Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hair progress

I gotta say... I'm not sure that if I hadn't started the process of transitioning my hair onto toxin-free shampoo I could do it again.

In case you haven't heard the hype, the chemicals and surfactants in regular shampoos are supposed to be bad for you.  For the past couple years, I have dealt with frustrating scalp issues.  I tried to note the circumstances that lead up to a rash on my hairline.  I tried different shampoos and ultimately concluded that it was my body's reaction to stress.  I certainly felt stressed when I had these painful little rash spots along the hairline just above my temples.  I didn't necessarily notice the stress beforehand, but I definitely did once they appeared.

Several months ago, I learned about the potential issues (including allergies and rashes) that can occur with standard shampoos.  I still hadn't learned everything I needed to know to make an educated decision, so I did the best I could.  At that point I knew that the sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates were bad news.  I went to the beauty supply store and combed the aisles for my best option.  I ended up selecting a tea lauryl sulfate with tea tree oils.  I love tea tree oil because it feels so good on the scalp, so this sounded like the best choice to me.  It worked well for awhile, then I got another breakout.  Since I thought it was stress, I figured it wasn't the shampoo and bought another few bottles.

Then I learned more and found EWG's Skindeep website.  I learned about castile soap and that the best shampoos don't act like the typical ones-- they don't suds and bubble.  They also don't do it all the first time, so you truly lather, rinse, repeat.

I researched shampoos and hair treatments; finally I selected a gentle, scalp-calming shampoo.  I found information on the Healing-Scents website for a treatment that can speed the adjustment period.  I'm using that combo religiously, but I'm STILL not through this yet!

If anybody else is bracing to go through a similar transition, here is the process that gives me the most normal hair days.  If I can never get back to good hair days, I won't continue all this drama long term.  I'll keep you posted to let you know if there's ever light at the end of the tunnel.

Hair Transition Formula, a.k.a. Hair Shots

I adapted "The volcano" method slightly from Healing-Scents to make it possible to do on my own.  I've had to use it every time I shampoo for a few weeks now. 

If any of you have the cheap plastic take home drink shakers from a restaurant (like this), it's a great way to get this process done on your own.  Plus it's super classy to take your drink shaker into the shower with you.

  • Put 2 shots of apple cider vinegar and 2 shots of water into the cup.  Swish them together and put the strainer piece over it.
  • Shake baking soda into the shot glass and fill with enough water to stir it into a liquid solution (about even to the level of the baking soda).  I would say 1/3 full is right.
  • If you don't have such a classy container for your concoction, feel free to improvise freely with your glass and barware until you figure out what works best for you.  Use 1/2 cup ACV with 1/2 cup water.

  • Wet hair.  Shake the baking soda into your hair.  Use a little at a time to work it all around your scalp.
  • Tilt head WAY back and slowly pour the ACV mixture onto your hair.  It will fizz and bubble, so don't let it head south into your eyes!
  • Once it's all worked through, rinse it all out.
  • Do your lather, rinse, repeat routine with the castile or toxin-free shampoo.
  • Afterward, you can use nothing, a toxin-free conditioner, or another ACV/water rinse.
  • Rinse out whatever you used and pray that your hair is manageable enough to get through your day!
I am truly an optimistic person, so I'm still excited to see what will happen when I'm FINALLY done with the transition.  I just hope it happens soon!!  I also hope that "normal hair" with toxin-free shampoo is similar to normal hair with the SLS sudsy shampoos.

Here are a few pics of my hair from Easter weekend.  I had blowdried and straightened my hair, and this was the best it got.

Sorry the pic is a little fuzzy.  I wore out my arms trying to get a clear mirror pic and this was the best I had.  It reminds me of stringy teenager hair. :(

The scalp doesn't look too bad.  My hair feels like it's coated in wax.

My hair looks a little better now, and is more manageable (aka, clean looking) as well.  It still feels like it's coated in wax, though.  If I used styling products, this might be fantastic since it provides its own adhesion.  I just want to have it move naturally, though!

So there ya go.  All the details.

What do you think?  Am I nuts for trying to get my hair and scalp off the suds?!  Would you ever consider going toxin-free for your hair products?  If you've done this already, do you EVER get past this waxy hair point?!??

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Let's try this again

Sorry I've been gone.  It's time for a little fess up honesty time...

I've been burning the candle from both ends lately.  For awhile, I could do it, but after the stress of many things compounded with unexpectedly hosting in-laws for a week, I hit the wall.  I couldn't get enough sleep because they were up all hours.  I couldn't work out, which added to the exhaustion and crankiness.  I have had to eat out for about 2 weeks straight, which I actually hate.  Many of the small things that were stable in my day-to-day were changed.  While not everything that changed was bad and several were long-term good things, the temporary was a lot of added stress. 

