On Being Beautiful.

[I promise this isn’t as vain and facetious a post as the title may imply, just bear with me. and enjoy some baby photos for once!]

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Just look at that beautiful wee babe. Isn’t she amazing?! I love her so, SO much. I hope she never sees herself as anything but the beautiful human being that she is.

So, I have vowed not to see myself as anything but beautiful either. 

I will not be the mother who hides when she sees a camera. I will not be the mother who critiques every photographic version of herself. I will not be the mother who despairs when others see her when she first wakes up. I will not be the mother who is embarrassed to be seen in a swimsuit. I will not be the mother who cannot accept a compliment.

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I will not be the mother who does not believe her children, when they tell her she is the most beautiful person in the world. Because didn’t we all think that about our mothers/mother figures at some point?

Body image is contagious, and I’d rather pass on a good one.

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She is worth it.

It’s not going to be easy, but those are my goals. That is who I would like to become. That is someone I think we all could become – women and men, mothers or not – because we are all beautiful. Each and every one of us. And it’s time we start seeing ourselves that way.

Speak kindly about yourself. Don’t criticize your physical features. Treat your body right. Accept what is there and learn to love it. Don’t criticize others either. Get rid of the bathroom scale. Take lots of selfies. Grow to be comfortable in your own skin.

We are worth it.

love, rach
*photo cred goes to my amazing sister! you should hire her and stuff. she is BRILLIANT.

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life off the grid.

It’s been nearly three weeks since I nearly eliminated my online presence.
And you know what??

I am absolutely loving it.

I did go through withdrawals, and have periods of time when I would pick up my phone and stare blankly at it for a moment when I realized I had nothing to “do”.
But now? I don’t even miss Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest. I don’t think I ever want to go back. I set up a Chrome extension to block the websites just in case I caved and tried to log in, but after a test run to make sure it was working, I haven’t even thought to visit any of the sites.

Well, okay, I did re-activate my Pinterest account for all of five minutes to look at my boards again and see if there was anything I’d pinned that I was interested in purchasing for my birthday. There wasn’t. I then remembered that I had survived my entire life without Pinterest, and realized I did not need to “curate boards” in order to know what my personal style is or to keep track of recipes. And I promptly deactivated my account again.

Now, I am still just as good at wasting time as I was before falling off the grid. I still check Bloglovin a couple times a day, and should probably weed through the blogs I follow. I’ve found good books that while away the hours nearly as well as checking Instagram. I have friends that actually talk to me (gasp!) and spent about 3 hours of today chatting on the phone and texting them. But overall, it is an improvement, and I am content!

I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the feedback I’ve gotten for this decision. If anyone thinks I’m nuts, they certainly haven’t told me so! I’ve had quite a few good face-to-face conversations with people about “unplugging”. A surprising number of dear friends got in touch with me right when I announced my decision, and have made an effort to keep up with the haps. I have picked up a fair number of pen pals as well, which is a lot of fun! And people even remembered my birthday yesterday without Facebook to remind them 😉

I feel very fortunate that I am able to take this leap. I completely understand that social networking is entirely necessary these days – it’s practically essential to any modern business or livelihood. I am so blessed to be able to care for my daughter and our home each day. I am blessed with a rich network of friends and family nearby that keep me sane on a daily basis, a well as friends and family who are further away but excellent at keeping up correspondences. My life is so, so good  and I thank the Lord for it every day 🙂

Prodromal Labor?!

L&D false alarm

Photo from our “false alarm” Monday night. Free cranberry juice and good ice! Wooooo.

Have you ever heard of prodromal labor???

I hadn’t either, until yesterday, when my lovely midwife kindly explained what it is to a very tired and frustrated me.

I was so happy I could have hugged her. Actually, I did hug her. She started it though, so it wasn’t weird or anything. I think. Anyways….

I was just so grateful to finally have an explanation, because this week has been dang confusing/frustrating/emotionally draining.
It all started Monday night – when we somehow found ourselves admitted to the most spacious delivery room in the hospital after going there for what we thought would be a quick checkup. We were sent home three hours later (after walking up and down the same hallway for two of those hours, no cervical change, and funky contractions). All of the staff was so nice, so awesome, and didn’t make us feel embarrassed for coming in at all….but I was discouraged because my contractions didn’t seem to “fit” into any mold I’d ever heard of.

