Apartment Life, Money Matters

7 Reasons I’m Renting — for Now

Renting doesn’t have to be a last resort — or something to settle for. Because while there are advantages to owning your own property, there are also advantages to being a renter.

Let me acknowledge a fact of which I’m fully aware: as a renter, I’m paying someone else’s mortgage rather than my own. I’m helping the owner of that property build equity.

This is not something to argue or to take personally. It’s just a fact. Real estate agents share this not to shame renters but to encourage anyone who might be on the fence to take a closer look at their options.

Now, let me add that, in full knowledge of that fact, I’m choosing to rent right now for the following reasons:

  1. Credit
  2. Parenting Time
  3. Walking Distance
  4. Amenities
  5. Security
  6. No Lawn or Flowerbeds to Maintain
  7. No Need for Major New Purchases


My credit rating has taken a hit over the past 20+ years and I’m currently working on repairing it (getting back to “Excellent”). Even if I wanted to buy a house, no mortgage lender would take me seriously right now.

With tightening FICO restrictions, it’s near impossible to get a mortgage loan if your rating is under 620. So, I’ll work on that before I think about buying a home.

Parenting Time

For the time being, living in an apartment within a ten minute’s drive from my kids’ dad (to make the joint custody/parenting time arrangement easier) makes more sense.

There are no houses around here within my price range that I’d want to commit to for the next several years.

That could change, and I could revisit the idea in the next few years. But right now, the apartment I’m renting is the best option for me. And I don’t see my monthly rent as money going down a hole; I’ll be getting plenty out of it, even if I’m not building equity. I’m aware of the trade-offs.

Walking Distance

I love that my new apartment is within walking distance of a the downtown area. I’ve missed being able to walk to places from my apartment (the one I had years ago in Salem, Oregon). I look forward to weekly walks for groceries, coffee, etc.

I’ll admit I have looked into the trailer home park close to downtown as another option. The main draws were the location and the possibility of lower cost per month. I was looking into rentals, though — not houses to buy. I’m not ruling it out, but for now, I’ll be living in an apartment for at least a year, if not longer.


Our new apartment complex has a well-equipped laundry room, a fitness room, and a community room we can use at no charge for social gatherings (by reservation).

It also has secure high-speed internet included in the rent. And while I’ll still be bringing my ethernet cable, that’ll save me a hunk every month. The rent for these apartments is neither low-end nor high-end for the area.


Our new apartment complex has a secured entrance, and each tenant uses an app that allows them to see the person at the door who contacts their apartment number to request entry.

Plus, every apartment door has a peephole. It’s a small thing (literally), but it was one of the first things I looked for when I toured the apartment.

No Lawns or Flowerbeds to Maintain

I don’t have time for outdoor landscaping, lawn mowing, etc. A few container plantings on a balcony — plus my interior houseplants — are more my speed.

If I ever do buy a home, I’ll probably nix the lawn in favor of planting beds with some low-maintenance native plants, including some for butterflies and bees. If I’ve got a good rainwater collection system, I’m hoping I won’t need to run a sprinkler to keep them from dying.

I don’t mind having some soft grass in the back near the patio, but having a picture-perfect lawn is not a priority for me.

No Need for Major New Purchases

Here are a few things the apartment already comes with:

  • Refrigerator w/ freezer
  • Microwave
  • Oven/Range
  • Dishwasher
  • Air conditioning

I already mentioned the laundry room (which has a coin machine), and the fitness room — which has new machines and weights. Aside from the new seating options I’ll need to buy for the apartment (bar stools for the bar countertop and a couple new chairs — or a chair and a loveseat — for the living room), I won’t need to make any new major purchases for the apartment. And I appreciate that.

I won’t even need to invest in my own security system, which is a big deal for me. That’s one of the major selling points for this apartment complex, right alongside the fact that the rent makes it affordable.

One day, maybe, we’ll have an in-unit washer and dryer, but that’s not one of my top priorities right now.

Paying down debt and rebuilding my credit will be more important over the coming months than renting an apartment with all the bells and whistles. The lifestyle my kids and I live in that unit doesn’t have to please anyone but us.

To me, renting this apartment is a meaningful step up from before. And that’s just the start I need.

Would I Consider Home Ownership in the Future?

