Weekly Wrap Up!

This week was all about change.

You know I started this whole "no poo" thing with my hair. So that's been interesting.

JP and I have gotten back into going to the gym. Y'all...it's so hard for us to keep a good gym schedule. But we did pretty well this week!

I dyed my hair RED! I love dyeing my hair and tend to change it up every few months, but it's been a long time since I've gone red. JP has been trying to get me to do it for a long time and I finally gave in. Oh and as a side note: I will never understand why people's response to my new hair is, "What made you decide to dye your hair?" or "Is there a reason you dyed your hair?" People. I do not need a reason to dye my hair, just like you may not have had a reason for your last haircut. Live a little!


No Poo Hair Washing - Days 5 & 6

Well yesterday was my day off and I had nothing to do so...I don't think I even showered. Sometimes I'm gross. But as far as my hair, nothing was abnormal. It was kind of greasy, but not worse or better than usual. 

A huge plus is that I did buy a 100% boar's bristle brush! Ladies, if you don't have one, you should get one. I've wondered for a while now if my brushes were damaging my hair and I'm pretty the answer is yes. But my new brush feels amazing and leaves my hair so soft. Even if you're not doing any kind of hair revolution like I am, it's worth buying. I got mine at a Duane Reade (they're a pharmacy that started in NYC and is now owned by Walgreens, for you non-New Yorkers) for like $7 maybe?

Today I washed my hair with the baking soda and vinegar and voila! it wasn't waxy or anything. It felt very nice all day. One interesting thing I'm noticing is that my bangs haven't gotten greasy by the end of the day like they normally do. Could it be because of the new washing routine??


No Poo Hair Washing - Day 4

Ok yeah, today my hair is kind of gross. I washed it with the baking soda and conditioned it with the vinegar, and for the first time I understood what they meant when they said your hair might feel waxy. My hair definitely felt waxy when I first got out of the shower. I decided not use any product on my hair (I normally use a root spray for volume) and once I gave it a good blow dry it felt a little less waxy, but it still doesn't feel clean exactly. It feels (and looks to me) a little greasy. But then I took pics of it and it didn't seem as noticeable as I thought.

Behold, close up pictures of my scalp.


No Poo Hair Washing - Day 3

This morning I woke up to relatively clean hair! It was sort of in between clean and dirty...it was a little bit oily, but it was at that point where you could probably pull it back in a ponytail or wear a headband and get away with it. Let's not forget that I did dye my hair yesterday, which means it got dried out a little anyway. I'm still reserving judgment a bit. I decided to wait and wash it tomorrow morning before work. Sorry there's not more to report!


No Poo Hair Washing - Day 2

This morning I woke up to normal hair. After letting it air dry just before going to bed last night, it was a little limp as usual (blow drying helps with that extra oomph my hair needs), but there was no weird texture and it wasn't extra oily either. 

Today I decided to go big or go home and proceeded to dye my hair a medium auburn. I have no idea how the no poo washing will affect it and no clue if the baking soda will make it fade. I've read so many articles about the affects of baking soda on dyed hair and everyone says something different, so I figured I'd see for myself. I went ahead and used the conditioner provided in the box, but don't plan to do anything else to my hair today. We'll see how everything looks tomorrow and go from there!


No Poo Hair Washing - Day 1

Earlier today I was mindlessly pinning (as I usually do on my day off) when I came across a pin that linked to an article about washing your hair without shampoo. I was immediately intrigued. You can read the article here, but in a nutshell it talks about how shampoo causes a vicious cycle of needing to wash your hair every day. When you use shampoo, it acts as a detergent and strips your hair and scalp of their natural oils, causing your scalp to overproduce oil out of sheer panic, and in turn causing you to wake up with greasy hair and have to wash all over again.

So how do we break this cycle? The article describes how to make a baking soda solution and a vinegar spray to wash and condition your hair. (There are two ways of doing it, but I'll just be talking about the way I chose.) It sounds weird, but the article also says that your hair will be healthier, shinier, fuller, and you won't have to wash it as often. However, it also warns that your hair will go through a transition period where it basically freaks out and wonders what the hell you're doing to it, so they recommend you be able to just wear it in a ponytail or under a hat for a while. And there is a whole list of recommendations on how to help your hair through the transition.

Since I have a 3-day weekend, I figured what the hell, let's try it, and off I skipped to the dollar store.

