Where do I even begin? Ok, Chanukah was cool. Wait, can Chanukah even be cool? I guess it can. We had fun and everyone survived Thanksgivikah 2013. It was fine. Now everyone can chill.
And then, the letter that I ordered for Noah from Sealed by Santa arrived! I ordered him a letter last year, and he TOTALLY BOUGHT IT! And he also did this year, so DON'T TELL HIM!!!!
Sealed by Santa is great, little company. For $8.95, I was able to make a customized letter for Noah using their templates. It was quick and easy, I was able to have the letter mention his accomplishments this year, his friends, a toy or two that he's been hoping for. It's worth every penny when you get to see his eyes light up when reading the letter. It also comes with a beautiful envelope, a small packet of reindeer food, and this year you can also receive a free phone message from Santa.
And "In honor of Santa" as my mother put it, she made Noah a beard out of whipped cream. Then it rolled off his face and onto the floor. Then the dog ate it.
BTW!- Hey, do you like LUSH products too? I haven't been in for ages, but went the other day for a Bubble Bar after seeing someone talk about the new holiday bubble bars and bath melts on Youtube. (Ahhh marketing, I am soooooo susceptible to yoooooou!)
In my younger years, when I spent my extra pocket money on things like sushi and clothing and beauty products, I'd also go to Lush! At first, I could only visit Lush when we went to Toronto, but now they have a store where I live too! I used to pour over their great catalogue. Picking out just the right Bath Bomb or Bubble Bar. The only thing is, please, Lush, stop using parabens! They're a company that prides themselves on being fresh and handmade, and they are! I'd just buy more if they took out the parabens from the products that have them. Still fabulous fabulous stuff! I choose this Bubble Bar called "Candy Mountain." Mountains of thick, rich vanilla scented bubbles with some snowflake shimmer to make your water sparkle. Noah chose a Bath Bomb called "Dragons Egg." It was so cool! It turns your bath all sorts of colors, one at a time, and this bomb then shot out gold glitter! Really!
I can't wait to use my bubble bar, I"ll let you know how it is.
Ok my gray-haired readers, this is for you! (First though, thank you so much for all of your wonderful, heart-felt comments on my original going gray posts and on Facebook. You guys, you're too much! So nice and encouraging. I just want you to know that YOUR support and inspiring words help me too! It's easy to see that gray hair growing in and want to grab a box of hair dye. (Which is ok!) But for me, a person who needs to lay off the dye, you've REALLY helped to give me the confidence and positivity to KEEP GOING!!! WOO HOO!!! I hope I can join hands and help you too! :)
So here is my #1 favorite nice gray hair trick...... HAIR GLAZE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I know that I've talked about glazes before, but they're just so effective and great, I needed to mention them again. Initially it was difficult for me to actually get myself to the salon and agree to have something made with chemicals put on my head. I'm trying to remember though, everything in moderation. It's just a personal preference of mine, I do my best to avoid beauty products with certain ingredients like parabens, and really really try to only buy natural or mostly natural shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, make up etc..... (If you're ever interested in a list of natural products that I recommend, just ask!)
Anyway, to make a long story short, I work day to day to be as natural as possible, and I feel like it's OK when every 3-4 months I go in for a glaze when my hair needs some help.
You know what? I don't even know why I am mentioning this, other than the fact that I think I secretly feel guilty about the glaze. I just need to learn to just LET IT GO HUH!? :)
Alrighty! So here on the left you have my 8:00am, exhausted post- morning school rush hair that is the BEFORE. On the right is my AFTER! Not only does a trip to the salon do wonders for your hair, apparently it wakes you up and makes you feel happy too! (Btw - go see my most WONDERFUL , pro-gray stylist EVER...Lydia @ New You Salon!) I tried to take similar pictures to show you a difference. I know the color doesn't look that different, but I promise, I had yellowing from the past three months of using hair products and just every day pollution. Now though, my hair is much less brassy and more cool toned. I love it! Also, much of the frizz is gone and my hair feels so soft! It's miraculous I tell ya!
Even more miraculous, the hair glaze magically turns your dorky selfies into sultry selfies. HOW does it do that!? (Wait, I've never been sultry before. I don't know how I feel about this.)
Ok, but in a nutshell, having your hair glazed is highly recommended by me. It makes a lot of difference.
Let me get to the stomach flu part. (I promise, it won't be gross.) I can't believe though, that I am talking about this sort of thing in public, but internet, for the very first time in my life, I had some sort of "stomach flu." Which is really strange because I swear, most years I VERY thankfully survive fall and winter unscathed by stomach bugs or flu. And, the years when I do get sick, it's just a cold that makes me cough all night. This year though, this has been quite the year for me, two ailments in six months. The first was the summer coldmageddon. The cold that Noah and I shared that lasted over a week, gave him a rash and made my eyes all red. Ugh! And now, over this past weekend, I come down with my very first stomach bug! HOW did that happen!?
