Clouds Remain Over the Sunshine State

Florida is considered the worst state in terms of long-term unemployment, according to Census data analyzed by Brookings’ Hamilton Project.

The housing market is a key factor in the loss of jobs (and ongoing lack of openings). Unfortunately, it’s predicted that unemployment in the state won’t dip below 9% for at least another two years.

Frozen Yogurt and Cookies!

If you’re lucky enough to live near a Yogurtland, one of the frozen yogurt purveyors in the U.S., take note: many locations will be giving away FREE fro-yo (and toppings) from 4-7 PM on National Frozen Yogurt Day (February 6).

In other news, Girl Scout Cookies are officially on sale! This year, the boxes are $4 each. There’s a new cookie added to the regular mix: Savannah Smiles, a lemony cookie covered with powdered sugar. I’ve never been a lemon cookie fan, so I haven’t bothered trying it. The newbie is supposed to commemorate the Girl Scouts’ 100th year. (Juliette Low founded the organization a century ago in Savannah, hence the name.)

Hurry; the cookies don’t last long. Find a location selling the boxes near you at their official site. Or get the new app available for the iPhone at the Apple store online.

Beauty Products for a New Year

I started 2012 with a handful of new beauty products. Since several have superseded my expectations, I’m sharing those favorites below:

1. Harajuku Lovers’ Super G is indeed a superlative fragrance. First of all, it’s incredibly fruity, containing notes of (get ready!): pineapple, pear, cranberry, tangerine, coconut, peach, banana nectar, vanilla, raspberry, yellow freesia, musk, and cedar wood.

Super G is playful (cue the cute superhero stopper), energizing, and for the young at heart; for me, a whiff of this scent recalls the old “scratch and sniff” stickers from elementary school. But that’s not to say that only 6-year-olds should don this perfume. Apply it whenever you want an instant hit of happiness!

2. Although it’s been on the market for a while, Murad’s Post-Acne Spot Lightening Gel was new to me up until a few weeks ago. But after using it so far, I’ve seen improvement: hyperpigmentation on my cheeks is less noticeable. Here’s hoping that the gel will continue to work its hydroquinone magic.

3. I’ve long lamented the difficulty in finding a thick, nourishing cream or lotion that will soothe my parched hands for longer than two minutes. Previously, my go-to buys were Eucerin Plus Intensive Repair, Aquaphor Healing Ointment, Nivea Creme, and Burt’s Bees’ Baby Bee Skin Creme. Now I’m dependent on both Vaseline’s Petroleum Jelly Cream Deep Moisture and CVS’ Petroleum Jelly Cream with Shea Butter, each selling for less than $5. Both are drugstore basics that, in terms of quality and price, beat their more prominent contenders ($16 for a bottle of lotion? No, thanks).

4. Best Sunscreen Award: La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid. Those worried about slathering on heavy products will take heart when they hear that this sunscreen has a consistency akin to skim milk. It absorbs quickly into skin, and miraculously does not cause breakouts (a feat, considering my sensitive skin). Wear it on top of an antioxidant-laced moisturizer every day for the maximum benefits.