January 18, 2016
The majority of people around me have pretty straight hair. Maybe with a slight bend in them. Straight, sleek hair is desirable and all hair products try to help with that. And that’s why most of the curly humans amongst us only know the straight way to treat hair. Just like I did up until last year.
You have to brush it is what you learn as a kid. You have to straighten the waves first, and then curl them properly, that’s what hair stylists have been telling me. But go figure, that’s just not how curly hair works.
This is a short story about howÂ the Internet helped me convert my scraggly waves into healthy curlsÂ and I am planning on spreading the word. Everybody needs to know this – straight haired mom’s of curly girls, traditional hair stylists who want their curly clients to come back. If you know a curly person, you have to get your friend to try it. Not because how you look is everything that matters, but feeling good about yourself does make a difference. And many curly people do not feel good about their frizzy pouf, but instead fry or brush their hair straight every day.
I’m gonna try to boil this curly recipe down to the basics because there are plenty of other detailed resources online that are all linked to this wiki. Here it goes – Three basic principles of treating wavy, curly, or coily hair better:
- Moisturize the crap out of your hair.
- Shape those ringlets.
- Preserve that shape.
- Use sulfate-freeÂ shampoos. Sulfates dry out the hair a lot and remove all natural oils, causingÂ the scalp to produce even more oils. It takes a few weeks for the scalp to regulate, but afterwards you will get at least an additional day out of your hair without it getting greasy.
- Some curly people even just scrub their scalp with a light conditioner instead of shampoo. It’s called co-washing. Personally, I alternate sulfate free shampoo and co-washing.
- Because sulfate-free shampoos can’t fully remove silicones from the hair, now you’ll also have to find all silicone free hair products for conditioning and styling that rely more on natural oils.
- Use lots of conditioner on the length of the hair. Like tons. So much that your hair feels like slippery wet seaweed before you rinse it out.
- Don’t use a terry cloth towel to dry the hair because it removes too much water. Instead, just blotting it for a minute with a microfiber towel or your husband’s old T-shirt works well. It should still be pretty wet for styling.
- After washing and conditioning, the moisture needs to be locked into the hair. This is where every hair has different needs and you’ll have to find out by experimenting what combination of product works for you. I add leave-in conditioner, and then lots of strong hold gel, because my hair is super porous and otherwise gets very frizzy quickly.
Shape. A.k.a don’t brush!
- Curly hair should never ever be brushed. Especially not when wet or before styling. Wet hair breaks too easily and dry brushed curly hair looks messy, frizzy, and big:
- Curly hair naturally clumps together in strands, don’t try to fight it. Even the artificially curled hair that everybody wants looks like that. See:
- So, don’t try to separate the clumps. There is absolutely no reason to do so.Â Instead, detangle your hair while you wash it and it’s smothered in conditioner. At that point it doesn’t take more than gentle finger-combing to get any tangles out.
- In order to form the clumps, just gently scrunch your completely wet hair with a cotton T-shirt after the shower. Don’t dry it too much. As long as there is still moisture, hair naturally clumps together in strands.
- Again, don’t separate those strands. Apply styling products only by smoothing over the hair and gently scrunching in. No raking or combing in.
Keep the Shape
- Now, to set the curls, I like to wrap my hair in a plop while I’m getting dressed and make my face presentable.
- Afterwards, air drying is usually best.
- When it’s too cold to air dry, you can use a hairdryer with a diffuserÂ to avoid head freeze. The diffuser slows down the air stream to keep the curls in shape and you can apply the warm air directly to the roots to give them extra lift.
- After the hair is 100% dry and depending on what product you used, the hair might be stiff and crunchy from the gel. It looks weird, feels weird, and is weird:
- But that’s how gel works. It forms a cast around the strands to seal the moisture in while it slowly dries without getting frizzy. Then you just scrunch the crunch out and the results are shiny and soft curls.
