Thursday, September 27, 2007

Girl Stuff

So I've been thinking about hair lately, maybe because it's starting to pick up here and I'm doing more hair now. (For those of you who don't know, while I was working and before we had Cash, I decided to become a hairdresser on the side so I could work from home when we had kids.) So anyway, any of you who have been around me or had me do your hair already know a lot of my hair philosophies, but I've decided to put some of my favorite tips and tricks on here, as well as some of my favorite products.

1. First and foremost - less washing. Very few hairdressers I know actually wash their hair every day. It just dries you hair our and makes your scalp produce more oil. And your hair will get used to it. I used to wash every day, then I went every other day, then eventually I could go more than that (sometimes far too long - I'm just lazy!) Anyway, I always advise people to spend more time doing it well once or twice a week instead. I shower with a towel on my head - I find it works better than a shower cap for me. You can also try using a dry shampoo (listed below). I will sometimes hit my hair for maybe 30 seconds or so, just dry, on a day when I'm not washing it - the heat and the brush seem to work out any sleeping kinks that seem too conspicuous.

2. Number 1 also leads to this point - you are more likely to do more interesting styling if you don't have to start from scratch each time. I love using hot rollers or putting in a few large curls with a curling iron, but that's a day two or three event for me. No way am I going to wash, dry, and then curl it all in one day. Hot rollers take me 5 or 10 minutes to put in and give it a great boost when I feel like the style is fading. I just read in a critique of hair at the Emmys that they predict that hot rollers and curling irons will be the thing of the season. (Um, hasn't it been that way for the last few years?) Day two or three is also a good time to get creative with headbands, scarves, etc.

3. I often like to style my hair with some movement, not always perfectly straight. I blow some ends under, some back, some flipped up. That way it's easier to fake when you sleep on it weird - I just put some product in it and it just looks like I have a messy sort of wave on purpose. Or after I've curled it, I leave it with curls for a few days for same reason.

4. Velcro rollers. These are great for most people. I often just do a couple in the top after I dry it while it's still warm, then I put on my makeup or something while it cools down. It makes it take a nicer form and look more finished than I can do myself. They also work magic for people with very fine or straight hair that need some lift or body.

5. Masks and treatments. I would never have believed it if I hadn't tried them myself (although expensive products may have made the difference). You can do them once a week or once a month as needed. I have very dry hair and do them pretty frequently. Sometimes I'll wash my hair at night and then towel dry it and put a mask in and just sleep with it and wash it out in the morning, or I will wash it in the shower, towel dry it, put the mask on and then just put on a shower cap and leave on for a few minutes while I shave, wash the bod, or whatever. Some people recommend putting a hot towel on your head after, although I've never gone to the effort. I have a few product recommendations below.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

My product review

Here are some of my favorite products (and by no means have I tried them all) Now that I'm out of a salon and I can't get the same exclusive products we had there (or at least I'd have to pay full price for them), I'm just starting to branch out to try different ones. I'd love to hear suggestions too.

First of all, anything Kerastase is awesome, and I could recommend something in all of my categories below. It's just expensive. But if you have the chance, it's worth it. At the salon we also had the L'oreal Series Expert line, and it's also great. For the more affordable line, we had Textureline, so you'll find that's where a lot of my favorites come from - so probably mostly just from the fact that I've used them the most, not that there aren't comparable products from other companies.

*Products before drying - first, I like to put in something like this Textureline Inner Structure Treatment - it's like a light leave in conditioning spray to help keep your hair healthy, and is good for detangling.

After that, what products you use depends on hair type, of course. I have curly, dry hair which I usually straighten out, so I like to use a good smoothing product. This is what I put in:

Textureline harimix supreme smooth, and hairmix sublime shine.
They also work well for curly hair, just to help it not frizz and have some hold to it.

Although, for curly hair (or people who can make it curly with some effort or by diffusing it), my first recommendations are usually these two:
Textureline curl memory spiral down creme (helps control the frizz and dryness) and curl memory spring up curl styler (to help it curl, give it some bounce and help it hold). Use the creme first, then the spring up styler. The spray can also be used more once it's dry. I prefer to use a root booster too when I'm doing hair curly (next).

For finer hair I'm all about using a root booster to help get some lift at the scalp (or anyone looking for some lift at the scalp, not necessarily just fine hair).

Such as this root booster by Matrix amplify.

