Who’s the Dirty Birdy?

I love the chance to snoop without repercussions. Don’t you?

Today, you get to snoop in my medicine cabinet. Heck, I’ll even give you a tour.

Behold, the medicine cabinet of a girl living alone:

Medicine Cabinet

Yes, this cabinet is not the prettiest one you’ve ever seen. It needs some new paint, and, well, it needs to be cleaned. There you go – some dirt on me!

Top shelf, left to right:

  • Stub of a candlestick (faintly visible white thing). I have no idea why anyone would keep the stub of a candlestick. Perhaps in the event that the power goes out and I forget entirely how to get back to the rest of my apartment?
  • Sink plug which I only ever use if I need to soak something in the sink. What things I might soak in the sink I don’t want to say.
  • Vapo-Rub, or, should I say, Rexall’s Vapourizing Chest Rub. Yes, there are still people that have this product. No, I don’t use it. Hardly ever, anyway. But I do have some very comforting memories of my mom heating flannel cloths in the oven on cold winter nights, rubbing our chests with Vick’s Vapo-Rub, and then tucking a warm cloth between the mentholated goop and our pj’s. Ahhh.
  • Matches. To light the candle stub, of course. Ahem.
  • Two cheap-o plastic containers that contain a bunch of junk I never use and practically never look at, including white nail polish, tongue studs from way back when, dental floss (don’t tell my dentist), and old cheap earrings. Oh, and nail clippers, which I do tend to use regularly.

Middle shelf:

  • The tiny white package on the very left is a sample from Sephora that I haven’t opened yet. I may never open it.
  • Thus begins the gamut of my skin care regimen by Aloette (which I really enjoy and would definitely recommend): the night cleanser (Essential Cleansing Oil), which does a bang-up job of taking off make-up, too.
  • Toner is next. I am so fascinated with how the cotton pad can come off that particular shade of scuzzy grey, even after I have just washed and rinsed my face.
  • That lovely light pink stuff is actually body lotion, called Hand and Body Silk. It’s pretty fantastic: smells refreshing, rather than perfume-y, and is especially nice if you use it as a shaving lotion on your legs, though I’ll warn you that it will clog your razor.
  • Crammed in next to each other there are lotions, one for day and one for night. I use the lotion for day, because otherwise my face gets too oily. The creme is for night – it’s thicker. Yes, I do think it’s worthwhile to have two creams, especially during the winter, when skin tends to get a bit scaly. A thick night cream helps prevent that flaky skin that I tend to get around my nose when I have a cold.
  • Tucked in behind the lotions is Moroccan Oil, the newest addition to my beauty arsenal. It’s a very popular hair product that many swear by, though I’m not convinced it’s for me. Shame, because it cost me about $40.
  • The tiny tube is eye cream. I’m guilty of not using it every day, even though my mother said I should. It’s just one extra step that I keep thinking isn’t really necessary… yet. When I get crow’s feet, I will wish I had been putting it on every day since turning 5.
  • The small bottle with a pump is called Time Repair Serum. I think it’s to prevent my skin from aging, but in the meantime, I feel like it helps keep my skin nice and smooth. Or maybe that’s the same thing.
  • Behind the Time Repair is Visible Aid, a first-aid cream that really does a great job at helping heal cuts and scrapes and burns.
  • Thus ends the Aloette parade. Next in line is a character that needs no introduction, other than: “nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea,” the latter of which, of course, a lady never gets.
  • Last and certainly least used seeing as how it’s redundant, another toner, this time by Aveeno. From when I used to use an Aveeno cleansing regimen. I presume it won’t go bad…

Bottom shelf:

