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Sunday, May 09, 2021

Curly Chemist(ry) Does It Again With the PMP Method

 You all should know by now that one of my favorite YouTube channels is Curly Chemistry. The young lady with smarts and great hair shares good ingo & I always call her the Curly Chemist. By the way, she has a website where you can find out about her book (I need to get a copy soon), and she is on Instagram and Facebook. I pick up a lot of hair tips from her videos and she had done it again with what she calls the PMP method. Listen, she really tells you how to PMP (or pimp, get it?) your hair.

I was fascinated with the video because I had already recently switched up my own hair routine by adding some old-fashioned Blue Magic grease and learning to better use the curl creams in my pantry.

With all the curl creams I have collected for a few years now, I only just recently realized that I was using them all wrong. And there's no excuse. They are curl creams with instructions right on the labels. Most curl creams are also moisturizing, and I had been using them only as moisturizers. Instead of smoothing them through small sections of my hair to accentuate my curl pattern, I had been globbing them on and waiting for them to just magically produce curls. Dummy-dum-dum. Now, I actually use them as directed.  Imagine that. As a result, I have fallen in love with products that I had given poor reviews to.

The hair grease thing was brought to mind when I recalled my mother using it all the time when I was a kid. She used it herself and never combed, plaited, or styled my hair without some grease. 




Back when my family lived in our little West Texas hometown, a local man did hair in the basement of his house. Mr. Leon (who later went on to become quite a sought-after hairdresser all over Texas and beyond - to the point where he and his clients used limousines to pick each other up for appointments) never did my weekly hot comb press- and-curls without using hair grease. 

Seeing memes like this tells me that a lot of people have similar memories!


These days people refer to such products as "hair dress" or "conditioners" (which I think is how they were always labeled), but back in the day, Mama called it "grease", or "pressing oil". A lot of people would just refer to any hair grease by the name of whichever one they grew up with: Posner's, Blue Magic, Ultra Sheen, Royal Crown, Super Grow, or Sulfer 8. 

My mother had beautiful, healthy, shiny, glorious hair. Then again, she was a glorious woman.

That's a hot comb press n curl right there!

So, anyway, I am going to be trying to pimp my hair with the PMP method. For those of you like myself, who have to take notes about everything, here is the basic rundown as I caught it (and how I will be applying it):

  • Penetrate using a pre-poo for from 30 minutes up to overnight. (Overnight for me.) I'm going to use either coconut or babassu because I always have those around already and use on my skin daily. Good stuff. (For my skin, I mix babassu with glycerin.)
  • Moisturize using a water-based conditioner or leave-in. I already use a mix of water and Aussie Moist as a leave-in after washings so...
  • Protect with oil (not coconut though & I can't remember why not so watch the video). I am going to use the Blue Magic I have.
Between-wash care depends on whether you have low- or high-porosity hair. I have very low-porosity hair so I will continue to use my "wet" leave-ins or water-Aussie blend (or water mixed with whatever conditioner I have around). Lately, I found a big old bottle of Lustrasilk when I had a burst of energy and cleaned under my bathroom sink. 

This stuff is amazing! That is a FULL bottle of activator and an almost full jar of curl pudding. Just been hanging out in a box under the sink for about 5 months...

Anyway, yeah, Curly Chemist has inspired me once again. Now, of course, as with anything, you have to do what is right for you and use common sense. I'm not a professional so I can only tell you what I like for my own hair routine. 





Meanwhile, I was talking with my best friend about the Blue Magic I've been using (and love!) and she said that she grew up using Murray's.  And a lot of people know about the famous Madame C.J. Walker. I'm pretty sure that some of us have folks in our circle of family and friends who used some of her products.

As for me, I have to tell you that I have fallen back in love with Blue Magic. I forgot how soft and lovely it makes the hair feel. Also, one application keeps my scalp nice and moisturized for days. When I was using some other oils and butters, I had to re-apply them almost daily. The big jar of Blue Magic is cheap (as long as you don't get it from Amazon!) and it takes literally just dabs of it to treat my entire scalp and a few more dabs to palm over my hair. On Amazon, you either have to get a 3-pack of the 12-oz for around 17-20 bucks or a single for about $9. I got mine for 5 dollars at a beauty supply and when I run low, I can go to Ebonyline (not secure until checkout!) or another online beauty supply and get it for about $6.  If I want to order a minimum of 3, I can get them from Family Dollar for under $2.50 each and have them shipped free to a local store for pick-up. So, yeah, Amazon can go away on this one.

The ingredients in Blue Magic (and I got the "original" anti-breakage formula) are shown on Amazon like this:
  • Petrolatum
  • Lanolin
  • Lecithin
  • Mineral Oil
  • Fragrance
  • Green 6
  • Violet 2

This is the label on the jar I have:

Not much different



I also remember one of my aunties using the green-colored Blue Magic. ~shrug~

Anyway, I am going to give the PMP method a try. It's not much different from my regular routine except for the pre-poo with oil. That is... lots different. We'll see how it goes...

Peace

--Free

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Can I Do This?

 This is just a heads up. Don't anyone laugh if I bomb out, but...

