How to Give Yourself a Salon Pedicure at Home

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Tips and tricks to give yourself a salon pedicure at home

When my time on this spinning blue planet is complete I'll know one thing for sure: I passed on every piece of spa wisdom I possibly could to the next generation. Here's what I know about nails:

You're probably aware that the New York Times recently published a series of investigative reports on the nail industry. The articles reported that the hazardous chemicals in many of the products used could be causing workers' health problems. Also noted were the unfair conditions that many of these employees are working under.

Let's be honest: we've all been to salons where everyone seemed wacky, but pretty happy and healthy. Anjelah Johnson's viral "Nail Salon" YouTube video captures that perfectly.

But if we're honest with ourselves, we've also been to salons where workers were obviously coming from precarious life situations. There are no smiles on their faces either for you or the people they work with. There's no talking; no balance of human exchange; their clothes don't fit and they look (seriously) a little bit hungry and definitely poor. It's an uncomfortable environment and the experience doesn't feel like a treat.

This year I kind of stopped going save the very occasional pedicure date with a friend. I've always been on the fence about nail salons, anyway. Are you helping or hurting by giving them business? It's hard to know. But it was easy enough for me because I don't particularly enjoy pedicures. Whenever they do the foot scrub it makes the insides of my ears itch. I either can't hear anything or I have to listen to the nail drills and the fans amplified through my hearing aids. Fans are the hearing aid wearer's kryptonite.

So I just started doing my own toes at home. Over the last few months I've had to up my game to get them to look as good as if they were done in a salon. And at 44? It's not that easy to get my leg up close enough to my eyes to be able to see my toes clearly enough to paint them.

So...I put together a list of tips and tricks to help you do a "salon" pedicure at home. Here it is!

How to Give Yourself a Salon Pedicure at Home

 1. Run some hot, soapy water and gather your equipment.

You need a "Satin Hands" set from Mary Kay. It has an emollient cream; a scrub; and a smoothing lotion. You're just going to use it on your feet. If you're smart, though you'll also do your hands at the same time. I don't use much Mary Kay but this "Satin Hands" thing is a good product. You can mail order it via my consultant using the link if you don't have your own.

You need a pumice stone to scrub your heels. By the way, it's enormously helpful if you do this in the shower every day. Four bucks at Walgreens. While you're at Walgreen's, pick up some new nail files as well as the "shovel" thing that scrapes your nail beds and a 100 percent acetone nail polish remover. Because why mess around?!

You need a bottle of clear base coat which makes the polish color smooth and helps keep the color off your skin. I like OPI's Natural Nail Basecoat.

Skip the cheap nail colors and splurge on one from Dolce & Gabbana. I know what you're thinking: "But Heidi, I'd NEVER spend $27.00 on a bottle of nail polish." When actually, you'd spend $40 on one, single pedicure. So there! Dolce & Gabbana polishes are GREAT. They stay chip-free for weeks and the colors are fun. Choose a bottle that you'll enjoy wearing often and see for yourself. It will dry out before you ever reach the bottom of it.

Now, if you're age-d like me, it's helpful to have a pair of reading glasses on hand. I wear Eyebobs "Bobbi Brown" in pink.

2. Remove old polish then dip your feet in the hot, soapy water (I do all this in the tub and sit on the edge) and then when you can't stand the boredom any longer goop them up with that Mary Kay emollient cream and scrubbing gel. Scrub...scrub...scrub...use the pumice stone for extra scrubbing power. Use the "shovel" tool to scrape your nail bed and clean underneath it. Rinse under running water then towel dry.

3. Trim nails as needed and file the edges smooth. Put lotion on your feet and legs and then wipe the nail bed clean of lotion with a tissue. Don't skip this step or your polish won't set. Shake up your color and let it sit while you do the clear coat. This way you won't get a blob of color on the first stroke.

4. Put your magnifying glasses on and then put your foot up on the tub edge that you're (hopefully) still sitting on. Knee in the middle of the chest. Apply your OPI Natural Nail Base Coat. Switch feet. Repeat.

5. Open your color, wipe the excess off the brush and then do a sweep the color down the center of the nail first. Then the sides, pulling back the skin a little (you're going to mess up your fingernails so leave them until last.) and finally, do a horizontal sweep of color across the cut edge of the nail. Prevents chipping. Do a second coat if you want.

6. Do a clear top coat. Many mistakes will brush out with a coat of clear. Otherwise, use a little remover on a Q-tip to get the job done.

