Thursday, September 26, 2013

Birchbox: September

September snuck up on me kind of fast.  I won't lie.  It sees like time is just speeding by and the next things I know it will be Christmas.  Uffda.  But I'm glad fall is here.  I love Fall!  With all of the changes I have going on in my personal life, it's good to be able to pamper myself with some little Birchbox Treats.


Here's what I got this month:


Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Sensitive.  I tried this the day after I got it.  I'm not sure if it is the big LOVE though.  I've never used a peel before.  It doesn't smell stellar, not even good.  It went on smooth enough and felt fine.  Until my face started to feel like I had rubbed a hot pepper all over it.  I've never used a peel before so I didn't know what to expect.  When I rinsed my face after the required 10 minutes (and maybe a few more), my skin looked ok.  I did notice some positive changes in the days following.




RUFFIAN The Crowdsourced Collection, $24.00.  I got that lovely Fox Hunt shade in the middle, though I would have loved the hell out of the purple.  I actually like the color, which is interesting because I'm not a fan of orange. And you can't bring up the brand without bringing up the manicure...I wont do it.  And FYI...there is a difference between a Ruffian and a Half Moon mani...they're two different things!  But, back to the polish.  I wasn't thrilled with the size.  Check out this pic I just took at my desk...



So what I'm trying to show you is that...if you buy a Birchbox and get this is in for $10 along with some other great samples, that's awesome.  But I cannot for the life of me figure out why anyone would pay $8 apiece for a set of what comes to roughly .51 fl oz of regular polish.  The other thing I really didn't like...the top.  It looks great and spiffy in photos...it's really cool to look at.   It is apparently "unique and deco-inspired".  I think it looks great, using it isn't so great.  Either way you're grabbing the edge of the top that sticks out, leavings and unstable feeling, or the round top...which doesn't feel super great to me either.  But I can see how some might like it.  But moving on... I actually like the polish, not $8 like but I like it.  The color is incredibly RICH and that is what is awesome about this polish.  I haven't found anything that describes it as fast drying, but I noticed this set REALLY fast as well.  I would have been ok with one coat but did two out of habit.  I didn't use a topcoat just to see what kind of wear I got and this held like a true champ.  Overall, I'm not thrilled about the price...it just isn't in my budget.  But if that price truly isn't a hard line for you, then I highly recommend this polish. 





Beauty Protector Protect & Shampoo/Conditioner, $21.95.   Just to clarify, I had one bottle of shampoo and one bottle of conditioner in my box this month.  I REALLY love the smell of this.  It is very familiar and I can't name what I think it is.  But it is delicious and I love it.  My hair came out clean, not dragged down or overly conditioned.  I might buy this just for the smell. 





Soak Rinse-Free Wash, $16.00.  I haven't tried this yet.  All I got was a little pouch of it and I don't really know what I have that I want to put it through rinse-free wash.  My laundry is pretty basic and uncomplicated.  I might get around to washing my Cashmere in this but I guess we'll see. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Breaking up is hard to do

Some of you may or may not have noticed that I removed mention of being a Stepparent in training (does anyone actually read this?).  Yes, sadly, the boyfriend and I are no longer.  The end is unfortunate, and perhaps I shouldn't say anything about it as there are situations pending, but I feel like I need to emotionally purge.  I do not hate him.  I do not know if I love him anymore...clearly not enough to be in a relationship with him.  I don't know if I care; I must care because I'm hurting. That is all that I know right now.

I am hurting....

What more is there to say?  I'm hurting for all of the good things about him that I really loved, many of which I rarely got to see in the last few months.  I'm hurting for all of the things I wanted from him.  From Us.  All the things I once greatly believed that I thought we could be.

I am hurting....

Over the betrayals and the broken promises that every ending relationship has.  Over the hurts we caused each other that, in hindsight, caused use to grow and change in ways that weren't healthy and drove us away from each other.  Over feeling like I wish two people could just walk away when it is clearly over without destroying whatever goodness once existed between us.  Over what he did that made me feel like it had to end the way it did.

I'm hurting....

because my apartment that I allowed him to move into with me feels so tainted.  Nearly everything in that home is mine, things I worked for and earned and brought into the relationship.  We acquired very little together, perhaps I knew it would end up like this.  But now nothing feels like mine and mine alone...everything in there he has touched or used at some point.  I'm also left with a pile of things that he broke and we were "making do" until it could be replaced.  Some things he replaced with something similar, or something I'd rather have and while he bought them for me to replace what he ruined, I feel like HE bought them versus he REPLACED them.  He didn't come with much of his own, and I don't think he ever had to deal with the hurt of having what he worked so hard to earn carelessly ruined by another person and might never understand what that feels like.  I also have the pain of the things he broke that can never be replaced...like gifts from my father.

I'm hurting....

Because I've spent the last few days packing up his things; I haven't been able to attack the house and try and scrub away every DNA trace that he was every there and until I manage that I'm not going to feel right. And because even after I scrub it away, I'm very aware that I can't scrub him away from my heart or the impact on the my life, both good and bad.  It's only been a few days.  I still feel "programmed" to his schedule, and find myself having a hard time at the hour I would normally be preparing dinner and waiting for him to come home.  Going to bed is hard...every night he insisted that a fan be blowing, and I'm no longer cold but I still feel my foot reaching out for his warm leg.

I'm hurting....

because I know it isn't over.  His stuff is still there and while I've tried to be kind and fair and good about making sure that everything that is his gets returned...I'm afraid he is still hurting and angry and will seek to be hurtful towards me by taking everything he can from me, spitefully nickle and dime-ing me for small things after destroying or ruining so many of my belongings.  It makes me sad that I really feel he will lash out at me with as much fury and spite as he can.

I'm hurting....

because his daughter is going to be hurt.  We grew close over the years, and while I admittedly often felt incredible frustration and even resentment at the fact that I often felt taken advantage of in regards to being left responsible for her care and well-being, there are things I did and choices I made because I genuinely love her.  I will probably never see her again.  I will not pursue a relationship with her because of the way things stand between her father and I.  I would not be able to have a separate relationship with her without consequences from him and that is sad.  But I hope she knows I loved her, and that I fought to be a positive influence in her life until it got to a point that I could no longer do it.  She is a bright and beautiful girl who could grow up to do and be something really great, I will forever hope for her.

I'm hurting....

because I loved him.  I can admit that at this moment, I still love him for all the the good things we shared and were to each other.  I love him for being the kind of person that, once upon a time, I could tell almost anything to.  For a long time, he supported me without question.  He spoiled me and it made him happy to do so.  We shared secrets.  I'm overwhelmed with the sadness that I'm losing someone that was once my best friend and that we will never be able to at the very least have that friendship ever again.


In my heart of hearts, I truly want to believe that he really did love me.  I believe that he loved me more than he knew how to handle, that he wanted to spoil me and be good to me and make me happy...but he just never learned how to act.  I think he wanted to love me, he just really and truly did not know how.  So here I am learning how to live again.  Live without this person I loved so much and create a "new life" for myself and it is so hard.

This is a pretty pointless post.  I just wanted to get those feelings out there, maybe someone can relate....just so you know that you're not alone though you might feel that way.

Friday, September 20, 2013

HALLOWEEN GIVEAWAY 2013!!!!!!!!



