Friday, December 31, 2010

Giveaway Reminder (Moona Lisa, Lush, Sugarcandie and Grahtoe!)

Just a reminder- I'll be drawing the winner of the giveaway tomorrow. Make sure you leave one comment for each entry.

Just for fun, here's a 'do that I have no idea how I did. I think it's similar to JJJ's Pretzel bun, but since I can't remember how I did it, I'm not entirely sure. At least I got a picture!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Great Giveaway

I'm giving away a nice little box of goodies.

Ways To Enter:
"Follow" me on Twitter.
Retweet about this giveaway.
Check out Grahtoe's storefront on Etsy and leave a comment saying which item you'd like and why.
"Follow" Grahtoe on Twitter.
Leave a comment saying what you like (or don't like) about my blog.

You're not limited to one entry. For example, you can follow me on twitter, then tweet about this giveaway; that's two entries. Then you can check out Grahtoe's store and then follow them on Twitter. That's two more entries. Then you leave a comment saying something about this blog for a total of five entries.

Make sure you leave a comment saying how you entered. For example, if you Follow me on Twitter, leave a comment saying "Follow you on Twitter."

On New Year's Day, I'll use a randomizer to pick a number at random and the coordinating comment will be the winner. I will contact the winner and arrange for shipping (which I will take care of.)

Now, for the fun part- the booty. Up for grabs is:

Moona Lisa Neptune's Cove Bar Soap
Chunk of Lush's Angel's Delight Bar Soap
Sugarcandie Scrub: Two layer scrub with Sinful Chocolate Cake Craving with a top layer of Marshmallow Rockstar Frosting
Sugarcandie Cream Soap in Holiday Sugar Rush
Sugarcandie Scrub: Sugared Snow Angel Noel (a Bestseller!)
Sugarcandie Scrub: Two layer scrub in Fancy Frosted Wedding Cake with a top layer of Marshmallow Rockstar Frosting
**Newly Added** Grahtoe Studios is contributing a surprise hair item to the giveaway!

That's two bars of premium soap, three scrubs and one whipped bath soap, and a free one of a kind hair item from Grahtoe!

Good luck!

Monday, December 27, 2010

New Arrivals: Timberstone Turnings Hair Stick

About a month ago, I ordered a custom hair stick from Timberstone Turnings. Their sticks can be a bit on the pricey side, but once you hold them in your hand, you'll understand.

Today, that hair stick arrived in the mail. It's African Blackwood with a mother-of-pearl inlay.

The mother-of-pearl sparkles in the sunlight. It's so smooth and sleek and just gorgeous.

This particular design of stick is called the "Chloe." It's a bit wider than hair sticks I usually use, but that doesn't bother me a bit, which surprised me.

Timberstone Turnings offers a variety of woods from African Blackwood to Tulipwood to Bloodwood (or Cardinal Wood- my favorite!) Gemstones for inlay are numerous, including pearls, amber, citrine and amethyst. You can even have vines, mermaids, dragons, roses or fairies inlaid into the stick!

To order, head over to Timberstone Turnings on Etsy and convo the shop with your idea for a design. You'll be put on a wait-list for your custom stick. I did not expect my hair stick for at least two months, so I was pleasantly surprised by the turn around time.

To see examples of what they can do, check out their website here. They do not take orders from their website, so make sure to contact them through Etsy if you want to purchase.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Herringbone Braid

I finally managed to have enough patience to Herringbone braid my hair. It's not hard, but with so much hair it takes a long time.

Here it is bunned, which I think looks really cool:

I've seen some beautiful pictures of Chinese buns done with herringbone braids and I think I'm going to give it a try (when I have the patience for TWO herringbone braids.)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Solstice!

Tonight was such a lovely evening. I sat the kids down and explained that today is Yule, or the Winter Solstice. Today is the shortest day of the year. We lit the Yule Log and I explained to them that we were lighting it in honor of the sun, which will now start lengthening the day. The light scares away the dark of winter.