Also for fine hair (or if I'm planning on doing some style on regular hair where I want more hold or longevity of the style) some type of volumizing mousse or something is good. I like this one because it's a spray mousse (less messy and easy to get at roots):

Textureline aeromousse.

*For finishing products, I love Biosilk Silk Therapy- it seems to work well on almost everyone because it's lightweight.

Or any type of serum, or shine serum is a great finishing product. It makes your ends look healthier and more polished and helps with fly-aways and frizzies. I've also tried ones by Renewal, Kiwi, and others that all work well.

Although, my personal can't live without finishing product is the Sexy Hair shine polish. This is definitely not for all hair types because it's a very heavy product, but if I run one product through my hair to fake it on days when I don't do my hair, it's this, and it seems to work magic.

If you ever decide to try it though, start with very little, rub it in your hands and run your hands through your hair a lot to get that really polished shine. If your hair can't handle heavy prouducts, you'll probably just look like you need to wash your hair again.

And then there are more specialized finishing products, pomeades and cremes, etc. like if you want funky texture or hold. If you like to flip it out, or like just a bit of a light piecy look, I like the Textureline beach creme:

*For conditioning masks my favorites of course are by Kerastase, and this Absolut Repair by Series Expert:

But I've recently found this one by Kiwi that seems really promising and is a more readily available (and cheaper) line:

Kiwi deeptreat conditioning masque.

*Dry shampoos - these are sort of a secret trick if you're having trouble going a few days between washings. My friend first told me about these a while back when she read somewhere that Jessica Simpson is a fan. You just spray it on your roots, brush it through and it helps get rid of oils and also adds some volume.

Pssssssst (friends have found it at drug stores).

Batiste (I've found this one at Sally's).
They sort of feel like you're spraying a spray deodorant on your head or something, but hey, whatever works. And they're only like $6 or so.

*And while I'm only my beauty products soap box, I must of course speak of my love for self-tanner. Gone are my days of sunbathing or tanning. In my old age and my concern about wrinkles, I've realized if I can't spray it on or smear it on - I don't want it. My favorite is the Loreal Sublime Bronze with the instant bronze tint (I'm all about instant results, none of this wait 4 to 8 hours to see anything at all), plus it's easier to see when you're doing a bad job working it in. There's also one specifically for the face.

And for those home manicures and pedicures, I can't stand doing it without the quick dry drops. Otherwise, unless I remain perfectly still in a room by myself for an hour or so, I will inevitably ruin all my hard work.

Phew! There you have it. My picks and my favorites. It's nice to have that all written down for reference anyway, I guess. For the most part though, I'm not a big stickler about you have to use this certain brand over that one, but I am a believer in using products period. At least you see the types of products I would use in which case. Let me know what other ones you like - I'm always on the lookout!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Whole Wide World

Last weekend Ryan and I watched Stranger than Fiction. I must say, we were pleasantly surprised. First of all, it was nice just to see Will Farrel not in a slapstick comedy. Also, I found a few new favorites from it. It actually started off a little slow, but by the end we found it quite charming. It wasn't amazing, but you know, if it's a the Redbox or something....

Anyway, if you think you're going to watch it sometime, maybe don't watch these clips, you should just wait for the movie (I love not knowing anything about a movie before I watch it). But in this first one, I found a new favorite song - it has the cutest lyrics.

(Background if you want it - Will Farrel is a very reserved guy who leads a really monotonous life, and finally decides to really start living. One thing he'd always wanted to do was learn to play the guitar, so he has just started to. This is the scene where Maggie Gyllenhal first realizes she's falling for him.)

End of Stranger Than Fiction

Try to start the video where it says it has about 2:00 minutes left - I love this end part.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The nuances

I loved the words of the above movie clip. In fact, when it was over, I rewound it and listened to it multiple times. It made me think. When I seem to "lose myself in routine and constancy", here are some of the little nuances I seem to remember feeling make it all worth it:

Freshly squeezed orange juice from my husband to wake me up on my birthday.

Cleaning out my email and finding pages and pages of emails from my best friend.

A moving story, such as this one by Liz.

Years ago, the little old black man who drove the shuttle at the airport in LA. I had been having a rough time then, but somehow his smile and contagious attitude started to change my outlook and somehow made it worth being up at 4am. I still remember feeling like he was just what I needed right then.

Sarah always thinking to ask how my back was, even without me saying anything.

