Sunday, August 17, 2014

Five Must-Haves for Curly-Haired Girls

Curly-Haired Girls, I Introduce You to Your New Best Friends

   I read a blog post not too long ago about having curly hair, and I couldn't help but think a few times You just haven't met your best friend yet. So, in response to that, curly-haired girls, I now introduce you to your new best friends (if you haven't already met). 

My gearshift - I'm always prepared.

 A sleek but strong hair tie
   This may seem like a no-brainer, because if you have long curly hair, you've probably already figured out the need for an extra hair tie to be on your wrist at all times. What I'm insisting on here, since we always need that extra hair tie, is that we make it a part of ourselves. It needs to be a part of our style. It's going to be there, so it might as well say something about us. Mine is a simple black, ouch-less one that fits perfectly around my wrist. When I was growing up, it was a scrunchie, but that was the 1990s. 

A pick
Pic borrowed from
   This is the one you may not have met yet, but is a super-important piece to any curly-haired girl's hair kit. That's right, we need a kit. This kit must be full of hair ties and products ranging from curl cream to flex-hold hairspray. What makes a kit is the pick. It's important to pick your comb pick wisely. Mine was passed on to me from my mom or aunt, I can't remember who. It has three or four wide-set long teeth at one end and the handle comes to a point. The pic at the right is the closest thing I could find to it on the internet (but mine's plastic and blue). This will be how you find your part! (I move my part nearly every time I wash my hair - it keeps things interesting.)

A wet-to-straight hair straightener
   Hair stylists/specialists will tell you not to use certain straighteners because they damage your hair. With all that our curly hair puts us through, don't we deserve some revenge? Besides, and in combat against those who will tell you not to use one of these, our hair is only dead cells, and damaging it isn't a sin, since it's already dead. (Check out this article.) One of the main keys to managing curly hair is: do it from wet, and it will stay. The best way to straighten curly hair, I have found, is with my Remington Wet-2-Straight, and it takes less time too, if you do it straight from wet. (And you can get one for less than $30, which is really decent for a straightener, if you didn't already know. I've had mine for more than three years - probably for more than five, but I'm not sure - so it's definitely worth it.)

   Bed-head will be a worry of the past once you realize showers are best taken at night. Overnight, your hair will turn gloriously curly without the frizz (smooth your hair away from your face while you sleep, constantly, whenever you wake - it takes a little dedication), because it takes so long to dry. You may say, the first few times you try it, that this is stupid and pointless and will never work - but like I said, it takes a little dedication. Yes, your pillow will be damp/wet, but just move your head so you still have some dry pillow for your face. It will be worth it. Then, as we all know that it won't stay that way without frizzing like a soda can fizzes when first opened, mousse it. Use so much mousse that no lock is left dry, then spray with flexible-hold hairspray. After a few weeks, you will have your hair somewhat trained - if you do this regularly - and will only need the mousse, but keep the hairspray for future use, when the curly turns ugly again.

The bestest-smelling shampoo
   Now, we all know that curly-haired girls have natural volume, natural bounce, and this is why other people, who aren't curly-haired, envy us. We know that this is mostly ridiculous, because our hair requires so much more care for this very reason. But there is an upside to this: we don't need to wear stale-smelling perfume, because our hair holds the scent of our shampoo (or mousse, hairspray, etc). So make sure you have the bestest-smelling shampoo. I particularly like Aussie, not only because everyone including me thinks I smell awesome, but because it doesn't leave your hair dried out or too oily. It cleans, and that's it, at least, as far as I'm concerned. Don't take my word for it, though. I change my brand of shampoo after every bottle - I usually switch between Aussie and Dove - and there are many I haven't tried, because I'm allergic to many scents and I've been burned more than once on trying to get a better perfume-y air about me. The key to everything concerning hair, I've learned, is to try everything at your disposal for a little while, and come back to what works best for you, because everybody's different and none of us are the same, no matter how many genes we may have in common.

