Tuesday, May 20, 2014

My Gosh! I've Just Written A Choose Your Own Adventure Post!

Dear How Bourgeois friends, 

I'm REALLY sorry.  This post, it's kind of one, long tangent. I'm so sorry. (But that's why you love me, right!? RIGHT!? *crickets* )  What happens is my chosen topic starts out as one post, with ONE THOUGHT.  But whenever I sit down to write, I run out of time, and then I come back another day to work on it again,  but with ANOTHER pressing thought! Until one day, it's a patchwork of all things tangent.

That's a writing "style" riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight?

Here's what I suggest to you........read what's interesting and skip the rest! 
Remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books? You follow the most interesting path and read on!!!!

In today's post we have:

1.) Living off the grid/communes/tiny houses/minimalism vs. materialism

2.) Blogging/time management/parenting/guilt/icy milk in train cups/ realizations

3.) The rather annoying skin condition known as malasma/ sunscreen/ fungal product         RECALL/FREAKING OUT!!!!!!!/ real-time drama blogging.

4.) My favorite hair brush and what it has done for me/ a round brush hair drying tutorial

5.) Cats/humans peeing/unconventional bathroom decor

6.)My Dad/he's single

My internet has been intermittently down and it's making me CRA-ZY! I find it completely sad to realize how reliant I am on screens and wi-fi for my sanity. That's BAD! I feel like I'd be a happier person overall, if I was less plugged in.

Ahhhhhh.....all I need is a little piece of land and my  beloved copy of Reader's Digest's "Back to Basics." 

And indoor plumbing. I need that too. But, electricity, I could get by without it. Of course, I want Jon and Noah to be there too, but I'm not sure that they'd appreciate our new "lifestyle." I'd miss all of you and the blog, but that's what coffee shops are for...better coffee than you can make at home and wi-fi. 

I've watched THIS video several times about a French group of artisan carpenters known as "copeauXcabana."  They build the most beautiful, organic looking structures for clients, but also, the group has transformed a piece of land into their own commune of teeny tiny fairy tale houses and common spaces. It's great! 

I hear the statement: "it's enough" said quite often about minimalism. This phrase resonates with me so strongly. I do believe that only having a little bit IS enough, but in our modern day, it's almost impossible to have just enough. 

I spent some time walking at Greenfield Village yesterday. I love that, especially in the smallest and oldest homes, every, little procession is so appreciated and cared for and used. Certainly for most of the generations before us, people lived happily with just "enough."

The house that we live in is small and old. (Although, somebody put an addition on in the 1980's and made it bigger. I'd guess the original structure is just about 1,000 sq. feet.) I can't help but think about the people who lived here, most likely with just enough possessions to get by on a small, quiet piece of land. And how now, it's so strange that our little house is surrounded by a lively town with one of the most materialistic and consumption-driven shopping districts around. 

Things change .


For various reasons, I haven't been able to find enough big chunks of time to sit down and compose a proper post. The "Year of You" posts for example, take me days to plan, write and edit, whereas the random update posts are quicker, so I apologize. I figure that a day to day post is better than no post at all! :)

(Edit, this simple day to day post, has now taken me three days to complete. I have come to realize that my personal "creative process" is one that moves at a snail's pace. I should just "trust the process", right?) 

Before I get into the meat of this post, (which isn't very meaty) I want to mention one thing about being a blogger and also being a parent. I found a conversation that I had a few days ago quite interesting, and thought that perhaps some of my readers could relate. I actually came to a shocking realization!

As some of you might know, this year I halted most of my volunteer responsibilities simply because I  wanted to give a shot at blogging more, and developing this website. For the past five years, I've really immersed myself in different volunteer activities at Noah's school, and I started to think that this was why I was having a difficult time finding quality chunks of time to write during the day.

Well, I've now come to the conclusion that I was WRONG. It wasn't the volunteering that kept me from finding lots of extra time to write. It was my MAIN JOB as a merry "hausfrau" and a Mother that has kept me from finding lots of extra time to write. I know that sometimes I talk about this too much, so I won't go on and on, but I'm happily a housewife and a Mom, and those two jobs seem to take up a lot of the hours in the day.  I wish I could get posts out more often, but this time is so special and so short in the grand scheme of things, I really want to be present and enjoy it while I can.

