Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hiya!

Hellooooooo friends. I know it's been a while. I don't have a good excuse. Just life. I always think, if I only had a quiet office to write in.  If I was away from the dust bunnies and the crumbs reminding me to sweep the floors. Or the dishes in the sink saying: "Wash me! Wash me!".  If the stuffed laundry hampers were rather bottomless pits to China, THEN perhaps I would get more writing done around here. But even so, even so, if I didn't have to frequent the grocery stores and the carpool line. If I sat in a serene, gorgeous, QUIET office, would I REALLY get more writing done?

No, definitely not. I'd probably do just what I do on most nights after Noah has gone to bed, and my brain is too tired to form coherent sentences. You'd find me staring blankly into the cyber-abyss. Pinning crochet project after crochet project to my Pinterest page, or shamefully reading celebrity gossip.  (Don't tell anyone that I read celebrity gossip.) 

It's not my house's fault because it has damn floors. It's me. I'd slack on writing even if I spent my days in a 8' x 8' office that somebody else vacuumed. 
I'm in this strange time of feeling un-motivated and removed. (Well, for the most part.) I don't know what's with me, I just feel exhausted. Not physically, but emotionally, brain-ally. I think this is just a phase. I think that it has been about three years in the making. I think that two back-to-back home renovations, a move and working hard for several years in volunteer work, it's all just added up and now I'm tired. 

It's just a phase. Really. I know it. But, how does one find motivation again? I get everything I need to done around here (well, except maybe having the basement cleaned out), but beyond my regular "jobs",  how do I find the gusto for going above and beyond? I can't seem to remember.

Once I thought that Noah's school needed a parenting group, so I started one and lead meetings for several years. Once I was the head chair for a fundraising auction that with the help of MANY  amazing amazing people  brought in over $100,000. Once, or twice or three times, I was all "Oh, I am going to make my own holiday decorations from scratch", and I did! For like, weeks. Once I sewed myself some dresses and skirts and crocheted only about ten shawls, fourteen hats, five pairs of gloves and fifty-two hundred ear warmers .  And now..... not even as much as single crocheted sock!

Where has all my motivation gone..........?

Enough pity party. I think I just need a new mattress. More sleep. NOTE TO SELF: NEVER BUY ANOTHER MATTRESS FROM IKEA AGAIN YOU IDIOT!

K......MOVING ON............


One really really wonderful thing that has been going on lately, is meeting a so many new friends through my gray hair blog posts. I can't tell you how fantastic this has been! Thank you to each and every one of my new readers and commenters. You mean so much to me. You really do.

The following is a short "gray hair update".  If this isn't your thing, feel free to scroll down. I'll be quick!  

Sooooo......if you're new to How Bourgeois, and have just found me through the Revolution Gray site or it's Facebook Page, hi! Welcome! You might want to read my other "Going Gray" post.  THIS blog post is the first time that I wrote about it .  And then, I wrote some more and reflected on a year and a half of growing my hair out.  After that, came my most popular post "Seven Tips & Tricks for Growing Out Your Gray!"  I've also done a more recent update with some product information in the epic post entitled: California Man-Babes, Gray Hair, The Oberon Kingdom, And the BEST Passover Stroganoff EVER!

It's been a little while, and since I continue to get comments and messages on the whole subject, I thought it was time to do a mini-update. My hair is growing slowly but surely. I still can't bear to cut off the last few inches of dark brown hair at the bottom. After having short hair for quite a while, I just don't want to cut, although I know I should! 

Last time around, I mentioned that I was on the hunt for a perfect, more natural shampoo and conditioner made for gray hair. I really don't want to use conventional products with harsh and scary chemicals, more often than I have to. Finding a shampoo and conditioner that was natural and worked well proved to be a bit of a challenge. In the end I settled on using Shikai Color Reflect shampoo in Platinum, and their Mist  & Go Leave- In conditioner.

It's been about two months now, and I'm coming to the end of the bottle. Pretty long lasting I think! I like the shampoo a lot, it's free from many of the chemicals I'd like to avoid, smells good and makes my hair nice and clean. The conditioner works well and is so light, it never weighs my hair down. 