Have I told you how much I LOVE Halloween? It truly is the most wonderful time of the year! So to spread the Halloween cheer, I'm doing a Witchy Halloween Giveaway! But...will it be a Trick or a Treat? 



Check me out lookin' Witchy Halloween 2010


I'm giving away 2 super awesome, Witchy Surprises from yours truly!  My blog lacks focus, so expect nothing less from my Halloween Giveaway! It could be anything...something I've mentioned on my blog (Julep and Birchbox Products included), sweet treats, Farmer's Market finds, beauty products, nail polish, nail art supplies, Halloween Decor, a crappy Pinterest Craft done by one of my kids...the possibilities are ENDLESS!!!

What it will NOT be: a living animal, edibles from MY kitchen, alcohol (because I'm selfish), adult goods or services (buy your own already!), body parts, crap from my garage, ABC Gum, used goods (because ew!).....basically, don't expect me to personally make you food (because let's be honest, you have no idea what my kitchen looks like and I respect that), anything that might bring me to the attention to the Federal Government or get me arrested, or anything one should never send to another person in the mail. 

It's super easy! I was using Rafflecopter but experienced some problems (everyone who used it gets honorable entry).  So....one prize for Twitter, one for Facebook users (or 2 entries if you use both!)


1. Like my Facebook Page

2. Post on my wall what you like about More Than Cheese and Beer or your favorite post.

3. Share the photo that can be found on the Giveaway announcement on Facebook

The other way to win:

1. Follow me on Twitter  @mkitchenwitch

2. Retweet my Giveaway Announcement!

The winner will be announced on October 17th, 2013. Once announced please send me your address information. ALSO, while this is a MYSTERY Giveaway, please let me know of any food allergies with your mailing information so we can avoid a terrible situation.

Open only to entries from the United States (sorry, but customs HATES my wallet).  

Thursday, September 19, 2013

DYON: Why I Do My Own Nails (With PICTURES!)

OPI and Seche Vite

DYON = Do Your Own Nails

This is (hopefully) part one of where I share with you my tips, tricks and tools I've learned to do your own nails! I get lots of compliments and I've invested a lot of time and money into having nice nails and I'd love to share what I know, and what other people know, with everyone!  Everyone should do their own nails...with all the different things out there to do and try, there is no reason not to anymore!  You can get great results at home!  Here is why I do my own nails....


OPI and Jamberry Nail Wraps

Cost 
I've done my nails on my own most of my life.  I was that girl sporting 3-4 colors a week in middle school.  In high school, I occasionally got them done for senior pictures or prom but I didn't have the income or a job where I could have salon acrylics like some of the other girls.  I spent my high school years a little jealous of the girls who had parents who let them go to the salon and get their nails done every month.  I don't remember what happened when I went to college.  The point is...it's cheaper, especially if you like to try a lot of different things or change polish a lot.


Gold and Black Crowns using Konad

Bad Salon Experience  
I've had a few bad experiences, mostly at Chop-Shops

What is a Chop-Shop, you ask?  It's a little slang I've learned for those nail places that are the equivalent of a Nascar Pit Stop for your nails.  You show up, sit down, and with a few swipes of a drill and a quick brush over you're done and out the door.  They're usually the ones offering the cheapest manicures...as in so cheap it benefits them to get people in and out as fast as they can in order to make money.  

If you've never seen a pit stop, check out this one done for a commercial in Times Square done by the Red Bull Team.  

I've been to a few before I learned better.  I once got nicked and the guy tried to glue it back with nail glue and pretend it didn't happen.  I once had something green develop under my nail.  I've had bubbles and uneven acrylic, nails that pulled up and damaged nails.
The worst experience I ever has was when I thought I had finally found a place for me to go, until one terrible evening when I got a very unhappy nail technician.  It was my first pedicure and she spent the entire time threatening to make me sweep the floor because of everything she scrubbed off them.  I'd asked for a fill and polish, and a pedicure.  When she finished humiliating me via pedicure, she looked at my nails and decided to chew me out because I didn't need a fill yet (I was still "green", how was I supposed to know?).  She removed my polish and I paid her, including a generous tip because while she had humiliated and insulted me, she had still done the work.  She then started doing my french manicure using a technique where she applied the polish, then removed a perfect "smile" with a brush dipped in acetone.  As she was doing it, she told me, "You know...you could do this at home yourself for free".  Then, she added a white stripe between the pink and the rest of my nail and told me how she normally charged extra for that...like she was doing me some kind of kindness.

In hindsight, I should have walked out.  At the time, I think I was too stunned...plus I was in the middle of a mani/pedi.  But I never went back and in the meantime I've learned about Chop-Shops. 

OPI, Silver Striper and Seche Vite
Risk of Infection  
Infections you can contract via nail salons include athlete's foot, warts, Swine Flu, MRSA and Hepatitis.  Not all salons are obviously dirty, but if you know what to look for...you might notice some things that will make you shudder.  Improperly sanitized tools, even manicurist's hands and nails, can spread infection if not cleaned between clients.  


Gold polish, black striper, Seche Vite


Self-Care Pride
Yes, going and having someone else take care of you feels nice.  I can't deny that.  But there is a certain amount of pride that comes from taking good care of YOURSELF.  And what you get compliments?  Even more worth it. 

OPI, Sally Hansen, Purple Striper, Seche Vite


Fun Hobby/Creative Expression
Some people knit, some people do crosswords...I do my nails.  It can be fun!  It is also a great hobby when you're trying to lose weight because you can't snack with wet nails.  It is also a way to express yourself.

Galaxy Nails,  @cutepolish  re-creation

Satisfaction
When someone else does my nails, I look them over and if I find an imperfection it will drive me wild.  Doing your own nails means you are never left with something you don't like or unsure about, and you can change/remove anything you are unhappy with. 

SensatioNail and Rhinestones
 SensatioNail and Julep Polish


OPI and Seche Vite

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I am not Inspector Gadget (NSFW)

If you're offended by the word "Vagina" or talking about vaginas...stop here.  There is nothing in this post you want to read.  Just click somewhere else and let's continue to be friends, ok?

In the past few months, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend on my Facebook newsfeed.  And I’m not talking about the memes with pictures of abused children/animals, people experiencing medical emergencies, and people holding signs for “Likes” so they can have a puppy.   I’m not even going to complain about the pictures of old ladies that say shit like “Share, or your Grandma will DIE!”.   Not today, anyway.  No, what’s bothering me today is the Vaginas.  Yes….the bajingos, bearded clams, vertical smiles, cookies, and whisker biscuits.

I love Art in all forms-painting, sculpture, architecture, music and poetry, body art, photography, drama and dancing.   Being a creative person myself, I love to see the different ways others express themselves and I’ve befriended many artists.   Many of them share their own work; some frequently share works they like as well. I’m not a prude and I don’t mind nudes.  I’m just not the kind of person who is offended by the human body-we’ve all got one and some are frickin fantastic (feel free to let your mind wander to Channing Tatum or Bart Rochon, I completely understand.  And if you don't know who Bart Rochon is...GOOGLE HIM.  I  keep a signed postcard from that handsome honey on my desk).   But I’m not going to spout off some crap about the human body being beautiful either because there is nothing beautiful about testicles or “Bea Arthur Naked”.

