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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Let's Talk About Hair Chalking

For many of you, "Hair Chalking" is old news but, I have some tips I would like to share and some warning for the poo free ladies like myself.
For those who don't know "Hair Chalking" is a method of coloring your hair temporarily using soft pastels you buy from the art supply store. I'm not going to bother explaining the traditional method. There is a great video on YouTube if you click HERE. In my experience I have found some things that work a bit better for me, so I will explain how I do it.
First I want to say be mindful of your hair color. I'm a natural redhead. Any funky color in my hair is always a pain to keep unless it's a red tone. The worst is blue, because as it fades in my hair it turns green.....I can't rock green hair at all.  For my red hair I stay in the pinks, purples, and reds, because they all fade to various shades of pink in my hair and look far better on me. I haven't tried orange because I grew up with orange hair and have no desire to repeat that look, however I'm sure orange would work for red heads as well. If you are blond or have highlights keep in mind the blond will stain longer and be more noticeable as it fades.
If you use soft pastels like Candy Johnson suggests, unless you are blond, most or all the color should come out on the first wash. That being said it also comes off on your clothes, you hands, and depending on hair color is not that bright at all after just a few hours.
I chose to use hard pastels. Now they are more expensive. I got this small box for about $10.00 at  Micheal's. It doesn't have the array of colors that a huge box of soft pastels have but the color is brighter when it goes on, it comes off less on your hands, and not at all on your clothes. It also lasts longer. Warning. If you are poo free it may be over a month before you no longer see remnants of color from hard pastels so keep that in mind.
I don't wear gloves because I'm too lazy to buy them. The chalk comes of with soapy warm water and if you get some stubborn spots, some baby wipes will get it right off.
I start by wetting a section of my hair. I do not twist the hair. I find that twisting it makes it harder to coat the hair evenly. I have two methods for applying the color. The first is to hold the chalk on the top of the section of hair with my index finger, and hold the underpart of the hair with my thumb and simply slide the chalk down from root to tip. The chalk frequently breaks in to small pieces when using the hard pastels. The soft just disintegrates in water completely. When I have small pieces of chalk I take the small piece in my thumb and index finger and quickly run it under water. Remove it from the water and rub the chalk until my fingers are coated with a paint like mix of chalk and water. Then I simply take the section of hair with my index finger on top and thumb on the bottom, and paint the chalk on from my fingers root to tip. I find this works really well when layering colors. I decided to do purple at the root and put white at the tips so it would be a lighter purple creating a sort of hombre color effect. I forgot to mention. I put the color on straight. I do not use white first like Candy Johnson does because if you use hard pastels, you don't have to.
Once you have all your sections done, dry it with a hair dryer to seal in the color. Candy says to use hair spray too, but I skip that step. Next you want to flat iron or use a curling iron to seal the color in a bit more. Here's another warning. If you have big poofy dry hair like I do, the chalk makes it REALLY dry and if you brush it, you will brush the chalk out. I suggest less is more. I got carried away with mine but I really liked how it looked after it faded a bit on the second day.

One of the things I love about hair chalking is that I can let my 4 year old daughter have crazy colors in her hair when she wants them without having to worry about toxic stuff or ruining her hair. Also it doesn't last more than a day in her hair for some reason even though she is poo free also.
The hard pastels will still come off a bit on your hands if you are touching your hair, but not as badly as the soft pastels do, also your pillow case will look like you tried to asphyxiate a drag queen but it washes right out so fear not.
Happy chalking!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Women, did you know about this?

