Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Exp-hair-iment: Days 18-23

I'm going to briefly try to recall what I did the last almost-week ... We've been busy!

Day 18/Dec 25: I ended up washing and I didn't blow dry. Good for my hair but I didn't care for the result. I think I'll keep blow drying it.

Day 19/Dec 26: Despite not being blow dried my hair still feels more like it used to the first day after a wash! I even wore it down again.

Day 20/Dec 27: Starting to get some oiliness at the roots so I wore it up today. Plus I had a rough night with Victoria Grace and didn't even get a shower or get dressed this morning. Ugh! It turned out to be her top right tooth! I guess we know what she wanted for Christmas...
Horrible picture but there it be! 7 month olds don't really "say cheese." I had to tickle her mercilessly and attempt to photograph the wriggly laughter simultaneously.

Speaking of teething, we had an amber necklace for Shelby that seemed so helpful (especially with the drooling) but of course I put it away in such an smart place that I can't find it. So I ordered one which hopefully will be here soon. She's not really grumpy but it does seem to be disrupting her normally very restful and easy sleep.

Day 21/Dec 28: Ended up using dry shampoo today. My mom mentioned that I must have washed my hair, ha ha! It really does make a big difference (and travels well). Three weeks no-poo!!! I thought I'd be disgusted and disenchanted by now!

Day 22/Dec 29: Starting to get a bit itchy again. Tonight ended up being a wash night and I did blow dry it. Instead of my usual method (since I'm traveling and chose not to bring my peri bottle or spray bottle) I took two plastic cups to the shower. I put baking soda in one and vinegar in the other. The water is much softer here; I'm not sure I could get away with it at home but it seemed to do fine here. I just filled them with shower water right before using them so it would be warm. I probably got more of the baking soda mix on more of my hair than is recommended but I haven't seen any ill effects from one wash. For the vinegar I actually just dipped the tips in and then squeezed the excess out. I didn't even rinse it out. It's true, once the hair is dry you don't smell the vinegar!

Woooo no makeup... Immediately after wash/dry.

Day 23/Dec 30: Maybe it's the weather, the blow drying, or baking soda over too much of my head but I'm having more static than I have been. I feel so much better with my hair blow dried than air dried. Bought a boar bristle brush. Nothing fancy. It's a round brush and they appear to be real boar with no nylon stiffening bristles. I haven't tried it yet.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Exp-hair-iment: Day 17

I'd say today is pretty comparable to yesterday! The unpresentable, limp, oily stage seems to happen all at once.

My ponytail is easily flipped into a slightly teenie bopper curl sinceI nixed the shampoo ... much more becoming than when it hung limp. 

Tomorrow is Christmas Day! I haven't decided if I'll wash tonight or tomorrow night. I'm leaning toward tomorrow because tonight we're going to a Christmas Eve service at my in-law's church. 

My feelings about the ways we celebrate Christmas are so mixed. As much as some want to condemn the gifts for overshadowing Jesus birth ... I still think it's very appropriate. This morning I asked two year old Shelby Hope when we open the presents and she said "Birthday!" Yea sweetie! It's Jesus' birthday!

I recently read a blog where a mother realized she had sucked the sense of hope out of Christmas last year by being honest with her son about Santa. That makes my heart ache, because Jesus' birth is the most hopeful event in history! And it is a hope which nothing can tarnish!

Even if this time of year is tarnished with loss or want in your life (I have my share, I understand how the bright holiday season can bear the dark oxidation of bitter memories) you can claim the hope that Christ bore all our sins; and all those hurts are part of the sin He conquered once and for all on the cross.

Praise God for sending Him to us, the only innocent man yet wholly Holy! Let us remind each other with gifts and gatherings!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Exp-hair-iment: Days 14-16, MICE, and Mall

Ok, straight to the hair ... then the mice ... and the mall.

Day 14 (Sunday, day 2 since last wash): Today even though it was TWO days since I last washed, my hair felt more like it usually does just after washing. It's working! Two weeks in and I think my hair and scalp are starting to get the idea. Tim and I both noticed that my hair feels softer, and has a more consistent texture all the way to the tips (which had been feeling dry and a bit stiff).