This past week, I was no longer able to juggle everything.  I would finish work, head to the next restaurant, come home and crash on the couch until hubby dragged me to the bed.  I would wake up feeling wiped and do it all over again.  I slept late this morning, and I'm trying to be more cautious about what I do this weekend so I can recuperate.  Blogging may make a slow return to my life.  I want it to always be enjoyable and fun, so if it would be just another item on the to do list, I won't post that night.  I know that many of the stresses are going to improve with time, so I can go slow until then.

I want to reassure everyone out there who hasn't given up on reading me that I will still be posting and reading as time allows.  I still care very much about all of you.  And I think it's also important to reassure all of you that there were no major tragedies in my life, nothing disastrous happened, my life, marriage, and outlook on life is still a very happy and upbeat one.  I just test my limits sometimes and have to re-balance my priorities.

So here are the not too exciting highlights for you (besides what I mentioned above):

I am almost through the hair detox and onto the other side now.  I had no idea how frustrated and moody I could be by having continually gross and oily-looking hair.  I would wash and blowdry my hair only for it to look like I was channeling Alanis Morissette in the 90s.  When you have to look professional everyday, that is a big aggravation indeed.  Thankfully, I had one good hair day a couple days ago.  I am hopeful that with one more shock treatment, it will be ready for a normal routine with the toxin-free shampoo.  I have a post planned with more on this.

I am trying to tackle a few things that are important to me just a little bit at a time.  I am being more conscious about my stress levels and not letting myself sweat stuff that isn't vitally important.

I realized that when I bring my lunch to work (aka no business lunch), I am almost always "raw until dinner."  I really feel good and I L-O-V-E LOVE my breakfast smoothie.  It is so calming to my tummy and so filling.  Plus it is super healthy and makes me happy.

I also realized that I am probably dairy sensitive and am contemplating vegan as a result.  The week leading up to our hosting duties, I really did not have any dairy, which kind of cleansed my body of the effects.  Once we hosted and were eating out for every meal but breakfast, I had a meal with cheese for dinner.  The next morning I woke up with a bad bloaty tummy ache.  A light bulb went off for me at that moment.  I used to wake up with that feeling FREQUENTLY, but I never knew why.  I never even considered that it could be dairy.  Maybe it was fiber, or getting too hungry during the night, or having something too rich and fatty, but I NEVER considered dairy because I was raised on it my entire life.  I thought my brother was a little loony for believing he magically turned lactose intolerant at 30.  Not being used to ordering without cheese yet, I had another couple meals with dairy ingredients over the past couple weeks.  I noticed a correlation between those meals and tummy aches the next morning.  So I think I'm onto something important here.

Irish found very thin-soled New Balance shoes for me to start using as I transition into barefoot walking then running.  If I stick with it, then I'll probably get some of the specialized shoes to use.  On a sadder note, the trash to treasure treadmill was a dud.  There was a broken part on it that is no longer made.  Oh well.  We may consider buying a treadmill or elliptical after awhile.

This morning was so peaceful and relaxing that I savored every second I could get.  We slept with the window open and the ceiling fan going because there was a cool breeze.  We woke up to a light rain early this morning.  None of the screaming neighbor kids were fighting outside, so we just heard the rain, the breeze, and the birds.  It reminded me of an anniversary weekend we spent at a B&B on the lake.  It was so peaceful and amazing that it felt sacred.

What's the best thing that's happened to you lately?  For any of you with a treadmill or elliptical, what's your preference and why?  When you notice you're off balance, what do you do to realign your life?

Oh yes, I almost forgot!  Averie has a necklace giveaway, and Katie has a shopping spree giveaway!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Til next time!

Our out of town guests just left.  They're the reason I've been SO scarce.  I'll be back to posting tomorrow.

It's been hard having our lives interrupted like that.  I value some "me time" like getting to blog, read all of your blogs, work out, check our DVR, get ready for work in peace, and get ready for bed uninterrupted.

A few tips for those of you planning to be houseguests in the near future:
  • If the homeowner is trying to work out, please let them do their thing in peace.  It may be the only thing holding their sanity together.
  • Once the bedroom door is shut for the night, consider yourself on your own.
  • If they happen to be vegetarian or vegan, please abstain from offering your leftover chicken takeout to them multiple times.  If you offer once and they decline, I will assume you simply forgot their eating habits.  But after that, you just appear to be testing them... in their own house... which seems rude.
  • No matter how much you love the homeowner, try to give them a few minutes of peace in their own house.  Staying with them for every waking minute can be too much time together even for married couples who chose to live under the same roof.

