I refuse to use the term ‘no poo’

So I haven’t shampooed my hair in over a week.

For several reasons. One being that I am a lazy ass. I openly admit that.

The other reasons are a bit more grown up and noble.

A while back I was doing some Twittercreeping. You do that, right? Someone responds to someone and you have no clue what they’re talking about, but it sounds like it might be good times so you go try and see the conversation? Then you end up, thirty minutes later, on some random person’s Twitter reading things they said 457 days ago, with no idea how you got there?

No? Just me? Ok.

Anyway, that happened, and I ended up following a link to a blog called Crunchy Betty. I read through some of the posts and found this one.

I was intrigued.

Now, I have always liked the idea of being all peace love recycle dirty hippie earth mother. But the fact is it’s a lot of work, and as we have established, I am a lazy ass. So while I like the idea of cooking organic and home grown and recycling and compost, let’s just say I’ve picked up some litter and called it a day. Except one time, in sixth grade I was inspired by an episode of Saved By the Bell and I circulated a petition to get recycling bins for soda cans. I did not realize that petitions are only necessary if you’ve asked and been denied, so it was kind of pointless, but I GOT THOSE BINS BY DAMN.

I did order some herb seeds recently, though. I genuinely hope I can get them in the ground. And I even looked at Diva cups on Amazon. PROGRESS.

This, though. For some reason this appealed to me. Fewer chemicals and less plastic, and if it doesn’t work my hair has never been that great anyway.

It was a no lose situation, people.

So, I stopped. I have “washed” my hair twice with baking soda, and the second time I put/spilled some tea tree oil into the powder.

At this point I’m kind of ambivalent. My hair is not nasty like I’d expected, but it’s nothing special. HOWEVER, the fact that it’s not terribly nasty after a whole week gives me hope that it will soon be Pantene commercial glamorous.

A girl can dream.

UPDATE: I just showered/baking sodaed and this time put some lavender oil in.

I. Smell. Delicious.

My first two-part series. Thanks, Netflix

This has been a weekend full of eating. It’s a good thing I didn’t make any resolutions to eat less or lose weight, because I would pretty much have already sabotaged myself.
We’ve been doing a good bit of Netflix-watching over the past couple of weeks. Saturday night we went to see our friends Marty and Erin in Tennessee, because Josh has this kickass beef that he’s started making and they had yet to eat any. So we went.

Whenever we go to Adamsville for dinner, Josh and Marty wait until we arrive to buy any of the preparations. We get there, we unload into the house, and the boys immediately leave to go get groceries for the meal.

And go to GameStop. And Taco Bell. And buy pies at the nearby gas station.

So Saturday night while the guys were gone, Erin and I decided to watch a movie (much to Lucy’s chagrin – she would be happy to watch the Birthday episode of Yo Gabba Gabba for the rest of her life).

Erin chose a documentary called Dive! which, in a nutshell, is about a bunch of people (and their families) in California who live primarily off the food they retrieve from dumpsters behind grocery stores.

I know, right? I think Erin chose it because she thought they were going to talk about dumpster diving for furniture or clothes or whatever – I know that’s what I thought.

But yea and verily, I was wrong. It was TOTALLY about food.

Initially I was grossed out. But then they showed the food they were retrieving…bread, meat, produce. All tossed out because of a cracked egg or a looming sell-by date. Stuff that was top-of-the-line shit…and perfectly fine. It just happened to have come out of the store by the back door, instead of a reusable shopping bag.

My snobbery started to wane when I realized that these people were eating organic, free-range, antibiotic free meats and veggies and most of the time I don’t even look at that stuff because it’s so expensive.

Then they started talking about the amount of waste the US produces and I felt like a greedy asshole.

Did you know that the US wastes 96 billion pounds of food a year? One year of our waste could feed the entire population of Haiti for like five years.

Yet, because we don’t share, and because everyone is so focused on profit, we still have hungry people in our country. That’s so bizarrely wrong on so many levels.

It’s sobering to be told things like that. Stuff we all know in the back of our mind and don’t really think about.