But this thing on my newsfeed is something else.  I have an artist friend who has taken to sharing art that she likes.  It didn't take long before I started to notice that this woman is a little bit obsessed with naked women, and vajayjays.  Her own art often features female figures with exaggerated lady bits-think Kim Kardashian’s ass on steroids.  The art she shares varies, but there are always naked women and vaginas; even the digital art screams Georgia O’Keeffe only less talented.



Flower of Life II by Georgia O'Keeffe


When it first started happening, I thought there was something wrong with me.  I know that seems like an exaggerated response, but I was seeing SO many lady parts during the day that I was starting to feel like an underpaid OB/GYN; the only difference was that I had to look at it all day and not, you know, glove up and do shit with them.



I DON"T have what it takes to be a Gyno Girl


And lesbihonest, who the hell sees bajingos everywhere?  Was there a “change” my mom or the high school health teacher forgot to stand in front of me and give me an incredibly awkward speech about?  Was I having a heterosexual crisis?   I’ve always been attracted to men who are on the heavier side; was I dating men with moobs because I really wanted to be dating someone with boobs?  I went through a pretty intense personal scrutiny about my sexual preference…somewhere in the past 27 years did I miss all the signs that I was a lesbian?

I finally had to ask someone else.  And I asked a lot of other people...men and women, straight and gay, young and old.  They all told me the same thing and I learned a whole bunch of new words for vagina, including "bird" (this has amused me to no end since I heard it).  So either everyone I know, plus a whole bunch of strangers on the internet, are unrefined classless oafs who are incredibly ignorant about art or this woman spends her entire day looking at and creating vaginas and strange breasts in mixed media.

And, for the record, I'm not anti-vagina.  You can't be "anti-vagina" when you are the life support system for one...I mean, I guess you CAN be but it seems really counter-productive to me.  Isn't it easier to hate Monsanto or other socially acceptable objects of hatred like Nazis, or children's cartoon characters?  I'm not saying we should get all "Hail the V" commercial about it, but you know...like it enough to give it a cute name, and maybe a V-Steam from time to time. 



All Hail the V

Now, I know ART isn't the worst thing I could have popping up on my newsfeed (guy who likes and comments on "The Cougar Club" had his status messages turned off months ago).  All I'm saying is  I'm starting to get funny looks from people who sit behind me in places like coffee shops, and I'm afraid people in my living room or at work are all starting to think I'm some kind of weirdo because of all the multicolored nipples and what looks like pearl tickling going on.  Just, quit with the frickin who-has all day...because if this keeps up, I'm going to unfriend you and send you a batch of Vulva/Vagina Cupcakes...and I'll even make them myself. 


P.S.  If I didn't use enough "Pet Names for Genitalia" here is Tom Green singing about them as a little bonus!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Jalapeno Time!



Last week, a fellow blogger requested recipes for what to do with Jalapenos.  Here is what I do with mine.

Zucchini Cornbread Casserole

Ingredients
4 cups shredded zucchini (about 2 zucchini)
1 onion, chopped (I used ½ an onion)
1 jalapeno, seeds removed, finely chopped
2 eggs, beaten
1 (8.5 ounce) package dry corn muffin mix
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 ounces Cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8X8 dish.
2. In a large bowl mix together the zucchini, onion, eggs, muffin mix, salt and pepper. Stir in half of the cheese. Spread this mixture into a greased 8x8 dish; top with remaining 4 ounces of cheese.
3. Bake in a preheated oven for 45 minutes.


Chicken Pot Pie
Follow the link to the Betty Crocker Pot Pie Recipe.  I've modified this for my use at home--changed ratio of crust/insides, making my own sauce, ect.  But one thing I always do is add 1/2 cup cheddar cheese to the Bisquick batter, and half a diced jalapeno (more if you want).  Then I bake.  I put some melted butter on the top when it is done baking and sprinkle with Garlic Salt.
http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/impossibly-easy-chicken-pot-pie/f56faec7-3303-4720-9e68-adbd534fb0f6


Cheese Dip!
This tastes BETTER than the cheese dip served at my local Mexican Restaurant.  The jalapenos are delicious, but I've been known to toss in a habenero too.
http://www.seededatthetable.com/2010/11/04/queso-blanco-the_first_attempt/



Buzzard Eggs
This is a local favorite at a popular restaurant in town.  They take a chicken breast strip, pound it flat and wrap in around Monterrey Jack cheese and some sliced jalapenos, then wrap in it bacon and deep-fry it and serve it with ranch.  Here is a recipe from Table for 7.  I haven't perfected it yet, but I'm working on a recipe for bacon wrapped chicken breast that incorporated all of these elements.


Try adding them to these foods and dishes:
Chili
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Eggs
Cornbread
Hush puppies
Cheese Grits
Cheesy Potatoes
Loaded Baked Potatoes (or Twice Baked Potatoes)
Pickles
Hamburgers
Nacho Cheese
Homemade macaroni and cheese

Other ways to use Jalapenos (I've heard of these but never tried to make them myself and therefor do not have a recipe):
Cowboy Candy
Jalapeno poppers
Jalapeno jelly
Jalapeno Tequila
Jalapeno Popper dip

Insomnia Thoughts: Beauty Tips/Trends to AVOID



It's 5 a.m.  Unfortunately, after taking a much needed and incredibly long nap after getting home from work I am unable to sleep.  I did all of the usual things like laying in bed playing hours of games, reading advice columns online, even tried having a conversation with the cat.  I finally gave up and got out of bed.  And here I am.  I decided to clean and reorganize the freezer and that didn't go over so well.  So I decided to do some work on my corner of the bathroom and actually made some progress.  But then I decided I wanted to whiten my teeth and it was all downhill from there.  And here I am, bringing you all the things people and the internet will tell you to do, or things that might sound like a really good idea and aren't!

Teeth Whitening!  As we speak, I'm using a white strip.  I really and truly hate these things.  For starters, I am using the name brand ones that are really old.  Do these things have an expiration date?  I don't know.  Anyway.  I'm using the original white strips, the ones that don't stick so well so I put them on and put on my retainer over it.  Somewhere there is an orthodontist fuming with a "Why you shouldn't..." speech.  I'm not recommending it.  What I'm trying to warn you about is wearing these things too long.  I have sensitive teeth, and I think a really big part of it is because I'm kind of stupid.  I once put a white strip in my retainer, and then had this genius idea that I could just fall asleep and wake up with incredibly white teeth because it would be on for longer and it would work out and be wonderful.  All I have to say about that is NO!  I woke up with teeth so sore that merely breathing on them left me wincing in pain.  Luckily, when my dentist quit laughing (and he did a little bit) they offered me something to help with the pain.  I decided I deserved to suffer for my stupidity and tonight is the first time since that unfortunate accident that I've use the strips.  If I had to recommend anything, stick to good oral hygiene and whitening toothpaste unless you really need something else and then follow the directions to the letter.

Color contacts are something you purchase.  You cannot DIY your own colored contacts. I've never done this, but I've seen the after effects...bright green eye slime and bloodshot eyes.  Just don't do it.  Always wear and clean your contacts as directed.  And in the event that one falls out in public and you don't have solution...DON'T SPIT ON IT!

