Friday, February 21


***I used to have a stand-alone page with all the experiments listed, but I decided to publish them as individual posts. Rather than flooding everyone's feed with all of them I've done to date published individually, this is what was already on the page and further ones will come with the experiment name in the post title.

Experiment: Vinegar Shower Cleaner:
- For:
Clean, shiny, sparkly showers.
- How to:
The original recipe calls for a 1:1 ratio of white vinegar to Dawn dish soap.  I used 1/4 C. of each, poured them both into a spray bottle, shook it up and sprayed it all over the shower: the walls, fixtures, the bottom of the tub, everything.  Left it on for 20 minutes, then came back and wiped it down with the rough side of a damp sponge and rinsed everything off.
- The Outcome:
I was surprised how well this worked.  Really, it was amazing.  I'm not just saying that; I was genuinely ah-mazed.  Nothing has ever cleaned my shower so well.  N-O-T-H-I-N-G.  In the past I have used organic cleaners, toxic death spray cleaners, everything you can imagine and nothing did as good a job as this combination.  Yes, it smelled like vinegar when I sprayed it and it sat.  But once I rinsed it down, the smell was pretty well gone leaving nothing but a light clean scent.  I have struggled to get that weird perma-film of scum off my shower and this is the first thing that has actually removed it.  Also? Our tub floor has that weird nooks-and-crannies thing going on for "safety" and nothing has ever been able to get down into the nooks and the crannies so I end up looking like I have a dismal gray spotted shower bottom.  This stuff got in there and it's ALL clean and shiny down there, kiddies.  No spots.  And the fixtures are super sparkling without streaks!
- Final Verdict:
I will never buy another shower cleaner again.  This is the ONLY thing worth using.

Experiment: The Banana Hair Treatment:
- For:
Soft, shiny, bouncy hair.  Lots of vitamins and moisture.
- How to:
Mashed bananas, a little bit of milk, a dab of honey.  Mix all together, apply to hair, leave on for 30 minutes, wash out.  
- The Outcome:
I tried this quite some time ago.  Word to the wise: if you're going to do a banana hair mask, "mashing" bananas is not the same thing as "whipping them into oblivion," which is what you should do if you try this.  Fail in this element and you WILL spend 1000 years washing this mess out and another 1000 picking tiny banana chunks out of your hair with a fine-tooth comb.
- Final Verdict:
Epic fail.

Experiment: Mayonnaise & Egg Hair Treatment:
- For:
Super soft, deeply moisturized hair.
- How to: 
Mayonnaise and egg, whipped together.  Apply, leave on for 10-15 minutes, rinse out.
- The Outcome:
If you think this mixture sounds gross, you're absolutely right.  I did this one also a long time ago, and I used miracle whip instead of mayo, but the point is this: you will wash - and wash - and wash - and wash to get that crap out of your hair.  You will scrub until you're ready to bust out some caustic industrial cleaner to get that stuff out - and the smell will still be there.  You'll have to wash some more because contrary to what people say - your hair WILL smell like the world's worst egg-salad sandwich.
- Final Verdict:
Just don't.  Seriously.

Experiment: The Baking Soda Exfoliating Scrub:
- For:
Baby soft, smooth skin.
- How to:
2 Tbsp. baking soda, add water and stir until a workable paste forms.  After washing face with normal cleanser, rub this stuff all over skin and neck for several minutes, rinse off thoroughly.
- The Outcome:
Whatever.  This worked okay, but it could have been better.  On very delicate skin, this may be a good exfoliating option.  My skin was smooth - but I get the same results from using a baby wash cloth and at least with that I don't have to mix and clean up.  
- Final Verdict:

Experiment: The Cornstarch Mineral Veil:
- For:
A cheap, green alternative to translucent powder.
- How to: 
Buy cornstarch.  Put in small container.  Use powder brush to apply pretty much exactly as you would a translucent face powder - swirl, tap, apply even and light.
- The Outcome:
While the look was good, this sucked every single drop of moisture out of my skin like it was trying to save up natural moisture for the war effort.  After three attempts, I had to give up.
- Final Verdict:
Do not attempt unless you have VERY oily skin.