I definitely would if I believed it was attainable and would improve our lives in a meaningful way.

In other words, I’m not ruling it out. I see the value in building equity in a home. It’ll have to wait until my credit rating is in the good zone and my monthly debt payments take up far less of my income.

As for the kind of home I’d want to invest in, a 3D-printed home is at the top of my list. I would be giddy over a chance to custom-design one myself using virtual reality goggles. The sci-fi nerd in me loves that.

In fact, the more I learn about the technology, the more I love it. Maybe I’ll be the owner of one of the first 3D-printed houses in Minnesota. Could happen. And if the time comes, I’ll probably need some help finding the best location for it.

If you’re curious, check out SQ4D’s website — along with their TikTok. I’m a fan.

What do you love about renting?

If you’re renting right now, what do you love about it? And if you don’t mind sharing this in the comments, what made you choose renting over buying — at least for now?

And what would it take for you to decide you were ready to buy a home?

The Hypothyroid Writer, Writing

Why I’m Creating a Second Edition of The Hypothyroid Writer (and Giving It a New Cover)

I wrote and self-published my first book — The Hypothyroid Writer — in October of 2016. I’ve done some minor editing of the book since then.

But this year (2021), I decided it was time to do a more through job of revising the book and to re-release it as an updated edition.

Part of the update will be a completely new book cover, courtesy of the professional book cover designer I choose for the job (So far, I like what I’m seeing at 100Covers.com).

I know I’ve designed most of my book covers myself, but this book has always had a professionally-designed cover, and I’d rather keep that up than take my chances with my own limited design skills.

Designers like the folks at 100Covers.com have spent the last few years (not to mention the years before them) honing their skills and creating covers that helped authors sell their books.

I haven’t designed a book cover since 2018. And I’d honestly love to get a new professional cover for that book, too. I’ve been focusing on other things while professional designers have only gotten better at their craft.

So, why wouldn’t I want to take advantage of that?

Yes, it costs money. Professional designers who create beautiful covers deserve to be paid well for their work. And I’d love another opportunity to back that statement up with money of my own.

I’m not the same author I was back in 2016 (or even 2018). Because I’m not the same person.

A lot has happened with me since the year I published my first (and still my favorite) book. And I want the updated edition to reflect that — without nearly as much rambling. You deserve better than to have to wade through paragraphs of clutter to get to the points worth remembering.

I’ll do my best to get to the f*ing point and avoid meandering.

So, what has changed?

I won’t go into too much detail, here, but a lot has changed since 2016:

  • I left the Catholic Church and no longer identify as a Christian.
  • I no longer hold to any religion, though I don’t identify as an atheist, either.
  • I’ve read a number of books that have challenged my thinking (in good ways).
  • I’ve made a fool of myself using a blog—and learned from it (I hope).

Blogging and alcohol don’t mix, kids. Bad things happen.

I’ll post an update when the book is ready for publication. I’ll also post a sneak-peek at the new book cover when it’s ready.

Follow the blog to get email updates. If you’ve already bought the eBook, you should be able to download the updated edition at no additional cost.

Until then, thank you for taking the time to read this.


57 of the Best Skincare Products Under $30 for Women Aged 40 and Above

Taking care of your skin at any age shouldn’t be complicated.

It doesn’t have to be expensive, either. While I’m not against a splurge here and there on products I believe in, my day-to-day skincare has to be affordable.

And for me, that means staying below $20 for most of the products I buy (under $10 for some), with a few that are (generally) still below $30.

Good thing that still leaves plenty of high-quality options.

Best Skincare Brands for Products Under $30

The products listed for each brand cost under $30 and come highly-recommended. Anything preceded by three stars is something I use myself (or have used).

Cera Ve

I’ve been using Cera Ve products for years and can always trust their lotions to leave my skin feeling hydrated and petal-soft.

For the perfect facial pick-me-up in the middle of the day, spritz your face and neck with your favorite facial mist. Allow it to dry and then smooth on a layer of Cera Ve Daily Moisturizing Lotion or PM (or AM) Facial Moisturizing Lotion.


