My No-Shave Experiment – The REFLECTION (364 Days and Counting)

This is part 3 in my “No-Shave Experiment” mini-series. Here’s part 1, 1a, and 2.

So it’s been over eight months since I REVEALED my “No-Shave Experiment” to you all.  Since then, I’ve had lots of great conversations with other people, RANTED, managed to read Plucked: A History of Hair Removal as RESEARCH, lived through an entire summer season without shaving, and still haven’t reached RESOLUTION.

Before letting you all in on the research I’ve done, I thought I should REFLECT* a bit on my year of hairiness. So here are some thoughts, in no specific order.

1. I didn’t expect it to be so hard to let my hair grow.  Obviously, the actual hair growing was easy and it was so nice to not have to spend time or money on shaving.  But once it grew out, and I actually had to admit to the world (i.e once the Baltimore summer hit) that I had hairy legs and pits, it was hard.  I didn’t like feel “unfeminine”, I didn’t like that I was questioning who I was, I didn’t like feel like everyone was staring at me. In short, I didn’t like feeling different than everyone else, which is weird, because much of my life is pretty weird.

2. On the other hand, I also didn’t expect it to be so easy to grow out my hair.  I didn’t get any negative remarks from anyone (perhaps not everyone was starting at me?!), and I talked to more people than I expected who encouraged me in what I’m doing.

076 (800x533)me, keeping Mark from throwing his whole body into Lake Ontario, August 2015

3. Wearing socks or leggings with hairy legs is painful!  Once the weather got cold this fall, I started wearing leggings as pajama pants.  The first night, I woke up in the middle of the night with incredibly painful legs, tore my pants off, and fell right back to sleep.  The next night, I put those leggings back on, experienced the same thing in the middle of the night, and finally made the connection – right, the tight material is pulling on my hair.  Men – are your ankles always in pain from your socks?  This is crazy!  I think the skin/hair follicles around my ankles have finally gotten accustomed to the socks but I did not like wearing socks for a few weeks.

4. Ellie and Mark definitely notice the hair on my legs and pits.  Ellie says things like, “Mama, when I get big, I’m going to have hair like that, right?!” I’m both glad, proud, and conflicted when she says things like that.  “Yes, you will, my darling, and we’ll just see how things go when you do –  if you want to keep it or shave it off.”

5. I never realized how much shaving actually exfoliated the skin on my legs.  Thanks to a couple non-shaving friends, I realized that I needed to exfoliate my legs in another way to avoid lots of flaky dry skin.  I started using a brown sugar scrub my sister made for me a couple years ago and it made such a huge difference! That’s a task for December – make some more for myself. (Here’s the recipe I’m going to try, if you’re interested.)

IMG_1310 (800x600)Hammerman Beach, Gunpowder Falls State Park, evening, September 2015

6. Look! I’m so brave, I put two pictures of my bare legs in this blog post. Yes, I know, you really don’t notice any leg hair. On the whole, I do have rather light leg hair but I promise, if you’re up close to me, you will notice that I have hairy legs. (Perhaps in my next post, I will have progressed in my bravery to showing you an up-close picture. We’ll see.)

7. A couple months ago, I noticed that one of my friends had hairy legs (when she hadn’t previously) so I asked her about it and she said that, having read about my “no-shave experiment”, she decided she didn’t need to be bothered with shaving any more either.  HOORAY!!  Maybe this is the reason I really took on this crazy project? To preach freedom to others? :)


8. Despite #7, I myself am still conflicted on my ultimate decision as to whether or not to continue this experiment, whether to instead call it “my no-shave way of life”.

I’ll keep you posted.


Still to come: the RESEARCH and the RESOLUTION.

(*I know, I know, REFLECT was an unplanned R but I just couldn’t resist!)

Posted in health and beauty, KIOS, reflecting | Tagged | 1 Comment

From Our Thanksgiving Table, We Want To Say…

Happy Thanksgiving!

This little turkey wanted to say hello too! :)

003 (800x533)It deserves its own post but probably won’t get one.  It was a fun little project that Ellie pushed me to finish in November, using this tutorial.  I finally managed to sew something for our home for Thanksgiving! (But still haven’t sewn that tablecloth...)

We’re grateful for you!
Love, Nik, Laura, Ellie, and Marko

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We Were Warned This Would Happen With a Boy (plus Black Friday shopping is finished! and happy kids on the piano!)

On Monday, Mark was running FAST (as he always does), tripped on who knows what, and slammed his face onto a little chair at our art table.  Blood poured out of his mouth and eventually I figured out that he’d managed to put a pretty large gash above his gums inside his upper lip.  After a couple hours of wondering if we should, I took him to a nearby urgent care.  Thankfully, he didn’t end up needing stitches and it’s healing well now.  I do feel the need to commemorate this event however because it’s the first time we’ve had to take a child to urgent care (or the ER) and of course, it was our boy, not our girl who sent us there.  Everyone told us that we would need urgent care more once we had a boy and I guess they were right! I am thankful we made it to almost three years old before we had to go.

