Lotions and Potions/2014

I know I haven’t done a product post in a bit but wanted to share what I’m into lately. I’m a coconut freak – always have been. I love to eat it, drink it, smell it, you get the point. I’m the Bubba Gump of coconut.  It started when my mother used to slather my hair in coconut oil when I was little. It’s all the rage now, but back in the 80’s in Harrisaburg, PA, I was a freak show. She only made me do it at night and would let me wash it out in the morning, but it still felt strange. Back then all things from the East were foreign. Chicken Tikka Masala wasn’t the National Dish of England and Mindy Kaling wasn’t on TV making Indian girls look funny and cool. We were on our own.

Now I think my mother was a revolutionary. Did she know then that she was paving the way for stylists everywhere? I don’t think so. There’s a ton of cool things you can do with coconut oil. I hear people are even swishing it in their mouths to get all the bad juju out. I’m not so sure about all that. I do think it makes a really great skin/hair softener. And I’m obsessed with it as a make-up remover.

A few months ago my girl asked me to buy a jar of pure coconut oil. She had heard it was good for your hair (yep) and she wanted to try and use it to take off her waterproof mascara. It worked so well, she was hooked. Then I started sneaking it from her bathroom too. I use it every night to “take off my face”. I love that saying. It makes me feel chic. As if I’m a 50s starlet unveiling her night-time routine. One of my favorite scenes in a movie is Fay Dunaway taking off her make-up and cleaning her face in Mother Dearest. I know the movie wasn’t about make-up removal rituals, but this is what I remember people. This is also why I can’t write movie reviews. My focus is off.

Coconut Oil! Try it. Just remember, it’s oily. Didn’t want you to be surprised. It also works on dry heels. Just put a towel under your feel after applying so you don’t ruin your fancy sheets.

Next obsession of late: Roc everything. But especially Roc Multi-correction creme. I’ve been using this stuff under my eyes and on my lids (which is what it’s meant for) and around my mouth because I have skin discoloration there (which it’s not meant for but it works so why not. I may grow an extra limb later, but dems the brakes).

Here’s visuals of what I’m using. Any brand oil will do as long as it’s “pure”. I liked this one because it was the only one in the supermarket the day I was trying to buy it for her. It was either this or go to another store. I decided right there and then that this was one of the best coconut oils on the market!

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Worst. Soup. Ever

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I should have known by the name – All Bean. Like they needed to get rid of all their beans but none were good enough for one type of soup. They dumped all of them into a Vitamix and served it up. It should have read – All Bean No Flavor.
I usually have such great luck with soup at work. Really. They do a good job. Which is why I always buy a big bowl. It’s filling. It’s usually full of veggies. It’s usually awesome.
You see all the black specs? That’s 9 packets of pepper. 9! And I won’t even tell you the amount or salt I added. No dice. Still no flavor. The soup sucked.
As you can tell, I ate most of it anyway. I’m picky like that.
As I tell my kids, no big deal. It’s not my last meal. I’ll eat again in a couple of hours. I just thought you should know.
#firstworldproblems

I’ll sleep when I’m dead

Is that not the funniest thing you’ve ever heard? I was whining to my boss about going to a concert on a work night (Tom Petty!). Complaining about losing a few hours of sleep. Ignoring the fact that I’m still young and it shouldn’t kill me to do spontaneous things. This is what she said to me. You’ll sleep when you’re dead. Genius. She said it’s what her mother says to her sometimes. This is my new motto! No more pajamas at 7! No more 12 hour sleep cycles! I’m going to live life!
But then she also said another phrase I love,home is where the pants aren’t. Indeed. I think I like that better. Good night!

Here’s a blurry photo of the concert. It was a blast.

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The Stuff That Sticks

Like millions of other people, I was working and living in New York City on September 11, 2001. Everyone has a 9/11 story. Riding into work this morning, my train car was full of people talking about that day. Like a train full of veterans that lived to tell about it. Many of them had lost co-workers or family, but today, they talked about the little things. The weather that morning. People helping each other. The police walking around Penn Station with their fire arms out and on the ready.