Hydrating Facial Cleanser — with hyaluronic acid and 3 essential ceramides (16 oz.) —> $13.59

Hydrating Micellar Water — no rinse formula with 3 essential ceramides and niacinamide (10 oz.) —> $9.84. I love using micellar water, because I don’t have to rinse at the sink, It’s effective (gets a surprising amount of dirt out of skin I thought was clean) and easy to use.


Eye Repair Cream — with 3 essential ceramides & hyaluronic acid (0.5 oz.) —> $10.77

*** Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum — with 10% pure vitamin C, 3 essential ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin B5 (1 oz.) —> $18.84 (squeeze tube)

Resurfacing Retinol Serum — with 3 essential ceramides, licorice root extract, and niacinamide (1 oz.) —> $15.99 (pump bottle)


*** Daily Moisturizing Lotion for normal to dry skin (face & body) — with hyaluronic acid and ceramides (19 oz) —> $17.78. While this formula doesn’t have niacinamide like the facial moisturizing lotions (for AM & PM), it comes in a large pump bottle and beautifully hydrates tired, dry skin all over.

AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion with Sunscreen (Broad Spectrum SPF 30) — with 3 essential ceramides, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid (3 oz.) —> $13.47.

*** PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion — ultra lightweight and hydrating with 3 essential ceramides, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid (3 oz.) —> $12.38. This is perfect for evening use, when sunlight is no longer an issue. It absorbs quickly and easily and leaves my skin feeling soothed and soft.

*** Skin Renewing Night Cream — with ceramide & peptide complex (1.7 oz) —> $13.98 (over 30,000 reviews with a 4.6 average rating).


I started with TruSkin’s Vitamin C-Plus Super Serum, because I was looking for something that had both vitamin C and retinol, among other restorative ingredients (like niacinamide and hyaluronic acid).

TruSkin uses all plant-based (vegan) ingredients in their skincare line. Every item is also cruelty-free and free of toxic chemicals.

UPDATE 5/14: I’ve taken a break from most retinol products for now, since most of them tend to cause visible irritation seconds after applying. If I find one that doesn’t, I’ll update this post with the information.


Vitamin C Daily Facial Cleanser — with vitamin C (15%) and organic rose hip oil (4 oz) —> $15.99

*** Daily Facial Super Toner for all skin types — with glycolic acid, vitamin C, ocean minerals, and organic anti-aging ingredients (4 oz) —> $15.99 (This is one of my top 2 toners, and I love that I can spray it on).


Tea Tree Clear Skin Super Serum (Age Defying Formula) — w/ Vitamin C, salicylic acid, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, & retinol —> $24.79

Vitamin C serum — with Vitamin E, hyaluronic acid, witch hazel & jojoba oil (nearly 70,000 reviews) —> $19.99

*** Vitamin C-Plus Super Serum (Age Defense Formula) — with vitamin C, niacinamide, retinol, hyaluronic acid, and salicylic acid —> $24.79


Vitamin C Daily Facial Moisturizer for all skin types — with Vitamin B5, green tea & jojoba oil —> 2 oz. for $15.99; 4 oz. for $26.95

*** Retinol Moisturizer for face care and eye area — with hyaluronic acid, green tea, and vitamins E and B5 (2 oz) —> $19.99


Cetaphil is another well-known dermatologist-recommended skincare brand, trusted for being kind to sensitive skin as well as effective for treating excema. I’m not currently using any of their products, but if I had to, I’d use the following.


Gentle Skin Cleanser (use w/ or w/out water) —> 20 oz. pump bottle for $11.48


Deep Hydration Refreshing Eye Serum — with hyaluronic acid and vitamins E and B5 —> $14.97


Daily Oil-Free Hydrating Lotion (w/ hyaluronic acid) — with 6 moisturizers + Vitamins E & B6 ???

Moisturizing Lotion (body & face) —> 3-pack (2 20-oz pump bottles & a 4-oz travel bottle) for $28.43

Hydrating Eye Gel-Cream — with hyaluronic acid (0.5 oz.) —> $12.22

*** Sheer Mineral Face Liquid Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50 (formulated for sensitive skin) — microbiome gentle, contains vitamin E, water resistant, and ideal for use under make-up (1.7 fl. oz.) —> $14.49

UPDATE: As of around May 10th, I’ve started using the Cetaphil Sheer Mineral Face Sunscreen, because it’s easy to apply, doesn’t leave a whitish cast, and feels better on my skin than the thicker moisturizers with sunscreen added to them. This one is almost watery thin, but it disappears as you apply it, and the SPF 50 (hopefully) means better sun protection when I’m outside or driving.


