's RSS feed Facebook Google+ Instagram Pinterest Twitter Vimeo YouTube

2 Creative Ways To Pamper A Friend

girls holding hands
photo credit: Julia Caesar

Our friends mean a lot to us. They are often a sympathetic ear, a confidant, and even the voice of reason. It is likely that they have seen us through some of the highs and lows of our lives. Even if our friendship with someone is still in fairly early days, we probably came together for a reason. There is something about them that we like or feel connected to. Perhaps their outlook on life refreshes us or puts a smile on our face. Whatever the reason, friends help us make the best of life. It is now even supported by research that friendship and interaction has a profound impact on our overall wellbeing. If we have good friends in our lives, it follows that we want to be a good friend ourselves. There are many times that a friend of ours might not be feeling their best. Perhaps they’ve undergone something stressful at work. They might be dealing with a difficult family situation. They may even be recovering from illness, or just feeling generally down. If you want to pamper a friend in a thoughtful and creative way, browse the ideas below for inspiration.

woman with cucumber eye mask
photo credit: Pexels

A Pamper Evening

In our busy modern lives, it can be difficult to find any time for ourselves. If we add a family into the mix, things can become even more complicated! A pamper evening can be a great way to help a friend to unwind. With affordable face masks and hand cream, we can instantly start to feel fresher. Prepare the bathroom ahead of schedule by adding some fresh towels and bathroom accessories. After you’re clean and relaxed, it can be nice to sit in a warm room with scented candles. You can then catch up over herbal tea or a glass of wine, or simply watch a movie together. Whatever you choose to do, the emphasis should be on feeling tranquil and carefree.

fresh flowers on picnic table
photo credit: Pexels

Afternoon Tea

The tradition of “afternoon tea” is especially popular in Britain and Europe, and it’s easy to see why. Participants settle down with friends or family to enjoy a selection of fresh sandwiches, cake, and warm drinks. It is easier to recreate at home than you might think. With a few plates, containers, or cake stands, you can arrange things beautifully. You may choose to make a few small sandwiches from scratch. Or you can buy them and arrange them later. The same goes for slices of cake, biscuits or muffins. Lemonade, cordial, or sparkling water can be offered on the side. But a sip of freshly made English Breakfast Tea or Earl Grey can be especially refreshing. This is an opportunity to make your friend feel special and to enjoy something novel. You can have afternoon tea in your own kitchen or lounge. On a nice day, it is particularly pleasant to enjoy it in the garden.

Pampering a friend in any way and on any budget shows them how much they mean to you. Everyone deserves a treat and to feel appreciated every once in awhile.

Filed under Articles

How to make crazy hair color last

The upside of crazy hair color: it’s fun!

The downside to crazy hair: it never lasts as long as you want it to. CORRECTION: it takes work to make it last.

Current hair: neon flamingo!

Current hair: neon flamingo!

Current hair: neon flamingo!

Having run through the entire rainbow of colors, with the notoriously finicky pinks and reds being my favorites, I’m here to attest that it is entirely possible to make fun and funky hair colors last more than a week or two. But just as it’s seemingly impossible to achieve today’s standards of beauty without at least some pain (tweezing those sensitive under-eyebrow hairs, anyone?), keeping color in your hair instead of literally washing it down the drain does take some regular maintenance. So without further ado, here are my tried-and-true methods, based on six years of regular hair coloring, for keeping your color vibrant and fresh for a good 4-6 weeks before you’ll need to do another full-on hair dye session:

at how to make crazy hair color last


My current go-to hair products: Art Naturals Organic Argan Oil Shampoo, Renpure Advanced Bamboo Coconut Water Moisturize & Heal Conditioner, Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Refreshing Dry Shampoo, Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Flat Iron Perfector Straightening Mist, and Art Naturals Organic Argan Oil for Hair, Face & Skin.


General pre-coloring tips:


Use a dye-friendly shampoo, and use it sparingly.

My current dye-friendly shampoo: Art Naturals Organic Argan Oil Shampoo
* * *
There are many self-marketed “color safe” shampoos on the market, but most of them truly aren’t safe for colored hair. Flip such a shampoo bottle over and read through the list of ingredients – if you see anything including the words “sodium”, “sulfate”, or “sulfuric”, skip it. Most commonly listed as sodium laurel or sodium laureth sulfate, these ingredients strip your hair of color (as well as moisture) like there’s no tomorrow. All sulfates do is increasing a shampoo’s lathering power. Your shampoo won’t provide as much of a bubbling lather, but your color won’t rinse away with the bubbles, so that’s a win/win in my book! The ideal color-safe shampoo will be free of sulfates, so don’t just look for labels that say “color safe” or “safe for treated hair” – look for descriptors such as “sulfate-free” or “SLS-free”, and then check that ingredient listing just to be sure.

