Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ten on Tuesday, It's Almost October!

1. Growing up, what was one favorite item that you had to have with you at all times?
I had a care bear (nighttime bear, with the moon and stars on his belly) I named PJ that I carried everywhere and slept with every night.

2. Being an adult, what is one favorite item that you have to have with you at all times, and what happens if you do not have it with you? Do you lose your sanity or just go back home to get it?
Now that I have an Iphone it's probably that.  I used to be really lazy about cell phones and mine was either dead or left somewhere all the time, but Iphone's have games ;-) and the internetz!

3. Where is your favorite place to be to just hide away from everything and breathe for a moment?

The shower.  It's perfect since I love extreme warmth and the sound of the water is soothing.  I do my best thinking in there.

4. What is your favorite thing about your partner? (If you don’t have a partner, then someone who is very close and will always be in your life)
He's funny and can always make me laugh even if I'm in a horrible mood.

5. What is your favorite thing about your job? (If you don’t have a job, then what is your favorite thing that you do during your day?)
I love the actual job function.  I like numbers.  It's the extra stuff around the job itself that I don't really enjoy all the time.  That's why I'd love to just do it from home.  That way I keep the actual job and scrap the rest of it.

6. What is your favorite lesson that your parents taught you growing up? Looking back, is it something that you want to use to teach your children when they reach that age?
Seriously the only things (that stuck anyway) my mom would lecture about were 1) sex, as in you do it and you'll go to hell and 2) "don't trust anybody except yourself, everyone else will disappoint you"

I think both did more harm then good honestly.  Who wants to raise a kid who's completely petrified/hung up about sex and has massive trust issues?  After all that kid/teenager will eventually become an adult.  I think honestly she just thought about the moment with the sex thing and was trying to terrify me into listening to her and the other thing was her own issues she was passing down.  So no, neither is something I'd teach my kids.
At least not that way.

7. What is your favorite song, that will always bring a smile to your face and make you think of something happy?
I have a few of those.  I love Sweet Home Alabama and Walking in Memphis, both never fail to make me happy and I start singing along.  I also really love All Summer Long by Kid Rock and Hot and Cold by Katy Perry.

8. What is your favorite things about being an American? (If you not American, what are you proud of in regards to your country)
The freedom to criticize whatever/whomever we want without getting thrown in jail for treason.  Alaina and I were talking last night about how it's nice that we can eat cheese without being terrified that it will kill us.  As in food is regulated enough that generally you don't have to worry much.  Unlike cheese in, say, France.  While yummy it can be dangerous.  My cousin got an illness (parasite maybe?) from it that was really, really bad.

9. What is your favorite meal that reminds you of being a child?
Boxed macaroni and cheese.  Honestly, what kids didn't eat that by the truckful?

10. Name 3 things that other people would say are their favorite thing about you.
Some people think I'm funny.  I will always be there for you and help you with anything you may need.  I'm also really loyal and put in the work to maintain friendships.  I'm not one of those girls who ditches all her friends anytime something more interesting comes along.  I've had my friends for 12+ years and I'll have them from 12+ more no matter what happens.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Weekend Wrap-Up

  • Va Tech finally pulled out their first win of the season.  I chose to think that the season just started, that way I can fully ignore the embarrasing loss to a I-AA school just a week ago.  Egads!
  • The first half still looked rough, but the defense got two interceptions in the 2nd half and held the Pirates to just 80 yards and 3 points.  That's looking up!
  • I have a friend who is obsessed with Pirates.  I'm shocked she didn't go to ECU purely for the mascot.
  • We had a gathering of people on Saturday.  It can't really be counted as a party because it wasn't really one.  But it was nice to sit around and chat nonetheless.
  • Bill and I went out on a date Friday night.  We went to a nice restaurant and even dressed up!  It's fun to do that once in awhile.
  • I am battling a wicked cold right now.  Colds are pesky because you feel like a huge baby for complaining about them, but they are still bothersome. 
  • In related news, my throat hurts.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The No (Sham)poo method

As I briefly mentioned in my list on Monday, I had a horrible reaction to the hair dye I just used to dye my hair brown. It may be a new developed allergy on my part, it may have been a minor chemical burn, we really can’t tell- all I know is that my scalp is not happy which means that I am not happy.

