Not Martha

Curly Girl hair and what products I’m using now

I’ve written about the Curly Girl hair method before. (If you want to know more I’ve included links below.) I have wavy hair at best, I’m 2A on the hair types chart over at Naturally Curly. My hair is fine and limp and I have often cursed the lords of genetics for it. It resisted all attempts at being styled with heat and sprays and I basically gave up until I read about the Curly Girl method and decided to give it a try. A few years back I started getting my hair cut to enhance the curl as much as possible and started using curl friendly products. And it worked! My hair looks better! Not awesome, but better.

I’d been trying various non-silicone styling products for curly hair and nothing was quite right. Most were too heavy for me, some didn’t last. Then my stylist suggested I try Kevin Murphy Undressed Fiber Paste. Pastes are usually tragic and heavy on me, but this? I really really like. It’s become the sole product I need to put in my hair. It contains a water soluble silicone so I can continue to use my Curly Girl approved Tea Tree shampoo and conditioner from Trader Joe’s (which I wrote about previously). The Undressed paste is heavy enough that I do shampoo my hair more often then I used to, about ever other day, and I always do the conditioner wash thing.

more about the Curly Girl thing

The Curly Girl thing was started by Lorraine Massey who has a book Curly Girl: The Handbook that explains all. The basic idea is to avoid silicones in conditioners and styling products and sulfates in shampoos. The silicones are too heavy for curly hair, you need sulfates to wash them out and sulfates are too drying on curly hair. If you’d like to learn more see these starting points and further explanations at the Naturally Curly forums. The Naturally Curly site and forums are the best place to find out more and compare products and hair types, and my hair stylist even asked if I knew about them already.

My friend Noemi (whose curly hair I am desperately jealous of) recently wrote two fantastic posts about she treats her curly hair and the curly hair of her young daughter: Help! My Kid Has Curly Hair! and Wait. I Have Curly Hair Too. Noemi uses the popular Deva Curl shampoo and conditioner (which I’ve found too heavy for my hair), and she links to curly hair styling products you can find at Target.

If you have wavy or straightish hair that is a bit frizzy and resists all attempts at styling it I encourage you to look into the Curly Girl method. You might be one of us.

· comments [33] · 01-30-2013 · categories:beauty ·

My recommendations for iPhones games to play on long flights

I have a post up at Babble Voices about my recommendations for Seven iPhone Games to Keep You Occupied During a Long Flight. I picked both old and new games soley based on which ones I make sure are on my phone before I leave, these are my faves. Go take a look.

There were a few other games that I wanted to note but didn’t quite make cut for being airplane-ready, here they are:

  • Hundreds
    This is the latest popular time waster. I didn’t include it because I have a love hate relationship with it, the levels become frustratingly pretty quickly and I do a lot of low-key rage quitting. But it always lures me back.
  • Babylonian Twins
    This is a platformer where you play twins who each have different skills. You can switch between them them to help each of the reach the end of a level. The game has an interesting history, it was originally created for the Amiga but never released but word of it spread from those few who played a demo and it became something of a legend. The game for iPhone has new graphics. I’m normally not a fan of platformers but I find each level combines plenty of exploration and puzzle solving. (Free lite version to try out.)
  • Rolando & Rolando 2
    Adorable graphics and great sound. I didn’t include these games in my list because the controls use the accelerometer and needing to turn and twitch your iPhone isn’t so convenient when squeezed into an airplane. I’m not sure if these have been updated for the Retina display.
  • Cross Fingers
    A game where you move wooden blocks inside a level. The sounds are nice and crisp and the visuals are pleasing. The game seems simple but can become challenging. I didn’t include this one because some levels require you to use your fingers in a way that will make it look like you’re playing a mini-Twister so it’s not perfect for airplanes. (Free lite version available to try out.)
  • Flow Free
    I compared one of the games on my recommendation list to Flow, which is better known. I had played Flow before and it didn’t hold my interest for long but revisited it when I was writing this as well as because I heard it recommended on an episode of Slate’s Culture Gabfest. And of course I am now obsessively working my way through it. I find it sort of works on my brain in the same way that knitting does. (Free levels, can buy more.)
  • Pocket Frogs
    This is a free game where you raise and breed frogs. It’s like a low-key tamagotchi. I play with this in spurts but love coming back to visit my frogs. There are a few ongoing frog goals that give in-game rewards to keep you working after you’ve bred yourself a library of frogs. I didn’t include this because some of the higher level frogs can take days to grow so it won’t help you out on a long flight. (Free, freemium.)

