Breaking bad…habits

Thanks to this writing prompt for the idea for today’s post. 

I have a bad habit that I’ve been trying to break for almost my whole life. I’ve tried to quit numerous times.  I’m hoping by writing this down here I can hold myself more accountable and actually stick to quitting!

For as long as I can remember, I’ve bitten my nails.  I do it when I’m bored, nervous, anxious, not paying attention- you name it.  It’s gross.  I know it’s gross.  I even see other people doing it and think it looks gross.  Not to mention I could probably have avoided several sicknesses in my life just by keeping my hands out of my mouth!

I’d like nothing more than pretty fingernails- and hands that don’t hurt from the chewing they receive on a daily basis (see- gross!)

So, I’m planning on painting my nails and stocking up on chewing gum.  The combination of the two seems to give me the best chance at quitting.  Throw a little evening knitting into the mix, and hopefully by the end of this month I can have some normal looking fingernails again.


And if you happen to see me with my fingers in my mouth, just slap my hand away, OK?

Almay mascara

I don’t wear a lot of makeup.  Actually, scratch that.  I don’t wear any makeup except mascara (and that’s been a more recent development).  I USED to wear makeup every day, but once we moved to Georgia and the humidity was so high I would sweat it all off before leaving my driveway, I quit going through the effort.

I’ve always been a Cover Girl fan, and up until recently was using their Clump Crusher mascara.  Which is very nice!!  No more spidery looking eyelashes.  However, one day I decided that I needed to “spice things up” with my mascara- if it’s the only makeup I’m going to wear, I might as well have a little fun with it, right?  I usually buy the black/brown color mascara.  Then I read about Almay’s intense eye color volumizing mascara and decided to try it out.  I have blue eyes, so I chose the “sapphire” color

intense i-color volumising mascara intense i-color volumizing mascara for blue eyes







Well, don’t let that inconspicuous little tube fool you.  While the color is very nice- a deep navy blue- what they fail to mention is that there is glitter in the tube.  Glitter!  I started having flashbacks to my teenage years.  I thought, maybe there was some mistake.  Maybe I grabbed the wrong mascara.  Then I read the description more closely on their site:

Take your unique eye color to new limits with double the volume*, double the impact. Expertly coordinated shades with eye-brightening crystals create multi-dimensional amplification. The lash enhancing brush with volume-boosting grooves finds and flaunts every lash for big bold volume that won’t smudge or flake.
Did you catch that?  “Eye-brightening crystals”…also known as glitter.  And all you ladies out there- you know about glitter.  It is persistent.  By the end of the week, my entire face is covered in it.  Nothing says “professional 30 something mother” like a face full of glitter.  Not that it’s stopped me from wearing it daily. After all- it did spice things up!  Not to mention I’m cheap- so I’m using this tube to the end, glitter or no!

Anyone else out there using this mascara, or have a funny makeup story to share?

**Disclosure:  I was not paid or compensated by any of the companies linked to in this post**

I’m out. No ‘poo hair care part 6.

As you may have guessed from the title…I’m bowing out of the no ‘poo experiment. I made it three weeks.   To recap, here are parts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

I tried, really hard, to make this work.  But I just couldn’t get out from under the greasy, limp feeling.  Not to mention my hair felt odd- greasy but dry at the same time?    Especially the ends of my hair.


I kind of feel like a failure.  But.  I was only doing it for myself.  And it was an experiment.  So, now I know.  Plus…my shampoo was sitting there, calling longingly to me from the closet. It’s hard to ignore that.

However.  I did learn some things from this process!!  Most importantly- my hair does not need to be shampoo’d every day.  I can definitely cut it back to 2-3 times a week.  I also don’t need to slather my hair in conditioner after each washing- I’ve found a few sprays of some leave in conditioner goes a long way. 

I’ve also learned I need a haircut.  It’s been 6 months- I’m past due.  It’s so hard to find time though, especially with a little one around.

Is anyone else out there doing their own no ‘poo experiment?  I’d love to hear about your experience!!

I’m ending this post with a cute baby photo (be thankful you’ve been spared another creepy shot of me)

No ‘poo hair care part 5…I’m a cheater

I cheated.  *hangs head in shame*

But maybe you will want to cheat too, after reading this.