“False labor” and Braxton Hicks contractions aren’t supposed to get worse when you walk around. They’re not supposed to get longer and stronger and closer together. You’re not supposed to feel them in your back and all that jazz.
That junk is only for “real” labor.
But “real labor” isn’t supposed to stop when you rest sometimes (but start, without fail, every time you stand up). It’s not supposed to last for a couple hours and then take a break. It’s not supposed to putter out when they hook you up to monitors. Contractions aren’t supposed to last 90+ seconds every time and come at unpredictable intervals.

So if it’s not “real” labor but it’s not “false” labor either, what the heck is going on?!

Answer: Prodromal Labor.
Essentially, this is labor that starts and stops at irregular intervals for an indefinite amount of time before actually progressing to active labor – or, labor that continues to augment until the baby is born.

Most medical definitions equate Prodromal Labor to ‘false labor’, or simply ‘failure to progress’. But I submit that this is not true. It is merely a different laboring pattern than what is seen in standardized/traditional/normal/textbook childbirth these days, and some doctors don’t like it. The American hospitalized labor and delivery system is not designed to handle it well. Most women who end up in this pattern of labor end up being induced nowadays, because it isn’t conducive to the monitoring and timing that most doctors/nurses/hospitals are trained to do.

But, my midwife assured me that it is a normal thing. No, it’s not much fun, but’s a perfectly fine, natural, normal, and safe way to deliver a baby. I completely believe that. I have total trust in my body and biological processes that have been around much longer than hospitals/modern medicine – and absolute faith in the Lord who I know designed this whole process and is watching out for me/supporting me through it all.

So, yeah. I’m going on day five of (intermittent) labor over here. Hanging out at home, staying hydrated, going on walks, waiting for something more to happen! The contractions haven’t been terrible – nothing excruciating or that I can’t talk through yet. Just uncomfortable and tiring. This process is extremely long and drawn-out and I have no idea when things will kick into high gear…

ANYWAY. I found these two wonderful blog posts that do a much better job of explaining what this kind of labor is all about, if you’re interested to learn more!
Red Light, Green Light…A Tale of Prodromal Labor
Bella Dolce Births: Prodromal Labor – what is it?

I’m not really upset about all of this, for the most part. Sometimes I feel like Nacho though:

“How come?” “HOW COME YOU THINK?!” hahaha.

So, yeah. How are YOU these days?! Done anything exciting?? Heard any good jokes? Have any good movie recommendations???? Seriously, tell me anything! There’s only so much I can do to entertain myself over here 😉

love, Rach

*****I just wrote an addendum to this post, and answered more prodromal labor questions here!*********

Yes, I have a midwife, but no, I’m not having a home birth. I am blessed to be part of a great healthcare system that has an awesome hospital no more than a 10 minute drive from my house. They have Certified Nurse Midwives on-staff that attend 85% of the births and have done nearly all of my prenatal check-ups, and I love them. The OB’s there are great too – they specialize in low-risk, low-intervention care.
Since I am not at risk, my baby is healthy and active, and I’m not planning on getting an epidural…getting to the hospital “early enough” isn’t a concern in my case. I am free to labor at home for a while! (until the nature of the contractions changes, or my water breaks. whatever comes first!)

Edible Gold. What’s up with that??

Warning: this may be the silliest blog post I’ve ever written.

So I’ve been hearing a lot about ‘edible gold’ as of late. It’s all over the place. On candies, dusted on pastries, and all up on that thing Serendipity is touting as “The World’s Most Expensive Dessert“.

Naturally, I wanted to know why edible gold was such a big deal.

Also naturally, I turned to the Internet to figure out what it’s all about. (Here is one article I read)

And you know what??? The whole thing is really silly. The only real reason that pure gold is ‘edible’ is because it is an inert element that will react with absolutely nothing in your digestive system. There are no health benefits. It does absolutely nothing to your body.
Translation: you eat it, it sits inside your guts and takes a nice leisurely float on the lazy river of your intestines, and then you excrete it as waste…in the exact same form in which you ingested it.

Congratulations – the “Most Expensive Dessert” you have ever eaten also translates into the “Most Expensive Bowel Movement” you’ve ever had! You literally flushed your money down the toilet.

Really people….does that make ANY sense?
And does it even taste good??
I don’t know about you, but the last time I checked, gold doesn’t really have a special flavor to it.

