Thursday, January 28, 2010

my husband is driving me crazy...

Absolutely nuts.

I think I might go insane.

I'm so mentally preoccupied with him.
Night and day, I just can't seem to get him out of my head.
And he doesn't make it easy for me either...

First of all, how am I supposed to manage seeing this everyday?

Seriously. Stinkin' hot.

Then, after an extensive interchange of emails between ourselves last week, he sent me the most sweet and tender sentence I've ever received. It read:
"You make me happy every day."

 Yesterday I was gloomy.
Yesterday I was teary.
Yesterday was an especially yucky day.
Yesterday he sent me flowers.

And yesterday, and the day before, and the days before that, he hugged me until I let go.
Which took a long time...

Everyday, I'm reminded of how lucky I am.
Because he drives me crazy.

And I love him for it.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

the day I stopped washing my hair...

That's right, you did indeed read that, your eyes are not tricking you...

I've stopped washing my hair.

At least, with shampoo and conditioner. Or any products of any kind.

In an effort to save money, I started researching alternative ways to clean house, clean hair, clean skin. I've spent the past four days searching the internet for recipes and ideas. What started as a saving money scheme, quickly turned into a diet plan for skin and hair routines. I am appalled at what goes into beauty products! I'm not going to get on a soap box (ugh. bad pun.), but I will encourage you to research for yourself. Starting with sodium lauryl sulfate. It's in everything. Yuck.

You have to know, this is a huge, huge step for me as I am a self proclaimed product whore. If the packaging promises to do something new and exciting, I buy it. I've even gone so far as to replace every bottle of shampoo, conditioner, soap, and makeup remover, empty or not, if they don't belong in the same color family as the latest and greatest product that leaves the store to come home with me. I've spent years rotating from all pink bottles, to all blue, or green, or purple.

Enough is enough.

This is how I came to the decision to stop using shampoo and conditioner all together.
Save money= good.
Save sanity= good.
Save head from nocuous (my word of the day) chemicals= good.

Some call it the no 'poo' method.
I'm trying to think of something else to call it because I don't feel comfortable with the image it presents in my head.

The plan is: I shower as normal, everyday, but go for as many days as possible by simply rinsing my hair. If I can't stand it anymore I'll use one tablespoon of baking soda mixed with one cup of warm water. I pour it onto the roots of my hair and massage it thoroughly, and then rinse. Then I'll take one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, a few drops of tea tree oil, and one cup of warm water, and pour it onto the ends of my hair. Rinse again.

Day one, two, and three have passed and were very confusing to me.
What do people who don't wash their hair actually do in the shower?

Without being able to follow my routine of shampoo, rinse, remove makeup, condition, soap, rinse, hop out, I was completely lost!

I got in the shower, suds up, rinsed, and then stared blankly at the wall. Bemused, I glanced at my nearly full bottles of Herbal Essence (which, by the way, is not so herbal afterall...). There they were, sitting on the corner ledge of the tub, taunting me. I turned around to shun the toxic, money depleting potions. I glanced back over my shoulder to take one last lingering look, and quickly got out.

Next time, I'm going to hide the bottles to better resist temptation.

And, I might sneak over to my nephew's house and steal his bath toys.
He has some sweet bath toys. 
A whole army of model poisonous jungle frogs, floaty toys, and sticky alphabet letters.
That will at least give me something fun to do while not cleaning my hair.

By day four, I decided it was time to try the baking soda. It was surprisingly easy! I just took two plastic cups- one with the baking soda, the other with the vinegar and tea tree oil- into the shower with me and filled them with warm water when I was ready to use it. The only difference I really noticed was that my hair was pretty snarly. But, I decided to just let it dry and not try to comb through it when it was wet. Sure enough, as soon as it was dry it was tangle-free, and I noticed that it dried really quick.

I even perfumed my hair afterwards.
Perfumed my hair. 
Like a greek goddess.
Ahhh. If only I had someone else to perfume my hair for me and feed me grapes and wine.
What a lovely thought.

So, four days in, I'm convinced I can do this.

Now, onto skin care. My current facial routine is as follows:

Makeup remover
Facial cleanser
Occasional astringent

That right there is probably $50 a month in far too many products. After researching, I learned that all of that stuff is just stripping away what my skin needs. So, I came up with a skin program to go with my new hair care plan.

I'm going with the oil cleansing method. You can read about it there, it's a great informative article, but, in a nutshell, it's one part castor oil, one part organic olive oil, and a few drops of tea tree oil. If you have a different preference of oil, like sunflower, or coconut oil, you can use that instead of olive. Test the formula in small batches as oily skin will need more castor oil, and dry skin will use less. After you've mixed it, scoop a liberal amount into your clean hands and gently massage it onto your face. Next, take a washcloth and run it under hot water. Lay it on your face until it cools. Repeat two, three, or as many times as you want. The washcloth and your skin will soak up the cleansing oils, so no need to scrub. When you feel like all the oils are gone, rinse out the washcloth and hang it somewhere to dry. Do this routine at night, before bed. If you feel like you need a moisturizer, just take a very small drop of oil and rub it on your skin. Oil soaks up oil, so don't worry about feeling greasy. You don't have to do it every night if you feel like it's reacting too much to your skin. After awhile, your skin will get it's natural balance again and you'll be glowing!

