New Shoes

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. . . and old shoes.  They are lost the exact same shoe, except I couldn’t find the old model number, which kinda irks me.  When I put those shoes on, they were as comfortable as if I had been wearing them for years – like old denim.  They were the first shoes I had bought in over a decade that were the right width (I have WIDE feet, and generally have to get a size or two larger than my actual foot just to get the width I need).  It made me think I could actually get my real shoe size.  I hated the style of the shoes (very orthopedic looking), but I quickly learned to ignore that in favor of shoes that actually FIT.

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But after 444 miles (according to my FitBit, so add some from before I got it), these shoes were ready to be replaced. The trip to Salt Lake City finally did them in.

The new shoes aren’t quite as perfect on the inside, and even more orthopedic looking on the outside – but they don’t cramp my toes, which can’t be said of 99% of shoes out there.  After 100 miles, they’ll be perfectly beat up and broken in. 🙂

(BTW – did you know that you should replace your shoes every 300-500 miles?  And if you are getting 10,000 steps in a day, on average, that means they should be replaced 4 times a year!)

Where did I run off to?

July, huh? Dang. It’s been a while. Sorry.

Partly what I have been doing all by myself is just having “summer brain” . With my kids home, it makes it so much harder for me to get anything not kid related done. And, not being a professional blogger making any money off this site, it definitely falls to the bottom of my priority list.

The two other things that have been sucking all my time away from me, though, is Girl Scouts and my health.

Last year I was one of two people on our Community Leadership Team (used to be Service Unit Managers, or Steering Committee). This year I am again, the beginning of a two year term. This eats quite a bit of time,but the real problem is that our Registrar retired at the end of last year. And nobody stepped up to fill the position. Or the Recruitment Specialist position. Or the Placement Specialist position. Which were all three what this woman did. We have nearly 900 girls in our Community, and our Council has given us a membership goal of nearly 1000 for this year. We can’t do that without a Registrar/Recruiter/Placement person. So I stepped up to share the job with one of my fellow CLT members. So July and August was a haze of trainings and paperwork and trying to get a handle on the new processes we were now in charge of.

Just trying to find out which troops want new girls this year is like pulling teeth.

Health is a little easier to explain. On June 25, I started a big adventure: to lose 200 pounds. I have been a solid size 28 for some time now, but I haven’t really had any health issues from my weight. I’m not diabetic, not pre-diabetic, have low blood pressure, and can out-hike my troop. I am a very good cook, and cook from scratch as much as possible. When I visited the nutritionist, she actually was asking me for recipes and only had concern about how much I ate, not what I ate.

But other than hiking and camping, which I don’t do every week unfortunately, my life is very sedentary. Or was. Everything I enjoy doing , is something you sit for: computer, sewing, jewelry making, etc. etc. So the nutritionist advised me to continue doing water aerobics, or some other low impact gym class 3 times a week, pushing myself but not straining myself; as well as walking 5-7 minutes after every meal.

Now I have a treadmill.

*grins*

I hate working out, but I love my treadmill, because it is getting me where I need to be. My husband and I looked for one that could hold my weight, and could help him with his triathlon training. It also has the ability to do a range of incline from 15 degrees to -3, and it has programs that take you along an actual trail, include visuals. Which also makes it perfect for helping me get in shape for hiking and eventually backpacking.

In the past two and a half months, I have lost 37 pounds. I figure it will take me about 2 years to get where I want to be size wise. And I hope to be in better shape than I have ever been. I’m going to be setting up a consultation with a trainer friend of mine in the next couple of weeks to help me with that goal.

But I don’t plan on putting my adventuring on hold until I get there.

In exactly 5 weeks, I will be sitting in the Salt Palace, listening to questions and discussion about the three voting topics at the National Council Session. I will have gotten up at 5:30 am to do an hour on one of the 4 treadmills in the fitness center at the hotel I am staying at, and still have time to shower and get nice looking before the Council Session starts. I will probably have lost another 10-15 pounds in that time, which might have dropped me another dress size. I will already have taken in some of the shirts I bought at the beginning of the summer that don’t fit me now. I will still have been squished on the plane ride to Salt Lake City, but maybe I didn’t need to ask for a seatbelt extender (which I totally recommend for any of you plus size ladies out there, I got one for my trip to Florida two years ago, and I am so glad I did!). I plan on being at the Adult Party and shaking my big butt, cuz it’s a good workout. 🙂 And fun. I hope to see you there.