Now pay attention to the title, it says "women" so if you are not one of them, stop reading this right now. Trust me. Especially family.....Dad. We are going to be discussing women's plumbing products in this post, really.
I was lucky enough not to get my period until High School, but unlucky enough to get debilitating cramps that would go on for a week. I remember out first health class in the sixth grade. They separated the boys in one room and the girls in the other and played us a video, I'm sorry "film strips",  that was so old the sanitary napkins came with belts to keep them on. I was horrified. Lucky for me I had a mom I could talk to about that sort of thing. When I got home I asked about the belts. She informed me that times had changed and pads now had adhesive on the back to stick to your panties. So there was the million dollar question. Pads or tampons?
Now at 35 years old I come to find out, those aren't the only options. These days when people are trying to be greener there are cloth pads and sponges, yes.....sponges, but what really intrigued me was the idea of a menstrual cup. There are several different kinds on the market but I didn't want anything disposable and it seemed that the most popular was the Diva Cup, so that is what I decided to try.
The idea of a cup is that it's placed in to the vaginal canal and it catches all of your...well....pan drippings. It's made of silicone and is flexible. It creates a suction against your cervix and doesn't allow anything to pass through. I was convinced that, especially after my Essure issues, my period would be way to heavy for this. It turns out that even at your heaviest time women only lose about a tablespoon or two of blood the whole day.  Really. It just looks like more because of the pad and tampon, not to mention commercials have always showed us that blood comes out of our uterus like a giant pitcher of blue water being poured from 2 feet above.
I decided to give it a try. Honestly, pads are so expensive and uncomfortable. I've never been able to use tampons because the cramping is just awful for me. So I went online and ordered my Diva Cup.
I ordered mine through and got a pretty good deal, also it showed up in two days with free shipping.
I've heard a lot of stories about there being a learning curve with this product and I didn't really have any issues at all. If it doesn't open up all the way then it will leak, but you can tell when it's least I can.
Here's the deal. I was hoping it would be manageable, but for me it was awesome. One of the issues I face with Essure is the blood clots. I'll be sitting down with people and feel something, realizing that I have to rush to the bathroom because I've likely just filled my whole pad. With the Diva cup I feel nothing, because it catches the blood before it even comes down the chute! I had some light cramping the first day, which was less than normal and after that it was like I didn't even have my period at all. There is no blood when going to the bathroom, there is no uncomfortable pad or changing tampons. You only have to empty the cup every twelve hours and although I will admit you may see things you never wanted to see, it completely out ways any other menstruation containment options. Really emptying the cup wasn't that bad once I realized that I really only had to do it at night before bed. Aside from the one time I dropped it in the toilet, yeah....ew.....I had no issues at all. Now if you are under 30 and have never given birth you are supposed to go with size A, if you are over 30 and or have had children even via c-section then you are size B. I know that's depressing but try to get past it. If you haven't had a child, I can see where there may be a moment of panic the first time you go to remove your cup. It really works it way up there and when you try to grab the little tail to pull it out you may realize that grab and just barely can touch with the tip of my finger are two totally different things. Fear not. You may have to push a little but it will come out and once you get the hang of it, you'll have no trouble at all. So what do you think? Have you used one? Have you even heard of this before? Are you game to try? I can't really say enough good things about this product, I only wish I had discovered them years and years ago.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

More Poo Free and Other Stuff

When I was going through my Poo free transition I was doing it online step by step with a group of women following my post and asking questions along the way. I thought I would take a moment to answer some frequently asked questions and tell you a little bit about my current Poo Free routine since it differs from my original post.
First things first. If you haven't read the original no poo post you can find it here

Now we will have some Q&A If you have other questions that I don't get to, please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will add them to the post.

1. Why go Poo Free?
I chose to go poo free for two reasons. Number one, I am trying to limit the chemicals in my life. I have the utmost respect for the human body and I feel like most of what I've been doing my whole life has been just mistreating it. If I had a beautiful classic car, I wouldn't wash it with chemicals that were going to dull and dry out the paint. The more I learned about our scalp, the more I realized that shampoo really keeps your hair from possibly looking it's best and certainly keeps you scalp from functioning the way it's intended to function. The second reason is money and big boxed retailers. I'm looking to save money, just like everyone else but I'm also looking to limit my dependence on big box retailers such as Target. I'm trying to buy more American made products and trying to shop more locally owned businesses. When I stopped using shampoo, I stopped buying it from Target. Good thing too because the bottle was small and it cost 14 bucks, and that wasn't including the conditioner.
2. How often do you wash your hair?
During the transition process (mine was 7 weeks) I only washed my hair once a week. The reason I say to do this is because your hair will go through such a terrible time no matter what you do. It's good to just stay consistent. Using too much baking soda can damage and even break your hair. You won't really know what your hair needs until the transition period is over. Once you get there, then you can experiment with how often you wash and what ingredients you want to use. Now that my transition period is over, I wash my hair every Wednesday and Saturday. This seems to work for me and I may wash a little less in the winter.
3. Doesn't your hair smell bad or at least smell like Vinegar?
I get this question all the time. People seem to think that if you just rinse your hair with water, it's going to smell bad. Never. If you hair smells bad there is something wrong, hair should not smell. I have people constantly tell me "Oh but I work out every day and I sweat" So do I and my hair has never ever smelled bad. As far as it smelling like vinegar, that doesn't happen either. If you have ever cleaned using vinegar then you already know that vinegar has a strong odor when wet but dries odorless. My hair actually doesn't have a scent at all. There are times when I may put a few drops of essential oils in my rinse to give my hair a pleasant odor, but I'd be lying if I said I do that very often.
4.Will this work on tangled, long, frizzy, short, curly, straight hair with scalp problems?
Everyone is different and I'm not a Dr. I don't even have friends that are Drs. I can tell you that every person that I've talked to that made it through the transition was happy with their results. I've had people tell me that they couldn't live without conditioner because there hair gets so tangled, then they tell me the tangles disappeared when they went poo free. I've had a number of people with different scalp issues claim that this has cured them. All you can do is give it a try and know that your scalp can not possibly function properly while using shampoo daily. I say, give your scalp the benefit of the doubt before you lay all the blame on your hair. For me, it has taken away my frizz, lightened my color, and significantly reduced the amount of hair I shed. I would guess by like 80%. I was a shedder, big time.
5. Are you still using the original formula from your post on your hair now?
Sometimes but most of the time I use a different rinse then I did when transitioning. I still put a tablespoon of vinegar for my 8oz water bottle, but I also add a tablespoon of organic lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of organic honey to that mix. I don't recommend trying new formulas until your transition if complete though because you will have no idea how well it works for you until you eliminate the excess oils coming from your scalp.
6. Are your kids poo free too?
Yes. My son has always been poo free and in fact, it's his amazing hair that inspired me to give it a try myself. My daughter on the other hand has always used shampoo and went through a transition as well. I will say, and I assume this is because of her age, her transition was only about 2 weeks long. She is 4. At first she was bummed out about not using her Strawberry shampoo and detangler, but she's over it now and I no longer need detangler for her hair at all.

