I’m in a Long Term Relationship with My Hair

I usually keep my hair long, but I’ve noticed that the longer my hair gets, the worse it looks. I frequently develop split ends that I have to trim every two months or so, my hair looks dull and flat a lot of the time because I don’t have very full hair and while it isn’t fine, it’s just thin enough to look flat and boring a lot of the time. I’ve tried a variety of different volumizing hair care products and while they worked for a little while, the effects were short-term and in even just a few hours, my hair returns to its original, lifeless state.

I’m a beauty product addict. Shampoos, conditioners, skin creams, moisturizers, bath products; you name it, I need to try several different variations of it. So when Herbal Essences came out with a line of shampoo, conditioner and split end protectors for a variety of different hair types, it was no surprise that I needed to try them.

Herbal Essences Long Term Relationship I recently picked up Herbal Essences’ Long Term Relationship shampoo and conditioner, a line of hair care products just for women with longer hair and I could not be happier with the outcome. My hair looks so much healthier, feels so much softer and is giving off a beautiful shine, even when just waking up in the morning after washing it the night before. It’s laying a lot nicer now and while I usually keep my hair up a lot because I don’t like the way the ends look after a few months without getting it trimmed, I’ve been leaving it down a lot more lately because of how beautiful it’s laying. It has a very sophisticated scent; it’s a blend of red raspberry and satin but isn’t overly fruity-scented which is a huge plus because I’m not too big of a fan of hair care products that smell very fruity or very floral; Herbal Essences has found the perfect blend that attracts a fan base of not just teenage girls.

I love this stuff; it works a lot better than I thought it would and I cannot recommend it enough.

Add Some Style to the WordPress Admin Panel

As anyone who uses WordPress knows, the admin panel is a little rough on the eyes. It’s the same blend of blues and greys, it never changes and if you get sick of looking at the ‘fresh’ design that was released with WordPress 2.5 the only other option you have is the vintage WordPress look, which is even worse than the fresh look.

If you’re like me, you know that change is good, especially when it comes to sites you look at every day. We all need to change it up a little bit every now and then, which is why sites like MySpace have so many free template sites and the same goes for Blogger and WordPress design templates, why sites like Plurk and Twitter allow you to change the look of your profile, and so on. People do not want to be forced to look at the same thing over and over again. This also applies to the WordPress Admin section. I know that I spend countless hours every week working on my websites; the amount of hours I put in on my websites are the equivalent of two full time jobs, not even factoring in the fact that I also work a full time job from home. With a “job” that you spend up to 80 hours a week on, looking at the WordPress admin panel while you go about your website work can get a little sore on the eyes and very repetitive.

Pressing Pixels thought the same thing and decided to make a plugin to change the look of your WordPress admin panel–WordPress Custom Admin Branding.

The WordPress Custom Admin Branding plugin is a great plugin and makes logging into your WordPress panel again and again a little more refreshing than it would be normally. Here’s a look at what Woman Tribune’s WordPress now looks like:

WordPress Custom Admin Branding plugin login
The WordPress login screen using the WordPress Custom Admin Branding plugin

WordPress Custom Admin Branding plugin header
The WordPress admin dashboard header using the WordPress Custom Admin Branding plugin

WordPress Custom Admin Branding plugin footer
The WordPress admin dashboard footer using the WordPress Custom Admin Branding plugin
With this plugin, there are three separate parts of the WordPress admin panel that may be changed with an image of your choice–The login screen, the header and the footer, as you can see to the left here. The plugin works with all WordPress installations, I’m currently running WordPress 2.6.1, which you can also see in the footer image, and the plugin works perfectly without any tweaking.

I definitely recommend this plugin for anyone who is sick of looking at the same old WordPress admin panel. Download the plugin here.

Book Review: Love, Meg by C. Leigh Purtill

Love Meg Meg and her sister Lucie have always moved around a lot; sometimes three times in one year, they will pack up their belongings, move into a new apartment where Lucie starts a new, dead end, crappy job and Meg will start a new school. Meg’s life seems as shaken and impermanent as the boxes of belongings that never receive a proper place in their new apartment and the Walmart bought, particle board furniture that isn’t likely to survive many more life-altering moves.

Because of their sporadic lifestyle, Meg has become accustomed to starting new schools and reinventing herself; she has went by a handful of different names as she grew up and has settled in with being the permanent new girl, finding a new friend to socialize with until her time in that neighborhood was through where she would be forced to repeat the same steps again and again.