I think I mentioned the last time that I hosted guests that I usually clean thoroughly after our guests leave.  I like getting the dirty sheets, towels, glasses, and plates done and put away so I can feel back to normal.  I started the process, but it's late and most of that will keep til tomorrow.

So for now, goodnight.  Hope you all had a fabulous weekend!

Question time!
Do you like hosting houseguests?  Are you the frequent crash pad for family/friends?  What was the best thing you did all weekend?  I know it's weird, but my favorite part of the weekend was clearing all the dead plants from last year out of the backyard and prepping the flower beds.  I also settled some reorganization/decorating dilemmas that arose last week.  Love that feeling of accomplishment!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Dinner wishes

I'm just sending out a super quick post because we have guests in town.  I was supposed to have a little prep time to get ready, but um, plans changed and no such luck.

That's ok we can roll with it.  I'm starving, though, so I hope I can get everyone's butt in gear pronto!

If I can make a request, this is absolutely what I want for dinner tonight!  YUMMMMMM!  I'm craving it!  What will I actually get to eat? Who knows.

Ok, off to corral the hungry mobs into dining.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter frock

So I mentioned this weekend on a friend's page that I would be the one at church who wasn't wearing a new dress.  She called it a "frock" which made me giggle, so without further ado I will show off my not-new but still cute Easter frock.

So this is what I wore to church yesterday.  I felt very pretty and flouncy, and loved pulling out a dress, since I rarely wear them.  I have a handful of cute, pretty dresses that I just cycle through for fancy occasions.  Weddings, family reunions, Easter, Christmas, company parties, etc-- I just select one and go.  Who besides you remembers that you've worn the dress before anyway?  The paparazzi don't come after me so there's no wicked tabloid commentary about it.

Did you have a good Easter/weekend?  Anything fancy or pretty low key?  Are you a self-pic person?  In what clothing do you feel your foxiest?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Barefoot running


As a little kid, I didn't have much more physical activity than playing with my friends.  I was skinny.  Some of my fellow skinny kid friends were put on uber-fatty diets to force weight gain.  Thankfully my parents never followed that advice, but I wasn't in cheerleading, gymnastics, track, basketball, or volleyball.  Looking back some of that makes me sad.  I would have loved to be in sports.  I could have excelled in things where my small frame was an asset.  But we do better when we know better, and at that time those two options were the best that parents knew to do.  So cest la vie.

But one of the beautiful things about life and growing up is that you can do what you want.  Even though I'm still thin, my cardio endurance could GREATLY improve!  I hate having poor endurance and have been trying to improve it slowly but surely.  It's baby steps for sure.

I love the idea of being a runner, but right now I'm still in the fast walker stages.  My husband's path is very different.  He was the super athlete in high school, but he stopped all forms of exercise after graduation.  After 14 years, he's at the fast walker stage right there with me as he tries to work off the buddha belly.


When I heard about barefoot running, I was intrigued.  I started reading about it.  I quickly learned it was pretty controversial, but I didn't buy into the negative nellies.  The idea totally made sense to me.  We were made to run, we were made to go barefoot.  I started noticing that you do walk differently when you're barefoot.  Shoes really do make you roll heel-to-toe, which seems to aggravate the arch in my experience.

So I think I'm going to pursue barefoot running.  I started yesterday and today with walking.  Because my neighborhood has issues with broken glass strewn about, I am wearing thin flat soled shoes.  I have experimented for a few weeks with different shoes to see what works well.  I try to start hobbies with minimal upstart because I can go off course easily and don't want the money pit if I don't stick with it.

My hot pink clearance sale Simples seem to work the best so far.  I'll be looking into cheapy flat soled lace ups before I graduate into running because I don't want to step out of the shoe as I go. 

If I stick with that and enjoy it, then I'll look into Vibram KSO's or BFT's huaraches.

I am so lucky to have a sweet hubby who is always supportive of me, so he's already agreed to the shoe investment once I feel I've reached that point.  He thinks I'm kind of nuts for buying into the idea, but he'll support me in it if that's what I want to do.  I think that's an element of a good partnership.  Who knows, he ventured into vegetarianism with me, so maybe he'll end up being my running buddy after all!  There's def no pressure on that one, though.  You gotta do whatever exercise you enjoy.  In the meantime, I'll love the time I spend with my walking buddy.

Have you ever heard of barefoot running?  What are your thoughts and why?  Do you ever pay attention to the way you walk?  When you get passionate about something, do you burn bright and then burn out, or do you burn steady?  I can def be guilty of burning bright then burning out because there is so much goodness in life to try that it's hard to stick with just one pursuit!  With other things, though, I do burn steady and form new habits.

Roots and wings

Happy almost Easter everyone!