About your hair... over the years, I've put a lot of crap in my hair and learned a few things.  Red is the color that fades the fastest.  When using any kind of coloring or dye, if it is isn't permanent it will more than like run, even if it says it wont.  If you're blond, don't use shampoo for Brunettes or Redheads, there are color deposits in those and you'll wind up muddy or pink.  Here's the list of popular DIY no-nos: Bananas-I don't care what any professional, beauty blogger or magazine writer says, I had to wash 3 times then pick banana chunks out of my hair, clean my brush, and repeat; baby oil-no...it's not like a hot oil treatment and it doesn't rinse right out; Beer-waste of alcohol, my hair always looks the same as it did getting in...just drink the beer; eggs-gross!; mayo-even grosser and doesn't wash out so well; and vinegar-sure it has some benefits for your hair, but you'll smell like a pickle for days.

Toothpaste on zits. It will dry up a pimple, but it will also turn it red and cause peeling.

Smearing glue on your face and peeling it is not the same as using a blackhead strip.

Don't just think you can buy essential oils and dump them in your tub.  Do some research about how to use them, or you'll end up sitting in a bathtub wondering why everything from the chest down feels like a sunburn covered in vapor rub.

Hot wax is not your friend.  If you have somehow managed to develop some talent for waxing your eyebrows and mustache then more power to you.  But do not, under an circumstances, attempt a bikini wax at home.  If you need a reason, google wax joke.  There is only one, and we all find it funny because many of us have done it.


*I waited 5 days to post this and decided it would be useful.  I'll update as I find more Beauty Tips to Avoid*

Monday, September 16, 2013

COUPONS!



I have a love/hate relationship with coupons.  I never watched that "Extreme Couponing" show.  While I'm all about savings, I am still of the mind that my time is valuable too and I'm not going to waste it all just to save a buck.  I might clip coupons, but I'm not going to be that person clipping coupons every day, then poring over the ads, planning shopping trips, and on and on and on.  Those people scare me.

I SHOULD learn to keep a price book.  But I'm lazy...a fact that I've never hidden.

What I do know is that coupons, combined with in-store savings can equal some really great deals.  These are the sites I use for coupons:

S.C. Johnson.  If you don't know their name....well, I don't know what can be done with you.  They are the makers of Raid, Off!, Kiwi, Scrubbing Bubbles, Pledge, Windex, Glade, Ziploc, Shout and Drano (did I miss any?)  They've just articles to read, recipes to try, sweepstakes to win, and coupons! https://www.rightathome.com

Proctor and Gamble....the makers of everything S.C. Johnson doesn't make.  Just kidding....kind of.  They have a whole list of brands Always, Aussie, Bounce, Tide, Cascade, Duracell...go look because the list is endless.  A couple times a year, they put out the P&G Brandsaver in newspapers across the country.  Here is where to sign up for their articles, giveaways and coupons  http://www.pgeveryday.com

Oh, Betty Crocker, what would I ever do without you?  The Betty Crocker site sends me recipes and coupons.  Sign up here.  http://www.bettycrocker.com

This is a new site I haven't gotten to take for a spin yet.  Apparently, you use their coupons and they send money to charity.  http://www.commonkindness.com

Red Plum.  They have coupons in the paper almost every Sunday http://www.save.com/coupons/

*Some other tips....

-Check the site of the product you want, sometimes they offer coupons on the website you can print or email to yourself for signing up, liking them on social media, or by request.

-Learn how sales run at stores you get the best deal at.  If you can afford to wait, and your coupon will still be good then cool your jets for a week or two when it comes to buying products.

-Learn what stores offer special sales.  For example, Walgreens has an extra booklet of coupons they keep by the ads...SUPER SAVINGS.  They also have coupons only available at the beauty counter so get to know those ladies a little bit.  (That's how I saved on my SensatioNail)

-Coupons on usually good on clearance too so don't forget to get the sales there.

-Find friends to do a coupon exchange with.  I've heard of people meeting up and swapping, I've also heard of people sending envelopes in a mailing exchange. You receive the envelope, take what you want, put what you have that they don't want back in the envelope and send it on to the next person.

-Consider magazines.  ALL YOU magazine ( http://www.allyou.com )  features money saving tips and tricks in every issue, and features coupons in EVERY issue.  Plus, their website is full of extras!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

How to: Stop Shampooing Daily

Yup.  You heard me correctly and you might even be thinking that's gross. But I'm telling you not shampooing every day might be the best thing I've ever done when it comes to my hair.  For the past 15 years, I believed that I needed to wash my hair every day and I was convinced that I could not go a day without it and I could never be one of those people who doesn't HAVE to get up and shampoo every day, but I am now!  I had the same fears as everyone else; I did not want to look like a walking grease monster, and I have a strong aversion to the smell of dirty hair (everyone should, but I seem to be particularly sensitive to it).  The idea of not washing my hair every day disgusted me at one point too.

But the past few years I started to noticed that my hair wouldn't grow past a certain point.  I was having to clean the brushes more frequently, not to mention all the hair I was finding in the bottom of the shower.  I don't want to say that I was losing hair, but...I was and lots of it.  It took a visit to a new stylist who gave me a really great cut, and super fun color that I really loved to get me on the right track.  While I was sitting there in the chair, I told my stylist how I really wanted her co-workers hair, because it was so thick and it always absolutely perfect every time I saw her.  My stylist looked at me and told me that not only was most of it fake and if I look really close I can see where her real hair ends and the extensions begin, but most of the girls there only wash their hair 2-3 times per week.  Then she told me that because we had just put RED in my hair, I should train my hair so that I could wash it less and gave me some tips how to and suggested I do some research online.

I listened.  The color stays beautiful much longer, my hair grew like it hadn't grown in years (really fast!) and it was thicker and healthier.  I've had some moments since then where I slip and return to my old ways, there's just something about washing your hair that feels SO good, but now I value it even more.  At the very least, I'm washing twice a week and at the most every other day.  Here are my tips how to do it....

You Need:
Shower cap
Dry Shampoo  
Hair Accessories (this is one of the best parts!  Think cute clips, barrettes, snoods, buns, and things to make up dos fun!)

Optional:
Restyler
Boar Bristle Brush

This process can take 2-6 weeks so pick a time when you don't have any special events, or things planned.  I definitely noticed things were better by week 2, but it got better and better as time went on.  I'll break the process into days.

Day 1:  You want to start by washing your hair (I chose to do this part at the beginning of the weekend, but you can start any day). In my experience, it's better to use a salon product as I have not had much luck doing this with drugstore brands but if you can make it work then by all means keeps doing what you do.  After drying, style as you normally would.

Day 2: Tuck your hair up under shower cap and shower.  Do not wash your hair.  Day 2 is an excellent day for curls (I've always heard hair that is a little dirty styles better).  Consider a little teasing or backcombing to lift the hair away from the scalp a little bit.

Day 3: Cover your hair while showering again.  Do not wash.  Use dry shampoo to absorb excess oil.  This is a great day for an updo to get it out of your face.  This is the day I use a scarf or make a bun.   Sometimes, I use a restyler instead of Dry Shampoo and get a more scrunched version of the curls from Day 2 and leave it down.  It dries fast and smells pleasant.  (Psssst! Dry Shampoo is my favorite because it smells the best)


Day 4: Wash and start process over.  What I find is I have to use more shampoo, sometimes I have to wash twice for it to feel clean.  You should only apply conditioner to the ends and sparingly to the rest of hair.  This is an excellent time to apply from the bottom of the hair and work up,  But washing will feel like it has never felt before.