The only problem is, at the the two-month mark, my hair has started to get a yellow tinge. This is one of the universal problems with gray hair. Daily wear and tear, the pollution in the air, styling products, and even some shampoos and conditioners - they all contribute to a dull, yellow cast. 

This isn't a big deal! There are many products and ways to detox your hair, and get back to the soft, light color and shine it is meant to have! 
I went on Pinterest first, to see if I could fine a natural, DIY version of gray hair detox. It included a mixture of apple cider vinegar and baking soda, that for me, just didn't work too well, and left me smelling like bad salad dressing.

After really pondering this issue for a while, I decided that it would be ok to use a more powerful gray hair shampoo sometimes. As silly as it sounds, this was hard for me, but I just had to get past it.  So I went out and purchased a set of Clairol Shimmer Lights shampoo and conditioner because I know that they work.  They were goopy and the fragrance gave me a headache and I was literally afraid of the ingredients, but in one shower, every trace of dullness or yellow was magically taken away! I have to say that also, I was due for something a bit more heavy than a leave-in spray conditioner.

I'd like to point out that 1.) I bough these products myself. This was not a paid review, and 2.)  I know that my hair looks purple in the first picture, but I swear, it's not really! I was just playing with photo filters in my editing program. (If you saw the pre-edit before pic, then you'd know that I'm actually a cyclops.)




Ok, that was enough on gray hair. Don't you think? Maybe next time I will talk about the emotional/intellectual experience of living with a crazy head of gray hair. 

I'd like to now introduce you to three new items that I love. All bought by myself, or given to me by the most generous and loving goofball in the world, aka Queen Oberon. Or....er....given to me by my Dad, or um..... through the generosity of my husband's credit card. 

First up, a Cath Kidston Day Bag in "Washed Roses.". Many years ago, I stumbled across British fashion designer Cath Kidston and her gorgeous, feminine, vintage-y prints. She puts them on pretty dresses and home goods and purses, bags and cell phone cases too. Even umbrellas. 
And I went:  swoooooooon!
Swoon, swoon, swoon. Drool.  Currently coveting the kitschy London Backpack and all other things Cath K. . (Hint. Hint. Hint.)

One thing that I love about this day bag, is that it's cotton with a perfectly wipeable oilcloth finish. So, when I spill my Starbucks on it, it wipes right off! Now even clumsy me can own a white bag with confidence!

This day bag has room for tons of things. It's very spacious. It's made well with exceptionally sturdy handles, and what seems to be great construction. Usually retailing for $80, after a bit of online searching, I snatched up my day bag @ 40% off, and with free shipping from  ASOS.com.
I was surprised to find a current print at such a deal. 


My father bought me this soft, calico and polka dot wallet by Mossimo from Target. At just $12, it's worth every penny for the function and cuteness. It comes in a number of prints and colors. You might want to check it out too!



Next up, the Hoover Floormate.
Here's how it went down, and testimony to what great friends I have...............

(Driving down the road.)

Queen Oberon: " Blah blah, blah, and then I bough this $2,000 Badgley Mischka dress for $50 on ebay!"

Me: "That's AMAZING. You are the best ebay-nista I have EVER met. Ever."

Me:  (again) "Hey, actually, can you help me find a good deal on something?"

QO: "Sure! What are you looking for?"

Me: "Ok, it's called a Hoover Floormate. It vacuums and cleans hardwood floors like a mop, but even more awesome than a mop."

QO: " Oh I know exactly what you're talking about.  I have one that I can't get rid of! It's yours!"

Me: "I couldn't! That's too too generous.  And WHY don't you use your Hoover Floormate anymore?"

QO: "Because now I use Linda."

(And just like that, I became the proud owner of a Hoover Floormate.)

And can I just say that I LOVE HER. I have mated with my floor at least three or four times in the past few days.  It picks crumbs and dust bunnies up off the hardwood without blowing everything around. Then, then you switch it to the scrubbing function where rotating brushes work together with water and soap. It picks up the unfortunate remnants of cat barf perfectly.
THANK YOU King and Queen Oberon. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo



By the way, ironically, way before I got my new Floormate,  I sent this email  to Jon over a month ago. I guess sometimes dreams really do come true!