   There are many more things that I could share with you about having curly hair, but these are the must-haves for every curly-haired girl. And for the record, there are a lot of things in that article that I read, "43 Things Only Girls with Curly Hair Understand," that I just thought, Wow, really? You really haven't figured out how to handle that yet? Rookies. So expect another post about curly hair sometime in the future. I will cover how to handle: 
 - having bangs, if you want them, (I have some, and I love them); 
 - having short, but extremely curly, hair (I only ever have my hair short anymore, since it really cuts down on the amount I have it pulled back into a boring bun, and the time it takes to straighten it, whenever I am struck to do so); 
 - how to properly comb curly hair without pulling it out; 
 - how to wake up with incredibly sexy bedhead without trying; 
 - handling frizz (you'll possibly smack yourself in the forehead for this one); 
 - keeping your drains from clogging with hair when you wash it; 
 - how to make wet hair acceptable to others (because it does take forever to dry); 
 - how to keep from losing a hair everywhere your foot lands; 
 - bumps in your hair when you try updo's, and succeeding at updo's altogether (this one may be a blog post all its own); 
 - why you don't need a jugful of conditioner just because you have curly hair; 
 - managing curly hair with rolled-down car windows on the interstate (yes, it is possible to rock a wind-blown hair-do); 
 - and how to rock your part, which can be anywhere and however you want it with the proper tools.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Moving and Cancer

Problems and Saviors 

     I haven't posted in a while. I've moved from an apartment to a house, which my husband and I bought. I've started a new job. I've offended some people, because, apparently, the truth hurts. And I've learned quite a few more things. 
     A writer needs social interactions to develop good characters. Being off work for a year and a half and generally only having social interactions with my husband and immediate family made me a little abrasive, I suppose. It's not hard, even in the least, to offend some people. Now, to develop good characters, one needs to know a few characters, even those who get offended by the smallest things. Personally, I don't like some people and would be just fine not knowing a lot of them, but I have to admit, they liven up the diversity in my characters. I guess that's the silver lining.
     When you're looking for a house, you tend to look for things you'd like. When we were looking for a house, we looked at a lot of them that had some major problems. Most of them had a moldy smell in the basement, huge cracks in the walls, really odd layouts, or other rather disturbing signs of huge problems. An important thing for me was a good-sized kitchen - we could have saved a lot of time if the realtor had shown us the kitchens first. Now, I'm not super satisfied with the kitchen we ended up with, but I am satisfied with the house we are now living in. Though it is a bit small, and though the layout isn't the best possible, logical thing on Earth, it fits our needs and is pretty nice. We like it. Now, the radon problem we didn't know we had until after we bought the house is a little of a stinker, especially since it's quite expensive to fix and/or handle. It's not too bad - there are many places which are much worse - but radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. So, it's not something you can just let go and expect to never come back and bite you. That's something that has a good chance of doing that. 
     Now, the new job. Haha, the new job. Well, I have the best boss in the world, and he makes the going worth it. That's all I'm going to say: my boss is the best, and that makes the world of a difference. 
      To finish, I'm sorry I can't blog as much. I just don't have as much time as I did before. I will try to keep up, but forgive me for being not as involved online as I was at one time.

Happy Housekeeping!