After a few weeks, you scalp will start to adjust and stop producing the extra oil.  Once you reach that point, you can continue to lengthen the time between washings if you choose.  I've heard of people who wash their hair once a week, and I've heard of people who go weeks between washing.  I also like to rinse my hair in the shower and I can go longer without washing, sometimes it just makes things more comfortable but I don't suggest doing in until after you've trained for a few weeks.  If I want to make it another day, I rinse on Day 3, use Restyler on Day 4, on Day 5 I rinse and do an updo with a scarf, or a hat.

Hairspray is your best and worst friend.  Too much and your scalp will feel extra gunky when you're transitioning. But when teasing and getting hair off your scalp on day two, and on Updo day when you really need a firm, sleek look... hairspray is your best friend.

I've always heard boar bristles are good for your hair because they're gentle, natural and tend to "drag" the oils through your hair, distributing them.  I have no idea if that is true, but a boar bristle gets that really sleek look for up dos.

Learn one technique for how to use dry shampoo from Leslee Lee HERE.  I do something similar....I spray it in and work it around a bit, then flip my head over and blow dry upside down.  I then run a brush through it.  Different strokes for different folks, find what works for you.  I stumbled across the pin for this post on Pinterest and I just love her face and had to share it.

The positive things I noticed...
Overall, I feel like my hair is healthier.  My hair seems to be growing faster even though I know it isn't and I've really just reduced the amount of damage I was doing to it.  I went from coloring about every 3-4 weeks to coloring every 6+ weeks.  Less damage means less breakage and it looks like it is growing faster/more when in reality I just quit breaking it.

I might be washing twice when I do, but I'm definitely saving on shampoo and conditioner.  I even bought BETTER (read: more expensive) and I'm still saving money because I'm using less.  I'm also saving a lot on styler because my hair not only tends to maintain a little bit of the shape from the day before, but also the product.  A little mist of something new and I'm ready to go again.

Less fading...I'm able to save money on coloring because I can go longer between touch-ups.  I'm not buying products to counter-act the damage.  My hair looks beautiful for longer.

I used to get dandruff when the seasons would change.  I haven't had a problem from dandruff in nearly 9 months.

I have lots of cute hair things now and they actually get used because they're crucial and not just an option.  I have those bun maker things now, and all kinds of pretty clips and combs that I use.  I'm actually using my hair scarves and wearing my hats.  I don't know why I never really used them before, but I feel like they serve a purpose more now.  I have bun makers, snoods, knitted hats, clips, barrettes, things with rhinestones and flowers and glitter and feathers.

I'm saving time.  When I was training, it did take about as much time to do my hair as it would have to style it fresh out of the shower.  I think a huge part of that was I was very self-conscious because I felt greasy and yucky those first few weeks, but now that my scalp isn't freaking out with oil anymore it is really easy to work with dry hair.

I LOVE washing my hair now.  It has made the easiest, smallest task that I really liked before into an experience.  Have you ever seen those old shows where the girl turns down a guy for a date because she is going to be washing her hair?  It was a way to let a guy down gently that you didn't want to go out with, but now I think it is a completely valid excuse.


The negative things I noticed...
The first 2 weeks suck.  Your head feels ishy, and you feel grungy and icky.  I'm not going to lie about this part.  The training is hard because you WANT to go scrub your scalp.

Once you make the decision to stop washing daily, you kind of have to stick with it.  If you stray from whatever schedule you establish even just one or two extra washes, there's a back track effect when you basically have to start from scratch again.  It goes a lot faster the second or third time around and it is much easier, but you're going to have to deal with some scalp irritation.

There is always someone who is going to tell you that they think you're being gross, and it doesn't matter how good or clean your hair looks, feels and smells.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

DOLLAR STORE GOODIES!!!



I went shopping the other night and took a cruise through the local Dollar Store.  We currently have two, and they're building a Big Lots right now (I really LOVE Big Lots, but rarely get to go so I am very excited).  As I was walking around, I started to think of all the things I'd gotten at dollar stores over the years that were a really great deal and I wish I had been buying them there all along.

 Now, just to clarify...you do need to keep an eye on things like the size of the package.  One thing I've learned is that certain products that are "only a dollar" and look like a great deal are actually smaller sizes than what you normally would purchase at the grocery store, so you're getting less and it looks like your paying less but if you were to compares cost per unit or ounce (or whatever the measurement might be) you'd find that you were paying the same price.