When a stranger commented on my beautiful baby on my way out of the hospital after delivery and it was the first time the whole thing sunk in and I started crying.

The notes 10 years ago when my dad died from really unexpected people. I still remember them.

Random pieces of mail from my mom with no included explanation, such as the news article entitled, "Raw Egg Yolk Cures Acne."

Just to name a few. I'd love to hear the other subtle things that have made people happy!

Sleep Part I

Two weekends ago Ryan's work took us on a retreat to nearby Lake Geneva. It was a nice weekend, mostly full of food and conferences. Cash and I avoided the conferences, except the financial one, which Ryan made me go to. We also went on a boat cruise around Lake Geneva.

(Cash enjoying the booze cruise)

Anyway, it was a good time. Since then though, I've still been thinking about this - our hotel room had a big shower with no bathtub. The pack 'n play fit exactly inside the shower. So that's where Cash slept. I was just waiting for him to start playing around in there and turn the shower on himself, but instead, he slept like a dream. We put him in, he went right to sleep. Didn't make a peep the whole night, and woke up at 9:30am - two nights in a row. Wow. The first night we get back home, he fusses around for an hour before he falls asleep, I hear him multiple times throughout the night, he's awake and babbling in his crib from 4-5am, then up at 7:30am.

Why was the shower in the bathroom in the hotel so magical??? It was pitch black in there. But I've got blackout lining over the windows in his room - it's doesn't block out everything, but it stays fairly dark in there. The hotel staff even had the pack 'n play set up wrong the first night so it was all bunched up and overlapping - seemed really uncomfortable to me. Anyway, if anyone has the answer to this magical sleeping, let me know!! I want to stick him back in the bathroom!

The other funny thing about Cash sleeping was something we discovered the other night. Usually we put him down and leave the room, so I never know what goes on after we leave, but it often does take him a while to fall asleep. Well, the other night Ryan and I needed to fix something on the window before we left, so we put him in and then proceeded to fix the window. Let me pause briefly to tell a funny story. A few weeks ago, our friend Chy Ayn from NY emailed and said they were at dinner discussing their need for haircuts, which led them to saying they missed us, and then out of the blue their (3 or 4 year-old?) daughter Claire says, "And that Cash is just a little RASCAL!!" Well, case in point - this time when we actually stayed in the room after putting Cash down in his crib, we saw what really goes on. He lays there for a second. Then he gets up and starts jumping on the bed. And falls down laughing. Then gets up and does it again, over and over. No wonder it takes him an hour to fall asleep at night! And no wonder we hear all sorts of squealing over the monitor! He really is a rascal!!

Friday, September 14, 2007

It's raining shoes

I must say that I have always considered myself on of the most unlucky people I know. I've never won anything. Like even a pack of gum. Maybe I never tried to win shoes before. A few weeks ago I entered a contest through sk*rt where 20 winners would win a pair of Ryka shoes. And you had to do stuff to enter, not just put your name in. So I thought I could try it - 20 winners sounded like the only way I was ever going to win something. And I was really hoping only 19 people entered. Anyway, I won! A great pair of MC2 Run shoes. I had emailed the girl to thank her and she emailed back and said if I liked them, I should tell my friends that they were having another contest from September 5th to October 25th giving away fifty pairs of shoes a day. Holy cow these people are generous! I tried to tell many of you right when it started. But wow - another chance with really good odds! So to email a few friends, you could do it right from their website and it would also enter you to win each time you did. Well, the other night I found out I won another pair of shoes from Ryka!!!! The Lotus - which I am so excited about because I debated about them the first time. I am now in love with the company. I will probably buy their shoes the rest of my life because they are the first people who have ever let me win anything!!! So if I didn't get the word out to you before, sorry. You can still enter here. I did just see Design Mom just posted about it yesterday, so I'm sure a few more hundred people have entered now, but hey - if I could win (twice!) anyone can win.

I found out I had won the second pair right after I got home from the mall after buying these shoes from Buckle (I was glad to see they have it in the midwest, I know it's kind of teen-agerish, but I still always find something I like there).