Pieces of Crap
Step 1: Prepare your solutions.
At the dollar store I bought a ketchup/mustard bottle for the baking soda solution and a spray bottle for the vinegar spray. This was my first mistake. Those things are pieces of crap. Go to Target or Wal-Mart instead, people. I screwed the lid onto the ketchup bottle and when I went to shake it to mix the solution, it was leaking out of the lid. Annoying. Then the spray bottle would only spray at random times and I never knew if it would be a stream of liquid or a wide spray. Also annoying.

However, the two things mixed well. I used 1 tbs of baking soda for every 1 cup of water. For the spray, I used 2 tbs of vinegar for every 1 cup of water.

Step 2: Apply to your hair and rinse thoroughly.
Ok, so I knew that the baking soda solution wasn't going to lather at all, so I was prepared for that. But the lack of lather makes it difficult to know if you're using the right amount. It's hard to tell if you've covered your whole scalp or not. But I did my best and we'll see what happens.

Step 3: Air dry.
As I type, it's still drying. I'm waiting to see if my hair is going to feel funny or not, but so far I must say that the top of my head (which is already dry) already seems more voluminous than the other times I've air dried it. I'll be interested to see if it's back to being greasy in the morning.

I'll let you know how it's looking tomorrow!

Valentines and Galentines

Valentine's Day is my second favorite holiday. Growing up, my mom always made it a big deal by throwing a pizza party complete with lots of decorations, so for me it wasn't so much about romantic love as it was about love in general. It was about love, family, fun...and pizza and candy. Plus, the colors involved are pink, purple, and red, and you just can't beat that.

I've yet to gather my own Valentine's Day decorations, but I've resolved to do so next year. I did put together a super fun Valentine's Day outfit involving a new skirt that I'm so in love with. We had dinner at our usual spot, Trattoria Trecolor, where they had all the tables decorated with roses. JP surprised me by dressing up in khakis and a blazer - he looked so handsome!

Friday night I went up to Harlem for a little Galentine's Day shindig with my girlfriends. Katie made pizza bread in a bundt pan - sort of like monkey bread, only it was for pizza. She melted cheese on the bread and made a tomato sauce for dipping. Jess made a queso dip that was also delicious and I bought a heart shaped cheesecake with red velvet crumbles for dessert. Also cannolis. Molly had Valentine treats for us, even though she had to leave to go work hard for the money. :-( In addition to the great food and great company, Katie got to babysit one of the cutest babies ever and she had all of us going gaga over her. It was a lovely night - so grateful for those girls!

A belated Happy Valentine's and Galentine's Day to you!!


Nemo Aftermath

Well Nemo came and went without hitting NYC too badly. We didn't lose power and I think our area only got about a foot of snow. Not too shabby.

So on Sunday, we decided to celebrate JP's birthday (insert hoots and hollers here) by going sledding in Central Park! Your response to that might be, "Oh, you have sleds?" and my answer would be, "No, we in fact do not own sleds." We had no plan, we just went up to our friends' apartment near the top of the park and we brainstormed what to use...we debated finding trash can lids somewhere, we debated using a cookie sheet (and even measured against our butts), we even debated wrapped our bums and legs in saran wrap...finally someone gasped and shouted, "THE AIR MATTRESSES!"

Our sleds were born.

We blew up two twin sized air mattresses and lugged them across the street and through the park until we got to a great hill. Along the way almost everyone we passed made comments about our ingenuity because we are awesome. And they worked really well too!

It was a lovely day.


The above is video of the


I'm at Central Park! http://4sq.com/2UsPUp http://maps.google.com/maps/api/staticmap?center=40.771425615335595,-73.97350072860723&zoom=16&size=420x260&maptype=roadmap&sensor=false&markers=color:red%7C40.771425615335595,-73.97350072860723


I'm at Happy Haynie House! http://4sq.com/To2u9l http://maps.google.com/maps/api/staticmap?center=40.731954,-73.845374&zoom=16&size=420x260&maptype=roadmap&sensor=false&markers=color:red%7C40.731954,-73.845374


Nemo Found Me

Just in case you're living under a rock or don't care enough about me to keep up with my current weather situation like my grandparents do, NYC has a blizzard on its hands...er...streets.

