Nerdery

So I promise I wasn’t lying to you when I said I wouldn’t be doing a lot of posting this week. I really am busy.

BUT.

Yesterday, I posted a photo of my new work desk.

It’s fairly barren, which is to be expected, but I want to dress it up a bit down the line.The only thing that was currently on my desk was a card (featuring narwhals) that I got from my dear friend Susan a while back.

One of my regular blog commenters and Instagram followers, Courtney, had the BRILLIANT idea that I should petition my readers to send me postcards to decorate the back wall of my desk.

Um…I love that idea. Like, really.

So basically, what I’m asking is: Would you guys do that? Post cards are cheap, right? And you would totally be famous. (Kind of.)(In my world.) AND, if you have a blog, just include the URL in the postcard message and I’ll even feature you here. On my OWN blog. Kind of meta, right? We’ll call it Blog-On-Blog Love. Because who doesn’t love a scandal?

Anyway. If you are interested in sending me a super awesome postcard (remember, this is going to be displayed in my super cool new office…make me look good), please leave a comment with your email address and I’ll be in touch with where you should send it.

This is going to be fun! (Promise!)

Fair warning: I feel a bit exhausted as I write this. There’s a good chance it will make not that much sense. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

So! It’s my first day of my time between jobs. Which, obviously, means I have a lot I plan to get accomplished.

Fortunately for you folks, I’ve decided to spare you the long list of things I plan to do and instead just tell you when I’ve accomplished something. AREN’T I GENEROUS AND BENEVOLENT?

Yeesh. All-caps are apparently a symptom of exhaustion.

Let’s get in to why I’m exhausted, shallll we?

So I had my list of things I planned to accomplish. Here’s a run-down of my day thus far:

1. Woke up with the hubs around 8. Days off don’t start themselves.

2. Hit up a nearby trail to knock out a 5-mile run. (Ahhh, half-marathon training. Missed ya.) It was also a good opportunity to break in my new shoes AND get some use out of my new favorite app, Nike+ Running.

3. IKEA RUN! Okay, so we can all agree that IKEA can be a beast. It’s pretty much impossible to walk in without wanting to just give the IKEA gods all of your money. Fortunately, I was armed with a list. And I can honestly say I only bought the things on the list. And one was for a gift. SO GET OFF MY BACK.

Woo. Lost it for a second there. Let’s blame it on the IKEA hangover. Anyway.

I also learned things at IKEA. For one, the store part doesn’t open until 10. (I got there around 9:45.) Fortunately, I also learned that the cafe opens at 9:30. Hooray! AND I learned that coffee is free in the cafe before 10 a.m.! Hooray, again!

 

4. Then it was a quick stop at the craft store for thread. (What’s that? Did I just hint at a sewing project? GUESS YOU’LL HAVE TO WAIT AND SEE.)

5. Finally, I FINALLY made it to Goodwill to donate the pile of crap that has been sitting on my dining room floor for quite literally months. We have so much room for activities now!

6. Then I got home and finished the bathroom decor! No really! It’s done! Check it out:

Cute, right? It officially feels like a real bathroom in there. As opposed to a dorm bathroom, I guess. The point is, it looks nice in there, and it’s officially done-done. Only took me a year and five months. And it’s still only the second room in our 1-bedroom apartment I would consider done-done. (The other is the kitchen. Mostly because there’s only so much I can do in there.)

So now I’m sitting at the computer. I had plans to start on the afore-hinted-at sewing projects, but I can’t find the pedal to my sewing machine anywhere. It’s maddening. (But it has to be somewhere, right? RIGHT?)

On the bright side, I’m actually super tired, so I’m learning to appreciate having nothing I can do right now. (Plus, I already cleaned the bathroom and kitchen so I literally can’t do anything else right now.)(I’m a freak, okay?) And I’m going to a boot camp class tonight, so I should probably conserve energy anyway.

What do you usually get done on your days off? Anyone else a crazy overachiever like me? Also, any guesses where that sewing machine pedal is?

Joe:
*sigh* a teacher sent this email:
“Good morning guys,

The printer in my office is low on toner and is not printing good.