- Now, the only downside of nice curly hair is that you try to avoid anything that could mess it up. LikeÂ wearing hats, or laying down for naps. But sleeping is inevitable and what works great for longer hair is to put it in a pineapple above your head over night:
- Happy second day hair, happy husband, happy new year:
August 23, 2014
Housetour 2014 Upstairs
It’s been over 3 years that we lived in our beloved home. Much has changed, much will still change, and we are happy to be in this cozy place that has become truly ours. It is still constantly transforming and adapting to our ever changing needs. At this point we are planning to stay in this house roughlyÂ until Milo is done with elementary school, so another 5-6 years. The neighborhood and the community is just too great to leave and the elementary school is right across the street. Eventually however, we would like to move into a single family house with a garage and our own yard. With that in mind we are trying to make mostly cosmetic changes that take the house from old country to fresh contemporary on a low budget, so that it will sell easily and hopefully for a profit.
Some of the updates we are making throughout the house are:
- Paint all trim bright white instead of cream color
- Change all brass light fixtures to white, black, or silver
- Swap out all brassy wobbly door hardware to brushed nickel
- Remove nasty old carpet from main level and basement and replace with wood floors and new darker carpet
- Repaint rooms to a more gray based coordinated palette instead of tan and red.
Other than that it’s really just some major decorating. Look at this evolution of a home.
April 27, 2014
You’ve Been Served
So, about 3 months ago I had written up that long post about how I made over our old dining room buffet and then it didn’t save and all was lost and I never wanted to write again. Not really. But then I decided to start on our staircase renovation, so instead of typing everything up again I started scraping off caulk hours and hours on end. A full post on that coming soon. Maybe.
So now without any patience to go into the buffet details again, let me just throw these picture at you:
I know, I know, doesn’t look too bad from far. But when you look closer it was really obvious cheap laminate, not actual wood. And said plastic foil started to peel off on one side, so it had to be done.
I used chalk paint (color “French Linen”) for the first time and while it’s not as magical as some DIY people out there make it look like (you still need to sand and multiple coats), it really creates a thick solid cover that should last for another couple of decades.
And then it was Christmas.
February 16, 2013
Fanciest Closet In Da House
Before, I was just a messy and boring wire closet. Now I am much fancier, colorful, and organized. Check me out:
And some more fancy schmanzy before-and-after pictures:
This is where we left you off last time:
The first step in customizing our master closet was painting it a custom color. The reality is that I was too cheap to buy new paint, when we had three cans of leftover paint sitting in the basement. So, I threw some yellowish white, medium gray-blue, and navy blue together, and ended up with half a gallon of this muted blue (just a little lighter than the picture):
Very similar to the shade that I was gonna get at the store.Â The amount of paint was just enough to paint all the walls and backboards of the bookcases. Up next was assembling the shelves. Initially I was gonna go super budget and just get one bookcase on each side, plus some rods to build something like this:
But then I decided to go all out on this project. Just because I had been waiting for this closet for so long and didn’t want to regret any cheap choices that I wasn’t totally happy with. Also I realized that two of those bookcases would fit perfectly in the space. So we got a total of 4 Ikea Billy bookcases, the deeper kind so that all clothes would comfortable fit.
Lincoln’s side was pretty straight forward. For the hanging part of it I got some extendable rods at the hardware store and left all optional shelves out.
On my side we had to hack it a little bit because I needed some taller space for dresses. So we cut the middle board in half, got a laminated board for the center from Lowes (they cut it to the right size and the color and finish was already close enough to the Billy’s so that it was all set to go), and with the help of my handy dandy husband put it all together. Before assembly we had drilled a hole through the center divider so that the rod would just slide through to both sides.
