Confession: I Cut My Own Hair

I recently saw a profile of famed hairdresser, Frederic Fekkai, on CBS Sunday Morning.  What caught my attention was not his success, fame, family, or debonair handsomeness; it was the fact that he charges $750 for a haircut.  A bloody haircut!  I just had to laugh because despite all the luxurious surroundings in his salon, it all came down to the simple act of cutting human keratin strands with a pair of scissors.  Not really rocket science.

I started cutting my own hair a few years ago out of mere frustration.  I have long, wavy, thick hair that I like to have cut in a blunt cut.  The problem that I was having with any hairdresser was that they always talked me into anything other than a blunt cut.  So, I had a lot of long layers done, and horror upon horror, the hideous dreaded razor trimmed cut.  Long layers do not work for me; I have just enough curl to make the ends flip out weirdly.  And the razor cut is just too devastating!  The fried, frizzled ends certainly are not anything I want to pay good money for and have to live with.

I could take the frazzled ends no longer, and one day I just took my very sharp hair cutting scissors (I’ve been trimming my own bangs for years) and started cutting a clean even slice through the ends of my hair.  Gone were the  crispy, frazzled, layered, razored ends.  What emerged was sharp, thick, blunt ends…and man, did it feel good!  It was actually very empowering; no more dictates from hairdressers, I could do it myself!

When I mention this to people, it’s actually kind of surprising that there are other people who also cut their own hair.  Nobody really broadcasts this too much though.  It is like there is this kind unspoken “rule” in polite society than one must always go to a hairdresser or barber to get their hair cut.  I fell for this “rule” a long time.  Then I finally decided that since I was a do-it-yourselfer in so many other areas of my life, I would add one more experiment to my repertoire.

You can imagine my amazement, after receiving the latest issue of Vogue, I read about an extremely successful woman who actually admitted, yes, in Vogue, that she is her own hairdresser.  Natalie Massenet, who has made $76 million as founder and chairman of Net-a-Porter, not only does her own blow-outs but cuts her own hair.  I found this confession the most incredible thing about the entire article.  And she was proud of it too!  I feel a certain kinship with Natalie; like here we are with this one thing in common, blow-drying and cutting our own hair in our own worlds, hers decidedly more opulent that mine.

I am here to say “go for it!”.  Be brave, pick up those scissors and just cut!  It is not rocket science…and, it will always grow back.

~Marilyn

Wash Day Monday, Ironing Day Tuesday…

HouseworkI washed two loads of laundry this morning as I so often do on a Monday.  I wash on other days of the week too, but maybe somehow it is ingrained in my subconscious to wash on Monday according to homemaking tradition?

Traditionally, there was a certain chore for each day of the week.  As the saying goes it is:

Monday: Wash Day ~ Tuesday: Ironing Day ~ Wednesday: Sewing Day ~ Thursday: Market Day ~ Friday: Cleaning Day ~ Saturday: Baking Day ~ Sunday: Day of Rest.

Of course, in bygone days, each of these tasks took the better part of a day so it was wise to devote an entire day to each.  I admire the regimentation of it all;  I think having a planned schedule of housework would be a big benefit on keeping me on track.  I tend to do most homemaking chores haphazardly, here and there, or when things become so desperate that I can no longer stand it!

Taking a look at the traditional chores for each day, I like the Monday wash day thing.  It is good to start the week out with clean laundry so I can deal with that.  Tuesday looks like a free pass for me as I rarely, if ever, iron!  I hang dry my clothes and they dry quite wrinkle-free.  Wednesday is sewing day; which I don’t do either.  I do mend things, so I think that would be a good day to do it.

Thursday is market day.  Hey, I’m always good for (thrift) shopping!  Oh, I think they mean groceries though.  I will probably have to pass on this too as I usually shop groceries at Trader Joe’s right after church on Sunday.  It’s right next door and it makes it very convenient, even though Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest (a little flexibility is okay, I’m sure)!

