Ordinary Talismans

Common objects. Ordinary. Talismans.

I take two kinds of photos — people and odd objects. You know when you see that toothpick sticking out of the parking meter, or a bike is leaning oddly on its front tire and somehow holding up the weight of itself? Whatever the oddity, I find beauty in the common objects in life found in rare or strange places. At times, we find that a common object strikes a deep chord within us. It brings back memories that are strong and often vivid. Our own talisman of sorts.

Over the weekend we were at a local holiday artisan market that was nested within a new/used hardware store. I saw a few holiday trinkets that started a flowing thought process of the talismans in my life. I saw a bottle opener in the shape of pliers, vintage hammers, and a few construction-esque items that brought back memories of my dad’s plethora of tools meant to help him build, fix, and maintain the homes of many in my hometown. Beside the random fart greeting card, or joke about going bald, tools are often a talisman reminder of my dad. So are the moments when I wished I had watched him fix a pipe, build a deck, or the endless other projects I could have gained valuable and tangible knowledge to bring to my home today.

My other talismans? Pepsi and Daisies. Random, I know, but each remind me of my mom and grandma. My grandma’s daily drink was a Pepsi, and while I do not drink soda, from what I can remember my last 2-liter drinking of Pepsi was with her. It would probably taste nasty to me, like a syrup IV, but it will forever be my reminder of good ‘ole Granny Smith. I can also rarely pass by a daisy and not think of my mom. Sometimes to the point of having tears in my eyes. While I have not embraced, spoken to, or seen her for over twenty years, a daisy can bring back the strongest of memories. They are resilient, last forever, and are the simplest of flowers. While my mom did not last as long as she should have, she was one resilient and simple lady. Call my sappy, but the daisy is a quick reminder of her and her last words to me: “Be strong.”

What are the talismans of your day-to-day world?

How often do you wash your hair?

Did your grandma ever wash her hair? All my life I remember my grandma going to “get her hair done.” Each Saturday at noon she would go barely a mile from her house, and have her hair “set.” She never washed her hair any of the days between. She always used a shower cap. On Saturday when she would get her hair done, she would get it washed, set in curlers, dried, combed out and then of course the massive amounts of hair spray to keep it in place for a week.

Granny Smith and me in 2002

Granny Smith and me in 2002

She went on Saturday so her hair would look best for church on Sunday and of course as the week went on it lost a bit of its oomph. Nevertheless, I am in awe that her hair was only washed once a week. I am psyched at my twice a week washing – going crazy as it gets closer to the day I wash it. How did she ever go an entire week? How did it not feel incredibly greasy? Of course she was not running the number of miles I do each day, so sweat was not a factor (especially with the air conditioning running most of the time she was indoors).

Not washing hair was how grandma grew up. It was normal to her. I do wonder today if women still get their hair set, or is that something that happens with older women? In the 1950’s, women only washed their hair once a week. As the article states you can use a dry shampoo made from cornstarch and baby powder as I do, to allow your hair to absorb extra oils, and resulting in not needing to wash your hair as often. I can attest that it works, but I know my grandma was not using cornstarch on her hair, so did it just get used to only being washed once a week?

What do you remember about your grandma? Did she wash her hair? Was it short or long? I just wonder if there is something we can learn from them in regards to our hair. Maybe we overly heat, straighten, add chemicals, and maybe we need to go natural, wash once a week and see what happens.

Think Dirty

I have a newfound interest in the products that I put on my body. Are they worth touching my skin? What are their ingredients? Would I eat what I put on my hair or skin? With my recent venture into “no poo” I have continued to explore other natural options for skin care and even found something the other day for brushing your teeth with coconut oil. (I have not tried it, but will let you know how it works out).

Have you ever thought about the fact that your skin is the largest organ on your body, and yet we feed it with harmful chemicals every day? Between your hair shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, and styling products, to your body wash, lotion, your toothpaste, and, if you are a woman, the makeup you put on your face, you are potentially adding chemicals to your body and you might not even know it.

Bring on “Think Dirty.” An app I found last weekend that allows you to scan a product in your bathroom, at the store, your friend’s house, what have you and find out from their “Dirty Meter” how toxic the product is for you. I love this idea. I am always trying to remember which sulfates are bad (most are horrible) and which are okay. Sulfates. Parabens. The list goes on for all the ingredients you should watch for when purchasing a product. What I find more complex is that so often the ingredient list can only be understood if you can decipher the periodic table of elements. They are in another language, with names so long it is hard to really know what is good and what is bad for you.

Think Dirty is free and even has a modern and sleek interface. Just scan the barcode on the product with the scanner within the app. You can then save products to a “Dirty List” or a “Clean List” so you can remember where specific products fall when you go back to the store. There is even some wit within the app. To get you to sign up, they say, “Is your bathroom Kardashian-filthy?” Clever. I spent a bit of time scanning my products, and even my Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s “organic” products resulted in 8-10 (7-10 is considered Dirty) on their Dirty Meter. Yikes.

Be safe, clean yourself responsibly, and take the pulse of what you put on your body.

No Poo

I know what you are thinking. I am going to talk about poo, or poop. You are wrong. I am talking about the “no poo” movement that has caught my attention. The “no poo” movement is about not shampooing your hair. At first you might think gross! Go ahead and think that, because I thought the same thing, but let me explain. “No poo” means you do not use traditional shampoos that clean AND strip the natural oils from your hair. Why do I care? Well, I like to wake myself up in the morning by washing my hair and letting the scalding hot water surround my head. It is the way that I start my day, but I end my day with a good long run and that means a head of sweat. I think it is gross to not wash all the sweat out before my head hits the pillow at night so I wash it again. Recently I have wondered what that is doing to my hair.

After extensive sleuthing on the Internet, I found quite a large “no poo” community. This Facebook group page shows endless posts from users by the hour or minute, with the community in full comment mode to support those that are embarking on whether to “no poo.” On Sunday I decided to start “no poo” by washing the sweat from my run out with baking soda. It was not that bad, and my hair actually felt clean. You “poo” your hair with baking soda and water, and follow-up with a vinegar/water mixture as a conditioner, shown here.

I wanted to try to wash my hair less. Meaning not twice a day, and possibly not for a few days. I have heard from many that giving your hair a break from washing helps to keep the natural oils present for healthier hair, but I have not been able to give in and try it for fear of my hair feeling “gross” all the time. On Monday (the day after my baking soda wash) I gave in and washed my hair regularly.

Have you tried it? I am curious if I am crazy or if I will be able to stick with it.

Bobby Pins… Really?

How is it that I am as old as I am and I never, ever knew that there was a right way to use a bobby pin? How is that possible?

I was on Pinterest the other day and happened on a site that had different hair how-to’s that every girl should know. The very first on the list was how to wear a bobby pin. I guess all these years I have been wearing them upside down. Sometimes it is the little things that can have a life changing impact. See, I usually go for a run with my hair back in a ponytail, and then all the stray hairs get held back with a bobby pin on each side. Partway through my run, my bobby pins often slip out and I have to put them back in. Until last week.

Last week, I learned to use a bobby pin in the appropriate way, and now they stay in place. If only I had known years ago, maybe I would not have needed to use so many bobby pins. AND, the bigger question is, why does the longer side up mean that hair will stay in place? It does not make sense to me. So when did you learn to use a bobby pin in the correct way? I imagine there are other things in our lives that we are never taught to do and the Internet has allowed us to learn things from the most mundane to the most profound. Obviously, bobby pins do not leave the profound impact on our life, but it was still an aha moment for me.

Sometimes you just have to turn something over for it to work right.