They were really excited about lighting the Yule Log and I must say, it looks lovely on our mantle with our stockings and collection of Nutcrackers.

My husband (a staunch atheist,) took the opportunity to explain to the kids why today was the shortest day of the year, so the kids got an impromptu science lesson.

I finally took a huge step and registered for classes at my local community college. It's been a dream of mine to study paralegal studies. I'll be taking a 3/4 schedule. I'm a little scared to be quite honest. For so long, I've put every thing else ahead of my own dreams and this is the first real thing I'm doing for myself (aside from taking care of my hair and indulging in fancy bath products.) I'm feeling really motivated and excited and really hope I can keep up at least a 3/4 schedule.

Finally, I'll share some photos of a lace braid I did last week. I was quite pleased with how it turned out.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sale Alert: Grahtoe Birthday Sale

For today only, Grahtoe Studios is having a sale in honor of Stacy's (the man who makes the forks) birthday! What an awesome birthday present to us!

From their blog:
"Hey Grah-Toe Friends!! Today is Stacy's birthday, and he wants to GIFT to you a 24% discount on your order!! That was what he asked me for, so I am doing it for him, and for you too! There is still time to get gifts to people, or to yourself and this is a great opportunity and a huge discount for today only!!! take advantage by using the coupon code  24hour  at check out and it will take the discount off your order before you check out! !"

They never have sales this awesome! Snag 'em while you can!

Monday, December 13, 2010

New Arrivals: Sugarcandie Scrubs

When I was living in Hawaii, I'd see commercials bemoaning "dry Winter skin." It didn't make a lot of sense to me. Why would Winter cause dry skin? Now I get it. The cold, icy winds blasting you in the face chap your skin terribly. I've never had such dry skin in my life!

I've been using assorted lotions and creams and even Haus of Gloi's sugar scrubs, which work very nicely.

I'm a firm believer that every one deserves pampering, at least every once in a while. For me, I used to get pedicures in Hawaii. Living here on the East Coast, I wear boots most of the time and a pedicure kind of seems like a waste of time.

I found Sugarcandie Beauty Bar through a forum I frequent. The prices seemed very reasonable (plus, they were having a special which got me free scrubs!) and the scrubs themselves looked so decadent and luxurious that I had to try it out.

I love candy canes. They're one of my favorite things about Christmastime. I start looking out for that terrible Candy Cane ice cream as soon as Thanksgiving hits. I saw that Sugarcandie had Candy Cane cupcake scrub and whipped bath soap and I was done for.

In real life, the scrub isn't overflowing the jar, of course, and instead of peppermint candies, they just have a mini candy cane. Either way, the stuff smells awesome. It's called "Candy Cane Cupcakes" and smells so pepperminty, but with a lovely cake note that tones the mint down.

They ran a special, having sugar scrub/whipped bath soap splits available. That's scrub on the bottom, cream soap on the top. I've been using my splits the last few days and it is a wonderful experience at the end of a tough day.

The whipped bath cream has the texture of soft ice cream. It's awesome alone, but add the scrub in and it's just perfect. It's just a decadent thing to scoop soft creamy soap out of the jar and lather up with it.

The scrub is less oily than some, like Haus of Gloi, but foams up nicely and leaves me moisturized. (Disclaimer: I love Haus of Gloi's scrubs and I like that they are oily, but sometimes less oil is a nice thing.) I don't find that I have to put lotion on after getting out of the shower. The one thing that is kind of a bummer is that the scents don't last on me. That's okay, though, because I also got body spray in Peppermint Bon Bons.

The stand outs of what I bought are:
Night Before Christmas (Sugary sweet cookies, candied fruits, vanilla cupcakes, spiced muffins and pies and fresh cut spruce.) It smells like cookies with Christmas tree. I actually like this smell, although it may be off-putting to some.

Ho, Ho, Ho! Santa's Hot Cocoa So chocolaty. It really does smell like hot cocoa. I didn't think I'd like this because I'm not a big fan of chocolate in bath products, but I really did love this.