Friday is cleaning day.  This sounds good – get the house spic and span for the weekend, so I can loll around.  I tend to be a little lax with the vacuuming and floor mopping, and this sounds good to get on a regular schedule.  Saturday is baking day.  Since I don’t bake much either, I think I’ll take a pass on this too.  Baking every Saturday seems a little excessive (for my waistline too)!

Which leaves Sunday, day of rest.  I really like the now-forgotten tradition of resting on Sunday.  But quite often Sundays turn out to be as busy as the rest of the week.  For several years now, I have been consciously trying to keep Sunday at more of a restful state.  It is hard though, when you work at home like I do.  Work is always staring me in the face; there is no distinct separation.  So I try to mentally remove myself and get engrossed in some other activity.

Maybe this will help me up my homemaking game!  I must admit it feels good to have things clean and somewhat orderly, and getting back to a quasi-schedule just might be the ticket.  Wish me luck!

~Marilyn

Let’s Hang Out – National Hanging Out Day is Today!

Today is National Hanging Out Day; a day that was created to show how it is possible to save money and energy by using a clothesline.  I’ve washed two loads of laundry already this morning, and they are hanging out on the clothesline.  Thankfully it’s a warm sunny day and the rain showers are not expected until late this afternoon.  Hopefully the laundry will be dry by then.  Always having one eye on the weather conditions is key when you use a clothesline!

Being a year-round clothesline/drying rack user this is nothing new to me, but I always like to encourage people to at least try air-drying once in awhile.  Even if it is only one day a year.  So today is ‘officially’ that day.  Why don’t you give it a try?  You might even find it refreshingly delightful, as I do. 🙂

~Marilyn

Allergies: A Rite of Spring

BlossomDue to the lack of winter here, allergy season started early this year in the Pacific Northwest.  Trees and daffodils started blooming as early as January, and the grass started growing fast and never quit!  While it’s pleasant to have nice weather, it comes with a price.  And that price for many, myself included, is those annoying springtime allergies.  This year is especially fierce; not only here, but in most areas of the country.

Since I suffer from allergies the hardest during springtime,  I decided to take a more proactive approach this year.  The spring allergy season was going to be a long one, so I planned my attack.  I didn’t want to spend any more time than I had to suffering from debilitating allergy symptoms, like in previous years.  This year was going to be different!

First up, I was going to take a 24 hour non-drowsy allergy medication every single day. I picked out Claritin, actually the store-brand equivalent ( a LOT cheaper), and started taking one pill a day.  This had little or no effect.  I posted my allergy woes on my Facebook status update, and got several really good suggestions.   Facebook can be so helpful in many ways!   One friend who is a nurse, suggested I take two tablets a day to get the dosage up to prescription strength.  I looked on the package, and sure enough, the one-pill dosage was the same for a six-year-old as for an adult.  So I started taking two a day, and after a couple of  days it seemed to kick in, and kick butt!

I am also continuing with my daily neti pot rinses, as I do year-round.   I do this later in the day, after the buildup of allergins.  The warm saline water poured through the nasal passages is so soothing and cleansing.  A lot of times I’m pretty congested and not much water gets through.  But even getting just a little bit up the nose seems to help dig through the congestion and help clear the airways.  One trick I’ve learned recently is after you rinse with the neti pot, bend over in front and blow your nose.  Turn your head sideways and blow too.  One crazy thing about using a neti pot is that the saline solution will quite often pool up somewhere in the recesses of your sinuses, and then come rushing out hours later when you bend over.  This most likely happens in a public place, of course!  Doing the bend-over nose blow will prevent this embarrassing occurrence.

Doing these two things have helped immensely!  The combination of medication, and the neti pot rinse really packs a punch for me.  I am Rite of Springable to continue my daily outdoor walks, and just generally go about life.  I also do other things to help keep allergies at bay: eat healthily, drink lots of water, take many vitamins and supplements, and use saline nasal spray.  While I’m not completely symptom free, it is so much better than in springs past.  It almost makes me feel like dancing ‘The Rite of Spring’.  On second thought, I think I’ll pass on that.  That ballet was about a pagan ritual where a girl dances herself to death.  Maybe a few springtime allergies don’t sound so bad after all!

