Summertime HABA Reviews

Alba Fragrance Free Mineral Sunblock: For the past couple of years I’ve really been trying to be good and wear sunscreen on my face and any exposed skin (especially on sunny summer days). The main thing that kept me from doing this consistently was that I hate the smell and greasy feel of sunscreen. Plus then I heard that maybe the chemicals in most sunscreens are worse for you than potentially getting skin cancer! So I was extremely happy when the Alba sunscreen I picked up (just got it to try because it was on sale) turned out to be chemical and paraben free, and didn’t have any kind of greasy feeling at all! It’s a little thick at first, but once you rub it in you can’t even tell you have it on. I went and stocked up while it was still on sale :o)

The Body Shop DeoDry Roll-On Deodorant: This is another product that totally exceeded my expectations. I heard about it when it first came out – an aluminum- and paraben-free deodorant that really worked! Of course, it was totally sold out everywhere. When The Body Shop near me finally had it in stock, they didn’t have the scent I wanted (Chilled & Breezy), and they didn’t have the stick form. So I got Fresh & Floral in a roll-on. Wow! First of all, the scent is not “flowery,” it’s just nice. And the liquid dries right away, and then you don’t have to worry about white smudges on your clothes. It really does last all day, though in this heat and humidity there were a couple times where I reapplied before going out for the evening. I got one for GG, too (in the Cool & Zesty scent), and it’s even strong enough for a man. Plus, the roll-ons are refillable – save the environment and some money!

Avon Frizz Control Lotus Shield: I’ve been using this for a couple weeks now and am so happy with it! Even on non-humid days I have a halo of frizz around my head, so you can imagine how bad it would have been these past couple weeks that we’ve had like 99% humidity here. But my hair is sleek and soft and nice but not flat! And it really does last at least two days (even through washing it). A tiny amount is plenty, and the product is kind of thick and goopy feeling at first, but once you get it into your wet hair it’s not stiff or anything – and in fact, I think it helps hair dry faster. The true proof it works: on Saturday night we had dinner on a riverside deck and it was probably the most humid meal of my life. On our way home, GG asked me if I was using something different in my hair, because even he noticed that it wasn’t as frizzy as it should have been in that situation! Also, it smells great!

Goody Spin Pins: I got these a while ago and they are awesome. I’ve never really been able to get regular bobby pins to work for me, so for buns and updos, these work great! Especially now that it’s so hot and I just want my hair up off my neck, it’s so easy to just twist in the two corkscrew pins, and my hair’s not going anywhere. At first I thought they wouldn’t really work for me until my hair got longer because it seemed like the buns were small and tight, but I think the trick is that you need to gather it more loosely. The pins will really hold just about anything, so I can even just ball my hair up without really twisting it into a bun, and it’ll form a nice messy bun. I wore them for a lot of my hot, humid band concerts this summer, and around the house when I’m working and just want to keep my hair out of the way.

* HABA is retail-speak for “health and beauty aid” – basically anything you’d pick up in the lotion/toothpaste/shampoo aisle of the supermarket or drug store.

Sweaty Night Out, “Inception”

We had a fun and busy weekend. On Saturday we spent the day cleaning the house – really cleaning. Later, we went to New Hope and met J and S for dinner. That was really nice, except it was like 100 degrees with 99% humidity or something crazy, so it was basically like sitting in a sauna. And we were eating outdoors on a deck by the river. Then we walked around a while, and J and S got the full GG experience, how he looks at every item in a store and talks the shopkeeper’s ear off, even if you’re on your way somewhere (to get ice cream, in this case). However, they got to see his mural, and we went to the Jerry Garcia gallery, which we’d never been to before. And then we went to an ice cream shop (well, it’s a hot dog place but they sell ice cream) where we’d never been, and had a delicious treat – in the air conditioning!

On Sunday GG and I went out for lunch, and then went to see Inception. It was really good! I’ll put my thoughts at the end of this post so you won’t be spoiled if you haven’t seen it yet. Afterward, we went to Home Depot to get supplies to fix up a couple things around the house we’ve been meaning to take care of. And then we relaxed at home. I’m now all caught up on Work of Art, which I just started watching on OnDemand this weekend. It’s like Project Runway but with artists. I love it because it reminds me so much of college! The dumb projects, the lame explanations, and the characters: the old lady “real artist,” the guy who draws everything like comic books, the girl who uses naked pictures of herself for every assignment…

Speaking of dreams (or, I will be, in a minute), I had a dream last night that I had to stop somewhere before work, and then there was a road that would take me from there to the town I work in, so I figured I’d just follow it. So I was driving and driving along this road, and it was getting later and later, and before I knew it, the day was half over and I was still not at work and didn’t know how much longer I’d take. I ended up stopping at some office and calling in to say I was just going to take the day off, and then I had to figure out how to get home from there anyway. If I had to interpret this dream, I’d say it’s telling me that I shouldn’t just continue following a road and hope I eventually end up where I want; instead, I need to take charge of my own map and make sure I’m going where I want to go, getting there when I want to get there. Or, you know, something like that.

