Wednesday, December 14, 2011

She's Pretty And Frugal Too!

Do you ever sit around and wish you looked like this?

Or, as my husband says "THOSE kind of outfits."

To which I say "A Vicotria's Secret Model suit?"
He replies "yes"
I say "That's mean!"
Then, he, because he's soooooo funny says "Oh, I just mean you should get an outfit like that."


He says the same thing when he watches the Dallas Cowboys and sees the cheerleaders.

Well, I can't make you look like a Victoria's Secret model but I can give you a great tip that will keep you from looking like THIS and you won't have to spend a fortune either.

Don't believe me? Well, I don't look like that, now do I? And I'm about to tell you why.

Look over at my profile picture. Notice my nicely straightened, blonde hair. Yeah, my hair is really curly. I only look like that certain days of the month, usually after having just been to the stylist. Because my hair is curly and I live in north Texas I am constantly battling frizzy hair. Okay, I don't really battle it anymore. I've come to know this about myself and just go with it. For years, since my teens really, I've searched high and low looking for and buying products promising to make my hair shiny and pretty just like a model on a good hair day.

The only time I didn't have to use products galore on my hair to keep the frizz at bay is when I went with a friend to Phoenix to visit her mother and do some Monavie tastings. I took a shower and within an hour my hair was perfectly dry and beautiful. The only thing I did was wash it and put in a little mousse. It was all I had to use since I didn't pack any hair products. I was fully prepared to go all ponytail on its ass. It was truly amazing when I looked in the mirror. I thought 'Man! I'd move here just for THIS!' But, then my skin got all dry and wrinkly. My sinuses dried out and I could hardly breathe so I came home. I'm sure my family is glad. They don't care about my hair as much as I do.

I've spent trillions of dollars on hair care products and I just recently stumbled on this little beauty tidbit that, I kid you not, works way better and is cheap.

Since my hair is curly and *whispering*.....colored it tends to be on the dry side. Then add in the north Texas heat and humidity and you have a recipe for disaster frizzy hair. I only wash it a few times a week. The night before I wash it, I put about 5 drops of jojoba oil in my hand, rub them together and rub it into my hair. I go to sleep and let the oil do its magic. And I wake up to beautiful, princess-like hair! Well, after I wash it of course.

Its not all goopy like leave in conditioners, either. So you don't have to wear a cap and it won't make your pillow all greasy. It won't even turn off your husband when you come to bed in it. Especially if you get yourself a pair of those wings. I'm teasing, of course about the wings,  but you can seriously buy yourself some at this website

See what a resource I am today? Hmmmmm...maybe I CAN help you look like a Victoria's Secret model.

You can buy that Desert Essence jojoba oil at for less than 5 dollars.

BAM! another resource. I am on a roll today.

You just gotta try it to believe it. It really does work better than any high dollar, fancy shmancy stuff your hair stylist is selling. Believe me, I know. I've tried 'em all!

This post is part of Frugal Days, Frugal Ways and Fight Back Friday

*the photo credit for the ugly dog goes to Josephs Blog-O-Log

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Stress Management

Coming from a "gym -y" background I spent years and years teaching aerobics classes, going to aerobics classes, teaching people how to teach aerobics classes, and I loved it. I still do. I haven't done it in awhile, however, because I got a little burned out. But, I'm starting to come around again. I don't really have time to commit to teaching it and I haven't found an instructor nearby that I like yet.

That being said, I've been teaching yoga for about the last fifteen years. I absolutely ADORE that, in addition to practicing martial arts for the last twelve years. In fact, I just opened a little yoga studio right behind my pool store, Pearson Pools you're one stop pool shop.
The yoga studio has been my dream for awhile now. Its finally coming to fruition. I love it when that happens!

Just the other day, I was reading The Yoga Journal online and came across an article that I found really interesting so I'm sharing it with you. You can read the entire article here Yoga For Health but I'm going to sum it all up for you.

Yoga is a very powerful tool in helping to reduce stress. Yeah, yeah, we all already knew that right? Right. But, what you maybe didn't know is WHY it reduces stress and you have to do it "right".