Meg was told by Lucie throughout her life that their parents had died, which is why Meg had never known any parental figure besides her older sister. But while Lucie was the only parental figure in Meg’s life, she did not play that part in her sister’s life and often barely played the part of her sister. Lucie was often consumed by selfishness; with her string of boyfriends, how she felt, what she was going through and while there were elements that Lucie did try to provide an okay life for Meg, Meg had been disappointed by Lucie and their life far too many times.

While her sister was busy living her life and Meg feeling as if she didn’t truly belong there, or anywhere, Meg confided in the Friends celebrity, Jennifer Aniston, to get her through the rough times in her life. For years, she and Jennifer had exchanged letters about what Meg was going through at the time, how she was feeling and Jen would respond with worldly advice always leading Meg in the right direction. Even when Jen’s letters had stopped, Meg kept writing for years after and always thought of Jen as the supportive friend she had known her to be through her letters.

When Meg finds out that Lucie isn’t the only family that she has and that she had been lied to her entire life by Lucie; the only person she has had to count on and trust, Meg decides that upon hearing about a family she never knew she had, she wants to know more. In hopes to experience what a real family feels like and have a life that Lucie had always failed to give her, Meg travels across the country, from Hollywood, California to Astoria, New York to live with her Uncle Lonnie and Grandmother, Alma.

Meg’s life in Astoria is completely different from the life she lead in Hollywood. For the first time in her life, and after a little adjusting, she felt at home, as if she had a place of permanence. She goes on to become friends with a small clique of three other girls and makes a life for herself in New York while helping her Uncle with her Grandmother, who is suffering from cancer due to being a life-long smoker. The life Meg makes for herself in New York, while it does hold its own set of problems and setbacks, is a great experience for Meg and what she finds out about herself and others in New York gives her the opportunity to find out the truth about the life that Lucie had never spoken of to Meg. For the first time in her life, Meg experiences what it is like to have best friends, to have a first date and to have her first boyfriend, Juny; the older brother of her new best friend–Who is such a sweet and amazing guy that made me immediately think that every woman needs to have Juny in her life.

Throughout her time in New York and learning more about herself and her family, Meg starts to understand Lucie more than she thought possible. Meg truly makes the best out of everything she is given in life and just with the way she starts to think by the end of the book makes you realize how grown up Meg really is, taking on responsibilities and putting her life into perspective. She makes life altering decisions and successfully deals with what life throws at her, coming out of her experiences as a well-balanced, intelligent young adult who has taken control of her own life and realizes where she belongs.

Love, Meg was a fast, exciting and exceptional read. Though I did see the twists and turns Meg’s life makes throughout the novel coming before they happened, that in no way means that Purtill doesn’t know how to put together a truly enjoyable novel. I just happen to be a self-proclaimed bookworm, am a significantly well read person and also have a knack for guessing the end of thriller movies. It is also worthy to keep in mind that Purtill’s novels fall under the category of young adult and most definitely excite and thrill the pants off of her target market, while also succeeding in giving adult women a fast paced and gratifying read.

If you are particularly interested in C. Leigh Purtill’s work, life, or random thoughts, you should definitely check out her blog here. Even her blog posts are especially interesting.

The Sisterhood is Traveling to New Orleans

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 As part of a marketing campaign for The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, the cast is helping out Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans.

If you’re thinking, what on Earth does a movie about four friends and a magic pair of jeans have to do with Habitat for Humanity you will surely be surprised. Alexis Bledel stated in an interview, “They are recycling jeans and making these tubes for insulation that will help insulate the houses they are building down there.” See, get it? Magic jeans, using jeans for insulation. Yeah!

The sisterhood aren’t the only ones helping out with this amazing project; Cotton Inc., GUESS, and Warner Bros. Pictures are spreading the word about the Habitat project to people who are purchasing GUESS products and if you’re one of those people, you should also be aware of the fact that you also have the opportunity to help with the efforts in New Orleans simply by turning in old pairs of jeans you may have laying in back of your closet gathering dust. Not only that, but if you do turn in a pair (or multiple pairs) of your old jeans, you will receive a discount on your new purchases for every pair of jeans you turn in. Your old jeans will be reclaimed into cotton and turned into energy efficient insulation.

So get out there, buy some new pairs of fabulous jeans, bring in the old jeans you never wear anyway and get a discount on said fabulous jeans. It’s as simple as that!

Oh, and if your Gilmore Girls antennae goes up at the mention of Alexis Bledel and you’re like me and so many other Gilmore Girls fans, Alexis was also asked in the interview about a Gilmore Girls movie coming out to which she replied with she didn’t know and hadn’t heard anything. Come on Gilmore Girls cast, crew and writers, we want a real ending! Give us a movie and shut us up, please.

