More Cows

The Cow Parade continues and although we are no longer collecting cow drawings I managed to squeeze in 2 more cows of my own.

First I drew an architectural section and elevation of a cow. I am no artist so I was quite pleased with myself for free-handing that cow. Yes it might look a goofy cow, I'm just happy it looks like a cow at all.

My last cow is Ground Chuck Taylor. This pun of puns struck me in the shower one morning and who was I to ignore it?

In other bovine news I got to help paint Ruby, our almost-life-size blank cow. Here's me putting a coat on Ruby's red pedicure.

Yep, my job still rocks.

Soda Stream

Nothing too dramatic today, I just wanted to tell you about a product that I love.

Recently I picked up a Soda Stream machine from a fellow Freecycler. I assumed it had to be broken because who would give one away that works? Well, that lady would, apparently. It needed a good cleaning after having sat in her storage room but other than that it worked perfectly. Luckily there's no electronics or moving parts so sitting in less-than-ideal conditions can't really hurt it. Long story short, I love it. I'm a big soda drinker at home and I love that this saves money and the waste from soda bottles and cans. My favorites are the fruity sodas but they have pretty convincing standard flavors (Coke, Dr Pepper, etc).

OK, I admit it, I don't have a real Soda Stream. It's a Soda Club and it looks almost exactly like this one:

After a little internet research I found out that several years ago Soda Club changed their name to Soda Stream - no idea why - and updated the look of the machine. Since they're essentially the same product the current soda bottles and carbonating cartridges fit my old unit so I could care less what it looks like. I just like being able to make my own soda at home. The units start at around $100 and if you drink a lot of soda it would pay for itself pretty quickly. Fortunately I got a head start by getting my machine for free. God bless Freecycle.

Any products been changing your life lately?

As usual, no one paid or perked me for this opinion.

No 'Poo, For Your Face

This post is not about removing poop from your face but I will state for the record that I am 100% in favor of not having poop on my face or anyone else's face.

No, this post is about a skin care regimen (if you can call it that) that I discovered and thought I would share with you all.

I'm sure by now you've all heard of the No Poo movement. If not it means 'no shampoo' and it advocates removing shampoo and conditioner from you beauty routine and replacing it with natural, less abrasive cleaners. If your hair type is right, you can eventually just rinse it with water and forgo cleansers all together. It doesn't mean you stop washing your hair and it doesn't (necessarily) mean you're a dirty hippy. It just means you want to stop spending so much darn money on hair products. I won't talk anymore about it because I'm no expert, but if you want to learn more about it there's gobs of info out there on the internet.

Anyway, one thing I took from all the No 'Poo research I've done is that shampoo removes the oil from your hair and scalp, but it removes too much so you have to add conditioner to compensate. It occurred to me that I've probably been doing the exact same thing to my face. And guess what - I was right.

Back story: my face is notoriously oily. I had terrible acne in my teen years, make-up slides off my face, and I use those oil blotting sheets like crazy. I tended to favor facial cleansers geared toward oily/acne prone skin (i.e. high acid content) and then follow it up with a light, non-greasy moisturizer. Even with all that I would end up with an oily nose and chin AND a dry forehead and cheeks. Not a good look.

Around the time I was pregnant (and therefore paranoid about all the chemicals everywhere) I decided to test my theory and see what happened if I stopped using products on my face. Results: my skin feels balanced without oily and dry patches, the color and tone of my skin has improved, I don't get breakouts anymore, and I save so much money. Bonus: my skin tone improved so much I stopped wearing foundation all together, saving me even more money and keeping even more junk out of my pores. Confession: I've never been much of a cosmetics girl, so that wasn't that big of a sacrifice. I will occasionally put on foundation if I know I'll be photographed or I'm going somewhere important but that happens maybe 4 times a year. I lead a glamorous life.

Don't think I don't wash my face though. Here's my shower routine:
- Splash my face with water.
- Shower, shave, suds as usual.
- Scrub my face with a wet washcloth (no soap, just hot water) scrubbing hard enough to remove dead skin, oils, sunscreen, etc. I like to wait until the end of my shower to allow the steam to open my pores and soften my skin.

That's it.