I quickly learned that when my head started itching I should just get my hair wet. To me, and most of us, wetting our hair means taking a shower, which means washing your hair. So for a few days I was washing my hair twice a day in hopes to keep the itching/irritation under control. This worked until it didn’t. I started looking online for some other things I could do until this passed and started reading about shampoo. As with many things we use mindlessly, it’s really not good for you. If you are just putting it on hair, which is dead anyway, it isn’t really a big deal but think about what goes on in your shower.

You grab the bottle, dump some on your head and start lathering. The shampoo/conditioner sits on your scalp which is porous. Maybe you leave it on your head while you soap up the rest of your body or shave, more chemicals are being soaked into your body. Then you rinse it off, during which the shampoo runs all the way down your body’s skin (also known as the largest organ you have). Do you honestly believe that in all that contact all those chemicals on the back of the bottle don’t seep through into your system at all?

The kicker about this is, the chemicals actually don’t do anything for the condition of your hair. You aren’t gaining anything from them and their potential danger. Sodium Lauryl Sufate/Laureth Sulfate is put in solely for the lather affect, because people think that unless it lathers and creates lots of bubbles, they aren’t getting clean. Also, this and other chemical cleaning agents are also found in other household cleaning supplies. If it cleans off the baked on grease from your pans, is it really right for your hair?

Lets assume for a minute, that the chemicals at the levels we absorb them don’t create endocrine, reproductive, skin irritation and eye problems the fact is they are just too harsh to use everyday. The act of these cleaning agents strips all of your hair’s natural oils and your hair follicles go into oil production overdrive to survive. Then you start shampooing more frequently because your hair is unmanageable if you don’t- which repeats the cycle. Your scalp starts freaking out, your hair is limp/dry, split ends form and then we pile more products into our hair to get more life into it. Not only is all that true, but many of us are allergic to the chemicals in shampoo without even realizing it. The signs of the allergy could be itching, dry scalp, flakes, and hair loss. Anyone who has skin sensitivities to detergents or has issues like eczema are likely allergic to most shampoo. I’m allergic to everything, including apparently hair dye, so quite frankly I wouldn’t be surprised if I was allergic to shampoo too, and I’ve had all the symptoms above. (sorry for the TMI)

Through all of this, I realized that my excessive shampooing due to my scalp issue was actually irritating me more, and I found a chemical free, natural, no animal products/testing shampoo which had great reviews. I promptly ordered it, the only issue now was that it would take time to be processed and shipped, so what do I do until then?

In my searches, I stumbled upon this fringe underground community who practice the no ‘poo method as they call it. Yes, I realize I’m late to the party since NPR did a story on this movement two years ago but no one I know has ever mentioned it, nor have any blogs I’ve been to. There seem to be three distinct groups who practice this method:
  1. the hard core environmentalists, for whom even natural shampoo is too damaging to the environment due to the packaging
  2. people with tons of allergies
  3. health-nuts who refuse to consume anything they cannot pronounce; not by eating, cosmetics, drinking, nothing
The interesting thing that some people found is that after a period of gross, greasy hair that one associates with not washing your hair their hair is actually in much better condition then before. People who thought their hair was stick straight had natural curl/waves, people with fine/thin hair had thicker hair with incredible body with no products nor styling, people with curly hair had the defined, bouncy, beautiful curls of their dreams with no frizz. The thing was, that after a specific amount of time- your hair will take care of itself. Your oil production goes down because you aren’t stripping away all of your natural oils, your hair is stronger, healthier, shinier and full of life.

