Archive | July, 2012

Ojon Rare Blend Oil Total Hair Therapy

30 Jul

 

 

I wanted to love it, I really did. Look at it! You have to shake up the bottle to “blend” the oils together – so gimmicky, how could I help but try it? Sadly, for me, Ojon Rare Blend Oil Total Hair Therapy was a fail. Not a TOTAL fail – it’s not like it was horrible – but it didn’t work on my crazy hair. It does smell nice and the blending aspect is undeniably cool. The oil has a nice texture and I didn’t need much to do the trick. But I tried it in varying amounts and the result was always the same – weighed down, greasy-looking locks. Now as I have mentioned before, I do have very thick yet fine hair, so if your hair is coarser than mine – or if you like the weight/effect of Argan Oil or Moroccan Oil – you may find this divine. For now, though, I am sticking with my favorite and still champion, Orofluido Beauty Elixir.

 

Weleda Everon Lip Balm

22 Jul

I have been looking for a lip balm in a tube that I really love. After trying Weleda’s Everon Lip Balm, I am still looking.

Here are my criteria:

  • easy to open and apply
  • glides on smooth
  • looks glossy
  • stays on a reasonable amount of time
  • nice but not overpowering scent
  • nice flavor a bonus
  • no spf (because that always messes with the scent and flavor. ALWAYS.)
  • natural a big plus

As you know, I absolute LOVE Korres little gloss pots, but I don’t always feel like getting a messy finger applying them – sometimes, like at bedtime, I just want to twist up a balm and be done with it.

For awhile I was using Clinique’s balm at bedtime. It fulfilled a lot of the above criteria, but it had a couple flaws. One, it is a BITCH to open – the smooth, shiny metal tube slides out of even the most lightly moisturized fingers. Two, it has no real flavor or scent, which I kind of miss. At bedtime, it’s fine, but I’d like a balm to carry with me during the day, and then, I don’t know, scent is a plus. I have also tried Caudalie’s balm. Same story – good, but it’s not glossy enough for day wear and it doesn’t have much of a scent. Sigh, my life is so tough.

I decided to try Weleda’s Everon balm, and am currently using it at bedtime. MEH. It has a nice, cocoa butter sort of smell and is easy to open, but it’s HARD, so it is kind of tough to put on, and it’s not at all glossy. I’ll keep using it at bedtime, but the quest for the perfect day balm continues.

It’s not Bath Salts, for God’s sake…

21 Jul

 

Have you heard about bath salts? I just heard about them, somehow, for the first time this weekend. If you haven’t heard, do yourself a favor and Google (or Bing) them. FASCINATING. As a brief summary, they seem to be an organically occurring compound that people are smoking. They give the same sort of speed high as cocaine or meth, but are currently legal because they are marketed in head shops as – you guessed it – “bath salts.” Here’s where it becomes TRULY interesting – they cause people to turn into zombies. Not in the literal walking dead sense, of course – in the “Man I am starved and you know what sounds really good? My neighbor’s face,” sense. I kid you not – there are MULTIPLE instances of this drug causing people to turn cannibalistic and eat people’s faces (or, in this case, the family dog). When I learned about bath salts this weekend, everyone I asked seemed to already know all about them, making me wonder how the hell I have missed this sensational development in the world of narcotics. I assure you, I know more about hard drugs, hard drug users, and the effects of hard drugs than nearly anyone you know – especially amazing since I have never actually partaken of any hard drugs. It has been a lifelong fascination for me, so it’s especially bizarre that somehow I missed the popularization of a drug that causes people to turn into horror shows, quite literally.

Anyhow I digress. The point of this post is not actually bath salts or hard drugs. It’s Ambien.

I have had insomnia pretty much since I got my depression resolved (with medication) at the age of 19. I used to use sleep as a crutch, sleeping as much as possible to avoid dealing with reality. When I got medicated for depression, my sleep cycle first became normal, then I developed insomnia. I have two different types of insomnia – slow sleep (the inability to fall asleep once I am in bed) and premature waking (waking up at all hours and then being unable to fall back asleep again). For years, I have taken Trazodone, an anti-depressant with sedative qualities, to help me sleep. It works great, but when I got pregnant, I had to stop taking it, and didn’t sleep for pretty much three days straight – not good.