I keep my trusty lightweight moisturizer around in case of dry patches but I only need it in the winter, and even then I use it sparingly. Confession #2: I don't really care about warding off wrinkles and other signs of aging so I'm not using any other products like eye cream or toner. My beauty routine begins and ends with lip balm and mascara. Tinted lip balm if I'm feeling fancy. Like I said, glamorous life.

My skin looks the best it's ever looked since I hit puberty. And did I mention I started this when I was pregnant? That means I've been doing this for over two years - no mere experiment - and I'm never going back. If it works with oily skin I'm confidant it will work for those of you with normal skin. I have no idea about dry skin because that's a different animal.

If any of you try it, let me know how it goes!

I Love My Job

Seriously, it's freakin awesome. I know I've only been there a short while but the perks keep piling up.

Perk of the Day: What does that mean to you? Probably nothing. What does it mean to me? It means I get to make my own little photoshop creations whenever I have a bit of downtime.

Here's a few details: Red Hat provides open source software. The company is so supportive of the open source method they preach the idea that open source can work for lots of different processes, in a variety of fields. So they sponsor the Open Source website and provide graphic images (licensed in Creative Commons, of course) for the article writers and anybody else that wants to use them. It's great stuff, but that's not what I'm here to talk about. I'd rather show you what I made.

Just a little graphic of ants marching along, carrying a stick together. For those that don't get subtlety, collaboration and sharing make awesome things happen. Meaning "Yay open source!" We're allowed to design whatever we want, but really the point is to provide images for the website.

I also made one, sans dirt, for the purists out there.

If that's not enough pants-wetting job awesomeness for you, how about this:

That's the cow drawing I contributed for our Cow-laboration project. What is a cow-laboration project? I have no idea, I just wanted to draw a cow. See more awesome cow contributions here.

Jealous yet?

Luke's Birthday Party

Saturday was Luke's 2nd Birthday Party. Check out the Peanut Stand for a party re-cap!
pictured: family friend A, mother-in-law S, me
also pictured: awesome parenting skills

Spoiler Alert: it's a pirate party. Note my bandana, single hoop earring and pirate-y striped tank top. I love a theme.

So, I Just Spent $113 on Shampoo and Conditioner

That's not an exaggeration for the sake of being dramatic. I really did just drop over a hundred dollars on 2 bottles of stuff for my hair. Just typing that makes me feel like I'm guest posting on Goop.

I just found the best leave in conditioner for my hair. It's hand-made by blind monks using the tears of free-range goats and the silk of endangered silk worms. At $40 an ounce, it's a total bargain.

OK, it's not that bad. But it's close. Last week when I got my hair cut the stylist gave me some samples. Of course she did. I took them home and fell in love with the stuff. Of course I did. I looked it up on line and it was $20 for an 8.5 ounce bottle. You're kidding me right? For the math nerds that's $2.35 an ounce. Mucho pricey.

After some digging I found a (semi-sketchy) website that was selling the same bottle for $13. At $1.53 an ounce that's getting better but still way more than I'm willing to pay for shampoo. Then, lo and behold, I found the mother load. I can buy my beloved shampoo IN BULK. For the absurd price of $57 I could be the proud owner of 68 ounces of liquid gold? shampoo. But then I did the math and realized that's only $0.84 an ounce and Burt's Bee's, my hippie friendly normal brand is $0.80 an ounce. So that got me officially out of crazy person territory. Sort of.

I bit the bullet and ordered the tubs o' shampoo and conditioner.

I love the way it makes my hair look and feel
it's organic and sulfate free
it should last me a year or two

$114 dollars? Are you freaking kidding me?

It still feels strange to spend that much on something so frivolous, but I don't color my hair and I don't spend much money on styling products or make-up, so it should even out. And (I keep telling myself) it's not that expensive, it's just costly to buy it all at once.

Am I crazy?

New Necklaces

One of the biggest problems I had with my previous retail schedule, blog-wise I mean, was that I had the time and energy to do projects or write blog posts but not both. Now that I am back to being a 8-5er I have several old projects that need some attention...

One of my favorite craft mediums is jewelry making because it requires little work and doesn't make a huge mess. There's a reason I don't paint anything.