By "right" I don't mean you have to be proficicient in every pose. I mean you have to be present, focused on your breath and noticing the sensations in your body. When you do that, your body learns how to handle stressful situations in a healthy way. It actually prepares your body for stress, not just reducing it. That's exciting and its not all mental. There are actual physical things going on in your body and your brain making that happen.

The parasympathetic nervous system is the calming system in your brain. The deep breathing in yoga activates this system. The sympathetic nervous system is the active system in your brain. Its the one that kicks in triggering a "flight or fight" mode in your body when stress occurs.

Holding plank pose for an uncomfortable length of time triggers this sympathetic nervous system response. Hence, the feeling of "flight". You want to put your knees down and rest in child's pose. If you hold it and breathe, you trigger the parasympathetic nervous system to calm your mind down. In that single act, you're training your body to overcome challenges in other aspects of your life. In addition to that, you're creating balance in your body.

In 1997, The Newcastle University of England conducted a study on random sedentary adults. They split the group having half of them participate in a yoga program for six weeks while the other half participated in an aerobics program. At the end of the six week period, the yoga group had a lower resting heart rate while the aerobics group showed no significant change.

In another study done in 2007, at the University of Schleswig-Holstein in Germany, the researchers hooked up 11 healthy yoga practitioners to instruments that recorded heart rate variability for 24 hours. They found that during an active class of 60 minutes their heart rate rose. Then, they did 30 minutes of calming, restorative poses and their heart rate dropped even lower. Not only that, but this change was driven by increases in the parasympathetic nervous system with no change occuring in the sympathetic nervous system.
What this means is that the yoga participants were not only calmer after class, but they were in autonomic balance and flexibility which is required to handle stress effectively.

In addition, years ago while at the gym on the treadmill, I read a little blurb in Muscle and Fitness about a study on men. The researchers found that lifting weights increased levels of corisol in the body (sympathetic nervous system response). So they took a group of men lifting weights and split them into three groups. They all lifted weights but one group only stretched after. One group sat quietly and rested. And the third group did 30 minutes of yoga. Only the yoga group had decreased levels of cortisol. The stretching and resting groups had no change.

Now, here's the disclaimer. If you go to yoga and you only focus on mastering poses without any of the breath work or relaxation in savasana (corpse pose). You will not gain any of these benefits. So, if you come in to class rushed, push yourself into poses, and then leave during the relaxation part you aren't any better equipped to handle stress than if you'd lifted weights for that hour.

The key here in helping your body respond to stressful situations calmly is to interchange the harder, more physically challenging poses with calming, restful ones while paying attention to the breath and staying present and aware of the sensations of your body while in the pose.

The other key here is to enjoy savasana at the end of class. It truly is a great gift you can give your body in this rushed, multi-tasking world we live in.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011


I was tired, sunburned, bored, and ready to go home. Standing on a small farm to market road in Texas after a week of horseback riding a hard twenty miles each day. I was seventeen and on this road ride with my family, close family friends, and friends that we only see on this ride each year.

We had a wagon pulled by two white mules named Ass and Hole. I didn't name them, lest someone become offended. I'm just telling you that was their names. They were wild and fun much like my hairdo after 5 days on horseback and bathing in water holes with snakes. The two fifteen year old Jasons were sitting in the wagon watching the horses, mules, and ice chests while the adults went into the small bar to relax and celebrate the end of the ride.

I went into the bar with my parents looking forward to the air conditioning, the music, the pool tables, the FUN. I sat there, disappointed at the lack of excitement,  in the dark, quiet bar with a lot of tired adults. I got up to head outside to sit with the boys in the wagon.

So, I'm standing on the side of this farm to market road, an intersection of two small highways really. I saw one car coming toward me and patiently waited my turn to cross. A few seconds later, I see another car with his blinker on indicating a turn in my direction at the stop sign. Having forgotten the first car momentarily, I had the thought that I should hurry and cross so Blinker Dude can turn. I'm sure that he'll be annoyed at my slowness in crossing. So as not to annoy Blinker Dude I begin skipping across the street. I'm immediately reminded again of the first car because I hear brakes squealing and find myself lying on the street spinning on  my back. The thought I'm having now is 'I'm okay! I'm okay! I have to hurry and get up so they'll know I'm not dead. I bet they are scared and think I'm dead. I would be if I were in their place. I have to get up so they know I'm not dead."