My doctor then put me on Ambien. I guess Ambien is safe(r) to take during pregnancy. I take it “as needed,” meaning I mostly just take melatonin at bedtime unless I know for some reason I am not going to sleep (like jet lag) or if I have taken the melatonin and have still been lying awake for hours.

Google (or Bing) Ambien and you will find ALL SORTS of horror stories. I have heard more about how awful Ambien is than bath salts. Sleep eating, sleep driving, sleep murderizing entire towns (okay, I am exaggerating on that last one) – people are terrified of Ambien. I read an entire article in a women’s fashion magazine demonizing Ambien and its effects. The author, you see, instead of taking the Ambien and going immediately to bed, as prescribed, was taking it and then staying up and compulsively eating and shopping. But that’s the drug’s fault. Not hers. Yes, the doctor told her to take it and go straight to bed. Yes, she asked for it. Yes, the prescription bottle also advised going straight to bed. Yes, she is a fully grown woman. BUT IT’S ALL THE FAULT OF THAT HORRIBLE DRUG! (Ugh, sorry, sorry, I have issues with people refusing to take personal responsibility.)

These articles even freaked me out. I read all about Ambien. I doubted the wisdom of my doctor in prescribing it. I worried about the side effects and long-term problems. But you know what? I haven’t really had any. So now finally I am going to get to what this blog is actually about – What It’s Like To Be On Ambien. By Kate.

Yes I have taken Ambien and then stayed up. Not because of any desire to “see” what it would be like or to consciously disobey doctor’s orders. More because my typical nighttime routine consisted of taking Trazodone and then goofing off online until it kicked in, at which time I’d go to bed. The “problem” with Ambien is that it doesn’t kick in in the same way. You don’t become suddenly super sleepy – you feel a little drunk. Not in the fun, party way, but in a slightly dizzy, disoriented way. So I’d take Ambien, start goofing off online, do that for an hour or so, think, “I should try to get some sleep,” and then pretty much immediately fall asleep.

Did I order things online while on Ambien? Yes. I definitely did. I ordered things I only vaguely remembered ordering, and things I didn’t really need. Ambien definitely causes me to become looser and more apt to make purchases online.

Did I post things on Facebook/send texts while on Ambien? Oh yes. And I would see them the next morning and think, “What the eff?” They were JUST the sort of weird, off-the-wall things I’d post while drunk, and some of them I only BARELY remembered. But again, Ambien doesn’t really make you FEEL drunk – you’re not all laughy happy silly emotional. You’re just – weirdly relaxed. (And yes, I am saying “you” and should be saying “I,” because my experience could be vastly different from everyone else’s, but I am not going to go through and change all the pronouns now. Sorry.)

Did I drive, walk, talk, eat, or murderize while asleep on Ambien? NO. The only thing Ambien made me do after I closed my eyes was sleep.

So here’s the deal: Ambien is a drug. In my personal experience, it’s no more a drug than alcohol – maybe even less of one. But treat it like a prescription drug. Follow the directions. Take it and close your eyes. Don’t try to take it and then go on about your life – that’s not what it’s prescribed for. It’s prescribed to let you sleep, so use it for that. If you have a bad effect, stop taking it. If you can’t control yourself and feel the need to abuse it, stop taking it (and definitely talk to your health care provider). But don’t use it contrary to the directions and then blame the drug for what you do. Ultimately what you make of it is in your hands. Or on your nightstand.

 

Phyto Haircare

20 Jul

As I started this post, I was undecided about whether to link to these products for purchase. I promised when I started it that I would ONLY link to products I endorse, and there are some good things about these. Finally I asked myself: Would I buy them again? And I realized no, I wouldn’t, so there’s no reason to encourage you to.

I’m only realizing now, as I type this, that Phytojoba actually contains sulfates. I don’t know how the hell I missed this – as you may know from reading my blog, I am trying to eliminate sulfates from my life. I am usually hypervigilant about them, especially with shampoos, since shampoos contain sulfates about 90% of the time. Maybe it was the leaves on the label, maybe it was all the “natural” ingredients they claim to have, I don’t know. But I missed the sulfate connection until right this minute, which further cements my decision not to recommend.