Day 15 (Monday, day 3 since last wash): By the end of the day Monday, my hair was starting to get oily. Despite that, I still had it down when we went to the Polar Express party at the local library. What fun! I'm SO glad our local library is child-friendly now (what? a public library wasn't child friendly? Not when we first moved here, but that's a story for another time).

Day 16 (Tuesday, day 4 since last wash): We have a date tonight (YIPPEEE!!!) so I used my dry shampoo. I've had it in a ponytail today but I'm planning an updo for tonight. I took two pictures so you can see how it perked back up after the dry shampoo rather than being kinda slicked down to my head.

Before, hugging kinda close to my head, bleh.

After a little dry-shampoo pick-me-up!
The mouse. Oh that mouse. Either we went from zero mice to utter infestation in a night, or mice poop a lot. I was finding them everywhere. Seriously! I think I found one in every room of the house. Except Shelby's oddly enough. I guess trying to keep snacks out of there paid off. I even found one in the corner of Victoria Grace's room! STAY OUT of my baby's room! And stay out of my house!

We had four "tomcat" good old fashioned wood base mouse traps to work with. Tim had read somewhere on the internet that jamming a peanut on the little bait area made them have to jiggle the trap (read, DIE). So he loaded them up, and we retired to our room for a while.

It was probably less than an hour or so later that Tim checked the traps and every last one of them was empty. No peanut, no mouse. Great. We just fed the thing for the next week. Back to peanut butter.

Tori woke up at some point, and I had peaked a glance at one of the traps but didn't see anything. Either my eyes were sleep-bleary and my mind unobservant, or the mouse happened by later because the little booger was lucky 3 out of 4 times. All the peanut butter was gone ... but there it was, dead.

We set the traps out again Sunday night ... just in case. Alas, we caught another mouse. Right by the hole in the weather stripping on the back door ... so I'm telling myself it was just coming in from outside and never knew what hit it. There are still two in the cabinet under the sink which remain untripped and loaded so I'm praying this is the end of the mousecapades.

The mall, oh the mall. So we still had some Christmas shopping to do. Sunday we went to the Post Oak Mall. A decade (or so, ahem ...) when I was a student at A&M this mall would have been relatively deserted even the weekend before Christmas. All the students had gone home and it wasn't exactly a booming mall at that time.

Not anymore. The parking lot was nearly full. So we took off with our two girls in tow. We didn't do too bad really. We scampered a little ways and ducked into Payless ... check two items off our list in one store. Then I realized Victoria had finally had the poop I'd been waiting on her to have. No big deal. We needed to split up anyways. Shelby and the stroller went with Tim.

Tori and I darted through the mall, feeling like we were going against the flow no matter which side we were on, and just as I got to the inevitable long bland hallway to the bathrooms - I realized the situation was perhaps worse than I realized. The family changing room loomed, open doored, before me and I ducked inside.

Just in time. Her diaper was failing in the front and I could tell her onesie was saturated with poosplosion. Thankfully she was wearing a onesie/pants/hoodie outfit and the pants and hoodie I was able to remove untainted. I wrapped her onesie in paper towels and gave our poor screaming child a baby-wipes-bath until I realized there was warm running water and an unbelievably filled paper towel dispenser. Praise God! I left one wipe in the changing pad stash and cleaned her up.

Now she was looking at me with a tear-stained face and a pouty lip - what did you just do to me? I know there has been a lot of publicity about "public" breastfeeding in its various forms - but I LOVE breastfeeding in a changing room! Its roomy, I don't have to worry about being judged or accidentally flashing someone, and my baby isn't distracted. I'll never understand why some find it an insult to be asked to use one. A bathroom yes, but not a changing room.

As we exited back into the food court (always the same places, just constantly changing names with the decades) I looked for the closest department store. Macy's, where we had just come in. Fine, no problem! On our way back to where I knew the fitting rooms to be (we passed them on our way in) I suddenly see Tim and Shelby. Oh hi husband! OH! WAIT! He's probably buying my Christmas present. Good grief. He still doesn't believe me that I didn't see anything.

We managed to survive the mall on the Sunday before Christmas, but I won't knowingly do it again. The girls did great despite the blow-out. Though Ms. Shelby convinced herself that the triple-stacked pyramids of red gift-boxes decorating the Macy's department store contained pink candy, and she was a little upset we were leaving without any.

