Song Challenge: Least Favorite Song

Soul Sister by Train. I don’t like this guy’s voice. Every time it comes on the radio, I have to change the station. Actually, when most anything by Train comes on the radio, I change the station. It’s his voice. Not a fan.

PS — Blurred Lines was going to be my first choice, but I didn’t want to link to the song.

Food for Thought: Letters to my Sisters

letter to sisters clmannarino
Stop singing
your heart out
to strange men
whose lips can kiss love
in multiple tongues,
but tremble
every time you ask them to spell loyalty.
Neha Ray, Letters to my Sisters

Because I’m Annoyed: An Open Letter

Dear Driver Who Keeps Riding My Ass:

What? Why? What have I done to you?

Let me guess, I’m going too slow. I’m blocking your way. I’m the car that just won’t pull over to let the rest of the world speed by. Well, guess what? I’m not going anywhere.

I’m going down a 30 mile per hour road at 40 and you’re still following me as if by giving me, I don’t know, ten feet of extra space would mean losing your place to another car. Despite the fact that we’re not on the highway.

I’m trying to drive, here. I know that’s not a foreign concept to you — you’re the kind of driver who probably drives too much. You live behind the wheel of your car. You ride other car’s bumpers the way hobos used to ride trains: in other words, as if it was going out of style.

But here’s the thing, I’m driving here, too. And I’d really appreciate it if you weren’t trying to run me off the road when I was already driving in front of you for the past ten miles. You just happened to catch up. That’s what happens, you know, when you choose to drive twenty miles per hour over the speed limit.

I know what you look like, too. You come in many shapes and sizes. You’re the woman in the mini van who wears the sunglasses and keeps her headlights on too bright. You’re the man in the too-big truck that barely fits into the parking space at the train station who also keeps his headlights on too bright. You’re the unidentified person in the sports car with the tinted windows who, again, keeps their headlights on too bright. You’re the angry person in the much older car that’s rumbling and rolling around behind me who, guess what? Keeps their headlights on too bright.

Seriously, what is with your headlights? Do you really need your high beams on all the time? Even when it’s in the middle of the day? You’re so close that the beams are casting my shadow onto the windshield in front of me. That’s unacceptable, Driver. And now, because I can’t see because of your headlights, I’m forced to go even slower.

What’s worse is that this isn’t the highway. On the highway, you could just pass me. I could stay in the slow lane and you could rush forward the way you like. You could even catch the cops for me. You used to, actually. All the time. My first year dealing with you and your mean little buddies, you’d pass me if the road was big enough. What happened, Driver? Why aren’t you doing that anymore? You have enough room. Just go.

Seriously. I’m not pulling over because guess what? I’ve got to get to work, too. I’m going the speed limit — I’m going five miles per hour over the speed limit. I’m going ten miles per hour over the speed limit. You’re still so close that your headlights fill my rear view mirrors.

And by the way: when that happens, that thing with the mirrors and your headlights being, oh, brighter than the sun would be if we were living on Venus? If I can’t see because of your headlights, I’m going to go slower.

Oh yeah. Much slower. I’m going to crawl. And you better hope I don’t see an animal in my way, Driver. You’ve been warned. I’m getting a bumper sticker, in fact. I have to talk to the Sierra Club about it, since I think they could make some big bucks from people like me, but it’s happening. It’ll read:

I break for ALL animals. You’ve been warned.

It’ll be glorious.

When it’s snowing, too, I’m going to go under the speed limit. I value my life, even if you don’t value yours. Or maybe you think you do, with your dumb Jeep and your snow tires and snow chains and alien reassurance that you’re not going to be the one to slip on the black ice because it’s never happened to you before. I’m not going to test my luck. I’m not going faster because I don’t want to die. Putting your high beams on, or honking at me, or shouting at me out your window isn’t going to change that.

Guess what? When you get on my nerves by doing those three things, I just go slower. Oh, and flip you the bird. You seem to care enough to yell at me, but I really don’t give a damn what you want. That’s the beauty of being the one who’s tailgated. :D

Guess what? If I stop short and you rear-end me, you’re the one who’s in trouble.

So do us all a favor and give me my ten required feet of extra space before you decide to ride my bumper.