Their conversation reminded me of the days and months and years following the sudden death of my mother-in-law. My husband, his sister and I would talk through every moment that led up to her passing over and over again. We’d be eating together, driving together, you name it – and all of a sudden one of us would start talking about how all the events unfolded. It was a devastating loss but talking about it, somehow dissecting it with each other was good for us. From the outside it must have sounded depressing and morbid, or like we were adding salt to the wound. But really it helped the healing. And it felt so nice to do it with people who wouldn’t hurry you through thinking about that day into the,” she’s in a better place” or “you’ll be ok soon”. Mourning slowly and long is ok. Mourning in bits and pieces is ok.

9/11 and the weeks that followed are both a blur and extremely clear in my head. Here’s what goes through my head today about that day:

  • I walked into the building at work not having watched the news. My boss, now one of my best friends, was coming in too. She said,” Did you hear what happened?” We went upstairs, grabbed another co-worker, and went to a company coffee shop – called Java City I think. They had two TVs broadcasting live. A tower on fire. News channels hadn’t expected to show people jumping out of windows so we saw everything. All three of us were crying. I think everyone in that shop was crying.
  • Not sure how/when we came back down to our floor, or if the other tower had been hit at that point. TVs were brought into a small conference room on our floor and people were either frantically calling home or watching the footage.
  • Here’s a totally wacky thing. There is a comedian named Jason Mantzoukas who’s quite famous now. But on that day, he worked across from our floor and did presentation building. He was the funny dude who would help put together our agenda packets, etc. He’s the one that helped bring the TV into the conference room, and I remember spending part of that horrible day with him. When I see him on Parks and Recreation or in the movies – all I can think of, is him sitting with us and crying.
  • My husband stayed behind at work (a choice he regrets now) and I walked home alone, with a hundred other people. We were like zombies shuffling out of buildings and onto the streets.
  • The next day was surreal. It was the most surreal day I have ever been through. No planes. No cars. No buses. All the stores were closed. The streets were empty uptown. Downtown was still a war zone. There was almost no one outside.
  • Everyone that didn’t lose someone in the city was huddled around a TV watching the coverage. President Bush came on and threatened retaliation. It was exactly what we needed to hear.
  • One of the most miraculous things was that my daughter was only 3. Completely, happily, oblivious to all the chaos and manic fear. I have never been so thankful for bedtime routines and snack time.
  • One of our events a few months later was at a production of The Producers, which had opened that April in NYC. It was one of the first nights after 9/11 that I remember being in a big room full of people that were laughing and joyous.

So ofcourse I’ll “Never Forget” the loss. But I remember so many other things too.

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Gender Bender

I showed my beloved this picture of a very disturbing looking spider that my son found near the basketball hoop, expecting him to have the same reaction as me. I expected him to be equally disgusted and horrified. It obviously looks full of poison and angry. And what about those large, long limbs and those marks? Also, where is the gigantic web this thing lives in? This ain’t no Charlotte. That much I know. Maybe we’d google it together and find a similar creature on Nat Geo or something. Or at the very least he’d want to “get rid” of it. Here’s the pic…what pops into your head?

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Tell the truth, aren’t you a little itchy looking at it? Here’s what he said,
“that grass isn’t doing so well.”
That grass isn’t doing so well??
Alrighty then.
Goodnight Wilbur.

Manners, Manners

Manners are a big deal in my house. We use please and thank you so often that it sometimes sounds like a verbal tick. I grew up in a very quiet, polite home. My husband grew up in a very loud, polite home. His family wasn’t soft spoken (and isn’t) but they were always quick with a thank you. When we had kids we weren’t exactly sure what the “rules” of our house were going to be. We kinda just made it up as we went along. When we heard other parents talk about the things that their kids were allowed and not allowed to do – sometimes we felt horrible for the kids living through that regime, and sometimes we stole their ideas and rules. But not a lot of them. The only thing I really worried about was stranger danger and not-so-stranger danger. Other than that – we were open to most things. And unlike my parents house, our house is not quiet. We yell. We scream. We laugh. We cry. The full spectrum of the emotional rollercoaster is experienced on most days. We’re human afterall. 