· comments [10] · 01-28-2013 · categories:technology ·

links: shopping

Muji touchscreen knit striped gloves, tragically they are sold out. Via Girls of a Certain Age.

all buttoned up.: Printz. Three online photo printing services compared, with one clear winner.

Thermoworks Thermapen and Oven Thermometer – Cooking For Engineers. This links to a giveaway, and I wanted to note that this is their favorite.

GABIFRESH: Totally InStyle. Congrats on Gabifresh who announced her plus-sized fashion column in InStyle!

Baguette Bag | The Urban Grocer. It’s perfect! A zip up bag to keep your fresh baguette warm on the way home from the bakery.

Links from the Food Universe, delicious:days. I’m looking right at her recommendation for the GIR Spatula here. I love spatulas that don’t need to be taken apart to be cleaned, and this one comes in so many great colors.

Not too serious, not too silly board games | Ask MetaFilter. I like the cooperative games like Pandemic, it’s the players against the game itself.

· comments [11] · 01-25-2013 · categories:links · shopping ·

a good little microwave for a corner

We bought a microwave! I’ve often said that we didn’t have room in our tiny kitchen but this one is a microwave that fits into a corner (queue triumphant music). The back is rounded (shown below) and since it’s as tall as it is wide it doesn’t take up too much countertop space. It’s cute right? It looks like those big tvs some of us grew up watching. When we were surveying the kitchen trying to figure out where we could put a microwave we decided the corner was really the only option and I was shocked to find out that somebody actually makes one.

This little number goes by the sexy name of the Whirlpool WMC20005YW which is white. There are also black and brushed silver options.

Showing the rounded back of the microwave, cute huh?

The back of the inside of the microwave is also rounded, there is a turntable inside. The microwave is tiny but it does fit an 11-inch dinner place. In the picture above I showed some plates from Ikea (the Ikea 365 brand) that feel like really large plates but fit just fine inside. It’s got buttons for Defrost, Reheat and Popcorn and you can choose your power level.

Note: This is what I originally said, see the next paragraph for why the microwave is awesome and I’m dumb. It’s not all perfect though. The inside of the microwave is only six inches high from the surface of the turntable to the top of the inside and it looks like it might be a bit cramped. That said, the orange mixing bowls shown above are pretty tall and fit inside with plenty of clearance. When I am taking a soup bowl out of the microwave it does take a little more care since I have to grab it from both sides to ease it out. The microwave lacks a keypad so you cannot just type in “2-0-0” to zap something for two minutes, you have to hold down the time button. It doesn’t take long for it to count up to the 2:00 mark (it counts by five second increments for the first minute, 15 second increments for the second minute and then thirty seconds after that) but it’s not quite as convenient as being able to hit a few buttons. There is an “add 30 seconds” option for when things area already heating and I’ve already started taking the lazy girls option of hitting the heating button just once, hitting start and then pressing the “add 30” button a few times once it’s already going. These are all compromises I was happy to make for something that doesn’t take up all my countertop space.

Update: Martha mentioned in the comments that you can put food inside, close the door and hit the start button to get 30 seconds going, then you can just hit the start button again for 30 second increments. Which is perfect! Huge thanks to Martha for pointing out the lazy shortcut I was apparently too lazy to find on my own. I will note that this is in the manual, I just didn’t actually read it.

It’s the first time in years and years that we’ve had a microwave. We decided to get one because we’ve pretty much cut bread out of our diets and the toaster wasn’t getting much use. Up until now we’ve reheated leftovers by steaming them on the stovetop, a process which works out nicely but does take a wee bit more time than a microwave. Aaaand since our schedules mean we don’t end up home together for dinner most nights having the option to zap leftovers was sounding better and better. Since we got it I’ve been making excuses to heat things up and I stand there watching them turn around and around like I’m six years old again.