In addition to choosing a shampoo free of sodium and sulfates, and not leaving shampoo sit in your hair where even the gentlest of cleansers will eventually strip away some color, consider shampooing your hair every other shower. On the non-shampoo days, just rinse your hair with plenty of warm water, and cut back on the amount of conditioner you use. From personal experience I can tell you that if you’re working with hair that has been bleached at least once, you won’t even notice the lack of shampoo – any natural oils and conditioner-added moisture will get sucked up by your thirsty tresses.


Replace 1-2 of your weekly “wet” shampoos with “dry” shampoos.

My current dry shampoo: Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Refreshing Dry Shampoo
* * *
Shampoos cleanse hair by lathering up into a rich mixture that grabs onto debris, oils, and dead skin cells. But you know what else shampoo, even gentle sulfate-free ones, grab onto? Hair dye. That’s why less is more in the world of colored hair. In addition to skipping your shampooing routine every other shower, consider replacing an additional 1-2 weekly wet (in shower with regular shampoo) shampoo routines with a dry shampoo routine. Dry shampoo works in a similar manner, though it’s dry formula means it “skims” the surface and grabs onto the most readily available build-up – residual hair product and skin oils. Simply follow a dry shampoo 1-2 times per week to rid your hair of the worst of the typical build-up that leads to a dull, lank, or oily look, and then proceed with conditioning as usual.


Add hair dye to your conditioner, and always condition!

My current conditioner: Renpure Advanced Bamboo Coconut Water Moisturize & Heal Conditioner
* * *
A good conditioner will do wonders for your hair. And for color-treated hair that has also been bleached, you’ll definitely want to use a deeply moisturizing conditioner. But regardless of the type of conditioner you use, make sure you use it every single time you shower, and make sure you first add hair dye to it! A typical hair-dye-to-conditioner ratio is 1:3 – so your conditioner bottle should be 25% hair dye and 75% conditioner.

Why hair dye in the conditioner? Simple: every time you shampoo your hair, even with a gentle sulfate-free shampoo, you’re stripping color from your hair. The easiest and most convenient way to add some color back is by mixing hair dye with your conditioner, then leaving the conditioner in your hair for a minimum of five minutes to ensure plenty of time for sufficient color deposit. Bonus: your hair will be incredibly soft, smooth, and supple!


Protect your hair!

My current protective hair products: Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Flat Iron Perfector Straightening Mist and Art Naturals Organic Argan Oil for Hair, Face & Skin
* * *
This should be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many people take the time to color hair and use all of the right cleansing and conditioning products, but then turn around and abuse or neglect their hair in other ways. Here are a few ways to go the extra mile in caring for your hair by protecting it:


Doing all of the above has enabled me to extend the lifespan of a hair dye from 2-3 weeks to an average of 5-6 weeks. Is there anything you do to pamper and protect your hair color that I haven’t listed here? Do share – I’m always on the hunt for ways to make my hair color last as long as possible!

Filed under Prettyful

Another adorable result of irresponsible humans

Meet Simba.

Alyssa bottle-feeding Simba.
KMR to the rescue!

Ryan was happy to provide body warmth for the little guy.

Dan didn’t even mind getting pooped on.

His name is Simba, he’s just three weeks old, and my friend and I are doing our best to make sure he survives. ♥

P.S. PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL DEITIES SPAY AND NEUTER. Participate in TNR, round up a stray or ten and drop them off at the nearest shelter, and/or throw funds at local rescues. It takes a village to raise a child… and to cut down on the feline overpopulation problem. Please… enough of Alcides, Felixes, Avas, Ellas, Titaniums, Aslans, Quinns, Odins, Bones, and Freyjas… in a society where we took proper care of cats, both owned and stray/feral, none of these cats would exist. And as much as I love my fur babies, in my ideal world they truly wouldn’t exist, because let’s face it – they’re the results of irresponsible humans.

Filed under General

A letter to the ER doctor who believed me.

(Typed, printed, signed, and ready for mailing tomorrow morning.)


My name is Jenn. I don’t know if you remember me, but I remember you. I also don’t know if you receive thank-yous very often – something tells me probably not, since you work in a chaotic ER. And I’m sure written thank-yous are even less frequent. But I feel what you did for me is deserving of a thank-you – if I knew of your schedule, I’d come to the ER personally to find you and deliver this in person. But I don’t, and something tells me hospital staff would write me off as a stalker if I called asking for your schedule, so a mailed letter it is (I do hope it reaches you).

On April 19th, 2016, at exactly 10:00am, I suffered a third spontaneous ulcer perforation. If you remember me telling you, or took a look through my patient record, you may know my first happened on February 18th, 2013, at 2:42am. The second was on August 1st, 2015, at 7:31am. The exact times may come across as a bit OCD, but that’s the thing with a crisis – every detail stands out and etches itself upon your memory.