Candy Cane Cupcake

Merry Mint Chocolate Cookies This one was my second favorite. It smells *just* like that green mint ice cream. It has the same color and texture, too. This one surprised me.

The one thing I got that I will not use at all is "Cozy By the Fire." It smells just like a chimney. I got it for free as part of a promotion, though, so I don't feel bad tossing it out.

I do have a few minor issues. The labels on the jars are not waterproof, so they end up falling off in the shower. Not a major problem, but a minor annoyance. The descriptions on the website could use a good editing. They can be hard to read with all the pauses and periods. 

The website is easier to navigate than many etailers, in my opinion, and I didn't feel overwhelmed by options.  
The creams and scrubs are so decadent and fun that I want to use them every day. Sugarcandie's customer service has been top-notch. I peppered them with seemingly endless questions, and they were patient and friendly each and every time. They even combined two orders for me.

I would recommend Sugarcandie if you're looking for a fun, decadent way to pamper yourself.  They often have sales and have a regular BOGO special on Tuesdays. 
You can find their website here. I'm planning a Sugarcandie give-away towards the New Year, so stay tuned for how to enter!

(Disclaimer: I was not paid nor provided free items for this review. These are my opinions based on my personal experience.)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Lignum Vitae

I'm so excited to be doing a post in tandem with Kimi of Grahtoe Studio. We're doing posts on Lignum Vitae wood.

Lignum Vitae is an awesome wood. In The Once and Future King, Merlin's staff was made of Lignum Vitae. I'm sure T.H. White picked that wood for good reason.

Lignum Vitae is latin for "tree/wood of life." I discussed this with my friend, who is a former Carmelite nun (really!). I've seen it translated in other places as "long life", but this is incorrect.

In the garden of Eden, after eating the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam and Eve were cast out to prevent them from eating from the Tree of Life, which would enable them to live forever.

In Norse mythology, there is a Tree of Life. This Tree of Life is very special, having the heavens and earth balancing precariously. This Tree of Life is called Yggdrasil.

Lignum Vitae is known for having protective and healing properties and is a popular wood for wands.

Kimi has done a wonderful post about the medicinal and healing values of the Lignum Vitae. Swing on by her blog here.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Skeleton Cameo Fork and Sneak Peak

I finally got my act together and took a picture of my skeleton cameo fork and thought I'd share it with you.

Here's a sneak peak of an upcoming post- stay tuned!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Cookies and Baked Potato Soup

I am so not a baker. I'm just not very good at it. I've been invited to a cookie swap, though, and I needed to make cookies. (Actually, my neighbor told me there was a neighborhood cookie swap and somehow, expressing interest was interpreted as an R.S.V.P....sigh...)

I found a very interesting Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. I love the smell of gingerbread, but can't stomach full-on gingerbread. This cookie recipe sounded perfect!

I attempted it yesterday and they turned out wonderfully. The gingerbread taste was there, but the chocolate chips balanced it out perfectly.

Found here.

Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 2 dozen
  • 7 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Chop chocolate into 1/4-inch chunks; set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and grated ginger until whitened, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined.
  3. In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water. Beat half of flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat in baking-soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture. Mix in chocolate; turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Pat dough out to about 1 inch thick; seal with wrap; refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or more.
  4. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Roll dough into 1 1/2- inch balls; place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Roll in granulated sugar. Bake until the surfaces crack slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
I couldn't find fresh ginger, so I just chucked some ground ginger into the butter. I also had an issue with chopping up the chocolate chunks, so I put them into my food processor and it ground the chocolate down into almost shavings. I tossed it in, anyway, and just added some chocolate chips to give the cookies some texture. Also, I didn't have any parchment paper, so I just greased the cookie sheet with butter.

The best part is, my kids love them! I figured the gingerbread flavor would turn them off, but they've been clamoring for more.

For dinner, I made my Mom's Baked Potato Soup recipe. While I don't have pictures, I figured I'd put the recipe here for posterity.

