January 18, 2011

Sarah: Animated Economics

I don't really understand all of this, but I can't look away from this video.

How did they do this?

January 26, 2011

Sarah: Bare Necessities

Today I realized that January is almost over and my main question is when did this happen? The first week of January I made a list of resolutions (more on that later) but then put off working on any of them until now. And now it's time to get serious. Tonight I've been musing on the amount of stuff in my life, from the clutter in my house to the number of (extremely enjoyable) social commitments that I take on each week and on down the list to what I put into my body. I will be writing about this sort of thing for the next few days.

In honor of Hoarders being on Netflix Instant, I'm thinking of ways to de-clutter my house and simplify my life a little bit. Some projects that are interesting to me are:

  • Kendi's 30-30-30 challenges readers to choose 30 articles of clothing (and shoes) and wear them in 30 different combinations without buying new wearable items for 30 days. Honestly, I am so boring these days with my clothing choices, I probably already do something similar, but I like the idea of more consciously using your wardrobe creatively and having fun with accessories. I also think it's good to realize that you don't need 100 different black skirts (guilty) or 5 new ill-fitting shirts (me again) per month. I'm tempted to sign up for February, but is it cheating to shop in preparation for the challenge? I need some more long shirts to wear over leggings. Just saying.

  • A Week Without Stuff is honestly a little too close to home for me. The author is a serious packrat (check) who knows that she needs to clean up and throw away (yep), but the things! She may need them someday! And they hold such sentimental value! (Okay, this is getting awkward for everyone involved.) And yet I'm inspired. Would I leave dishes in the sink if I only had one plate? Would I buy a ridiculous (but cute) sequin dress if I had to wear it at least once a week? Of course I am not going to suddenly lead a life free of possessions with some sort of new-found monk-like shopping piety, but maybe I can streamline my life a little if I detach myself a bit from stuff.

Speaking of Hoarders, does anyone else find it to be the single greatest motivator for cleaning your house? I watch that show medicinally. After watching an episode, I just wait for my hyperventilation to subside and then I'm off scrubbing floors, pulling clothing out of the closet, and otherwise improving my living situation. Please tell me I'm not alone. Please?

And now some questions for you:

  • If I were to do one of these experiments, which one would be more interesting to you: 30-30-30 or A Week Without Stuff? Either way, I promise to post blurry photos and write at least 300 words on the subject.

  • Am I the only one that lives in fear of becoming a hoarder? Am I the only one that lives in fear that they have already become a hoarder? And if you do not understand my feverish ramblings, please be so kind as to tell me your own irrational (or rational) fears. Yes, I'm asking you to make me feel better about my own neuroses.

January 30, 2011

Sarah: And it's not even November

I signed up for Kendi's 30-30-30, so while I'm sifting through my closet and doing laundry to get my 30 clothing items pinned down, I thought it was about time to recap the lovely ornaments from this year's Ornament Swap.

First up is Rachael, whose ornaments completely cracked me up.

Nothing says Christmas like penguins and dinosaurs. Awesome.

But tragically, Rachael's ornaments didn't make it through the mail unscathed.

In case any of you in Group 2 were wondering why there were a few loose plastic animals in your package of ornaments, I took the liberty of keeping one of Rachael's extra ornaments (Rachael, let me know if you'd like me to send it back to you!) so that I could show you how I fixed it. It's super easy, I promise.

First I scraped off the snow from the bottoms of the little dinosaur feet. I thought it'd be best to start with a clean surface.

Then I glued them back in place. I used Tacky Glue, but I bet that hot glue or superglue would work well too.

And then done! Easy fix. Thanks, Rachael! You are a sassy broad and I like you as much as you like cats (a lot).

January 31, 2011

Lisa: Tool of the Week

When I found out I was pregnant for a second time (yay, us!), I was faced with a bit of a (head-) hair dilemma. I didn't want to fume out the fetus with a lot of nasty chemicals right up near my (eye, nose, and mouth-type) sensitive membranes, but I also wasn't ready to grow out nine months' worth of ashy, light brown roots. I did a lot of research on more natural hair-coloring methods, including henna, but I wasn't left with a lot of hope regarding either their effectiveness or any increased gentleness.

Time passed. My roots got more obvious. Finally, in a fit of desperation I rushed into a nearby drugstore, intending to just get a box of the regular stuff and open some windows and hold my breath while I slathered it on. BUT! The drugstore didn't carry my preferred brand (or was out of my preferred color? I don't remember) and I found myself in the dye aisle, searching for an alternate solution. Enter...

(Beware, Angela Martin starts talking to you when you open that link, and I couldn't figure out how to turn her off.)

Allow me to tell you why this product is awesome/what makes it different.

1) It's guaranteed to match any brand of home or salon color, and even lists the popular brands and their colorways on the side of the box.

2) It's significantly cheaper than the regular, full-application box.

3) It comes with significantly less product. This is probably why it's cheaper. HOWEVER, this is a plus in my book. As a long-time same-color dyer, I was following the touch-up application instructions in the full box anyway. That means that after applying dye to my roots, I was supposed to finish by combing it through the rest of my hair, resulting in an unattractive ombre effect that was darkest at the ends. Also, there was so much more dye than I really needed that I was probably overapplying, in an effort not to waste what I'd bought. The Nice 'N Easy has just enough dye to apply to the roots over my whole head--no anxiety about throwing half a bottle away.

4) The dye is mixed and delivered in a different format--with a little dish and brush instead of the squeeze bottle. The little brush that comes with the Nice 'N Easy lets you apply just the amount of dye you need right where you need it. With the squeeze bottle, I found I was applying a ton of dye pretty inexactly. No more sploogeing it out past your hairline!

5) You wait with the dye on your hair for less time. The box I was using before was a 25-35 minute wait, but Nice 'N Easy takes only 10-15 minutes.

6) The dye doesn't seem to contain a foaming agent that you work into a lather before rinsing it out in the shower, like the L'Oreal did. I don't know if that's better or worse, but I haven't noticed a major difference.

7) The only slight downside I see is that the Nice 'N Easy doesn't come with the tube of conditioner that is the best part of any box of home hair dye. This isn't a huge deal for me, because I never use those up before I get a new one, and thus I have a bit of a stockpile.

SO. To sum up: less dye on my hair for less time means fewer fumes to sting my eyes and make me start worrying about hurting the baby. The lower price is just a bonus. Plus, I've been using just touch-up packs for four months now, and I haven't noticed any weird stripeyness from not dyeing my whole head in between. I call that a win.

(Edited to add parenthetical explanations for sensitive, dirty-minded types.)