Herbal Essences Conditioner

November 18, 2008
These are the two formulations of Herbal Essences I've come to depend on.  I imagine that if you were to chemically analyze me, you'd find I'm probably about 15% composed of this stuff by now.

These are the two formulations of Herbal Essences I've come to depend on. I imagine that if you were to chemically analyze me, you'd find I'm probably about 15% composed of this stuff by now.

It appears that Herbal Essences is discontinuing its classic conditioners (depicted above) in favour of a new line of candy-reeking ones with annoying, cutesy names (None of Your Frizzness! SHUT UP.) and packaged in wavy bottles designed to appeal to 13-year old girls. Guess how I feel about that.

Classic Pink Herbal Essences Conditioner is the only thing I’ve ever found that makes my giant hair look good. I use it in obscene quantities- half a cup to condition & detangle every time I wash my hair, and then another half-cup after every shower, combed through & left in to make the curls stick together, and then another teaspoon every other day or so, smoothed over the surface of my head to keep things looking tidy. I go through at least 2 bottles a month. Luckily it’s only $4, and it’s really the only product I use, so my haircare expenditures remain very reasonable even if my usage does not.

Why is it so good? Let me count the ways. It makes my hair slippery, no easy feat since my long, curly, fine, endless pelt wants to live off the grid, back to nature, in a big fat frizzay knot on the back of my head. Herbal Esssence conditioner is moisturizing without being greasy, and it coats my nest of hair so it doesn’t get all staticky and fluffy- yet it still makes it shiny. Also it smells okay, kind of like candy-flowers, familar candy-flowers. I’ve been soaking my head in this stuff since I was 18, so I actually can’t smell it any more, but anecdotal evidence tells me I smell of this product very strongly indeed. So the fact that it doesn’t smell like butt is nice. Every time I’ve tried switching to another product, it’s been awful because I use so. very. much. conditioner. that when it’s a new scent and I can actually smell it, I gag from the candy-coated floral sweetness of my own head. My life is really hard, you guys!

So I’ve been keeping an eye out for this stuff, and to my dismay, most stores have ceased to carry it. I’m down to my last half-bottle, and today I looked in a major drug store, a major grocery store, and three corner stores– and I only found one bottle. None of the Toronto grocery delivery services had it, either. With growing anxiety, I declared it an emollient emergency and started trolling Amazon and Ebay for American suppliers.

I sent a terse, panicky email to Reuben asking him how much of this stuff he’d allow me to ship to, then stockpile at, his place in NYC ’til some undetermined time in the future when I cross the border (no doubt surrounded by a maelstrom-like mushroom cloud vortex of untamed hair) to pick it up. Bless his heart, his reply came in minutes: “as much as you need, I’ll find a way to store it.” This is a true friend. At some point I will undoubtedly make him sorry he’s so nice to me by deluging his apartment with a flood of sweet-scented pink slime, but first there was one more avenue to try.

Using every wile I possess (mostly my whiny whiles), I convinced Scoots to brave his most hated of places, that palace of economy, Wal-Mart. And guess what? The giant box store of evil overconsumption not only enabled my addiction, but did so for $2.97 a bottle, which is 25% off what I usually pay! But I only bought a few. Just what was on the shelf. I didn’t, like, ask anyone to go to the storeroom or anything, that would be unreasonable.

Brand loyalty. The cat isn't judging me.

Brand loyalty. The cat isn't judging me.

I feel much better now.


In which I speed the decline of print media

November 18, 2008

Dear NICOLE STAMP:

Our records indicate that your subscription to Harper’s Magazine will expire soon. Renew your subscription today before you miss a single insightful, thought provoking issue. I’d just like to remind you of just a few of the unique editorial features that a subscription to Harper’s offers:

INDEX… the facts and figures below the surface of the news– sometimes amusing, sometimes disturbing, always enlightening. READINGS… provocative excerpts from sources as diverse as letters, speeches, books, plays, magazines, newspapers, research reports and government documents. ANNOTATION… giving context to the common yet often obscure language of such ordinary documents such as tax forms and hospital bills, restaurant menus and concert tickets. ESSAY, REPORT, CRITICISM, FORUM, NOTEBOOK… all the serious, quality writing you’ve
come to expect from HARPER’S.