The conversation that I mentioned above, was with my friend, whom I'll call "A-M."  A-M, like me, has one son. He's grown now, but also like me, she was a stay-at-home-mother. Anyway, we got to talking about how quickly kids grow up, and how the time flies by in the blink of an eye. I feel like it's important to be mindful of what a special and finite portion of existence this is. (In fact, I just ordered the book "The Conscious Parent" by Dr. Shefali Tsabary. I can't wait!)

What struck me though, is that with each age and stage as Noah has grown, I've thought to myself: "Oh he's so old now. He's so big."  Even when he turned two years old I felt he was old, not a baby anymore. When he was five, I remember thinking he was growing up into a "kid." Six, seven, eight felt old! And now he's nine, and when that happened, I was as though his childhood  had almost passed by, and that I surely would have more free writing time now. 

And that's why I've been internally beating myself up since September, wondering why, since I have a  "big kid" now, can't I find enough time to get this blog going? I feel so guilt-ridden about that!

Then A-M and I talked, and NOW I GET IT!  
No matter how grown up I see Noah to be, he's not. I'm still needed. Nine is not the new fifteen. 

Shortly after A-M and I got off the phone, Noah began to cry because he missed my parent's lake cottage. He had just gone up with them for two days, it's his favorite place on the whole earth. There Noah runs free along the beach collecting shells and artifacts, washing rocks, playing with cousins and chasing dogs. My parents give him steak for dinner every time he asks, (which is every time) allow him to stay up late and drink soda pop. Why would he want to come home? They even watch Wheel of Fortune together!

After ending my conversation with "A-M", Noah waited for my eyes to catch his, and then he started crying. Crying because he missed the cottage and felt sad to not be there anymore. He cried and cried, truly inconsolable and un-distractable for an hour and a half. (The totally ironic part is he's going back up to the lake in FIVE DAYS!) And when he finally stopped crying, he sat with an unappealing drink that we invented when he was a toddler called "ice milk", which is milk with an ice cube in it, always in his favorite, but now rarely used, train cup. That did the trick. 

This is when I had my shocking realization! That I'm still needed just as much as I was when Noah was seven or eight! That I don't need to be racing to fill my time with the pressure to write on top of caring for him and home. That I won't always have these moments. SOMEDAY, things will change, why rush it? 

Just this morning after school drop off, I spent two hours grocery shopping and washing and chopping fruits and veggies to go into our dinner. And you know what? I LOVE MY JOB!!!!! There's always stuff to do, there's a little boy who still needs my attention and time. (Not to mention a dusty, old house who does too!) He's not as big and grown up as I had imagined, and for now, I see that and it's ok.  :)

Do any of you also have malasma? Malasma is darkened patches of skin that appear on the face, predominately in women, and usually on the forehead, cheeks, chin and above the upper lip.  Malasma is triggered by sun exposure, and the patches often fad in the winter. It's like having little, tiny tans. Although the exact cause is still not known, researchers believe that the it is the naturally circulating hormone, estrogen that sensitizes specific melanin producing cells in the face, to over-produce melanin when exposed to sun. Although I can't remember having malasma during pregnancy, when it is very common, it might have conditioned some of my skin cells to react to sun. In any case, I do have some faint brown patches on my face that have really come out after being in the sun last weekend and they're making me feel so stressed! :(
(For the record, I wore sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses, but the sun still made my malasma and freckles appear.)

I don't want my splotches to become darker or spread anymore, so I've decided to become extra extra good with sun protection. I usually put on sunscreen when I'm going to be outside, and I wear an SPF rated sun hat, but now I'm going to wear sunscreen every single day. At least on my face! 

What kind of sunscreen do you like? I feel like every year I'm on the hunt for a new, affordable, mineral sunscreen. One that doesn't contain parabens and nano-particals, vitamin A and the like. The Enviromental Working Group and their Skin Deep Database have been a life saver to me over the years.  The EWG gives it to you it straight, about different kinds of environmental health research being performed and provides the AMAZING Skin Deep Database that list and educates people on the different chemicals in all of our everyday health, body and beauty products. Look up almost any item you might have and see it's hazards rating and why. 

It's not all doom and gloom though, I promise! There are many many products on the Skin Deep Database that are both wonderful and good for you too! And, the EWG puts together regular, very helpful articles that teach you how to find people friendly products. They even list their favorites! Here is MY favorite yearly list, Skin Deep's Sunscreen Recommendations!

