Let me tell you a secret: I hate unpacking suitcases after a trip. I returned to Dominica nearly a month ago after three weeks in Virginia and {this is embarrassing} still have not fully unpacked one of my suitcases.  I rummage through it when I need something from the suitcase, and I also throw things I don’t want to put away in there and then I shove it under the bed…. so bad!  Why am I such a slob?

Today I am not allowed to leave the house until I unpack.  And put away the laundry {same problem.}  Meh.

Does anyone else have this problem?


10 Days In Dominica: Day 5

What don’t you miss about home?

Easy!  What I don’t miss at all about home is… working!

I am loving having the freedom to do what I want here, and I love not having to get up and go to work everyday.  When else in my life will I be able to take a break like this?  I thought that after a few months off I would be bored and miss working… but 13 months later, I’m still loving my time off.  LOVING IT!!!

There’s fungus among us. {3, actually.}

It’s true.  There’s fungus among us.  And by us I mean me.  Three kinds of fungus, to be exact.  Lucky me.

You are probably really grossed out right now.  Don’t worry, I look normal, and it’s really not all that gross.

Fungus and mold are out of control here.   I sneeze constantly all over the island, in our apartment, and on campus.  The humidity here puts the humidity in the South to shame.  Today, for example, the temperature was 91 degrees with 84% humidity.   According to Dominica-Guide.Info (that sounds legit, right?), “Because of its lush vegetation and high elevations, the Commonwealth of Dominica experiences some of the wettest weather in the Caribbean, creating a humid and tropical climate almost year-round.”

So, pretend you live in the beautiful yet insanely humid land of Dominica.  Now, imagine having no car with AC, walking to get your groceries and lugging them half a mile home up a hill.  Awesome. You can imagine how sweaty you get around here.  Then, you walk into your steaming hot apartment that traps heat like an oven.  You turn on the AC (the unit is only in your bedroom) and your bedroom becomes slightly cooler than your boiling hot kitchen/living room.  By slightly cooler, I mean 82 degrees, as opposed to your 88 degree kitchen.  Now imagine 6 months of this nonsense.  Constant sweating.  I mean, constant.  Do you still wish you lived in the Caribbean?

This, friends, is how you develop 3 kinds of skin fungus.  Constant sweat, indoors and out, leaves skin moist and ready for fungus.  I. am. a. PETRI DISH!  Ick.

“Fungus is in the air, in the dirt, in the carpet, on the floor, and on your skin. Fungus loves heat and humidity, so locker rooms, shoes, and other hot, damp places are perfect environments for breeding fungal infections.”  Words of wisdom from Strenghtforcaring.com.  Merci. So… my skin is a locker room? Yes.  My skin is a locker room.

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for, my three skin fungi:

1. Tinea Versicolor.  White spots the size of a pencil eraser on my back and shoulders.  Lovely.

Mine aren't this bad. I only have about 20 spots on my whole back and shoulders.

2.  Mystery fungi.  Not sure what the name of this one is, but I have raised bumps on my shoulders that are skin colored, sort of like mild bacne.  Hot.

3. Dermatophytosis or Ringworm.  On my arm.  It’s not actually a worm, but is called ringworm because it is ring-shaped and is made of little bumps.  (Please heed Wikipedia’s warning: “Ringworm is not to be confused with Roundworm, Pinworm, or Hookworm.”  ACTUAL worms.  No worms here, just fungi!)


Ringworm is a common skin disorder.  The fungi that cause ringworm thrive in warm, moist areas. Ringworm is more likely when you have frequent wetness (such as from sweating).  Bingo.  Pets can also carry ringworm, cats especially, and I’ve had the weird itchy patch for a while now, so I’m thinking it came from those cutie pie little kittens I was playing with daily a couple of months ago.

In this spirit of Carl Parish, my 6th grade science teacher, here’s a ridiculous fungus joke:

Why did the fungus go to the party?

He was a fun-gi.  {fun guy}.

Hardy har har.

So here’s what the doctor ordered: a skin regiment that is the same for all 3 fungi: I apply 1 cream 3 times a day for 2 weeks.  Then, I apply a second cream (the package states that it is for jock itch, athletes foot and ringworm… OMG, so gross, right?!?) 3 times a day for 8 to 12 weeks.  Seriously, 14 weeks of fungus creams 3 times a day?  You’ve got to be kidding me!  I am a science project.