Baked Potato Soup

2/3 cup butter (or margarine)
2/3 flour
shredded bacon (to taste)
2 beef bouillon cubes
6 cups milk
scallions (to taste)
sour cream (to taste)
shredded cheddar cheese (you guessed it; to taste.)
7-8 large baked potatoes

Melt 2/3 cup butter in large soup pot. Add flour, stirring constantly. This should make a thick paste. 

Slowly add three cups of milk, one cup at a time, making sure to heat the mixture thoroughly before adding the next cup. You'll need to stir constantly, so you may want an extra pair of hands.
After the third cup, add shredded bacon and bouillon to mixture. Stir until thoroughly heated and bouillon is distributed.

Slowly add remaining three cups of milk, again making sure to heat soup thoroughly between cups.

Scoop out insides of potatoes and add to soup. Stir with whisk, breaking up large pieces of potato as you stir.

Add sour cream. Allow sour cream to melt and evenly distribute throughout soup.

Add cheese and scallions (you can also set these aside and let people add their own. This is helpful for people who don't like/can't eat cheese and onion.)

Serve with a side of crusty bread.

I like to bake the potatoes and cook the bacon earlier in the day so it's cool enough to handle when I'm making the soup.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Totally Awesome Yule Log by Grahtoe

For the past few years, I've been looking for something very specific for Christmas decor. I wanted a Yule Log, but instead of burning it in the fireplace (which I didn't even have,) I wanted candles to light. A few times, I found things that were similar to what I wanted, but wasn't quite right.

I figured, hey, I know someone who does woodwork and could probably make exactly what I'm looking for; Grahtoe! I shot Kimi an email, not really expecting much because, after all, that's not really what they do. To my pleasure, Kim and Stacy took on my special task.

What I expected was a simple piece of wood with holes drilled in it. What I got was way better!

It's absolutely stunning and the kids love it. The only downside is that I can't leave it in our decorative fire place because the baby will go after it.  For now, we're using it on our dining room table, but when Winnie gets old enough to leave the candles alone, it'll go into our "fire place."

Friday, December 3, 2010

E-Z Pass Mistake= Costly Roadtrip

Okay, here's the post I've been promising about the E-Z Pass.

E-Z Pass seems like a great idea. You whiz past the toll booths up and down the East Coast and money is deducted from your account instead of having to stop and fork over your cash.

To obtain an E-Z Pass transponder (which is attached to the upper part of your windshield, ) you stop in your local office and register your vehicle and deposit money into your account.

We've had issues with being able to figure out what our toll is on toll roads. Some toll roads give you a ticket that has a handy chart on it. Look up where you entered/exited the toll road and it tells you how much to pay. It never seems to be the same amount on the same stretch of road.

On our trip back from New England on one particular toll road, we dutifully pulled up and collected our ticket. A few hours later, we approached the toll booth. My husband frantically read the ticket trying to figure out what we owed. He noticed that the ticket was marked "Class B3."

"What does that mean?" he asked as he searched the chart on the back of the ticket. We pulled up to the toll booth and "$9.05" popped up on the display.  Grumbling, but with no recourse, we paid our toll.

As we drove down the road, my husband used his Android phone to look up "Class B3" and discovered it meant "Bus." While our 2006 Honda Pilot is admittedly a bigger vehicle, it is certainly not a bus. Without a receipt, we couldn't prove what we'd paid.

We'd paid a total of $15 on the way up to New England and at least twice as much on the way back.

Sadly, it appears this is not a single occurrence.  A cursory Google search pulled up numerous complaints here, so of which are similar to mine.

I think we may sign up for the E-Z Pass just so that we can more easily track what we use and what we were charged for.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New England Thanksgiving and Contemplating a Cut

I hope everyone had an awesome Thanksgiving. We headed back up to New England for a very busy holiday.

I wanted to take some more pictures of the New England headstones, but the one time I got a chance to hop out of the car, my camera battery died. That has never happened, especially since I had charged the battery the night before. I was so bummed, but it gives me an excuse to go back to New England sooner.