In order to fit both shelves next to each other I had to take the quarter round trim out, so putting that back in will be next on the list. Along with some other detail work:
Paint the walls a grayishÂ blue Hack and install white Billy bookcases from IKEA Build in some racks to maximize space usage
- Install trim around the shelves
Get some nice storage bins for small things like socks Bring in a tall mirror and an ottoman to sit on Get a prettier laundry hamper and trash can
- DIY some custom lamps
- DIY a jewelry organizer for the wall
- DIY an organizer for Lincolnâ€™s pocket stuff
- Find a solution to temporarily hold clothes that will be worn again
- Get and hang some wall art
- Maybe a rug
Do the happy dance!
As you can see we already made some progress on accessorizing and dancing as well.
Here is our new hamper ($15 Home Goods) and trash can ($15 Target).
The storage ottoman is from our foyer where we will be adding a storage cabinet instead. Now it is serving to hold my bags and as a seating bench to put on socks and stuff.
This mirror was previously residing in our bedroom, but for the purpose of fully getting ready in the closet without having to wake up the other sleeping person (Linc and I are on very different sleep schedules) it will also find a spot somewhere in the closet.
There you have it , my new most favorite room in the house.
February 1, 2013
Undoing The Mess
Welcome back to LincNic’s home renovation show! After a 5 month baby break we are back in business. Not quite full force yet, but with a totally manageable project – our walk-in closet.Â I have been waiting to tackle this project ever since we moved in and am especially excited about it since Â this is not only about making a space look nicer, but also more functional. It’s no secret that I am a sucker for beautiful things, but most of you also know that functionality is even more important to me. With little time and money to spare, I like to have my life and household organized to maximum efficiency. If there is an empty corner in my house, I’ll take a storage ottoman or additional cabinet over a decorative vase any time. Form follows function, people!
And this builder grade closet just wasn’t cutting it for me. Yeah, it’s nice and big, but what good is that if I can’t use half of the space? The main conflict here is that I am not a clothes hanger, but a folder. It’s way faster for me and the sweaters don’t get stretched out. So, if you look at my side of the closet, there were only two shelves to hold my stacks of clothes – only one of them really within my reach. And a lot of empty space in between.
Lincoln’s side was dealing with other issues. He is neither a clothes hanger, nor a folder, but a putting-them-downer. Whatever has been taken off the shelves or racks, just ends up laying around somewhere.
We tried to make up for the lack of shelf space by using this big ass dresser which is taking up half of the closet.
On top of the dresser we don’t have enough organized space to hold all my earrings and the stuff that spills out of Lincoln’s pockets every evening.
The trash can is ugly black plastic and the black hamper so deep that I almost fall in head first every time I try to find those black socks in there.
So, what was the logical first step?Â Creating a hot mess in our bedroom.
Then it was time to rip all the stupid wire shelving out and make some swiss cheese.
Why, you ask? Because some genius decided to use threadless screws aka nails together with bolts to attach the shelves to the walls. So instead of being able to screw them out, my only option was to pull as hard as possible and try not to tear down my interior walls completely.
Two rounds of spackling ensued and left me with this blank slate.
Now this is where the real fun starts. Here’s the plan:
- Paint the walls a grayishÂ blue
- Hack and install white Billy bookcases from IKEA
- Build in some racks to maximize space usage
- Get some nice storage bins for small things like socks
- Bring in a tall mirror and an ottoman to sit on
- Get a prettier laundry hamper and trash can
- DIY some custom lamps
- DIY a jewelry organizer for the wall
- DIY an organizer for Lincoln’s pocket stuff
- Find a solution to temporarily hold clothes that will be worn again
- Get and hang some wall art
- Maybe a rug
- Do the happy dance!
July 31, 2012
Who would have thought that my man is so susceptible to advertising? When I picked up a paint swatch for our basement accent wall that was called “Man Cave”, he was all of a sudden so set on using that color even though it was way darker and brownish than what we were looking for. He also bought dog snacks for his parent’s dogs just because they are called “Milo’s Kitchen”. Just name things something that are meaningful to him, and he will buy them.