So, Phytojoba – what’s good? It smells sensational, like coconut vanilla cookies. Not too overwhelming, not like a sunscreen, like a delicious cookie, like a kitchen with something fantastic baking. It has a nice lather (sulfates) and seemed to get my hair quite clean. What’s not so good? Why the hell is this stuff so runny?!? This is the second shampoo I have used recently with this consistency – is this a new thing? I do not like it. It’s basically got the consistency of cough syrup – slightly viscous, but mostly liquid. What this means is if you cup your hand and pour the shampoo into it (and granted, I haven’t taken any polls, but isn’t this what most people do?), it just runs right out of your hand and down the drain. Today I poured a teaspoon at a time into my hand, quickly applied it to my hair, and repeated until I felt like I had enough. If you have long, thick hair, this is a total waste of time and complete annoyance. That about covers Phytojoba – smells good, horrible consistency, and the sulfates put it over the edge into “do not want” territory.
Phytobaume is Phyto’s “normal” hair conditioner -

Highly concentrated in softening mallow extract, this lightweight conditioner gently detangles hair while eliminating static electricity. Hair immediately becomes easier to style, and regains its shine and silky softness.

LIES! It did not detangle my hair. My hair was NOT easier to style. It smelled fine and my hair looked fine after dry but I had to use even more Orofluido than normal in order to get the brush through. Yesterday my husband came into the bedroom to find me sitting on the bed after my shower looking sadly defeated. “What’s wrong?” he asked. “My hair,” I answered. I’d spent about 20 minutes trying to get the brush through – long enough that my arm hurt from brushing. He offered to help and when he tried, was horrified at the rat’s nest he found. So, Phytobaume gets even fewer stars than Phytojoba – the smell is just okay, and it doesn’t seem to do the most basic tasks I ask of a conditioner.

No good. Do not recommend either of these Phyto haircare products, and won’t be buying them – or trying any other Phyto products – again.

Borghese Bagno Di Vita Body Soak

19 Jul

 

First let me tell you I traditionally HATE baths, for multiple reasons. One, I don’t like how fast the water cools down. Two, I don’t like the idea of sitting in a stew of my own dirt. And three, and this is the most important reason and may actually even be the parent reason that the other reasons just branch off of, I am bigger than normal bathtubs and it’s both uncomfortable and disheartening for me to try to sit in one. Enter our new, custom-designed bathroom WITH Victorian-style slipper tub, and cue the Hallelujah chorus. FINALLY a bathtub that I feel normal in. Between the fact that I have a gorgeous bathtub that fits my gorgeous body, and the fact that I am now subjected to all sorts of pregnancy aches and pains, I have actually been on the lookout for bath products that a) don’t contain sulfates, and b) don’t make me feel all dry. Enter Borghese Bagno Di Vita Body Soak.

I got two little packets of Borghese Bagno Di Vita Body Soak (in French underneath that says Oil for the Bath, which is kind of a lie, because it’s not an oil at all but a powder/salt, but I digress) in my Birchbox last month. I love that they sent me two packets because sometimes it’s hard to tell if you really like something after only one shot. This is a direct quote from their packaging – you can’t make this stuff up:

Receive the luxurious skin treatment of hydrotherapy – a therapeutic soak in mineral waters – in the comfort of your own home. Mineral infused crystals transform your bath into an oasis of calm, blue waters while the uplifting scent of botanical oils soothes tense, tired muscles.

Okay, I guess SOMEBODY made that stuff up, but still. An oasis? Really?

In spite of the silly description, I have to say, I fully endorse this product! I dumped the packet into my bath and it turned it a pretty blue color. No bubbles, but that’s usually what sulfates do, so that was okay. Additionally, even though it’s a powder, it really did feel like an oil! I left the bath feeling soft, silky, and refreshed – NOT like I’d just been soaking in my own filth for half an hour. The smell is pleasant, herbal, and spa-y, and I actually didn’t even need to use the second packet to know I wanted more – I just went ahead and bought some. I used it again a couple nights ago with an equally pleasant result.

Nicely done, Borghese! Now work on that copy.