Lucky for us Harbio Gummy Frogs were an adequate substitute to reward her for being on her awesomest best behavior in a less-than-2-year-old-friendly situation.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Exp-hair-iment: Day 13 (and MOUSE!)

It felt so good to wash my hair last night!!!! By the end of the day yesterday I was seeing some of (what I assume to be) the sebum building up on my scalp again. So it wasn't just the dry shampoo. I don't know if that's just part of transition, or if six days between washes is just too much for me. Time will tell I suppose. But I will keep roughing it out for as long as possible unless social events dictate otherwise. After day 3 or 4 I'm not very presentable; not without dry shampoo at least. At some point I'd like to try rice flour for my dry shampoo as it is suppose to go clear and not leave the dusty look my mix does.

I snapped my picture while we were out running errands. Finally getting mirrors for the house, for one thing. And for an appropriate arsenal.

Yes, arsenal. Last night, after the girls were in bed, we were looking at mirrors on Hobby Lobby's website when I saw it. A mouse. A MOUSE! Inside our house! From under the couch to the stove it dove.

For whatever reason we had a rat trap. Better than nothing, so Tim loaded it with peanut butter and accidentally set it off ... KAPOW! Oh yeah, ain't no rodent gonna survive that!

He set it by the stove and we waited. Yep, that's what we did with our Friday night. It didn't take long for the little stinker to come sniffing around ... It snuck up to the trap and leaned in for a taste ... I closed my eyes. As much as I wanted it gone I didn't want to witness the violence.

But there was no pop, and when I opened my eyes it was gone and the trap was still poised tensely ... ready to perform its grim duty. We eventually heard gnawings ... scrambling ... all the types of mousey sounds no one wants to hear as it made its way under the cabinets [shudder]. We searched for evidence of its presence and found mouse turds [yes, turds ... I hate that word but it is somehow appropriate for the clandestine nocturnal excrement of this unwelcome squatter] under the kitchen sink. Oh, you're comfortable here? Have a snack.

And snack it did. Apparently a rat trap is just a serving platter for mice. The peanut butter was gone but the trap was still set. Then I saw it. A mouse turd on our dining table. At Shelby's spot.

It's on. It's on like Donkey Kong. Those words actually came out of my mouth.

While I was ready to buy one of every kind of trap invented with the exception of sticky traps (too cruel) and live traps (too kind) we settled for regular mouse traps. With a little skewer so the booger has to give the desirable delectible a good yank. KAPOW!

I'll chalk last night up to making it comfortable ... so it doesn't suspect anything.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Exp-hair-iment: Day 12 (and squash tricks)

Twelve days without shampoo! Though I don't think it's the lack of shampoo that makes the transition hard. It's extending the time between washes. My hair is wet with oil. But I'm stubborn, so today is the sixth day since my second baking soda wash and distilled white vinegar rinse. With no dry shampoo. There is so much oil in my hair, I can flip the ends under with a twist of my brush. And they stay. It's disturbing.

I'm very much looking forward to washing tonight! I left the water boiling longer than intended and my baking soda formula is more concentrated than the first batch. Since I'm so oily that may be a happy accident.

Squash Secrets
Various squash are some of my favorite vegetables... but winter squash top the list. Beautiful and versatile, and with a few little tricks they're even easy to work with.

When I first started trying to incorporate winter squash into my menu, I would wrestle with them all over the kitchen, hacking away at them with a knife. In the end they'd finally be open and I'd be a sweaty, most likely bleeding, and exhausted. Then I'd gather my courage and go about gutting them with a spoons.

The taste kept me coming back to mangle new victims when I felt up to it.

Two tricks have me turning them out almost as pretty as they left the vine and without breaking a sweat.

First, after removing stickers and cleaning them ... I microwave them for 1 minute. It softens them (by steaming from the inside?) and the knife slips through much more easily, allowing for clean-cut edges and without me breaking a sweat (or skin).

Then I use an avacado tool instead of a blunt spoon. There are two ends, one strung with wire for slicing, and one for scooping out the avacado's seed. It's perfect for scooping out squash seeds too, and the then edge makes it easy to remove all the strings and leave a nice smooth bowl to contain whatever culinary creativity is thrown at it.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Exp-hair-iment: Day 11 and Texas Winter

This morning I suddenly realized my hair no longer has that waxy feeling it did after my first baking soda and vinegar wash. Though the oil dripping nearly to the ends is distasteful... it's an improvement over the stiff waxy feeling.