The dry shampoo definitely helped with the oily mess that my hair was quickly becoming.  I was having a hard time with the brownie smell though.  All I wanted to do was eat chocolate all day!!  Not good for this mama who is trying to lose the last bit of baby weight. 

And then, in a moment of weakness, I shampoo’d my hair. 

I know.  I KNOW.  At least I didn’t eat a pan of brownies, right?!?

I had just had enough of the oily hair.  It was getting weird- my scalp wasn’t oily.  In fact it seemed like my scalp had adjusted to the no ‘poo lifestyle very quickly.  It seemed like the back of my head and the length of my hair just hadn’t caught on yet.  The length of my hair was getting very heavy and stringy and felt gross, even with dry shampoo to help soak up some of the oil. So I thought- “what if I just shampoo out the extra oil from the length of my hair?”  My thought was, the oil from my scalp was traveling down my hair, and just needed a little help working itself out of my hair.  So…I used a tiny bit of shampoo on the length of my hair, completely avoiding my scalp.  Ahhhhh.  It felt so wrong…but oh so right.  Then I did absolutely nothing to my hair for the next two days- it lived in a pony tail.  I barely brushed it, and just rinsed with water.

I did a baking soda wash/apple cider vinegar wash on the third day (after shampoo’ing), and my hair felt better!!  Definitely less oil all over.  And I felt confident enough to wear it down, with no help from dry shampoo.

Here’s an above shot, no dry shampoo
For comparison, this is from my dry shampoo day.  A little drier looking, but my hair has more shine without the dry shampoo

From the front- oh look, another creepy photo of me! Fairly shiny, not greasy looking

I realize these photos aren’t great and they probably all look the same.  But…I am the most happy with my hair now, after shampoo’ing some of the extra oil out of my hair.  It feels more “normal” than it has.  Even though I technically cheated, I hopefully didn’t ruin my progress since I did not touch my scalp with the shampoo, so I didn’t strip the natural oils from my scalp.  We will see what happens by the end of the week. 

Two things I am noticing that are a little odd:

My hair has a ton of static electricity if I brush it too much.  I’m not sure why, since it still feels like there is some extra oil that should weigh it down.

After washing with baking soda/apple cider vinegar- I shed a lot.  I don’t think this is breakage from using these products.  I believe it’s a combination of postpartum hair loss (yep, still dealing with that) and the fact that I lose next to nothing on the days that I just wash with water.  But we will see as time goes on- I may need to back off on my baking soda mixture if I start losing chunks of hair.

I’m almost 2 1/2 weeks into this experiment, and it is going better than I expected!!  We will see how long I can keep this up.  Thanks for following along!

No ‘poo hair care part 4…aka why I smell like a brownie

You guys!!  (That’s how people from the NW say y’all…just going back to my roots on this one).  Dry shampoo is awesome.  Awesome.  But let me back up a bit before I tell you all about my dry shampoo experience.

I did 2 more days of just rinsing with water (torture!) and then I did another wash with baking soda/apple cider vinegar.  And this time I noticed…something.  My roots felt less greasy, and overall my hair felt lighter.  After I washed it, I let it air dry and combed it with my fingers.  It still had a greasy feel to it, but not nearly as much.  Most of my roots felt almost “normal”- it was just the crown of my head and the underside of my hair that still felt greasy.  It still didn’t look good enough for me to wear it down, but I felt a little encouraged.

I was telling a friend about all of this, and she got excited and wanted to try this experiment out as well.  I mentioned one way to combat the grease in between “washings” was dry shampoo but told her I couldn’t vouch for it because I hadn’t tried it out yet.  I figured it was about time to take my own advice and try out a dry shampoo recipe.  So I put in a reminder in my phone (that’s the only way I remember to do anything anymore- post it notes and phone reminders) and mixed some up for the next morning.  This is the recipe I used:

2tblspns cornstarch
2tblspns cocoa powder (because I have dark-ish hair and cornstarch only leaves hair with a grey tint- I already have enough greys, no need to add more!)

Dump into a plastic baggy and shake to mix.  Apply to scalp using a large makeup brush.  