"Jon, Just so you know, this is my dream. Watch video for info:
xoxox"

And he finally replied to this email this week:

"So glad you got to live your dream in only one month.  How lucky is that?"

Lucky, lucky indeed! 

Moving on..... It's been hot. Not warm, but actually hot! 89 degrees these past two days. In Michigan, in May! I'd say that's pretty impressive. You know when it's hot out, and you don't feel like turning the oven on? So do I.  Last week it was warm like that. Not quite 89 degrees, but warm enough to feel a little uncomfortable, but not hot enough to be motivated enough to get your A/C up and working for the season yet. We had the back doors and windows open, and the heat poured in. I wanted to find a fresh, summery dinner that could be made ahead of time in the cool of the morning, and served chilled or at room temperature later on.

This is what I gave a shot at: Mozzarella Penne Pasta with fresh basil, mozzarella and sweet cherry tomatoes, and a wonderfully fresh cilantro lime dressing to dip cucumbers in!  Really both were just delicious.  The pasta was hearty and satisfying, but felt fresh with the tomatoes and basil. The cilantro dressing, it was just delicious! I can see this being such a versatile sauce/dressing/dip.

I only have a few recommendations if you decide to make them yourself. First, there was a ton of garlic. Like, a lot, a lot of RAW garlic. Some people enjoy raw garlic, others not so much. And many find that it hurts their tummies. My suggestion is to lightly sautee' your garlic before putting it into the pasta dish. I feel like the cilantro - lime dressing needs the raw garlic. Maybe I just used too much. We have some large garlic bulbs right now. You can always slowly add your garlic in, and taste as you go along.

My other suggestion is to use a small, sweet tomatoes, like grape or cherry tomatoes, as opposed to larger varieties.  Another suggestion is to save time and have fun by using small bite-sized round balls of mozzarella called "Bocconcini". You can find these many places, including Trader Joe's. I feel like they call theirs "Ovolini", but I'm not sure. Just use fresh mozzarella , the soft kind that is stored in a salted water and you'll be set! Add some season fruit and there you go, a nice hot weather dinner!


I just wanted to share some pretty pictures from the past week. My friend Laura, who lives in London, asked me to run over to her parent's house and snap some pictures of her beloved lilacs. Aren't they gorgeous?



And then there is always the obligatory cat pictures, right? Priya the matriarch.


Hector the lovable fur ball......


And Willow, who is a cross between Grumpy Cat, Liza Minnelli and the baby dinosaur from the early 90's sitcom "Dinosaurs".


I love all three of them so much, even though I wake up at 4:00 every night and without fail, at least one of them is staring at me.

And here is Jon. First BBQ of the season. For posterity!


And Noah took out the old skateboard again. I guess spring is ok. It's my least favorite season actually, but I suppose it's not so bad.....


Especially because our yard starts to look like this:


And this:


And this:


AND THIS!  I kid you not, there were NO LEAVES on this huge wisteria vine that covers our pergola last week. Honestly. He just exploded in the past few days. Insta-plant! It was amazing.


Here is Noah being happy at the Vinsetta Garage, which is a most awesome restaurant.


And if you're looking for something meta, here is Noah making a Nyan Cat in Minecraft.


Here is the original Nyan Cat video. Which, unbelievably has been viewed over NINETY SEVEN MILLION TIMES!



If you're anything like me, after viewing this video in it's entirety, you will feel like you are losing your mind. Then your ears will shrivel up and fall off. Then, next week you will download it from iTunes as your ring tone. And make your cat pose with Nyan cat. And then instagram it. And use the Japanese that you learned in college and a special bokeh background effect to make the instagram picture SO COOL.



xoxoxox,
Love,
Lauren


9 comments :

Beth Greenapple said...

Love the pics of Willow, Lauren. Celebrate your gray! It's wonderful!

Lauren said...