This is the first one I made, around Christmas. It could not be easier. Retaining Ring + jewelry chain + a few jump rings = 1 necklace in under 2 minutes. And no, I don't know what retaining rings are for either.

Next, I made this necklace inspired by this bracelet I found on Pinterest. (Sorry, the pin doesn't go to the tutorial but it's a simple process of threading hex nuts onto thread as you braid.) This one is just cotton yarn and some brass hex nuts. You see what happens when I work at a hardware store? I shop where I work. I modified the example, only putting hex nuts on one side of the braid, since I knew it wouldn't hang right with weight on both sides.

Next up is a necklace that I made only a week ago. I already had the beads lying around (they had already been made into one necklace that I never liked and were sitting in the "to be used for parts" pile) and then inspiration struck in the form of this post on Melancholy Smile, where she made her own version of a pricey J Crew necklace. I'm glad I hung onto these beads - they seem made for this type of jewelry!

Bringing up the rear is a necklace I didn't make but still deserves mention here. It was custom made for me by a local jewelry designer (Sarah Tector for you NC folks), and it was a collaborative design effort so I can take some of the credit, right? I came to her with the vague idea of making a piece - maybe a ring, maybe a necklace - that used my mom's old engagement diamond. My folks are divorced, by the way. I had no idea what I wanted it to look like, I just knew it should be suitable for everyday but decidedly not bridal. This is what we (ok, she) came up with.

The diamond is set in a sterling bezel and then the bezel is set in a hollow bronze form that was cast from a wax mold. Fancy, yes? When I first got it the bronze was a soft gold color, but it will develop a rich patina over time. I love that idea because the darker the metal gets, the more the stone will contrast with the background.

What have you made lately?


I just bought a cheap ipod shuffle from Ebay to use when I'm running. Can you guess what I named it?

I already have an iphone (and the hubby's old iphone that I use as an ipod) but this one is nice for running. Yeah, yeah, first world problem. Don't judge me - it was only $10. I like it because I can just clip it to my bra* and go. And if it helps me be more active, that's money well spent.

*Let's be honest - it's too effing hot to wear a shirt when I run.

I Figured Out Why Running Pants Are So Tight

Visible camel toe is an EXCELLENT motivator to run so fast your neighbors don't have time to notice it.

New Job... Again

I have some awesome, fantastic, and entirely amazing news. I have a new job! Started last Monday, actually. Where am I working now? Here's a not-so-subtle hint:

Yes, ladies (and gentlemen?) I am working for Red Hat. Which is a software company, and I am no software expert. Not even close. So what am I doing for them? Here's a diagram:
I just love diagrams. In a nutshell I will be providing wall graphics for our office spaces so that they are on brand (meaning they reflect the ideals and culture of the company) but also represent the local and regional culture of the office. Remember, Red Hat has offices all over the world so it's important to honor the local atmosphere.

How did I get such an awesome and perfect-for-me job? That is all thanks to my good friend Libby. She works for the Brand Communications team and when she heard about the job opening she emailed me and asked if I would be interested in a job that is a little bit architecture, a little bit interior design and a little bit graphic design. Yes, yes, and yes. This job seems to be perfect for me in every single way, so of course I had to get her a kick-ass thank you card to express my gratitude.

card by Fancy Seeing You Here
I'm a total nester so I wasted no time in personalizing my nook of the office. Home is where the art is.

I hate desk clutter. When I saw this little appetizer plate at Target for only $1.50 I knew it needed to come live on my desk and keep my glasses, phone, keys, etc in one place. I was right - it's perfect. I also snagged a red one for my nightstand for my glasses, watch, and earrings at the end of the day.

So, this also means I had to say goodbye to Home Depot. I felt bad leaving after only 3 months or so but, come on, the retail hours were killing me. Early mornings, late nights, weekends - not fun. It was wearing on the hubby too. He said that whenever I worked on the weekends it didn't feel like a weekend at all for him because he had to be 100% in charge of Luke making it hard to be relaxed or productive. Then when I was home during the week I had the same problem. To say I am looking forward to having a regular schedule and spending quality time with my family again is an understatement.

I'll be sure to keep you posted if I do anything awesome.
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