  1. Seasonal/Holiday Decorations.  I love Halloween.  Last year I bought a few really great things for my home and I even spent a little extra to decorate my department at work.  It is a small department, but I decorated it with $15 and it really put a smile on people's faces.  When it was all said and done...I didn't feel bad or upset when the cardboard cutouts got a little ripped or the garland fell apart.  
  2. Party Supplies.  Balloons, streamers, and cheesy party favors all at a great price.
  3. Gift Bags and Tissue Paper.  We reuse gift bags in my family.  It is not unusual to see the same gift bags this Christmas as you did last year.  
  4. Wrapping Paper and Bows.  Maybe I'm cheating a little by using this one, but they have the cutest bows and let's be honest...they just get ripped off and thrown on the floor or worn on some kid's head for the rest of the night anyway.
  5. Holiday Extras.  Last year at Christmas, I bought stocking stuffers for the kids and stuff to make grab bags in case we ended up seeing the boyfriend's nieces and nephews.  I try to stay away from a lot of sweets on holidays, but I walked out with a couple of bags of candy to split, Rubik's cubes, Wiggle Worms, Duncan Butterfly Yo-yos (my personal favorite), activity books, toe socks, small puzzles and a couple of little games.  The irony? You can spend $100's at Christmas time and the things the kids will play with first (and the most) are the ones from the Dollar Store.  
  6. Glow Sticks.  Every year my town has what they call a "Torchlight Parade" for Oktoberfest.  It is held at night and all of the floats are lit up.  It is really great.  But then the vendors walk by with all of their Glow Jewelry. The vendors will sell them for $2.50-5 EACH.  I can buy necklaces, bracelets, glow sticks in more colors for $1 each.  Kids love glow sticks and the uses are endless....Halloween, toss them in a grab bag for a birthday party, whatever
  7. Organizational Totes.  Sometimes I get a little excited and decide to do stupid things...like rearrange the refrigerator and put plastic bins that I've labeled with what kind of food is in it...smart idea, doesn't work for the people I live with who prefer to just shove stuff in the fridge.  They have such a variety there that it isn't hard to find something for messy desk drawers, shelves, refrigerators, craft supplies....just about anything you could really want to do.
  8. Craft Supplies.  Mostly for the kids, but I saw some things that would greatly decrease my "Trying because I saw it on Pinterest and it looks so cool" spending.  Check here for things like glitter, magnets, glue, fake flowers and I've heard good things about their glitter glue.
  9. Home Decor Accessories.  Right now in my living room is a bouquet of flowers that I bought at the Farmer's Market.  They're in a vase I bought at Goodwill, and filled with Aqua Beads I bought at the Dollar Store.  If I knew then what I know now (while they look tres chic, if you use too many in your vase and then try to rearrange your bouquet the little CLEAR wet balls will waterfall over the edge of the vase and go everywhere and it will take forever to find them).  But...I'm kind of ok with just tossing out the whole vase when the flowers die because the beads are so cheap.  You can also find other kinds of decorative glassware, glass disks, glass marbles, polishes river rocks ect.
  10. Activity Books.  Can you get a better price on something your kid is going to scribble on, or you'll get bored with eventually and lose?  Sudoku, word searches, crosswords, kids' coloring and activity books...they have all kinds of stuff. 
  11. Office Supplies.  I haven't looked too deep into this, but how much do you really need to spend on paperclips?
  12. Nail Art Supplies.  I tend to stick with more names brands when it comes to polish, but I won't hesitate to purchase glitters, sequins, strips, stickers, temporary tattoos, or rhinestones from the dollar store.
  13. Nail buffers, files and ect for kids.  This sounds terrible, but I prefer it if the kids have their own nail files and aren't ruining using my expensive buffer. 
  14. Orange Sticks. They break, get yucky, ect awful fast so why not?
  15. Chapstick/Lip balm/cheap lip gloss-especially if people in your home lose them.  Chapstick 3/$1 can't be beat.
  16. Beauty products.  From time to time, I see name brand makeup eyeliners or mascara and I always snatch it up. 
  17. Hand soap.  The store closest to me sells Softsoap in the pumps and the refill bottles...can't say no to that. 
  18. Body Wash.  I've bought some name brand bottles here before.  Whether or not you can buy body wash here really depends on your family's needs.
  19. Hand Sanitizer.  You can get the pump size bottles here.
  20. Tissues.  I find the Scotties brand of facial tissue to be comparable, if not better, than Kleenex.
  21. Hydrogen Peroxide.  Same stuff in the same size bottle as what you'll buy in the box store.
  22. Body poufs.  We don't dispose of poufs nearly enough in my house, but if we did it as much as we should I'd be buying the replacements here.  I never have much luck with them "holding up" no matter what I pay so there isn't a question of quality for me. 
  23. No Damage Hair Elastics.  I buy the little plastic ones, and the large fabric ones.  We go through these like crazy at my house and they're constantly getting lost, sometimes even broken so it is great to be able to just buy 3 packs of 25 and be done with it.
  24. Bobby Pins.  I DO have to admit that I prefer more expensive bobby pins because I feel like they give me a tighter hold.  Unfortunately, I have a tendency to vacuum up lose them so it is just better for me to buy a lot.
  25. Other hair accessories.  Today, I saw those sponges that you use to beef up your buns, much better than what I paid for mine in the mall.  Plus, if your kid loses them or gets them yucky...who cares?
  26. Super Glue.  I never use the whole thing before it dries up so it is just better to do it this way.
  27. Picture Frames.  You can do fun things with them like spray paint or decorate them.  When I first moved out, I bought a bunch of different frames in the same cherry word color and created a photo collage on my wall...everyone loved it and no one could tell they were from a dollar store.
  28. Magic Erasers.  Yes....those amazing things.  You can find them in packs of two for that low, low price.  I haven't bought the name brand ones in 6 months since I found them there. 
  29. "To-go" packets of drink mixes.  They're everywhere these days.  In the store you'll pay $2.75 for 10-12.  I've been stocking up on them for months now.  10/pack and they're $1.  Real brand names like Hi-C, even Crystal Light Energy.
  30. Measuring cups.  When I first started trying to eat healthier, someone told me to buy extra measuring cups and place the right size for a serving right in the container (for example, many cereals are 1 cup so I would just leave the 1 cup measuring cup in the box of cereal until it was gone).  You really need to stock up in order to do this.  I ended up buying measuring cup and spoon sets and I've had the current ones for nearly 2 years without problems. 
  31. Mylar Balloons.  After seeing the cute selection of Helium-filled, Mylar balloons that some dollar stores carry I can't imagine buying balloons for $3-5 per balloon EVER again.
  32. Spices.  I've never had a problem buying spices, and it's not like salt has an expiration date.  
  33. Tooth picks.  Considering what they get used for...I don't see any reason to pay more.
  34. Denture Tablets.  I use them to clean around the house (the toilet). 
  35. Candy.  Not ALL of the candy is a good buy, but if you buy the boxes that are "movie theater" size, it is a decent deal (and yes, I DO take my own candy into the theater).  I used to buy candy for the dish on my desk here. 
  36. Snacks.  I'm hesitant to put this here because almost all of my former suggestions is a tried-and-true savings but this one will require a little bit of knowledge or thought.  You can find name brand snacks in the same size as what you will find in traditional stores for much more.  You need to know about how much things run in major stores in order for this to equal savings.  You also need to check the expiration date.  If it is within the time frame that you'll be using it...then by all means.
  37. Pet Urine Cleaner.  Dollar General Store brand pet urine enzyme cleaner is the best stuff I've ever tried!
So, that's it.  My list of things I've found to be deals at dollar stores.  While I used to find more cheap crap than anything else, it is really nice to be able to go and find good deals at decent prices now.

Julep: August

I got the email from Julep to review my box for August, just like they said I would (I know it seems like a small thing, but I love it when companies do what they say they will do!).  I checked out the "Classic with a Twist" box and to be honest, I really wasn't feeling nail polish.  I've been "playing" around with the SensatioNail I reviewed not too long ago (Read it here) and trying some different techniques I'm learning from the company and from other bloggers via Twitter (more on that later).  So I've been trying to see how long the different techniques last, what works well and what doesn't, ect.  So I haven't been polishing up the way I normally do; in fact, I'm so overwhelmed with polish that I'm recruiting people to try stuff on!

So for this month I decided to try a different style profile.  For August, I was a Modern Beauty Maven.  Which means I got two FULL SIZE products, and no polish.  Shipping was quick and everything arrived 4 postal days after shipping.  The difference between this box and the last one was I opened it to find pretty gold paper.  Now I'm wondering if each profile box has a specific color as my introductory box was pink and black.  

In this months box:
Julep Bare Face Cleansing Oil (3.5 fl oz/$28.00 or $22. 40 for Mavens)  Wanna hear a sad story?  This is the first time I've used a face cleansing oil.  I've seen them around, of course.  I've read the articles in the beauty magazines reassuring readers that it won't cause you to breakout  and all the usual assurances, but for some reason I just never jumped on the bandwagon...not even for Argan Oil and EVERYONE raved about that.  The first thing I noticed is that this smells delicious...like roses and citrus.  The ingredients include Grape Seed Oil, Rosehip Oil, Rosemary Leaf Extract and Grapefruit peel.  The pump is really nice and gives a decent amount of oil, and I usually use 3 pumps. It smooths on very nice, I thought it would feel like smearing any other kind of oil on myself but it doesn't feel greasy or slimy.  If anything, I would say it feels hydrating. I've been using it for 4 days now.  I love that my skin feels clean without that stripped feeling, and clean and moisturized even compared to the all-natural "gentle" and "moisturizing" cleanser I currently use.  In spite of everything I've read, I truly expected my face to breakout or show signs of oiliness earlier in the day than normal....totally irrational fear.  I skipped moisturizer that night and washed the next morning.  When my face did get oily (it is inevitable) it wasn't as bad as what usually happens.  I also do not have any dry patches, flakiness ect.  This cleansing oil seems to literally melt the makeup off of my face, even the 24-Hour eye-shadows and water proof mascara.  If there is anything anyone should know about me, it is that I am notoriously bad about eye makeup remover.  I've found one in the past that I liked, but other than that, the stinging or the soapy feeling or having to rinse forever just wasn't worth it.  My regimen was wash face, wipe away raccoon eyes and remaining eye makeup with towel (and causing premature wrinkles) moisturize and bed.  I have a slight breakout right now, but that was appearing before I started using this.  I'm going to continue using this and see what happens, but right now I'm loving it. 