Grounded and Happy

I know I've mentioned how important I think perspective is, but I think that's what keeps us grounded.  What do you do to keep yourself grounded?  I would consider myself a pretty grounded person.  I try not to get too far out of balance with anything.  I think that's important.  You have to take care of yourself and all that you value.


I tend to gauge how grounded I am with my level of happiness.  If I get grumpy, cranky, testy, short-fused, I try to reel it back and do something that I value to get back in line.  Sometimes I just need down time to do nothing and veg.  When the well runs dry, I feel like I have nothing more to give.

This past week, blogging got bumped several days due to sheer exhaustion.  Too many things in real life were slowly grating away, and I needed a little break. On those days, posting would have been just another chore to get off my list.  I always want it to be enjoyable and to share myself in a meaningful way, so I just abstained.  I'm back and feeling much better now, though!

(The title is from Sweet Home Alabama, which was playing in the background tonight.  You can have roots and wings.  That's a pretty great definition of grounded!)


I worked in quite a bit of exercise today.  It felt fantastic!!!  My body feels loose, relaxed, refreshed, and strong. I dragged my tired butt out of bed and started with stretches.  From stretching, I moved into muscle strengthening.  I do as much as possible without machinery or equipment.  I worked my abs, arms, legs, and pushed myself further on the splits.  I need to try isolating the upper half of the stretch (I think it's the groin and hip flexor area) because I'm hitting a point where my knees are tweaking to go lower.  After breakfast, we went walking.  I can tell things are blooming by my allergies, but we made our whole loop without a niagara nose from either of us.


I had a tasty breakfast smoothie this morning after my long workout.  Almond milk, flax seed, 1/2 avocado, spinach, nooch, cocoa powder, hemp protein powder, banana, apple, cinnamon, natural PB, and a tiny bit of clove/ginger/nutmeg.  It was delish!  Irish gave it a teensy little taste and said it wasn't bad but it had something in it that he didn't like.  True, but I wouldn't tell him what it was.  If you never give foods a try because you think you don't like them, then you can't expand your horizons.  You may not like spinach in plain form, but I promise I can figure out a way to fix it where you like it as long as you don't know it's there.

I also had occasion to try coconut butter on cranberry orange muffins tonight for dessert.  Divine.  They were kind of dry, so I slathered the coconut butter on top.  They magically became much creamier and tastier.  I'm in love!



Still detoxing my hair from all the grime.  It's gross and frustrating.  Hopefully it will be over soon, though.

How do you keep yourself grounded?  Do you feel refreshed by exercise or is it just a necessary evil to you?  Are you willing to stretch your food horizons?

Irish and I were talking earlier today about how much muscle looks good for a woman.  What do you think?  As I build more muscle, I like seeing it more and more.  That visible sign of progress, those tight abs, that's sexy to me!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

You say you want a revolution!

Sorry it's been a few days.  Sleep deprivation is a b!tch and I had to get through the work week.  Back in the game now, though!

Grocery Finds

I am rarely the one who grocery shops because I always find new tasty treasures.  Today I actually had to get stuff on my way home from work, and as anticipated, I found some surprising things.  After the initial shock of noticing some crazies wandering our neighborhood grocery, I dug into a couple fun sections to see what I could find.  Their cocoa powder was a swing and a miss.  Plain cocoa powder and nothing more.  No extra dark, nothing.  I'll have to look again later.

The grain section made me happy, though.  Milled flax seed to use as an egg substitute.  Tons of alternate grains to the plain old flour, whole wheat flour, and oatmeal.  They had barley, millet, bulgur... all kinds of fun stuff!  I only left with the milled flax seed because I wanted to decide what I'd use the grain for before I bought it.

In general, I was just proud that the local grocery store had some healthy options.  Little steps forward to make me smile! :)

Food Revolution

We watched Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution tonight.   It was pretty interesting.  I was really shocked about what really mattered to the RD overseeing the project.  Seemed like she had lost her sense of what really mattered along the way.  I was lucky to be raised in a family where we valued health.  We made the best choices as we knew how.  My mom baked french fries instead of frying them, and we very rarely even ate them.  We always had veggies on our plates.  I got brown bagged lunches so I never had to eat the pizza that always reminded me of puke on a plate.


One thing that I've already learned in my few years on this planet is that you will continually learn more about nutrition.  If you decide that you learned all there was to learn 20 years before, you can guarantee that you'll be wrong.

It was also a little sad to me that they couldn't raise the $80K needed after the kids pulled off such a great performance and two of the girls cried.  I realize that it was a big order to fill in one night and that each invitee would have to shell out a grand, but I kinda figured they'd make it happen.  Overall we liked the show even if it was frustrating to see what an uphill battle it was just to feed kids something healthy.

Have you noticed improvements in your local grocery store's stock?  Do you think Jamie Oliver can really turn things around?