But side notes aside – this post is about the preliminary finished status of our big basement makeover. Here is a quick reminder of what it used to look like and the plans we had for it:
And here is the for-now-final result:
This project was really more Lincoln’s than mine, since I was getting too pregnant to help with any laborious work, he spends way more time down there anyway, and wanted it to become his very own man cave. A space where he can make the manlier design choices and that is totally technically geared up. So all I had to do was motivating him to get things done before baby arrives, help to strip down some wall paper, and moderate his design just a little bit.
The wall paper removal and painting was the more tedious and painful part, but we had a pretty good system down (learned from the guest room makeover) and managed to finish it within two weeks (working on it almost every evening). For the walls we chose a light grey that was supposed to be color-matched to the guest bedroom walls, but turned out a little darker and blueish. Oh well, close enough for now. Therefore the darker accent wall also had to have a blueish grey undertone. We chose “Iron Frame” from Valspar and had it successfully color matched to Olympic No-VOC.
Before painting however, we had to add some more outlets to the room. There had been only three accessible outlets so far and they were both overloaded by numerous computer and TV components. This required Lincoln to take down the bottom half of one basement wall board, but the good news was that this extra step enabled us to inspect insulation levels and we were also relieved to find no mold or other moistures issues in the basement even though both our neighbors’ basement had been flooded recently.
Lincoln also added wiring for the future surround sound movie theater setup he has envisioned and laid the cables for that behind the baseboards around the room.
Furniture and Features
We bought all new furniture (except for the desk) from IKEA and the couch was a sale item from a local furniture store.
- This couch was a total score and is super comfy with memory foam, dual recliners, and all.
- We also concealed our messy storage shelf for all office and hobby related items. Considering the limited time and energy we had for this project we did not create a real built in closet as originally planned, but hung up a simple curtain solution from IKEA to make the mess disappear when needed.
- Lincoln bought himself this long-wanted dart board cabinet. I am still trying to convince Lincoln to paint this thing the same blue-grey color as the accent wall to make it look less country.
- This vintage red Vinyl chair was a find at Goodwill. It even has a storage compartment in the seat – just to my liking. You can never have enough storage space.
- One of the long IKEA Expedit book cases with boxes to house Milo’s toys. They are now organized by similarity and the labels I cut out of sticky felt indicate even to illiterate little toddlers which toys to find in which box and in which one they need to be put back in. Eventually I might add some cushions on top of it for additional seating.
- A smaller play table. Yes, that’s right, I finally sold that big hunk of ugly orange laminate train table. This little one provides enough space for drawing, building block houses, and driving cars on it while fitting in much nicer. Whenever I get to it I will add some table toppings for different activities. Maybe a thin chalk board, a lego base plate, a traffic pattern, or other ideas as seen on this pin board. The trains are now being set up on the floor whenever needed and we can create much larger configurations.
- Also, check out these cool baskets made out of woven recycled newspaper ads from China. They are nicely speckled and colorful to bring in some pop. And they fit perfectly into our side tables to hold magazines, remotes, etc.Â And yes, it totally bothers the color perfectionist in me how the purplish blue of the toy bins does not match anymore with how the grey-blue paint of the wall turned out. But I will not spend any more money right now, so suck it up, Nicola.
- Lincoln’s desk remained as the only old piece of furniture, but was upgraded with a self-made hutch and a giant contraption to hold his two monitors, before it moved to a more suitable location on the short wall by the laundry room.
For now the furniture arrangement is still focused on the TV, but it will change a little bit once the home theatre including projector and big screen will be implemented. The sofa will then move to the large light grey wall in the back, and the screen will go up above the toy bench.
The color scheme for the basement is quite different from our upstairs. Much brighter, colorful, and saturated. And there is even some red involved – my so not favorite color. But what can I say … the basement is a whole different zone. A man cave. And it is manly enough to be able to handle some red.