[named removed to protect the poor at grammar]”

me:
haha
It’s printing bad things, Joey.
Pictures of wars and rapists.

Joe:
well, say that..
lol
A TEACHER THOUGH, Justine!

me:
what KIND of teacher?

Joe:
responsible for raising and training our youths!
…Math, but STILL!

me:
haha

I’m rubbing off on him so nicely, aren’t I?

You know what we haven’t had on the blog in a while? An experiment. Let’s remedy that, shallll we?

Anyone who pays any attention to the care of their hair has probably heard that you’re not supposed to wash it every day. Daily lathering strips your hair of natural oils, leads to dryness and breakage, and (for those of us who color our hair) fades color and shine faster. Washing your hair too often is actually what causes oily hair (I know; the irony…) and makes your mane more difficult to manage over time.

As a medium-maintenance girl who spends a fair amount on the care of her hair, the last thing I want is to make that investment and then undermine it by doing something as simple as washing my hair too much.

So last week, I skipped shampoo-ing for six days.

Just to clarify, I did not skip showering for six days. (I’m not a mountain man, y’all.) But no water, soap, or conditioner touched my head for the duration of the experiment. (If you’re thinking of trying this out for yourself but are nervous about things getting…well…stinky, you could continue to condition your hair once or twice during the six days. Just leave the shampoo bottle alone until the end.)

The kicker to this experiment? No one knew what I was doing. Even my husband didn’t notice for the first four days (though after I told him what was going on, he did say he’d noticed that my showers had been much faster…and my hair seemed to “dry” very quickly). By the end of the fifth day, I think it’s safe to say things were getting a little…ripe. But unless someone has their nose buried in your hair, you’re probably safe from detection.

How did I do it? Here’s a quick breakdown.

Day 1: I knew this would be my only day to really style my hair, so I blow-dried it as perfectly as I could. The closer to perfect your hair starts out, the longer it will last. I used all the products I normally do (leave-in conditioner on the ends, heat protectant spray, and root boosting spray) but with a slightly lighter hand because I didn’t want things to get weighed down too early on.

Peace, y’all.

Day 2: As you can see, I didn’t really do anything on the second day except brush out my hair. (I almost always wear my hair in a high bun overnight to keep if from tangling while I thrash around in my sleep sleep, and this also helped maintain the blow-out.) I did use a few shots of hairspray on my roots to keep the style from looking too flat. If your hair is especially oily, a few shakes of dry shampoo also wouldn’t hurt on this day.

Nerd alert.

Day 3: Though my bangs are nearly completely grown out, I still have a few shorter layers that spend much of their day touching my forehead. Which means they tend to get oily much faster than the rest of my hair. To hide the evidence, I twisted back my bangs and pinned them out of the way. (Use this technique to hide the pins if you prefer.)

Day 4: Because I worked out the night before, this is definitely the day when my hair started to need a little more help. Which is why day four is when I started embracing the updo. By pulling back my bangs and cinching everything in a ponytail, I still managed to look pulled together despite feeling a little unwashed. (Ugh.)

Day 5: Not going to lie; I almost broke on day five. By this morning, I had worked out twice without washing my hair, and I was feeling a little grimy. Determined to stay the course, I just did whatever I could to keep my hair off my face (and to keep myself from touching it, thereby exacerbating the grease problem) by braiding everything back and to the side. Bonus: The extra grit actually helped the braid stay together better than it does when my hair is clean. Who knew?

Fingers got cut off…whoops.

Day 6: I was pretty happy this would be the last day of the experiment. Rather than even attempting to style my hair, I settled for my favorite “my hair is too dirty to do anything with” style and went with a top knot. The good news is that dirty hair is easier to style in an updo and the extra…gross-ness made the bun fuller. The bad news is that if you got too close, my hair was definitely a little pungent.

And it has to be said, the first shower I took where I washed my hair was practically a religious experience.

Ok, not literally, but it did feel pretty darn good. And my hair felt softer and looked a bit shinier than it had prior to the great hair-washing experiment of 2012. As for the specifics:

– After the second day, I didn’t add any additional products to my hair, though you could use hairspray or a few bursts of leave-in conditioner or dry shampoo as necessary (and to cover any smell if you need to).