· comments [25] · 01-23-2013 · categories:shopping ·

links: technology

MAKE | How-To: DIY Photography Lamps.

10 objects that prove 3D printing will change the world | Gadgets |

Drop the Needle on the 3-D Printed Record | Line Out. 3-D printed records don’t sound good yet but still, printed records! I want to send secret messages where the decoder is simply an old record player.

Glitch: The Text Adventure, and Other Fun with Playfic –

Top 10 Ways to Speed Up and Beef Up Your Google Searches, at Lifehacker. Via Swissmiss.

What equipment can I use for a food photography setup in low light? | Ask MetaFilter.

WeeNudge | Teach your clients about the mysteries of the web, Wee Nudge. Via Swissmiss.

· comments [3] · 01-21-2013 · categories:links · technology ·

links: the home

MAKE IT / Ombre Glass Pendant Light | Designlovefest. Via Shutterbean.

The Fiddle-Leaf Fig Tree | Making it Lovely.

15 Clever Solutions for Small Spaces | Brit + Co. I’m loving a few of the things on this list.

Cool Tools – Philips L-Prize Bulb. I’m so on the fence about these super expensive LED bulbs. The right lighting is very important during our deep, dark winters here.

DIY Industrial Furniture – The Crafts Dept.

What’s really smart for a smart house? | Ask MetaFilter. A good discussion of what home technology is worth it.

· comments [10] · 01-16-2013 · categories:links · the home ·

good stuff other people are up to

Hi! How are you? How is your new year going? I’m getting a slow start, we had a cascade of things breaking around here (the latest victim is the SD card for my camera that will forever hold a few cute pictures of Scott and I that nobody will ever see and is also the reason I have no picture above). The pile of annoyances has left me feeling a bit like I should keep hiding. I’m getting ready for Alt Summit later this month and after that look forward to having a block of unscheduled time to re-sort my domestic world.

But! Friends of mine are up to some far more exciting things:

  • Go Mighty has been connecting people’s life goals with ways to make it happen. Maggie has been keeping track of what people are up to on Mighty Girl and I’m definitely on board with the Own Less Crap goal that lots of people have. I’m not alone.
  • AB Chao has announced the dates and locations for 2013’s Design Camp tour. I kinda want to follow her around (London! Berlin!). Also, anybody going to Alt Summit, she’s got two spots open for her Salt Lake City mini-camp. After attending her Design Camp here in Seattle last year I’ve got a much clearer picture of what to change around my house.
  • Kirby Krackle will be holding Kracklefest 3 on March 1st here in Seattle, guests are the Doubleclicks and Paul and Storm. Then in April they’ll be opening for Wierd Al (Wierd Al!!) at the Calgary Expo. (My husband Scott plays bass in the band.)
  • Melanie Biehle has announced that she’s taking on clients who are setting out to make a change in their business lives. She can through coaching, talking branding and social media and creative components, see it explained far more elegantly on her site Genuine Mix. I’ve seen Melanie at work and she is good, she’s also one of the most calming people I know. And! She’ll be at Alt Summit.
  • Robin Sheridan has announced that she’s kicked off her career as a real estate agent here in Seattle. She did an amazing analysis of the market value of our home (no, we’re not moving out just yet) and I can recommend her highly. I initially met her when her husband Kirk of Mastin Studio took some photos of Scott and I.
  • Seattle Bloggers Unite continues to be a really fantastic resource for Seattle bloggers. The meetups are always very informative and fun. If you’re in Seattle and have a blog (or want to start one) please come join us!

· comments [8] · 01-14-2013 · categories:uncategorized ·

links: food

Spicy, Smoky Bean Cakes with Lime Slaw and Charred Avocado | Serious Eats : Recipes.

Something to try, Smoky Spruce Buttercrunch | Thoughts on Food and Life. A Buttercrunch made with smoked chocolate and spruce essential oil. I happen to have some of those smoked chocolate chips and they make for the best indoor s’mores of all time.