So while I won’t be scaling the dumpsters behind Kroger anytime soon (I totally would, by the way – but Josh said it was too close to the sheriff’s department and so he refuses to drive the getaway car), I am now actively searching for ways I can help do my part and reduce this terrible deficit between what we have and what we use – and what we need.

You can sign the online petition to Trader Joe’s here. It’s a start.

Tomorrow, I’m talking about catfish…kind of.


As a rule, in this house of mixed insanity, we don’t go big on most things. 
We make cakes for birthdays but there’s usually not a big hubbub.
We usually have a pumpkin somewhere around Halloween. Most years.
But for the most part, we don’t make big deals out of holidays or occasions. Last year for Christmas we decorated the corner ficus tree with paper ornaments.
It works for us. I like to think that we are teaching our children that every day can be special, every day can be fun and great. There’s no need to wait for the calendar to tell you when to celebrate.
It’s my hope that they will believe that for at least a few years before they figure out we’re mostly just gape-jawed, knuckledragging lazy.

Dan takes a somewhat pious stand on the whole situation…”Christmas makes everyone feel like they have to spend money on someone or they don’t love them.”
Dan obviously doesn’t know how many people are getting homemade gifts this year. Ahem.
My point is that we do minimalist holidays around here. I mean, there are six people in this house…it does get a little cozy for comfort when you throw in decor and laundry and whatever board game my kids are yelling over this week (whoever thought to make Angry Birds into a board game….well, that’s just stupid. Yeah, I said it).

But this year we decided to holiday it up, and by we I mean Josh and I. We bought some lights, borrowed a bunch of ornaments from the inlaws, and picked up an honest-to-Moses real live tree. For real. The last time I remember having a real tree, my parents had gold shag carpet (which, by the way, I would totally dig. The vacuum lines were always trippy).
We came home and put up the tree, and my children were in. Heaven. 
Lucy ran her hands through the branches, “Tree, tree!”
Max wondered how many lights we’d need to make the whole thing catch on fire, and he told Dan it made sense for him not to care about Christmas since “you don’t believe in God and that means it’s just a regular old day.” (Note to self: try and convince Max that the Grinch was an atheist and he turned out to be the heart-biggenest of all.)
Ava alternated between moving ornaments around and telling me how glad she was to have a mom like me “who knows how to do stuff.”
I’d say it went over pretty well. If nothing else, I get to sit in the dark with only the tree lights…and for some reason that always calms me. I think that may be worth the whole ordeal.


I know I use pictures of this tree too much, but it’s so pretty.

So I took a tiny vacation from technology for a few days. There wasn’t a particular reason, other than I got a little overwhelmed about people and things and priorities. It was a good little break. I feel better about where I am and where I’m going.

For Labor Day we ate drunk chicken and drank tea (because good Baptists only use beer for cooking? I don’t know, something like that. It’s been so long since I’ve been a good Baptist that I forget the rules). It rained a whole bunch and now they’re talking floodwaters again.

But the rain? What it did for the weather? This is my favorite, favorite time of year.

In fact I’m going to knit a scarf just because I can.

In defense of black nails

I’m not one to be trendy, or even fashionable.

I realize this doesn’t come as much of a shock. I don’t imagine I exactly convey an it-girl with-it vibe.

It’s not that I don’t want to be snappy and sassy and on top of things, it’s just not something that comes easily to me. I very much feel all Devil Wears Prada heroine, in a way. You know at the beginning where Andi’s all unconcerned and kind of frumpy? That’s totally me, except at the end she gets made over and gets what she wants while she has perfect hair and designer jeans. That’s not me.

And I’m okay with that.

Except sometimes I’m not. Sometimes I really wish I could wear ruffles and curl my hair and lotion and coif.

I can’t. I’d very much like to put on a belt and a dress and not be concerned that I look like a basset hound in a tutu, but something – I guess it’s just left over high school insecurity? – keeps the squirminess at the forefront.

The thing is, I’m thirty one years old. I realize that’s not old, but…I really feel it’s too old to be still seeking out my style. Or to even care about my “style” in the first place.

