Monday, January 17, 2011

To Pluck or Not to Pluck?

Somewhere along the line women became extremely high maintenance. Think about all the things women pay other people to do to look nice.

Hair color, waxing, threading, microderming, facials, pedis, manis, laser hair removal, you get the picture. Now, before you think I am promoting the Nana Rosie look, hairy mole, pits and all, think again. I am all for upkeep or as my mom calls it, "The Overhaul". This is when she devotes an entire morning or evening to hair removal and primping; all in the privacy of her own bathroom. Really, no one needs to see that, right?

There are women reading this blog who are probably accustomed to pampering themselves on a regular basis in a salon or spa. I am not one of those gals as I can't afford it nor do I pretend to afford it by charging services like this. Also, the last time I had a pedicure (3 years ago when I was 80 weeks pregnant), the pedicurist talked so much about her family problems it really sucked all the relaxation out of the experience for me. It was supposed to be my last hurrah for myself and it stunk, big time. Of course, this is not a generalization of all pedi/mani experiences. It just wasn't worth it for me.

We have so many products available to do it ourselves and yet we pay other people 20 times more in a salon. If you are feeling the pinch and are afraid to do it yourself....
Fear not little ladies!

I spend next to nothing maintaining myself in the comfort of my own home. I do splurge on massages from time to time as I suffer chronic pain and this is my treat to myself for my health and well-being. I get regular hair cuts, about every 7-8 weeks. And that's where my primping ends. The rest is up to me.

So you wonder....just how does she remove all the unwanted hair? Well, I use this thing called a tweezers. It's metal. Some folks use it to remove splinters. I use it to pluck my eyebrows. Seriously, shaping your brows is not rocket science. And who likes having hot wax ripped off their head? I know, you can do the threading technique. But that, too, costs money.

As far as my Italian moustache. I use Sally Hanson creme remover. It costs about $6 and lasts me about 6 months. I can apply the cream to my upper lip, or a goatee if it's really out of control. The cream sits for 10 minutes and after it's removed, be gone! And the looks my kids give me are priceless. They think Bozo the Clown has moved in.

I do have some gray hair (on my head). Luckily, not that much but enough to make me want to color it. For this I use Garnier Nutrisse Brown Sugar #63 and my mom colors it for me in my kitchen. I know I am saving at least $60 by doing it at home and the bonding time with my mother is priceless! Every so often, I use the highlighting kit, also by Garnier. Same price, great results.

I sell Mary Kay skin care and cosmetics on the side (which means I get all the products at cost). To keep my skin looking alive, I use Mary Kay's Microdermabrasion kit. It retails for $55. My cost is half that and one kit will last at least 6 months. ONE salon microderm treatment will cost $100. You can buy your own kit and pay several dollars per treatment. And you can find many good products over the counter. Start looking!

Instead of having my legs or other parts waxed. I use this other insanely inventive tool called a razor.

To keep my feet soft (they are a nightmare in the winter!), I use Mary Kay's pedicure set, complete with foot file, soaking tablets, etc. No backtalk from the manicurist allowed.

I don't paint my nails, so no manicures for me. Some girls really like to have their nails done regularly. However, if you are struggling financially, the manis probably aren't as important as feeding the family. Just my opinion.

So there you have it. Home remedies for keeping up your appearance on next to nothing. If you are worried you will no longer have your alone time away from the hubby and kids, just lock yourself in the bathroom and give yourself The Overhaul.

P.S. Please share your home beauty treatments here. I am sure I missed a body part or two.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I'm Missing the Clean Gene

The secrets to a tidy house are:

1. Set a cleaning schedule. Tackle one room each day.
2. Follow your children around all day with a DustBuster
3. Disable your Facebook account.

Ah, screw it, who am I kidding? I hate to clean. It's the most unsatisfying and counterproductive activity. If you're reading this blog looking for cleaning advice then you should probably log off now and waltz with your Swiffer.

Don't get me wrong, I really love walking into houses where there is no clutter in sight. So neat, tidy, almost museum-like. The kitchen counters are bare. The toy room has built in storage containers where everything is neatly organized and tucked away, as if there are no children actually living in the house.

But then I wonder, where the hell are they hiding all the dead bodies? They must have crap like me but where is it? This makes me very suspicious! And how do you function in a kitchen without a coffee pot or toaster in sight? It's all unsettling to me!

I know people who spend the better part of the weekend scrubbing their bathroom tile and vacuuming their garages (no lie). Honestly, if you vacuum your garage monthly, and there's nothing in your garage, then you have clearly run out of things to clean and should re-examine your priorities in life.

For me, cooking is so much more gratifying. At least when you roast a chicken you can plop it in the middle of the table for your peeps to enjoy. There is laughter and conversation. But if your time is spent in a threesome with Tilex, rubber gloves, and a sponge then well, where's the joy? After the tub is cleaned, do you invite your company over so you can all sit around the tub with a glass of Pinot, admiring your reflections in the chrome?


I think the clean gene skipped a generation. My mother cleaned the house every Saturday like clockwork so I can't blame her . Grampa Rico was a bit of a pack rat so I'm guessing I inherited my dishoarder from him. Unless we are having company, I will let things go for a while until the dust bunnies are back-talking. Now granted, we don't live like pigs and I do keep the important stuff clean. But battling the clutter, paper, toys, and stickers is a never ending battle, one that I feel like I'm always losing.

I am a bad mother. Or am I the BEST mother? I let the kids paint, do crafts, etc on the kitchen table. I don't banish them to the basement for these things. So there is always paper paper everywhere! They love to be creative just about anywhere in the house. And as much as I know we should limit where they do projects, well...I'm just not that strict. There are battles to be picked and for me, this is not one of them.

I heard recently that a cluttered brain makes for a cluttered house. If you've been reading this blog over the last year, you have probably deduced that I do have a lot of strange thoughts running rampant. I foolishly thought that writing a blog would help clear out the cob webs in my house and my head. Not so much. My brain is still swirling like a tornado and certain corners of my house look like they've been hit by one. There goes that theory.

I do wonder about kids who grow up living in the museum houses. Do they feel confined? Are they ever allowed to make a mess? Do they rebel later on in life like the kid who is raised a vegan and then in college he goes hog wild on Big Macs daily?

I don't think it's healthy growing up in a sterile, stark home. Nor do I think it's healthy to grow up in squalor. I really just want to find a happy medium. I want to like to clean, even just a little to get me by. I want to be neater and more organized. But I also want our home to feel and look like people live here, eat here, and play here.

So, looking back now at the beginning of my blog, I should at least follow #1. I don't own a Dustbuster and disabling FB is not happening. Perhaps every time I get the FB urge, I clean something? I come!

ps. Please share your thoughts below. Looking to hear from the clean, and not so clean : )