7. Let the toes sit and dry while you do your nails. You may as well since you basically scrubbed your hands while you were doing your feet.

8. Read a book or watch a movie until they dry. That's the self indulgent part of the home pedicure. Plus? You just SAVED FORTY BUCKS!

You're welcome.



How do I Get a Good Night's Sleep When I Can't Fall Asleep?!


My mother's memory of my first day in this world was that I stayed awake for 24 hours straight. Uncommon for a newborn. Some of my earliest memories are trying to sneak out of bed when she wanted me to take afternoon naps with her. I'd throw one leg over the side and then slowwwwwwly, slowwwwly the other.

2015 marks Year 44 of my chronic insomnia. I've tried everything and I'm out of ideas. Everyone tells you how important it is to get a good night's sleep and I agree with them. The problem is that no one tells you how to get one. 

I've experimented with sleeping pills. After the first one, I woke up face down in a puddle of my own drool. It honestly scared me. The second one gave me migraines. The resulting daytime fog wasn't worth it.

I exercise. I eat right. I sleep in a cold, dark f***ing room. I use lavender aromatherapy and wear organic cotton pajamas. I've tried a white noise machine, melatonin, and magnesium supplements. I'm not bipolar. I've spent $3000 on mattresses just in the last five years. I point my deaf ear up and put my hearing ear down on the pillow.

Tim Ferriss' podcast soothed me to sleep until it didn't anymore. Occasionally if I sleep "upside down" on the mattress -- head where I usually put my feet -- I fall asleep. Sometimes I fall asleep if I leave the light on, but other times the light keeps me awake. Sometimes I'm borderline hungry and a small snack will tip me into sleep oblivion. Other times I'm achy. If I'm honest with myself, I haven't fallen asleep without taking Tylenol in more than ten years.

Yesterday I had just one cup of coffee at 8 a.m., worked, ran 5 miles, had a 90 minute massage and ate a banana at 9 p.m. for the tryptophan. I turned off all my devices at 9 p.m. At 1:00 a.m. I was still awake so I took a dose of Zzzquil.  I was wide awake until 3 a.m. and I was frustrated.

Some twenty years ago, a Bethesda doctor told me to just give up and get out of bed and find something to do. Make the most of the awake time and forget about it.

The problem is that society fetishizes the early riser. Everyone still expects you to be up and sharp during daylight hours. I could get up and work on that novel I've been writing for the past 8 years. I could do stuff for clients just because my mind is amped up. But I don't feel like I should. I feel like I should be asleep.

You can't for go very long on that schedule without the sleep deficit affecting everything you do. The exercise that helps you fall asleep becomes very difficult. You're too tired to concentrate on writing. You start to tilt toward the hours that your mind is at its best. You build a productivity heat map in your mind and work around it, even if you don't want to work around it. But it doesn't feel okay. And it can actually feel quite lonely.

Feeling okay with my body's jacked up time clock is maybe the last battle in my war with sleep. Last night I put my laptop next to the bed but I couldn't bring myself to start working at 1 a.m. Maybe I should have. If I let myself be okay with it I might have finished writing that novel years ago. How do I make it okay?

Do you have trouble sleeping? What are you struggling with in your mind about your chronic insomnia?




How to Cure a Sinus Infection: Snot as Easy as You Might Think

The Ugly Duchess by Massys captures how I feel during this sinus infection


I'm finishing up a course of antibiotics and steroids for a sinus and ear infection. Because I lost my hearing in one ear (likely) from a prior infection, my ENT doctor went totally jihad in his treatment plan. 

In addition to the medication, the doctor asked me to start doing a nightly saline flush. You know. Where you squirt a bucket of salt water up each nostril into the sinus cavity. Every night. For the rest of your life. But only if I want to keep my hearing in the other ear. If I decide I want to go completely deaf, I can totally stop.

And when I wake up every morning for the rest of my life I'm supposed to do a double-nostril squirt of Flonase. This will tamp down allergies and swelling and also help keep me thin. Because there's something about Flonase that makes me feel like barfing up the food I haven't even eaten yet.

And then there's the probiotics which are supposed to offset the digestive effects of the antibiotics. And the Pepto because the probiotics don't really get you back to 100 percent. Oh, and the Advil. The puffy steroid face you can't do much about. I feel like the woman in Massys' painting of the "Ugly Duchess."