Experiment: Towel-Freshening Rinse:
- For:
Towels that smell fresher and absorb water better.
- How to:
Start washing machine on hot wash.  Add 1 C. white vinegar.  (No detergent or fabric softener.)  Once totally diluted in the water, add towels.  Allow entire cycle to finish without anything else.  Start hot wash cycle again.  Add 1/2 C. baking soda.  Again, no detergent or softener.  Allow entire cycle to run through.  Dry towels as normal, no fabric softener.
- The Outcome:
This actually worked pretty well.  I was surprised by the total lack of static cling on my towels after finishing, as well as the fact that more lint came out of the dryer than normal. (What's that about?)  My towels didn't smell vinegar-y, but they did have a tinge of baking soda smell.  Not unpleasant, just different than I am used to.  They were not ultra-soft, but nor were they stiff or rough or scratchy.  Just clean, normal towels without extra stuff.  They felt how I imagine clothes might've felt back in "the olden days."  All in all, a success.
- Final Verdict:
Worth it do every so often for a "freshening up" of bathroom towels, which this did succeed in doing.  If you absolutely need fabric softener, use sheets in the dryer.
UPDATE: When I'm cleaning, I tear up old t-shirts, old dish towels, or old wash cloths and use those as washable/re-usable rags as opposed to paper towels.  (Except for wiping down the toilet.  I use Method Anti-Bac Wipes for that and similar overly disgusting messes.)  Anyway....the above rinse is AMAZING for washing my rags in.  I never use fabric softener for them anyway, and about once a month, I do this for my cleaning rags and bathmats and they come out smelling super fresh and clean!

Experiment: Vinegar Glass Cleaner:
- For:
Shiny, spot-free, streak-free mirrors and windows.
- How to:
2 C. water, 1/4 C. white vinegar, 1/2 tsp dish soap.  (The recipe said Dawn, but I'm sure you can pretty much use whatever you want, except maybe those Olay-infused soaps.) First, I halved this recipe because my spray bottle wasn't big enough for the full batch.  Second, I poured all ingredients into a cup and gave them a gentle stir, then poured into the spray bottle.  The whole thing took about 2 minutes.
- The Outcome:
Shiny, spot-free, streak-free mirrors and windows.  The vinegar smell lasts for about 5 seconds and evaporates.  I was extremely pleased with how sparkling my mirrors are.  The dish soap prevents the streaks that you normally get with a water/vinegar only mixture.
- Final Verdict:
The glass cleaner I will be using for the rest of my life.  Super cheap, super easy, and I don't have to worry about breathing in nasty-ass chemicals.  10 out of 10.  I absolutely recommend this recipe.

Experiment: Pan-on-Stove Humidifier:
- For:
A cheap alternative to investing in a humidifier.
- How to:
Get a large pot.  Put on a back burner.  I set my oven to between 7 & 8 so the water would never actually reach a full boil.  Let it sit as you go on about life.  Check on it every half hour to hour or so.
- The Outcome:
This was suggested by my stepmom, Carol after I spent an entire dinner complaining about my dry skin and eyes and crusty nose.  It works really well!  I do about 3 pots a day.  (Our air is really dry.)
- Final Verdict:
Definitely worth it.  Shawn and I are on a [supertight] budget right now, so investing in a humidifier was not going to happen.  Within two days of doing this, we both noticed our skin didn't feel quite so stripped and it helped both of us with or dry, bloody sinuses.  (I know it's gross, but that's winter in Michigan - sorry.)  Obviously you should check on the water - you can't just randomly leave the house or go to sleep with the water going on the stove.  Also, it's easy for us as we have no kids and Isabelle doesn't get on the counters.  Your situation may be different if you have little ones running around or if you have curious/fearless pets.  But it works for us.

Experiment: Lotion Hair Cream:
- For:
A cheap and easy alternative to hair smoothing creams.
- How to:
Pump a dime size of lotion of choice into your hands, rub in and smooth throughout hair.
- The Outcome:
Varied.  If I apply a dab of lotion to my hair when it's wet, my hair didn't really seem to like it.  It kind of weighed it down a bit.  Nothing terrible, it just didn't feel any better than doing nothing.  If I applied it when my hair was damp, it did seem to help the frizz a tiny bit, but not enough to warrant being a go-to solution.  Applied to dry hair, I got the best results.  It seemed to calm frizz and flyaways.  Not a ton, but enough to be workable.
- Final Verdict:
Good for giving a bit of taming/smoothing/texturizing to completely dried hair if it's naturally curly or frizzy.  Otherwise, probably not worth it.