Now, folks, this is not my first blizzard. It's my 3rd. Right? Yes, I think my third. Thank goodness this blizzard doesn't see me sleeping on the interstate like I did two years ago. No instead I went into work like usual, walked through pretty fluffy snow on the way to the subway, but then battled a fierce wind and heavy snow on the walk from the subway into work. Once inside, I readily joined in with the running weather conversations that provided me with constant updates "according to so-and-so who just had to go out for such-and-such-a-reason" and from "so-and-so who just got back from lunch." I fielded questions from my coworkers like, "Did you stock up on any food or water?" and "How's your commute home gonna be affected?" and "Have I ever told you about the blizzard when such and such happened?" 

I met my friend Jess for lunch around 12:00pm at a nearby sushi restaurant, by which time the snow had turned to tiny pebbles of sleet, which were creating a thin layer of slush on the sidewalks - so still battling wind and precipitation, but now also fighting against the threat of slipping and landing on my ass. I got back and gave my report of the conditions to anyone who asked and some who didn't. It was my duty to give everyone an update after all. Around 1:30pm, my supervisor let us know we could leave at 3:00 so no one would get stuck in worse conditions. Yippee! When I left at 3, the snow had gone back to big fluffy flakes that were now assaulting and stinging my face thanks to that terrible wind.

So now I'm safe and warm in my apartment with the windows open so I can watch the snow fall. Tonight is supposed to be the worst of the blizzard conditions, though I have no idea how many inches we'll get. Let me show you the map that TWC provided for me.

So in the map above you can see the predicted snowfall for those of us getting visited by Nemo. But I actually have no idea what I'll get because if you'll notice in the zoomed in map below, I can't tell exactly where I fall, but there's both purple AND pink in my area. So I'm just going with anywhere between 6" and 18" (I'm secretly hoping for 18" but don't tell my New York friends who hate the snow and don't understand my love for it).

Now I leave you with some photos of me and the snow so far.

My neighborhood. Also my Kermit* hat is awesome.
First footprints on my front walk!

*Kermit hat courtesy of Colby Marshall.


My favorite beauty products.

Growing up we didn't really get into a lot of expensive name brand stuff. We always had the cheapest shampoos or the Wal-Mart brand of face wash. And I didn't care, because hey, my hair and face still got clean. But as I've gotten older I've tried out other products and learned that sometimes it pays to shell out a little extra money to feel and look healthy and pretty. So here's my list of some of my favorite beauty products.

1. Lasting Foundation by Merle Norman - The year I graduated from college, my mom offered to buy me new makeup from Merle Norman (a huge step up from the stuff you can get at Wal-Mart) for my birthday. So I went, got my free facial, and had a consultation to find what worked for me. My skin always feels dry after a shower, but it can get pretty oily throughout the day (especially in the humid south). This particular type of foundation is great for oily skin and I feel like it lasts all day long, plus the coverage is great.

2. Ultra Powder Foundation by Merle Norman - Although it's also a foundation, this powder was recommended to me by my consultant as a way to seal in the liquid foundation. I also sometimes use it by itself on days when I'm feeling lazy or when I'm in a rush and need to speed through the makeup process. It doesn't have quite as much coverage by itself, but it still looks good.

3. Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Pink Grapefruit Facial Cleanser - I must confess that I bought this because it was pink. I've always loved Neutrogena products and when I first saw the pink grapefruit line I couldn't help myself. I'm an easy sell. But then it turned out to be amazing. It smells good, it feels good, it fights acne, and it has a pump (pumps save time).

4. Clear Volumizing Root Boost Nourishing Shampoo/Conditioner - I'm not sure when this brand came on the scene, but I feel like it's fairly recently. I noticed it one day at Target and decided to try it. Normally, when I go to buy shampoo, I sort of make the rounds and get something different every time. Never again. This stuff is awesome. My hair is very fine (aka flat as pancake) so I've only tried the volumizing version, but it works really well. My hair looks and feels healthier too. When I was in Georgia recently, I used my family's shampoo - I hated the way my hair felt, plus I felt the need to use a whole can of mousse in the hopes of getting at least a little volume. Moral of the story: don't leave your Clear shampoo behind!

5. Alba Botanica Natural Very Emollient Foam Shave - The shaving foam was a huge relief for my sensitive skin. I have always had issues with razor burn until one day I read I could be allergic to a certain something that's in shaving cream. I also read that ORGANIC shaving cream doesn't have that certain something. So I hit up my local organic pharmacy and tried a few of their shaving creams and this one was my favorite. You only need a couple of pumps and it feels great after the shave. Oh and the particular scent I linked to is great because it's Aloe Mint, which aids in the fight against razor burn.