I have noticed here lately that a lot of women here have some really cute flat shoes (well, ok, the fashionable women here, which are truthfully few and far between). I don't know how I made it through all last winter wearing basically some type of mary janes that I usually wear without socks, but no can do this winter. These shoes are probably cuter on than they look here, but I did like the bit of metallic to spice it up a litte. If anyone else has seen some great flats (maybe to go with dressier stuff), let me know. Shoes are a hard buy for me though, for multiple reasons. I don't know why, but I feel like they are such a big investment that I have to love them, or they have to go with everything, because I just don't buy them that often. Plus, when Cash was born, my feet grew - from a 10 (yeah, already big enough), to a 10.5. Problem is, when they're that big, no one sells half sizes, so I end up wearing an 11 (ugh), which not only sounds terrible, but are hard to find, and are all just a little too big because I really need a 10.5. The only good thing that has ever come out of this was when I went to Steve Madden one time and the guy said "You can wear an 11?" Then he brought out a stack of shoes up to the ceiling and said he'd give me any of them for $10. I bought 10 pairs. And they were all cutesy, girly shoes that I would never buy otherwise!

Now I seem to have the same trauma buying shoes for Cash. I seriously return 5 pairs each time I try to buy shoes for him. I try to buy cheap ones since I hate paying a lot for baby clothes that they grow out of so quickly, but they're either too stiff or too hard to get on. So I finally give in and buy a pair of good ones, and then I absolutely love them and haven't regretted it yet. Last time I bought him a pair of Tip Toey Joeys (ours were a little different color that I can't find anymore):

They were awesome. So easy to get on and so soft and comfortable but still with some good grip at the bottom. I got them at Babystyle.

The Tip Toey Joey's don't really go up big enough for what I need now, and also since he's walking and it's getting to winter, I'm thinking I want something with a bit thicker sole. This time I have been drooling over these Vincent shoes for months.

But once again, I tried every cheap option first. All got returned. Well, seeing as I had a really good coupon at Babystyle, I just gave in and ordered the Vincent's. I plan on loving them just as much as the others. I'll let you know.

I'm also wishing I had a girl because I think these from Morgan and Milo are so stinking cute!

Anyway, there is my discourse on shoes. If anyone has any other favorite baby shoes that are not too stiff and easy to get on, let me know! Now go win a pair of shoes! Maybe my lucky streak will rub off on you!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Too little of a bad thing

So we just found out I got rejected from the life insurance policy we had applied for. Apparently my bad cholesterol was too low. That's right. Too low. Ryan, who has like twice the cholesterol I do was given the super preferred policy. I was rejected. What the heck? My friend Brooke said, "So eat some french fries and reapply."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

It's a litte pathetic

In all seriousness - the older I get, the dumber I get. A while back my sister and my mom and I were talking about books. My sister said, "I love listening to books on cd. It's just something about being in the car, alone, driving and listening to someone tell me this fabulous story." My mom said, "Oh, I wouldn't like that. I love having the book in my hands, anxiously turning the pages, having the novel just unfold before me." Stupid me says, "Yeah, I like to see it acted out on the big screen in two hours or less."

Seriously, as I've looked around friend's blogs lately and seen their lists of "What I'm Reading" and "Favorite Books," I'm like wow - what happened to me? I haven't read anything but parenting books since college. I actually blame it on college. There was so much assigned reading that I grew to hate reading. I used to love it growing up, but after so many years of college, reading to me = time to sleep. My roommates can attest to this. They would always laugh when they went to the library with me. It was like 20 minutes of reading, 20 minutes of sleeping, 20 minutes of reading.... and on and on. (Oh yeah, pause in there somewhere to flirt with any cute passersby).

Anyway, as my version of "What's on my shelf," I've added a list of movies we've seen recently. Recently as in the last month. Since we got our Blockbuster membership. With a couple exceptions of movies seen in the theater. (I told you we have lots of spare time, and I'm not even adding Ryan's 12-year-old movies that he gets like "Bridge to Terabithia.") And let me make the disclaimer that we're no movie critics- they're definitely not all masterpieces. Sometimes we just like to be mindlessly entertained. (Like Vin Diesel movies - come on, it's not like you're expecting good acting, but I still love them.)

There are a few I could comment on, though. Like "Wild Hogs." From the moment we saw previews we thought it looked so stupid and we NEVER wanted to see it. Then recently I've had like three people tell me how funny it is. WRONG. Very wrong. It was actually worse than we thought it would be. Just our opinion. And "Happy Feet." What happened to the feel-good animated movies? Not only was it terrible, what was with the politically charged jabs they were throwing out? Anyway, there really aren't any good movies out lately. So please, if you've seen anything (good, or even sort of good) give us some suggestions!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I can't wait for Season 4 of "The Office"!!!