Like many people that I know,  Badger's line of mineral sunscreens have always been the gold standard of safe and readily available. The only thing is, they cost an arm and a leg, and when you have a family with a lot of arms and legs to cover, it's not always easy to continually buy. I tend to look for sales and deals on Badger when I'm at Whole Foods or online. My absolute favorite Badger Sunscreen is their " Daily Lotion." For some reason though, on Badger's site, it says that it is now not available until 2015!? What!??????

......... O.M.G.  Now I get it, there's been a RECALL on my favorite sunscreen due to some batches being contaminated with three different kinds of microbes!!! ACK!!! Like only my worst nightmare!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

Hold on. I'll be right back........................................................................................

(Do you know how quickly I ran home from the coffee shop to see if my bottle's batch number was part of the recall list!?)

Ok, Everything is ok. It turns out that my sunscreen, although the same line of lotion, is that of the non-recalled regular formulation as compared the the recalled "kids & baby" formulation. THAT SAID.....guess what?

Just last week I was applying my Badger sunscreen when I said to Jon: "What the heck is that strange smell? MY SUNSCREEN SMELLS LIKE OLD MUSHROOMS!"  Seriously, it was a very odd scent. I figured that my sunscreen had just gotten old, (which it very well might have) although the expiration date was still good. I would bet anything that my lotion also had a fungus....or two. Maybe?

ALL OF THIS SAID! I still love Badger and I believe in their products and I know that they are a good and honest company, and I will and do still continue to buy and use their products. In fact, just this morning, before learning about the recall, I purchased online one of their SPF 35 Zinc Oxide Face Sticks.

These little face sticks are so great for when you're running around. I like them because they're lighter than carrying a tube of sunscreen in your purse and think that the sticks come in handy when you find yourself out in some un-planned, mid-day sunlight for any length of time. Like a restaurant with an outdoor patio, or an impromptu trip to a playground, or standing around school after pick-up.

I also really like California Baby's Fragrance Free Sunblock Stick. That one is very nice and blends into your skin so well. I've been using it on my face this week. It's from last year and is sadly about to hit the  expiration date. :(

Other sunscreens that we have used and liked:

And please don't shy away from Badger products. This Badger Baby Sunscreen is probably the nicest sunblock we've ever owned. It almost luxurious! 

All of this said, remember though, we all need SOME sun to help our bodies produce enough vitamin D! That would be about fifteen minutes of being sunscreen-free in the morning hours or a couple of hours wearing a SPF 30 in the sun. THIS article explains a bit more.  Don't be fearful, just be smart!

(Tigers hat for extra sun protection = smart! GO TIGERS!)

Hey, there's something that I'd like to talk about very quickly. It's round brushes. I just wanted you to know that I used to have a nylon bristle round brush before and it pulled out my hair every time. Then, I decided to give this boar's bristle brush a try. It makes me feel sad to be using boar's, (aka pig's hair) but from what I've read the bristles come from animals that have already been used for meat. Oh my gosh, typing this now is actually making me queasy. I'm a vegetarian and now I feel really sad for the animals. I feel though, that the brushes are making use of part of the animal that otherwise might not be used.

Even my inexpensive boar's bristle brush has recently made a HUGE difference in my hair drying routine. It's almost magic how soft and manageable this brush makes my hair. There are many more expensive, better quality boar bristle brushes out there, but so far, this one by Conair has be great! 

First I dry my damp hair most of the way with my hair dryer and by just using my fingers to "comb" my hair. Then I use my round brush to straighten everything out. It leaves my hair much smoother and shiner than before too. I love it! 

There are many many tutorials on You Tube, explaining how to use a round brush. Here is one that I like:

This past weekend I watched my Mom's cat Bob. He is such a sweet guy. While I was there, I had to pee, (Hey, I'm just being honest) so I used her bathroom. This has to be one of my favorite powder rooms on the PLANET! My Mom collects women's portraits. Paintings. Then she hangs them in this small room.  It's unconventional and a little unsettling to have a bunch of ladies in painting watching you pee, but it's also awesome.

I figured out that if you photograph yourself in the mirror, it makes for a cool effect.