  • Avon “moisture effective” eye makeup remover lotion: a staple practically since I started wearing makeup. It’s cheap and effective, so why switch it up? In case you’re interested, I found out yesterday that it’s on sale for $0.99 right now! Time to call your Avon lady…
  • Hidden in the back left corner is a shine product for my hair which I obviously never use. But should, no doubt.
  • Next is something that could be slightly embarrassing because it’s not something most people would buy: a crystal deodorant stick. I got it from a health food store, then stopped using it because, well, I like Degree antiperspirant a lot, and had always used it. But, a couple of VIPs in my life reminded me that it’s worth it to not smell “shower clean” in exchange for using something that hasn’t been linked with breast cancer (antiperspirant, FYI). So, I made the switch, and only use antiperspirant if I have forgotten deodorant somehow. It’s different, sure, and has no smell, but it really works, and I feel much better about the whole scenario. Worth a try, both for men and women!
  • After that whole diatribe about MY deodorant, here’s a spare stick for my boyfriend. Sometimes, you just need an extra dab or two.
  • Clearly, my cotton supplies are low. Typically, those three jars contain, from left to right, cotton pads, Q-tips, and cotton balls. I need a trip to the drugstore.
  • The bottle in the corner with the pink on it is an ear-care product that has gotten me through several infections. Available at Claire’s, I believe.
  • And front right, a generic cream to help heal scars. Exotic, right?

There you have it: a sneak peek inside my medicine cabinet. Nothing crazy. And now you don’t have to worry about being caught in the act someday when I throw a dinner party and put marbles inside the medicine cabinet to embarrass the snooper. YOU’RE the “dirty birdy”, not me (thanks, Clinton Kelly, for that fabulous idea).

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The App That Gave Me Back Mornings

I have night owl in my blood. Really. It just comes naturally to me. Plus, I’m always afraid of missing something, or I think I can cram in ONE more page, one more minute of an audio book, one more activity. Often, this kind of thinking finds me feeling like crap at 2 or 3 am, wondering why I am so stupid.

Next time, I will go to bed on time
Me, every night.

The next morning, either I feel gross because I didn’t get enough sleep or I feel gross because I got too much. Either way, all too often I have felt like the “hit by a truck” statement could be applied to me in the morning. (NO, I’m not grumpy in the morning, generally–I’m just not happy sunshiny either.

Everything changed last year. In the summer, I got an iPhone, and in the fall, a friend introduced the Sleep Cycle app to me.

Sleep Cycle app
Sleep Cycle

Sleep Cycle is an app that uses the accelerometer built into the iPhone (and iPod Touch) to track your sleep patterns, and then wake you up in the general vicinity of when you’d like to wake up (within the half hour before, usually), but when you’re at the edge of a sleep cycle. That is, it wakes you up when you’re not in deep sleep, which is the most shocking phase to get awoken out of.

It’s really quite simple: you plug your phone in (the app drains about 30% of battery over the night), set your alarm sound (you can use a song from your iTunes) and a time you’d like to be awake by,  click “Start”, then lay the phone glass-side down on the edge of your bed. Then, you entrust your wake-up call to this genius application.

It is. Genius. I promise you. It has revolutionized my mornings, which, in turn, has revolutionized my days. I no longer wake up hating the day, hating myself, hating the fact that I have to get out of bed… oops, I said I wasn’t grumpy in the mornings. I’m not, I promise you, but now I actually FEEL good as well!

Oh, and there’s a handy graph feature where you can look back at all the nights you have used Sleep Cycle to compare your patterns. Also, what kind of app would it be if it didn’t have a “Share on Facebook” feature? I kid you not. I have so far restrained myself, though.

Solid app. Well done, Sleep Cycle people!

YES, it’s worth the 99 cents! What are you waiting for?!

I’m saying good-night…

Sleep pattern graph and sleep screen
The data and the image Im going to be looking at in a few minutes.

VIA… Deliciosa!

I was recently given a sample of Starbucks’ revolutionary new instant coffee, VIA, by an eager barista. I told him there was no way he could sell me on any instant coffee, but asked him for some information, anyway. I ended up going home with a sample, but didn’t have the guts to break it out until this morning.

Well (insert drum roll here), I like it!

To quote from the website,

And they’re actually right!

They also have some really cool gear to transport your extra VIA packets:

Could it be? An instant coffee that could revolutionize the world of instant gratification caffeine fixes?

How Freakin’ Fabulous Am I? (rhetorical question)

There are a few things I’d like to say:

1. I suck for having procrastinated from writing for ever so long. You may not care, but I know the truth: I officially suck for not taking the time to record all of the freakin’ fabulous thoughts I’ve had over the last several months. Some of the blame can be laid on the following inconsequential pastimes: work, two bands plus other music projects, and being there for my family.