When my daughter was born and I went back to work, we carefully picked a nanny we thought would follow our small list of rules. When we discovered that she was letting a 1 year gnaw on a hot dog while swinging in the park and then washing that down with a milk shake from an illegal visit to Mickey Ds – we were horrified. Just because we weren’t helicopter parents didn’t mean we wanted our kid eating that crap. We lived in NYC for goodness sake – the park was on the Upper East Side. Other nannies were bringing blenders to puree fresh smoothies in the park. If you’re wondering how she got caught, I’ll give you one word. Wrappers. My husband found the paraphernalia in our garbage of all places. Not only was she breaking our sad little list of rules, but she was a moron to boot. Suffice it to say, we gave her the boot. I was young back then and didn’t enjoy a verbal conflict like I do now, and my husband for all his tough guy demeanor can never be mean to anyone he pays for a service. So we let her go without addressing the problem. That’s how we rolled back then.

As she got older and then we had our boy, we held fast to only a few of those early family laws. I don’t want to alarm anyone but we never once bought a lock for our kitchen cabinets and our corners were never padded. Anywhere. My kids were allowed to play on the street. They were, and are, allowed to ride their bikes pretty freely. My daughter has navigated the public transit system alone – something a few of our adult friends don’t do. My son often rides a skateboard or scooter on busy roads. Do we worry about that stuff and pray for their safety? Yes we do. It’s like a full time job. Praying and worrying. But do we say they are “not allowed” to do that? Nope.

You know what they aren’t allowed to do? Speak rudely and not be polite. Manners are numero uno, followed by kindness, and just ahead of humor in terms of importance in our house. We don’t ask for something without a please before or after. When someone hands you something – anything – it should be followed by a thank you. In our house, if you are in the downstairs room all the way to the right and someone in the upstairs room all the way to the left sneezes, make sure they hear you say bless you. In fact you usually know if someone in the house is mad at you because you’ve sneezed and it was followed by silence. The horror!

I don’t go around expecting everyone to follow the same rules as our family, and I have no doubt that even with our politeness rules – my kids, my husband and I are are rude sometimes. Perfection – incase you haven’t read my blog before – isn’t what I’m aiming for in life. I’d like to just get through the day and maybe laugh a bit. Those are my goals. And to eat carbs with reckless abandon. But that’s another story.

And although I’d like to go on a tirade about how rude the world outside is, the truth is that most people are polite. For example, this morning on the train into work, in a very very packed car – a woman walked in with her two small kids and a big bag. Instead of looking down or staring out the window, no less than 4 people stood up to give them seats and offered to help with the bag. One man even offered to give a woman who’d gotten up for the other woman his own seat! I mean, come on! This is politeness gone wild. I would have happily given up my seat but I was stuck like a sardine next to an older Asian woman. It’s a well-known fact to those who ride a commuter rail that older Asian women do not give up seats. No sir. I don’t care if they are from China or India or Nepal. It’s not a racist observation. It’s a Continental truth. And since I will eventually become one of those older Asian women, I can say that. Although you can argue that if you are older, you deserve the seat. You’ve earned the seat. Asian or not. Fair enough.

I was just so happy to see that this group of strangers on the train took care of this woman. These were probably also the same people who would help a tourist in need without rolling their eyes, or wave when you let their car go first at an interection. These were good people. 

When the woman finally sat down and situated the kids, one of them sneezed, and there was a symphony of bless yous in the train car. I wasn’t surprised at all. 

Pity party of 1….

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I feel like this picture. Tilted. Unfocused. Groggy. Head colds and beautiful Sundays do not go well together. 

That is all. 

 

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