I don’t hate you, Driver. Really I don’t. Your attempts to make me go faster or feel pressured into breaking the sound barriers on the speed limits are just obnoxious. You’re like a five year old who isn’t getting their way. They’re not intimidating, just a bother.

See you in rush hour,


Do you have any lousy driving experiences that recur daily?

Featured Image

Miss America Pageant

John Oliver is hilarious, but also, this episode is incredibly revealing and telling about the way we view women around the world, not to mention in this country, and how much we think they’re worth.

I’m with Kathy Griffith: it’s fine to judge women, as long as we’re also judging men by the same criteria. Or we could just stop judging everyone by outer appearances and make everything equal in terms of how much people as people are worth.

Food for Thought: Autumn

autumn clmannarino
“The soul needs autumn. Let what’s dead fall. Let the wind sweep it up and blow it away. Your colors are changing; it’s so beautiful. Don’t be sad it was a part of you and now is gone. Some things have to die. It’s their season. You can’t hold on. This is your season to let it all fall. Shed what’s dead. Be free, stand tall. There will be a time to bloom again.”
your roots remain // breanna-lynn

Song Challenge: Favorite Song

There’s always at least one prompt in these challenges that’s harder to respond to than others. I whine a lot about choices being difficult, don’t I?

Okay, I’m going to pick just one. It’s as close to being my favorite as anything’s going to get. Without further ado, my favorite song: Augustine by Vienna Teng

I like that it’s a song you have to sing out loud, instead of softly and to yourself. Her voice is lovely and the lyrics are fantastic. It’s such a fun, crashing song.

I also like that it’s called Augustine because St. Augustine seemed like a very normal person, spending time discovering pleasure before committing himself to religion. I like that he admitted this is what he wanted to do.

What’s your favorite song?

Food for Thought: What I Need

what I want clmannarino
I heard what you said. I’m not the silly romantic you think. I don’t want the heavens or the shooting stars. I don’t want gemstones or gold. I have those things already. I want…a steady hand. A kind soul. I want to fall asleep, and wake, knowing my heart is safe. I want to love, and be loved.
Shana Abe

Going Natural

It started because I was looking up ways to hide bobby pins when I put them in my hair on Pinterest.

I’m not sure how that led me to reading articles about the effects of shampoo on your hair, but before I knew it, two of them appeared on my homepage, along with natural shampoo alternatives. Both of them got pinned to my fashion board.

(Okay, okay, I didn’t actually find that scientific article first — although it does add a measure of validity to this experiment! Definitely an extra step I’d recommend. Instead, I read the two articles I’d pinned from Beauty High and that prompted me to find the next thing I looked into, as you’ll soon see.)

I digress.

After that, Boyfriend and I went to Florida and talked with a Winter Park Honey representative about what honey is good for. We learned how it can be used in ways that would make most people say “okay, sure,” and walk away: things like hair cleaning and conditioning, healing cuts, and decreasing seasonal allergies. (Bees, by the way, are necessary. As in, we depend on them to survive. So find a way to help them.)

My first thought? I’ve seen remedies like this somewhere before…


True to form, when I got home, I kind of forgot about the hair cleaning bit until I looked up dry shampoo a few days later. Specifically, I wanted to know how to properly use it. A lady at the salon where I’d gotten my hair cut had showed me exactly what to do…but that had been months ago. I use product about as often as I dress my hair up. In other words: maybe four times in my life.

I’m also the kind of person who does better when I’m first given instructions and then allowed to modify them. This brought along the first article I read about not using shampoo, something called “the no ‘poo movement.”

Yeah. Cue my skeptiicism.

I’ve had greasy hair since puberty. When I hit thirteen, my head was like an oil slick. Every pore, every follicle, every inch of my face and scalp decided it was time to turn into a giant grease ball. All of this did wonders for my self-esteem, in ways that only acne and perpetually frizzy bad hair days can.

Here’s the part where I tell you everything I tried. Just like in all those infomercials, I can list the products that worked (ten percent of the time) and didn’t (ninety percent of the time). I can tell you about how I had to change shampoos and facial cleaners almost monthly, how I hyper-focused on my skin, and how I kept my hair in a ponytail most of the time because leaving it down looked worse.