– I went to the gym days 3-5. I think if I had gone every single day, I wouldn’t have been able to go the full six days without washing, but everyone’s hair texture is different. To get through at least a couple of workouts without shampooing, wear your hair in the highest ponytail or bun possible while you’re working out, and then, when you’re done, take your hair down and let the whole thing air-dry. Most of the sweat will have collected at your temples and the nape of your neck, but that’s fairly easy to conceal.

– As I said before, I didn’t wet my hair at all during the 6 days (my hair air-dries kind of wonky and I avoided heat styling after the first day), but you certainly could if you chose too. I also think adding some curl or wave to your hair the first day would help hide grease throughout the week. Just be sure to brush your hair out every night to distribute natural oils, remove any dead hairs, and keep things from getting matted.

– One of the biggest pros to this experiment was that my showers literally took four minutes. And since there was no hair-drying, I was ready to go the second I toweled off. (Ok, and after I put clothes on.) Less water and less energy usage? That’s right, folks; we’re also saving the environment while we reduce our split ends.

While I don’t know if I’ll do the full six days again, I’ve definitely been making an effort to go at least three. I think before I was just concerned that if I didn’t wash it after every workout, it would be super noticeable, but now I don’t have that concern anymore.

What’s the longest you’ve gone without washing your hair? Anyone else going to try this out?

Thanks for reading one of my blog’s most popular posts! Don’t miss my other Style+Beauty posts here. Welcome to Stop Me if You’ve Heard This One!

So, a decision has been made. We’re going with the rug.

I know. I know, you guys. I’m only sorry for making you hold your breath this long.

I’m going to order it next month. You know, after those pesky costs (like rent, car payments, etc.) have been covered. Ohhh, adulthood! You are such a fun suck.

Fortunately, aside from the rug, there are only two things in that inspiration board I don’t already have (because, again, I don’t expect to own that coffee table trunk anytime soon): the map print and the turquoise pillow.

Isn’t that kind of amazing? Like, my living room doesn’t really look anything like that image right now, but with only a few accessory swaps (and a giant rug) we can have a whole new space. Wacky.

Anywho, today at lunch, I was going to get a manicure, but instead I think I’ll hit up Jo-Ann’s for fabric and possibly Michael’s for a canvas and some paint because I’ve decided I can make those two things myself. (Or at least something similar.) I need fabric for a project I’m working on with my sister anyway. Two birds, y’all.

Now that you’re caught up on my weekend plans, can we just talk about something for a second? We need to talk about spam.

No, not that kind of Spam. I’ve never tried that, but I have to believe it would be less horrible than the kind I’m talking about. I’m talking about spam blog comments.

If you maintain a blog, you probably have some idea of what I’m talking about. If you don’t…OMG they are SO ANNOYING.

For a while, I had a spam blocker that required commenters to check a box to “prove they were human,” as opposed to the stupid bots that apparently just troll the internets leaving tainted links on everything. I thought checking the box was fairly simple. I mean…it’s one click. I had seen (and used) it on other blogs with great success. It’s not like I was asking you to decipher and repeat one of these:

I mean, I agree, those are annoying. But a check box? Did I mention it’s one click?

But still, you guys didn’t like it. Apparently it wasn’t obvious enough, and people were missing it, and then when my blog was all, “Nuh-uh! You ain’t leaving no comments til you prove you’re a HUMAN! IFTHATISYOURREALSPECIES!” (My blog is very sassy when it comes to spam threats.), and then it would just delete your lovingly crafted comment. And I certainly do not expect you to repeat yourself. That’s lame.

So I removed the spam blocker. Because I care about you guys. I want reading my blog to be a pleasant experience for you. It’s not like I’m oh-so-famous that I don’t need each and every one of you. I’m not. I appreciate each and every one of you and, if given the opportunity, would kiss you all on the face. (But not open-mouthed. I’m a married woman.)

But since that isn’t altogether feasible (or, let’s face it, sanitary)(you don’t know where I’ve been)(what?), instead I opted to try to make commenting easier for you.