IMG_1711 (600x800)poor sad face from all the crying. :(

Last night, he told Nik that he had to see two doctors because he was TWO! (In reality, our first doctor was interviewing for a job so the 2nd doctor had to come in and check her work.)

And in other news, I’ve already completed my Black Friday shopping!  Joann Fabrics decided to start the flannel doorbuster on Tuesday this year.  So I got up early, was the first person there at 5:45 am, bought a year’s supply of flannel, and was home in time for Nik to get to work at 7:15.  I’ll still go out and get some poinsettias at Home Depot on Friday morning but other than that, I’m done!

Finally, I leave you with three adorable kids, singing and having a grand time together! We’re thankful for our little friend who comes to play with us (and brings her mother too) almost every week!

taken on 11/17/15

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June/July/August Sewing: My “Introvert Recovery Program” Picnic Quilt

Years ago (2008?), the Crate and Barrel store near me was selling Marimekko remnant fabric for $1/pound. This was in my early fabric acquisition days when I had hardly any fabric and the idea of getting “ALL THAT FABRIC FOR SO CHEAP” was irresistible. And so I bought just about every piece of fabric in the store that had any appeal to me. (In other words, I bought way too much.)  I’ve used it in lots of projects over the years, including in my Twister quilt and a drawstring bag for toys and I’ve even given bunches of it away (in 2011 and 2013). Slowly but surely, I’ve worn down the pile except for one last stack of fabric I’d been saving for the perfect project.  This summer, I came home from being the wedding coordinator for a friend’s daughter’s wedding, and in a fit of brilliance, conceived the plan for this quilt.

The entire quilt is made from the one special Marimekko patterned fabric and 3 solids (dark brown, yellow, and maroon).  I cut some of the Marimekko on the bias to give more visual interest to the quilt.  I can’t tell you how much I love looking at this different patterns in the quilt and knowing that it’s really just one fabric.

211 (800x533)Each row has four blocks, one block with a non-brown (either yellow or maroon) border, and three blocks which each have a different small section on the bias (either the 8″x5″ section, the 8″x8″ section, or the 5″x14″ section.)

I used my remaining larger pieces to sew a pieced backing.

229 (800x533)I quilted it with lines spaced one inch apart, using 3 colors of thread (maroon, dark brown, light brown), attempting to approximate the variegated thread that I would have used to quilt it in my ideal world. I started out with a big off-set 2-inch wide X.

217 (800x533) 218 (800x533)219 (800x533)That yellow block is my favorite one.

I bound it with the Marimekko cut on the bias to get the angled stripes.

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My plan all along has been for this to be the quilt that we take with us for picnics and other outings to the park.  My resolve was tested this summer, when, while on vacation at Niagara Falls, we needed something to sit on for lunch.  I was hand-sewing on the binding while we were driving and sew, although I still had binding clips on it, it had a trial run.  I was nervous the whole time that it was going to get dirty because I was planning to enter it into the state fair.  Thankfully, it survived.

094 (800x533)096 (800x534)the first food-seeking ant

098 (800x533)crumbs! dirty feet!

By now, we’ve actually used it and I’m getting used to thinking about it as a quilt that can get dirty, because well, it’s going to if it’s job is to be used on the ground!

048 (800x533)our first friend to join us on the quilt

230 (800x533)even truck driving!

Now, I’m plotting my next quilt (which promised to be much more difficult and even larger than this one, which finished at around 70″ by 70″).

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“Children In Pumpkins”, The 2015 “Sob, They’re Growing Up” Edition

As is our custom (here’s 2012, 2013 and 2014), we went to Weber’s Cider Mill Farm back in late October of our kids with the pumpkins.  Unlike last year, when we got basically ZERO good pictures due to an unfortunately busy forklift, this year, I had a hard time choosing from all the cuteness.  I think this means they’re growing up!

022 (800x533)They both smiled for the camera

027 (800x533)will the drooling never end?

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and obligingly posed with their mother.

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There was, of course, lots of running,

088 (800x533) 089 (800x533)silliness with pumpkins and gourds,

060 (800x503) 062 (800x503)REALLY BIG AND HEAVY!!!

045 (800x533)and apple truck driving/riding.

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Mark was thrilled to “drive” a forklift and we even “talked” to Nana (who we were leaving to see in just a few days).

172 (800x533) 210 (800x533)All in all, we spent a really fun hour with our kids that day.  Did it hurt that now they are old enough to know what apple cider doughnuts are and that a tasty treat was awaiting them at the end of the photo shoot? Probably not! ;)

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September Sewing: Ellie’s Birthday Dress (and I develop a new obsession)

Well, I seem to be on an every-two-week posting schedule around here.  Hopefully one of these days I’ll find the time to be a real blogger again!