SPOILER ALERT: Okay, my thoughts on Inception… The theory I like most is that the whole movie was basically one giant inception of the audience. The tagline is, “Your mind is the scene of the crime” (“your” = you, the audience?); the film starts without a title or credits (do you remember how we got here?); the last scene in the airport is the same as what is about to happen as the audience leaves the theater, strangers sitting next to each other and having the same dream. However, if you’re looking for resolution to Cobb’s story, the point isn’t whether he’s still dreaming or not, or even whether the entire thing was a dream (even though I hope it wasn’t that lame – I think there were some scenes in “real life”). The point is that in the end he chooses to stay with his kids, rather than with the memory of his wife, or on the run and working his “extraction” business. Also, there are two sets of actors playing his kids (and they are listed specifically with their ages in the credits), so some people are taking that to mean that the kids at the end of the movie are older, and therefore real. But I think maybe the older set of kids are just heard, and not seen. The kids he talked to on the phone from Paris sounded older than the little kids playing that he remembered – especially the girl. So maybe that part was real, but the end scene was still a dream. Even though it sounded like it was wobbling, we never saw the top fall, so we’ll never know! As soon as the movie ended and the screen went black, someone in the theater went, “What?!”

“Blawn aawn?”

I found out why my posts here haven’t been numbered consecutively since I upgraded to WP3.0. Apparently this version gives a new number to various things (uploaded media, previews, autosaves, etc.), so the numbers of published posts will no longer be consecutive. How is that a good idea? I don’t get it. Oh well.

Yesterday I used the handicapped stall in the bathroom of my new building for the first time. I’d been avoiding it because I always feel guilty – what if an actual handicapped person comes in? But it was the only one open yesterday, so I used it. I’ve never actually seen a person in a wheelchair at this entire site, let alone this building, so I think it’ll be okay. (The bathroom where I was before didn’t have a handicapped stall – I guess they are supposed to roll over to this one – so this hasn’t been an issue until now.)

Very Exciting Thing! starts tomorrow. I am very excited!

And finally, this cartoon totally cracked me up this morning. “GLOM GLOM!” But yes, they somehow find ways to do these things even with regular-sized arms, don’t they?

Humid Concert Weekend

I had a hot and busy weekend. Because of last weekend’s rain, we ended up having three concerts in four days.

On Thursday night we had the most (or maybe second most) uncomfortable concert I’ve ever played in. It was hot and incredibly humid, with no breeze or anything. Plus we were on a stage at this park, with hot lights on us. I was surprised how many people were actually in the audience, it was so opressive out.

Friday after work I was free, so I just did a bunch of stuff around the house I’d been meaning to do. Also, my unpaper towels arrived, and I went to Ikea and got a basket to keep them in. It’s a nice woven basket, and I think it’s supposed to be an office supply, but it’s the perfect size to lay them all in a flat pile, so I don’t even have to fold them to put them away.

On Saturday, GG and I went to the farmers’ market and the supermarket, and then took a brief nap before I had to get ready and leave for my concert, which was about an hour west. This place has us play literally in a field – there is no shelter or any sort of acoustics. We were horrible. However, the audience probably didn’t notice because they wanted to sit in the shade under trees about 50 yards away. Before the second half we convinced some of them that it had cooled off enough for them to come sit closer. But mostly that venue is just weird. And someone needs to come teach them how to be an audience, because they are just really bad at it.

Yesterday was our final concert of the summer. This one is about an hour north, and these people know how to be an awesome audience! They make the drive up there worth it, and make up for the people out west. It was still hot and humid, but there was a nice breeze. Actually, the wind picked up a bit at times, and blew around a lot of music. Luckily, I have a pretty good set-up now with my heavy music stand and plastic sheet, so I wasn’t worried about any of my stuff blowing away.

I’m slowly working my way through When You Are Englufed in Flames. It’s hilarious, which I thought would be a problem because I usually read before bed, and I was worried that laughing would not be conducive to sleep. I underestimated my awesome sleeping abilities, because I can get through about one chapter, but when I start a second one, I zonk right out. It’s taken me a week to get halfway through what should be a quick read. I am definitely enjoying it, though.