Which, it has been, right? I mean, you guys are kind of a quiet bunch in general, but I feel like commenting has picked up a little since I removed the blocker (and therefore the check box). It’s easier now, right?

Of course, the problem is that while you guys are living the good life, I’m swimming through message like these:

As you can see, most of these don’t even make sense. And the ones that do are…well…almost insulting? (“ps decent site” could quite possibly be the most backhanded compliment I’ve ever received. And I’ve actually been told that I have a “great personality”…so…yeah. Dark times.)

It wouldn’t be so bad if I only got a couple of these a day, but it’s more like a dozen or more. If I don’t check my dashboard over the weekend (which I usually don’t), I could wake up to 60 or so spam comments on Monday. It’s madness. And it’s just annoying.

I don’t want to pay for the spam service that comes with WordPress.org, and I don’t want my readers to have to jump through a million hoops to leave a comment. Is there a middle ground? Some plug-in that I don’t know about? If you know of anything, please leave me a note below. (UNLESS YOU’RE A ROBOT, IN WHICH CASE, GET LOST.)

To you other bloggers out there, do you get a lot of comments? Does it come with a price?

I have commitment issues. At least when it comes to rugs.

I mean, a rug is kind of a big deal. It’s an investment for one. (Even super affordable rugs aren’t free.) For another, it’s a pretty big statement piece in a room.

And let’s face it, even I get a little nervous about slapping something that peachy-pink on the floor. Not because I wouldn’t like it, but because I want our apartment to be a representation of both my husband and me.

What I’m saying is, I’m holding off a bit. But probably just until next month. (You know, when the financial obligations will start to wane.)

I will have 45 days to return it if I don’t like it, so at least this is a commitment I can wiggle out of if need be.

As I’ve said before, I’m definitely someone who needs to actually see something in action before I’m sure I like it.

But then it dawned on me: Justine, why don’t you just stage out the room in a mood board?

And I said, “Self, you are one smart lady.”

Since I’m not planning on overhauling the entire room (my savings account just breathed a sigh of relief), this room plan is mostly about the accessories. But to give you an overall idea of what I’m thinking (and in case you want our living rooms to be twinsies), I included furniture similar to what I have below. (And just to mix things up, let’s work counter-clockwise, shall we?)

1. This Vegas Microfiber Sectional Sofa isn’t exactly what we have, but it’s close enough to give you an idea what we’re working with. I’ve photoshopped it here with the pillows I already have (mentioned here) and will continue to work with.

2. To bring some color to the taupe-y couch, I’d add this turquoise pillow from studiotullia and green pillows I already own (this one is similar).

3. Ohhh the elusive dream of a storage trunk ottoman. Total confession: I’ve loved this Hunter Trunk from Crate & Barrel for several years. But if I’m gun-shy about an $89 rug, you can bet your bank account I’m not exactly jumping on this just yet. It would be great if I could find a similar version on Craigslist or something. Maybe someday. (Or if 599 of you would like to chip in a dollar and buy it for me, that would be great also.) I have a Dove Bowl I received as a wedding present that I would move back to the living room from where it has been living in the dining room.

4. The rug that started this all.

5. A green chair I already have. Again, my green chair isn’t exactly like this Madeline version, but mine was also from Urban and it’s really similar/the same color.

6. Two of the pictured art pieces I already own: my painting from Gloria Joy Art & Design and this Kurt Vonnegut Happiness Quote Print from ShopGirlSteph.

7. I have a white L in a frame on the wall that I might paint in a gold-edged turquoise, like this version from OldNewAgain.

8. I really like this wall print, especially since the hubs and I love to travel (and the color is perfect). I might replace a vintage map of Paris I have on the wall currently with this. (And move the Paris map to the dining room or bedroom.)

So…what do you think? (And more importantly, Joey, what do you think?)(Isn’t it fun being included in husband and wife convos about our home decor?)(I’m weird, sorry.)

Keep in mind that there’s also the grey patterned curtains, the dark shelves/TV console/desk, and the office area to contend with. But since those are fairly simple (and just dark wood or black pieces from IKEA), they can be propped out to fit into any color scheme.

OK, enough disclaimers. Thoughts?