If I had to guess, if timing it correctly from exposure to symptoms, it was either caught while at the pediatrician's for Noah's nine year check-up last week, or at the bajillion of stores while I ran a gajillion holiday errands and touched every single shopping cart, shopping basket, door handle, escalator, credit card pad, self-check out, ATM and gas pump in Metro Detroit. Mind you, I do WASH MY HANDS every time I get home, and I do a little squirt-squirty here and there with the anti-bac while out, but now I'm realizing maybe that isn't enough.
First I felt a little achy. Then I had the chills and a very mild fever. Then all hell broke lose. I'm thinking something in the Norwalk family of viruses. The good thing is, after only a day and a half I started feeling much better. And now, I'm slowly trying to get back up to speed with food and energy. I really didn't eat much for Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The hard thing is, when you're sick AND you have HEALTH ANXIETY, it is the worst thing ever!!!! Your body is going crazy and you feel awful, but so is your over-active-omg-I-am-doomed imagination, so your brain feels terrible too!
I really know that I shouldn't, but this ONE TIME, I googled all the symptoms of stomach flu and gastritis and of course was freaking out....what if it's a parasite or a liver problem or a blah-blah-blah....and went over all of the "complications" in my head and the potential tests and how terrible it would be to wait for test results. And I've been hyper-vigilant for any signs of dehydration, low-blood pressure, electrolyte imbalances! etc...etc...etc......
And here's what gets me every time. W.W.N.P.D?
WHAT WOULD NORMAL PERSON DO?
Because I am a health worrier, I tend to FREAK OUT over things that might not make a non-worrier....well, worry. And when I am sick, I start to worry...."should I get to a doctor? Do I need to go, or do I not need to go?" Even though I have a GP, (it's nothing personal but) I still hate going in when I'm sick unless I have to. Only because it just makes me panic more, and THANKFULLY, knock on wood, every time I have rushed in, it ends up being NOTHING. Like that time I had
emergency strep throat a piece of food on my tonsil.
It's this constant mental battle with me.....go see a doctor and possibly look dumb or worse, freak out and make everything worse or have tests and panic. OR, don't see a doctor and possibly die.
OR.... I could just ask WWNPD?
So on Sunday morning, after a night of mild-moderate symptoms, I spring out of bed like a lunatic at 6:00am to shower and get myself to urgent care when they opened at 9:00. Which wasn't difficult because I stayed up all night in agony, not because of the stomach flu, but because with every tummy gurgle, I feared the worst. And, I feared that I would get the cute male doctor at the walk-in clinic and have to admit to him that I had the stomach flu! And, just in general, I am scared of going to the doctor.
But, also, as I was getting ready, I was crying because I didn't want to run to the doctor's, but I also wanted to live. And that's when I read on the internet that only 10% of adults with stomach flu seek medical advice and I was like....Ah HA! WWNPD! A normal person would NOT run to urgent care after 18 hours of not-so-horrible symptoms. Alright!
So, in the end, I wasn't standing at the door to the clinic at 8:55am, hands pressed to the glass chanting "open-open-open". So that's good. The only problem now is that I'm having an inner dialogue about when to go in if I never feel fully back to normal from this bug. I'm a little nervous, but since we've just his the 72 hour mark since the onset of symptoms and I've been feeling 80% better for the past two days, I'd say (knock on wood) I might be on the right track.
What the!? I wrote so much about stomach flu!!!! I didn't even mean to write that much. It must mean that I love talking about stomach flu!!!!?????? WHY????
Ok, here's the "mystical" part of this whole thing: I think......I think the universe gave me stomach flu. No, I'm serious. Up until the time that I began to feel sick, I was going out-of-control over holiday prep. Like crazy. It started in November, freaking out over all of the gifts I had to buy for numerous birthdays and holidays. And it was the decorations that need to go up and also be handmade. It was the presents that I was making and the holiday plans and parties and people coming into town and the fact that I was going out of town for Thanksgiving and my brother and (speed up my voice here) MMmmmmmah....Target.....mmmmmmhhh.....giftwrap..........bank.....school.....pack....order...ship........groceries.....clean house....make present......hang garland....... (BOOM!!!!!) Now picture some smoke wafting up and that is me hitting a wall of exhaustion and getting stomach flu.
Stomach flu stopped the holiday insanity. It totally brought me back in touch with reality. Forget the lists! Forget the errands! Forget the shopping that I didn't feel like doing anyway! I was forced to totally and utter lose my stride. WHAT A GIFT. WHAT A GIFT!
On Sunday evening I turned to Jon with surprise and said: "Oh my god, I haven't stressed about the holidays since Friday!" And he said sympathetically : "Yeah, you were kind of on a tear." Which is true. Stomach flu was magical, it got me to do something that nothing else and nobody else could: SLOW DOWN!
So anyway, yeah, I think the universe sent me stomach flu for a reason. It was an interesting experience.