I found the absolute cutest thing ever and I am going to attempt to make a few of them for Christmas gifts.

This blanket is by
She's Crafty & She Knows It

I might not finish until Christmas 2023 but... Honestly, I am going to have to collect more of the yarn a little at a time and I hope each project doesn't take me years!

This all started when someone suggested that I get back into yarn work to help with my depression. Thing is, I haven't held knitting needles since I was about 25 so I was looking for crochet projects. Then I heard about "arm-knitting".  (What? What??) While checking that out, I ran across this video and it was as if the heavens opened up.

But never in white or beige 
for our kids. Are you kidding?

This woman is an amazing instructor. I - yes I - was totally able to follow along with her video. I could really see myself doing this project. Also, I need to get something for the 4 newest little girls in the family. I got Bibles for the older ones who are learning to read. I can do these blankets for the ones not yet walking. It's perfect!

I will let you know how it goes. I started saving up for some yarn and finally, some went on sale as a Buy One, Get One at Half Price. I got 4 skeins in Pink Dust (because all the Terra Cotta was gone), and I think I can at least do a Baby's Crib blanket. Or I can save up for more yarn to do a larger blanket. We will see...

Fingers crossed and breath held.

Peace

--Free

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

I Might Never Eat Ice Cream Again

 Is there anything that a big ol' bucket of chia seeds can't do? 

I started using chia seeds a while back in place of pill-form laxatives and to bake with. (Did that even sound right???)

Anyway.

Chia seeds are awesome baked into bread, sprinkled onto sandwiches and salads, and in smoothies. Because they are also priced very reasonably, I don' think I have been without one of the big 2-lb, 9-dollar buckets for a while now.

The ones I get are
just under $9.00
for 2 pounds

But now... Oh, boy, now I've found a recipe that takes chia seeds to the next level.

I present to you something that tastes 6 million times better than my photo of it looks.

 

I'm a bad photographer!

That is chia seed pudding - or, as I call it, chia seed ice cream. Some people call it "Nice Pudding". Cute.

Listen. I got the first basic recipe from this Clean and Delicious video. I didn't have some of the stuff she had and I didn't want to make multiple flavors. This is her base recipe here and you can find variations under her video.

Original Chia Pudding Base Recipe (from Clean & Delicious):

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or your favorite milk)
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup (or your favorite sweetener)

Combine all ingredients in a wide mouth mason jar and stir well.  Refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours and up to 5 days.  Enjoy with your favorite toppings.

Nutrients per recipe: Calories: 202; Total Fat: 9.5g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Carbohydrate: 24.4g; Fiber: 9.5g; Sugars: 11.9g; Protein: 6.5g 

I gave you hers so that you can see the nutrition label she put up. As I said, I did not have all the things she did so I went with this:

My version of the recipe:

  • 1 cup liquid (which was coconut cream thinned with coconut water since that's what I had)
  •  3 tbsp. chia seeds
  •  1 tbsp. Specially Selected Raw Honey (from Aldi's because I was out of Nature Nate's Unfiltered)
  • 1.5 tbsp. Hershey's unsweetened 100% cocao powder (don't ask me the difference right now)
  • 1 tsp. Ceylon cinnamon
  • A drop or 2 of vanilla extract 

Combine all ingredients in a wide mouth mason jar and shake well.  Refrigerate for a minimum overnight and eat really cold. I will even put it in the freezer for 20 minutes or so beforehand.

My photo came out horrible and I keep forgetting to get photos before I eat it up! I am going to post other people's nicer shots on this post...

I was having a weird kitchen pantry kind of day. I was going to use coconut milk for my liquid but... You're supposed to be able to get coconut milk by mixing a certain amount of water into the cream but I was too impatient to look that up. My concoction came out so yummy that I love it. It's like very cold, slightly melted chocolate ice cream.

Oatmilk or vanilla soy might be great in this but I am kind of loving the coconut cream and think I will keep that part.

The best thing about this is that I end up getting my daily serving of chia seeds even when I am tired of blending up my blueberry-chia smoothies. I love me some blueberries but, boy, I get tired of them after about a week or 2. Also, coconut cream is cheaper than blueberries and, without looking up the details, I know I read somewhere about how good cacao is for the body. 

This is so much like chocolate ice cream that I keep telling myself that I can indulge more often. I really like ice cream but rarely bother getting any because it's too many useless calories. This stuff, on the other hand...

So yeah. I just wanted to pass along that recipe. I had never heard of using chia seeds this way. In the future, I might doll things up with chocolate shavings or by adding some blueberries or strawberries as a topping. Lord knows I have a bunch of frozen blueberries. A few weeks ago, Hyvee mistakenly put 2 of those 1-pound containers of fresh strawberries in my delivery. When I called to let them know, they told me it was their mistake so not to worry. I rinsed and froze those bad boys. Now I have a way to use up some of them.

Some Tips & Recipe Variations

I'm going to shut this post down now. I have some chocolate pudding that's just about ready for my evening snack!

Peace

--Free

Saturday, May 01, 2021

Hair Treatments That Make You Go Hmmm...

