My shampoo is b.s.

February 29, 2008

Baking soda, that is.

That’s right. I use baking soda to wash my hair. Mix in a little water, paste it up, massage it in. Rinse and repeat every third day or so.

Why do I do this, you ask?

A) Because it protects my hair, my drainpipes, and the soil from nasty chemicals. Baking soda is paraben- and sulfate-free. No suds, but no side effects, either.

B) Because my hair is healthier. For reals. Baking soda paste doesn’t strip my hair of all of its natural oils, as does shampoo, thereby cutting out oily overcompensation. This leaves my hair “cleaner” longer, which also saves on water. Cool.

C) Because I don’t have to buy and toss shampoo bottles. I can buy soda in bulk at the co-op; or, in a pinch, I can buy it in a compostable paper box.

Some people (like My Main Man) follow up the b.s. wash with an apple cider vinegar rinse to balance out the basic properties of the soda. This makes him smell like salad dressing for a little while post-cleanse, but, eh. Okay. Others complain of an adjustment period, in which their hair goes wickety-wack for a few weeks; neither my husband nor I experienced this phase, but know that it may happen.

So. That’s the sitch. Shower in good health.

Secondhand in a Snap

February 27, 2008

The household division of labor at my home dictates that I am in charge of laundry. (Or, rather, the controlling, Caesarean part of me dictates that I am in charge of the laundry.) This, of course, is to Mr. Living Small’s benefit; he never has to wash his own clothes, and he knows they are in the good, precise, anal-retentive hands of a master laundress.

That is, until this weekend.

For unforeseen reasons, his beautifully cut, disheveled-yet-distinguished hipster-look tan merino sweater shrank. I’m telling you: I washed it in cold water, just like always. I pressed it flat to dry, just like always. I set the drying rack at a reasonable distance from the furnace output, just like always. And yet, fair merino shrank to the point that, when my husband pulled it on for the first time post-wash, he looked something like a organ grinder’s monkey and/or a member of The Ramones (but not in a cool, I-don’t-care way; more like a hey-does-this-tan-sweater-count-as-punk? kind of way).

“I think my sweater shrank,” he said to me.

“Nah. It’s always been like that,” I said (lie).

He donned another jumper and off he went; I meanwhile stewed about how this could have happened. To me, no less. To me!

At first, I suspected the washer. Could it have foiled me by throwing in a capful of hot water whilst on the über-delicate hand wash setting? No, no. Not my new LG. Next, I considered the furnace. Could its hot air have unwittingly shriveled the fibers? No way. I air-dry all my hand-washables over the warm draft, and nothing, nothing! has ever scrunched up.

It couldn’t have been my fault, could it? I picked up the sweater and examined it. Yes, definitely too small for my long-torsoed hubby. Too short, too itsy in the shoulders. But.

Smaller. Small enough. For me.

I tried it on. Ooh! No primate, no Joey Ramone. Just kinda prep-school, rugby-style, boys’-cut sweater. So cool. With a red skirt and cowboy boots? Oh yeah.

Zero waste, zero consumption. Just a misguided laving, maybe. Don’t get me wrong: I’m still not admitting defeat. But I am wearing the sweater.

MORAL: If you have a friend who is bigger than you, but whose clothes you kind of like, offer to do his or her laundry. Then, shrink the pieces to fit, apologize, and presto: new duds!

Local Color

February 25, 2008

You know, there’s a story behind everything. So observes photography wunderkind Kristy (a.k.a., Wreckless Girl) today re: a dilapidated Victorian house at the heart of her Oregon hometown:

I came across this beautiful house downtown a few months ago. I kept trying to remind myself to shoot there….I love shooting at abandoned or destroyed places like this for this very reason: every location tells a story. Usually, when I pull up to a place like this, my clients look at me like I’m crazy. But I assure them, “trust me, it’s gonna work perfectly.” And they’re always pleased with the final product.

(ps. Get a peek at the final product on her site. Trust me: you won’t be sorry.)

Have you ever wondered about the Small stories behind your hometown? The falling-down buildings, the washed-out railroad tracks? What colors your community?


February 24, 2008

Raise your hand if you’ve heard of car-sharing.

Husband and I just completed our transfer from Flexcar to Zipcar this afternoon. The two car-sharing companies merged earlier this year to provide cities across the U.S. and Canada with a fleet of little cars available for use by the “tens of thousands of smiling drivers” registered to share automobile transport.

Following our spring 2006 move to the Big City, my sweetie and I realized that owning a car was not only a drag our our finances (insurance, gas, occasional repairs, etc.), but also a drag on the environment. Plus, Metro buses got us where we needed to go, and Amtrak got us to our parents’ collective hometown. So we sold the ol’ boat and signed up for Flexcar (a.k.a., Zipcar).

While we do drive autonomously sometimes (one time, we hauled a snappy 1940s English bar cabinet home from an antique mall in the Greenwood neighborhood; another time, we hauled our aforementioned needle-eating kitty to the emergency vet), we’ve found that, as city dwellers, regular car travel isn’t really necessary. Walking, biking (in Husband’s case), and riding el autobus works just fine. Small move, maybe not-so-small impact.

Of course, Washington State is now subjecting car-sharers to the state-mandated 9.7% rental-car tax. Off-base, given the preponderance of Zipcar members who have forsaken personal wheels in favor of shared ones? Not quite, according to car-rental corporations and state tax collectors. They allege that there isn’t a whole heap of difference between the services offered by Zipcar and those offered by Hertz, for example. What’s more, Community Car Share, based just north of Seattle in Bellingham, Wash., has been charging the rental-car tax since its inception in 2006.

Certainly, it seems that car-sharing programs create an alternative to car ownership for many folks, and, in that way, help reduce carbon emissions. It follows that this eco-friendly model should be rewarded in some way — and a tax break could serve nicely as that reward.

But couldn’t the same be said for Hertz and Enterprise and Alamo? Perhaps not, as those companies haven’t dotted the urban landscape with logo-emblazoned vehicles, as has Zipcar. Moreover, because these companies are headquartered at SeaTac international airport, which is serviced heavily by mass transit hailing from multiple counties, it could be said that these companies are quite literally fueling the car culture.

Anybody else make the switch from car-owner to car-sharer? Your thoughts on the tax?

Here come the Plane Sheets! PlaneSheets are to your jet seat what a fitted sheet is to your mattress: A slick cover that separates you from the Unknown. See? Toile!


PlaneSheets, available in coach and first-class sizes, as well as in washable (that is, shrinkable) and disposable (recyclable polypropelene) varieties, offer “today’s travelers an innovative and practical way to personalize their travel space while keeping at bay germs, crumbs and spills from previous passengers,” according to the PlaneSheets website. PlaneSheets started as a set of two homemade denim prototypes, the offshoot of the company founders’ long-distance relationship, which required many, many cross-country rides on unsanitary airborne vehicles. But, after flight attendants and other passengers saw the Sheets and wet themselves with envy, the couple decided to create droves, now available for purchase online.

Say what? Is it just me, or is this inane? Apartment Therapy doesn’t think so: “We’d just love to see someone putting these to use. They mark your seat, ‘protect’ you from the germs on the seat itself, and we’re sure they’d really make you stand out on a flight for a few reasons.” Why do you need to “stand out” on a flight? So you get peanuts before everyone else? I’m incensed.

Chalk another one up to excess, everybody. This is a TKO.