Julep Blank Canvas Mattifying Face Primer (1.0 Oz/$28.00 or  $22.40 for Mavens)  I've used a primer one time before...it was a sample in my Birchbox last month, and I wasn't thrilled with that primer.  So I tried this sample already feeling skeptical.  The first thing I noticed about Blank Canvas is how fast it dries.  I dot it all over my face and then spread it.  When using this, by the time I go to the "spread" part I could already feel it drying and I really had to push it around to get everything covered.  This could be a blessing or a curse depending on what your needs are.  It still felt really thick though, so I was a little concerned about pilling or "melting" as the day went on.  After I applied makeup, it looked really great and I was very happy.  My concerns about pilling were completely unnecessary.  What I did notice throughout the day was that Blank Canvas has some staying power.  This has allowed me to cut down on what I'm wearing considerably.  I use a little Blank Canvas, a touch of powder Mineral Concealer, blush, mascara and I'm done.  I hardly every go so bare, normally I use liquid foundation followed by the whole works.  I really love this product and will probably be buying more. 


*I'm really and truly thrilled with this month's Julep Box.  So thrilled that I might just be a Modern Maven for awhile.  In my experience, "full-size" doesn't always mean that what you get is going to be a good value size.  I'm very thrilled with the size and quality of both products.  I went in very skeptical about both products and I've fallen in love.  I can't wait to see what comes next month!!!!

If you're interested in becoming a Julep Maven: http://www.julep.com/rewardsref/index/refer/id/304111/ and don't forget to use the code FREEBOX to get your first box completely free! 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Pretty!

I love my local Farmer's Markets!


The area I live in is lucky enough to have such diverse Farmer's Markets!  I missed my favorite one this week as I had some errands to get done that had gone neglected due to being ill.  The one on Friday nights  is my favorite because they also feature my favorite Yoga Studio for "Yoga in the Park", local musicians and entertainers, and because they have such a large variety of products.....pancake mix, baked goods, more baked goods, canned goods, produce, plants, cheese and butter from that Nordic Creamery I love so much, meat (grass-fed beef, goat, and llama), alpaca yarns and products, and jewelry.  But, as I said, I wasn't able to go so I had to hit the county Farmer's Market in the Courthouse parking lot.  I can tell fall is coming as there were some apples and lots of acorn squash.  I got out with some good deals...lots of green peppers (we eat them, but also feed quite a few to our guinea pigs), a couple of squash for me and this lovely bouquet.

I also visited the co-op and got raspberries very cheap.  Overall, very cheap and productive market day!


Friday, September 6, 2013

Chicken, Bacon and Capriko Cheese Quiche

Have I told you how much I love Capriko Cheese from Nordic Creamery?!?!  Last night I made this delicious quiche with it.  Now, granted, my tastebuds are still a little off from being sick but this got a stamp of approval from the boyfriend, but he also said, "It's good, but eggs are for breakfast.  Maybe you should make it with sausage patties".  The only adjustment I would have made was using white pepper, or a little more cayenne as this seemed a little bland, but you should adjust this to your tastes of course.





Servings: Serves 6  (or 8 if you wanted to serve it with a nice, big salad)


Ingredients:

1 cup Chicken Breast, cubed*
1/4 cup bacon crumbles
1 cup shredded Capriko Cheese (you can substitute another nutty, semi-hard cheese if unavailable)
1/3 cup finely chopped onions
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups half and half
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves (I ground these a bit)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
Dash Nutmeg
9” deep dish pie crust pastry (I genuinely like store bought, but if you want to make your own then by all means do so)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425F.  Prepare pie crust according to package directions.  Sprinkle chicken, bacon, cheese and onions in pie crust. In medium bowl, whisk together eggs, half and half, salt, thyme and pepper.  Pour egg mixture over ingredients in prepared pie crust. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300F. Bake uncovered until knife comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.


I just love the way it looks all pretty in the crust before I pour on the egg mixture

*I used 2 Schwan's Chicken Breasts, which actually came out to be about 1 1/3 cup and I had egg left over.  If I had to do it over, I'd use just a cup.  You could also use a 10 oz can of chicken, or leftover chicken.

As I prepared it (I didn't not make subtractions for the egg mixture that was not used):
6 slices: 457 cals/slice
8 slices: 342 cals/slice

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Just call me Patient Zero



Over the holiday weekend the boyfriend came down with a mystery illness; that was Saturday. I won't lie, when he complains about being sick...I very rarely pay attention. That sounds terrible but the guy has more than one condition (allergies/asthma/job with long hours) that could equal fatigue, or congestion. My home could be considered the allergy pill capital of the world as I keep 3-4 OTC allergy medications on hand, Benadryl (which I buy in BULK), and various other allergy meds (Flonase, anyone?) on hand at all times.  No one takes the allergy meds.  So when someone complains about feeling yucky, I don't take them seriously until it is undeniable.  While I understand those things might not work for everyone, you can't complain about the resilience of your allergies when you don't do anything for them...that is like expecting to win the lottery but never buying a ticket.

So, like the good girlfriend I am I pulled out a big bag of chicken and started boiling water. Is there anything more warm and fuzzy than a bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup?  I don't remember getting homemade soup growing up though I can't remember why, maybe my mom didn't make it because we liked the stuff from a can back then. Perhaps I just didn't like her soup...which is possible as I've come to realize as an adult that my mom and I can have very different opinions of food and perhaps it was just hers that I didn't care for (if you ever read this Mom, I'm sorry). The boyfriend was the one who taught me how to make chicken soup. Though if it were up to him it would just be what I can only describe as Chicken and Super Noodle soup. In our house, I'm the one who adds veggies.


I'm rambling. Sorry. It's the cold medicine...it makes my head a little swimmy.  As you can probably guess, after taking care of the boyfriend for a few days I caught the bug myself and even though I wasn't the first, it still amuses me to refer to myself as "Patient Zero". Only I seem to be having a tougher time with it and I realized today that it is because I haven't been doing the things I normally do for the particularly nasty common cold....so, here are my remedies for dealing with the crud:


SLEEP.  I think adequate sleep is the most important thing when you are sick...at least it is when I am.  Go to bed early.  Take a day off to rest and not expose your coworkers further.  Sleep through daytime t.v.  Do whatever you can to get extra sleep while your body is fighting off a bug.


Chicken Noodle Soup. They've done studies and tests and trials...and like just about everything, some say it works and others say it doesn't. Whether there is any kind of real medical proof as to if Chicken Noodle Soup makes you better, I don't know. Here is what I do know about chicken noodle soup:

  • Clears Sinuses. Steam from warm fluids help increase the movement of nasal mucus so you're cracking down on congestion. 
  • It is disinfecting. Chicken soup tends to be kind of salty. At my house, I use sea salt. The warm liquid is soothing to the throat, this is similar to gargling with warm salt water. 
  • H20! I find the warmth of a good chicken broth to be soothing when I'm not feeling well and it is non-dairy. While they have "debunked" the theory, I still choose to subscribe to the idea that dairy increases/messes with mucus and phlegm because I've observed the way my body reacts to the consumption of dairy.  Whether you believe that or not, pushing fluids is important because hydration is a huge part of overall health, AND lots of liquids help thin out gunky mucus. 
  • My chicken soup (when made my way and not the boyfriend's) is chock full of veggies! Onions have anti-oxidants that reduce inflammation and work like an antihistamine. Garlic has antibacterial properties and strengthens both the heart and immune system. Carrots have that good beta-carotene. Celery contains Vitamin C. All things that boost and help your immune system. 
  • Easy to digest. When I'm sick, I don't want to eat. Soup with noodles is easy to get down. 
  • It's cheap, no stressing about finances while you're missing work. 
    So if you're feeling yucky, start there!