This is really all I've got for you right now, other than this picture of my Dad drinking coffee, which I happen to like. He's single ladies! 
*wink, wink!*

And that's the scoop! Until next time, when I hopefully write a post with true substance! Love you guys!

Lauren :)


Anonymous said...

Great post! I have Lupus and wear a sunblock all the time as the suns harmful! I love Neutrogena Visage or Ombrelle but the Helioplex is what truly does it!! I overkill on it but it does work. I don't do organic at all as I need results but I have very nice skin so I'm happy!

Lauren said...

Hiya Anonymous!

Thank you for your comment and your recommendations. That's great! Im sorry to hear about your lupus. I can imagine that you want some really good coverage. I've heard people speak very highly about the Helioplex, just like you. I'm glad you've found some products that work well! :)

On a side-note, I know that some organic sunscreens don't protect as well, but at least, just in my experience, many of the organic sunblocks offer great protection with their mineral "physical barrier". You just have to find the good ones. That said, I know that the best thing for all of us is to find the products that work best for our own needs, organic or not. Variety is the spice of life!

Thanks for taking the time to read and leaving a note. I appreciate it so so much.


Unknown said...


I use this stuff and it's the JAM. I put it on under my face makeup and you can't even tell it's there whatsoever and if you need to reapply it doesn't mess with your makeup at all. It's sort of pricey and my local Sprouts/Whole Foods didn't have it so I had to order it online which isn't ideal, but it's worth it!!!

Let's catch up soon, Lauren!! Hope all is well in your world!!

Ashlie, your Utah gray haired sista

Lauren said...

Ashlie! OH MY GOSH..... it has STRAWBERRIES in it!!! Your sunscreen is AMAZING sounding. (And anything that's "the jam" has to be great.)

Thanks so much for the link. When my current tubes run out, (I just bought three!) I might try Coola's! You got me at "you can't even tell under makeup. That's a big one.

Hope you're well Ashlie. Your hair cut. YOUR HAIR CUT! It is, hands down, the most adorable, cook hair cut EVER. Well done!

Unknown said...

HiHi Lauren,

I can see where you get your striking good looks from. Your Daddio's definitely a cutie and a keeper. That's for sure.

It's neat when you include little notes here and there about your family and friends - even the furry and feathered ones. No, I am not "infurring" (pun intended) that your Dad looks furry.

Hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Dad/Week-end. Sunscreen it up and I will too while I'm out wall-eye fishing. No need to fret about the "poor" fishies. I'm strictly a catch and release kind a gal.


Christini Bambini

P.S. Watched the the video where the long-haired gal demoed blowing her hair dry for several minutes with a round brush. She says it normally takes her 20 minutes. That's some arm strength. Gotta work up to that, but her hair does look fab when she's done.

Valerie said...

Dear Lauren,
I love all those ladies portraits. How fun! (and disconcerting ;)
I love unusual art collections.
You have such a handsome dad. =) Great post. I enjoyed reading it.
Hope you are having a great week.
Blessings and sunshine, Valerie

Lauren said...

Hi Christine!!!!

HA! You crack me up. I was laughing because of your very "punny" comment! :)
So funny.

Very kind words about my Dad. I will be sure to mention to him that he received a compliment on the blog. That will make him smile!
I'm glad that you like learning a bit about the "cast of characters" in my life. It's so nice of you. <3

Wow! You're out fishing for Wall-eye!? COOL! You're one adventurous gal! And a kind one at that, with your catch-and-release. ;)
Oh man, have I ever blogged here about how I can even kill bugs? I see a spider in my room, I SCREAM. I RUN. .....then I garb a cup and catch him and race to the door. Lol. Never a dull moment.

Yep! I'm going to sunscreen it up. Glad you're doing the same Christine! :)

Ooooooh Yeah. That round brush video is SO LONG! I know, I my arm muscles are NOT strong enough for 20 minutes of round-brushing. Ha! You know, I just dry my hair about 3/4 of the way with my hair dryer and then I use the brush. It saves a lot of time.

Well, thank you kindly Christine. You're the best! I hope you have a WONDERFUL weekend!!!

Lauren :)

Lauren said...

Dear Valerie,

You are so sweet and so wonderful. And kind too!
I've been thinking of you. It must be such an exciting and also BUSY time for you and your family.

Sending much love and thoughts your way!!
Thank you for your support and encouragement as you always do!

Your friend,
Lauren :)