I'm trying to make it to Friday night. Family are coming to dinner on Saturday so I don't really want to still be sporting the wet look by then.

Slicking it back like this helps had the wag it hangs limply. Seriously, it looks like I'm doing an oil treatment... I suppose you could have I am.

Pinterest hairdos are not as easy as they claim. It'd help if I knew how to properly make a bun.

My idea of winter after growing up in Texas is foggy damp days where the sun is hidden in a vaguely bright blanket of clouds. The temperature ranges from a seep-into-your-bones humid cold that didn't sound nearly so cold on the forecast to a muggy maybe-I-shouldn't-have-grabbed-this-jacket warm that sounded cooler when you looked at the weather this morning.

They both look similar, and make me want to curl up under a throw on the couch with a hot drink. Today looks like one of those days.

To reward myself for getting the dishes out of the sink, fixing Tim a "dang quesadilla" to take for Friday's breakfast, two poopie diapers, chopping ingredients for jambalaya, and getting Victoria down for a nap without a fuss ... I fixed myself a hot drink and sat with Shelby and Toy Story for a spell.

After visiting Paris I fell in love with steamed milk. Alas, I am avoiding dairy since Tori spits up more every time I have too much (one of the down sides of a breastfeeding relationship). So I decided to see if I can get a similar effect with almond milk.

It turns out you can! Obviously it's not nearly as creamy, but as long as you know that beforehand it can hit the spot. I used a milk frother to get as much volume as I could before microwaving it for one minute. I sweetened it with a bit of turbanado, added a splash of vanilla, and sprinkled a bit of cinnamon on the top. It went perfectly with a piece of the baklava.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Exp-hair-iment: Days 9 and 10 (plus baklava!)

Ha! I'm going to start with the baklava.

First off, in case you thought I was, I am not Greek and this isn't some old family recipe. In face, this was the first time I ever made baklava though I am proficient at eating it.

When I was going to school in Boston, I lived in a heavily Greek-influenced neighborhood. Yes, blocks away from Fenway Pahk is actually not saturated with Irish. Though I did get asked if I was Irish by some tourists on a game day once ... I think if I'd said yes they'd have taken their picture with me.

I digress. While living in this neighborhood I fell in love with Greek food. Including this light-but-heavy manna-meets-milk-and-honey Mediterranean decadence; baklava. Seriously ... phyllo pastry flakes are now what I picture the freed Jews picking up from the dessert floor every morning for forty years. Add butter, nuts, honey, and a little cinnamon (y'all already know I like cinnamon enough to dump it on my head and not wash it out for half a week) ... heaven. Though if we were in heaven I wouldn't have to worry about it making my waistband tight.

It is a bit of work to make, but it can be done in steps (read: you can stop and occupy toddlers, feed babies, scold, make macaroni and cheese, and change fifteen diapers). Or even blog, see how I did that? I just finished up the second batch.

Making the seemingly endless layers of phyllo, butter, and nuts was soothing because the phyllo dough feels like Bible pages or the vellum of a wedding invitation as it whispers between my fingers. Feelings like that take me to my happy place and set my task to a pleasant rhythm rather than the drudgery of a chore.

For the nuts I used pecans from my parents' trees. They're a bit old but they've been in the freezer. I roasted them at 350 for about 7 minutes to perk them up, and to make the last of that bitter red stuff flake out of the cracks it had hidden in. I did NOT painstakingly chop a pound of pecans. I put my Vitamix to use and made it earn its keep. Lazy toaster. I also used local honey. I think excellent ingredients make all the difference in good cooking. That and a great knife.

Much to my happy surprise, I've now successfully made baklava twice! Though, I'm afraid (not to toot my own horn) it is good enough that we won't be bringing any home from the church Christmas party.

Heaven! Tasty pecans layered with manna and honey.
A funny thing I was reminded of as I washed up. I have these gorgeous Le Creuset bowls. In the Flame color. My Le Creuset pops of fire in my kitchen are another happy place. They are beautiful so I'm extra careful to make sure I clean the outside well too. Which always makes me think of Jesus addressing the Pharisees:

25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. - Matthew 23:25-26

As I go back and clean the inside again, I pray for God to look inside my "bowl" (my heart) and clean me on the inside. The Holy Spirit uses cooking to bring my mind back to why I am here; to what my life is really about. You really can pour love into cooking; even baklava.