So when the intense, crippling, breath-taking pain hit Tuesday morning last month, I knew. It took me two minutes to get from the bathroom, where I had been brushing my teeth, into the bedroom. To my cellphone. To plug it in because the battery has discharged to 12 percent. To dial 911. To dial a second time because I accidentally hung up the first time. To fight back the pain long enough to clearly state my name, address, nature of emergency, and request for an ambulance.

Time crawled from that point in time, 10:02am, until you walked into the room two or so hours later. In those two hours I was loaded into an ambulance, deposited into the waiting room at your ER, taken to triage and asked if I was constipated, abandoned a second time in the waiting room, and then finally put into an actual room in the ER. A few minutes before you came in a nurse came by with a urine specimen cup and requested a sample so they could check for kidney stones. I repeatedly insisted on the diagnosis being an ulcer perforation, and begged for a doctor, pain relief, and a CT scan to confirm the diagnosis. She was pretty skeptical.

But you weren’t. You believed me. You didn’t feel skeptical (or at least, you didn’t show it if you did). You didn’t criticize. You didn’t dismiss. Instead, you took me at my word, especially when I rattled off both my surgical history and the increasing list of removed internal organs. You could have easily insisted on doing a thorough verbal and physical exam. You could have insisted on a list of diagnostic tests. But instead, you jumped right to my request: a CT scan. And then you were quick to get the results. And quick to contact my surgery team at {BARIATRIC SURGEON’S HOSPITAL}. You condensed an anticipated two to three hour ordeal into less than 30 minutes.

And for that, I am writing to say THANK YOU. I know that as an ER doctor you probably see many patients who are exaggerating or altogether lying about symptoms in order to score drugs, attention, or both. I know this not just from news articles and statistics, but how I myself have been treated (because let’s face it, it’s not common to deal with a 31-year-old healthy-appearing woman who has gastric ulcers AND ovarian torsion AND endometriosis AND polycystic ovarian syndrome AND a history of ulcers AND not one but two – now three – ulcer perforations AND degenerative disc disease AND a need for spinal fusion due to one disc that is compressed and leaking and another that is almost completely obliterated. I can’t tell you how many times I have been treated with disdain, disbelief, disrespect, and dismissal because of my complex and convoluted medical history – and crazily-colored hair, colorful makeup, and a penchant for lots of glitter and lots of jewelry is just the icing on the This Woman Has Got To Be Full Of Shit And Just Wants Narcotics to Abuse cake.).

Thank you. Thank you for believing me – or at least believing me enough to put aside your questions and judgments long enough to humor me for my request for a CT. Thank you for then immediately following up with the results of those CT – so it wasn’t just a case of you ordering the CT to shut me up and then not following up until you had made me wait for a prolonged and unnecessary amount of time. And thank you for then immediately jumping on the horn with {BARIATRIC SURGEON} and arranging a prompt transport to {BARIATRIC SURGEON’S HOSPITAL}.

Since I’m writing this to you, you have accurately deduced that I made it through. I had surgery that day, about an hour and a half after I arrived at {BARIATRIC SURGEON’S HOSPITAL}. There was a bit of a SNAFU there that involved them dumping me into their waiting room as well, mistakenly thinking I was having chest pain which resulted in me finally screaming I wasn’t going anywhere or doing anything unless it involved more pain medication and an OR, and in that order. But after 10 or so minutes of confusion and chaos, {BARIATRIC SURGEON} was in my ER room and plans were quickly put into action, and it wasn’t long after that when I was in the blessed OR begging for anesthesia.

I was hospitalized for four days, which seems to be the average after an ulcer perforation. But the surgery went smoothly, was performed laparoscopically and did not require the insertion of a drainage tube or a gastric feeding tube, and my recovery has been slow but steady. Unfortunately, this third ulcer perforation destroyed the six and a half year old gastric bypass I have worked so hard to make a success (I had surgery in 2009, hit my goal weight “range” of 160-170 in 2011, and have successfully and consistently maintained that 180 pound loss). The reasons… well, for various reasons I won’t name the doctor who I may have named to you in the ER that day. But there is a medical professional, and his apparent penchant for using Toradol in patients who have a known and repeatedly voiced and written history of ulcers and ulcer perforations, who is responsible for this. But I am doing my best to let go of my anger in order to focus on moving forward with recovering, both physically and emotionally. I will be having a complex gastric bypass revision to gastric sleeve surgery on May 2323, 2016. This surgery will remove the permanently damaged and vulnerable area of stomach pouch/small intestine connection, and revise my entire already-revised digestive system from a gastric bypass to a gastric sleeve. {BARIATRIC SURGEON} firmly believes that this, barring any further use of Toradol or other fun ulcer-inducing drugs, will fix me for good. I’m very happy to hear this, and even though I am dreading another surgery – especially just four weeks after the last one, my fourth in a year’s time, my 11th abdominal surgery in all (can someone please get me a punch card? I think I’m due for a free t-shirt, or at least a travel mug), — I am also very excited to close this hellish chapter of my life (tentatively titled, Three Years of Ulcers and the Physical Hell They Induce) and move on to a happier, less-painful, less-stressful existence.