The issue many people have is that they can’t get past that initial greasy hump. For me though, I don’t care what my hair looks like. As long as it doesn’t smell, get itchy, or anything gross like that I could really care less. Secondly, I just dyed my hair brown. Darker colors are much more forgiving of greasiness since you can pull it back and hide it whereas blonde hair actually changes colors when greasy like a flashing beacon that you skipped your hair wash that day. So I decided to try a little mini no ‘poo experiment until my new natural, vegan shampoo gets here.

There are two separate methods of going no poo:
  1. washing your hair a few times a week with baking soda and rinsing with apple cider vinegar
  2.  the water only method

The first method is out for me for a few reasons; one, baking soda strips can strip hair dye color out of hair. I went through a lot of pain and suffering for this hair color so no thank you. Two, I could just imagine how that conversation would go over in my house when I try to explain why there are cooking items in the bathroom. I prefer to avoid that. I’m mocked by my conservative “global warming is mythical liberal propaganda” republican husband for even walking in a Trader Joe’s.
So I’ve decided to go the water only method route. The idea is that you do “wash” your hair when you shower but with nothing but water and your own fingers. First, turn up the water almost as hot as you can stand it (helpful since that’s the temp I take all my showers with) and with your fingers massage/scrub your entire head taking more time at your crown area since more oil collects there. Interestingly, you can actually feel your hair get cleaner- I’m not sure how to explain it more than that, but you can. You can’t rush this step: and bonus! scalp massage stimulates your hair follicles so your hair grows faster/better. Then take a wet washcloth and stroke it down each side of your hair (I’ve heard it’s 100 times each side, but I have short hair and I don’t have the time for that so I do maybe 10). This moves the oil down your hair shaft.

Then rinse with cool water to close the hair shaft. I then spray on a couple spritzes of leave in conditioner because my hair tangles a lot. I’ve heard that some people put some gentle conditioner on the ends of their hair after the water cleaning step but before the spurt of cool water step.

My observations so far (I’m on day 3): When I woke up this morning, instead of being limp, flat and greaseball-looking my hair looked clean and surprisingly had more body then normal. I water washed and then came to work:

This is what my hair looks like right now. Keep in mind that normally, my hair would be so greasy that I would have to pull it back or it would just hang in lifeless limp strips around my head.

Yes, my hair normally looks like that.  I have zero body, and have the thinnest hair imaginable.  That's why I keep cutting it so short.  To prove that it's not body-less due to oiliness here's a picture of my scalp.

The one mistake I have made is that I used a dallop of conditioner on the ends because I was afraid that I was really tangled.  I lost a lot of the body I had when I woke up due to that.  I also don't think it was really necessary.
Maybe there’s something to this no ‘poo thing. I don’t think I’ll continue it once my new allergy-free (I hope!) shampoo gets here, but maybe it will help me extend the time between washes which would save me money in the long run. Maybe my hair would like it too.  Though I do have to admit, I'm mildly curious to figure out how long I could go without washing it without any type of soap.

If you are curious how your hair/skin/makeup products stand up:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

DayMan, defeater of the NightMan.