All of this happens in the span of twenty or thirty minutes. In reality, only a few seconds have passed. I jump up as quickly as I can, throwing my hands in the air and screaming "I'm okay! I'm okay!"

On the side of the road is the small car that hit me having been driving at least 55 mph. In the car driving was a teen aged girl with her mother in the passenger seat. The driver was placated by my admissions of good health while the mother other phrase comes to mind but "FREAKED OUT", unable to let go of the trauma that just occurred to this out of town girl skipping across a highway, understandably so as I look back now as an adult.

The scenes that follow involve my dad calmly jogging out of the bar, my mother sprinting out of the bar, my dad restraining my mother, my mother fighting my dad, my dad yelling at her "She's OKAY! LOOK AT HER! SHE'S OKAY!", the other mother about to cry, the driver bored, waiting for her mother to finally admit that its time to go, ambulances, police, and two fifteen year old boys laughing because they missed the entire thing but saw me run back to the wagon in chest high weeds and I fell down.

More scenes that follow are the late night drive home with four people in a single cab pick up truck pulling a horse trailer with no brake lights, my dad getting pulled over, my dad going to jail due to an outstanding speeding ticket forgotten years ago, my mother, brother, and I waiting all night long in the police station parking lot hot, tired, sunburned, and cranky with a trailer loaded down with horses and camping gear.


Okay so this was a little different. I procured this word from Lance at My blog can beat up your blog The goal is to look at the word, think about the memory it evokes and write about that experience. Then, link back with your story in the comments.

Your word is Change

Monday, December 5, 2011


Look at all that meat! Well, you probably can't tell what it is in that basket. The picture just looks like I've been stocking up on boxes and boxes of pork products. I assure you that I have not. That would just be weird. I bought that pork from a man selling meat door to door. Then, I gave meat as Christmas presents last year. Men like meat. See?? Not weird. I didn't give any to the ladies. That would have been weird. Ladies like chocolate. But, I didn't give any ladies chocolate either. I knitted things and you can't wear a chocolate scarf....How fun would a chocolate scarf be? Like those candy necklaces when you were a kid. You could stay warm and nibble on chocolate all day. Someone should totally invent that! I would wear it. Definitely. But, I digress. 

Yesterday, Robbie and I were hauling some hay out to the horses. On the way in, I went out to the freezer to grab some ground beef for chili. It was perfect chili weather here in north Texas, cold and rainy. The freezer door was stuck. That's weird. Its a small upright freezer. I yanked on it and when it finally opened I noticed that the ground beef on the door was thawed. OH NO!!! Then, I started grabbing the meat further in and its thawed too. And there's a big, giant glacier at the top of the freezer. The stupid glacier got so big it pushed open my door. It has a mind of its own. Meanwhile, much like what they had to contend with on the Titanic and their big, stupid glacier, I have to contend with all this meat. 

Okay, okay. I know that my problem is not nearly as big as the problems on the Titanic. I get it. But, it FEELS that big at the moment and that's GOT  to count for something, right?

What you don't see in the picture is about 8 pounds of thawed, grass fed ground beef, 2 pounds of free range chicken breast, 1 whole free range chicken, 2 Amy's Kitchen cheese pizzas, 3 Eating Right frozen dinners (which were thrown away. I don't even know how long they've been in there.) 2 Pork roasts, 2 pork loins, 1 package of grass fed filet mignon, and 4 packages of nitrate/nitrite free bacon, in addition to all the pork you see at the top. Stuck inside the glacier is a free range turkey breast, more chicken, and a few more cheese pizzas. I'm attempting to defrost said glacier in an attempt to free the trapped meat at this moment.

Also, as an aside, what you don't see is that my floors are really a gorgeous, golden, hand hewn, expertly polished, wide plank wood. You just can't see that because its hidden in ugly linoleum. Its really there. Just in my imagination. But, now its in your imagination too, and that's like having the real thing, right? Or is that weird too?