 ... Or "Huh?"

Product junkies like me will try just about anything for our natural hair. Strengthen it, grow it, shine it, gel it - This hair is a beast and it tries to be in total control of our lives.


One of my favorite YouTubers is Curly Chemistry. Miss Tanya is smart and engaging. And I love her way of explaining things. Recently, she put out a video about a few odd hair growth treatments. And I mean, these are some straaaange ideas. 

One of the treatments has to do with onion juice. Yep. Onion. Juice. You have to go over and check out Curly Chemistry's video to hear about the other treatments. You won't be able to guess what they are. If you do know about those treatments, I need to know how they worked out for you. 

Weird, right?????

 However, I can top those.

Years ago, my mother told us all about an aunt who just couldn't grow her hair past 3 or 4 inches. What hair she had was choppy and brittle. Everyone else in our family has nice hair - not all of them have long hair but they all have nice, healthy hair. Except for Aunt, um "Leona". 

Some of you might be old enough to relate when I tell you about small Texas towns back in the day. There always seemed to be some old lady who was into old-timey cures and the like.  Auntie Leona asked one of these old women how she could grow her hair - or at least make it healthy. The woman told her to rinse her hair once a week in her own urine. She was to let the urine stay on her hair for about an hour, then rinse it well and apply some hair dress.

According to my mother, within a couple of months, Leona's hair grew another 2 or 3 inches and it was full and shiny. She could wet it with water and apply some hair dress and it curled so prettily that other girls were a little jealous. My mother said it all sounded disgusting but she had to admit that Leona ended up with lustrous hair and she never had to go back to using the urine again.

Now, that is absolutely nasty but I won't judge.

The treatments Curly Chemistry mentioned hearing about are not that gross. Weird but not really nasty. I'm a little bit intrigued by the onion juice. I went and looked around to see if there was more info and found an article I plan to read asap. 

My mother always had lovely hair - thick and healthy and shiny. And she never used all these products I do. I can see in my memory's eye what was on my mother's dressing table. She always had some bergamot hair dress and those hard pink rollers with the snap-on covers to keep them in. She had several beautiful scarves that she wore to bed at night. Whenever she got her hair "done", it was a simple wash, press, and curl every other week or so.

Now I'm over here thinking about all the 8 million jars, tubes, and spray bottles of hair products in my bathroom pantry. Maybe I ought to look into this onion juice situation?

Peace

--Free

Friday, April 30, 2021

Social Media (please) Don'ts

Maybe I'm not the person to be making such a list but I'm gonna. It's really The Devil is a Liar Part 3

I'm not a huge user of social media. Mainly, I do hit-and-run check-ins. I use social media to post links to my blog content and keep up with birthdays. Every now and then, I post a photo of a hairstyle or outfit - usually done for a product review.

This is not the first time I've posted just to rant about social media. It probably won't be the last. So, here is a list of my Please Don'ts for users of social media - people and brands:

  • Please don't alter your photos so much that I don't know who you are. And you are a close relative. I honestly have seen at least 4 photos today on Instagram and had to check the username to be reminded that I know the people. I get doing some slight color adjustments. Phone cameras can be fickle and lighting is not always the greatest. But if you subtract 40 pounds, change the color of your eyes drastically, give yourself a waist or hip or a butt... that's when you know you've gone too far. I personally cover my mouth because I developed an unattractive gap after losing a side tooth. It's either that or hold back on the smiles. And I look mean when I don't smile.
  • Please don't (this is for the brands and vendors) use stolen video to promote your products. If your wig looks like a 2-dollar hat, don't use a video of someone else's 2k-value hairpiece. Just. Don't.
    Only babies can get 
    away with this

  • Please don't (this is for me & other stooges) fall for the 2-dollar hats that are promoted with stolen videos...
  • Please don't keep doing that weird thing with your lips. The "pout" went out - or should have - a long time ago. You look silly, not cute. Some of you look like you're selling services that are best listed in the pages of adult-only newspapers. Some of you look like you got frozen in the middle of having a conniption. A couple of you look cute but it's still a silly pose.
  • Please stop bucking your eyes Betty Boop style. That's worse than the lips thing. Any time you take a photo with an expression that is too unnatural for regular life, you look, well, over-posed. And silly.

  • Please don't fish for sympathy - or to get people on your side in tiffs. I've done it and it's childish and embarrassing. Not too many people want to know that you are not speaking to someone else for reasons you won't tell. If you're going to vent, spill all the beans. 
  • Please stop trying to sound "cool", "in", "hip", or whatever it's currently called. Years from now, people are going to be laughing over your use of certain trendy phrases the way I can't help but snicker over things like those lines from Shaggy on Scooby-Doo.
  • Please don't (if you aren't a teenager), talk like a teenager. It's not cute. It doesn't make you look or sound young. You look and sound like an adult trying to sound like a teenager.
  • Quit flaunting your romances. That's going to either be painful if it doesn't work out or end up as evidence if it really doesn't work out.
  • Stop faking your life. Most likely, there are more people who can relate to your real-life than they can to your Instagram or Facebook life. If your real life is that blingy and material-girl awesome, you don't need the Likes or Hearts. If you do, you have other things you should be dealing with - with the help of professionals. And, seriously, if you have real problems, get real help.