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Cure for Creaks

Creaky Doors No More

   Do you have creaky doors? I did not too long ago. Want to know how I fixed it? Because that's what I'm sharing in this post: a surefire way to quiet those creaky hinges.
This is a door hinge. Image from
   First, let's talk about doors. Doors are things you open in the walls of buildings to move through them. Doors can be made of many different materials, like grass or dead bodies. Doors generally have knobs and hinges, possibly also windows and locks. You can cover up the windows with things called curtains - some people are unaware of this. Some doors are very pretty, while others aren't so much. Doors keep things out that we don't want in, and things in that we don't necessarily want escaping, like Granny or the kidnapped body before you kill it. Doors are important to our well-being and protect us from wild animals, or the police, depending on who you are. They usually don't fail in doing their job, but again, that depends on who you are and what you're trying to keep out or in.
   Sometimes, doors get creaky, or start making some groaning sounds, like that dead body you don't know exactly what to do with. Some people have absolutely no idea what to do to make such things shut up, so I'm writing this post to help those of us who've never dealt with a dea-, I mean, door, a creaky door before, and don't have the handyman parents to help them out.
   Now what usually causes doors to make creepy, annoying noises are the hinges. Yeah, those things that attach it to the wall and possibly hold it up off the floor. No, I'm not talking about the dead body now. Most hinges are made of metal, kind of like nails, or most nails anyway, and when metal moves against other materials, like other metal, it sometimes makes a noise or two. Some people are bothered by these noises, and others can have an inhuman ability to totally block them out, as if they don't exist. I mean, it really is inhuman, like they don't even know the sounds exist, they just pretend there isn't anything lying on the floor, uh, I mean, creaking, creaking in the door.
One of those oil brushes. Image from
   Anyway, what I thought was, hey, if we just put something between what's rubbing to make those sounds, then the sounds will stop. I considered WD40, but I didn't want to spray black oil that close to white doors, I thought that could look pretty nasty, so that was out. Then I thought, hey, vegetable oil! It's clear, I just had to figure out how to get it on the hinges without making a terrible mess, because you know how cooking oil just goes everywhere when you try pouring it down someone's, I mean, over the hinges of a door.
   I used one of those oil brushes from my kitchen. Put it in the dishwasher afterwards, came right clean again. Mine's made of some rubber stuff, so it's pretty flexible. Made the job real easy. Anyway, I took one of my oil brushy thingies and dipped it in a really small bowl full of vegetable oil, then took the brush right down the middle of the hinges, both sides. Then I worked around the door a bit: open-shut, open-shut, a little weight on it open-shut, open-shut, lifting up on it a bit open-shut, open-shut. Then voila! No more groaning, creaky doors.
   That was at least a week ago. My house is still as silent as the dead are supposed to be, you know, when they're in the ground, six-feet under. And no smell!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

5 Steps to Curing Heartburn

A Natural Cure for Hot-Wings Heartburn

   We all suffer from occasional heartburn. Some of us down a few pills to get rid of it, others swallow some Pepto-Bismol, without knowing or caring that the continued use of over-the-counter medicines can cause other problems. People like me sometimes get on their smart phone and ask the internet about some things to try to get rid of it naturally. In this post, I'm going to share with you how to cure your own heartburn for sure!
Image from
   First, let's  realize what causes heartburn: Acid. Yes, something that's always in your tummy, but not always angry at you. Next, why otc medicines work: They calm the acid. Yes, I know, pretty basic and probably obvious stuff, but important for understanding why the natural things I'm going to share with you really work. Also, let us recognize why heartburn should be defeated: letting heartburn go untreated can lead to greater health problems, such as ulcers.
   Now, to the steps to making your occasional heartburn a thing of the past... 

Step 1: Know everyone's body is a little different from everyone else's body. The genius ideas other people have to cure their own heartburn may be goofy, but if they work for them, they work, just probably not for you too.

Step 2: Identify your triggers. Though this step is optional and sometimes difficult to do, it is helpful to know the enemy, whether you decide to keep sleeping with them or not. 
   We all have our own triggers, the things that set off our heartburn. We may share some with one another, such as hot wings, but we are all a bit different. For instance, pizza sets off my father's heartburn, but not mine, and we both share coleslaw as a trigger, though it only causes heartburn for me 50% of the time. Just because tomatoes are your mother's trigger, does not mean they are also yours. Find your triggers. Avoiding them could be the solution to your heartburn problems. 
   For information on the top ten heartburn food triggers, visit this link

Step 3: Have dinner or a snack. This step may seem redundant, but heartburn is not exclusively caused by food. Medicines can cause heartburn, especially the types that say on the side of the bottle to take them with food - if you forget to take them with your dinner, have a substantial snack to keep the acid from getting angry at you (a slice of bread or two usually does it for me, but I usually opt for something tastier). Hunger can cause heartburn too, I've learned; sometimes I get heartburn instead of hunger pains, for whatever reasons. 
Image from

Step 4: Chew. No, not the tobacco kind, but the gum kind. The tobacco kind results in greater problems, like cancer. Chewing gum however, is harmless, except to your heartburn - unless you have TMJ, and if you do, skip this step. Chewing increases saliva production, you swallow the saliva, and within minutes, your heartburn may be cured by the saliva calming the acid in your stomach. It works for me!