Seriously.
Silliest trend I’ve ever heard of.
Except for maybe that $250K nailpolish made of black diamonds.

HAIR AND STUFF: part III

I’ve found myself being asked, somewhat frequently, about hair care. I am in no way an expert, but I have done a little bit of research and I’m assuming these previous posts (part I/part II) have had something to do with giving people the impression that I actually know what I am talking about ; )

So, I’ve decided to continue this little series to let you all know about a new method I’ve been trying out for the past 7 months or so…the “no poo” method. It took me a while, but I’ve figured out a way to make it work for me and I love it. I’m not saying that what I do will work for everyone, because that’s just ridiculous. But hopefully by sharing my adventure into no-shampoo-land with you, you will be able to find a formula that works for you too!

And for anyone looking for tips on growing longer, healthier hair – as always I recommend checking out the Long Hair Community forums! There are a lot of wonderful, intelligent individuals who have heaps of advice and useful information. I’ve linked to some of my favorite/most helpful LHC articles in previous posts 🙂

Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty…

Continue reading

Babies.

This past weekend, a good friend of mine and her 1-year-old daughter stayed with us for a couple days. It was lovely!!

But now, I have a problem.

I have caught the “baby stuff bug”.

Ingrid helped me start a baby registry, because I was being all contrary about it and refusing to start one.

“I hate asking people to buy me things, it feels so needy and I hate that.”/”UGH WHY DO PEOPLE THINK THEY NEED SO MUCH JUNK FOR THEIR BABIES”/”I don’t even think baby clothes are cute”/”Why is all baby girl stuff pink, I hate pink.”/”I am such a grandma, I don’t like any of this modern stuff, why can’t I just find everything at thrift stores”/”I love children and babies but I think the whole baby industry is a scam, kind of like the wedding business. PEOPLE ARE JUST TRYING TO MAKE MONEY OFF OF OUR FEELINGS!”/etc etc etc….

These types of thoughts are probably also why I had the worst wedding registry in existence. AKA why we still have yet to own a complete set of dishes…we’re up to two glasses, two mugs, two plastic cereal bowls, and a whole mess of plates! woohoo!

Well, Ingrid pretty much smacked me upside the head and set me straight. “You will need basic onesies, some in every size. Bottles and a bottle brush, too. These swaddling blankets are great. You know you like this baby carrier, you’ve used mine. Register for the cloth diapers you want, I know you’ve researched them. Here are some thoughts on baby swings and car seats.”

I now see the light…some baby junk is essential. I’m remembering this now. It’s not like I don’t have any childcare experience.

But…I’ve also found the cute stuff (AKA: not pink).

All I want to do all day is edit my Amazon registry until it is absolutely perfect and has everything I could ever want or need listed.

And hunt down baby stuff at garage sales (I scored a great Johnny Jump Up and Umbrella Stroller for $8 total this weekend!)

And talk about baby things and hold other people’s babies and think about babies and babybabybabyblahblahblah….

Yep….I am turning into THAT lady.

HELP.

love — rach

PS – on a slightly related note – I’ve been surprised lately by how much I find myself hating my entire wardrobe and how virtually all clothing looks on my current body. I find shopping for maternity clothes akin to shopping for a bathing suit. I am most definitely not a “cute fashionable pregnant lady”. I wish I was!! I just need to buckle down and buy some real maternity clothes, I think, if only I could find some that I like…Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated 🙂 it’d be nice to enjoy this part of my life to the fullest now that I am (finally)(for the most part) not nauseous 24/7 😛

Dopplegangers, round III

this is a conundrum I have discussed many times before.

I blogged about it here and here. [that’s how much of an issue it is, it’s warranted TWO whole blog posts!] and if  you are a good friend of mine, it is likely that you are sick of hearing about it by now, therefore you are excused from reading any further. kbye, besties!

I like to call this phenomenon, the “if there is any woman that has ever had brown hair and brown eyes, I am apparently identical to them” syndrome.

my husband has never previously expressed any symptoms of this queer phenomenon.

however, as we were sitting down to dinner last week, he stared at me for a little longer than usual.

and then he said it.

“you know, I figured it out. you look JUST like Demi Moore! only prettier. you’re like a pretty Demi Moore.”

I think our hair is similar in these photos. And that's about it.

*facepalm*

I laughed. I reminded him that I’ve heard that one before. and then I listed off some of the other celeb comparisons I’ve had.