~Marilyn

More Ever-So-Useful Laundry Hints

wash board

I’ve been doing a bit of tweaking to my laundry routine this spring;  trying to get it as simple as can be with the best possible results.  I now wash everything in cold water.  I had been hesitant to do this totally, especially with whites, towels, and sheets.  But after experimenting using hot, warm, and cold washes, I really find absolutely no difference in how clean they get.  In fact (I know this seems weird) the whites seem to be whiter when I wash them in cold!  90% of your washing machine energy goes to heating the water, so it makes good sense to get it to close to 0% using cold.

Another thing is using less detergent.  WAY less!  The one thing that drives me crazy is the measuring caps on liquid detergent.  I can never see the marks, and they never seem to explain it on the label.  So once I figured out where the obscure measuring marks were, I started using half that amount.  Sometimes I just use the merest dollop when I’m washing sweaters.  Too much detergent use is really bad for your clothes and your washing machine, as it can cause residue.  Too much soap scum lets bacteria breed.  And if you are using fabric softener (sheets or liquid), that also adds to the residue buildup on your laundry and washing machine.  I personally do not use any type of fabric softener, much preferring the natural stiffness of line-dried laundry.

Once in awhile I add 1/2 cup white vinegar to the rinse water of whites or towels.  This seems to cut through any excess detergent residue, and also adds a bit of softening.  And no, the vinegar smell doesn’t last!  It will evaporate upon drying.

Since I only use my washing machine (my dryer is now retired) I’ve become more focused on it.  One thing I do after every wash is clean the lintFrench laundry filter.  Yes, your washing machine has a lint filter.   It’s amazing how much stuff gets caught in it, so it’s good to keep it clean.

I always used to keep the lid of my washer closed.  Then I started noticing a funny smell coming from it.  After doing some research I found that it was all the moisture being trapped in there that caused it.  Now I keep the lid open all the time when not in use; it needs to be aired out so all the excess moisture can dissipate.  The odor problem is now solved.

By keeping it simple, using the barest essentials to clean your laundry, and air-drying 😉 you’ll see a big difference in how clean your laundry is!

~Marilyn

The Shift

Being a newly minted Hay House New Release Reviewer, I was excited to learn that my first book to review would be ‘The Shift’ by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer Available at Hay House.  I got my free copy in the mail in order to review, and blog about it.  It was such a slim volume that I thought I’d speed through it and be able to post my blog in record time.  Well that was not the case.  In fact, I think it was the longest amount of time I spent reading such a short book!

I have been a huge fan of Dr. Dyer, ever since the 70s when I read his first book, ‘Your Erroneous Zones’.  I have always appreciated his simple, practical, and forthright way of writing, and conveying the message that we have so much control over what we think, and how that affects everything in our life.  I’ve read most of his books over the years, and watched his fabulous shows on PBS.

My very favorite book of his is ‘The Power of Intention’.  I actually had to get a second book because my first one was so marked up with highlighting and notes that it was distracting to read!   I like it because it has clear, practical practices that you can put in effect immediately.  I refer to it often because, well, I can get off track and get in a negative energy mode.

‘The Shift’ is such a very different book from his others.  It started out with quantum physics, which I had a hard time wrapping my brain around.  In fact, I kept falling asleep after reading a couple pages at a time (this is why it took me so long to read it)!  Then he delves into making the shift from ambition to meaning; from being ego-driven to being connected spiritually.   I could tell that it is probably the most intimate writing from Dr. Dyer, as he really reveals his personal feelings and emotions at this stage of his life, and his own spiritual connection.

I liked the book, but personally, didn’t really love it.  It’s a little more ‘out there’ than I like.  I already have a relationship with God, so I don’t feel like there’s much of a dramatic ‘shift’ that needs to be made in my personal spiritual life.  I do need work on being ego-driven (I think we all do!), and that is something that I will continue to work on.  I appreciate and understand the spiritual journey that Dr. Dyer is going through at this time.  But I will always like best, hold true to my heart, and practice, the ever so wonderful practical-thinking advice of Dr. Wayne W. Dyer.

–Marilyn Huttunen