6. Schick Hydro 5 Razor - Splurging on a non-disposable razor was also a huge help when it comes to razor burn. I like this razor in particular because the 5 blades make for a very close and smooth shave. Totally worth the money.

7. Moisture Effective Eye Makeup Remover Lotion by Avon - I was first given this stuff by an Avon representative (shoutout to Kenniane!) when I did some house-sitting for her. At first I wasn't crazy about it because what? You're rubbing lotion on your eyes? That's weird. However, I've since started buying higher end mascara and, let me tell you, that stuff does not come off easily. After floundering with drugstore makeup remover that didn't seem to actually work anymore, I went online and bought 5 bottles of this stuff. It's regular $4 a bottle, but it always seems to be on sale for much less. When I bought my stash, it was for $.99 apiece. And if you don't know an Avon representative you can shop online now, which makes it super easy.

8. Revlon Perfect Heat 3 Barrel Waver - This is a very recent purchase and I've only used it twice, but I love it. It takes a little practice to make sure your hair doesn't end up looking too crimpy, but it can produce a really pretty curl and add a little volume in the process. 

I didn't put my new favorite mascara in the picture because I'm not done trying all the ones I want to try, but I will say that I love the one I'm currently using. It's Big Fatty Mascara by Urban Decay. I got it at Sephora, but I know it's available at other similar stores like Ulta.

Anyone want to share their favorite beauty products with me? I still love trying new stuff.


What do tomatoes, mustard, and bananas have in common?

They say your taste buds change every 7 years. I've never actually researched that and in this moment of typing, I'm feeling way too lazy to open a new window and research it now. But based on my personal experiences, I'm pretty sure it's true.

Out of all the changes our bodies go through from the time we're born, our changing tastes is something we really pay attention to. It's something we talk about all the time, for some reason. Favorite foods and hated foods are some of the first things we share when we are getting to know someone. I don't know why that is, but it doesn't change the fact that I like to talk about it to.

Growing up, I was a very picky eater. No matter where we went for lunch or dinner, I'd order a grilled cheese or chicken fingers. That was it. I did not like sweet tea (which is an abomination in the south), I hated spaghetti sauce and ate my noodles with just butter and parmesan cheese, I wouldn't go near a sandwich with meat on it because I basically like nothing else you might put on that sandwich - I stuck to PB&J or butter and sugar sandwiches (yeah...I know...I have nothing to say about that).

Once I hit high school, I started venturing out of my comfort zone. I have a very distinct memory of the first time I had a sub sandwich with turkey, ham, lettuce, mayonnaise, and I'm not sure what else, from Larry's Giant Subs. A friend had one out in the foyer of the fine arts building and offered me a bite asking if I'd had a sandwich from there before. I said no, when really I meant, no, I've never had a sub sandwich before ever. It was delicious.

Since then I've only gotten better, especially since marrying JP, who will eat virtually anything put in front of him. Except mushrooms. We both draw the line at fungi. Thanks to him I've tried things a little more exotic: rock fish, escargot, hummus...these are all yummy to me now. But lately my taste buds have been doing something weird to me - I occasionally want to eat a food I don't like. Weird right? This brings me to the title of my blog - those foods are all foods I've suddenly and randomly wanted to eat.

Tomatoes: One day at Subway, the guy asked, "Lettuce and tomato?" and I said yes. Just like that. I hated tomatoes and can't remember ever having eaten one ever, and suddenly I put them on my sandwich. And it was good.

Mustard: One day I bought a sandwich for lunch at work (apparently I eat a lot of sandwiches) and as I passed the condiments, I grabbed mustard as an afterthought. I remember as a kid how disgusted I would be if I bit into my McDonald's cheeseburger and they'd put mustard on it. But this day I suddenly wanted and once again it was good.

Bananas: I really want to like bananas. I'm not good at taking in enough potassium (those nocturnal leg cramps are of the devil), plus I really love banana flavored things. And they're so easy to just grab and eat on the go. But I recently tried to eat one for breakfast and it was not good. At all. I gagged my way through it because I didn't want to be wasteful, but man...the texture is just gross. Maybe one day...