Another worthy read

  • Stop posting about things you haven't researched. Or at least, admit you are sharing things without researching them. If someone is interested enough to ask you questions, you will look stupid.
  • Please don't jump on every celebrity bandwagon rant about the latest social injustice - unless you have something intelligent to say. Something intelligent is not parroting everyone else patting the OP on the back for being "woke" and "brave" for speaking out. You sound like a teeny-bopper idol-crazy fan. It is, in IG vernacular, not a good look. Think for yourself. You aren't getting commissions for being celeb-crazy.
  • Please don't be bothered when some of your friends don't congratulate you on the latest thing in your life. If you rely on social media as your only form of keeping in touch with people, just know that not everyone considers that genuine and thoughtful contact.
Basically, don't forget that there is life and love and friendship, and a meaningful existence outside your social media pages. You are still a real person. If social media went away in the next moment, you won't die from withdrawals. You might have to learn to have in-person conversations again, but you will survive.

Great article!


Social media is great. It's one of those social advancements with a lot of convenience and benefits. However, it's really pervasive and corroding in many ways. In so many cases, it's not bringing people together. It's connecting a lot of people without letting them truly connect.

Treat social media the way we should all treat alcohol: responsibly, with maturity, and in moderation.

Peace
--Free

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

**REVIEW** Stardrops Pink Stuff (cleaning paste)

 So...

A few weeks ago when I was rearranging things on my kitchen countertops, I discovered something about my Keurig: it can stain the crap out of cheap Corian counters. Ugh.

First, I was stupefied that I had never noticed the staining before. I mean, I am kind of a neat freak and I clean my counters all the time. I even move things on a pretty regular basis to clean under them. I guess though that the last time I moved the Keurig was about 6 months ago when I was draining and cleaning the tank. There had been no serious stains then. When I moved the machine this time though...

I think that what happened was is that some spilled coffee went unnoticed for a while.  Like I said, I have been on an instant coffee kick and using my electric kettle more than the Keurig. However, the Keurig stays on constantly and exudes some heat. Maybe the heat combined with a sitting stain just sort of... grossified

The first thing I did to attack the stain was to use a mixture of baking soda, vinegar, and Dawn. It sort of worked but not really. Next, I left some bleach on the stain for a few minutes. Better but still there. 

Should I be ashamed to say that I just covered the remaining stain back up with the Keurig until I could figure out a better solution? Oh well.

I actually kind of forgot it because, well, I haven't been using the Keurig as much and I have the attention span and memory of a drunk gnat. 

Because nothing else had worked on the stain and it was really starting to irk me, I went hunting for something. I found this:



That's really called "The Pink Stuff" and it's a Pepto-pink. Or maybe Pla-doh-pink? It has the consistency of toothpaste. In fact, that is exactly what the feel reminds me of - except super gritty.


I don't like that there is not a complete list of ingredients on the product container and was irritated that I had to go to a website listed on the product just to get a full listing. I was REALLY irritated that I had to input a barcode just to get to the list. What???  


"Amongst other ingredients"?
Well, LIST them!

The product is made by Start Brands out of the UK so maybe that's why the ingredients aren't listed (or don't have to be?).  By the way, the product photo on Amazon has a UK flag on it and my jar does not. Seems a tiny bit sketchy, does it not?

Anyway.

Here is a screenshot comparing the list that was on Amazon as an answer to someone's question (and the one shown on the dpi page for the barcode on my jar - 5060033823705. (And here is the head dpi page in case something changes.)


I went ahead and got it because I really needed something for that stain. Of the currently almost 30 thousand reviews, 85% are 4- and 5-star. Most critical reviews are to do with it not living up to what other products can do. 

I didn't take a Before photo because I wasn't thinking about this review at that moment. But the un-treated stain was really brown. Think badly stained teeth. The treated area is much, much better. 

I think one more treatment ought to do it

Once I saw how well this worked on the stain that had taken up a lease on my counter, I cleaned everything I could with the paste. I cleaned around the faucets and along the edges of the sink. The hard water here does a number on the faucets and The Pink Stuff has those gleaming like new money. My counters are so clean that I was worried about how nasty they might have been before. Makes you think of those pressure washing Before-and-Afters

Okay - maybe not THIS bad...

 And then I thought of this and got sidetracked watching 10 more full episodes:


Anyway.

Yep, The Pink Stuff works. If you get it, be careful what you use it on. The paste is super gritty but the grit is so fine that you might think it's safe on surfaces where it's not. (Did that even make sense?)

By the way, another thing I noticed is that the cleaning rags I used the paste with were amazingly soft after I rinsed them. I almost want to treat my bath towels with it just to see what happens. Maybe I will do a test on an old towel. Hmmm...

Peace

--Free


P.S.: I see that on the Startdrops Store on Amazon that The Pink Stuff can also be had in a foam, spray, etc. I see no reason to buy another version. If I want, I can dilute the paste with a lot of water. Maybe there's a reason to get the other products but I see no reason. The paste was about $10 for 1.1lbs. I'm sure I can find it cheaper at Walmart, Walgreens, or some other store.