 

 

Procrastination…

19 Jul

 

“Procrastination” sounds much sexier if you sing it to the tune of “Infatuation” by Rod Stewart. Just saying.

Sorry I have been MIA. Lots going on – pregnancy, bachelorette party for my sister that almost all of the like ten girls said they were coming to subsequently bailed out on/didn’t show up for, dog, life, etc. I haven’t even really been shopping for product! So you know I have been crazy.

Whatever, this stage couldn’t have handled any more sexy, anyhow.

So a very brief update – we got the MaterniT21 test results and they show to a 99% accuracy that there are NO genetic abnormalities with the baby (who is currently known as Fruit Bat). HOORAH! It’s been a long road and we still have a long way to go (it was 20 weeks Saturday) but every bit of good news helps. Thank you again for all your well wishes and kind thoughts and words! It helped immensely.

I am going to try my damnedest to get a few reviews out in the next couple days. Like, three. At least.

Hope you are all well and staying beautiful!

xoxo

 

The Truth About Cats & Dogs (& Chickens & Guinea Pigs & Mice &…)

5 Jul

Sid on the left, Snuggles on my back, and Ollie in my face.

This is a pet-related post. And a tiny tiny bit of a rant.

Right now, sitting in my lap as I write this, is my cat Boris. A few minutes ago, Boris jumped up behind me in my chair and, purring loudly, attempted to climb my back and over my shoulder to get into my lap. Boris really, really, REALLY likes to snuggle.

Four and a half years ago, in December 2007, Boris was removed from the home of a cat hoarder. He was taken from his mother a bit too early and was therefore quite scrawny. He was fostered out to gain weight, and when he was healthy, returned to the Humane Society to be adopted out. Since he was a cute little ball of black kitten fuzz, this happened quite quickly.

Boris’ new family named him “Barracuda.” They must have thought this was cute and clever. They kept him for a full year before returning him to the Humane Society, claiming he was unmanageable because he “runs away.”

I met Boris in October 2009. By this time, he’d been at the Humane Society for quite a long time. He had groomed away most of his fur from the waist down due to anxiety. Apparently, when cats groom, they get an endorphin rush. Boris took this to the extreme and groomed all the time to soothe himself. When I arrived, I already knew which cat I wanted – I had chosen him off the HS website because he was male and black, and I’d recently lost my black male cat, Piglet, to a coyote. I didn’t know about his overgrooming issue when I chose him, and although when I first saw him I was a little concerned he had the mange, when I learned the real cause I wasn’t too bothered. As soon as I arrived in the cat room and saw him, he immediately jumped into my lap, curled up, and went to sleep. I briefly expressed interest in another cat (I didn’t want to take it home – I was pretty much immediately sold on “Barracuda”), and the volunteer hurriedly told me about the other cat – a fluffy, friendly cream and orange tabby – “That’s Peaches, but she’s going to find a home right away.” I could tell from her tone of voice that Boris was  a hard sell, and by his behavior, I could assume this was based on appearance only. How sad.

Boris’ Humane Society headshot.

My cats are indoor outdoor, so the “escape” issue was never a problem for me. Boris did have about a year’s worth of “adjustment” time – my other three cats are older and his constant insistence on chasing and playing came off as very aggressive. They were not fans and he was somewhat excluded and isolated. The overgrooming continued, abating when we were home and worsening when we’d go away on vacation. After our three-week trip to get married and honeymoon, the overgrooming never stopped, even upon our return. I finally had to start medicating Boris with Prozac.

MAYBE why he needed the Prozac… Boris’ first Halloween with us.

This October, Boris will have been with us for three years. His fur is completely grown in. He is no longer on Prozac. He gets along beautifully with his brothers. He will snuggle any person who walks in this house. He likes to do things like tunnel under the bed covers, earning him the nickname Mongoose. For the first year or so, he was outside as much as he was in, often bringing us “presents” of rats, birds, and other wildlife. :( Now he spends about 80% of his time inside, and hunts primarily moths and houseflies. He is a different, and way cooler, cat than the one I adopted.