Experiment: Beer Hair Rinse:
- For:
Soft, shiny, silky hair.  (According to everyone, ever.)
- How to:
Varies depending on sources.  Some advise letting it go flat, some advise not letting it go flat but keeping it at room temp., some sources say any beer will do, some advise darker ales.  Here's what I did:
Pulled a Bud-Light ('cuz that's all we had) out of the fridge and set it on the counter, let it go flat and rise to room temperature.  Took a shower and dumped the bottle on my head.
- The Outcome:
COLD!!!!  A beer may feel warm when you sip it, but if you're dumping that shit on your head in a nice steamy shower, it will feel like ice.  Also, about halfway through this experiment I wondered if the alcohol would deter any possible benefits I might get.  I let it sit on my hair for a bit and rinsed.  Of course my hair felt dry and tangled, so I conditioned before jumping out.
- Final Verdict:
No difference except that I spent an extra five minutes in the shower wasting water and the unfortunate experience of discovering the "room temp in the kitchen" vs. "room temp in the shower".  It could have been the brand I used, it could have been I didn't do it right.
Either way, I won't be repeating this experiment.

Tuesday, February 18

The House Always Wins

The House Wins from the album Oh No by OK Go

This weekend at work was one of those weekends.
It seemed like everything that could go wrong, did.
There were so many call-ins, I lost count.
We were slammed.
All of the managers (myself included) were feeling the pressure, the stress, the frazzle, the frustration.  
There were lots of everything you're doing wrong emails from the corporate big-wigs. You know the phrase "shit rolls down hill?"  What both annoys and amuses me is that at my work, it tends to be "shit accumulates in your in-box."  
That is to say, the corporate director emails his assistant and CC's all the other managers.  So the assistant emails the store manager and CC's all the other managers.  So the store manager emails you and CC's all the other managers.....of the exact. same. message. 

And then there's the replies, which also all get CC'd by everyone to everyone.
My work email ends up looking like some of digital M.C. Escher nightmare.

I'd like to make a note that I like my job a lot, I enjoy the people I work with, and it's crazy-cool to once again have full time, medical insurance, benefits, and truth be told, the hours aren't that bad. There are a lot of perks and if I hated it, I wouldn't do it.  But like I was just one of those.

Monday, February 10

Tax Season Questions

Recent questions I've been asked at work:

"What are W-2's?"

"So, how do I file taxes?'

"Um, what does that mean?"
(I asked someone to pick up the random detritus on the floor.)

"So like, you're saying companies charge you to do taxes for you? So like, you have to pay even after paying?"

God help me, the kids on my team make my day sometimes.

Wednesday, February 5

Two Conversations About Music and a Side Note

A song comes on at work.
Two younger cashiers are discussing who sings the song, one of them had forgotten and then was all "Oh yeah, I knew that, duh." 
The second was "Of course it's Colbie Caillat - who doesn't know this is Colbie Caillat?"
Me: I didn't. 
Second Cashier: Seriously?  How could you not?
Me: Are you familiar with Matchbox Twenty?
Second Cashier: Um, I don't listen to old music. 
Me: Well I don't listen to new music. 
(Not true, but I think I made my point.) 

A different conversation, featuring the first cashier from the above conversation: 
A song comes on, cashier says he loves likes that song, but likes the version Demi Lovato does better, because Demi Lovato is soooo great.  And he mentions how he listened to "Say Something" for like, four hours straight last night....personal stuff.  
Me: Ah, yes, we had a song like that when I was younger.  It was called "November Rain."
Cashier: .........?
Me: Guns N' Roses.
Cashier: .....I think I might've heard of them once. 

the big bang theory kaley cuoco frustrated penny facepalm

Side Note: 
You guys gave amazing an amazing response to my last post and I appreciate all the comments.  I will definitely continue to be work on being a little more open and trying to be a little braver & bolder.