Introverts Unite! (Separately)

  Ran across this a while back and thought "Yeah!"

My people!

I'm not sure why my being a home-body-introverted-loner bothers people but I'm tired of being confronted about it.

The kinds of pouty-passive-aggressively rude things I hear when I just don't have the energy to be social:

"You never want to go anywhere." (Not true. I just don't want to go where you want to go or I don't want to go right now.)

"Why don't you want to...?" (Why do I always have to explain? I'm not asking why you do want to go.) ~see how repetitive this gets?~

"It's just for a couple of hours." (I don't want to go. Not for 5 seconds, 5 minutes, an hour. I don't want to go. Period.)

"There won't be many people there." (Many or any. Doesn't matter. I don't want to go. Maybe we can talk one-on-one for while, without an audience or props? Let's try that sometime.)

Or, not too long ago, I got a super-heated and extremely rude passive-aggressive swipe:

"That's because you never get out of the damn house!" (So what exactly is your problem with that?)

Yeah, that made me want to go hang out with the person and be social for real. Guilt me on something and see how fast I want even more to do the exact opposite of what you want me to do. Go ahead. Try it. I'll wait.


I am beginning to think I am not the problem here...

I recently started coming up with retorts to use for specific people and situations. I plan to start calling people on their traits. I know a lot of super-extroverted people and co-dependent, can't-move-without-their-sidekick people. I know people who use the Lord's name in vain so much that I get sore from all the cringing I do. I know people who have recreational habits that I don't like being around. Most people have no idea how gracious I am by not screaming all this at them while they are judging my loner personality.

The problem for extroverts is that we are, of course, outnumbered in social settings. We get called "wallflowers" or "stuck up" when we can't summon the energy or will to put on a socially-expected public facade and mingle, muggle, and do the social snuggles.


Also, like some introverts, I send mixed messages. I'm not overly shy and I can talk someone's ear off - if it's the right person and the right subject. Otherwise, I am faking interest, being Instagram-sincere, and parroting canned phrases to indicate engagement. And it's freaking tiring. It's stressful and draining and sometimes leaves me feeling unduly resentful.

I think that the reason people can be irritated by introverts is that they misunderstand the behaviors. Maybe they think we don't like their company (we do, in small bits and at the right time). Maybe they think we don't appreciate their personality (we do, in small bits and at the right time). And maybe it's because we clash with their social and emotional cycles (our 5 minutes of chattiness runs into their constant chattiness or our need to be introspective runs into their need to be, well, them).

Whatever the case, I'm putting my foot down. I have put up with people's harmless (but very irritating crap) because of love, friendship, or social grace. I've listened to the snide remarks about how "anti-social" (aka: being a witch-with-a-b) I am. However, from here on out, when someone tries to call me out or guilt me on my loner traits, I'm going to flip the mirror and let them know what I think about their irritating traits.

I'm over this and it's time to handle it.

This irritating but funny extrovert here...

My best friend and I were talking about all this the other day. She too is an introvert and, like me, she struggles with depression and social anxiety. She mused that her depression is always worse after having to deal with people who don't "get" her and her personality. I told her that I tend to stay away from people when my depression is worse because they sure don't make it better.

To be honest, I am very sensitive and find it easy to nosedive into depression at the slightest perceived wrong word or action. I don't mind about dings from strangers who don't know my life or struggles, but when someone who knows me insults or hurts me, I shut them down for a while. I realize that about myself. If I feel slighted, my first emotional bandaid is the deepest solitude and extreme avoidance. I don't want to willingly subject my balance of sanity to your thoughtless behavior until I know that I won't lash out in defense. Children learn quickly to avoid hot stoves; I likewise avoid certain social burns.

Besides, being around even the people you really like or really love can be draining at times. Here's the thing I want to tell them: My introverted personality is not about your extroverted personality. You should know me by now. And if you like or love me, you should know me really well. Don't make me go all Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes on you. Explaining is even more tiring...

Drains faster around some people

For those people who wonder what introverts do with their time - and I will speak only for this introvert because we are all different in many ways. Since I only feel fairly well and "normal" for about 3, maybe 4 days a week, my useful loner time is really important to me. My life revolves around my health so... Here is what a good day can be like.