I will end this very long (sorry) letter with another heartfelt thank you: THANK YOU for being an amazing doctor. While our interaction was rather brief, please know you made an incredible and significant impression on me (and I have shared this impression with every doctor I have talked to since), and I will be forever grateful for your respectful, compassionate, and prompt treatment.


Filed under General

What To Do When You Get A Rash!

Viral Rash from influenza
photo credit: Care_SMC

It can be frustrating when we notice that we have developed a rash on our arm or leg. A rash may occur for a number of reasons, but it’s mainly down to something irritating your skin. You need to consider what you have touched which could have resulted in the inflammation. It might not be anything serious, but there are a few things you can do when you get a rash.

Get it checked by a doctor

If the rash disappears after 24 hours, then you might not need to do anything about it. Keep an eye on it, but if it continues to irritate you or appears to be getting worse, it’s time to see the doctor. Book in for an appointment and then let them examine the rash. They will be able to tell you what might have caused it, and then they will decide if they should send you on for further tests. They might not be able to do anything to help as it might go in its own time. But it’s worth getting it checked out so you can stop worrying about it. If it’s a kid you should make sure you go check it out sooner rather than later. Make sure you ask them if it’s hurting them and you should keep an eye on it to see whether it’s spreading.

Wash the rash

One of the first things you should do when you notice that you have a rash is to clean the area. By doing this, you can stop it from getting any further inflamed. It will also remove anything in the area which may be causing it distress. Make sure you feel around the rash to ensure nothing is inside your skin. If by washing it, it’s irritating it further, you should stop immediately. After cleaning it, you should see if it starts to look better, or take further action if it gets worst.

Use concealer

If you have figured out that the rash is nothing serious, you can cover it so that it can be concealed till it disappears. It’s never attractive going out with a big rash on your arm or leg. It’s especially frustrating if you are heading out for a big night out. Therefore, you can use concealer to hide the rash; just make sure that it doesn’t irritate your further.

Do the meningitis test

You should ensure that there is nothing seriously wrong with you when you notice yourself or someone else has a skin rash. One of the most serious diseases that’s important symptom is a skin rash is meningitis. This disease is life threatening so if you have a fever, headache and a skin rash with spots you need to go to the doctor immediately. One way people check if its meningitis is by doing the glass test. It can be done by putting a glass against the skin and seeing if the rash fades. If you can see the spots through the glass, it could be meningitis. Remember the glass test is not accurate, so if you do suspect it’s meningitis, you need to go to the hospital immediately.

Get some cream

If the rash is becoming itchy, it might be time to get some cream which you can use to smooth on the rash. It will instantly cool down the skin, and is particularly useful for rashes which have been caused by heat. You may want to get some cream which has been prescribed by the chemist, as they will be able to recommend ones which will stop you irritating it further.

Leave it a day or two

The most important thing you can do when you get a rash is just to keep an eye on it. A lot of rashes are because our body is trying to protect us to fight infection. If you need to, you can take photos of the rash and then the next day you can take another picture and then compare if it’s got worse. You may be able to solve it at home without going to the doctors.You can read about how you can stop inflammation on sites such as

Check your soaps

One of the top reasons people get rashes is because a product has irritated their skin. You should consider what you have used recently which might have caused the rash. As it says in this article, a lot of the time it can be down to a new soap in your home. Think back to the last few days and whether you have used a new lotion, soap, or detergent that could have irritated your skin. It might be worth throwing it away to ensure that you don’t get any more rashes. You should tell your doctor about it as they will be able to check if you are allergic to it.

Could it be a food allergy

Another reason why you might get a rash is that you have experienced a food allergy. You may have an allergy you know about and should consider whether that food has somehow passed your lips. Perhaps you have been to a restaurant, and they could have added it in your food. If you don’t know if you have a food allergy, it’s worth going to the doctors and seeing if there are any foods you should be avoiding.

Bathe in baking soda

A lot of people have not heard of the next thing which can help when you get a rash. Baking soda is an excellent way to stop that rash from irritating you. Put a cup of baking soda in the bath and then you can take a soak in there which will soothe your skin and reduce the rash.

Stop scratching

The best tip we can give you if you get a rash is to ensure you don’t scratch the area. It can be so easy to do when you get an irritable rash, and it gives us a moment of relief. But the more you scratch, the more you will make it worse, and it will irritate it further.
Remember always to get rashes checked out if it lasts a couple of days.

Filed under Articles