Friday, January 17, 2014

Helpful hints: nipple cream, sheep hair, and keeping your shorts on

Sometimes, through trial and error, you learn things that are rather useful, and you think other people might benefit from this knowledge. So here you go:

1. Chapped lips and dry cuticles: If you get really dry lips and cuticles in winter, let me tell you what is kind of fantastic: Medela nipple cream.

It's thick and really stays on, but isn't sticky. It wouldn't have occurred to be if I hadn't had some on hand, and if you're a guy you might feel odd buying it, but it is great.

If you're allergic to lanolin, then obviously this is a bad idea. But otherwise, totally recommend.

2. While I'm on the subject of sheep: If you hand-wash your wool sweaters, which I do because dry cleaning is spendy and chemically and sheep get wet so why not, putting conditioner in your rinse water makes them nice and soft.

(And I was recently told that you can actually wash anything that says Dry Clean unless it says Dry Clean Only. I am, however, rather cavalier about washing things. And I feel like sometimes they just slap a dry cleaning label on because it's easier than making sure their dye is totally fast or their construction will hold.)


Wool is protein like hair. I mean, it is hair, right? Or fur? What's the difference? Is it fur for animals and hair for humans?

In any case, it is protein, and like silk - and in fact, you should do this for your silk as well, which I learned when dyeing fabric - after you treat it with something alkaline, like soap, you want to use something acidic to bring it back to balance. Vinegar does this, as does conditioner.

I'm not science-y, so I may not have my explanation quite right, but I do know that vinegar and conditioner will both soften your silk. I haven't tried vinegar on my wool or my hair, although apparently it functions as a conditioner as well.

(Side bar: I would like to try using baking soda for hair washing and vinegar for conditioner, but I am afraid to fuck up my color. Has anyone with highlights tried this? Ever since I listened to the salesperson in Victoria's Secret about temporary black hair dye that turned out to not be temporary on blonde hair, I've been cautious about experimenting.)

In other words: this helpful hint might be too convoluted to follow and thus not so helpful. But if it isn't, and you're still with me, I recommend hand-washing and conditioning your wool and silk.

3. Working out in your underwear: I've been doing these daily workout videos, sweating like all hell, and going through a ton of sports bras and shorts. So I thought about it and realized that I'm working out at home, so why wear shorts? I need a sports bra, but why not just work out in my underwear?

I'll tell you why. Because unless you have significantly sturdier undies than I do, or a firmer butt, or a high tolerance for jiggle, doing jumping jacks, burpees and such in one's underwear is not all that pleasant.

Final word: Underwear dance parties? Absolutely. Underwear workouts? Not recommended.


  1. Jason works out in his undies. Cracks me up. And thanks for the dry skin tip -- Josie's hands are a mess in wintertime - I'll try this out.

    1. Not that I dwell on your husband's buff body, but I am certain he doesn't have the jiggle issue that I do!

      And honestly, Wendy, it works so well! I think Lansinoh is cheaper, and works too, but I love how the Medela spreads.

  2. I tried to do a trampoline workout in my bedroom once just wearing my underwear. Indeed, it was not pleasant at all!

    1. Hahahaha - a trampoline would be super-jiggly! Oh, that has me laughing.

  3. Good tips! You're so handy, Nick would be proud. If my cuticles are dry and I don't have hand lotion, I substitute Chapstick which I am never without. I will need to re-read #2 to put it into practice but only because I am really not scienc-y....I trust your experience, especially knowing how skilled you are at dyeing fabric and working with textiles and that you take good care of your wardrobe. #3 Ha! Yeah, I agree, the carefree attitude of an underwear dance party is why it works.

    1. Yes - lip balm is great stuff! I've used it under my eyes if they're really dry and I have no lotion. #2 - if you put lotion in and let your sweater soak a bit and then rinse out, it's interesting how soft it will feel! And smell nice as well! And we do love a good underwear dance party around here! :)

  4. Super impressed that you can get the motivation to work out at home... if I don't go to the gym I'm just a bum all day. Also, coconut oil has been great for my dry in the winter/otherwise oily skin.

    1. I've been doing these DVD workouts and I love that I don't have to leave the house on very cold days. I never worked out at home before that.

      And I have super dry skin, so coconut oil works for me in the summer, but isn't thick enough in the winter. So dry!


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