Update: ACV is not for my hair

I wrote this piece of drivel last year: Healthy Scalp Trick
Don’t do it. Or if you do, be very careful about it because vinegar is acidic and will throw your scalp off balance. I got major uncontrollable dander after doing it. So I did it some more. And it got worse and worse until I realized maybe it was the vinegar making things worse. Indeed, after washing my hair with nothing but a ton of conditioner did the scalp finally calm down. I basically was burning my hair with vinegar and turning it into a big mess.

If you still choose to try it, dilute it heavily and don’t leave it on your head very long and try to just do it on your hair and avoid it getting on your scalp (which is very hard).

How I inadvertently cut my food costs

In short:

  • Savings come from eating less processed everything. Besides saving money, it’s also more nutrient dense.
  • Cooking is effort. Eschewing processed foods has made food taste better with less effort. Also it’s my choice to be as lazy as our willingness to eat whatever I make. Boiled everything!
  • I acknowledge my privilege of not living in a food desert.

In tracking annual spending for the past four years I’ve observed that my lifestyle changes have led to a year over year trend of decreased food expenses.

Dining Out$3,325.60$2,246.28$1,218.38$679.95


  • Travel dining was counted as a travel expense rather than dining out or groceries. If I were to assume dining out and groceries at a conservative estimate of $100 a week, had we been home, below would be the adjusted totals.
    • 2016: 1 week on travel; total would have been around $9,200
    • 2017: 7 weeks on travel; total would have exceeded $7,600
    • 2018: 3 weeks on travel; total would have exceeded $7,700
    • 2019: no travel; no adjusted total
  • I counted everything as best as I could. A coffee at a gas station goes in the dining out category.
  • Big data fudge – I lost four months of 2019 data so I doubled the four prior months. Being creatures of habit, I don’t think it was far off. Dining out once a month and groceries are practically the same week after week.
  • Assuming three meals a day, our average per meal cost in 2019 was $3.15 a meal. This includes the grand total of all meals eaten out, in, takeout, and with friends.
  • For reference: USDA Food Nutrition Services Cost of Food at various Expense Tiers I fall in the Moderate Cost plan.

The biggest difference in reductions came from dining out. We spent over $3,000 in 2016 and this year, it was under $1,000. That’s an evening at French Laundry. Hopping off the hedonic treadmill of processed foods and generous servings of salt, oil, and sugar have made me enjoy food more. And I’ve slowly shifted my social activities to focus more on fun things to do rather than just sitting and eating.

Cooking does not have to be hard or time consuming. Devote as much or as little time as you’re willing to eat whatever you churn out. It is in your hands. I’ll admit, some of the stuff I make we don’t always like. Or I make it on repeat once too many times. We eat it anyway. I balance my willingness to cook with my willingness to eat. When I’m not willing to make multiple dishes that week for variety, we eat the same meal day after day. When I’m craving something akin to takeout Chinese, I’ll put in extra effort and make a few dishes. Example of minimal effort: I microwaved a whole head of cabbage and peeled the leaves and ate it. Food prep time was as much as microwaved popcorn. I highly don’t recommend this recipe.

I will acknowledge that if one lives in a food desert this is much more challenging. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by organic markets, farmers markets, international markets, you name it. Not a full on food desert, but I spent some time in middle-of-nowhere Kentucky years ago, where fresh produce was cabbage, carrots, celery, and onions week after never-ending week. One time, they had eggplant. I was over the moon. It’s do-able, but pretty sucky.

Finally, knowing there are a myriad of mixed messages about the connection between diet and health, I don’t want to get too into this, but I’m going to make two assumptions: processed food is less nutrient dense and it is detrimental to our gut microbiota. Given that, this is a healthier way to eat. Health is priceless.

Moral of the story: Outsourcing your food preparation is expensive. Eating whole foods like grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, is relatively affordable.

Obsession #917


Ever since I got it in my head that I had to bonsai my clown plumeria in order to keep it in a pot, I’ve been doing a lot of research. After finally receiving my phD in bonsai-ing from the Universities of YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram, I’m now trying to grow citrus seeds and avocado pits to see if I can bonsai them as well. I’m a bit nervous about chopping down the plumeria but I think I can propogate the top in case the root base doesn’t make it. I’d also love to have a honeysuckle bonsai if I can get my hands on a cutting of the vine and I also have a jade plant to hack. Since today marks the shortest day of the year, I plan to start my chopping in a month or two. Growing season is the ideal time to cut.

Well that escalated quickly

Me: Oh look! There’s a person there on their couch. Is that a cat or dog on there?

Coworker: I think it’s a cat. They’re looking comfortable on the couch.

Me: I love watching the doggies and kitties across our office windows!

Coworker: You should get at pet!

Me: I know! I’ve been wanting rats.

Coworker: Rats?!

Me: Yeah, they’re so cute and they’re smart! They learn their names and will come when called.