I also made an astringent for days I don't want to do the oil thing. I simply bought a bottle of non-alcoholic witch hazel and added about 30 drops of grapefruit essential oil. You can use any flavor oil you like, the citrus attracted me.

For yet another back up, I ground up some oatmeal to make a fine powder. Just take about a tablespoon of that, mix it with some water to make a paste and spread it over your skin. You can rub it around and rinse it off, or, you can let it dry and scrub it off with a washcloth for exfoliating.

Keep all of these mixes in airtight containers.

Here is what you need:

Baking soda
Castor oil
Organic olive oil (or other oil)
Tea tree oil
Essential oil of your choice
Witch hazel
Apple cider vinegar (white vinegar can be used as well)
An assortment of jars or bottles
A tablespoon

Now, let me warn you about something. Buying castor oil was quite possibly the most embarrassing thing I've had to do in awhile. Walgreens was swarming with people. I knew castor oil would be somewhere in the medical aisle and I had an inkling as to where in the medical aisle it would be, and at this point I was already blushing. I tried to pretend I was looking at cold remedies, then allergies, then pain relievers. Slowly I inched my way toward...the laxatives. Beet red by now, I tried to quickly scan the shelves, but as I was intently staring down the endless boxes of "assistance", I didn't notice the mom and very intimidating teenage girl standing right next to me. I looked up, met their eyes, and quickly spun around to pretend I was looking at something else.

There, on the other side of the aisle, the lesser of two evils I pretended to be shopping for:
Incontinence and an array of birth control.

Sigh. Only slightly less embarrassing...

I let the girl and mother pass, then went to scoop up the bottle I needed. For my face, remember, and trudged to the register. I was hoping the rest would be easy, I was out of the uncomfortable aisles, and with any luck, the cashier wouldn't know what castor oil is generally used for.

No such luck. I looked at the little bottle that had caused so much despair and gasped. It wasn't over...

Stamped on the label in big white lettering, read:

Castor Oil
Stimulant Laxative
For the Relief of Occasional Constipation

I groaned and reluctantly placed it on the counter, label facing me.
The male cashier, no, the attractive male cashier picked it up, scanned it, and set it back down. This time, facing him. Awkward and unbearable silence.

"Do you...need a bag?"
he said.

I blinked. I swallowed. I tried to remember when I had last taken a breathe.
I wanted to slam my fists on the counter and scream,


But I didn't.
Instead I just stood there with a blank stare and flushed cheeks and mumbled back:

(Um. Nope.)

And promptly left the store.

To conclude,
Our little family has adopted the motto,
"If you can't say or spell it, don't use it."

We're slowly adding this to our food as well, so someday we can say,
 "If you can't say or spell it, don't use or eat it."

I think we'll be just fine with this new rule.
After all, I've known how to say and spell carbohydrates for a long time.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

help haiti...

I don't even know what to say, I feel totally and completely helpless, and am absolutely heartbroken for the people of Haiti.

Here are some links, help where you can...

On Facebook- people searching for lost family and friends.

Follow what's happening on Twitter.

God's Littlest Angels Orphanage- is located a few miles from the center of the earthquake, thankfully no children or staff were hurt. Visit one of their blogs here.

UPS- says they will ship anything less than 50 pounds free of shipping charges to Haiti.

Donate to UNICEF
Donate to World Vision
Donate to Oxfam
Donate money, or needed items to 'God's Littlest Angels' Orphanage.

Text "Haiti" to 90999 for a $10 donation
Text "Yele" to 501501 for a $5 donation

Anything you can do to help.
But, above all else, pray.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

a discovery...

Yesterday, while sharing in a happy cry-fest with my dear sister, we made a discovery pertaining to female behavior.

Why, when wiping away streaking, runny mascara, do we hold our mouths open in a grotesque twist and scowl? and always while asking, "Do I look okay??"

No, we don't look okay. We look like we've just been dumped. Or worse, that skirt isn't on sale anymore.

We look silly, and disheveled, and pathetic. Especially with that big gaping mouth.

But, there she is next to you. Your sister, your mother, or your best friend, wiping her red eyes and shaking her head and sniffling, saying,

No, you look great!

You don't even look like you've been crying!

No one will even be able to tell...

You look so beautiful and I just...I just...*sob*...I love you so much!

Or maybe that's just us. Either way, here's hoping you have someone to lie to you after your own cry-fest, one that makes you believe that you look fabulous.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

a ghost story...

I have decided that our house is haunted.

Rattling windows
Creaky floorboards
Doors that squeak and open unexpectedly...

Yes, all of those spine tingling freakish occurrences clued me in on the possibility, but, it's an old house...right? Explainable, right?

Well then, riddle me this:

One cold night, a dark, eery night, we sat together on the couch, conversing about our days.
The house was quiet, empty, void of life and noise aside from the two of us huddled on the sofa.
Our soft voices shared stories and secrets.
Nothing but the two of us. And a dog.