I Don’t Have a Moustache

Yesterday I went to get my eyebrows threaded. It had been a while since my last visit to the eyebrow lady, even tweezing at home I was getting a bit shaggy. As she leaned over my face, she asked, “Eyebrows and lip?” And I said, “No, just my eyebrows.” “Really? You really need to do your lip.” I just chuckled and said I’d never done anything with my lip, and please just do my eyebrows. When I got home, I examined my face very carefully in the mirror. Yes, I can see hairs on my upper lip when the sun hits me the right way, but I can see them on the rest of my face, too. You have to look really hard, and they’re so fine and light blonde, I’m not worried. I asked GG if he thought I had a moustache and he looked at me like I was crazy. So there, eyebrow lady. This isnt’t the first time I had a problem with her. But she does a good job, so I keep going back…

Today at work we’re having this lunch thing with the senior management of our group, who were all in town for an all-day meeting. Some of us were not invited until the last minute, so I didn’t know until like Monday that I was going (and we’re supposed to prepare a brief talk on what we’re working on). Then they changed the time of the meeting. Then we found out the head of the organization isn’t coming after all, because of some problems with her flight here. So… Just another typical meeting around here.

TMI Beet Salad

When we went to Lambertville this spring, and when Jess and I went out for lunch and pedicures a couple weeks ago, I had delicious beet salads. The one at No. 6 was roasted beet with baby greens of some sort, blue cheese, and I think walnuts. The one I had with Jess was roasted beets, fava beans, almonds, and goat cheese. I’ve been wanting to make my own beet salad, but was nervous about the beets making a mess in my kitchen.

The other day a recipe for a beet salad popped up in my RSS reader, and I figured it was a sign and I’d just go for it. So I got all the ingredients (baby greens, beets, goat cheese, and candied pecans in this one) and looked up directions on how to roast beets. It actually wasn’t hard at all, and nothing got stained!

To roast the beets, you cut off the stems, scrub them, and put them on one side of a piece of tin foil. Then drizzle with olive oil and fold the foil over and fold up all the edges to make a packet. Then bake at 375-400 for about 30-60 minutes (it depends on the size and age of the beets – just poke them periodically to see when they get soft). When they’re done, let them get cool enough to handle, then use your hands to peel the skins off – they pretty much come right off. And my hands didn’t get stained or anything.

I cooked six beets last night and put two of them on my salad for dinner. It was delicious! The goat cheese – yum! I kind of could have done without the candied pecans – plain almonds or walnuts would have been better, in my opinion.

Here’s the TMI part: This morning I got up, went to the bathroom, turned around to flush, and – OMG, is that blood in the toilet?! I was freaking out. I’ve been kind of having tummy troubles recently, and thought this meant I was getting worse, not better. I worried all morning as I got ready for work, thinking, “I hope that was just beet juice or something…”

Turns out, there’s something called beeturia, which is having red or pink urine after eating beets. Even though I’ve eaten beets before, it seems like this condition depends on a lot of factors of both the beets and the eater. The general internet consensus is that it isn’t anything to worry about, though some people say it could be a sign of certain allergies or deficiencies. Also, everything I’ve seen written about it says that it affects 10-14% of the population, but if you Google it, it looks like tons of people have experienced this, so I wonder how rare it really is.

Anyway, that was my little internal bleeding scare of the day! I will probably skip the beet salad tonight, just to make sure everything has cleared up, but if I’m looking better by tomorrow morning, maybe I’ll have another one for lunch tomorrow – it really was delicious!

Polo Party 2.0

I finished up my busy weekend by going out to Lancaster for our second (hopefully) annual Polo Party. You might remember when I went last year. A bunch of us got together to watch a polo game and tailgate. We actually had quite a large crowd there, and a good set-up with tables, a tent, a grill for burgers and hot dogs, and tons of food! Luckily, the humidity of last week went away, as did the rain and storms of the previous two days. Yes, the grass was a little brown, but we had a nice shady spot and it was a gorgeous day, and lots of fun to get together with my friends!

Some of our group (including Winnetou [Vinny], Dan’s new puppy)

Apparently there was some sort of game going on while we were there

“The Bubble Queens” had a reserved spot next to us – their set-up includes tablecloths, coordinating colorful food displays, games, a blender for making drinks, and a pool in the back of their truck

This is totally juvenile, but during the game, the horses all came running past where we were sitting, and one of them passed gas, really loudly. It was right in front of our group and everyone heard it and started laughing. Later that night, when GG and I were about to go to sleep, he started talking about it again. He said it was something he’d never forget: the Challenger blowing up, 9/11, and the horse farting.

While we were out there, Jess called to tell me she’d heard there was a big fire in our town. She didn’t realize we were an hour away. So then she kept calling me with updates from the local news. It was at a candle factory (how ironic) a few blocks from our house, about a 1/4 mile away. By the time we got home, the firefighters had things pretty much under control, but there was still lots of smoke and hoses and trucks and stuff everywhere. We walked over to check it out. The latest we heard was that it was a 13 alarm fire!

Lots of fire trucks from all over, and hoses running through the streets

As we moved further from the scene, you could see more smoke in the sky