{In case you’re wondering, I’m on week 3.  The bumps are gone, the spots are fading, but the ringworm happens to be thriving.  YIKES.}


UPDATE:  I actually did NOT have ring worm.  NOPE.  It was some strange skin rash called pityriasis rosea that is very mysterious… it is not caused by a bacteria or fungus.  It may be caused by a virus, but they aren’t sure.  It is super itchy and miserable… and weirdly enough, I have now discovered that three friends of mine on the island have also had the same weird rash (2 when they were back home, and 1 on the island a year ago).

{If you like grody pictures, check out my awesome stomach rash, below — I had over 100 of these inflamed, itchy guys all over me.}

Here’s the fleet of “treatments” I was given by the 3 different doctors I saw for my various diagnoses: ringworm, eczema, and finally pityriasis rosea.  There were a few more packs of pills, but those were long gone by the time I got my 3rd and final diagnosis and took this photo.

Now, I’m healed, the pink welts are gone and in their place are scarred white spots all over my body… sweet.  My friends say theirs all went away, but they took a while.  The rash begins with a “herald patch” or “mother patch,” one large spot that starts the whole itch-fest, and apparently that spot takes the longest to disappear.  Here’s a pic of me and my “mother patch” scar…

I’ll obviously be thrilled once the scars disappear, but for now I’m just glad that the itching is gone!

Stop it. I mean it!

I love following blogs. Home, cooking, crafting, remodeling, fashion, travel, friends . . . you write it and throw on some pictures, give me some good links and BOOM,  I’m hooked!  But here’s what I’m hating: TERRARIUMS.

I hate these.  And these.  And these!  Just found another… make them stop!

I HATE THEM!  In fact, I just read the following, “Terrariums are all the rage now.  They are quite easy to make yourself.”  Blah blah blah. I’m really wishing that the blogs I follow would just leave the moss and rocks outdoors where they belong.  What I’d like to do is throw up in your homemade terrarium.  How’s that for crafty?

Nesting Season

In case you aren’t addicted to Facebook like I am, here’s what you missed this week:

our apartment = rat central

Apparently it is nesting season around here.  A rat chewed through our screen window in our kitchen and climbed on in.  That little punk gnawed through a banana and roamed all over our apartment, pooping on everything: kitchen counters, kitchen table, sofa, bathmat… you name it.  We were pretty grossed out, especially since we’ve been hearing horror stories about all the diseases that rats carry around here.  So, I spent the following day disinfecting our entire apartment.  A special thank you that that bi-atch of a rat for making me re-wash all of my clean dishes that were drying in the drying rack… you suck!  Really, the worst part was not knowing if the rat was still in our apartment.  Had Splinter nested in suitcases?  Dresser drawers?  Kitchen cabinets?  You may think I’m being a bit dramatic.  But this was a RAT.  Mice, I could handle.  But the rats here are nasty and filthy and disease-y.  Yikes.  We searched the apartment and found no rat.  I even bought and set up some scary metal mouse traps and left those out with cheese and crackers on them for a few days, just in case… but no rat.  Lucky for us, the rat is out, and the windows are closed for good.  (Bad news: being the in the kitchen without the windows open feels like death).  Unfortunately, the rat visited my neighbor and chewed through her screens the following night… ewwww.  Enough with the rats!

If you know me, you know that I love my family and friends, and I love Richmond, but I’m really not one to be homesick.  This rat, however, has made Charlie and I both really miss home.  Family, friends, homes without rats… we miss you all!  {Please know that even though sometimes we’re both really bad at keeping in touch, we still love ya and think of ya often!}

Since I’ve been a little homesick, I’ve been doing some nesting of my own, dreaming of the future, of our someday one-day home, of quality design, artful homes, fun colors, cozy beds, “real” furniture, dishwashers, non-fluorescent non-exposed-bulb overhead lighting, dream kitchens, fluffy pillows, washing machines, clean sheets, soft towels, comfy sofas…  My fabulous friend Emily taught me how to use a fun photo editing program called Picnik, so I’ve been “window shopping” online and making some collages, trying to beef up my pretty pathetic graphic design-ish skills.  Here are some collages I made of favorite things I’m coveting from far away places like Anthropologie and West Elm…