If I haven't answered you question, please feel free to post one. I'm an open book as you may already be realizing. As far as other products go, my method has been as follows; when ever I run out of a beauty product I have a decision to make. Do I want to go out and buy more of this stuff, or do I want to learn about what makes it work and make it at home or find an alternative for it.
So far I've run out of
Body Scrub
and.....get ready...tmi feminine napkins
The alternatives I have found so far for these items have been less expensive and in all cases I'm happier with the product.
When I stopped using deodorant I didn't think I would make it more than a few days. I watch an episode of Dr Oz in which he talked about how B.O. is actually bacterial or fungal and not a normal part of life. Don't get me wrong, armpits at the end of the day aren't supposed to smell like lilacs on their own. That being said, there is a big difference between a little musky scent that you can't smell unless you are actually burying your nose in said under arm and smelling someone when they enter a room. I've found that using chemical products on my underarms such as shaving cream actually makes them produce an unpleasant odor. I started off using lemon juice to help kill bacteria but I didn't really find it effective. Now I use a combination of a deodorant stone and baby wipes for freshening up. You can buy deodorant stones online or in the natural beauty product isle of most stores. I bought mine at my local employee owned grocery store. ;)
They look like this
A deodorant stone is made from potassium sulfate and other minerals which are then crystallized in to a stone like this. They aren't sticky, or greasy. They don't stain clothing or dry out the skin on your underarms. It doesn't clog pours or stop your body from sweating (which is a bad thing to do by the way) it simply stops bacteria from being able to grow in whatever area you rub it on to. Mine cost me about 10 bucks I think, but I know it will last for months.....maybe even a year. For me, I can tell you it works. I love it, I'll never use regular deodorant again. After a workout or on a super hot day I do still freshen up with a baby wipe here and there, but that's because I'm sweaty not because I'm smelly.
Now the body scrub I"m using deserves it's own post, so I'm working on that one and as far as the feminine products, well again that's a story for another day. I'm running very low on face scrub so that will be the next endeavor and I'm dying to find an alternative to shaving cream.
One step at a time....right?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

No Poo! Who Knew?

