March 30, 2015

A Love Letter To Instagram

Are you on Instagram? No? Well, you should be! It's my favorite form of social media. In contrast to the Facebook prison world we all live in, Instagram is a private island where you decide what you want to bring with you. Don't want to bring your crazy Great Uncle to the island, don't bring him! Don't want to bring your high school friend and her never-ending stream of baby pictures, you don't have to!

There are no rules on Instagram. Unlike Facebook friend requests, you can't solicit follows on Instagram. Follow who you want; like what you want. That instant validation that's so easy to get on Facebook, isn't so easy on Instagram. If no one likes your post, it doesn't mean no one likes you, it just means your picture didn't tell enough of a story. Try harder!

Instagram is a place for creativity, entertainment and fun. Instagram is so fun! The trick is to find the right balance of people to follow. I follow all of my friends, probably every celebrity that exists, that isn't private, I'm looking at you, DA24HRS, and a mixed bag of things that make me laugh. Here a few of my favorite Instagram accounts.

I'll start with The Rock, because duh, but also because he's the king of Instagram videos. The best thing that can happen to me on a given day is The Rock posting a video of himself having a conversation with an elliptical machine named Bertha, which luckily, he does on the reg.

This account is new to me. I don't even remember how I found it, but LOL Kanye Doing Things. It's cut-outs of Kanye's head held over a picture of someone doing something really pedestrian, like sitting at a bus stop. I can't stop (won't stop).

Amy Sedaris' Instagram is pure lunacy. I bet if you looked at all the posts I've liked, a great majority of them are from Amy Sedaris. It's not for the faint of heart, but it's real good.

There is some connection between Todd Oldham and Amy Sedaris that I'm too lazy to research. Most of her pics are taken by him and most of his pics are of her. Maybe they're besties? I don't know. But I follow both of them. Their feeds have a similar feel. Also, apparently Todd just released a line of crafts at Target that I'm interested in.

Lyle Reimer is one of my first Instagram loves. I've been with him since the beginning. The creativity and artistry that go into his posts blow me away. I can't imagine how long it takes him to do this. Bonus: his captions are hilarious, and no one does hashtags like he does.

Saint Records is Solange Knowles, and her Instagram game is on point. She's gorgeous, high fashion, and in most of her pictures, which I like.

In the same vein as Solange is Ed Droste from Grizzly Bear. Ed and Solange are friends and show up in each other's posts from time to time. I'm a Grizzly Bear fan, which helps, but Ed travels a lot and takes great pictures. He's also how I keep up with current vernacular of America's youth.

Speaking of travel, brilliantly, the US Dept of the Interior is on Instagram. And they're doing it right. I think I "like" every picture they post. They recently posted a video of two bears catching fish in a stream that I watched for 5 minutes.

If you're on Instagram, you already know about this, but Fashion Dads is hilarious. It's basically a parody of the infamous OOTD (outfit of the day) post. They post a pic and in great detail, tell you what's he wearing and where he bought it. It will run its course, but every time one of these shows up in my feed, I chuckle.

I'm almost embarrassed to tell you about this one because it's so January 2015, but it's still one of my favorite Instagram feeds. It started as a play on the annoying "Omg, I literally can't even" phrase that I'm just going to go ahead and blame on Rachel Zoe. But they took it further by creating an account based on a skeleton, who is a skeleton because 'Omg, she couldn't even; she's literally dead'. It's genius and I fully expect this to go to development to become a sitcom. Fingers crossed!

Last one, Thrift Store Art. If I have to explain why I like this, you don't know me.

A good way to find new Instagram users is to click on the profiles of people you like, or think are funny, and scroll through who they're following. I find a lot of new users this way. I also follow a lot of companies, and by companies, I mean stores, magazines, bloggers, websites, chefs, bands, etc.