This is one of my favorite scenes from "The Office." Here's to helping all you other "Office" fans get as excited as we are for Season 4! We're anxiously waiting for the Season 3 dvds and we were so bummed when our Blockbuster queue said it was a "LONG WAIT." So in the meantime, this will have to do. So for you "Office" fans, enjoy. If you're not a fan, don't bother.

Jim and Pam

Oh man, I still get chills watching this!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

My life

I've been thinking about my life lately. I've got it pretty good. Here's a summary -

  • Ryan got home around 1pm all last month. This month he's on call overnight (30+ hours at the hospital) every 4th night, but then the other days he's home by 3pm, if not earlier. Seriously not bad for residency.

  • We got a Blockbuster membership and watch at least a few movies a week. Two in a day is the max. Yep, we got lots of time on our hands.

  • Cash is at an awesome age. He's so content just walking around now, and he entertains himself really well. He seems to have a good attention span for a kid his age and can focus on one toy for a long time. (For a long time like months and months. Poor deprived child doesn't have many toys.) He's really easy-going and mild mannered.

  • I'm a lucky wife. I hear other moms talk about their husband's obsessions. Ryan has his obsessions, but these guys - sheesh. As one wife put it, there is some sport on tv that occupies her husband 52 weeks out of the year. Or there's video gaming, or being into motorcycles.... I'm pretty lucky. Ryan is mostly just obsessed with finances and our future. And that's a not a bad thing....

  • And he's a fantastic dad. Seriously, after we had Cash I realized, Oh, this is your thing. He doesn't like to cook, he's not a cleaner or an organizer, but he's a really really good dad. That's when he's totally in his element. I was a little stunned over the weekend when a friend said she went out of town for a few days and had to write ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING down for her husband - he'd never even given the kid a bath before! I really am into this dual parenting thing. I don't know what I'll do when reality hits next year and Ryan REALLY has to start working like a doctor. It's been awesome.

  • I haven't even had a church calling to take up my time! Neither has Ryan. Serious church vacation this year, I guess. Ok, so I did just get one this Sunday - play group coordinator. Yeah, I had to do a, "Sorry? What was that you said?" Yeah, I didn't know that was a calling either. Like I said, not to serious of a year. :)

  • I guess if Ryan were to add his opinion to my list of bliss, he would say that he gets free food at the hospital, which he often brings home. I'm still not sure that all the hospital food you can eat is really a good thing.

So there's my list. And now you can see why we moved all the way out of the way - just for an easy year. And we may be mad at ourselves when we have to pack up and move again next year. Grrrrrr. But until then, we'll enjoy living the good life.

The Mars Cheese Castle

Seriously, could you come up with a more intriguing name that could make me want to visit a store any more? Finally, my curiosity was satisfied this weekend when my sister Julie and her boys were in town and we payed a visit to the Mars Cheese Castle. Now, in all honesty, it really doesn't look much like a castle, and I thought maybe they would at least have blocks of cheese formed into castles, but I didn't see any. I did however, see blocks of cheese in the shapes of a cow, the state of Wisconsin, hearts, and beer mugs. Good enough. And I did get to sample tons of different cheeses, including chicken noodle soup cheese (true to taste), and the squeakiest squeaky cheese I've ever had. Julie even brought home some chocolate fudge cheese. (I've still been too chicken to try it. I love chocolate and I love cheese. I would hate for anything to traumatize that....)

(This packaged cheese is supposed to be an "I heart WI", I think.)

We also visited Apple Holler, and had the BEST buffet breakfast there. Nothing gourmet, but some mmmmmmm, this is seriously good breakfast food - including cheesy potatoes, biscuits, sausage and gravy, apple fritters, and on and on. Plus they have a bunch of stuff for the kids - mazes, bounce houses, pony rides, hay rides, etc. Didn't pick any apples (didn't want to feel obligated to do something with a whole 1/2 bushel - the smallest amount you could pick), but we had a great time.

Mostly Cash was just in heaven having two boys to chase around all weekend. And they're the perfect ages - they think he's cute, not annoying. Good thing, because Cash insisted on walking around like this most of the weekend:

And we also got to feed the ducks. Cash wasn't too happy that we kept throwing out perfectly good bread.

Awesome time. We were sad to see them go. And it's so much more effort to entertain!!