2. While I initially anticipated the arrival of winter with fear and trepidation, now that it has been asserting its climatic domination of my area for weeks, I’ve mostly gotten used to it. I had some noteworthy help from a few contributors: the Fionas (my amazing knee-high, sexy black leather boots), elbow-length black leather gloves, snow tires, and CAA, with an honourable mention to hemp hearts and espresso.

3. At the risk of sounding blasphemous, I have a new bible that has very little to do with spirituality but everything to do with great taste. As happens with many great things, I stumbled upon this book in a local store that I hadn’t set foot in for a long while, and I can’t get enough of it. My new bible is written by What Not To Wear‘s Clinton Kelly, and it’s called: Freakin’ Fabulous: How to Dress, Speak, Behave, Eat, Drink, Entertain, Decorate, and Generally be Better Than Everyone Else.

Clinton’s approach is very humourous, but truly, truly fabulous. These pages are chock-full of common-sensical advice, from how to match patterns to how-to recipes for great appetizers to good manners. I love it, and possibly not platonically! I’ve been accused of being too proper, caring too much about grammar, and being picky about lighting, and now I find myself vindicated by Mr. Kelly. Alleluia!

I simply can’t leave it at that, I’m sorry. This book will likely stay on my coffee table for decades to come, and all of you who care will be able to leaf through it and glean its wisdom for yourself. Honestly, where else can you find all of this basic good advice in one very fun, well-published, entertaining format?

This is the book that I’ve been waiting to discover for all of my adult life. Or, at least since I discovered how fabulous one can be and my true potential for achieving it.

A great paragraph:

When throwing a party, you must sanitize and guest-proof your bathroom. If the bathroom that will be used by your guests is not absolutely spotless, you will quickly get a reputation as a dirty birdy. And then, nobody will eat the food you’ve made because they’re afraid of catching hepatitis.

Just sayin’: great writing, right?

Here’s another tidbit:

If chopping onions makes you cry, hold a few unlit matches in your mouth. The sulfur is supposed to absorb some of the onion fumes. You can also hold a slice of white bread in your mouth. Either way, you’ll look like an idiot. Also, try throwing the onion in the freezer for a bit before you chop it. The colder the onion, the less fumes. Personally, I don’t mind a good cry. In fact, if I cry while chopping the onions, I’ll run to the bathroom mirror and recite one of my favorite lines from Poltergeist: “Don’t you touch my babies!!!” It’s the part where the kids are being sucked into the bedroom closet for the second time and JoBeth Wiliams is at HER WIT’S END! It’s very dramatic. (Hi, JoBeth, if you’re reading this!!!)

I mean, come on! Mixing great advice with self-deprecating humour and pop-culture references? What could be better in a self-help book?

4. I have to go now. I have some more reading to do before I’ll be ready to host any freakin’ fabulous Christmas parties. Ta Ta.

47 Beavers on the Big, Blue Sea

And the beavers pulled upon the oars
And the beavers rowed away from shore
And the beavers two, and the beavers three,
Forty-seven beavers on the big, blue sea!

No one thought that beavers were capable of scheming.
If you’d say, “They’ll row away,” most folks would say you’re dreaming.
But here they were and there they went across the briny blue,
Calling out a cadence like a real Olypmpic crew.

For a week or two the beaver crew rowed the Great Pacific,
Till from the north a storm blew in with winds that were terrrific!
And one by one, their oars blew off and vanished! Mercy me!
And forty-seven beavers were left bobbin’ in the sea!

Phil Vischer, the mastermind behind the ever-entertaining Veggie Tales, has gone out on a new limb: Jellyfish. Jellyfish is Phil’s new creative company, through which he hopes to pursue new ministry opportunies. If 47 Beavers on the Big, Blue Sea is any indication of the stuff that JellyfishPress is going to be producing, his books will be a smash hit just like his videos!

I never set out to do product reviews on this here blog site, but I couldn’t help myself after reading this children’s book this morning in the bookstore I work at (we’ve got it on sale!), reading and laughing. The illustrations, by Jared Chapman, are, of course, hilarious, too! This is the kind of book that you won’t mind reading to your kids over and over and over… like, ten times in 30 minutes! At least, I won’t!

My neices are getting one.