How Close Do You Come to a Perfect Shave?

My husband is the "Shave Master".  He knows all things about shaving and absolutely cringes whenever he sees me breaking the "shaving rules".  Ummm...yea, I didn't realize there were any shaving rules as I'm sure most of you didn't either.  For instance, how many of you have just grabbed a bar of soap, lathered up and slashed that razor across your skin?  HEY, I'm raising my hand here!  Well, there ARE some rules to follow while wielding a razor that will make things go a whole lot smoother for you.

COMMON MISTAKE:  Not Prepping Properly.    

 Just a splash of water won't do.  Men should either shave after a shower or use a warm cloth before shaving to soften the hair follicles.   And if your beard is really thick, you should trim it up with an electric razor before shaving with a traditional one.
                                   Women should stick to shaving in the shower or bathtub.


COMMON MISTAKE:  Not Shaving in the Proper Grain Pattern.

Gosh, who knew?  Oh yea right, Hubby knew.  In order to find out which way the hair grows, let it get long enough to feel.  On the first pass you should shave going with the grain and then afterwards against the grain.  This should alleviate the tug against the skin and leave it feeling smooth.

COMMON MISTAKE:  Putting too much pressure on your skin and causing unwanted cuts and nicks.

This is probably the most common shaving mistake made (Guilty!), but also the easiest to avoid.  While it seems like applying more pressure to the skin will get you a closer shave, it's actually the opposite.  Gently gliding the razor across your skin will result in a smoother shave.

COMMON MISTAKE:  Applying too little or too much shaving cream.
Applying too little shaving cream can have the same effect as not properly prepping your skin and too much can cause a big mess, creating the perfect storm for cuts and nicks.  To get the perfect shave you're looking for, an almond-sized portion is what you need.  Ladies, you can use a bit more for a larger area like the legs.  Using a product that provides hydration is good for keeping skin from getting irritated also.

COMMON MISTAKE:  Using soap or body wash.

It might seem like a good idea if you run out of shaving cream or gel to just put some soap or body wash on to shave with.  DON'T DO IT!  While it may seem like they are the same, soap actually removes dirt and oil from the skin causing the exact opposite effect you are looking to get.  Just stick with the proper shaving products and you can't go wrong.

COMMON MISTAKE:  Leaving your razor on the shower ledge or bathroom sink.

Leaving your razor on the shower ledge or bathroom sink where there is bacteria and water floating around will leave your razor dirty and dull.  And don't just throw it in a drawer where there is more bacteria.  You might want to invest in a razor stand that will keep your razor above the water but still easily accessible.

COMMON MISTAKE:  Using your razor longer than your should.

Most people aren't really sure how often to change their razor out.  It is suggested that every 6-8 uses you should change it out (Oh gosh...I'm way overdue!).  One of the best ways to do this is to use a subscription service where quality razors will be delivered straight to your home.

Realizing that there really are rules on how to achieve the perfect shave while wielding that razor of yours AND implementing them should make thing run a whole lot smoother for you!


OK Not Being OK: A Different Perspective on Grief

I decided from almost the very beginning of this grieving process that I would be OK not being OK.  Because, you see, I think it's OK to grieve although most of the western world does not believe that.  After the funeral of your loved one is over, everyone thinks you should just move on and be OK.  But, in truth, you're not.  I've found that it's only after the wake and funeral are over that you truly begin to come out of what I call a brain fog and begin to mourn the loss of your loved one.
We knew that my mother was going to pass away at any time and even though we were prepared, we were not prepared.  If that makes any sense.  After a death, your body apparently has a protective mechanism that allows you to go through the following days on autopilot.  You get arrangements made and take care of everything that needs to be done.  And then it's over.  And you then find yourself just sitting in a chair doing nothing.  Nothing but thinking.  And if it's been a long process (as it was with us in a hospice situation), you are tired.  Your mind goes a bit numb during this time and you can't remember things you need to do or have already done.  That is what I did.  I sat in a chair for days.  I made myself get out of bed and go through the motions of life.  I ate very little.  My husband brought me food and I ate small amounts of it.  This was the beginning stages of grief; it was shock.  Even though I was  expecting my mother's death to happen, my human body and mind was not ready for it.
As I began to come out of my stupor a bit, I began reading all sorts of literature the church and hospice company had given me to help me understand my grief.  I also ordered some other books on my own and then someone mentioned to me that other cultures grieve differently than we westerners do.  It was quite eye-opening for me because where westerners tend to want people who have experienced loss to move on quickly, other cultures understand that the grieving process takes time.