Step 5: When devouring your trigger, soften the blow. This one may take some thinking on your part, but keep in mind it may be worth it. This is a lot like the "take this medication with food" thing. Take something that is likely to balance out the acid content (or otherwise angry-acid-making content) and add it to your trigger. 
   For example, my Dad decorates his pizza with honey. I would never try it, since pizza doesn't give me heartburn and I'm not crazy about honey, but it works for him.
   If you find someone who has one of your triggers, and they have found something that works for them, then I say go ahead and try whatever may work. If it's the same trigger, the solution for someone else may work for you too, though it's a little unlikely.

     Now you know what can help you leave your heartburn in the past. Of course, if you suffer from more than just occasional heartburn, you may have more serious problems and should see your doctor. This blog post is in no way a substitute for treatment for more serious things than what is truly occasional heartburn. 
   Your question when you came here was: How do I get rid of the pesky heartburn I get every once in a while? If this wasn't your question, you probably need to seek professional help. Now, I have a question for you: What are your triggers, and what do you use to soften the blows? Because, admit it, we're not going to stop eating our favorite foods. And the others who are going to read this post are not going to want to think for themselves, though they should, and are going to be looking for ways to soften the blows in the comments below. So, here's an opportunity to help each other out. Leave a comment below to help out someone who may have a trigger in common with you, and enough body chemistry in common to share the cure as well.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Life and Death

When Is It the Right Thing to Euthanize Your Pet

   Today's a sad day. When I went to clean out Scarlet's mouth this morning, I realized she has to be suffering. Scarlet is our snow corn snake, for those of you who may not have read my last post. She's had a respiratory infection this spring and more recently mouth rot, and though those two things have seemed to have gotten better with the care of a vet, special treatment, and medicine, she still seems like she's getting worse. 
   Her condition got me to thinking about what my husband's been trying to tell me he thinks we need to do. Until this morning, I couldn't even think about euthanizing our pet. I admit, I am one for the lame duckling - I am one who holds out hope until I see that there's no hope left - but at what point is it the right thing to do? 
   I know people euthanize their pets all the time. I know animals at the pound get "put to sleep" when they become too burdensome or whatever. But what determines when to let go and end a pet's suffering, especially when you can't be 100% positive that they are suffering? Is it when the pet has cost too much money, more than they are worth? Is it when the owner thinks they cannot be saved even with vets and special treatments and medicine? Is it when their medical care is too expensive for the owner? Is it when they are thought to already be on the brink of death? What conditions have to be met for it to be the right thing to do? Does it only depend on the person who's caring for the animal?
   Scarlet may be a snake, but she's our pet. I don't know how my husband feels about our pets, but I feel like I'm a kind of mother to them. I love them. I love Scarlet. But she's lost color in her eyes and tongue, which have both become duller or more whitish. She's lost her healthy shape and has a few concerning lumps on the second half of her - though I've considered these lumps may be unfertilized eggs that she can't let go of and I've tried techniques that would help her pass them, these lumps are darker in color than I think eggs would be. She's become pretty lethargic and feels light and limp when I pick her up to care for her. The last time we fed her, she threw up everything and hasn't eaten since. 
   She has cost us more in medical bills than we could get two new snakes for, but I don't want to trade her for two new snakes. I want her to get better and be healthy again, though I know her chances are becoming slimmer by the day. I want to take her back to the vet, but there were so many unanswered questions the last time I took her, that I think maybe the underlying cause of her recent illnesses is a mystery even to our vet. I don't think the vet can help her any more than she already has. 
   So, I'm asking you, you who are reading this: at what point should I let go and admit that it's her time? When is "putting a pet to sleep" the right thing to do?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Exotic Pet Care

Scarlet, a Sick Snake Sneezing
Say that five times fast - I sure got tongue-tied trying to tell the vet that.