Now, as far as how long to leave this mixture on your scalp- a few minutes max?  I got interrupted during this process by B needing my attention, so I got as far as the dusting it on my scalp.  About 15min later I was able to come back and brush it through/out of my hair.  You don’t need to leave it on that long.  After I brushed it through, I straightened my hair like normal.  And then realized I smelled like a brownie.  Seriously.  Hey- I did have several of the ingredients required for brownies in my hair- cocoa powder, oil, heat- just add some eggs and flour!  So that was a little weird.  Thank goodness the smell wasn’t overpowering…although I kind of wanted to eat something chocolate-y all day!

But, you guys- my hair looked good.  Not as good as when I shampoo’d it, but good enough to leave out of a pony tail.  The dry shampoo really helped cut the grease.  My hair felt different (I’m pretty sure it’s always going to feel differently than it did when I was shampoo’ing it every day)- kind of chalky feeling like cornstarch tends to feel- but it looked decent!!  Success!! 

Now, this mixture did make my hair slightly off in color.  Not grey, but a little lighter than it normally is.  And it also dulled the shine.  But it cut the grease, so I give it two thumbs up.

Just for comparisons sake, here’s a photo of my hair prior to no ‘poo (and a gratuitous shot of my super cute kid):

Not that great of a shot (of me) but you can see my hair is brown (though not this dark, there’s a filter applied to this photo), and there’s some frizz, but it’s still got shine to it

And some recent shots with dry shampoo, about a week and a half in to no ‘poo:

From the front- a little dull.  Note: it is hard to take a self photo without looking creepy.  I apologize.

From the top- a little dull, but definitely not greasy looking.

I’m feeling more hopeful now than I was in my last post, now that I have dry shampoo as a tool to combat the grease.  Let the experiment continue!!

No ‘poo hair care part 3

Ugh.  That’s how I feel right now.  My hair definitely looks oily and stringy, especially on the crown of my head- and even a washing with baking soda/apple cider vinegar didn’t really improve the situation much.  Right now I’m washing every 3 days and rinsing in between with just water, and I feel greasy.  I have dropped my coconut oil face care to every other day, simply because on the days I do use it, I feel like I’m oozing oil.  I’m tempted to drop it all together for now until my hair evens out, but I’m worried I will start breaking out again.

It’s funny because I can straighten my hair, and it will look decent.  For about 5 minutes seconds.  Then it goes back to stringy and gross and up into a pony tail it goes.  The upside?  My hair is nice and shiny, and stays in the pony tail!  I barely need any hair spray, just a little to tame the postpartum crazy hair.

I don’t have any photos because…well…it would be me in a ponytail.  Again.  I’m usually in a hurry to get my hair together since I have limited time with B around, so I’m not able to get a decent photo of my gross hair.  But you don’t really want to see that, do you??

I’m thinking about making some home made dry shampoo to see if it might help combat the greasy mess that is my hair, because I’m starting to miss wearing my hair down (even if it ends up in a ponytail by the end of the day).  If I can remember to mix up some (I’m thinking I will go with cornstarch and cocoa powder since I have dark-ish hair) I will let you know how it goes.  I’ve never used dry shampoo before, so I’m a little nervous about that.

Right now my hair is so gross that I’m VERY tempted to just throw in the towel (pun intended??) and just shampoo my hair!!  I even have a bottle of shampoo in the closet taunting me.  But I promised myself I would give it 2 weeks.  So I will soldier on, and keep telling you about my progress…for now.  But don’t be surprised if after 2 weeks I post something with a title like…Why I couldn’t handle no ‘poo.  Or something like that. 

No ‘poo hair care part two

So I’m currently on day 7 of my experiment.  To recap- the first 4 days I washed my hair with a baking soda paste and conditioned with a diluted mixture of apple cider vinegar.  As I was working on the first blog post, I did some reading up on other’s experiences with “no ‘poo” and discovered that maaaaaaaaybe I shouldn’t be using baking soda every day.  It can be a little harsh on your hair over time.  Most people who do no ‘poo usually go 2-5 days between baking soda “washes”.

So I decided to give my hair a little break and just rinse it with water in the evenings during my shower.  I do use a little bit of hair spray (to tame the postpartum crazy hair), so I like to rinse that out in the evening.  