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap

A while ago, I wondered if Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap was all that it was reported to be. From travel websites to camping websites, it is spoken of in the hushed tones reserved for holy relics.  I wanted to see how it stacked up as a travel product, and how it worked with my finicky hair and skin.

My hair is super fine and super straight.  We are talking so straight and flat that when I have tried to get perms in the past, they fell out by the end of the day.  It used to be that my usual hairstyle was waist length hair, twisted into a knot on the top of my head, easy and it doesn’t matter how thin it is.  (But people were always amazed when I took my hair down because it looks like it would be shoulder length when it is in a bun.)

My skin is red head fair (though my hair hasn’t been red since I was a baby), sensitive and freckled.  For some reason, my body has decided that my 30’s would be the perfect time to have major acne breakouts, instead of my teens.

20140614-082913-30553858.jpgI got a 2 oz. bottle of lavender to take on our trip to San Antonio in June, to see how I liked using just it in a hotel room.  I also wanted to see how much I used.  As you can see, using nothing but this soap for my hair, my body, and some light laundry duty for five days (showering everyday)  I used about half the bottle.  I enjoyed the very herby scent of the lavender, but it may not be for everyone – this is not sweet, but a true lavender smell.  San Antonio has hard water, similar to Houston; so the soap took some coaxing to lather up nicely, but it washed away very quickly and cleanly.  As suggested by several websites, I also used a conditioner to keep my hair my from getting completely dried out.

I also got an 8 oz. bottle of the peppermint scent, to use at home in a controlled environment.  I have to admit, I was curious about the peppermint zing I read about, too.  Well, yeah, it zings, allright!  Once you figure out how to lather up correctly, the longer you let the peppermint soap sit on your body, the more it feels cool and tingly. Especially anywhere you might have a cut or scratch.

I did not try it out as toothpaste.  I just couldn’t bring myself to put soap in my mouth.

My son also used the peppermint, and loves it – but he has a serious thing for peppermint in all forms.

So, my reactions?

  • Out of the bottle, in the shower, the scents are kind of intense, but they quickly fade as the soap gets washed down the drain.
  • I’m not sure I would recommend these as shampoo for people with already dry hair – they seriously strip all the oils off your hair!  And if you have normal hair, I definitely agree with using a conditioner every time.
  • But, that being said, it was amazing for my hair!  My hair dried very quickly without a blowdryer, and fluffed out as it dried – something which doesn’t normally happen, even with “volumizing” shampoos.  I got a pretty style without the need for gel, mousse, or hairspray – which all weigh my hair down and make me sweat when I go outside in the heat and humidity.
  • As a soap it worked as well as other soaps (I tend to use handmade goats milk soaps, or Ivory).  It didn’t make my skin crawl with dryness like Ivory, but it didn’t moisturize as well as the goats milk soap.
  • It didn’t make me break out any worse than I normally do, but I would not recommend using the peppermint for your face.  The fumes get very intense, and the peppermint oil in the soap is not fun to have that close to your eye area (I did not get any IN my eyes, but the delicate skin around them sure reacted!).  Look into “beezin” for info on why peppermint oil near the eyes is bad.

I am worried about taking it to the desert, though.  It worked well in a humid area, and I didn’t notice too much dryness with my skin or hair – but Utah will be a different story.  I remember that the way that first rush of desert air feels when you leave the airport – my gills hurt just thinking about it! 🙂

Does anyone have any experience with using Dr. Bronner’s while traveling to the desert?  Preferably from a highly humid region. *grins* Thanks!

 

Show off your pedicure!

School is out (I hate flip flops)!  Summer is here (I hate my fat feet)! Time to hit the pool (my toenails are actually cute, but no one gets to see them)!