Honey. I have a complicated relationship with honey. Meaning that I love it and think it is amazing and use it for everything...I just can't think about where it comes from (and if you REALLY don't know, choose to live in ignorance!). Honey is an amazing thing...it is an energy booster, and is tasty with antioxidant and antibacterial properties. The uses for honey are vast and incredible: pain management, treating cuts and burns, alleviating allergy symptoms, treating hangovers. But when faced with the common cold....a spoonful of honey can soothe a sore throat while possibly killing some of the bacteria causing the problem. Add it to your warm cereals, yogurt, teas....or just eat it by the spoonful to get the benefits of honey while you're sick.


The Hot Toddy. I'm not going to lie....Hot Toddies have not worked for me in the past. I've tried recipes I've found online....hot or cold, honey or lemon (sometimes both), and I've tried them with just about every kind of liquor known to be used as a Hot Toddy. The ONE time drinking a Hot Toddy helped me was when I gave in and drank one of every recipe my Facebook friends gave me while taking a hot bath. And I only felt better because I couldn't feel anything.

The basic Hot Toddy Recipe:

Liquor (think whiskey, rum, brandy or bourbon) + Honey + Hot water + Lemon (optional)


Onion Tea. I know this sounds strange. But when I was 13-14 I had a big Christmas Choir concert that I HAD to attend or I wouldn't get credit for the class (even though I had been sick for 2 days prior). The day of the concert, my voice was coming in unreliably raspy and I tried practicing in the shower and didn't get anywhere with it. I went online in search of a remedy. A girl I had met online who was a singer gave me this tip and it worked like a charm!!

Cut up and onion an boil with water until soft. Strain the liquid into a cup, stir with honey and sip.

I've also heard of people adding ingredients to herbal tea for better flavor, adding ginger and spring onions, ect.


Ginger. I first heard about Ginger Baths when my mom was attending massage therapy school, apparently her instructor would take a ginger bath and drink ginger tea whenever he felt illness coming on. Sounds crazy, right? But I've tried it and had really good results. I looked into it a little bit and when taken as a hot infusion ginger increases perspiration in what is called diaphoretic action. In fact...ginger seems to be a little bit of a miracle root as it can be used for many different things, including calming nausea, relieving gas and bloating, helping stop diarrhea, assisting in digestion, calming menstrual cramps, relieving headaches, ect. Sweating is one of the best ways to get rid of toxins (especially if you bump up that fever and help knock it out entirely) so you're essentially sweating out toxins and hopefully whatever crud is hanging out in your system:

How I use Ginger to treat oncoming illness:
Grate about a half cup of ginger (I usually do about half to a whole root). Bring to a boil, then let simmer 10-15 minutes. Then let steep for 10 minutes. Strain. Pour a mug of the ginger infusion and add honey and lemon. Pour the rest into a hot bath. Drink tea while soaking for at least 20 minutes. Do not add more water. When you're done soaking, dress or wrap yourself up quickly and go to bed or go somewhere comfortable...the important thing here is to not let your body be exposed to air so long as to get cold.

What to expect: SWEAT. You might even feel like you're running a fever, and you might run a low grade fever (I have in the past, whether it was from the ginger or the hot water I don't know but I was up near 99.8-100.2). What I usually do is skip the tea (I hate it, and every time I try to drink it I just end up dumping it- honey and all-into the bathtub with me) or drinking something warm that I actually enjoy and soak as long as I can. Then I get out and do a quick dry off-which basically means I do a quick pat dry and wrap up mostly wet. Then I wrap myself in a robe and plop down on the couch with a blanket or go to bed and watch a movie and curl up in the covers. I usually end up falling asleep and waking up DRENCHED. Wear something easily washable like sweats or a robe, and don't plan on going anywhere for at least an hour.


Guaifenesin. While I'm trying to be more "green" this is what I use EVERY TIME I get sick. It is an expectorant that thins out the mucus and it is incredible. It is the active ingredient in certain kinds of Robitussin and in Mucinex. I always buy generic and many times I end up taking the generic form with cold medicine that does not contain it. *This is not medical advice, I'm just sharing what I know works for me. As always, please check with your medical practitioner before taking any kind of pharmaceuticals, even over the counter remedies.


Eucalyptus Oil. When I first started going green around the house, this was one thing I fell in love with. As it turns out, Eucalyptus is a natural broncodilator...which works out really great because I live with people who have asthma. I use it in a homemade carpet powder on a weekly basis and I use it as a disinfectant spray on my counter tops. The other way I like to use it is by putting 10 drops in the bottom of the bathtub and then running hot water for a few minutes before getting in. The steam really seems to help.

*Caution: Eucalyptus does not work for all people with asthma, it can make symptoms worse for some people. Also, you should not use the oil near flames or use directly on the skin in concentrated form*


Steam. Speaking of steam, sometimes a really warm shower and breathing in moist air really seems to help move things around.


Humidifiers. Moist (ugh...I hate that word) air is a good thing to have if you're feeling sickly as cold viruses thrive in dry conditions. But be careful to use a clean humidifier and change the water often, do not add anything to the water, and not to run too much or you could make yourself even more sick!


Hydration. Drink your broth, juice, water, tea, Electrolyte Replacement beverages. You want to make sure you are properly hydrated if not only for general health benefits, but to loosen congestion as well. Try to avoid caffeinated beverages which could make dehydration worse.  Concerning Electrolyte Replacing Sports Drinks. The science is still out on these...whether or not they can actually replace electrolytes in the body, and whether or not the body experiences any benefit. I choose to be a believer, if for no other reason than I know that I will drink Gatorade or Powerade (I get the Sugar free or "Diet" versions to avoid the liquid calories) more than I will drink water.


Vitamin C and Echinacea.  I personally do not take Echinacea directly.  It is in my multi Vitamin C that I take.  Whether or not it actually helps is questionable, but the truth is....it can't hurt so why not?


Be clean.  I know it seems like something I shouldn't have to suggest.  But I know when I'm sick, I don't want to shower or change clothes or brush my hair.  But personal hygiene, while it can be relaxed at times like this, should still be important.  Especially if you live with others!!  Be sure to wash your hands more and if at all possible, wipe down the areas you live in with antibacterial wipes!


Vapor Rub.  I might hate the smell when I'm not sick, but when I am...it is the most amazing thing.  I take a bath at night, then rub Vapor Rub on my chest, back (get help if you have to) and slather some on my feet before putting on socks and going to bed.  I don't know what it is, perhaps because my feet feel all nice and warm, but I sleep like a baby and wake up with less congestion than I went to bed with. 

Candy.  I find that sometimes it helps to keep the saliva moving.  Sugar free hard candies are excellent, or Altoids...the curiously strong mint clears my nasal passages like nothing else-plus, last time I checked there was no limit on how many Altoids you can eat and you won't have sicky breath.


I hope something here helps you.  I'll be doing at least a few of these for myself tonight!!!



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