After deciding on a blueish grey backdrop of the walls, some more color was definitely called for and we found inspiration in these pictures painted by Milo:
The red, orange, and yellow, make for a nice contrast to the cool blue. I also used one of Milo’s paintings for this first official piece of man cave art:
Just use a kids painting (ideally let them use only three colors, otherwise everything will turn brown eventually), put it in the printer, print some outlines on it, cut them out, and glue on a wood board from the IKEA As-Is section. This board cost me only $1 and the fish were free. See, I couldn’t have painted such a completely random pattern on the fish even if I tried.
We will definitely need lots and lots more of some cool art for the huge amount of walls down there.
Maybe arranged like this photoshopped vision:
With some cool art from this website.
Still missing and on the definite list to be done:
- Improve the lighting situation. The current ceiling fixtures are still too dim and in impossible locations.
- Get some lamps for the side tables for moody lighting when no complete illumination is needed.
Phew, our biggest project yet. So glad to be done for now.
June 23, 2012
Bringing Outdoors In
Remember this post from a while back when Milo’s room got cleared of the baby crib and other nick nacks? Well, of course I didn’t leave it all empty like this.
I’m loving me some blank canvas for more home decorations! The way Milo’s bedroom theme has been evolving it is now clear that it is all about the outdoors. It started with some baby froggy gifts, then came the tree, the tent, and now we are all about camping outdoors. So, here is where we went with some more upgrades to his big boy room.
First, we went to IKEA, bought the cheapo Fjellse bed frame for $40, hacked it and stained it.
I wanted the thing to have a footboard as well as a headboard for symmetry, plus the headboard didn’t need to be quite that high. So Linc built a footboard out of some 2x2s, shortened the headboard and attached them both to the bed. Then it got stained brown to match Milo’s bench.
Since the temporary play tent solution worked so well to transition Milo from crib to bed, I decided to make him a new big tent. This version is really easy to build:
1. Find a straight branch and attach it to the ceiling with string and loop hooks.
2. Wrap a dragonfly light string around the branch
3. Throw a couple of yards of cheap fabric (got these 6 yards for $18 at Joanns, but really only needed 5) over the branch.
I also ordered some of these bed bumpers (for some reason their price went up quite a bit, I got them for under $20) that are placed under the bedding and prevent any active movers to fall out of bed while they are still learning to sleep like a big boy.
Milo loves hanging out under the dragonfly lights in the evening. They make for a really cozy atmosphere in his room.
The next step was to build a night stand to go with the new bed that could hold some of Milo’s essentials like his favorite good night books, a drink, his frogs, and his Gro-Clock. This sleep training clock is the best on the market in my opinion and also acts as a night light. See my more detailed review on this purchase here.
So I got two wooden crates for half price ($15 for both) and stained them the same brown as the bed. Afterwards I just stacked them on top of each other, which is more stable than expected and leaves the opportunity to use them separately again in the future.
Then Milo helped me paint this little bird house yellow that now adds some dimension to his painted tree:
The biggest improvement, however, is almost invisible in all the pictures, yet makes such a big difference to the room: Milo finally has a real ceiling light. One that turns on when you hit the switch at the door. Nothing special you might think, but somehow the previous homeowners had never installed it. Instead in both kid’s rooms (as well as the master and the living room) the light switch controls a wall outlet. But since we are not a big fan of having floor lamps standing around and they really aren’t an option in kid’s rooms where the plug can be pulled and the whole thing can topple over, we have been sort of living in the dark for a bit.
Until one warm day my handy hubby climbed up into the attic a.k.a sauna, ran some wires, and then installed this light fixture in Milo’s room that we had taken out of the guest bedroom in the basement:
Yeah, it does not look crazy cool, but it was free, and it makes light. Which is really a big help in reading books and getting the boy ready for bed. It is not said and done that I might not upgrade it to a DIYed lamp shade at some point in the future, but right now we are all happy with the way Milo’s room works and how it offers him a cozy comfort zone. Believe it or not, the other day Milo went up to his room and put himself down for a nap all by himself.