   My husband and I have multiple exotic pets. We have Autumn, who's a red-foot tortoise (pictured left); she's about four years old and has had colds and hookworms. We are currently watching a female red-eared slider named Turbo (pictured right); her shell's about three inches in diameter and we are only pet-sitting her until her owners acquire a more sizable aquarium to house her. We have Uro, an adult male Saharan uromastyx or spiny-tailed lizard. We have an adult Pueblan milk snake named Hannibal. And we have the corn snakes: Diamond who's a corn/rat snake hybrid (the orange one), Sagan who's an anerythristic corn (the gray one), and Scarlet who's a snow corn.
   Hannibal, who we're pretty sure is male, has never been sick while we've had him and he's never refused food, though he's quite a scaredy snake and likes to thrash around when being held. Diamond and Sagan, both of whom I am quite sure are also male, have never been sick as long as we've had them, though they both went on food strike for a few months a while back (whether because they were too close to Scarlet or because they didn't like the mice, we're not sure, but they're better now). 
   Scarlet, on the other hand, has been sick lately. First, it was sneezing. We read about it, turned up the heat on her, and when she didn't get better on her own, we took her to our exotic pet vet. We determined she needed a bigger water bowl that she couldn't spill like she did the one she had. The vet set us up with a few medicine/vitamin mixture injections, we got her a better water bowl, separated her from the other snakes, and after a week or two it seemed she was doing better for the most part. And the other snakes haven't gotten sick.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Yes or No

   Make-up is expensive when you wear it everyday and don't have a job. Lately, I have decided I don't need it unless I'm going out and either meeting new people or coming into contact with a lot of people who don't know me personally. This saves me and the hubby money, probably about $20 every month or two. 

Image borrowed from
   According to The Science of Sex Appeal, a documentary about the facts behind physical attraction, one's attractiveness is unconsciously based upon the golden ratio and symmetry. The closer your facial features fit to the golden ratio (for more, go here) and are symmetrical, the more attractive you are to other human beings. So, if used correctly, make-up can make people more attractive - if it's used to bring one's features closer to this ratio (which, if you watch the documentary, is totally legit, or so it seems) and appear more symmetrical. And thus, some people need make-up to look and feel attractive, and others do not. Make-up gives those of us who have less natural beauty that extra boost to try and meet up with our more beautiful human counterparts. It evens the playing field, so to speak. 
   So, some of us need make-up to look and feel beautiful, while others don't. That's why we have those who are totally against make-up (probably those who are pretty enough naturally not to need it, or not pretty enough to be helped by it at all) and then those who are totally for it, and then those of us that just wear it to boost our confidence or fit in. 
   Personally, I wear as little as no make-up most days, only mascara on others, just eye-liner, brow definer, and mascara sometimes, and make up my face fully with foundation and the works (though I try and keep it subtle, like I believe it should be) on rare occasions. It depends on where I'm going, who I'm meeting, and a variety of other factors as to how much make-up I wear and what kinds of it. 
   But I want to know about you. Do you wear make-up ever, on occasion, or have other habits or opinions you'd like to share? What do you think about make-up and the people who wear it? How old should a young girl be before she's introduced to make-up and how to use it correctly?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Anxious Neat Freak

Is It Bad to Be a Neat Freak?

     As I was watching one of my favorite shows this morning, I realized that maybe Danny Tanner wasn't as crazy as he was supposed to be on Full House. Though I'm sure the dad of the Tanner household was supposed to seem Obsessive Compulsive sometimes, probably meant to be a part of his anticipated Post Traumatic Stress from losing his wife to a fatal car accident and being left to raise three young daughters all on his own, I've suddenly realized from watching the episode I did today that Danny wasn't just trying to fill a void in his life with his obsessive cleaning. Watch the clip below so you know what I'm talking about. 