In case you were just here about HAIR

Ok, the dry shampoo made a big difference in how tolerable the transition is, because things are getting gross. To me anyways. Tim says it doesn't look bad at all but I feel like I'm starting to look like a meth addict's mug-shot. Ok, part of that feeling is only getting about nine hours of sleep in the past two nights (thank you, object permanence).

Day 9: Yuck. It is greasy. This is the day I used the dry shampoo last time, but I want to see what happens if I don't. I did another rolled-up-ponytail-flower-hairdo.

It's getting pretty oily ... but my scalp feels great!
Meh. It feels worse than it looks, I promise.
Day 10: Today! So I haven't used shampoo in 12 days, and the last time I washed my hair was Saturday night (so, this would be day 4 since any kind  of wash). Who knew I would EVER do this on purpose. But still, it doesn't itch! I did my first ever French braid, thanks to both girls sleeping a little late (after Tori was up till midnight then up again from 4-5, which woke Shelby up ... then she threw a fit because I wouldn't let her color at 4:30am). I love being a mom, I really do. These sleepless nights are a rare event in our blessed household. ANYWAYS, its a pretty sad little French braid, but it distracts from the tiny pumping units that must be on my head. I think Halliburton is starting a little work camp in my right ear.

Is it just me or do all the scalp pictures kinda look the same?
You can tell by my sassy smirk that I kinda like the curls I get from sleeping in a bun.
See my baby!

Alas, then I combed it and it needed to hide ...

Monday, December 15, 2014

Exp-hair-iment: Day 7 and 8

Or days 1 and 2 following my second BS/DWV wash/rinse routine.

I forgot to say that I left the BS on longer this time...

Some observations:

1. My sores are clearing up! Though I have a somewhat reddened area where I scratched at my scalp buildup before my wash. But seriously the rest of my scalp is happy and didn't itch till day 6!

2. My hair doesn't smell bad. I really thought it would have that "Hey I'm 8 and I just ran around and got sweaty outside!" smell from Day 2 onward.

3. It is getting oily, but not nearly as bad as I expected. Some creative hair doing will cover it up nicely! And I'm more motivated to do things with it. I did not expect this wonderful side effect of it being more cooperative for styling.

But I have a lot of practice to do before its gonna be much to look at:

There, have a flower:

4. I don't have baby hairs at my temples ... I have destroyed the hair with my glasses and sunglasses. Apparently the random "yowch I caught a hair [or two]" was adding up. Repeat after me: sunglasses are not headbands!

Yes that's my bedtime bun ... awkward.

This round I'm going to try to go without the dry shampoo or see if I can skip it altogether. I want to see if that cuts down on what I was seeing Fri/Sat or if that was what made the process tolerable.

Wow it had some bounce this morning!

Mommy confession: We are giving potty training a break. Both girls are in cloth and we're all relieved. After not pooping for three days despite a high fiber diet Shelby Hope has pooped six times in the last 36 hours. More on this another time, but we just aren't ready.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Exp-hair-iment: Days 5 and 6

Day 5 I can't really say I noticed much different with my hair except that the cinnamon smell was pretty much gone. I felt like there was a good bit of dry shampoo "build up" (though I only used it once) at the roots and on my scalp though.

Towards the end of the day, I noticed the hairline area front and center of my head was looking almost a little like cradle cap. Bleah!

I took photos but they are on the computer so I'll have to come back and add them later. The ones I took on day 5 really don't look much different than day 4 other than the fact that I didn't manage to get makeup on until about 2pm.

By day 6 (today, it's night now) I was looking forward to washing my hair. My scalp was beginning to itch, especially in the cradle cap area. I'm going to assume it was either overproduction of oil mixed with the dry shampoo or sebum overproduction. Either way, yuck.

Sorry the photos aren't as good ... I used my iPad to take them.

The length was feeling waxy. In a way it was like having some kind of stiff mouse/styling product in it. Much less static and flyaways at least!

Finally it was time to wash (with the same BS/DWV hard water recipe as before). I am so accostomed to shampoo with its slippery bubbles and overwhelming "parfum" that the experience was honestly a bit disappointing. The process that is, not the result! My hair feels so fresh and clean now! So weird how that works! I did blow dry again.