New Booze: Hophead Hop Vodka | Serious Eats: Drinks Hopped vodka? I wonder if it’s good, I looove hops..

Taste Test: Olo’s Chipotle Paste Vs. Canned Chipotle Chilies | Serious Eats. We don’t cook often enough to keep fresh ingredients around all the time, but I think I would make good use of the chipotle paste.

What are your best recipes for a savory breakfast casserole that can be prepared the night before and cooked in the morning? | Ask MetaFilter.

How to Identify Hops in Your Beer: The Three C’s | Serious Eats: Drinks, also see How to Identify Hops in Your Beer: Amarillo, Summit, Citra, Simcoe I wonder if there are any professional beer tasting courses that teach you how to identify components, I’d like to take that class.

Bon Appétempt: Gérard’s Mustard Tart. Oooooh!

25 Food Trends for 2013: The Paloma made with mezcal and the stovetop smoker are things on my radar. Via Shutterbean.

Julian Baggini – The art of coffee. A blind taste test of Nespresso vs. hand drawn espresso.

Eats // The best heart shaped donuts you’ll ever have. So very cute, at Sugar & Cloth.

· comments [8] · 01-10-2013 · categories:food · links ·

links: shopping

Which post-Doyle Sherlock Holmes stories are worth reading? | Ask MetaFilter.

The First Canon Lenses You Should Buy | The Wirecutter.

ThinkGeek :: Static Electricity Eliminator. A small battery-less gadget that attaches to your keychain and helps you dispel (or know when to) static electricity. I need this because during dry conditions I grow fearful of the pain that I associate with touching my car door. Via Ask Metafilter in a question regarding dry winter air and getting continuously shocked by pushing a cart at Costco., a marketplace for the successfully funded and produced Kickstarter campaigns. Via Swiss Miss.

MAKR. A shop full of simple leather, canvas and metal goods. I like all the bags and wallets but what I’m really drooling over is those hooks! Via Freshly Picked.

· comments [2] · 01-8-2013 · categories:links · shopping ·

links: misc

Bechdel-positive movies or TV? | Ask MetaFilter.

swissmiss | Maker’s Row. “Maker’s Row is a brand new site by 3 young, smart New Yorkers trying to demystify the process of manufacturing products in the US.” How insanely useful.

Cool Tools – Just Ride. A practical guide from a long time bike rider who offers straightforward advice to put the fun back into getting on a bicycle.

Best TV shows to keep you hooked? | Ask MetaFilter.

Twitter controlled Eggbotted LED Ornaments | Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories. They light up when people use keywords on Twitter. I love everything about this project.

A tour of the International Space Station, at Kottke.

· comments [3] · 01-4-2013 · categories:links · misc ·

links: travel

Ideas for a Solo Traveler | The Hairpin. Great links to more resources inside this post.

London’s best brewery tours – Time Out London. Via Busywork who has probably heard way too much about how much I’ve been liking beer lately!

Five Things to Do on Your Layover at: Chicago-O’Hare || Jaunted.

Things to do in ORD for 8 hours | Ask MetaFilter. There is a four story tall Brachiosaurus on concourse B!

The Urban Grocer’s Guide to Urban Eating, NYC | The Urban Grocer. Great online magazine to keep a link to, note that music plays.

How to work around $20/day hotel Internet in Central London | Ask MetaFilter. Looks like there are no-contract prepaid wireless dongles. I’m headed to the UK next year so this is good to know about.

· comments [6] · 01-3-2013 · categories:links · travel ·

links: beauty

The Temporary Polka Dot Tights Trick | Say Yes to Hoboken.

Concealers: you asked, I answered – Girls of a Certain Age.

Five beauty products you only ever need to buy at the drugstore – Girls of a Certain Age.

Dry shampoo recommendations | Ask MetaFilter. I’ve also found that the Suave brand clogs after two uses.

How do you who go bare-legged in pumps do it without turning your feet into raw hamburger? | Ask MetaFilter. Ugh, me too. I cannot even tolerate flats without socks. The advice here includes lots of great product comparisons.

· comments [2] · 01-2-2013 · categories:beauty · links ·