After two weeks of this punishing regimen -- which seemed fantastic when I had an agonizing pain that radiated from my ear to my jaw like a buzz saw that had slipped its chain -- I've decided that the drug cocktail, mixed in to the water supply, would pretty much dismantle Al Qaeda.

You feel so bad that you totally want to go out and hurt people, but you can't. Because you're afraid you're going to poop your pants.

So many lives could be saved...



Review of Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin.

Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin: A Review

I hated it.

Specifically, I hated that the author, Wednesday Martin, wasted the idea's potential. Or her publisher did. Whichever came first, the book was a big disappointment.

I pre-ordered the book after reading the New York Times article, Poor Little Rich Women. The article made the book sound pretty compelling. Finally! An ethnographic window into the cabal of the wealthy, educated, Park Avenue wife and mother.

Unfortunately the anthropology was pretty weak considering Martin holds a PhD from Yale. To be fair, it's pretty clear, throughout, that there was a great deal of pressure from her editor to make it into "something," but it's never clear what that "something" really is. It winds up being a really disorganized sort of personal narrative with some Old School baboon research slapped on to glue it all together.

Though the original concept is quite interesting, once you're into the text you realize (if you're an anthropologist, like me) that Martin never really obtained access to the community and when she did, it wasn't for long enough. The book makes an observation of a series of very small moments and then drags each encounter across twenty or thirty pages without ever delivering any worthwhile ethnographic insight.

Case in point: At the beginning of the book, Martin mentions that on the Upper East Side, anyway, the wealthier the family? The more children they have. Why is that? You might say, like Martin hinted, that it's because they can afford it. They can afford bigger apartments and more private school tuition, right?

Ok. You could argue that. But an anthropologist would unpack that a little more. If this was my research? The first thing I'd look into would be the power structures built into the finances of the Upper East Side marriages. She mentions the "performance bonuses" built into pre-nups in the New York Times article, but never really got into that in the book, and she certainly didn't comment on how pre- and post-nuptial agreements handled child support if there was a divorce.

Fact: If you marry an extremely wealthy man and your achievements become about supporting his career, the only financial security you may have long term (in the event of a divorce) may come from the children you've had together. More children = more child support. Stretch those births out over fifteen years and you've got child support for a longer period of time.

You think I'm crazy, I know, but this is true! I know several women who have been through this and that's why I'm disappointed Wednesday Martin didn't dig a little deeper. After divorce, a once-wealthy woman may rely on fixed alimony and never be able to marry again if she is unwilling or unable to give up her income.

A pre-nup may award a smaller sum to the wife and allocate the greatest amounts to the children.  I remember being so amazed by a woman's beautiful Carolina Herrera evening gown at an event and then she told me -- I'm not even sure why --  that her son had bought it for her. So much of her image in the community was built around the idea that she was wealthy, but the reality was that she couldn't maintain that image without lifetime financial support from her grown children. Imagine the tension of having to ask your children for everything you need and what would be required to maintain that balance of love and complete dependence on your children for life.

Pre-nup negotiations are so painful to both sides that there's a very good chance that the woman made pretty significant concessions just to move the marriage forward. I would hypothesize (guess?) that many of these women are having lots of children because that provides greater security as the marriage continues. The older (and less attractive) a woman gets, the more precarious things become. You can get work done on your face; you can go to SoulCycle; you can look the other way when he cheats on you. But how do you guarantee yourself a life if he decides a younger woman is the better deal?

And I know that in New York, a wealthy man's marriages will end within five years because of divorce property laws. Just ask Ellen Barkin! She carefully collected valuable jewelry during her marriage to beauty mogul Ronald Perelman and then sold it at auction to raise cash when they divorced. I know that this was a calculated financial strategy on Barkin's part DURING the marriage. She might have played it a different way in the press, but Barkin knew and she had a plan. Don't ask me how I know because I can't tell you. But it's absolutely true. In California? Your marriage to a wealthy man is going to last 10 years or less if he's unwilling to give you half his money. Just ask Nicole Kidman. This was the kind of stuff I was hoping Wednesday Martin would get into, but she never does.

I've seen wealthy men decide not to marry again because the pre-nup negotiations of their first marriage were so painful. They choose, instead, not to risk existing happiness and live (and have children with) the next woman without offering her the same negotiated "security." Which will be okay until it's not okay. And then what will she do?

And those little moments in Primates of Park Avenue - the back-turning at school drop offs; the quiet rage these women had during SoulCycle - what's behind all that anger? Wednesday Martin gives us a glimpse of the pressure they are under to look and behave in certain ways to maintain their status in the group, but we never get behind it. She never got "in".