So, at first Robbie couldn't be more excited. He's watching football and looking at the prospect for a meat filled feast. I thought so too at first. Then I calmed down and realized that a lot of that meat was not quite thawed so I cleaned out the freezer in the house and stored it there. Then, I cooked some of the pork for dinner. (It wasn't very good. Don't buy meat from door to door salesmen.) I boiled a package of chicken for a soup later this week, I gave a few questionable packages to the dogs and cats. They were so happy, they acted like it was their last meal on the Titanic. But, I still have 6 pounds of ground beef, the filet mignons, and a small pork loin that needs to be cooked. I'm on the lookout for a pressure canner to can some of the beef.  Meanwhile, I can spread that much meat out over the week, cook it and freeze it for later.

Tonight we'll be having meatloaf. This is my favorite meatloaf recipe:


  • 1 can (6 oz)  tomato paste
  • ½ c dry red wine
  • ½ c water
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp dried basil leaves
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 c oatmeal
  • 1 egg 
  • ½ c shredded zucchini


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Combine the tomato paste, wine, water, garlic, basil, oregano, and salt in a small saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Set aside.
  • Combine the beef, oatmeal, egg , zucchini, and ½ cup of the tomato mixture in a large bowl. Mix well.
  • Shape into 4 small loaves and bake for about 20 minutes.
  • Discard any drippings. Pour  the remaining tomato mixture over the top of the loaf.
  • Bake for 15 minutes longer. Remove to a serving platter.
  • If you don't want to use wine, you can substitute the wine and water for 1 cup of beef broth

    I will probably double or even triple it up and freeze it for later. Then, I'll be making the chili, some chicken soup, and...... Oh gosh, I'm already getting tired thinking of it. I'll for sure have to grill up those steaks or else I'll be in trouble and get thrown overboard! Wish me luck because much like the frozen ocean water from the Titanic, its snowing here in north Texas and I won't last long. 

    Okay, okay, I know its not really like the Titanic but in my imagination it kinda is, so that makes it kinda real, right? Is that weird?

    This post is linked to Barn Hop, Real Food 101, Monday Mania, and Fat Tuesday

    Thursday, December 1, 2011

    Warming Socks

    I've decided. I'm not a winter girl.

    Okay, I like it to be all snowy, cold, and dark for the holidays. I hate going out Christmas shopping in sunny, 70ish degree weather.Its hard to get into the holiday spirit. I don't know what you southern hemisphere people do at Christmas. BUT, other than that, cold is good for nothing. Well, I've heard its good for getting rid of bugs, but I'm becoming a little skeptical of that.

    Last spring we had April  June spring, not June....spring!! They were horrible, too. We had some weird, freaky little ants that apparently came from South America and are working their way north. And then we had the greatest fly invasion ever in the history of man. All this after the coldest winter we've had in decades and a record breaking heat wave this summer. So, the next time an old man says to me "Well, at least it'll kill all the bugs!" because he sees me wearing my ski pants around town when the temperature dips to unbearable levels, I'm going to kill him in a horrible knitting accident!

    If you're an english teacher, I apologize. That may have been a run on sentence. I'm just going to say I'm sorry and excuse me instead of researching to see if I need to fix it. I need to tell you about this warming sock and then go hunt down my ski pants.

    That little beauty in the picture above is going to be your very best friend in the whole wide world if you're a summer girl stuck in winter like me! If you get cold easily this is wonderful and super easy to make. I just grabbed an old sock. A long one is best. Then I filled it up 3/4 way full of rice. Use the white rice. You probably have some lying around and now that you're a real foodie, you aren't going to eat it anyway. And its cheap! Then, just because I love it so much and I have it lying around too, I added a little lavender. Then ,I just tied the end of the sock in a knot and bada boom, bada bing, all done.

    Put it in the microwave for a minute or two and you have a homemade, moist heating pad. You should be using moist heat for muscular aches and pains anyway. Dry heat actually makes it worse.

    You could also take it a step further and use some pretty or fleecy fabric and give them as gifts! I would totally love one as a gift. In fact, Melanie gave me a really nice one last year that was about 2 feet long with handles on it so you could hang on to it and warm up your back. I had to get rid of it though because my puppy pee'd on it. I washed it but.........its hard to relax thinking your warming yourself with puppy pee.

    Hence the sock.

    Alright, that's it for today. I have to go dig out my ski pants. Its only supposed to get into the 60's today. Brrrrrrrrr......