And so concludes this long rambling post about food. Since we're getting to know each other, what foods do you love and hate?


Thing 3 - My Goddaughter

Hey guess what? I have a goddaughter! Remember when I talked about my best friend's wedding here? Well a few months later, she had a baby and named JP and me godparents! She is referred to as Batgirl and she was a tiny little thing when she was born, but has been super healthy. During our theatre years when we were in every musical for over a year at MLT, Colby and I became known as Thing 1 and Thing 2. We were never seen apart unless only one of us had to be onstage...or unless one of us was in the bathroom...although come to think of it, we'd usually make those trips together too. So one of the things I bought for her is a Thing 3 onesie because all of our children will now also become numbered "things." Also, we decided JP and I should have special names like grandparents do, so we'll be referred to as Xenu and LeeLee.

I often think about the wisdom I'd like to impart to her, as I'm sure her parents do too. I thought I'd share some of these things with you.

1. Do not feel pressured to be sorted into a specific Hogwarts house. Yes, I know you have a Slytherin and a Ravenclaw as a parent, but we'll all still love you if you turn out to be a Gryffindor or Hufflepuff. I promise.

2. Video games are fun.

3. If people try to tell you unicorns don't exist, don't believe them. They lie.

4. The Muppets exist to entertain you. They will make you laugh and you will love them and want to be friends with them. I promise.

5. Sports are not of the devil. I know your parents aren't into them and that's totally fine. But do not feel ashamed if you find first downs, homeruns, or free throws suddenly interesting. Xenu and LeeLee will happily talk sports with you and teach you all you want to know...especially Xenu. If you start talking about football with him, he will go on for a while...

6. Identity theft is an effing nightmare.

7. Popsicles make everything better. So do sour Skittles, pickles, sour patch kids, and Chickfila. Though not all at the same time necessarily.

I'm sure this isn't all she'll learn from me. I am, after all, a pretty wise person and pretty good at telling people what to do. But this is a pretty good start.


Bricky Wedding

Back in early November, my sister Brittany married her long time boyfriend Ricky. It was a really fun day of spending time with family, just like at Micah's wedding. And it was so touching to see how emotional the bride and groom were about finally making their vows and committing themselves to each other. Here are a few of my favorite pictures (courtesy of {Two} Chics Photography) from that day.

Photo by {Two} Chics Photography

Photo by {Two} Chics Photography

Photo by {Two} Chics Photography

And here is a series of pictures depicting one of my favorite moments from that day.

Photo by {Two} Chics Photography

Photo by {Two} Chics Photography

Photo by {Two} Chics Photography

I love my family so much and couldn't be happier for Bricky!


Anniversaries and Weddings

I fell off the internet grid there for a while. First I celebrated my second wedding anniversary, then we traveled to Georgia for my brother Micah's wedding. Needless to say, I didn't have much time for the online world.

I was again amazed at how emotional I felt on the day of our anniversary. It fell on a Wednesday, which meant I already had the day off. This year the traditional wedding gift was cotton so I got JP some underwear and socks. I know it sounds boring, but he asked for them so there you go. He got me some flannel pillowcases with snowflakes on them and I was completely thrilled with them. 

That evening we headed into the city for dinner at our favorite spot in midtown. It's called Trattoria Trecolori, an Italian restaurant (obviously). It's the perfect size, it always feels quiet, it has romantic candlelight, and the service is excellent. Not to mention the food is out of this world and not overpriced. We've eaten there for lots of special occasions over the past 3 years and have come to think of it as "our" spot. Afterward, we went to see the play Peter and the Starcatcher, which was a Christmas gift from my aunt Carla. Overall, we had an excellent anniversary. 

Of course we had to take our traditional picture in front of the statue where we got engaged. I'm so happy I chose to marry JP and move to NYC - three years later, I wouldn't change a thing.

And now onto another marriage milestone: my little brother Micah got married!! He married his girlfriend Golden in a beautiful ceremony at Henderson Village (in Georgia). This is one of the times I hate living far away from my family - it's hard to try and get to know someone on my random and busy trips home. Regardless, I've really enjoyed getting to know Golden - she's beautiful and caring, a total sweetheart. She and Micah really fit well together and I'm so happy for them. Also, her dress was to die for. Congrats to the Jordans!

There were several months where I didn't blog at all. Between May and January, to be precise. So stay tuned to hear about other major milestones that happened during my absence.