My very generous mother in law bought tickets for herself, my sister in law, my daughter and myself to see Boston Ballet perform The Nutcracker. The seats weren't bad, but the small child in front of me's strange posture forced me to watch the entire ballet leaning over my seat. Nevertheless, it was a magical experience and reminded me of seeing the ballet for the first time when I was about 8. After that, my mother enrolled me in ballet and I performed in the ballet every year until I was seventeen.

We had to take a bunch of toll roads as we headed up north. We had planned on getting an EZ Pass, but something happened that is making us rethink that. My husband was so upset he asked me to write a blog post about it because "You have a bigger audience than I do."(I don't know how true that is.) I'm currently working on that blog post, but if anyone has any input about the EZ Pass, I'd love to hear it, good or bad.

I've been having this hankering to cut layers into my hair. Every year I get bored and I guess it's happening now. I've thought about bangs (so trendy right now) or just long layers to break up the shape of my hair.

I keep having to remind myself of how patient I've been and how long it would take to grow out any impulsive hair cuts. I've been thinking about how my updos won't be quite as nice looking with layers poking out all over the place. I think as long as I get through Christmas without a cut, I'll be in the clear, so I've promised to wait at least that long before deciding.

Have you had layers or bangs added to your hair and regretted or loved it? I'd love to hear from you!

Also, I'm considering doing a beauty give away for my 100th blog post. I'm putting things together and it should be a good one, so keep checking back. I'm guessing the give-away will be happening around the New Year.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sale Alert: Grahtoe's Black Friday, Weekend and Cyber Monday Sale

Grahtoe's having a sale! Per their email announcement:

"Hello and.... very first of all we want to say THANK YOU!!! for shopping at Grah-Toe Studios and inspiring us to always come up with new and artistically fun and fabulous ways to keep your beautiful tresses in updo fashion! 

And we know the best "thanks yous" come in the wallet, we are having a Black friday, weekend and Cyber Monday sale in our Etsy shop! WOOT!!

There is a new way to do this now, and here it is: Coupon codes!! You type in the appropriate code and it takes the discount off your order before you check out! No more refunds through PayPal!! YIPEEEEEEEEE

On Thursday and Friday use the code and type it exactly like this: BLACKFRIDAYNOV2010 and it will take 15% off your order!

Over Saturday and Sunday the code to use is: FAITHFULGTS1 and you will get 15% off your entire order,
on Monday, use the code CYBERMONDAY  and get 15% off your entire order!

In the future we are also going to be sending you special codes in your boxes on our cards, for you to use when you return to our shop or refer friends! Special surprises in your boxes is always fun!! It could be free shipping, or a percent off, or a free item!!

We look forward to seeing you at the sale over this weekend, and remember, its the Etsy shop only, not the Art Fire shop at this time! Custom orders are not included, only stock items. We will be listing items as they sell too! We have a lot of forks here made and ready so if you are looking for something, please ask! It may be here waiting for you! (That is not a custom order, it will be included in the sale if it is made and waiting!)

And we do have some new products that we will be unveiling closer to the New Year, so be on the look out for a new hair fork look at Grah-Toe Studios !

We are also doing a new series on our woods at our blog, be sure to be watching for those if you are interested in woods. We are researching their status as trees, where they grow, and their properties, magical, physical and visual

Check out their Etsy shop here and their blog here. This sale is awesome and is the time to buy if you've had your eye on a certain something. They've added hand mirrors, detanglers and shawl pins.

I absolutely love this snowflake fork:

And their hand mirrors are stunning:

The loop allows you to hang it up easily to use as a wall mirror, too!

So, dash on over to Grahtoe's shop and check it out.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Grahtoe's Amazing Story

Grahtoe just posted an amazing story about Stacy, the man who makes the forks and other wooden items. He lost part of his fingers in an accident and still makes amazingly beautiful items.

Check out their blog for the story here.

Monday, November 22, 2010

New Arrivals: Haus of Gloi beauty products

I love Haus of Gloi. I've been ordering from them for over a year.