Instead, I’ll just tell you this: I grew out of it. I still get occasional acne, but the only thing that stuck around was the greasy hair. Oh, and the frizz. Always plenty of frizz.*

I didn’t really look for the source of any of these problems, though. I never really questioned the products I was using, or how often I used them. It also never occurred to me to find out.

I’m going to credit Boyfriend and Sarah for this change in blindly trusting stuff. Boyfriend’s more all-natural than I am, and he’s into trying new things because, literally, why not? He’s the first person my age I’ve ever met whose personality is to question the things he’s been told and look for alternative answers.

I feel like he’s been a catalyst and a partial partner. He’s let me know it’s okay to try new stuff and reminds me to find a logic as to why you’re doing what you do. To be Present in your choices.

Sarah’s also been doing this, but at a slower pace. She’s trying new things, examining them as she goes along. She’s also the first person I’ve really opened up to about the things women don’t really talk about at all.

Sarah’s been the other partner on the road to actually doing things, where we can talk about what new things we’ve tried — either apart or separately — and address the questions we’ve raised about them.

In other words, I feel quite lucky because these traits make them two of the least judgmental and most enthusiastic people I’ve ever met. Together, they’ve inspired me to attempt this. (Despite the fact that they inspire me at separate times, since they’re not usually in the same room.)

Which is good, since I’m trying to embrace change.

I digress.

My point is, in my newfound awareness, I looked up what makes up shampoo and what you can do instead of using it. On top of finding thousands of recipes for DIY home and beauty products, I discovered different methods for engaging in the no ‘poo movement, as well as why it works.

I haven’t gotten very far. I’m still in the transition period between cleansing my hair with baking soda and waiting until it’s greasy enough to merit another cleaning.

I’m just sick of buying stuff that doesn’t work. Since shampoo as we know it today wasn’t invented until the late 1930s (at the earliest), I’m curious how they dealt with dirty hair before that.

If letting the natural oils in my scalp condition my hair is the way to go, so be it.

In case you’re concerned about my mental health, not shampooing my hair is not the same thing as skipping out on a shower. I have a shower cap. (Which was wildly amusing to put on for the first time because shower caps were clearly not meant to be more than a utility. Or maybe that’s just the one I found.) So when I’m not washing my hair, I put it in the cap and bathe the rest of my body.

But that’s a real concern, I know. All the blogs I’ve read where people have announced their transition into no ‘poo have added a disclaimer of some sort saying “YES, I STILL SHOWER.” It’s also one of the reasons I haven’t announced what I was doing until now. I wanted to see if it worked, to have some sort of proof that I’m not nuts because failure is shameful.

In other words: if I can make it through the no ‘poo transition to never shampooing my hair clean again, then I can proudly say “it works” and explain why. Others have, why not me? And if it doesn’t, maybe there’s something I can change.

For now, I’m in transition. I’ve made up my mind and started the process and now, the only way out is through. I’ve even bought the necessary materials to make this whole thing easier.

Failing to plan is planning to fail. I like plans.

Although I’m starting to think that my hair is too greasy for this whole experiment to be a success…

Have you made any transitions from “mainstream” to “natural”? It could be bath and body related, cleaning products related, or just daily things like reusing water bottles…sort of…

*A note on frizz: it can easily be reduced by rinsing your hair with cold water. Why nobody tells us this in middle school, I don’t know.

PS — You can follow this whole no ‘poo journey via my Twitter account, if you’re curious about how it’s been going on a daily basis.

PPS — I’m making more changes towards DIY products, including perfume and (possibly) deodorant. Links are included, if you’re curious and/or want to give them a try.

The Secrets of Food Marketing

Fascinating and utterly surprising.

“The power of willful ignorance cannot be overstated.”

Want to do something about it?

As stated on UpWorthy: “Full disclosure: The speaker in this video is actually an actress named Kate Miles, but the facts about produce and its marketing are 100% real. The audience is also real, and thus the looks of disgust are totally real too.”

Food for Thought: Blind Faith

blind faith clmannarino
A faith without some doubts is like a human body without any antibodies in it. People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenceless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic.
Tim Keller