But it's the concluding chapters of Primates of Park Avenue that really disappoint. We start the book with an introduction to a group of women in a silent fight for power and status and end with Martin backpedaling and saying some like, "You know, it turned out these gals were just so nice and had so many problems of their own." Bleech!

When I found out Martin had sold the film rights to the book - just days after it was printed - I was ticked for a solid week. It's going to become a Devil Wears Prada-style movie, I just know it. When someone does it halfway? It's nail in the coffin for anthropology. It makes it harder for all the other social anthropologists to argue that the kind of research we do is worthwhile.

I hate that.






The Five Minute Journal by UJ Ramdas: Update on My Progress

Podcasts and books: Let's break it down.

A couple of weeks ago I posted about some of my favorite podcast episodes. I've been seeing some changes in my mindset since I've started using UJ Ramdas' Five Minute Journal so I thought I'd spend a few minutes riffing on my progress.

When I started The Five Minute Journal (about two months ago), I was in a really strange place. My health is pretty good; there's enough money in the bank; I'm happily married; I love our new life in Colorado and my mother's suffering is finally over. There are daily challenges, of course, but in the big picture? Everything's basically fine.

The problem? I don't know how to do "fine." I was born into "complicated" and so it is "complicated" that I have always been comfortably uncomfortable with. "Complicated" snaps at you all day, every day but hands you a nice to-do list each and every morning. "Complicated" keeps you plenty busy.

"Fine" gives you peace, quiet, and the freedom to choose. "Fine" wakes you up in the morning and asks you what you'd like to do with your time, your money, and your skills. For a person who has spent their entire life being "complicated?" It's "fine" that f***s you up.

In this clean, quiet space there has suddenly been time to listen to the things I tell myself. " Without "complicated" to hand it to me the list I noticed I had begun to seek out all the reasons I could not possibly be o.k. Each morning, my failures fanned out in front of me on life's table like a deck of cards just begging me to choose one and jump back in the game.I revisited old mistakes and wondered if I was making new ones. I focused on what I didn't get done instead of the good work behind me each day.

I was in this place when I started keeping The Five Minute Journal. The theory behind the structure of The Five Minute Journal is that this kind of writing taps into the brain's RAS or reticular activation syndrome, changing how you look at the world. Ramdas says in the introduction,

"When you write 'What would make today great?' you're taking a step to influence your RAS to point out and engage in activities that would make your day better. You're building new pathways in your brain that allow you to 'see' what you can do to improve your well being every day...your mind [naturally] learns to improve your happiness. Doing this consistently gives you consistently better days."

I wouldn't say I had much invested in that theory when I started The Five Minute Journal. I was really just thinking it was easier than keeping a regular journal (and it is.) But two months on, I've noticed something. That constant inner chorus of disapproval has faded pretty significantly. I'm not saying that I think I'm "healed" or anything. It's there; I know it's there; the inner chorus of disapproval knows that I know it's there. But I just get on with it and it's fine.

Kind of like an age spot on your skin. You see it, you don't like the way it looks, but you have to just get on with life. You can't get rid of it. try, but your dermatologist says cutting it out will leave a scar. You could laser it but you'd have to keep coming back to deal with it, because it will never really go away. So if the choice is between keeping the age spot or having a scar that you have to cover with makeup or spending thousands of potential retirement dollars on IPL lasers over the course of a long life? Sometimes you just decide ignore the age spot and get on with it. Depending on the age spot. Lots of dermatological problems can be used as analogies for life's problems.

While I was out on a run a few weeks ago I experimented with this new knowledge. That old ways of thinking will never be completely suffocated, but I can acknowledge them when they pop up, then tamp them down and just get on with the business of being "fine." Somehow just recognizing that they're still there -- but not useful anymore --  just helped me. The Five Minute Journal played some role in this acceptance process that I can't entirely explain to you, but it did. And it continues to help me move toward being just "fine."

I recommend the book.



How to Use Essential Oils Without a Burner

How to Diffuse Essential Oils without a Burner


When I’m in a bad mood, I’m basically lazy. I want instant happiness. It’s a nice idea to think that I could sit down with a cup of tea and my journal while I inhale the essential oils bubbling away in the diffuser, but the reality is that I’m usually in such a funk that I can barely roll over and uncap The Antidote for Ego™ spray.