Okay, so yeah, I have a love/hate relationship going on with summer.  I love not having to wear real shoes, or socks.  I’m a barefoot kind of gal – but that’s not allowed in stores, and kind of dangerous at pools.  So every year I start The Search.  The Search For Shoes That Will Fit.  I have extremely wide feet (WW if I can get it), fairly tall feet, but actually normal length feet (size 9ish).    Because of this, I have worn a lot of size 10s, a lot of men’s shoes, and a lot of whatever-will-fit-me instead of what-I-want.  My go-to shoe in the summer has been cheap Birkenstock knock-offs ($10 or less), which last a year, look like crap, but I can wear them long enough for the sole to wear down to fit my feet.

This year, I found AMAZING shoes, which I love – TOMS knockoffs (because women with fat feet aren’t allowed to wear TOMS).  I tried some from Avenue last year, was amazed at how comfortable they were, and nearly broke down in tears when they were falling apart after less than a week of wearing.  The Woman Within ones have been worn almost daily for the past 5 months, and are just now starting to get some holes.  But amazing as these shoes are – they don’t show off the cute pedicure I splurged on.

And what is the point of having a cute pedicure that only your family gets to see???

After several unproductive shopping trips (including one to Avenue, where the sweet saleswoman was personally mortified that she couldn’t get my feet into anything that would show off my toes), I sighed deeply and began searching the internet.  And I found THIS.  Kristen is RIGHT, these are Outrageously Comfortable AND Ridiculously Simple!    I grabbed a  pair of cheap flip flops from Joanns, a quarter of a yard of swimsuit fabric, and went to town with my mom’s help (I wanted to get the fit right, and my plus sized legs don’t fold as neatly and easily as Kristen’s do). TAH-DAH!!!

20140602-132933-48573166.jpgMy super cute new flip flops that fit!  Of course, they’re blue.  You have been here before, right?  Blue is my color. 🙂

20140602-132935-48575082.jpgLook – cute pedicure!  I know, fat feet, but cute toenails. 🙂  Look, no shoe is ever going to make my feet look like they should be in a shoe ad, but it shouldn’t be too much to ask that I can have sandals that don’t look like orthopedics.

I did make a couple of changes to Kristen’s original tutorial (watch the video, btw, makes it super clear to understand what she is doing).

  1. The swimsuit material is fairly thick and . . . um, not squishable (if that makes sense), so the knot in the front of the shoes (between the toes, and through the hole) would be too big to walk on comfortably.  Solution: taper the ends of the two sections of fabric until they are half the width, and the knot will easily slip up into the hole in the bottom of the sole.
  2. Also, my mom is a bit of a worrier, so she suggested I fill the holes with glue to add a layer of security .  But be careful what glue you use!  There is no point in filling the holes with a water soluble glue (presumably, you will wear flip slops around water – like at a pool).  Most of the shoe making resources online say that if you can’t get your hands on Shoe Goo, then Gorilla Glue will work.  Again, be careful though – Gorilla glue expands 3x, so do a sample first.  You won’t need to fill the hole with liquid Gorilla Glue!

Now I am ready for my next big adventure – our family’s summer vacation in San Antonio.  We’ll be getting the final bang out of our Annual Pass buck at Sea World and staying at a resort, where I am already booked for a new pedicure (I’m thinking blue nails this time, what d’you think?? *grins*).  And these are WAY better than the disposable foam flip flops spas give you so you don’t mess up your polish.

Introducing a new puppy to the home pack is time consuming.

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Eventually, she will be ready to go adventuring, too, but right now she doesn’t even have a name yet. 🙂  But I am spending my time time getting her outside in time, grabbing non-toys out of her mouth, and trying to get our other dog to accept her.  And occasionally I get a chance to do something Girl Scout-y.

Just to be completely upfront and honest: I don’t get anything from any of the links posted on this site.  None of them are monetized.  If I am recommending an item, it is because I bought it with my own money and liked it.  Why do most of my item links go to Amazon?  Because I’m lazy. 😉  It’s much easier to keep an Amazon page open and grab links to items there so you can see what I am talking about rather than run around my house taking and uploading pics of everything.

I’m not saying I won’t ever try to make some pocket change from this site, but I’ll be upfront about it if I do. KK?