Coworker: You should have kids.

Poppin’ some tags

Ok, by some, it was really one. For a thrifting excursion, that’s pretty good. I found a seemingly never worn cotton men’s crew neck sweater. The kind you can layer over a button down shirt, or just wear on its own. It was only $7! which is not the point of thrifting. I have to keep reminding myself of that when I get hand-me-down clothes from friends or when I find a deal. It’s not about the monetary value. It’s about the space I’m trading to hold this thing, whatever it may be. Real estate is valuable! Fill it with care. So yes, this particular item checked the appropriate boxes:

  • On my short list of things that I’m seeking
  • Natural plant fiber
  • Comfortable
  • Layer-able and mix and matchable with multiple bottoms
  • Work and casual appropriate
  • Pleasing color (lemon yellow but not neon) – Flattering
  • In good condition and seemingly well-made; will hold up
  • Machine washable
  • Bonus: not made in China.

I’m still slowly draining my overflowing closet. Turning the spigot off to a slow trickle is helping, but boy did this sweater give me a nice dopamine rush.

The fabric of my life

I zealously (seems to be the only way I do anything) hopped aboard the synthetic activewear bandwagon because they were ubiquitous (still are). I was leggins to the grocery store, leggins for travel, leggins with tunics on casual Fridays, leggins to the gym of course. It was leggins for mah life! And eight pairs of leggings and three years later, I have come to the conclusion that even though leggings are nice, I prefer my clothes non-synthetic. Nothing is more breathable than cotton. Yes sweat, but I change out of my sweaty exercise clothes regardless of fabric.  And skin being the largest organ in our body, constantly breathing, taking things in, I am not sure if covering it with plastics is the best way to go.  Note: I have done zero science research fueling this concern.  It’s just how I feel. Still, I’ll wear what I have, still take them to the gym, still handy for light-packing travel as they can wash and dry overnight anywhere. Going forward though, they’ll be replaced by cotton.  But aside from the gym and on travel, I won’t live in them anymore.  I don’t treat them as loungewear or weekend errand-run clothes.  That’s where old school cotton sweatpants come in, or jeans if you want to be fancy!     

Hotpot is back!

Nabe weather

Truth is, I never put away the electric hotplate from our living room where I made hotpot daily last winter. It just sat on our coffee table like a Christmas tree that I decided wasn’t worth the effort of putting away and taking back out in a few months. The hotplate became a sort of coaster or trivet. And now, it is back to serving its life purpose. To warm my belly with piping hot vegetables.


In my head, getting pet rats is a long overdue idea. For the following reasons:

  • They’re cute.
  • They’re smart. Not calculus smart, more dog smart. Like will hang out with you, come when called, and can be taught tricks. They also use litterboxes.
  • They live on average 2 years.
  • Can be fed without killing other animals.

In reality, I haven’t any because:

  • They’re hard to come by. Because they only live 2 years, I can imagine most don’t get adopted away. They die before the owner gets the chance to change their mind. So then the alternative is to go to a rattery, because pet store rats probably came from the metro, behind some restaurant dumpster, or worse, a factory breeding farm. I’m hoping someone at work has some rats that got mis-gendered and they get pinkies by mistake and one day I’ll see it on the bulletin board in our office kitchenette, baby rats need a home.
  • They pee everywhere they go – small scent marking dribbles. I’m not sure how I feel about that yet. I plan to have a pee blanket to lay out when I play with them.
  • Litter. I remember having to clean litter and it’s a chore. Not onerous, but just another chore.
  • Space. I don’t know where to put them at the moment. The place their cage could ideally go is currently ocupado – aquarium.


Cycling or spin class is one of those gym activities that I never find easy even after months of going at it! It never feels like I’m getting better. But I think I might have grown addicted to the good mood feels after because I actually look forward to it. Not normal for me. At all. But let’s admit it, this is just another hobby, which = just another excuse to go shopping.


So here it is! My cycling shoes! With clips! I feel a little extra getting shoes for one specific activity. But they feel nice. Well, actually they feel tight. For reference, I wear size 7 normal shoes. I wear 7.5 running shoes. I got size 38 mens European for the cycle shoes (the equivalent of 7.5 women’s). They feel like size 6.5. My toes are right up to the toebox. They are not comfortable to walk in and I wear nylon knee highs as socks and trimmed all my toe nails. However, once I’m clipped in and cycling, if I’m using proper form, pulling and pushing evenly, making full circles, they feel good. When I’m standing to pedal, I feel the toe pressure again. And of course, as with any shoe, after wearing them for a while, they seem to feel better so I’m hoping that over time, they will feel even better.

Comfort aside, my first impressions after cycling in them is they really make my quads burn more and I like the feeling of being able to pull up more. Also, in the past, my foot has accidentally slipped out of a pedal before and that feeling is a little freaky to have a loose insecure foot. So I appreciate the clip. New toy!