A two-year subscription- 24 issues- is only $34.95, and renewing is just a click away.

Sincerely,
Shawn Green
Circulation Director

Hello Shawn Green and Harper’s Magazine,

I’m writing to thank you for a good couple of years.
I like the magazine but I just don’t have time to read it since getting a laptop and becoming addicted to the internet. Now I spend my every moment of horizontal eye movement on pixels, not pages. While I still read the Harper’s weekly review by email, the dead-tree issues are piling up. That growing stack is in my bathroom, and frankly a pile that high is sending the wrong message to visitors. I have decided not to renew my subscription, and would ask to be removed from the list of people who receive tantalizing envelopes stuffed with offers to re-subscribe. These mailouts will not sway my decision, so they just waste money and trees. If I decide to re-subscribe some day, it turns out that I’m very web-savvy (yay laptop!) so I will know where to find you.
Thanks again, though- Harper’s is a good read.
Nicole Stamp


Michelle Obama dresses good, and more fashion stuff

November 18, 2008

I’m not gonna lie to you, I’ve been keeping an eye on Michelle Obama’s clothes. I think she’s a sharp dresser and I like her style. Not that I like every single outfit she’s ever worn, of course- but she’s hit it outta the park often enough (that turquoise dress & brooch she wore to the DNC, oooh, aaaah!) — that I’m definitely gonna take notes from here on in.

click to enlarge.

click to enlarge.


Photo source.

Some of the rules in MO’s style bible seem to mirror my clothing preferences, too: bright colours, sharp, straight silhouettes (very rarely will you see her wear anything poofy or drapey), big jewellery (she’s into brooches and pearls, whereas I’m more about the giant earrings, but you take my point), avoidance of long sleeves, and always with the tight-waisted dresses, often with big belts. Anyway, I’ve been periodically Google-image stalking searching her fashion choices, and finally I’ve found a Michelle Obama fashion blog that will do the legwork for me.
Via Metafilter.

While we’re at it, the internet is, as you’d imagine, a rich minefield of fashion sites, and here are a few of my favourites.

I also like to look at photos of clothing at gofugyourself, and there are some great formal-wear ideas to be found in Jezebel’s Good/Bad/Ugly posts. Most of all, I like the Wardrobe Remix flickr pool (I like to let it build up in my RSS reader then scroll through the pics really fast while I’m on the phone).

Two standout wardrobe remixers I’ve found are galadarling, who’s like a tiny pink punk alien Madonna here to kick you with her giant boots, and Johanni, who looks like the 1955 Lolita lovechild of Marilyn Monroe and Bjork. Those two have almost cartoony levels of awesome going on. But really, there are a ton of sharp, inventive dressers on wardrobe remix, and it’s awesome seeing people with regularly/irregularly proportioned bodies wearing interesting outfits. Also, Wardrobe Remix is probably to thank/blame for my dresses-over-pants awesomeness/problem.

I also enjoy FashionUnder$100- which, as the name suggests, shows you how to copy celeb outfits for under $100 per outfit- including shoes (whaaaat?), and I like to look at the modelly-types in their impractical shoes on Sartorialist and Garance Doré (GD has an English version too, but there’s something more romantic about reading it en francais, je pense. Kind of like having black coffee and cynicism for breakfast, you know?)

Sartorialist and Garance Doré are kind of annoying in how skinny all their subjects are, so I also love the Fatshionista flickriver for a little shape-diversity. Who says you gotta weigh 112 pounds to look nice? If that was true, I’d have stopped looking nice around seventh grade. And listen, in seventh grade I hadn’t yet figured out how to pluck my eyebrows, so trust me, it’s much better this way.

Artist's interpretation of me in seventh grade, pre-tweeze.

Artist's interpretation of me in seventh grade, pre-tweeze.


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