This time I think I'll try to wait longer before doing the dry shampoo. Or perhaps not even use it. We shall see. The cradle cap looking buildup is gone by the way.

We are taking a break from potty training. Shelby did amazing, but she isn't quite there yet in some aspects. I'm so proud of her! But it was an intense method and none of us can maintain that for an extended period of time. We will take a break till after the new year then reassess if we want to try that method after the recommended 60 day waiting period (and she can consistently do a couple of things like tell us where pee pee goes) or try something entirely different.

So far potty training may be the very hardest thing I've ever done in my life. And I've been divorced, taken Krav Maga, and done Crossfit.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Exp-hair-iment: Day 4

I can't believe I haven't washed my hair since Sunday. It actually looks pretty good! Though it feels quite waxy.

I've been keeping it in a ponytail or bun and I think that helps. Plus starting potty training has been a huge distraction.

There isn't much new to report. My argan oil came and I used it on the ends ... It has a nice nutty smell and made them feel much better ... more pliable and less dry.

This morning (technically day 5) I have some itching at the hairline on my forehead. My shower cap came up last night and that part got wet so I wonder if it's related? My face is uncharacteristically dry too so maybe the skin right there is too.

I think the dry shampoo is why it has that matte look instead of shimmering oil slick.

Really expected it to be stuck to my head at this point, though I imagine sleeping in a bun makes a big difference.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Exp-hair-iment: Day 3

I did use the dry shampoo Wednesday morning. My hair wasn't as greasy as I think it would have been after a comparable amount of time following traditional shampoo, but I wanted a little boost so I didn't have that "they're all gonna laugh at you" anxiety.

Sleeping with it in a bun has helped I think, and it actually has some nice body when I take it down!

But you can see the roots are getting a bit slick:

So I applied my corn starch/baking soda/cocoa/cinnamon dry shampoo. I felt like I had the powdered wig look going on (though not as severe as in the picture) all day. When Tim got home though, he said "Your hair is looking really nice!" So I guess it wasn't as obvious as it seemed to me.

Using a retired makeup brush, I dabbed it at the roots, going section by section and around my hairline. At first I made the sections with my brush, but then I heard a little one stirring and got in a hurry and I don't think making chunky sections with my fingers hurt anything.

I'm not sure if it was the corn starch or the baking soda, but it actually had a cooling effect on my scalp. My hairs felt "lifted" even though I was adding something to them. Later I was cooking and as I got warm I was afraid I might suddenly have the cinnamon challenge happening on my entire head if I started to sweat, but thankfully that wasn't the case even though I'm sure I was at least glistening as we women do.

My expectation was that I would smell like Mexican hot chocolate, but in reality the cinnamon greatly overpowered the cocoa. I don't think I'd want to smell like cinnamon all the time, but I rather liked it! Definitely better than smelling "oily." Not that it did yet, at least not to me, but I'm anticipating that smell. Doing this in winter rather than summer is probably the only reason I don't yet.

My biggest complaint was that I seemed to have snicker doodles in my ears. I was afraid that would keep happening until my next wash, but after I cleaned them out it didn't return. The process wasn't nearly as messy as I thought it would be, but I did feel the need to wash my brush. I used a couple of drops of Dr. Bronner's castille soap (lavender ... which doesn't coordinate well with cinnamon in case you were wondering) in a sink full of warm water.

This is the longest I can remember going without washing my hair other than when primitive camping or in the hospital. And it isn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be!

I'm starting three days potty training when Shelby Hope gets up, so I don't plan to wash again until Saturday night. We won't be leaving the house so conveniently I won't be as bothered about what it looks like. Fortunately Tim loves when my hair is in a ponytail.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Exp-hair-iment: Day 2

Yesterday was day two after using BS/DWV to wash my hair. It is getting oily, as to be expected ... I started out with it down but about halfway through the day pulled it into a ponytail. Much to Shelby Hope's delight.

Speaking of the girls, something I forgot to mention I noticed on the first day was that Victoria Grace was putting my hair in her mouth more. Not that this is desirable (bleh!) but I found it interesting. Perhaps the shampoo and conditioner were off-putting?

