Lessons Learned after Week Two of Upgrade Challenge
Lesson #1: Once you start reading the news it is awfully hard to stop.
It’s official, I’m a news junkie. Politics, economics, and current affairs – I read it all. I’ve become obsessed with my TIME magazines, my VICE online media, my daily media brief from theSkimm and my tried and true shows like Colbert Report & The Daily Show (yes, even with Stewart away, Oliver is holding down the fort nicely). So here are my recommendations for some awesome media sites:
• When you want to Skim:
I highly recommend signing up for the daily email blast from theSkimm. It gives you some nice, concise national and world headlines each day with plenty of links to investigate further into stories of interest.
• To detect a Vice:
With video titles like, “The Icelandic Skin-Disease Mushroom Fashion Fiasco” and “Fresh Off the Boat: Back in Taiwan” this investigative journalism meets online media meets pushing every boundary they can find website has become a favorite of mine. Every video introduces me in great detail to people and cultures and cities and events I have very little exposure to in my thoroughly easy, first world, Midwest American life – and I can’t get enough.
Lesson #2: Shampooing your hair can feel like heaven.
I endeavored for a full two weeks using the no-poo method of maintaining my mane. I washed less often and when I did deem it was time to purge the grease from my scalp I would use a mixture of baking soda and water to do the deed. Here are some of my reflections regarding the ‘no-poo’ method.
• I like suds. I shampooed and conditioned this morning and it was like heaven to my hair. Do I need to wash my hair as often as I did in the past – absolutely not, this is a lesson learned. But when it comes time to lather, rinse and repeat between the smell of my shampoo and the silky feeling left by my conditioner it is akin to getting a pedicure or a massage – exhilarating and feels like a special treat.
• I’m into the no-poo. I realize this statement might seem confusing considering I JUST professed my lusty relationship with shampooing my hair, but I’ve really learned a lot about my hair maintenance requirements during this journey. I don’t really need to shampoo as often as I had and even more so, taking showers almost daily really was doing some damage to my locks. I tend to work up a pretty dominating sweat everyday which is why in the past my desire to jump into the shower and rinse away the sweat from my head was so important. But I’ve learned some tricks of the trade which have assisted me in prolonging a necessary shower. One trick is using the dry shampoo on days when I haven’t sweated quite as much – would never work after a spin class. Another tip has become a ritual for me in the evenings. I purchased a bamboo/boar’s hair brush and brush through my dry hair in the evening. The brush redistributes the sebum from my scalp into the rest of my hair which I found really did help with keeping my scalp from becoming too greasy or the ends of my hair from becoming too dry. Sebum can keep your hair and skin supple (thanks wiki), by brushing you’re kind of helping your skin regulate the amount your scalp produces.
• I love my hair! This process has been a victory for my overall appreciation of my hair. I’ve found a nice balance of keeping my scalp clean and healthy and toxin free while also giving myself some maintenance grace. I do love my curling irons and straighteners, but I have embraced my naturally wavy locks and there is definitely a time and a place when I can rock the wave – hello sunny weekends in the pool.
• Now the fun begins. I’ve decided to make my own shampoo for the days in between my need for suds. On days when I just need to lather I’m currently shopping non-toxic, chemical free possibilities and I’m open to suggestions for anyone in the know! I’d also prefer they be vegan – something like the Unite brand my salon uses. The first shampoo recipe I’m going to make is made of coconut milk (you can buy it organic in a can) and aloe vera gel. You blend the two and pour into ice cube trays and then freeze. You can pop the frozen cubes into a freezer bag to have on hand when you’re ready to cleanse. I’ll report back on my results. I didn’t have many issues with an oily head while I was doing no-poo, instead my biggest struggle was really with how the baking soda mixture dried out my ends even when using ACV to provide some conditioning. I’m hoping this new shampoo option will keep the oil production on my scalp regulated without stripping my hair.
Lesson #3: The phrase, “it tastes like chicken” can even apply to cauliflower.
I tried to get creative with one of my vegan recipes this week and was able to create a remarkably similar crispy, orange chicken recipe using cauliflower instead of chicken. So the cauliflower still has its unique flavor, but when it softens a bit as you fry it in the batter and add the orange sauce with a kick it’s really the next best thing. Not to mention the added pleasure of knowing you are enjoying eating your veggies. You can read all about this recipe here and see photos too!