It all started with their Pumpkin Queen scent. I ordered it in soap, sugar scrub and perfume (which, one year later, I still have and still smells fabulous.) (Pumpkin Queen: Gentle hay pillows, pumpkin, ripe peaches dusted with clove and nutmeg, dried summer herbs, and lastly, a lovely crown of amber.) 

**They still have some left on their website as of this posting!**

I'll admit I haven't ordered for a long time because my money was going to hair accessories. (Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't just sign my paycheck over to Grahtoe.)

I've gotten back into the bath product habit (which may or may not be a bad thing. It depends on how much it ends up costing me. Hair forks, after all, last forever.)

Anyways, I've been feeling a little blah lately so I decided to treat myself to some scrubs.

I ordered:

Peach Mama Soap
Samhain Body Butter
Peach Mama Bubbling Scrub
Peach Mama Body Emulsion
Hearth Pumpkin Butter

and I got a free perfume sample in Depravity ( "A bewitching ladies boudoir! Pure corruption: clove, nutmeg lurk amongst the sweetest offerings of coconut, on a bed of rich golden amber, laden with a dusting of sandalwood and spilled wine.")

                                           (Perfume sample not shown.)

Haus of Gloi ("HoG") describes their Peach Mama scent as "Peach nectar and a host of resins: offertory frankincense, styrax, copaiba balsam and ambered labdanum absolute. Warmed with cassia and a barely audible breath of black patchouli.

It's a luscious scent. I love real peach scents (not those over-sweet confections that actually smell more like mango.) This is a real peach scent and the resins really round it out. This is certainly my new favorite peach scent.

The soap is gorgeous and lathers beautifully. I have a hard time using HoG soaps because they're just so pretty, but I don't think I'll have any trouble using this one. It just smells so darn good!

The Peach Mama Body Emulsion (lotion) is very thick. After taking the next picture, I just rubbed it in and I can still smell it!

Even thicker than the Body Emulsion was the Hearth Pumpkin Butter. It's so thick and creamy that the consistency kind of reminds me of ice cream (well, ice cream that magically stayed warm without melting, anyway.)

HoG describes Hearth's scent as "The warm glowing center of any home. Autumns last apple pickings, warm bread, orange rind, various fire roasted nuts, cracked black pepper all nailed down by an oozing sticky benzoin." 

Samhain's scent is a little different. I bought some soap in that scent during Halloween 2009. The soap (if I recall correctly) was a strange pearly gray color with bits of leaves on top (which I actually loved.) Hog says that Samhain is scented of "Rustling leaves, chilled winds ...Freshly turned earth, wet leaves, and a cool herb laden wind carrying spectres and spooks!" I think that description is spot-on. I like the scent of crushed leaves and dirt, but this scent may not be appealing to some.

HoG's products are vegan and cruelty free, which I like. Their turn around time ("TAT") is a very fast 3-5 business days. Considering the demand for these products and the fact that it's a small family run business, 3-5 days is pretty incredible. You can find their products here.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Finally...Lazy Wrap Bun

I am so excited to announce that I have finally mastered the Lazy Wrap bun. I know, I know; it's the most basic bun that most people learn early on. For some reason, I can do figure 8s and nautilus buns, but the Lazy Wrap eluded me for over a year.

It looks awesome, doesn't it? I love huge buns and this one certainly fits the profile. Plus, it does look complicated.

Also, because I promised pictures, here's my amazing bun from the other day:

Wondering how to do the Lazy Wrap bun? Here's a good tutorial (it isn't mine):

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Weird Bubbling

For the past few months, I've been washing my hair separate from showering. I discovered while using a detachable shower head to rinse my hair that I was probably leaving shampoo behind.

It was just the weirdest thing. I washed, then conditioned and it took me about twenty minutes to rinse all the suds from my hair. The more I rinsed, the more bubbles formed in the tub. I rinsed until there were no more bubbles and my hair was so bouncy and shiny that I knew I must not have been getting it really cleaned.