And then we heard it. A solid thud from the ceiling.

Our eyes met.
We searched the floor to make sure Lena was still beneath us, and not playing tricks on us in the empty rooms upstairs.
There she lay, still and asleep at our feet.

Quickly, ours eyes met again, we drew sharp breaths.
Looking up to the ceiling, we heard something worse...

The unmistakable sound of someone running.

From directly above us, to the opposite side of the house.
From our master bedroom, down the stairs that lead to the foyer.
Pounding and then fading.
Someone running.

I kid you not.

And then it stopped.
We looked back at each other and, in unison, said:

"That was weird."

And then we watched tv.

After doing some research on our home and neighborhood. We discovered ours was probably built in the late 1890's. The first owner, named Mr. John, was a coachman and he had a wife.

At some point through the years, someone must have decided to utilize a room, nay, a cellar type thing, in the basement. It has one single light bulb, a medicine cabinet with a mirror, exposed electrical and plumbing, and a doorknob splashed with childlike colors to the tune of a sunset.

Oh, and a padlock. From the outside. All the way at the top, out of reach.


Do you want to hear something even creepier? Do you want to know John's wife's name? the first woman to ever reside in our abode?


Yup. Lena.

This piece of information alone affirms my belief in the haunting. 

Here is my theory:

Mr. John must have been evil and locked her up in the basement room. Without anything to eat, Lena must have trained her body to digest unnatural things. Things like sticks she would find in the yard, kleenex that Mr. John tossed away, and the boots he would kick off at the landing by the basement staircase.

One day, he found this out and chased her around the house. She ran upstairs from the master bedroom to the stairs that lead to the foyer, running and running, trying to get away!

But, it's not that big of a house, so he eventually caught up with her and killed her.

So, Lena waited, hovering in the afterlife until she could return once again.

After Mr. John passed away, the spirit of Lena moved back into the house. She tried to keep company with the newlyweds, the families, and the students who moved in and out. But everyone that lived there was too afraid of the noises. Some would move out quickly, others tried to be brave, but that would only end in divorce.

Over the course of a hundred years, Lena started liking her peace and quiet. New couples would move in, Lena would shake and stir the house. New couples would move out, Lena would be calm and comforted in her solitude.

And then came us.

Lena rattled the windows,
creaked the floors,
and slammed the doors!

What she didn't realize though, is that Mr. Todd and I watch scary movies all the time, a little bit of noise and clamor wouldn't shake us.

Lena was mad, it wasn't working,
she ran through the house,
up this way and that,
she reared back, prepared to lunge at us,
but tripped and landed on Lena the dog!

At that very moment, Lena's haunting spirit entered Lena the lazy dog. BAM! Just like that.

Now Lena lives through Lena the dog. I know this because of both of their diets.


It's obvious.

So that is my theory. 


A. Lena the dog is possessed by a really old ghost
B. Lena the dog is Lena reincarnate
C. Our house is haunted by something else entirely
D. It's all in my head
E. It's all in my head, I came home from work early today and I have way too much time on my hands

Who knows, but I did snap this picture today via mac...

You decide.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Recipe: Spinach and Feta Chicken Roll-ups

If I ever were to run for Miss America, or Miss Anything, I too would wish for "world peace". And I would do so by sharing this recipe, far and wide, for all to taste...

You will need:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced (depending on taste... I. Love. Garlic.)
1 medium sized onion, minced
5-6 cups fresh spinach
1/2 cup feta cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil, or butter
1/2 cup white wine or chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the oil or butter in a skillet over low heat. Add the minced onions and garlic to the pan and cook very slow until the onions are caramel colored and soft. 

While the onions and garlic are cooking, pound the chicken breasts until they are about 1/4 inch thick.

When the onions are done, sprinkle the spinach on top of the garlic-onion mix and cover. Cook on low until the spinach is wilted. Set aside and cool for a few minutes.

Pour the wine or chicken broth into a baking dish.

Using a spoon, scoop about three tablespoons (or as much will fit) onto each flattened chicken breast. Sprinkle with a little bit of feta. Starting at one side, carefully roll the chicken and secure with as many toothpicks as needed (it helps to count them and put the same amount in each chicken roll-up so you don't forget one and stab yourself while enjoying them later.)***

Place each chicken roll-up in the baking dish, sprinkle with the remaining feta, and put in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes, or until completely done and no longer pink.

***If you don't have time or desire to do the roll ups, you can just as tastily do them without. Simply place the chicken breasts as is in the baking dish and cover with the spinach mixture and feta. I do it this way more often than not.

I usually serve this with some kind of whole wheat pasta, or dumplings. But, trust me, it goes well with anything. Even cold, I'm sure.

This is my hubs all-time favorite meal. We have it weekly. It is yummy.

Now, go. Try it. 

And when you feel all fuzzy and warm and elated...
It means that I did indeed to my part to kindle world peace.

Even you, spinach hater.

Let me know what you think!