  • Cleaning - because things pile up easily in a small space and I find that I feel mentally better in a clean space.
  • Feeding and caring for my plants. My plants are a huge part of my mental health therapy. They don't talk or make noise; they just radiate peace and calm and the complexity of the beauty of God's creation. Nature is really stunning to me.
  • Blogging here or at Free & Faith or Lotta Laughs. (I have been neglecting the 3 or 4 other blogs because they are too much to keep track of on any kind of regular basis. I can just barely keep up with this one!)
  • Reading my Bible and meditating on it. If not for my faith, I don't know where I would be during all these ups and downs of the past 10 or so years.
  • Trying to write. I kind of gave up on setting goals for my writing. I can't seem to carry lines of thoughts long enough to put down and pick up where I am in a plot. Now, I just write as therapy and self-enjoyment. (I've been thinking of getting back into knitting or crocheting but don't feel very confident about patterns and designs.)
  • To keep my mind as sharp as I can, I check out a lot of adult-learning sites. I even bought a basic Maths workbook once to review algebra. It was a nightmare.
  • Sitting and watching this kind of video to calm my anxiety. I have a whole playlist. It's what I use my TV for most. This underwater theme from the Mario game is my long-time favorite music to relax too when I get super anxious. Soothing stuff.
  • Preparing meals to last for a few days or a week - depending on how I am feeling or on my budget. Trying new ways to eat healthily is an ongoing quest for this chunky gal. Right now, I'm working on using cayenne, ginger, turmeric, and black rice to boost my mood, immune system, and get my weight in check.
But the one thing I do, no matter how I am feeling, is thinking. When I am out of commission, I can spend hours just thinking about almost anything: life and circumstances; blessings and struggles,; why people do this or that, or what someplace or the other looks like; if turmeric is really all that beneficial to our health and how in the world can I get more of it into my daily diet because the stuff is not that tasty on just any old thing; why it is that plants are so mentally healing; whatever happened to the girl in fifth grade who was so pretty but always looked so sad; what did my mother mean that time 30 years ago when she said I reminded her of Sister Carruth; why I sometimes can't remember my phone number (and still can't remember the house number) but have the main lyrics from "The Crawdad Song" stuck in my head after hearing it the first time when I was about 12 when Daddy sang it to me...

And I heard the Crawdad tune a few weeks ago while re-watching some "Andy Griffith Show" episodes on Prime.

Forgive the Andy Griffith stuff. I get on a kick of watching oldie shows and that one is in current rotation. 



I like the TV show version also



And how cool is it that the families of these men can always go back and look at them through the different ages of their lives?

Anyway.

My best friend has a line she sometimes tosses out when I ask if she plans to go out shopping or anywhere else: "Nope. Can't do people today." Let me tell you: Instacart is our thing!



The worse thing about some extroverts is how petty they can be. Just because you don't like being out and about all the freaking time, they get offended and will exclude you to prove a point. It's as though they are triumphantly (and childishly) saying, "See, you do need people!" 

Here is my triumphant (and almost-but-not-quite-as-childish) reply:

"Of course, we do, you ninny. We just don't need the round-the-clock, in our space, co-dependent, unnecessary, bodyguard-like company to feel okay with life. If that's your thing, have at it. It's not my thing. I put up with your personality needs so why don't you try returning the favor?"

I am, as you can probably tell, feeling some kind of way about this right now...

So, for all my fellow introverts out there, I am just asking the rest of you to stop and think before you go all judgemental and critical of us. We are who we are and you are who we are. Let's learn to get along better - but you know, with you over there and me over here.

Peace
--Free

Monday, April 26, 2021

**REVIEW** Softsheen-Carson Care Free Curl Gel Activator Lite

 As a hair product junkie, do you ever run across a new product that you feel you should have known about all along?

I have used almost every kind of Softsheen Carson product there is. For years. StaSofFro has been a staple product in my hair care. It's a product I use to soften up my hair when I have used a curling gel or other treatment that leaves behind "crunch". The one problem with it though is that it can loosen my curls too much.

So.

I was looking online for one of my regular gel activators but wanted something a lot more softening than the one Aunt Jackie's product I've ever used (the Curl Boss). 



That Curl Boss gel works like crazy BUT it tends to flake & look just like dandruff and it dries a bit stiff. I wanted to find something to either replace it or to make it play nice.

When I saw this:

I thought that I had surely tried it before. I know for a definite fact that I have tried the activator/moisturizer that comes in a bottle. I've even tried the "Gold" version. It was a bit too "wet" for me. 

So, hmmm. Had I ever tried the gel in the jar? Once I thought more about it, I realized that I probably had not. For one thing, the jar with the Care Free branding just looks foreign to me. Nope, I had most likely never even seen the product in a jar. 

The price on Amazon is a little bit scary at close to 10 bucks for under 12 ounces of product. I looked elsewhere and no one had it in stock or up for shipping (unless I wanted to reach a $35 cart total). The price at Walgreens.com is $529 as I type this draft. 

~sigh~

I went ahead and ordered from Amazon. Dang, how I miss living just down the street from a Walmart!

 (By the way, I have seriously considered giving the Walmart+ membership another try just so I'm not so heavily reliant on Amazon. I will tell you in a postscript what I don't like about Walmart + after doing a short trial run...)

I felt a tiny bit better when I got the actual product in hand. The jar isn't as teeny-tiny as I had visualized. It's still not big enough for the price when I KNOW that the price at Walgreens.com is $529 as I type this draft.  Unfortunately, it's only for shipping in my area and it's currently out of stock. What.Ever.

It's not that big a jar either 😠


The product looks (in the photos) like it's a regular, thick activator, but it is not. This is like a jelly-water type of texture if that makes sense.

Very wet - not oily

The ingredients list explains the texture. (And you can ignore that number-letter combo. I Googled it to see what it had to do with hair products and... think it has to do with the brand or plant location or something ~shrug~)

1st ingredient is... water.