Surprisingly my scalp does not itch. Normally my scalp begins to itch with crazy-making intensity within 24 hours of a shower. I've also noticed my back doesn't itch. The upper part of my back is constantly dry and itchy, especially during the winter. Is it possible the shampoo and conditioner residues in my hair were irritating it??? I never considered that.

I made some dry shampoo yesterday. I used roughly equal amounts of corn starch and baking soda, then kept adding teaspoonfuls of cinnamon and cocoa till it had a reddish hue (more cinnamon than cocoa). I'm trying to decide if I will use that today since we have church tonight and so my greased head will be in public.

It really didn't look too bad in the morning! Definitely better than it would have in the same amount of time after a traditional shampoo.

Sleeping in a bun left me with some nice bouncy curls!

Alas, brushing relaxed them, and by noon they were just kinda unkempt looking.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Exp-hair-iment: Day 1

I'm a bit late writing this, but yesterday was a grocery day and when you live an hour from your favorite grocery store that's a pretty big deal. I'll have to share how I shop two weeks at a time sometime, it seems to work out pretty well (though with a 2 year old in the house we do have quick "honey could you pick up some milk?" trips).

So Sunday night I washed with baking soda and rinsed with diluted white vinegar. I probably should have clarified at this point ... but who wants to buy shampoo just for one wash? Not this girl.

It was weird. I didn't end up leaving the baking soda on my head for very long because I forgot. My hair felt very waxy. My fingers felt waxy. That is gross. I don't even use "product" on my hair but I had waxy buildup at my roots.

The vinegar rinse wasn't too surprising, I rinsed with vinegar when I was using shampoo bars. The smell really does go away.

I used my evil paddle brush and hellish blow dryer and dried my hair. Hey at least I'm not doing every day now, right?

My hair felt kinda stiff but clean. The Argan oil will be very welcome to the ends of my hair, they seem dry. Throughout the day I noticed my hair felt more lifted at the roots than it usually does, but I'm pretty sure the further away my wash gets the heavier it will feel. It seems a bit dull to me.

My hair felt fine throughout the day, and though the smell was one of the things I anticipated missing about shampoo my hair did have a clean and pleasant smell! Monday night I put it in a shower cap (I think I'm eventually going to make my own out of PUL like cloth diaper covers are made of, that vinyl stuff is all pokey and it has some nonsense lace that really does nothing for me and I'm not sure why it is there) to take my shower. I slept with it in a bun thinking perhaps that will help cut down on the oiliness, if my face isn't up against my hair all night?

It's still in the bun now, so tonight or tomorrow morning I'll give my two cents about how that worked out.

I look less than thrilled in this picture, but I was just concentrating ... It was early. I really need a haircut.

Sunday, December 7, 2014


I'm going to sidetrack from my typical way of waiting a few months then suddenly blogging about life in general and do something a little more intentional.

I like using Pinterest. It helps me get to know some of my friends a little better, it's a good place to save and find ideas, and I've been using it for recipes since we moved in to the Barndominium (successfully!). I also save a lot of natural, home remedy, and homemade types of pins ... So recently it has been showing me a lot of "no-poo" pins.

I'm just crunchy enough to know that no-poo doesn't have anything to do with constipation. It means not using commercial shampoo on your hair. In conjunction, it seems to mean going without washing your hair for a number of days (I mostly see 3-4).

Some background on my hair and why I might be interested in no-poo; I have oily hair and ever since I was 12 or so have tended to get these itchy, annoying, gross sores on my scalp. They pop up in the same places periodically. Changing shampoos sometimes makes them go away for a while but they eventually come back. Then I have a (horrible, disgusting) nervous habit of messing with them absentmindedly, especially when I'm stressed. I imagine it is psoriasis or something like that. That's some really personal "closet skeletons" for me to be sharing on the internet because I'm really embarrassed about it.

I've tried shampoo bars, natural shampoos, pthal-laural-whatever free shampoos, and while some cause issues faster than others, they all eventually do. I even tried medicated shampoo that left me smelling like an elderly man for several days.

If I don't wash my hair every day, it gets oily in a hurry. And even itches. It's nasty. I don't like it.

It is naturally a bit wavy. At this point in my life, even though the roots are oily, the ends tend to be a little dry and sometimes even frizzy. I like it best blown dry, but let's face it ... I have two small children and that just isn't always a priority. But it looks better and feels "cleaner" for longer when I do.