I few months ago I started painting my nails. It was the first time in my life I’d been able to paint them and not feel like they looked awkward and inappropriate, and as stupid as it sounds, it made me feel good. Typing with lacquer tipped fingers felt a little more…polished, pardon the pun.

But I didn’t really care for the colors. I tried them all, since lucky for me I have a seven year old girl.

Bright orange. Blech.
Purple, which I was sure I’d like and didn’t.
Deep, maroony red. It was called “Rock Star” or something strange.
Green. It looked a little like my fingers were rotting.
Pink. With all my girlish aspirations, it still didn’t surprise me that it looked ridiculous.

Then for some reason I picked up a bottle of black. Lingerie, or something equally lame.

I had no intention of growing gothic talons or anything, but I’d seen dark manicures. Something about it appealed.

As with everything, I did some quick Googling.

I found this, and remarkably I understood every word. I knew those feelings, those lines of thought.

So I did it. I slathered my nails with the glossy tar, and it was…amazing. I didn’t feel like a rock star but I felt – different. A little edgy. Like just by having the testicles to have black nails I became a little bit of a badass.

I realize this sounds ridiculous. I know they’re just fingernails. I know that to even feel like this about what color they are is petty and asinine.

But it’s a happiness I’ve found.

And it doesn’t hurt anyone, though Josh acts pained every time.

So black they are. And I’ll pretend they make me tough and cutting edge, deep and meaningful, even as I struggle with lace and frills, bangs and belted waistlines.

I challenge you….to relax

National Relaxation Day. A day for relaxation.

I’ve actually had a pretty hard time getting a flow going with this guest post about relaxation. Emily asked me to do this post because I’m a yoga teacher and sort of Zen-like and a bit hippie. I try to be peaceful and loving and practice kindness and all that but the truth is that I’m rarely relaxed. Relaxation is, literally, the state of being free from tension or anxiety. Um, yeah. That is one of the states still unchecked on my must-visit list.

For all that, however, I do have a couple of suggestions for this National Relaxation Day. Believe it or not, I’m not going to suggest that you sit home and do absolutely nothing. Well, you can do that too but somewhere in your day I would suggest something else as well.

It strikes me that setting aside one day for relaxation is a bit off the mark even though I totally acknowledge it as a great start. We all need far more than one day a year to dedicate to relaxation! Therefore, I am setting forth a challenge that everyone take this one day as a day to set forth your future relaxation plan of action.

Ask yourself… How will you relax each day, each week, each month? Will you get up an hour earlier each day so that you can have coffee in peace or meditate for a bit? Will you order dinner in one night a week so that you can just veg out and chillax? Will you set aside one night each week for a “spa night” to pamper yourself? Will you go to bed early one night a week and read until you fall asleep? Will you take a mini-vacation one night a month and explore a nearby town? Will you have a monthly massage? Will you make a monthly lunch date with some old friends? Will you take one day a month off work just to foster your relaxation state of mind?

Put some time into planning out your own personal rx of relaxation to take at regular, healthy intervals. If you are like me at all, you will find your best colored papers, brightest markers and most festive stickers and make a Relaxation Chart. Get some gold stars and post it on the side of your refrigerator. Make it fun!
Remember that relaxation is a state of mind, a state of feeling free from stress. You don’t have to be sedate to be relaxed. If cooking up a good meal totally relaxes you, then go for it! If running around the block does the trick, do that! If you love to play Frisbee with your dog, then take Fido out and hop to. Just remember that the end result isn’t the point here. The point is the process, the feeling of relaxation that it fosters, the lowering of your pulse rate and the loosening of your muscles. What is accomplished should not be given a thought to; instead, focus on how the process makes you feel.

And, perhaps most importantly, ALLOW yourself this time of relaxation. Don’t waste it by thinking of all the “more important” things you should be doing and don’t beat yourself up for taking time out. You know the whole, “secure your own air mask before you help others, blah, blah…?” Yeah, well, this is that. You need this so that you can do all that other stuff. Allow it. Welcome it. Enjoy it!
And check at least one state off your must-visit list.

Want to share your Relaxation Plan of Action? We’d love to hear it! Tell us in the comment section!

Karen Beth is a hippie-vegan-peace-love-vintage blogger. She can be found here.