Bliss describes its product line as “clean, cruelty-free, spa-powered skincare.” Like TruSkin, they’re also vegan-friendly & free of toxic chemicals.

I’m just getting acquainted with this brand and will update this post with reviews as I learn more.


*** Rose Gold Rescue Soothing Toner Mist for Sensitive Skin — with calming rose water and nourishing colloidal gold (3.4 oz.) —> $9.00 (This is my other go-to toner; it feels great sprayed on freshly-cleaned skin.)

Lemon & Sage Refreshing Body Wipes — natural deodorant gym & travel wipes (30 ct.) —> $5.99

Pumpkin Powerhouse Resurfacing & Exfoliating Enzyme Mask — with shea butter and prebiotics (1.7 oz.) —> $15.99

Jelly Glow Peel — gentle non-abrasive exfoliator with fruit enzymes (4.0 oz.) —> $9.00


Eye Do All Things Hydrating Eye Gel To Depuff & Brighten — with cooling rollerball (0.7 oz.) —> $16.49

Bright Idea Vitamin C + Tri-Peptide Collagen Protecting & Brightening Serum (am & pm) — $20.25 (Ulta.com)

Renew & Smooth Glycolic + Polyhydroxy Acid Night Serum — resurfacing / exfoliating six-acid blend (1 oz.) —> $20.00

Glow & Hydrate Niacinamide + Hyaluronic Acid Day Serum — replenishing / balancing (1 oz.) —> $19.20

That’s Incredi-Peel Glycolic Resurfacing Pads — single-step pads for exfoliating & brightening (15 pads) —>$15.00


Rose Gold Rescue Gentle Moisturizing Cream for Sensitive Skin — with soothing rose water and nourishing colloidal gold to calm, balance, and soften your skin (1.5 oz.) —> $19.00

Bright Idea Vitamin C + Tri-Peptide Collagen-Protecting & Brightening Moisturizer — brightens and boosts skin’s natural elasticity (1.5 oz.) —> $19.38

Honest Beauty

I’ve yet to familiarize myself with any of this brand’s cruelty-free and skin-loving products, but these are four products I’d love to try:

Beauty Sleep Resurfacing Serum — 5 AHAs + hyaluronic acid (1 oz.) —> $19.60 (Ulta.com)

Prime + Perfect Mask — superfruits + shea butter (2 oz.) —> $19.99

*** From the product description: “I love this mask because it makes my skin look brighter and tighter and my pores look smaller” — Jessica Alba, Founder of Honest Beauty

Hydrogel Cream — with two types of hyaluronic acid (1.7 oz.) —> $19.99

Organic Beauty Facial Oil — hydrates, softens, and replenishes with pure fruit and seed oils, lightly scented with rose, ylang ylang, and clove (1 oz.) —> $27.99

Mario Badescu

My favorite thing, so far, from this brand is their facial spray, which feels great spritzed all over the face and neck in the middle of the day when I need a pick-me-up. They also have some facial masks worth a look. And you get 3 free samples with every order!

Right now, you can get a free gift when you spend at least $50.

*** Facial Spray with Aloe, Cucumber & Green Tea — “cooling facial mist hydrates, tones, and re-energizes” (4 oz.) —> $7.00

*** Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs, and Rosewater — “revitalizes with a dewy radiance. Boosts moisture and glow” (4 oz.) — $7.00

Facial Spray with Aloe, Sage, and Orange Blossom — “replenishes and revives dull, tired skin”; restores balance (4 oz.) —> $7.00

Temporary Lifting Mask (must-have for special occasions) — lifts, tightens, and refines (for all skin types, 1 oz. —> $20.00 ***Note: smells like roses, which is always a plus for me.

***Super Collagen Mask — a “time-tested favorite (and a must-have of our New York City salon’s asetheticians)”; leaves skin soft, silky & younger looking (2 oz. in a soft green color) —> $18.00

Brightening Mask with Vitamin C — brightens uneven skin tone and texture and leaves skin feeling fresh & rejuvenated (2 oz.) —> $22.00

*** Note (from the Mario Badescu website): Mist your face before applying the mask to clean skin. When the mask is dry, mist it again to make removal easier.

