Straightening Up.

OK people.  First thing’s first.  I’ve been a terrible blogger recently.  I’ve left you hanging for almost 2 months (wha?!) with no explanation, and more importantly no tips for keeping your lives organized.   All hell must have broken out in your households/offices/lives during this time, for sure.  For that I’m sorry.  I could bust into a list telling you all the things keeping me too busy to write recently, but that would probably bore you and cause serious eye-rolls (“she thinks she’s sooo busy…”).  So I won’t do it.  And with that, I’ve just got a straight up post on…straightening up.   So here goes…

Let’s talk about things that are straight.

Jennifer Aniston’s amazing hair:

jennifer-aniston-has-straight-hair-things-that-are-straight

Straight as an arrow? Cameron Frye, Ferris’ BFF:

cameron-frye-the-straight-arrow-things-that-are-straight

And probably John Mayer, considering he’s dated every female celebrity ever (including aforementioned Jen):

john-mayer-is-straight-things-that-are-straight

Things that aren’t straight?  My bottom teeth.

Yep.  You heard me.  Normally when we talk ‘straightening up’ around here it’s about corralling baby stuff, organizing kitchen cabinets, or neatly packing up Christmas paraphernalia.  This time we’re talking teeth.  In particular, my never-had-or-needed-braces-until-now -teeth.

Excuse me while I hop on my soapbox for a hot minute, but I was blessed with beautiful chompers.  They are naturally white, and straight. Well, the top ones are…(or should I say were?).  The bottoms are a hot mess, but who really sees those?  When I was 15 and went to the obligatory orthodontist appointment that it seems every middle class suburban adolescent gets dragged to, the doc said I had no structural issues with my teeth (read: no over/under bite), just snagglies on the bottom, which meant braces would be purely cosmetic.  So naturally, like every vain 15 year old girl, I said – NO THANKS to a mouth of metal for the next few years.  The actual quote, which The Magi likes to remind me of, was: “Well if God wanted me to have perfect teeth, he would have given me perfect teeth”.  Very profound coming from a non-religious half-Jew-half-Christian.  I was always wise beyond my years.  NOT.

So here I sit, 15+ years later, with very crooked bottom teeth, and top ones that have started to shift.  They still look relatively normal from afar, but I started to notice one central incisor (big front tooth, in laymen’s terms) overlapping the other, a la the bottoms.  And it’s created an awkward space under its neighboring lateral incisor that’s noticeable when I smile.  I’ll post a pic as soon as I can find a good one that I don’t mind putting on the internet.  Teeth are pretty darn personal.  Bottom line is top teeth that look like my bottom teeth would be no bueno.  I have learned that having a baby really does a number to your self-confidence (many, many things just do NOT look the same!), so if I could prevent further “boo me” moments, that would be fantastic.  I don’t want to be talking like a ventriloquist the rest of my life.

So that’s where Invisalign comes in.  Invisible braces for the modern mama.  No I totally made that tag line up, but they really are “invisible” braces.  After years of saying I should do it (to no one in particular and without real meaning), I bit the bullet and went back to an Orthodontist earlier this year.  He confirmed the top teeth are following the pattern of the bottoms, and that I’d be a good candidate for Invisalign.  So a few filled-out forms, hard earned bucks, tooth molds, and X-rays later and we’re in business.

So yes, I got braces at 30 years old.  And I’m gonna blog about it.  I’m currently about 2 months into my treatment with 8 more to go – this is longer than a full term pregnancy people!  I’ve got before pics, weekly pics, and a whole lot of initial thoughts to share with anyone interested.  People seem to love talking about personal stuff on the internet.  I don’t fully get it but I’m not opposed to capitalizing on it.  Stay tuned and feel free to leave me some Invisalign Qs/tips in the comments.  A girl can never have enough Invisalign tricks up her sleeve…

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333 or 666?

Project333-buttonRecently I’ve been thinking a lot about living more simply.  This happens to me almost every summer and I think it comes from craving lighter (and less!) clothing, lighter meals, lazier weekends, and less on the to-do list during the months of June, July and August.  This year happens to be a double whammy because it’s my first summer with A.  Since having her last fall I’ve had an overall itch for more simplicity in life, because having a baby and working [basically] full time can bring a lot of chaos to your everyday life…as can all the baby gear and toys you’re now surrounded by at home!  So couple that with summertime and I’m dreaming of less clutter, emptier closets and drawers, and a general light and airy feeling all around the home.