So if you’re the kind of person that has barely enough motivation uncap the top of your deodorant stick or if you can’t be trusted to bring the travel mugs of coffee back home to wash them? You’re like me.

And that’s why I make the Anti-Bad-Mood Sprays™ as ready-to-use aromatherapy products. You just spritz them in your space and inhale the scents. I’m not great at scrubbing essential oil burners and most of the time I don’t want to sit and wait for the glory to kick in.

Below I’ve made a list of some trusted methods you can use to diffuse essential oils. All of these methods will work with your Anti-Bad-Mood Sprays™ as well as the blends you make or buy from other sellers.

  • Spritz Anti-Bad-Mood Sprays™ or one drop of an essential oil on a tissue, handkerchief or cotton ball. This method is the most convenient and flexible way to use essential oils. You can carry the scent with you or tuck it inside a pillowcase or inside your clothing. Some essential oils will stain, so proceed carefully by testing a small amount of the oil in a hidden spot on fabrics.
  • My favorite way to use Anti-Bad-Mood Sprays™ is to mist them in front of my air intake vent. The lavender and citrus in The Antidote for Ego™ is a natural way to cleanse the air and the scent refreshes without overpowering. A couple of drops of organic lavender essential oil on your air filter would also do the trick.
  • Pour hot water into a bowl and add up to ¼ cup of a favorite Anti-Bad-Mood Spray™ to the bowl to scent the room quickly. If you are using neat essential oils, use between 1-10 drops, depending on the aroma strength you prefer.

Start small when you are working with your own essential oils. When it comes to scent, less IS more.

I always say that it’s the same science a realtor is using when they bake cookies before an open house. You don’t have to eat the cookies (at least not ALL of the cookies) to generate a positive emotional reaction. You like chocolate, there is chocolate in the air, and your brain responds with loving memories of that cookie-baking smell.

If you want the benefit of aromatherapy, you are not aiming for a smell that hangs in the air like a cheap candle. You are simply trying to move the smell from the nose to the brain, so that the brain’s limbic system can respond.


20 Things No One Ever Tells You About Being Self-Employed

There's a lot of stuff online telling folks to quit their jobs so they can freelance at "what [they] love." That all sounds great in a blog post and even better in an e-book that a blogger can sell (for just $9.99!) but it doesn't really cover all the stuff you need to know before you make the jump.

Like, what happens when no one wants to pay you to do what you love? Because the market for GOURD ART might not be strong enough to support you.

Jus' sayin'.

This year marks my 12th anniversary of self-employment so I'm going to tell you everything that's not in those books. All the stuff about freelancing that's not so great. Maybe I should write an e-book about the sh*tty side of working from home, but I'd rather you put your hard-earned money toward a bottle of Apathy Anti-Bad-Mood Spray.