For my Nashville readers, there are a ton of local businesses on Instagram:

Billy Reid Nashville
White's Mercantile
Pony Show Nashville
Vinnie Louise
Dino's Restaurant
Red Kite Bikes
Hattie B's
3st of the Month
Belcourt Theatre
Eli Suzann
Noble Springs Dairy
Biscuit Love Nashville
Good Wood Nashville
Hail Nashville
Mas Tacos
Riffs Fine Street Food
H. Sean Brock
Holler Design
Hey Rooster General Store
Husk Nashville
Third Man Records
Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint
The Peach Truck
Otaku South
PR Butcher
Yeast Nashville
Parnassus Books
Barista Parlor
Ryman Auditorium
Imogene + Willie
Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
Rolf and Daughters

Now, go forth and 'Gram!

March 23, 2015

How To Only Wash Your Hair Once A Week

It started innocently enough. I clicked an article on Pinterest titled, 6 Mistakes You're Making When You Wash Your Hair. Then that led me to this article on Bustle where they list step number one as, stop washing your hair. Yes... Tell me more.

I haven't cut my hair since February of 2014, it's color-treated, and I swim. So yeah, you could say my hair is dry, which makes me an ideal candidate for dreadlocks not washing my hair. I'm on my third week of only washing my hair once a week and I swear, my hair is healthier.

Here's how I'm making one wash a week last. I swim on Mondays, so that's when I wash my hair. My hair looks nice and normal Monday-Wednesday. On Thursday, I'll wash my bangs, which tricks the casual observer into thinking my hair is clean. Nope, just my bangs. I may use a little dry shampoo if needed. On Friday, I get in the shower and rinse my hair (no shampoo) and put conditioner on the ends, then reapply product and style as usual. It looks like brand new hair! For a day. Shit starts to get real on Saturday. I have to either amp up the dry shampoo or do another rinse cycle. Oddly, my best hair of the week is Saturday night. Sunday is rough, but no one sees me, so I just embrace my inner dirty hippy and go with it.

Tricks of the trade: buns, dry shampoo and not touching your hair. If you're a hair twirler/stroker, you're going to have to sit on your hands, especially towards the end of the week. You can't touch hair that hasn't been washed in 5-6 days.

The one day a week I wash my hair, I also deep condition it. I use this. And I use this if I rinse later in the week. I've also stopped combing through my hair when I get out of the shower. Instead, I took the advice in the article and comb through it in the shower while it's wet and then leave it alone.

I'm using two different dry shampoos right now, Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo and Dove Dry Shampoo. I bought the fancy Amika because it smells so good, but I'm kind of hooked on the $4 Dove. Next in line is Suave Keratin Infused Dry Shampoo, which everyone on Instagram raves about. Target was out of it, so I'm still on the hunt.

Questions? Concerns? I feel like you are going to have a lot of concerns about me only washing my hair once a week. And to you I say, don't hate the player, hate the game.

March 14, 2015

Birchbox Review: January

The Birchbox game was pretty on point in January. It may not look like much, but these little samples delivered. Here's what I got.

Manna Kadar Lip Locked - All of Me, $24

Once I figured out how open this, which took a surprisingly long time, I fell in love. Contrary to the almost nude color of the cap, the actual gloss is a deep berry color. But spring berry, not fall berry. It's peppy. It doesn't stay on "all day" as advertised, but it stays on plenty long for a gloss, and a heavy pigmented gloss at that. I love this. I'm buying it. I'm interested in the brighter colors, too, Siren and Manna Babe.

Curl Keeper Gel, $17.50

I was initially aggravated at this because it looked cheap and dumb, but this shizz is legit. I applied it wet and then dried my hair with a diffuser. It really did keep my curls from frizzing. My hair was super curly and bouncy, in a good way. If you have curly hair, I recommend trying this. I tend to wear my hair more wavy than curly, but this makes me want to wear my hair curly more.

Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm SPF 45+, $39

I feel like every time I turn around, I'm getting another Dr. Jart BB cream sample, but I don't care because they're all so good! I haven't bought one yet because I get so many samples, plus I have a full-size bottle of Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer. If I ever run out, it'll be hard to decide between Laura Mercier and Dr. Jart. These BB creams have more coverage than my tinted moisturizer, and they feel good on my face, which I like. To be continued!