But simplifying things can be complicated.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been purging and straightening things up around the home.  (I haven’t blogged about it since I didn’t really set out to do any of it, it’s just sort of happened as I got tired of looking at messy or disorganized things that bothered me).  But one area I decided not to tackle is my closet.  Being pregnant this time last year I didn’t get to wear any of my summer clothes so it’s been fun to reunite with my summer wardrobe this year.  Fitting into my one of my two favorite Theory work dresses in the morning seriously makes me giddy.  Putting on a loose-fitting J.Crew T with cute shorts on a weekend rocks my world.  And the best part?  I haven’t really had the desire to buy anything new.   No new clothes = money saved and less closet clutter.   It’s a pretty great feeling, and it’s also a little addictive.  As we move closer to fall and images of beautiful high boots and cozy sweaters are starting to grace the covers of the glossies, I’ve been wondering if I’ll be able to keep up with my “closet shopping” streak.

And then I came across Project 333.  Three months, 33 items in your wardrobe.  Everything else boxed up.  It sounds so hard and restrictive.  Yet so…rewarding?  Intriguing?  I can’t decide how I feel about it, or if I could do it.   The next challenge starts in September and I’m sort of dying to try it, but also terrified.   I don’t do well with failure.  I also live in workout gear on the weekends (working out or not) which is apparently a no-no with the Project.  But Project creator Courtney is quick to say this isn’t an exercise in suffering and if you need to tweak the plan to your personal needs you can.  The goal is to simplify things and free yourself to focus on other, more important things in life.

I can’t decide if 333 is actually “666” to me or not.  Either way I’m very intrigued.  I’ve visited the site several times since I first found it to ponder the challenge.  I’ll let you know if I take the plunge.  Could you do it?

Take Stock.

Chaptstick Stockpile

Ever see the show “Doomsday Preppers” on the National Geographic Channel?  These people are cray cray.  We once watched a lady hollow out her bedroom door to hide fruit roll-ups and Lipton soups in there for when the apocolypse hits and she needs food.  But her husband doesn’t like her ‘prepping’ so she has to hide her items in inconspicuous places (like her bedroom door, duh) while he’s gone during the day.  Highly recommend checking out an episode or two.  It’s fascinating.

Well recently I decided I might have a little Doomsday in me, and I can’t decide how I feel about it.  Exhibit 1: picture above of my chapstick stockpile.  I am obsessed with this one kind of chapstick (The Body Shop’s Vitamin E Lip Care Stick – it’s non-scented and the absolute perfect mix of being thick enough to actually do something and have staying power, but thin enough that you don’t really notice that it’s there), and have been using it for 11 years.  That’s not a joke.  I know this because I can recall the first time I used it, and it was during college winter break in 2001 when I was visiting my best friend L at her grandparent’s house in Florida and her mom was using it (also a chapstick connoissuer) and I had to borrow it because I had sunburnt lips.  It used to be 2 sticks for $3.  I’m not even going to tell you what I pay for it now because it’s crazytown and embarrassing.  But I HAVE to have my chapstick with me.  I’m one of those people.  You should have heard me a few weeks ago at AC’s wedding, I had forgotten my chapstick and was freaking out.  MKY even snapped at me to chill out once (maybe twice) which doesn’t usually happen unless I’m being particularly annoying.

Why am I telling you this?  Good question.  I recently ran out of the stash B got me for Christmas (5 sticks didn’t get me that far!), and decided that rather than running out at lunch and buying the usual 2 to hold me over for a month or so, I was going to seriously stock up.  I’d never bought them online but I thought I’d give it a try – well, jackpot find on my part.  The Body Shop has all these discounts only available online!  Like a buy one get one half off, a three for price of two AND free shipping over $50 (I told you, it’s embarrassing how much I pay for these chapsticks).  I started adding some to my cart and doing the math on the side and discovered I could get 9 chapsticks for the price of 6 and get free shipping.  Score.  I didn’t have to even leave my seat AND I got them for less than what I would normally pay.  Success!

So the moral of this story is that stockpiling sometimes has it’s advantages.  And just because you have 9 chapsticks in your nightstand drawer (which you may have noticed in the shot above is still nicely organized with my DIY drawer dividers) doesn’t mean you’re in the same category with the Doomsers (although B will probably disagree).  So General Rule of Thumb: if it saves you time and/or money to buy in bulk and stock up AND you have the space for the items, go ahead and take stock.  If your loot is going to clutter your home or completely take over your drawers/closets/rooms, then it may not be worth it.  Always think before you stock.

PS – you can catch a glimpse of our new duvet cover in the shot above.  Still not sure how I feel about it.  It’s close to the one I was coveting here, but a little darker and busier.  I’m thinking of ways to chill it out a bit.  I’ll let you know what I come up with.

PPS – those squishy blue things in the shot above are ear plugs.  B snores like he’s sawing logs.

Good Till The Last Drop.