20 Things No One Ever Tells You About Being Self-Employed

  1. That you will go through amazing amounts of toilet paper and that no matter what, you will always be the one that changes the toilet paper roll when it runs out.
  2. Two out of your three meals each day will be a bowl of cereal.
  3. Your friends and relatives will assume that you are always available to accept their packages and drive them to the airport. They will call you during your work day to chat but if you call them in the evening when you're free they will tell you that they are "busy with family stuff and can't talk."
  4. After a few years, the blush of daytime solitude wears off and you get a little bit lonely.
  5. You can accomplish two or three times what you did in an office environment in half the time but your clients won't get you feedback until Friday afternoon. And then they will want those drafts back by Monday morning.
  6. No one will give you a paycheck just for showing up. You either earn money or you don't.
  7. Sometimes you earn the money but don't get paid and that's going to hurt. This has only happened to me twice in twelve years but the memory still smarts. Once, someone just flaked and never wrote a small check which was pretty consistent with his management style. The other time I had to cover a sub-contractor's invoice because my client was unhappy. Both hurt my bank account but it hurt my heart even more.
  8. You have to be the accountant, the bill collector, the IT department, the blogger, the administrative support and the travel agent. If you're lucky, you can find someone good to help you out, but it rarely makes good financial sense long-term and often takes just as long to explain it to someone as it does to take care of it yourself.
  9. Because you don't care about Federal holidays anymore, you'll catch yourself working on more than one of them and wondering why no one else is picking up the phone.
  10. The first $700 you earn each month will go toward health insurance.
  11. You will either be too busy or not busy enough. In the not busy times, you'll have time to put lots of proposals together thinking that only a few will come back in. The challenge will be that they come back in at the same time. Making you too busy all over again. It's a cycle that is well-documented among freelancers. Check it out.
  12. It's very likely that you'll be better at managing a remote relationship than your clients will be. All the stuff that really helps - like BaseCamp and DropBox and such - may be beyond the realm of possibility for your client. Last year, I worked with someone who could only use a fax machine. A FAX MACHINE.
  13. You'll get to know your UPS driver on a first-name basis.
  14. Eventually, you'll wind up taking projects you don't really want because you need the money. Because you always try to do your best some of those projects may be wildly successful for your client. This success will send a whole bunch of other people your way with more work that doesn't have anything to do with "what you love." And then you'll have the decision to make all over again, only this time it will be easier because you won't have to decide whether its worth it to give up your benefits. Because you don't have any.
  15. Over time, you will become incredibly relaxed about personal hygiene tasks once considered essential.
  16. You'll get incredibly bored by "what you love." Maybe not every day, but many days. Ongoing professional development is an essential part of my week. You must keep learning just for the sake of keeping the brain engaged.
  17. Even though you have more time to go to the gym and get abs of steel? You will never put the time in to have abs of steel. At best? You'll work off the equivalent of one or two bowls of cereal every couple days.
  18. Every piece of feedback every boss ever gave you will suddenly make total sense when you hire other people to help you do a job.
  19. Your family and friends have absolutely no idea what you do for a living. Sometimes you don't even know what you do for a living.
  20. Other consultants will steal your ideas. Potential clients will assume you don't need money and will do their best to get your advice without paying for it. Your printer will always run out of toner the day an RFP is due. Travel on your own budget is not nearly as glamorous as traveling on your employer's budget. You'll rue the day you complained to your former boss about your travel budget.

Sure. There are definite positives - I don't have to wear pantyhose, for one - but this blog post isn't about all that. Do you freelance? What are the pros and cons you struggle with in your business?



The Multiple Ways in Which I am a Failure: May 20, 2015 Edition


The Multiple Ways in Which I am a Failure:

May 20, 2015 Edition

I tossed and turned all night after watching Birdsong, a dramatization of Sebastian Faulk's novel. I stayed up late to finish the show, failing to honor my commitment to go to bed on time. I sit up and muse about Vera Brittain's memoir Testament of Youth, which I failed to finish last year. Faulk ends with the idea that love is the only thing worth living for, but Brittain lost her Roland and spent the rest of her years in emotional compromise. Depressing.

Anyway, I better understand the tragedy of the Somme after watching Birdsong and it brought much of what Brittain talked about in her book to life. I should really finish her book but instead I start a new one about parental narcissism and how one can be raised to feel not good enough.

Many times I realize I can't sleep because I am hungry, which makes me think about all the people in the world who are honestly hungry, and go to bed each night without enough food and that makes me think about what a fool I am. I am selfish. have done nothing for them. I haven't even made myself a healthy snack because I can. I get up and eat a roll of beer brioche and promptly fall asleep.

I wake up feeling like I've been hit by a freight train. A hot shower solves a lot of problems, but this morning? I don't even have the energy to blow my hair straight. I'm fine with this at the moment, but I'm sure that later I will look in the mirror and bemoan the migration flight of my youth and beauty.

That pile of art that I love but - inexplicably - have never managed to take to the framer for the past twelve years - has been sitting on the credenza for three weeks. Which makes me think of all the other piles of clutter around the house, 99 percent of which are unfinished art projects. Some of them unfinished for years and years and years though I have a specific plan for each and every unfinished project. The fact that I have a plan for each and every piece of paper in that giant mess somehow makes it even worse, when I think about it.

I have, as a writer, an abusive relationship with the semi-colon;

My pants are tight in the legs but falling down around the waist and butt. I'm not sure if it's because I've lost weight or if it's because I've gained weight and my midsection is pushing the waistband toward my knees. I order new pants in my size but they are too big and I return them but don't allow myself to register this as a positive. I continue to wear the tight legged pants and hike up the waist every five minutes instead of going to the mall (one mile down the road) and trying on pants until I find a pair that fit. I could weigh myself but that would be stupid.

We have way more Tupperware than two people need.

Yesterday's accomplishments seem like mountains in the foggy distance and one of the pets has been sick on the rug.

All day long I try to convince artists to regularly update their web pages but I haven't touched my own [work] website in months. Not even to update the contact information after our recent move. This is tragic and sad but I already know that I won't log in today, either.