     As you can tell from the above video, it does seem at times that Danny is obsessed with cleaning. But as the character says so himself, he's always been a neat freak, and it has nothing to do with him being a single dad or PTSD. Danny Tanner may have been a little crazy at times, but his cleaning was embedded in his genes. And though he was a fictional television character, we can learn from his example.
     Now don't get me wrong - being a neat freak isn't for everyone. But some need a clean environment for their mental health. A clean living environment reduces stress, and when over-stressed, as I'm sure Danny was at times, it's natural to look for ways to reduce the anxiety. So when Danny's in Karen's apartment after their wonderful date and he finds that her apartment is a pig sty, the stress of the situation, of finding that he's once again dating and unsure of everything, causes him to need to clean. Sure, it's a little embarrassing and creepy for Karen, but Danny finds he needs a clean environment and making that happen reduces his stress.
     What can we learn from Danny Tanner being a neat freak? Though his cleaning seems pretty obsessive sometimes, it's a little like biting nails or chewing gum, neither of which Danny did very often, if at all. Cleaning was his stress-reliever. It just happened to help reduce others' anxieties too, to live in a clean environment.
     I've noticed becoming a little less of a neat freak since I started taking my anti-anxiety medication. I've also reduced the frequency of how often I bite my nails, how often I get sick with colds and stomach viruses, and how often I have my evil hiccups. Reducing the amount of stress in one's life can have multiple positive effects. So cleaning and living in a clean environment in effect can have multiple benefits for you and your family. Being obsessed with cleaning is just a stress-reliever and an unconscious attempt to relieve anxiety. 

     What are your personal habits that you think help to relieve stress? Share in the comments and I'll let you know whether I think they are healthy or signs of an illness that needs attention.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

The little bugs that look like woodlice...

The small crustaceans have disappeared!

Image via
     In my last post, I mentioned that when I returned from a week-long vacation, the gnats in my apartment had been taken care of by a small and friendly spider. He is doing well, going from this corner to that, keeping the apartment free from gnats and getting woodlice trapped in his webs (but they just die there and wait for me to vacuum them up, so they are obviously not part of his diet like the gnats). But back to the woodlice (or what I assume must be woodlice or something closely related to woodlice) who began their subtle invasion during my time away and first appeared to me on the floor in the living room the very night I arrived back home. I saw them crawling in every room but the kitchen, mostly near inside doorways and near (and even IN my bed - not cool, and I'm still paranoid though I've only ever seen one there). I couldn't figure out where they were coming from, why, or how, but my best evolved guess was that they were somehow coming through the a/c and heater vents.
     I've recently replaced my vacuum bag, which was overflowing and stopping up the vacuum's suction, lit the gas fireplace a few times, and officially switched from a/c to heat. Surrounding one of these incidents, the woodlice have dramatically retreated. My guess is the source from which they were coming was either gassed or burned. Yay for the forces greater than our understanding!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Pesky Gnats
How the Gnats in My Apartment Disappeared

     I tried a few things: vinegar, cider vinegar with a hint of vanilla, bleach down the drains, a scented diversion, covering the thought-to-be source of the gnats with masking tape. These things did not work. The gnats were drawn to light sources, which killed many of them, the water coming from the faucet and not going down the drain, and occasionally the carbon dioxide me, my husband, and any guests breathed from our noses and mouths. They continued to come, live, and thrive despite my meticulous cleaning and our 4-5 smashings upon every entry to the bathroom. 

Image via .
      However, I went on vacation recently, and when I returned after more than a week gone, the gnats in the bathroom, where their main hangout was, were nearly nonexistent. Rather than search for the source of this change, I merely accepted it, busy with catching up on my cleaning, unpacking, and getting all my photos sorted out and posted on Facebook. During my shower one day though, I noticed my accomplice. I'm not a big fan of the little guy, but as long as they stay in his/her corner and leave me alone, I am grateful for nature taking its course. I'm not sure how or where this creature came from, but it was probably the same hole the gnats constantly crawled through, and I hope he doesn't get burnt out on the reason he's allowed to live where he's set up his camp. 
      Every time I look up into his web, I see at least one gnat. For the record, I'm pretty sure the spider is harmless to humans, but if he strays too far from this corner, I might just smash him anyway... Well, maybe only if the gnats are completely taken care of, or if he has babies.

For a free USA spider-identification poster, visit

Now, about those little bugs that look like woodlice...