The order of the ingredients is something I can get behind. The water, other humectants and softeners... Perfection.

It will do no good to show photos of what this does to my hair. You can't see the benefits as much as feel them. Now, it does NOT bring out my curl pattern as well as something like Curl Boss. What it does (and what I ♥) smooth and soften my hair. I used the Curl Boss to get the deep definition, then followed up with this Care Free Gel to give my hair "touchability". 

Thankfully, on top of softening the crunch of the Curl Boss, this also hydrated away the flaking.  And... zero greasiness. ZERO.

Well, let me back that up a few feet. At the time that this is being applied, it is very wet and on washed and damp hair, it has the slick feel of an oil-based product. But when it dries, it's oil-free.

One other thing I want to point out is that, on my 4C and desert-dry hair, I had to do 2 applications. I had washed my hair and used the Care Free gel to do overnight twists to hydrate and seal in the moisture. When I took out the twists the next day, my hair wasn't as bone dry as usual but it was still dry. I was ready to be very disappointed in the gel. What I have learned is that it is better (for me anyway) for this to be applied and worked into hair that is mostly or completely dry. 

When I did apply this to my dried hair, smoothing it from root to tip in small sections, I got the results I needed. I can now use this with to without another product like Curl Boss - but I will never again use Curl Boss without this gel.

So, yeah, this one is a keeper. I have other softening products that I love but this one is so grease-free and does a better job. I will have to find it at a cheap price or I won't be buying anymore for a long while though!

I'm really glad that I gave this a try. I almost passed it by because 1 - that price and, 2 - I thought it was going to be like the bottle version.

The only other product right now that I am planning to try (for my scalp) is some rosemary oil mix and some Blue Magic hair dress. I remember the Blue Magic from when I was a kid and I want to give my scalp a break from thin oils like that pricey Jamaican Black Castor... 

By the way, I have been contemplating doing a big old chop-chop on my hair. I am kind of wanting to start over with it. Right now, it's in decent shape but, because of my meds, I have to fight so much breakage and dryness that it's exhausting - especially on wash day. I don't know yet. We'll see...

Peace

--Free


P.S.: Almost forgot to do this!

I tried the Walmart + on a trial basis. It's nice but... I don't like that I could never tell if something was coming by "regular" shipping or just from a pop-up delivery by a person. Also, the program only works for items that are sold by Walmart.com - not 3rd party. Most things I seek to buy there are hair and grooming items I can't find on Amazon and they usually happen to be 3rd party. Also, most 3rd party items don't have the low Walmart prices - which is why I am there in the first place. If I can't find something on Amazon, I hit Target, Dollar General, Walgreen, or Walmart. But I go for the Walmart prices. So that's the deal with that. Oh! And... the membership is about the same price as for Amazon but without the reach.

I do suggest at least giving the trial a go. You might find it more useful, depending on your ordering habits

Friday, April 23, 2021

Sick-bed to ER to Well-dom

 Just over a week ago, I spoke too soon about feeling better. I thought I had the flu bug licked. Until I didn't. My fever came back to visit a couple of times then, just when I thought I really was getting better, one night my throat started hurting and I felt as if it were trying to close up. I took some aspirin and went to bed. 

Oh, Lord. What if I really am sicker than I think? What if I ignore this the way I ignored the sarc and it gets worse? What if I suffocate in my sleep?

Yeah. My anxiety kicked in the door and I imagined being found dead in my apartment. My messy apartment. 

I have a thing about keeping my place neat. I'm not fanatical about it but when your living space is as small as mine is, the least bit of clutter or thing out of place can resemble a scene from that show about hoarders. Seriously. So the only place I let things pile up is either on my bed or at my writing desk. And by "piling up", I mean having my computer, writing paper and pens, and some post-its taking up space. Since I'd been sick, I was keeping all that stuff on the little bed-tray-table thingie I have on one side of the bed. And because I was sick, there were some extra items on the bed - tissue, nose-spray, my pill organizer, a couple of bottles of water, and my Bible. There was barely room in the Queen-sized bed for my body.

The body that my family was going to find dead. In my messy apartment.


from the King Street Gallery
Wish I could afford a copy!
Not only was my bed a mess but so was the kitchen. Again, small space and things out of place. My kitchen is so small that I have to store my toaster on top of the fridge with I'm not using it. All I'd been doing since the bug had bitten me was fixing toast, coffee, and tea. But that had created a mess I had not cleaned up in days - paper plates and used paper towels and spoons sticky with honey and knives coated with old butter.

Someone is going to have to come in here and clean all this up before they can properly mourn my death.

Just like my own kitchen except neater

The more I laid on my bed, waiting for the aspirin to kick in, the more my throat seemed to close up. I was worried that maybe I did have COVID instead of the regular flu or a bad cold. I would die of COVID because I'd been too hospital-chicken to get myself checked. 

Lord, I don't mind dying but I sure don't want to die in a messy apartment.

I felt so sick and sorry for myself that I started to cry. And I started dozing off. Until my throat ache woke me. I sat up and realized I would have to go into the bathroom pantry to see if I had any more aspirin. But I was too freaking tired to walk to the bathroom and back. But my throat...