Then, last time I washed, I noticed something even only bubbles like that after I condition. I shampooed, then rinsed, and it stopped bubbling. I applied the conditioner, then rinsed, and it suds like crazy for about twenty minutes until I (presumably) got all the (shampoo?) conditioner out of my hair.

I have no idea what's going on here and I'm going to continue to experiment with it until I figure it out. Has anyone else experienced this? What the heck is going on?

In style news, I wore my hair in this awesome equilibrium bun with a Grahtoe fork to a meeting today and got so many compliments. I even heard a woman whisper to her neighbor "Is that all her hair?" I'm going to have my husband take a picture when he gets home because it's just such an awesome style. I seldom get that excited about my daily hair styles, but it really does look impressive if I do say so myself.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

New Arrivals: Grahtoe Forks and A Gift

I'm hoping this post will catch me up on all the new stuff I have (minus one fork that is hiding in some boxes.)

First up is the fork Grahtoe made just for me when they read here that I wanted one. It's apple wood with a perched owl in my favorite design, the mermaid's tail.

This next fork is the stunning ebony mermaid's tail. It had occlusions in the wood which were filled with silver. I actually really like the little silver spots; they remind me of stars in a night sky.

Although you can't tell from the picture, I'm wearing both mini forks in this picture. These forks really surprised me. They're so comfortable and really hold my hair up. Sleeping in them is easier than sleeping in other forks. I figured these would be too small for me, but they work just like any other kind of hair pin. I really love these! I just wish they sold them in four packs. I'd never buy another hair pin as long as I live.

My sister in law spent a semester in France and found this next one in a street market. I don't know anything about it except that. It's a much more delicate fork than my work-horse Grahtoes. It's not an everyday kind of hair fork, but it certainly is eye catching.

The one that's missing is my cardinal wood skeleton cameo fork. I took it out of my hair while unpacking and set it amongst some boxes. While I know what area it's in, I haven't quite finished tackling all the boxes yet, so the picture of that particular fork will have to wait for a bit.

What  do you guys think of my new forks?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I'm Back!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween. I really missed you guys (well, I missed writing here, anyway.) I'm back online and ready to roll!

The house situation went smoothly. We've closed and are in the house. The only downside is our stuff hasn't arrived yet, so we're camping out on air mattresses for the time being.

On Halloween, my neighbors came over to say hello. I got so many comments on my hair. People couldn't believe how long it is. It was kind of nice to get such positive attention, honestly. I know that sounds kind of vain.

I have two new Grahtoe forks and two other new items to catalog here, which I will do tomorrow. I also have two new items on their way from Grahtoe.

As soon as I was hooked up, I headed on over to their shop to see what was new. It put me back a nice chunk of change, but hey, I'm sleeping on the floor. I deserve something pretty, right? Right?

I bought this beautiful ebony mermaid's tail.

I'm hoping the black will stand out against my lighter colored hair.

I also bought these:

They're teak mini forks*. Grahtoe came out with them a while ago and I've been curious. I don't know if they'll work for my super long hair, but I know plenty of people to pass them along to if they don't work for me.

**Whoops! Those are NOT teak! They're lignum vitae. Lignum vitae is a really neat wood. In The Once and Future King, Merlin's staff was made of this special wood. Lignum vitae is latin for "long life" and the tree lives up to its name. It's also called "tree of life" and is considered excellent for healing.**

Stay tuned tomorrow for pictures of my new arrivals!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pumpkin Overload

Before I start, I want to welcome you over to my new blog. I really fell in love with the artwork and designs at the top of headstones. I know it's a bit morbid, but I really think it's beautiful. Check out my new blog (which is mostly pictures) at Requiescat In Pace.

Moving right along...Today we took a drive around the countryside. We drove by the site of an old glass factory in Lyndeborough, NH.

Those are the old stone foundations of the glass factory. I would have loved to hunt around for bits of old glass, but it was too steep to climb down and I didn't relish falling in the water.