Neutrogena & RoC

These popular dermatologist-recommended brands are easy to pick up at a drugstore or just about any store with a health and beauty section.


Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Water Gel Daily Face Moisturizer for Dry Skin

Rapid Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Cream (w/ hyaluronic acid and retinol)

*** Anti-Wrinkle Deep Wrinkle Night Moisturizer (with hyaluronic acid and retinol)


*** Multi-Correxion Revive + Glow Daily Serum — with Vitamin C+ (1 fl oz) —> $21.12

Retinol Correxion Line Smoothing Night Retinol Serum (30 capsules) —> $19.87

***Multi-Correxion 5 in 1 Anti-Aging Daily Face Moisturizer with SPF 30 (1.7 oz) —> $18.99

Retinol Correxion Line Smoothing Anti-Aging Eye Cream — visibly reduces fine lines, dark circles, and puffiness (0.5 fl. oz.) —> $16.59

Assorted Extras

The follow products each have their own brand. Some of these I found while doing an internet search on “Best [type of skincare item] under $30.” Some I learned about from random Google-generated ads on well-loved skincare products.

I keep learning, so I’ll probably add to this list as I go.

*** Anai Rui Rose Clay Facial Mask — w/ Kaolin pink clay, niacinamide, collagen, hyaluronic acid, etc. — brightening, moisturizing, anti-aging (4.05 oz.) —> $16.99. (This one came with a tiny spatula to help with slathering on an even layer).

*** Radha Beauty USDA Organic Rosehip Oil — for moisturizing face/skin, hair & nails (4 oz.) —> $14.95

***Note: The listing describes this as “ideal for fussy, dry, mature, and blemish-prone skin.” (I mean, that alone….). A little goes a long way with this stuff.

DETOX Organic Charcoal & Clay Mask — with kaolin clay, rosehip oil, and vitamin C (4 oz.) —> $20.99

Pura D’Or Professional Organic Castor Oil — for noticeably fuller hair, lusher eyelashes, thicker eyebrows, and younger looking skin (4 oz.) — $14.99 (includes bonus brush kit)

Seoul Ceuticals Vitamin C (20%) Serum (daily AM) with ferulic acid, hyaluronic acid, and d-Alpha Tocopheryl — Korean Skincare K Beauty (1 oz.) —> $16.99

Seoul Ceuticals Marine Mineral Plump & Glow Essence — with tamarind extract, cucumber extract, green tea, aloe leaf juice, and marine minerals (4 oz.) —> $18.49

CosRx Propolis Light Ampoule — hydrating serum with propolis 73.5% | Korean Skin Care (1.01 oz.) —> $28.00

My Current Favorites

These are the products I currently use every day or every week. Not all of them are listed above or included in the total product count. I’ll update it as I make changes.


Facial Masks

Toners / Toning Sprays

Serums & Oils

Moisturizers & Eye Creams

A Word of Caution

Tempting though it is to load up on serums that promise to reverse aging, firm up your skin, and erase those fine lines and wrinkles, be careful not to use too much of these products in the space of a day.

I can say from experience that overdoing it on serums and age-defying lotions leads to angry skin. And angry skin is far more likely to break out.

If you have sensitive skin like mine, it doesn’t take much to stress it out.

So, speaking as someone who has a gift for learning things the hard way, do as the product makers suggest:

  • Try a dab of each product on a small area of your skin to test for reactions before you slather it on your face.
  • Don’t double-up on serums. More is not better.
  • Let your skin get used to a small amount of one product before you increase it or add another.
  • Use no more than the amount suggested to avoid irritating your skin and giving your face an angry red flush or weird red spots that look like an instant break-out.

Happy skin is beautiful skin. And happy skin is clean, calm, hydrated and balanced.

That’s what we’re going for.

This is Not the End

I’ll be updating this post as I learn more. The whole point here is to make it easier for you to find products your skin and your budget will love.

Also, if you have any suggestions you’d like me to check out, please share them in the comments below!

And thank you for taking the time to read this! 🙂