The first thing I noticed was that my hair does not tangle at all after rinsing it with water.  This is kind of a big deal, because my hair normally turns into a giant snarl if I’m only using water. 

The second thing I noticed was that my hair got even heavier and greasy feeling- but it still doesn’t really look that bad (I don’t think.  Stop me if I’m completely delusional).  It’s also very soft, and still as shiny as ever.   

One thing that I think has helped has been to use a bristle brush on my hair- in the evenings before my shower, I brush my hair several times, to distribute the oils from the top of my head to ends of my hair.  This link talks about doing that, which is why I started (plus I already had the brush- again, lazy is my middle name).

After a couple of days of just rinsing, I’m feeling a little greasier than I’d like.  So much so that I didn’t even put coconut oil on my face last night because I was starting to feel like a grease ball.  And today my hair is in a pony tail for the first time since starting this process, but aside from it feeling heavy, I really don’t think it looks that greasy. 

From the top

From the front- hey again

I’m going to try the baking soda wash and vinegar rinse again tonight to see if that helps alleviate some of the heaviness that I feel.  I’m also curious to see what happens if I wash my hair and then let it air dry instead of throwing it up in a ponytail overnight- my hair has a tiny bit of wave to it and I think with this process it might have more curl than normal.  Or maybe not.  I will update you with the results- stay tuned!

No ‘poo hair care part one (aka how much of a dirty hippie can I become)

I like science experiments, so I decided to try another experiment on myself, similar to my last post.  This time though, I’m going to make it more of a real time experiment, so there’s a possibility that this may be a big fat failure.  But at least if you see me in person, you’ll know why I might look like a dirty hippie who hasn’t washed her hair in 2 weeks.

Let me back up a second.  I’ve been seeing a lot of information about No Poo.  What the heck is that, you ask?  Check out some of these links for more information.  To quickly sum things up- your shampoo strips your hair of its natural oils and contains all sorts of additives that aren’t really that great for you.  Conditioner was created to keep our hair from feeling dry and frizzy after stripping all the oil out- but again, lots of chemicals, plus it just weighs your hair down.  Our scalps produce a natural oil that acts as a natural cleanser and conditioner- so if we stop stripping out the oil then our body’s natural processes should actually do all the hair care work for us (now if I could only get my hair to brush itself).

Enter No Poo and two ingredients to keep your hair clean- baking soda and vinegar.  Baking soda is the cleanser and vinegar is the conditioner.  Just how much of both of those ingredients you use is up to your hair type and involves some experimenting.  I’ve read a lot of conflicting posts about whether to dilute the baking soda or make a paste and how much you should dilute your vinegar.  It seems like there is a lot of trial and error, so what works for me may not work for you- do your research before you start!!  This link has a lot of good troubleshooting information and tips/tricks.

First- a little about my hair.  I have very fine hair that tends toward being flat.  It does not hold much of a curl or style unless I try really hard.  I have always shampooed and conditioned it daily- for the past 31 years (well maybe not that long but close).  If I don’t, it turns into a bizarre flat oily tangly mess.  Living in a warm humid climate causes it to be frizzy (yet still flat).  Oh and then I have the ever so lovely postpartum hair loss to deal with as well, so I have all this new growth coming in that sticks straight up and out:

See?  Sorry for the creepy photo

I decided to start with a baking soda paste, mostly because I’m lazy and didn’t feel like measuring and mixing (bad scientist!).  The first day, I didn’t follow instructions very well (again, bad scientist!!) and put it all over my hair and let it sit for a couple of minutes.  It felt weird not having any lather.  I followed up with an apple cider vinegar rinse (Braggs, with the mother, because we had it on hand.  Again, being lazy).  I diluted my vinegar by adding 1/2 a cup of vinegar to 2 cups of water, and just applied it to the ends of my hair. 

I expected to get out of the shower and have a tangly mess, because that’s what normally happens when I get my hair wet.  However, my brush slid through my hair just like I had conditioned it like normal.  Whoa.  I shower at night, so I went to bed like I normally do- with wet hair, in a ponytail.