AND HE AGREED WITH MOST OF THEM.

“I can see that! but Anne Hathaway is definitely your sister, not you.”

They both have very nice teeth that look similar. That is all.

*facepalm x 2*

I don’t know why this bothers me [and my sister] so much, having countless dopplegangers.

but it does.

possibly because it feels like you’re stripped of your individuality when you’re compared to others? that your beauty only counts because you look similar to someone the media/general public has deemed as beautiful?? or simply because WE LOOK NOTHING LIKE THESE PEOPLE??!!?!?!?!!?

I don’t know. I don’t spend too much time analyzing these things, because they don’t actually matter. it’s just a pet peeve, and a rather ridiculous one at that.

my husband still thinks I’m hotter than Demi Moore [and all other celebrities], and that’s good enough for me 🙂

Love — Rach

I love my hair: Part II

Aloha, friends! I know I posted a short little spiel on hair care not that long ago. This is virtually the same basic info, written in a more clear and concise manner and with more external links to aid in your personal research And I included info on hair types! enjoy!

#1: Getting to know your hair

Your hair. It’s been with you most of your life. But even though it hangs out with you every day…you might not actually know much about it! It’s important to be well-acquainted with your mane so that you can know how to properly care for it.

I just classified my hair using the guidelines they’ve set up over at LHC.

I’m a 1b/c, M, ii/iii. Don’t worry. This didn’t make sense to me at first either 🙂 It has to do with how wavy your hair is, the thickness of each individual strand, and the thickness of all of your hair, all together. So basically, I have mostly straight hair with slight waves, medium-thick strands, and I’m on the thicker end of what is considered “normal” hair. This article explains it all! These classifications can help you learn how best to care for your specific type of hair. You can even search for people who have the same or similar hair classification on the forum and see what they do to care for it!

The main issue with keeping your hair healthy though, is determining what your hair needs. Hair problems/unhealthy hair is usually caused by either a lack of protein, lack of moisture, or product buildup on individual hair strands. This article describes a clarifying wash method and diagnostic tips for building a routine to help your hair thrive.

#2: My current products/routine

DISCLAIMER: I’ve built a routine based on adding moisture to my hair. I might be wrong. This might not be the “best” method – but it works for me and my hair is usually happy, healthy, soft, and shiny.

If you do not care to change the products you use, you can still have healthier hair by adapting your routine slightly! Even before I started using these products and methods almost 1.5 years ago, I still had soft, shiny hair. I used Garnier Fructis Length&Strength shampoo and conditioner religiously, but still had good results with any other shampoo/conditioner I used. All that I really did differently was make sure to wash and rinse my hair in COOL water. Hot water can be damaging to the cuticle of your hair. I would also wash and condition my hair at the beginning of my shower, and leave the conditioner on until the end of my shower. Those few extra minutes make a huge difference 🙂 I also did not rub my hair in my towel when drying it, I would squeeze the water out in sections instead. It works just as quickly and keeps your follicles from being damaged!

Here is my hair care arsenal!

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1 – TreSemme Anti-Breakage Shampoo and Conditioner. On Walmart.com, they’re $3.50/bottle. I never pay much more than that in-store either. I use the Condition-Wash-Condition method – Described HERE, under the “Getting Started” headline.

2 – Brush Strokes Two-Sided Boar Bristle Brush. On sale for $1.99 on Sally Beauty Supply’s website [click the link], and I didn’t pay much more for it in-store! Boar bristle brushes don’t have the harsh edges that plastic combs and brushes do, which can actually tear your hair apart (quite literally).

3 – Apple Cider Vinegar. I use it to do a rinse a couple times a week. More on vinegar rinses here.

4 – Hair scissors. I really need better ones…good scissors make all the difference! Hair scissors are sharper than your average pair of Fiskars, so they can make a clean cut without catching your hair and creating more split ends in the process. Check out Sally’s Beauty Supply or other beauty suppliers if you’re looking to purchase your own! I trim split ends whenever I see them (usually a few times a week) and will trim 1/4-1/2 inch or so every 6ish weeks. I always trim my own hair, my methods aren’t very precise, but it never looks bad! If you’re not afraid, go ahead and try trimming your hair yourself 🙂 my philosophy: if you always cut the same amount of length off of each strand (or group of strands) – it will look the same when you’re done! Also, have someone look at the back for you and help you keep it straight. Haha.