We drove through one of the famed New England covered bridges. This time I really did get flashbacks of Beetlejuice!

Apparently, you need to take turns going through the bridge because that bus waited on us, even though we had just stopped to take pictures.

We took the kids to the playground and I got on the swingset for a while. It's been so long since I was on a swing that I forgot how to pump my legs. My husband had to push me, which was pretty embarrassing.

In a little shop in town, I found the perfect ending to the day; a giant chocolate chip cookie and Dogfish Head Punkin Ale. Since I've been devouring everything pumpkin in sight (pumpkin coffee, pumpkin butter, pumpkin cookies...) I had to try the ale.

"A full-bodied brown ale brewed with real pumpkin, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg."

I hardly ever drink and I don't know anything about ale, so I wasn't sure what to drink. My mother in law showed my how to pour the ale into a glass to let it breathe.

It was really orange! To my surprise, it wasn't  pumpkin-y. I could taste a hint of the promised spices, but the flavor didn't knock me over the head.

With this ale I think I'm pumpkined out. I'm not buying anymore pumpkin flavored foods until next year. I'll still be on the hunt for more seafood chowder, though.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Parker's Maple Barn, New England Tombstones and a Covered Bridge

I went to Parker's Maple Barn in Mason, New Hampshire today. We perused the gift store for a little while, then ate at the restaurant.

I ordered a bowl of seafood chowder to split with Winnie. I will be having dreams about that seafood chowder, it was so delicious! It had chunks of lobster, shrimp and crab along side lumps of potatoes. It was so good, I almost ordered a second bowl just to take home with me. Seriously, if you love clam chowder and happen to be around Mason, New Hampshire, stop in and get yourself a bowl of seafood chowder.

My husband ordered Eggs Benedict. The Canadian bacon was half an inch thick!

Sorry the picture's so blurry. He was so eager to eat the food that he wouldn't keep the plate still long enough for a picture.

Ever since the Keene Pumpkin Fest, I've been lusting for a jar of pumpkin butter. No one around here seemed to have any. At Parker's Maple Barn, I lucked out. They had three jars left and I bought all of them.

I didn't open any, but I smelled the lid and I could faintly smell (or hallucinated that I did,) rich, spicy pumpkin. I'm saving it until I get home(!), but I cannot wait to spread some on bread.

I'd never heard of maple cream, but the restaurant sold Peanut Butter and Maple Cream sandwiches, which seemed pretty popular. I saw different sized jars of the maple cream and decided to take the plunge. I have no idea what to expect from it, but hopefully someone in the house likes it.

While apple picking, I also purchased some Apple Butter to send back to Hawaii. I forgot to post pictures, so here you go!

Moving right along...we stopped off at a few places on the way back from the Maple Barn. I've discovered I have an interest in New England tombstone designs.

This is a beatifically delicate design of three weeping willows over two urns.

Another weeping willow with at least one urn. I'm not sure what the egg-shaped items on the ends are, but they are possibly urns or trees. My husband tells me that weeping willows are very popular for putting on headstones in New Hampshire.

This weeping willow comes with poetry:

"Know all ye who pass me by,
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, so you shall be,
Prepare yourself to follow me."

Another delicate weeping willow motif.

Open Heaven?

I think this simple rose is absolutely gorgeous.

I'm not sure what the symbology of the pointed hand is, but I'm going to research it to see if I can find out what it means.

So as not to end this on a somber note, we also took a short little walk across a covered bridge. I'd noticed it before because it reminded me of the bridge from Beetlejuice (the ones the Maitlands crashed their car on.) Unlike the Beetlejuice bridge, this one was a walking bridge.

The bridge crosses over a creek that apparently runs from Potanipo Pond.

I think that might be Poison Ivy. My only encounter with it was during a walk I took with my mother in law three years ago. I wore flip flops (I have no idea why I thought that was okay) and apparently brushed against some poison ivy. I've heard the saying "Leaves of three, leave me be," so I took some pictures to look up later. I was careful not to touch it...just in case.