Harvey Prince Hello Liquid Loofah, $22

So this "liquid loofah" is supposed to be used sans loofah. The directions say to smooth directly onto damp skin, work into a lather, and rinse away. Who touches their own body? I'm not washing my body with my hands. Gross! I squeezed this onto a loofah and commenced scrubbing a couple layers of epidermis away and it worked great - very moisturizing. I love the scent of everything in this product line. I'm not buying this because I don't need a $22 body wash, but I like it.

Essential Elements Wake Up Rosemary Body Lotion, $19

I got the body wash version of this recently and loved it, so I was excited to see this little bottle in my box. It's almost impossible to use as body lotion because of the sample container, so I'm using it as hand lotion. I've been putting it on when I get into bed at night, which is in direct conflict with the "wake up" product description. Whatever, it's a nice, relaxing scent for me, and I like it when I'm powering down for the night. The scent is really strong, but I'm fine with that. It's not as moisturizing as a legit hand cream, but it's moisturizing. I like it.

March 9, 2015

Weekend Wrap Up: Weekly Goals Edition

I'm not feeling these Weekend Wrap Up posts anymore. So instead of telling you what I did this weekend, how about I share what I wrote for my to do list this week? Last year, I bought my first Erin Condren life planner and used it to track my Ironman 70.3 Augusta training. I bought my second one this year to track what I thought was going to be another year of Ironman 70.3 training. Turns out, not so much. The first page of every week has a section for goals and notes. Here's what I wrote this morning.

Weekly Goals and Notes:

quit 70.3 training

eat out less

drink more

think about new fitness goals
-hire trainer?
-become yoga instructor?
-join a gym?

I also spent an hour making sure I own all the right Nicki Minaj songs. Why didn't anyone tell me she is an amazing, hilarious, filthy rapper? It's like no one knows me at all. In related news, I also bought the entire back catalogue of Drake, Beyonce and Katy Perry. I was missing a lot of Beyonce albums, y'all. THANK GOD that's taken care of. John's torn between continued disgust in my taste in music and pride in that I paid for something on the internet.

If you want more weekend activity, find me on Instagram and Twitter. Related, why aren't more of you on Twitter? I need more people to follow than Kim Kardashian.

March 4, 2015

Plank A Day Challenge

Back-tracking a little, in January, I did my first do-something-every-day challenge. My internet friend Laura challenged all of her Instagram followers to do a plank every day for a month. Challenge accepted! Strength training, particularly core work, is a key part of triathlon training. You need a strong core to sit on a bike for four hours.

Here's the day-by-day of how it went down.

Jan. 1 - 1:35
Jan. 2 - 1:40
Jan. 3 - 1:45
Jan. 4 - 1:50
Jan. 5 - 1:55
Jan. 6 - forgot!
Jan. 7 - 1:00 (lot of planks in AM strength class)
Jan. 8 - 2:00
Jan. 9 - 2:05
Jan. 10 - 1:30 (arms extended)
Jan. 11 - 2:05
Jan. 12 - 2:10
Jan. 13 - 2:15
Jan. 14 - forgot
Jan. 15 - 2:20
Jan. 16 - 2:25
Jan. 17 - 2:30*
Jan. 18 - 2:00
Jan. 19 - forgot
Jan. 20 - 2:45
Jan. 21 - 2:50
Jan. 22 - 3:00
Jan. 23 - 3:15
Jan. 24 - 3:30
Jan. 25 - 3:35
Jan. 26 - 3:40
Jan. 27 - 3:50
Jan. 28 - planks in AM strength class
Jan. 29 - 4:00
Jan. 30 - 4:15
Jan. 31 - 4:30

*I did that one sauced in the middle of John's birthday party. True story.

This was an impromptu decision I made scrolling Instagram one night, so I didn't go to Pinterest looking for plans. I just decided to see how long I could hold it the first time and then increase by five seconds a day. In the last week, I wanted to shoot for a solid five minutes, so I started increasing by 15-30 seconds.

The trick is to do the plank while listening to music. Once I figured that out, it became a lot easier. My go-to plank song is "Shut Up and Let Me Go" by The Ting Tings. That song is 2:51, so my goal for awhile was to hold the plank for the length of the song. It helped so much. I highly recommend doing it this way.