The next morning I did my hair like normal- I just flat iron out the ponytail creases/tame the bedhead look.  My hair looked surprisingly decent.  It felt different though- heavier.  Not as light as it would if I were using shampoo. 

I repeated this process for the next 3 days, although I only applied the paste to my roots instead of all over.  Here’s my hair on day 4

From the top- this is my natural hair color, I don’t highlight or add color.  Any highlights are from all the greys!!

From the front- hey there!

It looks surprisingly decent.  It still feels…weird.  Heavier.  Definitely greasy feeling.  But it doesn’t look greasy or weird (at least I don’t think so).  And the frizz factor has decreased a ton- normally my hair is super frizzy by the time I get to work.

I probably should have had my hair cut prior to starting this experiment, only because it’s been almost 6 months and my ends are starting to look straggly.  Not split, just not as nice as they could look.

I will keep updating as I get farther into this experiment!! 

Coconut oil skin care routine

Oh hey there!!

So I have told enough people about this neat skin care trick that I thought I should probably share it on the blog. 

A couple of months ago, Kristal mentioned she uses an oil cleansing method to wash her face.  Say what?  I was intrigued.  And more than a bit skeptical.  I have an oily t-zone, and even in my 30’s my face still looks like a teenager’s a lot of times.  Pregnancy and then post-partum hormones only made it worse, and it was getting embarrassing and often painful. I’ve tried a lot of acne products out there, and nothing has ever made it go away completely.  My go-to face wash is St Ives Apricot Scrub (which I couldn’t use during pregnancy due to the salicylic acid) and I’ve always tried to use products that dry up the oil, so adding oil just seemed completely backwards to me.

Not long before reading Kristal’s post, I had used castor oil to successfully unclog a blocked milk duct (one of the hazards of pumping and extremely painful for anyone who hasn’t experienced this).  And we often use coconut oil on B’s skin- it’s great for mild cradle cap as well as diaper rashes.  So I thought to myself- what’s the harm in trying oil on my own skin?

Everything I read said to give it at least two weeks- your skin needs time to re-adjust.  And you know what?  In two weeks, my skin WAS clearer.  Not 100% better, but there was a definite improvement.  So I kept up the routine.  I’ve been using oil on my face for almost three months now and I rarely have a break out.  I used to get at least one a week and they would be painful and last for at least a week (so I was never break out free).  My last break out was three weeks ago and they were very mild and gone within a couple of days. 

So if that isn’t enough to convince you right there, maybe my routine will, because it is ridiculously easy.  I decided to try coconut oil, simply because that’s what we had at home (and I didn’t feel like mixing anything).  We get ours from Trader Joe’s and it’s $7.99 for a 16oz jar.  Which, if you use it for skin care, will last you FOREVER (and the smell is very mild- you won’t smell like a coconut, piña colada or the beach- I promise).
I put a portion of the jar into a small glass bowl with a lid, and stuck it in the shower.  I shower at night, so I do this routine right before bed.  I don’t think it’s necessary to do this before bed, but if you’re already washing your face at night you could just incorporate this into your face washing routine.  Otherwise I suggest doing this whenever you shower, simply because it’s easiest.
1.  Wash your face with your regular face wash, whatever that may be- I still use my St Ives Apricot Scrub because I like it.
2.  Rinse with warm water 
3.  Apply a small amount of coconut oil to your face- coconut oil is solid at room temperatures so it’s easy to measure out- I use about a thumbnail sized amount.  Once you rub it between your hands it becomes a liquid and a little goes a LONG way with coconut oil.
4.  Let this sit on your skin for a couple of minutes- I usually wash/condition my hair and do whatever else I need to do in the shower while I’m “waiting.”
5.  Rinse off with warm water- do not add soap.  
6.  Pat dry- your skin will have a tiny bit of oil residue on it but that should be absorbed as you dry off.  It should not leave anything behind on your clothes/pillows/sheets/towels/etc.
That’s it.  See- super easy.  I think the hardest part might be going to the store and buying the oil!! But it’s oh so worth it- your skin will thank you (just remember to be patient and give it two weeks to really see a difference). My skin has never been softer or clearer!!
**Disclosure:  I was not paid or compensated by any of the companies linked to in this post**