Taco, Taco, Taco!

Well, I think Gir pretty much says it all. But in case you guys needed some real life proof of why tacos are so amazing (or in case you don’t get the Invader Zim reference… in which case FOR SHAME) I shall explain further.

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See, last night the loverly Aileen graced me with her presence so I could give her some ridiculous camouflage UnderArmour accessories that I got from my sister. (It’s a long story as to WHY she finds this so exciting, but I think the above picture is pretty self-explanatory as to HOW excited she was about it.)

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So, to celebrate our ridiculousness and also because, you know, we gotta eat, Sean and I (but mostly Sean) made fish tacos and homemade salsa. (Okay, fine, it was pretty much ALL Sean.)

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But I did my part by whipping up a batch of cilantro-lime rice and freaking out about the salsa being too spicy. (Spoiler alert: It wasn’t. It was perfect.) I also weighed in on the cabbage-to-onion ratio in the slaw. Important work, I know.

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There may or may not have also been beer.

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And, needless to say, it was all INSANELY delicious. Ben and Taylor ate with us too, so they can confirm. Sean made tilapia two ways and they were both scrum-diddly-umptious. True story.

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Also, since Aileen has the handy duel role of both friend (remember her flippin’ awesome guest post?) AND editor, we talked about Underground-related things (that’s the working title of the sequel to Terra, for those of you who don’t know) quite a bit. I think it’s safe to say you should get excited… 😀

In related news, this morning I’m going to talk to a few dozen high school students about my book, writing, publishing, and all that jazz. Please refer back to the picture of me above if you would like a visual as to how prepared I am for that. I feel like I am juuuuust old enough to be thoroughly out of the loop when it comes to things that high schoolers like. (What?! Today’s youth doesn’t care if Backstreet’s Back?? And what do you mean, “What’s a mood ring?” Let me hobble back into my cave, log onto http://www.cheekybingo.com, and revel in my outdatedness.)

At any rate, I’m hopeful that my undying love for Harry Potter and The Hunger Games will work in my favor.

At any rate, think positive thoughts for me between 9:53 and 11:37 AM!

Oh yeah, and have an awesome weekend, too. 🙂

I No ‘Poo, Do You?

Ahoy-hoy! Happy Friday folks! After the total and complete train wreck that was yesterday morning, I could honestly not be happier that Friday is here. Granted, my day got decidedly better after 5 PM, but it still took me a bit of shopping and a lot of deliciousness to pull me out of my funk.

Thankfully, my friend Lara was more than happy to help me achieve both. I met her at Tysons Corner, where we did a little of what was supposed to be window shopping, and then grabbed a bite to eat at La Sandia.

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La Sandia is an upscale Mexican restaurant that I’ve been meaning to try forever, but never got the chance to. It always whet my appetite to see the diners out in the “patio” area having fresh guacamole prepared tableside. Naturally, Lara and I had to follow suit!

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The guac was fantastic, as you’d expect. I also got a glass of sangria that was nice and strong — not watered down and overly sugary like you often find. I didn’t get a chance to try Lara’s margarita, but I assume it was also pretty bangin’.

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For my entree, I got the grilled skirt steak tacos. They came with three mini tacos, rice, refried black beans, and salsa roja on the side. The rice and beans were delicious, as was the steak, but I guess I had kind of forgotten that I’m not a huge fan of the texture of corn tortillas. I ended up eating one full taco and then the filling out of the other two, haha. Overall, I would definitely come back to La Sandia again, if for nothing else but the guac. I think it’d be a great happy hour spot, though it is a little on the expensive side.

U-No-Poo

So despite what you may think, the title of this post does not, in fact, refer to constipation nor to the hilariously named confections that I picked up in Harry Potter World. I am instead referring to the on-and-off experimenting I’ve been doing with my hair over the past few months. The ‘poo is simply “shampoo”, shortened. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you may remember that I tend to change my hair — both cut and color — quite often. In fact, I often joke that I could start an entirely new blog about just that.

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I’ve actually been pretty lucky that all the wear and tear I’ve performed on my hair (rhyming!) hasn’t destroyed it too much. That said, I do find that the regular ol’ shampoo and conditioner caboodle hasn’t really been doing it any favors either. I have bone-straight, medium-thickness hair that gets greasy pretty easily. Because of the grease factor, I was washing my hair every day, which meant my hair color would fade very quickly. So in order to preserve not only my locks, but the many bottles of drug store hair-dye that I pour into them, I figured it was time to test out some other solutions of the non-shampoo variety.

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I started doing research online and decided to try remaking myself from Beauty Base Zero. I read about the methods of cleansing your hair using baking soda and apple cider vinegar. I know, strange, right? After all, we’re not baking up in here! But still, I figured I’d give it a shot. I made a “shampoo” solution with baking soda and water, and used watered down apple cider vinegar as “conditioner”. To my immense surprise, the vinegar actually really worked as a conditioner. The baking soda definitely made my head feel clean, but it tangled up my hair something fierce, as you can imagine. Pour a little of the ACV solution on it, though? Bam. Silky. It was crazy! The instructions said you really only need to do this every couple of days, but after about half a day my hair would start greasing up again. In the end, this method just wasn’t for me. (I should note: most of what I read said that it takes a couple weeks of the baking soda/vinegar thing to really reset the balance of your hair, so if you stick with it then your oil levels will reduce and you really can go days and days without needing to wash it. I just wasn’t patient enough to wait that long, haha.)

I went back to shampooing with “color protecting shampoos” (what a load of crock) in the meantime, before remembering something. See, way back in college, my now-friend and then-classmate Tiffany gave a presentation on Wen Cleansing Conditioners. Created by celebrity hair stylist Chaz Dean, these puppies were designed to cleanse and conditioner your hair in one — without any of the harmful, oil- and color-stripping ingredients like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (the thing that makes your shampoo lather and makes your hair feel “clean”). It took me a while to actually commit to trying it out, since it’s like $35 a bottle, but when I did I was admittedly quite impressed. It doesn’t give you that same lathering effect that shampoo does, but when you add a little bit of water to it and really massage it into your head, it froths up a bit (bonus: it tingles!). You leave it on your head while you go about doing all the rest of your shower biz-niz, and then rinse it out REALLY well. The end effect? Super soft hair that really DOES feel clean! Clean enough to go a day without washing, in fact. AND there’s much less colorful run-off water from my burgundy coiffure. Whaaat?

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Of course, as mentioned, this ish is kind of expensive (says the girl who pays $40 for her face wash, haha). So when I ran out of Wen the first time, I didn’t bother replacing it and backslid into my old shampoo-ing ways. It wasn’t until I had to redye my hair YET AGAIN this time around that I realized I should probably try getting back on the horse. In doing a little more research, I found out something interesting for the budget-conscious of you, however. The ingredients in Wen are pretty similar to the ingredients in the conditioner I already had (purchased in conjunction with the aforementioned color “saving” shampoo). In fact, while waiting for my new bottle of Wen to arrive from Amazon, I tried using the same method with my regular conditioner and guess what? My hair felt totally clean. I think I read that the cleansing ingredient is the cetyl alcohol which is found in a lot of conditioners (including super cheap Suave brand), so they have the same cleansing ability for a fraction of the cost! I still really like the smell of Wen, so I’m not that upset that I committed to another bottle of the stuff. Still, I’ll definitely be experimenting with other, cheaper solutions once this one runs out, and suggest you do the same!

What’s your ‘poo philosophy? Are you an everyday shampoo-er? A non-shampooing hippie (heh)? A cleansing conditioner convert?