I don't think my Gmail works from my iPad and, since I'm not sure when the sync quit? I have evidently failed to respond to an invitation to get a pedicure tomorrow; several client emails and likely missed some pretty good Internet sales on pants.

But tomorrow is another day.

-- Heidi



24 Hours Without Internet: My Personal No-Google Crisis.

My Internet has been out for nearly 24 hours. The modem works; the TV works. The Internet? Does not work. I’ve tried everything I can think of to make it GO. I turned it off and on. I shut down my various machines and booted them back up again. I unplugged it and let it rest overnight hoping some cable magic would happen.

No luck.

The only thing I didn’t try (besides actually calling Comcast) was unscrewing the cable from the jack in the living room and reconnecting it in one of the bedrooms. This is what my husband suggested I try next. But it just seemed like a lot of stuff to unplug so I figured I’d wait until he got home from his business trip and let him sort it out.

And, I figure, by waiting I’m killing two birds with one stone. I’m getting the Internet fixed; I’m giving John the opportunity to demonstrate his man skills here in the home. By waiting for him to unplug it and plug it back in he will have the chance to stomp around and critique the way the Cable Guy wired our system. Which is something he really enjoys doing. I’m thinking that waiting for him to fix it versus doing it myself makes it a win/win.

So, I cuddled in last night all ready to enjoy a sort of forced silent retreat. There were a few things I would have liked to have wrapped up that afternoon, but nothing that couldn’t wait until the morning. I made a homemade pizza for dinner. Did the dishes and some laundry; walked the dog. And I watched a little HSN. If you really want to learn to sell stuff (or make small talk)? Then watch the shopping channel. These people are amazing. See if YOU can talk about the majestic nature of an ordinary beach flip flop for a solid fifteen minutes of air time. I bet you can’t!

Anyway. Once I got tired of watching HSN – I made it through three June Ambrose outfits – I decided to pick up my Kindle and make some progress on Silas Marner. That’s when the sh*t hit the fan. Without the Internet I couldn’t sync to the furthest page I’d read. I had to page through until I found it myself. Tragic.

So, one full day without Internet and I’ve assembled a list of unnecessary stuff I was unable to accomplish without WiFi:

  • I tossed and turned last night (I’m a terrible insomniac) and I wanted to Google the link between magnesium deficiency and sleeplessness. Couldn’t do it. I popped a magnesium supplement and feel asleep, but as for the connection? I’m left wondering.
  • I was unable to update my Yelp review of my new salon. You can tell if someone’s a good colorist right away, but it takes a few haircuts before the depth of their skill set can be seen. This is important information that people NEED TO KNOW. They will have to wait for the weekend.
  • I remembered I hadn’t heard back from Cigna on the investigation into coverage for my bone-anchored hearing device and thought I should send the guy a message. That’s a no-can-do.
  • I got it in my mind that I could go to school at Aveda Denver to become a makeup artist and I was wondering how much it cost and how long it would take but I couldn’t google it. I would be, like, the only makeup artist that could also discuss the Kantian perspective.
  • I got tired of reading Silas Marner and thought I’d take a break and download another book I’ve been looking at. OH SNAP! No wifi.
  • Thought I’d order a new pair of sandals from since I seemed to have the time to browse. But then remembered I had all this extra time to browse for shoes because I had no wifi.
  • Sitting in bed, I had the idea that it might be a good retirement plan to buy a few acres and put a “tiny house” on the property. Like maybe one of these “hobby mining” spots in Colorado we’d been talking about. Get my sister and her husband to put a tiny house there, too. Cheaper than a big house and a lot less maintenance, freeing you to travel and spend time in other spots. I broadened this old age pensioner vision to include bonfires and barbecues, hobby mining for garnets when our Humira decides to kick in. Unfortunately, I was unable to google available hobby mining properties or local “tiny house” manufacturers. As of this morning, my retirement plans remain in flux.
  • My childhood friend, Linda Patterson. What’s she up to? I guess, without WiFi, we’ll never know.
  • I never heard back on that job I applied for. I wonder if they wound up filling the position and if they did? Who did they hire? I still don’t know.
  • What’s my bank balance?
  • Has the hand lotion I ordered from Amazon Prime been delivered? Because my skin is so dry. Did the apartment’s front desk forget to notify me?
  • My leg itches. It could be dry skin. But maybe it’s cancer. I should Google itchy leg cancers. I’m probably going to die of leg cancer because I couldn’t Google it in time.