I guess the crying just made things worse because suddenly I felt like I couldn't swallow comfortably or get enough air in through my snotty nose.

When I called my family, it was about 11 or 11:30. They didn't even hesitate. As soon as I said that I thought I might need to go to the hospital, they went into action. The Conway Calvary was on the way!

Actually, the staff were all
very nice

And, of course, then I had to somehow get dressed. I hadn't showered in days and I had been sleeping in the same yoga pants, ratty t-shirt, bra, and underwear for at least 3 days (don't judge me!). There is not much that can get me to leave my house like that but I just didn't have the energy to do more than mask up my face, lock up my apartment and get myself to the lobby where I could sit and wait for my ride. They were there by the time I made it to the door. Looking all kinds of a hot, pitiful mess.

One I use here all the time

Now here's a weird thing that happened. Not even halfway to the hospital, my throat seemed to be opening up a little. it didn't hurt much to swallow and I actually felt as if I could fall right to sleep. 

The ER people are going to think I am overreacting to minor flu symptoms.

That's what I thought for about 2 seconds and then I remembered that this is 2021 and COVID is a thing. Thankfully, my family is vaccinated.

Too late, my friend.
It's too late,
though we really did try to make it.

So... A 10-minute ride to the ER; 5 minutes to disinfect my hands and sign in; 10 minutes in the waiting area (empty); 15 minutes in an exam room to strip, hide my icky bra and undies in my purse and under my coat (until they could be safely burned); 5 minutes with a nurse; and 10 minutes with a doctor and a lab guy who administered a COVID test. Then I laid there on the table and dozed for who knows how long? 25 minutes? An hour? When the doctor came back he was chipper and non-judgemental.

I don't have COVID. What I had was the lingering effects of the flu. And the problems with my throat closing up? That was most likely from an anxiety attack. I was released with orders to drink LOTS of water, take aspirin for any fever and see my regular doctor asap. I slunk out of there, relieved that I would live.

Funny enough, the ER doc said that he hadn't seen a "regular" flu patient in a long time.

Probably because "regular flu" patients don't rush to the ER in the middle of the night like manic hypochondriacs...

So, yeah. I live. I'm still super-fatigued and am using a lot of energy laying on my side in bed as I type this but at least I don't have COVID.

It was, Apparently, it was.

I've had bursts of energy. I have managed to empty the garbage, pick up the kitchen, and shower myself. I am still living mostly from my bed but I am feeling SO much better. Silly for running to the ER in the middle of the night, but...

If I die now, at least my bed will be the only messy thing about the apartment. 

Today, I made it to infusion and even stopped at the store on the way home for a quick minute. And I have finally gotten to try that WTRMLN Juice I've been hearing about. 

A bit of a 
disappointment :-(

That's the WTRMLN drink I've been searching everywhere for. My family picked it up for me. It's exactly like drinking the juice from a could-be-sweeter watermelon. I don't taste the lime at all, but I keep wanting to add sugar to it. I was disappointed the way I am when I am looking forward to a piece of tasty melon only to get one that's underripe. And I can taste the rind in this. It's not totally disgusting but I won't be rushing out to get more. Nope. (Maybe the other versions are better?)

In addition to trying the WTRMLN, I found a good ginger tea. The WTRMLN I tried might be a bust but...

Instant Ginger Tea with Honey

Now the ginger tea? That is so delicious. I don't like spicy things (wait til I get to the cayenne in a moment) but this is not the same kind of spicy as the pepper I force myself to add to juice. This tea is the first one I could find online that had ginger as the first of the ingredients and didn't have a lot of ingredients - just ginger, cane sugar, and honey. I like to drink it cold with a little bit of apple or pineapple juice or the occasional bit of coconut water (occasional because of the high potassium in coconut water). At night, I will drink it hot before bed.

And, yeah, I have been adding cayenne to my diet - for the capsaicin. Yep, me, the woman who can barely take too much black pepper in her food. 

Haven't had that problem. Yet.

I don't go crazy with it though. I have just been adding a little bit of cayenne powder to my juices and smoothies. If I add it to coconut water or apple juice, the heat isn't too much. Instead of ingesting a lot all at once, I just do little 6-ounce shots throughout the day.  One tip I picked up for cooling the heat is to use dairy (knew that one), something acidic (lime or lemon), or carbs (bread). For me, coconut water or apple juice works well.

Capsaicin is found in various types of peppers but is higher in the hotter ones (I think I'm saying that right). I have heard that, like ginger, it's good for the immune system. I also heard something about how it can rev the metabolism. Hmmm? I don't know. I'm almost beyond caring about that for now. But I can say that it does affect the appetite. On the days that I add some cayenne to my juice, I feel less hungry and less inclined to snack. ~shrug~


So, yeah, I'm trying to help my immune system out as much as I can. 

At any rate, I didn't die in a messy apartment. I am still here and feeling a little more back to my usual (hah!)  level of wellness every day. Hopefully, I will be getting some more posts out of the Draft basket and posted soon.

Peace

--Free