I’ve seen this topic brought up quite a few times lately and it’s made me wonder myself- are there really natural morning people and night people? Or are night people just lazy and have bad habits which lead to their schedules? I examined this issue from a few different angles:
  1. I asked my husband who says its laziness and bad habits, which I actually find rather amusing because he’s exactly the type who, when on leave, stays up until 4 or 5 am and doesn’t wake up until mid afternoon. Granted he’s playing video games usually so an argument could be made that it’s a bad habit but at the same time I’ve met plenty of people who literally could not do that. They would fall asleep on their keyboard/game controller/whatever and/or they’d wake up at 6am even if they only got an hour or two of sleep. Furthermore, he claims that my need for 8+ hours of sleep a night is not real and that I need to train myself to exist on 6 hours, because that’s all I should need.
  2. I thought back to my college years when my roommate was what I would define as a morning person and I was a night person. Granted in my later years, I was up really late because of reasons that were not school nor productive in the least bit, but freshman year before all that started, I stayed up hours and hours after she did. She scheduled her classes to start at 8am. I scheduled mine for noon. The one class I was forced to take at 8am, there was no other option, I went to in my pajamas and slept in the back row.
  3. Some people love eating breakfast, some people never eat breakfast. I’ve found that tends to correlate with if they are an early riser or not. This may be antidotal since obviously you would be hungry in the morning if you woke up at 5 or 6 and you would not if you wake up at 10 or later. If you are forcibly awoken, you would be less hungry and more cranky.
  4. When people tell stories about their children and/or when they were children it seems that children love getting up early. Their parents have many methods of making them keep to themselves until the sun comes up, including watching Saturday morning cartoons. I did not watch Saturday morning cartoons, I was asleep. I also did not wake up early on Christmas because I was asleep. My mother would have to wake me up at 10am begging me to get up so we could open presents. True story. 
    Also, as a baby, I slept through the night the first night I was home. Obviously this is not supposed to occur since babies need to eat frequently. My mom used to have to put ice cubes on my feet to wake me up to eat. I blame that for why I’m such a bear to wake up now. She also says that I would be awake and moving around in utero at night but not during the day, at one point she had to go in for her ultrasound at midnight because they were worried that I never moved during her regular appointments.
  5. If you think about history, it would make sense that some people would be predisposed to night productivity and some would be predisposed to day. When we lived in small villages, you’d need people to serve all job functions including night watchmen for safety. Someone who falls asleep at sundown (before coffee was widely available) clearly would not be fit for that job. That is, unless you like being eaten by wild beasts and your village pillaged by criminals.
  6. In the working world many people talk about waking up at 5:30am. I am not aware there is even a 5:30am, so this does not compute. I think having to wake up at 5:30am every morning would be akin to having all of my teeth pulled out one by one with pliers without Novocaine. These same people leave the building by 3 or 4 every day and they think having to work late is similar torture to what I described above.
  7.  If I were being completely honest with myself, I do not reach productive levels until noon or 1pm. Obviously, I try to force myself to work earlier and leave earlier but that’s because I’m lazy and I hate working. If I had my way I’d work from noon to 4 everyday and that’s it.
  8. There are people who get up and exercise in the morning. I prefer to exercise at 8pm. Those who exercise in the morning would find my statement crazy talk. Once again, at times I try to force myself to exercise in the morning but that’s also due to laziness and a desire to sit on the couch and watch tv all night.
  9. If left to my own devices I will never wake up earlier than 9am. If I happen to go to bed the night before at 7pm and wake up at 4am, sometimes Bill and I will get breakfast and then I’ll go back to sleep until noon. That’s the closest glimpse I will ever get to a sunrise.
    **in full disclosure, this would never normally occur.  If it does, it's wholely due to my being excited about something else like a huge blizzard bearing down on us or a hurricane hit.  See also: Kim is a weather nerd.**

My highly-scientific conclusion: I am not a morning person. I require a lot of sleep. This may mean that I am indeed lazy or it may just mean that I’m built that way. I think in order to test this properly we should force society to “opposite week” during which we all live on a schedule more conducive to night peoples’. Then when the morning people are asleep on their desks we can call them lazy.

Ten on Tuesday, Travelling edition

1. Favorite way to travel (plane, train, automobile, etc.)

Plane. I am way too impatient for the other modes.

My limit on car trips is 4.5 hours. (which coincidentally is exactly the time it takes to get from my house to Virginia Tech’s campus). Beyond that point I get fidgety, whiny and if I’m driving my leg starts cramping up.

After my last train ride, the only way I will EVER get on a train again is if I am knocked unconscious and stuffed into a duffel bag. Except for maybe a commuter train if we end up moving to Maryland or further south or west in Virginia and it’s necessary.