Book Review: Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner

I had been interested in reading Good in Bed for a few years now. I used to work at Borders Books & Music and of course, in such a setting, I came upon several hundreds of books that I had made mental notes of to read, forgot about them, life went on and on and on; but Good in Bed has always remained on my mental ‘must read’ book list. With a title like Good in Bed, I hardly cared about what the story was about, the book cover and name alone eluded to chick lit, which is super fabulous to indulge in after long days and just wanting to relax in the bath tub, in bed, on the couch, outside in a lawn chair, I just knew in my bones that the book was for me. Knowing very little about the book at first, I put it on my ‘to-read’ list on Goodreads and through the love of books and book sharing, an acquaintance who knew of me through a website I run mailed me a copy of the book.

Upon completion, and even a little less than halfway through the book I knew my intuition about this book was right; it was a book that I needed to read and it is a book that I will cherish for some time to come.

Good in Bed has been quite heavily compared to Bridget Jones’s Diary, which I am also a fan of and can see where people are coming up with the comparison, however, the main character of Good in Bed, Candace “Cannie” Shapiro, is by far superior in wit alone. Cannie is a hilarious, full of character woman who has used her sense of humor and sarcastic wit to cover up the negativism she has felt about herself for quite some time.

Cannie is a larger woman trying to live her life in a world of Hollywood and size 0’s and 00’s. Being a woman who wears a size larger than a 4 sometimes has a difficult time living their life in a world where if you turn on the television, open a magazine or go see a movie, you are bombarded with images of what everyone else thinks you should look like. Cannie gives us women whose left breast couldn’t fit into a size 0 shirt a voice–A brutally honest, no bullshit, real voice. Her life is pretty much together–She has a successful career as a reporter for a Philadelphia newspaper, an apartment she shares with her beloved dog, Nifkin, whose name gives you the first glimpse of how packed with humor this book is, and loving, supporting family and friends. She had broken up with her boyfriend Bruce a few months prior, saying that she had wanted a break and was happy with the decision she had made. However, Bruce is also a writer who had gotten a good gig writing a feature piece in a nationally published magazine every month entitled Good in Bed and his inaugural piece was about Cannie entitled “Loving a Larger Woman” where he compared her physique to Monica Lewinsky.

Cannie then decides that it’s time for her to make some positive life changes and enrolls in a weight loss study in hopes of losing weight. Also on her list of plans is that the man she broke up with but is now starting to miss and want back, will look at her after she loses her weight and want her back. After trying Weight Watchers and several other diets that didn’t work, the new weight loss study and course that Cannie decides to try involves weight loss drugs which seem promising. At her classes, she meets the doctor who is running the course, Dr. K who later becomes a great friend of hers and possible love interest.

Through the story, Cannie goes through ups and downs when it comes to coming to terms with the Bruce debacle and things only get worse for her when Bruce’s father dies unexpectedly. Through her means of trying to comfort him, but him only pushing her further and further away and the next few months of columns he writes for the magazine praise a new girlfriend Bruce has in tow, Cannie begins taking a closer look at her life and figuring out through the never ceasing anger she has for Bruce and that in reality, she isn’t angry with Bruce, she is still angry at her father from her childhood years who abandoned her and his family which in turn has transformed her siblings and even herself, regarding how she feels about herself and her weight. At an early age, Cannie’s father would introduce people to his daughter and say that while she wasn’t a real beauty, she made up for it in brains and would also tell her that no one would want to see her naked and that she was too fat. Cannie’s father, whom she calls The Original Abandoner becomes the person in her life who she realizes she had given too much power to.

Through the steps Cannie takes to make her life better, she meets a woman who she was scheduled to do an interview with, Maxi Ryder, a Hollywood actress who Cannie later finds out also has problems of her own and just because you may be rich and skinny, it doesn’t mean that you’re happy. Cannie’s life forever changes through the pages of Good in Bed, some good and means for celebration and some bad, but by reading Good in Bed, you realize that you can’t make someone love you, how you look to someone physically holds no barrier to how they may feel about you, weight is not something to be hung up about because there is so much more good in the world that you could be experiencing instead of standing in front of the mirror wishing you could be slimmer, and that while things in your life may seem hopeless, the people who love you the most are going to be there to help you through it.

Cannie does indeed become a slimmer version of herself towards the end of the book, in a time of utter despair, and it is then that it doesn’t really matter because she has bigger problems in her life that need to be tended to. The people who love you do not love you because you may be a size 0 or have long, shimmering blonde hair. The people who love you are there for you when you need it the most, they are the ones who can see you at your worst and love you just as much as they did when seeing you at your best and that is a life lesson that Jennifer Weiner hit spot on.