Writing Prompt #125

Your writing prompt: something wrapped

My parents went through a phase of not wrapping Christmas presents.

We never had Santa Claus at my house growing up (*gasp* I know, right?) so all the pressure fell squarely on my parents every year.

There was one year I wrote a letter to Santa, convinced that he would somehow find it. I was too old for that shit even then, I think I was in maybe the second or third grade, and even though we never used our stockings for gifts (not until I participated in Steen Christmas did I ever realize how awesome stocking stuffers are), I left that note sticking out of “my” stocking. It was still there the next morning. I remember exactly how it looked, untouched.

Anyway, so several Christmases around the time I was six, we were instructed on Christmas morning to hide in my bedroom under a blanket (I remember that blanket, too. It was green checked and pretty thin and not warm for shit) until Larry gave us the go ahead from the hall.

We’d streak down the hallway and fishhook around to see the Christmas tree, where all our presents had appeared splayed out as only Anita could muster the gumption to do.

It was one of these Christmases that I got SheRa dolls, which now that I think about it doesn’t make any sense. I couldn’t watch the Smurfs because Gargamael and Aesrael were demon names but SheRa and her skimpy clothes and sword for impaling were okay? Parents are weird, man.

So SheRa was there, along with all her buddies. I was amped enough about it that I remember nothing else I got that Christmas.

But here’s the thing – that was it.

Just the one turn, and then boom, the excitement was done.

That’s why (besides the fact that Santa comes to our house thankyouverymuch) I always wrap presents. They may get dollar store hairbrushes, wallets, and an orange, but by DAMN that stuff will be wrapped.

Because there’s just something about it. A package, a mystery. The suspense, even if you have an idea already.

And because Christmas isn’t Christmas without a big pile of trash at the end.

And this concludes my oddly placed post about Christmas. In August.

Pick a You

This is a repost from several years ago, but it’s always been one of my favorites. I suppose I could assign it some grand current significance, but the truth is it’s late, I’m tired, and I was reading through my archives the other night and I remembered how much I liked this post.


It was never my intention to become someone I wouldn’t like.

Growing up in the ditches of red Mississippi mud, I was taught that happiness was a Sunday morning song, a memorized verse, and a pristine pair of white socks encased in patent leather Mary Janes.

I rode the bus home from school, and I remember the smell. Like pee and mud and the back of sweaty little boy necks. I remember the spongy stickiness of the plastic green seats, and the high backs that I used to write on with pencil erasers. The one family of four or five kids who always sat in the first two seats, and who wiped boogers on the backs of the seats…they left a lingering odor in those seats, so even after they got off the bus within the first ten minutes of the ride, no one sat there. No one wanted to smell the wake or look at the boogers. I sat in a seat about ¾ of the way back, and I didn’t talk to many people. I don’t know why.

The first few years of busriding, there was a girl, older than me, named Maria. She had huge hair and lots of makeup and she would write “Turk 182” on the fogged windows on rainy days. I never questioned what she said, what she wore, or why this obviously-in-high-school girl was riding the bus home from school instead of catching a ride with a friend, or even driving herself. I never even spoke to her. Years later, when she showed up at my church on my way out (during my faithless years, when I realized that perhaps the darkly-stained Baptist pews weren’t quite seats on the only passenger train to Heaven), I recognized her. I had wondered about her through the years. She had come into our church on the coattail of her husband, a man who’d made lots of money owning restaurants, taken lots of drugs in the process, and had finally decided to follow Jesus because, you know, that transition makes total sense. He suddenly became a huge spokesman for Jesus around our town and because it’s the thing that Jesus’ spokesmen do, where ever he happened to be, there she was. Maria would be sitting beside him in the folded-hand smiling Baptist wife position, and I often wondered if the Maria from the bus – the one who smacked her gum and smeared on frosted pink Bonne Bell gloss – still existed, and if she did, what did she think of Smiling Wife Maria? Is that who she dreamed of becoming? Was that what those days on the bus were leading to? What steps did she take to reserve this position for herself?

I wonder if she liked who she was then, and then who she became. She couldn’t have liked them both.