Hi Beth!!! Thank you! Willow sends her love. She is just the funniest, sweetest girl. We love her so much. Thank you for bringing her into our lives. You'll have to see her, like night and day. I'm so glad that Willow was able to work through her fears. Now she loves to lounge, eat kitty "cookies", watch birds and play with her toys. Oh, and every morning, sometime between 4:00am and 6:00am, she jumps on our bed for a head scratch and starts purring. And when she purrs, for some reason, she also drools! So most night she drools on me, but I don't mind! :) <3

Thanks for the your comment on my grays. It means so much. Hope to see you and Julia and Nadav soon!

Loulou said...

I always enjoy a post from you Lauren. Your home and garden look so pretty in the glimpses caught in these photos. I am so impressed by the small vase of pink roses in you washroom.

I make a similar sounding pasta dish (that I call Pasta Salad), but with feta and some toasted pine nuts. It is quite possibly my favourite thing to eat anytime, anywhere.

Your hair looks gorgeous.

Lauren said...

Hi Loulou!!!! Thank you, thank you! I always enjoy and look forward to posts from Lou Lou too. :)

Our backyard is such a wonder AND a confusion to me. I love it, but feel so overwhelmed. The house was vacant for at least a couple years, so it grew and grew into a jungle back there! Also, previous owners, from about 10 years ago, were marvelous gardeners. They planted so many nice perennials that pop up each year. I'm trying to figure out what is what and how to help care for things. Slowly but surely!

Yes! Lou Lou, did you post your pasta recipe? It sounds so familiar. You did, right? It sounds absolutely delicious. I'd love to try it! And since it is your favorite, yes, I MUST try it.

Thank you for the hair compliment, I'm sure you hear that all the time about YOUR hair. It's beautiful!

Have a lovely day, thank you for all of your support Lou Lou!
xoxoxoxoxoxo

jodi said...

What a refreshing blog. I found you through pinterest and am so happy I did. You are ROCKIN' that silver hair! Please stop by and share a laugh with me at my humor blog http://jodiwhitehead.blogspot.com/
and keep up the lovely work!
Miss Jodi

Kirstin Fishback said...

I decided last month to stop coloring my hair after 27 years of trying to hide my very premature gray hair. At 44, I've had enough. I've decided to try to be brave and embrace the gray. Unfortunately, it is clear it is going to be a process. Not quick overnight fix. BUT, in my search for how to go gray gracefully (or as gracefully as possible), I found your blog. Your beautiful gray locks are an inspiration. I've made your blog a favorite so I can visit on those times when I'm sure I'll be discouraged. Thanks in advance!

Lauren said...

Hi Kristin!!! Oh, it is so so nice to meet you. Thank you for the comment, I'm really glad that we've found each other!

I applause your bravery. I know, I know, this is one of the hardest things to do. It sounds silly because it's just hair, but it really is an ordeal to grow it out!

I mean this with all of my heart, that awkward grow-out phase is SO worth it. REALLY. At first it feels like things are taking a long time, but once you hit that point where it's just long enough to start blending in and playing around with styles, it's all a lot easier from there!
And, once you are feeling comfortable, the hard months are a thing of the past.

I'm just bummed that I waited this long to stop dying my hair! I love my gray, which I NEVER thought I would say! It's so nice to be free of the monthly touch-up and henna. And, it's just freeing in general.

I hope that we can all help each other out. I know that I find inspiration and motivations from readers like YOU!

So welcome, welcome!!! Please let us know how things are going, and hang in there!!!

xoxox,
lLauren :)

Sarah said...

I happened onto your blog from pinterest (I was super frustrated about my grays and having the constant up keep of dying it)! Your hair is beautiful, by the way! Anyways, I read this post about the Hoover. I found a used one for $20 and bought it!!! Thank you so much for the recommendation!! My floors have never been so clean and it's SO easy!!

Lauren said...

Hi Sarah!!!

Thanks for stopping by and for the comment. Isn't is sooooo nice to be able to stop worrying and dying your hair every month? I hope it's going easy for you. I don't miss all of the hair color and henna one bit!

Ahhhh!!!! The Hoover!!!! I love it! :)
WOW, $20!? What a deal !
So glad that you like it too!
Thanks again and nice to meet you!
xo,
Lauren