I wanted to start this blog months ago so I have to pace myself a bit. I wanted to post about hair chalking today, but I don't want to get ahead of myself. So much to talk about, but I suppose I should start at the beginning.
When I met my husband he made me promise I would never become "crunchy granola." I've made good on the rest of my promises.
I first read about going 'poo free" on Cafemom, a social networking site for moms. I'm always looking for ways to reduce chemicals in my life and after reading a little about it, I thought I'd give it a shot.
There are tons of organic and phosphate free shampoos on the market but I saw all these women with gorgeous long locks who were using nothing but baking soda and vinegar. Well anyone who knows me knows I have plenty of both on hand.
I've never had great hair. It's dry, fine, thick and frizzy. It falls out in the shower, it falls out when I brush it, it falls out when I stand still and do nothing. It doesn't grow past the bottom of my shoulders before it starts to break off. Also, the maintenance was a PITA. I had to wash and condition, then brush and blow dry, then use a flat iron. I always envied the women that could wash their hair and then let it dry all on it's own. When I did that, my hair looked like this.
This is no exaggeration. 
After my blow dry, flat iron and a good palm aid this was my every day look.
Looking back at these pictures I can't believe how dull my hair looked. Anyway, the poo free journey which claims to right all hair wrongs is a long and terrifying one. The idea is that shampoo was never meant to be used daily and conditioner was only invented once people began to regularly strip their hair of natural oils using shampoo. When our scalp is functioning normally it detoxifies itself and produces the right amount of oil. Now when we use shampoo and strip our hair of oil over and over again, it's puts our scalp in to overdrive. The scalp over produces the oils and therefor makes us dependent on the shampoo.This is said to cause all kinds of problems.
If there is one thing my hair has it's a bunch of problems, so I did it. I took the plunge on May 5th 2012. That was the last time I used my yummy smelling, silky feeling, expensive Rusk shampoo and conditioner. 
For the first several weeks I only "washed" my hair once per week hoping that it would speed up my transition process (the time it takes for the scalp to even out and stop the over production of oils)
1 tablespoon of baking soda per 8 oz of
water becomes your wash
1 tablespoon of vinegar per 8oz of water
becomes your rinse.

I bought two 8oz travel bottles at Target which I use for my BS (baking soda) and ACV (apple Cider Vinegar) wash. This is what I would use for the next 7 weeks to wash my hair once per week. On the days I wasn't washing my hair, I simply rinsed my hair with water thoroughly. 
I'd be lying if I said the next 7 weeks were a picnic, but at the same time it actually wasn't that bad. I never felt like my hair was so gross looking that I couldn't leave the house, although the way it felt in the shower was a different story. When I got it wet it literally felt like I had Crisco in my hair. Yuck. For the most part once it dried the greasy feeling was gone. Then one day around week 7, my hair suddenly felt great. It had movement, my color lightened tremendously, it no longer fell out all the time, there was no frizz and it was very manageable. A far cry from what my shampooed hair was. My hair also started to get a bit curly in the middle of transition but unfortunately the curl didn't last. Here are some photos of the transition.
Here is a picture before I started the process. I got my hair cut before I started but my hair was not colored at all.

week1week 2

week 4

week 6

week 7

Now when looking at the pictures, other than some hair chalking purple streaks which you can see a little on the left side of my head in the week 6 picture, my hair has not been colored . The biggest transition though is what my hair looked like as it air dried. Remember how I'm not one of those girls that can leave her hair to air dry? I am now. Check this out.

 Before. Again, no exaggeration this is what my hair looked like if I got out of the shower, brushed it, and left it to dry on it's own.
This is around week 5. I literally scrunched my hair with my fingers, I used no product and let it air dry and this is what I got.

This is what it looks like now when I air dry it. 
Now it's been three months and I have a different solution I use for conditioning my hair and I'm a bit more experimental. I love my hair now. I would never had said something like that before. NEVER. I've always hated my hair and all the work I would have to do it. 
Please feel free to ask questions in these posts. I am happy to be your guinea pig. I will be posting in the future all the stuff I experiment with for my hair along with results. No Poo! Who Knew?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My Essure Story