As a brief overview, my other three cats are, in the order I acquired them:

Sid – ~13 – adopted in Lakewood, WA, when I lived in a military neighborhood after someone abandoned him. Probably abandoned as a kitten, he was feral and I had to do a lot of work  to get him to trust me. When I finally did, I took him to the vet and had him neutered. He’s never trusted me again. KIDDING! He is my shyest kitty, but extremely loving.

Oliver – ~11 – ALSO adopted in Lakewood, WA, when I lived in a military neighborhood after someone abandoned him. Found neutered and with a badly infected ingrown claw. Has since had to have all his teeth and one eye removed for medical reasons. Most laid back kitty I have ever met, we call him “The Teddy Bear.” Only cat I have ever met you can step SQUARELY on by accident who, instead of running, looks up at you with an expression that says, “Oops. We all make mistakes.”

Sebastian (aka Snuggles) – ~12 – Guess where I got him? Yep - adopted in Lakewood, WA, when I lived in a military neighborhood after someone abandoned him. Found neutered AND DECLAWED. I had four cats at the time and had no intention of adopting him but went home for two weeks in the middle of winter and when I returned, he was still on my doorstep. I put up signs and ads but no one claimed him. He’s been mine ever since.

Let me get to the two points of this post, after all this rambling.

1. DON’T ADOPT AN ANIMAL UNLESS YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE COMMITTING TO. Animals are not presents, they are not accessories, they are RESPONSIBILITIES you take on for the life of the animal. This can be 20 years OR MORE! Agh, sorry for all the caps but seriously, how is this even still an issue? Okay, Kate, calm. Just – if you want to adopt an animal, ask yourself the following questions:

-Am I prepared to commit to this animal for 20 years, if it comes to that?
-Do I have the means (money AND time) to care for this animal properly? Keep in mind this means regular vet visits, food, clean water at all times, treats, exercise, and quality time.
-What am I going to do with this animal when I want to go out of town or stay out all night?
-Is it possible I could be allergic to this animal? What will I do if I become involved with someone who is?
-Do I have a stable place for me and this animal to live?
-Will I be able to take this animal with me if I move? Am I willing to do the work required to find animal-friendly rentals?
-If something happens to me, what will happen to my animal?

Think of adopting an animal as though you are adopting a child. It is virtually the same thing. You wouldn’t enter into the latter lightly or without a LOT of planning. Don’t enter into the former without the same.

2. YOU WILL GET OUT OF AN ANIMAL EXACTLY WHAT YOU PUT INTO IT. Yes, animals all have different personalities. You may get a high-strung dog or a very mellow cat. But in the end, the real decider is you. The older an animal when you adopt it, the more time you have to put into it, but in the end, you WILL see the fruits of your labor. My high-strung, crazy, mighty hunter of a cat, Boris, is now a lap cat who snuggles his brothers and likes nothing better than to be touched. When we first adopted him you had to feel his throat to know if he was purring or not; now you can hear him from the other side of the room. My feral kitty Sid, who literally peed on me in bed about a dozen times the first year I had him, now only uses the litter box or the great outdoors, and takes turns rubbing on my husband and me. My goldendoodle puppy, who is 6 months old, constantly amazes people with her gentle, calm demeanor and mild personality. And my hens – these are just regular old, egg-laying hens – run to me when they hear my voice, wanting to be held and snuggled. Take time EVERY DAY to bond with your pets. Respect but push their limits – if your cat doesn’t like being held, insist on holding it for 15 or 30 seconds a day, slowly building until the cat will allow itself to be held for a minute or more. It may never enjoy being held, but it should allow you to do so without a big scene. YOU are the owner, YOU are the parent, YOU make the rules, and YOU form the animal. You cannot change an animal’s inborn personality but you CAN change its behaviors and reactions – all it takes is time.

I really hope I haven’t offended anyone or come off as too preachy – it just breaks my heart to see animals constantly returned to animal shelters because of “behavioral problems” that are easily resolved with time and training. Although if you do have to get rid of an animal for ANY reason it is definitely far more humane to take him or her to a shelter than to simply abandon it in hopes someone will take it in! Domestic animals are NOT prepared for life fending for themselves – please do not make them try to figure it out!

Okay, this is by far the longest post I have ever done. I hope it’s at least somewhat informative, and I welcome any questions or comments. Have a great Thursday!

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