace Out Acne’s acne dots. Sephora sells them (the value pack is 40 for $32). No needles are involved, and it sometimes takes a couple of nights for bigger, deeper blemishes, but they clear up places in a day or 2 that otherwise take weeks to heal.

  5. Lisa M. says:

    When our daughter was two, she got one of those toy vacuum cleaners that have little poppers in them to make noise when you “vacuum.” She excitedly announced, “Now I can be just like Daddy!” I’ve always appreciated my mother-in-law for setting an example as a professional woman who also involved her son in the tasks of maintaining a household. We’ve raised our son the same way. We have some traditional gender roles (I do the laundry; my husband mows the lawn), but it’s because we both prefer doing those tasks. We split cooking and cleaning evenly. I did more of the childcare when our kids were little because of my more conducive work hours, but one of my husband’s pet peeves is men referring to caring for their own children as “babysitting.” He always called his friends out on that and took responsibility for the kids when he was home. I know all this makes me “lucky,” and I think that’s a shame.

  6. Michelle says:

    We had to explicitly designate chores between my fiance and I, but we each have our own now- although I have to remind him to clean the cat water fountain when the filter clearly hasn’t been working for a week. Apparently he doesn’t notice the water looks super gross at all?

    What bothers me more is he doesn’t like a “cluttered” look (he prefers very minimalist) but he doesn’t clean or ask me “hey do we still need this?”. He pouts and gets angry without saying anything until I ask him what’s wrong.

    I try to clean up and put things away best I can, but I am out of the house by 6am and get home at 7pm, whereas he’s super flexible with when he can go into work and doesn’t have to work even 8 hours every day, so I feel if he has a different clean standard he should be responsible for taking more initiative. We’ve talked about communicating better but there hasn’t been much improvement on this issue.

  7. Katherine says:

    Re the acne issue, have you considered Accutane? I went on it (low dose to limit side effects) last summer and for the first time in 20 years have clear skin. It has been life-changing for me!

  8. e says:

    That Times article is interesting. Since the survey focused on high school students imagining a future in which they are married to someone of the opposite sex, though, I would say it begins with a sample of kids that may be more conservative in their thinking about domesticity (lots of teens obviously don’t envision marrying or don’t assume it would be with someone of a different sex).

    From my experience (my own life and discussions with other men and women in my life) I think women tend to take on most of the “invisible work.” That’s true at work and true at home. So often men think they split the work about even but at work it never occurs to them who is calendaring events or circulating notes afterwards, or at home who is putting away dishes or removing clutter. Communication is key on that front – I always let it be known when I am putting work in. 🙂

  9. Lauren says:

    I’ve been using Zitsticka for my acne patches and am happy with the brand, even though they’re expensive. Luckily my cysts seem to go away in the winter but I stockpiled two boxes during a sale and am ready for summer.

    REALLY appreciate your advice about taking a day off to let your skin recover. I haven’t tried that but will going forward.

  10. SC says:

    I do the cleaning because I got very lucky with a dear boyfriend who plans and cooks all our meals, and does the grocery shopping too. It’s a very even trade IMO, because he’s a terrific cook, and I really despise kitchen tasks (other than eating and baking cookies). Sometimes he’ll do his own laundry, but I love laundry so he usually leaves it for me. 🙂

  11. Ral says:

    Hi – how do the Acropass patches compare to the Cosrx Acne Pimple Patches?

    • Belle says:

      Better. But I save them for the toughest ones because they’re pricey.

      • Ral says:

        Thanks so much! There seem to be fewer reviews on Acropass, probably b/c it’s newer than Cosrx. Appreciate you sharing feedback.

        Thanks also for such a great blog. I’ve been reading it since 2011 (albeit never commented until recently), and I enjoy it immensely. Very current, positive and relevant, no matter how the world evolves. Thank you again!

  12. Caitlin says:

    Hum, interesting. I ended up with a neat freak boyfriend so a lot of the more traditionally “feminine” cleaning duties end up falling to him, because he’ll clean as… an almost impulse? and has said he doesn’t mind it.

    Meanwhile, I’m kind of “in charge” of the fridge, using up our produce, checking on things that are expiring, and making grocery lists. He’s very genial about food but not very creative, so I end up coming up with most of the meal plan for the week, and cook a lot of it too. It’s a trade off!

    My experience with “pampered” boys (read: their mom did all the housework) is that the real world was a rude awakening, and they’ve picked up cooking and cleaning skills post-graduation. I’d say if they’re older than their mid-20s and have steadfastly refused to do or learn basic maintenance or cooking, that’s kind of a red flag…

    • Belle says:

      When you’re a clean person, cleaning is reflexive. You see a mess, you pick it up. I don’t usually mind cleaning. My only true annoyance is when Kyle dirties something I just cleaned.

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