We found this fun Amy Butler print (and the solid pink) while on vacation in the Niagara Falls region in August (yet another trip un-blogged, sniff, sniff).  When we were touring the Niagara peninsula (on the Canadian side), we came across this lovely fabric store, Modern Bee, after it had already closed for the evening.  Nik super kindly agreed to go back the next morning (way out of our way), because I now have a tradition of making Ellie’s birthday dress from fabric I buy on vacation.  For her third birthday dress, I found the fabric in Montana and for her fourth birthday dress, I found it in Culpepper, Virginia.

And here we are, for her fifth birthday!  I used the Book Report pattern from Oliver+S.

051 (533x800)Isn’t she just the sweetest? :)

I switched up the fabric combinations a bit (the original pattern calls for the print on the sleeves and solid cuffs).  I had bought all the store had of the print though and just barely managed to eke out enough.  I like the color blocking effect of solid sleeves and print cuffs.

054 (800x533)fun box pleat at the back

056 (800x533) (2)cuffs with button loops – the sleeves are a bit long so I need to move the buttons over a bit for now to keep them from falling down on her hands.  I’m glad it will fit her for a while!

060 (800x533)the front yoke overlaps the back yolk and then fastens with two button loops – I love that hint of extra yellow (a perfect match that I happened to have in my stash!)

059 (800x533)lovely pleats in the front too!

The pattern also has on-seam front pockets (a new skill for me!) with a shot of orange.

057 (800x533) (2) 058 (800x533)

As I was cutting out the dress, I started to worry that the pink skirt would be a bit too plain.  I had begun to try to figure out how to cut a flower from the print when I realized that this was the perfect chance to try out making hexies.  I’ve been reading about this sewing craze on the sewing blogs for forever. I’m SO glad this project propelled me to try them because now I just want to SEW ALL THE HEXIES!!!!!

061 (800x533)Isn’t that the cutest thing ever?

All in all, this was a fun, relatively fast dress to sew.  Ellie has actually even worn it once already! (I just never know if she’s actually going to wear what I sew her, even if I give pnik, pink, pink like this one.)

062 (533x800)Ellie wants you to see her new silver shoes, too. :)


If you want to know how to sew hexagons yourself (because really, who wouldn’t?), I used this tutorial (part 1 and part 2), and found the instructions really easy to follow.  I especially love that it’s totally portable, uses up scraps, and ends up so perfectly precise (as you all know, another love of mine when it comes to sewing).

I cut my own card stock hexagon shapes for this project but I think I’m going to buy a pack of pre-cut papers to make sewing many at once easier.


And, because I’m sure you want more sewing/hexie eye candy, check out this heirloom quilt, made around 100 years ago (or so) by my father’s mother’s family.  They were all amazing quilters who lived in western Montana.  The quilt is HUGE and it’s all hexagons!! (It’s the Grandmother’s Garden quilt pattern.)

DSC_0643 (800x532)SO MANY HEXAGONS!! (2,318, to be precise)

DSC_0643 - Copy (800x534)up close – even more amazing!!

So, this is what I’m aspiring to – recreating this quilt.  It lives with my sister now, lucky girl! (I have another amazing heirloom quilt of my own.)  Now that I know how to make hexagons, I’m going to start working on it! I’ll keep you posted on my progress.






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You Blink and Then…She’s Five!

We’ve been celebrating Ellie’s birthday for days now, starting with our family birthday bash (5 birthdays in 3 weeks) at Yiayia’s house on Saturday.

063 (683x1024)wearing her new favorite accessory, the tiara from Yiayia!

031 (1024x1024)opening her birthday dress sewn by yours truly

071 (1024x683)For the second year in a row, I made a dual-personality cake, chocolate for the chocolate lovers, spiced carrot cake for the more sophisticated tastes (ha!). Which side would you have chosen?

Then, last night, we had her birthday dinner, joined by Pappou.  She chose blueberry buttermilk pancakes with bacon, for the 2nd year running.

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By tonight, her actual birthday, she was so exhausted she could barely eat dinner and so, we managed to blow out the candles, open one last little present, and we’ll eat her cake tomorrow.

142 (1024x683)that’s the 2nd layer, unused from Saturday’s cake extravaganza

150 (1024x683) 168 (1024x683)putting her “little skinny markers” (a birthday present from Grandpa) into the pouch I made her at 4:00 this afternoon in the hopes that they might be safe there from her little brother.  I’m not feeling too optimistic about that one!

It’s hard to believe that it was five years ago today that Ellie joined our family.  She amazes us every day with her insatiable drive to create (the way she consumes art supplies…), her perceptive comments about friends and family, her incredibly fertile imagination, and her dawning desire to write.  She fills our house with light, love, and energy and we can’t imagine life without her.

We love you so much Ellie! May God bless you and keep you and bring you peace in this coming year!

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Here’s Ellie’s 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th birthday posts.

Posted in Ellie, holidays | 1 Comment