After a good bit of reading I've decided (since my shampoo is empty anyways) to bite the bullet and try it. I did some research ... meaning I read several blogs, and found this one to be the most helpful to me; perhaps I just trust Beth because she's also a redhead.

Goodbye Shampoo and Conditioner!
Everyone does no-poo differently, but after my reading I decided to skip ACV (apple cider vinegar) since I already have 50s rockabilly grease going on and to start with this recipe for hard water. In an effort to use things I already had around the house, I found a peri bottle (for the baking soda solution, to help get it as close to the roots as possible) and a spray bottle (for the vinegar solution).

Yeah I'm still using traditional body wash

I don't have a boar bristle brush, but at least mine isn't nylon. Even before I decided to make the plunge, I started spending a little more time brushing my hair to better distribute the oils. And ya know what? It actually feels great and is really relaxing to not just whack my head a few times till my hairs are just less crazy.

Olivia Garden "Healthy Hair" Brush - It's what I've got
Tonight I'll be washing the no-poo way for the first time. My hair is already kinda gross, because I didn't wash it last night and I've been wearing a hat most of the day. I didn't blow dry it Friday night either, so my "before" is not really a fair picture. This is my hair close to its worst (worst was 5 days with no shower/bath in the Boundary Waters) rather than at it's "traditional shampoo" best.

Though I'm not the only one who has done this, it might be helpful to someone so I'll try to update with pictures and my thoughts and feelings. I'm going to do this at least through the end of January. If February 1st comes and I'm hating it and it doesn't look like the dreaded "transition" period (where my scalp should learn I'm not going to strip away all the oils every night and stop over-producing) is every going to end, I'll go out February 1st and buy some shampoo.

While I won't be washing my hair every day, I DO plan to wash my body. I'll either use a shower cap (bleh) because I enjoy our nice new rain shower head ... or I'll languish in my claw foot tub and look up at my lovely chandelier and pretend my hair doesn't look greasy.

One of my favorite spots in the Barndominium
I might make this dry shampoo to help get me through the tough times. I was tempted to make some this morning (with corn starch instead of arrowroot since I don't have any) but I don't want to try too many new things at once.

What I'll be doing:
Hard water recipe baking soda wash and distilled white vinegar rinse
Blow dry (when it gets here I'll use Argan Oil on the ends before drying, but not tonight)
See how long I can stand it, what it feels like, and in the end see if it clears up my grumpy scalp

No, I can't believe I'm doing this either

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Do You Live in a Barn?

Actually, we do now!!! So much has happened in the past month!

Tim is now a mechanic (technically a technician) for Mustang Caterpillar. What a change! He has been working on a bulldozer (that's right, a bulldozer) since he started a few weeks ago. He leaves in the morning, but not as early as before. His commute is long, but shorter than most of his Austin commutes were. It's actually a nice drive too, other than the morning part being in the dark. He is home every night.

Every night. Every single night of the week my husband is home! The girls' daddy is home and tucking them in to bed! And he isn't a zombie when he is home! I think he's still adjusting to working five days a week, but I just can't get over the fact that he is HOME every night. He is off every weekend. The shop is CLOSED on holidays. Praise God.

Our budget is in shambles, but God will provide. He will not give us more than we can handle, and maybe we weren't handling higher pay well. I pray that if we are faithful with what we are getting now He will untrust us with more again. But I have faith that it will be enough. We just have to adjust our definition of enough.

We also moved into the bardominium a few weeks ago! I'm still slowly unpacking but I'm loving it. Here is just a peek.

While I appreciate my inlaws hospitality and know we can never repay their kindness ... I'm glad to be in our own home again. We never could have done this without them. Frankly, we'd have been homeless (well, or living with my parents - I doubt my parents would want to see us homeless either).

I find my chest tightens if I think too much about how we are going to repay them, get out of debt, and just meet our basic needs. Will we be able to afford the health insurance offered?  Then I remember my favorite verses ... 

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:25-33

Then I start thanking God for my blessing and realize I am outrageously blessed, and have no reason not to trust that He won't provide what we need. And my heart is still and glad, filled with peace and joy that to many would seem foolish. But isn't that just how it should be? I can only boast in God's provision that way.

For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. I Corinthians 1:25