Benefits? Results? Yes! My core got stronger, which improved my posture, swimming and yoga practice. Also? My clothes got looser. I swear, it flattened my stomach.

As soon as the month was up, we went to L.A., so I kind of just stopped cold turkey. I'd like to keep doing planks. I don't know if every day is the answer, but maybe three times a week. I'll report back.

P.S. While I was doing these, I came up with all these terrible plank puns. You're welcome.

Plank it; plank it real good
Plank what your mama gave you
If you've got it, plank it
You make planking fun
Plank on through to the other side
Plankin' - I plank it to the east, and I plank it to the west...

March 2, 2015

Weekend Wrap Up: Organize It Edition

My friend, and graphic designer to the stars, Meg, bought a totally rad new house in East Nashville and invited us ladies over to check it out. I have a huge crush on Meg's new digs and won't rest until my entire house is painted grey.

You know some days you wake up and your brain's like, 'Not today, bitch'? Saturday was one of those days. I published this post about maybe not doing my race, which begged the question, if I'm not doing the race, am I still going to ride my trainer for an hour? Turns out, no. But then I sat on the couch and beat myself up for not riding my trainer. Then I started eating. Then I closed the curtains, laid down on the couch and started watching House of Cards. Thankfully Carolyn texted and asked if I wanted to go shopping. Yes! Yes I do.

I was on a quest for acrylic makeup organizers, but needed to expand my search beyond Nashville West and Bellevue, so we went to Rivergate. We hit that Rivergate TJ Maxx HARD. I think we were in there for three hours, #2Legit2Quit. Then we went to Goodwill where I scored this vintage Pendleton blazer. I tried it on, then decided I didn't want it and set it down, but Carolyn made me go back and get it, and after looking at these pictures, I'm glad she did. I don't know what I was thinking (probably that I was hungry), but good save C-Bass!

My entire existence hinged on whether or not I worked out on Sunday. The only answer was to do the GD run, so without giving it another thought, I got dressed and drove to Belle Meade Blvd. I ran 7 miles. Alone. In the rain. I rewarded myself with Tequila's. John and I feasted on fajitas, and not just any fajitas, Fajitas Texanas, because sometimes you have to splurge for those two pieces of shrimp.

When I'm stressed out or working through a big decision, I clear my mind by tackling an organization project. I typically organize existing systems, like shoes, scarves, jewelry, etc. But sometimes I have to go buy new systems and re-work the whole thing. I've been real pissed off at my makeup zone lately. I need to see it all in one place. And I need acrylic organizers.

I realized these suckers exist all over the place, but the ones I found were either the wrong style, or the right style, but broken. I finally found what I wanted at the Rivergate TJ Maxx. So I sat at the dining room table yesterday, pulled all my makeup out of everywhere and organized it into this thing. It was very cathartic. I only kept what I actually wear, or new samples from Birchbox that I haven't tried yet. I threw away a ton of stuff and made a give-away bag of stuff I've only used once or twice. I feel so much better!

February 28, 2015

A List

I present to you, a list.

Yes, keep doing it:

You don't quit things.
You paid for it.
If you quit, you'll regret it.
That one time you did it, you loved it.
Them legs though.

No, you don't have to do that thing anymore:

You don't want to.
Your heart's not in it.
You don't know why you're doing it.
This weather SUCKS.
You miss weekends.
You're realizing you have other goals that need time and attention, oh you know, like that business you started.

I am debating dropping out of Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga. Los Angeles did something to me. I can't quit thinking about how there are other ways to live a healthy lifestyle that don't involve 12 hours a week of training. I still want to exercise, and run half marathons, and hell, I still want to do triathlons. I just don't know if I want to do this 70.3 distance anymore. Maybe instead, I'm a power walker, or a yoga instructor, or just someone whose knees don't hurt all the time.

I've been talking about this to everyone everywhere every day, and a friend told me that A) I am one of three people he knows right now wanting to drop out of this race, and B) not to make a decision in this weather, that if on a sunny, 60-degree day, I hate riding my bike, then yes, quit.

I'm not making a decision yet. The 'wait until the weather is better' advice is legit, and three more weeks of indoor training won't kill me. But y'all, I am not feeling this race.

To be continued.


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