2. Where’s your favorite place to travel to that you’ve been to?
I haven’t been to a whole lot of places, so I’d have to say the resort we went to in Cancun for our honeymoon. It was all inclusive, everyone was very helpful, it was away from the party areas, quiet and during the off season so we didn’t have to wait for anything.

3. Where’s the place that you want to go but have never been?
Greece and Ireland.

4. Do you deal with traffic well?
No. I am not a patient person. (understatement of the year) Actually, correction- I AM a patient person with other people unless they are causing it to take more time for me to do something then I planned for. Thus the traffic issue.

In my mind I calculate the time it should take me to do all things. Drive to so and so, go to the grocery store, get something at target, pick up take out. If it takes even 5 minutes above that time smoke starts coming out of my ears, my toes start tapping, I start sighing and if it takes too long I start contemplating hitting people with my car purposely. I haven’t done it yet.

5. Ever had an emergency while traveling?
No, not by the true definition of emergency.

6. Do you have a passport? What countries have you been to?
I do, although it’s not valid. I think one of the stupidest things about waiting to get your passport until you need it for your honeymoon is that you go through all the steps to get your passport only to have it immediately become invalid because once you get back your name change paperwork goes through.

Just Mexico.

7. Are you’ve light packer or do you pack everything but the kitchen sink?
I think I fall somewhere in the middle. I make a list of everything I could possibly need and try to account for all possible situations. So I’ll have outfits for every day, but then a couple in case it gets cold suddenly, extra socks and undies just in case, an extra pair of shoes just in case I fall into a river and lose one, etc.

The limit comes because I refuse to take more than one bag anywhere. So I tend to look like a much more efficient packer on long trips then short ones. ;-)

8. Do you take the fastest route or the road less traveled?

9. Do any activities on the road? (like road games, reading, sleeping, etc. )
I am usually the one driving, but if I’m not I’ll never go to sleep if I’m the only passenger because I feel guilty. I usually just jabber, I could talk to a fencepost.

10. Use a paper map or GPS?
GPS now that I have an Iphone.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hello, again!

I’m back!

In the time I’ve been gone:
  • I took a train from Alexandria, VA to Salt Lake City, UT.
  • I then got a refund for the return trip and booked a flight home instead.
  • I learned that Amtrak is stuck in 1980 since they not only have no Wi-fi on their trains, some of them don’t even have OUTLETS.
  • I learned what FMLA leave is.
  • I spent some time as a visitor in a hospital.
  • I learned why all nurses are woefully underpaid no matter what their salary; their jobs are not something most of us have the patience for, nor want to do.
  • Virginia Tech has their first 0-2 start since 1995.
  • I went to a football game.
  • We learned how to hook up our computer to our tv, now I can play Farmville on a 42 inch screen!
  • Alaina and I FINALLY had our second training session. It was hard.
  • I’ve learned a ton about assisted living.
  • I’ve also learned a ton about memory disorders.
  • I watched the VMA’s and was disappointed in the current state of music.
  • I’ve eaten some sort of fast food for dinner for at least 12 of the last 14 days.
  • I started the fall semester of school.
  • I learned that Alloy.com has the worst speed of shipping in the world. I just want my one off white sweater that no one else has!
  • I dyed my hair brown.
  • I learned that I am allergic to hair dye.
  • I will never dye my hair brown again.
  • I realized that I’m actually probably allergic to my shampoo too.
  • I ordered vegan shampoo, making me feel like I’m supposed to start growing dreads. ;-)
  • I watched a lot of football.
  • I fell in love with waist-cinching belts.
  • I did abysmally in my NFL pick them week 1.
  • The weather patterns changed and now it feels like Fall.
  • I added a ton of new shows to my Hulu subscription list.
  • I became reannoyed that the CW and CBS do not post their shows on Hulu.
What have you been up to?