5 – Extra Virgin Olive Oil. If my hair is ever feeling excessively dry, I will liberally coat it in olive oil, pile it on top of my head (usually in a twisted bun), and wrap my head with plastic wrap (to retain moisture and heat). Let it sit for 30 minutes, hop in the shower, shampoo my hair twice, and it’s good to go 🙂 I only do this about once a month.

6 – One ‘n Only Argan Oil Treatment. $10 for a 3.4oz bottle on the Sally’s website. I use this daily. After I’m out of the shower and have towel-dried my hair, I will put a few drops in my palms and run them through my hair (concentrating on the ends). Careful not to use too much, or the buildup will cause your hair to tangle even more easily…I’ve made the mistake of trying to use this to smooth tangled ends if I haven’t washed my hair for a few days. Bad idea. More on the benefits of Argan Oil here.

7 – TreSemme Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray. Drugstore.com has it listed for $4.75 per 8oz bottle, it’s not on Wal-Mart’s website but I know I bought it there for cheaper. I use this liberally every. single. time I blow dry, curl, flat iron my hair! Heat can be extremely damaging, and I can tell the difference when I use a heat protectant and when I don’t. My only caution: using this spray does cause buildup on your hair, make sure you clarify after using copious amounts of it.

I definitely do not wash my hair every day, because I can get away with it. I don’t have a naturally oily scalp, and I wear my hair up [in a bun] a majority of the time to protect it from damage. I probably wash my hair every 3 days. There are a lot of different theories about whether washing your hair more is actually bad for it…I’m just lazy and if it looks and feels fine, I leave it alone.

I also braid my hair every night before going to bed in order to minimize damage while sleeping [I toss and turn a LOT]. Either that, or I’ll twist it into a bun on the very tippy top of my head so it’s out of the way.

And that is that!

I just joined the Long Hair Community Forums for real today, so I’m going to be re-evaluating my routine and posting the results for you to see in the coming weeks 🙂 I’ll pass on any cool tips I can find, and I highly recommend wandering around the discussion boards yourself if you’re really interested!

And as always, if you have any specific questions or want to talk about anything, just ask 🙂 either in the comments, or you can email me! wafflesandcereal [at] gmail [dot] com!

Thanks for reading!! Love — Rach

UPDATE: upon further review, I have decided that my hair is  actually a 1a/b waviness and definitely a ii thickness.

Also, I forgot to put hair pictures up, so you can see the results!

hair choppage

mahalo Eliza!

At this time, my hair care routine was the one listed in italics above. Cold water, few extra minutes with conditioner, that’s it

current state of the hair

This was taken after washing my hair with the methods described/linked to above – including an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse and Argan Oil treatment  – then allowing it to air-dry.

And in words, in case the pictures don’t do it for you:

From August 2008 – September 2010, my hair grew approximately 8.5 inches.

From September 2010 – February 2012 (AKA since changing my routine), my hair has grown approximately 11 inches.

That’s about 2.5 inches more growth, in 8 less months!

Evidence that this stuff works, yo.

Doppleganger my life.

So the new facebook fad is to change your profile picture to a photo of a famous person you’ve been told you resemble.

People tell me I look like people all the freaking time.

And I don’t really think I look like most of them.

It all started my freshman year of high school, one of my good friends in band/drama decided that I looked EXACTLY like Idina Menzel and could not get over it.

Idina. Broadway actress. Elphaba in Wicked, Maureen in Rent.

One day our other friend overheard one of the many conversations we had, and she chimed in that she thought I looked like the Scarecrow from Batman Begins when I smiled.


Not sure which version of the Scarecrow they were talking about, hahaha.

After that, the comparisons came PILING in.

Here are some of the ones I can remember:

 Sandra Bullock

Julia Roberts

[as we’re leaving the theatre after watching Nacho Libre]: “HEY! You kind of look like that nun! She was hot.” AWK.

Demi Moore

Anne Hathaway

Salma Hayek?!

“You look like Tina Fey when you wear your glasses. Or Sarah Palin. Whichever is more flattering.” K…thanks…

Lea Michelle [and her character in GLEE is named Rachel. That reinforces the comparison.]

So apparently if someone is brunette or has a prominent nose or a BIG smile, I look like them.

Awesome.

I still don’t get it.