As I sit here, turkey sandwich in hand waiting for my homemade ice cream to be ready, I realize this may not be the best day to talk about healthy eating or discuss weight loss. While I had intended to write about going poo free and hair chalking I've instead decided to come right out of the gate with something incredibly personal, birth control.
I'm one of those people. I have red hair, light skin, light eyes and freckles galore. This also means I'm one of those people who breaks out in hives when I use a lotion with perfumes or who gets a burning welt after spilling some cinnamon on her arm. I can't take hormonal birth control. I tried and it left me in contemplation with a razor blade. When I was in my early twenties my OB prescribed the Depo shot. This was a different hormone all together than what was always used in the pill. I used it for the following 5 years with a 1 year, Dr recommended, break in the middle. By the fifth year I was loosing interest in art and music. I was becoming uncomfortable around people and having extreme mood swings with in days of getting my shot. Well, guess who can't have Depo anymore? At this point my Dr was pretty blunt with me. "There really isn't anything I'm comfortable giving you at this point. You are going to have to use condoms" Well I tried for a while. Unfortunately it seems I have some sensitivity to them. I know, shocker right? By this point I was married and planning for a child so I put the idea of birth control on the back burner. After my daughter was born I just used the rhythm method and avoided sex while ovulating. There were no oops moments, we didn't get pregnant again until we planned it. Now I'm 35 years old and I have two great kids. I'm done having babies. I'm not just "I'm done but if it happens we will make it work" done, I'm really done. I've had two c-sections and I don't ever want to be pregnant again. Although I love my two children, I have no illusions about how much I can handle. Most days I feel like I'm clinging to the edge of sanity, I've reached my motherhood limit of two children. One more will surely push me to medication and guess who is overly sensitive to meds? 
My Dr asked if I wanted a tubaligation during my second c-section and I said no. Morbid as it sounds, babies are fragile. What if I had a tubal and then my baby died? I know it's horrible but I wasn't comfortable taking permanent birth control measures until my child was a few months old and healthy.
After what I thought was a great deal of research, on October 31 2011 I had the Essure procedure done. It's the only regret I have so far in my life.

Essure is a permanent form of non surgical birth control. They insert metal coils in to your fallopian tubes. Over three months time, your body develops scar tissue around the coils and seals off your Fallopian tubes interrupting ovulation. 

You will never guess who had a bad reaction to this procedure. Wow, you guessed it. You're good. The first 4 months were debilitating.
Lower back pain that was so severe that there were days I couldn't stand up all the way. Cramping that was reminiscent of that moment during labor when I asked for the epidural. Daily migraines, and inner thigh soreness. Any physical activity made the symptoms worse. So there I laid on my couch each day, popping Vicodin and muscle relaxers, for four months trying to take care of a 1 year old and a 3 year old. Not surprisingly, I decided to have the coils removed.
In all my research I never really understood what "permanent birth control" truly meant. It can't be removed, in fact there are other women like me who had bad reactions who are having hysterectomies. Eventually I found a Dr in Georgia who had invented a procedure to successfully remove the Essure coils. Problem number one, I live in Chicago. Problem number 2 it's costs 5 grand and my insurance may reimburse me for 40% of that afterwards. Problem number 3, no payment plans cash only.
I was set to do it in April of 2012 but the oddest thing happened. Most of my symptoms went away. The only real issue I have now is that my periods are terrible and I get very tired very easily, oh yeah and there is an issue of 20lbs I gained after the procedure that won't go away. I decided to wait and see if these last symptoms went away too.
My Dr called me a few months ago and said they had successfully removed the Essure coils from a patient using a robot. This was exciting news because now my insurance would pay for it and I don't have to fly to Georgia. The issue now is that my symptom of being exhausted all the time doesn't match the cause. My Dr thinks there is something else wrong with me now, and doesn't want to remove the Essure until I have a full physical and a million blood tests to rule everything else out. So that's where I'm at now. I have about 35lbs to lose and very little energy to exercise. I ride my bike in the evenings so I can go to sleep right afterward. I was working out in the mornings for a while but by 2pm I was passing out. I literally couldn't keep my eyes open.
I wanted to write about this, because many people out there considering this procedure may not understand the risks of Essure. They may understand that their body can reject it, but do they understand if it does there is nothing anyone can do, outside of Dr Green in Georgia that is. I'll continue to update. If anyone has a wayback machine I could borrow, I'd love to just go back in time and skip the whole procedure. I'm smart, I'll bring your time machine back before I took it so it will never be missed.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My first post on the new blog

Hey Everyone,
Some of you may know me from my cupcake blog. I am Kitschy Girl and this is my new health and beauty blog. I have been transitioning slowly in to hippydom for about 4 years now. From eating frozen pizza every night for a year to cooking all my meals almost entirely from scratch and almost eliminating all pre-made and or processed food from my diet. From being a Rusk using, hair dying, blow drying, flat ironing machine to becoming a poo free hair fanatic who rarely uses any heat on her hair at all. From a convenience-aholic plastic using down town money waster, to a frugal organic shopping glass bottle saving queen. I still have a long way to go, but I wanted to share my journey and finds with like minded people further down the path, and those who are starring down at it and wondering if it's as terrifying as it looks to be. I will review products, give recipes for my homemade beauty products, share stories, and every little thing I find on Pinterest that I get excited about. So be prepared for TMI and a good laugh on ocassion. Welcome to "The Kitschy Sink"