 One of the great things about the Internet is that virtually everything is knowable. Whether the answers are accurate or true? Well, that’s another blog post. With Google, you literally NEVER HAVE TO WONDER again. Without Google? Well…then you’re left trying to figure out how you used to waste all your time.

Today? I’m working in the apartment’s community room.


SERIAL, The Lively Show, Who I Wish I Looked Like and a Review of UJ Ramdas and The Five Minute Journal

I've been going through "a phase" lately. A podcast phase. Like, I hadn't listened to podcasts for some years and then Sarah Koenig's SERIAL changed all of that. It became the thing that saved me from my hearing my own thoughts. Especially while my sister and I were holed up in an Omaha hotel room before and after my mother's funeral. In that hotel room, I re-learned the appeal of hands-free (free to use both hands for wine and chocolate) listening.

Sometime later, I found The Lively Show. I wish I knew how - because I love Jess Lively's interviews so much. If I could re-trace my Internet steps, perhaps I'd be able to track down a list of *other* podcasts that would change my life.

That's right. I said it. The Lively Show has changed my life. I look forward to Thursdays, when Jess releases each new episode. I've changed the set-up of my five-mile walks from all music to half music/half Lively Show. There are a handful of episodes I've put on repeat. Books I've downloaded after listening to interviews with the authors. Habits I've put into practice because something I heard resonated so deeply. For the record, those episodes are:

"One Part Plant" with Jessica Murnane. The Lively Show Episode #2.

Jessica Murnane has been through alot of what I've been through. Endometriosis. Multiple surgeries. Daily pain and frustration that stretches into years. She has reduced her pain by eating a plant-based diet (as I do) and it was helpful to hear her talk about her experience.

"The One Thing" with Jay Papasan. The Lively Show Episode #64.

I got a great deal of energy out of this concept. When I am stuck, I ask myself what "The One Thing" is...

"The Miracle Morning" with Hal Elrod. The Lively Show Episode #68.

Hal Elrod made me a convert. I put in my contacts first thing in the morning (plus some other routines) and I'm like a new woman.


"The Art of Relaxation and Creativity" with Jen Gotch.

For your information, I look like Jen Gotch inside my head. Specifically, this picture. I wish I had the balls to use that much peroxide and then put in some highlights with Kool-aid. But I don't. I'm not even sure I could pull off the awesome vintage sweater. And I always think eyeliner gives me the Cindy McCain "crazy-eyes." Like, probably makes the pale blue of me and Cindy's eyes pop when you're standing up close, but looks a little scary in photos.

But I digress.

The point is this: I'm not sure there is a point. Ok. Yes. It was about UJ Ramdas' The Five Minute Journal. I purchased The Five Minute Journal and have been keeping it for a few weeks now. Sort of a compromise between the three pages of automatic writing I did each morning for years and years and years and not journaling at all.

A review of UJ Ramdas Five Minute Journal

The Five Minute Journal is all about tracking gratitude and amazement, and a little bit about capturing desires. I think I quit the morning pages when I realized it was just a download of pre-coffee dissatisfactions.

Some days, especially if you work from home, recognizing The Five Minute Journal's "three amazing things that happened today" will be pretty small. But that process actually helps me identify the small stuff. Like, maybe my aged, handicapped dachshund was able to walk all the way to the mailbox and back. Other times the things I'm grateful for are big but broad. Like, you just really appreciated a day of beautiful Colorado sunshine.

Or maybe your gratitude surprises you. One day I was just so appreciative of something small my husband said that made me think more positively about a challenging situation. Most days I'm really grateful that I've found a crack financial planner who TELLS ME WHAT TO DO when I don't know what to do. Which, if you think about it, has the power to change the trajectory of my entire financial life. And therefore, many of the other aspects of my life.

And I think that's the whole point. (If this blog post really has a point...) That the simple act of consciousness, via The Five Minute Journal, can be a teacher. You're learning about the people and the experiences - big and small - that have the power to change your day, your week, your years.

You can listen to Jess Lively's interview with UJ Ramdas in this episode. And I highly recommend The Five Minute Journal. Because it will move you toward happiness - and happiness is (technically) what Anti-Bad-Mood aromatherapy sprays are all about. It's not about the money - because, believe me - I'm not making much. It's about making sure an idea I've had gets out there, fashioned in the way I envision it. Because I've spent so much of my working life making sure other people's ideas "work."

Deep thoughts, right?! Tell me something amazing that happened to you yesterday...? Big or small.



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