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer

Know what irks me?  Going to put on lotion and knowing that there is definitely some left in there, but it’s down to the dregs so the bottle won’t pump or squeeze anything out.   I KNOW there is still lotion in there!  It’s just not making its way out!  I used to just  get frustrated, toss the bottle then frantically try to squeeze in a lotion run the next day during lunch.   But I’m very particular about the face and body lotions that I use, so quickly re-stocking was difficult, and it would pain me to see that last bit go to waste.  So a few years ago I decided to fight back.  After examining the “empty” tube of my absolute favorite face lotion – Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer – I was able to gauge where the lotion fill line was, and I cut the tube just above that point.  The picture below shows what the bottom part of the tube looked like afterwards.

Saving Face Lotion!

With the tube open like this I’m able to use my finger as a scoop to get the last of the lotion.  And usually there is about a week’s worth of face lotion stuck in there!  That’s not as insignificant as you might think – a tube of LMTM usually lasts me about 2 months, so if I can squeeze out an extra week every time, that’s 6 weeks extra per year – almost an entire tube saved.  If the math doesn’t make sense don’t worry, I love numbers and I love puzzles, and I also love to make things more complicated than they need to be.

Back to our tutorial.  To prevent the lotion from drying out I also snip off the top of the tube and wash it, and then fit it inside the bottom half as a makeshift cap, like in the very first picture above.  It takes a little manipulating to get them to fit together, but plastic is pretty malleable and it will get in there.  It holds its shape pretty well after the first few times so it should get easier to cap/recap.

You can also use this trick on larger, standing pump bottles for hand and body lotions.  You will need to poke a hole into the bottle with your scissors first (be careful!) and then cut around the bottle from there, since they are usually too round/big to just snip off like the LMTM tubes.   Remember to cut low enough that you’ll be able to reach in and scoop your lotion, but high enough that the leftover amount won’t spill out. Continue the same way for using the top of the bottle as a cap for the lotion as well.

As I’m sure Benjamin Franklin intended to say, “A drop of lotion saved is a drop of lotion earned…”

Totes Magotes.

Baggu Duck Bag Sailor Stripe

Some people are into shoes.  I have always gravitated towards bags.  And generally speaking, I’m a big fan of totes.  I think it stems from my obsession with being prepared, or, as it may be more correctly “diagnosed”, my terrible fear of being unprepared.  If I always have a large bag with me containing lots of things I might somehow possibly need, then I’ll never be caught off guard, right?!

For workday use I’ve always carried a larger sized leather tote in a neutral color.  But that never seems cute on weekends when I’m just out and about with B, A, & KP.  So right now on weekends I’ve been doing the whole  load-all-my-own-things-into-the-diaper-bag-and-hang-it-on-the-stroller-handles look.

And then I found this cute Baggu tote a few weekends ago at…oddly enough…the Gap?  Yeah I was confused too, especially since I Googled the heck out of it afterwards and have found no evidence of this retail partnership.  But they had a whole display of these Baggu ‘Duck’ canvas bags.  I wanted to buy them all, but I ended up going with one similar to the pictured above in a green sailor stripe.  I debated between that one and the navy one (you know I love navy!) for a while, but the green seemed more fun. It’s got a big long cross body handle so I can wear it as a messenger and have my hands free, or I can hang it from A’s stroller handlebars.  And the smaller tote handles are nice and sturdy if I want to carry it as a true tote.  The only thing it’s lacking, which admittedly is a biggie for me, are lots of interior pouches and zip pockets. But for the price (paid under $20 since I had a Gap coupon) and considering it’ll be more for weekend use, I’ll take it.  Having a big bag is quite necessary for a well-prepared crazy person gal like myself, and I’m really liking this one as my casual option.  As for keeping everything organized inside of it, well I’ve just had to resort to some bag-inside-the-bag action that makes complete sense to me, but admittedly has caused some annoying conversations with B over the years…

Me: “B, could you grab my chapstick out of my bag?”

B: “Sure, where is it?”

Me: “In the small blue bag in the first compartment of my black bag”

B: “What? That doesn’t make sense.”

Me: “What doesn’t make sense?  It’s in a small blue bag, that is located in the first compartment in my black bag?”

B: “What?!”

Me: “Forget it, I’ll get it.”

See what I mean?

But that really only happens on occasion; in the grand scheme of life, bags inside of bags can be your savior when you have a big bag lacking sufficient interior pouches and pockets.  Looks like Baggu even makes some cute zipper pouches for storing smaller things.  Perfect for travel or keeping bigger bags in order.

So now on weekends I’ve got everything – and I mean everything – that I might need all nicely organized in a cute casual bag.  I totes magotes love my new Baggu bag.