Here's Willow TRYING to tell me last week that I seriously don't need to hand stamp anymore dumb labels this year. She thinks I can just let it go.
Oh! Ok, here is something non-gastritis related! WATCH OUT WORLD, LAUREN S. WORE LEGGINGS! I know the photo below (taken just before the leggings incident.) does not show leggings, but it does show the point where I had an epiphany about them. I was taking a picture of my outfit. I don't like this outfit as much as some of the others that I have, but I felt like I needed to start dressing in more mature dark colors. For.some.reason.... I don't know. My Dad, he only wears black. It's supposed to be more sophisticated. I was thinking I needed to look more more grown up. I digress.
So I take this picture and then I needed to get ready to go out walking.
It's cold, really cold, and now I've invented this awesome new outdoor fitness walk, where I traverse up and down this moderately high ridge a bunch of times to get my blood pumping, and I walk on a wall at the park and up some hills. It's all great, but you need to be dressed right! Wearing yoga pants is ok, but they drag on the ground, and now I walk on gravel and grass and it's snowy! I don't want my pants to touch the ground. If only I could bring myself to wear leggings.
Leggins. Something that I've always wanted to wear, but always felt that I couldn't. Until now......
Right here in front of the mirror, I just lost my mind and said out loud: "I DON'T CARE!"
And then I put on leggings and then I went out to exercise and it was awesome.
Ok, granted, I WAS wearing a coat that went to my knees, but let.me.tell.you. Those leggings were so comfortable, and perfect for what I was doing and it was liberating!!!!
I've been working hard, day in and day out for the past four and a half month to become more fit. I might not be tall and thin, but I feel strong and hey! That's good enough for ME! :)
Just like deciding that I didn't care if some people disliked my gray hair, I decided that when done tastefully, I'm just going to wear leggings when I want to, gosh darn it!, because I really don't care if I'm not a perfect waif of a girl. I DON'T CARE!
I was talking with my friend Heather the other day. She's an amazing woman who has always cheered me on and encouraged me to know that I CAN have a voice, that I can make decisions without feeling so guilty all the time. I told Heather that recently I've decided to go head-on into life and do what's right for me with little apology. (Well, unless I'm rude or do something wrong, then of course I'll apologize.) But when it comes to things like gray hair and leggings, and politely declining invitations to out of town weddings or volunteer jobs that I'm not wanting to undertake - I'm there!
When I got off the phone with Heather, I wondered where this big inner change is coming from, and the only thing I can think of is the fact that I'm eeeeking closer to 40 than 30 these days. And then it dawned on me what it's called! I'm finally becoming a WOMAN WOMAN!
I guess I've been a woman, you know, like for a while now, but now I think I'm becoming a woman woman, which is nice. I may not be wise yet, but at least now I can wear leggings when I need to.
Oh! Which reminds me about one thing....guess what I bought today? My first pair of "skinny jeans!" This is totally along the same lines as "I can't wear leggings." I also thought that I couldn't wear stupid skinny jeans. I'm just tired of trying to tuck bootleg jeans into my snow boots when I go out to the shops or school. I hate my pant cuffs getting wet. It's a top pet peeve of mine!
I decided to just go out and at least try a pair of these things, and guess what!? I couldn't believe it! I actually liked them!!!!
Eneter: the most comfortable jeans in the world! Jag Jeans. The pull-on.....erm......type. Yeah.
I wrote about them before. You need to trust me and you need to stop laughing. The sales woman at Nordstrom was like: "Oh, you mean the maternity jeans that aren't maternity! They're almost all sold out!" YES PLEASE! I'm telling you, these are NOT pajama jeans. They're thick and warm and well made. They hold their shape and they're as comfortable as leggings! I found mine in the petite department at Nordstrom, they also come in regular length. You can find them many other places including online. I highly recommend the "Peri by Jag Jeans"! I've heard that many people love them and there's a reason!
Moving on! I started making this blue crocheted shell stitch infinity scarf while sitting and waiting for Noah after school. Why you need to know this, I don't know!
Also, we have seen a cat in our backyard several times now, and we don't know if he or she is a stray or not. But, we started to worry that he was stray, and that he might be cold! Or hungry! Or lonely!
So, Jon and Noah built him a feral cat shelter. It's all insulated and great. Isn't it neat!? So far, the cat has eaten some of the food we've left, but won't try out the shelter. He's not very scrawny, so hopefully hopefully he belongs to somebody and is just out on walks.
Jon has been very nice to me while I've been recovery from the stomach flu. One of the things he said was that I
At the end of dinner, I went to take a fortune cookie and Jon stopped me. He said: "Are you sure you want to take one of those? This is the place with real fortunes." This is the fortune that I got:
"A man's best possession is a sympathetic wife."
Jon read it and said: "Wow! Where do I get one!?"
I believed that these fortunes were all real until I read Noah's:
"You will do well to expand your business."
K. Have a great week! Watch out for those stomach bugs!