In some cultures individuals mourn loudly.  Some quietly.  But always, mourning is an individual thing.  No one grieves in the same manner.  In other cultures family members and friends take care of the grieving individual for a long period of time.  They are not expected to do anything or make an decisions.  They are allowed time to themselves to reflect upon the life and death of their loved one.  And as I pondered this I thought, "Yes!"  This was exactly what I wanted to do.  And actually was allowed to do so to some extent.  But then very quickly I found that people expected me to be over my grief and back to my normal activities.  Why?  Because I believe a grieving person makes others uncomfortable.  They don't know what to say to them, how to treat them.  The only way to treat a grieving person is to acknowledge that they are sad.  Maybe not every minute of every day but understand that they are just really sad.  And if they are sitting in a day-dreaming state it is only because they are reflecting and attempting to process everything that has happened.

And so,  I am more OK with not being OK than others are with me not being OK.  And if they have never experienced the loss of someone close to them, they just do not understand.  And that's OK too.


7 Ways to Motivate Kids to Clean Their Rooms

Do you have problems getting your kids to clean their rooms?  I know that I did whenever mine were young.  It seemed like a never-ending battle.  Today, I am featuring a guest blogger, Alex Farley, who has a lot more experience with cleaning that most of us do and we are going to get some really great tips for getting your little one to clean their rooms!

It is not easy to involve your children in household chores but it is not a mission impossible. You need to motivate them to turn cleaning duties into an enjoyable activity. Take advantage of my tips and you will see for yourself how beneficial they are.

                                        Ways to motivate kids to clean their rooms

1.  The best way to motivate kids to clean their rooms is to make them feel like they are part of something important. Children love to be appreciated and in charge of something, even something that appears to be insignificant. That is why I truly believe that inspiring kids to take part in  household chores is essential. Cleaning their room, for example, shows children that every member of the family has specific obligations and helping each other actually strengthens the relationship between them.

2. Be an example, don’t be too bossy.
This simple step is important when teaching your children things. It is not a secret that little ones watch what we do more than what we say.  For example , “Clean your room!” will not lead to a positive outcome. If you keep all of your personal belongings in order, if you clean on a regular basis, then you are setting a good example for your children. They see what you do as something necessary and expected.  I found out the hard way that bossiness does not produce  the results you desire. The use of controlling language is not the way to speak to your children if you want to get them to clean their room. Instead of becoming a cleaning dictator, try to be more gentle. Give them confidence and you will notice that this motivates and prepares them to take on cleaning duties and complete them.

3. Make them feel that their room is entirely their own.
Over the years I have come to the conclusion that children are more likely to keep an area clean if they realize it is theirs.  Give them responsibility over keeping it clean and they will put forth the effort to keep it tidy and store things in an orderly manner. You can even buy them a child-sized vacuum cleaner.  They are sure to find vacuuming their own space very entertaining which will make cleaning more fun for them.

4. Make yourself clear when giving orders.
If you say,  “Get your room in order!”,  there is a very big chance that he or she will not understand  exactly what is meant by that. Instead try saying,  “Put your toys in the boxes”, “Put your dirty clothes in the laundry hamper”, “Make your bed”, “Vacuum the carpet.”  You need to be very precise with your instructions. Make a simple task list that your children can follow.   Use drawings for younger children and simple words and sentences for older ones.

5. Have an exact place for each item.
It is much easier when everything has a place. Provide your children with baskets and boxes in which to organize their toys. You can also help them label and paint the containers. Quality time together!

6. Start doing chores together.
Forget about supervising from a distance. Instead take part in cleaning together. Don't expect them to know how to do everything at first;  show them how and where things go.  Once they learn how things are to be done they can clean their room independently. However, cleaning together in a positive manner is a great way to enhance your relationship with your child.

7. Be patient.
Some children may be slow to warm up to the idea of cleaning their room but once they have been taught the how to do it and what you expect,  you will be impressed at how quickly they become independent and responsible.

Teaching children to clean up after themselves not only helps you, the parent, out but also teaches responsibility.  Children need to realize that they cannot play with everything at one time.  Toys should be put away before new ones are taken out to avoid having to spend hours cleaning.  Organization is a skill that will grow with your children and one day they might actually thank you for making them clean their day!