Good in Bed is an excellent book that makes you laugh and makes you cry. It makes you look at your own life and how you see yourself and realize that just by being yourself, you’re good enough for anyone and the problems in your life that you don’t think you can make it through are the ones that make you who are you and with the love and support of your family and friends, you can get through anything.

Actor/Comedian Bernie Mac Dies of Pneumonia

Bernie Mac It has been confirmed and reported by TMZ, CNN and MSNBC that actor and comedian Bernie Mac passed away yesterday at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago due to complications with pneumonia.

Mac, who also had inflammatory lung disease and was hospitalized for pneumonia earlier this month, was said to be responding well to treatments and in stable condition just the day before he passed away.

Rest in peace.

Say Goodbye to Couch & Kitchen Chair Forts

When I was young, I remember going to a friend’s house after school nearly every day and of course, we didn’t have all the cool technological toys that are out now for children’s amusement and so we made due with normal, everyday, household objects that may have looked completely ordinary to our parents, but to a child, a couch, a couple kitchen chairs and a few bedsheets were paradise. In our heads, we were anywhere we wanted to be and we could do whatever we pleased; it was very Narnia-like.

Crazy Forts The times really haven’t changed for children too young to care about what video game system is out or what “must have” toys are out on the market; young children still have that magical essence about them where they believe that a couch, a couple kitchen chairs and a few bedsheets mean creating their very own, personal haven. While we absolutely love the creative minds and imaginations children have, putting the couch and kitchen chairs back can certainly be a pain in the butt, especially if you find yourself doing it nearly every day. The makers of Crazy Forts thought the same thing!

Crazy Forts is a genius idea to allow your child’s imagination to soar and to allow a little freedom for parents from having to pick up the house all over again at the end of play time. They aren’t battery operated and they aren’t something that your child will play with for a day and be done with; they are kits containing plastic building materials–25 geometrically precise balls and 44 sticks that connect to create countless structures for play time. By simply tossing a few bedsheets or light blankets,

Crazy Forts building Crazy Forts are one of the very, very few toys out there that promote collaborative play between boys and girls, just as long as your children aren’t in their “No boys allowed” clubhouse phases. While Crazy Forts are meant to be an assembly-by-child toy and are very easy to build into a variety of different structures, especially when the kits are combined, their website also has convenient design ideas and downloadable building plans for a castle, house, igloo, rocket and tunnel, which may be a great way to start warming your child up to creating their own forts if they’re not sure of the toy at first.

Crazy Forts are great kits, especially if you have more than one child who are close in age; this is a phenomenal way to get all of your kids to stay in one room, out of your hair and actually get along–If you’re lucky. It can also be educational, giving children a grasp on rudimentary engineering and physics concepts in a strictly fun way.

Irresistible Shot Glass Sundaes

shot glass sundaes In the land of calorie counting, watching your figure and the latest diet trends, indulging your sweet tooth can prove to be an impossible challenge. Luckily, there is a way for you to let yourself indulge a little bit and not have to worry about a thing.

You will need:

  • 1 pint vanilla, peach, and/or mango ice cream
  • 24 1-oz. disposable plastic shot glasses

1. Line 15x10x1-inch baking pan with waxed paper. With miniature ice cream scoop, scoop ice cream and place in prepared pan (you should have 24 small scoops). Cover loosely; freeze at least 2 hours. Prepare desired combinations below. Serve at once. Makes 8 servings (3 treats per serving)

  • Peach: Peel, pit and coarsely chop 2 small peaches; toss with 1 tablespoon sugar. Divide mixture among 8 plastic shot glasses. Top with scoops of vanilla ice cream and toasted coconut chips*.
  • Popcorn: Divide 1/2 cup popped popcorn among 8 plastic shot glasses. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons purchased caramel ice cream topping. Top with peach or mango ice cream and additional popcorn.
  • Pear Ginger: Divide 3/4 cup coarsely crushed sugar cookies among 8 plastic shot glasses. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger. Top with vanilla ice cream and slivers of fresh pear.

You can make these mini treats with any combination you desire, whether it be a brownie, chocolate ice cream and chocolate fudge or vanilla ice cream, sugar cookies and caramel sauce. Let your imagination run wild.

These treats can be made for entertaining guests at a summer luncheon, a chance to make delicious treats that the kids can help with and enjoy, or any other event you have in mind. Enjoy!

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